Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page [123]
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Editorial Note
After a second winter hiatus, the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo reconvened 9 March 1844. During the interim, work on the quickened and the vanguard of women and men participating in sacred temple ceremonies expanded. The Saints continued their ongoing appeals to the federal government to recuperate properties lost after their expulsion from the state. To assure protection of Saints’ rights and property, JS reinforced ’s local police and militia, fortified Mormons’ political presence in local and state government, and even became a candidate for the presidency of the . These measures, combined with the expanding practice of plural marriage, heightened tensions with neighbors and among church members. Rumors regarding Mormon polygamy precipitated slander against the women of Nauvoo, which Relief Society members assembled to refute.
The society’s last four recorded meetings, held morning and afternoon on two consecutive Saturdays in March 1844, were nearly identical. All four centered on the reading and ratification of a statement titled “The Voice of Innocence.” Composed by , a clerk and scribe for JS, the epistle already had been read and approved at a general meeting of priesthood leaders and “about eight thousand Saints” on Thursday, 7 March. Beginning two days later, at the overflowing women’s meetings, the preamble and three resolutions comprising “The Voice of Innocence” were presented so that “all might have the opportunity of expressing their feelings.” The 1,200-word document refuting allegations against the women of was “unanimously adopted at each meeting” (“Virtue Will Triumph,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 20 Mar. 1844, 187).

9 March 1844 • Saturday
The resumed its Meetings— March 9th 1844
[1 line blank]
Mienetes [Minutes] of the First Procidings of the
[1 line blank]
First Meeting of the Society
Room over Brick Store
March 9 1844
Meeting conveind— Presedent . Proceeded to Open the Meeting— appointed— H[annah] Ells, Sectary
Stated the object of the Meeting, read an Epistle called the Voice of Innocence— adressed the Meeting on the late Slander, of &c by O F Bostic [Orsamus F. Bostwick] w[h]ich calld forth— the <of reading of> above Epistle— it was then asertaned by vote, who would be willing to receeve the princples of vurtue, keep the of God, and uphold the in puting <down> iniquity— was received by unanimous voice— Prest Said her determination was to do her Duty Effectully— in puting down transgresion
— requested the Sisters to Pray that might be supported, to teach us the princples of Righteousness expressed her fears, that Jugement would bgin at the house of God— said it was high time for Mothers to wach over their Daughters & exhort them to keep the path of virtue— the present Meeting then ajourned in order to make room for those who could not get admitance in the fore part of the day—
12 o c A M— th[e] following Persons were then received by vote—
Rachel Foster Clarsesa Labanno [Clarissa LeBaron]
Mary Ann Shefflin Nancy [blank]
Mary Ally Mary S. Nelson
Hannah [blank] Mary Stuart
Catharine Tuttle Harriet Carter
Sarah Har Susan Ashby
[p. [123]]

Editorial Note
After a second winter hiatus, the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo reconvened 9 March 1844. During the interim, work on the quickened and the vanguard of women and men participating in sacred temple ceremonies expanded. The Saints continued their ongoing appeals to the federal government to recuperate properties lost after their expulsion from the state. To assure protection of Saints’ rights and property, JS reinforced ’s local police and militia, fortified Mormons’ political presence in local and state government, and even became a candidate for the presidency of the . These measures, combined with the expanding practice of plural marriage, heightened tensions with neighbors and among church members. Rumors regarding Mormon polygamy precipitated slander against the women of Nauvoo, which Relief Society members assembled to refute.
The society’s last four recorded meetings, held morning and afternoon on two consecutive Saturdays in March 1844, were nearly identical. All four centered on the reading and ratification of a statement titled “The Voice of Innocence.” Composed by , a clerk and scribe for JS, the epistle already had been read and approved at a general meeting of priesthood leaders and “about eight thousand Saints” on Thursday, 7 March. Beginning two days later, at the overflowing women’s meetings, the preamble and three resolutions comprising “The Voice of Innocence” were presented so that “all might have the opportunity of expressing their feelings.” The 1,200-word document refuting allegations against the women of was “unanimously adopted at each meeting” (“Virtue Will Triumph,” Nauvoo Neighbor, 20 Mar. 1844, 187).

9 March 1844 • Saturday
The resumed its Meetings— March 9th 1844
[1 line blank]
Mienetes [Minutes] of the Procidings of the
[1 line blank]
First Meeting of the Society
Room over Brick Store
March 9 1844
Meeting conveind— Presedent . Proceeded to Open the Meeting— appointed— Hannah Ells, Sectary
Stated the object of the Meeting, read an Epistle called the Voice of Innocence— adressed the Meeting on the late Slander, of &c by O F Bostic [Orsamus F. Bostwick] which calld forth— the reading of above Epistle— it was then asertaned by vote, who would be willing to receeve the princples of vurtue, keep the of God, and uphold the in puting down iniquity— was received by unanimous voice— Prest Said her determination was to do her Duty Effectully— in puting down transgresion
— requested the Sisters to Pray that might be supported, to teach us the princples of Righteousness expressed her fears, that Jugement would bgin at the house of God— said it was high time for Mothers to wach over their Daughters & exhort them to keep the path of virtue— the present Meeting then ajourned in order to make room for those who could not get admitance in the fore part of the day—
12 o c A M— the following Persons were then received by vote—
Rachel Foster Clarsesa Labanno [Clarissa LeBaron]
Mary Ann Shefflin Nancy [blank]
Mary Ally Mary S. Nelson
Hannah [blank] Mary Stuart
Catharine Tuttle Harriet Carter
Sarah Har Susan Ashby
[p. [123]]
Page [123]