How to Give Service

How to Give Charity

See also: Holy Ghost and Charity, Small Acts of Charity

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“It is our hope that you will prayerfully determine what you can do—according to your own time and circumstance—to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities. This is an opportunity to serve one on one, in families, and by organization to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.”

Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President
I Was a Stranger,” April 2016 General Conference

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“Perhaps we could start by asking ourselves these questions:

  • Who in my circle of influence could I help today?
  • What time and resources do I have?
  • In what ways can I use my talents and skills to bless others?
  • What might we do as a family?”

Cheryl A. Esplin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
He Asks Us to Be His Hands,” April 2016 General Conference

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“All of us can incorporate some service into our daily living. We live in a contentious world. We give service when we don’t criticize, when we refuse to gossip, when we don’t judge, when we smile, when we say thank you, and when we are patient and kind.”

Cheryl A. Esplin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
He Asks Us to Be His Hands,” April 2016 General Conference

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“Speaking at a BYU devotional, Sister Sondra D. Heaston asked: ‘What if we could really see into each other’s hearts? Would we understand each other better? By feeling what others feel, seeing what others see, and hearing what others hear, would we make, and take, the time to serve others, and would we treat them differently? Would we treat them with more patience, more kindness, and more tolerance?’

“Sister Heaston shared an experience from when she served at a Young Women camp. She said:

“ ‘One of our … devotional speakers … taught us about ‘becoming.’ One of her statements … was, ‘Be someone who reaches out to know and serve others—throw away the mirrors and look through the window.’

“ ‘To demonstrate this, she called up one of the young women and asked that young woman to stand facing her. [She] then pulled out a mirror and put it between the young woman and herself so that she, [the speaker], was looking into the mirror while she tried to talk with the young woman. Not surprisingly, it didn’t even begin to be an effective or heartfelt conversation. This was a powerful object lesson that illustrated how difficult it is to communicate with and serve others if we are too worried about ourselves and see only ourselves and our needs. [She] then put away the mirror, pulled out a window frame, and put it between her face and the young woman’s face. … We were able to see that the young woman had become [her] focal point and that true service requires that we focus on the needs and emotions of others. Ofttimes we are so worried about ourselves and our own busy lives—as we look in mirrors while trying to look for opportunities to serve—that we do not see clearly through the windows of service.’ ”

Cheryl A. Esplin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
He Asks Us to Be His Hands,” April 2016 General Conference

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“True Christlike service is selfless and focuses on others.”

Cheryl A. Esplin, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
He Asks Us to Be His Hands,” April 2016 General Conference

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“Divine nature breathes into us the desire to serve others…The divine nature within us ignites our desire to reach out to others and prompts us to act. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can help us find the strength to do so. Could the Lord be asking us, ‘What can be done for this daughter, this brother, this father, or this friend?’ ”

Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President
Discovering the Divinity Within,” October 2015 General Conference

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“I love the women of the Church, young and old. I have seen your strength. I have seen your faith. You have something to give and are willing to give it. You do this without fanfare or publicity, drawing attention to the God we worship, not yourselves, and with no thought of what you will receive. That’s what disciples do!”

Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President
Wanted: Hands and Hearts to Hasten the Work,” April 2014 General Conference

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“Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment. When Elder Robert D. Hales taught the principle of provident living, he shared the example of buying a gift for his wife. She asked, ‘Are you buying this for me or for you?’ If we adapt that question to ourselves as we serve and ask, ‘Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?’ our service will more likely resemble the ministry of the Savior.”

Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President
First Observe, Then Serve,” October 2012 General Conference

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“In reviewing Paul’s…description of charity [1 Corinthians 13:4–8], we learn that charity is not a single act or something we give away but a state of being, a state of the heart, kind feelings that engender loving actions.”

Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Charity Never Faileth,” October 2011 General Conference

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“When we have charity, we are willing to serve and help others when it is inconvenient and with no thought of recognition or reciprocation. We don’t wait to be assigned to help, because it becomes our very nature. As we choose to be kind, caring, generous, patient, accepting, forgiving, inclusive, and selfless, we discover we are abounding in charity.”

Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Charity Never Faileth,” October 2011 General Conference

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“I would like to invite each of you to do at least one Samaritan-like act this coming week. It may require that you reach beyond your usual friends or overcome your shyness. You may courageously choose to serve someone who doesn’t treat you well. I promise that if you will extend yourself beyond what is easy to do, you will feel so good inside that kindness will start to become a part of your everyday life. You’ll see that benevolence can bring joy and unity to your home, your class, your ward, and your school.”

Mary N. Cook, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Remember This: Kindness Begins with Me,” April 2011 General Conference

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“Sister Emma Smith said, ‘We are going to do something extraordinary. When a boat is stuck on the rapids, with a multitude of Mormons on board we shall consider that a loud call for relief. We expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.’…

“Just as Emma described the boat stuck on the rapids and the people needing help, we can liken that to our day when we see such things as a neighbor who is ill, a child who needs instruction, a teen needing a friend, or a family who has lost their income and needs assistance to get back on their feet. We hear of calamities, storms, or personal tragedy in the lives of our sisters everywhere. We need not rush about trying to find things to do or causes to take up.

“Remember, most often the help needed is in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities. A kind word of encouragement, a note of thanks, a phone call, a loving smile, a helpful deed, and a reminder that God loves us are often what is needed most. We can lift and bless others in so many ways.”

Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Now Let Us Rejoice,” October 2008 General Conference

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“Our service should be selfless, quiet, and be done willingly, with our hearts full of the love of God and His children. There must be genuine concern to shepherd the flock, to invite them unto Christ.”

Silvia H. Allred, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Feed My Sheep,” October 2007 General Conference

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“I love the message of Sister Lucy Mack Smith, who, frail and failing with age, rose to speak to her sisters in an early Relief Society meeting in Nauvoo. I want you to remember, she is a woman who had been a powerhouse—a great leader. She was very much the kind of woman I see in Relief Society today. But that day she said, ‘We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction that we may all sit down in heaven together.’

“Those words speak of the sisters becoming ‘instruments in the hands of God.’ Which one of us does not long to be cherished, watched over, comforted, and instructed in the things of God? How does it happen? One kindness, one expression of love, one thoughtful gesture, one willing hand at a time.”

Kathleen H. Hughes, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
That We May All Sit Down in Heaven Together,” October 2005 General Conference

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“It’s so important that we include every sister. Let’s not forget the women who are serving in Primary or Young Women. They need the care of faithful visiting teachers, and they need well-planned and accessible home, family, and personal enrichment meetings. There are also many in our circle who are growing older—like me! You sisters my age or older, please let yourselves be ‘recycled.’ The Lord needs your service, and we need you.”

Kathleen H. Hughes, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
In Covenant with Him,” October 2003 General Conference

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“Whatever your mother tongue, learn to teach and speak in the language of heartfelt prayers and joyful testimony so that angels, earthly and heavenly, can encircle and minister to us. We need gospel mentors who speak the language of praise and friendship. We need to give regular spiritual report cards that affirm our goodness in each other’s eyes. It is a blessing to allow children to run as far as they can under their own power, to build strength for their own testimonies, and we should smile upon them and wrap them in the blanket of our affection throughout the great journey in the universal language of love.”

Gayle M. Clegg, Second Counselor, Primary General Presidency
The Language of Love,” April 2002 General Conference

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“Are we encouraging our children to sacrifice by giving their time and resources, such as helping a lonely neighbor or befriending someone who needs it? As they concentrate on the needs of others, their own needs become less important. True joy comes from sacrificing for others.”

Carol B. Thomas, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Sacrifice: An Eternal Investment,” April 2001 General Conference

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“Since its earliest days Relief Society has done incalculable good. The Relief Society provided the first carload of flour that reached survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and later provided wheat to the United States government during World Wars I and II. Last year our sisters donated more than 140,000 quilts to help those in distress. We have championed motherhood and the family, waged war against illiteracy, and rendered untold hours of service throughout the world.”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
We Are Instruments in the Hands of God,” October 2000 General Conference

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“Every one of us has something to give, something to share, and someone to serve. As the second president of the Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow, declared, ‘There is no sister so isolated … her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.’ ”

Virginia U. Jensen, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Come to Relief Society,” October 1998 General Conference

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“On a bronze frieze in the Winter Quarters cemetery, a detail shows a mother resting her hand inside the wagon as she walked the distance to the Salt Lake Valley. She did this because her small child wouldn’t stay in the wagon unless he could see his mother’s hand. Even as they walked forward, those pioneers knew how to help one another.

“…Don’t be discouraged. Think of those who reach a hand into the wagon to give you courage. Be the person who reaches out your hand toward others as we all move forward together.”

Virginia H. Pearce, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Keep Walking, and Give Time a Chance,” April 1997 General Conference

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“When we give our time, our energy, our commitment, our testimony to others, we are giving of ourselves. We are sharing intangibles, not easily left on the doorstep but easily deposited in the heart.

“So it is with kindness. Nothing will bring the Spirit of the Lord into your meetings, your homes, and your personal associations more quickly than showing kindness. ‘Charity … is kind.’ Kindness should be right at the top of everyone’s list of things to do. Write it down every day: ‘Be kind.’ Kindness comes in many different packages. Be thoughtful to your neighbors. Be patient in a crowd. Be considerate of your children and your husband. Be honest with your sisters. Trust them and they will trust you. Go out and bring them into this grand circle of sisters we call Relief Society. As we increase our kindness, we add charity to our storehouse and we are strengthened.”

Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
Strengthened in Charity,” October 1996 General Conference

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“Priscilla Samson-Davis, a sister in Ghana, has known struggles. There have been many rocks on the path of her life. As a teacher she has watched families nurse children through dysentery and malaria, work hard, barter daily for sacks of rice, onions, tomatoes, any food to keep their loved ones alive. She serves as a visiting teacher, regularly traveling on the bus to see a sister on the other side of town. When asked if this task were a burden, given all she had to manage, she simply replied, ‘It’s not hard. The woman I visit can’t read. When I go, I read the scriptures to her.’

“Her simple answer testified to the faith and assurance she had that she was on the proper path. Though her bus route was halting and likely wound up and down streets, in the Lord’s eyes it was truly straight and narrow, for she was going in the right direction. She was about her Father’s business.”

Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
Walk with Me,” April 1994 General Conference

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“We must be ‘doers of the word, … not hearers only.’ We can practice living righteously by turning to Him, by thinking about Him, by following Him. And then we must help Him with His work by helping others.”

Patricia P. Pinegar, Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Increase in Faith,” April 1994 General Conference

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“A steady belief in ward members can often be of far more value than casseroles or loaves of bread.”

Virginia H. Pearce, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Ward and Branch Families: Part of Heavenly Father’s Plan for Us,” October 1993 General Conference

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“We meet many people. With some, the association lasts for years. With others, the association is very brief. But in either case, we can make the pattern a beautiful one by making our encounter a kindly one, filled with the desire to serve.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Cat’s Cradle of Kindness,” April 1993 General Conference

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“Serving others in any way is an indication of our desire to respond to His invitation to come unto Him. How about a checkup on our service to others? Let’s ask ourselves, Will I make that visit to my homebound friend? Will I open my mouth to defend and testify of the truth? Will I give of my worldly goods? Do I share some of my fresh, productive time with my children? Do I serve with joy in my Church calling?”

