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JulieM

Do We Know When The Angel With The Sword Appeared To Joseph?

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I was going to ask this on another thread, but didn't want to sidetrack the discussion.

Here is what is written on Fair about the angel with the drawn/flaming sword:

Question: Did Joseph claim that an angel threatened him with a "drawn sword" or "flaming sword" if a woman refused to marry him?

The references to the "angel with a sword" refer to Joseph's postponement of the initiation of polygamy

Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs said that Joseph mentioned an angel with a drawn sword.  The account of a "flaming" sword came from Eliza Snow and Orson F. Whitney.

The "angel with a sword" reference refers to Joseph's postponement of the practice of polygamy. Brian Hales notes that,

"Twenty-one accounts by nine polygamy insiders left recollections that the Prophet told of one specific reason: an angel with a sword who threatened him if he did not proceed. All nine witnesses could have heard the statement from the Prophet himself; however, the narratives themselves suggest that Benjamin F. Johnson and Eliza R. Snow may have been repeating information gathered from other people. Joseph Lee Robinson's narrative is difficult to date and his actual source is not clear. Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, and Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner quote the Prophet directly and Mary Elizabeth provides details not available elsewhere. Unfortunately, with the possible exception of the Robinson account, all of the reminiscences date to at least twenty to thirty years after the event." 

Here are the quotes attributed to Zina on the matter:

1881: Zina Huntington—Zina D. Young told of Bro. Joseph's remark in relation to the revelation on celestial marriage. How an angel came to him with a drawn sword, and said if he did not obey this law he would lost his priesthood; and in the keeping of it he, Joseph, did not know but it would cost him his life. 

1894: Zina Huntington—[Joseph] sent word to me by my brother, saying, 'Tell Zina I put it off and put it off till an angel with a drawn sword stood by me and told me if I did not establish that principle upon the earth, I would lost my position and my life.'" 

http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy/Did_Joseph_Smith_coerce_women_to_marry_him

 

So, my question is if we have any type of timeline or reference for when the angel appeared to Joseph?

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According to Mary Rollins Lightner he told her:

"The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.”
and
"The angel came to him [Joseph Smith] three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life.”

So 1834 was the first time he was commanded to live plural marriage by the angel.
And 1842 was the final time with the sword and the warning.

Personally I think these dates fit perfectly with what we know of Joseph's marriages.
 

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5 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

According to Mary Rollins Lightner he told her:

"The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.”
and
"The angel came to him [Joseph Smith] three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life.”

So 1834 was the first time he was commanded to live plural marriage by the angel.
And 1842 was the final time with the sword and the warning.

Personally I think these dates fit perfectly with what we know of Joseph's marriages.

But he already had taken many (5?) plural wives prior to 1842.  Wouldn't even taking one have restored the principle?

Why the need for the angel to continue threatening Joseph if he was already practicing polygamy?

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47 minutes ago, JulieM said:

But he already had taken many (5?) plural wives prior to 1842.  Wouldn't even taking one have restored the principle?

Why the need for the angel to continue threatening Joseph if he was already practicing polygamy?

From what I understand he took one plural wife in the early 1830s (Fanny Alger), and that didn't go very well. After that fiasco, I believe it wasn't until 1838 that he took another wife, but things didn't really get rolling until Nauvoo. Considering how the first marriage was such a failure and Joseph's abstinence for a season, one could see how Joseph felt he wasn't being successful or faithful in restoring the principle. Basically, I can see how Joseph may have sincerely believed what he described.

That being said, I personally believe polygamy is NOT a good thing though I also understand how a person's spiritual/visionary experience could lead to it. Near death experiences sometimes describe family like ties between essentially everyone, as if you were married or sealed to everyone, though these relationships are often described as genderless/non-sexual. It appears that these close relationship are something of a common trope to visionary experience, and if Joseph really was a visionary like he claimed, I could easily see him experiencing some version of what I have described and then feeling inspired to implement polygamy. That's one of the kinder interpretations.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker

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27 minutes ago, JulieM said:

But he already had taken many (5?) plural wives prior to 1842.  Wouldn't even taking one have restored the principle?

Why the need for the angel to continue threatening Joseph if he was already practicing polygamy?

That's a good question.

Was Joseph actually practicing polygamy the third time that the angel appeared?
I think Mary was off by a year since Zina records that the drawn sword incident happened before her marriage to Joseph in 1841.

At the time Joseph married Zina (at the behest of the angel according to her) there were three previous plural wives:

  • Fanny Alger - had already left Joseph and the Church by 1838
  • Lucinda Morgan Harris - remained with her legal husband, a good candidate for a sealing only if ever there was one.
  • Louisa Beaman - if Joseph actively was living plural marriage prior to Zina and the angel, Louisa is the only likely candidate.

Perhaps there is more required to the practice than simply being sealed to someone...

 


 

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39 minutes ago, JulieM said:

But he already had taken many (5?) plural wives prior to 1842.  Wouldn't even taking one have restored the principle?

