If Dynastic, why be Sealed to Multiple Family Members?
CES Letter Core Question
If some of these marriages were non-sexual “dynastic” “eternal” sealings only, as theorized by the Church and apologists, why would Joseph need to be sealed to a mother and daughter set?
CES Letter, Page 54
The CES Letter provides inaccurate and confusing details.
Four of the women mentioned (the Partridge sisters, Fanny Alger, Lucy Walker) were not foster daughters. Even a brief review of the historical documents would have revealed this if the author of The CES Letter would have bothered to check.
The two women who were, the Lawrence sisters, were chosen as plural wives for Joseph by Emma Smith. There is no evidence of coercion or force. Maria Lawrence died in Illinois leaving no criticism of Joseph Smith. Sarah Lawrence remarried after the martyrdom and left the Church. She visited Salt Lake City years later and denied having been married to the Prophet but she did not criticize him or accuse him of impropriety.
That Joseph would approach women he knew to give them a chance to become his plural wives is unsurprising. Approaching strangers would not be expected. When rebuffed in a plural proposal, the Prophet withdrew quietly. There is no evidence Joseph approached other women living with the Smith family in the Nauvoo Mansion like Catherine Walker, Lucy Walker's younger sister.
Joseph Smith did not take money from the Lawrence estate for providing food, clothing, and lodging for the Lawrence siblings although the foster father of other Lawrence children did.
Lucy Walker remembered the Prophet's teaching: “A woman would have her choice, this was a privilege that could not be denied her.”