Matilda Betts Boswell
In order to come to America to join the Church, it was necessary for Matilda and Eliza to escape their mother. How did they get their clothes out of the house without their mothering knowing?
a. Mailed their clothes to Utah
b. Carried them under the hoops of their skirts
c. Had the elders take them in their suit cases
d. By stuffing them in a milk can
D Through a dream
The autobiography of Cordelia Calista Morley Cox also demonstrates the manner in which LDS women used visions to gain authority. Cox converted to Mormonism with her family in 1831 in Kirtland, Ohio. More than a decade later, while living in Nauvoo, Illinois, Cox and her community experienced persecution from non-Mormons. In about 1846, she privately sought refuge in prayer when non-Mormons told her that her religion “was false” and that she “had been deceived.” She wrote, “I began to worry and to wonder if I had in these ears been so deceived, I longed for a testimony from my Father in Heaven, to know for myself whether I was right or wrong.” Cox described the dream that she had one night after praying for such a testimony: “I thought I was in the midst of a multitude of people. President Young arose and spoke to the people. He then said there would be [a] spirit go around to whisper comfort in the ear of everyone. All was silent as death as I sat. Then the spirit came to me and whispered in my ear these words, ‘Don’t ever change your condition or wish it otherwise,’ for I was better off than thousands and thousands of others.” Cox thus came to peace with this issue. She wrote, “The Lord has been my guide; in Him I put my trust.” Cox’s dream demonstrates the importance these women placed on seeking answers to problems for themselves and their belief in the power of religious mechanisms, like the dreams and visions used by LDS leaders. These women may not have had powerful positions within the LDS Church; but to help them understand the faith, they used the same methods as the male leadership. In Cox’s dream, her certitude came as she listened in faith to Brigham Young’s promise that a spirit would speak comfort to her.
Katherine Sarah Massoth, “Writing An Honorable Remembrance: Nineteenth-Century LDS Women’s Autobiography,” Journal of Mormon History, Spring 2013, 132-133.