Fellow Ex-Mo's, get a load of the spin-doctoring, convoluted thinking, and
mental gymnastics employed below to apologize for early Mormon leaders'
denials of polygamy.
Until 1852, the official policy of the Utah LDS church concerning "plural
marriage" was to deny that they practiced it, and condemn all those who
them of practicing it.
Guy Briggs wrote:
>And what was it that happened in 1852 to change things? Oh yes, it was that
little thing about presenting it in General Conference for the sustaining vote
of the membership, making it official Church doctrine. That's it.
The subject under discussion here is whether or not early Mormon leaders
or lied about teaching or practicing polygamy before 1852. Since you concede
that LDS leaders first publicly admitted the practice of polygamy in 1852, you
are by default conceding that they denied or lied about it before 1852. Also,
since you admit that polygamy wasn't "sustained" by the membership until 1852,
you concede that all polygamy practiced before that date was illicit and
unapproved---since that is the same standard you use for such items as the
>IOW, the corporate Church didn't practice polygamy until then, although some
of the leaders did.
Although most Nauvoo-era polygamists were leaders, some others just happened
be in Joseph Smith's circle of people whom he thought would go along with the
illegal, immoral practice. As William Law said in his 1887 interview with
Wilhelm von Wymetal:
"In what manner would Joseph succeed to keep you and others from knowing
what was going on behind the curtain?"
"Marks, Yves, I and some others had, for a long time, no idea of the
depravity that was going on. This was simply the result of a very smart
system adopted by the prophet and his intimate friends like Brigham
Young, Kimball and others. They first tried a man to see whether they
could make a criminal tool out of him. When they felt that he would not
be the stuff to make a criminal of, they kept him outside the inner
circle and used him to show him up as an example of their religion, as a
good, virtuous, universally respected brother."
IOW, since polygamy was illegal in Illinois, and directly contradicted LDS
policy, those who accepted Smith's secret, illegal, immoral practice (such as
Young and Kimball) were of an immoral or criminal bent. But Law, Marks, and
others---the honest, moral men who opposed polygamy--- are ironically viewed
today as "sinners" by Mobots like yourself.
"Law, a prominent Nauvoo businessman, was solidly devoted to Smith until
mid-1843. During the Bennett scandal, he quickly came to Smith's defense,
reassuring the Saints that church leaders did not condone 'spiritual wifery'
any such behavior. Smith held his counselor in such high esteem that he
included him in the first small group of male initiates to the endowment
ceremony in May 1842. And Law rendered much moral and financial support to a
discouraged Smith when Missouri officials were attempting to extradite him on
the Boggs case.
"By early 1843, however, Law began to waver in his commitment to Smith.
Initial difficulties between the two centered on business matters.....But a
deeper source of the Laws' disaffection was their detestation of polygamy. In
an 1887 interview William explained that Hyrum Smith had shown him the
'revelation on celestial marriage' in the fall of 1843. 'Hyrum gave it to me
in his office,' Law said, and 'told me to take it home and read it'.....He and
Jane 'were just turned upside down by it'.....William took the document
directly to the prophet and commented that it was in contradiction to the
Doctrine and Covenants. Smith noted that the section on marriage in the
Doctrine and Covenants was 'given when the Church was in its infancy, when
were babes, and had to be fed on milk, but now they were strong and must have
some meat. He seemed much disappointed in my not receiving the revelation,'
William wrote. 'He was very anxious that I would accept the doctrine and
sustain him in it. He used many arguments at various times in its favor."
("Mormon Polygamy: A History," Richard van Wagoner, pp. 64-65.)
Thus we see that Smith kept his own counselor in the First Presidency in the
dark about polygamy, even allowing Law to naively file an 1842 affidavit
swearing that Bennett, rather than Smith, was the originator of "spiritual
wifery." And because Law opposed Smith's illegal, immoral, secret,
contradictory polygamy practice, Smith assassinated his character and
excommunicated him in absentia; and Law, the honest man in the case, has
the "bad guy" to Mobots like yourself.
The above passage also shows that Smith acknowledged the authority of the
"Article on Marriage", as published in the 1835 D&C, but Smith treated it as
"milk" doctrine that was to be replaced by the "meat" of polygamy. The fact
that Smith acknowledged the efficacy of the "Article on Marriage" refutes the
fallacious assertion which you and Woody Brison have repeated, that Smith did
not approve of the "Article on Marriage," which specifically prohibited
>Official Church doctrine was monogamy, as stated in the Book of Commandments.
