It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.

The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith.

“Joseph Smith was presented to me as a practically perfect prophet, and this is true for a lot of people,” said Emily Jensen, a blogger and editor in Farmington, Utah, who often writes about Mormon issues.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

2 comments on “It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives

  1. William P. Sulik says:

    From a sociological perspective, marriage across time and cultures has always consisted of three elements: 1. Permanent, 2. Man and Woman, 3. Monogamous. (Cf. C.S. Lewis’ Tao in _The Abolition of Man_ “…the traditional moralities of East and West, the Christian, the Pagan, and the Jew…”.).

    Since about 1960, (or, perhaps, Lambeth 1930 – see Resolution 15) these three legs of marriage have slowly been destroyed. First as a culture we eliminated the permanence leg (moving to serial monogamy). Now we are eliminating the male/female aspect. It will not be long before the third leg is eliminated as well. Mormon leaders can see this coming – plus there has long been a strand of Mormon culture which wants to rehabilitate polygamy. I would not be surprised to see Mormons accept polygamy by 2025 – and the courts of America do the same.

    As an aside, there is one more element of marriage, I guess – that it be between human beings. This element will probably also disappear within the next 50 years or so. I’m sure TEC will lead the way for this change. I am not being facetious.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    What I think will happen is that marriage will simply disappear as a civil institution. If the state must recognize what ever people can think up it will recognize none. People may marry in a church or whatever, but it will not confer any change in one’s legal status. They will remain single in the eyes of the law.