Joseph Smith & Nauvoo Polygamy Secrecy

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

CES Letter, Page 57


NEXT RELEVANT QUOTE


Now, does the fact that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry while denying and lying to Emma, the Saints, and the world over the course of 10+ years of his life prove that he was a false prophet? That the Church is false? No, it doesn’t.

What it does prove, however, is that Joseph Smith’s pattern of behavior or modus operandi for a period of at least 10 years of his adult life was to keep secrets, to be deceptive, and to be dishonest – both privately and publicly.

It’s when you take this snapshot of Joseph’s character and start looking into the Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook Plates, the Book of Mormon, the multiple First Vision accounts, Priesthood Restoration, and so on that you begin to see a very disturbing pattern and picture.

CES Letter, Pages 58-59

Claims in The CES Letter that a “pattern of behavior or modus operandi for a period of at least 10 years of his adult life was to keep secrets, be deceptive, and be dishonest –both privately and publicly” is inaccurate and is based upon assumptions, not documentation.

Joseph Smith had been instructed in 1830 to not give gospel meat to those who were not ready for it (D&C 19:22). Secrecy was involved when introducing plural marriage because those who rejected it might be eternally condemned (see D&C 132:52, 54, 64). Timing and presentation were important because it could be so easily misunderstood.

Joseph Smith expected the obedient would eventually understand and comply. He told Lucy Walker: “Although I cannot, under existing circumstances, acknowledge you as my wife, the time is near when we will go beyond the Rocky Mountains and then you will be acknowledged and honored as my wife." He also said, "This principle will yet be believed in and practiced by the righteous.” (Deposition, Temple Lot transcript, respondent’s testimony (part 3), page 467, questions 432, 435, 437, 446.)

The temple endowment was similarly introduced cautiously with secrecy, but accusations Joseph was deceptive in doing so have not been common. Secrecy helped Joseph discern who was spiritually prepared to receive higher teachings and more lofty commandments. Joseph’s pre-Nauvoo reputation did not include accusations of libertinism or being a womanizer. Click here.


Additional Resources:

Fanny Alger and Joseph Smith's Pre-Nauvoo Reputation

A Joseph Smith Miscellany (2005 FAIR Conference) by Richard Bushman

Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration 

The Joseph Smith Papers Project

FAIRMORMON: Joseph Smith 

Joseph Smith Papers,Vol 1, Gerrit Dirkmaat

Joseph Smith Papers, Vol 2, Matthew Godfrey

Best of Fair 7: The Joseph Smith Papers, Ron Esplin, 1:00:05

FAIR Conversations, Episode 3: Richard L. Bushman p.1, Richard L. Bushman, 1:01:16

FAIR Conversations, Episode 4: Richard L. Bushman p.2, Richard L. Bushman, 0:47:51

Faith and Reason 3: A Prophet’s Birth from Noble Heritage, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:54

Faith and Reason 4: A Miracle Operation, Michael R. Ash, 0:08:46

Faith and Reason 5: Joseph Smith’s Name Known Worldwide, Michael R. Ash, 0:05:19

Rough Stone Rolling — Richard Bushman — Fair Mormon Podcast

Rough Stone Rolling-Richard Bushman- Fair Mormon Podcast part 2

Rough Stone Rolling- Interview with Richard Bushman– Fair Mormon Podcast part 1

pt 1 Legal trials of Joseph Smith

pt 2 Legal trials of Joseph Smith

pt 3 Legal trials of Joseph Smith

pt 4 Legal trials of Joseph Smith

pt 5 Legal trials of Joseph Smith

pt 1 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 2 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 3 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 4 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 5 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 6 Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

pt 1, The Protean Joseph Smith

pt 2, The Protean Joseph Smith

pt 3, The Protean Joseph Smith

pt 4, The Protean Joseph Smith

1st Joseph Smith JR The Prophet in videos

2nd Series of Joseph Smith JR The Prophet

3rd of 1st Disc of Series of Joseph The Prophet

4th Joseph Smith, 4th in Series

5th Series of Joseph Smith JR The Prophet

6th Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Story

7th of 1st Disc of Series of Joseph The Prophet

Jesus Christ vs. Joseph Smith video review

JOSEPH SMITH – Did he have a gun? Why?

Joseph Smith Miscellany by Richard Bushman

Joseph Smith Papers

Joseph Smith Papers Constance Lewis and Four Church Historians

Joseph Smith Papers Jeffrey Cannon and Online Papers

Joseph Smith Papers Karen Davidson and John Corrill

Joseph Smith Papers Nathan Waite and Edward Partridge

Joseph Smith Papers Richard Jensen and Missouri Mormon War

Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Series, Ron Esplin-1

Joseph Smith’s Escape from Carthage Jail by Jeff Walker

Joseph Smiths Escape from Liberty Jail

Legal Trials of Joseph Smith by Joseph Bentley

Refuting Joseph Smith’s Critics by Matthew Brown

Review of Jesus Christ vs Joseph Smith part 1

Review of Jesus Christ vs. Joseph Smith part 2

Review of Jesus Christ vs Joseph Smith part 3

Revised or Unaltered: Joseph Smith’s Foundational Stories

Ron Hellings on Joseph Smith and Modern Cosmology

The Joseph Smith Papers

The Protean Joseph Smith by Daniel C Peterson

A Joseph Smith Miscellany (2005 FAIR Conference) by Richard Bushman

Joseph Smith and Modern Cosmology (PDF) (2009 FAIR Conference) by Ron Hellings

Joseph Smith and the Biblical Council of the Gods (PDF) (2010 FAIR Conference) by David Bokovoy

Joseph Smith and the Question of Book of Mormon Geography (PDF) (2010 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Roper

Joseph Smith’s History Confirmed (PDF) by Craig N. Ray

Legal Trials of the Prophet: Joseph Smith’s Life in Court (2006 FAIR Conference) by Joseph Bentley

Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith’s Foundational Stories (2006 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Brown

The 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith (2002 FAIR Conference) by Russell Anderson

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph Smith: Defending the Faith (2004 FAIR Conference) by David L. Paulsen

The Joseph Smith Papers (PDF) (2008 FAIR Conference) by Ronald Esplin

The Joseph Smith Papers Project