Redeeming the Fallen: LDS Reaction to the Illicit Intercourse Heresy of 1841–1842

In 1841–1842 unknown numbers of faithful Mormons embraced a “new doctrine” where a man and a woman could be sexually intimate without ceremony as long as it was kept secret. Contemporary documents confirm the identities of several, with the affidavits of some published in newspapers. This presentation examines key instances where the “heretics” subsequently repented and became stalwart members of the Mormon community, along with the mechanisms used in the 1840s and later to knit the community back together.

Meg Stout