This marvel of contemporary capitalism — a hotel that takes its patrons far out of reach of any competition — has no peer when it comes to simultaneously suspending and extending time. At sea, the ship’s clock is all there is and its pendulum pulses exceedingly slow. After a day or so, you exist in this world with either way too much time or outside of time altogether. Either way the first thing to leave your mind and judgment is your mind and judgment. This is hardly noticed by most since management has arranged for a host of activities so mindless that you will be convinced for days that you are actually in possession not only of your mind, but in your right one at that. It is only when the credit card bills arrive long after you are at home that you will realize what you have done to yourself.
Peter O Toole, Anthony Hopkins, Nigel Terry, Jane Merrow, Katharine Hepburn, and John Castle in The Lion in Winter (1968 there is a defensible case to support.
But we can't think of any earthly reason for practicing polygamy. Why would God command this? Even if there were women that needed help, why would the men have to marry the women in order to help them. We certainly don't advocate marrying a homeless person to help them financially or otherwise. And why have polygamy at all since it could only be practiced by maybe 30% of its members?
Some LDS apologists like Richard Bushman believe that Joseph married those women because he valued these people as 'kin'. Some believe that these were "dynastic" marriages. In other words, Joseph was doing the women and their families a favor by letting them marry into his kingdom, so that they could enjoy his priesthood for all eternity. Then they claim that this eternal "dynastic" purpose was all there was to it and that there was no sex involved. Their proof for the latter proposition is the fact that we don't have any photos of Joseph with his pants down. Without those photos of Joseph being caught in the act, the apologists feel impressed that we can ignore tons of circumstantial evidence indicating that sex was very much involved.
Joseph was sealed (not married) to several women who were already married. This practice is called theological polyandry - sealing for eternity without earthly cohabitation. Being sealed to a woman for the afterlife does not necessarily imply living together during mortality. There is no solid, reliable, unbiased evidence showing that those married women that Joseph Smith was sealed to ever lived with him or had any physical relations with him. These women remained with their own spouses to whom they were first married to. Church President Joseph F. Smith testified before a senatorial committee stating that sealings for eternity did not allow for earthly cohabitation. Therefore, this sealing practice did not mean that Joseph Smith was in any kind of earthly marital relationship with these women. In fact, not only was Joseph Smith sealed to other women, he was also sealed to men as well. Many early Mormons had living parents and spouses who weren't members of the church and consequently were not eligible for sealing blessings. The solution for this was for them (men or women) to be sealed to someone who would most likely gain exaltation, such as the prophet Joseph Smith.
The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listening close,
Find its purpose and place up there toward the wintry sky.
Fanny Alger was a teen-aged servant in the Smith's home. Joseph and Emma had "adopted" Fanny when she was about 16 years old (1833). She is believed to be either Joseph Smith's first polygamous "wife" or simply a sexual encounter. (The Church's essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo," says it was a marriage, whereas Lawrence Foster said, "…contemporary evidence strongly suggests that Smith sustained sexual relations with Fanny Alger, it does not indicate that this was viewed either by Smith himself or by his associates at the time as a 'marriage.'" Dialogue Vol. 33 No. 1 pp. 184-86.) Critics believe he had an affair with her, was found out, and then introduced the concept of plural marriage in order to justify and continue his affair with her and then other women.Some historians record the date of the "marriage" as early as 1833, while others believe it was 1835, putting Fanny's age anywhere from 17-19. Fanny departed the Smith home sometime in 1836, the same year Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated for revealing Joseph Smith's "dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's."Warren Parrish, the secretary of Joseph for a period of time, told Benjamin Johnson that he and Oliver Cowdery knew the report of an affair between Joseph and the girl to be true, for they "were spied upon and found together." (, 1903.)Critic's Note: Regardless of whether Joseph Smith's relations with Fanny Alger was merely a sexual encounter or a "marriage," it was adulterous. However, Joseph could only be , and even if it is claimed that the "marriage" was a symbolic "celestial only" sealing, the sealing power was not restored until April 1836, after Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny.Whether Joseph's "marriage" to Fanny Alger occurred in 1833 or 1835, it was illegal both under the laws of the land and under any theory of divine authority. Plural marriages are rooted in the notion of "sealing" for time and eternity. It is claimed that the "sealing power" was restored 3 April 1836 when Elijah appeared to Joseph and committed the sealing keys into his hands. (, The Joseph Smith Papers.) Until that time no one on earth had authority to "seal" Joseph and Fanny. As a result, his marriage to her was a nullity from the beginning both in time and eternity, and any sexual relationship he had with her was adulterous.As admitted in the LDS essay, "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo":
[C]areful estimates put the number [of Joseph Smith's wives] between 30 and 40.Following his marriage to Louisa Beaman and before he married other single women, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.Estimates of the number of these sealings range from 12 to 14.from the LDS website (also see footnote #24).In other words, Joseph "married" or was "sealed" to 12-14 women who were already legally wedded to other men at the time. Following is a list of Joseph's wives that we know of (some researchers estimate that the number may have been higher). A name indicated with an * was a living husband of the woman to whom Joseph Smith was "married" (From the website, )(The above table can be downloaded as a .)
The generation that came of age in the 1940s had survived the poverty of the Great Depression to win a global war that cost 60 million lives, while participating in the most profound economic and technological transformation in human history as a once rural America metamorphosed into a largely urban and suburban culture of vast wealth and leisure.
If Joseph had a right to dictate me in relation to salvation, in relation to a hereafter, he had a right to dictate me in relation to all my earthly affairs, in relation to the treasures of the earth, and in relation to the earth itself. He had a right to dictate in relation to the cities of the earth, to the natives of the earth, and in relation to everything on land and on sea. That is what he had a right to do, if he had any right at all. If he did not have that right, he did not have the Priesthood of God, he did not have the endless Priesthood that emanates from an eternal being. A Priesthood that is clipped, and lacks length, is not the Priesthood of God; if it lacks depth, it is not the Priesthood of God; for the Priesthood in ancient times extended over the wide world, and coped with the universe, and had a right to govern and control the inhabitants thereof, to regulate them, give them laws, and execute those laws. That power looked like the Priesthood of God. This same Priesthood has been given to Joseph Smith, and has been handed down to his successors.
The saints of the last days have witnessed the outgoings and incomings of so many apostates that nothing but truth has any effect upon them. In the present instance, after the sham quotations of Sidney and his clique, from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, to skulk off, under the "dreadful splendor" of "spiritual wifery," which is brought into the account as graciously as if the law of the land allowed a man a plurality of wives, is fiendish, and like the rest of Sidney's revelation, just because he wanted "to go to Pittsburg and live." Wo to the man or men who will thus wilfully lie to injure an innocent people! The law of the land and the rules of the church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once, but if any man's wife die, he has a right to marry another, and to be sealed to both for eternity; to the living and the dead! there is no law of God or man against it! This is all the spiritual wife system that was ever tolerated in the church, and they know it