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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Illinois

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Institution Of Polygamy








The student of the history of the Mormon church to this date, who
seeks an answer to the question, Who originated the idea of
plural marriages among the Mormons? will naturally credit that
idea to Joseph Smith, Jr. The Reorganized Church
(non-polygamist), whose membership includes Smith's direct
descendants, defend the prophet's memory by alleging that "in the
brain of J. C. Bennett was conceived the idea, and in his
practice was the principle first introduced into the church." In
maintaining this ground, however, they contend that "the official
character of President Joseph Smith should be judged by his
official ministrations as set forth in the well authenticated
accepted official documents of the church up to June 27, 1844.
His personal, private conduct should not enter into this
discussion."* The secular investigator finds it necessary to
disregard this warning, and in studying the question he discovers
an incontrovertible mass of testimony to prove that the
"revelation" concerning polygamy was a production of Smith,** was
familiar to the church leaders in Nauvoo, and was lived up to by
them before their expulsion from Illinois.

* Pamphlets Nos. 16 and 46 published by the Reorganized Church.

** "Elder W. W. Phelps said in Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1862 that
while Joseph was translating the Book of Abraham in Kirtland,
Ohio, in 1835, from the papyrus found with the Egyptian mummies,
the Prophet became impressed with the idea that polygamy would
yet become an institution of the Mormon Church. Brigham Young was
present, and was much annoyed at the statement made by Phelps;
but it is highly probable that it was the real secret that the
latter then divulged."--"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 182.


The Book of Mormon furnishes ample proof that the idea of plural
marriages was as far from any thought of the real "author" of the
doctrinal part of that book as it was from the mind of Rigdon's
fellow-Disciples in Ohio at the time. The declarations on the
subject in the Mormon Bible are so worded that they distinctly
forbid any following of the example of Old Testament leaders like
David and Solomon. In the Book of Jacob ii. 24-28, we find these
commands: "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and
concubines, which thing was abominable before me saith the Lord;
wherefore, thus with the Lord, I have led this people forth out
of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might
raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins
of Joseph.

"Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people
shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore my brethren, hear me,
and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man
among you hath save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have
none; for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.
And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord
of Hosts."

The same view is expressed in the Book of Mosiah, where, among
the sins of King Noah, it is mentioned that "he spent his time in
riotous living with his wives and concubines," and in the Book of
Ether x. 5, where it is said that "Riplakish did not do that
which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many
wives and concubines."

Smith, at the beginning of his career as a prophet, inculcated
the same views on this subject in his "revelations." Thus, in the
one dated at Kirtland, February 9, 1831, it was commanded (Sec.
42), "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall
cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman
to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the
spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out." In another
"revelation," dated the following month (Sec. 49), it was
declared, "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."* These teachings may be
with justness attributed to Rigdon, and we shall see on how
little ground rests a carelessly made charge that he was the
originator of the "spiritual wife" notion.

"It is the strongest proof of the firm hold of a party, whether
religious or political, upon the public mind, when it may offend
with impunity against its own primary principles." MILMAN,
"History of Christianity."

That there was a loosening of the views regarding the marriage
tie almost as soon as Smith began his reign at Kirtland can be
shown on abundant proof. Booth in one of his letters said, " t
has been made known to one who has left his wife in New York
State, that he is entirely free from his wife, and he is at
pleasure to take him a wife from among the Lamanites" (Indians).*
That reports of polygamous practices among the Mormons while they
were in Ohio were current was conceded in the section on
marriage, inserted in the Kirtland edition of the "Book of
Doctrine and Covenants"--"Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has
been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy,"
etc.; and is further proved by Smith's denial in the Elders'
Journal,** and by the declaration of the Presidents of the
Seventies, withholding fellowship with any elder "who is guilty
of polygamy."

* Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."

** p. 157, ante.


Of the enmity of the higher powers toward transgressors of the
law of morality of this time, we find an amusing (some will say
shocking) mention in Smith's "revelation" of October 25, 1831
(Sec. 66). This "revelation" (announced as the words of "the Lord
your Redeemer, the Saviour of the world") was addressed to W. E.
McLellin (who was soon after "rebuked" by the prophet for
attempting to have a "revelation" on his own account). It
declared that McLellin was "blessed for receiving mine
everlasting covenant," directed him to go forth and preach, gave
him power to heal the sick, and then added, "Commit no adultery,
a temptation with which thou hast been troubled." Could religious
bouffe go to greater lengths?

