The early 1840s in Nauvoo is where and when Joseph Smith's polygamy took off. We can only guess as to why. Maybe it was because Joseph was under threat of death by an angel of God if he refused. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that now Joseph had an entire city full of citizens eager to show their faith and devotion in his prophetic calling and willing to do just about anything to gain God's favor. Whatever the case, Joseph's marriage to Louisa really set things in motion. Zina Jacobs followed in relatively short order.
Like Louisa, Zina had recently lost her mother to the early Nauvoo malaria epidemic. In addition to coping with her mother's death, Zina had to juggle the attention of two suitors: Henry Bailey Jacobs, who wanted a wife, and the nearly all-powerful brother Joseph, who explained (to his credit) he needed another wife. Henry had started his pursuit before Joseph, but that didn't necessarily rule out Nauvoo's number one citizen. Amazingly she turned Joseph down to accept Henry's proposal.
Or maybe Zina's refusal shouldn't shock us at all. How many women are dying to become a sister wife?
A couple of months later Joseph came back at Zina with this story:
Obviously the death-threatening angel bullshit worked. Despite the deep shame she felt by consenting, Zina eventually (and conveniently) gained a testimony of plural marriage.
Zina continued living with Henry, but Joseph kept sending Henry on missions. After Joseph was killed, Zina married Brigham Young, who sent Henry to England. Zina then moved in with Brigham and his other wives leaving Henry feeling like total shit. Poor Zina. Poor Henry.
Why was Zina ever a candidate for plural marriage? She was not a virgin and she did not bear children with Joseph. And do you honestly think Emma gave her consent?
Here is the Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast episode about her.