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Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy
Vision Articles

How Men Nearest the Prophet Attached Polygamy to His Name
in Order to Justify Their Own Polygamous Crimes

By Richard and Pamela Price

"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives,
when I can only find one"
—Joseph Smith (LDS History of the Church 6:411).

[ Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Index ]

The Smith Family Knew that Brigham Practiced Polygamy
before Joseph's Death

Joseph and Emma Smith

As stated in previous issues, we began a serious effort years ago to discover the roots of the doctrine of polygamy in the Church. As we studied, it became evident that men nearest the Prophet had secretly begun practicing polygamy at Nauvoo before Joseph's death. With the polygamous teachings of Jacob Cochran, Dr. John C. Bennett, and Udney Jacob having laid the foundation, and with many poor widows with little children in Nauvoo needing financial support, Brigham Young began secretly practicing polygamy as early as 1842. For instance, Brigham had at least four wives by the time Joseph was martyred. They were Mary Ann Angell, Lucy Ann Decker Seely, Harriet Elizabeth Cook, and Augusta Adams Cobb (see John J. Stewart, Brigham Young and His Wives: And the True Story of Plural Marriage [Salt Lake City, Utah: Mercury Publishing Company, Inc.. 1961], 84–86). Young's first plural wife, Lucy Seely, was a young woman separated from her ill husband, with two little children to support.

Since the polygamists operated in secret, Joseph had difficulty obtaining facts, but when he did he moved to stamp out the practice. When that failed, he decided to prosecute those men in Church courts with the help of Stake President William Marks, but Joseph was killed before it could be accomplished.

Testimony about the "Adoption" of Needy Widows at Nauvoo

William King was a Church member at Nauvoo. He was interviewed by Joseph's son, RLDS President Joseph Smith III, and Apostle Joseph Luff on July 26, 1901, in Los Angeles, California, and explained one of the ways polygamy entered the Church at Nauvoo. It was by the "adoption" of destitute widows by married men, who then made them their spiritual wives. William King explained:

About the year '42 there were a great many poor widows living out in the farther part of town—Nauvoo is laid off very large—and there was a good deal of complaining, and they sometimes had to suffer, as the roads were bad and they had no children large enough to send to the bishop.

And at the conference Joseph Smith proposed that those poor widows that lived out there, and had good faithful brethren living by them, should be adopted into these brethren's families. There was a vote taken on it at the conference, and I voted for it; thought it was a good thing. It carried unanimously. Well they were adopted, there were plenty of brethren that adopted them into their families, and it went on very well for awhile. In place of treating them as one of their families, they went to making what was called spiritual wives of them. And Joseph Smith and [Nauvoo Stake President] William Marks called the Church together, at the Masonic Hall, and there the meeting was carried on for three days and nights, speaking against it, and showing the consequences of what they had done, and Joseph Smith's last speech was this, "Brethren, you that had no hand in it, for God's sake never have, for those that have had a hand in it are damned to all intents and purposes."

Bro. Luff—At about what time was that discussion?

Ans.—Either in the fall of '43 or in the spring of '44.

Pres. Smith—Was it held in the Masonic Hall or in the Seventy's Hall?

Ans.—It was in the Masonic Hall. The Seventy's Hall was not large enough to hold such a throng of people as was gathered there.

Bro. Luff—Was William Marks connected with that denunciation, or associated with Joseph Smith in that work?

Ans.—He was, he was, we had a great deal of confidence in William Marks.

Brother Luff—Did he publicly talk about it?

Ans.—That was what the meeting was for, to put it down. He spoke just the same as Joseph. They spoke time about [took turns speaking]. The meeting continued three days and three nights.

Bro. Luff—Have you any knowledge as to whether any of those men who have been prominent in Utah were present at those meetings?

Ans.—Lots of them were, but I could not now tell who.

Bro. Luff—Do you know any others who were there that you were certain of?

Ans.—Old David Seely, who died up here at San Bernardino, was there. He and I used to go [do Church work] together. I do not recollect of any that are now living, but David Bennett, my father-in-law was one of the members of the Church. He was there. He heard it. Cyrus H. Wheelock was there, and many others.

Bro. Luff—Did Joseph Smith, during those speeches ever make any direct statement to the effect that the conduct of those people was foreign to the general intent of the adoption?

Ans.—That was the effect of his whole remarks, showing them where they had transgressed the law of God, in doing the way they had done.

Bro. Smith—Did you ever hear of polygamy or plural wifery in Nauvoo, before Father's death?

Ans.—No sir, no sir, only that of which I was talking. (Stanley Ivins Collection, Utah State Historical Society Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; also Manuscript Collection, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri)

Apostle William Smith Confirmed King's Testimony

Apostle William Smith
Apostle William Smith, who testified that Apostles Young, Kimball, and Richards were practicing polygamy, and that Joseph had said that if Brigham ever gained control of the Church he would lead it to destruction.

After the Prophet's death, his brother, Apostle William Smith, refused to accept the changes in Church procedures and doctrines which Brigham and eight fellow apostles instituted, so William soon fell into disfavor. His testimony below, which asserts that poverty-stricken women with no means of support were taken advantage of, substantiates William King's declaration. Only sixteen months after Joseph and Hyrum were killed, William Smith published:

That the church funds have been misapplied, I have no hesitation in asserting, for of necessity I have been made acquainted with the fact, that several houses have been tilled up with women who have been secretly married to Brigham Young, H. C. Kimble [Heber C. Kimball], and Willard Richards—women with little children in their arms, who had no means of support except from the tithing funds.... I heard my brother Joseph declare before his death, that Brigham Young was a man, whose passions, if unrestrained, were calculated to make him the most licentious man in the world, and should the time ever come, said he, that this man should lead the church, he would certainly lead it to destruction. (William Smith, A Proclamation, Warsaw Signal, Warsaw, Illinois [October 1845], page 1, column 4; italics added)

Early RLDS Leaders Took the Position that
Polygamy Had Not Been Practiced in Nauvoo

For the most part, over the years writers and spokespersons in the Reorganized Church took the position that no polygamy was practiced in Nauvoo (except for Dr. John C. Bennett's system of spiritual wifery). However, Joseph Smith III and his children were aware that such was not the case—that Brigham Young and his followers had practiced that doctrine before Joseph's death, and Joseph had opposed it. At the beginning of the Reorganization, some RLDS officials feared that if they acknowledged that polygamy did exist in the Church before Joseph's death, people would believe that Joseph had instigated and practiced the plural marriage doctrine—so they did not want the polygamy-in-Nauvoo problem addressed. For this reason Joseph Smith III's family, who knew the truth, talked of it only in private. They knew that it was practiced by Brigham Young and others, but was strongly condemned by Joseph the Martyr.

Joseph III alluded to this no-polygamy-in-Nauvoo stance, and how, if he had been editor at the inception of the Church's periodical, the True Latter Day Saint's Herald, he would have taken a different course from the one taken by the first editor and his advisors. Joseph III stated:

in the accounting for the things which had transpired in the history of the church [the polygamy in Nauvoo, and fixing of the date and the data of what brought about the apostasy and the different degree of criminality attached to those who might have been movers in and responsible for the things which had transpired [Brigham and the other polygamists], there was too great a variety of opinion to secure at that time an understanding which should be common to all. For instance, had I been in control of the HERALD in its incipiency, I could not have subscribed to some of the views expressed and maintained in its opening issues [such as Editor Sheen's statement that Joseph was involved but afterward repented]. It seemed to me that they were based upon insufficient foundation. They were advanced by men older than myself and were held to tenaciously, and it seemed to them that the stability of the fabric which we were building depended upon these theories, and that a divergence from them would result disastrously. Under these conditions all I could do was to wait, watch, and pray, which I did, until better conditions prevailed. (The Saints' Herald 57 [January 26, 1910]: 77)

If Joseph III had been editor of the Church's publication from its first issue, he would have insisted that the RLDS Church take the position that there was polygamy practiced in Nauvoo prior to Joseph's death, but that Joseph opposed it. Then the polygamists' conspiracy which claimed that Joseph was its author would have been exposed, and the whole foundation upon which the LDS Church's Section 132 rests would have unraveled over a century ago.

