In ministering to the sick, for instance, Clayton anointed with perfumed oil and rum. He performed baptisms to heal the sick. Church services, held irregularly, were referred to as “going to meeting” and seemed to be elective. He testifies of people speaking in tongues and of others “almost speaking in tongues.” When introduced to plural marriage, he was reluctant but eventually became one of its most enthusiastic proponents, marrying ten women and fathering forty-two children.
Since polygamy was initially secret, Clayton spent much of his time putting out the fires of innuendo and discontent. He caught his first plural wife rendezvousing with her former fiancé; later, when she became pregnant, her mother–his unaware mother-in-law–was so overwrought that she attempted suicide. Joseph Smith reassured him: “Just keep her at home and brook it and if they raise trouble about it and bring you before me I will give you an awful scourging and probably cut you off from the church and then I will set you ahead as good as ever.” Clayton was also the object of Emma Smith’s attentions, allegedly part of a jealous wife’s plan to make a cuckold of her errant husband.
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