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


April 19, 1842 • Tuesday

See images of the original document at

Minutes of the Proceedings of the

Fifth Meeting

of the

Female Relief Society.

Lodge Room, April 19th.

A special meeting of the Society being conven’d agreeably to previous appointment; Prest. Emma Smith not being present, Councillor [Sarah] Cleveland presided—

The meeting was opened with singing— prayer by Councillor Cleveland.— singing by the choir—

The names of the following persons, were then read— no objections offered, they were unanimously received—

C[ouncillor] Clnd [Cleveland] then [arose and addressed] the meeting by [sa]ying that as this meeting1

Judith T. Haven

Mary Ann Fulmer

Nancy Lyons

Temperance Mack

Dulcina Sherman

Almira Corey [Covey]

Mary Nobles

Priscinda Buel [Presendia Buell]

Mary M. Smith

Jane Benbow

Eliza Partridge

Fanny M. Redfield

Sarah Ripley

Councillor Cleveland then arose and address’d the meeting by saying, that inasmuch as the [p. [30]] meeting was specially called for the admission of Mrs. Buel who resided at a distance— was deprived of the privileges enjoyed by the sisters in Nauvoo, and wished to become a member of this Society; there was not much business to be attended to, therefore we might spend the time in religious exercises before the Lord— spoke of the happiness she felt in the present association of females, and made very appropriate remarks respecting the duties & prospects of the Society— that it was organiz’d after the order of heav’n &c. &c.

Councillor [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney also made many interesting remarks and invited all present to speak their sentiments freely—

Mrs. Buel arose and said that she rejoiced in the opportunity— that she considered it a great privilege she felt that the spirit of the Lord was with the Society, and rejoic’d to become a member altho’ residing at a distance and could not attend the meetings.2

Mother [Lucy Mack] Smith spoke very pathetically of her lonely situation, and the feelings she had as she reflected on the care which father Smith [Joseph Smith Sr.] always felt for the sisters when in life he presided over the meetings.3

Mrs. [Elizabeth Davis] Durfee bore testimony to the great blessing she received when administered to, after the close of the last meeting, by Prest. E. Smith & Councillors Cleveland and Whitney. she said she never realized more benefit thro’ any administration— that she was heal’d, and thought the sisters had more faith than the brethren.

Miss [Eliza R.] Snow after making observations with regard to the Society— the importance of acting in wisdom & walking humbly before God &c. said she had a blessing for Mrs. Buel, that inasmuch as she had become a member of [p. [31]] this Society, as the spirit of a person pervades every member of the body, so shall the Spirit of the Lord which pervades this Society be with her—4 she shall feel it and rejoice— she shall be blest whereever she is, and the Lord shall open the way and she shall be instrumental in doing much,— thro’ her own exertions by the instrumentality of others, she shall be enabled to contribute much to the fund of the Society— she shall warm up the hearts of those who are cold and dormant, and shall be instrumental in doing much good—

Mrs. [Abigail] Leonard, Councillor W. and Councillor C. bore testimony to the truth of what Miss Snow had said to Mrs. Buel—

Councillor Cleveland stated that she many times felt in her heart, what she could not express it in our own language, and as the Prophet had given us liberty to improve the gifts of the gospel in our meetings, and feelings the power resting upon, desired to speak in the gift of tongues; which she did in a powerful manner.5

Mrs. Sessions arose and gave the interpretation of what Councillor C. had spoken in an unknown tongue, and said that God was well pleas’d with this Society, that if we would be humble and faithful the Lord would pour out upon the members generally the gift of prophecy—6 that when the speaker laid her hand on the head of Sister Snow, she said that not only she should have the spirit but that all should have it also— that the speaker then address’d herself to Mother Smith saying that the prayers of father Smith were now answered upon the members of the Society— that the days of Mother S. should be prolong’d and she should meet many times with the Society, should enjoy much in the society of the [p. [32]] sisters & shall hereafter be crown’d a mother of those that shall prove faithful &c.

The meeting was very interesting, nearly all present arose & spoke, and the spirit of the Lord like a purifying stream, refreshed every heart.

Mrs. Mary Smith recommended Elizabeth Eaton to the patronage of the Society, as a person skilful in needlework—7

The meeting clos’d with prayer by Mother Smith and singing by the choir— after which

Mrs. Leonard was administered to for the restoration of health, by Councillors Cleveland & Whitney.

Donations by


Mary Snider



Elizabeth Durfee


Fanny Huntington


Cynthie Eldridge


W. [Willard] Richards



Martha Sessions


Desdemona Fulmer



[p. [33]]


  1. [1]text: This text was copied by Eliza R. Snow, then knife-erased before the list of names was written here. Snow then recopied this text below the list of names.

  2. [2]Buell lived in Lima, Illinois, about thirty miles south of Nauvoo. (Presendia Lathrop Huntington Kimball, Reminiscences, 1881, CHL, Apr. 16, 1881.)

  3. [3]Joseph Smith Sr. was ordained as the church’s first patriarch in December 1834. Patriarch is “an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood with the authority and responsibility to give inspired blessings similar to those given by the Old Testament patriarchs.” Small groups gathered in blessing meetings to receive “patriarchal blessings” from Joseph Smith Sr. (“Patriarch,” in JSP, J1:469.)

  4. [4]text: “her” written over an erased word, possibly “me”.

  5. [5]No explicit statement by Joseph Smith about women exercising “gifts of the gospel” was recorded in minutes for the four earlier Relief Society meetings. Glossolalia, or speaking in unrecognizable tongues or language, had been part of the Latter-day Saint religious experience since the early 1830s, though not without controversy.a According to the Bible, speaking “with new tongues” signaled both belief in Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.b A March 1831 Joseph Smith revelation confirmed the importance of “tongues” and other gifts of the spirit listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:4–11.c Latter-day Saint women and men experienced the gift of tongues in their informal and formal gatherings, where it seems to have served primarily as a source of comfort and inspiration and was sometimes combined with the gift of prophecy. At the Relief Society meeting held on April 28, 1842, Joseph Smith instructed the Relief Society to “not indulge too much in the gift of tongues” but said that the women could “speak in tongues for your comfort.”d For specific examples of women speaking in tongues, as well as changes in the practice over time, see Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, Life Writings of Frontier Women 5 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 2000), 176–180; Donna Toland Smart, ed., Mormon Midwife: The 1846–1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions, Life Writings of Frontier Women 2 (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1997), 7–8, 77–79; and Jill Mulvay Derr et al., Women of Covenant: The Story of Relief Society (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1992), 13, 45, 68, 90, 429. (a. See Mark Lyman Staker, Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations [Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009], 119–191. b. See Mark 16:17; and Acts 2:1–4. c. See Doctrine and Covenants 46:8–26. d. Document 1.2, entry for Apr. 28, 1842.)

  6. [6]See Doctrine and Covenants 46:22.

  7. [7]Eaton was admitted to the Relief Society at the following meeting, April 28, 1842.