1: Where is your place of residence Mrs. Willes?
2: Where did you reside before moving to Lehi?
I was here in Salt Lake.
3: Where did you reside prior to your coming to Salt Lake?
I resided in Nauvoo.
4: In Nauvoo, Illinois?
5: When did you come here to Salt Lake?
I came here the same time that Brigham Young came through here to settle the valley. I came with the emigrants at that time.
6: What year was that?
That was in 1848.
7: Will you state to the reporter, what church, if any you are a member of?
Of the church of Latter Day Saints.
8: Is that the full title of the church of which you belong?
It is the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
9: Will you state to the reporter about what time you became a member of that church?
Well it was, – now let me see, – It was when I was fourteen years old, and now I am sisty-eight, and you can reckon back yourself and see how old I was. It is over fifty years some wheres, – not far from fifty-four years ago since I became a member of this church, and I have belonged to it ever since. I joined the church about fifty-four years ago, and I have been with it ever since that time.
10: Now you say you resided at Nauvoo?
11: How long did you reside at Nauvoo?
Well we were there a number of years. I can’t state exactly how long we were there. We were there in Nauvoo about 1846 I think as near as I can come at it.
12: Will you state to the reporter what you know, if any thing, in regard to the prilciple of plural wives, or plural marriage, or what is generally called polygamy, being taught, or practiced in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Nauvoo, during the life-time of Joseph Smith?
13: Yes ma’am?
Well I know that I was taught the principle of plural marriage by the prophet Joseph Smith myself I know he taught it to me himself and I was married to him in Nauvoo in 1843 myself.
14: Will you state to the reporter the facts in regard to your marriage with Joseph Smith or to Joseph Smith?
Well I will state it that I was married to him in Nauvoo.
15: Well what I mean is, who performed the ceremony?
16: Hyrum Smith performed the ceremony?
17: I will ask you Mrs Willes if you were a wife of Joseph Smith in all that the word implies?
18: I will ask you to state to the reporter Mrs. Willes if the principle of plural marriage was taught by Joseph Smith is identical with the principle of plural marriage as contained in the revelation
published by the church here in Utah?
19: They are the same?
Yes sir, they are the same, – there is no change.
20: Where did you reside before you came to Salt Lake?
21: Where did you reside before you came to Nauvoo?
Well after we wee driven out of Missouri I was in Pike County, Illinois for a while, – we stayed there until we went to Nauvoo.
22: What was your name when you was in Missouri?
My name was Melissa Lott.
23: And after you went to Nauvoo what was your name?
Well I have given my name. It was Melissa Lott until I was married to Joseph Smith.
24: Who did you say you were married to Joseph Smith by?
By Hyrum Smith.
25: Then what was your name?
It was Melissa Willes when I married Ira Willes.
26: What was your name after you was married in Nauvoo at the time you speak of?
It was Melissa Lott Smith.
27: It was Melissa Lott Smith, you say?
28: Did you pass by the name of Melissa Lott Smith there at Nauvoo?
By those that knew I did.
29: Did you pass by the name of Melissa Lott Smith in Nauvoo?
Well I was called that in Nauvoo.
31: Who by?
By Mr. Smith and his brother.
32: By any body else?
34: By any body else?
Well I can’t enumerate every one that I knew of. Not expecting to me called on to give these things I did not keep a particular record of it.
35: Did the church in Nauvoo know that was your name?
Well I think they did.
36: You think they did.
37: Do you know?
I can’t say, but I think so.
38: Was it placed upon the church records?
I could not say whether it was placed there or not. I couldn’t say as to that for my memory don’t serve me as well as it did a few years ago.
39: What law of the church existed at that time by virtue of which you took your name?
The same name that it goes by now, – there has never been any change that I knew anything about since I knew anything about the church.
40: You were acquainted with the rules of the church at that time?
Yes sir, I think I was, and have been ever since.
41: You were acquainted with Joseph Smith?
42: You knew he had a wife living at that time?
43: What was the name of Joseph Smith’s wife?
Well it was Emma, – Emma Hale Smith.
44: That was the name of his wife at the time that you went to Nauvoo?
45: At that time you knew she was his wife?
46: And she was his wife at the time you say you were married to him?
47: Now what rule or law of the church permitted you to go and marry another woman’s husband?
Because it was considered right.
48: Just answer me, what rule or law of the church authorized such a marriage at that time?
Well it was the law.
49: Can you tell me where it can be found? Just find it and show me where it is?
In the revelations given by the Almighty to Joseph Smith the prophet.
50: Where are they contained? Where can it be found?
Well my memory don’t serve me to tell you all about it. You have the books and the history and you will have to read it yourself and excuse me, for I don’t think I can do it. You will have to find it yourself.
51: What was the ceremony used on that occasion?
The ceremony that was given to be used on that occasion.
52: How is that?
Do I have to testify to the ceremony?
53: Yes, you have to testify to the ceremony on that occasion?
54: Well I don’t know as you have to do that. If you are educated on that subject you can, and if you are not you need not do so?
I don’t know that I can go and tell it right over as it was, all that was said every time.
55: You don’t know that you can tell it?
I don’t know that I can do it, but I know I was married to him.
56: Well what ceremony was used on that occasion?
It was that I was married to him for time and all eternity.
57: Were you married or seal to him?
Well I don’t know any difference in the ceremony it was all the same exactly. All the ceremonies that I ever know anything of were all the same.
58: That is to say you don’t know any difference between the ceremony of marriage and the ceremony of sealing?
59: You have heard of, and know of the ceremony that was in existence there at that time?
60: During the time that you lived there in Nauvoo?
Yes sir, I think so, but I don’t know just what you have allusion to. I know the rules and regulations of our church, and I have always lived up to them, or tried to live up to them. I have tried to live according to them the best I know how.
61: Do you and did you know the ceremony that was provided for the church at that time, and was printed in the books?
Well it was the same ceremony that the revelation was given for, and it was the same ceremony that is used today, and it was used there in Nauvoo as far as I can remember anything about it. There was no difference in them, it has always been the same.
62: It was the same you say?
As far as I can remember it was.
63: What time were you married?
Well I was married on September 27th 1843.
64: September 27th 1843?
65: To whom were you married?
66: Did you use, or was the ceremony used, that was printed in the book of Doctrine and Covenants at that time?
Well sir, whether that ceremony was exactly used or not at that time I cannot say, but to the best of my recollection I don’t think it was.
67: You don’t remember what the ceremony was that was used?
68: But to the best of your recollection you don’t think it was the ceremony that was prescribed as printed in the book of doctrine and covenants?
69: Was there ever but on ceremony used?
NO sir, I never heard of but one being used myself.
70: So then you were married to Joseph Smith in accordance with the ceremony in use in the church in 1848 and you state that to the reporter?
Well that is the best of my recollection, but I don’t remember the words that were used, as I said before, for I had no occasion to remember it. If I had known it would be required of me now I might have had it taken down so I would remember it. I could I suppose have had it taken down by a reporter, and given it in, but my memory don’t serve me now to say what it was exactly.
71: I will ask you if that was the ceremony that was used, – “You both mutually agree to be each other’s companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition, that is keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others during your lives.” Was that the ceremony that was used?
That is as I understand it as nearly as I can remember.
72: And you married him under that condition, knowing him to have another wife living?
What is that?
73: You married him under that ceremony knowing he had a wife at the time?
74: And he agreed to keep himself from his wife for you?
You will have to ask him that question, for I can’t tell you.
75: You can’t answer that question?
No sir, I did not ask him what he was doing, and I can’t swear to his saying he would or would not. I don’t think though that he made any particular promise of that kind. I don’t remember of his doing it if he did.
76: You don’t think he made any promise of that kind?
No sir, but I can’t remember what he promised. That was a long time ago, – nearly fifty years ago, and it is a long time to remember a thing like that.
77: Did you make a promise of that kind?
78: And he didn’t?
I say I don’t remember just what he said. I thought more about my own answer than I did of his.
79: Now was this marriage public or private?
There was quite a number present. 80 (Question and answer are missing)
81: Answer the question, – was it public of private?
It was not very private.
82: Who was present?
I can’t remember all who were there.
83: Well give us the names of the parties who were present as well as you can remember them?
My father and mother were there and several others and they are all in their graves today but myself.
