The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

1.2.10

May 26, 1842 • Thursday

See images of the original document at josephsmithpapers.org.


Minutes of the Proceedings

of the

Ninth Meeting of the Society.

Lodge Room May 26th.

Meeting opened with singing “How firm a foundation” &c.—1 Prayar by Coun. [Sarah] Cleveland— Mrs. Prest. not present— House full to overflowing.2

Coun. [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney arose and propos’d that the necessities be considered and donations received— that all other business be defer’d on account of the absence of the Prest.— She also propos’d that a few of the congregation retire to sister [Mercy] Thompson’s and engage in prayer.

The following Donations receiv’d.

$

Sylvia Lyons [Lyon]

..

50

Mary Snider

..

50

Margaret Hurr [Herr]

..

25

Sarah Granger

1.

00

Mary M. Smith

2.

00

Sarah Davis

..

62½

Mrs. [Hannah] Whitlock

..

50

Lydia Anderson

1.

51

Nancy Rockwood

..

50

Nancy King

..

25

Martha [Patty] Sessions

12[.]

00

Sylva Lyons

in clothing

2,

00

Nancy Cahoon

..

35

Thirza Cahoon

children’s clothes

Eliza Mills

bed Quilt

3.

00

Councillor Whitney gave an exhortation to humility and watchfulness &c.— rejoic’d at the numbers present who were uniting their faith with their works, alluding to Donations just receiv’d. [p. [50]]

Prest. J. Smith & wife then entered.

Prest. J. Smith rose, read the 14th Chap. of Ezekiel— said the Lord had declar’d by the prophet that the people should each one stand for himself and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church— that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls— app[l]ied it to the present state of the church of Latter-Day Saints— said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall— that they were depending on the prophet hence were darkened in their minds from neglect of themselves— envious toward the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.

There is another error which opens a door for the adversary to enter. As females possess refin’d feelings and sensitivenes[s], they are also subject to an overmuch zeal which must ever prove dangerous, and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity— should be arm’d with mercy notwithstanding the iniquity among us. Said he had been instrumental in bringing it to light— melancholy and awful that so many are under the condemnation of the devil & going to perdition.3

With deep feeling said that they are our fellows— we lov’d them once. Shall we not encourage them to reformation?

We have not forgivn them seventy times—4 perhaps we have not forgiven them once. There is now a day of salvation to such as repent and reform— they should be cast out from this Society, yet we should woo them to return to God lest they escape not the damnation of hell!

When there is a mountain top there also is a vally— we should act in all things an a proper medium— to every immortal spirit. Notwithstanding the unworthy are among us, the virtuous should not from self-importance grieve and oppress needlessly those unfortunate ones, even [p. [51]] these should be encourag’d to hereafter live to be honored by this Society who are the best portions of community. Said he had two things to recommend to the Society, to put a double watch over the tongue. No organiz’d body can exist without this at all. All organiz’d bodies have their peculiar evils, weaknesses and difficulties— the object is to make those not so good, equal with the good and ever hold the keys of pow’r which will influence to virtue and goodness. Should chasten and reprove and keep in it all in silence, not even mention them again, then you will be established in power, virtue and holiness and the wrath of God will be turn’d away. One request to the Prest. and Society, that you search yourselves— the tongue is an unruly member—5 hold your tongues about things of no moment,— a little tale will set the world on fire. At this time the truth on the guilty should not be told openly— Strange as this may seem, yet this is policy.6 We must use precaution in bringing sinners to justice lest in exposing these heinous sins, we draw the indignation of a gentile world upon us (and to their imaginatio[n] justly too)

It is necessary to hold an influence in the world and thus spare ourselves an extermination; and also accomplish our end in spreading the gospel or holiness in the earth.

