Skip to comments.Polygamy: Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, was the first Mormon prophet to practice polygamy.
Posted on 02/13/2012 9:11:14 PM PST by Colofornian
The wives of the prophets
The first seven Mormon prophets had at least 135 wives.
|Mormon prophet||Number of wives|
|Joseph F. Smith||6|
|Heber J. Grant||3|
|1827||Joseph Smith marries Emma Hale|
|1830||Book of Mormon published: condemns polygamy But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord... Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:23-24,27|
|1833||Joseph Smith marries Fanny Alger|
|August, 1835||Official LDS publication denies polygamy charges. 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. Messenger and Advocate 1:163 and see also History of the Church 2:247|
|1835-1876||ON MARRIAGE. 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... We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church...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...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... Doctrine and Covenants, Section 101 (1835-1876)|
|April, 1837||General Authorities issue statement condemning polygamy. 1st-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. Quorum of the Seventies Resolution #1 Messenger and Advocate 3:511|
|1838||Joseph Smith marries Lucinda Harris, who was at the time married to George Harris.|
|January, 1838||Oliver Cowdery confronts Joseph Smith about his polygamy. When he [Joseph Smith] was there we had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself. Oliver Cowdery - Assistant President and Book of Mormon witness Letter recorded by his brother Warren Cowdery. Photograph available in The Mormon Kingdom, vol. 1, p.27|
|April, 1838||Oliver Cowdery is excommunicated.|
|July, 1838||Question 7th. Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one? Answer. No, not at the same time. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder Elder's Journal, p.43|
|December, 1838||Joseph Smith denies polygamy. 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. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.127 See also History of the Church 3:230|
|April, 1841||Joseph Smith marries Louise Beaman|
|October, 1841||Joseph Smith marries Zina Jacobs, who at the time was married to Henry Jacobs.|
|December, 1841||Joseph Smith marries Presendia Buell|
|January 6, 1842||Joseph Smith marries Agnes Coolbrith, who was the widow of Don Carlos (Joseph's brother).|
|January 17, 1842||Joseph Smith marries Mary Lightner, who at the time was married to Adam Lightner.|
|February, 1842||Joseph Smith marries Sylvia Lyon, who at the time was married to Windsor Lyon. Joseph would also marry Sylvia's mother Patty the next month.|
|March 1, 1842||12th Article of Faith Joseph Smith pens the 12th Article of Faith. Polygamy was a violation of the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder Wentworth Letter|
|March 9, 1842||Joseph Smith marries Patty Sessions, who at the time was married to David Sessions. Joseph married Patty's daughter Sylvia the previous month.|
|April, 1842||Joseph Smith marries Marinda Hyde, who at the time was married to Orson Hyde.|
|August, 1842||Official LDS church publication denies polygamy. 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. Millennial Star, Vol. 3, No. 4, p.73
|September, 1842||Official LDS publication denies polygamy. Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused... 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. "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." Times and Seasons 4:909|
|October, 1842||Office LDS publication reprints D&C 101 prohibiting 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 ... Times and Seasons 3:939-940|
|February, 1843||Joseph Smith marries Ruth Sayers.|
|March, 1843||Joseph Smith marries Emily Partridge.|
|April, 1843||Joseph Smith marries Almera Johnson.|
|Spring, 1843||Joseph Smith marries 16 year old Flora Woodworth.|
|July, 1843||"Revelation" on Plurality of Wives (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132)
|January, 1844||Despite the July revelation requiring polygamy, the Mormon church continued to deny it: 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 but one wife, and one woman but one husband... We wish these doctrines to be taught by all that are in the ministry, that the people may know our faith respecting them, and also to correct the public mind in respect to the church. Millennial Star, Vol. 4, No. 9, p.144|
|February, 1844||Joseph Smith denies polygamy. As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hyram 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. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder Mormonism founder Times and Seasons 5:423|
|March, 1844||Under the direction of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith officiated a polygamous wedding for Mormon apostle Erastus Snow. Testimony of Erastus Snow - Mormon apostle The Historical Record 6:232|
|March 15, 1844||Joseph's brother Hyrum denies polygamy. Whereas brother Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught 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 loose his license and membership also: therefore he had better beware what he is about. Hyrum Smith - Assistant President Times and Seasons 5:474|
