Providing Cover on Joe's Lovers: Emma Was a Money-Minded Co-Conspirator...

steve benson Sep 2013

. . . who--in silence and deceit on both the nature of Mormonism and the abominable antics of her husband--ran conscious interference for Joe's despicable personal behavior and for the fraudulent cult that he concocted. There is a wealth of evidence to support that conclusion, including that provided by examination of Emma's money fights with Mormon Church

leaders after Joe's death which puts her defense of him and the Mormon Church in larger historical and personal context.

--Emma: Late-Comer to Mormon Conversion

Despite her eventual knowing and willing participation in the conspiracy designed to peddle Mormonism's falsehoods, there's perhaps a basic reason to suspect that Emma Hale Smith knew Joseph Smith was a fraud and then fudged to cover that up:

She wouldn't join his church--at least not right away. It appeared that getting the supposedly ever-faithful Emma to eventually do so was like pulling teeth (or rocks out of a hat). That's at least how one chronicler of Mormonism's first "Elect" First Lady's behavior saw it, noting:

"By the early fall of 1830 there was only one person whom Joseph wanted to convert who had still not joined his church. That holdout was his wife, Emma. Why Emma refused to join Joseph's church for six months we do not know, just as we do not know whether she believed in the existence of the golden tablets.

"It was, of course, embarrassing for Joseph to be proselytizing for his new church while he was unable to win the soul of his own wife. Under considerable pressure from Joseph, the woman who had recorded the first words of the Book of Mormon finally became a Mormon herself."

(C. Clark Julius, "Joseph Smith," in "The Philathes," August 1987, at:

A related historical note regarding Emma's tardiness in taking the plunge:

While she was actually baptized on 28 June 1830 in Colesville, New York, she was not officially confirmed a member of the Mormon Church until nearly two months after her baptism--in August. The LDS Church's "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" stridently blames the delay in her confirmation on the arrest of her husband, stating that "before she could be confirmed a member of the Church the following day [29 June 1830], Joseph was arrested 'for being a disorderly person and setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon."

That's standard Mormon fare for ya: Blame those evil non-Mormons.

("Emma Hale Smith, by Carol Cornall Madsen, in "Encyclopedia of Mormonism: The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Volume 3 (New York: Maxwell Publishing Company, 1992], p. 1323)

Not only was she an "Emma-Come-Lately" to God's One and Only True Church, she was defensive, less than forthcoming, unresponsive and/or just plain inconsistent when faced with pointed questions put to her by people seeking "the facts, ma'am, just the facts." To be sure, Emma was known to duck and dodge tough inquiries--and even when she did answer them, to contradict herself (both behaviors arguably good indicators of someone who's busy spinning fabrications). On other occasions, when pressed hard by skeptical inquirers, Emma was known to snap back with erupting confessions that may well have been closer to reality than she would have liked to have offered--and if given another bite at the apple--would not have cared to admit.

For instance, when Emma was asked by one questioner about the alleged prophetship of her gun-downed husband, she blurted out:

"Madam, my husband was but a man except when the spirit of God was upon him."

Talk about damning with faint praise. Playing the wounded Joan of Arc for the Mormon God, she then complained that the questioner had been "rude." Oh, boo hoo. Wasn't that what under-age Helen Mar Kimball said when she found out the her arranged marriage to Joseph Smith involved more than, ahem, just a ring?

Emma was also known to go into clam-up mode in the face of focused inquiries put to her about her dealings with both the Mormon and Reorganized LDS Churches. (That's not a particularly good sign for someone claiming to be a devoted truth-teller).

Case in point:

Emma was described as being "somewhat evasive" when accused by a Mormon Utah missionary who came to Nauvoo to demand an accounting from her of how she had used "[her] influence to have [her] son Joseph installed as the president of the Reorganiz[ed Church], knowing as you [Emma] must have done, that the men who would confer upon him this authority were apostates and [that] some of them had been cut off from the church." When the interrogator drove the point home by shoving a photograph of Young at her with the comment, "After all, Emma, he appears to be pretty well-preserved personally, and the Church has not lost any of its strength either numerically or otherwise from the opposition which I think you have unwisely aided and abetted," she abruptly "ended the conversation."

