Do we have any record of the spiritual experiences that Emma Smith (wife of the prophet Joseph Smith) may have had? Any written record of her own personal testimony of the truth of this work? We know she was true and faithful to Joseph, and mostly supported him. But did she have her own testimony? Seems like she has gotten a bad rap by history because of all the difficulties she had.
You are absolutely correct. Emma did seem to get a bad rap in history. Most of that had to do with the decisions she made to remain in the east instead of following the Saints west. However, that decision in no way is a reflection of the testimony that she had regarding her husband as a Prophet or in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Not a lot is found on the actual testimony of Emma Hale Smith. I have been able to find a couple of articles that show and reflect the testimony she did have.
Prior to Joseph being taken to Carthage, Emma had requested a blessing from her husband. Because time and opportunity wasn’t there, Joseph suggested that Emma write out a blessing and he would sign it upon his return. The words she wrote do show a testimony that God does have a hand in all things and she wanted nothing more than to be able to acknowledge that.
Blessing that Emma wrote for herself
“First of all that I would crave as the richest of heaven’s blessings would be wisdom from my Heavenly Father bestowed daily, so that whatever I might do or say, I could not look back at the close of the day with regret, nor neglect the performance of any act that would bring a blessing. I desire the Spirit of God to know and understand myself, that I desire a fruitful, active mind, that I may be able to comprehend the designs of God, when revealed through his servants without doubting. I desire a spirit of discernment, which is one of the promised blessings of the Holy Ghost.
“I particularly desire wisdom to bring up all the children that are, or may be committed to my charge, in such a manner that they will be useful ornaments in the Kingdom of God, and in a coming day arise up and call me blessed.
“I desire prudence that I may not through ambition abuse my body and cause it to become prematurely old and care-worn, but that I may wear a cheerful countenance, live to perform all the work that I covenanted to perform in the spirit-world and be a blessing to all who may in any wise need aught at my hands.
“I desire with all my heart to honor and respect my husband as my head, ever to live in his confidence and by acting in unison with him retain the place which God has given me by his side, and I ask my Heavenly Father that through humility, I may be enabled to overcome that curse which was pronounced upon the daughters of Eve. I desire to see that I may rejoice with them in the blessings which God has in store for all who are willing to be obedient to his requirements. Finally, I desire that whatever may be my lot through life I may be enabled to acknowledge the hand of God in all things.”
Unfortunately, Joseph was never able to sign that blessing but we can see such strength in Emma’s words and perhaps a premonition of the things that were going to be coming to pass.
Emma’s testimony of the book of Mormon and the restoration
In the Relief Society Minutes of March 1844 Emma said this:
“If he [Joseph Smith] was a prophet, which he is, … ,”
Later when speaking to Parley P. Pratt in Nauvoo she had this to say:
“I believe he [Joseph] was everything he professed to be.”
In an interview with her sons a few months before she died, Emma did bear her testimony to them:
“My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity. I have not the slightest doubt of it. … Though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates … and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder,’ as much as to anyone else.” Describing her experience, she said: “The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth which I had given him [Joseph] to fold them in. I once felt the plates as they lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.” She also testified, “I know Mormonism to be the truth; and believe the church to have been established by divine direction.”
Whatever decisions she made after her beloved Joseph died, she never lost her testimony of the church and the divine restoration of it.