Debunking FairMormon
You are here: Debunking FairMormon / Polygamy/Polyandry

Polygamy / Polyandry



Brief Summary

Polygamy / Polyandry

Despite FairMormon’s best arguments, three key facts remain unchallenged: (1) Joseph Smith married at least 34 women; (2) he married at least 11 women who were married to other living men; and (3) he married underage girls as young as 14-years-old.

FairMormon attempts to soften the harshness of these facts by, for example, claiming a lack of evidence of sexual relations between Joseph Smith and his polyandrous or underage wives. FairMormon’s attempts fail, however, because (1) there is solid evidence that Joseph Smith had sexual relationships with at least some of these wives; and (2) the presumption must be that Joseph Smith had sexual relationships with his plural wives. Although this presumption may be overcome, the burden rests on FairMormon to provide evidence of a lack of sexual relations in the polyandrous and teen bride marriages.

FairMormon offers no evidence of a lack of sexual relations with polyandrous or underage wives except for an alleged lack of children with those wives. This contention is undermined by strong and compelling evidence that Joseph did in fact father a child with at least one of his polyandrous wives.

Ironically, even FairMormon concedes elsewhere on their website the presumption of sexual relations in these marriages as they state in the case of Joseph’s marriage to 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball that "consummation would not have been inappropriate, since this was a marriage…" Indeed, what’s inappropriate is marrying women and girls under the divine command and rules given in D&C 132 to “multiply and replenish the earth” and “bear the souls of men” only to do the complete opposite by not consummating. As noted, there is both evidence and a presumption of sexual relations in these marriages.

Donut Chart

Polygamy / Polyandry


The above donut chart shows percentages of the Polygamy/Polyandry section of Letter to a CES Director that FairMormon is in agreement, disagreement, and neutral on.

If one assumes that FairMormon's undisputed silence is acceptance of the facts, FairMormon agrees with 94% of the CES Letter's Polygamy/Polyandry section.

Breakdown can be found here.



Official LDS Church Response

October 2014 Polygamy Essay

Fortunately, the LDS Church is now making FairMormon and their unofficial opinions and theories obsolete.

The Church released its official response on these polygamy issues in its Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo essay, which can be read here.

The Church in its essay admits the following:

A critic's direct analysis and response to the Church's official essay will be posted soon.

Jeremy's Detailed Response

Polygamy / Polyandry

Joseph Smith was married to at least 34 women

CES Letter says...

The author correctly notes that "Joseph Smith was married to at least 34 women".

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • Joseph F. Smith confirms this:

    The great and glorious principle of plural marriage was first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831, but being forbidden to make it public, or to teach it as a doctrine of the Gospel, at that time, he confided the facts to only a very few of his intimate associates. Among them were Oliver Cowdery and Lyman E. Johnson, the latter confiding the fact to his traveling companion, Elder Orson Pratt, in the year 1832.
    (See Orson Pratt's testimony.)" (Andrew Jenson, The Historical Record 6 [Salt Lake City, Utah, May 1887]: 219)
  • From 1912, by a member of the First Presidency also confirms this in the Church magazine, the Improvement Era:

    Question 18: Was Joseph Smith, Jr., a polygamist?
    Answer: Joseph Smith introduced and practiced plural marriage. The proofs of this are abundant and complete.

    (Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).)

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

It’s unfortunate that the Church is not as open, straightforward, and transparent to their members and investigators today as Joseph F. Smith and the 1912 First Presidency were on Joseph Smith’s polygamy.

…plural marriage was first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831, but being forbidden to make it public, or teach it as a doctrine of the Gospel, at the time…

Most members of the Church are completely unaware that this alleged (it was written down 30 years later in 1861 by William W. Phelps) 1831 revelation Joseph F. Smith is referring to was a secret (and still uncanonized) “revelation” that Joseph and other men were to marry the descendants of the Lamanites, or the Native Americans, to raise seed so “that their posterity may become white and delightsome.”

In addition to being written down 30 years after the fact, being an uncanonized revelation, and concerning the marrying of only Lamanite women, this 1831 revelation is also contradicted by passages in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (101:4, 13.7, and 65:3). Thus, FairMormon's position requires us to believe in a seemingly schizophrenic god who gave explicit commands against polygamy in revelations but who just a few years earlier told Joseph Smith that plural marriage is legitimate but to keep it a secret? Despite giving Joseph Smith contrary and opposite revelations a short time later? That this polygamy revelation in 1831 is for the purpose of raising seed with the Indians so that their posterity would “become white and delightsome”?

It’s just too bad that Joseph didn’t tell his own wife, Emma, about most of the marriages. FairMormon's position requires us to believe in a seemingly deceptive god who not only tells Joseph to keep secrets, but to lie to his own wife Emma, the Saints, and the public over a course of 10+ years as well?

That Joseph confided in Oliver Cowdery during the 1831 timeframe is likewise dubious, unless one is willing to concede that Joseph Smith’s sexual encounter with Fanny Alger wasn’t preceded by a “marriage.” Indeed, Oliver Cowdery later referred to the encounter as:

A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s…
– Oliver Cowdery (Rough Stone Rolling, p.323)

As I’ve stated in Letter to a CES Director:

Joseph was practicing polygamy before the sealing authority was given. LDS historian, Richard Bushman, said “There is evidence that Joseph was a polygamist by 1835” (Rough Stone Rolling, p.323). Plural marriages are rooted in the notion of “sealing” for both time and eternity. The “sealing” power was not restored until April 3, 1836 when Elijah appeared to Joseph in the Kirtland Temple and conferred the sealing keys upon him. So, Joseph’s marriage to Fanny Alger in 1833 was illegal under both the laws of the land and under any theory of divine authority; it was adultery.

FairMormon states the following regarding Joseph’s relationship with Fanny Alger:

There is some historical evidence that Joseph Smith knew as early as 1831 that plural marriage would be restored, so it is perfectly legitimate to argue that Joseph’s relationship with Fanny Alger was such a case….those closest to them saw the marriage as exactly that – a marriage.


Of those 34 women, 11 of them were married women of other living men

CES Letter says...

The author correctly notes that "Of those 34 women, 11 of them were married women of other living men."

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • Among Joseph's plural marriages and/or sealings, between eight to eleven of them were to women who were already married. Of the eight well-documented cases, five of the husbands were Latter-day Saints, and the other three were either not active in or not associated with the Church. In all cases, these women continued to live with their husbands, most of them doing so until their husbands died. These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon was doing great with their answer until “these eternal marriages appear to have little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands.

The above statement is false. Notice FairMormon’s passive wording: “these eternal marriages appear to have little…” FairMormon knows that there is evidence which contradicts this statement and which shows that these marriages had great impact upon the lives of the women involved. And not just the women but their husbands as well; especially with Henry Bailey Jacobs whose wife Zina was married to both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young; having a child with the latter. This is also true with Windsor Lyon, whose wife (Sylvia Sessions Lyon) Joseph Smith slept with and impregnated while Windsor and Sylvia were still legally and lawfully husband and wife.

Here’s what former wife of Brigham Young, Ann Eliza Young, had to say about the polyandry:

One woman said to me not very long since, while giving me some of her experiences in polygamy: 'The greatest trial I ever endured in my life was living with my husband and deceiving him, by receiving Joseph's attentions whenever he chose to come to me.'

Some of these women have since said they did not know who was the father of their children; this is not to be wondered at, for after Joseph's declaration annulling all Gentile marriages, the greatest promiscuity was practiced; and, indeed, all sense of morality seemed to have been lost by a portion at least of the church.
– Wife No. 19, 1876, pages 70-71

Another woman writes that Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris stated in 1842:

Why, I am his [Joseph Smith’s] mistress since four years. – Mormon Portrait, p.60

Presendia Huntington is quoted as saying: "…say afterwards in Utah, that she did not know whether Mr. Buell [her legal husband] or the Prophet was the father of her son.” – Fifteen Years Among the Mormons: Being the Narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, p.35

Henry Bailey Jacobs came back from his mission in England when he received a letter from his wife Zina that she married Brigham Young and that she had his child. Brigham’s marriage of Zina and her having Brigham’s child alone disproves the absurd and unsupported apologetic argument that the polyandrous marriages were strictly “eternal marriages” that were not consummated. Either Brigham Young, as a prophet, was practicing polyandry as Joseph taught and practiced or he was not. If not, he is guilty of the heinous sin of adultery by marrying multiple other men’s wives and having a child with another man’s wife. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether or not polyandry had “little effect” on those involved:

O how happy I should be if I only could see you and the little children, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh." "I am unhappy," Henry lamented, "there is no peace for poor me, my pleasure is you, my comfort has vanished.... O Zina, can I ever, will I ever get you again, answer the question please.

In an undated valentine, Henry added:

Zina my mind never will change from Worlds without Ends, no never, the same affection is there and never can be moved I do not murmur nor complain of the handlings of God no verily, no but I feel alone and no one to speak to, to call my own. I feel like a lamb without a mother, I do not blame any person or persons, no--May the Lord our Father bless Brother Brigham and all purtains unto him forever. Tell him for me I have no feelings against him nor never had, all is right according to the Law of the Celestial Kingdom of our god Joseph.
Short Sketch of the Life of Henry B. Jacobs by Ora J. Cannon

In addition to these historical quotes, it is unreasonable to expect the women in the polyandrous marriages to have been minimally impacted. At worst, they were keeping the polyandrous marriages (and likely sexual encounters) secret from their own husbands. At best, they believed they would not be sealed to their husbands after death. Either scenario could not possibly have had “little effect upon the lives of the women involved”.

Notice that FairMormon offers zero evidence to support their claim that the polyandry “had little effect” on the lives of the women involved. Not only do they not provide any evidence but FairMormon deliberately ignores the evidence presented by other LDS apologists and polygamy experts acknowledging that there is evidence that some of the polyandrous marriages involved sexual relations. I go into more detail on the evidences below.

...would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands

What does being sealed to Joseph in the afterlife instead of with your earthly husband really look like? What kind of a god or prophet could possibly claim this is a wonderful idea?

Imagine you spent 50 years living with your devoted spouse, fully intending to be married together in heaven for all eternity, just like you have enjoyed on earth for the last 50 years and then the prophet says he wants your wife to be his 33rd wife. So, in the next life you don't get your devoted wife of 50 years; instead you have to find another. Are we to believe that God actually commanded the prophet to do this? This is even crueler than having someone else have sex with your wife.

What moral justification can possibly be made for marrying other living men's legally and lawfully married wives? Most of them were good LDS men. Orson Hyde was an Apostle on the Lord’s errand in Palestine to dedicate the land for the gospel when Joseph married his wife Marinda Hyde behind his back. Henry B. Jacobs was a faithful Latter-day Saint who served missions at great hardship. Other men were likewise on missions for the Church giving their time in service to the Church as faithful Latter-day Saints. What a wonderful reward for their service, loyalty, and dedication to the gospel.

How would a married faithful LDS man (even if he wasn’t sealed to his wife) feel today if he were to accept a mission call, only to return to find that Thomas S. Monson had secretly married and was sealed to his wife?

What about the children of polyandrous marriages? Polyandry runs counter to the entire notion of eternal families. Children are sealed to their father and the wife is sealed to the father, and in that means the entire family is sealed together. If in these cases the women were sealed to Joseph, then who were the children sealed to? If they were sealed to the woman's first husband, then the woman would not be sealed to them. If they were sealed to Joseph, then the poor first husband would not only be deprived of his wife, but also of his children in the eternities. This strikes me as entirely contrary and incompatible to the “Plan of Happiness.”

If you believe in the concept of eternal marriage, then Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early “prophets, seers, and revelators” literally stole other men's wives and children, regardless of whether they had sex with those women or not. What right did Joseph and these prophets have to do this?

I’d ask what kind of a god would condone Joseph’s and Brigham’s despicable behavior of taking, sleeping with, and having children with other men’s wives but the fact is that even the Mormon god didn’t accept this. In fact, the Mormon god very explicitly and clearly defines and condemns polyandry in D&C 132:61 as adultery.

FairMormon says...
  • The available evidence also does not support the claim that Joseph had intimate relations with these married women. Fawn Brodie, who repeatedly stated her belief that Joseph had intimate relations with many of his plural wives, identified several individuals that she thought “might” be children of Joseph Smith, Jr. Yet, even Brodie noted that “it is astonishing that evidence of other children than these has never come to light.” Brodie postulated, in spite of a complete lack of evidence, that Joseph must have been able to successfully practice some sort of primitive birth control, or that abortions must have been routinely employed. To date, DNA analysis has ruled out Joseph Smith as the father of any of the children of the women to whom he was sealed who were married to other men.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

The available evidence also does not support the claim that Joseph had intimate relations with these married women.

This is a false statement and claim. It contradicts not only the conclusions of believing/active Mormon scholars and experts on polygamy but it also contradicts FairMormon.

There is evidence that Joseph had sexual relations with other men’s wives. Before we go into this, it’s important for the reader to understand why many Mormon apologists, including FairMormon, are so rabidly concerned about keeping Joseph’s polyandrous marriages “non-sexual,” “dynastic,” and “eternal marriage only” while freely admitting and acknowledging Joseph’s sexual relations with his other polygamous marriages (non-polyandry). They know that the only purpose for polygamy as per revelation is to “raise seed,” “multiply and replenish the earth,” and to “bear the souls of men.” They also know that D&C 132:61 very explicitly condemn polyandry as adultery:

–if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to spouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

In a furious attempt to shield Joseph from the rightful label of “adulterer,” they invent bizarre, unsubstantiated, and illogical “non-sexual eternal marriages” to try to explain away the troubling polyandrous marriages, despite having zero legal, theological, doctrinal, or scriptural evidence to support their theory.

It is a matter of historical record that Joseph Smith had sex with his plural wives. There is extensive evidence that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other polygamists had sex with their wives, even the wives concurrently married to faithful Mormon husbands. During the Temple Lot case, the monogamist RLDS Church did not believe that Joseph Smith was a practicing polygamist or that he was truly married to women other than Emma. In response, the Utah Church (Brighamites) sent out 13 affidavits from faithful Latter-day Saint women who were married to Joseph Smith. These 13 women swore court affidavits that they indeed had sexual relations with Joseph Smith. FairMormon wants you to believe that while Joseph had sex with at least 13 of his plural wives, he absolutely did not have sex with any of his 11 polyandrous wives. Their evidence? The “lack” of it. In other words, the absence of evidence is evidence (Appeal to ignorance fallacy).

It is only reasonable to presume, therefore, that based upon Joseph Smith’s sexual relationships with his non-polyandrous wives, and based upon the purpose of plural marriage, that Joseph Smith also had sexual relations with his polyandrous wives. The burden of proof lies with the Mormon apologists. They cannot escape their burden by claiming a lack of evidence. They must provide affirmative evidence disproving sexual relations. The fact that Joseph might not have had children with most of his polyandrous wives is not adequate evidence, in light of the fact that he likewise had no children with most of his non-polyandrous wives who freely admitted and testified to having sexual relations with Joseph Smith.

Never mind the precedence and evidence of sex with his plural wives. Never mind Jacob 2:20 stating polygamy is to “raise seed.” Never mind D&C 132 stating the only purpose of polygamy is to “multiply and replenish the earth” and “bear the souls of men”. Never mind a latter-day "prophet, seer, and revelator" (Brigham Young) teaching that polygamy was restored so that "tabernacles might be brought forth."

Never mind that FairMormon’s own apologists admit and acknowledge that one of Joseph’s polyandrous wives, Sylvia Sessions Lyon, had Joseph Smith’s child, Josephine Lyon Fisher. To these scholars, the issue here is not whether or not Josephine is Joseph Smith’s biological child. The issue here is whether Sylvia was separated from her husband Windsor Lyon when she conceived Joseph Smith’s daughter, Josephine (Windsor and Sylvia were legally married the entire time).

Of the principal scholars who have carefully examined this question, only one (Brian C. Hales) has concluded that Joseph Smith’s polyandrous marriages were non-sexual, whereas nine have concluded that they indeed were sexual:

The above graphic is from FairMormon’s own website. So, there’s only one person – a Mormon apologist – who does not believe that the polyandrous marriages were sexual. Every other scholar listed is either a “yes” or “maybe.” The only reason why Brian C. Hales doesn’t say “yes” is because he believes that Sylvia Sessions Lyon was separated (not divorced) from her husband at the time that she conceived a child with Joseph Smith (Josephine Sessions). Other scholars – both LDS and non-LDS – disagree with Hales on this point.

The list includes about 50/50 of what FairMormon would consider friendly/neutral and critics. 8 pro-LDS and 7 critics.

Why is FairMormon misrepresenting the issue by making the unsubstantiated and unsupported claim that there was no sex or physical intimacy in the polyandrous marriages when even Mormon apologists and scholars on polygamy are mostly on the “yes” or “maybe” side?

More details on this in the next sections.

