180 years ago today - May 24, 1842

Sarah Miller told Nauvoo's high council that Chauncey Higbee (also spelled "Chancy Higby") visited her "soon after a special conference" in April 1842, and "began his seducing insinuations by saying it was no harm to have sexual intercourse with women if they would keep it to themselves." She added that "when he come again, William Smith come with him & told me that the doctrine which Chancy Higby had taught me was true." In May 1842 she told the high council that "nearly a year ago" (i.e., in the summer of 1841, almost a year before Sarah Miller's seduction), Catherine Fuller began having sexual intercourse with Bennett, and "not only with him[,] but with Chauncy Higbee and the prophet's younger brother, Apostle William Smith." Someone tried to eradicate the name of William Smith from the manuscript of testimony that he also visited these two women for sexual intercourse during 1841-42. His first cousin, Apostle George A. Smith, later complained about "Wm Smith Commit[t]ing iniquity & we have to sustain him against our feelings." : Two women identified William Smith as one of Bennett's friends who visited for sexual intercourse ... According to a later reminiscence [by Apostle Lorenzo Snow], Joseph Smith then asked Brigham Young to excommunicate his brother for `adultery and many other sins.' As Young was about to act, however, the prophet changed his mind, accused the quorum's president of maligning the Smith family, and required Young to exonerate William. Then someone (probably Joseph) tried to eradicate William's name from the women's testimony.

[John S. Dinger, ed., The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2011), 415n40 ("Sarah Miller's statement, dated May 24, 1842 ... [about] the special conference this spring"), 417 ("Charge [was preferred] against Mrs. Catherine Warren for unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with John C. Bennett and others"), 417n46 (for Mrs. Warren's testimony); also "CONFERENCE MINUTES," Times and Seasons 3 (15 April 1842): 761 ("Special Conference ... April 6, 1842"); Quinn, Origins of Power (1994) 220, in "Evidence For The Sexual Side of Joseph Smith's Polygamy," Comments by D. Michael Quinn on Session #2A "Reconsidering Joseph Smith's Marital Practices," Mormon History Association's Annual Conference, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 29 June 2012 (unabbreviated version, revised during July)]

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