Was Joseph Smith a Criminal?
If a criminal is defined as "one who has committed a crime"
(American Heritage Dictionary) then Joseph Smith fits the
definition, in my opinion. Although most LDS now accept
the fact that Joseph Smith was polygamous, most do not know
that polygamy was against the law in Illinois.
Here is the law, you be the judge for yourself:
Polygamy was against the law in Illinois. An Illinois state law
was enacted February 12, 1833:
- "Bigamy consists in the having of two wives or two husbands at
one and the same time, knowing that the former husband or
wife is still alive. If any person or persons within the State,
being married, or who shall hereafter marry, do at any time
marry any person or persons, the former husband or wife being
alive, the person so offended shall, on conviction thereof, be
punished by a fine, not exceeding two years." (Revised Laws of
Illinois, Vandalia: Greiner & Sherman, 1833, pg. 198-199).
Shortly prior to Joseph Smith's death in Carthage, he was charged
with the crime of polygamy. See:
History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 405 (May 25, 1844)
You can look at the evidence and decide for yourself.
- "Saturday, 25 -- At home, keeping out of the way of expected
writs from Carthage. Towards evening, Edward Hunter and
William Marks, of the grand jury returned from Carthage; also
Marshal John P. Greene and Almon W. Babbitt, who informed me
there were two indictments found against me, one charging me
false swearing on the testimony of Joseph H. Jackson and Robert
D. Foster, and one charging me of polygamy, or something else,
on the testimony of William Law, that I told him so! The
particulars of which I shall learn hearafter. There was much false
swearing before the grand jury."
To learn more about Joseph Smith's practice and denial of
polygamy at the same time visit:
To learn more about Joseph Smith's polgyamous relationships
with married women visit:
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