FairMormon says...
  • Josephine Lyon: In 1915, Sylvia Sessions Lyon's daughter, Josephine, signed a statement that in 1882 Sylvia "told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church." It is not known whether Sylvia was referring to her daughter as being a literal descendant of Joseph Smith, or if she was referring to the fact that she had been sealed to the prophet. In an article published in Mormon Historical Studies, Brian C. Hales demonstrates that Sylvia considered herself divorced prior to marrying Joseph polygamously. [See: Hales, Brian C. "The Joseph Smith-Sylvia Sessions Plural Sealing: Polyandry or Polygyny?" Mormon Historical Studies 9/1 (Spring 2008): 41–57.] DNA research is ongoing but it is rendered more difficult since the Y chromosome evidence of paternal lineage is not present in females.
  • Church responds through The Joseph Smith Papers:

    Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith. Available evidence indicates that some of these apparent polygynous/polyandrous marriages took place during the years covered by this journal. At least three of the women reportedly involved in these marriages—Patty Bartlett Sessions, Ruth Vose Sayers, and Sylvia Porter Lyon—are mentioned in the journal, though in contexts very much removed from plural marriage.58 Even fewer sources are extant for these complex relationships than are available for Smith’s marriages to unmarried women, and Smith’s revelations are silent on them. Having surveyed the available sources, historian Richard L. Bushman concludes that these polyandrous marriages—and perhaps other plural marriages of Joseph Smith—were primarily a means of binding other families to his for the spiritual benefit and mutual salvation of all involved.

    FairMormon also provides a chart listing some of the married women here.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

It is not known whether Sylvia was referring to her daughter as being a literal descendant of Joseph Smith, or if she was referring to the fact that she had been sealed to the prophet.

This is an example of FairMormon attempting to obfuscate the issue. This is an example of FairMormon’s “marriage is not really marriage” version of Mormonism.

Here’s what LDS apologist and “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy” author Brian C. Hales says:

In 1915, Josephine, the child, related that back in 1882, just months before her mother died, she told Josephine in a very dramatic fashion, that she had ‘been sealed to the prophet at the time that her husband, Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church’, and that Josephine was actually Joseph Smith’s daughter. Josephine married a guy named Fisher and there’s a whole Fisher family in Bountiful that descend from this. And I have been in contact with some of the descendants, and they are starting to say maybe we need to make a claim that we’re actually coming from Joseph and not from Windsor Lyon. From my research there are only 2 children from the plural wives. This is one [Josephine]. The other is Olive Frost’s daughter, or son, we don’t even know the gender, as both Olive Frost and the child died before they left Nauvoo. And that’s all. There are references to a third, but we don’t know. Maybe some new evidence will come up and we will find out.

Looking at the timeline, we find that Windsor and Sylvia married in 1838. She conceives three children, then he’s excommunicated and that’s when they separate. It’s not a legal divorce, but she is then sealed to Joseph in a marriage that I argue would have superseded the legal marriage anyway, which would curtail any conjugality between Sylvia and Windsor. Josephine is conceived. Joseph Smith is killed. Windsor is rebaptized and then they come back together and the legal marriage is still intact.

Hales is rejecting FairMormon’s obfuscation and is clearly stating that Josephine is Joseph Smith’s biological daughter. This above statement comes from FairMormon’s own website.

Realizing the weird box that Hales creates by claiming that Sylvia and Windor’s alleged temporary separation somehow makes it morally acceptable for Joseph Smith to sleep with and impregnate another man’s lawfully married wife (their legal marriage, Hales admits, was still intact the entire time), Hales continues:

Now, is this weird? Yeah, this is weird. Is it sexual polyandry? Is it immoral? Is it breaking the law of chastity that Joseph taught? No it isn’t. We are going to see more of this kind of thing, but it’s real people like you and me, struggling with a really tough commandment.

Hales’ logic that excommunication is equivalent to a spiritual divorce justifying adulterous relations with other men from spiritual marriages does not compute. It does not compute because the wives could still have relations with excommunicated spouses they were legally married to without being guilty of adultery. In the case of Windsor and Sylvia, they resumed their marriage when Windsor returned (without the need of remarrying as their marriage, Hales concedes, was intact the entire time) and the couple went on to have two more children together.

Another FairMormon apologist, Don Bradley, also concurs with Hales that Josephine is Joseph Smith’s biological daughter:

There is at minimum one child who came from Joseph Smith's polygamy: Josephine Lyon Fisher. (This still awaits DNA confirmation, but the published historical evidence for it is good, and I know of a great deal that is unpublished.) And I believe, with reason, that there were a couple others. Perhaps in time this will all get sorted out satisfactorily. – Mormon Dialogue Forum, July 27, 2010

Bradley expands again on this in a May 30, 2013 Mormon Discussions forum post:

Josephine stated by affidavit that Sylvia, from her death bed, had told Josephine that she was Joseph's child. Skepticism has been raised about whether he meant she was his literal, physical child. But I have several as-yet-unpublished sources from before Sylvia was near death which state unambiguously that Joseph Smith was Sylvia's biological father.

Josephine's grandmother (Patty Sessions) believed her to have been Joseph's daughter, as did her mother and a number of others.

The evidence I have on this is clear and was in wide circulation during Sylvia's lifetime, giving her a chance to debunk it, if she wish. Instead, she affirmed it.

In the mean time, I don't expect anyone to take my word for it. But I would refer them to the substantial body of evidence Brian has compiled on Sylvia as Joseph's wife and Josephine as his daughter. In light of the evidence he has published, and the much greater amount that I have in reserve, I'd strongly recommend to fellow Latter-day Saints that they not stake religious truth claims, or much of their own credibility, on the idea that Joseph and Sylvia could not have had a sexual relationship as part of their marriage.

It's just too bad that FairMormon is not following their fellow apologist and polygamy scholar's strong recommendation.

Hales makes it clear that Josephine is the biological daughter and states that Windsor was separated from Sylvia, “which would curtail any conjugality” when Joseph Smith slept with and impregnated Sylvia. Bradley also makes it clear that Josephine is the biological daughter of Joseph Smith and adds “this still awaits DNA confirmation, but the published historical evidence for it is good.”

Again, the debate to these Mormon apologists is not whether or not Josephine is Joseph’s biological daughter but whether or not Sylvia was actually separated from her husband, Windsor Lyon, when she conceived a child with Joseph Smith. The reason why this debate rages on is because this was a polyandrous marriage and per D&C 132:61, the very act of marrying, sleeping with, and having a child with another living man’s wife not only demolishes FairMormon’s “eternal marriage only” theory but it makes the Prophet Joseph Smith – per his own revelation – an adulterer.

My response to the debate is that Windsor Lyon was still Sylvia’s lawfully wedded husband when Joseph slept with her. Regardless of whether or not they were separated, that still does not justify Joseph’s adultery. As per Hales’ admission, Windsor and Sylvia’s marriage was intact the entire time and they resumed their marital relations without remarrying when Windsor returned. Joseph Smith had zero business sleeping with and having a child with Windsor’s lawfully married wife.

Again, imagine Thomas S. Monson sealing himself to your wife. You get excommunicated over a disagreement with a Church leader and you and your wife separate. You and your wife are still married. While you’re away, Thomas sleeps with your wife and your wife has his child. You come back to the Church a short time later and get back together with your wife without remarrying as you were never divorced to begin with. Instead of you and your wife raising your child, you both are raising Thomas’ child who was conceived when you and your wife were temporarily separated. In FairMormon's and Mormon apologist Brian C. Hales universe, this is morally acceptable behavior.

What right did Joseph and Brigham have to sleep with other men’s wives? To have a child with another man’s wife? What moral, scriptural, or doctrinal grounds could possibly be used to justify such despicable and adulterous behavior?

For FairMormon to attempt to obfuscate the issue and confuse their readers where there is no obfuscation or confusion (We have every reason to believe Josephine is the biological daughter of Joseph Smith) is deceptive and dishonest.


Apostle Orson Hyde who was sent on his mission
when Joseph secretly married his wife, Marinda Hyde

CES Letter says...

"Among them being Apostle Orson Hyde who was sent on his mission to dedicate Israel when Joseph secretly married his wife, Marinda Hyde."

FairMormon says...
  • It is claimed that Apostle Orson Hyde who was sent on a mission to dedicate Israel so that Joseph Smith could secretly marry his wife, Marinda Hyde, while he was away.
  • Nancy married future apostle Orson Hyde on 4 September 1834. He was involved briefly with apostasy at Far West in the fall of 1838, but had returned to the Church by March 1839 following a dramatic vision in which he saw the consequence of continued rebellion.

    Marinda was sealed to Joseph in April 1842, while Orson was on a mission. Only antagonistic accounts of this sealing exist. [14] Of the four reports, two claim that Orson was aware of the sealing, and two claim that he was not.

