For those new here and questioning thier faith, here is some interesting facts about
Smith and polygamy. I was a true blue mormon MANY years and never even KNEW JS [Joseph
Smith] practiced polygamy, let alone with young teenagers. (Helen Mar Kimball was 14,
Fanny Alger was 16)
Well, it seems Smith doubted his own prophecies the last months of his life, in fact the last eight months of his life it stopped abruptly. Abruptly because in the first half of 1843 he took 14 more wives, it died down to two in Sept. and Nov, then none until his death.
This is taken from IN SACRED LONELINESS, by Todd Compton, a member of the COJCOLDS in good standing. (Ergo, he' not been censured by them, either, to my knowledge.. which I find amazing. They'll Ex good people for telling the truth if it makes them look bad.)
Below is a quote from the book, explaining a possible reason why the practice of polygamy stopped prior to Smith's death.
Nauvoo stake president Wililam Marks suggested in 1853 that Smith came to have doubts about polygamy before his death:
When the doctrine of polygamy was introduced into the church as a principle of exaltation, I took a decided stand against it; which stand rendered me quite unpopular with many of the leading ones of the church... Joseph, however, became convinced before his death that he had done wrong; for abut three weeks prior to his death, I met him one morning in the street, and he said to me, "Bro. Marks, we are a ruined people." I asked, how so? he said, "this doctrine of polygamy, or Spiritual-wife system, that has been taught and prcticed among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow. I have been decieved,' he said, " in reference to its prcatice; it is wrong, it is a curse to mankind, and we shall have to leave the United States soon, unless it can be put down and its practice stopped in the church. "
Hmm.. I think this is just one more reason why BY called JS a fallen prophet. BY wanted his harem just like the man before him did, only BY had not second thoughts about it.
For those who've not read this book, it's a must read. I find it balanced and so must the morg, for they have not Ex'd Mr. Compton, at least yet. (BKP hasn't had his way yet, probably)
From a debate board on Polygamy and Joseph Smith
I just wonder what happened to all
of the 'tabernacles' so created. He had children with Emma - his "tool"
certainly seemed to be in working order - why are there no children
recorded from all of his 50-or-so wives? Were all but Emma infertile?
Well, I can see that you're going to make me type anyway, so for the
benefit of everyone else, here it is: snip accounts of
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Melissa Lott Willes,
Emily Partiridge Young, Benjamin Johnson, Joseph Bates Noble, Angus
Cannon, et all, including the notion that "nervousness" can lead to
Some people might have interpreted "nervousness" to mean "JS could not
the act of impregnation because of fear of being discovered." Would that have
sounded better to you? Many people who are committing adultery, lurking in
dark rooms, etc., are probably nervous.
Since there is a great deal of evidence that Joseph Smith had sexual
relations with his wives, one wonders why he did not have more
That's what I've asked all along. Lessee, the article you posted
posits it was because (1) they were too nervous to bear children (2)
they *did* bear children who grew up under different names [both of
which assume sexual relations] or they *didn't* have sex because (3)
ever-vigilant Emma was watching or (4) Joseph was hiding out from the
law [not to mention rotting in prison somewhere] and (5) because
polygamy was illegal.
Seems like the author's trying to have it both ways.
No, sounds to me like he's using the facts, and the environment, to explain
things happened the way they did. Since Compton quoted Lightner's testimony
that some of JS' children grew up under other names, (usually the surname of
their mother's legal husband), Compton merely repeated the testimony of
who was very close to the situation, who should have known the facts, and had
no reason to lie.
All of these factors would have combined to limit the number
of his children.
Got that right. But there's an underlying assumption being made here.
That it was all about the sex. All this sex was happening, but since
there were no children to speak of, an elaborate explanation must be
crafted to explain sex with no offspring.
It's not an 'elaborate explanation.' It's a conclusion based on known facts,
which any person of average intelligence should be able to figure out.
As I wrote earlier, many women of the day miscarried, or had children
stillborn. JS could have impregnated many women whose pregnancies didn't
produce. Go and read "In Sacred Loneliness," and make note of all the
born to pioneer Mormons, which did not survive. Just because we don't have
evidence of a hundred little Joseph Smiths, doesn't mean that they didn't
exist. :-) (Sorry Charlie)
Your statement 'there were no children to speak of' is not the truth, since
several of JS' plural wives, and several of his followers, testified that JS
did have children by other women. If someone is interested enough in this to
prove it one way or the other, they could perform DNA tests on JS' known
descendants, and the descendants of his suspected children.
Until such time, we'll have to rely on the statements of the people who knew
and loved JS.
I prefer the simple explanation: It wasn't all about sex.
Look--all we can intelligently discuss is what people like JS, BY, PPP,
Clayton, etc., said about polygamy and its reasons. Every single statement on
it included the sexual angle, especially BY's "this is the reason why the
doctrine of plurality of wives was brought forth, so that the spirits which
waiting for tabernacles might come forth" yada yada.
In conclusion, though it is possible that Joseph had some marriages
in which there were no sexual relations, there is no explicit or
convincing evidence for this (except, perhaps, in the cases of the
older wives, judging from later Mormon polygamy). And in a significant
number of marriages, there is evidence of sexual relations.
See what I mean? Even though there's a "dearth of evidence" (see next
paragraph) about children, the idea that this wasn't all about sex never
enters the picture. "No explicit or convincing evidence for [marriages
with no sexual relations]" says the author.
The "dearth of evidence" statement below is my words, not Compton's. See my
original post where I ended his quote before this.
Another factor for the dearth of evidence for multiple children
fathered by JS is the simple fact that many children of that era
died in childbirth or infancy. Emma herself suffered several
miscarriages and stillbirths before bearing her children.
This would be reason (6). All them young'ns dying. The only two
you've failed to mention are Dr. Bennett's miracle birth control pills
and his Women's Health Clinic. (Hi, Rich!)
Bennett's attempts at regulating childbirth is a matter of fact. It's also a
moot point, since JS' own plural wives testified of his sexual relations with
them. They weren't "apostates" like Bennett, and they didn't write exposes of
Mormonism. They wrote and said what they did in support of JS' teachings and
practices, mainly because RLDS leaders were trying to disclaim JS' origination
of polygamy, as opposed to it starting with BY, and the actual plural wives of
JS gave their statements in defense of polygamy, not against it.
Also, after JS' death, BY and HCK took his 'plural wives' as their own,
and had children by them. For instance, Louisa Beaman, who had been
sealed 'for eternity' to JS, was sealed 'for time' to BY, and bore him
four children, all of whom died young. BY began impregnating Louisa,
and undoubtedly others, by 1845, only a year after JS' death. To
believe that JS didn't have sex with his 'plural wives' is to concede
that BY and HCK took sexual liberties with JS' 'plural wife' doctrine
that JS did not intend.
There's a much simpler explanation. One that doesn't depend on early
19th century infant mortality rates or snake-oil birth control
concoctions. AntiMormons aren't going to like it, but try this on for size:
Smith wasn't keen on the idea of polygamy.
Not only did it cut across the grain of his 19th century puritanism,
Seeing as how JS was alleged to have been involved with other women as early
1830 in Harmony, in 1832 with Marinda Johnson in Kirtland, and in 1833 with
Fanny Alger---all before there was any talk of "celestial marriage"---your
statement above falls on deaf ears. Has it ever occurred to you that
smooth-talking men on the prowl for ladies can develop the ability to make
people think that they don't really want to do what they actually want to do
very much? Like Brer Rabbit and the briar patch?
it was also illegal.
And all apologies for polygamy are neutered by this fact, since JS' religion
claimed to 'obey the laws of the land.'
Furthermore, there was the damage it did to his
relationship with Emma and last, but not least, there was the
True--JS was "persecuted" because he taught and practiced bigamy secretly,
while denying it publicly. Seeing as how it's a Mormon concept that 'God
give men the means to obey his commandments,' and all of JS' activities
involving polygamy led to destruction, maybe you can use that to help
whether or not polygamy was from 'God.'
Prophet or no, it seems obvious that Smith believed the
Lord had commanded plural marriage, but it took a lot of pushing (once
by an angel with a flaming sword, if the Lightner woman is to be
believed) to get Smith to do it.
Lightner, and Almera Johnson, and others.
Look--the "angel with the flaming sword" commanding someone to have sex with
other women is possibly the most transparent, silly, pick-up line ever
invented. It's amazing that JS got a few of his groupies to believe it, and
that Mormons like yourself still believe it to this day.
If an "angel" had commanded JS to sacrifice his firstborn, or to climb the
highest mountain, or swim Lake Erie, as a "show of faith," one could give JS a
shred of a benefit of the doubt. But an "angel" threatening to kill "the
Lord's prophet" if he didn't become a bigamist? Come on, Guy. That doesn't
pass the giggle test.
That "angel" story reminds of a guy here a couple of years ago--- a hillbilly
with two teenage stepdaughters. He told the girls that he had a terrible
disease that could only be cured by having sex with a virgin. He fooled them
for a few joyrides until they told a friend, and it led to his arrest. I view
JS' "angel with the flaming sword" concoction with the same disgust.
Even after he started it, it was only a half-hearted attempt.
33 plural wives in ten years was "half-hearted?"
That's what the "for eternity only" business was all about.
No, it wasn't. The "for time" meant that JS' plural wives could still live
with, and be supported by, their legal husbands, while having sex with their
"eternal companion"---JS. What a racket.
Diantha Huntington's marriage to Jacobs for time only and to Smith for
Being sealed "for eternity only" did not preclude the "plural husband" from
having sex with a married woman. Zina, for instance, was also sealed to BY
"for time," on February 2, 1846, giving BY access to Zina's petticoats---then
BY kept sending Jacobs on "missions", away from his wife.
Zina bore a daughter on April 3, 1850, while living in BY's Log Row House.
Seeing as how Jacobs had gone to California, apparently on a "gold mission",
1849, the child was most likely BY's.
Smith was *still* trying to avoid outright practice of plural marriage.
