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Radio Free Mormon: 169: A Bad Defense is the Worst Offense Part 1

RFM joins the fabulous Jonathan Streeter (and Yugio!) to investigate the best documented plural marriage of Joseph Smith.  In the process, they manage to pick apart the most common defenses for Joseph’s polygamy put forward by Mormon apologists!


38 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 169: A Bad Defense is the Worst Offense Part 1”

  1. RFM, you realize there’s zero evidence to substantiate this was written by Joseph Smith? There is no original “in his own handwriting.” There is a typed transcript dated to 1912 from a family of documented liars who taught the doctrine of lying for the Lord, specifically in regards to Surprise Wifery. This is the daughter of a man who Joseph Smith called out for being a member of a “Nicolatian Band” in the D&C. These same perverts produced mountains of false evidence for their bullshit Temple Lot case and lost.

    You really need to examine the evidence from the RLDS splinter groups and Joseph III. The vice president of the US literally wrote in his journal that Brigham Young bragged to him that he was the one who had invented Morning polygamy, not Joseph Smith. Don’t fall into the Brighamite trap of counterfeiting

    1. I would be surprised that RFM would interview someone that doesn’t have viable information….and I’m surprised someone would want to speak about the issue if he hadn’t done some major research? I haven’t finished listening to it but I like to read the comments to find out what other people have focused in on to get someone else’s perspective before I form my own. Should be interesting.

    2. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind


      You seem to be denying the authenticity of the letter. The discussion was not whether or not the letter is an authentic revelation, but rather a discussion of the marriage itself. Surely you do not dispute that the marriage occurred, do you?

      Perhaps looking at the greater context of the actions of Joseph Smith, especially as validated by the Church* itself, you would gain a better understanding of the RFM message….especially as this is only the first of a 3-part series. Making a judgement at this point would surely be premature.

      PS: You did listen to the podcast before commenting, right?!?!

      1. I did listen to the whole thing.

        The discussion as a whole is about this supposed recently published Revelation from the JSPP. There’s plenty of reason to distrust them, including the fact that the original “got lost.” There’s more evidence for the Salamander Letter being legit.

        “Validated by the church itself” you mean the institution that has the most to lose if the truth about who started polygamy ever came out? The same institution that has been lying about Joseph Smith for 200 years? The same ones who say his family were all liars?

        Perhaps if you examined the greater context of lying Mormons justifying their sins by murdering Joseph Smith and framing him you wouldn’t be so quick to believe the lie your ancestors accepted. Pretty strange that the 10+ women who swore their whole lives, even under oath in court, that they had borne his children were all proven liars by genetic testing. But we only examine DNA evidence when it disproves the BOM.

  2. One quick point….

    In the revelation about the sealing ceremony words from God, he said something about until death…not time and eternity????

    I thought the whole point of polygamy was marriage into the eternities.

    1. Yes, it did say the normal words about till death do you part.

      But a little later it added the part about for eternity.

      The phrase didn’t put the two ideas together the way we usually hear it today, “for time and all eternity.”

      They are separated in this particular document, so it is easy to miss.

      I think both Jonathan and I were a bit surprised, as well!

  3. There is no evidence to support that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, Regardless of any other grand ideas he may have had starting a new church or other deceptions he may have carried out.

    All accounts tying him into this practice we’re written after his murder. Church History was re written, altered and added to by Brigham young and his cronies almost immediately after Joseph Smiths murder, and to this day the lie is still perpetuated within the LDS church and without.

    It started long before Joseph Smith was murdered through a secret faction called The Secret Chamber, whose noted members included Brigham Young, Heber C Kimball, Parly Pratt and William Clayton. They all practiced spiritual wifery and were tied heavily to Masonry. Just out of interest Heber C Kimball was a high ranking Royal Arch Mason. Those ideas were pilfered and altered hence the strange endowment rituals that were conceived from it.
    The members of the Secret Chamber were practicing spiritual wiferey and secretly practicing polygamy and polyandry unbeknownst to Joseph Smith, within the confines of The Secret Chamber cover.

