Mormon Enigma

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Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
Mormon Enigma.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery
Country United States
Language English
Subject Emma Hale Smith
Publisher Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 394 pp (first edition)
ISBN 0-385-17166-8
OCLC 10376019
289.3/092/4 B 19
LC Class BX8695.S515 N48 1984
Followed by 1994 2nd edition

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Prophet's Wife, "Elect Lady," Polygamy's Foe is a biography of Emma Hale Smith, wife of Joseph Smith Jr., written by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery.

Generally accepted as a groundbreaking biography, the book places Emma Smith into a context that has better explained the trials and sacrifices of the members of the early Latter Day Saint church. The work made possible, along with other more recent historical works, a major reinterpretation of the formative period of Mormonism.

The book won the 1984 Best Book Award for interpretive history by the Mormon History Association.[1]

Avery and Newell provided the following note in the book's introduction:

Early leaders in Utah castigated Emma from their pulpits for opposing Brigham Young and the practice of polygamy, and for lending support to the Reorganization. As these attitudes filtered down through the years, Emma was virtually written out of official Utah histories. In this biography, we have attempted to reconstruct the full story of this remarkable and much misunderstood woman's experiences.[citation needed]

Despite its quality and recognition, the biography was startling and controversial among leaders, administrators and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after publication, Avery and Newell, both participating members in the church, were refused any opportunity to talk about their research or book in church meetings.[2]

Publication information[edit]

  • Newell, Linda King and Avery, Valeen T. Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, Prophet's Wife, Elect Lady, Polygamy's Foe. Doubleday Publishing, September 1984. ISBN 0-385-17166-8. 2nd edition. rev., Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.



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