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44: "A House unto My Name" (Doctrine and Covenants 124)

Fri Oct 22 17:34:34 EDT 2021
Episode 44

Did you know that there was a period when the Relief Society was disbanded? While Latter-day Saint women continued to serve in many capacities, the official Relief Society structure did not exist in the Church between 1844 and 1867. It was then that Eliza R. Snow helped reorganize this vital Church organization under the direction of President Brigham Young. As we study Doctrine and Covenants 124, we’ll talk about what lead up to the disbandment of the Relief Society and how it grew into the worldwide organization it is today.

Segment 1


“The Relief Society disbanded for a short time in 1844 after the death of Joseph Smith and the exodus of Latter-day Saint to the Salt Lake Valley. It was reorganized in 1867 and still operates today, with millions of members worldwide” (Relief Society: Women’s Organizations Research Guide,” Church History,

Joseph Smith and his companions, “eventually managed to ‘escape’ legal authorities while being escorted to a hearing in Boone County, Missouri, in April 1839. Their guards turned a blind eye and allowed the prisoners to flee from custody after leading them away from enemies of the Latter-day Saints in Clay County. Baldwin became separated from Joseph and the others on several occasions after their getaway, but all the prisoners ultimately crossed into Illinois, finally reuniting with family, friends, and the rest of the Latter-day Saint refugees28” (Justin R. Bray, “Within the Walls of Liberty Jail,” Revelations in Context,


“More Than a Body: Your Body Is an Instrument, Not an Ornament”


Nauvoo = They will become beautiful.

Segment 2


Doctrine and Covenants 124: 18–19; 28; 31; 34; 39; 74–75; 121

Alma 5:24; Alma 7:25; Doctrine and Covenants 132:29; Doctrine and Covenants 137:5

Vinson Knight Biography


Teshuvah = Return to God by forsaking sin.

Yahshua = To come and have place and sit down with God.

Segment 3


Doctrine and Covenants 124:63

How the Relief Society Was First Organized:

“In the spring of 1842, the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, worked enthusiastically to build a temple in their city. The Prophet Joseph Smith encouraged everyone to help. Men did the actual construction of the temple, and women eagerly sought ways to contribute as well. Sarah M. Kimball recounted:

“’The Nauvoo Temple walls were about three feet high. Strong appeals were being made by the President of the Church and others for help to forward the work.

“’Miss [Margaret] Cook … one day in conversation with me on the subject of a recent appeal for provisions, clothing, bedding and general supplies for the workmen and their families, remarked that she would be pleased to contribute needlework if it could be made available. I proffered material for her to make up, and suggested that others might feel as we did. We then [discussed] the subject of organizing a sewing society. The object of which should be to aid in the erection of the temple.

“’About a dozen of the neighboring sisters by invitation met in my [home] the following Thursday.’1

“In that era, it was a popular practice for women to form their own organizations, often with constitutions and bylaws—sets of rules to govern the organizations. The women who met at Sarah Kimball’s home decided to establish a constitution and bylaws, and Eliza R. Snow accepted the responsibility to write them. Then the women asked Joseph Smith to review them and give his opinion of them. After the Prophet read them, he said they were ‘the best he had ever seen. ‘But,’ he said, ‘this is not what you want. Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord, and he has something better for them than a written constitution. I invite them all to meet with me and a few of the brethren … next Thursday afternoon, and I will organize the women under the priesthood after the pattern of the priesthood.’”2

“That next Thursday, on March 17, 1842, twenty women assembled on the upper floor of a building, often called “the red brick store,” where Joseph Smith had an office and a business to support his family. They met under the direction of Joseph Smith and two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elders John Taylor and Willard Richards.3

“In the first meeting of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Sister Eliza R. Snow was appointed to be the secretary of the organization. In that capacity, she took careful and detailed notes, which were called minutes, at each Relief Society meeting she attended. Joseph Smith told the sisters that these minutes would become the ‘constitution and law

of the society17(“’Something Better’ The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo,” Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Word of Relief Society,

Names of the first members of the Relief Society:

Mrs. Emma Smith, Mrs. Sarah M. Cleveland, Phoebe Ann Hawkes, Elizabeth Jones, Sophia Packard, Philinda Merrick, Marth Knights, Desmonda Fulmer, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Leonora Taylor, Bathsheba W. Smith, Phebe M. Wheeler, Elvira A, Co[w]les, Margaret A. [Norris] Cook, Athalia Robinson, Sarah M. Kimball, Eliza R. Snow, Sophia Robinson, Nancy Rigdon, and Sophia Marks ("Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book," p. 6, The Joseph Smith Papers).

Segment 4:


“From the time of the expulsion from Nauvoo, the Female Relief Society remained in status quo until it was reorganized under the direction of Pres. B. Young in the year 1855, commencing in the Fifteenth Ward, S.L. City.6

“As I had been intimately associated with, and had officiated as Secretary for the first organization, Pres. Young commissioned me to assist the Bishops in organizing Branches of the Society in their respective Wards; for, at that time, the Bishops had not acquainted themselves with the movement, and did not know how to proceed. To me it was quite a mission, and I took much pleasure in its performance. I felt quite honored and much at home in my associations with the Bishops, and they appreciated my assistance. Each Branch of the Society, although constituting a self-governing body, and empowered to create committees and whatever officers may be needed from time 〈to time,〉 in accomplishing its many and increasing labors, is under the direction of its respective Bishop or presiding officer of the Ward.7

“Not long after the re-organization of the Relief Society, Pres. Young told me he was going to give me a 〈another〉 mission. Without the least intimation of what the mission consisted, I replied, “I shall endeavor to fulfil it.” He said, “I want you to instruct the sisters.”8 Altho’ my heart went “pit a pat” for the time being, I did not, and could not then form an adequate estimate of the magnitude of the work before me. To carry into effect the President’s requisition, I saw, at once, involved public meetings and public speaking—also travel abroad, [p. [36]] as the Branches of the Society of the sisterhood extended at that time, through several Counties in Utah, and ultimately, all the vallies of the mountains—numbering, at present date, nearly three hundred; besides other Branches in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Islands of the sea, wherever the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints” has established its Branches.9 Some years ago, by mutual consent, the word female was dropped, and the Society called ‘Relief Society’”10 (Eliza R. Snow, "Sketch of My Life," in The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2000), 35.

“Go at it (under the direction of your bishop) coolly, deliberately, energetically, unitedly and prayerfully, and God will crown your efforts with success” (Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), Apr. 18, 1868, vol. 1, no. 127, p. [2]; Apr. 20, 1868, vol. 1, no. 128, p. [2]).

“Should the question arise in the mind, of any, What is the object of the Female Relief Society?