Betty Jo N. Jepsen, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
By Way of Invitation,” October 1992 General Conference

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“From the beginning—150 years ago—Relief Society has offered women ways to strengthen their own lives and ways to help them strengthen the lives of others. The others might be our own family, our neighbor, or the stranger who has come to our awareness. The ways sometimes come by assignment and often come from personal initiative. The needs are everywhere, and the key to our ability to meet them is Christ’s admonition that we love one another as he has loved us.”

Aileen H. Clyde, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
The Mission of Relief Society,” April 1992 General Conference

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“I want you to remember that the Relief Society began because one woman—a Miss Cook—we don’t even know her full name—talked to her employer, Sarah M. Kimball, and the two of them devised a way to provide shirts for the men working on the Nauvoo Temple. Be a Miss Cook! See a need. Talk to your sisters in the Relief Society. Combine your strengths. Find collective ways to serve that you individually feel good about. Service should be as different as the needs of your community and the talents of your sisters.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rejoice in Every Good Thing,” October 1991 General Conference

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“We can develop our own sort of ‘kindness instinct’ by consciously seeking opportunities to act kindly. Wouldn’t it be a fine world if we had a natural instinct for kindness and just couldn’t help ourselves when we had the opportunity to be kind? We can nurture others with kindness, and our acts can become the sweet honey in this garden of life.

“There may be times when we excuse ourselves for unkindness because we are not feeling our best or our mood is not just right. It is easy to act kindly toward others when things are going well in our lives. But perhaps the real measure of our kindness comes if we can be so when we are tired, disappointed, or suffering because of an unkind deed done to us. Are we kind when all is not well?”

Betty Jo N. Jepsen, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
Kindness—A Part of God’s Plan,” October 1990 General Conference

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“Almost every day we have the opportunity to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, to help bear one another’s burdens, even as the Savior taught. Sometimes the service is given to our family, our children, our husbands or wives, our parents, our loved ones. Sometimes it is a neighbor or a friend in need, sometimes a stranger.

“Having compassion on those who are hurting for whatever reason and then translating the response of the heart into the needed act is truly ministering as God would have us do.”

Joy F. Evans, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Lord, When Saw We Thee An Hungred?” April 1989 General Conference

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“Helping others through a time of special challenge requires understanding and patience. People respond to grief in different ways. Not everyone recovers in the same period of time, and not everyone acts the same. The griever might be irritable, depressed, quiet, or withdrawn, but through kindness and friendship, he or she will almost always recover and will come to acceptance…Being sensitive to such needs helps everyone find joy in the precious reality of everyday living and look forward with faith to the future, knowing that sorrow and struggle and endurance to the end are necessary parts of mortality.

“It is said that love is tested and proved in the fire of suffering and adversity. How sensitive we should be to those who are suffering or hurting, to those with special problems—the sister who has had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, a premature or handicapped child; the one whose beloved husband has died; the lovely woman to whom marriage and family have not yet come; the new convert whose family has rejected her because of her baptism.

“What we do or say is not as important as that we do or say something—’I care about you,’ or ‘Let me help.’ Where love is, heart will respond to heart and burdens will be lightened.

“We must never feel that we have done our share or had our turn.”

Joy F. Evans, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Lord, When Saw We Thee An Hungred?” April 1989 General Conference

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“Many problems are severe and debilitating. They cause fear and guilt and heartache. Often, the difference in people’s finding their way or discovering solutions is the kindly, understanding friendship we can provide for them in our priesthood and Relief Society meetings or other Church settings. Many times it is the sympathetic arm around the shoulder and the encouraging smile that give to the distressed hope and to the downtrodden courage to try again. We can help them know that others wrestle with problems, too; but strength of family and of character, developed through living gospel principles, has enabled them to rise above life’s difficulties.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Application of Welfare Principles in the Home: A Key to Many Family Problems,” October 1982 General Conference

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“Even after years of teaching and hearing lessons on serving others and accepting service, we found that to actually let someone help us was difficult to do. But, as we allowed them to help us, we soon found our hearts full of thanks for their thoughtfulness…The phrase ‘Call me if I can do anything’ took on new meaning. We learned that you will rarely take someone up on such an offer. Instead, we witnessed people who came by saying, ‘Is it the kitchen you want cleaned, or would you rather have me vacuum?’ Many were good examples to us as they not only thought of helpful things to do, but did them.”
 
