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20 December 1876


Harrisville Relief Society; Harrisville East Schoolhouse, Harrisville, Utah Territory

[. . .]

Sister Eliza R. Snow said: a short time ago the sisters were reluctant to order or preside when the brethren were present.

They have their duties to perform and so have the sisters their duties to perform in the society that are comprehended by none.

The R. [Relief] Societies were organized by Joseph Smith the Prophet. I cannot organize a R. Society. I can help the Bishops to organize them. Wherever there has been a church of God, the women have been organized into a society. For woman holds a great influence. Show me the woman of a nation, and I can tell what the nation is; for she gives refinement to the nation. You will say you make it appear that [n.p.] the women are leaders. Does She not implant the first thoughts and actions in the young that will govern them through life? Sisters what kind of women should we be? Should we be lovers of pleasure or fault finders? to give evil influences to the rising generation, in[s]tead of leading them to noble aspirations? Then how noble our aspirations should be.

We can become what we please by striving for it. I presume many of the young do not know for themselves that this work is true; but have depended on their parents instead of humbling themselves before God to get the knowledge for themselves. You cannot reap the laurels of your parents. You will have to earn them yourselves.

The Pres’t. of the society must be upheld in her duties in appointing what officers she needs. We should hold each other’s character sacred and make character the test of membership. You need to meet often together or you can do nothing. Are we united in home industry? We must come to it, for babylon will fall, and we will have to depend upon ourselves. Be united, put from you every thing in opposition to union. Lay aside all jealousy. Do not speak evil of any one. Do not find fault for it brings difficulties. Do not let the Pres’t bear all the burden. Let each one bear her part. The office of a teacher, is, a great calling. They are not beggars as some call them. You ought to meet once a week. The heart of the society is not the dollars but to do good. I do <not> think raffling is honest [n.p.] Let the mother’s raffle and the children will gamble. I place Pres’t [Brigham] Youngs words before mine. I do not want money that has been raffled for. Babylon wants money: we want what is better. The Lord has called upon the R. Societies to lay up grain. We want the approbation of the Bishops. Some think it is out of woman’s sphere, to see to unloading grain; but the Lord calls and we must obey. Pres’t. F. [Franklin] D. Richards said the sisters had to bear a more laborious part than the brethren. The sisters will bear it with more fortitude; will strive more against difficulties to accomplish their object. It is necessary for the society to meet together often. As you are so scattered I thought it best to have you meet two places. I supposed it would be all right. I heard soon after, the president could not go on for the difficulties that arose. I was sorry; but if you do not want two places of meeting you need not have it so. There is no compulsion. Those who are compelled are good for nothing.

I have no right to preside over this R. Society meeting. I think it not proper for a man to preside over or act as a clerk of a R. S. meeting. The Pres’t. of the Dis’t. [District] should hold up the hands of the Pres’t. of the Society; for she has all she can get along with. If she does any thing wrong go to her and counsel with her. There is great intelligence among the sisters, and they should go ahead, and if they make mistakes be not discouraged. You will eventually accomplish a great work.

Pres’t. D. [Daniel] B. Rawson said he was glad of the privilege of seeing Sister Snow, [n.p.] and was thankful for the interest she has taken for the society; was sorry there was disunion. No one has more interest in this Society than I have. Some of the sisters wished to raffle of[f] a quilt to raise means towards helping to build the temple. I did not think there was any sin in it. It was an error. I was not here when the meetings were divided. If my counsel had been carried out there would not have been any difficulty. I understand it to be one meeting and not two. I do not want any meetings to be called our meeting or your meeting for we are, or should be one, having no division and the meetings are all ours.

Coun Jos. Taylor said he had labored with pre[s]ident Rawson. There was a spirit of division. Said he did <not> want two Societies. The division started from the sisters and not the brethren. I want the privilege of a rehearing. I have been reported to Pres’t. F. D. Richards.

Sister E. R. Snow then said the R. Societies were all one society. At Nauvoo, the Society met in wards in cold weather, but they were all one Society. If Pres’t. M. [Melissa] Shurtliff could attend both meetings it would be better, but it being so far to attend it would be not relieve the brethren. To rieve relieve is what the Society is for, and not to impose burdens upon the brethren.

Pres’t. M. Shurtliff said if she had done wrong she would make it right. She had not tried to put any brother down.

Prest. Jane [S.] Richards said we are all liable to make mistakes. I think the minutets [minutes] of your meetings should be read and accepted [n.p.] where they were taken.

[. . .]

Source Note

Harrisville Ward, Farr West Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1868–1970), vol. 1 (1868–1882), n.p., CHL (LR 3668 14).