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Nothing was left to place on the altar save his life, his children, and his wife. Joseph demanded for himself what to Heber was the unthinkable, his Vilate. Totally crushed spiritually and emotionally, Heber touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights and continually sought confirmation and comfort from God.
The Prophet wept at this act of faith, devotion, and obedience. Joseph had never intended to take Vilate. It was all a test. Shortly afterward, the two men took some of Bennett's sewing to Sarah's house. During the visit, as Bennett describes it, Joseph said, "Sister Pratt, the Lord has given you to me as one of my spiritual wives.
I have the blessings of Jacob granted me, as God granted holy men of old, and as I have long looked upon you with favor, and an earnest desire of connubial bliss, I hope you will not repulse or deny me. I have one good husband, and that is enough for me. Finally Sarah angrily told him on a subsequent visit, "Joseph, if you ever attempt any thing of the kind with me again, I will make a full disclosure to Mr.
Pratt on his return home. Depend upon it, I will certainly do it. Will you promise me that you will not do it? Pratt" by Richard A. Van Wagoner, Dialogue , Vol. He further explained that Joseph came to the Law home in the middle of the night when William was absent and told Jane that "the Lord had commanded that he should take spiritual wives, to add to his glory.
She did so and further explained that Joseph had "asked her to give him half her love; she was at liberty to keep the other half for her husband" Jane refused the Prophet, and according to William Law's 20 January letter to the Salt Lake Tribune, Smith then considered the couple apostates.
That Smith admired and lusted after many men's wives and daughters, is a fact, but they could not help that. They or most of them considered his admiration an insult, and treated him with scorn. In return for this scorn, he generally managed to blacken their reputations--see the case of … Mrs. Pratt, a good, virtuous woman.
Sarah later recalled that "Joseph Smith taught me the principle of marriage for eternity, and the doctrine of plural marriage. He said that in teaching this he realized that he jeopardized his life; but God had revealed it to him many years before as a privilege with blessings, now God had revealed it again and instructed him to teach with commandment, as the Church could travel [progress] no further without the introduction of this principle.
Sarah Kimball, like Sarah Pratt, was committed to her husband, and refused the Prophet's invitation, asking that he "teach it to someone else. On 19 May , at a Nauvoo City Council meeting, Smith jotted down and then "threw across the room" a revelation to Kimball which declared that "Hiram Kimball has been insinuating evil, and formulating evil opinions" against the Prophet, which if he does not desist from, he "shall be accursed.
She remained married to Adam Lightner throughout. She married Brigham on May 22 when she was 26 years old. It was repeated in the Nauvoo Temple on Jan 17,, Brigham She also recorded it herself.
However Brigham asked Mary if she wanted to go West with his group and she said yes but he left her behind. Prescendia Celestia, Joseph and Eliza. The following is from a love letter Joseph Smith wrote when he wanted to arrange a liaison with Newel K. Whitney's daughter Sarah Ann, whom Smith had secretly married without Emma's knowledge three weeks prior to this time.
Very clearly the women involved must be virgins. Because the idea of the LDS Church's founding prophet, Joseph Smith, married other men's wives is hard enough for current members to imagine, having sexual relations with another man's wife is even more repugnant, often causing cognitive dissonance. To try and rationalize Joseph's behavior they invent a narrative in which Joseph's "marriages" were simply platonic "sealings" and he was not committing adultery.
For many years critics spent a lot of time and ink proving that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with other women besides Emma because the Church and its apologists either denied it or ignored it. It is no longer necessary to provide all of that proof since the Church and its most prominent polygamy defenders now acknowledge such sexual relations. During the era in which plural marriage was practiced, Latter-day Saints distinguished between sealings for time and eternity and sealings for eternity only.
Sealings for time and eternity included commitments and relationships during this life, generally including the possibility of sexual relations. Eternity-only sealings indicated relationships in the next life alone. Evidence indicates that Joseph Smith participated in both types of sealings. This quote is the closest the Church has come to saying that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with women other than Emma. It is couched in language in such a way that attempts to soften the blow by using the words "eternity only," and "possibility.
