Newly Published Eliza R. Snow Discourses Emphasize Unity, Exhort Women and Men to Be “Coworkers in This Church”
The Church Historian’s Press today announced the online publication of 119 additional discourses by Latter-day Saint leader and poet Eliza R. Snow, dating from October 1873 to May 1875. Transcripts of discourses from 1868 to 1875 are available for free to the public at churchhistorianspress.org/eliza-r-snow.
A major theme of this newly published group of discourses is cooperation and unity between women and men. When Snow met with the Grantsville, Utah, Relief Society on September 16, 1874, she told them, “In this Church and Kingdom there was no such thing as dividing the interests of Man and Woman[,] that they were identical[,] that they are coworkers in this Church for the building up of the same and strengthening of each other.” She spoke often during this period to women and to mixed congregations of men and women, young and old, exhorting them to work together in a spirit of unity. Employing the memorable analogy of a potluck meal, she said that union could only be achieved on the “Pic Nic principle[,] all having something to contribute.”
In speaking of cooperation, collaboration, and unity, Snow often referred to the efforts of the United Order, an economic system in place in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at this time. Church president Brigham Young encouraged communities of Saints to pool their labor and income to be self-sufficient and to work together to provide for all members. In a Cooperative Retrenchment meeting in Salt Lake City on April 25, 1874, Snow taught the women, “We want to have our interests amalgamated, when our temporal interests are one, there will be perfect union.” She continued, “This United Order will bring about union of faith and feeling.”
Snow encouraged women, youth, and even children to become involved in “home manufacture,” including braiding straw hats and bonnets, manufacturing silk, and producing their own clothing, in order to stay out of debt and to maintain independence from outside sources. She wanted women to learn principles of business and economics, recognize the importance of sacrifice, and realize that “God will bless your efforts to build up his kingdom.”
Unity would produce a “regular Picnic; an intellectual and spiritual feast” to which everyone could contribute his or her talents and skills for the benefit of the community. “Woman will have to be there, and perform her portion,” Snow said to the young women of Lehi, Utah. “It requires Both [men and women] to carry out the Great plan of Salvation and redemption.”
About the Church Historian’s Press
The Church Historian’s Press was announced in 2008 by the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Joseph Smith Papers was the first publication to bear the imprint. The press publishes works of Latter-day Saint history that meet high standards of scholarship. For more information, visit the Church Historian’s Press website.