84: Well who else was present besides yourself, your father and your mother?
Joseph Smith was there.
85: Well I know that, but who else was there?
Well some of my brothers, – one of my brothers, and the witnesses that were necessary..
86: How many children were born to you by Joseph Smith?
87: There was not any children borne to you by Joseph Smith?
88: Have you ever borne any children since that time?
Yes sir, I have.
89: Who was the husband at that time?
Well sir, the father of my children was Mr. Wills.
90: When did you marry him?
I married him after I came to Salt Lake.
91: In what year?
92: And you bore children by him?
93: State now the reason why you never bore any children by Joseph Smith?
Well, that is impossible to do–that is, something I can’t tell.
94: Did you live with Joseph Smith as his wife, or were you just simply sealed to him for eternity?
I told you before, I have answered that question to the best of my ability.
95: Did you go to church with Joseph Smith, and were you seen on the streets and in public places with him, as his wife, during his lifetime?
96: You were not?
No sir, I was not. I was on the strets with him many a time but nobody said I was his wife, and there was nothing said about that.
97: Did he ever pass you off as his wife in public any time?
Well, I can’t say as to that.
98: That is a matter you should recollect, is it not, if it was the fact?
Well, I could not say as to that, I was married to him and did the best I could.
99: Did you mourn for him as his wife at the time of his death and afterward?
No sir, not as his wife.
100: How did it come that you did not mourn for him as his wife at the time of his death?
Well, if you knew as much about this as you ought to, you would know there was a good many mourned for him when he was murdered, and do still, for that matter.
101: Did you appear as one of his wives to mourn for him at the time of his death?
I have answered you the best I know how.
102: DId you appear as one of his wives to mourn for him?
I appeared there as one of his family and mourned his loss, and his wife was there, but she is gone too. That is, Sister Emma, and she was a lady–his first wife was there at the time and she knew all about it, and she is a woman I respected, and she respected me too. Now, that is all I can tell you on that subject.
103: You remember his son, Joseph Smith?
104: Were you acquainted with him?
Yes sir, very well. I had a visit from him not many years ago.
105: Did you pass as one of the mothers of Joseph Smith there in Nauvoo?
106: Why didn’t you do that?
I was not one of his mothers, and did not expect to. I respected him as a gentleman, and if he does not respect me as a lady today, he is not the man I took him to be. It is not very long since I had a visit from him, and I always took him to be a gentleman.
107: Where did you live when he called to see you?
I lived in Lehi, the very place I live today.
108: Did you ever see any children of Joseph Smith in the territory of Utah, – or do you know of any of his children being in Utah at any time?
I don’t know anything about his affairs
I don’t know anything about his affairs, – I attend to my own business.
109: Joseph Smith who lived at Nauvoo at the time you say you married him, and who was president of the church, has he any children in the territory of Utah, or did he ever have at any time to your knowledge?
I don’t know anything about that. I can’t swear to anybody’s children only my own.
110: Do you want to go on record here as stating that you married him according to this law of the church?
I want to go on record as saying that I married him as an honorable woman, and was doing the best I knew how on this earth. That is what I want to go on record as saying.
111: When you agreed with each other according to this agreement to hold to each other as husband and wife, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others during your lives, is that what you meant?
Yes sir, that is what we agreed to do.
112: That was the ceremony?
I agreed to that in that way, and I have lived my religion, and lived that way all my life.
113: You said you were married for time and eternity?
114: Well there is nothing in this ceremony stating that, is there?
Well it don’t matter, for I married him for time and eternity.
115: Well that is not the ceremony prescribed here and that is what you say it was?
Well what you read there first is only for time.
116: Then there was another ceremony used, was there?
117: There was not?
NO sir, it was all the same, only it was for time and eternity. I told you that before. This is not a matter of time alone, for I go on beyond time, and I think there is such a thing as eternity, and very likely you will find out there is too before you are through with it.
118: Well in the ceremony that was used there, you say you were married for eternity too?
119: For both time and eternity?
Yes sir, for time and eternity.
120: Was that in the ceremony?
121: That which was contained in that ceremony was you were married both for time and eternity?
Yes sir, for time and eternity. All good Latter Day Saints when they were married calculate that they are married for time and eternity.
