|Joseph Smith in His Own Defense ....|
HE IS SUPPOSED TO SOLILOQUIZE ON THE SUBJECT OF POLYGAMY.
It is time that my voice was heard in my own defense. Surely no one has more occasion to be heard in his own defense than I; and I nowhere more than in Utah, where Gentiles daily reproach me with the crime of polygamy and Mormons daily seek to justify themselves in that crime by the use of my name.
Thousands of people in Utah have accepted the doctrine of polygamy simply because they were told that I taught it; they regarded me as a prophet and were too ready to accept all that some one told them I taught.
If such people will think a moment they will discover that the most important question is, Is polygamy a true doctrine? My connection therewith is secondary. A little investigation will convince them that polygamy is not a biblical doctrine. To those who have reached that point I address myself in what can not be other than a successful effort to clear myself of any connection with the evil.
To those who will follow me in this defense, let me say that there is not an authentic published word that ever came from my pen or tongue behind which a polygamist can hide. All my published utterances touching the marriage question absolutely prohibit such a contingency. From the time I began to present religious teachings to the world I realized that because of the peculiar claims I made and because I became a leader of men, I was a public man, in the public eye, whose sayings, teachings,. and even deportment were subject to public scrutiny and criticism, and justly so. I stood before the public, taught in public, and none can justly say that I was anything but fearless in presenting my convictions. It was not my nature to conceal or cover up. What I stood for was boldly presented. On my record as a public man I should be judged. In other words, my public record should outweigh whispered tales and old women's fables. I am willing to be judged by facts.
The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. In that book, in the second chapter of Jacob, the following language is found:
For behold, thus saith the Lord, This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures: for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and 'Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, WHICH THING WAS ABOMINABLE before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any. man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me: thus saith the Lord of hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise, they shall hearken unto these things.
It has been charged that the closing words of this quotation leave a "loophole" for the introduction of polygamy. My Gentile friends say that I introduced the clause, "For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people: otherwise, they shall hearken unto these things," because j had it in mind to introduce polygamy at a later date. To this I would reply that it is inconceivable that a man who contemplated introducing polygamy as a tenet of his church would write a book intended to be a text-book of his church and in it pronounce the doctrine of polygamy an abomination.
My Mormon friends say that God inspired the Book of Mormon and that he introduced that clause because he had it in mind to introduce the doctrine of polygamy at a later date. To this I reply that it is inconceivable that God would ever at any time or anywhere command his people to practice that which he had said was an "abomination" in his sight.
Some other interpretation must be placed upon that clause, one that will harmonize with the balance of the text. It is clear that no one, either man or God, who had anything to do with the production of the Book of Mormon, looked with favor upon polygamy or expected that it would ever become a church tenet.
The fact must at once be apparent to the mind of anyone reading the quotation that the Book of Mormon says that polygamy was "abominable" before the Lord. My Gentile friends who charge me with being the author of the Book of Mormon must admit that if that be true then those words expressed my opinion of polygamy in 1830. I will prove a little further on that my opinion on that subject never changed.
My Mormon friends, who believe that God was back of the Book of Mormon, must admit that if that be true, then the words quoted above expressed God's opinion of polygamy prior to 1830; and as God never changes, that is his opinion still. Their strenuous efforts, then, to prove me a polygamist are simply attempts to prove me radically, monstrously out of harmony with God. If they succeed they simply prove that I was not God's spokesman, and the entire latter day dispensation is in danger of being for ever branded as a fraud.
February 9, 1831, the voice of God speaking through me to my people was:
Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not, he shall be cast out. -- Doctrine and Covenants, Utah edition, 42:22, 23; Lamoni edition 42:7.
Those who charge me with concocting these revelations rather do me a favor in one way, because they thus place all the honor of having given such an excellent law upon my shoulders. They ascribe these lofty sentiments solely to me. They must admit that such pure teachings could not have emanated from a brain filled with lust.
On the other hand, my Mormon friends who profess to accept this revelation as coining from God, ought to be willing to admit that I obeyed its mandates; and they themselves ought to obey them. This commandment positively prohibits him (the husband) loving any other woman (than his wife) in the marital sense. The individual who permits his heart to wander and his desires to go after other women shall lose the Spirit and shall be cut off. If this law were enforced in Utah to-day some high dignitaries would be excommunicated instanter, because they show no inclination to repent; the first part of the penalty is self-operative -- the Spirit has been withdrawn.
The above quotation expressed my opinion of the sanctity of marriage on February 9, 1831, and does yet express it. God gave the law; I say amen.
About a month later another revelation was given containing the following:
And again, I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.-Doctrine and Covenants, Utah edition, 49:15,16; Lamoni edition, 49:8.
The language in the two quotations given is plain and unequivocal. It limits the number of contracting parties to two (they twain). Any attempt to evade the force of this by equivocation or sophistry will be made only by those who are inoculated with the virus of polygamy and concubinage.
That I accepted the law at its face value is shown by a notice that appeared in the Times and Seasons, February 1, 1844, volume 5, page 423:
As we have lately been credibly informed, that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching polygamy, and other- false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.
