Joseph Smith’s multiple wives: And why I don’t care at all

I wasn’t always Mormon.

Not even close. I was baptized about three different times in three different churches and I sang the songs out of almost every hymn book there is. I’ve worshiped at altars and I’ve rocked out to Christian rock (still do) and I’ve sang in gospel choirs. And along the way I took steps–vital steps–towards getting to where I am. And to where I’m going.

Each religion, each church, each sermon taught me a little more and steered me a little more and prompted all those important questions that beg to be answered. And slowly, little by little, I was converting to Christ.

And I still am, even now.

My baptism in the Mormon church didn’t stamp on my forehead a “Good to go” pass. To be honest, I knew very little except for the fact that I knew it was true, I felt the spirit like never before, and I was so IN LOVE with the light. But it was just the beginning–the very beginning trailhead–of a daily journey and a daily conversion.

walking

Because of that, you can imagine my confusion when I learned, around the fall of 2010, that Joseph Smith had multiple wives near the end of his life. You can imagine the way I shrunk in my seat during my Book of Mormon class and hurried back to my apartment with my hood shielding me from snowflakes and frozen tears.

I was angry.

They didn’t tell me about that! I said through clenched teeth. Sure, I knew polygamy was part of our church’s history, just as it’s part of Biblical history and even pagan history. But Joseph Smith? My newest hero?

It felt like he died all over again and turned into a monster at the same time. I crumbled. I wondered if I should go home. If I should even be a member anymore. I prayed a lot, wondering why something so big hadn’t been brought to the surface until now.

Because of those feelings I turned to a mentor who I had grown close to and trusted more than anyone else.

I cried to him about my predicament, expressing how betrayed I felt.

And he said just one thing: “Do you believe he’s a prophet?”

“Yes.” I answered it without thinking. Because–well, of course I did. I’ll never forget the chills that ran through me when I read Joseph’s testimony or heard for the first time of the story when he knelt to pray in a grove of sunlit trees. I’ll never forget the peace that rushed through me when I closed the Book of Mormon after reading the last page or the way those I’d lost along the way somehow seemed to encircle my bed and sing a chorus of joy. Of course he was a prophet. I had no doubt that he was chosen to restore all that had been lost and degenerated over the years.

sacred grove

After I said yes my mentor nodded simply and tears filled his eyes. “Then that’s our answer.”

And with that, he encouraged me to go on a trip that was about to take place. A week long church history trip that would start in Illinois, a place where the early saints lived and worshiped and built a temple and then started a long and deadly journey to the west. Without thinking twice I went.

And it was there that I learned about it all–the good, the bad, the ugly–the reason he’d be known not only for his compassion and dedication and the way he’d play with the children and write love letters to his true love Emma, but for evil in a day and age where some deeds are misunderstood and mislabeled.

I sat here at the place where he fell to his death.

Nauvoo Trip-248

I touched every statue that paid tribute to his sacrifice.

DSCN0389

I stood in reverence at the staircase where the herd of men stormed toward the room where Joseph hid with the others, guns in hand, ready to end it all.

Nauvoo Trip-253

And I sat at his final resting place, listening to the wind and smelling wildflower that blossoms every year beside the stones.

DSCN0376

And I loved him more, even while knowing more.

Like Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, David–and who knows how many more–he sealed to multiple wives for reasons that seem unsettling to us today. Like prophets before, he did things that seem disturbing in modern day times all for the work of the Lord. Like prophets that came before him he put God first, even when his reputation threatened to decay and even when he’d be like a lamb to the slaughter. Like prophets before him, he spoke truth. He put God first. He had no other Savior except Christ Himself. And because of that, I sat at his tombstone over 150 years later with tears in my eyes, my heart knit to a gospel I might have never known without him.

jospeh in liberty

The Savior wasn’t popular…and He still isn’t. Moses could barely speak. Abinadi burned at the stake as he spoke of the coming Messiah. And people laughed and mocked Noah as he spoke of the flood and built an ark in the glow of a dry sun. But they were God’s servants.

And I love them for it.

There will always be a shadow if you look for it–some reason to doubt, or fear or wrinkle your nose at the thought. There will always be the one thing that Satan uses to convince you it’s all a lie. All an act.

But the spirit of truth tells us to remember. The love. The truth. The doctrine. The goosebumps during that part in the song that reminds us, “Millions shall know brother Joseph again”.

So I say praise to the man who communed with Jehovah.

jehovah

Praise and honor given to the man who reminded us of Christ and whose hands gently fit in all the missing puzzle pieces.

Praise to the man who taught of a loving Heavenly Father and taught of His ways, even when tar burnt his flesh the night before.

Reverence given to a mouthpiece who said first that families are forever, well past the grave. That my dad, my cousin, your mom, your brother, our friends before us–will all see God.

That’s all I need to know to love him.

Praise is given to that.

362 thoughts on “Joseph Smith’s multiple wives: And why I don’t care at all

  1. There was a point when I questioned Joseph Smith. I had sincere questions… but they never had anything to do with Polygamy. I had questions about a lot of things- and it was all part of my conversion process although I was born a member of the church. Now I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. But I also know he was a man. He made mistakes without a doubt. We can speculate all we want about certain things, but truth is we really don’t know the whole truth about this particular thing. There are blessings that come from living this restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And those blessings have nothing to do with Joseph Smith’s polygamous relationships. What they DO have to do with are the gospel TRUTHS he restored. Joseph Smith was NOT called to be a prophet so that he could practice polygamy. That was never why he was called as a prophet. He WAS called as a prophet to restore gospel truths. That was his purpose. And he did that. He fulfilled what God sent him to do. Only God knows the full extent of his sins and I will not be the one to judge him regardless of all the stories. We never ever have the full story. EVER. Despite all the books there may be out there. If polygamy is the only thing keeping someone from the many blessings of the gospel, I would invite those people to shift their focus a little. Leaders of the church will make mistakes sometimes. They will say or do things that may not sit well with us. That’s why I am so grateful for Faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why I am so grateful for prayer and personal revelation. That’s why I “doubt my doubts” before I doubt my testimony in all the other things that a part of this gospel!

    I have learned fairly recently that there are a lot of “cultural Mormon traditions” that are not true. We’ve got to learn to separate “cultural doctrine” from the true doctrine of the gospel. If we start digging into details of the lives of the people who lead or who have led the church or were members of the church, we will find that we are are flawed and imperfect people (sometimes VERY) who are in need of a Savior. This gospel is about our Savior.

    1. Joseph Smith’s polygamy was a result of a commandment from God. It was not a sin. It was something he struggled to accept and understand himself. And initially from what I have read I believe it was just as strange and uncomfortable to him to comply to as it would be to any common modern westerner. One of my favorite quotes from him is “you never knew my heart.” Men can still be sealed to multiple women if their original companion dies and they remarry. These are eternal principles and an important part Gods plan. This might seem awful to some now but I believe that these things only seem uncomfortable to us because we do not know the full picture. If we did it would probably seem like the most wonderful part of Gods plan. What I am sure of is when we understand every other component of the Gospel and of the unknown mysteries we will look at this as a wonderful part of the plan of happiness and something we would give anything to be able to be part of.

      1. According to some of the documents the church has found, he also had some husbands and wives sealed to him, possibly as children. And speaking of children, plenty of DNA research has been done and it all shows that none of the women he was sealed to, ever had children with him. I believe that the lord chose people who were worthy of being born in the covenant and placed that covenant on their heads, through Joseph.

    2. Separating church from the gospel is something we definitely need to do. There was a fantastic talk given in conference by elder polman that talks very clearly about it. Google “the greatest talk you never heard” and look for the original text or video on youtube. Unfortunately, the church didn’t like this talk so the printed edition is vastly different and conveys a completely different message from the spoken one. However, the original is very good and should be required reading for all members. A lot of the issues we face in church culture would disappear if we understood the difference between the church and the gospel.

  2. There was a point when I questioned Joseph Smith. I had sincere questions… but they never had anything to do with Polygamy. I had questions about a lot of things- and it was all part of my conversion process although I was born a member of the church. Now I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. But I also know he was a man. He made mistakes without a doubt. We can speculate all we want about certain things, but truth is we really don’t know the whole truth about this particular thing. There are blessings that come from living this restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And those blessings have nothing to do with Joseph Smith’s polygamous relationships. What they DO have to do with are the gospel TRUTHS he restored. Joseph Smith was NOT called to be a prophet so that he could practice polygamy. That was never why he was called as a prophet. He WAS called as a prophet to restore gospel truths. That was his purpose. And he did that. He fulfilled what God sent him to do. Only God knows the full extent of his sins and I will not be the one to judge him regardless of all the stories. We never ever have the full story. EVER. Despite all the books there may be out there. If polygamy is the only thing keeping someone from the many blessings of the gospel, I would invite those people to shift their focus a little. Leaders of the church will make mistakes sometimes. They will say or do things that may not sit well with us. That’s why I am so grateful for Faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why I am so grateful for prayer and personal revelation. That’s why I “doubt my doubts” before I doubt my testimony in all the other things that a part of this gospel!

    I have learned fairly recently that there are a lot of “cultural Mormon traditions” that are not true. We’ve got to learn to separate “cultural doctrine” from the true doctrine of the gospel. If we start digging into details of the lives of the people who lead or who have led the church or were members of the church, we will find that we are are flawed and imperfect people (sometimes VERY) who are in need of a Savior. This gospel is about our Savior.

  3. I am a decedent of Parley P. Pratt, and the church’s polygamy foundation was necessary and prophetic. From all the accounts I have read, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Parley, etc. had a hard time accepting polygamy at first. It went against their nature, it was accepted because of the urgings of the Lord. It was a difficult time to start the Lord’s kingdom here on earth. The infant mortality rate and the hardships of the pioneers (many dieing) to name a couple. I believe polygamy was needed to build a good foundation of the believers. I am a descendant from one of Parley’s wives along with thousands of other Latter Day Saints today, and we are from only one of the families practicing polygamy during the early years of the church. Members of the church should not look at polygamy as a dark stain on the church’s history, it should be understood and embraced as a needed step in building the Lord’s kingdom here on earth and in heaven. Some members of the church have a hard to with the idea of Joseph Smith practicing polygamy, I do not, I believe it is easier to accept the idea of polygamy because the revelation came from him, the founding father of our religion. There are many rumors circulating around about Joseph Smith and his wives, some not in a good light. Mornoni told Joseph that his name will be spoken for both good and evil. A man every bit as loved and hated as prophets of old, we are to only assume and believe that his name will be smeared as much today and it was when he lived. The only true belief that we should hold onto is our witness of the Holy Ghost that he was a prophet of God.

    1. I find myself somewhat curious as to all the flap over polygamy. It has been around forever. Only in a handful of western cultures is polygamy looked on as being abnormal, and in most of those, polyamory is increasingly accepted in one form or another. People are increasingly accepting of non-“traditional” marriage. Just seems… curious…

    2. http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/02-FannyAlger.htm

      Yeah, it wasn’t very hard for Joseph to take his first wife. She was an attractive 17 girl who was their maid. He “took her” in private, an act if any man in your life did now, you’d call adultery and laugh at the insanity of the ironic claim that “God made me do it”.

      If it’d have been a hard thing for him to do, he would have told his wife God told him to do it before screwing around with her. As it was, pretty confident it was a case where he got caught messing around w/ the teenage maid in the barn and had to come up with some explanation.

      Even if you buy it, these ridiculous pre-internet explanations aren’t going to cut it for your children and grand children. The evidence against the idea that he was “struggling” to take on other wives is overwhelming.

      The fact so many women defend him in his Warren Jeff’s type activities is evidence that claiming to speak on behalf of God is more powerful than being the president of a super power.

      1. The first marriage was with Emma’s consent. Joseph even spoke with the girl’s parents. Emma was present for the ceremony. After that there were no more additional marriages until the Nauvoo period. Emma’s issue with the situation came in Nauvoo. She had presumed that the first marriage would have fulfilled the commandment, it had not. The revelation to begin the practice was given in the early 1830’s during the “translation” of the Bible. Joseph’s first plural marriage was in the 1835 timeframe. The difficulties came when Joseph took more wives. What passed between Joseph and Emma is their concern. I have enough to worry about in my own marriage without worrying about theirs.

      2. Actually, all the real evidence points toward Emma’s knowledge of the union. And this is evidence I have read with the help of the internet. He most certainly did struggle, since he laid off the idea for a number of years after Fanny.

        The website you reference above is no more believable than any evidence you attempt to disprove that a supporter of JS would use.

      3. If you believe what you said, you have been misled. If you read your D&C, you’ll find that it was a requirement that the first wife had to be taught about the principle first. Emma knew. There are dissenting “opinions” (and that’s what they were, opinions) about whether she liked the idea or not. I’ve been taught that when he was told to take other wives, Joseph did nothing at all, until it got to a point where he was told that he would either do it or die. I don’t know whether that account was accurate or not, but if it was it would be in the historical record. I do know that in my family line I have at least two great-great-grandfathers and two great-grandfathers who practiced polygamy before and after coming to Utah, and I would not be here but for that since I descended from second wives. Others in those families had more than one wife (or in the case of females were plural wives). One, Desdemona Fullmer, was one of Joseph’s plural wives. Joseph asked permission from her father and three brothers before marrying her. These marriages were not about sex or born of lust like in the modern fundamentalist groups where old men marry girls who are often still almost children. If you understand the plan of salvation you will understand the reason there have been times when God ordained polygamy. It is not for us to second guess the will of God. If you had a testimony of God (I question whether you do) you would pray about this and have peace in your mind and heart given to you.

      4. Apparently people responding to you haven’t read the essays on lds.org. They admit that Emma did not know about most of his other wives.

