Amy B. Lyman

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Amy B. Lyman
Photo of Amy Lyman
8th Relief Society General President
January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01) – April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06)[1]
Called by Heber J. Grant
Predecessor Louise Y. Robison
Successor Belle S. Spafford
End reason Honorably released upon request
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
October 7, 1928 (1928-10-07) – January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01)
Called by Louise Y. Robison
Predecessor Jennie B. Knight
Successor Marcia K. Howells
Personal details
Born Amy Cassandra Brown
(1872-02-07)February 7, 1872
Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, United States
Died December 5, 1959(1959-12-05) (aged 87)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park
40°41′52.08″N 111°50′30.12″W / 40.6978000°N 111.8417000°W / 40.6978000; -111.8417000
Spouse(s) Richard R. Lyman
Parents John Brown
Margaret Zimmerman

Amy Cassandra Brown Lyman (February 7, 1872 – December 5, 1959) was the eighth general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1940 to 1945.

Family background[edit]

Born in Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, Amy Cassandra Brown was the 23rd of 25 children born to John Brown. John Brown was a polygamist and leader of the Mississippi Saints, a group of Mormons who, knowing that Brigham Young and the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve had begun the exodus of the Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois, early in 1846, decided that the best way to join up with the main body of the church was to go west and meet in the mountains. They spent the winter in Pueblo, Colorado, where they were joined by the Mormon Battalion sick detachment, and then traveled north to meet up with the advance company under Young.


Lyman in 1914

Amy Brown attended high school at Brigham Young Academy (BYA).[2] For part of her time at BYA, Brown lived in the home of Karl G. and Anna Meith Maeser. It was at the Academy she met Richard Lyman, her future husband who would become an LDS Church apostle in 1918.

Brown and Lyman's plans to marry were postponed because the University of Michigan did not allow married students and that was where Lyman was studying. Brown worked as a teacher at BYA from 1888 to 1894.[3] Brown and Lyman's marriage in 1896 in the Salt Lake Temple was performed by Joseph F. Smith. After their marriage, Richard Lyman studied at Cornell University and the University of Chicago. While in Chicago, Amy Lyman became involved in Settlement House programs and associated with Jane Addams.

Prior to the Second World War, Lyman accompanied her husband to England where he presided over the church's European Mission.

Utah House of Representatives[edit]

Lyman served a term as a member of the 14th Utah State Legislature. As a representative, she pushed for statewide support of the federal Sheppard–Towner Act, which provided for federally financed instruction in maternal and infant health care and gave 50–50 matching funds to individual U.S. states to build women's health care clinics. The Sheppard–Towner Act was one of the most significant achievements of Progressive-era maternalist reformers.

LDS Church service[edit]

Social welfare department[edit]

In 1919, Lyman founded and headed the Relief Society Social Service Department as part of the church's Relief Society program. She would head the department for 16 years. In 1973, the organization became a corporation separate from the church's Relief Society and was renamed LDS Social Services. (The organization has since been renamed LDS Family Services.)

As head of the Social Service Department, Lyman created a training program in which stake delegates attended classes in family welfare work. They would then return to their stakes and to teach these lessons to the members of the church. Over 4,100 women were trained using these classes, which provided valuable to local church leaders through the Great Depression.

Relief Society presidency[edit]

From 1928 to 1940, Lyman was the first counselor to president Louise Y. Robison in the Relief Society general presidency. Lyman succeeded Robison as president in 1940 and served until 1945.

Requested release[edit]

In 1943, the First Presidency discovered that Richard Lyman had been cohabitating with another woman since 1925, which resulted in his excommunication on November 12, 1943, for violations of the law of chastity. Due to the marital problems resulting from her husband's infidelity, Lyman requested that she be released. She was honorably released on April 6, 1945, and was succeeded by her second counselor, Belle S. Spafford.


  1. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H, ed. (1992). "Biographical Register of General Church Officers". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. p. 1641. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140 Free on-line version here. 
  2. ^ Francis M. Gibbons. George Albert Smith: Kind and Caring Christian, Prophet of God. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1990) p. 5.
  3. ^ Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1975) vol. 1, p. 579.

Further reading[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Louise Y. Robison
Relief Society General President
January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01) – April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06)
Succeeded by
Belle S. Spafford
Preceded by
Jennie B. Knight
First Counselor in the Relief
Society General Presidency

October 7, 1928 (1928-10-07) – January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01)
Succeeded by
Marcia K. Howells