Testimony as to the liberal Mormon view of the marriage relation
while the church was in Missouri is found in the case of one
Lyon, reported by Smith on page 148 of Vol. XVI of the Millennial
Star. Lyon was the presiding high priest of one of the outlying
branches of the church. Desiring to marry a Mrs. Jackson, whose
husband was absent in the East, Lyon announced a "revelation,"
ordering the marriage to take place, telling her that he knew by
revelation that her husband was dead. He gained her consent in
this way, but, before the ceremony was performed, Jackson
returned home, and, learning of Lyon's conduct, he had him
brought before the authorities for trial. The high priest was
found guilty enough to be deposed from his office, but not from
his church membership.

There is abundant testimony from Mormon sources to show that the
doctrine of polygamy, with the "spiritual wife" adjunct, was
practised in Nauvoo for some time before Joseph Smith's death. A
very orthodox Mormon witness on this point is Eliza R. Snow. In
her biography of her brother, Lorenzo Snow,* the recent head of
the church, she gives this account of her connection with
polygamy:

* "This biography and autobiography of my brother Lorenzo Snow
has been written as a tribute of sisterly affection for him, and
as a token of sincere respect to his family. It is designed to be
handed down in lineal descent, from generation to generation,--to
be preserved as a family memorial."--Extract from the preface.


"While my brother was absent on this [his first] mission to
Europe [1840-1843], changes had taken place with me, one of
eternal import, of which I supposed him to be entirely ignorant.
The Prophet Joseph had taught me the principle of plural or
celestial marriage, and I was married to him for time and
eternity. In consequence of the ignorance of most of the Saints,
as well as people of the world, on this subject, it was not
mentioned, only privately between the few whose minds were
enlightened on the subject. Not knowing how my brother [he
returned on April 12, 1843] would receive it, I did not feel at
liberty, and did not wish to assume the responsibility, of
instructing him in the principle of plural marriage .... I
informed my husband [the prophet] of the situation, and requested
him to open the subject to my brother. A favorable opportunity
soon presented, and, seated together on the bank of the
Mississippi River, they had a most interesting conversation. The
prophet afterward told me he found that my brother's mind had
been previously enlightened on the subject in question. That
Comforter which Jesus says shall I lead unto all truth had
penetrated his understanding, and, while in England, had given
him an intimation of what at that time was to many a secret. This
was the result of living near the Lord.

"It was at the private interview referred to above that the
Prophet Joseph unbosomed his heart, and described the trying
ordeal he experienced in overcoming the repugnance of his
feelings, the natural result of the force of education and social
custom, relative to the introduction of plural marriage. He knew
the voice of God--he knew the command of the Almighty to him was
to go forward--to set the example and establish celestial plural
marriage .... Yet the prophet hesitated and deferred from time to
time, until an angel of God stood by him with a drawn sword, and
told him that, unless he moved forward and established plural
marriage, his priesthood would be taken from him and he should be
destroyed. This testimony he not only bore to my brother, but
also to others."*

* "Biography of Lorenzo Snow" (1884), pp. 68-70. Young married
some of Smith's spiritual widows after the prophet's death, and
four of them, including Eliza Snow, appear in Crockwell's
illustrated "Biographies of Young's Wives," published in Utah.


Catherine Lewis, who, after passing two years with the Mormons,
escaped from Nauvoo, after taking the preliminary degrees of the
endowment, says: "The Twelve took Joseph's wives after his death.
Kimball and Young took most of them; the daughter of Kimball was
one of Joseph's wives. I heard her say to her mother: 'I will
never be sealed to my father [meaning as a wife], and I would
never have been sealed [married] 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.' The
Apostles said they only took Joseph's wives to raise up children,
carry them through to the next world, and there deliver them up
to him; by so doing they would gain his approbation."--"Narrative
of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons."
Smith's versatility as a fabricator seems to give him a leading
place in that respect in the record of mankind. Snow says that he
asked the prophet to set him right if he should see him indulging
in any practice that might lead him astray, and the prophet
assured him that he would never be guilty of any serious error.
"It was one of Snow's peculiarities," observes his sister, "to do
nothing by halves"; and he exemplified this in this instance by
having two wives "sealed" to him at the same time in 1845, adding
two more very soon afterward, and another in 1848. "It was
distinctly understood," says his sister, "and agreed between
them, that their marriage relations should not, for the time
being, be divulged to the world."

The testimony of John D. Lee in regard to the practice of
polygamy in Illinois is very circumstantial, and Lee was a
conscientious polygamist to the day of his death. He says* that
he was directed in this matter by principle and not by passion,
and goes on to explain:--

* "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 200


"In those days I did not always make due allowance for the
failings of the weaker vessels. I then expected perfection in all
women. I know now that I was foolish in looking for that in
anything human. I have, for slight offences, turned away
good-meaning young women that had been sealed to me, and refused
to hear their excuses, but sent them away brokenhearted. In this
I did wrong. I have regretted the same in sorrow for many years
.... Should my history ever fall into the hands of Emeline
Woolsey or Polly Ann Workman, I wish them to know that, with my
last breath, I asked God to pardon me the wrong I did them, when
I drove them from me, poor young girls as they were"

Lee says that in the winter of 1843-1844 Smith set one Sidney Hay
Jacobs to writing a pamphlet giving selections from the
Scriptures bearing on the practice of polygamy and advocating
that doctrine. The appearance of this pamphlet created so much
unfavorable comment (even Hyrum Smith denouncing it "as from
beneath") that Joseph deemed it best to condemn it in the Wasp,
although men in his confidence were busy advocating its
teachings.

The "revelation" sanctioning plural marriages is dated July 12,
1843, and Lee says that Smith "dared not proclaim it publicly,"
but taught it "confidentially," urging his followers "to
surrender themselves to God" for their salvation; and "in the
winter of 1845, meetings were held all over the city of Nauvoo,
and the spirit of Elijah was taught in the different families, as
a foundation to the order of celestial marriage, as well as the
law of adoption."* The Saints were also taught that Gentiles had
no right to perform the marriage ceremony, and that their former
marriage relations were invalid, and that they could be "sealed"
to new wives under the authority of the church.

*"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 165.


Lee gives a complete record of his plural marriages, which is
interesting, showing how the business was conducted at the start.
His second wife, the daughter of a wealthy farmer near Quincy,
Illinois, was "sealed" to him in Nauvoo in 1845, after she had
been an inmate of his house for three months. His third and
fourth wives were "sealed" to him soon after, but Young took a
fancy to wife No. 3 (who had borne Lee a son), and, after much
persuasion, she was "sealed" to Young. At this same "sealing" Lee
took wife No. 4, a girl whom he had baptized in Tennessee. In the
spring of 1845 two sisters of his first wife AND THEIR MOTHER
were "sealed" to him; he married the mother, he says, "for the
salvation of her eternal state." At the completion of the Nauvoo
Temple he took three more wives. At Council Bluffs, in 1847,
Brigham Young "sealed" him to three more, two of them sisters, in
one night, and he secured the fourteenth soon after, the
fifteenth in 1851, the sixteenth in 1856, the seventeenth in 1858
("a dashing young bride"), the eighteenth in 1859, and the
nineteenth and last in Salt Lake City. He says he claimed "only
eighteen true wives," as he married Mrs. Woolsey "for her soul's
sake, and she was nearly sixty years old." By these wives he had
sixty-four children, of whom fifty-four were living when his book
was written.

Ebenezer Robinson, explaining in the Return a statement signed by
him and his wife in October, 1842, to offset Bennett's charges,
in which they declared that they "knew of no other form of
marriage ceremony" except the one in the "Book of Doctrine and
Covenants," said that this statement was then true, as the heads
of the church had not yet taught the new system to others. But
they had heard it talked of, and the prophet's brother, Don
Carlos, in June, 1841, had said to Robinson, "Any man who will
teach and practise spiritual wifery will go to hell, no matter if
it is my brother Joseph." Hyrum Smith, who first opposed the
doctrine, went to Robinson's house in December, 1843, and taught
the system to him and his wife. Robinson was told of the
"revelation" to Joseph a few days after its date, and just as he
was leaving Nauvoo on a mission to New York. He, Law, and William
Marks opposed the innovation. He continues: "We returned home
from that mission the latter part of November, 1843. Soon after
our return, I was told that when we were gone the 'revelation'
was presented to and read in the High Council in Nauvoo, three of
the members of which refused to accept it as from the Lord,
President Marks, Cowles, and Counsellor Leonard Soby." Cowles at
once resigned from the High Council and the Presidency of the
church at Nauvoo, and was looked on as a seceder.

