Polygamy Timeline

Note Age of Consent in the 1900’s: “Early English law set the age of consent at ten, the age was gradually raised over the years. In the nineteenth century, most states had set the age of consent at ten. A few states began by using twelve as the cutoff; Delaware set the age of consent at seven.” (Melina McTigue, “Statutory Rape Law Reform in Nineteenth Century Maryland: An Analysis of Theory and Practical Change)  Illinois was one of them set at age 10 (Mary E. Odem, Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1995, 14)

Statutory rape in historical context (No it wasn’t statutory rape, but the laws were very lax, however it was prosecutable civilly because girl’s virtue had a real dollar value back then attached.  Joseph was robbing families of wealth, from an 1800’s point of view)  [Updated 11/13/2014]

Note – Key to understanding shorthand on Joseph’s wives

SEX – This means that there are allegations of sex.  The source for the allegation is immediately following

DRAWN SWORD- This is a woman who claimed Joseph said that God forcibly made him marry her.  Forced Marriage is divinely inspired if this is true.

MAID – A count of the number of maids/housekeepers/girls working for  Joseph.

Disputed – There exists either little evidence for the marriage, or solid counter evidence

25 May, 1819Weekly Visitor publishes about Cochran and his concepts of Spiritual Wifery

8 October, 1824 – Brigham Young marries Miriam Angeline Works, age 18

18 January , 1827Joseph marries Emma hale by eloping

30 March, 1830Book of Mormon PrintedJacob 2 decries Polygamy

1831Mary Elizabeth Rollins meets Joseph Smith for the first time

Brother Whitney brought the Prophet Joseph to our house and introduced him to the older ones of the family (I was not in at the time.) In looking around he saw the Book of Mormon on the shelf, and asked how that book came to be there. He said, “I sent that book to Brother Morley.” Uncle told him how his niece had obtained it. He asked, “Where is your niece?” I was sent for; when he saw me he looked at me so earnestly, I felt almost afraid. After a moment or two he came and put his hands on my head and gave me a great blessing, the first I ever received, and made me a present of the book, and said he would give Brother Morley another. He came in time to rebuke the evil spirits, and set the church in order. We all felt that he was a man of God, for he spoke with power, and as one having authority in very deed.

17 July, 1831 – Alleged Revelation mentioned in a letter to Brigham Young written in 1861 by an early Mormon convert, William W. Phelps on marrying Lamanites to make them whiter (implying hemispheric model of the Book of Mormon)

[I]t is [Jesus Christ‘s] will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites [i.e., Native Americans], that their posterity may become white, delightsome, and Just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles…About three years after this was given [i.e., about 1834], I asked brother Joseph, privately, how “we,” that were mentioned in the revelation could take wives of the “natives” as we were all married men? He replied instantly “In the same manner that Abraham took Hagar and Keturah; and Jacob took Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah; by revelation—the saints of the Lord are always directed by revelation.

8 December, 1831- Ezra Booth in Ohio Star mentions a revelation that may confirm the July 17, 1831 revelation

“revelation [that the Mormon Elders] form a matrimonial alliance with the Natives”

1831 – Joseph Proposes to Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner. She later becomes his 9th wife. SEX (enough evidence descendents were tested for paternity, none were positive)

[At age 12 in 1831], [Smith] told me about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife. … In 1834 he was commanded to take me for a Wife … [In 1842 age 23] I went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham Young performed the sealing … for time, and all Eternity. I did just as Joseph told me to do[.]

January 25, 1832 – D&C 75 given, commanding Samuel Smith, Brigham Young and others to go and teach to the Cochranites 

1832 Levi Hancock states that Fanny Alger’s transaction (SEX, MAID, DISPUTED, DRAWN SWORD)  occurred this year

24 March, 1832 -“The tar and feather incident”. Implication that castration was going to be attempted discussed by Marinda’s brother, Luke in December 31, 1864

“they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate.”

November 6,  1832 – William E. McLellin dates the Fanny Alger “Transaction” to this date (SEX, date DISPUTED, MAID) in a letter to Joseph Smith III, written 70 years later about his conversation with Emma about Fanny Alger

“Your father [written to Joseph Smith III] committed an act with a Miss Hill—a hired girl.  Emma saw him, and spoke to him.  He desisted, but Mrs. Smith refused to be satisfied.  He called in Dr. Williams, O. Cowdery, and S. Rigdon to reconcile Emma.  But she told them just as the circumstances took place.  He found he was caught.  He confessed humbly, and begged forgiveness.  Emma and all forgave him.” (Letter to Joseph Smith, III, July 1872, Community of Christ Archives, reprint in Stan Larson and Samuel J. Passey, eds., The William E. McLellin Papers, 1854-1880)

An author pseudo named “Historicus” also writes that it occurred on this day

She [Emma Smith] discovered that Joseph had been celesitalizing with this maiden, Fanny, who acknowledged the truth, but Joseph denied it in toto and stigmatized the statement of the girl as a base fabrication.  Emma, of course, believed the girl, as she was very well aware that no confidence could be placed in her husband, and she became terrible worked up about it.  She was like a mad woman, and acted so violently that Oliver Cowdery and some of the elders were called in to minister to her and ‘cast the devil out of sister Emma.”

1833 This year an Illinois state law  was created relating to polygamy/bigamy.  The crime would result in  two year imprisonment and a $1000 fine for the married man who married a second wife, and one year imprisonment and $500 fine for the unmarried women who knowingly entered into a marriage with an already married man.  Illinois statues defined the resulting sexual cohabitation as a continuing offense with six months in prison and $200 fine, with the next continuing offense at twice that punishment, the third offense at three times that punishment, etc.  ( Revised Laws of Illinois  pp 198 – 199 )

In or about 1833 Martin Harris describes in a later interview this was the time of Fanny Alger’s transaction:

“The servant girl of Joe Smith stated that the prophet had made improper proposals to her, which created quite a talk amongst the people.”

March 31, 1834 – Brigham marries again after first wife dies.  Mary Ann Angell age 27

1835 – Benjamin F. Johnson talks about Oliver and Sidney revealed to the public about Fanny at this time

And there was some trouble with Oliver Cowdery, and whisper said it was relating to a girl then living in his (the Prophet’s ) family; and I was afterwards told by Warren Parish, that he himself and Oliver Cowdery did know that Joseph and Fannie Alger as wife, for they were spied upon and found together.”

13 June, 1834 – Mormon missionaries hold conference in the center of polygamous sect of “Cochranism” converting many. (The Evening and the Morning Star 2 [August 1834]: 181)

17 August, 1835 – D&C Section 101 added which reads in part

“According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies; therefore we believe that all marriages in this Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting or feast prepared for that purpose…We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this Church from marrying out of the Church…Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that 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.” (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.18, p.247)

21 August, 1835– Mormon missionaries hold conference in the center of polygamous sect of “Cochranism” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 2 [October 1835]: 204-207

“On August 21, 1835, nine of the Twelve met in conference at Saco, Maine”

1836John Taylor marries Lenora Cannon (Aunt of George Q. Cannon, 13 years older than him)

1836Eliza Jane Churchhill web mentions this time fram for  Fanny’s marriage to Joseph

“Fanny Alger’s mother says Fanny was sealed to Joseph by Oliver Cowdery in Kirtland in 1835-or 6… Fanny Alger had lived in Joseph’s family several years, and when she left there she came and lived with me a few weeks.  I suppose your mother will remember what a talk the whole affair made…”

Spring 1836Eliza R. Snow writes down Fanny’s Marriage (Brian Hales’ book has the handwritten entry by Eliza R. Snow. Eliza R. Snow, “Sketch of My Life,” in “Utah and Mormons” collection, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, microfilm copy in CHL, under call number MS 8305, Reel 1, Item 11, page 7)

Alger, Fanny, Joseph Smith’s wife.  One of the first wives Joseph married. Emma made such a fuss about.  Sister E. R. Snow was well acquainted with her as she lived with the Prophet at the time.”

3 April, 1836 – Elijah restores sealing keys to Kirtland Temple [updated 11/13/2014]

16 November, 1836Fanny Alger marries a non-mormon, Solomon Custer in Dublin City, Indiana. The Custers remained in Indiana. Fanny bore nine children.

January, 1838Oliver Cowdery writes to his brother

“had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that which I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger’s was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deserted from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.”

12 April, 1838Oliver Cowdery (Along with David Whitmer and others) excommunicated

June, 1838 – Joseph Smith Jr. married to Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, age 37.  Her former husband was a man opposed to masonry and wrote a book that uses the term “Secret oaths and combinations” in conjunction with free masonry. (Historical Record 6:33: “Lucinda Harris, also one of the first women sealed to the Prophet Joseph”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 60; 4 Apr. 1899 sealing, Salt Lake Temple Sealing Records, Book D, 243;) COMMONLY DISPUTED

28 July, 1840 – Fawn Brodie speculated that Clarissa Reed Hancock married or had a relationship with Joseph this year.  SEX (Speculation based on family legend). DISPUTED.  There is no evidence for this relationship.

“There is a tradition among some of the descendants of Levi Hancock that Mrs. Hancock was sealed to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo and that one of her sons may have been his child.  Since there seems to be no printed or manuscript evidence to support this story, however, it must be taken with considerable reserve.”

6 February, 1841 – Smith tells the Nauvoo high council not to excommunicate Theodore Turley for “sleeping with two females,” requiring him only to confess “that he had acted unwisely, unjustly, imprudently, and unbecoming.” (Minutes of the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Nauvoo Illinois, 6 Feb 1841)

5 April, 1841 – In Illinois, Joseph marries Louisa Beaman, (Noble affidavit, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 2:102; Erastus Snow affidavit, in Historical Record 6:232, 233; speech by Joseph Noble, 19 Dec. 1880, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.) SEX.  Louisa believed herself to be the first plural wife, and stated she saw Smith married to his second. SEX Temple Lot Case page 427

Summer 1841 – Joseph Smith Jr. demands Heber C. Kimball’s wife [Helen Mar Kimball’s Mother], doesn’t take her.

“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])

Oct 27, 1841 -Joseph Smith Jr. marries Zina D. Huntington Jacobs, who was married to Henry Jacobs at the time. SEX (evidence sufficient enough, Zina’s son was tested for paternity via DNA, not Joseph’s child).  DRAWN SWORD.

“until a day in October, apparently, when Joseph sent [her older brother] Dimick to her with a message: an angel with a drawn sword had stood over Smith and told him that if he did not establish polygamy, he would lose “his position and his life.” Zina, faced with the responsibility for his position as prophet, and even perhaps his life, finally acquiesced.” (In Sacred Loneliness, page 80-81)

December 2, 1841Joseph receives revelation for Orson Hyde’s wife, Nancy Marinda

Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph. that inasmuch as you have called upon me to know my will concerning my handmaid Nancy Marinda Hyde  Behold it is my will that she should have a better place prepared for her than that in which she now lives…and let my handmaid Nancy Marinda Hyde hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph in all things whatsoever he shall teach unto her…”

11 December, 1841 – Joseph to Prescendia Lathrop Huntington, age 31, already married, SEX (Mary Ettie V. Smith, “Fifteen Years Among the Mormons”, page 3) 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)

Early 1842 – Sarah M. Kimball, 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)

1842 – Joseph marries Desdemona Wadsworth FullmerImage

6 January, 1842 – Joseph to Agnes Moulton Coolbrith (Footnote 14), age 33.  Agnes is Joseph’s younger brother, Don Carlos’ widow (Brigham Young journal, 6 Jan. 1842, LDS archives and Marriott Library; Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. A**** S****”; Testimony of Mary Ann West in U.S. Circuit Court (8th Circuit) Testimony (1892), Manuscript Transcripts, 521, questions 676-79, LDS archives; Nauvoo Female Relief Society Minutes, 28 Sept. 1842, 89, LDS archives and Lee Library.)

