Section CI: 


"Inasmuch as this church of 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."

[Section 101: Marriage] 

Oliver Cowdery Letter

21 January 1838

I never confessed intimated or admitted/ that I ever willfully lied about him [Joseph Smith]. When he was here we had some conversation in which in every instance, I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true A dirty, nasty, filthy scrape [“affair” is overwritten in Warren F. Cowdery’s handwriting] of his and Fanny Algers was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth on the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.

[Oliver Cowdery, Letter to Warren A. Cowdery (Oliver's brother), January 21, 1838]

Times & Seasons

1 February 1844


As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching Polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the country of Lapeer, state of Michigan. 

This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquities; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference, on the 6th of April next, to make answer to those charges.

Presidents of said Church

[Times and Seasons, 1 Feb 1844]

Times & Seasons

15 March 1844

"Whereas brother Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also: Therefore he had better beware what he is about.

And again I say unto you, an elder has no business to undertake to preach mysteries in any part of the world, for God has commanded us all to preach nothing but the first principles unto the world. Neither has any elder any authority to preach any mysterious thing to any branch of the church unless he has a direct commandment from God to do so."

[Times and Season 15 March 1844]

Happiness Letter
Sangamo Journal

3 August 1842

On 3 August 1843, John C. Bennett, formerly a close associate of JS, forwarded to the editor of the Springfield, Illinois, Sangamo Journal the text of a letter he claimed JS wrote to Nancy Ridgon, daughter of Sidney and Phebe Brooks Rigdon.

Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know, unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said thou shalt not kill,— at another time he said thou shalt utterly destroy. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added. So with Solomon—first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who do not understand the order of heaven only in part, but which, in reality, were right, because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation. A parent may whip a child, and justly too, because he stole an apple; whereas, if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite, there would have been no stripes—all the pleasures of the apple would have been received, all the misery of stealing lost. This principle will justly apply to all of God’s dealings with his children. Every thing that God gives us is lawful and right, and ’tis proper that we should enjoy his gifts and blessings whenever and wherever he is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon these same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed, and as God has designed our happiness, the happiness of all his creatures, he never has, he never will, institute an ordinance, or give a commandment to his people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which he has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his laws and ordinances. Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant—the proffered good returns to the giver, the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive, and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly; but unto him that hath not, or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had. 

Be wise to-day, ’tis madness to defer.
Next day the fatal precedent may plead:
Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time”
Into eternity.

Our heavenly father is more liberal in his views, and boundless in his mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive, and at the same time is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of his punishments, and more ready to detect every false way than we are apt to suppose him to be. He will be enquired of by his children—he says ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, but if ye will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds, but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things, who will listen to my voice, and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent, for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the laws of my kingdom, for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy.

[Happiness Letter in the Sangamo Journal, 1842]

Mormon Discussions:
Nancy Rigdon & the Happiness Letter

Evidence on the validity of the Happiness Letter.

Martha Brotherton
Sangamo Journal

15 July 1842

Now I call upon Miss Martha Brotherton of Warsaw, to come out and tell boldly the base attempt on her virtue when in Nauvoo - how she was locked up and the proposals that were made to her. I saw her taken to the accursed room, and now let her come out boldly and tell the corruptions of these holy men. The public requires it - justice and honor require it. 7th. I will now append my own affidavit: State of Illinois } Hancock County } ss. Personally appeared before me, Samuel Marshall, a Justice of the Peace in and for said county, John C. Bennett who being duly sworn, according to law, deposeth and saith - that the affidavit taken before Esq. Wells on the 17th of May and the statement before the City Council of Nauvoo on the 19th, as published in the Wasp of the 25th of June, 1842, are false and were taken under DURESSE as stated in this letter - that he has seen Joseph Smith in bed with Mrs. Fuller.

JOHN C . BENNETT. Sworn to and subscribed this 2d day of July, 1842. SAMUEL MARSHALL, J. P. [seal.]

[Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842]

American Bulletin

16 July 1842


Missrs. Editors: -- I am about to repair to the East for the purpose of publishing a "HISTORY OF THE SAINTS," or important disclosures in relation to Joe Smith and the Mormons; I shall, however, be in readiness to substantiate my statements relative to the participation of Joe Smith in the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs, whenever he is demanded and secured by the Executive of Missouri I am blamed by some for not [making disclosures] at an earlier day, as I must have been apprised of Smith's enormities for a long time -- this I anticipated; but if gentlemen will hold on a short time, until I publish the aforesaid history, I will show to the entire satisfaction of of all candid men, that had an expose been attempted at an earlier period it would have proved abortive; but I am now enabled to show such a system of deliberate swindling, corruption, and base depravity, as the world has never seen. The following letter from Miss Brotherton, details a case of black-hearted villainy precisely similar to those of Mrs. Sarah Pratt, wife of Prof. Orson Pratt, and Miss Nancy Rigdon, daughter of Sidney Rigdon, Esq., as noticed in the "Sangamo Journal," and hundreds of others that might be named -- it speaks for itself.

Yours, respectfully,
                              JOHN C. BENNETT.

ST, LOUIS, July 15th 1842.

                              ST. LOUIS, July 13th, A. D. 1842.
Gen. John C. Bennett.
    DEAR SIR: -- I left Warsaw a short time since for this city, and having been called upon by you, through the "Sangamo Journal," to come out and disclose to the world the facts of the case in relation to certain propositions made to me at Nauvoo, by some of the Mormon leaders, I now proceed to respond to the call, and discharge what I consider to be a duty devolving upon me as an innocent, but insulted and abused female. I had been at Nauvoo near three weeks, during which time my father's family received frequent visits from elders Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, two of the Mormon apostles; when early one morning they both came to my brother-in-law's (John McIlwrick's) house, at which place I then was on a visit, and particularly requested me to go and spend a few days with them. I told them I could not at that time, as my brother-in-law was not at home; however, they urged me to go the next day, and spend one day with them -- the day being fine I accordingly went. When I arrived at the foot of the hill Young and Kimball were standing conversing together. They both came to me, and, after several flattering compliments, Kimball wished me to go to his house first. I said it was immaterial to me, and accordingly went. We had not, however, gone many steps when Young suddenly stopped, and said he would go to that brother's, (pointing to a little log hut a few yards distant) and tell him that you (speaking to Kimball,) and brother Glover, or Grover, (I do not remember which,) will value his land. When he had gone, Kimball turned to me and said, "Martha, I want you to say to my wife, when you go to my house, that you want to buy some things at Joseph's store, (Joseph Smith's) and I will say, I am going with you to show you the way. You know you want to see the Prophet, and you will then have an opportunity." I made no reply. Young again made his appearance, and the subject was dropped. We soon reached Kimball's house, where Young took his leave, saying, "I shall see you again, Martha." I remained at Kimball's near an hour, when Kimball seeing that I would not tell the lies he wished me to, told them to his wife himself. He then went and whispered in her ear, and asked if that would please her. "Yes," said she, "or I can go along with you and Martha." "No,' said he, "I have some business to do, and I will call for you afterwards to go with me to the debate,"  meaning the debate between yourself and Joseph. To this she consented. So Kimball and I went to the store together. As we were going along, he said, "Sister Martha, are you willing to do all that the Prophet requires you to do?" I said I believed I was, thinking of course he would require nothing wrong. "Then," said he, "are you ready to take counsel?" I answered in the affirmative, thinking of the great and glorious blessings that had been pronounced upon my head, if I adhered to the counsel of those placed over me in the Lord. "Well," said he, "there are many things revealed in these last days that the world would laugh and scoff at; but unto us is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom." He further observed, "Martha, you must learn to hold your tongue, and it will be well with you. -- You will see Joseph, and very likely have some conversation with him, and he will tell you what you shall do." When we reached the building he led me up some stairs to a small room, the door of which was locked, and on it the following inscription: -- "Positively no admittance." He observed, "Ah! brother Joseph must be sick, for, strange to say, he is not here. Come down into the tithing-office, Martha." He then left me in the tithing-office and went out, I know not where. In this office were two men writing, one of whom, William Clayton, I had seen in England; the other I did not know. Young came in and seated himself before me, and asked where Kimball was. I said he had gone out. He said it was all right. Soon after Joseph came in and spoke to one of the clerks, and then went up stairs followed by Young. Immediately after Kimball came in. "Now, Martha," said he, "the Prophet has come; come up stairs." I went, and we found Young and the Prophet alone. I was introduced to the Prophet by Young. Joseph offered me his seat, and, to my astonishment, the moment I was seated Joseph and Kimball walked out of the room, and left me with Young, who arose, locked the door, closed the window, and drew the curtain. He then came and sat before me and said, "This is our private room, Martha." "Indeed, sir," said I, "I must be highly honored to be permitted to enter it." He smiled, and then proceeded -- "Sister Martha, I want to ask you a few questions; will you answer them?" "Yes, sir," said I. "And will you promise not to mention them to any one?" "If it is your desire, sir," said I, "I will not." "And you will not think any the worse of me for it, will you, Martha?" said he. "No sir," I replied. "Well," said he, "what are your feelings towards me?" -- I replied, "My feelings are just the same towards you that they ever were, sir.." "But, to come to the point more closely," said he, "have not you an affection for me, that, were it lawful and right, you could accept of me for your husband and companion?" My feelings at that moment were indescribable. God only knows them. What, thought I, are these men that I thought almost perfection itself, deceivers. and is all my fancied happiness but a dream? 'Twas even so; but my next thought was, which is the best way for me to act at this time? If I say no, they may do as they think proper; and to say yes, I never would. So I considered it best to ask for time to think and pray about it. I therefore said, "If it was lawful and right perhaps I might; but you know, sir, it is not." "Well, but," said he, "brother Joseph has had a revelation from God that it is lawful and right for a man to have two wives; for as it was in the days of Abraham, so it shall be in these last days and whoever is the first that is willing to take up the cross will receive the greatest blessings; and if you will accept of me I will take you straight to the celestial kingdom; and if you will have me in this world, I will have you in that which is to come, and brother Joseph will marry us here to-day, and you can go home this evening, and your parents will not know any thing about it." "Sir," said I, "I should not like to do any thing of the kind without the permission of my parents." "Well, but," said he, "you are of age, are you not?" "No, sir," said I, "I shall not be until the 24th of May." "Well," said he, "that does not make any difference. You will be of age before they know, and you need not fear. If you will take my counsel it will be well with you, for I know it to be right before God, and if there is any sin in it, I will answer for it. But brother Joseph wishes to have some talk with you on the subject -- he will explain things -- will you hear him?" "I do not mind," said I. "Well, but I want you to say something," said he. "I want time to think about it," said I. "Well," said he, "I will have a kiss, any how," and then rose and said he would bring Joseph. -- He then unlocked the door, and took the key and locked me up alone. He was absent about ten minutes and then returned with Joseph. "Well," said Young, "sister Martha would be willing if she knew if was lawful and right before God." "Well, Martha," said Joseph, "it is lawful and right before God -- I know it is. Look here, sis; don't you believe in me?" I did not answer. -- "Well Martha," said Joseph, "just go ahead, and do as Brigham wants you to -- he is the best man in the world except me." "Oh!" said Brigham, "then you are as good." "Yes," said Joseph. "Well," said Young, "we believe Joseph to be a Prophet. -- I have known him near eight years, and always found him the same." "Yes," said Joseph, "and I know that this is lawful and right before God, and if there is any sin in it, I will answer for it before God; and I have the keys of the kingdom, and whatever I bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose on earth is loosed in heaven; and if you will accept of Brigham, you shall be blessed -- God shall bless you, and my blessing shall rest upon you, and if you will be led by him, you will do well; for I know Brigham will take care of you, and if he don't do his duty to you, come to me and I will make him; and if you do not like it in a month or two, come to me, and I will make you free again; and if he turns you off, I will take you on." -- "Sir," said I, rather warmly, "it will be too late to think in a month or two after. I want time to think first." "Well, but," said he, "the old proverb is, 'nothing ventured, nothing gained;' and it would be the greatest blessing that was ever bestowed upon you." -- "Yes," said Young, "and you will never have reason to repent it -- that is, if I do not turn from righteousness, and that I trust I never shall, for I believe God, who has kept me so long, will continue to keep me faithful. Did you ever see me act in any way wrong in England, Martha?" "No, sir," said I. "No," said he; "neither can any one else lay any thing to my charge." "Well, then," said Joseph, "what are you afraid of, sis? -- come, let me do the business for you." "Sir," said I, "do let me have a little time to think about it, and I will promise not to mention it to any one." "Well, but look here," said he, "you know a fellow will never be damned for doing the best he knows how." "Well, then," said I, "the best way I know of, is to go home and think and pray about it." -- "Well," said Young, "I shall leave it with brother Joseph, whether it would be best for you to have time or not." "Well," said Joseph, "I see no harm in her having time to think, if she will not fall into temptation." "O, sir," said I, "there is no fear of my falling into temptation." "Well, but," said Brigham, "you must promise me you will never mention it to any one." "I do promise it," said I. "Well," said Joseph, "you must promise me the same." I promised him the same. "Upon your honor," said he, "you will not tell." "No, sir, I will lose my life first," said I. "Well, that will do," said he; "that is the principle we go upon. I think I can trust you, Martha," said he. -- "Yes," said I, "I think you ought." Joseph said, "she looks as if she could keep a secret." I then rose to go, when Joseph commenced to beg of me again -- he said it was the best opportunity they might have for months, for the room was often engaged. I, however, had determined what to do. -- "Well," said Young, "I will see you to-morrow. I am going to preach at the school-house, opposite your house. I have never preached there yet; you will be there, I suppose." "Yes," said I. The next day being Sunday, I sat down, instead of going to meeting, and wrote the conversation, and gave it to my sister, who was not a little surprised, but she said it would be best to go to meeting in the afternoon. We went, and Young administered the sacrament. After it was over, I was passing out, and Young stopped me, saying, "Wait, Martha, I am coming." I said, "I cannot; my sister is waiting for me." He then threw his coat over his shoulders, and followed me out, and whispered, "have you made up your mind, Martha?" "Not exactly, sir," said I; and we parted. I shall proceed to a justice of the peace, and make oath to the truth of these statements, and you are at liberty to make what use of them you may think best.
              Yours, respectfully,
                   MARTHA H. BROTHERTON.

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 13th day of July, A. D. 1842.

              Du. BOUFFAY FREMON,
    Justice of the Peace for St. Louis county.

[American Bulletin, 16 July 1843]

Quincy Whig

6 August 1842

Martha Brotherton also published her story in the Quincy Whig on August 6, 1842.

[Quincy Whig, 6 August 1842]

For more information, visit this website. Martha shared her story multiple times.

Captain Olney
Sangamo Journal

23 September 1842

More of Joe Smith's Villainies! Communication of J. F. Olney,

                          La Harpe, Hancock Co., Sept. 10, 1842.
Editor, Sangamo Journal:

Dear Sir: -- I wish to make through the medium of your paper, a public withdrawal from the church of Latter Day Saints, as I cannot longer consent to remain a member of said church while polygamy, lasciviousness and adultery are practiced by some of its leaders. That crimes of the deepest dye are tolerated and practiced by them, cannot be doubted.

I have heard the circumstances of Smith's attack upon Miss Rigdon, from the family as well as herself, -- and knowing her to be a young lady who sustains a good moral character, and also of undoubted veracity, I must place implicit confidence in her statements, the foul insinuations of that miserable little insect the Wasp, to the contrary notwithstanding.

And having a personal knowledge of Smith's lying at different times in the name of the Lord, I cannot for a moment doubt but he did so in the case above alluded to. Smith is so fearful that his character (which is poorest where best known) is about to take a sudden flight to parts unknown -- that he has lately either by himself on the public stand, or by his organ the Wasp, attacked the character of every person, who he thinks will demur and proclaim against his conduct, and been called upon by the public to state what they know about the matter, and who have thus far refrained from taking part with either side -- these are they who feel the indignation and wrath of the Prophet Smith, and who suffer in the MORMON community by foul calumny of these debauchees.

I know that Miss Rigdon has been greatly mortified by being obtruded before the public -- nevertheless it was unavoidable on her part, and if Smith succeeds in extricating himself from the awful dilemma in which he has placed himself, by obtaining her certificate to the contrary, then I am much mistaken in the character of Miss Rigdon. It is true that Mr. Rigdon has endeavored to allay the excitement upon this subject, and has evaded a direct answer to the public, as far as he could consistently with truth, but that part which is true he has left untouched. -- The fact of Smith's wishing to marry Miss Rigdon as a spiritual wife, of his attack upon her virtue, his teachings about his having the blessings of Jacob, &c. &c., as stated in General Bennett's letters, ARE TRUE; and if I am called upon to prove it, I SHALL DO IT to the satisfaction of the public, and to the chagrin and mortification of Smith and others. The letter published purporting to be from Smith to Miss Rigdon, was not in Smith's hand-writing, but in the hand-writing of Dr. Willard Richards, who officiated not only as scribe, but post boy, for the Prophet, and who DID say that he wrote the letter as dictated by Joseph Smith, and said Joseph Smith did say, on a certain occasion, that he did direct said Richards to write a letter to Miss Nancy Rigdon; and I now say I stand ready to prove these allegations by as respectable WITNESSES as can be produced in Hancock County, and if Smith has no other means by which he can extricate himself from this complexis argumentum bicornis, then by endeavoring to blast the characters of the innocent and unoffending, to shield himself from infamy and disgrace, then let him fire his Tormentum Murale -- and be gathered unto his Fathers.

[Sangamo Journal, 23 September 1842 - original copy, top of page 3]
[Sangamo Journal, 23 September 1842 - more readable copy]

Adelmon Kimball


Probably the first child born in polygamy was the son of Heber C. Kimball and Sarah Peak Moon, Adelbert Kimball. 

In his paper, Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841-44, Gary Bergera says that this child's name was sometimes "Adelmon" and says that "Adelmon died five or six months later during the week of April 18-24, 1843." [Bergera, pg. 12]

So the first polygamous baby was born in October of 1842, and thereby conceived sometime around January or February of 1842.  As no action was taken against Heber C. Kimball, and based on the later reports of Heber C. Kimball concerning polygamy, Joseph must have known concerning this polygamous union.

[William D. Huntington report, Adelmon was six months old]
[Adelbert listed in Orson F. Whitney's book on Heber C. Kimball]

John C. Bennett

History of the Saints, 1842

But I desist.

In concluding this subject, however, I will semi-state two or more cases, among the vast number, where Joe Smith was privately married to his spiritual wives — in the case of Mrs. A**** S****, by Apostle Brigham Young; and in that of Miss L***** B*****, by ^Elder Joseph Bates Noble. Then there are the cases of Mrs. B****, Mrs. D*****, Mrs. S*******, Mrs. G*****, Miss B*****, etc. etc.

[History of the Saints by John C. Bennett, pg 256]

The wives discussed in his book are
Agnes Smith (his sister in law)
Louisa Beaman
Presendia Buell
Sylvia Session

Times and Seasons

1 September 1842

Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of Dr. [John C.] Bennett’s letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church.

“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of 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. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”

[Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1842]

Times & Seasons

1 October 1842

From the Book of Doctrine & Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose: and that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding high priest, high priest, bishop, elder, or priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority.— We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this church from marrying out of the church, if it be their determination so to do, but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Marriage should be celebrated with prayer and thanksgiving; and at the solemnization, the persons to be married, standing together, the man on the right, and woman on the left, shall be addressed, by the person officiating, as he shall be directed by the holy Spirit; and if there be no legal objections, he shall say, calling each by their names: “You both mutually agree to be each other’s companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives.” And when they have answered “Yes,” he shall pronounce them “husband and wife” in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the laws of the country and authority vested in him: “may God add his blessings and keep you to fulfil your covenants from henceforth and forever. Amen.”

The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages, solemnized in his branch.

All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of 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. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband. All children are bound by law to obey their parents; and to influence them to embrace any religious faith, or be baptized, or leave their parents without their consent, is unlawful and unjust. We believe that husbands, parents and masters who exercise control over their wives, children, and servants and prevent them from embracing the truth, will have to answer for that sin.

We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church, to show that Dr. J[ohn] C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a matter of his own manufacture; and further to disabuse the public ear, and shew that the said Bennett and his misanthropic friend Origen Bacheler, are perpetrating a foul and infamous slander upon an innocent people, and need but be known to be hated and despised. In support of this position, we present the following certificates:—

We the undersigned members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and residents of the city of Nauvoo, persons of families do hereby certify and declare that we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one publised from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to show that Dr. J. C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a creature of his own make as we know of no such society in this place nor never did.

S[amuel] Bennett,
N[ewel] K. Whitney,
George Miller,
Albert Pettey [Petty],
Alpheus Cutler,
Elias Higbee,
Reynolds Cahoon,
John Taylor,
Wilson Law,
E[benezer] Robinson,
W[ilford] Woodruff,
Aaron Johnson,


We, the undersigned members of the ladies’ relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practised in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to the public to show that J. C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a disclosure of his own make.

Emma Smith, President,
Elizabeth Ann [Smith] Whitney, Counsellor,
Sarah M. [Kingsley] Cleveland, Counsellor,
Eliza R. Snow, Secretary
Mary C. Miller,
Catharine Pettey [Catherine Petty Petty]
Lois [Lathrop] Cutler,
Sarah [Ward] Higbee,
Thirza [Stiles] Cahoon,
Phebe [Carter] Woodruff,
Ann [Standley] Hunter,
Leonora [Cannon] Taylor,
Jane [Silverthorn] Law,
Sarah [King] Hillman,
Sophia R. Marks,
Rosannah [Robinson] Marks,
Polly Z. [Kelsey] Johnson,
Angeline [Works] Robinson,
Abigail Works.

