Revered as an "elect lady" and denounced as a "damned liar," Emma Hale Smith had a full life of contradictions - trials and triumphs, sorrows and strength, fears and faith. Raised in a well-respected family, she gave up everything to marry a poor, uneducated farm boy. Her unwavering support of the Prophet Joseph through intense persecution and suffering is legendary, and although she lived in relative comfort and security in her later years, Emma's life continued to be laced with tragedy and heartache.
This well-documented narrative provides a personal glimpse into the life of a woman who remains one of the most mysterious and misunderstood women in Church history today. With beautiful full-color illustrations by renowned artist Liz Lemon Swindle, the story is told using many first-person accounts. Readers will gain valuable insights into the remarkable life and character of Emma Hale Smith.
- Pages: 194
About the Authors
Liz Lemon Swindle began her painting career in first grade. Her first exhibitions were on the refrigerator, encouraged by her father. In the early 1980s she tutored under renowned wildlife artist, Nancy Glazier. In 1992, Liz began painting a subject matter she had long desired to approach: her faith. Her paintings are now held in corporate and private collections around the world and have been published in countless magazines and books. Liz and her husband Jon have five children and thirteen grandchildren.
RETURNING TO MANCHESTER WAS BITTERSWEET for Joseph. Arriving in time to help with the fall harvest and seeing family and friends once again was delightful. He enjoyed farming, and the several months he had spent working along the Susquehanna was the longest time he had stayed away from home. But returning to the news that his brother Hyrum was engaged to marry Jerusha Barden undoubtedly caused his heart to yearn for Emma.
Additionally, Joseph continued to mourn the death of his oldest brother, Alvin, who had died unexpectedly in November 1823. The brothers had been particularly close, and Alvin “manifested, if such could be the case, greater zeal and anxiety in regard to the Record that had been shown to Joseph, than any of the rest of the family.” Alvin had called Joseph to his deathbed and counseled him to be faithful, keep the commandments, “and do everything that lies in your power to obtain the Record.”1 So as the time drew close for Joseph to make his annual trip to the Hill Cumorah the loss of his beloved brother, combined with his missing Emma, weighed heavy on his heart.
On September 22, 1826, as he had done for the previous three years, Joseph climbed the hill approximately three miles from his home to meet Moroni. Again he was taught those things necessary for him to know relative to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel. Furthermore, according to Joseph Knight Sr., the young prophet on this occasion was given additional instruction regarding his immediate personal affairs. Moroni instructed him that he would receive the plates the following year “if he brought with him the right person.”2 When Joseph asked who the right person might be, it was made manifest that Emma was the one to accompany him.
Now motivated by his attraction to Emma, loneliness, and this revelation, Joseph set out in early November to take Emma as his bride. His choice for a wife was approved by the Lord Himself, and getting to Harmony as soon as possible was Joseph’s only ambition.
Before her son left, Lucy remembered that Joseph “called my husband and myself aside and said, ‘I have been very lonely ever since Alvin died and I have concluded to get married, and if you have no objections to my uniting myself in marriage with Miss Emma Hale, she would be my choice in preference to any other woman I have ever seen.’ We were pleased with his choice and not only consented to his marrying her, but requested him to bring her home with him and live with us.”3
Joseph again went to work for and boarded with both the Knights and Stowells after his arrival in Bainbridge. How many visits he paid Emma in Harmony is unknown, but he did visit her, and their affection for each other grew. “Family tradition carries a brightly romantic impression of the relationship which developed between the charismatic young prophet—handsome, fair haired, with blue eyes and baby pink coloring—and the tall, slender girl with olive-toned cheeks, warm brown hair and snapping brown eyes.”4
What neither Emma nor Joseph knew at the time they were courting was that they were distant cousins. Their mothers, Elizabeth Lewis Hale and Lucy Mack Smith, were both descendants of John Howland, one of 102 passengers on the Mayflower. During the voyage to the Americas, the eighteen or nineteen-year-old Howland went on deck during a fierce storm and was thrown into the sea. Miraculously catching hold of “the topsail halyards which hung overboard and ran out at length . . . he held his hold (though he was sundry fathoms under water) till he was hauled up by the same rope to the brim of the water, and then with boat hook and other means got into the ship again and his life saved.”5
Joseph approached Isaac once again to ask permission to marry his daughter. Quite possibly coached by Emma, on this occasion Joseph made his request with confidence and was outfitted to impress the older man. Instead of Joseph’s approaching Isaac dressed like a poor farm boy holding his hat in his hand, Joseph Knight and his family had come to his assistance. This time he arrived in a sleigh pulled by a high-spirited horse and dressed in new clothes. Emma was undoubtedly impressed with Joseph’s handsome appearance, but Isaac was not. To the young couple’s dismay, he again flatly refused his consent.