Why the need for the angel to continue threatening Joseph if he was already practicing polygamy?

It is apparent from the remembrances of several of the women that Joseph said that he was commanded to take several specific women as plural wives. Emily Dow Partridge noted how reluctant or at least hesitant Joseph was to actually broach the subject to her. The stories the ladies tell do not paint the portrait of a man driven by his libido.

Glenn

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4 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

It is apparent from the remembrances of several of the women that Joseph said that he was commanded to take several specific women as plural wives. Emily Dow Partridge noted how reluctant or at least hesitant Joseph was to actually broach the subject to her. The stories the ladies tell do not paint the portrait of a man driven by his libido.


If this is correct, and I think it probably is, then it is also possible that it was the disobedience to command that caused the angelic visitation.
Perhaps simply being sealed to one or two women and refusing to marry those commanded wasn't obedient enough.  Kind of like Heber C. Kimball's attempt to marry a couple of elderly spinsters as token plural marriages.
Not quite embracing the principle of the command.

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7 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

It is apparent from the remembrances of several of the women that Joseph said that he was commanded to take several specific women as plural wives. 

So the angel named specific women?

Do you have a source for this? Thanks!

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16 minutes ago, JulieM said:

So the angel named specific women?

Do you have a source for this? Thanks!

I don't think that's what he was saying.
I think the Lord commanded by revelation, and the angel threatened a consequence if Joseph continued to refused to obey all revelations the Lord had given.
I don't think there is any reference to the angel naming names.

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34 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

From what I understand he took one plural wife in the early 1830s (Fanny Alger), and that didn't go very well. After that fiasco, I believe it wasn't until 1838 that he took another wife, but things didn't really get rolling until Nauvoo. Considering how the first marriage was such a failure and Joseph's abstinence for a season, one could see how Joseph felt he wasn't being successful or faithful in restoring the principle. Basically, I can see how Joseph may have sincerely believed what he described.

Thanks for the additional insight and info.

I agree that the marriage to Fanny didn't go well and that he then waited until 1838 to marry again (as far as we know).

But before 1842, Joseph had taken Louisa Beamon, Zina Huntington Jacobs and Presendia Huntington Buell (and possibly Lucinda Harris) as wives.  

So why the need for an angel to continue appearing and threatening Joseph?  He was living polygamy and being obedient.

Did the angel command him to start living polyandry too, do you know?

Edited by JulieM

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

According to Mary Rollins Lightner he told her:

"The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.”
and
"The angel came to him [Joseph Smith] three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life.”

So 1834 was the first time he was commanded to live plural marriage by the angel.
And 1842 was the final time with the sword and the warning.

Personally I think these dates fit perfectly with what we know of Joseph's marriages.
 

So Joseph had already taken multiple wives AND Joseph was visited 3...that´s THREE times, telling him that he must obey.

What am I missing here? 

Regardless of whether the angel shows up the last time brandishing a sword or not, How come Joseph didn't listen the first two times? How come the first wives didn't count as fulfilling the law? 

 

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30 minutes ago, JulieM said:

 

Did the angel command him to start living polyandry too, do you know?

You keep asking this question.
Polyandry was never commanded.  Polyandry was never a principle of the gospel, then or now.
Any polyandrous relationships still involved only one husband and one wife sealed as eternal family.

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17 minutes ago, bcuzbcuz said:

So Joseph had already taken multiple wives AND Joseph was visited 3...that´s THREE times, telling him that he must obey.

What am I missing here?

Regardless of whether the angel shows up the last time brandishing a sword or not, How come Joseph didn't listen the first two times? How come the first wives didn't count as fulfilling the law?

 

We don't know.  I offered some speculation here

 

 

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Forced obedience by threat of deadly force sounds more like Satan's plan doesn't it?

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

You keep asking this question.
Polyandry was never commanded.  

I've asked that before (about the angel commanding Joseph to live polyandry)?  I don't think so!

I haven't read what the angel specifically commanded (and now read here he may have named women to marry).

I know there is no record of God commanding polyandry (or even polygamy) before Joseph claimed he was threatened and commanded.

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1 hour ago, JulieM said:

Thanks for the additional insight and info.

I agree that the marriage to Fanny didn't go well and that he then waited until 1838 to marry again (as far as we know).

But before 1842, Joseph had taken Louisa Beamon, Zina Huntington Jacobs and Presendia Huntington Buell (and possibly Lucinda Harris) as wives.  

So why the need for an angel to continue appearing and threatening Joseph?  He was living polygamy and being obedient.

Did the angel command him to start living polyandry too, do you know?

First, I want to let you know that you are not alone. This angel commanding JS to marry multiple women is totally suspect, and I particularly appreciate your point that JS already had a few wives before 1842, which makes the last claimed visit extra suspect.