[Times and Seasons, 1 October 1842]

Note: I feel that there is a doctrinal difference between Bennett's "Spiritual Wife System" versus Joseph Smith's polygamy. One appears to be sanctioned by God and His mouthpiece, versus not sanctioned by God or his prophet. For me, this is not evidence against Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy. 

The Peacemaker
Udney Hay Jacob

Before December 1842

According to the Joseph Smith Papers, Udney Jacob was not a member of the church at the time he wrote this pamphlet. He was baptized the following year in 1843. According to his reminiscence and journal, he had his name removed from the Church that same year. Then, according to his reminiscence and journal, he was rebaptized in 1845. He migrated west with the saints and passed away in Salt Lake City. 

[Joseph Smith Papers "Udney Hay Jacob"]

Joseph Smith
Times and Seasons

1 December 1842

"There was a book printed at my office, a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacob, on marriage, without my knowledge; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish to have my name associated with the authors, in such an unmeaning rigmarole of nonsence [sic], folly, and trash. JOSEPH SMITH."

[Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1842]

Land Deed
Flora Ann Woodworth

13 May 1843

Flora Ann Woodworth was only sixteen years old when she was deeded this land.

"This Indenture made and entered into, this thirteenth day of May in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-three between Joseph Smith as Sole Trustee in Trust, for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, of the county of Hancock, and State of Illinois of the first part, and Flora A. Woodworth of the county of Hancock and State aforesaid of the second part, Witnesseth, that the said Joseph Smith, party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars, to him in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell, convey, and confirm unto the said Flora A. Woodworth party of the Second part, her heirs and assigns forever, all that tract or parcel of land, situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois known and described as follows, to wit Lot number three in Block number one hundred and forty two of the City of Nauvoo, together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in anywise appertaining."

[Land Deed for Flora Ann Woodworth, 13 May 1843]

Land Deed
Sylvia Sessions

5 June 1843

"This Indenture made and entered into, this, fifth day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand Eight hundred and forty three between Joseph Smith, as Sole Trustee in Trust, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day-Saints of the County of Hancock, and State of Illinois of the first part, and Sylvia P Lyons [Sylvia Sessions Lyon], of the County of Hancock and State aforesaid of the Second part Witnesseth, that the said Joseph Smith party of the first part for and in consideration of the Sum of five hundred dollars, to him in hand paid, the receipt, whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell convey, and confirm unto the Said Sylvia P Lyons, party of the Second part her heirs and assigns forever, all those tracts or parcels of land, Situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois known and and described as follows to wit, Part, of Lot, number, One in Block, number One hundred and Eight of the City of Nauvoo, commencing at the North West corner of Said Lot, Running thence East Eight Rods, thence..."

[Land Deed for Sylvia Session 5 June 1843]

12 July 1843

Handwriting of Joseph Kingsbury

From the Joseph Smith Papers Website:

[57] Willard Richards made a copy of the Kingsbury version, likely before leaving Nauvoo in 1846 but certainly before 1854, when he died. Horace Whitney also made two copies, both in 1847. With the Kingsbury copy as the source text, the revelation was first published in an extra to the Deseret News on 14 September 1852, following the public announcement of plural marriage by church leaders. Later editing for this later publication makes some of the original punctuation difficult to properly identify. The 12 July 1843 revelation was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as section 132 in 1876. (“Revelation Given to JS,” 12 July 1843, Willard Richards copy, Revelations Collection, CHL; Revelation, 12 July 1843, Horace Whitney copy, CHL; Revelation, 12 July 1843, Horace Whitney partial copy, CHL; Whitney, Journal, 14 Mar. 1847; “A Special Conference of the Elders of the Church,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], Extra, 14 Sept. 1852, 14–15, 25–27; Doctrine and Covenants 132, 1876 ed. [D&C 132]; Woodford, “Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants,” 3:1741.)

[Revelation 12 July 1843]

"You'll often hear polygamy deniers who will say this is problematic because this is a later copy. Well, true. We would like the original draft of it, but guess what, we'd also like the original draft of every one of Joseph Smith's revelations. That's a point that I don't think most people realize is we have zero original copies of the revelation, i.e. one that was dictated or created at that exact time. All we have are later copies. So this is by no means unusual."


-Bryan Buchanan-

[The Evidence that Joseph Smith was a Polygamist | Mormonism LIVE! 131, time stamp 15:07-15:34]

Joseph Smith's

9 March 1843

William O. clark gave a load of corn Bro Sanford Porter a hog, issued attahmet [attachment] for Peter Haws agai[ns]t. Artemus Johnson,— ([William] Clayton in office)

(sleet & rain through the day) and evening)

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 9 March 1843]

"What happens with William Clayton's journals is they are not available to researchers for many years then in 1979 two employees of the historical department are allowed to see the originals and they on their own, apparently, decide to make a complete transcript of them. And what we have is somewhere around a quarter of that came to us via another researcher who was allowed to see their typescript in turn. And so what we are working with are notes from these original diaries. So while it is true that we have not been able to see them, people have, and deniers sometimes say that historians have doubts about the Clayton diaries. No. These people that were allowed to see them at the beginning and took these notes from them have 
no doubts about them whatsoever."


-Bryan Buchanan

[The Evidence that Joseph Smith was a polygamist | Mormonism LIVE! 131, Time Stamp 28:43-29:30]

William Clayton Journal

9 March 1843, Thursday Nauvoo 1

Thursday 9. At prest. Josephs office. Walked out in the P.M. he told me it was lawful for me to send for Sarah & said he would furnish me money.

Oliver Olney

Spring 1843

Oliver Olney was a member of the church and was excommunicated in 1842. He wrote a pamphlet in the spring of 1843, exposes the "absurdities" of Mormonism. He wrote an entire section on polygamy. 


I will now touch on a subject of which much has been said, that I would cheerfully pass by, but the importance of the subject forbids my doing it. Polygamy was first introduced in Kirtland, Ohio, about eight years ago. Hint after hint has been going, until we have to say, they have begun to do, as well as say. This subject has been kept in the dark, as long as it could be, as it was first said to be too strong meat for the Latter Day Saints to bear. But as some have long waited impatiently, and the plainness of the Scripture is such on the occasion, has forbid any further delay. But to risk to move ahead, I will not pretend to refer to all their scripture to prove their privileges -- only to Solomon and David, that yet have to suffer for their misdoings.

Again, a dark saying arises in the name of the Lord, in the form of a pamphlet, said to be written by a man by the name of Jacobs, but published by Joseph Smith, Editor. We find that if the pamphlet was not written by the authorities of the church, it by them was revised in Jacobs name. But to come to its contents, it argues polygamy; that there is hardly a saying in the Bible but what misapply to polygamy. As much as the sayings of a noted Miller, in the wast, I have heard him lecture a number of times, I saw there was hardly a saying in the Bible but what he could apply to a winding up scenery of things of this world, in 1843.

I look at the Bible as a very good book,
But whether it will support polygamy,
Ot Millerism, I have my doubts,
But if either would sway,
I with Miller would wish to go.
As little fish like me,
Will stand a poor chance
Amongst those of high renown.

The subject of polygamy, amongst the Latter Day Saints is no longer to be kept in the dark; as many are actually attached to the second living companion; and a door is fast opening on this subject, that many is arguing it to be the will of God. That in these days God designed to raise up a more righteous people on the Earth than has been for many ages past. It is argued that those of the chosen of God, is to father them, instruct them, rear them up in the [nature] and admonition of the Lord. That they may have faith, knowledge and wisdom to be directed in wisdom's way. A number of [moves] have been made, to effect that order, and get it established. But nothing seemed to prevail, until they got a wise master Free Mason to come and establish a lodge amongst them. That he accordingly did, in the beginning of 1842. That a general gathering to them insued -- that they for months, took in three a day, and are a taking in yet. Also establishing lodges in the branches of the Church out.

This master Mason instructed them in many good things, such as there was some few degrees of Masonry for the fair sex of the land. That such encouraged the Mormon sisters. They soon came together and formed a lodge. But altered the name, that they could be distinguished from the lodge of the men. That they called the ladies benevolent society. They often met in union, and received many instructions, in their daily moves, by the authorities of the Church, got their society organized, that much encouraged many; as all, both old and young was privileged to unite with it, by being recommended as worthy sisters, in the Church of Latter Day Saints. -- They continued their meetings from time to time, until it was made known to them, that had been regular members, that there was certain degrees of Masonry for them to receive.

As I was passing over the Temple lot,
It being on high ground, I looked on the flats.
I there saw fixings of different sorts,
Some near by, others afar off.
I saw a society formed by the females,
That of it, much was said.
I saw their ambition was to go ahead.
By being governed by the authorities of the Church.
That from them they received instruction
In many good things, such as some few degrees
Of Free Masonry, it was their privilege to receive,
To be better prepared to meet,
The coming of the Son of Man.
They continued their meetings,
And soon formed a lodge,
And decided the first degree of Masonry to receive,
That was for each one to keep their secrets.
They often met in union,
With feelings of the best kind,
And received instruction,
That added much to their joy.
As I got somewhat wearied in mind,
At what I saw daily amongst them take place,
I on a rise of ground, was catched in a drowse,
[-------tly and] fishermen of skill,
Spread a net far into the waters,
And commence to haul in.
As the cords were tightened from time to time,
The fish became uneasy, some flounced and flopped,
But as they found themselves entangled,
With cords not a few, they submitted to their lot.
I soon saw the net arrive near shore,
That had enclosed, fish of all sorts and sizes.
I saw the fishermen that had long waited for fish,
All as one put into the water,
And picked out such as they liked,
The rest they let go for some future haul.
As I awoke from my slumbers,
In May of eighteen hundred and forty-two,
The interpretation came to my view.
As I was still on the Temple Lot,
I saw many females together meet,
But to their surprise they were entangled in law,
That they could not themselves.
They finally seemed to become submissive to their lot,
And go forward as instructed,
By the authority of the Church.
As the cords were tightened from time to time,
That they were brought into subjection,
And a rush was made for a plurality of wives.
I saw difficulty that soon arose;
As all pitched for the young and handsome,
But to get in accordance they cast lots,
And decided to make another haul.
The old they let go to toll others in,
That caused many to mourn,
To think they had to be left.
That was the second degree of Free Masonry.

["The Absurdities of Mormonism Portrayed" by Oliver Olney, pg. 10-11]
[For a more readable version, click here]

Joseph Smith

1 May 1843

As you will see in William Clayton's journal, Joseph was 
making a visit to Flora Woodworth.

"<​Monday​> May 1. 1833 1843 rode out. fore noon & afte[r]noon"

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 2 May 1843]

William Clayton 

1 May 1843

"May 1 M J to L W"


This is code for "Married Joseph to Lucy Walker.

