The Church Historian's Press

28 October 1877

Smithfield Relief Society; Smithfield Schoolhouse, Smithfield, Utah Territory

One-story, wood church with steeple

Church, community, and school building, Smithfield, Utah Territory, 1867. (Roberta N. Geary, et al., eds. Smithfield…As a City on a Hill: A History of Smithfield, Utah 1859–2001 [Smithfield, Utah: Smithfield Historical Society, 2001], 95.)

Sisters E R Snow Z [Zina D. H.] Young and [Elizabeth A.] Davis were present to speak to the Society

[. . .]

Pres. Moorehead [Elizabeth T. Morehead] arose and said Sis. E R Snow would speak to us.

Sister Snow arose and said. I expect the sisters nearly <all> recognize me. The last time I was here I was seated on this stand by the side of president [Brigham] Young now he is gone from our midst, he has been called hence, but he has left a great amount of work for us to do. I never remember hearing him pray even in family prayer without praying for the Releif Society <Societies>. The Sisters has a work to preform as well as the bretheren to be saved. The time has been when the sisters would sit in their easy chairs and say, “my husband is a good man he will save me.” That is a wrong idea, we all have something to do to gain a salvation. Sisters we have no time to tell over our trouble, our pains, and our aches, besides it does us no good, let us for get [forget] them as soon as possible Our aim is different from the women of the world, we are as far above them as the heavens from <are above> the earth.

In refference to plural marriage, is there anyone here who is so selfish and narrow-minded as to oppose it? do you think of the women of the world. there are thousands of good women in the world, who if they have a chance to get married are afraid to for there are so few pure men, plural marriage is to bring them out of degridation. A Deligate [delegate] from Congress called on me to talk as he termed it on Poligamy, he asked me what I thought about it. I told him where that was practiced there was no such thing as the social evil. To me it is one of the most important [p. 397] things in Zion. I hope there is no one in this house who ever speaks a word against it. It seems to me there is nothing about plural marriage to try any body, compared with the time when Sister Zina and I went <in> to it, I thought when I went in to it I never expected to would be looked upon as a decent woman again, but now the Second or third wife is looked upon as <just as> honorable as the first, and I heard Joseph Smith say many second wives would be first in eternity. If a man has a dozzen wives they each are sealed to him by the same cerimony as the first If Emma Smith had acted rightly what would she not have been to-day, honored and respected by all the saints, and now what is she, neglected and forgotten almost.1 I often meet gentlemen and ladies from the outside world, and I am proud to tell them I have been in poligamy for 40 years. Some women think there is no trials in it for men. Joseph Smith rejected it till an angell of the Lord stood over him with a drawn sword and told him his priesthood would be taken from him if he did not accept it. Bro. Kimble [Heber C. Kimball] said he would have rather died than to have went into it if that would have filled the bill. And I have heard Pres. Young say death <the grave> looked sweet to him by the side of plural marriage but there was no other way but to go into it.

We must be faithful and do our duties if we would be happy. I am an old woman and some might say there was not much enjoyment in life for me, but the more faithful I am the happier I am. I am happier today than I was 40 years ago [p. 398]

We are called up on to help build temples to do a work for our dead, who did not have the privelege themselves. I just as much believe we had our missions given us in the spirit world, as I believe anything I do not know.

In talking with strangers they will say Miss Snow I cannot believe as you believe I reply I do not expect you to; you only have five senses while I have six, I have the Holy spirit, which enables me to see things differently from you. Sisters you will have to excuse me for hurrying from one subject to another so fast but my time is short I have to be in Brigham City at 4 o’clock. We are called upon to establish home industry, as well as to build temples, it is just as important as temples. When you come to Salt Lake City I want you to come to our store, the womans commission store; it is the only Zions store in Utah, we started with nothing we sisters can start a store with nothing; but the bretheren have to have two or three thousand dollars before they will think of starting a store. We have evrything there is made in Utah almost, from the finest lace to the heav[i]est blankets and mens cloth. I want you to encourage home manufactory, I would rather see you sisters all with straw hats and bonnets on than these sunbonnets that many have on it is true you make your bonnets but the cloth comes from babylon and the straw we can raise at home, and we have some splendid silk already on hand that was raised here, and we can raise any amount of it if we will but try. Set out mulberry trees and go to raising silk it is cheaper and better than either wool or cotton. I have been told by those who know that a good silk dress [p. 399] might be washed <evry week> and worn all the time for 20 years, so you see Sisters you would not have to be sowing [sewing] on your machines from mo[r]ning till night and wearing your selves out patching if your families wore silk. The grain question is another important item. I was surprised that we sisters were called upon to do that great work, we will have all we can do if we will only do it: we need not complain of our not having any missions to fulfill, there is plenty for to do all both men and women. I am thankful to see so many of my sisters out to see us, and hear us talk, I am also thankful to see so many bretheren present. I would like to talk longer but I will have to go soon, my sisters Zina and sister Davis will talk to you when I am gone. I am glad you have a house of your own, for you can meet in it when you please. Now if I should say to you, you must not eat only once a week you would say you are starving us to death, yet you only meet once a month as a society, that is not often enough. Our spirits need food as well as our bodies. I should starve if I only met with my sisters once a month. Try to do the best you can, when I came into this church I made a determination to do what ever I was called upon to do, and I have stuck to it, girls and elders also take heed.

I want to bless my sisters this morning, my heart is full of blessings for them. If you will give me your faith I will bless you in tongues, and Sister Zina will interpret it when you I are gone. I want your faith and prayers for if I cannot speak by the spirit of God I do not want to speak at all. [p. 400]

She then spoke for about five minutes in tongues when she left for Brigham City.

Sister Zina arose and said. You must give me your faith and prayers, that I may be enabled to tell you what sister Eliza said, for she felt to leave a mothers blessing with you “She said: my heart is full of blessings for you my sisters, speak not lightly of the things of God. I feel to bless these my young bretheren, for they will grow up to be mighty men in Iserel, My heart is full of blessings for the young, if they only knew the importance of the work before them they would cover up their faces and cry O! Lord prepare us for the great events that is to take place. I know not when we shall meet again, but I hope to meet you in the presence of God. Again I bless you, I yearn over you, when I look on your faces as a mother yearns over her babe in her arms, I say Sisters be ye honored, and you are honored by your heavenly Father[”] Sister Snow then spoke a few words to the Bishop which sister Zina did not deem wisdom to give to the Society, as he was not present having gone with her <sis Snow> to the Railroad.

Sister Zina said the first of sister snows blessing was in the tongue of the ancient inhabitants of this country the Indians, and the last was the language of the people of Jarod. [. . .] [p. 401]

Source Note

Smithfield Branch, Cache Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1868–1906), vol. 1 (1868–1878), pp. 397–401, CHL (LR 8359 14); E. M. Merrill, Recorder.2

See also Elizabeth Davis, “Visit to Northern Settlements,” Woman’s Exponent 6, no. 14 (15 Dec. 1877): 111; and Elizabeth T. Jushaw, “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent 6, no. 15 (1 Jan. 1878): 118.

Cite this page

28 October 1877, Smithfield Relief Society; Smithfield Schoolhouse, Smithfield, Utah Territory, The Discourses of Eliza R. Snow, accessed June 15, 2024