The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 042 - William Marks

Many members aren’t familiar with Wiliam Marks, even though he was a significant figure in Nauvoo and the Succession Crisis. This week’s episode talks about William, his role in Nauvoo, and what he had to say about certain teachings and practices.

D&C 117:1-2

D&C 124:79-80

D&C 105:14

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15 comments on “Iron Rod 042 – William Marks

  1. I would love to hear a podcast on a 3rd William who opposed and was cast out from the twelve, William Smith. There’s some real condemnatory things that he said about his former cohorts of the twelve. Perhaps it was a little more than his garment which protected Willard Richards in the jail…

    • I agree. I also think it would be useful to look at what Emma and Lucy Smith had to say during all the succession crisis and trials.

    • I have been on the look-out for reliable information regarding William Smith. There’s no telling his true character, far as I can tell.

  2. Thirsty Sep 28, 2019

    In the book “The Exoneration of Emma, Joseph and Hyrum” by Ronald Meldon Karren, he shows how the entire presidential run by Jospeh was a phrase and false alibi for Brigham and Heber.

    Not only had Joseph just been accused of an assassination attempt on the governor of Missouri, two other governors had a malicious hunting him down. This clearly does not fit into the narrative. Plus when you go back and you look at Heber‘s journal he alleges that June 12, 1844 He’s on the East Coast at the Whig national convention and sees a parade of Whigs and individuals that are campaigning for Polk. The problem with this is that the Whig National Convention took place on May 1, 1844, six weeks prior. And Polk was not on a Whig, but Democrat.

    This is just one of the many inconsistencies uncovered in his book about Brigham and Heber’s plot to have Joseph murdered.

  3. Roy Moore Sep 29, 2019

    PS&R Joseph Smith, Jr. stated to SP William Marks that Polygamy/Spiritual Wifery was a mistake and must end to preserve the Church from destruction. My question: if JS instituted the practice, why didn’t Wm. Marks make mention that JS must be tried before the High Council for his membership as well? Wouldn’t it stand to reason many persons tried would point to JS as having authorized them to practice PM/SW? Did Wm. Marks just omit the obvious?

    • That’s a good question, Roy. A person only needs to be tried before the high council if they refuse to confess and forsake their sins.

      D&C 42:88-89
      And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.

      So if this had been allowed to play out, those who pointed to Joseph would then be told that Joseph had repented of and repudiated those teachings and practices, and then the offenders would be given the opportunity to confess and forsake. If they did, no need to hold a council for them either.

      Unfortunately, our tradition teaches that you cannot repent and forsake without having someone else sit in judgment of you, and that you have to confess to the bishop in addition to whomever you have sinned against. These were not the practices of the church during the life of Joseph, but changes that came later.

      • Thirsty Sep 29, 2019

        I thought it was common practice to have one stand up and confess their sins publicly?

        James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

        • I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and get these answers firsthand!

          My understanding is that there was a public confession before baptism:
          D&C 20:37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

          Once baptized, it appears that confessions were then to those who had been harmed, not the to entire church unless the entire church had been harmed:
          D&C 42:90-92
          And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God. If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.

      • Roy Moore Sep 30, 2019

        Thanks MD, one more question: What of Joseph’s intercessory act, the willful sin of adultery? Is there any evidence Joseph Smith, Jr. authorized anyone and/or gave them a higher priesthood to join in his intercessory act? Was the one like Moses (2 Nephi 3: 7) forced to end his intercessory act because others adulterated its purpose and were destroying the church?

        • Roy Moore Sep 30, 2019

          Did Joseph not foresee that his intercessory act (polygamy) would result in rejection of the church by the Lord and taking of Hyrum’s life along with his own?

          • The scriptures don’t give a lot of details about how the intercessory offering works, but I don’t think the intercessory act was committing a sin. The intercessory act was taking the burden of the sins of the people onto himself. Christ took the sins of the world upon himself, yet remained without sin. It would appear that when Joseph and Moses took the sins of their people upon themselves, they weren’t able to resist like Christ did and they committed those sins. But the intercession wasn’t acting out the sins of the people, but taking upon them the sins of the people, which ultimately caused them to behave the same way. In the law of Moses, the sins of the people were transferred onto the scapegoat. The goat obviously can’t sin, so the focus was the transferal of sins, not the commission of sin.

            Per 2 Nephi 27:4-5, I think Joseph’s eyes were closed at that point. He was unable to see his own descent and unable to see the consequences his actions would have.

            When Moses interceded for his people, God told him that Moses already had a place in heaven. But Moses was willing to give that up in exchange for a second chance for his people. Then Moses acted out the same sins the people had. If Moses hadn’t agreed to intercede, he would have continued to be righteous but alone. Joseph appears to have done the same. His sins were a consequence of his decision to make an atonement for the church that had rejected God. Once Joseph’s eyes were closed, the people were being tested. They should have rejected Joseph’s false teachings…but he taught them flattering things they wanted to believe. Had the people hearkened to the scriptures and rejected Joseph’s teachings, they would not have been rejected as a church. Had the majority been like Marks and Law, things would have gone differently. But the majority weren’t interested in maintaining the faith as it had been originally taught. And when the majority of the people choose iniquity, judgment awaits. Joseph appears to have been the means by which the Lord turned the church over to Satan, not by his personal sins, but by the church accepting and emulating his sins and making them doctrine. Joseph never forced anyone to follow his bad example, they did that willingly.

          • Forgive me, but I don’t understand your reference to polygamy being an intercessory act. This might have been explained somewhere, but its hard to keep track of comments and podcasts when people aren’t always on the same episode at the same time.

            According to Watcher’s book “Solving the Prophet Puzzle”, chapter 20, the intercessory act was when Joseph and Oliver “privately united together and entered into the “covenant of tithing [consecration]” for the “continuance of [priesthood] blessings.” Hence, even though the church had cumulatively broken the covenant of consecration contained in the law of the gospel (D&C42), Joseph and Oliver had provided an intercession that would enable gospel blessings from the priesthood to continue on until the temple was completed and the “acceptable offering” of the “sons of Levi” could be fully consummated.”

            The best I can imagine for your scenario is that Joseph is interceding/mediating between the opposing parties of God and the fallen church by jumping in the figurative mud with the adulterers and daring God to cut him off, and if he won’t do that to Joseph then he can argue that he shouldn’t do that to any of Josephs partners in sin either.

            I was more of the opinion that the consensus of the discussion leaders is that after the church was rejected, Joseph’s spiritual eyes were darkened because the people had rejected the commandments and guidance of the Lord. In which case, he would be susceptible to peer pressure and faulty reasoning just as any other person without the Spirit is left to wander in darkness.

          • Thirsty Oct 1, 2019


            Very good points.

  4. Hey! Loved this one-do you happen to have a link to the quotation you read from William Mark’s journal? The one about Joseph telling him he needs to root out polygamy from the church? I can’t find it anywhere! Thanks!