More Lies of the LDS Relief Society

05 March

spring cleaningIn September 2013, LDS Apostle D. Todd Christofferson, delivered a speech at a BYU devotional announcing the Church’s plan to release selected documents of Joe Smith’s history. In the process of doing this, the online ‘Gospel Topics’ portal would find itself under a major revision with housing the newly published ‘LDS Essays’. In sum, these essays are the explanations on various topics on the histories of both the Church, and Joe Smith.

You can find a link for Mr. Christofferson’s BYU speech here, and the link for a list of their essays here.

Today it looks as if the Church is holding the marathon spring cleaning event of the century. In addition to the essays, you can find another set of documents containing more of the Church’s history, Smith diaries, and revelations, et al, atJosephSmithPapers. This is what we’re looking at today! Woo-hoo! We’re actually focusing on a couple of different things, so hang with me, and it’ll all make sense!

A few years ago the Church published an artist’s rendition of the very first ReliefRelief Society 1842 Society Meeting (see image on right). When I saw this a couple of weeks ago, once again, I began wondering… …Just how many of the women in attendance were actually married to Smith at the time? Then I also wondered, how many of these women signed the ‘official’ document denying they were practicing polygamy.

You’ll see in our paper that four of the nineteen women, who signed the document were actually married to Smith at the time.

You can read our investigation of their official denial (aka, lie) here, take note however, not everyone who signed the RS’ declaration was in attendance at the first meeting. The meeting took place on March 17, 1842, and their declaration was written/signed about 6½ months later.

Imagine for a moment what it would’ve been like to be at that meeting, or the one following it? Of the twenty women in attendance, 6 were married to Smith (that’s about 1/3)! Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

A comment in the LDS Gospel Topics Relief Society puts it all in perspective. With the way they phrased this, one has to wonder if the modern-day LDS woman is falling short of the Mormon god’s expectations –

LDS Topics, Relief Society; “In one of the first meetings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith admonished the sisters to “live up to [their] privilege.” The women in the Church have been taught to live up to their divine potential by fulfilling God’s purposes for them. As they come to understand who they really are—God’s daughters—they reach their potential as holy women.  Established as an integral part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Relief Society helps Latter-day Saint women live up to their privilege. Through this organization, sisters receive vision and assurance of their identity as daughters of God. They also receive opportunities to serve and the direction and authority they need to fulfill those responsibilities. (See Daughters in My Kingdom, page 171.)”

Does the ‘privilege’ he was referring to mean it’d be a privilege to be married to Smith? How else will modern LDS women live up to their divine potential if they’re not part of a celestial polygamous marriage?

If you’d like further info on this topic see references below. Here’s a list of those in attendance at the initial meeting –

indicates she was married to Smith

$ indicates she signed the declaration

√$Emma Hale Smith

√$Sarah M. Cleveland

Phebe Ann Hawkes

Elizabeth Jones

Sophia Packard

Philinda Merrick

Martha McBride Knight

Desdemona Fulmer

$Elizabeth Ann Whitney

$Leonora Taylor

Bathsheba W. Smith

Phebe M. Wheeler

Elvira A. Coles (Cowles; later Elivira A. C. Holmes)

Margaret A. Cook

Athalia Robinson

Sarah Granger Kimball

√$Eliza R. Snow

Sophia Robinson

Nancy Rigdon

$Sophia R. Marks

Eight women admitted into RS that day, but weren’t in attendance:

$Sarah Higbee

$Thirza Cahoon

Keziah A. Morrison

Marinda N. Hyde

Abigail Allred

Mary Snider

Sarah S. Granger

Cynthia Ann Eldredge

A description of the RS Minutes –

Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book; “Historical Introduction … 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 in Nauvoo, 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 Emma Hale Smith president, and she selected two counselors; a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ordained or set apart the three-member presidency to their new callings or offices. These were the first ecclesiastical positions in the church for women.”

For a full transcript of minutes from the meeting see Book of Abraham Project.

LDS Topics, Relief Society; “In one of the first meetings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith admonished the sisters to “live up to [their] privilege.” The women in the Church have been taught to live up to their divine potential by fulfilling God’s purposes for them. As they come to understand who they really are—God’s daughters—they reach their potential as holy women.  Established as an integral part of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Relief Society helps Latter-day Saint women live up to their privilege. Through this organization, sisters receive vision and assurance of their identity as daughters of God. They also receive opportunities to serve and the direction and authority they need to fulfill those responsibilities. (See Daughters in My Kingdom, page 171.)”

Daughters in My Kingdom, p. 171; “Daughters of God … Joseph Smith taught Relief Society sisters of their nobility as daughters of God, helping them understand that God loved them and had grand purposes for them to fulfill. Women in the Church play essential roles in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation—just as important as the roles played by men who hold the priesthood. The Lord has endowed women with an innate desire to serve and bless others, and He has entrusted them with a sacred responsibility to use their gifts to help save His children.”

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