Joseph Smith Polygamy Sex

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Did Joseph Smith have sex with his wives?

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1. Did Joseph Smith have more than one wife while he was alive?

Absolutely. Just check Joseph Smith's official church marriage record at

polygamy joseph smithFaithful LDS member and historian Todd Compton has found solid documentation for Smith marriages to 33 women while he was alive. True, many more were sealed to him after his death, but Smith had at least 33 wives while he was alive.

Compton Writes:
"In the group of Smith's well-documented wives, eleven (33 percent) were 14 to 20 years old when they married him. Nine wives (27 percent) were twenty-one to thirty years old. Eight wives (24 percent) were in Smith's own peer group, ages thirty-one to forty. In the group aged forty-one to fifty, there is a substantial drop off: two wives, or 6 percent, and three (9 percent) in the group aged fifty-one to sixty."

"The teenage representation is the largest, though the twenty-year and thirty-year groups are comparable, which contradicts the Mormon folk-wisdom that sees the beginnings of polygamy was an attempt to care for older, unattached women. These data suggest that sexual attraction was an important part of the motivation for Smith's polygamy. In fact, the command to multiply and replenish the earth was part of the polygamy theology, so non-sexual marriage was generally not in the polygamous program, as Smith taught it."

2. Why did Joseph Smith have 33 wives?

Jacob 2: 24-30
mormon polygamy24 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none... For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

(The Lord is saying here that the only reason for more than one wife is to "raise up seed" unto Him.)

D&C 132:
Verse 37: Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness...

Verse 41: And as ye have asked concerning adultery...

(Why is adultery an issue? Simply being married or "sealed" to more than one woman in an otherwise chaste arrangement might be bigamy or polygamy, but it's not adultery. Adultery is a sexual act.)

celestial marriageVerses 62-63: And if he [Joseph Smith] have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.... for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil 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; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

In fact, Joseph Smith's original 1831 polygamy revelation, given to a group of married men while they were visiting a Native-American tribe, also explains procreation as the purpose of polygamy:

"For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and Just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles."
- Prophet Joseph Smith, The Joseph Smith Revelations Text and Commentary, p. 374-376,

Brigham Young taught that "This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197.)

joseph smith polygamy3. But did Joseph Smith obey the commandment and have sex with his wives?

Compton writes:
"Because of claims by Reorganized Latter-day Saints that Joseph was not really married polygamously in the full (i.e., sexual) sense of the term, Utah Mormons (including Joseph's wives) affirmed repeatedly that Joseph had physical sexual relations with his plural wives-despite the Victorian conventions in nineteenth-century American religion which otherwise would have prevented mention of sexual relations in marriage."

- Faithful Mormon Melissa Lott (Smith Willes) testified that she had been Joseph's wife "in very deed." (Affidavit of Melissa Willes, 3 Aug. 1893, Temple Lot case, 98, 105; Foster, Religion and Sexuality, 156.)

- In a court affidavit, faithful Mormon Joseph Noble wrote that Joseph told him he had spent the night with Louisa Beaman. (Temple Lot Case, 427)

- Emily D. Partridge (Smith Young) said she "roomed" with Joseph the night following her marriage to him and said that she had "carnal intercourse" with him. (Temple Lot case (complete transcript), 364, 367, 384; see Foster, Religion and Sexuality, 15.)

joseph smithIn total, 13 faithful latter-day saint women who were married to Joseph Smith swore court affidavits that they had sexual relations with him.

- 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)

- Smith's secretary William Clayton also recorded a visit to young Almera Johnson on May 16, 1843: "Prest. Joseph and I went to B[enjamin] F. Johnsons to sleep." Johnson himself later noted that on this visit Smith stayed with Almera "as man and wife" and "occupied the same room and bed with my sister, that the previous month he had occupied with the daughter of the late Bishop Partridge as his wife." Almera Johnson also confirmed her secret marriage to Joseph Smith: "I lived with the prophet Joseph as his wife and he visited me at the home of my brother Benjamin F." (Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets, 44. See also "The Origin of Plural Marriage, Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Deseret News Press, page 70-71.)

- Faithful Mormon and Stake President Angus Cannon told Joseph Smith's son: "Brother Heber C. Kimball, I am informed, asked [Eliza R. Snow] the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith and afterwards to Brigham Young, when she replied in a private gathering, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that."" (Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 23, LDS archives.)

4. Did Joseph Smith father any children from his polygamous wives?

- Stake President Angus Cannon also testified: "I will now refer you to one case where it was said by the girl's grandmother that your father [Joseph Smith] has a daughter born of a plural wife. The girl's grandmother was Mother Sessions . . . She was the grand-daughter of Mother Sessions. That girl, I believe, is living today, in Bountiful, north of this city. I heard prest. Young, a short time before his death, refer to the report . . . The woman is now said to have a family of children, and I think she is still living." (Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 25-26, LDS archives.)

- Faithful Mormon and wife of Joseph Smith, Sylvia Sessions (Lyon), on her deathbed told her daughter, Josephine, that she (Josephine) was the daughter of Joseph Smith. Josephine testified: "She (Sylvia) then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church." (Affidavit to Church Historian Andrew Jenson, 24 Feb. 1915)

- In her testimony given at a Brigham Young University devotional, Faithful Mormon Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner stated that she knew of children born to Smith's plural wives: "I know he [Joseph Smith] had six wives and I have known some of them from childhood up. I know he had three children. They told me. I think two are living today but they are not known as his children as they go by other names." (Read her full BYU testimony here:

- Faithful Mormon Prescindia D. Huntington, who was Normal Buell's wife and simultaneously a "plural wife" of the Prophet Joseph Smith, said that she did not know whether her husband Norman "or the Prophet was the father of her son, Oliver." And a glance at a photo of Oliver shows a strong resemblance to Emma Smith's boys.
(Mary Ettie V. Smith, "Fifteen Years Among the Mormons", page 34; also Fawn Brodie "No Man Knows My History" pages 301-302, 437-39)

- Researchers have tentatively identified eight children that Joseph Smith may have had by his plural wives. Besides Josephine Fisher (b. Feb. 8, 1844) and Oliver Buell, named as possible children of Joseph Smith by his plural wives are John R. Hancock (b. Apr. 19, 1841), George A. Lightner (b. Mar. 12, 1842), Orson W. Hyde (b. Nov. 9, 1843), Frank H. Hyde (b. Jan 23, 1845), Moroni Pratt (b. Dec. 7, 1844), and Zebulon Jacobs (b. Jan 2, 1842). ("Mormon Polygamy: A History" by LDS Historian Richard S. Van Wagoner, pages 44, 48- 49n3.)

There is another piece of evidence you might consider in examining Joseph Smith's sexual behavior. The following excerpt is from a love letter Joseph Smith wrote when he wanted to arrange a liaison with Newel K. Whitney's daughter Sarah Ann, whom Smith had secretly "married." It reveals Smith's cloak-and-dagger approach to his extramarital affairs:

joseph smith polygamy"... the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty. ... Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the more Joy, when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts, my life depends upon it. ... I close my letter, I think Emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, and affectionate, companion, and friend. Joseph Smith."
- Joseph Smith Handwritten Letter,

joseph smith polygamyRead the detailed history of each of Joseph Smith's 33 plural wives in LDS member and historian Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness. This book is sold at Deseret Book, the BYU bookstore and online at


For some details on the other married women Joseph married and impregnated, see:

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