The Unfair Allegation of Pedophilia against Joseph Smith by Yahya Snow
Joseph Smith was not a pedophile
I am no Mormon and nor do I have any affiliations/loyalties to Joseph Smith or with the LDS Church. I do want to state it is clear Joseph Smith was not a pedophile if you look from an intellectually honest view point.
We must remember our social norms concerning the age of consent/marriage are relatively recent constructs and are governed by laws which are equally recent, thereby rendering the judgment of past personalities by our current (and still changing) social laws and norms as intellectually dishonest. So, we must do away with our own subjective experiences (social norms) and contexts and look at the bigger picture.
Smith married seven ladies under the age of eighteen and the youngest was fourteen. According to my social norm (in the UK the age of consent is sixteen) Smith’s marriage to the fourteen year old would have been incongruous and a contravention of current UK law. We must remember our current age of consent laws were not in regulation during the time of Smith.
English common law was being utilized as a rough standard during the time of Smith, which had the age of consent down as ten; thus Smith broke no age of consent law during his time. Are we really going to condemn him based on a modern law which was constructed well after his death? Of course it would be folly and unscholarly to do so. Therefore branding Smith as a pedophile would be equally unscholarly and unfair.
In the past, the age of consent was not really an age but a biological sign, i.e. puberty and physical stature. So those critics who condemn Joseph Smith as a pedophile are being inconsistent if they do not also condemn their forefathers as pedophiles too. Are they really going to go that far? Of course not; the allegation of pedophilia levelled at Smith is generally borne out of one of two spawning points.
The first of these being the spawning point of ignorance; those who look superficially at their current age of consent and judge Smith (or any other past personality) by their recent laws without realising their laws were not in place at the time of Joseph Smith, thus rendering them myopic and their argument as invalid.
The second of these spawning points is more sinister, namely religiously motivated hatred; those who do not agree with Smith’s religion (mainly the evangelical Christians in this particular case) wish to malign the founder in an effort to gain converts from Mormonism to their respective faith(s). This is indeed a sad state of play highlighting the poor nature of some supposedly “religious” people.
The basic message is; Smith was not a pedophile and those who make such claims should be given a wide birth as they are unreliable.
Note: This short article was written by a Muslim.