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Posted by: sophia ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 07:30PM

I've just been listening to Brian Hales Mormonstories podcast, found here:

The purpose of this podcast is to refute or at least call into question Grant Palmer's recent allegations that Joseph was accused of improper sexual advances from very early in his marriage to Emma.

He makes some decent points about the evidence, but in the end, JS is still boinking women and girls he wasn't legally married to. It rather seems to me that a TBM learning of Joseph's polygamy for the first time from Hales would still be pretty shocked.

Am I missing something here?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 07:44PM

"Researchers have suggested eight possible offspring from Joseph Smith's plural wives, [Mormon and author Brian] Hales says but DNA testing on descendants has failed to prove any link. So, he argues, Smith must not have had frequent sex with too many of the women, who were young and likely fertile."

("Comparing Mormon Founder, FLDS leader on Polygamy," by Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Salt Lake Tribune," 28 August 2011, at:; also quoted in "Appendix 2: Mormon Polygamy--The Truth Revealed! Joseph Smith, Jr., a True Champion of Female Equality," p. 675, fn 49, at:

Yet, Hales seems to accept the validity of non-DNA evidence that paternally links Smith to children of multi-wife handmaidens of his:

"Despite the large number of alleged children of Joseph Smith listed in the chart below, only two seem verifiable: Josephine Lyon and a child to Olive Gray Frost.

"1. "Name: Josephine Lyon

"Mother: Sylvia Lyon

"Birth Date: February 8, 1844

"Evidence: Mother's declaration

"Discussion: High probability

"2. Name: 'child'

"Mother: Olive Gray Frost

"Birth Date: Unknown--sealing occurred in summer of 1843

"Evidence: Joseph E. Robinson autobiography, recounting October 26, 1902 (Ms 7866) [see also, James Whitehead, interview conducted by Joseph Smith III, 20 April 1885. original in possession of John Hajicek; D. Michael Quinn, 'The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power' (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1994), p. 586]

"Discussion: Robinson wrote: 'During the afternoon I called on Aunt Lizzie . . . . [S]he knew Joseph Smith had more than two wives. Said he married… Olive Frost [and] had a child by him and that both died.'

("Joseph Smith's Polygamy," by Bruce Hales, at:; see also Hale's website home page, at:


Hales appears to be an earnest Mormon apologist who is trapped by the facts and doesn't know quite what to do about it. In that rather tight circumstance, he sure doesn't advance much of a case for Joseph Smith.

(For a larger examination of Smith's DNA linkage to children born to his polygamous wives, see:,801384,801384#msg-801384)

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2013 08:02PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Hmm... ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 02:42PM

Well some men just don't produce a lot of kids. Maybe his sperm count wasn't high enough. It seems like there were quite a few stillbirths, which I know was likely at the time, and some with genetic defects, so maybe good genes weren't on his side? If that's the case, some of the women may have had miscarriages. Also some of the women wouldn't reveal whether or not they'd had kids with him, so they could be hiding what really happened.

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Posted by: sophia ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 08:16PM

Yes, Steve, I agree. I read your DNA thread yesterday and this morning.

One thing I never hear anyone mention regarding the idea that there were few children from these "marriage" is the fact that women are only fertile a few of days a month, and if a man is bed hopping between thirty women there is a likelihood against conception, especially if the trysts are necessarily secret. So, a third of Joseph's wives were married women and a pregnancy among those 11 would not be remarkable. A few of the women (including a relative of mine) were somewhat older and maybe not so likely to conceive under the best of circumstances.

Also, LOTS of pregnancies end in miscarriage--10 to 25% of RECOGNIZED pregnancies, and that doesn't even count the ones that end before they are really noticed, spontaneously aborted at about the time of a woman's period. (

Add the fact that if Joseph was out carousing every night, Emma would have been even more irate than she already was. So while Joseph might have wanted to sleep around on a regular basis, the secret nature of his relationships and his need to pacify Emma meant that he may not have been able to carry on as much as he wanted to. Then, when he did there was only about a one in 5 or 6 chance of impregnating the woman (based on a 5-6 day fertility cycle a month).

So IMO, the fact that there aren't a lot of children who would qualify to be his is not that unusual.

In any case, I just think that for someone who is TBM and who doesn't know about Joseph's polygamy, learning about it from Hales wouldn't provide a lot of comfort.

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Posted by: rhgc ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 08:27PM

There was also the known allegation that Dr. John C. Bennett regularly performed abortions.

