"It's healthy to get Joseph Smith's history out in the open. It shouldn't be concealed."

Richard Bushman - Deseret News


Following are excerpts from emails received at “Remembering the Wives of Joseph Smith“, as well as the replies.  I hope this helps curious readers understand more about who created this site and why.

Q.  I am curious to know who is the sponsor of this website.  Looks like accurate and very interesting information.

A.  Thank you for your email regarding "The Wives of Joseph Smith" website.  The website was created with the intent of providing brief, easily accessible and accurate information regarding the women who became the wives of Joseph Smith.  It is my observation that these women and their stories are essentially unknown to many people today and I hope to give them a "voice".

Q.  Wow.  What a nice piece of work you have done.  I think that this information is a great contribution.  You have somehow managed to generally avoid any sensationalism and to maintain a tone of complete diplomacy.

A.  Thank-you for your very kind comments regarding the "Remembering the Wives" website.  Letting these women "tell their own story" as much as possible, while avoiding editorial comment, was my primary goal.

Q.  I was wondering what denomination the person who compiled this info belonged to.  Would you please let me know.

A.  Thank-you for your email regarding the website, "Remembering the Wives...".  I hope you found the website to be informative and useful.  In answer to your question, I am a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Q.  Thank you very much for your website.  It seems that the "first" wife is the only one given much honor, despite the fact that Brother Joseph had many faithful wives.  Thank you for working to see that they are remembered, too.

A.  Thank-you for your kind comments regarding the "Remembering the Wives..." website.

Q.  I found your website tonight and did not see any reference to who wrote or maintains the site or the sources of your information.  I assume that you are interested in preserving the knowledge that Joseph had more than one wife but it is unclear as to whether you support what he did.

A.  In regards to your question, I wanted this site to be about the women and their experience with Joseph Smith -  a place where their stories could be told in their own words and writings, as much as possible.  As I was learning about the lives of these women, it seemed that most information was presented with considerable bias – either defensive or condemning.  I wanted to provide a resource where one could learn more about these women and their lives without that kind of commentary.

Q.  Hi, this site is AWESOME.  who made it?  I'm telling all my friends . . .

A.  Thank-you for your comments regarding "Remembering the Wives....".  Our mission is to provide a "voice" for these mostly forgotten women.  And hopefully, eventually, find a more healthy way to deal with this history other than silence and denial, which has been our cultures practice in the past.

Q.  . . . most people did not or do not know about Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy.  I think it's a mistake on the LDS Church's part to keep supporting Joseph Smith . . . he had failings just as David of the Old Testament had failings. We still honor David for his work, but we do recognize he did have weaknesses.  What do you think?

A. I think your observation that many people do not know about Joseph Smith's involvement polygamy is correct.  It's a difficult topic for LDS members, myself included.  It can be a challenge to understand why someone you have learned to respect and honor was involved in some of the things he was.

I'm hopeful that, eventually, it will be "safe" for LDS members to deal more openly with this topic, rather than to ignore or deny it, which seems to have been the practice of the past.

I think your thoughts about how we deal with David of the Old Testament is helpful.  Perhaps through gentle education, we as LDS can eventually find a more healthy way to deal with Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy.

Q.  I really appreciate your site.  I am a strong LDS parent and husband who has always struggled with the concept of polygamy in the early church.  The goodness that the church teaches and happiness derived from gospel living has always kept me "on the straight and narrow" despite serious misgivings about polygamy and Joseph's motivations for bringing it into existence.  Where can I contact more people who have this view?

A.  Thank-you for your email and kind comments regarding the website, "Remembering the Wives...".

I believe there are many LDS members who have similar feelings as you regarding polygamy (or who would have similar feelings if they knew more about early polygamy).  Unfortunately, it's a topic that is not regularly, nor comfortably, discussed - so opportunities to find others with similar feelings is not part of the typical church experience.

