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Joseph and Emma’s daughter

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NAUVOO, Ill. — During a recent gathering of descendants of Joseph and Emma Smith to do ordinance work in the new Nauvoo Illinois Temple, members of the Smith family organization honored Julia Murdock Smith Dixon Middleton, adopted daughter of the Prophet and his wife, Emma.

Julia was one of the twin babies taken by Joseph and Emma to rear after the death of their mother shortly after their birth. Julia's brother, Joseph, died in March 1832, the result of exposure during the incident when a mob took the Prophet from his home and tarred and feathered him. Julia grew to adulthood.

The Smith family descendants gathered at her grave in the Saints Peter and Paul Parish cemetery in Nauvoo on Aug. 9. Speaking to the assemblage, the Rev. Tony Trosly, pastor, said: "She is buried here so she had to be involved in the Catholic Church in some way; that's the condition for burial in a Catholic cemetery. She is buried here, the adopted daughter of Joseph and Emma Smith, so she is intimately involved in the Mormon faith, both in life, and, in all likelihood, in death, in keeping with the respective rites of Mormon belief. And that's how things really are; we do both belong to her. She, who experienced both heritages of faith, brings us together in remembrance, a remembrance that can be channeled into a renewed understanding and acceptance of each other."