While Emma did not always refuse to answer inquiries put to her, her rigid reaction under fire earned her a reputation of "withdraw[ing] from pointed questions, "which led her to being "considered evasive by [those] who came with specific inquiries." Those inconvenient specific inquiries.

A other times, Emma sounded downright defiant. For instance, when for interview purposes she was asked on the record by her own sons, Alexandar and Joseph Smith, in February 1879 in Nauvoo, "What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything lie it, What of spiritual wifery?," Emma (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) retorted:

"There was no revelation on either polygamy or spiritual wives. . . . There were some rumors of something of the sort which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, 'Well such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not, and besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.' . . . No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of."

In answer to the question, "Did he [Joseph Smith 'the prophet'] not have other wives than yourself?," she insisted:

"He had not other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have."

Pressed more intently by her son Joseph who inquired, "Did he not hold marital relations with women other than yourself?," Emma cagily replied:

"He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever come to my knowledge."

Uh-huh. (Translated, with firm finger wag: "He did not have sexual relations with that woman . . .")

Mormon historians Linda King Newell and Valerie Tippets Avery appear to smell a rat in Emma's response:

"[Emma's] choice of 'improper relations' rather than 'marital relations' . . . indicates that she may have been sidestepping her sons' questions very adeptly."

Ya think?

Even when "answering" direct questions from her own sons, she seemed susceptible to sudden memory loss:

"'Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?' they asked."

Her reply:

"'At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriage, OR ANYTHING OF THE KIND; and assured me that if I had, they were without foundation, that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.' (original emphasis in Emma's son Joseph record of the interview, which he recorded)."

"Interestingly," the authors also note that her post-assassination second husband, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, was not said by Emma's son Joseph to have "record[ed] whether the Major confirmed the consistency of Emma's answers about plural marriage."


Looking at erratic Emma's behavior, skeptical-sounding Newell and Avery observe:

"Later accounts of [Emma's son] Joseph's interviews and conversations with people in Utah show that, as a lawyer, he knew how to ask questions that supply him with the answer he sought. he also knew when not to cross-examine so as not to get more information than he wanted."

Sounds like not only did Emma have things to hide, her sons were complicit in helping her hide them. (By the way, "the original notes of [that] interview are still extant").

Poor Emma. Even when appearing to be playing fast and loose with the truth, she couldn't seem to keep her stories straight (which is typical of someone who is loosely lying). A month after being interviewed by her own children, Newell and Avery note that "the son of Thomas B. Marsh, an early Apostle in the church, stopped to see Emma. When he asked her if Joseph had been a polygamist, Emma 'broke down and wept, and excused herself from answering directly, assigning as a reason . . . that her son Joseph was the leader of the Re-organized Church.' Marsh interpreted Emma's response as a 'tactic acknowledgment to him that her husband was a polygamist.'"

Again, the authors don't sound convinced of Emma's truthfulness:

"Emma was weary. The old ghosts still haunted her."

(Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith--Prophet's Wife, 'Elect Lady,' Polygamy's Foe'" [New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1984], in Chapter 22, "The Last Testimony 1873-1879," pp. 297, 301-03)

The fact of the matter is that Emma Smith knew quite well that her husband was a cheat and a liar, particularly when it came to chasing skirts in the name of God. (In fact, some reports--including those from friendly sources--have Smith's "number of wives" in the high dozens ranging, for instance, from 36 to 48, to 60-plus, to possibly as many as 84). Contrary to Emma's discredited denials, what she discovered about her husband's hunt for more bed partners she definitely did not like. Anticipating her reaction, Joseph Smith (with the conspiring assistance of his brother-in-crime Hyrum) concocted a "revelation" on polygamy in 1843 (which is now section 132 of the "Doctrine & Covenants"). It was a plan which they hoped would convince her to meekly go along with his philandering in the name of the Lord.