And that fact of history makes Smith's secret polygamy practice contradictory
to "official church doctrine." You, more than any other Mobot on ARM, have
repeatedly stated that no teaching or practice is "official" unless it is
agreed on by the First Presidency and the Q12, and approved by the sustaining
vote of the church members. But your above silly remark tries to justify
Smith's attempt to have one "approved" standard of behavior for public
consumption, and an opposite, secret, "unapproved" standard of behavior for
benefit of a few elite leaders. Those of us who live on Planet Sane call that
".....neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to
the church covenants. For all things must be done in order, and by common
consent in the church..." (D&C 28:12-13.) Smith's secret polygamy practice
contradicted his own "revelations," and your support of his secret,
contradictory practice makes you as hypocritical as he was.
Since neither Smith's polygamy practice, nor his "revelation on celestial
marriage" were approved by the First Presidency or the Twelve, (or even known
about by many of them), nor sustained by the church membership at any time
during Smith's life, his secret teaching and practice of it ran directly
against the principles of "common consent" that supposedly governs Mormon
At various times, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and William Law were Joseph
Smith's counselors in the First Presidency; and William Marks was the Nauvoo
Stake and High Council President, which at that time, was the governing body
the church, rather than the Q12. Since all of those men were strongly against
polygamy, Smith's secret polygamy practice ran counter to the laws and orders
of the church which he himself established. As I've documented for you many
times, when Smith tried to have his "revelation on celestial marriage"
sustained by the High Council on August 12, 1843, his attempt was defeated:
"In early 1843 Austin [Cowles]....played an important role when a storm of
opposition confronted Joseph Smith in the summer. On July 16 Smith preached,
denouncing internal traitors, and Willard Richards, writing to Brigham Young,
guessed that the church president was referring to William Marks, Austin
Cowles, and Parley P. Pratt. These men---the Nauvoo Stake President, his
counselor, and an eloquent apostle---would be a serious obstacle to Smith,
despite his charismatic authority and ecclesiastical position, especially when
one considers the dominance of central stake leadership in early Mormonism.
Soon William Law, a counselor in the First Presidency, would be another
Their opposition became public when Hyrum Smith read the revelation on
polygamy, presently LDS Doctrine and Covenants 132, to the Nauvoo High Council
on August 12. Three of the leading brethren opposed it: William Marks, Austin
Cowles, and Leonard Soby. Considering the secrecy of polygamy, it is
remarkable that Hyrum would announce it even to the high council. It is also
remarkable that Marks, Cowles, and Soby would openly reject it. This was a
watershed moment in Latter-Day Saint history.
"Undoubedtly Austin soon saw that he could not function as a church leader
while he and Marks were opposing one of Joseph Smith's revelations so bluntly
and completely. On September 12, according to the high council minutes,
'President Austin Cowles resigned his seat in the Council as Councillor to
President Marks which was accepted by the Council.' Ebenezer Robinson later
wrote that Austin 'was far more outspoken and energetic in his opposition to
that doctrine [polygamy] than almost any other man in Nauvoo.' After
his presidency, he 'was looked upon as a seceder, and no longer held a
prominent place in the Church, although morally and religiously speaking he
one of the best men in the place.'.....Toward the end of April 1844, the
anti-polygamy dissenters began organizing a new church. William Law was
appointed president and selected Austin Cowles as his first counselor. Not
surprisingly, Austin was 'cut off' from the main LDS church for apostasy soon
thereafter, on May 18. He then helped write the fateful first and only issue
of the 'Nauvoo Expositor,' the paper which so infuriated Smith with its
criticisms of him and public discussion of polygamy. It appeared on June 7,
with an anti-polygamy affidavit by Cowles on the second page. The destruction
of the 'Expositor' press, engineered by Smith, set off a chain of events that
led to his martyrdom." ("In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph
Smith", pp. 549-550.)
The Nauvoo High Council's failure to sustain the "revelation on celestial
marriage" should have brought an end to the practice, if the LDS Church
operated according to its stated rules of order; but to the contrary, Smith
retaliated against those who refused to sustain his heinous practice by having
his pro-polygamous minions swear false accusations against them, assassinating
their characters, and excommunicating them in absentia. These actions of
Smith's show that the rule of "common consent" in the LDS Church is a sham,
that Joseph Smith alone held absolute power.