This is to notify him and the church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the special conference, on the 6th of April next, to make answer to these charges.
This notice appeared in the official organ of the church over my signature less than five short months before my death. It shows that I still classed polygamy among "false and corrupt doctrines." I had not changed my mind since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, with its statement that such a doctrine was "abominable" in the sight of the Lord. I 'still indorsed the statement before quoted from the Doctrine and Covenants, that a man guilty of lusting after other women should be cut off.
Now I submit that such statements coming from my pen and published during my lifetime indubitably set forth my opinions correctly and should in no way be set aside by statements made long after my death about what somebody heard somebody else say that I said regarding marriage.
If anyone seeks to dodge the force of the above notice by arguing that said Hiram Brown was excommunicated because he did not have the authority to preach polygamy and not because we regarded the thing itself as evil, I cite them to a notice that appeared about a month later, signed by my brother Hyrum, who was closely in my confidence and spoke for both.
Nauvoo, March 15, 1844.
To the Brethren of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter. Day Saints, living on China Creek, in Hancock County, Greeting: Whereas, Bro. Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day, to know my views, concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and, states to me that, some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also: therefore he had better beware what he is about. -- Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 474.
This shows clearly that the doctrine was not one that was right or wrong according to a man's station in the church, high or low, but it was wrong in itself, and any man in any position in the church who advocated it was in danger of excommunication. There were those who were advocating it, and had I lived
they would have been brought to book for their crimes.
In proof of this assertion I quote the words of Elder William Marks, written fifteen years after my death, addressed to Elder Isaac Sheen. The events of which he writes occurred in June, 1844. He was at that time president of the Nauvoo stake and president of the High Council. He was- much troubled regarding the spiritual condition of the church. In vision he was shown that some people high in authority in the church had become corrupt. The words that I desire to quote are as follows:
A few days after this occurrence I met with Brother Joseph. He said that he wanted to converse with me on the affairs of the church, and we retired by ourselves. I will give his words verbatim, for they are indelibly stamped upon my mind. He said he had desired for a long time to have a talk with me on the subject of polygamy. He said it eventually would prove the overthrow of the church, and we should soon be obliged to leave the United States, unless it could be speedily put down. He was satisfied that it was a cursed doctrine, and that there must be every exertion made to put it down. He said that he would go before the congregation and proclaim against it, and I must go into the High Council, and he would prefer charges against those in transgression, and I must sever them from the church, unless they made ample satisfaction. There was much more said, but this was the substance. The mob commenced to gather about Carthage in a few days after, therefore there was nothing done concerning it. -- Saints' Herald, volume 1, pages 22,23; Church History, volume 2, pages 733,734.
The reader will note that there is no reason to doubt Elder Marks' testimony. There was nothing strange in my taking him thus into my confidence, because of his high official position. Again, that
which he said I told him is quite in line with my sentiments, as clearly proved by previous quotation from my writings.
It will be noticed that in this conversation with Marks, only a few days before my death, I pronounced the doctrine of polygamy a "cursed doctrine," quite in line with the statement in my notice in the Times and Seasons in which I called it a "false and corrupt" doctrine. Have I established my opening statement that the adverse opinion that I held of the doctrine in 1830 never changed? If not, there is nothing in documentary evidence or in logic, and no man's reputation is safe.
The testimony of Brother Marks has been used in an effort to prove that polygamy was practiced in Nauvoo during my life, with the idea of discrediting me. I have no objections to it being thus used, because even the casual listener will discover that, granting that the vice had gained a foothold, it was under a church ban and I as a man and as the president of the church was doing all I could to root it out.
Elder Marks' veracity will compare favorably with that of any in Utah who are likely to challenge his testimony. Moreover, my Mormon friends will remember that we have the word of the Lord on record concerning him. In a letter written to the Saints of Kirtland during the year 1838, from which I quote, I penned these lines:
I would just say to Brother Marks, that I saw in a vision while on the road, that whereas he was closely pursued by an innumerable concourse of enemies, and as they pressed upon him hard, as if they were about to devour him, and had seemingly obtained some degree of advantage over him, but about this time a chariot of fire came, and near the place, even the angel of the Lord put forth his hand unto Bro. Marks, and said unto him, "Thou are my son, come here," and immediately he was caught up in the chariot, and rode away triumphantly out of their midst. And again the Lord said, "I will raise thee up for a blessing unto many people." Now the particulars of this whole matter can not be written at this time, but the vision was evidently given to me that I might know that the hand of the Lord would be on his behalf. -- Church History, volume 2, page 147.
If the people in Utah will accept the testimony of Brother Marks they may be numbered among the many people whom he was raised up to bless. If, as in the past, they choose to form a great concourse of enemies, seeking to blast his reputation and mine, they may be sure that they will fail and he will triumph, because his testimony is pure.
