Notes on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: A Timeline

a time line of Joseph Smith's Polygamy, and events surrounding the breakup of the Nauvoo experiment.

a time line of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, and events surrounding the breakup of the Nauvoo experiment.

The history of polygamy in the LDS Church is certainly interesting. Perhaps more than any other issue, it has given me a somewhat naturalistic view of the church and church history. It has helped me to reevaluate my views on God, revelation, prophetic gifts and spiritualism. (I still have many strong spiritual beliefs)

As I’ve gotten older and learned more, I’ve been forced to nuance my once highly orthodox views. I’ve replaced my view of Joseph Smith as a god-like Saint who stood next to Jesus in wisdom and righteousness to a view that Joseph was simply one of many clairvoyant spiritualist (prophets) who played a key role in a divinely inspired nineteenth century political and religious restorational movement which revolutionized the world (and is paving the way for the restoration of Israel–see this article).

I’ve moved past the polarized views which most LDS and anti-mormon ideologues try to force upon others—one which requires you to take sides in whether the man was a saint or a charlatan. I realize that he was what he was, and forming rigid opinions on things which can’t be difinitively proven isn’t going to help me be a happier person. The historical sources seem to suggest he did a lot of good and also caused a lot of division and ill feelings through some very unorthodox religious views and social practices. In my experience it seems that the ideological issues surrounding Joseph Smith and religion in general, boil down to the effects of men who try to use God, or dead prophets as a means to legitimize their own authority over others.  Those who have fallen prey to this type of modern idolatry often become very upset when the reasons they trusted and obeyed others fail to hold up to logical scrutiny.

But once you free yourself of that subservience from manipulation, you can begin to look at Joseph and all others with love and objectivity regardless of their behavior. (Joseph’s own council in D&C 121:41–42 concerning “no power or influence… being upheld by virtue of priesthood authority” was a major aid in helping me do this.)

Maybe Joseph had sex with Fanny maybe he didn’t (see church topical essays). Either way, Fanny, her parents and Emma all seem to been fine with it, at least for some time afterward.  Joseph almost certainly slept with Lucinda Pendleton… but yet her husband also seemed totally fine with both the open marriage and the later eternal sealing to Joseph. Maybe Joseph did or didn’t sleep with the other 30 or so women he was wed to in the last few years of his life. To me, Joseph’s arguments for moral relativism given to Nancy Rigdon are both religiously convincing and consistent with naturalistic logic. And looking at the whole situation naturalistically, who cares if a bunch of consenting adults decided to enter into a bunch of crazy polyandrous relationships? (Obviously, we should care when teens, or even young immature adults are pulled into these types of sexual relationships, especially if religious manipulation or flaming swords are involved).

If we are to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt, and concede that he was receiving revelations from an exalted extra-dimensional group, or even from the biblical Jesus himself, wouldn’t we expect and hope their revelations aligned with the principles of agency? That if Joseph and this group were burning with lust from religiously repressed sexual desire, that these beings would eventually give revelations that religiously unblocked the desires these people were repressing? Like a father saying “look, I’ve told you multiple times that monogamy has been historically proven to be the most stable sexual relationship, but if you and your community want to experiment with unorthodox polyandrous sexual arrangements, go ahead and try it out so you can learn from your own experiences the difficulties inherent in these forms of sexuality.”

What I, and I think many, find troubling about this whole polygamy debacle is the religious fanaticism involved from beginning to end. It was too often presented with the excuse “I didn’t want to do this, but God made me do it”.  Us Mormons still use this excuse to the world “we only tried polygamy because God commanded us to!”  Whether it be the manipulation involved in the institution of plural marriage or the idolatrous deceit involved in its termination; the actions of men were constantly blamed on the God of creation.  I’m not fundamentally opposed to polygamy or unorthodox sexual arrangements, but to me these excuses leave a sour taste in my mouth because they sound a lot like the one’s my 5 year old uses when they misunderstand my counsel and get in trouble for doing something stupid.

For my faith, I think the most relevant aspect of the Mormon Polygamy experiment was that it teaches me how fallible all men (especially my church leaders) really are. It teaches me to be very wary of anyone who uses their priesthood (religious position) to legitimize their “power or authority”.  The whole issue helps me to keep my religious views founded on love (Christ), I try to remember that the erroneous statements or acts of Joseph or other Church leaders do not negate the good these men do. I judge each act and statement independently, gleaning from any good I can and rule my life according to my own personal inspiration


Note: In fairness. Although it is obvious that polygamy was one of the largest if not the single largest contributing factor to Joseph Smith’s murder and the schism of the early church, cases have been made that Joseph did not have sex with any of his plural wives. Some have put forth arguments to suggest that Joseph took plural wives to protect assorted women from what had become a polygamous “free for all” in the Nauvoo experiment. And that he was commanded to reveal polygamy because its “what the people wanted”. The reader can decide whether these arguments have any merit.

see Why I am not Persuaded Joseph Smith had Sex with Plural Wives
And Without Disclosing my True Identity appendix 2

A lot of the “Notes” below are facts corroborated by multiple first hand witness and historical documents. However, much is also complete here-say. It is important to for each individual to do their own research and try as best as they can to separate the fact from the fabrication.

Event Name Start Date End Date Category Notes

Marriage – Joseph to Emma Hale 18 Jan 1827 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Smith enlisted the help of a third treasure-seeker to obtain Emma Hale as a wife according to the requirement of Moroni. Emma did not mention her father’s claim that this happened while he was away from home on business, but later told her children, “I was visiting at Mr. [Josiah] Stowell’s, who lived at Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell’s, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, aided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented.” The couple eloped on 18 January 1827 (1879, 289; I. Hale 1834, 363; HC 1:17; D. Hill 1977, 69; Youngreen 1982, 5-6). In commenting about this, Mormons typically speak of romance and Smith’s love for Emma as the reason for their elopement (e.g. Cadwell 1879). It is more probable, however, that Smith risked alienating his parents-in-law from his new bride by eloping—not for love alone—but to fulfill the requirement of Moroni.PLACE: South Bainbrudge, NYSOURCE: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.140-141