I would reply—to do good—to bring into requisition every capacity we possess for doing good, not only in relieving the poor but in saving souls . United effort will accomplish incalculably more than can be accomplished by the most effective individual energies” (Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), Apr. 18, 1868, vol. 1, no. 127, p. [2]; Apr. 20, 1868, vol. 1, no. 128, p. [2]).

Segment 5


Proverbs 31:20


Joseph Smith taught the Relief Society would “not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:25).

“In administering to the poor, the Female Relief Society has other duties to perform than merely relieving bodily wants. Poverty of mind and sickness of heart, also demand attention; and many times a kind expression—a few words of counsel, or even a warm and affectionate shake of the hand will do more good and be better appreciated than a purse of gold.

“When the Saints gather from abroad, strangers to everybody, and subject to be led astray by those who lie in wait to deceive, the F. R. Society should be prompt in looking after the stranger sisters, and introduce them into the society that will refine and elevate, and above all strengthen them in the faith of the Gospel, and in so doing, may be instrumental in saving many” (Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), Apr. 18, 1868, vol. 1, no. 127, p. [2]; Apr. 20, 1868, vol. 1, no. 128, p. [2]).


Poor = Afflicted, depressed in mind or circumstance

Needy = Want, a subject to depression or abuse

Eliza’s Conversion:

In the winter of 1831–32, Joseph Smith came to the Snow home. As he sat by the fire, Eliza ‘scrutinized his face as closely as I could without attracting his attention, and decided that his was an honest face.’ Even so, her investigative nature led her to observe what happened over time. She attended a local meeting where Joseph and two Book of Mormon witnesses spoke, and she was deeply impressed. Her mother and sister, Rosetta and Leonora, believed and were baptized that spring.4 Still Eliza waited, studying the Book of Mormon, watching and listening.

“In the spring of 1835, Rosetta and Leonora went to Kirtland, Ohio, where other Latter-day Saints lived. They returned with stories about the Church, the priesthood, and great spiritual manifestations. Five years had passed since the time Eliza first heard about Joseph Smith. The accounts of her mother and sister brought Eliza an undeniable witness of the truth. She had waited until she knew it was true. ‘My heart was now fixed,’ she wrote. She decided to be baptized5” (Jenny Reeder, “’My Heart Is Fix’d’: Eliza R. Snow’s Lifelong Conversion,” Liahona, February 2021).

Segment 6:


2 John 1:1


“Although the name may be of modern date, the institution is of ancient origin. We were told by our martyred prophet, that the same organization existed in the church anciently, allusions to which are made in some of the epistles recorded in the New Testament, making use of the title, ‘elect lady’”5 (Eliza R. Snow, “Female Relief Society,” Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT), Apr. 18, 1868, vol. 1, no. 127, p. [2]; Apr. 20, 1868, vol. 1, no. 128, p. [2]).

“Joseph wanted to help the Saints learn these truths so they could progress toward exaltation and enter into God’s presence. In Kirtland, the endowment of power had fortified many men for the rigors of the mission field. But God had promised to bestow a greater spiritual endowment in the Nauvoo temple. By revealing additional ordinances and knowledge to faithful men and women of the church, the Lord would make them kings and queens, priests and priestesses, as John the Revelator had prophesied in the New Testament5” (Saints, Vol. 1, “Chapter 37: We Will Prove Them,”

“It would require volumes in which to define the duties, privileges and responsibilities that come within the purview of the Society. . . . Go at it (under the direction of your bishop) coolly, deliberately, energetically, unitedly and prayerfully, and God will crown your efforts with success” (Salt Lake City, UT), Apr. 18, 1868, vol. 1, no. 127, p. [2]; Apr. 20, 1868, vol. 1, no. 128, p. [2]).

Additional Resources About the Early Days of the Relief Society:

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book

The First 50 Years of the Relief Society

Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of the Relief Society

Tammy 0:00

Here's a crazy fact that I just have to share with you. Did you know that there was a time in our church when many Latter-day Saints were not familiar with what the Relief Society was? Because the Relief Society had been disbanded for a period of time. And did you know it was then reorganized in 1867, under the direction of Eliza R. Snow, which is why we have it today? Crazy, right? And as we study Doctrine and Covenants section 124, and more about the Relief Society, I have a feeling that many of us will want to share more stories that we're going to hear from today's episode.

Welcome to the Sunday and Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original, brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use the podcast, so follow the link in our description, and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study just like my friend, Julie Giuliano does, whose name I will never get tired of saying, Julie Giuliano. How great is that? Hi, Julie.

Now another awesome thing - and it's my favorite thing about the study group - is each week we're joined by two of my friends, so we always get a different perspective. And today, I could not be more excited about these two guests. We have Jenny Reeder and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. And I don't even know where to begin to introduce these friends because everyone knows Jenny, she's been on all year. But Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is new, and I am a little bit nervous and so excited. Hi, friends.

Jenny, Laurel 1:26


Tammy 1:28

Okay, now how do you two know each other?

Jenny Reeder 1:30

We went to the DUP, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, Museum in Salt Lake City. And we were looking at some Eliza R. Snow artifacts.

Laurel Ulrich 1:39

I remember that, as well. Yeah,

Jenny 1:42

Right? And you were telling us there was a wool blanket that she wove, supposedly. We don't know exactly, for sure, but you said it was totally possible that she had done that.

Laurel 1:54

Yeah, I was working on "The Age of Homespun." I think it's published 2001. So some time in that period. Yeah.

Jenny Reeder 2:05

Yeah. But I have to say my all-time favorite memory of you, Laurel was when you had just published A House Full of Females and you were coming out to Salt Lake City to do kind of a book tour. And I had helped plan some events. And then I was really sick in the hospital. And so I wasn't gonna be able to come, and you actually came and visited me in the hospital, and it was the kindest, warmest, sweetest visit, and I loved it. It was just so kind. Thank you so much for that.

Laurel Ulrich 2:39

You're very kind to mention that. That makes me a little bit emotional. Thank you.

Jenny 2:45

It was emotional.

Laurel 2:46


Tammy 2:47

Well, that's my favorite story that Jenny's ever said about you, Laurel. When I mentioned how much I loved you, and was a fan of your work, Jenny said, "I know Laurel." And then, that's the story she told me, that was your immediate go-to story, that she came to visit you and I'm like, Now I like her even more. So when the opportunity came for this episode, I'm like, Jenny, do you think we can maybe ask Laurel? Because here's what's so exciting about these two women. They are brilliant, brilliant women. I mean, Jenny is a historian. She is currently the 19th Century Women's History Specialist for the Church History Department at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here's one of my favorite things about Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is: I don't know if any of you have ever seen the bumper sticker that says, "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History". Yeah, Laurel said that, that's her quote. She's also a professor at Harvard University. So Google it, read all that great stuff. By the way, A House Full of Females, such a good book, loved it. But to me, these are women who I admire so much, because you have both paid such an incredible price to know what you know about history and women. And I couldn't think of two better-suited women to talk to us today about the Relief Society, and some background with section 124, and the Nauvoo House. And so thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for knowing what you know, because I don't know any of this.