I desire to mention only one more witness in my behalf; my true, faithful, well-beloved Emma. Her truthfulness was never challenged by those who knew her heart. If now challenged I can face the challenger with statements made by representative writers of the dominant church in Utah that will compel any good Mormon to halt proceedings calculated to impeach her as a witness. During her last illness she was visited by her son Joseph, her son and mine, and questioned concerning the matter. Face to face with eternity she gave the following answers to the questions propounded:
Q. "Did he not have other wives than yourself?"
Q. "Did he not hold marital relation with women other than
Such was her consistent testimony often repeated, as can be testified to now by living witnesses. In my life I wrote of her as my "faithful, unchangeable Emma," and after my death I have been made glad to hear her voice defending me against the vile slanders of professed friends.
I am aware that my Mormon friends, and Gentile friends as well, will present two lines of evidence in rebuttal of what I have here presented. First they will cite the so-called revelation on celestial marriage, now published in the Utah edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants under my name. This, as is well known, was not brought out till eight years after my death, at which time Brigham Young read it at a general conference in Salt Lake City. 'At that time he said that he had kept the document in secret all those years. I repudiate that document and brand it as a forgery.
It squarely contradicts my oft-published sentiments regarding marriage. I appeal to the sense of justice of the reader, and declare that such being the case, it should not be fastened upon me unless it can be traced back to me by witnesses who can substantiate Brigham Young's statement beyond a reasonable doubt. Such witnesses have never been produced. I will pay my further respects to this alleged revelation a little further on.
The second line of rebuttal will consist of the testimony of women in Utah who have testified that they were my wives. There are, or were, several of these women. Were their testimony really true, I might have been more reconciled to my early departure from this earth life. However, they propose to pursue me through all eternity, claiming that they were sealed to me for eternity. But I have not yet encountered any of their shades wandering through the regions of the blest. Can it be that they have been assigned to some other sphere? I will also pay my regards to their testimony in another chapter.
I am fully aware of the exact meaning of my charge against Brigham Young and others who brought forth the so-called revelation on celestial marriage. I am aware that I place them under the charge of deception, fraud, and conspiracy. I am aware also that where a crime is charged a motive must be presumed for that crime. The motive in the case of Brigham Young and his immediate associates is found in the following facts: On the 29th day of August, 1852, when they brought this revelation to light, they were deeply imbedded in the mire of polygamy and concubinage. They desired to claim the sanction of heaven for their marital ventures. Not one of them was a prophet. Brigham Young himself is on record with a statement that he was not a prophet nor a son of a prophet. The revelation must be ascribed to some one who was known to have been a prophet. There was every incentive for them to do what they did, and thus not only escape the blame of introducing such a doctrine themselves, but at the same time gain the prestige of my name among the great body of their followers for the thing that they had promulgated.
In closing this part of my defense let me appeal to my readers and especially to the members of the Mormon church: In the future, if you wish to quote me on the marriage question, quote from my statements published during my life time, and not from some document which appeared after my demise, and with which, even according to the claims of my Mormon friends, my connection must be considered doubtful.
The Mormons and the Gentiles are alike inconsistent. The Mormons in that they present me to the world as a prophet of God and at the same time aver that I did things that were directly opposed to the teachings of the inspired books that God gave to the world through me. The Gentiles are inconsistent in that they pass over my well-known utterances regarding marriage and accept the testimony of certain people in Utah that I was a polygamist, the while they admit, nay charge, that these people are unreliable witnesses on any other point in controversy.
Gentlemen of the Gentile community in Utah, you can not incriminate me, because you have impeached your own witnesses. Gentlemen of the Mormon church, you are in conflict with the written word.
HE PAYS HIS RESPECTS TO HIS ALLEGED SPIRITUAL WIVES.
As stated in the preceding chapter certain women in Utah have testified that I taught them the mysteries of celestial marriage, and that they were married to me during my life and entered into relationships not wholly "celestial."
To controvert their testimony may seem ungracious and ungentlemanly, but the task is forced upon me. For them to pose as my paramours and under the guise of concubinage or polygamy to seek to usurp the place of my one lawfully wedded wife was an unwomanly task, and was of their own choosing, if we can relieve their later priestly advisers from responsibility.
I trust that those who read this defense will remember that to be accused in Utah does not necessarily mean to be guilty. Jesus Christ even is accused of being a polygamist, as is well known to those versed in the peculiar brand of Mormonism native to the Salt Lake Valley. I venture the assertion that women could be found in Utah who would swear that they were his affinities and consorted with him along the shores of Galilee, if there were a shadow of a chance that they would be believed and if such a claim were not too great a reflection on their age. I just, gather this impression from the fantastic claims of the many "living wives of our dearly beloved martyred prophet," - martyred? Yes, martyred in Utah.
This, host of "wives" is about as numerous as the immortal legion of old citizens among the Gentiles who went to school with me and knew me well; and the statements of one are about as accurate as the statements of the other.
One of the most stanch advocates. of her own claim to be considered one of my "relicts" was Eliza R. Snow, who departed the earth life December 5, 1887, in Salt Lake City. Her present location is unknown to me.
