In Edmund Spenser's classic Middle English allegory Fairie
Queen, Lust is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Six of the Seven
Deadly Sins ride on animals. Satan, walking at the head of the
parade, is guilty of pride, the worst sin. Lust rides on a goat.
The Greek word "tragedy" literally means "goat's song," and human
tragedy itself is directly related to sexual lust. Only by being a
Christian and by having the Holy Spirit infuse one, can the ends of
lust be conquered.
The exact number of women whom Mormonism founder Joe Smith
copulated while being married to Emma, his only legal wife under
USA law, is unknown. In 1887, assistant LDS historian Andrew Jenson
made a list of 27 women who were "sealed" to Joe Smith
(Historical Record, vol. 6, page 233). Mormon author John J.
Stewart put the number "three to four dozen or more" (Brigham
Young and His Wives, 1961, pp. 30-31). Fawn Brodie put the
number at 48 (Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History,
Alfred A. Knopf, 1946, pp. 434-65). Former BYU professor D. Michael
Quinn put it at 46, and George D. Smith put it at 43 (Todd Compton,
In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Salt
Lake City: Signature Books, 1997).
The youngest girl whom Smith "married" and copulated was
fourteen-year-old Helen Mar Kimball (Ibid., p. 487). As with most
of the other women, Smith hid his adultery with her from Emma.
Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of the Journal of Mormon
History, wrote, "I was shocked and disgusted to discover that
Joseph Smith married a fourteen-year-old girl, fully consummated
that marriage, and concealed it from Emma. My image of "prophet"
did not accommodate this kind of behavior. I could not begin to
find holy motives for such behavior" ("The Garden God Hath Planted:
Explorations Toward a Maturing Faith," Sunstone, October
1990, pp. 26-27).
With his "church" flunkies, Joe Smith freely talked about his
stable of women, and he ranked them according to the sexual
pleasure they gave him. William Law, who was a Second Counselor to
the LDS "church," recalled a conversation in which Smith discussed
a particular woman who had given him the best sex:
"Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me
one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more
pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was
horrible to talk like this" ("Interview with William Law. March 30,
1887," Daily Tribune: Salt Lake City, July 31, 1887).
Lewdness was nothing new to Smith, as he had had a long history
of being lewd. All of the following quotations are taken from
Richard C. Evans book Forty Years in the Mormon Church-Why I Left It! (Toronto, Canada, 1920):
Dr. McIntyre, family physician of the Smiths in Manchester, N.
Y., declared that the house of Joseph Smith, Sen., was a perfect
Eza Pierce, Samantha Payne and other school-mates of the Smiths
testify that Smith was lewd, and so were the family.
Levi Lewis testifies that while Smith was pretending to
translate the plates, he tried to seduce Eliza Winters, declaring
that adultery was no sin.
Eli Johnson led a mob against Smith for being intimate with his
sister, Marinda, who afterwards married Orson Hyde. Brigham Young
twitted Hyde with this fact, and Hyde put away his wife.
Fanny Brewer testifies that Smith had serious trouble in
Kirtland arising from his seducing an orphan girl.
Mr. Moreton told his daughter and her husband that Emma Smith
detected Joseph in adultery with a girl by the name of Knight, and
that Joseph confessed the crime to the officers of the church.
In his book, Todd Compton notes that a full one-third of the
women Smith "married" were already married to other men when Smith
"A common misconception concerning Joseph Smith's polyandry is
that he participated in only one or two such unusual unions. In
fact, fully one-third of his plural wives, eleven of them, were
married civilly to other men when he married them. If one
superimposes a chronological perspective, one sees that of Smith's
first twelve wives, nine were polyandrous (Compton, pp. 15-16).
A full one-third of the women Smith copulated were other men's
wives. Soft-headed people can term it "celestial marriage," or the
"Blessings of Jacob," but it is really just old fashioned adultery
The sex with Adam Lightner's wife, Mary Elizabeth Rollins
Lightner, must have been especially pleasurable. Smith said that
all of the devils in hell couldn't keep him from her. Mrs. Lightner
"Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the
Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in
the Masonic Hall, over the old brick store by Brigham Young in
February 1842 and then again in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C.
Kimball. . . ." (Affidavit of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, as
quoted in No Man Knows My History, p. 444).
Smith and Emily Partridge copulated, as Todd Compton notes,
"Emily Partridge Young said she 'roomed' with Joseph the night
following her marriage to him, and said that she had 'carnal
intercourse' with him."
