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Temple Relief of Nyuserre



Nyuserre Ini

Nyuserre Ini (also Niuserre Ini or Neuserre Ini in Greek known as Rathurês, Ῥαθούρης) was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the sixth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. He is credited with a reign of 24 to 35 years depending on the scholar, and likely lived in the second half of the 25th century BCE. Nyuserre was the younger son of Neferirkare Kakai and queen Khentkaus II, and the brother of the short-lived king Neferefre. He may have succeeded his brother directly, as indicated by much later historical sources. Alternatively, Shepseskare may have reigned between the two as advocated by Miroslav Verner, albeit only for a few weeks or months at the most. The relation of Shepseskare with Neferefre and Nyuserre remains highly uncertain. Nyuserre was in turn succeeded by Menkauhor Kaiu, who could have been his nephew and a son of Neferefre.

Nyuserre was the most prolific builder of his dynasty, having built three pyramids for himself and his queens and completed a further three for his father, mother and brother, all in the necropolis of Abusir. He built the largest surviving temple to the sun god Ra constructed during the Old Kingdom, named Shesepibre or "Joy of the heart of Ra". He also completed the Nekhenre, the Sun temple of Userkaf in Abu Gorab, and the valley temple of Menkaure in Giza. In doing so, he was the first king since Shepseskaf, last ruler of the Fourth Dynasty, to pay attention to the Giza necropolis, a move which may have been an attempt to legitimise his rule following the troubled times surrounding the unexpected death of his brother Neferefre.

There is little evidence for military action during Nyuserre's reign the Egyptian state continued to maintain trade relations with Byblos on the Levantine coast and to send mining and quarrying expeditions to Sinai and Lower Nubia. Nyuserre's reign saw the growth of the administration, and the effective birth of the nomarchs, provincial governors who, for the first time, were sent to live in the provinces they administered rather than at the pharaoh's court.

As with other Old Kingdom pharaohs, Nyuserre benefited from a funerary cult established at his death. In Nyuserre's case, this official state-sponsored cult existed for centuries, surviving the chaotic First Intermediate Period and lasting until the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. In parallel, a spontaneous popular cult appeared, with people venerating Nyuserre under his birth name "Iny". In this cult, Nyuserre played a role similar to that of a saint, being invoked as an intercessor between the believer and the gods. It left little archaeological evidence and seems to have continued until the New Kingdom, nearly 1000 years after his death.

Sources

Contemporaneous sources

Nyuserre Ini is well attested in sources contemporaneous with his reign, [note 3] for example in the tombs of some of his contemporaries including Nyuserre's manicurists Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, the high officials Khufukhaf II, Ty, Rashepses, Neferefre-ankh and Khabawptah, [29] [30] and the priests of his funerary cult Nimaatsed and Kaemnefert. [31] [32]

Historical sources

Nyuserre is attested in three ancient Egyptian king lists, all dating to the New Kingdom. The earliest of these is the Karnak king list, which was commissioned by Thutmose III (fl. 1479–1425 BCE) to honour some of his forebears and which mentions Nyuserre in the fourth entry, which shows his birth name "Iny" in a cartouche. [33] Nyuserre's prenomen occupies the 30th entry of the Abydos King List, written nearly 200 years later during the reign of Seti I (fl. 1290–1279 BCE). Nyuserre's prenomen was most likely also given on the Turin canon (third column, 22nd row), dating to the reign of Ramses II (fl. 1279–1213 BCE), but it has since been lost in a large lacuna affecting the document. Fragments of his reign length are still visible on the papyrus, indicating a reign of somewhere between 11 and 34 years. [34] Nyuserre is the only Fifth Dynasty king absent from the Saqqara Tablet. [35]

Nyuserre was also mentioned in the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt probably written in the 3rd century BCE during the reign of Ptolemy II (fl. 283–246 BCE) by the Egyptian priest Manetho. Even though no copies of the text survive, it is known through later writings by Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius. In particular, Africanus relates that the Aegyptiaca mentioned a pharaoh ´Ραθούρης, that is "Rathurês", reigning for forty-four years as the sixth king of the Fifth Dynasty. [36] "Rathurês" is believed to be the Hellenised form of Nyuserre. [37]

Reign

Accession to the throne

Two competing hypotheses exist in Egyptology to describe the succession of events running from the death of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty, to the coronation of Nyuserre Ini, the sixth ruler of the dynasty. Relying on historical sources, where Nyuserre is said to have directly succeeded Neferefre, many Egyptologists such as Jürgen von Beckerath and Hartwig Altenmüller have traditionally believed [38] that the following succession took place: Neferirkare Kakai → Shepseskare → Neferefre → Nyuserre Ini. In this scenario, Neferefre is the father of Nyuserre, who would have become pharaoh after Neferefre's unexpected death. [4] [39] Neferefre would be the successor of Shepseskare, credited with seven years of reign, as indicated in Manetho's Aegyptiaca. [36]

This view was challenged, most notably by Miroslav Verner in 2000 and 2001, [40] [41] [42] following excavations of the Abusir necropolis, which indicated that Neferefre's purported predecessor Shepseskare most likely reigned for only a few months between Neferefre and Nyuserre Ini. Verner proposes that the royal succession was Neferirkare Kakai → Neferefre → Shepseskare → Nyuserre Ini. In support of this hypothesis is Verner's observation that Neferefre and Nyuserre were very likely full brothers, both sons of Neferirkare Kakai, [note 4] There is also evidence that Neferefre was Neferirkare's eldest son and in his early twenties at the death of his father, and thus would have been likely to inherit the throne. [44] These observations, in addition to further archaeological evidence such as the lack of a pyramid of Shepseskare and the position of Neferefre's own, convinced Verner that Neferefre directly succeeded his father, dying after a very short reign of about two years. [44]

Nyuserre was then still a child and, in this hypothesis, his claim to the throne faced a serious challenge in the person of his possible uncle Shepseskare who might have been a son of Sahure. Alternatively, Shepseskare may have been a short-lived son of Neferefre [45] or, less likely, an usurper from outside the royal family. [46] In any case, Shepseskare apparently succeeded in holding the crown for a short time. Nyuserre ultimately prevailed however, either because of Shepseskare's own premature death or because he was backed by powerful high officials and members of the royal family, [47] foremost among whom were his mother Khentkaus II and Ptahshepses. [1] This latter hypothesis is motivated by the exalted positions that both individuals seem to have enjoyed. The mortuary temple of Khentkaus II was designed to imitate that of a king, for example by incorporating its own satellite pyramid and having an alignment on an east–west axis. [48] These features, together with Khentkaus II peculiar title of Mwt Nisw bity Nisw bity, originally translated by "Mother of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt [exercising office as] the king of Upper and Lower Egypt" led some scholars, including Verner, to propose that she might even have reigned in her own right. [48] This hypothesis is now deemed unlikely, and her title is rather translated as "Mother of two kings of Upper and Lower Egypt". [note 5] Ptahshepses became vizier under Nyuserre, [49] whose daughter he married received the honorary title of "King's son" [note 6] and was buried in one of the largest private tombs in Egypt. [51] According to Verner and Nigel Strudwick, the architectural elements [52] of this tomb such as its lotus-bud columns similar to those used in Nyuserre's own temple, boat pits and layout of the burial chamber, [53] [51] demonstrate "the favor shown by that king to his son-in-law". [53] [51] [54]

Reign length

Manetho's Aegyptiaca related that Nyuserre reigned for 44 years, a figure which is rejected by Egyptologists, who rather credit him with about three decades of reign [37] owing to the paucity of secure dates for his rule. [note 7] [56] The entry of the Turin canon pertaining to Nyuserre is damaged and the duration of his rule is difficult to read with certainty. Following Alan Gardiner's 1959 study of the canon, [57] scholars such as Nigel Strudwick credited Nyuserre with 11 [15] years of reign. [note 8] Gardiner's reading of the canon was then reevaluated from facsimiles, yielding a 24 to 25 years figure for Nyuserre's reign. This duration is accepted by some scholars including Nicolas Grimal. [58] More recent analyses of the original papyrus conducted by Kim Ryholt have shown that Nyuserre's reign length as reported on the document could equally be 11–14, 21–24, or 31–34 years. [note 9] [34] The later figure is now favoured by Egyptologists including Strudwick and Verner. [56]

The view that Nyuserre reigned in excess of twenty years is furthermore supported by archaeological evidence, which points to a fairly long reign for him. Verner, who has been excavating the Abusir necropolis on behalf of the University of Prague since 1976, points in particular to Nyuserre's numerous constructions, amounting to no less than three new pyramids, the completion of a further three, the construction of the largest sun temple built during the Old Kingdom and further smaller works such as the refurbishment of Menkaure's mortuary complex. [17]