|April, 1844||Joseph Smith denies polygamy. We very frequently receive letters from elders and individuals abroad, inquiring of us whether certain statements that they hear, and have written to them, are true: some pertaining to John C. Bennet's spiritual wife system; others in regard to immoral conduct, practiced by individuals, and sanctioned by the church; and as it is impossible for us to answer all of them, we take this opportunity of answering them all, once for all. In the first place, we cannot but express our surprise that any elder or priest who has been in Nauvoo, and has had an opportunity of hearing the principles of truth advanced, should for one moment give credence to the idea that anything like iniquity is practiced, much less taught or sanctioned, by the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder Times and Seasons, Vol.5, No.7, p.491|
|April, 1844||Fallout: Presidency Counselors After Jane Law rebuffs Joseph Smith's proposal to marry him, her husband William Law, who was Joseph's Second Counselor of the First Presidency is excommunicated. Austin Cowles, the First Counselor, quits the church in protest.|
|May, 1844||Joseph Smith denies polygamy. Joseph Smith I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made on proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives. This new holy prophet [William Law] has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this... What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago. Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder History of the Church 6:410-411|
|June 7, 1844||Excommunicated Second Counselor William Law publishes a newspaper (the Nauvoo Expositor) containing testimony condemning Joseph's polygamy. It included testimony from former First Counselor Austin Coles. Forasmuch as the public mind hath been much agitated by a course of procedure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... In the latter part of the summer, 1843, the Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet... according to his reading there was contained the following doctrines... the doctrine of a plurality of wives, or marrying virgins; that "David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not save in the matter of Uriah. This revelation with other evidence, that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practiced in the Church; determined me to leave the office of first counselor to the president of the Church at Nauvoo. Austin Cowles - former First Counselor Nauvoo Expositor, Vol. 1, No. 1, p.2|
|June 10, 1844||Joseph Smith, who is also the mayor of Nauvoo, orders the printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor destroyed. The Governor of Illinois has Joseph put in jail.|
|June 27, 1844||Joseph Smith's death An angry mob storms Joseph's cell and murders him.|
|October, 1844||Sidney Rigdon admits church authorities practice polygamy. It is a fact, so well known, that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry this spiritual wife business in secret... and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths, to keep it from the public... I could bring facts which can be established in any court of justice, in relation to these vile abominations practiced under the garb of religion that would make humanity blush. Sidney Rigdon - First Presidency Counselor Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1|
|November, 1844||Official LDS publication denies polygamy. 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. Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, No. 21, p.715|
|May, 1845||Official LDS publication denies polygamy. 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... 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 Marriage, sec. 91, par. 4, says, "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 BUT ONE WIFE, and one woman but one husband." Times and Seasons 6:894|
|1850||Mormon apostle John Taylor (the third Mormon prophet) publicly denies polygamy while at the time married to 7-12 wives. John Taylor 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. "Doctrine and Covenants," [Cites D&C 101]. John Taylor - Mormon prophet Three Nights' Public Discussion, p.8|
|September 14, 1852||Public Acknowledgement of Polygamy In a special conference, the LDS church publicly acknowledges the practice of polygamy. Deseret News Extra, September 14, 1852 [Note: File not found @ this link]|
|February, 1854||Mormon authority encourages polyandry. Jedediah M. Grant When the family organization was revealed from heaven - the patriarchal order of God, and Joseph began, on the right and on the left, to add to his family, what a quaking there was in Israel. Says one brother to another, 'Joseph says all covenants are done away, and none are binding but the new covenants: now suppose Joseph should come and say he wanted your wife, what would you say to that?' 'I would tell him to go to hell.' This was the spirit of many in the early days of this Church... What would a man of God say, who felt aright, when Joseph asked him for his money? He would say, "Yes, and I wish I had more to help to build up the kingdom of God." Or if he came and said, "I want your wife?" "O yes," he would say, "here she is, there are plenty more"... Did the Prophet Joseph want every man's wife he asked for?... If such a man of God should come to me and say, "I want your gold and silver, or your wives," I should say, "Here they are, I wish I had more to give you, take all I have got." Jedediah M. Grant - First Presidency Counselor Journal of Discourses 2:13-14|
