Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Joseph Smith Was a Sexual Predator

Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet may someday be known more as a sexual predator than for anything that he said or wrote..........................................



I work with students in a High School.  I often give presentations to the students about the dangers they face from online sexual predators.  

I go through the patterns that predators use to entice young girls and boys and the precautions students need to take in order to stay safe.  

I also tell the students that at any time they can come to me, the counselor or any trusted adult and we will believe them, protect them and go to the ends of the Earth to help them.  No matter what the young person has already done, we will not shame them, we will not blame them. 

Sexual predators are clever, ruthless and patient.  Predators look for the most vulnerable and exploit their victim's weaknesses and trust to eventually achieve their goal. 

As I was reviewing my notes for an upcoming assembly, I was horrified to notice parallel methods used by the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith in selecting his "Eternal Wives" to the ways that sexual predators use today.  Although Smith didn't have the internet as a tool, he had a far more effective approach:  His followers believed he spoke to and for God. 

I prepared this list to demonstrate that Joseph Smith's pattern for luring his polygamous wives has all the same markings of the worst of today's sexual predators:  
Threats, shame, and false promises.  


Source Preference has been given to Official LDS Sites.



My Evidence that Joseph Smith was a Sexual Predator

1. Joseph Smith told his victims that HER FAMILY’S salvation was dependent on giving into his wishes.
Quote:  "After which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred. This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to him."
2.  Joseph Smith told his victims to keep his actions secret from family and friends.
Quote:  "Participants in these early plural marriages pledged to keep their involvement confidential."
Source:  LDS.org Essay
3.  Joseph told his victims that HE would be killed if THEY didn't comply.
Quote:  "During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully."
Source:  LDS.org Essay
Angel with a sword.
4.  Joseph Smith promised his victims salvation if they complied with his requests.
Quote:  "In the revelation on marriage, the Lord promised participants “crowns of eternal lives” and “exaltation in the eternal worlds."
Source:  LDS.org Essay
5.  Joseph's role as "Prophet of God" gave him a position of trust and authority over his victims.
Quote:  "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it."
(Although written after Smith's death, it gives a clear sense of how he was revered.)

6. Smith married sisters living in the same house and did not allow them to tell each other.
Quote: " Both girls “were married to Bro. Joseph about the same time, but neither of us knew about the other at the time; everything was so secret”"

Note:  Eliza Partridge was 22 and her sister Emily was 19.  They were both living and working in the Smith home but even though they both married Joseph within a few days, neither was allow to tell the other.
7.  Joseph Smith told women to pray about his advances while at the same time telling them as their Prophet the answer to expect.
Quote: "Lucy Walker recalled her inner turmoil when Joseph Smith invited her to become his wife. “Every feeling of my soul revolted against it,” she wrote. Yet, after several restless nights on her knees in prayer, she found relief as her room “filled with a holy influence” akin to “brilliant sunshine.

Source:  LDS.org Essay

8. Joseph told his victims that once they had given into him once, if they were to leave, they would be "destroyed".
Quote:  "Verse 63: But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed;"
9.  Joseph told his victims that the way to glorify God was through their consent.
Quote:  "…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."
10. Joseph's victims thought of Joseph like a father figure.
Quote:  “Emily Partridge recalled she was "a nurse girl, for they had a young baby...That is what I delighted in, tending babies...Joseph and Emma were very kind to us; they were almost like a father and mother."
Emma Smith
11.  Joseph made his victim's consent a test of their faith.
Quote:  "Lucy Walker said "He asked me if I believed him to be a Prophet," and when Lucy said yes, Smith informed her that God had instructed him to take another wife, "and you are the woman."
Source:  Compton, In Sacred Loneliness Pg. 463
12. Joseph would prey on the vulnerable and orphans
Note:  Sisters Emily and Eliza Partridge lost their father in 1840.  They were hired by the Smith family to live in their home and help care for the Smith children.  By 1842 Smith had married both sisters.
13. Joseph taught his victims that even though their actions might feel wrong in their heart that it was still commanded by God.
Quote: "I am often led to wonder how it was that a person of my temperament could get along with it and not rebel; but I know it was the Lord who kept me from opposing his plans although in my heart I felt that I could not submit to them." (Eliza Partridge)
14.  Joseph told his victims to hide their actions from his wife Emma.
Quote:  "He may have thought Emma’s rejection of plural marriage exempted him from the law of Sarah. Her decision to “receive not this law” permitted him to marry additional wives without her consent."
Source:  LDS.org Essay
Nauvoo Mansion House
15. Joseph told his victims that they were promised to him by God.
Quote:  "Mary Rollins Lightner said, "Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in hell should never get me from him”