    It is of note that Orson had been on his mission for about a year before the sealing--he departed on 15 April 1840, and would return 7 December 1842. There are two dates available for her sealing to Joseph--either April/Spring 1842, or May 1843.[15] Thus, even with the earliest sealing date, Orson had been gone for nearly two years prior to Joseph's sealing to Nancy.

    This long delay does not fit well with the claim that a sexually-aggressive Joseph simply wanted his male rivals out of the way.

    Unique to the Hyde's marriage is the fact that Marinda was sealed to Orson following Joseph's death. All of the Prophet's other polyandrous wives were posthumously sealed to Joseph by proxy.

    Much of what we know about the Hyde sealing is also contaminated by hostile, mutually contradictory accounts that contain some known false information.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"It is claimed that Apostle Orson Hyde who was sent on a mission to dedicate Israel so that Joseph Smith could secretly marry his wife, Marinda Hyde, while he was away.

Nice strawman, FairMormon.

I didn't say that Joseph sent Apostle Orson Hyde to dedicate Palestine (later Israel) so that Joseph could secretly marry his wife, Marinda Hyde. I simply stated that Orson Hyde was on a mission given him by Joseph to dedicate Palestine for the gospel when Joseph secretly married his wife, Marinda.

All that matters in this section is FairMormon's acknowledgment and concession that Joseph did indeed marry Apostle Orson Hyde's wife, Marinda, while Orson was in Palestine on a mission.

As defined in the D&C 132:61-63 revelation, Joseph had zero business secretly marrying Orson Hyde's wife. D&C 132:61-63 clearly defines and condemns this polyandrous marriage as adultery.


Joseph was 37-years-old when he married 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball

CES Letter says...

"Joseph was 37-years-old when he married 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball, twenty-three years his junior. Even by 19th century standards, this is pedophilia."

FairMormon Agrees
  • FairMormon agrees that Joseph was 37-years-old when he married 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball, twenty-three years his junior.
  • FairMormon disagrees that “this is pedophilia”.

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    Joseph was sealed to Helen Mar Kimball at her father's request.
  • Loaded language - Critics often use negative terms, biased language, or casual terms to make LDS matters seem bizarre, evil, or absurd.
  • Incorrect:
    The use of the term "pedophilia" is intended to generate a negative emotional response in the reader. There is no evidence that Helen ever cohabited with or had sexual relations with Joseph. Pedophila describes a sexual attraction to children. There is no evidence that Joseph was a pedophile.
  • Helen Mar Kimball was sealed to Joseph Smith at the request of her father. According to Helen, "My father was the first to introduce it to me, which had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake. When he found (after the first outburst of displeasure for supposed injury) that I received it meekly, he took the first opportunity to introduce Sarah Ann [Whitney] to me as Joseph's wife. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, 1828-1896, Autobiography
  • Helen continued to live with her parents after the sealing.
  • “After Joseph's death, Helen was married and had children.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Let’s pull out the rulebook – and revelation – from the Mormon god Himself to Joseph Smith – on polygamy and how it is to be practiced:

…for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth and to bear the souls of men. – Doctrine and Covenants 132:63

Let’s see what the Book of Mormon says the purpose of polygamy is:

For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people [polygamy]; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things [monogamy]. – Jacob 2:30

Let’s see what latter-day prophet, seer, and revelator Brigham Young says the purpose of polygamy is:

This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth. – Discourses of Brigham Young, p.305

The only justification for polygamy is to “multiply and replenish the earth,” “bear the souls of men,” and “raise seed.” In other words? Have sex with and children with your polygamous wives. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong.

In the case of 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball? If Joseph wasn’t marrying Helen for the express purpose to have sex with her and have children with her, he was directly disobeying and violating God’s command in both D&C 132 and the Book of Mormon of “multiplying and replenishing the earth”, “bearing the souls of men”, and “raising seed”.

Moreover, as discussed above, there must be a presumption that Joseph Smith had sexual relations with his polygamous wives. This is based upon the historical record (at least a dozen affidavits and testimonies from Joseph's plural wives themselves) of Joseph Smith having sexual relations with his polygamous wives, upon the purported purpose of polygamy, the evidence that Josephine Lyon Fisher is Joseph’s biological daughter, and upon the fact that these women were Joseph Smith’s wives. Given this presumption, the burden of proof rests on FairMormon to show evidence of a lack of sexual relations in Joseph’s plural marriages.

Ironically, even FairMormon concedes elsewhere on their website the presumption of sexual relations in Joseph’s marriage to Helen Mar Kimball: “Consummation would not have been inappropriate, since this was a marriage…” Indeed, what’s inappropriate is marrying an underage girl under the divine command and rules given in D&C 132 to “multiply and replenish the earth” and “bear the souls of men” only to do the complete opposite by not consummating.

As FairMormon defined above: “Pedophila describes a sexual attraction to children.“ It is pedophilic to directly seek out sex with a child. Joseph was pedophilic in seeking out a child, twenty-three years his junior, specifically for the purpose of having sex with and children with her, as per revelation from his god. Joseph had absolutely no business whatsoever marrying a child such as Helen for any other reason than to have sex with her as there is no other legitimate or justifiable reason, based on the revealed rulebook on polygamy in D&C 132 and Jacob 2:30 given to Joseph by his god, for the polygamous marriage to 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball.

Further, Joseph married his own teenage foster daughters. In FairMormon universe, it’s legit for God to be okay with His 37-year-old Prophet marrying his teen foster daughters and their friends – with or without sex. In FairMormon universe, a foster father marrying his adolescent foster daughters is not pedophilia.

In addition to the above and this section, I further outline why I use the term "pedophilia" here.

Here’s what Helen Mar Kimball confided to a close friend in Nauvoo about her marriage to Joseph Smith:

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.
– Mormon Polygamy: A History by LDS historian Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.53

What could Helen Mar Kimball have possibly meant that her marriage was something “more than ceremony” if not sexual relations?

In addition, how is it okay to pressure a 14-year-old adolescent girl by telling her that her entire family’s salvation and exaltation depends on her decision on marrying a man twenty-three years older than her and that she must make the decision within 24 hours? I personally question the morality and sense of empathy and dignity of anyone who believes this is acceptable and that it was okay for their god and prophet to condone such pedophilic behavior.

The idea that a child can guarantee or influence the eternal salvation and exaltation of her entire family by marrying Joseph Smith contradicts the central Mormon tenet that every person must work out their own salvation. It’s absurd from every Mormon theological and doctrinal viewpoint.

Helen was not the only teen bride of Joseph’s. Joseph also married other teenage girls including another 14-year-old, Nancy Winchester, when Joseph was 37-years-old. Joseph’s other teen brides included several of his own foster daughters, whom Joseph had sex with:

Joseph’s other non-minor foster daughters who he also had sex with:

(Above bullet points link to Mormon/FairMormon apologist Brian C. Hale's own website. I had to use Wayback Machine to access as Mr. Hales removed it from his new website. Biographical information on the above girls can be found here.)

In fact, Joseph took the same approach with Lucy Walker as he did with Helen Mar Kimball, by telling his foster daughter that “I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman” and “that it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house.” Joseph told Lucy that the marriage would have to be secret and that “it is a command of God to you. I will give you until to-morrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.”

Joseph pulled yet again the same stunt on another girl as he did on Helen and Lucy; this time in 1831 with 12-year-old Mary Rollins Lightner. Twelve-year-old Mary remembers after receiving a blessing from Joseph in which he prepared Mary for their eventual marriage: “[He] told me about this great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife.

Mary and her family left Kirtland for Missouri and she ended up marrying her husband, Adam Lightner, in 1835. By 1840 they had settled in Nauvoo and were raising two children. Early 1842, Joseph approached Mary about becoming his wife (polyandry). Mary states that Joseph said: “The angel came to me three times between the year of ’34 and ’42 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.” Mary and Joseph were married “for time, and all Eternity” in February 1842.

As established above, the only doctrinal reason for Joseph to marry these teenage girls, including two 14-year-olds, was for the express purpose of having sex with them to obey the Mormon god’s command to “multiply and replenish the earth,” “bear the souls of men,” and “raise seed.”

Whether Helen Mar Kimball’s father introduced plural marriage to Helen or Joseph introduced it to her is irrelevant as Joseph still married 14-year-old Helen as one of his polygamous wives. A father who consents to, or even encourages, the abuse of his child does not make the abuse any less wrong or immoral.

