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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Polygamy of Joseph Smith

A little-known face about Joseph Smith amongst the average Mormon is his polygamy. Glossing over their marital unrest and the many terrible things Joseph put her through, glowing reports of Emma's faithfulness, strength, and beauty are given, but never are his relationships with over 30 other wives mentioned.

Some Mormons may think that Smith's polygamy is even a lie, but historical evidence--grudgingly admitted by the church historians, leaders, and apologists who are confronted with it--is not lacking. Even the church-owned genealogy website, familysearch.org, lists multiple wives.



1 Spouse: 


2 Spouse: 


3 Spouse: 


4 Spouse: 


Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

5 Spouse: 

Abt 11 1843 May

6 Spouse: 

17 Jan 1842

Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

7 Spouse: 

18 Jan 1827

South Bainbridge, Chenango, Ny

8 Spouse: 

Sealed 19 1852 Jan

Salt Lake City, Ut

9 Spouse: 

26 Jan 1846

10 Spouse: 

27 Oct 1841

Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

11 Spouse: 

3 Feb 1846

12 Spouse: 

3 Feb 1846

13 Spouse: 

May 1843

Smith's Store, Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

14 Spouse: 

1 May 1843

Smith's Store, Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

15 Spouse: 

12 Jun 1843

Nauvoo, Illinois

16 Spouse: 

29 Jun 1842

Smith's Store, Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

17 Spouse: 

27 Jul 1842

Nauvoo, Hnck, Il

18 Spouse: 

Aug 1842

Smith's Store, Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

19 Spouse: 

20 Sep 1843

Nauvoo, Illinois

20 Spouse: 

2 Nov 1843

21 Spouse: 

11 Dec 1841

Smith's Store, Nauvoo, Hancock, Il

22 Spouse: 


23 Spouse: 


24 Spouse: 


As you can see, this list is incomplete--there aren't over 30 wives on this list. But, being on the Mormon website, it does show that it is not denied by the Mormon church that he had multiple wives...and a lot of them.

Smith's polygamy in and of itself might not bother some Mormons, as it was commanded and practiced by the church for a time, the command still being scripture in D&C 132. Some of the facts about his wives would bother many Mormons, though.

One is Joseph Smith consistent denial of polygamy, both publically and privately, even as he took wife after wife. In fact, his denial became scripture for a time--a section of D&C affirmed monogamy, and was later removed when D&C 132 was made scripture. D&C 132 wasn't even given until July of 1843--look at the dates for some of the marriages above. A lot of them happened before this revelation was given.

Joseph Smith also hid his many marriages from Emma, despite D&C 132: 61 
"And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else."
Since Joseph Smith did not obtain Emma's consent for most of his polygamous marriages, he was in adultery, according to his own revelation.

Then is the fact that about a third of his wives were already married to other men. Even if his other choices in wives could be justified, this obvious adultery cannot. One such wife above was Zina Huntington--she married Henry Jacobs in March 1841 and Joseph Smith in October of the same year. Her legal husband was still living and she still lived with him. Brigham Young later married her and had her live with him instead of her legal husband, sending her husband off on missions, and she eventually rejected her legal husband in favor of polygamy.

Another third of his wives were teenagers, the youngest being Helen Kimball, not quite 15 when she married the prophet under promises of exaltation for her whole family if she would do so. While marrying this young may not have been illegal or unusual, it was illegal and unusual for him to do so with eleven girls when he already had a healthy, living legal wife.

There is also the complete contradiction between different sets of Mormon scriptures on polygamy.
Jacob 2: 24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

D&C 132: 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham. 34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. 35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.
38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.

Does this not seem a direct contradiction? In the Book of Mormon it is said that it was abominable for David and Solomon to have many wives and concubines. In D&C 132 (which incidentally also threatens Emma if she doesn't let Joseph Smith practice polygamy) it says that it was commanded and that those same men were not in sin!

The Bible supports the Book of Mormon, though. Although polygamy was tolerated, it was never commanded (except in the case of the marriage of a brother's wife if the brother died, which was not for the purpose of polygamy or intimate enjoyment, but for children to protect and preserve the woman and family). In almost every case of polygamy we see (Abraham, David, Solomon) we see that polygamy does not go so well. Yet these things are exactly what Joseph Smith turned around and claimed to be God's revelation and command later!

Probably most overlooked is the parts in D&C 132 which plainly state that polygamy is necessary--in fact, eternal polygamous marriage, not just eternal monogamous marriage, was the new and everlasting covenant.

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

 32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

 64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
 65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

After all is said and done, this is what we end up with: Joseph Smith, claiming to be led by God,
  • Lied to the public
  • Lied to his wife
  • Violated even the D&C 132 polygamy guidelines
  • Opposed the Bible's teachings
  • Opposed the Book of Mormon's teachings
  • Broke civil law
  • Committed adultery
  • Caused women to commit adultery
  • Led thousands astray to do the same, and still is, as can be see by Fundamentalist polygamy and unfortunate cases such that of Warren Jeffs

What is it the Bible says about false prophets?
"By their fruits you will know them."

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