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Eliza R. Snow Invites Latter-day Saints to Expand Zion in Newly Published Discourses

SALT LAKE CITY—The Church Historian’s Press today announced the online publication of more than 150 additional discourses by Latter-day Saint leader and poet Eliza R. Snow, dating from September 1880 to December 1881. Transcripts of discourses from 1868 to 1881 are available for free to the public at churchhistorianspress.org/eliza-r-snow.

Since 1868, Eliza R. Snow had acted as a de facto women’s leader for the church, organizing Relief Society, Young Ladies, and Primary associations; training leaders; and instructing members of the church, all without a formal calling. Stake Relief Society organizations began to be established in 1877. But it wasn’t until June 19, 1880, that John Taylor nominated Snow as the president of all Relief Societies; she would oversee “a central organization” for “all the Stakes in Zion.” Snow and her presidency were set apart on July 17, 1880.

Almost immediately, Snow felt a responsibility to visit as many groups as possible both to ensure proper organization and provide ministerial leadership to women, young women, and children under her care. In November, Snow and Zina D. H. Young, her first counselor, left the Salt Lake Valley for southern Utah, where they visited places never before visited by female leaders (see a detailed map of this tour). Her message was the same everywhere: women are an integral part of the kingdom of God. “We must keep our Covenants,” she told the Kanosh, Utah, Relief Society on November 12, 1880. She encouraged the women in Santa Clara, Utah, to read the Book of Mormon and the Bible and to remember Joseph Smith’s charge to relieve the poor and save souls. “We need these refreshings” of the Spirit found in Relief Society, she said to women in the St. George Stake. She organized several Primaries in these far-flung settlements, helping the children connect to early Church history by letting them hold the gold watch Joseph Smith had given her in Nauvoo. She taught, blessed, spoke in tongues, and ministered to individuals and to groups, bringing them into the fold of an expanding Zion.

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.