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inquiringmind

Plural Marriage/Polygamy?

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My understanding is that Joseph Smith did teach plural marriage, and that he was sealed to more than one wife uring his life, but I've also read that he only fathered children by his first wife, and I'm unclear on whether he ever actually taught (or practiced) polygamy?

Given a difference between plural marriage and polygamy, and also unclear on whether the Church ever authoritatively taught or practiced the latter.

Is the perception that polygamy was ever a doctrine of the Church all a misunderstanding?

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My understanding is that Joseph Smith did teach plural marriage, and that he was sealed to more than one wife, but I've also read that he only fathered children by his first wife, and I'm unclear on whether he ever actually taught (or practiced) polygamy?

Given a difference between plural marriage and polygamy, and also unclear on whether the Church ever authoritatively taught or practiced the latter.

Was it all a misunderstanding?

The LDS Church has set up a website entirely dedicated to the life and teachings of Joseph Smith:

JosephSmith.net

As the most notable curators of Joseph Smith's legacy, I would start there.

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I suggest a review of the sub forum Polygamy under the Archives section. Tons of information there.

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I'll check that out, but I've already read a lot about Joseph Smith, his life, and teachings, and what I've read on the subject of polygamy is very confusing.

As I said, I know he taught plural marriage, but I've seen it suggested that that's not (necessarily) polygamy.

So did he ever teach (or practice) polygamy?

Did the Church?

If it did (after his death), is it possible that leaders (like Brigham Young) simply misunderstood his teaching on plural marriage?

In other words, was it ever official doctrine that a man could (or should) have an active sexual relationship with more than one wife during his earthly life?

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My understanding is that Joseph Smith did teach plural marriage, and that he was sealed to more than one wife uring his life, but I've also read that he only fathered children by his first wife, and I'm unclear on whether he ever actually taught (or practiced) polygamy?

Given a difference between plural marriage and polygamy, and also unclear on whether the Church ever authoritatively taught or practiced the latter.

Is the perception that polygamy was ever a doctrine of the Church all a misunderstanding?

Be wary of anyone claiming that Joseph Smith never practiced plural marriage (I'm aware of at least two board members here who make that claim). The former Community of Christ President, Grant W. McMurray, has noted to the effect that there is "no credible historian today that argues that Joseph Smith never practiced plural marriage). From a historically anti-polygamy perspective, I find McMurray's statements very compelling.

A new book just came out on the subject that may be of interest to you.

http://www.amazon.com/Persistence-Polygamy-Joseph-Origins-Mormon/dp/193490113X

At the moment, there is no definitive answer as to whether JS fathered any children with women other than Emma. DNA tests are still ongoing in that regard, all of which have yielded negative results.

Polygamy remains a doctrine of the LDS Church, but is not practiced as it was prior to 1904.

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At the moment, there is no definitive answer as to whether JS fathered any children with women other than Emma. DNA tests are still ongoing in that regard, all of which have yielded negative results.

Polygamy remains a doctrine of the LDS Church, but is not practiced as it was prior to 1904.

Polygamy or plural marriage, and is it the same thing?

If Joseph's only children were with Emma, it could mean (and I think some mean to suggest) that his only active, earthly, sexual relationship was with Emma.

Is that possible?

Is it possible that he taught plural marriage (in the sense of being sealed for a future life), but never taught polygamy?

(I don't know, and that's what confusses me.)

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Polygamy or plural marriage, and is it the same thing?

They are one and the same.

If Joseph's only children were with Emma, it could mean (and I think some mean to suggest) that his only active, earthly, sexual relationship was with Emma.

Is that possible?

Since you haven't been here long, I'm just going to forewarn you. Threads discussing the details of anyone's sex lives (including Joseph Smith's) are generally frowned upon and don't have a long shelf-life on these forums. Given the speculative nature of such discussions, I would still recommend you consult the latest book published on the matter that I listed previously. I remember Scott Gordon (President of FAIR) making a claim similar to what you've mentioned here, but I am compelled by an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary.

Is it possible that he taught plural marriage (in the sense of being sealed for a future life), but never taught polygamy?

(I don't know, and that's what confusses me.)

I think some of Joseph Smith's (and others) relationships are reflective of an "afterlife-only" ideology, but there is ample evidence that Joseph Smith taught and practiced polygamy in his lifetime. Most of Joseph Smith's negative comments about polygamy in his latter years are not denials of the 1843 revelation known as D&C 132. Joseph was diametrically opposed to "spiritual-wifery" as practiced by John C. Bennett, and denied ever being an adulterer (since "marriage" meant it was okay).

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Polygamy or plural marriage, and is it the same thing?

They are not the same thing, but are related as "color" is to "red".

