Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Emma, Woman of Faith

Emma, Woman of Faith

Featured Song: “Love, Emma,” by Patti-Lynn Jensen

Spending my life devoted to writing fiction, I never anticipated actually writing a book about a real person, especially someone as incredibly remarkable as Emma Smith. While I’ve always held an admiration for her, I really did not see this coming. This book was written at the request of the Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale Smith Historical Society. It was done as a kind of sister project to the film “Emma Smith, My Story.” The purpose of these projects, and many others, is to set the record straight on behalf of Emma. There have been many myths and misconceptions about Emma, and also many quotes and situations that have been taken out of context and distorted. It was an incredible experience to work with historians who have worked very hard to uncover the documented truth about Emma, and separate it from the hearsay and word of mouth.

I could write pages and pages about the things I learned about Emma and my feelings for her and the life she lived, but it would pretty much miss the point. I could also write pages about the great experiences and opportunities I had while writing the book and becoming involved in the making of the film. I think it’s best to let the book speak for itself, and to simply say that I cannot express the gratitude I feel for being given such a privilege as this.

I’ve been asked many times about the accuracy of this book. It’s technically called a novel because I get into the head of Emma and write her thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. Therefore, it’s officially a novelized version of the story. However, I worked with Gracia Jones, a great-granddaughter of Joseph and Emma who has devoted her life to finding out and writing about them accurately. I’m no historian, but Gracia guided me and read through the manuscript twice. We tried to make the book as historically accurate as possible. As for the emotional aspect of the story, I can only say that I came to know beyond any doubt that my Heavenly Father wanted me to write this book, and that I would be guided through spiritual means to write it in a way that would honor Emma accurately. The scenes may not have played out exactly as they’re written, but I did my best to write them in a way that would have been accurate to her feelings and perceptions. Through studying her life and prayerfully dedicating myself to the project, I gained an amazing perception of her character and the kind of person that she was, and is today. I honor her as an elect lady, then and now.

I would like to ask for your prayers on behalf of the descendants of Joseph and Emma, most of whom are not members of the Church. It’s a sick irony, in my opinion, that their family would be denied the blessings of the gospel that Joseph gave his life for. Many wonderful things are happening in the family today, but they certainly could use our prayers.

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