FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/"Questions and Answers" on Mormon Stories/Polygamy
A FAIR Analysis of: "Questions and Answers: What aspects of LDS Church teachings/doctrine do you still believe in, vs. not?", a work by author: John Dehlin
Jump to Subtopic:
- Response to claim: "Joseph Smith married over 30 women"
- Response to claim: "some as young as 14 years old"
- Response to claim: "many of whom were married to other men at the time he married them"
- Response to claim: "Joseph Smith would frequently approach other men’s wives about being his own plural wives — often while the men were away"
- Response to claim: "Joseph Smith publicly lied about his practice of polygamy"
- Response to claim: "Joseph Smith...lied to his own wife (Emma) about the practice"
- Response to claim: "Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was....a violation of the 1st Amendment"
Response to claim: "Joseph Smith married over 30 women"
(25 June 2014 revision): Joseph Smith married over 30 women
This is true. Subsequent questions, however, demonstrate that the author seems determined to paint a simplistic portrait of plural marriage: one that draws heavily on anti-Mormon sources and interpretations.
Joseph's polygamy is well-attested in Church books and periodicals, and is discussed in D&C 132: and even the History of the Church. Any implication that Joseph's personal practice of plural marriage is something which the Church tried to hide is unfair. The author describes Bruce R. McConkie as his "favorite church leader," and McConkie's best-known work Mormon Doctrine makes it crystal clear that Joseph and others practiced plural marriage:
- In the early days of this dispensation, as part of the promised restitution of all things, the Lord revealed the principle of plural marriage to the Prophet. Later the Prophet and leading brethren were commanded to enter into the practice, which they did in all virtue and purity of heart despite the consequent animosity and prejudices of worldly people. After Brigham Young led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, plural marriage was openly taught and practiced until the year 1890.
Summary: Joseph Smith is frequently criticized for his introduction and practice of polygamy. From a Christian perspective, these attacks usually focus on arguing that polygamy is unchristian or unbiblical, and that Joseph hid the truth from the world. From a secular perspective, it is asserted that the practice of polygamy sprung from Joseph's carnal desires to marry young women. Of particular interest is the fact that Joseph was sealed to women who were already married to other men (polyandry).
Video published by the Church History Department.
Jump to Subtopic:
- Plural wives of Joseph Smith, Jr.
- Implementation of plural marriage
- Doctrinal issues related to plural marriage
- Critics' claimed motivations for Joseph's implementation of plural marriage
- Keeping plural marriage a secret
- Entering into plural marriage
- Joseph Smith and polyandry
- Emma Smith and polygamy
- Children of Joseph Smith by polygamous marriages
- Mormonism and divorce in the nineteenth century
Response to claim: "some as young as 14 years old"
(25 June 2014 revision): some as young as 14 years old
There were two wives aged fourteen. We can say nothing about one marriage, due to a lack of evidence. The other marriage was instigated by the bride's parents, and there is considerable evidence that the marriage was not consummated. Many of Joseph's marriages were concerned about sealing families together. }}
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: Why was Joseph Smith sealed to young women?
- Question: Was Joseph Smith a "serial practitioner of statutory rape?"
Response to claim: "many of whom were married to other men at the time he married them"
(25 June 2014 revision): many of whom were married to other men at the time he married them
Again, the author gives no context or nuance to his critical picture. In all the cases of polyandry, there is little evidence that the relationships were consummated. In many cases, we know the husbands (some of them non-members) knew of the marriages and did not object. Emma never objected to the polyandrous marriages. No husband attacked Joseph or reproached him for violation of his marital rights or wife's honor. Many of Joseph's marriages—including these—seem to have been intended to seal families together. }}
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: Was Joseph Smith married or sealed to women who were already married to other living men?
- The Joseph Smith Papers: "Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith"
- Improvement Era (1946): "Did Joseph Smith Introduce Plural Marriage?...It is also possible, though the Church does not now permit it, to seal two living people for eternity only, with no association on earth"
- Question: What is "Polyandry?"
- Question: What was the nature of Joseph Smith's "polyandrous" marriages?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith consummate any of these marriages with married women?
- Question: Did Joseph Smith have any children through any of his polyandrous marriages?
- Question: What was the purpose of an eternity-only sealing, which was performed during Joseph Smith's lifetime?