16. He threatened victims with destruction for their refusal. 
Quote: "But after several hesitations, Lucy was informed of the other side of Smith's sealing power. He told her that rejecting his offer would bring eternal damnation. Of his marriage proposal to her, Smith said: "It is a command of God to you. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you."
Source:  Compton, In Sacred Loneliness Pg. 463
17. Joseph Smith used his authority to send husbands of his victims out of the country.
Quote: (About Marinda Hyde) "In the Spring of 1842 she married Joseph.  In Joseph’s diary is a list of his marriages.  It includes the entry: “Apr 42  Marinda Johnson to Joseph Smith.”.  Eight months later, in December, Orson returned from his mission." 

18. Joseph knew and associated with many of his victims and their families since they were small children. 
Note:  Joseph Smith knew Helen Mar Kimball, Eliza Partridge, Emily Partridge, Sarah Ann Whitney and Nancy Winchester all before they were six years old.
Source:  The Wives of Joseph Smith
Sarah Ann Whitney
by Leslie O. Peterson

19. Joseph held power of salvation, position and authority over most of his victim’s fathers.
Note:  At least ten of Smith’s youngest brides had fathers who held positions of power in Nauvoo.  Joseph Smith held control over their jobs, farms and incomes. His victims would have known that he had the authority to excommunicate their fathers or remove theme from their jobs and leave the families destitute. 

20. Joseph took extreme measures to have his victims live in his own house.
Quote:  (To John Walker) Joseph said, “You must have a change of scene, a change of climate.  You have Just such a family as I could love.  My house shall be their home...place the little ones with kind friends, and the four Eldest shall come to my house and [be] received and treated as my own children...” He then sent Walker on a mission.

21. He publicly shamed those women and girls who refused him.
Quote:  When a woman turned him down and then went public with the details of his proposal, Smith and the church leadership's policy was to slander the reputation of the woman or man who made it public. When Martha Brotherton published her story in the St. Louis Bulletin, on July 15, 1842, the [Nauvoo] Wasp on August 27, 1842 denied such a marriage proposal was made, and branded Martha a "mean harlot." When Nancy Rigdon turned down Smith's offer on April 9, 1842 and publically opposed him, Smith's good friend…wrote, “Nancy was guilty of unlawful and illicit intercourse."
Source:  Van Wagoner , Mormon Polygamy Pg. 235


22. Joseph Smith ask his victims to do something that was specifically taught in the scriptures they held to be true.
Quote: 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,

Final Notes:
After compiling this list. I became emotional just thinking about the fear, guilt and loneliness that Joseph placed upon so many young girls.  I can only imagine them thinking, "Who in the whole world would believe what has been forced upon me?"  

This was the dawn of the Victorian Age. A time when sex was not discussed, especially by teenage girls.  Their first night for a 14 year old sleeping with Joseph would have been horribly confusing and frightening.  

I hope that by putting the spotlight on Joseph Smith and calling him out as a sexual predator it may play a small part in getting the Mormon Church to admit that polygamy was not from God. 

How else can young LDS girls learn to avoid these dangerous situations in 2016 without admitting that the grooming practices of sexual predators hasn't changed much in 200 years? 

October 8, 2016 Comment by author
I was amazed at the number of views this received.  The responses ranged from praise to personal attacks.  I know that comparing Joseph Smith to rapists and molesters is a strike at the foundation of Mormonism.  
Nearly all Mormons are amazing, hard working people who give so much to their community, but there are still those men who use their position and influence in the Church to groom and rape women and young girls.  This will not stop until the Church acknowledges that Joseph's actions were wrong.