Robinson gives convincing testimony that, as early as 1843, the
ceremonies of the Endowment House were performed in Nauvoo by a
secret organization called "The Holy Order," and says that in
June, 1844, he saw John Taylor clad in an endowment robe. He
quotes a letter to himself from Orson Hyde, dated September 19,
1844, in which Hyde refers guardedly to the new revelation and
the "Holy Order" as "the charge which the prophet gave us,"
adding, "and we know that Elder Rigdon does not know what it
was." *

* The Return, Vol. II, p. 252.


We may find the following references to this subject in Smith's
diary: "April 29, 1842. The Lord makes manifest to me many things
which it is not wisdom for me to make public until others can
witness the proof of them."

"May 1. I preached in the grove on the Keys of the Kingdom, etc.
The Keys are certain signs and words by which the false spirits
and personages can be detected from true, and which cannot be
revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed."

"May 4. I spent the day in the upper part of my store . . . in
council with (Hyrum, Brigham Young and others) instructing them
in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to
washings, anointings, endowments . . . . The communications I
made to this Council were of things spiritual, and to be received
only by the spiritually minded; and there was nothing made known
to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the
last days as soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper
place is prepared to communicate them." *

* Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, pp. 390-393.


In one of Smith's dissertations, which are inserted here and
there in his diary, is the following under date of August,
1842:--

"If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be
added. So with Solomon. First he asked wisdom and God gave it to
him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which
might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of
heaven only in part, but which in reality were right, because God
gave and sanctioned them by special revelation." *

* Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, p. 774.

While the Mormon leaders, Lorenzo Snow and others, were in the
Utah penitentiary after conviction under the Edmunds antipolygamy
law, refusing pardons on condition that they would give up the
practice of polygamy, the Deseret News of May 20, 1886, printed
an affidavit made on February 16, 1874, at the request of Joseph
F. Smith, by William Clayton, who was a clerk in the prophet's
office in Nauvoo and temple recorder, to show the world that "the
martyred prophet is responsible to God and the world for this
doctrine." The affidavit recites that while Clayton and the
prophet were taking a walk, in February, 1843, Smith first
broached to him the subject of plural marriages, and told him
that the doctrine was right in the sight of God, adding, "It is
your privilege to have all the wives you want." He gives the
names of a number of the wives whom Smith married at this time,
adding that his wife Emma "was cognizant of the fact of some, if
not all, of these being his wives, and she generally treated them
very kindly." He says that on July 12, 1843, Hyrum offered to
read the "revelation" to Emma if the prophet would write it out,
saying, "I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will
hereafter have peace." Joseph smiled, and remarked, "You do not
know Emma as well as I do," but he thereupon dictated the
"revelation" and Clayton wrote it down. An examination of its
text will show how largely it was devoted to Emma's subjugation.
When Hyrum returned from reading it to the prophet's lawful wife,
he said that "he had never received a more severe talking to in
his life; that Emma was very bitter and full of resentment and
anger." Joseph repeated his remark that his brother did not know
Emma as well as he did, and, putting the "revelation" into his
pocket, they went out. *

* Jepson's "Historical Record," Vol. VI, pp. 233-234, gives the
names of twenty-seven women who, "besides a few others about whom
we have been unable to get all the necessary information, were
sealed to the Prophet Joseph during the last three years of his
life."


