I am currently working on a very detailed chronology of polygamy in Nauvoo. I am thinking about calling it, “Where there is Smoke, there is Fire: The Origin of Polygamy in Nauvoo“.
Because you had this amazing contradiction taking place in Nauvoo where Joseph Smith is publicly denying any involvement in polygamy, while rumors about his secret involvement in it are permeating the very fabric of society among the saints in Nauvoo during the last few years of his life.
The amount of second hand evidence and first hand testimony by others besides Joseph Smith about Joseph’s involvement in polygamy, as well as other corroborating events is beyond compelling.
Although much has been written about this topic, and historians and scholars have identified and listed all of the men who testified of Joseph’s involvement and women that claimed to have been sealed to joseph Smith, I am unaware that anyone has actually provided a detailed, line by line chronology of every documented supporting ancillary event and claim that relates to the testimonies of these women.
Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy?!?!?
I desire to do this because there have been a few books emerging in recent years by well meaning people that claim that Joseph Smith was completely innocent of having any involvement in polygamy.
Most of these book seem to primarily focus on Joseph Smith’s public denials and a supposed conspiracy by Brigham Young and the Utah Mormons to fabricate lots of false testimony to show that many women were sealed to Joseph Smith and had marital relations with him.
Outside of those two suppositions, only a small, very biased glimpse is given into all of the additional historical information regarding this controversial topic.
Remarkably, virtually all of the high level leaders that did not follow Brigham Young to Utah and that did not accept the legitimacy of polygamy, also testified that Joseph Smith had produced a revelation on polygamy and had been polygamist. Among these leaders that went on public record stating that Joseph Smith was involved, were Sidney Rigdon, William Law, William Marks, and Hyrum Smith.
Sadly, lots of uninformed LDS bloggers have jumped on the bandwagon of this Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy propaganda and now there is a growing consensus among some LDS fringe groups that Joseph Smith’s involvement has all been fabricated by a massive conspiracy led by Brigham Young.
It is my belief that if a person can see ALL of the historical evidence, they cannot in good conscience rule out the probability that Joseph really was in fact involved.
Of course my personal belief is that the ancient Old Testament prophecies had already foretold Joseph Smith’s involvement thousand of years before it happened, but that is a story of another time. We will address this amazing prophetic narrative in the next podcast.
Since it could be months before I will put the blog post together on Nauvoo polygamy, I have decided to share one testimony right now that I find to be very compelling. I am doing this to demonstrate what the smoke looks like that I am talking about.
Few mainstream Mormons are aware of the historical significance of what I am about to share with you regarding one of the very first instances wherein the attempt to publicly legitimize the doctrine of polygamy within the psyche of the Nauvoo saints was attempted.
This story takes place in 1842.
At this time, a pamphlet titled “The Peace Maker” emerges in Nauvoo.
Here is a more clear depiction of what is said on the front of the pamphlet
This post will not include a detailed analysis of the contents of the pamphlet other than to note that the pamphlet postulates and urgent need to reinstate biblical polygamy. The tone of the thesis seems to incorporate an almost paranoid concern for reestablishing patriarchal authority and male dominance over women, which is presented as the only means by which total social chaos can be avoided and by which peace and happiness can pave the way for the ushering in of the millennium. It presents a very harsh and demeaning view of women and suggests that wives represents property of the husband, similar to how a man might own a horse or cow.
The author listed on the pamphlet is Udney Hay Jacob.
Strangely enough, Udney is a non-member of the church living among the saints in Nauvoo in 1842. (A year later in 1843 he is listed as a member of record)
Hmmm…. So we have a non-member of the church who is living among the Saints in Nauvoo and he is bold enough to publish a pamphlet promoting polygamy that completely contradicts the Book of Mormon and the revelations that had been revealed through Joseph Smith.
Stranger yet is the fact that the pamphlet boldly states on the front of it: “J. Smith, Printer”
One has to wonder how in the world a heretical pamphlet that boldly teaches a contrary doctrine to the teachings of the restored gospel could have ever been published by Joseph Smith’s printing press without him knowing about it.
Even if Joseph smith had an employee running his press, it is hard to imagine him printing something like that without getting permission from Joseph Smith to do so. Printing such a pamphlet without permission from Joseph smith sounds like a great way to get fired to me.
