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Why did Emma Hale Smith leave Mormonism?
Emma is still revered in the LDS church
She was the first president of the Mormon Relief Society, compiled the original Latter-day Saint hymnal and she still is revered as the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. See lds.org.
Doctrine and Covenants (Mormon scripture) still includes a revelation given to Emma Smith through her husband Joseph Smith jr.
Section 25 reveals the will of the Lord to Emma. In this revelation she was told to obey and submit to her husband without complaining (vers 4), to trust him (vers 9) and to exhort the Church (vers 7) with the warning of being excluded from heaven when disobeying this revelation (vers 15).
When Joseph was murdered she was determined to follow the instructions given to her in Section 25 and did everything in her power to preserve the "original" church.
Emma an Apostate
Brigham Young called her a devil because she opposed him as Joseph's successor even though she tried to protect the original instructions the way Joseph Smith had taught them.
Whether or not Emma liked it Young was now the second President of the LDS church and by disobeying and openly disagreeing with the prophet Brigham, the Apostles, and some of church teachings she was now an apostate.
[Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics, 2006, Page 110 says under the section Apostasy:
Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
Persist in teaching as Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
Formally join another church.
In such cases, excommunication may be the necessary if repentance is not evident after counseling and encouragement. Priesthood leaders must take disciplinary action against apostates, to protect Church members.]
Emma repeatedly acted in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to Brigham Young (LDS Prophet) and other members of the Twelve. She persisted on teaching polygamy as false doctrine and formally joined the RLDS church.
But she was not excommunicated.
What if they would have kicked her out of the Church?
It might have been the end of Mormonism as we know it. It's like excommunicating Mrs. Monson after Thomas Monson passes away.
Emma and Joseph
In a Mormon movie called Joseph and Emmas relationship is displayed as romantic and "Emma Smith: My Story"monogamous which is far from the truth. Joseph Smith jr. was a polygamist and a bigamist with approximately 34 wives including 14 year olds and multiple married women.
The truth is that Joseph Smith jr. claimed to have received a revelation from God to start Polygamy in 1831. Mary Elizabeth Rollings tells of a conversation with Joseph in 1831 (she was only 12 years old then) when the prophet told her she was to be his first plural wife. See page 65 . Josephs constant cheating was justified by this so-called revelation. Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
Emma witnessed Joseph's intercourse with 19 year old Fanny Alger (a hired girl) who became pregnant from him and at a later time Emma pushed the very pregnant Eliza R Snow down the stairs of the "Mansion House" in Nauvoo after learning that her husband was the unborn baby's father (lead to miscarriage).
In 1843 Joseph officially pursued plural marriage. Emma was strongly against it but her feelings did not matter to Smith. Believers would defend this behavior with the excuse that God had commanded it.
What Emma knew
Joseph Smith was a money digger (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 8, 16, 18, 60).
Smith translated the Book of Mormon by putting his head into a hat (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 26).
Oliver Cowdery was a dishonest man (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 71).
As Nauvoo Mayor Joseph Smith jr. ordered the Marshal and Legion to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor press (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page181).
Joseph and 17 others were arrested on charges coming from the destruction of the press on June 12 1844 (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 183-185).
The Prophet was cheating on her multiple times and entered into polygamous and polyandrous marriages (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, pages 100, 131-156)
Smith never read the Bible through (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 14).
There are multiple versions of Smith's "first vision (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, page 14).
Power with regard to the government of the church falls to the High Council upon removal of the President, the office would devolve upon the President of the High Council in Zion - Elder Marks NOT Brigham Young (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, pages 206-207)
Knowing what she knew it does not surprise me that she did not stick with the Mormon church.
Many conclusions could be written here but I would like for the reader to make their own.
Think about the time frame and era Emma and Joseph lived in and how women were viewed and treated then.
Consider the expectations of women in the general public during Emma’s life.
And don't forget the view on divorce and the shame that would have come with it.
How would you (as a woman) have felt after finding out that the man you just married was a con man and that you agreed to marry him even after your own parents suspicions and advise against a marriage.
Also consider the fact that Emma was an educated person in her days (schoolteacher). Could she just have been like Joseph wanting to make money off the gullible people and since Brigham got in her way she decided to reorganize the church through her bloodline? Is that the reason for her last testimony (Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, chapter 22)?
Information about the Authors of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
Linda King Newell stated that neither her nor Valeen Tippetts Avery was excommunicated. Both women are/were LDS (Valeen past away in 2006).
However she said "the powers that be in the LDS church, were not happy with the book, saying, "It is a non-traditional view of Joseph Smith."
LDS Leadership discouraged the sale of the book by banning them from speaking in any LDS Church meetings, in any Church buildings, or on anything having to do with LDS Church history. But when the press picked up the story, sales of the book tripled.
Their ban lasted about a year (May 1985 to May 1986). Later Linda King Newell was informed that they were no longer under any restrictions.