In a continuing trend toward transparency, a new Mormon church essay reveals its founder Joseph Smith had an underage bride and was married to other men's wives during the early days of the faith when polygamy was practiced. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says most of Smith's wives were adults, but one was a 14-year-old girl who was the daughter of Smith's close friends. Research shows the marriage might not have involved sex. The essay posted this week is part of a recent push by the Salt Lake City-based religion to explain or expand on sensitive issues within the faith, many of which are unflattering or uncomfortable to discuss.
Why is the church becoming more transparent about its history? What other disclosures might remain?
With files from the Associated Press.
Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University; practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
John Dehlin, founder of “Mormon Stories,” a podcast of interviews with scholars and church members, many critical toward the church; member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.