Smith, however, didn't have the guts to personally deliver what he knew would be seen by his wife as bad news on the multi-wifery front--so he commissioned Hyrum to serve as his message boy, while he (Joseph) hung back for him to return and report:

"The 1843 revelation . . . was apparently given to convince Emma Smith . . . that polygamy was right. William Clayton, who wrote the revelation as Smith dictated it, provides this intimate information:

"'On the morning of the 12th of July, 1843; Joseph and Hyrum Smith came into the office. . . . They were talking on the subject of plural marriage. Hyrum said to Joseph, 'If you will write the revelation on celestial marriage, I will take it and read it to Emma, and I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace.'

"Joseph smiled and remarked, 'Well, I will write the revelation and we shall see.' . . .

"Hyrum then took the revelation to read to Emma. Joseph remained with me in the office until Hyrum returned. When he came back, Joseph asked how he had succeeded. Hyrum replied that he had never received a more severe talking to in his life. . . .

"Joseph quietly remarked, 'I told you you did not know Emma well as I did.' Joseph then put the revelation in his pocket. . . .

"Two or three days after the revelation was written Joseph related to me and several others that Emma was so teased and urgently entreated him for the privilege of destroying it, that he became so weary of her teasing, and to get rid of her annoyance, he told her she might destroy it and she had done so, but he had consented to her wish in this matter to pacify her, realizing that he . . . could rewrite it any anytime if necessary.'

("History of the Church," by Joseph Smith, introduction to vol. 5), cited in Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "The Changing World of Mormonism" [Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1980. 1981], pp. 218-19, 231-32)

Brigham Young confirmed that Emma did indeed torch the thing:

"Emma took that revelation, supposing she had all there was; but Joseph had the wisdom enough to take care of it, and he had handed the revelation to Bishop Whitney, and he wrote it all off. . . .

"She went to the fireplace and put it in, and put the candle under it and burnt it, and she thought that was the end of it, and she will be damned as sure as she is a living woman.

"Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, if he had to go to hell for her, and he will have to go to hell for her as sure as he ever gets her'

("Journal of Discourses," vol. 17, p. 159)

Contrary to the later denials of Emma, she not only personally was aware of Joseph's overt polygamous sleeping-around practices, she fought him tooth-and-nail over them---to the point where it threatened to destroy their marriage. And Emma solemnly testified that it never was an issue between them?


"Even Joseph Smith's home was not exempt from the problems of plural marriage. The Mormon writer John Stewart said:

"'Thus did Satan sow the seeds of discord in the Prophet's own home, cause a torment of mind to Emma, distress to Joseph, and lay the groundwork of the apostate Reorganized Church, eventually taking Emma and their sons outside the true Church.'

("Brigham Young and His Wives," p. 33)

"In his thesis 'Emma Hale--Wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith,' (p. 104 of typed copy], Raymond T. Bailey admitted that it was 'public knowledge that there were quarrels between Emma and Joseph, especially during the Illinois period of their lives.'

"On April 17, 1844, the 'Warsaw Signal' reported that Joseph Smith had 'turned his wife out of doors':

"'"Sister Emma's" offense was that she was in conversation with Mr. E. Robinson and refused, or hesitated to tell, the Prophet on what subject they were engaged. The man of God thereupon flew into a holy passion and turned the partner of his bosom, and the said Robinson, into the street--all of which was done in broad daylight, and no doubt in the most-approved style.'

"In his journal and autobiography, Joseph Lee Robinson (the brother of 'E. Robinson' who is mentioned above) frankly admitted that Joseph and Emma had a fight over the doctrine of polygamy:

"'Angeline, Ebenezer's wife, had some time before this . . . watched Brother Joseph the Prophet [and] had seen him go into some house that she had reported to sister Emma the wife of the Prophet. [I]t was at a time when she [Emma] was very suspicious [and] was determined he should not get another.

