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Joseph Smith - Honest Seer or Lying Polygamist

6. Emma, Lucy and William Smith all testify that polygamy didn't come from Joseph. William was even a polygamist.

Emma Smith (1804 - 1879)

In 1879 she was interviewed by her son Joseph Smith III and it was published in The Saints Advocate.

Q-What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?

A.-There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, “Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and, besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.”

No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband’s death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.

Q.-Did he not have other wives than yourself?

A.-He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.

Q-Did he not hold marital relation with women other than yourself?

A.-He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.

Q.-Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?

A.-At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.

Q.-What was the condition of feeling between you and Father?

A.-It was good.

Q.-Were you in the habit of quarreling?

A.-No. There was no necessity for any quarreling. He knew that I wished for nothing but what was right; and, as he wished for nothing else, we did not disagree. He usually gave some heed to what I had to say. It was quite a grievous thing to many that I had any influence with him.

Q.-It has been stated sometimes that you apostatized at Father’s death, and joined the Methodist Church. What do you say to this?

A.-I have been called apostate; but I have never apostatized, nor forsaken the faith I at first accepted; but was called so because I would not accept their new—fangled notion.

Q.-By whom were you baptized? Do you remember?

A.-I think by Oliver Cowdery, at Bainbridge.

Lucy Mack Smith (1775 - 1856)

In the RLDS edition of the 1853 Pratt Biographical Sketches, an unsigned footnote reads:

“The course that Brigham Young and the Twelve with him took after the death of her sons Joseph and Hyrum, was not approved by Grandmother Smith. She always spoke in kindly terms of the men, but steadily and persistently refused to give credence to the doctrine and policy adopted by them. In this she did not waver to the end of her life”

Katherine Smith Salisbury (1813 - 1900)

When Joseph III or another RLDS official invited Katharine Smith Salisbury, Joseph Jr.’s only surviving sister, to give her views in April 1893 on Nauvoo polygamy, she testified:

“I was at his house in Nauvoo a great many times, and I conversed with him about many subjects, but I never heard him at any time mention such a thing as the plural-wife system or order. And I heard nothing of such a doctrine existing until a year after his death” (RLDS 5:207)

William Smith (1811 - 1893)

When William returned to Nauvoo the next year, he was ordained presiding patriarch—which removed his authority in administrative affairs. William was not long in Nauvoo before he found the extent of the Twelve and their close friends’ practicing polygamy. When he objected, he was threatened with death and found it necessary to flee for his life. He left Nauvoo and wrote a pamphlet entitled A Proclamation, in which he publicly exposed the apostles’ crimes. In his proclamation, he made several important statements which reveal the fact that the leading apostles were introducing polygamy into the Church. William wrote:

And further it can be proved that B. Young and P. P. Pratt were the first to preach and to practice the "spiritual wife" doctrine, in the city of Boston and other places, my dissent from any such doctrine of course gave annoyance [page 1, col. 2].... That the church funds have been misapplied, I have no hesitation in asserting, for of necessity I have been made acquainted with the fact, that several houses have been filled up with women who have been secretly married to Brigham Young, H. C. Kimble [Kimball], and Willard Richards—women with little children in their arms, who had no means of support except from the tithing funds [which these apostles controlled].... I heard my brother Joseph declare before his death, that Brigham Young was a man, whose passions, if unrestrained, were calculated to make him the most licentious man in the world [page 1, col. 4].... And to complete this man’s [Brigham’s] reign of power, there was adopted, as I have before alluded to, the system of spiritual wifery, which was entered into secretly.... Men’s wives and daughters were secretly married at night-time to this Young, H. C. Kimball, William [Willard] Richards, and others, and, in the dark night, were attending the secret lodges, until most of the "Seventies" were thus sealed and bound under a cloak of adopting children into their kingdoms.... [I]t was the common practice for these wicked plotters to boldly and blasphemously proclaim before people, in the presence, too of hundreds that had been "sealed up" to them, that such a doctrine [as polygamy] was false, and he that practiced it was a scoundrel, and the woman that admitted it, no other than a harlot.

I declare to you, my brethren, that I heard John Taylor proclaim this on one occasion, so vociferously as almost to turn him black in the face, while in a day or two afterwards he was seen sneaking through a garden, to get into a house by the back way to visit his ‘spiritual wives’ [page 1, col. 6]. (William Smith, A Proclamation, Warsaw Signal, Warsaw, Illinois [October 29, 1845], page 1, columns 2,4, 6)
On October 28, 1845, Apostle Orson Hyde of Nauvoo, wrote a letter to William Smith, who had fled from Nauvoo and was in St. Louis. Orson called upon William to return to Nauvoo "and abide in the council of your brethren"—which meant of course be subject to Brigham Young (see Messenger and Advocate, Pittsburgh, PA [December 1845], 413–414).

On November 12, 1845, William replied by writing a caustic letter of refusal to Orson, in which he declared:
As a specimen of the moral degradation existing among you [the Twelve], I will mention Parley P. Pratt as a fit subject to introduce. You are well aware that this "unassuming" and righteous apostle came from the East, a few days since, in company with a female [a plural wife] whose appearance and conduct bears sufficient evidence of his utter disregard of virtue or religion.... It is needless for me to enlighten you further upon the character of B. Young, John Taylor, W. Richards, and many others who are continually preaching the doctrine, and openly practising adultery; for this you know too well.... My life and exertions will be (in order to perpetuate the names of my father’s family, and with honor to my noble martyred brothers Joseph and Hyrum wipe away the disgrace, the stain, the evils that, since their deaths have crept into the church. And by the too frequent use of their names, the twelve are carrying out the most wicked, base and unhallowed purposes that could be devised under the cloak of Joseph and Hyrum’s names. Brethren! be assured that Joseph and Hyrum never would have sanctioned the present wicked plans of the twelve; their corruption their sink of iniquity, their removal to the wilderness, their doctrine of polygamy usurpation. & c.). (ibid., 415–416)