Subject: She was 15…he was 42. Why didn’t I see it?
Date: May 14, 2010
Author: praydude


Clarissa Decker was a believer in the Mormon faith and she married a prophet of god…what could be more beautiful than that? Except she was 15…and he was 42. It seems so crazy looking back at history and finding out that this man who I believed was a prophet of god was really a…what word should go here…pedophile?...rapist?...selfish pervert who destroyed lives?

What should we do about this? Call the FBI? No – let’s name a huge University after him. Lets have parades in his honor.

What possible business does a 42-year-old man have marrying a 15-year-old? How do Mormons summarily dismiss facts like this that show the plain and obvious truth about the failings of their “prophets”? I rack my brains trying to figure this out because that’s what I did for years. The truth was staring at me and I just brushed it aside for the greater good that Mormonism brought me. It feels like I had a “blind spot” in my mind that I created for the purpose of filing facts like this one away to be burned along with the memories of my early sexual fantasies or prurient thoughts about my sister’s friends.
Its crazy to see the facts about it all now, in full view.

I read posts where people pick nits about Book of Mormon issues or prophesies gone wrong (as I have done) but, to me, this truth is the huge unseen elephant in the room: Mormon Prophets raped children.

Brigham Young had several wives under the age of 18 while he was in his 40’s. Joseph Smith had five young wives and his youngest wife, Helen Kimball, was 14…and he married her when he was 38.

Mormon prophets were sickos. They would be hunted down and locked up in the State of Utah today, yet, we all waltz along naming our schools after them and building museums after them as if nothing ever happened.
I’m angry with Mormons for brushing aside the plain truth.

I’m angry at myself for believing in this swill for as long as I did.


Subject: Strange, but DH said that same thing to me today.
Date: May 14 04:23
Author: Cheryl


You know what they say about great minds.

Yes, this point is a real blind spot for mormons and sometimes for exmos. The age difference is alarming, as well as the obvious abuse of dictatorial power.


Subject: Re: Strange, but DH said that same thing to me today.
Date: May 14 06:47
Author: praydude


It seems so obvious now, looking back. How did I not see it? Of course, we have the benefit of other examples of modern cults gone wrong so we can see the patterns in extremist groups who take themselves way too seriously.

I'm still digging up blind spots in my learning about mormonism.


Subject: I didn't see it either...
Date: May 14 04:25
Author: FreeMind


till I was 42. It was one of my WTF moments as I studied my way out.

And you state it so clearly PrayDude. These blokes, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the rest - they're a bunch of rapists.



Subject: Yes, they did generally think it was wrong.
Date: May 14 05:25
Author: Cheryl


But mormons today don't know that as they're looking for excuses for their earlier prophets. This argument about different times and values doesn't hold up.

In fact mormons are still using that excuse for the many polygamous groups they've spawned. It wasn't acceptable in the early days, not is it now.


Subject: Re: I agree it was bad
Date: May 14 05:42
Author: Tdrd


They most certainly thought it was wrong to marry a teenager when he had a living spouse. I suppose it was even illegal, constituting bigamy.

But if some are in doubt about the attitudes of the time, consider this: When Joseph Smith instituted celestial marriages, he found it necessary to keep it a secret to most church members, in particular those outside of Nauvoo. When rumours started going, he and others in the inner circles, lied about the practice. When William Law, who came from the "outside" and was made a member of the first presidency, got wind of it all, he was immediately ousted from the presidency. When Law established a newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor, where he printed evidence of plural marriage, the prophet had Law's printing press destroyed (which, by the way, led to the arrest of Smith and his death at Carthage jail). - Smith would not have had to take such measures if plural marriage was excusable.


Subject: Read the Nauvoo Expositor
Date: May 14 06:34
Author: praydude


That paper was the result of Joseph Smith’s second counselor finding out the truth behind Smith’s plural wives. This paper also represents another blind spot in mormon history. Most mormons (all of the ones I’ve met) will casually dismiss this paper as “anti-mormon” and say it’s full of lies. When I had some missionaries over I handed them a copy of it and asked them to go and read it and circle the lies that it had…because I don’t think it had any.
In the Nauvoo Expositor, William Law wrote how Joseph Smith abused his power by trafficking women far away from their families in England only to have them end up in the new world alone and helpless…perfect for him to prey upon and make them become his wives. It’s truly sick.

Interestingly, William Law still believed in the mormon faith – he just believed that Joseph was a fallen prophet.

After Joseph had the press destroyed he was kil
led 20 days later.

If you still feel that it may have been OK to marry teenage girls to middle-aged men after you read that please let us know and let's talk about it.


Subject: I am not arguing that polygamy was morally good at the time
Date: May 14 06:43
Author: profitofdoom


From the above posts... they are addressing the specific issue of polygamy. The society at large viewed polygamy as morally repugnant...

I am not arguing whether polygamy was wrong or not..

If you took polygamy out of the equation and had a single 40 year old man marry a 15 year old girl in the year 1838... was that viewed as "evil" like it is now?


