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Sometime in late 1835 or early 1836, in a priesthood ceremony performed by Levi Hancock, Joseph secretly married Fanny Alger, a domestic living in the Smith home. When Oliver Cowdery and Emma Smith learned of the relationship, they did not consider it a legitimate marriage. Joseph was unable to convince them the polygamous marriage was approved of God. Fanny left the area and married a non-member a few months later and never returned to the Church.

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