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Joseph Smith Family Glimpse Rare Emma Smith Bible

Written by Whitney ButtersCreated: 12 August 2010

Descendants of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale Smith, as well as representatives from the Joseph Smith Papers project and Historic Sites of the division of the Church of Jesus Christ History Department were among those who met at the front of the store, located at 268 South 200 East in Salt Lake City to reverently review the Bible on its last day of public display.

As they waited for the book to be brought out of the store’s safe, the group listened intently as Gracia Jones, great-great granddaughter of Joseph and Emma Smith, told the story of when she first saw the book in Missouri during the 1970’s.

Mark Ashurst-McGee of the Joseph Smith Papers project with the Smith family Bible.

“It has come out for this brief of the artifact, especially for the Prophet’s descendants.

“To be there seeing that (the Smith descendants) can trace their ancestry through these people in the pages, it’s clearly a very neat moment where you can connect history to the present,” Robin Jensen, Joseph Smith Papers project archivist, said.

Reaching into her purse for a tissue, Darcy Kennedy, whose husband, Michael, is the great-great-great grandson of Joseph and Emma, spoke of the care Emma took to preserve the family treasure throughout her hardships.

Others silently expressed their awe through the way they tenderly handled the pages that once felt the touch of the Prophet and his wife.

“For someone that’s had the privilege of officially working, researching on the lives of the Smith family, to see a personal artifact of theirs that has not been seen out in the public is a wonderful treat,” Don Enders, senior curator of historic sites for the Church History Department, said.

Though the identity of the Bible’s current owner in unknown, Kennedy said one of the wishes of the family is to know where the Bible ends up for recording purposes so the “next generation can know that it exists.”

While that wish may or ma not be fulfilled, for Jones, at least, , one long time prayer was answered. Although she had seen the Bible on other occasions, Jones had never been photographed with it. With the simple click and flash of a camera, Jones’ wish was finally fulfilled, and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face.

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Editors Note: Michael Kennedy noted the date entries in the Bible indicated both Joseph and Hyrum’s death date, it was apparent that Emma made note of Samuel’s death on the same day. This indicates she was fully aware that Samuel’s illness from his hard ride to be with his brothers would result in his death. He died nearly a month later.