Joseph Smith, Orson and Sarah Pratt- A timeline

26 April, 1831 – Orson Pratt Ordained an Elder by Joseph Smith, Jr.’s own hand[1]

April 1831 – Mission to Colesville, New York. Several other missions to New York, Ohio, Missouri, and the Eastern States[2]

2 February, 1832 – Ordained a High Priest by Sidney Rigdon and as a High Priest he continued his missions, preaching in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts[3]

26 April, 1835 – Ordained a member of the Quorum of the 12[4]

1839 – 1841 – Orson Pratt served mission to British Isles. Produced tract “An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions.” 14 Articles of Faith included[5]

27 October, 1841 – Prescindia’s twenty-year-old sister, Zina, was living in the Joseph Smith home when Elder Henry B. Jacobs married her in March 1841. Joseph: “the Lord had made it known to him that [Zina] was to be his Celestial wife” (Ora J. Cannon. History of Henry Bailey Jacobs. p. 5-7; also see Mary Brown Firmage. Recollections of Zina D. Young)

11 December, 1841 – Prescindia D. Huntington, a faithful Mormon and married woman in Nauvoo, was also a polyandrous wife of Joseph Smith. Prescindia married Norman Buell in 1827. Had 2 sons prior to joining in 1836 (Richard S. Van Wagoner. Mormon Polygamy[6]: A History. p. 44; Fawn Brodie. No Man Knows My History. p. 301-302, 437-39)

Summer 1841 – “Shortly after Heber’s return from England, he was introduced to the doctrine of plural marriage directly through a startling test… Joseph demanded for himself what to Heber was the unthinkable, his [wife] Vilate. Totally crushed spiritually and emotionally, Heber touched neither food nor water for three days and three nights. Heber took Vilate to Joseph. The Prophet wept at this act of faith, devotion, and obedience. Joseph had never intended to take Vilate. It was all a test” (Biography of Heber C. Kimball; Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer[7])

Early 1842 – Sarah M. Kimball [Helen Mar Kimball’s mother], a prominent Nauvoo and Salt Lake City Relief Society leader, was also approached by the Prophet in early 1842 despite her solid 1840 marriage to Hiram Kimball (Elder Andrew Jensen. (1887). LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. 6:232)

February 1842 – Mary Elizabeth Rollins, already married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner since 11 August 1835, was one of the first women to accept a polyandrous proposal from Joseph Smith. “He was commanded to take me for a wife” (Lightner, Mary E. Statement[8]. 8 Feb. 1902; Lightner to Emmeline B. Wells, 21 Nov. 1880; Lightner to John R. Young, 25 Jan. 1892. George A. Smith Papers. Special Collections. University of Utah)

April 1842 – Marinda Nancy Johnson, sister of Apostles Luke and Lyman Johnson, married Orson Hyde in 1834. Before Hyde returned from Jerusalem in 1843, Marinda was sealed to Joseph Smith.  (Andrew Jenson. Church Chronology. August 6, 1844, Nauvoo Sealing Records)

11 May, 1842 – Church leaders announce that John C. Bennett will be disfellowshipped. Orson Pratt refuses to sign the announcement. Pratt’s wife, Sarah, had accused Joseph Smith of trying to seduce her. Joseph had accused John C. Bennett of being the one involved with Sarah Pratt[9]

17 June, 1842 – Heber C. Kimball writes to Parley P. Pratt: “We have organized a Lodge here of Masons since we obtained a Charter. That was in Mar. Since that thare was near two hundred been made masons. Br. Joseph and Sidny [Ridgon] was the first that was Received into the Lodg. All of the twelve apostles have become members Except Orson Pratt. He hangs back” (Letter from Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842).[10] (I can’t help but wonder if Orson’s wife was selected to be taken because Orson was not a mason and did not join in on the secret activities of The Order)

14 July, 1842 – In a public speech, Joseph Smith calls Orson Pratt’s wife, Sarah, “A whore from her mother’s breast” (The Sangamo Journal. July 29, 1842[11]). This entry is from an anti-mormon newspaper, and is the only source of this statement, however one must question whether all sources are lies simply because they are not in favor of mormonism.  On the same day:

Regardless of whether he said the exact words “Whore” and “Mother’s breast”, it is clear that Joseph pushed in a way that lead Orson to be very distraught over the situation of his wife claiming that Joseph had proposed to her, and refusing to accept that it was Bennett who had, instead.

