43990868

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

repented of their sins. It is the object of 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
to reform persons, not to take those that are corrupt, but if they repent we are bound to take them and by kindness sanctify and cleanse from all unrighteousness, by our influence in watching over them— nothing will have such influence over people, as the fear of being disfellowship’d by so goodly a Society as this. Then take Sis. O. as Jesus received sinners into his bosom.
Sis. O. In the name of the Lord I now make you free, and from this hour if any thing should be found against you
[1 line blank]
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.
It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principle of godliness, to behold the contraction of feeling and lack of charity. The pow’r and glory of Godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sin’d there must be allowance made for them.
All the religious world is boasting of righteousness— tis the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind and retard our progress, by filling us with selfrighteousness— The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more are we dispos’d to look with compassion on perishing souls— to take them upon our shoulders and cast their sins behind our back. [blank] I am going to talk to all this Society— if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.
Prest. S. then refer’d them to the conduct of the Savior when he was taken and crucified &c.
He then made a promise in the name of the [p. [62]]
repented of their sins. It is the object of 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
to reform  persons, not to take those that are corrupt, but if they repent we  are bound to take them and by kindness sanctify and cleanse  from all unrighteousness, by our influence in watching over them — nothing will have such influence over people, as the fear  of being disfellowship’d by so goodly a Society as this. Then  take Sis. O. as Jesus received sinners into his bosom.
Sis. O. In the name of the Lord I now make you free, and  from this hour if any thing should be found against you
[1 line blank]
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to  forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them  with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindn ess and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind,  while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all  the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.
It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with  the principle of godliness, to behold the contraction of feeling  and lack of charity. The pow’r and glory of Godliness is spread  out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity.  God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men  have sin’d there must be allowance made for them.
All the religious world is boasting of righteousness — tis the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind  and retard our progress, by filling us with selfrighteousness — The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more  are we dispos’d to look with compassion on perishing  souls— to take them upon our shoulders and cast their  sins behind our back. [blank] I am going to talk to  all this Society— if you would have God have mercy  on you, have mercy on one another.
Prest. S. then refer’d them to the conduct of the  Savior when he was taken and crucified &c.
He then made a promise in the name of the [p. [62]]
PreviousNext
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...

More Info
, 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 ...

More Info
. 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...

More Info
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...

More Info
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...

More Info
, 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 ...

View Full Bio
, 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.

Facts