Marriage – Joseph to Fanny Alger, age 16 Apr 1833 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Fanny Alger is Joseph’s first known plural wife, whom he came to know in Kirtland during early 1833 when she, at the age of 16, stayed at his home as a housemaid. Described as “a varry nice & Comly young woman,” according to Benjamin Johnson, Fanny lived with the Smith family from 1833 to 1836.Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, recalled that the prophet’s “servant girl” claimed he had made “improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people.” Mormon Fanny Brewer similarly reported “much excitement against the Prophet…[involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection.”Former Mormon apostle William McLellin later wrote that Emma Smith substantiated the Smith-Alger affair. According to McLellin, Emma was searching for her husband and Alger one evening when through a crack in the barn door she saw “him and Fanny in the barn together alone” on the hay mow. McLellin, in a letter to one of Smith’s sons, added that the ensuing confrontation between Emma and her husband grew so heated that Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery had to mediate the situation. After Emma related what she had witnessed, Smith, according to McLellin, “confessed humbly, and begged forgiveness. Emma and all forgave him.” While Oliver Cowdery may have forgiven his cousin Joseph Smith, he did not forget the incident. Three years later, when provoked by the prophet, Cowdery countered by calling the Fanny Alger episode “a dirty, nasty, filthy affair.”Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship: “Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house”.SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p.291At least one account indicates that Fanny became pregnant. Chauncy G. Webb, Smith’s grammar teacher, later reported that when the pregnancy became evident, Emma Smith drove Fanny from her home (Wyl 1886, 57). Webb’s daughter, Ann Eliza Webb Young, a divorced wife of Brigham Young, remembered that Fanny was taken into the Webb home on a temporary basis (Young 1876, 66-67). Fanny stayed with relatives in nearby Mayfield until about the time Joseph fled Kirtland for Missouri.Fanny left Kirtland in September 1836 with her family. Though she married non-Mormon Solomon Custer on 16 November 183614 and was living in Dublin City, Indiana, far from Kirtland, her name still raised eyebrows. Fanny Brewer, a Mormon visitor to Kirtland in 1837, observed “much excitement against the Prophet … [involving] an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family and under his protection” (Parkin 1966, 174).SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.8

Marriage – Joseph to Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, age 37 Jun 1838 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date inknown, sometime in 1838, Joseph Smith likely married Lucinda in 1838 when she was staying at the Harris home in Far West (History of the Church, vol. 3, pg. 9). This is supported by a statement made by Mrs. Sarah Pratt, “Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph had made his dastardly attempt on me [in 1842], I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: ‘How foolish you are! Why, I am his mistress since four years’.” (Mormon Portraits, 1886, pg. 60)PLACE: Far West, MISOURCE: Historical Record 6:33: “Lucinda Harris, also one of the first women sealed to the Prophet Joseph”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 60; 4 Apr. 1899 sealing, Salt Lake Temple Sealing Records, Book D, 243;

Smith possible father of John R. Hancock (by Clarissa Reed Hancock) Jul 1840 19 Apr 1841 Pregnancy Presently, there is only anecdotal evidence that Clarissa Reed Hancock (Mother of John Reed Hancock) was a plural wife of Joseph Smith. DNA testing would shed further light in this regard.

Smith defends church member for “sleeping with two women” 06 Feb 1841 Polygamy Smith tells the Nauvoo high council not to excommunicate Theodore Turley for “sleeping with two females,” requiring him only to confess “that he had acted unwisely, unjustly, imprudently, and unbecoming.”PLACE: Nauvoo High Council MeetingSOURCE: Minutes of the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Nauvoo Illinois, 6 Feb 1841

Marriage – Joseph to Louisa Beaman, age 26 05 Apr 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Joseph B. Noble officiatingSOURCE: Noble affidavit, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 2:102; Erastus Snow affidavit, in Historical Record 6:232, 233; speech by Joseph Noble, 19 Dec. 1880, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Emma carries child, premature baby dies at birth Jun 1841 06 Feb 1842 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record

Smith possible father of George A. Lightner (by Mary Elizabeth Rollins) Jun 1841 12 Mar 1842 Pregnancy Mary Elizabeth Rollins, married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner since 11 August 1835, was one of the first women to accept the polyandrous teachings of the Prophet. “He was commanded to take me for a wife,” she wrote in a 21 November 1880 letter to Emmeline B. Wells. “I was his, before I came here,” she added in an 8 February 1902 statement.Brigham Young secretly sealed the two in February 1842 when Mary was eight months pregnant with her son George Algernon Lightner. She lived with Adam Lightner until his death in Utah many years later.In her 1880 letter to Emmeline B. Wells, Mary explained: “I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Things the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with.” She added on 23 January 1892 in a letter to John R. Young: “I could explain some things in regard to my living with Mr. L. after becoming the Wife of Another, which would throw light, on what now seems mysterious–and you would be perfectly satisfied with me. I write this; because I have heard that it had been commented on to my injury”SOURCE: Mormon Polygamy in Nauvoo, Richard Van Wagoner, Dialogue, Vol.18, No.3, p.77

Smith tells 19 year-old married woman that she must marry him or an angel with a sword will slay him 25 Oct 1841 25 Oct 1841 Polygamy Already married, 19 year-old Zina remained conflicted with Smith’s polygamy proposal “until a day in October, apparently, when Joseph sent [her older brother] Dimick to her with a message: an angel with a drawn sword had stood over Smith and told him that if he did not establish polygamy, he would lose “his position and his life.” Zina, faced with the responsibility for his position as prophet, and even perhaps his life, finally acquiesced.” They were secretly married within days.SOURCE: In Sacred Loneliness, page 80-81

Marriage – Joseph to Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs, age 20, already married 27 Oct 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Smith marries a woman polygamously who lives with her legal husband. Elder Dimick B. Huntington officiating. Brigham Young University would later name one of its residence halls after her. Zina D. Huntington would also marry Young after Smith’s death, her legal husband standing in as witness. This is the first of a dozen known cases of polyandry in Mormon history.SOURCE: Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:5, 4:5, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” 348; Historical Record 6:233;

Smith preaches that what people call sin is not sin 07 Nov 1841 Polygamy Smith preaches: “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down;”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.445PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Prescendia Lathrop Huntington, age 31, already married 11 Dec 1841 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Dimick B. Huntington officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact Date unknownPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Agnes Moulton Coolbrith, age 33 06 Jan 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Widow of Joseph’s brother, Don Carlos SmithSOURCE: Brigham Young journal, 6 Jan. 1842, LDS archives and Marriott Library; Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. A**** S****”; Testimony of Mary Ann West in U.S. Circuit Court (8th Circuit) Testimony (1892), Manuscript Transcripts, 521, questions 676-79, LDS archives; Nauvoo Female Relief Society Minutes, 28 Sept. 1842, 89, LDS archives and Lee Library.

