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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: October 14, 2013 11:48AM

--Introduction: This Time Joseph Smith Conjurs up Visions of Poisoning

Joseph Smith’s inventively lustful claim that God commanded him to practice polygamy ended up causing him all kinds of grief (including contributing to his death at Carthage, Illinois, after he had ordered a newspaper press destroyed for having exposed his polygamous affairs).

Before he was actually murdered, however, Jumpy Joe suspected that even his wife was out to kill him over his polygamous philanderings.

--Attempted Coffee Killing: Joseph's Hallucinatory Hang-Ups Over a Murder-Minded Emma

In their book, "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith,” LDS authors Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery write of Smith’s polygamy-produced paranoia:

"Although Emma's attempt to accept plural marriage brought temporary peace to the Smith household, neither Emma's resolve nor the peace lasted long. Emily Partridge commented that Joseph 'would walk the floor back and forth, with his hands clasped behind him (a way he had of placing his hands when his mind was deeply troubled), his countenance showing that he was weighed down with some terrible burden.'

"The strain in his private life, coupled with threats from marauders and dissension within the church and community, began to affect Joseph's health. On Sunday, November 5, Joseph became suddenly sick and vomited so hard that he dislocated his jaw and 'raised fresh blood.'

"His self-diagnosis was that he had every symptom of poisoning. But he was well enough in the evening to attend an Endowment Council meeting in the room over the red brick store.

"According to current medical literature, no poison available in 1844 was caustic enough to pool blood in the stomach so rapidly after ingestion as Joseph's symptoms indicate and still be so ineffective as to allow the victim to pursue normal activities within a few hours . . . .

"Twenty-two years later Brigham Young described a 'secret council,' . . . at which he said Joseph accused Emma of the poisoning and 'called upon her to deny it if she could . . . . He told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told her where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he, 'You got that poison so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me.' When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. He spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him.' [Young] did not elaborate on the alleged second occurrence, but in 1866 Brigham's rhetoric could well have been stronger that Joseph's actual words, for it came at a time when Brigham was particularly hostile toward Emma.

"Evidence suggests that Joseph indeed accused Emma of poisoning his coffee. His diary records that he and Emma did not participate in the Prayer Circle at that meeting . . . . This is particularly significant because members were asked not to join the Prayer Circle if they had feelings of antagonism toward anyone else in the group. Only unusual circumstances would have restrained them. Apparently Joseph believed at the time that Emma poisoned him, but strong evidence suggests that his self-diagnosis was mistaken and, therefore, so was his accusation of Emma.

"Five weeks later Joseph again experienced sudden nausea and vomiting. 'I awoke this morning in good health but was soon suddenly seized with a great dryness of the mouth and throat, and sickness of the stomach, and vomited freely . . . . I was never prostrated so low, in so short a time, before, but by evening was considerably revived.'

"He mentioned being 'somewhat out of health' on January 21, 'somewhat unwell' on April 2, and 'suddenly taken sick,' on April 28 . . . .

"Acute indigestion, food poisoning, ulcers, gallstones, and other diseases cause a reaction similar to Joseph's. Certainly Joseph's life was filled with the emotional tension and conflict that traditionally accompany ulcers. When he had his second attack of vomiting early in December, his diary states: 'My wife waited on me, assisted by my scribe, Willard Richards, and his brother Levi, who administered some hers and mild drinks.' . . . In this instance Joseph portrayed Emma as a helper and nurse instead of the instigator of the attack .

"He apparently failed to correct the conclusions held by Brigham Young and John Taylor, for Emma remained forever suspect in their minds.

"Stories of poisoning drew in another suspect: Samuel Smith's daughter Mary later wrote to her cousin Ina Coolbrith that Eliza R. Snow poisoned Joseph. She said that while Eliza resided in her Uncle Joseph's house Emma fixed Joseph a cup of coffee and Eliza poured something in it, then Joseph drank and vomited. Eliza had not lived in the house for nearly a year.

"Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer, a plural married to Joseph by Brigham Young in July, wrote an autobiography in 1868 and related a bizarre dream that may have been prompted by rumors of Emma poisoning Joseph. She stated: 'In the rise of polygamy [Emma] Smith was going to poison me. I told [the dream] to brother Joseph. He told me it was true. She would do it if she could.'

"The talk of poisoning may have prompted Emily Partridge to say of this period: 'There were times, one in particular that I was really afraid of my life.' . . . She was far more likely to fear retribution from Emma than Emma was to administer it. But circulation of poisoning stories gave rise to apprehension and suspicion directed toward Emma." (pp. 163-65)

--Brigham Young Also Asserted That An Evil Emma Was Out to do In Joseph But Was Thwarted by Faith

A suspicious Brigham Young with his own paranoia over Emma claimed in an 1863 sermon that she tried to kick Young and his pals out of the Church, as well as attempted to murder her righteously roaming-eye husband Joseph:

"In Joseph's da[y] she [Emma] tried to throw me, Br. Heber, Br. Willard Richards and the Twelve Apostles out of the Church, and tried to destroy the whole church and I know it.

"Joseph himself testified before high Heaven more than once that she had administered poison to him. There are men and women present today who can bear witness that more hell was never wrapped up in any human being than there is in her. She gave him too heavy a dose and he vomited it up and was saved by faith." ("BYA," vol. 4 Gen. Conf. 7 Oct. 1863)

--Another Mormon Teaswtified That Emma Was Toxic to the Prophet But That God Provided the Antidote

In his journal, Charles Lowell Walker wrote:

"Br Snow . . . also related that when Emma, Joseph's first wife, heard of the Revelation [on polygamy] she sought the life of Joseph and tired to poison him, but he was delivered by the Power of God. ("Diary of Charles Lowell Walker ,” vol. 1, p. 438, 17 December 1876)

--Still, There Are Those Like Sandra Tanner Who Think That Emma
Really Did Try to Pickle Her Polygamous Prophet-Partner with Poison

"The simple fact is that Mormon historians have already shown the Emma Smith/Joseph Smith/Polygamy story to be very different than the LDS would like to have it. I mean, come on, you have to ask yourself why Brigham Young once (in public!) claimed Emma Smith tried to poison Joseph, but now Mormons only talk about what a great marriage the Smiths had.

"Read 'Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith' or 'In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith' or 'Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling' - three books written by Mormons." ("Interview with Sandra Tanner on the Life of Emma Smith--Wife of Mormon Founder”)

--Conclusion: You Wonder How a Philandering Joe Could Sleep at Night

Indeed, wouldn’t you be a bit of an insomniac too if you were convinced that your wife was conspiring to fatally spike your Kool Aid?


For the possible poisoning death of Brigham Young, see:,1051678

For the possible poisoning death of Samuel H. Smith (Joseph Smith's brother), see:,1051659

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2013 12:27PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Hold Your Tapirs ( )
Date: October 14, 2013 12:17PM

She poisoned his coffee of all things, ha!

It's stories like these that have to make you think about what TSCC *isn't* telling you in Sunday School.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 05:19AM

Joseph Smith thought Ema tried to poison him. Someone did poison his brother, possibly at Brigham Young's orders. Brigham Young was probably poisoned, possibly by one of his own wives. That's a lot of poisoning in a very small circle.

My guess is that if poison attempts were made on all three, then the actual poisoner was probably the same culprit, the women falsely getting the blame and suspicion from the male patriarchy. Or at least the same culprit put up Joe's and Brigham's wives to make their attempts, and that temptor being of more earthly origins then Satan.

This is just wild speculation, but what if a power hungry apostle was behind all three poisonings? Or maybe Brigham Young was responsible for the first two, and one of his wives found his private stock of kill them powder.

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Posted by: elbert ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 08:47AM

Hold everthing! The man was drinking COFFEE? Coffee? That wasn't very 'wise'.

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Posted by: Bradley ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 09:32AM

Now I understand the origin of the prohibition of coffee.

I wonder if the prohibition of masturbation has a similar story. Wanking by the wood pile; Emma's so hot when she's splitting logs. The axe slips out of her hands and misses Little Joe by a hair.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 01:47PM

No the prohibition on masturbation came from Smith and Young hating the idea of not having their dicks stuck into a hole, at every suitably possible moment.

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Posted by: Lasvegasrichard ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 12:13PM

The vomiting and sickness episodes always reminded me of an alcoholic episode . Vomiting blood is common with ruptured capillaries in the stomach due to abuse of hard liquor. Along with the morning sickness , it sounds more like a bad hangover of an alcoholic .

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Posted by: brothernoofjared ( )
Date: October 15, 2013 12:17PM

I thought coffee was banned by the word of wisdom???

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Posted by: kathleen ( )
Date: June 10, 2017 02:44PM

Now we know why!

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: June 10, 2017 05:08PM

Poison seemed to be the tonic of choice by early LDS when wanting to do away with a certain someone.

My great grandpa, Civil War veteran, married into the church and converted for his wife and her family. He was a mensch who wasn't swayed easily, and was highly respected by those who knew him.

I'm fairly certain after learning about how he died, he was poisoned by someone from his ward where they lived in a Mormon pioneer community in 1889.

He'd broken up a fight at a choir practice the night before on a Saturday, a practice he himself had organized. And smoothed things over between the warring parties, only to return the following day Sabbath when his choir sang for the congregation.

He was well before going to church that morning. But fell suddenly and violently ill on his way home later that same day.

I believe someone at church, following services (maybe before,) during a food service whether it was brunch, lunch, or light snacks, poisoned him out of revenge.

As to motive, there were at least two in his ward that had motive. One was a woman who he had spurned her advances to make her his second and polygamous wife. She'd been courting him until his feisty wife, my great grandmother, put her foot down and told him she'd have nothing to do with it.

The other party who had motive was a town lawyer who coveted his land claim where they lived so much so, that upon his death swindled my great grandmother out of her home and property, leaving her not only bereft, but penniless as well, to raise her three fatherless children.

