Lucy Walker recounts her introduction to plural marriage.

1880 - 1888
Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker, Autobiography, undated, 10–12, MS 741, Church History Library

Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker, Joseph Smith, Jr.

In the year 1842 President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said: "I have amessage for you. I have been comanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman." My astonishment knew no bounds. This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me. He asked me if I beleived him to be a Prophet of God. "Most assuredly I do I replied." He fully explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage. Said this principle was again to be restored? for the benefit of the human family. That it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father's house, and form a chain that could never be broken, worlds without end. What have you to say? he asked. "Nothing." How could I speak, or what could I say?" He said "If you will praysincerely for light and understanding in relation thereto, you shall receive a testimony of the correctness of this principle. I thought I prayed sincerely, but was <so> unwilling to consider the matter favorably that I fear I did in faith for light. Groos darkness instead of light took posession of my mind. I was tempted and tortured beyond endureance untill life was undesireable." Oh <that> the grave would kindly receive me that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear mother. Why-Why should I bechosen from among thy daughters, Father. I am only a child in years and experience. No mother to council; no father near to tell me what to do, in this trying hour. Oh let this bitter cuppass. And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul.

The Prophet discerned my sorrow. He saw how unhappy I was, and sought an opportunity of again speaking to me on this subject, and said: "Although I cannot under existing circumstances, acknowledge you as my wife, the time is near when we will go beyond the Rocky Mountains and there you will be acknowledged and honored as my wife." He also said, this principle will yet be believed in and practiced by the righteous. I have no faltering words to offer, it is command of God to you. I will give you untill to-morrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you." This arroused every drop of scotch in my veins. for a few moments I stood fearless before him and looked him in the eye

I felt at this moment that I was called to place myself upon the altar a liveing sacrafice, perhaps to brook the world in disgrace incur the displeasure and contempt of my youthful companions; all my dreams ofhappiness blown to the four winds, this was too much, the thought was unbearable / for as yet, no shadow had crossed my path, aside from the death of my dear mother and sister, The future to me had seemed one bright cloudless day.

I had been speechless, but at last found uterance and said: Although you are a Prophet of God, you could not induce me to take a step of so great importance, unless I knew that God approved my course, I would rather die. I have tried to pray but received no comfort,—no light," and emphatically forbid him speaking again to me on this subject. Every feeling of my soul revolted against it Said I, The same God who sent this message is the Being I have worshiped since my early child-hood, and He must manifest His will to me."

He walked across the room, returned and stood before me. With the most beautiful expression of countenance and said "God almighty bless you. You shall have a manifestation of the will of God concerning you; a testimony that you can never deny. I will tell you what it shall be. It shall be that peace and joy that you never knew."

Oh, how earnestly I prayed for thesewords to be fulflled. It was near dawn after another sleepless night. While on my knees in fervent suplication, my room became filled with a holy influence. To me <it was> in comparison like the brilliant sunshine bursting through the darkest cloud.

The words of the Prophet were indeed fulfilled. My soul was flled with a calm sweet peace that I never knew. Supreme happiness took posession of my whole being. And I received a powerful and iristable testimony of the truth of themariage covenant called "Celestial or plural mariage". Which has been like <an> anchor to the soul through all the temptations and trials of life. I felt that I must go out into the morning air and give vent to the Joy and grattitude that filled my soul. As I decended the stairs, Prest. Smith opened the door below, took me by the hand and said: "Thank God, you have the testimony. I too, have prayed." he led me to a chair, placed his hands upon my head, and blessed me with every blessing my heart could posibly desire. On the first day of May, 1843, I consented to become the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith. And was sealed to him for time and all eternity, at his own house by Elder Wn Clayton, on whom he confered that authority.

BHR Staff Commentary

Transcription from Todd Compton, ed., In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 2022), 523–525

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