530: Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen – Facing Church Discipline for Rejecting Polygamy (D&C 132)

17490_10100816568883144_8350566859985269008_nIn this episode we interview Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen, who are currently facing LDS Church discipline for publicly rejecting Joseph Smith’s revelation about polygamy, which can be found in Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

This episode also covers Kirk and Lindsay’s discussions with their stake president and with an LDS area authority, neither of whom had read the LDS church’s recent essays on polygamy before they spoke with the Van Allens.

For Gina Colvin’s wonderful interview with the Van Allens, see here.


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  1. I haven’t listened to the interview yet but wanted to say that after reading D&C 132 I felt neither the love of God or Jesus in the language and the aggressive words used to pummel Emma into submission. It also opens up a question about who was the inspiration behind all the “revelations”. I guess it is the same guy who runs the show in the temple ceremonies. I support you folks 100%

    1. I believe Lightworker has put a finger exactly on the Achilles Heel of the LDS Church’s claim to being uniquely guided by continuing revelation! To say nothing about Joseph Smith’s original assertions. For the LDS hierarchy to continue to insist that D&C 132 is from God is to hide behind a lie told so often as to blind its members to the truth. In September 1965, well before he became Church president, Harold B. Lee heatedly told me personally to my face that the Church had “repudiated” that ‘principle’. Keeping 132 in place as scripture cannot be defended by any rational, honest, sincere believer.

        1. Steve In Millcreek

          Eugene, do you know if HBL took steps to remove (or amend/modify) D&C 132? If not, suggest reasons why or why not? Do you believe that he changed his view between 1965 (when he spoke to you) and 1972 (when he became Prophet/President)?

          1. Steve In Millcreek, you ask good questions. I cannot answer the first or third ones, but I can suggest reasons why not. It may have had to do with his patriarchal blessing, which I was told by a close confidant of his that it mentions having plural wives. That was something that always bugged HBL, I was told, until his first wife died and he remarried. If you want the complete story, I’d be glad to share it if you send me your email address to enkovalenko@gmail.com.

          2. Steve, since I responded to your note of 4/9 at 12:35 am, I have received several email requests for the “complete” story of my encounter with HBL. I am pleased to respond to them (or anyone) via email, which has now morphed into a personal blog on that singular subject, because the story is too long for this thread.

        2. Eugene Kovalenko, I tried emailing to the address you mention but it bounces back. Has there been a change to the address? I would love to read about your experience with HBL.

    2. I thought that coercion, force and compulsion be the opposite of free agency and thus not to be used in the Church – or in true revelations! The whole thing smells of coercion and inaccuracy – D&C 58:26 = to compel in all things … not a wise servant… Alma 32:16 humble themselves without being compulsion … Church Discipline is stepping out beyond the limits of decency and righteousness it seems to me – has the Spirit and the Lord entirely left the Church leaders to their own fallacies of following what their fathers used to say?

  2. Lindsay, you cracked me up in this interview. Thanks for helping people feel ok about not being ok with polygamy. Hopefully the Church will recognize that some healthy disagreement on difficult gospel topics is healthy and burying your doubts is not.

    1. Doubting Thomas

      When I was young I felt left out and less than my peers who came from “pioneer stock” aka polygamist families. I didn’t have stories of grandfathers with ten wives.

      Now I am happy to say my family had NOTHING to do with this degrading practice. I obviously don’t hold it against my wife or my children who do have these direct relationships, but I wouldn’t recommend that they celebrate it.

      Three cheers for the Utah Mormon pioneers who were monogamous and told church leaders they had no interest in committing adultery… Even if prophets were telling them it was okay.

      Who’s going to be held responsible for practicing polygamy if the God of this world did not implement it?

  3. Can I just add that I love the idea of “faith expansion”? I love that a faith crisis can transform into a faith expansion.

  4. Bless you both! You both conveyed and articulated so beautifully all the deep and heart-wrenching concerns that groan within my soul and have done since I was a young girl reading Section 132. Thank you for your bravery to speak out about something that is wrong, harmful, damaging, disturbing and faith destroying for so many of us. And how wonderful Kirk, that you as a man are equally offended and troubled by these things! All the men in my life just have always treated me like I’m being an irrational, spiritually immature, emotionally driven female to make such a big deal about this issue. It has tormented me and depressed me for a large portion of my life. And the more I’ve learned about it, the worse I feel about it!! I hope and pray that someday, those of us with these LEGITIMATE concerns will not be looked at as less faithful or being filled with the spirit of contention. I believe with all my heart that polygamy is NOT from God. And those that are honestly seeking for truth have to feel and know that this was not right. It baffles me that so many are so willing to shrug this off as a non-issue. My spirit yearns to have this issue set right, and my gratitude is immense to all those of you who help bring these issues and concerns to light and refuse to let fear continue to sweep these things under the rug. It’s time the church stops trying to blame those who are bringing these things to light, when it is they whose doctrines and scriptures are the very thing causing the issues in the first place! Why won’t they ever put the blame where it truly belongs? It is insulting that they refuse to acknowledge the degree of pain this is causing countless amounts of members. Telling everyone to sit down and shut up and to stop rocking the boat is not solving any of the issues. Every attempt to silence those who are speaking out is only bringing someone else to the forefront to address the issues again and again. They aren’t going away. People want answers and clarity. And while their efforts will succeed at silencing many, there will always be brave souls who will stand up for the quest for truth.

    1. square peg….and bless you for having gone through so much suffering as a result of this abysmal
      “so called” revelation. When one comes to the realization that JS was just a womanizer who used his position and influence over others to satisfy his own selfish desires the reasons behind his actions all become perfectly clear. Suffer no more and just join those of us who realize the truth precipitating this whole event! The truth shall make you free – as it has myself and many others!

  5. Questions Abound

    So it’s ok for President Hinckley to say polygamy “isn’t doctrinal” on Larry King Live but no one else can make that statement?

  6. The most telling part of the whole interview was when Lindsay said “it is really scary to think for yourself”. When you began to think on your own it was obviously not supported by the church. So what purpose does the church really serve except for protecting people from having a relationship with God of their own? I am much closer to God now that I have not used the church as a mediator between God and I for the last 20 years. Good luck on your journey.

  7. Congratulations! You have taken one step closer to a 10% raise and a whole lot of discretionary time off. You don’t need Mormonism to love, be compassionate and give service. Joseph is the “clave principal” or the lynch pin….when that erodes…it all erodes.

    1. if you give up tithing it is not a 10% raise.

      ie. if you make 100k you tithe 10K. so if you are living on 90k and go to 100k that is 11.1%

      So it is an 11% raise! even better!

  8. Curtis Henderson

    Excellent podcast and dialogue on this vital issue. I’ve listened to the full podcast and will say the same thing I would have said prior to listening: May freedom of thought, expression and conscience (“without compulsory means”) ever guide this process for pursuing truth.

  9. Curtis Henderson

    Excellent podcast and dialogue on this vital issue. I’ve listened to the full podcast and I will say the same thing I thought of saying before listening: May freedom of thought, expression and conscience (“without compulsory means”) ever guide this process for pursuing truth.

  10. This is getting beyond ridiculous how the church is excommunicating their best & brightest, and even claiming that God is the one doing it. Maybe their God is but not Christ’s God.

    It’s clear that Christ never taught or commanded anyone to form a ‘physical church’ (that was men’s idea as a way to get money meant for the poor) or do anything like cast out people from among his followers. Christ just wanted his followers to live his Gospel on their own, with no middlemen involved.

