43990868

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

the idle speech of our enemies— we design to act in the name of the Lord— to relieve the wants of the distressed, and do all the good we can.—
Eliza R. Snow

21 Jan. 1804–5 Dec. 1887. Poet, teacher, seamstress, milliner. Born in Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Oliver Snow and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone. Moved to Mantua, Trumbull Co., Ohio, ca. 1806. Member of Baptist church. Baptized into LDS ...

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arose and said that she felt to concur with the President

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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, with regard to the word Benevolent, that many Societies with which it had been associated, were corrupt,— that the popular Institutions of the day should not be our guide— that as daughters of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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, we should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which had been heretofore pursued— one objection to the word Relief is, that the idea associated with it is that of some great calamity— that we intend appropriating on some extraordinary occasions instead of meeting the common occurrences—
Prest. Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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remark’d— we are going to do something extraordinary— when a boat is stuck on the rapids with a multitude of Mormons on board we shall consider that a loud call for relief— we expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls—
Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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Taylor

1 Nov. 1808–25 July 1887. Preacher, editor, publisher, politician. Born at Milnthorpe, Westmoreland Co., England. Son of James Taylor and Agnes Taylor, members of Church of England. Around age sixteen, joined Methodists and was local preacher. Migrated from...

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arose and said— I shall have to concede the point— your arguments are so potent I cannot stand before them— I shall have to give way—
Prest. J. S. said I also shall have to concede the point, all I shall have to give to the poor, I shall give to this Society

A church organization for women; created in Nauvoo, Illinois, under JS’s direction on 17 March 1842. At the same meeting, Emma Smith was elected president, and she selected two counselors; a secretary and a treasurer were also chosen. The minutes of the society...

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Counsellor Whitney

26 Dec. 1800–15 Feb. 1882. Born at Derby, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Gibson Smith and Polly Bradley. Moved to Ohio, 1819. Married Newel K. Whitney, 20 Oct. 1822, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Shortly after, joined reformed Baptist (later Disciples...

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mov’d, that this Society be call’d The Nauvoo Female Relief Society— second. by Counsellor Cleveland—
E. R. Snow

21 Jan. 1804–5 Dec. 1887. Poet, teacher, seamstress, milliner. Born in Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Oliver Snow and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone. Moved to Mantua, Trumbull Co., Ohio, ca. 1806. Member of Baptist church. Baptized into LDS ...

View Full Bio
offer’d an amendment by way of transposition of words, instead of The Nauvoo Female Relief Society, it shall be call’d The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo

A church organization for women; created in Nauvoo, Illinois, under JS’s direction on 17 March 1842. At the same meeting, Emma Smith was elected president, and she selected two counselors; a secretary and a treasurer were also chosen. The minutes of the society...

View Glossary
— Seconded by Prest. J. Smith and carried— [p. 12]
the idle speech of our enemies— we design to act in the name  of the Lord— to relieve the wants of the distressed, and do all  the good we can.—
Eliza R. Snow

21 Jan. 1804–5 Dec. 1887. Poet, teacher, seamstress, milliner. Born in Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Oliver Snow and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone. Moved to Mantua, Trumbull Co., Ohio, ca. 1806. Member of Baptist church. Baptized into LDS ...

View Full Bio
arose and said that she felt to concur  with the President

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
, with regard to the word Benevolent, that  many Societies with which it had been associated, were corrupt,—  that the popular Institutions of the day should not be our guide — that as daughters of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
, we should set an example for  all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course  which had been heretofore pursued— one objection to the  word Relief is, that the idea associated with it is that of  some great calamity— that we intend appropriating on some  extraordinary occasions instead of meeting the common  occurrences—
Prest. Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
remark’d— we are going  to do something extraordinary— when a boat is stuck  on the rapids with a multitude of Mormons on board  we shall consider that a loud call for relief— we expect  extraordinary occasions and pressing calls—
Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
Taylor

1 Nov. 1808–25 July 1887. Preacher, editor, publisher, politician. Born at Milnthorpe, Westmoreland Co., England. Son of James Taylor and Agnes Taylor, members of Church of England. Around age sixteen, joined Methodists and was local preacher. Migrated from...

