The Church Historian's Press

3 March 1869

Salt Lake City Eleventh Ward Relief Society; Eleventh Ward Schoolhouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

[. . .]

Bishop [Alexander] McRae said that we had met together to expedite business and for the purpose of reorganizing. In as much as no record was kept of former proceedings: a reorganization is requisite. Will the sisters sustain the former organization or changes necessary? if so choose whom you have a mind Would like to hear Sister Eliza Snow.

Sr Snow suggested to the sisters that the Prophet Joseph Smith said such an organization was to exist in the Church in all ages or it was not perfect. She refered to ladies recorded in the New Testament they were Presedints of such societies. She then read the minutes of a meeting held in Nauvoo: President Josheph Smith Bros [John] Taylor and [Willard] Richards were present. The object of the society was to search [n.p.] after the poor: look after the morals of the Sisters: hereby relieveing the Elders of the responsibility. A presiding officer to be elected. She can choose two consellors: set apart deacons: and other officers. The President to continue in office during good behavior. Emma Smith set apart was an elect lady. See John 2nd Epes [epistle] 1st [chapter] Joseph Smith ordained Emma Elected sisters [Leonora C.] Taylor1 and Whitny [Elizabeth A. Whitney] as counsellors: and confered blessings upon her to teach females and fit them for usefulness. When one spoke the chair to be addressed as Mrs Chairman or Mrs President. When two occupy the floor the President should decide who shall speak. Any member being faulty to be dealt with by the society and the council to be kept secret. The first Society was called The Nauvoo Benevolent Society. Relief was thought more appropriate. Benevolent inappropriate owing to popularity of term in the world; they might think we intended to screen criminals by using the term benevolent

Such societies generally corrupt as Washington Benevolent Society. Popular institutions no guide for us. By using term Relief extend help to the poor; concluded to call it Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. It was organized by Pres Jos Smith who said all belonging to the society must be without censure Brother Jos. Smith gave $5.00 in gold to commence with. The object of the Society being to seek out needy members of moral character Elders Taylor and Richards addressed the society and rejoiced to see so many take hold of so laudable an undertaking Dismissed by prayer

Sister Snow considered this ward relief society in the City as one in the country places. Each society is under the controle of the Bishop and could not exist without his counsel. [n.p.]

The Pres. of the society should be subject to the Bishop as he is subject to his Superior or file leader; the members follow out this order being subject to the President and so on. Without order we have no claim to the Spirit; we must have the spirit or we cannot remain organized The brethren have more of the spirit than the sisters; many things appear strange to them. Brother [Heber C.] Kimball said the sisters must be organized or be damned. This organization Bro Joseph said was sacred We need to seek and cheerish [cherish] the spirit and be actuated by it at all times. Each one must honor the other at all times. The Pres. to preside over the sisters as the Presidency do over the church. She controles the funds of the society: her counsellors to be one with her and on hand to assist her at all times; and to counsel her if they think she is in fault; it is not her place to go to them. Do not speak reproachfully of her or other members of the society. We must have honor in Isreal. The Secretary is to keep the minutes of all meetings or to write the history of the society; take an account of what is sold or donated. The minutes must be read at the next meeting and if approved by unanimous vote so note it in the minutes The Secretary needs the spirit of her <calling> and great patience

The Treasurer is to take charge of the donations of the society; take same as in minutes name of person and amount each has donated; amount to be estimated by board of appraisers. Donations to be brought to the meeting. Pres. of board to appraise them; the name of the person & price of each article to be taken; and the same to be labiled [labeled] by secretary Select women of conscience for this duty. Do business properly and orderly as the men so that the history of the same may be handed down to future generations of the daughters of Zion [n.p.] You are not yet organized therefore I cannot address you as a Society. In admiting members and in taking office you are taking a great responsibility. Each one must understand her place; and respect each other in their positions; in doing this you sustain each other. I feel very much interested. Pres. [Brigham] Young gave me a mission in behalf of the sisters. The Bishops have been kind to me always; and I feel obliged. Bishop McRae extended the right of to the sisters. [. . .] To all the nominations previous to taking the vote privilege was given to speak for or against. The following Sisters were then ordained to their several offices: Sr [Eunice F.] McRae by Bishop McRae; Sr Sarah [B.] Bean [. . .] Sr Margret [D.] Hogan [. . .] The following persons were recomended nominated and voted for: [. . .] [n.p.]