Polygamy is the state of having many marriages and could be a man with many wives or a woman with many husbands. Conceivably, it could also be any sort of polyamory situation, too, where many men and many women have each other in a common relationship (whether they are all bisexual or all heterosexual is another variant).

Plural Marriage is the state of one man's having several wives. The wives have no relationship with each other (except for some other connection, like sisters or cousins), and each marriage is independent of the others. It requires one more component: Priesthood sanction and Priesthood ceremony. Other kinds of polygyny (the state of having many wives, in general) are not Plural Marriage.

If Joseph's only children were with Emma, it could mean (and I think some mean to suggest) that his only active, earthly, sexual relationship was with Emma.

This is possible, but unlikely, since there are many accounts of Joseph's having been "caught" with others of his many wives. (The exact number is unknown, at least unknown to me).

Is it possible that he taught plural marriage (in the sense of being sealed for a future life), but never taught polygamy?

Answering the question I think you're asking, no, Joseph clearly taught plural marriage on earth and practiced it himself.

I am grateful that he and his other wives had no (known) children. We had more than enough confusion to endure with those we know about.

Lehi

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[Polygamy and Plural Marriage] are one and the same.

No, they are not.

"Polygamy" is a much broader category, and "Plural Marriage" is only a tiny subset of the larger class. It is a subset of "polygyny" which is itself a subset of polygamy.

See my note above.

Lehi

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No, they are not.

"Polygamy" is a much broader category, and "Plural Marriage" is a tiny subset of the larger class. It is a subset of "polygyny" which is a subset of polygamy.

See my note above.

Lehi

So polygamy is not plural marriage, but plural marriage is polygamy. Dually noted Lehi.

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Polygamy or plural marriage, and is it the same thing?

If Joseph's only children were with Emma, it could mean (and I think some mean to suggest) that his only active, earthly, sexual relationship was with Emma.

Is that possible?

Is it possible that he taught plural marriage (in the sense of being sealed for a future life), but never taught polygamy?

(I don't know, and that's what confusses me.)

The words polygamy and plural marriage are not, strictly speaking, the same thing. First of all, "plural marriage" is an LDS coined term. "Polygamy" is an English-language word from the Greek words meaning "many wives." While most non-LDS would think "plural marriage" is just a code-word meaning "polygamy", it is apparently intended to avoid the connotation of "harem", and to mean that each husband-wife unit is a separate marriage, wherein the wives share their husband but are otherwise each a family unit with that husband and their own children. In some historical plural marriages, the individual wives considered each other to be "sister wives", but their relationship with their husband was an individual one.

It is probably true that some of Joseph's plural marriage relationships were unconsummated by design. It is also probably true that some of them were not unconsummated. And he definitely was in several plural marriage relationships, according to official church doctrine. Check out the "Church History in the Fulness of Times" student manual, chapter 20, HERE. Look down the page to the section headed "Revelations on Marriage" and you will find the following:

Moreover, Joseph Smith and the Church were to accept the principle of plural marriage as part of the restoration of all things (see DC 132:45). Accustomed to conventional marriage patterns, the Prophet was at

first understandably reluctant to engage in this new practice. Due to a lack of historical documentation, we do not know what his early attempts were to comply with the commandment in Ohio. His first recorded plural marriage in Nauvoo was

to Louisa Beaman; it was performed by Bishop Joseph B. Noble on 5 April 1841. During the next three years Joseph took additional plural wives in accordance with the Lord

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Polygamy or plural marriage, and is it the same thing?

If Joseph's only children were with Emma, it could mean (and I think some mean to suggest) that his only active, earthly, sexual relationship was with Emma.

Is that possible?

Is it possible that he taught plural marriage (in the sense of being sealed for a future life), but never taught polygamy?

(I don't know, and that's what confusses me.)

im, if you have about 30 minutes of time to devote to the subject, I would recommend sitting down and studying the section of LDS scripture which teaches the doctrine on polygamy:

Doctrine and Covenants Section 132

This revelation was given to Joseph by God in 1843, during the Nauvoo period of LDS history. Joseph's (first) wife, Emma, was opposed to polygamy, and this revelation was given to clarify the situation for her. There are many cryptic parts, but there are also many clear parts, and it will be a good starting point for you to understand what Joseph Smith taught on the subject. I would even suggest that after reading it, you will know more about Joseph Smith's teachings on polygamy than the vast majority of LDS members, since we usually stop reading at verse 29 when studying it.

Good luck!

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The LDS Church has set up a website entirely dedicated to the life and teachings of Joseph Smith:

JosephSmith.net

As the most notable curators of Joseph Smith's legacy, I would start there.

"Your search for polygamy has returned 0 results in JosephSmith.net."

It thus appears that JS had nothing to do with it.

