Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Building the Kingdom of God in Nauvoo, Illinois

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As we all know this year's study for Gospel Doctrine Class in the Doctrine and Covenants.  This is a sacred book rich not only with revelation but also the history of the early Saints.  It is important when studying the sections to know of the history behind the doctrine or covenant given so that we can understand the context and have a greater understanding of the direction from the Lord.  

Our last lesson included much history about the early Saints in Missouri and their sufferings as well as their love for the gospel.  Their history is an important part of our gospel education so that we too may learn how to better cope and live righteously.  

The lesson this week includes great historical content of the early Saints in Nauvoo.  Again this history is of great worth in learning and applying those things needed in our life to move us forward.


Now tell me where did the following things occur:  The doctrine of baptism for the dead was revealed, Temple endowments were first performed, and The Relief Society was organized.  These things and many other important events occurred in Nauvoo, Illinois. 

After being driven from their homes in northern Missouri, the Saints fled east to the Mississippi, taking refuge for the winter of 1838–39 in various settlements along the river in Iowa Territory and Illinois, with the largest number of Saints congregating in and around Quincy, Illinois, here the Church leaders looked for a new central gathering place for the Saints.  

At this time, Joseph Smith was still in jail at Liberty, Missouri, so the main responsibility for directing the Saints’ flight from Missouri fell upon Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the decision for him to do so was directed by the Prophet himself.  But Brigham's energetic efforts aroused the anger of apostates and the mob.  And like Joseph had done time and again,  Brigham was forced to suddenly flee from Missouri for his life. Heber Kimball then was then left to direct the evacuation efforts of saints to escape their persecutors and they began crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois in late 1838.  

But escape was almost impossible.  By April 1839, the Missouri mobs were getting anxious to remove the remainder of the Saints.  In the eyes of Missourians, extermination meant just that. The mobs had not a second thought about shooting a Mormon whether man, woman or child and it seemed as if the order gave them the right to a game of hunt and chase.  An account from the History of the Church gives us an idea of just how bad it had gotten after the extermination order.
  • "Twelve men went to Elder Turkey's with loaded rifles to shoot him. They broke seventeen clocks into match wood. They broke tables, smashed in the windows; while Bogart (the county judge) looked on and laughed. One Whitaker threw iron pots at Turley, one of which hit him on the shoulder, at which Whitaker jumped and laughed like a madman. The mob shot down cows while the girls were milking them. The mob threatened to send the committee 'to hell jumping,' and 'put daylight through them'." (History of the Church, 3:322)
  • The Mob's Assault on Elder Kimball.  "The same day, previous to the breaking of the clocks, some of the same company met Elder Kimball on the public square in Far West, and asked him if he was a '———Mormon;' he replied, 'I am a Mormon.' 'Well,——————you, we'll blow your brains out, you——————Mormon,' and tried to ride over him with their horses. This was in the presence of Elias Smith, Theodore Turley, and others of the committee." (History of the Church 3:322)
  • "The brethren gathered up what they could and left Far West in one hour; and the mob staid until they left, then plundered thousands of dollars' worth of property which had been left by the exiled brethren and sisters to help the poor to remove." (History of the Church, 3:322)
The Saints left Missouri in poverty during the winter and spring of 1838-1839.  Numerous are the stories of suffering and sacrifice during this period  The John Hammer family was one of the many families who sought refuge. John recalled the difficult conditions of his family and the saints:

Well do I remember the sufferings and cruelties of those days. … Our family had one wagon, and one blind horse was all we possessed towards a team, and that one blind horse had to transport our effects to the State of Illinois. We traded our wagon with a brother who had two horses, for a light one horse wagon, this accommodating both parties. Into this small wagon we placed our clothes, bedding, some corn meal and what scanty provisions we could muster, and started out into the cold and frost to travel on foot, to eat and sleep by the wayside with the canopy of heaven for a covering. But the biting frosts of those nights and the piercing winds were less barbarous and pitiful than the demons in human form before whose fury we fled. … Our family, as well as many others, were almost bare-footed, and some had to wrap their feet in cloths in order to keep them from freezing and protect them from the sharp points of the frozen ground. This, at best, was very imperfect protection, and often the blood from our feet marked the frozen earth. My mother and sister were the only members of our family who had shoes, and these became worn out and almost useless before we reached the then hospitable shores of Illinois.” Our Heritage 51-52

The Saints gathered first in Quincy, Illinois on the Mississippi River during the months the Prophet was in jail. They chose to go to Quincy for several reasons one was because Illinois was the closest state, and  Quincy was the closest Illinois city to Far West.  In order to get there, they had to cross the Mississippi River, and Quincy had ferryboats, also there were many church members already living there.   When Emma Smith and the children arrived on February 15 they moved in with Judge John Cleveland and his Latter-day Saint wife, Sarah, four miles east of Quincy. Sarah later became Emma’s first counselor in the Nauvoo Relief Society. 

The Importance of Quincy Illinois

In Quincy the Saints were received kindly, said the city council of the saints, " Because they had been thrown upon our shores destitute, through the oppressive people of Missouri, common humanity must oblige us to aid and relieve them all in our power.”  On March 5, Bishop Partridge reported from Quincy to Joseph Smith, “The people here receive us kindly” and “are willing that we should enjoy the privileges guaranteed to all civil people without molestation.”  Many found refuge not only in Quincy but throughout Adams County and all over western Illinois. Quincy’s compassion, noted historian Richard E. Bennett, “saved the saints as a people and may even have saved the Church as an institution.”

On the Morning of April 22, Joseph arrived after he and other prisoners were allowed to escape.
A Quincy newspaper reporter publicized the arrival of Joseph Smith and his prison companions, concluding with a favorable description of the Church President and Prophet: “We had supposed from the stories and statements we had read of ‘Jo Smith’ (as he is termed in the papers) to find him a very illiterate, uncouth sort of man; but from a long conversation, we acknowledge an agreeable disappointment. In conversation, he appears intelligent and candid, and divested of all malicious thought and feeling towards his relentless persecutors.”

After Joseph's return he finalized plans for a new gathering place for the homeless Saints upriver at Commerce about 35 miles up the Mississippi River.  After all had gathered with the twelve returning from Far West a general conference  was held May 4–6.  The Prophet presided over this event and after Joseph heard the congregation enthusiastically sing the hymn “Zion, City of Our God,” Wandle Mace observed that Joseph rose to speak but had difficulty controlling his emotions: “To look upon the Saints who had been driven from their homes, and scattered as they were, among strangers, without homes, robbed of everything, and to see them under all these trying circumstances assemble to this General Conference from all the region around, and sing of Zion, the city of our God, with so much spirit, showing their love and confidence in the gospel, and the pleasure he felt in meeting with them. He could scarcely refrain from weeping.”. 

he Church began purchasing land near Commerce, Illinois as well as lands were across the river in Lee County, Iowa. On May 10, Joseph Smith and his family moved into a small, two-story log house at Commerce, fifty miles north of Quincy, “hoping that I and my friends may here find a resting place for a little season at least.”  Church headquarters moved there, as did large numbers of the exiled Saints.

Being forced from Missouri posed a test of faith that most Saints passed When they reached Illinois early in 1839, they were poor, worn out, and ragged looking. No one could have recognized them as the prosperous Yankees they had once been in New York before embracing Mormonism. First in Ohio and then three times in Missouri, they had practiced starting over. To begin again in Illinois was heartbreaking.  but these souls, who were now poor, bedraggled, and sickly, many of them starting from scratch began to build up religious communities in Illinois and Iowa.  Much of  the land in the Commerce area was swampland which became the foundation for the city Nauvoo,  The Church would continue, it would grow, it would live. Under some of the worst imaginable conditions, the Saints endured, and began again, to build the Kingdom of God.  

Quickly  draining the swampy land, planting crops, and building homes began. During the summer of 1839, the Prophet named the place they had purchased Nauvoo. He said, “The name of our City (Nauvoo) is of Hebrew origin, and signifies a beautiful situation, or place, carrying with it, also, the idea of rest”

The Church grew rapidly and new converts gathered there daily.  In December 1840 the state of Illinois granted Nauvoo a charter that allowed the city to establish a militia, a municipal court, and a university and Nauvoo became the second largest city in Illinois.  

With the great gift of this new city and the ability to live in peace with religious freedom, also comes responsibility.  On 19 January 1841, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation in which the Lord gave commandments to the Saints about their responsibilities in Nauvoo. This revelation is recorded as D&C 124 .  Which along with the examples of the early saints can help up us more clearly understand the vital role each of us plays in building the kingdom of God and how to endure more righteously.

The examples of the Nauvoo Saints show the importance of enduring to the end in righteousness

Doctrine and Covenants 124 could almost be considered an ecclesiastical charter for the Church in Nauvoo, in much the same way that the act to incorporate the city served the civic needs of the community. The revelation’s opening lines dictated that the stake of Nauvoo was to be a new central gathering place for the Saints, a “corner stone of Zion.” The commandment to build a temple in Nauvoo demonstrated that the new city was not simply to be a temporary refuge but a more permanent home.

Early in the revelation, several personal assignments are given to Church members, and the revelation concludes with a list of the appointments of the Church’s governing officers, including the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (identified in the revelation as the “Twelve traveling council”), and a new stake high council for Nauvoo, along with other quorums.  The revelation 
includes many instructions and promises to individuals who lived during the Nauvoo period.  These promises and instructions can help us to learn to serve the Lord more willingly and endure more righteously as we strive to build His kingdom.     

1.  D&C 124:15   To Hyrum Smith the Lord said:

And again, verily I say unto you, blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me, saith the Lord

What traits did Hyrum have that would help us in building the kingdom and to endure?  
His integrity and love for that which is right.  When we develop a greater love for the things that are right we will have the desire needed to serve the Lord more willingly.  As we serve more willingly we build the kingdom with our example and testimony, even as Hyrum did.  

The Prophet Joseph Smith said of his brother Hyrum, “I could pray in my heart that all my brethren were like unto my beloved brother Hyrum, who possesses the mildness of a lamb, and the integrity of a Job, and in short, the meekness and humility of Christ; and I love him with that love that is stronger than death, for I never had occasion to rebuke him, nor he me” (History of the Church, 2:338).

2. D&C 124:12–14  To Robert B. Thompson

Who was Robert B Thompson?  He was baptized a member of The Church by Parley P. Pratt, in Toronto. On July 22, 1836, Thompson was ordained an elder in the church by John Taylor.  He was standing next to Apostle David W. Patten when Patten was killed at the Battle of Crooked River. On September 15, 1840, Thompson delivered the funeral address of Joseph Smith, Sr.  and in October 1840, Thompson  became the official Church Historian.  Also in November of that year, Thompson  helped to draft a petition to the United States Congress for redress of the grievances of the Saints from their experiences in Missouri, and finally on May 1, 1841, he became an associate editor of the Times and Seasons newspaper in Nauvoo.  He died along with the Prophets brother Don Carlos from tuberculosis in August 1841.  However before he died he received this instruction, counsel and praise from the Lord: 

And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him, and that he should be with you;

13 Let him, therefore, hearken to your counsel, and I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings; let him be faithful and true in all things from henceforth, and he shall be great in mine eyes;

14 But let him remember that his stewardship will I require at his hands

What instruction was given to Robert B Thompson that we should also follow in our learning to endure and building of the Kingdom?  
He was instructed to faithfully follow the counsel of his leader.  As we follow the counsel of those called by the Lord to callings and leadership we will gain many blessings and receive the guidance and instruction that we need.  As we heed these things we will be great in the Lord's eyes.  

3.  D&C 124:16–17   To John C. Bennett  

Who was John C. Bennett?  Baptized in Nauvoo in 1840 he was a physician, Counselor in the First Presidency, Mayor of Nauvoo, and Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion  He was instrumental in securing the Nauvoo Charter and even gained praise for his lobbying efforts on behalf of Mormons from a young Abraham Lincoln.  He was excommunicated in May 1842 and became one of the bitterest enemies of the Church engineering among many things a clever plot to assassinate the Prophet and take over the Church.   

Of him President John Taylor said:  "I was well acquainted with him. At one time he was a good man, but fell into adultery, and was cut off from the Church for his iniquity." (History of the Church, 5:81)

As I read about John Bennett I found that he probably started out as a good man with many noble efforts in his heart, but power and appetites of the world drove him, he was not willing to let go of those things which were not righteous to continue in the light of the Lord and in the end is seen as a shyster in history. 

However we must remember Heavenly Father loves all his children, He showed his love to John Bennett before choosing to leave the light, with this counsel and instruction:  

Again, let my servant John C. Bennett help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings and people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction; and his reward shall not fail if he receive counsel.

17 And for his love he shall be great, for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.

What can we learn from this counsel to help us stay safe and in the light as we desire to endure righteously?  
If we continue in the work of the Lord with good and righteous intentions, following the counsel of our leaders we will as we build the kingdom with our strong testimonies and examples, be crowned with blessings and great glory.  

4.  D&C 124:18–19  To Lyman Wight

Who was Lyman Wight?  He was baptized a member of the Church by Oliver Cowdery in 1830.  He was ordained a high priest in June 1831.  He presided over Big Blue settlement, Jackson Co and when the saints were driven out the church membership called on several elders to go up to Kirtland to tell Joseph Smith about the events. When others refused, Wight stepped forward to make the journey, despite his wife being ill with a three-day-old child and only three days of food. 

He Was a member of Zion's Camp, the Clay Co. high council, colonel of Caldwell Co. militia, Member of Adam-ondi-Ahman stake presidency, and Imprisoned with Joseph at Liberty Jail. 
After this he was Ordained member of Quorum of the Twelve, 8 Apr. 1841 to replace David W. Patten, who died in the Battle of Crooked River. He was appointed to major general in Nauvoo Legion, May 1841 and was a leader in procuring lumber for the Nauvoo Temple.  But after the death of Joseph, Wight felt compelled to follow what he thought were the orders Joseph had given him to found a safe haven for the Saints in the Republic of Texas.

Wight moved a group of Latter-day Saints there and eventually founded the colony of Zodiac, Texas. Brigham Young tried to get Wight to join the main body of the Church in Utah many times, but Wight refused each time. He was excommunicated In 1848.  He then went on to recognize various sects of the Church ultimately, falling in line with the Reorganized church (now the Community of Christ) before passing away suddenly of epileptic fits.

I found in reading about him he was a great missionary.  He served many missions for the church and clearly loved the Lord and the Lord loved him, the instruction given to him is as follows: 

And again, I say unto you that it is my will that my servant Lyman Wight should continue in preaching for Zion, in the spirit of meekness, confessing me before the world; and I will bear him up as on eagles’ wings; and he shall beget glory and honor to himself and unto my name.

19 That when he shall finish his work I may receive him unto myself, even as I did my servant David Patten, who is with me at this time, and also my servant Edward Partridge, and also my aged servant Joseph Smith, Sen., who sitteth with Abraham at his right hand, and blessed and holy is he, for he is mine

Why did Lyman Wight fall away? 
He loved Joseph greatly and when he died, so did Wight's true testimony.  He became confused and was easily led astray.  In excerpts from his autobiography and writings from historians the general feeling is that he seemed to have had a testimony of Joseph Smith rather than of the Gospel of Jesus Christ forgetting that the Church belongs the Lord, and loosing him was a great tragedy.  

What can we learn from his instruction from the Lord?
We should testify and preach in meekness, confessing HIM not men to the world  In doing so HIS kingdom will flourish and we will be carried in life and received in death.

What can we learn from Wight's fall?  If we can understand that our leaders are led by the Lord and not man and follow their counsel which comes from the Lord; we will not be confused on our path, HIS ways are not confusing they do not change they are constant and secure, with this we can be secure in our testimonies, 

5.  D&C 124:87–90, 97–102  To William Law

Who was William Law?  He was baptized and ordained and Elder in 1837, Served as presiding elder of Churchville branch, 1837–1838, Served as counselor in First Presidency, 1841–1844, appointed aide-de-camp to lieutenant general in Nauvoo Legion, Mar. 1841.  He was removed from First Presidency, by Jan. 1844; and excommunicated, 18 Apr. 1844.  After this he was appointed by dissenters of the church to replace Joseph Smith the "Fallen Prophet" as president, eventually organizing a new church, in 1844.  They canvassed Nauvoo for new members, but the group disintegrated soon after the death of Joseph.

At the time in early Nauvoo, William Law was a beloved leader for the Lord's church; he received this council from the Lord:  

Therefore, let my servant William put his trust in me, and cease to fear concerning his family, because of the sickness of the land. If ye love me, keep my commandments; and the sickness of the land shall redound to your glory.

88 Let my servant William go and proclaim my everlasting gospel with a loud voice, and with great joy, as he shall be moved upon by my Spirit, unto the inhabitants of Warsaw, and also unto the inhabitants of Carthage, and also unto the inhabitants of Burlington, and also unto the inhabitants of Madison, and await patiently and diligently for further instructions at my general conference, saith the Lord.

89 If he will do my will let him from henceforth hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph, and with his interest support the cause of the poor, and publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth.

90 And if he will do this I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, that he shall not be forsaken, nor his seed be found begging bread.

