Evidences of Sexual Relations
Some sources that support sexual relations are more explicit and credible than others:
- Fanny Alger: Several accounts record that Emma Smith witnessed Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger together (but not what they were doing together).3 One source asserts that Fanny became pregnant.4
- Louisa Beaman: When Joseph Bates Noble, Louisa’s brother-in-law, was asked: “Where did they [Joseph Smith and plural wife Louisa Beaman] sleep together?” His responded: “Right straight across the river at my house they slept together.”5
- Emily Partridge: When under oath in a deposition in the Temple Lot case, Emily Partridge was asked, “Do you make the declaration that you ever slept with him in the same bed?” to which she answered, “Yes sir.”6
- Eliza Partridge: Concerning Emily’s sister Eliza, Benjamin F. Johnson wrote in 1903: “The first plural wife brought to my house with whom the Prophet stayed, was Eliza Partridge.”7
- Lucy Walker: Lucy Walker’s niece, Theodocia Frances Walker Davis, reported to Joseph Smith III in 1876, “Lucy Walker told her that she lived with Joseph Smith as a wife.”8
- Almera Johnson: Benjamin Johnson affirmed his sister Almera Johnson experienced sexual relations with the Prophet: “He [Joseph Smith] was at my house … where he occupied my sister Almera’s room and bed.”9
- Sylvia Sessions: In a 1915 statement, Josephine Lyon declared that her mother, Sylvia Sessions told her in 1882 that she (Josephine) was Joseph Smith’s daughter.10 DNA testing has since proven that she was the daughter of Windsor Lyon, not Joseph Smith. Sexuality between Sylvia and the Prophet remains unproven and seems unlikely.
- Maria Lawrence: On May 23, 1844, William Law, who had apostatized months earlier over plural marriage, charged Joseph Smith in a Carthage court with living “in an open state of adultery” with Maria Lawrence.11
- Sarah Lawrence: Several statements document that Sarah Lawrence lived with the Prophet as a plural wife. For example, Lucy Walker attested in 1902: “I know that [Emma] gave her consent to the marriage of at least four women [Emily and Eliza Partridge and Maria and Sarah Lawrence] to her husband as plural wives, and she was well aware that he associated and cohabited with them as wives.”12
- Malissa Lott: In an 1893 interview, RLDS Church President Joseph Smith III asked Malissa Lott if she was the Prophet’s “wife in very deed,” to which she answered, “Yes.”13
- Mary Heron: A single document implies sexuality between Joseph Smith and Mary Heron Snyder.
Evidence of sexual involvement between Joseph Smith and three other wives exists but suffers from ambiguities or other credibility problems. Contradictory evidence exists regarding Eliza R. Snow. In addition, single accounts for both Sarah Ann Whitney and Hannah Ells imply sexuality but without adequate secondary verification.