Joseph Smith asserted:
"I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives.... I am innocent of all these charges.... What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."
—Joseph Smith, Jr., History of the Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6:410–411
"Joseph Smith was the greatest victim of fraud and conspiracy of the last 500 years. Nothing like it in recorded history. He was simply lied about when something had to be done to justify ... Utah Mormon polygamy."
—President Israel A. Smith, grandson of Joseph the Martyr (Letter to Pamela Price,September 17, 1956
Throughout her long life, Mary Judd Page Eaton declared that Brigham Young, and not Joseph Smith, had introduced polygamy into the Church. As recorded in the Vision magazine, December 2002 (No. 42), Mary and her husband, Apostle John E. Page, lived in Nauvoo after Joseph’s death. During that time, Apostle Page was expelled for opposing Brigham Young’s measures, which included the introduction of false temple endowments and plural and celestial marriage.
Mary later asserted:
I can prove, by some of the covenants we were required to make, that Joseph never originated them. Mr. Page was with me, and went through the same ceremonies. The words of our covenants were spoken to us by Brigham. After we had received the endowment in the temple, as soon as we were alone in our house, Mr. Page said to me, "Mary, I tell you that endowment is all of the devil." (The Saints’ Advocate 5 [March 1883j: 295)
Joseph III testified on other occasions of the peace and harmony between his mother and father. He wrote:
It has been reported by those who pretended to be friends of father, that mother was quarrelsome and was antagonistic to my father, and frequently made trouble for him. I have this to say now, that tracing my memory back through the period of time in which my father was permitted to stay with his family, that I never heard any quarreling or harsh language between them under any circumstances, and that even disagreements between them were not conducted in a noisy or angry manner, that mother's language was quiet and temperate, and so was father's. (Journal of History 3 [July 1910]: 337–338)
One Thousand Men Affirmed That Joseph Was Innocent
It is significant that approximately one thousand men voted to adopt the resolution to "manifest to the world" that they knew Joseph to be virtuous, and one who upheld the laws and constitution of the state of Illinois and the United States. Bigamy was a crime in 1842 in the state of Illinois. Therefore, if Joseph had (as the LDS Church teaches) plural wives under the title of celestial marriage, spiritual wifery, or polygamy, he would have been guilty of committing a crime.
Joseph was so well known that if he had had several wives, many people would have known it, and there would have been more votes against him.
The thousand men knew of Bennett's plural marriage charges against Joseph in the cases of Martha Brotherton, Nancy Rigdon, Sarah Pratt, and others. Yet, they voted that he was moral, virtuous, and law-abiding—a thousand additional testimonies that Joseph was not a polygamist.