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Joseph Smith and Homosexuality (1843)


Joseph Smith was not at all homophobic. In a funeral address delivered in 1843 at Nauvoo, Illinois, he gave comfort to a survivor of one Lorenzo Barns who had died while serving a mission in Great Britain. The Prophet noted that Brother Barns' "very friend" was present in the congregation that day (Feliz p. 3). Attempting to enlighten the congregation on a particular principle of the resurrection, he is quoted as saying:

" . . . to bring it to the understanding, it would be upon the same principle as though two who were vary friends [sic] indeed should lie down upon the same bed at night locked in each other's embrace talking of their love[,] and should awake in the morning together[.][T]hey could immediately renew their conversation of love even while rising from their bed[,] but if they were alone [and] in separate partments[,] they could not as readily salute each other as though they were together . . . "
(Wilford Woodruff Journal, entry for April 16, 1843, as cited by Feliz p. 3); (emphasis and bracketed punctuation mine).

The Joseph Smith Diary kept by Willard Richards contains a briefer but similar version of the same statement. So does the Documentary History of the Church (Smith pp. 294-297). Admittedly, nothing erotic need be inferred from these remarks, but even the skeptical reader is struck by the relaxed attitude toward same-sex intimacies in the Woodruff account.

Taken from

Homosexuality & Scripture from a Latter-day Saint Perspective. At http://ng.netgate.net/~jfirth/affirmation/scriptur.htm



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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]