The Church Historian's Press

7 September 1871

Pleasant Grove Relief Society; Pleasant Grove Schoolhouse, Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory

One-story light stucco building with a bell turret

Now known as the Old Bell School House, this school constructed in 1861 in Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, was also used as a ward meetinghouse. This photograph was taken in 2020.

[. . .]

Prest E. R. Snow—My sisters—This is an unexpected pleasure, as I anticipated going on to Provo tonight.

Tis a great thing to be called a saint, but the name is nothing unless we fulfill the the requirements of a Saint. We are a portion of the body of Christ, and it is necessary that we should be a living part of that body. Woman in the Priesthood holds very high responsibilities, it is essential that we should learn what those responsibilities are and fulfill them. I consider it a great thing <to> merit the appellation of Woman. Woman is called the weaker vessel partly because she admits that she is—We are too apt to cultivate undevelopment—To foster weakness—cherish ignorance instead of trying to expand our minds and improving our intellectual organ[p. 73]ization. God intends Woman to be a high noble and perfect being. Wife—Mother—sister—Queen—and Priestess she should stand as counselor to her Husband. Are we not too liable to hang as a dead weight retarding his progress. Instead of encouraging advising and urging him forward—she should not seek to usurp his position, but by gentle words of comfort and cheer help to make his way plain. One that merely holds the position of Wife to be petted, caressed and humored is not a true wife does not merit the name of Woman, and is not worthy to be a mother—Upon the mother rests great responsibilities not merely the domestic duties—she should improve every opportunity for intellectual advancement—mental culture—aspire to and if possible attain the highest pinnacle a woman can reach For it is the mother that stamps the character of her child. It rests with her whether she will bring into the World a noble soul or a worthless and degraded one. Is not this a high and noble calling, to bear the souls of men. It is a higher calling than the Angels. But says one, has not the Father as much to do with forming the character of the child as the Mother? Not if she does her duty. Then does it not behoove each and every Mother to act well her part, that she may bear children that will be an honor to herself and to the Priesthood—Noble souls fit for Kings and Statesmen Sisters it rests with you what our next generation will be.

Sisters do you encourage your Husbands to honor the law of celestial Marriage. Or do you by your ceasless whining and threats to leave him—Rob him and yourselves of the blessings this order is bound to bring declaring you will not submit—in this I see a great illustration of Woman. This is where we manifest Womans weakness—But I will not [p. 74] admit this Womans true character but the result of degeneration. A wife that will uphold her husband in this, through no stumbling block in his way—Put aside her selfishness and try to overcome the trials of this order—is a Woman God will be proud of.

But some say we can see no necessity for this order of marriage.—I will try to explain it. In the first place Joseph [Smith] said There was a great many more good Women then men on the earth. Now shall these few good men take each one wife and leave the rest to live old maids or marry some degraded man—inferior to them in every gift and qualification—Raise up a posterity of degraded beings—for no others can spring from such a union or as thousands of Women have done, barter their virtue and soul salvation for a livelyhood—Or shall the few men who are worthy of more than one—Make Honorable wives of them all, and by their judicious counsel and teachings together with the wives own good sense—induce them to live chaste pure and holy lives, and in the end, for there self denial—having conquered their selfishness and many weaknesses—Gain a crown brighter than the noon day sun—a Home in the Heavens and life eternal—When I entered this order I had no hope of ever being respected or looked upon with respect—but meet scorn and derision as long as life lasted—But I knew it was a Heaven-born principle. I had it from the lips of Joseph as well as an inward conviction that I could not gainsay, and come life or death determined to take upon myself this cross—Am thankful to God that I have never faltered.

I know we are laying a foundation for the redemption of the world—We can not of course read the future but this will ultimately be the result. It will do away with the wicked state society is now in. Then let us uphold and propagate this principle. I have often heard Young Ladies [p. 75] declare they would never go into Polygamy. But God overruled perhaps their young lovers were stricken with death or some thing befel them and they were glad to be the wife of an honorable man though he be in Polygamy. I have known these same thoughtless girls become good and true Women an honor to this order of marriage. If we could penetrate the future and see the mighty purposes God has in view, this would not be so great a trial for us but he withholds the light that we may prove ourselves to him and Saints.

If we wish to be Superfine flour we must be willing to be ground. We some times get tired of the daily routine of our lives and think all this Humdrum existance we live over each day is of no consequence, is not appreciated but it is all necessary for the great end that must be accomplished. and is just as acceptable to God as is an Elder preaching the gospel.

This is a great work, but not all, not more than a tithing. Our work comprises everything that pertains to the building up of Zion, and one thing of great importance our own advancement.

We should be Ladies of the first rank for our own sakes and that of our posterity.—Never indulge in obscene language even among ourselves. I am proud of my sisters, but I wish some of them would be a little more Womanly. We are too neglectful of the advantages we have as a Female Relief Society. Do we understand what is required of us, it is not merely to relieve and succor the poor—that is not a tithe of its duties—Joseph Smith said—“not merely to relieve the poor but to save souls” And the blessings in store for the faithful [p. 76] are not for a chosen few but for each and every one who live for them—There is no failure when God promises—Let us be of good cheer—It behooves us to live faithful when we know the spirit of apostasy is abroad, the spirit of the world is gaining upon many—Many of our young men and Women are taking up with the views and ideas of our enemies—trying to ape their fashions—Is the fault with the Parents. To some extent it is. I think we do not commence their education early enough. The little child in its mothers arms knows by intuition whether that mother is honest or otherwise. In the cradle is the time to sow in their minds the seeds of honesty and virtue We ruffle and fix up our little girls and perhaps never think whether the child is honest and truthful—Our children are left too much to form their own characters. We cannot be too much alive to this.—Tis a great labor I know but the reward is commensurate with the task. I am inclined to think if the Relief Society had been doing there duty there would have been no need of a “Retrenchment Society” for my own part I would not be willing to barter any of the promised blessings for the approval of the whole world—We are not laboring for the approbation of the world but for a home in the Heavens. If we do not live up to the requirements of God the loss is our own. Let us try to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

It is the privilege of every faithful sister that has received her washings and anointings to administer to and anoint the sick. Let us live pure and holy that our prayers may be heard and answered.

Sisters I feel to bless you all in the name of Israels God—may his influence and power [p. 77] rest upon you continually to enable you to be faithful and true Women of God.

[. . .] [p. 78]

Source Note

Pleasant Grove Branch, Alpine Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1868–1901), vol. 1 (1868–1892), pp. 73–78, CHL (LR 7006 14); Paulina E. Brown, Secretary.

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7 September 1871, Pleasant Grove Relief Society; Pleasant Grove Schoolhouse, Pleasant Grove, Utah Territory, The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow, accessed July 21, 2024