    Brigham Young’s primary objective was To overthrow Joseph Smith and start his own church, under his own dictatorship and to be able to freely practice polygamy.

    We can tie Joseph Smith into this practice as much as we want and lump him in with the likes of Brigham Young but until we really start to look at contemporary evidence and not ambiguous statements/papers etc. written or altered, often to protect Brighams grandiose ideas, we will continue to believe the lies relating to Joseph Smiths Polygamy and all that is tied in with it.
    It was through this secret chamber that led to the plot to murder Joseph, Hyrum and later Samuel Smith. Not the Carthage Grays.

    It is only recently that I have ever heard of The Secret Chamber. Through my research led me to discover part one of the book The exoneration of Emma, Joseph and Hyrum by Ronald Melden Karren. I would urge anyone to read it as it uncovers firsthand the ugly practices of the Secret chamber members and gives you an insight of Brigham Young’s real agenda. It’s a very interesting read.

    1. Hi, Pam!

      I will address this response both to you and also to Andres, who expressed a similar point of view.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I have encountered this line of thinking from others, including my good friend, Rock Waterman.

      I don’t want to go into a lot of detail here, but let me just offer a few thoughts; similar thoughts to those I have mentioned to Rock.

      Contrary to your assertion, there is documentation that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy that does not date after his death.

      The first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor is one example.

      So is the diary of William Clayton which mentions Clayton acting as scribe while Joseph Smith dictated the revelation on plural marriage.

      The documents Jonathan Streeter and I talked about relating to Joseph’s plural marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney can be added to the list.

      But those committed to the fringe theory that Joseph did not practice polygamy must weave an ever-enlarging and ever-more complicated conspiracy to account for these historical documents.

      As well as the multitude of documents and affidavits that date after Joseph’s death.

      I remain unconvinced that the theory of a vast conspiracy with Brigham Young at the head of the cabal was responsible for carrying out polygamy behind Joseph Smith’s back.

      The idea that Brigham Young wanted to overthrow Joseph Smith (and some theorize he even orchestrated Joseph’s murder!) does not fit with the historical data indicating Brigham practically worshiped the ground Joseph walked on.

      At bottom, the theory posits that Joseph did not practice polygamy, but was so feckless and oblivious he did not realize it was being practiced right under his nose by his closest associates in church leadership.

      Neither paint a flattering picture of Joseph.

      I mean, if Joseph were really a prophet, wouldn’t God have told him about what this “secret chamber” was plotting behind his back?

      This is a thumbnail sketch of my thoughts on the subject.

      I am open to being persuaded otherwise should convincing evidence be produced.

      But as things are at present, the evidence seems overwhelming that Joseph introduced polygamy and practiced it himself. A lot! ;^)

      Consider this:

      The Reorganized LDS Church was built on the idea that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy.

      That was the huge dividing point between the Reorganized Church and the LDS Church.

      The Reorganized Church fought the evidence and fought the evidence until finally, in the 1960s I believe, even they had to finally capitulate and admit that yes, in the face of overwhelming evidence contradicting their foundational tenet, Joseph Smith did practice polygamy.

      And if the Reorganized Church had to finally admit it, then I must conclude they found the evidence overwhelming indeed.

      I certainly do not want to impose my beliefs on you, Pam. (Or Andres.)

      I would never dream of doing so.

      But to my mind, arguing that Joseph Smith didn’t practice polygamy is along the same lines as arguing that the Apollo 11 moon landing was a fake.

      You have to ignore or explain away a mountain of evidence against your position, while at the same time inflating and generally mischaracterizing and misusing the few tiny bits of evidence that support your position.

      Just my opinion, though.

      Take it for what it’s worth.

      Thanks for listening!


      1. Dear RFM

        Thank you so much for taking time to reply to my comments. I just want to add that I’ve been listening to and thoroughly enjoying your podcasts. I love the way you present things and Your sense of humour is right up my street.

