The General Relief Society Presidency ask for and receive counsel of the First Presidency on the establishment of a system of benefit insurance for Relief Society members.
Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 21, 1914. Pres. Joseph F. Smith and Counsellors:
We would like to know your mind in regard to introducing some benefit insurance into the Relief Society.
A number of social and other insurance companies for women are doing quite a profitable business in this community, among them being the Ladies of the Maccabees, the Women of Woodcraft, The Rebecca Lodge, as well as others. These fraternal orders-for men and women took out of the state last year $177,213.79. The Ladies of the Maccabees alone took out $11,455.91.
Some of our sisters join those lodges, while others take out the small benefit insurance from regular companies, some of them located in foreign lands. The idea of having a little fund put by with which to meet burial expense is very attractive to our women.
Our sisters have contributed liberally to every form of charity and public activity, such as the building of temples and meeting houses, schools and amusement halls; while doing very much towards furnishing these places. Few have acquired the saving habit, and fewer still are inculcating saving habits in the minds of the young children of today. Too many of our sisters, when they die, are left to the indifferent mercy of relatives, or to the ward authorities. They would be glad to be placed where they could have this last liberal service performed without being a burden on anyone. They could, and many would be willing, to pay a small sum monthly which would insure them their modest burial expenses. ...
We have applied to the Beneficial Life Insurance Company which has our President Joseph F. Smith at its head, and which is also officered by our own brethren, to give us rates and details of such a scheme as we have suggested. ... Agents would be appointed in each ward and stake... We are Your sisters in the Gospel, Emmeline B. Wells, President Clarissa S. Williams, First Counsellor Julina L. Smith, Second Counsellor
Dear Sisters: We approve the suggestion ... Your brethren, JOSEPH F. SMITH, ANTHON H. LUND, CHARLES W. PENROSE, First Presidency.
[1914-January 21-Relief Society Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 13-15, in Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)]