I am NOT a “Mormon of today,”
but, I am aware of why people believe Joseph practiced polygamy, AND I am aware of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED.
“No man knows my history.” (Joseph Smith, Jr. ) UNTIL NOW.
Nothing has been more misunderstood about Joseph’s history than polygamy. But, here is Truth; understand it if you will.
While on their mission to Maine and Canada, Brigham Young, Samuel Smith, and Parley Pratt encountered and baptized Jacob Cochran, who then, with his own “followers,” introduced the practice of “spiritual wifery” to the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The Cochranites were excited to join a growing religious movement in which they were not judged and condemned for acting contrary to popular Christian beliefs.
Joseph suffered (allowed) his church to be organized and also suffered Jacob Cochran and his practices to influence the early members of the church. Cochran justified his unorthodox outlook on relationships (plural marriage) from stories of the Old Testament. Joseph’s enemies and critics tried to put these two men together to create the illusion that Cochran had influenced Joseph. Joseph refused to condemn Cochran for living whatever brought him/ the Cochranites happiness, because he believed and taught: “Let them worship how, where, or what they may.” (Article of Faith #11)
In 1835, Joseph came out with doctrines and teachings against polygamy, stating that one man should be married to one woman. This “revelation” came to be known as section 101 of the 1835 edition of the church’s Doctrine and Covenants. Some men ignored this. The polygamist beliefs never completely left the hearts of the Cochranite converts. Because of men’s weaknesses and fleshly lusts, many other members started secretly taking “spiritual wives” as well.
The issue came to a head in 1842 when two prominent leaders, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were caught in adulterous affairs. After that, polygamy became more accepted and practiced among a larger number of Mormon men. It was creating hatred toward the church from outsiders as men were courting married women outside the church as well as young women within it.
Because of the men’s so-called “Priesthood Power” and because the women had interpreted Biblical teachings to believe that they should submit and that it was God’s will to be a silent and submissive partner, women succumbed to this new religion that contained what they felt to be the greater truth that they were looking for. These women would often override the misgivings of their hearts in order to be “obedient” and “submissive” and earn, as they believed, their eternal future with all its attendant blessings… with a “righteous man.”
Joseph and his wife, Emma, specifically founded the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo to counter the effects of the polygamist actions of the men. Emma was the most respected and influential woman in the early church. As elected President, she was privy to the broken hearts and problems of the Mormon women. While on a vacation with her husband in July of 1843, Emma confided to Joseph of the pain and agony the Mormon women were going through because of the lustful yet pestering nature of the men and their presumed Priesthood power over them.
Written specifically for Emma, with William Clayton and Hyrum Smith as witnesses, the next day Joseph relayed a “revelation” as a second chastisement in another attempt to get Mormon men to stop their dangerous behaviors. In this, Joseph controlled some men, but angered others who turned on him, thinking he was using this revelation to justify taking as many wives as he wanted. Many of the men involved in Joseph’s murder were those annoyed at what they had lost when he took their power and authority away from them to pursue whatever women they desired.
In 1876, this “revelation” was changed by Brigham Young and became section 132 of the current Doctrine and Covenants, allowing polygamy as official church doctrine. This was for Brigham’s own purposes: to introduce and justify his new principle of “Celestial Marriage” and polygamous lifestyle.
These actual facts behind this “revelation” from Brigham Young are astounding, yet rarely considered by modern Mormons. Critics of Joseph Smith, Jr. have used numerous myths and rumors that were not true to make Joseph look like a polygamist. He had women sealed to him who wanted the men to LEAVE THEM ALONE. That was all.
“In spite of what his critics and enemies might think, Joseph Smith did more for the equal rights of women in his day than any other man alive. He could not stop the natural lusts of men, but he could present ‘revelations from God’ to protect the women, and teach them that they had the eternal right to choose with whom they desired to mate. Even so, his enemies have compiled and published countless rumors about Joseph having illicit affairs with women, even some who were married. All of these rumors are just that, unverified reports and idle speculations. None of them are true.
“Emma and Joseph worked together in choosing which women would be sealed to him as ‘spiritual wives.’ Their decision was based on the feelings of the other woman, usually choosing those who wanted the continual courting and lust of other men to stop. Unfortunately for his critics and enemies, the dates of his sealings to his other ‘wives’ prove that Joseph had nothing to do with the practice of plural marriage, until the other men became out of control. If Joseph believed plural marriage was to be an important part of what he was mandated to reveal to the people with the organization of the Church in 1830, why was no mention of his personal involvement in the practice given before 1838? The answer is simple: Joseph Smith did not believe that plural marriage had any part of the ‘holy order of God’ mentioned throughout the Book of Mormon.”
In my pursuit of Real Truth, I have given up everything. Crawling through the “eye of the needle,” I have learned the *mysteries* and am now giving my life to assist YOU to dis-cover Who *YOU* really are, along with your unique gift to offer humanity. As you learn to seek (in the right place and with purified intent), you WILL find treasures of lasting value, along with every promised reward. Together, we will establish a society of humane beings and live life ALIVE, on PURPOSE, and with a sociality unequaled… because we will each BE and view each other as equally and profoundly DIVINE! Please… catch this Hope and Vision and join with me.