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:

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.

Snippets from ‘The Mormon Delusion’

Vol. 4. Prelude – The Basis of Expectation

Honesty and Integrity

In my work, I often accuse the Mormon Church of lies, deception and a conspiracy to deceive through countless additions, deletions, interpolations and suppression regarding their historical documentation and so-called scriptures. I do so only when and where the evidence is conclusive and it is proven to be the case. I offer no personal opinions on aspects that are questioned. I provide only evidentiary proof of the underlying truth of each matter and compare that with what the Church erroneously claims to be the case.

The fact of the matter is that the Church has always promoted an internal concept at the highest levels that ‘lying for the Lord’ as it is termed, is somehow justified for some supposed ‘greater good’. I cannot personally conceive of any greater good than honesty and integrity. If there is a God, it is generally accepted that He is not even capable of lies or deception, representing only truth, integrity and everything that is good. Any other perception would render Him evil and incapable of being God. I do not expect a church or its leaders who claim to represent Almighty God and Jesus Christ as ‘ordained’ prophets and apostles to be anything other than what they publicly proclaim.

I hold the Mormon Church and its leaders (as well as their God) to the same standards they themselves advertise as being expected of themselves and their members – no more, and certainly no less. Yet the fundamental claims of the Mormon Church are worse than suspicious, they can be proven to contain carefully concealed falsehoods and many outright lies. There are so many that it is impossible to even begin to count them. Some even appear to be endorsed by their own version of God. Nothing that the Mormon Church publishes or teaches is untainted. Some provable deceptions, such as the publication of D&C 101 which proclaimed monogamy the only approved form of Mormon marriage, are admitted as lies, considered unfortunate but necessary at the time, to protect Church leaders and the secret practice of polygamy.

That it was directed at members rather than non-members in order to hide polygamy from many of the faithful is reprehensible. Many known lies are still hidden from members today in a continued conspiracy to deceive them about the past, supposedly as “some things that are true, are not helpful”. (Do not spread disease germs! Boyd K. Packer. BYU Studies, Summer 1981:259, 262-271). The fact is that Mormon origins, as proclaimed to investigators in the missionary lessons, are entirely fraudulent. People are first deceived and then deluded. They then pay for their mistake by devoting their lives to Mormonism and donating their money to further the lies. If this sounds harsh, it is meant to as deception regarding faith in fiction is one of the worst crimes imaginable. The evidence is conclusive and needs to be fully exposed.

The Mormon Articles of Faith

The first eleven ‘articles’ are short statements of basic Mormon belief. (See: Pearl of Great Price; or History of the Church Vol. 4. pp.535-541). The last two articles are declarations of the expected behaviour of all Church members.

It is not unreasonable to hold claimed prophets and apostles to their own declared standards for their followers. For them to expect anything less would in fact nullify their claim to such status. They must stand and be counted. The final two Mormon ‘Articles of Faith’ are:

  1. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
  2. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul – We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. (Emphasis added).

Most Mormons have no idea that Smith was not the originator of these articles. They were derived from some earlier statements, which were actually penned and published by Orson Pratt in 1840, in his pamphlet; An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions. Smith, as usual in his writings, simply plagiarised them, altering them to suit his own requirements. He first published them as his in Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, 15 March 1842:709-710. (See: The Changing Articles of Faith by Sandra Tanner, online resource available at; also: Tanner 1991:27-28).

Oliver Cowdery wrote a version in the Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate in October 1834 and later, Joseph Young, brother of Brigham Young, had a go at writing some articles while proselyting in Boston in 1836. Orson Hyde later wrote some that were similar to Orson Pratt’s version when he was in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1842 in his German language pamphlet ‘A Cry From the Wilderness’. It was the same year in which Smith wrote what has famously become known as the ‘Wentworth Letter’.

Smith included the thirteen articles in a letter he wrote to ‘Long’ John Wentworth when explaining Mormonism to him. Hence the average Mormon believes Joseph Smith invented the articles himself. As ever, the Church makes no real effort to ensure members are remotely aware of the truth.

Regarding the above two ‘Articles of Faith’, note the Mormon Church claims they not only ‘obey’ the laws of the land, but that they also ‘honour’ and ‘sustain’ those laws. This means actively upholding and supporting the law. It does not by any stretch of the imagination mean ignoring or disregarding the law and then lying about doing so. The Church actually claims that at times God has told them to do so. (See: The Mormon Delusion Vols. 1-3 for several examples).

