As Jana Riess reports in 2016, Denver Snuffer claims Joseph Smith didn't practice sexual polygamy.

Feb 9, 2016
News (traditional)
Denver Snuffer
Scribed Summary

Riess, Jana, “Did Joseph Smith Practice Polygamy? Denver Snuffer Says No,” Religion News Service (Feb 9, 2016).

Religion News Service
Denver Snuffer, Jana Riess, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public

Some strong condemnations there. Snuffer’s views on polygamy in fact dovetail pretty nicely with his emphasis on getting back to the time of Joseph Smith. He believes Brigham Young misinterpreted and overemphasized polygamy, which was—wait for it—something Joseph Smith never actually practiced as a sexual arrangement for this world. Snuffer says it was an extension of “sealing” which, at first, had only a single ordinance: marriage. “Immediately before Joseph’s death another innovation for sealing was introduced: man-to-man sealing, or ‘adoption,’ which did not require marriage to implement sealing into the family of God.” Even though the LDS Church recently (and controversially) conceded that Smith had more than 40 wives, including one who was just fourteen years old, Snuffer says the primary evidence doesn’t back it up. He has done extensive research on the life of Joseph Smith, drawing on journals, sermons, and newspaper articles. He believes the only evidence that Smith practiced polygamy as a sexual relationship in this life comes from after his death in 1844, and that “if you take all of the material you can track to Joseph Smith before June 27, 1844, and you consider only that story, Joseph and polygamy have a very different relationship than after that.” Church leaders after Smith’s death, Snuffer claims, wanted to give their plural marriages that extra stamp of approval by claiming that the practice had begun with Smith himself. There is no DNA evidence that Smith fathered children with any women but Emma, says Snuffer. “If Joseph Smith was the aggressive advocate of bedding women as part of the duty to propagate righteous seed, and raise up seed unto God, he was a miserable failure with anyone except Emma Smith, whom he impregnated nine times.”

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