17 January,  1842 – Joseph Smith Jr. marries Mary Elizabeth Rollins, age 24, married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner since 11 August 1835.  She saved the Book of Comandments in 1833 with her sister when 15 years old

8 February, 1842 – Joseph to Sylvia Sessions, age 23, already married, SEX (Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, fd. 5, 1:60, 4:62, cf. Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” affidavit #77; Historical Record 6:234; affidavit by Josephine Lyon Fisher, Sylvia’s child, 24 Feb. 1915, LDS archives; Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph Smith III, 25-26, LDS archives.)

17 February, 1842 – Nauvoo city council sets legal age of marriage to 14 for women

“All male persons over the age of seventeen years, and females over the age of fourteen years, may contract and be joined in marriage, provided, in all cases where either party is a minor, the consent of parents or guardians be first had.” (“Nauvoo Records,” “An Ordinance Concerning Marriages passed February 17, 1842,”  MS 16800, CHL.  )

9 March, 1842 – Joseph to Patty Bartlett Sessions, age 47, already married (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846)

April 1842 – Joseph to Nancy Marinda Hyde, age 27, already married.  This is the same Nancy Marinda that was sister to Luke Johnson from the “Tar and Feather” incident.  She married Orson Hyde in 1834. Before Hyde returned from Jerusalem in 1843, Marinda was sealed to Joseph Smith. (Joseph Smith journal entry reads “Apr 42  Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith.”, LDS archives, a list of marriages in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock, entered after 14 July 1843: “Apr 42 Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith,” in Scott Faulring, ea., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1989), 396. For a second marriage to Joseph Smith, in May 1843, see Marinda Hyde affidavit, 1 May 1869, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:15,) DISPUTED

10 April, 1842 – Smith proposes secret plural marriage to Nancy Rigdon, age 19.  Turned down.  He writes a letter which she gives to her uncle.  Joseph passes it off as a test.(Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, Sidney Rigdon Biography by Richard S. Van Wagoner, p.295)

4 May, 1842Nauvoo Endowment introduced (page 343 Deseret News Church Almanac 1993-1994 ed. [Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News 1992])

Smith initiates nine men into secret “Quorum of Anointed” or “Holy order of the Priesthood”.   Women are not included until Sept 28, 1843

_______________________Post Endowment_____________________________

May 1842 – Joseph to Elizabeth Davis Durfee, age 50, already married. Because Bennett writes about it, it probably happened before his disfellowshipment.  (Bennett, History of the Saints, 256, “Mrs. D*****”; Sarah Pratt, in Wyl, 54; Jackson, A Narrative, 14, links Elizabeth with Patty Sessions as a Mother in Israel who helped arrange polygamous marriages for Joseph.

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   [Updated source since mormonwiki is down: Times and Seasons Vol 3 No. 16 in the Notice section] Joseph’s main defense was that Bennett engaged in spiritual wifery, and Joseph did not do such a thing.

Hiram accuses John C. Bennett of performing abortions ((History of the Church, 5:71)).  Sarah Pratt later claims the abortions were for Joseph Smith, Jr.  Another charge for John Bennett in the notes that is not published is “Buggery” in the ranks of the Nauvoo Legion.

20 May, 1842Catherine Fuller Warren responded to charges of “unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with John C. Bennett and others “by admitting to having intercourse not only with him but with Chauncy Higbee and the prophet’s younger brother, Apostle William Smith.” Speaking in her defense, however, she insisted that the men had “taught the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women and that the heads of the Church also taught and practiced it which things caused her to be led away thinking it to be right.”  She states she later learned that the heads of the church did not practice it. (Minutes of The High Council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 24 May 1842, Nauvoo Neighbor 29 May 1844 edition)

29 May, 1842 – Three women testify Joseph taught of Spiritual Wifery.  They claim Assistant President John C. Bennett and Apostle William Smith taught them that Smith approved of “spiritual wifery” wherein several men have sexual relations with the same woman. The women testifying were Margaret and Matilda Nyman and Catherine Fuller Warren. (Nauvoo Neighbor 29 May 1844)

14 June, 1842 – Plural marriage performed by Smith for Brigham Young and Lucy Decker Seeley.  Brigham’s first plural wife.

17 June, 1842 – Heber C. Kimball writes to Parley P. Pratt about masonry and that everyone of the twelve joined outside of Orson Pratt

18 June, 1842 – John Bennett was excommunicated

19 June, 1842 – Marriage – Joseph to Eliza R. Snow, age 38, SEX (“I thought you knew [Joseph] better than that”) (Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 23, LDS archives.) MAID

14 July, 1842 – According to the The Sangamo Journal (anti-mormon press). July 29, 1842 Joseph called Sarah Pratt “A whore from her mother’s breast”.  Sarah accuses Smith of proposing plural marriage to her while her husband, Orson, was away on a mission. Orson writes a ‘suicide’ note: “I am a ruined man! My future prospects are blasted! The testimony upon both sides seems to be equal: The one in direct contradiction to the other . . .

15 July, 1842 – Joseph Smith Jr. calls out men of Nauvoo to search for Orson Pratt due to fear of suicide relating to Joseph Proposing to Orson’s wife, Sarah.

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)

Martha Brotherton, an English girl who newly arrived to Nauvoo, publishes her account of being approached by Brigham Young in Joseph Smith’s private office.  She turns them down.

17 July, 1842THE WASP EXTRA, a Nauvoo newspaper, accuses John C. Bennett of “adultery, fornication, embryo infanticide and buggery . . .”

21 July, 1842 – Wilford Woodruff[16] writes in relation to Orson’s polygamy charges on Joseph:

“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]

23 July, 1842 -letter from Stephen A. Goddard to Orson Pratt which claimed that while Sarah was staying with the Goddards in October 1840

“from the first night until the last, with the exception of one night, it being nearly a month, the Dr. was there as sure as the night came.”

The letter described the alleged Bennett/Pratt relationship in lurid detail:

“One night they took their chairs out of doors and remained there as we supposed until 12 o’clock or after; at another time they went over to the house where you now live and came back after dark, or about that time. We went over several times late in the evening while she lived in the house of Dr. Foster, and were most sure to find Dr. Bennett and your wife together, as it were, man and wife.”

Later, in Utah Sarah confronts the Goddards about this statement:

“She began to sob. ‘It is not my fault,’ she said. ‘Hyrum Smith came to our house, with the affidavits all written out, and forced us to sign them. Joseph and the Church must be saved, said he. We saw that resistance was useless, they would have ruined us; so we signed the papers.

27 July, 1842 – Joseph to Sarah Ann Whitney, age 17, SEX is a possibility based on a letter Joseph wrote asking her to come while Emma was out

29 July, 1842 – Orson, Sarah Pratt and Joseph Smith Jr.’s allegations printed in SANGAMO JOURNAL

August 1842 – Joseph to Martha McBride Knight, married to Vincint Knight age 37

Joseph to Ruth Vose Sayers, age 33, already married to Mr. E. Sayers [updated 11/13/2014]

01 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.

Apostle Parley P. Pratt publishes a rebuttal to John C. Bennett’s claims that Joseph is secretly teaching polygamy:

“But for the information of those who may be assailed by those foolish tales about the two wives [Bennett had written “that God had given a revelation that men might have two wives”], we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-day Saints, and never will.”

Pratt’s autobiography later states that Joseph Smith disclosed to him the revelation on celestial marriage in Jan 1840. Meaning he lied through his teeth about Joseph to protect him, after Joseph had made advances on his own Brother’s wife, almost causing Parley’s Brother Orson to commit suicide. [Updated 11/14/2014]

  • Letter is reprinted in “Orgins of Power” by D. Michael Quinn.

27 August, 1842 – Wasp prints that Martha Brotherton is a “mean harlot”

29 August, 1842380 elders volunteer to travel nationwide to distribute a broadside (a two-paged newspaper) filled with affidavits and certificates in a massive effort to convince the public, among other things, that that Joseph Smith was not a polygamist. LDS History of the Church 5:131–132; RLDS History of the Church 2:613; ; see also Dean C, Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith 2 [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1992]: 443–444)

31 August, 1842 – Stephen Markham signs “Affidavits” that he saw Nancy Rigdon in a compromising situation with Bennett.

01 September,  1842Times and Seasons prints anti-polygamy statement

“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that 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.” (Times and Seasons, Sep 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.21, p.909)

03 September, 1842 – George W. Robinson counter swears on Nancy’s behalf that Markham was lying on 31 August, 1842. Sidney Rigdon hired an advocate to sue Markham shortly after.

13 September, 1842 – Fanny Brewer records about Fanny Alger in John C. Bennett’s exposé, History of the Saints

There was much excitement against the Prophet, on another account, likewise,– an unlawful intercourse between himself and a young orphan girl residing in his family, and under his protection!!!”

01 Oct, 1842 – Smith re-publishes denouncement of polygamy from the Sep 1 Times and Seasons, of which he was the editor. The publication also includes affidavits signed by twelve men and nineteen women that states in part, “we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.” Times and Seasons, Oct 1, 1842, Vol.3, No.23, p.939 (article titled “Marriage”)

The signers included Apostle John Taylor and Apostle Wilford Woodruff (who had already been taught the doctrine of polygamy by Joseph Smith), Bishop Newel K. Whitney (who had performed a plural marriage ceremony the previous July for his own daughter and Joseph Smith in accordance with a revelation dictated by the Prophet on the occasion), Elizabeth Ann Whitney (who witnessed the plural ceremony), Sarah M. Cleveland (who had become Joseph Smith’s plural wife early in 1842), and Eliza R. Snow (who also married him on 29 June 1842).

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

05 October, 1842 – Concerning “the doctrine of plurality of wives,” Smith’s manuscript diary reads: Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife.” When incorporating Joseph Smith’s journal into the History of the Church, Apostle George A. Smith, a cousin, altered this passage to reverse this prohibition on polygamy.

15 October, 1842 – Joseph wrote strongly against coveting other men’s wives including a revelation

“And again: I command thee, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Times and Seasons Vol. 3 [October 15,1842]: 944)

01 November, 1842 – Joseph Smith republishes in the Times and Seasons an earlier 1831 revelation condemning plural marriage (Times and Seasons, Vol.4, No.24, p.369)

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

February, 1843 – Orson Hyde marries Martha, age 38

Joseph Smith marries Ruth Daggett Vose, age 32.  She is recorded by Andrew Jensen as being “eternity only”.  According to her Affidavit in 1869; Hyrum smith performed marriage; however others sources conflict as to whether or not Hyrum knew about plural marriage at this point; as he objected to it. [updated 11/13/2014]

04 March, 1843 – Joseph to Emily Dow Partridge, age 19, SEX (Temple Lot Case pages 364, 367, 384). Elder Heber C. Kimball officiating. Emily D. Partridge Smith testified that she “roomed” with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had “carnal intercourse” with him.