The Articles were first published in the 1840s when polygamy was being secretly practiced by an inner circle of Mormon leaders. Polygamy was always completely illegal. In 1890, the prophet Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto which is now held as canonised scripture in the D&C, known as ‘Official Declaration 1’. They claim it was from God. It forbade any further polygamy and the Church agreed with the government that they would not allow any further plural marriages and also that they would each only cohabit with one wife following an amnesty in 1891.

As an example of the Mormon leaders’ attitudes to Articles of Faith 12 and 13, the following three questions (out of many that could be asked) should be addressed by the current leaders – that is, if they want to continue to claim that Official Declaration 1 is in fact a canon from their God. Otherwise, integrity demands they accept the truth, remove it from the D&C and then discard it completely. Rank and file Mormons deserve to know the truth. They should be free to decide what they make of it for themselves rather than have leaders conceal the truth just because they consider it not helpful. The fact is that it is not just ‘not helpful’; the overall truth confirms Mormonism not of God at all.

      Question No. 1. Why did the prophet, Wilford Woodruff, marry his sixth wife, Lydia Mountford, on 19 August 1897, when he was ninety and she was thirty-nine (possibly forty-nine), years old, fifty-one (or forty-one), years his junior (records conflict); seven years after he himself had issued the Manifesto and declared that God told him to stop the practice for good? Either Woodruff lied (history shows he did – see TMD Vol. 1 for full details), or he not only disobeyed the laws of the land, having entered a legal agreement not to continue polygamy, but he also directly disobeyed his God. Either way, Woodruff could not possibly therefore qualify as a true prophet. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’

      Question No. 2. Why did the following happen? In 1904, the prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, published an official declaration confirming and upholding Wilford Woodruff’s ‘Manifesto’. Then, in 1906, Smith was arrested, convicted and fined $300 for cohabiting with four women. In today’s money that would be well over $7,000. Another prophet thus lied and deceived the government and his own Church members alike. Ergo; he also could not have been a true prophet.

      Question No. 3. Why was I able to locate and document (See: TMD Vol. 1 for full list of names and dates) well over one-hundred babies conceived and born to polygamous (not first) wives of general authorities during the two decades following the 1890 Manifesto. The fact is that the Mormon prophets and apostles publicly proclaimed one thing to their Church and to the world at large via a proclaimed revelation from God, whilst they themselves completely ignored it. You can try to hide the truth but you can’t hide all the babies.

The 1890 Manifesto was originally conceived by a committee; worded by lawyers, and reworked by Woodruff who issued it, fait accompli, while most apostles were out of town. Had they all been there to vote, it would have been rejected out of hand as with previous attempts to introduce such an idea. Most apostles were obliged to approve it retrospectively and ultimately did so only very grudgingly. That hardly constituted a unanimous quorum vote or humble acceptance that God was declaring His divine will for the Church. (See: TMD Vol 1. Ch.14  for full details). When the Manifesto was voted on at Conference, many members and a number of apostles abstained from voting.

The ‘Manifesto’ was the only way to get the United States government to release seized Church assets in order for the Church to survive. The obviously fraudulent ‘revelation’, now known as D&C Official Declaration 1, became canonised, despite the fact that all the apostles (with the notable exception of Lorenzo Snow) completely ignored it. Had any of them remotely considered it to actually be God’s will, clearly they would have obeyed it. Modern Mormon Church leaders know perfectly well that the document was a manufactured lie. It could not possibly have constituted revelation from God; everyone knew it then – and Mormon leaders know it now. They ignore truth. Is that honest?

It is however a convenient document, used in order to explain away the supposed end of the polygamy story. The recent prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, responded to the press “It’s behind us”. Hinckley never wanted to face and deal with such things. So, Official Declaration 1 stays, even though it is known to be as much of a lie as ‘old’ D&C 101 was in its day. The honourable thing to do would be to acknowledge that it was not received from God and remove it from the D&C, explaining that circumstances, rather than God, dictated that it originally be published. Not to do so constitutes a major contribution to the continuing conspiracy to deceive rank and file Mormons, missionaries, and investigators today. Modern leaders know the truth and do nothing about it.

And that is just one example of the many provably fraudulent Mormon claims. In my forty-three years as a Mormon, I had no idea that such lies and conspiracy existed. They are that well hidden. If I had been apprised of any of this before contemplating Mormonism I would never have considered the possibility that God was involved and most certainly would never have joined the Church. The fact that no one else would either is clearly understood by Mormon Church leaders and that is why they continue in their conspiracy to deceive everyone rather than come clean and publish the truth.