An Unexpected Visitor and Her Story of Polygamy at Nauvoo

In June 1986, we were selling books on the Liberal problems in the Church from our home. One day while Richard was at work Velma Bradshaw, a seventy-six-year-old Church member, came to purchase Action Time, a book which Richard had written. Pamela and Velma were soon seated and engaged in a discussion of the Church leaders' plans to dismantle the Church by destroying its doctrines. The following summary of what transpired is taken from notes which Pamela took that day:

I told Velma that I believed there was a parallel between what was happening in our Church in 1986 and that which had occurred in the Church at Nauvoo before Joseph Smith's death. She agreed, and I soon found myself confiding to her that Richard and I were writing a book on how polygamy was brought into the Church, and that our studies had convinced us that Joseph had not been a polygamist. I stated that Apostle Brigham Young, John Taylor, and others close to Joseph, had entered into polygamy at Nauvoo, and had tried to convince Joseph to practice that false doctrine. Failing to do this, they used Joseph's name to justify their polygamy by making it a Church doctrine.

When I made that statement, an immediate change came over Velma Bradshaw. Until now, she had spoken quietly. But suddenly, she began to speak rapidly in a louder voice, and with conviction. She asserted that what I had said was true, and that she knew things about polygamy in Joseph Smith's day, because for many years she had been a close friend and confidant of "Aunt Emma McCallum," referring to Emma Josepha Smith McCallum. Emma Josepha, who was known in the family as Emma J., was the daughter of Joseph Smith III.

As Velma hastily related events in which she had participated with the Smith family, I felt that I had suddenly moved back in time—into an era of history shared by the second and third generations of the Martyr's family—the branch of the family who were leaders of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They knew the true story of how polygamy had come into the Church at Nauvoo, for Joseph III had lived there, and knew the truth about Brigham Young's guilt and his father's innocence.

Emma Josepha Smith McCallum
Emma Josepha Smith McCallum, who told Velma Bradshaw that her Grandmother Emma declared that Joseph did not practice polygamy.

Velma explained that Emma J. was the firstborn of Joseph Smith III and his first wife, Emmeline, and the first grandchild of Joseph and Emma. Velma said that "Aunt Emma" told her that she had lived most of her life, until marriage, with her grandmother, Emma Smith Bidamon, who had told her many stories about the Prophet and the Church at Nauvoo. Velma explained that just as Emma J. had lived with her grandmother, so she (Velma) had lived much of the time during her teen years with Emma J. in Independence.

Audentia Anderson verified that her sister, Emma J., did live with their Grandmother Emma. Audentia wrote that her father, Joseph III, in April 1872, "had gone to Nauvoo on his way to general conference, his eldest daughter, Emma, accompanying him that far, where she became a member of his mother's household—an arrangement that continued for the major part of the time thereafter until her marriage [January 1, 1875]"(Vision 45 [January 1932]: 35).

Velma also asserted that Emma J.'s husband, in his latter years, spent much time visiting their son in New Mexico, and died there in 1928. Emma did not like to be alone, so she invited Velma to stay with her both before and after her husband's death. That is how Velma came to be Emma McCallum's trusted friend. Velma declared that the McCallum home was a gathering place for the Smith family, and that while staying with Emma J., she (Velma) heard the family discuss the subject of polygamy at Nauvoo during Joseph's lifetime.

Oh, how I longed for a paper and pen, and to feel free to ask questions and take notes. However, she was talking so intently that I did not speak for fear of bringing an end to her interesting stories.

