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HELLEN MAR KIMBALL
Joseph Smith married Helen Mar Kimball in May 1843. He was 37 and she was 14.
| In May 1843, Joseph Smith took his twenty-sixth bride, a fourteen-year-old girl named Helen Mar Kimball. At the time, Smith was thirty-seven and had been married for sixteen years to Emma (since January 1827). Unbeknownst to Emma, Smith had been busily wedding and bedding twenty-four other women, illegally, since 1833. Apparently, Heber and Vilate Kimball, Helen's parents, were fully aware that Emma had no idea that he had begun this practice of polygamy. My incredulity of how parents could be as gullible, callous and irresponsible as to agree to the marriage of a girl of Helen's age to anyone, especially a man Joseph's age led me to do a bit of research.
First, let me nip an anticipated argument in the bud. It was not "normal" or common for girls and boys of 14 or 15 to marry during that era. It was, I believe, legal . . . but it was not the custom. Generally speaking, men and women were in their twenties when they married. It would have been especially uncommon for a man nearing forty to take a teenaged bride.
My research led me to some not unexpected findings about the Kimballs. Vilate was apparently completely taken in by Smith and had already allowed her husband to take at least one plural wife at the time she consented to Helen's marriage. I understand the plight of women was different in the 1800s but I find it difficult to respect a mother who would allow her young daughter to be treated as a harem girl. I strongly suspect Vilate's life was one of misery and regret so I'll try to reserve judgment since I'm sure she suffered for her mistakes. Although whether she ever recognized her decisions as mistakes, I do not know.
When I read about Heber Kimball, everything began to make sense. If he were alive today, we would consider him an emotionally abusive husband and father, not to mention a quintessential male chauvinist pig. Yet, he was made an Apostle of the LDS church. Since I cannot believe this was a divine calling, I must assume it resulted from his complicity with Joseph Smith. Following are a few facts about Mr. Kimball and a few quotes that explain everything.
"I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow."
- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Twenty Seventh Wife, Irving Wallace, p. 101.
After the church apostle took his last wife at age fifty-six, he begot seventeen children by her and four other wives.
Speaking to a group of departing missionaries, Apostle Kimball instructed...
"Brethren, I want you to understand that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. The brother missionaries have been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Lion of the Lord, ffice:smarttags" />New York, 1969, pp.129-30.
"I say to those who are elected to go on missions, remember they are not your sheep: they belong to Him that sends you. Then do not make a choice of any of those sheep; do not make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. You under stand that. Amen" - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.256.
"I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22
From the pulpit in General Conference, church members were warned:
"Some quietly listen to those who speak against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half-a-dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose the doctrine, and the whole of them will be damned." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203
Well, deny Mormonism I do. Ditto polygamy. I could never believe in a god that would tell me my cherished daughter, DD, had no greater purpose in life than to meet the sexual and reproductive needs of a man. The following is an excerpt from Helen Mar Kimball's 1881 autobiography.
Just previous to my father's starting up his last mission but one to the Eastern States, he taught me the principle of Celestial marriage, and having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet's own mouth. My father had but one lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter: how cruel this seemed to the mother whose heartstrings were already stretched until they were ready to snap asunder for he had taken Sarah Noon to wife and she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more. I will pass over the temptations which I had during the twenty four hours after my father introduced to me the principle and asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph who came next morning and with my parents I heard him teach and explain the principle of Celestial marriage - after which he said to me , "If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that . . . of your fathers householdand all of your kindred." I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God and angels could see my mother's bleeding heart, when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied, "If Helen is willing, I have nothing more to say." She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older and who better understood the step they were taking, and to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was so sure to come as the sun was to rise and set; but it was all hidden from me. - Mormon Enigma-Emma Hale Smith, Newell and Avery, p. 146
Smith's assurance that Helen was purchasing her family's eternal salvation is a perfect example of the type of manipulation used by pedophiles. Only this was done in her parents' presence, which makes what I can only call the seduction of Helen Kimball all the more egregious. The fact that Helen acknowledges her mother's pain at "seeing her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer" be married off, seems to indicate that marriages at this age were not common or looked upon favorably.