        Your podcasts have been very therapeutic for me as I wend my way through the mire, and wonder like many other of your listeners why it has taken so long to see the deceptions of the LDS church.

        I have been a member of the LDS church for over forty years but I have in the last few years been gradually finding out one thing after another that has caused me to shift my paradigms in regard to my once held beliefs. Until recently I still clung on on to the idea that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

        Like many others I so wanted the church to be true. I especially wanted Joseph Smith to be an honest and upright man of God. This is my biggest disappointment in My Journey so far. At the same time I am so thankful that I have arrived at where I am at now.

        Now regarding my thoughts and opinions I expressed on Joseph Smiths polygamy, I know it sounds crazy, for me to seemingly disregard what others would deem indisputable evidence that Joseph did indeed practice it.

        Let me just say that I am totally not fixed on the opinion I previously expressed. I do remain open to all thoughts and ideas on this subject as I know you are. I have sooo many questions and all I want to do is arrive at the truth. (Don’t we all!) Which may never happen because it’s such a complex subject.

        I know it sounds contradictory to doubt Joseph Smith was a prophet, the authenticity of the BOM etc, and then to say that I believe he didn’t practice polygamy, but since reading the book I mentioned in my comments, there are some very interesting parts that I really think are worth considering which include all of the points you mentioned about the historical documents etc. I couldn’t go Into them here because there is too much content.

        I thank you for your time and patience and all that you do to help your listeners navigate through their faith journey. I look forward to the next podcast.

        Yours sincerely from an English woman living in Germany just seeking to know the truth. The puzzle pieces are still the edges for me. The middle has yet to be done. My journey is ongoing.

      2. RFM,

        No one had ever set foot on the moon. If you still believe that lie you’re not brainwashed than you were when you were in the cult. Brigham did not worship the ground Joseph Smith walked on. The way he treated his sons when they came in their mission to Utah proved that, as did his hatred for Emma and attempts on William Smith’s life.

        It’s become more obvious you haven’t done research on what you derisively deem “fringe” and “conspiracy” theories. I hope one day you’ll look back on your stupid Apollo and Brigham apologetics like you do with your stupid apologetics from RFM rides again.

        50 years ago you would have been sitting here telling us Brigham didn’t have Danite murderers and wasnt involved with MMM. Sorry but conspiracies and secret combinations are real and your ancestors were warned specifically for a reason. Wake up

        1. Dear Andres,

          Are you actually saying you believe the Apollo 11 moon landing was a hoax?

          If so, I have no more questions.

          I rest my case.

          1. Andres Guazurari

            You really believe that a bunch of former Nazis and Masons went to the Moon in 1969 and 1970, in a craft that was 2 laters of mylar thick? You believe they miraculously made a 230,000 mile journey without hitting a single micrometeor, passing through radiation belts that NASA says they are unable to pass with today’s technology, radiation belts that NASA astronaut Alan Bean didn’t know he’d passed through.



            Once they got to the Moon, you think they were able to call Richard Nixon from the surface of the Moon, drive around in golf cart that wasn’t attached to their lunar module, take a bunch of pictures on film that like the astronauts also miraculously survived radiation exposure even though an x-ray machine is strong enough to ruin film, plant a flag that was blowing in non existent wind and collect a bunch of moon rocks that actually ended up being petrified wood.


            Now on top of all this insane shit you choose to willfully believe, you ignore that NASA says that they lost the technology to go to the Moon (, even though the most advanced technology on the planet at the time was a pocket calculator. You ignore that NASA accidentally taped over all the telemetry data, destroyed they original blueprints, and had to push back the plan to return to the moon under Bush, and then Obama cancelled it entirely and announced that we needed to focus on getting past Low Earth Orbit.


            On top of all this Buzz Light-year himself has finally admitted he never went to the moon.