Like Law and Marks, Austin Cowles had his character assassinated, and was
accused of sexual sins, simply because he opposed Smith's secret sexual
practices. And to this day, Mobots like Woody Brison believe that those men
were all libertines, because Woody believes the demonstrable liar Joseph
rather than the men who sought to expose the liar.
>Also, in both Taylor's speech and the Section CI, "polygamy" is also linked
"fornication". Any first-year programming student can tell you that if any of
the conditions of the IF are false then the whole statement is false.
You're a liar. Taylor SPECIFICALLY DENIED ANY AND ALL SORTS OF NON-MONOGAMOUS
MARRIAGE SYSTEMS in his debate:
"We are accused here of polygamy,... and actions the most indelicate, obscene,
and disgusting, such that none but a corrupt and depraved heart could have
contrived. These things are too outrageous to admit of belief;... I shall
content myself by reading our views of chastity and marriage, from a work
published by us containing some of the articles of our Faith. 'Doctrine and
Covenants,' page 330... Inasmuch as this Church of Jesus Christ has been
reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we
believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband,
except in the case of death,..."' (tract published by John Taylor in
England, in 1850, page 8; published in "Orson Pratt's Works," 1851 edition).
If you weren't a dishonest spin-doctor, you would realize that Taylor quoted
from the "Article on Marriage" to support his lie: "we believe that one man
should have ONE WIFE, and one woman but ONE HUSBAND, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF
DEATH." Taylor did not qualify his statement with "fornication," as you
deceitfuly attempt to do; he stated uncategorically that his church's
rules allowed for only one wife, unless she died. Taylor's "inspiration" for
such deceit was obviously Joseph Smith's lie of May 6, 1838: "Do the Mormons
believe in having more wives than one? No, not at the same time. But they
believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again."
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 119.)
The same verbiage was used to deny polygamy again in the "Times and Seasons,"
vol. 6, pg. 894 (May 1, 1845)
"As to the charge of polygamy, I will quote from the Book of Doctrine and
Covenants, which is the subscribed faith of the church and is strictly
enforced. Article of Marriage, sec. 91, par. 4, says, "Inasmuch as this
of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we
declare that we believe that one man should have but one wife except in the
case of death when either is at liberty to marry again."
Thus we see that the "Article on Marriage" was nothing more than a
smokescreen---an "official policy" that was used to hide the secret, opposite
practice of polygamy. Bill Clinton must have studied Mormon history intensely
as a young man.
>Church leaders, Taylor included, did not believe that plural
marriage was fornication. Adultery either, for that matter.
Both the laws of the state of Illinois and the published laws of the LDS
stated that plural marriage was fornication and prohibited. If plural
marriage, and thus fornication, was not illicit and immoral, neither Taylor
any other Mormon leaders would have had to lie about it.
>The argument might be made that they were mistaken - but they certainly
weren't lying about the fornication part.
Since plural marriage was illegal in Illinois, and Taylor was secretly
practicing polygamy at the time, and Mormon plural marriage included sexual
relations, then plural marriage was indeed illegal fornication. What they
BELIEVED is irrelevant, just as Osama bin Ladin's 'belief" that he is led by
God is irrelevant to the issue of whether his activities are illegal and
>Lying is when one deliberately makes a statement one knows is untrue.
Since Taylor quoted from the "Article on Marriage" in his debate, which
specifically forbade more than one living wife, while he was simultaneously a
"husband" to seven living "plural wives," his statement was indeed a lie.
>Thus, the "IF (polygamy.AND.fornication)" statement tests false - because
"fornication" was false (at least, in their minds) regardless of whether
polygamy was true or not.
What was "in their minds" is irrelevant. If they had sex with their "plural
wives," they were fornicators and adulterers, according to the laws of
and of the LDS church. If they didn't think so, they wouldn't have lied about
>As quoted by Steve:
> "We [that is, the Church] are accused here of
polygamy,... AND [emphasis mine] actions the most
indelicate, obscene, and disgusting, such that none
but a corrupt and depraved heart could have
>IOW, enemies of the Church were spreading lies about plural marriage.
False. People who got wind of polygamy, such as Law, Marks, Cowles, etc.,
disgusted by it, and sought to expose the TRUTH about it. The liars were
Smith, Taylor, and other polygamists, as the documentation clearly shows.
>They weren't content to just tell the truth - that certain of the leaders
practicing it - they felt the need to embellish and distort the truth.
