Emma Protected Scripture
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“Emma Protected Scripture,” Liahona, March 2021

Early Women of the Restoration

Emma Protected Scripture

Like Emma Smith, we can honor the scriptures and courageously defend truth.

Emma Protected Scriptures

Illustration by Toni Oka

Just after midnight on September 22, 1827, a carriage quietly bumped along the countryside near Manchester, New York, USA. Joseph and Emma Smith were heading to a hill where an ancient record, written on gold plates, waited for them. An angel named Moroni had told Joseph to bring the right person with him to get the record. Through personal revelation, Joseph knew that his wife, Emma, was that person.

Emma waited as her husband-prophet received the plates and then hid them in a hollow log. The sun began to rise as the couple returned home.

The next day, Emma heard from Joseph Smith Sr. that a group of men were plotting to steal the gold plates. Taking a spare horse, she rode more than an hour to warn Joseph, who was able to secure the plates in a locked box.

This was not the only time Emma protected priceless scripture. On the couple’s journey to Pennsylvania, she helped hide the plates in a barrel of beans. During the translation process, Emma gave Joseph a linen cloth to cover the plates as they sat on a kitchen table during the day and bought a red leather box for the written paper manuscripts. She also asked her brother-in-law for a box, which she and Joseph kept under their bed and where the plates were locked each night. Several years later, Emma protected the manuscript of the Prophet’s translation of the Bible, carrying it under her skirt while crossing the frozen Mississippi River.

In addition to protecting scriptures, Emma helped with the translation of the Book of Mormon. She was Joseph’s first scribe—carefully writing down verses we use today. She sewed a pouch for a seer stone Joseph sometimes used to translate.

At the end of her life, Emma remembered the role she played in helping share these scriptures with the world. “I was an active participant,” she said. She testified that Joseph was a prophet of the Restoration and that the Book of Mormon was “a marvel and a wonder.”1


  1. “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, Oct. 1, 1879, 290.