122: Well was that in the ceremony, – that is the question?
Yes sir, it was. Well now, I couldn’t say that it was, but I think it was.
123: Was anything said about eternity in the ceremony?
I told you that to the very best of my ability and knowledge and recollection, I believed it was. That is the best I can do, for I have told you that my memory would not serve me as it once did. I have had a good deal of sickness and trouble and I can’t remember every word that was said.
124: Well I have only asked you to refresh your memory
and tell me to the best of your knowledge, if you couldn’t state the fact positively?
Well I have answered you the best I can.
125: Now as a matter of fact do you recollect that anything was said about eternity?
Well that is what I calculate was said. It is what has been said in every marriage I had anything to do with, – it was fixed for time and eternity, – both time and eternity, for I considered time was very short and eternity was very lengthy, and I remember that.
126: Well who else were you ever married to besides Mr Joseph Smith?
I married Mr. Willes and had a family of children by him.
127: Were you ever married to any body else?
128: What obligation did you take or assume at the time you were married to Joseph Smith?
I don’t know as I understand the question. I have told you to the best of my ability just what I done, and how I was married to him, and I don’t know anything more that I can tell you about it.
129: If you were married to him for time and eternity how did it happen that you were afterwards married to Mr. Willes?
Well have I got to tell you all about this?
130: Yes madam, I think you have?
Well if I have to tell you I will say I married him for time, I married Mr. Willes for time, and when we meet in eternity we will settle that there, for that is something the laws of today have nothing to do with.
131: You married one for eternity, and one, the father of your children, you married for time?
Well that is a matter we will settle afterwards, for that is a matter between God and ourselves, and not a matter that concerns this world.
132: You have been with the church for a long time?
Yes sir, and I hope to continue faithful with it until I die.
133: You were acquainted with most of the people, were you, that were there in Nauvoo?
At what time?
134: At the time you lived there?
Yes sir, and I am thankful that I have been.
135: And you were acquainted with quite a number of these women that claimed to be the wives of Joseph Smith?
Yes sir, and they were nice, respectable ladies too.
136: Were you acquainted with any of the children of Joseph Smith?
137: Mention the names of them?
Well there was Joseph and Frederick and Alexander and David and Hyrum.
138: You met all these?
139: Whose children were they?
Well they were supposed to be Emma Smith’s and Joseph’s.
140: These were all children of Joseph Smith that he had by his wife Emma?
141: How many other children have you met?
I told you that I couldn’t swear to any body else’s children but my own, but I understand these were his children.
142: Well now do you swaer to these four?
I was there in the house many a time and saw them, but I can’t swear to them.
143: Well have you met any other children of Joseph Smith’s besides those you have mentioned?
I couldn’t’ swear to anything of that kind. No one person is supposed to swear to anything of that kind, only what belongs to them.
144: Can’t you say if that is all the children he had, that is, that Joseph Smith had?
I can’t swear to anything about whose children they are. I can only swear to my own children and who their father is.
145: Now I will ask you to state again, what or who, if any other children of Joseph Smith, you ever met?
I don’t know that I ever met any.
146: Yet you were acquainted with all these parties that claimed to be his wives? Did you not so state that you were acquainted with them?
I was acquainted with them, but I can’t swear they were his wives, for I couldn’t swear to anybody else only myself. I can’t swear to any one else only myself, and that it what I was called here to do, and that is what I have sworn to. I only swear to what I know, and I do that to the best of my ability, for there is loss of things that have happened that I can’t remember now.
147: You have stated all the parties who were present at the time of your marriage with Joseph Smith?
148: That was your father and mother, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith?
Yes sir, they were there.
149: Anybody else?
Yes sir, and my brother or sister too, that is dead and gone.
150: Can you name these brothers and sisters, just name them?
Joseph and Amanda Lott.
151: Were those all that were present at that time?
Yes sir, as near as I can remember that was all that were there. There might have been others, but if there was I can’t remember them. There was quite a good many around my father’s house at the time, but I can’t remember all that were there, but I know these that I have named were there.
152: And they are all dead?
153: Emma Smith was not there then?
No sir, she wasn’t there.
