Need help. My Mormon [TBM] friend is doubting...

wolfsbane Sep 2013

My lifelong TBM friend just called to tell me he is going to research the truth about the church. He stumbled onto and it really shook his faith that the church has never taught any of this. He knew Joseph Smith was a polygamist but was unaware of polyandry and 14 year old girls.

So he wants to know what the sources are for all of this.

He needs to verify that this information is authentic and not "anti-Mormon" lies. So, how do we know this is the real deal? Are there marriage certificates and if so where? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I told him about mormonthink and hopefully he will take a look. He said he is going to stay up late tonight researching. One problem I see for him is that mormonthink links back to the aforementioned website. Most of the sources are references to many different books. He will come back and ask what the sources of those books are. He is extremely thorough and will need proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Are there journal entries out there and if so where? Where do all these books get their information from? Short of him having to spend a small fortune buying hundreds of "ant-Mormon" books is there an easier way to verify that all this is true?

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
This was the site that first shook my testimony.

I went directly to the LDS' genealogical site and was able to verify most of the wives right there. This was around 10 years ago and so I don't know if things have changed since then.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
I think has good resources on this and citations for the information they cite.

Mormon think is always good and in this instance I would send him to FAIR and let them explore there and get introduced to all the bad crap out there on LDS history and all the ridiculous defenses that are provided.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
The Swedish fireside transcript talks about JS and polyandry. Marlin Jensen acknowledges it's true, and Richard Turley says:

"Let me just answer some basic questions. Did Joseph Smith practice plural marriage? Yes. Many Church members don’t know it but the answer is yes. Did Joseph Smith practice polyandry? The answer is yes. Joseph Smith did practice polyandry... It’s true that Joseph Smith plural marriage in that he had wives who were not married to anybody else, it’s true that he practiced polyandry and he did have wives who were married to somebody else... He had a wife who was 14‐years old..."

This was a special fireside between representatives of the Church History Department and local church leaders in Sweden. It cannot possibly be construed as anti-mormon. Full transcript and such is available here:

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
Rough Stone Rolling.... it lists all its sources...

And No Man Knoes My History....

Two different perspectives, but same basic info.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
The marriage information is in the church's family search website, but you have to search through the women's names, not Joseph Smith.

The book, "In Sacred Loneliness" details Joseph's plural marriages and includes material from primary sources (the wives' journals.)

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
FAIR is a great place for confirming all facts in a Mormon-friendly perspective. Once he sees the best explanations they can come up with, he'll be even more disgusted.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
I found Todd Compton’s “In Sacred Loneliness” to be a remarkably thorough treatment of Joseph’s wives. (Brigham made the most those available after Joseph’s demise.) It is well researched and the author has provided an abundance of reference material. Despite laboring through several of the apologists reviews, I was unable to find a decent response from FARMS. (A swing and several misses from Danny P. and the boys.)

My wife, who is now a NOM primarily for the social aspects of the church (no garments, no tithing), figured it out after reading Rough Stone Rolling. Interestingly it was recommended to her by a CES “type” when she started asking about all the excommunications in Kirtland (1838?).

Another interesting and informative resource is the back and forth in the comments section of the Amazon book store. I was reading the reviews of Simon Southerland’s “Loosing a Lost Tribe” and learned quite a bit from the comments - in fact it lead me to the “Law of Adoption” which I had never heard of in my 50 years in the church. When I researched LoA a little further I realized in an instant it was all fiction – really bad fiction imposing a terrible cost in time and money, but good for a laugh.

Good luck!

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
You can still see most of these wives on familysearch. FAIR also acknowledges all of these wives as well. I'd send your friend to familysearch, FAIR, and then encourage him to read "In Sacred Lonliness"...all church friendly material, and only the most brainwashed of TBM's would not have their testimonies destroyed by this info.

David Jason
Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting... This is the church apologetic website. He can verify that people on the site are on the churches' payroll even though the website is not directly affiliated with the church. They give the faith promoting version of the story which will help him confirm his sources without going directly to the individual's journal.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
That's good news. If a Mormon is willing to research, even if the source is "anti-Mormon" then they will more than likely study their way out.

If he is specifically focused on Joseph Smith's polygamy, then I would suggest he read Todd Compton's In Sacred Loneliness. It's the most detailed book out there regarding Joseph Smith's marriages. The book has an abundance of sources cited.

Much of it can be verified on the official unofficial Mopologist website He's not gonna have an easy time tracking down the thousands of historical documents by going to Deseret Books or the church's website or church publications because the sources are not "faith promoting." The church INTENTIONALLY omits controversial aspects of own history from its current publications, so he is going to have to do a lot of digging around in libraries and special archives to read from the original sources. If a Mormon historian starts quoting early historical documents that are not faith damaging, they run the risk of being ex-communicated. Most everything can verified in some "LDS" book though. He's just going to have to do some serious studying. He needs to understand what real research is and how to conduct it. He needs to use his own brain and get over the whole "pro" or "anti" thing. Most everything cited by so called "anti-Mormons" are reliable sources and straight from early LDS documents. He just needs to read the quote, figure out if it is being quoted properly, and see if the original source of the quote is reliable and authentic (which 99% of the time it will be) just like any other historian or researcher would do.

