Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Joseph going to hell for Emma?

1. Kevin Says:
July 12th, 2007 at 10:27 am e

Joseph willing to go to hell for Emma? I’m looking for a reference for a quote I remember hearing through the years in which Joseph Smith said he’d be willing to go to hell to either “get” or “be with” Emma.

Is this apocryphal? If not, I’d like the reference and the quote’s context.

2. robf Says:
July 12th, 2007 at 11:50 am e

Kevin, I think Truman Madsen’s Joseph Smith tapes were the source of my hearing that story (see review mentioning the story here), which he attributed to Brigham Young. Haven’t found the source of Brigham’s original statement.

3. robf Says:
July 12th, 2007 at 12:02 pm e

See this Meridian magazine piece about the possible source of Joseph’s statement that he would go to hell for Emma.

4. robf Says:
July 12th, 2007 at 1:21 pm e

OK Douglas, here’s the other part of this:

“Emma (Smith) took the revelation, (on polygamy) supposed she had all there was; but Joseph had wisdom enough to take care of it, and he had handed the revelation to Bishop Whitney, and he wrote it all off…. She went to the fireplace and put it in, and put a candle under it and burnt it, and she thought that was the end of it, and she will be damned as sure as she is a living woman.

Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, if he had to go to hell for her, and he will have to go to hell for her as sure as he ever gets her.”

Brigham Young,
Journal of Discourses 17:159

5. mjberkey Says:
July 12th, 2007 at 5:06 pm e

Oh my! I guess Brigham didn’t think so highly of Emma!

6. nhilton Says:
July 13th, 2007 at 9:42 am e

But…just what/where is Hell? Certainly Emma’s not going to “outer darkness” often equated with Hell. I actually really like this quote because it shows the humaness of Emma…I totally understand what she did & why she did it. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done just the same thing! It also explains to me why Emma didn’t follow B.Young to SLC. If someone thought/said this about you would you follow them into the unknown? Clearly there was some animosity, ya think?! & I can’t imagine that Emma, after all she did for the founding of the church, spreading of the gospel and support of its restoration prophet would have any kind of hellish reward. Certainly hers is a seat next to Joseph. Joseph knew that, I think.

7. mjberkey Says:
July 13th, 2007 at 10:26 am e

Hell doesn’t necessarily equal Outer Darkness (which is reserved for sons of perdition according to my understanding). D&C 19:16-17 make it clear that anyone who does not repent will suffer even as Christ suffered. That is Hell. I suspect that will happen in Spirit Prison (not necessarily to everyone in Spirit Prison) and it sounds to me that Emma certainly will be in Hell.

And of course it would be hard to follow Brigham to Utah, especially since he stood for polygamy, which Emma hated… But it was the right thing to do.

I try to be careful about criticizing Emma though. Joseph loves Emma and I admire Joseph (and I don’t want to be struck by lightning). Anyway, if ever someone would be saved from Hell by their spouse, it’s Emma.

8. robf Says:
July 13th, 2007 at 12:09 pm e

Amen, mjberkey. I don’t want to second guess President Young or speculate too much on why he made the comment he did. But if he had D&C 132:26 in mind, he could easily have thought that if Emma had strayed from her covenants, she would have to suffer in hell before being eventually redeemed to receive her exaltation with Joseph Smith.

9. joespencer Says:
July 13th, 2007 at 12:26 pm e

Emma never shed innocent blood, and she clearly received the fulness of the priesthood (or whatever other title for that ordinance you would like to substitute). Brigham’s relationship to her is complex, but well documented. I imagine he was speaking far more out of passion than he was out of theological precision.

10. Cherylem Says:
July 13th, 2007 at 12:35 pm e

I just think BY said lots of stuff about lots of stuff. He wasn’t always right.

One Response to “Joseph going to hell for Emma?”

  1. Tony said

    You cannot inherit but the telestial kingdom out of Hell. That is the point. Something extraordinary would have to happen. Joseph will receive permission to get her and he will!!

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