You many have noticed how opinionated I am. ....... I just am. And I think I am now fully prepared to express my opinion about Joseph Smith and his polygamous activities. I'm not good with brevity, but in the interest of your sanity, I will try.
I didn't know Joseph Smith had more wives than Emma until I was 33. I'd heard such things from anti-Mormon, Satan-persuaded LIARS, but I KNEW it wasn't actually true.
It's true. And the church said so. Read their essay of lds.org HERE.
It's received national and international media attention, and has upset a whole lot of very sincere Mormon folk, particularly those who were born in the church and are of my generation...the 20-somethings through 50-somethings. Why? Because we didn't know. Seriously.
I could make all sorts of points about spin the church used in the essay, about how and why my generation was deceived by the church, about why some people knew and others didn't, about the differences in reaction betwixt the Mormon Corridor, the rest of the US, and other countries...but it's all be discussed. For me, there are only a few points that really need to be made.
Briefly, the "revelation" on "plural" or "celestial" marriage was for one reason and one reason alone: to raise up seed to the Lord. The girl in question had to be a virgin, and the other wife/wives had to give their consent. Those were the rules as the "Lord" outlined them, right?
Well, then. First, Emma didn't know about many, if not most, of these marriages...and by the end of Joseph's life, had demanded that he forsake his other wives for only her. She did not give her consent. That makes him an asshole. Also, the revelation discussed how if Emma specifically refused her consent, the Lord would destroy her. She outlived Joseph. Either the Lord lied, or Joseph just said that because he wanted the threat to persuade her to allow him to get it on with other ladies. That makes him a total swine.
Second, Joseph married other men's wives, slept with them, and sent them back home to their husbands...except, of course, for the few women whose husbands he sent on missions to get rid of them. That's a douche bag thing to do, of course, but it gets worse. Not all women who marry - even then! - are virgins, and women who have husbands usually consummate their marriages, even if they, like most married folks, don't have daily sex, which means that if they were virgins before the were wed, they weren't went Joseph Smith bedded them. That makes him a lying, Lord-disobeying nymphomaniac, if I'm not mistaken.
Third, many of his wives report that he told him an angel had threatened his life with a flaming sword if he didn't marry them. Now, I know what you're thinking: who am I to doubt angels with flaming swords??? But I've doubted so many other things that this one more can't possibly hurt, which means that Joseph used the story as a sort of less-than-gentle persuasion to bed a multitude of women, and that makes him a ridiculous, narcissistic fabricator.
Fourth, yes, Joseph had sex with most of his wives. Yes. Yes, he did. You can claim he didn't, but then you'd be arguing that he let down god, whose sole purpose in re-instituting polygamy was to raise up the proverbial seed. Was Joseph not sharing his seed? Was he spilling his seed upon the ground, as the scriptures say? (PS: The only time I've ever been thankful for the KJV archaic language was while reading that passage to my kids.) If so, he wasn't raising up seed, and his polygamic practices were unrighteous and worthy of the Lord's condemnation. So either he was boinking underage girls and married women, or he was damning himself.
Mostly importantly, though, women of the period married on average in their early-to-mid-20's. Helen and Lucy, two of Joseph's wives, were 14 and 15, respectively. No, they're not prepubescent girls, which means he's not TECHNICALLY a pedophile, but they are very young pubescent girls, which makes him, instead, a HEBEPHILE. (And an EPHEBOPHILE, too, for that matter: someone attracted to underage, slightly older teens.) But I look at my darling daughter, not yet a teen, and I don't see a particularly big difference between a pedophile and a hebephile, and since very few people have even heard of a hebephile, I'm just gonna call it like I see it: Joseph Smith was a pedophile.
AND a prophet...right? Sorry. Even if I COULD wrap my mind around translating golden plates buried in the woods via a rock in a hat, or old Egyptian copies of the Book of Breathings for Hor translated into the Book of Abraham, or a prophet of god running for president..........I cannot get my mind around an asshole-swine-douche bag-lying-nympho-ridiculous-narcissistic-pedophile prophet.
[In my best Dana Carvey voice: "Not gonna do it."]
Because let's, for just a moment, make polygamy a little more personal: Just like Joseph when he married Helen, my husband is now 37. Unlike Helen, who was 14 when she married Joseph, my kids' favorite babysitter is 15. That's a few months TOO OLD to be Smith's youngest wife...and a couple decades too young to marry my husband. (Incidentally, I went on a date with a 34 year-old when I was 19. It took us 2 hours to realize we had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common...and the date ended shortly after he made crack about how I was only half a dozen years older than HIS ELDEST CHILD.) If I asked my husband if he'd like to be married to - not even have sex with, but just be married to!!! - a 14 year-old, his answer would involve a few unhappy swear words. I should know. I'm an ex-Mormon, which means I've already asked. Take into account our young-but-not-tiny daughter being not too far behind her sitter, and the fact that one HAS SEX with one's wife, and the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT.
You, however, may not have a 37 year-old husband or a 15 year-old sitter, so let's try a different tack: remember that long, warm, welcome-to-the-family hug you probably got from your father-in-law on your wedding day? Imagine for a moment that he is a polygamist, and that as he hugs you, he is simultaneously battling an erection and his own jealousy, wishing he'd gotten to you first.
It is, of course, possible that your father-in-law wasn't present for some reason, or you've never known the man who would've been your father-in-law, so let's go a different direction. Joseph, of course, never made it to age 57, like Lorenzo Snow, who married a 15 year-old at that age. That's a difference of, what, 42 years? Or John Taylor, for that matter, who was 78 when he married a 26 year-old, for a difference of...FIFTY TWO YEARS. Now, Mormons tend to have kids young, and their kids tend to have kids young, and...anyway, say you had a child at 26 (which, by LDS standards, isn't all that young, and happens to be how old I was with my first child), and your child has a child at 26, making you a grandparent at 52. Now imagine your husband's best friend, also 52, shows up for the post-baby-blessing celebration at Grandma and Grandpa's - yes, you and your spouse! - and leers at the tiny little girl in the bassinet, then elbow-bumps your husband and says, "I get dibs." And because of how this polygamous world works, you know that maybe 18 years from now his 70 year-old body will climb on top of the 18 year-old body of your granddaughter and introduce her to the wonderful world of sex...and then see her in a week or so when it's her turn in rotation.
Aah, the joys of celestial marriage.
Look, the bottom line, in my view, is simple: Joseph was a horny, narcissistic hebephile pig, and everything else aside (and I could go on for days about that "everything else"), I cannot give any prophetic credibility to his existence. Them ain't just "imperfections" or "acting as a man"...them's serious, serious mental and psychological issues. And for 200 years, the church has worked tirelessly so that people like me, born into the church, don't discover the demons in Smith's closet.
It's a trust issue. I cannot trust that he was any sort of prophet, and I cannot trust the church to be honest or forthcoming about their own history, because even when they are, they defend a hebephile and spin that history to appear "more transparent", but still manage to cloud the issue and blame ignorance of Smith's polygamy on their most loyal members.
That's my 2 cents. Please comment with yours! :) 'Gina
Welcome to My Continuing Online Journey!
Perhaps you've read my book by now, or maybe you've only heard of it and were curious about me, or maybe you're even just surfing the web and happened on one of my posts, but please take your time and wander around. I've got enough to say, I'll be posting for some years yet! Lots of resources, personal entries, and discussion to be had; please contribute (respectfully) to it without fear of being lambasted. (Read: all comments will be moderated for relevance and basic appropriateness.) Finally, if you are here because you have heard my story or one like it and are willing to lend your support to us indoctrinated folk entering the real world, Thank You. With love, Regina