07 March, 1843 -William Clayton, the prophet’s scribe, learns about plural marriage. Joseph Smith told Brigham Young to give Clayton a “favor” regarding priesthood instruction

08 March, 1843 – Joseph to Eliza M. Partridge,  sister to Emily Dow Partridge, age 22.  SEX (See entry for May 22, 1843)  The two sisters were unaware of Joseph’s marriage to the other, nor was Emma aware of either at this time. (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. Easton, S. Civil Marriages in Nauvoo 1839-45. Cook, Lyndon Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.)

Spring 1843 – Joseph to Flora Ann Woodworth, age 16 (Elder William Clayton affidavit, in Historical Record 6:225.) Emma became aware of a gold watch Joseph gave to Flora and demanded it back.  She died in her mid-twenties marrying a non-mormon after Joseph’s death.

Apr 3, 1843 – Benjamin Johnson gives Almera Woodward Johnson, age 30, to Joseph as wife.  SEX (Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets, 44. See also “The Origin of Plural Marriage, Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Deseret News Press, page 70-71).( Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register 1845-46 Mormon Manuscripts to 1846.)

06 April, 1843 – Joseph challenges saints to keep quiet if they cannot challenge his conduct to his face.

“President Joseph then asked the conference if they were satisfied with the First Presidency, so far as he was concerned, as an individual, to preside over the whole church; or would they have another? If, said he, I have done any thing that ought to injure my character, reputation, or standing; or have dishonored our religion by any means in the sight of men, or angels, or in the sight of men and women, I am sorry for it, and if you will forgive me, I will endeavor to do so no more. I do not know that I have done anything of the kind; but if I have, come forward and tell me of it. If any one has any objection to me, I want you to come boldly and frankly, and tell of it; and if not, ever after hold your peace.” Times and Seasons 4, [May 1,1843]: 181

12 April, 1843 – Joseph to Olive Grey Frost, age 27, SEX (3 year old child who died was thought to be Joseph’s.  No DNA testing yet) (Historical Record 6:235, 234, Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697)

27 April, 1843 – William Clayton secretly married to wife’s sister, Margaret Moon.  Clayton and his first wife, Ruth Moon, were in their seventh year of marriage and had three children.  Margaret was very unhappy with the arrangement.

May, 1843 – Joseph Smith Jr. marries Helen Mar Kimball, age 14. She was given 24-hours to decide for her family’s salvation was said to be on the line.

“Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet, Joseph, he (my father) offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the altar: how cruel this seemed to my mother whose heartstrings were already stretched unil they were ready to snap asunder, for she had already taken Sarah Noon to wife and she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more.” (Helen Mar Whitney Journal, Helen Mar Autobiography, Womans Exponent, 1880 and recently reprinted in A Woman’s view)

Frequency of 14-year old marriages was less common then (<1%) than it is today [updated 11/14/14]

01 May, 1843 – Joseph to Lucy Walker, age 17, MAID Elder William Clayton officiating.  Emma was out of town, and the girl’s mother had died, and her father was sent off on a mission.

11 May, 1843 – Joseph to Maria Lawrence, age 19, SEX  and Sarah Lawrence SEX, age 17 (Historical Record 6:223; Lucy Walker Smith Kimball, in the Temple Lot case (full transcript, 461, LDS archives); Helen Kimball Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, 15 Feb. 1886, 138.) MAID

“I am also able to testify that Emma Smith, the Prophet’s first wife, gave her consent to the marriage of at least four other girls [Emily and Eliza Partridge, Maria and Sarah Lawrence] to her husband, and that she was well aware that he associated with them as wives within the meaning of all the word implies.” –Andrew Jenson, Historical Record 6:230.

I do know that at his [Joseph Smith’s] Mansion home was living Maria and Sarah Lawrence and one of Cornelius P. Lott’s daughters as his plural wives with the full knowledge of his wife, Emma, of their married relations to him.” “More Testimony,” Letter dated March 9th, 1904,  Deseret Evening News, April 12, 1904.

14 May, 1843 – Hyrum Smith tells congregation only devil would give plural wife revelation (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 7: Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47″)

22 May, 1843 – Joseph Smith’s personal secretary records that on May 22nd, 1843, Smith’s first wife Emma found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. Emma was devastated. (William Clayton’s journal entry for 23 May (see Smith, 105-106))

23 May, 1843 – Emma Smith accepts Plural Marriage

26 May, 1843 – Hyrum taught about polygamy.  Joseph re-does endowment ceremonies for previously endowed men and for others who have accepted polygamy.  End of the Quorum of the Anointed probably due to John C. Bennett’s apostasy. (The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, D. Michael Quinn, Signature Books, 1994, Appendex: Meetings and Initiations of the Anointed Quorum, 1842-45, D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 7: Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47″)

28 May, 1843 – The LDS church claims Joseph and Emma Smith the first couple “sealed” in marriage for eternity on this date.  But Louisa Beaman and others mention being sealed to Joseph on much earlier dates.

June, 1843 – Joseph to Hanna Ellis, age 29, SEX (allegations of Joseph entering her house for that purpose) (John Benbow affidavit, see Historical Record 6:222-23, 234)

June 23, 1843 – William Clayton Diary, Emma wants William Law

“He [Joseph Smith] knew she [Emma] was disposed to be revenged on him [Smith] for some things. She [Emma] thought that if he [Joseph] would indulge himself she [Emma] would too.”

February, 1843 – Orson Hyde marries Martha, age 38

July, 1843Orson Hyde marries Mary, age 38

02 November, 1843 – Joseph marries Fanny Young Murray, age 56, already married Roswell Murray, Heber Kimball’s Father-in-Law (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, pg. 166-167)  Fanny was Brigham Young’s older sister and cared for Helen Mar Kimball frequently. Grave

“Now, don’t talk to me; when I get into the celestial kingdom, if I ever get there, I shall request the privilege of being a ministering angel; that is the labor I wish to perform. I don’t want any companion in that world; and if the Lord will make me a ministering angel, it is all I want.”  Joseph replied, “Sister, you talk very foolishly, you do not know what you will want.” and then turned to Brigham, “Here, Brother Brigham, you seal this lady to me.”  Brigham said that Fanny submitted to Joseph’s impromptu proposal and he “sealed her to him.”

05 November, 1843 – The poison in the coffee incident (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.65, Brigham Young, conference address, 7 Oct. 1866, The Essential Brigham Young, p.188. also recorded in Joseph Smith’s diary by Willard Richards: “Every symptom of poison,” Richards noted in Joseph’s diary. That night at the prayer meeting, Richards, wrote in code that Joseph and Emma did not dress in the usual special clothing, a sign they were too much at odds to participate. The next day, Richards wrote that Joseph was “busy with domestic concerns.”)

Nov-Dec 1843 -Joseph H. Jackson comments on William Law events of this time period in his novel

“Emma wanted [William] Law for a spiritual husband, and she urged as a reason that as he had so many spiritual wives, she thought it but fair that she should at least have one man … and that she wanted Law, because he was such a ‘sweet little man.'”

“He [Joseph] and Emma had both tried to persuade her [Jane Law] of the correctness of the doctrine, but that she would not believe it to be of God.”

“He [Joseph] thought the revelation would cause her [Emma] to submit peacefully, as it threatened her removal if she did not.” Emma confided to Law that the revelation, which she did not believe in, was a “threat against her life,” if she did not comply

(15th of Jan, 1844) that Jo[s]e[ph] informed me in conversation, that he had been endeavoring for some two months, to get Mrs. William Law for a spiritual [polygamist] wife. He said that he had used every argument in his power to convince her of the correctness of his doctrine, but could not succeed.” (Jackson, Narrative of the Adventures page 19 (Written much later))

12 December, 1843 – John Taylor marries Elizabeth Kaighin, age 32

01 June, 1843 – Joseph to Elvira Anie Cowles, age 29 (Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1 :78, 4:80; Historical Record 6:234.) MAID

12 June, 1843 – Joseph to Rhoda Richards, age 58.  Elder Willard Richards (her brother) officiating

July, 1843 – Joseph to Desdemona Fullmer, age 32 (Affidavit, Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:32, 4:32; Bachman, “A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage,” #58; Historical Record 6:225.)

July, 1843 – Joseph to Nancy Maria Winchester, age 15 (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Elder Jenson, Andrew. 1951 Volume: 1 Page: 697 Marriages in Nauvoo Region 1839-45. See also In Sacred Lonliness, page 606. Additional source Eliza R. Snow added later.)

12 July, 1843 – Hyrum asks his brother to dictate the polygamy revelation by means of his seer stone, but Smith dictates it from memory. The revelation was supposedly dictated by Smith to his scribe William Clayton, and was shared with Emma Smith that day by Hyrym. Hyrum uses the written revelation to try to convert Emma Smith to accept the practice.  Brigham says that Emma burned the revelation.  Emma denies this.  D&C 132 is Brigham’s memory of this revelation.

Wednesday 12th This A.M, I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives & concubines &c. After it was wrote Prests. Joseph & Hyrum presented it and read it to [Emma] who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious. [Joseph]…appears much troubled about [Emma] (Clayton’s Journal entry for this day)

(presumed to relate to the william law “Sweet little man” entry) “That she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham …. Let my handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph …. I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. 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.”

22 July, 1842William Clayton writes in his journal regarding Margaret Moon’s dissatisfaction with polygamy:

“M[argaret] and A[aron] had a long conversation together. She. has stood true to her covenant with W[illiam] C[layton]. I also had some talk with him and although the shock is severe he endures it patiently. And I pray the Great Eloheem to make up the loss to him an hundred fold and enable him to rejoice in all things. My heart aches with grief on his and M[argaret]’s account and could almost say O that I had never known h[er].”

23 July, 1843William Clayton writes in his journal regarding Margaret Moon’s dissatisfaction with polygamy:

“M[argaret] appears dissatisfied with her situation and is miserable. . . . Evening I had some more talk with M[argaret] and find she is miserable which makes me doubly so. I offered to her to try to have her covenant released if she desired it but she said she was not willing.”

24 July, 1843William Clayton writes in his journal regarding Margaret Moon’s dissatisfaction with polygamy:

“I have repeatedly offered to M[argaret] to try to get a release from the covenant and I have done all I know to make things comfortable but to no effect. She appears almost to hate me and cannot bear to come near me.”

26 July, 1843 – William Clayton writes in his journal regarding Margaret Moon’s dissatisfaction with polygamy:

M[argaret, (Clayton’s secret plural wife)] seems quite embittered against me in consequence of which I called her to me and asked her if she desired the covenant to be revoked if it were possible. To this she would not give me a satisfactory answer only saying if it had not been done it should not be. (meaning our union). I then asked if she would consent if A[aron Farr, (Margaret’s recently-returned fiancée)] would take her under all circumstances; but she would not consent to have it revoked, saying she did it not for her sake but for the sake of the peace of my family. Under these circumstances I could not rest until I had ascertained w[h]ether the clovenant] could be revoked and although contrary to her wish I went to see President Joseph. I took A[aron] to talk with him and asked him some questions whereby I ascertained that he would be willing to take her under all circumstances. I reasoned considerable with him to prove that I had done right in all these matters so far as I knew it. I called the President [Joseph Smith] out and briefly stated the situation of things and then asked him if the C[ovenant] could be revoked. He shook his head and answered no. . . . I sympathize with her in her grief, but can’t console her for she will not speak to me.”

27 July, 1843 -Kingsbury testifies he stood in for a marraige.

“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.