|July, 1857||Official LDS publication condemns polygamy before 1843. The Latter-day Saints, from the rise of the Church in 1830, till the year 1843, had no authority to marry more than one wife each. To have done otherwise, would have been a great transgression. Millennial Star, Vol. 19, No. 30, p.475|
|1862||Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act United States President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act targeting the LDS church.|
|August, 1866||Mormon prophet Brigham Young declares polygamy a priority over obtaining statehood for Utah. "Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?" If we are not admitted until, we shall never be admitted. Brigham Young - Mormon prophet Journal of Discourses 11:269|
|1876||Doctrine and Covenants: Section 101 removed - Section 132 inserted After 41 years as part of the LDS canon, Section 101 condemning polygamy is removed from the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 132 requiring polygamy for exaltation is canonized. Section 132 remains part of the canon today.|
|October, 1879||Mormon prophet John Taylor declares polygamy superior than obeying federal law. John Taylor I was asked, Do you believe in obeying the laws of the United States? Yes I do, in all except onein fact I had not broken that. What law is that? The law in relation to polygamy. John Taylor - Mormon prophet Journal of Discourses 20:317|
|February 19, 1887||Edmunds-Tucker Act The United States Congress passes the Edmunds-Tucker Act which permits the government to seize assets and disincorporate the LDS church for continuing to practice polygamy against the law. The bill is enacted into law March 3.|
|May, 1887||Andrew Jenson, assistant LDS church historian, compiles what is considered the first list of wives of Joseph Smith. He documented 28 not including Emma. The Historical Record 6:233-234|
|October, 1890||The 1890 Manifesto: Official Declaration1 Under increasing pressure from the federal government, including being disincorporated, the sitting Mormon prophet, Wilford Woodruff, issued a statement denying that the Mormon church was practicing polygamy. The Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized... also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamyI, 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. Wilford Woodruff - Mormon prophet Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration1 Note: About a year later Wilford began referring to the statement as a "revelation". It was canonized in 1908.|
|1892||Mormon prophet Lorenzo Snow condemns the practice of polygamy before 1843. Lorenzo Snow Up to the time of the presentation of that revelation to the church and its acceptance by the church, the law of the church on marriage was the same as you have read, and which I referred to in the 1835 edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, Exhibit E [D&C 101]. That was the law of the church up to the time of the purported revelation and its acceptance by the church; yes, sir, that is true. And a man that violated this law in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 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 1843 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. Lorenzo Snow - Mormon prophet The Temple Lot Case, pp.320-322|
|1904||Reed Smoot Hearings Hearings held by the United States Congress reveal that polygamy was still being practiced secretly among LDS church general authorities.|
|April, 1904||Second Manifesto In response to the Reed Smoot Hearings, Mormon prophet Joseph F. Smith issued yet another statement denying polygamy. Inasmuch as there are numerous reports in circulation that plural marriages have been entered into, contrary to the official declaration of President Woodruff of September 24, 1890, commonly called the manifesto, which was issued by President Woodruff, and adopted by the Church at its general conference, October 6, 1890, which forbade any marriages violative of the law of the land, I, Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hereby affirm and declare that no such marriages have been solemnized with the sanction, consent, or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I hereby announce that all such marriages are prohibited, and if any officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such marriage, he will be deemed in transgression against the Church, and will be liable to be dealt with according to the rules and regulations thereof and excommunicated therefrom. Joseph F. Smith - Mormon prophet Conference Report, p.97|
|October, 1905||In protest, two Mormon apostles, John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley resign from the Quorum of Twelve, as both continued to take plural wives.|
|November, 1943||Mormon apostle Richard R. Lyman is excommunicated for secretly practicing polygamy.|
|1958||Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie anticipates polygamy to resume. Obviously the holy practice [plural marriage] will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium. Bruce R. McConkie - Mormon apostle Mormon Doctrine, p.578|
When polygamy was openly practiced, Mormon authorities taught that:
An early Happy Valentine's Day!!!
