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17 January 1878


Salt Lake City Seventeenth Ward Young Ladies; John Pack Residence, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

Modest rock home

John Pack residence, Salt Lake City. (Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society.)

[. . .]

Present—Sister E. R. Snow. [. . .]

Sister E. R. Snow, arose and stated the object of the Meeting, and gave a brief account of the Juvinile Soci[e]ty of the Ward. Said about four years ago, some little girls went to the Bishop [Nathan Davis] and requested to be organized into a Society; their request was treated somewhat coldly, as the Bishop did not understand what they asked of him. However, they persevered and went a second time. It is presumed that the Bishop had seen Prest [Brigham] Young concerning their request, in the meen time, for he told them that they could have the Meeting House to hold meetings in at any time, and blessed them.

I always admired that move, and today bless those girls. But now it seems wisdom that the older sisters engage in this organization. Many of the young sisters have had experience in this matter, yet the older ones should take the lead, that all might be combined and work together. I think the young married ladies should belong to this Association, and every girl as soon as she is baptized The organization of these Associations is as much a revelation as that of the Relief Societies. The one came through Joseph Smith, the other through Brigham Young; and if I were to choose between the two organizations, I should choose the one for the young, so many of whom, for the want of such culture have gone to destruction. [p. 1]

When we first came here there were no schools, but as soon as we got the bread and butter, attention was turned to educating the children mentally; but as they were born in the Church, and heirs by right to the Kingdom, no thought was bestowed upon their spiritual culture.

The world educate their children to the highest mental standpoint in their reach. But we had come out of Babylon, and thought we had left her behind; but the spirit of the world had crept in among our young folks, and we had Infidels among them, children of good parents; until the question was asked, “What will become of our children”? And no one knew until the Lord spoke, and we were sent to organize and teach them.

We were met with scorn, but we had our mission, and we have worked from then until now. Many of the Societies have broken up, yet some have remained true to their integrity: we know the result must be good, for the work was from God.

At first, many of the girls were laughed at for attending meeting, and scorned by their by their mates, while others met with more encouragement; then the mothers became interested when they saw the results for now the girls could testify that the work was true, before, they supposed it was for their parents said so, now they knew it for themselves.

So far the results have far exceeded our expectations, and there are many splendid Secretaries among the young ladies. On one occasion, Prest. Young met with us in our general meeting, and heard the young ladies read their minutes; when he said “Two thirds of the men in congress could do no better than that.”

Prest. Young gave Elder Junius Wells the mission to go through the Territory, and organize [p. 2] the young men; but the young ladies have got the start of them, and know better how to conduct their meetings; but the young men are progressing and moving steadily forward.

I want you young ladies to become qualified, that when the Queens of the earth come here, you can instruct them. In your meetings have good reading selections from the best books. I must say many of the selections I have heard read were as good as I could make myself.

In the early days of the Church the young took delight in the work; and it was no uncommon thing for children to speak in tongues, and have the blessings of the Gospel poured upon them. But children get no more than they earn, either the spirit of the world, or the spirit of God. No one can get the knowledge of God any cheaper than Peter got it, when Christ said, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven.”

I remember in the early days, some little girls met together to play meeting. They sang and prayed, and appointed their speakers; but as they were sincere, the Lord poured out His Spirit upon them, and they spoke in tongues, and were so happy that they had to tell of it—Now some one must preside over this Association; and I see before me many young ladies who could preside with dignity, if they were to do to the best of their ability, aided by the Spirit of God, who can use any one who is willing to do His will. Women’s duties are increasing year by year, therefore, my sisters, prepare yourselves for high and honorable callings.

I propose Sister Belle Clayton, as President of this Association, but none of you need vote for her if you do not think this a wise choice. After some deliberation, it was moved and passed without a dissenting vote [. . .] [p. 3] [. . .] [p. 4] [. . .]

Sister Snow advised them to be punctual at their meetings, and make them short, but interesting.

[. . .] [p. 5]

Source Note

Seventeenth Ward, Salt Lake Stake, Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association Minutes and Records (1870–1973), vol. 3 (1870–1892), pp. 1–5, CHL (LR 8240 17); Lydia D. Alder, Secretary.

See also Lydia D. Alder, “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent 6, no. 18 (15 Feb. 1878): 138.