The hypothesis of a reign more than three decades long for Nyuserre Ini is supported, albeit indirectly, by reliefs discovered in his solar temple showing him participating in a Sed festival. This festival was meant to rejuvenate the king and was normally (though not always) first celebrated after 30 years of rule. Representations of the festival were part of the typical decorations of temples associated to the king during the Old Kingdom [17] and mere depictions of it do not necessarily imply a long reign. [note 10] For example, a relief showing Sahure in the tunic of the Sed festival has been found in his mortuary temple, [59] [60] although both historical sources and archeological evidence agree that he ruled Egypt for less than 14 full years. [61] [12] [13] Yet, in Nyuserre's case, these reliefs taken together with the archaeological evidence have convinced most Egyptologists that Nyuserre enjoyed over 30 years of reign and that "the sed-festival scenes from Abu Gurab [most probably reflect] the 30th jubilee of the king's accession to the throne". [17]

The reliefs of Nyuserre's Sed festival offer a rare glimpse into the ritual acts carried out during this ceremony. In particular, the festival seems to have involved a procession in a barque over a body of water, [62] [63] a detail either not represented or lost in all subsequent representations of the festival until the reign of Amenhotep III (fl. c. 1390–1350 BCE), over 1000 years after Nyuserre's lifetime. [63]

Domestic activities

The reign of Nyuserre Ini witnessed the unabated growth of the priesthood and state bureaucracy, [1] [64] a phenomenon which had started in the early Fifth Dynasty [65] in particular under Neferirkare Kakai. [66] Changes in the Egyptian administration during this period are manifested by a multiplication in the number of titles, reflecting the creation of new administrative offices. [66] These in turn, reflect a movement to better organise the administration of the state with the new titles corresponding to charges attached to very specific duties. [66]

The king's power slowly weakened as the bureaucracy expanded, [note 11] although he remained a living god in the eyes of his subjects. [1] This situation went unchecked until the reign of Nyuserre's second successor Djedkare Isesi, who implemented the first comprehensive reforms of the system of ranking titles and thus of the administration. [71]

There are two pieces of direct evidence of administrative activities during Nyuserre's reign. The first is that the Old Kingdom royal annals, of which only fragments survive, are believed to have been composed during his reign. The annals, which give details on the reigns of kings from the First Dynasty onwards on a year-by-year basis, [72] are damaged and break off following the reign of Neferirkare Kakai. The second piece of evidence for administrative activity relates to the provincial administration. During the Old Kingdom, the Egyptian state was divided administratively into provinces, called nomes. These provinces were recognised as such since the time of Djoser, founder of the Third Dynasty, and probably harked back to the predynastic kingdoms of the Nile valley. [73] The earliest topographical lists of the nomes of Upper and Lower Egypt date back to the reign of Nyuserre, [73] a procession of personified nomes being depicted on reliefs from Nyuserre's sun temple. [74] It is also around this time that the nomarchs started to reside in their province rather than at the royal residence. [65]

Activities outside Egypt

To the north of Egypt, trade contacts with Byblos on the Levantine coast, which existed during much of the Fifth Dynasty, were seemingly active during Nyuserre's reign, as suggested by a fragment of cylindrical alabaster vase bearing his name uncovered in the city. [75] [76]

East of Egypt, Nyuserre commissioned at least one expedition to the Wadi Maghareh in Sinai, [77] where mines of copper and turquoise were exploited during much of the Old Kingdom. [78] This expedition left a large rock relief, now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. [note 12] The relief shows Nyuserre "smiting the Bedouins [note 13] of all foreign lands, the great god, lord of the two lands". [79] At the right of Nyuserre is a dedication to "Thoth, lord of the foreign lands, who has made pure libations". [79] This expedition departed Egypt from the port of Ain Sukhna, on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez, as revealed by seal impressions bearing Nyuserre's name found on the site. [80] The port comprised large galleries carved into the sandstone serving as living quarters and storage places. The wall of one such gallery was inscribed with a text in ink mentioning the expedition to Sinai and dating it to the year of the second cattle count – possibly Nyuserre's fourth year on the throne. [81]

To the south of Egypt, in Lower Nubia, Nyuserre exploited the gneiss quarries of Gebel el-Asr near Aswan, which provided material for buildings and statues, [note 14] as shown by a fragmentary stone stela inscribed with Nyuserre's Horus name that was discovered in a settlement adjacent to the quarries. [82]

There is little evidence for military action during Nyuserre's reign. William C. Hayes proposed that a few fragmentary limestone statues of kneeling and bound prisoners of war discovered in his mortuary temple [83] [84] possibly attest to punitive raids in Libya to the west or the Sinai and Palestine to the east during his reign. [85] The art historian William Stevenson Smith has pointed out, that such statues were customary [83] elements of the decoration of royal temples and mastabas, suggesting that they may not be immediately related to actual military campaigns. Similar statues and small wooden figures of kneeling captives were discovered in the mortuary complexes of Neferefre, [86] Djedkare Isesi, [87] Unas, [88] Teti, [89] Pepi I [90] and Pepi II [83] as well as in the tomb of vizier Senedjemib Mehi. [91] [92]

Main building activities

Assuming Verner's reconstruction of the Fifth Dynasty royal family, Nyuserre Ini faced an enormous task when he ascended the throne: his father, mother and brother had all left their pyramids unfinished, [93] his father's and brother's sun temples were unfinished too and he had to construct his own pyramid as well as those of his queens. Nyuserre met this challenge by placing his pyramid in the immediate vicinity of the unfinished ones, on the north-eastern corner of that of Neferirkare Kakai and next to that of Sahure, thereby concentrating all pyramid building activities in South Abusir, [93] in an area of 300 m × 300 m (980 ft × 980 ft). [94] This meant that his pyramid was out of the alignment formed by the preceding ones, limited its size and constrained the layout of his mortuary complex. [95] [96] This would explain why, despite having enjoyed one of the longest reigns of the Fifth Dynasty, Nyuserre's pyramid was smaller than that of his father and closer in size to that of his grandfather Sahure. [96] Builders and artisans who worked on Nyuserre's constructions projects lived in the pyramid town "Enduring-are-the-(cult)-places-of-Niuserre", which was very likely located in Abusir between the causeways of Sahure and Nyuserre. [97]

Pyramid of Nyuserre

Nyuserre built a pyramid for himself at Abusir named Mensut Nyuserre, [note 15] meaning "Established are the places of Nyuserre" [99] or "The places of Nyuserre endure". [4]

The completed pyramid was entirely covered in fine limestone. It was about 52 m (171 ft) tall, with a base of 78.8 m (259 ft) along each side, [100] a slope of 52 degrees and a total volume of stone of about 112,000 m 3 (4,000,000 cu ft). The burial chamber and antechamber were both lined with fine limestone as well and roofed with three tiers of gigantic limestone beams 10 m (33 ft) long weighing 90 tons each. [96]

The pyramid complex is unusual as the outer sections of the mortuary temple are offset to the south of the eastern side of the complex. This allowed Nyuserre to intercept and complete his father's causeway, which led from the valley temple close to the Nile to the pyramid itself on the desert edge. The valley temple of Nyuserre was thus built on the foundations laid by his father for his own unfinished valley temple. Once completed, it consisted of a portico with eight papyriform columns, its floor was of black basalt and its walls were made of limestone with painted reliefs above a dado of red granite. [96] The back of the portico led to the causeway, the base of which was entirely covered in basalt, while its upper portions were decorated with numerous reliefs, some showing the king as a sphinx trampling over his enemies. [101] The causeway was roofed by limestone blocks painted in blue with golden stars. [101] Arriving near the pyramid, the causeway led into a columned courtyard preceded by storage rooms and succeeded by the mortuary temple itself, which housed statues of the king and depictions of the royal family and Nyuserre in the presence of the gods. [101] The wider pyramid complex was enclosed by a wall, with two large rectangular structures on its north-east and south-east corners. Both Lehner and Verner see these as the precursor of the pylon, characteristic of later Egyptian temples. [102] [101] Beyond the main pyramid was a smaller one for the Ka of the king. [101]

Pyramid Lepsius XXIV

South of the pyramid of his mother Khentkaus II, Nyuserre built a pyramid for a queen, either a consort of himself or of his brother Neferefre. [103] The pyramid is known today as Lepsius XXIV, after its number in Karl Richard Lepsius' pioneering list of pyramids. [104] It originally reached about 27 m (89 ft) high with a base of 31.5 m (103 ft), its core made of limestone and clay mortar organised in horizontal and accretion layers. [105]

