Mormon History

Denial of Polygamy by Joe Smith - 1875

The Salt Lake Daily Tribune April 7, 1875


Smith and Clayton as Revelators --
The Revelation Officially Denied --
An Elder Cut off for Preaching it.

Eds. Tribune: That Joseph Smith was a spiritual medium, none need doubt; and that he was also a lying medium, we have abundant proof.

In the polygamy case of George Reynolds, Messrs. Sutherland & Bates, attorneys for the defendant, put forth a plea on behalf of the defendant, by stating that he, the defendant, is and has been, a sincere believer in the truth of a revelation given to the Mormons on the 12th day of July, 1843, and that his future salvation depends upon his obeying the doctrine contained in that revelation, not as a cloak for lustful pleasure, but as the cardinal and vital part of his religion.

Just for a few moments let us look at the author of the revelation, who is believed by the Mormon people to have been the mouth piece of God to the Church. Let us see if he and his abettors have acted in accordance with the spirit of truth and righteousness.

On the 12th of July, 1843, Joseph Smith gave a revelation to the people ordaining the plural wife system, William Clayton, the present usurping Territorial Auditor, writing the language down as it flowed from the Prophet's mouth, he being at that time a clerk in Joseph's office.

In a paper entitled the Times and Seasons, published by authority in Nauvoo, we find the following:


The Twelve feeling a great anxiety for the unity and prosperity of the whole Church, and more especially for the benefit of the branches of the Church abroad in the world, would after mature deliberation, and as a matter of counsel (approving of the course, management and matter of the Times and Seasons and Neighbor) recommend that suitable pains and exertions be taken by both elders and members to obtain these papers from Nauvoo. A unity of effort to circulate these papers, not only among the Saints, but among the people at large, will greatly facilitate the labors of the traveling elders, while it disseminates correct principles, sanctioned by the highest authorities in the Church * * *

Done in council, this 1st day of January, 18[45].     BRIGHAM YOUNG,

Six months before, Joseph Smith writes in this journal the following in relation to his precious polygamy screed:

        CITY OF NAUVOO, Feb. 1, 1844.


As we have lately been credibly informed that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching polygamy and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan.

Presidents of said church.

In a later number of the same paper, Hyrum Smith writes:

        CITY OF NAUVOO, March 15, 1844.

Whereas, brother Richard Hewitt, has called on me to day, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here, I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here [neither is there any such things practiced here] * * *

(Signed.)                 HYRUM SMITH.

This was written eight months after the revelation was given to his brother Joseph Smith, and three months subsequently the brothers were killed.

In the Times and Seasons, Nov. 15th, 1844, an article signed, "An old man in Israel," contains the following paragraph:

Woe to the man or men who will thus lie to injure an innocent people. The law of the land and the rules of the Church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once, but if any man's wife die he has a right to marry another and to be sealed to both for eternity to the living and the dead. This is all the spiritual wife system that ever was tolerated in the Church.

The Apostle John Taylor, was editor at the time, and he endorses the statement in the strongest language.

At Boulogne sur-mer, on the 13th of July, 1850 (seven years after the revelation was given) this same Apostle gave his views of polygamy (he at the time having four wives,) in these words:

We are accused here of polygamy and actions the most indelicate [and] obscene and disgusting, such that none but a corrupt and depraved heart could have contrived. These things are too outrageous to admit of belief.

I have produced the above official utterances for the benefit of Brothers Reynolds and Cannon, and for the benefit of all the devout Saints who derive so much religious edification from the practice of polygamy. An unconverted heathen would be very apt to inquire, "if the Lord gave this revelation to Joseph Smith, why did not this degenerate son of a gun avow it openly to all the world? Lopping off Elder Hiram Brown for proclaiming the doctrine, and denying it in his writings three months before his death, would indicate that he, like some Saints of the present day, was lacking in the spirit of a martyr, and was either false to his Maker, or practicing a huge fraud upon his followers.

Perhaps Brother Clayton could reflect some light upon this dark subject, if he were called upon the witness-stand, and captured, like Mrs. Reynolds No. 2, before receiving counsel from his masters. It would be interesting to hear him describe how he felt when the words fresh from Jehovah's lips were being traced by his pen, and he was separated by a well-worn calico sheet from the ineffable presence of the Deity. Surely that was a great day of our Lord!

Brigham Young says that all revelations vouchsafed to mankind partake largely of the nature of the medium through whom they are transmitted. This being true, we may say that the animalism in Joseph Smith's nature stands out prominently in his Polygamy Revelation, and some might be irreverent enough to declare that instead of the Almighty dictating that wretched piece of verbiage, the impostor's lustful passions were the inspiring cause.

Salt Lake, April 5.                         S. C.