Surprisingly the LDS church has recently acknowledged some disturbing facts of Joseph Smith’s polygamy on LDS.org. The recent posting of two essays entitled “Plural Marriage in Kirkland and Nauvoo” and “Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage” told of some of the outlandish practices of Joseph Smith. They admit that Emma did not often know of the marriages. Also they point out that Joseph married other men’s wives (eleven altogether) and marrying girls as young as 14 years old.
What is not a surprise is that the church is taking the stance of trying to explain why Joseph did these things to justify his actions. They talk about his first plural wife being “Fanny Alger” in 1830 but they do not talk about how it was discovered. Literally, Emma found Joseph in the barn with Fanny doing the sexual mambo. It was so disturbing to Oliver Cowdery that it was one of the reasons why he left the Mormon Church for a time. Cowdery called Joseph’s first plural marriage a “…a dirty, filthy, nasty affair.” One can only imagine how Emma felt discovering her husband with a 17 year old in the barn.
Oddly enough, although the church admits that Joseph took other men’s wives as his own they don’t ask the very difficult questions. Like- “If marriage is necessary for one’s salvation, why would Joseph rob these men of their opportunity to reach the highest level in the Celestial Kingdom?” or “Why do we do sealings for dead, if these men were never going to have the opportunity to be sealed to their own wives?” Perhaps a more difficult question might be asked if we looked at the revelation from which Joseph was commanded to practice polygamy. “…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 he is 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” D&C 132:61. Apparently Joseph was committing two wrongs, first he was not telling Emma and then he was taking wives which did not belong to him. The apparent hard question is “Was Joseph committing adultery because he was taking other men’s wives?” The answer is a resounding yes. Another difficult question “Was Joseph told through revelations to take these other men’s wives?” The answer is also yes. “If Joseph could be deceived so easily into committing these terrible sins, how do we know that any other revelation Joseph received was valid?”
This was the very reason for why the Nauvoo Expositor was written just before Joseph Smith’s death. William Law the second counselor in the first presidency had just made a startling discovery. Joseph was taking other men’s wives into polygamous marriages with himself. William found out the hard way. While Mr. Law was away, Joseph Smith approached Jane Law and asked her on two occasions to become his wife. When William returned Jane told her husband everything. Crushed and surprised by the news, William sought to make things right in private with Joseph. He asked Joseph to repent and discovered that Joseph had already entered into many different marriages. After many attempts to make things right through Hyrum as a mediator, Joseph refused to repent. Hence, William Law with the assistance of others, printed the Nauvoo Expositor in an attempt to expose Joseph’s sin and hopefully through the pressure of the church membership cause Joseph to repent. Unfortunately, Joseph rebelled and destroyed the printing press and was arrested and put into Carthage Jail. The resulting firestorm at the discovery of Joseph’s infidelity and adultery caused Joseph’s enemies to storm the jail and put him to death. If only Joseph would have lived ten more years, this evil would have ended his attempt to form a religion. But sadly, Joseph’s death only fueled the fire of Mormonism.
If you are a Latter-day Saint and are just now discovering these terrible facts about Joseph, please do the right thing and call a spade a spade. Come to know the real truth about Jesus and his word. The Bible was not corrupted as Joseph taught you, Joseph was deceived. Remember Jesus taught “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” Matthew 24:35. Come and learn of Jesus and his way from the truth in the Bible. Don’t seek for a true church; seek to have a real relationship with Jesus. People may disappoint you, but Jesus will never disappoint you.