|Children of polygamous marriages||
|John C. Bennett|
Nothing in plural marriage mystifies—or troubles—members of the Church more than Joseph's polyandrous sealings. Marriage to multiple wives may seem strange, but at least it intrudes on our historical awareness, while many remain unaware of polyandry's existence in LDS history.
I thus wonder if Joseph's first polyandrous sealing (his second plural marriage, in 1838) was undertaken to protect his relationship with Emma, while still fulfilling the angel's command to implement plurality. After being commanded a third time (in the fall of 1840) did he take one more single wife, and then hope that the "less difficult" polyandrous and levirate marriages would satisfy the commandment? Or, at the very least, were the polyandrous marriages intended to prepare both Emma and the Saints for the numerous, more difficult "single woman" plural marriages that would follow?
Such a reconstruction must remain speculative, especially since very little is known about the polyandrous marriages. It would, however, explain why Joseph chose to enter the "most difficult" or "most risky" marriages first—they would have been, contrary to what we might first expect, the easiest.
This is not to argue, I hasten to add, that such marriages must not or could not involve sexuality. I believe they were legitimate marriages, and as such could easily accommodate righteous marital relations. I find, though, that assuming full sexuality in these relationships makes less sense of the available data.
Is it reasonable to think that Nauvoo plural marriages had different levels of "sexual access"? Modern readers are inclined to think of marriage as mostly—or entirely—about cohabitation, but it is not clear that the early Saints saw things in this way.
For example, Utah-era polygamy had a wide range of marriage types, each of which entailed different responsibilities and degrees of sexual access. Kathryn Daynes has noted the following varieties of LDS marriages:
- Civil marriages (for time only)
- Marriage for time and eternity
- Marriage for eternity only (no sexual access)
- Marriage for time only (i.e., by proxy)
- Marriages of young children (no cohabitation was permitted until the partners were older; such marriages were often never consummated, and were later cancelled when one of the partners chose to marry a different love match).
- "Convenience only" marriages: these unusual arrangements allowed for childless couples to conceive in an era which lacked assisted reproductive technology. Under prophetic approval, the couple would choose a fellow member to marry the childless wife following their own divorce. The new husband would impregnate the spouse, receive a divorce from her, and the childless couple would remarry and raise the child as their own. The "donor" husband had no on-going rights of sexual access or duties to support the wife or child.
It is clear, then, that later polygamy easily contemplated relationships which did not involve sexual access. If Joseph had implemented such variation in Nauvoo, then Brigham Young's later decision to endorse a variety of marriage forms is even more understandable.
The most important evidence against my hypothesis would be children born from polyandrous marriages, or clear evidence of sexual relations in such marriages. Most important is the case of Josephine Lyon, who may be the best candidate for being a polyandrous child. In an effort to further assess my hypothesis regarding polyandry, and to expand our understanding of Nauvoo plurality generally, we will examine the evidence for sexuality and children in Joseph's plural marriages in the following chapter. (On-line here.)
Perhaps nothing is less understood than Joseph Smith's sealings to women already married, because the evidence supports conflicting interpretations.
—Kathryn M. Daynes
Joseph Smith era:
|FAIR Wiki Topical Guide|
|FAIR web site|
|FARMS web site|
In my experience, nothing in plural marriage mystifies—or troubles—members of the Church more than Joseph's polyandrous sealings. Marriage to multiple wives may seem strange, but at least it intrudes on our historical awareness, while many remain unaware of polyandry's existence in LDS history. This variant of plural marriage does not seem to have been a feature of Utah polygamy under Brigham Young and his successors. To complicate the issue further, we understand little about how Joseph and his contemporaries saw these relationships. Mary Elizabeth Rollins seemed to recognize that later students of the period would not have the necessary information to understand her choices as a polyandrous wife: "[I] could explain some things in regard to my living with [my first husband] after becoming the Wife of Another [i.e., Joseph], which would throw light, on what now seems mysterious—and you would be perfectly satisfied with me. I write this; because I have heard that it had been commented on to my injury."