When it was published, the public blowback in Nauvoo from it’s contents was so great, that Joseph Smith quickly made a public declaration to distance himself from it.
Joseph Smith denounced the pamphlet in the December 1, 1842 issue of Times and Seasons, the official church newspaper of the day, writing:
There was a book printed at my office, a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacobs, on marriage, without my knowledge; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish to have my name associated with the authors, in such an unmeaning rigmarole of nonsence [nonsense], folly, and trash. JOSEPH SMITH.
Technically, it would have been Sidney Rigdon’s responsibility to scripturally debunk the pamphlet but Sidney had been silenced during this period of time.
Although Joseph had become very biblically knowledgeable in his own right by this time, and had begun delivering many doctrinal discourses by this time, he curiously did not take the opportunity to scripturally debunk the claims in the pamphlet to show why it was in error.
The whole thing simply seems very strange o me.
Those who claim that Joseph did not have any knowledge of it at the time it was printed claim that he had been out of town during much of the time period in which it was written, yet, it seems rather odd that Joseph did not present that fact in his own defense. Rather he simply stated that “he had not been apprised of it.”
The implication was that he was available to be apprised of it.
“..and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it..”
One of the most compelling testimonies that I have ever read concerning this very strange episode during the dark days of Nauvoo comes from the life and confessions of of John P. Lee who makes the following disclosure about the event:
During the winter Joseph, the Prophet, set a man by the name of Sidney Hay Jacobs to select from the Old Bible scriptures as pertained to polygamy, or celestial marriage, to write it in pamphlet form, and to advocate that doctrine. This he did as a feeler among the people, to pave the way for celestial marriage.
This, like all other notions, met with opposition, while a few favored it.
The excitement among the people became so great that the subject was laid before the Prophet.
No one was more opposed to it than was his brother Hyrum, who denounced it as from beneath. Joseph saw that it would break up the Church, should he sanction it, so he denounced the pamphlet through the Wasp, a newspaper published at Nauvoo, by E. Robinson, as a bundle of nonsense and trash. He said if he had known its contents he would never have permitted it to be published, while at the same time other confidential men were advocating it on their own responsibility.
Joseph himself said on the stand, that should he reveal the will of God concerning them, that they, pointing to President W. Marks, P. P. Pratt, and others, would shed his blood. He urged them to surrender themselves to God
instead of rebelling against the stepping atone of their exaltation. In this way he worked upon the feelings and minds of the people, until they feared that the anger of the Lord would be kindled against them, and they insisted upon knowing the will of Heaven concerning them.”
Ok, now we are getting somewhere.
A much more believable historical narrative begins to emerge with this testimony.
Yes, it was many years later when Lee shared the reminiscence, but that does not mean that he did not remember it or that it did not happen as remembered.
Who was John P. Lee?
Lee was intimately involved in the LDS restoration movement and was an official scribe for the Council of 50 in Nauvoo.
“he worked towards establishing several new communities there. Some of those communities included Lee’s Ferry and Lonely Dell Ranch, located near Page, Arizona. A successful and resourceful farmer and rancher, in 1856, Lee became a United States Indian Agent in the Iron County, Utah area, where he was assigned to help Native Americans establish farms.”
“In 1874, Lee was arrested and tried for leading the [Mountain Meadows] Massacre. The first trial ended inconclusively with a hung jury, seemingly because of the prosecution’s attempt to portray Brigham Young as the true mastermind of the massacre.
A second trial in 1877, in which the prosecution placed the blame squarely on Lee’s shoulders, ended with his conviction and he was sentenced to death. Lee never denied his own complicity, but claimed he had not personally killed anyone.
He said he had been a vocally reluctant participant and later a scapegoat meant to draw attention away from other Mormon leaders who were also involved. (ref)
Following the emergence of the Peacemaker pamphlet by Udney Jacobs, on August 12th 1843, Councilman Dunbar Wilson,
“made inquiry in relation to the subject of plurality of wives as there were rumors respecting it, and he was satisfied there was something in those remarks and he wanted to know what it was.”
By this time, over a year later, Hyrum had accepted the doctrine and was probably relieved to just get the secret practice out in the open. He read the revelation on polygamy to the High Council.
