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Joseph Smith on the Governance of the Nauvoo Relief Society

[From the minutes of the founding meeting of the Relief Society:] Let this Presidency serve as a constitution— all their decisions be considered law; and acted upon as such. If any Officers are wanted to carry out the designs of the Institution, let them be appointed and set apart, as Deacons, Teachers &c. are among us. The minutes of your meetings will be precedents for you to act upon— your Constitutio[n] and law. (Document 1.2, entry for March 17, 1842)

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This collection of original documents explores the fascinating and largely unknown history of the Relief Society in the nineteenth century. The story begins with the founding of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society in 1842, and the complete and unabridged minutes of that organization are reproduced for the first time in print.

The large majority of the print volume covers the even lesser-known period after the Relief Society was reestablished in territorial Utah and began to spread to areas as remote as Hawaii and England. 

This website features selections from The First Fifty Years of Relief Society, including the volume introduction and the entire Nauvoo Female Relief Society Minute Book. The website also includes a bibliography, historical photographs, videos, and two thousand brief biographies of individuals in the documents.

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