The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

12 May 1878


Smithfield Relief Society; Smithfield Schoolhouse, Smithfield, Utah Territory

One-story, wood church with steeple

Church, community, and school building, Smithfield, Utah Territory, 1867.

[. . .]

Prest A [Adeline] Barber was pleased to have sis E R Snow with us and prayed that God would bless us with attentive hearts that we may retain the teachings we receive and put them into practice

Sis E R Snow then arose and said I am not capable to edify you I shall not try to edify you, but you can lift up your hearts in prayer to God that I may edify you. I am particularly pleased with your minutes. I see by them that you are live saints here, that you are trying to do your duty. the Relief Society is increasing in interest and in usefulness, in the time of Bro Joseph Smith the Relief Society received every encouragement from him, it was in a meeting of the sis that he first told us that he would not be with us long it will never be forgoten by those who heard him when he said I turn the keys for you sisters the Records of your Books will show some of the works that you have done, but not all and not from your books will every thing be judged

Bro Joseph Smith said the duties of the Relief Societies was not only to care for the poor and the needy but to save souls. I cannot learn from your minutes how much you have done morally, how much you have done towards refining and cultivating each other. can you realize how much you have done in that direction? No you cannot, it is like bread cast upon the waters, but after many days it shall return to you.

We are laying a foundation for the salvation of all women, and do you know that if you are faithful you will be over all women, then how particular should we be how we act and how we do

The Relief Societies are already becomming a power in [p. 485] the land. when I was abroad I was frequently asked how we took care of our poor, and I took much pleasure in telling them of our organization and how they worked, but of its higher aims I could not get them to understand.

Bro Joseph said the Kings and Queens of the earth shall bring their means to help build up this Kingdom. The sis here assisted us at the Centenial fair and that sis is preaching. how frequently have I heard from those not off [of] us, how industrious your people are and how talented and this is done by the down trodden women of Utah our silk there exhibited elicited admiration and surprise and many wished to purchase our raw material, but I told them that we wished to go into the manufactory ourselves

raising silk is a mission given to the sis of the Relief Societies. we can cloth ourselves cheaper in silk than in cotton or wollen goods

Prest Brigham Young exerted himself and expended much means in trying to start silk culture when he came here first he said the elements are ful of silk. here we are donating thousands upon thousands of dollars to bring the poor from the nations of the earth, and it is our duty to start manufactories to give them bread. it is cruel to bring them here and have no labor to give them whereby they may get a sustainance for themselves and families. this silk culture will give employ<ment> to thousands, and it is not hard labor but the sisters ask must we set out the trees? Well I cannot answer that but we are accredited with great persuasive powers, and we can use these on the Brethren, but I have done harder work than setting out trees, but here the dollars come in. we have to wait three years before we can make anything, a committee of us tried to get the monied men in Salt Lake interested in the silk culture, but they laughed us to scorn [p. 486] Said they there is no money in it. we told them we are not after money we are after the wellfare of Zion. it now devolves upon the sis to try and make it a success. our legislature donated us a little means to get machinery to work with and we intend putting it in the best place and that is in Brigham City. in no other place can we risk it. we have a mission not only to raise silk, but to go into every kind of home manufactory, for as long as we wear anything from Babylon we are slaves we are no free, and if Babylon should fall tomorrow what would you do. just think of all your clothing how much of it is Babylonish. I like to preach when I can set the example pretty much all that I have on has been made by saintly hands, except my bonnet and the materials of that is Babylonish. The reason why I wear it when traveling is because my home made on[e]s are to[o] good, this one is good enough to stand the storms, I believe that if we would wear more home made articals we would have more of the spirit of God. we want the daughters of Zion to pattren after heaven. I have cultivated my tast untill the Babylonish fashions do not look nice to me. we want to be in the fashion of heaven this is what we should aim at. we have turned our backs on Babylon. we want to have an intimate acquaintaince with God. we want to know why we were brought here upon this earth in the fulness of times. we must know this to be enabled to do our duty well. are we here for selfish purposes just to work for ourselves or for the building up of the Kingdom of God Sis it is important that we know what we are here for. From your minutes I can learn a great deal, but I can not learn how many of the sis are workers or how many are only lookers on or how many are punctual in attending their meetings, but some of you will say I can not attend [p. 487] meeting and fulfill my duties as wife and mother. to such I will say you are not fulfilling your duties as a saint and cannot do your duty as a wife or mother, as well as though you attended your meetings. we all need spiritual food as well temporal. the sis that goes to her meetings with a meek humble spirit will receive something to make her happy and when she goes home she meets her children with a cheerful face and kind words she is ready to encourage her husband in his duties. her sons and her daughters attend their meeting, but the one that does not attend her meetings cannot get through her work so well and she has forgoten that she covenanted to become a God. the other one keeps that comforter that shows her things to come and she is always happy. some think that the old cannot be happy but I know that is we serve God and keep his commandments we will always be happy. I am happier now than in my youth, and mine was a happier girlhood than generally falls to youth for my position was such that I could command love and respect, but what was all the world to me when I knew that God had revealed his Gosple and that he was setting up his Kingdom upon the earth. I knew that the posession of the spirit of God surpassed all the associations of earthly grandeur I want to grow better year by year and I want my sis to do so too. I will say that sis who does not attend her meetings is not a saint. there is nothing so humbling and yet so edifying as getting up often and speaking one to another.

