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Fanny Alger Part 2: Plural Marriage or Adultery?

Here’s part two of our discussion about Joseph’s plural marriage to Fanny Alger.  In this discussion we’ll talk about Emma Smith as well as Oliver Cowdery’s reaction.  They both thought it was adulterous.

What we understand is that more or less, the people that Joseph Smith told about Fanny Alger as a plural wife, they didn’t believe him….

Joseph, according to one of the accounts gets Oliver and says in the middle of the night.  ‘Oliver, come help me with this.’  Oliver hears the story and sides with Emma and thinks Joseph is having an adulterous affair.  That was his opinion, probably right up until his death, that Joseph was not authorized to marry her.  It wasn’t a marriage.  He made hints to members of the high council that Joseph had been guilty of adultery.  He did not accept any story of a marriage ceremony as being valid, and neither did Emma.

On the other hand, Fanny’s family seemed to believe that it was a legitimate marriage.

But most of the people that learned it from Fanny did believe which is interesting.  Fanny’s family believed.  The family that Fanny went to live with was Chauncey Webb and Eliza Jane Webb, they believed that this was an actual marriage

Fanny eventually married a non-Mormon man in Indiana, but her family came to Utah, and her brother was a polygamist!

Brian:  Whatever actually happened between Joseph and Fanny did not bother their faith of these people who knew the details, same with Eliza Snow.

GT:  Was it true that her parents came all the way to Utah?

Brian:  Her brother did and I don’t know if they died or all, but they didn’t leave the church. It’s interesting that John Alger in 1891, this is right after the 1890 Manifesto, he left the church over the Manifesto.  He had a polygamist wife and he could not accept that.  So again some irony.

GT:  Fanny’s brother was a polygamist?

Brian:  Uh huh, and he left the church over the Manifesto of 1890.

Why do you think people believed Fanny, but not Joseph?  Were you surprised to learn that Fanny’s family stayed in the church?  (Check out parts 14 as well!)

Check out a transcript!

Fanny Alger Part 2: Plural Marriage or Adultery?


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