Another ‘hang on a minute’ (HOAM) moment from The Bible Delusion

HOAM 27

Get it Wrong – and You Die.

In Leviticus 10, two of Aaron’s sons get things very wrong indeed; so much for all the chapters on ‘training’ God had given them. Nadab and Abihu take their ‘censers’ (pots, into which live coals from the sacred fire were placed, and on which incense was thrown to make a cloud of fragrant smoke once they had been taken inside the sanctuary), but unfortunately, they “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.” (10:1). God didn’t like that, so he murdered them. “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” (10:2). What kind of God would do that?

 

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Joseph Smith’s 1820 First Vision

The first record of a ‘First Vision’ was not penned until 1832. In it, Smith says he had concluded all sects were wrong; claimed to have seen Jesus; and was fifteen years old (which would make the year 1821).

In 1835 Smith had another couple of attempts at recording his claimed vision in which only angels are mentioned. Finally, in 1838, the now promoted version of events, including God and Jesus, was recorded (but not published until 1842) and backdated to 1820. So, what did Smith finally claim in 1838 as now recorded in History of the Church Volume 1 and cited in The Pearl of Great Price – Joseph Smith History?

1. My father, Joseph Smith, Senior: left… Vermont, and moved to Palmyra… when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts [1814]. …about four years after …he moved with his family into Manchester [1818]. [The claimed ‘First Vision’ occurred] …in the second year after our removal to Manchester… [1820].

Problem: The family did not move to Manchester from Palmyra in 1818, two years before the supposed vision. They actually moved there no earlier than July of 1822.

2. There was a religious revival in the district [in 1820].

Problem: There was no religious revival in that area in 1820. There was minor one a couple of years earlier, around 1817-1818, and there was certainly one in 1824, possibly even spanning from late 1823-1825 overall.

3. Great multitudes joined various religious parties.

Problem: ‘Great multitudes’ did not join anything in 1820. Half a dozen fewer Methodists were recorded that year, with a small handful of extra Baptists and Presbyterians (the three main players of the period). During the 1824 revival, there were recorded increases in membership of 99 Presbyterians, 94 Baptists and 208 Methodists.

4. Four of Smith’s family had joined the Presbyterians.

Problem: Four of the Smith family members did not join the Presbyterians prior to an 1820 First Vision. Joseph Smith’s mother independently recorded that she and three of Smith’s siblings joined following the death of Smith’s brother Alvin which occurred in late 1823.

5. Smith had personally come across and pondered on the scripture, James 1:5.

Problem: In 1824 the entire Smith family attended a sermon by Methodist minister Elder George Lane who preached on the subject “What Church shall I Join” where his text was James 1:5.

6. Smith went to a grove of trees to ask God “which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.”

Problem: Smith’s claim to have gone to a grove to ask God which Church was right is in direct conflict with his 1832 personally handwritten statement confirming that he had already concluded that they were all wrong.

7. Smith was told to join with none of them.

Problem: In his ‘official’ 1838 account, God told Smith twice that he should join none of the Churches as they were all wrong. Later in his narrative, Smith reminds us for a third time that he was told this. Yet in 1828, eight years after the vision supposedly occurred, Smith joined the Methodist Sunday School – only to be asked to leave again as he was considered to be an undesirable due to his reputation as a ‘glass-looker’ (a money-digging con artist).

8. “A few days later…” the persecution started. Smith makes several statements about it.

Problem: No persecution was encountered at all during the period in question; a fact that is now unequivocally accepted and admitted by historians from Mormon Church owned Brigham Young University (BYU).

So, every single detail that Joseph Smith claimed about his First Vision experience is provably fictitious. But that is just the start Smith’s problems. Read the full story, complete with detailed analysis and historical references here.

 

Animal, Vegetable and Mineral.

Joseph Smith got them all wrong in his Book of Mormon

The following are some (but not all) of the animals that were in existence in various parts of the Americas during the Book of Mormon (BOM) era: alpaca; bear; boar; bison; coati (which resembles a raccoon); coyote; deer; duck; guinea-pig; jackrabbit; pronghorn (Antilocapra americana, often mistakenly termed an antelope); mountain sheep; jaguar; llama; monkey; reindeer; sloth; tapir; wild turkey (also the domesticated turkey from about 3000 BCE); and turtle.

Smith mentions not one of these existing animals in his BOM. He does however, make mention of several other animals which did not exist, as if they actually existed in the BOM era in the Americas.

An overall list of impossible BOM animals includes these words: ass; bull; calf; cattle; cow; elephant; (domesticated) goat; flocks; herds; horse; ox; oxen; (domesticated) sheep; sow; swine (pigs); plus two unidentified animals called ‘cureloms’ and ‘cumoms’; one of which, it has been suggested by apologists, may have been the woolly mammoth, which of course went extinct several thousands of years prior to BOM times. Although God supposedly translated the BOM for Smith, there are no known meanings for curelom or cumom; God clearly forgot to translate them into modern English.

The BOM also mentions ‘butter’ (copied from Isaiah in 2 Nephi 17:15, 22) and ‘milk’ (2 Nephi 9:50), yet in reality, no animals existed to provide milk so they could not have known what butter and milk meant.

In 3 Nephi 7:8 there is a reference “…like a dog to his vomit, or like a sow to her wallowing in the mire” plagiarised from 2 Peter 2:22, the earliest claimed date for which is 63-64 CE whilst Smith claimed 2 Nephi was written many centuries earlier.

Sow: Unfortunately for Smith and more importantly, for the modern Mormon Church (which seems to constantly ignore such facts and suggest simply living by faith), although domesticated by the Chinese 6000 years ago, pigs were first introduced to the New World by the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1539, fifteen centuries after this comment was (supposedly) made, at which time pigs would have been completely unknown to Smith’s imaginary residual Nephites and Lamanites.

Dog: So far as the dog is concerned, there is evidence of domestication dating back many thousands of years. When nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to North America, at least 12,000-14,000 years ago, they had dogs with them. Whilst Joseph Smith does not have the BOM state categorically that dogs were actually in the Americas, ironically, it is the only animal he mentions at all that actually was there. (See: Schwartz 1998).

Agriculture

Various foodstuffs were grown or were available and used during the Book of Mormon timeframe in different parts of America and included three main crops; corn, beans and squash. Other food (not all in the same locations) used by various peoples and cultures, included such things as: amaranth, eaten with chili peppers; chicham (like a turnip); chicozapote, a fruit; gourds; lima beans; manioc or cassava; yucca; peppers; peanuts; various plants; pineapples; potatoes; pumpkins; sunflowers; sweet potatoes and tomatoes. The Mayans grew cacao trees for chocolate, avocado trees and also papaya trees.

Against all odds of at least getting some of them right, Smith manages only one. He includes corn, but mentions not one of the rest of the above in his BOM at all, other than the cover-all statement ‘all manner of fruits’. Instead, he claims that they cultivated barley and wheat (which did not exist there) using manufactured implements, including ploughs made from metal (none have been found), pulled by draught animals which did not exist there at the time.

“And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash. And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts.” (Ether 10:25-26)

Smith here combines three errors into proof positive fiction. Clearly, the ancients did not make ploughs (or any other implements) with which to work their beasts, in order to plough, sow, reap and hoe, or thrash [thresh], as they did not have any wheat and they did not have any beasts of burden of any description with which to work such implements, for which there is equally no evidence. There couldn’t be, as there was no use for them. No wheat, no barley, no ploughs and no draught animals – equals a story of pure (and very obvious) nineteenth century fiction.

