Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book
“A Book of Records, Containing the proceedings of The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo,” Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, 17 Mar. 1842–16 Mar. 1844; handwriting ofAccount book or ledger, 12½ x 8¼ x 1 inches (32 x 21 x 3 cm). The text block, containing 132 leaves, measures 12⅛ x 7¾ inches (31 x 20 cm). Tooling design around edges of cover. Spine, red stamp. Edges of pages, green, with some wear.Alphabetic tabs appear on the initial twelve leaves, left blank with the exception of three entries. Written on the recto of the “A–B” leaf is a note concerning provenance of the volume, described below. Two other notes, one on the reverse of the “A–B” leaf (“Jane Easton commenc’d work August 9th 1852”) and the other on the recto of the “L–M” leaf (“Mc Intire Geo. 2”) were penned byChurch apostleWillard Richardsprovided the ledger to Relief Society secretary
24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...View Full BioEliza R. Snowfor the purpose of keeping a minute book. Snow maintained possession of the minutes. In 1855, at the request of church president
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 BioBrigham Young, the minutes were handed temporarily to those compiling the official history of the church for publication in the Deseret News but were then returned to Snow. At the time of her death in 1887, the book came into the hands of Dr. Romania B. Penrose, Relief Society assistant secretary, who gave the book to Bathsheba W. Smith when Smith became general Relief Society president in 1901. The note inscribed on lines 2 through 6 on the recto of the “A–B” leaf (the first page of the volume) indicates the final disposition and location of the volume: “This record was obtained from Bathsheba Merrill who received it in the effects of her Mother Sister Bathsheba W. Smith after her death, and was filed in the Historian’s Office July 3, 1911. Joseph F. Smith, Jr.”
1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...View Full BioAt least three verbatim copies have been made: a manuscript copy penned by Emmeline B. Wells (sometime after 1872), in Emmeline Wells Papers, BYU; a typewritten copy prepared under the direction of Relief Society general secretary Amy Brown Lyman, as described by Lyman in Relief Society General Board, Minutes, 11 December 1929, with some redactions, CHL; and a typescript completed by Edyth Jenkins Romney for the Church Historical Department, 15 November 1979, Edyth Jenkins Romney Typescript Collection, CHL, which formed the basis of this transcript.In the 1842–1844 Relief Society record, some names have been erased, probably by light scraping with a penknife, and then rewritten correctly or more neatly. There are almost no strikeovers or additions, though some words were later inserted in pencil or different ink. Those apparently later redactions do not appear in this transcript.
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 inNauvoo, 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
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 InfoThe name the women selected for their institution, the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, paralleled that of contemporaneous women’s benevolent societies in theUnited States. Two or three weeks prior to the 17 March meeting, a group of
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 InfoNauvoowomen 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).
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 InfoJS 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 fortempleconstruction, 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
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 that included Reynolds...More InfoMissouri, the defection of prominent church and civic leader
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
Before partial completion of Nauvoo temple, all large meetings were held outdoors in groves located near east and west sides of temple site. Had portable stands for speakers. JS referred to area as “temple stand” due to its location on brow of hill.More Info