Relief Society Presidency

Relief Society Presidency

Topic

The general presidency of the Relief Society serves under the direction of the Church's First Presidency. Currently, the presidency consists of Julie B. Beck, Silvia Allred and Barbara Thompson. They have been serving since March 2007.

Julie B. Beck, president of the Relief Society, lived in Brazil when she was four and learned to speak Portuguese. She graduated from Dixie College and Brigham Young University in Utah. She is a mother of three children and grandmother of eight.

Her first counselor, Silvia Allred, is a native of El Salvador, with Spanish being her first language. She met the missionaries as a teenager in San Salvador, joining the Church soon after. She later went on to be a missionary in Central America.

Second counselor Barbara Thompson learned German as a missionary in Hamburg. She received a master's degree in social work, working for the Utah Department of Human Services for 30 years. During her retirement she served as the executive director of an international organization working to help abused and neglected children.

 

These three women represent and lead a growing organization that reaches across the globe. Cultures may be different and language barriers exist, but according to Beck, Mormon women can contribute whenever they are to the betterment of their communities.

"What a woman does to provide relief in Africa is going to be a little different than what she does in Bountiful, Utah; what she does in Bangalore is going to be a little bit different than what she does in Buenos Aires," Beck said. "They know how to provide relief. They can perceive needs. We're here to strengthen them."

There is not a one-size-fits-all Mormon woman. They are married, single or widowed; they are daughters, mothers and grandmothers. They are often homemakers, and some may have other challenging vocations.

Beck says that regardless of the roles, each woman has in common the opportunity to be a part of an organization that teaches how to build faith in Jesus Christ, encourages study and self-improvement, emphasizes the divine worth of women, exercises charity and service, strengthens families and creates a system of support and friendship.

Within the structure of the Church, women have opportunities to be leaders, give sermons during worship services and offer congregational prayers. They take an active role in the Church's welfare program by teaching self-reliance principles and helping resolve individual temporary and long-term needs. There is also an extensive home visiting program in which women of the Church call on one another regularly with support and encouragement. Joseph Smith explained the purpose of the Relief Society was "relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes."

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.