I simply cannot fathom doing to DD what Helen's parents did to her. Didn't something in their heads scream, "This is NOT of God!" I can only say that this is what I believe comes from blind obedience and blind faith. But by allowing DD to be raised in the Mormon church, even part time, am I as guilty as the Kimballs? Am I teaching my daughter that her ultimate goal is to live a life of "righteous obedience" to her church and her husband so that she may be led by her husband to Celestial glory? And there, in the Celestial Kingdom, her role will be to serve her husband alongside his plethora of eternal wives?
What is my guilt? What is my shame? What will be my judgment? And more than I fear any judgment that may come from God, I already grieve about the judgment that may someday come from this precious daughter that God has blessed me with. Someday, I hope and pray, she will come to the same conclusions I have about the LDS church. When she does, will she look at me and ask, just as Helen Mar Kimball may have asked her parents, "How could you?"
"And I will bless Joseph Smith and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds."
Many LDS Church leaders and historians suggest that sexual relations and the marriage of Joseph Smith and his youngest wife, Helen Mar Kimball, fourteen at the time, was "approaching eligibility."
"And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified."
"But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused [to Joseph Smith], shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto Joseph Smith to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified." - Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:55, 62-63
There is no documentation to support the idea that marriage at fourteen was "approaching eligibility." Actually, marriages even two years later, at the age of sixteen, occurred occasionally but infrequently in Helen Mar's culture. Thus, girls marrying at fourteen, even fifteen, were very much out of the ordinary. Sixteen was comparatively rare, but not unheard of. American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three.
In the United States the average age of menarche (first menstruation) dropped from 16.5 in 1840 to 12.9 in 1950. More recent figures indicate that it now occurs on average at 12.8 years of age. The mean age of first marriages in colonial America was between 19.8 years to 23.7, most women were married during the age period of peak fecundity (fertility).
Mean pubertal age has declined by some 3.7 years from the 1840’s.
The psychological sexual maturity of Helen Mar Kimball in today’s average age of menarche (first menstruation) would put her psychological age of sexual maturity at the time of the marriage of Joseph Smith at 9.1 years old. (16.5 years-12.8 years =3.7 years) (12.8 years-3.7 years=9.1 years)
The fact is Helen Mar Kimball's sexual development was still far from complete. Her psychological sexual maturity was not competent for procreation. The coming of puberty is regarded as the termination of childhood; in fact the term child is usually defined as the human being from the time of birth to the on-coming of puberty. Puberty the point of time at which the sexual development is completed. In young women, from the date of the first menstruation to the time at which she has become fitted for marriage, the average lapse of time is assumed by researchers to be two years.
Age of eligibility for women in Joseph Smith’s time-frame would start at a minimum of 19 ½ years old.
This would suggest that Joseph Smith had sexual relations and married several women before the age of eligibility, and some very close to the age of eligibility including:
Fanny Alger 16
Sarah Ann Whitney 17
Lucy Walker 17
Flora Ann Woodworth 16
Emily Dow Partridge 19
Sarah Lawrence 17
Maria Lawrence 19
Helen Mar Kimball 14
Melissa Lott 19
Nancy M. Winchester [14?]
And then we have these testimonies:
"Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this." - Joseph Smith's close confidant and LDS Church First Councilor, William Law, Interview in Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 1887
When Heber C. Kimball asked Sister Eliza R. Snow the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith, she replied, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that." - Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 23, LDS archives.
Short Bios of Smith's wives: http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org
Did Smith have sex with his wives?: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/jose...
Whatever the average age of menarche might have been in the mid 19th-century, the average age of marriage was around 20 for women and 22 for men. And a gap of 15 to 20 years or more between partners was very unusual, not typical. Whatever biology might have to say, according to the morals of his time, several of Joseph Smith's wives were still inappropriately young for him.
It is a pure myth that 19th-century American girls married at age 12-14.
For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder, from Little House on the Prairie fame, was born in 1867, which puts her later than Joseph Smith but still in the 1800s. She tells of hearing of the marriage of a 13-year-old girl, and being shocked. She also notes that the girl's mother 'takes in laundry,' and is sloppy and unkempt--implying that "nice" people don't marry off their teenaged daughters. Laura, herself, became engaged at 17--but her parents asked her to wait until she was 18 to marry.
You merely need to go to your local courthouse and ask to see the old 19th century marriage books. Take a look at and pay attention to the age at marriage. Sure a very few did, but it was far from the norm. The vast majority of women married after the age of twenty.
In fact, look up the marriage ages in the Smith family before polygamy. You'll find that one of the Smith girls was 19. The rest of them, and their sisters-in-law, were in their early 20s when they married. The Smith boys' first wives were in their 20s. The same pattern was true for the various branches of my family and the rest of American society at the time.
On the extremely rare occasions women younger than 17 married, it was to men close to their same age, not 15 to 20 years older.
The case is even true in pioneer Utah among first marriages. Mormon men in their twenties started out marrying someone their own age. Then later these older men married girls under twenty to be their plural wives. But the first wives were the age of the husband and married over the age of twenty. This is still the case is the rural Utah polygamist communities.
Coale and Zelnik assume a mean age of marriage for white women of 20 (1963: 37). Sanderson's assumptions are consistent with a mean of 19.8 years (Sanderson 1979: 343). The Massachusetts family reconstitutions revealed somewhat higher mean ages. For Hingham, Smith reports an age at first marriage of 23.7 at the end of the eighteenth century (1972: Table 3, p. 177). For Sturbridge, the age for a comparable group was 22.46 years (Osterud and Fulton 1976: Table 2, p. 484), and in Franklin County it was 23.3 years (Temkin-Greener, H., and A.C. Swedlund. 1978. Fertility Transition in the Connecticut Valley:1740-1850. Population Studies 32 (March 1978):27-41.: Table 6, p. 34).
Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840 (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), 63; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (NY: Oxford University Press, 1980), 6; Nancy F. Cott, "Young Women in the Second Great Awakening in New England," Feminist Studies 3 (1975): 16. Larkin writes,
Dr. Dorothy V. Whipple, Dynamics of Development: Euthenic Pediatrics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966)
| One of the most common denials regarding Joseph Smith is that he did not intend to have sex with his 14 year-old bride, Helen Mar Kimball.
The fact that Joseph Smith married 14 year-old Helen is undisputed by church apologists. That he did so by promising her family salvation is also accepted by Mormons who know church history.
Yet some still try and argue that because there is no physical evidence of sexual relations between Smith and his bride, that the relationship was merely "dynastic" and was not about sex.
No, there is no stained dress or other physical evidence of a sexual relationship. But the history record is pretty clear what Smith's polygamy was all about.
Here are top ten reasons why I think Joseph Smith intended to have sex with his teen bride, Helen Mar Kimball:
1. According to current LDS scripture, sex was the only reason Joseph Smith was commanded to marry virgins "a hundred fold" in this life. See DandC 132:62-63.
2. Smith received this "Divine Law" to only take virgins, which also exempted him from adultery (a sex sin), during the same time he married Helen. He married Helen in May of 1843 and wrote DandC 132 a month later, in June of that same year.
3. There is no recorded revelation during Joseph Smith's lifetime that he should enter into polygamy for dynastic or any other purpose other than "raising up seed." To those who say Smith married Helen for something other than sex, I ask: "where is the revelation?"
4. In the Book of Mormon the Lord expressly forbids polygamy for any other reason than to "raise up seed." See BoM Jacob 24-30. So a dynastic-only marriage would have been a sin.
5. Joseph Smith had sex with his other teen wives, including Fanny Alger, age 16, Sarah Ann Whitney, age 17, Lucy Walker, age 17, and Flora Ann Woodworth, age 16. So why not Helen? (In fact, Smith secretly married Helen in the same month he married Lucy and Flora.)
6. Helen said it was more than just a ceremony. In her own testimony, she wrote "I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it."
7. Joseph Smith did not describe his plural marriages as mere dynastic. He told his close friend and scribe William Clayton that Helen and the other teen girls "were his lawful, wedded wives, according to the celestial order" and "his lawful wives in the sight of Heaven."
8. In Nauvoo, Smith bragged about the pleasure he got from his teen brides, saying one "had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed."
9. Everyone Joseph Smith taught his polygamy doctrine to had sex with their secret brides. None of them thought they were merely dynastic relationships.
10. Those closest to Joseph Smith understood he married these women for sex. When Helen's father, Heber C. Kimball, asked Sister Eliza R. Snow the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith, she replied, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that."
So why didn't Helen get pregnant?
It's likely that at age 14, Helen was still not physically mature enough to get pregnant. Girls that age in the 19th century did not start menstruating until age 17 to 19.
So where is the evidence Smith's plural marriages were about sex?
There is more evidence to suggest that Joseph Smith had sex with his wives than there is that he saw God and Jesus in 1820. If Mormons will believe that story with such weak support, why will they not support such a strong case for Joseph Smith practicing polygamy as the Lord commanded?
If you read DandC 132 very carefully, you'll note how it bestows upon Smith the "blessings of Abraham," which, in Mormon theology, was the blessing of endless posterity. The "revelation" goes on to command Smith to "go and do the works of Abraham."
Also, verse 63 gives the *only* reason for Smith to plural marry: "for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment..."
Again, ALL of Smith's statements to those to whom he introduced into polygamy affirmed that the practice was to have sex and children, rather than to care for old widows. Following are several statements from early Mormons which help to explain the concept. Benjamin Johnson was a close follower of Joseph Smith, and the brother of one of Smith's plural wives, Almera Johnson. Benjamin wrote in his journal that Smith had taught:
"The first command was to 'multiply' and the prophet taught us that Dominion and power in the great Future would be commensurate with the number of 'wives children and friends' that we inherit here and that our great mission to earth
was to organize a [nucleus] of Heaven to take with us. To the increase of which there would be no end."
Mosiah Hancock, another disciple of Smith, wrote "Bro Joseph said '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 upon the earth preparatory to the ushering in of the Millenial 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 careless
Another example is from the journal of Helen Tracy, who wrote of a conversation between herself, Lorenzo Snow, and apostle Rudger Clawson:
"The Principle was quite a trial to Sister V. K. [Vilate Kimball, wife of apostle Heber Kimball] but she essayed to submit to it and went and chose two very old maids of quite plain and homely appearance for her husband Bro K[imball] spoke to the Prophet Joseph about it and he said, Bro K that arrangement is of the devil you go and get you a young wife one you can take to your bosom and love and raise children by. A man should choose his own wife and one he can love and get children by." (As quoted in "Prisoner for Polygamy: The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson," p. 12.)
Brigham Young re-affirmed those concepts when he preached:
"Birth control----There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles [bodies], now what is our duty?---To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, so that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth."
(Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 197.)
Maybe Smith only INTENDED to have sex with Helen?
As Randy Jordan has pointed out:
We have no indisputable evidence that Smith had sex with the 14-year-old Helen; but considering Smith's sexual activities with other women, including teenagers, there is no reason to believe that he didn't intend to have sex with Helen and produce children, just as he did with others.
It was common during the polygamy period for men to go ahead and plural marry desirable pre-pubescent girls in order to secure them into their harems and prevent them from marrying other men. Then when the girl had reached puberty, she would begin having babies. This is likely why Helen, even if she did not have sex with Smith, complained about not being able to socialize like other girls her age: it was her after-the-fact realization that she had been deceived into joining Smith's harem, and thus becoming ineligible to be courted by young, single suitors.
Let's also remember that
a) At the time Smith "plural married" Helen, he had many other women with whom he could have sex with; so he could have kept Helen "in reserve" for the time when she reached puberty, or perhaps when Smith was horny and no other woman happened to be available
b) Smith was killed 13 months after his sealing to Helen, so he simply may not have had the opportunity to consummate their relationship before his death. However, it's a virtual certainty that he would have if he had lived.
The bottom line being that it's futile for Mormon apologists to argue that Smith's sealing to Helen was "dynastic" or "spiritual" only, in an effort to show that Smith's plural marriages to young girls were proper. Helen's own complaint that she was "deceived" into the sealing, and that she would not have agreed to it if she had known in advance that it was to be anything other than "spiritual," is enough to show the impropriety of Smith's motives and actions.
There's simply no good reason to believe that had he not been killed, Smith would not have had sex with Helen just as he did with many other women.
| According To Family Search Hellen Mar Kimball Was Actually 22 When She Married Joe - Not 14 |
Thursday, Jan 31, 2013, at 08:19 AM
Original Author(s): Upsidedown
Topic: HELLEN MAR KIMBALL -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Editor Note: This is a collage of posted articles on the fact that Mormons have edited the date Joseph Smith married Hellen Mar Kimball from age 14 to age 22.
Remember when Hellen Mar Kimball was 14 when she married Joseph Smith Jr.? Well, she's been whitewashed along with the truth. She's now been aged to 22 by the church!
14 was an embarrassing number. Down the memory hole it went.
Well, do the math...
Wiki has the dates right...
The article clearly pointed out that she was 14. But unfortunately toward the end of it there was a small justfication piece that stated that 14 was a common age of marriage at that particular time.
I don't have the links to site here but I have read, on here actually, that 14 was NOT in fact common at that time for women to get married. Especially to men much older like Smith was. If it did happen it was to men of like age.
Sorry if I disrupted the meaning of this thread. But I could just see the church relenting to the fact of her being 14 but then try to re-establish credibility by crying,"But it was "normal" for that to happen at that time." Which by my own research, it wasn't.
The reference given in the Wiki article is from Craig Foster's critique of Under the Banner of Heaven.
"...the idea that Smith married a parcel of pubescent girls is sheer fallacy. Along with the fourteen-year-old and probable fifteen-year-old who married Smith, only two sixteen-year-olds married him. While there were three seventeen-year-olds, there were no known eighteen-year-olds and only three nineteen-year-old women who married Smith. As puberty is traditionally recognized as the time period surrounding menarche, or the onset of menstruation, and, since the average age of menarche was about fourteen to fifteen years at that time, only one to two of Joseph Smith's wives could possibly have qualified as a "pubescent girl."
OMG Craig stop...just stop.
The average age for first marriage for women (both in Ohio and the U.S.) is estimated to have been about 22 at that time. Age 14 or 15 for a first marriage would have been highly unusual, and in many quarters, as frowned upon as it would be today.
Early marriage back in the old days is a myth. It's as much of a myth as the oft-told story that polygamy was instituted to take care of widows on the frontier.
"At the national level, the female mean age at first marriage rose slowly and steadily with each cohort, from 22.6 years for the 1821-1830 birth cohort to 23.4 years for the 1871-1880 cohort, suggesting the importance of long-run economic factors such as rising farm prices and increasing participation of single women in the paid labor force."
A table from the NIH that clearly lays out the data:
Her birthday is August 20, 1828. She was 3 months shy of 15.
"About 1820" sure seems like a big stretch for the IT manager that allows this to go through on JOE SMITH'S page.
I heard they have trouble with it every month where people try to change the dates so they check it often and have to grant permission to allow the date to go through.
There are wives missing... Fanny Alger is absent from the list.
OOps...they forgot to check her tombstone in SLC.
Here is also 1860 age 32 - https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1...
1870 age 41 - https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1...
1880 age 51- https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1...
Census records are Federal and in so many places. They can't change those.
TSCC has painted itself into a corner with this one.
As previous posters have pointed out, she appears on multiple federal censuses that consistently prove an 1828 birthdate. Then there's her grave marker, not to mention all those biographies and family histories in print and available online.
Since TSCC has always (and still does) emphasize genealogical research, most members know how to look up census data and genealogical records. TBMs who would never go near any possible "anti-Mormon" source can now hop onto ancestry.com or visit their local Family History Center and see for themselves that the Church is attempting to lie about Helen's age.
Even if they don't go in search of this information, odds are great they'll stumble across it somewhere -- imagine the cog dis when they do.
The result of the Morg's cover-up will be the opposite of what they intend: the lie is glaringly obvious. They can't pretend all those federal census records, biographies, family histories, and a headstone are anti-Mormon lies, propaganda or folklore.
What are they going to do, tell the faithful to stop looking at the federal census? We can see the problem with that one.
The new essay says that their marriage was obviously for eternity only. Wikipedia and wivesofjosephsmith.org are neutral on it. However I recall that in a biography I read (could have even been Rough Stone Rolling) it stated that the evidence indicated at least some sex. Does someone have some online sources for whether or not it was sexual?
Brian Hales has clearly influenced the approach of this essay, especially the claim that not all these marriages involved sex. Hales seems to insist that unless there is clear proof that sex happened, we should assume it didn't. Especially where it would make people uncomfortable, as in the case of married women or young girls like Helen. Eternal marriage, not sexual encounters, that's their claim.
This is Brian's web page on Helen, which downplays the quote from Catherine Lewis (Had I known it was more than ceremony...) saying it could have been referring to the fact that she had to miss out on most of Nauvoo's social activities, like dances. And referring to it as a questionable source. http://josephsmithspolygamy.org/history-2/plural-wives-overview/helen-mar-kimball/
Helen herself wrote about polygamy, but did not write about this. She is conspicuously absent from the Temple Lot Case testimony, which he interprets to mean she didn't have sex with Smith. It could also mean she was still traumatized about it or just uncomfortable giving public testimony. I don't think we have proof supporting a definitive answer as to whether they had sex or not.
I personally think Hales is wrong NOT to assume that sex is the default in these marriages. Helen's father's polygamous wife had already had his child; Helen talks about it in her journal. William Clayton's plural wife was also pregnant. There is strong evidence that Smith had sexual relationships with many of his other wives. And the very words of the marriage ceremony "revealed" to be read by the father of the bride at Smith's wedding to Helen's best friend Sarah Ann Whitney Smith Kimball essentially say she is to have sex with Smith and only Smith. It is a clear statement of permission from her parents to just take her. I assume the ceremony for Helen would have used similar, if not the same, words. Here's a link: http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/16-SarahAnnWhitney.htm
Helen was very young, barely at the average age where girls of that time period would be getting their first period. Hardships and hunger may have made it even later. So yes, it is upsetting to think about her parents encouraging her to give herself - now and for eternity - to an older married man. Yet there are many other teen girls who married Smith, not much older. Flora Woodworth, just a year or two older, was a big favorite of Smith according to his secretary, William Clayton. Nancy Winchester may also have been 14; her wedding date is not clear. We know he had sex with several of the others, because they or others have written about it.
Personally, I would challenge Hales and the essay authors to provide solid proof that Smith DIDN'T sleep with her. I don't think some line taken out of context in a poem counts. And I don't think that Lewis's testimony should be completely disregarded. Given her situation in the Kimball household, there is a good chance she would have heard what she claimed to. Especially as Helen admits in her own writing to struggling with polygamy during her youth.
If any of you find yourselves interested in this topic, there is some great information out there. I became very interested in learning about all Smith's wives. I wanted neutral sources that stuck to the facts and reasonably trustworthy sources.
For the best chart on the wives and great summary bios, www.wivesofjosephsmith.org
For in-depth histories as well as other valuable historical information on what was going on with the Relief Society, other polygamist families, and within the culture, you just can't beat Linsey's podcasts. http://feministmormonhousewivespodcast.org/year-of-polygamy-episodes/
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