Fanny Alger: Joseph Smith’s First Polygamous Wife

15 July

A few days ago I came upon an interesting journal written by Levi Hancock’s son, Mosiah, which got me thinking about one of the essays published by the Church last year (Oct. 2014).

In this essay the Church came out with their own version of history on polygamy in Kirtland and Nauvoo that we found to be full of lies and half truths. Shocker, I know!Levi_Hancock

In my underwhelmed reaction to their essays in general, I’m wondering just what they were thinking by publishing something like this. Look, we all do things in life in order to get something out of it. For me personally, I have this ministry to see people come to the Lord, and we all do simple stuff like work to earn money, do laundry to have clean clothes, cook to have dinner, etc.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at something they said in the essay and then look at an excerpt from Mr. Hancock’s journal. Our main question today is this:

What personal gratification are Church authorities getting from publishing these things?

Here’s what they said about Smith and Fanny Alger –

“In Joseph Smith’s time, monogamy was the only legal form of marriage in the United States.”

Then why, pray tell, was Smith breaking the law?

“… Joseph told associates that an angel appeared to him three times between 1834 and 1842 and commanded him to proceed with plural marriage when he hesitated to move forward. During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully.”

Woe is Joseph! The poor guy… This would be the first, not to mention the only time, God commanded someone to commit adultery. Imagine that!

“Little is known about this marriage, and nothing is known about the conversations between Joseph and Emma regarding Alger. After the marriage with Alger ended in separation, Joseph seems to have set the subject of plural marriage aside until after the Church moved to Nauvoo, Illinois.”

Wait a second here! What is going on? Where in the Bible does God condone such things? Husband and wife separate? Come now…

Most importantly, why are they lying about this? They actually have documents proving their lie. The truth is that Emma kicked Fanny out when she discovered she was pregnant with Joe’s kid.

Additionally, there were other marriages in the Kirtland era. Don’t think for a minute that Fanny was the only one.

Moving forward, we’re going to hold their fallacious lie in our thoughts as we read that excerpt from the Hancock journal –

I retrieved the following info from josephsmithpolygamy.org which is hosted by Brian Hales (pro-Mormon). Spelling and grammar in this document are as in the original.

Mosiah Hancock, an addition written in 1896 to the “Autobiography” of his father, Levi Ward Hancock, Ms 570, microfilm, 61-65. Transcribed by Don Bradley and reproduced here line for line:

As early as the Spring of 1832 Bro Joseph said “Brother Levi, The Lord has revealed to me that it is his will that righteous men shall take Righteous women even a plurality of Wives that a Righteous race may be sent forth Uppon [sic] the Earth preparatory to the ushering in of the [page 62] Millennial Reign of our Redeemer For the Lord has such a high respect for the nobles of his kingdom that he is not willing for them to come through the Loins of a careles [sic] People—Therefore; it behoves [sic] those who embrace that Principle to pay strict attention to even the least requirement of our Heavenly Father”

When my Father had started on his first mission to preach this Gospel He felt that perhaps he had done wrong in not telling the Prophet that he had made arrangements to marry Temperance Jane Miller of New Lyme—When Father returned from his mission he spoke to the Prophet concerning the matter

The Prophet said – “Never mind Brother Levi about that for the Lord has one prepared for you that will [page 63] be a Blessing to you forever!”—. At that time Clarissa Reed was working at the Prophet’s She told the Prophet She loved brother Levi Hancock The Prophet had the highest respect for her feelings She had thought that perhaps she might be one of the Prophet’s wives as herself and Sister Emma were on the best of terms My Father and Mother understanding each other were inspired by the spirit of the Lord to respect His word through the Prophet—

Therefore Brother Joseph said “Brother Levi I want to make a bargain with you—If you will get Fanny Alger for me for a wife you may have Clarissa Reed [Levi Hancock and Clarrisa Reed Hancock married March 29, 1833]. I love Fanny” “I will” Said Father — “Go brother Levi and the Lord will prosper you” Said Joseph–Father goes to the Father Samuel Alger—his Father’s Brother in Law and [said] “Samuel the Prophet Joseph loves your Daughter Fanny and wishes her for a wife what say you”—Uncle Sam Says—“Go and talk to the old woman about it twi’ll be as She says” Father goes to his Sister and said “Clarissy, Brother Joseph the Prophet of the most high God loves Fanny and wishes her for a wife what say you” Said She “go and talk to Fanny it will be all right with me”—Father goes to Fanny and said “Fanny Brother Joseph the Prophet loves you and wishes you for a wife will you be his wife”? “I will Levi” Said She. Father takes Fanny to Joseph and said “Brother Joseph I have been successful in my mission”—Father gave her to Joseph repeating the Ceremony as Joseph repeated to him…”

As a reminder, our question today remains –

What personal gratification are Church authorities getting from publishing these things?

Why does the exchange between Joseph & Levi sound like two little boys swapping marbles?

We’re praying that Mormons who read this will rethink what they’re doing and whom they put their trust in.

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