All adult women in the Church are members of Relief Society. The Prophet Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society on March 17, 1842. He taught that the Relief Society was organized for “the relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes.” In addition, he taught that the Relief Society was “not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls.” The larger part of the work of Relief Society today is “to look after the spiritual welfare and salvation … of all the female members of the Church.” The Relief Society was “divinely made, divinely authorized, divinely instituted, divinely ordained of God.” It operates under the direction of priesthood leaders.
The purpose of Relief Society is to help prepare women for the blessings of eternal life by helping them increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need. Women fulfil these purposes as they seek, receive, and act on personal revelation in their lives. Relief Society accomplishes the purposes through Sunday gospel instruction, other Relief Society meetings, visiting teaching, and welfare and compassionate service.