#hearLDSwomen: When I Was Relief Society President, My Bishop Would Never Tell Me Our Budget

Person fanning out moneyOne that comes to mind is when I was called as a Relief Society activity committee person. Every year we asked for a budget and every year it took them months to get back to us. We would submit our budget with $5 per attendee and it would be rejected. Everything we tried we got denied for and was told spend as little as possible. The Young Men would get to do a lot of fun things and we were expected to spend nothing on planning activities for women. Once they told us that we weren’t allowed to buy food for the activities because they shouldn’t be coming just for the food. When Mormons meet, we eat.
– Margaret Beach


I had a bishop who wouldn’t give us (the Relief Society presidency) the budget either. Ever. It’s infuriating!
– Alisha Upwall


The time as a teen that the Young Women couldn’t get a pizza party when the boys got ward funded scuba lessons.
– Amy H.


I was 17. President of my Laurel class. In Bishop Youth Council at the beginning of the year we were discussing building scheduling and budgets. I had previously spent a lengthy time with the Young Women president discussing all the things we wanted to do for the YW. We had a detailed list with what times we wanted the gym and how much we thought everything would cost. She was an incredible leader and was teaching me how to be a leader so I was the one to bring up the scheduling and the budgets. Well, in BYC I started with stating that the YW wanted to have the gym once a month. This was unheard of as the Young Men would spend 10 minutes doing scouty things (if that) and the rest of Wednesday night playing basketball. Every week. The YM president–remember, the adult leader–laughed and said that the YM should ALWAYS have the gym but that we could have it once a quarter. He said it in a joking tone, but his eyes were not joking and he immediately changed the subject. Later I asked about knowing our budget and the YM president smiled at me and changed the subject. I didn’t wait very long to bring it up again. It was important, and the goals we had created for the YW required all the money we could have. Anyway, the YM president then looked at me and said “how much can yarn and knitting needles possibly cost?” Everyone laughed. I ran out of the bishop’s office in tears. My YW president ran after me. She was bawling. She apologized for me being treated so badly. But she also said she was so proud of me for standing up for the YW from the beginning of the meeting. She told me we would go back in with our heads high and ask again. We went back in. The bishop asked if I was ok. I said yes but that I needed answers to my questions and requests. I got the budget number but the gym issue was not discussed. And I was never offered an apology.
– Kristal Norris


Pro Tip: Give women leaders the budgetary information they need to run their organizations. Make them a part of the budget decision making process and ensure that there is equity in resources given to Young Men and Young Women.

Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)


  1. Ugh. Why don’t we just walk out? We are treated so badly in the church. I don’t believe a loving god wants us to keep putting up with such abuse. We should leave and then see how well it goes for them — it could be their little priesthood-only club.

  2. I wish I could have been part of the Relief Society in the days when it ran its own budget, wrote its own lessons, and didn’t have to beg for scraps from the men’s table

  3. I keep thinking the days of “how much can it cost for needles and yarn” are behind us. And then I heard a story about planning girls camp and budgets and bishops ideas for what girls should do, that is something 10 minutes from my house and this year, and I just want to cry. Or throw things. Both?

  4. I wish there were some checks and balances so this kind of thing would never happen. While it is rare for something like this to happen, it’s still awful that these things can and do happen.

    • Dani, I honestly don’t think these experiences are all that rare. The bishop in my last ward wouldn’t give out the budget numbers, either.

  5. When I was running the cub scouts program for our Ward, I actually was given the budget for the year. $90, total, for the entire year. I was expected to pay for new books, monthly awards, pinewood derby, and all activity supplies for 30 boys, out of this budget. Additionally, they gave me this number in February, the month of blue and gold banquet. This is an event for the boys and their entire families, where the scout leaders are expected to put on a lavish activity, compete with decorations, and provide a meal for everyone. When I asked the primary president for more of the budget, to cover costs, she said they’d already given the cub scouts 90% of the primary’s budget for the year. When I asked the Bishop to give the primary more money, he gave a flat “no”.

  6. This bishop was clearly wrong. Done. Case closed. This forum where you all stack on negative stories is dangerous and detrimental to testimonies. Can we all agree that some bishops are bad. Just like some RS presidents, primary presidents or EQ presidents are bad. What is the benefit in this ?

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