"At the present time," says Stenhouse ("Rocky Mountain Saints"),
p. 185, "there are probably about a dozen sisters in Utah who
proudly acknowledge themselves to be the `wives of Joseph, 'and
how many others there may be who held that relationship no man
knoweth.'"
At the conference in Salt Lake City on August 28, 1852, at which
the first public announcement of the revelation was made, Brigham
Young said in the course of his remarks: "Though that doctrine
has not been preached by the Elders, this people have believed in
it for many years.* The original copy of this revelation was
burned up. William Clayton was the man who wrote it from the
mouth of the Prophet. In the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's
possession. He wished the privilege to copy it, which brother
Joseph granted. Sister Emma burnt the original." The
"revelation," he added, had been locked up for years in his desk,
on which he had a patent lock.**

* As evidence that polygamy was not countenanced by Smith and his
associates in Nauvoo, there has been cited a notice in the Times
and Seasons of February, 1844, signed by Joseph and Hyrum Smith,
cutting off an elder named Brown for preaching "polygamy and
other false and corrupt doctrines," and a letter of Hyrum, dated
March 15, 1844, threatening to deprive of his license and
membership any elder who preached "that a man having a certain
priesthood may have as many wives as he pleases." The Deseret
News of May 20, 1886, noticing these and other early denials,
justifies the falsehoods, saying that "Jesus enjoined his
Disciples on several occasions to keep to themselves principles
that he made known to them," that the "Book of Doctrine and
Covenants" gave the same instruction, and that the elders, as the
"revelation" was not yet promulgated, "were justified in denying
those imputations, and at the same time avoiding the avowal of
such doctrines as were not yet intended for this world." P. P.
Pratt flatly denied, in England, in 1846, that any such doctrine
was known or practised by the Saints, and John Taylor (afterward
the head of the church), in a discussion in France in July, 1850,
declared that "these things are too outrageous to admit of
belief." The latter false statements would be covered by the
excuse of the Deseret News.

** Deseret News, extra, September 14, 1852. Young declared in a
sermon in Salt Lake City in July, 1855, that he was among the
doubters when the prophet revealed the new doctrine, saying: "It
was the first time in my life that I desired the grave, and I
could hardly get over it for a long time . . . . And I have had
to examine myself from that day to this, and watch my faith and
carefully meditate, lest I should be found desiring the grave
more than I ought to." His examinations proved eminently
successful.


Further proof is not needed to show that this doctrine was the
offspring of Joseph Smith, and that its original object was to
grant him unrestricted indulgence of his passions.

Justice to Sidney Rigdon requires that his memory should be
cleared of the charge, which has been made by more than one
writer, that the spiritual wife doctrine was of his invention.
There is the strongest evidence to show that it was Smith's
knowledge that he could not win Rigdon over to polygamy which
made the prophet so bitter against his old counsellor, and that
it was Rigdon's opposition to the new doctrine that made Young so
determined to drive him out of church after the prophet's death.

When Rigdon returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to establish his
own Mormon church there, he began in October, 1844, the
publication of a revived Latter-Day Saints' Messenger and
Advocate. Stating "the greater cause" of the opposition of the
leaders of Nauvoo to him, in an editorial, he said:--

"Know then that the so-called Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo are now
teaching the doctrine of what is called Spiritual Wives; that a
man may have more wives than one; and they are not only teaching
it, but practising it, and this doctrine is spreading alarmingly
through that apostate branch of the church of Latter-Day Saints.
Their greatest objection to us was our opposition to this
doctrine, knowing, as they did, that we had got the fact in
possession. It created alarm, great alarm; every effort was made
while we were there to effect something that might screen them
from the consequence of exposure . . . .

"This doctrine of a man having more wives than one is the cause
which has induced these men to put at defiance the ecclesiastical
arrangements of the church, and, what is equally criminal, to do
despite unto the moral excellence of the doctrine and covenants
of the church, setting up an order of things of their own, in
violation of all the rules and regulations known to the Saints."

In the same editorial Rigdon prints a statement by a gentleman
who was at Nauvoo at the time, and for whose veracity he vouches,
which said, "It was said to me by many that they had no objection
to Elder Rigdon but his opposition to the spiritual wife system."

Benjamin Winchester, who was one of the earliest missionaries
sent out from Kirtland, adds this testimony in a letter to Elder
John Hardy of Boston, Massachusetts, whose trial in 1844 for
opposing the spiritual wife doctrine occasioned wide comment:

"As regards the trial of Elder Rigdon at Nauvoo, it was a forced
affair, got up by the Twelve to get him out of their way, that
they might the better arrogate to themselves higher authority
than they ever had, or anybody ever dreamed they would have; and
also (as they perhaps hope) to prevent a complete expose of the
spiritual wife system, which they knew would deeply implicate
themselves."





Next: Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy

Previous: Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee



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