Relief Society Building

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Relief Society Bldg.jpg

The Relief Society Building, located on the northwest corner of historic Temple Square, is world headquarters for three auxiliary organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society.

Originally the building was built for the general Relief Society presidency and board. Women of the Church from across the globe donated funds to construct it. Many wards had halls to meet, conduct business, care for the poor, and sell goods. In 1896, Sarah Granger Kimball proposed the construction of a general presidency Relief Society building. By 1909, they managed to raise more than $21,000 and Church president Lorenzo Snow donated the building site. However, the general Relief Society presidency was housed in offices shared with the Presiding Bishopric in the Bishop’s Building for many years instead.

By 1939, the offices were overcrowded. When Belle S. Spafford became Relief Society general president in 1945, she made acquiring their own building a priority and wrote to President George Albert Smith about it. He approved her request and added, “I don’t care how . . . beautiful it is, it will not be better than you deserve.”[1] In 1952, the First Presidency gave the Relief Society a building site.

Relief Society sisters worldwide contributed $5 each and the First Presidency matched the donations. Wards held fundraisers, created cookbooks, and organized bazaars. By the end of 1948, enough funds had been raised. Every dollar that had been donated for the original building was given to the new building.[2] The groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 1, 1953. One of the cornerstones contained a list of every person who had donated to make the building a reality. The building was completed in 1956 and dedicated on October 3, 1956.

On March 17, 2006, the building went through a major remodel and was rededicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley. The building houses office space, large meeting rooms, and a large resource center. Original art, a variety of antique artifacts that were donated from all around the world, and portraits of present and past presidencies fill the building. The building houses six original paintings by Minerva Teichert, including "Christ in a Red Robe," "Pioneer Arriving," "Look to Your Children," "Betty and the Seagulls," "Return of Captive Israel" and "Handcart Pioneers."