Regardless, it doesn't matter whether Joseph had one adulterous relationship or 33—adultery is adultery. It appears that much of Hales' work was used in the creation of the Church's essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo.
This link has more concerning the sexual relations Joseph had and we encourage you to read it. These quotes are the acknowledgment that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with at least one woman other than his one legally wedded wife, Emma Hale Smith, and therefore Joseph was indeed an adulterer. This opens a new can or worms in which the attempt by the apologists have switched from determining whether or not Joseph had sexual relations to defining what adultery is and defining what a legal marriage is.
This becomes an exhausting exercise. The critic typically contends that a definition for adultery is pretty simple: It becomes convoluted because the apologist wants to reframe the debate by looking at a new interpretation for what constitutes adultery and how one interprets "marriage" and the marriage contract: This is an excellent topic to apply Occam's Razor to. To convince someone that there are nuanced and different definitions for marriage and adultery, a lot of effort must be spent in weaving that tapestry, including denying or creatively interpreting Joseph's own writings and denials.
This means that Joseph was involved in adulterous relationships because he was not legally married to any of the women, besides Emma, with whom he had sex.
Not only was Joseph guilty of adultery, but the women to whom he was "married" who were legally married to other men were also committing adultery:.
According to Doctrine and Covenants , one of the purposes of polygamy was to produce children:. See the section above about what the Church's Book of Commandments had to say about polygamy and fornication.
The essay tries to lessen the impact that Helen was so young by employing the interesting phrase, "several months before her 15th birthday. There is little documentary evidence of the "marriage," but it is supported by Eliza R.
Snow and Orson F. Whitney Helen Mar Kimball Whitney's son. As to her age, she was either 14 or Having one year-old to reconcile is hard, having a second one would increase the pressure to justify Joseph's behavior. Hales continues with a tidbit that tries to lessen the impact:. If, as Utah evidence supports, conjugal relations were not included until plural wives were more mature, it is possible that the Prophet allowed the sealing, anticipating that when Nancy Maria was older, Emma would have become more accepting of full polygamy.
Since there is no other evidence concerning Nancy's union, the rest of this section deals with Helen, who did leave plenty of evidence. There seems to be four main areas of controversy or dispute among critics and apologists when it comes to Helen's "marriage" to Joseph Smith:. It is shocking to hear that Helen Mar Kimball was only 14 when Joseph "married" her because in our day we tend to think of it as too young.
But was it "too young" in Helen's day? The state of Illinois statute concerning this age says:. All male persons over the age of 17 years, and females over the age of 14 years, may contract and be joined in marriage: Provided, in all cases where either party is a minor, the consent of parents or guardians be first had, as is hereinafter required.
Revised Statutes of , sec. Gross, editor, The Statutes of Illinois: Gross, , p. Even though marriageable age with the consent of a parent was 14, such marriages were by no means common. In the 's the singulate mean age at marriage for females was Two other tables that may be of interest: Although we flinch today, according to the laws of the time, Helen, legally , was not "too young" and Joseph was within his legal rights to marry Helen with her parents' consent at that age. However , Joseph was not within his legal rights to marry anyone, no matter their age, because he was already legally married to Emma.
This begs the question, Why marry Helen? There seems to be no logical reason for Joseph Smith to pursue relationships with any person besides his one legal wife, let alone girls as young as The "age of consent" means the age at which a person can legally consent to having sexual relations. Historically, that age was quite low in the United States, typically years of age. In Illinois, even by , the age of consent was only 10 years old.
By the 's nearly all of the states had moved the age up, to where most of them stand today, in the year-old range. The idea that Joseph Smith would have sex with a year-old shocks the reader: However, if Joseph Smith was legally married to Helen he was not , then even though we may shudder to think about it, it would have been legal for them to have sexual relations.
Just because something is legal , does it make it morally right? But since Joseph was not legally married to Helen, and since he was already legally married to one woman, and since he was in sexual relations with other women, one must wonder about the motives of that man. Why marry someone so young? Why cheat her out of a normal youth and marriage?
That being said, there is no direct evidence implicating Joseph Smith in having sexual relations with Helen Kimball.
