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They saw my youthful friends grow shy and cold.

A Woman's View: Helen Mar Whitney's Reminiscences of Early Church History

During the winter of , there were plenty of parties and balls. It made the dull school still more dull, and like a wild bird I longed for the freedom that was denied me; and thought myself a much abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur. After leaving the church, dissenter Catherine Lewis reported Helen saying: While sexuality is a possibility, a more likely interpretation is that the ceremony prevented her from associating with her friends as an unmarried teenager, causing her dramatic distress after the sealing.

Supporting that the union was never consummated is the fact that Helen Mar Kimball was not called to testify in the Temple Lot trial. The issue was parsed this way: If the Hedrickites could prove that plural marriage was part of the original church, then the RLDS Church was obviously not the true successor since it failed to practice such a key doctrine. Ironically, the Hedrickites were staunchly opposed to plural marriage and seemed to have pursued polygamy as a line of inquiry only for strategic purposes.

All three of these women affirmed that sexual relations were part of their plural marriages to the Prophet. If Helen Mar had been sexually involved with the Prophet in their plural marriage, her exclusion from the depositions is difficult to explain.


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Helen lived in Salt Lake City closer than Malissa Lott and much closer than Lucy Walker and had written two books defending plural marriage. Juvenile Instructor Office, , echoed many of the same arguments. That she would have been an excellent witness to discuss and defend the fact that Joseph Smith taught and practiced plural marriage is undeniable. But if she could not testify to a full plural marriage with sexual relations, her deposition would not have been useful to the Temple Lot attorneys.

Skeptics may argue that Helen or church leaders would have been reticent to admit that Helen was fourteen years old when she was sealed to Joseph Smith. However, in the s, a fourteen-year-old bride was eyebrow-raising, not scandalous, and both Helen and church authorities were highly motivated to disprove the RLDS claims. A third area of controversy involving Helen Mar Kimball arises from a statement she wrote in an autobiographical letter written to her children:.

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I heard him [Joseph Smith] teach and explain the principle of celestial marriage. When her father was called to be an apostle of the church in , he was required to travel on missions and be away from home for significant lengths of time Compton , pp.

A Woman's View: Helen Mar Whitney's Reminiscences of Early Church History

Kimball was baptized by Brigham Young in the Chagrin River during the winter when the river was frozen over. In order for her to be baptized, her father had to cut a hole in the ice. Kimball later wrote that she was not bothered by the cold water because she had "longed for this privilege" and that she "felt no cold or inconvenience from it" Compton , p. In the Kimball family moved from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri to join members of the church who were moving there.

Their arrival in Far West occurred soon after the Battle of Crooked River , and tensions between the Mormons and Missourians were beginning to reach a peak. In early , the family was forced to leave Missouri as a result of the Extermination order issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs. As they left during the middle of winter, Kimball remembered how they had to keep walking in order to avoid freezing Compton , p.

The family eventually arrived in the town of Commerce, Illinois, which later was renamed as the city of Nauvoo.

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Kimball's father eventually built a house in Nauvoo near the temple lot. Her father enjoyed rising importance within the church leadership and became a very close associate of Joseph Smith. In the late 20th century, Todd Compton described the reason for the marriage as follows:. The prophet's marriage to her seems to have been largely dynastic—a union arranged by Joseph and Heber to seal the Kimball family to a seer, church president, and presiding patriarchal figure of the dispensation of the fullness of times Compton , p. In the early summer of , when Helen was 14 years old, her father described the doctrine of plural marriage to her.

He asked if she would consent to be "sealed to Joseph" Compton , p. Helen described her reaction to this proposition:. My father was the first to introduce it to me, which had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake. Smith gave Helen 24 hours to respond to this request. The girl consented only after Smith explained to her that it would ensure her eternal salvation, along with that of her family. Helen was sealed to Smith in May when she was 14 and he was Initially, Helen Mar despised the concept of polygamy, stating that, "seeing the trials of my mother, felt to rebel.

I hated polygamy with my heart.

Helen Mar Kimball - Wikipedia

With regard to her feelings about Smith's implementation of the practice, Kimball wrote,. This first company of pioneers was known as the Camp of Israel. The Sugar Creek camp also served as a portent of things to come.


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Bone-chilling cold, wind, snow, and ice plagued the refugees with sickness and death. Uncertainty about routes and destinations to the West, in addition to mounting problems with supplies and equipment, kept the advance party from departing Sugar Creek for nearly a month.