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25 June 1875


Ephraim Relief Society; Ephraim, Utah Territory

[. . .] After the usual ceremonies of opening, Mrs. S. [Sarah] N. Peterson introduced Sister E. R. Snow from Salt Lake City. Sister Snow said: I have long desired this opportunity of seeing the sisters of Ephraim and talking to them. Sisters, I occupy an honorable position, but the great responsibility attending it prevents my feeling proud. If we are true saints nothing but the true Spirit of God will satisfy us; if not, the spirit of the world might satisfy. When this society was first organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the City of Nauvoo, it was then almost the test of fellowship; it was the standard of character; the name of every virtuous woman was expected to be enrolled in the society. I have the minutes of this First Meeting; It is a Treasure beyond Price. Brother John Taylor was called to the chair. Br. Joseph and other brethren often met with us. Br. Joseph said he wished the sisters to take charge of the poor, relieve their wants, comfort them in sickness, visit the widow and the fatherless, attend to the morals of the sisters, never indulging in profane or vulgar language, that the sisters might become Saviours on Mount Zion.

The duty of a Secretary is to write the history of the Society, writing nothing but what is really necessary, getting the spirit of the meeting, that it may be a faithful record to those who come after us.

Let the sisters be careful not to speak against POLYGAMY; the kingdom of God cannot be built up without it. Say nothing against the UNITED ORDER, for we shall not go back to Jackson County [Missouri], neither will Zion be redeemed, without it.

We have heard much of the union and the generosity of the sisters of Ephraim, of their industry, but how much they have done in saving souls we have not been informed; for there is no record of the higher duties. Do we realize our responsibilities? And that we have as much to do with the salvation of our souls as the brethren? They can not save us, we must save ourselves. Many sisters think there are no duties but those of the household. But these duties were all performed in Babylon. Why are we called out of Babylon? The sisters in Zion are required to form the characters of the sons who are to be rulers and bishops in the kingdom of God. Then, woman must be educated, intelligent and holy. Can we with the contracted ideas of the world, have revelations to know that Jesus is the Christ? That Joseph Smith was sent of God? That Brigham Young is his successor? The fruits of the Spirit of God are [p. 42] joy, love, peace, longsuffering, patience, meekness; faultfinding is not of God. We must cultivate ourselves; trials are necessary, we must not turn aside because of sorrow and trial; set your mark high, do not be weary in well doing. We must be as gold refined, as wheat well bolted, try to come out of the head of the bolt. There is no wrong in being tempted. Jesus was tempted, He overcame. There are records kept of those who are tempted and overcome the tempter, “They are mine, saith the Lord God, in the day when I make up my jewels.”

“But,” a sister says, “I have been injured, I must be revenged.” Sister, be silent, trust in God, He will repay. It is a trying time, many of the saints are asleep, seeking the things of the world. Mothers, make Zion uppermost. Young ladies, we are glad you are organized, come to meeting, learn the laws of life and salvation, never sacrifice the Spirit of God to marry a Gentile. Those young men who are hanging around the saloons, in Salt Sake [Lake] City and elsewhere, defile their bodies with whiskey, tobacco and foul language; they are no more fit to be husbands and fathers than the heathen, and many girls are just the same. I am sorry to say they have a Gentile teacher in Mount Pleasant. They say, O, but he is a gentleman, he is winning the hearts of the children; sisters, do your duty. I would rather my children never learned a letter of the alphabet, than have them taught by such a teacher. Sisters, have you a saloon here? If not, be thankful, pray your husbands to be strong against the introduction of liquor saloons. Make home happier, never leave children to go to meeting, take them with you, or leave them in good care, that you can trust. There are many things that I would like to speak of, but I say God bless you; meet often, encourage HOME MANUFACTURE, it helps bring in the United Order. I’ve been many years in plurality, I would not dare to say anything against it. Of course there are trials in it, mortals are imperfect, they make mistakes, there is no wrong in being mistaken. I am willing to sacrifice my feelings for the good of others, everything but my principles, I am willing to lay at the feet of my Saviour, for the higher life. Step forward and be prepared when the angels come to talk with the sisters, as they did with Sarah and Abraham. God bless you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

[. . .]

The sisters hope to have many such meetings, and pray God to bless the sisters from Salt Lake.

[. . .] [p. 43]

Source Note

Agnes S. Armstrong, “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent 4, no. 6 (15 Aug. 1875): 42–43.