Emma Hale Smith

Birth date: July 10, 1804
Birth location: Harmony, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
Died: April 30, 1879
Death location: Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois

Emma was born 10 July 1804 to Isaac and Elizabeth Lewis Hale. The Hales farmed near Harmony, Pennsylvania, and operated a country inn. Emma and Joseph met when he boarded at her father’s inn while working in the area. Isaac bitterly opposed their courtship, but Joseph proposed to Emma, and she, “preferring him to all others” she had met, accepted. 2 They were married at the home of Squire Thomas Tarbell in South Bainbridge, New York, on 18 January 1827.

That fall, Joseph obtained the gold plates and continued his mission of being an instrument in the hands of God in restoring the gospel. Emma served as a scribe during his first efforts to translate the Book of Mormon. She was baptized on 28 June 1830, shortly after the Church was organized. In July 1830 the Lord outlined her mission, in a revelation: “Thou art an elect lady, whom I have called. … And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions.” (D&C 25:3, 5.) She was also directed to compile a book of hymns for the Church, and she was warned to “continue in a spirit of meekness, and beware of pride.” (D&C 25:11–13.)

Emma’s patriarchal blessing, given on 9 December 1834 by her father-in-law, Joseph Smith, Sr., presents important information concerning Emma’s contribution to the Restoration, how the Lord viewed Emma, and what he promised her.

“Emma … thou art blessed of the Lord, for thy faithfulness and truth, thou shalt be blessed with thy husband, and rejoice in the glory which shall come upon him. Thy soul has been afflicted because of the wickedness of men in seeking the destruction of thy companion, and thy whole soul has been drawn out in prayer for his deliverance; rejoice, for the Lord thy God has heard thy supplication. Thou hast grieved for the hardness of the hearts of thy father’s house, and thou hast longed for their salvation. The Lord will have respect to thy cries, and by his judgments he will cause some of them to see their folly and repent of their sins; but it will be by affliction that they will be saved. Thou shalt see many days, yea, the Lord will spare thee till thou art satisfied, for thou shalt see thy Redeemer. Thy heart shall rejoice in the great work of the Lord, and no one shall take thy rejoicing from thee. Thou shalt ever remember the great condescension of thy God in permitting thee to accompany my son [Joseph] when the angel delivered the record of the Nephites to his care. … Thou shalt be blessed with understanding, and have power to instruct thy sex, teach thy family righteousness, and thy little ones the way of life, and the holy angels shall watch over thee and thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, even so, Amen.”