On 9 June 1842, JS delivered a discourse on mercy to the . He opened the society’s eleventh meeting, held in the near the , with prayer and then addressed the assembled women. He began his discourse by reiterating counsel he had given them in March 1842, shortly after the Relief Society was organized. In that discourse, as well as in this 9 June sermon, he expressed concern that some who had been admitted may not have been worthy of membership. He continued his 9 June discourse by counseling the women to be charitable, humble, and merciful. JS briefly interrupted his discourse to give the Relief Society time to receive new members; he then continued his address. He emphasized that the purpose of the Relief Society was not only to relieve the poor, but also to reform the repentant and save souls. He concluded by offering to provide the society with a city lot and an unfinished house they could use to begin building homes for the poor.
As secretary of the Relief Society, recorded an account of JS’s discourse in her minutes for the 9 June 1842 meeting. Although the original loose minutes she took are no longer extant, Snow copied the minutes, including her account of JS’s discourse, into the Relief Society Minute Book, probably shortly after this meeting.
Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.
repented of their sins. It is the object of this 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
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. ]