Nov. 15, 2016 Comment by author:  I am in the process of adding quotes and links that specifically show that most of the things that Joseph Smith did were specifically against the teachings of 21st century LDS Prophets.


Additional Sources
Characteristics of Sexual Offenders
Avoiding Online Predators
Tactics of Sexual Predators

Modern Sexual Predator

Dr. Kristy Money's Op-Ed about Joseph Smith
FairMormon's Response to Dr. Money

Wives of Joseph Smith
Brian Hales
Point by Point Response by Brian Hales
This list is unfortunate because it reflects such a narrow interpretation and misses many details.

1. Helen also said she was too young to understand what Joseph said. This conversation took place in front of Helen’s parents, neither of which recalled this supernal promise.

2. Secrecy was sometimes required, but polygamy insiders were free to talk to each other as in the case of Sylvia Sessions attending the sealing of her mother Patty to the Prophet.

3. This is misleading. No wife reported Joseph saying he would be killed if they personally did not comply.

4. The promise is if “a man marries a wife.” It is a promise of eternal marriage not plural marriage—Monogamy not Polygamy.

5. It is true Joseph was revered, but we know of at least five women who turned him down without at repercussion.

6. Within days Joseph allowed them to speak to each other.

7. Joseph told them all to pray about everything. Several reported angels and other divine witnesses.

8. This is a misrepresentation. It speaks of a woman committing adultery after she is married. Being “destroyed” is to not receive exaltation.

9. This is a misrepresentation. Vv 16-17 explain that without eternal marriage, a person lives eternally without exaltation. An eternal marriage performed by proper authority, including a plural sealing, makes a person eligible for exaltation. Consent is unimportant. Obedience is.

10. It appears you haven’t read much of what Emily wrote. She considered herself Joseph’s wife in every way.

11. Joseph knew that many of his followers had received a testimony of his divine calling as a prophet and eternal and plural marriage came as revelations, just as the Book of Mormon.

12. This is dramatic. Initially, Emily told Joseph to not bother her and he complied, but on her 18th birthday he asked again and she was then willing. Since Emily lived for many decades, her experience with Joseph is well documented and this version problematic.
13. This quote from Eliza (who wrote very little) doesn’t mention Joseph so it isn’t an example of what “Joseph taught” his “victims” (and I expect Eliza would bristle at the idea that she was a victim).

14. Joseph initially sought non-sexual eternity sealings after an 1841 sealing to Louisa Beaman but reported a February 1842 visit from the angel commanding polygamy. Thereafter he entered time-and-eternity sealings without telling Emma. Emma learned in the Spring of 1843 and participated in four including sealings. It seems unfortunate that Joseph didn’t tell Emma sooner and perhaps this is why D&C 132:56 tells Emma to forgive Joseph, which she did

15. This is the only reference to a relationship that began in the pre-mortal existence. Nothing more is known about this possibility.

16. You speculate what “gate” would be closed. It could be destruction or simply the opportunity to be sealed to Joseph. Other women turned him down and he said, “I will pray for you—Sarah Granger.” Eternal marriage is required for exaltation but not plural marriage or being sealed to Joseph Smith.

17. This is very misleading. There are two sealing dates for Marinda and the more reliable is after Orson returned. The “Spring 1842” date was over a year after Orson had left on his mission, hardly consistent with the idea that Joseph had sent Orson (as a member of the Twelve) away so he could be sealed to Marinda).

18. We marry people we know. This seems meaningless.

19. This is speculation. None of the men complained against Joseph or accused him regarding his plural sealings.

20. This again is speculation. Joseph did approach Lorin Walker, Lucy’s brother, for permission to be sealed to Lucy before he approached her.

21. This is simply not true. Five women turned him down without any repercussion. When Nancy, Martha, and Sarah Pratt went public, Joseph publically denied the false accusations.

Joseph was sealed to 35 women and none of them left any criticism of him, even the seven that left the Church. Personally, I think they would be very displeased with accusations as those published in this list.


Links to Mormon Sexual Abuse Cases (Taken From Mormon Stories)

News Stories Involving the LDS Church and Child/Sexual Abuse