The Church Historian's Press

19 July 1873

Retrenchment Association; Fourteenth Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

White building with wood trim, Salt Lake City, circa 1890

Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward meetinghouse, circa 1890. (Courtesy Church History Library.)

[Editorial Note: This discourse was reported in two different sources. Both versions are transcribed below. For more information, see the source note following each transcript.]

I. From Retrenchment Association Minutes

[. . .]

President Mrs. M. I [Mary Isabella Hales] Horne said

I presume all feel thankful to see Sister Snow again in our midst, and feel doubly repaid for all the efforts we have made for her success. [. . .] [n.p.]

Counselor Miss E. R. Snow said

I am now looking upon a congregation that are blessed with the highest advantages upon the face of this earth. I feel more highly honored in standing before you than if I were in a palace of gold. Since I last saw you, I have traveled a great distance, and I feel that I have had your faith and prayers and with them would be willing to travel the world round. But I am thankful that this is unnecessary, for to me home is the center of happiness. I have thought while absent when looking at the superstition and fanaticism abroad I thought if the sisters could realize their high positions they would be alive to their duties. I have felt a pride and thankfulness to my God that there were so many seeking to do the will of God, and for the Salvation of the human family. I told my realatives that that what I had passed through had been as much for their sakes as for mine: and that however lightly they might now treat think of it they would some day appreciate. I met with many people who in speaking of the condition of the women of Utah could not be convinced but that they were enslaved women. My sisters with the large sphere of action which has been marked out for us, shall we be idle or leave what we ought to do for others to perform. I many times remarked to men of the press that no where on the earth did women have so wide a sphere of action or so much liberty as the women of Utah.

I took the liberty to ask them not to write nothing but what they knew to be true. If we prove ourselves dilatory and do not avail ourselves of these advantages we shall give the just cause to criticize. The world will know that we are as a city on a hill and that woman in Utah is the noblest and most angelic of any upon the face of the earth. I might speak for hours of my travels, but this subject rests upon my mind with greater weight. Evening before last was the first time we I had heard President [Brigham] Young speak of the subject of printing, he is in earnest about it, and feels sorry that no one has taken a step in this direction. I learned that the whole community was called to act. I then made up my mind to go [n.p.] from house to house if required to procure young ladies to learn. I heard that there were two young ladies in Cottonwood who had talked of learning the art. Sister Horne and I went down there and found that they had not decided. It appears that Brother [George Q.] Cannon requires a little time notice to make ready for them. With regard to studying medicine and practicing the art in that department is yet to be filled. Mrs. Dr. [Mary H.] Barker is ready to open the school as soon as sufficient number of students have been secured. It seems as though our labors are multiplying fast, and unless we are up and doing they will get ahead of. Every one is called upon to take an interest in and manifest that interest by taking an active part. I have attended meetings in various churches abroad, the edifices adorned with gold but never have seen one that was built by the direction of the living God. Many times at seeing large congregations no word of the Lord an no person endowed with authority from on high my heart was pained with the condition of the world; then my mind would revert to the work which the Latter-day Saints have to do for the dead. Our Father is so beneficient, kind, indulgent and wise that he has provided for the salvation of every honest soul upon the face of the earth. It is not only printing, medicine and teregraphy [telegraphy], but all the requirements of the Gospel have to be performed, by the living for the dead. The Gospel of Jesus Christ produces the same effect has the same requirements in every age of the world. Our duties are multiplied our sphere is a broad one; it reaches not only through time, but into eternity. I am proud of my sisters and allow me to thank on this occasion for your prayers in my behalf. I thank you for your kind feelings and acts. My desire is to remain in your midst that we may mutually enjoy the blessings which the rest of the mankind are not allowed to enjoy. I am ashamed of the American Press yet we are not reported any worse than the ancient saints were. The erroneous representations do not injure us but they have a tendency to deprive others of the blessings we enjoy. The spirit of the world is falsehood and the main pursuit wealth. I was associated with ladies and gentlemen [n.p.] who profess religion but in a very different way from that of ours, but I respected them, for I felt they were sincere. I told a number that they would obtain a greater heaven than they anticipated; but if they wished a celestial glory they must obey the celestial law. I have been particularly interested in the Young Ladies Retrenchment meetings While in London I was associated with young Junius Wells, he is a humble young man, and uses all this efforts to do good I told him of the Young Ladies Retrenchment organization an he was pleased with it and wished something similar could be done with the young men. I trust I shall have <other> opportunities to address you, and to look upon your faces. When I was in Constantinople I received the first number of the Womons Exponent and stayed in from sight seeing, to read my papers. They seemed to bring me home more effectually than any thing else I saw. I really think the responsibilities that rest upon woman have more to do in molding the society of national character than anything else. How necessary that we should be noble prayerful and humble. I would exhort my young sisters not to falter but remain faithful in the work which you are engaged. Others may don the fashions of the world and gain the smiles of many who would not deign to smile on you, but what does it amount to? Nothing. We were received with affection every where we went no unpleasantness to mar our visits. We did not say <so> much about our religion as we would had we been sent <among them> to preach. Whatever we did say to them they received it kindly and many are calculating to to visit Salt Lake City. I think our visit will be the means of much good. I think the place for all the sisters should have been at the convention this afternoon. Your vote counts as much weighs as much heavily as President Young’s Brother G. A. [George Albert] Smith or Bro D [Daniel] H Wells hense you should consider your selves important on election day.

[. . .] [n.p.]

Source Note

Minutes of the Senior and Junior Co-operative Retrenchment Association (1870–1880), n.p., CHL (CR 100 904); Margaret M. Groo, Secretary.

II. From Woman’s Exponent

[. . .]

Miss Eliza R. Snow made remarks. She was looking upon a congregation belonging to a people who were blessed above all others on the face of the earth; she felt more honored than she had done when walking through princely palaces. When she looked at the superstition of the world, she thought if the sisters could realize their high position and be awake to their duties, they would, many of them, be more energetic and seek more for faith and unity. Was thankful that so many were proving themselves faithful. It was hard, some times, to convince persons who had been prejudiced against the Mormons, that they did not know more about the people here, and their doings, than those who had been associated with them for forty years; they would have it that the women of Utah were enslaved and trodden down. She had many times remarked to gentlemen of the press that no where on earth had women so broad a sphere of action or so much liberty as in Utah. She remarked to an editor in New York that it was disgraceful for men like himself, whom people looked to and had a right to look to for enlightenment and the truth, to publish so many falsehoods about a people so well known as were the Mormons; there was no excuse for their doing so, any one might learn the truth of a people so much talked about. She was ashamed of the American press. She wished the sisters to appreciate the freedom they had, and when a convention was held for the purpose of electing officers all the women should go and join their votes. Each of their votes counted one the same as that of any man, of however great importance. She was proud of her sisters, those who were seeking to know and perform their duties in assisting to build up the Kingdom of God; urged upon them the necessity of their being studious and active, and encouraging and strengthening each other; thanked and blest them all for their kind faith made manifest in her behalf, and the love they had shown her. Hoped they would all be on hand to help carry out the requirements which had been made of them.

[. . .] [p. 35]

Source Note

M. M. Groo, “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent 2, no. 5 (1 Aug. 1873): 35.1

Cite this page

19 July 1873, Retrenchment Association; Fourteenth Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow, accessed June 20, 2024