If we were brought to desolation, the disobedient would find no help. There are some who are obedient yet men cannot steady the ark— my arm can not do it— God must steady it.7 To the iniquitous show yourselves merciful. I am advis’d by some of the heads of the church to tell the Relief Society to be virtuous— but to save the church from desolation and the sword beware, be still, be prudent. Repent, reform but do it in a way to not destroy all around you. I do not want to cloak iniquity— all things contrary to the will [p. [52]] of God, should be cast from us, but dont do more hurt than good with your tongues— be pure in heart— Jesus designs to save the people out of their sins. Said Jesus ye shall do the work which ye see me do—8 These are the grand key words for the Society to act upon.

If I were not in your midst to aid and council you, the devil would overcome you. I want the innocent to go free— rather spare ten iniquitous among you than than condemn one innocent one. “Fret not thyself because of evil doers.”9 God will see to it.

Mrs. Prest. rose and said all idle rumor and idle talk must be laid aside yet sin must not be covered, especially those sins which are against the law of God and the laws of the country— all who walk disorderly must reform, and any knowing of heinous sins against the law of God, and refuse to expose them, becomes the offender— said she wanted none in this Society who had violated the laws of virtue.

The following persons were receiv’d, to wit.

Sarah Ann Spears

Fidelia Cotten [Colton]

Mary M. Sawyer

Evaline Carter

Mary A. Peck

Disly [Disey] Allen

Margaret Brush

Judith Benjamin

Ruth Rob[e]y

Matilda Fausett

Sophia Claridge

Mary Holt

Rachel Allen

Nancy Drysdale

Electa Murdock

Elizabeth Pierce

Sylva Beecher

Harriet Pinkam

Mary E. Beecher

Jane Sherwood

Polly Chittendon

Mary Lowry

Jane F. Pea

Mary Dewell

Sarah Sweat

Lydia Bair

Mary Reed

Rucinda Hurr [Horr]

[p. [53]]

Fanny Crosby

Mary Newberry

Mary Albridge

Lucretia Young

Sarah Van [Van Blaracom]

Eliza Ann Cheny

Mary A. Pearce [Pierce]

Prudena Oaks [Prudence Oakes]

Rebecca Hoop[es]

Sally M. Clark

Ferra Dana

Beulah Hoyt

Polly J. Younger

Priscilla Chase

Mary Ann Hadfield

Eliza Douglas

Mary D. Guimore

Adaline Perry

Lucinda Dudley

Betsey Pedigrue [Pettigrew]

Elizabeth Rosin [Rawson]

Elizabeth Taylor

Meeting adjourn’d to meet in the Grove on the following day.

Footnotes

  1. [1]Hymn 102, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 110.

  2. [2]Joseph Smith’s journal entry for May 26, 1842, as recorded by Willard Richards, notes: “Female Releif Soceity.— so full that many could get no admittance.” (Joseph Smith, Journal, May 26, 1842, in JSP, J2:63.)

  3. [3]Joseph Smith’s comment likely referenced the controversy surrounding John C. Bennett. The entry in Joseph Smith’s journal for this day notes: “Masonic Lodge in the A.M. Dr John C. Bennet[t] confessed the charges preferred again[s]t him concerning. females in Nauvoo. & was forgiven Joseph plead in his behalf.— Dr Bennet was notified the day previous that the first Presidency. Twelve & Bishops had withdrawn fellowship from him & were about to publish him. but on his humbling himself & requesting it the withdrawal was withheld from the paper.” The previous day Catherine Warren confessed before the Nauvoo high council to unchaste conduct with Bennett and was also forgiven. (Joseph Smith, Journal, May 26, 1842, in JSP, J2:63; Nauvoo High Council Minutes, May 25, 1842.)

  4. [4]See Matthew 18:22; and Doctrine and Covenants 98:40.

  5. [5]See James 3:8.

  6. [6]At several other Relief Society meetings, Relief Society members received counsel to keep society business confidential. (See Document 1.2, entries for Mar. 24 and May 27, 1842; see also the letter copied into the minutes following the Sept. 28, 1842, entry.)

  7. [7]See 1 Samuel 6:6–7; and 1 Chronicles 13:9–10.

  8. [8]See John 14:12; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 3:23.

  9. [9]Psalm 37:1; Proverbs 24:19.