Brian C. Hales summarizes evidence for Emma Hale Smith's views on plural marriage.

Brian C. Hales

Brian C. Hales, "Emma Smith’s Path Through Polygamy," Joseph Smith's Polygamy, accessed July 6, 2022

Brian C. Hales
Brian C. Hales
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Emma encountered difficult challenges arising from the establishment of plural marriage. Joseph Smith reported that he was commanded to establish the practice of polygamy in the Church. He secretly married his first plural wife, Fanny Alger, in 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio. However, when Emma Smith discovered it, she became very upset and sent Fanny away. Joseph entered into his second plural marriage in 1841 while living in Nauvoo.

Emma accepted plural marriage teachings briefly in the spring of 1843 and gave Joseph four wives in May, but then she immediately rejected the practice. On July 12 at Hyrum Smith’s invitation, the Prophet dictated a revelation (now D&C 132), which Hyrum presented to Emma in the hope that she would again accept Joseph’s practice of polygamy. The revelation failed to win her approval, but thereafter, it appears the two entered into an agreement that required Joseph to obtain her permission before marrying any additional plural wives.

Despite their polygamy-related marital tensions, Emma and Joseph remained devoted to each other. From a public standpoint, they lived as a monogamist couple in Nauvoo during the final eight months of his life. Dying in 1879, Emma never wavered in her belief in Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God.

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