Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Nauvoo Polygamy/Index/Chapter 7

Table of Contents

Response to claims made in "Chapter 7"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Nauvoo Polygamy: "... but we called it celestial marriage", a work by author: George D. Smith

416

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "…the 1846 temple sealings, which re-comemorated previously conducted plural marriages, were carefully noted in Nauvoo temple records."

FairMormon Response

Censorship of Church History (edit)

423

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

In Nauvoo, Joseph is claimed to have "appropriated church members' charitable donations for real estate speculation, buying low and selling high to those immigrants who could afford to pay."

FairMormon Response

  • Joseph had, in fact, signed a note for the land—thus going into debt himself. He sold land at variable prices, charging those who could afford more money so that he could give free or cheap land to the poor.
  • This is not land speculation.
  • Joseph Smith/Land speculation in Nauvoo
  • Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)

429

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "A friend of Nancy Rigdon, Francis had become concerned in 1842 over Smith's advances toward her."

FairMormon Response

  • The author fails to tell us that Francis was, in fact, Nancy's boyfriend and her suitor. He also neglects to mention that Francis had contracted a venereal disease from a prostitute, had been seducing women under John C. Bennett's tutelage, and may have engaged in a homosexual relationship with Bennett.
  • John C. Bennett

John C. Bennett (edit)

435

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author claims that Dallin H. Oaks' assertation that the "abatement of newspapers publishing scandalous or provocative material" was not considered a violation of freedom of the press at the time draws "no distinction between the destruction of a newspaper without a trial and a libel charge being tried in the courts."

(Author's sources: *Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts : a Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 112-13, 390n13 (Citing Oaks). ISBN 0252069803.)

FairMormon Response

Nauvoo Expositor (edit)

  • See also ch. Preface: xii
  • See also ch. 4: 285
  • See also ch. 6: 408
  • See also ch. 7: 435


438–439

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author follows William Law's claims about Joseph mismanaging or defrauding the Lawrence estate.

(Author's sources: *Cook, William Law, 120.)

FairMormon Response

  • The author completely ignores the primary documents on this issue, and relies only on Law's hostile, and demonstrably false, account.
  • Mismanagement of the Lawrence estate?
  • See also ch. 3: 196
  • Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)


442

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "Instead of evaluating a difficult past in order not to repeat it, the church leadership tried to separate its troubles from their apparent causes."

FairMormon Response

445

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

William Clayton's "discussion of plural marriage was at once turned into a charge of having had 'unlawful intercourse with women.'"

(Author's sources: *Smith, Intimate Chronicle, xlix-l.

William Clayton (edit)

FairMormon Response

  •  Internal contradiction: The author told us earlier only that in England Clayton "was personally suspected of ‘having had unlawful intercourse with women.’” He said nothing about this being due only to Clayton's discussion of the matter.
  • Even now, though, the author still does not tell us that the charge came from an “apostate Mormon,” whom Clayton claimed had maliciously distorted his words.
  • Polygamy/William Clayton
  • Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)


446

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author mentions that Andrew Jenson published about plural wives, only to have Wilford Woodruff complain about him having done so. The author has continuously argued that the Church has striven to hide or suppress knowledge of polygamy.

(Author's sources: *Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 135.)

FairMormon Response

  • He does not tell us that the reason Woodruff was worried was because at the time (1887) federal marshals were pursuing and jailing polygamists and their wives who refused to testify. Woodruff was trying to keep members out of jail, not trying to suppress polygamy.
  • Wilford Woodruff criticizes publication of polygamists
  • Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)


447

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

Joseph F. Smith wrote to Orson Pratt that a “few years ago [I] tried to get affidavits regarding Joseph Smith and ‘celestial marriage.’ . . . I was astonished at the scarcity of evidence. I might say almost total absence of direct evidence upon the subject as connected with the prophet Joseph himself.”

(Author's sources: *Joseph F. Smith to Orson Pratt Sr., 19 July 1875, Joseph F. Smith Letterbooks, Ms d 1325, Joseph F. Smith Collection, Church History Library and Archives.

Censorship of Church History (edit)

FairMormon Response


449

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author implies that Latter-day Saints "accepted as sufficient" that Joseph Smith's death was "due to an angry mob, without caring to know specifically what those Illinois neighbors had been angry about."

(Author's sources: *The author lists these works but does not give page numbers.
  1. Brigham H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1965).
  2. Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History: A History of the Church from the Birth of Joseph Smith to the Present Time (1922), with Introductory Chapters on the Antiquity of the Gospel and The “Falling Away” (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1922).
  3. William E. Berrett, The Restored Church: A Brief History of the Origin, Growth and Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Department of Education of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Deseret Book, 1958).
  4. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, An Apostle; The Father and Founder of the British Mission (Salt Lake City: Kimball family, 1888).
  5. Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, 2nd ed. (New York: Knopf, 1992).

Censorship of Church History (edit)

FairMormon Response


450

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author notes that "[o]ne LDS educator in 1967 wrote about the 'causes' of conflict in Nauvoo…without mentioning plural marriage."

(Author's sources: *Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Causes of [Mormon sic] Non-Mormon Conflict in Hancock County, Illinois, 1839–1846” (PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1967), chap 7.

Censorship of Church History (edit)

FairMormon Response

  •  History unclear or in error Contrary to the author's claim, Godfrey's cited chapter is entitled "plural marriage," and he discusses it at length there and in his abstract and conclusion.
  • LDS histories over many years omit plural marriage#Godfrey
  • Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Nauvoo Polygamy/Censorship
  • Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)
  •  The author or publisher responds: The publisher acknowledged that the author "might have been more precise" in his statement, and indicated that the author meant that Latter-day Saints "have yet to acknowledge" that polygamy was a "main cause" leading to Joseph Smith's death. off-site


450 n. 106

The author(s) of Nauvoo Polygamy make(s) the following claim:

The author cites the paper as "Causes of Non-Mormon Conflict…."

(Author's sources: * Citation error
  • Correct title is: "Causes of Mormon Non-Mormon Conflict…" (emphasis added))

FairMormon Response



Notes


  1. Lisle G. Brown, Nauvoo Sealings, Adoptions, and Anointings : A Comprehensive Register of Persons Receiving LDS Temple Ordinances 1841-1846 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2006).
  2. Dallin H. Oaks, "The Suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor," Utah Law Review 9 (1965): 862–903.