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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 15: The Fanny Alger Affair

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 20, 2020 8:59 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 15: The Fanny Alger Affair

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 20, 2020 8:59 pm

This is the third week of this series on issues discussed in the LDS Church-published book Saints. Today we will discuss Fanny Alger and the “dirty rotten affair” she had with the married Joseph Smith.

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever

I'm prepared to engage Mormon missionaries may not work. Perhaps the book is in 101 will help someone only published by Baker at your favorite Christian bookstore .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a respected viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism so glad to agree with us for this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM continuing our look at the book Saints.

The standard of truth. It is volume 1 of a soon to be four volume set volume 1 deals with the time period of 1815 to 1846. It's published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and as we been saying in this series we do admit that there are a lot of things that the church is now officially admitting that it certainly didn't admit in a lot of the earlier years. Today were going to be talking about what I think is a pretty embarrassing section in Mormon history.

And it has to do with a sexual relationship that Joseph Smith had with a young girl. The book talks about in chapter 25, beginning on page 286. The chapter titled move on to the West talks about some of the dissension that was going on in the LDS church, and how some people were starting to doubt Joseph Smith leadership one of those was all over Calgary all over Calgary was related to Joseph Smith and he is one of the three witnesses who testify to the authenticity of the book of Mormon.

It mentions on page 290 that Oliver had become uncomfortable with Joseph taking a more active role in local economics and politics. Both he and David Witmer another one of the three witnesses to the book of Mormon, the president of the church in Missouri felt that Joseph was exerting too much influence over temporal matters in his role as prophet but another subject is going to come up that's going to cause all of her even more concerned. And we find this mentioned at the bottom of that same page 290 Oliver's falling out with the prophet, went beyond disagreements over how to leave the church since learning about plural marriage during his inspired translation of the Bible, Joseph had known that God sometimes commanded his people to practice the principle Joseph had not acted on this knowledge immediately, but if years later, an angel of the Lord had commanded him to marry an additional wife let me stop you there because it talks about Joseph Smith working on his inspired translation of the Bible. This would later come to be known as the Joseph Smith translation Smith claimed he was commanded by God to bring forth a new translation of the Bible because after all Mormons have been led to believe that the Bible has been mistranslated over the years it's been corrupted and cannot be trusted fully. This took place between 1830 and 1833 but when it mentions how Joseph had known that God sometimes commanded his people to practice the principle.

What would be this principle, the principle of plural marriage, Eric. The fact is, there is nowhere in the Bible that says God commanded anybody to practice plural marriage, so this book is just fostering a lie that is been told to the LDS people for years and years. You can read into the Bible, but it certainly never says that the patriarchs were supposed to have done that.

In fact, every time you see polygamy being practice. It seems like it leads to disaster for the people and for the leaders who who do that and I think it's a wrong way of trying to interpret the Old Testament to say that God ever commanded it, where does it commanded. It doesn't where it says that Joseph had not acted on this knowledge immediately but a few years later, an angel of the Lord had commanded him to marry an additional wife. It's going to talk about in the How Joseph Smith was reluctant to do this.

And isn't that so typical of a false leader to act like will God's commanding me to do something I really don't want to do and we have the story of an angel appearing to Joseph Smith with a flaming sword that his life was going to be taken if he doesn't enter into this doctrine of plural marriage.

What is it say in the After receiving the commandment, Joseph struggled to overcome his natural aversion to the idea he could foresee trials coming from plural marriage, and he wanted to turn from it. But the angel urged him to proceed, instructing him to share the revelation only with people whose integrity was unwavering. The angel also charge Joseph to keep it private until the Lord saw fit to make the practice public through his chosen servants notice the secrecy going on here. We can't make this public working to give you this secret doctrine, Joseph, but don't tell anybody keep it only among those who trust you and of course among those that you trust now in the It's going to introduce Fanny Gallagher now there's a lot of controversy as to how she pronounces her name. Some say it's Calgary. Some say it Alger, Brian Hales was written extensively on the subject of polygamy and is an LDS author. He said that her name may have been even pronounced Holger so if we mess up and pronounce it one of three ways. Please give us a little grace because we really don't know how she pronounces it and this is what it says. During the years Joseph lived in Kirtland, a young woman named Fanny Auger worked in the Smith home.

