Joseph Smith Polygamy: The Rocky End to Plural Marriage in the Church (Part 1)

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

Joseph Smith Polygamy: The Rocky End to Plural Marriage in the Church

As we near the end of this series, we want to hear your questions about the practice of plural marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Next week, on our final episode of this series, we will be honored to have with us a special guest to help us respond to your questions. Dr. Brian Hales, an author and scholar on all things related to polygamy in the church. He is endlessly insightful on this topic, so please do yourself and other listeners a favor. By submitting your thoughtful questions. You can submit them any time up to June 22nd, 2023 to podcasts at Scripture Central Dawg. Let us know your name, where you’re from, and try to keep each question as concise as possible when you email them in. That helps out a lot. Okay, now onto the episode. In 1852, only eight years after Joseph Smith death, church leaders in Utah publicly announced to the astonished world what some had suspected that Latter-Day Saints did indeed practice the principle of plural marriage. But now that it was out there in the open, it could be openly challenged and attacked, and it was relentlessly for decades. In today’s episode of Church History Matters, we’ll walk through the history of how plural marriage came to a rocky end under the draconian legislation and crushing pressure of the United States government. We’ll dive into the George Reynolds trial. President Wilford Woodruff’s manifesto, The Reed Smoot Trials and second manifesto, the resignation of two members of the Quorum of the 12 over this, the beginning of the FLDS Church and more. I’m Scott Woodward, and my co-host is Casey Griffiths. And today, we dive into our fifth episode in this series, Dealing with Plural marriage. Now, let’s get into it. 

We’re hoping we’re going to wrap up our discussion on Joseph Smith polygamy by talking about after Joseph’s death. So last time we talked about the struggles with plural marriage that Emma Smith had, very real struggles, but that she and Joseph eventually came to a workable resolution with that principle. It appears the last eight months of his life there was no further plural marriages entered into. And for all intents and purposes, the way that Brian Hales tells the story is they seemed to live a fairly monogamous marriage, that last portion of Joseph’s life. But his life was brought to an abrupt end because of plural marriage. That’s not the only reason that factored into his death, but it was a primary reason. It led to some apostates turning against Joseph, chief of which was William Law. And that’s going to lead to a conspiracy against his life. And we talked a little bit about what happened there. And we intend to talk a great deal more about the martyrdom in future episodes. But yeah, Joseph himself said of the principle of plural marriage. According to Brigham Young’s recollection, “I shall die for it. And so this is a principle Joseph would pay for with his life.” And it did what D&C 132 said it would do, and that was to try the faith of the saints like Abraham. So that’s something that doesn’t end. 

We want to talk about the next phase today. What happens next? We know that in Nauvoo, Joseph marries 30 something wives and the practice is going to spread slowly at first. And by the time Joseph dies, we’re going to have about 29 other men and about 50 women who have entered into plural marriage, in addition to Joseph and his wives. And then when the saints enter Salt Lake Valley, we want to talk about that today and what kind of happens between Joseph Smith and the end of plural marriage.

That’s where we’re going to try and go. And we’re covering a lot of ground today more than we have in the other podcasts. We felt like the big points to hit are the beginnings of plural marriage and then the end of plural marriage in the church. Yeah, just like you said, plural marriage is not a public practice in Nauvoo for obvious reasons. It’s a factor in Joseph Smith’s death and the people that are practicing plural marriage when Joseph Smith is killed are worried that the same thing could happen to them. And so the practice remains private until 1852 when they announce it publicly. And that’s who announces it. Yeah, and that’s something we can talk about, too, is awesome. Pratt is the one that announces it. He gets up in a meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, August 1852. He says it is quite unexpected to me, brothers and sisters, to be called upon to address you this afternoon, and still more so to address you upon the principle which has been named, namely a plurality of wives.

I think that got everybody’s attention. I think everybody was listening to that talk. Yeah, you’re looking at the woodwork and all of a sudden the plurality of wives is said over the pulpit. Wow. He says the congregation is aware that the Latter day Saints have embraced the doctrine of plurality of wives, But it is new ground to the inhabitants of the United States. And that’s a big understatement to start with. 

It’s interesting that they choose Orson Pratt. Orson Pratt is a sign, it appears, by Brigham Young to introduce the principle. And that’s interesting, given his history with plural marriage in Nauvoo a little bit earlier. Orson had some serious issues with plural marriage in Nauvoo. First of all, his wife, Sarah Pratt, was one of the women that was involved with John C Bennett. And this is devastating to Orson to find out he’s on a mission in England while a lot of this is happening, and then he comes home and finds out about what’s happened between his wife, Sarah and John C Bennett. And then on top of that, Joseph Smith takes them aside and basically says, look, this doctrine of plurality of wives and Joseph Smith polygamy, doesn’t have anything to do with John C Bennett. But it is true. It’s something that the Lord’s revealed to me and worse and struggles like he leaves Nauvoo. There’s worries for a while that he may have been thinking about harming himself. They eventually find him and bring him back, but he’s excommunicated and then is re-baptized a couple of months later and placed back into the Quorum of the Twelve. In fact, this will play a role in succession in the presidency down the line. Yeah, Orson would have been president of the church when Brigham Young died, but Brigham Young reorganized the Twelve based on continuous service and worse, and had that gap of several months when he wasn’t a church member or a member of the Quorum of the Twelve before he was re-baptized and reinstated into the Twelve. So it’s an interesting choice that they ask a person to do this. But there’s also good reasons to and he’s incredibly eloquent. He’s well-spoken. Brigham Young trusts him. And thinks that he could do the best job introducing this.

And it doesn’t seem like he had much advanced notice. He says it’s quite unexpected to me to be called upon to address you this afternoon. And he he’s so good he can, at a moment’s notice, stand up and announce one of the most shocking announcements made in the church. And it seems like the pressure to do this had been gradually building. 

Utah at this point is a territory of the United States. And even though Brigham Young is the governor, a lot of the territorial functions related to the federal government are carried out by outside people. And the judges that get sent to Utah aren’t exactly the cream of the crop. I don’t think Utah was the plum assignment, but it’s a guy named Perry Baracus who gets sent as a federal judge to Utah, and he presses the Saints on this question until they feel like, let’s just announce it on our own terms. And he gives a speech in September 1851 where he calls upon the Mormon women to be virtuous, which is apparently a veiled reference to plural marriage. And he and other federal officials started reporting to newspaper reporters in the East that the Saints were practicing plural marriage and defending the principle of plural marriage. And I’m guessing they’re still frightened over what had happened to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith polygamy with this. But at this point, you know, it’s one of those things where let’s get ahead of the story, let’s control the narrative, and they announce it. Yeah, tons of fallout from it. But Orson also in the talk gives a pretty good rundown of some of the primary reasons for why they are practicing plural marriage. And so what Orson is saying here could be a good companion to Section 132 of the Doctrine Covenants. He covers some of the same ground, but he also brings up some new points that we might consider really quickly. 

He ties plural marriage back to the promises made to Abraham. This idea of eternal posterity and lineage and fulfilling the covenants that were made to the ancient Old Testament patriarchs as the first and foremost one. So that’s not new content there yet. In terms of new content, he takes kind of an unconventional route too and I think it was because in part Judge Brock was accusing them of being immoral that he talks about how plural marriage was designed to prevent immorality. 

He says immorality is to be prevented in the way the Lord device in ancient times. That is, by giving his faithful servants a plurality of wives by which they numerous and faithful posterity can be raised up and tied to the principles of righteousness and truth. And then he goes on to say, after they fully understood those principles that were given to the ancient patriarchs, if they keep not the law of God, but commit adultery and transgression, let their names be blotted out from under heaven and they have no place among the people of God. So he actually argues that plural marriage is designed to prevent immorality. It’s the same system that’s been given to the patriarchs. Again, he’s centering all this in the Bible. One of the worst and perhaps most famous speeches he gives after this is called “Does the Bible Sanction Polygamy?” And he’s doing a good job scripturally saying, yep, that’s one of the reasons to, like I said, it works and proud is an interesting choice. He and Brigham Young at various points are going to have conflict. But I think Brigham respected Orson’s ability to defend the faith. There’s a one point where Brigham Young and Pratt have had their conflicts, but Brigham Young says if Brother Orson were chopped up into inch pieces, each piece would cry that Mormonism was true. So he shows a ton of trust in Orson.

