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1.2.2

March 24, 1842 • Thursday

See images of the original document at josephsmithpapers.org.


Minutes of the proceedings

of the

Second Meeting of the

Society.

Lodge Room

March 24th 1842.

Meeting open’d with singing “How pleas’d and blest was I” &c.—1 Prayer by Prest. Emma Smith.

Prest. E. Smith then rose and said that measures to promote union in this Society must be carefully attended to— that every member should be held in full fellowship— as a society, hop’d they would divest themselves of every jealousy and evil feeling toward each other, if any such existed— that we should bring our conduct into respectability, here & eveery where else— said she rejoic’d in the prospect before her——.

Prest. E. Smith continued by saying, that those wishing to join the Society could have the privilege—

Mov’d, seconded & unanimously carried that the following persons be receiv’d as members of this Society— to wit.

K [blank] [Catherine] Walker,

Jane Law

[p. 15]

Elizabeth Eldridge

Mary Woolley

Cirinda Murrill

Agnes Smith

Sarah Hillman

Sarah Brown

Sarah Roberts

Fanny F. [Maria] Huntington

Mercy Thompson

Sarah Ann Higbee

Eunice Wilber [Wilbur]

Elizabeth [Davis] Durfee

Louisa Beman

Elizabeth Hills

Diantha Billings

Emeline Corlin [Carling]

Vilote Kimlall [Vilate Kimball]

Lucy [Mack] Smith

Eliza Ann Mills

Lucy Millican [Millikin]

Sophia F. Wilber

Zina Jacobs

Julia Ann Sessions

Sally Davis

Ma♢♢ Smith Lucy A. Munjar

Sabra Gribble

Mary Smith

Kezia A. Morrison

Martha [Patty] Sessions

Caroline Ballard

Elizabeth C. Lee

Melissa Dodge

[Mrs.] A [blank] P. Rockwood [Nancy Rockwood]

Katharine Wilkie

Hannah Mark[h]am

Elizabeth Allred

Cynthia Baggs

Cyrena Murrill [Merrill]

Loisa Follett

Sylva Lyons

Mary Jane Warner

Sarah Brown

Sarah Moon

Soloma Chapman

Abigail Leonard

Abigail Kelsey

Mrs. Mary Smith then rose and said the Institutution had her hearty concurrence— that nothing was more laudable than feeding the hungry, clothing the naked &c.— that she desired to aid in accomplishing objects so generous.

Mrs. Vilote Kimball said she had not fully understood what were the objects of the Institution but desired to be found aiding in every benevolent cause [p. 16]

Prest. E. Smith said, no one need feel delicate in reference to inquiries about this Society— there is nothing private— its objects are purely benevolent.

Mother Lucy Smith arose and said she rejoic’d in view of what was doing—2 as she came in and look’d upon the sisters, it gave her feelings of deep interest— Wept— said she was advanc’d in years and could not stay long—3 hop’d the Lord would bless and aid the Society in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked— that her work was nearly done— felt to pray that the blessings of heaven might rest upon the Society.

Prest. E. Smith rose and read from the Book of records, the proceedings of the first meeting of the Society— She then proceeded to read to the honorable body, a report, wherein Clarissa Marvel was accus’d of scandalous falsehoods on the character of Prest. Joseph Smith, without the least provocation, praying that they would in wisdom adopt some plan to bring her to repentance— said she presum’d that most of the Society knew more about Clarissa Marvel than herself——

Mrs. Agnes Smith said Clarissa Marvel had liv’d with her nearly a year— she had seen nothing amiss of her—

Councillor [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney propos’d that some one be appointed to go and labor with her and if possible reform her——

Mov’d and carried that Mrs. Markam be one to go and converse with C. Marvel.

Mrs. Markam objected on the ground that she was unacquainted with the circumstances. [p. 17]

Prest. Smith said that would make no difference— she could attend to it— that it should be be done in a private manner, with great prudence—

Mrs. Prest. continued, by saying that we intend to look into the morals of each other and watch over each other— that she intended to walk circumspectly and to shun the appearance of evil— all are required to be very careful in their words and actions at all times— said she believed Clarissa Marvel might be reform’d.4

Mrs. Billings inquired if C. M. had parents.

Prest. Smith said she has no parents— she is under our care and observation— she needs friends——

Mrs. [Elizabeth] Jones enquired if the proceedings of this Society should be divulged out of the Society

Prest. Smith said all proceedings that regard difficulties should be kept among the members— as to the Institution, its objects are charitable— none can object to telling the good— the evil withhold— hoped all would feel themselves bound to observe this rule.

Councillor Whitney said she felt deeply interested— thought we could not take too much pains in this matter— to avoid all evil— We must avoid the appearance of evil— we must pray much for each other that we may succeed in the work before us and have wisdom given us in all our pursuits.——

Mother Lucy Smith said— this Institution is a good one— we must watch over ourselves— that she came into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to do good— to get good, and to get into the celestial kingdom. She said we must [p. 18] cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.

Mrs. Hillman rose and said she was contemplating the blessings with which we were surrounded— the privileges of this Society— said she desir’d to be watch’d over and aided in the better performance of her duty.—

Prest. Smith said all who wish’d should have informatio[n] respecting this Society; as they would be published.—5 She hinted the propriety of having Auxiliary Societies form’d in other parts of the City— any one who felt dispos’d might send in a request to this effect— said it was the duty of every person to inquire into the condition of the poor and represent their true state.6

Councillor Whitney call’d on the members to contribute to the fund

The following appropriations were made to the fund of the Society——

$.

Mary Jane Warner

..

25

Martha Sessions

..