    3. You should read Wife #19, a book by one of Brigham Young’s wives. It is not meant to dissuade you at all, but it is an important part of history, especially Mormon History, to read about the other side. There are three truths in many situations. His, hers, and the real truth in the middle.

      1. Not all the men practiced polygamy, it was a very small percent, about 3 percent. Like a calling from God to ones who would not abuse it, and the wife got to pick or agree which woman would be the other one or ones (because they had to be able to get along with them). For the reason that women could not purchase land back then, so when their husband had died this is why polygamy was done. So the above ? is, there is a very good chance no because I don’t think their were divorces back then they knew how to stay committed in marriage, even if there was maybe back then a 1% chance there was a divorce and that did happen people throughout history are human and make mistakes and stupid choices at times. In any case if that did happen or if polygamy was abused there would be a good chance of them being excommunicated.

      2. Gary

        Actually, divorce was more common than you might think, even in the church. I think six or seven of Brigham Young’s wives eventually divorced him.
        What I thought was funny is when I read how Brigham Young never hesitated to give a woman a divorce, but told the men they needed to suck it up and take care of their wives.

        Canada

        Yes, but he had married her only after she had been legally divorced from the husband due to physical abuse.

      3. Yes. He was murdered for luring away the wife of a husband in Arkansas. The husband was apparently a nasty guy, but Pratt did help to break up their marriage.

  4. Wow! It’s so awesome that you found a way to be totally OK with pedophilia and coerced sexual intercourse.

    Your blog will be useful for people who want to understand how the poor, misguided spiritual zombies who follow Warren Jeffs can still think he’s a prophet even after the horrible things he’s done.

    Good on you!

    1. Emma, it’s sad that you let your misguided knowledge allow you to make the first part of the statement above. 😦 Why don’t you do some real research for yourself and not just spew the talking points of anti-Mormons. Here’s an idea, ask God, with a sincere heart, REALLY wanting to know the truth, and see what you get.

      BTW, Warren Jeffs has NO PART of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And yes, he has done horrible things.

      1. There would be no Warren Jeffs if there had been no Joseph Smith. Warren Jeffs is most definitely a part of the legacy of Mormonism.

      2. Warren is following the church that Joseph setup. The FLDS claim that the LDS church is in apostasy. If Joseph was alive today he would be in the next jail cell next to Warren.

      3. Lillian,
        It’s not anti-mormon when it comes from our own history. It is documented that 1- JS married multiple 14-16 year olds when he himself was in his 30’s. 2- They were coerced to the point that JS said he would be destroyed if a particular woman wouldn’t marry him.

        Warren Jeff’s did the same thing that JS did. Yet, you want one to be in prison and the other you are fine with.

      1. To suggest that Warren Jeffs embodies a legacy in Mormonism is to say that all protestants are a representative of the legacy of Catholicism. Schisms happen. And once they do, the legacy becomes unique to that order. Perhaps the distant roots are in common, but look, my last name is French and yet I have no claim on France nor will I ever do so, nor want to. I’m not the legacy of long-past French Huguenots. Too much time has passed and too much blending has occurred. The same could be said of Jeffs – while he attempts to carry a religious identity that seemingly insinuates likeness with Mormons, he’s not one of us and never has been; and his doctrines and philosophies are a far separation. His passage into life has long been blended away from Mormonism and has become its own thing. Besides, I’m a ninth cousin of some presidents, and a 12th cousin of some billionaires, and a 4th cousin of some movie stars. Does that make me special or entitled to their fame, fortune, and legacy? Can I claim I’m part of their legacy simply because I’m kinda, sorta, a tiny little bit derived from the same stock as they? I mean, after all, I even live in the same state as some of them. I mean if the answer is yes, then by golly I outta claim an inheritance or something.

    2. Umm really. Warren Jeffs isn’t a prophet in my book!!! And NEVER was!!! I really get agrivated when he is brought into this!!! He has absolutely nothing to do with the LDS church. He is a man who has committed many sins and he is now paying for them and will be judged by the most high when the time comes. But he is NOT an LDS prophet!!!

    3. You have mixed up your churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has never and will never be okay with pedophilia and coerced sexual intercourse. Warren Jeffs is not a member of this church. He is from a faction that broke off.

      1. You might want to do a bit of research on the ages of the early church leadership’s plural wives. A lot of teenage girls were married off to men far older than they were, the FLDS are following early LDS practices including marriage to young girls at least as young as fourteen in Joseph Smith’s case. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xFPynZCmZF4/UhpKRNMXPQI/AAAAAAAAAhM/CGPg5wmhQyQ/s1600/Dirty+Old+Men+v02.png
        These men were old enough to parent and sometimes grandparent their young brides. The LDS church apologists are wrong about the “norm” of teen marriage in the 19th century, it was very rare on an international scale. Studies of marriage norms in the US, Russia, Britain, New Zealand and Japan all reflect marriage ages where being married before seventeen was very unusual. The average marriage age in the 19th century was higher than during the 20th century Baby Boom at about age 21 for a national marriage average. Regionally the South and the inter-mountain west had lower average ages for females, but polygamy in Utah might have been driving down the average for the mountains rather than it actually being nationally normal. Even if it had been normal, it does not indicate an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent being as a deity.

        If God is omniscient, then he would be well aware that teenage pregnancy and marriage are both more dangerous than marriage in adulthood. If the Mormon vision of God exists, I see no reason to worship him, he’s not worthy of worship because he clearly does not care about women. This extends to the point that the ultimate goal in Mormonism for a woman is to just vanish, possibly into an existence of eternal pregnancy, we don’t know. Why would I as a woman want to aim for something which I know nothing about? The benefits are clear for men, they get to become gods who can lord over planets and create worlds and enjoy the worship of billions. The system seems to be a barren appeal to ego to me.

        When do you hear about Heavenly Mother? When do you get to talk to her like you would your mortal mother? When does she get to see her children? The idea that the divine goddess were incapable of enduring whatever implied slights that God is “protecting” her from is sexist. Does your mortal mother require your father to shield her from everything to the point that no one knows anything about her? Can you imagine as a mother the sort of inextinguishable grief you would feel from losing a third of your children? It seems to me that Heavenly Mother needs protection most from her husband who is wont to destroy and exile their children.

        According to Mormon beliefs, only those who make it to the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom become deities. God will not leave the Celestial kingdom after Judgment Day, which suggests that Heavenly Mother cannot either given the extensive controls she already apparently endures. To me, such an existence is tantamount to eternal torture if I loved my prospective spirit even a fraction as much as my mortal one. Heavenly Mother got to lose a third of her children before mortality and will never see, embrace or talk to the vast majority of her children as very few will make it to the Celestial Kingdom where she dwells.

        He has developed a plan of “salvation” which allegedly disproportionately leads to the failure of his male offspring which suggests either impotence, incompetence or malevolence. If polygamy is an expectation for the after life, the test is not well designed. Aside from this, male death rates are consistently higher across all age groups, so it’s just as plausible that the inverse would actually be the case, that billions of male children who died before age eight would obtain automatic exaltation and there would be a surplus of men, and yet the LDS church only allows multiple women to be sealed to a single man and not the inverse. The “necessity” of polygamy at any time indicates an observation of mortal norms which include the tendency for women to be more religious than men. The notion that this ratio would exist in an afterlife is preposterous and suggests that the reason why polygamy existed was actually in response to mortal circumstances rather than a divine decree.

        Joseph Smith was not a good man, even if you want to rationalize away his indiscretions. He exploited the people around him and got power, money, fame and sex. I’m sure most believers recognize that these are common motivators for unethical behavior. If you were looking at his history with his name redacted, you likely would regard him as being like David Koresh and L. Ron Hubbard. It should be no surprise that as the information age has developed that less people have been converting to Mormonism. The last year with over 300,000 convert baptisms was in 1999. Information about Joseph Smith’s life has become easily accessible, and people on the outside are less inclined to join a church which to them appears to be an evolution off of a doomsday sex cult which still reveres its founder.

        I would bet that most Mormons innately can recognize red flags for abusive religious leaders in other sects, things like expecting that the followers financially support him fully, a history of entanglements with the law both before and after they started their religions, sexual exploitation of the followers, lying about their participation in immoral behavior or blame shifting to someone else and so forth. When you believe in someone as a prophet, you become vulnerable to needing to rationalize away their indiscretions as not that bad or misunderstood. You have to make Joseph Smith come out smelling like a rose in your mind because to consider otherwise suggests that you’ve been duped, that you’re subject to moral relativism and that you are fallible and subject to misinterpreting your emotions. Without belief, you’d likely be on the bandwagon of those issuing discrediting statements. If you looked at Joseph Smith as an outsider, you would likely be less offended by the comparison between him and Warren Jeffs, because for an outsider, they’re more alike than different.

        There are people who survived the FBI assault at Waco still believe in David Koresh, people in the FLDS sect still belief that Warren Jeffs is a prophet even though he said he was not. There are people that still maintain the Heaven’s Gate website. People do not do well with approaching their beliefs objectively and understanding our innate need to have internal consistency may be helpful in understanding why we would rationalize away actions that as outsiders we’d immediately recognize as morally defunct.

        I suggest that belief blinds people into rationalizing and excusing immoral behavior by their leaders, and this is not unique to Mormonism. It doesn’t mean that believers are stupid or gullible. Much of the time it has to do with how religions insert themselves into the identity of a person, which makes it psychologically traumatizing to reconsider beliefs. If a person’s beliefs don’t match reality, they will generally adjust their view of reality rather than adjust their beliefs.

        Personally, I cannot reconcile that if Joseph Smith did receive a heavenly visitation from an angel with a drawn sword directing polygamy that God did not seem to care about over a hundred years of an effective exaltation ban on the basis of skin color. Given his tendency to retroactively add in “scriptures” or stories to support his claims, I have no reason to put trust in him. It appears to me as though the LDS church is suggesting that Joseph Smith had BETTER practice polygamy, but somehow God was silent about systemic discrimination for decades? I don’t understand why people don’t simply roll their eyes at the notion that God would force Joseph Smith to practice polygamy either, given beliefs on “free agency.” Why was it so important for Joseph Smith to practice polygamy to the extent that it merited an angelic visitation but aught is said about anything relating to modern social issues that you wouldn’t find at any other conservative sect? Why not simply conclude that Joseph Smith made the claim to make his followers feel responsible for his mortality? In telling any woman that an angel would kill him without polygamy, he has effectively coerced her into the union. If any other man did the same, even those with faith in Joseph Smith’s status likely would recognize that it was a ploy for sex, but since it’s Joseph Smith and their identity is wrapped up in believing the religion he started, its excusable in Smith’s case and to them is clearly not about Joseph Smith’s apparently rapacious sexual appetite.

        One further note: Joseph Smith violated every single direction in the supposed scripture supporting his polygamy. Emma was in the dark for many of these unions, you can pretend like she consented or was aware, but after her husband died and all indications suggest that she did not know about most of his plural wives (which made it bigamy). You can rationalize that because you believe Joseph Smith was a good man that she knew, but Fanny Alger was regarded by Oliver Cowdery as an affair, and Emma was incensed at catching her husband in flagrante delicto in the barn. This also could not have been a sealing since that ordinance wasn’t restored yet – and I advise any Mormon to read Doctrine and Covenants 110 seriously and pay attention to the visionary nature of the supposed restoration. For a church so focused on physical ordinances, how are sealing keys restored in vision? Elijah/Elias (same person Hebrew/Greek name forms) never physically appeared according to the scriptures.

        Joseph Smith didn’t create children, which would have been in violation of verse 63 of section 132. He didn’t get Emma’s consent even for the first alleged plural wife (who was outside of sealing ordinance “restoration” time period). He did not marry virgins, see Zina D. H. Young who he married while she was pregnant with her first husband’s child and other married women. Apologists seek to excuse these issues as Joseph Smith “learning” but by the time the section was supposedly revealed Joseph Smith had years of what would have been sinful observance. Ironically, Mormons are fixated on perfection while their own supposed founding prophet behaved immorally and against supposed scripture and they excuse him for it. If you behave at least as well as Joseph Smith did, why would you fear for your salvation? Why would you be held to a higher standard of behavior than Joseph Smith apparently was according to your exoneration of his actions?

      2. Oh, but coercion is exactly what Joseph Smith used. For a man (who already has a wife) to tell a woman that God has commanded her to marry him or else an angel will destroy him, and then give her 24 hours to decide, is coercion. Certainly does NOT sound like a marriage proposal to me!!!

    4. Emma
      Learn to use words correctly. Pedophilia is experiencing a primary of exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children (11 years or younger). Adolescents do not qualify for this accusation, and can actually be guilty of it themselves. So, unless you have proof of sexual relations with children of 11 years or younger you really should stop throwing out false accusations.
      Also, if you are going to make accusations of coercion, please provide the evidence. Without said evidence your accusation is meaningless and should be rightly ignored.

      1. The correct term is ephebophilia, however you may need to demonstrate how you know that Helen Mar Kimball for example had commenced sexual development given that she was fourteen and the average age of menarche in the 19th century was fifteen or sixteen. The odds are within plausibility that she was in fact a pre-pubescent girl which would make it fit the definition of pedophilia. You’re applying the historian’s fallacy here in assuming modern norms applied then. Sexual development occurred later then than it does now where the average age of menarche is about age 12.

        The angel with a sword is coercion as the women he propositioned would have felt morally responsible for the life of their leader. That he told any girl or woman that his life was in danger unless they married him is coercive. Helen Mar Kimball was told that if she married Joseph Smith that her family’s eternal salvation was ensured.