    If anything Christ said to drop everything & visit & love & teach the truth to those who have questions & concerns, not deny truth, shun them, fear them or cast them out.

    Prideful men have presumed authority unto themselves to abuse & control their fellowmen & women through a Church medium.

    It seems to me that the Church is casting out anyone who thinks for themselves & who has enough self respect that they won’t put up with or fall for false doctrines like polygamy, paid prophets, blind obedience, racism, women’s inequality, tithing taken & used on most anything ‘but’ the fatherless, false sealings & ordinances in big & spacious false temples & false scriptures that teach contrary to the 10 commandments & Christ, etc. etc.

    It appears the Church is so rich now that it only cares to keep those who are completely blind followers who will worship & bow to their leader’s every word without question, even if that means only a small fraction of their membership left.

  11. Sincere Questioner

    How can a 70 not have thought about polygamy and how it is a horrid, terrifying idea for women? And how can a 70 or a stake president threaten discipline when they haven’t even read the church’s essays? How can a member be exed for supporting AND denying polygamy? Why do we continue to defend something so awful? Why does polygamy feel so icky, nasty, ungodly, and terrifying if it really is of God? Why isn’t my heart filled with the peace and assurance of the spirit regarding this topic? What does polygamy have to do with Jesus Christ and his atonement? Why would God want men and women to suppress our natural, holy inclination for monogamous marriage to practice something so unnatural as polygamy? Why does the church ask us to strengthen and defend traditional marriage when it won’t disavow polygamous marriage? Does God really hate women as much as Sec. 132 communicates to me?

    So many questions…so many disconnects.

    1. Sincere Questioner, you ask: “Does God really hate women as much as Sec. 132 communicates to me?” That “God” may be Joseph’s, but it surely is not Jesus’ God, the god of Love.

  12. They are not facing church discipline for outwardly “rejecting polygamy”. You can have your own opinion and even express that opinion to your mom, your dad, your hairstylist or whoever you want, but when you create a public forum trying to convince people of your opinion, that’s when the problem arises. I believe the practice of church discipline for these types of issues is not to “shush” opposing opinions, but for protection for the people expressing them. If they happen to be inaccurate about their assumptions (which I believe they are in this case) , it is no small thing to lead people astray. They will be accountable for that.

    1. David Macfarlane

      Okay, so, the church is moving to discipline Kirk and Lindsay to protect them from the inaccuracy of their assertions? And how does this mesh with the discipline of Carson Calderwood, who did not create a public forum, but still tried to help people in crises of faith? On a broader level, could the church or leaders ever do anything in error?

    2. lefthandloafer55

      This “creating a public forum” response from the church and individuals is really getting tiresome. Do you (or the leaders of the church) REALLY believe that people are not actively talking about these things – regardless of the forum? We’re not little children – that need to be told to hold our tongues and know our place. What are you really so afraid of in finding out what’s REALLY true – factually correct and based upon solid research? The more The Church and any leader attempts to force these honest discussions underground, or behind the scenes, the more trust and integrity is eroded.

    3. Protected from what? Protected from whom? From telling the truth that polygamy isn’t of G-d?

      The ones who will have to live with the consequences are those who are wrongfully breaking people’s covenants by excommunication.

      Excommunication isn’t about protecting anyone. Read President Kimball’s comments on excommunication and “disciplinary” councils.

      Or was he just another Prophet speaking as a man?

    4. Domestic Goddess

      It was joseph smith the one that came up with polygamy. He is the one that will be held accountable. Don’t blame the messenger. Blame the person responsible for the content of the message.

    5. Oh Becky. I hope when I am serving you and all of your husband’s wives in the after life that you are as patient and understanding with me as the church requires me to be with worthless doctrine.

    6. Debbie Snowcroft

      Becky wrote: “I believe the practice of church discipline for these types of issues is not to “shush” opposing opinions, but for protection for the people expressing them. If they happen to be inaccurate about their assumptions (which I believe they are in this case), it is no small thing to lead people astray.

      In that case, Becky, why didn’t the church excommunicate Bruce R. McConkie? After all, Bruce led far more people astray with his doctrine that Blacks were cursed for not being valiant in the pre-existence. And, for that matter, why didn’t the church excommunicate the entire First Presidency for leading the Saints astray in the same way McConkie did?

      1. Seeing as how it’s been a couple of days and Becky hasn’t bothered to engage in the conversation, I think it’s safe to assume she’s a drive-by troll.

  13. Great interview. I appreciate all the work that Kirk and Lindsay did in terms of their research and time dedicated to this effort. I also appreciate the honesty and bravery to keep the post up and defend what they believe.

    What I can’t understand is why FAIR is interested in fighting this. The church is always defending its stance against polygamy and is constantly having to tell the world that we don’t practice it in these modern times. Here’s a blog post that does almost exactly that and FAIR flips out because they don’t like the possibility that Joseph did something that wasn’t from God? To me it seems petty and ridiculous.

    It’s a good post though. Thanks again to John for your time in putting this together.

  14. I am so glad to see intelligent fine young people becoming involved with these issues. As an older man I have been aware of them for years, but because they were so well kept under raps by the church [when not even bishops, stake presidents, area reps are aware as indicated by the interview] my own frustrations over the years of trying to get other family members, friends, etc., to look at and recognize there really are problems, I now have hope change will come – either before [or perhap after] my passing. When members come to the realization this is “A church” not “The Church” perhaps progress towards honesty and open acknowledgement can/will take place. Others have done so successfully [example, Community of Christ]. Maybe we can then move forward accomplishing good works without having to be “The One and Only”!

  15. J. Reuben Clerk

    Lindsay is correct that the Church is founded on the idea that one needs to get answers to prayers for oneself … but only the *right* answers, e.g., the Church is true, the Brethren will never lead you astray, the Book of Mormon is true, etc. But if you get a non-correlated/unorthodox answer, the Church doesn’t want to hear it and will blame you.

    1. lefthandloafer55

      This “creating a public forum” response from the church and individuals is really getting tiresome. Do you (or the leaders of the church) REALLY believe that people are not actively talking about these things – regardless of the forum? We’re not little children – that need to be told to hold our tongues and know our place. What are you really so afraid of in finding out what’s REALLY true – factually correct and based upon solid research? The more The Church and any leader attempts to force these honest discussions underground, or behind the scenes, the more trust and integrity is eroded.

  16. The Van Allens are certainly entitled to their opinions about Joseph Smith’s revelations including D&C 132. However, their comments and essays reflect a minimal understanding of the historical documents that tell the story through the eyes of those men and women who believed the revelation and practiced plural marriage.

    When I encounter treatises like the Van Allen’s, I wonder do they believe they have such great insights, discernment, intellect, and perception, that they can identify Joseph Smith’ faults and false teachings a 170 years after his death, when women like Lucy Walker, Emily Partridge, Eliza R. Snow and men like Brigham Young and John Taylor could not detect them? Perhaps the Van Allens think these men and women were gullible dupes, but the Van Allens are instead, more astute. Or maybe they classify them as co-conspirators. These things are just not true.

    The writings of the Van Allens create a paradox. People who knew Joseph the least claim to know things that those who knew him best apparently could not discern.

    For those who might be interested, some of the weaknesses of the Van Allen’s essays can be found here:


    Brian Hales

    1. Brian, you who have written six books on the subject give Kirk validity just by fact that you take the time that you do to try and dispute him.
      In this interview I did not hear Kirk rag on Joseph smith or try to point out all his faults. I heard him and his wife share their personal feelings regarding polygamy. I believe we are all entitled to discenment and our own communication from God. I heard Kirk say they can still be prophets and still be wrong on some things. He’s saying he thinks polygamy is one of those things. But I don’t hear him saying he knows all the ins and outs of Joseph smith? Is that what you say you know? You know the mind of joseph smith?

    2. A typical, meaningless apologetic response, Brian you twist yourself and your excuses into pretzels just to make everything come out right. Come on have the insight and the integrity to admit Joseph Smith was a man who liked women, and that was the catalyst for this entire problem! To try to make it sound like he married teen girls, or other men’s wives, etc., etc., because if he didn’t an angel would kill him [as directed by God] is totally inane! Discuss this problem like an intelligent, mature adult and you may have some impact – but not until.

    3. Brian, you are correct that many people believed Joseph’s claims with regards to polygamy. Duh! What you fail to understand however is that this point is irrelevant. Completely irrelevant. For examples of people who believed false claims of divine providence, see history of the world and every religion that has ever existed. Even putting this logical fallacy aside for a second we can consider another one, the double standard. Yes, you mention some that seem to have believed Joseph. And there is an even longer list of people that didn’t, people who even left the church over it. Not the least of which was Emma! But the double standard doesn’t end there either. Can we trust Brigham Young? You’re saying his belief in Joseph is proof that Joseph was inspired with respect to polygamy? OK, well then why have we abandoned nearly all of Youngs teachings? Adam god, etc. Considering all the things he’s known for having gotten wrong, I simply don’t see a compelling reason to defer to his opinions on the matter. My wife has regular bouts of depression over this issue, thinking that she’ll be sharing me with other women at some point, if not in this life then the next. So she’s constantly trying to reconcile herself to this misery, thinking even if it never happens it’s some kind of divine trial she’s meant to experience. The whole thing is pretty sick and twisted, and I’m quite tired of the issue.

    4. I really don’t care about Joseph Smith’s polygamy. I care very deeply about my daughter’s polygamy. Do you know what she was taught in seminary this week? I do. The church is so hamstrung by its past that it can’t or won’t care for girls in the present.

      1. Ellen, can you elaborate on how that went? I had heard it was going to be taught last week. Did they cover it in just one day, or more than one? How did your daughter receive it? I have read the lesson and I am so glad my kid’s only in 8th grade so we didn’t have to deal with this yet.

    5. I found the Van Allens to be sincere, intelligent, thoughtful and courageous. Brian Hale’s post came across to me as a petty, snarky, mean-spirited personal attack on them as people. It’s not hard to discern who has the spirit…and who doesn’t.

    6. Hi Brian,

      You don’t know me, but I have been following the discussion a little bit. I have read the Van Allen’s posts, as well as your rebuttals. I come from a scientific background, not really church history, but from my perspective your arguments tend to be based much more on fallacious logic than theirs, while yours tend to focus more on historical context. An example of this is your own response above. The argument that the Van Allen’s cannot argue the character flaws of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young seems no more problematic than your own arguments to reinterpret Section 132 differently than Joseph Smith or the following 6 prophets after him. Essentially, the Van Allen’s may be making character assumptions and reinterpretations based upon their Doctrinal interpretation of Section 132, but you are making Doctrinal reinterpretations based upon character assumptions and interpretations. While it may be argued if either is appropriate, I don’t think it can be argued that both include alterations of perspective on those holding the position and role of prophet.

      Your own position holds a distrust of prophetic Doctrinal understanding, particularly in regard to the nature of Polygamy and the marriage sealing power being singular or isolated but combinational within Section 132. This disregard past teachings of prophets . In a way, your own books and publications could be regarded as anti-mormon because you are coming to different conclusions, publicly disseminated, than prophets have in the past. Are we required to also believe and restrict ourselves from ever publicly stating that the Adam-God or Blood Atonement Doctrines were and are wrong? If we aren’t required to believe they are Doctrinal, and were mistakes, then aren’t we also making judgments about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young’s character and prophetic role, similarly to how you described with polygamy?

    7. Mr. Hales,
      You may want to take the time to listen to the interview before you post again. It may help you sound less desperate and petty if you actually take the time to listen to what the Van Allens’ had to say. Had you actually listened to the interview you may have developed a more pertinent response. The diatribe above, berating and belittling the Van Allens’, speaks volumes about your own insecurity on these matters.

      The written response you have linked to above is another perfect example of the mental gymnastics required of those who start out knowing what the answers are, and are then faced with massaging the facts to fit. That may work to soothe a simple mind but it is an entirely impotent method for addressing the thoughtful and sophisticated concerns raised by the Van Allens and others.

      My father taught me that education is the process whereby we go from “cocksure ignorance” to “thoughtful uncertainty”. I suggest you spend whatever time it takes to truly educate yourself on these difficult issues before you attempt to cross intellectual swords with the likes of Lindsay and Kirk Van Allen again. It’s clearly not a fair fight at this stage.

    8. David Macfarlane

      I think that few people not named Todd Compton know as much about Joseph’s polygamy as Brian Hales. So I find it interesting that in this post he defers to the perceptions of Joseph shared by Lucy Walker, Brigham Young, etc. I’m not sure Brigham can be trusted at all, but that’s not the point. I’m wondering how the church is going to deal with polygamy in the longer term, because it isn’t going away, and deferring to Brigham will not settle the matter. As long as it remains canon, people who read things carefully, parse words and embrace literal interpretations will be troubled. Some members spend countless hours, days and months trying to make the church’s history of polygamy and the actual language in D&C 132 meet up with the idea of a true church. After a while many just get tired of the contradictions, the lack of clarity, the apparent hypocrisy of Joseph, et al, and the unsatisfying attempts to deal with this issue in a modern context. It just seems like too much. The church can excommunicate John and the Van Allens and Kate Kelly and Rock Waterman and Carson Calderwood, but this is going to be similar to the ongoing war (physical and ideological) between modernity and Islam: Until polygamy is addressed in a coherent and logical manner, there will always be people willing to fill the space created by the ex’ed. Maybe, Mormon church, you should come up with a streamlined excommunication process to you don’t exhaust local leadership.

    9. Brian,

      I am a descendant of John Taylor (as well as his son, apostle John W. Taylor, ultimately excommunicated for adhering to his father’s prophetic conviction that polygamy was never to cease being practiced – I trust that you are well aware of the 1886 revelation). Interesting that you employed John Taylor’s name, among others, to defend Joseph Smith. My father recently used the same defense (“Joseph couldn’t be a fraud. look at the the people that were loyal to Joseph and believed in him. These are the people that knew him best and were the best judges of his character and motives. There is no way that John Taylor would not have seen through this.”)…… The problem with this argument is that for every John Taylor, there is a William Law. For every Brigham Young, there is a Lyman Johson. For every Lucy Walker, there is a Nancy Rigdon. You could also use your argument to defend Jim Jones or David Koresh. This argument is meaningless as there are always defenders and detractors. 6 of the original 12 apostles left the church and Joseph. What does this prove? Nothing. Some rejected Joseph. Some remained loyal. This proves nothing.

      Judge Joseph on his own claims and behavior. For good measure, also throw in some logic and evidence, wherever possible. And for those that take this more objective approach (rather than taking a Muhlesteinian approach of first starting with the conclusion in mind), my personal anecdotal evidence continues to confirm that most reasonable people are forced to reject Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy. Some informed people, like you and Laura, will continue to defend Joseph at all costs. But, most won’t.

