Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner recounts her introduction to plural marriage; affirms JS told her an angel appeared to him and commanded him to begin the practice.

Apr 20, 1904
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner
Scribed Verbatim
2nd Hand

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Letter to A. M. Chase, April 20, 1904, in J. D. Stead, Doctrines and Dogmas of Brighamism Exposed (n.p.: Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1911), 218–219

Community of Christ
Emily D. P. Young, Eliza R. Snow, Brigham Young, A. M. Chase, Emma Hale Smith, Eliza Partridge, Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Edward Partridge, Zina D. Young, Louisa Beaman, Adam Lightner, Sarah Ann Whitney
A. M. Chase

“MINERSVILLE, April 20, 1904.


Dear Sir:-Agreeable to your request I will endeavor to an swer your letter written to me from Salt Lake City, April 11th. In answer to your first question I will state that I am eighty-six years of age the ninth of April (this month). I received the gospel in 1830, six months from its organization-and have been through all the persecutions that the church has passed through from the beginning. I was married to Mr. [Adam] Lightner August 11, 1836, he has been dead 19 years. Joseph the Seer taught me the principle of plural marriage in Nauvoo. He said God gave him a commandment in 1834, to take other wives besides Emma, and I was the one he was commanded to take, though I was a thousand miles from him. Brigham Young had not been in the church long enough to broach such a thing to Joseph, for I talked with him about it. After a long time of prayer and supplication to my heavenly Father for a witness of the truth I went forward and was sealed to him for time and all eternity, and I believe Emma knew it, for she gave him Bishop Partridge's two daughters for his wives and they lived in the house with her. I was sealed to him the fore part of February, 1842. We left Nauvoo shortly after. It is the truth that he had a number of wives, namely Eliza R. Snow, Zina H. Young, and Louisa Beeman, Sarah Ann Whitney. All these are dead now—I know these were his wives for I talked with them all.

“Emma knew all about it, for she wrote to me to know why I left the Smith family and came to Utah. I don't know about his having children, but I heard of three that he was the father of. I have told you the truth, as I expect to answer it at the bar of God, and I marvel that Joseph's son Joseph should so persistently deny that his father taught polygamy, for he did, and God is my witness. I would ask you one question. Jesus said to his disciples, 'The servant is not greater than his master, if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.'

“Have the Josephite church ever been persecuted, their elders whipped, tarred and feathered, or shot down in cold blood? Has he been dragged from his bed at midnight? and been imprisoned many times?

“Facts show what is right. If I could talk with you I would tell you many things to prove to you the truth of what I say. Joseph told me that he was afraid when the angel appeared to him and told him to take other wives. He hesitated, and the angel appeared to him the third time with a drawn sword in his hand and threatened his life if he did not fulfill the commandment. He further said that he must seal this testimony with his blood. Hyrum also had other wives. This is my testimony, and it will meet you at the judgment seat of Christ.


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