Saints volume 1 discusses a second sealing ceremony performed between Joseph Smith and Eliza and Emily Partridge in the presence of Emma Smith. Eliza and Emily had already been sealed to Joseph a few months early, but Emma was given an opportunity to select additional wives for Joseph and she chose Emily and Eliza.

The Saints account is somewhat misleading about what motivated the second ceremony, implying that it was Emily who “believed that keeping silent on the matter was the best thing for her to do.” While that may be true, Emily clearly attributed the second sealing (which only made sense if the participants were silent about the first ceremony) directly to Joseph Smith, and this is not mentioned in Saints.

The account

Saints volume 1, chapter 40 on page 490, states:

Because neither Joseph nor Emma wrote down how they felt about plural marriage, many questions are left unanswered. In her writings, Emily recorded some of their struggles with the practice. At times Emma rejected it completely while at other times reluctantly accepting it as a commandment. Torn between the Lord’s mandate to practice plural marriage and Emma’s opposition, Joseph sometimes chose to marry women without Emma’s knowledge, creating distressing situations for everyone involved.

In early May, Emma took Emily and Eliza aside and explained the principle of plural marriage to them. She had told Joseph that she would consent to him being sealed to two additional wives as long as she could choose them, and she had chosen Emily and Eliza, apparently unaware that Joseph had already been sealed to them.

Rather than mention her former sealing, Emily believed that keeping silent on the matter was the best thing for her to do. A few days later, she and Eliza were again sealed to Joseph, this time with Emma as a witness.

Who was primarily responsible for the second ceremony?

Saints states “Rather than mention her former sealing, Emily believed that keeping silent on the matter was the best thing for her to do”, but the assertion is not accompanied with a footnote.

We know something of who was primarily responsible for holding the second ceremony because Emily wrote about the incident (emphasis added):

… We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was married to Joseph Smith on the 4th of March, 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also married to Joseph a few days later. This was done without the knowledge of Emma Smith. Two months afterwards she consented to give her husband two wives, provided he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and to save family trouble Brother Joseph thought it best to have another ceremony performed. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma’s presence, she giving her free and full consent thereto. From that very hour, however, Emma was our bitter enemy.

Hence, Emily points to Joseph as driver of the second ceremony in order to “save family trouble”.