43990868

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

19 May 1842 • Thursday

Minutes of the Proceedings
of the
Eighth Meeting of the Society.
[1 line blank]
Lodge Room, May 19th.
Meeting open’d with prayer by Councillor [Elizabeth Ann Smith] 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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Singing by the choir—
The following names were then receiv’d, to wit.
Caroline AngellSybil Jacobs
Eleanor DavissEliza Wilber
Pamela DaytonRuth Tyler
Anna BuckBetsey Motley
Charity ButlerCaroline Hamon
Hannah HuntsmanAnn Abbott
Irena E. LincolnMartha Byington
Elizabeth DanaRebecca More
Catharine C. BrushElizabeth Romney
Martha A. HoveySally Ann Chamberlin
Abiah PorterJulia Fish
Delia DeVolJane Bolentine
Mary AbbotLucy Groves
Lovina JohnsonPolly Sweat
Mary LittlefieldSarah Roberts
Lettice BentRuth Tyler
Councillor 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
then rose and said, she was burthened in mind in thinking of existing evils in the church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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— was desirous that this Society become more obedient to the gospel in keeping all the commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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— exhorted them to humility and watchfulness— said the more she had heard and seen of corrupt members, the more she was stimulated to faithfulness— that the gifts and blessings of the gospel were ours, if found faithful and pure before God &c.
Mrs. Prest.

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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said this day was an evil day— that [p. [47]]

19 May 1842 • Thursday

Minutes of the Proceedings
of the
Eighth Meeting of the Society.
[1 line blank]
Lodge Room, May 19th.
Meeting open’d with prayer by Councillor [Elizabeth Ann Smith] 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
Singing by the choir—
The following names were then receiv’d, to wit.
Caroline AngellSybil Jacobs
Eleanor DavissEliza Wilber
Pamela DaytonRuth Tyler
Anna BuckBetsey Motley
Charity ButlerCaroline Hamon
Hannah HuntsmanAnn Abbott
Irena E. LincolnMartha Byington
Elizabeth DanaRebecca More
Catharine C. BrushElizabeth Romney
Martha A. HoveySally Ann Chamberlin
Abiah PorterJulia Fish
Delia DeVolJane Bolentine
Mary AbbotLucy Groves
Lovina JohnsonPolly Sweat
Mary LittlefieldSarah Roberts
Lettice BentRuth Tyler
Councillor 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
then rose and said, she  was burthened in mind in thinking of existing evils  in the church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
— was desirous that this Society become  more obedient to the gospel in keeping all the comman dments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
— exhorted them to humility and watchfulness — said the more she had heard and seen of corrupt  members, the more she was stimulated to faithfulness — that the gifts and blessings of the gospel were ours, if  found faithful and pure before God &c.
Mrs. Prest.

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
said this day was an evil day— that [p. [47]]
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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...

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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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