So I kind of am just gonna let them run with it. And they're gonna teach us so much. Okay, friends, well, I'm so excited to do this. So let's just do it. Grab your scriptures. And let's dig in. So Jenny and I are reading a book in our own kind of book club that we created, and it's all about beauty, which sounds so superficial. But it's not a book on how to be more beautiful. It takes the focus from believing that your body looks good, to focusing on knowing your body is good, regardless of how it looks. And how's it going, Jenny?

Jenny 4:34

So it's good. I'm really interested, too. I love the subtitle about how the body is an instrument, not an ornament.

Tammy 4:42

Yeah, that was such a good part.

Jenny 4:44

And I think it provides all sorts of fodder for thoughts about how the media treats women's bodies and how we can view our bodies as beautiful temples.

Tammy 4:57

Oh, I like that you just said beautiful temples, because that's what this whole discussion is about today, is the word beauty, and how it relates to the work found within the gospel of Jesus Christ, including temples. So I'm so excited to tell you about this, because it's one of my favorite Hebrew words. But first, here's what we need to know coming off of last week's episode. In last week's episode, we talked about Joseph Smith and the men who were in Richmond jail, and then in Liberty jail.

And now we're going to kind of finish the story which you just need to know. At the end of their imprisonment, after the horrific experience, these men were then being escorted to their hearing in April of 1839. What's so interesting about the story, is the guards carefully led these men - these prisoners - away from the enemies of the church in Missouri, and then they turned a blind eye and allowed these men to escape the custody of the jailers. And so they ultimately crossed into Illinois, finally returning with family and friends and the rest of the Latter-Day Saint refugees.

The Saints were living in Commerce, Illinois, and then they renamed it Nauvoo, which I love so much because it's a Hebrew word. And so Nauvoo comes from the Hebrew root 'na'ah', which means 'to be beautiful' or 'become beautiful'. And it's interesting because it's a verb. It's not an adjective describing something that's pretty, it's a verb describing what will become pretty. And so the translation of the verb 'na'ah', with 'avoo' at the end means they will become beautiful. What's interesting to me is that they named it Nauvoo because Nauvoo at that time, wasn't that pretty. I'm from Missouri. I've been there. It's humid, it's hot. It was swampy at the time, mosquito-infested, sickness, everything. And so I just want to know, real quick, why do you think they settled on this name, Nauvoo? Like, why would Joseph Smith have called it that?

Jenny 6:39

Well, I'll start. And I think a lot of the saints initially, as they were coming, they were kind of spread out. And a lot of them settled in the town of Quincy, Illinois, which is very close to Nauvoo. But Quincy was actually known as a town that welcomed everybody. And they prided themselves on that. And so the fact that they took these totally ragged, poor people into their homes, and cared for them, it was just like this, I want to use the word Oasis. They'd come from this horrible time in Missouri, and they were finally in a safe place. And in a place where they felt like they could build up their, their city and that they could build their temple and that they could be safe, and live their religion. So I think that is pretty significant. I also think that the people of Illinois welcomed this new voting bloc, as well. So it was a political thing.

Tammy 7:36

Great answer, Jenny. Thanks for that perspective. What about you, Laurel?

Laurel 7:40

I think it may also have been beautiful, not in terms of the buildings and the houses, but the river, the importance of the river which connected them to the world. The river brought a lot of negative things: mosquitoes, terrible epidemics of malaria. But also, you know, if you look at paintings, and photographs, or if you've been there at the reconstructed city, I mean, the river is central. One other point that I was fascinated to discover when I was writing about this initial settlement at Commerce or Nauvoo was, it had been a site of refuge for the Black Hawk Sauk Indians.

Mormons, actually as refugees, followed in the footsteps of many indigenous Americans who were being pushed west by white settlements. And there are lovely letters from Vilate Kimball, in which she talks about Black Hawks' son coming to her door, about him being dressed with bells on his clothing and feathers. And Wilford Woodruff talks about the burial mounds, the original inhabitants of that area. So I think because of the Book of Mormon, it had a special spiritual significance as well.

Tammy 9:29

Yes, definitely.

Jenny Reeder 9:31

Yeah, they're crossing the river. Also, Laurel, I'm sure you haven't had a chance to come out to Utah recently, but the Springville Art Museum has their annual quilt show. And the big winner this year was the most beautiful. It was a quilted of Nauvoo. And it was the typical city scene of the river and the city and the temple on the hill. It was so beautiful. Yeah

Laurel 9:58


Tammy 10:00

Wow, well thank you both of you for your insights on that word, that was perfect. That's only one segment. Holy cow, that's so much information. So thank you, thank you. So in the next segment, we are going to study Doctrine and Covenants section 124, which I felt like contained some wonderful directions on how to become Nauvoo, on how to become beautiful. So in the next segment, we're going to discover what it teaches us about that word.

Segment 2 10:22


Tammy 10:32

I asked both of you ahead of time to search Doctrine and Covenants section 124 and look for some of the ways that the Lord is teaching us to be Nauvoo. And I thought this was interesting, because Laurel, you pointed out, you felt like it taught us how to be beautiful as a group, rather than individually. And so I'd love for you to share with us what you guys found.

Laurel 10:52

Well, I'll start with something surprising. I mean, there are a lot of things, lots of different things in this, um, a quite long chapter. But one that intrigued me alot, verse 75. Here He's talking to Vinson Knight. And He tells him to "lift up his voice long and loud, in the midst of the people, to plead the cause of the poor and the needy; and let him not fail, neither let his heart faint;" And it seems so appropriate right now as we're dealing with so much suffering and poverty and, in the world, and fires and floods. And one of the things that makes a people beautiful, I think, is the concern for others, and especially for the poor, and the needy.

Tammy 11:58

Laurel, thank you so much for pointing that out. I definitely agree with you, because taking care of the poor and needy is so beautiful. And I also appreciate that you pointed out a specific name because there are so many names listed in Section 124. And Vinson Knight is one of them. And my favorite go-to is The Joseph Smith Papers and at the top of the page, you can click on a button that says, 'References'. Isn't that right, Jenny? And then you can look and then click on 'People', and you can look up any person in church history and find out about them. And so I did that with Vinson Knight, but I don't know a lot. Like, was he related to the Knight family? Do you know that? What do you know about him?