12 August, 1843 Polygamy was announced in the Nauvoo High Council, read by Hyrum Smith.  No wording exists. Hyrum stated in June 8, 1844:

“[The revelations given to Joseph]… was in answer to a question concerning things which transpired in former days & had no reference to the present time.”

As curiously noted, “Hyrum Smith married four plural wives in 1843.” It’s clear that Hyrum Smith had rationalized that it was OK to mislead. As a result, Austin A. Cowles resigned from the High Council.  ( Dayne, More Wives Than One, p 33 )

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)

20 September, 1843 – Joseph to Malissa Lott, age 19.  SEX. (Affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 Aug. 1893.  Pages 98 and 105 of the Temple lot case)

28 September, 1843 – Joseph and Emma are first couple to receive second anointing

19 October, 1843William Clayton journal records Joseph giving advice when William’s first plural wife became pregnant,

“just keep her at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will baptize you and set you ahead as good as ever.”

02 November, 1843 -Brigham Young Diary for Oct 30, 1843:

“Monday evening Baptized Sisters Cuoub [Cobb] & Hari[e]tt Cook.”

Two days later, 2 Nov, Smith marries these two women to Young.  Augusta Adams Cobb is aged 40 and married to non-Mormon Henry Cobb.  Sister Harriet Elizabeth Cook was not previously married.  This supports Martha’s statements about conversions being tied to polygamy.

_______________________First Public Announcement_____________________

01 January, 1844William Law is first told of Polygamy by Hyrum, according to his diary entry for that day Law Nauvoo Diary, 1 January 1844, in Cook, William Law: Biographical Essay, 7.

08 January, 1844 – Law is dropped as a counselor in the first presidency

2 February, 1844 – The first known polygamous child, George Omner Noble, is born to Joseph B. Noble and Sarah Alley.  They were previous married by Joseph Smith in a known polygamous marriage.  ( Quinn, Origins, p 642 ).

25 February 1844John Taylor marries Jane Ballantyne, age 31

April, 1844 – William and Sarah Law excommunicated along with William’s brother. ( Dayne, More Wives Than One, p 33 )

08 May, 1844 –  Brigham Young marries Clarissa Caroline Decker aged 15.  He is 42 at this time

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]

15 Maym 1844 – Joseph Smith publicly questions Dr. Robert D. Foster’s wife about having a polygamous relationship.  R.D. claims that she did and confessed to him in private. (“Municipal Court,” Times and Seasons, May 15, 1844)

23 May , 1844 -William Law filed suit in Hancock County Illinois against Joseph Smith for living in adultery with Maria Lawrence, one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives.  Maria is also Joseph’s foster daughter. (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 7: Selected Chronology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47″)

26 May, 1844 Smith publicly denies he has any plural wives.

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.408)

07 June, 1844William Law publishes the Nauvoo Expositor.

10 June, 1844 – The Nauvoo City Council, led by Mayor Joseph Smith, declared the press “a public nuisance”, and ordered it destroyed. Hyrum Smith tells Nauvoo City Council that Smith’s 1843 revelation pertains to ancient polygamy, not to modern times. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.432-434)

20 June, 1844 – Smith writes to apostles, tells them to destroy their garments and return to Nauvoo (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.519, Heber C. Kimball’s diary, 21 Dec. 1845, found in the book “Smith, An Intimate Chronicle“, page 224)

23 June, 1844 – After 1 a.m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet’s departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives.)

Some assume Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C.

27 June, 1844Joseph Smith Jr. dies.  He has a count of approximately 33 wives by this point (Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness gives this count).

At least 27 others in the Mormon hierarchy had also married multiple women ( Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841 – 44, Gary James Bergera, Dialogue volume 38, no 3, Fall 2005, p46 ).

The other men for whom there is evidence for plural marriages by this point were:

James Adams, Ezra T. Benson (early Apostle), Reynolds Cahoon, William Clayton, Joseph W. Coolidge, Howard Egan, William Felshaw, William D. Huntington,
Orson Hyde, Joseph A. Kelting, Heber C. Kimball, Vinson Knight, Isaac
Morley, Joseph Bates Noble, John E. Page, Parley P. Pratt, Willard Richards, Hyrum Smith, John Smith, Joseph Smith, William Smith, Erastus
Snow, John Taylor, Theodore Turley, Lyman Wight, Edwin D. Woolley,
Brigham Young, and Lorenzo Dow Young.

__________________________POST JOSEPH___________________________

Note: After Joseph Smith Jr. Died, to the time that Brigham left for Salt Lake City, Brigham married an average of one woman every 13.1 days and an average age of 34 years old

Sometime before leaving Nauvoo –

[Joseph Smith’s son] Alexander and Brigham Young’s conversation grew more heated. Brigham accused Emma of stealing the family portraits and Joseph’s ring–all items that Emma undoubtedly had a widow’s right to possess. Then in front of her sons Brigham called her ‘a liar, the damndest liar that ever lived’” (Avery, From Mission to Madness, 99, quoting Inez Smith, “Biography of Alexander Hale Smith–Part 6″).

September 1844 – Brigham Young marries Emily Dow Partridge, widow of Joseph smith age 20Descendants

10 September, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Clarissa Ross, age 30

19 September, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Louisa Beaman, age 29.  Widow of Joseph Smith

03 October, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Eliza Snow, age 40.  Widow of Joseph Smith

Brigham Young marries Elizabeth Fairchild, age 16.  He is 43 at this time.

08 October, 1844 – Brigham Young marries widow Clarissa Blake, currently married to Lyman Homiston, age 48

09 October, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Rebecca Holman, age 20

10 October, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Diana Chase, aged 17

31 October, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Susanne Snively, age 29

07 November, 1844 – Brigham Young marries Olive Grey Frost, age 28, plural wife of Joseph Smith.

1845 – Lorenzo Snow becomes engaged to  Eleanor HOUTZ, age 17.  He had a promise of her since she was 14.  Lorenzo marries another 14 year old who runs away after the ceremony.

At this time she [Mary Adaline Goddard] was the plural wife of a prominent man [Lorenzo Snow] who held a high position later in the Church.  This man’s wife was a Goddard and when he was advised to take another wife, she persuaded Hannah to be sealed to him, although she was still in her early teens.  After the ceremony she became frightened at the thought of marriage and ran home to her mother.  We are confident that they never lived together.” Rufus David Johnson, J. E. J. Trail to Sundown: Cassadaga to Casa Grande 1817-1882, n.p. n.d, 141

1845 in a council meeting (referring to the 1831 polygamy revelation)–  Brigham Young says the millenium has started.  W.W. Phelps “6 or 8 went to the boundaries of the U.S. to preach.  Joseph went to prayer.  He then commenced a prayer.”  Martin Harris commanded to take a wife of the Lamanites (Martin Harris was separated at the time) 17:26 on this podcast.  Martin would remarry that year but not a Lamanite. [updated  12/1/2014]

15 January, 1845 – Brigham Young marries Mary Ann Clark, age 28

16 January, 1845 – Brigham Young marries Margaret Pierce, age 22

Brigham Young marries Mary Pierce age 25

27 April, 1845 -Cowles is run out of the city of Nauvoo by the Whistling and Whittling Brigade. Orson Hyde gives a speech in which Nancy Rigdon is described as: “poor miserable girl out of the very slough of prostitution”

30 April, 1845 -Brigham Young marries Emmeline Free age 18

22 May, 1845 – Brigham Young marries Mary Elizabeth Rollins, age 26, married to non-Mormon Adam Lightner and plural widow of Joseph Smith, Jr.  Sealed to Brigham only for time.

1846- 1869 – Brigham Young on marrying girls that were too young:

One of the more distressing developments was the number of men asking Young for permission to marry girls too young to bear children. To one man at Fort Supply, Young explained, “I don’t object to your taking sisters named in your letter to wife if they are not too young and their parents and your president and all connected are satisfied, but I do not want children to be married to men before an age which their mothers can generally best determine.” Writing to another man in Spanish Fork, he said, “Go ahead and marry them, but leave the children to grow.” A third man in Alpine City was instructed, “It is your privilege to take more wives, but set a good example to the people, and leave the children long enough with their parents to get their growth, strength and maturity.” To Louis Robinson, head of the church at Fort Bridger, Young advised, “Take good women, but let the children grow, then they will be able to bear children after a few years without injury.” Another man in Santa Clara was told that it would be wise to marry an Indian girl but only if she were mature. Still another man wanted Young to counsel him concerning a sister who proposed to give him her twelve-year-old daughter (Eugene E. Campbell, Establishing Zion: The Mormon Church in the American West 1847-1869 (SLC: Signature Books, 1988), p. 198 note 5)

January 1846 – Heber C. Kimball to Joseph’s widow Martha McBride Knight

10 January, 1846 – Two twelve year olds sealed together in Nauvoo Temple each married other spouses in Utah

On about January 10, 1846, I was privileged to go in the temple…  I was sealed to a lovely young girl named Mary, who was about my age, but it was with the understanding that we were not to live together as man and wife until we were 16 years of age. The reason that some were sealed so young was because we knew that we would have to go West and wait many a long time for another temple “Mosiah Lyman Hancock Autobiography (1834-1865),” typescript, BYU-S; published version by Pioneer Press, Salt Lake City, undated, 20-21.

14 January, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Margaret Alley, Age 20

15 January, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Olive Andrews, age 27.  Posthumous wife of Joseph Smith

Brigham Young marries widow Emily Haws, 22

21 January, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Martha Bowker, age 23

Brigham Young marries Ellen Rockwood age 16

28 January, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Jemima Angel divorced from Valantine young, age 47

Brigham Young marries widow Abigail Marks, age 69

Brigham Young marries widow Phebe Morton, age 59

Brigham Young marries Cynthia Porter, age 62, married to William Weston

31 January, 1846 -Brigham Young marries widow Mary Eliza Nelson, age 33

Brigham Young marries Rhoda Richards, plural wife of Joseph Smith, age 61

02 February, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Zina Diantha Huntington, age 25.  She is still married to Henry Jacobs legally at this point (no divorce record exists). Sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity and Brigham Young for time.  She lived with Young and had one child by him.

03 February, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Amy Cecilia Cooper, age 41 married to Joseph Aldrich

Brigham Young marries Mary Ellen de la Montaigne, age 42

Brigham Young marries widow Julia Foster, age 36

Brigham Young marries Abigail Harback, age 55,  married to John Calvin Hall (no divorce record exists)

Brigham Young marries Mary Ann Turley, age 18

04 February, 1846 – Those following Brigham exit Nauvoo for Winter Quarters, and in 1847 the Salt Lake Valley. By the time the Grand encampment is founded, 153 men had entered into polygamy, marrying 587 wives.  ( Dayne, More Wives Than One, p 35.  These or similar numbers are cited in dozens of sources ).  Brigham accounts for 5-6% of plural marriages at this point.

06 February, 1846 – Brigham Young marries Naamah Carter age 24

Brigham Young marries widow Nancy Cressy age 65

10 February, 1846 – Brigham Young marries widow Jane Terry age 26

spring of 1846 – 13,000 Saints found Miller’s Hallow and the Grand Encampment on the banks of the Missouri River

July 1846Mormon Battalion mustered

September 1846Winter Quarters established.

January 1847 – Brigham Young received a revelation about “the Word and Will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journeyings to the West” (now known as Doctrine and Covenants 136).