154: Were you married in accordance with the revelation on polygamy that is claimed to have been given by Joseph Smith?
The revelation that was first given out here, that is, the revelation that they claim our here, was just exactly like the one that was in Nauvoo, and brother Joseph Smith was the one that taught it.
155: And you were married without Emma Smith being present?
156: Don’t you know that that alleged or pretended revelation, requires that the first wife shall be present?
Well she gave her consent.
157: Is that the way the revelation states it?
Well I don’t know.
158: You don’t know how that is?
I don’t know any thing about it. I was married to Joseph, and it was all right or he wouldn’t have done it that way.
159: Now you say that Emma Smith gave her consent?
160: Who said that she gave her consent?
My father and mother.
161: Did they go to Emma Smith and get her consent?
I don’t know that they went to her or she came there. I know they were both there at the time with brother Joseph, father and mother, the whole of them, talking a good many times.
162: You were married under that revelation which states that the first wife shall take the hand of the one to be sealed, and place it in the hands of her husband, and Emma Smith did not do that, for she was not there? Is that not the fact? Do you want to be understood as saying that?
I came here intending to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and so far as I have been able I have told the truth.
163: Is there any doubt in your mind as to that?
No sir, what I have told is what I know to be the truth.
164: Well was that done?
165: Did you read that revelation when you were at Nauvoo?
No sir, -did I read it at Nauvoo?
166: Yes madam?
167: Where did you get it?
I got it from Joseph Smith.
168: Now you are sure of that?
169: Was it in print, or was it in manuscript? Just answer that question?
Well it was in writing, -it was in manuscript.
170: Was that revelation ever presented to the church there at Nauvoo, according to your knowledge, for acceptance?
No sir, I don’t know anything about that, I heard it spoken of as going to be presented, but it was not presented according to my knowledge.
171: Was it presented, to your knowledge, at any time, to the church there at Nauvoo?
Well I can’t remember that it was.
172: I say to your knowledge was it presented to the church there at any time at Nauvoo?
Well to my knowledge I can’t say that it was.
173: Do you remember when it was presented here in Salt Lake City to the church?
No sir, I can’t remember that.
174: Do you remember whether it was or not?
Well I would not say that it was. I think it was, for I have seen it in print and have read it in print, I have seen it published in print, but I haven’t always been to every conference, or every meeting, and I have had a great deal of sickness and trouble in my life, and have not been permitted the privilege of attending a great many of the public meetings, and that is the reason that I can’t give as definite an answer as I could if that hadn’t been so.
175: Was it the law of the church prior to the giving of that revelation that the church would permit a man to have one wife only, or more than one wife?
I have given my evidence to the very best of my ability, and I don’t know that I can say anything more.
176: Answer the question please?
What is the question?
177: Was it the law of the church prior to the giving of the polygamous revelation, that the church would permit a man to have one wife only, or more than one wife?
Well not until that revelation was given.
178: They could not have but one wife until after that revelation was given?
179: Until the time that that revelation was given there could not, one man could have but one wife?
180: And that revelation was never presented to the church, as you have stated, during the lifetime of Joseph Smith?
No sir, I did not state that.
181: Well what did you state?
I said in the lifetime of Joseph Smith it wasn’t presented to the church to my knowledge. I did not say it was not presented, but I know it was spoken of a good many times in his day, and I have told you that he was the one that preached it, and taught it to me.
182: You were a member of the church, were you not?
183: The law of the church requiring that one man should have but one wife was in force when you was a member?
184: And you now state that you broke that law?
No sir. You know there was a revelation given to him to do so and so, and he told me of that revelation and I received it as law, for it came from Joseph the prophet.
185: Yes I understand, but you say that revelation was not received by the church to your knowledge?
Well it was received by the majority of the church I think.
186: Who received it?
Why Joseph Smith received it, and he was the one that showed it to a great many others.
187: You stated that that revelation was never presented to the church to your knowledge?
Well I say I have seen it and read it, and heard it spoken of by a great many in the church, but whether it was published to the whole of the church, I could not say.
188: Don’t you know it could not be a law to the church until it was presented to, and accepted by the church?
Well the fact is I don’t know near as much about these things as I wish I did, and I don’t remember as well as I used to remember things, for if I did I could tell you a great deal more than I can do now.
