[. . .]
Miss E. R. Snow then addressed the meeting: said she had sat and feasted on the words of the sisters; many subjects had been brought forward that were of great importance to this people. Remarked we were not sent here to consult our own consciences.1 She herself entered into the United Order when she received the Gospel; her whole soul was in the work she had then embraced, and unless she could live to accomplish something of worth, she had no desire for life; her heart was in the work, and yet how little it seemed one person could do in comparison to the great work to be accomplished. The prophet Joseph [Smith], in his lifetime, had said whenever the Church was fully organized there would always be a Relief Society, and every virtuous woman should be a member: chastity was the test. We are now so organized that in doing our duty we are a strong band, and we can accomplish a great deal in one grand phalanx, and it is necessary we should be united. Are we exercising all our abilities, all our influence for Zion? We must put our trust in God, round up our shoulders, and help to accomplish the Storing of Grain for Zion. The Lord has not called upon us too soon; we can’t do too much in the right direction, and at the right time. We had our Grain Mission late last fall, but we made a good beginning. Miss Snow alluded to a conversation she had with a brother in regard to storing up grain, shortly after the mission had been given to the sisters. This brother inquired of her whether she thought it necessary for the people in the section of country where he resided to store up grain, remarking that it was a grain country, an agricultural district. Miss Snow answered him by asking the question whether they had good crops secured to them for the next fifty years. The brother concluded that it would be consistent for the sisters to store some grain. Miss Snow continued: “We are co-operating together—our interests are one, and all tend to the same object, if we are working with a true purpose in view.” She considered a sister who stepped forward and assisted efficiently in home industries, the silk culture, etc., was doing just as much as an Elder who went forth to preach the Gospel. We must be clothed, and we ought to manufacture our own cloth; and to-day there is not as much interest manifested in the subject as there was before machinery was brought into the country. We must stop this importation of Babylonish goods. We have not at present the machinery here we ought to have to aid us in home enterprises. Can the sisters do anything in this direction? How many of the sisters in this house have homemade apparel on? Unless we are saved temporally, it is useless to talk about being saved spiritually. How many of the sisters here are represented through home-manufacture in the “Woman’s Store?” We have visitors coming there from various nations to see our home productions; we can represent you there; it is a testimony that they can take away with them. They look around and see the products of our hands. Miss Snow said, “You and I, my sisters, have a responsibility resting upon us, but I do not want to stand here making repetitions. I am happy in my duties, because I know I am working in the right direction. We, my sisters, can dispense with a great many things, if we only think so. I would naturally like to have everything elegant and beautiful around me, but I adapt myself to my circumstances. We must make our own ornaments, our own clothing, and beautify our own houses. In the Woman’s Store we have the opportunity of bearing strong testimonies; strangers in calling there are convinced we are an industrious people. Many good, candid people visit us.” Miss Snow, in closing her remarks, said “God bless you and strengthen your hands to labor, and may you become so interested in Zion and her future welfare, that you may be able to rise above all the little perplexities and annoyances of this life.” Miss Snow then referred to a lady she had met in Athens, Greece, whose father printed the first edition of the Book of Mormon. This lady had asked her plain, matter-of-fact questions about plural marriage: How men supported many wives, how they lived together, etc.; said she did not know what she should do [p. 94] if her husband was commanded to take other wives. Miss Snow replied to her, “Supposing you knew that the Lord had appointed you to do a certain work, that you had actually come here upon this earth to perform that peculiar work, would you not forget all about your own selfish feelings and go to with all your might in order to fill that mission?” This is the magnanimity women show who enter into plural marriage; and it refines and elevates them, and is one of the greatest cultivators in the world. It helps women to become sanctified and holy, and have their names associated with holy men, with Apostles and men of God.
Miss Snow then introduced to the assembly Mrs. E. A. [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney, who sang “A Song of Zion.”
Mrs. [Mary] Chase, President of the Society, made a few remarks, expressing herself pleased with the good instructions of the sisters. Referred to the cultivation of a spiritual disposition, and gave her ideas of the union that should exist among the Saints. [. . .] [p. 95]