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Little Known Facts About Emma

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Written by Mike Kennedy Published: 16 April 2016

  1. Midwife – Nauvoo had a doctor, however, when it came to pediatric care the doctor requested all his patients to go to Emma Bidamon as she “knows more about babies than I do”. 
  2. Greatly Loved – During the viewing of Emma’s death, the streets were lined with people almost as long as was the Prophet’s and many of the women kissed her in her coffin.
  3. Step Mother – Lewis Bidamen’s had two daughters prior to his marriage to Emma. These daughters came under Emma’s care; Mary Elizabeth Bidamen and Emma Zerelda Bidamen. They remained with Emma until shortly after Lewis returned from his Gold Fields expedition in 1850. Later that summer Mary Elizabeth married Mr. Gibson. Mary left with her husband and Zerelda went with the two of them to their new home.
  4. Temple Ordinances – Emma was the first woman to receive the woman’s LDS initiatory ordinance receiving those ordinances directly from her husband, Joseph.  From that point Emma administered those ordinances to other woman. First woman ever to administer a Priesthood ordinance. Every woman today who receives her temple ordinances can trace back to Emma.
  5. Sealed to Joseph – On May 28 1843, Emma was sealed for time and all eternity to Joseph and 4 months later on the 28 September she received her calling and election made sure by ordinance with her husband, Joseph.
  6. Supported Ethnic Diversity – In 1841, Jane Manning (a black woman) was invited by Emma to stay as a member of the family.  Thousands of new converts arrived in Nauvoo with eagerness and anticipation in the early 1840s. But probably none came with more urgency than the exhausted band of nine black Saints who entered the city late in 1843. They were led by a free black woman, Jane Elizabeth Manning, and had walked over 800 miles. In Joseph III’s memoirs he tells of several little black boys brought upriver on riverboats and abandoned in Nauvoo, who were taken into Emma and Joseph’s family and cared for as members of the family and continued after the martyrdom. One of these boys remained with Emma until he was 18 and took a job on a riverboat as a cook where he learned this skill from Emma. This boy’s story is recorded in Emma Belle Smith Kennedy’s journal. 
  7. Adopted More Children – A woman in Nauvoo was accidently shot by her husband. Knowing how Emma was supporting Lewis Bidamon’s daughters, the grief stricken widower requested Emma take in her sons until they were able to fend for themselves in life to which she did.  Her family is getting much larger.  During the period of persecution just before and after Joseph was incarcerated in Liberty Jail many saints were killed. Later, just before and after the beginning of the ‘Mormon War’ more saints were killed. In several instances this left children completely orphaned. The exodus of the Saints heading west was so pushed for them to leave out of fear of their lives many of these orphans were left abandoned on the streets of Nauvoo. One of these children was Elizabeth Agnes Kendall, affectionately known as Lizzie. Lizzie and Alexander Hale Smith became childhood sweethearts and later married.
  8. Refugee – We’re all aware of the many times Joseph and Emma had to flee persecution each case a refugee including after Joseph was murdered.  There was an organized conspiracy to kill Joseph Smith in which those who planned it wanted Joseph to be killed ideally before July and if not absolutely before the end of October. During this same period of time, not a single “Smith” was to be left alive.  Emma flees Nauvoo once again with her children to Fulton, Illinois.
  9. Subjugated under Court – In 1844, the laws allowed woman to inherit their husbands estate; however, the law did not allow woman to make decisions on the disposition of any aspect of the estate. Emma was to be dependent on a court appointed administrator to decide the affairs of Joseph’s estate including the decision of what would become of Joseph’s children.  She was originally made administrator of Joseph’s estate but later court’s reversed and others became admistorator of the estate much to their benefit and not Emma’s.  She eventually has to pay mortgage on her properties additional two times.