Subject: Answer: Yes.
Date: May 14 06:47
Author: Cheryl


But there was no CPS and the law enforcement at the time didn't usually pursue it as they do now. This was a time when there were no child labor laws or other protective laws for children. But society still frowned on mistreating them.


Subject: you cannot separate Polygamy from Child Brides
Date: May 14 13:00
Author: charles, buddhist punk


Without the doctrine of Polygamy to support their desire for youthful innocent flesh, the wizened old men could not have their Child Brides. Simply because there was absolutely NO reason for these older men to take teenagers as brides; IF the girls had a choice or say in the matter, they would turn down the old geezers. Dangle the penishood authority over them, THEN the girls had no say or choice in the matter.

I feel sick in the stomach just typing this. What a repulsive practice.


Subject: Re: Read the Nauvoo Expositor
Date: May 14 12:24
Author: drilldoc


Interestingly it wasn't the exposure of JS polygamy that got him into a tizzy - he had already been denying it for some time. What got JS upset was the fact that he had been betrayed by someone in his inner circle of 50. It was then that he knew the jig was up and his world would come tumbling down soon. Also, as I've mentioned earlier, Orson Hyde was 60 when he married a 15 year old girl and had 6 children with her before he died. I'm sure there's a few buildings named after him too.


Subject: I have told a similar story of my Great Granny many times on RfM....
Date: May 14 06:09
Author: wings


The PH ruling Dad's, gave their teen daughters to best friends and the poor kids had no say about it. Trapped in Utah, nowhere to run, and lived in hell until the time the old man died. At that point, the girls young women were left alone to be cared for by their older children, or be some multiple for some other old fool.

I grew up hearing the stories. These men did not love them, they lived in horrid conditions while the "husband" was off on one church mission after anouther. The old dudes popped in to bless and spawn more.

By the way...she was 14 going on 15...he was in his 50's.

And her DAD, my G-G- Grand Dad....thought this was a good idea? What a gene pool!!

Your post would make a great letter to the editor, BTW.


Subject: Re: I have told a similar story of my Great Granny many times on RfM....
Date: May 14 06:44
Author: praydude


I am so sorry to hear about your Great Grandmother facing all of that abuse. It is terrible. When I was TBM I felt so far removed from the polygamist sects of Mormonism but now I realize that they are so similar. If anything, the polygamists were truly trying to live the way Joe Smith wanted. It is such a terrible legacy to have left. I truly stand all amazed at the blindness that surrounds me. Why isn’t there a George Wallace University or a museum celebrating the life of David Koresh? Why do we let early mormon leaders, who were involved in ritualized rape and human trafficking, get away with their crimes and no-one bats an eye?

I never met my Great Grandmothers. The only Grandmother I knew was a nevmo who seemed to be OK with her daugher’s (my mother’s) conversion into Mormonism.


Subject: Too bad you didn't post this on Saturday
Date: May 14 07:04
Author: alex71va®ion=-1®ionfriendly=&frompage=99

Too bad you didn't post this on Saturday. May 8th was their anniversary.


Subject: Another anniversary coming up on June 12th
Date: May 14 07:08
Author: alex71va

That's when Sarah Minnie Ephramina JENSEN at age 15 married Apostle Lorenzo Snow age 57. Eventually he became the 5th president of the church.


Subject: Another one
Date: May 14 07:16
Author: alex71va


Apostle Orson Pratt age 57 marries a 15 yo.


Subject: Re: Another one
Date: May 14 13:03
Author: drilldoc


I'm sure there's more. Seems to be a trend with the apostles. I wonder what kind of conversations they had with one another? "Hey, ya gotta git one of those fifteen year olds. They do what you tell 'em to do and don't give you any lip. Hyde's got one and Brother Smith did too. If they have any young boys courten' 'em, send him on a mission. Haha."


Subject: Re: Another anniversary coming up on June 12th
Date: May 14 07:31
Author: Tdrd


Her father is also worth looking at, . It seems he emigrated from Denmark after his first wife died there in 1848. In Utah he married a long line of Danish emigrant women, and the dates suggested he once married two
in the same day and later even more in one day. Some were young ones, but he also married some of his own age and one definitely older. But then he also got himself a 17-year old when he himself was 55.


Subject: This is the part of the equation that usually goes ignored.
Date: May 14 09:08
Author: Stray Mutt


"Oh, but people married younger then," they say. Actually it was rare, but even in the few cases you can find outside polygamy of 19th-century teenage girls marrying, they married men close to their own age, not the age of their fathers.

But polygamy MUST eventually involve younger and younger women. After all the women their own age are married (in monogamy or polygamy) and after they marry the small pool of widows, they only ones available for additional marriages are younger.


Subject: Stray is right. And, as to 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball’s “consent” to marry Joseph Smith:
Date: May 14 10:03
Author: WiserWomanNow


Apparently the Kimballs had not fully explained to Helen what the marriage would involve. ‘I WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN SEALED [MARRIED] TO JOSEPH, HAD I KNOWN IT WAS ANYTHING MORE THAN A CEREMONY,' Helen later confided to her mother."

from “Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith”, p. 147. (I added the capitals. Brackets were in the original.)


Subject: Yep- following the prophet is not just wrong, it is often illegal....n/t


Subject: Re: Wasn't there an even sicker age disparity between 82 year old...
Date: May 14 13:13
Author: drilldoc


Don't doubt it. When I mentioned this to my mom, she says that's what people did back then. Oh really? Not. Woody Allen would have loved being an apostle.


Subject: Some Insight as to what they were doing and threatening young girls with back then
Date: May 14 12:15
Author: Zeezrom


Threats of Hell to the women who resist Plural Marriage:

“Brother George A. Smith has been reading a little out of the revelation concerning celestial marriage, and I want to say to my sisters that if you lift you heels against this revelation, and say that you would obliterate it, and put it out of existence if you had the power to nullify and destroy it, I say that if you imbibe that spirit and feeling, you will go to HELL, just as sure as you are living women...You sisters may say that plural marriage is very hard for you to bear. It is no such thing...But it is not the privilege of a woman to dictate the husband, and tell who or how many he shall take, or what he shall do with them when he gets them, but it is the duty of the woman to submit cheerfully” (Brigham Young; Journal Of Discourses VOL 17 page 159)

Young girls given in marriage to Old Men:

“How will you be happy? Love the Giver more than the gift. Delight yourselves in your duties, mothers. Here are the middle-aged and the young. I am now almost daily sealing young girls to men of age and experience.“ (Brigham Young; Journal Of Discourses VOL 9 page 37)

Couldn’t care less about Wives and Kids:

“I do not know that I shall have a wife or child in the resurrection. I have never had any thoughts or reflections upon this, or cared the first thing about it. All that I have had in my mind has been that it was my duty to do the will of God, and to labor to establish his kingdom on the earth.” (Brigham Young; Journal Of Discourses VOL 16 p70 ,JUNE 28, 1873)


Subject: Re: Some Insight as to what they were doing and threatening young girls with back then
Date: May 14 13:39
Author: drilldoc


I always felt that polygamy would be the real downfall of the church. Forget the BofM, PofGP, this is what happens when power meets depraved and lustful minds.


Subject: "Coal Miner's Daughter"
Date: May 14 12:58
Author: Puli


"Coal Miner's Daughter" is the 1980's film about country singer Loretta Lynn based on her autobiography who was married at age 13 and had 4 children before she was age 20. Her husband 'Doolittle' Lynn was 21 when they married in Kentucky in 1948.

With this example, I do not mean to condone either the marriages of Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, or 'Doolittle' Lynn to teenaged girls in the 19th or the 20th century. I only attempt to offer a possible answer to the question in the OP, "Why didn’t I see it?" Marriages to teenage girls do occur outside of Mormonism and probably occurred more often in the 19th century than in the 20th. Mormon apologists doubtlessly pointed to these marriage in order to say, "See? They aren't all that unusual."

I remember doing geneology as Mormons were supposed to do for temple work when I was an fairly new member. I recall feeling surprised that women were often in their 20's when they got married in the 19th and 18th centuries. I had assumed that people - especially females - would have gotten married at younger ages like in their late teens. My experience indicated that they tended to be older more often in their 20's.


Subject: Re: "Coal Miner's Daughter"
Date: May 14 13:20
Author: drilldoc


That was not the norm. However, the marriages between young girls and men were within some reason not 40 to 80 year old geezers. I believe Jerry Lee Lewis married a 13 year old cousin. He got a lot of flack for it and it eventually ended his career.


Subject: I wasn't suggesting that it was a norm
Date: May 14 13:42
Author: Puli


Only pointing out how a TBM may have been duped into accepting the teenage brides of JS and BY, and into ignoring what the OP was realizing post-mo.


Subject: Re: "Coal Miner's Daughter"
Date: May 14 13:30
Author: Tdrd


In North-European social history, which I know better than American, the tendency - or even rule - used to be that rich men married younger women, while poor men often married women in their late twenties. Reason: Poor families couldn't afford too many children, so marrying a woman with not too many child-bearing years left, made sense.


Subject: LDS Cult leaders Polygamy seemed to be Theological and little to do
Date: May 14 15:58
Author: Zeezrom


do with poor or rich women or any kind of benevolence.

The deluded megalomaniacs thought the purpose of women was for their Glory and Exhaltation and Increase.

They probably even thought they were helping these women by getting them into some kind of Perverted Celestial Kingdon where White skinned Polygamist Elohim was roaming around with his collection of polygamist wives together with a few black servants obeying and serving him.


Subject: Wilford Woodruff doubled his pleasure
Date: May 17 09:06
Author: Sarony


On 13 Mar 1853, 46 year old Wilford Woodruff married two girls.

He married 19 year old Sarah Brown and 15 year old Emma Smith. Emma had turned 15 a mere two weeks earlier.


Subject: And when he turned 50, he went for a 19-year-old Delight
Date: May 17 09:09
Author: Sarony


In 1857, Wilford Woodruff married 19 year old Sarah Delight STOCKING.



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