New article in The Salt Lake Tribune about Jane & Emma
Many modern Mormons see black LDS pioneer Jane Manning James as heroic. What they may not know is what an unlikely, even risky, friendship the 19th-century free black member had with the first lady of Mormonism, Emma Smith.
In an era when tensions over slavery later would explode into the Civil War, Jane and Emma’s personal and religious bond cut across racial and social lines. Their mutual affection ran so deep that both wanted to be “sealed” as family for eternity. Emma proposed the newly announced LDS ritual of “adoption” to Jane while they were together in 1840s Nauvoo. Jane declined the offer but then spent the rest of her life trying to make it happen.
Theirs is a rare, real and riveting tale, says Tamu Smith, a black Mormon writer and speaker, but one “that has been lost to our history.”