Only in comparatively recent times have Mormon scholars taken a real interest in the authenticity of documents purportedly written by early apostles, prophets, and other leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the latest “forgeries,” that can now be proved beyond reasonable doubt to be just that, is the so-called Little Known Discourse by Joseph Smith. Many thoughtful readers of this document have been troubled by its double standard of morality which speaks as an “unfamiliar spirit” when compared to the authentic writings of the prophet-founder of Mormonism. Supposedly given by the Prophet Joseph Smith at Nauvoo upon the subject of marriage, this sermon allegedly reflects the “law of God to Man.”
This article examines the Little Known Discourse by Joseph Smith, comparing it to a document entitled Peace Maker, to ultimately conclude that these works should not be viewed as binding upon members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since they were, in fact, written by a nonmember.