CHURCH ESSAY: “Most of those sealed to Joseph Smith were between 20 and 40 years of age at the time of their sealing to him. The oldest, Fanny Young, was 56 years old. The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of Joseph’s close friends Heber C. and Vilate Murray Kimball, who was sealed to Joseph several months before her 15th birthday. Marriage at such an age, inappropriate by today’s standards, was legal in that era, and some women married in their mid-teens. Helen Mar Kimball spoke of her sealing to Joseph as being ‘for eternity alone,’ suggesting that the relationship did not involve sexual relations. After Joseph’s death, Helen remarried and became an articulate defender of him and of plural marriage.” -excerpt from the church essay Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo, available in the Gospel Topics section of the church website. [source]
COMMENTARY: Facts: Ten of Joseph’s known wives were younger than 20. Joseph was 37 years old when he married 14-year-old Helen. Plural marriage was illegal in the United States. Helen’s reference to “eternity alone” was in a poem explaining why she allowed herself to be coerced into marrying him. The full line is “The step I now am taking’s for eternity alone,” suggesting she had no other attraction to the middle-aged prophet. If her marriage truly had been for eternity only, she would not have been prevented from participating in other courtship activities during Joseph’s life. It seems the church has elevated dishonesty through facts to an art form. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.