Can Emma's Word Be Trusted?

Much has been made of Emma Smith’s testimony that Joseph dictated the Book of Mormon to her in such a way that he could stop, then come back later and pick up exactly where he stopped. I have always been inclined to take her word for it. That is, until I looked up her testimony in context.

Emma made these claims in an interview with her son Joseph III shortly before her death, published in the (Reorganized LDS Church’s) Saints Journal, volume 26, October 1, 1879. But take a look at her categorical denials of plural marriage in that very same interview, and see if they do not severely cripple her credibility on how the Book of Mormon was produced:

Q. What about the revelation on Polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?

A There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, “Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should ; but they would not; and, besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.” No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband’s death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.

Q. Did he not have other wives than yourself?

A. He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.

Q. Did he not hold marital relation with women other than yourself?

A. He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.

Q. Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?

A. At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should he with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.

Much as I would like to believe Emma, I find her to be a woman in deep denial, which is understandable, given with whom and what she had to live with, but her state of denial on the subject of plural marriage throws into question all that she says about the extraordinary way in which she claims that Joseph produced his book.