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Wrong Belle Spafford?

Belle S. Spafford

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Background Information

Employment History


General Relief Society

Ninth President

Relief Society for 50 Years

General President

Relief Society for 50 Years

General President

Relief Society Magazine


Relief Society Magazine

Vice President

National Council of Women


National Council of Women

Two-Year President

U.S. Council of Women

General President

Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Normal School at the University of Utah

Web References (64 Total References)

On this day in 1948, Belle ... [cached]

On this day in 1948, Belle Spafford (who later became General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) began her service as Vice President of the National Council of Women.

"I remember the story of Belle ... [cached]

"I remember the story of Belle Spafford who was the Relief Society general president who was wondering about maintaining membership in the National Women's Organization," he said.

Belle S. Spafford - Mormonism, The Mormon Church, Beliefs, & Religion - MormonWiki [cached]

Belle S. Spafford

Belle Smith Spafford was the ninth General President of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving from 1945-1974. Belle worked during the administrations of six presidents of the church and was the most traveled Relief Society general president to date. During her time as president, the Relief Society grew from an organization of 100,000 members, largely in the western United States, to nearly 1 million members in 65 countries.
Belle's thirty-year tenure makes her the longest serving Relief Society general president.
Belle S. Spafford, ninth president of the Relief Society of the Mormon Church
5Stories from the Life of Belle Spafford
Belle was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to John Gibson Smith and Hester Sims Smith on 8 October 1895, the youngest of their seven children.
Belle graduated from the Normal School (teacher education) at the University of Utah. She later studied at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where she also worked as a special instructor in remedial work for disabled children. Following her 1921 marriage to Willis Earl Spafford, recently returned from service in World War I, Belle continued working at BYU for some time.
This experience gave her a great sympathy for the less fortunate, and Belle used her talents to direct social service programs for the Relief Society in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. Among the services Belle oversaw were programs for unwed mothers, adoptive services, care for neglected children, and youth guidance services. Belle also participated in the Church's Native American foster care program.
Belle and Earl had two children, Mary and Earl, Jr.
After moving to Salt Lake City in 1935, Belle was named a member of the General Relief Society Board. Not long afterwards, she became editor of The Relief Society Magazine. She served as counselor to President Amy Brown Lyman from 1942-1945, and upon Amy's release in 1945, Belle was called as General President of the Relief Society.
Belle retired from the Relief Society General Presidency in 1974 and died February 2, 1982, at age 86.
Belle Spafford expanded and professionalized the delivery of social services by the Relief Society in cooperation with the Church Welfare Program. Social service programs were later moved to other departments, including LDS Family Services, during her tenure. Belle asked the 100,000 Relief Society members to each donate five dollars in order to begin construction of the new Relief Society Building in 1945. After Relief Society donations surpassed the $500,000 dollar goal in a single year, matching funds were contributed by the Church, and a building lot was selected east of the Salt Lake Temple. Construction began in 1953, and the building was dedicated on 3 October 1956. The building now houses the offices of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations. When Belle was called as president, women paid annual dues to be part of the Relief Society. Beginning in 1971, all Mormon women age 18 and older were considered members, and Relief Society operating funds were received from ward budgets. Prior to this time, one of the duties of Visiting Teachers was the collection of dues. Now, they were directed to provide service instead of gather money. For years, each Church auxiliary had published its own magazine. The Relief Society Magazine, of which Belle was editor for many years, was replaced by the Ensign in 1971. This change was especially difficult for Belle, but she observed, "Adjustment is painful in changing an old pattern into a new one, but we must make the new patterns fit."
Personal Motto
"If a thing is worth doing, I want to put all I've got into it."
Stories from the Life of Belle Spafford Belle once asked her grandmother, Isabella M. Sims, if she'd give Belle her gold watch when she died. Her grandmother answered, "I'll give you something else that I brought all the way from Scotland that will serve you in the eternities-I'll leave you my testimony of the gospel" (Janet Peterson and Connie Lewis, "Making a Difference for Women: Belle S. Spafford," Ensign, Mar. 2006, 44).
In 1926, Belle was surprised when her bishop called her to be a counselor in the ward Relief Society presidency and responded, "That organization is for my mother, not for me." Belle asked for release after three weeks of service and again after an automobile accident, but her Bishop, after prayerful consideration, refused her request. Belle agreed to do her best. She observed, "we needed to enroll more young women and have programs a little more meaningful. We needed to do something on the homemaking day besides quilting.... So I worked toward these goals along with my president and the other counselor" (Janet Peterson and Connie Lewis, "Making a Difference for Women: Belle S. Spafford," Ensign, Mar. 2006, 44).
Elder Boyd K. Packer related the following story about Belle Spafford: In April of 1945 Belle Smith Spafford became the president of the Relief Society. Only a week or two after she had been sustained, a letter came from the National Council of Women, announcing their annual meeting to be held in New York City. Sister Spafford had attended those meetings before, and in view of her previous experience, she and her counselors carefully considered the invitation for several weeks.
Belle S. Spafford received a number of recognitions and achievements during her lifetime.
Janet Peterson and Connie Lewis, "Making a Difference for Women: Belle S. Spafford," Ensign, Mar. 2006, 44
Belle Spafford: Biographical Sketch,

Relief Society - Mormonism, The Mormon Church, Beliefs, & Religion - MormonWiki [cached]

Belle S. Spafford (1945-1974)

The association continued, and Relief Society General President Belle S. Spafford served as president of the National Council of Women from 1968-1970.

President Belle S. Spafford ... [cached]

President Belle S. Spafford traveled widely, both as general president of the Relief Society (1945-1974) and as a two-year president of the U.S. Council of Women (1968-1970).She further professionalized the Relief Society Services Department and directed expansion of its services to include programs for Indian Student Placement Services and youth guidance.The department was housed in Salt Lake City in the Relief Society Building, which had been built in 1956 from contributions from LDS women and matching funds from the Church.

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