There are only circumstantial hints that maybe it happened. Some of the more credible evidence include:. Two LDS scriptures, Jacob 2: If that wasn't Joseph's aim, why did he marry Helen?
In May , Joseph "married" four teenage girls: Three of these "marriages" involved sexual relations:. Maria Lawrence - a year after Joseph "married" Maria, William Law, filed suit accusing Joseph of being "in an open state of adultery" with Maria Lawrence. The first indictment was dismissed, but William Law filed a second time. The jurors in the second indictment found there was "good and sufficient evidence" that Joseph Smith. It was specifically because of the indictment brought against him that with a couple of days he gave his speech in which he claimed "I had not been married scarcely five minutes…before it was reported that I had seven wives.
I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers. Sarah Lawrence - In , Lucy Walker said: Wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. Neal, "Sword of Laban," no. Its wording is identical to the December 17, , Joseph F. Smith, Affidavit, October 24, Since it is known that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with three of the four girls he "married" in May , what would preclude him from having sexual relations with the third, Helen?
I heard [Helen] say to her mother, I will never be sealed to my Father, meaning as a wife and I would never have been sealed married to Joseph, had I known it was any thing more than ceremony.
I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it. Whether "had I known it was any thing more than ceremony" means sexual relations or not is left to the reader.
I remember how I felt, but which would be a difficult matter to describe-the various thoughts, fears and temptations that flashed through my mind when the principle was first introduced to me by my father [Heber C. Kimball], who one morning in the summer of , without any preliminaries, asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives, can be better imagined than told.
But suffice it to say the first impulse was anger, for I thought he had only said it to test my virtue. My sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, "No, I wouldn't! I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast me off, and this was the only convincing proof That I had of its being right.
This first interview had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake. When he found after the first outburst of displeasure for supposed injury and I received it meekly, he took the first opportunity to introduce Sarah Ann to me as Joseph's Wife.
This astonished me beyond measure. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, , Autobiography c. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar: None but God and his angels could see my mother's bleeding heart—when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied "If Helen is willing I have nothing more to say.
She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older and who better understood the step they were taking, and to see her child, who had yet seen her fifteenth summer, following the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come as the sun was to rise and set; but it was hidden from me. I did not try to conceal the fact of its having been a trial, but confessed that it had been one of the severest of my life; but that it had also proven one of the greatest of blessings.
I could truly say it had done the most towards making me a Saint and a free woman, in every sense of the word; and I knew many others who could say the same, and to whom it had proven one of the greatest boons—a "blessing in disguise.
Living in a climate of polygamy, it's easy to see that over time Helen would come to champion the cause and put away any concerns she may have had when she was first "married" to Joseph Smith. No one but Helen herself can say for sure if at the time she enjoyed being a polygamous wife of Joseph. Following are some accounts surrounding the event. Before Joseph and Heber discussed 14 year-old Helen as a potential bride, Joseph asked Heber to turn over his wife, Vilate, to be Joseph's wife.
During the summer of , shortly after Heber's return from England, he was introduced to the doctrine of plural marriage directly through a startling test-a sacrifice which shook his very being and challenged his faith to the ultimate.
Biography of Heber C. It is theorized by some that Joseph's "test" requesting Vilate as a wife was to prepare Heber for Joseph's later asking for Helen.
The following is used to imply that Joseph marrying Helen was Heber's idea:. Who, though, decided that being "connected with the Prophet, Joseph" was something desirable, Heber or Joseph himself? Even if Heber liked that idea and he's the one who asked Helen to marry Joseph, it does not mean that the genesis for the idea was Heber.
Nor does the word "offered" mean that Heber came up with the original idea. Helen's later reminiscence that "My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar" may even hint at such a situation as Abraham's. She also said, "The Latter-day Saints would not enter into this holy order of matrimony unless they had received some stronger and more convincing proofs of its correctness than the testimony of a man, for in obeying this law it has cost them a sacrifice nearly equal to that of Abraham.
Helen said that it was Joseph himself who claimed that Heber was the one who "offered" Helen to him. But why should we take Joseph's word for it? He is known to have lied to others, including his wife, Emma, about many aspects of polygamy such as hiding the entire idea of polygamy from his wife, Emma, and the fact that he had already married other women without Emma knowing.