This has to be one of the top -- if not THE top -- online pages re: summarizing the history of Mormon polygamy!
Check out the links in the timeline & other areas! Note the open deception of the Mormon leaders re: polygamy between 1835-1850! (And the timeline doesn't even delve into the deception of Mormon leaders between 1890-1904! -- when about 250 more plural marriages were secretly solemnized!)
Scan through the timeline of the early 1840s to see how quickly Joseph Smith was accumulating wives!
Note the Lds "apostle" who was a secret polygamist and had to be ex-communicated late in 1943!
Note the Lds "apostle" who said in 1958 that the Mormon jesus would re-institute polygamy...and this was republished in 1966 under the guidance of a couple of Lds "prophets" (including Spencer W. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency and was about to become a "prophet")
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
Joey Smith and Brigham Young would have bought out all the florists in their day...
Weren’t Willard mitt Romney’s ancestors in Mexico to escape prosecution/persecution for practicing polygamy?
"My own daughter," he then added, "has come to me and said, 'Dad, why didn't you ever tell me that Joseph Smith was a polygamist?'"...
Source: Special report -Mormonism besieged by the modern age [Lds church is hemorrhaging in member losses]
This shows (a) how sheltered Mormons are from its own most basic filtered history; and (b) How important truth venues like Free Republic can be in getting young Mormons past this oversheltered existence.
A Reuters article interviewing Jensen had some additional interesting comments:
General Authority Jensen told Reuters there have been more attrition over the last five or ten years...
"I think we are at a time of challenge," he told Reuters...The Open Stories Foundation "conducted a survey that Dehlin said suggests disaffections have trended upward the last three to six years...
Source Mormons opening up in an Internet world [& Losing members accordingly]
What are the key sources for Mormon heartburn that's removing their "burning bosoms?"
(a) The Internet; and (b) Joseph Smith/Mormon history itself!
From the linked-above Reuters article: ...[Lds scholar Richard] Bushman heard that many other scholars were also being beset with queries from members of the LDS Church who had encountered something on the Internet that had shaken their faith. He began to hear the same thing from ordinary Mormons who had friends or family who were having problems. He also heard from people at BYU how it was a problem there as well. People were encountering things about church history and losing their faith...Jensen acknowledged some people are surprised and troubled by what they read...Peterson said...that people discover this or that historical fact they had never heard before. They then feel like the church had been hiding the fact and so lose a sense of trust.
Many were already married to other men and continued in polyandry: having more than one husband.
That's entirely true ... and where I grew up, that's called swinging and wife swapping ... and in almost every culture and society, it is considered one of the lowest forms of sexual perversion.
Yes to prosecution; no to persecution
Note: Many of the solemnized plural marriages & honeymoons of Mormons between 1890-1910 -- when such plural marriages weren't supposed to be sanctioned by the Mormon church -- also occurred in Mexico...It wasn't any more legal there...they just were under less pressure re: prosecution there.
Many were teenagers, as young as 13 years old.
One he propositioned when she was only 12...
she refused but he keep chasing her until finally when she was about 15 he got her...
Is that considered incest?
Oh Well, just a woman, used up, throw away.
YOU mormons MAKE ME SICK, you have no shame.
I was using the term “persecution” as the Mormons would see it, not as I do.
Is it true what they say that Papa never worked a day, in his life
And Momma, some bad talk goin’ round town sayin’ that
Papa had three outside children
And another wife, and that ain’t right
Heard them talking Papa doing some store front preachin’
Talking about saving souls and all the time leechin’
Dealing in dirt, and stealing in the name of the Lord
Momma just hung her head and said
Papa was a rolling stone, (my son)
Where ever he laid his hat was his home
and when he died, all he left us was alone
I always wondered about polygamy. Since there are approximately equal numbers of men and women, what are all of the other guys supposed to do? This must be why muslims are so psychotic
One of my top three favorite songs.