He also mentions ‘neas’ and ‘sheum’ which are just nonsense words, supposedly given by God to Smith in the 1820s in an understandable form for the people of the day, without further need for interpretation. No one then or now has a clue what they actually mean. Apologists claim ‘sheum’ was an old Assyrian word relating to barley (which they didn’t have), grain or other things such as pine-nuts and it was hardly a word Smith would have ‘known’ in his day as the relevant language was not then interpreted. But, why would God translate ‘reformed Egyptian’ into ancient Assyrian for Smith to see in his hat and then have written down, when no one would ever understand it? It is utter apologetic nonsense, just as is Smith’s use of the word which he just made up.

Pathetically, apologists cling to the idea that a few grains of a type of small barley of some description may have been found in one or two minor locations dating to the BOM time period. Unfortunately, Arizona does not help the geography associated with the BOM, so one problem always leads to another. Additionally, it is completely different to the species of domesticated barley claimed to have been introduced from the Near East by BOM characters. Remember, Smith claims it as a staple and it had to feed millions of people. The reality is that the Spanish introduced barley to South America in the 16th century. British and Dutch settlers introduced it to the United States in the 17th century. Soil core samples from across the continent show nothing prior to that.

Wheat was known to Smith, so he included it, yet it was never a part of the diet of any culture in the Americas any more than barley was. It simply did not exist there before it was introduced, centuries after the end of the BOM era.

Steel bows and swords; gold and silver currency.

Joseph Smith has his BOM character, Nephi, say that he broke his bow, which was apparently made of ‘fine steel’, almost 600 years BCE. This is clearly an anachronism, as it is readily accepted that the required metal (carbonised steel) did not exist in the era.

       And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. (1 Nephi 16:18). (Emphasis added).

Smith may have felt safe in his assertion, due to the following Biblical references which he may have noticed in the KJV. Smith was familiar with the steel of his own day.

“He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35; also: Psalm 18:34).

“He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.” (Job 20:24).

Steel as we know it, did not exist in the era and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) confirms the word ‘steel’ would better have been translated as ‘brass’ from Hebrew:

“Teaching my hands for battle, And brought down was a bow of brass in my arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35).

“…and a bow of brass was brought down by my arms.” (Psalm 18:34).                   

“He fleeth from an iron weapon, Pass through him doth a bow of brass.” (Job 20:24)

       The Hebrew phrase השוחנ תשק has been routinely translated in the above scriptures as bronze or brass bow. Why would God use the word ‘steel’ in Smith’s hat when ‘brass’ would have led to much less confusion?

Currency

 A complete monetary system, consisting of silver and gold coinage, is described in detail in the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:3-20). Note that cleverly, Smith has Alma declare they did not copy the system used in Jerusalem (or by any Jews), but they made up their own system and adjusted it, generation by generation, to suit their needs.

Silver Coins

Senum   = a Senine of gold and for a measure of barley or any other grain.

Amnor   = 2 Senums (therefore also equal to a Seon of gold).

Ezrom    = 4 Senums (therefore also equal to 2 Amnors; also a Shum of gold.

Onti        = as great as them all (presumably worth 7 Senums)?

Gold Coins

Senine   = to a Senum of silver and for a measure of barley or any other grain.

Seon       = 2 Senines (and also equal to an Amnor of silver).

Shum     = 2 Seons (and also equal to an Ezrom of silver).

Limnah  = the value of them all (presumably worth 7 Senines)?

Lesser Coins (no mention of the metal used in manufacture).

Shiblon                = half a Senum and for half a measure of barley.

Shiblum               = half a Shiblon.

Leah                     = half a Shiblum

Antion (of gold) = 3 Shiblons.

That is more or less how the currency is listed in the Book of Mormon. As a member of the Church, when you read it as written, you quickly get confused and just gloss over it, accepting that it was their currency, giving it no further thought, as it is unimportant. It is only when you stop to question it and decide to look more closely, that once again the truth shines through like a torch in the darkness. It may be easier to rank the coins in value to show how confusingly useless such a ‘doubling up’ and gold and silver ‘equal value’ coinage system would be in practice:

Leah                       = lowest denomination.

Shiblum                 = 2 Leahs.

Shiblon                  = 2 Shiblums (4 Leahs) or half a measure of barley).

Senum or Senine  = 2 Shiblons (4 Shiblums or 8 Leahs).

Antion                    = 3 Shiblons (6 Shiblums or 12 Leah).

Amnor or Seon     = 2 Senum/Senine (4 Shiblons, 8 Shiblums, or 16 Leah).

Ezrom or Shum    = 2 Amnor/Seon (4 Senum/Senine, 8 Shiblons,

16 Shiblums, or 32 Leah).

Onti or Limnah    = “as great as them all” or “the value of them all”.

The four silver and four gold coins, being identical in value, make the point of the system silly, as the only difference in eight gold and silver coins of four equal values would have to have been in size, weight and percentage purity, rather than purpose. There is no logic to it and the refining and manufacturing requirements far too complex to undertake in such a society. The lesser coins also all double in value, with the exception of the strange Antion coin. Smith’s problem with his currency is that it is a ludicrous system which would not work at all well in a real setting, but he also has other, far more difficult problems that we will come back to. There has never been a system that doubles five or six times, sufficing for everything, for one very good reason; it is completely impractical. No one would invent such a system as it simply would not work in everyday use. That’s ignoring the fact that Native Americans didn’t actually need or use any currency at all, all those years ago.

The Church now tries to claim they may have been units of weight rather than coins, which hardly tallies with the chapter headings in many published BOM languages. (See more here: Nephite Coins In any event, either way, the same problems remain. Ignoring the fact that it is impossible that any Native American tribe or civilisation at the claimed BOM stage could have minted any such currency, the simple archaeological fact of the matter is that not a single such relic has ever been discovered anywhere in the Americas.

(Reformatted extracts from The Mormon Delusion, Volume. 2, Chapter 12. (pp. 213-241) Joseph Smith’s Flights of Fantasy. Anachronisms – Impossible Book of Mormon Claims).

The Mormon Delusion Volume 2 details.

 

The Bible Delusion

Extract

‘Hang On A Minute’ Moment 37

You Don’t Have to Go into Battle if…

The beginning of Deuteronomy 20 reads very much like one of my favourite Monty Python sketches, ‘Marching up and down the square’, where a Sergeant Major (Michael Palin), addresses his troops and excuses them from the parade ground in turn if they would rather be doing other things, such as being at home with the wife and kids, reading a book, or going to a movie; until there are none of them left. I wonder if this is where the Pythons got the idea from.

It starts off by saying not to be afraid if they see lots of horses and chariots and more people than they have, because God is with them. “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (v.4). So far, so good, I suppose. But then, when they are out there, ready to do battle, the officers are to first speak to the people. Instead of fighting, any man who has built a house but not yet dedicated it, can go home and do so, in case he should die in battle and another man dedicate it. Next, if any man has planted a vineyard and not yet eaten of it, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man eat of it. Any man who is engaged, but not yet married, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man take his betrothed. If anyone is too scared to fight, they can also go home, in case they would make others fainthearted. I wonder if there would be anyone left after that. And, why wait until they are out on the battlefield instead of addressing such issues beforehand? What nonsense is this?

The Bible Delusion

Extract

Appendix E

 The Mormon ‘Ezekiel 37’ Claim

 “The Book of Mormon and the Bible Support Each Other.”

“The LDS English edition of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon have cross-references and study aids that make the stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) one in our hands (see Ezekiel 37:15–17; also 1 Nephi 13:34–41; 2 Nephi 3:12; 29:8). Give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach, but also show how the Book of Mormon and the Bible teach the same principles.” (Emphasis added) (‘Preach my Gospel: a Guide To Missionary Service’ – Mormon Missionary Lesson Manual. p.105. Available online).