The following statement encapsulates official Church policy on honesty and integrity:

“Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. Lying is intentionally deceiving others. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.” (Mormon Lesson Manual, ‘Gospel Principles’ 1979. Chapter 31. Honesty).

Historically, many Mormon Church leaders can be proven to have told outright lies. Modern leaders can do nothing other than admit this was the case, (but even then, they only do so when there is no alternative) and try to excuse them as being for some ‘greater good’. On many occasions, modern leaders violate their own more detailed requirement for all members included above. Many may indeed have lied by a gesture or a look. They most certainly have often lied by silence or by telling only part of the truth. They have become extremely adept at using words in statements which at first glance appear to be the truth and yet at the same time are full of hidden lies. I relate details of some good examples of that in my earlier volumes. One I will summarise here is from TMD Volume 1 where I write about the Church having the following statement on its web site regarding Zina Diantha Huntington, an early Mormon Relief Society President. This will more than illustrate the point. At the end of her short biography, Zina’s marriages are explained thus:

“Widowed by her first husband, she raised two sons from that marriage, one daughter from her later marriage to Brigham Young…” (Zina D. H. Young Biographical Sketch. Available at: under the heading of ‘Relief Society’).

Each statement is actually true. Zina did outlive her first husband. They did have two children. She did later marry Brigham Young. She did have a daughter by Young. However, within the true statements are a number of very carefully hidden lies. The inferences are clear but the real underlying story is entirely different. These are the established historical facts and Zina’s marriage sequence which the Church accepts but would rather people did not discover.

As happened with several other young ‘housemaids’, Joseph Smith tried to get Zina to marry him when she was a teenager living in his home. She was too frightened to accommodate him and she twice refused his illicit advances.

This was the subsequent real sequence of events:

Zina married Henry Bailey Jacobs on 7 March 1841 aged 20.

Joseph Smith later sent Zina’s brother to tell her that an angel with a drawn sword had threatened to kill Smith if she did not marry him.

Zina subsequently entered a polyandrous marriage with Joseph Smith on 27 October 1841. She was almost seven months pregnant with her first son, Zebulon, at the time.

Joseph Smith died in June of 1844.

Zina entered a second polyandrous marriage with Brigham Young in September of 1844, aged 23.

Zina’s marriage to Brigham Young was confirmed in the Nauvoo Temple on 2 February 1846. She was over seven months pregnant with her second son, Henry, at that time.

Zina was simultaneously sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity and Brigham Young stood proxy.

Zina had a baby by Young (Zina Presendia) on 3 April 1850 within their polyandrous marriage.

Brigham Young died on 29 August 1877 aged 76.

Henry B. Jacobs died some nine years later, on 1 August 1886, aged 69.

When Henry died, Zina’s two sons were actually forty-four & forty years old respectively.

Zina & Henry were never divorced.

The above are historically verified facts which are accepted by Mormon Church apologists and historians. No one can theologically explain or justify the polyandrous relationships.

Compare the historical facts with the Church statement that Zina was:

Widowed by her first husband, she raised two sons from that marriage, one daughter from her later marriage to Brigham Young…

The reason this is carefully hidden is that polyandry is officially confirmed by the Mormon Church as “contrary to doctrine” and “those who participated would have to account for it”. Compare the truth of the matter and the Church statement about it with Church published ‘standards’ on honesty and integrity. Joseph Smith had no integrity whatsoever and today there is very little integrity to be found among the ranks of senior Mormon Church leadership.

I complained directly to a current Mormon apostle about some of the lies – including this one. Whilst Zina’s biography remains in place on the Mormon Church web site, the above statement has subsequently been removed. She is now the only Relief Society President with no marriage details. She is however referred to throughout as ‘Sister Young’. If removal of the detail was an act of contrition regarding honesty and integrity then it is at least a step forward. It is a start. However, overall, I fear that it is too little, too late.

I have started this work with the above notes to establish both the standard that should be expected of Mormon Church (or any church) leaders compared with the actual behaviour of Mormon leaders through the ages. In the chapters that follow, everything taught by the Church is held to these same standards. It will soon be discovered that Mormon leaders rarely if ever abide by their own mandates. Mormon leaders most certainly do not practice what they preach. They pretend to represent a Church established (restored) by divine mandate and yet what they claim to be from God is peppered with lies and deception to the extent that if God exists, He could and would never have been involved with such things. They are not of God.

