January 16, 2023

Get to know Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner

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Mary Elizabeth Rollins was involved in some amazing Church History experiences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her name comes up in some of the most remarkable stories and is someone all Latter-Day Saints should be familiar with.

Mary Elizabeth was born in Lima, New York and was one of three children. Her father died in a shipwreck when she was a young girl and the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio to live with their uncle Algernon Sydney Gilbert.

In Ohio Mary Elizabeth found the restored gospel of Jesus Christ through The Book of Mormon. When Mary Elizabeth was eleven years old her family was lent a copy of The Book of Mormon by Isaac Morley. The family all stayed up late reading the book. Mary Elizabeth even had some versus memorized by morning. The prophet was very impressed with Mary’s diligence Joseph Smith gave Mary a blessing “[He] gave me a great blessing. . . And made me a present of the book.”

Mary Elizabeths family moved to Indipendence Missouri and were in the middle of the mob violence.

Mary Elizabeth worked as a seamstress for Peter Whitmer Sr. and there she met Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, the Governor who persecuted the Latter-Day Saints. Governor Boggs was impressed with Mary Elizabeth and wanted to adopt her. Boggs and his wife tried to convince Mary Elizabeth to leave the Church, she did not leave the Church. When the Latter-Day Saints were kicked out of Missouri Governor Boggs gave a special order for Mary and her family to be taken to safety, but they refused any special treatment.

Mary Elizabeth was a witness of the tarring and feathering of Edward Partridtge.

Mary Elizabeth and her sister saved the Book of Commandments from the Missouri Mob sent to destroy it. Mary and her sister hid in a corn field until the mob dispersed. They gave the saved copy of the Book of Commandments to Sabrina Phelps, the wife of W.W. Phelps.

Mary Elizabeth Rollins was married to Adam Lightner on August 11, 1835. He was not a Latter Day Saint. They would go on to have ten children. 

Mary was sealed to Joseph Smith as his sixth plural wife.

Mary died in 1913 in Minersville, Utah.

Other Blog Posts:

Kirtland Ohio

Whitmer Family

Places to Visit for Mary Elizabeth Rawlings Lightner:

Historic Kirtland Ohio

Independence Missouri

Nauvoo Illinois

Minersville Utah- Mary is buried in the Cometary in Minersville.



”The Heavens are Opened” Exhibit at the Church History Museum 2016 Vol. 63 Numbers 2,3,4 The National Society of the sons of the Utah Pioneers presents


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