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17 March 1881


St. George Stake Relief Society and Young Ladies; St. George, Utah Territory

[. . .] Sister E. R. S. Smith then spoke—said. “We have met together; and what for? Why do we have these meetings? One says ‘to look after the poor.’

Yes, that is one reason, but is <it> is the smallest. It is the duty of the R. S. [Relief Society] to look after the poor and sick, and administer to them. It is the duty of officers to know the condition of all who call there for assistance Pres’t [Brigham] Young said their [there] [p. 34] were three kinds of poor – Viz The Lord’s Poor, the Devil’s poor, and the devils themselves. Those you want to help are the Lord’s poor. These are really in need of help. Told an instance of a woman who considerable means from the R. Societies, on the plea of ill-health. It continued until those helping her got tired, and inspected her case. When they came to her trunks she insisted they should not be touched, and when forced open, were found to contain a great quantity of clothing, bed and table linen—etc. sone [some] made, and some unmade, beside many valuables, while she had pawned herself off as too poor to buy a meals victuals These kind are the devils poor. The Relief S. are designed to help woman; to refine, to elevate and to comfort. In order to grow with our bodies, our spirits must be fed or they will always remain in infancy. But we pay so much attention to our bodies that we forget our spirits. God wants us to seek after this spiritual food, but we are so much of the earth-earthy, that we are liable to lay hold of the first thing we come in contact with. For this [p. 35] reason, we must meet together often. God places Life and Death before us, and we can take our choice. We can stay at home, and wear ourselves out with the things of this life, or we can devote a portion of our time to the feeding of our spirits, to prepare us to associate with the highest intelligences above. There are responsibilities resting on the sisters in regard to the condition of society. There is one thing I have noticed here that pains me. The Lord told ancient Israel not to mix flax with wool. and he has told us to dress plainly, and let the beauty of our raiment be the workmanship of our own hands. Any thing contrary to this is of Babylon. and Babylon always follows upon its practices.

It is for you sisters, to use your influence to keep this evil that is trying to creep into your midst down. If you smile and fold your hands it will come, and after it is established, you cannot eradicate it, try hard as you will. I have ome [one] request to make of my sisters. When you attend meeting, put on a plain dress. Do not defile the innocent, [p. 36] and make the guilty worse, by your example. We want more of the spirit of God in our hearts. We want enough of it that we are not jealous and envious of our brethren and sisters. We are blest above all the women of the earth. I heard Joseph Smith say, that a true Latter Day Saint enjoyed a position higher than the greatest potentate of the earth. In my younger days, I thought I would do anything, go every where, to meet with a prophet of God. I want you each to stand as sentinels, and gaurd [guard] against evil. Keep it from your homes and hearts. May we all pursue that course which God shall approve, and be able to lie down to rest with full confidence in His protection.

Sister Eliza then proceeded to organize a Stake Silk Association. [. . .] [p. 37]

Source Note

St. George Utah Stake, Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association Minutes and Records (1879–1973), vol. 1 (1879–1901), pp. 34–37, CHL (LR 7836 17); Julia A. MacDonald, Secretary.

See also St. George Utah Stake, Relief Society Minutes and Records (1868–1973), vol. 4 (1880–1919), pp. 3–6, CHL (LR 7836 14); Emily B. Spencer, Secretary.