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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 ]

A Chronology of Joseph Smith in 1843

Joseph and Emma Smith

The year 1843 was a very important year in the life of the Church because it was the last full year of the Prophet's earthly life. That year is very important because, according to an official publication of the Latter-day Saint Church with headquarters in Utah, by the end of 1843, Joseph had entered into plural marriage with many women. The LDS historian, Andrew Jenson, prefaces the list of the twenty-seven alleged wives by stating, "... we find that the following named ladies, besides a few others, about whom we have been unable to get all the necessary information, were sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith during the last three years of his life" (The Historical Record 6 [May 1887]: 233). Joseph, of course, took every opportunity to condemn polygamy. His writings and publications fill thousands of pages in the Inspired Version, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lectures on Faith, the Times and Seasons, and in many newspapers; yet, he never wrote one sentence favoring plural marriage.

No religious leader has ever lived more in the public eye than did Joseph Smith. His life was an open book. His home was always open to both Saints and nonmembers. His visitors and boarders ate with him and visited with him in the evenings, until he went to his rest with his family at night. They knew generally where to find him at his home or at his store, which was on the same block as his home. He had an office at his store, where Church business was conducted. It was a little room where privacy was almost an impossibility. His office was sometimes in his home, where Church and city meetings and councils were held, and they were usually open to the public. Wherever the Prophet went in Nauvoo, he was watched. The curious and sensation seekers, the writers and reporters, and his enemies were among his visitors—either as nonpaying guests in his home, or as paying boarders. They were provided with sleeping accommodations, and entertained royally at his table, with Emma the perfect hostess. Many left Nauvoo disappointed, pondering over the tales of plural marriage which they came seeking to confirm. They were forced to leave without uncovering a trace of evidence of polygamy during conversations with Joseph or in close scrutiny of his life in his hotel / home.

In the following chronology of Joseph's life in 1843 are references to articles and statements published in 1843 by Joseph and others, which exonerate the Prophet of practicing or promulgating polygamy that year, and show that the Church teachings under his administration during 1843 reflected his belief and teachings against that doctrine. Also included in the chronology are references to records which show the Prophet's devotion to his one wife, Emma Hale Smith, and their children and home, and no other. The listing of Emma's tireless efforts to serve by sacrifice the Church and its people shows her to be indeed an elect lady.

January 1, 1843

Joseph spent New Year's Day in Springfield, Illinois, where he was awaiting a hearing before Judge Pope of the United States Court for the District of Illinois, on the question of whether or not the Prophet should be extradited from Illinois to Missouri to stand trial on the accusation of being an accessory to the crime of attempted murder in the case of the shooting and wounding of ex-Governor Boggs in Independence the previous May.

January 2, 1843

Elder Orson Spencer wrote of Joseph's forthright approach to the Scriptures: "In doctrine Mr. Smith is eminently scriptural. I have never known him to deny or depreciate a single truth of the Old and New Testaments; but I have always known him to explain and defend them in a masterly manner" (Times and Seasons 4 [January 2, 1843]: 56–57).

January 5, 1843

Joseph was standing trial in Springfield, Illinois, accused of being an accessory to the shooting of ex-Governor Lilburn Boggs in Independence, Missouri, on May 6, 1842. "His release was ordered by the court (Judge Nathaniel Pope) on the ground that he could not be extradited and tried for a crime committed in Missouri, when he was not out of Illinois during the time the crime alleged was committed" (Inez Smith Davis, The Story of the Church, 318; see also LDS History of the Church 5:223–231).

January 10, 1843

Joseph arrived home from Springfield and expressed pleasure at being greeted by his wife, children, mother, and friends (see LDS History of the Church 5:247–248).

January 11, 1843

Early in the morning, Joseph and Emma started in a horse-drawn sleigh to visit a brother in the Church, but broke a sleigh-shoe and had to return home. Joseph gave directions to send invitations to fifty of his and Emma's friends, inviting them to a dinner party on January 18 to celebrate his recently acquired freedom (ibid., 248).

January 14, 1843

Joseph and Emma took an early morning ride together (ibid., 250).

January 18, 1843

At ten o'clock in the morning, the party invited began to assemble at my house.... I distributed cards among them, printed for the occasion, containing the Jubilee Song ... by Sister Eliza R. Snow ... sung by the company with the warmest feelings....

