Malissa Lott made a plain disclosure of her physical relationship with Joseph Smith during the Temple Lot case:

Q. There was not any children born to you by Joseph Smith?

A. No Sir.

Q. Have you ever borne any children since that time?

A. Yes sir, I have. . . .

Q. State now the reason why you never bore any children by Joseph Smith?

A. Well that is something impossible to do,—that is something I can’t tell. . . .

Q. Now you said there were no children born of that marriage [to Joseph Smith]?

A. I said I had none.

Q. You had none by Joseph Smith?

A. Yes sir, and you asked me why I hadn’t any and I told you I couldn’t tell you, that you would have to go to some higher authority than I to tell you that. . . .

Q. Did you ever room with Joseph Smith as his wife?

A. Yes sir.

Q. At what place?

A. At Nauvoo

Q. What place in Nauvoo?

A. The Nauvoo Mansion.

Q. At what place in the Mansion?

A. Do you want to know the number of the room, or what?

Q. Well just what part of the house the room was in if you can give it?

A. Well I can give it and the number of the room too. It was room number one.

Q. Room number one?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Who else roomed there?

A. I don’t know of any one. . . .

Q. So you roomed with him [Joseph Smith] in the Nauvoo Mansion in room number one?

A. Yes sir. . . .

Q. How often did you room there with Joseph Smith?

A. Well that is something I can’t tell you.

Q. Well was it more than once?

A. Yes sir, and more than twice.

Q. Well that is something I would like to know?

A. Well there is something I would like to know. If I am to be asked these questions I would like to know if I am to answer them. I have told you all about this thing that I know, and I can’t see any reason in your worrying me with these questions, and I would like to know if I have to answer them?

Q. Well if you decline to answer them say so, and that will do?

A. I don’t decline to answer any question that I know anything about.

Q. Well answer that question then?

A. What is the question?

Q. I asked you how many times you had roomed there in that house with Joseph Smith? I do not expect you to answer positively the exact number of times, but I would like to have you tell us the number of times as nearly as you can remember it?

A. Well I can’t tell you. I think I have acted the part of a lady in answering your questions as well as I have, and I don’t think you are acting the part of a gentleman in asking me these questions.

Q. Well I will ask you the questions over again in this form,—was it more than twice?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Well how many times?

A. I could not say.

Q. Did you ever at any other place room with him?

A. In what way

Q. Of course I mean as his wife?

A. Yes sir.

Q. At what places?

A. In my father’s house.

Q. At other places did you ever room with him as his wife?

A. Well now I think that is all the places it is necessary for me to answer you one way or the other . . .

Q. Did you ever room with Joseph Smith at any other place or places than at the Nauvoo Mansion and your father’s house,—that is did you ever room with him as his wife?

A. Them is all the places I remember.

Q. Those are the only places you remember?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Now at the times you roomed with him, did you cohabit with him as his wife?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And you never had any children?

A. No sir, I answered that question before and told you no.1

The following year on August 4, 1893, when interviewed by Joseph Smith III, she affirmed that she was the Prophet’s wife “in very deed”:

Q. Were you married to my father?

A. Yes . . .

Q. Was you a wife in very deed?

A. Yes

Q. Why was there no increase, say in your case?

A. Through no fault of either of us, lack of proper conditions on my part probably, or it might be in the wisdom of the Almighty that we should have none. The Prophet was martyred nine months after our marriage.2

Decades later, R C. Evans, who had been a member of the RLDS First Presidency but later disaffiliated, wrote:

When in Salt Lake City I called at the residence of Patriarch John Smith, brother of Joseph F. Smith, and son of Hyrum Smith, nephew of the original prophet Joseph Smith, and while there his wife, Helen, told me, among many other interesting things, that “Melissa Lott told me that when a girl she sewed for Emma Smith and took care of the children . . . . She said Joseph never had sexual intercourse with her but once and that was in the daytime, saying he desired her to have a child by him.”3


  1. Malissa Lott, Deposition, Temple Lot Transcript, Part 3, pp. 97, 105–6, questions 87–93, 224–60. Joseph Smith III who believed Malissa was not married to his father during his lifetime, recorded in 1894: “Melissa Lott. I knew her well, a bright good girl. Am glad that she was only for eternity or adopted into the family. But she was plenty large and old enough to be any man’s companion in cohabitation when I knew her; and about the only one of the entire outfit named by you [of twenty possible plural wives of Joseph Smith] whom I would be inclined to believe if she should tell me herself that father did cohabit with her.” Joseph Smith III, Letter to Bro. E. C. Brand, January 26, 1894, p. 66.  (back)
  2. Malissa Lott Willes, Statement, August 4, 1893.  (back)
  3. R. C. Evans, Forty Years in the Mormon Church, 38.  (back)

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