Mormon missionaries are firmly instructed to “give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach.” The idea that the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other is somewhat short lived in many ways when you discover that the Book of Mormon claims Jesus Christ was known in Old Testament times and all the prophets prayed to God in the name of Jesus. Naturally, the Bible does not support that idea, or indeed many other Mormon concepts, at all. Nevertheless, the Mormon Church continues to maintain each book supports the other. Members do not see through the many obvious contradictions.

Not least of the liberties taken with the Bible by the Mormon Church is the concept that the Bible is the ‘stick of Judah’ and the Book of Mormon is the ‘stick of Joseph’ in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Thus the Bible and Book of Mormon can be one in our hands. I just accepted this as a member and found great comfort in my ‘quad’ when the Church started to produce them. That is, a quadruple combination of all the ‘scriptures’, including the King James Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all in one handy volume – ‘one in our hands’.

Let’s look at what Ezekiel says and what it really means.

Ezekiel 37:15. The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

  1. Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
  2. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (Emphasis added). (See also: NIV below).

The above is from the KJV which Joseph Smith had access to. He used the idea to justify the existence of the Book of Mormon in an 1830 Doctrine and Covenants revelation (D&C 27:5).

Only now do I begin to understand the real meaning of Ezekiel and what nonsense the Mormon claim is. Ezekiel was not speaking about books at all in the way the Mormon Church claims. It is actually quite clear when you read more of Chapter 37, even in the KJV, but as Mormons, we just don’t put it all together. Ironically, v. 18 actually asks what the previous verses really mean and then an explanation is provided. The truth is right there in black and white.

Ezekiel 37:18. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

  1. Say unto them, Thus saith the LordGod; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
  2. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
  3. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
  4. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: (Emphasis added).

So, we see that rather than remotely speaking about two ‘books’ (one not published until 1830), it relates to two kingdoms being brought together under one king. So, what was the writing all about? A clearer translation gives a much better idea. The New International Version of the Bible helps with this:

New International Version (NIV). Ezekiel 37.

One Nation Under One King.

  1. The word of the Lord came to me:
  2. “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’
  3. Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
  4. “When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
  5. say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
  6. Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on
  7. and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
  8. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

The Mormon Church would have it that the two ‘sticks’ were scrolls or books; one being the Bible and the other, the Book of Mormon. However, the scripture clearly states that it was Ezekiel who was to do the writing in both cases. (See emphasised text in KJV Ezekiel 37:15-17 on p. 337 above). He was also told exactly what to write on each stick and the above NIV translation tells it all really.

One stick of wood was to have written on it the words:

“For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.”

The other stick of wood was to say:

“For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.”

In each case, in the KJV of Ezekiel 37:16, the letter ‘F’ in the word ‘For’ is capitalised, signifying the start of what to actually write on each stick of wood. It is not an indication of what is to be written ‘for’, or on behalf of, the tribes in books, as is the Mormon claim.

There are forty writers and sixty-six scrolls forming the Bible, and many authors supposedly contributed to the Book of Mormon. It is Ezekiel who is to write on both sticks in Ezekiel 37. It is only the Mormon Church that disagrees.

The Mormon Church claims ‘stick’ means ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel. Never mind that the Book of Mormon was supposedly written on gold plates and not scrolls. In any event, Ezekiel clearly identifies that he knows the difference between a stick of wood and a scroll. In an entirely different context, Ezekiel writes:

Ezekiel 2:9. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

From what I now understand, following some research, the Hebrew word translated as ‘stick’ in Ezekiel is pronounced ‘ets’. There are quite a variety of English words appearing in the Old Testament translated from ‘ets’, depending on the context. Alphabetically, these are: gallows, helve, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree and wood. It is never translated as: book, roll, scroll, parchment or papyri, let alone metal plates of gold, brass or any other material.

The word stick did not mean ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel 37 as the Mormon Church claims. As a Mormon, a cursory glance at Ezekiel leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy due to the trust placed in church leaders; that the Lord has revealed the truth to them. In fact, it can bolster a testimony. Likewise, an investigator may be convinced by a Mormon missionary ‘explanation’ of Ezekiel 37, much in the same way that someone investigating Jehovah’s Witnesses may be influenced by their unconvincing ‘circle of the earth’ explanation. (See Appendix C).

However, an objective review of the real meaning, correct translation and explanation provides, once again, quite an opposite conclusion to the Mormon claim. If you read the whole book of Ezekiel, it is about God and his tortured relationship with Israel. Ezekiel 37 confirms how he would eventually bring them together – in that era; and it had nothing to do with books at all.

Adam was God – Myth, Theory or Doctrine?

Snippets: The Mormon Delusion: Volume 3. Chapter 2.

As a youngster in the Mormon Church, what was then spoken of as the Adam-God ‘theory’ came up at some stage, although I can’t remember exactly when I first heard of it. When I questioned the idea, I do remember being told that it was only a theory put forward in the nineteenth century and disregarded as not doctrinal, so I should just forget it and not worry about it…

…Apologists argue that Young did not teach this as doctrine, citing explanations varying from it being just a myth, to it being a personal theory; that he was misquoted; under-quoted; taken out of context; he must be interpreted; there were two Adams (God the Father as well as the man); or it simply doesn’t matter to us these days.

…In 1938, Apostle John A. Widtsoe claimed the whole idea was a myth and not even so much as a theory, stating that anyone who read Brigham Young’s remarks concerning it could be confused if they were read superficially “but very clear if read with their context.” He goes on to say, regarding Young’s first recorded mention of Adam-God in his 1852 sermon:

“An honest reading of this sermon and of other reported discourses of President Brigham Young proves that the great second President of the Church held no such views as have been put into his mouth in the form of the Adam-God myth.” (Improvement Era Nov 1938:652&690; Also cited in Widtsoe 1960:67-71).

Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, decried the idea as “false doctrine” in 1976.

“We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.” (Spencer W. Kimball. Ensign. Nov 1976:77).

Whatever it was, it was certainly not just a myth put into the unwitting mouth of Brigham Young to discredit him.

…To dismiss out of hand, as false doctrine, something that Brigham Young spoke of on many occasions, he claiming it to be revelation from God and thus Church doctrine, is to claim Young was not actually a prophet of God after all.

…Also used, is the familiar claim that it was never adopted by the Church by a sustaining vote; thus it was not doctrine. However, many doctrines of the Church were never voted on by the members, including polygamy which was lied about in Mormon scripture for almost two decades and then simply ‘announced’ in 1852. Another is the temple ‘endowment’ ceremony which has evolved and changed completely over the years and was never once voted on as doctrine. Many other aspects are just accepted as so, yet there has been no scriptural evidence or Church vote to support them. A vote was never taken when so called scripture was deleted either. Sections of the D&C and also all the Lectures of Faith, once held sacred in canonised scripture, have been quietly deleted without reference let alone a vote from the membership which sustained them as scripture in the first instance. How can sustained canonised scripture suddenly just be discarded?

…Young spoke of Adam being God, from the stand (pulpit), and stated that it was doctrine that God had revealed to him. He also later stated that anything he had ever said from the stand or published to the world could be taken as scripture, so if you are a Mormon, who can you believe if not a prophet, claiming from the stand to be speaking on behalf of God?

Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. claimed in 1939, that Young’s 1852 sermon was “in all probability… erroneously transcribed”. (Church News 15 Apr 1939:1-6; Also cited in Smith, Joseph Fielding 1954:V.1:96). This is one of the usual Mormon ‘last stands’ when all else fails and there is nowhere left to turn for an explanation in an obviously untenable position. Apostle Smith clearly did not check all that Young had preached or the journals of prominent leaders who wrote down what he said, confirming that nothing was erroneously recorded at all. He almost certainly did not check the history of what happened next or the disciplinary proceedings held against those in leadership who felt they could not accommodate the Adam-God doctrine.

…Young never claimed the idea as his. On the contrary, he claimed it was from God, and for himself, claimed only that if he had ever done anything wrong, it was to reveal too much truth to the people as they may not have been ready to receive it.

