503: Discussing the New LDS.org Polygamy Essays Part 1 — With Lindsay Hansen Park, John Hamer and J. Nelson-Seawright

josephemmacloseupThis week The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released its long-awaited series of essays on polygamy in Kirtland/Nauvoo, Utah and post-manifesto polygamy, igniting a firestorm of discussion online.

In this episode, we bring together an all-star cast of Mormon Stories favorites to discuss the Kirtland/Nauvoo essay:

  • Lindsay Hansen Park, who in the middle of an amazing and incredibly exhaustive project for Feminist Mormon Housewives in the Year of Polygamy podcast series.
  • John Hamer, a well-known expert on Kirtland- and Nauvoo-period Mormonism, and a member of the Community of Christ.
  • J. Nelson-Seawright, a political science professor at Northwestern University, frequent blogger and commenter on Mormonism and a favorite guest of Mormon Stories.

162 comments for “503: Discussing the New LDS.org Polygamy Essays Part 1 — With Lindsay Hansen Park, John Hamer and J. Nelson-Seawright

  1. Bob
    October 24, 2014 at 12:11 am

    The problem I now have is that as I ask my children about the topics of Joseph Smith practicing polygamy and polyandry, now that the Church is validating it, even on their own websites and my kids don’t even care. They’ve heard enough about “polygamy” in the past and lump it all together as if it’s all part of the same topic and it doesn’t matter.

    I suspect it’s the same for most of the members of the Church which Jeremy Runnells refer to as “chapel Mormons”. Belonging to the Church and having their heads in the sand is a way of maintaining the status quo. Unless you know what you’re looking for, most of the membership doesn’t care.

    My question now is how does the Church say that the standard for the Church as for marriage is one man and woman, no matter what past prophets have said. Why does this not invalidate any of the early leaders as prophets at all, in which case would that not discredit any of them as prophets and what does this do to the validity of the Book of Mormon?

    • Kathi
      October 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Excellent post Bob! You hit the nail on the head.

    • Rick
      October 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      What Bob said

    • Justin
      November 3, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Your kids don’t have their heads in the sand, they just aren’t stuck in the past. We’re getting far enough away from it that Joseph Smith might as well be Moses (talk about your crazy stores). From my experience, most Mormons understand their religion as what is happening now. Some insist that they ought to deeply incorporate Mormon history into their current spiritual lives. I get that. But asking them to fight the spiritual battles of all of Mormon history is not right. Understanding Mormon history brings important insights, but I worry that some insist (as i think is expressed here) that every Mormon that isn’t bothered by the past is somehow a non-thinking person and couldn’t possibly accept current church teachings.

      That kind of insistence seems to me like a little child that insists that everything their parent says must have absolute consistency or else they won’t believe the parent at all. Church history is full of inconsistencies. Some people are able to see that as simply part of life, a part of the human condition. Something to ponder on but not to allow to overwhelm them.

      • David Macfarlane
        November 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

        I’m not sure how you can divorce modern church teaching from historicity. And it isn’t the inconsistencies that are a concern–it’s the dramatic departures. The church itself says that everything hinges on Joseph Smith and whether or not the Book of Mormon is an actual historical record. If he didn’t actually translate a book from ancient gold records, or another book from Egyptian papyri, then the modern church can be reduced to some warm and fuzzy ideas about the importance of family and sobriety. The skeptics are not holding the church to an irrational and unfair standard, but instead to the standard THE CHURCH SET FOR ITSELF (apologies for shouting).

        When I went to the temple for the first time, it was a pretty bad night. I had no idea what I was walking into, and all the bizarre (to me) ritual was jarring and seemed very cult-like, in my estimation. My brother, on the other had, paid no attention to the detail of what he was doing and was just fine with the whole thing. Some people are literalists–I took seriously the oaths I was being asked to make in the temple and knew that I would not keep them, if asked–and some are not. Perhaps you are not, but I don’t think you can explain away the issues the church faces now as “inconsistencies.”

        • November 10, 2014 at 1:16 pm

          How can the Lord say it’s ok to commit adultery? Polyandry is adultery. What happened to the children born to the other women from Joseph Smith? There is no record of them, so… what happened? Were abortions performed?
          So, explain to me why it was just Adam and Eve, instead of Adam and Eve, and Mary, and Susan…….? Adam and Eve would be the ultimate example of one man and one woman married. So, what happened with Joseph Smith?
          Parley P. Pratt was shot in the back because he married another man’s wife. The wife was not divorced. I found that out from a descendant of Parley P. Pratt who lived in St. George, and verified it with research.
          What about the mountain meadows massacre when Brigham Young destroyed the markers at the site?
          I wish the Savior was physically at the head of the church and that the church was clean and pure. We all suffer at the hands of evil men. “When the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

        • Justin
          November 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm

          The assumption of the first part is that polygamy necessarily undermines all other claims Joseph made. Or, that Mormons SHOULD believe that it does. There is a tendency for some to insist that Mormons should tie all of those things together. That one entirely disproves the other (this, of course, to say nothing of the fact that even despite new information many Mormons still believe that polygamy was actually inspired of God as did many Mormons at the time).

          The second part here reflects what I think is a troubling idea. That is, those who think that temple ceremonies, etc. aren’t weird are obviously not paying attention. It’s the “head in the sand” idea again. Those who accept must just have their eyes closed and not be curious.

          My temple experience was much different than yours. I thought “Finally! I’m part of a real religion!” When one has some experience with other religious traditions and practices the temple ceremonies don’t feel strange or out of place. They actually fit in very well. I find that its the people with the most understanding of religions traditions that have the best experience with the temple.

          My point is that we need to stop assuming that those who are believers are such because they are not curious or they have failed to do their “research” or that they are just willfully closing their eyes to reality.

      • AE
        November 22, 2014 at 4:38 am

        Unfortunately your “parent” example isn’t valid. Parents don’t tell their kids that it’s a commandment from God himself. In fact, I have told my daughter many times that I sometimes make mistakes.

    • November 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I researched polygamy and found out that the women suffered from mental illnesses and depression, their children do not do as well as monogamous families; they do not obtain the same type of education or personal attention from their parents. The children and women suffer more abuse. Household wealth is less than an monogamous family due to more sharing one income. Anybody can say an “angel” told me….(fill in the blank). What happened to agency? So, the Lord would coerece and force somebody to engage in that? What about polyandry? That is adultery. Really? I would get excommunicated for that. So, a church leader that is heading the church does not have to answer for the same sin? Really? Sounds like the Warren Jeffs case. And why did just top hierarchy church members engage in that? Initially, it was a secret. Men also keep incest a secret. Church positions were used to cover up sins.

    • November 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Why did Emma Smith maintain that Joseph Smith did not engage in Polygamy? Was it because he hid it from her so well? Or was she untruthful?
      Why does the church hide the fact that Mary Fielding Smith was really married to Heber C. Kimball when she crossed the plains? Heber C.Kimball was also married to approx. 50 wives. Mary Fielding Smith Kimball married Heber C. Kimball after Hyrum Smith was martyed. Joseph F. Smith was baptized by Heber C. Kimball, and Mary F. Smith Kimball died in Heber C. Kimball’s house.
      Why is it that so many church leaders have come from polygamous families?
      The argument was that the women needed the men to take care of them. Really? How can a man take care of 54 wives and 56 children? Really? Besides, the men were sent on missions and left the women to take care of themselves.
      If you look at demographics in America today, 1.08 males are born to every 1.0 females. So, if men have more than one wive, somebody is not going to have a wive. Researching the Warren Jeffs community, the younger males (approx. 16 years of age) were expelled from that community and became the lost boys of Salt Lake City, Utah; resulting in another social problem.

      • November 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

        Wouldn’t polyandry be considered adultery? If Joseph Smith was having sex with other men’s wives, that would definitely be adultery. So, if your the prophet, or a friend of the prophet, it’s ok to do that? But if your just a lay member you would get excommunicated? What about if the lay member got married in secret too? People would end up having sex with so many people, all because an “angel” told them to do that. Wow!!!

    • November 10, 2014 at 10:13 am

      I hope our church leaders never head in that direction again, I did alot of research on it, and polygamy is associated with alot of heartache. Financially, educationally, physically, and mentally; those who are monogamous will do better than those who are polygamous. The monagamous families will have more per capita wealth, be more educated and mentally healthier than the polygamists. Ultimately, being monagamous will lead to greater spirtual health.

      • Michael Surkan
        November 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        @Debbie – I wasn’t under the impression the Church ever stopped believing in polygamy. My understanding was that the Church still believes in polygamy from a doctrinal point of view. Temples still seal people in polygamous unions (i.e. when a widower remarries he continues to be married to his first wife in the afterlife).

        The only change in the stance towards polygamy was the Church’s decision to prohibit polygamy for the time being, given the existing governmental and societal attitudes. In other words, the Church hasn’t disavowed polygamy, they only asked members not to practice it in the temporal here and now.

        If things were to change and society was more accepting of non-conformist spousal unions then the Church would almost certainly re-establish the call for practicing polygamy.

        Who knows… Maybe the Church should be in the forefront of supporting the broadening definition of marriage with same sex spouses as part of a long term strategy to get society to recognize polygamy. Same sex marriage is legal today – tomorrow polygamy and polyandry.

        • November 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm

          Disgusting.

        • Anne Shafer
          December 2, 2014 at 11:06 am

          My brother is one of those widowers who is sealed to my sister-in-law who has pasted way, and also sealed to his second wife. he is a High Priest and also in the bishopric of his branch.

  2. Susan Hudson
    October 24, 2014 at 12:49 am

    There is no polygamy in the Book of Mormon. Whether or not JSjr practiced polygamy, it does not have any effect on the period of time when he was translating the Book of Mormon under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    • Robert
      October 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      there is every “effect” on the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith is found to be deceptive then it casts doubt on the credibility of his claims for the Book of Mormon. And he did lie about it, as did the institutional church until 1852. Susan you forget it was not just polygamy. He married and bedded other men’s wives. Read section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants to find out when a man is justified in “espousing” another wife and when it would be adultery to do so.

      • Marta Garcia
        December 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

        We have evidence that Joseph Smith married many wives, but not evidence that he “bedded” those wives.

    • November 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Amen, Susan! I totally agree with that statement!

    • Ryan Wimmer
      November 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Polygamy actually is mentioned in the Book of Mormon that specifically left the door open to the practice demonstrating Smith was considering the practice very early in his prophetic career.

      • L. Jones
        November 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        Polygamy is mentioned 5 times in the Book of Mormon. Each time it’s a Big Fat NO.

  3. dustin
    October 24, 2014 at 1:24 am

    The church has done an amazing job of getting people to operate in the “it doesnt make sense and thats ok…..someday it will” mode. I have recently discovered how shocking it is what can be overlooked using that umbrella. The church has positioned itself like a superstar athlete or entertainer who gets a free pass from justice.
    It is hitting me like a ton of bricks the significance of teaching my children the life skill of critical thinking in ALL aspects of their life

  4. Matt Neibaur
    October 24, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Referring to polygamy from Eliza Young (Wife No. 19: The Story of a Life in Bondage):

    ” The Lord commanded it.” What a blasphemy and satire on Him who is the God of Love, that He should make His children unhappy, and wreck all hopes of peace and content, for His glory! It seems as though this one act of Smith’s alone should have opened the eyes of this deluded people, and shown them that their false Prophet was not taught of God, as he pretended, and they so fondly believed, but that he was impelled by the demons of covetousness and lust. But their eyes were blinded, and they could not see; their reason was enthralled , and they did not know it was bound; their wills were obedient to his, and he held them soul and body, and played with them as though they were so many puppets, helpless and lifeless out of his hands.

    Young, Ann Eliza (2014-08-10). Wife No. 19: The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Illustrated) (p. 52). Enhanced Media. Kindle Edition.

    • November 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you for sharing that. Mary Fielding Smith also did not have an easy time with polygamy, as she was married to Heber C. Kimball who had approx. 50 wives. She had no help from him when she crossed the plains due to him being married to so many wives. She was just another number. Interestingly, lds.org does not even mention her being married to Heber C.Kimball, other research sites have to be researched to find it. However, her son, Joseph F. Smith, (who became a prophet) was baptized by his stepfather, Heber C. Kimball, and Mary F. Smith Kimball, died in Heber C. Kimball’s house. Interesting that the do not add her last married name of Kimball.

  5. Ann
    October 24, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I enjoyed this podcast and many of the deep insights.

    I would like a discussion on what I found one of the most troubling sentences in the essay: “After Emma opposed plural marriage, Joseph was placed in an agonizing dilemma, forced to choose between the will of God and the will of his beloved Emma.”

    So Joseph was just an innocent victim caught between an angry God demanding he practice polygamy and his angry wife who was against it.

    The problem I see is the church seems to have no problem throwing God under the bus. Instead of saying Joseph messed up and made mistakes, which for the life of me I can’t understand why they just can’t do that, they set up an unreasonable and angry God that so wanted polygamy he was threatening to kill Joseph to have it implemented.

    I see that also with the black and the Priesthood issue. I hear members that have studied the issue say things like our noble leaders wanted to change it, like David O. McKay really did want to change it, but God told him no, not yet. So God was the one who was racist? Instead of saying DOM may have misinterpreted the will of God, it was God that demanded that policy.

    So easier to blame all the problems on God than to admit a prophet made a mistake. We don’t claim infallibility but to me it seems when it comes to specific situations, we want them to be infallible. This seems dangerous to me and going against the commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain (using God’s name to justify questionable acts.)

    Does anybody else see it this way or am I off my rocker?

    • cl_rand
      October 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

      No, you are directly astride your rocker.

      • October 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

        Everything makes complete sense if you give up the notion of a supreme deity. JS created a religion, not too much unlike the thousands of other religions that have sprung up since the beginning of time. During his reign, he fashioned his religion as he saw fit, and gave the whole enterprise respectability by claiming it was of/from god.

    • Bill
      October 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

      You are absolutely rigght about the church throwing God under the bus. Good insight. Poor Joseph. What else could he do?

      • Clark
        October 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        So did Abraham throw God under the bus? I don’t understand why so many can’t see that God tests our faith in many ways. It is different for everybody and something like this is toppling so many.

    • kinglamoni
      October 24, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Rock on Ann!

    • square peg
      October 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Ann,
      You are not off your rocker. I liked your statement “throwing God under the bus”. You don’t know how many times growing up I struggled to love God because I didn’t want to attribute these types of things to a god that I was also taught was loving. How are any of these things loving? How do you expect the youth(and adults) to believe that he is loving when there is so much evidence that he isn’t that we want to stick to being HIS idea. So my struggle to love God instead of to resent him finally made headway when I was willing to say that none of these ideas came from God, but that flawed people used God as the scapegoat for these things. How many good people turn their back on this version of God because they can’t stomach that he can do these things to the children he supposedly loves and cares about as individuals? It’s much easier for me to not suffer so much turmoil in my desire to love him when I no longer see him as the author of inconsistency and confusion as I once believed him to be due to all the contradictory things I learned and studied as a child and a teen.

    • Walter Strohbeck
      October 25, 2014 at 6:12 am

      100 % with you !

      • October 26, 2014 at 6:49 am

        29:51 They Are Confused – They Are Afraid (From The Power of One)

    • Ray
      October 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Yes I see exactly what you’re saying… This is the point Lindsay was making about the critical thinking we all need to learn more about. They’ve dumb so many people down with double binds and qualifying for exaltation! We’ve given the gift of our own discernment within us away for being worthy to be included. Thank you for giving us this perspective so we can all see through the fog of dogma1

    • JT
      October 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Ann,

      I’d say you arn’t off your rocker, but you have gotten off that bus.

    • Matt Neibaur
      October 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      I see it this way too.

      Mormonism begins with a moral dilemma. I believe the core problem with Mormonism is the idea of morality being defined by God. It should be the other way around: God is defined by morality. It is similar to a famous philosophical question posed by Plato around the same time as the fictitious Nephi. “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” (Euthyphro dilemma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma)

      Nephi’s dilemma: Nephi was reluctant to chop off the head of Laban. Nephi “felt” God insisting and so he carried out the heinous act. Nephi should have demanded an answer from God. Is something moral because it is the will of God or does morality exist independent of God? Putting it differently, can God do immoral acts – such as torture children, or chop off heads, command adultery? (If you answer “yes”, then God ceases to be moral. If you answer “no” then God ceases to be omnipotent – all powerful.)

      If whatever God commands is considered moral, then morality becomes obedience to God’s will. God could just as easily be the devil. His commands could include all manner of things like chopping off heads, polygamy, Danite atrocities, MMM, racism, sexism, discrimination, etc. If we know God’s will through his prophets, then obeying these men is the same as obeying God. The Mormon God decides morality and without his human mouthpiece we would be lost. Mormonism, the culture of unquestioning obedience is born.

    • Rick
      October 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Ann, you’re a rockstar

    • JT
      October 26, 2014 at 10:58 am

      I keep thinking about this Ann.

      So, we see “God’s” church throwing its God under the bus in order to survive. In the process it alters that god.

      You may have hit on the primary mechanism by which gods and religions co-evolved to produce diverse species of both.

    • Ryan Wimmer
      October 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Ann, I don’t think the church hierarchy believes Joseph made a mistake with polygamy. Furthermore Mormons believe in the God of the Bible, a God that ordered the genocide of the Canaanites, Hittites, etc. A God that set laws to kill your disobedient children, kill for blasphemy, and set laws governing slavery as well as polygamy. An angry God ordering Joseph to practice polygamy or die is small stuff and completely in the sphere of the God the Mormons believe in.

    • Lilli
      October 27, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Anyone who thinks Joseph was pressured by an angel to live polygamy or that he would obey such an angel, does not understand Joseph Smith. He was far too smart too fall for an angel commanding polygamy, for Joseph knew that polygamy was evil and he even warned the Saints to not listen to even an angel who came preaching anything contrary to the scriptures or Christ, like polygamy was.

      And it’s interesting that most people will believe anyone’s claims or hearsay about polygamy, yet hardly anyone will believe Joseph & Emma’s proven & published testimony from their own lips. I think it’s because most people want the vile stories about Joseph to be true, it gives them a pass to believe in polygamy too, rather then having to confront the idea that Brigham and Co. lied about Joseph, to try to cover for their vile acts.

      So no, I don’t believe Joseph was caught between an angry God and an angry wife, but he was caught between alot of evil men on every side of him who were secretly living or desiring polygamy and who were frustrated that Joseph wouldn’t go along with it and allow it. Thus they sullied his name once he was gone.

      • Ryan Wimmer
        October 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        Joseph’s word against multiple witnesses from the wives he was married to as well as multiple associates. Put emotional wishful thinking aside and approach logically you will come to the same conclusion about every one else had

        • Lilli
          October 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

          Ryan,

          I do not believe it is logical at all to believe that Joseph secretly lived polygamy. I believe it is wishful thinking to think he did. And not ‘everyone’ thinks he lived polygamy, many believe he was framed.

          • Ryan Wimmer
            October 30, 2014 at 12:38 am

            Lili, why would most historians and lay people looking at the evidence use “wishful” thinking that he practiced it? That is absurd. It is wishful thinking that he didn’t. The evidence is overwhelming, have you read Andrew Jenson’s interviews? Have you read Elizabeth Rollins or Zina Huntington diaries? All these women lying and Smith’s closest associates, both friendly and unfriendly, all lying too? Seriously? Apply logic rather than emotion based attachment to Smith combined with emotional hatred go polygamy.

      • Robert
        October 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        Well, Lilli you are simply wrong. Joseph did and lied, and Emma lied about it as well, probably to protect JS III and David.

        • Lilli
          October 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm

          Robert,

          You can think I am wrong, just like I think you are, but neither of us know for sure. For there is no proof either way. The best we have is just our opinions. If we don’t admit that, we really are deceived.

          • Swifftee
            December 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

            Lilli,

            The church disclosed that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy! There’s your proof. You opinion on the matter is no longer relevant because the prophet has spoken! Now if you hold onto your opinion that Jospeh Smith did not prectice polygamy then you are calling today’s prohet and apostles liars. Are you?

      • November 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

        Anybody can say an “angel” told me to do ….. Really? Polyandry is adultery. Besides, Emma Smith claimed she never knew anything about polygamy or polyandry. So, sounds like a secret too me. Just like incest. Men like to keep that a secret too.

        • Ryan Wimmer
          November 15, 2014 at 11:42 am

          Be careful with black and white statements. According to Debbie polyandry is adultery, I highly doubt Smith viewed what he was doing as adultery.

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

            I have a question. Did Brigham Young frame Joseph Smith? Why did he change the doctrine and covenant 132 to include plural marriage after Joseph Smith died? What did Brigham Young do for a living to be able to afford approx. 55 wives and 57 children? Why was most people in poverty except for him, and was he using the tithing of the church for his living expenses and for his family? Why wasn’t he living the “United Order”? What was “blood atonement”? When reading about Brigham Young’s life, I wonder if he was an ambitious man to take over the church. Just imagine, having all the sex you could have with different women who will only be loyal to you, having fame as a “prophet” of the church, having a military at your disposal who are sworn to you by a “blood atonement”, which could be used to intimidate and frighten people into being obedient to him. ( Also, think of Mountain Meadows Massacre, mormons dressed as Indians ambusing people). Having as much money as a person could want as he received tithing from others, so there you have it, fame, fortune, sex, power, a military unit at his disposal, and living in an isolated area so that no one would molest him. Who really was Brigham Young? What happened to his descendants?

          • L. Jones
            November 17, 2014 at 6:23 pm

            Smith gave himself a free pass on a lot of things. Women, wine and song. (well, song is ok). Oh, and smashing printing presses that print the truth. Oh, and the Danite thing. Oh, and telling people where buried treasure is, but never actually getting it.

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 9:17 pm

            I am just researching facts, and trying to decipher the truth, Brigham Young removed Doctrine and Covenants 101 which was published in 1835, and replaced it with Doctrine and Covenants 132 to reflect plural marriage and this was published in 1876. Joseph Smith died 27 June 1844. D&C 101 (Joseph Smith) condemns adultery, and marriage is between one man and one woman, D&C 132 ( Brigham Young) is plural marriage. Which one is the real culprit? or is it both and Joseph Smith married secretly without the sealing keys and without Emma Smith or the public aware? It was a secret until the saints moved to Utah then Brigham Young publiclly announced plural marriage (adultery). Incidentally, 98% of the LDS church does not agree with adultery.

      • L. Jones
        November 17, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        What, so you’re blaming this on Brigham? I think quite a few early leaders were anxious to jump on the polygamy bandwagon, but according to written history, Joseph was definitely in the driver’s seat.

    • Charlee
      October 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

      You asked the question, i’m answering. Purely and simply, i don’ see it your way.

    • Cam Torres
      October 27, 2014 at 4:09 am

      God gives us free agency, except when he takes it away by forcing his prophets to have sex with underage girls or else one of his angels with a flaming sword should kill him.

      And the essay fails to mention Joseph practiced polygamy SEVERAL years before he received the revelation.

      • Ryan Wimmer
        October 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        Not sure what you mean by underage, you mean by 21st century standards. Most state laws had 13 as the age of common consent for females to marry and you will also notice age was not an issue brought up during the anti-polygamy campaign of the 1880s. I believe the essay mentions the common belief that the revelation was received in 1831 but not written until 1843. Considering polygamy issue is mentioned in the Book of Mormon it is obvious Smith had been thinking about as early as 1829.

