Lucy 
Walker

Joseph Smith's 
Twenty-Second Wife

Lucy Walker was only sixteen when Joseph Smith sealed himself to her. Lucy struggled with accepted the doctrine and felt alone as her Mother had passed away and her father was on his mission. Lucy even felt suicidal. But, in time, Lucy came to accept the doctrine saying that an angel had visited her.

Lucy Walker
Journals & Other Records 

"Ten motherless children, and such a Mother. The youngest not yet two years old. What were we to do? My Father’s health seemed to give way under this heavy affliction. The Prophet came to our rescue. He said, “If you remain here brother Walker, you will soon follow your wife. You must have a change of scene, a change of climate. You have just such a family as I could love. My house shall be their house. I will adopt them as my own. For the present I would advise you to sell your effects, place the little ones with some kind friends, and the four eldest shall come to my house and be received and treated as my own children, and if I find the others are not content, or not treated right, I will bring them home and keep them until you return.” I wrung my hands in the agony of despair at the thought of being broken up as a family, and being separated from the loved ones. But said the Prophet, “My home shall be your home, eternally yours.” I understood him not. However my father sought to comfort us by saying two years would soon pass by, then with renewed health he hoped to return and make us a home where we might be together again. … The Prophet and his wife introduced us as their daughters. Every privilege was accorded us in the home. Every privilege within reach was ours. He often referred to brother Lorin as his “Edwin.” He was indeed his confidential and trusted friend. He was every by his side, arm in arm they walked and discussed freely various subjects [Lucy Walker Kimball, “Statement,” CHL, MS 9827, Typescript, 4; see also Lyman Omer Littlefield, Reminiscences of Latter-day Saints (Logan: The Utah Journal Co., 1888), 43–44.].

 

“In ‘42 was the time. That was the time that this principle [of plural marriage] was first taught, but it was revealed to the Prophet in ‘31, but he did not teach it then, only to a very few in whom he had confidence and felt he could trust absolutely, for he felt the importance and responsibility of the step he was taking" [Lucy Walker, deposition, Temple Lot transcript, respondent’s testimony, part 3, page 450, question 27, 1892].

 

I went to Joseph Smith’s, and was made welcome. I learned that mother was living on the island in the Mississippi River, and that it was dangerous to cross because of so much ice running. The next morning the Prophet invited me to hitch up my horse with one of his, in a buggy, and ride with him. We were riding all day through the city and county making a number of calls on business [and] pleasure combined. On this occasion the subject of celestial, or plural marriage, was introduced to me. As we returned home he remarked, “If there was anything I did not understand, to hold on a little, and I would understand it.”

In the spring of 1843, my father, being away on a mission, the Prophet asked my consent, for my sister Lucy in Marriage. I replied that if it was her choice: that if she entered into the Celestial order of marriage of her own free will and choice, I had no objection. This of course was in contrast with my former education and traditions. It also was altogether different from the course to[o] generally pursued by monogamists. Instead of taking a course to deceive and prostitute and bring about her ruin, he took a straight-forward, honorable, and upright course, in no way depriving her of her agency.

When father returned from his mission, the matter being fully explained in connection with the doctrine, received his endorsement and all parties concerned received his approbation [William Holmes Walker, Reminiscence and Diary, 7–10, CHL, Ms 1890].

 

When the Prophet Joseph Smith first mentioned the principle of plural marriage to me I felt indignant and so expressed myself to him, because my feelings and education were averse to anything [of that] nature. But he assured me that this doctrine had been revealed to him of the Lord, and that I was entitled to receive a testimony of its divine origin for myself. He counselled me to pray to the Lord, which I did, and thereupon received from him a powerful and irresistible testimony of the truthfulness and divinity of plural marriage, which testimony has abided with me ever since [Lucy Walker, Affidavit dated December 17, 1902, MS 3423, CHL; Journal History, May 1, 1843; Joseph Fielding Smith, Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1905), 68–69; Joseph F. Smith affidavit books, 1:66; 4:68].