Joseph knew her family well and trusted them. Her parents were faithful saints who had joined the church in his first year that we should mention that at this time Fanny is how old Eric she's 16 nights right 16 Joseph Smith would be how old at this time 2727 this is a 27-year-old going after a 16-year-old.

Today we would call a person like that.

Perhaps a sexual predator. Joseph Smith certainly had that kind of a characteristic that I think that title would've been correct. And remember, he's married to Emma so he supposed to be faithful to her.

And here he is going after another woman following the Lord's command Joseph propose marriage to Fanny with the help of Levi in the approval of her parents let me stop you. There what kind of parents would approve of such a relationship as you said, Joseph Smith is a married man.

He's 27 years old.

He has a wife.

What kind of parents would allow or approve of their 16-year-old daughter marrying such an individual like this you know what this shows me Eric. It shows what kind of a strange power.

Joseph Smith had over those who were following him and as we can see this can be awfully dangerous when you look upon a person with that kind of trust that you as a parent would give your 16-year-old daughter over and mirrors to a 27-year-old married man not remember this is during the Victorian era. This is the 19th century. This is the 21st-century word seems like any type of sexual perversion is a go.

It wasn't like that at this time you hear you have parents apparently saying it's okay, go ahead, marry her daughter.

Even though you're married who cares will not only that it goes on the next sentence to say that Fanny accepted Joseph's teachings and his proposal and her uncle performed the ceremony. Her uncle is introduced in the previous paragraph that was Levi Hancock so the whole family of hers seems to be involved in approval of this goes on page 291 since the time had not come to teach plural marriage in the church.

Joseph and Fanny kept their marriage private as the angel had instructed, but rumors spread among some people in Kirtland by the fall of 1836 Fanny had moved away on page 292 it says all of her was deeply critical of Joseph's relationship with Fanny. Although how much he knew about it is unclear what Emma knew about the marriage is also uncertain in time Fanny married another man and lived apart from the main body of the saints. Now there's a story that goes with this and it's how Emma caught her husband Joseph Smith with Fanny in a barn and this story comes from all over Calgary. How does that story go. While this is from Mormon polygamy, written by Richard S. Van Wagoner and this is page 5 and he writes that if Smith did take a plural wife in Kirtland during the early 1830s.

Under such a system. The woman was likely Fanny Auger McClellan's 1872 letter described Al Gore's relationship with Smith, we should mention that this is speaking of William McClellan who was I guess you could say in the inner circle of Joseph Smith at the time and and he wrote again.

I told your mother that I heard that one night she missed Joseph and Fanny Auger. She went to the barn and saw him and Fanny in the barn together alone. She looked through a crack and solve the transaction. She told me the story to was fairly true, then he continues and says McClellan also detail the Alger incident to a newspaper reporter for the October 6, 1875 Salt Lake Tribune.

The reporter stated that McClellan informed him of the exact place where the first well off authenticated case of polygamy took place. According to the article, the marriage occurred in a barn on the hay mow and was witnessed by Mrs. Smith through a crack in the door.

Can you imagine being Emma Smith and seeing what your husband is doing with this young girl, she worked in the Smith home and as a result of all this, Emma kicked her out of the house. She wanted to get Fanny as far away from her husband as possible.

Emma was never really a fan of plural marriage. The only time she seems to acquiesce at all, is when Joseph Smith tried to convince her that it was really more in spiritual terms, and nothing physical and yet the senator says what Emma knew about the marriage is also uncertain.

I'm not sure that's quite accurate. It's a little bit misleading to say the least, I will.

I want to mention the statement made by M. Russell Ballard Mormon apostle in a talk that he gave Colby where of. Profits and teachers. This is a message that he gave in general conference in October 1999. You can find this in the November & 1999 on page 64. This is what M. Russell Ballard taught he said false prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage. The divine nature of the family and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery in homosexual relationships that were not accusing Joseph Smith of having homosexual relationships but certainly what went on between him and Fanny Elder certainly would fall under the declassification of fornication or adultery unless as a false prophet, you could convince your followers that you were in fact a prophet of God and this is God giving those kind of instructions.

Doesn't it seem that Joseph Smith falls perfectly within this category that M. Russell Ballard gave in his talk, beware of false prophets and teachers. Thank you for listening.

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