Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Bradley, Martha Sonntag ; Roberts, Allen Dale
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A Trajectory of Plurality: An Overview of Joseph Smith's Thirty-three Plural Wives
ARTICLES AND ESSAYS A Trajectory of Plurality: An Overview of Joseph Smith's Thirty-three Plural Wives Todd Compton Preliminary Considerations: Counting Wives Some readers may regard the accompanying chart of Joseph Smith's plural wives as overly conservative. Fawn Brodie counted forty-eight wives in her biography of Joseph Smith; more recently D. Michael Quinn listed forty-six, and George D. Smith forty-two.1 Yet in problematic areas it seems advisable to err on the side of caution, and consequently I identify only thirty-three wives. In time, perhaps, some of the "possible" wives will move into the certain category. Until that happens, I believe we should regard them as subjects for further research rather than as women whose marriages to Joseph can be conclusively demonstrated.2 1. Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History, 2d ed. (New York: Knopf, 1985), 457-88; D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994), 587; George D. Smith, "Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841-46: A Preliminary Demographic Report," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 27 (Spring 1994): Chart, #122. 2. Because of the complexity of Mormon marriage practice and experimentation, there is a great deal of ambiguity concerning what constituted marriage in early Mormonism, and Mormon theological terms for marriage and plural marriage can be confusing. I define as marriage any relationship solemnized by a marriage ceremony of some sort. "Sealing" as used in early Mormonism is a complex term that deserves extensive study, but as it developed in Nauvoo Mormonism, it often meant the linking of man and woman for eternity as well as for time, i.e., eternal marriage. If two males were "sealed," i.e., a father and a son, it obviously was not a marriage. But when a man and a woman (not siblings or parent-child) were "sealed," the sealing was always a marriage. There is at least one example in Mormon history of the male marriage partner performing the sealing ceremony himself. See Willard Richards diary, 23 Dec. 1845, cited in Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986), 228.