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.”


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