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Emma Smith - My Story Mormons Are Now Telling Their Own History!

Updated on November 30, 2013

Emma Smith - My Story A Movie About A Mormon Woman

Katherine Nelson Thompson and Nathan Mitchell star in the upcoming "Emma Smith: My Story.
Katherine Nelson Thompson and Nathan Mitchell star in the upcoming "Emma Smith: My Story.

LDS Church collaborates on the movie - Emma Smith - My Story...

The LDS Church have collaborated with the Joseph Smith Jr. Emma Hale Smith Historical Society -  who have produced the movie "Emma Smith, My Story".
The LDS Church have collaborated with the Joseph Smith Jr. Emma Hale Smith Historical Society - who have produced the movie "Emma Smith, My Story".

About The Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society, Inc.

The Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society, Inc. was established in 2006. The JSEHS works with the Joseph Smith Jr. Family Organization, founded 1985, to promote understanding of the life and times, teachings, and heritage of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale Smith.

The movie production of Emma Smith, My Story is part of the ongoing efforts of the historical departments efforts, to educate the public better about Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith. All revenue generated from this film will be used to fund other projects of a similar nature, and of historical interest in the future.

Mormonism and The History of The Church As Told By LDS Members!

This was recently posted on the LDS Newsroom website, and I thought it might be of some interest to my readers here. I know this was to me. Actually - I would say - this is BIG!

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints collaborated with the Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society on the new movie “Emma Smith: My Story,” which was released in theaters across Utah on 11 April; and is NOW available on DVD.

Emma Smith was the wife of Church founder Joseph Smith Jr. but, according to producers, her perspective of the pivotal events that gave rise to a world religion of over 13 million members has rarely been told.

“We wanted to show the side of Emma that most people don’t know: her personality, nature, and the type of woman she was,” said executive producer Michael Kennedy who is also a direct descendant of Joseph and Emma. “We wanted to show these things to Church members from the Smith family point of view.”

The movie chronicles Emma’s life from her childhood with a father who was not fond of religion, to her courtship and marriage to Joseph Smith, as well as the challenges she faced being driven from state to state because of religious persecution.

Executive producer Paul Savage said: “I think no other woman in early Church history endured so much as Emma Smith. She was remarkable in almost every respect. Hopefully this film will help us begin to gain a more complete picture of why Joseph called her the choice of his heart.”

The film is similar in style to the Church-produced movie “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration” and uses footage from that movie that had been cut due to time constraints. Many of the actors and actresses in that film also have major roles in this film.

The Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society was organized in 2006 to promote activities and programs related to the life and legacy of Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844) and Emma Hale Smith (1804-1879).

I would love to hear your thoughts - after finding out about the close relationship, in working on this project - Emma Smith: My Story, that the LDS Church forged? What do you think is being suggested to the world about Emma Smith - and how we should interpret her legacy today?

6/5 ( I have finally seen this movie for myself, and I will tell you what I think -- make sure and read my review - because we have a lot to talk about...)

Emma Smith: My Story - Now open, in limited release: check theater listings below.

I am thrilled that this Movie "Emma Smith - My Story" has been made. The reviews that I have personally read, prior to its scheduled release in April of this film - are, that is has been well done, and that members of the LDS Church will enjoy it - as well as those who are not of the Mormon faith.

It is suggested that perhaps, those who may have had some difficulties with the whole issue of "Women and Mormonism" in general, will also find it enlightening and intriguing. I am not sure of that, but I am certain that better discussion will be had due to the release of the movie about the life of Emma Smith and her story.

It would be my hope, that these conversations would be between both members, and with those that are not members of the LDS Church; and as is the intention of the film "Emma Smith - My Story", to bring about better education regarding the life of Emma Hale Smith.

The movie "Emma Smith - My Story" is set primarily during the period of her life, prior to the martyrdom of her prophet husband - Joseph Smith Jr. The movie focuses on reflections of Emma Smith, as she reminisces a look back at her life with the Church and her husband, Joseph Smith.

Note: Now that I personally have seen this movie -- make sure and read my personal movie review of the movie Emma Smith - My Story.

Emma Smith Movie Review by LdsNana-AskMormon.

The Women's Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints

Organized on March 17,1842 under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. Emma Hale Smith was the inaugural President.  Nauvoo, Illinois.
Organized on March 17,1842 under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. Emma Hale Smith was the inaugural President. Nauvoo, Illinois.

