Episode 01: Fanny Alger

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 Joseph’s first plural wife, Fanny Alger. Links and text mentioned and read in this podcast:

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Comments (61)

  • Mary Shaver

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    Thank you for doing this!

    Reply

  • Heather

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    Kudos to you for doing this. I started trying to review each of the wives of Joseph Smith on my blog, but I gave up because it is such a huge and emotional project. Thanks for working to educate us all.

    Reply

  • Abe

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    I love this series. I once had a Young Men’s leader mention that there were accusations that Joseph practiced polygamy but as I recall he kind of blew them off. I never really learned about these marriages until well into my adulthood. Thank you for getting the information out there for our knowledge and betterment.

    Reply

  • Orson

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    Good work, thank you. I only have one small clarification that is sometimes forgotten (not made clear in ISL). Fanny was taken in by Chauncey & Eliza Webb after leaving the Smith home, that is not contested as far as I know. The account of their daughter Ann Eliza is obviously 2nd hand, because Ann was born in September 1844 after Joseph was killed. I don’t think that discredits the account, her family was close to the situation, but I think knowing the context of the voice is important.

    Reply

  • Kasey Ponce

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    I’ve listened to everything from Fanny Young up to the most current. I’m now going back to the beginning and I LOVE IT! Thank you for these. I can’t get enough.

    Reply

  • Beelee

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    I’m about 122 episodes late to the party it seems, but I’m so glad this is here and you’re doing this. After working through those recent essays (still working – it’s a lot to take in that I was not aware of), I just can’t wave my hand and ignore the subject any more. It’s not pleasant or easy, but it’s important.

    As far as Fanny Alger goes, it’s kind of shame Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was not yet written. It may have been instructive in this situation! Though whether that’s for Fanny Alger or Joseph Smith I don’t know!

    Reply

  • Todd

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    I do not understand how this helps you. I do see how this tears others down.

    Reply

  • Ryan

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    Thank you for doing this. Lately it has really been bothering me that the church has stood by Joseph’s polygamy as being from God. It is so clear to me that the way polygamy was practiced was abusive and sexist. I wish the church would at least admit that the way it was implemented was not from God.

    Reply

  • teve

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    I believe as everyone else above except Todd, no-one is being torn down, truth is being acknowledged and that is important. It was not for Joseph to pray oran answer to pural marriage, certainly if heprayd to Go, no positive answer could come from that quarter. To say it did, then to go back and ask God how he should treat Ema, then once again return with a threathing note from God, is nonsense, Joseph had no right to have 33 wives, and ossibly 40 wives, no good can come of lust, or coveting his neighbors wives, or their children. When he was criticized, as he should have been, he approved the attack on the printers shop, and it was burned to the ground. Saints do not do these things, and though forgiviness may beok, acceptance cannot. As I read more and more about Joseph, I believe he was changing fro a saint, to a small mean man, assured by his own wealth and power over others.

    Reply

  • Paul

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    Thanks for your work.

    Reply

  • Cody

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    Anyone know any fundamentalist in Cardston Alberta? Let me know…

    Reply

  • Kristen

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    I am late to the party but this is very interesting. I am not LDS but I love history so thank you for this.

    Reply

  • Dale Moore

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    Let us not forget the Law of Adoption in the early leaders practice of plural marriage. Still members who do not know of it, are poorly read in my opinion. Interest and a quest for understanding has never faded and so it remains as a hot topic of discussion, especially by those who know so little

    Also celestial marriage, the Patriarchal Order of marriage and plural marriage were all considered equivalent usage..

    Reply

  • LIa

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    The LDS church claims that polygamy is no longer practiced, yet men are sealed to multiple women. I have a friend who recently told me she hoped her deceased husband would not have another wife before she joined him. Why are women still burdened with such thoughts?

    Reply

  • Verum

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    Hmm..just because the LDS church claims that polygamy is no longer practiced, doesn’t remove or modify section 132 from the D&C. It may not be practiced, but it is still believed and it is still part of their scriptures. On a side note, men can still be sealed to more than 1 woman, although they have to be either divorced from their wife or the wife has to be deceased. So, in a sense, it’s still practiced…although slightly modified. Good podcast thank you!

    Reply

  • James Laurel

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    Hi and thank you, is there a quick and easy way to get or find your foot notes, to substantiate these facts. I feel I need to back this up when I discuss this with others- thank you, Laurel James

    Reply

  • Penni D Eads

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    Thank you for doing this, Lindsay! Polygamy has bothered me since I first heard about it when I was 10 years old at the public library doing family history work on microfilm. I thought the marriage dates were wrong when I saw an ancestor with 3 wives, so I found out about polygamy for the 1st time from the librarian at 10 years of age! It has been a trial for me for 47 years. I read Todd Compton’s book and Carol Lynn Pearson’s book The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy last year..

    Reply

  • Jason Anthony

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    If one really sits and reads the latter parts of D&C it does not seem inspired. I also find it interesting that the leaders of OUR church lay on guilt. I also find it curious that so many controversies were buried and hidden like a dirty sin. Then the church leaders give an approved history and version. Here is the greatest issue. The “Mormon” church is at odds with the Church of Jesus Christ. No way Brigham was an inspired prophet. It seems he had Jesuit ties. I simply struggle with polygamy, temple rituals, and the power the priesthoods give over other’s lives. If it is true, how would The Lord feel about all of the “disputations” and controversies surrounding His church and those that “restored” it?

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