Jenny 12:34

He does not come from the Joseph Knight, Newell Knight family in Coalfield, New York. Rather, he comes from another family. He's born in Massachusetts, and he and his family end up in Perrysburg, New York. And if you go back in time to when we read section 100, this is when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon leave their families in Kirtland at a very precipitous time where a lot of anxiety is going on. And they're called on a mission and they pass through Perrysburg, New York in 1833. And so this is where Vinson Knight became acquainted with the church. Then he later moved to Kirtland. He was a counselor in the Bishopric in Kirtland, Ohio, and then he was a Bishop in Adam-ondi-Ahman. Finally when they came to, to Illinois, he was the Bishop of the Lower Ward in Nauvoo, and he served as a Bishop until he died suddenly at the age of 38.

Tammy 13:40

Oh, that's so young. Wow. Thank you for that history, Jenny. That's great.

Laurel 13:49

There's another incredibly interesting verse to me, verse 121. Verse 121 says:

"And again, verily I say unto you, let the quorum of the Nauvoo House have a just recompense of wages for all their labors which they do in building the Nauvoo House; and let their wages be as shall be agreed among themselves, as pertaining to the price thereof."

So there's such an emphasis on free labor, rather than bound labor or slave labor. And it really reflects the period in which this was written.

Tammy 14:39

That was great insight. I didn't even have that verse marked. Hold, please, I'm going to mark it and put your name by that. That is so cool. Thank you for pointing that out.

Jenny 14:47

You're appearing in the scriptures of Tammy Uzelac Hall, Laurel. I hope you know that that is a great privilege.

Tammy 14:53

Such a great privilege. (Laughs)

I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget who taught me about that. That is so cool, Laurel. Okay, I just have to point this out because it's my favorite thing. Because in verse 19, it says, He's talking to Lyman White. And then he says "That when he shall finish his work I may receive him unto myself, even as I did my servant David Patton" (and we talked about him last week}, "who is with me at this time, and also my servant Edward Partridge, and also my aged servant Joseph Smith, Sen.," (but this part,) "who sitteth with Abraham at his right hand, and blessed and holy is he, for he is mine."

And I highlighted that because, so Yom Kippur was last month on September 15th. Now, this is a Jewish holiday that follows the Jewish New Year celebration. And it is when the Jews fast for 25 hours and they ask for forgiveness of their sins for the year. Now there are two parts to this celebration called "Teshuva" and "Yeshua". Now Teshuva means to "return to God, by forsaking your sin". But I love "Yeshua" which, in Hebrew means "to come and have place" or "to sit down with God", because now you're clean, and you can". And Hugh Nibley teaches about this. And then he connects it with Alma 5:24; Alma 7:25; as well as Doctrine and Covenants section 132:29; and Doctrine and Covenants section 137:5.

All four of those verses teach about sitting or having place with Abraham, or Abraham is there in the Celestial kingdom. And so I just love this idea. I think it's so cool, because it made me think, Oh, he must have known about Yeshua! So, the end result of all of this section, the temple, everything, the ordinances, is for us to return to live with our Father and Mother in Heaven. And that is beautiful. All right, Jenny, is there anything that stood out to you in Section 124 that relates to Nauvoo or beautiful?

Jenny 16:41

Yes, and it's not specifically a verse per se. I mean, obviously, it's a couple of verses strung together. But I'm so intrigued by the idea that it took a couple of years for Joseph to receive revelation from the Lord to build a temple in Missouri, in Jackson County, Missouri. And then it took a while for them to receive revelation to build a temple in Kirtland. And we know the temple of Missouri was never completed, we know the temple in Kirtland was completed. And they had some really beautiful spiritual manifestations there.

But I think it's fascinating that one of the first instructions that Joseph received about Nauvoo, is to build a temple. It's kind of like the Lord is no longer waiting for the people, and I love how He says in verse 28 that this is the place of "the fullness of the priesthood." And then in verse 31, that build a house unto me, I'll give you sufficient time to build it. But this is where you'll do baptisms for the dead. And in verse 34, there "are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory."

And in verse 39, He talks about those ordinances that will happen in that temple that hadn't happened previously in these other temples, annointings, washings, baptisms for the dead, solemn assemblies, memorials of sacrifice, glory, honor and endowment. So I think that's a really significant part of what makes Nauvoo so beautiful, is this location of where the Lord will reveal Himself to the people.

Unknown Speaker 18:15

And then I pick up on that just a bit, because I was struck in the comments on the purpose of the temple. So there was one purpose, and that is they're already doing baptisms for the dead in the river. But this verse says, Hey, you can't keep doing that, they need to happen in a Temple. So one reason for building the Temple was to accommodate a new ritual that was being practiced outside of a temple. But then the second reason is it's going to be a place where the Lord is going to reveal new endowments and new temple learnings that haven't yet been practiced. So it's very, very interesting in that regard.

Tammy 19:15


Jenny 19:16

Well, and I think, I'm so glad you brought that up, Laurel, because I think it's so exciting in the sense that in Kirtland, they had done ordinances, but that was reserved only for men. And Heber C. Kimball writes about how the women were right huffy, because they didn't get an opportunity to participate. And so you come to Nauvoo, and suddenly by September of 1843, this has opened up and it does, in fact include women. And I think at this point, Joseph realizes they can't do it without women.

Laurel 19:37

Yes. Nice point, yes.

Tammy 19:53

That just gave me chills. Cuz now I'm thinking how, here in Nauvoo more is being restored, and it's just making the people more beautiful, and we're living in the restoration. And now every time something is restored, or changes are made, or whatever, it's part of the restoration process. And the goal is just to make God's people more beautiful. Thank you, thank you, both of you for bringing those up. That was good. I loved that.

So for those of you who are listening, I really hope that throughout this year, in the Come Follow Me manual, you have noticed sections called "Voices of the Restoration". Because in Doctrine and Covenants section 124, it includes one of those sections and invites us to dig into some, what I call, "collectively beautiful voices". And we're going to study who those voices are in the next segment.

Segment 3 20:37


Tammy 20:37

Going back to how we started, I don't even want to imagine a world without the Relief Society. And I loved studying this topic. And so I can't wait for this discussion on Voices of the Restoration, the Relief Society. And so that's why you're here, ladies. So first of all, tell us what happened with the Relief Society up until it was reorganized in 1868? What's that story?

Laurel 21:03

One of the most important themes in LDS women's history is how often women had to step up and say, "Hey, I'm here. I want to be involved."

Jenny 21:16

And I have something to contribute that's important.

Laurel 21:27

Sarah Kimball was a very young woman. And she had financial resources. And she said to her friend, you know, "I'll buy the fabric if you can make shirts for the workmen on the temple." And then they said, "Why don't we get other people involved?" And then they go to Eliza and say, "Eliza, we want to start a women's organization, can you write a constitution?" and Eliza does. And as the story goes, Joseph says, "Well, this is a great constitution, but you don't really need a Constitution. I can give you something better."

