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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 ]

Joseph Smith Endured Two Conspiracies at the Same Time

Joseph and Emma Smith

The authors asserted in the preface of Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Volume 1, that a conspiracy existed at Nauvoo against Joseph the Prophet to falsely charge him with practicing polygamy and introducing it as a doctrine into the Church. The authors stated in the preface:

It can be proven that men nearest the Prophet entered into a conspiracy against Joseph and Hyrum and attached polygamy to Joseph's name in order to justify their own crimes of practicing it. The polygamous doctrines promoted by this conspiracy are still the basis of the Mormon Church's theology.

Since the above statement was published in the year 2000 numerous evidences have been published by the authors in Vision magazine to support Joseph's innocence and the presence of a conspiracy.

The leaders of that polygamy conspiracy were seven apostles who had plural wives before Joseph's death. They were: Brigham Young, Willard Richards, John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Orson Hyde. A majority of the twelve apostles were polygamists by April 1844. Apostles Wilford Woodruff and Orson Pratt had not married plural wives by that date; however, they soon did so. Those polygamous apostles were joined in the conspiracy by Joseph Bates Noble, William Clayton, William Henry Harrison Sagers, and a number of others. They, their plural wives, and their families and close friends formed a secret plural marriage society. They were dedicated to practicing polygamy and to bringing it into the Church as a doctrine by secretly teaching that Joseph Smith was the originator of that doctrine in the Church and that he had plural wives. By declaring this falsehood in secret, they were able to make more polygamous disciples. Brigham Young and the others used the same false stories about Joseph having plural wives that Dr. Bennett had successfully employed three years earlier to make converts to polygamy. The Saints were aware that Joseph and Hyrum had been contending against plural marriage in the Church courts, in the priesthood quorum meetings, in their preaching, in the pages of the Times and Seasons, in the Nauvoo Wasp, and the Nauvoo Neighbor. Since Young, Taylor, and other apostles were cohabiting secretly with plural wives while openly condemning polygamy, it was natural that some Saints who knew of this would conclude that Joseph, too, was living with plural wives, while publicly condemning that doctrine. Those in polygamous marriages justified lying as being necessary to prevent persecution. That excuse for dishonesty on the part of polygamous Church leaders of the 1840s, and later, is still being made today by members of the Mormon Church.

A Deadly New Conspiracy Was Revealed

On March 27, 1844, two men, M. G. Eaton and A. B. Williams, made affidavits in which they swore that certain prominent men in the Church and in the city had formed a conspiracy against Joseph, Hyrum, the entire Smith family, and the apostles. This was a second conspiracy against Joseph. Eaton and Williams revealed that the conspirators were accusing both Joseph and Hyrum with crimes of plural marriage and had threatened to kill Joseph and every member of the Smith family. Eaton and Williams testified that the conspiracy included William Law, Joseph's former counselor in the First Presidency; William's brother, Wilson Law; Attorney Chauncy L. Higbee and his brother, Francis M. Higbee; Dr. Robert Foster; Joseph H. Jackson; and others.

According to the affidavits the conspirators were declaring that plural marriages were being practiced in the Church and Joseph and Hyrum were named as being among those who were participants. In spite of the hard battle which Joseph and Hyrum had fought against polygamy, the members of both conspiracies were trying to involve them in polygamy. The fact that members of the Twelve were secretly engaged in polygamy greatly increased Joseph's problems and threatened the Church as a whole. Joseph knew that his brethren were secretly teaching plural marriage and were using his name to make plural marriage converts. No matter how often Joseph denied that he had plural wives, there were those who would not believe him because they knew that certain apostles were denying (lying) and condemning that doctrine publicly while they were secretly married to and cohabiting with plural wives. Many believed that the apostles were following Joseph's example and directions.

