From the Life of Eliza R. Snow
The text briefly mentions that Lorenzo Snow’s sister, Eliza R. Snow, served as president of the Relief Society. As it is highly likely that much of Lorenzo Snow’s knowledge and appreciation for the Relief Society can be credited to his sister, I’ll begin by reviewing her Relief Society service.
Eliza R. Snow was instrumental in the initiation of the Relief Society. She was one of about 12 women whom Sarah Kimball invited to discuss the idea in 1842. Eliza R. Snow then drafted the original constitution for the organization. Reference A After discussing their plan with Joseph Smith, Smith expanded their original vision, telling them:
I will organize the women under the priesthood, after the pattern of the priesthood. –Joseph Smith Reference A
Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society in the format of the priesthood and gave the organization autonomy unparalleled in the modern church. Reference B
[Joseph Smith] propos’d that the Sisters elect a presiding officer to preside over them, and let that presiding officer choose two Counsellors to assist in the duties of her Office— that he would ordain them to preside over the Society— and let them preside just as the Presidency, preside over the church; and if they need his instruction— ask him, he will give it from time to time. Let this Presidency serve as a constitution— all their decisions be considered law; and acted upon as such. If any Officers are wanted to carry out the designs of the Institution, let them be appointed and set apart, as Deacons,Teachers &c. are among us. -Eliza R. Snow quoting Joseph Smith in Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes Reference C
After officially organizing the Relief Society, Joseph Smith gave several lectures to the new Society. In his personal diary, he wrote that he:
gave a lecture on the pries[t]hood shewing how the Sisters would come in possession of the privileges & blessings & gifts of the priesthood & that the signs should follow them. such as healing the sick casting out devils &c. & that they might attain unto these blessings. by a virtuous life & conversation & diligence in keeping all the commandments. -Joseph Smith Reference D