Jenny 22:07

And so he invited them to come to the room over his store, and gave them the power to organize the Relief Society. They did it, they voted, they chose the President and the counselors. And he said to them, at one point, "Consult the Lord and your constitution will develop out of the things that you decide to do. You'll develop the pattern for this organization through the collective decisions that you make, and through the Spirit of the Lord." And so it's fascinating to see how many of the things they did survive, such as visiting one another in a systematic way, trying to find where the needs are in the community, and collectively trying to solve those needs.

I'm so intrigued by this whole idea of a constitution because it appears in Section 124 in verse 63, where Joseph is told that these men - specifically in 62 - Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws should organize themselves.

63 "And they shall form a constitution, whereby they may receive stock for the building of that house."

So their constitution is something that is a temporal thing. It's this idea of creating an organization where they can act appropriately. And I also think it's interesting to add to what Laurel said, is that at that first meeting of the Relief Society, Joseph Smith talked about a living constitution. So it wasn't just a document, but it was the presidency, he said. "Let this presidency serve as a constitution." And then he later said, "Let these minutes serve as the Constitution". So it is what Laurel was saying, it's the action of the people to show what this organization is.

Tammy 24:15

Thank You. Well, I just, I feel so strongly about this, that we need to save the names of the women who were there because I feel like we've kind of written them out of the history because there's just so many names that takes up too much room. I once had a friend who served her mission in Ukraine. And she taught Relief Society one Sunday, and her whole lesson was on what the name Relief Society translates as in Ukrainian. And she said it translates as 'the organization of charity'. But then she broke down the word charity in Ukrainian which is 'dobray' which means 'kind', and 'cepue' which means 'heart'. So she said in Ukrainian the Relief Society is an organization of kind hearts. In my mind when she taught us that I thought, that is so cool. And here we have this organization of 20 women, 20 kind-hearted women who wanted to start this organization. Jenny, will you just read their names?

Jenny 25:05

Mrs. Emma Smith, Mrs. Sarah M Cleveland, Phoebe Ann Hawks, Elizabeth Jones, Sophia Packard, Phelinda Merrick, Martha Knight, Desdemona Fullmer, Elizabeth Anne Whitney, Leonora Taylor, Bathsheba W Smith, Phoebe M Wheeler, Elvira A Coles. Margaret A Cook, Athalia Robinson, Sarah M Kimball, Eliza R. Snow, Sophia Robinson, Nancy Rigdon, and Sophia R Marks.

Laurel 25:42

They're the ones who were there at the first meeting, every meeting they ask for names. Those names really matter. If you think about the US Census in this period, does not list the names of members of households. The only names listed on the census are heads of household, almost all of whom are male. So anybody who has ever tried to use census records to do genealogy before 1850 goes a bit nuts because it's hard to find the women's names.

Jenny 26:24

That's amazing. I did not know that. And that's because I mostly do later 19th century and so I, in fact, I've been using the census quite a bit lately. But I get frustrated because I want to find where the woman was born. And like what her maiden name was.

Laurel 26:40

And the names change and you can't find them.

Jenny 26:43

Right. So you have to go to Family Search, at least this is what I do. But I have to look up the man's name in order to find the woman's name.

Laurel 26:52

And and there are also names through the Relief Society records of women who signed petitions; it is a record of the female side of the church in this area.

Tammy 27:07

Okay, well, that was so interesting. I need to soak that in for just a minute. That idea that women's names weren't listed in the census. I, like it just makes the names we read even more significant to me. That was so powerful. And I liked when Laurel, you said they just wanted to be a part of this. They were like, wait a minute. I love Sarah Kimball, I can't wait to meet her. That's incredible that she wanted to be a part of the whole building process. And her name should be recognized, these women's names. So thank you for doing that. So here's what I want to know leading into our next segment is why the Relief Society was ever disbanded. What happened during that period?

Jenny 27:44

This was at a point of high tension in Nauvoo among men and women, both within the church and outside of the church. I think Brigham Young and Emma didn't really see eye to eye about a lot of things. I think they were both firmly committed to Joseph Smith. Brigham Young, particularly as the president of the quorum of the Twelve, and Emma, particularly as the wife and the mother of the family.

Laurel 28:12

And there is a lot of political and religious unrest. And one of the big issues is plural marriage, which I think Emma does not support at this point. And I think he made some statements about this, women should not be allowed to meet. And they never gave up the idea of Relief Society. Eliza packed up the minutes and preserved them her entire life and passed them on. But the activities that they were involved in never totally went away. There were temporary Relief Societies at the Ward level in Utah, but the actual sort of reorganization with a president who assumed the previous position of Emma didn't come until the late 1860s. Is that is that correct, Jenny?

Jenny 29:19

Yea. I think it's important to also realize that, the minute book of Nauvoo Relief Society, the last meetings recorded were March 9th and March 16th of 1844. But I kind of think, based on Zina Young's journal, that they met, perhaps not officially or perhaps not altogether at this point, they'd sort of broken up into different Ward Relief Societies. Because then it talks about going to meet with the sisters at different places. So her journal talks about that, but—

Laurel 29:55

And they have this process of creating your own organization organically through the 1850s, and early 60s of, and then there was a formal sort of top-down reorganization with a Eliza as President.

Tammy 30:14

That's just incredible to me that now Eliza R. Snow is going to travel around to all of the wards and stakes in Utah, and she's going to teach and help organize this.

Laurel 30:24

Yeah. Now, I think you're, you're making a really good point. From our perspective, we think in terms of organizational structure because we live in the world we live in. But the the world of women was very much one-to-one, neighbor-to-neighbor, person-to-person, mother to daughter, you know, daughter to cousin, whatever. It was hard to get women to think about this as a structure. And why does that matter?

Why does that matter? Well, I think it's because new generations are being born. Many new converts and immigrants are coming in. The church is bigger, it's more complex. And so she really took the helm in that process. And that, of course, led to other organizational activities, like women voting, like women serving in government, other things that the Retrenchment Society having particular economic roles in the community.

Tammy 31:45

I'm so grateful that you shared all of that with us, because that is the perfect setup for what we need to know going into our next segment. Because what Eliza did is, she wrote an article for the Deseret Evening News in April of 1868, which was published in two installments, which I thought was, this was so interesting. It singularily was the most important reference for wards that she'd already visited. And it was for those who are waiting her visit on how to do this organization and what this was going to look like for them. And so in the next segment, we're going to begin a study of that article.

Segment 4 32:18


Tammy 32:28

In preparation for this discussion, I texted some of my friends. And all I said was, tell me what you think the object of the Relief Society is, and there are some pretty fun answers. I loved this one: "If we think the purpose of Relief Society is only to bring Funeral Potatoes, we are seriously under-estimating the power of the women of God."