- Question: Since Joseph Smith "married" the wives of 11 other men, why were those women not "destroyed" as specified in the Doctrine and Covenants since they continued to live with their "previous" husbands?
- Brian C. Hales, "Joseph Smith’s Sexual Polyandry and the Emperor’s New Clothes: On Closer Inspection, What Do We Find?"
- Joseph Smith's Polygamy: "Joseph Smith and Polyandry: FAQ", by Brian C. Hales
Response to claim: "Joseph Smith would frequently approach other men’s wives about being his own plural wives — often while the men were away"
(25 June 2014 revision): Joseph Smith would frequently approach other men’s wives about being his own plural wives — often while the men were away
This claim is false. There is only one recorded case of Joseph approaching a potential plural wife while her husband was on a mission. This case occurred at least two years after her husband's departure. The husband ratified the sealing upon his return. This claim too derives from discredited anti-Mormon sources. }}
Question: Did Joseph Smith send men on missions in order to "steal" their wives while they were gone?
This claim is contradicted by historical data: ten of the husbands of the twelve "polyandrous" wives were not on missions at the time and there is insufficient or contradictory information about the other two
One critic of the Church states, "Joseph Smith would frequently approach other men’s wives about being his own plural wives — often while the men were away." 
Researcher Brian C. Hales noted that this claim is without foundation:
Another detail in [John C.] Bennett's Pittsburgh affidavit is that the Prophet had sent men on missions so he could marry their wives in Nauvoo. This statement is contradicted by historical data. Of the twelve "polyandrous" husbands identified by Todd Compton, ten were not on missions at the time Joseph was sealed to their legal wives. Of the two possible exceptions, only one, Orson Hyde, is documented as on a mission at the time of Marinda Johnson Hyde's sealing to Joseph Smith. The second possible case involves George Harris, who left on his fourteen-month mission in July 1840. His wife, Lucinda may have been...sealed to Joseph Smith at some point, but the date is unavailable.
The only question regards Orson Hyde, who had been on his mission for one year to two years before the sealing
It is of note that Orson had been on his mission for about a year before the sealing--he departed on 15 April 1840, and would return 7 December 1842. There are two dates available for her sealing to Joseph--either April/Spring 1842, or May 1843. Thus, even with the earliest sealing date, Orson had been gone for nearly two years prior to Joseph's sealing to Nancy.
This long delay does not fit well with the claim that a sexually-aggressive Joseph simply wanted his male rivals out of the way.
Hyde's wife Marinda was sealed to Orson following Joseph's death
Unique to the Hyde's marriage is the fact that Marinda was sealed to Orson following Joseph's death. All of the Prophet's other polyandrous wives were posthumously sealed to Joseph by proxy.
Much of what we know about the Hyde sealing is also contaminated by hostile, mutually contradictory accounts that contain some known false information.
Question: Did Joseph Smith send William Law, Robert D. Foster, and Henry Jacobs on missions so that he could steal their wives?
This claim was made in an anti-Mormon expose entitled Fifteen Years Among the Mormons
This book was written by Nelson Winch Green, who reported what estranged member Marry Ettie V. Coray Smith reportedly told him.
Even other anti-Mormon authors who had lived in Utah regarded it as nearly worthless. Fanny Stenhouse wrote:
Much has already been written on this subject much that is in accordance with facts, and much that is exaggerated and false. Hitherto, with but one exception [Mrs. Ettie V. Smith is noted in the footnote as the work referred to] that of a lady who wrote very many years ago, and who in her writings, so mixed up fiction with what was true, that it was difficult to determine where the one ended and the other began no woman who really was a Mormon and lived in Polygamy ever wrote the history of her own personal experience. Books have been published, and narratives have appeared in the magazines and journals, purporting to be written by Mormon wives; it is, however, perhaps, unnecessary for me to state that, notwithstanding such narratives may be imposed upon the Gentile world as genuine, that they were written by persons outside the Mormon faith would in a moment be detected by any intelligent Saint who took the trouble to peruse them.
So, we must remember that the source of this charge against Joseph is a work that is not regarded as generally reliable today, and it was not regarded as reliable even by some of the Church's well-informed enemies in the 19th century.
