As Joseph Smith began marrying additional wives, he taught other men about celestial marriage and offered an inner circle of 33 men the “privilege” of additional wives. Among the women courted by Joseph Smith and his male confidants, four women exemplify the courtship practices and celestial unions in nauvoo in the 1840s: Emily Partridge, Melissa Lott, Harriet Sergeant, and Marinda Johnson. We will discuss the women who accepted proposals in nauvoo, the promises and warnings used to persuade them, and talk about some of the women who “got away,” declining marital overtures by saying no or evading proposals altogether.

George D. Smith