He’s not questioning his loyalty, but they didn’t always see eye to eye on doctrine, that’s for sure. Orson gives another talk in 1869 called Celestial Marriage, where he reiterates some of these principles. And really, on that point of preventing immorality, he says what happens in societies that don’t allow for plural marriage is that there’s always going to be an abundance of females to males. He makes this case, I don’t know if it’s defensible today statistically, but he makes the case that because of death rates are higher among men, and by the time you get to marriageable age, there’s a surplus of females to males. And if they are not brought into a wholesome marriage, which plural marriage can provide, then they usually end up either old maids or prostitutes. It’s a pretty provocative time when he’s trying to defend this idea like this is the opposite of immorality. That’s his point. He’s the opposite of immoral. This is where a man devotes himself to a woman and takes care of her and helps her raise children with her and is committed to her to the end. Right. It’s not that this isn’t a case where, in fact, I think in his 1852 talk, he said at the very beginning that he said it is not as many have supposed a doctrine embraced by the Latter day Saints to gratify the carnal lusts and feelings of man. That is not the object of the doctrine. And then he goes into those reasons that you’ve articulated. So this is not what it looks like from the outside or what the spin masters would want to make it look like it’s happening among the Latter-Day Saints. Yeah, it’s actually honorable men and women joining together and committing to be true to each other and to raise families together and to. I teach others virtue and all the things you would have in a normal marriage. Very interesting.

And he makes another interesting point, which is that the majority of the human race does practice plural marriage at this point in time. I don’t know if that’s the case today, but according to one study that was carried out in the 19th century, that probably was true at that point in time, that monogamy was the less common practice than plural marriage. And worse than that was basically tying their practice into that as well, which is an interesting case to take, too. Yeah. Another thing that happens is kind of the peak of Orson Pratt’s career as an apologist for plural marriage is in 1870. J.P. Newman, who’s the chaplain of the United States Senate, challenges him to a public debate. Bad idea. So they debate over three days in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and they fire back and forth at each other. But even though both sides at the end kind of claimed victory, the general consensus is that poor Newman got his clock cleaned by Orson Pratt. There’s one Catholic writer, for instance, that writes Newman, whatever his qualifications as chief of the Senate or his merits as an order proved neither a scripture scholar nor an apt debater. And another newspaper reporter says someone carrying guns other than Dr. Newman will have to be sent out measuring among the Mormons.

So Joseph Smith polygamy is out there and everybody knows. And before we get into the next part of the story, I think we wanted to take a minute and talk about what the numbers are. I always have students ask me, did most people practice plural marriage in the church? How did it work? We’re drawing some information here from the Gospel Topics essay, but they draw from scholars like Catherine Danes and Jesse Embry, Lowell, C, Bennion and a few others. So here’s what we’ve got. Most families that practice plural marriage, in fact, two thirds is the figure they cite where only two wives at a time. So when we think of people like Brigham Young or Heber City Kimball, who have multiple wives, I think Heber C Kimball is the record holder at 43 wives.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the 1852 laws on marriage passed in Utah have a fairly generous range for divorce. So divorces were fairly easily allowed. I mean, that’s going to sound bad that divorces were easy in Utah, but I think they also recognized how difficult this was.

Normally, we’re against divorce. We try to work it out, try to make it work before we would ever encourage divorce. But that’s different during this time. Which was partially the way the church approached it and the way the laws of Utah were written. According to almost every source we have, this is a system that’s very directly administered by leaders of the church, and they were fairly generous in granting a divorce If a person entered into plural marriage and they didn’t feel good about it, especially a woman. They would allow them to get a divorce fairly easily. Without the social stigma attached to that, which is pretty unique, there was no social stigma attached to a divorce if she wanted it.

One of the advantages of the system that they pointed out is that, well, almost all women married and so did a large percentage of men, and most people were in stable relationships. It was like marriages. Today you had a wide spectrum ranging from really happy marriages to unhappy marriages. Yeah, there were some people like Emeline B Wells who struggled with it. Emily B Wells was a prominent church leader, eventually becomes the Relief Society president. She was pretty candid in saying she felt lonely as a plural wife. And then there were other people like I wrote a book on Joseph Merrill, this apostle who grew up in a polygamous household. His dad was Mariner Merrill, who had eight wives. And when he was asked about it, he said, I thought it was a good system. Like my mom didn’t feel lonely. She was fairly independent. She had her own farm and property that she took care of. And I felt like her and my dad really loved each other. A large number of Mariners kids go on to get these. Joseph is the first native Utah to get a Ph.D. and he has a lot of brothers and sisters. Now, that’s probably the best case scenario, but it seems like, yeah, it was fairly atypical. So there’s a spectrum.