Velma explained that her maiden name was Thompson, that her home was located only two houses from the McCallum home, and several Smith families lived nearby. Those whom Velma named as having participated in the gatherings included Emma J.'s brother, Bishop Israel A. Smith, and his wife, Nina; and Emma J.'s sister, Audentia Smith Anderson, and her husband, Benjamin.

Velma stated that Emma J.'s cousin, Elbert A. Smith, and his wife, met with them also. At that time Elbert was a counselor to President Frederick M. Smith. Velma never mentioned Frederick M. as being present. However, she listed others who attended, whose names were unfamiliar to me.

She also named Richard S. Salyards, who was the General Church secretary for thirty years, and his wife, Christiana, as being among those. The Salyards were considered members of the family because Richard's first wife, Zaide Viola Smith (who was deceased), was a sister of Emma J., Israel, and Audentia.

Velma disclosed that she had three close girlfriends who had stayed frequently with her at "Aunt Emma's." They were two sisters, Daisy and Dollie Linkhart, and Naomi Williams. The four girls were members of the Stone Church congregation and choir, and attended all services together, including prayer meetings. I asked Velma if her three friends were present at the family gatherings at Emma's home.

She answered, "Never!" and she said firmly that she alone had that privilege. (I made a mental note to interview Daisy and Dollie in the future, if that were possible.)

Velma suddenly announced that she had thought of a friend who also needed a copy of Action Time. She asked if I would mail a book to her if she went home and called and gave me the address. I agreed to do so, and to my great disappointment, she left without revealing anything that Emma J. had told her about polygamy in Nauvoo before Joseph's death.

Velma Bradshaw Related a Story about Polygamy

In a short time Velma phoned and gave me her friend's address. Then she began speaking again about her life with "Aunt Emma." I took notes as she spoke of events pertaining to her life and family, and of her association with Emma J., whom she said was like a beloved aunt to her.

When I felt the time was right, I asked, "Did Sister Emma McCallum ever say anything about Joseph Smith and polygamy at Nauvoo?"

Without hesitating, she answered firmly and with great certainty "There was no plural marriage with Joseph Smith!"

"Aunt Emma said that one day her grandfather [Joseph Smith] came into the Mansion House for his noontime meal, while Emma [his wife] was ironing. Joseph told her that Brigham Young and others were talking favorably about plural marriage. Emma knew he was being pressured by those men. She picked up the hot iron and held it close to Joseph's face and said, 'Do you see this iron? If you don't want your face scarred with this iron, don't scar your heart.'"

"Did Joseph ever give in to Brigham Young and practice polygamy?" I inquired.

Without any hesitation Velma answered, "Aunt Emma said her grandmother told her that Joseph never practiced plural marriage! She was very definite about it."

Velma told of a social gathering "at Aunt Emma's" when they were talking of polygamy in the Church at Nauvoo. There were family members present who did not know that Velma was like a trusted member of the family.

Velma stated, "Some of them seemed concerned that I was hearing them talk freely about it. Israel A. Smith sensed this and spoke up saying, 'You needn't worry about Velma, she'll never say a word.'"

No sooner had Velma uttered those words than I heard her gasp, for she realized that she had just done what Israel A. had assured everyone that she would never do. She began to lament the fact that she had told me the story, and condemn herself for having betrayed the trust which the Smith family had placed in her. She uttered words of sorrow and grief over having broken her "promise to Aunt Emma." I tried to console her by saying that the Saints needed to know what Emma McCallum had told her—but she sorrowfully told me "goodbye."

In a few days I received a letter postmarked June 18, 1986. In it was Velma's payment for mailing Action Time to her friend, and a note to me which showed that which I already knew—that her grief was deep for having told me Emma McCallum's story. Velma's handwritten note, which I now have before me, states:

I'm sorry I promised Aunt Emma McCallum I would never talk about anything said in the home.

Velma Bradshaw
Forgive me please

At that moment I knew that Velma would never again converse with me, or any other person, on the subject of polygamy at Nauvoo during the Prophet's lifetime.