Conversation continued ... until two o'clock, when twenty-one sat down to the dinner-table, and Emma and myself waited on them, with other assistants. My [dining] room was small, so that but few could be accommodated at a time. Twenty sat down to the second table, which was served as the first, and eighteen at the third, among whom were myself and Emma; and fifteen at the fourth table.... One thing more, which tended to give a zest to the occasion, was, that it was fifteen years this day since I was married to Emma Hale (ibid., 252–253).

February 1, 1843

Joseph's manuscript, "History of Joseph Smith," was being published serially in the Church paper. The February issue quoted a revelation divinely given through Joseph to Emma in 1830, wherein the Lord declared,

I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter.... A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue, before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion. Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called....

And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph Smith, jr. thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe.... And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound Scripture, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit; for he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much. And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church.... And it shall be given thee, also to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church ... cleave unto the covenants which thou halt made (Times and Seasons 4 [February 1, 1843]: 93).

February 1, 1843

Orson Hyde gave assurance of Joseph's innocence by writing:

By and with the advice of President Smith ... I take the liberty to drop you a little note.... I can assure the Saints from a careful inquiry and strict observation of circumstances since I arrived here, that apostate renegadoes have made "lies their refuge, and under falsehood have hid themselves" (ibid., 90, 91).

February 1, 1843

John Greenhow wrote Editor John Taylor,

I believe, sir, that the abominable lies, which are in circulation, over the whole land, would turn any man but a Latter Day Saint, and we know we have not followed cunningly devised fables (ibid., 92).

February 1, 1843

Editor John Taylor published this account of Joseph and Emma's dinner party:

Mr. Smith and his Lady [Emma] made a feast and invited upwards of fifty of their friends to partake with them; which was indeed a day of conviviality and rejoicing, and might properly be called a day of jubilee or release (ibid., 96).

Taylor printed Miss Snow's "Jubilee Song," which she composed specifically for Joseph and Emma's dinner party. One stanza states,

Now let the Prophet's soul rejoice—His noble Lady's too;
While praise to God with heart and voice
Is heard throughout Nauvoo.

The author was listed as "Miss E. R. Snow" (ibid., 96).

February 1, 1843

The Saints were notified that Emma had been placed in charge of preparing a new hymnal for the church:

SACRED HYMNS. Persons having Hymns adapted to the worship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are requested to hand them, or send them to Emma Smith, immediately (ibid., 95).

February 1, 1843

Joseph composed a seventy-eight-stanza poem entitled "A Vision," which was published in the Church's official paper. The poem was a poetic version of the vision which he and Sidney Rigdon had beheld in February 1832, and is known as Section 76 today in both the LDS and RLDS Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph wrote of equality in Celestial Glory:

I beheld the celestial, in glory sublime;
Which is the most excellent kingdom that is,
Where God, e'en the Father, in harmony reigns;
Almighty, supreme, and eternal, in bliss.
"Where the church of the first born in union reside,
And they see as they're seen, and they know as they're known;
Being equal in power, dominion and might,
With a fulness of glory and grace, round his throne (ibid., 85).

February 1, 1843

Editor John Taylor highly complimented Joseph on the superb message which the Prophet conveyed in his poem, "A Vision" (ibid., 81).

February 1, 1843

An article entitled "EFFECTS OF APOSTACY" [sic] appeared in which it was declared that Oliver Olney, an elder, had been disfellowshiped:

Since his expulsion from the Church, he has been engaged in a campaign against Mormonism, and has been one of John C. Bennet's [sic] right hand men—he was also one of the contributors to the filthy columns of the "Sangamo Journal," making or professing to make, a great expose of the corrupt principles of Mormonism (ibid., 89).

The columns of the Sangamo Journal were called filthy because of the plural marriage charges against Joseph which had been printed in that paper.

February 8, 1843

Joseph took his six-year-old son, Frederick, sliding on the ice (see LDS History of the Church 5:265).

February 11, 1843

Joseph's widowed mother, Lucy Mack Smith, moved into the tiny Homestead with Joseph and Emma and their four children (see ibid., 271). Also living at the Homestead were servants, boarders, and those in need.

February 15, 1843

Joseph

Read a libelous letter in the Alton Telegraph, written to Mr. Bassett, of Quincy, concerning Judge Pope, Mr. Butterfield [Joseph's attorney in the January trial], and the ladies attending my late trial at Springfield; and published the following letter in the Times and Seasons (ibid., 273).

Joseph's letter consisted of a parable, written by him, in which he answered the libels in the letter to Bassett and all other false accusations which editors across the land published about him. In the parable, Joseph depicted himself as an innocent fawn, and he portrayed the newspaper editors as powerful, roaring lions of the forest. The Prophet wrote:

I [Joseph] then lifted up my voice and said, hear me, ye beasts of the forest! and all ye great lions [editors] pay attention! I am innocent of the things whereof ye accuse me....

I listened, and lo! I heard a voice, and it was the voice of my shepherd [Jesus Christ], saying, listen all ye lions of the forest; and all the beasts of the field give ear; ye have sought to injure the innocent; and your hands have been lifted against the weak, the injured and the oppressed. Ye have pampered the libertine, the calumniator, and the base [Dr. John C. Bennett and his supporters]. Ye have winked at vice, and trodden under foot the virtuous and the pure.... And when mine annointed [sic] shall be exalted, and all the lions of the forest shall have lost their strength, then shall they remember that the Lord he is God. JOSEPH SMITH (Times and Seasons 4 [February 15, 1843]: 97, 98).

March 1, 1843

Joseph, after reading a slanderous statement against him in the Chicago Express, answered as follows:

The slanderous allusion of a "seraglio" [a harem], like the Grand Turk, which the editor applies to me, he may take to himself, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Every honest man, who has visited the city of Nauvoo, since it existed, can bear record of better things, and place me in the front ranks of those who are known to do good for the sake of goodness, and show all liars, hypocrites; and abominable creatures, that while vice sinks them down to darkness and wo, virtue exalts me and the saints to light and immortality (ibid., 113).

March 8, 1843

The New York Herald published:

We received by yesterday's mail a whole batch of dispatches from Nauvoo.... Joe Smith the Prophet and his beautiful and talented wife, Emma, are living in the greatest happiness. Joe is prophesying and Emma [is] singing.

The New York Herald also reprinted from the Times and Seasons, Joseph's poem "A Vision," the "Sacred Hymns" notice asking that hymns of worship be given to Emma Smith, and Miss Eliza Snow's "Jubilee Song" (see The New York Herald [March 8, 1843], 2).

March 15, 1843

John Greenhow wrote of the apostasy in the Church after Christ's death:

... the most abominable doctrines were propagated, which called forth the threats of the Almighty upon them, except they repented.... Among the former were the Nicolaitans, whom Christ mentioned to John with utter abhorrence. They had many disgusting peculiarities; allowed a community of wives, and indulged their sensual appetites without restraint (Times and Seasons 4 [March 15, 1843]: 138).

March 15, 1843

An article written by a member of the Church was reprinted from the Boston [Massachusetts] Bee. The author, who wrote under the name of H. R., stated,

We are charged with advocating a plurality of wives, and common property. Now this is as false as the many other ridiculous charges which are brought against us. No sect have a greater reverence for the laws of matrimony, or the rights of private property, and we do what others do not, [we] practice what we preach (ibid., 143).

March 16, 1843

This was the one-year anniversary of the Female Relief Society, which was organized March 16, 1842. Emma Smith had served with dignity as president the first year, and was the president for the new year.

March 19, 1843

Joseph and Emma rode to their farm, which was over two miles from their city home, and returned that morning (see LDS History of the Church 5:307).

April 6, 1843

At a special conference Joseph asked the Saints if they wished him to continue as their leader.

If, said he, I have done any thing that ought to injure my character, reputation, or standing; or have dishonored our religion by any means in the sight of men, or angels, or in the sight of men and women, I am sorry for it, and if you will forgive me, I will endeavor to do so no more. I do not know that I have done anything of the kind; but if I have, come forward and tell me of it. If any one has any objection to me, I want you to come boldly and frankly, and tell of it (Times and Seasons 4 [May 1, 1843]: 181).

No complaint was voiced.

April 15, 1843

John Greenhow wrote of the crime of polygamy within the Protestant reformation. Greenhow said,

A furious rabble rose up [about 1533 among the Anabaptists] pretending to have a commission from heaven.... They committed the most horrible excess. Their leaders were Mathias, a baker, and Boccold, a tailor. They contended for having all things common, a plurality of wives.... He [Boccold] had fourteen wives at one time (Times and Seasons 4 [April 15, 1843]: 165–166).

May 9, 1843

Joseph, Emma, and Joseph's mother, Lucy Smith, went on a twelve-hour excursion trip on the Church-owned steamship, Maid of Iowa. They and about one hundred other passengers traveled up the Mississippi River, making stops at Burlington, Iowa, and Fort Madison, Illinois (see LDS History of the Church 5:384–385).