Emma Smith - My Story What To Expect From This Film About Joseph Smith...

If you are interested in knowing - I personally happen to like Emma Smith. I don't find it necessary to agree or understand her every action. I accept and honor her place in the history of the Mormon Church and why she is revered with such honor - while at the same time, her actions have been questioned and harshly criticized by the majority.

I am also aware of Joseph Smith's polygamous marriages and the many wives that have been sealed to him. I am far from naïve to the passionate conversations that are floating about in cyberspace regarding these issues. I have already engaged in such conversations with those who oppose the Mormon Church, based on our early Church history, and those with oppositional interpretations of such.

If you plan on seeing "Emma Smith - My Story" with the expectation of finding more out about Joseph Smith and 'his' polygamy in particular, from what I understand - you would be greatly disappointed.

The film, Emma Smith, My Story - is about the life of Emma Smith, from her perspective. This film is not about the prophet Joseph Smith, and his alledged polygamous relationships and practice. Nor is this article.

Emma Smith My Story - The Telling of Their Love Story! OFFICIAL TRAILER

Emma Hale Smith - Wife of the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. - Founder Of Mormonism

Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. who founded the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints; through a complete restoration of the ancient Church - which was established by Jesus Chirst, when He was upon the earth in the meridian of time.


  • Emma Hale Smith (10 July 1804--30 April 1879)
  • Married Joseph Smith, Jr. Jan. 18, 1827 - until his death in June 1844.
  • Assisted briefly as scribe to the Book of Mormon
  • Emma Smith never withdrew her testimony of the authenticity of The Book of Mormon or her firm witness that Joseph Smith is a true prophet called of God.
  • Named in 1842 as the inaugural president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, and which currently is the largest organization in the world for women.

  • Emma remarried after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. - to a Lewis C. Bidamon on Dec. 23, 1847.

Mormonism And Active Women In The LDS Church...

As an active Mormon women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints today, I feel that engaging in negative conversations with those who oppose Mormonism in general, has for the most part - been of little value.

If anything, I have been strengthened by these conversations, to a point now - were it possible - I would prefer to completely ignore their existence altogether.

But with that being said - I won't. Rather, I will take this opportunity to say that I hope more active LDS women - will also decide to speak about their feelings and opinions regarding these points of history in the Mormon Church - and share how they have drawn personal strength from knowing more about Emma Smith and early Mormonism.

Of course, there are many active LDS women; who have not necessarily taken a course in the study of Emma Smith; and early Mormonism - and its history in these regards.

I personally do not believe that this is absolutely necessary, in order to continue to stand firm in the LDS faith - amidst the opposition to the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. However, - what I do think is imperative, is that members of the LDS Church find out for themselves, if The Book of Mormon is true...

Emma Hale Smith 1804-1879

Inaugural President of the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo, Illinois 1842.
Inaugural President of the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo, Illinois 1842.

Mormon Women Who Know About Their History Are Strengthened By It!

As a Latter-Day-Saint woman, I am aware of the many stories that are associated with the early history of the Mormon Church - in regards to the practice of polygamy and Joseph Smith the prophet. (or plural marriage)

Trust me - you cannot tell me anything that I have not already been exposed to; or have been made aware of through conversations - and my own research and study. I am quite well versed in the LDS Church history, of Emma not ever acknowledging any of Joseph's polygamous marriages following his death, etc...

As well, the fact that she did not head west with the body of the Saints after the martyrdom of her beloved prophet husband. Instead, she made the personal choice, to remain in Nauvoo, Illinois - with her mother-in-law, Lucy Mack Smith.

Please, do not insult me and think that I am "choosing" to be ignorant or simply choosing to ignore early accounts - that are a part of the history of the Mormon Church - with regard to the prophet Joseph Smith Jr.

I think that I can safely make this request as well, on behalf of many other active Mormon women in the Church today. I am generally cautious in ever taking liberties such as this when I write about Mormonism, our beliefs and practices - from my perspective and understanding. I am certainly not an official spokes person of any kind for the LDS Church.

But, in this case - I am willing to make an exception, (though still not official) and say that I believe that I do speak for a good majority of active Mormon women, in the LDS Church today.

So... please don't write crazy things in my comments box - because I simply won't post them. I do however, invite you to share with others - right here - if you have something to add or inquire regarding the conversation about women and Mormonism - which this movie about Emma Smith, will inevitably raise. I am not suggesting that you need be agreeable.

I say this, because I personally believe, that there is a needed - positive conversation, that I would like to see be had - about Mormon Women in society today, and how 'we' interpret our early history of the LDS Church - to our strength and benefit.

Emma Smith My Story Movie Trailer

What People Are Saying About, Emma Smith - My Story.

Carole Mikita, who is a reporter for ksl radio station, in Salt Lake City, Utah...

"Descendants of Joseph and Emma Smith say they have long wanted to tell her story, which they believe is full of misconceptions and unnecessary controversy. With this project, they hope to set the record straight.

The much-maligned and, many say, misunderstood Emma Hale Smith is the focus of the new independent film. Emma was married to LDS Church founder Joseph Smith. This story follows her challenging life. "

Katherine Nelson Thompson, of "Emma Smith: My Story," says, "There are so many things that have been said about her over the years that are completely false. I just think we're trying to help bring her back into a good light."

Women and Mormonism Needs To Be Defined By Women Who Are Active Mormons!

That conversation - is about active Mormon Women - and I am not talking about that small sect of LDS women - basically on the fringe, who are making noise - as IF they are the majority of those of us who are the 'major majority' of women in the Mormon Church; and who know their history, and know what is being said "about" our history regarding the early Church; but do not accept how that history has been told since the death of Joseph Smith, who is the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

Many take it upon themselves to judge Emma Smith. Among other things, her decision to not follow the Saints into the Salt Lake Valley after the martyrdom of her prophet-leader husband. Much that has been recorded in many personal histories, of that which surrounds this period of time prior to the martyrdom of Joseph Smith - often leads to open criticism and misunderstandings with early Mormon History.

Many things about the life and choices of Emma Smith, seem odd and questionable to many. The fact that she struggled much, with ever accepting the practice of polygamy (or plural marriage) and the revelation concerning this doctrine, find much for many to be critical of, both inside and outside the LDS Church.

Again -- it is not my purpose or intention to either explain Emma Smith, judge Emma Smith... or even defend Emma Smith; or Joseph Smith for that matter.

One thing that I feel fairly confident about -- is that Emma Hale Smith, is just fine with Emma Smith!

The faith, dedication and courage of Emma Smith, wife of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. Emma, one of the unsung heroes of the Restoration.

This Mormon Woman Is Comfortable With Early History Mormonism And Talking About It In Current Context...

What I find interesting, is the fact that so many (most of whom are not members of the LDS Church, or who are former members) are spending a great deal of time discussing the early History of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. It is most apparent that the intentions are, to discredit in any way possible - the validity of the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. and his claim to the authenticity of The Book of Mormon.

As it turns out - it is actually only a handful of very loud opponents to Mormonism and its teachings, that actively speak out against The LDS Church. Yet, this movement has definitely made waves in distorting much of that which is most talked about today - concerning the LDS Church and its members.

And so, here I am - a Mormon women; who is actually quite happy to have an opportunity; and perhaps create an opportunity for a few more active LDS members; to begin to talk about our history, of which we fully embrace and honor; and tell you what we think about all these things...


Kathryn Skaggs

Update: 6/4

I have finally had the opportunity of seeing for myself the movie "Emma Smith - My Story". I have given a review of this movie, now - from my own perspective, after viewing it twice. Be sure and read it!

LDS Women Of Strength And Courage... Today!

Please Leave Comments Here...

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  • profile image

    velvet skaggs 

    9 years ago

    hi my name is velvet i could like to comments about emma story was interestly and nice i love it they are wonderful about bible and study about mormon was good and i like hear more about story about joseph smith , let me know about it okay. thank you, velvet

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California


    I just updated the movie listing information. I hope that there is something within yor reach soon. It is a wonderful movie:-)



    p.s. are you any relation to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich?

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Wondered if the movie will be coming to spokane, Washington or Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. We would love to see it.

    Thank you.

    Lori Ulrich

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Hi Jordan -

    Thank you for taking the time to engage, by commenting...

    Yes, it is my understanding that Joseph Smith was sealed to at least 33 women, that can be verified. As to the reasons, etc... I don't believe we really know all of the facts, as some might purport.

    As well, corrections overall to how and whom sealings could be performed, meaning proper protocol for anyone, were corrected a bit later. Some of these clarification, certainly affected some of the sealings that were being performed to Joseph Smith - after his death.



