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Emma Smith is one of two ladies I look up to, desire to emulate and wish I could go to lunch with to just talk for hours. The other is Marjorie Pay Hinckley. Both are wives of modern-day prophets for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And both are women I hope to meet in heaven.

Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph Smith, said this of her daughter-in-law

“I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has ever done;

Could you imagine meeting a woman like that?  Over the last few weeks I have been studying all about her life and for a small moment, I felt like we met. The deeper I got into researching her the more I wished we could have been friends. She was compassionate and witty and strong and real.

Although she is not alive today for me to call on for advice, I learned more about myself in reading about her. I saw more of what I want to be while also seeing glimpses into accepting who I am right now. Emma didn’t know how wonderful she was. She was humble. She strived to find joy in everyday. She held fast to her strong faith.  She gave compassionately of her time and energies when people should have been serving her.  She didn’t act that way to be an example or to be a leader or even so people after her could look to her as a standard, it’s just simply who she was.

In a letter to her son in her later years she wrote

“I have seen many, yes very many, trying scenes in my life which I could not see … where any good could come of them.” She added this testimony: “But yet I feel a divine trust in God, that all things shall work for good.”

Oh that I can mold my faith to be as hers.

Shortly before her husband died she wrote,

I desire the spirit of God to know and understand myself, I desire a fruitful, active mind, that I may be able to comprehend the designs of God, when revealed through his servants without doubting.”

That is a prayer I understand well.  I would like to print it and put it in my prayer room for those are all things I desire.

The youth leaders at our church, I work with the 14-15 year old girls called Mia Maids, put together a hike all about the life of Joseph Smith (the founder of our church).  The kids would hike and come across different influential people in his life. His parents, his brother, and his wife. As soon as I heard about this I felt a strong desire to portray Emma. But as the time got closer I knew I could not do this wonderful woman justice. How could I help the youth see of her testimony of God’s love for her as well as her testimony of her husband and of the church?

As the night drew near I still didn’t know what I was going to say. There was just too much to fit into the small 7-minute window I was given. I knelt in prayer pleading with the Lord that I may somehow embody all that Emma was. I poured out my soul desiring more than anything to show the youth the strength of her faith even though she was asked to endure so many trials. I wanted to make her proud and I wanted to say exactly what the Lord would have me say.

The impression I received was that I should not prepare a written speech or even decide which stories to share. I had saved some quotes on my phone thinking I might read those because they were so powerful in her words but I felt strongly I needed to trust that God would tell me what to say when the time came. This quote was one of them, which was given right before she passed away

“My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity. I have not the slightest doubt of it. … Though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates … and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder,’ as much as to anyone else.

I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction.

Joseph smith was a prophet of God. I believe he [Joseph] was everything he professed to be.”

The night came. As I got ready I pondered on her again. I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be her.  And felt I needed to try to do her famous hair do (we were not asked to dress like our person) 

We began our hike and my husband and I got into place (he was portraying Joseph). Each person had a designated spot for the kids to come to you. And we were last. We waited and I wondered again what I was going to say. And then in an instant it all came together in my mind. I knew what was to be said with great assurance. And I instantly felt gratitude to God.

The group came up and I welcomed them as I imagined Emma would do. Her house was always full of visitors and those who needed special care. I shared with them an experience she had with prayer when she was a young child. And I shared this quote

Strength does not come from seeing. Strength comes from faith.

I told how the faith that began as a small child kneeling in prayer sustained her and grew throughout her many trials. I talked about how she had lost several babies and one specific experience where Joseph was taken from their home by a mob of angry men and tarred and feathered. And how her already sick baby died from the exposure to the cold let in by the mob.

At this point I thought I might share another story and my mind went blank. I could not remember what I was going to say and I knew it was because that story didn’t need to be shared.

I tried with all of my heart to testify as if I were Emma the things she knew to be true.  It came very easily because I knew them to be true as well. I testified of Joseph’s Holy calling. Of the divine nature of the Book of Mormon. Of the religion she had given so much for. And for the beautiful nature of eternal families.

As I said those words my spirit was on fire.  I felt God burning into my heart the truthfulness of what I was saying. I felt like Emma was next to me helping me get her words into those kids’ hearts.  The beautiful experience of “meeting” Emma will forever be a tender memory I hope to only be replaced by one day, on the other side of the veil, sitting down with Her and being taught by her side.

***Update***

Here are some of the sources I used to study the life of Emma Smith.

Article in the Ensign written by their great great granddaughter

Emma and Joseph: Their Divine Mission

The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother

Emma’s patriarchal blessing can be found here

Article on the letters written between Joseph and Emma

Love letters of Joseph and Emma this one is visually so stunning. It is short like a story book but so much love and beauty is found inside.

2 Comments

  1. A truly moving account. Thank you so very much for sharing this experience.

  2. I love the photo of you a la Emma style.

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