The LDS Church has just released via its website, LDS.org, several new essays under the heading “Plural Marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The cluster includes a framing article (named above) and links to three more detailed pieces: “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” (new article), “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah” (which has been available on the site since mid-December 2013), and “The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage” (also new). The articles have been widely hailed as major steps forward in helping the church confront its history with this most difficult practice, as well as the doctrines that led to it and have preserved it in many ways even down to today. As can be expected, especially in documents that emerged from committee and involved those with ecclesiastical as well as historical concerns, the articles fall short in some areas.
The panelists in this episode, Barbara Jones Brown, Todd M. Compton, and Brian C. Hales, join with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in celebrating these new releases, noting always their strengths and the ways they will undoubtedly assist the church and its many members for whom its polygamist past (and present) is so painful, but also sharing their thoughts on how they might have been improved. Perhaps sometime soon they will!
Please listen and share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Todd M. Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
Brian C. Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, Volume 1, History
Brian C. Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, Volume 2, History
Brian C. Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, Volume 3, Theology
(Kindle versions of the three Hales books are also found in the Mormon Matters Amazon Bookshelf)
Brian Hales’ website with sources mentioned in the podcast: Joseph Smith’s Polygamy
Barbara Jones Brown, “‘They Do Things Differently There’: Understanding a Polygamous, ‘Foreign Country,'” 2009 Arrington Award winning essay, Mormon Historical Studies, Spring 2010
Barbara Jones Brown, “Remembering a Grand Soul, Lorna Call Alder,” Deseret News, 15 March 2013
Barbara Jones Brown, “Life of a Century,” Legacy, episode 79 (Mormon Channel podcast about Lorna Call Alder and life in the Mexican colonies)