Second, I don't know that JS ever claimed that that angel commanded polyandry. However, if I remember correctly (someone correct me if I'm wrong), JS did claim that God commanded him to marry specific women, one of whom wasn't married at the time of the original commandment according to Joseph's claim when he proposed to her years later. However, this proposal was made after she has been married because he had received a divine reminder despite her marriage. So, yes JS claimed that God commanded him to marry polyandrously, though I'm not clear on whether an angel was involved.

Lastly, there is a case for JS feeling he was not up to snuff and needed angelic reprimand (a theme that also appeared in JS' account of the Book of Mormon's coming forth). From what I understand, he believed exaltation was only as awesome as the amount of people you had sealed to you, mainly wives and children, according to the basic premises of the patriarchal priesthood (I.e. progeny like the sand of the sea). So, five wives may have been barely scratching the surface of JS' eternal goals (apparently prescribed by angels).

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1 hour ago, Black Moclips said:

Forced obedience by threat of deadly force sounds more like Satan's plan doesn't it?

I should not even be in this conversation. To me, there was no angel.  It was pure manipulation.

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2 hours ago, JulieM said:

But before 1842, Joseph had taken Louisa Beamon, Zina Huntington Jacobs and Presendia Huntington Buell (and possibly Lucinda Harris) as wives. 

The angel appeared BEFORE he married Zina and Prescendia.
Fanny had left.
Only Louisa Beaman (and possibly Lucinda Harris) were his plural wives when the angel commanded him to get a move on.

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1 hour ago, Black Moclips said:

Forced obedience by threat of deadly force sounds more like Satan's plan doesn't it?

Nope.
Obedience to law with clearly stated consequences sounds like God's plan.
Joseph had the right to exercise his agency.  He would just have to accept the consequences.

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Just now, JLHPROF said:

The angel appeared BEFORE he married Zina and Prescendia.
Fanny had left.
Only Louisa Beaman (and possibly Lucinda Harris) were his plural wives when the angel commanded him to get a move on.

Playing with people's lives and then move on..this is sad.

Quote

 

 

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Just now, JLHPROF said:

The angel appeared BEFORE he married Zina and Prescendia.
Fanny had left.
Only Louisa Beaman (and possibly Lucinda Harris) were his plural wives when the angel commanded him to get a move on.

Oh, ok.  We're just going on your timeline of 1842 (and he married those in 1841 or before, so that's the confusion).  Were there any that stated the angel appeared after 1841 (just wondering where you got the 1843 date)?

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1 minute ago, JulieM said:

Oh, ok.  We're just going on your timeline of 1842 (and he married those in 1841 or before, so that's the confusion).  Were there any that stated the angel appeared after 1841 (just wondering where you got the 1843 date)?

Mary Lightner said it was 1842, but Zina said it was BEFORE they were married which was in Aug 1841.  I think Mary was probably just off by a year.

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1 hour ago, Jeanne said:

I should not even be in this conversation. To me, there was no angel.  It was pure manipulation.

Since several people refer to the story, it seems more likely there was an angel(I realize you are claiming JS was just lying). The problem is third parties are notoriously inaccurate in getting details of a story right. I believe it likely Joseph Smith told them the angel commanded him to adopt this practice or principle, which is where section 132 came from. I personally seriously doubt that the angel commanded JS to marry any specific women. He related the story as to why he was proposing, and they got the impression he was telling them the Angel told him he had to marry them, when he was trying to relate the importance of the principle, and that it was really OK to marry him if they wanted. I simply don't believe God would command JS to marry. That is one sided especially when he was already married as others note. Why would the angel need to reappear? Sounds more like JS just kept relating the same story, and the women kept getting the impression JS was telling them he was supposed to marry them. I know my wife and I will often remember things differently some years later. I personally feel absent another revelation, we will never know the complete truth on the matter.

Edited by RevTestament

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

Since several people refer to the story, it seems more likely there was an angel(I realize you are claiming JS was just lying). The problem is third parties are notoriously inaccurate in getting details of a story right. I believe it likely Joseph Smith told them the angel commanded him to adopt this practice or principle, which is where section 132 came from. I personally seriously doubt that the angel commanded JS to marry any specific women. He related the story as to why he was proposing, and they got the impression he was telling them the Angel told him he had to marry them, when he was trying to relate the importance of the principle, and that it was really OK to marry him if they wanted. I simply don't believe God would command JS to marry. That is one sided especially when he was already married as others note. Why would the angel need to reappear? Sounds more like JS just kept relating the same story, and the women kept getting the impression JS was telling them he was supposed to marry them. I know my wife and I will often remember things differently some years later. I personally feel absent another revelation, we will never know the complete truth on the matter.

Well...you can spin it that way I guess. Whatever works for you.  Quite a circle of events here that you personally believe. 

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7 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

Well...you can spin it that way I guess. Whatever works for you.  Quite a circle of events here that you personally believe. 

Not really at all - especially given that these stories were not written until years later during a time when BY was promoting polygamy as essentially necessary - easy to get the story  a little embellished in that atmosphere.

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