Today the pyramid is heavily ruined, its outer casing of fine white limestone long gone, and it stands only 5 m (16 ft) tall. While graffiti left by the builders indicate that the construction of this pyramid dates to the later part of Nyuserre's reign and took place under the direction of vizier Ptahshepses, [105] the name of the queen for whom the pyramid was intended is lost. [104] Reptynub has been cited as a likely candidate. In the burial chamber, which is reached via a straight north–south passageway, the broken up mummy of a young woman was discovered. She stood around 160 cm (5.2 ft) tall and died between 21 and 23 years of age. [106] It is unclear whether the mummy is that of the original owner of the pyramid or dates to a later period as the mummification method employed could suggest. [105] Excavations of the burial chamber yielded fragments of a pink granite sarcophagus as well as pieces of large calcite canopic jars and smaller funerary equipment. [105]

On the eastern side of the pyramid, the ruins of a small satellite pyramid as well as of a mortuary temple have been discovered. Both were heavily affected by stone robbing, which started as early as the New Kingdom and reached a climax during the Saite (664–525 BCE) and Persian (525–402 BCE) periods, making a modern reconstruction of the temple layout impossible. [105]

Lepsius XXV

The ruins known today as Lepsius XXV constitute not one but two large adjacent tombs built as a single monument on the south-eastern edge of the Abusir necropolis. The peculiar construction, which Verner has called a "double pyramid", was known to ancient Egyptians as "The Two are Vigilant". [note 16] The pyramids, both truncated, had rectangular bases of 27.7 m × 21.5 m (91 ft × 71 ft) for the eastern one and 21.7 m × 15.7 m (71 ft × 52 ft) for the western one, their walls reaching an inclination of about 78 degrees. This means that the construction resembled a pair of mastabas more than a couple of pyramids, [103] in fact so much so that Dušan Magdolen proposed that Lepsius XXV is a mastaba. [108]

A further peculiarity of the structure is the lack of associated mortuary temple. [103] Instead, the eastern tomb boasts a small offering chapel built of undecorated white limestone and situated within the tomb superstructure. Its ceiling reached 5 m (16 ft) high. Excavations revealed small pieces of papyrus inscribed with a list of offerings as well as fragments of an alabaster statue of a woman clothed in a simple robe. The burial chamber revealed scant remains of the female owner and a few pieces of funerary equipment. [103]

The western tomb was built subsequently to the eastern one and seems to have served to bury another woman. Builders graffiti uncovered during the Czech excavations demonstrate in all likelihood that the monument was built under Nyuserre, its owners possibly amongst the last members of the broader royal family to be buried in Abusir, the necropolis being abandoned by Nyuserre's successor Menkauhor. [103]

Sun Temple

Nyuserre was the penultimate Egyptian pharaoh to build a sun temple. In doing so, he was following a tradition established by Userkaf that reflects the paramount importance of the cult of Ra during the Fifth Dynasty. Sun temples built during this period were meant to play for Ra the same role that the pyramid played for the king: they were funerary temples for the sun god, where his renewal and rejuvenation necessary to maintain the order of the world could take place. Cults performed in the temple were thus primarily concerned with Ra's creator function as well as his role as father of the king. During his lifetime, the king would appoint his closest officials to the running of the temple, allowing them to benefit from the temple's income and thus ensuring their loyalty. After the pharaoh's death, the sun temple's income would be associated with the pyramid complex, supporting Nyuserre's funerary cult. [110]

Located in Abu Ghurob, north of Abusir, Nyuserre's sun temple is the largest and best preserved of its kind, [4] leading some Egyptologists such as von Beckerath to see Nyuserre's reign as the peak of the solar cult, [111] an assertion which, according to Grimal, is exaggerated. [112] The temple was known as the Shesepibre by the Ancient Egyptians, [note 17] which has been variously translated as "Joy of the heart of Re", [4] "Re's Favorite Place", [113] "Delight of Ra", [114] or "Place agreeable to Ra". [99] Curiously, [114] Nyuserre's sun temple was first built in mudbrick, only later to be reconstructed entirely in stone. [114] It is the only such structure to receive this treatment, [note 18] [112] [111] thanks to which much of the architectural elements and reliefs have survived to this day. [112] [115] While the reason for this renewal remains unclear, Lehner has proposed that it may be related to Nyuserre's Sed festival, or to some evolution in the ideology surrounding sun temples. [114]

The temple was entered from the eastern side following a long causeway which departed from a valley temple located closer to the Nile. This temple mostly served as a gateway to the upper temple and housed a pillared portico of mudbrick encased in yellow limestone. [114] The upper temple comprised a large rectangular courtyard entered via five granite doorways located on its eastern side. An altar was located in the center of the courtyard, which can still be seen today. It was constructed from five large blocks of alabaster, one shaped like the hieroglyph for Ra and the others shaped like the glyph for hotep. They were arranged so as to read Ra Hotep, that is "May Ra be satisfied", [116] from the four cardinal points. [113] The sign for Hotep also means "offering" or "offering table" in Ancient Egyptian, so that the altar was literally an offering table to Ra. [117]

At the western end of the rectangular court was a giant obelisk, a symbol of the sun god Ra. It was built on a pedestal with sloping sides and a square top, like a truncated pyramid, which was 20 m (66 ft) high and was constructed of limestone and red granite around the base. The obelisk topping it was another 36 m (118 ft) high, [117] built entirely of limestone. [114]

The temple was adorned with numerous fine reliefs depicting Nyuserre's Sed festival as well as a "chapel of seasons" attached to the obelisk pedestal, decorated with representations of human activities throughout the seasons. [118] [114]

Completion and restoration works

Pyramid complex of Neferirkare

The pyramid of Neferirkare was planned to be significantly larger than that of Neferirkare's Fifth Dynasty predecessors, with a square base side of 105 m (344 ft) and a height of 72 m (236 ft). Although well underway at the death of the pharaoh, the pyramid was lacking its external limestone cladding and the accompanying mortuary temple still had to be built. Neferefre had begun covering the pyramid surface with limestone and had built the foundation of a stone temple on the pyramid eastern side Nyuserre completed their father's pyramid complex, [119] though he did so more parsimoniously than his brother. He abandoned the task of covering the pyramid altogether and finished the mortuary temple with cheaper materials than were normally used for such buildings. Its walls were made of mud-bricks rather than limestone and its floor was of beaten clay. [120] The outer part of the temple was built to comprise a column portico and a pillared court, all columns being made of wood rather than the usual granite. [120] The temple and pyramid were also surrounded by a brick wall. Likely for reasons of economy, the causeway leading to the mortuary temple at the foot of the pyramid was never built, no satellite pyramid was added to the mortuary complex, and the valley temple was left unfinished. [121] Consequently, the priest of the mortuary cult of Neferirkare lived on the temple premises, in dwellings of mud-bricks and rushes, rather than in the pyramid town closer to the Nile valley. [121]

Pyramid of Neferefre

Construction works on the pyramid of Neferefre had just begun when Neferefre died unexpectedly in his early twenties. At the time of Nyuserre's ascension to the throne, only one step of the core of Neferefre's pyramid had been completed. The substructures, built in a large open pit at the center of the pyramid were possibly unfinished as well. Nyuserre hastily [122] completed the pyramid by transforming it into a stylised primeval mound [122] resembling a mastaba: the walls of the core layer already in place were covered with limestone and the top was filled with clay and stones drawn from the local desert. [123]

The accompanying mortuary temple, which then comprised only a small stone chapel possibly built by the ephemeral Shepseskare, [38] was finished by Nyuserre. [96] Extending over the whole 65 m (213 ft) length of the pyramid side, the temple was built of mudbrick and comprised the earliest hypostyle hall of Ancient Egypt, its roof supported by wooden columns. The hall housed a large wooden statue of the deceased king. [96] Nyuserre also built storage rooms to the north of the hall and, east of it, the "Sanctuary of the Knife" where animals were ritually slaughtered. A column courtyard completed the temple entrance, adorned with two stone columns and 24 wooden ones. [96]

Pyramid complex of Khentkaus II

Work on the pyramid and mortuary temple of Nyuserre's mother, Khentkaus II, had begun during her husband's rule but was stopped in the tenth year of his reign, [48] at which point only the pyramid core was still uncased. [124] After a delay of 12 years, [125] Nyuserre Ini restarted the building work, and expended much effort [126] in completing the majority of the construction. [127] [128] The motivation for this might have been to legitimise his rule following the premature death of Neferefre and the possible challenge by Shepseskare. [129]

The pyramid is located in Abusir, next to that of Neferikare Kakai, who was Khentkaus' husband and under whose reign the construction of Khentkaus's complex had started. [126] Once completed, the pyramid stood 17 m (56 ft) high, with a side of 25 m (82 ft) at the base and a slope of 52 degrees. [48] Its sepulchral chamber likely housed a sarcophagus of red granite. Today, the pyramid is a 4 m (13 ft) high mound of rubble. [125]