  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Just a comment- I didn't read the whole converstion, but I read the part where LdsNanac confirms that Joseph Smith was married or sealed at one point in time to 33 women. I think the key word there is "sealed." I have been told that in the early years of the church some men didn't feel worthy to be sealed to their wives, so they asked Joseph to be sealed to them to ensure that they (the women that had marrried by law) would enter the Celestial Kingdom. So many of the women that Joseph was actually "married" to really had their own husbands. The temple work was later all corrected as further revelations were given and they realized that this was not correct not necessary, and all those men were sealed to their true wives.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Joey -

    I honestly do not know. My thoughts would be, that the LDS Church and the Joseph Smith Historical Society would most certainly want the movie Emma Smith My Story distributed as widely as possible.

    If I hear of any information, for wider release, I will post that information. I know many people are looking forward to see this movie about Emma Smith. She is a fascinating woman to try and understand.

    I loved this movie about Emma Smith. I hope you will make sure and read my full-review of the movie, as I have now been able to see it myself.





  • profile image

    Joey in England 

    11 years ago

    Hi, I recently found out about the movie, and I was wondering if there are any plans to show it in the UK any time soon. As a convert, I would love to see this, as Emma was just such an awesome woman. However I have not heard anything about it over here.

    Thanks, Joey

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Just a little comment, I have loved reading this about Joseph and Emma, I have been involved with the new movie on Emma, I love to hear peoples thoughts on the movie. As for Joseph and his plural wives. While alive Joseph was married to a total of 6 wives. After he died many women sealed themselves to him. Through the Joseph Smith Jr. family there has been DNA testing done for family history reasons. To date we have not found any descendants that are not through Joseph and Emma. So you may be right Al, that he may have not had a sexual relationship with them. Who knows though, we will all understand this concept one day right.

  • profile image

    Al the convert 

    11 years ago

    It is amazing how many people take an event of the church and expound on it as if they were part of the event. I for one am always happy to see different views of the events of the past (and that is what they are, peoples personal views), but how others then expand on that view as if it were offical doctrine of the church. Here is a movie that, from what I have seen of the clips, and read from the producers, is a touching story of the trials of a woman who joined a man in his beliefs. But, what I read in most blogs, and review (some without even viewing the movie yet) spend most of their text to criticize one aspect of their whole relationship. Then from that springboard, leap to an attempt at an in-depth discussion about that one lone topic. Polygamy.

    How I feel personally about polygamy is really minor at this point, because the church's official doctrine is "we were told by God that we weren't ready for it, yet. So it has been suspended." (paraphrasing of course). It doesn't say the women weren't ready for it, nor did it say the men weren't ready for it. It said "the world". And personally, THAT is what I agree with.

    A few years ago, Oprah Winfrey, on one of her shows, had a number of couples of polygamous marriages on her show to discuss their way of life. NONE of these were from either the LDS or RLDS or FLDS faith. It by itself was very open and enlightening to hear other beliefs and feelings about it. Almost all were positive in their expressions.

    I have one question after my rantings, weren't the wives of Joseph (except for Emma) just in name only? I was told that the marriages were to protect them and the land they held after their husbands were killed? This I was told by many sources, but don't know if it was legend or fact. In fact, I was told that both he and Brigham Young were married to some of the women and never actually laid eyes on them. Anyone want to correct (with facts) me on this? Thank you.

    My only comment on plural marriage is this.......plural father/mother-in-laws which can be either good or bad or both!!!!

    Thank you

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    This is the first time that I have ever responded to a blog. I found your site when I was looking up reviews about the movie, Emma. I would love hear what Richard Bushman says about the "false revelation". I do know that he said it to another friend of mine who inquired after a lecture given by him. I have to admit a personal bias against polygamy, as my sister became a polygamist wife 30 years ago. They were not members of any of the large sects. Four grown children later, she has left him. Yeah! Personally, I would be more that happy to think of polygamy as a mistake. Although the church leaders have not denied the doctrine of polygamy, I sense that there is a real desire to distance ourselves from it. As a gospel doctrine teacher, I taught D.C. 132, three years ago. The manual didn't even get near the subject of plural marriage and in fact told the teachers that if anyone brought up the topic to read a prepared written statement included and not let it lead into a discussion. From a reliable source, I have heard that the church will not do a Doctrine and Covenants for Families as they have done with the other scriptures because of Section 132, but will rather do a Church History for Families. We shall see if that is correct next year. I have a number of friends and families who are in the process of leaving the church, one of the major reasons is polygamy. I would love to be able to resolve this issue myself, so that I can help them come back into full church membership. Right now it feels better, from my perspective, to think of it as a mistaken prophesy and focus on the really wonderful things that the gospel gives to me. The doctrine of polygamy certainly hasn't been a great PR asset to the Lord's church. I look forward to any iinsights and nformation that you can find out.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Hi SweetiePie -

    Thanks for reading this hub and commenting. I hope that if you are able to see it, that you will return and let us know what you thought.