This worthy lady was quite universally known as Sr. Eliza R. Snow until comparatively recent years when her claim to a place in my bosom was challenged. Since then to make it sound more realistic, the faithful have called her Sr. Eliza R. Snow Smith. Her claims are set forth in Representative Women of Utah, page 2, from which I quote:
Here, the Relief Society was organized by Joseph, March, 1842, and Sr. Eliza was chosen for secretary. There are now three hundred branches of the Relief Society. Eliza was at this time the wife of the Prophet.
Here we observe her claim that she was my wife in March, 1842. How long she had held that place at that date does not appear.
But another authoritative Utah publication, the Historical Record, volume 6, page 233, says: "Eliza Roxey Snow, married to the Prophet June 29, 1842, President Brigham Young officiating." If we were comfortably established as husband and wife in March why were we remarried again in June? Why this tinkering of dates? Is some one trying to make out a case?
But our Sister Eliza is on record in a way most damaging to her testimony and her reputation for veracity. In, the Times and Seasons, the official church organ, issue of October 1, 1842, appeared the following certificate, in connection with a similar certificate, signed by leading men of Nauvoo:
We the undersigned members of the ladies' relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practiced in the Church of Jesus Christ of- Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to the public to show that J. C. Bennett's "secret wife system" is a disclosure of his own make.
This certificate is signed by nineteen women, and the name of Eliza R. Snow appears fourth on the list. October 1, 1842, she publicly declared that she knew of no system of marriage existing in the church save the well-known Monogamic rule contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. Yet now we are asked to believe that at that very time she was a post graduate in the mysteries of "celestial marriage, including a plurality of wives," and-was one of a large number of my polygamous wives.
Granting that she told the truth in October, 1842, she told the reverse years later when she set up a claim that she was my wife in March of 1842. Granting that she told the truth in after years in Salt Lake City she told the reverse in 1842. In either case she is discredited as a witness.
The rule of marriage referred to in the certificate signed by these nineteen ladies was adopted by the church in 1835 and formed a part of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, a part of the church law, until after my death. It suited me well enough as a church law' but obviously it does not suit the Utah Mormons, and a diligent search of their version of the Doctrine and Covenants will fail to discover it'. In its stead you will find the document sanctioning polygamy. When God went out the Devil came in.
The law above referred to declared:
We believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.
According to the form of the marriage contract the parties both covenanted to keep themselves "for each other and from all others." No more concise, clear-cut, iron-clad, marriage ceremony was ever devised than that adopted by the church in 1835 and used during all of my subsequent presidency. And that was the only rule of marriage that our respected Sr. Eliza R. Snow knew anything about October 1, 1842. Utah historians might take note and "make another stab" at getting a suitable date for my nuptials with Sister Eliza. They have fixed on two dates and neither exactly meets the urgent necessities of the case. They might well paraphrase the old song to read,
"Backward, turn backward, O Time in thy flight! Give us a chance to get our dates right."
Their dilemma deepens as we proceed.
Louisa Beeman may be termed "Exhibit B." Her claims are gravely set forth in the Historical Record, volume 6, page 233, as follows: "Louisa Beeman, married to the Prophet April 5th, 1841, Joseph B. Noble officiating."
The facts in the case are that Louisa Beeman was not even a member of the church at that date and did not unite with the church until two years later. In my history, as published by the Utah Mormons, -- Millennial Star, volume 21, page 75, -- the following item appears: "Thursday, May 11, [1843,] six a.m., baptized Louisa Beeman, Sarah Alley, and others." Why, oh why, did not the prescient church historians date the baptism back or the marriage ahead? In case this item from the Millennial Star is reprinted at any time I suggest that my Mormon friends amend it so that it will refer to the sister as Louisa Beeman Smith, so that no partiality may be shown Sr. "Eliza R. Snow Smith."
Joseph B. Noble, who is alleged to have scaled Miss Beeman to me, was compelled to testify in the Temple Lot Suit, at Independence, Missouri, and his character as a witness may be discovered by reading his testimony. His testimony is found in Abstract of Evidence, pages 164 to 371. I quote:
I never heard Joseph Smith teach the church the doctrine of polygamy, or that a man could have more wives than one, either publicly or privately. I said the other day in my cross examination that Louisa Beeman was sealed to Joseph Smith in 1840, and that I performed the ceremony; to-day I am inclined to think it was a little later than that. ... Well, I will settle down on the date that Louisa Beeman was married in 1841 or 1842. I have been rebaptized for my nonsense a good many times, and am going through again as soon as I get through with you fellows. ... I did not say I could not tell the names of all my wives, I might tell some of them. I do not think I could tell the names of any of them, and I swear that I will not tell, just for your damned nonsense. I said it was none of your damned business because your question was so nonsensical. 'No, sir, I will not tell the names of my wives, just because I will not. Just because it is none of your damned business, I will not-tell you the time I married my second wife. ... I am an elder and a high priest here in the church in Utah.
The case of Mrs. Zina D. Huntington Young is perhaps the most amusing and remarkable one with which we have to do. It is said of this versatile lady:
Sr. Zina was married in Nauvoo, and had two sons; but this not proving a happy union, she subsequently separated from her husband. Joseph Smith taught her the principle of marriage for eternity, and she accepted it as a divine revelation, and was sealed to the Prophet for time and all eternity, after the order of the new and everlasting covenant. -- Representative Women of Deseret, page 12.