Mark Twain did a funny story on an interview with Brigham Young when Young was groaning about the perils of polygamy... One wife gets something, they ALL have to get it... one kid gets something, they ALL have to have it.
Then he talks about some evil soul who slipped one of his kids a tin whistle, the natural result being that he had to buy a whistle for every kid... and oh the racket....
Look, Mormonism is weird, but ALL theology is weird to someone else.
Did you know that the Catholics believe that when they bless that wafer it actually becomes the physical flesh of Jesus Christ? (Tongue firmly in cheek here.)
I’m not saying that to snark at Catholics, I just wanted to point out that every religion that I am aware of has a few points in it’s collective closets that seem incomprehensible to outsiders.
FR used to have a pretty good LDS caucus. I guess they’ve all been banned now. I find that a bit sad.
Joseph's most successful pitches reportedly went along the following lines:
For girls in puberty facing peer pressure: If I am not pleased by you, then god will kill me, and everybody will know that you did it.My question to you: Do you think this constitutes rape, and if so, does this mean that you believe Joseph was a serial rapist?
For older and more mature women: If you don't please your prophet, then you will spend eternity burning in hell.
That is a lot of prophets for one faith!
All the other guys were second class citizens
I bought a best of the Temptations CD last week and have been wearing it out. That’s good stuff!
Q: What’s the most confusing day of the year for the citizens of the great state of Utah?
A: Father’s Day
The prophet [Joseph Smith] was . . . at odds with his long-time friend and counselor Sidney Rigdon over a reputed polygamous proposal on 9 April 1842 to Rigdons unmarried daughter Nancy. George W. Robinson, a prominent Nauvoo citizen married to another of Rigdons daughters, wrote to James A. Bennett, a New York friend to the church, on 22 July 1842, that Smith sent for Miss Rigdon to come to the house of Mrs. [Orson] Hyde, who lived in the under-rooms of the printing- office. . . . According to Robinson, Nancy inquired of the messenger . . . what was wanting, and the only reply was, that Smith wanted to see her. Robinson claimed that Smith took her into a room, locked the door, and then stated to her that he had had an affection for her for several years, and wished that she should be his; that the Lord was well pleased with this matter, for he had got a revelation on the subject, and God had given him all the blessings of Jacob, etc., etc., and that there was no sin whatever. Robinson reported that Nancy repulsed him and was about to raise the neighbors if he did not unlock the door and let her out . . . .
Nancys brother, John, recounting the incident later, remembered that Nancy refused him, saying if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all, and took her bonnet and went home, leaving Joseph . . . . Nancy withheld details of the situation from her family until a day or two later, when a letter from the prophet was delivered by Smiths personal secretary, Willard Richards. Happiness is the object and design of our existence, the letter began. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right uner another. The letter went ont to teach that whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof til long after the events transpire. . . . Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in his views, and boundless in his mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.
Nancy showed the prophets letter to her father and told him of the incident at the Hyde residence. Rigdon demanded an audience with Smith. George W. Robinson reported that when Smith came to Rigdons home, the enraged father asked for an explanation. The prophet attempted to deny it at first, Robinson said, and face her down with the lie; but she told the facts with so much earnestness, and the fact of a letter being present, which he had caused to be written to her on the same subject, the day after the attempt made on her virtue, that ultimately he could not withstand the testimony; he then and there acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdons testimony was true . . . . Much later, John Rigdon elaborated that Nancy was one of those excitable women and she went into the room and said, Joseph Smith, you are telling that which is not true. You did make such a proposition to me and you know it [crossed out in the original]: The woman who was there said to Nancy, Are you not afraid to call the Lords anointed a cursed liar? No, she replied, I am not for he does lie and he knows it] . . . .
Robinson wrote that Smith, after acknowledging the incident, claimed he had propositioned Nancy because he wished to ascertain whether she was virtuous or not, and took that course to learn the facts! . . . But the Rigdon family would not accept such an explanation. They were persuaded that the rumors about the prophets polygamy doctrine had been confirmed. The issue continued to be a serious source of contention between the two church leaders until Smiths death in 1844. According to John Rigdon, Sidney told the family that Smith could never be sealed to one of his daughters with his consent as he did not believe in the doctrine . . . . Rigdon preferred to keep his difficulties with the prophet private, but John C. Bennets detailed disclosures made this impossible. . . .