“And I will say, as I have before said, if guilt before my God and my brethren rests upon me in the least, it is in this one thing – that I have revealed too much regarding God and His kingdom, and the designs of our Father in heaven. If my skirts are stained in the least with wrong, it is because I have been too free in telling what God is, how he lives, the nature of his providences and designs in creating the world, in bringing forth the human family on the earth, his designs concerning them &c. If I had, like Paul, said- “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” perhaps it would have been better for the people.” (JD. V.8:58. Brigham Young, 20 May 1860).

This is a far cry from him saying anything was an idea of his own which may or may not have been correct.

On 8 Oct 1854, at a Church Conference, Brigham Young gave a sermon that was not finally published until the 1970’s, well over a hundred years later. It included the following remarks:

The God and Father [of] our Lord Jesus Christ is the Father of our spirits.

…Adam is the Father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth; he did abide his creation, and did honor to his calling and Priesthood; and obeyed his Master or Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same, and they lived, and died upon an earth, and then were resurrected again to Immortality and Eternal Life.

Our spirits and the spirits of all the human family were begotten by Adam, and born of Eve.

Adam planted the Garden of Eden, and he with his wife Eve partook of the fruit of this Earth, until their systems were charged with the nature of Earth, and then they could beget bodies, for their spiritual children.

I tell you, when you see your Father in the Heavens, you will see Adam; when you see your Mother that bear your spirit, you will see Mother Eve. (Campbell 1992:86-103). (Emphasis added).

…I can only assume that in 1938, Apostle John A. Widtsoe was not aware of this discourse when he said the whole idea was just a myth. However, I have to agree that the words are indeed “very clear if read with their context” as the context of the above could indeed not be clearer. Unfortunately for Widtsoe, the clarity is entirely the opposite of his own argument.

…Young was convinced that God revealed the Adam-God doctrine to him. This appears clear in the claim that he worked it into the ‘lecture’ given at the veil of the St. George Temple in 1877, twenty-five years after he first spoke of it. For many years, there most certainly was a ‘lecture at the veil’ of the temple. I have personally heard it many times. It was eventually deleted completely.

That Young’s Adam-God doctrine was actually once used in the lecture at the veil, at least in the St. George Temple ceremony (from 1877-1905), is claimed by some and disputed by others. In 1867, when Young re-established the School of the Prophets, he there claimed that Joseph Smith had taught him the doctrine (see later in this chapter), so there is every reason to suppose Young did want to have it explained more fully in the temple ceremony.

In January 1877, shortly after the lower portion of the St. George Temple was dedicated, President Brigham Young, in following up in the Endowments written, became convinced that it was necessary to have the formula of the Endowments written, and he gave directions to have the same put in writing. Shortly afterwards he explained what the Lecture at the Veil should portray, and for this purpose appointed a day when he would personally deliver the Lecture at the Veil. Elders J. D. T. McAllister and L. John Nuttall prepared writing material, and as the President spoke they took down his words. Elder Nuttall put the same into form and the writing was submitted to President Young on the same evening at his office in residence at St. George. He there made such changes as he deemed proper, and when he finally passed upon it said: This is the Lecture at the Veil to be observed in the Temple. A copy of the Lecture is kept at the St. George Temple, in which President Young refers to Adam in his creation &c. (L. John Nuttall Papers. BYU Special Collections. Mss 188. Letterpress copybook #4. P290).

Confusion over whether Young’s secretary, L. John Nuttall, recorded the following details at a meeting with Young at his home in St. George, or actually in the temple itself, is probably resolved in the above memoranda. The text was for a ‘Lecture at the veil to be observed in the Temple’ and is effectively a summary explanation of the Endowment session. Whether it was ultimately then used as the lecture beyond 1877 or not is really completely immaterial. However, similarity in style and content, including some specific word sequences (apart from the changes regarding Adam-God), runs consistent with the lecture I heard many times in the temple personally, prior to it finally being withdrawn. Nevertheless, the important and easily missed fact is that Young’s secretary, who was also the St. George Temple recorder, L. John Nuttall, wrote down what Young said and clearly believed. Then Young amended it and approved it, regardless of when, where or even if it was then ever used anywhere. That it was first presented by Young in the Temple was however confirmed and recorded by Wilford Woodruff “…President [Brigham Young] was present and delivered a lecture at the veil some 30 attndg” in his own journal, thus confirming that it was indeed given at the veil by Young himself on 1 February 1877.  That evening, Young amended it and he gave the lecture again on Wednesday 7 February.

This is what Young’s ‘Lecture at the Veil’ included, as recorded in L. John Nuttall’s journal:

“In the creation the Gods entered into an agreement about forming this earth. & putting Michael, or Adam, upon it. these things of which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of godliness but they will enable you to understand the expression of Jesus, made while in Jerusalem. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

We were once acquainited (sic) with the Gods and lived with them, but we had the privilege of taking upon us flesh that the spirit might have a house to dwell in. we did so and forgot all and came into the world not recollecting anything which we had previously learned.

We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve. how they were formed &c Some think he was made like an adobe and the Lord breathed into him the breath of life. for we read “from dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return” Well he was made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth. he was made just the same way you and I are made but on another earth.

Adam was an immortal being when he came. on this earth he had lived on an earth similar to ours he had received the priesthood and the Keys thereof. and had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation and was crowned with glory immortality and eternal lives and was numbered with the Gods for such hebecame through his faithfulness. and had begotten all the spirit that was to come to this earth. and Eve our common mother  who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world.

And when this earth was organized by Elohim. Jehovah and Michael who is Adam our common father. Adam and Eve had the privilege to continue the work of Progression. consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. and when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this kingdom our earth he came to it. and slept and forgot all and became like an Infant child.

It is said by Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took from his side a rib and formed the woman that Adam called Eve-this should be interpreted that the Man Adam like all other Men had the seed within him to propagate his species. but not the woman. she conceives the seed but she does not produce it. consequently she was taken from the side or bowels of her father. this explains the mystery of Moses’s dark sayings in regard to Adam and Eve. [See use of this paragraph by Elden Watson, covered later in this section on p. 97].

Adam and Eve when they were placed on this earth were immortal beings with flesh. bones and sinews. but upon partaking of the fruits of the earth while in the garden and cultivating the ground their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings with the blood coursing through their veins as the action of life.

Adam was not under transgression until after he partook of the forbidden fruit that was nesesary [sic] that they might be together that man might be. the woman was found in transgression not the man.

Now in the law of sacrifice we have the promise of a Savior and man had the privilege and showed forth his obedience by offering of the first fruits of the earth and the firstlings of the flocks- this as a showing that Jesus would come and shed his blood (four blank lines follow)

Father Adam’s oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family is father Adams first begotten in the spirit world, who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written, Adam in his divinity he having gone back into the spirit world. and came in the spirit [glory] to Mary and she conceived for when Adam and Eve got through with their work in this earth, they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit World from whence they came.

I felt myself much blessed in being permitted to associate with such men and hear such instructions as they savored of life to me.” 3 (Emphasis added).

The last statement of Young’s is interesting in that it claims the God Adam remained a spirit only, after passing from mortality for at least the second time, and fathered Jesus in the flesh via the Virgin Mary, as a spirit being who had once been a resurrected being. The Church now believes and teaches that God the Father did just that, as a resurrected being. The whole concept becomes extremely strange and complex. Something is very wrong with it all.

…Kimball, First Counsellor in the First Presidency, confirms the Lord Himself told him that Young’s doctrine confirming Adam was indeed our God and the father of Christ, was correct.

