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4.16

Eliza R. Snow, Letter to Salt Lake Stake Relief Society, December 9, 1886

Eliza R. Snow, “To the Officers and Members of the Relief Society of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, in Conference Assembled; President M. I. Horne Presiding,” Dec. [9], 1886; Relief Society General Board Minutes, 1886–1911, vol. 3, 1906–1911, p. 245, CHL (CR 11 182).

See image of the original document, courtesy of Church History Library, Salt Lake City.


As Eliza R. Snow advanced in age, her health declined and her visits to local Relief Society, Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association, and Primary Association meetings decreased. She continued to maintain contact with Relief Societies through letters, such as the one below that was read at the quarterly conference of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society held on December 9, 1886, and then published with the meeting minutes in the Woman’s Exponent.1 In her letter Snow encouraged the Relief Society women to “see beyond the dark cloud that rises before us, and rejoice in prospect of the blessing that comes after the tribulation.” This was a reference to the antipolygamy crusade that was intensifying against the Latter-day Saints at the time.2

The transcript below was reproduced from a handwritten copy of the original letter that is affixed into a volume containing Relief Society general board minutes dated May 1906 to April 1911.


To the Officers and Members of the Relief Society of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion, in Conference Assembled; President M. [Mary] I. Horne presiding:

Beloved Sisters,

Not anticipating the pleasure of being with you in person to-day, I feel that I shall be with you in spirit, and take the liberty to address you through the medium of pen, ink, and paper—very briefly, being aware that your time is very limited.

I thank our Heavenly Father that I am associated with you, not only in the precious and everlasting bonds of the of the glorious Gospel of the Prince of Peace, but also in the sacred, God-revealed organization of the Relief Society, which places us in position to accomplish more good, both temporally and spiritually than otherwise would be possible. The performing labors of love and duty, relieving the wants of the poor—administering to the sick—lifting up those who are bowed down—strengthening the weak—encouraging the desponding—arousing the dormant, etc. etc., is productive of the purest and noblest pleasure enjoyed in mortal life.

May you, my Sisters, in this Conference, realize a copious refreshing from the presence of God. May the spirit of instruction, consolation, love, and union rest on those present—every heart be cheered, and each soul resolve anew to draw closer to God, and lean firmly on Him, that you may see beyond the dark cloud that rises before us, and rejoice in prospect of the blessing that comes after the tribulation. May the Holy Ghost, the Comforter be your constant companion, and you be enabled to acknowledge the hand of God in all things. What He will not overrule for the good of the Saints, He will avert.

Your Sister,

E. R. Snow Smith—

Thursday Morning, Dec. 8th [9th] 1886—3

Footnotes

  1. [1]“R. S., Y. L. M. I. A. & P. A. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent, Dec. 15, 1886, 15:110.

  2. [2]See Document 4.15. Eliza R. Snow’s brother Lorenzo Snow, an apostle, was convicted of unlawful cohabitation in January 1886 and spent eleven months in prison, from March 1886 to February 1887. (See “More from Ogden,” Deseret Evening News, Jan. 4, 1886, [2]; Franklin D. Richards, Journals, 1844–1899, Richards Family Collection, 1837–1961, CHL, Jan. 15, 1886; and Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936], 1:29–30.)

  3. [3]Thursday fell on December 9. The version of the letter published in the Exponent has the correct date, December 9. (“R. S., Y. L. M. I. A. & P. A. Reports,” Woman’s Exponent, Dec. 15, 1886, 15:110.)