140 years ago today - Jul 17, 1880

"Relief Society Report, Seting Apart Officers, &c.," July 17, 1880; Relief Society Record, 1880–1892, pp. 9–14, CHL (CR 11 175).

On July 17, 1880, a month after John Taylor had nominated a new general Relief Society presidency, he attended a general meeting of women held in the Salt Lake City Fourteenth Ward assembly hall to set apart the newly sustained officers. The terms set apart and ordain were used interchangeably at this time. Taylor used both when setting apart officers on this occasion: "I set thee apart to preside over the Relief Societies in the Church" and "I confer on thee this power and authority and ordain thee to this office."

Eliza R. Snow served seven years in her formal capacity as general president, establishing policies and procedures that would govern the society for years to come. Zina D. H. Young served as first counselor in the presidency until Snow's death in 1887, after which she was appointed Relief Society general president. Second counselor Elizabeth Ann Whitney, who had also been a counselor to Emma Smith, died in 1882, leaving a vacancy in the presidency that was not filled during Snow's administration. Sarah M. Kimball served as general secretary while maintaining her position as president of the Salt Lake City Fifteenth Ward Relief Society. Mary Isabella Horne was named Relief Society treasurer—a position she held until 1901—although she was not set apart on this occasion. Horne served concurrently as general treasurer, president of the Salt Lake Stake Relief Society, and president of the Retrenchment Association.

[4.5 General Relief Society Meeting, Report, July 17, 1880, as quoted in Matthew J. Grow, Jill Derr, Carol Madsen, and Kate Holbrook, editors, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History, The Church Historian's Press, 2016, https://churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/]

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