"[I]f he did, she was determined to leave and when she heard this she, Emma, became very angry and said she would leave . . . .

"[I]t came close to breaking up his family . . . .

"[The Prophet felt dreadful[ly] bad over it; he sent to my brother's and talked with Angeline on the matter and she would not give hm any satisfaction, and her husband did not reprove his wife, and it came to pass, the Prophet cursed her severely . . . .

"I thought that I would not have a wife of mine do a thing of that kind for a world, but if she had done it she should get upon her knees at his feet and beg his pardon.'

"The book 'Mormon Portraits' provides further insight into Joseph's family troubles [sparked by Emma's fierce pushback against his polygamous tailgating]:

"'Mr. W: "Joseph kept eight girls in his house, calling them his 'daughters.' Emma threatened that she would leave the house, and Joseph told her, 'All right, you can go.' She went, but when Joseph reflected that such a scandal would hurt his prophetic dignity, he followed his wife and brought her back. But the eight 'daughters' had to leave the house.

"'"Miss" Eliza R. Snow, . . . was one of the first (willing) victims of Joseph in Nauvoo. She used to be much at the prophet's house . . . . [H]e made her one of his celestial brides . . . .

"'Feeling outraged as a wife and betrayed as a friend, Emma is currently reported as having had recourse to a vulgar broomstick as an instrument of revenge; and the harsh treatment received at Emma's hands is said to have destroyed Eliza's hopes of become the mother of a prophet's son.'

("Mormon Portraits,' by Dr. W. Wyl, 1886, pp. 57-58)

"The Mormon writer Claire Noal acknowledged:

"'Willard realized that Emma had refused to believe that any of the young women boarding at the Mansion when it was first used as a hotel had been married to Joseph. She had struck Eliza Snow at the head of the stairs and Eliza, it was whispered, had lost her unborn child.'

("Intimate Disciple: A Portrait of Willard Richards," 1957, p. 407)

"There are some members of the Mormon church who maintain that Joseph Smith did not actually live with his wives here on earth. There is an abundance of evidence, however, to show that he did.

"For instance, Benjamin F. Johnson made the following statement in an affidavit dated March 4, 1870:

"'After a short period, President Smith . . . came again to Macedonia [Ramus], where he remained two days, lodging at my house with my sister as a man and wife (and to my certain knowledge he occupied the same bed with her).'

("Historical Record," vol. 6, p. 222: all the above quoted in Tanner and Tanner, "Changing World of Mormonism," pp. 229-31)

Moreover, Emma was quite aware of the adulterous affair Joseph Smith had with one of his "adopted daughters," Fanny [Fannie] Alger:

"Benjamin Johnson, a close friend of Joseph Smith, described Fanny as, 'very nice and comely, [to whom] everyone seemed partial for the amiability of her character.”

"She is generally considered the first plural wife of Joseph Smith. Although undocumented, the marriage of Fanny and Joseph most likely took place in Kirtland, Ohio, sometime in 1833. She would have been sixteen years old.

"At the time, Fanny was living in the Smith home, perhaps helping Emma with house work and the children.

"Ann Eliza Webb recalls:

"'Mrs. Smith had an adopted daughter, a very pretty, pleasing young girl, about seventeen years old. She was extremely fond of her; no mother could be more devoted, and their affection for each other was a constant object of remark, so absorbing and genuine did it seem.'

"Joseph kept his marriage to Fanny out of the view of the public, and his wife Emma.

"Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship:

“'Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house.'

"Ann Eliza again recalls:

“' . . . [I]t was felt that [Emma] certainly must have had some very good reason for her action. By degrees it became whispered about that Joseph’s love for his adopted daughter was by no means a paternal affection, and his wife, discovering the fact, at once took measures to place the girl beyond his reach . . . . Since Emma refused decidedly to allow her to remain in her house . . . my mother offered to take her until she could be sent to her relatives . . . .'

