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1.2.20 June 16, 1843

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June 16, 1843 • Friday

The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, resumed its meetings— June 16th 1843.

Minutes of the Proceedings

of the

First Meeting of the Society.

June 16th 1843.

Meeting convened according to previous instructions of Prest. Emma Smith, who not being present, Councillor [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney presided.1

Meeting opened by singing “Let Zion in her beauty rise” &c—2 Prayer by Mrs. Chase.

Councillor Whitney rose and address’d the meeting by saying that she felt alone in consequence of the absence of the President, from whom she had received instructions that we might not only relieve the wants of the poor but also cast in our mites to assist the brethren in building the Lord’s House— said she had felt a deep interest on the subject since last sabbath hearing Prest. Smith’s remarks—3 wished the sisters to express their feelings— our Prest., Mrs. Smith said we might speak to the Temple Com., and whatever they wished and we could, we might do—4 Coun. W. then presented the case of Mrs. Mills whom several of the sis. in company with mother Smith, visited in the morning.

Sec. E. A. [Elvira Annie Cowles] Holmes, then rose— said she was not altogether prepared to give a full and correct statement of the Receipts and Expenditure of the Society but would make a statement so soon as she could see Mrs. Smith and adjust some unsettled accounts— suffice it to say about 500 dollars have been recd. and nearly 400 expended during the first year of the Society— much good had been [p. [90]] done and the hearts of many made to rejoice.5

The sisters express’d their feelings one by one an unanimous sentiment seem’d to pervade the hearts of all present, to wit, a desire to assist in forwarding the Temple and in aiding the cause of Zion.

Sis. Jones said she would be willing to go about and solicit material, if counsel’d so to do— she also offered to board one to work on the Temple.

Mrs. Durfee said if the heads of the Society wished, she is willing to go abroad with a wagon & collect wool &c. for the purpose of forwarding the work.

Mrs. Smith suggested that merchant’s wives donate material that others may be employ’d.

Miss [Phebe M.] Wheeler— said she is willing to give any portion, or all of her time—

Mrs. Granger willing to do anything, knit, sew, or wait on the sick, as might be most useful.

Miss [Hannah] Ells said she had felt willing to go out and solicit donations &c.

Mrs. Angell said she was willing to repair old clothes if necessary when new material cannot be obtain’d.

Mrs. Smith propos’d getting wool and furnish old ladies with yarn to knit socks to supply the workme[n] on the Temple next winter.

Sis. [Polly Knight] Stringham offered to make men’s clothes and take work on the Temple.

Sis. [Mary] Felshaw proposes to give some soap.

Coun. Whitney arose and corroborated the testimony of Sis Chase respecting the glorious manifestation in behalf of Sis. Mills.

Mrs. Chase then spoke in a very animated strain, by way of encouragement to the sisters, saying the angels are rejoicing over you &c. [p. [91]]

Sis. [Philinda] Stanley proposed giving every tenth pound of flax, also one qt. milk per day

Miss [Louisa] Beman will make clothes

Sis Smith propos’d getting muslin &c. from merchants not belonging to the church, who were friendly— proposed calling on Mr. Orr.

Coun. Whitney then address’d the Society on the subject of Mothers’ discharging their duties towards their daughters, in teaching them to be sober as cultivate a realizing sense of the necessity of conducting with propriety in the Lord’s House,— exhorted to instruct them in love &c.

Sis. Geen [Esther Gheen] offered to donate thread of her own spinning— requested prayers for a paralytic daughter—

Pray’r by Mrs. Smith— Meeting adjourned without day.

[p. [92]]

Footnotes

  1. [1]Sarah Cleveland, the other counselor, was not present because she had recently moved from Nauvoo. (See Document 1.7.)

  2. [2]Hymn 134, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 144.

  3. [3]On Sunday, June 11, 1843, Joseph Smith delivered a sermon at the temple grounds. According to Wilford Woodruff, he “asked what was the object of Gathering the Jews together or the people of God in any age of the world, the main object was to build unto the Lord an house whereby he could reveal unto his people the ordinances of his house and glories of his kingdom & teach the peopl the ways of salvation for their are certain ordinances & principles that when they are taught and practized, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.” The Saints were thus building “unto the Lord an house to prepare them for the ordinances & endowment washings & anointings &c.,” including the ordinances of vicarious baptism for the dead. (Joseph Smith, Journal, June 11, 1843, in JSP, J3:31–35; Woodruff, Journal, June 11, 1843.)

  4. [4]In October 1840 a three-member temple committee—Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, and Alpheus Cutler—was charged with overseeing the building of the temple at Nauvoo and managing finances and construction. Higbee died on June 8, 1843, and was replaced by Hyrum Smith on the committee. (“Ecclesiastical Officers and Church Appointees,” in JSP, J2:509; Joseph Smith, Journal, June 8 and Oct. 10, 1843, in JSP, J3:30, 110.)

  5. [5]The first official annual report of the Relief Society, dated June 30, 1843, was printed in the Nauvoo Neighbor on July 12, 1843. (Document 1.8.)