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It may be that I shall have to forfeit my life to it and if this has to be so, Amen.In the years after the Prophet’s martyrdom, William Marks, who had served as the President of the Nauvoo Stake in 1843, reported that in the weeks prior to his death, Joseph Smith had issued instructions for the Mormons to abandon polygamy, Marks wrote in 1853: When the doctrine of polygamy was introduced into the church as a principle of exaltation, I took a decided stand against it; which stand rendered me quite unpopular with many of the leading ones of the church. Joseph, however, became convinced before his death that he had done wrong; for about three weeks before his death, I met him one morning in the street, and he said to me, “Brother Marks, … He said: “This doctrine of polygamy, or Spiritual-wife system, that has been taught and practiced among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow.In response, Mayor Joseph Smith called together the city council and ordered an inquiry of the Expositor.
William Law’s distaste for polygamy quickly hardened into a desire to destroy Joseph Smith.
William wrote in 1871: “I begged of Joseph, and pled with him, as a man might plead for the life of his best friend, to stop all these evils, and save the Church from ruin; but he seemed determined to rush on to utter destruction, and carry all with him that he could; and thus he met his doom.” Despite the intensity of their estrangement, Joseph sought reconciliation.
I want you to go into the high council and I will have charges preferred against all who practice this doctrine, and I want you to try them by the laws of the church, and cut them off, if they will not repent and cease the practice of this doctrine.” There are several problems with this recollection.
Since the Prophet had secretly authorized all plural marriages, he knew who was involved, eliminating the need to dispatch stake leaders on a witch hunt.
And I never did hear him preach it or teach it in what could be called a public manner.” Other witnesses left recollections similar to Joseph Kingsbury who recounted: “Joseph Smith taught me the principle of polygamy.
He gave me to understand it with his own mouth that he had married wives more than one.
LDS historian Danel Bachman observed: “In the security of Nauvoo, and with the imperative of a divine command, Joseph Smith attempted to introduce the new doctrine of plural marriage among his associates and followers. Smith, I visited the Prophet Joseph, who was glad to see us. He taught us many principles illustrating the doctrine of celestial marriage, concerning which God had given him a revelation.” Samuel W.
He did so primarily through private and personal interviews.” On October 23, 1843, Brigham Young wrote in his journal: “With Elder H. Richards remembered: “I heard him [Joseph Smith] teach it [plural marriage] privately to quite a number at different times, – that is, in the aggregate, to quite a number, but not to many at a time.
Joseph and Emma Smith lived an outwardly monogamous lifestyle the final eight months of his life.
However, the secret plural marriage teachings had started a process that would ultimately lead to the martyrdom.