Jump to content
Seriously No Politics ×

Historical Monogamy Doctrine website


Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

My wild out-of-date opinion would be to suppose her time-husband upgraded to an eternal-husband with Joseph dead and the Church openly sealing, Joseph would be still sealed to the one child while others would be sealed to the other.

Highly unlikely she was sealed to her actual husband after being sealed to Joseph, but I am too lazy to doublecheck.

However, I did find a reference I was unaware of that Sylvia might have told a younger daughter that as well.  If she did, it changes the likelihood she was referring to a sealing only.

It is still very, very strange to me she hadn’t shared the info before with her children if it was just a sealing relationship, especially once the actual father died.  Otoh, there are so many social and moral implications she might have wanted to protect her daughter from if she thought her daughter was the biological child of Joseph.

https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/sylvia-sessions/

Quote

The primary evidence for possible sexuality is a document that recounts how shortly before her 1882 death, Sylvia called Josephine to her side. Josephine reported in 1915: “She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”4 Generally, this language would be interpreted to mean physical paternity. However, an eternity-only sealing between Sylvia and Joseph would have made Josephine his daughter in a spiritual sense automatically, since she was born-in-the-covenant of that sealing. Also, within the Church starting with the 1877 dedication of the St. George Temple, proxy sealings as vicarious adoption ordinances were creating fathers and daughters among individuals with no physical kinship relationship.5

While not always reliable, family history records indicate that another daughter, Phebe Clark, was also present and was told the same thing. Phebe was born to Sylvia Sessions after Windsor died and she remarried to Ezekiel Clark. So in Phebe’s case, it could only have been a spiritual relationship supporting that Josephine’s kinship as a “daughter” was also spiritual, not secondary to a physical union.

 

Link to comment
On 12/13/2023 at 4:00 PM, Pyreaux said:

No, but heard many things like it. Joseph denied being a conventional polygamist, had no polygamist children according to DNA tests. So, if he were Sealing multiple women to him, he didn't seem to consummate them, no proof of coitus. Brigham's practice was different, more like the Mosaic Law, like a charity for widows and lone women, which coitus was permitted. Brigham claimed his practice was more or less as Joseph taught them. I'm sure he did, but I don't think Joseph practiced what he preached himself.

My many great grandfather was Joseph's bishop in Nauvoo and conducted what he said was the first plural marriage when he described it long after the fact and it got passed down in family history (I doubt he knew anything about the Fanny Alger question or if he did, not that it was consummated) as just that --- the first plural marriage.  Joseph spent that night at ggggg ? grandparents home in a bedroom with Louisa Beaman.  

And yes I believe Joseph Smith did everything he could to protect Emma from knowing about what he felt compelled by God to do (though because he got the sealings that were not to actual family completely wrong --- which the Lord told Wilford Woodruff to correct by revelation ---a fact that we all learned when we read the Teachings of the Prophet manual forward and Temple chapter in RS/EQ however long ago that was--- if he hadn't gotten it wrong,  Emma would have been spared some of her anguish (which wouldn't however be a lot because it wasn't the dynastic sealings that involved a real intimate relationship.

Edited by rpn
Link to comment
On 12/13/2023 at 5:21 PM, Calm said:

But there is evidence as women testified that it occurred…and it is likely imo that Sylvia Lyons was confused over who was the bio father of her daughter because she had sex with both husbands during the crucial time period, which was why she told her daughter she was Joseph’s child.  If it was just about the sealing, then her later children would have been Joseph’s as well by that standard and yet she didn’t tell them that.

Sylvia Lyon's words as recounted by her daughter:  "She told me that I was the daughter of Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to Prophet Joseph Smith...."  doesn't say that she was the birth daughter.  It only says what is true for everyone sealed to their parents or stepparents or adoptive parents, that she was his daughter. Given that Sis. Lyons spoke of her birth father's disaffectation from the church,  a parent might have wanted to reassure a child of eternal belonging.  This is a quote from the Joseph Smith Papers' project.

Quote

Just prior to my mother’s death in 1882 she called me to her bedside and told me that her days on earth were about numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon had was out of fellowship with the Church.1

This has been interpreted as a sexual relationship. However, when contextualized to 1882, two problems emerge. First, in 1877 the St. George Temple opened where genetically unrelated men and women were sealed to become fathers and daughters. It is unclear from this secondhand account which Sylvia was referring to. Second, polyandry would have been an explosive practice suggesting that additional unambiguous evidence would have been found discussing it. In Nauvoo, no one complained about it or defended the practice. That this was instead a non-sexual eternity-only (just applying after death) sealing is highly probable.   https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/common-questions/plural-marriages-sexual/sylvia-session-evidence-of-sexuality/

 

Link to comment
16 hours ago, Calm said:

I did find a reference I was unaware of that Sylvia might have told a younger daughter that as well.  If she did, it changes the likelihood she was referring to a sealing only.

It is still very, very strange to me she hadn’t shared the info before with her children if it was just a sealing relationship, especially once the actual father died.  Otoh, there are so many social and moral implications she might have wanted to protect her daughter from if she thought her daughter was the biological child of Joseph.

 

Link to comment

Pyreaux, what is your point in posting this?  I had a great conversation with Don after his FAIR presentation that I am guessing covers all this.

The transcript is available so the info is more accessible.  Also, no interruptions…

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/conference/august-2023/knowing-brother-joseph-how-the-historical-record-demonstrates-the-prophets-religious-sincerity

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
34 minutes ago, Calm said:

Pyreaux, what is your point in posting this?  I had a great conversation with Don after his FAIR presentation that I am guessing covers all this.

The transcript is available so the info is more accessible.  Also, no interruptions…

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/conference/august-2023/knowing-brother-joseph-how-the-historical-record-demonstrates-the-prophets-religious-sincerity

Well, I was first going to comment on how I'm influenced by having watched Don explain how Joseph seemed to go out of his way to wed pregnant women, this seems to suggest he was avoiding s3x and was Sealing only. But then I found the clip, so I just posted it without any context of why I was posting it. Sorry.

Link to comment
5 hours ago, rpn said:

Sylvia Lyon's words as recounted by her daughter:  "She told me that I was the daughter of Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to Prophet Joseph Smith...."  doesn't say that she was the birth daughter.  It only says what is true for everyone sealed to their parents or stepparents or adoptive parents, that she was his daughter. Given that Sis. Lyons spoke of her birth father's disaffectation from the church,  a parent might have wanted to reassure a child of eternal belonging.  This is a quote from the Joseph Smith Papers' project.

 

Never realized this angle on her being JS's daughter whether by birth or not. BTW, my nephews and ex sister and ex brother in law (my brother was married to the sister and my sister was married to her brother, crazy I know) are descendants of Sylvia and her mother Patty, both were married to Joseph. Is that kosher since according to the rules for plural marriage, mother & daughters shouldn't be married to the same man? Anyway, they are descendants and grew up in Bountiful, Utah, which was founded by the Sessions. 

Brian Hales would agree with you! https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/sylvia-sessions/

 

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Pyreaux said:

Well, I was first going to comment on how I'm influenced by having watched Don explain how Joseph seemed to go out of his way to wed pregnant women, this seems to suggest he was avoiding s3x and was Sealing only. But then I found the clip, so I just posted it without any context of why I was posting it. Sorry.

No problem, I just was wondering.  Thought that was likely.

I agree that the beginnings of plural marriage highly likely did not involve sex.  And that Joseph’s foremost purpose was to raise up seed and he first did that through adoption by sealing.  And because of that we need to have significant evidence that there was physical relations in his marriages/sealings.  I lean towards no physical relationships with polyandrous marriages now, though the Sylvia Sessions Lyons’ marriage with what appeared to me to be confusion over who was the father of Josephine.  Now there is the addition of a family belief she said the same thing to a younger child, that pushes it over with the other polyandrous marriages.

Nauvoo polygamy was different though.  He was marrying single women.  We should look to see what other ways it might be different. Waiting eagerly for Don’s next installment.  I hope we don’t have to wait until the next FAIR conference, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  Solid academic work can take time and I think Don likes to have his puzzle pieces mostly assembled when he shares his info.

Link to comment
6 hours ago, rpn said:

It only says what is true for everyone sealed to their parents or stepparents or adoptive parents, that she was his daughter.

But if the statement she was Joseph’s child didn’t apply to her younger siblings, it suggests there was something else going on.  Since the marriage was a sealing for sure, it would have been a given that Josephine and her younger siblings would have naturally been seen as Joseph’s children, BIC even if he wasn’t the biofather.  They wouldn’t need to be told they were his children, only the fact of the sealing between him and their mother before their births.  They would still need to be told if they were also Joseph’s biochildren.  Since previous information had Sylvia telling one child this and not any another (it has been awhile since I looked for other children’s info), it made me leaned towards biological child.

So I now wonder if the children had been completely unaware of the marriage/sealing.  If they were aware prior to when Sylvia told Josephine she was Joseph’s daughter and therefore it would be a given to them they were Joseph’s children by the covenant, that may shift me back to thinking the mother may have believed Josephine was a biological daughter and the belief that she told another child the same thing is possibly wishful thinking on the family’s part.

One of these days I need to redig into everything we know about Sylvia’s relationship with the prophet and her children and if polyandrous sealings to Joseph were really not discussed at all among the families.  

But the anomaly of just one child seems to have been likely resolved, though it would be nice to have something more definite than a family rumor/belief.

Link to comment

I think most would agree that polygamy while Joseph lived was a bit of a mess and eventually became more of a " well regulated procedure " .

On a tangential note, I read somewhere that Brigham was quite lenient when it came to the ladies wanting a divorce in polygamous marriages. Can anyone confirm ? 

Link to comment
44 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

. Is that kosher since according to the rules for plural marriage, mother & daughters shouldn't be married to the same man?

It doesn’t seem like it would matter eternally when it is the relationship of God’s child that is preeminent since they were not mother and daughter eternally speaking prior to mortality, but sisters as all women were.  I wonder how Joseph saw the relationship.  Was he like Brigham, thinking greater glory came from more sealings, more wives and more children?  The law of adoption sealings make it obvious that many saw mortal father-child relationships, at least those that were sealed as all important and continuing eternally.

Or was Joseph fully focused on raising seed to the Lord and creating a massive extended celestial family on earth through sealings of adults…since they only performed proxy work iirc for those deceased who had accepted the gospel in life, the full vision of proxy temple work offering it to all doesn’t seem to have been realized yet, even though iirc they were teaching practically universal salvation at that time (my timing may be off though) and even possibly the celestial kingdom (exaltation?) in some cases such as Alvin (they didn’t have the divisions in the highest kingdom as we do…which may be an interpretation error btw).

Don Bradley’s info of the earliest wives mostly being pregnant or likely pregnant with the only one not the widow of Joseph’s brother, Don Carlos (and therefore perhaps Joseph saw that as an eternal levirate marriage, an early interpretation of proxy temple work, something which was not fully revealed at the time) makes the focus of Joseph on the children, imo, and not the women.  He may have seen sealings to married women as a means to fulfill an immediate need, the command to raise up seed and not as something of an ongoing marriage relationship, at least in the case of where husbands were faithful members since there was no need for the women to marry him when they could be sealed to their husbands, but Joseph saw a need to have children to fulfill the commandment.

Link to comment
12 minutes ago, blackstrap said:

I think most would agree that polygamy while Joseph lived was a bit of a mess and eventually became more of a " well regulated procedure " .

On a tangential note, I read somewhere that Brigham was quite lenient when it came to the ladies wanting a divorce in polygamous marriages. Can anyone confirm ? 

Do you want documentation?  He was very lenient in general, especially if they were marrying monogamously after the divorce iirc.  The territory became the divorce capital of the US because of it.  Men, otoh, had a much harder time of it.

Quote

Early Utah quickly gained the reputation of being a divorce "mecca," with its broad grounds for divorce, inexpensive court procedures, and lack of residency requirements. Thus, Christina Anderson, in 1866 Weber County, could obtain an divorce for abuse and maltreatment, grounds that were not allowed in eastern courts.<ref>The Division of State Archives website at http://archives.utah.gov/inventories-ac.htm lists this the Christina Anderson v. Peter Anderson divorce in the Weber County (Utah) Probate Court, Civil and Criminal case files (series 1593), entry 117. </ref> When out-of-state people began arriving to take advantage of this situation, Utah stiffened its residency requirements and lengthened the waiting period.

https://wiki.rootsweb.com/wiki/index.php/Divorce_Actions

Quote

Brigham Young to William H. Dame, Aug. 8, 1867, Brigham Young Letterbook, vol. 10, p. 340, Brigham Young Office Files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City; Daynes, Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 141–70. In general, women in Utah Territory could obtain a divorce more easily than in most other places in the United States at the time. One of Brigham Young’s clerks explained: “As a rule, the Prest. [Brigham Young] never refuses a bill [of divorcement] on the application of a wife, and NEVER when she INSISTS on it.” Quoted in Embry, Mormon Polygamous Families, 253.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
4 hours ago, blackstrap said:

Thanks Calm, as always a fount of information.

I am now wondering at the settlement process.  Would Brigham have been involved in that or would it usually be settled between the couple…custody of children mostly.

Link to comment

Sylvia died in 1882.  Only 6 years later there were rumors that Josephine was Joseph’s daughter as if it was a big deal. Given the Law of Adoption, would a sealing/BIC have caused that much interest?  And was it Josephine who made the info public or something else?

Quote

 In 1888, George Brimhall recorded in his journal:  “Went to Spanish Fork …  Evening had a talk with Father Hales, who told me that it was said that Joseph Smith had a daughter named Josephine living in Bountiful, Utah.”11  At that time, Josephine Lyon lived in Bountiful with her husband Mr. Fisher.

It has been supposed in the past that the rumors were she was his bio daughter.  If it was known to be only a sealing, why such rumors?

https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/sylvia-sessions/#:~:text=Sylvia Porter Sessions was born,ceremony performed by Joseph Smith.

Also Sylvia gave testimony in 1869 about the marriage taking place in Feb 42, so any child born after that was Joseph’s child.  Just seems very strange she is thinking it is a never before told secret when it was known to several.

https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/96f0e7d1-4be8-4b56-8bd7-b5bd4516cb94/0/0

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
11 hours ago, Calm said:

Sylvia died in 1882.  Only 6 years later there were rumors that Josephine was Joseph’s daughter as if it was a big deal. Given the Law of Adoption, would a sealing/BIC have caused that much interest?  And was it Josephine who made the info public or something else?

It has been supposed in the past that the rumors were she was his bio daughter.  If it was known to be only a sealing, why such rumors?

https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/sylvia-sessions/#:~:text=Sylvia Porter Sessions was born,ceremony performed by Joseph Smith.

Also Sylvia gave testimony in 1869 about the marriage taking place in Feb 42, so any child born after that was Joseph’s child.  Just seems very strange she is thinking it is a never before told secret when it was known to several.

https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/96f0e7d1-4be8-4b56-8bd7-b5bd4516cb94/0/0

I may be jumping to conclusions, but assuming they didn't have DNA testing back then, it would be a good guess on Sylvia's part, which by all accounts proves more or less that Joseph did have sexual relations with some of the plural wives or sealings.

Link to comment
17 hours ago, Calm said:

Or was Joseph fully focused on raising seed to the Lord... 

In my opinion, the lack of evidence of Joseph having been the "donor" for any of the children born to any of his plural wives indicates that he was not fulfulling the injunction to "multiply and replenish the earth", which was given as the raison d'etre for plural marriage in verse 63 of Section 132.  Was he that disobedient, or that scared of Emma, or did he have insufficient opportunities, or was that where he drew the line?  OR, is it possible that verse 63 was not actually part of the original revelation he received, thus he made no effort to "multiply"?

18 hours ago, Calm said:

... and creating a massive extended celestial family on earth through sealings of adults

Somewhere (and I cannot remember where or when) I came across the hypothesis that Joseph's motivation went something like this:  His calling and election having been made sure, anyone he was sealed to would be saved/exalted right along with him.  So by this line of thinking he was trying to save other families by having members of those families sealed to him.

My recollection is that at least one woman who was sealed to Joseph when she was young later said that Joseph told her this would save her whole family. 

Arguably there is more circumstantial evidence supporting this as Joseph's motivation than there is supporting the "multiply" motivation given in verse 63 of Section 132.

(My personal belief is that Joseph saw the "web", and then acted to bring about "on earth as it is in heaven" via sealings; and I doubt that making babies would have really been the primary purpose for such sealings.)

Link to comment
3 hours ago, manol said:

In my opinion, the lack of evidence of Joseph having been the "donor" for any of the children born to any of his plural wives indicates that he was not fulfulling the injunction to "multiply and replenish the earth", which was given as the raison d'etre for plural marriage in verse 63 of Section 132.  Was he that disobedient, or that scared of Emma, or did he have insufficient opportunities, or was that where he drew the line?  OR, is it possible that verse 63 was not actually part of the original revelation he received, thus he made no effort to "multiply"?

He may have been trying to do an end run around the commandment or once he committed, maybe he was trying to get immediate results knowing it could be years before his biochildren showed up even if he took several wives immediately.  Taking pregnant wives gave him a ready made family.  Maybe he was also worried that his children had a low probability of surviving given out of 8 children only three had survived past infant hood, most having been stillborn or survived a few hours.

My guess is he was uncomfortable with the idea and intelligent enough to understand the social perils as well as just the economic issues (he struggled to provide for Emma and their offspring), but also he loved Emma enough he was looking for ways to fulfill the commandment and not hurt her as much as possible.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
3 hours ago, manol said:

My recollection is that at least one woman who was sealed to Joseph when she was young later said that Joseph told her this would save her whole family. 

Helen Mar Kimball, most likely.

Quote

After which he said to me, “If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.” This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.

https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/helen-mar-kimball/

Link to comment
3 hours ago, manol said:

doubt that making babies would have really been the primary purpose for such sealings.)

