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Joseph Smith - Honest Seer or Lying Polygamist

Here’s an interesting letter included as an addendum to Enid S. DeBarthe’s “Bibliography of the Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet-Leader.”

It’s a second hand account relayed over 100 years after the events.   As such, it shouldn’t be considered evidence or proof of anything, but only an interesting addition to the existing canon of items related to Joseph Smith and polygamy.


San Clemente, January 12, 1968

Dear James:
I have written things as I remember them except that as I remember she said she was 16 but as they married then, that may have been before or after she was married but I am sure I was in everything as I have written it.

I am sure that for many years we as a church that we (unknown word)  not mention that polygamy wasn't taught in those days--but we know that Brigham Young had come to her mother’s home and explained the polygamist doctrine to her mother and herself and as he left telling them “you must tell no one of this, we must keep it quiet for as yet Bro. Joseph is not with us.”

Being a great granddaughter of Joseph the Martyr, I was so impressed by this that I could never forget it.

(Signed) Erlita Smith Inslee


I remember so well when I was a girl in my teens of listening to “Grandma Mofett” telling my dearest friend, her granddaughter (Olive Thomas Mortimer) and myself stories of the early days in Nauvoo when she was young.

One stayed in my mind above all else because I had already resented the claim of Brigham Young that Joseph Smith was the author of the polygamist doctrine.  She said she well remembered it was secretly talked of, in refute of the fact that Brigham Young didn’t openly teach it until 8 years after Joseph Smith’s death--then claimed he had the written manuscript all that time.

If this in anyway could help to clear Joseph Smith’s name I would be so glad to be of any help.

I am looking forward to having Olive and Mort here for awhile.

Your “sister,”