Vienna Jacques is one of two women mentioned by name in the Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the other is Emma Hale Smith. Vienna Jacques was notable for her willing heart and her commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jacques, spelled Jaques in the Doctrine and Covenants, was born on June 10, 1787, to Henry and Lucinda Jacques at Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts. She was a nurse, a single woman in her early 40s, and a devout Christian, but she became dissatisfied with her religion and began searching for a church with the spiritual gifts the New Testament describes. She requested a copy of the Book of Mormon; however, the power of the sacred record did not at first inspire her. Later, while she was praying one night, she saw a vision of the Book of Mormon and a desire to know the truthfulness of the book became her quest. Through continual prayer and study, a testimony of its divinity came to her. At age 43, she traveled alone to Kirtland, Ohio, to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith. She was baptized and returned to her home where she helped convert several of her family members.
She returned to Kirtland two years later, with $1,400 in savings and some other valuables. On March 8, 1833, Joseph Smith directed her to give her savings to the Church, which she did. Ten days later, Joseph received a revelation directed toward her:
- And again, verily I say unto you, it is my will that my handmaid Vienna Jaques should receive money to bear her expenses, and go up unto the land of Zion;
- And the residue of the money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own due time.
- Verily I say unto you, that it is meet in mine eyes that she should go up unto the land of Zion, and receive an inheritance from the hand of the bishop;
- That she may settle down in peace inasmuch as she is faithful, and not be idle in her days from thenceforth. (Doctrine and Covenants 90:28–31)
She arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, a few months later. In September she received a letter from Joseph Smith, saying:
- I have often felt a whispering since I received your letter, like this: ‘Joseph, thou art indebted to thy God for the offering of thy Sister Vienna, which proved a savior of life as pertaining to thy pecuniary concerns. Therefore she should not be forgotten of thee, for the Lord hath done this, and thou shouldst remember her in all thy prayers and also by letter for she oftentimes calleth on the Lord.’
Vienna did not keep her property long, as mobs forced her and others to leave Jackson County. She married widower Daniel Shearer before she fled to Nauvoo, Illinois. They separated a few years later and he died unexpectedly. She was 60 years old and on her own again when she drove a wagon across the plains in the Charles C. Rich Company. She arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 2, 1847. She received a city lot and lived there until her death on February 7, 1884.
- History of the Church 1:408