I agree when one looks at the whole of his behaviour overtime as I really believe he was looked on many of his friends and their families as his extended family, but why choose for his first 4 wives 3 that were pregnant (or likely pregnant as we don’t know the month one child was born, only the year) with the 4th one being the widow of his brother (and thus a likely exception)?  That is too unlikely to be anything but intentional imo.

It is an interesting puzzle to me.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
3 hours ago, Calm said:

It is an interesting puzzle to me.

Indeed it is!  I hadn't realized that 3 of the first 4 women (other than Emma) he was sealed to were pregnant at the time.  Maybe he was just lazy?  (I'm kidding!)

Seriously, what is your current thinking about Joseph's public denial?  My thinking about it has gone through some convolutions over the years, to the point where I now believe his words and the impression they seem intended to give (I say this because arguably it wasn't a direct denial):

"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

(1st convolution:  Joseph was breaking a lesser law - "thou shalt not lie" - in order to keep the higher law of plural marriage. 2nd convolution:  Joseph was covering up his adultery and used carefully-chosen weasel-wording to deny without actually denying.  3rd (current) convolution:  Joseph not being deceitful, which unfortunately raises more questions than it answers.)

Edited by manol
Link to comment
1 hour ago, manol said:

Indeed it is!  I hadn't realized that 3 of the first 4 women (other than Emma) he was sealed to were pregnant at the time.  Maybe he was just lazy?  (I'm kidding!)

Seriously, what is your current thinking about Joseph's public denial?  My thinking about it has gone through some convolutions over the years, to the point where I now believe his words and the impression they seem intended to give (I say this because arguably it wasn't a direct denial):

"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

(1st convolution:  Joseph was breaking a lesser law - "thou shalt not lie" - in order to keep the higher law of plural marriage. 2nd convolution:  Joseph was covering up his adultery and used carefully-chosen weasel-wording to deny without actually denying.  3rd (current) convolution:  Joseph not being deceitful, which unfortunately raises more questions than it answers.)

This is a situation where I have decided to be satisfied with “I don’t know”.  I don’t think there is any question he was sealed to other women.  I don’t think it counts as bigamy because at least the plural wife knew she was not monogamously married, even though they were so secretive about it, two sisters were unaware the other was also married to Joseph for a couple of weeks, iirc.  In no way was Joseph pretending his plural marriages were identical to his first/legally recognized marriage.

The questions remain if they were wives in name only, as in sealed for just eternity (I doubt the last even if there was no sex because of raising up seed in the here and now).  His denials make sense if it was only sealings and no physical marriage.  But I don’t see the women lying about having sex with him just so the Church could have a chance at keeping the temple lot, etc.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
On 12/14/2023 at 1:17 PM, Pyreaux said:

And so, I don't usually judge these things by such moral absolutes, but by precedent, even Jesus has a very strong secrecy theme. Jesus silences the demons from uttering His identity (Mark 1:34; 3:11–12), tells people who are healed not to tell anyone about it (Mark 1:44–45; 7:35–37), speaks in parables so that people won’t understand what he's teaching (Mark 4:11–12), so even His own disciples do not understand who he is (Mark 4:41).

Then we have this in Matthew 10:27.

"What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that 
preach ye upon the housetops
".

Link to comment
1 hour ago, TheTanakas said:

Then we have this in Matthew 10:27.

"What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that 
preach ye upon the housetops
".

Before that he said in Matthew 7:6.

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

It was the custom of the Jews to whisper in the ear of their disciples what they were to pronounce aloud to others. Their houses were low and flat-roofed, they sometimes preached from there. He's saying be bold about the gospel "And fear not them that kill the body" for indeed their teaching will at length cost them their lives. However;

“Nothing is more difficult, my brethren, than to reason concerning the truth in the presence of a mixed multitude of people. For that which is may not be spoken to all as it is, on account of those who hear wickedly and treacherously; yet it is not proper to deceive, on account of those who desire to hear the truth sincerely. What, then, shall he do who has to address a mixed multitude? Shall he conceal what is true? How, then, shall he instruct those who are worthy? But if he set forth pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation, he does injury to Him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received commandment not to throw the pearls of His words before swine and dogs, who, striving against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the mud of carnal understanding, and by their barkings and base answers break and weary the preachers of God’s word. Wherefore I also, for the most part, by using a certain circumlocution, endeavour to avoid publishing the chief knowledge concerning the Supreme Divinity to unworthy ears." (Clementine Recognitions 3:1)

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...