        • L. Jones
          November 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm

          The Book of Mormon prohibits polygamy.

      • Ryan Wimmer
        October 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        Remember Mormons believe in the God of the Bible who had no problem with using force of death to the disobedient or those who were not descendants of those he made his special promises to.

        • Lilli
          October 30, 2014 at 1:20 am

          Actually, it was the men who ‘wrote’ the Bible who didn’t have a problem with using force of death. There is no proof such ideas or commands came from God and they contradict everything God teaches. Unrighteous people almost always claim God told them to do what they do.

          But we do have Christ’s words (and he claimed to speak for God) that God would not do such things. So, much of the Bible and Christ preach opposite each other.

          • Ryan Wimmer
            October 31, 2014 at 10:41 am

            Your reasoning is very circular. Yes men wrote the Bible and everything you think you know about what god teaches came from a man. So sure, what one man says about god does contradict what another says about god. All the words of Christ have come to you from a man telling you what he said, just those that said Yaweh commanded murder. My point is that the force of death is quoting Yaweh himself in the Bible and Mormons believe the Bible.

      • November 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

        Also, if you do your research, the doctrine and covenants section 132 was changed after Joseph Smith died to reflect plural marriage. Brigham Young was divorced from some of his wives. If the doctrine was so true, why were so many wives so unhappy? Polygamy resulted in alot of poverty for those women. Also, Brigham Young used church funds to finance his household. How do you think he could afford 54 wives?

        • L. Jones
          November 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm

          Can you provide a citation?

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

            The law, however, was not binding upon all the Nauvoo saints. The revelation was not published openly during the Prophet’s lifetime, and was not binding upon church members until it was made public in the 1850’s. During the ensuing 4-5 decades, it was not uncommon for the leading Brethren of the Church to approach a monogamous brother and ask him to live the law, warning the brother that he would be under condemnation if he did not live the law. Here is the link:http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/content/section-132. Note that this revelation was not published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. He died 27 June 1844. This D&C 132 was not published until 1876!!!! Way after Joseph Smith died!!!!!

            Section 101 from the 1835 edition (and subsequent printings) was removed. Section 101 was a “Statement on Marriage” as adopted by a, 1835 conference of the church,[9][10] and contained the following text:

            Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.[11]

            This is from the lds church: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/sections-132-138/section-132-marriage-an-eternal-covenant?lang=eng: The revelation was not made public until Elder Orson Pratt, under the direction of President Brigham Young, announced it at a Church conference on 29 August 1852. The revelation was placed in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876.

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 8:38 pm

            Hi L. Jones,
            I did some research and got the sites for you, here they are:
            “The law, however, was not binding upon all the Nauvoo saints. The revelation was not published openly during the Prophet’s lifetime, and was not binding upon church members until it was made public in the 1850’s. During the ensuing 4-5 decades, it was not uncommon for the leading Brethren of the Church to approach a monogamous brother and ask him to live the law, warning the brother that he would be under condemnation if he did not live the law. Here is the link:http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/content/section-132. Note that this revelation was not published during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. He died 27 June 1844. This D&C 132 was not published until 1876!!!! Way after Joseph Smith died!!!!!

            Section 101 from the 1835 edition (and subsequent printings) was removed. Section 101 was a “Statement on Marriage” as adopted by a, 1835 conference of the church,[9][10] and contained the following text:

            Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.[11]

            When the Doctrine and Covenants were initially published, there was no polygamy, it was publically changed in 1876 to reflect polygamy, under the direction of the Brigham Young. Read on:

            This is from the lds church: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-student-manual/sections-132-138/section-132-marriage-an-eternal-covenant?lang=eng: The revelation was not made public until Elder Orson Pratt, under the direction of President Brigham Young, announced it at a Church conference on 29 August 1852. The revelation was placed in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876.

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm

            Doctrine and Covenants 101 was basically what the proclamation of the family was as far as one woman one man. Section 101 was later replaced with Section 132 under the direction of Brigham Young.

    • JC
      October 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

      hi Ann,
      They can’t just do that because that would put in question Joseph’s ability to be a true prophet which would then question his ability to translate, lead the church, etc. It would probably drive members out of the church in droves.

      • MC
        October 29, 2014 at 2:32 am

        Members are already resigning from the church in droves. There is that stuck between a rock and hard place again. It just gets more and more interesting.

    • Robert
      October 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      For “chapel Mormons, you can convince them of anything if you just say that God was the source of the event. But then who was the “mouthpiece”? And how credible is he? Recently brother Turley, the Church’s assistant Church historian, silenced questions about Joseph’s polygamy and polygamy from Questioning members by saying well “he was a prophet wasn’t he?” If you buy that notion then anything a “prophet” may easily be accepted as coming from God Himself.

    • Wolfgang Nordmeyer
      November 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      You are right on the mark. Excellent observation.

  6. Confused
    October 24, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Quote:
    “the Church permits a man whose wife has died to be sealed to another woman when he remarries. Moreover, members are permitted to perform ordinances on behalf of deceased men and women who married more than once on earth, sealing them to all of the spouses to whom they were legally married. The precise nature of these relationships in the next life is not known, and many family relationships will be sorted out in the life to come. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to trust in our wise Heavenly Father, who loves His children and does all things for their growth and salvation.”

    Why is this explanation good enough for heterosexual marriage/plural marriage, but not for same-sex marriage? Am I right in seeing a double standard here?

    • Ryan Wimmer
      October 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Ummm yeah, Mormons believe homosexuality is a sin and heterosexuality is not and that god at times is ok with plurality of wives. That is well known, double standard it may be, but nothing confusing or unordinary about it.

      • L. Jones
        November 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

        Double standards ARE confusing.

  7. cl_rand
    October 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

    What a thoroughly invigorating discussion. My only regret is that the four of you weren’t around back in 1970 when I began to lose my faith. The information readily available today was extremely difficult to discover or verify back then from a small farming town in northern Utah. Leaving the church was a very lonely endeavor for me.

    Thanks to Mormon Stories for making these types of intelligent discussions available. I must warn you though, if this type of thing continues I may be forced to make a monthly commitment and if I keep making a monthly commitment to everything I find praise worthy I’m apt to run out of money. That would not be praise worthy. Good on you all.

  8. square peg
    October 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Great interview! I enjoyed it so much. You all offered great clarity and perspective on so many things that I’ve been thinking deeply about the past two days since the essays were released. It’s so refreshing to hear your thoughts on all this that I find agreement and commonality with. You even made me laugh several times,which is something I’ve not done much of lately. I wish I could be surrounded by family and friends that I could actually discuss this stuff with. It can be depressing and isolating to feel alone in your family and social circle when you clearly are not matching the way the others around you are feeling and thinking. It has made me crazy how many of my family and friends say they had no knowledge of these essays when I approach the subject. Even when I inform them that these are put out by the church, they still seem so apprehensive or unwilling to check them out. They seem terrified to find out anything that might make them uncomfortable-even when the sources come from the church itself! It baffles me! I want so much to put this stuff out there everywhere-they need to be exposed to it. But it does no good if they are so scared and won’t touch it with a ten foot pole, regardless of the church being the one’s who released it. I am so annoyed that these good people don’t want to find “truth”. Why are they so afraid of it? These are the same people who seem so willing to jump on political issues, even get on board with conspiracies. Why can’t they apply that same level of scrutiny that they seem so willing to engage in politically, but not with their religion? They are so enraged by lack of transparency in the government or other public organizations. Why does this not concern them when it comes to the church? Is it because the government hasn’t ingrained into their minds their whole life that if they doubt or question or leave that it will affect their eternal salvation? Is that the single threat that scares them so badly that they want to hide their heads in the sand with the church when they don’t follow that mindset in the other areas of their lives? If you are concerned with truth and transparency, shouldn’t that follow through in EVERY area of your life? Why are they so willing to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the glaring inconsistencies and attempts to hide facts that exist in the church-things they would be vocally and publicly outraged about if these things existed anywhere else? Their hypocritical “pick-and-choose” style of what they are willing to investigate makes me nuts! I can’t figure out for the life of me how they are willing or able to live with this type of selective inner-denial.

    • JT
      October 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      “It can be depressing and isolating to feel alone in your family and social circle … They seem terrified to find out anything that might make them uncomfortable-even when the sources come from the church itself!”

      Dear Square Peg,

      Thank you for your comment. You are not alone.

      Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago the “Manifesto” came up when our home teacher was reading from the Ensign. (I quietly sit through these visits because the guy is both a friend and my dentist, and it would otherwise be awkward for my wife.) Against my better judgment I began responding to the statement, “polygamy ended with the Manifesto,” with a “Well, actually …”

      The look on his face – a mixture of anxiety and defiance – stopped me short.

      I’m not sure why I feel like such a self-indulgent prick every time my lips start forming faith-disrupting words, factual though they may be. Maybe it an empathic response to, or anticipation of, that anxiety I saw. Maybe I selfishly count the downside risk too high. Or, maybe it’s the same disposition that prevented me from going on a mission or bearing my testimony when I honestly believed there would come a time that I could.

      I don’t remember the panelists mentioning “inoculation” as the function of these “essays,” But thought through this analogy when I first heard it. The analogy lines as follows:

      Physical inoculation means injecting a blunted form of a pathogen into an uninfected body in order to “trick” it into building automatic defenses that kick in upon subsequent exposure to the pure pathogen.

      “Spiritual” inoculation means injecting a blunted form of the truth into an innocent mind in order to “trick” it into building automatic psychological defenses that kick in upon subsequent exposure to the complete truth.

      Perhaps we all protect ourselves from certain un-blunted truths by various self-inoculating mechanisms, conscious and unconscious. For instance, am I donating enough to Oxfam? No, I am not. Then I ask, what are we dealing with here? Perhaps what’s most important are the effects, whether they are harmful or benign.

      I can only say that I did not experience Mormonism as benign – and that the un-blunted truth was the antidote for what was ailing me. But I can’t say with certainty that Mormonism isn’t benign – all things considered – for my home teacher, or my family. This uncertainty, which I acknowledge and respect more now than ever, might be what keeps my mouth shut, even though I also often find it “depressing and isolating.”

  9. October 24, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Great podcast! Among other topics, I was especially interested in the discussion related to giving or not giving “kudos” to the church for releasing this essay. I was involved in several disciplinary councils, or church courts, before and after I served on the High Council. I would say that the most important factor in showing “mercy” towards a fellow member before the court was, did that person come forward on their own or were their actions revealed by another source. In the Church’s case it appears they did not come forward out of a sense of honor and honesty but because they got caught with their pants down (no pun intended). Even in their essay/confession they are trying to excuse away most of the despicable behavior of Joseph Smith. This would not sit well in a church court so by their own guidelines I have to give them zero kudos.

  10. Ryan
    October 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I have a little story related to your discussion on how this particular essay helps the faithful membership, or at least helps deflect the sense of being lied too, as Lindsay described was her experience. I know of at least one member of the Q12 that has had a family experience with this issue.

    My brother is a history teacher at a Jr. High in Northern Utah (I won’t say where). He is young, thoughtful, and a great teacher, who happens to be very well liked by his students. He is semi-active in the church but “uncorrelated” and aware of the problematic areas of church history.

    A couple years ago there was a group of girls who liked to spend their open study time in his classroom (they could choose which class to go to). One these girls happened to be the granddaughter of one of the quorum of the twelve (I won‘t say who).

    Anyway, one day they came into his class and were all excited about something. They asked my bro. “Did you know that Brigham Young had 55 wives?” (They were surprised by the number, not that he was a polygamist) My brother innocently replied, “Yeah I did know that, and I think Joseph had something like 25.”

    But of course the idea that Joseph married other women had not been taught to them, and their reaction was pretty extreme. They all got very defensive and told him that he was wrong and there was no way it could be true. One said that she had just gone to see the “Joseph and Emma” movie and if it was true, they would have said something about it in the movie.