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Posted by: ASteve ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 02:48PM

Add to that he most likely wore a CONDOM when he slept with women who he was not legally married to.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 09:01PM

That possibility apparently needs to be faithfully (and too broadly) denied by Hales so, like a good Mormon apologist, he creates all kinds of pretzeled arguments to minimize it taking place.

Under "Sexuality in Joseph Smith’s Plural Marriages," Hales argues that despite the sexual capability of his multiple wives to produce children and despite the Mormon God's command to Smith to produce children in order to stock the Earth, Smith did not follow through on the opportunity because among other reasons Hales offers up, Smith was simply too busy running his Nauvoo hotel (as well as too busy being spied-upon by a suspicious Emma) to have had much sex with his other wives and, hence, didn't sire any offspring through them:

"Joseph Smith taught that sexual relations were justified and expected in polygamous unions in order 'to multiply and replenish the earth' (D&C 132:63). However, evidence is lacking or unpersuasive in four groups:

"(1) women to whom Joseph Smith was not married;

"(2) women sealed for the next life only, that is, 'eternity' only sealings;

"(3) in sealings to two fourteen-year-old wives; and

"(4) in sexual polyandrous situations (plural sealings to women who were civilly married and experiencing connubial relations with their legal husbands).

"Even though sexuality was permitted in Joseph Smith's plural marriages, it does not appear that conjugal interactions were a common occurrence. Opportunities for Joseph to spend intimate time with his plural wives would have been limited by many factors including his parenting responsibilities at the Homestead and the Nauvoo Mansion, by his preoccupation with Church and civic matters, by the constant need for secrecy, and by the scrutiny of dissenters and unbelievers.

"Emma’s vigilant and mostly intolerant eyes would have been another significant deterrent. Emily Partridge recalled:

"'We [Emily and Eliza Partridge] were sealed in her [Emma’s] presence with her full and free consent. It was the 11th of May, but before the day was over she turned around or repented of what she had done and kept Joseph up till very late in the night talking to him. She kept close watch of us. If we were missing for a few minutes, and Joseph was not at home, the house was searched from top to bottom and from one end to the other, and if we wer'

"A reminiscences from Joseph Lee Robinson states:

"'Ebenezer [Robinson]’s wife, [Angeline], had some time before this had watched Brother Joseph the prophet and had seen him go into some house and that she had reported to Sister Emma, the wife of the prophet. It was at a time when she was very suspicious and jealous of him for fear he would get another wife, for she knew the prophet had a revelation on that subject. She (Emma) was determined he should not get another, if he did she was determined to leave and when she heard this, she, Emma, became very angry and said she would leave...[2]
That sexual relations were uncommon is also reflected by the observation that only two or three pregnancies have been mentioned and only one or two that have been documented with any degree of reliability. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner stated: “I know he [Joseph Smith] had three children. They told me. I think two are living today but they are not known as his children as they go by other names.'

"On another occasion she declared: 'I don’t know about his having children, but I heard of three that he was the father of.'

"Current research supports that one daughter, Josephine Lyon, was born to Sylvia Sessions in 1844 and a child to Olive Frost that did not live long or may have miscarried."

Despite evidence for at least two children being fathered by the sexually potent Smith outside his marriage to Emma, Hales is intent on dismissing the idea that Smith actually sired children with any of his plural wives:

"Most of Joseph Smith's plural wives were fertile and young, capable of conception if the timing was right. The Prophet was virile, having fathered nine children with Emma despite their long periods of time apart and challenging schedules.

"Antagonists may argue that other children were born to Joseph and his plural wives, but their existence was kept secret. However, decades after the martyrdom when RLDS Church missionaries were claiming that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist, Utah Church authorities aggressively combated their claims.

"It is probable that if they would have known of any children fathered by the Prophet with his plural wives, they would have publicly acknowledged it.

"No convincing evidence has been found to support a third child born to the Prophet's plural wives, despite intense research by multiple investigators. . . .

"'Allegations that Joseph Smith was involved with either some form of birth control or abortions have been made. See Fawn M. Brodie, "No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet," 2nd rev. ed. New York, 1971, 346 and W. Wyl, pseud. [Wilhelm Ritter von Wymetal]. "Mormon Portraits, or the Truth About Mormon Leaders From 1830 to 1886." Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886, 59. However, no evidence has been found to support these accusations. Neither did Brodie or Wyl present any credible documentation."

As to the "Joseph Smith's possible children," Hales further spins in his behalf:

"Polygamous husbands living when polygamy is illegal face unique challenges as they try to father children with their plural wives. A point arrives when adding new plural wives does not necessarily equate to more sexual relations because the limiting factor is the man’s ability to safely schedule an intimate rendezvous. Whether the man has eight or 80 wives, if external constraints prevent opportunities for secret meetings, sexual encounters will be limited. If such dynamics were present in the Prophet’s complicated life, then additional sealings would have brought minimal increases in his sexual opportunities."

(Brian C. Hales, "Joseph Smith's Polygamy," under "Sexuality in Joseph Smith’s Plural Marriages," at:

Despite all these imposed conditions, even Hales can't ignore the obvious, admitting that, in fact, Josephine Rosetta Lyons Fisher (daughter of Sylvia Sessions Lyon), was probably the "biological daughter of Joseph Smith," noting in his essay, "Joseph Smith and the PUzzlement of 'Polyandry,'" that she signed the following affidavit:

"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 desiered to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . ."

Hales also notes, however, that there is not universal agreement among scholars as to the legitimacy of Josephine's account:

"All researchers do not agree that this statement clearly declares Josephine to be the biological daughter of the Prophet." (In support of that notion, Hales cites an article on Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon Kimball in 'Our Pioneer Heritage," published by the Mormon organization, Daugthers of Utah Pioneers).

Hales reports further disputes raised by some about Smith's peternity of Josephine:

"It is true that words reflect some ambiguity and could possibly be interpreted to mean that Josephine was to be Joseph Smith's daughter only in eternity without implying an actual paternal physical connection." As support for that position, Hales cites the overtly pro-Mormon opinion of historian Rex E. Cooper found in Cooper's book, "Promises Made to the Fathers: Mormon Covenant Organization" (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1990, p. 144n1.

Cooper writes:

"I find the evidence [of Joseph Smith allegedly siring Josephine] to be less convincing on three different grounds.

"First, although the possibility that Josephine was a daughter of Joseph Smith was being discussed as early as 1905, the statement reports a conversation that took place 23 years before in 1882.

"Second, since the statement is transmitted through [Mormon Church historian] Andrew Jenson, it is a third-hand account of Sylvia P. Sessions' statement.

"And third, the statement is unclear about what meant to be 'a daughter of Joseph Smith.' For example, because of his mother's matrimonial sealing to Joseph Smith, Heber J. Grant was regarded as a son of Joseph Smith, even though he was born 12 years after the Prophet's death."

To his credit, however, Hales admits that "other details support that Josephine was the literal offspring of the Prophet. For example," he writes, "if no genetic connection existed between Josephine and Joseph Smith, it is strange that Sylvia would wait until her deathbed to dramatically divulge that the Prophet was to be Josephine's father only in the next life. If Josephine 'was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith' only because of a sealing ordinance, rather than through physical siring, all of Sylvia's children would be equally his offspring. However, none of them reported any similar divulgences from their dying mother, nor would there be any compelling reason to keep such knowledge secret. Josephine's name also supports the relationship. In addition, other sources, beyond the 1915 affidavit, corroborate the story. In 1880, future BYU president George H. Brimhall recorded:

"'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. . . . Soon the contemporaries of the Prophet JOseph Smith will be all gone.' . . .

"In 1905, Stake President Angus M. Cannon had an interview with Joseph Smith III, wherein he stated:

"'I will now refer you to one case where it was said by the girl's grandmother that your father has a daughter born of a plural wife. The girl's grandmother was Mother Sessions, who lived in Nauvoo and died here in the [Salt Lake] Valley. She was the granddaughter of Mother Sessions. That girl, I believe, is living today in Bountiful, north of this city. I heard Pres. Young, a short time before his death, refer to the report and remark that he had never seen the girl but he would like to see her for himself, that he might determine if she bore a likeness to your father.'"

Hales acknowledges that "[s]ince Sylvia said she had never told anyone prior to revealing Josephine's paternity to her, these accounts suggest that rumors of Josephine's true biological father arose from other sources that received limited private circulation prior to Sylvia Sessions' death.
In other words, several historial documents support a genetic relationship between the Prophet and Josephine, besices Sylvia's affidavit."

Hales also reports that sometime after April 1838, Joseph Smith was sealed to Sylvia Sessions in Nauvoo, Illinois (Sylvia was at the time civily married to Windsor Lyon and they had together moved to Nauvoo). Windsor was excommunicated from the Mormon Church on 19 November 1842. Hales puts the subsequqent conception of Josephine as occuring on 18 May 1843, a month shy of a year before Smith was killed at Carthage.

Hales argues that "Josephine Lyon's 1915 statement . . . implies that the excommuncation [of Windsor Lyon] invalidated her [Sylvia's] marriage to Windsor, allowing her to be legitimately sealed to Joseph Smith and bare a child with him [meaning Josephine]."

This sealing, Hales contends, is in keeping with Smith's history of "in special circumstances, as President of the Church, believ[ing] himself capable of granting permission to ignore legal unions (constituting a religious divorce"). Hales cites Mormon Church historian Jenson's view that Windsor's excommunication meant "that some sort of divorce or termination was inherent in [his excommunication]. or at least accompanied it chronologically," with Jenson thus "refer[ring] to Sylvia as 'formerly the wife of Windsor Lyons.'" Hales quotes Jenson's further observation that "[w]hen he [Windsor] left the Church [i.e., was excommunicated], she [Sylvia] was sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith."

A product of the sealing of Joseph Smith to Sylvia Sessions was the conception of Josephine.

(Brian C. Hales, "The PUzzlement of 'Polyandry,' in "The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy," Newell G. Bringhurst ans Craig L. Foster, ed. [Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer BOoks, 2010], p. 111-116)

George D. Smith, in his book, "Nauvoo Polygamy," supports Hales' conclusion that Josephine was biologically fathered by Joseph Smith--adding, however, that "[n]one of Joseph's 'plural children,' if such existed, have been identified." Nonetheless, George D. Smith reports that there is good reason to conclude Joseph Smith produced children with women other than his first wife, Emma:

"Of all the plural wives, Sylvia [Sessions] may be the best candidate to be the mother of a child father by Joseph Smith."

Smith adds that "nothing as conclusive as genetic testing has been performed" (this is not quite true, since Ugo Perego conductrf some DNA tracking of Josephine's paternal heritage), "but the documentary evidence," says Smith, "is compelling. Four months before Smith's assassination, Sylvia gave birth to Josephine Rosetta Lyon on February 8, 1844. Some 38 years later, Sylvia told her daughter that she, Josephine, had been fathered by the Prophet. When Josephine herself was advanced in age, she affirmed what her mother had told her in 1882. . . . It is significant that Josephine's statement was witnessed by one of the Church's historians, Andrew Jeoson; Josephine's stake president, Joseph Grant, who was a stepfather of Apostle of Heber J. Grant and nephew of Joseph B. Noble; and by her own son."

George D. Smith adds:

"Although Sylvia explained that she was sealed to Smith when her lawfully-wedded husband was 'out of the Church,' Windsor's November 1842 estrangement followed Sylvia's marriage to Smith by nine months."

Interestingly, George D. Smith also reports how Joseph Smith paid intense personal attention to infant Josephine:

"Four days after Josephine was born, . . . Patty Sessions reported that 'Brother Joseph was at her [Sylvia's] house' and that 'Mr. Lyons, Sylvia's husband, lent him $500.00.' Patty described other visits and said that after Josephine's birth, Joseph 'visited at her [Sylvia's] house almost daily.'"

When it comes to Jospeh SMith having sex with his multiple wives, however, Hales, doesn't get everything right. Contrary to Hales' highly questionable assertion these intimate encouters were not all that frequent, George D. Smith writes that "[t]here is no reason to doubt that [Joseph] Smith's [polygamous] marriages involved sexual relations in most instances." (He does acknowledge, however, that "Sylvia Sessions' testimony to her daughter, Josephine, represents the only concrete claim for a child--and even then the testimony is second-hand"). Still, he provides credence to the claim that Joseph Smith fathered children with his polygamous partners:

"Mary Elizabeth Lightner spoke of 'three children' whom she said she 'knew he had' by his plural wives. These births would have been disguised because the children would have borne the names of their stepfathers. 'They told me, I think two of them are living today but they are not known as his children, as they go by other names.'

As George D. Smith points out, "[i]t was a general rule that children of plural marriages were not acknowledged in the pre-Utah period. Eliza Partridge left home in 1846 with her son, who was fathered by Amasa Lyman. Her sister, Emily, recorded the secrecy:

"'While it Nauvoo I had kept my child secreted and but few knew I had one, but after I started on my journey,' she wrote, 'it became publicly known and people would stop at our house [in Winter Quarters, Iowa] to see a "spiritual child."' George Smith writes that "[i]n an autobiographical account within her diary, she added that 'spiritual wives, as we were then termed, were not very numerous in those days and a spiritual baby was a rarity, indeed--but few children had been born in the celestial order of marriage.' Some children could have been disguised in families where a woman had a civil husband different from the husband she was sealed to."

Notably, George D. Smith contradicts Hales' claim that Joseph Smith did not sire "plural children" because it was regarded as being illegal under civil law, nor because (at least according to Hales), it was difficult for Smith to engage in baby-making with other women, given his heavy social schedule:

"Perhaps, as Lucy Walker Smith Kimball said, one restraint to fathering plural children was the 'hazardous life [Joseph Smith] lived, in constant fear of being betrayed.' While stressful circumstances and a complicated schedule may well have impacted the frequency of marital intimacy, from all outward appearances, his conjugal visits were not greatly impeded by social or legal pressure. Smith unquestionably fathered the three sons Emma gave birth to in Nauvoo. The dates of conception are telling. For Don Carlos, it was just months after the family reached Nauvoo. A stillborn son, which was delivered on February 7, 1842, was conceived during the early days of Smith's marriage to Louisa Beaman. And Emma's last child, David Hyrum, was born in November 1844, after Joseph's death, meaning that David was conceived early that year in the midst of enormous turmoil."

That said, George D. Smith adds the caveat that "[u]ntil decisive DNA testing of possible Smith descendants--daughters as well as sons--from plural wives can be accomplished, ascertaining whether Smith fathered children with any of his plural wives remains hypothetical."

(George D. Smith, "Navuoo Polygamy: 'But We Called It Celestial Marriage" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature BOoks, 2008], pp. 96. 100-102, 117-119. Note: George D. Smith's book, in which he draws the above conclusion, was published two years before Ugo Perego publicly reported that autosomal DNA testing had been conducted on selected members of the Lyon and Smith lines. Perego claims, however, that the findings contained "a lot of 'genealogical noise' [due to] the multiple familial relationships shared by both Josephine Lyon's and Joseph Smith's descendants." Perego explains that is because "descendants from the Smith and Lyon/Fisher families are part of the same pioneer stock that particpated in the first colonization of the Great Salt Lake Valley . . . and could have potentially had many overlapping ancestors." See Ugo A. Perego, "Joseph Smith Jr., the Question of Polygamous Offspring, and DNA Analysis," in "THe Persistence of Polygamy," Bringhurst and Foster, ed. [Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer Books, 2010)].

Despite Hales' questioanble assertion that Smith had relatively infrequent sexual relations with his plural wives, it appears that Smith, in fact, had eager conjugal hook-ups with them, as reported below.

"[Mormon historian Todd] Compton writes:

"'Because of claims by Reorganized Latter-day Saints that Joseph was not really married polygamously in the full (i.e., sexual) sense of the term, Utah Mormons (including Joseph's wives) affirmed repeatedly that Joseph had physical sexual relations with his plural wives-despite the Victorian conventions in nineteenth-century American religion which otherwise would have prevented mention of sexual relations in marriage."

"--Faithful Mormon Melissa Lott (Smith Willes) testified that she had been Joseph's wife 'in very deed.'

(affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 August 1893, Temple Lot case, 98, 105; Foster, Religion and Sexuality, p. 156.)

"--In a court affidavit, faithful Mormon Joseph Noble wrote that Joseph told him he had spent the night with Louisa Beaman.

(Temple Lot Case, 427)

"--Emily D. Partridge (Smith Young) said she 'roomed' with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had "carnal intercourse" with him.

(Temple Lot case (complete transcript), pp. 364, 367, 384; see Foster, 'Religion and Sexuality,' p. 15)

"In total, 13 faithful Latter-day Saint women who were married to Joseph Smith swore court affidavits that they had sexual relations with him.

"--Joseph Smith's personal secretary records that on May 22nd, 1843, Smith's first wife Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated.

(William Clayton's journal, entry for 23 May 1843; (see Smith, 105-06)

"--Smith's secretary William Clayton also recorded a visit to young Almera Johnson on May 16, 1843:

"'Pres. Joseph and I went to B[enjamin] F. Johnsons to sleep.' Johnson himself later noted that o' this visit Smith stayed with Almera 'as man and wife' and "occupied the same room and bed with my sister, that the previous month he had occupied with the daughter of the late Bishop Partridge as his wife.'

"Almera Johnson also confirmed her secret marriage to Joseph Smith:

"'I lived with the prophet Joseph as his wife and he visited me at the home of my brother Benjamin F.'

(Zimmerman, "I Knew the Prophets." p. 44; see also, "The Origin of Plural Marriage," Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Deseret News Press, pp. 70-71.)

"--Faithful Mormon and Stake President Angus Cannon told Joseph Smith's son:

"'Brother Heber C. Kimball, I am informed, asked [Eliza R. Snow] the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith and afterwards to Brigham Young, when she replied in a private gathering, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that."'

(Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, p. 23, LDS archives)

("Did Joseph Smith Have Sex with His Wives?," under "Did Joseph Smith Obey the commandment and Have Sex with His Wives?," at:


The record clearly shows that Joseph Smith was a horndog and that he likely fathered children beyond the bounds of his first marriage bed.

Brian Hales seems a bit too reluctant to admit the full extent of that inconvenient reality.

Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2013 11:02AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Hmm... ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 02:53PM

That is true, sleeping with one women several times in a week or month would increase the risk of pregnancy, but if it was more sporadically with each woman, it would lessen the odds. Plus, I'm sure there were some sort of contraceptive methods or techniques in practice at that time, although maybe not practical or totally reliable. He could have been using the pull-out method if he was worried about producing offspring.

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Posted by: Jack ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 08:26PM

One thing I noticed with Hales is how he frames the Nauvoo Polygamy practioners as "sincere". If they really believed in polygamy and polyandry, it somehow justified their behavior and actions.

The problem is "sincerity" isn't a test for truth; it's a test for sincerity. The 9/11 hijackers were sincere......

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Posted by: sophia ( )
Date: February 23, 2013 12:36AM

Warren Jeffs' victims, aka "wives" were/are also sincere. 12-year-old MJ told people that Heavenly Father decides when a girl is ready. I'm sure if you asked her she would say she was not raped.

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Posted by: PapaKen ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 08:40PM

Don't forget.... the "marriages" came BEFORE the revelation that it was okay to sleep around.

If he "timed" his visits on unfertile days, and had some babies aborted, he wasn't doing it for the sake of having more kids.

What OTHER possible reason could there be?

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Posted by: sonoma ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 08:44PM

what reason does this Hales clown give for JS marrying all these women if it wasn't for the sex and wasn't to make babies?

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Posted by: sophia ( )
Date: February 23, 2013 12:38AM

I've only listened to the one interview so I don't know if I can really answer that, but I think he would say that the Lord commanded it. Good 'nough reason.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 23, 2013 01:03AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2013 01:03AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: rationalguy ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 09:14PM

>"It does not appear that conjugal relations were a common occurrence..."<

Oh, I see. Just a little adultery. Well, then that's OK. Moderation in all things! I guess just a little strange stuff would be approved by the bishop, since it was fine for JS.

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Posted by: baura ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 09:35PM

Maybe Joseph pulled out.

Boom! Problem solved.

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Posted by: Joseph Smith ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 09:36PM

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Posted by: sistersalamander ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 10:13PM

Gotta love how Hales says "antagonists" might argue that JS's other kids might have been kept secret.

DUH! The whole point was to keep everything ultra-SECRET at the time -- so secret that even sisters who were plural wives didn't know about each other's marriages to Joseph.

Just imagine what kinds of disaster might have ensued if word got out that other women were cooking Joseph's buns in their ovens: mass defection from the church including most of Joseph's inner circle, collapse of Nauvoo, more tar-and-feather attempts on Joseph (maybe successful ones), political backlash, economic ruin, and a whole lot of women, including Emma, wanting to give JS just what he deserved. Not to mention public shame for the plural wives. No wonder they wanted to cover up any concrete evidence of hanky-panky. With so much at stake, it's hardly surprising that they did a good job of hiding the fruits of that smoking iron rod.

Sure, decades later the Utah Church might have wanted to find these children in order to refute RLDS charges that JS never practiced polygamy, but by then the tracks had been covered for a long, long time.

Oh, and check out the way Hales demonizes Emma.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 10:25PM

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Posted by: sistersalamander ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 10:39PM

Thanks, Steve. :-)

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 22, 2013 10:41PM

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2013 10:43PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: megstout ( )
Date: December 12, 2013 06:52PM

We know Joseph taught plural marriage as part of his teachings on the New and Everlasting Covenant. So Brigham Young was right.

We know that there is no DNA evidence confirming that Joseph engendered any children other than those borne to Emma. And Ugo Perego has been looking hard to find such evidence, so the lack of evidence isn't from failure to examine the data.

We know Bennett was a doctor specializing in women's ailments, so he had means to perform abortions in Nauvoo from ~Aug 1840 to June 1842.

We know it's possible for a man to avoid engendering a child by either having sex with women who aren't fertile or avoiding ejaculation while still in media res. Thank you Onan.

I presume most on this site buy into the assertion that Joseph was having bangy sex with as many women as he could.

However, I assert that Emma was right when she alleged that Joseph was not having sex with others ("had not other wife but me" or words to that effect).

This would make two assertions where Joseph's plural wives attested to having intercourse lies, but both those assertions were made during the Temple Lot case, where Joseph's plural wives were trying to prove that Joseph's sons were wrong about the teachings regarding plural marriage, to keep the temple lot out of the hands of those who had explicitly denied the New and Everlasting Covenant.

I am not bothered if Joseph had sex with the women who chose to marry him. But there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Joseph was actually sexually active in his plural marriages, despite Joseph's best attempts to convey the impression that he was living the doctrine he was teaching as part of the restoration of the Abrahamic Covenant.

I cite as a particular example Elvira Annie Cowles, who after February 1845 got pregnant whenever her husband so much as breathed on her. But prior to that date, Elvira Annie never got pregnant, despite her 1842 marriage to Jonathan Harriman Holmes and her 1843 sealing to Joseph Smith. It's a bit extreme to suggest that both Joseph and Jonathan managed to miss the mark for dozens of months, not to mention the fact that Joseph and Jonathan had lived in the same household with Elvira Annie for years before the cited marriages, offering many opportunities for extra-curricular bangy sex if people were so inclined.

Whenever I read allegations about this stuff anymore, I feel like I'm in a universe where Darcy is considered the villain and Elizabeth Bennet's true love is an innocent George Wickham.

I dislike rumors of sexual activity, as someone who has been accused of extra-curricular sex that I didn't engage in (former flame offered to testify in court to wrest custody of my daughter from me; wife of a professional colleague labored under the "certainty" I was banging her husband for many years).

Could Joseph have porked everything in sight? Of course.

Do you have proof? Absolutely not.

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Posted by: Except ( )
Date: December 12, 2013 07:25PM

and other women who had sex with JS said that it was a marriage with full on physical intimacy. These statements are cloaked in polite 19th century language, but their meaning is clear.

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Posted by: megstout ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 04:34AM

Oliver Cowdery, who Joseph called in to help calm Emma down, inferred from Emma's distress that Joseph had been tupping Fanny in the barn.

However there is another explanation, particularly if Fanny was married or promised in marriage to Joseph with Emma's permission, but asked to wait before consummating the marriage. There was plenty of precedent for that kind of request in history (think of poor Jacob waiting seven years for Rachel).

While an adulterous Joseph could have been banging Fanny in the hay (as is typically assumed), Fanny may also have been in the barn asking Joseph to free her from a platonic relationship where the first wife was denying the 18-year-old marital rights or even private time with her "husband."

Emma's hysteria at finding Fanny alone with Joseph in this situation could certainly have prompted the language and behavior Oliver observed. Heck, later histories with plural wives indicates fierce jealosies and anger between wives for far less.

Emma's later willingness to "grant" Joseph wives and then insist that these women refrain from sexual relations with Joseph (e.g., the Partridge sisters, the Lawrence sisters) is an indication that Emma was willing to demand Joseph's plural wives accept a platonic relationship with the father of her children.

If I were 18 and in love (and married to the man I loved but prevented access to him) and being courted by other men, I might just risk wife #1's ire to have a few words with my beloved about what I should do. I might even try to make him get a bit physical in my frustration. 18-year-old girls in love within what they consider a legitimate relationship can get pretty frustrated when denied their desires.

Not insisting anyone accept my view, but insisting that folks at least acknowledge there is an alternate possibility to the "Joseph tupped Miss Hill in the barn" rumor.

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Posted by: Devoted Exmo ( )
Date: December 12, 2013 07:35PM

Hmm.... I thought that bearing the souls of men was the whole point of those virgins given to Joseph? So which is it? He's supposed to have them as wives to breed with or not?

D&C 132

63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/12/2013 07:35PM by Devoted Exmo.

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Posted by: megstout ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 05:04AM

I personally think it would have been brilliant if Emma and Joseph had allowed his plural wives to have children by him.

I particularly wish Emma had given Jane Manning to Joseph as a plural wife and that Jane had borne Joseph a child. That sure would have prevented Brigham from creating a policy banning blacks from holding priesthood or accessing the temples...

Whether sex was happening, no children of Joseph's plural wives were engendered who survived to engender their own children, with the supposed exception of Josephine Lyon (which I dispute as there is an alternate explanation and DNA evidence is not conclusive, which it should be if Joseph was her father).

As for fulfilling the promise which was given "by my Father before the foundation of the world," that could be the salvation of all mankind through baptism and sealing of each child born into the family of mankind. That is something that might not have happened if the monogamous view of marriage had been presumed to be necessary in eternity. What of second or third wives and their children? What would you have done with them in the scheme of sealing all mankind together (and perforce performing proxy baptisms as part of the package)? The modern Mormon idea that everyone gets saved and sealed was not a given in 1840-1844, and it wasn't even a given until after the death of John Taylor.

