Mormon Enigma

Emma Hale SmithSecond Edition

Author: Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery
Paper – $23.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1994
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About the Book

Mormon Enigma is the bestselling biography of Emma Hale Smith, wife of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. It was Joseph Smith who announced that an angel of the Lord had commanded him to introduce a 'new order of marriage.' And it was Emma Hale Smith who confronted the practice of polygamy head on.

As the authors note in their 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."



"One of the great biographies in Mormon and nineteenth-century American literature. A model of honesty, clarity, and fairness."--Leonard J. Arrington, coauthor of The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints

"Not only Mormons, but all those concerned with the role of women in religion and society will find this book of exceptional interest. Skillfully and engagingly, yet with scrupulous fidelity to their exhaustive research, the authors tell the complex story of Emma smith. This is a remarkable book about a remarkable woman."--Lawrence Foster, author of Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community

"Provides a heretofore unavailable and sustained and well-rounded picture of the early history of Mormonism from a feminine point of view. . . . The book is marvelous. It will be the standard work on Emma from this point on."--Jan Shipps, author of Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition


Winner of the Evans Biography Award, the Mormon History Association Best Book Award, and the John Whitmer Association (RLDS) Best Book Award