Smith says an angel with a sword has visited him three times about polygamy 10 Jan 1842 Polygamy Faithful member Mary Elizabeth Lighner publicy stated:“Much has come and gone from me through the powers and vicissitudes of this Church. I have been in almost every mob. I have been driven about and told I would be shot and had a gun pointed at me, but I stayed with the Church until it was driven from Nauvoo. The words of the Prophet that had been revealed to him always have been with me from the beginning to the end of the gospel. Every principle that has been given in the Church by the prophet is true. I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know and I know what I testify to you is the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah, it is true. And when you stand before the bar you will know. He preached polygamy and he not only preached it, but he practiced it. I am a living witness to it. It was given to him before he gave it to the Church. An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle, he would slay him.””Well,” said I, “don’t you think it was an angel of the devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, it was an angel of God. God Almighty showed me the difference between an angel of light and Satan’s angels. The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me. “But,” said he, “they called me a false and fallen prophet but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before. I know that I shall be saved in the Kingdom of God. I have the oath of God upon it and God cannot lie; all that he gives me I shall take with me for I have that authority and that power conferred upon me.”SOURCE: Testimony of Sister Mary Lightner, Address to Brigham Young University, April 14th, 1905, BYU Archives and Manuscripts, see also

Smith and Young propose to young woman to enter in polygamy 15 Jan 1842 Polygamy Martha Brotherton, a young Nauvoo woman, was allegedly approached by Brigham Young in Joseph Smith’s private office. “Were it lawful and right,” Brotherton reported Young as saying, “could [you] accept of me for your husband and companion? . . . 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 . . . if you will accept of me, I will take you straight to the celestial kingdom.” Brigham then left the room and returned ten minutes later with the Prophet. “Just go ahead, and do as Brigham wants you to,” Brotherton reported Smith as saying. “I know that this is lawful and right . . . 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.” Martha noted she begged for time to consider, then left for Saint Louis, where she published her story in the 15 July 1842 St. Louis Bulletin.PLACE: Joseph Smith’s private office, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: St. Louis Bulletin, 15 July 1842

Marriage – Joseph to Mary Elizabeth Rollins, age 23, already married 17 Jan 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage In a sworn affidavit, Mary Lightner said, “Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in the Masonic Hall, over the old brick store by Brigham Young in January 1842 and then again in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C. Kimball.” (Original sworn affidavit owned by Mrs. Nell Osborne of Salt Lake City, February 8, 1902).Mary also admitted her marriage to Joseph Smith in a public address. She said in part, “I am the first being that the revelation was given to him for and I was one thousand miles away in Missouri, for we went up to Jackson County in 1831 ….. I went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham young performed the sealing, and Heber C. Kimball the blessing. I know Joseph Smith had six wives and I have known some of them from childhood up. I knew he had three children [by his plural wives]. They told me. I think two are living today, but they are not known as his children as they go by other names.” (Mary Lightner,1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg. 2-3)PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Sylvia Sessions, age 23, already married 08 Feb 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Sylvia Sessions told her daughter Josephine that Joseph Smith was her biological father. Josephine left an affidavit stating that her mother, Sylvia, on her deathbed told her (Josephine) that she (Josephine) was the daughter of Joseph Smith.SOURCE: Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, fd. 5, 1:60, 4:62, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” affidavit #77 (unsigned, but supporting evidence makes this marriage close to certain); Historical Record 6:234; affidavit by Josephine Lyon Fisher, Sylvia’s child, 24 Feb. 1915, LDS archives; Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph Smith III, 25-26, LDS archives.

Emma carries child, boy dies shortly after birth Mar 1842 26 Dec 1842 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record,

Marriage – Joseph to Patty Bartlett Sessions, age 47,already married 09 Mar 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Patty Sessions was sealed to Joseph Smith on March 9, 1842 as indicated by her personal journal entry, “I was sealed to Joseph Smith by Willard Richards March 9, 1842, in Newel K. Whitney’s chamber, Nauvoo, for time and all eternity ….”PLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Marriage – Joseph to Nancy Marinda Hyde, age 27, already married Apr 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Ten years earlier, Smith had been tarred and feathered for supposedly seducing Nancy at age 16 while staying with her family. Nancy was likely taught polygamy by Joseph when her husband, Orson Hyde, was on his mission to Palestine. In 1841, Nancy was given a direct revelation through Joseph to “hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph in all things whatsoever he shall teach unto her” (History of the Church, vol. 4, pg. 467). In May 1844 Nancy would become pregnant with Smith’s child while Hyde was on another mission (sent by Smith). She later divorced Hyde and voiced her disgust of polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith journal, LDS archives, a list of marriages in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock, entered after 14 July 1843: “Apr 42 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith,” in Scott Faulring, ea., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1989), 396. For a second marriage to Joseph Smith, in May 1843, see Marinda Hyde affidavit, 1 May 1869, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:15,

Smith proposes secret plural marriage to 19 year-old Nancy Rigdon 10 Apr 1842 10 Apr 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith invited Nancy Rigdon, nineteen-year-old daughter of his close friend and counselor, Sidney Rigdon, to meet him at the home of Orson Hyde. Upon her arrival Smith greeted her, ushered her into a private room, then locked the door. After swearing her to secrecy, wrote George W. Robinson, Smith announced his “affection for her for several years, and wished that she should be his…the Lord was well pleased with this matter…here was no sin in it whatever…but, if she had any scruples of conscience about the matter, he would marry her privately.”Incredulous, Nancy countered that “if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all.” Grabbing her bonnet, she ordered the door opened or she would “raise the neighbors.” She then stormed out of the Hyde-Richards residence.The next day, Smith wrote Nancy a letter, where he justified his advances, saying ” That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. … Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. … even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.” This is his first written statement of theocratic ethics.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, Sidney Rigdon Biography by Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.295

Marriage – Joseph to Elizabeth Davis, age 50, already married May 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. D*****”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 54; Jackson, A Narrative, 14, links Elizabeth with Patty Sessions as a Mother in Israel who helped arrange polygamous marriages for Joseph. Patty Sessions was certainly married to Joseph. Emily Partridge, Autobiography, 4, LDS archives, shows Elizabeth relaying a marriage proposal to Emily, which confirms Jackson. Joseph often relied on previously married wives to educate and recruit new plural wives. A Nauvoo temple proxy marriage to Joseph is good supporting evidence, Sealing and Adoption Book A, 505; cf. p. 385: “Elizabeth Davis Smith.”

Endowment Introduced 04 May 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith introduced the temple endowment to seven men at a meeting in the room over his store in Nauvoo. A few others received endowments before completion of the temple.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: page 343 Deseret News Church Almanac 1993-1994 ed. [Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News 1992]

Smith initiates nine men into secret Quorum of Anointed 04 May 1842 05 May 1842 Polygamy Smith organizes the Quorum of Anointed or Holy Order of the Priesthood, and intitiates nine men into what would later be called the “temple endowment.” He excludes first counselor Rigdon and assistant counselor John C. Bennett. Women do not participate until 28 Sept. 1843.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Three women testify that Smith taught “spiritual wifery” 29 May 1842 Polygamy Three women testify that Assistant President John C. Bennett and Apostle William Smith taught them that Smith approved of “spiritual wifery” wherein several men have sexual relations with the same woman. The women testifying were Margaret and Matilda Nyman and Catherine Fuller Warren. The report of the Nymans was later printed in the 29 May 1844 Nauvoo Neighbor. The sisters said that Elder Chauncy Higbee had advised them that Smith approved of “spiritual wifery” but gave instructions to keep the matter a secret because “there was no sin when there is no accuser.” Catherine Fuller Warren in her 20 May 1842 testimony responded to charges of “unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with John C. Bennett and others” by admitting to having intercourse not only with him but with Chauncy Higbee and the prophet’s younger brother, Apostle William Smith. Speaking in her defense, however, she insisted that the men had “taught the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women and that the heads of the Church also taught and practised it which things caused her to be led away thinking it to be right.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Minutes of The High Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 24 May 1842, Nauvoo Neighbor 29 May 1844 edition

Smith performs secret plural mariage for Brigham Young 14 Jun 1842 Polygamy The first fully-dated plural marriage performed by Smith occurs for Young and Lucy Decker Seeley.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Eliza R. Snow, age 38 29 Jun 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Brigham Yong officiatingPLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Church newspaper publishes phrenoloy chart of Smith, described as ‘passionately fond of the company of the other sex.’ 02 Jul 1842 02 Jul 1842 Polygamy The church newspaper The Wasp publishes a phrenology chart of Smith’s head and personality. The first trait is “Amativeness-11, L[arge]. Extreme susceptibility; passionately fond of the company of the other sex.” The official History of the Church still publishes this chart, along with the caution that such a high score indicates “extreme liability to perversion” in the trait.SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.53PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith attempts to seduce wife of Orson Pratt leads to suicide attempt 15 Jul 1842 Polygamy Thousands of Nauvoo Mormons search for Orson Pratt after discovering a suicide note. They find him distraught because Smith, according to Pratt’s wife, had tried to seduce Pratt’s wife Sarah.PLACE: Navuoo, IL

Orson Pratt votes against defense of Smith virtuous conduct 22 Jul 1842 Polygamy Pratt votes against a public resolution in defense of Smith’s virtuous conduct.SOURCE: Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.33PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Revelation – Polygamy (never canonized or officially published) 27 Jul 1842 Polygamy Pior to his marriage to Newel Whitney’s 17 year-old daughter, Sarah Ann Whitney, Joseph Smith recevied and recorded a revelation on polygamy, which remains in LDS church archives. Although recorded in the official “Revelation Book” of the time, the revelation was not canonized as scripture.In this revelation, the Lord reveals a plural marriage ceremony, which would later be altered and become the sealing ceremony in the temple.From copies in archives at the Historical Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah:Verily, Thus Saith the Lord, unto My Servant Newell. K. Whitney
A Revelation to Newell K. Whitney, 27 July 1842, and Joseph Smith Elizabeth Ann Whitney, and Sarah Ann Whitney”Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant N[ewel]. K. Whitney, the thing that my servant Joseph Smith has made known unto you and your Family [his plural marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney] and which you have agreed upon is right in mine eyes and shall be rewarded upon your heads with honor and immortality and eternal life to all your house both old & young because of the lineage of my Preast Hood saith the Lord it shall be upon you and upon your children after you from generation to generation, by virtue of the Holy promise which I now make unto you saith the Lord.””These are the words which you shall pronounce upon my servant Joseph and your Daughter Sarah Ann. Whitney. They shall take each other by the hand and you shall say ‘You both mutually agree,” calling them by name, ‘”to be each other’s companion so long as you both shall live preserving yourselves for each other and from all others and also throughout all eternity reserving only those rights which have been given to my servant Joseph by revelation and commandment and by legal Authority in times passed.’ If you both agree to covenant and do this then I give you Sarah Ann Whitney, my daughter, to Joseph Smith to be his wife, to observe all the rights between you both that belong to that condition. I do it in my own name and in the name of my wife, your mother, and in the name of my Holy Progenitors, by the right of birth which is of Preast Hood, vested in my by revelation and commandment and promise of the living. God obtained by the Holy Melchisedeck Jethro and other of the Holy Fathers, commanding in the name of the Lord all those Powers to concentrate in you and through to your posterity forever. All these things I do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that through this order he may be glorified and that through the power of anointing David may reign King over Israel, which shall hereafter be revealed. Let immortality and eternal life henceforth be sealed upon your heads forever and ever. Amen.”LOCATION: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Original manuscript of Kirtland Revelation Book, Church Historical Department, Ms f 490 # 2, also The Historical Record 6:222 (1887 edition.), also In Sacred Lonliness, p. 348-349

Marriage – Joseph to Sarah Ann Whitney, age 17 27 Jul 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Father Elder Newel K. Whitney officiatingPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Martha McBride Aug 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Ruth Vose Sayers, age 33, already married Aug 1842 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Earliest reference to secret garments worn by the Holy Order 08 Aug 1842 08 Aug 1842 Polygamy The earliest reference to the special undergarment worn by the Holy Order of the endowment reads for this date: “they have oil poured on them, and then a mark or hole cut in the breast of their shirts… to keep the Destroying Angel from them and their families.” From the eighteenth century to the 1840s, “shirt” referred to an undergarment which was often worn with a separate, tight-fitting underpant reaching to the knees.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.635

Smith writes love letter to arrange night with plural wife 18 Aug 1842 18 Aug 1842 Polygamy To arrange night liason with plural wife, Newel K. Whitney’s daughter Sarah Ann, Smith writes “… the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty. … Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the more Joy, when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts, my life depends upon it. … I close my letter, I think Emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, and affectionate, companion, and friend. Joseph Smith.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, Jr., to Newel K. Whitney, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, etc., 18 August 1842, George Albert Smith Family Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. The text and the signature of this document are in the handwriting of Joseph Smith, Jr. This document has been reproduced in Dean C. Jessee’s masterful The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1984), pp. 539-40. See also In Sacred Lonliness, page 349-350

