Mormon church founder Joseph Smith had a teenage bride and was married to other men's wives during the early days of the faith when polygamy was practiced, a new church essay acknowledges, according to the Big News Network website.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says most of Smith's wives were between 20 and 40 years old. One of them, however, was a 14-year-old girl who was the daughter of Smith's close friends.
The essay -- posted this week on the church's website -- marks the first time the Salt Lake City-based religion has officially acknowledged those facts. It's part of a recent push by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to open up about sensitive issues within the faith, many of which are unflattering or uncomfortable to discuss.
The new article about Smith's wives during the 1830s and 1840s in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Illinois, comes about 10 months after the church acknowledged polygamy was widely practiced among its members in the late 19th century.