Joseph Smith and Nancy Rigdon
by steve benson Feb 2012
. . . let's review a variety of cross-checked sources confirming Joseph Smith's sexual hunting spree aimed at Nancy Rigdon
--"The prophet [Joseph Smith] was . . . at odds with his long-time friend and counselor Sidney Rigdon over a reputed polygamous proposal on 9 April 1842 to Rigdon's unmarried daughter Nancy.
George W. Robinson, a prominent Nauvoo citizen married to another of Rigdon's daughters, wrote to James A. Bennett, a New York friend to the church, on 22 July 1842, that 'Smith sent for Miss Rigdon to come to the house of Mrs. [Orson] Hyde, who lived in the under-rooms of the printing- office. . . . According to Robinson, Nancy 'inquired of the messenger . . . what was wanting, and the only reply was, that Smith wanted to see her.' Robinson claimed that Smith took her into a room, 'locked the door, and then stated to her that he had had an affection for her for several years, and wished that she should be his; that the Lord was well pleased with this matter, for he had got a revelation on the subject, and God had given him all the blessings of Jacob, etc., etc., and that there was no sin whatever.' Robinson reported that Nancy 'repulsed him and was about to raise the neighbors if he did not unlock the door and let her out' . . . .
"Nancy's brother, John, recounting the incident later, remembered that 'Nancy refused him, saying if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all, and took her bonnet and went home, leaving Joseph . . . .' Nancy withheld details of the situation from her family until a day or two later, when a letter from the prophet was delivered by Smith's personal secretary, Willard Richards. 'Happiness is the object and design of our existence,' the letter began. 'That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right uner another.' The letter went ont to teach that 'whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof til long after the events transpire. . . . Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in his views, and boundless in his mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.'
"Nancy showed the prophet's letter to her father and told him of the incident at the Hyde residence. Rigdon demanded an audience with Smith. George W. Robinson reported that when Smith came to Rigdon's home, the enraged father asked for an explanation. The prophet 'attempted to deny it at first,' Robinson said, 'and face her down with the lie; but she told the facts with so much earnestness, and the fact of a letter being present, which he had caused to be written to her on the same subject, the day after the attempt made on her virtue,' that ultimately 'he could not withstand the testimony; he then and there acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdon's testimony was true' . . . . Much later, John Rigdon elaborated that 'Nancy was one of those excitable women and she went into the room and said, "Joseph Smith, you are telling that which is not true. You did make such a proposition to me and you know it [crossed out in the original]: 'The woman who was there said to Nancy, "Are you not afraid to call the Lord's anointed a cursed liar?" "No," she replied, "I am not for he does lie and he knows it"]' . . . .
"Robinson wrote that Smith, after acknowledging the incident, claimed he had propositioned Nancy because he 'wished to ascertain whether she was virtuous or not, and took that course to learn the facts!' . . . But the Rigdon family would not accept such an explanation. They were persuaded that the rumors about the prophet's polygamy doctrine had been confirmed. The issue continued to be a serious source of contention between the two church leaders until Smith's death in 1844. According to John Rigdon, Sidney told the family that Smith 'could never be sealed to one of his daughters with his consent as he did not believe in the doctrine' . . . . Rigdon preferred to keep his difficulties with the prophet private, but John C. Bennet's detailed disclosures made this impossible. . . .
"There is no solid evidence that Rigdon ever advocated polygamy. His son John maintained that Rigdon 'took the ground no matter from what source it came, whether from [the] Prophet, seer [and] revelator or angels from heaven, [that] it was a false doctrine and should be rejected' . . . . Yet accusations linking Ridgon to polygamy and insinuating that his daughter Nancy was a prostitute undermined his status as the only surviving member of the First Presidency [following the assassination of Smith]."
(Richard S. Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polygamy: A History" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1986], pp. 30-31, 73)
--"In mid-April  Joseph had asked Sidney Rigdon's nineteen-year-old daughter Nancy to become his plural wife. Bennett had his own eye on the girl and forewarned her, so she refused Joseph. The following day Joseph dictated a letter to her with Willard Richards acting as scribe. It read in part, 'Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. . . . That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. . . . Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason therof til long after the events transpire.'
"Nancy Rigdon showed the letter to her father. Rigdon immediately sent for Joseph, who reportedly denied everything until Sidney thrust the letter in his face. George W. Robinson, Nancy's brother-in-law, claimed he witnessed the encounter and said Joseph admitted that he spoken with Nancy but that he had only been testing her virtue."
(Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith--Prophet's Wife, 'Elect Lady,' Polygamy's Foe" [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Compmany, Inc., 1984] pp. 111-12)
--"John C. Bennett . . . accused Joseph of trying to seduce Nancy Rigdon, nineteen-year-old daughter of Sidney Rigdon . . . .
"That Joseph attempted to persuade Nancy to marry him was recorded by others besides Bennett, including Nancy's brother John. John said that until that incident the Rigdons had been unaware of polygamy in the church. Sidney was profoundly shocked and upset by ensuing gossip among neighbors. According to John, Joseph denied having proposed to Nancy, but Sidney later got an admission from him that it was true."
(Donna Hill, "Joseph Smith--The First Mormon" [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977], p. 301)
--"Joseph Smith's wives, after their marriage to him, often figured in the marriage arrangements of new wives, as messengers or counselors or witnesses. According to John Bennett, Smith used [Nancy] Marinda [Hyde] as a go-between in his attempt to woo Nancy Rigdon, Sidney's nineteen-year-old daughter. Bennett is not always reliable, but he did have early first-hand knowledge of the Mormon leader's polygamous activites, as his short list of Smith's plural wives shows. In this case, accounts of the same events by Nancy's brother, J. Wickliffe, and her brother-in-law, George W. Robinson, show that Bennet was not merely spinning a fictitious story.
"Bennett relates that in early April , Smith decided he wanted to marry Nancy Rigdon, so on April 9 he asked Marinda to arrange a meeting between him and the teenager. Marinda met Nancy at the funeral of Ephraim Marks and told her that Joseph wanted to see her at the printing office, Marinda's residence. When Nancy arrived, she was ushered into a private room where Joseph soon proposed to her. She was outraged and demanded that he let her out of the locked room immediately. Smith did so, but, 'as she was much agitated, he requested Mrs. Hyde to explain matters to her; and, after agreeing to write her a doctrinal letter, left the house. Mrs. Hyde told her that these things looked strange to her at first, but that she would become more reconciled on mature reflection. Miss Rigdon replied, "I never shall," left the house, and returned home.' Nancy did hold her ground, and when she told her father of the experience, it drove a firm wedge between him and Joseph, just as Joseph's earlier relationship with Fanny Alger had caused another high church leader, Oliver Cowdery, to lose respect for him."
(Todd Compton, "In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997], pp. 239-40)
More on the damning details relating to Smith's sexual stalking of Nancy Rigdon, the attempted lies and cover-up, the subsequent justifications and the personal smearing of Nancy Rigdon (provided previously by RfM poster Jim Huston):
--Predator Joseph Smith, Alone in a Locked Room with Nancy Rigdon, Makes his Move
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess,' by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from letter George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett July 27,1842, cited in Bennett, pp. 245-47:
"'Smith greeted her, ushered her into a private room, then locked the door. After swearing her to secrecy, Smith announced his "affection for her for several years and wished that she would be his….the Lord was well pleased with the matter. There was no sin it it whatever… but if she had any scruples of conscience about the matter, he would marry her privately.'"
--Young Nancy Rigdon's Defiant Resistance and Immediate Reguff of Smith
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess,' by Van Wagoner, from interview with Elders William H. and E. L. Kelly, cited in Smith and Smith, 4:452-53:
"'Despite her tender age, she did not hesitate to express herself. The prophet's seductive behavior shocked her; she rebuffed him in a flurry of anger.'"
--Support of Smith's Move on Nancy Rigdon from Other Mormon Women
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess,' by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from Wickliffe Rigdon, "Life Story of Sydney Rigdon," p. 164:
"'Smith, flustered, beckoned Mrs. Hyde into the room to help win Nancy over. Hyde volunteered that she too was surprised upon first hearing the tenet, but was convinced it was true, and that “great exaltation would come to those who received and embraced it.'"
--Smith Refuses to Take "No" for an Answer from Nancy Rigdon and Increases the Pressure on Her with a Follow-up Justifying Letter Invoking God
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess," by Van Wagoner, p. 295, from Wickliffe Rigdon, 28 July 1905 statement:
"'Incredulous, the feisty Nancy countered that “if she ever got married, she would marry a single man or not at all."
"'Not willing to take no for an answer, Smith later had a letter delivered to Nancy.
"'Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon, 11 April 1842, "History of the Church," Vol. 5, pp.134-36; see also, "The Letter of the Prophet, Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon," in "Joseph Smith Collection," LDS archives:
"'Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.
"'God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said "Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. 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 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 by special revelation.
"'A parent may whip a child, and justly, too, because he stole an apple; whereas if the child had asked for the apple, and the parent had given it, the child would have eaten it with a better appetite; there would have been no stripes; all the pleasure of the apple would have been secured, all the misery of stealing lost.
"'This principle will justly apply to all of God's dealings with His children. Everything that God gives us is lawful and right; and it is proper that we should enjoy His gifts and blessings whenever and wherever He is disposed to bestow; but if we should seize upon those same blessings and enjoyments without law, without revelation, without commandment, those blessings and enjoyments would prove cursings and vexations in the end, and we should have to lie down in sorrow and wailings of everlasting regret. But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness—and the happiness of all His creatures, he never has—He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant; the proffered good returns to the giver; the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but unto him that hath not or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had.
"'Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer: Next day the fatal precedent may plead. Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time
"'Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. He will be inquired of by His children. He says: "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;" but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things—who will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy.'"
--Learning from Nancy of Smith's Moveson His Daughter, Sidney Rigdon Explodes in Outrage and Calls Smith to Account
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess,' by Van Wagoner, p. 296, from George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett 27 July 1842, cited in Bennett, p. 246:
"'When Sidney confronted Smith at the Rigdon home, the enraged father demanded an explanation of the prophet’s behavior. Smith “attempted to deny it at first, and faced [Nancy] down with the lie; ‘told the facts with so much earnestness, and the fact of a letter being present, which he had caused to be written to her, on the same subject, the day after the attempt made on her virtue,' that ultimately 'he could not withstand the testimony; he then and there acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdon's testimony was true."'
--Smith Lies to Cover His Sexual Advances on Nancy Rigdon, Claiming He Was Merely Testing Her Sexual Purity
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess," by Van Wagoner, p. 296, from George W. Robinson to James Arlington Bennett, 27 July 1842, cited in Bennett, p. 246:
"'Smith, after acknowledging his proposition, sought a way out of the crisis by claiming he had approached Nancy 'to ascertain whether she was virtuous or not, and took that course to learn the facts!'"
--Crediblity of Nancy Rigdon's Accusations Against Smith
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess," by Van Wagoner, p. 299, from S.M. Ellis (Nancy Rigdon’s son) letter to L. J. Nuffer:
"'The bedeviling paradox for many regarding the Nancy Rigdon incident, is that while Smith's fame as a prophet of God makes the charges against him hard to believe, her steadfast reputation makes them difficult to dismiss.'"
--Nancy Rigdon's Refusal to Give In to Smith's Sexual Advances Results in Her Being Branded a Child Prostitute
"'Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess,' by Van Wagoner, p. 299:
"Inevitably, Nancy Rigdon, Sarah Pratt, and Martha Brotherton saw their reputations impugned by an avalanche of slander. The prophet labeled Sarah a '[whore] from her mother's breast.' Martha Brotherton was branded a 'mean harlot.' while Nancy was tagged a 'poor miserable girl out of the very slough of prostitution.'"
("Nancy Rigdon and Joseph Smith--What a Pig," posted by Jim Huston, "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 22 March 2011, 6:10 p.m.)
Thanks for the memories.
Re: Since we have a new poster here, "Nancy Rigdon," who said the story of sexual predator Joseph Smith stalking the real Nancy Rigdon really "sickened" her . . .
"'Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God."
Wow - I've heard this quote so many times ... but had no idea of the context. Joseph Smith was trying to seduce a teenager. Unbelievable. And Sidney Rigdon's daughter, to boot. No one was off limits for him.
"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"