Jenny 32:45

Oh, that's hilarious.

Tammy 32:46

I got so many great answers. And all of them were consistently the same: to lift each other up, to help each other out. And so to start out, before we get into the article that Eliza R Snow wrote, Jenny has a little excerpt that she wants to read to us that Eliza wrote.

Jenny Reeder 33:02

In 1885, Eliza R Snow was asked to write her life story. And a significant part of that life story was the Relief Society. It was such a huge part of who she was. She talks about how the Nauvoo Relief Society remained in status quo. Those are her words - and she underlined it because it's Latin - until it was reorganized under the direction of President Brigham Young in the year 1855, commencing in the 15th Ward Relief Society.

She said "President Young commissioned me to assist the Bishops in organizing branches in their respective wards. For at that time, the Bishops had not acquainted themselves with the movement and did not know how to proceed. To me, it was quite a mission. And I took much pleasure in its performance. I felt quite honored and much at home in my associations with the Bishops, and they appreciated my assistance."

Jenny 33:54

And so I love that she was very confident in her ability to work with Bishops and to do this organization work that Laurel was talking about. But then she goes on and says, "Not long after the reorganization of the Relief Society, President Young told me he was going to give me another mission. So the first mission was working with bishops to organize Relief Society in their wards. The second one, he said, 'I want you to instruct the sisters'" - and she underlines that sentence - "although my heart went pitta-pat, for the time being, I did not and could not then form the inadequate estimate of the magnitude of the work before me."

So while she was comfortable working privately with bishops, she was very uncomfortable with speaking publicly to women. And that's of course what she became known for doing. So I think that's significant.

Laurel 34:51

Well, Jenny, I loved that autobiography, and I read it a little bit differently.

Jenny 35:00

Oh, let's hear it. I want to hear what you have to say.

Tammy 35:02

Yeah, me, too.

Laurel 35:03

Well, Eliza was an absolute genius for taking charge without seeming to take charge. And that goes back to the amazing poem she wrote for Brigham when they met on the Overland Trail. So it's just part of her nature always to defer. But she defers in this brilliant way that leaves her empowered, without making her a target as an uppity woman.

Tammy 35:39

Whoa, wow.

Jenny 35:41


Tammy 35:43

That absolutely rings true then, now, cuz I'm thinking at the very end of the article, she wrote, how powerful it is when she's telling the women "go at it. You do whatever you need to do to get this Relief Society moving." But then she says, "at the direction of your Bishop". I love it. I thought people added that and I found out she added that. Well, Jenny, I'm so grateful that you shared that life sketch, because there's so much power in that, especially with the way she starts out her article that she wrote, and we're just going to read this really brief paragraph. And Laurel, will you read this for us, please. Because she asks the question, What is the object of the female Relief Society?

Laurel 36:22

"Should the question arise in the mind of any, what is the object of the female Relief Society? I would reply 'to do good; to bring into requisition every capacity we possess. We're doing good, not only in relieving the poor, but in saving souls. United effort will accomplish incalculably more than can be accomplished by the most effective individual energies."

Tammy 36:58

Thank you. So, what we're going to do is, in the next segment, we're going to talk about that statement, where it's not only doing good, but relieving the poor, and saving souls. And Jenny is going to introduce us to that in the next segment.

Segment 5 37:11


Tammy 37:21

So Jenny, you actually taught me this really cool statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, about what he said was the reason for the Relief Society. Will you share that with us.

Jenny 37:31

Joseph Smith said that there were two purposes of the Relief Society; one was to relieve the poor, and the second one was to save souls. And so I love the fact that the Relief Society, from its very beginning had this salvific role, to act as Jesus Christ, to follow Jesus Christ, and to save each other. And I think that becomes even more significant when we begin to talk about becoming saviors on Mount Zion. I think that's really an important part. And I think we sometimes forget, that is a key role of the Relief Society.

Tammy 38:08

So I love that you said that because it took me to Proverbs, chapter 31, verse 20, you know how I feel about the proverb of a virtuous woman. And I've studied it in Hebrew, but I just love that verse, it says, "she stretcheth out her hands to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." So of course, I'm going to look up poor and needy in Hebrew. And the word 'poor' can mean 'someone who's afflicted, depressed in mind or circumstance'. And the word 'needy' in Hebrew, not only refers to 'want', but also 'the subject to oppression and abuse'. And so it just wraps up everything in this idea, that it is the whole goal - is not to just serve physical needs, but to bring people to Christ. And so Eliza writes about this in her article. And so here's what Eliza had to say. And so Jenny, will you read this part of her article.

Jenny 38:55

"In administering to the poor, the female Relief Society has other duties to perform than merely relieving bodily wants. Poverty of mind and sickness of heart also demand attention. And many times a kind expression, a few words of counsel, or even a warm and affectionate shake of the hand, will do more good and be better appreciated than a purse of gold. When the saints gather from abroad, strangers to everybody, and subject to be led astray by those who lie in wait to deceive, the Relief Society should be prompt in looking after them, and introduce them into the society that will refine and elevate, and above all, strengthen them in the faith of the gospel. And in so doing, may be instrumental in saving many."

Tammy 39:43

Let's talk about that verse. Specifically the word strangers. Who are the strangers, what does this mean to us?

Laurel 39:50

Well, anyone who feels they don't belong; they don't have to be somebody you've never seen before. But I think our wards are full of people who know each other and work easily together, but we also have people who may even be lifetime members of the church who feel like misfits, because there's some perceived notion of how you're supposed to be, you know, to be a good member.

Jenny 40:27

And I think it's so interesting. I love that you bring that up, Laurel, because I think, at this time, there are a lot of new members of the church, literally, where they're coming from different places, England and Scandinavia. But I think of an experience I had. We had a Relief Society activity. One of the women that I minister to doesn't come to church. She's super nice; she lives two doors down for me. And so I always invite her to the activities and she always says, Oh, that sounds like so much fun, I'll totally come. And then at the last minute, she doesn't.

So I was actually really surprised that she came this time. She was very excited; she was also very quiet. But on the way home, I was talking to her and I said, "So how did you feel about that? How, were you comfortable? Was it okay for you?" And she said, "Yeah, it was; I realized I don't have any female friends in Utah." And she's lived here for years. She has a 10-year old daughter who is nonverbal, and on the autism spectrum, and so it's been hard for her. She just said, "I really want to come to church, I want to come back to church." And she said, "Do you think it's okay if I wear pants?" And I'm like, Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. She's like, "I don't have a dress, but I do have leggings and I can wear a long shirt." And I'm like, "You can wear whatever you want."

