Mormonism is built on the testimony and character of Joseph Smith. As Brigham Young proclaimed:
“Well now, examine the character of the Savior, and examine the characters of those who have written the Old and New Testaments; and then compare them with the character of Joseph Smith . . . and you will find that his character stands as fair as any man’s mentioned in the Bible” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, p. 203).
You can see an affidavit here where Mormon leaders (acting with the approval of Joseph Smith) publicly deny Smith’s polygamy when they knew for a fact that he practiced it. One of the signers was Eliza R. Snow who was one of his plural wives at the time! Smith believed he could marry women who were already married to other men without committing adultery and then he proceeded to lie about his polygamous marriages demonstrating that he cannot be trusted to tell the truth. He once said:
“What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 411).
But at the time, he was secretly married to over 20 women!
Up until this point, Mormonism had publicly condemned the practice of polygamy. The Book of Mormon in Jacob 2:24 allegedly records God as saying that the practice of polygamy is an abomination before him:
“Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.”
The original 1835 version of the Doctrine and Covenants forbade the practice of polygamy. In section 101 (which has now been removed) it read:
“Insomuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy: we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”
But apparently, Smith did not believe that the rules applied to him. He created the prophecy of D&C 132 to justify his polygamy and threatened his wife Emma with destruction if she left him over his plural marriages. In contrast to Jacob 2:24 where God says David and Solomon having many wives and concubines was an abomination before him, he now says in D&C 132:38 that David and Solomon did not sin in having many wives and concubines:
“David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.”
Self-serving prophecies are a sure sign of a false prophet. Smith told some of the women he wanted to marry that he would be struck dead unless he engaged in plural marriage with them and that God had told him they were to be his celestial wives. At least one of the girls he married was only 14 when he married her! He also married at least three different pairs on sisters. This is strictly forbidden by Leviticus 18:18: “And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.” He also married a mother and her daughter contrary to Leviticus 20:14: “If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you.” Smith deceptively hid many of his plural marriages from his first wife Emma (including his affair with Fanny Alger) because he knew she would not approve.
It was Smith’s attempt to cover up his polygamy that resulted in his death. When the Nauvoo Expositor exposed Smith’s polygamy, he ordered that it be destroyed. This resulted in Smith’s arrest and murder fulfilling the words of Proverbs 21:6: “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.”