Some wonder if sexual relationships were contained in Joseph Smith’s plural marriages. The answer is correctly or no, relying on the kind of many marriage. Those marriages, often referred to as “sealings,” were of 2 types. Some were because that this life and the following (called “time-and-eternity”) and also could include sexuality on earth. Others were limited to the following life (called “eternity-only”) and also did not permit intimacy in mortality. Overall, proof indicates that less than fifty percent of Joseph Smith’s polygamous unions were consummated and sexual relationships in the others emerged infrequently.

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Joseph smith was most likely sealed to in between 30 and 40 women throughout his lifetime.1 of these, it shows up the Prophet experienced sexual relationships with much less than fifty percent of the ladies sealed come him.2

There is no credible evidence that Joseph had sex with 3 subgroups that his many wives: (1) fourteen-year-old wives, (2) non-wives (or ladies to whom he was not married), and (3) legit married women that were enduring conjugal relationships with your civil husbands.

Evidences of sexual Relations

Some sources that assistance sexual relationships are more explicit and credible than others:

Evidence of sex-related involvement between Joseph Smith and three other wives exists but suffers indigenous ambiguities or various other credibility problems. Inconsistent evidence exists concerning Eliza R. Snow. In addition, solitary accounts because that both Sarah Ann Whitney and also Hannah Ells suggest sexuality yet without adequate secondary verification.

Frequency of sex-related Relations

It is impossible to accurately identify how often Joseph Smith spent time with his plural wives, one of two people in conjugal visits or otherwise.


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General Joseph smith of the Nauvoo Legion


The Nauvoo year were liven for Joseph. He had heavy ecclesiastical and civic obligations as church president and also city mayor. That entertained visitors and journalists, had actually parenting responsibilities, and also intermittently went into hiding to prevent Missouri lawmen. He also managed a complicated real legacy business, preached at weekly services, and in 1844, offered himself together a candidate for united state president, i m sorry would further have minimal his time.

In addition, secrecy to be a major concern. Rumors that “spiritual wifery” were rampant after john C. Bennett created his mid-1842 letters accusing Joseph blacksmith of sex-related improprieties. Joseph had actually nothing to execute with Bennett’s marital system, however the Prophet’s teachings of revitalized Old testament polygamy to be still concealed, even from plenty of devout members.

Another large obstacle was Emma Smith’s vigilant and mostly intolerant eyes.14

According come Joseph Lee Robinson, who turned thirty-two in 1843 and who looked after a school in Nauvoo, Emma even commissioned spies to protect against Joseph from having private moments v his many wives.15 Emma ostensibly sought full control over his many marriage activities after July 12, 1843.

An important factor to consider is the phenomenon the diminishing returns. After a specific point, the enhancement of brand-new plural wives did not necessarily boost Joseph’s opportunity for added sexual encounters with each plural wife. Together a dynamic would, inevitably, have curtailed chances for conception ~ above the component of his many wives.

Joseph’s plural Wives’ Fertility


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Emma Smith and her youngest child, David


The Prophet to be virile, having actually fathered nine children v Emma despite long durations of time personal and an overwhelming schedules.16 A conversation of Joseph and Emma’s household can be discovered on LDS.org.

It shows up that if intimate relations between Joseph and many of his wives emerged frequently, kids may have actually been conceived.

Out that the probable plural spouses, thirty were under period forty and theoretically capable of conception if the timing were right. Many of lock married within 2 years after the martyrdom. Several showed impressive fertility after your remarriages.

Three that the women became pregnant within weeks after remarrying. Buy it Ann Whitney, who was sealed come Joseph Smith for twenty-three months, married Heber C. Kimball on march 17, 1845, and based on the birth day of their very first child, ended up being pregnant roughly June 15.17 She boring Heber Kimball seven children in between 1846 and also 1858.

Lucy Walker, that was sealed to the Prophet because that fourteen months, additionally married Kimball. Around three month after your February 8, 1845, marriage, she ended up being pregnant.18 She provided birth to nine of Kimball’s children between 1846 and 1864.

Malissa Lott to be sealed to Joseph blacksmith in September 1843 and married Ira Jones Willes on might 13, 1849. Their first child to be born April 22, 1850, through conception occurring approximately July 30, 1849 (or eleven weeks ~ the wedding ceremony). 7 Willes children were born in between 1850 and 1863.


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Emily Partridge and Children


Emily Partridge boring Brigham Young seven offspring in between 1845 and 1862. She sister Eliza married Amasa Lyman, and she bore five children in between 1844 and 1860.

Several various other plural wives, choose Louisa Beaman, Martha McBride, and Nancy Winchester, likewise remarried and also became pregnant. In light of the apparent fertility of countless of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, it appears that they one of two people bore him children who are unknown today or the sexual relationships in the marital relationships did not take place often.

No children from plural Wives

No youngsters are well-known to have been born come Joseph and also his plural wives.

There are rumors that children, though. That is possible that some were privately born and then elevated by other families and also carried other surnames.

However, after ~ the Saints arrived in Utah, over there would have actually been tiny motive to store the paternity secret. Any kind of child the the Prophet would have actually been provided special attention and also perhaps have been looked upon as a legitimate future leader to counter the claims of Joseph and also Emma’s sons, who had actually remained in Nauvoo.

In the 1860s and also 1870s, once RLDS missionaries in Utah emphasized lineal succession in the church presidency, LDS Church leader would have actually been motivated to develop Joseph’s offspring, not only to establish his function in Nauvoo polygamy but additionally to dilute the succession claims that the three surviving sons of Joseph and also Emma.

LDS Church leaders never took together a step.

Allegations of Joseph Smith’s Paternity space charted below (high resolution through footnotes).

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To continue this brief rigid of the unfolding of the exercise of polygamy in The Church the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continue to the section on Joseph Smith and also Fanny Alger.