The Mormon Church disciplines its own historians if they publish history which is considered ‘not helpful’ when nevertheless it is actually true. If the leaders could only understand, when the ultimate truth is revealed, none of it is helpful to the Church. The leaders deliberately lie and deceive members by obfuscating the truth, sometimes even when there appears no real reason to do so. The truth undermines every aspect that the Church pretends is truth until it leaves nothing for anyone to take to the Lord in prayer for an ethereal response in which they may perceive it is true. This work will prove that to be the case conclusively as we look, step by step, at what the Church portrays as truth to investigators and compare it to the historical facts.

Snippets from ‘The Mormon Delusion’

Volume 4: The Mormon Missionary Lessons – A Conspiracy to Deceive.

Chapter 17:409-411. What is the role of the Book of Mormon?

…the Book of Mormon does not, after all, contain the ‘fullness’ of the Mormon gospel. In fact, outside of aspects that most other Christians believe, it really contains none of it at all. We might ask; where does the Book of Mormon speak of such things as the organisational structure of the Church – among many other things?

“The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Plural gods are not in the Book of Mormon.

Polygamy is expressly forbidden in the Book of Mormon.

God is not described as an exalted man.

Celestial marriage is not there.

Nephite men could not become Gods – at least God didn’t tell them that they could.

There are no ‘degrees of glory’, no Celestial, Terrestrial or Telestial kingdoms – but there is heaven and hell.

Baptism for the dead does not get a mention yet Mormons claim it biblical, citing 1 Corinthians 15:29. If it was good enough for people on one side of the world – then why not on the other?

Whilst there are ‘Priests’, there is no ‘Aaronic Priesthood’.

There is no eternal progression.

There are no temple ordinances (washing, anointing, endowment, sealing) and yet they supposedly built temples. Smith claimed the ordinances were performed from the time of Adam.

The Mormon concept of the Godhead is not there – but Smith’s monotheism shines through, page after page.

A ‘mother’ in heaven is absent from the book.

Each ‘dispensation’ had a ‘word of wisdom’ yet the Nephites did not. That is strange really, as Lehi and his family were Jews and according to the Book of Mormon they continued to practice Jewish traditions. That would include an entire health code which does not appear in the Book of Mormon.

The Mormon Church claim that the fullness of the gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon is a far cry from the truth. In reality, just the opposite is the case. In fact, some modern Mormon doctrine is completely contradicted in the Book of Mormon, as has been demonstrated several times in this volume.

Additionally, there are many things in the book which at first may appear innocuous enough but upon inspection are completely wrong when compared to known history – with or without faith. I covered many such things in TMD Vol. 2 but one thing I did not mention in that volume is an extraordinary idea mentioned in Mosiah 13:18-19.

Mosiah 13:18-19. But the seventh day, the sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; 19. For insixdays the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I said this was extraordinary but at first glance the reader may wonder why. Surely the Old Testament confirms the basis of the above thinking. I agree that indeed it does – but that is not the problem. The problem is that all the cultures discovered in the Americas used anything but a seven day week. Calendars used in Mesoamerica vary, but none match the Old World calendar. We wouldn’t expect them to, unless we believed the people came from there. Then someone in the Americas should have had a seven day week and the absence of such is what causes the problem. The Maya had various calendars. One consisted of a two-hundred-and-sixty day cycle divided into thirteen periods of twenty days. Moreover, each day was represented by its own god. These people could hardly have ‘evolved’ from one God who created the world in seven days, to twenty gods, each with their own day of the ‘month’.

Another calendar did have three-hundred-and-sixty-five days in its cycle. However, it was also divided into periods of twenty days. A quick calculation will tell you there must have been eighteen of them, leaving five spare days. These surplus days were called the ‘sleep’ or the ‘rest’ of the year. No ‘seven day’ periods were used anywhere. Yet another calendar consisted of a 3276 day cycle. This was sub-divided into four ‘quadrants’ of 819 days – the product of 7, 9 and 13, which were all sacred numbers to the Maya. The ‘long count’ calendar simply counted days from the creation of the world – which in our own terms was 11 August 3114 BCE. None of that sounds much like Old World dating to me. (See: Schele, L&F. 1990:78).

No pre-Columbian Native American calendars have been discovered which match Old World traditions, providing yet more evidence that the Book of Mormon was nothing but a nineteenth century work of pure fiction.


Snippets From The Mormon Delusion

Volume 2 Chapter 11:186-187

Fundamental Flaws in the Book of Mormon

Smith pretended to locate Adam’s altar, again in his own area; so the Church has to continue with a belief in Adam and Eve as a reality rather than an etiological myth, even though science proves otherwise. Additionally, no ‘Adam’ would mean no ‘fall’ and no need for ‘redemption’. It is comical that fossils, millions of years old, were found in the rocks which Smith claimed made up the altar and yet (according to Mormon doctrine) death did not enter the world until after the fall of Adam. The web site holds the following devastating information:  

“Why does the Book of Mormon include a very literal account of such things as Noah’s Ark (Ether 6:7), Adam and Eve, or the Garden of Eden (Alma 42:2)? If Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel story of the languages or many of the other things mentioned in the Bible aren’t literal (and they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination) – neither are the portions of Book of Mormon history relying on these items as literal. Similarly, why did Joseph Smith state that Adam and the Garden of Eden were literally located in Missouri?”

“Like Roberts, James Talmage believed that the 5,931-year-old Adamic race had been preceded on earth by pre-Adamic life. The usually cautious father boasted to his son that in discussions among the Twelve he had been “bold enough to point out” some conclusive evidence against (Joseph Fielding) Smith’s position. He had personally inspected a pile of stones at Spring Hill, Missouri, declared by Joseph Smith to be part of “the altar on which Adam offered sacrifices,” and had seen that it contained fossilized animals. “If those stones be part of the first altar,” he reasoned, “Adam built it of stones containing corpses, and therefore death must have prevailed in the earth before Adam’s time.” (The original quote is from a letter written by James Talmage in 1931 to his son, Sterling Talmage, also a geologist. It is quoted in Ronald L. Numbers. The Creationists. The Evolution of Scientific Creationism. (Berkeley: University of California Press), 1992. The section on Creationism in Mormonism (pp. 308-314) is excellent. This quote is from page 311).

Nonsense from the Book of Mormon.

There are no first-hand original texts of anything found in the Bible, therefore nothing is remotely reliable. However, we do have the original text for the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith claimed God revealed to him, word by word, on a pebble in his hat. There have been thousands of subsequent alterations to God’s original words. Below is just one example of how Smith’s God spoke.

“And they were led by a man whose name was Coriantumr; and he was a descendant of Zarahemla; and he was a dissenter from among the Nephites; and he was a large and mighty man; therefore the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth, who was the son of Ammoron. Now Tubaloth supposing that Coriantumr, he being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites, insomuch with his strength, and also with his great wisdom, that by sending him forth, he should gain power over the Nephites; therefore he did stir them up to anger, and he did gather together his armies, and he did appoint Coriantumr to be their leader, and did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla, to battle against the Nephites. And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla.” (1830 Book of Mormon, pp.408-9 which now comprises Helaman 1:15-18).

I doubt any Mormon missionary ever recommended that in its original form as suitable reading for an investigator. It seems Smith’s God was as illiterate as the man himself.

See more in The Mormon Delusion, Volume 4, Chapter 6.

New ‘First Vision’ film from the Mormon Church

The new film is avaialble here.

This new portrayal of the First Vision claims to draw on nine known accounts “to provide additional insight.” It doesn’t include anything from most of them because so many aspects contradict each other. The film is essentially the same as previous portrayals.

Joseph Smith did not record the ‘official version’ of his First Vision, as now used by the Mormon Church, until the year 1838, and it wasn’t even published until 1842, some twenty-two years after his supposed experience.

Smith’s first written claim to a First Vision was in 1832. The record appears within the work A History of the life of Joseph Smith, partly written by his then scribe, Frederick G. Williams and partly (including this version of events) in Smith’s very own handwriting. In it, Smith declares that between the ages of twelve and fifteen he became exceedingly distressed concerning the situation of the world and of his own sins, and concluded that mankind had: “apostatised [sic] from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is an astonishing conclusion for Smith to have written down in his own hand in 1832 as it completely contradicts the later official 1838 version wherein Smith claims that he went to the grove “to know which of the sects was right” and that “at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong.” We now know this was not the case from Smith’s personally handwritten claim of 1832; and yet the film, rather than ‘drawing’ on that first hand account, ignores the 1832 claim and has Smith state “I knew not who was right and who was wrong…”

Smith’s 1832 account goes on to state that he was in his sixteenth year of age [age 15]. In the later official version, he was only fourteen. Within the pillar of light – originally written as ‘fire’, which Smith crossed out – the Lord, assumed to be Jesus Christ, appeared alone and addressed Smith as his son. Naturally, there is no fire in the film.

