This year marks the 179th anniversary of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. From a very humble beginning with only twenty Latter-day Saint women in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842, it has grown to be one of the largest women’s organizations in the world. Each day, over seven million Latter-day Saint women, in 190 countries and territories around the world, offer Christ-like service to their families, communities, and the Church. During the pandemic, sisters in many parts of the world made and donated face masks, hygiene bags, care packages, and protective equipment to their communities and their loved ones. Lives have been blessed by the charitable and unselfish service of these sisters. Their powerful influence and the blessings resulting from their loving hearts, time, and touch are felt worldwide.
In the scriptures, we have numerous examples of the powerful influence of righteous women. Esther was a courageous woman God prepared to be born “for such a time” to save His covenant people (Esther 4:14). Tabitha was a Christian convert in Jappa of great faith who helped so many people that the scriptures enshrine her in history as “full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” The Apostle Peter raised her from the dead and thereafter many “believed in the Lord.” (See Acts 9: 36-43) Abish, a humble Lamanite servant, played a vital role in bringing thousands of her fellow Lamanites “to the knowledge of the Lord” (Alma 23:5). The righteous mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors raised a generation of faithful and loyal sons who joined the Nephite army, fought valiantly, suffered many wounds, but were never slain. Their mothers had taught them, “if they did not doubt, God would deliver them,” and these faith-enhanced, faith-protected sons told Helaman, “We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” (Alma 56:48). Today, we still have in our midst many Esthers, Tabithas, Abishes, and righteous mothers like those of the stripling warriors.
“there is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.”President M. Russell Ballard
Several years ago, I overheard a conversation between two sisters after a Relief Society learning activity. One sister asked a Relief Society counselor whether she could take an extra finished product home. The counselor said, “Of course! Who are you giving it to?” “One of the sisters I minister to was not able to come tonight. I wanted to bring her one because I thought she might like it,” she replied. What an angelic sister! About two years ago, I visited a sister in Asia. This sister was excited to show me the genealogy records she collected and there were tens of thousands of names. She told me every time she brought any of these names to the temple, she felt great joy because she knew her ancestors could receive the same saving ordinances she had received. These are but two examples. We could fill volumes with great examples of the powerful influence of other righteous women today.
President Nelson taught, “It would be impossible to measure the influence that… women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith…” 
Similarly Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told sisters how they were essential in the work of salvation by saying “there is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.” 
Whether at home, in the community, or in the Church, valiant women are vital in the work of salvation. Each brings her own separate and unique strengths to her family and to the Church. Elder James E. Faust said this about women in the Church.
“I do not have words to express my respect, appreciation, and admiration for you wonderful sisters. The women of all ages in this Church have been endowed with a divine, uniquely feminine gift of grace. We are humbled by your acts of faith, devotion, obedience, and loving service, and your examples of righteousness. This Church could not have achieved its destiny without the dedicated, faithful women who, in their righteousness, have immeasurably strengthened the Church.” 
I have been blessed by many wonderful women in my life: my grandmothers, my mother, my wife, my sisters, my daughter, and many other Latter-day Saint sisters. They all have helped me become who I am today and showed me how to be kind, loving and charitable in every way.
Dear sisters, thank you for your wonderful examples and service. We continue to need your strength, faith, insights, and leadership in building up the Lord’s kingdom. Whatever your calling, and wherever you are, your righteous example will have tremendous influence on your children, family, community, and the Church.
1. Russell M. Nelson, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Ensign, November, 2015.
2. M. Russell Ballard, “Mothers and Daughters,” Ensign, May 2010.
3. James E. Faust, “You Are All Heaven Sent,” Ensign, November 2002.