Belle S. Spafford

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Belle S. Spafford
Photo of Belle S. Spafford
9th Relief Society General President
April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06)[1] – October 3, 1974 (1974-10-03)
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 in the Relief Society General Presidency
1942 – 1945
Called by Amy Brown Lyman
Predecessor Donna D. Sorensen
Successor Gertrude R. Garff
Personal details
Born Marion Isabelle Sims
October 8, 1895
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
Died February 2, 1982(1982-02-02) (aged 86)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Redwood Memorial Cemetery
40°37′57″N 111°56′21.84″W / 40.63250°N 111.9394000°W / 40.63250; -111.9394000 (Redwood Memorial Cemetery)
Spouse(s) W. Earl Spafford
Children 2
Parents John Gibson Smith
Hester Sims

Marion Isabelle Sims Smith Spafford (October 8, 1895 – February 2, 1982) was the ninth Relief Society General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), serving 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.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to John Gibson Smith and Hester Sims, Spafford was youngest of seven children.

Spafford served under six LDS Church presidents, 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 one of the founders 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 vocal opponent of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

Spafford attended both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University (BYU). She did work with special education instruction at BYU.

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.



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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Amy B. Lyman
Relief Society General President
April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06) – October 3, 1974 (1974-10-03)
Succeeded by
Barbara B. Smith
Preceded by
Donna D. Sorensen
Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
1942 – April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06)
Succeeded by
Gertrude R. Garff
Relief Society Magazine titles
Preceded by
Mary Connelly Kimball
Succeeded by
Marianne C. Sharp