180 years ago today - Jul 1, 1842

This poem by Eliza R. Snow (secretary of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo) describes the new Relief Society, and is the first published comment by a woman about the Society.

What is it?

It is an Institution form'd to bless

The poor, the widow, and the fatherless-

To clothe the naked and the hungry feed,

And in the holy paths of virtue, lead.

To seek out sorrow, grief and mute despair,

And light the lamp of hope eternal there-

To try the strength of consolation's art

By breathing comfort to the mourning heart.

To chase the clouds that shade the aspect, where

Distress presides; and wake up pleasures there-

With open heart extend the friendly hand

To hail the stranger, from a distant land.

To stamp a vetoing impress on each move

That Virtue's present dictates disapprove-

To put the tattler's coinage, scandal, down,

And make corruption feel its with-ring frown.

To give instruction, where instruction's voice

Will guide the feet and make the heart rejoice-

To turn the wayward from their recklessness,

And lead them in the ways of happiness.

It is an Order, fitted and design'd

To meet the wants of body, and of mind-

To seek the wretched, in their long abode-

Supply their wants, and raise their hearts to God.


[1.4 Eliza R. Snow, “The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo,” July 1, 1842, as quoted in Matthew J. Grow, Jill Derr, Carol Madsen, and Kate Holbrook, editors, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History, The Church Historian's Press, 2016, https://churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/]

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