On October 22, 2014, LDS.ORG posted three essays dealing with the practice of plural marriage by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between the 1830s and 1904. Perhaps the most controversial essay is the one dealing with the earliest period, which discusses Joseph Smith’s practices and teachings as he introduced plurality to fellow Church members.
It appears that some readers’ expectations were not met by this essay. It is true readers did not receive:
A theological ...Continue Reading →
The historical record shows that Joseph Smith and other Nauvoo Church members were very skeptical and were in no hurry to practice plural marriage. Had it not been taught to them as a commandment, it is probable that few would have ever entered into its practice. In the Book of Mormon the Lord explains that he might command polygamy in order to “raise up seed” to Him (Jacob 2:30). Apparently, He wanted to expand the size of LDS families faster ...Continue Reading →
Seven years ago a friend and historian working for the Church Historical Department predicted that within ten years polygamy would be legal in the United States. At the time, I had some doubts. However, with the recent court rulings the likelihood is great. Journalist Austin Ruse wrote on August 28, 2014:
Professor Robert George of Princeton, along with Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation have argued that once the state eliminates the two gender rule for marriage, based upon the procreative ...Continue Reading →
Joseph Smith taught that men and women “Must have a change of heart to see the kingdom of God. & subscribe the articles of adoption to enter therein.” Apparently, the requirement to be “adopted” applies to everyone, but it generates an important question. If we were already born as spirit children to Heavenly Parents, then why should we need to be “adopted” in order to be part of their family in the future? Brigham Young posed this ...Continue Reading →
The Book of Mormon prophet Samuel prophesied that five years from the time of his preaching, Christ would be born, and “a new star [would] arise” in their heavens (Hel. 14:5). As predicted, the star arose, which might have validated Samuel as a true prophet in the eyes of the people. Instead, “it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent ...Continue Reading →
In a recent interview for “The Mormon Guy” podcast with Russell Stevenson, Alex Beam, who promotes himself as a serious journalist writing “non-fiction” and is the author of American Crucifixion, intimated that Joseph Smith was a “sexual predator.” Beam is not the only author to use this label, but what historical evidence exists, if any, to support this accusation?
Below are a few observations used as justification for the label followed by analysis of the statements:
Joseph was sealed in plural marriage ...Continue Reading →
I cried during what often is one of the proudest moments for an LDS mother. My oldest had received his mission call in the mail earlier in the day. As I arrived home from work, I anxiously ran over to him and asked: “So where are you going?” His mission call was to Texas, but, he announced, he no longer believed, so he would not be going. He then handed me a binder of information he had printed off of ...Continue Reading →
On June 5, 2014, I downloaded the Kindle version of Alex Beam’s American Crucifixion and reviewed Chapter 5, “Polygamy and Its Discontents.” I immediately identified numerous weaknesses of the chapter including the predominant use of secondary sources, the quoting of problematic evidences apparently without checking their reliability, the ignoring of historical data that contradicts his position, the promoting of narrow and often extreme interpretations of available documents, and the prevalence of going beyond the evidence in constructing conclusions.
That day I ...Continue Reading →
The first time I learned about my great-great-grandmother, I laughed. Her name was Dorcas Dann. Can you imagine? Who would name their sweet little baby daughter Dorcas? She was actually named after a woman mentioned in Acts who “was full of good works and almsdeeds” (Acts 9:36). Perhaps her contemporaries in the 1800s knew of the connection, but I did not. “Dork” was a popular epithet on the playground, and the kids would have mercilessly teased any Dorcas enrolled at ...Continue Reading →
Some critics have accused Joseph Smith of intimidating or using undue influence to coerce women into marrying him. One instance commonly cited as evidence for this indictment is his introduction of plural marriage to Lucy Walker.
Joseph first mentioned the principle to Lucy at some point in 1842, but she demurred for at least four months and, perhaps, up to sixteen months. Then on April 30, 1843, which happened to be her eighteenth birthday, the Prophet readdressed the issue. What prompted ...Continue Reading →