The name of her first husband is given in Pictures and Biographies of Brigham Young and His Wives, as follows:
Sr. Zina was married to Henry Jacobs in Nauvoo, and had two sons, but this not proving a happy union she subsequently separated from her husband. Joseph Smith taught her the principle of marriage for eternity, and she accepted it as a divine revelation, and was sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith for time and eternity, October 27, 1841, her brother Dimick Huntington officiating.
The date of this romantic union is further immutably fixed on page 233, volume 6, of the Historical Record: "Zina D. Huntington, afterwards the wife of Brigham Young, sealed to the Prophet, Oct. 27, 1841."
The Record of Marriages in Hancock County, Illinois, gives the date of the marriage of Zina D. Huntington and Henry B. Jacobs as March 7, 1841, John' C. Bennett, mayor of Nauvoo, officiating.
Now we have the main facts regarding this lightning-change actress assembled. They run like this: She was married to Mr. Jacobs March 7, 1841, and within seven months and twenty days bore two sons, -- not twins,-- became dissatisfied with the union, separated from Mr. Jacobs, and was married to me. Surely there was little need for the introduction of polygamy when Zina D. and Mr. Jacobs could achieve such results under the old system of monogamy.
Furthermore this merry widow in 1846 (two years after my demise,) gave birth to a son and named him Chariton Jacobs.
She seems to have held the position of wife to Mr. Jacobs all the time. Her. later story of seven months and twenty days of rapid transit from Jacobs to Smith with its accompanying enlargement of the census report of Illinois was concocted simply and solely to help her associates who were engaged in the work of foisting the doctrine of polygamy upon. the church in Utah. She obtained her exaltation and was married to Brigham Young and is probably now engaged in helping him enlarge his kingdom in other worlds; to be exact in specifying their location might seem uncharitable. At least "Zina D. Huntington Jacobs Smith Young" never has answered to the roll-call in the realms of the blest.
These are fair samples of the living witnesses that in years past have strengthened- the faith of the wavering. Their testimony is absurdly contradictory.
There is one serious break in the chain of evidence. It is this: Wives of "our dear prophet" have been brought forward -plenty; but children none, and children are the excuse for polygamy. One lecturer confronts the Mormons with this amusing charge; he says, "According to your version we have Joseph Smith, about twenty-seven women, and God, entering into a combine for the express purpose of raising up a righteous seed. They work at it for about three years and have not a chick or a child to show for it."
My wife Emma bore me strong, vigorous, and healthy children. What a contrast to their boasted system of celestial marriage as a means of raising up a righteous seed!
To brand the testimony of these women as lies might seem ungentlemanly. We might borrow Theodore Roosevelt's expression, and say that they were "constitutionally unable to set a proper valuation on the principle of truth"; but Brigham Young himself did justice to the situation when he boasted that they had the biggest liars in the world. (See Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 77.) From the class of people of whom he spoke come these "living witnesses." Is not their conflicting testimony suspicious?
I confront it with the testimony of my wife, Emma, delivered upon her deathbed:
He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.... He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.... I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise. -- Church History (L. D. S.) volume 3, pages 355, 356.
She it was to whom the Lord spoke in July, 1830 (see section 25, Utah edition Doctrine and Covenants), and said,
Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.... And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, jr., thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.
She was my comfort during life, and her stanch and faithful testimony to my purity of life was repeated even after I had gone home to the paradise of God.
My readers need not fear to accept her testimony, for Saints and "Gentiles" alike have borne record of her veracity. D. H. Bays, of the Christian or Disciple Church, has this to say,
Mrs. Smith was a lady of more than ordinary mental endowments, and possessed a reputation for honor and integrity that won the respect and esteem of those who knew her best. -- Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, p. 362.
I also desire in this connection to present the testimony of my son Joseph, well known as president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. First, however, permit me to quote again from Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, by D. H. Bays:
From a long personal acquaintance with President Smith, I take great pleasure in saying I regard him as- a most excellent and sincere Christian gentleman, and worthy of the respect and esteem of all good people. If he believed his father to have been the author of the infamous revelation on polygamy, he possesses both moral courage and Christian manhood to denounce it in the roundest terms, and would neither by word nor deed seek to justify even his father, whose memory he holds sacred, in the introduction of a doctrine alike soul-destroying to man and dishonoring to God. -- Page 322.
Now I quote from the testimony of President Smith, as given in the Temple Lot Suit, found in Abstract of Evidence, pages 484-501:
I remember of no one but my mother, my brothers, and myself who slept in the room with my father, and the room where the rest of the family slept, except, sometimes, an adopted sister, when the house would be crowded, and sometimes when we had the house full of visitors. The family" sleeping apartments were right together. The children slept in the room adjoining their mother and father's sleeping room. They were adjoining rooms with an open door between. We always had family prayers evening and morning, and the whole family would be present at evening and morning prayers; yes, sir, always. There were never any women, by any name, during the time my father lived in Nauvoo, or at any other time or place that claimed to be his wife, aside from my mother. Never to my knowledge, and I never heard of such a thing until some time after his death. There was nobody that stayed there around the house that my father treated as his wife, -- except my mother. ... I will tell you, Colonel, that so far as my knowledge goes, there was never anything of the kind [polygamy] known in the family, and I will say further that I believe that it is absolutely impossible for such things to have been without my knowing it.
