Joanna Brooks

Mother, Father, Give Me Vision


“Father, Mother, help me piece together the contradictions of my life: White cotton, red satin, brown polka dot; torn Sunday dress, Navajo rug, frayed baby blanket. Make me insistent on every lonely shred, willing to sacrifice no one. Where there is no pattern, God, give me courage to organize a fearsome beauty. Where there is unraveling, let me draw broad blanket stitches of sturdy blue yarn. Mother, Father, give me vision. Give me strength to work hours past my daughters’ bedtime. Give me an incandescent all-night garage with a quorum of thimble-thumbed grandmothers sitting on borrowed folding chairs. We will gather all the lost scraps and stitch them together: A quilt big enough to warm all our generations: all the lost, found, rich, poor, good, bad, in, out, old, new, country, city, dusty, shiny ones; A quilt big enough to cover all the alfalfa fields in the Great Basin. Bigger. We are piecing together a quilt with no edges. God, make me brave enough to love my people. How wonderful it is to have a people to love.”

Joanna Brooks “Invocation/Benediction.” Exponent II, Winter 2010, Vol. 30, Issue 3

Clarissa Smith Williams

The Greatest Thing In The World Is Love


“This great trust which the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to women eighty years ago, has been a great blessing, not only to the Relief Society women but to the communities in which they have lived. Through our organization the gospel has been preached, the needy have been looked after, the sick have been comforted, the downhearted have been cheered, a message of love and of blessing has ever emanated from Relief Society workers. … The greatest thing in the world is love. And if we keep that always in our hearts, and give it as a message to those about us, we will be blessed and will be instruments in blessing those with whom we associate.”

Clarissa Smith Williams, Relief Society President Relief Society Magazine, June 1922, p. 312

Bonnie D. Parkin

Love Each Other Better


“In exercising charity, we come to know a sister’s heart. When we know a sister’s heart, we are different. We won’t judge her. We will simply love her. I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better. As we do this we will come to know with a surety that “charity never faileth.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society President “Choosing Charity: That Good Part.” Ensign, November 2003

Barbara W. Winder

Focused On The Pure And Simple


“The work of Relief Society is focused on the pure and simple part of the gospel, to develop faith and bear testimony; to render compassionate service as we care for the needy; to strengthen our families here and in eternity; and to work with our “hearts knit together in unity and love one towards another.” (Mosiah 18:21.)

Barbara W. Winder, Relief Society President “Instruments to Accomplish His Purposes.” Ensign, May 1990

Barbara B. Smith

The Most Significant Learning We Ever Do


“Some of our greatest learning experiences will come as we give compassionately of ourselves. We may forget to be compassionate, but God never will. It is important for us to remember that this is a significant part of our human experience. In fact, it seems to be that, of all our learning, that which we obtain by way of giving compassionately is the most significant learning we ever do. … The work of compassion in Relief Society has been both consistent and adaptable over the years. As new needs arise among our people, the work of the Relief Society is modified to meet those needs. So today, as a worldwide organization, our purpose exists as it always has: to encourage us as women in the compassionate work characterized by the Prophet Joseph Smith as “according to your natures.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society President “1978 BYU Devotional Speeches of the Year,” p. 17