View Full Bio
arose and said— I shall have to concede  the point— your arguments are so potent I cannot stand  before them— I shall have to give way—
Prest. J. S. said I also shall have to concede the point,  all I shall have to give to the poor, I shall give to this  Society

A church organization for women; created in Nauvoo, Illinois, under JS’s direction on 17 March 1842. At the same meeting, Emma Smith was elected president, and she selected two counselors; a secretary and a treasurer were also chosen. The minutes of the society...

View Glossary
Counsellor Whitney

26 Dec. 1800–15 Feb. 1882. Born at Derby, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Gibson Smith and Polly Bradley. Moved to Ohio, 1819. Married Newel K. Whitney, 20 Oct. 1822, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Shortly after, joined reformed Baptist (later Disciples...

View Full Bio
mov’d, that this Society be  call’d The Nauvoo Female Relief Society— second. by  Counsellor Cleveland—
E. R. Snow

21 Jan. 1804–5 Dec. 1887. Poet, teacher, seamstress, milliner. Born in Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Oliver Snow and Rosetta Leonora Pettibone. Moved to Mantua, Trumbull Co., Ohio, ca. 1806. Member of Baptist church. Baptized into LDS ...

View Full Bio
offer’d an amendment by way  of transposition of words, instead of The Nauvoo Female  Relief Society, it shall be call’d The Female Relief Society  of Nauvoo

A church organization for women; created in Nauvoo, Illinois, under JS’s direction on 17 March 1842. At the same meeting, Emma Smith was elected president, and she selected two counselors; a secretary and a treasurer were also chosen. The minutes of the society...

View Glossary
— Seconded by Prest. J. Smith and carried— [p. 12]
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On 17 March 1842, JS first formally organized Latter-day Saint women in a group with distinct responsibilities and authority. At JS’s invitation, twenty women assembled in the large room above his dry goods store in Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, to be organized, as one woman recalled his description, “under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood” (Sarah M. Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Sept. 1883, 51). Priesthood quorums—units of men assembled according to priesthood office and usually headed by a president and two counselors—had been organized previously. The women assembled on 17 March elected JS’s wife Emma Hale Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
president, and she selected two counselors; a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ordained or set apart the three-member presidency to their new callings or offices. These were the first ecclesiastical positions in the church for women.
The name the women selected for their institution, the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, paralleled that of contemporaneous women’s benevolent societies in the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. Two or three weeks prior to the 17 March meeting, a group of Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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women had met to form a “ladies society” to sew shirts for temple workmen, an effort probably informed by the broader benevolent movement. When JS invited these women to be organized as part of the church structure, they abandoned their plans for an independent society with a constitution and bylaws. JS told them at the initial meeting, “The minutes of your meetings will be precedents for you to act upon—your Constitution and law” (Minutes, 17 Mar. 1842). This record of Relief Society “organization and proceedings” includes minutes for seventeen meetings in 1842, thirteen in 1843, and four in 1844. By the last recorded meeting in March 1844, a total of 1,331 women had enrolled as members, most of them joining the first year (Maureen C. Ward, “‘This Institution Is a Good One’: The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, 17 March 1842 to 16 March 1844,” Mormon Historical Studies 3 [Fall 2002]: 87–203).
JS attended nine Relief Society meetings in 1842 and addressed six of them. These minutes document his instructions regarding women’s new responsibilities, authority, and forthcoming temple blessings—the only record of teachings JS directed specifically to women. The minutes detail donations for and visits with the poor, contributions for temple

JS revelation, dated Jan. 1841, commanded Saints to build temple and hotel (Nauvoo House). Cornerstone laid, 6 Apr. 1841. Saints volunteered labor, money, and other resources for temple construction. Construction directed by committee, which included Reynolds...

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construction, and women’s efforts at moral reform and civic activism. Discussions reported in this record refer explicitly or implicitly to tensions mounting in Nauvoo over JS’s political influence and threatened extradition to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, the defection of prominent church and civic leader John C. Bennett

3 Aug. 1804–5 Aug. 1867. Physician, minister, poultry breeder. Born at Fairhaven, Bristol Co., Massachusetts. Son of John Bennett and Abigail Cook. Moved to Marietta, Washington Co., Ohio, 1808; to Massachusetts, 1812; and back to Marietta, 1822. Married ...

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, and the tumult surrounding the introduction of plural marriage. The record of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo ends on 16 March 1844; a decade passed before Relief Society meetings resumed in the Salt Lake Valley.

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