Saturday, February 17, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter XXVI-D - Winter Quarters

Trivia - The cemetery on the bluff is still there, and the statue "Tragedy at Winter Quarters" stands on the third to fifth graves in the sixth and seventh rows of the old cemetery []. Lucy's grave is located at the foot of the plaque listing the names of those known to be buried in the cemetery.

Hyrum's widow, Mary Fielding, was the only adult amongst Joseph Smith's parents, siblings, and in-laws to leave Nauvoo and join with the Saints in Utah. Her son and grandson would each become Prophet and lead the 'Utah' church. I've portrayed the events of the night Jonathan helped moved the bodies of Hyrum and Joseph as documented by Susa Y. Gates. Except I don't know that Joseph suffered recurring nightmares as a result of what he saw that morning [].


Pat said...

Always lovely to open my e-mail and find a new chapter, even though they are coming less frequently, they are rich and very interesting. By the way, is the idea that Emma had an interest in Hyrum purely speculative or do you have some documentation?

daughterofheaven said...

It's the revelation (132) and the fact that after Joseph died no one came to Emma's side. And the fact that she acted really rather strangely in the matter of moving Hyrum to her garden without letting Mary Fielding know. I originally had Elvira think that this was just speculation, but it didn't scan.

daughterofheaven said...

WBS told me he mostly liked the chapters (he read from "Proxies" through "The Old Fort" today). There were a few places he would like more insight into what Elvira is thinking, but there was page after page where he hadn't scribbled anything (yeah!).

In this chapter by the discussion of Emma and Hyrum, WBS wrote "YUCK!" Didn't feel it was worthy of Emma. Also, he was looking for more discussion of why Emma would have done that to Mary.

Since WBS didn't get this via e-mail, he didn't know Lucy was going to die. So it took him completely by surprise and made him cry.

jl said...

I read the others' comments for the past three chapters. Like many comments made, I too really enjoy your writing. Also like the previous comments, I was taken aback by the whole Emma - Hyrum speculation. My first thought was that Emma is/was such a great woman, she would never do that. How could that even be considered? (I admit that my knowledge of church history is limited and I do not know much about the character of individual church members other than from talks and lessons at church.) Then I got to thinking: Emma is/was human too. She knew her husband was going to live a short life. She had the knowledge that she would marry another. It does not seem so "far fetched" to think that she might have been considering another. With that said, I was still rather shocked to read the implications.

One thing your book is opening my eyes to is the fact that Church history happened for real, with real people. This does not diminish their greatness or the reverence I have for the early leaders and members of the church. I see that they are real people with carnal tendencies, that they were striving for the same thing we are striving for - Eternal Salvation, despite being "of the flesh."

ktb said...

The depth of this chapter is outstanding, so many emotions, and so much relating back to previous chapters now - building on what is already known. I like that you take the time to bring Eliza Partridge back into the story as the now mature women instead of the haughty girl who only thought of herself and her position. I now regret my poor impressions of her that I had so many chapters back. It is sad what she has gone through, but it seems that for many, myself included, we have to crash against the rocks before emerging humbled, realizing the importance of caring for and being empathetic with others.

daughterofheaven said...

Here's a rewrite of the section where Mary and Elvira talk - hopefully this is a bit less shocking.

"Emma... would have left me to continue pouring my heart out in an empty basement to an empty grave, never knowing they had been moved.” Mary’s looked skywards and her anger turned to anguish. “Why did she take them both? Why did it serve her to take my husband into her private garden without telling me?”

Elvira didn’t dare reach out to comfort Mary. She waited, trying to compose her thoughts. Emma expected to become Hyrum’s wife when Joseph died. The certainty came to Elvira unbidden. She remembered the words Emma had spoken when she lay fasting for those three days, when Joseph had told her she would have to marry another man while he still lived. “The one man I have wished I could have married rather than Joseph, when times have been dark... He offered me freedom from the constant agony that it is to stand at his side, and told me to accept the very man who has been the secret longing of my heart.” Elvira hadn’t wondered who that man was, it was none of her business. But after Joseph’s death, Emma had not reached out to any of the men who had been near Joseph, one of whom might have been her secret beloved. Because the other man she loved was also dead. She thought to Emma’s words in the garden the day after Jonathan and the others had moved the bodies, ‘I miss him so much.’ Elvira was sure Emma was talking of Joseph. But why did she move both brothers and try to hide the fact from Mary? Elvira wished she didn’t know anything. There would be no comfort for Mary in this answer to why Emma may have behaved as she did.

“Mary. I honestly didn’t know where Jonathan was that night..."

Pat said...

I think that a common misconception of God is that he is essentially quite passive, acting only when great faith or necessity requires his interference. Yet in the story of Joseph Smith and Emma and many of those associated with them we see the same God who worked with Abraham and Joseph son of Jacob, and for that matter, with Jacob himself, and first of all with Adam and Eve who had to engage a paradox to move forward. It does seem 'yucky' to think of a diety who would ask such 'improper' things as tests of faith, yet what could be more 'yucky' than the sacrifice of a child? God's dealings with us remind me of a baker kneading, pounding and pulling at a lump of dough to develop the gluten and refine and spread the yeast and gassy bubbles it produces, or a silversmith refining the metal with borax and heating it until it glows nearly white. He does it for our good, but it is highly innovative, never quite the same scenario, and always difficult for the subject of the kneading, the impossible test of faith and refining fire. I think you have made a case for Emma's push/pull affection for Hyrum, but she might have buried them together because as someone said in essence "In life they were not separated and in death they were not divided." How could she transfer Joseph's body to evade the possibility of grave robbing and not transfer Hyrums remains as well?

daughterofheaven said...

I was talking with someone whose daughter was murdered, and she mentioned how angry and upset she is - her body reflects these feelings even though her mind knows all the 'right' things. It has been well over a year, and still she has a hard time dealing with any stress. Gave me an alternate perspective on Emma and Mary, so I'll modify this portion yet again. I think the anger that one experiences in the aftermath of such violence could account for much of what happened.

It could be that Don Carlos' grave was disturbed because the original intent was to move all three brothers together.


About Me

Mother, Physicist, Manager, Author, Genealogist