There’s a spectrum with marriages today, you wouldn’t highlight a super sad marriage and say therefore marriage is a bad system because there’s always going to be great marriages. There’s always going to be those who are handled irresponsibly or selfish or neglectful in whatever way. So it’s not that plural marriage itself was either good or bad. It was as good as the people who were involved made. It is what I’m hearing you say.

And there’s some really harrowing stuff out there, like about Annie Tanner and a few others that had a terrible experience with Joseph Smith polygamy. But that has to be measured against other people that really upheld the principle and thought that it was good and felt good about it. Now, the average trends that they showed were that plural marriage generally declined over time. And when we see a spike, that’s usually when the United States government was intervening, trying to stop them from practicing plural marriage that everybody would run out of and enter into one just to indicate that they could, despite the government. Stick it to the man, I guess you’d say.

And remembering from the gospel topics, say that in 1857, about half of those living in Utah are somehow involved as husband, wife or child in plural marriage household, correct? Yeah. And then by 1870, it’s gone down by almost half. By 1870, the numbers cited are 25 to 30% of the population lived in polygamous households. And again, this is as a husband, wife or child, that’s the best way to kind of calculated as we go. So this is never like the majority. This is never the way that everybody’s living in Utah. This is its peak. It was close to half, but never the majority. 

And like we said, Catherine Danes wrote this great book called More Wives Than One, where she just basically took a single community, Manti, Utah, and studied the records that were there. And she showed that the number of plural marriage was always continuously on the decline. And then there’d be a spike when a new law came out or a new effort was made by the government to try and end plural marriage. So the majority of the church never practiced it and without outside interference, its interest. Staying to think about what might have happened to it if it was left alone. It’s like the Saints kept upholding it because of this outside pressure, but in general they trended towards monogamy. I don’t think their society was ever really strategically built to accommodate plural marriage. So they trended towards monogamy in their own life.

It seems like with each generation, it was starting to become that’s what my parents and my grandparents did. But the next generations were not following suit, at least not wholesale. It wasn’t growing. It was declining. Which is interesting. What would have happened? What would have happened had government just stayed out of it? What did happen? Why did the government get involved? 

Most people are aware, but the Republican Party, founded in 1856, is founded with the goal of eradicating the twin relics of barbarism, which are slavery and polygamy. And four years after the party is founded, we get the first Republican president who’s Abraham Lincoln. But as most people know, Lincoln had a lot on his plate to deal with. And so he doesn’t do a lot when it comes to plural marriage. In fact, the most famous exchange with the latter day saint when Lincoln’s in office. According to the Stenhouse, who’s a reporter who’s a latter day saint, he asked about This is June 1863. He asked Abraham Lincoln about his intentions for the Mormons, according to the Stenhouse Lincoln said Stenhouse. When I was a boy on the farm in Illinois, there was a great deal of timber on the farm which had to be cleared away. Occasionally we’d come to a log which had fallen down that was too hard to split, too wet to burn and too heavy to move. So we just plowed around it. You go back and tell Brigham Young if he will let me alone, I will let him go. So Lincoln’s the first Republican president, but his position is basically I got too much to deal with right now. 

So 1856 the Republican Party is founded with the aim of eradicating the twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy. And yet the first Republican president says I’m okay leaving them alone if they’ll just leave me alone. That’s interesting. 

Latter Day Saints really love to quote that story. And I think the story’s true. I mean, we’ve got several other settings where Lincoln uses that whole tree that can’t be cleared away. An analogy at the same time to the whole picture is that the Republican Party, even though its biggest concern is the Civil War, also hasn’t forgotten about the Saints and plural marriage. First law that they pass is passed in the middle of the Civil War in 1862. It’s called the Moral Act, and this levies a $500 fine and five years of imprisonment if a person is caught living in a Joseph Smith polygamy relationship. Yeah, but I don’t think this one really goes anywhere. This had no teeth as a policy. It was in the middle of the Civil War. There’s no federal officers to enforce this. So in some ways it’s more of a statement than it is a law that’s enforced. But it’s definitely saying, we see you polygamists and we’re coming for you. Yeah, with slavery and polygamy, it’s just a matter of priority, right? They tackle slavery first, and once that’s settled, that’s when it seems like the pressure just is laid on hard and heavy coming after plural marriage. When you say, yeah, so you get the 60 to Moral Bigamy Act and then the Civil War ends in, what, 65? 

