Yesterday, two new essays about polygamy became available on the LDS Church’s official website, joining a third that appeared late last year.
The third time, the angel brought a sword to drive home the point.
Joseph wed Fanny Alger; whether his first wife Emma knew about it is unclear.
4) Many plural marriages were contracted without the first wife’s consent.
“Emma likely did not know about all of Joseph’s sealings,” the statement tells us.
So if you’re looking for wise, informed, well-modulated reactions to the news, check out Julie Smith’s cognitive-dissonance-free take on the polygamy statements at “I think the odd confluence of 1950s American corporate culture, historical amnesia, and rapid world-wide growth led Mormonism to advance the idea that a CEO-like prophet got regular memos from God, bullet-pointed with precise operating instructions designed to maximize return for the next quarter.
Diligent work by historians, now disseminated instantly and internationally, shows that that vision isn’t quite precise.” Some TBMs may be uncomfortable with all of the provisional, hesitant language of the polygamy statements, especially the one on Kirtland and Nauvoo.
That timid little word “may” sure got a workout there.
But “may” is actually where we’ve lived for a long time in understanding polygamy, even if we imagined we had the answers.
Joseph received a revelation in 1843 that said that while a first wife was supposed be consulted, if she refused to accept the plural marriage then the husband was “exempt from the law of Sarah.” In other words, he could go on ahead with or without his wife’s blessing.
5) Most of Smith’s wives were between the ages of 20 and 40, but he also married teenagers.
In what is perhaps the statement’s cagiest moment, plural wife Helen Mar Whitney is described as having been sealed to Joseph “several months before her 15th birthday,” rather than “at age 14.” How have Mormons responded to the statements?