The Church Historian's Press


God Will Enable Us to Overcome

Salt Lake City Seventeenth Ward Relief Society

Union Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

July 30, 1868

On July 30, 1868, Mary Isabella Hales Horne (1818–1905) spoke to the Salt Lake City Seventeenth Ward Relief Society about faith in times of trial. The Woman’s Exponent described Horne as a woman of “indomitable energy of character” who was “determined not to shrink from any responsibility placed upon her.”1 Born in England, she immigrated with her family to York [Toronto], Canada, in 1832, when she was thirteen years old. She met Joseph Horne at a Methodist camp meeting when she was fifteen and married him two years later. The couple became acquainted with Mormon missionaries Orson Pratt and Parley P. Pratt shortly after their marriage and were baptized in July 1836. The Hornes moved to Far West, Missouri, in 1838 and were driven out of Missouri to Illinois with other Mormons the following winter. She joined the Nauvoo Relief Society on June 9, 1842.2

Horne’s Relief Society service continued in Salt Lake City. When the Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward Relief Society was organized in 1856, she served as first counselor to President Phebe W. Woodruff. When the society was reorganized on December 12, 1867, she was made president.3 She often traveled and spoke to different Relief Societies throughout Utah Territory, sharing her personal experience and conviction.4

In July 1868, Horne visited the neighboring Seventeenth Ward Relief Society.5 Her friend Marinda N. Hyde, whose husband may have baptized Horne, presided over this Relief Society.6 Prior to Horne’s speech, Hyde spoke about the work of the Seventeenth Ward. She said they had produced “one quilt, a piece of carpet, and a piece of jeans, and I believe that we are blessed in our labors. I feel that our Heavenly Father will take care of us.”7 Hyde continued her message of hope when she referred to a recent invasion of crickets (local settlers called them grasshoppers or locusts) in the Salt Lake Valley.8 The latest infestation likely prompted memories of a similar event two decades earlier in which crickets had attacked crops—a story that had become part of Mormon cultural memory.9 Hyde remarked, “In relation to the grasshoppers which visited us last week, I never felt for a moment as though Father had forsaken us.”10 Horne echoed these sentiments of faith in her own talk.

I am pleased to meet with you in the capacity of a Female Relief Society. I feel that these societies are stepping stones to much greater works, and that finally we shall reap the reward, but we must live faithful lives and successfully contend with evil and God will enable us to overcome. My faith never failed on account of the grasshoppers, for I knew that Father was willing and able to sustain us, and that sometimes he tries us to bring us nearer to him.11 I know it is good for us to meet sometimes in this capacity; the interchange of thoughts and feelings in a good cause tends to our elevation. And if we are faithful, when our work is done on earth we shall reach the celestial kingdom of our God.

Mary Isabella Horne

Mary Isabella Horne. Circa 1860s. Horne acted as president of the Ladies’ Cooperative Retrenchment Association from 1870 to 1904, president of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society from 1877 to 1903, and treasurer of the Relief Society general board from 1880 to 1901. She also served as chair of the executive committee of the Deseret Hospital from 1882 to 1894. Photograph by Edward Martin. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

Cite this page

God Will Enable Us to Overcome, At the Pulpit, accessed July 23, 2024