Emma Smith was a complete badass

Ok, so we have all heard the stories of what Emma had to endure while she was with Joseph Smith Jr: her kid dying as a result of exposure during an attack on Joseph Smith Jr, her having to flee from city to city – sometimes on frozen rivers while carrying children, Joseph Smith Jr going to jail multiple times, etc.

What many of us haven’t learned about is what happened after Joseph Smith Jr died. I am reading the history of Community of Christ right now. The book I’m reading picks up right at the assassination of Joseph Smith. Here are some highlights of things that she went through and did during the fallout of the assassination:

  1. Since Joseph Smith Jr had a dead or alive bounty on him she had to secretly bury him, unbury him, and then rebury him in an unmarked grave. ( Source )
  2. There was no clear differentiation between what Joseph Smith Jr owned and what the church owned after his death. A couple of months after his death Emma wanted it sorted out so it was clear who was responsible for what debts and assets. Church leaders didn’t want to probe into that too much because they were scared it would expose his and their polygamy. Emma told them that she didn’t care if it exposed his polygamy and that it was polygamy that was the cause of his death and if they weren’t careful they would end up dead just like him. ( Source )
  3. After Joseph Smith was assassinated many people were coming and burning Mormon crops, which were referred to as “wolf hunts”. Some Mormons responded with their own wolf hunts. The violence spread from the countryside into town when Emma and her kids survived an assassination attempt via arson. ( Source )
  4. Emma wanted to start over somewhere where she and her kids weren’t in mortal danger. She moved upriver a ways from Nauvoo for about 6 months and rented out the Mansion House to a dude named Abram Van Tuyl. She felt as if she could have a normal life for about 6 months. Then the rent payments stop coming and she got wind that her renter was planning on moving to Texas with all of her furniture. It was winter so she couldn’t take a boat so she loaded up her kids in a carriage and went back to Nauvoo to reclaim her property. She realized that she had to stay in Nauvoo and life just wouldn’t be easy in her frontier town. ( Source )
  5. She rented out rooms to people in the Mansion House. One day this super suspicious guy came and rented a room. Eventually Emma told him to leave, and the dude ended up pulling a gun on her and threatened her. She told him to fuck off and he did. ( Source )
  6. In 1847 Emma remarried to a guy named Lewis C Bidamon. He was a good father to Emma’s kids, but he was kind of a dopey dude. One of the stories that introduces him was when he clotheslined his toupe off in Emma’s yard when he was coming to see her. He also got caught up in the Gold Rush, made no money, and then got caught up in a money scheme (similar to the Kirtland Safety Society) on his way back to Nauvoo. Then he ended up cheating on Emma and fathered a child with a woman named Nancy Abercrombie. Emma was within her rights to divorce Bidamon and keep everything, but she wanted to model reconciliation and peace for her sons. She and Lewis worked it out. The Nancy was a poor single mother on a farm with three kids. She asked Lewis if he would take his son in, and Emma agreed. Not long after that Emma worried about the quality of life of Nancy and her other kids, and decided to hire her and have her live in the Mansion house so she could be near her son. ( Source )

In short, Emma was a straight up badass who endured a lot of shit in life. She told people off when she deserved it and she forgave people when they didn’t deserve it. She wanted to model peace and forgiveness to her children and she did a fantastic job.