  • SweetiePie profile image


    11 years ago from Southern California, USA

    This looks like a very good movie and I look forward to seeing it.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    W.Wooley -

    Your comments fully concur with the information that I distributed here in this Hub regarding the movie "Emma Smith - My Story"....

    Your comments are also in the majority of many who follow the opinions of Richard Bushman. But we need to iterject that Bushman is a historian and not an official ecclesiastical leader in the Mormon Church.

    I personally don't believe, nor am I aware of a fact which makes known that any of the prophets and apostles that have suceeded Jospeph Smith, have felt that Joseph gave a false revelation regarding plural marriage.

    It is part of our cannonized scripture which we firmly declare and stand by as "doctrine". When we consider how difficult it is to determine actual doctrine, and we have been instructed that the canon is critical in understanding Mormon doctrine... a few comments from those in CES must be taken only as personal statements of opinion.

    I will find out from Richard Bushman himself to see if he actually made that statement or if he perhaps has been misinterpreted...

    Also, please take into account when perpetuating that idea, that those who felt that Joseph had become a fallen prophet - were those that apostatized from the LDS Church and were a part of the many break-off fundamentalist, i.e. - RLDS. They obviously were not being led by the spirit as Mormonism would suggest is needful in order to be guided by truth.

    I have read both "Mormon Enigma" and Richard Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" about the life of Joseph Smith. They are both excellent attempts in understanding this couple. But speculation and personal opinion are latent throughout both books, as would be expected in a history book.

    I enjoyed very much, both of these books and would highly recommend them to any who are interested in well done scholarship on topic. I also believe we are yet to have the "best" books written on these topics come forth.

    Currently Richard Bushman with others are involved with the Joseph Smiths Paper's project, which will most likely bring forth new information, thus new perspectives into the mind of Joseph Smith. This will be the most comprehensive work of historians yet produced... much no doubt will follow that publication.

    I am very well acquainted with Mr. Bushman, through personal relationships within my family. A very close association with him is had by a member of my family - who studied and presented alongside of him at the Joseph Smith Memorial Conference last Summer. I believe that he is quite open with his opinions, but also very careful. He is currently considered the most well respected Church historian of the LDS Church.

    Problem with Emma Smith's history and what is real - we have very little from her personally, therefore giving way to much speculation - which continues to be an ongoing problem.

    I too have compassion for Emma Smith and the hardships she encountered as wife of the prophet Joseph Smith...

    I still am in hopes that today, we can find out why she is to be revered and honored as an "elect lady" of which she is and determine how women today can be strengethened in what we do know as fact about Emma Smith.

    We do know a few choice pieces of information, which are a fact... how and what do we draw from those facts - which women today - can go forth and be strengthened by. I feel that as long as we stay in the debate as to whether Emma was right or wrong - in our opinions - we fail to learn from the history...

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the movie, Emma Smith: My Story; as well as your opinions and throughts regarding these issues - they are most appreciated:-)



  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I just got back from seeing the movie, Emma Smith, My Story. It was a beautiful and touching movie. I have always admired Emma and this movie reinforced my feelings toward her. Having had a full term stillborn myself, I wept as each of her children died. Her life was filled with tragedy that most of us could not even comprehend. After reading her biography, Mormon Enigma, Emma Hale Smith* by Linda K. Newell and Valeen T. Avery, I was disappointed that the movie only mentioned briefly the utter pain that Joseph’s, often secret, plural marriages caused her. This was not a minor bump in the road in their relationship; but as Joseph Smith biographer Richard Bushman stated at a LDS fireside I attended, they were on the verge of divorce prior to his death. A friend and CES Institute instructor said Bushman told them at a CES gathering that, in his opinion, polygamy was a false revelation. Emma agreed.

    According to her biography, she, and many other early leaders, felt that the church had strayed regarding polygamy. But that was not her only reason for not coming west. Besides financial matters and caring for Lucy Smith, who was unable to travel, Brigham Young held negative feelings against her for her stand on polygamy.

    My testimony of the basic gospel has never been stronger. Its truthfulness resonates deep in my soul. My faith is not dependent on Joseph being a perfect man like Christ. Like our other prophets, study confirms that he had weakness of character; he was young and most likely overwhelmed at times with responsibilities. Did everything that he spoke, thought or enact in the church come directly from God? Doubtful. Was he a latter day prophet? Absolutely!

    When asked why he wrote, Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman said that our young people were going away to school, learning of documented facts about our history and they were blown away and were falling into inactivity. He felt that we should begin assimilating our real history into our teachings moments. I wish that the film about Emma had really begun that process. Otherwise it was a wonderful movie on Emma and Joseph’s struggles and enduring love. It was well worth seeing.

    * From Deseret Book web site:

    Mormon Enigma is the bestselling biography of Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. It was Joseph Smith who announced that an angel of the Lord had commanded him to introduce a 'new order of marriage.' And it was Emma Hale Smith who confronted the practice of polygamy head on.

    As the authors note in their introduction, "Early leaders in Utah castigated Emma from their pulpits for opposing Brigham Young and the practice of polygamy, and for lending support to the Reorganization. As these attitudes filtered down through the years, Emma was virtually written out of official Utah histories. In this biography, we have attempted to reconstruct the full story of this remarkable and much misunderstood woman's experiences."

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Hi Jason -

    Covenants are powerful.... 

    In saying this, I believe that we must also acknowledge the many that have unknowingly made "covenants" with God, by those without proper authority from God. Because of this, we have countless records of the abuses of religion - in the 'Name' of God...

    Personally, when I read, hear or see in the news - these countless abuses - I am truly sickened.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ, has in living true principles - the results of joy, happiness and peace in this life. 

    God works with His children on the principle of agency and not coercion.  Nor does He remove His children from society and work in the dark.  Truth is light - and this, for all that will "come unto Him".

    We can recognize The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the fruits of making and keeping covenants with God, through proper authority - by the fruits or lives of those who make AND keep those covenants.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, and its members, in my opinion - can be seen as a Church and people overall - that bear the fruits of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

    I for one, am horrified at so much that is done in His name - which has devastated many generations of peoples lives - through false teachings.

    Yes, those who make and keep covenants that are true, with God - are the most blessed of all people - for the consequences of keeping law - are His great and good results that are clearly evident in the individual life of those who keep them; as well as the benefit of all those who associate with such a person.

    Thank you for commenting on covenants specifically.  Yes, the early Saints which were called to practice polygamy, truly believed that they were doing the will of the Lord, in whom they had total allegiance.



  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Jrolfson -

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your kind remarks on both Emma Smith and the prophet Joseph Smith Jr.

    There is no doubt that Emma Hale Smith, should be honored by members of the LDS Church... but I think it is important that we take into our consideration - as to why this is?

    Yes, I am really hoping to create more dialogue, which is positive in this discovery . Emma Smith is not only revered as the wife of the prophet Joseph Smith, but also in her distinction as the inaugural President of the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo.

    Nevertheless, some of her choices that she made in her life - have given cause for us as members - to want to understand this "extraordinary" woman - who was referred to in our scriptures as "an elect lady", which she was...

    Therefore, we must personally discover what should be focused on in remembering Emma Smith and honoring her legacy, and why that is...

    I am currently reading "Women of Covenant" which is the history of the LDS Relief Society. This history is the closest book, that could be called an "official" history of the Relief Socdiety - of any written thus far. Although not "official", but was supported by the LDS Church and carefully reviewed every step of the way...

    You and anyone else are invited to discuss these issues more over on my blog,which there is a link to at the bottom of this article...

    I do see a bit of difference between Joseph's petitioning the Lord in regards to the lost manuscript versus the command to practice plural marriage...

    Plural marriage, as far as the revelation being received, was no doubt in response to an inquiry of the Lord - as recorded. I imagine the moment Joseph received the instruction... no doubt he would like to have run for the hills, if he were not an obedient servant.

    On the other hand, his multiple petitions of the Lord on behalf of Martin Harris was not to receive instruction for the Church, but to get Martin off his back... his persistence led the Lord to conceed while warning Joseph in the process. This was a show of honoring Joseph's agency and not commanding a situation such as this...

