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17 July 1880


General Relief Society; Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory

White building with wood trim

Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward meetinghouse and assembly hall, circa 1890. (Courtesy Church History Library.)

[. . .] singing, O my Father [. . .]

E. R. Snow said, this is our last meeting before the 24th of July, and we have some business to present relating to the celibration, yesterday Sister zina [D. H. Young] and I went to Bountiful and held sweet Communion with the Relief Society there. In the afternoon the children assembled and their deportment and attention made an impressive appearence. About three hundred were present, their Conference was called unexpectedly. We were surprised at their ready answers to questions. Sister Roggers [Aurelia S. Rogers] told us that of those who attended the Association not one had died with Diphtheria or measles which had prevailed there the deaths had all been among those who did not attend the Primary Associations. If any of the different Ward R. S. [Relief Society] have made arrangments to ride in the procession on the approaching 24th they are requested to report at this meeting Arrangments have been made for carriages for the Primary and Stake representatives

[. . .] [p. 9]

[. . .]

President [John] Taylor having arrived and being invited to address the Sisters Said [. . .]

On the occasion of the organization of the Relief Society, by the Prophet Joseph Smith at Nauvoo I was present [. . .] By my request my Secretary Elder L. John Nuttall read to you relative to this meeting from the Book of the Law of the Lord at your Conference held June 19th, which explained what was then done.

The ordination then given did not mean the confering of the Priesthood upon those Sisters yet the sisters hold a portion of the Priesthood in connection with their husbands, (Sisters E. R. Snow and Bathsheba [W.] Smith stated that they so understood it in Nauvoo and have always looked upon it in that light).1

As I stated, at that meeting, that I was called upon by the Prophet Joseph and I did then ordain Sisters [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney and [Sarah M.] Cleveland, and blessed Sister Emma [Smith] and set her apart. I could not ordain these Sisters to anything more, or greater powers than [p. 10] had been confered on Sister Emma who had previously been ordained to expound the scriptures, and Joseph said at that time, that being an Elect Lady had its significance and that the revelation was now fulfilled in Sister Emma being thus elected to preside over the Relief Society.

[. . .]

Pres. Taylor then set apart the Relief Society officers as follows.

Eliza Roxie [Roxcy] Snow Smith, I lay my hand upon thy head in the name of Jesus and by authority of the holy priesthood I set thee apart to preside over the Relief Societies in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and I confer on thee this power and authority and ordain thee to this office, that thou [p. 11] mayest have power to expound the scriptures and to bless elevate and strengthen thy sisters, The Lord is well pleased with thee, with thy diligence fidelity and zeal in the interest of thy sisters. He has blessed thee excedeingly and will continue to bless thee forever and ever; and I bless thee with all thine heart can desire in righteousness and I seal upon thee all former blessings confered upon thee by the holy priesthood, In the name of Jesus Amen.

Zina Diantha Young Smith I lay my hands upon thee in the name of Jesus and by authority of the holy priesthood, and ordain thee to be first counsellor to Eliza R. Snow. [. . .]

Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney, In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of my office and calling, in the holy priesthood, I bless thee and set thee apart to be secend counsellor to Eliza R Snow Smith. [. . .] [p. 12]

[. . .]

Sister Whitney then sang one of her sweet songs of Zion in the language2 which was spoken and sung (the Prophet Joseph said) by our first parents in the Garden of Eden, Sister Snow explained that Joseph Smith told Mother Whitney, If she would use the gift with wisdom it should remain with her as long as she lived. [. . .] [p. 13] [. . .]

Sister Snow called attention to the political Primary Me[e]ting to be held thee [the] following Wednesday. [. . .] [p. 14]

Source Note

Relief Society Record (1880–1892), pp. 9–14, CHL (CR 11 175). (Also available as “General Relief Society Meeting, Report, July 17, 1880,” First Fifty Years of Relief Society website, Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, published 2017, churchhistorianspress.org.)

See also “R. S. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent 9, no. 7 (1 Sept. 1880): 55[53]–54; and Salt Lake Stake, Relief Society Record Book (1868–1903), pp. 49–51, CHL (LR 604 70).