The mortuary temple of the queen, at the eastern foot of the pyramid, [125] was the object of successive completion works during Nyuserre's reign, the earliest one used stone while the latest used only mudbrick. [126] Completely ruined today, the temple seems to have been designed in imitation of the mortuary temples of kings [128] incorporating, for example, a satellite pyramid, [130] and being aligned on an east–west axis. [48] The temple was administratively at least partially independent [131] from the temple of Neferirkare Kakai with which it nonetheless shared some religious services, [132] and it continued to function until the end of the Sixth Dynasty, some 300 years after Khentkaus' lifetime. [48]

Valley Temple of Menkaure

Archaeological excavations in 2012–2015 revealed that Nyuserre Ini undertook building works on the valley temple of Menkaure, as witnessed by numerous seal impressions bearing his serekh discovered on the site. [133] [14] These works ended a long period from the reign of Shepseskaf until his reign during which the Giza necropolis was not the object of royal attention. [14] Beyond Menkaure's valley temple, Nyuserre apparently also took a wider interest in the administration of the pyramid town of Khafre and revived the cult of both Menkaure and queen Khentkaus I. [134] According to Mark Lehner, this queen, who bore the same name as Nyuserre's mother and like his mother bore two pharaohs, provided Nyuserre with a genealogical link relating him to his Fourth Dynasty forebears. [135] John Nolan believes that the mirroring position and names of both Khentkaus queens was emphasised so that Nyuserre could legimitise his rule after the troubled times surrounding Neferefre's death. [136]

In the valley temple of Menkaure, Nyuserre extended the eastern annex, where he added two sets of alabaster columns, [133] rebuilt the main entrance and refurbished the limestone causeway leading from the valley temple to the high temple. [137] There, Mark Lehner suggested that Nyuserre expanded the inner part of the high temple, [138] [139] notably adding to it a square antechamber with a single central pillar. [133]

Sun Temple of Userkaf

Userkaf, founder of the Fifth Dynasty, was also the first pharaoh to build a temple to Ra in Abu Gurob. The temple was called Nekhenre by the Ancient Egyptian, which means "The Fortress of Ra", and built in four phases by three pharaohs. Userkaf first constructed a rectangular enclosure with a mound in its center. Sahure [140] or Neferirkare Kakai [141] then transformed this mound into a granite obelisk on a pedestal, adding two statue shrines near its base. The last two phases of construction were undertaken during Nyuserre's reign. Nyuserre first added an inner enclosure of limestone in the pre-existing court, extended the outside enclosure and either completed or built entirely the valley temple. In the last construction phase, Nyuserre encased the inner enclosure in mudbrick, added an altar and five stone benches to the central court, and built an annex to the temple. [141]

Temple of Satet

A temple dedicated to the goddess Satet, personification of the Nile floods, had stood on the island of Elephantine to the south of Egypt since at least the late Predynastic Period around 3200 BCE. The temple was enlarged and renovated several times from the Early Dynastic Period onwards and was again rebuilt in the course of the Fifth Dynasty, possibly during Nyuserre's reign. A faience plaque bearing Nyuserre's name was discovered in a deposit of votive offerings located under the floor of the sanctuary. [142] Unfortunately, this deposit does not represent the original context of the plaque, which could have once adorned the walls of the temple or could equally have been deposed in a foundational offering made in anticipation of the temple reconstruction. [142]

Family

Parents and siblings

The identity of the mother of Nyuserre is known with certainty: it was queen Khentkaus II, in whose mortuary temple a fragmentary relief showing her facing her son Nyuserre and his family has been uncovered. [143] [144] [145] On this relief both Khentkaus and Nyuserre appear on the same scale. [144]

As a corollary, Nyuserre was almost certainly a son of Neferirkare Kakai as Khentkaus II was Neferirkare's queen. [146] This relationship is also indicated by the location of Nyuserre's pyramid in Abusir next to that of Neferirkare, as well as his reuse for his own valley temple of materials from Neferikare's unfinished constructions. [147]

At least one sibling of Nyuserre is known with near-certainty: Neferefre, who was a son of Neferirkare and Khentkaus II, was Nyuserre's elder brother. [148] Since the relation between Shepseskare and Nyuserre remains uncertain, it is possible that the two were brothers too, as suggested by Roth, [149] although the dominant hypothesis is that Shepseskare was a son of Sahure and hence Nyuserre's uncle. Finally, yet another brother, [150] possibly younger [151] than Nyuserre has also been proposed: Iryenre, a prince Iry-pat [note 19] whose relationship is suggested by the fact that his funerary cult was associated with that of his mother, both having taken place in the temple of Khentkaus II. [153] [154]

Consorts and daughters

Nyuserre Ini seems to have had at least two wives, as witnessed by two small pyramids located at the southern end of the pyramid field of Abusir. [104] Known today under the names of Lepsius XXIV and Lepsius XXV given to them by Lepsius in his list of pyramids, both monuments are heavily ruined and the names of their owners cannot be ascertained. [104] One of these two queens might have been Reptynub, [155] the only known consort of Nyuserre. Her existence and relation to Nyuserre are attested by a fragmentary alabaster statuette [156] [note 20] of her discovered in the valley temple [157] of Nyuserre's pyramid complex. [158] Pieces of relief from the tomb of vizier Ptahshepses give the titles of a queen and while her name is lost, these titles are the same as those that Reptynub bore, [159] leading Egyptologists to propose that these refer to her. [160] [158]

Nyuserre and Reptynub likely had a daughter in the person of princess Khamerernebty, [148] [4] [note 21] as suggested by her title of "King's daughter" as well as her marriage to the powerful vizier Ptahshepses. [161] [162] This remains conjectural until direct evidence of this relationship can be discovered. [159] In particular, the only known connection between Reptynub and Khamerernebty are the reliefs from Ptahshepses's tomb, the presence of which would seem natural [163] [159] if Reptynub was Khamerernebty's mother. [164] Hartwig Altenmüller goes further and hypothesises that Nyuserre had two more daughters, who he believes were buried close to Nyuserre's pyramid. [4] In 2012, the tomb of Sheretnebty, an hitherto unknown daughter of Nyuserre, was excavated in Abusir south by a team under the direction of Miroslav Bárta. She was married to an important Egyptian official, whose name is lost. According to Bárta, this type of marriage reflects the growing nepotism in the Egyptian elite and the progressive dilution of the king's power. [165]

Nyuserre Ini is known to have had at least one son: his first born, whose name is lost, is represented on several [166] [167] relief fragments from the high temple of his pyramid complex. [158] Beyond the title of Iry-pat and "eldest king's son", he likely held two priestly titles: "lector priest" [168] and "priest of Min". [note 22] [169] Although the name of Nyuserre's eldest son is lost, Michel Baud observes that one relief fragment comprises a "r[e]", possibly part of the prince's name. If so then he would be distinct from Menkauhor Kaiu, Nyuserre's successor. [171]

The precise relationship between Nyuserre and Menkauhor remains uncertain but indirect evidence from the mastaba of Khentkaus III, discovered in 2015, favors the hypothesis that Menkauhor was a son of Neferefre and thus a nephew of Nyuserre rather than his own son. [172] Khentkaus is called "king's wife" and "king's mother" in inscriptions left by the tomb builders. Given the location of the mastaba, close to the pyramid of Neferefre, her husband was likely this pharaoh. [173] [174] Since she was also the mother of a king and since Nyuserre was a brother to Neferefre, the son in question is most probably the future Menkauhor Kaiu, who would thus have succeeded his uncle. [172]

In any case, the succession of Nyuserre seems to have gone smoothly. A seal bearing both Nyuserre's and Menkauhor's names has been uncovered in the mortuary complex of Nyuserre's mother Khentkaus II. [175] [176] A further seal is believed to have both Nyuserre's and Djedkare's names on it, Djedkare Isesi being Nyuserre's second successor. [177] [176] Taken together these seals reveal that, at the very least, Menkauhor and Djedkare did not perceive Nyuserre as an antagonist. [178] [179] [180]

Legacy

As pharaoh, Nyuserre Ini benefited from a funerary cult established at his death. Under the umbrella of the term "funerary cult" are grouped various cultic activities of two different types. First, there was an official cult taking place in the king's mortuary complex and which was provided for by agricultural domains established during Nyuserre's reign. This cult was most active until the end of the Old Kingdom but lasted at least until the Twelfth Dynasty during the Middle Kingdom, [182] at which point is the latest known mention of a priest serving in Nyuserre's funerary complex. [183] In later times, the official cult of Nyuserre was essentially reduced to a cult of the royal ancestor figure, a "limited version of the cult of the divine" as Jaromir Malek writes, [184] manifested by the dedication of statues and the compilation of lists of kings to be honoured. [185]