            It’s time to set aside the fairytales of your youth RFM. When your ready to have a real discussion and investigation I’ve got a lot of good books I could recommend. The defense rests.

        2. The other piece of contemporary evidence is John C Bennett’s book “History of the Saints” not so much because of what Bennett (whose credit was suspect) wrote, but because of what the Book contained, like Martha Brotherton’s account of Brigham’s proposal, and Joseph’s sanctioning of it, in the upper room of the Red Brick store. I think rfm, if you compare the detail Martha gives, compared to the generalised denials and straw man argument advanced by Hyrum and others against it, it will lead you as a lawyer to conclude that the jury would find it convincing. And that 30 years later Brigham married Martha by proxy even though she rejected him and may have still been alive, supports it. The type of “free agency” extended to Martha is much like that extended to Sarah Anne Whitney and her mother, and to Helen Mar Kimball and her mother.

          Enjoyed both your and Jonathan’s comments and humour

          1. I think you make a good historical argument for why some parts of Bennett’s book are corroborated by other evidence.

            Thanks for your insight!


        1. Dear OnceAMormonAlways,

          So you know, people like Andres are not persuaded by the fact that the LDS Church has admitted Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

          They are also not persuaded by the fact the RLDS church admitted Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

          Their position is that Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy; that he told the truth when on several occasions he denied practicing polygamy; that this was a practice introduced by Brigham Young and his cronies after visiting the Cochranites in and around Massachussetts while on a mission; that Brigham Young, et al, adopted the Cochranites practice of “spiritual wifery”: that they brought it back to Nauvoo with them; that Brigham Young, et al, practiced polygamy behind Joseph Smith’s back without Joseph’s consent or knowledge in what they call “the secret chamber”; that Brigham Young et al, conspired to have Joseph Smith murdered; that Brigham Young then was free to practice his polygamy among the saints; that Brigham Young said (falsely) that he learned polygamy from Joseph Smith; that D&C 132 was not authored by Joseph Smith, but is a later forgery by Brigham Young (or somebody at his direction) falsely attributed to Joseph Smith; and that the LDS Church has been out of the way since then by not only permitting the practice of polygamy until it was ultimately done away with, but even today by agreeing that Joseph Smith practiced it himself.

          So from their point of view, the fact the LDS Church admits Joseph Smith practiced polygamy is all part of the evidence that Brigham Young’s plot worked; and that perhaps to some degree, modern church leaders are still in on the plot.

          I hope that helps.

          I also hope Andres will see fit to correct me if I got anything wrong.



          1. You left out the part where all the women who claimed to have borne Joseph’s children were proven liars with DNA testing and the multiple occasions when Brigham boasted that he was the author of polygamy and not Joseph. You need to remember also how Joseph III caught Eliza Snow and others in lies on multiple occasions and found major holes in all their stories.

            You’ll find those of us willing to examine the history without sticking to the correlated story of the angel with the flaming sword aren’t as dogmatic about the specifics as those who are still holding their polygamist ancestors blameless. But you’ve got the general idea, you just haven’t examined the actual evidence. Looking more into the Temple Lot Case will help you there a lot.

            Also, you need to stop pretending like they RLDS as one big happy family all decided Joseph was a polygamist. That decision led to the massive decline in membership they’re still reeling with and the formation of “splinter groups” all over the country. It might be a little soon for the Brighamites to celebrate over their misfortune.

    2. RFM

      I watched the first hour on youtube while I was at work. It was daunting seeing there is 3 hours. Much better breaking it up and eaaier to focus in a podcast format.
      No need to repeat myself that polygamy is the most revolting thing created by man ever. Joseph Smith was a depraved human being.
      You and Jonathan have the perfect tone for someone like me and I discovered or should I say I had an ah ha moment…my soul all my life could never believe polygamy was of God even though that was heavily preached and taught. It clicked for me while listening that I am free from that horrible religious, disgusting, sexually sick, vomitous doctrine and every one who uses it to hide his sickness.
      And I always have been free without knowing it. It’s why mormonism in all its forms never rang true. It’s the nail in the coffin for falsehood. And anyone who believes this didn’t come from Joseph Smith has their head in the sand and is a fool.

