We will now look a littler closer at the people behind the Mormons, also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints. Emma Hale was the first wife of the founder, Joseph Smith Jr.
Emma Hale’s biography
Who is Emma Hale? Emma Hale was a young woman born in rural Pennsylvania on July 10, 1804. Her parents were farmers. Her family also owned a boarding house and that is where she met Joseph Smith Jr., who was one of the tenants at the time. Joseph Smith came to Pennsylvania to make his fortune and was a not a suitable suitor for Emma. When the young couple wanted to make their future together, Emma’s father refused to let her marry Joseph Smith forcing them to elope in 1827. The couple made their way to New York to live with Joseph’s parents. Joseph Smith was said to have found the gold plates with a new scripture a year later. These findings would launch the new religion. He established Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) in April 1830.
Since it is such a big decision for someone to embrace a new religion the questions begs where did Emma stand on the issue of the new religion? According to About.com, “She was baptized in June of 1830, and Smith declared her, by revelation, to be an “elect Lady.” She compiled the church’s first hymnal.” They were married for 17 years of marriage, Emma Hale Smith gave birth to nine children. However, the anti Mormon sentiment was high. Life could not be easy for a mother surrounded by so much controversy. Emma suffered the loss of many her children, one might have died of exposure when Joseph Smith was tied and feathered in Ohio. By 1842, she had established the Nauvoo Female Relief Society to help women spiritually and financially.
The new church would adopt plural marriages and one again has to wonder how his wife, Emma, could feel about it. It turns out that she went from reluctantly accepting the doctrine, standing by it, and then later despising it. Emma used her position as founder of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society to oppose polygamy. However, her husband quickly stopped her from doing that by suspending her organization.
After her organization was suspended did that end Emma’s campaign to end polygamy? History recounts that Joseph Smith, Jr was killed by a mob in Illinois on June 27, 1844. Brigham Young became the leader and Emma Hale continued to oppose plural marriages. Emma Hale Smith did not go west with Brigham Young. She stayed back to care for Joseph Smith’s aging mother and to escape the growing anti Mormon sentiment. Emma Hale Smith married Louis C. Bidamon in December of 1847. Emma eventually denied the religion accepted plural marriages. Then, her son, Joseph Smith III, went as far as to deny that his father practiced polygamy. Emma, continued to uphold the tenets of the church and swore she had seen the gold plates. Though many denied her involvement with the founding of the church, in the days of Brigham young, The RLDS church honored her as a leader, and more recently, the LDS church has also remembered her early role as a significant one in church history.” Emma Hale died in 1879.