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It is probably true that some of Joseph's plural marriage relationships were unconsummated by design. It is also probably true that some of them were not unconsummated.

I understand the distinction you made between polygamy and plural marriage, but I don't want this to get too complicated (trying to distinguish between plural mariages that are intended to be consumated here on earth, and those that aren't), so I'll use the term polygamy to refer to actually having a fully consummated marrital relationship with more than one wife here on earth.

If Joseph's marriage with Emma was the only one that was consummated, he wasn't really a practicing polygamist at all.

Was the practice (of having more than one consummated relationship in this lifetime) ever officially taught as doctrine, or could the whole thing have been a misunderstanding (like the Adam/God thing)?

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"Your search for polygamy has returned 0 results in JosephSmith.net."

It thus appears that JS had nothing to do with it.

ROFL!

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The LDS Church has set up a website entirely dedicated to the life and teachings of Joseph Smith:

JosephSmith.net

As the most notable curators of Joseph Smith's legacy, I would start there.

I went to www.josephsmith.net and searched on polygamy, celestial marriage, spiritual wives, Fanny Alger, and wives of Joseph Smith. I got zero hits on all of my searches.

Is there possibly another church supported site that would go into more detail on Joseph's life?

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I went to www.josephsmith.net and searched on polygamy, celestial marriage, spiritual wives, Fanny Alger, and wives of Joseph Smith. I got zero hits on all of my searches.

Is there possibly another church supported site that would go into more detail on Joseph's life?

You're not doing it right. I got 75 hits on "Emma".

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You're not doing it right. I got 75 hits on "Emma".

MM appears to have much better pick up lines.

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If it did (after his death), is it possible that leaders (like Brigham Young) simply misunderstood his teaching on plural marriage?

Probably not since the Bible itself sanctions God-authorized plural marriage.

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I would even suggest that after reading [section 132] you will know more about Joseph Smith's teachings on polygamy than the vast majority of LDS members, since we usually stop reading at verse 29 when studying it.

It's true. I never read the whole section until I was on my mission. Most of the section has really good stuff in it. The last that last several verses get a bit weird though. The best thing I've ever read about Joseph's plural marriage was in Rough Stone Rolling. FAIR has a lot of good info about it as well.

An understanding of Joseph's plural marriage is difficult to grasp because it was all done in secret.

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I have studied this question for a long time. Although there is evidence that can be interpreted both ways I have come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist.

I believe he was sealed to a number of women (and, interestingly, some men) but this did not constitute marriage as we understand it. Nowadays we tend to think of sealing and marriage as almost the same thing and therefore assume that when Joseph was sealed to Eliza Snow etc these were proper marriages - as they would be today. But that is not the case.

Just a couple of weeks before Joseph was killed he stated publicly that he had only one wife and was not guilty of polygamy. Now, either he was thruthful or he was lying. If lying, then his entire testimony is suspect so this is a big deal. But I am convinced that he did not consider the sealings to be marriages at all. It is only in the years that followed that they have been viewed through polygamist lenses.

Regarding D&C section 132, let's just say I have some concerns about it's provenance.

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I have studied this question for a long time. Although there is evidence that can be interpreted both ways I have come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist.

I believe he was sealed to a number of women (and, interestingly, some men) but this did not constitute marriage as we understand it. Nowadays we tend to think of sealing and marriage as almost the same thing and therefore assume that when Joseph was sealed to Eliza Snow etc these were proper marriages - as they would be today. But that is not the case.

Just a couple of weeks before Joseph was killed he stated publicly that he had only one wife and was not guilty of polygamy. Now, either he was thruthful or he was lying. If lying, then his entire testimony is suspect so this is a big deal. But I am convinced that he did not consider the sealings to be marriages at all. It is only in the years that followed that they have been viewed through polygamist lenses.

Regarding D&C section 132, let's just say I have some concerns about it's provenance.

What concerns? What changed? When did we go from plural marriage to polygamy?

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I don't have time to look up the references right now, but there does appear to be some evidence that Section 132 is a hybrid, and as such, ends up saying or implying something that was not intended.

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Joseph Smith neither taught nor practiced polygamy/polygany/plural marriage/spiritual wiferey (whatever you want to call it).

**See the link in my signature.**

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Joseph Smith neither taught nor practiced polygamy/polygany/plural marriage/spiritual wiferey (whatever you want to call it).

**See the link in my signature.**

As a side note to what you have linked in your signature, no reputable historian accepts it, and I'm completely serious. There is overwhelming evidence to the contrary my friend. For this very reason the RLDS church now acknowledges that Joseph practiced it, but is happy to say that their church never participated in it.

If you're going to be honest about investigating history, especially when it comes to your faith's vehement denial of historical polygamy, I suggest you start here.

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