SALT LAKE CITY — The headquarters for the Mormon religion, also known as the Latter Day Saints (LDS), has acknowledged in a new official essay that its founder practiced polygamy and had up to 40 wives, including a 14-year-old and women who were already married.
“Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” is the first of a three-part series to be posted on the LDS.org website, and focuses on the life of Joseph Smith and the many wives that he took to himself after purportedly being commanded by an angel to “practice plural marriage.”
Heretofore, the Mormon establishment had sought to distance itself from portraying Smith as a polygamist, but the new essay states forthrightly that “careful estimates put the number [of women Smith married as] between 30 and 40.”
“Most of those sealed to Joseph Smith were between 20 and 40 years of age at the time of their sealing to him,” the essay outlines. “The oldest, Fanny Young, was 56 years old. The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph’s close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday.”
Written by Heather Clark
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