And then I thought, you know, actually, this is a Utah Relief Society in South Jordan, and everybody wears a skirt or a dress. But I was like, Okay, I can handle this in two ways, I'm thinking this in my head after the conversation. And I'm like, I can send out a 'pants notice', and we can all wear pants; I would totally do that. And I know that my companion would do it. I know other women, I know so many people who would do it.

But I also feel like I do need to tell her most people will be wearing a dress, but I'm gonna you know, I'll be in solidarity with you because I don't want her to be a stranger to this. She's craving this companionship in this sisterhood or friendship that she doesn't have in her life. I know she's the type of person that would feel extremely uncomfortable if I told her, Yeah, you can wear pants and nobody else is wearing pants.

Tammy 42:50

That is such a great story. I think you should ask everybody to wear pants in solidarity.

Jenny 42:54

I will, I totally will. I asked her to come on Sunday, and she didn't respond, so I know it's gonna take some time. I also know that where our church building is located, was across the street from where she lived with her first husband. And that was a very negative, awful experience. So it was scary for her to even come to the church building for an activity.

Tammy 43:15

Wow. That's incredible. I'm so grateful that you shared that story.

Laurel 43:20

I mean, I live in a ward, we have a lot of new converts. It's sort of a rare Mormon ward. But a lot of people join the church and then fade away. I think we don't fully appreciate how hard it is to kind of walk into a new environment. We assume everybody knows what we're talking about when half the time these words are not familiar to a new member.

Tammy 43:56

Well, in looking at this quote too, I'm just curious to know, knowing Eliza's history, both of you, is there a personal aspect to what she's saying here? Do you think she ever felt like a stranger, or was she ever 'depressed in circumstance' when she just needed someone to help her out?

Laurel 44:10

Oh, many, many, issues, I think. Her ill health, she writes about that as well. She has no children; she's in a world where most women do have children - she does not. She's a genuine intellectual and writer. And those things are time-consuming, but also require a lot of self-exposure. You know she's constantly having to come up with the occasional poem for a certain occasion, to bear that responsibility for setting the right tone. So I think she's very intuitive and tuned in to the people around her, but maybe not always the life of the party.

Tammy 45:08

I mean, it's so interesting that everybody knows who Eliza is. But I'm sure she felt like a stranger.

Jenny 45:13

It's interesting, too, to think about her own conversion. So she and her family had been followers of Sidney Rigdon and the Disciples of Christ, the Campbellites. At one point after Sidney Rigdon met Joseph Smith, he brought Joseph to Eliza's father's home. And Eliza writes about how she watched Joseph sit by the fire. And she noted that he had an honest face. Well, her mother and her sister immediately became baptized and joined the church. But Eliza took a lot of time, I think it was like five years or something. She really wanted to study it out. She said that she wanted to see if this was a flash-in-the- pan, or not, to see if this was just some new thing that didn't last. And she didn't want to invest in something that wasn't going to last.

And at one point, her mother and her sister went to Kirtland; they lived a short ways away from Kirtland. And they came back and told these stories of the saints gathering at Kirtland and Eliza was so interested. And so she went, but she had to see for herself; she had to see what is this community, she had to understand what it was before she would commit to it. She came home and determined that she would be baptized. And it was like she never turned back, she joined full force. She writes very, or speaks very often about the fact that when she was baptized, she had committed herself 100%. But it took her a really long time to study, and watch, and observe, and recognize that that's what she wanted to do. So she knew what it was to be a stranger.

Tammy 46:55

Okay, I love this discussion so much, because I'm thinking right now, like another definition to add to this. The word stranger in Hebrew means 'a stranger to the law'. And so now I'm thinking, well, wait a minute, the 'law' for us is covenants. And now I'm like, okay, what role can I play to help others understand or become more comfortable with the law, so that they aren't strangers anymore. And maybe it's just little things, or sharing my testimony, or going to the temple with someone who hasn't been in a while. Like, I'm going to be thinking about this for a while; I've loved this discussion on 'stranger'.

In the next segment, then, we're going to do the application part. What does it look like, then, to help the poor and the needy and the strangers? I just love that part of Eliza's article, and I can't wait to talk about it more in the next segment.

Segment 6 47:40


Tammy 47:50

This is the one thing that fascinated me the most in studying for this whole episode and in reading about the Relief Society, was when Joseph Smith said he believed that the Relief Society is an old organization, that it's always existed with Christ's church. And he cited the scripture reference 2 John 1:1 that mentions an "Electric Lady". And he used that to reference that the Relief Society has always been around. That blew my mind, because in my mind, I just thought it was this new thing. But again, it is part of the restoration, and it's being restored. And so we belong to this organization that has been taking care of poor and needy and strangers forever, so it can be done.

Jenny 48:30

Sarah Kimball and Eliza R Snow speak quite a bit about this later throughout their travels, and instructions to women, and even to men. And they talk about how, when the priesthood is fully organized on the earth, there's always was an organization of women.

Laurel Ulrich 48:47

I would sort of add some nuances.

Jenny 48:50

This is why I love Laurel. Yeah.

Laurel 48:53

I think we don't imagine women at the time of Christ organizing a dancing society or whatever. (laughter) We don't know what they did. I think when they talk about the Relief Society being the continuation of something that had existed in the ancient church, they're talking about the absolute centrality of women - in the Gospels, in the story of Jesus, in Paul's letters. Those contributions of women have gone through centuries of and obscuring the importance of women in the early church.

So if you look at the work of scholars who work on New Testament, there are references that we don't pick up because we don't understand the Greek or whatever, of women who are referred to as apostles or deacons or whatever in the early Christian Church. So I see this as a kind of confirmation that can be shared more broadly among the larger Christian community, that women sustain religions. The history of religious organizations often covers that up in ways that are really sad. Because we end up feeling less empowered and perhaps less responsible, less responsible for our own religious organization than we really are and should be.

Jenny 49:43

You know, and to Laurel's point, I think that is such a significant point, because I think it, that the fact that women's activity throughout the history of time has been covered up, leaves a lot of question about, well, what is the role of women in church? What is the role of women and priesthood? What is the role of women in society? And we're living in a time where I think that is becoming a bigger question.

But I think it also says that how amazing it is when we do find those little bits and pieces, the correct translation, the record of women's participation. And that also, I think that it shows that yeah, while there weren't dancing societies perhaps in Christ's time, that there were different things according to their needs, even from the Old Testament, and the days of Sarah, and Rebecca, and Rachel. I'm also intrigued with something that Bathsheba Smith said. She said that Joseph wanted to make us a society of priests and priestesses,. And that, I think, we can trace if we look hard. And maybe it's because we do have to look hard that makes it so much worth the effort to understand the role of women from the very beginning, from Mother Eve.

