180 years ago today - Apr 11, 1842

Joseph Smith writes a letter to sixteen-year-old Nancy Rigdon in which he attempts to persuade her to become his secret, plural wife. The letter expounds Joseph's version of situation ethics: "that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another." Willard Richards delivers the letter to Nancy. The letter makes its way to John C. Bennett who publishes it in the SANGAMO JOURNAL. Smith denies having written the letter but after his death the Church publishes its content in the HISTORY OF THE CHURCH as an "essay" written by Joseph Smith. In succeeding years portions of the letter/essay are often quoted in general conference and in official church publications.

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