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Part 2: Discontinued Practices

Chapter 7


What could motivate a man to wed many women? By some estimates Joseph Smith married up to 52 women from a growing group of people that intensely admired him and that he held great influence over. For unspecified reasons his polygamy is never addressed in the Church education system, yet when studied in detail, problems appear concerning the timeline that Joseph began this practice, the secretive nature with subsequent denial, and the types of women married.


An issue arises when we compare the date of the revelation to begin polygamy and the dates of Joseph’s marriages.

Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant and the principle of plural marriage.

(The Church has recently amended this heading to include, “evidence indicates that some of the principles involved in this revelation were known by the Prophet as early as 1831.” What they fail to clarify is that the 1831 revelation shows that Joseph instructed some elders to “take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome” Letter from W.W. Phelps to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historians Office.)

In 1833 Fanny Alger became Joseph’s first marriage after Emma – ten years before the official revelation. At the time, Fanny was living in the Smith home, helping Emma with housework and the children. A family friend, one of Brigham Young’s plural wives, recalls,

“Mrs. Smith had an adopted daughter, a very pretty, pleasing young girl, about seventeen years old. She was extremely fond of her; no mother could be more devoted, and their affection for each other was a constant object of remark, so absorbing and genuine did it seem. Consequently, it was with a shocked surprise that the people heard that sister Emma had turned Fanny out of the house in the night…By degrees, it became whispered about that Joseph’s love for his adopted daughter was by no means a paternal affection, and his wife discovering the fact, at once took measures to place the girl beyond his reach. Since Emma refused decidedly to allow her to remain in her house … my mother offered to take her until she could be sent to her relatives”

Ann Eliza Webb Young- Wife No. 19, 1875

Oliver Cowdery also addresses this situation when he noted his extreme displeasure regarding Joseph’s conduct with Fanny Alger while married to Emma. In a letter to his brother, Warren A. Cowdery, Oliver wrote:

“We had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in that matter and as I supposed was admitted by himself.”

Oliver Cowdery – Far West, Missouri, January 21, 1839

Even with Oliver’s important role in the formation of the Church, Joseph could not allow his affairs to become public. The issue of polygamy divided Oliver and Joseph so wide that Joseph turned Oliver out of the Church after his unceasing disapproval of the practice.

Secrets and Denial

Additional marriages were kept secret and when word began to spread Joseph turned to outright denial.

Emily and Eliza Partridge

Emily and Eliza were the daughters of the first bishop of the Church, Edward Partridge. When he passed away, his daughters Emily (16) and Eliza (20) sought work as maids to help support their family. Emily recalls:

“The first door that opened for us was to go to Smith’s, which we accepted.” “[I was] a nurse girl, for they had a young baby … Joseph and Emma were very kind to us; they were almost like a father and mother, and I loved Emma and the children.” “the Prophet Joseph and his wife Emma offered us a home in their family … We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was married to Joseph Smith on the 4th of March 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also married to Joseph a few days later. This was done without the knowledge of Emma Smith. Two months afterward she consented to give her husband two wives, providing he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and to save family trouble Brother Joseph thought it best to have another ceremony performed. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma’s presence … From that very hour, however, Emma was our bitter enemy. We remained in the family several months after this, but things went from bad to worse until we were obligated to leave the house and find another home.”

Emily Dow Partridge – Diary March 19, 1892, L. Tomy Perryspecial collection, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU

Sarah Ann Whitney

Joseph sought to add 17 year-old Sarah Ann Whitney to his growing collection of wives. Joseph penned a letter divulging his feelings for her.

“…my feelings are so strong for you since what has passed lately between us…it seems, as if I could not live long in this way; and if you three would come and see me…it would afford me great relief…I know it is the will of God that you should comfort me now in this time of affliction…the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safety…burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts…You will pardon me for my earnestness on this subject when you consider how lonesome I must be…I think Emma wont come tonight if she don’t fail to come tonight…”

Joseph Smith – George Albert Smith Family Papers, Early Smith Documents,1731-1849 , Marriott Library, University of Utah

Joseph had to convince her parents to allow the secret marriage. There had to be compensation. Six weeks after the secret sealing, Joseph deeded to Sarah a lot of land only one block from his home. It was rare for a woman to own land in Nauvoo, especially a woman as young as Sarah. A large issue soon arose. As a secret bride of the prophet, she was not available for courtship any longer. Appearing single while refusing suitors was bound to raise suspicions. Joseph decided to arrange a civil marriage between Sarah and recent widower, Joseph C. Kingsbury. This would make it seem as though Sarah was no longer available. Joseph Smith officiated over what Kingsbury later called a “pretended marriage” between him and Sarah the following month.