William Clayton's Journal

1 May 1843

May 1st, (1843) A.M. At the Temple. At 10 married Joseph to Lucy Walker. P.M. at Prest. Joseph's; he has gone out with Woodworth. Affidavit, p. 225 

On the 1 st day of May, 1 843, 1 officiated in the office of an Elder by marrying Lucy Walker to the Prophet Joseph Smith, at his own residence. During this period the Prophet Joseph took several other wives. Amongst the number I well remember Eliza Partridge, Emily Partridge, Sarah Ann Whitney, Helen Kimball and Flora Woodworth These all, he acknowledged to me, were his lawful, wedded wives, according to the celestial order. His wife Emma was cognizant of the fact of some, if not all, of these being his wives, and she generally treated them very kindly. Letter, p. 78 I had the honor to seal one woman /Lucy Walker Smith/ to Joseph under his direction. 

Joseph Smith's 

2 May 1843

Tuesday May 2d— 1843. rode out in the fore noon.

P.M. “Maid of Iowa”383 arrivd from St Louis. Sister Emma & Lorin Walker retur[n]ed. on the Bank of the river waiting their arrival 3 oclock P.M.— W[illiam]. W. Phelps retur[n]ed from Louisville.

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 2 May 1843]

William Clayton's Journal

2 May 1843

2 May 1843, Tuesday Nauvoo 2 

May 2nd ... Talked with Jane Charnock. she loves me & would sooner unite to me than R. Joseph rode out to day with Flora W. 

Land Deed
for Flora Woodworth

13 May 1843

"<​Deed Joseph Smith to Flora Ann Woodworth for L 3 in B 142 of Nauvoo.​>"

Joseph Smith owns the property and deeds it to sixteen year old Flora Woodworth. He gave 75% of his plural wives, land. Why was Joseph giving property to a sixteen year old girl?

[Land Deed for Flora Woodworth, 13 May 1843]

Land Deed
Helen Mar Kimball

7 June 1843

"This Indenture made and entered into this seventh day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty three between Joseph Smith as sole Trustee in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints of the county of Hancock and State of Illinois of the first part and Hellen [Helen] Mar Kimball of the county of Hancock and State aforesaid of the Second part Witnesseth that the said Joseph Smith party of the first part, for and in consideration of the Sum of fifty dollars to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm unto the said Hellen Mar Kimball party of the Second part her heirs and assigns forever all that tract or parcel of land situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois known and described as follows, to wit:— The East undivided third part of the North East quarter of Lot number two in Block number one hundred and eighteen of the City of Nauvoo— commencing at the North East corner of said lot and running thence South five and ahalf Rods thence West two Rods, thence North five and a half Rods thence East two Rods to the place of beginning Together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining— To have and to hold the above described premises unto the said Hellen Mar Kimball party of the Second part her heirs and assigns forever."

[Land Deed for Helen Mar Kimball, 7 June 1843]

Joseph Smith's

12 June 1843

Monday June 12th. 1833 1843. at the office in the A.M.

P.M. called at the office for a warrant for catherin Mullinr vs John Edger.— did not obtain it. [[married to R Rids [Rhoda Richards] and Willard Richa[r]d<​s​> married to Susan Liptrot]]509 that is about 40 saints arrived from Peterboro New Hampshire among whom was father Coles [Austin Cowles] who had been absent on a mission.

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 12 June 1843]

Vilate Kimball's letter to Heber

29 June 1843

Joseph Bates Noble took Sarah B. Alley as his first polygamous wife. Together they had a child, that Noble incorrectly assumed was the first child born in polygamy. Sarah Alley was pregnant sometime in 1843 and she evidently told Vilate Kimball of this fact. We learn more from the letter Vilate wrote to her husband shortly afterward:

"It was commited to Sarah [Moon, whom Heber had married in 1842] and she was requested not to tell me, but she said she concidered me a part of her self and she would tell me, and I might tell you for it was just what you had prophesyed would come to pass. Now if you know what you have said about sarah Abby [i.e., Sarah B. Alley] then you have got the secret, for it is even so and she is tickled about it and they all appear in better spirits than they did before. How they will carry it out, is more than I know. I hope they have got more faith than I have.

[Vilate Murray Kimball, Letter to Heber C. Kimball, June 29, 1843, holograph, LDS Church Archives; also quoted in Gary Bergera's paper]

Land Deed
Mary Elizabeth Rollins

5 July 1843

"This Indenture made and entered into, This fifth day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty three between Joseph Smith, as Sole Trustee in Trust, for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of the county of Hancock, and State of Illinois of the First part, and Mary E[lizabeth Rollins] Lightner of the county of Hancock and State aforesaid, of the Second part, witnesseth, that the said Joseph Smith, party of the First part, for and in consideration of the sum of Fifty dollars, to him in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby grant, bargain, sell, convey, and confirm unto the said Mary E Lightner party of the Second part, his <​her​> heirs and assigns forever, all that tract or parcel of land, situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois known and described as follows, to wit: the South East quarter of Lot number Four in Block number one hundred and forty five of the City of Nauvoo. together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining."

[Land Deed for Mary Elizabeth Rollins, 5 July 1843]

Joseph Smith

12 July 1843

Wednesday July 12 Receivd a Revelation in the office in presence of Hyrum [Smith]. & Wm Clayton

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 12 July 1843]

William Clayton

12 July 1843

Sunday 9th. A.M at the Grove. Pres. J. preached 12 July 1843, Wednesday Nauvoo 2 Wednesday 12th 

This A.M, I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives & concubines &c. After it was wrote Prests. Joseph & Hyrum presented it and read it to E. who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious. J told me to Deed all the unincumbered lots to E. and the children He appears much troubled about E.

12 July 1843

Section 132:1

Verily thus Saith the Lord, unto you my Servent Joseph, that inasmuch as you have enquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I the Lord justified my Servents Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; as also Moses, David and Solomon my Servents as touching the principle and doctrin of their having many wives, and concubines.

[Revelation 12 July 1843, 1st paragraph]

Joseph Smith's Journal

14 July 1843 (back of the page)

April 1842 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith
April 27 Wm Clayton to Margaret Moon by JS. At HCKs
May 1 Lucy Woodworth Walker to Joseph see Clayton's journal
July 20 My to O Hyde
        22 W Clayton to Ruth Moon
Oct 20 B. F. Johnson to Wife Melissa L Barron by Hy Smith
Nov. 11 W Woodruff &  Phebe W. Carter
          21 Edward Lawrence & Marg. Butterfield
                            by W Clayton

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 14 July 1843]

William Clayton's Journal

23 August 1843

23 August 1843, Wednesday Nauvoo 2 

Wednesday 23rd. ... Prest J. told me that he had difficulty with E. yesterday. She rode up to Woodworths with him & caled while he came to the Temple. When he returned she was demanding the gold watch of F. he reproved her for her evil treatment. On their return home she abused him much & also when he got home, he had to use harsh measures to put a stop to her abuse but finally succeeded ... This evening I had some more conversation with Margaret & find she is stubborn and disposed to abuse me. I fell resolved to break my feelings from her if I possibly can. 

William Clayton's Journals

15 September 1843

Friday 15th. A.M at Prest. J's afterwards at the Temple Office all day. Evening Prest. J. met me & I returned with him to O. Spencers to borrow $1400.- to clear his farm from an incumbrance laying on it which fact Esq. Skinner has ascertained on searching the Records. 

Prest.J. told me he had lately had a new item of law revealed to him in relation to myself. He said the Lord had revealed to him that a man could only take 2 of a family except by express revelation and as I had said I intended to take Lydia he made this known for my benefit, to have more than two in a family was apt to cause wrangles and trouble. He finally asked if I would not give L to him I said I would so far as I had any thing to do in it. He requested me to talk to her.

Joseph Smith's 

20 September, 1843

"Wednesday Sept 20 1843 Rode out to his farm."

On this day, Hyrum Smith sealed Cornelius Lott to his wife, Permelia Darrow Lott, "for time and Eternity" "with the seal of Presadent Joseph Smith."

On this same day, according to the Lott Family Bible (pictured below) and in her affidavit in the Temple Lot Case, Malissa Lott was also sealed to the prophet Joseph Smith as his thirty first polygamist wife [Malissa Lott, deposition, Temple Lot transcript, respondent’s testimony, part 3, pages 102, question 181].

[Joseph Smith's Journal, 20 September 1843]

Lott Family Bible

20 September 1843

"September the 20 C. P. Lott and Permelia Lott 
gave their daughter Malissa to wife."

What's interesting about this is that there is no husband listed for this marriage date, however, in the second column at the top, when Melissa marries after Joseph Smith dies, she is labeled as "Malisa Smith."

[Lott Family Bible, 20 September 1843] 

"The fact that the parents are sealed on the same day, that's important and why it's important is because Joseph Smith has a practice, especially with these early marriages, of trading favors" is what it's called. He would trade eternal salvation for parents like his friend Heber Kimball for their daughter and so the reason why we're pointing that out is you can draw pretty parallel lines between his marriages and the favors that are 
given to family members..."

-Lindsay Hansen Park

[Mormonism LIVE! The Evidence that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, time stamp 50:22-51:00]

Heber C. Kimball 
Letter to Vilate Kimball

23 September 1843

While possibly insignificant there is a line in one of Heber C. Kimball's letters to his wife Vilate:

"What misery there is in this world I think we are the best of anny others that I can see in my travels."

Heber could be referring to the fact that when he travels as a missionary he would also be looking for more polygamous wives, as was the case with Sarah Peak Moon.

[Heber C. Kimball letter to Vilate Kimball, 23 Sept. 1843]

 Lucina Johnson Cahoon


According to historian, Gary Bergera, Reynolds Cahoon was among the first polygamists in the church. Bergera writes:

Evidence for Reynolds Cahoon's early plural marriage apparently exists only in Cahoon family history. [Family history books] both report Cahoon's plural marriage to Lucina Roberts Johnson, a widow, sometime in late 1841 or early 1842. Lucina had married Peter Henry Johnson (born 1801) on November 24, 1824. She had six children before Peter died in 1838. Lucina evidently bore Cahoon a daughter, named Lucina Johnson Cahoon, about 1843, who died shortly after birth.

[Gary Bergera, Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, pg. 6]

In the book titled "Reynold Cahoon and his stalwart sons" on page 78 we read the following:


Reynolds Cahoon and his second wife, Lucina Roberts had three children.

Lucina Johnson Cahoon, bom about 1843, probably Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, died as child.

Rais Bell Cassen Reynolds Cahoon, born October 13th 1845, Nauvoo, Hancock (County, Illinois, died February 11th, or 27th, 1911.

Truman Carlos Cahoon, born January 18th 1850, Salt

Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, died February 4th 1911.

[Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons, pg. 78]

Land Deed
for Mary Ann Bosley

26 January 1844

In a coded way, John C. Bennett said that Mary Ann Bosley was one of Joseph Smith's plural wives. [History of the Saints by John C. Bennett, pg 256]

"This Indenture made and entered into this twenty sixth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty four between Joseph Smith and Emma Smith his wife of the County of Hancock and State of Illinois of the one part and Mary Ann Bosley of the county and State aforesaid Witnesseth that the said Joseph Smith and Emma Smith his wife for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged do hereby grant bargain sell convey and confirm unto the said Mary Ann Bosley her heirs and assigns forever all that tract or parcel of land situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois viz the north half of the north half of Lot number two in Block number one hundred and one of the city of Nauvoo..."

