In the summer of 2011 our family decided to take a trip out East. We went for a family reunion in Navoo. We wanted to show our kids the sacred place where the Mormon began.
As we took our kids to the Pageant (where they act out parts from the Book of Mormon), we had to pass through loud protesters. They carried signs and handed out pamphlets filled with “anti-Mormon” literature. We quietly walked on past.
When we got home from our trip, my husband decided to do a little research. He did not want to be unprepared and without facts the next time we encountered protesters to our faith.
I will never forget how I felt when he asked me to come see something he had found on Wikipedia. It was a detailed list of all of the (many) wives of Joseph Smith Jr. (the founder of the Mormon church). I was shocked.
All of my life I had been raised Mormon. I had dutifully gone to church every Sunday. I had studied the scriptures and manuals. I had learned all about the life of Joseph Smith, and had even taken a university course (from my father-in-law) about his life. His multiple wives were never mentioned in any manuals or taught in any class.
A pit in my stomach grew as I learned that some of these wives were young teenagers. Some were married to other men.
I had accepted that his successor, Brigham Young, had polygamous marriages. I had been taught about that. I had learned to accept it, mostly because we were not asked to practice polygamy.
Now I had to accept that I had been lied to.