“On the 29th of April 1843 I, according to President Joseph Smith … agreed to stand by Sarah Ann Whitney as supposed to be her husband and had a pretended marriage.”

Joseph C. Kingsbury – Journal, p.13,

1835 Statement on Marriage

While still before the official revelation on plural marriage in 1843, an early edition of the Doctrine and Covenants reprints a statement by Joseph addressing the public’s concern with his illegal practice of polygamy:

“Statement on Marriage. August 17, 1835. Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”

This passage has since been removed from later editions of the D&C. Why would Joseph mention that the Church was accused of the crime of polygamy in 1835 when supposedly God didn’t reveal this practice until 1843? Probably because by the time that Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants was written, Joseph had wed 29 women by his own desire.

1844 Statement on Marriage

As late as 1844 Joseph continued to deny his involvement in polygamy despite having well over 30 wives by this point.

“I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel before it was reported that I had seven wives…I wish the grand jury would tell me who they are – whether it will be a curse or a blessing to me. I am quite tired of the fools asking me…What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago, and I can prove them all perjurers.”

Joseph Smith – Nauvoo, History of the Church, May 26, 1844, vol.6, pp.410-411

The Women

Due to the secretive nature of Joseph’s affairs, the actual total number of wives Joseph took is unclear. Written records, primary accounts, and second-hand accounts put the number between 29-52 women. Most disturbing was the fact that many of these women were either already married, much younger, related to each other, or a combination.


Record show at least 13 women were married to other men at the time Joseph took them for his wives. He sent several men on missions for the Church then married their wives, or married their wives in secret and then sent the husbands on missions afterward.

Marinda Nancy Johnson-Hyde-Smith

In September 1831, Joseph and Emma Smith moved in with the Johnson family while Joseph and Sidney Rigdon worked on translating the Bible. While staying with the Johnsons in March 1832, Joseph Smith was dragged out by a mob and tarred and feathered. Marinda’s brother Eli led the mob because he felt that Joseph had been too intimate with Marinda. Soon Marinda married apostle Orson Hyde. On April 6, 1840, Orson was sent  on  a 3-year mission  to  Jerusalem. Shortly  after  his departure, Joseph married his wife Nancy Marinda Johnson-Hyde while Orson was gone. In Joseph Smith’s journal, in a list of his marriages, he wrote: “Apr 42 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith.”  Later Orson and Marinda separated.

Zina Diantha Huntington-Jacobs

Zina was 18 when her mother died and after went to live in the Smiths' home. Soon she met Joseph’s friend, Henry Jacobs. Joseph was to officiate their wedding but never showed. Instead, Bishop John C. Bennett performed the marriage. Later, Zina asked Joseph why he didn’t show,

“He told her it had been made known to him that she was to be his Celestial Wife and he could not give to another one who had been given to him.”

Henry Jacobs, History of Henry Bailey Jacobs

During Henry and Zina’s marriage, Joseph sent Henry on 8 missions. At one point Joseph sent a message to Zina through her brother Dimick. It read,

“Tell Zina I have put it off and put it off until an angel with a drawn sword has stood before me and told me if I did not establish that principle and live it, I would lose my position and my life and the Church could progress no further.”

Joseph Smith – Zina D.H.Smith, Joseph the Prophet: His Life andMission as Viewed by Intimate Acquaintances, January 18, 1895, p.21

After four proposals and pressured with the responsibility for the life of the prophet, Zina finally accepted.

After Joseph’s death, Brigham Young also took Zina for his wife while she was still married to Henry Jacobs. Brigham called Henry to serve a mission in England and told him to find another wife. While Henry was in England, Zina began living at the Young house with her children and soon bore a child with Brigham.

