January 12, 2023

Get to know Emma Hale Smith

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Emma Smith was born in Harmony Pennsylvania, in Susquehanna County on July 10, 1804. She is the daughter or Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis.

Emma grew up in very prosperous circumstances. Lucy Mack Smith(Joseph’s mother) described Emma’s childhood home as a “mansion” with “every convenient appendage necessary.”

Emma was the seventh of nine children of Isaac and Elizabeth.

Emma was well educated and a proper lady. Emma’s secular education helped her throughout her whole life.

Joseph met Emma while he was working in her home town. He tried to court Emma, but her parents did not like the young Joseph Smith, and he was refused. Emma’s parents did not like that Joseph was working for Josiah Stowell, looking for Spanish treasure. They wanted Emma to be with someone more dignified.

Emma and Joseph eloped without her fathers permission, in South Bainbridge New York, in the home of Esquire Zachariah Tarble on 18 January 1827. Emma was 22 when they got married and Joseph Smith was 21.The home no longer exists but there is a sign which notes this historical detail. Presently, the site is the location of the Chenango County fairgrounds.

Emma wrote this of her elopement: “I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but [Joseph]. . . urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented.”(p.273, Who’s who in Doctrine and Covenants).

Emma was along for some of the biggest moments of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith took Emma up to the Hill Cumorah to receive the Gold Plates from the hill. The Angel had instructed Joseph to bring “the right person” and he would know who it is. Joseph thought it was his brother Alvin, but Alvin died that year and Joseph had no idea who to bring until he met and married Emma Hale. Joseph knew Emma was the person the Angel had referred. (click here for that story)

Emma acted as a scribe to the prophet Joseph Smith as he translated the ancient record of The Book of Mormon.

While Joseph was in the translation process of the Book of Mormon, Emma gave birth to the couples first son who died soon after birth on June 15, 1828. After the delivery and death of their first son, Emma was left very sick and also almost died. Joseph and Emma buried their sweet baby near their home in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Emma’s parents are also buried nearby.

Emma was baptized by into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Oliver Cowdery on June 28, 1830 in Colesville, New York. Emma’s confirmation was postponed because a mob came and broke up their meeting and Joseph Smith was arrested for “disorderly conduct.”

Joseph Smith received revelation recorded in Doctirine and Covenants 25 addressed to Emma. D&C 25:3 it says Emma Smith “and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.” Joseph Smith expounded on what it mean to be ‘elect’ he said: “elect meant to be elected to a certain work. . . And that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s election to the Presidency of the [Relief] Society.”(p.274 Who’s who in D&C)

Emma loved children and she bore 9 children. It was a constant heartbreak to Emma that only four, of the nine she bore, grew into maturity.

Emma was the first president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Emma faced persecution from the day she married the prophet Joseph Smith. They were married until his death in 1844. Emma was 40 years old when her husband was martyred in Carthage Jail.

Emma did not go with the majority of the Saints to Utah, but stayed in Nauvoo, Illinois. This is was a sore subject for her, her family and the rest of the Church.

Three years after Joseph’s death Emma married a man named Major Lewis Bidamon and was his wife for 32 years. Lewis Bidamon cheated on Emma and had a child with another woman. Emma ended up raising that child.

In 1860, Emma affiliated with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (later renamed Community of Christ). Her son Joseph Smith III became president of the Reorganized Church at its founding in 1860, with his brother Alexander Hale Smith as his counselor.

Emma called for Joseph as she was dying in 1879. Her family thought she was calling for Joseph Smith III, but then she said “Joseph! Yes, yes, I’m coming.” She passed away on April 30, 1879 at the age of 74. She was buried next to the remains of Joseph Smith.

Places to visit to pertaining to Emma Smith:

New York: Sacred Grove, Palmyra Temple, Joseph Smith’s childhood home, Hill Cumorah, Emma Hales Childhood home, South Bainbridge New York(where Joseph and Emma were married), Colesville New York(Where Emma was baptized)

Pennsylvania: Joseph and Emma’s Home in Harmony, where Emma’s first son, Alvin was buried.

Kirtland Temple

Nauvoo Illinois: The Mansion House, The Smith Homestead, The Red Brick Store, The Smith Family Cemetery, The Nauvoo House, The Nauvoo Temple.


”Who’s who in the Doctrine and Covenants” by Susan Easton Black (p.273-276)



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