Why not lie to another one of his wives if it served his purposes? See our section below about Joseph lying about polygamy. Heber must have learned about polygamy from Joseph first before he taught the principle to Helen. As far as the time line goes, if Heber is the one who had the idea, within a 24 hour period he would have had teach Helen about it, show up unannounced and explain the proposition to Joseph, then have Joseph show up the following day at the Kimball's to convince Helen that if she followed this plan that her father concocted, her father's family would be blessed.
Such a scenario on such short notice is unconvincing. Joseph taught Heber about polygamy at some point before Heber mentioned it to Helen. It could very well be that Joseph at that time mentioned his desire to have Helen as his wife.
It stands to reason that as prophet, Joseph chose who he would enter into a polygamous relationship. There are no other examples of a person approaching the prophet and instigating a polygamous relationship.
Finally, it was not unheard of for Joseph to have someone else to ask for, or convince, his intended bride on his behalf, such as in the case of Zina Diantha Huntington as revealed in an interview with her:.
How, then, could you have been sealed to Joseph Smith without first having heard the doctrine of plural marriage? My brother Dimick told me what Joseph had told him.
I knew it was from the Lord, and I received it. Joseph did not come until afterward. You mean by that, then, that after your brother Dimick had returned to Joseph and given him the information that you had accepted such teaching, that Joseph then came to you, prior to having been sealed, and taught you the doctrine of plural marriage?
I told you that the Lord had revealed to Joseph Smith that he was to marry me. I received it from Joseph through my brother Dimick. John Wight, "Evidence from Zina D. There is no reason not to believe that it was Joseph's idea all along to marry Helen, yet there is no way of knowing for sure who is the instigator.
The most important aspect from the discussion above concerning whose idea it was to marry off Helen pinpoints what we believe is the most problematic issue regarding Helen's "marriage" to Joseph: I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives.
I mean to live and proclaim the truth as long as I can. This new holy prophet [William Law] has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery.
Why, a man does not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this…I wish the grand jury would tell me who they are—whether it will be a curse or blessing to me. I am quite tired of the fools asking me…What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.
No, not at the same time. But they believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again. But we do disapprove of the custom which has gained in the world, and has been practiced among us, to our great mortification, of marrying in five or six weeks, or even in two or three months after the death of their companion. We believe that due respect ought to be had, to the memory of the dead, and the feelings of both friends and children.
Also found in Elder's Journal , Vol 1, No. On Dec 16, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to the church from Liberty Jail which included the following:. Was it for committing adultery that we were assailed? We are aware that that false slander has gone abroad, for it has been reiterated in our ears. These are falsehoods also. The world hates them, and we sometimes think that the devil ought to be ashamed of them. We have heard that it is reported by some, that some of us should have said, that we not only dedicated our property, but our families also to the Lord; and Satan, taking advantage of this, has perverted it into licentiousness, such as a community of wives, which is an abomination in the sight of God.
History of the Church Vol. As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching Polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan. This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference, on the 6th of April next, to make answer to these charges.
By the time Smith had dismissed Bennett in the summer of , Smith had taken the following "spiritual wives" for himself in Nauvoo:. That's twelve women documented as Joseph Smith's plural wives, during the period in which Smith placed responsibility for the entire polygamy practice on Bennett. In a speech at the temple, on February 21, where many of his "plural wives" were in attendance , Smith had the audacity to state the following:.
There is a great noise in the city…and many are saying there cannot be so much smoke without some fire. Well, be it so. If the stories about Joe Smith are true, then the stories of John C. Bennett are true about the ladies of Nauvoo; and he says that the Ladies' Relief Society are all organized of those who are to be the wives of Joseph Smith. Ladies, you know whether this is true or not.
History of the Church , Vol. Because his "plural wives" in the audience had been sworn to secrecy, Smith felt confident enough to stand before them and lie unabashedly. Emily Dow Partridge, for instance, testified that she and her sister were married to Joseph without Emma's consent emphasis added:. 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 , 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, , 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.
