Elizabeth Ann Whitney
|Elizabeth Ann Whitney|
|Second Counselor in the general
presidency of the Relief Society
|1866 – December 5, 1887|
|Called by||Eliza R. Snow|
|Successor||Bathsheba W. Smith|
|Second Counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society|
|1842 – 1844|
|Called by||Emma Hale Smith|
|Born||Elizabeth Ann Smith
December 26, 1800
Derby, Connecticut, United States
|Died||February 15, 1882
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
|Resting place||Salt Lake City Cemetery
|Spouse||Newel K. Whitney|
Early life and marriage
Elizabeth Ann Smith was born in Derby, Connecticut to Gibson Smith and Polly Bradley. She left her parents at about age 18 and moved with her liberated aunt Sarah Smith to Kirtland, Ohio, where at age 20 she met her future husband Newel K. Whitney. Married on October 20, 1822, the couple quickly accumulated wealth and status in their community.
In Kirtland, Elizabeth and her husband joined the Disciples of Christ led in the area by Sidney Rigdon. The teachings of this group, which denied it had power to give the gift of the Holy Spirit, led the couple to pray for that gift. In response to that prayer, the couple claimed to have seen a vision and a voice stating, "Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming!"
In November 1830, Whitney and her husband met Mormon missionary Parley P. Pratt, who had been preaching in Kirtland. Because of Pratt's preaching they were baptized into the Church of Christ, which had been established in April 1830 by Joseph Smith. The answer to Whitney's prayer, as she tells it, came later in February 1831, when she and her husband met Joseph Smith, who arrived in Kirtland and stayed at their house.
LDS Church service
In 1842, Whitney became one of the original leaders of the Relief Society, with Emma Hale Smith, Sarah M. Cleveland, and Eliza Roxcy Snow (who had been her acquaintance in Kirtland). Whitney served as the second counselor under Emma Smith.
Elizabeth died in Salt Lake City and was buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.
- Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom 32-35, 41-42 (New York, 1877).
- 7 Woman's Exponent (Nov. 1, 1878) (containing biographical information).
- Elizabeth Ann Whitney at Find a Grave