The book claimed that Law, Foster and Jacobs were returned from missions to find their wives "blushing under the prospective honors of spiritual wifeism"
The relevant passage reads:
The Prophet had sent some time before this, three men, Law, Foster and Jacobs, on missions, and they had just returned, and found their wives blushing under the prospective honors of spiritual wifeism; and another woman, Mrs. Buel [sic], had left her husband, a Gentile, to grace the Prophet's retinue, on horseback, when he reviewed the Nauvoo Legion. I heard the latter woman say afterwards in Utah, that she did not know whether Mr. Buel [sic] or the Prophet was the father of her son. These men [Law, Foster and Jacobs] established a press in Nauvoo, to expose his alleged vicious teachings and practices, which a revelation from Joseph destroyed.
Law and Foster never served missions, and Jacobs was not on a mission when Joseph proposed a sealing to his wife
As might be expected, then, there are many claims in this passage that are in error. We know that the following are false:
- Ettie Smith claims that William Law, Robert D. Foster, and Henry Jacobs were on missions and that Joseph had proposed plural marriage to them. Law and Foster, in fact, never served missions. Henry Jacobs did serve a mission, but he was not gone on a mission when Joseph discussed plural marriage.
- Foster and Law did participate in publishing the Nauvoo Expositor, but Henry Jacobs did not. He was and remained a faithful member of the Church.
- The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor was undertaken by the Nauvoo city council. Some members of that council were not members of the Church--it seems implausible to think that they would bow to a "revelation" to Joseph requiring its destruction. The decision was made, instead, after 8 hours of discussion and after consulting legal references.
Thus, in the single paragraph we have several basic errors of fact. None of the men were on missions save Jacobs, and he was in Nauvoo when Joseph proposed a sealing to his wife.
Response to claim: "Joseph Smith publicly lied about his practice of polygamy"
(25 June 2014 revision): Joseph Smith publicly lied about his practice of polygamy
There are three vital facts about which the author seems to have given little thought:
- Joseph's actions were not illegal under the law as long as he did not announce them publicly. If he were to announce them, then he and his plural wives would have been guilty of breaking the law. This was a terrible double-bind without a perfect solution, especially because...
- If Joseph were to announce plural marriage in Nauvoo, he would have put himself, his wives, and thousands of innocent people at risk of mob violence—as had happened before, and was to happen again following his murder. If he did hide the truth from those who would use violence, that is understandable. However, even this is not as clear-cut as the author makes it, since....
- Joseph was often charged with a type and form of polygamy that he did not practice. Most of his denials were targeted at these accusations, and were technically true.
Summary: It is true that Joseph did not always tell others about plural marriage. He did, however, make some attempt to teach the doctrine to the Saints. It is thus important to realize that the public preaching of polygamy—or announcing it to the general Church membership, thereby informing the public by proxy—was simply not a feasible plan. Critics of Joseph's choice want their audience to ignore the danger to him and the Saints.
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: Did Joseph Smith ever publicly attempt to teach the doctrine of plural marriage?
- Question: Why did Joseph keep the doctrine of plural marriage private?
- Question: Why did Joseph Smith say "I had not been married scarcely five minutes...before it was reported that I had seven wives"?
- Question: Was Joseph Smith ever charged with adultery under Illinois law?
- Question: Were there any similar cases under Illinois adultery statute which demonstrate that Joseph was not breaking the law?
Response to claim: "Joseph Smith...lied to his own wife (Emma) about the practice"
(25 June 2014 revision): Joseph Smith...lied to his own wife (Emma) about the practice
We know very little about what Joseph told Emma, and when he told her. Emma would always insist Joseph never practiced plural marriage, though it is clear that he did and that she knew it. We should be cautious, then, in being too dogmatic about Joseph's treatment of Emma. Once again, there is far more nuance here than the author seems willing to admit or engage. The situation was terribly difficult for Emma and Joseph, but Joseph deserves to have his decisions and actions viewed in their full context, rather than used as a dismissive soundbite that does not fairly illustrate the known historical data, and acknowledge the many unknowns. }}
Question: Did Joseph hide his plural marriages from Emma, his first wife?
Joseph did not always tell Emma immediately about some of his plural relationships
Joseph and Emma were in a complex and unique situation with regard to plural marriage—Emma had been warned by Joseph's revelation that if she refused to allow Joseph to obey the commandment he had received, he might proceed without her permission.