May 15, 1843

A letter from George P. Dykes was published in which he gave a report of his travels through eighteen counties, assuring the people that Dr. John C. Bennett's polygamy charges against Joseph were lies. He wrote,

I was generally successful in convincing the people that Bennet maliciously slandered the innocent (Times and Seasons 4 [May 15, 1843]: 195).

May 15, 1843

John Greenhow wrote for publication,

And I solemnly declare before God, that I believe in my heart, that all the tales derogatory to his character, or the saints in general, are as false as those invented in the days of the Savior, [such as] "his disciples came and stole him away while we slept" (ibid., 197).

May 15, 1843

Samuel A. Prior, a Methodist minister, traveled to Nauvoo, visited with the Prophet and heard him preach. Prior recorded,

I expected to see some races at least, of that low prostitution plural marriage] which I had so often heard charged upon them.... I sought in vain for any thing that bore the marks of immorality; but was both astonished and highly pleased at my ill success... Where, in fine, is this slough, its sink of iniquity of which I have heard so much? Surely not in Nauvoo. They must have got the wrong place,or wilfully lied about it (ibid., 198, 199).

May 22, 1843

Joseph directed a clerk to write and have published,

As Paul said ... so must the elders of the last days do; and, being sent out to preach the Gospel ... we are sure, when they teach as directed by the Spirit, according to the revelations of Jesus Christ, that they will preach the truth, and prosper without complaint. Thus we have no new commandment to give, but admonish elders and members to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, lest they come short of the glory that is reserved for the faithful (LDS History of the Church 5:404; italics added; see also Times and Seasons 4 [May 15, 1843]: 199).

June 13, 1843

Joseph and Emma and their children—Julia, Joseph, Frederick, and Alexander—left Nauvoo for a visit with Emma's sister, Mrs. Benjamin Wasson, and her family. The Wasson residence was about twelve miles from Dixon, in Lee County, Illinois. Dixon was approximately two hundred miles north of Nauvoo (see LDS History of the Church 5:431).

June 23, 1843

Ten days into Joseph and Emma's vacation two men, posing as "Mormon preachers," came to the Benjamin Wasson residence, and after approaching Joseph, drew their pistols, which until then had not been visible. They were not members of the Church, but were Sheriff Joseph F. Reynolds of Jackson County, Missouri, and Constable Harmon T. Wilson of Carthage, Illinois, who with drawn weapons, and without showing any writ or serving any process, forced Joseph to go to a waiting carriage. They drove away without allowing the Prophet to bid Emma and his children good-bye. Their aim was to take Joseph to Missouri to be charged and tried for being an accessory to the shooting and wounding of ex-Governor Boggs (see Times and Seasons 4 [July 1, 1843]: 242–243).

They took Joseph to Paw Paw Grove, Illinois, where they stayed all night.

Emma was informed that Joseph's abductors had left Dixon with him, and she and her children immediately left for Nauvoo, accompanied by her devoted nephew, Elder Lorenzo D. Wasson, driving the carriage. Lorenzo was the son of Emma's sister, Elizabeth Wasson.

June 24, 1843

The news of my [Joseph's] arrival had hastily circulated about the neighborhood [in Paw Paw Grove]; and very early in the morning the largest room in the hotel was filled with citizens, who were anxious to hear me preach and requested me to address them... I addressed the assembly for an hour-and-a-half on the subject of marriage, my visitors having requested me to give them my views of the laws of God respecting marriage. My freedom commenced from that hour (LDS History of the Church 5: 444–445).

June 30, 1843

Joseph also addressed a crowd of eight thousand at the Grove near the Temple at Nauvoo, telling them of his sermon about marriage, saying,

I addressed the assembly [at Paw Paw Grove] for an hour and a half on the subject of marriage, my visitors having requested me to give them my views of the law of God respecting marriage.

My freedom commenced from that hour (ibid., 472).

July 15, 1843

Joseph and Emma, and their children, went with about one hundred others on a beautiful sunset excursion trip on the Maid of Iowa, leaving from the Nauvoo House Landing, and traveling to the northern part of Nauvoo. They returned at dusk (see ibid., 510).

July 21, 1843

Joseph rode to his farm, taking his daughter Julia with him (see ibid., 515).

August 1843

Joseph's poem, "A Vision," which proclaimed celestial equality was published in the Church's paper in England (see The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star 4 [August 1843]: 50–55).