189: If you and Joseph Smith were married, and he had a wife living, before the church had accepted that revelation as a part of the church articles, were you not both violators of the law of the church?
190: You were not?
I don’t think we were.
191: You don’t think you were?
No sir. I don’t think we violated any of the laws of the church, or the laws of the land.
192: Do you wish to stand in the attitude of holding yourself out to the rest of the members of the church that you were a good member of the church, when you have married a man who has a wife living, and the rest of the members of the church hold that a man can have but one wife living at a time?
Well it is not that way today, for today a man can have but one wife, and that is the law of the church; but there was a revelation given and received by the church, and lived up to by the church at that time, by which a man could have more than one wife, but that is not the law of the church now, as I understand it; but if everybody would live up to the laws of the church in those days they would live a great deal better than the majority of them do today, a blamed sight better.
193: Did you use the words “a blamed sight better” in your testimony just now?
Well now don’t ask me no questions that I can’t answer. You have worried me so that I don’t know what I say, but I am telling the truth all the time. As for education I haven’t had but very little, and I have done the very best I could with I did have, and I have done the very best I could in answering all the questions you have asked me, and if I happened to make a little mistake in a word or two, I think that ought to be considered as ignorance on my part.
194: Then you wish to be placed upon record here Mrs. Willes as having married a man under the laws of the church that required that one man should have but one wife, and at that time the church had never accepted any other law but that?
195: You did not?
No sir and I didn’t say so.
196: Did you not say that you married a man at a time when he had another wife living?
I say that when revelation was given it was given right and lawful, and it was right and lawful and our duty for us to obey that revelation and live our religion.
197: What revelation do you refer to?
That revelation that Joseph Smith got.
198: That is the revelation which permitted a man to have more than one wife?
199: You say that when that was given you considered it right and lawful for you to marry a man that had at the time a wife living?
200: And that is what you called living your religion?
201: But you – state that the church at that time had not accepted the revelation?
I said I did not know, but under the circumstances I hadn’t been permitted to go to a great many public meetings or attend conferences. I generally calculated to do so, but owing to a great many different things, sickness and death and trouble of one kind and another I was unable to do so. On this account I haven’t been permitted the privilege of attending a great many public meetings, and I can’t swear as to what was done only what I saw, or about any other woman’s doings only Melissa Willes’ doings, and what she did herself. And that is what I have done here today. What I have stated here today is what I know to be facts, and you can’t get me to say anything else.
202: Well Mrs. Willes, I will say that all that it is necessary for you to do is to answer the questions we ask you. It seems to me that you are making a good deal of trouble for yourself, and saying a great deal more than is necessary. All that is necessary for you to do is to answer the questions I ask you, but of course if you want to make these explanations you can do so, – I will not object?
Well I have said all I have to say.
203: Now when you were asked to become the wife of a man who already had a wife, did you not tell him it was contrary to the laws of the church for you to marry him?
204: Why didn’t you?
I didn’t tell him that because I believed he had a revelation from God to do thus and so, He told me so and I believed him, and I believe it yet. I still believe he had a revelation from God to do that, – he told me so and I believe him and that was the reason I married him.
205: And that is the reason you married him?
Yes sir and I done the very best I knew how, then and always. I have tried to live my faith and religion the very best I could, and I will still try to live it to the end.
206: You married him, knowing that he had a wife living, at a time when you say you knew the law of the church was to the effect that a man should have but one wife?
Yes sir, but that was after the revelation was given, – I didn’t marry him until after that.
207: But you say that you did not know that that revelation, – when that revelation was presented to the church?
Well I gave you my reasons, – it was on account of sickness and death and trouble, that I was not able to attend many public meetings, and so I was not as well informed as I ought to be on these things. It was on that account that I have not been permitted to attend very many pubic meetings neither in Nauvoo or Salt Lake City, – not nearly as many as I would like to have attended, and I said to the best of my recollection I could not swear to any such a thing.
208: Have you been taught that you may receive in private a doctrine, as a good member of the church, before that doctrine was presented to the church?
Before it was presented to the church did you say?
209: Yes madam?
210: Before it was presented to the church for acceptance?