We also know relatively little about what Emma knew, and when she knew it. We should be cautious in assuming that the critical or anti-Mormon narrative of Joseph constantly sneaking around behind Emma's back is accurate.
Emma had periods where she accepted plural marriage, and then later rejected it
One critic of the Church claims, "Joseph Smith publicly lied about his practice of polygamy, and lied to his own wife (Emma) about the practice."  It is certainly true that Joseph did not disclose all of his plural marriages precisely when they happened. For example, he had been sealed to Emily and Eliza Partridge already, and Emma later had one of her periods of acceptance of plural marriage, on condition that she get to choose the wives.  She chose Emily and Eliza, and so they were resealed to Joseph without disclosing that they were already sealed. Emma's change of heart didn't last long, and she soon had Joseph break off contact with the girls, and expected them to renounce the covenants they had made. 
Ultimately, Joseph had to choose between obeying Emma and obeying God
There are also other examples. It's difficult to know exactly what Emma knew, and when she knew it, because she would later insist that Joseph never practiced plural marriage. So, we have to kind of piece together the evidence from fairly fragmentary sources.
Was Joseph justified in this? Well, that's a difficult question to answer. If one doesn't believe that Joseph was commanded to practice plural marriage, then the whole enterprise was probably a bad idea. If Joseph was commanded to practice plural marriage (as he repeatedly testified that he had been), then ultimately he had to choose between obeying Emma and obeying God. And, Joseph seems to have been determined to obey God.
Question: Was Emma aware of the possibility that Joseph could take additional wives even without her consent?
Emma was warned about the possibility that Joseph could take wives even without her consent
Emma was warned about the possibility that Joseph could take wives even without her consent.  The D&C 132 revelation was Joseph's written instructions on the matter, put into writing at the request of his brother Hyrum, who felt he could use it to persuade Emma that plural marriage was a true principle.  However, there's an important line in there that speaks to the circumstance in which Joseph found himself with regard to Emma:
Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife (DC 132:65).
The Law of Sarah: Wives were to be first taught the revelation to see if they would accept it. If they accepted it, then they elected new wives for their husband. If they rejected plural marriage, then the Lord picked wives for the man
In short, the Lord brings up something called "the Law of Sarah"--this refers to Sarah, wife of Abraham, who in order to fulfill the covenants made to Abraham, was willing to seek out another wife (Hagar) for her husband. So, the principle seems to be that wives were to be first taught the revelation, and see if they would obey. If they accepted the law of plural marriage, then they elected new wives for their husbands. If they didn’t accept plural marriage, then God elected new wives for men. The previous verse reads:
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law (DC 132:64
If Emma rejected the teaching, then Joseph was exempt from the Law of Sarah
Thus, Joseph (who held the keys--and the only one who did so at the time, see DC 132:7) was to teach Emma--which he did. But, ultimately, if she refused to accept the revelation, then "he is exempt from the law of Sarah"---i.e., he no longer requires her approval or acceptance.
This is a stern doctrine, and we can all probably sympathize with Emma's situation. But, it is not clear that the alternative is any better, if one believes Joseph was acting by revelation--ultimately, either a mortal's will has to trump, or God's does. So, Joseph was to teach Emma, but if she ultimately refused, then Joseph was to obey, even in the face of her disobedience. She could not choose for him.
It may be that this clause did not apply to any other situation--the scripture says that it applies to a "man...who holds the keys of this power," and only the President of the Church did or does. So, this was likely not much of a model for others; it was very much an issue just between Joseph and Emma. One can see that throughout--the whole revelation is really targeted at helping solve their problems. (Joseph F. Smith would later say that if the revelation had not been written in that context, it would have been different, and perhaps more useful in a sense.) 
We can and should have considerable sympathy for Emma, since she was in a very difficult situation
She may ultimately have taken a harder road (leaving the Church, marrying outside the Church, lying about Joseph's teaching of plural marriage, raising an illegitimate child of her second husband's as her own child, etc.) to learning the same sorts of things that plural marriage would have taught her. As Brian Hales has pointed out, she had the hardest job (in a way) because she was the only woman who was faced with a revelation from her husband commanding it:
Emma may have also confronted the fear that perhaps she was inadequate to bind Joseph's affections, leading him to desire other companions and thus introducing the possibility that he could have been deceived by those desires. None of the first wives of other polygamists would have experienced this trial, because none of the other first wives were married to the man who received the polygamy revelation. All other pluralists could hold the Prophet and his teachings responsible....unlike Emma, they could more easily dismiss the question of whether their husband's adoption of plurality was related to their own contributions to the marriage or that they were somehow deficient. 