[Land Deed for Mary Ann Bosley, 26 January 1844]

 George Omner Noble

2 February 1844

 Joseph Bates Noble and Sarah B. Alley (his first polygamous wife) had a son named George Omner Noble, born Feb 2, 1844.


Daniel Albert Clayton

18 February 1844

William Clayton and Margaret Noon (his first polygamous wife) had a son named Daniel Albert Clayton, born Feb 18, 1844.


Land Deed
for Jane Gully

20 May 1844

Jane Gully, in a coded way, was also referenced in John C. Bennett's book. [History of the Saints by John C. Bennett, pg 256]

"This Indenture made and entered into this twentieth day of May in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight hundred and forty four Between Joseph Smith as sole Trustee in Trust, for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints of the County of Hancock and State of Illinois of the first part, and Jane Gulley of the County and State aforesaid of the Second part witnesseth, that the Said Joseph Smith, party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one Thousand dollars, to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby Grant, Bargain, Sell convey, and confirm unto the Said Jane Gulley party of the Second part her heirs and assigns forever all that tract or parcel of land Situate and being in the county of Hancock in the State of Illinois, known and described as follows, to wit: Lot number Two in Block number one hundred and forty one of the City of Nauvoo..."

[Land Deed for Jane Gully, 20 May 1844]

Nauvoo Expositor

7 June, 1844

“...our petitions were treated with contempt; and in many cases the petitioner spurned from their presence, and particularly by Joseph, who would state that if he had sinned, and was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned; for it would detract from his dignity, and would consequently ruin and prove the overthrow of the Church. We would ask him on the other hand, if the overthrow of the Church was not inevitable, to which he often replied, that we would all go to Hell together, and convert it into a heaven, by casting the Devil out; and says he, Hell is by no means the place this world of fools suppose it to be, but on the contrary, it is quite an agreeable place: to which we would now reply, he can enjoy it if he is determined not to desist from his evil ways; but as for us, and ours, we will 
serve the Lord our God!” 


They are visited again, and what is the result? They are requested to meet brother Joseph, or some of the Twelve, at some insulated point, or at some particularly described place on the bank of the Mississippi, or at some room, which wears upon its front— Positively NO admittance. The harmless, inoffensive, and unsuspecting creatures, are so devoted to the Prophet, and the cause of Jesus Christ, that they do not dream of the deep laid and fatal scheme which prostrates happiness, and renders death itself desirable, but they meet him, expecting to receive through him a blessing, and learn the will of the Lord concerning them, and what awaits the faithful follower of Joseph, the Apostle and Prophet of God, when in the stead thereof, they are told, after having been sworn in one of the most solemn manners, to never divulge what is revealed to them, with a penalty of death attached, that God Almighty has revealed it to him, that she should be his (Joseph’s) Spiritual wife; for it was right anciently, and God will tolerate it again: but we must keep those pleasures and blessings from the world, for until there is a change in the government, we will endanger ourselves by practicing it – but we can enjoy the blessings of Jacob, David, and others, as well as to be deprived of them, if we do not expose ourselves to the law of the land. She is thunder-struck, faints, recovers, and refuses. The Prophet damns her if she rejects. She thinks of the great sacrifice, and of the many thousand miles she has traveled over sea and land, that she might save her soul from pending ruin, and replies, God’s will be done, and not mine. The Prophet and his devotees in this way are gratified.

[Nauvoo Expositor]

Here, William Law is referencing the stories of Martha Brotherton and Louisa Beaman.

In another place in the Preamble of the Nauvoo Expositor, it was written:

“...our petitions were treated with contempt; and in many cases the petitioner spurned from their presence, and particularly by Joseph, who would state that if he had sinned, and was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned; for it would detract from his dignity, and would consequently ruin and prove the overthrow of the Church. We would ask him on the other hand, if the overthrow of the Church was not inevitable, to which he often replied, that we would all go to Hell together, and convert it into a heaven, by casting the Devil out; and says he, Hell is by no means the place this world of fools suppose it to be, but on the contrary, it is quite an agreeable place: to which we would now reply, he can enjoy it if he is determined not to desist from his evil ways; but as for us, and ours, we will serve the Lord our God!” 

Heber C. Kimball letter to Vilate Kimball

3 September, 1843

"You have my first and best and Eternal love fore time and Eternity," he added on September 3, 1843. "And I pray God the Eternal Father to let you live while I live, fore thare is no Soul that can fill your place in my heart."

[Heber C. Kimball, Letter to Vilate Kimball, September 3, 1843, holograph, LDS Church Archives; Quoted by Gary Bergera's paper Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841-44, pg. 14]

Austin Cowles
Nauvoo Expositor

7 June, 1844

In the latter part of the summer, 1843, the Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet; that the said Hyrum Smith did essay to read the said revelation in the said Council, that according to his reading there was contained the following doctrines; 1st. the sealing up of persons to eternal life, against all sins, save that of shedding innocent blood or of consenting thereto; 2nd, the doctrine of a plurality of wives, or marrying virgins; that “David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not save in the matter of Uriah. This revelation with other evidence, that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practiced in the Church, determined me to leave the office of first counselor to the president of the Church at Nauvoo, inasmuch as I dared not teach or administer such laws. And further deponent saith not. 

Henry Kimball


Sometime in 1844, according to family records, Heber C. Kimball and Sarah Peak Moon (his second polygamous wife) had their second child together, a boy named Henry. There are no records of Henry in the wagon train going west, it is likely that he died before the family left for Utah. It is possible that Henry was not born until after Joseph Smith's death, but less likely that he was unaware of Sarah's pregnancy by Heber.

Again, as part of the Twelve Apostles, having his second child with a woman who was not his wife (if we are to believe that Brigham Young was the originator of the revelation) why would Joseph continue to allow this to happen unless he authorized it?

[Records of Sarah Peak Moon and Heber C. Kimball's children] 

In his book about Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney fails to list a second son named Henry who was born in 1844. He does, however, given Adelbert the middle name of "Henry." Without more evidence of the existence of a second son, it might be likely that Henry is the same person as Adelbert or Adelmon. However, the fact that the child's name is different on his death notice in Nauvoo, it is also a likelyhood that Whitney could have been mistaken.

[The Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney, pg. 430]

Non-Contemporary Evidence

Messenger & Advocate
Sidney Rigdon


In 1844, during the succession crisis, Sidney Rigdon started his own faction of Mormonism. In the first re-publication of the Rigdonite Messenger and Advocate on January 1, 1845, Sidney Rigdon reiterates the new factions religious beliefs by saying: 

"Jacob the Nephite prophet, had like trouble in his church; the saints ran greedily after these corruptions, and endeavored to incorporate the doctrine of polygamy into their faith; excusing themselves because David and Solomon had many wives and concubines, which Jacob said, was an abomination in the sightt of the great God, and for which they were overthrown as a church, and the Lamanites posseesed their inheritances as being more worthy..."

"As to the "ancient order of things," of which so much has been said, whereby they would fain make us believe, refered to David and Solomon's time, one word only need be said: The most "ancient order" I know of, is that of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden; If it is designed by the Almighty that man should have more than one wife; it looks to me, that God dealt very partial with Adam in the morning of creation, when their society would have been indeed pleasant to him, beside greatly facilitating the peopling and "replenishing the earth." Is not the "ancient order" which is to be brought about in the last days, that very order which existed in "Paradise?" Is it not promised that"the Lion shall eat straw like the ox? That there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain?" That the curse will be removed from the earth, and it shall yield its strength? Surely this is the "ancient order" for which we look.

I pray God, to open the eyes of those who are "led astray" before they become alike corrupt. Was Nathan an apostate, because he told king David of his abominations, and warned him to repent? Were Jer., Ezkl. and many other prophets, apostates, because they proclaimed against the iniquity of high functionaries of the church? has Sidney Rigdon apostatised, because he would not sanction polygamy in the church of Christ?

It may be urged that those who disavow such works of darkness, and knowing that they exist at Nauvoo, are inexcusible for their silence. To such, I would merely say, there is a time for every thing, and he is a fool who cries "tidings my lord" when he has no tidings communicate."


Oliver Olney


Oliver Olney wrote another pamphlet in 1845 titled 
"Spiritual Wifery at Nauvoo Exposed."

              Of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints;
To you and all other lovers of honesty, peace, truth and righteousness I recommend the perusal of the following pages, in order that you may be truly informed of the corruption and iniquity of the people of Nauvoo, and also the present movements and future designs of the leaders of that community.

Having lately visited Nauvoo and spent a few days in the city, and being an Elder in the church, I have had a good opportunity to become acquainted with the secret designs and measures of the twelve and their adherents, and can vouch for the truth of the information herein given.

Were it not that I have heretofore upheld by my voice and influence the people of that place, and especially their leaders, I should consider my testimony against them at the present uncalled for, but in view of the foregoing fact, I publish to the world the few following items of truth that all who may choose to gain information, may be truly informed upon this (to many,) very important subject, and if it shall be the means of saving a few souls from the wily and practised destroyers of innocence, the writer will have gained his point.



    Being an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it is therefore my Priesthood and calling, to teach the pure principles of truth and righteousness to all ranks and conditions of the Itemast family, and also to warn them against the multitude of errors and false doctrines that are abroad in the land, and with this view of things before me I enter with no very pleasant feelings upon the duty which now seems to devolve upon me.

It is well known to most of you at least, (who are members of the church) that upon the death of our beloved Prophet and patriarch Joseph and Hyram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, then resident at Pittsburgh, Pa., returned to Nauvoo and was excommunicated from the church, and since that time the church has been under the sole guidance and management of the Twelve."

How far their management and practice has been in accordance with the principles of Peace, Virtue and Truth, I shall leave the candid and mind unbiassed to judge after becoming acquainted with the principles taught and practised by them at the present time.

If you have not heretofore been informed of the fact, I will now inform you that the orders of the twelve are to every member of the church throughout the United States, who can, to make ready to leave Nauvoo as soon as grass grows sufficient to sustain teams on the way and go to California, in order that they may be free from the persecutions of the Gentiles, and also to fulfil the words of The Prophet, where he warns the people to "hide themselves in their chambers as it were, for a little moment until the indignation be overpast." (Isa. 26-20.) Thus claiming the projected move of themselves and followers into the western wilderness to be the fulfilment of the words of the Prophet.

Again, in order to stir up the lukewarm and "to confirm the weak hands and strengthen the feeble knee," it has been proclaimed on the stand in the Temple, by Orson Hyde, one of the twelve, that this very anticipated emigration of the church will fulfill the saying of John the Revelator: 12th chapter.

