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Desdemona Catlin Wadsworth Fullmer-Smith-Benson-McLane…

30th Wife of Joseph Smith – Age 32/33 – Married in July 1843 (Joseph Smith, age 37)

Desdemona Fullmer was inclined to have spiritual dreams and visions during youth. As a precursor to her hearing about Joseph Smith she became enamored with a “boy prophet” named Putnam Wadsworth. The young boy became sick for two years, during which time “the lord reveild to him that all the churches wheare wrong.” He then began teaching people the gospel preaching and healing the way the ancient apostles did.  He claimed God told him that if he ever crossed a big stream of water he would die within two years. He avoided rivers and streams as a result. One day, his brother was sick and lay dying on the other side of a river. Putnam could not refuse crossing to help, and he (Putnam) died shortly thereafter.

This type of experience primed Desdemona in many ways to accept Mormonism when she heard the tales of Joseph Smith.

She also accepted the doctrine of polygamy and was married to Joseph Smith in July 1843. The ceremony was performed by Brigham Young.

In the spring of 1842 she began to live at the mansion of the prophet with Elvira Cowles and the Partridge sisters. All four of these women would become wives of Joseph Smith within the next 15 months.

Emma Smith apparently knew about their marriage and was jealous and angry about it, as in Desdemona’s short autobiography she mentioned the marriage in this way,

“In the rise of polygamy I was warned in a dream Amy [Emma?] Smith was a going to poison me I told my dream to Brother Joseph he told me it was true she would do it if she could.”

Desdemona Fullmer Smith, quoted in Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 15 December 1997), 580.

After the death of Joseph Smith, Desdemona went on to have two unsuccessful marriages.

She died on 9 February 1886 at the age of seventy-six.