Smith sends 380 Elders across the country to deny allegations of his polygamy 29 Aug 1842 29 Aug 1842 Polygamy Joseph Smith calls and holds a special conference in Nauvoo. At that conference 380 elders volunteer to travel nationwide to distribute a broadside (a two-paged newspaper) filled with affidavits and certificates in a massive effort to convince the public, among other things, that that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist. Smith spearheads this endeavor, which is one of his greatest efforts to deny he was practicing plural marriage. It was such a tremendous undertaking and was promoted with such zeal that it can rightly be called a crusade.Smith had been arrested on August 8 by Missouri officials on charges that he had been an accomplice in the attempted assassination of former Missouri governor,Lilburn Boggs. The Prophet was released the same day of his arrest by the Nauvoo Municipal Court. He then went into hiding—first in Iowa, and then back in Nauvoo.Upon his return to Nauvoo, Smith recorded:”I advised the Twelve to call a special conference on Monday next (August 29), to give instructions to the elders, and call upon them to go forth upon this important mission; meantime, that all the affidavits concerning Bennett’s conduct be taken and printed, so that each elder could be properly furnished with correct and weighty testimony to lay before the public.”On Monday, August 29, a vast crowd of concerned Saints gathers at the Grove near the Temple for the conference. Near the close of Hyrum’s address, Joseph, who had not been seen in public for three weeks, walks up onto the stand and sits down. Joseph’s sudden appearance is a great surprise, for there was speculation among the Saints that he had gone to Washington or Europe, while others believed he was still in Nauvoo. After Hyrum concludes speaking, Joseph addresses the large congregation. He referrs to the affidavits and certificates which he had been busily preparing, by giving both a plea and a prophecy as he proclaimes:”Let the Twelve send all who will support the character of the Prophet, the Lord’s anointed; and if all who go will support my character, I prophesy in the name of the Lord Jesus, whose servant I am, that you will prosper in your missions.” (LDS History of the Church 5:139)After the Prophet speaks, 380 elders volunteer to go on “missions” to spread the Affidavits and Certificates throughout the nation (see Dean C. Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2:447). These men leave their families, homes, and jobs to travel thousands of miles to distribute the Affidavits and Certificates—and to give their own testimonies that Joseph is not a polygamist.LOCATION: Nauvoo, IL

SOURCE: LDS History of the Church 5:131–132; RLDS History of the Church 2:613; ; see also Dean C, Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2 [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1992]: 443–444)

Smith publishes denouncement of polygamy 01 Sep 1842 01 Sep 1842 Polygamy Smith publishes teaching gainst polygamy in the Times and Seasons, of which he was editor.In the September 1 1842 issue, Smith declares:”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.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Sep 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.21, p.909

Smith republishes denial of polygamy 01 Oct 1842 01 Oct 1842 Polygamy Smith re-publishes denouncement of polygamy from the Sep 1 Times and Seasons, of which he was the editor.In the Oct 1 1842 issue, Smith re-states:”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 unlawfularents 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.”The publication also includes affidavits signed by twelve men and nineteen women that states in part, “we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Oct 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.23, p.939The signers included Apostle John Taylor and Apostle Wilford Woodruff (who had already been taught the doctrine of polygamy by Joseph Smith), Bishop Newel K. Whitney (who had performed a plural marriage ceremony the previous July for his own daughter and Joseph Smith in accordance with a revelation dictated by the Prophet on the occasion), Elizabeth Ann Whitney (who witnessed the plural ceremony), Sarah M. Cleveland (who had become Joseph Smith’s plural wife early in 1842), and Eliza R. Snow (who also married him on 29 June 1842).

Smith condemns coveting other men’s wives 15 Oct 1842 15 Oct 1842 Polygamy In the 15 October Times and Season, Joseph wrote strongly against coveting other men’s wives. As Editor, he republished an 1830 revelation in which it was revealed to him:“And again: I command thee, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Times and Seasons 3 [October 15,1842]: 944)However, according to LDS authors, by the fall of 1842 Joseph was married to Mary Elizabeth Rollins, wife of Adam Lightner (see John J. Stewart, Brigham Young and His Wives: And The True Story of Plural Marriage [Salt Lake City, Utah: Mercury Publishing Company, Inc., 1961], 89), and Zina Diantha Huntington, wife of Henry B. Jacobs (ibid., 92; see also Andrew Jenson, Ed., The Historical Record 6 [May 1887]: 233; and Times and Seasons 2 [April 1, 1841]: 374). Both women were living with their husbands at that time.

Smith possible father of Orson W. Hyde (by Nancy Miranda Hyde) Feb 1843 09 Nov 1843 Pregnancy

Smith tells temple workers to stop gossiping about polygamy 21 Feb 1843 21 Feb 1843 Polygamy By early 1843 there was much speculation in Nauvoo as to whether or not Joseph Smith was secretly practicing polygamy. More and more were learning that members of the Twelve and others had secret plural wives, and the saying became more popular, “There cannot be so much smoke without some fire.”On February 21,1843, the Prophet spoke to those who were building the Temple — a group consisting of both men and women, and told them that he knew what people were saying about him. According to Official Church History, Joseph told them:”There is a great noise in the city, and many are saying there cannot be so much smoke without some fire. Well, be it so. If the stories about Joe Smith are true, then the stories of John C. Bennett are true about the ladies of Nauvoo; and he says that the Ladies’ Relief Society are all organized of those who are to be the wives of Joe Smith. Ladies, you know whether this is true or not. It is no use living among hogs without a snout. This biting and devouring each other I cannot endure. Away with it. For God’s sake, stop it.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.286

Marriage – Joseph to Emily Dow Partridge, age 19 04 Mar 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Heber C. Kimball officiating. Emily D. Partridge Smith testified that she “roomed” with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had “carnal intercourse” with him. See Temple Lot case (complete transcript), 364, 367, 384.SOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Smith spends honeymoon night with secret bride Emily Partridge 05 Mar 1843 05 Mar 1843 Polygamy In sworn testimony, Emily D. Partridge (Smith Young) testified she “roomed” with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had “carnal intercourse” with him.SOURCE: Temple Lot case complete transcript, 364, 367, 384; also see Foster, Religion and Sexuality, 15

Marriage – Joseph to Eliza M. Partridge, age 22 08 Mar 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Heber C. Kimball officiatingSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Marriage – Joseph to Flora Ann Woodworth, age 16 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date unknown, Spring 1843SOURCE: Elder William Clayton affidavit, in Historical Record 6:225.

