In 1843 Apostle Heber C. Kimball had an important talk with his only daughter, fourteen-year-old Helen Mar.  She wrote: “Without any preliminaries [my Father] asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives...The first impulse was anger...my sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure; for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, ‘No I wouldn’t!’...This was the first time that I ever openly manifested anger towards him...Then he commenced talking seriously and reasoned and explained the principle, and why it was again to be established upon the earth. [This] had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake.” 

Then father “asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph...[and] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours...I was sceptical-one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.”  Unknown to Helen Mar, Heber and Joseph had already discussed the prospect of Helen Mar becoming one of Joseph’s wives.  Heber now sought her agreement.  Helen recalls, “Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter”

The next morning Joseph visited the Kimball home.  "[He explained] the principle of Celestial marrage...After which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God & his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart-when Joseph asked her if she was willing...She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking, & to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come...; but it was all hidden from me.”  Helen’s mother reluctantly agreed and in May of 1843, Helen married Joseph Smith.

During the winter of 1843-44, there were weekly parties at Joseph Smith’s Mansion House.  Many of Helen’s friends attended, as well as her sixteen-year-old brother William.  Disappointed, Helen wrote, “my father had been warned by the Prophet to keep his daughter away...I felt quite sore over it, and thought it a very unkind act in father to allow [William] to go and enjoy the dance unrestrained with others of my companions, and fettered me down, for no girl loved dancing better than I did...and like a wild bird I longed for the freedom that was denied me; and thought myself  an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur.”

In June 1844, Heber was away from home on a mission and wrote to Helen: “MY DEAR DAUGHTER-...be obedient to the counsel you have given to you...If you should be tempted, or having feelings in your heart, tell them to no one but your father and mother; if you do, you will be betrayed and exposed...You are blessed, but you know it not. You have done that which will be for your everlasting good for this world and that which is to come. I will admit there is not much pleasure in this world...Be true to the covenants that you have made...Be a good girl;...your affectionate father.”  A few weeks later Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage.  After one year of marriage, Helen was a widow. 

Helen’s father would eventually marry thirty-nine wives.  She wrote, “I had, in hours of temptation when seeing the trials of my mother, felt to rebel.  I hated polygamy in my heart.”  Helen later fell victim to a prolonged illness: “For three months I lay a portion of the time like one dead...I tasted of the punishment which is prepared for those who reject any of the principles of this Gospel.”  Eventually she was converted to polygamy and recovered from her illness, “I fasted for one week, and every day I gained until I had won the victory...I learned that plural marriage is a celestial principle, and saw... the necessity of obedience to those who hold the priesthood, and the danger of rebelling against or speaking lightly of the Lord’s annointed”.  Helen later summarized her experience with plural marriage in a poem: 

     I thought through this life my time will be my own
     The step I now am taking’s for eternity alone,
     No one need be the wiser, through time I shall be free,
     And as the past hath been the future still will be.
     To my guileless heart all free from worldly care
     And full of blissful hopes and youthful visions rare
     The world seamed bright the thret’ning clouds were kept
     From sight and all looked fair...

          ...but pitying angels wept.
     They saw my youthful friends grow shy and cold.
     And poisonous darts from sland’rous tongues were hurled,
     Untutor’d heart in thy gen’rous sacrafise,
     Thou dids’t not weigh the cost nor know the bitter price;
     Thy happy dreams all o’er thou’st doom’d also to be
     Bar’d out from social scenes by this thy destiny,
     And o’er thy sad’nd mem’ries of sweet departed joys
     Thy sicken’d heart will brood and imagine future woes,
     And like a fetter’d bird with wild and longing heart,
     Thou’lt dayly pine for freedom and murmor at thy lot;

     But could’st thou see the future & view that glorious crown, 
     Awaiting you in Heaven you would not weep nor mourn.
     Pure and exalted was thy father’s aim, he saw
     A glory in obeying this high celestial law,
     For to thousands who’ve died without the light
     I will bring eternal joy & make thy crown more bright.
     I’d been taught to reveire the Prophet of God
     And receive every word as the word of the Lord,
     But had this not come through my dear father’s mouth,
     I should ne’r have received it as God’s sacred truth.

                                                             Helen Mar Kimball


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