        Brian Hales excuse of Helen’s circumstance as that she later recounted that she didn’t fully understand what she was agreeing to does not sit well with me either, it suggests a young woman who was not really mature enough for marriage but who on the basis that she trusted her parents agreed. She also recounted how she resented that she lost her social life after the ceremony which suggests that she was considered “spoken for” and was not permitted to court or socialize as a teenager at the time normally would have. She was also not legally considered competent to agree to marriage, even then minors required the consent of their parents to marry. Regardless of if there was sex in this union, I think it can be deduced from the change in her social status that it was intended to occur at some point.

        These unions were never legally binding. Bigamy was illegal at the time and did not require court documents to demonstrate that a marriage had occurred, contrary to some apologetic assertions that polygamy wasn’t technically illegal. If someone in the union was aware that the other was legally married, it was illegal. Since Joseph Smith knew he was legally married to Emma and his wives all knew he was also married to Emma, it was illegal.

        https://archive.org/stream/revisedlawsofill00illi#page/198/mode/2up

      2. I can understand the pedophile charge although I do not share it. He married a 14 year old when 17 was the average age for puberty.

        Read In Sacred Loneliness (written by a member historian who has not been excommunicated, so it is fair to Smith) for a sense of the coercion. He said an angel would kill him if the woman he was proposing to didn’t marry him. When she needed time to think and pray, he would remind her that the angel’s sword is drawn. He told women that they and their families would obtain eternal salvation if they married him. Such blessings are promised in D&C, so I guess it’s church doctrine that marrying Joseph saves as well as accepting Christ. And there is one proposal where he said all that and told her she was made for and promised to him in the preexistence. While that doctrine is not new with Smith, it would be hard to ignore your prophet telling you such a thing. And he kept asking when the first several answers were ‘no.’

      3. Emma

        You are still ignoring the aspect of pedophilia that says it is either a primary or exclusive urge. Regardless of when puberty set in, a pedophile primarily seeks out prepubescent partners. That was not the case with Joseph Smith. In fact, your statement that sex may have been expected in the future would contradict your accusation, as it shows that his desire would be to wait for her to mature.
        It doesn’t matter how you try to justify yourself, the use of the term is wrong and shows a lack of understanding on your part regarding what it is.

        As to the legality of the actions, I assume you are no lawyer or even a student of the law. You should really read the City charter of Nauvoo. Especially article 11, which states
        “The City Council shall have power and authority to make, ordain, establish and execute all such ordinances, not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or of this State, as they may deem necessary for the peace, BENEFIT, GOOD ORDER, regulation, convenience, and cleanliness of said city” https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Nauvoo_Charter
        As the laws you link to are not part of the constitution of the United States or Illinois, the City counsel and mayor had the legal authority to pass laws allowing for plural marriage as long as they deemed in necessary for the benefit or good order of the city.
        There was nothing illegal in what they did.

    5. Warren Jeffs has never been a part of our church, his church is a different church from the one Joseph Smith Jr re organized. Our church did away with polygamy in 1890, that is why his church was started because of those people still wanting to do that sort of thing. They did polygamy for pleasure and whatever reason, our church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints did it because many of the wives had lost their husbands through death (via war or from cruel mobs and people) because back then women could not own land. So stop mixing our church with his our church is not his and he is not a part of our church please get it right. (Crystal)

      1. Actually the 1890 manifesto did not do away with polygamy at all. Plural marriages were still be performed despite the 1890 manifesto. There was another manifesto in the early 1900’s that finally put a complete end to this practice.

      2. Completely incorrect. In fact thanks to census records we can find that men were the majority in early Utah not in the minority.

        Warren is following far more closer to the original church that Joseph setup than the LDS church is today.

    6. Emma I am completely NOT okay with polygamy and I have not found a way to be okay with the idea of it then or now, however your comment is ignorant as you are using the term pedophilia incorrectly. Pedophilia means you are sexually attracted and try to engage in sexual activity with pre-adolescents aka CHILDREN. Joseph Smith did not do this. His youngest wife was 14 and there is currently no evidence to suggest that he had sex with her as we have access to her diary and other accounts that suggest no such thing happened. That’s not to say that he didn’t have sex with some of his other wives, but he was simply too busy and spread too thin to really make it a habit with any of them. I think that your accusations of forced sex and pedophilia are unfounded and it does not sound as though you have done the appropriate research to know either way. Like I said above, I am still not okay with polygamy and I am not sure I stand on the doctrinal position of it, but learning the truth has definitely opened up my perspective and kept me from latching on to false facts from both directions.

      1. Actually, her diary DOES imply the marriage was consummated. Also, she was not the only fourteen year old. Furthermore, there is court testimony from a number of his wives that the marriages included sex. Read the Temple Lot case flies. Lastly, to explain Joseph’s polygamy you must explain his rational for Polyandry, where he married women who were currently married to living men, some of whom he sent on missions and then married them. Again mostly young, attractive women. The “widows and orphans” excuse just does not cover this. Face it. Joseph liked women. He liked sex.

      2. dagnyc

        Again, show proof.
        Now, from what I have read he was sealed to married women, but not married to them. This was done with the full knowledge and consent of their husbands, and their husbands were frequently present at the ceremonies.

        I have come across only one account of anyone being sent on a mission that was involved in a case of plural marriage (as recorded in Helen Mar Kimball’s diary). It was the brother of the woman that was sent away, and since she was single the consent of her parents was sought and obtained before they were married.

      3. I don’t know what to say. What you are saying is just not true period. Most of these were done in secret. Look at my other post on Orson Hyde. It got JS killed in that William Law was going to expose JS polygamy in the next issue of the Nauvoo Expositor before it was destroyed. You can’t justify these marriages or sealings away.

      4. George

        I never said they weren’t done in secret. I said they were done with the knowledge of the husband (if married), or the knowledge of the parents (if single). The two claims are not mutually exclusive.
        As to looking at your other posts, this thread has far to many for me to wade through them to find one. What I have said I have read in other articles, and it is supported by the articles on LDS.org. Sorry, but they have much greater credibility than you do.

      5. Ok how many of the THIRTY FOUR PLUS did Emma know about. I agree Helen Mar Kimball father knew and Heber C Kimball will Burn in hell too. Did Orson Hyde know when he was on his three year mission that his was taken by Joseph. He was quite pissed when he got back but he was given another. BTW woman are more like property in Mormonism something to be won and traded like used cars.

      6. George

        Once again I must remind you that I never once claimed that some, or even many of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages were hidden from Emma. Your continued hammering of that point is getting tedious.

        As to Orson Hyde, the historical record on this point is very unclear. Two different dates are given for the sealing of Marinda to Joseph Smith. The first, which indicates a date during Orson’s mission, is in a journal entry; the second is a signed and sworn affidavit, which puts the sealing several months after Orson returned. John D. Lee also writes that Orson did, in fact, consent to the sealing.
        Given that the historical record cannot prove anything on this point, I no problem. Joseph was sealed to Orson’s wife, likely after he returned from his mission, and with his consent. Until you can offer substantial proof otherwise, it really doesn’t matter what accusations you make.
        See the following:
        http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/history-2/plural-wives-overview/marinda-nancy-johnson/
        http://en.fairmormon.org/Polygamy_book/Polyandry
        http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy/Sent_husbands_on_missions_to_steal_wives

      7. Ok let’s assume all the men knew and approved of their wives marriages errr I mean sealings to the Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. Well that means Joseph Smith was into wife swapping in the 1840’s using Gods name. The fist Ashley Madison account holder. You know the problem is the more you try and explain away crazy stuff the more crazy your explanations become. Thay say Utah has a wife swapping problem maybe they are just practicing a higher law of celestial wife swapping.

      8. George

        You can play word games all you want, your accusations are meaningless because they have no substantive proof to back them. Believe what you will; I really don’t care. But don’t try and claim that you know everything because it just makes you look bad.

        Now, as it has been shown many times on this blog, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith had physical relations with any other man’s wife. The sealings were for eternity, and all evidence shows that that the woman stayed married to their first husband and had normal physical relations with them. Unless you can show substantive proof otherwise your accusation are nothing more than a slightly annoying wind.

      9. If what you say is true – JS didn’t have sex with all of the woman he was married to- then JS was in violation of the commandments regarding polygamy which specifically state polygamy is for multiplying and replenishing the earth. So he was either sleeping with other men’s wives or he was breaking the commandments he received from the mouth of god. Either way, something was wrong!

      10. David

        Plural Marriage was not ordained for the sole purpose of having more children in this life, but also in the next.

        D&C 132: 30
        Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins…which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; BOTH IN THE WORLD AND OUT OF THE WORLD should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

        Both in the World and out of the World is what the promise is, and Plural Marriage was instituted to fulfill this promise (see verse 34).

        So, the marriage is what was needed, so that the promises could continue in the next life.

  5. Kayla, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You mentioned feeling betrayed that nobody had ever told you about Joseph Smith’s polygamy before you joined the LDS church. Why do you think that information wasn’t disclosed to you? And do you think investigators should be given that information before deciding whether to join the LDS church?

    Also, you mentioned the feelings you had the first time you read about the First Vision. Out of curiosity, which version did you read? Was it the first version Joseph wrote, where he said he saw one personage, or was it one of the later versions where he said he saw two distinct personages?

    Lastly, have you ever considered joining the FLDS church? Warren Jeffs still follows Joseph Smith’s teachings and example by marrying multiple women, including 14 and 15 year-old girls. Unfortunately, Satan has confused people and they misunderstand Warren Jeffs, and Satan has inspired the government to throw him in jail for doing the same thing Joseph did. If you’re inspired by Joseph Smith’s example and you’re able to find a way to feel comfortable with the things he did no matter how wrong they may seem by today’s standards, the FLDS church is the place for you.

    1. Joseph Smith did it the right way and for the right reason because women weren’t able to own land back then, and back then it was only that age because that was the typical age they got married because they didn’t live as long for one thing. that age is wrong now because today’s typical marrying age is 17 at the youngest with parent consent and law of the land with out parent consent is 18. God’s true prophet President Monson from the Church of Jsesus Christ of Latter day saints lives the law of the land God says to live the laws of the land . (Crystal)

      1. It was against the law to have two wives when Joseph Smith first took his second wife. And he had not yet even had the sealing keys restored to him. That happened in 1836, after he already took his second wife. So, in what way was Joseph Smith’s second marriage a legitimate marriage in either the eyes of the State or the eyes of God? It wasn’t. It was adultery plain and simple.

        Did you realize that Joseph Smith wasn’t even sealed to Emma until after he was married to well over 10 other women? After he got the sealing keys, he waited a very long time before he was sealed to Emma. He was sealed to many other women before Emma. The sealing keys were probably a way of justifying his many affairs.

      2. Gary I just want to counterpoint a couple of your facts as at that time it was actually not very normal for girls as young as 14 to get married. The average age of marriage at that time was actually 21. The main difference between then and now however is that 18 was not the legal age of becoming an adult so girls getting married at 14 while not common was not unheard of and while it was abnormal it was still acceptable and not considered to be taboo by society the way it is now. Also, there were enough men at the time for women to get married to one husband and still have access to land, that was actually not at all part of the reason that polygamy was instated, it was purely religious. In fact in early frontier life the mortality rate of women was higher than men due to childbirth so there really was not an abundance of women like we are lead to believe.

  6. I have a hard time separating JS’s actions as a “prophet” from the actions of many others who also claim to be prophets, men such as Warren Jeffs. What is it about men who claim exclusive and direct divine connection and the need for earthly (sexual) connections with multiple women? The abuse of power and authority seems rampant among such men. And the complete devotion and adoration of their followers just feeds the delusion.
    I watched the CNN program about two of Warren Jeff’s abused children last night, and to see the photo of his wives looking up to a photo of Warren was beyond disturbing. (Yes, I know the FLDS is not the LDS church, but both are the fruit of Joseph Smith’s polygamy.) Where is Christ in all of this hero worship and excuse-making for inexcusable behavior?

      1. Its highly unlikely that there is a god, but yes evil is because of him. Satan is as essential to the plan of salvation as Jesus is. I dont understand why Mormons give Lucifer such bad press, there would be no exaltation without him.

        Lucifer is not the one who dishes out the punishment, Lucifer is not the one going to cause misery to billions of his children, Lucifer didnt create a plan that would give billions from eternal progression, its all on Elohims shoulders.

      2. Bob

        You really have no understanding of God or Satan. If we suffer it is on us. To say it is God’s fault or Satan’s fault is to teach false doctrine. We have our agency, and we are free to choose good and the happiness that comes with it, or evil and the misery that accompanies it. (see 2 Nephi chapter 2)
        Also, exaltation would most certainly exist without Satan, as would Hell. Satan didn’t create either one, nor did cause their creation in anyway.

    1. Mavin, the answer is absolutely, all evil is a fruit of God as it is He who created it and it is He who does it. But we also do it as that is how God created us. Isa 45:7, Amos 3:6 and Rom 8:20

  7. Why it does bother me that Joseph Smith had multiple wives, if all the wives that Joseph Smith had were consenting adults that he did not pressure into marriage with him, I would be fine with that, but the facts are that he did pressure women into marriage with him, he told Helen Marr Kimball, who was 14 years old, that if she would marry him then her families salvation would be guaranteed, her salvation would be guaranteed, I do take issue with this, if I found out that president Monson was doing this to 14 year old girls I would be pissed, those are manipulative tactics, made by a person in authority.

    It bothers me that there are women that he proposed to, and when they turned him down he would publicly humiliate her in the morning star.

    This is from FairMormon, a pro LDS site:
    Question: Some have claimed that significant pressure was put on women to practice plural marriage in Nauvoo. Did any of these women resist or refuse? What were the consequences of doing so?

