Belle S. Spafford
|Belle S. Spafford|
|9th General President of the Relief Society|
|April 6, 1945 – October 3, 1974|
|Called by||Heber J. Grant|
|Predecessor||Amy Brown Lyman|
|Successor||Barbara B. Smith|
|Reason||Lyman requested to be released|
|End reason||Honorable released|
|Second Counselor of the General Presidency of the Relief Society|
|1942 – 1945|
|Called by||Amy Brown Lyman|
|Predecessor||Donna D. Sorensen|
|Successor||Gertrude R. Garff|
|Born||Marion Isabelle Sims
October 8, 1895
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
|Died||February 2, 1982
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
|Resting place||Redwood Memorial Cemetery
|Spouse||W. Earl Spafford|
|Parents||John Gibson Smith
Marion Isabelle Sims Smith Spafford (October 8, 1895 – February 2, 1982) was the ninth general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from April 6, 1945 until October 3, 1974. She served longer in this capacity than any other woman in the history of the Relief Society. Spafford was also the second counselor to president Amy B. Lyman from 1942 to 1945. In 1974, Spafford was succeeded by Barbara B. Smith.
Spafford served under six presidents of the church, from Heber J. Grant to Spencer W. Kimball. During her tenure as president, the society grew from just over 100,000 members to more than one million spanning several dozen countries. Spafford oversaw the discontinuance of the Relief Society Magazine in 1970 and promoted the Ensign as the primary magazine for the women of the church.
Spafford was the founder of the LDS Church's social services program, the program that is today LDS Family Services.
Spafford was a member of the National Council of Women of the United States, and served as its president from 1968 to 1970. She was also a member of the American Regional Council of the International Council of Women. In the late 1970s Spafford was a very vocal opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment.
In 1921, Belle married W. Earl Spafford. They had two children, Earl and Mary. The Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair in Social Work at the University of Utah is named in her honor. She authored two books: Women in Today's World and A Woman's Reach.
- Janet Peterson and Connie Lewis, “Making a Difference for Women: Belle S. Spafford,” Ensign, March 2006, pp. 44–50.
- "Belle Smith Spafford, Mormon Relief Official" (obituary), New York Times, February 4, 1982
- Nola Redd, Relief Society Presidents: Belle S. Spafford
- University of Utah bio connected with the establishment of the Belle Smith Spafford Chair