In parallel to that official cult were the more private cults of pious individuals venerating Nyuserre as a kind of "saint", an intercessor between the believers and the gods. [184] This popular cult, which developed spontaneously, perhaps because of the proximity of Nyuserre's pyramid to Memphis, [184] referred to Nyuserre using his birth name Iny, [186] and likely consisted of invocations and offerings to statues of the king or in his mortuary temple. [184] Therefore, archaeological traces of this cult are difficult to discern, [187] yet Nyuserre's special status is manifest in some religious formulae, where his name is invoked, as well as in the onomastics of individuals, notably during the Middle Kingdom, whose names included "Iny", such as Inhotep, Inemsaf, Inankhu and many more. [188] Although the veneration of Nyuserre was originally a local phenomenon from Abusir, Saqqara and their surroundings, [184] it may have ultimately reached even outside of Egypt proper, in Sinai, Byblos and Nubia, where fragments of statues, vessels and stelae bearing Nyuserre's name have been discovered in cultic contexts. [189]

Old Kingdom

During the Old Kingdom, provisions for the official funerary cult of Nyuserre Ini were produced in agricultural estates set up during his reign. [190] The names of some of these estates have been found inscribed on the walls of tombs in Saqqara or in Nyuserre's mortuary temple, [190] such as "The track of Ini" [note 24] and "The offerings of Ini". [note 25] Several Ḥwt domains of the king, which comprise the land holdings [193] of the mortuary temple of Nyuserre, are known: "Hathor wishes that Nyuserre lives", [note 26] "Horus wishes that Nyuserre lives", [note 27] "Bastet wishes that Nyuserre lives", [note 28] and "Ptah desires Nyuserre to live". [note 29] Several priests serving in the pyramid complex and sun temple of Nyuserre are known from their tombs until the end of the Sixth Dynasty, showing that the official mortuary cult endured throughout the late Old Kingdom. [187]

Nyuserre furthermore received special attention from at least two of his successors during this period: Djedkare Isesi either restored or completed his funerary temple, [note 30] [199] and Pepi II Neferkare erected a door jamb bearing an inscription mentioning both his first Sed festival and Nyuserre in the latter's valley temple, a close association meant to "evidence the pretended association of the king with his forefather". [199] [note 31]

First Intermediate Period

Nyuserre is one of the very few Old Kingdom kings for whom there is evidence that the funerary cult continued uninterrupted during the First Intermediate Period, [note 32] when the central authority of the pharaohs had broken down and the Egyptian state was in turmoil. [186] [201] The tombs of two priests Heryshefhotep I and II, who lived during this period, [note 33] mention their roles and duties in the funerary establishment of Nyuserre, witnessing to the continuing existence of the official mortuary cult. [205]

Nyuserre's effective deification and popular veneration flourished in parallel to the official cult throughout the period, as revealed for example by inscriptions in the tomb of an individual named Ipi, who desires to be "honoured before Iny", [note 34] a terminology in which Nyuserre plays a role normally reserved to the gods. [206] Similar qualifications denoting Nyuserre's status are found in tombs dating to the subsequent early Middle Kingdom, such as the mummy chest of an individual named Inhotep, on which he says he is to be "honoured before Osiris, lord of life, and Iny, lord of reverence". [note 35]

Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom saw the decline of the official cult of Nyuserre. Evidence from this period come from works undertaken in the Karnak temple by Senusret I, who dedicated a number of statues of Old Kingdom kings [185] including at least one of Nyuserre, [note 36] to a cult of Amun and of the royal ancestors. [209] At the same time, the 12th Dynasty saw the widespread dismantling of many Old Kingdom funerary temples for their materials, which were notably reused in the pyramid complexes of Amenemhat I and Senusret I. [184] These events are contemporaneous with the life of the last priest serving the official cult of Nyuserre, a certain Inhotep. [205] Both of these facts hint at a lapse of royal interest in the state-sponsored funerary cults of Old Kingdom rulers. [184]

New Kingdom

The popular veneration of Nyuserre during earlier times continued to influence the cults performed during the New Kingdom. This is best exemplified by the Karnak king list, composed during the reign of Thutmosis III, with the purpose of honouring a selection of royal ancestors and which includes the cartouche showing "Iny" for Nyuserre. This choice is unusual, as cartouches normally include the king's praenomen rather than a birth name, "Iny" being likely chosen here because it was under this name that Nyuserre was venerated and had become deified. [33]

Later, during the Ramesside period, statues of Old Kingdom pharaohs including one of Nyuserre Ini were placed in a cachette (a hiding place) in the temple of Ptah in Memphis, suggesting their continued use for cultic purposes until that point. [210] Concurrently with these activities, extensive restoration works in Abusir and Saqqara were undertaken during the reign of Ramses II under the direction of prince Khaemweset. The sun temple of Nyuserre was among the monuments benefiting from these works. [211]

Third Intermediate Period

During the late Third Intermediate Period, Old Kingdom mortuary temples enjoyed a revival of interest due primarily to the archaizing style favoured by the kings of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt (c. 760–656 BCE). [212] In particular, Taharqa (fl. c. 690–664 BCE) had reliefs from the temples of Sahure, Nyuserre and Pepi II reproduced in the temple of Amun of Gem-Aten in Karnak during his restoration works there. [212]


Khafre Pyramid Temple

Arnold, Dieter. "Old Kingdom Statues in their Architectural Setting." In Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 41-43, fig. 20.

Bothmer, Bernard V. Egypt 1950: My First Visit. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2003, pp. 139, 143.

Cwiek, Andrzej. Relief Decoration in the Royal Funerary Complexes of the Old Kingdom: Studies in the Development, Scene Content and Iconography. Warsaw: Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of History, Warsaw University, 2003, pp. 98-102.

Fay, Biri. "Royal Women as Represented in Sculpture during the Old Kingdom. Part II: Uninscribed Sculptures." In Christiane Ziegler, ed. L'art de l'ancien empire égyptien. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 1999, p. 104.

Hassan, Selim. Excavations at Gîza 4: 1932-1933. Cairo: Government Press, 1943, p. 91, fig. 48.

Hawass, Zahi. "Royal Figures Found in Petrie's So-called Workmen's Barracks at Giza." In Studies in Honor of James F. Romano. Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar 17 (2007), pp. 103-104.

Hawass, Zahi. "The Discovery of a Pair-Statue near the Pyramid of Menkaure at Giza." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 53 (1997), p. 293.

Hawass, Zahi. "The Great Sphinx at Giza: Date and Function." In Gian Maria Zaccone and Tomaso Ricardi di Netro (eds.) Sesto Congresso Internazionale di Egittologia. Atti, Volume II. Turin, 1993, pp. 187-188.

Lehner, Mark. "Giza. A Contextual Approach to the Pyramids." Archiv für Orientforschung 32 (1985), pp. 143, 152, 156, note 77.

Porter, Bertha, and Rosalind L.B. Moss. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings 3: Memphis (Abû Rawâsh to Dahshûr). Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1931. 2nd edition. 3: Memphis, Part 1 (Abû Rawâsh to Abûsîr), revised and augmented by Jaromír Málek. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1974, pp. 20-26.

Rowe, Alan. "Studies in the Archaeology of the Near East II: Some Facts Concerning the Gread Pyramids of el-Gîza and Their Royal Constructors." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 44, No. 1 (September 1961), p. 116.


Four Ways Temple and Family History Consultants and Leaders Can Reach Goals

A temple and family history consultant helps an individual on a one-on-one basis.

Article Highlights

  • 1. Obtain leaders’ support and provide personalized help.
  • 2. Use the family history leadership guide.
  • 3. Access the family history leadership report.
  • 4. Use the consultant planner.

“The Lord is hastening His work, and the tools and capabilities available are being poured out to us through His Spirit.” —Rodney DeGiulio, senior vice president over FamilySearch records

Temple and family history consultants are hidden gems for helping members with their family history, according to the vice president over FamilySearch records, who listed four ways consultants and their leaders can be more successful in their responsibilities with family history.

“In just the past five years the number of people participating in family history has tripled,” said Rodney DeGiulio, senior vice president over FamilySearch records, during a RootsTech 2017 class for Church members involved in family history work.

“Temple and family history work are a family responsibility,” he said. “Gathering and sealing multigenerational families invokes family connections on both sides of the veil.”

Brother DeGiulio suggested four ways temple and family history consultants and local stake and ward priesthood leaders can find success in bringing the blessings of God to as many of His children as possible:

1. Obtain leaders’ support and provide personalized help.

Temple and family history consultants need to understand the significance of their callings, he said. “The recent change in the name [of the calling] is a refocusing to the primary responsibility of helping members gather their families into the tree and into the temple through temple ordinances. Emphasis is placed on assisting individuals and families on a personalized basis.”

Individuals and couples in family history callings don't need to be experienced genealogists or researchers, he said. These individuals should be warm and friendly individuals who are committed to the principles of the gospel and have an appreciation for the importance of families and the temple.

