So, Joseph Smith didn't live Spiritual Wifery. It was something so contrary to Plural Marriage and so perverse that Eliza R. Snow knew the difference, Emma knew the difference, us... the we- not so much!
Cochran invented Spiritual Wifery, that was HIS term. Emma was a smart lady, who when Hyrum Smith was then accused of something so heinous, few months pregnant, gave a passioned speech to the Relief Society, so well worded/edited by her (originally written by W. W. Phelps) naming some of the "pimps" of Nauvoo, but it was her edits and passion that led to it being printed Spring of 1844. You will find that this same speech originally was read to the men, then the women, so they would KNOW that Spiritual Wifery and those who ran that disgusting business were vile liars and Joseph wanted EVERYONE to promise to not live it... he was so disgusted by it, even his letters from 1842 show how disgusted he was with "houses of infamy"... he didn't want to come back!
On the Maid of Iowa,www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-4-1-march-22-june-1844/121 not long after Emma's version was printed for all to read, dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet? , those "pimps" were not happy and vowed to murder any Smith alive.
Joseph Smith said things were worse after Emma's version of the Voice of Innocence was printed... however he sanctioned it and he states that in-fact their anger towards him was because he would NOT agree to that practice or join them in Spiritual Wifery (treating women like sluts to be passed around like trash)... Those men included Chauncey Higbee, Francis Higbee, William Law (who was excommunicated for adultery, and yes that still was a thing despite some men being taught to live plural marriage). Those sexual predators killed him.
Joseph Smith was not a sexual predator. His account by Emily Partridge really opened my eyes to the kind of man that he was; one who was so tender hearted that when he saw the slightest hint of fear in her eyes, as he was about to propose, asked if he was scaring her and asked if she wanted him to stop talking and he did... she had to find him months later, although she was already living in his mansion, boarding there with MANY others, he did nothing inappropriate, took no liberties, didn't even touch her back or her hand, according to her... This is not a description of a sexual predator; predators do NOT respect boundaries like this... http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/plural-wives-overview/emily-dow-partridge/
He was not a jealous or angry man (a little on the angry side in 1842 when Spiritual wifery blew up, yes, he cussed out a man and woman who never forgave him...). When Flora basically divorced him, he didn't threaten her, he did not get angry, he in fact performed the wedding ceremony for her to marry another! According to Helen Mar Kimbal, Flora then lay dying soon after they all escaped the murderous mobs in Nauvoo, spoke of how much she regretted not choosing Joseph and had a terrible marriage to the other man...
Lucy Walker spoke of the incredible love and kindness is Joseph's face when she was feeling depressed and how he prayed all night for her to just feel some PEACE, and she DID.
Emma Smith was Joseph's choice, he loved her so much that even Brigham repeated him saying that he would go to hell for her, he'd even die for her... Basically if Joseph didn't live plural marriage he would die, and if he DID live it and men who he'd already kicked down from government positions, that were trained in the military... would then kill him; either way he dies, why get the above girls pregnant if he knows he's going to die anyway? I think he was just too tender hearted to leave a bunch of pregnant widows behind...
Melissa Lott was the oldest of the three women who testified of living in the house with Joseph and Emma as wives and the only one that I found had another account of a man who said Joseph told him- that yes, they tried to make a baby at one point, once. She was 19, Lucy Walker was 17 (in her "18th year" (that is how they spoke back then)), Emily was 18, these women were the only ones who went on the stand to prove they were also his wives, in every sense (not just sealed for eternity, which eternity ONLY sealings couldn't have been more contrasting from spiritual wifery, I agree with Meg Stout that the MANY etenrity only sealings were an effort to protect women against Spiritual Wifery, b/c it was clear he couldn't speak publically about it and tell them the difference)).
Without Joseph's statements it is a little up in the air, however his journal does show Lucy and others with what they now consider a symbol drawn showing basically that a Celestial marriage sealing was performed.
Celestial marriage was binding, as it states in the 132 section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Spiritual Wifery was no commitment, no ceremony, just a focus on sexual activity with anyone anytime and the poor woman Meg Stout speaks of as being one of the main and first targets, was a widow from Haun's Mill... (link is actually the beginning of her series on a website, you may as well read the whole thing ;) http://www.millennialstar.org/a-faithful-joseph/ ) they promised her food. Boy that makes me sick and that was what brought out the bear in Joseph and likely some cursing... as there were witnesses of that happening and he did speak about cussing in a speech of his in 1843, how he wasn't perfect, but if someone cusses but is honest and helps the poor...
The main difference between Joseph Smith and the FLDS false Prophet is that one lived Spiritual Wifery and DID abuse children and the other didn't. One respected boundaries and was defended by his wives and children, the other not even in jail a few years- really is losing everyone as they each find out they are safe and he is in jail... no one has Warren's back, so many defended Joseph Smith till they died, women- who spoke out AFTER Plural Marriage was OFFICIALLY ended in the LDS Church, still defending Joseph as a "gentleman" who "did not take liberties".
Debra A. Hatfield
I grew up in Oregon, went to college in Utah and Idaho. I obtained a B.S. degree in University Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho (2005), and have an A.S. in Executive Medical Assisting from LDS Business College. I like the west coast a lot. I am not very willing to travel to run tests on my photograph, sorry.