We know that Emma Hale Smith, after the death of her husband, didn’t follow the “Brighamites” to Utah, but joined her son’s church (the Reorganized LDS Church, now Community of Christ). So why is she so honored by the Church and its members? Actually, she was kind of an apostate, wasn’t she?
First of all I think we need to understand why Emma did not join the Saints in their westward trek with Brigham Young.
After the Prophet’s death she made it her priority to preserve the inheritance for her five living children. It was difficult to distinguish what was Joseph’s personal property and what belonged to the Church. There was much dissention over this between Emma and Brigham Young which resulted in bitter legal battles. Since an amicable agreement could not be reached she chose to remain in Nauvoo with her family.
She also was unable to condone the practice of plural marriage. Even while married to Joseph she struggled between her faith in her husband’s prophetic role and her aversion to a principle that he, as prophet, had been instructed to institute.
To read the rest of the answer: askgramps.org