Sarah Ann Whitney married Joseph Smith in a private ceremony during July of 1842.  A revelation through Joseph Smith to Sarah Ann’s father authorized the union: “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant N.K. Whitney, the thing that my servant Joseph Smith has made known unto you and your family and which you have agreed upon is right in mine eyes and shall be rewarded upon your heads with honor and immortality and eternal life to all your house, both old and young...”  Sarah Ann’s Mother, Elizabeth wrote, “we were convinced in our own minds that God...approved...we were willing to give our eldest daughter, then only seventeen years of age, to Joseph, in...plural marriage”.

Her father, Newel K. Whitney, performed the ceremony:  “You both mutually agree to be each other’s companion so long as you both shall live, preserving yourselves for each other and from all others and also throughout all eternity, reserving only those rights which have been given to my servant Joseph by revelation...If you both agree to covenant and do this, I then give you, S.A. Whitney, my daughter, to Joseph Smith, to be his wife, to observe all the rights between you both that belong to that condition...”

About the time of the marriage, Joseph sent Sarah Ann’s brother, Horace, on a mission.  Helen Mar Kimball, another one of Joseph’s plural wives, wrote, “But Joseph feared to disclose it, believing that [others] would embitter Horace against him...and for this reason he favored his going East”. 

On August 18th, several weeks after the marriage, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to his new bride and her parents.  He was hiding from the law at a home on the outskirts of Nauvoo:  “ feelings are so strong for you since what has passed lately between seems, as if I could not live long in this way; and if you three would come and see would afford me great relief...I know it is the will of God that you should comfort me now in this time of affliction...the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty...burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts...You will pardon me for my earnestness on this subject when you consider how lonesome I must be...I think emma wont come tonight if she dont dont fail to come tonight...”

In April of the following year, Sarah Ann publicly married Joseph C. Kingsbury.  Kingsbury said of this marriage:  “…according to President Joseph Smith[s] Council & others [I] agread to Stand by Sarah Ann Whitney as Supposed to be her husband & had a pretended marriage for the purpose of Bringing about the purposes of God in these last days...”.

After Joseph Smith’s death, Sarah Ann married Apostle Heber C. Kimball, becoming one of his thirty-nine wives.  This essentially ended her faux marriage with Kingsbury.


[Home page]