    In comparing these two accounts; first, Joseph in petitioning the Lord for truth to be revealed and the eventual "obedience" to the revelation of plural marriage; then the results of the 116 pages being lost in consequence to the Lord being nagged -- I don't really see a comparison which is in any way comparable.

    The plates were actually taken from Joseph for a time, him being chastised of the Lord. There is not any indication that anything having to do with the revelation on plural marriage held any displeasure from the Lord, in any of Joseph's actions.

    Now, Emma - that is another discussion:-) But please explain to me "how" you find these comparable?

    The most important thing, I believe that must be kept in mind, is that all that which was revealed to Joseph Smith - had to do with the truths of the restoration for the fullness of times, and those truths being reestablished...

    I personally don't feel that the revelation of plural marriage was in any way - a way to teach Joseph a lesson or chastise "him" in any way - for pursueing truth. Where on the other hand, it was selfishness that caused him to relentlessly petition God on behalf of Martin Harris, and thus the rebuke and losing of the plates temporarily.

    As we know, the consequences of loosing the 116 pages and then the temporary loss of the plates, was the most painful and devastating experience in Joseph's entire life. To find himself, displeasing the Lord was almost more than Joseph could take...

    Joseph, from that experience going forward had the philosophy that "if the Lord commands, he does it... " The positive that came from Joseph's devastating experience was the teaching and his chastisement, which we are recipients of in section 10 - which is a warning to all and a clear expose on the workings of the adversary in our lives...

    Still, I am interested in your view on this, as I do not see the comparable that you do:-)



  • Jason Stanley profile image

    Jason Stanley 

    11 years ago


    I think you hit on an extremely important issue, and one that unfortunately is not commonly called upon in our modern world. That is the power of covenant - be it with God, or one another. When a person truly lives their beliefs the power of a covenant is the power of moving mountains. Great insight - well put.


  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I love the fact that you have provided a place where all can discuss LDS Women and church history. As a member of our faith, who has searched for and read much on the subject of early polygamy, Emma Smith and Joseph Smith Jr. I have found delight in their love story and their unbelievable trials for the sake of the Lord. I hold Emma with only the highest of esteem and Joseph as a true prophet of God. If not for him where would we be? In reading the D & C I read where Joseph had inquired of the Lord many times for an answer in reference to polygamy and the original gospel, after many inquiries it seemed that the Lord let Joseph know that if he must know the answer, than he must practice this doctrine. It was almost like when he inquired of the Lord to allow Martin Harris a portion of the Book of Mormon and we all know what happened after that. Sometimes it's best not to push an issue. I may have interpreted those D & C scriptures incorrectly, but that's what came to mind when I read then. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California


    Very interesting. I had not heard of these circumstances in Nepal. Surely those who engage with those relationships, are doing it out of necessity. Necessity and how individuals view that which is necessary, can come in many ways, be it circumstances, etc...

    Those early members of the LDS Church felt compelled to practice plural marriage or polygamy, because they believed that it was a commandment from God. These were devout and faithful members of the Church, and to opt out of the practice or commandment, would have been to show a lack of faith and obedience to God; which for them, was not an option.

    They made a choice to do what they were commanded...

    I believe, that to LDS members who did practice polygamy in the early Church, it was a sacrifice for them - with the pure intent to show obedience to a commandment from God.

    To those who make covenants with God, the choice to make those covenants and be obedient to law - is a personal use of their individual agency.

    Nonetheless, when making such commitments to God - firmness and endurance become necessary in order to stay true to that which one believes in...

    I really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for engaging in such positive dialogue.



  • Jason Stanley profile image

    Jason Stanley 

    11 years ago

    Just an odd side note - there is the practice of two men with one wife in Nepal. The reason? By tradition a man's land is divided equally and given to his sons when he dies. After thousands of generations the land has been divided into plots that are too small to support a family so two brothers will often mary one woman so that they call all survive. Both men recognize the children as their own.

    What the average person from the States will say (I've heard it many times) "I would just get a job doing something else." Well, it just does not work that way - there are no other jobs and living on the tiny plot of land is the only option.

    We all would do better to look at the wider world with an open heart - and look for understanding and acceptance rather than condiming those whose actions we don't understand. Even if the practice seems odd by our own standards.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Jason -

    Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful words. It is always good to know that there are those who are willing to look at those things which are not easily understood... from a positive perspective versus the critical.