15 July, 1842 – Thousands of Nauvoo Mormons search for Orson Pratt after discovering a suicide note[14]

  • On this same day: The ST. LOUIS BULLETIN publishes Martha Brotherton’s account of her invitation to enter into polygamy in Nauvoo with Brigham Young (St. Louis Bulletin, July 15, 1842, p. 2)[15]
  • Joseph Smith Journal: “It was reported early in the morning that Elder Orson Pratt was missing. I caused the Temple hands and the principle men of the city to make a search for him. After which a meeting was called at the Grove, and I gave the public a general outline of John C. Bennett’s conduct” (LDS History of the Church 5: 60–61)

17 July, 1842 – Brigham Young writes to Parley P. Pratt concerning his brother, Orson Pratt (Apostle Jebediah M. Grant. March 23, 1856. Sunday Tabernacle Discourse, Journal History quoting the letter)

  • THE WASP EXTRA, a Nauvoo newspaper, accuses John C. Bennett of “adultery, fornication, embryo infanticide and buggery . . .”

21 July, 1842 – Wilford Woodruff[16] writes: “There was a Counsel of the Twelve held for four days with Elder Orson Pratt to labour with him to get him to recall his sayings against Joseph & The Twelve.” This is cited even on the mormon wiki page[17] but the journal entry published online only discusses Bennett.  The full exchange is reprinted in CONFLICT IN THE QUORUM: ORSON PRATT, BRIGHAM YOUNG, JOSEPH SMITH[18]

29 July, 1842 – Scandal printed in SANGAMO JOURNAL: “We do not know what course will be pursued by Mr. [Orson] Pratt. If he sinks under the denunciations and schemes of Joe Smith- if he fails to defend the reputation of himself and of the woman he has vowed to protect before high heaven…” (full text transcribed[19])

1 August, 1842 – Times and Seasons 3 : 868–878[20] publishes affidavits that Sarah Pratt is lying and had an affair with Bennett.  Also discusses Nancy Rigdon.

20 August, 1842 – Orson Pratt excommunicated for insubordination, Sarah Pratt for adultery. This removed Pratt (And Hyde, both of the Orsons) from their seniority status (Bergera, Gary James. (1992). Seniority in the Twelve: The 1875 Realignment of Orson Pratt[21]. Journal of Mormon History 18 (1): 19–58)

1 October, 1842 – Times and Seasons 3 :939–940[22] publishes affidavits that Sarah Pratt lied and had an affair with Bennett

20 January, 1843 – Pratt reinstated to the Quorum of the 12[24]

27 July, 1843 – “I according to Pres. Joseph Smith & council & others, I agreed to stand by Sarah Ann Whitney [sealed to Smith 27 July 1843] as though I was supposed to be her husband and a pretended marriage for the purpose of shielding them from the enemy and for the purpose of bringing out the purposes of God” (Elder Joseph Kingsbury, “History of Joseph Kingsbury Written by His Own Hand[25],” page 5, Utah State Historical Society)  Curiously FAIR has a rebuttal here for this account, but the link does not discuss Kingsbury’s testimony at all.

1 Jan 1844William Law is first told of Polygamy by Hyrum, according to his diary entry for that day[26]

13 May, 1844 – Entry in William Law’s diary that Joseph proposed to his wife Jane: “He [Joseph] has lately endeavored to seduce my wife and has found her a virtuous woman.” (entry was crossed out later, no reason given) (William Law, Cited in Lyndon Cook, William Law, Orem, Utah: Grandin Book Co., 1994, 53)  Cited by apologists here[27]

1886 – Sarah Pratt[28] claimed in an interview that, while in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith, Jr. was attracted to her and intended to make her “one of his spiritual wives” while Orson was in England on missionary service

19 February, 1854 – Apostle Jedediah M. Grant, second counselor to Brigham Young and father of President Heber J. Grant, sermon addressing Joseph asking men for their wives. Posted here[29]

1 November, 1890 – Prophet Wilford Woodruff, John Mills Whitaker Journal: “The Prophet went to the home of President Taylor, and said to him, ‘Brother John, I WANT LEONORA,’ ‘If GOD wants Leonora He can have her..’. ‘I don’t want your wife, I just wanted to know just where you stood'” Van Wagner: Mormon Polygamy page 44 [30]

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Last edited by Mithryn on July 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm

1 Response to Joseph Smith, Orson and Sarah Pratt- A timeline

  1. Pingback: Lies of the Relief Society 175 Years Ago Today | Life After the Mormon Church

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