Eliza R. Snow

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“Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy?

“Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! But how is that possible? And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us?

“Eliza R. Snow, second General President of the Relief Society, offered a riveting answer. Because of Missouri’s infamous extermination order, issued at the onset of the grueling winter of 1838, she and other Saints were forced to flee the state that very winter. One evening, Eliza’s family spent the night in a small log cabin used by refugee Saints. Much of the chinking between the logs had been extracted and burned for firewood by those who preceded them, so there were holes between the logs large enough for a cat to crawl through. It was bitter cold, and their food was frozen solid.

“That night some 80 people huddled inside that small cabin, only 20 feet square (6.1 meters square). Most sat or stood all night trying to keep warm. Outside, a group of men spent the night gathered around a roaring fire, with some singing hymns and others roasting frozen potatoes. Eliza recorded: ‘Not a complaint was heard—all were cheerful, and judging from appearances, strangers would have taken us to be pleasure excursionists rather than a band of gubernatorial exiles.’

“Eliza’s report of that exhausting, bone-chilling evening was strikingly optimistic. She declared: ‘That was a very merry night. None but saints can be happy under every circumstance.’”

Russell M. Nelson, President, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Joy and Spiritual Survival,” October 2016 General Conference

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“The Relief Society general president Eliza R. Snow declared to sisters almost 150 years ago, ‘The Lord has laid high responsibilities upon us.’ I testify that her declaration is still true today.”

Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency
What Shall We Do?”April 2016 General Conference

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“Sister Eliza R. Snow was given a charge from the prophet Brigham Young to help lift and teach the sisters of the Church. She ‘taught that individual women could receive inspiration to guide them in their personal lives, their families, and their Church responsibilities. She said: ‘Tell the sisters to go forth and discharge their duties, in humility and faithfulness and the Spirit of God will rest upon them and they will be blest in their labors. Let them seek for wisdom instead of power and they will have all the power they have wisdom to exercise.’

“Sister Snow taught the sisters to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost. ‘She said that the Holy Ghost ‘satisfies and fills up every longing of the human heart, and fills up every vacuum. When I am filled with that Spirit, … my soul is satisfied.’ ‘ ”

Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Personal Revelation and Testimony,” October 2011 General Conference

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“The second general Relief Society president, Eliza R. Snow, said this to the sisters: ‘We want to be ladies in very deed, not according to the term of the word as the world judges, but fit companions of the Gods and Holy Ones. In an organized capacity we can assist each other in not only doing good but in refining ourselves, and whether few or many come forward and help to prosecute this great work, they will be those that will fill honorable positions in the Kingdom of God. … Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters? We know the Lord has laid high responsibility upon us, and there is not a wish or desire that the Lord has implanted in our hearts in righteousness but will be realized, and the greatest good we can do to ourselves and each other is to refine and cultivate ourselves in everything that is good and ennobling to qualify us for those responsibilities.’ ”

Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President“And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” April 2010 General Conference

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“Sister Eliza R. Snow, second Relief Society general president, spoke to a large group of sisters—both teenage and adult women—gathered in Ogden, Utah, in 1873. She gave the following counsel that was timely then and is still appropriate today.

“Speaking to the younger women, she said: ‘If you associate together [meaning older and younger women], your minds are improved, you are gaining intelligence, and you are retrenching from ignorance. The Spirit of God will impart instruction to your minds, and you will impart it to each other. I say, God bless you my young sisters. Remember that you are Saints of God; and that you have important works to perform in Zion.’

“She further counseled all women: ‘Paul the Apostle anciently spoke of holy women. It is the duty of each one of us to be a holy woman. We shall have elevated aims, if we are holy women. We shall feel that we are called to perform important duties. No one is exempt from them. There is no sister so isolated, and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.’ ”

Barbara Thompson, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Mind the Gap,” October 2009 General Conference

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“From this pulpit in 1870, Eliza R. Snow asked thousands of women a question that I’d like to repeat today: ‘Do you know of any place on the face of the earth, where [a] woman has more liberty, and where she enjoys such high and glorious privileges as she does here, as a Latter-day Saint?’ I bear witness that the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do enjoy grand and glorious privileges.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” April 2007 General Conference

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“Yes, at times we are beset by troubles and pain and grief. But we must not surrender. We must not retreat. Eliza R. Snow, the second president of the Relief Society, penned these words:

“ ‘I will go forward. … I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circumstance. … And the ‘testimony of Jesus’ will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality, and communicate to my understanding the glories of the Celestial kingdom.’ ”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
Steadfast and Immovable,” October 2001 General Conference

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“Truly, we may each be an instrument in the hands of God. Happily, we need not all be the same kind of instrument. Just as the instruments in an orchestra differ in size, shape, and sound, we too are different from one another. We have different talents and inclinations, but just as the French horn cannot duplicate the sound of the piccolo, neither is it necessary for us to all serve the Lord in the same way. Sister Eliza R. Snow said that ‘there is no sister so isolated and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth’. Our privilege and our responsibility as daughters of God and as sisters of Relief Society, then, is to become the most effective instruments we can be.”

Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President
We Are Instruments in the Hands of God,” October 2000 General Conference

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“Every one of us has something to give, something to share, and someone to serve. As the second president of the Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow, declared, ‘There is no sister so isolated … her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.’ ”

Virginia U. Jensen, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Come to Relief Society,” October 1998 General Conference

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“We all can be edified by a speech Eliza R. Snow gave as part of the original organization of the Relief Society. She said: ‘God is looking down upon you, the angels are recording your secret acts. … Let us pray daily, and try to become more refined and visionary and bring up our children to be polite and refined, that they may be useful monuments to society.’ And then she continued: ‘Endeavor to make home happy, keep your children from various company; and while you study to dress them neatly, do not neglect to adorn them much with those principles which will tend to elevate and ennoble them, and prepare them for future usefulness in the kingdom of our God.’ ”
 
Mary Ellen Smoot, Relief Society General President

Come, Let Us Walk in the Light of the Lord,” October 1998 General Conference

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“We will build the kingdom of God—one person and one home at a time. Married, single, older, younger, mothering, or childless, we are going to prove that Eliza R. Snow, an early and inspired Relief Society leader, was right: ‘There is no sister so isolated, and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal towards establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.’ We will build the kingdom of God by lighting our homes with faith, whether we live alone or with a house full of family.”

Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society General President
Look Up and Press On,” April 1992 General Conference

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