Vilate Kimball

“Shortly after Heber’s return from England, he was introduced to the doctrine of plural marriage directly through a startling test. He had already sacrificed homes, possessions, friends, relatives, all worldly rewards, peace, and tranquility for the Restoration. Nothing was left to place on the altar save his life, his children, and his wife. Then came the Abrahamic test. Joseph demanded for himself what to Heber was the unthinkable, his Vilate. Totally crushed spiritually and emotionally, Heber touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights and continually sought confirmation and comfort from God. On the evening of the third day, some kind of assurance came, and Heber took Vilate to the upper room of Joseph’s store on Water Street. The Prophet wept at this act of faith, devotion, and obedience. Joseph never intended to take Vilate. It was all a test.”​

Heber C. Kimball – Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer by Stanley B. Kimball, p.93


Ten of Joseph’s wives were teenagers with a 10-23 year age difference between them.

Helen Mar Kimball-Smith

Instead of taking Heber C. Kimball’s wife, Vilate, as Joseph had done with others, he married Heber’s 14-year-old daughter, Helen, in May of 1843. The Church confirmed this fact in the essay “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” when it states that,

“The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph’s close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday.”

Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,, Oct. 2014

“My father asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives, my sensibilities were painfully touched, for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father. And as quick as he spoke, I replied to him shortly and emphatically, “No I wouldn’t.

“But having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, my father offered me to him. My father had but one ewe lamb and willingly laid me upon the altar. How cruel this seemed to my mother whose heartstrings were already stretched until they were ready to snap asunder.

“Then father asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph and left me to reflect upon it for the next 24 hours. Joseph then came to me and said that if I will take this step it will ensure my eternal salvation and that of my father’s household and all of our kindred. His promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.

“None but God and his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied, “If Helen is willing, I have nothing more to say.” She had witnessed the sufferings of others who were older and who better understood the step they were taking, bit to see her child, who had yet seen her 15th summer, follow the same thorny path [of polygamy], in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come as the sun was to rise.

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than a ceremony. I was young and they deceived me by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”

Helen Mar Kimball – Journal, Women’s Exponent, vol. 9-10, 1880 andNarrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons, 1848

Joseph told a reluctant Helen Mar Kimball that if she married him it would ensure her salvation and the salvation of all her family. Imagine the burden on a 14-year-old girl’s emotions of salvation for her entire family riding on accepting Joseph’s proposal.

Nancy Winchester

While records show Nancy was married to Joseph, no dates were written. At the time of Joseph’s death, Nancy was 15 years old. It is possible that, like Helen Mar Kimball, Nancy could have been 14.

Unlike what is commonly taught in Sunday school lessons, marriages to young teenagers were not common in pioneer days.

“In 1890, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting marriage data, it was recorded that the average age of a first marriage for men was 26 years, and the average age of marriage for women was 22 years.”

Pairs of Sisters

Emily Dow Partridge and Eliza Maria Partridge

Sara Lawrence and Maria Lawrence

Zina Huntington Jacobs and Presidia Huntington Buell

Mothers and Daughters

Patty Bartlett Sessions (Mother) and Sylvia Sessions Lyon (Daughter)

The Outcome

Polygamy upset many of the early leaders of the Church, including 2nd Councilor in the First Presidency, William Law. Joseph Smith excommunicated William for protesting his attempt to start a romantic relationship with William’s wife, Jane.

“Smith made his visit to his wife in the middle of the night when he knew her husband to be absent. Joseph had asked her to give him half her love; she was at liberty to keep the other half for her husband.”

Ann Eliza Young – Wife No. 19, 1876, p.61

After his excommunication, William spoke out against Joseph’s practice of taking secret wives while Joseph continued to publicly imply that he had only one wife. William Law then started a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. In print, he spoke of the polygamous affairs of Joseph Smith. This led to an emergency session of the Nauvoo city council; of which Joseph was mayor. In this session Joseph ordered the printing press be destroyed.

“To the Marshal of said City, greeting. You are here commanded to destroy the printing press from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors and libelous handbills found in said establishment; and if resistance be offered to your execution of this order by the owners or others, demolish the house; and if anyone threatens you or the mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who threaten you, and fail not to execute this order without delay, and make due return hereon. By order of the City Council, Joseph Smith, Mayor.”

Joseph Smith – History of the Church, vol.6, p.448

In his book, Carthage Conspiracy, Elder Dallin H. Oaks recounts the events of Joseph’s executive order.

“Joseph Smith, acting as mayor, ordered the city marshal to destroy the newspaper and press without delay and instructed the major general of the Nauvoo Legion to have the militia assist.