    Realizing the bomb he had stepped on, my Bro. didn’t back track his statement, but tried to defuse the situation. He basically said that it was probably best not debate it, and they could talk to their parents or church leaders about it. The granddaughter of the Q12 said that her grandfather was coming for dinner that night and she was going to ask him.

    Well, the next day they all came back chagrined to find out the truth. My bro. asked the one girl what her grandfather said. He had basically given her the faithful LDS response, but confirmed, of course, that Joseph had other wives. My brother didn’t a have a chance to talk much more about it, but could tell they were all pretty unsettle by it.

    Anyway, I thought this was a funny, though very typical story, but interesting that a member of the 12 was involved.

  11. Alex
    October 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Outstanding work and analysis to all of the panelists. Everyone needs to listen to this podcast in conjunction with the essay.

    Now that the past has been deconstructed some, I would like to hear an extension of this podcast and a discussion of the current and future implications of these doctrines, as they are practically applied in the modern church. How are members of the church thinking about polygamy going forward? Specifically, as it could relate to the health of LDS marriages in general? Do these “doctrines” create a greater motivation for keeping strong marriages, or possibly undermine them? What about the implications from the plural sealing acknowledgement in the essay? What about the doctrinal ramifications of the historical polygamy essay read in conjunction with D&C 132? In other words, what types of conversations among faithful latter-day couples, who are comfortable with all of the historical issues, having now?

  12. Michael Surkan
    October 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t see why so many people find Joseph Smith’s polyandry so troublesome. Allowing women to have more than one husband seems to be quite progressive (as opposed to polygamy). In fact, it seems almost sexist to think that the eternal principal of polygamy (which the church believes in) is fine whereas polyandry is not.

    Perhaps feminists (and like minded folk) should embrace the history of polyandry as a great example of how empowering the church is.

    • Devin
      October 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Excellent point Michael.
      It troubles me that so many members are fine with the inherent sexism of not only the LDS church but Christianity in general, which I believe simply reflects of the societal sexism that was present when these churches were founded.
      There is a fundamental “betterness” about God the Father, who is male vs. “Heavenly Mother”. Man can be sealed to any number of women. Why?
      Men preside over the family, but they do not rule and women are equal partners. What exactly does that mean? I was okay with that once, until like so many things, I realized it makes no sense.
      Why in the world do man and woman not both covenant to obey God? Why does the woman obey the man and the man obey God?
      Examples go on, but they leave no doubt that despite careful wording and pandering to women’s sensibilities, Men are in charge, both here and in the eternity.
      Why don’t we even know anything about this heavenly mother? We’ve been told because God doesn’t want humans abusing her name the way we do his. She got a glass jaw and needs protecting? Even that tender explanation is sexist!

      • Lilli
        October 27, 2014 at 12:35 am

        I believe it’s because Brigham & Co. made up the whole ‘men preside thing’, along with polygamy & D&C 132 and he wrote the temple stuff because he liked and believed in controlling & ruling over women, but it’s all false and contrary to the teachings of Christ.

        Joseph understood women’s equality alot better and did not believe in polygamy or men ruling over women.

        But Christ was women’s greatest defender if you actually study his teachings instead of accepting 6000 years of men’s rule over women in almost every religion known to man. The teachings of Christ is where we learn that both men & women are to be completely equal in all things, in church, home & society, as per the Golden Rule and the laws of love.

    • square peg
      October 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Michael,
      I do not think the principal of polygamy OR polyandry is fine. I don’t believe that men or women should have to share their affection, attention, etc. with more than one person. It is not fair to EITHER gender. And remember, polyandry was only allowed at that time. You do not ever see women now whose husbands die who are allowed to be sealed to another husband in the temple even though men are currently allowed to be sealed to another woman after his wife dies. So the way it stands in the church now-it is not equal or empowering at all.

      • square peg
        October 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

        Clarification from my last post: Polyandry was not allowed then, it was just carried out in cases that Joseph “felt” he needed to carry out. It certainly wasn’t the case that any polygamous woman could simply state that she wanted two husbands. That of course only occurred with the already married women that Joseph chose to include in his marriage pool for whatever insane reason.

    • Lis
      October 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Whenever discussing issues of feminisim and equality along with someone making a ‘choice’, some key points to consider are:

      1) Where they able to make a choice?
      My view is that any decision between consenting adults that doesn’t hurt anyone else (other than prudes that screw their noses up etc – them being offended doesn’t count), is fine in my book. So did these decisions get made between consenting adults or made ‘for’ the women by men with systemic power and dominion over them? It seems the later to me.

      2) Was that choice respected when/if voiced?
      In the case of Emma Smith, we know that it wasn’t. This sets up a great case study for why #1 wasn’t true for many/most. When you take the significant influence the church and it’s leaders had over women of the day, and see the ‘most powerful’ woman in the church structure loose out, it wouldn’t give much hope that things would turn out any other way for others.

      To that end, and as a woman who grew up LDS, I can’t see the LDS church history as anything closely resembling ’empowering woman’ as you put it. Their views of women as possesions to be traded or controlled have cast a long shadow over many females lives, including my own. The experience was certainly not empowering. If it where, they wouldn’t excommunicate those who publicly identify as feminists and try to create equality e.g. Kate Kelly as the latest in a long line.

    • VerlS
      October 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Well… I think one issue of polyandry is that Joseph was sealing himself to someone else’s wife – for eternity. The women were not sealed to both men, only to Joseph, NOT to their first husband. So, they could stay married (for time) to their first husband, but Joseph got her for eternity!! I know my husband would have a HUGE issue with that. Oh, and if she’s sealed to Joseph and not the father of her children, then that leaves the children unable to be sealed to both parents. Again… Troubling.

    • Zelphs_Siberian_DNA
      October 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

      The women who engaged in polyandry did not INITIATE the process. J. Smith instigated these relationships, conveniently when several husbands were absent. The failed polyandry with Jane Law was a catalyst that led to his imprisonment and subsequent death. While I don’t interpret the Bible literally, there isn’t any Biblical precedent for polyandry (or ephebophilia). If Emma had acummulated 34+ husbands, then I would consider the practice progressive.

    • JT
      October 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Michael,

      For those who miss you’re smiley face, it’s worth thinking about the asymmetries that existed between the Mormon practice of polyandry and polygyny, and evidently, still exist.

    • Adrie de Jong
      October 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Micheal,

      I recognise your Big Yellow Smiley ! Somewhere else on one of the latest podcasts you wrote, that beside the kids Joseph Smith had with Emma, all others who claimed to be great-gr-gr-grandchildren from Joseph, didn’t have the right dna-matches.

      This statement you made was very important for me to finally make a decision in my troubled mind if Joseph had or had not sex with his ‘eternal wives’. Due to what you wrote I choose to believe he had not.

      I like the article in abc-news, they share the same thought:
      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/mormon-founder-teen-bride-polygamy-days-26431929

      I still have to read the statements of the church on there site. To me polygamy was nothing new when I became a member at age 14 in 1976, I read about it in all encyclopedias that I could get my hands on. My idea when I was a member was that plural marriage was about a higher mental attitude of respect and seeking to follow God in a pure way. Joseph having no other gr-gr-gr-grandchildren beside those of Emma, proves to me he had that same attitude of respect to the women he choose.

      Is there a way you could share more info on this investigation that no other gr.grandchildren were found and maybe you got names and from which plural wives these people were who claimed they were family of Joseph Smith, but the dna-tests showed they were not ? I’m very interested ! :o)

      I’m also listening to The Year of Polygamy from Lindsay and I have been very saddened with the attitude of Brigham Young and other churchleaders who used women this way cause of their lower behaviour. But to me Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are not the same kind of men. To me Joseph Smith had a higher vision and attitude. Offcourse Lindsay is shaking my conclusion by her statement that the women didn’t lie when they told they had sex with Joseph, but I believe they lied: these women were not free, I believe they told what they were told to tell.

      I don’t want to look away from Joseph Smiths faults, but I simply believe he had a higher attitude. Sex can be easily used as a messy itchy thing to sensationally slam people in the face with, to give Joseph Smith a dirty look, as lower minded people like to do. It is said [in dutch] about gossip, ‘where smoke is, is fire’, but to me that fire is never about the person who’s name is used, but about the one who tells the gossip, whom is projecting himself on the one who’s name is used. Especially when you listen how hot and vibrant the gossip is told ! According to me I think what is said about Joseph Smith has nothing to do with him, but just the interpretation of the one who said so.

      So, if one of these plural wives will have a great-gr-gr-grand child of Joseph Smith living today, my conclusion will be scattered and I’ll reconcider the words of Lindsay. Untill that day I believe and love to see the pure and higher attitude that I believe was the reason why Joseph Smith acted as he acted.

      I must say I am very happy the church is throwing some pebbles in the water and create some frowns on our faces and make us skip, hop and run wild with our ideas about it ! I truly believe they are trying to do the right thing. I don’t mind if it is put in their own way, in the frame of thoughts that is close to their own. I’m also bound to my thoughts and interpretation of Joseph Smith, that keeps me loyal to him. I’m probably stronger tied to the testamony I had about him 30 years ago, than I should be as an ex-mormon.

      I have to listen again to the podcast. As far as I understood it, I really loved it !

      Micheal, I hope you can share more about Joseph Smith having no other gr-gr-gr-grandschildren except from Emma. It would really mean a lot to me !

      Thank you ! :o)

      Peace,
      Adrie de Jong
      The Netherlands

      • Michael Surkan
        October 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        We had a lengthy discussion about the puzzling lack of Joseph Smith polygamous progeny on the LDSFreedomForum. You can find a lot more details about the DNA testing that has been done and the people who claimed to be Joseph Smith descendants there.

        http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=34284

        I am still leaning towards the theory that Joseph Smith never actually had intercourse with his polygamous wives. In fact, I wonder if his polygamous marriages might not have been complete fabrications that were promulgated after his death to bolster the claims of the polygamous Mormons who followed Young.

        It is highly suspicious that all of these claims of Smith polygamy came AFTER the emigration to Utah. Even the D&C revelation that commanded polygamy was release after Joseph’s death, and was written in someone else’s hand (i.e. his scribe).

        It is VERY convenient for the polygamous practitioners to release revelations and affidavits after Joseph was dead.

        Why is it that none of the people who did not follow Young out west ever believed Joseph either practiced polygamy or had received revelation about it? One would think that at least some people in the competing sects would have had knowledge of Joseph’s polygamy.

        When coupled with the fact that DNA testing has been unable to find any polygamous descendants from Joseph one really has to wonder if it ever happened. Over 20 polygamous wives and not ONE confirmed descendant? I realize that there is one case where the subject has a genetic abnormality that makes it impossible to verify Joseph’s paternity but it beggars belief that there would be only a single polygamous descendant alive today when one considers all the wives Joseph was purported to have.

        • Thirstingforknowledge
          October 27, 2014 at 7:48 am

          I don’t think you have looked very deeply into this issue. Accusations were made very early on in Mormon History of Joseph being involved in polygamy. Hence the article on marriage included in the first edition of D&C. This was written to combat rumors of the polygamous escapades of church leaders. All the evidence against Joseph is from the time he was living. I take it you haven’t read the Nauvoo expositor. From diaries to sealing records, it’s all there. Remember Oliver accused Joseph of a filthy affair with Fanny Alger. The one the essay lists as Joseph’s first plural wife. He married her before the sealing power had been restored, so the for eternity only defence falls flat on its face in this instance. Maybe you should read the Journals of the Partridge sisters who were sealed to Joseph twice. The first time behind Emma’s back. Again the evidence against him is undeniable.

        • Adrie de Jong
          October 29, 2014 at 11:58 am

          Hi Micheal,

          Thank you so much for the link ! There is so much information !!!!!
          I bookmarked the urls and have to read them still. My english is not so good, got to translate certain words while reading, so, I’m slow.