      John Taylor ultimately benefited (money, sex, power) from his loyalty to Joseph Smith. It was in his best interest to defend Joseph in order to maintain his position of privilege in the existing power structure. And John Taylor also has a credibility problem. He repeatedly lied about his, and the church’s, practice of polygamy. Sadly, as one who bears his name, the evidence compels me to admit that John Taylor was simply not honest in this matter.

      I regularly frequent your website. I’m always open to new information, new ways of approaching things, and to possibly be shown that my conclusions may be incorrect. I am very interested in the ongoing practice of polygamy. I view it as a revolting practice that is absolutely demeaning to women, but I am interested in studying it, nonetheless. I do not see your approach as being much different than the scores of FLDS polygamous women in Colorado City and Hilldale. These women are required to continually convince themselves how wonderful polygamy is. This is all they know. They must defend Joseph. And in order to defend Joseph, they will go to any lengths necessary (similar to you and Laura). They have been conditioned, from birth, to defend this practice. Very few of these FLDS women are able to break away from this practice.

      I still vividly recall how I felt when I eventually allowed myself to reject Joseph’s claim and practice of polygamy. The weight and baggage of this misogynistic practice just melted away. I no longer needed to defend Joseph’s taking of teenagers and the wives of other men. I no longer needed to wonder why Joseph waited over 10 years to even speak to Emma about it. Or why sealed himself to 20 women, at least, before he sealed himself to Emma. Or why a just and loving God would force Joseph, at sword point, to take additional women. The mental gymnastics were no longer required to rationalize how polygamy would make sense for my wife and daughters in the next life. It just all made sense once I eventually allowed myself, for the first time in my life, to objectively examine Joseph Smith’s behavior and “fruits.” And the peace that resulted from this realization was/is priceless.

    10. I won’t waste time repeating the logical defenses others have already made. I want to know why when it comes to polygamy and the other touchy “doctrine” that apologists abandon the read, pray and fast model? It sounds like that is what this couple did, I know that is what I did. I have yet to meet anyone who encountered this (historically and not as it was taught to me in seminary) that came aWay feeling the spirit. Not even Emma, and I think if God owed anyone comfort on this topic it was Emma.

    11. “Perhaps the Van Allens think these men and women were gullible dupes, but the Van Allens are instead, more astute. Or maybe they classify them as co-conspirators. These things are just not true.”

      I, for one, think the Van Allens, and others like them, are, in a sense, more astute. They are making moral claims, namely that polygamy, as required by section 132, is morally wrong, and they are right about that. The men and women mentioned by Mr. Hales erred in their belief that the polygamy of section 132 was morally permissible.

      While the Van Allens may be less astute than Mr. Hales in making the kind of judgments especially accessible to historians or in making the kind of judgments especially accessible to the historical participants listed by Mr. Hales, the Van Allens are more astute morally. I, personally, hold the latter kind of astuteness above the former. And I think that any God worth worshipping would too.

    12. It is very hard to wade through all the responses and counter-responses. Talk about straw men! Well, good luck. It requires some mental rigor to defend the indefensible, and I wish you well! Please do not reply with an ad hominem attack or an off-topic diatribe.

  17. joseph DaPerv

    Brian Hales
    Get a clue. Who’s payroll are you on? Remember if you are receiving your paycheck and salvation from the same organization one cannot possibly have the ability to be unbiased in their thought process. Thus your comments.

  18. It seems to me that Joseph Smith was a prophet or he wasn’t. If he made this revelation up in order to fulfill his own carnal desires and passed it off a the word of God, then he wasn’t a prophet. If he was a prophet then this is the word of God. If it is the word of God and a modern prophet prays about it they will get the same answer. If it is not of God then we don’t have a current prophet on the earth. I get that a prophet is a human and can say all sorts of things off the cuff that may not pass muster. But claiming a revelation that they didn’t actually receive would, to my way of thinking, give up their eternal reward. Leading the faithful astray. Christ was very critical of these types during his day.

    There is also the question, If this revelation is wrong, which, if any, are right? Only the ones we agree with, only the ones that the majority of the members agree to?

    I think the big question is, Is this a church of man or a church of God? And, we all have to answer this question for ourselves.

    1. Doubting Thomas

      Tough questions. Tougher answers.

      The doctrine is fraudulent. Even the doctrine that people find beautiful. The current church could do so much good, but it continually must address the frauds perpetrated in the past on its members.

      You want to know what polygamy was like? Look at modern day polygamists. Period.

      Brian Hales… dope.

  19. That was an awesome interview! Thank you so much Lindsay & Kirk, for saying it all so well! I really enjoyed it. You have embarked on a wonderful journey of the real truth, and as long as you keep Christ as your foundation and keep his teachings as your playbook, then you will be able to see through all the falsehoods (like polygamy) & the false prophets that promote them, past & present, that we all have fallen for but are now waking up to.

  20. Steve In Millcreek

    As I weigh the parts of Van Allen’s essay and Hales’ response, I ask this question: Is there room for Church members to hold EITHER position or must each member take sides? For example, if Hales’ core message is most correct, yet some members find peace by putting polygamy aside while embracing the rest of the Church, I see no value to compel polygamy-acceptance upon them. (And same idea if Van Allen’s message is more correct.) I don’t want confrontation to lead to disaffection. On polygamy, there is space for reasonable people to disagree without being disagreeable; and I am deeply saddened when authorities compel all-or-nothing acceptance of a complex matter such as this.

    At heart, I am a peacemaker; I want to be part of a choir of voices that give space for other voices. I want to be part of the Church with both Van Allen and Hales.

  21. hope_for_things

    Thanks Van Allen’s, really appreciate your interview. I’ve been following your story, and I’m really impressed by your courage and commitment to sharing your truth. It’s nice to see you united as a couple, many of us who’ve gone through the faith crisis aren’t as fortunate with respect to having a spouse exploring messy church history in a unified way.

    I hope they don’t kick you out of the church, because those of us committed to staying in the church need all the numbers we can get. It can get lonely, and we need to stick together. Whatever the outcome for you, I’m grateful for what you’re doing. Thanks

  22. This is to the man who calls himself Brian,

    Do you know how it feels to have the man you love giggling and laughing with a teenage girl behind a closed door in your own home?

    Do you know how it feels to know your husband, the man who has pledged his life to you, is having sex next door with a girl 20 years your junior?

    Do you know how it feels to have the most sacred bond that can be made between two people violated in the name of God?

    You sir might think you’re wise, but you have no idea of the pain, heartache, trauma and misery, polygamy has wrought among the daughters of God.

    The brainwashed few who extolled the virtues of polygamy DO NOT excuse the viciousness of the practice. The pain it caused on the majority of women. The isolation. The loneliness. The satanic nature of the very principle — is an affront to civilization.

    You, Brian C. Hales, will stand one day and be judged for your support and justification of this barbaric practice of slavery.

    I suggest you get on your knees and pray to the one true God for deliverance. May God have mercy on your soul.


  23. I have loved and felt at home with a Mormon Stories for years. I recently panicked when John was excommunicated as I want try try and stay in the church and thought I should distance myself from the website. I went cold turkey but have felt so lost. Coming back to you today , listening to this fantastic post on D&C 132, I feel so happy again. If my views end up with me being excommunicated too one day then so be it! How can we not question? How can we be hypocrites? I feel Christ loves me. We can’t be that off course.

