In October 1839, twenty-three
year old Olive Frost was living in Dixfield, Maine pursing her interest
as a “tailoress”. In a later biography Olive’s sister, Mary
Ann, wrote, “Elder Duncan McArthur visited that place and preached the
Gospel as taught by the Latter-day Saints, in such plainness that her willing
mind, already prepared by earnest prayer, soon comprehended its vast importance,
and she received it joyfully.”
Mary Ann had joined
the church three years earlier and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. There
she met and married Apostle Parley P. Pratt. In the spring of 1840,
Mary Ann, Parley and their three children left for England on a mission.
They stopped in Maine and persuaded Olive to go with them. Mary Ann
wrote, “[Olive] willingly forsook father and mother, brothers and sisters,
and braved the dangers of the great deep, to aid in spreading the Gospel
in a foreign land. These two sisters were the first missionary women
of this dispensation to cross the sea going and coming. Sister Olive was
not afflicted with seasickness, and was therefore enabled to devote herself
to her sick sister and care of the family”
Their mission complete,
Olive and the Pratts arrived in Nauvoo in April 1843. There, Olive
lived with some old friends from Maine, Patty and David Sessions.
She also socialized with Eliza R. Snow. Both Patty and Eliza had
become wives of Joseph Smith a year earlier and Olive, herself, was soon
introduced to plural marriage. Mary Ann remembers, “She seemed
to realize and appreciate the magnitude of the great and important mission
allotted to woman in the perfect plan of this Gospel dispensation, and
she desired to do her part in the good work. She freely accorded to man
the title of king, and joyfully accepted the place of queen by his side.
It was at this time that the principle of plurality of wives was taught
to her. She never opposed it, and, as in the case of baptism, soon accepted
it to be her creed, in practice as well as in theory. She was married
for time and all eternity to Joseph Smith...”
About the same time
as her marriage to Joseph, Olive joined and participated in the Relief
Society women’s organization. Said Mary Ann, “She was very zealous
in soliciting aid for and in visiting those who were needy and in distress.
Her heart was always tender towards suffering of every kind, and it gave
her unbounded joy and satisfaction to be able to relieve it.”
After a year of marriage,
Olive lost her husband, when Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage.
The writings of Nauvoo resident, Ettie Smith, indicate the strong attachment
Olive must have had for Joseph, “When the dead bodies arrived at Nauvoo,
the spiritual wives of the late prophet, before unknown with certainty,
now disclosed by cries, and a general uproar, their secret acceptance of
the new doctrine. One of them, Olive Frost, went entirely mad...”
Olive lived in Nauvoo
for another year, until she became ill and died on October 6, 1845.