Sarah Kingsley Howe Cleveland

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Articles about Plural marriage
Doctrinal foundation of plural marriage
Introduction of plural marriage
Plural marriage in Utah
End of plural marriage

Sarah Kingsley Howe Cleveland

Summary: There is considerable debate as to whether Sarah Kingsley was sealed to Joseph Smith. [19] Danel Bachman's pioneering study on plural marriage argued that there was "little supporting evidence for [her]…inclusion" on a list of Joseph's wives. [20] Todd Compton argues for Sarah's inclusion, since she is included on Andrew Jenson's list of plural wives, had a proxy marriage to Joseph Smith in the temple following the martyrdom, and because Eliza R. Snow is known to have been sealed to Joseph at Sarah's home. Compton holds—and I find his reasoning persuasive—that Joseph's decision to marry Eliza in front of Sarah makes little sense if Sarah had not already been introduced to plural marriage. (Though it must be admitted that Sarah could have been aware of plural marriage, but not practicing it.) Compton's argument is strengthened by the fact that Andrew Jenson also had access to Eliza R. Snow as a witness, so she could have confirmed Sarah's sealing.

Sarah Kingsley Howe Cleveland as a polyandrous wife of Joseph Smith

Summary: Sarah was sealed to Joseph while she had a living husband.

What did the husband of Sarah Kingsley know about her sealing to Joseph Smith for eternity?

Sarah was married to non-Mormon John Cleveland, but was sealed to Joseph Smith

Sarah was married to non-Mormon John Cleveland. John was not interested in joining the Church, but was friendly to the Saints.

In the days of Joseph. Mother [Sarah M. Kingsley (Howe)] Cleveland by advice, was sealed to the prophet in Nauvoo but lived with her [non-LDS] husband John Cleveland.[1]

Sarah wished to go west with the Saints, but Brigham Young advised her to remain with her husband

When the Saints moved west, Sarah wished to go with them, even to the point of leaving her non-LDS husband. Brigham Young advised her to remain with him:

Brigham Young and council...counseled her to stay with her husband as he was a good man, having shown himself kind ever helping those in need, although for some reason his mind was darkened as to the gospel. She obeyed council and stayed with her husband, and was faithful and true to her relation and died a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[2]

See Biography:
A biography of Sarah Kingsley may be viewed on Brian and Laura Hales' website "".

  1. Holograph letter of John L. Smith attached to a letter of the First Presidency dated March 8, 1895, the letter of Smith being written on Feb 27, 1895, to David H. Cannon; copy in D. Michael Quinn Papers—Addition—Uncat WA MS 244 (Accession:19990209-c), Box 1—Card file—Topic: Polygamy, Joseph Smith’s. off-site
  2. Anon. Biography, CHL. Possibly by August Cleveland Smith quoted in Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 283. off-site