August 1, 1843

The annual report of the Female Relief Society was published, which showed the accomplishments of the Society under the leadership of Emma. Here is an extract from the report:

The first annual report of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; being a correct statement of the receipts and disbursements of the society, from its organization, March 16th 1842 to March 16th 1843, to wit.

Received in donations of money, clothing, provisions &c. &c.    $507,00

Expended in appropriations for the relief of the poor.    $306,48....

We hope the Ladies of the Society will feel encouraged to renew their exertions, knowing that the blessings of the poor are resting upon them: We feel assured from what has passed under our personal observation, that many during the inclemency of the winter, were not only relieved, but preserved from famishing, through their instrumentality. More has been accomplished than our most sanguine anticipations predicted, and through the assistance and blessing of God, what may we not hope for the future?

By Order of the President [Emma Smith].
ELIZA R. SNOW, Secretary. Nauvoo June 30th 1843
(Times and Seasons 4 [August 1, 1843]: 287).

August 1, 1843

Eliza Snow wrote a poem entitled "The Kidnapping of Gen. Joseph Smith," in which she referred to the kidnapping of Joseph in Lee County, Illinois, on June 23, 1843, by Sheriff Joseph H. Reynolds of Jackson County, Missouri, and Constable Harmon T. Wilson from Carthage, Illinois. Joseph was forced to leave at gunpoint without being allowed to tell Emma and his children good-bye.

One verse of Eliza's poem told of Joseph's love for Emma with these words:

With brutish haste they tore him From her he loves so well (Times and Seasons 4 [August 1, 1843]: 288).

The paper published that the poem was "BY MISS E. R. SNOW."

Eliza Snow was a frequent contributor to the Times and Seasons while the Church headquarters was at Nauvoo, and she was careful to have "Miss" placed before her name, signifying that she was an unmarried lady.

For her writings and the "Miss" before her name see Times and Seasons, volume four, pages 48, 64, 96, 128, 176, 208, 224, 288, 303, and 383. In volume five see pages 463, 479, 543, 559, 575, 607, 671, and 735. These pages from the two volumes cover a period which starts with December 15, 1842, and ends December 1, 1844. This covers a time period before and after Joseph's death.

August 4, 1843

Joseph and Emma went in the evening to call on an Elder Cahoon, where they met Joseph's brother Hyrum and his wife Mary (see LDS History of the Church 5:525).

August 6, 1843

Emma Smith traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to purchase supplies for their newly built home, the Mansion House, which they would operate as a hotel. Joseph did not accompany her "... it not being prudent" for him to go to Missouri, where he might be kidnapped or arrested and brought to trial for treason or some other trumped-up charge (see LDS History of the Church 5:527).

Joseph Smith III, Joseph and Emma's eldest son, explained,

Mother was to be installed as landlady, and soon made a trip to Saint Louis for the purpose of securing such furniture, curtains, bed linen, table napery, dishes, and utensils as were needed to properly equip and operate a hostelry of its kind (Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III (1832–1914), 34).

October 3, 1843

The brethren assembled with their wives, to the number of about one hundred couple[s], and dined at the Mansion as an opening to the house [as a hotel] (LDS History of the Church 6:42).

October 3, 1843

In the evening the Mansion House was the scene of a wedding as Emma's niece Clara M. Wasson, daughter of Emma's sister, Elizabeth Wasson, became the bride of William Backenstos. Joseph solemnized the marriage (see ibid., 43).

October 5, 1843

... walked up and down the streets with my scribe. Gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives; for, according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise (LDS History of the Church 6:46).

The above statement attributed to Joseph was changed from its original. Joseph's diaries or manuscripts do not contain the above as it is stated. The original quotation is in an "untitled journal of 278 manuscript pages," thought to be in the handwriting of Willard Richards. Here is the correct version:

Walked up and down St[reet] with Scribe and gave instructions to try those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives on this Law. Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife. [rest of page blank] {page 116} (Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, 417).

October 15, 1843

An Englishman wrote an account of his visit to Nauvoo. He traveled by boat, stopping first at St. Louis, Missouri. He related,

As soon as I had taken lodgings I commenced my inquiries respecting the Mormons.... I heard them calumniated, and vilified, nay, abused beyond belief. They informed me that their [the Mormons'] crimes were of the deepest dye. That polygamy was not only tolerated but practised [sic] amongst them (Times and Seasons 4 [October 15, 1843]: 355).

After traveling on to Nauvoo, he closely observed Joseph, seeking to uncover any evidence of immorality on his part or that of the Saints. The Englishman concluded that the allegations against Joseph were untrue. He wrote,

Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, is a singular character.... The Prophet is a kind, cheerful, sociable companion.... I have witnessed the Mormons in their assemblies on a Sunday.... With respect to the teachings of the prophet, I must say that ... he invariably supports himself from our good old Bible" (ibid., 356).

October 15, 1843

The following statement appeared in the Times and Seasons:

... not least, are we indebted to our beloved brother JOSEPH, for his timely counsel, the access he has given us to his writings [his "History of Joseph Smith" manuscript], and the many rich treats which have been furnished our readers through his instrumentality, without which, our sheet would in many instances have been comparatively dry and barren (ibid., 359).

October 24, 1843

James Arlington Bennett of Long Island wrote Joseph,

I am happy to know that you have taken possession of your new establishment [the Mansion House], and presume you will be eminently successful and happy in it, together with your good lady and family (Times and Seasons 4 [November 1, 1843]: 371).

November 1, 1843

Another chapter of Joseph's "History of Joseph Smith" was published with these words of warning from a revelation:

Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out. Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shalt not have the spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he the [that] committeth adultery and repenteth not, shall be cast out—but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out .... if ye shall find that any persons have left their companions for the sake of adultery, and they themselves are the offenders, and their companions are living, they shall be cast out from among you. And again I say unto you, that ye shall be watchful and careful, with all inquiry, that ye receive none such among you if they are married, and if they are not married, they shall repent of all their sins, or ye shall not receive them (ibid., 369, 371).

November 23, 1843

Joseph wrote to James Arlington Bennett:

I combat the errors of ages; I meet the violence of mobs; I cope with illegal proceedings from executive authority ... WITH TRUTH, diamond truth, and God is my "right hand man" (ibid., 375).

November 25, 1843

Joseph recorded:

In the evening the High Council sat on the case of Harrison Sagers, charged with seduction, and [Sagers] having stated that I [Joseph] had taught it [polygamy] was right. Charge [against Joseph] not sustained. I was present with several of the Twelve, and gave an address tending to do away with every evil, and exhorting them to practice virtue and holiness before the Lord; told them that the Church had not received any permission from me to commit fornication, adultery, or any corrupt action; but my every word and action has been to the contrary. If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom. I did think that the many examples that have been made manifest, such as John C. Bennett's and others, were sufficient to show the fallacy of such a course of conduct [as in the case of polygamist Harrison Sagers, who accused Joseph of having taught that polygamy was right] (LDS History of the Church 6:81).

December 22, 1843

At home at nine o'clock, a.m., reading a magazine to my children (LDS History of the Church 6:133).

December 27, 1843

The editor of the Pittsburg Gazette, after visiting Nauvoo, wrote an article in which he stated that the Prophet had many dependents and numerous children around his table at the Mansion House, which was an implication that Joseph had plural wives and his and their children living with him. Apostle John Taylor, editor of the Nauvoo Neighbor, printed a letter which was written in defense of Joseph. The writer stated:

I perceive by the news papers, that the "Senior Editor of the Pittsburg Gazette ... visited Nauvoo....

It is a little singular, how men can step aside so far from truth, when they endeavor to give the conversations of General [Joseph] Smith.... The Senior Editor says, the prophet's "numerous children," and dependants [sic] were at the table, &c. Now as to the prophet's numerous children, they consist of three sons [Joseph III, Alexander, and Frederick] and one adopted daughter [Julia], and his dependants are either orphans or honorable men and women, who know better than to taint the truth (Nauvoo Neighbor [December 27, 1843], 3).

Summary

The above 1843 chronology of events in Joseph's life was written to acquaint the readers with circumstances surrounding the Prophet during the last full year that he lived. This is not a complete list. Much more could have been included which would have shown additional evidence that Joseph spent a lot of time at home with Emma and their children, and not with plural wives and children. At the beginning of this chapter it was pointed out that LDS Historian Andrew Jenson went on record in 1867, twenty-three years after the Prophet was slain, and listed the names of twenty-seven women to whom Joseph was allegedly married by June 27, 1844. Where are the numerous children that would have been a natural result of such marriages? There are none!

The chronological listing of events in Joseph's life in 1843 is a testimony of his stand against polygamy, and attests to his faithfulness to his only wife, Emma, and their four children.

 

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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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Page Updated: June 26, 2011

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