Dallin H. Oaks-Carthage Conspiracy, p.15

Chief of Police Johnathan Dunham and City Marshal John Greene, leading the mob of over 200 saints, armed with muskets, knives pistols, converged on William Law’s brick office. They broke open the door with a sledgehammer and found Chauncey Higbee and Charles Foster inside the building. Higbee and Foster put up no resistance as Joseph’s men trashed the interior of the newly built building.

“They tumbled the press and materials into the street, and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with a sledgehammer, and injured the building very materially. We made no resistance, but looked on and felt revenge, but leave it for the public to avenge this climax of insult and injury.”

Charles Foster – Warsaw Signal, June 12, 1844

“[Governor] Ford wrote Smith on the next day, denouncing the city’s proceedings as unlawful and demanding that those involved in the move against the ‘Expositor’ submit to the processes of the law at Carthage.”

Dallin H. Oaks – Carthage Conspiracy, p.16

​After destroying William Law’s $2,000 letterpress, the mob of saints tossed the entire contents of William’s office into the street and set it on fire. The mob then made their way to Joseph’s home to report their actions.

“About 8 pm, the Marshal returned and reported that he had removed the press, type, printed paper, and fixtures into the street, and destroyed them. The posse accompanied by some hundreds of the citizens, returned with the Marshal to the front of the mansion, when I gave them a short address, and told them they had done right. I then blessed them in the name of the Lord. This speech was loudly greeted by the assembly with three-times-cheers. The posse and assembly then dispersed all in good order.”

Joseph Smith – History of the Church, vol6, ch.21

William Law was in the city of Carthage at the time and later wrote that he did not believe what he heard until he rode his horse to Nauvoo and “rode over our type and broken furniture.“

The result of his actions put Joseph Smith in prison for the last time.

“[Governor] Ford wrote Smith on the next day, denouncing the city’s proceedings as unlawful and demanding that those involved in the move against the ‘Expositor’ submit to the processes of the law at Carthage.”

Dallin H. Oaks – Carthage Conspiracy, p.16

The result of his actions put Joseph Smith in prison for the last time.


Members have been taught that the times Joseph Smith spent incarcerated in jails were because Satan stirred up the hearts of men to falsely imprison him, yet nothing is ever said of the actual crimes committed by Joseph and his followers. Joseph’s increasingly public acts of illegal polygamy, combined with the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and rising tensions between the Nauvoo militia and the state of Illinois, caused his last incarceration.

The actions of Joseph Smith raise several troubling concerns. Why would the prophet begin taking wives 10 years before receiving the official revelation? Why did he send men on missions and marry their wives? Why did he marry girls as young as 14 when he was nearly 40? Why would his closest friends take such great issue with his actions? Why does Joseph try to hide these actions from his wife, Emma? And why did he react so violently to those that tried to make his actions public? Does polygamy seem to be truly ordained of God?

Chapter 8

Race and the Church

“Cain slew his brother… and the lord put a mark upon on him, which is the flat nose and black skin… If the white man, who belongs to the chosen seed, mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of god, is death on the spot. This will always be so. ”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discoursesvol. 7. pp. 290-291, vol. 10,p.110

For over 150 years the Church has taught and sustained racially prejudiced doctrines while attributing these actions to the will of God. These teachings include a ban on black members from holding the priesthood and participating in the temple, and went as far as preaching death as a consequence for inter-race marriage. Recently, the Church has tried to clean up this part of its image by disavowing these past teachings.

Racist Teachings

President Brigham Young

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.10, p.110

“How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favourable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood. They were the first that were cursed, and they will be the last from whom the curse will be removed.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.7, p.290

“You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation …When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by‑and‑by they will become a white and delightsome people.

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.7, pp.335-338

“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.7, pp.282-291

President George Albert Smith​

“The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time … The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the pre‑mortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality.”

George Albert Smith – Statement by the First Presidency of the Church of JesusChrist of  Latter Day Saints on the Negro Question,August 17, 1949

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“That negro race, for instance, have been placed under restrictions because of their attitude in the world of spirits, few will doubt. It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the Priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born.”

Joseph Fielding Smith – The Way to Perfection, 1940

“Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain.”

Joseph Fielding Smith – The Way to Perfection, 1940

Apostle Mark E. Peterson​

“We must not inter-marry with the Negro. Why? If I were to marry a Negro woman and have children by her, my children would all be cursed as to the priesthood. Do I want my children cursed as to the priesthood? If there is one drop of Negro blood in my children, as I have read to you, they receive the curse. There isn’t any argument, therefore, as to inter-marriage with the Negro, is there? There are 50 million Negroes in the United States. If they were to achieve complete absorption with the white race, think what that would do.”

Mark E. Peterson – Race Problems as They Affect the Church, address given at BYU,August 27, 1954. Marriott Library University of Utah, Mark E. Peterson Papers

“In spite of all he did in the pre-existent life, the Lord is willing, if the Negro accepts the gospel with real, sincere faith, and is really converted, to give him the blessings of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can and will enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant”

Mark E. Peterson – Race Problems as They Affect the Church, address given at BYU,August 27, 1954. Marriott Library University of Utah, Mark E. Peterson Papers

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie

“Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them…Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularlythe priesthood and the temple blessings that flow there from, but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, is based on his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate.”

Bruce R. McConkie – Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp.527-528

President David O. McKay

“The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God… Revelation assures us that this plan antedates man’s mortal existence, extending back to man’s preexistent state.”

Pres. David O. McKay – Hugh B. Brown, N. Eldon Tanner – Letter of the first PresidencyChurch’s  Position on the Negro – Dec. 15, 1969, The Improvement Era, Feb. 1970, p.71


“I will remark with regard to slavery, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, inasmuch as we believe in the ordinances of God, in the priesthood and order and decrees of God, we must believe in slavery. I am a firm believer in slavery.”

Brigham Young – Address to joint session of legislature, January 23, 1852Recorded by George D. Watt, Historian’s Office Reportsof Speeches, Church History Library, Salt lake city, Utah

Seeing California as an abundant supply source for Utah, in 1851, President Brigham Young sent a company of 437 saints, lead by Apostles Amasa M. Lyman and Charles C. Rich, to settle in Rancho San Bernardino, California. This company included a large number of slaves.

“As respects [to] slavery in the territory, we were assured that there was little of it there, yet it is there. Some slaves had been liberated by their owners since they were taken to Utah; others still remain slaves. But the most of those who take slaves there pass over with them in a little while to San Bernardino, a Mormon settlement in California … How many slaves are now held there they could not say, but the number relatively was by no means small. A single person had taken between forty and fifty, and many had gone in with smaller numbers.”

The Latter Day Saints’ Millennial Star – 1855, vol.17, p.63

Civil Rights

In February of 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination according to race, religion, or sex. Four years later, Rev. Martin Luther King was martyred for his role as a leader in the movement. After his death, black preachers continued to call for full integration of blacks into white restrooms, buses, schools, jobs, and neighborhoods. As a church claiming to be led by Jesus Christ himself, I would expect it to be on the front line in the fight for equal rights for all people. Instead the Church did nothing; in fact, they actually tried to prevent it. In January 1964, member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Delbert L. Stapley, wrote to LDS Michigan Governor, George Romney. Governor Romney would later campaign to be President of the United States, as did his son, Mitt Romney. In his letter, Elder Stapley urged Governor Romney not to support the Civil Rights Act as it would bring the integration of blacks into society.

“I am sure you know that the Prophet Joseph Smith, in connection with the Negro problem of this country, proposed to Congress that they sell public lands and buy up the Negro slaves and transport them back to Africa from whence they came. I am sure the Prophet, with his vision and understanding, foresaw the problems we are faced with today with this race, which caused him to promote this program. When I reflect upon the Prophet’s statements and remember what happened to three of our nation’s presidents who were very active in the Negro cause, I am sobered by their demise. They went contrary to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith unwittingly, no doubt, but nevertheless, the prophecy of JosephSmith, “those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel,” has and will continue to be fulfilled.”

Delbert L. Stapley – Letter to Gov. George Romney, January 23,

In his letter, Elder Stapley warned Governor Romney that support for civil rights was against the will of the Lord as revealed through Joseph Smith. Stapley further cautioned that punishments are in store for those who seek equality in such ways. As evidence for such dire warnings, Stapley wrote that three U. S. Presidents who had fought for equality and civil rights met an untimely death – Lincoln and Kennedy by assassination and Grant by cancer.

Future President, then Elder Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk in general conference after the passing of the Civil Rights Act and before the Church changed its stance on the issue:

“There is no doubt that the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is used as a Communist program for revolution in America.”

Then Elder Ezra Taft Benson – Trust Not in the Arm of Flesh,General Conference, Ensign, October 1967

The Civil Rights Act brought equal treatment for all people in this country and ended legal segregation. To refer to it as “the so-called civil rights movement” is to belittle its great significance. Remember, this was at the height of the ColdWar between the U.S. and Russia and to refer to someone or something as communist during this time was an extremely derogatory and dangerous statement. Elder Benson does not sound like the Lord’s anointed bringing a message of love. It seems that the basis of these prejudice doctrines may have began with the culture of racism held by early general authorities and perpetuated by the following leaders until the direction the nation was moving forced the hand of the Church.

Distancing Itself From the Past

Published in 2013 on is an article named, Race and the Priesthood.

“Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixedrace marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else.”

Race and the Priesthood – December 6,

This latest manifesto is shocking for the rejection of teachings by past prophets as just “theories.” Contained in this quote from the article, the Church blatantly contradicts itself when disavowing:

“…that black skin is a sign of disfavor or curse…”

“A curse was placed upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain.”

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“…that it reflects actions in a premortal life…”

“The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality.”

President George Albert Smith

“… that mixed-race marriages are a sin…”

“If the white man belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.”

President Brigham Young

“…that blacks…are inferior in any way to anyone else…”

“…some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.”

President Brigham Young

With this article, the Church disavows 4 points of doctrine that have been in place for 150 years and invalidates the words of the prophets by calling their teachings just “theories.”

Follow The Prophet

The Church reminds us to give strict obedience to the prophet because he speaks for God and is incapable of misconduct.

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.”

President Wilford Woodruff- General Conference, October 1890

“Keep your eye on the Prophet, for the Lord will never permit his Prophet to lead this Church astray.”

President Ezra Taft Benson- General Conference, October 1966

“Follow your leaders who have been duly ordained and have been publicly sustained, and you will not be led astray.”

Elder Boyd K. Packer- General Conference, October 1992

“Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, Follow the prophet; don’t go astray. Follow the prophet, follow the prophet, Follow the prophet; he knows the way.”

Children’s Songbook

Today the Church says the past leaders were in error because their statements were just “theories”. Applying the idea that the priesthood ban on blacks was just a theory also doesn’t make much sense when considering what Pres. David O. McKay stated, “…discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God.”

If prophets claim to speak the will of Heavenly Father when their words can be later disavowed, then how was it that they were prophets at all? This completely undermines the ‘prophet will never lead us astray’ principle. What doctrines currently attributed to God by today’s prophet can be discredited as just “theories” by future general authorities?

Chapter 9

Blood Atonement

“Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their bloodshed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church.”

President Joseph Fielding Smith – Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol. 1, pp.135-136

Brigham Young

Brigham Young took the doctrine of blood atonement even further. While Joseph might have emphasized the practice of blood atonement against sinful Mormons, Brigham inspired his followers to murder in God’s name both Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

“Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them. You would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the Kingdom of God. I would at once do so, in such a case; and under the circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands…. There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.1, pp.108-109

“All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp.219-20

“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world … I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.4, p.53

“This is loving your neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.4, p.220

Along with Porter Rockwell, William Hickman was bodyguard to Joseph Smith then Brigham Young. In his autobiography, Hickman confessed that he was often tasked by Brigham to take the lives of men.

“I found him, used him up, scalped him, and took his scalp to Brigham Young … He took it and thanked me very much. This was my first act of violence under the rule of Brigham Young.”

William Hickman – The Autobiography of William Hickman,Brigham’s Destroying Angel: The Life Confessions andStartling Disclosures, Salt Lake City, 1872, p.47

After feeling remorse later in his life, Hickman confessed his crimes to R. N. Baskin, mayor of Salt Lake City and member of the Utah Supreme Court. Justice Baskins states,

“The Danites were an organization in the Mormon church. Its existence was stated by Bill Hickman in his confession made to me. He stated that the members were bound by their covenants to execute the orders of the priesthood, and that when a direct order or intimation was given to ‘use up’ anyone, it was always executed by one or more of the members. Hickman confessed to me that he personally knew of thirteen persons having been murdered, some of them by him … that at one time he murdered a man by the name of Buck at the personal request of Brigham Young.”

R.N. Baskin Reminiscences of Early Utah, 1914, p150

Heber C. Kimball

“If men turn traitors to God and His servants, their blood will surely be shed, or else they will be damned, and that too according to their covenants.”

Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol.4, p.375

“Judas was like salt that had lost its saving principles—good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men…. It is so with you, ye Elders of Israel, when you forfeit your covenants…. I know the day is right at hand when men will forfeit their Priesthood and turn against us and against the covenants they have made, and they will be destroyed as Judas was.”

Heber C. Kimball – Journal of Discourses, vol.6, pp.125-26

“These are my views, and the Lord knows that I believe in the principles of sanctification; and when I am guilty of seducing any man’s wife, or any woman in God’s world, I say, sever my head from my body.”

Heber C. Kimball – Journal of Discourses, vol.7, p.20

Jebediah M. Grant

“I say, there are men and women that I would advise to go to the Presidency immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their care; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood. We have amongst us that are full of all manner of abominations, those who need to have their blood shed, for water will not do, their sins are too deep a dye … I believe that there are a great many; and if they are covenant breakers we need a place designated, where we can shed their blood … Brethren and sisters, we want you to repent and forsake your sins. And you who have committed sins that cannot be forgiven through baptism, let your blood be shed, and let the smoke ascend, that the incense thereof may come up before God as an atonement for your sins, and that the sinners in Zion may be afraid.”

Apostle Jebediah M. Grant – 2nd counselor to Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.4, pp.49-51

Joseph Fielding Smith

“Certain sins are so grievous that man may commit, that the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church.”

Joseph Fielding Smith – Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol.1, pp.135 136

This is horrifying! Lives have been taken under the direction of the Church and in the name of the Lord. Does merely claiming divine authority give someone a free pass to murder? If so, many terrorist organisations around the world that commit horrific acts in the name of God should also get a free pass. Should we feel that the Prophet Brigham Young and the early saints are justified for their actions? Imagine if Thomas S. Monson were to preach this at general conference and task local authorities to follow through with this council. It is obvious why the Church would not want this part of the history to become common knowledge. Does this practice sound like it was truly the will of a loving Heavenly Father?

Chapter 10 Prophesies

While reading through History of the Church, Journal of Discourses, books by past prophets and historical Mormon periodicals, I would occasionally come across prophesies that didn’t quite make sense.

Joseph Smith – Prophesying the years of his death and Jesus’ 2nd coming.

“There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes… I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, “My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.” I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written—the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old. Then read the 14th chapter of Revelation, 6th and 7th verses—”And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” And Hosea, 6th chapter, After two days, etc.,—2,520 years; which brings it to 1890.”

Joseph Smith – History of the Church, vol.5, p.336

Joseph’s prophecy was mistaken in two ways: he did not live to be 85 years old and Jesus did not return in 1890.



Joseph Smith – Prophesying that moon is inhabited

Prominent early saint, Elder Oliver B. Huntington, lived with Joseph Smith in Kirtland, OH and served four missions for the Church. He wrote an article for The Young Woman’s Journal, the official magazine for the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association of the Church, recounting a teaching by Joseph Smith.

“Nearly all the discoveries of men in the last half century have… contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a prophet. As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they live to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years. He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”

Oliver B. Huntington – The Young Woman’s Journal, vol. 03, no.6, March

Joseph Smith - Revelation that the Book of Mormon copyright is to be sold.

"Wherefore be diligent in securing the copyright of my work upon all the face of the Earth of which is known by you unto, my Servant Joseph, and unto him whom he willeth according as I shall command him that the faithful and the righteous may retain the temporal blessing... Behold I say unto you that I have covenanted and it pleaseth me that Oliver Cowdery Joseph Knight Hyram Page and Josiah Stowel shall do my work in this thing yea even in securing the copyright and they shall do it with an eye single to my Glory that it may be the means of bringing souls unto me salvation through mine only Begotten." 

Joseph Smith - Joseph Smith Papers: A Revelation given to  Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, 

Josiah Stowell, & Joseph Knight given at Manchester, Ontario County, NY.

Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books, Pages 30-33

“Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father’s house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking."

David Whitmer -  An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 30-31

Brigham Young – Prophesying that sun is inhibated

So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets’ and so will this earth when it is celestialized.”

Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol.13, p.271

Joseph Fielding Smith – Prophesying the will never reach the moon

“We will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.”

Joseph Fielding Smith – Doctrines of

Salvation, 1954, vol.3, p.203


Just 15 years later on July 20, 1969, U.S. astronauts are the first men to walk on the moon.

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