      1. I’m so glad you liked the episode, K!

        Jonathan and I have a good rapport, I think.

        It took a little getting used to early on, because we are both used to being the only one talking on our respective podcasts.

        I was worried his podcast wouldn’t be big enough for the two of us!

        But I think we found our rhythm in pretty short order!

        Jonathan is brilliant and has so many facts and dates at his fingertips.

        He really did the heavy lifting in this episode, I think.

      2. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind

        K, As a former TBM, the concept was easy to believe. It was taught to me in terms of caring for recently widowed women, providing for orphaned children, and necessary due to the ‘fact’ that more women would make it to the Celestial Kingdom than men. Therefore a surplus of women needing eternal husbands…do the math!

        It was the great equalizer, providing all arrivals to the Celestial Kingdom(tm) the exact same blessings and opportunities for eternal procreation.

        1. Dear Once…

          I was told the same thing. Look at the oxymoronic thought that is….women are MORE righteous and our REWARD is polygamy. No matter how righteous you are you are never equal to a man. Wait until a little further into the podcast, Hales admits polygamy is not FAIR for women. And the idea of Widows and Orphans. As soon as a Widow remarried, her property then belonged to her new husband. Research what Brigham Young did. The trick is the LDS church will say whatever even when it isn’t the truth. So, even though we were lied to the lies we were told ie women more righteous and rescuing widows still are ridiculous. I always thought so. I couldn’t believe ANY reason was sufficient that made life a living hell for women and that gives me freedom now. I had horrible things said to me all my life and I would not bend. That now brings me comfort.

          1. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind

            I am joyed to hear that you have found freedom, comfort, and I hope, peace in life.

            Reminds me of the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. No guarantee of happiness, just the opportunity to have it.

            I am glad you got yours!!

    3. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind

      Is the Second Annointing the same thing as “Having your Calling and Blessing Made Sure”? That is the phrase I was brought up with…maybe that is what JS wanted from the Whitney’s visit…to make sure…because you know…Jesus.

      1. Yes, the second anointing is also called having your calling and election made sure. Also the more sure word of prophecy.

        This is an ordinance that is performed today secretly at the temple with a husband and wife who have been recommend to the apostles by their stake president for exemplary conduct and faithfulness.

        While Jonathan was mentioning this as a possibility, I was quickly googling the subject and found that the first time the second anointing was administered was about a year-and-a-half after this tete-a-tete between Joseph and Sarah.

        I mentioned it during the interview.

        So doing a second anointing was probably not what was going on . . .


        1. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind

          Of course not! He just needed moral support from his blushing bride without his first wife catching wind.

    4. Here’s a question…I thought we ALL had agency. Why didn’t Joseph Smith have agency? Why did the angel come with a sword threatening Joseph if he didn’t live polygamy? How can anyone really think that was true?! Oh, I made excuses as a TBM but WHY?! WOW…it’s just crazy.

      1. Will you go to the prom with me?

        Heck no!

        If you don’t go to the prom with me, I’ll kill myself!

        Well, I wouldn’t want you to KILL yourself . . .

      2. OnceAMormonAlways...Nevermind

        The agency/preordination/predestination conundrum was a topic I had to put on my shelf during my mission. How could he have had agency to choose his own life if the scriptures had already said he was to be the prophet of the restoration?

    5. This podcast reminds me of what Inspector Harry Callahan once said. “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross.”

    6. If Joseph were creating “merely a link” with Sara Ann Whitney, why did that link creation cause so much anguish for Sara Ann Whitney’s mother? If it were no big deal, if it were just a link, Sara Ann Whitney’s parents had no reason to recoil.

      1. Elvis Presley movies.

        He was the king.

        Extra credit if you can name the movie that line comes from!

        No googling!

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