Jane Elizabeth Manning was born in Connecticut in about 1820. Her mother had been enslaved, but she was emancipated by the time Jane was born. Jane’s father died when she was a young child and, perhaps in part for that reason, Jane began working as a domestic servant for a wealthy white family in the next town over. As a young woman, she was baptized and joined the local Congregational Church, but not long afterward she heard a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints preach and she was convinced by his message. She was baptized a short time later, and she appears to have persuaded her family to join the Church as well. In 1843, the Mannings joined an interracial group of converts for the journey to Nauvoo. Although they left the Northeast together, the group was separated at some point during the journey. The white members continued to Nauvoo on public transportation; the black members walked. When Jane and her family reached Nauvoo, they were welcomed by Emma and Joseph Smith and stayed in the mansion house for a short time while they found jobs and housing. Jane remained in the mansion house, working for the Smiths as a domestic servant.
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‘Is there no blessing for me?’: Jane Manning James’s pleas to receive her endowment + her powerful testimony of the temple
Born in 1822 to former slaves, Jane Elizabeth Manning was baptized in 1842 into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which brought her great reproach. This was the beginning of many trials for Jane as a convert of African descent.
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In her life story, Jane Manning James said she tried to set a good example “in my feeble way.” There was nothing feeble about her, though. She was a paradigm of faith and faithfulness in the face of sometimes unthinkable opposition.
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The friendship between Jane Manning James and Emma Smith—remarkable in a pre–Civil War era—is documented only in a few scattered lines of historical text.
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The groundbreaking movie Jane and Emma will be released in select theaters tomorrow, October 12, 2018. The film tells the incredible story of Jane Manning James and her conversion to the Church as one of the first black members. The story highlights her relationship with Joseph and Emma Smith while addressing controversial issues such as polygamy and racism.
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Shuffling through dirt and mud, stumbling over cold stones that rubbed their skin raw, Jane Elizabeth Manning James and her family inched toward Nauvoo, Illinois, barefoot. It was 1843; James was one of the first black converts to the Church and lived in a time where some people saw her as property first and a human being second.
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The new movie highlighting the relationship between black convert Jane Manning James and Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comes out in only a few short days (click here for more information on where you can watch it starting October 12, 2018!). The story truly lets you see these two women in Church history with all their flaws and strengths as you watch them grapple with the nuances of their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and their love for the martyred prophet during a fictionalized account of a night spent guarding Joseph Smith’s body after his death. While the night itself is not found in the history records, the emotions, stories of Jane and Emma’s previous interactions, people, and much of the dialogue comes straight from accounts left behind by those who lived early Church history, brought to life in the poetic, visual world of film. Here are a few of the true facts from Church history that you will find in Jane and Emma.
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“Jane and Emma” Actress and Non-Member Tells NPR the Uplifting Insights She Learned About Joseph Smith, Faith Playing Jane Manning
The upcoming movie Jane and Emma is already making waves in the entertainment industry with its controversial topics and strong female presence in the cast and crew. The movie shows the relationship between Jane Manning, Emma Smith, and the prophet Joseph Smith.
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"By putting this piece out there, Mormons are demonstrating a willingness to have an open, uncomfortable conversation that some churches in America’s Christian community have been meticulously avoiding," Matthew Faraci writes about the new film Jane and Emma, which focuses on the relationship between Emma Smith and one of the first black converts to the Church, Jane Elizabeth Manning James.
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The first-look trailer for the upcoming movie Jane and Emma is making waves, and Deadline is taking notice.
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MR says: What an extraordinary life which influenced those of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and was filled with adventure, devotion, faith, and the will to overcome.
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