"Book of Mormon witness, Oliver Cowdery, felt the relationship was something other than a marriage. He referred to it as '[a] dirty, nasty, filthy affair . . . '

"To calm rumors regarding Fanny’s relationship with Joseph, the [Mormon] church quickly adopted a 'Chapter of Rules for Marriage among the Saints,' which declared, 'Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with . . . polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife . . . .” This 'Article on Marriage' was canonized and published in the 'Doctrine & Covenants.' In 1852, the doctrine of polygamy was publicly announced, thus ending eighteen years of secret practice. 'The Article on Marriage' became obsolete and was later removed."

("The Wives of Joseph Smith: Fanny Alger," at:

Mormon historians Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery shed further light on the Joseph Smith/Fanny Alger affair:

"Emma [Smith] took nineteen-year-old Fanny Alger into her home early in 1835. Fanny's parents and brother were members of the church. Benjamin F. Johnson said . . . 'that Joseph LOVED HER.'

"But Joseph loved her indiscreetly, for Warren Parrish told Benjamin Johnson '[t]hat he himself & Oliver Cowdery did know that Joseph had Fanny Alger as a wife, for they were SPIED UPON & found together.'

"William McLellin told his account of Joseph and Fanny Alger to a newspaper reporter in 1875: '[McLellin] . . . informed me of the spot where the first well-authenticated case of polygamy took place, in which Joseph Smith was "sealed" to the hired girl. The "sealing" took place in a barn on the hay mow, and was witnessed by Mrs. Smith through a crack in the door! . . . Long afterward when he visited Mrs. Emma Smith . . . she then and there declared on her honor that it was a fact--"saw it with my own eyes."'

"In an 1872 letter, McClellin gave other details of the story. He said that Emma missed both Fanny and Joseph one night and went to look for them. She 'saw him and Fanny in the barn together alone. She looked through the crack and saw the transaction!! She told me this story too was verily true.'

"Joseph's theology may have allowed him to marry Fanny, but Emma was not ready to share her marriage with another woman. When Fanny's pregnancy became obvious, Emma forced her to leave. . . .

"The incident drove a serious wedge between Oliver Cowdery and Joseph. Oliver wrote to his brother Warren from Missouri on January 21, 1838: '. . . [W]e had some conversation in which . . . [a] dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter . . . . [J]ust before leaving, he wanted to drop every past thing, in which had been a difficulty or difference . . . .'"

(Linda King Newell and Valleen Tippetts Avery, "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith--Prophet's Wife, 'Elect Lady,' Polygamy's Foe" (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1984), p. 66, original emphasis)

Historian Fawn Brodie (who placed the age of the orphaned Fanny at 17 when Joseph "seduced" her after she came to live with Joseph and Emma), described the affair as a "breath of scandal hot upon his neck," regardless of "[w]hether or not [she] bore Joseph a child." (Brodie reports, nonetheless, that "[t]here is some evidence that Fannie Alger bore Joseph a child in Kirtland"). Adding intrigue to the tryst, Brodie writes that "[w]hen in later years, polygamy had become an accepted pattern in Mormon life, Joseph's leading elders looked back to the Kirtland days and concluded that Fannie Alger had been the prophet's first wife. But when they questioned her about her relation with Joseph, she replied: 'That is all a matter of my own, and I have nothing to communicate."

Joseph's affair with Fanny was something that Emma could not easily forget. Indeed, Brodie observes that this "unfortunate infatuation" on Joseph's part for a "winsome servant girl" whom Emma had "taken into the family," absolutely incensed her:

"The scandal was insufferable to Emma, who was passionately fond and jealous of her husband. She had, moreover, a keen sense of the propriety and dignity of his office and must have been humiliated for the Church itself, which was beginning to attain stature and some degree of stability."

Brodie suggests that the affair ended up having a corrosive effect on Joseph's personal relationship with Emma, as hinted at "in November 1835 [when] he made a public statement [published in the 'Latter-Day Saint Messenger and Advocate'], part of which by its strange emphasis would seem to indicate that his domestic life was far from tranquil: 'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the Church. . . . Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.'"