Brigham Young and the other apostles in the polygamy conspiracy had many reasons to greatly fear William Law and his fellow conspirators. The apostles who had plural wives knew that they must act quickly to save themselves from prosecution by civil authorities, and incarceration in jail. Eaton and Williams' affidavits made it clear that William Law and his coconspirators were eagerly spreading the news abroad that Brigham Young and other apostles had plural wives. The apostles feared the Saints, and they feared Joseph greatly because he was against their polygamy. Therefore, it was to their advantage to appear to align themselves with Joseph and to stand publicly against those who were involved in the latest conspiracy. Law and those conspiring with him were already making the public aware of the polygamous activities of the apostles. This would open the way for the apostles to be charged with the crime of bigamy by civil authorities in the courts of the land. The apostles would do everything possible to prevent this from happening and to protect themselves.

Apostle John Taylor Published the Affidavits

The affidavits sworn to by Eaton and Williams are an important link in the chain of events which led up to the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. Within a month the affidavits would be entered as evidence by Joseph in the court of the land as part of his defense to show that a conspiracy existed against him. Apostle John Taylor, who was editor of two Nauvoo newspapers, the Times and Seasons and the Nauvoo Neighbor, published the affidavits in both. The members of the Quorum of Twelve were in control of both papers. At the time he published the affidavits, Apostle Taylor was the husband of three wives. The affidavits show that polygamy was one of the subjects that William Law and those with him in the conspiracy were determined to expose to the public. Would those men in the latest conspiracy reveal that polygamy was being practiced by the seven polygamous apostles? Their goal was to make it appear that Joseph was behind the polygamy in the Church.

The two affidavits were used in court by Joseph a month later, in May 1844, after Joseph was arrested on a charge made by Francis M. Higbee, one of the members of the Law conspiracy. Joseph submitted the Eaton and Williams affidavits as part of his evidence that Higbee, the Laws, and others were in a conspiracy against him (see Times and Seasons 5 [May 15, 1844]: 541–542).

Williams' Affidavit

State of Illinois,
Hancock County
Bracket ss.

Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, acting Justice of the Peace, in and for said county, Abiathar B. Williams, who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith, that on or about the 15th day of March, A. D. 1844, Joseph H. Jackson came to my house and requested me to walk with him,—which I did. During the time we were walking, said Joseph H. Jackson said that he was then coming from Mr. Law's; that there was going to be a secret meeting in the city of Nauvoo, probably tomorrow evening; but as it was not decided he could not say positively as to the time, but he would inform me in season. The said Joseph H. Jackson said that Doctor [Robert] Foster, Chauncy Higbee and the Laws [William and Wilson] were red-hot for a conspiracy, and he should not be surprised if in two weeks there should be not one of the Smith family left in Nauvoo. After we arrived at Mr. Loomis' the Masonic Hall, in the city of Nauvoo, he related some thing which he stated Doctor Foster had said relative to his family. This he did in the presence of Mr. Eaton and myself, and strongly solicited myself and Mr. Eaton to attend the secret meeting, and join them in their intentions. The said Joseph H. Jackson further said that Chauncy Higbee had said that he the said Chauncy Higbee had seen men tied hand and foot and run through the heart with a sword, and there (sic) heads taken off, and then buried;—and he durst not say a word. This the said Jackson said in Mr. Loomis' room, and further this deponent saith not.

A. B. WILLIAMS.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 27th day of March, A. D. 1844.
DANIEL H. WELLS, J. P. [L. S.]

Eaton's Affidavit

State of Illinois,
Hancock County
Bracket  

Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, an acting Justice of the Peace in and for said county, M. G. Eaton, who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that on or about the 15th day of March, A. D. 1844, Joseph H. Jackson came to me several times and requested me to go on the hill with him. I finally consented and went with him to the Key Stone Store, in the city of Nauvoo. Doctor Foster and one of the Higbees, I think Chauncy Higbee, were in the store. The said Joseph H. Jackson, together with the said R. D. Foster, and said Higbee, went into the back room of the store. They appeared to enter into private council. Soon after they went into the said room the said Joseph H. Jackson invited me into the room where they were now sitting. I immediately complied. Soon after I went in the said Higbee commenced talking about the spiritual wife system. He said he had no doubt but some of the Elders had ten or twelve apiece. He said they married them whether the females were willing or not; and they did it by recording the marriage in a large book; which book was sealed up after the record was made, and was not to be opened for a long time, probably not until many of the husbands of those who were thus married were dead. They would then open the book and break the seals in the presence of those females, and when they saw their names recorded in that book they would believe that the doctrine was true and they must submit. He said this book was kept at Mr. Hyrum Smith's. I asked the said Chauncy Higbee * * * *

[Here follows some expressions too indecorous for insertion.]

