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Kimberly Smith’s Statement on the LDS Church’s Big Announcement

At my firesides for the past 20 years, I have been telling people who didn’t understand why Emma stayed behind, that I felt there was a much bigger reason than just wanting to be buried beside her husband and family—though she may not have realized it at the time.

If she had not stayed in Nauvoo, her son Joseph Smith III would not have become president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As president, he preserved the properties in Ohio and Missouri.

Had that not happened those lands would have been divided into thousands of individual lots or parcels and sold to people or businesses who could care less about its history and its purpose. But because Emma stayed all of those lands were preserved and now they have a home with the LDS Church.

Kimberly J. Smith and Justina #NauvooBlogger at the Nauvoo Temple

It’s difficult to put into words how I feel because it’s very emotional.

Kimberly J. Smith

I was aware of the announcement of the sale of the Kirtland Temple several hours before the news broke, but I had no idea how many properties were involved. It’s difficult to put into words how I feel because it’s very emotional. My cousin Lachlan Mackay in his video, Reflections, which was so beautifully expressed, uses the words “devastatingly emotional”. That might sound odd to some, but I can understand the feelings on both sides.

As a second great-granddaughter of Joseph and Emma Smith, I carry precious memories of my first visits to the home sites in Nauvoo. Over the years, I have spent endless hours writing books, poetry, and music, all of which have been published and recorded. Some of that time, with permission, was spent alone in the Nauvoo House.

I’ve become acquainted over the last 20 years with those who have lovingly cared for these properties. They are an extension of many friends and family who have been caretakers under the direction of the Community of Christ for generations. Through their tremendous efforts, we have been able to experience the history that unfolded there and enjoy the quiet and peaceful calm where the Smith family rests by the river.

Kimberly J. Smith giving a tour at Joseph Smith Cemetery in Nauvoo. Smith is pointing to the graves of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Smith. Joseph and Emma are Smith’s second-great grandparents.

However, as a member of the LDS Church, I also echo Lachlan’s statement about looking forward to the future. I am so glad that these properties are under the care of loving hands who will maintain and preserve them. I am sure that our Joseph Smith Senior family organization will still have much to do with caring for the cemetery as we have in the past.

Lastly, I cannot ignore the timing of this event. Not too long ago it was impressed upon me that 2024 would be a year that opens the door to many changes, some remarkable and some dark. I feel like these properties were held in preservation by loving hearts until it was time for them to be passed on.

I am forever grateful for those who cared for them so lovingly, we owe much to the Community of Christ for their tender care over generations.

Kimberly Jo Smith

Author, Singer, Songwriter


“The time we waste is equal to the distance between ourselves and the iron rod.”

Kimberly J. Smith
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