20 March, 1847 – Brigham Young marries Lucy Bigelow, age 16

Brigham Young marries Mary Jane Bigelow, age 19

05 April, 1847 – 6 wagons head to Salt Lake City

23 April, 1847 – John Taylor marries Sophia Whitaker, age 22

06 April, 1847Brigham Young sustained in conference (Tuesday) as still head of Quorum of Apostles

08 April, 1847Brigham Young in on the trail west

24 July, 1847 – Official Arrival into Utah Valley (“This is the place, drive on”)

26 August , 1847Brigham begins return trip to Winter Quarters

29 Sep 1847John Taylor marries Mary Ann Oakley, age 21

04 December 1847John Taylor marries Harriet Whitaker (sister to Sophia Whitaker), age 22

05 December 1847First Presidency organized with Brigham Young as President. Elders Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor were in the Salt Lake Valley, and Elder Lyman Wight was in Texas.  The remaining 9 in Orson Hyde’s home sustained Brigham as the president of the church.

27 December 1847 – 1,000 saints (all of whom were still in Winter Quarters) sustain new first Presidency

_______________________Post Utah__________________________________

Spring of 1848 – Winter Quarters begins to empty

18 April, 1848 – Brigham Young marries Sarah Malin, age 43

12 November, 1848Oliver Cowdery re-baptized into LDS faith

05 March, 1849 – State of Deseret is formed.  The petition was rejected by Congress in 1850.  The state boundaries were too large and most of that large area was unoccupied at that time. (“A Constitution for Utah”, Stanley S. Ivins, Utah Historical Quarterly Volume 25 1957 p. 95.   See also Quinn Origins p 747 )

Fall 1851 – In Mills County Iowa, Frederick W. Cox was summoned to the court, and told he could not keep his plural wives ( he was openly living with them ).  He gave the freedom of religion first amendment defense.  He refused to give them up, and moved the two younger plural wives out of the county into Pottawatamie County in early 1852, while he stayed with his first wife in Mills County.  He was not bothered after that by the authorities – apparently they were happy with the compromise.  Contrary to belief, a few non-Mormons knew that the Mormons were living in polygamy, though it had not been announced.  ( Dayne, More Wives Than One, p 38 ).

29 August 1852 – The 1843 polygamy revelation was proclaimed by Church leader Brigham Young (“Minutes of conference : a special conference of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assembled in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 28th, 1852, 10 o’clock, a.m., pursuant to public notice”. Deseret News Extra. 14 September 1852. p. 14.) in Doctrine and Covenants, 132:1–4, 19, 20, 24, 34, 35, 38, 39, 52, 60–66

This is the surviving version of that 1843 revelation and includes the Law of Sarah, that the husband must ask permission of the first wife as well as that the first wife will be destroyed if she does not accept.  Further it makes it a requirement to be “permitted to enter into my glory.”

“are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men.”

A clear statement that polygamy was, in the Lord’s eye, all about having children. Young claimed that the original had been burned by Smith’s widow Emma Smith (“Millenial Star Supplement”. Millennial Star Supplement 15. 1853. p. 30.) Emma denied that the document ever existed and said of the story told by Young:

“It is false in all its parts, made out of whole cloth, without any foundation in truth.” (Church History, Volume 3, page 352)

Emma Smith said that the first she knew of the 1843 revelation was when she read of it in Orson Pratt’s booklet The Seer in 1853 (Saints’ Herald 65:1044–1045)

03 October, 1852 – Brigham Young marries Eliza Burgess, age 25

16 December, 1852 – Brigham Young marries widow Mary Oldfield, age 59

Before 1853 – Eliza Babcock, age 24 (We know she was married before 1853 from 1853 divorce record)

1853 – Seer published containing D&C 132 (“The Seer”, Orson Pratt, January 1852 issue, p.7, see also Doctrine & Covenants section 132. 1st published 1876 SLC)

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]

13 March, 1853 -Wilford Woodruff married a fifteen year old named Emma Smith

[Brigham ] Young… sealed Wilford, who had turned forty-six twelve days before, to fifteen-year-old Emma Smith and nineteen-year-old Sarah Brown. Sarah presented him with a son, David Patten Woodruff, the following year on April 4. He probably refrained from sexual relations with Emma until she became older, since she did not bear her first child, Hyrum Smith Woodruff, until October 4, 1857, seven months after she turned nineteen. (Thomas G. Alexander, Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1991, 168.)

10 June, 1855 – Brigham Young marries widow Catherine Reese, age 51

1856 – John D. Lee was sealed to his sixteenth wife, Mary Ann Williams, age 12.  Consummated when she fell in love with John’s son.  John let go of his claim after deflowering her.

14 March, 1856 – Brigham Young marries Harriet Barney, age 25

17 March, 1856 – The 2nd proposal for Statehood for the State of Deseret was rejected due to growing anti-Mormon sentiment and complaints that unbelievers were said to be mistreated and that the Territorial Government was a shadow or puppet government for the real power or theocratic dictatorship directed by leaders of the Mormon Church. President James Buchanan sends a military army to replace Brigham Young with Alfred Cummings. (Ivins, p.95.)   Johnson’s Army was the largest piece-time military effort to ever be sent to squash a civil rebellion, and thus dangerously depleted Union troops just prior to the nation’s most-encompassing military conflict, the US Civil War.

Included in the new Republican Party platform as its 3rd resolution is “That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism–Polygamy, and Slavery.”   ( see http://hometown.aol.com/jfepperson/r1856.html  and “The Mormons and the Law: The Polygamy Cases”, Orma Lindord, Utah Law Review, p. 312.)

26 September, 1856John Taylor marries Margaret Young, age 19.  She is a founding member of the Young Women’s organization.

31 July, 1857 Nancy Marinda Hyde sealed to Joseph Smith for all eternity by her Husband Orson Hyde (Genealogical Archives in Salt Lake City)

06 April, 1860Joseph Smith III reorganizes the church in Amboy, Illinois, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The word “Reorganized” is added in 1872.

1861William W. Phelps mentions 1831 revelation

20 January, 1862 -In just 2 days the 3rd State of Deseret constitution was written in a bid for statehood, in anticipation of the breaking up of the Union because of a possible civil war. (Ivins, p. 96.  See also Quinn, Extensions, p 760 )  It should be noted that slavery was legal in Utah due to a law passed by the Utah legislature.  Utah had this option as a result of the Compromise of 1850, which brought California into the Union as a free state while allowing Utah and New Mexico territories the option of deciding the issue by “popular sovereignty.”  A few Mormon pioneers from the South had brought African-American slaves with them when they migrated west. Some freed their slaves in Utah; others who went on to California had to emancipate them there.  It should be noted that many of the Utah Mormons with slaves were called to the San Bernadino California area, which meant their slaves were automatically free. (http://www.tungate.com/polygamy.htm)

03 March, 1862 – An election in Utah ratified this 3rd bid for statehood and elected Brigham Young as Territorial Governor even though Congress had just 4 years earlier replaced Brigham Young.

The US Congress rejected this bid – nonetheless, for 8 years this “phantom” State of Deseret continued to meet after the Territorial legislature adjourned.  At the direction of the The Council of 50, this shadow government would meet and vote on and pass the same bills for the renegade Theocratic state of Deseret.

Other historians have asserted that the shadow Government met first, followed by the territorial legislature where nonmembers sat in amazement as the territorial legislature quickly and efficiently proposed and made law with almost total unanimity. (Ivins, p. 96. “Quest for Empire and the Council of 50“, Klaus J. Hansen,)

08 July, 1862 – Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law.  Note that the Mormons hated Lincoln ( and the Republicans ), and denounced Lincoln in the harshest terms.

24 January,  1862 – Brigham Young marries, ***** in defiance of the Morrill Act.  ( Quinn, Extensions, p 762 ) (There is no name listed, nor record in family search for this entry)

24 January, 1863 – Brigham Young marries Amelia Folsom, age 24 (Brigham is 61 at this point)

11 August, 1863 – According to [Edmund C.] Briggs Young blamed Emma for the establishment of the Reorganized Church and said so in graphic terms.

“Emma Bidamon is a wicked, wicked, wicked woman and always was and she is at the bottom of this whole matter…Joseph [III] is led by his mother and is now acting under the direction of Emma’” (Avery, From Mission to Madness, 73, quoting Journal of Edmund C. Briggs, August 11, 1863).

31 December, 1864 – Luke Johnson publishes his history “History of Luke Johnson,” Millennial Star 26 (December 31, 1864).  It is the ultimate source for the castration story:

In the fall of [sic, should be spring of 1832], while Joseph was yet at my father’s [John Johnson], a mob of forty or fifty came to his house, a few entered his room in the middle of the night, and Carnot Mason dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head; he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house, stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner; they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate.

1866- John Hyde Jr. sued in British court is former wife, now remarried in Utah and named Lavinia Woodmansee, for divorce, charging her with adultery.

“[Judge] Wilde decided that the central question of the case was not whether Hyde was in fact a polygamist; rather, it was whether polygamy was recognized in Utah where the marriage had taken place.” — Cannon

As a result, Judge Wilde considered Hyde’s marriage as “potentially polygamous.” Because Hyde’s marriage clashed with Christian values, Judge Wilde ruled that it was not recognized in England and therefore was not eligible for a divorce ruling. Historian Kenneth Cannon II, in “A Strange Encounter: The English Courts and Mormon Polygamy,

October 1866 – General Conference  Brigham tells the “Poison in the Coffee” incident for the first time

“To my certain knowledge, Emma Smith is one of the damnedest liars I know of on this earth; yet there is no good thing I would refuse to do for her, if she would only be a righteous woman; but she will continue in her wickedness. Not six months before the death of Joseph, he called his wife Emma into a secret council, and there he told her the truth, and called upon her to deny it if she could. He told her that the judgments of God would come upon her forthwith if she did not repent. He told her of the time she undertook to poison him, and he told her that she was a child of hell, and literally the most wicked woman on this earth, that there was not one more wicked than she. He told here where she got the poison, and how she put it in a cup of coffee; said he ‘You got that poison from so and so, and I drank it, but you could not kill me.’ When it entered his stomach he went to the door and threw it off. he spoke to her in that council in a very severe manner, and she never said one word in reply. I have witnesses of this scene all around, who can testify that I am now telling the truth. Twice she undertook to kill him. [Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 48, Winter 1980, 82]

08 January, 1868 – Brigham Young marries Mary Van Cott, age 23.  Divorced Brigham’s son from wife no. 4 prior.

07 April, 1868 – Brigham Young marries Eliza Ann Web age 24. Author of Wife no. 19, she is actually wife no. 52.  She was previously married to John D. Lee, who was executed Mar 23, 1867, or about one year earlier, for his involvement with the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  Lee was Brigham’s bodyguard throughout the Nauvoo period.

10 May, 1869Transcontinental Railroad completed.  Non-mormons in Utah increase.

03 July, 1869 – Brigham Young marries widow Elizabeth Jones, age 55

07 October, 1869 – Pratt preaches that Joseph Smith taught Plural marriage in 1831 but said the time was not yet come to practice it (Journal of Discourses, reported by David W. Evans (7 October 1869), Vol. 13 (London: Latter-day Saint’s Book Depot, 1871), 192–93.)

1870Nancy Marinda and Orson Hyde divorced.