Discouraged but undaunted by Isaac’s second refusal, Emma and Joseph had little recourse but to wed without her father’s approval. On January 18, 1827, after a courtship of fifteen months, they were married by Squire Zechariah Tarbell in South Bainbridge, New York. Emma described her wedding day to her eldest son, Joseph Smith III: “I was visiting at Mr. Stowell’s, who lived in Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of
marrying when I left home; but, during my visit . . . , being importuned by your father, aided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him [than] to any other man I knew, I consented.”6
A witness to the wedding party, who at the time lived nearby, saw Emma and Joseph traveling with Josiah Stowell Jr. and his sisters Rhoda and Miriam in their sleigh towards the Susquehanna River. Reaching the water’s edge and the ferry, they crossed on the ice and then traveled up “the east side of the river to the home of Squire Tarbell who married them.”7
As would be expected, Isaac’s account of the elopement is very different from Emma’s. Practically charging Joseph with abduction, Isaac was quoted as saying, “While I was absent from home, [he] carried off my daughter into the State of New York, where they were married . . . without my approbation or consent.”8 Indeed, the couple did marry against Isaac’s will; however, both were of legal age—he being twenty-one and she twenty-two.
Very soon after the wedding and being transported by Josiah Stowell Sr., Emma and Joseph left the Susquehanna area and traveled the 155 miles to Manchester to take up residence with Father and Mother Smith. Welcomed with open arms by Joseph’s family, the newlyweds began their life together—a life filled with love, devotion, hardship, sorrow, and great spiritual growth.
Well written with great research and information
by Shauna - reviewed on October 09, 2008
This book is written in an engaging manner, but isn't fiction. I appreciated all the research and documentation the author did to make this an honest biography of a wonderful woman. I especially loved reading more about the last part of Emma's life (after Joseph died) and knowing "the rest of the story."
Through Emma's Eyes
by Larrie - reviewed on September 01, 2009
I finally found the time to read this beautiful book which I have owned since it was released. (I probably purchased it because it is beautiful:-) I couldn't put it down even though I was familiar with most of the stories. The author was able to help me see what happened through Emma's eyes. It was astonishing to see how faithful she was in spite of the many times she could have quit or felt sorry for herself. Her grief alone, so many times, would have overcome most of us. My heart is now completely bound to Emma's heart. What an amazing, faithful and enduring woman she is! And what a noble companion to the Prophet of the Restoration. Thank you, Lori Woodland, for your efforts in Emma's behalf. And thank you for adding the exquisite artwork of Liz Lemon Swindle.
Wonderful and very insightful
by Irene - reviewed on September 23, 2008
The pictures in this book make the story come alive. What a great addition to any library.
by Customer - reviewed on November 05, 2008
I really enjoyed reading this book, I found it very matter of factly, which allowed me to come to my own conclusions. I highly recomend it to expand on your church history knowledge.
by Customer - reviewed on October 17, 2008
Really helps to understand Emma.
Ode to a wonderful lady!
by Kristin - reviewed on November 13, 2008
-this is a breathtaking book of a woman that i have come to love and admire. She truly was an elect lady
This is a must have!
by Customer - reviewed on September 17, 2008
This is such a beautiful book with wonderful illustrations. This is a great book to see the insights into Emma’s life and how amazing she was. This is a must have!
Book was a disappointment.
by Jodi - reviewed on January 21, 2009
I found this to be a sappy, rather shallow treatise. I think there is a lot more information out there that might not be quite as eagerly accepted but is still the truth. It is too bad the author was not brave enough to give readers that.
I love this book!
by Erica - reviewed on June 20, 2011
I loved this book! Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I thought the content and clarity of the book was superior. I was able to learn so much about Emma Smith. She was a woman full of never-ending faith, sacrifice, and diligence, which she showed to everyone around her. In the book, Lucy Mack Smith defines Emma well when she said: I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has done; for I know that which she has had to endure—she has been tossed upon the ocean of uncertainty—she has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, which would have borne down almost any other woman. The book gave a detailed description of the life Emma lived and the many hardships she faced. However, it also gave a great account of the many miracles she witnessed in her life. She never gave up and always trusted in the Lord. Emma has become a woman who I truly admire. I also really enjoyed the pictures shown throughout the book. They really helped the story come alive. Nevertheless, I wished there would have been a picture of detailed maps showing the route of the destinations that the Smith family traveled to and settled at. I think the map would have helped given me a better picture of knowing where the Smiths were residing as I read. Something else I would have liked to see would have been a greater focus on Emma. It seemed there was a lot of focus on Joseph, which is great, but I was expecting more information on Emma because the title of the book is Beloved Emma. Overall, I strongly recommend this book. I felt very informed and I my testimony of the restoration of the gospel was strengthened. I truly enjoyed reading about the life of Emma Smith and I applaud the author, Lori Woodland, for her efforts in bringing forth such a marvelous book.