The background story that FairMormon doesn’t share with their readers is that, prior to this, Joseph tested Helen’s father, Heber C. Kimball, by asking Heber to give his wife, Vilate – Helen’s mother – to Joseph:

During the summer of 1841, shortly after Heber's return from England, he was introduced to the doctrine of plural marriage directly through a startling test – a sacrifice which shook his very being and challenged his faith to the ultimate. He had already sacrificed homes, possessions, friends, relatives, all worldly rewards, peace, and tranquility for the Restoration. Nothing was left to place on the altar save his life, his children, and his wife. Joseph demanded for himself what to Heber was the unthinkable, his Vilate. Totally crushed spiritually and emotionally, Heber touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights and continually sought confirmation and comfort from God. Finally, after ‘some kind of assurance,’ Heber took Vilate to the upper room of Joseph's store on Water Street. The Prophet wept at this act of faith, devotion, and obedience. Joseph had never intended to take Vilate. It was all a test.
– Biography of Heber C. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer by Stanley B. Kimball, p.93

If “eternal marriages” and “dynastic sealings” are as innocent and “appear to have had little effect upon the lives“ and only take place in the “afterlife” as FairMormon claims it to be and that Kimball wanted to “dynastically link” his family to Joseph, why was Apostle Heber C. Kimball so troubled by Joseph’s command for his wife that he “touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights”?

After testing Heber and deciding not to marry Heber’s wife, Joseph later asked for Heber’s 14-year-old daughter instead. The next day after the 24-hour clock was up, Joseph visited the Kimball home:

“[He explained] the principle of Celestial marrage...After which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God & his angels could see my mother’s [Vilate Kimball] bleeding heart-when Joseph asked her if she was willing...She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking, & to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come...; but it was all hidden from me.” Helen’s mother reluctantly agreed and in May of 1843, Helen married Joseph Smith. – Wives of Joseph Smith

Again, the idea that a child can guarantee or influence the eternal salvation and exaltation of her entire family by marrying Joseph Smith contradicts the central Mormon tenet that every person must work out their own salvation. It’s absurd from every Mormon theological and doctrinal viewpoint.

The fact that Helen continued living with her parents and the fact that she didn’t “cohabitate” with Joseph Smith is irrelevant. Aside from Joseph’s own foster daughters – who lived with Joseph and Emma, whom Joseph secretly married, and whom Joseph had sexual relations with (all of which also contradicts FairMormon’s claim that Joseph was not a pedophile) – the majority of Joseph’s wives never lived with Joseph and Emma. Emma wouldn’t have it after catching Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in the upstairs bedroom of their home (William Clayton’s journal – May 23, 1843). These wives lived on their own, with their parents, or with their own husbands and yet the historical record clearly shows that this did not deter or stop Joseph from having sex with them.

What about the following "prophets, seers, and revelators" who followed Joseph's example? These middle-aged men who slept with and had children with teen girls young enough to be their own daughters:

Brigham Young was:

Wilford Woodruff was:

Lorenzo Snow was:

  • 57-years-old when he married 15-year-old Sarah Minnie Ephramina Jensen (she didn't have a child by him for about 5 years having five children with him, the last impregnated when Snow was about 82-years-old).
  • 43-years-old when he married 17-year-old Mary Elizabeth Houtz, having 6 kids with her.
  • 34-years-old when he married 17-year-old Eleanor Houtz, having 8 kids with her.
FairMormon says...
  • “Polygamous marriages often had other purposes than procreation—one such purpose was likely to tie faithful families together, and this seems to have been a purpose of Joseph's sealing to the daughter of a faithful Apostle. As Richard L. Bushman put it, "Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities....Like Abraham of old, Joseph yearned for familial plentitude. He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin." (Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 440.)”
  • “Unlike today, it was acceptable to be sealed to one person for eternity while being married for time to another person. It is not known if this was the case with Helen, however.”

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Not according to D&C 132:63 and Jacob 2:30, it doesn’t. Not according to latter-day prophet Brigham Young, it doesn’t. D&C 132:63 and Jacob 2:30 are explicitly clear that the only purpose of polygamy is to “multiply and replenish the earth,” “bear the souls of men,” and to “raise seed.” Brigham Young is very clear that polygamy was restored and revealed for procreation.

Notice FairMormon’s careful and passive language: “likely” and “this seems to have been”. FairMormon knows that D&C 132:63 and Jacob 2:30 are explicitly clear on the purpose of polygamy being to have sex with the women and to “raise seed,” “multiply and replenish the earth,” and to “bear the souls of men.” FairMormon cannot offer any evidence that supersedes or overrides direct revelation from God himself to Joseph Smith in D&C 132 and Jacob 2:30 to support their unsubstantiated theory.

FairMormon is trying to redefine polygamy in their attempt to deflect Joseph Smith from pedophila and adultery. It does not look good when the scriptures and revelations are explicitly clear that the only condition and justification for polygamy is to “raise seed,” “multiply and replenish the earth,” and to “bear the souls of men” and here Joseph Smith is off marrying 14-year-old girls, foster teen daughters, and other living men’s wives; behind Emma’s back while also lying to the Saints and the world for 10+ years of his adult life.

Latter-day “prophet, seer, and revelator” and polygamist Brigham Young rejects FairMormon’s unsupported redefinition of polygamy:

Birth control – There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles [bodies], now what is our duty? – To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.Discourses of Brigham Young, p.305

"As Richard L. Bushman put it, ‘Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities....Like Abraham of old, Joseph yearned for familial plentitude. He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin.’ (Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 440.)"

The last sentence coming from respected LDS historian Richard Bushman should be very disconcerting, if not disturbing, to any believing Latter-day Saint: “He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin.” Let the weight, implications, and ramifications of this statement coming from one of the world’s foremost experts on Joseph Smith – about Joseph Smith – sink in for a moment.

In Rough Stone Rolling, the reference for Bushman’s above statement about the “wives, children, kinsmen” comes from D&C 132:55. Let’s take a quick look at this verse in its context:

  1. Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.
  2. And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.
  3. For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
  4. And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
  5. But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.

So, what just happened? The Lord is telling Emma that if she doesn’t abide by the “new and everlasting covenant” (polygamy), she will be destroyed. Further, if she does not abide by this commandment (polygamy), the Lord will “bless and multiply” Joseph and “give unto him a hundred-fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children.”

Emma’s punishment is Joseph’s blessing. Joseph did not give Emma the opportunity to consent to most of his plural marriages as per the D&C 132 rules as Joseph hid and kept most of the marriages secret from Emma for over 10+ years.

Amazingly, Mormon apologists – desperately grasping for anything to redefine polygamy – are claiming that this verse (D&C 132:55) outlining what Emma’s punishment for not putting up with polygamy will be is somehow also about linking families together (“dynastic sealings”) or “lusting for kin” as Bushman put it.

Doctrine & Covenants 132 is a must read for all members of the Church. It is truly bizarre, confounding, and repugnant “scripture.”


Among the women was a mother-daughter set and three sister sets

CES Letter says...

"Among the women was a mother-daughter set and three sister sets."

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • Correct:
    The author is referring to a biblical prohibition under the Mosaic law against marrying a mother and daughter ("Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.") Leviticus 18:18, or marrying two sisters ("And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.") Leviticus 20:14.
  • However, Joseph Smith did not restore the practice of plural marriage according to Mosaic law—plural marriage was practiced prior to the institution of the Mosaic law without these restrictions. A well-known example is Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel: He was married to the two sisters Rachel and Leah.
  • It should also be noted that the biblical practice of levirate marriage, as defined by Hebrew law, required a man to take his childless deceased brother's wife as his own wife in order to produce offspring for his brother. This was also a case of marrying two sisters.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

In true unofficial apologetic fashion, FairMormon has to walk around or circumvent Mosaic Law in order to protect Joseph Smith.

Abraham’s wife, Sarah, gave Abraham a sexual slave with the intent of raising that slave’s children as her own. This is the precedent that FairMormon is pointing to as being necessary for Joseph’s restoration of polygamy?

Even if the Old Testament did allow a man to marry sisters in specific circumstances, are we also to engage in other practices permitted in the Old Testament, such as slavery, selling our daughters into sexual slavery, and allow soldiers to pillage virgins as spoils of war, force rape victims to marry their rapists, and keep concubines? After all, these acts were commanded and condoned by god of the Old Testament at one time or another.

You cannot, in good conscience, claim that Joseph restored these primal and evil acts of plural marriage that included sexual slavery, acceptance of rape, and kidnapping the children of the victims.

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether or not they believe in a god who not only condoned but commanded marrying mother-daughter and sister sets.


Some of the marriages to these women included...threats of loss of salvation

CES Letter says...

"Some of the marriages to these women included promises by Joseph of eternal life to the girls and their families, threats of loss of salvation, and threats that he (Joseph) was going to be slain by an angel with a flaming sword if the girls didn’t marry him.....[Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs] was married for 7.5 months and was 6 months pregnant with her first husband, Henry Jacobs, when she married Joseph after being told Joseph’s life was in danger from an angel with a flaming sword."

FairMormon says...
  • Coming Soon.


Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Coming Soon


President Hinckley publicly stating that polygamy is not doctrinal

CES Letter says...

"A lot of members don’t realize that there is a set of very specific and bizarre rules outlined in Doctrine & Covenants 132 (still in LDS canon despite President Hinckley publicly stating that polygamy is not doctrinal) on how polygamy is to be practiced."

FairMormon says...

Despite the fact that rules regarding polygamy are outlined in D&C 132, the Church no longer teaches it as doctrine. It was taught as doctrine in the 1800's, it is not taught as doctrine today. There is no doctrine that allows the present practice of plural marriage in the Church. Its practice is "not doctrinal."

Polygamy is illegal today, and Church policy is to respect the law on the matter. For most of the practice of plural marriage, the Church fought the anti-polygamy laws, and regarded them as violations of the Constitution. Any decision to disobey secular law for conscience sake must be specifically commanded by the Church's leaders. At present, that has not happened.

Many constitutional law scholars--LDS and non-LDS--regard the Supreme Court decisions on the legality of plural marriage as clearly biased and motivated by religious prejudice. The nineteenth century Saints had good grounds for believing that the law was unjust and would eventually be overturned. Gregory L. Smith, "Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication: Frequently and Rarely Asked Questions about the Initiation, Practice, and Cessation of Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," FairMormon, 2005. describes these issues in detail.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon


Yesterday's doctrine is today's false doctrine. Yesterday's prophet is today's heretic.

It was taught as doctrine in the 1800's, it is not taught as doctrine today. There is no doctrine that allows the present practice of plural marriage in the Church. Its practice is "not doctrinal."

This is incorrect.

Notice that FairMormon not only has to sidestep the D&C 132 polygamy rulebook (which is still canonized), but they have to add quotes to "not doctrinal".

Assistant Church Historian Richard E. Turley, Jr. disagrees with FairMormon. In the infamous Swedish Rescue Fireside that took place in November 28, 2010, Turley was asked, "Do we believe in polygamy?" Turley's response:

We do believe in polygamy; we don't practice polygamy. That's what I'm trying to say...

You can listen in here:

If polygamy is, according to FairMormon, "not doctrinal", why do we have two spiritual polygamists in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Nelson & Oaks)? Why are we sealing multiple women to one man in the Temples? Why is D&C 132 still canonized and binding in the official scriptures? Why is the Assistant Church Historian stating that we believe in polygamy?


D&C 132 is unequivocal…that polygamy is…to ‘raise seed’

CES Letter says...

"D&C 132 is unequivocal on the point that polygamy is permitted only 'to multiply and replenish the earth' and 'bear the souls of men'."

The author continues, "D&C 132:63 very clearly states that the only purpose of polygamy is to 'multiply and replenish the earth' and 'bear the souls of men'. Why did Joseph marry women who were already married? These women were obviously not virgins, which violated D&C 132. Zina Huntington had been married seven and a half months and was six months pregnant with her first husband’s baby at the time she married Joseph; clearly she didn’t need any more help to 'bear the souls of men'.

FairMormon Disagrees

FairMormon says...
  • Incorrect:
    Polygamy was not permitted only for the purpose of procreation. Joseph established the practice of plural marriage as part of the "restoration of all things," and introduced it to a number of others within the Church. This alone may have been the purpose of Joseph's initiation of the practice. The establishment of the practice ultimately did have the effect of "raising up seed"...just not through Joseph Smith.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"Polygamy was not permitted only for the purpose of procreation.

Notice that FairMormon offers zero evidence to support this claim. If you’re going to go completely against Chapel Mormonism, D&C 132, and Jacob 2:30? Where's the revelation? Where's the evidence?

Latter-day “prophet, seer, and revelator” and polygamist Brigham Young rejects FairMormon’s claim:

Birth control – There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles [bodies], now what is our duty? – To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.Discourses of Brigham Young, p.305

Per President Young, the doctrine of plural marriage was revealed so “that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles [bodies] might be brought forth.” Brigham’s statement is in alignment with D&C 132 and Jacob 2:30 in that polygamy exists only for “multiplying and replenishing the earth,” “raise seed,” and “bearing the souls of men.”

Besides, was polyandry (marrying other living men’s wives) part of the “restoration of all things”? If so, where’s the precedent?

Why would the Mormon god tell Joseph to keep polygamy a secret as far back as 1831 while giving Joseph contradictory revelations condemning polygamy for years afterward?

Why did Joseph lie by denying that polygamy was a doctrine and that it was not being practiced when it indeed was in the dark? Why did Joseph lie to Emma and hide most of the marriages from her?

Why did Joseph have an affair with Fanny Alger in 1833? An affair that he kept secret from Emma? An affair that estranged Joseph from Oliver Cowdery, who himself called it a “dirty, nasty, filthy affair”? An affair that he had no legal or divine authority to get involved in as the sealing power was not restored by Elijah until April 1836?

FairMormon says...
  • There is no conclusive evidence to date of Joseph having had children by any of his plural wives, and DNA testing has ruled out most of those who were suspected of being such.
  • If the only purpose of polygamy, at least in Joseph Smith's case, was to "raise up seed," then why did Joseph not have children by his plural wives? He was certainly capable of having children, as demonstrated by those that he had by Emma, many of whom died.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon is incorrect.

There is evidence that Joseph had children with his plural wives, including with a polyandrous wife who was still married to her husband at the time of conception of Joseph’s daughter, Josephine.

Even if there were no children, it certainly was not due to a lack of effort on Joseph’s part. For starters, what was Joseph doing sleeping with and having sex with his polygamous/polyandrous wives? I don’t see FairMormon examining this question.

Further, Joseph violated the rules in the D&C 132 polygamy rulebook by not asking Emma for her consent, marrying women who were not virgins, and marrying women who were “vowed to other men.” What makes FairMormon think Joseph intended to obey the “multiply and replenish the earth” command, given Joseph’s blatant disregard and disrespect of the other rules revealed to Joseph by God Himself?

I find FairMormon’s above response extremely disingenuous. Notice that FairMormon does not ask, “then why did Joseph not have sex with his plural wives?” They don’t ask this question because the evidence – as shown below – is conclusive and accepted by both sides. Instead, FairMormon chooses to misdirect and obfuscate by misrepresenting the issue with their false “Joseph did not have children by his plural wives” claim.

Mormon apologists, including FairMormon’s own apologists, acknowledge and admit the evidence that Joseph Smith not only had sexual relations with his wives but that he had children with some of them as well. Here’s what Mormon/FairMormon apologist and “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy” author Brian C. Hales states:

...Josephine [Lyon Fisher] was actually Joseph Smith’s daughter…From my research there are only 2 children from the plural wives. This is one [Josephine]. The other is Olive Frost’s daughter, or son, we don’t even know the gender, as both Olive Frost and the child died before they left Nauvoo. And that’s all. There are references to a third, but we don’t know. Maybe some new evidence will come up and we will find out.

Looking at the timeline, we find that Windsor and Sylvia married in 1838. She conceives three children, then he’s excommunicated and that’s when they separate. It’s not a legal divorce, but she is then sealed to Joseph in a marriage that I argue would have superseded the legal marriage anyway, which would curtail any conjugality between Sylvia and Windsor. Josephine is conceived.

The above statement is from FairMormon’s own website. Mormon apologist Hales not only admits sexual relations in Joseph’s marriages but also that the evidence is clear that Joseph has at least two children from the plural marriages: Josephine Lyon Fisher and Olive Frost’s daughter.

Another Mormon and FairMormon apologist, Don Bradley, also concurs with Hales that Josephine is Joseph Smith’s biological daughter. Don goes further in stating that he believes, with reason, that there are a couple of other children from the plural marriages as well:

There is at minimum one child who came from Joseph Smith's polygamy: Josephine Lyon Fisher. (This still awaits DNA confirmation, but the published historical evidence for it is good, and I know of a great deal that is unpublished.) And I believe, with reason, that there were a couple others. Perhaps in time this will all get sorted out satisfactorily. – Mormon Dialogue Forum, July 27, 2010

Other Mormon apologists and polygamy scholars:

Neal Maxwell Institute (FARMS) concedes that Joseph had sex with his plural wives:

There is good evidence of a conjugal relationship with Almira Johnson, Melissa Lott, Emily Partridge, and Eliza R. Snow. It is also reasonable to include Eliza Partridge, Maria Lawrence, and Sarah Lawrence. The evidence for their inclusion is persuasive, though they are not named specifically. There is late, hostile evidence of intimacy with Fanny Alger, and most intriguingly there is some evidence of both a physical relationship and a child with Sylvia Sessions Lyon. This is only nine marriages out of Todd Compton’s list of thirty-three—or G. D. Smith’s list of thirty-eight—plural marriages. – FARMS apologist Gregory L. Smith, Review of Nauvoo Polygamy, p.108-109

LDS Historian and polygamy scholar Todd Compton:

…though it is possible that Joseph had some marriages in which there were no sexual relations, there is no explicit or convincing evidence for this (except, perhaps, in the cases of the older wives, judging from later Mormon polygamy). And in a significant number of marriages, there is evidence for sexual relations...[T]here is no good evidence that Joseph Smith did not have sexual relations with any wife, previously single or polyandrous. – In Sacred Loneliness, p.15, 21

LDS Historian and polygamy scholar Richard S. Van Wagoner:

Besides Josephine Fisher (b. Feb. 8, 1844) and Oliver Buell, named as possible children of Joseph Smith by his plural wives are John R. Hancock (b. Apr. 19, 1841), George A. Lightner (b. Mar. 12, 1842), Orson W. Hyde (b. Nov. 9, 1843), Frank H. Hyde (b. Jan 23, 1845), Moroni Pratt (b. Dec. 7, 1844), and Zebulon Jacobs (b. Jan 2, 1842). – Mormon Polygamy: A History, p.44, 48-49

LDS Historian and scholar Richard Bushman:

Partly to maintain secrecy, Joseph could not have spent much time with [Louisa] Beaman or any of the women he married. He never gathered his wives into a household--as his Utah followers later did--or accompanied them to public events…As the marriages increased, there were fewer and fewer opportunities for seeing each wife. Even so, nothing indicates that sexual relations were left out of plural marriagesRough Stone Rolling, p.438-439

Historical Evidence:

In her testimony given at a Brigham Young University devotional, faithful Mormon and BYU Professor Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner (who herself was sealed to Joseph Smith in 1842) stated that she knew of children born to Smith’s plural wives:

I know he [Joseph Smith] had six wives and I have known some of them from childhood up. I know he had three children. They told me. I think two are living today but they are not known as his children as they go by other names. – 'Remarks", April 14, 1905, BYU Lee Library

Temple Lot Case:

Because of claims by Reorganized Latter-day Saints that Joseph was not really married polygamously in the full (i.e., sexual) sense of the term, Utah Mormons (including Joseph’s wives) affirmed repeatedly that Joseph had physical sexual relations with his plural wives – despite the Victorian conventions in nineteenth-century American religion which otherwise would have prevented mention of sexual relations in marriage.
– Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness

The RLDS Church did not believe that Joseph was a practicing polygamist or that he was really married to anyone other than Emma. Utah Mormons responded by providing court affidavits confirming that Joseph Smith was indeed a polygamist. In total, 13 faithful Latter-day Saint women, who were married to Joseph Smith, swore court affidavits that they had sexual relations with him:

"Faithful Mormon Melissa Lott (Smith Willes) testified that she had been Joseph's wife ‘in very deed.’” – Affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 August 1893, Temple Lot case, 98, 105

“-In a court affidavit, faithful Mormon Joseph Noble wrote that Joseph told him he had spent the night with Louisa Beaman.” – Temple Lot Case, 427

“Emily D. Partridge (Smith Young) said she 'roomed' with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had "carnal intercourse" with him.” – Temple Lot Case, pp. 364, 367, 384

Sylvia Sessions Lyon:

Josephine Lyon (same girl that apologists Hales and Bradley admit is Joseph Smith’s daughter) wrote:

Just prior to my mother’s death in 1882, she called me to her bedside and told me that her days were numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith. – Affidavit to Church Historian Andrew Jenson, February 24, 1915

DNA:

The DNA research is still ongoing. The DNA research is incomplete. The DNA evidence has not proven nor has it disproven that Joseph had children with his polygamous wives. The historical record is strong enough for apologists and critics alike to concur that Joseph had at least two children with his plural wives.

An article written by LDS owned Deseret News about ongoing DNA research on Joseph Smith’s potential children with his polygamous wives states:

But not every case can be solved. A few alleged children of Joseph Smith died as infants and their burial places are not known. Descendants of daughters are particularly difficult to test conclusively because the easy-to-identify Y chromosome signature only works to identify male descendants.

The above facts alone discredits FairMormon’s bold claim that there were absolutely no children from the polygamous marriages. FairMormon cannot possibly make the claim that there were no polygamous children from Joseph Smith in light of the fact that several of the cases cannot be solved.

Conclusion:

In summary, the historical record and evidence is compelling enough for the majority of polygamy scholars – LDS and critics alike – to conclude that Joseph Smith indeed had sexual relations and children with his polygamous wives. Why is FairMormon misrepresenting and obfuscating this issue by making the false “why did Joseph not have children by his plural wives?” claim?

FairMormon says...
  • Among Joseph's plural marriages and/or sealings, between eight to eleven of them were to women who were already married. Of the eight well-documented cases, five of the husbands were Latter-day Saints, and the other three were either not active in or not associated with the Church. In all cases, these women continued to live with their husbands, most of them doing so until their husbands died. These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands. No children from these marriages have ever been identified. These were sealings which would only affect Joseph's association with these women in the afterlife.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands.

Again…this is a false statement and claim. I’ve already addressed this here.

No children from these marriages have ever been identified.

This is false. Polygamy scholars (both LDS and Critics) agree that Josephine Lyon Fisher was the biological daughter of Joseph Smith and Sylvia Sessions Lyon, a polyandrous marriage. Sylvia Sessions Lyon was legally and lawfully married to Windsor Lyon at the time she conceived Joseph Smith’s daughter.

Despite desperate apologetic attempts to justify this with weak evidence that Windsor and Sylvia were separated (but not divorced) at the time of conception, the fact remains that Joseph Smith – per D&C 132:61 – had zero business sleeping with and having a daughter with another man’s lawfully married wife. This is defined as adultery in D&C 132.

I addressed this here.

These were sealings which would only affect Joseph's association with these women in the afterlife.

Here’s FairMormon debunking FairMormon on the above false claim:

“This is not to argue, I hasten to add, that such marriages [polyandry] must not or could not involve sexuality. I believe they were legitimate marriages, and as such could easily accommodate righteous marital relations.”
FairMormon’s Polyandry Page

I address FairMormon’s claim further here.


These married women continued to live as husband and
wife with their prior husband after marrying Joseph

CES Letter says...

"Joseph married 11 women who were already married. Multiple husbands = Polyandry. These married women continued to live as husband and wife with their prior husband after marrying Joseph...Also, [D&C 132] verse 63 states that if the new wives are with another man after the polygamous marriage, they will be destroyed. Eleven of Joseph’s wives lived with their prior husbands after marrying Joseph Smith. Most of them lived on to old age. Why weren’t they “destroyed”?"

FairMormon says...
  • Among Joseph's plural marriages and/or sealings, between eight to eleven of them were to women who were already married. Of the eight well-documented cases, five of the husbands were Latter-day Saints, and the other three were either not active in or not associated with the Church. In all cases, these women continued to live with their husbands, most of them doing so until their husbands died. These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands.
  • Joseph Smith's "polyandrous" marriages were for eternity. He was sealed to those women, but they continued to live with their current husbands during their earthly existence. When they were sealed to Joseph, this did not invalidate their current marriage. These married women continued to live as husband and wife with their current (not "prior") husbands. Being sealed to Joseph for eternity did not invalidate their existing marriage for time. They would not have been "destroyed" for doing so since Joseph was never "with" these women in a situation which would have been classified as adultery according to D&C 132:63. In the case of these married women, the marriages (i.e. the sealing) to Joseph would only have effect after death.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"These eternal marriages appear to have had little effect upon the lives of the women involved, with the exception that they would be sealed to Joseph in the afterlife rather than to their earthly husbands."

I've already debunked this false claim in my earlier response on this page here.

"These married women continued to live as husband and wife with their current (not "prior") husbands."

I corrected "prior" in the CES Letter. I wanted to differentiate between the two husbands but I realize that "prior" can be confusing.

"They would not have been 'destroyed' for doing so since Joseph was never 'with' these women in a situation which would have been classified as adultery according to D&C 132:63."

This is not only blatantly untrue and incorrect; it's misleading.

I address and debunk this false claim here.


A union with a newlywed and pregnant woman (Zina Huntingon)

CES Letter says...

[Joseph Smith married] a newlywed and pregnant woman (Zina Huntingon)...Zina Huntington had been married seven and a half months and was six months pregnant with her first husband’s baby at the time she married Joseph; clearly she didn’t need any more help to “bear the souls of men”.

FairMormon says...