 

In the year 1842, President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said: “I have a message for you. I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.” My astonishment knew no bounds. This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me. He asked me if I believed him to be a prophet of God. “Most assuredly I do,” I replied. He fully explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage. He said this principle was again to be restored for the benefit of the human family, that it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house, and form a chain that could never be broken, worlds without end. “What have you to say?” he asked. “Nothing.” How could I speak, or what could I say? He said, “If you will pray sincerely for light and understanding in relation thereto, you shall receive a testimony of the correctness of this principle. I thought I prayed sincerely, but was so unwilling to consider the matter favorably that I fear I did not ask in faith for light. Gross darkness instead of light took possession of my mind. I was tempted and tortured beyond endurance until life was not desirable. Oh that the grave would kindly receive me, that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear mother. Why should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father, I am only a child in years and experience, no mother to counsel [she died in January, 1842]; no father near to tell me what to do in this trying hour [he was on a mission to a warmer climate to help his health]. Oh, let this bitter cup pass. And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul.

The Prophet discerned my sorrow. He saw how unhappy I was, and sought an opportunity of again speaking to me on this subject, and said: “Although I cannot, under existing circumstances, acknowledge you as my wife, the time is near when we will go beyond the Rocky Mountains and then you will be acknowledged and honored as my wife.” [Lucy testified in 1892: “Under the circumstances we could not go by his name there … [He said eventually] we could be acknowledged as his wives. … President Smith himself said that day would come. … He proclaimed repeatedly that we would go beyond the mountains.” (deposition, Temple Lot transcript, respondent’s testimony, part 3, page 467, questions 432, 435, 437, 446.)] He also said, “This principle will yet be believed in and practiced by the righteous. I have no flattering words to offer. It is a command of God to you. I will give you until tomorrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.”

This aroused every drop of Scotch in my veins. For a few moments I stood fearless before him, and looked him in the eye. I felt at this moment that I was called to place myself upon the altar a living sacrifice–perhaps to brook the world in disgrace and incur the displeasure and contempt of my youthful companions; all my dreams of happiness blown to the four winds. This was too much, for as yet no shadow had crossed my path, aside from the death of my dear mother. The future to me had been one bright, cloudless day. I had been speechless, but at last found utterance and said: “Although you are a prophet of God you could not induce me to take a step of so great importance, unless I knew that God approved my course. I would rather die. I have tried to pray but received no comfort, no light,” and emphatically forbid him speaking again to me on this subject. Every feeling of my soul revolted against it. Said I, “The same God who has sent this message is the Being I have worshipped from my early childhood and He must manifest His will to me.” He walked across the room, returned and stood before me with the most beautiful expression of countenance, and said: “God Almighty bless you. You shall have a manifestation of the will of God concerning you; a testimony that you can never deny. I will tell you what it shall be. It shall be that joy and peace that you never knew.”

Oh, how earnestly I prayed for these words to be fulfilled. It was near dawn after another sleepless night when my room was lighted up by a heavenly influence. To me it was, in comparison, like the brilliant sun bursting through the darkest cloud. The words of the Prophet were indeed fulfilled. My soul was filled with a calm, sweet peace that “I never knew.” Supreme happiness took possession of me, and I received a powerful and irresistible testimony of the truth of plural marriage, which has been like an anchor to the soul through all the trials of life. I felt that I must go out into the morning air and give vent to the joy and gratitude that filled my soul. As I descended the stairs, President Smith opened the door below, took me by the hand and said: “Thank God, you have the testimony. I too have prayed.” He led me to a chair, placed his hands upon my head, and blessed me with every blessing my heart could possibly desire.

The first day of May, 1843, I consented to become the Prophet’s wife, and was sealed to him for time and all eternity, at his own house by Elder William Clayton [Lyman Omer Littlefield, Reminiscences of Latter-day Saints: Giving an Account of Much Individual Suffering Endured for Religious Conscience (Logan: Utah Journal Co, 1888), 46–48; see also testimony in Andrew Jenson, “Plural Marriage,” Historical Record 6 (July 1887): 229–30].

 

I went to live with Joseph Smith’s family as a maid and after I had grown up, Joseph asked me if I would marry him. I felt highly insulted and he said that if I wanted to know whether the principle was true, I could go to God and find out. One night after supper I went out into the orchard and I kneeled down and prayed to God for information. After praying I arose and walked around the orchard and kneeled again and repeated this during the night. Finally as I was praying the last time, an angel of the Lord appeared to me and told me that the principle was of God and for me to accept it [Untitled typed sheet “The following was given by Judge D. H. Morris of St. George, Utah…” copy in Vesta P. Crawford Collection, Marriott Library, University of Utah, MS 125, bx 1, fd 5].

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