(Inspired by Kristine’s “Very Short Post” series.)
Polygamy is a sticky issue; a very sticky issue. Particularly Joseph Smith’s introduction of polygamy, and particularly his sealing to young girls less than half his age. (Helen Mar Kimball was 14 and Sarah Whitney was 17, for instance.) These issues can’t be sugar-coated; if they are to be dealt with, it must first be acknowledged that its messy and difficult to be resolved. I have come to find, however, that there are some approaches that help me contextualize and understand the history of what happened. (Though I fully admit that I still am, and will probably always be, troubled with it.)
First, as mentioned above, you have to acknowledge that it’s not an easy solve. Second, you need to gather all the data possible so you can be as informed as possible. (For the basics, I’d recommend starting here, but also drawing from here, and looking out for these.) Third, and perhaps most importantly, you need to understand the ideological framework buttressing and driving Joseph Smith’s practice, which is probably best outlined by Sam Brown (here) and Spencer Fluhman (here). Understanding Joseph Smith’s cosmological view of familial sealing emphasizes the dynastic linkages between families, and helps explain why Heber Kimball was as anxious for his fourteen year-old daughter to marry the prophet. A thorny topic, and difficult to fully elucidate, of course, but an approach that can at least yeald some fruit.
Or, if you take another route, just change the dates of birth for Kimball and Whitney to “about 1820″ instead of the accurate 1825 and 1828. Problem solved.
Note: I am not claiming that the institutional Church, or even higher-ups at the Church Office Building, approved this, but I do think this—regardless of whoever edited it—is indicative of our inability to deal with polygamy, as well as the problematic anybody-can-edit familysearch format.