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Archive for the ‘sweetisthepeace’ Category

It’s hard to piece together, with any certainty, exactly how many (if any) plural wives Joseph Smith had before 1841. He had learned the doctrine of plural marriage as early as 1831, see, e.g., the heading to D&C 132, but  he was very reluctant to practice it, and may have even hoped that it would be a principle he could “restore” as an ancient truth without having to actually practice it.

The most credible probability is, in my opinion, that Joseph took only one plural wife (Fanny Alger), before 1841. And the experience seems to have confirmed all of his worst fears about plural marriage. His reputation was tarnished, Emma was incensed, close friends apostatized, and the marriage itself was apparently an abject failure: Instead of going to Jackson County, Missouri with her uncle as Joseph hoped, Fanny left Kirtland with her parents, and in Indiana, she met and married Solomon Frank Custer. To this day, Fanny Alger does not appear on the records of the church as one of the dozens of women sealed to the prophet Joseph Smith (interestingly, she has since been sealed by proxy to Mr. Custer). Even more curiously, the family did not leave Kirtland on bad terms with Joseph Smith. Fanny’s parents moved on to Nauvoo, and eventually followed Brigham Young to Utah.

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The Alger family joined the church in 1830. Their daughter Fanny was 14 at the time. In 1836, the Algers left Kirtland. Joseph asked Fanny’s uncle, Levi Hancock, to take her to Missouri with the Saints, but Fanny chose to follow her parents instead. She soon married a grocer named Solomon Custer in Indiana and bore nine children. That is what we know reliably about the Alger family. What happened between 1830 and 1836 is, unfortunately, shrouded in mystery and innuendo. See Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling at 323 — 7  (Vintage Books, 2007).

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Continuing on from the theme of my previous post, a natural question is what led Joseph Smith to the idea of plural marriage in the first place?

This question is kind of hard to answer because Joseph did not, to my knowledge, record any personal reflections on the topic. He was singularly reticent on this difficult topic. So we are left to speculate.

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The Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 have gotten me thinking about marriage, and a recent phenomenon I’ve noticed. Many people are “Googlging themselves out of the church.” The story usually goes that John Doe is bothered by something he heard at General Conference, or something a friend told him, or something somebody said or did at church, or he’s been having a problem with pornography, or he encounters some other challenge. Then he gets curious. He starts to wonder, “Is this church I’ve belonged to my entire life really true?” So he goes out on the internet and puts “Joseph Smith” into Google and starts reading.

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“To accomplish something you have not accomplished before, you must do something you have not done before.”

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I attended a Priesthood Leadership Meeting this evening, and one of the speakers was our Area Authority Seventy.  He shared an insight about the miracle recorded in Mark 4:36 — 41, where Jesus calmed the stormy seas.

This miracle has always been immensely meaningful for me, hopefully for obvious reasons.  There are many times when I have felt tossed by stormy seas, and in those times, I have had to rely on the Master, who has power over the storms.  But our Area Seventy pointed out something about this story I’d never thought of before.

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It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve put up a new post.  But Jamie left a comment on the “My Story” page, and my response got so long and involved, I thought it deserved its own post.  So Jamie, here are my thoughts:

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