          To me the thought that Joseph had no sex with his plural wives is very new to me.

          In every encyclopedie I looked up the word ‘Mormon’ I read about polygamy. So, I simply accepted, when I became a member in 1976, it had happened, as I had to accept no priesthood for blacks and women. I never thought I could see polygamy in a new way.

          It’s only since I jumped into internet about Mormons last februari and got on this website, and also on other ones, that I learned about Joseph Smith not being sexualy active in plural marriage.

          The reason why it is so important to me, is: I know how nasty lies and gossip is, trying to tear people down into negative looks and witholding people to get to know the real person for truth. All these words about making Joseph Smith looking like a lustfull man not being able to keep his hands to himself and giving himself way to catch as many women as he could, throwing God underneath the horse (did they have busses in his days? ;o) …), by using revelations to give him rights to follow his lustfull desires, it makes me feel too much like people gossiping and lying and projecting their own low lustfull feelings upon him.

          Why was he running around telling he did no polygamy ? Why even risk jail by destroying the publisher of the paper full of lies? Why was Emma saying one thing or the other, like she was believing Joseph Smith one way and got influenced by the lies other way, not really knowing what to think her self sometimes ?

          And like you say … why is there no offspring ? 33 Women should have brought forth more than enough of them ? Even those who thought they were, were tested negatively, except for two, … only two ????? You can’t say his seed was bad, Emma gave enough children to show otherwise !

          Since the idea is so new to me I probably will be holding my jaws into the subject like a pitbull untill I find something that is really convincing me that Joseph Smith deserves to be called lustfull. And there is only one way to convince me: offspring !

          To me Joseph Smith was a man with a high attitude, towards life, towards women, and in his way to try to follow God. I believe he had his faults, but does that necessarily have to be the lustfull thing ? There is too much going on with Brigham Young wanting to use Joseph Smith to make polygamy look right. I am easy to believe D&C 132 is fake, for The Church of Christ doesn’t use it in their D&C and do I understand correct that it is the only chapter from D&C not written by Joseph himself ? Well, all these things are discussed on the messageboard you shared in your link, and that might take some time for me before I have studied it all. :o)

          I simply hold on to the first idea I had of Joseph Smith as a man with a high attitude and who had great respect for others, that he deserves in return. I geuss this new look on him only underlines this idea about him and that is very important to me.

          I am glad we have dna research nowadays that could correct assumptions we had for a long time that simply were not true. Let the first gr-gr-gr-grandchild show me differently and I have to adjust my ideas.

          Thank you so much for so much information ! :o)
          You really gave me some meat to chew on ! :oD

          Peace,
          Adrie de Jong
          The Netherlands

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

            I have a question. Did Brigham Young frame Joseph Smith? Why did he change the doctrine and covenant 132 to include plural marriage after Joseph Smith died? What did Brigham Young do for a living to be able to afford approx. 55 wives and 57 children? Why was most people in poverty except for him, and was he using the tithing of the church for his living expenses and for his family? Why wasn’t he living the “United Order”? What was “blood atonement”? When reading about Brigham Young’s life, I wonder if he was an ambitious man to take over the church. Just imagine, having all the sex you could have with different women who will only be loyal to you, having fame as a “prophet” of the church, having a military at your disposal who are sworn to you by a “blood atonement”, which could be used to intimidate and frighten people into being obedient to him. ( Also, think of Mountain Meadows Massacre, mormons dressed as Indians ambusing people). Having as much money as a person could want as he received tithing from others, so there you have it, fame, fortune, sex, power, a military unit at his disposal, and living in an isolated area so that no one would molest him. Who really was Brigham Young? What happened to his descendants?

        • November 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

          Thank you Michael!
          So, was it a conspiracy from Brigham Young to blame Joseph Smith for polygamy? D&C 132 was changed by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death. Brigham Young must have been a bully. He played a part in the Mountain Meadow Massacre. In his later years he became more monogamous with his favorite wife, I believe her name was Amelia, and she did not live with the rest of the wifes, but in her own home. Did church funds at that time go to support all of Brigham’s wives since he was the prophet and he got the tithing? I wonder. He was also divorced several times.

      • Thirstingforknowledge
        October 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

        Look at my reply to Michael below. Again it is ridiculous to propose that these polygamous relationships did not include sex. Why do you think members were so troubled over this? Why do you think Emma was so opposed to this? Remember his marriage to Fanny Alger was before the sealing power was restored. Also consider D&C 132. These relationships are justified in order to raise up seed. This is explained as an eternal principle that existed before the foundation of the world. Nothing in the revelation implies unions for eternity only. Seriously if these were unions on paper only, then nobody would have been loosing sleep. The letters, journals and other writings are too telling. Furthermore in the revelation Joseph is inquiring about adultery in regards to these polygamous relationships. If sex wasn’t involved then why would he be worried about adultery?

        • Michael Surkan
          October 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

          Thirstforknowledge may be right. Joseph certainly may have been a practicing polygamist. I had been under the impression that most of the evidence for Joseph’s polygamy came after his death, from people in Utah. I had heard about concerns over his “affair” with Fanny even while he was in Nauvoo but didn’t realize people accused Joseph of polygamy prior to his death.

          In any event, I still find it strange that not a singly polygamous descendent of Joseph has been found with DNA testing. In fact, many of the prominent claimants to Smith heritage were found not to be related to him after all. This is very strange. If Joseph had so many numerous polygamous liaisons why is there no progeny?

          • November 10, 2014 at 2:01 pm

            Michael,
            I read stories of a doctor performing abortions for Joseph Smith. Is that true? Will we ever find out the real story?

          • Michael Surkan
            November 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

            @Debbie – I have no idea about abortions that may have been performed. Did any of the women who publicly acknowledged their polygamous/polyandrous unions with Joseph ever mention they had abortions? I have no idea.

            In any event, I doubt very much that abortions were conducted very frequently in mid 19th century America.

          • Michael Surkan
            November 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

            @Debbie – A bigger point is that all the claims of living people to polygamous descent of Joseph have been disproven where DNA testing was done (which is most of them). There is only one exception due to a genetic anomaly that makes tracing paternal genetic lines impossible due to a genetic mutation the claimant has.

            Still, I think it is very revealing to discover that most of the people who had historically claimed to be polygamous descendants of Joseph were not. Somebody had their facts wrong…

          • Debbie
            November 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

            What about Dr. John C. Bennett? Joseph had him excommunicated. Do you think he performed abortions, and did he go about lying about Joseph Smith? Some people believe that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy at all, so, did Brigham Young have a part in his assasination? What about the mountain meadows massacre? Blood atonement? is that a secret combination?

    • Lilli
      October 27, 2014 at 12:37 am

      While allowing women to have more than 1 husband is more fair on a certain level, still, 2 wrongs don’t make one right.

      More adultery by more partners does not make adultery any less hurtful, wrong or destructive to one’s soul.

    • November 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      So, if polyandry is introduced, then where is the sanctity of marriage? Why get married at all?

  13. Devin
    October 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    We’re also willing to throw Emma under the bus. She’s the monster making Joseph choose between God and her. Why are we content to leave polygamy in the past and not think about it? My wife prefers to just ignore the little nagging feeling that marriage and family are not what the current version of the church likes to publicly say: The two of you spending a blissful eternity together surrounded by your earthly progeny. The essay says that polygamy was part of a larger revelation that brought us the doctrines of eternal marriage and families. Today, the eternal nature of families is our main selling point. Boy, that image sounds good! Lurking behind that in a place most of us choose not to think about is the fact that plural marriage is still an eternal principle. So what if we can’t practice it in this life (I would say because societal norms and laws don’t allow it. we’ll see how this changes with the various same-sex marriage rulings)? If rank and file members were to stop and think (as many are forced to do when they remarry a man who is already sealed to deceased wife)they realize that to believe in the Church means to accept polygamy.
    So while a belief in eternal families remains intact, what changes is the definition of a family in eternity. For one thing, our children resume their role as, not OUR children, but our siblings. What gives us any greater claim on them than we have on anyone who is sealed into the family of God? Maybe we just choose to hang out with them because of an earthly association we had. If that’s the case, why do we need sealing?
    Another thing that changes is the blissful image two people have while gazing into the mirrors of eternity in an LDS sealing room. Just the 2 of us forever! We have no idea how many wives our God has. We don’t know how many spirit babies one woman can crank out. Maybe to endless increase, men need endless wives. At that point, what significance does my earthly wife have?
    What if I say, “Sweetheart, neither of us wants more women in this relationship. Let’s just have as many spirit children as you can bear”. What if that’s not good enough? I’m not godlike because I didn’t do what he does and have numerous, possibly numberless wives? What if an angel shows up with a sword and forces me to take another resurrected woman as a wife? There certainly is a precedent for that right? Can I just say, you know what? Can I can go down a kingdom or two where my reward for living every CURRENT commandment during my lifetime, while secretly abhorring the thought of future plural marriage is not some jerk angel trying to force me to comply? Check our agency at the pearly gates? Where, by the way was Joseph’s agency when the angel came to compel him?
    I’m writing all this like a guy who believes, but isn’t happy about what he believes. In truth, that’s they way many faithful mormons are, with or without consciously acknowledging it. And when you put all this in these terms, doesn’t it all sound crazy? Why can’t my loved ones step back and look at what they really believe?
    I tend to believe there is no God, which is unknowable. But if I believed in a benevolent God and an eternal soul, I would have to say it’s probably as simple as I’m still with my wife and parents and kids for eternity because there’s a good place prepared for the good and we can choose who we associate with. IF there’s an afterlife, doesn’t that make a lot more sense?

    • Lilli
      October 27, 2014 at 12:53 am

      You have to be smarter then the average angel. You have to come to understand truth enough to be able to discern truth from error, even from angels. You have to be able to decide who of all the voices on earth or from heaven, are right.

      I for one believe in Christ and only in his words. I would not listen to any person, prophet or angel who came preaching or demanding polygamy, for Christ taught that polygamy was adultery and thus it would be impossible for God to send an angel to tempt, teach or force us to live polygamy. For it’s counter to God’s character to tempt us to do evil.

      But Satan loves polygamy and continually sends his angels & prophets to deceive those who don’t know right from wrong regarding marriage. For he knows that most men will fall for or at least support polygamy, in some form, like most all men do today in the Church, where they allow ‘serial polygamy’, for Satan knows that polygamy appeals greatly to the natural man and only a righteous man who respects and loves his wife can see through polygamy for what it is, the abusive adulterous abomination, that Joseph Smith and Christ taught it was.

      Prove all things & person’s before believing anything, by comparing it or them with what Christ taught.

    • Debbie
      November 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      What about Dr. John C. Bennett? Joseph had him excommunicated. Do you think he performed abortions, and did he go about lying about Joseph Smith? Some people believe that Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy at all, so, did Brigham Young have a part in his assasination? What about the mountain meadows massacre? Blood atonement? is that a secret combination?

      • L. Jones
        November 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        Are you for real? Or are you just joshing? You’ve posted 3 times re abortion, and I think you should cite your source or just give it up.

    • Debbie
      November 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      I believe Emma Smith was a good woman. Do you think Brigham Young smeared her name because she wouldn’t marry him? Did Emma really know Joseph Smith practiced polygamy? I read a book, “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Volume 1, Richard and Pamela Price, 2000, Price Publishing Company, Independence, MO that stated Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy. Who is really right? Why did Brigham Young change the Doctrine and Covenants 132 to reflect polygamy? There were many prophecies Brigham Young ascribed to stating that if the church did not embrace polygamy, it would be destroyed. Actually, the opposite would have happened if the church continued polygamy, the church would have been destroyed.
      Polygamy is such a critical issue. Why was the “angel” not named that threatened to kill Joseph if he did not engage in it? All the other angels were named that brought about the restoration of the gosepel, i.e., Moroni, John, Michael.
      Could it have been really Brigham Young that later changed history as he had the records of the church? Joseph never seemed to be one to threaten or force anybody, but Brigham did. Did Brigham publish that and changed church history? Brigham Young was the one that came out with it publically when the church settled in Utah.
      I wish I could get the answers to these questions. Sometimes I really feel Joseph Smith was innocent, because there was no children by any of these wives. Who said he was married? Brigham Young? Do you think Brigham Young had his wives lie for him? Many of the women he married, were supposedly Joseph Smith’s wives. He seems to be an arrogant, intimidating, man. He has no mercy, (Mountain Meadows Massacre). He seemed self-absorbed. He didn’t treat the women well at all. He had 10 divorces For somebody who is a prophet of God, that seems to be alot of divorce.

