What? Joseph Smith was a Polygamist?

josephsmith_largeSeveral weeks ago, hidden deep within a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) website, was admittance by the church that it’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist. Not only was he a polygamist, he had as many as forty wives, some who were already married to other men, and one who was as young as fourteen, which was unconscionable, even in those days. You can read more about it on CNN Living.

Of course, for those of us that were raised Fundamentalist Mormon, this wasn’t news at all.

It was common knowledge that Joseph Smith was no ordinary man, and the men in my community worshiped and revered Joseph Smith as though he were second only to Christ in his favoritism with God. God commanded Joseph Smith to have many wives, and virgins in particular. If you are curious about this you can read the one revelation that all Fundamentalist Mormons live their lives by.  Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 – the best stuff is at the very end in you can get through the rest of the gibberish. I especially like the part about 10 virgins and that women can be taken from a husband and given to other men. And then top if off with the teaching that if women don’t let their husbands have multiple wives, they will be destroyed by God.  It is my understanding that the church has lightened up the language since the original revelation — I wish I could find an original version to share with you.  If you have been following Warren Jeffs of the FLDS, you will see that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, so to speak.

Many people, like my parents, who had the wherewithal to question the changes that the church made in its doctrine, and went hunting for the truth, were hastily excommunicated for digging into the past.  The new admittance by the church is like a slap in the face for many ex-members.  A great letter written on Polygamy.org to the church, will give you an idea of how these ousted members feel.

So, why would the Mormon Church finally disclose the truth about it’s leader, especially when they have been excommunicating members for decades for even asking about it?  And, why have they been lying about it to members for decades?  It’s all about maintaining the reputation of the organization and the power of the internet.  You can read a great article about the power of the internet, speech and religion on Verdict, a website dedicated to legal analysis and commentary.

We are living in an amazing time when all truths are being revealed and secrets can no longer be kept in proverbial closets.

Finally, we are no longer dependent on what the “powers that be” tell us is the truth. We have the ability to research and discover for ourselves. Now it is a matter of discernment. It is up to each of us to make better choices that can empower individuals and repair the damage that thousands of years of lies have held over the minds, hearts, bodies, souls and money of the people. We are, in my perception, ascending above religion into a higher truth. Knowledge is power. The question is, what are we going to do with the knowledge we now have access to?

One last thing, my next book, Memoirs of the Polygamist’s Daughter, is coming soon.  Stay tuned in the next few weeks for a launch date. 

Victoria Reynolds Signature

4 thoughts on “What? Joseph Smith was a Polygamist?

  1. This is very interesting. Do you think there may be a mainstream element advantage – a money making channel – with foundations in the media (sister wives, similar shows) which make a “passing” confession such as this necessary for them?

  2. That is quite possible Vennie. Every time the media brings it up, the church has to deal with the backlash. Polygamy has been a pain in the Mormon Church’s side ever since the Joseph Smith revelation. It is my belief that the real reason he was murdered wasn’t for the religious persecution as Mormons are taught, but because of his personal choices and actions. Polygamy has been a subject of the Mormon Church vs. the Media since the 1950’s, if not earlier. This particular announcement wasn’t a public announcement. My understanding is that it was hidden on a page deep inside a church website, and, thanks to Google alerts, or someone searching, it exposed across the internet almost as soon as it was posted. What I find most fascinating, is that all of the people I talk to who have no Mormon affiliation, are stunned that Mormon’s didn’t know he was a polygamist. The rest of the world appears to have simply assumed he was, making this announcement no real news at all. All that it points out is yet another religion keeping secrets from its members.

  3. Your blog is very interesting. Do you think the changes regarding homosexual marriage will spill over to allowing polygamy to become legal within most US states? Just for reference, I was raised in a Mormon family with weak devotion.

  4. Thank you Montana. For me, comparing polygamy with homosexuality is like comparing apples and carrots. Homosexuality is biological, it is built into some individuals the way that heterosexuality is built into others. In is a balanced relationship of masculine and feminine (we are all both masculine and feminine) and is a true partnership where one is not above the other. Polygamy is much more complicated. Open relationships with multiple partners is a lifestyle choice that involves multiple partners who are free to come and go in a relationship. Polygamy is a marital contract between multiple partners. None of our systems are equipped to support this type of marital arrangement. An entirely new insurance, tax, benefits, liabilities, structure would need to be created to support such relationships if they are to maintain any type of equality between members. Marriage is essentially a business arrangement, and always has been. It has only become about love fairly recently, even in America, and that is where things started to get complicated. As long as marriage was a pyramidal structure with a man at the top, there wasn’t divorce, even if it was a loveless marriage, because women had no voice. As marriage becomes based in love, and women rise up to be who they truly have the ability to be, the definition of marriage is changing. It is no longer about building the kingdoms of men, and now about building loving, mutually supportive partnerships – at least that is the vision many have. Polygamy, specifically polygyny, is 99.99% of the time, based in fear and coercion, and is based on the ownership and belittlement of women. Until women are seen and treated as absolute equals with men, and polygamy is a free-will-choice, it would be a tragedy against all women and all of the work we have done to establish ourselves as beings that deserve the same dignity and respect as men. Abraham Lincoln recognized polygamy as a human rights abuse against women, thereby asking that it be made illegal alongside slavery, and I am inclined to agree with him. Homosexuality, open marriage and polygamy are three different things, and I believe they need to be treated as such.

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