Joseph Smith & Polygamy


I’ve read in a number of non-LDS sources that Joseph Smith secretly practiced polygamy for a number of years before publicly making it doctrine for the Mormon Church (even keeping it secret from his wife Emma). So I have some questions for Mormons:

  1. Did Joseph really do this?

  2. Did Joseph really marry women who were already married to other men?

  3. If the answer to # 1 or # 2 or both is yes, how do you personally deal with this aspect of Joseph’s conduct as the prophet?

These questions have been posed before on other threads, but the answers always seem to circumvent the questions. I would appreciate yes or no type answers and then an explanation.


The silence is deafening.

  1. Yes. Joseph Smith received the revelation allowing polygamy that became D&C 132 on July 12, 1843. By that time he had already married at least 29 of his 34 wives, including eleven who were already married to other men. The Mormons try to deflect this delay in the revelation by saying the doctrines and principles that were involved in this revelation had been known by him since 1831, 2 years before he took his second wife.

It’s an interesting paradox. If Joseph Smith had been ignorant of the doctrines and principles that were involved in this revelation prior to July 12, 1843, then perhaps the condemnations in D&C 132 would not apply but neither would he have been able to legitimately marry the 28+ other women. On the other hand, if he were knowledgable of doctrines and principles that were involved in this revelation prior to July 12, 1843, he had to have also known that his actions condemned him and the eleven wives who were already married.

  1. Yes. Here’s a link to biographies on all 34 of the Wives of Joseph Smith. None of the eleven who were already married to other men divorced their husbands before marrying Joseph Smith, and all of them continued to live with their original husbands. Most or all of the eleven’s husbands were unaware of their wives’ second marriages.

  2. By his own revelation and writings in D&C 132, Joseph Smith’s actions condemned these eleven to destruction. That was reprehensible, and it was even worse since the man who doomed them was the leader and prophet of his fledgling church.

Joseph Smith condemned himself as well, (1) because Emma was not consulted before he took additional brides as 132:61 required, and (2) because the eleven already belonged to someone else which also violated 132:61.

41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, **if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. **

42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.

61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment,

Is this what you were looking for?


Here is the link from the official LDS family history site that shows all his wives.

And here is another part of the official LDS site that claims he was only married to Emma for 17 years.

It don’t make sense.


Obviously the LDS church became Apostate. I’m founding a new church with a more proper interpretation of the Bible


:rotfl: complete with Aussie slang?


It is a sensitive subject for many Mormons. I’ve been surprised at how little many of them know about the subject. The most typical reply I’ve gotten when I asked about it is that the Mormons had a surplus of women due to a shortage of men during the trek to Utah, and had to have polygamy in order to help these poor lonely women.

The fact that Joseph Smith was practicing it in secret YEARS before the trek to Utah shows that to be a fabrication. Besides, even if there were a shortage of men, that still wouldn’t justify polygamy.


Yes, it was 17 years for Joseph and Emma, in this life anyway. They married in 1827 and he was shot to death in 1844.

Your link to unfortunately only brought up the search options page, not the results page you were intending us to see.

[quote=Allweather]It is a sensitive subject for many Mormons. I’ve been surprised at how little many of them know about the subject. The most typical reply I’ve gotten when I asked about it is that the Mormons had a surplus of women due to a shortage of men during the trek to Utah, and had to have polygamy in order to help these poor lonely women.

The fact that Joseph Smith was practicing it in secret YEARS before the trek to Utah shows that to be a fabrication. Besides, even if there were a shortage of men, that still wouldn’t justify polygamy.

It’s worth remembering that Joseph Smith took his 34 wives before he was killed in 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois. It was his shooting that prompted the Mormons to leave town (to put it nicely) and head for Utah.

Joseph Smith, of course, was not part of that troupe heading for Utah with all those poor lonely women.


Actually, history shows that there were more men than women on the trek to Utah and for many years after that. The powerful church leaders took many wives while many of the rank and file men went wife-less.
God bless,


Nan S- How do you know all the doctrine about the Mormon’s?
Allweather seems to know a great deal also.
Just curious…:slight_smile:


It’ll be a little Bobby Dazzler, with new beaut dogma. Not only the fair dinkum will come but everyman and his dog will turn up like mozzies to a barbie. You might think it’s got Buckley’s, but it’ll be a little ripper. We’ll all gather round to pray; people will think we’re playing two-up.

She’ll be right, mate. No worries!


Russia had a shortage of men immediately following WWII.

But the Mormons renegged on polygamy and thus became, by their own definition Apostate.

And of course the church immediately had split on the death of J. Smith, with his own family claiming true leadership, but the majority following B. Young on their trip to Utah.


Allweather here… I actually know very little, and all that I know I’ve learned in the past year, by virtue of my fiance, a former Mormon. My relationship with her prompted me to get to know the religion better. Even so, I’m a novice compared to NanS, and the former Mormons on this forum. Frankly, I’m not motivated to become an expert on Mormonism. It doesn’t interest me at all, except that I have loved ones who have been, and some who still are, involved in it.


Two nights ago, the fiance and I made a point to watch a program on TV about a polygamous breakaway Mormon sect in Arizona. At one point in the program, the journalist John Quinones was interviewing a group of about 20 young people in this community, evenly numbered between boys and girls, all of whom expressed strong support for the religion, and for polygamy in particular. A couple of the boys, when asked, said they’d be glad to have many wives, in obedience to the command. We started wondering where all these women were going to come from. Then, I remembered a report about the Warren Jeffs crew, which is located only a couple of miles away from the site of this program, saying that one of their problems has been a shortage of women to supply all the wives these polygamist old men want. This has given rise to an increase in excommunications of men, in order to take their wives away from them, which are then given to other men remaining in the community.

This got me to wondering today about proportions of men to women in the general population worldwide. I’m sure there are regional/national variations, but isn’t it true that the sexual proportion remains approximately 50-50 worldwide? If so, wouldn’t this argue against a God-ordained polygamy system?

Anybody know whether it is true that the world population stays at close to 50-50 by nature? Or, are there actually very many more women than men?




Oh sorry Nan, I didn’t realise it didn’t work.
If you type in Joseph Smith and the year 1827, and scroll til you find the Smith born in NY, then you find the list I’m talking about.


I believe Joseph Smith, Jr. did not teach nor practice polygamy. Go to for the evidence.

I am RLDS and attend a Restoration Branch. Unknown to the world, there are many people who still believe Joseph wasn’t a polygamist. I realize this is a hard concept for many LDS and ex-LDS to wrap their minds around because, since about 1852, the Utah LDS church has openly taught polygamy. The polygamy “revelation” (Utah LDS D&C 132) purportedly given by Joseph didn’t surface until about 1852, 8 years after Joseph’s death, and gave Brigham Young the “authority” to go public with this doctrine. This was not written by Joseph, and of course, since Joseph was dead, he couldn’t refute it. How convenient this was for the leaders of the Utah LDS church.

In the 1890s, the U.S. District Court of Western Missouri ruled in the Temple Lot Suit that Joseph didn’t teach nor practice polygamy, even though two alleged polygamist wives of Joseph, produced by the Utah LDS church, testified they were married to him. And the RLDS church was ruled to be the rightful successor of the original LDS church because it’s doctrines were the same.

It amazes me when reading writings of both Utah LDS and ex-Utah LDS that it is just presumed Joseph was a polygamist and lied about it in Nauvoo and earlier. And the vast majority of evidence presented is either hearsay, or of dubious origin, or so distant from the event that it has very little probative value.

It is a fact that polygamy was secretly taught in Nauvoo. However, Joseph denied his involvement and at every opportunity spoke against it. No one ever considers that he may have been telling the truth and that polygamy was being promoted by Brigham Young and others secretly so they would not be brought before Church court, which Joseph was getting ready to do just before he was assassinated. In addition, they were attaching Joseph’s name to polygamy so as to convince others to practice it. And if you think this could not be possible, then let me ask you a question. If your friends started a hideous, false rumor about you and never confronted you with it, how would you defend yourself? You would do like Joseph did. At every opportunity you would deny it’s truth.

I implore you to question what the Utah LDS church has taught about Joseph and polygamy. Go to and read the documentation there with an open mind. You will find Joseph isn’t the one that brought polygamy into the LDS church and indeed fought against it.


I would point you to the testimony of william Law. joseph smith booted him out so obviously they were at odds. He had been a member of the first presidency called by Joseph Smith to that position. He was also vehemently opposed to polygamy. you will find dr. law speaks up in defense of joseph when he feels the charges are wrong. I believe he gives us the most “objective” view of what happened there at the end of Joseph’s life. There are many, many pieces of documented evidence some written in Joseph Smiths own hand that tell us he was unfaithful to Emma. I guess the only question then is whether or not he was “plurally married” or just cheating.

(yes I know it’s posted on an “anti-mormon” site but the article is easily verified)


I have not yet had a chance to read William Law’s statement and wish to do so. However, one thing immediately comes to mind that sheds doubt on the truthfulness of his testimony. You state Law was “vehemently opposed to polygamy.” Yet, he was co-publisher of the first and only issue (June 7, 1844) of the Nauvoo Expositor with two men (Chauncey and Francis Higbee) who were practicing spiritual wifery along with Bennett in Nauvoo. (See Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy at It just doesn’t ring true that if a person is so vehement against polygamy he would team up with two known polygamists to accuse another of the same. Maybe Law wasn’t so opposed to polygamy as he said he was and wanted to continue to associate Joseph’s name with polygamy as a smoke screen for the real instigators.

And as far as the “handwritten” evidence by Joseph that he was unfaithful to Emma, when was that evidence first produced, who maintained it, how was it verified it was Joseph’s handwriting, what did it say, etc., etc. It’s easy to make such allegations, but it’s hard to prove them. Remember, the world has pretty much convicted Joseph of polygamy, but they have done so on evidence that wouldn’t stand in a court of law and didn’t in the Temple Lot Suit.


I’m sure you are aware that the RLDS(now Community of Christ) is reexamining their history and even though the RLDS have denied Joseph’s involvement with polygamy since the church reorganized under Joseph Smith III in 1860, is now admitting that the documented evidence is now suggesting that in the Nauvoo period shortly before Joseph Smith was murdered in Carthage jail…he may have indeed been involved with polygamy.

The Restorationists and the Remnamt churches who have left the main RLDS faction, are in the vast minority…history is proving Jospeh’s involvement…no amount of denial will change history.

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