(Fawn Brodie, ""No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet," 2nd ed., revised and enlarged (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983], pp. 181-83, 345)

Sounds like good ol' Emma had a lot to be mad at about--and a lot to hide. And that could have included knowing that her dear husband Joseph was (truth be told) a lying, conniving, untrustworthy snake, donchya think? But, hey, that just means, as Emma said, that he "was but a man except when the spirit of God was upon him."

So, why, exactly, all the latter-day lies from Emma as to the actual behavior of her husband Joseph, the rocky nature of their relationship and the fundamental dishonesty of the founder of Mormonism?

In a nutshell, it was a combination of:

--Shame (she, as the wife of a narcissistic husband, was a victim of his manipulation, mistreatment and misogyny);

--Fame (she held, as the widow the "martyred prophet," a special place of prestige in the eyes of her worshipful religious community); and

--Wanting to be in the Game (she fought bitterly for the financial security she felt she rightly deserved--and was determined to obtain it even at the cost of her convenient memory losses and fairy-tale rewrites of Mormon history).

Speaking of the latter, Newell and Avery report the following on the acrimonious settlement of Joseph Smith's estate after his death--and what was driving Emma vs. the Church Boys during the dealings.

It was a match made in hell:

"Brigham [Young] looked at Emma's holdings in terms of the equity the church so desperately needed and made his private judgments about her 'wealth.'"

"[They both, Brigham and Emma] 'owned city property worth fifty thousand dollars. . . . Brigham inflated [the] real value of [some of Nauvoo-acred property which Joseph had deeded to Emma] even at 1844-1845 prices. Other property in her name at the time of her husband's death amounted to sixteen city blocks. . . . When she paid her taxes in 1847 [on her personal property and five wells that she owned], her land was worth slightly over eight thousand dollars. By 1849 it was worth half of that.

". . . Emma was still responsible for approximately seventy thousand dollars of Joseph's debts. Neither Brigham nor Emma understood where the riches had gone, but Nauvoo had been built in a speculative economy.

"Five months before Joseph Smith's death Jacob Scott in Nauvoo wrote, 'We confidently expect before long to witness the arrival of Saints from every country in Europe. And the time is not far distant when the ARABIANS will arrive with their tents & camels & dromedaries, "And ETHIOPIA will soon stretch out her hands to God."' (original emphasis).

"Such enthusiasm obscured the shaky financial base upon which Nauvoo's economy rested. Emma could not bring herself to leave the dream; Brigham believed he could take it with him. They both erred in assuming that Nauvoo could finance it."

In pursuit of her desire for the financial stability she frantically sought in the wake of her husband's death, Emma took legal action against the Quorum of the Twelve. In that battle she was at constant and bitter loggerheads with Young:

". . . [D]ispute over the disposal of Joseph's real property and the payment of debts [was] continu[ous]. Emma wanted to preserve for herself and her family the inheritance that was rightfully theirs; Brigham wanted to preserve what rightfully belonged to the church. They were caught in the classic struggle over the disposal of a loved one's properties: Emma as widow and Brigham as successor each asserted dominion the other was unwilling to concede."

In her legal wrangles, Emma was put at a distinct disadvantage against the better-monied interests of the established Mormon patriarchal system, led by the chauvinistic Young and his shady operatives:

"The court replaced Emma as administratix of Joseph's estate when she failed to post the bond required by law. Joseph W. Coolidge, who was also a creditor, inventoried the estate and started to process small claims. . . . His settlement on behalf of Emma and her children was less than generous . . . . Coolidge was actually dishonest. When he finally left Illinois after serving four years as a less than effective administrator, he apparently took with him some of the estate assets. It became clear to Emma that no one else would look out for her interests."