In 1835, within a week, Smith attempted two further First Vision accounts. In the first one, Smith relates what he told “Joshua the Jewish Minister” (an alias for ‘Matthias the Prophet’ who was actually from another cult). One personage appeared in the pillar of “flame”, then a second personage appeared who forgave Smith’s sins and testified that “Jesus Christ is the son of God”, thus clearly identifying the fact that neither visitor was actually the Saviour as He is only spoken of in the third person. Neither ‘personage’ is specifically identified but Smith confirms he saw “many angels” during the vision – and that is all. A Church essay on the subjest claims “This account also notes the appearance of angels in the vision” leading people to assume that this is in addition to God and Jesus appearing, as members are so familiar with the later backdated story. They neglect to say that it ONLY notes angels, and that no forms of deity are mentioned as appearing at all. Smith states that he was about fourteen years old: “when I received this first communication.” Smith didn’t invent the ‘God and Jesus appearing together’ idea until much later – in 1838.

Smith then continues in his diary to relate to Joshua “another vision of angels” when he was seventeen, thus indicating that the First Vision was deemed by Smith, in 1835, to be one of angels rather than one of deity. One would expect to see this record included in Mormon Church history alongside others appearing in History of the Church, Vol. 2 but it is conspicuous by its absence. The Church has simply ignored the account (along with Smith’s visitor) and it has been left out of Joseph Smith–History altogether.

Erastus Holmes visited Joseph Smith the following Saturday afternoon, on 14 November 1835, enquiring about the Church and asking to be instructed. Smith recorded what he said to Holmes, in his diary. Relating the experience of his First Vision, Smith states that he was about fourteen years old when “I received the first visitation of Angels”, unambiguously confirming his intended meaning when he had spoken to Joshua just a few days earlier. Smith also writes that he told Holmes about later visitations concerning the Book of Mormon.

Clearly, in late 1835, Smith was still sticking with the idea, in two separate accounts in his own diary, that it was an angel (or angels) rather than deity that first visited him in 1820 at age fourteen.

The exact wording of this version of the First Vision from Smith’s diary was later faithfully published, word for word, in the Church newspaper. (Deseret News, Vol. 2. No. 15, Saturday, 29 May 1852). This published First Vision account by Joseph Smith specifically included the words: “I received the first visitation of Angels.”

However, when the account was later entered into History of the Church (V2:312), Joseph Smith’s own wording was deliberately altered. Rather than tell the truth about what Joseph Smith claimed at the time he wrote of the experience, the account was falsified by others. It was changed from “first visitation of angels” to read “first vision” instead, in order to make it consistent with the later, more dynamic idea the First Vision ultimately became, which was not to be one of angels as Smith had earlier claimed, but one of actual deity. Many angels appear in these accounts and yet there are none in the film – even as ‘extras’. So, there’s the rub; ‘it draws on nine accounts’ – and yet it only includes what is convenient and omits details that Smith himself recorded.

This method of falsifying truth went on to become a regular habit within the Mormon Church. They actually have a name for it. They call it ‘lying for the Lord’ and it still continues to this day. It is more than evident in this ‘faith promoting’ film in which Smith has a pious humble voice and God and Jesus speak with American English accents. It’s funny that throughout the D&C, Smith has God and Jesus use no end of very badly phrased 17th Century Early Modern English and yet here God and Jesus use modern day language.

Research reveals underlying claims surrounding the vision were also untrue and even BYU confirms  that Smith lied about being persecuted for saying he had seen God and Jesus in the early years. (Scroll down the page that opens – past ‘Open Document’ to read “Joseph Smith discussed this transcendent vision only privately with a few trusted friends during the Church’s first decade.”) Thus, Smith lied several times in PoGP: JS History v.20-28, claimig persecution between 1820-1823 for saying he had seen the vision.

The Smiths didn’t even live in Manchester in 1820 – and there was no revival that year. Full and real documenteed evidence surrounding the First Vision claim is available here:

A video explanation of events is also avalable in the second half of my Exmormon Foundation Presention from 2010 here: