What is the Benevolent Relief Society?

There is one priesthood, the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. The women of the Benevolent Relief Society, more commonly referred to as “the Society,” are given the keys to use this power within this Sisterhood. It is with this priesthood that they help run the Fellowship, perform ordinances, miracles such as healing the sick in the name of Jesus, and in many other ways serve the Lord.

The General Relief Society breaks into two groups:

  1. The Sisterhood of Miriam (12-24+)
  2. The Sisterhood of Magdalene (18+)

The Annunciation by Eustache Le SueurAll new female members are ordained based on their age, and their call from the Lord. If under 18, they should begin as a deacon in the Benevolent Society and move up, as prompted by the Spirit, after no less than a year of service, and based on age requirements. If joining the Fellowship after the age of 18, a woman may pray with local leadership to see where the Lord requires them, but should begin no higher than a priestess in the Sisterhood of Miriam. She would then remain as such for at least one year, though she would have the option of attending meetings with the the Sisterhood of Magdalene, if available, during that time, if she so chooses.

The Lesser Priesthood the Relief Society is associated with the sister of Moses and Aaron; the prophetess Miriam. The Society gives young women keys to the Holy Priesthood that will help train them for leadership in the Fellowship and Christian discipleship. Deacons, as young as 12, will assist Relief Society leaders and the Fellowship. Teachers may, at the minimum age of 14, enter the Order of the Ministry; helping others grow in their discipleship in Christ. Priestesses assist the Elders and High Priestesses of the Sisterhood of Magdalene in both ordinances and fulfilling their duties of Christian charity to those in need.

The Sisterhood of Magdalene is associated with Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus Christ. This Sisterhood oversees the training of the Sisterhood of Miriam, performs sacred rituals and ordinances, oversees charitable acts, the running the organization of Fellowship, and more. Members of this Sisterhood may be Elders or High Priestesses of the Most High God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: they are servants and disciples of Jesus Christ. They have been called by revelation to serve in the Christ’s Fellowship.

The Offices of the General Relief Society are as follows:

The Junior Order:

  1. Deacon
  2. Teacher
  3. Priestess

The Senior Order:

  1. Elder
  2. High Priestess

As high priestesses, there are other offices in the Sisterhood that may be obtained for the edification of the Fellowship.

  1. Elect Lady,* President of the General Relief Society and at least two counselors
  2. General Assembly of Apostles (no more than 12)**
  3. Council of 70
  4. Assembly of 50 (these women are not required to be members of the Fellowship, or ordained to the Sisterhood)
  5. Council of Evangelists (Traveling Ministers and Matriarchs)
  6. Bishop with at least two councilors
  7. The two councilors become the Deaconess overseeing the deacons and teachers, and the Prioress (Head Priestess) over the Priestesses, with at least two councilors from the groups they are responsible for

Notes:
*The title “Elect Lady” comes from 2 John 1: 2, and D&C 25: 3
**The differing in names for the women’s and men’s organizations are help avoid confusion.

Image: The Annunciation by Eustache Le Sueur, 1650; Public Domain

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