Richard E. Bennett characterizes Helen Mar Kimball's marriage to Joseph as a "dynastic sealing."

Richard E. Bennett

Richard E. Bennett, "Introduction," in The Journey West: The Mormon Pioneer Journals of Horace K. Whitney with Insights by Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, ed. Richard E. Bennett (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2018), xxiii

BYU Religious Studies Center, Deseret Book
Richard E. Bennett
Reading Public

In May 1843, Helen Mar Kimball was two or three months shy of her fifteenth birthday when Joseph Smith approached her parents seeking permission to marry their daughter. Anxious to have his family sealed to that of the Prophet’s, Heber encouraged his daughter to accept the proposition. Astounded, Helen vacillated for the next twenty-four hours. “I was skeptical—one minute believed, then doubted,” she later wrote. “I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.” In what might be termed a “dynastic” sealing between two of the most prominent families in early Mormonism, the Smith and Kimball houses would now be eternally linked together. Nevertheless, it almost broke her mother’s heart. “She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking,” Helen later recalled. “& to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come as the sun was to rise and set: but it was all hidden from me.”

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
Copyright © B. H. Roberts Foundation
The B. H. Roberts Foundation is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.