JoAnn Randall, Relief Society sister
Finding Joy by Serving Others,” October 1981 General Conference
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“Family service projects don’t have to be spectacular or even original. We have found that participating as a family in a welfare farm assignment can be as enjoyable as any recreational outing.
“Here are some other projects you may want to do:
1.     Pick up a child regularly for Primary. We did this and found that our little friend soon learned that we really would be by for him every Sunday.
2.     Write appreciation notes to your Primary, school, or home teachers. They will be surprised to find that someone cares.
3.     Sing willingly in the ward choir. The director will be grateful, and you’ll be serving through music.
4.     Share your garden crops.
5.     Invite someone who is usually alone in to dinner.
6.     Serve secretly. We think it’s great fun to make some goodies together, put them on a porch, ring the bell, and run.
7.     Encourage your daughter to babysit for free while a couple attends the temple.
8.     Organize a neighborhood potluck dinner to build better friendships. Nonmembers can be influenced through this kind of service.
9.     Plan ahead. Start a bank account so that mission service can come later.
10.  Be a good example of gospel living so others will be encouraged.”
JoAnn Randall, Relief Society sister
Finding Joy by Serving Others,” October 1981 General Conference
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“Charity, or the pure love of Christ, is not synonymous with good deeds or benevolence. But kind, thoughtful, loving acts are the way Jesus has directed us to express our love—both our love for him and our love for others. If we have the sustenance, he says we are to give to those in want. If we are thoughtful, warm, and caring to those who are sick, those who mourn, those who are fatherless, those we love, and those who despitefully use us, then we have charity, for we are moved to act with compassion.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
The Bond of Charity,” October 1980 General Conference

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“Tonight I have selected eight directives that I believe are crucial if we are to develop the bond of charity.

  1. Our theme for this evening is—’learn, then teach.’
  2. Be active in Relief Society.
  3. Spread the gospel message.
  4. Learn and live the principles of welfare work.
  5. Be sensitive to life’s transition, both for yourself and for others.
  6. Do quality visiting teaching.
  7. Be a connecting link.
  8. Value yourself.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
The Bond of Charity,” October 1980 General Conference

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“If we all unite and become one sisterhood in our meetings and activities, together we can become instruments in the hands of God by which he can perform his work. We will be motivated to good works by the accepting, encouraging, ennobling love of Christ. My beloved sisters, ‘above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace’ (D&C 88:125).”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
The Bond of Charity,” October 1980 General Conference

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“The Savior implores us to give all that we have to his work.

“You recall that the New Testament states that Jesus stood watching as offerings were given. Some gave of their abundance, and then a poor widow came and approached the treasury: ‘She threw in two mites’ (Mark 12:42).

“The Lord accepted her offering, for he said, ‘Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.

“ ‘For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living’ (Mark 12:43-44).

“The Lord herein points the way for the sons and daughters of God. If we who believe will give all that we have, a way will be opened so that we can alleviate suffering as it comes to our attention. None of us is exempt from dedicating our lives to this principle.”

Barbara B. Smith. Relief Society General President
The Relief Society Role in Priesthood Councils,” October 1979 General Conference

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“As women in this Church family, we have been instructed to ‘stretch out our hands to the poor and the needy,’ to ‘look to the ways of our households’; for through such involvement, both the helped and the helper grow.”

Barbara B. Smith, Relief Society General President
Relief Society’s Role in Welfare Services,” October 1975 General Conference

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