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Amy Brown Lyman

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Amy Cassandra Brown Lyman was the eighth general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church. She served in this position from 1940 - 1945.

 Amy Brown Lyman, Mormon leader

She was born on February 7, 1872, in Pleasant Grove, Utah, to John and Margaret Zimmerman Brown. Margaret was John's third wife, and Amy was the eighth of ten children. She was once quoted, referring to her upbringing: “We had plain living, but high thinking.” Her parents, though fairly poor, valued education. Amy read a number of medical books, since she saw many, including her own mother, suffer because of poor medical care.

Amy attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah. There she met Richard R. Lyman. They married on September 9, 1896, in the Salt Lake Temple. Amy continued her studies and taught while Richard attended graduate school in Michigan where no married students were allowed. They eventually continued schooling in Chicago and New York. [1] They had two children.

Amy was called to be an officer in the Mormon women's Relief Society and served for 32 years, with 15 of those years in the Social Welfare Department. She also served in the community — She served a term as a member of the Utah House of Representatives. It is thanks to her that there is a Mental Hospital in Provo, and a mentally handicapped training school in American Fork, Utah.

Richard R. Lyman was called to serve as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ while Amy was a general Relief Society secretary. Richard was called to preside over the European Mission, and she was set apart to serve the women and children throughout the mission. Impending war brought them home early, in 1938. In 1940, she was called as Relief Society president. [2]

Amy was called as the general Relief Society president three months after the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It was a challenging time, but the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ was able to contribute much in the way of relief during and after the war. She rallied LDS Relief Society sisters in many countries for relief efforts. "Sisters from the United States to Holland and from New Zealand to Canada united in such activities as sending care packages to members and soldiers in war-torn countries, folding bandages for the Red Cross, and sewing items like undergarments, clothing, and bedding for those in need." [3]

The war was disruptive to families all over the world. In the United States, fathers were forced to leave their families and mothers were called into the work force. Amy did whatever she could to educate men and women toward strengthening their homes and families. "To make it possible for mothers to spend more time at home, Amy urged the women to develop skills of self-reliance, like sewing, gardening, and preserving and storing food." [4]

In 1943 Richard R. Lyman was excommunicated from the LDS Church for personal transgression, but was later re-baptized in 1954 and restored to full fellowship. [5] This was a trying time for Amy, but their marriage survived.

She said,

“[My] testimony has been my anchor and my stay, my satisfaction in times of joy and gladness, my comfort in times of sorrow and discouragement. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had of serving … in the Relief Society where during most of my mature life I have worked so happily and contentedly with its thousands of members. I have visited in their homes, slept in their beds, and eaten at their tables, and have thus learned of the beauty of their character, their unselfishness, their understanding hearts, their faithfulness, and their sacrifices. I honor beyond my power of expression this great sisterhood of service.” [6]

Amy died December 5, 1959.

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