Sacrificial "love" in Mormonism meant an entirely different meaning than it did/does in Christianity, apparently.

Joseph had it coming. That much I get. Not my great grandpa. He survived four years of the Civil War where he infiltrated the Deep South as a chief scout (spy for Allen Pinkerton, and was a personal messenger go-between for Generals Sherman and Ulysses Grant.) Following that war he came with Gen Sherman to Wyoming to help settle Indian land claims, that included surviving Indian skirmishes, including one where his father had been murdered which Ggrandpa sought to avenge. Years later he was called up to help to bury the fallen soldiers at Custer's Last Stand.

He himself had been practiced in the healing arts as taught to him by his physician father. Upon joining the church for great grandma after they married he helped many Mormons in their Mormon town by stitching them up when they had cuts and wounds, and setting broken bones, etc.

He was a trooper, a hero to many, and a mensch to some. He was faithful to his wife and a devoted husband and father to his children. He was active in church activities where that became his downfall. For he could not survive the dastardly Mormons who did him in.

He fell violently ill on his way home from church that fateful Sabbath. And died by the following Friday, suffering what could've been nothing other than a lingering and painful death at the hands of his executioner. Whether it was the spurned woman, or the greedy lawyer, it doesn't matter to me. At least one of them done my great grandpa in from poison.

That much I've deduced.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/10/2017 05:30PM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: January 12, 2016 07:00PM

I am a child of Hell
And Joe has set me off
I served curare Folgers and
I watched him choke and cough

Kill him, fry him, crucify him
Help me find a way
Teach me all I that I must know
To murder Joe someday

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Posted by: verilyverily ( )
Date: January 12, 2016 07:15PM

donbagley - this is fabulous!

If Emma was as smart as I think she was, she did poison JS. You go girl!!

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Posted by: ElizaSnowJob ( )
Date: June 11, 2017 07:40PM

This only makes me like Emma that much more. Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if she had succeeded. Would have made my life that much more pleasant. Thanks, Emma, for trying. She's a hero, that one.

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: June 11, 2017 08:10PM


All the Church-manual lessons, Ensign-New-Era-Friend articles,
pictures, and Church videos PROVE that Joseph and Emma had an
ideal, loving relationship 24/7

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Posted by: Breeze ( )
Date: June 12, 2017 06:33AM

Sounds like a hangover to me.

He was violently sick in the morning, but better by late afternoon and evening. Alcohol does that to you, and Joseph had a bar in his home....

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Posted by: Honest TBM ( )
Date: June 12, 2017 10:14AM

If Brigham Young said this about Joseph Smith to Emma then of course it has to be doctrinal truth. Remember that says that "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same". So that's the glorious doctrine for these types of things :)

"He told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth"

I do believe there were many wicked women on the earth in the 1840(s). Back then the Church was still pretty small so the people of the world were suffering in severe darkness & wickedness without any knowledge of the glorious Restoration. But I suppose that a revelation from God that the most wicked of them all happened to be the president of the Relief Society is certainly an important revelation to know.

Now of course I could lie and pretend that the beloved Brigham Young, i.e. God's official representative teaching God's official word, didn't teach this. But then 2 Ne 9:34 means that all my toilet scrubbing and other glorious services I've performed along with all my financial sacrifices would all be in vain as I'm thrust to hell for all eternity. So I suppose I should just be honest and humbly declare what the Lord (i.e. through Brigham Young) taught us all.

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Posted by: tnurg ( )
Date: June 13, 2017 03:13AM

Poisoning problematic, high profile leaders in the kingdom of absurdity/lies for various reasons appears to be the method of choice used by early mormons to eliminate those who were causing great stress to some affected in the kingdom! emma smith according to brigham young tried to poison profit jo smith jr. twice by putting poison in his coffee! We have the story of jo/hyrum plotting to poison William Law! Law also mentioned the brutal death of smith's scribe James Mullholland apparently at the hands of the smiths! And yes, based on the available narrative that described his eventual physical demise, I have always believed that brigham young was a potential victim! Many years ago I heard the rumors but information gathering was very difficult, if not impossible!

The clue master, Samuel W. Taylor in the brigham young case is intriguing! Of course you must believe the narrative/it must check out! Even then there is an important pitfall to face! If one follows the trail of clues there are obstacles to overcome! Remember, mormons with something to hide never play fair! The clue master must check out in three major areas! We must be able to verify the 12 year association, a 17 year old daughter in 1877/find someone who had intimate access to young! These are all imperative elements that must be satisfied to come to any competent conclusion based on the clues provided!

When it's all said/done/a hurdle is overcome there appears to be a Mrs. X candidate among brigham young's wives! She was never charged/died a faithful mormon according to information I was able to gather! She also faced some apparent difficulties after young's death that I was unable to verify but circumstances reveal as much! If she is the guilty one, I understand her motivation so I'm going to let her rest in peace as others have apparently done! Ironically, it does not appear that she was able to prevent what she feared most! How terribly depressing! As Always, tnurg (GRUNT)

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