In the preceding chapter I set forth my views on the marriage question as published during my lifetime. These views were based upon the teachings of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein monogamy is enjoined and polygamy condemned. I cited positive proof that under my direction men were expelled from the church during the very last days of my presidency because they were contaminated with the doctrine of free love at that time trying to work its way into every religious organization. To be explicit, the men expelled taught polygamy and were expelled for that reason. These facts should not easily be overthrown by the contradictory testimony of certain women who had a selfish object in view in testifying as they did.
In my particular case the world is confronted with testimony intended to prove that my private teachings were the reverse of my public teachings. To prove such an extraordinary claim the testimony must be above suspicion. I have examined this testimony and have shown that it is a mass of contradictions. Who can believe it?
There is an old book not much read now but considerably affected in my day. Upham's Mental Philosophy. In treating on certain forms of insanity the author says:
There is another class of persons who plainly show a derangement of this power by their readiness to believe everything. ... They take no notice of dates, characters, and circumstances; and, as they find nothing too improbable to believe, they find nothing too strange, marvelous, and foolish to report.
This state of mind is frequently an accompaniment, of light-headiness.
The esteemed ladies of Whom I write took no note of dates or circumstances and nothing was too ridiculous for them to tell or for their associates to believe, providing it would associate me with their polygamous practices and thus give them a shadow of sanctity. That individuals in Utah would not hesitate to do mean injury in order to shield themselves is shown by the fact that the present head of the Mormon church, Joseph F. Smith, stands in the position of branding his own father as a liar. In the Times and Seasons for March 15, 1844, Hyrum Smith said regarding polygamy, "There is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practiced here." To-day his son is among those who say that at that very time I was both teaching and practicing polygamy and that Hyrum knew it. Joseph F. will do this in order to shield himself in the possession of his own five mistresses. What would he and his associates hesitate to do to my reputation?
In my next chapter I shall pay My respects to that venerable fraud, the so-called revelation on celestial marriage.
HE PAYS HIS RESPECTS TO THE SO-CALLED "REVELATION" SANCTIONING POLYGAMY.
This interesting document forms section 132 of the Utah edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. My Mormon friends have carefully prefaced it with the statement that it was "given through Joseph, the Seer, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 12, 1843."
I have something to say regarding its authorship, its absurdities, and its effrontery. It is a lengthy document, but the marrow of the whole matter is found in paragraphs 61 and 62:
And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then he is justified; he can not commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he can not commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else; and it he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he can not commit adultery.
You may search my teachings from the spring of 1820, when my first declaration on religion was delivered, until June 27, 1844, when I suffered the extreme agony, and you will not find a single syllable that breathes such a spirit as is couched in those words.
If these particular passages were not so repulsive, they would be absurd, because the very next one says:
But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man; she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth.
Just so. The patriarchal polygamist who stands at the head of a household that is constantly growing by a process of accretion is deeply interested in having the earth replenished, but he intends to guard his prerogative of having part in the initial processes. If any of these ten virgins permits her fancy, like his, to stray far afield after other soul mates she is "to be destroyed." He is constantly expanding and taking on new affinities while she sees her holdings gradually shrinking away, -- to-day a man, to-morrow a half a man, day after to-morrow a third of a man, -- poco tiempo her (their) husband reaches the Democratic ratio of sixteen to one. This is free love from the male standpoint. "They twain shall be one" comes to mean that he is one and she one sixteenth or some other commensurable fraction.
The opening paragraph of this "revelation" is itself an absurdity, well fitted to introduce those that follow:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand, to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines.
I am represented as asking God how he justified David and Solomon in having many wives and concubines, when, having translated the Book of Mormon, I well knew that it said, "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord." Isaac is mentioned also, when every student of the Bible knows that he was not a polygamist, and that of the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his was the only household that was not torn with jealousies and quarrels. The others had experiences similar to those of Brigham Young, who at one time threatened to cast off all of his wives gained under the "celestial" law if they did not cease their quarreling. He said, "I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me." -- Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp. 55-57.
Paragraph 3 says that all who have this polygamous law revealed to them "must obey the same." Paragraph 4 says, "And if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory."
This law must be obeyed, and the unlucky wretch who does not obey it will be damned, because in more than one place it is taught to be the means of salvation, glorification, and exaltation. Now my Mormon friends have said in extenuation of their system that during the days of unrestricted polygamy only about two and one half per cent of their people obeyed that law. Then ninety-seven and one half per cent of the Mormon populace were damned. And inasmuch as the sexes are about evenly divided, with a slight excess of males, every good Mormon who secured the classical ten (foolish) virgins condemned nine other men to eternal loss, which could hardly be called brotherly love. Again, in paragraph 27, it is reiterated, "He that abideth not this law, can in no wise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord."
