There are a lot of really smart real people with real DNA tests who have been really trying to prove the existence of such children for a very real number of years. So far, as far as I’m aware, real evidence has never been found of any real children. Really.
This is really quite astounding when you consider that Joseph is supposed to have married well over thirty women. Many critics charge that these relationships were all about Joseph’s gratifying sexual lust through abuse of power. If that were the case, though, why not more children? Really, shouldn’t there be a lot of them? Or at least some obvious, provable offspring? And yet, there are none. Hmmm.
The Church has, in fact, acknowledged the polygamous relationships that Joseph had, as can be seen by doing a search of the subject on the church website.
This paragraph appears under the heading of “Polygamy” in the Gospel Topics section:
After God revealed the doctrine of plural marriage to Joseph Smith in 1831 and commanded him to live it, the Prophet, over a period of years, cautiously taught the doctrine to some close associates. Eventually, he and a small number of Church leaders entered into plural marriages in the early years of the Church. Those who practiced plural marriage at that time, both male and female, experienced a significant trial of their faith. The practice was so foreign to them that they needed and received personal inspiration from God to help them obey the commandment.
The evidence on Emma’s feelings about these marriages is a very mixed bag, as you should know if you have read Rough Stone Rolling. There is no question that Emma was angry at times, and there is no question that the Church could do more to dispell misinformation on this subject (such as discussing it in the chapter concerning his relationship with Emma), but in general, your comment contains more misinformation than anything I’ve seen from the Church on this subject. So, definitely, let’s get real. Starting with you.]]>
Remember that virtually all of the letters in the lesson were written before there were any plural wivees,
Although the Fanny Algers situation had already occurred before most of them.]]>
Going by that one painting of her, I’d have to agree. But if you look at (I believe) the only extant photograph of her, after Joseph’s death, she looked so sad and tired. The years must have been so hard on her. :(]]>
You can call discussion of polygamy anachronistic if you like, but the fact is that it was a big part of this couple’s life and presented an enormous challenge which they had to overcome. I would suggest that such things are not really anachronistic in a general sense, since we all have challenges of various kinds in our relationships.
Jeff, I agree that Joseph may have had children by his plural wives, and that these children if they existed were raised as the children of other men, but I do not believe that it has ever been proved with certainty that such children existed. I would like to know who you think you “know” of that was raising Joseph’s children. Please tell us if you have that information, and what its source is.]]>
Also, downplaying the significance of the other wives is a disfavor to Joseph’s actual family. Eliza R. Snow Smith Young was one of the most brilliant and most contributive women in the early Church, remained faithful and never apostatized (unlike Emma), and deserves mention based on these merits. Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris Smith, another who remained by Joseph’s side, is also someone I would consider a preeminent historical figure of her era, if not for her own accomplishments, at least for her centrality to such significant historical events.]]>