Relief Society statement on kindness during World War I


From Daughters in My Kingdom, chapter 5:

War broke out in Europe in 1914. By the time the war ended in November 1918, many nations had joined the conflict, which came to be known as World War I. During this period, when bitterness and intolerance could have threatened the charitable feelings expected from Relief Society sisters, Sister Emmeline B. Wells and her counselors issued the following message to all women in the Church:

“Administer in the spirit of love and patience to your husbands and to your children; guard the little ones; do not permit them to imbibe the spirit of intolerance or hatred to any nation or to any people; keep firearms out of their hands; do not allow them to play at war nor to find amusement in imitating death in battle; inculcate the spirit of loyalty to country and flag, but help them to feel that they are soldiers of the Cross and that if they must needs take up arms in the defense of liberty, of country and homes they shall do so without rancor or bitterness. … Teach the peaceable things of the kingdom [and] look after the needy more diligently than ever.”5

In sending this message, Sister Wells urged sisters to put charity into action, just as the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught over 70 years earlier. She encouraged them to be patient with loved ones and kind toward neighbors—including enemies—and to give service to those in need. Relief Society sisters followed this counsel. They sought to receive and share the pure love of Christ, which they knew would never fail them.6 This love would sustain them through seasons of war and peace.

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