Historical Record , Vol. Notice how Joseph sought to cover up the fact that he was already married to Eliza and Emily Partridge. The Mormon author John J. Brodie included a list of 48 women who may have been married to Joseph Smith.
Ivins, who was considered to be "one of the great authorities on Mormon polygamy," said that the number of Joseph Smith's wives "can only be guessed at, but it might have gone as high as sixty or more. Moreover, a great many distinguished women in history, including several Catholic saints, were also sealed to Joseph Smith in Utah. Widtsoe admitted that "Women no longer living, whether in Joseph's day or later, have also been sealed to the Prophet for eternity. Joseph went to great lengths to conceal his practice of plural marriage.
Michael Marquardt discovered that he even had a pretended marriage performed to cover up his own marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney. On July 27,, Joseph gave a revelation to Newel K. Whitney, that he was to seal his daughter, Sarah Ann, "to Joseph Smith, to be his wife. Kingsbury and Heber C. Kimball, Marquardt reveals how he uncovered the fact that Joseph Smith actually performed a "pretended" marriage ceremony between Sarah Ann Whitney and Joseph C.
Kingsbury so that his own relationship with her would not be noticed. Marquardt cited the following from "The History of Joseph C. Kingsbury," a document that is now in the Western Americana section of the University of Utah Library:. According to the diary of Joseph's private secretary, William Clayton, Smith would even go so far as to initiate a fake excommunication from the Church to make it appear that he did not believe in polygamy:.
J…began to tell me that E. William Clayton's Diary , Oct. Would God command Joseph to secretly take his wife's fellow presidency members in the Nauvoo Relief Society as well as many others as his own plural wives?
Could it be proper or Godly for Joseph to publicly deny such behaviors and privately practice them? Would a true prophet ever secretly take other men's wives because of his position, stating that he was either testing the faith of their husbands, or offering these women a greater chance for exaltation in the eternities because of his position of authority?
It is well documented that Joseph married several women before telling Emma. Would it be proper to keep such information from his own wife? Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage , p. In addition to the public denials of polygamy by Joseph Smith himself, many public denials were done by his close associates. Joseph's Brother Hyrum had an article published in the Times and Seasons in March of italics in original:.
I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine , for there is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also: Remember that Hyrum who had plural wives at the time of this article was the one who took the copy of the polygamy revelation to Emma Smith to try to convince her to accept the idea of polygamy.
So the Church's own current scriptures say that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy before July 12, Note that even though Bennett had been out of the picture for more than a year, Smith was still publicly calling polygamy a "false and corrupt doctrine.
Smith still denied all of it. Joseph successfully inculcated his brother Hyrum into the litany of lies. Note also the utter hypocrisy of Hyrum saying that men caught teaching polygamy were subject to lose their church membership.
Obviously, seeing as how Hyrum and Joseph both were polygamists, his prevarication convicts both of them. Pratt, in speaking of the means by which church leaders should sustain Smith, advised that "we must lie to protect brother Joseph, it is our duty to do so.
Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of Dr. Bennett's letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter.
The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband. According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: Marriage should be celebrated with prayer and thanksgiving; and at the solemnization, the persons to be married, standing together, the man on the right, and the woman on the left, shall be addressed, by the person officiating, as he shall be directed by the holy Spirit; and if there be no legal objections, he shall say, calling each by their names: All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled.
All children are bound by law to obey their parents; and to influence them to embrace any religious faith, or be baptized, or leave their parents without their consent, is unlawful and unjust.
We believe that husbands, parents and masters who exercise control over their wives, children, and servants and prevent them from embracing the truth, will have to answer for that sin. We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church , to show that Dr. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a matter of his own manufacture; and further to disabuse the public ear, and shew that the said Bennett and his misanthropic friend Origen Bachelor, are perpetrating a foul and infamous slander upon an innocent people, and need but be known to be hated and despise.
In support of this position, we present the following certificates: We the undersigned members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and residents of the city of Nauvoo, persons of families do hereby certify and declare that we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants , and we give this certificate to show that Dr.
Bennett's "secret wife system" is a creature of his own make as we know of no such society in this place nor never did.
We the undersigned members of the ladies' relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practiced in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants , and we give this certificate to the public to show that J.
Bennett's "secret wife system" is a disclosure of his own make. Cleveland, Counsellor,; Eliza R. Snow, Secretary; Mary C. Marks; Rosannah Marks; Polly Z. Johnson; Angeline Robinson; Abigail Works. Times And Seasons , Saturday, October 1, , Newel even performed the ceremony. Snow signed the documents and she was married to Joseph Smith in June The next month, Joseph and Hyrum were murdered; but their deaths did not stop the lying about polygamy:.
Note that at the time, several dozen Mormon men were active polygamists, and the "revelation on celestial marriage" had still not been voted on, or accepted as official practiceso Mormon leaders continued their public lies about secret polygamy. 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.
By , Mormon leaders were sharing their lies about polygamy to an international audience. At the time he published his tract, wherein he quoted verbatim from the "Article on Marriage," Taylor had seven wives.
A few years later, a Mormon publication admitted that Joseph Smith sinned by taking his plural wives before his "revelation": To have done otherwise, would have been a great transgression. Of course, at that time, the documentation of the dates of Joseph's plural marriages was only known by a few top Mormons; it was not until LDS historian Andrew Jenson began delving into Church Archives in the 's that the names and dates began to be established. Few Mormons realized the scope of Smith's polygamy, or that he took plural wives many years before his alleged "revelation.
A man that violated this law in the Doctrine and Covenants, edition, until the acceptance of that revelation by the church, violated the law of the church if he practiced plural marriage. Yes sir, he would have been cut off from the church, I think I should have been if I had.
Before the giving of that revelation in if a man married more wives than one who were living at the same time, he would have been cut off from the church. It would have been adultery under the laws of the church and under the laws of the state, too. The evidence is over-whelming that Joseph and other church leaders lied about practicing polygamy. In the one instance where Smith hinted publicly of an approval of polygamy, it caused such an uproar among church members that he quickly issued a clarification stating that his remarks had referred to "former times," meaning Old Testament events.
Not surprisingly, publication of the Peace Maker created a brief furor in Nauvoo. For nearly six months, the Church had been recovering from the impact of the devastating John C. Bennett apostasy and his series of wild allegations about lurid polygamous debaucheries in the Church. Bennett's History of the Saints had come out in late September; yet only a month later—seemingly with the authorization of top Mormon leaders—an account defending polygamy was published.
A sometimes reliable contemporary source for Nauvoo gossip, Oliver Olney, expressed what must have been a common opinion when he said, "If the pamphlet was not written by the authorities of the Church, it by them was revised in Jacobs [sic] name. He denied that he had seen it in advance or that he would have printed it had he known its contents.
Significantly, however, Smith defended the author's right to publish such opinions. And more importantly, he did not make any criticisms of the extraordinary claims to authority made by the pamphlet—claims that in effect would have threatened to supercede his own leadership. In the tense political situation in Nauvoo following the Bennett fiasco, Joseph Smith had moved to centralize all power in his own hands. As part of this effort, he had placed the Church press in control of a totally loyal subordinate, John Taylor.
Taylor apparently had replaced Ebenezer Robinson in part because of Robinson's hostility to plural marriage. Probably, as John D. Lee later alleged, the pamphlet was put forward as a "feeler" to test Church opinion but was denied when public reaction proved too unfavorable.
There was a book printed at my office, a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacobs, on marriage, without my knowledge; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it ; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish to have my name associated with the authors, in such an unmeaning rigmarole of nonsence, folly, and trash. Times and Seasons 4: Nauvoo Neighbor , Vol. The incident of which the church-owned "Nauvoo Neighbor" speaks, wherein Hyrum Smith presented the "revelation" to the Nauvoo High Council for its sustaining vote, occurred on August 12, That meeting resulted in several council members resigning in disgust.
Some of those dissidents were among those who published the "Nauvoo Expositor" in June , which exposed Smith's secret polygamy practice. Meaning, those men knew very well that Smith and other church leaders were secretly practicing polygamy, and that Hyrum Smith's response that the "revelation" referred to Old Testament times was a lie.
MormonThink has a topic devoted to the LDS Church's historical lying, many of which concern polygamy: Lying for the Lord. From the many statements above it's obvious that Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum and several other church leaders, that knew about polygamy, lied about it.
Here are some additional related documentation that show that the LDS Church officially condemned the practice of polygamy during the very time Joseph practiced it.
Several quotes are very similar or identical because they were repeated in subsequent years and in various church publications. This is further evidence that the official condemnation of polygamy by the church wasn't just a rare 'error' but was in fact the official church policy at the time. Also note that many of the quotes are from the Times and Seasons which was a church-owned newspaper that Joseph Smith himself served as an editor.
The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages solemnized in his branch. All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this Church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this Church of 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, when either is at liberty to marry again.
All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: Inasmuch as this Church of 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 case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.
That we will have no fellowship whatever with any Elder belonging to the quorums of the Seventies who is guilty of polygamy or any offense of the kind, and who does not in all things conform to the laws of the church contained in the Bible and in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart….. It is evident that his character is that of an adulterer of the worst kind…. Some time ago it having been reported to me that some of the most aggravated cases of adultery had been committed upon some previously respectable females in our city….. More than twenty months ago Bennett went to a lady in the city and began to teach her that promiscuous intercourse between the sexes was lawful and no harm in it, and requested the privilege of gratifying his passions…..
Finding this argument ineffectual, he told her that men in higher standing in the church than himself not only sanctioned, but practiced the same deeds; and…said that I both taught and acted in the same manner, but [that I] publicly proclaimed against it in consequence of the prejudice of the people, and for fear of trouble in my own house.
By this means he accomplished his designs. The church afterwards publicly withdrew their fellowship from him [John C.
Bennett], and his character was published in the 17th number of this paper; since that time he [John C. Bennett] has published that the conduct of the Saints was bad that Joseph Smith and many others were adulterers, murderers, etc. Among the most conspicuous of these apostates, we would notice a young female who.. Smith and elder B. Young for her victims, and wrote to England that these men had been trying to seduce her, by making her believe that God had given a revelation that men might have two wives…But, for the information of those who might be assailed by those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-Day Saints, and ever will ; this is well known to all who are acquainted with our books and actions.
He [Joseph Smith] spoke of the various publications of Bennett and others, and of the prejudices which they had necessarily excited--that the Mormons were charged with sanctioning a community of wives and of goods, with polygamy, and various other enormities, not one word of which is true.
Saturday, 25 -- At home, keeping out of the way of expected writs from Carthage. Greene and Almon W. Babbitt, who informed me there were two indictments found against me, one chargine me false swearing on the testimony of Joseph H. Jackson and Robert D. Foster, and one charging me of polygamy, or something else, on the testimony of William Law, that I told him so! The particulars of which I shall learn hearafter.
There was much false swearing before the grand jury. The law of the land and the rules of the church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once. To condemn unheard, any man or set of men or their principles, on the strength of popular rumor, or the testimony of enemies, would be gross injustice. An impartial investigation should always precede condemnation. The Latter-day Saints are charged by their enemies, with the blackest crimes. Treason, murder, theft, polygamy, and adultery, are among the many crimes laid to their charge.
Under these circumstances, it is but right, that they should be heard in their defence. I shall, therefore, in this communication, briefly examine and refute a few of the charges, for it would need a legion of writers to answer all the lies told about us.
Most of the stories against the Mormons have been propagated by apostates and traitors, who have been generally cut off from the church for their crimes.
They publish their lies, and straightway they are believed, and hawked about as awful disclosures, and received by community with trembling and holy horror. It does not require a very sagacious mind to fathom Mr. Rigdon's motive for doing. 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. No wonder then that apostates rage, or that the fulness of truth revealed again should bring a storm of persecution.
There were no statements authorizing the practice of polygamy, plural marriage, or "celestial marriage" in the statements of Joseph Smith and or his disciples. The LDS church practiced polygamy from It only stopped because Prophet Wilford Woodruff had a revelation in which the divine practice of polygamy was not to be stopped, but to be put on hold. Critics say what a coincidence that Woodruff got a revelation to stop polygamy while the Government was pursuing polygamists.