Brother DeGiulio invited Sue and John Laing, temple and family history consultants serving in the Salt Lake City Utah Stake for more than four years, to share their experiences.

In an effort to help bishops get their ward council leadership involved in family history work, the Laings met twice a year with representatives from all auxiliaries and the bishop and his counselors to discuss family history goals for the stake, provide training, and discuss challenges.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of submitters and even seen some new indexers come on board,” said Brother Laing. “In an effort to reach our stake goals set late in the year, we had family history consultants meeting one-on-one with individuals during Sunday School or at members’ homes.”

Sister Laing said one of the most important lessons they learned was the need to have “family history goals set by the stake presidency coupled with their full support” at the stake and ward levels.

2. Use family history leadership guide.

The second way to increase success is for consultants and priesthood leaders to use the new family history leadership guide found in the Gospel Library app. Brother DeGiulio said this tool will help those with family history callings at all levels and can be printed out if needed.

Using water as an analogy, he said the guide is designed for “wading, swimming, or diving into the content.” The app includes training materials, searchable topics, links to additional content, and a chart of current family history callings in the stake.

3. Access family history leadership report.

Brother DeGiulio said the third way to increase success is for priesthood leaders to access the new family history leadership report. “What can priesthood leaders do to help more members participate?” he asked. “We went out and surveyed hundreds of priesthood leaders all over the world and asked them what they needed to help hasten the work of family history in their area. I am pleased to announce the availability of a new report that can be accessed by all priesthood leaders.”

The new report shows the number of members in the stake submitting names on a yearly basis and the percentage of members with the first four generations of ancestors completed in the Family Tree program. It also measures the number of members logging into FamilySearch.org, the number of members participating in family history activities, and year-to-date submitters for each unit in the stake.

4. Use consultant planner.

The fourth way to increase success in temple and family history work is for consultants to use the consultant planner available on FamilySearch.org under the help others/get help menu, said Brother DeGiulio. It gives consultants the current level of family history activity in their ward and stake. It helps consultants research and find ancestors for specific members by accessing available records (currently more than 1 billion).

Consultants can also use the tool to prepare 30-minute personalized lessons when meeting with members, in addition to recording all of the notes and progress made during visits, he said. With permission, consultants can even access specific family history information for members they work with to help move the work along.

“Elder Cook called this period of time ‘the most blessed time of this dispensation,’” said Brother DeGiulio. “The Lord is hastening His work, and the tools and capabilities available are being poured out to us through His Spirit.”


Pharaohs similar to or like Nyuserre Ini

Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the fourth or fifth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty (2494–2345 BC) during the Old Kingdom period. Probably the owner of an unfinished pyramid in Abusir, which was abandoned after a few weeks of work in the earliest stages of its construction. Wikipedia

Pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Fifth Dynasty. He reigned for seven to eight years in the early 25th century BC, during the Old Kingdom period. Wikipedia

Mid-25th-century BC pyramid complex built for the Egyptian pharaoh Nyuserre Ini of the Fifth Dynasty. During his reign, Nyuserre had the unfinished monuments of his father, Neferirkare Kakai, mother, Khentkaus II, and brother, Neferefre, completed, before commencing work on his personal pyramid complex. Wikipedia

Used for those rulers of Ancient Egypt who ruled after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer during the Early Dynastic Period, approximately 3100 BC. However, the specific title "Pharaoh" was not used to address the kings of Egypt by their contemporaries until the rule of Merneptah in the 19th Dynasty, c. 1200 BC. Along with the title Pharaoh for later rulers, there was an Ancient Egyptian royal titulary used by Egyptian kings which remained relatively constant during the course of Ancient Egyptian history, initially featuring a Horus name, a Sedge and Bee name and a Two Ladies (nbtj) name, with the additional Golden Horus, nomen and prenomen titles being added successively during later dynasties. Continually governed, at least in part, by native pharaohs for approximately 2500 years, until it was conquered by the Kingdom of Kush in the late 8th century BC, whose rulers adopted the traditional pharaonic titulature for themselves. Wikipedia

Often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom. The Fifth Dynasty pharaohs reigned for approximately 150 years, from the early 25th century BC until the mid 24th century BC. Wikipedia


How temple and family history work is used to minister to all, with emphasis to ‘new and tender’ members

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles interacts during a panel discussion of youth and young single adult participants at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Dale G. Renlund, left, uses a reflex hammer on Elder Shayne M. Bowen in a demonstration at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, center, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, interacts with two youth — 16-year-old Julie, left, and 10-year-old Nicolas, right — during a discussion on family history activities at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Dale G. Renlund, invites Aubrey to try a reflex hammer on Elder Shayne M. Bowen in a demonstration at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. President Joy D. Jones, center, Primary general president, interacts with two youth — 16-year-old Julie, left, and 10-year-old Nicolas, right — during a discussion on family history activities at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department, watches from the rostrum as Sarah Hammon, center, and Kayla Jackson, left, share stories in a discussion on family history during the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Family History Department, speaks at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. At the invitation of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidency leaders stand as Elder Bednar speaks directly to them the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares a brief message and testimony at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles interacts in a discussion with youth and young single adult participants at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Dale G. Renlund, standing, displays a reflex hammer that he will use on Elder Shayne M. Bowen in a demonstration at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department, speaks at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles listens during a panel discussion of youth and young single adult participants at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Temple and family history work is not a segmented, separate work, nor is missionary work. Rather, they both are integral to the all-inclusive work of salvation and the gathering of scattered Israel. Temple and family history work is a means of ministering to all of God’s children, including the “new and tender” Latter-day Saints — the youth and the newly baptized.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities and general officers participated in the annual Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction held Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City.

Elder Bednar said the recent adjustment in the Young Women classes and Aaronic Priesthood quorums results in them having essentially the same responsibilities in the work of salvation as Relief Societies and elders quorums. They will no longer have lessons, activities and events to simply entertain or to check off a “to-do” list.

President Joy D. Jones, center, Primary general president, interacts with two youth — 16-year-old Julie, left, and 10-year-old Nicolas, right — during a discussion on family history activities at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“The youth need to be anxiously engaged in this work right now. They will help identify things to do — ways of accomplishing this work that majestically move this work all over the earth,” he said. “Please do not underestimate what those Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes can accomplish.”

When the elders quorums, Relief Societies, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes are “laser-beam singularly focused” on the work of salvation, “the miracles that occur in the advancement of this work in the earth will be astronomical,” he said.

‘All means all’

Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Family History Department, introduced the meeting’s theme, “Ministering to All through Temple and Family History.”

“In this context,” he said, “all means all of Heavenly Father’s children — active and less-active members of the Church, children, youth, young single adults and those not of our faith. All means literally all.”

He quoted President Russell M. Nelson’s teachings that the gathering of scattered Israel is “the greatest work on the earth” and that “anytime you do anything that helps anyone — on either side of the veil — take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel. It is as simple as that.”

A video showed a young family helping an elderly sister in their ward, using the My Family booklet and FamilySearch on a laptop computer to identify her ancestors and to help complete temple work with a proxy baptism for her great-grandfather, of whom she had known nothing previously.

The video, Elder Hamilton said, set the tone of an evening full of demonstrating practical and actionable ideals of ministering through temple and family history work, sometimes with technology and some not.

Use a metaphorical reflex hammer

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded listeners that 2019’s meeting presented organizational suggestions, focusing on councils and individual leadership roles and the preferred pattern of councils creating a ward temple and family history plan, linked with and synergizing plans developed in each organization.

Elder Dale G. Renlund, left, uses a reflex hammer on Elder Shayne M. Bowen in a demonstration at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Ward and organizational plans, he added, should be simple and home-centered, focusing on ministering to unique needs of individuals and families, with particular emphasis on young people and recent converts.

Elder Renlund’s emphasis in the 2020 meeting underscored that while the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies direct the work within their own organizations and coordinate with the Primary, Young Women and Aaronic Priesthood presidencies, a key catalyst is the ward temple and family history leader. His primary responsibilities are to help leaders and presidencies minister to others and to coordinate the work of ward temple and family history consultants in such ministering efforts.

In an entertaining and repetitive demonstration, Elder Renlund invited Elder Shayne M. Bowen, a General Authority Seventy, to sit at the front of the stage with his legs crossed. Using his medical background, Elder Renlund then pulled out a reflex hammer and said a ward temple and family history leader’s response to concerns and requests should be as reflexive, predictable and immediate as when a doctor taps a patient just below the kneecap, or patella.

Role playing as if he were a ward leader identifying a ministering concern or need — with Elder Bowen representing the ward temple and family history leader — Elder Renlund tapped the hammer to the knee of Elder Bowen, who responded with an exaggerated kick and exclamation, “How can I help?”

