Joseph Smith/Polygamy/Plural wives/Fanny Alger

Table of Contents

Fanny Alger

Summary: What do we know about Joseph Smith's first plural wife, Fanny Alger, whom he came to know in early 1833 when she stayed at the Smith home as a house-assistant of sorts to Emma (such work was common for young women at the time). There are no first-hand accounts of their relationship (from Joseph or Fanny), nor are there second-hand accounts (from Emma or Fanny's family). All that we do have is third hand accounts, most of them recorded many years after the events.

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Fanny Alger was Joseph Smith's first plural wife

Summary: With a lone exception, there is no account after Joseph’s death of Emma admitting Joseph’s plural marriages in any source. The reported exception is recorded in a newspaper article and two letters written by excommunicated Latter-day Saint apostle William E. McLellin. The former apostle claimed to have visited Emma in 1847 and to have discussed Joseph’s relationship with Fanny Alger. McLellin also reported a tale he had heard about Joseph and Fanny Alger in which they were allegedly observed by Emma together in the barn.

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Claimed miscarriage of child by Joseph

Summary: Two women are claimed to have had miscarriages of a child by Joseph Smith. There are serious problems with accepting either account as probable.

Joseph Smith's Polygamy: "Fanny Alger", by Brian C. Hales

Summary: The marriage of Joseph Smith to Fanny Alger, his first and only plural wife prior to the Saints settling in Nauvoo, has received much scrutiny.

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See also Brian Hales' discussion: An Overview of Joseph’s Plural Marriage to Fanny Alger
Researching the relationship between Joseph Smith and Fanny is difficult because of limitations in available documentation. Only nineteen manuscripts have been identified in the historical record discussing the occurrence either firsthand or secondhand. Unfortunately they contain contradictory and ambiguous statements. (Link)
Was Fanny Alger Joseph Smith’s Only Plural Wife in Kirtland?
After evaluating all available evidence, it appears that Joseph Smith had a relationship with a single woman (Fanny Alger) in Kirtland in the mid-1830s. (Link)
Were There Other Polygamous Marriages Prior to Nauvoo?
While several authors affirm that the Prophet was involved with other women during the 1836–1841 period, a review of the documentation raises multiple weighty concerns, suggesting that such allegations are not reliable. (Link)
The Joseph Smith–Fanny Alger Relationship­: Plural Marriage or Adultery?: FAQ