There is no solid evidence that Rigdon ever advocated polygamy. His son John maintained that Rigdon took the ground no matter from what source it came, whether from [the] Prophet, seer [and] revelator or angels from heaven, [that] it was a false doctrine and should be rejected . . . . Yet accusations linking Ridgon to polygamy and insinuating that his daughter Nancy was a prostitute undermined his status as the only surviving member of the First Presidency [following the assassination of Smith].
(Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1986], pp. 30-31, 73)
In mid-April  Joseph had asked Sidney Rigdons nineteen-year-old daughter Nancy to become his plural wife. Bennett had his own eye on the girl and forewarned her, so she refused Joseph. The following day Joseph dictated a letter to her with Willard Richards acting as scribe. It read in part, Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. . . . That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. . . . Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason therof til long after the events transpire.
Nancy Rigdon showed the letter to her father. Rigdon immediately sent for Joseph, who reportedly denied everything until Sidney thrust the letter in his face. George W. Robinson, Nancys brother-in-law, claimed he witnessed the encounter and said Joseph admitted that he spoken with Nancy but that he had only been testing her virtue.
(Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale SmithProphets Wife, Elect Lady, Polygamys Foe [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Compmany, Inc., 1984] pp. 111-12)
John C. Bennett . . . accused Joseph of trying to seduce Nancy Rigdon, nineteen-year-old daughter of Sidney Rigdon . . . .
That Joseph attempted to persuade Nancy to marry him was recorded by others besides Bennett, including Nancys brother John. John said that until that incident the Rigdons had been unaware of polygamy in the church. Sidney was profoundly shocked and upset by ensuing gossip among neighbors. According to John, Joseph denied having proposed to Nancy, but Sidney later got an admission from him that it was true.
(Donna Hill, Joseph SmithThe First Mormon [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977], p. 301)
Joseph Smiths wives, after their marriage to him, often figured in the marriage arrangements of new wives, as messengers or counselors or witnesses. According to John Bennett, Smith used [Nancy] Marinda [Hyde] as a go-between in his attempt to woo Nancy Rigdon, Sidneys nineteen-year-old daughter. Bennett is not always reliable, but he did have early first-hand knowledge of the Mormon leaders polygamous activites, as his short list of Smiths plural wives shows. In this case, accounts of the same events by Nancys brother, J. Wickliffe, and her brother-in-law, George W. Robinson, show that Bennet was not merely spinning a fictitious story.
Bennett relates that in early April , Smith decided he wanted to marry Nancy Rigdon, so on April 9 he asked Marinda to arrange a meeting between him and the teenager. Marinda met Nancy at the funeral of Ephraim Marks and told her that Joseph wanted to see her at the printing office, Marindas residence. When Nancy arrived, she was ushered into a private room where Joseph soon proposed to her. She was outraged and demanded that he let her out of the locked room immediately. Smith did so, but, as she was much agitated, he requested Mrs. Hyde to explain matters to her; and, after agreeing to write her a doctrinal letter, left the house. Mrs. Hyde told her that these things looked strange to her at first, but that she would become more reconciled on mature reflection. Miss Rigdon replied, I never shall, left the house, and returned home. Nancy did hold her ground, and when she told her father of the experience, it drove a firm wedge between him and Joseph, just as Josephs earlier relationship with Fanny Alger had caused another high church leader, Oliver Cowdery, to lose respect for him.
(Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997], pp. 239-40)
More on the damning details relating to Smiths sexual stalking of Nancy Rigdon, the attempted lies and cover-up, the subsequent justifications and the personal smearing of Nancy Rigdon (provided previously by RfM poster Jim Huston):
Predator Joseph Smith, Alone in a Locked Room with Nancy Rigdon, Makes his Move
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from letter George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett July 27,1842, cited in Bennett, pp. 245-47:
Smith greeted her, ushered her into a private room, then locked the door. After swearing her to secrecy, Smith announced his affection for her for several years and wished that she would be his
.the Lord was well pleased with the matter. There was no sin it it whatever
but if she had any scruples of conscience about the matter, he would marry her privately.
