Photo courtesy of Community of Christ Archives

Emma Smith Bidamon (1804-1879)

Fiercely devoted to family, Emma Smith Bidamon witnessed the beginning of both the Restoration and the Reorganization. Although her life was not free of challenges, Emma met each one with determination, courage, and integrity. When her husband, Joseph, began a new church in 1830, her steady presence offered him comfort. Many years later, she would offer similar support and encouragement to her son, Joseph Smith III, as he chose to lead the Reorganization. Unafraid to speak up on important matters, the "Elect Lady" took a leading role in the early church by compiling hymns into a hymnal in 1835 and later leading the Women's Relig Society. Emma did her best to offer her children a stable home amid chaos following her husband's death in 1844. Eventually she made a permanent residence in Nauvoo, Illinois, earned money by managing a hotel, and remarried. Her boundless generosity and commitment to living a Christian life impacted the entire neighborhood as she opened her doors and shared her story with friends, family, and strangers alike.