In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
A Mormon historian’s thoroughly researched and documented account of the beginnings of Mormon polygamy, its secrecy (even Joseph Smith’s wife Emma didn’t know), and the denials of polygamy given to both the outside world and church members. Compton explains Joseph’s doctrinal rationalizing for polyandry, the practice of marrying other men’s wives (11 of his 33 wives were already married to other men). Compton describes with documented specifics the manipulation and spiritual pressures Joseph used to convince these women they should become his secret plural wives. A detailed chart shows the ages (14-58) of his plural wives, their marital status at the time, wedding dates, and who witnessed the marriage (some were the women’s first husbands). A biographical chapter is devoted to each of the wives, covering their involvement with Joseph Smith and the rest of their lives after Joseph’s death. See IRR’s more complete book review. Hardback, 824 pages.