May 8, 1870 – Brigham Young marries Lydia Farnsworth, age 61.  Married to Elijah Mayhew

December 8, 1872 – Brigham Young marries Hannah Tapfield,  Married to non-Mormon Thomas O. King

1886Chauncy Webb publishes memoir of Joseph’s family including note on Fanny Alger saying Joseph was sealed to her, even though sealing keys were not restored until 1835 (2-3 years after the fact) .(Mormon Portraits: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and His Friends: a Study Based on Facts and Documents (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Company, 1886), 57)

“Mr. W. [Chauncey G. Webb]: “[Joseph Smith] was sealed there [in Kirtland, Ohio] secretly to Fanny Alger.  Emma was furious, and drove the girl, who was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet, out of her house.”

August, 1869 – Emma

“I tried before they left here to give them an idea of what they might expect of Brigham and all of his ites, but I suppose the impression was hardly sufficient to guard their feelings from such unexpected falsehoods and impious profanity as Brigham is capable of. …I do not like to have my children’s feelings abused, but I do like that Brigham shows to all, both Saint and sinner, that there is not the least particle of friendship existing between him and myself” (Newell and Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 285, letter from Emma written August, 1869).

18 August, 1869 – Lorenzo snow

“[Joseph] hesitated and deferred from time to time” and that he “foresaw the trouble that would follow and sought to turn away from the commandment.” quoted by Eliza R. Snow in Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, Salt Lake City: Deseret news Company, 1884, 69-70; Affidavit signed August 18, 1869;

1870 – The 1843 revelation presented by Brigham Young in 1852 was codified in Mormon canon as part of the Doctrine and Covenants 132

Brigham Young has Martha Brotherton sealed to him by proxy this year.

12 February, 1870 – Utah’s women were given the right to vote by the Utah Territorial Legislature, following the lead of their sister-state Wyoming. Due to timing of election dates women in Utah were the first in the nation to exercise this new power when Sereph Young votes on Feb 14, 1870.

03 October, 1871 -Brigham Young was indicted for adultery.  He was under house arrest from January to April 1872.  ( B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History 5:394 – 415 ).  The charges were dismissed ( Quinn, Extensions p 767 ).

1871 – Godbe is excommunicated  and he and like-minded confederates opened a rival newspaper to the LDS Church’s Deseret News. It was called The Mormon Tribune, but was soon renamed The Salt Lake Tribune. Initially, The Tribune wasn’t anti-Mormon.

1872 – Fanny Stenhouse wrote

“There is no particular age specified as proper for marriage, but the younger the girl is, the better.  It is seldom that there are any girls married under fifteen years of age; but sixteen is a very sweet age.” (Linda Wilcox DeSimone, ed., Fanny Stenhouse: Expose of Polygamy, A Lady’s Life among the Mormons,” Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2008, 129.)

20 February, 1872 – 4th bid for statehood

July 1872 – William E. McLellin letter written to Joseph Smith III about Fanny Alger. Letter to Joseph Smith, III, July 1872, Community of Christ Archives, reprint in Stan Larson and Samuel J. Passey, eds., The William E. McLellin Papers, 1854-1880, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2007, 488-89.

1873 – Three Kansans take control of the Tribune in 1873. The gloves came off.

1873 – Interview with Martin Harris, not published until 1888 (regarding Fanny Alger)

“[Joseph] acknowledged that there was more truth than poetry in what the girl said.” Harris then said he would have nothing to do with the matter; Smith could get out of the trouble “the best way he knew how” (Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast (N.p.: n.p., n.d.), 72).

October 1874 – Brigham Young’s secretary, George Reynolds, an acknowledged polygamist with two wives, became a voluntary defendant in a test case to determine the constitutionality of the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law of 1862.  He was found guilty.   Reynolds was sentenced to pay a $500 fine and eventually spent two years in prison ( 1879 – 1881 ).

1875 – Martin Harris gives his rendition of Fanny Alger in an interview during this year (Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast. Malad, ID: By the Author, 1888, 72.)

November, 1875Wife No. 19 published.  An expose on living in polygamy written in a tabloid style with no sources, it is autobiographical but also handles a number of items that the author could not have been present for.  On page 66-67 it deals with Fanny Alger.  The assumption is that she is quoting her mother, who took in Fanny, after Emma removed her from the house.  Again, no sealing power at the time when Emma removed Fanny from the house.

“Mrs. Smith had an adopted daughter, a very pretty, pleasing young girl, about seventeen years old.  She was extremely fond of her; no own mother could be more devoted, and their affection for each other was a constant object of remark, so absorbing and genuine did it seem.  Consequently it was with a shocked surprise that the people heard that sister Emma had turned Fanny out of the house in the night…By degrees it became whispered about that Joseph’s love for his adopted daughter was by no means a paternal affection, and his wife discovering the fact, at once took measures to place the girl beyond his reach…the storm became so furious, that Joseph was obliged to send, at midnight, for Oliver Cowdery, his scribe, to come and endeavor to settle matters between them…The scribe was a worthy servant of his master.  He was at the time residing with a certain young woman, and at the same time he had a wife living…The worthy couple—the Prophet and his scribe—were sorely perplexed what to do with the girl, since Emma refused decidedly to allow her to remain in her house; but after some consultation, my mother offered to take her until she could be sent to her relatives.  Although her parents were living, they considered it the highest honor to have their daughter adopted into the Prophet’s family, and her mother [Clarissa Hancock Alger] has always claimed that she was sealed to Joseph at that time.”

04 May, 1876Eliza Jane Churchill Webb Letter to Mary Bond regarding Fanny Alger

“I do not know that the ‘sealing’ commenced in Kirtland but I am perfectly satisfied that something similar commenced, and my judgment is principally formed from what Fanny Alger told me herself concerning her reasons for leaving ‘Sister Emma’.”

29 August, 1877 – Brigham Young dies in his home in SLC

_______________________POST BRIGHAM____________________________

07 July, 1878 – Joseph F. Smith condemns those not living in polygamy

“I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.20, p.31, Joseph F. Smith)

06 January, 1879 – George Reynolds case goes before Supreme Court. Sentence upheld.

26 January, 1880 – A Revelation given to Wilford Woodruff in the wilderness of San Francisco Mountain in Arizona.

“Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Wilford Woodruff. … My Purpose shall be fulfilled upon this Nation, and No power shall stay my hand. … And I say again wo unto that Nation or House or people, who seek to hinder my People from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham which leadeth to Celestial Glory which has been revealed unto my Saints through the Mouth of my servant Joseph for whosoever doeth these things shall be damned Saith the Lord of Hosts and shall be broken up & washed away … No power can stay my hand. … Thus Saith the Lord unto you my servants the Apostles who dwell in the flesh fear ye not your Enemies. … your Enemies shall not prevail over you. …” (Staker, pp. 140–146 and Scott Kenney, “Wilford Wood ruff’s Journal 7 {28 Dec 18880} : 615-21)

21 November, 1880 – Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner wrote in a  letter to Emmeline B. Wells

“He [Joseph Smith Jr.] was commanded to take me for a wife,” and “”I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Things the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with.””

19 January, 1881 – Wilford Woodruff submitted a revelation to church president John Taylor and the Twelve promising the Apocalypse and God’s interventions into the affairs of the saints.  Woodruff was asked to draw up the list of enemies and to write the prayer of damnation , which he did, which contained 400 names of the enemies of the church. The First Presidency and Twelve met together for this reverse prayer in the temple

“we all performed the ordinance of washing our feet against Our Enemies And the Enemies of the Kingdom of God according to the Commandment of God unto us.” (Susan Staker, “Waiting for World’s End” p. XVII.)

1881– An anonymous writer, perhaps McLellin, wrote under the pseudonym Historicus, dating the Fanny Alger transaction to “the time the present Joseph Smith [III] was an infant.”  (“Sketches from the History of Polygamy: Joseph Smith’s [indecipherable] Revelations,” Anti-Polygamy Standard, April, 1881, Salt Lake City, vol. 2 no. 1, p. 1.)

22 March, 1882 – Edmunds Act approved. An amendment to strengthen the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law of 1862:

10 April, 1882 – 5th bid for statehood.  It also failed, due in part to a new political party in Utah called the Liberal Party.  This predominantly non-Mormon party opposed statehood, as they felt that the shackles of the local theocracy had not yet been removed from all the people of Utah. (Ivins, p. 98 ).

 1882 – Bigamy/Polygamy Test oath for qualification to vote

23 August, 1882 – Rudger Clawson became the first polygamist to be tried under the Edmunds Law. Jury of twelve Gentiles.   Note that, according to the census of 1880, there were 120,283 Mormons, 14,136 Gentiles, and 6,988 apostates in Utah. Lydia Spencer, Clawson’s polygamous wife, refused to be sworn as a witness and was committed to the penitentiary. There was an ex post facto application of the law to his marriage performed before 1862.  Rudger Clawson was sentenced to three years and six months in the penitentiary and was fined $500 on the first count, polygamy, and six months & $300 on the second count of unlawful cohabitation. (Larson, p. 109-110.).

October 13, 1882 – Taylor revelation demanding leaders live polygamy was published in D&C

17 June, 1883 – Erastus Snow reported that the angel accused the Prophet of “being neglectful in the discharges of his duties” and spoke “of Joseph having to plead on his knees before the Angel for his Life.” (Erastus Snow quoted in A. Karl Larson and Katherine Miles Larson, Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, 2 Volumes, Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah, 1980, 2:611, entry for June 17, 1883)

1884 – Helen Mar Kimball

“had it not been for the fear of His displeasure, Joseph would have shrunk from the undertaking and would have continued silent, as he did for years, until an angel of the Lord threatened to slay him if he did not reveal and establish this celestial principle.” (Why We Practice Plural Marriage, Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884, 53)

April 1884 – At a special priesthood meeting at the April conference, President John Taylor asked all monogamists serving in ward Bishoprics or Stake Presidencies either to make preparations to marry a plural wife or to offer their resignation from Church office, and he called out the names of monogamous Stake Presidents.  Stake President William W. Cluff resigns on April 22, 1884 rather than take a plural wife.

Feb-Mar 1884 – Clark Braden debate, the source for the Tar and Feather castration story in Brodie’s book, taken from the newspaper account of Luke Johnson (Miranda’s Brother).  He confuses Eli (her uncle) for her brother (E. L. Kelley and Clark Braden, Public Discussion of the Issues between The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Church of Christ (Disciples) Held in Kirtland, Ohio, Beginning February 12, and Closing March 8, 1884)

21 May, 1886Sarah 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.  She also claims that Bennett performed abortions.

January 1885 – John Hawley, John Hawley Autobiography mentions Fanny Alger (Community of Christ Archives, excerpts typed March 1982 by Lyndon Cook)

“…what I heard [from] John Olger one of the first (or among the first) members of the Church toald me his Sister was Seald to Joseph in Curtlin, this he Said to me in 1868”

Sept 26, 1886John Taylor revelation used by Wooley to start FLDS

1887Eliza writes down her statement of Fanny Alger

“Alger, Fanny, Joseph Smith’s wife.  One of the first wives Joseph married. Emma made such a fuss about.  Sister E. R. Snow was well acquainted with her as she lived with the Prophet at the time.  She afterwards married in Indianan where she became the mother of a large family.  A brother Alger lives in St. George.”

