Mormonism: “The Big Con?” (pt 11: Hypocracy Lives!)

Welcome (back).

At the beginning of the last episode: Here Come the “Brides”“, I commented about the upcoming “smear campaign”. It starts getting nasty this episode. It goes beyond throwing mud and straight to “shit slinging”.

Toward the end of the episode, I covered the beginning of the “she said, he said” controversy between Joe and Sarah Pratt. A lot more juicy coming up. (See above paragraph.)

At the end of the episode, I talked about the trial of Catherine Fuller Warren that marks the beginning of a sequence that ends in Joe’s death.

See what you miss, if you don’t read in sequence.  ;-P

This episode continues the saga of Joe’s philandering. We’re still over a year away from Big Daddy switching positions on having harems.

But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing awhoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Jacob 2: 23-24

Of course Joe keeps on lyin’ and denyin’, but “multiple mating” is spreading among the Mormonite “elite”. Plus, the word is out. Not only is it out, it’s spreading across the country.

Let’s see. Where were we????

Oh yah, Joe had just bagged “wife” #13, Sarah Maryetta Kinsley Cleveland.

Mormon Chronology(6/14/1842) Brigham (the bigot) Young gets his first “official” plural wife (Lucy Decker Seeley) with Joe doing the marrying.

(6/29/1842) Eliza Roxcy Snow 38 (single)



Brother Brigham returns the favor two weeks later and marries Joe and Eliza (I call her Roxcy). Shortly after the “wedding”, she circulates a petition signed by a thousand Mormonite women denying Joe is a polygamist. She also, as Relief Society Secretary, publishes a certificate in October, denouncing polygamy. (You know the old joke that goes with this one: “You look in the encyclopedia under hypocrite and there’s Roxcy’s picture.” RIM SHOT!)

She’s the sister of Lorenzo Snow, an early Mormonite biggie. He eventually gets to be the “Prophet, Seer & Revelator” of the whole shebang. (9/13/1898 – 10/10/1901)

She’s also a close friend of Emma. In fact, Emma invites her to move into the Smith home. However Emma is unaware that Roxcy is a “Sister Wife”. When she finds out 6 months later, she invites Roxcy to move out of the Smith home.

Emma is not all that pleased with this “spiritual wifery” thingy. Or at least the sexual aspect of it. If you’ve read episode 3 “Marching to Zion & Fancying Fanny’s Fanny“, you’ll remember Emma’s reaction. By all accounts (other than the church’s) she hasn’t changed.

(prior to 7/1842) Delcena Johnson (Sherman) 37 (widow)

Delcena marries Joe and bunks in with Louisa Beaman (Mrs Joe #4). (Keeping up appearances and all that.)  She must like what  she’s getting from Joe, because nine months later, Delcena, her brother Benjamin and Louisa, convince her sister Almera to join Joe’s harem.

(7/2/1842) The Wasp, a news sheet run by the church publishes Joe’s phrenology chart.  History of the Church, Vol. 5, p 53 frenologia-2-1One of the major traits listed is amativeness. That’s a phrenology concept representing carnality and licentiousness. The chart is still listed in the Official History of the church, along with a note that such a score indicates “extreme liability to perversion” (Hmmm. Maybe there’s some validity to phrenology after all.)

Let the shit slinging commence

(7/14/1842) Joe calls Sarah Pratt “A whore from her mother’s breast”.

Orson Pratt (1811-1881)

Orson Pratt (1811-1881)

This all proves to be too much for Sarah’s hubby, Orson. He writes a suicide note: “I am a ruined man! My future prospects are blasted! The testimony upon both sides seems to be equal: The one in direct contradiction to the other ….“ Those of you who have read the last episode, know what this is about. The rest of you need to go back and read it.

(7/15/1842)  Joe organizes a search party to go look for Orson, but doesn’t lead it. He has other priorities. For instance, taking the opportunity to hurl some verbal excrement at Dr. John. LDS History of the Church 5: 60–61 

Orson is found distraught, but alive. The Council of the 12 holsd him for four days and pressures him to recant even thinking that his wife is telling the truth. (Joe proposition another man’s wife? NEVER!!)

(7/17/1842)  The Wasp, Joe’s weekly secular propaganda sheet, (bro Willie is editor and publisher) accuses Dr. John of “adultery, fornication, embryo infanticide and buggery…” Reminds me of a line from a Sinatra song: “Maybe you’re accusing me of what you’re doing yourself”.

And with that, CUE THE MUSIC

(7/15/1842)  The St. Louis Bulletin publishes Martha Brotherton’s account of Brigham and Joe propositioning her.

(7/20/1842)  Orson and Sarah are excommunicated. Sarah for “adultery” and Orson for “insubordination”. (Translation: Sarah for refusing to screw Joe, and then telling her husband, and Orson for calling Joe out on it.) Gary J. Bergera: Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Signature Books (2002)

Orson later decides that multiple bed buddies isn’t such a bad idea. he comes back into the church and ends up with 10 wives and 45 kids. However, it’s never quite the same. There are multiple stories of Orson bucking heads with Joe and Brigham (the bigot) over the next several decades.

Sarah gets tired of Orson’s “obsession with marrying younger women” and divorces him in ’68. (The same year he marries a 16 y.o. girl, who’s younger than his daughter.) Sarah goes on to form the Anti-Polygamy Society.

As historian Richard Van Wagoner put it “Polygamy made her a radical….By making public Joseph Smith’s overtures and resisting what she considered to be collective infidelity, Sarah Pratt was judged a threat to the safety of the Church and considered to have committed apostasy.” Richard Van Wagoner: “Sarah Pratt: The Shaping of an Apostate” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol 19, #2 (Summer 1986) p. 97

This shit is getting serious, the rumors are flying and not everybody believes Joe’s spin. Plus, he’s lined up 17 y.o. Sarah Ann Whitney to be Mrs. Joe #16, and her family doesn’t really like the idea.

But, wouldn’t you know it? Once again,in his patented “nick a’ time”, Big Daddy decides to step in. He sends a message (through Joe, of course) to Miss Whitney’s dad:

“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto my servant N[ewel]. K. Whitney, the thing that my servant Joseph Smith has made known unto you and your Family [his plural marriage to Sarah Ann Whitney] and which you have agreed upon is right in mine eyes and shall be rewarded upon your heads with honor and immortality and eternal life to all your house both old & young because of the lineage of my Preast Hood saith the Lord it shall be upon you and upon your children after you from generation to generation, by virtue of the Holy promise which I now make unto you saith the Lord.”

“These are the words which you shall pronounce upon my servant Joseph and your Daughter Sarah Ann. Whitney. They shall take each other by the hand and you shall say ‘You both mutually agree,” calling them by name, ‘”to be each other’s companion so long as you both shall live preserving yourselves for each other and from all others and also throughout all eternity reserving only those rights which have been given to my servant Joseph by revelation and commandment and by legal Authority in times passed.’ If you both agree to covenant and do this then I give you Sarah Ann Whitney, my daughter, to Joseph Smith to be his wife, to observe all the rights between you both that belong to that condition. I do it in my own name and in the name of my wife, your mother, and in the name of my Holy Progenitors, by the right of birth which is of Preast Hood, vested in my by revelation and commandment and promise of the living. God obtained by the Holy Melchisedeck Jethro and other of the Holy Fathers, commanding in the name of the Lord all those Powers to concentrate in you and through to your posterity forever. All these things I do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that through this order he may be glorified and that through the power of anointing David may reign King over Israel, which shall hereafter be revealed. Let immortality and eternal life henceforth be sealed upon your heads forever and ever. Amen.” The Historical Record 6:222 (1887 edition.)

So what Big D is saying is, if you let Joe give your daughter a hot beef injection, you get to live forever plus some other goodies.

Interestingly, this “revelation” is never canonized like the others. Btw, we’re exactly a year away from the official “nail as many women as you want” revelation.

Anyway, that takes care of Sarah Ann’s daddy. In fact, he performs the wedding ceremony. Joe’s worried about Sarah’s brother, Horace and his reaction, so he sends him off on a mission before the “marriage.”

But what about Emma? (aka Mrs Joe #1) I’ll tell you in a couple of paragraphs.

(7/27/1842) Sarah Ann Whitney 17 (single)

Sarah Ann Whitney, a bit past the age of 17

Sarah Ann, quite a bit past the age of 17

Joe marries Sarah Ann, whom he’s known since she was 6. (The man’s a paragon of patience.)

She can’t move in with Joe, since Emma’s already suspicious. So, she remains at home with her parents and only gets to “bump fuzzies” with Joe when Emma ain’t around. “… 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. [sic] … Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible…I think Emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont [sic] fail to come to night” Joseph Smith, Jr., to Newel K. Whitney, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, etc., 18 August 1842, George Albert Smith Family Papers

Two months after the marriage Daddy Whitney signs a statement disavowing any knowledge of spiritual wifery other than that practiced by Dr. John.

Nine months after nuptuals with Joe, Sarah Ann publicly marries Joe Kingsbury. Kingsbury’s take on the nuptials? “…according to President Joseph Smith[s] Council & others [I] agread [sic] to Stand by Sarah Ann Whitney as Supposed to be her husband & had a pretended marriage for the purpose of Bringing about the purposes of God in these last days…” (i.e. covering Joe’s ass) Todd Compton: “In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith” p. 351, Signature Books (1997)

(8/1/1842) The August 1st edition of Times & Seasons is devoted mostly to blasting Dr. John, with some additional fecal matter tossed at Sarah Pratt and some “nothing to see here” comments about Nancy Rigdon. Times & Seasons 3: 269-78 (In fairness, I should mention that Joe is the editor of this scandal sheet.)

The same month, the Millennial Star, an English Mormonite periodical, denies the existence of polygamy in the church: But, for the information of those who might be assailed by those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-Day Saints, and ever will; this is well-known to all who are acquainted with our books and actions.” Millennial Star; Vol 3, #4 p. 73 (Nowadays, that would rate “Four Pinocchios”fourpinocchios072 copy  or a “Liar Liar, Pants on Fire” from fact checkers.265149496781811450_fl8cOShM_f


(8/1842) Martha McBride (Knight) 37 (widow)

In ’41, Joe had taught Martha’s husband, Vinson Knight, the delights of multiple mating. Subsequently, he took a 2nd “pickle packer”. I mentioned earlier, that despite the lyin’ & denyin’, “spiritual wifery” had spread through the upper ranks of Mormonism. Vinson was a bishop in the church. Unfortunately, Vinson died within a year.

That left Martha, who had already been indoctrinated in pickle sharing, without a pickle to share. No worries, Joe is UP to filling her dark, damp void. In less than a month, Martha becomes Mrs. Joe #17.

At this point, Joe takes a six-month hiatus in adding to his snatch collection. He’s on the lam from charges that he had something to do with shooting ex-Missouri governor, Libum Boggs. (He probably did, but it was never proven.) Check out “Who Shot Governor Boggs?” for the juicies on that event. In meantime, Joe’s a runaway! (You gotta know that’s a song cue.)

(8/8/1842) This day marks the first mention of Mormonite temple garments (aka “magic undies”) “…to keep the Destroying Angel from them…” D. Michael Quinn: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.635 Signature Books (1994)

Mormonite Magic Undies

Mormonite Magic Undies

Unfortunately, they don’t work so well for Joe during his upcoming sojourn at the Carthage calaboose.

(8/29/1842) Joe unexpectedly shows up at a conference in Nauvoo. There had been speculation that he had skipped out to Europe, but he’d been hiding across the river in Iowa.

The purpose of the conference is to recruit members to travel throughout the nation and deny that Joe is a polygamist. By the conference’s end, 380 elders “volunteer” to go out and spread the lie.

Americans love a good (or even bad) sexual scandal. By this time, Dr. John has published “The History of the Saints or an Expose of Joseph Smith and Mormonism” which is full of sexy little tidbits. Not only are the Sarah Pratt, Martha Brotherton, Catherine Fuller and Nancy Rigdon seductions and attempts listed, but there’s also some juicy on Emeline White (Fail) and the Widow Sarah(?) Miller (Success).

(9/1/1842) As “Times & Seasons” editor, Joe publishes this statement: “All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. 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 one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” Times  & Seasons Vol 3, #3 p. 909

A month later, Times & Seasons publishes a slightly expanded version of this “song and dance”. The statement is signed by polygamists Apostle John Taylor and Apostle Willie Woodruff, as well as Sarah Ann’s daddy and Sarah Cleveland (Mrs Joe #13).

In the October 15th Times & Seasons, Joe comes out strongly against coveting other men’s wives. “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 one wife; and one woman, but one husband” Times  & Seasons Vol 3, #23 pp. 939-40 The publication also reprints D&C 101 which prohibits polygamy.

What was it that J.C. once said??? oh yah “…he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” John 8:7 (KJV)

And, that brings us to the end of the year 1842. This seems like a good place to wrap up this episode. Come January, Joe’s back in Nauvoo and his “lady collecting” goes into overdrive. (Nowadays, I guess you’d say it gets overclocked.) It’s taken all this time to get to #17. He’ll double that in about six months.

One parting thought (and song) before I leave you. Along from Joe adding fillies to his stable, you may have noticed (particularly, if you read the title) that the dominant theme of this episode is ‘HYPOCRACY”.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with an appropriate song.

See you next episode: “Beaver Season“.

Be there, be square, or be whatever you want to be as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.


p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it.  I’d love it if you did.It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).



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