Why did William Law fall away?  As with some other members at the time, Law's choice was to pick and choose which teachings from the prophet he would follow, and eventually along with others  became a lover of power and saw himself as the leader and spearheaded dissension from within at a critical time in the church. In December 1843, the Prophet Joseph had stated in council, “We have a Judas in our midst,”  Law immediately took offense.  By spring, he was holding secret meetings with others on how to kill the Prophet.  

What can we learn from the council of the Lord to Law in the process of enduring to the end righteously?  
Keep the commandments.  Put our trust in the Lord and fear not, if we do these things, all in the end, will be for our good.  If we follow the will of the Lord and heed the counsel of those called by Him we will not be led astray or forsaken and gain many blessings.  

6.  D&C 124:103–10  To Sidney Rigdon

And again, verily I say unto you, if my servant Sidney will serve me and be counselor unto my servant Joseph, let him arise and come up and stand in the office of his calling, and humble himself before me.

104 And if he will offer unto me an acceptable offering, and acknowledgments, and remain with my people, behold, I, the Lord your God, will heal him that he shall be healed; and he shall lift up his voice again on the mountains, and be a spokesman before my face.

105 Let him come and locate his family in the neighborhood in which my servant Joseph resides.

106 And in all his journeyings let him lift up his voice as with the sound of a trump, and warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come.

107 Let him assist my servant Joseph, and also let my servant William Law assist my servant Joseph, in making a solemn proclamation unto the kings of the earth, even as I have before said unto you.
108 If my servant Sidney will do my will, let him not remove his family unto the eastern lands, but let him change their habitation, even as I have said.

109 Behold, it is not my will that he shall seek to find safety and refuge out of the city which I have appointed unto you, even the city of Nauvoo.

110 Verily I say unto you, even now, if he will hearken unto my voice, it shall be well with him. Even so. Amen

What do we gain from reading this counsel to Sidney Rigdon that we can use in strengthening ourselves to endure?  

 Sidney's health suffered following Liberty Jail. In verse 104 the Lord promised Sydney that he would be healed if he would follow the Lord.  The same holds true for us.  If we humble ourselves and hearken unto the voice of the Lord, we can be healed, we can be safe.  

During the Nauvoo period, most of the Saints remained faithful and endured, and were greatly blessed. However, John C. Bennett, Lyman Wight, William Law, and Sidney Rigdon were among those who fell into apostasy and forfeited many of their blessings. It is our goal to stay strong, to not fall, to not forfeit our blessings, to endure in righteousness.  

What has helped you most in your efforts to endure in righteousness?

The early Saints in Nauvoo dedicated their lives to building up the kingdom of God through missionary work and through serving in many other ways.

Missionaries sent from Nauvoo converted thousands of people.

D&C 118 contains the Lord’s instructions that the Twelve Apostles cross the “great waters” and preach the gospel. The Brethren were to leave from the temple site at Far West, Missouri, on 26 April 1839. However, by March 1839 most of the Saints had fled from Missouri to Illinois. Mobs threatened any leaders who returned to Far West.

Despite these threats, Brigham Young, four other Apostles, and several others returned to the Far West temple site shortly after midnight on the morning of 26 April 1839. There they ordained two additional Apostles—Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith. They sang and prayed, and a large stone was rolled to a corner of the proposed temple site. Soon afterward, they left for their missions to England.

Many Church members in Nauvoo, including the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, were called to serve as missionaries.  These brethren made great sacrifices as they left their homes and families to respond to their calls to serve the Lord. Many members of the Twelve were struck with the ague as they prepared to depart for England.  

Wilford Woodruff, who was very ill, left his wife, Phoebe, almost without food and the necessities of life.

George A. Smith, the youngest Apostle, was so sick that he had to be carried to the wagon, and a man who saw him asked the driver if they had been robbing the graveyard.

Only Parley P. Pratt, who took his wife and children with him, his brother Orson Pratt, and John Taylor were free from disease as they left Nauvoo, although Elder Taylor later became terribly ill and almost died as they traveled to New York City.

Brigham Young was so ill that he was unable to walk even a short distance without assistance, and his companion, Heber C. Kimball, was no better. Their wives and families, too, lay suffering. When the Apostles reached the crest of a hill a short distance from their homes, both lying in a wagon, they felt as though they could not endure leaving their families in so pitiful a condition. At Heber’s suggestion, they struggled to their feet, waved their hats over their heads, and shouted three times, “Hurrah, Hurrah, for Israel.” Their wives, Mary Ann and Vilate, gained strength enough to stand and, leaning against the door frame, they cried out, “Good-bye, God bless you.” The two men returned to their wagon beds with a spirit of joy and satisfaction at seeing their wives standing instead of lying sick in bed.

The families remaining behind demonstrated their faith as they sacrificed to support those who had accepted mission calls. When Addison Pratt was called to a mission in the Sandwich Islands, his wife, Louisa Barnes Pratt, explained: “My four children had to be schooled and clothed, and no money would be left with me. … My heart felt weak at the first, but I determined to trust in the Lord, and stand bravely before the ills of life, and rejoice that my husband was counted worthy to preach the gospel.”

Louisa and her children went to the dock to bid farewell to their husband and father. After they returned home, Louisa reported that “sadness took possession of our minds. It was not long till loud thunders began to roar. A family, living across the street, had a leaky house; frail and uncertain. Soon they all came over for safety through the storm. Thankful we were to see them come in; they talked comforting to us, sang hymns, and the brother prayed with us, and stayed till the storm was over.”1

Not long after Addison’s departure, his young daughter contracted smallpox. The disease was so contagious that there was real danger to any priesthood brother who might come to the Pratts, so Louisa prayed with faith and “rebuked the fever.” Eleven little pimples came out on her daughter’s body, but the disease never developed. In a few days the fever was gone. Louisa wrote, “I showed the child to one acquainted with that disease; he said it was an attack; that I had conquered it by faith.”2

Those missionaries who left Nauvoo at such sacrifice brought thousands into the Church. Our Heritage 55–58

In one year, 1840 to 1841—one year and fourteen days, to be exact—nine members of the twelve were called to labor in the British Mission. If you remember the history [in Nauvoo], those years marked the period of some of the severest persecution that the Church was to undergo in this dispensation. In that one year and fourteen days the nine members of the twelve, with their associates, established churches in every noted town and city in the kingdom of Great Britain. They baptized between 7000 and 8000 converts. They printed 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon, 3000 hymnbooks, and 50,000 tracts, … and [they] emigrated 1000 souls to America” (Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 108).

The Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo

While the Saints were living in Nauvoo, they were blessed with a new Church organization. By the authority of the priesthood, the Prophet Joseph organized the Relief Society.  

While the Nauvoo Temple was under construction, Sarah Granger Kimball, wife of Hiram Kimball, one of the city’s wealthiest citizens, hired a seamstress named Margaret A. Cooke. Desiring to further the Lord’s work, Sarah donated cloth to make shirts for the men working on the temple, and Margaret agreed to do the sewing. Shortly thereafter, some of Sarah’s neighbors also desired to participate in the shirt making. The sisters met in the Kimball parlor and decided to formally organize. Eliza R. Snow was asked to write a constitution and bylaws for the new society.
Eliza presented the completed document to the Prophet Joseph Smith, who declared it was the best constitution he had seen. But he felt impressed to enlarge the vision of the women concerning what they could accomplish. He asked the women to attend another meeting, where he organized them into the Nauvoo Female Relief Society.

Soon after the society came into existence, a committee visited all of Nauvoo’s poor, assessed their needs, and solicited donations to help them. Cash donations and proceeds from the sale of food and bedding provided schooling for needy children. Flax, wool, yarn, shingles, soap, candles, tinware, jewelry, baskets, quilts, blankets, onions, apples, flour, bread, crackers, and meat were donated to help those in need.
Besides helping the poor, Relief Society sisters worshiped together. Eliza R. Snow reported that in one meeting “nearly all present arose and spoke, and the spirit of the Lord like a purifying stream, refreshed every heart.”10 These sisters prayed for each other, strengthened each other’s faith, and consecrated their lives and resources to help further the cause of Zion.  Our Heritage, 61–62

In what ways can we like the early saints in Nauvoo dedicate our lives to the building up of the kingdom of God through missionary work and service?


The example of the saints is the best example of how to endure, while also building the kingdom as commanded by the Lord.  The early Saints in Nauvoo dedicated their lives to building up the kingdom of God through missionary work and through serving in many other ways. By following their examples, we can more faithfully endure and help to build the kingdom of God today.



Organizing the Church in Nauvoo  Organizing the Church in Nauvoo
Daughters in my Kingdom  Daughters in My Kingdom
The Joseph Smith Papers  Browse the Papers
Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 108
History of the Church, 5:8, 2:338, 3:322  BYU Studies History of the Church
The Saints Forced Exodus BYU Religious Studies  


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