Elder Renlund repeated the act several times, inviting several Church leaders on the rostrum to represent ward council members — as well as Aubrey and Tucker as Young Women class and Aaronic Priesthood quorum leaders — to participate in the role play.

Questions in the demonstration — prompting the “How can I help response” included:

  • “We’re thinking about using family history to reach out to our less active members in the ward.”
  • “We are anxious to get all our newly baptized members to the temple within 60 days of their baptism.”
  • “We are trying to come up with a new idea for a Primary activity for boys and girls.”
  • “We are trying to get the teachers quorum in our ward to righteously use technology instead of spending so much time playing games.”
  • “I am concerned about mothers with young children who feel overwhelmed because of the extra time at home on Sundays.”
  • “I’m a priests quorum assistant and the young men need an activity that doesn’t involve a rake.”
  • “I have a young woman in my class that struggles with anxiety and depression.”

“Brothers and sisters, can you use a metaphorical reflex hammer and ‘hit’ your ward temple and family history leader while telling him your challenge. Can you do that?” asked Elder Renlund. “He serves, he helps, he coordinates, he mobilizes resources for you to execute that portion of the ward plan that pertains to all in your organization under your direction. He can facilitate ministering to all.”

Ministering to the ‘new and tender’

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, initiated a segment on ministering to “those who are new and tender in the gospel, including youth turning 12 and new converts,” she said, quoting Elder Renlund’s instruction from two years earlier.

Helping the “new and tender” in such efforts can be done by using the tools the Lord has provided to invite others to learn their own family story and then bringing the names of their ancestors to the temple, she said.

Sister Aburto invited 16-year-old Julie and 10-year-old Nicolas to review a video of how ward members ministered to a newly baptized family by helping them do family history and temple work, culminating with temple baptisms performed for ancestors.

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, center, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, interacts with two youth — 16-year-old Julie, left, and 10-year-old Nicolas, right — during a discussion on family history activities at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“Temple and family history is all new to them, so having someone who is already familiar with this work can increase the spiritual power of the experience,” said Sister Aburto.

President Joy D. Jones, the Primary general president, asked Julie and Nicolas to walk her through using the “Ordinances Ready” feature in FamilySearch’s Family Tree app to find names to take to the temple and the app’s “All About Me” feature to help learn of and compile family stories.

“It is easy to connect to family across generations by small and simple things like these activities,” Sister Jones said. “As new and tender members grow in their experiences connecting to family and serving generations in the temple, their foundation in Christ becomes more solid.

“The data is indisputable, sisters and brothers — as youth minister to others through temple and family history, we see an increased rate in the number of young men being ordained elders and serving missions, and we see an increased rate of young women staying on the covenant path and receiving the blessings of temple ordinances in their lives and for new members who engage in ministering through temple and family history, they are retained on the covenant path at higher rates.”

‘Natural and normal, genuine and authentic’

Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department, underscored how missionary work is an integral part of ministering through temple and family history, with “natural and normal, genuine and authentic” conversations and questions being ways for members and missionaries to engage anyone.

Quoting President Nelson, he added: “People have an inborn desire to know something about their ancestors. … Conversations flow easily when those who are drawn to speak with the missionaries are invited to talk about the people that they love.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles listens during a panel discussion of youth and young single adult participants at the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Questions could include “tell me about your family” “do you have a grandparent you feel especially close to?” “where did your ancestors come from?” and “what stories do you know about them?”

Elder Nielson pointed to “Family Discovery Activities” on the Family Tree and Memories apps, to “Find a Person” on Family Tree, to share and preserve photos and stories in Memories and to share the My Family booklet as helpful resources and efforts. And he invited Sara Hammon and Kayla Jackson to demonstrate how a conversation about families could easily lead to talk about temple and family history opportunities.

Elder Bednar initiated his concluding segment by inviting the meeting’s youth and young adult participants to join him in a panel discussion, asking a pair of questions: “What have you personally learned as you prepared for tonight and as you have participated? And what will you do with what you have learned?”

Responses from the participants ranged from a readiness to apply the activities and app features at home to feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost and a sense of growing closer to deceased ancestors.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who will speak at Saturday’s Family Discovery Day at RootsTech, shared a brief testimony. “I think we’ve been taught how we can inoculate ourselves in a spiritual way,” he said of the evening’s messages and methods.

Apostolic promise to the youth

Elder Bednar concluded by asking the Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidency members to stand.

“On behalf of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, we have confidence in you. You are the Lord’s battalion,” he said. “These adjustments that have been made now organize the work of salvation, so that it is focused and sosimple. We know, we witness, we testify that you will contribute to helping great things happen in this work all over the earth. We expect you to surprise the adults. We expect you to seek inspiration and revelation in your youth.

“We promise as you are engaged in the work of salvation, you will be safeguarded, you will be guided, you will be protected. What you learn about receiving revelation to help in this work will bless you in magnificent ways.”

At the invitation of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidency leaders stand as Elder Bednar speaks directly to them the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting Thursday, Feb., 27, 2020, at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Leslie Nilsson, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder Bednar concluded with a united declaration of the reality of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. “They are real. They know you by name. Our Beloved Heavenly Father will hear and answer your prayers. The Savior Jesus Christ has marked the path and led the way. Please follow Him. Come unto Him, and follow Him.

“We love you, and I again express our confidence in you, and we look forward to the miracles you will help to create.”

More about the Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction

When: Thursday, Feb. 27, held in conjunction with the annual RootsTech conference

Invited: Members of stake and ward councils youth councils elders quorum, Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies ward mission leaders and missionaries ward temple and family history leaders and consultants and Aaron Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidencies.


Recommending and Calling Temple Workers

Recommending Temple Workers

Potential temple workers are identified in the following ways:

Members identified by the bishop or another ward leader

Members who approach the bishop about serving

Members recommended by the temple president, the matron, or another temple leader

Members who are preparing for or have recently returned from missionary service (see chapter 24 )

The names of potential temple workers are submitted using the Recommend Temple Worker tool. This tool is available to bishops, stake presidents, and temple presidencies. The process for submitting names is outlined below.

When a temple presidency identifies a potential temple worker, they submit the person’s name to the bishop using the Recommend Temple Worker tool.

When a bishop identifies a potential temple worker or receives a recommendation from a temple president, he counsels with the member about the opportunity to serve. He reviews the requirements for temple ordinance workers (see 25.5.2) or temple volunteers (see 25.5.3). If both the bishop and the member feel the opportunity would be appropriate, the bishop completes and submits the recommendation using the Recommend Temple Worker tool. The member should understand that a submitted recommendation does not ensure that he or she will be called or assigned as a temple worker.

The recommendation is next reviewed by the stake president. If he approves it, he submits it to the temple president for review using the Recommend Temple Worker tool (see 25.5.4 and 25.5.5).

Members who are called or assigned as temple workers normally commit to a regular time to serve in the temple each week. Leaders should avoid issuing additional callings that would interfere with their ability to serve in the temple.

The Recommend Temple Worker tool also shows bishops and stake presidents a list of all members from their wards or stakes who currently serve in the temple.

Requirements for Temple Ordinance Workers

Temple ordinance workers help perform ordinances in the temple. To be recommended as an ordinance worker, a member must meet the following qualifications:

Reside in the temple district of the temple where he or she will serve.

Be endowed, honor temple covenants, and hold a current temple recommend.

Have a mature knowledge and testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Be worthy of respect in the Church and in the community.

Work well with other people.

Be dependable and in good health.

Not currently have an annotation on his or her membership record.

If a person’s Church membership was formally restricted, the restrictions must have been removed for at least five years. If the person was endowed when membership was withdrawn or resigned, his or her blessings must have been restored at least five years earlier.

Requirements for Temple Volunteers

Temple volunteers help with administrative tasks in the temple, such as serving in the office or laundry. To be recommended as a temple volunteer, a member must meet the following qualifications:

Reside in the temple district of the temple where he or she will serve.

Be endowed, honor temple covenants, and hold a current temple recommend.

Work well with other people.

Be dependable and in good health.

Not currently have an annotation on his or her membership record.

As an exception to these qualifications, members who volunteer to work outside the temple need not be endowed. An example is a member who works on the temple grounds.

Calling and Setting Apart Ordinance Workers

After the temple president receives the recommendation for someone to serve as an ordinance worker, a member of the temple presidency or someone they designate interviews the person. As inspired, the person conducting the interview calls those who are able to serve as ordinance workers and sets them apart.

Assigning Volunteers

Temple volunteers may be interviewed and assigned by a member of the temple presidency or someone they designate. Volunteers are assigned rather than called. They do not need to be set apart.


Uses of the Pyramid Complex.