[. . .]

Sr Snow then addressed the Society. Said perhaps the Sisters might think it silly to be so formal in voting for each individual seperately practice is essential to transact business; it begets confidence. I like to speak by way of encouragement. I feel an auspicious day is before you. Sr McRae has much to encourage her having so much ability around her. By placing Sisters in position they have an oppertunity to improve their capacities. The object is to do good and benifit eachother. Joseph expects you to save souls in a moral point of view as well as temporal. You are in a high position strive to magnify your respective callings; the members fill as honorable positions as the President and Counsellors. In making choice of teachers be very careful it is a position of great responsibility; I never felt myself fully qualified for that office. The teachers in visiting should not call merely to beg; though they should always accept the smallest offering. Choose the wisest women cannot obtain enough to fill such positions; these women must be filled with the Holy Ghost Know how to impart wise instructions suitable to the circumstances of individuals. Some are given to sorrow; you can warm them up as a mother does her infant by taking them to your bosoms. By doing the best you can you will increase. Union is requisite; your hearts must be united and clothed with the Spirit. Associate togather you will love each other more by so doing. Be united & increase in faithfulness; and you will find those whom you thought neglectful will find be alive to their duties The Sisters have great influence. Brothers Joseph Smith Said provoke the breatheren to do good; we cannot go ahead [n.p.] of the breatheren owing to their priesthood; but we can help Let us set our hearts and heads togather to improve mentlly morally and financially. Be economical; have wisdom in distributing to the wants of the poor; seek to know their circumstances. If they have boxes of jewelry you ought to know it they should not object some such persons have called for assistance. I have been imposed on. We will if we are wise know things as they exist. We can shut our eyes from danger but it will not preserve us from that danger Pres. Young feels to take great interest in the society. you have his prayer commence carefully; never unless you are right take a step The President can receive information from the Bishop You will have plenty to do. Pres. Young said at the 15th ward society laid out work enough for the society and more than they can accomplish in this generation.

I bless you do not be afraid of the advance and progress of other wards; your faith will increase; you will have power in your meetings to heal the sick; your duty will open up before you at all times in various ways; you will have to act according to circumstances; you will be blessed and prospered and have the wisdom of God to direct you. Great means will be put into your hands. I shall always take pleasure in your welfare and prosperity.

Sr [Margaret T.] Smoot felt to respond to the call. She said the sisters will feel better for being organized. They will be enabled to act to better, advantage, uphold the President and her counsellors; and their diffidence will be overcome. I feel you will prosper. [n.p.]

Bishop McRae then said: you must now consider yourselves organized. I will render you all the assistance I can. be particular to know your places and keep them. The object of the Prophet to fulfill the ancient order. He said the sisters were the great engine in the church to forward its interests.

Sisters need not be diffident; he was the same at starting. I expect the society to aid and assist me in attending to the wants of the poor of the ward. [. . .]

Moved by Sr Eliza Snow and seconded by Sr Bean that we adjourn this meeting till Saturday the 12th inst at two oclock P.M. [. . .] [n.p.]

Source Note

Eleventh Ward, University West Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1869–1973), vol. 1 (1869–1879), n.p., CHL (LR 2569 14); Henry A. Dixon, Clerk.

See also Eleventh Ward, University West Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1869–1973), vol. 2 (1870–1875), pp. 5–6, CHL (LR 2569 14); and Eleventh Ward, University West Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1869–1973), vol. 5 (1884–1898), p. 1, CHL (LR 2569 14).

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3 March 1869, Salt Lake City Eleventh Ward Relief Society; Eleventh Ward Schoolhouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow, accessed July 16, 2024