Other online sources I suggest he read are:

I started compiling a list of books that I felt were essential reading. I have placed a star next to my favorite recommendations since most people would obviously not read all of them. You should forward the list to him if he desires to read other areas of Mormonism.

History/Overall Problems/Joseph Smtih
* Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? (or The Changing World of Mormonism) by Jerald & Sandra Tanner
* An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer
* No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn M. Broadie
* The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D. Michael Quinn
* The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power by D. Michael Quinn
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Mormon America, The Power and the Promise by Richard Ostling, Joan K. Ostling
One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church by Richard Abanes
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman
Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet by Dan Vogel
Joseph Smith: The First Mormon by Donna Hill
The Prophet Puzzle: Interpretive Essays on Joseph Smith by Bryan Waterman
Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon by David Persuitte
The Keystone of Mormonism by Arza Evans
The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past by D. Michael Quinn
Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters - John Sillito and Susan Staker

* In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton
* Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Linda King Newell
Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner
Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage by B. Carmon Hardy
Nauvoo Polygamy: “… but we called it celestial marriage” by George D. Smith

Book of Mormon
*New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology by Brent Metcalfe
*Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon by Stan Larson
*American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon by Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe
Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church by Simon G. Southerton

Book of Abraham
*By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri by Charles M. Larson

Folk Magic/Occult Practices
* Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn

Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990 by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship - David John Buerger

Mountain Meadows Massacre
Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Will Bagley
The Mountain Meadows Massacre by Brooks, Juanita

Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine by Gary James Bergera
Power From On High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood - Gregory A. Prince

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
In Sacred Loneliness is an excellent, thoroughly researched exposition that is easy to read. Its bibliography alone is about 150 pages long!

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
>>> Are there journal entries out there and if so where? Where do >>> all these books get their information from?

The authors of these books are historians. Their "information" is from the original sources they cite from. Most of these original sources they cite from are found in libraries across the country (many of them in Utah).

>>> Short of him having to spend a small fortune buying hundreds >>> of "ant-Mormon" books is there an easier way to verify that >>> all this is true?

I suggest he buy 1 or 2 of those books cited on and highlight the sources cited in those books. These authors are professional historians so the sources cited by these authors are authentic, original Mormon historical documents. If he is still suspicious of these historians' citations, he can go to the special collections department of the libraries (such as the University of Utah), that house these documents and ask to view them or confirm that they exist or ask to look at a scanned copy of it. Jerald & Sandra have done a pretty good job of scanning copies of original Mormon documents too, so he can visit their bookstore in SLC too if he wants. Many of these original documents are also held by the Church library or archives so he can make a visit to them as well.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting... has published microfilms of the original documents, when they were available anywhere.

It was one of their original missions to collect and catalog ALL the printings of the BOM and other scriptures and books so that the world would have a history of the changes that could not be challenged.


Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
Wife number 19. This is an autobiography written in the 1800's by one of Brigham Young's wives. It is fascinating and heartbreaking. I left the church while I was reading this. It's 600 pages, but I honestly couldn't put it down. You can download the pdf version for free at

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
I took some of the sources and went to the church history library in slc. I think the historians name was marlin jensen. He did a good job of collecting statements from many of Joseph's wives. All of the sources I have gone to the effort to track down from JOD and the tanners research have all checked out every time.

The 1st FreeAtLast
Plenty of info. to pass along to your TBM friend
A huge list of JS' wives on the LDS Church's website: (click on any of the "Joseph Smith" links to see the individual records).

The LDS Church's online genealogy record for JS' first illegal plural wife, Fanny Alger:

"In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith":

Also, JS knew polygamy "doctrines and principles" from 1831 onward. For more than three decades prior to 2013, TSCC’s summary for D&C 132 was:

"Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded 12 July 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, and also the plurality of wives (see History of the Church, 5:501–7). Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831."

Per the info. from the 'true' LDS Church, 'faith'-busting facts in relation to two of the "principles" known to JS were:

1. "the first" wife had to "give her consent" (ref.

2. " pertaining to the law of the priesthood — if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another...and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else." (Same verse)

In violation of these 'revealed' "principles", JS secretly - and illegally - made teenager Lucy Walker his 22nd plural wife in May 1843 and didn't ask or inform his "first" wife, Emma. Here's what Lucy wrote: “Emma Smith was not present and she did not consent to the marriage; she did not know anything about it at all.” (Ref.

The Wives of Joseph Smith website also says: "Joseph kept his marriage to [teenage servant girl in the Smith home] Fanny [Alger] out of the view of the public, and his wife Emma. Chauncey Webb recounts Emma’s later discovery of the relationship: 'Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house'." (Ref.

An adolescent girl being "unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet" was a euphemistic way of saying 'Prophet' Smith got the poor, vulnerable girl pregnant.

On January 27, 1844, JS' seventh polygamous wife, Sylvia Lyon, wife of Windsor Lyon, told her daughter, Josephine, that she "was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith" (see the last paragraph at

With regards to Point #2 above, 11 of JS' plural wives were already "vowed" to their husbands - and as married women, assuredly were not virgins - when JS targeted them to become part of his harem.

D&C 132:61 was explicit in terms of Mormon men being commanded by "the Lord" via JS to restrict their desiring of "virgins" to females who were not "vowed." Since JS went after the wives of 11 men in violation of this "principle", he was, based on 'revealed' scripture, an adulterer.

According to D&C 76:103, adulterers will spend eternity in the dreaded Telestial Kingdom, with "liars, and sorcerers, and...whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie." (Ref.

Verses 52 to 54 of D&C 132 say:

52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those [females] that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law."


Like any married Mormon woman (and with children to care for), Emma despised polygamy. On top of her family responsibilities, she was in charge of the Relief Society. And what was her husband doing? Pursuing single women, married women, and teenage girls (see the list and

Ask your TBM friend: What happened in JS' life just two months before July 1843, when he wrote down that "the Lord" would destroy Emma, his wife and the mother of their children, if she did not accept his plural wives and "cleave unto" him?

Answer: At age 37, JS made 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball his youngest-yet plural wife. She is listed as one of JS' wives toward the bottom of

The 'true' BoM decried polygamy, while JS' D&C 132 contradicted the BoM. Jacob 2:23-24 says:

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning [Biblical King] David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.


However, supposedly 'revealed' scripture from Jesus Christ to JS in July 1843 stated: "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—" (Ref.

According to the LDS Church, the BoM's Jacob wrote about the "abominable" practice of Israelite kings David and Solomon of having "many wives and concubines" "About 544–421 B.C.", quoting the church's chapter summary for Jacob 2.

Fast-forward 23.5 centuries and 'the Lord' supposedly informed polygamist JS that he "justified my servants...David and touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines."

However, 1 Nephi 10:18 says that "he ["the Son of God"] is the same yesterday, today, and forever;" (Ref.

So, why the glaring discrepancy between what the BoM and D&C state relative to David and Solomon practicing polygamy (i.e., having "wives and concubines")? Because in July 1843, when lying philanderer JS wrote his 'revelation' about "the principle of plural marriage", he forgot what he'd written in the BoM manuscript 13+ years earlier! Oops!!

Even more info. for your friend:

From the July 1993 Ensign: "Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (Ref.

From the Sept. 1974 The Friend (LDS Church magazine for children):

"Joseph also used an egg-shaped, brown rock for translating called a seer stone. The translating was done at Peter Whitmer’s home, a friend of the Prophet’s where Oliver Cowdery, Emma Smith (Joseph’s wife), one of the Whitmers, or Martin Harris wrote down the words spoken by the Prophet as soon as they were made known to him.

"Martin Harris said that on the seer stone 'sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by [the one writing them down] and when finished [that person] would say "written;" and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another take its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates.'”


The 'motherlode' of online info. about Mormonism is at

And finally, news reports during the past 19 months:

Report by ABC News in SLC in Jan. 2012: "Number of faithful Mormons rapidly declining":

Reuters Special report (Jan. 2012) - "Mormonism besieged by the modern age" -

The New York Times on July 20/13: "Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt":

July 2012 in-depth news piece for Bloomberg Businessweek about the multi-billion-dollar LD$ Church's corporate empire, annual tithing take, and relatively meager charitable donations:

Aug. 13/12 NBC News report, "Mormon church earns $7 billion a year from tithing, analysis indicates":

The Oncoming Storm - bc
Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting... is based directly on the book In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton.

This book is one of the most well researched books on the subject. In fact Compton is a member in good standing, to the best of my knowledge. In his book he attempts to be as objective as possible and actually interprets things being as kind to Joseph Smith as possible without shying away from the historical facts.

If you live in Utah Valley / SLC you are welcome to borrow my copy for your friend to look at and check the references - Compton does an excellent job of citing very specific references.

Hold Your Tapirs
Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
I second sending him to FAIR [1][2], it's a resource produced by the church so it's not an 'anti' source.

Rough Stone Rolling talks about the wives as well, but like FAIR, you don't get the whole story.

It's not just the polygamy either. The methods he used to get women to marry him were deplorable. He also had a reputation as a womanizer; FAIR will dispute that but where there's smoke, there's fire.

After he reads the information on FAIR, I would have him look at MormonThink to get the rest of the story. I've heard "In Sacred Loneliness" is a great resource as well.


Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
Great - thanks for all the info guys! I knew I could count on RFM.

Re: Need help. My TBM friend is doubting...
Be advised that some of the greatest "anti-Mormon" publications include:

The Book of Mormon
The Book of Abraham
Doctrine and Covenants
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
B.H. Roberts' History of the Church
Journal of Discourses
Miracle of Forgiveness
McKonkie's Mormon Doctrine

You don't have to go very far to see that the church is full of Shiz.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"