After reading it, he made the following declaration according to one of the members of the High Council:
“Now, you that believe this revelation and go forth and obey the same shall be saved, and you that reject it shall be damned” (See “The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes” by John S. Dinger)
According to some historians, Joseph Smith was actually present before the high council when Hyrum read the revelation ( Ref )
Three members of that High Council rejected the revelation causing a division among the council members. They were, William Marks, Leonard Soby, and Austin Cowles.
Udney Jacobs Claimed that he Wrote the Pamphlet
One of the arguments used by those who are defending Joseph Smith’s innocence is the fact that Jacobs, who followed Brigham Young to Utah had written Brigham Young a letter to clear up a misunderstanding in which the following statement was made:
I cannot imagine why you suspected me unless it was that I wrote a pamphlet some years since entitled the Peace Maker—you have certainly a wrong idea of that matter. I was not then a member of this Church, and that pamphlet was not written for this people [the Latter Day Saints] but for the citizens of the United States who professed to believe the Bible. (Brigham Young University Studies 9 [Autumn 1968]: 52–53)
The notion that Udney had written the pamphlet to the God-fearing Christians in America who professed to believe the Bible is laughable.
It was the belief in New Testament Christianity and what it says about the importance of a Bishop (who is an example to the flock) having just one wife, that resulted in the wholesale rejection of polygamy by the American people! Indeed it was a public outcry against polygamy by the American people that eventually fueled the governments actions against the polygamous saints in Utah.
Imagine a person living during that period of time who is so devoid of social context and out of touch with reality that they would write a pamphlet like that to the American people!
If that is not brain-numbing enough, imagine such an author deciding to publish it to the protestant population of the United States from the heart of Mormonism with Joseph Smith listed as the printer!
Really well thought out don’t you think?
Such reasoning is insane.
Although Udney claims that he was not even Mormon at the time that he wrote it, it may not be coincidental that it incorporated doctrinal concepts being promoted by Joseph Smith at that time. Here is an observation by historian Lawrence Foster
The “Preface” to the Peace Maker further indicates that the goal of the account is “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children” and vice versa as indicated in Malachi 4:5-6 and that the author of the account professes to stand in relation to the coming millennium as Elijah did to Christ’s first coming. These two claims were strikingly similar to those being developed at the time by Joseph Smith as the underlying rationale for temple sealing ceremonies connected in part with polygamy.
And polygamy was one of the last major practices which must be restored before the millennium could be ushered in. In an exhortatory conclusion, the Peace Maker declares:
The truth on this important matter is now clearly set before you my countrymen:. . . . The question is not now to be debated whether these things are so: neither is it a question of much importance who wrote this book? But the question, the momentous question is; will you now restore the law of God on this important subject, and keep it? Remember that the law of God is given b y inspiration of the Holy Ghost . Speak not a word against it at your peril . .. . (p . 37 ;
It is difficult to imagine that Udney was not intimately familiar with Mormon religious constructs while he was supposedly writing to a non-Mormon audience. It is also notable that the pamphlet is addressing yet another theme that Joseph Smith was suggesting during this period of time, namely that of restoring ancient practices from previous dispensations!
The interrelationship between the religious dogma in the pamphlet and that which Joseph Smith was beginning to teach in his secret meetings is undeniable.
Oliver Olney, a member of the church living in Nauvoo at the time expressed his opinion
“If the pamphlet was not written by the authorities of the Church, it by them was revised in Jacobs [sic] name.”
Oliver Olney and and John D. Lee are not alone in claiming that Joseph Smith was the one behind the pamphlet. In 1850, a Mormon Elder by the name of Paul Harrison of Manchester, England, printed copies of the first chapter of the Peace Maker and attributed it to Joseph Smith’s authorship.
He gave public lectures upon the subject and sold the pamphlets which created a great commotion in the British Mission. This created great embarrassment to the church since all statements linking the Mormon Church with belief in or practice of polygamy were being emphatically denied at the time.
Apparently Harrison was excommunicated from the church because of his claims. Interestingly, in his letter of July 29, 1850 to church leaders asking to be readmitted into the church was notably missing any denial of the truthfulness of his assertions about the authorship of the pamphlet.
Paul Harrison would be arrested sixteen years later for bigamy. How he obtained a copy of the pamphlet in 1850 in Britain and his relationship with the church and his knowledge of the origins of the Peacemaker pamphlet remains obscure.
When Was the Source Material Originally Written?
Historian Lawrence Foster observes
Significantly, however, Smith defended the author’s right to publish
such opinions. And more importantly, he did not make any criticisms of the extraordinary claims to authority made by the pamphlet—claims that in effect would have threatened to supercede his own leadership.
Nevertheless, the fact that Udney mysteriously joins the church a year later after being publicly rebuked and humiliated by Joseph Smith seems somewhat unlikely unless there was in fact a hidden storyline in the back ground.
If in fact Joseph Smith had Udney Jacobs publish his pamphlet as a “feeler” to see if the Mormon people would be receptive or could be groomed to accept the doctrine, Udney would have been sworn to secrecy by the prophet for the rest of his life. Obviously Udney would not betray the prophet in later years.
The author who is attempting to keep Joseph Smith’s reputation untarnished from the crime of polygamy also points out that Joseph was out of town much of the time during this time period in which the pamphlet was printed.
I don’t find that significant or compelling.
If in fact Joseph was daring enough to orchestrate this controversial feeler, which had the potential for tearing the church apart, it would make sense that he would want to have it appear as if he not in town and therefore could not have been involved. It is naïve to think Joseph could not have worked through other people to accomplish this thing.
Udney Had Written a Letter to President Martin Van Buren
Another point made by those that deny Joseph Smith’s involvement is that Udney had written the source material from which the pamphlet was taken before joining the church.
Udney had written President Marin Van Buren requesting finances to publish the manuscript from which the peacemaker was written.
“March 19, 1840—Udney Jacob wrote a lengthy letter to President Martin Van Buren, requesting him to provide finances to publish his manuscript of The Peace Maker, which he had already written.”
How likely is it that an anti-Mormon is writing the President of the United States to request money to publish a pamphlet promoting polygamy as the foundational doctrine of ushering in the millennium?
Public sentiment and established laws were clearly against the practice of polygamy. Indeed the US government would end up harassing the saints for practicing that abomination.
I am not suggesting that the letter was never written to the President of the United States. I am suggesting that the logic behind such an act is pure absurdity. I am suggesting that perhaps it was a ploy of a well thought-out plan to conceal the truth behind the intent of the publication.
I don’t see that as being significant proof that Joseph Smith did not use Udney to put out a feeler.
It makes sense that someone who already passionately believed in the principle of polygamy would approach Joseph Smith with the thesis to get his opinion and approval and possibly to even get him to inquire of the Lord about the doctrine. It would provide Joseph with a great opportunity to put out a feeler without being directly identified as the original author of much of the content of the pamphlet.
The Bible informs us that when people approach God’s prophets with questions based on the idolatry in their hearts, they will get an answer to match their corrupt expectations.
Such a petition would provide Joseph Smith with the prime opportunity to put out the feeler in such a way as to make it appear that he had no personal involvement.
Yes, I know what the “Joseph Smith Never Practiced Polygamy” crowd would say about the testimony of John D. Lee.
They would probably say that he was the adopted son of Brigham Young’s that embraced polygamy and followed Brigham to Utah, hence he is not a credible witness. He was just part of the grand conspiracy to falsely blame Joseph Smith for introducing polygamy among the saints.
The Relationship between John D. Lee and Brigham Young
It is true that John D. Lee was a very close friend of Brigham Young. Indeed, he had been sealed into Brigham’s spiritual family during the bizarre events of the sealing men to men craze in Nauvoo.
Although Lee was very close friends with Brigham Young for most of his adult life, he hated Brigham Young with a passion at the time that he wrote his confessions.
This is because he was sitting on death row waiting to be executed by a firing squad for the crime he committed relative to the mountain meadows massacre.
John D. Lee blamed his predicament and upcoming execution on Brigham Young.
He felt that Young had betrayed their friendship and thrown him under the bus, choosing him to be the scapegoat for the crimes committed in the attack.
On March 23, 1877, Lee was executed by firing squad at Mountain Meadows on the site of the 1857 massacre. His last words included a reference to Young: “I do not believe everything that is now being taught and practiced by Brigham Young. I do not care who hears it. It is my last word… I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner.”
On April 20, 1961, the LDS Church posthumously reinstated Lee’s membership in the church.
Much of his expose was very accusatory and belittling towards Brigham Young. If anyone wanted to expose Brigham’s supposed polygamy conspiracy to falsely blame polygamy on Joseph Smith, it would have been John D. Lee, but this did not happen.
Because there was no conspiracy.
IMO the countless women that swore that they had been sealed to Joseph Smith were not lying, they were telling the truth.
John D. Lee was getting ready to meet his maker. He had no reason to lie for Brigham Young or anyone else just weeks before he would face the firing squad.
Most God-fearing people do not lie about these kinds of really important things when they are about to be transferred into the next world.
I believe John P. Lee was telling the truth about Joseph Smith’s involvement in using the Peace Maker Pamphlet as a feeler.
Admittedly, his testimony is only a second hand testimony and it would be considered “smoke” instead of “fire“.
But where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Especially if there is LOTS of smoke.
If Lee’s testimony was the only pointing a finger at Joseph Smith I wouldn’t even pay any attention to it. The point is, that there are countless testimonies by other people as well. It is the cumulative testimony of the masses that makes each individual testimony so powerful.
In my upcoming post I will show just how much smoke there is that points to the fire.
Here is the account Lee provides about how he first learned about polygamy in Nauvoo, see if you think it is fabricated:
One day the Chief of Police came to me and said that I must take two more policemen that he named, and watch the house of a widow woman named Clawson.
She was the mother of H. B. Clawson, of Salt Lake City. I was informed that a man went there nearly every night about ten o’clock, and left about day light. I was also ordered to station myself and my men near the house, and when the man came out we were to knock him down and castrate him, and not to be careful how hard we hit, for it would not be enquired into if we killed him.
I did not believe that the Chief of Police knew just what he was doing. I felt a timidity about carrying out the orders. It was my duty to report all unusual orders that I received from my superiors on the police force, to the Prophet Joseph Smith, or in his absence, to Hyrum, next in authority.
I went to the house of the Prophet to report, but he was not at home. I then called for Hyrum, and he gave me an interview. I told him the orders that I had received from the Chief, and asked him if I should obey or not. He said to me, “Brother Lee, you have acted wisely in listening to the voice of the Spirit. It was the influence of God’s Spirit that sent you here. You would have been guilty of a great crime if you had obeyed your Chief’s orders.”
Hyrum then told me that the man that I was ordered to attack was Howard Egan, and that he had been sealed to Mrs. Clawson, and that their marriage was a most holy one; that it was in accordance with a revelation that the Prophet had recently received direct from God.
He then explained to me fully the doctrines of polygamy, and wherein it was permitted, and why it was right. I was greatly interested in the doctrine. It accorded exactly with my views of the Scripture, and I at once accepted and believed in the doctrine as taught by the revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Prophet.
As a matter of course I did not carry out the orders of the Chief. I had him instructed in his duty, and so Egan was never bothered by the police. A few months after that I was sealed to my second wife. I was sealed to her by Brigham Young, then one of the Twelve.
In less than one year after I first learned the will of God concerning the marriage of the Saints, as made known by Him in a revelation to Joseph Smith, I was the husband of nine wives. I took my wives in the following order: first, Agathe Ann Woolsey; second, Nancy Berry; third, Louisa Free (now one of the wives of Daniel H. Wells); fourth, Sarah C. Williams; fifth, old Mrs. Woolsey (she was the mother of Agathe Ann and Rachel A. I married her for her soul’s sake, for her salvation in the eternal state); sixth, Rachel A. Woolsey (I was sealed to her at the same time that I was to her mother); seventh, Andora Woolsey (a sister to Rachel); eighth, Polly Ann Workman; ninth, Martha Berry”
At the time that Lee was putting his confessions into writings, Brigham young had recently declared that Joseph Smith 3rd was no longer qualified to lead the church now that he was of age because he denied the law of polygamy.
As an alternate plan, Brigham Young was grooming his sons John and Brigham anticipating that one of them would take his place as the president of the Church.
To show the animosity of Lee toward Young and his sons, and the rejection of Joseph Smith 3rd, here is what he had to say about that:
I heard Mother Smith, the mother of Joseph the Prophet, plead with Brigham Young, with tears, not to rob young Joseph of his birthright, which his father, the Prophet, bestowed upon him previous to his death. That young Joseph was to succeed his father as the leader of the Church, and it was his right in the line of the priesthood.
“I know it,” replied Brigham, “don’t worry or take any trouble, Mother Smith; by so doing you are only laying the knife to the throat of the child. If it is known that he is the rightful successor of his father, the enemy of the Priesthood will seek his life. He is too young to lead this people now, but when he arrives at mature age he shall have his place. No one shall rob him of it.
This conversation took place in the Masonic Hall at Nauvoo, in 1846. Several persons were then present. In the meantime Brigham had sought to establish himself as the leader of this Church. Many years, however, passed away before he dared assume or claim to be the rightful successor of Joseph, the Seer, Prophet, and Revelator to the Church.
When the time came, according to his own words, for Joseph to receive his own, Joseph came, but Brigham received him not. He said, as an excuse, that Joseph had not the true spirit. – That his mother had married a Gentile lawyer, and had infused the Gentile spirit into him. That Joseph denied the doctrine of his father, celestial marriage. Brigham closed the door and barred him from preaching in the Tabernacle, and raised a storm of persecution against him.
He took Joseph’s cousin, George A. Smith, as his first counselor. This he did as a matter of policy to prevent George A. from using his influence in favor of Joseph as the leader of the people, which he otherwise would have done. He also ordained John Smith, the son of Hyrum the Patriarch, to the office of Patriarch to the Church, and his brother Joseph F. Smith, to the office of one of the Twelve Apostles, thus securing their influence and telling them that had young Joseph been willing, to act in harmony with them, the heads of the Church, he could have had his place, but that he was too much of a Gentile ever to lead this people.
Brigham said he had some hopes that David, a brother of young Joseph, when he became older, might occupy the place of his father, but Joseph never would. In this low, cunning, intriguing way he blinded the eyes of the people, and gained another advantage over them in establishing himself and family at the head of the Church, as the favored of the Lord. Strange as it may appear, yet it is true, that many of this people are blind to the intrigues of this heartless impostor.
They suffer themselves to be bound in fetters of bondage, and surrender the last principle of manhood and independence, and make themselves slaves to that corrupt usurper and his profligate family, who have robbed the fatherless, and usurped the right to rule that belongs to another; and who has been trying to put his profligate sons at the head of this Church, to rule. over this people.
Now let us for a moment divest ourselves of fanaticism, which is the result of ignorance, and look from the stand-point of justice and reason, and compare the conduct and character of the two families. Young Joseph, the legal heir of the Prophet, because he denies polygamy, or celestial marriage, is accused of not following in the footsteps of his father, which Brigham says renders him unworthy to be a leader of this people.
How much better is Brigham’s son, John W. Young? Has he followed in the footsteps of the Prophet? Every one acquainted with his heartless conduct must answer, No! On the contrary, he turned away the bride of his youth, and his offspring by her, and also his other wives that were given him in the celestial order of marriage, and then took up with an actress from the stage! A woman not even of the faith of the Mormon Church.
Notwithstanding all this he is put forward by his father, Brigham, as his right-hand man, to guide the destinies of this Church and people. Oh! consistency, where art thou! and justice! where hast thou fled! Have this people lost their understanding? Does it require inspiration to detect the fraud and injustice at the bottom of this move? I think not.
But it does require a great deal more fanaticism than I want to possess to sake me believe that God or justice has anything to do with it. I am honest in saying that it is from beneath, and none but a depraved, heartless wretch, would stoop so low as to use religion as a cloak to dupe and deceive the people.
To accomplish so corrupt a purpose he has robbed the rich and the poor of this people. He has made them pay tithes and tributes to himself. He has made himself rich and waxed fat, until he really imagines himself to be the Lord’s vicegerent here on earth, and that no one has the right to interfere with him. He is above the law – he is the Lord’s anointed! Oh! vain man, go hide thyself, and consider from whom thou hast received the succession, and through whose hard earnings thou hast been made rich.