I think that doctrine was accepted in a noble way, –
211: Have you been taught that you might, as a good member of the church, receive and practice a doctrine, before that doctrine had been presented to the church? That is he question for you to answer?
Well I don’t think I have. I think I did the very best I knew how.
212: You don’t think you have been taught that way?
I don’t think I have been taught anything only what is true and right and correct. Now that is the way I answer that question, and if I don’t get the understanding of your meaning I can’t help it, for that is the best I can do.
213: Well I will ask you to state again, if you married a man under the laws of the church, that you say required at that time, monogamy or monogamous marriage, that is a law which permitted a man to have but one wife, and a woman but one husband, – before the giving of this revelation, – and before the church even received that revelation as a part of its doctrine, to your knowledge?
I think it was acknowledged when I was married to him.
214: What was acknowledged?
I think that revelation was acknowledged by the church at that time, and was considered a commandment.
215: Acknowledged by the church?
I think it was acknowledged by the church, but I can’t swear that it was, but that is my belief.
216: If it hadn’t been acknowledged by the church, and you were married under it, in that event would you be a violator of the law of the church?
What is the question?
217: if it had not been accepted by the church at that time and made a part of the law at the time, would you not have been a violator of the laws of the church, and also would not Joseph Smith if he so acted with you?
I don’t think I ever violated any of the laws of the church.
219: Well now I insist upon answers to my questions?
I have answered you.
220: Well I beg to differ with you, you do not answer my questions and I insist upon your doing so?
Well I have answered them as well as I know how. I have answered you the very best I know how.
221: Well I will try it again, Mr. Reporter please read the question I asked, as follows, “If it had not been accepted by the church at that time, and made a part of its laws at that time, would you not have been a violator of the laws of the church at that time, and also would not Joseph Smith, if he so acted with you”?
Well I considered it was the laws of the church, and he was our prophet, seer and revelator, and he said that was the revelation he had, and he gave it to us, and told us it was right to do these things and so we violated no law of the church, for when he said that and had the revelation it was the law of the church. We did not violate any law at all, for that was the law of the church at that time, and the laws of the land also.
222: Well I object to that answer for it is not responsive to the question, and we move to have it stricken from the record for that reason. I will ask the question again, and possibly I may get an answer to it, although it seems to be rather hard work. If this revelation you speak of permitting a man to have more wives than one at the some time, had not been accepted by the church at the time of your marriage to Joseph Smith, were you and Joseph Smith not violating the law of the church when you so married?
Of course I would if it had not been the law of the church, of course if it had not been the law of the church we would.
223: Joseph Smith as well as yourself would have been a violator of the laws of the church in that event?
Yes sir, of course that is so, but it was the law of the church, and we did not violate any law of the church.
224: Well you have answered that question all right, and that will do for that branch of the cross examination now you said there were no children born of that marriage?
I said I had none.
225: You had none by Joseph Smith?
Yes sir, and you asked me why I hadn’t any and I told you I couldn’t tell you, that you would have to go to some higher authority than I to tell you that.
226: Well you said I believe that Emma Smith had children by Joseph?
Yes sir. I told you that I supposed she had. They looked like their father but as to their being his I can’t say. I can’t swear to anything only Melissa’s affairs.
227: Did you ever room with Joseph Smith as his wife?
228: At what place?
229: What place in Nauvoo?
The Nauvoo Mansion.
230: At what place in the Mansion?
Do you want to know the number of the room, or what?
231: Well just what part of the house the room was in if you can give it?
Well I can give it and the number of the room too. It was room number one.
232: Room number one?
233: Who else roomed there?
I don’t know of any one.
234: Where was Emma Smith at that time?
I don’t know I didn’t ask where she was.
235: Did you know where she was at that time?
No sir I didn’t.
236: Did she know where you were at that time?
I did not ask her whether she did or not.
237: So you roomed with him in the Nauvoo Mansion in room number one?
238: That was the house that Joseph Smith lived in was it not?
239: And you don’t know whether Emma Smith was in the house of not?
240: And you can’t say whether she knew were you were?
No sir, I couldn’t say where she was, and I don’t know that she knew about me, for I did not speak to her.
241: Well was she at home?
242: How do you know?
She was there when I see her last.
