Benjamin F. Johnson

Benjamin F. Johnson, quoted in Dean R. Zimmerman, ed., I Knew the Prophets: An Analysis of the Letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George F. Gibbs, Reporting Doctrinal Views of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1976), 37–39:     

            — And now To your Question, “How Early did the Prophet Joseph Practice Polygamy?” — I hardly know how wisely to Reply, for the Truth at times may be better withheld[;] But as what I am writing is to be published only uunder Strict Scrutiny of the wisest[,] I will Say, That the Revilation [D&C 132] to the Church at Nauvoo July 21th 1843 on the eternity of the Marriage Covenant and the Law of plural Marriage, was not the first Rivilation of the Law Received & Practiced by the Prophet – In 1835 at Kirtland I learned from my Sisters Husband Lyman R Shirman, who was close to the Prophet and Received it from him. “That the ancient order of plural marriage was again to be practiced by the Church[.] This at the time did not impress my mind deeply. Altho there then lived with his Family a Neighbors daughter Fanny Alger. A vary nice & Comly young woman about my own age. towards whoom/ not only mySelf but every one Seemed partial for the/ ameability of her character and it/ was whispered eaven then/ that Joseph Loved her – After this there was Some trouble with Jarid Carter. and through Bro Shirman I learned that “As he had built himself a new house he now wanted another wife” which Joseph would not permit” – and then there was Some trouble with Oliver Cowdery. and whisper Said it was Relating to a girl then living in his Family And I was afterwords told by Warren Parish That He himself & Oliver Cowdery did know that Joseph had Fanny Alger as a wife for They were Spied upon & found together – And I Can now See that as at Nauvoo – So at Kirtland That the Suspician or Knowledge of the Prophets Plural Relation was one of the Causes of Apostacy & disruption at Kirtland altho at the time there was little Said publickly upon the Subject – Soon after the Prophet Flight in winter of 37 x 8 The Alger Family left for the west and Stoping in Indiana for a time Fanny Soon Married to one of the Citizens there & altho she never left the State She did not/ turn from the Church nor from her friendship for the Prophet while She lived.