Man believes Smith’s angel-with-a-sword testimony, gives him sister as secret wife 02 Apr 1843 Polygamy Faithful member Benjamin Johnson wrote “His brother, Hyrum, said to me, “Now, Brother Benjamin, you know that Brother Joseph would not sanction this if it was not from the Lord. The Lord revealed this to Brother Joseph long ago, and he put it off until the Angel of the Lord came to him with a drawn sword and told him that he would be slain if he did not go forth and fulfill the law.” He told my sister to have no fears, and he there and then sealed my sister, Almira, to the Prophet.”“Soon after this he was at my house again, where he occupied my Sister Almira’s room and bed, and also asked me for my youngest sister, Esther M.”SOURCE: Joseph Smith’s personal secretary and church patriarch, Elder Benjamin F. Johnson, Autobiography “My Life’s Review”

Marriage – Joseph to Almera Woodward Johnson, age 30 03 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder William Clayton officiatingSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.

Smith challenges members to accuse him directly or keep quiet 06 Apr 1843 06 Apr 1843 Polygamy On April 6,1843, a special conference convenes at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith challenges the members to accuse him directly of sin or keep quiet.The record reveals:”President Joseph then asked the conference if they were satisfied with the First Presidency, so far as he was concerned, as an individual, to preside over the whole church; or would they have another? If, said he, I have done any thing that ought to injure my character, reputation, or standing; or have dishonored our religion by any means in the sight of men, or angels, or in the sight of men and women, I am sorry for it, and if you will forgive me, I will endeavor to do so no more. I do not know that I have done anything of the kind; but if I have, come forward and tell me of it. If any one has any objection to me, I want you to come boldly and frankly, and tell of it; and if not, ever after hold your peace.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons 4, [May 1,1843]: 181

Marriage – Joseph to Olive Grey Frost, age 27 12 Apr 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Historical Record 6:235, 234, Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697

Smith secretly marries William Clayton to his wife’s sister 27 Apr 1843 Polygamy William Clayton had learned of plural marriage at least by March 7, 1843, when Joseph Smith told Brigham Young to give Clayton a “favor” regarding priesthood instruction. The word “favor” in Clayton’s journal refers to the granting of an additional wife. Clayton and his first wife, Ruth Moon, were in their seventh year of marriage and had three children. The prophet personally visited the family in their Nauvoo home and suggested that Clayton participate in plural marriage. Margaret Moon, his legal wife’s sister, became Clayton’s first plural wife. The marriage was recorded on April 27, 1843, three months before Smith dictated his plural marriage revelation.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith possible father of Josephine Fisher (by Sylvia Sessions) May 1843 08 Feb 1844 Pregnancy Josephine L. Fisher wrote that her mother, Sylvia Sessions, told her “that [Josephine] was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”SOURCE: Josephine L. Fisher to Andrew Jenson, Feb. 24, 1915. On October 12, 1905Angus M. Cannon confirmed this account to Joseph Smith III, the prophet’s son: “It was said by the girl’s grandmother that your father has a daughter born of a plural wife. The girl’s grandmother was Mother Sessions, who lived in Nauvoo.” He added that Aunt Patty Sessions “asserts that the girl was born within the time after your father was said to have taken the mother.”

Marriage – Helen Mar Kimball, age 14 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Father Heber C. Kimball officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Smith promises family salvation to marry 14-year-old 01 May 1843 01 May 1843 Polygamy Helen Mar Kimball writes of how she married Joseph Smith:“Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet, Joseph, he (my father) offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar: how cruel this seemed to my mother whose heartstrings were already stretched unil they were ready to snap asunder, for she had already taken Sarah Noon to wife and she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more.”SOURCE: Helen Mar Whitney Journal, Helen Mar Autobiography, Womans Exponent, 1880 and recently reprinted in A Woman’s viewJoseph Smith gave her only 24 hours to decide on whether or not to marry him. Of this, Helen wrote: “[my father] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty four hours. … I was sceptical – one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast me off, and this was the only convincing proof That I had of its being right.”The next morning, Joseph Smith finally appeared himself to explain the “law of Celestial Marriage” and claim his teen bride. In her memoir, Helen wrote, “After which he said to me, ‘if you take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.’ This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”Helen also writes about her mother’s reaction to all of this: “None but God and his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart – when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied ‘If Helen is willing I have nothing more to say.””She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older and who better understood the step they were taking, and to see her child, who had yet seen her fifteenth summer, following the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come as the sun was to rise and set; but it was hidden from me.”Helen thought her marriage to Joseph Smith was only dynastic. But to her surprise, it was more. Helen confided to a close friend in Nauvoo: “I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”

SOURCE: Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS member Richard S. Van Wagoner, p. 53.

Marriage – Joseph to Lucy Walker, age 17 01 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder William Clayton officiatingPLACE: Smith’s Store, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Maria Lawrence, age 19 11 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.

Marriage – Joseph to Sarah Lawrence, age 17 11 May 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr., Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.

Hyrum Smith tells congregation only Devil would give plural wife revelation 14 May 1843 Polygamy Presiding Patriarch and Associate President Hyrum Smith assures a citywide congregation that only the Devil would give a revelation approving “wifes & concubines.” Joseph Smih was traveling outside of Nauvoo at the time.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Joseph sleeps with his plural wife Almera Johnson 15 May 1843 15 May 1843 Polygamy Elder Benjamin Johnson wrote, “On the 15th of May . . . the Prophet again Came and at my hosue [house] ocupied the Same Room & Bed with my Sister that the month previous he had ocupied with the Daughter of the Later Bishop Partridge as his wife.SOURCE: Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets, 44.

Emma discovers Smith in bedroom with Eliza Partridge 22 May 1843 22 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith’s personal secretary records that on May 22nd, 1843, Smith’s first wife Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated.SOURCE: William Clayton’s journal entry for 23 May (see Smith, 105-106)

Smith’s first wife, Emma, first approval of polygamy 23 May 1843 23 May 1843 Polygamy First occasion when Emma Smith approves her husband’s polygamous marriages. See D&C 132 where Emma is told to accept polygamy or be “destroyed.”PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Hyrum Smith receives endowment and associated polygamy doctrine 26 May 1843 26 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith begins re-performing the endowment ceremonies for previously endowed men and for others who have accepted polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Joseph Smith and Emma are first couple “sealed” in marriage for eternity 28 May 1843 Polygamy Joseph and Emma Smith are the first couple “sealed” in marriage for eternity. During the previous month, he had married as polygamous wives seventeen-year-old Lucy Walker, sixteen-year-old Flora Ann Woodworth, and fourteen-year-old Helen Mar Kimball who later testified that he had sexual relations with them.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Hanna Ellis, age 29 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Exact date unknown – sometime in Summer 1843SOURCE: John Benbow affidavit, see Historical Record 6:222-23, 234

Marriage – Joseph to Elvira Anie Cowles, age 29 01 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1 :78, 4:80; Historical Record 6:234.

Marriage – Joseph to Rhoda Richards, age 58 12 Jun 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Willard Richards officiatingPLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Marriage – Joseph to Desdemona Fullmer, age 32 Jul 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage SOURCE: Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:32, 4:32; Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” #58; Historical Record 6:225.

Revelation – D&C 132 Plural Marriage secret commandment , dictated by Smith 12 Jul 1843 12 Jul 1843 Polygamy Smith’s revelations on plural marriage and sealing are recorded. Hyrum had asked his brother to dictate it by means of his seer stone, but Smith dictates it from memory. Hyrum uses the written revelation to try to convert Emma Smith to accept the practice.PLACE: Navuoo, IL

Marriage – Joseph to Nancy Maria Winchester, age 15 28 Jul 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage According to Mormon Church Historian Andrew Jenson, Nancy married Joseph sometime before his death in June of 1844. In addition, Orson Whitmney, son of Nacy Maria’s friend, Helen, also identified her as sSmith’s wife. These two witnesses, taken together, make a good case for NAncy as a plural spouse of Josepoh. Though there is no exac date for her marriage to the prophet, the best hypothosis is that the cereony took place in 1843.LOCATION: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. See also In Sacred Lonliness, page 606.

Smith tells William Clayton to get all the wives he can 11 Aug 1843 Polygamy Smith performs a marriage for his brother Hyrum and his first plural wife and tells William Clayton, “you have a right to get all you can.” Smith also once reportedly explained: “The result of our endless union will be offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven or the sands of the seashore” (History of the Church 5: 391-92).PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” August 11, 1843

Hyrum Smith presents the revelation on plural marriage to the Nauvoo Stake High Council 12 Aug 1843 12 Aug 1843 Polygamy Hyrum Smith presents the revelation on plural and “Celestial marriage” (D&C 132) to the Nauvoo Stake High Council.PLACE: Nauvoo High Council Meeting, Nauvoo IL

Joseph Smith and William Clayton in love triangle 15 Sep 1843 21 Sep 1843 Polygamy William Clayton had already married two sisters and desired to marry the third (and youngest), Lydia Moon. Clayton asked the prophet’s permission bit he refused Clayton permission to marry Lydia, citing a revelation “he had lately, [that] a man could only take 2 of a family.” Smith then asked if Clayton would “give L[ydia] to him. I said I would so far as I had any thing to do in it. He requested me to talk to her.” Lydia Moon refused Smith’s offer because she wanted to “tarry with her sisters” who were already Clayton’s wives.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” September 15, 17 and 21, 1843.

Marriage – Joseph to Malissa Lott, age 19 20 Sep 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Elder Hyrum Smith officiating. Malissa testified that her marriage to Smith included sex. See Affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 Aug. 1893.PLACE: Navuoo, ILSOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Joseph and Emma are first couple to receive second anointing 28 Sep 1843 Polygamy Joseph and Emma Smith are the first couple to receive the second anointing in which each is “anointed & ordained to the highest & holiest order of the priesthood.”PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Smith writes in diary that plurality of wives is forbidden 05 Oct 1843 Polygamy Concerning “the doctrine of plurality of wives,” Smith’s manuscript diary reads: “Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife.” When incorporating Joseph Smith’s journal into the History of the Church, Apostle George A. Smith, a cousin, altered this passage to reverse this prohibition on polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Mormon Polygamy, p.63

Smith tells secretary William Clayton not to worry about love child 19 Oct 1843 Polygamy Smith tells his secretary William Clayton not to worry about an upcoming birth from a polygamous union, assuring him that if it becomes necessary to excommunicate him, Smith will immediately reinstate him. Smith told Clayton, said “Just keep her [the mother and baby] at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will baptise you and set you ahead as good as ever.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” October 19, 1843.

Smith republishes condemnation of adultery 01 Nov 1843 01 Nov 1843 Polygamy Joseph Smith republishes in the Times and Seasons an earlier 1831 revelation, which includes these commandments:“Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out. Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shalt not have the spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that commiteth adultery and repenteth not, shall be cast out but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out. Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures: he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out.”SOURCE: Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.24, p.369

Smith marries two women to Brigham Young 02 Nov 1843 Polygamy Young’s30 Oct diary states: “Monday evening Baptized Sisters Cuoub [Cobb] & Hari[e]tt Cook.” Two days later, 2 Nov, Smith marries these two women to Young.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Brigham Young Diary, 30 Oct 1843

Marriage – Joseph to Fanny Young Murray, age 56, already married 02 Nov 1843 27 Jun 1844 Marriage Brigham Young reported the marriage of his sister to Joseph Smith in the Journal of Discourse: “I recollect a sister conversing with Joseph Smith on this subject [of plural marriage]…. Joseph said, ‘Sister, you talk very foolishly, you do not know what you will want.’ He then said to me [B.Y.]: ‘Here, brother Brigham you seal this lady to me.’ I sealed her to him. This was my own sister according to the flesh.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, pg. 166-167).Fanny was already married to a living husband, Roswell Murray.SOURCE: record for Joseph Smith Jr.

Smith accuses Emma of poisoning his coffee 05 Nov 1843 Smith becomes violently ill at dinner and assumes that his wife Emma of trying to poison him due to her opposition to polygamy. At the prayer circle meeting that evening Smith accuses her of poisoning his cup of coffee, and Brigham Young regards her shocked silence as proof of her guilt. However, Joseph’s rapid recovery from this illness suggests something other than poisoning, possibly ulcers.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.65, Brigham Young, conference address, 7 Oct. 1866, The Essential Brigham Young, p.188

Emma carries child, David Hyrum Feb 1844 18 Nov 1844 Pregnancy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Official Joseph Smith family record,

Smith is anointed and ordained “King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on Earth” 11 Apr 1844 11 Apr 1844 Polygamy Smith becomes Mormonism’s theocratic king. The kingdom’s clerk William Clayton wrote that during the 11 April 1844 meeting “was prest. Joseph chosen as our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas.” William Marks, who was present at the coronation, later stated that the Council of Fifty performed an ordinance “in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever.” A later revelation to the Council of Fifty affirmed that God called Smith “to be a Prophet, Seer and Revelator to my Church and Kingdom; and to be a King and Ruler over Israel.” In detailed minutes of this same ceremony years later, the Council of Fifty’s standing chairman, John Taylor, was “anointed & set apart as a King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on the Earth.” In a veiled reference to Smith’s kingship, Apostles Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball wrote in 1844 that “you are already President Pro tem of the world.”PLACE: Council of Fifty Meeting in Masonic Hall, Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.124

