Joseph Smith/Polygamy/Plural wives/Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner

Table of Contents

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner

Summary: Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner was among the earliest converts to the Church. She had married Adam Lightner on 11 August 1835.....Later in life, Mary reported that at age twelve, Joseph Smith "told me [in 1831] about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife."....Mary described how "[t]he Prophet Joseph tried hard to get Mr. Lightner to go into the water, but he said he did not feel worthy, but would, some other time. Joseph said to me that he never would be baptized, unless it was a few moments before he died." Despite not being a member, Lightner was a loyal friend to the Saints and to Joseph, and died in Utah. Of her sealing to Joseph, Mary wrote: "I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Things the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with.”

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner as a polyandrous wife of Joseph Smith

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner very unlikely to have had children fathered by Joseph

Summary: Even by the turn of the century, the LDS Church had no solid evidence of children by Joseph. "I knew he had three children," said Mary Elizabeth Lightner, "They told me. I think two of them are living today but they are not known as his children as they go by other names."[54] Again, evidence for children is frustratingly vague—Lightner had only heard rumours, and could not provide any details. It would seem to me, however, that this remark of Lightner's rules out her children as possible offspring of Joseph. Her audience was clearly interested in Joseph having children, and she was happy to assert that such children existed. If her own children qualified, why did she not mention them?

Joseph Smith's Polygamy: "Mary Elizabeth Rollins", by Brian C. Hales


(Click here for full article)

Joseph Smith's Polygamy: "After Louisa Beaman, Joseph Smith Seeks Almost Exclusively “Eternity Only” Sealings", by Brian C. Hales


(Click here for full article)

Question: What did the husband of Mary Elizabeth Rollins know about her sealing to Joseph Smith for eternity?

Mary did not proceed with the sealing to Joseph until she had given up attempting to persuade her husband Adam to join the Church

Mary Elizabeth Rollins was married to a non-Mormon, Adam Lightner. Mary did not proceed with the sealing to Joseph until she had given up attempting to persuade her husband Adam to join:

My husband did not belong to the Church. I begged him and pled with him to join but he would not. He said he did not believe in it, though he thought a great deal of Joseph. He sacrificed his property rather than testify against Joseph, Hyrum and George A. Smith. After he said this, I went forward and was sealed to Joseph for eternity. [1]

After being sealed to Joseph, Mary continued to live with her husband Adam until his death in 1885

After being sealed to Joseph, Mary continued to live with her husband Adam until his death in 1885. Although this particular statement, and the evidence that she continued to live with her husband until his death, indicates a sealing for eternity only, on other occasions Mary actually referred to being sealed to Joseph for "time and eternity." Joseph also told her that she was to be sealed to him for eternity, and she initially resisted the idea until she received an angelic visitation and confirmation.

A biography of Mary Elizabeth Rollins may be viewed on Brian and Laura Hales' website "josephsmithspolygamy.org". off-site
  1. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, “Remarks” at B.Y.U April 14, 1905, copy of original signed typescript, Vault Mss 363, fd 6, HBLL, BYU, 7.