I must not forget to make mention of the qualifications of young Briggy, the son of the present leader of the Church. He is considered by his father fully qualified to be his successor; to stand at the head of the Church and lead the Saints. This amiable son of the Prophet Brigham, while on a mission to England, concluded that he would measure arms with Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, by driving as many horses as she did to her carriage.
This was a violation of law. The Queen very soon gave Prince Briggy to understand that she was the ruler of that kingdom; that it his father could measure arms with the President of the United States, his son could not do so with her.
Prince Brig was shut up in jail, and there he was to remain until the fine for his offence was paid. I have been told that $26,000 were paid from the perpetual emigration fund for his release. This emigration fund is collected from the people for the gathering together of poor saints, but the liberty of this worthy young man was of more consequence than the gathering in of poor saints.
Perhaps it is this ambitious act of the Prophet’s son that has qualified him to act as a leader! How does the character of Smith’s sons compare with that of Brigham Young’s sons? The one were peaceable, law-abiding citizens, the others are spendthrifts and ambitious, regardless of law or order – just like their father, full of self-esteem, miserly and bigoted.
I remember twenty years ago, among the first members of the Church, it was all the talk that young Joseph would soon take the leadership of the Church, as the rightful successor of his father, the Prophet. At that time it never was thought that Brigham Young intended to hold the place permanently, and establish himself and profligate family at the head of the Church, as he has done, to make slaves of the Saints, to keep and support himself and worthless sons.
The Saints have suffered themselves to be led step by step downward, lulled to sleep by false promises and phantoms that can never be realized. They are powerless, and having lost their self-control, they cannot resist the charms by which the serpent captivates his victims and holds them fast under his influence. Oh! that I had the power of speech to touch the understanding of my brethren and sisters, to wake them from the stupor and lethargy that has overcome them, through the subtle cunning of the devil, that I fear has already made the bonds of many of them so strong they can never loose them…” (See the complete manuscript here)
As you can see, there is no love lost between John Lee and Brigham Young.
Again, IMO the Peacemaker pamphlet and the testimony of John P Lee regarding it’s origin does not conclusively prove that Joseph Smith was involved in polygamy.
I consider it to be “smoke” not “fire“.
However, the countless other events and testimonies that I will be organizing into a chronological listing represents so much smoke, that there must surely be the probability of fire.
Nevertheless, with all of the empirical circumstantial evidence of Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy, the thing that makes it all so compelling to me is the prophetic Biblical profile of God’s end times servant that is provided in the ancient prophecies.
One of them informs us that after he “appoints” the gathering place for “Israel” to be “planted“, “establishes his kingdom” and builds the “house” for God’s “name“, he would “commit iniquity” and be “chasten[ed] with the rod of men“.
The remarkable ending declaration of the prophecy is that despite the committing of iniquity, the Lord’s “mercy” “shall not depart away from him“. (2nd Sam 7)
Isaiah reveals the great secret as to why God’s servant is retained within God’s mercy despite the great iniquity that he commits.
Notice how the following passage from Isaiah 29 has been corrected in both the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Revision of the Bible:
5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity. 2 Nephi 27:5
For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets and your rulers; and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquities. JST Isa 29:10
Another ancient prophecy in Malachi informs us that initially, God’s servant would first have God’s “covenant” of “love and peace” with him and the “law of truth” would be “in his mouth” with no “iniquity.. found in his lips“.
However, after that, Malachi foretells that this same servant of the covenant “departed out of the way” and “caused many to stumble at the law“. He “corrupted the covenant of Levi” which made him “contemptible and base before all the people” because he was “partial in the law“.
During this departure from the truth, God’s servant “dealt treacherously” with the “wife of his youth” who was the “wife of [his] covenant” (See Malachi 2)
I believe the above prophecies are speaking of Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith is clearly viewed as being “contemptible and base before all the people” of the world.
However those that dig deep enough into God’s holy word, realize that God’s” “mercy” never “depart[ed] away from. His eyes were simply “covered” because he was standing in the gap and acting as an intercessor as did Moses.
This amazing biblical profile of Joseph Smith answers a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and many of the strange events that took place during his ministry. We will be addressing this topic in our next podcast.