Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma Hale met in October 1825 in Harmony, Pennsylvania, USA. Joseph and his father had traveled from their home in Palmyra, New York, USA, to work temporarily in Harmony for a farmer named Josiah Stowell. They and the other workers boarded on the Hale farm. After a month, Josiah abandoned his project, and Joseph’s father returned to Palmyra, but Joseph stayed to work on other local farms.
Emma was 21, an athletic young woman with a spirited attitude, a quick wit, and a lyrical soprano voice. At five feet nine inches, with a “dark complexion” and “piercing eyes,” she was “noble in appearance and bearing.”1
Joseph, 18 months her junior, was six feet tall, with light brown hair and blue eyes. Five years earlier, he had gone into a grove of trees on his family’s farm and prayed to know which church was true. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him—and the Restoration of the gospel began. From that time, controversy surrounded Joseph’s name. After Joseph and Emma fell in love, they eloped on January 18, 1827.
For the next 17 years until Joseph was martyred in Carthage, Illinois, USA, Joseph and Emma’s lives were never separated from the ongoing Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They led the Saints from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois. In 1832 when a mob tarred and feathered the Prophet, Emma spent the night removing the tar from his skin. Throughout their lives, they often gave up their bed and slept on the floor “with nothing but a cloak for bed and bedding.”2 Following are a few of the tender moments they shared.
Joseph Smith, Jr., by Dan Weggeland, courtesy of Church History Museum; Emma Hale Smith, by Lee Greene Richards, © 1941 IRI
But For a Small Moment, © Liz Lemon Swindle; photograph of grave courtesy of Church History Library and Archives
By the Gift and the Power of God, © Simon Dewey; photograph of Book of Mormon manuscript © 1988 IRI
Left: 1835 hymnal courtesy of Church History Archives
Emma’s Hymns, © Liz Lemon Swindle
Liberty Jail, 1839, © Al Rounds; Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, © Greg K. Olsen—do not copy
Letter from Joseph Smith to Emma Smith courtesy of Community of Christ Archives, World Headquarters, Independence, Missouri
Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation modernized.
Family Visit to Liberty Jail, © Joseph Brickey
Emma Smith, the Elect Lady, by Theodore Gorka, © 1996 IRI; photograph of Joseph Smith’s handkerchief by Cody Bell, © IRI
Photograph of drainage ditch by Kenneth R. Mays; photograph of the pick by Cody Bell, courtesy Church History Museum
Emmeline B. Wells, in Janet Peterson and LaRene Gaunt, Faith, Hope, and Charity (2008), 8–9.
Lucy Mack Smith, in Peterson and Gaunt, Faith, Hope, and Charity, 14.
Gracia N. Jones, “Emma’s Lost Infants,” www.josephsmithjr.org/history/children.
For a detailed history of early Latter-day Saint hymnals, see Sidney B. Sperry, Doctrine and Covenants Compendium (1960), 118–23.
See Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed. (Church Educational System manual), 2003, 217–19.
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