There is a raging debate within Mormon circles where those folks who are determined to maintain belief in the Prophet Joseph Smith but who abhor polygamy and the Church as ran by Brigham Young and after have found ways to dismiss the standard evidence that Mormonism’s founder was a polygamist. They interpret the evidence as made up by Brigham Young and those around him in an effort to draw Joseph Smith into a practice he never participated in. Stories of fabricating history, backdating prophesy, and discrediting witnesses. On this week’s episode Bill & RFM with a few friends take a look at the evidence and to see if one has compelling reasons to believe Joseph Smith was, in fact, a polygamist!
MAIN CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM REASON
1.) Clayton Journal Entries can be shown to be reliable
2.) D&C 132 is shown to be reliable as the text of the revelation that Smith received
3.) There is substantial Evidence that imposes that Smith originated and perpetuated Polygamy
4.) Hyrum Smith read the revelation in a High Council Meeting and Joseph and Hyrum tried to excuse the revelation away in the Nauvoo City Council but not a the way that allows Polygamy deniers to impose a narrative of “Eternity Only Sealings” or “Dynastic Sealings”. Hence they must confront why Hyrum and Joseph don’t respond using the narrative they have created.
5.) That any attempt to explain Joseph’s practice as “eternal only” and not time is irrational in light of Hyrum and Joseph’s attempt to walk back the doctrine/revelation of plural marriage by explaining it was in regards to former times and had nothing to do with the present. In other words Dynastic Sealings or relationships in the hereafter that are not binding or sexual in this life is not going to strike fear and anger and rebelliousness in Emma, along with pushback and resentment in Marks, Cowles, and Soby and can be explained without embarrassment. But when Joseph and Hyrum tip their hand by making the excuse that this revelation is about former times and not the present, we can rationally conclude this wasn’t eternal only or dynastic relationships that lacked sex or marriage in this life.(While we didn’t show it, Orange Wight’s autobiography also imposes that Smith had Flora Woodworth as a wife and he was notified that because of such, she was taken. Hence this wasn’t a eternity only relationship.)
If you want to see the documents and the notes about what these documents show. Check out the three part Reddit Posts on the topic..
This link has the url’s for the Land Deeds of Joseph’s plural wives
https://archive.org/details/history-of-the-saints-1842-john-c-bennett/page/n9/mode/2up?view=theater – John C Bennett History of the Saints
http://www.latterdaytruth.org/pdf/100526.pdf Nauvoo Expositor
Joseph F. Smith Affidavits – http://mormonpolygamydocuments.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/JS0361.doc
https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/MMD/id/59430/rec/1 – Clayton Diary
https://archive.org/details/WilliamClaytonJournal/page/n13/mode/2up – Clayton page 106 search for plural
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-from-oliver-cowdery-21-january-1838/1 Cowdery to his brother
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJUtmzt3fJc&t=1193s&pp=ygUQaGFwcGluZXNzIGxldHRlcg%3D%3D – Happiness Letter Examination
https://www.jstor.org/stable/43200169 – “Illicit Intercourse,” Plural Marriage, and the Nauvoo Stake High Council, 1840-1844 Gary James Bergera
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/revelation-12-july-1843-dc-132/1#historical-intro – Kingsbury 132 Revelation
https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/187/oa_monograph/chapter/201655/pdf – Junius and Joseph
https://www.jstor.org/stable/43200716 – The Changing RLDS Response to Mormon Polygamy: A Preliminary Analysis Richard P. Howard
https://www.jstor.org/stable/40193596 – Buckeye’s Laments: Two Early Insider Exposés of Mormon Polygamy and Their Authorship Gary James Bergera