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven -- a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, (5th verse). And she brought forth a manchild, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught unto God and to his throne, (6th verse). And the woman fled into the wilderness where she hath a piece prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days. Mr. Hyde said, "This church is the woman, Brethren and Sisters, and Joseph is the man child, and be has been caught up, and we have the testimony of Rigdon, that he is in heaven, for he says he has seen him sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High. Thus you see brethren and sisters, that this scripture is its actual fulfilment, and the church Will be nourished in the wilderness for a time, times, and a half which will be about --- but I will leave the time for your own consideration."

Thus spake the Great Apostle Orson, upon the application of that Scripture which forms the first necessary prerequisite to the establishing of the church in 1830, viz: (the fact that it must have been in the wilderness or it could not have come out of it,) thereby fulfilling Rev. 14-6. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, &c."

Now those of my readers who are at all acquainted with the pure principles of Mormonism as taught by the Elders heretofore, most assuredly know, that from our martyred Brothers Joseph and Hyrum down to the weakest Elder who has ever spoken or written upon the subject, we have been taught that the woman represents the church with its officers at its head, and the manchild representing the authority of said church was taken from their midst, at which time the church went into the wilderness or in other words, descended into popery, (570 after Christ,) since which time it has remained in the wilderness unto the consummation of the 1260 days (or years,) which brings us to the year 1830, the time of the restoration of the priesthood and establishing of the church with its attendant blessings, thus fulfilling Rev. 14-6 concerning the mission of the angel and forming a bulwark and foundation which fifteen years of the most powerful opposition has not be enable to overthrow.

As may well be supposed I was much astonished at such an application of Scripture as was given by Mr. Hyde, and supposed it was so applied to cheer up some, if any there were, who might hesitate about joining the general movement.

I therefore spoke to some few with whom I was acquainted, upon the subject, and was still more astonished to hear those whom I had supposed to be capable of exercising, an opinion of their own declare they had never heard it applied otherwise and that it was perfectly plain, that it would be fulfilled when the church emigrated and not before.

I endeavored to reason with them and show them that, according to the Scripture, the woman brought forth the manchild, but if it applied to the church emigration and to Joseph, it will be assuming that the manchild brought forth the woman, for Joseph brought forth and established the church in the year of our Lord, 1830.

Such plain reasoning as this had no effect and bore no weight with them. Thus I discovered that any thing spoken by the twelve was swallowed down without any regard to its truth or falsehood.

I remarked that the Elders who had preached heretofore had preached by the spirit of God, and I believed they had made a right application of said Scripture, and I did not believe that God was so much of a lawyer as to make a portion sacred writ apply one way to-day and another way to-morrow.

From an old lady present who had been ordained to the priesthood under the hand of Brigham Young and who had been practicing the duties of an Elder, viz; the laying on of hands, I received the following answer:

"Brother Olney, Br. Brigham says "Learn to mind your own business, to obey counsel and to hold your tongues, and you will all get along well enough.

On the following morning I met Mr. Hyde in the street and asked him if the saints were to receive his explanation of the said scripture as correct, or whether he so explained for the purpose of encouraging the fainthearted.

With a foppish turn of the body, a nod of the head accompanied by a wave of the hand, he replied, "That is as I understood it, good morning Brother Olney," and passed along, leaving me to wonder a this deceit which was but too apparent.

Let us now, for a moment, see whether God requires us to follow the teachings of such men and thus be led into the wilderness. They say to the people that it is the will of God for all his saints to flee into the wilderness, and to this end there has been Elders sent to almost every State in the Union to proclaim to the saints that if they will obey the counsel at the twelve and go into to the western wilds they will there establish a government and kingdom in which they can enjoy, unmolested, that liberty of conscience and freedom of speech which they have in vain sought for at the hands of the rulers of this republic and that God will sustain them and protect them from their enemies until they are secure from them, and then the wicked will destroy the wicked and thus leave the broad lands of the continent of America to them and their posterity, at which time they will inherit thrones, dominions, principalities and powers which will continue through the countless ages of eternity.

See last Edition Book Cov., page 400; given of Jan. 19th, 1841.

"I will show unto my servant Joseph, all things pertaining to this house (the Temple) and the Priesthood thereof and the place whereon it shall be built, and, ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it. If ye labor with all your mights I will consecrate that spot, that it shall be made holy, and if my people will hearken unto my voice and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people. behold, verily, I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place."

*   *   *

And it shall come to pass that if you build a house auto my name and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands saith the Lord, for instead of blessings, ye, by your own works bring cursings, wrath, indignation and judgments upon your own heads by your follies and by all your abominations which you practice before me saith the Lord." Now behold ye and see, my friends who believe the revelations which have come forth by our Prophet Joseph "that if the saints would hearken unto the voice of God they should not be moved out of their place."

And again, even if the house should be built, if they have not observed to keep the commandments of the Lord, they should not receive their expected blessings and endowments but should bring curses, wrath, indignation and judgments upon their own heads. Now let the twelve take which horn they please and see if they can make such removal coincide with the revelations of God, in which they profess to believe.

Their removal will be proof ample that they are in transgression, if not, "they shall not be moved out of their place." And if they endeavor to remain, they must be driven by the people of Illinois (so says P. P. Pratt) which will go conclusively to show that they have not kept the commandments, and hearkened to the counsel of the Lord; see, Book Cov., page 385, given 1834, 2nd verse "But verily, I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them. Behold, they shall, for I have decreed it begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour, and by hearkening, to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet and the earth is given to the Saints to possess it for ever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them, for they were set to be a light unto the world and to be the saviors of men, and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is, thenceforth, good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of man." Thus you see that if they are moved out of their place, it is in consequence of their transgression, and if they remain and are prevailed against, it is a proof of transgression, and the twelve say they must be driven unless they leave of their own will. But remember God decreed that if they hearkened to his counsel and obeyed his precepts they shall not be prevailed against but should prevail against all the kingdoms of the world. Thus I have given in short, abundant evidence to show that the saints are not required to go into the wilderness but may remain where they choose at present, and with an eye single to the glory of God, wait until you can see the disorganized and headless body of the church re-organized and established by having its proper authority and priesthood at its head: See Book of Cov., page 129, 3d verse.

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord, unto you with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs according [to] the flesh and have been hid from the world with Christ in God, therefore, your life and the priesthood hath remained and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began." Now inasmuch as it is plain that the church as well as the leaders, are in transgression. We must come to the conclusion that the head and body both being corrupt, the purity and chastity of the whole organization has fled to parts unknown. Therefore, let us, as servants of God, be watchful and prayerful -- watchful that we be not caught in the snares of the evil one, and prayerful that the Lord will speedily call to the work one of that linage with which the priesthood must needs come by power, therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man who shall lead them like as (not where) Moses led the children of Israel, for ye are the children of Israel and of the seed of Abraham."

This was given in the year 1834 before which time the Prophet Joseph was raised up, yet here is a positive declaration to have its fulfilment in the future from that time, thereby showing that another prophet must be raised up, and according to page 129 which I have, heretofore quoted, he must be of that lineage with whom the priesthood has remained, and must still remain, -- Therefore Brethren and Sisters let us in view of this important subject; follow no man or set of men, until we can see who will next rise up at the call of God, and show forth a true authority and a pure priesthood; I freely acknowledge that the twelve should have stood in their office and held the keys of the priesthood, and guided the affairs of the church, (unless they were found in transgression,) in connection with the other authorities of the church, until God should raise up a head to the quorum of first Presidency, or in other words until such times as one of that lineage should stand up to claim and exercise the authority of his priesthood. But, the twelve having gone into measures not compatible with the pure principles of righteousness have fallen from high and exalted station to which God has raised them to a level with The brute beast that yields every motion to the promptings of that passion, which at the time may chance to have the preeminence.

Perhaps some of you my readers may think this to be the overflowings of a heart full of prejudice, but I assure you I visited Nauvoo with the intention and expectation of making it my winter's residence, and for the purpose of receiving blessings and endowments in the Temple. yes, I expected to realize the truth of what I had read in the "Times and Seasons," and "Nauvoo Neighbor," and had on my way to that place used my utmost ability to free the twelve from what I considered foul calumny and vile aspersions against their character, but judge my surprise and disappointment when I came to see with my own eyes, and hear with my own ears, I found Nauvoo a sink of iniquity inhabited by a people whose leaders are whoremongers instead of those who I fondly thought were among the first to contemn vice and foster the germs of virtue and truth, that thereby the saints might be brought into the bonds of perfectness. Our prophet Joseph said to the people that he did not want any to leave Nauvoo till the Temple was finished, and then after receiving their endowments they might scatter abroad upon the face of the land and preach the Gospel, raise up the branches, establish stakes and build Temples on all the land of Zion, which he said was the continent of America knowing as he did that if they kept the commandments of God, they should never cease to prevail. Thus the important question is, will the people of Nauvoo prevail or are they in transgression in consequence of which they are to be moved out of their place.

Methinks every honest lover of truth must agree with me that the church is now guided by such men as are not led by the spirit of the living God; but are speedily forsaking every principle of truth and honesty, and are now living on the ill-gotten spoils of their corrupted authority, while thousands of the honest hearted scattered abroad in the world are (by paying tithing) supporting them in their luxury and extravagance. Although as I have written that I found Nauvoo a sink of iniquity, I do not mean to be understood that all are so practising upon their own judgment, but hundreds are so bound up in the belief that the twelve are pure, paying no regard to the reasonableness of their requirements that it is often said, "If we obey counsel and commit sin to so doing it will not lie at our doors but will be answered upon the heads of the twelve for so teaching us." This is the confidence which that people have in the twelve, to the exclusion of all honor, truth, justice. peace, mercy and righteousness.

The building of the Nauvoo House is wholly abandoned, its bare walls and large piles of brick near by exposed to the weather, presenting a striking contrast to the view which would be presented if the measures of the martyred Prophet were to he carried out as he designed. A desperate effort is being made to finish the Temple, although hundreds yea thousands of dollars of the tithing is appropriated to the subsistence of the twelve, the bishops and their prostitutes, thereby requiring an extra amount of tithing to what would be necessary for the use to which it should be applied. In view of such a state of things, my heart bleeds and my feelings burst forth in sorrow to think of the many who must be as I am sadly disappointed, when they learn that they are led by those who are utterly destitute of every principle that tends to exalt a man in the scale or being, or make him noble in the eyes of his Creator, in consequence of which, our mites which have been joyfully cast in for the building of the House of the Lord, are applied to the subsistence and aggrandizement of themselves and their prostitutes; and the honest hearted left no relief or consolation but to mourn over the depravity of fallen man, and strive to shun the vortex of ruin into which others are daily plunging. And such are the men influenced by such passions, who have only to speak the word, and no crime is too horrible, no act however mean and degrading, too low for their police, (as they are called,) to perform in order to carry out the designs of their superiors.

Having given a few testimonies from the Book of Covenants, and also from my own personal observation, I shall leave this part of the subject matter of my little work, trusting that the honest in heart will treasure up the truth, which will enable there to judge between good and evil, that they may practice the good all the day long that when the night cometh they may be called upon to enter into the joys of their Lord.