The aforesaid R. D. Foster, then asked me what I would think if during my absence from home a carriage should drive up to my house, a person alight, and the carriage then drive off again, this person should then go into my house and begin to tell my wife a great many things against me to prejudice her mind against me and use every possible means to do this, and finally would introduce and preach the spiritual wife doctrine [polygamy] to her and make an attempt to seduce her, and further this person should sit down to dine with my wife, bless the victuals &c, and while they were thus engaged, I should come home and find them thus associated; this person should rise up and say how do you do, and bless me in a very polite manner &c., and also, if upon these appearances, I should feel jealous that something was wrong and when the person was gone, I would ask my wife what had been the conversation between her and this person, but she wou'd (sic) refuse to tell me. [I] then draw a pistol and present it to her and threaten to shoot her if she did not tell me all, but she would still refuse. I then would give her a double barrelled pistol, and say to her defend yourself, for if you don't tell me, either you or I would shoot She would then faint away through fear and excitement, and when she came to again she would begin and tell you how this person had been trying to poison your wife's mind against you, and by preaching the spiritual wife system to her had endeavoured to seduce her. I replied I should think he was a rascal; but who has had such a trial as that? The said R. D. Foster, answered that he was the man who had had that trial, and who had been thus abused.

The said Dr. Foster, Higbee and Joseph H. Jackson then remarked that they were about to hold a secret meeting to oppose and try to put a stop to such things. The said Joseph H. Jackson also said that if any person undertook to arrest him he should begin to cut them.

The said R. D. [Foster] further said he was afraid of his life and dare not be out at nights.

The said Higbee said he had not a doubt but there had been men killed in Missouri who had had secrets that they were afraid to divulge.

He said he was afraid of his life.

The said Jackson further said that he should not be surprised if there should be a real muss and insurrection in the city in less than two months, and that if a disturbance should take place the Carthagenians and others would come and help them.

He mentioned some name of persons who would come from Carthage which names I do not remember. The same day when in Mr. Loomis's room. I heard the said Jackson say that the Laws were ready to enter into a secret conspiracy tooth and nail.

The said Higbee also said that while at the Key stone that if ever he was brought before the Mayor's Court again, and the Mayor [Joseph Smith] told him again to hold his tongue, that he should get up and tell him he had a right to speak and should do so, and then if any man attempted to put him out of the court he would shoot them through and further this deponent saith not.

M. G. EATON.
Sworn and subscribed before me this 27th day of March A. D. 1844.

DANIEL H. WELLS, J. P. [L. S.] (Times and Seasons 5 [May 15,1844]: 541–542)

In the above affidavit by M. G. Eaton, it is stated that some of the contents of the affidavit were withheld from publication because of "some expressions too indecorous for insertion." These words were deleted also when they were printed in the Nauvoo Neighbor.

In deleting a portion of the affidavit from publication in the Times and Seasons and in the Nauvoo Neighbor an important link in the chain of events in the history of the introduction of plural marriage into the Church was lost. A reading of the affidavit reveals that, according to Eaton, Chauncy Higbee had been relating to Eaton allegations about the spiritual wife system, including how Church elders had married a plurality of wives, some of them being married women. At this point Eaton asked Higbee a question, and Eaton's question was deleted in the published versions. Chauncy Higbee's entire reply to Eaton was left out also. Why? Who was named in the deleted portion? Did the imprinted words refer to the polygamous apostles? Is Eaton's original affidavit, including the deleted portion, still on file among the historic records in the LDS Church in Salt Lake City? If the deleted portion could be made public, it would provide important information on the history of polygamy practiced by Church leaders in the spring of 1844.

Hyrum Preached a Bold Conference Sermon against Polygamy

Joseph and Hyrum attended the Church Conference which started April 6,1844, with knowledge that members of two conspiracies were working against them. Joseph was determined to take action against those who were practicing polygamy as soon as he could arrange to do so. And Hyrum was prepared to assist him. This meant that when Joseph ordered plural marriage charges to be brought against the seven guilty apostles before the Church's High Council, that would cause a division in the Church and tear families apart. It would also result in the guilty apostles having bigamy charges brought against them by civil officers, since bigamy was a crime in the state of Illinois.

The civil officers of both Hancock County and the state of Illinois would be eager to prosecute and seek convictions of the bigamists. The apostles could be charged, tried, convicted, fined, and/or imprisoned. Although Joseph had only one wife, and was innocent, he would likewise be charged and would have to prove his innocence, because false brethren were eager to testify that he was guilty of polygamy also. Joseph's most reliable assistant was his brother, Hyrum, who was also his counselor in the First Presidency and Presiding Patriarch of the Church. It was to this 1844 Church Conference audience that Hyrum preached a stirring sermon in which he strongly condemned polygamy. He knew that he was speaking directly against the powerful members of the twelve apostles. But, according to the official report in the Church's publication, he declared:

A certain good sister came to my house and she was troubled because she heard so many big things; she thought it weakened her faith. I told her she had too much faith; she believed too much; I will tell you how you may know whether the thing is true or not. When any come to you with a lie, you feel troubled; God will trouble you and will not approbate you in such belief; you had better get some antidote to get rid of it. Humble yourself before God, and ask him for his spirit; and pray to him to judge it for you. It is better not to have so much faith, than to have so much as to believe all the lies. Before this conference closes I want to get all the elders together. I shall make a proclamation: I want to take the line and axe, and hew you, and make you as straight as possible; I will make you as straight as a stretched line. Every elder that goes from Nauvoo to preach the gospel, if he preach any thing else we will silence him through the public print; I want all the elders to meet and to understand, and if they teach any thing but the pure truth we will call them home. (Times and Seasons 5 [August 1, 1844]: 598)

Elder Levi Graybill's Report on Hyrum's Sermon

One of the many priesthood members who were present at the April 1844 Church Conference at Nauvoo was Elder Levi Graybill, who later joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Graybill testified that he heard Hyrum's sermon, and that Hyrum made a statement that was not printed in the official report in the Times and Seasons. Graybill declared that Hyrum advised the sisters of the Church that if any man proposed a polygamous marriage to them to "put a dagger to his heart." Elder Graybill asserted:

I was present at the April conference in Nauvoo in 1844....

I was well acquainted with Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and most all of the early leaders of the church, and I do not believe that such a thing as polygamy was ever practiced by any of them during the lifetime of the martyrs. At the conference of April, 1844, Hyrum Smith said from the stand that some had been teaching spiritual wifery, which meant polygamy, and addressing the sisters be said: "If any man makes such a proposition to you, if you will put a dagger to his heart I will plead your cause in the day of judgment." (Journal of History 4 [January 1911]: 108)

Elder Graybill, like many other Saints, never believed that Apostle Taylor and other apostles had entered into polygamy during Joseph's lifetime. He was convinced that Taylor and the other polygamous apostles were speaking the truth when they condemned the practice and denied that they had plural wives at Nauvoo before the Martyrdom. Graybill never realized that Joseph told the truth and fought that doctrine's entrance into the Church, and that Apostle Taylor and others of the Twelve were lying when they denied its existence among the leaders.

Apostle Taylor Published Statements to Deceive

On March 27, 1844, M. G. Eaton and A. B. Williams made their affidavits. On April 1 Apostle John Taylor published an article in the Times and Seasons entitled TO THE ELDERS ABROAD. The fact that the names of Joseph and Hyrum, Presidents of the Church, were not on the article suggests that it was written by the editor, John Taylor. The elders were told in the article:

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....

If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contraty [contrary] to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter. You need not write to us to know what you are to do with such men; you have the authority with you.—Try them by the principles contained in the acknowledged word of God; if they preach, or teach, or practice contrary to that, disfellowship them; cut them off from among you as useless and dangerous branches, and if they are belonging to any of the quorums in the church, report them to the president of the quorum to which they belong, and if you cannot find that out, if they are members of an official standing, belonging to Nauvoo, report them to us.