Presumably this confirmation of the doctrine was experienced by Kimball’s perception of the Holy Ghost. Modern leaders get no such confirmation. They say it is heresy. Others recorded a similar understanding of what Young said:

“We went to conference again. President B. Young delivered an interesting discourse concerning Adam’s being the father of our spirits as well as bodies.” (Warren Foote Journal, 8 Oct 1854, original in LDS archives, typed copy. The 8 Oct 1854 Brigham Young discourse was not published until the 1970s. See Campbell 1992:86-103).

“Another meeting this evening. President B. Young taught that Adam was the father of Jesus and the only God to us. That he came to this world in a resurrected body &c more hereafter.” (Diary of Hosea Stout. V.2:435. Friday 9 Apr 1852). (Emphasis added).

“Who begat the son of God? Infidels say that Jesus was a Bastard but let me tell you the truth concerning the matter. Our father begat all the spirits that were before any tabernacles were made. When our father came into the Garden He came with his celestial body and brought one of his wifes with him & eat of the fruit of he garden untill he could begat a tabernacle. And Adam is Michael or God And all the God that we have any thing to do with. They Eat of this fruit and formed the first Tabernacle that was formed. And when the VIRGIN MARY was begotten with child it was By the Father and in no other way ownly as we were begotten. I will tell you the truth as it is in God. The world don’t know that Jesus Christ Our Elder Brother was begotten by our Father in heaven.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff. V.4:129. 9 Apr 1852). (Emphasis added).

“It has been said that Adam is the God and Father of the human family, and persons are perhaps in fear and great trouble of mind, lest they have to acknowledge him as such in some future day. For our part we would much rather acknowledge Adam to be our Father than hunt for another, and take up with the devil.” (Millennial Star Editorial V.15:825. 1853. Samuel W. Richards, British Mission President). (Emphasis added).

“…some of the officers have not met in council for three years. They are lacking faith on one principle – the last “cat that was let out of the bag.” Polygamy has been got over pretty well, that cloud has vanished away, but they are troubled about Adam being our Father and God.” (Millennial Star. V.16:482. Conference Report 5 Aug 1854).

“…While there is nothing to refute, the whole tenor of revelation substantiates, the supposition, that Adam has continued to bear rule over the earth, and control the destinies of his never-ending posterity. From the time he received his commission in the Garden of Eden, he has been labouring diligently to fulfil the instructions there given him by The Lord God concerning his dominions, and to bring them under subjection to his will. This will be fully accomplished when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that he is the God of the whole earth. Then will the words of the Prophet Brigham, when speaking of Adam, be fully realized – “He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”” (Millennial Star V.17:195. 1855. Priesthood from Adam to Joseph). (Emphasis in original).

…In the Salt Lake City Hall, on 9 December 1867, the School of the Prophets which had been first formed by Joseph Smith, was reformed with Brigham Young appointed as President; Heber C. Kimball and Daniel H. Wells as Vice Presidents. Wilford Woodruff recorded the event in his journal and after mentioning that the Word of Wisdom was given in that school, he went on to record the following:

“President Young said Adam was Michael the Ark angel & he was the Father of Jesus Christ & was our God and that Joseph taught this principle.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff. V.6:381, 16 Dec 1867). (Emphasis added).

…If this was a lie, Young was a false prophet; if it was correct, then modern day leaders are not getting the same revelations that were given to their first two prophets, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Modern leaders are also not privy to the same spiritual witness that the early apostles recorded, confirming their acceptance of and belief in the Adam-God doctrine. Do modern apostles consider all those earlier apostles deceived and deluded in thinking that they had received a personal spiritual witness regarding the truth of the doctrine? They were then and are now, all supposedly ‘prophets’, ‘seers’ and ‘revelators’ and yet they cannot all be right. One group of the Lord’s ‘anointed’ is wrong

…By 1856, the Adam-God doctrine had become widespread and accepted sufficiently for the British Mormon hymnal, revised in Liverpool, England, by Apostle Franklin D. Richards, to include a hymn proclaiming it. The hymn, on page 375, was called We believe in our God.

“We believe in our God the great Prince of his race, The Archangel Michael, the Ancient of Days, Our own Father Adam, earth’s Lord as is plain, Who’ll counsel and fight for his children again.

We believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, who in love To his brethren and sisters, came down from above To die to redeem them from death, and to teach To mortals and spirits the Gospel we preach.” (Tanner 1987:177).

On 13 April 1861, the Millennial Star published a poem about Adam called “Sons of Michael”. It contained the opening lines: “Sons of Michael, he approaches! Rise; the Eternal Father greet”. Set to music, it entered the main Mormon hymnal. It remained unchanged until 1927 when it became hymn 334. The line with Adam as the Eternal Father was then replaced by “Sons of Michael, He approaches! Rise; the ancient Father greet”. Several other changes were subsequently made to this hymn, reducing the status of Adam and also of Eve who originally would “Endless with thy Lord preside” and now apparently she will not after all. The latest alterations appeared in the 1985 edition which meant that the final traces of the Adam-God doctrine were only edited out of the Mormon hymnal, over one-hundred-and-twenty years after it was originally included.

…On 12 October 1897, at a meeting of the Quorum of Twelve, the President of the Apostles, Lorenzo Snow…

…led out on Adam being our father and God. How beautiful the thought it brot. God nearer to us. (Quinn 1997:799).

The above is a short series of extracts from sixty-five pages of The Mormon Delusion: Volume 3, Chapter 2. Please see Vol. 3 for the rest of the story.

 

Unrequited Love – The Threats and Recriminations

The Mormon Delusion, Volume 1. Ch. 6.

Even the most handsome and charming of men and the most charismatic of lovers would not expect to have a one-hundred-percent success rate in their amorous advances, particularly when directed at married women. Joseph Smith was not exactly a good looking man. He would certainly not have been every woman’s first choice, or for married women, even second choice in a husband, especially one who would have to be secretly shared with many other women.

Smith declared to each victim that God had given them to him. There were of course refusals, but Smith was not easily dismissed nor was he very pleased when it happened. Fear was employed to keep women quiet when things went wrong for him. There were always threats to besmirch an unwilling female’s character in the event of her disclosing details of his advances. These were not just idle threats and sometimes they were more than unkindly fulfilled. Smith reverted to cruel, undeserved and public retribution in his attempts to ruin the reputation of anyone who refused his advances and had the courage to expose him for what he really was.

So, how many of Smith’s attempted seductions resulted in failure? How many offended women kept quiet about things, and did anyone have enough courage to call Smith’s bluff, ignore his threats, and reveal all, risking and accepting the consequences of their actions?

  1. Sarah Kimball

Sarah Melissa Granger became the wife of Hiram Kimball on 22 September 1840. Hiram was thirty-four years old and Sarah was twenty-one. Joseph took a fancy to Sarah and approached her in early 1842. Twenty-three-year-old Sarah had been married for eighteen months and was very shocked.

“Joseph Smith taught me the principle of marriage for eternity, and the doctrine of plural marriage. He said that in teaching this he realized that he jeopardized his life; but God had revealed it to him many years before as a privilege with blessings, now God had revealed it again and instructed him to teach with commandment, as the Church could travel [progress] no further without the introduction of this principle.” (Jenson 1887 Vol. 6:232).

Sarah refused Smith outright, telling him in no uncertain terms to “teach it to someone else”. She didn’t mention Smith’s proposition to anyone other than her husband. Hiram had problems with Smith at a Nauvoo City Council meeting held on 19 May 1842. Smith jotted down and “threw across the room” a revelation which said “Hiram Kimball has been insinuating evil, and formulating evil opinions” against the Prophet, which if he does not desist from, “he shall be accursed”. (Ibid. Also: HC. Vol. 5:12-13). In spite of his approach, Sarah’s immediate refusal, and Smith’s subsequent anger, Sarah and Hiram Kimball both remained in the Church for life.

  1. Sarah Pratt

When the young Apostle, Orson Pratt, was twenty-four and Sarah Marinda Bates was nineteen, they married, on 4 July 1836. Records are not exact, but four or five years later, when Sarah was about twenty-four, Joseph Smith, who would have been thirty-six, propositioned Sarah while Orson was away on a mission. Smith’s advances were recorded by Dr. John C. Bennett and are reviewed by Richard Van Wagoner in Dialogue:

“Sometime in late 1840 or early 1841, Joseph Smith confided to his friend that he was smitten by the “amiable and accomplished” Sarah Pratt and wanted her for “one of his spiritual wives, for the Lord had given her to him as a special favor for his faithfulness” (emphasis in original). Shortly afterward, the two men took some of Bennett’s sewing to Sarah’s house. During the visit, as Bennett describes it, Joseph said, “Sister Pratt, the Lord has given you to me as one of my spiritual wives. I have the blessings of Jacob granted me, as God granted holy men of old, and as I have long looked upon you with favor, and an earnest desire of connubial bliss, I hope you will not repulse or deny me.” “And is that the great secret that I am not to utter,” Sarah replied. “Am I called upon to break the marriage covenant, and prove recreant to my lawful husband! I never will.” She added, “I care not for the blessings of Jacob. I have one good husband, and that is enough for me.” But according to Bennett, the Prophet was persistent. Finally Sarah angrily told him on a subsequent visit, “Joseph, if you ever attempt any thing of the kind with me again, I will make a full disclosure to Mr. Pratt on his return home. Depend upon it, I will certainly do it.” “Sister Pratt,” the Prophet responded, “I hope you will not expose me, for if I suffer, all must suffer; so do not expose me. Will you promise me that you will not do it?” “If you will never insult me again,” Sarah replied, “I will not expose you unless strong circumstances should require it.” “If you should tell,” the Prophet added, “I will ruin your reputation, remember that.”” (Bennett 1842: 228-31; emphasis in original. c. in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Vol. 19.  No. 2. Summer 1986:69-99, see pp. 71-72. Sarah M. Pratt: The Shaping of an apostate, Richard S. Van Wagoner.).

Smith kissed Sarah in front of Bennett later that year. She got so upset that the commotion she made attracted the attention of a neighbour across the street. Sarah ordered Smith out of the house and Smith threw obscenities at her, declaring he had found her in bed with Bennett. Only then did she tell her returned husband, who in turn warned Smith “never to offer an insult of the like again”. (Ibid. pp. 72-73). Orson was devastated by what his wife had to say about Smith’s advances, and equally so by Smith’s charges that Sarah was Bennett’s mistress. Records indicate that he may well have considered suicide. Orson left a note which led to a search involving the entire town. He was found ‘hatless’ and alone on the bank of the Mississippi river, some five miles below Nauvoo. (Brodie 1963:319&n. c: HC Vol. V:138 & 256; also: The Return. Vol. II, Nov 1890:362). Pratt returned and Smith decided that he needed to organise a public meeting in order to explain matters.

It is said that the Prophet admitted to [Pratt] the attempt he made on his wife’s virtue, but that it was done to see whether she was true to her absent husband. (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Vol. 18 No. 3. Fall 1985:67-83, see p.76. Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo. Richard S. Van Wagoner. c: New York Herald 14 Sep 1877).

It would be impossible to believe that Smith would not have bedded Sarah, had she agreed to his proposals. He was certainly persistent. There was never a recorded ‘test’ when someone said yes to him, other than when Taylor and Kimball agreed to give their wives to Smith, but then he hadn’t approached the women directly. Smith had really wanted, and later obtained, Kimball’s young daughter. (See Ch. 5). Would God want to drive a man to the brink of suicide?

To get himself off the hook, Smith needed a scapegoat and Bennett had to be the fall guy. Smith had sworn statements printed in the local Mormon newspaper, The Wasp, which upheld his own character and condemned Dr. Bennett. Orson Pratt, Sidney Rigdon and George W. Robinson, who was Nancy Rigdon’s brother-in-law (see later section), would not sign the affidavit.

It was the end of Dr. Bennett’s career, not only in the Church, but in his collusion with Smith regarding extramarital relationships and abortions Bennett had been performing. Bennett, who had been Smith’s close friend and Assistant President, had outlived his usefulness and he had to go. He was none too happy and exposed Smith’s lifestyle in print. Some of Bennett’s claims are rejected by the Church. However, many details appear to be substantiated by the writings of the people involved, such as Sarah Pratt. A resolution appeared on 1 August 1842 in the Times and Seasons, supporting the character of the prophet. It was presented by none other than Wilson Law. Wilson and his brother William were later to publish the first (and only) edition of the Nauvoo Expositor. The ever amorous Smith was yet to make his biggest mistake, when he tried his luck with Wilson’s sister-in-law, Jane. (See next section). Smith’s proposal to Jane Law effectively led him on a path to his death. (Van Wagoner 1989:30-33 & n.9).   

Joseph Smith’s advances to Sarah were refused, but Smith still managed to posthumously destroy her marriage through his teachings regarding polygamy. Orson was soon to fully embrace it. There were some difficulties between Smith and Orson, and the Pratts were excommunicated from 20 August 1842 to 20 January 1843. Orson and Sarah were rebaptised and Orson was restored to his former apostleship. Pratt then went on to take a total of ten wives and have forty-five children. Unlike Smith, at least all Orson’s wives were single when he married them. With Smith’s advances still relatively fresh in her memory, Sarah had to contend with Orson developing his own string of polygamous wives and children. It started just a couple of years later and extended over many years until the day that Sarah finally snapped.

Name Marriage Location Age Pratt age Children†
Sarah M. Bates 4 Jul 1836 Henderson, NY 19 24 12  (6 die)
Charlatte Bishop 1844 Nauvoo, Illinois About 31 32 0
Mary Ann Merrill 27 Mar 1845 Nauvoo, Illinois 25 33 5  (1 dies)
Adelia Ann Bishop 13 Jan 1846 Nauvoo, Illinois 30 34 6  (1 dies)
Louisa Chandler * Early 1846 Nauvoo, Illinois 23 34 0
Marian Ross 19 Feb 1852 Salt Lake City 22 40 6  (1 dies)
Sarah L. Lewis ** 21 Jan 1853 Birmingham, England 21 41 1  (dies)
Juliett Ann Phelps 14 Dec 1855 Fillmore, Utah 16 44 7  all live
Eliza Crooks 24 Jul 1857 Liverpool, England 28 45 5  (4 die)
Margaret Graham 28 Dec 1868 Salt Lake City, UT 16 57 3  all live

* Died June 1846.  ** Died 27 Sep 1855. † Children in brackets died before reaching maturity.

There was extreme pressure on Sarah’s ability to tolerate the effects of polygamy on her own marriage. For example, Orson married his fourth wife just ten days before Sarah gave birth to their fifth child, Vanson, who died eighteen months later. Eleven days after Orson’s third wife Mary gave birth to a daughter, Sarah’s own fifteen month old baby girl died. Sarah had to contend with her own grief alongside the joy of her ‘sister’ wife. Sarah lost six children during her marriage. Then, a twenty-one-year-old daughter died the year after Sarah left Orson. It compared with a total of eight child deaths between seven of the other wives. Five of Sarah’s children survived to enjoy adulthood. Orson’s other wives provided him with a further thirty offspring who survived beyond their youth.

Sarah had reason to be suspicious of her husband’s integrity in matters of marriage. Two wives were acquired when Orson was on missions to England in 1853 and 1857. He illegally married them there and took them back to Utah as his wives. Mary Ann, who Orson married in Nauvoo in 1845, had her first child just six months later. If the date is correct, was she already pregnant from an earlier relationship, or was Orson the pre-marital father? It is also suspicious that wives nine and ten both had their first babies exactly thirty-seven weeks (eight and a half months) after their marriages to Orson.

The average gestation period is forty weeks. Whilst thirty-seven to forty-two weeks is the possible span for normal gestation, exactly thirty-seven weeks is actually premature and is extremely unusual. Two in a row would be highly unlikely. Either both women conceived on their wedding nights and then delivered prematurely or Orson was having premarital sex with them.

There was an accepted practice, used if a man converted a potential new wife while he was away from Utah. The couple would make private covenants with each other, which would allow them to sleep together. They would later formally marry in Salt Lake City. This might have explained the case of Eliza Crooks, but for family history indicating that Orson had illegally married her in England. (See pp.176-179 for Eliza’s ultimate heartbreaking demise which was due to Orson’s neglect). It doesn’t explain the case of Margaret Graham either.

Orson married Margaret in 1868 when he was fifty-seven. She was sixteen years old and her first baby was born when she was seventeen. By the time Orson was about to marry sixteen-year-old Margaret, Sarah could take no more of his polygamy and she left Orson. He would be exempt from guilt and Sarah would be under condemnation according to ‘The Law of Sarah’ (See Ch: 1 Item 5 & Ch: 3) when he married Margaret, which is an irony, considering his first wife’s name.

Sarah was fifty-one years old and could no longer bear children. Of the twelve children she had by Orson, six were then living. Orson had spent many years away on missions while Sarah mothered their children alone. She put up with constant introductions of new and often much younger wives when he was home. Their marriage came to an abrupt end in 1868 when Orson said he wanted to spend a week in turn, with each of the five plural wives who were then still with him. It was not enough for Sarah to only have his company each sixth week. They had been apart for over a third of the previous thirty years while he was away on missions. The rest of the time he had been courting, marrying and having children with a succession of much younger women. As Sarah became older, she felt increasingly lonely and completely unfulfilled in her marriage.

In an 1877 interview Sarah said:

“Here was my husband, grey headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.” (Van Wagoner 1989:99-100).         

After all those years, having initially fended off Smith’s advances and then tolerated her own husband’s conversion to polygamy, Sarah had finally reached her limit and could take no more abuse. She turned her back on polygamy, her husband and the Church. Enough was finally more than enough for intrepid Sarah. She lamented in an interview that polygamy was the:

“…direst curse with which a people or a nation could be afflicted. …It completely demoralizes good men, and makes bad men correspondingly worse. As for the women – well, God help them! First wives it renders desperate, or else heart broken, mean spirited creatures; and it almost unsexes some of the other women, but not all of them, for plural wives have their sorrows too.” (Van Wagoner: 1989:100. c: Froiseth 1884:38-40).

Pratt’s last plural wife, Margaret Graham, who was possibly ‘the straw that broke the camels back’ for Sarah, had divorced Orson by 1880. She married Joseph Dickman and had a further five children by him. If Orson had not married that final time, and had he agreed to spend more time with Sarah, making her feel special as first wife, perhaps Sarah would have still been with him.

During an interview on 21 May 1886 in which she described the activity of Joseph Smith, Sarah admitted to her earlier naivety. Following a statement confirming that Smith visited “houses of ill fame” and particularly a Mrs. White “dozens of times” in the early years, Sarah goes on to say that after the shock of Smith’s advances, she actually did tell someone:

“When Joseph made his dastardly attempt on me, I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said, laughing heartily: “How foolish you are! I don’t see anything so horrible in it. Why, I AM HIS MISTRESS SINCE FOUR YEARS!”” (Van Wagoner 1989:99-100).

Lucinda Harris (See Ch. 10: Section 1) had indeed been Smith’s mistress for three or four years at that time. No marriage ceremony is documented. (See Appendices A & B, Wife 3). Sarah goes on to describe in depth, the same details Bennett recorded. It included the fact that Smith’s impudence to her was in front of Bennett when Bennett took some sewing to her. The accounts are very similar. Sarah also mentions a visit from Joseph Smith III who questioned her regarding polygamy. He still did not believe that his father had ever practiced polygamy at all. He asked Sarah, if his father did so, where was the progeny? Sarah answered that his father “…had mostly intercourse with married women, and as to single ones, Dr. Bennett was always on hand, when anything happened”. This confirms other stories and rumours concerning abortions being undertaken by Bennett for Smith. Sarah noticed a long metal instrument Bennett had in his coat sleeve and she asked what it was for. Bennett replied: “Oh, a little job for Joseph; one of his women is in trouble.”

Sarah also stated that:

“You should bear in mind that Joseph did not think of a marriage or sealing ceremony for many years. He used to state to his intended victims, as he did to me: ‘God does not care if we have a good time, if only other people do not know it.’ He only introduced a marriage ceremony when he had found out that he could not get certain women without it. I think Louisa Beeman was the first case of this kind.” (Wyl 1886: Vol 1: 60-63).

It may well be that Louisa Beaman was the first to obtain such a ceremony. I could find no documented evidence of any actual marriage ceremonies before hers. (See: Appendix A).

  1. Jane Law

William Law was born 8 September 1809 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He moved to Ontario, Canada where he married Jane Silverthon in 1833, when he was twenty-four and she was nineteen years old. The couple were converted to Mormonism by John Taylor and Almon W. Babbitt in 1839.

William became Second Counsellor to Joseph Smith on 24 January 1841, remaining in office until 8 January 1844. He was suddenly dropped, following a face off with Smith, when Law insisted that Smith abandon the practice of polygamy. William and Jane Law were excommunicated on 18 April 1844 for “unchristianlike conduct”. William and his wife Jane were completely opposed to polygamy from the beginning. They had believed Smith when he insisted that polygamy didn’t exist, until the new revelation proved otherwise. When William saw the July 1843 revelation in the autumn of that year, he told Smith he could not accept it. Law was very close to Emma Smith who confided in William that she also despised the things Joseph was up to. She especially struggled with the young wives her husband kept in the house.

In late 1843, Smith tried his luck with Jane. This may have been motivated more by the idea of bringing William into line than Smith’s desire for Jane as a plural wife. (See: Van Wagoner 1989: Ch 6). This mistake would prove to be the catalyst that led to the demise of the Smith brothers. It was only a few months later when the Laws purchased their printing press and published the Nauvoo Expositor to expose Smith’s polygamous activity. (The Nauvoo Expositor was four pages long. A scanned copy of the original newspaper is available in full online at: http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm).

Following such embarrassing exposure, Smith was frantic and he became desperate to put a stop to matters, before more damning evidence could be published in the next issue. The City Council met in two sessions for over six hours on a Saturday and again for seven hours the following Monday, before arriving at a decision to destroy the press. Apologists argue that the length of these meetings proves that the Smiths did not try to convince or manipulate the Council, each individual deciding and voting as he chose. They are wrong. The basis of initial debate concerning the character of the Laws, which lasted for several hours, came directly from the Smiths. The Laws were accused of: “oppressing the poor, counterfeiting, theft, conspiracy to murder, seduction and adultery.” This is ignored by apologists. These allegations were all unfounded and were actually the things that Joseph Smith was guilty of himself.

Also ignored by apologists, are outright lies by Hyrum and Joseph Smith who declared to the Council that the revelation that had been read (now Section 132) about a multiplicity of wives was, according to Hyrum: “…in answer to a question concerning things which transpired in former days, and had no reference to the present time.” Joseph said: “They make it a criminality for a man to have a wife on the earth while he has one in heaven… the order [was] in ancient days, having nothing to do with [t]he present times.” (Van Wagoner 1989:68). Both brothers individually, knowingly and deliberately lied to the Council in order to get the action they required. It took a total of thirteen hours to win the Council over to the Smiths’ way of thinking. For apologists to argue otherwise in the face of such evidence is proof only of their own delusional state and they cannot be taken seriously.

As Mayor, Joseph Smith had a strong voice in the City Council. It was Hyrum Smith who introduced the idea of destroying the Law’s printing press rather than issuing legal proceedings for the claimed libel. The statements made in the Expositor were actually true, a fact that also seems to have escaped the notice of apologists. The Smiths, knowing the truth, had the legal and moral responsibility to dissuade the Council from the action finally decided upon. Nevertheless, Hyrum proposed that the press be destroyed and eventually almost everyone went along with the idea. The Smiths controlled the decision. They manipulated the Council for thirteen hours with lies and deception.

The coerced vote instigated not only an illegal act but one which violated the very constitution. It was therefore viewed as treason, for which the Smith brothers were arrested and charged. The brothers paid very dearly for it before they could be tried in court. The root cause of the problem lay in Smith’s inability to control his insatiable obsession with women. Had Smith not made advances towards Jane Law, perhaps the sequence of events which followed would never have happened and he may have lived a little longer. His eventual downfall and death were the result of his lust for women, his extravagant lies to conceal the facts and his unlawful action against people who exposed the truth.

William Law started his own reformed Mormon Church. It turned out to be a short lived venture but they held a meeting, with some three-hundred people attending, just before the Laws published the Nauvoo Expositor. Joseph Smith sent Sidney Rigdon to try to persuade William Law not to publish. Law recorded in his diary that he told Rigdon:

“If they wanted peace they could have it on the following conditions. That Joseph Smith would acknowledge publicly that he had taught and practised the doctrine of plurality of wives, that he brought a revelation supporting the doctrine, and that he should own the whole system (revelation and all) to be from Hell.” (Van Wagoner 1989:57-58 c: William Law Diary 13 May 1844).

Verse 51 of the polygamy revelation concerns Emma Smith and is covered in Chapter 3. (p.59). According to some reports, Emma had suggested that Law should be her spiritual husband in order to get even with her own adulterous husband. (Van Wagoner 1989:57-58). William Law certainly had no notion of such an idea, as he states regarding “swapping wives” that “Joseph Smith never proposed anything of the kind to me or my wife”. Law then goes on to confirm that Joseph did offer to furnish Emma someone as a substitute for him “on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in her house, and to be well treated etc.”. It is clear that Law did not know that both Emma and Joseph may have held him in mind as that potential substitute. (The Daily Tribune. SLC. Tuesday 3 Jul 1887. Letter 1. Shullsburg. Wis. 7 Jan 1887. William Law).

Whatever really happened, Law eventually snapped. He had put up with enough of Smith:

“[Joseph] ha[s] lately endeavored to seduce my wife, and ha[s] found her a virtuous woman.” (Van Wagoner 1989:67 c: William Law diary 13 May 1844).

The Laws could not accept polygamy. They had accepted Joseph Smith’s denials and published proclamations that monogamy was the only form of approved marriage. They would not consider now joining a secret circle that perpetuated such lies whilst privately living the principle. William claimed that Smith had gone to his home in the night while he was away. Smith declared to Jane that God had commanded him to take spiritual wives to add to his glory. Jane confirmed the story, adding that Smith had asked her to give him half her love and keep half for her husband. Her refusal resulted in Smith considering the couple apostate. He accused Jane of speaking evil, slandering him and lying about him without cause. The guilty Smith had been ready and liberal with his public retribution of an innocent woman.

  1. Nancy Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon, a former Baptist and a Cambellite minister, joined the Church in September 1830, along with his wife Phebe (Brooks). Rigdon combined his congregation (as well as his ideas) with Smith’s and became his First Counsellor on 18 March 1833. He was excommunicated 8 September 1844, following Smith’s death, during the succession debacle. Rigdon claimed the right to succeed Joseph Smith as President of the Church but his bid failed when Brigham Young and the twelve apostles succeeded. Rigdon in turn excommunicated the twelve and continued with a ‘Rigdonite’ Mormon Church.

The Rigdons had a large family. In April 1842, Smith took a strong liking to their nineteen year old daughter Nancy, so he took his chances with her. He invited her to meet him at the home of Orson Hyde, above the printing office. Hyde was away on a mission to Palestine and Smith had moved Hyde’s wife Marinda there, where she was temporarily living in sin with Smith’s secretary, Willard Richards. (See Ch.10 Section 3: Marinda Nancy Johnson). It was about that time when Joseph Smith married Marinda Hyde himself. (See Appendix A). Smith took Nancy Rigdon into a room, locked the door behind them “…and then stated to her that he had had an affection for her for several years, and wished that she should be his”. (Van Wagoner 1994:295). Forewarned by Dr. Bennett, Nancy refused, asserting that she would only ever marry a single man. Smith’s real mistake with Nancy came the following day, when he wrote her a letter which is still in evidence.

Nancy told her father what had happened. He was furious and immediately sent for Smith. George Robinson, Nancy’s brother-in-law was there when Smith arrived. George later “wrote to a friend that Joseph at first denied everything, but when Rigdon thrust the letter in his face, he broke down and admitted the truth, lamely excusing himself by saying he had merely been testing Nancy’s virtue”. (Brodie 1963:311). In 1905, a series of letters between Joseph F. Smith Jr. (who later become tenth prophet) and Mr. Evans of the RLDS Church, were printed in a booklet entitled Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage. In it, Joseph F. Smith Jr. attempted to prove polygamy was indeed practiced by Joseph Smith. This was something the RLDS Church was still refuting. Joseph F. Smith Jr. obtained an affidavit from Nancy’s living brother, John W. Rigdon which confirmed the details George had given. John also affirmed that after a few days had passed, Smith returned to see his father, when ‘matters were satisfactorily adjusted between them and there the matter ended’. (Smith, J.F. 1905:82-83).

These are some extracts from the lengthy love letter Smith sent to Nancy. Judging by all the other women Joseph Smith bedded when they said yes and threatened when they said no, this was certainly no ‘test’ of Nancy’s virtue.

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 thereof till long after the events transpire.

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 in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness…

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;…

Be wise today; ’tis madness to defer: Next day the fatal precedent may plead. Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time Into eternity.

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. (Emphasis added). (See Appendix M for complete letter and references).

After the entreaties, comes the psychology of the fear factor. If Nancy refuses, God will consider her wicked and slothful. God is very liberal on the one hand and will allow adultery which she will really enjoy if she accepts Smith. On the other hand, if she declines, she is of course wicked. God’s punishments for refusal will be more terrible than she could ever imagine.

  1. More Refusals

Smith approached several other women who turned him down. It seems he asked all and sundry to marry him. At least fifteen other women reportedly refused Smith, turning down his illicit proposals. William Clayton wanted to marry Lydia Moon but he had already married two of her sisters, Ruth and Margaret, as his first and second wives. Smith told him God’s law was that you could only marry two women from any one family. The truth was that Smith wanted Lydia for himself. She refused Smith, preferring to stay in the company of her sisters who had already married Clayton. Of course, Clayton may have already proposed to Lydia, not expecting Smith to deny the request. The idea of only two women from one family was not perpetuated and there are several later examples of three or more women from the same family marrying the same man. For example, Apostle Amasa Lyman married three of the Partridge sisters, plus a fourth one posthumously.

Smith also had no success with the following women, several of whom were already married:

Rachel Ivins Grant; Cordelia C. Morley Cox; Esther Johnson; Leon Cannon Taylor; Eliza Winters; Melissa Schindle; Emeline White; Mrs. Robert Foster; Pamela Michael; Lucy Smith Milligan; Athalia RigdonMiss Marks (William Marks’ daughter); Lovina Smith (daughter of Joseph’s brother Hyrum); Caroline Grant Smith (wife of Joseph’s brother William). (Compton 1997:633-634).

All of these women refused Joseph Smith’s immoral advances. There were undoubtedly other unrecorded proposals and refusals.