One hundred years have passed since Emma’s children watched her life slip away. In many respects, that century has left a historical vacuum surrounding Emma Smith. Honored as the first president of the Relief Society, remembered for her efforts in compiling the original Latter-day Saint hymnal, and revered as the wife of the Prophet, Emma’s role during the period of the establishment of the Church covered an even wider range of experiences.
Emma’s first act of support for Joseph Smith was marrying him in spite of her father’s firm opposition. Joseph, who had just turned twenty-one loved Emma Hale; her willingness to marry him under difficult circumstances affirmed her belief in his spiritual experiences. She was twenty-two, a school teacher, and her clear soprano voice was heard in the religious services that the Hale family attended in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Tall and slim, with dark hair and dark eyes, and a clear olive complexion, Emma had a ready wit—a natural ease with other people. She became a valuable asset to Joseph as the events of his life demanded frequent social occasions. — An article by Valeen Tippetts Avery and Linda King Newell, “The Elect Lady: Emma Hale Smith,” Ensign, September 1979