    • JR Mac
      November 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

      These are great points. And to add to the conversation….if my husband becomes exalted and “a god” and I am perfected and become his “goddess” and then our two sons also become Gods….we then all go off to create our own worlds and rule over them….what becomes of our original eternal family? We won’t even be together because we are all on different planets! What’s the point in being sealed here on earth? “Families Can Be Together Forever “……really??

  14. Adam
    October 24, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I just started listening (only about 30 mins in) but there was some discussion about who actually wrote this essay. I was told, by one of his colleagues, that it was written, by Jed Woodworth, who assisted with Rough Stone Rolling. I was told about the extent of the revision that goes into these essays before they are published so who knows how much of what he originally wrote is left in the essay.

    So, Lindsay, you are right. It was written by a man.

  15. October 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Great podcast! Among other topics, I was especially interested in the discussion related to giving or not giving “kudos” to the church for releasing this essay. I was involved in several disciplinary councils, or church courts, before and after I served on the High Council. I would say that the most important factor in showing “mercy” towards a fellow member before the court was, did that person come forward on their own or were their actions revealed by another source. In the Church’s case it appears they did not come forward out of a sense of honor and honesty but because they got caught with their pants down (no pun intended). Even in their essay/confession they are trying to excuse away most of the despicable behavior of Joseph Smith. This would not sit well in a church court so by their own guidelines I have to give them zero kudos.

    • Debbie
      November 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Wouldn’t people get excommunicated for polyandry? So, what was the church membership standing of the first 4 prophets? Would they have been excommunicated? So, only the leaders of the church can practice polyandry and polygamy? All others will get excommunicated? Allowing them to have church membership, is that rationalizing sin? I wish we could get answers.

  16. Octagonal Peg
    October 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I have to agree, this is one of the best podcasts to date. Timely, valuable, insightful, just so good; even though the subject matter is to me so sad. (Polygamy and Polyandry in general, and the very selective and oh so carefully worded essay.) I was sad when you all had to wrap it up, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    I do have a question, and would love see the panel address it. That is, while the while the essay did acknowledge that JS “married” already married women, they didn’t address (I think for obvious reasons) that he didn’t even keep them between himself and there husbands. For example, Miranda Johnson Hyde became his “wife” after Joseph sent Orson on a mission (to Jerusalem and Germany). Of course, Joseph and Miranda had some history dating back to Kirkland, which nearly got Joseph gelded, but Joseph apparently wasn’t selfish when it came to Miranda, and let her also “marry” (read: borrow? Maybe a more extended example of Polyandry?) Willard Richards in the winter of 1842. Was this the only example? Here is a link to Devery Anderson’s Sunstone article about it: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/i-could-love-them-all-nauvoo-polygamy-in-the-marriage-of-willard-and-jennetta-richards/

  17. Ray
    October 25, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for getting this discussion put together so quickly after the essay was published… The point Lindsay made on several different levels about our need to utilize more critical thinking in our lives is crucial. Religions have been the enslavement mechanism for to much of our history. I hope we can all learn to think beyond the dictates and rationalizations of all man made religions, then move on with our own divine inheritance within each of us.

    • Debbie
      November 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      But this is supposed to be the true church! How will this apply to us today? What does this mean to us? What are we supposed to do with this information? Is this information correct? Suppose it isn’t and it was Brigham Young that changed church history? Then we will be mislead again!!! Ugh!!! Somebody please come out with the correct story!!!! I still don’t think that we are getting all the facts, but only what somebody in church hierarchy thinks that church members need to know for damage control. Maybe they should have kept it under the rug. It brings up more questions, and still no answers. For example, if Joseph Smith had more wives, where are the children?????? I still think Brigham Young could have had a part to play in a smear campaign blaming the polygamy on Joseph Smith, and then he changed church history and the Doctrine and Covenants to promote polygamy for his own selfish sexual desires. He didn’t treat his wives good, just Amelia, his last wive that was over 20 years younger than him!!!!

  18. JT
    October 25, 2014 at 9:37 am

    First, this was a fantastic discussion and analysis. Thank you all.

    Second, I started reading Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliess this morning, taking J’s recommendation to heart. I was struck by his mention in the preface that many of Joseph’s “eternal” wives became proxy “in the flesh wives” to Brigham Young and Heber Kimball for the purpose of “raising seed.”

    Well, it seems to me that Brigham and Heber were as much proxy husbands. And, if reality twists in that screwy direction, I am now, as an apostate, merely the proxy “in the flesh” husband for some yet-to-be-determined Mormon priesthood holder to whom the Lord will “gift” my faithful wife for all eternity.

    This would bother me if it wasn’t so absurd. And for that reason I’ll not share this this inference with her.

  19. Rude Dog
    October 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks John for another spectacular podcast. I was still feeling the endorphines from the Brent Metcalfe series, this was a good desert!

    Althought there was really nothing new for me, this panel was able to encapsulate a couple of thoughts for me. I’ve had my issues with Lyndsay but her writing on this subject and efforts over at Fmh are impeccable. I really appreciated her perspective today, including the perspective made later in the podcast asking; “if this is about sealing peoples and families, why instead of being sealed to Helen Mar, Joseph could have be sealead to Heber?”. That was an excellent comment, one that I hadn’t thought of, and does make sense of the seemingly difficult understanding of why male sealings were practiced, especially with Brigham Young. I also appreciated the comment about why an eternal principle of Marriage would be employed by the Lord to solve a temporal problem like “raising seed unto me”? I hadn’t ever thought about that before and it makes a poignent and salient point, especially in the light that polygamous marriages produced less children, not more. I love the perspectives, the panel was perfect.

    Let me ask thought. Are we discussing D&C 132 enough? I went through D&C 132 last night just out of curiousity and I am, like the last time I went throught (which had been awhile) always just stunned at how this cannonized section is so disconnected from our church and consideration. I think D&C 132 needs its own podcast to try and reconcile the paradox that lies in this section of scripture so widely unread, misunderstood, and yet so consequential to our history.

    Keep going John. Your best work is unfolding.

    • Eli
      October 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      I agree 100% about D&C 132. I would love to hear a podcast dedicated to that section. Every time I read it I can’t believe it is in the cannon. I think I read somewhere that Joseph F. Smith really regretted publishing it. A decision they made in effort to counter the Reorganized Church that sent missionaries to Salt Lake claiming Joseph Smith Jr. never practiced polygamy.

  20. DP
    October 25, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Brilliant! Brilliant! I was shouting Amen all through this podcast.

    When you get to post manifesto polygamy, I hope one of your historian guests will be able to point out the lie that most “plural” marriages ceased after the second manifesto and that the Church began disciplining those who entered into plural marriages after that time. The essay (Church) wants to draw a line in the sand that shows the leaders got serious after the 2nd manifesto. Not so. My own Great Grandfather John Cannon married two additional women several years later than the 2nd Manifesto (1904) and he was never disciplined. The second wives and children were regarded as “Aunts” and “Cousins”. Joseph F Smith attended my Great Grandfather’s funeral and the wives were in attendance on the front row. He knew about them and John Cannon was a faithful mormon in all of their eyes. It is true that some were disciplined. But some were not. Who were the special ones that were privileged to live on in polygamy and the others were disciplined? There was tons of confusion during this time.

  21. October 25, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Great podcast! Among other topics, I was especially interested in the discussion related to giving or not giving “kudos” to the church for releasing this essay. I was involved in several disciplinary councils, or church courts, before and after I served on the High Council. I would say that the most important factor in showing “mercy” towards a fellow member before the court was, did that person come forward on their own or were their actions revealed by another source. In the Church’s case it appears they did not come forward out of a sense of honor and honesty but because they got caught with their pants down (no pun intended). Even in their essay/confession they are trying to excuse away most of the despicable behavior of Joseph Smith. This would not sit well in a church court so by their own standards I have to give them zero kudos.

  22. Walter Strohbeck
    October 26, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Same bucket – different @#$!#@ ?
    The integrity of the Leadership’s strategy remains a predictable constant.
    Spin, weasel words and a few soft lies.
    But weasel words can never camouflage the ugly truth that the character of Joseph is in question ! A true prophet must defend the character of God!

    • October 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Sorry for the duplicate posts. I’m new and it took two days for the post to show up so I tried a few different avenues.

  23. David
    October 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Great podcast! I think that these new essays on polygamy are devastating for the church. I do not really understand how active members can remain faithful knowing that Joseph Smith did things relating to marriage that were against the law, against the standards of society at his time, and against present moral beliefs. Like if God is eternal, then polygamy is always right and we would still have it. But if polygamy is wrong, then God would not have allowed his prophets to practice it and preach it.

    Fascinating discussion on the implications of this latest information posted by the church.

    Thank you!

  24. Thirstingforknowledge
    October 27, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I wish members of the lds church would stop trying to justify Joseph’s polygamy by saying that God commanded it in the old Testament. God did not command polygamy nor did He approve of it. Furthermore those who entered into it suffered greatly. If you’re really interested in understanding Biblical polygamy then you can down load an article from the link below that explains this issue wonderfully. https://www.dropbox.com/s/6yu98owvs77rcz2/OldTestamentPolygamy.pdf?dl=0
    Understand that polygamy was a custom of rulers of the pagan societies. At times the rulers of Israel desired to be like those other Kings and they suffered greatly for that desire. Please take the time to read the article.

    • Lilli
      October 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Thirstingforknowledge,

      I totally agree. God has never commanded or allowed polygamy ever in the history of the world. But most men and many prophets have fallen for it because it’s so enticing to the natural man.

      Most all men past & present have wanted access to multiple women or wives, either via prostitution, polygamy, divorce & remarriage, porn, affairs (emotional or physical), etc.

      But Christ condemned all of those things and everyone from Adam to today must obey his laws in order to gain eternal life.

      But it is and always has been ‘rare’ to find a man who is righteous, loving, respectful and completely faithful to one wife his entire life. Or to find a man or leader willing to do their #1 duty to respect the equality of all women and protect them from the abuse, abandonment and adultery of men.

      Unrighteous people usually say or think that God has ok’d the evil things they do, that is nothing new. Everyone on earth, even prophets, falls for false revelation from the Adversary, thinking it’s coming from God.

      Only Christ was perfect and He is the only one we can safely listen to and he condemned all polygamy and remarriage.

    • David Macfarlane
      October 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      The only references I see in the linked document are to the Bible. Given that historians and archaeologists aren’t even sure Abraham was an actual person versus an amalgam of legend, how can we know the details of polygamy as an ancient practice? Are there other resources? Sorry, but I just can’t view the Bible as a historically accurate source of information.

  25. Adam
    October 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I had a quick question on the practice of sealing to multiple spouses that is mentioned by Lindsay at the end of the podcast. In the current handbook 1 we read that the current policy allows a deceased woman, who was married to more than one man as a result of spousal death and whose husbands are all also deceased, to be vicariously sealed to more than one man.

    Is the thought with this just as a, “Let’s perform the ordinance so that she will be given the opportunity to choose who she will be with” sort of policy? I assume so but is this, potentially, one of those “higher laws” that we just aren’t prepared to put into full effect yet?

