Was Joseph Smith, Jr., A Polygamist?

Joseph Smith Sr. Family

Joseph Sr, m. Lucy Mack


Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph, Samuel, William, Don Carlos
Sophronia, Catherine and Lucy
(RLDS Ch. Hist. vol. 1 p. 6)
Joseph Jr. m. Emma Hale


Julia (adopted 1831). Joseph III, Frederick,
 Alexander, Don Carlos, David H.
(Joseph Smith and Progenitors)
Joseph Smith, III


(Joseph Smith III and the Restoration, pgs. 111-125)

  • Emmeline Griswold - m. 1856  died of in ill health in 1869


Emma, Evelyn, Carrie, Zadie, Joseph A.
  • Bertha Madison - m 1869 died in accident


Don Carlos, Mary Audentia, Frederick M. ,Israel A.
Kenneth, Bertha Z., Hale W., Blossom, Lucy Y.
  • Ada Rachel Clark - m. in 1898


Richard Clark, William Wallace, Reginald Archer

Did Joseph Smith Have Other Wives?
See new DNA Evidence of His Innocence

For many years Joseph Smith III searched for the truth about his father.  After many years he had this to say about his search:

"To admit that my  father was the author of such false theories as were being taught, or that he practiced them in any form, was not only repulsive in itself to my feelings and strongly condemned by my judgment, but was contrary to my knowledge of and belief in him.  It [meaning, going to Utah and joining the Utah faction where polygamy was being practiced.  Utah leaders wanted Joseph III to join them.] would serve to neutralize at once the intention I had formed to redeem his memory from false accusations and make honorable in the sight of men the religion for which he became a martyr, and would result in an utter failure on my part to accomplish that which I felt divinely urged to do.  I do not feel that it was necessary for me to make any such confession, openly or tacitly, as would be involved in an affiliation with the organization that had made those charges about him, his teachings, and his conduct; and I am grateful as I reflect that in over fifty years of active service dedicated to the objects I had in view, there has never been presented to me any evidence worthy to be called proof by which I have been compelled to reverse the convictions of my judgment on these important matters made at the time I took up my ministry.

Nor have I been called to suffer shame before God and man by having to receive and admit a belief that my father was guilty of such gross immorality as I deem that which was laid to his door, or such wanton forgetfulness of divine precepts and utter disregard for the clear direct commands of God given to him through revelations, as have been charged against him."  (Joseph Smith III and the Restoration, pgs. 153-154)

Emma Smith Speaks of Joseph, Her Husband, to her son, Joseph III

"What about the revelation on polygamy?  Did Joseph Smith have anything like it?  What of spiritual wifery?  (Joseph III interviewing his mother, Emma Smith Bidamon shortly before her death.) Click photo to enlarge

EMMA: "There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives.   There was some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband.  He assured me that all there was of it, was that in a chat about plural wives he had said, 'Well, such a system might be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would to; and besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.'  No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught publicly or privately before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of."

JOSEPH: "Did he have other wives than yourself?"
EMMA: "He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have."

JOSEPH: "Did he not hold marital relations with women other than yourself?
EMMA: "He did not have improper relations with any women that ever came to my knowledge."

JOSEPH: "Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?"
EMMA: "At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine and never should be with his knowledge or consent.  I know that he had no other wife, or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise."
(Life of Joseph the Prophet, by E. Tullidge, pgs. 789-796)

Emma Smith Bidamon's Testimony
to Jason W. Briggs, April 1867

JWB: "Mrs. Bidamon, have you seen the revelation on polygamy, published by Orson Pratt in the SEER, in 1852:"
ESB: "I have."

JWB: "Have you read it?"
ESB: "I have read it, and heart it read."

JWB: "Did you ever see that document in manuscript previous to its publication by Pratt?"
ESB: "I never did."

JWB: "Did you ever see any document of that kind, purporting to be a revelation, to authorize polygamy?"
ESB: "I never did."

JWB "Did Joseph Smith ever teach you the principle of polygamy, as being revealed to him, or as a correct and righteous principle?"
ESB: "He never did."

JWB: "What about that statement of Brigham Young, that you burnt the original manuscript of that revelation?"
ESB: "It is false in all its parts made out of whole cloth, without any foundation of truth."  (RLDS Ch. Hist. vol. 3, pg. 352, from Messenger, vol. p. 23)

Mormons Best Liars: Says Brigham

I didn't understand the phrase, "made out of whole cloth," until I remembered the statement made by  Mr. Young when he was bragging about the Mormons' abilities to do everything better than everyone else, including lying.  They didn't have just a thread, it was the whole piece of cloth--a total lie.

Brigham Young: Nov. 9, 1856:

"Some of the elders seem to be tripped up in a moment if the wicked man finds fault with the members of this church; but less you should, I would not yet have this people faultless, for the day of separation has not yet arrived.  I have many a time in this stand dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can, we can beat them at anything.  We have the greatest liars in the world, the cunningest and most adroit thieves, and any other shade of characters that you can mention.

We can pick out elders in Israel right here who can beat the world at gambling; who can handle the cards; can cut and shuffle them with the smartest rogue on the face of God's footstool.  I can produce elders here who can shave their smartest shavers, and take their money from them.  We can beat the world at any game.

We can beat them because we have men here who live in the light of the Lord; that have the holy priesthood and hold the keys of the kingdom of God . . ." (JD, vol. 4, p. 77; PTB p. 283)

Brigham Young Claimed Authorship of the
Manifestation on Polygamy

Brigham Young, June 21, 1874:
"While we were in England (in 1839 or 1840) I think, the Lord manifested to me by vision and His spirit things that I did not then understand.  I never opened my mouth to anyone concerning them until I returned to Nauvoo.  Joseph had never mentioned this--polygamy.  There had never been a thought of it in the church that I ever knew anything about at the time; but I had this for myself and I kept it to myself."  (Messenger, vol 1, pl. 29; also Desert News, July 1, 1874; PTB, p. 266)

Editor's note:  Mr. Young believed God gave him this vision.  Satan also gives visions and appears as an angel of light to deceive.

B. Young Said J. Smith Was A Strict Observer of Law

Joseph Smith was accused of marrying many women.
The law allowed this plurality of wives ONLY if the first wife consented.

"And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood--if any man espouse another, AND THE FIRST WIFE GIVE HER CONSENT, and if the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified..."

B. Young wrote that J. Smith was a strict observer of the law to the letter.

"Joseph Smith was not killed because he was deserving of it, or because he was a wicked man; but because he was a virtuous man.  I know that to be so, as well as I know that the sun now shines . . .I know for myself that Joseph Smith was the subject of forty-eight lawsuits, the most of them I have witnessed with my own eyes but not one action could ever be made to bear against him.  No constitutional right did he ever violate.  He was innocent and virtuous; he kept the law of his country, and he lived above it.  Out of forty-eight lawsuits, (and I was with him in the most of them) not one charge could be substantiated against him.  He was pure, just and holy, as to keeping of the law." (Millennial Star, vol. 14, p. 675; Quotations on Mormonism, p. 53 by A. M.  Chase)

Emma Smith was not consulted on the marriage of another wife by Joseph according to her testimony above.
Conclusion: Emma would have known about it if it were true.

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