The Smith's, with whom she associated, had known the facts of how polygamy was brought into the Church, and by whom. But the majority of writers and researchers did not comprehend (or they chose to ignore) the conspiracy against the Prophet. They chose to ignore not only statements by Emma Smith Bidamon, but also by Apostle William Smith (who had sat in conference with Joseph and the Twelve in April 1844), and Nauvoo Stake President William Marks. Each of these proclaimed that a brand of polygamy, other than that of Dr. Bennett's spritual wifery, was a growing menace during Joseph's last years.

It was just as we suspected: Brigham Young was the prime promoter of polygamy. From the time he entered plural marriage in 1842, until Joseph's death, he had tried to convince the Prophet that plural marriage was a correct doctrine, so that he and his co-polygamists could justify their unlawful actions.

It is not surprising that Joseph reported to Emma that Young and others were advocating polygamy. Neither is it surprising that Emma used the hot iron as an object lesson (with a reference to a scriptural quote about a hot iron) to score a point against Young and the hated doctrine of plural marriage. Emma was possibly referring to the biblical passage which reads:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1–2; italics added)

That this scene between Emma and Joseph took place in the Mansion House dates it as having occurred in late 1843 or early 1844. By this time Brigham had been in plural marriage for over a year, and his conscience had become "seared as with a hot iron." It was seared until it had no feeling of pain from having committed the sin.

An Interview with Dollie and Daisy

Velma Thompson with Daisy Linkhart Dollie Linkhart and Naomi Williams
Velma Thompson (right) with Daisy Linkhart. Velma told Pamela Price the story of Emma J.'s experiences with Emma Smith Bidamon. Dollie Linkhart (left) and Naomi Williams, who stayed with Velma Thompson at Emma J.'s. The two photos were taken the same day in 1929.

On March 11, 1994, Pamela had an interview with Dollie (Linkhart) Budd and Daisy (Linkhart) Hammer. The two talked extensively about their teenage years when they had stayed nights with Velma at "Aunt Emma's." They revealed, "We have often stayed at Emma Smith McCallum's home; staying many nights with Emma, who did not like to be alone. She [Velma] was there more often than we were, but we spent a lot of nights there."

When asked if they had been present when the Smith family met socially, they answered in unison, "No!" They said that only Velma met with them, like one of the family.

"Emma had a very interesting life," one of them continued. "We didn't realize what a great opportunity we had." Not only did their testimonies corroborate Velma's closeness to Emma J., but Daisy and Dollie presented us with photographs of Velma, Naomi, and themselves, taken during the time they stayed with "Aunt Emma." All of this added credence to Velma's story.

Theodore Bradshaw Shared Emma J.'s Correspondence

After Velma's death, we made the acquaintance of her son, Theodore (Ted) Bradshaw, who was aware of the close friendship which had existed between his mother, Velma, and "Aunt Emma McCallum." To show just how close their friendship was, Ted showed us a postcard and a Christmas letter from Emma McCallum to his mother and gave us copies of each. The postcard was dated July 19, 1928, and was written by Emma J. to Velma. The undated Christmas letter states:

My dear sister, you have been a wonderful friend to me. I do not know how I ever can repay you. I wish to express my sincere thanks, and only wish I could in some way repay you. I am sending a little remembrance. I have one like it, and use it on the table as a runner.

Merry Christmas & a prosperous and happy New Year.

Lovingly yours,
Aunt Emma

Ted stated that he was twenty before he joined the RLDS Church, and that on at least two occasions he had asked his mother, "What about polygamy in the Church?" Each time she had strongly assured him that Joseph never practiced it.

Earlita Inslee Confirmed Emma J.'s Testimony

Emma J.'s testimony was corroborated by another member of the Smith family—Earlita Smith Inslee, a sister of Inez Smith Davis who wrote The Story of the Church. Earlita was the daughter of Vida E. Smith, author of "The Old, Old Path." Vida was Emma J.'s first cousin, and the wife of Heman Smith, the Church historian. Earlita wrote a letter to Inez' s husband, Seventy James Davis, who was seeking proof concerning the polygamy issue. She wrote:

San Clemente [California]
Jan 12, 1968

Dear James;
... I am sure that for many years we as a church thot we best not mention that polygamy wasn't taught in those days—but we know it was secretly talked of in spite of the fact that Brigham Young didn't openly teach it until 8 years after Joseph Smith's death—then claimed he had the written manuscript all that time.

