Question: Since first wives were generally to grant permission for sealings to subsequent wives, did Joseph's later sealing to Emma mean that Emma no longer held the role of "first wife"?

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Question: Since first wives were generally to grant permission for sealings to subsequent wives, did Joseph's later sealing to Emma mean that Emma no longer held the role of "first wife"?

If the wife of the person who holds the keys to plural marriage rejects plural marriage, her husband is to follow the commands of God to him without her permission

Joseph's revelation in D&C 132 explicitly states that if the wife of the person who holds the keys to plural marriage rejects plural marriage, her husband is to follow the commands of God to him without her permission.


See also Brian Hales' discussion: Emma's path through plural marriage
Sometime in 1840 Joseph Smith first broached the topic of plural marriage privately to trusted friends. Most of the apostles were in England and thus were unavailable for an introduction to the practice. (Link)
Emma and Fanny Alger
Joseph's first foray into plural marriage was deeply painful for Emma, his first wife. (Link)
When did Emma learn?
It is impossible to definitively determine when Emma learned of Joseph’s plural marriages. However, many historical clues help to create a possible timeline. (Link)
Emma Accepts Plural Marriage and Participates in Four of Joseph’s Plural Sealings
The earliest documentable date for Emma’s awareness of time-and-eternity plural marriage is May of 1843, when she participated in four of her husband’s polygamous sealings. (Link)
Emma’s Resistance Prompts recording of D&C 132
Emma’s resistance to plural marriage prompted Hyrum to encourage Joseph to dictate a written revelation on the subject. (Link)
Joseph and Emma: Conflict and Agreement
Rather than generating Emma’s active support, the revelation [D&C 132] appears to have brought a smoldering crisis to flame. She and Joseph took serious counsel together with some sort of agreement being negotiated. (Link)

To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes