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Relief Society organized in 1842

The Red Brick Store in Nauvoo holds more significance in Church history than just the place where early members could buy goods. Its upper room was the birthplace of Relief Society — then called The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. In the spring of 1842, Sarah Kimball and her seamstress, Margaret Cook, invited other women of Nauvoo to join them in making clothing for the men working on the Nauvoo Temple. They decided to create a benevolent society, and Eliza R. Snow drafted a constitution and bylaws. They presented this constitution to the Prophet Joseph for his approval.

He praised their constitution, but said the Lord had "something better" for them. He invited them to meet him the following Thursday at his brick store. There, on March 17, 1842, he organized the first Relief Society, with his wife, Emma, elected as president, and Sarah M. Cleveland and Elizabeth Ann Whitney as counselors; Eliza R. Snow was appointed secretary. Joseph instructed the sisters to help not only the temple workmen, but also to search out the needy in Nauvoo.

In an April meeting with the Relief Society, he further said: "This Society is to get instruction through the order which God has established — thro' the medium of those appointed to lead — and I now turn the key to you in the name of God and this Society shall rejoice and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time — this is the beginning of better days to this Society." (Sources: Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A People of Promise by Glen M. Leonard; Nauvoo Panorama by Janath Cannon; March 7, 1992, Church News.)

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