As for these women bearing the souls of men, the placement of this phrase in the verse allows for the possibility that God (if you allow that this is God speaking and not merely a craven and manipulating Joseph) um, that God is speaking of a post-mortal role for these women bearing spiritual souls, "for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified." The language certainly smacks of Moses 1:39, which is not typically interpreted as a "women shall be constantly pregnant, barefoot, and in my kitchen cooking my dinner" verse.

My personal view is the "plural wives are for populating the planet" interpretation came from Joseph's insistence that Heber C. Kimball marry Sarah Peake Noon instead of the two widows Heber thought would get along with Vilate. There's a lot of plural marriage "case law" based on inference and supposition. Alas, it's not a topic much discussed in faithful circles in venues that involve both men and women, so the dialogue regarding plural marriage is still largely immature and downright puerile.

Which is what allows the history to be so easily simplified into "Joseph banged a lot of women for purely hedonistic reasons" and "therefore I cannot believe in anything that originated from Joseph Smith."

I think reality is a bit more complex. There's a tragic and fascinating and honorable possibility for the events captured in the record. But as I can't prove my variant of events, I shall have to cast it as midrash. But my midrash makes better holistic sense than either the TBM worldview that ignores Joseph's plural wives or the extant alternative that vilifies Joseph and paints his followers as lemmings.


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Posted by: utahstateagnostics ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 10:22AM

But doesn't avoiding conception kinda go against the "purpose" of polygamy as stated in the BoM? (Jacob 2:30)

The BoM states that polygamy is an abomination unless God commands it, which he will do to "raise up seed." If that was its divine purpose, then Joseph SHOULD have been having sex with as many of his wives as possible.

If he weren't wouldn't he be going against the whole reason polygamy was put forth in the first place?

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Posted by: megstout ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 04:30PM

I don't think Joseph was with God's intent, because he cared more about having Emma in heaven than "producing seed" of his own get.

As studies have shown, polygamy didn't actually produce more "seed" per woman, but it did produce a heck of a lot more "seed" who decended from men of quality. Because remember that women had right of refusal during that period and men had to go in cold with an offer of marriage and take their lumps if the woman wasn't interested.

An interesting result of polygamy was artificially creating a shortage of women. When women can choose from any man in the population, instead of being limited to the ones who are single, it becomes much harder for any individual man to attract a woman he is set on.

Shortage of women is historically associated with premium treatment of women. This adulation of women is still in the core of our culture, despite our 20th century attempt as Mormons to become like all the other folks (who have traditionally despised women as the reason for The Fall - fascinating insight if you engage in medieval women studies and contemporary women's studies).

I think a contemprary Joseph would agree that by not engaging in sex with his plural wives he was disobeying what he believed God's intent to be. But he had his reason, and she was Emma. And those thirty or so women he covenanted with kept his secret to their graves, for the most part.

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Posted by: Chump ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 03:34PM

What are your thoughts on D&C 132? Do you not believe that it came from Joseph? To me, those sound like the words of an abusive husband. They definitely don't sound like the words of a god worthy of anyone's worship. If it didn't come from Joseph, well, that's even worse for the church. The church was lead by a polygamist "prophet" for the next 100 years. Every one of which broke their temple covenants by illegally practicing polygamy.

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Posted by: Senoritalamanita ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 02:41PM

Perhaps Joseph had a low sperm count.

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Posted by: megstout ( )
Date: December 13, 2013 04:22PM

Re low sperm count:

Then how did he consistently get Emma pregnant every two years or so, including the child she was pregnant with at his death?

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Posted by: hUGH ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 03:51PM

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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Posted by: elciz ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 03:54PM

I don't really care if he never had sex with any woman other than Emma. He still messed with valid, legal, marriages between at least 11 women and their legal husbands! He married a huge number of women, for what purpose? Can any one man be expected to fulfill any of his duties to family and spouse with that many spouses? The emotional and physical neglect under these conditions is something that is under-discussed. That was wrong. No matter how this issue is parsed it was WRONG!

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Posted by: braindead ( )
Date: July 03, 2014 04:33PM

I agree with you, elciz. It is my understanding that JS did not support any of his wives other than Emma, and the foster children and house maids he raped while they lived in his home. Why should he support the 11 when they had husbands to do that? Hales seems to be under the impression that if Joseph didn't sleep with all the women that much, then somehow that makes plural marriage more legitimate.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2014 04:35PM by braindead.

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