He was trying to keep it a secret. The several statements of his plural wives
indicating that the relationships were sexual put the lie to your wishful
Seeing as how BY was the man closest to JS in the promulgation of
secret Nauvoo polygamy, and in fact acted as a 'panderer', explaining
the doctrine to JS' prospective mates, telling them it was 'of God,'
etc., it is disingenuous to believe that BY would have changed the
doctrine from a purely 'spiritual' sealing to one of sexual relations
immediately after JS' death.
Young didn't have an "Emma problem" and he was on his way out of the
country when he gave his "marching in other men's boots" speech. Young
didn't like the idea of polygamy either,
Yes, his 56 wives prove that. <g I believe he had about 65 children by about
18 different women.
but he was determined to obey God at all costs.
I think he worshipped JS, and obeyed him.
In some ways, he was a better man than Smith.
56 wives can't be wrong. <g
One more point----in its original context, 'sealing for eternity' meant
the woman would belong to that man in the afterlife. 'Sealing for time'
that man and woman were to be earthly marriage partners, including the
of sexual relations. Many of JS' 'plural wives' were sealed to him for
'eternity' after his death,' but for 'time' to BY, HCK, or others. This
provided the justification for sexual relations with multiple men.
Call for references. Again.
The Jacobs case is an excellent reference. Another is Lucinda Harris, who was
married to George Harris, plural married to JS in 1838, and told a friend in
1842 that 'I have been his (JS') mistress since four years.'
Do you have any evidence at all that any
of the wives that Joseph was supposed to have had sexual relations with
were married at the time to other men? Pay attention here - I'm not
asking whether or not there were women married to both Smith and
somebody else - what I'm asking is whether any of the women on either
the "admitted to having sex with Smith" list or the "claimed to have a
child fathered by Smith" list are ALSO on the "married to somebody else
at the time" list.
Simple request, and it won't require a lot of typing, either.
Yes, Guy, a thousand times yes. I quoted them from Compton, and the Jacobs
case proves it as well.
Sylvia Sessions was married to Windsor Lyon on April 21, 1838, and 'sealed' to
JS on February 8, 1842. She bore a daughter, Josephine, on February 8, 1844.
Josephine testified that her mother told her that she was the daughter of JS,
Presendia Huntington married Norman Buell on Jan 6, 1827, and plurally married
JS on Dec. 11, 1841. She stated that she didn't know whether her son, Oliver,
was 'her husband's or the prophet's.'
At least eleven of JS' plural wives were civilly married to other men when JS
took them, and they were all living together as husband and wife. Three of
husbands were non-Mormon, and eight of them were Mormons in 'good
standing'---they hadn't separated from their wives, mistreated them, etc.
simply did what JS told them to do, allowing him to be their wives' 'plural
Why does it matter to you if JS had sex with his previously-married plural
wives or not? If you have no problem with him breaking Illinois state law
against bigamy, why should you have a problem with him 'going all the way'
the women that he claimed that God had 'given unto him to multiply and
replenish the earth'? (D&C 132:63.) Guy, read D&C 132:30-34 very slowly.
The very reason that JS bothered to dictate the 'revelation' was to proof-text
his affairs to Emma (we all know how well that worked out). He had previously
told Emma that his 'sealings' were merely 'spiritual' ordinances, but his
'revelation' that she read showed her that his designs were anything but
'spiritual'. If plural marriage didn't include sex, Emma would have not been
upset. Remember, Emma agreed to the Partridge girls' sealing to JS, under the
impression that it was a 'spiritual' ordinance only---but when she found out
was adultery, she threw the girls out of her house.
Some plural wives were married to other living men, while being
'eternal' mates of other Mormon leaders, and having sex and bearing
children with them while civilly married to another. The idea was to
'raise up seed' to the highest ranking men in the Mormon heirarchal
pecking order--to give them the largest 'posterity', and kingdom, in
Like I said, got any names?
Yes, there were a total of eleven women who were previously married to other
men, some of whom I have already documented, that JS took as plural wives,
while having sex and children with some of them. And several of those women
were 'sealed' to BY and HCK after JS' death, and bore them children as well.
justified the practice by stating that any woman could leave her husband, even
if he was an active Mormon, for another, higher-ranking Mormon, giving them a
better shot at celestial glory. And BY controlled the 'sealings', giving him
first dibs at any Mormon woman alive, married or not.
Or are you assuming that Smith had sex
with ALL of his wives, even the ones that didn't get sealed to him 'til
long after he was dead and buried?
The women who were sealed to JS after his death is a completely separate and
irrelevant dimension to this subject.
That's your 'families are forever' church, folks.
Think I like "Families are Forever" a whole lot better than the
"Families Don't Exist in the Afterlife" that's part and parcel of every
other Christian denomination.
I don't think it's the idea of family relationships in the afterlife that
Christians are opposed to; it's JS' teaching and practice of 'institutional
adultery' that is offensive. Any religion can teach 'families are forever' if
they wish to; Mormonism's problem is that it doesn't like to tell the world
about the origins and early practices that have evolved into the current
sweetness-and-light version of 'eternal marriage'.