ZINA HUNTINGTON JACOBS
In 1839, the Huntington
family arrived in Nauvoo, along with daughter, Zina. Within months,
Zina’s Mother died from the malaria epidemic which claimed the lives of
many of the early Nauvoo settlers. About this same time, Zina met
and was courted by Henry B. Jacobs, a handsome and talented musician.
Sometime during Henry’s courtship of Zina, Joseph Smith explained to Zina
the “principle of plural marriage” and asked her to become one of
his wives. Zina remembers the conflict she felt about Joseph’s proposal,
and her budding relationship with Henry: “O dear Heaven, grant me wisdom!
Help me to know the way. O Lord, my god, let thy will be done and
with thine arm around about to guide, shield and direct...” Zina
declined Joseph’s proposal and chose to marry Henry. They were married
on March 7, 1841.
Zina later wrote, that
within months of her marriage to Henry, “[Joseph] sent word to me by
my brother, saying, ‘Tell Zina, I put it off and put it off till an angel
with a drawn sword stood by me and told me if I did not establish that
principle upon the earth I would lose my position and my life’”.
Joseph further explained that, “the Lord had made it known to him she
was to be his celestial wife.”
Zina chose to obey
this commandment and married Joseph on October 27. She later recalled,
“When I heard that God had revealed the law of celestial marriag...I
obtained a testimony for myself that God had required that order to be
established in this church...I made a greater sacrifise than to give my
life for I never anticipated again to be looked upon as an honerable woman
by those I dearly loved...”. Zina continued, “It was something
too sacred to be talked about; it was more to me than life or death. I
never breathed it for years”.
Zina’s first husband,
Henry, was aware of this wedding and they continued to live in the same
home. He believed that “whatever the Prophet did was right, without
making the wisdom of God’s authorities bend to the reasoning of any man.”
Over the next few years, Henry was sent on several missions to Chicago,
Western New York and Tennessee. Henry missed his family and wrote
home often. One of Henry’s missionary companions, John D. Lee, said,
“Jacobs was bragging about his wife and two children, what a true, virtuous,
lovely woman she was. He almost worshiped her...”.
Shortly after Joseph
Smith’s death in 1844, Zina married Brigham Young. In May of 1846,
Henry was sent on a mission to England. In Henry’s absence, Zina
began to live openly as Brigham’s wife and remained so throughout her life
in Utah. Henry seemed to struggle with this arrangement and later
wrote to Zina, “...the same affection is there...But I feel alone...I
do not Blame Eny person...may the Lord our Father bless Brother Brigham...all
is right according to the Law of the Celestial Kingdom of our God Joseph.”