"Other early witnesses also affirmed this. Benjamin Johnson
wrote: 'On the 15th of May . . . the Prophet again Came and at my
hosue [house] ocupied [sic] the Same Room & Bed with my sister
that the month previous he had ocupied with the Daughter of the
Later [late?] Bishop Partridge as his wife.' According to Joseph
Bates Noble, Smith told him he had spent a night with Louisa Beaman
. . . many of Joseph's wives affirmed that they were married to him
for eternity and time, with sexuality included." (Compton, pp.
Emma was "devastated" when she discovered Joe Smith and Eliza
Partridge in an upstairs bedroom (Richard Van Wagoner, Sidney
Rigdon, a Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books, SLC,
1994, p. 293).
The following excerpt is from a letter Joe Smith wrote when he
wanted to arrange a tryst with Newel K. Whitney's daughter Sarah
Ann, whom Smith had secretly "married." It reveals Smith's
cloak-and-dagger approach to his extramarital affairs:
" . . . the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when
Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there
is the most perfect safty. . . . Only be careful to escape
observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick
undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the more Joy,
when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on
paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up
in your breasts, my life depends upon it. . . . I close my letter,
I think emma wont come tonight if she dont dont fail to come to
night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, and affectionate,
companion, and friend. Joseph Smith." (Compton, p. 350)
As Smith's comments indicate, he took extraordinary measures to
cover his tracks. Several months later, Smith, without having any
legal authority, performed a "pretended" marriage ceremony between
Sarah Ann Whitney and Joseph C. Kingsbury so that his own trysts
with her would go unnoticed (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The
Changing World of Mormonism, 1981, p. 243).
Mormonism authorities Jerald and Sandra Tanner note about
Smith's behavior, "That a man professing to be a prophet of God
would perform a 'pretended' marriage to cover up his own iniquity
is almost beyond belief." (Ibid.).
In 1838, Joe Smith illegally married Lucinda Pendelton Harris,
who confided to Sarah Pratt that she had been Smith's mistress for
four years (Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits: Joseph Smith the
Prophet, His Family and His Friends, Salt Lake City: n.p.,
1886, p. 60). Lucinda was married to George Washington Harris when
Smith committed adultery with her January 12, 1831.
Smith illegally married Prescindia Huntington Buell December 11,
1841, while she was four years into her marriage with Norman Buell
(Brodie, p. 462). Smith also "married" Clarissa Reed Hancock, the
wife of Levi Hancock, and likely impregnated her while her legal
husband was serving on a mission (Brodie, p. 464).
Besides the common adulteries, Smith was also involved in other
types of Biblically forbidden marriages, such as marrying both a
mother and a daughter, as in his illegal marriages to Patty
Sessions and her daughter Sylvia (Brodie, p. 336).
In History of the Saints, John C. Bennett, who was a
mayor of Nauvoo, related Joe Smith's attempt to have sexual
intercourse with Sarah M. Pratt, the wife of Orson Pratt, professor
of mathematics at the University of the City of Nauvoo:
"Well," said he, 'I shall approach her, for there is no harm in
it if she submits to be cloistered, and if her husband should never
find it out; and if she should expose me, as she did Bishop Knight,
I will blast her character; so there is no material risk for so
desirable a person.'" (John C. Bennett, History of the
Saints, 1842, pp. 226-234).
Smith was ready to "blast" her character and lie about her if
she told anybody. After Smith visited her on a pretext and
propositioned her with his "Blessings of Jacob" line, she told her
husband, who was one of the original twelve Mormon apostles. When
Orson Pratt complained about Joe Smith's sexual advances on his
wife, Smith had Orson Pratt excommunicated August 20, 1842 (Robert
Bruce Flanders, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi, Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1965, pp. 269-70).
On another occasion, when Smith had offered Bennett money to
procure Nancy Rigdon, Bennett turned Smith down. Smith then
cornered Nancy in a room, pulled his "Blessings of Jacob" routine,
and told her that she would still be free to marry other men after
their copulation. When Smith tried to force himself on her and kiss
her, she threatened to scream.
According to William Law, John C. Bennett and others, Smith used
flunkies who were willing to lie and defame any woman who rebuffed
Smith's invitation to fornication. Immediately after Nancy rebuffed
Smith on June 28, 1842, Smith had a character named Stephen Markham
swear to an affidavit lying about seeing Nancy engaged immorally
with a man. Smith wanted to lie and defame her character, just as
he told Bennett he would "blast" Mrs. Pratt's character. Sidney
Rigdon, John F. Olney, Carlos Gove, General W. Robinson and Henry
Marks then signed certificates attesting to Nancy's high moral
After Smith had tried to debauch Nancy and had sent a flunky to
lie about her character, her father, Sidney Rigdon, had a falling
out with Smith. Although he was a first counselor to Smith's
"church," Rigdon denounced Smith. Sidney Rigdon wrote:
"The leaders of the church were monsters in human form; that
Joseph was cut off for his transgression, that Joseph Smith
departed from the living God, and like David and Solomon he
contracted a whoring spirit and that the Lord smote him off from
the earth" (Evans, p. 91).
While Smith was copulating with married women, he was publicly
lying about it and hypocritically kicking others out of his
"church" for doing the same thing that he was doing. The Bible says
that all liars will go to hell (Revelation 21:8), yet lying was a
small matter to Smith. According to the Bible, an unrepentant adulterer will also go to hell (Proverbs 6:32, Matthew 5:27-32, I. Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21).
In the Mormon publication Times and Seasons, Joe Smith
and his brother gave notice of kicking Hiram Brown out of the
"church" for preaching polygamy:
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1844.
As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the
Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram
Brown, has been preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt
doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.
This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has
been cut off from the church, for his iniquity; and he is further
notified to appear at the Special Conference, on the 6th of April
next, to make answer to these charges.
Presidents of said Church.
Smith's periodical Times and Seasons made another denial:
"We are charged with advocating a plurality of wives, and common
property. Now this is as false as the many other ridiculous charges
which are brought against us . . . we do what others do not,
practice what we preach" (vol. 4, p. 143).
The Mormon periodical Millennial Star also denied
polygamy: "But, for the information of those who may be assailed by
those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such
principle ever existed among the Latter-day Saints, and never will
. . . the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants; and also all our
periodicals are very strict on that subject, indeed far more so
than the bible" (vol. 3, p. 74).
The following appeared in the May 1, 1845 Times and
Seasons (vol. 6, p. 894):
"Sidney Rigdon, I see by the papers, has made an exposition of
Mormonism, charging Joseph Smith and the Mormons with polygamy,
&c. . . . As to the charge of polygamy, I will quote from the
Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is the subscribed faith of
the church and is strictly enforced. . . . 'Inasmuch as this church
of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and
polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have but
one wife, and one woman but one husband. . . .'"
The Millennial Star (vol. 12, pp. 29-30, c) categorically
denied Smith's involvement in polygamy:
"12th LieJoseph Smith taught a system of polygamy.
"12th Refutation.The Revelations given through Joseph Smith,
state the following. . . . 'We believe that one man should have one
wife.' Doctrine and Covenants, page 331."
Although he was "sealed" to dozens of women and was copulating
with numerous married women, Joe Smith wrote,
"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing
adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am
the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I
can prove them all perjurers" (History of the Church, vol.
6, p. 411).
Austin Cowles, a former First Counselor to the LDS Church, and
William Law, a former Second Counselor, had had enough. They
confronted Smith with his heresy, adultery, and fornication. They
gave him a chance to come clean, but he rebuffed them out of pride.
The two top Mormon counselors then wrote in the Nauvoo
Expositor on June 7, 1844:
". . . but our petitions were treated with contempt; and in
many cases the petitioner spurned from their presence, and
particularly by Joseph, who would state that if he had sinned, and
was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not
make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned; for it would
detract from his dignity, and would consequently ruin and prove the
overthrow of the Church. We would ask him on the other hand, if the
overthrow of the Church was that inevitable, to which he often
replied that we would all go to Hell together and convert it into a
heaven, by casting the Devil out; and says he, Hell is by no means
the place this world of fools suppose it to be, but on the
contrary, it is quite an agreeable place." (Nauvoo Expositor
vol. 1, No. 1, Nauvoo, IL, June 7, 1844)
Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, the youngest girl whom Smith
copulated when Emma wasn't looking, independently corroborated
Smith's belief that he could "turn the devils" out of hell and make
hell a desirable place to live. In her autobiography, she recalled
Joe Smith's words,
"He [Joe Smith] said: "Let me be resurrected with the Saints,
whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, we will turn the
devils out of doors and make a heaven out of it. Where this people
are, there is good society. What do we care where we are, if the
society be good?" (Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Autobiography, c.