26 May 1842 (Thursday). Upper Room, Red Brick Store

Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes[1]

Prest. Smith rose; read the 14th Chap. of Ezekiel—Said the Lord had declared by the prophet that the people should each one stand for himself and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish Church—that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls—applied it to the present state of the church of Latter Day Saints—Said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall—that they were depending on the prophet hence were darkened in their minds from neglect of themselves [2]—envious toward the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.

There is another error which opens a door for the adversary to enter. As females possess refined feelings and sensitiveness; they are also subject to an over much zeal which must ever prove dangerous, and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity—Should be arm'd with mercy notwithstanding the iniquity among us. Said he had been instrumental in bringing it to light—melancholy and awful that so many are under the condemnation of the devil & going to perdition With deep feeling said that they are our fellows—we lov'd them once. Shall we not encourage them to reformation?

We have not forgiven them seventy times—perhaps we have not forgiven them once. [3] There is now—a day of salvation to such as repent and reform—they should be cast out from this Society yet we should woo them to return to God lest they escape not the damnation of hell!

When there is a mountain top there is also a valley—we should act in all things as a proper medium to every immortal spirit. Notwithstanding the unworthy are among us, the virtuous should not from self importance grieve and oppress needlessly those unfortunate ones, even these should be encourag'd to hereafter live to be honored by this Society who are the best portions of community. Said he had two things to recommend to the Society, to put a double watch over the tongue. No organiz'd body can exist without this at all. All organiz'd bodies have their peculiar evils, weaknesses and difficulties—the object is to make those not so good, equal with the good and ever hold the keys of power which will influence to virtue and goodness. Should chasten and reprove and keep it all in silence, not even mention them again, then you will be established in power, virtue and holiness and the wrath of God will be turn'd away. One request to the Prest. and Society that you search yourselves—the tongue is an unruly member [4]—hold your tongues about things of no moment, a little tale will set the world on fire. At this time the truth on the guilty should not be told openly [5]-Strange as this may seem yet this is policy. We must use precaution in bringing sinners to justice lest in exposing their heinous sins, we draw the indignation of a gentile world upon us (and to their imagination justly too)

It is necessary we hold an influence in the world and thus spare ourselves an extermination; and also accomplish our end in spreading the gospel in holiness in the earth.

If we were brought to desolation, the disobedient would find no help. There are some who are obedient yet man cannot steady the ark [6]—my arm cannot do it—God must steady it. To the iniquitous show yourselves merciful. I am advis'd by some of the heads of the church to tell the Relief Society to be virtuous—but to save the Church from desolation and the sword beware, be still, be prudent, Repent, reform but do it in a way to not destroy all around you. I do not want to cloak iniquity—All things contrary to the will of God, should be cast from us, but dont do more hurt than good with your tongues—be pure in heart—Said Jesus ye shall do the work which ye see me do [7]—Jesus designs to save the people out of their sins. These are the grand key words [8] for the Society to act upon.

If I were not in your midst to aid and council you, the devil would overcome you. I want the innocent to go free—rather spare ten iniquitous among you than than condemn one innocent one. "Fret not thyself because of evil doers," [9] God will see to it.

—26 May 1842


[1] See History of the Church, 5:19-21, and Teachings, pp. 237-39. The source for the entries in History of the Church and Teachings is the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes, kept by Eliza R. Snow.

[2] Numbers 11:29 (1-33).

[3] Matthew 18:22 (21-22).

[4] James 3:5-8.

[5] Undoubtedly, reference is here being made to John C. Bennett. Bennett's immoralities had come to the attention of the Prophet, but the latter, acting on a bleak hope of possible reformation of Bennett, deferred publicly exposing his counselor in the First Presidency.

[6] 1 Chronicles 13:9-12.

[7] John 14:12.

[8] In this setting the phrase Key words was used with reference to "principles" and "teachings" rather than "signs" and "words" as used on 1 May 1842. Cf. 1 May 1842, note 2.

[9] Psalm 37:1.