the gift of speach is a precious gift if we use it to the honor and glory of God, but if we use it for other purposes such as faultfinding and slandering that spirit will increase and we shall forget God There is an other mission given to the sis and a very important one to, that is laying up grain for a day of famine, for as sure as God lives a day [p. 488] of famine will come and God through his servants has called upon the sis to prepare for that time we have recomended the plan addopted by some of the Southren societies that of Gleaning you can get more that way than any other

Sis I feel proud of you in this place those who are doing their duty and I think the authorities here aught to be proud of you too

We want to make of our young men and women more useful members than we are. you young people will be a power soon then prepare yourselves for it. Bro Brigham said the young Ladies have done more than I could in many places for they have put down round dances. he had tried for years but could not accomplish it. you have an influence and a power that you know not of.

I say in my heart God bless you my sisters both of the Relief Society and the Young Ladies may you become a power to bless future generations there is one very important subject that I wish to speak upon and that is Celestial marriage I know the principal is from God, when I embraced it things were different from what they are now the sneers and the scorn of the world I cared nothing for. I had turned my back upon them, but when those professing to be saints seemed to think I was in a doubtful character, then it was hard to bear but in looking back I am thankful that I did bear it. at that time we did not know what to look forward to in the future, but you that are living in it now are counted as honorable as the first wives, that is if you act honorable, and I would say if any one of you feel against this principal in your heart do not let your tongue speak it. some of the sisters in thinking of it die a thousand deaths, but when they come to it they find it is not death by any means plural marriage when carried out right exerts the most refining and the most cultivating feelings [p. 489] For we have to cultivate our feelings to live in it I will give my yound sisters a word of advice, if any young man whome you like promis that he will not take any more wives than you, do not have him he is to narrow contracted. he is not worth the love of a good woman. some think that the brethren have no trials in this order but I think theirs is the greater trial. if they are faithful and true in the discharge of their duty when this revelation was first introduced Joseph Smith hesitated to obey it untill an Angel with a drawn sword told him he must obey or be destroyed.

[. . .]

Bishop S Roskelly [Samuel Roskelley] said I was pleased to listen to Sis E R Snow we can receive much good from her instructions if we will about home manufactory [. . .] as for the last principal spoken of by Sis Snow I know that we cannot get a celestial salvation without going into it for that principal is inseparable from the others. [. . .] [p. 490]

Source Note

Smithfield Branch, Cache Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1868–1906), vol. 1 (1868–1878), pp. 485–490, CHL (LR 8359 14).

See also Elizabeth Davis, “The Sisters’ Visit North,” Woman’s Exponent 7, no. 1 (1 June 1878): 3.