    Answer: Several women seem to have refused plural marriage. If they did nothing to threaten the life and safety of Joseph and the Saints, they suffered no discernible consequences. Those who tried to “expose” Joseph had their character and testimony challenged.

    This is victim blaming, so if I go out and propose to another woman because “god” told me to, and she refuses, so long as she does not go out and talk to other people about it, I will leave her alone, but as soon as she talks to anyone about it, I am free to attack her character, because hey, she is now threatening my marriage to my wife, she is putting my kids in danger because they are now likely to be raised in a single parent home, but it’s not because of my infidelity, it’s because she talked, shame on her.

    Lower in the page:

    Other women loudly trumpeted the plural marriage doctrine in Nauvoo and the hostile press. These women’s testimony and character were generally attacked to try to discredit them in an effort to preserve the secrecy which surrounded plural marriage. (This factor is complicated by the fact that at least some were guilty of inappropriate behavior (e.g., likely Sarah Pratt)).

    So it’s ok to point out the inappropriate behavior of his victims, but it is not ok to point out the inappropriate behavior of the victimizer. This is like blaming a women for being raped because she was wearing inappropriate clothing, I don’t care what a woman is wearing, she can be walking around naked for all I care, it’s still never appropriate or right for someone to rape her, and it most certainly is not her fault for being raped.

    One of the biggest things that bothers me about these types of arguments, is that we are told that we should not expect perfection from past leaders, I am fully on board with this statement, I am willing to afford people a lot of leeway, we are all human, we all screw up, what bothers me, is that some of these things that they are asking us to look past are some pretty serious issues, they have serious implications, but it’s ok, just look past those, ok, I will let you get away with that, but to then turn around and expect perfection from the standard members of the church is extremely hypocritical, you expect me to give Joseph Smith a pass in marrying a 14 year old girl, but you won’t give a pass to a woman that drinks a cup of coffee in the morning, she is unworthy (meaning worthless) because she drinks a cup of coffee.

    If there is a god, he seems perfectly willing to allow extremely flawed people to be his prophets and apostles, judging by reading the scriptures, but the church is completely unwilling to work with flawed people now, we don’t care how good of a person you are, you go out and volunteer at a woman’s battered shelter every week, whatever, you donate money to charity to help the poor, whatever, you are by all accounts a good person, you treat people fairly, you are honest with your dealings with your fellow man, whatever, but if you drink coffee, that’s it, all bets are off, you are unworthy to join gods church, or if you already belong to gods church you are unworthy to enter his temple. I find it ridiculous and hypocritical.

    My view of the church, I think that the members are the absolute best thing going for the church, they are the churches greatest and most valuable attribute, in all their many flaws, I think the church needs more J Golden Kimball’s and less Dallin H. Oaks. I would consider joining the church again if they actually allowed people to be people, let people have their flaws, let people have their quarks, stop trying to fit everyone into this specific mold that the church has made, regardless of how that negatively affects the peoples psyche.

    1. Timothy
      “he told Helen Marr Kimball, who was 14 years old, that if she would marry him then her families salvation would be guaranteed, her salvation would be guaranteed, I do take issue with this,”
      Actually, it was Helen’s father that told her this, and it was her father that approached Joseph Smith to request the marriage. As to being coercive, that would depend on intent and how truthful the statement was. Did this marriage improve or guarantee her salvation? That is a question for God to answer, not any man.

      “This is victim blaming…she is now threatening my marriage to my wife, she is putting my kids in danger because they are now likely to be raised in a single parent home, but it’s not because of my infidelity, it’s because she talked, shame on her.”
      No, it is because of her actions the lives of Joseph Smith and others were put in jeopardy. The saints had endured nearly 10 years of intense and violent persecution, with many being killed for their faith. Any act that threatened to bring that back had to be addressed and in such a way as to prevent a new onslaught from those around them who were simply waiting for an excuse to attack again.

      “So it’s ok to point out the inappropriate behavior of his victims, but it is not ok to point out the inappropriate behavior of the victimizer.”
      Again, it is okay to defend against false accusation and false information, and to persuade people that the ones spreading it are not reliable witnesses.

      “One of the biggest things that bothers me about these types of arguments, is that we are told that we should not expect perfection from past leaders, I am fully on board with this statement”
      I am on board too, but not when it is used in an attempt to dismiss a direct command from God in an attempt to appease a modern world.

  8. Would you care if it were your 14 year old daughter? Or your husband claiming God told him to do it after you caught him in a lie? I mean seriously, what he was doing would have made him unworthy to take the sacrament in a modern LDS ward. He wouldn’t have been able to make a freaking comment in Sunday School because he (at the very, very least) would have been disfellowshipped. People have been excommunicated for much, much less. I’m sooooo over the “OMG you guyz! It’s NO big deal! He made mistakes!” Ummmm not according to your church. Nope. God handed those women to Joseph on a silver platter.

    1. Brittany
      “I mean seriously, what he was doing would have made him unworthy to take the sacrament in a modern LDS ward.”
      No one has ever been disfellowshiped for obeying a command from God. I have to assume you are not a member and have no real understanding of our doctrine, because no one who understood it would make such a ridiculous claim.

      1. I have unfortunately had to deal with a sexual predator as a bishopric member in a ward. The man was excommunicated and told never to come back to church. He did a fraction of what Joseph did, the two dont even compare. Joseph would be excommunicated and sat in a jail cell for the rest of his life if he was around today.

      2. If you can say this than I have to assume you don’t understand the doctrine or Joseph Smith’s actions. I don’t claim to understand all of them, but I do know he was commanded to do this and he wasn’t a sexual predator. He lived a law that God had revealed and commanded that he live. No one would ever be censured for doing so.

      3. Mormons, please answer a simple question for me…

        How do you reconcile Joseph and Brigham’s practice of Polyandry with the “Law of the Priesthood” (D&C 132:61), where God condemns that practice in at least 5 different ways? (Not to mention the 10 Commandments, the law of the Land and common human decency all of which polyandry violates.)

        Seriously. I was Mormon for the 1st 40 years of my life, but I would have NEVER been a Mormon had the church been honest and disclosed that they guy who’s praises I was forced to sing actually had 34 wives, 11 of whom were teenagers and another 13 of whom were married to his followers. When an honest man finds out he’s been wrong, he either quits being wrong or he quits being honest.
        Seems to me that not caring about Joseph and Brigham abusing their immense power to rape little girls and other men’s wives is wrong, but Mormons can’t admit it any more than Fundamentalist can admit Warren Jeffs was wrong for doing the exact same thing.

      4. Happy

        We admit the facts, not the twisted conclusions that people spread about those facts. There is a big difference.
        The difference here is faith. We believe Joseph to be a prophet. We admit that we do not know all the circumstances surrounding this practice, and we trust God enough that we don’t need to know.

        Also, the church, to my experience, has never hidden these facts from anyone. I have known about this for twenty years.

        As to your question, I think you want to reference verse 63, not 61, as it outlines what constitutes adultery. However, even that verse could not be used to condemn Joseph Smith. It says that if “shall be with another man, she has committed adultery.” Meaning, there has to have been a sexual relationship. Nothing in the evidence would suggest that Joseph Smith ever had a sexual relation with any woman who was already married. Those women were sealed to him only for eternity and still lived with their husbands as man and wife in this life.
        So, once again, you fail to understand the scriptures and the laws of God.

  9. I just don’t understand where we draw a line between God working through imperfect people and those people not always representing God. I don’t think that believing Smith was a prophet and believing everything he did or said was of God are the same thing. I’m disgusted by polygamy, wherever it’s found. I’m disgusted by Joseph Smith’s secrecy, manipulation, and betrayal of his wife and friends. His own actions go against his revelations. I won’t believe that God commanded him to marry other men’s wives or teenage girls or in spite of his wife’s wishes. I also refuse to believe that racist, sexist, and homophobic things said by prophets and apostles are from God. Let’s accept that they are fallible men (and I wish more women), but let’s not give them a free pass. I don’t think following the prophet means following his every word. That’s what personal revelation is for. We need to be honest about our history and stop dismissing the real hurt and pain our leaders have caused.

    1. Mindy
      It has been mentioned before, but I think it needs to be mentioned again.
      Provide evidence. It seems everyone wants to believe the worst, but no one is willing to even attempt to prove it it. I will admit that some have given a few references, but in general those references have actually refuted the claims being made.
      So, if you think Joseph Smith manipulated people, give us the proof. Where is that recorded. If you want to level any accusation, give us the proof; tell us where it is recorded.
      Without proof accusations are as a vapor; it irritates briefly but soon blows over.

      1. You should go to mormonfeministhousewives.com and look up the year on polygamy podcast, you will find links to tons of sources as well as mention of the sources there in the podcasts. The sources or evidence is definitely available, but it can be interpreted in different ways depending on what bias you are coming from.

      1. Prove he wasn’t.
        You see, the burden of proof rests on the one who is trying to convince others. As it has never been my intent to convince of anything, I have no need to prove anything.
        If you want to convince me he wasn’t, than prove it.

        Now, as to proof in general, that is a very subjective thing when it comes to matters of faith and religion. I have proof that has convinced me, but that will do absolutely nothing to convince anyone else. They have to find the proof themselves, which is why it is called faith.
        It is a hope for things wished for that are not seen. In other words, it is a belief that something is real absent any observable proof. I am content with my faith, and have no need to prove anything beyond my hope.

        I think the real question is this: What does a person gain by not believing, and what does one gain by choosing to believe?

  10. So are you ok with Emma not knowing about most of the marriages, or the fact that God threatened to kill Joseph even though he was told not to fear?

    1. The problem is is growing up I had the illusion that they would take turns with their wives Knightley it’s obvious that they did it as I would do it, all at once.

      1. I don’t think you are correct in this. Sex itself was still very very taboo at the time, it was most definitely not all at once, these were actually considered to be more like multiple monogamies, so yes it was individually with each wife. Personally I would more ok with all together because I know what’s going on that way.

  11. We don’t know what may have happened to these women without Joseph-if not for the protected status of a married woman who might they have fallen prey to? Who can say what may have become if not for his protection? The Church needed to grow and quickly; widows needed protected status; the young 13 or 14 yo child he is reported to have married is reported to have returned to her family after (don’t quote me on that one-google it please but I remember reading it) ; remember also the average age of an adult lifespan was much shorter due to hardship and illness and primitive medical care.

    1. Actually, these women lived in the Mormon community so they would have been fine. They would have married other Mormon men and migrated to UT just the same as if they had never been married to JS. In fact he died so soon after marrying most of these women that they were not really given any protection at all. They still lived with their families because Emma was not okay with the marriages so he was not taking care of them temporally at all. These marriages were strictly for religious purposes related to salvation. Most women would not have entered into polygamy if they did not believe it was for their salvation as it was a very hard road to travel. You will find this by reading their diaries and hearing the intense inner turmoil and pain that came from sharing your husband and not have adequate attention. This was especially seen in the UT period. In fact a lot of women were basically single mothers and found ways to support themselves as not all men could support multiple wives financially.
      Also, the 14 year old wife that JS married did live with her family and they never consummated their marriage, but she did marry BY after JS died and became one of his 56 plural wives.

  12. I love this! I just read the whole thing. Beautifully shared, and thank you! I want to address everyone who has or still will comment with anything that is the opposite spirit of this blog entry, and is “anti material” in any way.

    THE BOOK OF MORMON! No matter what kind of argument you think you have come to the table with, of the facts you’ve found, whether or not they’re true,you cannot argue with the book of Mormon. It doesn’t work bringing up things like the 14 yr old girl wife, and the letters or journals entrees of her or Emma, or ANYTHING ELSE that you can throw at me to try to take me away from the church and how these things are proof enough to leave the church. Every time I hear or read that, I’m thinking, ummm the book of Mormon and it’s truthfulness and complexity that can not be argued with, THAT is proof enough to STAY with this church. THAT is why is not important to bring up all the other things in the history of the church before someone decides to get baptized, because for 1) we don’t have all the facts and all the stories straight because we weren’t there, and 2) no wicked man could write such a book [as the book of Mormon] and no good man would write it, unless he were called of God and commanded to do so. So when you read The Book of Mormon and you feel the overwhelming spirit from just reading it, you know that God is speaking to you through the impressions of the spirit that this book is from his prophets. NO MATTER WHAT I HEAR about Joseph or anyone else in the church that people try to use for anti material, God knew that we would need the book of Mormon to always turn back to as the foundation of our testimony of truth, and so we have it to reconfirm time and time again that this is the true restored gospel of Jesus Christ and it has His full authority and power to bring all the blessings and promises from the atonement to our lives, both here on earth and into the eternities.Why people would want to believe that all these amazing eternal promises might NOT be true, instead of maybe being true, it’s hard for me to understand. No matter what, I would always want them to be true so I would do everything in my power to protect my testimony so that I wouldn’t stray from the truth.

  13. Multiple wives? Well, I hope they told you about the blacks at least.

    The Mormon church is nothing but a sex cult that went mainstream by abandoning its principles with each, uh, “revelation” which, since Joseph, curiously only happen when their beliefs become too politically incorrect.

    Going to be interesting when they have another revelation about gays being allowed to marry in the temple, and women being able to hold the priesthood.

    1. Your wrong on gays will be able to be married in the Temple, God won’t ever let that happen, because He condemns that act, it is proof in the Bible when He destroyed Sod-em and Gomorrah and many other wicked towns. It is the righteous prayers that is saving this nation, but the more people get wicked there will come a time where it will be destroyed like the prophecy states it will be destroyed by fire.

      1. Actually, on a closer reading of the bible you will see that Sodom and Gomorrah was not destroyed because of gay relations, that’s something that has been propagated by many church’s for a long time to the point that it has become mainstream, but it was actually destroyed because of their wickedness in general and inability to treat others respectfully. Please refer to mormonsundayschool.org lesson 86.

  14. I know with all my heart that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true! I know that Jesus Christ is Our Savior and Redemmer! The only begotten of the Father and I bare by wittness through the truth that I Have recived in my heart by the testimony of the Holy Ghost who testifies of this truths! And know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is a Prophet of this dispensation and that he received the revelations from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost! He brought forth the Book of Mormón to light i Have read it at least 30 times it has changed my life for ever and every time i read it gives me moré knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ! So with all my heart i know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is and was a Prophet of God!!

  15. Thank you so much for this. Every once in awhile I need something that will put me back on course, renew my faith and strengthen my testimony when I start to feel like I’m in a rut. You did this for me today. I felt the spirit more than I have in weeks, and I truly appreciate that. You have a way with words that really gets through to me. Now I need to read it all again after the instant feeling of deflation I felt as I read some of the comments that crashed my spiritual high. 😦

  16. You don’t care about a 37 year old man having sex with a 14 year old?
    You don’t care that he lied about polygamy to his wife?
    You don’t care that women who don’t consent to polygamy with be destroyed?
    You don’t care that already married women can just given to other men to marry like they are objects?

    You mormons sure are screwed up.

    1. It is people like you that spread false and unproven gossip that have screwed up.
      There is no proof of a sexual relation between Joseph Smith and Helen Mar Kimball.
      It has never been taught that a woman that doesn’t consent will be destroyed.
      No woman can be given to any man without her consent, and the consent of her parents. If she is already married than the consent of her husband is needed for any action to be taken regarding her.

      Learn the truth before you belittle it. If you are going to throw out accusations, please give proof.

      1. No offense, but if you are asking for proof, there is plenty of it:

        Helen Mar Kimball’s(14 years old) Journal
        “I would never have been sealed to Joseph, had I known it was anything more than a ceremony.”

        Joseph’s Words to Helen Mar when telling her to marry him:
        “If you will take this step [marriage], it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.”

        Hiding Polygamy from Emma (Emily Dow Partridge’s Journal):
        “…the Prophet Joseph and his wife Emma offered us a home in their family,… We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was married to Joseph Smith on the 4th of March 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also married to Joseph a few days later. This was done without the knowledge of Emma Smith. Two months afterward she consented to give her husband two wives, providing he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and to save family trouble Brother Joseph thought it best to have another ceremony performed. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma’s presence,… From that very hour, however, Emma was our bitter enemy. We remained in the family several months after this, but things went from bad to worse until we were obligated to leave the house and find another home.”

      2. Jason

        No offense, but I am asking for proof that I have the ability to verify. You claim to quote from journals, but I do not have the time or the ability to look them up to verify what you say, and so it amounts to little.
        In a discussion of this nature verifiable proof is accompanied with links, or at least a detailed citation that makes locating the source (preferably a free copy) simple for the reader. Otherwise you are expecting the reader to simply take your word, and that is asking quite a bit from people who don’t actually know you.

        Now, beyond this, you don’t even address a single point that I made in my comment.
        You talk of Helen being pressured, but I made no mention of that. I said there is no evidence of a sexual relation between her and Joseph. Can you supply any evidence (that we here can verify) that would prove otherwise.
        You then talked about Joseph hiding some of his other wives from Emma. As I have never once denied this I find it an odd thing for you to insist on. Why not rather comment on the false idea of a woman being destroyed for not consenting, or a woman being taken without parent’s of husband’s consent, which are the points that I mentioned?

      3. shematwater: “It has never been taught that a woman that doesn’t consent will be destroyed.”

        Your own scripture proves you are wrong on this point. Please re-read D&C section 132.

        “D&C 132:64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.”

        Do you still want to say it’s never been taught that a woman who doesn’t consent will be destroyed? It’s pretty obvious that is exactly what it says.

        I recommend you review the whole section again, and try to see it from a woman’s point of view. It’s plain to me that if 132 is really from God, then he does not love me, and does not value me. It puts the lie to all those values the Young Women chant every Sunday in the LDS Church: “We are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him…” How can you reconcile the modern rhetoric of the church about women’s value with the vile, threatening, and demeaning words of Section 132?

        Also, notice that D&C 132 plainly contradicts Jacob 2. What does it mean when two canonized latter-day scriptures conflict? Jacob says the wives and concubines of David and Solomon were abominable. D&C 132 says they were justified. Which is it?

        Jacob 2:24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

        D&C 132: 1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many awives and concubines—

        shematwater, please don’t respond until you have carefully read all of section 132 again while trying to have a woman’s viewpoint.

      4. EB

        I know section 132 very well. It is one of my favorite sections, and contains many of the greatest passages of scripture ever given by God and recorded by man. For you to make the claims you do shows that you do not understand this most beautiful of revelations.
        D&C 132:64 “And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.”
        Please note a few things about this verse. It is speaking specifically of a woman who is already a wife, and only one that is a wife of the man that holds the keys of this priesthood. As such, it has nothing to do with a woman declining to marry a man, as it only applies if they are already married. What is being said here is that if such a man is commanded by God to take additional wives and the wife he currently has rejects the command from God than God will justify the man and not the woman. This seems pretty standard for anyone who rejects the commands of God.

        “I recommend you review the whole section again, and try to see it from a woman’s point of view.”
        This section was taught to me by my mother, who, I assume, reads it from a woman’s perspective. It also happens to be one of her favorite sections, and she has never found any contradiction between it and the value of women as taught in the church. It would seem that it is not simply a woman’s perspective, but your perspective.

        “Also, notice that D&C 132 plainly contradicts Jacob 2. What does it mean when two canonized latter-day scriptures conflict?”
        Maybe you need to read the section more carefully, because there is no contradiction. You quote only the first verse of D&C 132. Read a bit further.
        Verse 38: “David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.”
        So, God justified David and Solomon in those things that they received from him. However, David did not receive Bathsheba from God, and thus he took more wives than he was authorized to, which thing is abominable to God, as Jacob tells us. Solomon really went all out, having over 1,000 wives, many of them non-Israelite. Now, the ones that were given to him by the power of the priesthood he was justified in, but the rest he was not, and taking that many wives was abominable to God, as Jacob tells us.
        So, there is no contradiction between the scriptures; they agree completely

        I think you need to go back and study section 132 rather than just reading it.

      5. In my last comment I spoke of my mother and how she views section 132. From my memory of being taught the scriptures I gave what I believed to be the case. However, I have since spoken to her and she has pointed out a few things.
        First, my memory was wrong, mainly because she never actual discussed her opinions and feelings regarding this portion of the section, only the earlier portions.
        Second, due to the language used in the section regarding plural marriage it is difficult for any woman not to take offense to it. When I read it I have always done so with the understanding of the doctrine that she taught; but now considering the language I agree with her that it was not the best choice of wording and can be very offensive to women, especially today.
        Third, the offensive nature of the section is likely due to cultural differences and not due to the message itself (which may be why I never saw it before). In the early 1800’s women were a lesser class of people in society, and that cultural norm is reflected in the wording of the section.
        Fourth, it is not that doctrine that my mother objects to. It is the language used in the section. While she has no desire to live plural marriage, she has no objections to the practice itself and will have no objection to it being re-instated at the Lord’s command. Her objection comes, as she puts it, when people get greedy and seek out dozens and hundreds of wives. She acknowledges that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were able to effectively take care of and have personal relationships with many wives (Kimball had 45) but feels these to be exceptional cases.

        I did not want to misrepresent my mother, and she did point out a few things that I will think about in the future.

    2. You are getting your information from anti mormon twisted lies and out of context, it makes you look so ignorant. My husband read all the anti mormon info and if you read it at face print with out the scripture and prayer you can fall into all kind of twisted contexts and lies, reading it with the scriptures and prayers and going straight to the source material and reading it in full instead of bits and pieces of it. That is like someone coming in and only hearing half of your sentence and then trying to judge your full paragraph per say by a parcel sentence. (Crystal)

      1. No, if you check mormonthink, or even the new LDs.org essays on these complicated subjects, you will find that almost all of the “anti-mormon” information is actually factual.

        Example: Zina Huntington was 7 months pregnant when Joseph Smith coerced her into marrying him, because otherwise he would be destroyed by an angel with a flaming sword. There are 21 accounts of the angel with the sword story in different women’s journals and records at the time, if you google it. How does this NOT take away the woman’s agency? It is coercive.

        “Tell Zina, I put it off and put it off till an angel with a drawn sword stood by me and told me if I did not establish that principle upon the earth I would lose my position and my life.”

      2. Yes Joseph spoke of an Angel with a sword, but how many people heard of this before his death is greatly debatable. Even with all the journal entries, most of which are 20-30 years after his death, it would appear that only a handful of people heard the story from Joseph himself, and only a few more heard it at all for many years.
        Now, you can claim this as coercive, but that would depend on whether or not it was true. You would also need to show that this story was a deciding factor in any of the women’s choices to accept plural marriage. Without this you are assuming something as fact that is nothing more than your personal perception.

  17. When I read the title of this post, I was hopeful that someone had found some good answers regarding the subject of Joseph Smith and his polyandry and polygamy. I was anxious to see the subject matter through the eyes of someone who didn’t care if he had multiple wives, but instead I found this post disturbing on so many levels. First, Kayla, you lost credibility by bouncing in and out of churches and your admittance of doing things “without thinking” or basing critical decisions on very little information is unsettling. How could you know the church was true without knowing very much at all? Only because of a feeling you had? Seems like a very unreliable way of confirming truth. Many LDS church members felt it was the spirit when hearing stories by Paul H. Dunn only to find out later that those stories had been fabricated. Members of other faiths have felt that same good, warm feeling when seeking confirmation about their beliefs. Feelings are simply not reliable sources of truth. Just because it sounds good, does not mean that it is true. You claimed you believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet without even thinking. Really?!? Again, I question your credibility.

    The first thing I do agree with you on is that we were both angry when finding out about Joseph Smith and his multiple wives. I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, who I was with, when finding out about Joseph Smith and his polygamy and polyandry. Unlike you, it was not in a Book of Mormon class, rather it was on my own as I was in search for deeper understanding of church history. What angered me was that I had been raised in the church – primary, YW, RS, church callings, seminary, regular church attendance, FHE, etc., etc. and I had never learned this in one. single. solitary. lesson! Why hadn’t the church trusted me with this knowledge? Why?

    It wasn’t just that JS had multiple wives, it was the circumstances surrounding those marriages. It was that he was marrying teenage brides, one as young as 14 years old. He was marrying women who were already married to other men including faithful men who were serving church missions. It was that he was threatening some of these women by telling them that an angel with a drawn sword threatened to kill him if he didn’t marry them and their eternal salvation was at risk. The church didn’t tell you about that? The church didn’t tell me about that either! In D&C 19:22, we read about giving one milk before meat. We have to give someone something that is easily digested first before giving them something that they wouldn’t be prepared for. It is digestion. Milk before meat (especially as a convert, you should google this and become more familiar with the subject.). You were right, we weren’t told about that, but then that begs the question, what else weren’t we told about and didn’t know?

    Did you know that JS married his friend’s wife while that friend was on a mission, thus introducing me to the concept of polyandry?

    Did you know that JS had the printing press, the Nauvoo Expositor, destroyed because William Law was writing an expose on Joseph Smith’s polygamy? This completely goes against obeying the laws of the land. I remember that freedom of speech is a constitutional right. Consequently, it was William Law, who was a member of the 1st presidency, who was excommunicated for his disdain toward Joseph Smith’s polygamy. The destruction of the printing press is also the reason why JS was arrested and thrown into the Carthage jail where he later died.

    Did you know JS married teen-age girls who were his wife’s live-in nannies?

    Did you know that JS married Fanny Alger somewhere between 1833-1835 and the timing of the restoration of the sealing keys came in 1836?! Whether Joseph’s marriage to Fanny Alger occurred in 1833 or 1835, it was illegal BOTH under the laws of the land AND under any theory of divine authority, since the “sealing” power was not restored until April 1836 when Elijah appeared to Joseph and conferred the sealing keys upon him. What possible good reason would there be to justify this marriage when there were no sealing keys on the earth?

    Did you know that JS, while in his late 30’s, promised a traumatized 14 year-old girl eternal exaltation, for not only her, but her ENTIRE family, if she would marry him? By the way, this was Heber C. Kimball’s daughter, Helen Mar Kimball. He was one of the original 12 apostles in this dispensation.

    Did you know that JS was practicing polygamy when it was illegal, especially when we are taught in the 12th Article of Faith that we are to obey, honor, and sustain the law?

    Did you know that JS had relations and married many of these girls and women without Emma knowing while publicly denying those relationships? Now, I guess I have a better understanding of why Emma Smith decided not to go with the Saints to the west. In 1844, after already being married to many women, Joseph was quoted saying, “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.” OK, sure it isn’t technically adultery if he was, in fact, married to them, but how can he say he can only find one when it is well documented and acknowledged by the church that he had multiple wives at the time of this claim?

    Did you know that although we are taught that JS went “like a lamb to the slaughter” he was actually prepared with a gun and guns blazing? Joseph fired his gun six times (only three shots discharged) and, he hit two of the members of the mob.

    Although I was initially irritated when you claimed you had very little knowledge, now I am beginning to think that if I help educate you a bit, perhaps if you gains a little more light and knowledge regarding such an important subject, you will understand the importance of why it is you should care a little more about JS and his multiple wives, because again, it’s not just that he had multiple wives, it was the circumstances surrounding these marriages.

    So, while I find some good in making peace with something that once made you so angry, I find it complacent and irresponsible to not care at all. If it were unimportant, the church would not see a need to now publish an essay based on this very subject. Why would this be so important? Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground.” Would we give that same “pass” to the likes of Warren Jeffs?

    I, too, have been on church history tours from Nauvoo to Ohio, Ohio to Palmyra and every stop in between. I have been there. I know what you mean about the good, the bad, and the ugly. The bad and the ugly were regarding how the saints were persecuted. It was bad and ugly. They did endure a great deal. I have a great deal of respect for some of those people who sacrificed so much for something that they really believed in. Yet, were we given full disclosure of the narrative? For example, when in the sacred grove, I was never told about multiple versions of the first vision (a recent addition to the church essays). When learning of the translation process, I was never told about the seer stone (the stone JS used when he was younger to look for lost objects and buried treasure) nor placing his head in a hat while bringing forth the Book of Mormon. Witness accounts confirm that the gold plates were not in the same room at the time he was translating them. I have to wonder why Nephi killed Laban to get the plates when apparently they were not needed to be translated. This was yet another topic that the church had to issue an essay on due to the uncomfortable nature of the subject matter. There are other examples similar to these two that I have just given, but for the sake of brevity, I will leave it and stay on the topic of the original blog entry. I just wanted to address what you wrote about regarding the church history tour and explore the fact that it’s possible that the full narrative was not fairly represented. Take our church artwork, for example, does any of it feature a seer stone, a head in a hat, or Joseph with multiple wives? Is the church being transparent with the full narrative regarding church commissioned artwork? I would also look further to our church hymns and primary songs. I love church music and have taught primary music for years! Never once did I see any music about a seer stone or a hat, or anything else that veered away from the canonized narrative we were taught about the restoration of the gospel. This very narrative was the narrative my testimony was based on. When the church changed the narrative, what was I to make of the good feelings I thought were spiritual confirmations regarding things that ended up not being true? Based on all the research and study that I have done, it’s obvious that since the advent of the internet and the ushering in of the information age, any organization is no longer able to obfuscate undesirable facts and evidence about their historical narrative. The church comes forward with this information now? Obviously, because they lost control of information via the internet, not because it was a part of the history that was shared and entrusted to us from the beginning.

    Finally, besides just touching statues at church history sites and sitting next to pretty flowers at a graveside, I wonder if you have turned your thoughts to the scriptures. In D&C section 132, there were specific instructions given about polygamy. These instructions were not followed! We read in D&C 132:61 – a man must get the consent of his first wife, he must marry only virgins, and the women cannot be married to anybody else. Devastating. Simply devastating. These instructions were, of course, not followed by Joseph Smith and other church leaders. Looking to the scriptures again, we can learn about polygamy in Jacob 2:30. We know that polygamy was used to raise up seed commanded by the Lord. Why then does the church try so hard to claim in their own essay that many of these marriages were not consummated if the purpose of polygamy was, in fact, to raise seed? The only conclusion I can possibly come to is that Joseph either went against what the Lord said in Jacob to raise seed by not consummating these marriages, or he consummated these marriages with already married women and a 14 year-old girl. How does one reconcile that? Perhaps you have the only viable alternative, not to care at all! This is something I cannot, will not do. I find it a shame and extremely sad that the church never trusted me nor you with any of this information until they finally admitted it in the last year. Also troubling to me is that these are also the very things that people have been excommunicated for in the past. Past scholars and historians who have tried to shed light on this have been vilified as apostates, anti-Mormon, etc. I find this heartbreaking for members who suffered so much grief for things they claimed were true, were excommunicated for, and will never be offered an apology for. Dallin H. Oaks said in January of this year, “I know that the history of the church is not to seek apologies or to give them,” he continued, “We sometimes look back on issues and say, ‘Maybe that was counterproductive for what we wish to achieve,’ but we look forward and not backward.” The church doesn’t “seek apologies,” he said, “and we don’t give them.” Devastating for members who were only seeking truth.

    On that note, it is my hope that we remember the words of J. Reuben Clark, who said, “If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”

    1. Dear Jolyn, It appears you have joined the “intellectual elite”. You have convinced yourself that what you think in your own mind is more truthful and powerful than the promptings of the Holy Ghost for personal revelation and the restored truths of Christ and His earthly kingdom. Add some humility to your intellect and you will be ok. Tony

      1. I’ll take the “intellectual elite” comment as a compliment. I have dedicated years of my life to sincerely studying the gospel that I once FELT was true only to learn that the historical narrative, which a large part of my testimony was built upon, is vastly different than what I thought I was receiving spiritual confirmations on. It would be a mistake to confuse humility with burying your head in the sand and ignoring evidence for fear of where it might take you. In fact, I would challenge you by saying that it takes more humility to admit that you were wrong about something that you felt you were so sure about and allowing the evidence to be your guide in spite of how uncomfortable it might make you feel. Try that for your own intellectual honesty!

        With all due respect, when you say that I have convinced myself with what I think in my own mind is more powerful than the promptings of the Holy Ghost, I just have to stop and ask – Doesn’t the Holy Ghost work through my mind? Your statement appears to be circular in logic, possibly incoherent. Perhaps you could clarify, if possible. Of course, I can only think in my own mind; it is, after all, the only one I have. If the Holy Ghost prompts me in my mind, then how exactly is my mind convincing myself that it is more truthful and powerful than these promptings from the Holy Ghost that are supposedly in my mind?

        You apparently received my message clearly. Thinking things out logically, weighing evidence, being open to science – these have all proven to have given us a more accurate understanding of our reality and have proven to be more reliable than feelings, or as you would interpret as promptings from the Holy Ghost. These advancements in science have dispelled previous religious superstitions that were once attributed to God. Otherwise, like I wrote in my response to Lemmon, how do you account for the billions of people who have received confirmations or spiritual witnesses from a supposed divine being as a reliable source? We can’t all be right. How are they any less reliable than what you claim yours to be? Again, let me remind you, I am talking about things that I had supposedly felt the spirit on that are now disavowed by the church along with many other church members who also received testimonies about those very things.

        If the revelatory process to lead you to truth comes via feelings through the spirit, then, for all intents and purposes, a teacher would have no choice but to give him a failing grade given the staggering fact that his message currently only resonates with .02% of the population today. Taking these numbers as assumptions:

        If God currently has 15,000,000 members out of 7,200,000,000 inhabitants, which = 0.21% of the total world population (yes, that’s less than a half percent). Out of the 15,000,000 members, let us assume half of those members are active, which = 7,500,000 (being generous), and then let us assume that half of those active members are current temple recommend holders (also generous), which would = 3,750,000. This means that a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God has successfully had his plan resonate with 0.05% of the world population. The millennium will truly be a busy time.

        Remember that these numbers doesn’t include the past where the gospel wasn’t even on the earth with the right authority. HIs plan certainly leaves a lot to be desired. I know, I know – God’s ways are not our ways, right? Yet, he wants us to understand him?

        As far as humility, what wasn’t I humble about, exactly? Instead of a blanket statement, it would be great if you could be a bit more specific.

    2. Jolyn, Thank you for sharing.

      I recently learned these things for myself and it has been completely devastating. I grew up in the church and these things are never talked about. My husband heard about the JS polygamy statement on the news at work. The church does not talk about it. Many people do not know it was published. I knew that polygamy is a part of the church history. My ancestors were pioneers. One of my grandfathers had five wives. I have always felt that polygamy was a mistake. Prophets are people too; however, this goes way beyond a mistake.

      Joseph would have been excommunicated for his behavior. He did not follow any of the rules that he laid out regarding plural marriage. Then he lied about it.

      By the standards of the church that I was raised in, there is no good argument for his behavior. Members will tell you to pray about it and you will get the answer that JS was a true prophet, not to worry, have faith, we won’t have all the answers in this lifetime, ect…. I have asked the question, “What if I get the answer that JS was an adulterer, a liar, and that he used his position of authority to manipulate others? Then I have lost my faith, right”? RIGHT!

      I very much wanted to find a way to continue to believe that what I was taught and believed all my life was true.

      I can’t.

      1. I learned of these things when I was very young. I have continued to learn more throughout my adult life. It was never a secret in my life or my family’s life. My wife has plural marriage on all of her lines. Her family honors all of them openly and proudly. I have explanations fire all the points you bring up, but a post like this is really not the place. But explanations are based on evidence and evidence is only worth something if we accept it. Suffice it to say, the information about Joseph Smith and plural marriage is no secret. The news media makes it sound like it is just now being known. It is a very old story.

      2. Alli, I am so sorry for the devastation that this has brought to your life. Isn’t it terrible that we members have to learn about things of this magnitude on the news or from other sources not endorsed by the church. I’ll never forget watching and episode of South Park when they showed Joseph with his head in the hat. I thought that they had it all wrong. No, I was the one who had it wrong! South Park had it right. They provided a more accurate depiction than any of our own church artwork.
        I understand what you mean about wanting to believe what you were taught was true. I performed all of the mental gymnastics in an effort to cling to my religious heritage.
        I hope you find peace and continue to allow evidence to be your guide regardless of how uncomfortable in might make you feel or where it takes you. That is integrity! The easier road is to continue to follow along and pretend that the emperor is fully clothed when you see otherwise.

      3. Doug Nehring – With a little help of the friendly internet, I can see that you are a temple recorder for the church. It is no wonder you have a strong desire for the church to be true; your livelihood depends on it.

        Furthermore, I am completely baffled, shocked, and saddened to hear that you claim to have the evidence to refute these claims, yet you don’t share it because you think this is not the appropriate platform! If our salvation is truly on the line, aren’t you willing to try and help the lost sheep? The truth does not have a platform preference. It stands on its own.

        I am open to new evidence as shown by my efforts as I have studied LDS apologetics and attended FAIR conferences hoping to find answers, giving the church the benefit of the doubt only to be gravely disappointed. The tactics used are quite simplistic in terms of addressing isolated issues, but the overwhelming converging evidence goes contrary to their collective scholarly efforts from various fields of science. This makes such a compelling case against the apologists.

        While I am happy to hear that you were raised in some progressive scholarly family regarding church history, the majority of us were not as evidenced by the very existence of this blog and countless other like it.

        If transparency were truly there, this would be in basic material and it is not!
        Polygamy is not a secret. I, too, have a rich mormon pioneer heritage, which I am proud of, but it is the circumstances surrounding the full narrative where the problem lies. You say this is an old story, but if it’s such an old story, why did the church publish an essay on it just last year?

    3. Jolyn thank you so much for your post, you put so many things I have been into the perfect wording. I would love to learn more about some of the things that you mentioned, would you mind providing some resources that I could look to? I feel as though you have traveled much of the journey that I am on and I would really enjoy being able to have conversations with people such as yourself who are feeling the same way as me. Do you have a blog or something that I can follow?

      1. So glad that you found comfort in my words. This is a journey that I most certainly would never have wished upon my worst enemy. It’s really hard to go to a magic show and enjoy the entertainment when you already know the tricks behind the illusion. I guess I know how Dorothy felt when the wizard told her to ignore the man behind the curtain.

        I’m glad to give you my contact information. However, your CC initials are a red flag to me. Does this stand for “Church Committee” – LOL!
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strengthening_Church_Members_Committee

        I’ve sent a request to Kayla Lemmon for your contact information. It would be a pleasure sharing my experiences with you in more depth.

  18. The stutter of Moses is not a question of morality for it to be spiritually condemning like the gross nature of polygamy in the early church. NOT THE SAME THING. Not even a little bit.

    I personally find everything about polygamy deplorable, and it sickens me people still defend it. I think people should care about men lying to their wife, that they should care about already married women being “given” as cattle to other men to marry, that women should care if their husband takes another 30+ wives, that we should care if women don’t consent to polygamy they will be destroyed, how would you feel is it was your 14 year old daughter?

    So JS was a prophet? Doesn’t mean it is not capable of doing something unequivocally wrong.

    http://mormonverse.com/dc-132-a-revelation-of-men-not-god/

  19. The way I look at it is if he had not then the la s defining family would not be on the books by having it for over 100 years it takes so much more to make sin and family definitions otherwise

  20. Thanks for your testimony. I love that God puts calming thoughts and feelings in our hearts when we have doubts and concerns. I’m sure I wouldn’t be a member of the church today if it weren’t for that.

  21. Thank you for your testimony. I grew up in the church. I have had enough experiences with the Spirit that I cannot deny the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter the lies and misconceptions thrown at it. I love the direction and guidance the gospel provides for me and my family. I am grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If we will let our pride go and really rely on the Spirit, there is no other answer than the church is true and Joseph Smith, Jr was a true, inspired prophet of God. I am grateful he translated The Book of Mormon and restored Christ’s gospel for our day.

  22. This year old post has become popular again…

    So many claim to have all the facts surrounding Joseph Smith from over 150 years ago. There were literally thousands of people actively attacking him and the church in word and in writing.

    Do you realize how easy it is to get facts messed up, let alone from over 150 years ago? Especially when those historical “facts” are tainted by antagonistic people intentionally trying to make Smith look bad that long ago?

    Some planned parenthood videos just came out. Even with modern day technology and the convenience of a recent timeline both sides still tell a completely different story! Or a little rumor in high school about how someone slept with someone and it spreads like wildfire as truth when it’s not. Do those who speak so negatively of Smith in this day and age really know what happened back then? None of us can say for sure by citing only historical documents and writings. But I believe the Holy Ghost can give us the truth.

    I’m not denying polygamy, but when someone claims to know all the facts surrounding someone like say, Helen Kimball, and claim to know the intent and desire of Joseph Smith, they lose credibility.

    There was no evidence whatsoever of Smith having a sexual relationship with 14 year old Kimball. But critics love to label him as a pedophile and use shock value by saying he married a 14 year old. There was evidence, however, that this marriage wasn’t a marriage in the worldly sense of the word, more like a sealing.

    There’s also no evidence of Smith having children with any of his other wives except Emma, even through DNA analysis. There’s even a lack of evidence that Smith had intimate relations with any of his other wives. I’m not denying that he did, but there is a lack of concrete evidence. When Smith critics claim it as fact we should realize that what they are claiming isn’t backed up by solid evidence and they lose credibility.

    Remember, this was 150 years ago and we can’t even get our facts straight of events that happened last week with the benefits of modern day communication.

    Many prophets have gone through “ultimate tests”. Abraham, Noah, Joseph of Egypt, David, etc. Was Joseph Smith’s and early church members’ test of faith polygamy? I think so.

    And finally, let’s keep in mind that Smith admits to his own weaknesses and imperfections as written in Joseph Smith history, “I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. ” He wasn’t perfect and never claimed to be.

    1. Do you realize that your argument would mean that JS was disobeying the purpose of polygamy as stated in the scriptures?

      Jacob 2:30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

      If JS did not have sexual relations or children with his polygamous wives, he was clearly not fulfilling what the Book of Mormon says it is only to be used for, which is to “raise up seed.”

      I’m responding to this part of chris85’s comment:

      “There was no evidence whatsoever of Smith having a sexual relationship with 14 year old Kimball. But critics love to label him as a pedophile and use shock value by saying he married a 14 year old. There was evidence, however, that this marriage wasn’t a marriage in the worldly sense of the word, more like a sealing.

      “There’s also no evidence of Smith having children with any of his other wives except Emma, even through DNA analysis. There’s even a lack of evidence that Smith had intimate relations with any of his other wives.”

      1. Raise up seed does not necessarily mean having children. It can mean that . But it can also mean raising children. One does not have to raise their own biological children. Thus using polygamy to create a support network for the better raising of righteous children would meet the qualification of the Book of Mormon.

  23. My heart goes out to you that you need to praise and honor the man that reminds you of Christ. Christ came to show you the way. He is the light, he is our example. God didn’t send Joseph Smith to replace Christ or use him as a middle man to get people to remember the real Saviour. Christ’s mission was complete. He never taught secret ceremonies, secret handshakes, he is the temple… not these spacious buildings that are shrouded in secrecy who’s doors aren’t open to all who want to follow Christ. Please don’t be blinded or base your testimony on feelings. .. don’t you think that history trip could only be uplifting? Every scenario in the LDS church is manipulated to make you feel one way….. uplifted! Sweet soft music, softly speaking, crying etc. It’s no different than what a haunted house’s purpose would be… to instill fear and fright etc.

    1. This is not correct Katrina, Mormons don’t praise Joseph Smith. They respect him and sustain him the same way Christians are expected to respect and sustain other prophets throughout history — Noah, Abraham, Moses, and countless others. They are all “middle men” to Christ in the sense that their mission on earth is to teach the message of the gospel and guide people towards Christ.

      1. “Mormons don’t praise Joseph Smith.” Thanks for clearing that up, crazyfitmommy. I could have sworn I heard some whacky song called “Praise to the Man” emanating from one of your church buildings, but I obviously misheard.

  24. The LDS church members who are getting so angry with the comparisons to Warren Jefferson make me laugh. Joseph majored a fourteen year old, and he told her that if she marry him the eternal salvation of herself and her family would be in jeopardy. So yes, Joseph did coerce young girls into having sex with him.

    Wait, I forgot that 14 year old Fanny never got pregnant. According to the LDS church this is proof that they didn’t have sex. lol. What a joke.

    1. When people like you claim to know things without proof it makes me want to laugh, if it wasn’t so sad.
      So, please, show us where it is written that Joseph Smith coerced anyone into marriage, or had sexual relations with teenage girls. If you cannot provide the evidence your words are meaningless prattle.

  25. Think of the backbone of strong members that are the result of such a commandment. Tens of thousands of monogamous families all dedicated to the cause of the modern day Zion.

    1. The ends justify the means, right Jim! Sounds a lot like the moral relativism that Bednar and so many other leaders condemn as satanic doctrine.

  26. Thank you for sharing your story and testimony. I remember being taken back somewhat when I learned that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy too. Then I studied everything I could about why, etc. What came to my heart is that many times we do not know the will of God. Look at the tests that other prophets were asked to do. We must depend of the Holy ghost to testify the truth of it all. He will never let us astray. I love and believe in Prophet Joseph Smith and can’t wait to meet him someday.

  27. Joseph knew as early as 1832 that polygamy would be reinstated. It was not until 1842 when he was commanded by God to live it and teach it. He didn’t want to teach it. William Law who was later ex-communicated for adultery told the prophet that if he did not teach plural marriage that this church would become the greatest church on earth. The prophet Joseph replied that he had to teach it and that it was commanded by God that it be taught. We know of 34 women that were sealed to the prophet. I have seen no evidence that he had any children with any of them except Emma. He and Emma had 11 children, 5 of them died at birth. The lord has said he will try the faith of his people. How awesome it is to be a member of Gods true church, a church that is not carried away with every wind of doctrine. Whether it is blacks and the priesthood, polygamy or the race of the apostles this church does what God commands. one of my favorite quotes from the prophet is “when God commands, do it”.

    1. Praise Allah! “When God commands, do it,” said Osama Bin Laden to Muslim pilots on September 11th. “When God commands, do it,” said Warren to tons of young girls. “When God commands, do it,” said Brigham Young to Henry Jacobs who had the divine pleasure of knowing his wife was screwed by both Joseph and Brigham.

      “We know of 34 women that were sealed to the prophet. I have seen no evidence that he had any children with any of them except Emma.” What’s your point with this argument? That he didn’t have sex with them? The church’s own essay about polygamy concedes that Joseph likely had sex with his plural wives. Many accounts discuss Joseph talking about those sexual liaisons and some people even stumbled upon him in the act. William Law understood that Joseph took birth control precautions so he didn’t impregnate his beautiful brides. You should read William. Law’s interview published in the Salt Lake Tribune about his days with Joseph and see if you still think William Law is the despicable character the church has made him out to be.

      http://www.mrm.org/law-interview

  28. You have done very well my dear. We all have questions and your mentor did well to help you with your concerns. The Polygamy issue is one that is as old as time itself. I have heard about almost all of the things that Anti-Mormons can through at us. I had to as I got it every day as a missionary. But I prayed and found a way to deal with it. I read and prayed and the Lord protected me. To this day, had I not prayed like I had I would not be in the Church. My testimony and the truth of Joseph Smith being the Prophet of the restoration is all that matters.

    John M

  29. Joseph Smith’s Multiple Wives and Why That Doesn’t Matter to Me Anymore….
    Why?
    I know Joseph Smith Jr. a Prophet of God he restore the Church of Jesus Christ here on earth again for benefits and salvation of those who follow the commandment and ordinances from our Heavenly Father…I will testify Joseph Smith Jr. a Prophet of God.
    why? because of this Epistle of James chapter 1 verse 5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” if you have doubt or confusion on your self or wavering thoughts or faith or testimony….why you don’t ask our HEAVENLY FATHER about this issue on your life…Go to your room close the door and kneel and ask with a real intent with meekness of heart if Joseph Smith is a prophet or not, I Know our HEAVENLY FATHER answer you because He love you and He love us,
    Why?
    James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

    19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

    20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

    22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

    27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    Now I found out thy have only two churches here on earth the one is The Church of Jesus Christ and the other The Church of Satan..now where you belong this day and this time. If you want the truth read the scriptures the only guide for salvation of your soul, the scripture helps to led you on the right path for eternal life, the scripture help you to know the tactics of Satan.
    I know The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saint is the only TRUE CHURCH here on earth and The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ, I know the Bible is True if thy translate correctly and we have a Living Prophet today his name Thomas S. Monson and with his Apostles I will sustain them as my SEER and REVELATOR.
    This is my testimony of all and I will never deny it. In the name of my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

  30. Hi Kayla,

    It is great that you have a strong testimony on something that you believe in. I was just like you. Attended many churches, baptized twice and finally baptized in the Mormon church, served my mission, married in the temple, served in the Bishopric, Stake, EQ Presidency, YM President etc. Just want to establish that I was not one of those who weren’t sure about my testimony or beliefs.

    Anyway about 4 years, a lot of truth of Joseph Smith started coming out, to a point where the church had to acknowledge them last year. I am sure many of you know the news release.

    To tell you the truth, that news really hit me hard. The part where Joseph Smith married younger girls as young as 14 years old (two of them) while he already had countless wives at that time. He also married women who were already married to living priesthood holders. Not one or two but many. These things were confirmed by the church on the release and contrary to what preached before and denied by the church. Yes as disgusting as this may sound to certain people, the worse betrayal I had was the fact that the church knowingly covered all these things up. For years, the church kept denoucing all these facts as “anti-mormon lies”, “satan is trying to destroy the church”. In fact, I felt like I betrayed people on my mission whom I preached that Joseph Smith only married women who lost their husbands in battles and did it out of necessity. Something that was preached by prophets, apostles down to mission presidents, which now we know, it was actually a lie.

    The 2nd worst thing that happened was the realization that the church downplayed / degraded (even until now) Emma Smith’s role in all this as “She was not faithful enough” or “She did not have the Spirit as strong as Joseph Smith”. Can you imagine what you would do if one day your husband told you he was instructed to marry other women, including marrying ten 14 – 19 year old girls? Have you researched why Emma Smith left the church? It is not because of power hungry or because of Brigham Young or the fact that she wanted to be the next prophet. Believe it or not, there were leaders who were sharing that. It had to do with polygamy and in fact, she left Joseph Smith while he was still alive as a prophet, contrary to what church revealed.

    You should also research the accounts of some of the wives and other prophets for ex. Brigham Young, John Taylor. You will learn a lot of interesting facts on what was actually going on. You will learn how the leader passed women around during High Council meetings like it was a meat market.

    And finally, what would you think, if let says, you have daughters (young women age 14 – 19) and one day at church, the prophet and his counselors decide they will take your daughters as their wives. And they are already married to countless other wives. I know polygamy is not being practiced but it is definitely something to think about.

    The point I am trying to make is that, you need to study all accounts and make a decision on your own. The church has covered up a lot of truths.Truths that previously was labelled as “anti-mormon lies’ are now being acknowledged by the church.

    1. I think you will find that none of the leaders of the church covered up anything. The coverup that most people are talking about came from the lay members who didn’t want to deal with the truth, and so they packaged it in ways that allowed them to gloss over it.
      No, the leaders never spoke out against this, but history is a funny thing and the church has, in general, allowed the members personal opinions and beliefs on things that are not essential to salvation.

      Of all the great revelations to have ‘come out’ the only one I didn’t know until recently was the fact that he was sealed to married women. However, I learned that a while before the church published its essays.

      1. It sounds like nothing can shake your rock solid testimony in the man Joseph — even the truth, apparently.

      2. “The church has never covered up anything’?? You really need to read more. Take the Nauvoo Expositor for just one early example. Joseph Smith had it destroyed to cover up the truth. Leaders have excommunicated members for “apostasy” for “speaking against the Lord’s anointed” when in reality they were just speaking truth. The church has changed the Book Of Mormon, the D&C and its own history. They buy things up and lock them away in the vault. They have only recently come out with the Essays, but even these somewhat sanitized versions of truth they bury on LDS.org.

      3. Matt

        The truth can only serve to strengthen my faith in Christ and those whom He has called to minister on this Earth.

        Dag

        I know all about the Nauvoo expositor, and your characterization of the event is hardly the truth. It was not Joseph, but the town counsel that ordered the paper shut down; and order that Joseph passed on to the Sheriff. The order, by all contemporary accounts, was carried out in very civil and calm fashion. More importantly, it was not a unique event in history. It was a legal action taken by those who had been granted legal authority to do it.
        Also, it was not meant to cover the truth, but to stop inflammatory misrepresentations that were calculated to disturb the peace and incite violence.
        As to changing things, they have done nothing of the kind. I have seen all the evidence for changes to the scriptures, and it amounts to a petty complaint that has no real foundation. The changes are all superficial, or can be shown to be corrections of errors that crept in over the years.
        As to history, the church has never changed the facts of any event, as far as they can be known. They simply take a different view of those facts, and it is a view that people don’t like.

      4. Changing the word from “primary” to “among” in the title page of the bom with regard to the lamanite descendents is not gramatic or semantic or superficial or and error that crept in over time but significantly changes the meaning.

        Removing the blood oaths from the endowmentis significant.

        Removing the Preacher from the endowment is significant. What we have now is sentences cobbled together that have been modified to sound coherent but are nonsense if you know the original text.

        The church changing its stance on the book of Abraham from “literal translation” to “inspired translation” is signifcant.

        And the list goes on and on and these are only some if the changes I have seen in my lifetime.

        What is really interesting is that the church never discusses these profound changes. Why not talking about the changes in general conference? I can only conclude that they want the fewest number for people to know about the changes so that the next generation will consider the changes as “anti-mormon propaganda” like the current members consider past church issues.

    2. Mike,

      I’m sorry for the terrible experience you had of finding out about Joseph Smith’s wives and the whole history of polygamy. Maybe it would surprise you though, that I began learning much of this “troubling” church history many years ago…at BYU of all places! Not from members-turned dissidents, but right in the religion classes! That’s right! This didn’t happen just once, but often, in class after class. I’m certain that if the Church had any intention of covering up the “evidence”, this never would have happened.

      Let me settle something Mike. Could it be that Kayla, who you so gently address here, just might still have a testimony, one that was given her by the Holy Ghost? That’s something that all of the careful research, anti-Mormon scholarship and logical reasoning will never drive away. Not as long as one desires to live by their faith in God. Let me gently persuade you Mike…there is still time in life, time to return to the fold of Christ and your priesthood callings. That wonderful feeling you once had can be yours again!

  31. Stockholm syndrome, herd mentality, self validation when doubt is inherently present for good reason, the church with holding information then doing damage control with highly idealized tours and talks, members oblivious that there is wayyyy more twisted history swept under the rug, warm fuzzies override hard facts because doubt is the dirty work of Satan tryna getcha

  32. And for some of us who actually descend from polygamy, we experience genuine feelings of gratitude for the fact that many of the relationships that arose through polygamy resulted in our probable existence, not to mention being born into the covenant (assuming you believe in that sort of thing – and hey, if you don’t, then don’t worry about it).

    What does it matter if polygamy was imperialistic in nature, sexual in nature, spiritual in nature, or simply a restoration of some things God allowed in previous times? Why does any of that matter if the course of polygamy ultimately provided growth within a religion that teaches people to love the Savior, follow the principles of scripture, delight in doing good, and raise united families with an eternal perspective. The people of the Mormon faith are never going to be perfect, but what makes Mormons who they are is the fact that they care about trying to be perfected. The journey of Mormonism is the struggle and joy of wanting to be better every day, of wanting to be kind and charitable, to embody within ourselves everything we can think of to encourage our own progression toward a divinely countenance. If people can’t respect that, then that’s their problem. And if they can’t respect it because they’re hung up on the antics of imperfect historical figures from yester-century and who possessed many of the human foibles of their time and in much the same way as virtually everyone ever has possessed some degree of human foible, then that’s doubly their problem. There were indeed imperfect polygamous relationships. But, isn’t that the way of most relationships? Rather than focus on what isn’t consistent with how we think things should have been, perhaps it is simply better, wiser, and more fruitful to focus on the good things that are, and the ways that we might get better. Pollyanna or not, life is a series of choices surrounding attitude. So, who cares what the naysayers might say as long as we’re happy enough with where we came from.

  33. I don’t normally comment on posts like this, but this was put so well and so thoroughly explained that I just couldn’t help myself.

    Beautifully said. Well done.

  34. I would never profess that I understand why the Lord re-instituted polygamy for a time, but I do know that the Book of Mormon is the only scriptural source that condemns the practice with the caveat — unless God commands that it be lived. I also know that only the most righteous in the church at the time were called to live polygamy, and these families, in general, produced many of the most righteous and early leaders of the church. Was this the Lord’s way of rapidly raising up the righteous leaders needed to build the Kingdom of God on the earth as quickly as possible so that Satan could not extinguish the church before it even got started? I think this might have been a very good reason, and Joseph Smith would have been commanded to live it so that those who knew he was a prophet would know the command to live this law was of God. The practice was ended after it had served its purpose.

    1. Okay, here goes…. *sigh*…. last time (with feeling)…!

      The Book of Mormon is FICTION.

      Polygamy was not legal in the 19th century.

      Joseph Smith was a heavy drinker, a charlatan, probably had some sort of psychological disorder to begin with, and the Temple ordinances are dolled-up MASONIC RITES.

      Oh, and God never had anything to do with Joseph Smith.

      Therefore, God never commanded any of the things that are taught in the Book of Mormon.

      Pull it together, k? You all need to get out more.
      Coz

    2. No. It wasn’t ended. It is a practice you should get used to because this life is but a flash in the eternal perspective, and in the next life it will be very much a thing.
      Why do we not speak of Heavenly Mother? Because there are unknown number of Heavenly Mothers.

  35. when your mentor asked you if he was a prophet, you should have answered no after you realized he cheated on Emma, and he wrote love letters to others such as Sarah Ann Whitney. So Emma wasn’t really his only true love. You didn’t let this sink in long enough to realize his whole life was based on a huge lie in which he was just some con man who lied about the first vision in order to gain status.

  36. Honestly, those of you who attempt to defend Joseph’s adulterous behavior (along with polyandry) and the marrying of a 14 year old girl, really should be ashamed of yourselves. Imagine a man coming into your home and telling you that he has been commanded to take your teenage daughter to wife – what would you do (Really?!)

    Or, imaging that same man sending you “on a Mission” far from home and then taking your wife as one of his. (Really?!) You poor souls should really just stop and listen to yourselves!

    Are you really going to sit there and tell me that an all powerful God and creator of the Universe is going to build his “one and only true Church” on this kind of behavior?! If any one of us attempted to do this today, we’d be thrown in prison for the rest of our lives; and rightly so!

    Geez…..it’s amazing what people will convince themselves to believe! If we’re going to “give Brother Joseph a break”…..then other, really despicable people and behaviors must be “given a break also”.

    Pity, pity, pity…..

  37. I honor your right to not be worried by the behavior of a prophet of God which may look bad by today’s standards but could have been totally acceptable by the standards earlier in history.

    Each one of us lives our own faith journey and ultimately have to live with the decisions of faith and choice that we make.

    I also honor the right of others to look at how the prophet Joseph implemented and lived polygamy and not have to agree with it. I honor their right to believe some points of ethics and behavior are eternal and don’t need to be justified by the times.

    I hope we all can have sufficient grace in our lives to provide the same courtesy.

  38. Kayla,
    I can appreciate your position. I know the scary thought of being deceived by an organization that has given me so much. It hurts.
    But let me highlight something a little different than most of the comments I’ve read.
    I noticed your pictures in Carthage Jail. I remember the tour I took there as a teenager very vividly. The tour guide gives a great presentation, coupled with a recording of a reenactment of what it might have sounded like in the jail cell that fateful day. I was moved to tears, as were most of the others in the group with me that day. However, I would wager that during your visit the tour guide probably failed to include in the dramatic retelling of the events that day that Joseph had a small gun smuggled in to the cell. That he actually fired back at the mob and, according to John Taylor’s journal, he killed 2 men.
    Now, the gun Joseph had is not a secret. You can see it on display in SLC in a museum of other historical artifacts. But it was curious to me that it was never mentioned in the story that day in Carthage. In fact, the tour guide went out of his way to say how innocently these men were martyred that day “with only their canes to defend themselves.” As a teenager, I didn’t know Joseph shot people. I thought he went as they say “as a lamb to the slaughter.” Meaning he knew he’d die that day, and he had consigned himself to that fate. He would seal his testimony with his blood. Well, it didn’t happen the way they tell it. Joseph was afraid for his life and fought back with vengeance.
    Is it wrong that someone would fight back when being attacked? Of course not! I would have done the same. But why was I never taught this detail when I was taught about his death hundreds of times through my life? It’s a red flag. One worth pondering. Why hide details like this from members?
    I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about what the motive might be for the church to do this.

    1. I don’t know how long you have been in the church, but I have always known Joseph carried the gun and fired it at the men who attacked them. That was simply a part of the story and was never left out in any lesson or discussion that I can recall.
      I don’t know why they would leave it out at the tour, but it really doesn’t matter. The information was never hidden from the members.

      Try reading this article. http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/starr-was-joseph-smith-a-martyr-or-a-murderer.pdf

  39. To only label it as “Polygamy” makes it easy to accept, as that is already accepted in LDS culture, and really still in effect for the eternities. I had a hard time with him marrying other men’s wives and marrying 14 year old girls — that were suppose to be in his care. I have also problems with how he used young girls to marry off to other influential men in order to gain support for the religion. You have found comfort, I am still unsettled with what I learn in regards to Joseph Smith.

  40. My first bishop was asked to kick my mom out of the church. He met with her, realized she didn’t know much, taught her and gently chastised the sisters who would shun her. This was a kindness that I’ve always been grateful for. Months later, he abandoned his wife and four small children because he’d gotten a fifteen-year-old girl pregnant. Her family was thrilled that their daughter had gotten such a fine man, and so much sooner than they had ever hoped for. Because of this, I have never felt the need to place my leaders in a special place where my feelings about what is true cloud my judgement about what is wrong. Some shadows may be from Satan, but most often, they are entirely man-made. When I joined the church, I wasn’t asked to check my brain at the door, and I refuse to do so now. I’m glad you’ve found a way to keep your belief whole but there are other ways to remain faithful without having to silently condone or understand such actions. I do not believe God sent an angel with a sword to force a man to marry a 14 year old girl behind his wife’s back. That a man may claim this is interesting. That a church may admit the actions and offer the explanation is also interesting. But I find nothing anywhere that requires me to buy into it. I like President John Taylor’s approach when faced with a very-human Joseph Smith. If the Lord can do such a marvelous work with such a flawed man, then there is hope that I might be useful to him also.

  41. My first bishop was asked to kick my mom out of the church. He met with her, realized she didn’t know much, taught her and gently chastised the sisters who would shun her. This was a kindness that I’ve always been grateful for. Months later, he abandoned his wife and four small children because he’d gotten a fifteen-year-old girl pregnant. Her family was thrilled that their daughter had gotten such a fine man, and so much sooner than they had ever hoped for. Because of this, I have never felt the need to place my leaders in a special place where my feelings about what is true cloud my judgement about what is wrong. Some shadows may be from Satan, but most often, they are entirely man-made. When I joined the church, I wasn’t asked to check my brain at the door, and I refuse to do so now. I’m glad this sister found a way to keep her belief whole but there are other ways to remain faithful without having to silently condone or understand such actions. I do not believe God sent an angel with a sword to force a man to marry a 14 year old girl behind his wife’s back. That a man may claim this is interesting. That a church may admit the actions and offer the explanation is also interesting. But I find nothing anywhere that requires me to buy into it. I like President John Taylor’s approach when faced with a very-human Joseph Smith. If the Lord can do such a marvelous work with such a flawed man, then there is hope that I might be useful to him also.

    1. One needed to be very careful about using modern day marriageable age stands for people living in the early 1800s. A women who was 19 and not married in the early 1800s was considered an old maid. One of the US Presidents married a girl who was 13 and it was not considered inappropriate. Most girls were married by age 16 back then.

  42. My real issue with polygamy is not necessarily that it happened but that Joseph Smith denied it many times while he was alive. The nauvoo expositor newspaper was destroyed at his order because it was going to expose his polygamy. My real issue is if it was a commandment of God why did he lie about it and have his followers destroyed printing press to keep it concealed?

    Also, the church now admits he was a polygamist but he denied being a polygamist – which is true?

    1. I am not at all sure that your accusations are accurate, but if they are, I am reminded that the Lord told Abraham to tell Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister instead of his wife to spare Abraham from being killed by Pharaoh. Joseph Smith’s enemies were looking for any reason to kill him, so maybe the Lord told him to not reveal that he was living polygamy to spare his life longer.

  43. To whomever it was who wrote a personal note about my comment. I find it interesting that you would take the time to find out where I work. Perhaps you ought to know, I work for the LDS Church precisely because I believe it and not the other way around. If I did not believe it, I would not be a part of it. Thank you for the compliment about my family. Yes indeed it was open and honest. I spent my youth exploring many difficult issues and questions with my parents and others. I have never accepted anything at face value. I choose to believe because of the things I have studied. You were dismayed because you wanted my evidence, but I am not sure you would accept anything I say as valid. You say the preponderance of the evidence weighs against the truth claims of the LDS church. I say the evidence leads the other direction. I accept that, I would only ask that you acknowledge that both sides have the right to judge the evidence and make their own conclusions. The basic premise of historical studies is that the evidence can and does lead in more than one direction. It is for any good historian to continue the search. In case you are interested in my back ground, I have done much of my research in ancient studies in the area of Western Semitic Religion and the origins of Judism, Christianity and Islam. Joseph Smith’s texts, doctrines and practices fit squarely into this ancient world view. To name a few; the divine council (the Sons of God), the family oriented structure of heaven, the tree of life imagery in Mormon scripture, the Divine Mother, the deification of mankind, the LDS view of the incarnation of Jehovah and the Cosmic or the Universal Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. One could argue whether this world view is correct, but the religious system from the hands of Joseph Smith is very much at home in this Ancient Western Semitic tradition. If you are interested, look into the works of Morten Smith, Frank Moore Croft, Magaret Barker. Deaver and Ehrman are also good sources. None of these scholars has connection to the LDS faith tradition. You have made up your mind, now just allow that there are those of us who freely and openly choose a different path.

  44. We can still marvel at how painstakingly people try to discredit Joseph Smith. Why? If he were nothing but a liar, a phony with no genuine validity, why are so many determined to despoil his image? I can safely state that if Joseph had not been a true prophet of the Lord, that the millions in money, hours, and careful scholarship being spent to “expose” him, for polygamy and all of his other misdeeds, would have long ago succeeded, and the LDS church either destroyed, or relegated to a tiny sect.

    I have a testimony of Joseph Smith, just like the young convert who wrote the article. Whether you a learned scholar with endless resources at hand , or a barely literate person living in a remote part of the world, The Holy Ghost will reveal to you the truthfulness of the Gospel and the prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith!

    1. What does the Holy Ghost have to say about Joseph and Brigham violating Gods law condemning polyandry and adultery?
      He told me it was damnable, adulterous behavior, NEVER condoned by God. How could the HG tell you the exact opposite of what God said in His law?
      Perhaps you’re getting your confirmation more from Hugh Hefner than the God who condemned polyandry as a damned abomination.

  45. Total nonsense (though she believes what’s in her heart) She is in love with an emotional dream – that’s all. Like so many other LDS, she chooses to live with her head in the sand — because it ‘feels’ nice. Stupid and so unbelievably daft.

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s