Oliver Olney publishes anti-Mormon book in 1843 that briefly touches on polygamy in Nauvoo.

Mar 3, 1843
Oliver H. Olney

Oliver H. Olney, The Absurdities of Mormonism Portrayed (Hancock County, Il: Oliver Olney, 1843), 10–12

Oliver H. Olney
William Miller, Oliver H. Olney, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public


I will now touch on a subject of which much has been said, that I would cheerfully pass by, but the importance of the subject forbids my doing it. Polygamy was first introduced in Kirtland, Ohio, about eight years ago. Hint after hint has been going, until we have to say, they have begun to do, as well as say. This subject has been kept in the dark, as long as it could be, as it was first said to be too strong meat for the Latter Day Saints to bear. But as some have long waited impatiently, and the plainness of the Scripture is such on the occasion, has forbid any further delay. But to risk to move ahead, I will not pretend to refer to all their scripture to prove their privileges—only to Solomon and David, that yet have to suffer for their misdoings.

Again, a dark saying arises in the name of the Lord, in the form of a pamphlet, said to be written by a man by the name of Jacobs, but published by Joseph Smith, Editor. We find that if the pamphlet was not written by the authorities of the church, it by them was revised in Jacobs name. But to come to its contents, it argues polygamy; that there is hardly a saying in the Bible but what misapply to polygamy. As much as the sayings of a noted Miller, in the wast, I have heard him lecture a number of times, I saw there was hardly a saying in the Bible but what he could apply to a winding up scenery of things of this world, in 1843.

I look at the Bible as a very good book,

But whether it will support polygamy,

Or Millerism, I have my doubts,

But if either would sway,

I with Miller would wish to go.

As little fish like me,

Will stand a poor chance

Amongst those of high renown.

The subject of polygamy, amongst the Latter Day Saints is no longer to be kept in the dark; as many are actually attached to the second living companion; and a door is fast opening on this subject, that many is arguing it to be the will of God. That in these days God designed to raise up a more righteous people on the Earth than has been for many ages past. It is argued that those of the chosen of God, is to father them, instruct them, rear them up in the nature and admonition of the Lord. That they may have faith, knowledge and wisdom to be directed in wisdom's way. A number of moves have been made, to effect that order, and get it established. But nothing seemed to prevail, until they got a wise master Free Mason to come and establish a lodge amongst them. That he accordingly did, in the beginning of 1842. That a general gathering to them insued -- that they for months, took in three a day, and are a taking in yet. Also establishing lodges in the branches of the Church out.

This master Mason instructed them in many good things, such as there was some few degrees of Masonry for the fair sex of the land. That such encouraged the Mormon sisters. They soon came together and formed a lodge. But altered the name, that they could be distinguished from the lodge of the men. That they called the ladies benevolent society. They often met in union, and received many instructions, in their daily moves, by the authorities of the Church, got their society organized, that much encouraged many; as all, both old and young was privileged to unite with it, by being recommended as worthy sisters, in the Church of Latter Day Saints.—They continued their meetings from time to time, until it was made known to them, that had been regular members, that there was certain degrees of Masonry for them to receive.

As I was passing over the Temple lot,

It being on high ground, I looked on the flats.

I there saw fixings of different sorts,

Some near by, others afar off.

I saw a society formed by the females,

That of it, much was said.

I saw their ambition was to go ahead.

By being governed by the authorities of the Church.

That from them they received instruction

In many good things, such as some few degrees

Of Free Masonry, it was their privilege to receive,

To be better prepared to meet,

The coming of the Son of Man.

They continued their meetings,

And soon formed a lodge,

And decided the first degree of Masonry to receive,

That was for each one to keep their secrets.

They often met in union,

With feelings of the best kind,

And received instruction,

That added much to their joy.

As I got somewhat wearied in mind,

At what I saw daily amongst them take place,

I on a rise of ground, was catched in a drowse,

apparently saw fishermen of skill,

Spread a net far into the waters,

And commence to haul in.

As the cords were tightened from time to time,

The fish became uneasy, some flounced and flopped,

But as they found themselves entangled,

With cords not a few, they submitted to their lot.

I soon saw the net arrive near shore,

That had enclosed, fish of all sorts and sizes.

I saw the fishermen that had long waited for fish,

All as one put into the water,

And picked out such as they liked,

The rest they let go for some future haul.

As I awoke from my slumbers,

In May of eighteen hundred and forty-two,

The interpretation came to my view.

As I was still on the Temple Lot,

I saw many females together meet,

But to their surprise they were entangled in law,

That they could not themselves.

They finally seemed to become submissive to their lot,

And go forward as instructed,

By the authority of the Church.

As the cords were tightened from time to time,

That they were brought into subjection,

And a rush was made for a plurality of wives.

I saw difficulty that soon arose;

As all pitched for the young and handsome,

But to get in accordance they cast lots,

And decided to make another haul.

The old they let go to toll others in,

That caused many to mourn,

To think they had to be left.

That was the second degree of Free Masonry.

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