Emma Hale Smith was born in 1804 in Pennsylvania. She was the wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whom she married in 1827. Emma was the first president of what eventually became one of the world's largest and oldest women's organizations: the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As Joseph Smith began compiling revelations and teachings that would become the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Emma collected songs for the LDS Church's first hymn book.
Emma did not agree with all the new church doctrines, such as the practice of plural marriage. When Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844, Emma Smith did not join the church's migration west to Utah. Instead she married Lewis Bidamon, a non-Mormon. Emma believed that her son Joseph Smith III, should lead the religious movement that her husband founded. When this did not happen Emma left the LDS Church and joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Emma Smith died in 1879 in Nauvoo Illinois.
In 1984 Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery published Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith a project that took them eight years to complete. The publication of this book earned them praise, respect, and outstanding reviews both inside and outside of Mormon circles. Their book won several awards including the Evans Award for Best Biography given by Utah State University, Best Book of the Year by the Mormon History Association, and Best Book of the Year by the John Whitmer History Association. However, leaders of LDS church responded to the publication by banning Newell and Avery (both active Mormons) from speaking in church meetings for one year. This was in response to the book's sympathetic portrayal of Emma and its criticisms of Joseph's actions towards his wife.
Mrs. Newell lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She served as a coeditor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought during the 1980s. Dr. Avery is a professor of history at Northern Arizona University.
Newell, Linda King, and Avery, Valeen Tippetts, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Prophet's Wife, Elect Lady, Polygamy's Foe, Doubleday & Company, Inc.,. Garden City, New York, 1984, pp. 394 (available at Special Collections, call # 289.392 Sm55-N)
Ostling, Joan K., and Ostling, Richard N., Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, 1999, pp. 252 (available at Special Collections, call # 289.373 Os7)
This two-box collection contains Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery's original, near one-thousand page, unedited version of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. Following the first submission of Mormon Enigma to a publisher, the authors were asked to cut the text by one-third. Thereafter Newell and Avery continued to research and refine the manuscript during this revision process. The 1984 published version of Mormon Enigma is three-hundred and ninety-four pages long.
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Permission to publish material from the Mormon enigma : Emma Hale Smith : manuscript must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Mormon enigma : Emma Hale Smith : manuscript, 1984. (COLL MSS 85). Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
Arranged by version of manuscript and chapter.
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