25

Sylva Lyons

1.

00

Jane Law

1.

00

Sophia Robinson

..

25

Louisa Beman

..

50

Sarah Brown

..

25

Mary Woolley

..

25

Mrs. [Phebe Ann] Hawkes arose to represent Mrs. Drury as an object of charity, being sick and destitute of food. [p. 19]

Mrs. Wooley corroborated the testimony of Mrs Hawkes—

Motioned and seconded that the board direct the Treasurer to give an order on the Store— carried unanimsly.

Motioned that 2 dollars be appropriated to Mrs. Drury—

Prest. Smith said we want the names of those widows who want work—

Mrs. Agnes Smith solicited the patronage of the Society as a Milliner and Dressmaker.

Prest. Smith said we should assist each other in this way— said Mrs. Solome Chapman was in want of work, knitting, sewing &c.

Mrs Jones represented Mrs. Baggs as needing assistance—

Mrs. Thompson enquired whether anything except money would be received into the Treasury; such as jewelry, clothing &c. &c.

Mrs. Warner said her means were limited but would give provisions.

Prest. Smith hinted the propriety of placing such provisions as should be donated, into the hands of the Treasurer—

Mrs. Higbee suggested the propriety of having an Auxiliary Society—

Councillor remark’d that as many were present who were not at the previous meeting; it was necessary to refer to the order established at the organization of the Society. Viz. that of addressing the Chair.7

Mrs. Mary Smith suggested the propriety of procuring Palm leaves8 for the benefit of individuals [p. 20] spoke of sister Daviss as soliciting that work—

Prest. Smith said the object was to supply the poor with money— provisions, cloathes, old cloathes &c. that it was wisdom to keep all the money we could, for the purchase of materials to do with.

Mrs. Velote Kimball represented widow More, as needy and deserving charity— said she would work; understood the business of braiding Palm leaves——

Mrs. Hillman corroborates Mrs. Kimball’s statement——

Mrs Markam exprest her satisfaction in being in a situation to bring her abilities into action— said it was her aim to walk humbly before God. desired the prayers of the Society that she might be enabled to do whatever the Lord should require at her hands—

Prest. Smith suggested the propriety of appointing at the next meeting; persons who may wait on those who represent the poor—

Motioned that the meeting adjourn until next thursday, 2. o’clock—

Mov’d, seconded & pass’d that Prest. Joseph Smith be call’d in, to close the meeting.

Prest. J. Smith and Elders B. [Brigham] Young, H. [Heber] Kimball, W. [Willard] Richards & J. [John] Snider entered— The choir sung—

Prayer by Elder Brigham Young.

[p. 21]

Footnotes

  1. [1]Hymn 13, Collection of Sacred Hymns [1841], 20.

  2. [2]Lucy Mack Smith was the mother of Joseph Smith and his ten siblings and a matriarchal figure in the early years of the church; her participation in and benediction upon the Relief Society were of singular significance. For a discussion of the leading role “Mother Smith” filled in the early church, see “Editor’s Introduction: The Domestic Spirituality of Lucy Mack Smith,” in Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 11–65.

  3. [3]Lucy Mack Smith was sixty-six years old.

  4. [4]Marvel was later cleared of the accusation of slander against Joseph Smith. The September 28, 1842, entry in the Nauvoo minute book is followed by a copy of Marvel’s signed statement that she had never seen or reported “any thing improper or unvirtuous in the conduct or conversation of either President Smith or Mrs. Agnes Smith.” Agnes Moulton Smith was the widow of Joseph’s deceased brother Don Carlos Smith (1816–1841). By this time, she had likely married Joseph Smith as a plural wife. On January 6, 1842, Brigham Young wrote a journal entry in Masonic code, stating, “J Smith was Agness.” The “was” may be an abbreviation for “wedded and sealed to.” In addition, in 1892 Mary Ann West, who lived with Agnes in Nauvoo and was a plural wife of Joseph Smith’s brother William, stated in a deposition that Agnes had told her she had become a plural wife of Joseph Smith following the death of her husband, Don Carlos, because it had been “the wish of her husband.” (Document 1.2, entries for Mar. 31 and Apr. 14, 1842; Brigham Young, Journal, July 1837–Apr. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878, CHL, Jan. 6, 1842; Mary Ann West, Testimony, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, ca. Mar. 22, 1892, pp. 499–500, questions 141–144; pp. 521–522, questions 676–687, 696–699, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Church of Christ Independence, MO, et al. [C.C.W.D. Mo. 1894], typescript, Testimonies and Depositions, 1892, CHL.)

  5. [5]On April 1, 1842, the church newspaper in Nauvoo, the Times and Seasons, published an article announcing the establishment and explaining the purposes of the Relief Society. (Document 1.3.)

  6. [6]No auxiliary societies were formed at this time, though some Latter-day Saint women at La Harpe, Illinois (about twenty-five miles east of Nauvoo), and at Lima, Illinois (about thirty miles south of Nauvoo), sent contributions or met to make quilts for the Nauvoo society. (See Document 1.2, entries for July 14, 1842; Sept. 2, 1843.)

  7. [7]At the organizational meeting of the Relief Society on March 17, 1842, Joseph Smith instructed, “When one wishes to speak, address the chair.” (Document 1.2, entry for Mar. 17, 1842.)

  8. [8]Braided palm leaves were used to make hats. Palm leaves may have been shipped up the Mississippi River from New Orleans. (See Thomas Dublin, “Women’s Work and the Family Economy: Textiles and Palm Leaf Hatmaking in New England, 1830–1850,” Tocqueville Review 5, no. 2 [1983]: 297–316.)