When we reflect that in its palmiest days it saved two and one half per cent of "the Lord's chosen people" and damned all the rest, it strikes us that it is decidedly inadequate as a means of "salvation and exaltation." It is about as inadequate as those twenty-seven women who claimed to have been married to me for the express purpose of raising up a righteous seed, none of whom bore me any children, good, bad, or indifferent.
It would be interesting to hear some good Mormon attempt the impossible task of reconciling paragraph 61 of this "revelation'! with paragraph 22 of section 42. The latter says, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." The former says, "If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse -- another," er--ah,-- "there is he justified; he can not commit adultery, for they are given unto him." He is safe in going as high as ten, and if the virgins are all right he is all right. To make it personal: After Joseph F. Smith married his first wife, if he obeyed the law to love her with his whole heart and cleave unto her and none else, how did he have any heart left to "desire to espouse another"? and how could he finally cleave unto four others?
Absurdities in this "revelation" are numerous and conspicuous, but I will notice only two more. In paragraph 54 it is said of my wife, Emma:
But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her, if she abide not in my law.
Brigham Young says that she not only rejected this commandment, but destroyed the manuscript of the revelation. She was not destroyed; she lived to a respected and honorable old age. How do my Mormon friends account for this?
Of me it was said:
And I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundred fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal world.
I am supposed to have accepted this covenant, yet a few short months later I was destroyed in the flesh. As a revelation this document is decidedly weak. It fails to make good on a single point.
Its effrontery is unlimited, inasmuch as it proposes, to usurp the place of the gospel as a means of salvation and exaltation. There is absolutely no limit to its promises and almost no limit to the license that it grants. Paragraph 26 says:
Verily, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of ' the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder, wherein they shed innocent blood -- yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation.
There is the license to commit blasphemy or any other form of sin, with the exception of shedding innocent blood (other kinds excepted), and the promise immediately follows that the individual thus steeped in sin, shall come forth in the first resurrection and enter into his exaltation by mere virtue of a belief in this covenant. John called the first resurrection the resurrection of the "just," but that was before the advent of this new covenant.
The promise is elaborated in the nineteenth paragraph. There it is said of those who embrace this covenant (and wisely abstain from shedding "innocent" blood), "They shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things."
The individual who enters into this polygamous, sealing-for-eternity business may. lie, steal, swear, commit adultery, even murder a Gentile, whose blood is not innocent, of course, and yet he will go away up the ladder of glory far beyond the angels and gods. The man who does not accept this covenant may live a virtuous life in' full accord with gospel principles and he will be required to go away back and sit down, -- if indeed he escapes being a lackey to his forehanded brothers of the large families, of whom it is said, "They have all power, and the angels are subject to them."
Truly this "revelation" is the Devil's own confession of faith.
My Utah friends may as well face the situation squarely. Paul said that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the power of God unto salvation. Christ sent his disciples out to preach the gospel and declared that those who believed it and were baptized should be saved. But now comes this new covenant and makes a man's salvation dependent upon the style and frequency of his marriages. Those who reject this polygamous document are damned; those who accept it are saved and exalted without regard to their moral conduct. In fact, from my standpoint, their exaltation is made dependent upon immorality, -- the more illicit marriages the higher they go.
Let us now come to the question of authorship. Brigham Young presented this, document for the first time to the church at a conference in Salt Lake City, August 29, 1852. At that time he said:
This revelation has been in my possession many years, and who has known it? None but those who should know it. I keep a patent lock on my desk, and there does not anything leak out that should not. -- Millennial Star Supplement, vol. 15, p. 31.
Thus it comes forth a thing of secrecy and darkness. In character and inception it comes within the range of Peter's prophecy, "There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies."
As I have before stated such a doctrine must needs claim to have divine sanction back of it in order to secure its acceptance by the people. A revelation presupposed a prophet. Neither Brigham Young nor any of his associates were prophets. Brigham disclaimed the prophetic calling. The most natural thing was for them to ascribe the whole thing to me. What proof was produced? The word of Brigham Young, who claimed that he had kept the document in secret all those years. He had no original copy of it in my handwriting. He stated however that Emma Smith, my wife, had destroyed the original manuscripts because of her prejudices. Here is a possible corroborative witness. But Emma, when questioned about ' the matter, Positively contradicted Young on all points. Her testimony, taken in the form of an interview and published in the Messenger, volume 1, page 23, is here quoted:
"Did you ever see any document of that kind, purporting to be a revelation, to authorize polygamy?"
"No; I never did."
"Did Joseph Smith ever teach you the principles of polygamy, as being revealed to him, or as a correct and righteous principle?"
"He never did."
"What about that statement of Brigham Young, that you burnt the original manuscript of that revelation?"
"It is false in all its parts, made out of whole cloth, without any foundation in truth."
