This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
CES Letter includes this Anti-Mormon graphic which is rife with deception and skewed facts to illustrate Joseph Smith’s polygamy. It incorrectly generalizes all the women as “wives,” while in reality there was a big difference between sealings for either time or eternity. For all the wives except Emma, evidence shows there was likely no physical or sexual relations. It incorrectly accuses some women of having “living concurrent husbands,” but in reality a sealing for eternity is different than a civil marriage for time. The diagram accuses Fanny Alger of being Joseph Smith’s live-in “housekeeper,” even though CES Letter earlier (incorrectly) accused her of being his foster daughter. The graphic throws in several visual deceptions to make the “wives” appear young. This is not how they looked.
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Falsehood||Fanny Alger was 19, not 16, the earliest date she could have been sealed to Joseph Smith. It is not correct to call this polyandry or polygamy, as Joseph Smith did not have sex with women who were married. The “new and everlasting covenant,” or eternal sealing was different than civil marriage and did not involve physical relations. Sillouttes of young-looking girls with modern-day haircuts are used in the place of 1800’s adult women, who were some of them quite old.|
|Anachronism||In the 1800’s, there were no age limits of 18 years for marriage, even if the sealings had involved physical relations.|
|Shifting Goalposts||CES Letter accused Fanny Alger of being Joseph Smith’s foster daughter, but now they admit she was just a live-in housekeeper for a short while.|
|Repetition||Many of the polygamy arguments in this graphic are repeated in CES Letter many times. They repeat the same phony claims over and over. Repeating them over and over doesn’t make them true! Lots of redundancy. “Under Age 18,” “child brides,” and “Underage.” “Polyandrous,” “Polyandry,” and “Concurrent Husbands.”|
|Complex Question||The graph moves things around and uses all kinds of flashy colors to create unnecessary complexity. This deceptively implies a weird tangled web of relationships.|
|Argument From Ignorance||The significant difference between Joseph Smith’s sealings and normal “marriage” is totally ignored. The fact is, Joseph Smith likely had no sexual relationship with any of his plural “wives.” The graphic uses a possibly fake quote: “In the rise of poligamy i was warned in a dream Amy [Emma] Smith was going to poison me.” Anti-Mormons source this to Desdemona Fullmer’s Autobiography, but I have been unable to find this source or verify that it exists. This snippet of quote shows up in various forms with several variation across anti-Mormon sources. Even if the quote were real, I think it is pretty safe to say she didn’t use a lower-case “i” to refer to herself. The graphic appears to alter the quote, which was fake to begin with, to make her language sound more like that of a modern youngster.|
|Ad Hominem||The diagram blames Joseph Smith for the FLDS, who are known today to take child brides. The graphic is titled “many wives” to poison the well in this discussion.|
Dehumanizing Mormons – This is truly a brilliant piece of propaganda, with many deceptions packed into one image. It does a remarkable job of attacking Joseph Smith’s character. Joseph Goebbels would be proud. I think it is no wonder that young members of the church come across something like this on the internet and are persuaded to hate Joseph Smith. Who wouldn’t feel ashamed for being Mormon after seeing this? It is unfortunate that so many give in to this Anti-Mormon narrative, and fail to see the clever framing and despicable personal attacks, the lies, the dehumanization.
“Wife #1”, “Wife #2”. What is that?? Mormon women get numbers now? They aren’t people, if they are married to Mormon men? It reinds me of the U.S. government politicians who tried to “save Mormon women by arresting them and forcing them to testify in court against their husbands. Naturally, the women said they liked their husbands and liked the polygamy system. This made the government politicians more angry, and they attacked and berated them. They attacked the women they told everyone they were saving.
“Your feelings were not so tender when in 1843, you married a man who at that time to your knowledge had four or five other wives, and imposed yourself upon his innocent wife, and deceived her, by joining in that kind of an alliance with her husband,–that was not insulting,–but now when I ask you a question, which under the law I have a right to ask you, you say it is insulting.” >(RLDS vs. Church of Christ at Independence)
This is how Anti-Mormons and the government saves women from being ‘preyed upon’ by those horrible patriarchal men? You insult and ridicule them–effectively call them sluts? I see the same tactic being used in this diagram that is included in CES Letter. Women are given numbers. They are given faces that look nothing like them. They are all placed in bubbles that are colored the opposite colors of their “husbands”. And look at the title itself: “The Many Wives…” The entire thing focuses on the women, instead of “Joseph Smith’s polygamy.” The entire thing is designed to shame women in the church. They shame women for being part of this church that they hate so much.
It is interesting that feminists say we need to “believe women” who have been abused–and I definitely agree–yet Anti-Mormons don’t believe Mormon polygamous women. Instead, Anti-Mormons hurl insults and attack them. It’s disgusting and it needs to stop. To lie about Joseph Smith’s sealings desensitizes people to the word “abuse” and is an insult to people who are truly victims. It cheapens who the women and men on this diagram were, all that they accomplished as pioneers and trailblazers, and it cheapens the legacy they handed down to us.
Polygamy is thankfully banned today, and has been for a very long time, but the doctrine of eternal marriage and being sealed to our families for eternity is a blessing that we have due to Joseph Smith’s restoration of the gospel. It leads us through today’s many snares and pitfalls. Church standards of chastity, modesty, and temple marriage are vital now more than ever.Complete answers to CES Letter questions about Mormons: