July 3, 2009

Reflected Revelations

One of the most basic concerns I have about Joseph Smith is that his controversial revelations about marriage were directed towards himself. To put it bluntly, he was raking in sexual partners for himself because of this "revelation." That sounds rather convenient.

For example, Joseph Smith proposed to Mary Elizabeth Rollins after she had been married to Adam Lightner for 6 years and borne 3 of his children. Smith told her
“The angel came to me three times… and said I was to obey that principle [of plural wives] or he would lay [destroy] me.” Mary wrote, “Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in hell should never get me from him.” Additionally, she wrote that Smith told her, “I was created for him before the foundation of the Earth was laid.” Smith also promised her that if she accepted his proposal, her place in heaven would be assured (quoted in Compton, 2001, p. 212; Van Wagoner, 1992, p. 65).
In brief, Joseph Smith says that God told Joseph Smith to get Joseph Smith another wife, even though she was already married. The constant in the equation is Smith. I would react differently to this if Smith had said God revealed to him that Mary was supposed to be married to Jonny Thornbuckle, and was his before the foundation of the Earth was laid, etc. I would also react differently if Mary had a vision that she was to leave Adam for Joseph Smith.
The problem I see is that Smith had a license to do absolutely anything he wanted. All he needed to throw in was, "God told me to," and his followers would accept it, no matter how repulsive and immoral. It's as if a CEO (Smith) raised his own salary (number of wives) by 3300%, and said "No, I didn't actually want the higher salary. I'm just doing what's best for the company." Everybody knows what's really going on. Of course, Smith kept his "raise" as hidden as possible. Only when the others on the payroll started to find out about it did he tell them to raise their own salaries too.
I also find it troubling that these women who had allegedly been created for Smith had no idea. Zina Diantha Huntington, for example, refused Smith's proposal once while she was single, and again after she had married Henry Jacobs (Compton). If she were created for Smith, why did Smith have to be the one who broke the news to her? Why didn't Emma have a vision about it to comfort her? Does God treat women as property: goods to be used as rewards?

If those revelations really were from God, it sure seems like God was granting Smith a lot of favors, while really harming others who believed in Him with all their hearts.

Compton, T. (2001). In sacred loneliness: The plural wives of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.

Van Wagoner, R. S. (1992). Mormon polygamy: A history. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.


Elder Joseph said...

D&C is actually all about handy revelations for Joseph Smith when needed.

Here are just a few of them:

Got himself a house built.

D&C 41 : 7 And again, it is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.

Food and rainment too and whatever else he needs!

D&C 43:13 And again, I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him;

No need for him to work either.

D&C 24: 9 And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the churches.

A boarding house (some kind of hotel?) I think he got a liqour license for this enterprise

D&C 124:56 And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding ahouse which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.

An endless supply of women.

D&C132:62 And if he 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.

And he was able with this to collect some of his followers wives too as he went along too.

Jane Law ( Wife Of William Law bravely rebuked his marriage/sexual advances) and Sarah Pratt was approached by Joseph Smith for marriage while her husband Orson Pratt was away on a mission.She too was brave enough to say no.

There is even a D&C chapter ( sorry can't find it in time for now) talking about selling shares in some busines venture. How much more do people need to see through Joseph Smiths deception? He already failed in his prior banking venture and rode out into the night bankrupt having I think claimed that it also was a revelation from God and that it would swallow up other banks? lol

I. Puerility said...


Reading this blog is like reading my own thoughts on the screen. I have spent two years and hundreds of dollars on books in my quest for knowledge. Thanks so much for your time spent here and I hope that this information keeps finding its way onto your blog and that this blog will be around for a long time!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Eli said...

Response to I. Puerility: It's comforting to hear I'm not alone too! It's funny - I thought I'd run out of things to write after a while, but the more time I spend in serious reflection, the more ways emerge in which the Church just doesn't make sense. I hope you continue to find this blog helpful in your search for truth, wisdom, and reason.

Eli said...

Response to Elder Joseph: Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts. You've clearly put a lot of time and effort into your studies too. That really drives my point home!