Joseph Smith/Polygamy/Polyandry

FAIR Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Joseph Smith and polyandry

Summary: Joseph Smith was sealed to women who were married to men who were still living. Some of these men were even active members of the Church.

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Joseph Smith was sealed to other men's wives

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Joseph's polyandrous marriages

Summary: Nothing in plural marriage mystifies—or troubles—members of the Church more than Joseph's polyandrous sealings. Marriage to multiple wives may seem strange, but at least it intrudes on our historical awareness, while many remain unaware of polyandry's existence in LDS history. But, most critical accounts do not provide all the facts. When we understand what these marriages consisted of—and what they did not consist of—they are much less strange.

Was Joseph Smith sealed or married to other men's wives without the knowledge or consent of their husbands?

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph was sealed or married to women who were married to other men without the knowledge or consent of their husbands.

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What is known about possible children through Joseph Smith's polygamous marriages?

Summary: Is it possible that Joseph Smith fathered children with some of his plural wives, and that he covered up the evidence of pregnancies? Did Joseph Smith have intimate relations with other men’s wives to whom he had been sealed, and did any children result from these unions? DNA testing has so far proven these allegations to be false.

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Did Joseph Smith send men on missions in order to "steal" their wives?

Summary: Beginning with LDS dissident John C. Bennett, some have charged that Joseph would send men on missions in order to marry their wives. Does this claim match the historical evidence?

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Mormon women refusing offers of plural marriage

Summary: Some have claimed that significant pressure was put on women to practice plural marriage in Nauvoo. Did any of these women resist or refuse? What were the consequences of doing so?

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Divine manifestions to plural wives and families

Summary: Did those who entered into plural marriage do so simply because Joseph Smith (or another Church leader) "told them to"? Is this an example of "blind obedience"? No, they bore witness that only powerful revelatory experiences convinced them that the command was from God.

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Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs

Summary: A collection of articles about Zina.
See also Brian Hales' discussion: FAQ: Joseph Smith and Polyandry
Few things are more confusing to observers than Joseph Smith’s sealings to legally married women. Due to limitations in the number and types of documents available, understanding what transpired is difficult. The topic itself is very complex. Nevertheless, sufficient evidence is available to discern why these sealings took place and whether sexual polyandry occurred. (Link)
Did Joseph Smith’s Plural Marriages Include Sexual Relations?
The answer is yes or no, depending upon the type of plural marriage Joseph and the woman entered into. Those that were for this life and the next (called “time and eternity”) could include sexual relations. Those that were limited to the next life (“eternity only”) did not. Overall, evidence supports sexual relations in less than half of Joseph Smith’s polygamous unions, and available documents indicate that such relations were infrequent. (Link)
Sexual Relations are Documented In Less than Half of Joseph Smith’s Plural Marriages
Kathryn Daynes observed that any assertion that most of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages included sexual relations is “a conclusion that goes beyond documentary evidence.”[1] (Link)
Children from Joseph Smith’s Plural Marriages


  1. Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840–1910 (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 29. ISBN 0252026810.