The Edmunds Act was passed in This enabled the Government to prosecute Mormons who participated in Polygamy and also for 'Unlawful Cohabitation'. The Mormons ignored this law, which was easy considering how isolated they were from everyone else. John Taylor, the third prophet went into hiding when there was a warrant out for his arrest in After a year of hiding, LDS President Taylor, showed the government his defiance of the law by marrying a year-old while he was a whopping 78 years old!
The Government was getting restless with the Saints rebellion by passing the Edmunds-Tucker Bill in This bill would intentionally bankrupt the church because of its polygamy practices.
In the Government succeeded in seizing the church's holdings. At this point the fourth president, Woodruff, saw that the Kingdom of God had no choice but to surrender to Washington's demands.
The manifesto known as Official Declaration 1 links to the Church's website:. Following a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practice of plural marriage was instituted among Church members in the early s see section From the s to the s, the United States government passed laws to make this religious practice illegal. These laws were eventually upheld by the U.
After receiving revelation, President Wilford Woodruff issued the following Manifesto, which was accepted by the Church as authoritative and binding on October 6, This led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church.
Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—.
I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.
One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of , but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge.
In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay. Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.
There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.
I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, , and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.
The manifesto wasn't completely written by Woodruff himself. Woodruff presented the document to his counselors, and George Q. Cannon edited it, making it about words or so shorter. Critics say that the manifesto was written "to beat the devil at his own game. Government that was coming down very hard on the Mormons over polygamy. Polygamy continued with a lot of secrecy even among the General Authorities in order to preserve plausible deniability.
Smith issued the so-called "Second Manifesto" which supposedly did what the first one was supposed to do anyway. Some critics go as far as to ask church members why they think that the top GAs aren't secretly practicing polygamy now? During Joseph's day, they did while denying it publicly, loudly and often. After the manifesto they did also, so what makes them so sure they aren't doing it now?
What's different now that wasn't different when Joseph F. However Brother Quinn was allowed access to the church's private records which he used to accurately document the many post-manifesto polygamous marriages that occurred after As a result, the LDS church excommunicated Quinn in Quinn's essay on post-manifesto polygamy can be found at: Apostle Dallin Oaks acknowledged that he had read Quinn's article on post-Manifesto polygamy, covering the period from into the early 20th century.
Oaks also confessed that the Mormon Church had not, in fact, been honest about its practice of polygamy during that time. He admitted that the case, as laid out by Quinn, was, in fact, true. Oaks admitted that, in his opinion, lies had indeed been told by Mormon Church leaders about the continuing practice of polygamy after it supposedly was ended by the Manifesto of President Taylor responded with a sermon in which he asked, "Are we going to suffer a surrender of this point?
Young [a monogamist] to fill up the vacancy in the presiding quorum of Seventies, if he will conform to my law; for it is not meet that men who will not abide my law shall preside over my Priesthood. In his last public discourse on 1 February , John Taylor reminded his Salt Lake City audience of the federal efforts to suppress polygamy, and rhetorically asked if he should disobey God in order to support the government.
For the next two and a half years, John Taylor demonstrated continued resistance to compromise while he was "on the underground" in various hiding places in Utah. In July , he suggested that due to the federal anti-polygamy raid, the American flags on all Church properties be lowered to half-mast for Independence Day, which outraged the non-Mormons of Salt Lake City and nearly caused a riot in the city. After eight months in hiding, John Taylor and his first counselor, George Q.
Cannon, issued a First Presidency letter at October general conference: They warn and implore us to yield. We cannot withdraw or renounce it. Smith's words during the Reed Smoot hearings emphasis ours:. The Senate called on many witnesses to testify. Church President Joseph F. Smith took the stand in the Senate chamber in March When asked, he defended his family relationships, telling the committee that he had cohabited with his wives and fathered children with them since He said it would be dishonorable of him to break the sacred covenants he had made with his wives and with God.
When questioned about new plural marriages performed since , President Smith carefully distinguished between actions sanctioned by the Church and ratified in Church councils and conferences, and the actions undertaken by individual members of the Church.
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