One or two corroborative witnesses are brought forward by the Utah church, but their testimony will not stand examination. This document now under consideration so squarely contradicts all my known teachings that it would seem that no sane man would long suspect me of its authorship when he came to know the facts in the case. As opposed to it is the statement in the Book of Mormon, "There shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none," and the statement in Doctrine and Covenants, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else," and "It is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh."
The reader can hardly avoid strongly suspecting what I know to be a fact that the whole affair originated in the mind of Brigham Young. In fact, after the doctrine had become somewhat popular with his people he made a guarded admission of that fact, still including me. He said
While we were in England, (in 1839 and '40 I think), the 'Lord manifested to me by vision and his Spirit, things that I did not understand. ... The revelation was given in 1843, but the doctrine was revealed before this -- Deseret News, July 1, 1874.
It was such people as Brigham and such doctrines as those taught in this revelation that we had in mind when my brother Hyrum wrote to the church:
Let the matter of the grand councils of heaven, and the making of gods, worlds, and devils entirely alone. ... And as to the, celestial glory, all will enter in and possess that kingdom that obey the gospel, and continue in faith in the Lord unto the end of his days. -- Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 474.
The facts in the case are so evident that whenever they have been properly presented before men of judicial training who are capable of weighing evidence, my name has been cleared and the blame has been placed where it belongs. In the famous Kirtland Temple suit, in the Court of Common Pleas, Lake County, Ohio, February 23, 1880, Judge L. S. Sherman rendered a decision in part as follows:
That the church in Utah, the defendant, of which John Taylor is president, has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws, ordinances and usages of said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has incorporated into its system of faith the doctrines of celestial marriage and a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of Adam God worship, contrary to the laws and constitution of said original church.
A similar decision was reached by Judge Philips in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western Division of the Western District of Missouri, in the Temple Lot suit, 1894.
Senator Burrows, chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections, during the hearing of the Reed Smoot case, had an excellent opportunity to hear both sides of the question. In his speech in the Senate of the United States, December 11, 1906, he said:
In order to induce his followers more readily to accept this infamous doctrine, Brigham Young himself invoked the name of Joseph Smith, the Martyr, whom many sincerely believed to be a true prophet, and ascribed to him the. reception of a revelation from the Almighty in 1843, commanding the Saints to take unto themselves a multiplicity of wives, limited in number only by the measures of their desires. ... Such the mythological story palmed off on a deluded people. -- Congressional Record.
Senator O. F. Berry in an address before the Illinois State Historical Society, at Springfield, Illinois, January 24, 1906, said:
The writer is satisfied, from evidence entirely satisfactory to him, that Joseph and Hyrum Smith did not teach and preach the doctrine of polygamy. I believe the facts justify the statement that polygamy was first promulgated and taught by Brigham Young. -- Page 6 of his pamphlet.
Facts have convinced these legislators and judges of mature mind and national repute; convinced them perhaps against their own inclinations, because the prejudices of the world are against me. Men are inclined to discredit my work from- its inception. They would rather believe me guilty than otherwise.
I trust that my readers are not so inclined. No man can afford to take that attitude toward any other man.
My Mormon friends of the rank and file, who are mostly honest and faithful souls, will hesitate to discredit their leaders; but is it not as bad to discredit me, whom they revere as a prophet? And their leaders have represented me as a licentious degenerate who was secretly practicing polygamy and as constantly lying to the world to cover that practice.
I appeal to the rank and file of the Mormon people to cease believing and teaching things that unauthorized men have sent out in my name. Turn, ere it is too late, to a belief in the pure principles of the gospel. Abandon your half-hearted defense of the awful doctrines taught in the so-called revelation of which I have written.
I at one time delivered the following prophecy:
While I have powers of body and mind; while water runs and grass grows; while virtue is, lovely, and vice hateful; and, while a stone points out a sacred spot where a fragment of American liberty once was; I or my posterity, will plead the cause of injured innocence. -- Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 395.
That prophecy had a deeper meaning than I then understood. Vice is still hateful and virtue lovely in my sight and in the sight of God. My voice shall still be heard to plead the cause of injured innocence. No man was ever more cruelly injured than I when professed friends promulgated these doctrines of evil in my name. Nor was I alone injured, -- the faith of thousands was shaken and the fair name of the church was befouled in all the world.
But thank God there are still avenues through which I can plead the cause of injured innocence. Thank God that in accord with my prediction my posterity are pleading the cause of injured innocence. You may have been taught to despise the Reorganized Church, at whose head my son Joseph stands, and with which all of my sons and most of my grandsons are identified, or were identified during life. But heed their message. They do not ask you to accept teachings that are contrary to the laws of God and the laws of our land; they do not ascribe such teachings to me.
With whom will you ally yourselves? With those who plead the cause of innocence? or with those who go to any lengths to brand me as a criminal.
I am yours for truth,
JOSEPH SMITH, per F. E.
Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God through which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized, April 6, 1830. He was assassinated June 27, 1844.
The authors of this tract have presented his views on the important question of marriage exactly as he might be supposed to present them to-day if he were still living. His plain statements, made and published during his life, are the basis of the defense as they have prepared it.