Since writing the foregoing I have perused a pamphlet written by Wm. Smith, Brother of the Prophet, and formerly one of the twelve, and patriarch in which be has (as far its my knowledge extends) set forth plainly and clearly the corruptions of Nauvoo and its leaders, and I can recommend the perusal of it to all honest hearted saints to whom it may come, by which it will be seen that he renounces all their secret designs and unhallowed measures, and still stands forth as a herald of the pure Gospel of Christ.

(From the Times & Seasons.)

Oh give me back my Prophet dear,
   And Patriarch, O give them back;
The Saints of latter days to cheer,
   And lead them in the gospel track.
But ah! they're gone from my embrace,
   From earthly scenes their spirits fled;
Those two, the best of Adam's race,
   Now lie entombed among the dead.

Ye men of wisdom tell me why,
   When guilt nor crime in them were found,
Why now their blood doth loudly cry,
   From prison walls, and Carthage ground
Your tongues are mute, but pray attend,
   The secret I will now relate,
Why those whom God to earth did lend,
   Have met the suffering martyr's fate.

It is because they strove to gain,
   Beyond the grave a heaven of bliss;
Because they made the gospel plain,
   And led the Saints in righteousness.
It is because God called them forth,
   And led them by his own right hand
Christ's coming to proclaim on earth,
   And gather Israel to their land.

It is because the priests of Baal
   Were desperate their craft to save;
And when they saw it doomed to fail,
   They sent the Prophets to the grave.
Like scenes the ancient Prophets saw,
   Like these, the ancient Prophets fell;
And till the resurrection dawn,
Prophet and Patriarch -- Fare well. 

A brief outline of the transactions in and about Nauvoo may be found in the remainder of this work, As I before stated I visited Nauvoo with the strongest assurance that I should find it a place of piety and virtue, but I found it a place where profane language is in common use with all classes, yea I have heard God's name profaned in the presence and hearing of the twelve, and instead of reprimanding the swearer one of them excused the matter to me by saying that "the person used to be an infidel, but is a first rate fellow now."

The twelve often meet in council, to give advice to any who may choose to ask it, and also to give orders to those in authority under them; and one such occasion I have witnessed where three six shooters (revolving Pistols) were laid on the centre table and one fifteen shooter (rise) stood in the corner to protect the persons of the twelve, although an armed guard are posted every night around the city and every street guarded by police, armed with (some of them) large heavy canes with an iron or steel point, also pistols and bowie knives, and others around the houses of the twelve thus shielding them from any intrusion in the night time, and in the day time they are (unless they are secreted for fear of being arrested for some of their misdemeanors) walking in the streets, in their Broadcloths while their followers are tolling to support them in their luxury and extravagance.

As it respects the late troubles in the county I am prepared to say in truth as follows:

The twelve by their unbounded influence over their subjects, and by teaching that the people round about them are gentiles and that the saints are to "suck the milk of the gentiles," have created such a state of feeling in the breasts of their followers that they think it is no sin for them to "suck a little," just now, and in fact, I have heard prominent men such as High Priests and Presiding Officers say that if a gentile comes in their way the best way to do is to put him "out of the way," as quick as possible. Such sentiments thrown out by the people at Nauvoo have not failed to create a response on the part of the settlers, and the feeling has been fanned into a flame that will ere spring (I opine) burn too hot for Mormons. Yea, even to their expulsion from the state, and for this reason.

A stipulation has been mutually agreed to by both Mormons and anties, that hostile operations and maneuvers should cease on both sides, and also that the Mormons should leave Nauvoo as soon as grass grows sufficient for teams to subsist upon.

Yet still the Mormons have been visited by writs to bring some offenders (of which class there are many) to justice; which serves as a pretext for the Mormons to send out armed forces, numbering from 50 up to 200, who on horseback scour the prairie between Nauvoo and Carthage, (as they say) in search of "Prairie Chickens," and latterly as if this was not enough; a body of these men have been to Carthage, and entirely broken up the court which was in session at that place, (so I heard one of the men engaged in the transaction declare,) so that none of the brethren could be tried at that court if arrested, but probably there will be none arrested, for Brigham says to the people to "give them what is in their guns first and then use them to the best advantage before they submit to an arrest."

The judge of the court in company with some of the lawyers of the county, visited Nauvoo to inquire the reason of the breaking up of the court in such a manner, but received nothing satisfactory, except a tirade from John Taylor (one of the twelve,) which, he the judge carried away rankling and festering in his own bosom.

Another evidence of their purity and holiness, may be gathered from the fact that at the houses of some of the twelve, I have seen from three to five young females, whose prolific appearance indicates a great increase of posterity in the temporal kingdom, to say nothing of a great number of married women who are sealed to different ones in high standing in the church, and (as I have been taught from their own mouths,) believe it to be their privilege before God to raise up as many children here in the flesh as they can, that they may have a greater kingdom to rule over in eternity; and on being asked how many women it is one's privilege to beget children with, the answer was, "As many as he can maintain." Thus making it an object among themselves, (except the twelve, the bishops, the Temple committee and some other privileged characters,) who help themselves out of Temple funds; to enter largely into speculating engagements, that thereby upon their income they may support (if they have no husbands to support them) those unhallowed and polluted vestiges of humanity, with whom they practise such abominations under the guard of righteousness; as must make the heavens weep, and the earth mourn, in witness to the fallen and degraded state of those who are to be "a light unto the world and also the saviors of men." And whose privilege it was to bring in everlasting righteousness, to make the earth bloom as Eden and to gather Israel from the dispersions, preparatory to the coming of the Messiah and establishing of the celestial kingdom of God, when the earth and the fulness thereof shall be given into the hands of the most High.

Another important item in the present teachings of the twelve, is that "At the time of receiving their washings and anointings of their endowments, all marriages will be declared void, and every person have the privilege of choosing for him or herself, by a mutual agreement, that is, if two choose to remain together it is their privilege to do so, but neither one can retain the other, if he or she chooses to depart and live with another. Oh shame! where is thy blush? Furthermore, it is said by the redoubtable Brigham, that "when the church once gets away from Nauvoo, if any find any fault with the twelve, their heads shall come off, and none shall ever return to tell their tales!"

Another of his sayings is, "It is better that an innocent man should suffer death, than that a crime should be proven against any one of the twelve, even if he were guilty."

Another is, "The Bible is no more to the people of this generation than a last year's almanac, for I am all the bible needful for the people now, if they will obey my counsel."

Another testimony of the purity of that people is the fact that a High Priest of that place told me that he had witnessed the deaths of five mobocrats at the hands of Mormons on the prairie, and also that the catfish of the Mississippi had scraped the bones of some who had better have kept away from Nauvoo.

The "anointing and washing" as it is jocosely called, is practised frequently upon those offenders who are not judged worthy of death, which is covering them from head to foot with filth obtained from the vault of some necessary in the city, and then casting them into the river.

Alas! for the purity of such a people, when their renowned head is upholding them in, and urging them on to deeds of shame and degradation, no where equalled in the annals of history, but which must stand forth in bold relief, as a warning to any who may hereafter be called to stand in as high and holy a calling as were these men who have now sacrificed every honest and virtuous principle at the shrine of female corruption, and justly merited a portion with those who are left without the city, such as (see Rev. 22:16) "Dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

Another heart-rending fact in the present history of Nauvoo is that hundreds of honest hearted females are there, who have no means with which to get away, and scarce any means of subsistence there, except at the expense of virtue, and who are continually subject to the importunities of those fiends in human shape who, after having gratified their passions for lust, will, straightway, upon the public stand, declare before God and the Angels, that no system of spiritual wifery is practised or tolerated by them, when perhaps some of their victims are at the very time upon their knees in secret beseeching God to forgive them for yielding in an unguarded moment to their seducers, and to open a way for their escape from he folds of their destroyers, that, perchance, by a life of morality, virtue and piety, they may atone for the weakness of a moment, and at last gain an inheritance with the saints of God. Think not, my readers, that this is a fancy piece, or the suggestions of an over excited imagination, for it is but a few out of the thousands of the testimonies that might be brought to show that virtue and truth have fled from their midst, and vice, in almost every form, has stalked forth, and holds, unchecked by any pure principle, the sway over almost the entire community, while the publications -- "Times and Seasons" and "Neighbor" -- would fain make the people at a distance believe that Nauvoo is pure as was Eden at first, and that the people are the innocent but persecuted people which they once were. I blush for the depravity of my fellow-man, and were it not for some hopes for the future, I should be disposed to loathe the society of human intelligences, and in the deep recesses of the forest learn the man was exalted only that he might be abased, and virtue nourished only, for a time that vice might the more strikingly exhibit the contrast, and cast mankind to a depth from which they might never arise, but to witness their own depravity, and weep over the last sad remains of a miserable existence.

But I yet hope for the future, and pray God that he will soon reorganize, his kingdom, and preserve all the honest in heart from the hand of the spoiler until everlasting righteousness is brought in, and his saints inherit the kingdom prepared for them from before the foundation of the world, even so, Amen.

O. OLNEY.      

Copy of a letter received from Br. Wm. Smith, dated,

St. Louis, Nov. 4th, 1845.    

    Dear Brother, -- I understand you have arrived in this city from Nauvoo, on this steamer Boreas, and as many of the saints are leaving that that place, the cause is plainly evident to every honest and discerning mind, whether their stay has been long or short there, that such is the declining state of morality, and such the departure from the old and pure principles of religion, as laid down in our books and as taught by my brothers, Joseph and Hyram, that hundreds must be inevitably ruined by the damnable heresies that have crept into the church, whereby many are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, &c., unless they are redeemed by a speedy and bold exertion on the part of the honest and uncorrupted Elders of Israel.

As I understand you are about to publish your sentiments, for the, purpose of exposing their works of darkness, it is to be hoped that your praiseworthy and laudable undertaking of exposing these wolves in sheep's clothing, their secret abominations, their plans of seduction, crime, cruelty, false claims, unhallowed pretensions and base subterfuges, may be blessed to the saving of souls from ruin. It is my counsel and advice that all the saints remain where they are, and not remove to Nauvoo. Let the Elders continue preaching the gospel in its original purity, and follow no spurious twelve. Let the saints continue to hold meetings, preach and pray, do good &c., until a general conference can be held, and all things regulated according to the pattern given by the revelations of God, and if you please you may give this, entire, a place in your pamphlet for the benefit and instruction of the saints. Wishing them and all mankind, in company with yourself, salvation through obedience to the requirements of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
            Your friend and brother,
                        In the new and everlasting covenant.
                              WM. SMITH.
                        Patriarch of the Church.