If this in anyway could help to clear Joseph Smith's name I would be so glad to be of any help.

Am looking forward to having Olive Mort [Mortimore] here for awhile.

Your "Sister"
Lete

Tell me if this is what you want—I should have written[.] I remember so well when I was a girl in my teens of listening to "Grandma Mofett" telling my dearest friend her grandaughter (Olive Thomas Mortimore) and myself, stories of early days in Nauvoo when she was young.

One stayed in my mind above all else because I had already resented the claim of Brigham Young that Joseph Smith was the author of the polygamist doctrine. She said she well remembered Brigham Young had come to her mothers home and explained the polygamist doctrine to her mother and herself and as he left telling them, You must tell no one of this, we must keep it quiet for as yet Bro Joseph is not with us in this.

Being a great grandaughter of Joseph the Martyr, I was so impressed by this that I could never forget it.

Earlita Smith Inslee

We have a copy of Earlita' s handwritten letter in our files. Earlita's testimony is of importance because she heard the story from Grandmother Lydia (Wright) Moffet, who lived in Nauvoo at the time Brigham was secretly introducing polygamy. Earlita heard it from Grandmother Moffet just as Emma J. heard it from her grandmother, Emma Smith Bidamon.

Earlita's letter is extremely valuable because it supports Velma Bradshaw's testimony that (1) the RLDS Church leaders "thot we best not mention" that polygamy was taught at Nauvoo, (2) the Smith family discussed the subject privately among themselves, (3) while still at Nauvoo, Brigham taught the polygamy doctrine to women, (4) Brigham was trying to convince Joseph, just as he reported to Emma when he came home for his noontime meal, and (5) Joseph opposed polygamy—"for as yet Bro Joseph is not with us in this." These five points have a ring of truth when compared to Velma's testimony, and also when compared to many other findings concerning the origin of polygamy in Nauvoo among the early Church leaders.

President Israel A. Smith Declared that a Conspiracy Existed

President Israel A. Smith wrote a letter to Pamela on September 17, 1956, in answer to one which she had written to him on the subject of polygamy in the Church. His letter stated:

We are accumulating testimony about the women who are said to have been wives of Joseph Smith, and have satisfactory proof that almost all of them were never married to him under any system of marriage.

No claim was ever made connecting him with polygamy for almost nine years after his death. During all these years the Mormons were denying that polygamy existed. What dependence can be given to their claims?

How could it possibly be that all those 26 or more—or 60 or 70 claimed by some—how could it possibly be that no children were born to any of them! It taxes the credulity of honest fair-minded men.

Joseph Smith was the greatest victim of fraud and conspiracy of the last 500 years. Nothing like it in recorded history.

He was simply lied about when something had to be done to justify the filth and rottenness of Utah Mormon polygamy.

What can be done? Well, we can impeach the stories about most all of the women. If so, does it not follow that it was apparently a wholesale attempt to plaster Joseph Smith with polygamy?

Do you want further answer? We are preparing some new evidence in the matter. Let me know.

Yours truly,
Israel A. Smith

Israel A. Smith Was Preparing a Book Which Would Prove Polygamy False

The "new evidence" which Brother Israel said "we are preparing" was a book which he was writing to prove Joseph's innocence. Brother Israel had worked for years on the manuscript for the book, with the assistance of Sister Pearl Haworth of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Israel A. Smith
President Israel A. Smith, who authored a book which would have proven that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy.

