John Patten, Jr. and Candace Smith were newlyweds when John built their home in Manti, Utah. Constructed in 1854, the Patten home is now a museum that “stands as a symbol for the same industry, faith and hope” as does the LDS temple in Manti, according to Deseret News. The LDS Church-owned newspaper recently highlighted the Patten pioneer home, calling it “one of Manti’s treasures.” Deseret News reported,
“It served as a home to Patten and his two wives and their 13 children. (As was an accepted custom of the time, after the death of his first wife, Candance [sic] Smith, Patten married her sister Emily.)”
Whether or not that was an accepted custom of the time, that’s not what John actually did.
According to a Google-cached genealogical record on rootsweb (dated May 3, 2010), John married Candace’s widowed sister, Emily, as a plural wife 10 years before Candace’s death. On November 8, 1858, about a year and a half after John and Emily’s wedding, their first of five children was born.
If these records are accurate, in marrying his wife’s sister, John Patten, Jr. became a polygamist according to the dictates of his Mormon religion. But in doing so he ignored God’s law: “And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive” (Leviticus 18:18).