Smith possible father of Frank Henry Hyde (by Nancy Marinda Hyde) May 1844 23 Jan 1845 Pregnancy Frank Henry was born on 23 Jan 1845. Many suspect Joseph Smith was the actual father for two reasons. First, because Marinda had been the polygamous wife of Smith since Apr 1842. Second, because Smith had sent her first husband, Orson Hyde, on a mission to Washington on April 4, 1844 “immediately” after a meeting with Joseph Smith (History of the Church, pg. 286). The gestation period for a human is on average 266 days (not 9 months), which would date the conception to early May 1844. Of course 266 is an average date and the figures vary. To give you an idea of the range, only four percent of pregnancies are actually carried two weeks or more beyond the average time (Guttmacher, 1983). Frank Henry was born on January 23, 1845. Orson Hyde left for Washington April 4, 1844. The difference in these two dates is 294 days! That is almost a month longer than expected and is basically physiologically impossible, especially considering that Orson Hyde had not returned to Nauvoo until August 6, 1844 (Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, August 6, 1844). She later divorced Hyde and voiced her disgust of polygamy.PLACE: Nauvoo, IL

Suit filed against Smith for adultery with foster daughter 23 May 1844 Polygamy William Law files a formal complaint with the Hancock County circuit court charging Smith was living “in an open state of adultery” with Maria Lawrence, Smith’s foster daughter and polygamous wife. Maria Lawrence was a teenaged orphan who was living in the Smith household. In fact, Smith had secretly married both Maria, age 19 and her sister Sarah, age 17 on 11 May 1843 and was serving as executor of their $8,000 estate. William Law apparently hoped that disclosing Smith’s relationship with the young girls might lead him to abandon polygamy, but Smith immediately excommunicated Law, had himself appointed the girls’ legal guardian, and rejected the charge in front of a church congregation on 26 May 1844, denying that he had more than one wife.PLACE: Hancock County Circuit Court, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.403, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p.66

Smith denies polygamy, boasts he has done more than Jesus Christ 26 May 1844 26 May 1844 Polygamy In a now famous speach, Smith publicly denies he has any plural wives. Smith boasts to a congregation “Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.408

Nauvoo Expositor publishes references to Smith’s polygamy and ordination as King on Earth 07 Jun 1844 The first and only issue of William Law’s Nauvoo Expositor is published, with references to the 1843 polygamy revelation and to Smith’s 1844 ordination as king on earth.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Navuoo Expositor

Smith as mayor of Nauvoo orders destruction of Nauvoo Expositor press 10 Jun 1844 10 Jun 1844 Nauvoo City Council discusses Nauvoo Expositor accusation of polygamy against Joseph Smith. Hyrum Smith tells Nauvoo City Council that Smith’s 1843 revelation pertains to ancient polygamy, not to modern times. By Joseph Smith’s order as mayor the council destroys the Expositor as “a public nuisance.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.432-434

Smith declares martial law, gives last public address to Nauvoo Legion 18 Jun 1844 18 Jun 1844 Smith declares martial law and, in speaking to the Nauvoo legion, gives his last public address.PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.497-500

Smith writes to apostles, tells them to destroy their garments and return to Nauvoo 20 Jun 1844 20 Jun 1844 Polygamy PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.519, Heber C. Kimball’s diary, 21 Dec. 1845, found in the book “Smith, An Intimate Chronicle”, page 224

Smith burns polygamy revelation, flees Nauvoo but then returns 23 Jun 1844 23 Jun 1844 After 1 a.m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet’s departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C.SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives.

Smith surrenders to civil authorities to stand trial for riot and treason 24 Jun 1844 Court/Jail Joseph rode down home twice to bid his family farewell. He appeared solemn and thoughtful, and expressed himself to several individuals that he expected to be murdered. The company (about fifteen) then started again for Carthage, and when opposite to the Masonic Hall, Joseph said, “Boys, if I don’t come back, take care of yourselves; I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.” When they passed his farm he took a good look at it, and after they had passed it, he turned round several times to look again, at which some of the company made remarks, when Joseph said: “If some of you had got such a farm and knew you would not see it any more, you would want to take a good look at it for the last time.”PLACE: Nauvoo, ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.558

Death of Joseph Smith 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail 5 p.m. A large group of men approaches Carthage Jail disguised with blackened faces. Smith at first assumes it is the Nauvoo Legion he has secretly ordered to rescue him. However, major-general Jonathan Dunham has disobeyed orders knowing that a prison escape would mean the annihilation of Nauvoo. Instead the vigilantes storm the upstairs room, instantly killing Hyrum and severely wounding Taylor. Joseph defends himself with a pistol, killing two men, then jumps out the window, and begins to shout the Masonic cry of distress: “Oh, Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow’s son?” Masons in the crowd show no mercy and prop the semi-conscious Smith against a nearby well and shoot him several times at point-blank range. Willard Richards is the only one not killed or severely wounded. Mormons immediately attribute this to the fact that he alone wore the undergarment given to endowed persons.PLACE: Carthage Jail, Carthage ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.616-623

Smith orders Nauvoo Legion to free him 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail The morning of 27 July, Smith sent an order (in his own handwriting) to Major-General Jonathan Dunham to lead the Nauvoo Legion in a military attack on Carthage “immediately” to free the prisoners. Dunham realized that such an assault by the Nauvoo Legion would result in two blood baths, one in Carthage and another when anti-Mormons (and probably the Illinois militia) retaliated by laying siege to Nauvoo for insurrection. To avoid civil war and the destruction of Nauvoo’s population, Dunham refused to obey the order and did not notify Smith of his decision. One of his lieutenants, a former Danite, later complained that Dunham “did not let a single mortal know that he had received such orders.”PLACE: Carthage Jail, Carthage ILSOURCE: Joseph Smith to Jonathan Dunham, 27 June 1844, in Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, xxv, 616-17; History of the Church, 6:529 referred to this order but neither quoted nor summarized it.

Smith tells associate that he has lost the spirit of God for disobedience 27 Jun 1844 27 Jun 1844 Court/Jail Before leaving Carthage Jail at 1:30 p.m., Stephen Markham listens as Smith says he has lost the spirit of God for disobedience in returning to Nauvoo.. In 1858 Brigham Young would say later “If Joseph Smith, Jun., the Prophet, had followed the Spirit of revelation in him he never would have gone to Carthage and never for one moment did he say that he had one particle of light in him after he started back from Montrose to give himself up in Nauvoo.”PLACE: Cathage Jail, Cathage, ILSOURCE: Brigham Young, A Series of Instructions and Remarks by President Young at a Special Council, Tabernacle, March 21, 1858 (Salt Lake City, 1858)

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