In 1974 we were visited by Bernley Vredenburg and his wife, Sadie. Bernley stated that he was Pearl Haworth's cousin, and he wanted us to be aware of certain facts surrounding Brother Israel's manuscript, which he said had disappeared after Israel's death. He stated that he was close to his cousin, Pearl, and her husband, and was aware that Pearl and Brother Israel had worked on it together over an extended period of time. He said that Brother Israel had written the book to prove that his grandfather, Joseph Smith, was not a polygamist, and to exonerate him by giving evidence that a conspiracy headed by Brigham Young had attached the innocent Prophet's name to that false practice.

Bernley said that Pearl did the typing for Brother Israel and assisted him in his research. Her research took her to Salt Lake City on at least two occasions; as well as to Springfield and Carthage, Illinois, and other cities. Bernley said that Pearl's husband was an excellent photographer, who often traveled with her to photograph documents and pictures for the book. Bernley stated that Pearl had notified Brother Israel that the manuscript was finished, and he had agreed to come for it. She was expecting the Prophet to arrive and take possession of the manuscript when she learned of his fatal auto accident while on the road to Lamoni.

Patriarch Lynn Smith and his wife, Lorene, assured us that they knew at the time that Brother Israel was aware that the manuscript was completed. They said that they also knew that Israel A. had planned to travel to Lamoni, and then on to Council Bluffs to obtain the manuscript.

Bernley explained that after Brother Israel's death, Pearl urged Church leaders to print the book. However, they declined to publish it at the Church-owned Herald Publishing House, and told her that if she would go to New York City and find a publisher, they would consider paying for it. They told her this in spite of the fact that they knew that her husband had passed away, and that she had had radical cancer surgery. According to Brother Bernley, she agreed to go to New York City if they would pay her plane fare and accommodations. Bernley and one of his cousins, who came to confirm his story, said the Church leaders gave Pearl a bare minimum stipend, which caused her to have a terrible experience with an extremely uncomfortable flight and a horrific stay in New York City.

She finally found a printer who told her that he would take the job if she would guarantee that a large number of copies would sell. She brought his offer back to the Church leaders, but they would not agree to the arrangement.

The Church leaders then made her an offer—they would publish the book if they could make whatever changes they wished. Pearl refused to relinquish the manuscript under those conditions, knowing that what she and Brother Israel had written was true, and that the Liberal leaders would alter it considerably.

The Fate of the Manuscript

The cancer returned and Sister Haworth became terminally ill. Efforts were made to get the manuscript from her, but she would not relinquish it. Her physical condition grew steadily worse, and since she had no children, a cousin who was a member of the LDS Church became her caregiver. After her death, Bernley and other relatives found no trace of Brother Israel's manuscript.

Brother Bernley, knowing of Pearl's deep concern for the book and her realization that the cancer would be fatal, said that he believed that she burned the manuscript to keep it from falling into the hands of those who would alter it.

Many questions could be asked. Did Pearl's caregiver fall heir to the original manuscript? Did Pearl make a second copy of the manuscript before taking it to New York City? The Prophet Israel was an attorney, and would have advised her to do so. If a second copy was made, where is it? Did Church leaders have a copy? Where are the sources for the manuscript which Pearl and the Prophet compiled? Where are the photographs of historical documents and pictures taken by Pearl's husband?

Brother Israel knew much about the conspiracy at Nauvoo. It is hoped that his manuscript will be found and published to assist in establishing proof that Brigham Young, and not Joseph, was the author of polygamy.

The fate of the manuscript may never be known, but one thing stands sure—as the Prophet Israel A. wrote to Pamela concerning the conspiracy against his grandfather, there is "Nothing like it in recorded history."

 

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Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy—Volume I, by Richard and Pamela Price, can be purchased at the Restoration Bookstore or from our online store.  Articles on this subject continue to be published in Vision magazine, which also can be purchased at the Restoration Bookstore or online. It is planned that this additional material will be compiled into future volumes.

For a general understanding of both the origins of polygamy among the Latter Day Saints and the several conspiracies to falsely implicate Joseph in polygamy, read the article on our Web site, "Joseph Smith: Innocent of Polygamy," by Richard Price.

 
 

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