Young Nancy Rigdons Defiant Resistance and Immediate Reguff of Smith
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, from interview with Elders William H. and E. L. Kelly, cited in Smith and Smith, 4:452-53:
Despite her tender age, she did not hesitate to express herself. The prophets seductive behavior shocked her; she rebuffed him in a flurry of anger.
Support of Smiths Move on Nancy Rigdon from Other Mormon Women
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from Wickliffe Rigdon, Life Story of Sydney Rigdon, p. 164:
Smith, flustered, beckoned Mrs. Hyde into the room to help win Nancy over. Hyde volunteered that she too was surprised upon first hearing the tenet, but was convinced it was true, and that great exaltation would come to those who received and embraced it.
Smith Refuses to Take No for an Answer from Nancy Rigdon and Increases the Pressure on Her with a Follow-up Justifying Letter Invoking God
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from Wickliffe Rigdon, 28 July 1905 statement:
Incredulous, the feisty Nancy countered that if she ever got married, she would marry a single man or not at all.
Not willing to take no for an answer, Smith later had a letter delivered to Nancy.
Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon, 11 April 1842, History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp.134-36; see also, The Letter of the Prophet, Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon, in Joseph Smith Collection, LDS archives:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.
God said, Thou shalt not kill; at another time He said Thou shalt utterly destroy. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conductedby revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added. So with Solomon: first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.
A parent may whip a child, and justly, too, because he stole an apple; whereas if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite; there would have been no stripes; all the pleasure of the apple would have been secured, all the misery of stealing lost.
This principle will justly apply to all of Gods dealings with His children. Everything that God gives us is lawful and right; and it is proper that we should enjoy His gifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon those same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happinessand the happiness of all His creatures, he never hasHe never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant; the proffered good returns to the giver; the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but unto him that hath not or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had.
Be wise today; tis madness to defer: Next day the fatal precedent may plead. Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time
Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. He will be inquired of by His children. He says: Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find; but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all thingswho will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy.
Learning from Nancy of Smiths Moveson His Daughter, Sidney Rigdon Explodes in Outrage and Calls Smith to Account
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 296, from George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett 27 July 1842, cited in Bennett, p. 246:
When Sidney confronted Smith at the Rigdon home, the enraged father demanded an explanation of the prophets behavior. Smith attempted to deny it at first, and faced [Nancy] down with the lie; told the facts with so much earnestness, and the fact of a letter being present, which he had caused to be written to her, on the same subject, the day after the attempt made on her virtue, that ultimately he could not withstand the testimony; he then and there acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdons testimony was true.
Smith Lies to Cover His Sexual Advances on Nancy Rigdon, Claiming He Was Merely Testing Her Sexual Purity
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 296, from George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett, 27 July 1842, cited in Bennett, p. 246:
Smith, after acknowledging his proposition, sought a way out of the crisis by claiming he had approached Nancy to ascertain whether she was virtuous or not, and took that course to learn the facts!
Crediblity of Nancy Rigdons Accusations Against Smith
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 299, from S.M. Ellis (Nancy Rigdons son) letter to L. J. Nuffer:
The bedeviling paradox for many regarding the Nancy Rigdon incident, is that while Smiths fame as a prophet of God makes the charges against him hard to believe, her steadfast reputation makes them difficult to dismiss.
Nancy Rigdons Refusal to Give In to Smiths Sexual Advances Results in Her Being Branded a Child Prostitute
Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, by Van Wagoner, p. 299:
Inevitably, Nancy Rigdon, Sarah Pratt, and Martha Brotherton saw their reputations impugned by an avalanche of slander. The prophet labeled Sarah a [whore] from her mothers breast. Martha Brotherton was branded a mean harlot. while Nancy was tagged a poor miserable girl out of the very slough of prostitution.
If any Catholic staff member or any Protestant minister were to do this we would all call it sexual abuse, correct?
What goes with Mormons being able to get away with this in this day and age?
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