1887 –  Andrew Jensen, an independent historian, writes in his notes that Joseph was sealed “for eternity only”  Ruth Doggett Vose [updated 11/13/2014]

[handwritten] Sayers (Ruth Daggett Vose,) daughter of Mark and Sally vose, was born in Watertown, Middlesex Co., Mass, Feb. 26, 1808, and baptized at Boston Ma in May, 183.…

[typed] \Sister Ruth/ Mrs. Sayers was married in her youth to Mr. Edward Sayers, a thoroughly practical horticulturist and florist,19 and though he was not a member of the Church, yet he willingly joined his fortune with her and they reached Nauvoo together some time in the year 1841

[handwritten] While there the strongest affection sprang up between the Prophet Joseph and Mr. Sayers.20The latter not attaching much importance to \the/ theory of a future life insisted that his wife \Ruth/ should be sealed to the Prophet for eternity, as he himself should only claim her in this life. She \was/ accordinglythe sealed to the Prophet in Emma Smith’s presence and thus were became numbered among the Prophets plural wives. She however \though she/ \CONTINUED to live with Mr. Sayers / remained with her husband \until his death.21

I think it is important to note that the Husband insists on the “eternity only” 

7 January, 1887 -William Law describes Emma/Jane/Joseph situation

“Joseph offered to furnish his wife, Emma, with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in her [mansion] house and to be well treated, etc.” (Letter by William Law, on 7 January 1887)

20 January 1887 – William Law Letter Law quotes his wife as saying Joseph told her:

“the Lord had commanded that he should take spiritual wives, to add to his glory…Joseph had asked her to give him half her love; she was at liberty to keep the other half for her husband” (Salt Lake Tribune, 20 January 1887)

Law quotes Joseph as telling him “Jane had been speaking evil of him for a long time . . . slandered him, and lied about him without cause,” “My wife would not speak evil of . . . anyone . . . without cause,” he noted; “Joseph is the liar and not she.” In addition to defending the honor of his wife, Law insisted that Sarah Pratt was a “good, virtuous woman.”

03 March, 1887 – Edmunds-Tucker Act

30 March, 1887 -William law discusses Emma and polygamy

“[Emma] Spoke repeatedly about that pretended revelation … [and] says[,] ‘I must submit or be destroyed. Well, I guess I have to submit.'” (Interview of William Law, March 30, 1887, Salt Lake Daily Tribune (July 31, 1887))

11 June, 1887 – RLDS church notices build up of building materials on the site of the temple lot by the Church of Christ.  Serves Cease and Desist order

30 June, 1887 – 6th bid for statehood.  Failed

25 July, 1887 – John Taylor dies in hiding in Kaysville still on the underground.  No new prophet called for about 2 years

30 July, 1887 – Church property and perpetual immigration fund confiscated

18 August, 1887 -Joseph “afraid to promulgate it [polygamy].”Eliza R. Snow quoted in “Two Prophets’ Widows A Visit to the Relicts of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young,” J. J. J., in St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, MO) Thursday, August 18, 1887; pg. 6; Issue 85; col E

12 December, 1887 – Rudger Clawson pardoned

28 January, 1880 – Ebenezer Robinson to Jason W. Briggs (reference to Nauvoo Period Abortion)

LDS Elder Ebenezer Robinson testified that Hyrum Smith “instructed me in Nov or Dec 1843 to make a selection of some young woman and he would seal her to me, and I should take her home,” he recalled, “and if she should have an offspring give out word that she had a husband, an Elder, who had gone on a foreign mission.” Possibly referring to a secluded birthplace, or conceivably to abortion, Ebenezer Robinson to Jason W. Briggs, Jan. 28, 1880, LDS archives

05 October, 1859Elder Ivins, stake president of the mexico stake is told

““almost in the same breath, George Q.Cannon said, ‘Now Brother Ivins, if you have occasion to meet Porfio Diaz, President of Mexico, we want you to tell him that we are NOT practicing polygamy in Mexico.”

03 September, 1888 – Bishop Archibald McKinnon, of Randolph, Rich Co., was arrested for Unlawful Cohabitation (living with a polygamous wife) (Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology)

17 May, 1888 – Dedication of the Manti Temple. (Smith, p. 492.)   At the dedication, Q12 senior apostle and soon to be church President Wilford Woodruff said

“We are not going to stop the practice of plural marriage until the coming of the Son of Man.”

20 December, 1888 – A document worded to relieve political pressure, similar to the later to be released Manifesto, is presented to the interim leadership of the Church. It was eventually rejected, because it was thought that it should be worded as a revelation from the President of the church for it to be credible. Wilford Woodruff, who was in the midst of a 2 year struggle with the Quorum of the Twelve to get his choice of George Q. Cannon approved as a member of the 1st Presidency, rejected any statement and affirmed his belief that “The Lord never will give a revelation to abandon plural marriage,” noting that “we cannot deny principle.” (Edward Leo Lyman, “Political Deliverance. p. 106. and Quinn, “Extensions”, p. 48

07 April, 1889 – Wilford Woodruff becomes church president

10 September, 1888 – LDS elders preach in the structure created on the site of the temple lot

22 September, 1889 – printed in Salt Lake Tribune Benjamin F. Winchester

“this more especially among the women. Joseph’s name was connected with scandalous relations with two or three families” (Benjamin F. Winchester, “Primitive Mormonism—Personal Narrative of It,” Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Sept. 1889.)

20 October, 1889 – Wilford Woodruff in the Tribune (orders destruction of endowment house)

“I have refused to give any recommendations for the performance of plural marriages since I have been President … and have instructed that they should not be solemnized.” (Woodruff had only been sustained President for 6 months before making this statement. “Mormon Polygamy a History”, Richard S. Van Wagoner, 1986, p. 138.)

27 October, 1889 – In the Harold

 “We mean to obey it. We have not thought of evading or ignoring it. We recognize the laws as binding upon us.” He repeated that he had not sanctioned any marriages since becoming president. (Van Wagoner, p. 138.)

24 November, 1889 – Wilford Woodruff, as church president, receives revelation, which continued the defiant discourse with the church’s enemies.  He says that Jesus Christ himself promised protection for the church’s practice of polygamy: “I, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, am in your midst … Awake, O. Israel, and have faith in God and His promises, and he will not forsake you. I the Lord will deliver my Saints from the domination of the wicked, in my own due time and way.” (Stacker, p. XVII.)

19 May, 1890Supreme court upholds Edmunds-Tucker Act.  The LDS church is ended (referred to as the “late  Church” in government documents.  All assets seized.

10 June, 1890 – Brigham Young Jr. Marries 6th wife in direct conflict with Wilford’s message that no new plural marriages are performed

24 September, 1890 – Manifesto issued as press release

October 1890 – Manifesto presented in General Conference. During General Conference the first week of October, 1890, the question of whether to put the Manifesto to a vote was resolved by a telegram from Caine, who reported that the Secretary of Interior had informed him he could NOT recognize the official declaration unless it was formally accepted by the LDS General Conference. Consequently, the church leaders decided to present it immediately. (Lyman, p. 138.)

____________________________POST MANIFESTO_____________________

262 post manifesto marriages recorded, mostly among top members of the church (Hardy, pp. 391 – 392.)

2451 Mormon plural families in the US, not counting those in Canada or Mexico. (B. Caron Hardy, “Solemn Covenant, the Mormon Polygamous Passage” University of Illinois Press, 1992, p. 390)

06 October, 1890

“This [1890] Manifesto only refers to future marriages, and does not affect past conditions. I did not, I could not, and would not promise that you would desert your wives and children. This you cannot do in honor.” (Marriner W. Merrill, diary entry, 1890-10-06, in LDS Church archives, cited in B. Carmon Hardy, “Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage” (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1992) p. 141)

10 October, 1890 – John W. Taylor marries 3rd wife

10 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]

June, 1891 – No more cohabitation (Quinn p. 49)

August 1891 – Letter to Heber J. Grant from President Smith states he does not consider the Manifesto a revelation.  ( Quinn, LDS, p 82, quoting the First Presidency office journal )

06 August, 1891RLDS files suit against Church of Christ (Temple lot) over the temple lot

06 October, 1891 – First Presidency publicly testifies no new plural marriages

12 November, 1891 – President Woodruff publicly declares that violating the Manifesto by living with polygamous was not allowed, and would result in excommunication.  Privately, he tells the Quorum that any man who abandons his plural wives will be dismissed from the church.

23 January, 1892 – Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner in a letter to John R. Young:

“I could explain some things in regard to my living with Mr. L[ightner]. after becoming the Wife of Another [Joseph Smith], which would throw light, on what now seems mysterious–and you would be perfectly satisfied with me. I write this; because I have heard that it had been commented on to my injury”

1893Temple lot case disposition and preparation begins

reported in the temple lot case: Lucy Walker reported that Joseph “had his doubts about it [polygamy] for he debated it in his own mind.” (Lucy Walker, deposition, Temple Lot transcript (full transcript), part 3, 474)

07 February, 1894hearings for the temple lot case occur until march 1894.  Court rules that the RLDS Church was the rightful successor to the original Latter Day Saint church, and that as such it was entitled to ownership of the property. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) appealed the trial court’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  It went to the supreme court where it was thrown out, ending the court process.  Church of Christ (temple lot) still owns the land.  Much of the polygamy knowledge we have comes from the affidavits and testimonies given during the temple lot case.

1895 – LDS Mexico colonies to preserve polygamy are started.  The marriages continue until 1905.

12 January, 1895 – Benjamin Johnson states that Joseph “put off” polgyamy and waited until an “angel with a drawn sword” came to him. (Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review, Mesa, Arizona: 21st Century Printing, 1992, reprint, 95-96; see also Zina Huntington quoted in “Joseph, the Prophet, His Life and Mission as Viewed by Intimate Acquaintances,” Salt Lake Herald Church and Farm Supplement, January 12, 1895, 212

1896 Mosiah Hancock writes down details of Fanny Alger wedding.  It is a second hand account and the details mirror the Nauvoo ceremony, which was not revealed until over 10 years later. (Mosiah Hancock, Autobiography, 1896, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. )

“Early in the spring of 1832 Bro Joseph said it is his will that righteous men shall take righteous women even a plurality of wives that a righteous race may be sent forth up on the earth preparatory to the ushering in of the Millennial Reign of our Redeemer [Jesus?] the Lord…At that time Clarissa Reed was working at the Prophet’s.  She told the Prophet she loved brother Levi Hancock.  The Prophet had the highest respect for her feelings.  She had thought that perhaps she might be one of the Prophet’s wives as herself and Sister Emma were on the best of terms.  My father and mother understanding each other were inspired by the spirit of the Lord to respect his ways, through the Prophet.  Therefore Brother Joseph said Brother Levi I want to make a bargain with you.  If you will get Fanny Alger for me for a wife you may have Clarissa Reed.  I love Fanny”  “I will” Said Father “Go brother Levi and the Lord will prosper you” said Joseph

04 January, 1896 – Utah becomes a state

June 1896 –  Apostle Abraham H. Cannon marries 4th wife, Lilian Hamlin

September 1897 – President Wilford Woodruff, possibly marries 11th wife, Lydia Mountford.  

11 December, 1890 – Anson Bowen Call, married 2nd wife, Harriet Cazier.

189810 polygamous marriages performed in Mexico

11 March, 1898 – Anson Bowen Call,  married 3rd wife, Dora Pratt

02 September, 1898 – Wilford Woodruff dies.

_____________________Post Wilford Woodruff___________________________

28 October, 1898 – Lorenzo Snow opposes plural marriage. President Cannon says “Prest Snow had decided that Plural marriages must cease throughout the entire Church and that was absolute and affected Mexico as well as elsewhere”  ( Quinn, LDS, p 68 quoting Juarez Stake High Council Minutes ).  President Snow almost always opposed plural marriages, but administratively it was very tough to stop.

