Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page [90]

Editorial Note
When the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo resumed meeting in June 1843 following a winter hiatus, more than a thousand women were enrolled as members. The group soon divided into four sections that met separately in rotation. Because Sarah M. Cleveland, first counselor in the women’s presidency, had moved from Nauvoo, second counselor presided in the absence of President , who battled sickness, traveled to purchase goods and visit family, and wrestled with JS’s introduction of the practice of plural marriage. Following the first two meetings in summer 1843, society secretary moved to Morley settlement, twenty-five miles south of and assistant secretary Phebe M. Wheeler recorded minutes and donations. Relief Society visiting committees, appointed in each ward in July 1843, began to report needs of Nauvoo families and collect contributions for the poor and destitute, particularly new immigrants. Between 1840 and 1846, nearly 4,800 immigrants came from the British Isles, more than half of them during 1841 and 1842.
Relief Society members also made donations toward construction of the in and helped temple workmen and their families. With the temple far from completion, JS introduced temple rites in other consecrated rooms. On 28 September 1843, became the first woman to receive the temple ordinance known as the endowment; nine men had received the ordinance in May 1842. JS’s promise that Relief Society members would see “the blessings of the endowment rolling on” (Minutes, 31 Aug. 1842) was confirmed as Emma Smith began to administer the sacred ordinance to other women. These significant events, documented in other historical sources, inform women’s comments regarding the temple as recorded in these minutes.

16 June 1843 • Friday
The of , resumed its meetings— June 16th 1843.
[1 line blank]
Minutes of the Proceedings
of the
First Meeting of the Society.
[1 line blank]
June 16th 1843.
Meeting convened according to previous instructions of Prest. , who not being present, presided.
Meeting opened by singing “Let Zion in her beauty rise” &c— Prayer by Mrs. Chase.
rose and address’d the meeting by saying that she felt alone in consequence of the absence of the , from whom she had received instructions that we might not only relieve the wants of the poor but also cast in our mites to assist the brethren in building the — said she had felt a deep interest on the subject since last sabbath hearing Prest. Smith’s remarks— wished the sisters to express their feelings— our Prest., said we might speak to the , and whatever they wished and we could, we might do— then presented the case of Mrs. Mills whom several of the sis. in company with , visited in the morning.
Sec. E. A. [Elvira Annie Cowles] Holmes, then rose— said she was not altogether prepared to give a full and correct statement of the Receipts and Expenditure of the Society but would make a statement so soon as she could see and adjust some unsettled accounts— suffice it to say about 500 dollars have been recd. and nearly 400 expended during the first year of the Society— much good had been [p. [90]]

Editorial Note
When the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo resumed meeting in June 1843 following a winter hiatus, more than a thousand women were enrolled as members. The group soon divided into four sections that met separately in rotation. Because Sarah M. Cleveland, first counselor in the women’s presidency, had moved from Nauvoo, second counselor presided in the absence of President , who battled sickness, traveled to purchase goods and visit family, and wrestled with JS’s introduction of the practice of plural marriage. Following the first two meetings in summer 1843, society secretary moved to Morley settlement, twenty-five miles south of and assistant secretary Phebe M. Wheeler recorded minutes and donations. Relief Society visiting committees, appointed in each ward in July 1843, began to report needs of Nauvoo families and collect contributions for the poor and destitute, particularly new immigrants. Between 1840 and 1846, nearly 4,800 immigrants came from the British Isles, more than half of them during 1841 and 1842.
Relief Society members also made donations toward construction of the in and helped temple workmen and their families. With the temple far from completion, JS introduced temple rites in other consecrated rooms. On 28 September 1843, became the first woman to receive the temple ordinance known as the endowment; nine men had received the ordinance in May 1842. JS’s promise that Relief Society members would see “the blessings of the endowment rolling on” (Minutes, 31 Aug. 1842) was confirmed as Emma Smith began to administer the sacred ordinance to other women. These significant events, documented in other historical sources, inform women’s comments regarding the temple as recorded in these minutes.

16 June 1843 • Friday
The of , resumed its meetings— June 16th 1843.
[1 line blank]
Minutes of the Proceedings
of the
First Meeting of the Society.
[1 line blank]
June 16th 1843.
Meeting convened according to previous instructions of Prest. , who not being present, presided.
Meeting opened by singing “Let Zion in her beauty rise” &c— Prayer by Mrs. Chase.
rose and address’d the meeting by saying that she felt alone in consequence of the absence of the , from whom she had received instructions that we might not only relieve the wants of the poor but also cast in our mites to assist the brethren in building the — said she had felt a deep interest on the subject since last sabbath hearing Prest. Smith’s remarks— wished the sisters to express their feelings— our Prest., said we might speak to the , and whatever they wished and we could, we might do— then presented the case of Mrs. Mills whom several of the sis. in company with , visited in the morning.
Sec. E. A. Elvira Annie Cowles Holmes, then rose— said she was not altogether prepared to give a full and correct statement of the Receipts and Expenditure of the Society but would make a statement so soon as she could see and adjust some unsettled accounts— suffice it to say about 500 dollars have been recd. and nearly 400 expended during the first year of the Society— much good had been [p. [90]]
Page [90]