Here is your latest attempt to "spin" the case away from the Mormons who were
lying, and focus on "embellishments and distortions" of those who exposed it.
Since Mormons such as Smith and Taylor were obviously blatantly lying about
polygamy, why do you have any problem with "embellishments and distortions" of
their opponents? Do you hold the exposers of polygamy to a higher moral
standard than you hold the "prophets of God?" No need to answer, you've shown
many times over the years that the answer is "yes."
>Girls being imported from the farthest reaches of the Eastern Hemisphere,
communities of communal wives, "Cloistered Saints" or "Saints of the Black
Veil". Leaders of the Church had every right to deny these "actions most
indelicate, obscene, and disgusting" because they were untrue.
Your attempt to shift the conversation onto perceived "embellishments" does
wash away Smith's or Taylor's bald-faced denials of ANY SORT OF NON-MONOGAMOUS
MARRIAGE SYSTEMS. What you cannot get through your brick-wall skull is that
Mormon leaders, until 1852, CATEGORICALLY DENIED ANY AND ALL TYPES of marriage
relationships EXCEPT for monogamy. THAT IS THE ISSUE. Your repeated drumming
up of perceived "embellishments" and "distortions" of anti-polygamists pale in
comparison to the bald-faced lies of Mormon leaders.
You are apparently too dense to realize that Joseph Smith's categorical denial
of polygamy on May 6, 1838, occurred six years before your perceived
"embellishments" and "distortions" of the "Expositor" in 1844; and Taylor's
categorical denial of polygamy in 1850 was six years AFTER the "Expositor,"
half a world away, in England. Thus, Smith's and Taylor's denials of polygamy
could not possibly have been due to your perceived "embellishments" and
"distortions" of Bennett, Law, etc.
In fact, one of the earliest allegations that Smith was secretly advocating a
"community of wives" came not from "anti-Mormons," but from "Gold Plate
witness" and church historian John Whitmer, in 1838, which Smith denied even
Mormon converts in England had heard the rumors about Nauvoo polygamy, but the
apostles like Taylor, who were overseeing the missionary work there,
steadfastly reassured them that the rumors were false. Then, in 1852, when
the main body of Mormons had settled in Utah, seemingly safe from prosecution,
they reversed themselves and publicly admitted polygamy. That reversal
thousands of European Mormons to leave the church, because they were disgusted
at having been lied to by church leaders for years. I recommend you read
Fannie Stenhouse's "Tell It All" to see how LDS church leaders' lies affected
Mormon success in Europe for years.
>But did they have the duty to reveal all that they knew?
There is a difference between not revealing all you know, and stating the
opposite of what you know to be truth. That is what Smith and Taylor did, and
it is called "lying." If, when Smith or Taylor were asked about polygamy,
they replied "no comment," that would fall in the category of "not revealing
all you know." But they specifically denied teaching or practicing anything
other than monogamy, and that was a lie.
> I think that's the real question here. In court, the witness is sworn to
"the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Does that mean that
Doctor is obligated to reveal "the whole truth" about his patient? No, it does
not. Does that mean an attorney is obligated to reveal "the whole truth" about
his client? Again, no. Must a wife reveal the "whole truth" about her husband
and testify against him? Still no. Does the witness have the obligation to
tell the "whole truth" if it incriminates him? No, and the right is
In your examples, if someone is asked a question, and they decline to answer,
that is their right, and no can call them a liar if they don't respond, IOW
"pleading the fifth." In contrast, Smith and Taylor were asked specifically
about whether they practiced polygamy, and they gave answers that were
to the truth. And that, O Brickwall, is called "lying." Your inability to
perceive that distinction tells us as much about the level of your own
and honesty as this entire subject tells us about Smith's and Taylor's.
>Or how about Peter, James and John, descending the Mount of Transfiguration,
when Christ instructed them to "... tell the vision to no man, until the Son
Man be risen from the dead...?" Did they have the obligation to reveal the
experience in direct disobedience to the Saviour's command?
What an utterly invalid analogy. For your analogy to have any relevance
whatsoever to the issue under discussion, Jesus and the apostles would have
to be involved in some illegal activity that they didn't want revealed, the
apostles would have to be asked specifically the question you pose, and the
apostles would have to give a response that was contrary to the truth. That
story doesn't relate at all to the specific questions asked of Smith and
Taylor, or excuse their false responses.
And, since later Mormon leaders have admitted that early Mormons lied about
polygamy, your spin-doctoring for them is moot.