    I ask this question, of course, as a completely unorthodox member who has no faith in the current explanation presented in these essays about the practice of polygamy. I just wonder if there is something, potentially, that the leadership thinks will eventually come forward that expounds on this policy.

    • Lilli
      October 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      It appears that the Church is slowly admitting women’s equal rights and privileges in all things and though polygamy is against God’s laws, changing things to now allow women to be sealed to all the men they were married to during their life is evidence that the Church is softening on their stance, though they aren’t yet ready to say women will have multiple husbands in the next life too.

      But soon polygamy, along with SSM, will be legal in the U.S. and then I believe the Church will quickly bring back polygamy in the Church (to help lift the financial burden off the Church to take care of all the single mothers) and allow women multiple husbands also, as well as admit women have the Priesthood and allow female prophets & leaders at all levels. It will be the only way to keep most women in the Church, at least those women willing to put up with polygamy.

      For once it’s legal nationally for women to have multiple husbands, the Church would look really bad to deny that to their female members. What’s interesting, is that it will probably be the 1st time in the history of the world that polygamy will go ‘both ways’ in a major society.

      And since most everyone in the Church & in the U.S. already supports or lives ‘serial polygamy’ (by divorce & remarriage), it doesn’t seem like ‘concurrent polygamy’ would be very hard for them to accept.

      1st we abhore, then tolerate, then embrace.

      • October 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        The Mormon Theory of Mind:

        And it came to pass,
        The Priesthood of Melchizedek was a two-fur, both priest and king; all in one allows for concubinage and an excess of wives too. That’s why the Prophet, Joseph, fell into the burning ring of fire; he was a fool for the idea of Levitical Rites, or, THE DIVINE RIGHT RITE allowing for him to declare himself King of the Earth, etc.
        It’s not the reserrection of Jesus that we need but Joseph Smith Jr. so he could further explain his prophetic reasonings and invoke justice to the apostate.
        If Joe weren’t such a chauenist he’d have allowed for not only Sister Wives but Brother Husbands as well, but, that might have tainted his sexist track-record of getting it wrong most of the time.
        With Brother Husbands, the Melchizedek Priesthood would be egalitarian and no one would know who is related to whom and both the Heavenly Father and his Mormon Restoration would be more corrupt than anything the Natural Man could dream up –– there would have to be DNA tests in the Afterlife before any tests of faith can be administered –– There would be Levitical Litigation that would go on for millennia until the crack of doom or Our Heavenly Father gets it all sorted out for all time.
        The Melchizedek Priesthood gave Mormonism its plural marriage edict using the Divine Right Rite –– It is hoped with the proper sealing incantations it will all be sorted out in the end. QED.

      • kinglamoni
        October 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm

        What are you smokin Lilli? =) First you say you don’t think JS practiced polygamy and now you say “most everyone” lives serial polygamy by divorce and remarriage. 41% of marriages fail in America. Of those 41% only 71% of them remarry. That is not most. A lot? Yes. Most? No. Joseph Smith and plural marriage? Yes.

        • Lilli
          October 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm

          Kinglamoni,

          I realize not everyone lives serial polygamy, but I said “most everyone in the Church and the U.S. ‘supports’ OR lives ‘serial polygamy’, by divorce and remarriage.

          I don’t know of any LDS church leader or anyone personally who doesn’t support the divorces and remarriages of their relatives and friends and fellow church members.

          I’m sure there are a few left who still stand up for what Christ taught but I can’t seem to find any, but I’m hopeful so that’s why I said ‘most everyone, not everyone.

          • Rude Dog
            October 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm

            La la land Lilli. You’ve been spouting your pro/sympathetic RLDS stance for a long time on these boards and your message is always on the edge of non-coherent evangelicalism. Okay we get it. You believe JS fought polygamy. Do you have any other message?

      • L. Jones
        November 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        Legal polygamy will never fly. The current system allows for second, third, etc “wives” in fundamentalist LDS groups to apply for welfare (technically single mothers, you see.) If polygamy were legalized, the benefits go away. Polygamists would never go for that–they’ve got it made in the shade as it stands now.

  26. October 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    The Mormon Theory of Mind:
    And it came to pass,
    The Priesthood of Melchizedek was a two-fur, both priest and king; all in one allows for concubinage and an excess of wives too. That’s why the Prophet, Joseph, fell into the burning ring of fire; he was a fool for the idea of Levitical Rites, or, THE DIVINE RIGHT RITE allowing for him to declare himself King of the Earth, etc.
    It’s not the reserrection of Jesus that we need but Joseph Smith Jr. so he could further explain his prophetic reasonings and invoke justice to the apostate.
    If Joe weren’t such a chauenist he’d have allowed for not only Sister Wives but Brother Husbands as well, but, that might have tainted his sexist track-record of getting it wrong most of the time.
    With Brother Husbands, the Melchizedek Priesthood would be egalitarian and no one would know who is related to whom and both the Heavenly Father and his Mormon Restoration would be more corrupt than anything the Natural Man could dream up –– there would have to be DNA tests in the Afterlife before any tests of faith can be administered –– There would be Levitical Litigation that would go on for millennia until the crack of doom or until Our Heavenly Father gets it all sorted out for all time.
    The Melchizedek Priesthood gave Mormonism its plural marriage edict using the Divine Right Rite –– It is hoped with the proper sealing incantations it will all be sorted out in the end. QED.

  27. October 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    The Mormon Theory of Mind:
    And it came to pass,
    The Priesthood of Melchizedek was a two-fur, both priest and king; all in one allows for concubinage and an excess of wives too. That’s why the Prophet, Joseph, fell into the burning ring of fire; he was a fool for the idea of Levitical Rites, or, THE DIVINE RIGHT RITE allowing for him to declare himself King of the Earth, etc.
    It’s not the reserrection of Jesus that we need but Joseph Smith Jr. so he could further explain his prophetic reasonings and invoke justice to the apostate.
    If Joe weren’t such a chauenist he’d have allowed for not only Sister Wives but Brother Husbands as well, but, that might have tainted his sexist track-record of getting it wrong most of the time.
    With Brother Husbands, the Melchizedek Priesthood would be egalitarian and no one would know who is related to whom and both the Heavenly Father and his Mormon Restoration would be more corrupt than anything the Natural Man could dream up –– there would have to be DNA tests in the Afterlife before any tests of faith can be administered –– There would be Levitical Litigation that would go on for millennia until the crack of doom or Our Heavenly Father gets it all sorted out for all time.
    The Melchizedek Priesthood gave Mormonism its plural marriage edict using the Divine Right Rite –– It is hoped with the proper sealing incantations it will all be sorted out in the end.

    Darwin mutters when speaking of mormon matters
    Q.E.D.

  28. October 27, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    James now that I’ve posted three comments, please use the last one.
    Thank you James.

  29. BB
    October 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    No one in the panel is an active Church member. No one has a Temple recommend. No one tithes. It’s a total sham to call this objective. It isn’t.

    • Rude Dog
      October 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      You could be right BB, but I find it rich that before the essays, before the church and its glacial pace of awakening there were a handful of us, even fewer decades ago like Brent Metcalfe that were articulating the problems and ideas and scholarship discussed on these various, troubling issues. It is just in the last few months that the church through its publishing of the essays is admitting that there just might be problems with its past narrative regarding race, polygamy, Book of Mormon historicity, Mountain Meadows, Temple Masonry. It has the effort of these early brave agitators and the painstaking efforts regarding the uncovering of truth that has kept these issues stone cold solid. Meanwhile back at the palace the Goliath that is the Mormon church seems to just realize that a stone is hurtling on its way.

      Stop high centering on the people, and start thinking about the ideas presented here. I can tell you the church is, finally! (but hey, at least it’s on its “30 years behind” consistency)

    • October 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Are you suggesting that a temple recommend makes someone objective here? For real? We’ve had that sort of “objectivity.” Nearly 100 years of it where the institution controlled the narrative. John didn’t bring us here to reflect polygamy apologetics. That schtick has been done for decades and it is moving on. hese essays reflect an attempt at just that. Get on board or be left behind.

      As a Mormon woman I spent 30 years trying to reconcile this practice and frame it in a way that made God the good guy, and Joseph the good guy- the result of which made me always the bad guy for resenting it.

      If you think a recommend makes someone qualified to speak on this topic, I worry that you are going to have a really hard time in this life. That’s a pretty low bar for objectivity.

      • Ray
        October 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm

        BRAVO!

      • Michael Surkan
        October 29, 2014 at 12:10 am

        Actually, I think that holding a valid temple recommend does indeed bestow a certain level of credibility in discussions of Mormon theology and history when it comes to influencing other church members.

        As much as ex-LDS members (like myself) want to think our opinions matter the reality is that most active church members won’t really give us much credence.

        For better or worse no one can speak to church members with the same gravitas as fellow church members.

        • October 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

          Yes, many people still hold to these paradigms that were gifted to them by extreme in-group/out-group survival strategies, but to believe them still, in this day and age when scholarship is so robust, thorough and far more scientific is just plain silly. For anyone to accept that binary perpetuates lazy thinking and plays into a false dichotomy that protects systems, not people.

          Having a recommend has zero correlation with how valid ideas are. Zero. Currently recommends are linked more to behavior than they are to education. It’s an old cultural idea that is silly, antiquated, and I reject it. (So does the rest of the world).

          Of course I have had experiences from people all over my Mormon community trying to tell me voice is less credible. It totally reminds me of this quote: http://i.imgur.com/FVJfxB5.png

          My faith status doesn’t change the documentation it only weakens by ability to make excuses for it. Is that what we want? Excuses for bad behavior? For sexism and injustice?

          The written record, or the vast diversity of interpretation out there. Just because someone believes something based on narratives of fear, shame, and protection for an organization, doesn’t change the vast scholarship that is out there. It just doesn’t.

          You can question my agenda, or my interpretations, but I think the historical evidence in this case, even the essays by the church point to, that there is no way to explain away some controversial history. If having a recommend gives you the power to magically turn bad things into good, then I’d like to see that logic applied to more urgent corners of scholarship and theory, instead of arguing about the church’s well-documented, historical past.

          • Michael Surkan
            October 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

            I completely agree that the possession of a temple recommend in NO way makes someone more qualified to discuss church history or doctrine. Nevertheless, it is simply a fact that outsiders are not going to have the same amount of influence over active LDS members as a fellow member in good standing (i.e. with a temple recommend).

            Mormon insularity is hardly unique. It is always hard for outsiders to get their voices heard by a tight-nit community. This is why it is often easier to make change happen from the inside.

  30. jebediah springfield
    October 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    i know i might get backlash for this, but one of the first thoughts i had was the hells angels motto: “when we do right, nobody remembers, when do wrong, nobody forgets.” this is not all encompassing, but just to the new articles by the church.

    ill explain: from the many podcasts that ive heard here and other related podcasts and blogs written by progressive, post, and fundamental mormons and any non-tbm mormons, for some time there has been a cry for the church to come clean about its history. and now that it has taken a step in that direction, instead of being glad that the church has published this (something that no one ever thought they would do), people are looking at the negative aspects and continue to criticize the church leaders.

    im not saying the church leaders are above reproach (i hate the leader worship mentality),but what im pointing out is that while some people may make comments and posts in the genuine desire for the church organization to progress and admit their mistakes, some are just looking to just plain criticize and will never be happy with any the lds organization does.

    i think jim hits the nail on the head when he says the church gets an A+++ for effort and a D for content. are the articles written with an angle? absolutely. do they make assumptions and maybe side with joseph and leave women out to dry? “implicitly” yes. however, put yourself in the shoes of the church leaders. they are faced with an inherited daunting task when teaching church history. for years, their predecessors have told the story one way. now, even if they wanted to tell everyone “hey, church leaders actually werent telling the whole truth this entire time”, they are faced with telling this to current members who have lived their entire mormon lives with a different story. they probably fear these members will leave in bigger masses than they are now, so how can they be honest and not lose their members? this is a burden i hope to never have, but one which this article addresses. they tell the truth, but as a soft sell, and try to make it as easy for a tbm to accept and not leave. otherwise, all the tbms would leave and only progressive mormons would be left, and theyd really be in a pickle.

    i appreciate these articles as a step forward for the church, a much needed one. this is just the beginning.