  24. As I listened, the thought came to me that maybe we probably shouldn’t study Section 132 without also recognizing Official Declaration 1. After the podcast I went and read OD 1, and was surprised to see the primary instruction to the members was to not enter into a marriage forbidden by law (“violative to the law of the land”). I always thought it ended the practice, but it definitely opens the door to allowing polygamy again if to does not violate the law.

  25. Questions Abound

    Manifesto did not stop polygamy. Church sanctioned polygamy continued on in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. until 1904 when Pres Joseph F Smith was forced to perjure himself before Congress during the Reed Smoot hearings. In fact, Pres Wilford Woodruff took another plural wife after he issued the Manifesto.

    1. @questions abound. Wait! Your not saying that the person wilford woodruff who issued the manifesto to stop polygamy went and married another wife after it’s release. That’s not true! That can’t be true. He’s a prophet. Point to the evidence please.

      1. Questions Abound

        See Michael Quinn, “LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages” in Dialogue vol. 18 #1. Sealing performed by L. John Nuttall on September 20, 1897 (7 years after Manifesto). WW sealed to Lydia Mary Von Finkelstein Mountford.

  26. Domestic Godess

    Great podcast. I came to the same conclusions about polygamy myself. Polygamy is the devil.
    Anyway, I wonder about the seventy that met with this couple. I am almost sure it was elder Clayton. He seems to be always somehow involved in training leaders on how to discipline members. He was the one training Kelly’s leaders and Dehlins leaders as far as I know. Let me know if I am right and you guys met with Clayton.

    Anyway, leaders like to make you feel guilty and used this fallacy saying you are responsible for people getting inactive. The truth is that peolle get inactive because of the past evil actions of church leaders, and for the present evil actions of some leaders. Someday LDS leaders will be ready to face reality instead of trying to silence everyone with excommunication.

  27. John, I’ve been hearing rumblings from various quarters that some stake presidents have started holding joint disciplinary councils for both spouses, even when one of the spouses is totally faithful to the church’s teachings. I’m not saying that’s what happened here in the case of the Van Allen’s, but I’m curious to know if you’ve heard of similar instances.

  28. I’m a new listener to Mormon Stories. I attended BYU as a non-member 30 years ago this fall.
    Kirk and Lindsay articulated well their issues with doctrine and seminary teachings. I appreciated hearing the issues that were addressed in this podcast; D&C Section 132 on the principle of polygamy, follow the leaders because they won’t lead you astray, etc., because these issues and many more began to cause me to have serious doubts while I was investigating the church, especially the doctrine of plural wives.
    Interviewing (more like interrogating) my roommates and ward sisters was an excellent way to learn what it was like to be a Mormon. On Sundays, I was regularly invited to meet with the Relief Society Sisters because I wasn’t a Priesthood holder or a member of the church… so the Bishop didn’t mind. I would often meet with my FHE sisters and discuss polygamy, and they openly discussed how they hoped that they would never have to live polygamy during their mortal lives. I couldn’t help but notice the emotion that they expressed about the pain and anxiety they were feeling just thinking about the prospect of having to share their future husband. However, the exact opposite response was communicated to me from the men. They were quite ecstatic about the prospect of having many wives, and looked forward to the day when the principle would be reinstituted.
    Finally, it is very interesting to me to see that the church conducts disciplinary councils and threats of excommunication to attempt to silence members from sharing their beliefs with a larger audience.
    John, and Kirk and Lindsay, thanks for sharing the tough issues – logically and spiritually.

  29. I hope polygamy is not part of our eternal progression, but what if we ask the lord for revelation and our answer is not what we want it to be? I for one am not ready to embrace polygamy if that be the answer, and if monogamy is the answer than that is what we continue with. The point is that we can’t ask for knowledge and then turn away from it when we get our answer. I think we are better off letting the Lord reveal things in his time and in his way. Only he has all wisdom and only he knows what we will be able to handle.

  30. Great interview. Thanks van allens for voicing what so many members feel about polygamy’s disturbing practice. I hope you don’t ever take the blog post down.

    I wish Brian Hale’s would butt out of this. My hunch is that mornon headquarters contacted him to do damage control. His rebuttal makes lds church look even worse.

  31. Scott Roskelley

    1) Personally, I am surprised that stake presidents and seventies do not need to be “among [the] long-term and well-read members” to qualify for service in those callings in which they have stewardship over 1000’s of people. At a minimum required reading should include the essays and books referenced in the footnotes. – Apparently not.

    2) If Laura Hales says that the monogamous doctrines taught in 132 such as the new and everlasting covenant of celestial marriage constitute the “zenith doctrine of the Restoration” – then why is the revelation embedded within and surrounded by layers and layers of doctrinal pornography i.e. “[obsessive attractive] second- or third- or fourth level pieces of that whole?”

    3) Another point I strongly agree with Laura Hales on. She says, seminary “Students will not be taught God commanded Joseph to marry teenagers, which is good because there is no evidence that he was ever commanded to marry teenaged brides, even though he did.” – Here Laura also agrees with Andrea Radke-Moss that we should seek a “middle ground in how we see this” and concede that at least in 30% of the marriages Joseph had “sexual motivations for him exploring this very radical institution/revelation” i.e. we’re dealing with a “complex Joseph”.

    4) According to the instigators of the disciplinary threats – Believing and accepting the doctrine of Joseph smith style polygamy, polyandry and polyamory as a revealed piece of the “restoration of all things” – should be an important question added to the baptismal interview. Currently baptismal candidates are asked if they believe the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith. [Preach my gospel pg. 206, question 2] “Do you believe the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?” The young missionaries then need to ask follow up questions ensuring that the baptismal candidates have read and understood the doctrine of section 132 and believe whole-heartedly in historical polygamy as a condition for baptism.

    5) According to the instigators of the disciplinary threats – reading and accepting the doctrines of polygamy as taught in section 132 should also become a part of the temple preparation class. Thereby members will be prepared to fully understand that when they are asked to live the law of consecration as contained in the doctrine and covenants they know that this may include [at some future time] sacrificing your daughter Helen, Fanny, Nancy W. or wife Patty or Marinda to the Lord’s prophet if it is required to secure your exaltation.

  32. I appreciated the Van Allen’s essays on D&C 132 and the practice of polygamy. I wish you the best in everything. The idea of polygamy has horrified me my entire life. I appreciate all of the wonderful people who have studied it and have had the courage to denounce it. I also appreciate the commenters who add to the arguments against it.

    Even today, the vision of polygamy, and eagerness for it, leads a few men to say and do things that break the hearts of their wives and children.

    Let the lingering tendrils of polygamy end forever!

  33. Hi Kirk andLindsay, What moved you from the “Joseph was NOT a polygamist” to the “Joseph WAS a polygamist” position? You said you had read Waterman etc and accepted that explanation for some period of time. Was it the church essays that changed your minds about that? Or something else?
    I grew up believing Smith was a polygamist, but I no longer do. I just don’t see evidence for it. So I’m curious what changed your minds, or maybe what evidence you find convincing that he did it.

    1. David Macfarlane

      This just makes my mind swim. Not that JT is the only one making this claim. Assuming this is true, how did Todd Compton and Brian Hales, with all the research they’ve done, come to the conclusion that Joseph DID practice polygamy? How did someone effectively line up all the women who testified in the Temple Lot case to lie? How did Brigham Young and others so effectively alter both written and word-of-mouth church history to make Joseph look guilty? And if all that happened, wouldn’t that make Brigham Young a pretty unsavory character and hardly qualified to lead the true church as a prophet of God? Quite simply, the contradictory and baffling nature of church history is enough to convince me the church cannot be true, even if I never know for sure what (who?) Joseph did or did not do.