In 1839, at age 18, Zina arrived with her parents in Nauvoo after being driven out of Missouri. Faithful LDS missionary Henry Jacobs courted her during 1840–41. At the same time, Joseph Smith had taught Zina the doctrine of plural marriage, and thrice asked her to marry him. She declined each time, and she and Henry were wed 7 March 1841. [41] Zina and Henry were married by John C. Bennett, then mayor of Nauvoo. They had invited Joseph to perform the ceremony, but Bennett stepped in when Joseph did not arrive:

…Zina asked the Prophet to perform the marriage. They went to the Clerk’s office and the Prophet did not arrive, so they were married by John C. Bennett. When they saw Joseph they asked him why he didn’t come, and he told them the Lord had made it known to him that she was to be his Celestial wife.

Family tradition holds, then, that Zina and Henry were aware of Joseph's plural marriage teachings and his proposal to Zina. While this perspective is late and after-the-fact, it is consistent with the Jacobs' behaviour thereafter. Zina's family also wrote that Henry believed that "whatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man."

On 27 October 1841, Zina was sealed to Joseph Smith by her brother, Dimick Huntington. She was six months pregnant by Henry, and continued to live with him.

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's "mistreatment" of Henry and their "theft" of his family have received a great deal of publicity, thanks to late 19th century anti-Mormon sources, and Fawn Brodie increased their cachet for a 20th century audience. These charges are examined in detail (here). For present purposes, we will focus on Zina. She had refused Joseph's suit three times, and chosen to marry Henry. Why did she decide to be sealed to Joseph?

When interrogated by a member of the RLDS Church, Zina refused to be drawn into specifics. She made her motivations clear, and explained that God had prepared her mind for Joseph's teachings even before she had heard them:

Q. "Can you give us the date of that marriage with Joseph Smith?"

A. "No, sir, I could not."

Q. "Not even the year?"

A. "No, I do not remember. It was something too sacred to be talked about; it was more to me than life or death. I never breathed it for years. I will tell you the facts. I had dreams—I am no dreamer but I had dreams that I could not account for. I know this is the work of the Lord; it was revealed to me, even when young. Things were presented to my mind that I could not account for. When Joseph Smith revealed this order [Celestial marriage] I knew what it meant; the Lord was preparing my mind to receive it."

Henry was to stand as proxy for Zina's post-martyrdom sealing to Joseph, and her marriage for time to Brigham Young. He and Zina separated soon thereafter, and Henry was soon gone on one of his many missions for the Church. (See here for a more in-depth analysis of attacks on Brigham and Joseph regarding Zina and Henry.)

Zina herself clearly explains the basis for her choice:

…when I heard that God had revealed the law of Celestial marriage that we would have the privilege of associating in family relationships in the worlds to come, I searched the scriptures and by humble prayer to my Heavenly Father I obtained a testimony for myself that God had required that order to be established in his Church. Faced with questions from her RLDS interviewer that she felt exceeded propriety, Zina became evasive. She finally terminated the interview by saying, "Mr. Wight, you are speaking on the most sacred experiences of my life…"

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

This is just a repeat of the same response that FairMormon posted in the Other Concerns section.

You can view my response to the above here.


The secrecy of the marriages and the private and public denials
by Joseph Smith are not congruent with honest behavior

CES Letter says...

"The secrecy of the marriages and the private and public denials by Joseph Smith are not congruent with honest behavior. Emma was unaware of most of these marriages. The Saints did not know what was going on behind the scenes as polygamy did not become common knowledge until 1852 when Brigham Young revealed it in Utah. Joseph Smith did everything he could to keep the practice in the dark."

FairMormon says...

It is true that Joseph did not always tell others about plural marriage. He did, however, make some attempt to teach the doctrine to the Saints.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Joseph didn't just "not always tell others about plural marriage". He went much further than that. He proactively lied and deceived others as well as covered up his polygamy/polyandry in the dark for about 10 years of his adult life.

As I demonstrate in the CES Letter:

The secrecy of the marriages and the private and public denials by Joseph Smith are not congruent with honest behavior. Emma was unaware of most of these marriages. The Saints did not know what was going on behind the scenes as polygamy did not become common knowledge until 1852 when Brigham Young revealed it in Utah. Joseph Smith did everything he could to keep the practice in the dark. In fact, Joseph’s desire to keep this part of his life a secret is what ultimately contributed to his death when he ordered the destruction of the printing press (Nauvoo Expositor) that dared expose his behavior in June 1844. This event initiated a chain of events that led to Carthage.

Consider the following denial made by Joseph Smith to Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo in May 1844 – a month before his death:

"...What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers." – History of the Church, Vol. 6, Chapter 19, p. 411

It is a matter of historical fact that Joseph had secretly taken over 30 plural wives by May 1844 when he made the above denial that he was ever a polygamist.

If you go to Familysearch.org – an LDS-owned genealogy website – you can clearly see that Joseph Smith had many wives. The facts speak for themselves – from 100% LDS sources – that Joseph Smith was dishonest.

The following 1835 edition of Doctrine & Covenants revelations bans polygamy:

1835 Doctrine & Covenants 101:4:
“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.”

1835 Doctrine & Covenants 13:7:
“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else.”

1835 Doctrine & Covenants 65:3:
“Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.”

Joseph Smith was already a polygamist when these revelations were introduced into the 1835 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants and Joseph publicly taught that the doctrine of the Church was monogamy. Joseph continued secretly marrying multiple women as these revelations/scriptures remained in force.

In an attempt to influence and abate public rumors of his secret polygamy, Joseph got 31 witnesses to sign an affidavit published in the LDS October 1, 1842 Times and Seasons stating that Joseph did not practice polygamy. Pointing to the above-mentioned D&C 101:4 scripture, these witnesses claimed the following:

“…we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.”

The problem with this affidavit is that it was signed by several people who were secret polygamists or who knew that Joseph was a polygamist at the time they signed the affidavit. In fact, Eliza R. Snow, one of the signers of this affidavit, was Joseph Smith’s plural wife. Joseph and Eliza were married 3 months earlier on June 29, 1842. Two Apostles and future prophets, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, were very aware of Joseph’s polygamy behind the scenes when they signed. Another signer, Bishop Whitney, had personally married his daughter Sarah Ann Whitney to Joseph as a plural wife a few months earlier on July 27, 1842; Whitney’s wife and Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (also a signer) witnessed the ceremony.

What does it say about Joseph Smith and his character to include his plural wife and buddies – who knew about his secret polygamy/polyandry – to lie and perjure in a sworn public affidavit that Joseph was not a polygamist?


Why is there no mention of God commanding Adam or Noah
and/or their immediate male children to have many wives?

CES Letter says...

"If God commands polygamy in situations where a high birth rate is necessary, why is there no mention of God commanding Adam or Noah and/or their immediate male children to have many wives?"

FairMormon says...
  • We do not suspect that many marriage choices were available to Adam (descendants from two individuals) and Noah (descendants from eight individuals).
  • With regard to their immediate children, we simply have no information to indicate whether or not they were commanded to practice plural marriage.

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original responses after the release of
Debunking FAIR's Debunking. The above original FairMormon response can be found here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

The point I was making was illustrating how if polygamy is really about "multiplying and replenshing the earth", why didn't God command Adam and Noah to command their direct descendants to practice polygamy for the purpose in increasing the population? No such command was given.

Obviously, this command would apply to their descendants over the next thousand or so years as there were only a limited number of individuals in the beginning. This is what I meant but I was unclear as to how I defined "immediate".

I have removed this from the CES Letter. It was in an awkward spot where I was focusing on D&C 132 and Joseph Smith and his wives and it was out of place. To me, it's not a big issue relative to the problems of Joseph Smith's polygamy and polyandry.



"Debunking" Table of Contents




Important Note

Polygamy/Polyandry Last Updated: 10.26.14

FairMormon revised/deleted/corrected many of their original
responses after the release of Debunking FAIR's Debunking.

My above response is based on FairMormon's 12.14.2013 Polygamy/Polyandry answers.


A native of Southern California, Jeremy was born in the covenant. A 6th generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage, Jeremy reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, and BYU alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life.

In February 2012, Jeremy experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director.

Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came.

In the fall of 2013, unofficial LDS apologetic group FairMormon publicly released an analysis of Letter to a CES Director. In response, Jeremy wrote Debunking FAIR's Debunking.

"I believe that members and investigators deserve all of the information on the table to be able to make a fully informed and balanced decision as to whether or not they want to commit their hearts, minds, time, talents, income, and lives to Mormonism."

Watch Jeremy's Mormon Stories Interview

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



How You Can Help



If the CES Letter has added value to your life, please pay it forward.
Your support will allow us to continue to help the honest in heart seekers.

Be a Monthly Supporter Today:

Monthly Supporter





One-Time Donation




Other Platforms: