Episode 10: Polygamy in Nauvoo

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

Join Lindsay for the primer series on Mormon Polygamy that will begin with the wives of Joseph Smith and eventually broaden to contemporary strains of the practice today. This episode deals with polygamy in Nauvoo.   Sources (read and used):
  1. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, p.8
  2. Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.140-141
  3. Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p.291
  4. Historical Record 6:33: “Lucinda Harris, also one of the first women sealed to the Prophet Joseph”; Sarah Pratt, in
  5. Wyl, 60; 4 Apr. 1899 sealing, Salt Lake Temple Sealing Records, Book D, 243;
  6. Minutes of the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Nauvoo Illinois, 6 Feb 1841
  7. Noble affidavit, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 2:102; Erastus Snow affidavit, in Historical Record 6:232, 233; speech by Joseph Noble, 19 Dec. 1880, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.
  8. Mormon Polygamy in Nauvoo, Richard Van Wagoner, Dialogue, Vol.18, No.3, p.77
  9. In Sacred Loneliness, page 80-81
  10. Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:5, 4:5, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” 348; Historical Record 6:233;
  11. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.445
  12. Brigham Young journal, 6 Jan. 1842, LDS archives and Marriott Library; Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. A**** S****”; Testimony of Mary Ann West in U.S. Circuit Court (8th Circuit) Testimony (1892), Manuscript Transcripts, 521, questions 676-79, LDS archives; Nauvoo Female Relief Society Minutes, 28 Sept. 1842, 89, LDS archives and Lee Library.
  13. St. Louis Bulletin, 15 July 1842
  14. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.
  15. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.
  16. Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, Sidney Rigdon Biography by Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.295 Minutes of The High Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 24 May 1842, Nauvoo Neighbor 29 May 1844 edition
  17. Times and Seasons 4, [May 1,1843]: 181
  18. The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.635 LDS History of the Church 5:131–132; RLDS History of the Church 2:613; ; see also Dean C, Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2 [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1992]: 443–444) Temple Lot case complete transcript, 364, 367, 384; also see Foster, Religion and Sexuality, 15
  19. Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.
  20. William Clayton Journal 2, “Nauvoo, Illinois,” September 15, 17 and 21, 1843.
  21. Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.24, p.369
  22. Brigham Young Diary, 30 Oct 1843
  23. The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.124
  24. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.403, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p.66
  25. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.432-434
  26. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives.
  27. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.558
  28. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.616-623
  29. Brigham Young, A Series of Instructions and Remarks by President Young at a Special Council, Tabernacle, March 21, 1858 (Salt Lake City, 1858)

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Comments (16)

  • Brittny Dixson

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    This is likely the best episode I’ve ever listened to. Thank you for this amazing research.

    Reply

  • Dawn Lair West

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    Lindsay, great podcast! Too bad we don’t hear the real history in Sunday School!

    Thanks!

    Reply

  • Princess Peach

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    This was such an incredibly well done episode. Thank you for these stories. I plan to buy the book linked here. Anything else you’d recommend?

    Reply

  • Ellen

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    Could you explain more about why the panic over William Clayton’s plural wife being pregnant?

    Reply

  • Mama Rae

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    Superb. So interesting to hear the nuances of our history that are omitted or changed. Grateful for you and your team’s hard work.

    Ellen, as I understand it, there was a panic over the plural wife’s being pregnant because the Saints were actively covering up their practice of plural marriage, the plural wife was not married to anyone else (and thus was considered a single woman–who “should” be a virgin to maintain her status as a good woman). So her pregnancy had the potential to expose plural marriage in the highest ranks of the church.

    Reply

  • Chris

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    Lindsay, this was one of the best episodes… EVER!
    Thanks for all you do for us!

    Reply

  • anon

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    Is there a text to read of the podcast? I can’t do audio learning. Thanks!

    Reply

  • Jenny

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    When can we expect new episodes of Year of Polygamy? I am positively *dying* here waiting for the next one! ;)

    Reply

  • p

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    Amazing post, thank you.

    On the one hand, if polygamy was indeed a revelation, but one that actually endangered the Church, you can understand the lying.

    On the other hand, that’s irrational, as all revelations presumably come from the same god. Basically the practice, complete with the awe-inspiring deceptions, comes across as sad, tragic and sleazy. It appears that Joseph went a little crazy near the end. Bushman, if I’m reading him right, reached the same conclusion.

    Reply

  • TDB

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    Thank you for this series. I’ve been shying away from the issue of polygamy for many years now so I was surprised when I came across this series and felt I needed to settle in with it for awhile. My husband is a new early morning seminary teacher for our overseas military ward and his strict LDS Happy Valley upbringings provide a challenge in digesting troubling parts of LDS history. We’ve really had some great discussions that I think will serve us as our children get older and our teaching or other callings come along. Thank you for being so thorough in your research and open about your biases as well as others’. This is truly a gift you are giving and I appreciate it immensely.

    Reply

  • Marion

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    Is there a text for this podcast?

    Reply

  • Tessa

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    I remember being so inspired as a youth by the story of Heber C. Kimball and Vilate. Now it just sounds so abusive.

    Reply

  • Megan

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    I have enjoyed your podcasts. I was reading the Joseph Smith, history of the church’s account of when Joseph smith was killed. It doesn’t mention in there that he killed two others and it doesn’t say that he said the entire mason phrase, just the phrase, “oh lord my god!” I am genuinely curious to know where you read the version of the story that you reported in the podcast. Thank you.

    Reply

  • Trudy Barnes

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    It was Willard Richards not William Richards. Easy error to make :)

    Reply

  • Minderellah

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    Omg

    Reply

  • Corinne

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    Enjoying the series so far. You mentioned in this episode (Polygamy in Nauvoo) that if anyone had anything else to add to leave a comment. I’m curious about reports of Joseph Smith having a gun in his hand and firing shots right before he was killed. Apparently he shot two men, one died. An interesting tidbit which feels like a relevant addition.

    Reply

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