Joseph F. Smith, as editor, discusses Joseph's plural wives in the Improvement Era.

Oct 1902
Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. Smith, "Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, the Prophet," Improvement Era 5, no. 12 (October 1902): 988–989

Improvement Era
Emily D. P. Young, Eliza R. Snow, Hyrum Smith, Lucy Walker, William Clayton, Fanny Young, Eliza Partridge, Joseph C. Kingsbury, Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Joseph Smith, Jr., Rhoda Richards, Malissa Lott, Joseph F. Smith, Willard Richards, Sarah Ann Whitney
Reading Public

A subscriber in Oregon writes: "I have it in the 'Succession in the Presidency' that the Prophet Joseph Smith had plural wives. A Josephite preacher proselyting here says that the prophet never had plural wives, and that Brigham Young was the author of the revelation on plural marriage, and the founder of polygamy. In view of this, will you kindly name the plural wives of the Prophet Joseph Smith?"

Taking into account the interest in this subject, awakened by a recent article in the Arena, by Joseph Smith, president of the Re-organized church, and the replies thereto touching the origin of polygamy in America, an answer to the question, is timely and appropriate, although it can be given here only in brief.

I can positively state, on indisputable evidence, that Joseph Smith was the author, under God, of the revelation on plural marriage. On this subject, we have the affidavit of William Clayton, private secretary of Joseph Smith, that he wrote the revelation as it was given through the lips of the Prophet, and that he himself sealed to Joseph Smith as a plural wife, Lucy Walker, at Joseph Smith's own residence, on May 1, 1843. This lady is still living, in Salt Lake City, and is willing to testify at any moment to this fact. Following are some of the names of young ladies who were sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, as testified to under oath by themselves—this during the lifetime of the prophet: Eliza R. Snow, Emily D. Partridge, Eliza M. Partridge, Melissa Lot, Lucy Walker, Sarah Ann Whitney, Helen Mar Kimball, Fanny Young (sister to Brigham Young), and Rhoda Richards (sister to Willard Richards who was with the Prophet at his martyrdom in Carthage jail). All these noble women have testified, under oath, giving names and dates, that they were sealed, during his lifetime, to the Prophet Joseph Smith. These facts have been published in Jenson's Historical Record, and in the Deseret News, in years past; and I know, by the established and virtuous character of these noble women, that their testimonies are true.

A careful reading of the revelation on plural marriage should convince any honest man that it was never written by Brigham Young, as it contains references to Joseph Smith himself, and his family, which would be utterly nonsensical and useless if written by President Young. The fact is, we have the affidavit of Joseph C. Kingsbury, certifying that he copied the original manuscript of the revelation within three days after the date on which it was written. I knew Joseph C. Kingsbury well. Furthermore, the revelation was read by Hyrum Smith to a majority of the members of the High Council, in Nauvoo, at about the time it was given, to which fact we have the sworn statements of the members of the High Council. As inquiries on this subject are becoming very frequent, the publication of these affidavits and facts in pamphlet form or in the ERA may be considered.

Joseph F. Smith.

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