Amy B. Lyman

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Amy Cassandra Brown Lyman (February 7, 1872 – December 5, 1959) was the eighth general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1940 to 1945. Lyman also served a term as a member of the 14th Utah State Legislature from 1923 to 1924.

Amy B. Lyman
Photo of Amy Lyman
8th Relief Society General President
January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01) – April 6, 1945 (1945-04-06)[1]
Called byHeber J. Grant
PredecessorLouise Y. Robison
SuccessorBelle S. Spafford
End reasonHonorably released upon request
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency
October 7, 1928 (1928-10-07) – January 1, 1940 (1940-01-01)
Called byLouise Y. Robison
PredecessorJennie B. Knight
SuccessorMarcia K. Howells
Personal details
BornAmy Cassandra Brown
(1872-02-07)February 7, 1872
Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, United States
DiedDecember 5, 1959(1959-12-05) (aged 87)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting placeWasatch Lawn Memorial Park
40°41′52.08″N 111°50′30.12″W / 40.6978000°N 111.8417000°W / 40.6978000; -111.8417000
Spouse(s)Richard R. Lyman
ChildrenWendell Brown and Margaret
ParentsJohn Brown
Margaret Zimmerman

Early lifeEdit

Amy Cassandra Brown was born in Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory on February 7, 1872, to John Brown and Margaret Zimmerman Brown.[2] John Brown was a polygamist, and Amy Brown was his 23rd of 25 children. He was also a leader of the Mississippi Latter-day Saints.[3]: 97–98

Amy Brown attended high school at Brigham Young Academy (BYA)[4] from 1888 to 1890. For part of her time at BYA, Brown lived in the home of Karl G. and Anna Meith Maeser.[5] Maeser appointed Brown to head the Primary Department at BYA. Brown worked as a teacher at BYA from 1890 to 1894, and later taught elementary school in Salt Lake City for two years.[3]: 100[5]


Lyman in 1914

At BYA she met Richard Lyman,[6] her future husband who would become an LDS Church apostle in 1918. Brown and Lyman's plans to marry were postponed because the University of Michigan, where Lyman was studying, did not allow married students.[5] After Lyman graduated in 1896,[7] the couple was married in the Salt Lake Temple, and the ceremony was performed by Joseph F. Smith. The couple had two children: Wendell Brown and Margaret.[5]

After their marriage, Richard Lyman was a professor on engineering at the University of Utah.[7] Amy Lyman took classes from the university, including English and history.[3]: 101 In 1902, the Lymans went to New York so that Richard could begin his graduate studies at Cornell University. On their way, they went to a summer session at the University of Chicago.[7] While in Chicago, Lyman enrolled in a class on sociology.[8] She became involved in Settlement House programs and associated with Jane Addams.[5] After her husband graduated from Cornell University, the couple returned to Utah.[7]

Prior to the Second World War, Lyman accompanied her husband to England where he presided over the church's European Mission from 1936 to 1938.[9] In Europe, Lyman presided over women's organizations.[3]: 109

LDS Church serviceEdit

Alice Louise Reynolds, Amy Brown Lyman, Grace Raymond Hebard, Mrs. Weston Vernon, Ruth Moench Bell Susa Young Gates

Relief SocietyEdit

Lyman was called as a member of the general board Relief Society in 1909.[10] She served for two years, and served as assistant secretary for two years. After that, she was the general secretary-treasurer for 15 years. She helped the Relief Society use more modern practices like office machines and filing systems. She also collected minutes from their meetings and other historical documents. While on the general board, she established Social Service Department under Joseph F. Smith's authorization.[5] From 1928 to 1940, Lyman was the first counselor to president Louise Y. Robison in the Relief Society general presidency.[10] As a counselor, she transferred stored wheat collected under Brigham Young to the General Welfare Program. She also assisted in the centennial celebration of Relief Society.[3] Lyman succeeded Robison as president in 1940 and served until 1945.[10]: 197

Lyman received numerous honors which include election to the Social Science Honor Society of America, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Brigham Young University, honorary membership in the American Association of Mental Deficiency, and the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Utah State Conference of Social Work.[11]

In 1943, the First Presidency discovered that Richard Lyman had a relationship with another woman since 1925, which resulted in his excommunication on November 12, 1943, for violations of the law of chastity.[12] Due to the marital problems resulting from her husband's infidelity, Lyman requested that she be released.[13] She was honorably released on April 6, 1945,[6] and was succeeded by her second counselor, Belle S. Spafford.

Social welfare departmentEdit

Part of Lyman's work in the Relief Society included her contributions to the social welfare department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lyman studied at the University of Colorado and earned a certificate in social service.[5] She was a member of the State Council on Defense in Utah and was chair of its social service committee. She was selected to be a delegate to the National Conference of Social Work in June 1917.[7]

In 1919, Lyman founded and headed the Relief Society Social Service Department as part of the church's Relief Society program.[7] She would head the department for 16 years. In 1973, the organization became a corporation separate from the church's Relief Society and was renamed LDS Social Services. (The organization has since been renamed Family Services.)[14]

As head of the Social Service Department, Lyman created a training program in which stake delegates attended classes in family welfare work. They would then return to their stakes and to teach these lessons to the members of the church.[8] Over 4,000 students were trained through the curriculum she established for those classes.[7]

Utah House of RepresentativesEdit

Lyman served a term as a member of the 14th Utah State Legislature from 1923-1924.[5] As a representative, she pushed for statewide support of the federal Sheppard–Towner Act,[7] which provided for federally financed instruction in maternal and infant health care and gave matching funds to individual U.S. states to build women's health care clinics.[15] The Sheppard–Towner Act was one of the most significant achievements of Progressive-era maternalist reformers.[16]

Other contributionsEdit

Throughout her life, Lyman was involved with the Red Cross.[7] She attended a Red Cross training seminar on welfare work in Colorado in 1917, and by 1918 she was a trustee and vice-president of her community clinic, organizer of the Municipal Department of Health and Charity, chairperson of the Family Consultation Committee of the Red Cross and the vice-president of State Welfare Commission. She also participated in national organizations like the American Child Hygiene Association, Home Services Institute, American Association for Mental Deficiency and the National Tuberculosis Association. Under her influence, Brigham Young University created its first classes in family welfare work.[3]: 104 She was also involved with the National Council of Women.[1] She contributed to the establishment of the Utah State Training School in 1929, for whom she was a trustee for eleven years.[5]

Lyman raised her granddaughter, Amy Kathryn Lyman (daughter of Lyman's son Wendell), after Lyman's daughter-in-law was killed in 1924. Her son Wendell committed suicide in 1933.[3]: 108 Her husband was later rebaptized into the church in 1954.[5] Lyman died on December 5, 1959[1] in the house of her daughter where she had been recovering from a fall.[3]: 113


Lyman wrote a number of articles that were published in the Relief Society Magazine.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Ludlow, Daniel H, ed. (1992). "Appendix 1: Biographical Register of General Church Officers". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan Publishing. p. 1641. ISBN 0-02-879602-0. OCLC 24502140.
  2. ^ "Amy Brown Lyman: Eighth General President of the Relief Society". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hefner, Loretta L. (1978). "Amy B. Lyman". In Burgess-Olson, Vicky; Allen, James (eds.). Sister Saints. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press. ISBN 9780842512350.
  4. ^ Gibbons, Francis M. (1990). George Albert Smith: Kind and Caring Christian, Prophet of God. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. p. 5. ISBN 9781606412145.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Engar, Ann Willardson (1992). "Lyman, Amy Brown". Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: MacMillan: 847–848. ISBN 9780028796055. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b Black, Susan Easton; Woodger, Mary Jane (2011). Women of Character. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications. pp. 196–198. ISBN 9781680470185.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hall, David. "Anxiously Engaged: Amy Brown Lyman and Relief Society Charity Work, 1917-45" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 27: 73–91. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  8. ^ a b Hall, David. "Amy Brown Lyman and the Development of Social Work" (PDF). Mormon Historical Studies: 67–83. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Biographical History". Register of the Richard R. Lyman Collection, 1890-1963. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Hall, Dave (2010). "A crossroads for Mormon women: Amy Brown Lyman, J. Reuben Clark, and the decline of organized women's activism in the Relief Society". Journal of Mormon History. 36 (2): 205–249. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  11. ^ Peterson. Elect Ladies. Deseret Book Company. p. 141.
  12. ^ Bergera, Gary James (Fall 2011), "Transgressions in the Latter-day Saint Community: The Cases of Albert Carrington, Richard R. Lyman, and Joseph F. Smith — Part 2: Richard R. Lyman", Journal of Mormon History, 37 (4): 173–207
  13. ^ Dave Hall, A Faded Legacy: Amy Brown Lyman and Mormon Women's Activism, 1872-1959 (University of Utah Press, 2015)
  14. ^ Livingstone, John P. "14. Historical Highlights of LDS Family Services". Religious Studies Senter. Brigham Young University Religious Education. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  15. ^ "Sheppard-Towner Act". American History Online. Facts on File, Inc. 23 Nov 1921. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  16. ^ Ladd-Taylor, Molly (1993). ""My Work Came Out of Agony and Grief":Mothers and the Making of the Sheppard-Towner Act". In Koven, Seth; Michel, Sonya (eds.). Mothers of a New World: Maternalist Politics and the Origins of Welfare States. Routledge. p. 323. ISBN 0415903149.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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

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