Relief Society Symbols Handout

The seal was adjusted and simplified in 2012 to make it more useful and recognizable in a global Church. The slightly altered seal now places the name of Relief Society in prominence, more clearly identifying Relief Society as part of the Church.  The year the society was organized, 1842, was removed from the old seal and the motto remained.

Brigham Young asked Emmeline B. Wells in 1876 to encourage the sisters to “save grain.” This tradition of gleaning wheat and earning money for wheat would continue for decades afterwards. The wheat collected was used to feed the poor, given to farmers to grow, and ground into flour for those affected by natural disasters. At the outbreak of World War I, Utah Relief Societies sold their wheat storage to help the war effort and used the money to give women and their infants adequate maternity care. Since that time, wheat has been a symbol of the Relief Society’s efforts to care for others.

Wheat is an appropriate symbol for the Relief Society not only because of its association with assisting the poor, but also as a reminder of the bread of life, the Savior.”

The rays represent the knowledge from heaven referred to by Joseph Smith at the organization of the first Relief Society that would pour down on the society.

Charity never faileth is the motto of Relief Society. Blue and gold are the official colors of the Relief Society.

The sego lily is the flower of the Relief Society.  Early Utah pioneer settlers ate the bulbs of the strong, beautiful sego lily during a time of extreme hunger.  The life sustaining value of this beautiful wildflower is said to represent the beauty and life-sustaining service offered by Relief Society members.  

The motto and sego lily were chosen to represent the Relief Society in 1913 by Emmeline B. Wells and her presidency.

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