Emma fought back by invoking the name and personal correspondence of her dead husband:

"Emma used [a] letter Joseph had written to her from the Iowa side of the river on June 23 [1844] to pursue her claims against the Twelve. Joseph had told her that Heber C. Kimball owed him a thousand dollars and named two others who owed him money as well. . . . The Twelve held a council to decide whether Emma should have the money. . . . [While some members of the Quorum believed she should get the money and that the Quorum regarded her in a positive light], . . . Brigham Young seemed to consider the money some sort of gift."

Emma was desperate enough to consider selling the "sacred" in the name of the Almighty Dollar--with her and Brigham contending over the rights to Joseph's "inspired" translation of the Bible.

That fight got ugly:

"In the same [June] letter Joseph also told Emma, 'You may sell the Quincy Property--or any property that belongs to me . . . for your support and children & mother.' But Brigham had the deed to the Quincy property . . . . Brigham said she offered to trade the Bible containing Joseph's 'new translation' for it. 'She got the deed for the farm,' he said, 'but she was not ready yet to give up the Bible. She complained about her poor, little, fatherless children,and she kept up this whine until she got the farms she wanted . . . . [W]e gave her . . . the farm on the prairie by the burning ground.'

"The Quincy farm was Emma's to sell, and it must have rankled her to have to bargain with the Twelve for it."

Brigham put Emma at further disadvantage in their financial wrestling match by denying her attorney access to vital information about Joseph's estate:

". . . Nowhere did Brigham mention his refusal to let Emma's lawyer examine the papers concerning Joseph's estate only three days before Richards asked for the new translation. Surely that is why she refused to make the trade. She also felt a special 'guardianship' over the Bible, for 'it had been placed in her charge.'"

Greedy Brigham made his case against what he regarded as Emma's own greed by openly attacking her in his sermons:

"If Brigham Young realized Emma's financial plight, or if he knew the outcome of Joseph's estate and its effect on her, he never acknowledged it. Instead, he referred to Emma's wealth in public discourses, giving the impression that she had usurped it from the Church."

In the end, the Church Boys didn't get what they wanted, and neither did Emma:

"The Church got nothing from the final settlement of the estate, but even the property Brigham thought he and the trustees had given Emma had to be re-purchased by her with the money she received from the court [in the sale of property that Joseph had conveyed to Emma and the children].

"In 1847 Emma sold approximately $2,600 worth of property. The trustees for the Church sold considerably more. When much of this same property fell under the jurisdiction of the court sales, no Church trustee witnessed the frustration of people who had bought and in good faith but no longer had title to it. But Emma was there. From the beginning she had warned that innocent people would lose their property. In the end she was right."

Summing up Emma's attitude toward the men in her life who tried to rule and ruin her was Edward Taylor, one of the Utah Mormon missionaries who pointedly interrogated Emma in Nauvoo in the spring of 1876 (that is, before she clammed up). Taylor reportedly concluded that "from her ['somewhat evasive'] remarks he discovered her intense dislike for Pres. Brigham Young, whom she accused of entirely ignoring Joseph's family. She claimed that the family had a right to not only recognition but to representation [in the Utah church]."

(Newell and Avery, "Mormon Enigma," pp. 208-09, 259-60, 297)

Money, money, money.

Ultimately, getting it was more important to Emma than letting others get at the faith-destroying facts about her disreputable husband's life and times.

She felt she did what she had to do to protect her financial purse and her historical place.

Sadly, in the process she sacrificed her credibility, her honor and the truth.

Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2013 11:50PM by steve benson.

Re: Providing Cover on Joe's Lovers: Emma Was a Money-Minded Co-Conspirator... 

No Mo
Re: Providing Cover on Joe's Lovers: Emma Was a Money-Minded Co-Conspirator...
Top. Not what I was taught in Sunday School.

Re: Providing Cover on Joe's Lovers: Emma Was a Money-Minded Co-Conspirator...
Pretty much the icing on the rotten cake of Moism.

And to think one of my TBM nieces is named after her........

"Recovery from Mormonism -"