Episode 46: A Brief History of Relief Society

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

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Comments (8)

  • Vinniecat

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    Wow, this is fantastic. I hope you do a series just on the history of RS because it’s such a fascinating story that I have only scratched the surface of. Love all the reading suggestions too.

    Reply

  • SomeGuy

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    I think it’s worth noting, that the idea that Emma Smith and her councilors received a Priesthood Ordination during the organization of the Relief Society is one of the longest running pervasive myths about women and the Priesthood in the LDS church (in particular among those who support women being ordained to the Priesthood), and is very easily refuted. Any historian who begins to speculate that this was the case, is not a particularly good historian.

    John Taylor, who was present and acted by assignment under Joseph Smith to ordain and set apart Emma Smith and her councilors, explained in the Woman’s Exponent 9, no. 7 (Sept. 1, 1880) “the ordination then given did not mean the conferring of the Priesthood upon those sisters.” and then further clarified “the sisters hold a portion of the Priesthood in coneciton [sic] with their husbands,”

    None of these women wrote in their journals about having received or being ordained to an office in the Priesthood, and you have historical record of the person who did the ordinations clarifying that it was not an ordination to an office in the Priesthood. As nice as it might be to think that women used to hold the Priesthood and now don’t, it is simply not based in any historical fact.

    Reply

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