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Making Sense of Persecution

The 1880s were a difficult time for Church members in Utah. Federal raids aimed at plural marriage put many fathers in prison or on the run. Mothers sometimes went by assumed names, and children worried over what would happen to their families. In Relief Societies, sisters had the chance to talk together to make sense of the upheaval. Rebecca Atwood Warren saw the troubles as an opportunity to follow Christ’s example. She “did not feel like cursing [her] enemies,” she said, “but rather praying for them as they were ignorant of what they were doing.” Looking back on what had happened, Mary Strong Farrer compared the trials of the period to rain. “Like the flowers,” she said, “we need the sunshine and the showers to perfect us.”

See Minutes, June 20, 1885, in Sanpete Stake Relief Society minute book, 1879–1888, 131, Church History Library, Salt Lake City; Minutes, Dec. 7, 1892, in Provo 1st Ward Relief Society records, 28, Church History Library, Salt Lake City