It looks like for a couple years. They’re concerned with reconstruction in the wake of the Civil War. But then that becomes knotty and twisted and they’re not making headway there. And so they turn their attention back to plural marriage and start to pass increasingly stringent laws. Like a lot of the Saints, we should mention, did not think that this was legal, right? That the First Amendment of the Constitution, free exercise of religion allowed them to live the law of plural marriage. And so the next step that they take is the Poland law, which is in 1874, and that’s designed specifically to take apart Utah’s judicial system. So a lot of the judges in Utah were Latter day Saints who interpreted the Constitution the same way and wouldn’t prosecute a person practicing plural marriage. So the next step is we’ve got to get them out of the judicial system. Another irony here is that women were granted the right to vote fairly early on in Utah, but these anti polygamy legislations are eventually going to take that away because women didn’t vote against the church. Women voted in general in favor of the church. Explicitly in favor of polygamy. And people wondered what’s going on here.

A bunch of did they sign a bunch of petitions and send them to Washington, D.C., saying we’re not oppressed by plural marriage? Yeah, that was a major surprise for some in the East. But of course, that was interpreted as well. That’s what the Mormon men are making. You say, you know, kind of a thing. But there were women that were in favor of this and they were making their voices known.

One of the ironies of plural marriage is that it did in some ways allow women some opportunities that they didn’t have because, you know, if you’re a woman in the 19th century, you’re especially a married woman with children. Your big concern is taking care of your kids. Plural marriage creates this kind of shared sisterhood system where you have some women that are able to excel in professions like Martha Hughes. Cannon, the first woman elected to a state legislature, is a plural wife. She actually runs against her husband and beats him. She’s also a medical doctor. And Alice Shipp goes to med school. Some of the most important suffragettes, women that agitate on behalf of women receiving the right to vote are plural wives like Leonard Harrington said that Emmeline Boswell’s would be down alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony as one of the most important figures in the. Hearing women the right to vote. If it hadn’t been for the fact that she was a latter day saint and a plural wife. Wow. And so it’s way more complex. In fact, let me show you something. This is a statement of lies our snow makes at a suffragette rally. She addresses the popular image of latter day Saint women. And she says this, “Were we the stupid, degraded, heartbroken beings that we have been represented? Silence might better become us. But as women of God, women filling high and responsible positions, performing sacred duties, women that stand not as dictators, but as counselors to their husbands, and who in the purest, noblest sense of the refined womanhood, are truly their help mates. We don’t only speak because we have the right, but justice and humanity demand that we should.” Wow. So they’re pushing back against this image and they’re part of the fight, too. In fact, as time goes on, some of these laws, like the Edmunds Tucker Act passed in 1882, some of these are draconian, like when we say the constitutional hanging by a thread the Saints saw this is way overstepping the Edmunds act makes unlawful cohabitation legal, excludes people from serving on juries and denies them the right to vote or hold public office if they’re practicing plural marriage. That is extreme stuff. And the next law that comes down the pike is going to be even more extreme.

That one’s the first law to come after the church as a corporation. This isn’t now just punishing those who practice plural marriage, but coming against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints as such a corporation. It disenfranchised them. Unincorporated them. This is as heavy handed as it gets, I think, in our nation’s history of singling out one people and then legislating in a way to crush them to the ground. Yeah. For instance, the Edmunds Tucker Act is going to make it so that you have to swear an anti plural marriage oath even to vote. And it’s going to take away the right of women to vote, and it’s going to stop anyone who is Mormon from coming to Utah. They disenfranchised the perpetual immigration fund, cutting off funding for people to gather to Utah. But then the biggest whopper was the taking away of property. Any property over, what, $50,000? Yeah. So that’s coming after the temples. We got what, Manti Temple, Logan Temple and St George are on the chopping block there with the Edmunds Tucker Act. This is just intended to destroy and dismantle the church itself.

And we should mention that the Saints fight back against the legality of these laws. Yeah, probably the most famous case is the George Reynolds trial, where George Reynolds actually goes up against the moral act, the first anti polygamy act that’s passed during the Civil War as a test case. So George Reynolds is this nice, like conservative guy who, you know, he’s modest, he’s unassuming, he’s a clerk who works for the first presidency and a bookkeeper. He’s devout and faithful, but he’s married to two women and they get him to agree to serve as a test case. So he is asked in October 1874 if he’ll agree to submit to the law so that they can take this out for a test drive and see if this actually holds up under the Constitution.