      1. Yes. If all that happened, it casts doubt on Brigham Young’s claims to be Smith’s successor. And also doubt on the legitimacy of Young’s successors. Which is precisely why the LDS church has never and will never deny Smith’s polygamy. They have an institutional need for polygamy to originate with Smith. Compton and Hales are tremendously useful to the LDS church in this regard.

        1. flyingmouseman

          Even the RLDS Church (now Community of Chirst) has changed postions due to the evidence. For decades they held fast to the belief Joseph had nothing to do with polygamy and today they admit what history shows; Joseph was a womanizer and married many, many women.

          1. Yes, I get it. I used to believe all that too.

            What evidence do you find convincing? There’s so much of it, right? Which individual woman would you point to and say beyond any reasonable doubt he was married to that woman?

          2. Curiously, Britannica has this entry. Are they mistaken?

            “The Community of Christ rejects the doctrine of polygamy and denies that it was taught and practiced by Joseph Smith. It claims that polygamy was introduced by Brigham Young and his associates and that the revelation on polygamy, which was made public in 1852 by Young in Utah and attributed to Smith, was not in harmony with the original tenets of the church or with the teachings and practices of Smith.”


            All I can really find on the CoC web site is this quote:
            “The church has a long-standing tradition that it does not legislate or mandate positions on matters of church history. Historians should be free to draw their own conclusions after thorough consideration of evidence.”

            Do you have a statement from the CoC that contradicts Britannica? I could swear I’ve seen something along those lines before but I’m not finding anything today.

  34. Why doesn’t anyone address one of the main parts of Section 132? Where William and Jane Law were approached by Joseph to get William for a sex partner for Emma? This really tells us why this was not form the Lord. It was a sex game that went crazy. See Grant Palmers interview. William and Jane Law. After hearing the story you will KNOW this is all CRAZY. It refers to Section 132: 51-54.

    1. Skeptic I have been really interested in William and Jane Law and have come across this story you mention, claimed by Grant Palmer. Have you read the newspaper interview (and letters) with William Law when he was an old man? I thought he would confirm this story but did didn’t. What is your take on why he makes no mention of it and from memory denies anything like this occurred. It certainly would explain those verses in D&C 32, but I question if it actually happened this way after reading his interview. Do you have any other sources that support this story? https://www.mrm.org/law-interview. https://www.mazeministry.com/mormonism/newsletters_articles/newsweek/newsweek/lawint2.htm

    2. Michael Surkan

      Well, it isn’t clear that Joseph was proposing celestial marriage to William and Jane. Joseph may have been a philanderer but most of the claims to actually polygamist theology come from the Utah Mormon pack, from what I can tell.

      Secondly, there is a contradiction between what William and Jane say vs Emma. Emma denied this ever happened.

      Personally, I don’t know what is true. There are so many conflicting testimonies and everyone has selfish motives for pushing one view or another. It just leaves me confused as heck.

      As I mention further down in this thread it isn’t even clear to me that Joseph smith wrote D&C 132.

      1. I have not heard of the Utah Mormon pack Michael Surkan. Something else to look into I guess. The Polygamy Essay writers could have gone along that track but didn’t which I find interesting.

        With regards to Emma denying this story. That truly does not surprise me seeing as she later denied to everybody (including her son Joseph III) that Joseph ever practiced polygamy even though from much evidence, she DID know, and despised it.

        My confusion is why, if this incident with the Laws that Skeptic refers to actually happened, why did William Law not bring it up when interviewed later in life. He willingly revealed many other negative things about Joseph, why not this damning one? (btw, to correct my first post, it was William Law’s son who actually said this incident never happened, in his opinion).

  35. I read the Van Allen’s blog post, and enjoyed listening to this podcast. I have read the essays, I have read Richard Bushman’s “Rough Stone Rolling”, and a few other online sources (including some on Mormon Stories) that shed light on the Church’s foundation and history. Perhaps I’m in a rare minority that after all that, still say that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

    Of course I’ve read D&C 132 (in fact, I reread it will listening to the podcast), and don’t agree with much of the interpretation that the Van Allens have put to it on their blog, and in this podcast. As I read and understand it, it echos doctrines taught through other scripture, and not just in the Doctrine & Covenants. I particularly don’t agree with the Van Allens view that it is harsh toward women, and especially not single individuals. I appreciate their earnestness, and searching, and their incredulity when Church leaders aren’t more aware of difficult and challenging historical information. I understand why Church leaders aren’t aware, we do, afterall have a lay clergy, but it frequently surprises me too.

    I appreciate the comment John made in this podcast that Apologetics have a tough job. It is a challenge to defend something your life is anchored around, without stepping across a line that make the defense a personal attack.

    The Hales response to the Van Allens has some good points, but also statements that come across as personal attack. As a result, it weakens the argument, and clearly did nothing to offer any soothing balm to those that might similarly struggle with, or outright reject, the doctrine of Polygamy.

    I wish everyone well in their faith journey.

    1. Nathan’s comments remind me of my long-ago poem (“Nathan’s Cry”) written in faith crisis in September 1965. I like the slack our current Nathan gives to lay leaders, but am critical of those no-longer-lay leaders who have long before made the institution their full-time life’s work.

      In any case, I second Nathan’s good wishes in getting to know (and I hope value) our respective faith journeys. I would add my hope that we continue not only to know, but also treasure and share our respective journeys with each other, such as John Dehlin, Gina Galvin and others are doing in this blog and other parts of the “Blogernacle”.

      My earnest belief is that the SAVING GRACE for the LDS Church (i.e., the ecclesiastical system)lies NOT with old and too-often ailing men at the top ranks of the Church system, who feel bound by scripture, doctrine and dogma and who feel themselves divinely appointed, BUT with devoted women and men AND ESPECIALLY the LGBT community, whether or not they are officially in or involuntarily out of the Church. I’m talking about being personally devoted to the God of Love, Truth, Forgiveness and Grace; NOT to the gods of exclusivity, judgment and condemnation.

    2. Nathan,

      Will you take the time to explain why you have concluded that D&C 132 is not harsh toward women. I would really like to know. For me, God’s threat to destroy them seems harsh.

  36. Thank you so much for this great interview. It truly highlighted my feelings on polygamy over the years. Though I’ve heard it before, I’m still surprised when someone says, “I never thought about it like that before.” It just shocks me that so many people don’t take the time to comprehend how damaging polygamy is to women. I hate, hate, hate the argument that it’ll be ok in heaven because we will like polygamy there. marriage slavery is not ok now or in the afterlife. women as property will never be ok and it will not make sense in heaven– this doctrine is just total crap. When I read D&C 132 in 9th grade seminary, I decided then and there that I would never marry in the temple nor would I ever marry a mormon man. I don’t understand why the church holds on to this destructive “revelation”. And I don’t understand why joseph smith and other prophets are deified. Why do mental gymnastics to justify evil doing. Why not just say that was wrong and we are changed. This desperation to justify disgusting doctrine hurts the church. What the Van Allen’s are doing is helping the church because they are debunking a harmful doctrine. How many women have left the church over the polygamy doctrine (I’m sure I’m not the only one). If I didn’t study 132 at age 14, I might have thought that the church is a safe place to raise my boys. I just cant allow my boys to grow up thinking its ok to own women (as long as its just in heaven) and that their free agency trumps a womans because they are male. my boys will grow up like their secular father knowing that men and women Are equal and that mormon doctrines are harmful and weird. I don’t know anyone who is ok with 132. Just get rid of it!