Lacking such perfect satisfaction, we can still offer some tentative observations and conclusions.
The doctrine of sealing and adoption
Plural marriage was one means by which Joseph implemented the broader doctrine of sealing. Ultimately, his intent seems to have been to reunite the human family into a bonded whole. "Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship," observed Richard Bushman, "but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities." Alma Allred agrees with Todd Compton that "[m]arriage, sealing and adoption, in fact, were nearly interchangeable concepts," for Joseph's followers, but criticizes Compton because this principle is "much too important to be relegated to, or lost in a footnote" when discussing Joseph's plural marriages.
Sealing creates new, eternal families, and "[a]s each new family came into being, it became another link in the chain of families stretching back to Adam, who was linked to God. Thus the 'family of God' became more than metaphor." It is but a short step from sealing existing families to extending that privilege outward. Since many, if not most, of the saints would have family outside the church, there was an understandable anxiety that they be included in the new, eternal family being forged by Joseph.
Later in Church history, this was accomplished by adoption, where faithful members would serve as surrogate parents in the divine order. This practice was not without its problems, as many surrogates began to look on their adoption of others as a route to glory and power, both spiritual and temporal, rather than as a service for the family of heaven. Adoption by living non-relatives was eventually replaced by the present practice of sealing members to deceased ancestors, with the expectation that definitive resolution of such matters can await the millennial years.
This expanded understanding, however, was decades in the future. In Joseph's day, the necessity of sealing was clear, and most members did not anticipate having faithful family to whom they could be sealed. The Mormons' anticipation of an imminent end to the world heightened the urgency.
The role of sealing in marriages was clear—as we will see, Joseph may have extended the role of marriage to binding not just his partners, but their spouses and family as well, into the divine family.
Evaluating each polyandrous marriage
Because we know little or nothing about some of Joseph's marriages, some authors succumb to the temptation to treat evidence in one marriage as evidence for them all.9 Each marriage, however, involved unique individuals and situations; we cannot turn them into carbon copies. For ease of discussion, however, we will divide the polyandrous marriages into three groups:
- Spouse is a non-member
- Spouse is a non-faithful LDS
- Spouse is faithful LDS
Group 1: Women with non-member spouses
Ruth Vose Sayers
Three of Joseph's plural marriages involved women who were married to non-member spouses. Of one, Ruth Vose Sayers, we know very little. She married Edward Sayers in 1841, and they had no children. Her husband remained friendly to Joseph Smith, as far as we know, to the end of Joseph's life.
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner was among the earliest converts to the Church. She had married Adam Lightner on 11 August 1835. Following the Haun's Mill massacre, Mary could have escaped General Clark's siege of Far West, since Governor Boggs had ordered the clandestine evacuation of his friend Adam Lightner and family prior to an anticipated assault on Far West. Mary, her husband, and sister-in-law refused the offer to leave, even though Clark insisted that all remaining men, women, and children "were to be destroyed."
Later in life, Mary reported that at age twelve, Joseph Smith "told me [in 1831] about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife." She also described how
- God had Commanded him in July 1834 to take me for a Wife, but he had not dared to make it known to me, for when he received the Revelation; I was in Missouri and when he did see me, I was married. But he was again commanded, to fulfil the first revelation; or Suffer condemnation…
Mary described how "[t]he Prophet Joseph tried hard to get Mr. Lightner to go into the water, but he said he did not feel worthy, but would, some other time. Joseph said to me that he never would be baptized, unless it was a few moments before he died." Despite not being a member, Lightner was a loyal friend to the Saints and to Joseph, and died in Utah.
Of her sealing to Joseph, Mary wrote: "I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Things the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with.”
Sarah Kingsley Howe Cleveland
There is considerable debate as to whether Sarah Kingsley was sealed to Joseph Smith. Danel Bachman's pioneering study on plural marriage argued that there was "little supporting evidence for [her]…inclusion" on a list of Joseph's wives. Todd Compton argues for Sarah's inclusion, since she is included on Andrew Jenson's list of plural wives, had a proxy marriage to Joseph Smith in the temple following the martyrdom, and because Eliza R. Snow is known to have been sealed to Joseph at Sarah's home. Compton holds—and I find his reasoning persuasive—that Joseph's decision to marry Eliza in front of Sarah makes little sense if Sarah had not already been introduced to plural marriage. (Though it must be admitted that Sarah could have been aware of plural marriage, but not practicing it.) Compton's argument is strengthened by the fact that Andrew Jenson also had access to Eliza R. Snow as a witness, so she could have confirmed Sarah's sealing.
Sarah married John Cleveland, her second husband, on 10 June 1826, and she joined the Church in 1835. Her husband never joined the Church, but was a close friend of Joseph's. While Joseph was in Liberty Jail, Emma and her children were welcomed into the Cleveland's Quincy, Illinois home. Following his release in May 1839, Joseph rejoined his family and they remained in Sarah and John's home for three weeks.
While Joseph and most of the Church migrated to the Nauvoo region, the Clevelands remained in Illinois for a time. Though not a member, John continued to provide shelter and help to members of the Church who were victims of persecution. This aid given to the beleaguered Saints led to persecution against John and Sarah, and they eventually moved to Nauvoo.
Sarah served as a counselor to Emma Smith in the Nauvoo Relief Society, and at age 54 was probably sealed to Joseph Smith prior to Eliza R. Snow's marriage on 29 June 1842. It is not known if her husband knew of the sealing, but he remained friendly to Joseph and the Saints.
When Brigham Young and the Saints made plans to move west, Sarah remained behind with her husband. Various explanations for this decision exist, but in one account says that:
- Brigham Young and council…counciled her to stay with her Husband as he was a good man, having shown himself kind ever helping those in need, although for some reason his mind was darkened as to the Gospel. She obey[ed] the council and stayed with her Husband, and was faithfull and true to her religion and died a faithfull member of the Church…
Observations about the first group
Though little is known of one woman, and it is debated whether another ought to be counted as a wife, these histories share some significant elements. All were faithful women who had sacrificed a great deal for the Church. All had a long association with Joseph Smith—he knew them and their families well. All were married to men who were good friends of Joseph's, and remained so until his death. We know little about Edward Sayers, but the other two husbands had made enormous sacrifices for the Saints. Both were willing to risk persecution and death for a religion of which they were not a part.
Given the importance which Joseph placed upon the sealing ordinances, it is not surprising that he wished to assure the salvation of such faithful women. We have only glimpses of Joseph's theology of sealing; it may even be that he hoped that by marrying/sealing these wives, their non-member husbands might also benefit from the blessings of sealing. Lightner and Cleveland were certainly two non-members whom Joseph and the Saints would have hoped to see saved with them.
Group 2: Women with non-faithful LDS spouses
Prescindia Lathrop Huntington Buell and her husband Norman joined the Church in 1836. By 1839, Norman had left the Church, and Prescindia noted that "the Lord gave me strength to Stand alone & keep the faith amid heavy persecution.”
“[I]n 1841 I entered into the New Everlasting Covenant," said Prescindia, "[I] was sealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Seer, and to the best of my ability I have honored plural marriage, never speaking one word against the principle… Never in my life, in this kingdom, which is 44 years, have I doubted the truth of this great work.” Her motivation for the sealing to Joseph is alluded to by Emeline B. Wells:
She knew Joseph to be a man of God, and she had received many manifestations in proof of this, and consequently when he explained to her clearly the knowledge which he had obtained from the Lord, she accepted the sealing ordinance with Joseph as a sacred and holy confirmation.
Two of Prescinda's children have been suggested as potential children by Joseph, though DNA evidence has ruled one child out, and the claim for the other is extremely shaky (see here).
Observations about the second group
According to Emeline, this sealing served as a "holy confirmation," a completion or capstone on a life of faithfulness. As with the wives having non-member spouses, Prescindia's acceptance of sealing seems motivated by a desire to bind her into the family of faithful Saints, destined for exaltation even if her first husband did not continue faithful.
Group 3: Women with faithful LDS spouses
Six (or five, if one doubtful wife is excluded) of Joseph's polyandrous marriages were to women married to faithful LDS men.
Sylvia Sessions Lyon
Sylvia Sessions married Windsor Lyon on 21 April 1838. Joseph Smith performed the ceremony. She was sealed to Joseph Smith on 8 February 1842. Her husband Windsor's reaction is not recorded, but he was a faithful, active member of the Church at the time.
Windsor was excommunicated on 7 November 1842 because he sued stake president William Marks for repayment of a loan (Church members frowned on using secular courts to settle disputes between themselves). Despite his excommunication, Windsor remained on close terms with Joseph; tradition holds that he was "a true friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Sylvia gave birth to a daughter, Josephine, on 8 February 1844, and there is some evidence that Joseph was the father (see here). Regardless, Windsor Lyon remained a close friend and ally of Joseph's—he was called as a witness at the trial of Joseph and Hyrum's assassins.
Brian Hales has recently published work demonstrating that Todd Compton misread the data on Session's first marriage. In Hales' view, Sessions considered herself divorced from her husband, and Joseph is the only viable father for her child. If so, Sessions' marriage to Joseph was not polyandrous, and the evidence for Josephine Lyons being Joseph's child is even stronger. [See: Hales, Brian C. "The Joseph Smith-Sylvia Sessions Plural Sealing: Polyandry or Polygyny?" Mormon Historical Studies 9/1 (Spring 2008): 41–57.]
Windsor was rebaptized on 18 January 1846, and Sylvia was sealed to Joseph by proxy with her husband's permission. She was then sealed to Heber Kimball for time, though she continued to cohabitate with Windsor, who also took a plural wife.
Patty Bartlett Sessions
Sylvia Session's mother Patty joined the Church in 1833, and was sealed to Joseph Smith on 9 March 1842. The reaction of her husband David is unknown, but he remained a faithful member and diligent missionary. He later married a plural wife, which caused difficulties in their marriage.
Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde
Nancy married future apostle Orson Hyde on 4 September 1834. He was involved briefly with apostasy at Far West in the fall of 1838, but had returned to the Church by March 1839 following a dramatic vision in which he saw the consequence of continued rebellion.
Marinda was sealed to Joseph in April 1842, while Orson was on a mission. Only antagonistic accounts of this sealing exist. Of the four reports, two claim that Orson was aware of the sealing, and two claim that he was not.
Contrary to claim, Orson continued to live with Miranda and father children by her.
Very unlikely—no record of others mocking Hyde; Hall is unreliable on other marriages as well. Orson's return to the quorum was in June 1839,, putting Hall's account two years too early for marriage.
|Ann Eliza Young||1876||
Too young to have any first-hand knowledge of Nauvoo, her book's intent was clearly to titillate with stories of polygamous intrigue. Claims that Brigham told Orson that she was only to be his wife for time, and Joseph's for eternity—but this is frankly false, since sealed to Orson in early 1846. She also confuses the temporality, since she describes Hyde "in a furious passion," because "he thought it no harm for him to win the affection of another man's wife… but he did not propose having his rights interfered with even by the holy Prophet whose teachings he so implicitly followed" (326). Yet, Orson did not begin practicing plural marriage until after he knew of Miranda's sealing to Joseph.
|John D. Lee||1877||
||Lee's work was published posthumously and may have been altered by anti-Mormon editor.|
Unique to the Hyde's marriage is the fact that Marinda was sealed to Orson following Joseph's death. All of the Prophet's other polyandrous wives were posthumously sealed to Joseph by proxy.
The Hydes were to divorce in 1870: "The precise reasons for the divorce are not known, but it appears that Orson was giving most of his attention to his younger wives at this time."
Two of Marinda's children have been suggested as potential children by Joseph, but this is very unlikely (see here).
Elvira Annie Cowles Holmes
Elvira was married to Joseph at age twenty-nine. Her husband, Jonathan Holmes, was a pall-bearer at Joseph Smith's funeral. As Todd Compton remarks
- Though it is impossible to know for certain, the fact that Holmes was so close to Joseph Smith suggests that he knew of Smith’s marriage to his wife and permitted it…He later stood as proxy for Smith as Elvira married the prophet for eternity in the Nauvoo temple…This ‘first husband’ never wavered in his loyalty to the Mormon leader…
Elizabeth Davis Goldsmith Brackenbury Durfee
The inclusion of "Mrs. Durfee," as she was known, on the list of Joseph's wives is strongly contested among historians. Durfee is not found on Andrew Jenson's list of Joseph's plural wives. Todd Compton argues that Durfee's post-martyrdom proxy sealing to Joseph is evidence of a living marriage, as is the fact that she taught plural marriage to other prospective wives. Compton also holds that two hostile sources (John C. Bennett and Sarah Pratt) confirm Durfee as a plural wife.
Danel Bachman's 1975 thesis does not include Durfee, and her inclusion is contested by Anderson and Faulring, who question Compton's interpretation of the Sarah Pratt evidence:
- …assuming Sarah Pratt is accurately quoted, we are still in doubt about where she obtained her information. In Sacred Loneliness misleads the reader by claiming that "Sarah Pratt mentions that she heard a Mrs. Durfee in Salt Lake City profess to have been one of Smith's wives" (p. 260). But this changes the actual report of Sarah's comments on Mrs. Durfee: "I don't think she was ever sealed to him, though it may have been the case after Joseph's death. . . At all events, she boasted here in Salt Lake of having been one of Joseph's wives" (p. 701). 
I am inclined to agree that Sarah's statement argues against a marriage. I also find it strange that Andrew Jenson did not list her if she was a plural spouse. If, as in the case of Sarah Kingsley (see above) I side with Compton in agreeing that Eliza R. Snow could have confirmed Sarah's marriage for Jenson's list, then it strikes me as inconsistent to then assume that Eliza would not have likewise confirmed Mrs. Durfee's marriage for Jenson's list. Compton himself notes that Eliza and Durfee were close friends, and Jenson certainly had access to Eliza as a witness. There seems to me to be little doubt that Mrs. Durfee was associated with plural marriage, but I think her status as a wife during Joseph's lifetime dubious.
The only thing about which we can be certain is that Mrs. Durfee was sealed to Joseph by proxy after the martyrdom. Her LDS husband stood as proxy to Joseph. Their relationship seems to have been strained by this time—they were soon to divorce and each remarried.
Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs
In 1839, at age 18, Zina arrived with her parents in Nauvoo after being driven out of Missouri. Faithful LDS missionary Henry Jacobs courted her during 1840–41. At the same time, Joseph Smith had taught Zina the doctrine of plural marriage, and thrice asked her to marry him. She declined each time, and she and Henry were wed 7 March 1841.
Zina and Henry were married by John C. Bennett, then mayor of Nauvoo. They had invited Joseph to perform the ceremony, but Bennett stepped in when Joseph did not arrive: …Zina asked the Prophet to perform the marriage. They went to the Clerk’s office and the Prophet did not arrive, so they were married by John C. Bennett. When they saw Joseph they asked him why he didn’t come, and he told them the Lord had made it known to him that she was to be his Celestial wife. Family tradition holds, then, that Zina and Henry were aware of Joseph's plural marriage teachings and his proposal to Zina. While this perspective is late and after-the-fact, it is consistent with the Jacobs' behaviour thereafter. Zina's family also wrote that Henry believed that "whatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man."
On 27 October 1841, Zina was sealed to Joseph Smith by her brother, Dimick Huntington. She was six months pregnant by Henry, and continued to live with him.
Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's "mistreatment" of Henry and their "theft" of his family have received a great deal of publicity, thanks to late 19th century anti-Mormon sources, and Fawn Brodie increased their cachet for a 20th century audience. These charges are examined in detail (here). For present purposes, we will focus on Zina. She had refused Joseph's suit three times, and chosen to marry Henry. Why did she decide to be sealed to Joseph?
When interrogated by a member of the RLDS Church, Zina refused to be drawn into specifics. She made her motivations clear, and explained that God had prepared her mind for Joseph's teachings even before she had heard them:
- Q. "Can you give us the date of that marriage with Joseph Smith?"
- A. "No, sir, I could not."
- Q. "Not even the year?"
- A. "No, I do not remember. It was something too sacred to be talked about; it was more to me than life or death. I never breathed it for years. I will tell you the facts. I had dreams—I am no dreamer but I had dreams that I could not account for. I know this is the work of the Lord; it was revealed to me, even when young. Things were presented to my mind that I could not account for. When Joseph Smith revealed this order [Celestial marriage] I knew what it meant; the Lord was preparing my mind to receive it."
Zina herself clearly explains the basis for her choice:
- …when I heard that God had revealed the law of Celestial marriage that we would have the privilege of associating in family relationships in the worlds to come, I searched the scriptures and by humble prayer to my Heavenly Father I obtained a testimony for myself that God had required that order to be established in his Church.
Faced with questions from her RLDS interviewer that she felt exceeded propriety, Zina became evasive. She finally terminated the interview by saying, "Mr. Wight, you are speaking on the most sacred experiences of my life…."
Henry was to stand as proxy for Zina's post-martyrdom sealing to Joseph, and her sealing for time to Brigham Young. He and Zina separated soon thereafter, and Henry was soon gone on one of his many missions for the Church. (See here for a more in-depth analysis of attacks on Brigham and Joseph regarding Zina and Henry.)
Observations about the third group
In Henry Jacob's case, we have the clearest evidence of a husband of a polyandrous wife who knew about Joseph's sealing to his spouse. Henry remained a devout member of the Church, continued to serve as a missionary, and stood proxy for Zina's sealing to Joseph. The faithful husbands of Joseph's other polyandrous wives likewise give no sign that they were troubled by the marriages—if they were aware of them. It is notable, however, that Joseph seemed to have a particularly close bond with these husbands, and there is no evidence that such bonds were threatened by the polyandry.
A hypothesis—why so many early polyandrous marriages?
Joseph's polyandry strikes us as a strange practice, but few have noted some of the strangest elements. Interestingly, after Joseph's resumption of plural marriage in April 1841, all of his marriages (with one exception) were polyandrous until 29 June 1842. The lone exception is the marriage to his dead brother's widow. Furthermore, of his eleven polyandrous marriages, all but two occurred before July 1843.
This early prominence, even predominance, of polyandry is counter-intuitive. Polyandrous marriages would seem to be the most risky for Joseph and his wives. With polyandry, Emma's reaction to the marriages would be the least of Joseph's worries. Unlike being sealed to single women, polyandrous sealings introduced an additional dangerous variable: the first husband! In teaching and practicing polyandry, Joseph ran the significant risk of a jealous husband learning of his arrangement with the wife, and exposing the explosive secret in hostile terms. Such a husband might also choose to threaten Joseph physically for wrongs to his wife's—and his own—honor.
The risk to Joseph is heightened when we appreciate that a single woman had no competing loyalties, while a polyandrous wife almost always had children and a husband to whom she was bound by love and loyalty. Finally, since a key justification for Mormon polygamy was the biblical model, polyandry would also have been the most difficult form to justify to potential initiates, since there is no biblical polyandry.
Yet when we examine Joseph's polyandrous marriages, none of these problems seem to surface. All of the men—member or non-member—were close friends of Joseph's, and remained so until his death. No wife seems to have second thoughts; none tearfully confessed all to her unsuspecting husband or Nauvoo society.
This common-sense analysis hinges, however, on the question of marital intimacy. If polyandrous sealings were not expected to involve sexual intimacy, then they were much less challenging for all involved—including Joseph and Emma. Emma would be far less troubled by a polyandrous marriage intended to seal Joseph to beloved friends than a marriage to single women living in her home. Joseph's natural—and, I suspect, profound—desire to keep the Lord's commandments and protect Emma's feelings would have been satisfied.
If the first husband was aware of the sealings, the faithful Saints would have been untroubled by a relationship which they saw as primarily binding their family to Joseph's, while non-member husbands would have seen it as a purely religious rite with a man for whom they retained great respect and affection.
Could faithful members save the unfaithful or unbaptized?
A skeptical reader might, at this point, suspect that I am over-reaching for an explanation. There is evidence, however, that early Mormons firmly believed that a faithful spouse could help exalt a wayward or non-member spouse.
Twenty-one-year-old Isaiah Moses Coombs immigrated to Utah in 1855. To his grief, his childhood sweetheart refused to accompany him, despite their marriage the year before. Reflecting on the agonizing decision to go west without his non-member spouse, Coombs wrote:
- …not least was the consideration that I was obeying the voice of God and that I was taking a course that would secure my own glory and exaltation and that would eventually either in this life or that which is to come enable me to bind my wife to me in bands that could not be broken. She was blind then but the day would come when she would see.
Coombs' wife was never to join the Church, and refused a later entreaty to return with him to Utah. Yet, he persisted in the conviction that his faithfulness to the sealing covenant would suffice to exalt his disbelieving, non-member wife in the hereafter, even if she did not accept the gospel in mortality.
This example from my own great-great-great grandfather is instructive, and strikes me as the more significant because his account was not written for public consumption. He had no polemic purpose, save to tell his life's story.
He was also not a "prominent" member of the Church—his reflections demonstrate how one rank-and-file member, living apart from the main body of saints because of poverty, understood matters in the early 1850s. Coombs' journal makes it wrenchingly clear that his decision to leave was extraordinarily difficult—if a relatively unknown young man, moving outside the hub of Church power in Nauvoo and Utah was thus convinced, it seems likely that other early members also saw their own engagement in sealing as sufficient to save faithful, wayward, or non-member spouses.
- Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives Than One : Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 29.
- Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Letter to John A. Young (1892); cited in Richard S. Van Wagoner, "Joseph and Marriage," Sunstone 10/ 9 (Issue #32 / January 1986): 32; also cited in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 43; Richard S. Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18/ 3 (Fall 1985): 77. (Need more citation info here).
- Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 440.
- Todd M. Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 637.
- Alma Allred, "Review of Todd Compton's in Sacred Loneliness," (6 December 1999) <http://www.shields-research.org/Reviews/Rvw-Sacred_Loneliness_Allred.htm>
- Gordon Irving, "The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830–1900," Brigham Young University Studies 14/ 3 (Spring 1974): 294.
- Irving, "The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830–1900," 299–304.
- REF "Millenarian time table""
- Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring, "The Prophet Joseph Smith and His Plural Wives (Review of in Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith)," FARMS Review of books 10/ 2 (1998): PAGE. (Need more citation info here). criticize Compton's In Sacred Loneliness on these grounds.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 383.
- Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine July 1926): 197.
- Lightner): 198–199.
- Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner to Emmeline B. Wells, summer 1905, LDS Archives; cited by Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 2nd ed. (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 65.
- Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Autobiography, Susa Young Gates Collection, UHI, 18–22, 24–24-25; cited in B. Carmon Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy: Its Origin, Practice, and Demise, Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier (Norman, Okla.: Arthur H. Clark Co., 2007), 47
- Lightner): 202–203.
- Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Letter to Emeline B. Wells (1880); cited in Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1989), 43; Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo," 77; Van Wagoner, "Joseph and Marriage," 32.
- Anderson and Faulring, "The Prophet Joseph Smith and His Plural Wives (Review of in Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith)," NEED PAGE, argue against her inclusion. (Need more citation info here)..
- Danel W. Bachman, "A Study of the Mormon Practice of Polygamy before the Death of Joseph Smith" (Purude University, 1975), 108.
- Todd M. Compton, "Truth, Honesty and Moderation in Mormon History: A Response to Anderson, Faulring and Bachman’s Reviews of in Sacred Loneliness," (July 2001) <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/7207/rev.html>
- Biographical information from Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 273–283.
- (Need more citation info here).; cited in Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 283.
- (Need more citation info here).; cited in Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo," 78; Van Wagoner, "Joseph and Marriage," 32.
- (Need more citation info here).; cited in George D. Smith, "Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841–46: A Preliminary Demographic Report," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 27/ 1 (Spring 1994): 21; Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 122.
- Emeline B. Wells (Need more citation info here).; cited in Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 122.
- Todd Compton calls this a "church taboo…especially [with] cases involving highly visible leaders such as a stake president" (180). Compton leaves unmentioned that a prohibition against using non-believers' courts to settle differences between Christians goes back at least to the Pauline epistles (see 1 Corinthians 6:1–8).
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 177–186.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 174–187.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 234.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 238–239.
- J. GI SON DIVINE [Sidney Rigdon], "To the Sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," Latter Day Saint's Messenger and Advocate (Pittsburgh) 1/10 (15 March 1845): 154–158.
- William Hall, Abominations of Mormonism Exposed; Containing Many Facts and Doctrines Concerning That Singular People, During Seven Year's Membership with Them; from 1840 to 1847 (Cincinnati: I. Hart, 1852), 113.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 239.
- See Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ed. Brigham H. Roberts, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1980), 3:345; Brigham H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 6 vols. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 2:24–25n12; Wilford Woodruff's Journal 1:340 (25 June 1839).
- See Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 238.
- Ann Eliza Young, Wife No. 19, or the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Hartford, Conn.: Custin, Gilman & Company, 1876), 324–326.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 243: "Marinda was sealed to Orson Hyde, not Smith, for time and eternity on January 11, 1846."
- John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled; or, the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee; (Written by Himself) Embracing the History of Mormonism ... With an Exposition of the Secret History, Signs, Symbols and Crimes of the Mormon Church. Also the True History of the Horrible Butchery Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, 1877), 147.
- (Need more citation info here
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 240–242.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 230–243.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 249.
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 548.
- Compton, "Truth, Honesty and Moderation in Mormon History: A Response to Anderson, Faulring and Bachman’s Reviews of in Sacred Loneliness,"
- See Bachman, "Mormon Practice of Polygamy", 113–115.
- Anderson and Faulring, "The Prophet Joseph Smith and His Plural Wives (Review of in Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith)," NEED PAGE.
- See Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 262. Compton, In Sacred Loneliness
- Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 263–264.
- Allen L. Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," in FAIR Conference (Salt Lake City, Utah: FAIR, 1st draft, 2006). I have a first draft of Wyatt’s paper that contains additional quotes and references, for which I am grateful.
- Oa J. Cannon, "History of Henry Bailey Jacobs," (L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, n.d.), 1; cited by Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," (emphasis added). See also Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 44; Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo," 78; Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 80.
- Cannon, "History of Henry Bailey Jacobs," 5; cited in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 44.
- Interview of John Wight [RLDS] with Zina D.H. Young, October 1, 1898, "Evidence from Zina D. Huntington-Young," Saints’ Herald, 52 (11 January 1905), 29; cited in Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," .
- Autobiography of Zina D. Young, no date, part of the Zina Card Brown Family Collection (1806-1972), LDS Church Archives, MS 4780, box 2, folder 17, cited by Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," .
- John Wight with Zina D.H. Young, 1 October 1898, “Evidence from Zina D. Huntington-Young,” Saints Herald, 52 (11 January 1905): 28
- Kate B. Carter, ed., Isaiah M[oses] Coombs from His Diary and Journal (Salt Lake City, Utah: published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers through Utah Printing Company, n.d.), 339, italics added.
- See discussion in Daynes, More Wives Than One, 75–82.