Follow after purity, virtue, holiness, integrity, Godliness, and every thing that has a tendency to exalt and ennoble the human mind; and shun every man who teaches any other principles. (Times and Seasons 5 [April 1, 1844]: 490–491)

Apostle Taylor gave every indication in the above article to the elders in the Church that he was set strongly against plural marriage.

Taylor Referred to Spiritual Wifery as Being Filthy

Apostle John Taylor published Eaton and Williams' affidavits in the Times and Seasons and the Nauvoo Neighbor. Taylor was editor of both. As editor he denied the existence of polygamy being practiced in the Church when he, at that time, was the husband of three wives. He went on to marry a total of sixteen wives. They were: (1) Leonora Cannon in 1833; (2) Elizabeth Kaighin, 1843; (3) Jane Ballantyne, 1844; (4) Mary Ann Oakley, 1846; (5) Mary Amanda Utley, 1846; (6) Ann Hughlings Pitchforth; 1846; (7) Ann Ballantyne 1846; (8) Mary Ramsbottom, 1846; (9) Lydia Dibble Smith, 1846; (10) Sarah Thorton Coleman, 1846; (11) Mercy Thompson Smith, 1846; (12) Sophia Whittaker, 1847; (13) Harriet Whittaker, 1847, (14) Caroline Hooper Saunders Gillian, 1847; (15) Margaret Young, 1847, and (16) Josephine Elizabeth Rouche, 1886 (see Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker, A Book of Mormons, 354). Taylor continued for years to deny that polygamy was being practiced by himself and others. He and other apostles lied to deceive the Saints and the public, and they were successful in deceiving many.

Brigham Young, John Taylor, and their coconspirators in polygamy were aware that bigamy was a crime in the state of Illinois. They were also aware that if William and Wilson Law and their associates in the newest conspiracy were not stopped, a criminal investigation would occur in the courts of the land. Joseph, who was ready to appear before a grand jury to clear his name of charges of the crime of polygamy, would stand on the side of the law, and a majority of the Quorum of Twelve could be found guilty and imprisoned. No doubt those apostles greatly feared the civil authorities. And likewise they feared Joseph, and Hyrum, who would stand with him, for Joseph had set his face against polygamy and could not be moved by the apostles who had embraced that doctrine.

Apostle Taylor published a statement to preface the affidavits of M. G. Eaton and A. B. Williams, which he published first in the Neighbor with a condemnation of the claim by the conspirators that the doctrine of spiritual wifery (another name for polygamy) was being practiced, and called that doctrine "filthy." Here are Apostle John Taylor's editorial comments relative to Eaton and Williams' affidavits:

We received the following affidavits just as our paper was going to press; and stopped it on purpose to insert the precious morceau. We have only time and room to make a few remarks on this dishonorable plot, which is as execrable and fiendish, as the subject [of spiritual wifery or polygamy] is filthy. We could hope, for the sake of humanity, that the statements [concerning the existence of a conspiracy] by the deponents [Eaton and Williams] are untrue; but we are obliged to believe them till we have other evidence.

We know not how to express our indignation at the statements contained in the affidavits. We thought that the saints had been slandered enough already by the Missourians, and a lot of apostates, with John C. Bennett at their head; and that the vocabulary of the lower regions, and the ingenuity of his satanic majesty had been exhausted to find out matter of accusation against the saints, and language filthy enough to convey their ideas.... All that we have to say is, from such men, from such measures, from such corrupt and debasing ideas and plots 'good Lord deliver us.' (Nauvoo Neighbor, April 17,1844)

When the affidavits and Taylor's preface to them are read in conjunction with one another, it is easy to conclude that Taylor was referring to plural marriage as being the "subject" in the affidavits that he called "filthy."

Sidney Rigdon Published that the Twelve Had Plural Wives

In October 1844, nearly four months after Joseph's death, Elder Sidney Rigdon, who had moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, published a paper in which he asserted that the apostles "and their adherents" were practicing spiritual wifery (polygamy). Elder Rigdon, who had been a member of the First Presidency at the time of Joseph's death, had only a few weeks earlier been cut off from the Church by the efforts of Brigham Young. Elder Rigdon wrote:

It is a fact, so well known, that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry on this spiritual wife business in secret... and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths, to keep it from the public....