    In the trying to understand the practice of polygamy in Mormonism, from the history of the early Church - it does require understanding the differences in how the practice was lived and understood by those members of the time.

    If we even begin to try and compare what we see of those today, who engage in the practice of polygamy; we will be completely misguided in our attempt to understand polygamy in the early LDS Church.

    Again, thank you for bringing out this very important point - as we all try to understand and gain from what can be learned from these earlier histories of the Mormon Church.



  • Jason Stanley profile image

    Jason Stanley 

    11 years ago

    I am not a Mormon, but do greatly admire much of what you do and stand for.

    I think is appropriate to look at the underlying reason that most of the multiple marriages happened, and who did it.

    In by far the greatest number of cases it was the elder, well established men of the community taking in as a legal wife (and her children) the widow of a family in the church when the husband had died of disease or accident at a young age. In effect it was a way to meet the responsibility for the members of the church family that might otherwise be left alone in a very harsh to an uncertain future.

    All too often people look at a fact without any understanding of the solid reasons for it and make judgement on it from the perspecitve of their own life in their own time. A rather far reaching analogy,but one that makes the point is most Americans think that peole who don't bath evey day are dirty or don't care about themselves. Yet our ansisters of just two generations ago and all the way back, here in America only bathed once a week - to do it more was considered vain and silly.

    Even though, ss I said earlier I am not Mormon, I do very much honor your faith, commitment and history.


  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Hi Sylvia -

    I do hope you are able to see the movie. I am positive that Emma Smith: My Story will come out on DVD in no time at all. The movie has limited release and I do believe that they expect to do most of there distribution of the movie through home DVD.

    Emma and Joseph were married in 1827. The LDS Church was restored in 1830. There is fairly good evidence suggesting that Joseph Smith knew the doctrine of plural marriage as early as 1831. Did he tell Emma then? There is no indication that this occurred.

    As far as records tell, Joseph most likely began, discreetly, taking plural wives a few years later. This is where the 'stories' get subjective... and accurate and credible records are somewhat sketchy. Emma does not speak much of these things.

    Nonetheless, there seems to be enough credible evidence to safely say, that Emma Smith was not thrilled with the idea of plural marriage... and frankly, who can blame her? LOL

    But, she did apparently comply for the most part during Joseph's life. After her prophet-husband was martyred - Emma was basically broken. She had lost a number of children, been driven from place to place, lost her homes and now.... with the death of Joseph, seemingly done.

    This part of the history is clear; Emma did not go to Utah with the body of the Saints; after the death of Joseph, settling his property with the church - who is who's was not pretty; Emma was seen as oppositional to the Church.

    Again, most accounts of the history of Emma Smith are second-hand... some friend, some foe. More are not positive, but we need to ask what motives these people had for giving their particular accounts. His-story, her-story or the truth?

    So, here we are with what her family has about her-story and they have made a move to try and educate the public a little bit more. We shall see?

    The practice of plural marriage has not been a part of the LDS Church since 1890. In order for Utah to become a state - it was imperative that the Church cease this practice.

    Today, if anyone is found to engage in plural marriage who claims membership in the LDS Church - they are immediately excommunicated and their names are removed from the membership records of the Church.

    I hope this gives a bit more info in a very small nutshell:-)



    P.S. Yes, documents verify pretty credibly that 33 women in total were sealed or married to the prophet Joseph Smith at one time or another. But then again, to understand this process and how the doctrine of plural marriage works, would take at least a complete Hub! I will work on that one:-)

  • Sylvia Page profile image

    Sylvia Page 

    11 years ago from Malabe

    Thanks a lot Nana for this wonderful story. I would very much like to see this but doubt that it will be available for veiwing in my country.

    Is it true that Emma was on the 33 wives of Joseph Smith? Is it allowed ?

    the best to you.


  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile imageAUTHOR

    Kathryn Skaggs 

    11 years ago from Southern California

    Great Doghouse,

    Perhaps after you see the movie about Emma Smith, seeing as you are an active LDS women in the Church today; you might consider sharing some of your thoughts and opinions on these topics - from your perspective?

    Thanks for stopping by:-)



  • In The Doghouse profile image

    In The Doghouse 

    11 years ago from California


    Wonderful Hub, with great videos. Thanks for making us aware of this upcoming movie, I for one, will make sure and see it! Thanks again.


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