Emma’s Faith: A Letter to Her Husband

handwritten documents

Despite hard trials and difficult separations from her husband, Emma Smith remained faithful to the Lord. It is well known that Emma Smith was the wife of Joseph Smith, the first president of the Relief Society, and the compiler of the first LDS hymnbook. Yet we don’t often hear her words directly. In… Continue reading

The First Mormon Government: The Council of Fifty

desk with quill and paper

Before Joseph Smith ran for US president, he established an organization in Nauvoo to govern the temporal concerns of the Saints. He called the group “the Council of Fifty.”  I remember the first time I learned about Joseph Smith’s seer stones, polygamous relationships, and other uncomfortable tidbits of Mormon history. I… Continue reading

Sally Randall’s Letters from Nauvoo

Drawing of Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail

Joseph Smith’s death was a heartrending event in Church history. In her letters home, Sally Randall shares her faith-filled perspective of the tragedy. The martyrdom of Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844, was unjust and abhorrent. However, many early Saints did not let Joseph’s death shake their faith. Sally Randall, a woman… Continue reading

Louisa Barnes Pratt: Early Sister Missionary in French Polynesia

tropical flowers

Louisa Barnes Pratt served as one of the first sister missionaries of the Church in French Polynesia.  While her husband was serving a mission in the Society Islands in French Polynesia, Louisa Barnes Pratt was called to join him there as a missionary—along with their four daughters. After receiving the… Continue reading

Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones: Coming to Grips with Troubling Information in Church History

sketch of Joseph Smith showing the golden plates to a group of men

Paradigm shifts can rock our world, but they can also bring greater understanding. Before 1697, Westerners believed the idiom “all swans are white.” But when a Dutch explorer discovered a black swan in Australia, his discovery “instantly demolished an apparent reality while also enabling a new, more informed state of… Continue reading

New Perspectives: Women in Church History

young woman talking and smiling with an older woman

Women throughout the Church’s history have shared new perspectives that we can benefit from today. When we explore the unique voices of women throughout history, we can increase our understanding and change our perceptions. What happens when this refreshing outlook is explored in the context of Church history? In the… Continue reading

Coming to Terms with Polygamy

How can we come to terms with issues like polygamy in the early Church when we do not understand all of God’s reasons for them?   When an angel asked Nephi about a vision he received, Nephi responded, “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know… Continue reading

Joseph Smith’s Patriarchal Blessing

The patriarchal blessing that Joseph Smith received from his father helps us understand that no matter who you are or what you’re called to do, your most important title will always be “child of God.” Joseph Smith Jr. was a prophet, seer, and revelator; a religious and political leader; and… Continue reading

Orson Hyde: Extending an Olive Branch in Israel

Read the legacy of a disfellowshipped apostle who later became one of the greatest global missionaries in the history of the Church. The experience of Orson Hyde (1805–78) with the LDS Church began when he openly preached against what many disapproving nineteenth-century Protestants called “the Golden Bible.” According to an… Continue reading

Persecution, Faith, and a Gold Bead

gold beads in a hand

Sometimes the smallest objects can symbolize the greatest faith.   In the Church’s early days, Joseph Smith and his family faced nearly constant persecution. An article by Heidi Bennett on the Church history website shares one story that demonstrates their courage despite enormous pressures to deny the gospel.   One… Continue reading