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Question

 

Gramps,

On my wife’s side there is a Hyde family association.  I’m not certain exactly how Orson Hyde fits into the family line-up…but, I do know they pride themselves knowing they are “Hydes.”  There is one lingering question, though…which no one has a logical answer to.  How did Joseph justify marrying Orson’s wife after he had sent him on a far away mission?  Was this by direct commandment from the Lord?  Was it do to man’s weakness and temptation?  Was it something he later had to repent of?

Jesse

 

Answer

 

Jesse,

The issue of polyandry is one that anti-Mormons love to twist into the unsuspecting LDS heart.  But it is always based on false accusations and implications.  And it seems from your phrasing that this “has no logical answer to” that you’ve had that dagger twisted into yours.

Well, you’re not alone.  Many have difficulty with the topic because not much is known about it.  To go into the topic more in depth, please visit: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy – Sealings to Legally Married Women

The fact is that no one even knew it was an issue until about 1945 when an anti-Mormon book (No Man Knows My History — NMKMH) first mentioned it.  The book was so filled with erroneous information and propaganda, that no one took it seriously.  It was a joke.  A high school level debater could spot all the erroneous claims it made.  So, along with that, the claims of polyandry were also dismissed.

Then after that, no one took it seriously until 1975 by Danel Bachman who took a good look at this topic and stated that there is something there, but we don’t really have much information at all.  It is really easy to stir up doubts when the claims are so spurious and so little information even exists about it that anything could really be true.

NMKMH was no real help because all the claims of polyandry weren’t well documented.  They rightly seemed to be complete propaganda.  Is it any wonder why they were initially dismissed?

We currently have people who are researching all the known documents.  Much more is now known about the topic.  And it is becoming increasingly clear that there were tremendous efforts to follow correct teaching and obey the law of chastity and the commandments given in the Doctrine and Covenants.  But the fact is that there are also conflicting pieces of data that we simply can’t tell what went on.

But recognize this fact: As strange as something like polyandry seems to us in this century, how strange and wild would it have appeared to someone in the mid 1800s?  We’re talking about a time when men were so proper that they left the Church when they heard of the doctrine of plural marriage at all.  Do you really think that something like polyandry would not have cost wholesale resignation from the Church?

There is evidence that whatever was going on was in full view of the membership of the Church and no one seemed to raise much of an eyebrow about it.  The husbands in these cases knew what was happening.  And they didn’t leave the Church over it.  They didn’t join anti-Mormon ranks claiming Joseph was a false or fallen prophet (as they did when plural marriage was introduced). None of the people who SHOULD have complained ever did complain.

So, while we don’t have complete knowledge about who married who, when, where, and why, we know that it didn’t shock them back then.  And if the details were all known, it probably shouldn’t shock us.

**********************

As far as your immediate question, here is my answer:

So, as the anti-Mormon mob phrase it, Joseph lusted after Marinda (Orson’s wife) and thus sent him on a mission so that he could have his way with her.  Well, if that were the motivation behind it, Joseph certainly took his time about it.

It was right about 2 years from Orson’s departure until Joseph’s sealing to Marinda.  Also, there is a discrepancy in the records.  For some reason, we have two dates for the sealing to Joseph.  One was at that 2 year mark and the other was after Orson returned from his mission.  Not only that, but there were no children during that time period.  Miranda only became pregnant several months after Orson’s return from his mission.  There are theories as to why the discrepancy between the records based on common sense guesses, but we don’t have evidences supporting any of them.

And, of course the reason the anti-Mormon Mob is so keen on pointing this out is that it is proof that Joseph was just lusting after women.  The problem there is that to this date, no physical evidence (DNA) links Joseph to any other children than he had legitimately had.  All other children of such polyandrous marriages that have testable DNA have been tested against Joseph’s.  None of them were a match to Joseph.  Let me repeat that.  NONE were a match to Joseph.  Remember that their contraception technology was not so good back then, nor was it readily available.  The likelihood that Joseph had an endless supply of them would stretch the imagination.

Given this timeline, are we really to believe that Joseph had sex with Miranda while her husband was gone?  Just look at the timeline.

Are we to believe all the polyandry was about Joseph lusting after other men’s wives?  Look at the DNA evidence. It boggles the mind that people try to pin this on him.  If it was about lust, he sure wasn’t very good at it.

So, to partially answer your question: If he didn’t do this out of lust,  and he didn’t do it out of his own personal desires, what was it that he was tempted to do?  What is he supposed to be repenting of?

Think about it.  If his claims are false,  and he was a false prophet, what did Joseph actually do?  It is apparent from physical evidence that he didn’t have sex with anyone other than those he was properly married to.  He didn’t violate the law of chastity.  So, what did he do?  What should he be repenting of?

Let me tell you. The crime he committed (if he was a false prophet) on the matter of polyandry is this: He dared to (gasp!) write his name on the same piece of paper with the name of woman on it.  How dare he!!!

Well, yeah, it sure seems like he should repent of that.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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