Relief Society Intrigues Iraqi Women

I see from a Salt Lake Tribune article found here, written by Peggy Fletcher Stack, that the RS has caught the attention of some folks in Iraq. Joan Betros, director of women’s and children’s family television programming for Iraqi Media Network, introduced the RS idea to an Iraqi colleage who reacted enthusiastically. The upshot is a nonprofit, nonreligious organization called FUTURE, that is, Families United Toward Universal Respect.

Two things struck me when reading the article. The first is the casual reference to the problems of corruption and the idea that volunteer efforts work against that particular challenge in developing nations. As Betros said, “They could see that through volunteerism, there is no corruption.”

Second, the Iraqi women associated with the idea visited Southern Virginia University, SLC, and Denver. In the description of these visits, which included traditional RS topics, Visiting Teaching, FHE, Welfare Square, and some time spent learning about city government in Denver, the most interesting comment is the last:

Nuha N.S. Ahmad Al-Algha, president of the Nintu Society, particularly liked the Humanitarian Center but was also drawn to the church’s vast genealogical holdings. “If you know your roots, you know your life. We are starting to lose family ties in Iraq. Everyone is running for himself.”

I hope that the RS model takes hold, but I also see that this once again demonstrates the appeal of genealogy. How many doors have been opened by just that one aspect our way of life?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Relief Society Intrigues Iraqi Women

  1. Very interesting. RS in Iraq. Things are a changin.

  2. Jason

    That’s great news!

    There really is a lot of progress over here. With everything. (most things anyway…) With regards to the church, the second counselor of the Arabian Peninsula stake met with us a couple months ago and told us of the progress of the church over here. There have been tons of soldier baptisms, but even more surprising, there are several Iraqi branches sprouting up across this country. He told us there have been several baptisms of native iraqis. I assume the converts were already Christian or Kurdish or whatever other religion that isn’t Muslim.

    But it’s cool!

  3. second counselor of the Arabian Peninsula stake

    Boy, that’s amazing idea all by itself…

  4. a random John

    I referenced this article in the talk I gave on Sunday. My talk was on “An Ensign to the Nations” and I used this as an example of how this Ensign stuff (which represents the Lord’s call to peace) is being fulfilled in a small part.

    I thought the article was quite touching, and I hope that the program takes off.

  5. J. Watkins

    I’m with Mogget. There’s a stake on the Arabian Peninsula? Now I’m sure the second coming will happen during my life.

  6. Standing by for stories about Nephites in body armor from the Riyadh temple in 5…4…3…2…

    And of course, when that happens aRJ’s ideas on peace will have become a concrete reality.

  7. cadams

    It would be nice to find further confirmation, but here’s a report that some Kurds are converting from Islam to Christianity unmolested:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20060523-124029-4936r.htm

  8. Mogget

    Very interesting:

    Retired Iraqi Gen. Georges Sada, a former fighter pilot-turned-Christian evangelist, says Kurds are converting to Christianity “by the hundreds” in northern Iraq.

    I have it in my head that the Kurds have a decade or so of experience with a reasonably tolerant civil society that the rest of Iraq lacks because we protected them far better than we protected the Marsh People in the south. If so, this might explain why they can convert w/o trauma.

    But maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, too. We should leave all the options open.