How often have these men and their accomplices stood up before the congregation, and called God and all the holy Angels to witness, that there was no such doctrine taught in the church; and it has now come to light, by testimony which cannot be gainsaid, that at the time they thus dared heaven and insulted the world, they were living in the practice of these enormities; and there were multitudes of their followers in the congregation at the time who knew it. (Sidney Rigdon, Messenger and Advocate 1 [October 15, 1844]: 14)

Taylor Answered Rigdon's Polygamy Charge

Apostle Taylor answered Elder Rigdon by publishing an article entitled AN OLD MAN OF ISRAEL, in which Rigdon's charges were strongly denied. Taylor published:

The saints of the last days have witnessed the outgoings and incomings of so many apostates that nothing but truth has any effect upon them. In the present instance, after the sham quotations of Sidney and his clique, from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, to skulk off, under the "dreadful splendor" of "spiritual wifery," which is brought into the account as graciously as if the law of the land allowed a man a plurality of wives, is fiendish, and like the rest of Sidney's revelation, just because he wanted "to go to Pittsburg and live." Wo to the man or men who will thus wilfully lie to injure an innocent people! 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, but if any man's wife die, he has a right to marry another, and to be sealed to both for eternity; to the living and the dead! there is no law of God or man against it! This is all the spiritual wife system that ever was tolerated in the church, and they know it (Times and Seasons 5 [November 15, 1844]: 715)

Taylor Denied Polygamy Six Years After Joseph's Death

In 1850 Apostle Taylor and two other elders went to Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, where they held meetings and participated in a three-night public debate with three noted ministers: the Reverend C. W. Cleeve, the Reverend James Robertson, and the Reverend Philip Gates. One of the topics of the debate was "Joseph Smith." During the debate Apostle Taylor was asked direct questions as to whether or not Joseph Smith had practiced polygamy. Taylor strongly denied over and over that Joseph had practiced polygamy. And then, to prove that there was no polygamy practiced by Joseph or tolerated in the Church, Apostle Taylor read the Church's law on marriage, which had been printed in the 1835 Kirtland Edition, the 1844 Nauvoo Edition, and the 1850 Liverpool Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. He read these words:

Inasmuch as this Church of Jesus 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, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. (John Taylor, Three Nights 'Public Discussion Between the Revds. C. W. Cleeve, James Robertson, and Philip Gates, and Elder John Taylor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France [Liverpool, England, 1850], 8)

Summary

The articles above verify that Apostle John Taylor published and spoke falsehoods over a period of years, in America and abroad, to mislead the Saints and the general public. In his deception he was often successful. True, he was not alone in misleading the Saints and the public; however, as editor of the Church's official paper at Nauvoo, and as an apostle, he had a responsibility to publish and speak the truth. The Saints and others, including the citizens of France where the debates were held, and in Liverpool, England, where a pamphlet he had written on the debate was published, had a right to know the truth. The truth was that Joseph had only one wife, but that the majority of the Twelve had plural wives.

Since it is now known that John Taylor had three wives at the time Joseph died, it is understandable that the Saints were not unified in what they believed about Joseph and polygamy in the Church. At the Prophet's death some believed that Joseph had plural wives, while others believed he had had only one wife. And there were those who believed that the Prophet had married plural wives and never repented, hence was a fallen prophet. Other Saints, such as Elder Levi Graybill, were of the opinion that neither Joseph nor any apostles practiced polygamy during Joseph's lifetime. They believed the practice started after Joseph's death. Some thought it started at Nauvoo after his death, while others placed its beginning in the Church in Salt Lake City in August 1852 after Brigham Young introduced a plural marriage document (Section 132 in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants). Then there were those who could not conceive of the apostles being guilty of polygamy and Joseph being innocent. They were unable to separate the actions of Joseph from those of the Twelve.

The numerous opinions about the source of the introduction of polygamy into the Church that were found among the Saints in 1844, as well as the many theories on the subject today, has occurred because the trusting Saints were misled by the falsehoods told them by the apostles.

In contrast, Joseph, who faced two conspiracies at the same time, never changed his testimony that he had only one wife.

 

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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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