Emma believed in Joseph as a prophet but could not bear plural marriage
On the other hand, though, we must remember that Emma had many experiences that others did not have. (When asked by some women in the midst of the plural marriage at Nauvoo if she still believed Joseph was a prophet, she replied, "Yes, but I wish to God I did not know it." ) She accompanied Joseph to retrieve the golden plates. She wrote for him during the initial translation of the Book of Mormon. She participated in sacred ordinances, and knew Joseph and his calling in an intimate way that few if any others did, and continued to insist to her death that he had been a prophet.  So, perhaps it is not surprising that she was tested in ways that few others were. And, Joseph may well have not handled it perfectly. He likely did did his best, but it was an agonizing situation without ideal options. As Richard Bushman noted:
I see their [Joseph and Emma's] relationship as tragic. She believed in him but could not bear plural marriage. He loved her but could not resist his own revelation. They were both heroic actors on a large stage trapped in terrible moral dilemmas. 
Question: What possible modern lessons can we learn from Emma and Joseph's struggle with plural marriage?
Joseph Smith: "it is quite as necessary for you to be tried [even] as Abraham and other men of God"
These observations provide perhaps the most useful lesson for the modern members, since Joseph Smith told the Twelve, soon before his death: "'You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried [even] as Abraham and other men of God, God will feel after you, and He will take hold of and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God.' ." (Cited by John Taylor, JD 24:197).
Harold B. Lee said of this statement:
Now I want to bear testimony to you that every one of us [the Twelve] has had that kind of testing. Some of us have been tried and have been tested until our very heart strings would seem to break. I have heard of persons dying with a broken heart, and I thought that was just a sort of a poetic expression, but I learned that it could be a very real experience. I came near to that thing; but when I began to think of my own troubles, I thought of what the Apostle Paul said of the Master, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:8-9).
Don't be afraid of the testing and trials of life. Sometimes when you are going through the most severe tests, you will be nearer to God than you have any idea, for like the experience of the Master Himself in the temptation on the mount, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross at Calvary, the scriptures record, "And, behold, angels came and ministered unto him" (Matthew 4:11). Sometimes that may happen to you in the midst of your trials. 
We should not, then, judge Joseph or Emma too harshly. Who says but what we would face similar trials with as much grace as they did? And, hopefully we won't face ours in a fishbowl, like they did.
Response to claim: "Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was....a violation of the 1st Amendment"
(25 June 2014 revision): Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was both a violation of the 1st Amendment
- The First Amendment has no legal relevance in the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor. It would not apply to anything except acts by the federal government until after the Civil War. The author is here displaying his ignorance of historical fact. It shows how little serious study he has given the matter.
- Furthermore, the suppression of the Expositor was not ordered by Joseph alone, but by the Nauvoo city council, which included non-Mormons.
- Finally, the suppression of the Expositor was legal under the law of the day—as courts found in later incidents under the same legal regime. (The destruction of the press itself was not legal and a misdemeanor—but Joseph quickly indicated his willingness to pay the fine if this was the case.)
Question: Was the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor legal?
The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor led directly to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum
It is claimed by one critic of the Church that Joseph "could not allow the Expositor to publish the secret international negotiations masterminded by Mormonism’s earthly king."  Another claimed that "When the Laws (with others) purchased a printing press in an attempt to hold Joseph Smith accountable for his polygamy (which he was denying publicly), Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was both a violation of the 1st Amendment, and which ultimately led to Joseph’s assassination." 
The Expositor incident led directly to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, but it was preceded by a long period of non-Mormon distrust of Joseph Smith, and attempts to extradite him on questionable basis.
The destruction of the Expositor issue was legal; it was not legal to have destroyed the type, but this was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and one for which Joseph was willing to pay a fine if imposed.
Joseph seems to have believed—or, his followers believed after his death—that the decision, while 'unwise' for Joseph, may have been in the Saints' interest to have Joseph killed. For a time, this diffused much of the tension and may have prevented an outbreak of generalized violence against the Saints, as occurred in Missouri.
The destruction of the first issue was legal, but it was not legal to destroy the printer's type
It is claimed that "When the Laws (with others) purchased a printing press in an attempt to hold Joseph Smith accountable for his polygamy (which he was denying publicly), Joseph ordered the destruction of the printing press, which was both a violation of the 1st Amendment, and which ultimately led to Joseph’s assassination." 
The destruction of the Expositor issue (i.e., the paper itself) was legal; it was not legal to have destroyed the type, but this was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and one for which Joseph was willing to pay a fine if imposed.
Joseph did not unilaterally order the action against the Expositor—it was the Nauvoo City Council (which included non-Mormons) which reached the unanimous decision. Having reached that decision, Joseph Smith then issued an order, as mayor, to carry out the Council's decision. As described in the Church's 2011 Priesthood/Relief Society manual:
On June 10, 1844, Joseph Smith, who was the mayor of Nauvoo, and the Nauvoo city council ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor and the press on which it was printed. 
History of the Church also describes this event :
I [Joseph Smith] immediately ordered the Marshal to destroy it [the Nauvoo Expositor] without delay, and at the same time issued an order to Jonathan Dunham, acting Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion, to assist the Marshal with the Legion, if called upon so to do." 
The First Amendment is irrelevant to this discussion. In 1844, the First Amendment only applied to federal law; it had no application to state or local law until the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War.
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:xxix–xlvi. Volume 5 link
- Dehlin says: "During this time I began studying LDS church history in depth, with the intent of becoming a better teacher. Through my studies I discovered several very troubling aspects of LDS church history that I did not recall learning during my years in the church, including the following...."
- "Bruce R. McConkie was my favorite church leader as a youth and young adult, and I devoured the Doctrines of Salvation trilogy (by Joseph Fielding Smith) as a missionary. In short, I considered myself to be a highly devoted “True Believing Mormon” up until my mission experience."
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 578, (emphasis added). GL direct link
- John Dehlin, "Questions and Answers," Mormon Stories Podcast (25 June 2014).
- Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 1, 313–314.
- Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 1, 273–274.
- Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 240–242. ( Index of claims )
- Stenhouse, "Tell It All", 618.
- Nelson Winch Green, Fifteen Years among the Mormons: Being the Narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, Late of Great Salt Lake City; a Sister of One of the Mormon High Priests, She Having Been Personally Acquainted with Most of the Mormon Leaders, and Long in the Confidence of The "Prophet," Brigham Young (New York: H. Dayton, Publishers, 1860 ), 34–35.
- John Dehlin, "Questions and Answers," Mormon Stories Podcast (25 June 2014).
- "I will give you two wives if you will let me choose them," – Emma to Joseph, as per "Incidents of the early life of Emily Dow Partridge," written beginning December 1876, finished 7 January 1877, BYU Special Collections; cited by Andrew F. Ehat, "Joseph Smith's Introduction of Temple Ordinances and the 1844 Mormon Succession Question," (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Master's Thesis, 1981), 60.
- Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 409. ( Index of claims )
- Danel W. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Polygamy Before the Death of Joseph Smith,” (1975) (unpublished M.A. thesis, Purdue University), 164–166.
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:xxxiii. Volume 5 link
- Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses 20:29-30.
- Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 2, 136.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 251.
- Mary Audentia Smith Anderson (editor), "Memoirs of Joseph Smith III (1832–1914)," The Saints Herald (2 April 1935): 431–434.
- Richard L. Bushman, Interview with Millennial Star Blog, 14 November 2005; conveniently reprinted in Richard Lyman Bushman, On the Road With Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary (Salt Lake City, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, Ltd., 2007), 72.
- Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 192.
- Richard N. and Joan K. Ostling, Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, (New York:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 16. ( Index of claims )
- John Dehlin, "Questions and Answers," Mormon Stories Podcast (25 June 2014).
- John Dehlin, "Questions and Answers," Mormon Stories Podcast (25 June 2014).
- "Chapter 46: The Martyrdom: The Prophet Seals His Testimony with His Blood," Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (2011), 528–40.
- It should be noted that History of the Church was begun after Joseph's death, and was written in the "first person," as if Joseph himself had written it. For further information on this, see Question: Who is the author of ''History of the Church''?
- History of the Church, 6:432. Volume 6 link