  31. October 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    BB, as a longstanding member who has served as Bishop, High Councilman, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, etc., I have always agreed with you: people who are no longer active are simply not objective and often have an axe to grind.

    However, I have to admit that when it comes to standing the test of time, we have enough history to know that as faithful, tithe-paying members, we have had to retract a lot of statements we thought were true. Gone are the statements the church, its prophets, me and the scriptures have made about blacks; the church disavowed them all. We are now admitting Joseph Smith did things that we used to discipline members for claiming that he did.

    But the statements that people like the Tanners and John Dehlin have made over the years seem to be standing the test of time. The church is slowly admitting to them.

    • Robert
      October 29, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Eyes wide open eh brother Chris? And I would add, many if not most of the assertions of Faun Brodie.

  32. Nancy Jones
    October 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    if I was a man and wanted to have sex with multiple women and not have any consequences, polyandry would be the perfect way to do it. You get the sex but the legal husband supports the wife and any resulting children. It’s well known that polygamy is expensive, with the support of all those huge families. JS never was that financially secure. I hate to be cynical, but there you are. There is ample evidence that many women who turned him down had their reputations smeared so it also appears coercion was involved too.

  33. The Observer
    October 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Several years ago I too started to discover some of the ugly truths about the Church’s history. I started looking into every resource I could find to see what was true. Regarding Joseph not practicing polygamy, I have read many of the arguments supporting him including his own words which swear up and down that he did not. I have also read the overwhelmingly (and mostly objective) proof that he did. Either way, there is a problem. Either Joseph did not practice polygamy and was framed by a massive conspiracy which includes forging Doctrine, or he did practice polygamy and flat out lied about it. I’m not sure why it never is brought up that Joseph denied ever practicing it. It’s right there in the Church History archives, and completely contradicts what the church is now admitting.

    • Lilli
      November 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Why would the Church ever admit that Joseph fought & preached against polygamy his whole life? Why would they want to help their members find out the truth and realize that Joseph and Brigham preached and practiced completely opposite doctrines? Why would they want people to find out that Joseph was probably about to excommunicate Brigham Young for adultery? Why would they want to end the gravy train?

      But you are right, either way, whether Joseph lived polygamy or just Brigham, the Church cannot be true, for true prophets don’t lie, commit adultery or abuse their wives and women, etc. etc. They have to be Christlike and have love & live the Golden Rule & Christ’s commandments in order to prove they are really true prophets.

      Polygamy is the complete opposite of love & the Golden Rule. What man would want or allow done to him what men do to women in polygamy?

      Only people who do not believe in or live Christ’s teachings fall for the LDS leaders and their false doctrines.

    • November 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      The Observer,
      Thank you for your comments. I have read many of the same information that you have read. In fact, I even wondered if Brigham Young was instrumental in Joseph Smiths death, so he could take over the church. The church was taken to Utah, so polygamy could be practiced there in isolation, think Warren Jeffs and San Angelo, Tx. Also, the D&C 132 was changed by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death to reflect the polygamy attitude of that time. Was there a conspiracy? Either Joseph Smith really was a polygamist, or he was framed. He claims that he didn’t do it, and there are no children except from Emma Smith. So, what is the real story? Thank you for doing your research.

  34. Adrie de Jong
    October 29, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Hi all,

    The Adam-God theory is mentioned.

    Brigham Young said it came from Joseph Smith. May be it has to do with Joseph Smith: he might have heard something when he travelled through Israël.

    The following might be interesting:

    “Bible researchers have always assumed that there must have existed a ‘myth of Adam’ on which passages in the Bible about Adam and Eve are based. And now for the first time there also are tangible traces.

    Vineyard of the great gods

    “In the Ugaritic myth of the great gods the biblical paradise is ‘the vineyard’. Adam and his wife are among the gods who have access to the tree of life. An evil deity, Horon, wants to usurp the place of Creator God El, the highest god in the Canaanite gods world. El punishes him for this by throwing him off the mountain of the gods. In revenge Horon transforms himself into a giant snake who poisons the tree of life, which makes that all life on Earth is threatened.

    The gods fear to lose their immortality and therefore give to someone from their midst, Adam, the power over the whole earth, with the intention of defeating Horon. Adam fails miserably, the snake buries his fangs in his flesh and Adam becomes a mortal being. The sun goddess offers humanity a consolation prize, though: via reproduction will man as a species yet remain eternal. To achieve this, she provides Adam with a ‘benign female consort’.”

    [From discussion: ‘Most ancient version of Adam and Eve story discovered’
    http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=34729.0%5D

    This is the book from the translation from the Ugarit tablets:

    “Book: The book Korpel and De Moor have written (in English):
    Adam, Eve, and the Devil – A New Beginning
    http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=271

    I still have to purchase it.

    Here it is said that Adam is a God. Nice thing is the Goddess is nothing to blame, no apple is mentioned, instead she comes with a solution to help Adam to be immortal by giving children to him, so he can be eternal in that way.

    It could be that this myth was heard by Joseph Smith. And Brigham Young made his interpretation of it: To be married for eternity and have children in the life here after and have eternal life that way.

    Another thing, to me, like others, I also think it is horrible that men can have more wives through temple marriage after the first one died and the next one is married to him. This should not be the habit. It calls forth a nasty attitude of men: allways looking around for other women and not giving the best to the one he’s with. It makes the marriage unstable. And his love and attentions for the wife he’s with not exclusive like she does. If this wasn’t the case, I think Eternal Marriage is a very beautiful part of the church teachings.

    Did I understand correctly, that without the Adam-God theory it wouldn’t have been there ?

    Well, with this ‘new revelation’ of the Adam-God theory we may see it in a different light ? Eve, the Sun Goddess, rescues the God Adam with giving children so he can be eternal that way ! Instead of steeling apples from the Tree of Life and get punished for it !

    Dearest brothers, correct thine negative ideas about females !
    We deserve better ! lol ! ;o)

    Peace,
    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  35. Honest Question
    October 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    If Joseph Smith was aware of the new and everlasting covenant (D&C 132) as early as 1831, then why did he begin practicing polygamy (Fanny Alger) prior to receiving the sealing keys (April 3, 1836)?

    • November 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Honest Question,
      D&C 132 was changed after Joseph Smith’s death by Brigham Young to reflect polygamy. And where are the children of Joseph Smith and the other women?

  36. Buckley Jeppson
    October 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I thought the podcast was great. Note that the Church News issue for the week of October 26 features a prominent story–with pictures–inside the front cover about the two new essays. It also talks about the other essays and gives instructions on where to find them on LDS.org. I think we can all agree that the essays are imperfect in so so many ways, but at least they exist and the Church is promoting them.

    I have heard comments that the articles aren’t prominent enough and that a notice should be read over the pulpit about them. To be honest, I think these are petty comments. We happen to be focused on historical issues, but the majority of the Church members are not. There are no letters over the pulpit about the new curriculum, films, humanitarian relief efforts, or dozens of other pet subjects. This is one rare time where I cut them some slack.

  37. Scott
    October 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

    They’re screwed. This is the beginning of a steady, slow decline for them. Sure, most people aren’t the theoretical types and go with their feelings and experiences. But when their friends (the theoretical minority) keep leaving, their feelings take a hit. Just like a stack of dominos, pretty soon, you have an extinct religion. Just like all religions that preceded it. No religion can stand indefinitely without a coherent theoretical framework.

  38. October 31, 2014 at 10:39 am

    As always, a great discussion. As an outsider to your faith, and well-versed in other faiths, I am again reminded that religions are ALL created by human beings. Human beings that invest so much love and human and financial resources into their religion (the “faithful”) will do almost anything they can to save the religion, as well as their position in it. Who wants to be separate from the community they love, and that loves them? The community that orients their lives and gives meaning to their days?

    I think it is important that the Church and its members deal honestly with history AND with our current reality (e.g. we have enough evidence to conclude that marriage helps families and that gay parents are no less effective, loving, “righteous”, etc., and their families are healthy when not actively hated and discriminated against). SO… I’m pleased to see that the church is at least addressing issues that have generated so much secrecy and lying, such as polygamy (which was a practice instituted by the very human JS, not by any kind of god or goddess).

    But like all religions, over time, the religion will trail behind societal norms, and will change only when its members demand it. (Note the recent statements by the Pope) This is just further evidence that religion is created not by an all-powerful god, but by human beings that are learning and growing, generation after generation.

    Thank you again for a great discussion and opportunity for learning.

  39. Debbie Snowcroft
    November 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Has anyone ever had the experience of dealing with a slick sales person who explains the product in glowing terms, and then has you sign a long contract with lots of fine print?

    Have you ever had the experience of finding out later that the product didn’t perform as the sales person explained, so you took it back only to have the sales person point to a line in the fine print that ends your case?

    Does the fine print lessen the feeling of betrayal and deceit, or does it increase the feeling that you’ve been snookered?

    It seems to me that the essays are like that. They give the church a legal excuse, but they don’t lessen the feeling of betrayal and having been lied to because the message in the essays is hidden deep in the caverns of the Church, and are so very, very different from the weekly inundation one gets in church meetings.

  40. Janice
    November 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I have done a ton of research since leaving the church. Joseph Smith had a string of criminal charges against him such as glass-looking and fraud. Why should anyone even question the fact that he was a liar and a megalomaniac who believed he was entitled to ruin the lives of young women in the name of faith, including daughters of his best friends. He accomplished this by frightening them to death. These girls and women were already second-class citizens who had no real power. He took advantage, period. What a guy! Give me a break.

    • Wolfgang Nordmeyer
      November 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Well said.

  41. chrisj
    November 13, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I am hurting. In pain. My faith is in a free fall. No one to talk to about my testimony.

  42. Debbie
    November 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I believe Emma Smith was a good woman. Do you think Brigham Young smeared her name because she wouldn’t marry him? Did Emma really know Joseph Smith practiced polygamy? I read a book, “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Volume 1, Richard and Pamela Price, 2000, Price Publishing Company, Independence, MO that stated Joseph Smith did not practice polygamy. Who is really right? Why did Brigham Young change the Doctrine and Covenants 132 to reflect polygamy? There were many prophecies Brigham Young ascribed to stating that if the church did not embrace polygamy, it would be destroyed. Actually, the opposite would have happened if the church continued polygamy, the church would have been destroyed.
    Polygamy is such a critical issue. Why was the “angel” not named that threatened to kill Joseph if he did not engage in it? All the other angels were named that brought about the restoration of the gosepel, i.e., Moroni, John, Michael.
    Could it have been really Brigham Young that later changed history as he had the records of the church? Joseph never seemed to be one to threaten or force anybody, but Brigham did. Did Brigham publish that and changed church history? Brigham Young was the one that came out with it publically when the church settled in Utah.
    I wish I could get the answers to these questions. Sometimes I really feel Joseph Smith was innocent, because there was no children by any of these wives. Who said he was married? Brigham Young? Do you think Brigham Young had his wives lie for him? Many of the women he married, were supposedly Joseph Smith’s wives. He seems to be an arrogant, intimidating, man. He has no mercy, (Mountain Meadows Massacre). He seemed self-absorbed. He didn’t treat the women well at all. He had 10 divorces For somebody who is a prophet of God, that seems to be alot of divorce.

    • L. Jones
      November 17, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Why does this weird question keep coming up? Your post is November 17th. The news about JS’s polygamy came out on November 11th. I’m no fan of Brigham, but you seemed determined to pin polygamy on him. They were both cut from the same cloth. Sad, but true.

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