243: What time was that?
That I saw her?
244: Yes madam?
I can’t tell you the time. If I had thought to asked all these questions I might have kept a note of all these things, but as I didn’t know anything about this examination I didn’t.
245: How often did you room there with Joseph Smith?
Well that is something I can’t tell you.
246: Well was it more than once?
Yes sir, and more than twice.
247: Well that is something I would like to know?
Well there is something I would like to know. If I am asked these questions I would like to know this thing that I know, and I can’t see any reason in your worring me with these questions, and I would like to know if I have to answer them?
248: Well if you decline to answer them say so, and that will do?
I don’t decline to answer any question that I know anything about.
249: Well answer that question then?
What is the question?
250: I asked you how many times you had roomed there in that house with Joseph Smith? I do not expect you to answer positively the exact number of times, but I would like to have you tell us the number of times as nearly as you can remember it?
Well I can’t tell you. I think I have acted the part of a lady in answering you questions as well as I have, and I don’t think you are acting the part of a gentleman in asking me these questions.
251: Well I will ask you the question over again in this form,-was it more than twice?
252: Well how many times?
I could not say.
253: Did you ever at any other place room with him?
In what way.
254: Of course I mean as his wife?
255: At what places?
At my father’s house.
256: At other places did you ever room with him as his wife?
Well now I thing that is all the places it is necessary for me to answer plenty of questions on that matter, and all it is necessary for me to answer, and all that you should require of a lady whom you know is telling the truth as best she can.
257: Did you ever room with Joseph Smith at any other place or places than at the Nauvoo Mansion and your father’s house,-that is did you ever room with him as his wife?
Them is all the places I remember.
258: Those are the only places you remember?
259: Now at the times you roomed with him, did you cohabit with him as his wife?
260: And you never had any children?
No sir, I answered that question before and told you no.
261: You want to go on record here as saying that you cohabited with a man as his wife, and knew at the time you did that he had a wife living, and you don’t know whether there was any law of the church or land permitting it at all? Is that the way you want to do on record here?
I told you that it was the law of the church at the time, I considered it the law of the church and it was all right, for I have always lived correctly. The hour of twelve o’clock noon having arrived, the further hearing of the testimony of the above witness was continued until the hour of 1:30 o’clock P.M. at which hour come the parties aforesaid, and the further cross examination of this witness was continued by Mr. E.L. Kelley. It was agreed and stipulated by and between the parties hereto as aforesaid that the signature of the witness to the short-hand notes of her evidence should be, and the same is hereby waived, as well as the signature of this witness and the signatures of all other witnesses whose testimony may be taken, or has been taken in Salt Lake City to their testimony when transcribed by the examiner taking same, shall be and the same is hereby waived. The above agreement applies to the witnesses introduced by both parties hereto.
262: I will ask you Mrs. Willes what time it was, if you can state it, that you met the present Joseph Smith down at Lehi?
263: Down at Lehi? Did you not say it was at Lehi?
264: Mention the time as nearly as you can?
Well I think it was about four years ago, but I wouldn’t say it was then, because I do not remember just when it was, but he was here at the time, and was over at my house, and then he went on down to Beaver by himself, and then came back and called at my house again.
265: Was it at your house that he had the conversation with you that you referred to?
266: I will ask you now if he did not state, if you did not state to him I should say, at that time and place and in that conversation, that you were not married to Joseph Smith, but sealed to him for eternity, and that he never?
No sir, I don’t think I told him any such thing. I answered him just exactly as I have answered you here today about it, sealed or married whatever you have a mind to call it; and I quoted over the very ceremony as near as I could to him at that time, but today I can’t do it for I am nervous here today, and I can’t remember it, but I told him then all about it. I told him the same story that I have told you here about being married to his father.
267: And did you not tell him further at that time and place and on that occasion that his father never solicited you to have anything to do with him?
I didn’t tell him anything of the kind. I told him the same as I have answered you here today, and he wouldn’t say but what I told him the same as I have told you here today if he was here either. He would not say that I told him anything different if he was here today.
268: You did not tell him that?
No sir, I didn’t, and I say if he was here he wouldn’t tell me that I told him anything different from what I have told you to day.
269: Well that is all. I am done this time.