25 October, 1898 – Apostle George Teasdale, married 5th wife, Marion E. Scholes (Died 1926) performed “upon the high seas” by Apostle Anthon Henrik Lund.

1899 – Apostle Matthias Foss Cowley married 3rd wife, Harriet Bennion (Death 1923)

18996 polygmaous marriages performed in Mexico

19002 polygamous marriages performed in Mexcio

08 January, 1900 – Lorenzo Snow Manifesto

“the Church has positively abandoned the practice of polygamy, or the solemnization of plural marriages, in this and every other State;  and … no member or officer thereof has any authority whatever to perform such plural marriages or enter into such relations.  Nor does the Church advise or encourage unlawful cohabitation on the part of any of its members.

“If, therefore, any member disobeys the law, either as to polygamy or unlawful cohabitation, he must bear his own burden, or in other words be answerable to the tribunals of the land for his own action pertaining thereto.”

In 1911, the 1st Presidency put this on equal footing with the 1890 and 1904 Manifestos.  ( Quinn, LDS p 70-71 )

17 May, 1900 -Apostle Matthias Foss Cowley married 6th wife, Letita Thomas.  Claims Pres. Snow permission

11 July, 1901 -Snow tells Quorum of 12, no new plural marriages ( Quinn, LDS, p 72 & 73 ).

August, 1901 – Brigham Young JR. marries 7th wife, despite Manifesto. Claims Pres. Snow permission

1901 –  Apostle Marriner W. Merrill takes plural wife. Claims Pres. Snow permission

Sometime 1901 – Apostle Marriner Wood Merrill married 8th wife, Hilda M. Erickson (Died August 25, 1954).  Marriage performed by Matthias F. Cowley.

Oct 1901 – President Lorenzo Snow dies

___________________________Post Lorenzo Snow_______________________

1901Two polygamous marriages in Mexico

January, 1901Apostle Abraham Owen Woodruff, son of Wilford Woodruff, married 2nd wife, Eliza Avery Clark (Dies in 1963, almost the oldest living polygamous wife.  Oldest living that the apostle was not disfellowshipped). Claims Pres. Snow permission

17 December, 1902 – Lucy Walker, Affidavit

“He [Joseph Smith] assured me that this doctrine had been revealed to him of the Lord, and that I was entitled to received a testimony of its divine origin for myself.  He counselled me to pray to the Lord, which I did, and thereupon received from him a powerful and irresistible testimony of the truthfulness and divinity of plural marriage.” Lucy Walker, Affidavit dated December 17, 1902, MS 3423, CHL; Journal History, May 1, 1843; Joseph Fielding Smith, Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1905) 68-69;

08 February, 1902 -Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner states that an angel came on three occasions with a drawn sword.

“An angel came to him [Joseph Smith] and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle, he would slay him. Joseph said he talked to him soberly about it, and told him it was an abomination and quoted scripture to him. He said in the Book of Mormon it was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and they were to adhere to these things except the Lord speak… [The Prophet reported that] the angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.” (ary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Smith, “Remarks” at Brigham Young University, April 14. 1905, vault MSS 363, fd 6. 2-3.   See also “Statement” signed Feb. 8, 1902, Vesta Crawford Papers, Univ. of Utah, Marriott Library, MS 125, bx 1 fd 11)

“I did not believe.  If God told him so, why did he not come and tell me?  The angel told him I should have a witness.  An angel came to me…”

I was sealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet by commandment, in the spring of 1831. The Savior appeared and commanded him to seal me up to everlasting life, gave me to Joseph to be with him in his kingdom even as he is in the Father’s Kingdom. In 1834, [Joseph] was commanded to take me for a wife. I was a thousand miles from him. He got afraid. The angel came to him three times, the last time with a drawn sword and threatened his life. I did not believe. If God told him so, why did he not come and tell me? The angel told him I should have a witness. An angel came to me – it went through me like lightning – I was afraid. Joseph Said he came with more revelation and knowledge than Joseph ever dare reveal. (Brigham Young sealed me to him, for time and all eternity – Feb. 1842.)

1902Nine polygamous marriages in Mexico

1903Eleven polygamous marriages in Mexico

12 January, 1903 – Anson Bowden Call, married 4th wife, Julia Sarah Abegg.  Dies 1937

1904Five polygamous marriages in Mexico prior to smith manifesto

January 1904 – Feb 1907 – Smoot hearings

06 April, 1904Second Manifesto, also known as the “Smith Manifesto”.  31 plural marriages would be performed after this manifesto in Mexico.

12 April, 1904

“I do know that at his [Joseph Smith’s] Mansion home was living Maria and Sarah Lawrence and one of Cornelius P. Lott’s daughters as his plural wives with the full knowledge of his wife, Emma, of their married relations to him.” “More Testimony,” Letter dated March 9th, 1904,  Deseret Evening News, April 12, 1904.”

04 August, 1904 – Rudger Clawson married 3rd wife, Pearl Udal (age 23) Died April 7 1950, who bore no children.

Prior to 1905Benjamin Johnson publishes his life history.  Quotes Fanny Alger as saying:

“That is all a matter of our own, and I have nothing to communicate.”

1905 – Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Smith Young to BYU students

I asked him if Emma knew about me, and he said, “Emma thinks the world of you.” I was not sealed to him until I had a witness. I had been dreaming for a number of years I was his wife. I thought I was a great sinner. I prayed to God to take it from me for I felt it was a sin; but when Joseph sent for me he told me all of these things. “Well” said I, “don’t you think it was an angel of the Devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, It was an angel of God. God Almighty showed me the difference between an angel of Light and Satan’s angels.” The angel came to me three times between the years of ‘34 and ‘42 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me.” “But” said he “they called me a false and fallen prophet but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before. I know that I shall be saved in the Kingdom of God. I have the oath of God upon it and God cannot lie, all that He gives me I shall take with me for I have that authority and that power conferred upon me.” Well, I talked with him for a long time and finally I told him I would never be sealed to him until I had a witness. Said he “You shall have a witness,” Said I, “If God told you that why does he not tell me?” He asked me if I was going to be a traitor. “I have never told a mortal and shall never tell a mortal I had such a talk from a married man.” said I. “Well”, said he, “pray earnestly for the angel said to me you should have a witness”.

1905 – Letter to Emmiline Wells from Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner

As for Sister Whitney, Bishop Whitney’s wife, I shall never forget her. It was at their house that the Prophet Joseph first told me about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife. That was in 1831

16 September, 1905 – Apostle Cowley married 4th wife, Lenora Taylor performed by John A. Woolf.  Apostle Cowley was disfellowshiped, but never excommunicated.  He was restored to full fellowship in 1936.  Lenora passed away on 8 Jan 1971 making her the last living legitimate Polygamous wife in the LDS church (not in Mexico).

October 1905 – Taylor and Cowley Resign.  They continued to advocate polygamy. However, the resignations were not made public.

October 1907 –  Ivins, the stake president performing polygamous marriages in Mexico is made a member of the Quroum of the Twelve.  There is no doubt the brethren knew what Ivins was doing.

09 April, 1906 – Taylor and Cowley resignations made public.  David O McKay was one of the new apostles appointed, and was the first apostle in over 60 years who was not connected by polygamy.

The list of the official “13” is given on this website. http://www.josephsmithspolygamy.com/JSPSexuality/MASTERJSPSexuality.html[3]

4-7 August, 1908Debate between RLDS and LDS members illustrates the discussion between Brigham and Joseph Smith III and the need to “prove” polygamy and sexual polygamy explaining the motive for the affidavits since 1860

26, November 1923LDS Church reorganized as a corporation (corporate sole).  All donations become personal property of church president.

1932 – Council of Friends meets at short creek (later formed into FLDS) is formed

1935FLDS are excommunicated from LDS church.

1943 Apostle Richard Lyman excommunicated for polygamous relationship

05 May, 1945 – Heber J. Grant passes away.  He lived openly with his wives post manifesto and taking each wife on a different mission with him. This death ends the era of an uninterrupted line of polygamist prophets of the LDS church.

1954 – Apostle Ricahrd Lyman rebaptized after being excommunicated for Polygamy

1970 – Apostle Richard Lyman full priesthood blessings restored posthumously.

08 January, 1971Lenora Taylor, post manifesto plural wife of faithful Apostle Cowley, passes away, officially ending LDS Polygamy. (in U.S., unsure about Mexico)

22 November 2004Marian Young, youngest daughter of Brigham Young Jr. dies.  Last full fellowship child raised in a polygamous home (in U.S., unsure about Mexico)

26 December, 2004Gordon B. Hinkley tells Larry King that Polygamy “ended over 100 years ago”

Nov. 2012 Steve Benson publishes article illustrating that polygamy did not end with the manifesto after LDS church claims it did

October 10, 2014 – The LDS church publically publishes essays regarding polygamy admitting Smith married 14 year olds, that Brigham had sex with his wives, that some relationships were sexual, and that Smith had 40 wives [updated 11/13/2014]

November 14, 2014 – The newly published essays were picked up by the front page, above the fold NYT after Kristy M. called a friend at the times and asked if they had noticed the essays.  CNN then reported on them, followed up by the BBC, a host of German, Swedish and Brazilian newspapers:





The LDS newsroom responded with this article: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765662633/LDS-Church-responds-to-national-media-coverage-of-Gospel-Topics-pages.html?pg=all [updated 11/13/2014]


Note on the number of women Joseph Smith had sex with:

Typically the number of women he is stated to have had intimate relations with is 13 (about 32%) .  If one includes only those who stated they had sex then one has 9 instances (22.5%). If one includes every instance including women who were confident enough to say something about their children being descendants of Joseph that DNA testing was done, there are 19 or (47.5%).

Major Sources:





Partial transcripts: http://www.olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1880s-1890s/1893_TLot.htm

District court decision: http://books.google.com/books?id=sy5OAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Court of appeals decision: http://books.google.com/books?id=qi5OAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mention of W. Woodruff’s testimony in the Reed Smoot hearing: http://books.google.com/books?id=c0QhAAAAMAAJ&dq=temple%20lot%20case&pg=PA114#v=onepage&q&f=false

Full Temple Lot Case Transcript: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Bates-Noble-Polygamy-Temple/dp/0874809371

More of my comments in a condensed form here: http://www.reddit.com/r/exmormon/comments/1far2e/13_wives_swore_court_affidavits/ca8fujy


This entry was posted in Polygamy, Timelines. Bookmark the permalink.
Last edited by Mithryn on August 1, 2017 at 4:33 am

12 Responses to Polygamy Timeline

  1. Pingback: What does the Spaulding-Rigdon timeline mean | Exploring Mormonism

  2. Ryan S. says:

    This is so comprehensive and I can’t help but use the word Awesome. Thanks Mithryn, just what I was looking for.

  3. This is total awesomeness! Since I can’t find a “contact info” page or other private means of asking. May I repost this on my website (http://beggarsbread.org ) giving you full credit and a linkback to this page?

    Something this good should have a wide audience!

    [BTW, the link to the Hales article is blown (http://www.josephsmithspolygamy.com/JSPSexuality/MASTERJSPSexuality.html ) I tried to find an updated link to the article but was unsuccessful]

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  8. Pingback: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy and His Run for US President - Life After Ministries

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