They were pretty confident that this would not be held up as constitutional, right? Yeah, that’s the test case. They feel really strongly that the First Amendment, the free exercise clause of the Bill of Rights, would protect them from what they saw as a religious obligation. Joseph Smith polygamy was religious in their mind. It was a commandment from God. Unfortunately, Reynolds’ trial turns into a media circus. Basically, they even drag his second wife, Amelia, while she’s pregnant to the court, put her on the stand and force her to admit that she’s a plural wife, which was humiliating for her, difficult for her. JJ Sutherland, who is arguing on behalf of Reynolds, argued Latter-Day Saints believe that polygamy is a divine institution and they will be indebted for their highest happiness in another life to their fidelity and obedience to it in this. Nonetheless, George Reynolds loses the case and winds up going to the territorial penitentiary. In fact, this goes all the way up to the Supreme Court, which in 1879 upholds Reynolds conviction. And that is a tough blow to the church because they’re trying to reconcile this commandment with living the laws of the land. And part of their argument is we don’t feel like these laws align with the other laws, that they’re unconstitutional.

There’s a great book called Zion in the Courts by Ed Firm Edge, and I can’t remember the name of this other author, but they basically interpreted the Supreme Court’s decision as follows. They said, unless, at least for some practices for the majority are protected by the First Amendment, the free exercise clauses are redundant and devoid of practical. The interpretation that you could draw from the Supreme Court’s decision was that it’s okay to believe whatever you want to believe, but you can’t practice what you want to practice when it comes to your religious beliefs, which I don’t think that’s how the law would be interpreted today. When George Reynolds was asked what he thought of the decision, he said, I regard the decision a nullification of the Constitution so far as religious liberty is concerned, to say the Constitution simply grants freedom of religious opinion, but not the exercise of that opinion is twaddle.

And in the 19th century. You’re serious if you’re using the T word. Calm down, George. That’s about as spicy as George Reynolds got, as far as I can tell.

That’s a bunch of twaddle, is what that is.

Now, the good news is, while he’s in prison, he has to spend 18 months living in penitentiaries in Nebraska and Utah. He actually writes the first concordance to the Book of Mormon while he’s there. That’s a good use of time.

You can still find this if you go to the display of read concordance, which isn’t that useful today because we’ve got the whole thing digitized. But he makes good use of his time and he’s a good guy. So Edmunds Tucker is really setting us up for official declaration one or the manifesto and is an important part of the circumstances there. 

To listen to the full podcast episode, visit

Joseph Smith Polygamy - Source Expert - Scott Woodward

By Dr. Scott Woodward, Source Expert

Dr. Scott Woodward has dedicated his professional career to educating within the Church Education System for almost twenty years. Currently, he serves as an esteemed faculty member in the BYU Idaho Religion department. He also holds the role of a managing director and content producer at Doctrine and Covenants Central, an affiliate of Book of Mormon Central. He shares his knowledge his Youtube channel titled “D&C Stories with Scott Woodward“. Dr. Woodward earned his PhD in Instructional Psychology and Technology from Brigham Young University.

Joseph Smith Polygamy - Source Expert - Casey-Griffiths

By Dr. Casey Paul Griffiths, Source Expert

Dr. Casey Paul Griffiths received a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University and went on to complete an M.A. in Religious Education and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Foundations at BYU. Before joining the faculty in the Department of Religious Education at BYU, Brother Griffiths spent eleven years at Seminaries and Institutes, serving as both an instructor and curriculum developer. He is joyfully married to Elizabeth Ottley Griffiths, and together, they reside in Saratoga Springs with their three delightful children.

Fact checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and YouTube host of the Gospel Learning YouTube Channel. His channel currently has over 41,000 subscribers with over 4.5 million views. Mr Prince also developed the Gospel Learning App, a trusted source where truth-seeking individuals can easily find trusted answers to religious questions from the best teachers in the world.


Our purpose at Joseph Smith Polygamy is to provide a factual and objective look at the history and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. With so much sanitized history, misinformation and falsehoods being put forth, we are here to provide facts and objectivity to those who are sincerely searching for truth.