[Spiritual Wifery at Nauvoo Exposed by Oliver Olney, 1845]

William Clayton 

16 February, 1874

During this period the Prophet Joseph frequently visited my house in my company, and became well acquainted with my wife Ruth, to whom I had been married five years. On day in the month of February, 1 843, date not remembered, 22 the Prophet invited me to walk with him. During our walk, he said he had learned that there was a sister back in England, to whom I was very much attached. I replied there was, but nothing further than an attachment such as a brother and sister in the Church might rightfully entertain for each other. He then said, "Why don't you send for her?" I replied, "In the first place, I have no authority to send for her, and if I had, I have not the means to pay expenses." To this he answered, "T give you authority to send for her, and I will furnish you with means," which he did. This was the first time the Prophet Joseph talked with me on the subject of plural marriage. He informed me that the doctrine and principle was right in the sight of our Heavenly Father, and that it was a doctrine which pertained to celestial order and glory. After giving me lengthy instructions and information concerning the doctrine of celestial or plural marriage, he concluded his remarks by the words, "It is your privilege to have all the wives you want." After this introduction, our conversations on the subject of plural marriage were very frequent, and he appeared to take particular pains to inform and instruct me in respect to the principle. He also informed me that he had other wives living besides his first wife Emma, and in particular gave me to understand that Eliza R. Snow, Louisa Beman, Desdemona W. Fullmer and others were his lawful wives in the sight of Heaven.

[Affidavit by William Clayton, February 16, 1874, CHL, MS 3423;]

John D. Lee
Mormonism Unveiled


In his book, John D. Lee speaks on the Peace Maker pamphlet, discussed above, mistakenly attributing it to a "Sidney" instead of to Udney Hay Jacobs, which might have simply been a mistakes of the final editors of his book.

"During the winter, Joseph, the Prophet, set a man by the name of Sidney Hay Jacobs, to select from the Old Bible such scriptures as pertained to polygamy, or celestial marriage, and to write it in pamphlet form, and to advocate that doctrine. This he did as a feeler among the people, to pave the way for celestial marriage."

[Mormonism Unveiled by John D. Lee, pg. 146]

Joseph C. Kingsbury 

22 May 1886

"Bishop Newel K. Whitney handed me the Revelation… the day [after] it was written or the day following and stating what it was asked me to make a copy of it. I did so, and then read my copy of it to Bishop Whitney, who compared it with the original to which he held in his hand while I read to him. When I had finished reading, Bishop Whitney pronounced the copy correct and Hyrum Smith came into the room at the time to fetch the original. Bishop Whitney handed it to him. I will also state that this copy, as also the original are identically the same as published in the present edition [1876] of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

[Joseph C. Kingsbury, Affidavit dated May 22, 1886, MS 3423, CHL.]

Captain Olney 

Mormon Portraits, 1886

NOTE: Wymetal got the date wrong for this Sangamo Journal article, it was published on September 23, 1842 (as quoted above) and led me to the original article.

Captain Olney, another decent man who left the church because of Joe's abominations, declared in the 
Sangamo Journal, Sept. 14, 1842 :

"I wish to make a public withdrawal from the church of Latter Day Saints, as I cannot longer consent to remain a member of said church while polygamy, lasciviousness and adultery are practiced by some of its leaders. That critnes of the deepest dye are tolerated and practiced by them cannot be doubted. I have heard the circumstances of Smith's attack upon Miss Rigdon, from the family as well as from herself; and knowing her to be a young lady who sustains a good moral character, and also of undoubted veracity, I must place implicit confidence in her statement. The facts of Smith's wishing to marry her as a spiritual wife, of his attack upon her virtue, his teachings of his having the blessings of Jacob, etc., are true. The letter published, purporting to be from Smith to Miss Rigdon, was not in Smith's handwriting, but in that of Dr. Willard Richards,* who officiated not only as scribe but post boy for the prophet, and who did say that he wrote the letter as dictated by Joseph Smith. George W. Robinson was formerly Joseph's secretary and general Church clerk and recorder, and I have heard Smith say that Robinson was the bravest man in the Mor7non Band and that he (Robinson) had not a drop of cowardly blood in his veins.

There is, additionally, a footnote beneath this section in the book that reads:

*"Apostle Richards died in Salt Lake, many years afterwards. The quantities of whiskey he could stand were a caution to many a staunch expert in that line. He kept up here relations with married women to whom he had been sealed in Nauvoo. A choice lot of wives, left by him among his other moveable property, were " married " by a relative of his en bloc. Such a transfer of human cattle is called "proxy-marriage" by Mormon theologians. "Human cattle " is an ugly phrase, but it is Mormon enough, being an echo of Kimball's " cows."

[Mormon Portraits by Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal, pg. 291]"

William Law Interview 

Published on 31 July 1887

In 1887, a man named Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal (sometimes known as Wilhelm Wyl) interviewed William Law. There are parts of this interview that show that it was indeed Joseph Smith that came up with the revelation for polygamy and a few things that "polygamy deniers" rely on for the theory that Brigham Young authored the revelation on polygamy. For the sources used by those who want to deny that Joseph Smith authored this revelation I have put them in red, to make them stand out. Only parts of the interview are quoted below.


"Did Emma, the elect lady, come to your house and complain about Joseph?"

"No. She never came to my house for that purpose. But I met her sometimes on the street and then she used to complain, especially because of the girls whom Joseph kept in the house, devoting his attention to them. You have overrated her, she was dishonest."

“Do you mean to say that she was so outside of the influence Joseph had over her?”

“Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Let me tell you a case that will be full proof to you. Soon after my arrive in Nauvoo the two L[awrence] girls came to the holy city, two very young girls, 15 to 17 years of age. They had been converted in Canada, were orphans and worth about $8000 in English gold. Joseph got to be appointed their Guardian, probably with the help of Dr. Bennett. He naturally put the gold in his pocket and had the Girls sealed to him. He asked me to go on his bond as a guardian, as Sidney Rigdon had done. “It is only a formality,” he said. Foolishly enough, and not yet suspecting anything, I put my name on the paper. Emma complained about Joseph's living with the L[awrence] girls, but not very violently. It is my conviction that she was his full accomplice, that she was not a bit better than he. When I saw how things went I should have taken steps to be released of that bond, but I never thought of it. After Joseph”s death, A. W. Babbitt became guardian of the two girls. He asked Emma for a settlement about the $8000. Emma said she had nothing to do with her husband”s debts. Now Babbitt asked for the books and she gave them to him. Babbitt found that Joseph had counted an expense of about $3000 for board and clothing of the girls. Now Babbitt wanted the $5000 that was to be paid Babbitt, who was a straight, good, honest, sincere man, set about to find out property to pay the $5000 with. He could find none. Two splendid farms near Nauvoo, a big brick house, worth from $3000 to $4000, the hotel kept by Joe, a mass of vacant town lots, all were in Emma”s name, not transferred later, but transferred from the beginning. She always looked out for her part. When I saw how things stood I wrote to Babbitt to take hold of all the property left by me in Nauvoo and of all claims held by me again in people in Nauvoo. And so the debt was paid by me–Emma didn't pay a cent.”

“How about Dr. Bennett?”

“Bennett was very smart and clever, but a thorough scoundrel. Never could find out the reason of his downfall. Mrs. Pratt was a most excellent, pure woman, but the fact that Bennett visited her sometimes, was used by Joseph to ruin her character. He had his spies everywhere, and if a woman refused him, he sent his fellows out to whisper stories around about her.”

“What do you remember about Emma's relations to the revelation on celestial marriage?”

“Well, I told you that she used to complain to me about Joseph's escapades whenever she met me on the street. She spoke repeatedly about that pretended revelation. She said once: “The revelation says I must submit or be destroyed. Well, I guess I have to submit.” On another day she said: “Joe and I have settled our troubles on the basis of equal rights.” * * * Emma was a full accomplice of Joseph's crimes. She was a large, coarse woman, as deep a woman as there was, always full of schemes and smooth as oil. They were worthy of each other, she was not a particle better than he.”

“Did you ever hear of abortion being practiced in Nauvoo?”

“Yes. There was some talk about Joseph getting no issue from all the women he had intercourse with. Dr. Foster spoke to me about the fact. But I don't remember what was told about abortion. If I heard things of the kind, I didn't believe in them at that time. Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this.”

“What do you know about the revelation on polygamy?”

“The way I heard of it was that Hyrum gave it to me to read. I was never in a High Council where it was read, all stories to the contrary notwithstanding. Hyrum gave it to me in his office, told me to take it home and read it and then be careful with it and bring it back again. I took it home, and read it and showed it to my wife. She and I were just turned upside down by it; we did not know what to do. I said to my wife, that I would take it over to Joseph and ask him about it. I did not believe that he would acknowledge it, and I said so to my wife. But she was not of my opinion. She felt perfectly sure that he would father it. When I came to Joseph and showed him the paper, he said: ”Yes, that is a genuine revelation.” I said to the prophet: ”But in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants there is a revelation just the contrary of this.” ”Oh,” said Joseph, ”that was given when the church was in its infancy, then it was all right to feed the people on milk, but now it is necessary to give them strong meat” We talked a long time about it, finally our discussion became very hot and we gave it up. From that time on the breach between us became more open and more decided every day, after having been prepared for a long time. But the revelation gave the finishing touch to my doubts and showed me clearly that he was a rascal. I took the revelation back to my wife and told her that Joseph had acknowledged it. ”That is what I fully expected.” said she. ”What shall we do?” said I. She advised me to keep still try to sell my property quietly for what I could get. But I did not follow her advice. My heart was burning. I wanted to tread upon the viper.”

“You returned the revelation to Hyrum?”

“Yes, I did. I was astonished to see in your book that the revelation was such a long document. I remember DISTINCTLY that the original given me by Hyrum was MUCH SHORTER. It covered not more than two or three pages of foolscap. The contents are substantially the same, but there was not that theological introduction. The thing consisted simply in the command of doing it, and that command was restricted to the High Priesthood and to virgins and widows. But as to Joseph, himself, the Lord”s chosen servant, it was restricted to virgins only, to clean vessels, from which to procure a pure seed to the Lord.”

[Dr. W. Wyl (Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal) interview with William Law in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, 30 March 1887, The Daily Tribune, Salt Lake City – 31 July 1887]

Orson F. Whitney
"Life of Heber C. Kimball"


In his book about Heber C. Kimball, Orson Whitney makes an interesting remark:

"But the woman he was commanded to take was an English lady named Sarah Noon, nearer my mother's age, who came over with the company of Saints in the same ship in which father and Brother Brigham returned from Europe. She had been married and was the mother of two little girls, but left her husband on account of his drunken and dissolute habits. Father was told to take her as his wife and provide for her and her children, and he did so.*

Footnote: "*Heber was told by Joseph that if he did not do this he would lose his Apostleship and be damned."

[Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney, pg. 336]

Reed Smoot Hearings

Congressional Record, Dec. 13, 1906 

Senator Julius C. Burrows of Michigan, made the following statement:

“In order to induce his followers more readily to accept this infamous doctrine, Brigham Young himself invoked the name of Joseph Smith, the Martyr, whom many sincerely believed to be a true prophet, and ascribed to him the reception of a revelation from the Almighty in 1843, commanding the Saints to take unto themselves a multiplicity of wives, limited in number only by the measures of their desires.... Such the mythical story palmed off on a deluded people.”

[I have no way to access to this document or verify it]

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