The pyramid complexes were primarily tombs for the kings. Yet Egyptologists have long abandoned the German Egyptologist Herbert Ricke's theory that the buildings of the complex were solely for the funeral. The discovery of the Abu Sir Papyri, the records of Neferirkare's pyramid complex subsequent to the king's death, provides evidence of the numerous activities that continued in the complex after the burial. The Pyramid Texts found inside the pyramids beginning with the reign of Unas (2371–2350 b.c.e.) also inform us about the rituals which continued in the pyramid complex, in the Egyptian ideal, for eternity. There were at least two offering services for the king every day—one in the morning and one in the evening. Other rituals centered on the five statues of the king found in the five niches of the pyramid temple. At least three of these statues depicted the king as the god Osiris, king of the dead. The ritual included feeding, cleaning, and clothing the deceased king. Priests then received the food used in the ritual as part of their salary. When they were not attending to their deceased king, priests and administrators engaged in other tasks, including astronomical observations to determine the proper day for celebrating festivals and the administrative tasks associated with delivering, storing, and disbursing large amounts of commodities that arrived at the complex on a regular basis. These goods included food and clothing used during the rituals. The pyramid complexes of the Old Kingdom were probably very busy places rather than just tombs. Some of the complexes operated for much longer periods than others. The cult of Khufu at the Great Pyramid, for example, continued with its own priests as late as the Twenty-sixth Dynasty (664–525 b.c.e.) over 2,000 years after the building of the complex.


Footnotes

[1] Sarah Kimball’s account of the founding of the Relief Society mentions a “Miss Cook.” Recent research by Patricia Spillsbury strengthens the argument for a common assumption that this Miss Cook was Margaret Norris Cook Blanchard and gathers together other documentation about her life. See Jill Mulvay Derr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016), 637–38.

[4] Sarah M. Kimball, “Early Relief Society Reminiscence,” Mar. 17, 1842, in Relief Society Record, 1880–92, 29, Church History Library, Salt Lake City spelling standardized see also “Sarah M. Kimball, Reminiscence, March 17, 1882,” in Derr, Madsen, Holbrook, and Grow, The First Fifty Years.

[5] Kimball, “Early Relief Society Reminiscence,” in Relief Society Record, 30 capitalization and punctuation standardized see also “Sarah M. Kimball, Reminiscence, March 17, 1882,” in Derr, Madsen, Holbrook, and Grow, The First Fifty Years.

[6] Kimball, “Early Relief Society Reminiscence,” in Relief Society Record, 30 spelling standardized see also “Sarah M. Kimball, Reminiscence, March 17, 1882,” in Derr, Madsen, Holbrook, and Grow, The First Fifty Years.

[7] See “1.2.1 March 17, 1842,” in Derr, Madsen, Holbrook, and Grow, The First Fifty Years.

[8] See “1.2.1 March 17, 1842,” in Derr, Madsen, Holbrook, and Grow, The First Fifty Years.


The Relief Society turns 178 today. Here’s a look back at some of its history

President Jean B. Bingham hugs a member of the Relief Society following a meeting with local Relief Society leadership in Manila, Philippines, on Feb. 2, 2020. Credit: Noel Maglaque, Philippines Area Sisters Belle S. Spafford, Marianne C. Sharp and Velma Simonsen were the Relief Society general presidency while funds were raised and the building was constructed and dedicated. Sister Sharp, daughter of President J. Reuben Clark, played an especially important role in coordinating the fundraising and building efforts. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. A Dennis Smith sculpture of a mother and child in front of the Relief Society Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mar. 13, 2006. Credit: Deseret News archives Fourteenth Ward Relief Society Hall. The earliest Relief Society halls in Utah were patterned after the store in Nauvoo in which the society was founded in 1842. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Photograph of the excavation for the Relief Society Building. The buildings of the Latter-Day Saints’ University surround the excavation site. From left to right, the Utah Genealogical Society, the LDS Business College, Barratt Hall, and the Brigham Young Memorial Building. Looking in the background on the right is the Hotel Utah (now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building). Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Members of the Relief Society Presidency inspect the building project with the architect and contractor. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Relief Society seal with its motto ‘Charity Never Faileth’ Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. A cover of The Relief Society Magazine from January 1930. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. President Jean B. Bingham hugs a Relief Society sister following a training with members in Cebu, Philippines, on Feb. 6, 2020. Credit: Noel Maglaque, Philippines Area The first 17 Relief Society general presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Credit: Graphic by Heidi Perry, Deseret News Church News graphic of the contributions made by Relief Society members for their own building. Credit: Graphic by Heidi Perry, Deseret News Sister Jean Barrus Bingham general president of the Relief Society, center, with her councilors Sister Sharon Eubank first counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society, left, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto second counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society, right, in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 3, 2017. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

President Jean B. Bingham, the 17th Relief Society general president, called in 2017, described the Relief Society as a “divinely established sisterhood,” while speaking at BYU Women’s Conference in 2019.

Sisters Belle S. Spafford, Marianne C. Sharp and Velma Simonsen were the Relief Society general presidency while funds were raised and the building was constructed and dedicated. Sister Sharp, daughter of President J. Reuben Clark, played an especially important role in coordinating the fundraising and building efforts. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“You may not realize it yet, but Relief Society can help you accomplish extraordinary things,” she said. “It is a place of learning. It is an organization whose basic charter is caring for others. It is a safe place for sisters to bring their questions, and for those who are searching for identity and purpose. It is a place that will help us blossom individually and improve collectively.”

This year marks the 178th anniversary of the Relief Society, long-touted as the largest and one of the oldest women’s organizations in the world.

What began as small gathering in the “red brick store” in Nauvoo, Illinois, on March 17, 1842, has become a worldwide organization for good.

Emma Smith’s declaration from the organization’s earliest days that the Relief Society would “do something extraordinary” is continually coming to fruition as its membership and influence around the world increase with the spreading of the gospel.

From 20 women in Illinois to more than 7.5 million women around the world, the Relief Society has grown an incredible amount in the last 178 years and has accomplished many amazing things.

Here’s a brief look at some of the history of the organization from the late 1800s to the 21st century:

  • To date, there have been 17 Relief Society general presidents — the same number of Presidents of the Church in the latter days. Here is the list of presidents and the amount of time they served in the role:
  • 1842 – 1877
    • In organizing the Relief Society in 1842, Joseph Smith said, “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.” At that initial gathering, 20 women were present and another eight were admitted without being present.
    • As the Saints were forced out of Nauvoo following the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, the Relief Society organization ceased operation as the Saints moved west. The final meeting of the organization in Nauvoo was held on March 16, 1944.
    • Eliza R. Snow, the society’s first secretary under Emma Smith, carried the organization’s “Book of Records” with her across the plains.
    • Although the Relief Society was not officially reestablished among the Saints settled in the Salt Lake Valley until 1867, Emmeline B. Wells made record of several smaller relief organizations formed among local women in an effort to continue the work of the Relief Society in the valley as early as 1851.
    • Originally called the “Female Relief Society,” the term “female” was dropped in 1973.
    • The Weber Stake Relief Society in Ogden, Utah, was the first stake Relief Society, established in 1877.
    • 1889 – 1956
      • The first general conference of the Relief Society was held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 6, 1889.
      • Although plans for a “women’s building” to house the Relief Society central headquarters were introduces as early as 1896, the building itself was not completed until 1956. Major efforts to erect the building were not undertaken until after WWII.
      • Sister Belle Spafford broke ground for the Relief Society Building on Oct. 1, 1953, and it was dedicated by President David O. McKay on Oct. 3, 1956.
      • 1966 – 1971
        • The Woman’s Exponent had served as the organization’s record through its publication in the years in Salt Lake City. However, in 1914 the organization established its own separate publication, the Relief Society Magazine, which took over as the primary record of the organization at the time.
        • In 1966, the magazine was published in Spanish, the first foreign language edition of the magazine — “Revista de la Sociedad de Socorro.”
        • The book “History of Relief Society 1842-1966” was published by members of the Relief Society general board to bring the history of the organization up to date following the centennial in 1942. In the book, board members noted their excitement for having reached nearly one-third million members in the organization worldwide.
        • 2004 – 2014
          • The first worldwide leadership training for the Relief Society and other women’s organizations of the Church began in 2004.
          • In 2006, membership in the Relief Society reached 6 million.
          • In 2011, the Church published a book about the history of the Relief Society detailing the faith of the women throughout the years. The book “Daughters in My Kingdom” is not a comprehensive history, but rather describes the history and the work of the Relief Society through scriptural, anecdotal and biographical accounts.
          • In 2014 the the General Women’s Meeting for general conference was changed to include all women ages 8-years old and up.

          The Relief Society motto “Charity Never Faileth” reflects Joseph Smith’s declaration that the society would act upon the key words: “Said Jesus, ‘Ye shall do the work, which ye see me do.’”


          Watch the video: Temple of Nyuserre (December 2021).