Tammy 52:14

Wow, Jenny, beautifully said. I am so grateful for your words when you just, you summed all that up for us. And so I thought that was so cool in leading up to this Hurrah, Eliza, exhorting us then to go and do. And here's what she says in the last part of her article. Laurel, will you read this quote from Eliza.

Laurel 52:34

"It would require volumes in which to define the duties, privileges, and responsibilities that come within the purview of the society. Go at it under the direction of your Bishop coolly, deliberately, energetically, unitedly, and prayerfully. And God will crown your efforts with success."

Tammy 53:02

YES! We should have that in vinyl lettering above every Relief Society door, or framed, right? Framed in there.

Laurel Ulrich 53:10

I love that list of adjectives: coolly, (laughs) you know, deliberately, and so on and so on. A wonderful sort of recipe.

Tammy 53:23

Well, and I had a question for you both. How do you think Eliza's generation exemplified these attributes?

Laurel 53:28

I'm amazed at the incredible desire to work collectively. You know, she goes to school to learn the Deseret alphabet. She takes a dancing class, you know. She's the leader in the council of help. She's reaching out to stray miners coming through the territory on the way to California and trying to assist and be helpful. She's sending a copy of the Book of Mormon to relatives in Maine. You know, there's sort of nothing that she puts her hand at, like creating a fabulous orchard, building the house, building the school. And there's a whole group of women who seize the opportunities in creative and marvelous ways.

Utah women saw a little opening to connect themselves with some of the most energetic, controversial, and interesting women in the 19th century by teaming up with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and a whole host of others in the women's suffrage movement. And I don't think that was Eliza's central focus, but she didn't object to it at all. And she certainly created the environment where the Relief Society became an ally with the local suffrage organizations.

And I saw that in particular when I was trying to understand the passage of women's suffrage in my home state of Idaho, in 1896, and there's no question but what the greatest turnout in approving the women's suffrage amendment. And the voters were all male at the time, but you've got to think about the organizational effort behind those voters. And the greatest turnout and the highest majority of 'Yes' votes came from areas where there were organized Relief Society, and areas of the strongest Latter-Day Saint population ratio.

Tammy 56:01

Wow! I didn't know that.

Jenny 56:03

You know, it's interesting. I've been collecting all of the Eliza R Snow's discourses, and Laurel was absolutely right. She wasn't like, one of the key movers of the suffrage movement in Utah, but she often talks about how in these different Relief Societies in the settlements all over Utah and Idaho and Wyoming and Nevada, she says things like, Today there's a vote, and after this meeting, you need to go over to the council house and vote. Or she says to people that have come from different countries, you need to become a citizen, because you need to vote. I love that about her, too.

Tammy 56:43

So powerful. Like, I love that I'm a woman after today's discussion,. It is so incredible to think that we're part of this grand, glorious organization of women, to see the good that they did back then. And to complement that, then with the good that we're being asked to do, is a force for so much goodness and beauty. It is Nauvoo, 100%; this organization of women is Nauvoo. So, Amen. That's all I can say is, Amen, after what both of you shared, so thank you.

That's it. That's the end of our discussion. And I'm so sad because like you said, Laurel, we could spend one or two more hours, just trying to cover all of this. But I do highly, highly recommend you go read the books written by Jenny Reeder and Laurel Ulrich because you will gain so much. It's worth the time, it's worth the read. It has been for me, and I'm grateful for both of you for paying for the price so we can know what we know today. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Okay, so just take a minute and gather your thoughts and then just share a takeaway from our discussion today.

Laurel 57:46

I'm going to take the easy way, with three words that come from Eliza's sermon: "Go at it. "Go at it."

Jenny 58:01

I love that. That's awesome.

Tammy 58:03

I loved it when I read it the first time, the way she said it: "go at it." Amen. My takeaway was, this whole discussion, it's made me very emotional because I think sometimes we undercut our role as women in this whole organization. And Laurel, when you said "women sustain religions", that was, just sent a shockwave through my whole body. So thank you for saying that, because I had never really considered that before. And the role that we as women play is immeasurable. And when we work together in this religion, and in our organizations, it really is an incredible role that we play.

And just, I just want everyone listening to just think about what your role is, and how you can sustain and help the poor and the needy and the strangers, because everybody has a gift, every single one of us. And those gifts are to build up God's kingdom. And you know what that looks like in your role to sustain religion. So I loved that. So thank you for saying it.

Jenny 58:56

I love that Eliza and Emma and Joseph and the Lord all recognize the contributions that women can make. And I love what, what Eliza says in that article, she says, "What is the object of the female Relief Society? I would reply, to do good. Not only in relieving the poor, but in saving souls." And I found that when I went to Relief Society last week, I was so tired, I did not want to go. All I wanted to do was sit on my couch and relax and watch TV and play a game on my iPad. But I knew that this woman wanted to go, and I went and I went out of duty. But I found that my heart was filled. And I think that I really believe that when we provide relief we find relief, and that's what saves our souls, is finding that relief.

Laurel 59:56

Such a pleasure to be with you.

Tammy 59:59

Thank you, both of you. I love you both so much. And Laurel, when you come out here, please can we go together? Can we get together for lunch all of us? I would love that.

Laurel 1:00:08

Philadelphia is a great place.

Tammy 1:00:10

Okay, we'll come to Philadelphia.

Jenny 1:00:13

And there's a lot of good places to eat in Philly.

Tammy 1:00:16

I believe that, absolutely. Okay. Thank you, ladies, for your time. I love you both. Thanks. That was great. Well, let us know what your big takeaway was from this episode. And there's a lot so if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go do it. So you can ask questions or even tell us what you've learned throughout the week if you can't wait until Saturday, because that's when we do a post for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. And then on Instagram, on Monday morning, I usually do a little video sharing a takeaway that stood out to me that some of you have shared.

You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode, which is found at Go there, because we are going to have a link to all the references that we cited, lots of links in this episode. So go find those and then a transcript of this whole discussion, so go check it out.

The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our brilliant study group participants were Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Jenny Reeder. And you can find more information about these friends at Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.

And please remember: you ARE God's favorite.

In fact, oh my gosh, this is so funny. We recorded two days ago with Sharon Staples and Sharon is, how old is Sharon? in her early 80s. She's just brilliant. She has a PhD in psychology. And she, I asked her the question like, do you think sometimes people name their children of what the expectations that they'll great one day, or that they'll be unique because of their cool name? And she said, "No, I think sometimes people just open their medicine cabinet, look inside and go, 'let's name her Aspirin.'" It just made me laugh because I'm like, here's all these meds you need and then she said that, "We'll call her Aspirin." Oh, Sharon, she's so funny.

Transcribed by JUB Transcribe

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