Almera and her family gathered with the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, then Missouri and eventually Macedonia, Illinois, approximately twenty miles east of Nauvoo.  Almera’s brother, Benjamin, had a close association with Joseph Smith and was the agent for church property in Macedonia.

On April 1, 1843, Joseph visited Macedonia and stayed at the Johnson home.  Of the visit, Benjamin recalls, “[One morning Joseph said] ‘Come brother Bennie, let us have a walk’.  [As we walked Joseph explained] that the Lord had revealed to him that plural....marriage was according to His law; [and] had commanded him to obey it...He had Come now to ask me for my Sister Almera - His words astonished me and almost took my breath – I Sat for a time amazed...[I could not] comprehend anything.  I....Said: ‘Brother Joseph This is something I did not Expect...You know whether it is right. I do not. I want to do just as you tell me...But how...Can I teach my Sister what I mySelf do not understand’”.

Joseph told Benjamin to listen to the sermon he would preach that evening, saying it would relate to this doctrine in a way that only Benjamin would understand.  That evening Joseph spoke on the parable of the talents, which in this case Benjamin understood to mean wives: To him who increased his talents, more talents would be given; but to him that had only one, the talent would be taken away (Matthew 25:15).

“To me there was a horror in the idea of speaking to my sister upon such a subject; the thought of which made me sick. I stood before her trembling, my knees shaking; I found powr to open my mouth it was filled...and the subject that had Seemed So dark, now apeared...most lucid & plain”.  However, “her heart was not yet won” so Joseph asked Benjamin to bring Almera to Nauvoo.  “ sister accompanied me to Nauvoo, where at my sister Delcena’s we soon met the Prophet with his brother Hyrum and William Clayton”.  Almera’s sister, Delcena, had married Joseph ten months earlier and was living with another one of Joseph’s wives, Louisa Beaman.  

Hyrum spoke: “I know that Joseph was comanded to take more wives and he waited Untill an Angel with drawn Sword Stood before him and declared that if [he] longer delayed fulfilling that command he would Slay him...The Lord has revealed the principle of plural marriage to me and I know that it is true.  I will have you for a sister, and you will be blest”.  Almera later wrote, “[Hyrum] came to me and said I need not be afraid. I had been fearing and doubting about the principle and so had he, but he now knew it was true.  After this time I lived with the Prophet Joseph as his wife”.

Benjamin recalls the ceremony: “the Prophet with Louisa Beeman and my Sister Delcena had it agreeabley aranged with sister Almara and after a little instruction, She Stood by the Prophets Side & was Sealed to him as a wife by Brother Clayton.  After which the Prophet asked me to take my Sister to ocupy Room No 10 in his Mansion Home dureing her Stay in the City.”  Almera and Benjamin stayed in Nauvoo for three weeks, and then returned to Macedonia.

Three weeks later, Joseph visited his new wife, Almera, in Macedonia.  Describing one aspect of their relationship, Benjamin said, “The Prphet again Came and at my house occupied the Same Room & Bed with my Sister that the month previous he had occupied with the Daughter of the Late Bishop Partridge...”
After Joseph Smith’s death, Almera married Reuben Barton.  Together they had five daughters.  Their third daughter, Lois, was mentally impaired.  Feeling responsible for her child’s condition, “Almera wondered if it was punishment because she remaried”.  In 1860, amid marital discord, Almera and Reuben separated and Almera traveled to Utah, settling in Parowan.  For three more decades she would care for Lois, until they both passed away in the mid 1890’s.


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