I'm hopeful that one day this topic can be discussed more openly in church forums. If that happens, it will probably be because thoughtful members, like you, gently seek opportunities to make their feelings known.  Thanks again for your comments.

Q.  I just checked out and read almost everything on your site.  I do have one question though... are you LDS or are you against the Church.  I'm not really either... but I'm a little confused as to your intentions in regards to Joseph Smith.
A.  Thanks for your note and questions.

I am a lifelong LDS of 40 years. Regarding Joseph Smith and his involvement in polygamy: Until a few years ago, I was completely unaware that Joseph Smith married plural wives.  I don't recall learning about this in any church literature or setting.  Most of the online information I found about Joseph’s plural wives was riddled with accusations and condemnation.  My goal with this website was to present information, without promotion or condemnation, so that hopefully people felt they could safely learn more about this topic, and then decide for themselves how they feel about it.  Still, it is a difficult topic for many LDS members to approach.  
My own feeling is that dealing openly with this topic is much healthier than silence or lack of knowledge. 

Personally, I have struggled with much of what occurred, and have not been able to defend it as appropriate.  My greatest hope in this regard is that one day the LDS church will no longer defend Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy as appropriate. 

I hope this answers your questions.  Thanks again for your note.

Q.  I don't know what to say. I’m amazed. Are you a member of the LDS Church? Are you a member in good standing? At first I thought the book “In Sacred Loneliness” was Anti-Mormon but then saw that it is sold through Deseret Book and I read the FARMS report on the book.

Has the LDS Church come out with an official statement? I have a million questions, but I am speechless. You seem to be trying to put together a factual record and don't seem to be trying to twist the facts like most Anti-Mormons do.  I'm not sure where to begin.   

A.  Thanks for your note regarding the website.  I’m always interested in the comments and feedback I receive.

I am not aware that the Church has said much about all this.  Personally, it has been difficult for me to be comfortable with many of the events surrounding early polygamy – and I suppose this has distanced me somewhat at church.  My greatest hope in this regard is that the LDS Church will not defend Joseph Smith’s involvement in polygamy as appropriate.

I hope that answers your questions.  Thanks again for your note and all the best to you.

Q.  I have NO idea who you are, and why you have created this website.  But, thanks for doing it. 

A.  Thank you for your email and your comments regarding www.wivesofjosephsmith.org.  My motivation for creating the site was to give these women "a place" to tell their stories.  I have tried to use their own words, as much as possible, without editorial comment or interpretation.  We don’t hear much about these women at church, and I've found that many members are surprised to learn that Joseph Smith even had plural wives.  Most information on the internet about these woman is laced with uncomfortable "anti-Mormon" rhetoric.  I wanted people to be able to learn about these women without all that. It's a difficult enough topic to discuss as is.

Q.  I have engaged myself in reading and studying your website. I am very interested in the information you were able to accumulate. I also have a few questions, such as I wonder if you are LDS or ever were. I am LDS, but lately I have asked myself more questions on the issues of polygamy.  I think it is sad how the topic is unspoken, almost forgotten.  It is important to me to find out more and your website has been interesting.  What is your religious affiliation? What brought you to the study of Mormon polygamy?

A.  Thank-you for your email and comments regarding the website, "Remembering the Wives of Joseph Smith".

To answer your questions, I was born and raised in the LDS church and have been active and participating for most of my life.  I am still a member of the church.  I am not affiliated with any other church or religious organization.

I started studying polygamy a few years ago, when I first learned that Joseph Smith had wives other than Emma.  This was all new to me and I wondered why I hadn’t heard about this before.  We don't hear much about it at church, and I wanted to know what actually happened and what didn’t.

Personally, I have found it difficult to be comfortable with some of the events that occurred. When someone, like you or I learns about early polygamy, it can be a very difficult thing to sort out in ones mind.  The purpose of my website is to provide credible and non-sensational information which is hopefully useful to those wanting to learn more about early polygmay.

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