Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lazy Day and Love, Emma

Today was one of those days where I really did not feel like being social. I stayed in my room for most of the day, avoiding almost everyone. Last night was fun, but I was a bit worn out. I decided to rest for a day from being social as I found myself rather tired. I went to sleep last night around 3:30 and got up at 11:30, waking up briefly at 5:30 for no apparent reason. I hope to be able to sleep better tonight. I feel quite a bit more ready to sleep.

I did my laundry, tried to do some homework, listened to my loud apartment with S's g.f. here. She is quite loud. Nice but loud. Very loud. They were watching the football game. I showered after a little bit and kept working on my homework, chatting on Facebook, and listening to Legally Blonde and the Emma Smith video repeatedly.

I love Emma. I really do. I don't know why I feel this connection to her that has grown even stronger since I came to BYU. I feel more connected to her than Joseph somehow. Don't get me wrong, I love Joseph and I have a very deep (read very again) connection with him, but on an indescribable level, I feel like a bit more like an Emma. I think it is because I connect with her emotional loss and her decision to not move west. I mean if I were in her position, I don't know what I would have done. Many think Emma didn't follow Brigham because she had apostatized. I really am much more sympathetic to her plight. She had lost so many children, her husband, her whole family. She saw a whole course of struggles that we cannot imagine. She didn't really give up, in my humble opinion. She took care of Lucy Mack. She raised Bidamon's illegitimate child. I tend to think that, as Emma Smith: My Story says, "Strength isn't something you have, it's something you find." I think too often I find myself wondering where Emma's strength went rather than pondering and reflecting on how how perhaps her staying out of the Church was necessary. Brigham Young was not complementary to Emma in the least bit. This does not diminish his role as the prophetic leader of the Church. Brigham just did not get along with Emma, as can be seen from the following quotes.

..."To my certain knowledge, Emma Smith is one of the damnedest liars I know of on this earth; yet there is no good thing I would refuse to do for her, if she would only be a righteous woman; but she will continue in her wickedness. Not six months before the death of Joseph, he called his wife Emma into a secret council, and there he told her the truth, and called upon her to deny it if she could. He told her that the judgments of God would come upon her forthwith if she did not repent. He told her of the time she undertook to poison him, and he told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told here where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he 'You got that poison from so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me.' When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. he spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses of this scene all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him. [Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 48, Winter 1980, 82]

Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, if he had to go to hell for her, and he will have to go to hell for her as sure as he ever gets her. (Journal of Discourses Vol. 17)

Someday I want to meet Brother Brigham. I want to shake his hand and hear his voice. I think he was a hothead, yes. But was he a prophet too. Yes. That's the thing that's so great about Mormonism is that prophets are people too. They make mistakes. God doesn't use perfect instruments. He uses ones with cracks and jagged edges that are not fully in tune. But through Him, they become more perfect. They become more open to the response to the Divine. I see this as a pattern.

We are not a perfect Church. Yet. But we are getting there. Give us some time. I am trying to be like Jesus too. I don't want to hurt people who are different. I want to walk with those who walk differently, talk with those who talk differently. That's my goal. Perhaps that's what my study of Emma is about. She was an example of virtue. She may have had her flaws. She may have wondered about plural marriage. She may have even "apostatized" in the eyes of some. But that doesn't diminish her virtue, her goodness. She tried to show love to everyone, even her 2nd husband, who cheated on her and had a child. Emma to me is a reflection of human nature. We try so hard. We try so hard. We really do. But we often fail. Emma tried throughout her life to gain her Heavenly Father's blessings. And in the end somehow I think she did.

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