  37. Michael Surkan

    Isn’t it possible that D&C 132 was never written by Joseph Smith and was fabricated after his death? It was only revealed publicly in the 1850s. How do we know it wasn’t just made up by Brigham Young to justify the polygamous practices he standardized after taking over the church?

  38. Kirk & Lindsay
    Polygamy is a painful and demoralizing concept. The very idea of justifying it for any reason let alone “in the name of a loving God” is an affront to the sensibilities of the human spirit. Then to “bind” people to the practice guised in death oaths, secrecy and absolute adherence in supposedly sacred temple rituals is unconscionable. Fear is a legitimate emotion to protect oneself from danger yet it is very real for Mormons, as Kirk experienced, should they desire to speak with integrity on confusing or controversial doctrines.
    Lindsay I am sorry for your pain and anguish felt for so many years. I understand and empathize. It is your spirit in Christ consciousness knowing it is being violated that does not allow you to “pretend” all is well. Kirk your dream is a gift from God to give you a small glimpse into the anguish Lindsay is asked to daily accept in silent “faith”. Not only is she expected to accept it she is also told to look her children in the eye, especially her daughters, in their vulnerable and pure innocence of trust in their Mother’s love and teach them to violate their hearts, their sense of self and their value to the God who supposedly “loves” them. The Hales analytical attempt to theorize evil as good is tragic. The LDS church is not even honest in its public stance that polygamy is alive and well and practiced daily in the temple on a “spiritual” level. Members are required to practice their religion in a numb state of obedience, not to question or speak out loud that the “Emperor has no clothes!” Joseph Smith was a womanizer and adulterer. D&C 132 was written to justify his marital indiscretions and to bind Emma’s ability to object with credibility on a personal and public level. He is not the first or last charismatic man to manipulate and lure people to justify shocking behaviors and desires. Of course the mormons were persecuted! Be honest. Knowing what you know would you want Joseph living next door to your beautiful 15 year old daughter?

  39. Kirk. How is going? John. Nice to see you’re doing as well as ever. So. Apostates. Hmmm. Yeah, I just got two books of revelations in the mail from my mother-in-law. She really doesn’t like Mormons. Recently though she has become mesmerized by the most outspoken current prophet, seer, and revelator, Julie Rowe. Although some might argue that her mission articulates apostasy better than most members, and more significantly, too many church leaders can even as they reference the Church’s handbook of instructions. So I have to ask you both, and I really, no I just can’t find a more efficient and to the point way to put this: What The Fetch!?! She is welcomed to profess at stake centers, ward houses, and eehgad, the Logan Tabernacle and apparently meet with a few Seventy. She has mainstreamed what should be a message that is usually reserved for those preppers from the 80s that went all-in on Skousen’s then canonized journey into the Millennium. People are selling off all they have to wait it out in the Safe Zones in their new prepper RVs. Neither of you will ever get that kind of following. And yet… Seriously, WTF?!?

    1. I think it all comes down to the fact that the institution seems to feel threatened by what we said. Julie Rowe is promoting preparedness and that the end is near. As you have said, that has been a popular message before and plays into people’s need to feel ahead of the curve. Her message plays into our deepest fears. What Rowe says doesn’t necessarily contradict anything that has ever been taught, she is reiterating the narrative. Thus, her message is welcomed.

      1. Apocalyptic prophecies are popular because they are comforting. There is a warm, comforting, feeling that comes from the clarity that nothing else matters anymore. No need to worry about the messy problems of life anymore. Bill? Who cares. Annoying relatives? Who cares, they’ll be in hell soon enough.

      2. I think you are absolutely right Lindsay. If the message is convenient for the the church they certainly will capitalize on that. I read the Rowe books and they certainly gave me the warm fuzzies eg…spirt feeling. I even considered going back to church and buying more canned beans….maybe some mandarin oranges so we don’t get scurvy while hanging out in those tent cities of light. I however can’t think of a more textbook definition of apostasy than claiming to have holy knowledge about the end of the world. As long as you end your paragraphs with a listen to me but also follow the prophet and then quote the book of mormon you are in the clear. I just really think the church needs to get a different PR rep. All of this hullabaloo about Kate Kelly and John Dehlin and YOU only gives their causes legitimacy. I never would have heard of any of you otherwise. ( I mean that in the most supportive way possible). I just think that of course polygamy is not the word of god….I think the church should just chill. Joeseph Smith doesn’t have to be a saint for the church to be true or should I say for the church to have elements of truth in it. The more you make it an all or nothing deal…and then throw a tantrum about it the more you alienate your membership. Ok…enough said… trolls please don’t comment with how awful I am and how I should be obedient. I already know. I am waiting for my church discipline letter in the mail…it never comes…maybe I should start a blog.

  40. I enjoyed this podcast, thank you both for sharing your story. As I was reflecting on the interview later in the day, I thought about Joseph ordering the destruction of the printing press that had published The Nauvoo Expositor. And how, with many of these recent disciplinary councils, the main stipulation for good standing in the Church is for web pages to be taken down/removed. I once believed that being Mormon also made me very patriotic, though I never thought much about the First Amendment. It is starting to mean something more to me now.

  41. Thanks, Kirk & Lindsay, for sharing your story. I also don’t think D&C 132 is doctrinal. There is a post over at The Exponent called “Renovating My Faith” that I think you might enjoy – I was reminded of it when you talked about examining each piece of your beliefs. Best wishes.

  42. I also do not believe that D&C 132 is from God, for it is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    But the problem LDS have is, if polygamy is not a true principle then the Church cannot be true or ever have been true, for Christ taught that ‘true’ prophets ‘always keep all his commandments’ and would thus never live polygamy nor fall for or believe in or support anyone who does. So that eliminates every LDS leader in the Church.

    So, if we study the words of Christ, then the idea of polygamy & D&C 132 just proves that the Church was founded & continued by the kind of false prophets that Christ warned us about, who he said most people would fall for.

  43. Thank you for this interview. All of my feelings and experiences were addressed about the inner turmoil polygamy causes. Not to bore anyone but I just want to tell a story, my story of why the contradictions in teaching are so painful. I have written the First Presidency of my story.

    I grew up in a less active home. I was blessed with a testimony of God and knew He loved me despite my circumstance. I was good and always wanted to do right. But my home life was painful. My Mom suffered from depression and anxiety, compounding that was my Dad’s infidelities. I tried as the oldest daughter to control and maintain some sort of normalcy despite the chaos in my home. My Mom was often suicidal, my Dad absent. At one point in desperation from hating my Dad for worsening an already bad situation, and then feeling guilty for having such feelings, I fled with Book of Mormon in hand to a basement room and cried out in prayer and sorrow for help. I was only 15. I prayed for help to remove the anger in my heart for my Dad. I hoped to find answers in the Book of Mormon. I had that much talked of experience of opening the scriptures to just the right place. For me that day it was Jacob. God said through those words that he was angry with men’s infidelities and the pain it caused his “tender” daughters. He was pained by the cries of his daughters. I had a profound experience and knew God was listening to my cries. I also found a measure of forgiveness knowing through that scripture that my Dad would be responsible for the pain he caused and would probably one day feel the weight of my pain. Compassion and love entered my heart for him.

    My Mom completed suicide 5 years ago. I am now 42.

    Now fast forward 25 years plus. I am an active member of the church who has been faithful my entire life. I love a God. I love Jesus Christ. I don’t know how I could have survived my Mom’s suicide without my testimony of God, Jesus Christ, eternal life and the love of a good husband and family. The love I felt from God and family during that horrific and traumatic time wrapped me in a cocoon where I could heal and shed the layers when ready.

    I began to hear of disturbing facts of polygamy a few years ago. Because of my curious mind and love of truth I had to find the answers. I began in all the “safe” places. To say I was disturbed by what I found is an understatement. None of the things I read spoke of the God I had come to know nor reflected the beautiful and tender message given to me at 15 from Him. My only choice in my heart and mind was to throw polygamy out. It didn’t match at all what I felt I was taught from God about His love for me as His daughter and how He felt I should be treated by men. I put it on the back burner for awhile just personally rejecting it.

    Then the essays come out. My internal world fell apart. I was in deep depression and anxiety which I have never experienced. ( The silver lining and blessing was I gained even more compassion for my Mom and the LGBT community.) I once again cried in desperation to God and had the same experience as Lindsay. My answer was it wasn’t of God. I can accept that in the afterlife there may be some interesting arrangements. People divorce and lose spouses to death, but polygamy as it was practiced I just can’t believe in. All the reasons you touched on in this interview are the same reasons I don’t buy it.

    The essays say basically that sometimes it’s okay to lie to your spouse and justify the actions of Joseph. All I can think about is Emma and her children. I’ve been on the other side of lies and deceptions. It is not of God. I read D&C 132 and get sick inside. The peace God taught me at 15 is removed. From everything I was taught , it is that peace that testifies of truth. So I have found peace again by tossing it out as truth. I believe I will stand with God alone on the other side and I want to be able to say to Him, I listened to You, I tried to follow You even when others may have said I was wrong. I know what I felt that day in the basement at 15 and what I was taught by a God who loves me, and I have confidence and peace in that knowledge and assurance.

    The contradictions and messages that have been sent are damaging emotionally and mentally. They are not something we can sit back and analyze as historic pieces of information with removal of the real pain they caused then and now. I am so thankful to you John and other podcast hosts, especially Natasha Helfer Parker for helping me come out of the dark abyss of depression from my faith crisis. For now you have helped me to frame my faith in a way that feels healthy to me and I have returned to my happy, positive self. Words really can’t express my gratitude.

    It is something to note that the pain caused by my crisis of faith was not unlike the grief I experienced losing my Mom. The magnitude of the pain some of these harmful beliefs and teachings can cause should never be taken lightly or underestimated.

  44. I Like what Kirk said “this is the Church of Jesus Christ not the church of the Prophets”. The leaders are way more spiritual than me. I don’t believe that everything they say is scripture or official doctrine. A lot, are their opinions and personal beliefs. Why can’t we discern for ourselves which is which without reprimand?

  45. Kelli, thank you for a inspired “God’s Honest Truth” that only a heart of stone could withstand. What ecclesiastic leader, let alone all your church sisters and brothers, would dare not weep?

  46. “From the way we treat women, to the way church business is conducted, to temple practices, plural marriage still colors the filter we look through.”

    I know that you are not alone thinking that women in the Church are treated differently in the Church. I am not sure if I can comment on it since I am not a woman. However, I do believe that women who think they are treated as second class citizens are in the minority. My question is why do most women in the Church do not see it your way.

    1. Richie, I think that it’s because we were taught from a very young age to accept it, to “know” that this is just the way it’s going to be. And because God is loving, the way the church treats women can’t be wrong. And so we justify it to ourselves and to others. Actually, most women don’t need to justify it to themselves; they just say, “God’s will be done, whatever it be.”

  47. I just listened to this today, and I really want to make a few comments. One thing is that I was also introduced to polygamy through reading The Work and the Glory in high school. At first I was horrified. I “knew” that Joseph Smith was a prophet and thought, “What??? How could God actually threaten to kill him if he didn’t practice this sickening ‘law’???” But after doing a little research and finding out it was true that the church did practice polygamy back in the day, I just tried to block it out.

    My mother and I were discussing D&C 132 recently, and she revealed to me that when she’d first read verse 26 after she was married, she wept. My father was a terrible man; he had promised to get baptize after they got married, but after their marriage, he became abusive. He didn’t allow my mother to go outside of the yard for the first few years we lived in a real house; he criticized everything she did; and eventually he sexually abused me and my sister. And my mother knows that it isn’t really her fault that she ended up with this kind of a man. And the thought that somebody like her, who isn’t as bad as a rapist or an aggravated kidnapper, or even a robber, would be unable to attain the highest glory just because she isn’t sealed to somebody. She is still a TBM, a huge defender of Mormonism and resents that I’m not a TBM too. But I think about all of the pain that this section has caused so many people, women in particular (because this section treats women like sexual objects), and I want to scream. Thank you for doing this episode, and thank you, Kirk Van Allen, for writing that blog post!

  48. Unfortunately, I need to take exception to Lindsay’s assertion that “we don’t believe” things like single people will be servants in heaven. That was most definitely taught to me as I grew up in the church and it was something that brought me a lot of sorrow as I transitioned into adulthood and tried to figure out what I believed, what was in store for me in eternity, etc.

    I applaud this couple’s attempt to improve things for members of the church. But polygamy isn’t some weird concept that accidentally ended up interwoven in our culture by happenstance. It was an INTEGRAL AND INTENTIONAL part of the doctrine, as were the included implications.

  49. Jacob, chapter 3 in the Book of Mormon reveals a remarkable insight into the priorities of God:

    5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father—that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

    6 And now, this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people.

    7 Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?

    Despite being a wild, ferocious and loathsome people, the Lamanites were preserved because of their monogamy and their devotion between husbands and wives to each other. Good on you, Kirk and Lindsay, for calling a spade a spade. If you’re excommunicated it will be more evidence that church leadership increasingly is ignoring D&C 121 at their own peril.

  50. I think people forget that Joseph Smith believed in the god of the Bible that is a God of compulsion and wrath. God said disobedient children should be killed (Lev 20:9; Deut 21:18-21) and anyone else who disobeyed the commandments like heresy, adultrey, homosexuality, work on Sabbath, worshipping other gods or idols, etc. Demanded the genocidal death of those who were not his chosen people (Deut 13:6-15). Jesus endorsed the law and said his law stands until heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:18-20). Jesus did not say anywhwere the law is gone.

    The god of the bible also said that many many of the laws were to be forever:

    Passover (Ex 12:14, 24); feast of unleavened bread (Ex 12:17); lamp burning (Ex 27:20, 21); Aaron priests and descendents to serve forever (Ex 27:20-21;29:9; Ex 40:15); lamb sacrifice (Ex 29:38); incense burning (Ex 30:8); Sabbath to be kept or death (Ex 31:12-17); alter atonement (Ex 30:10); offerings (Lev 6:18-22, 7:36-37, 10:15); day of atonement (Lev 16:29-34); Feast of passover (Lev 23:5-14). This is a small sample of the laws god would say would be forever, god may not be a god of confusion, but no rational human can say that about the god of the Bible.

    Kirk and Lindsay seemed confused about polygamy in the Bible, so I will help. The biblical god gave laws about polygamy. God commanded that one should not have sex with your mother or his other wives (Lev 18:7, 20:11; Deut 22:30, 27:20). He said you cannot take your wifes sister as one of your wives (Lev 18:18). Second wife should be treated same as the first (Ex 21:10). A father should not favor children of favorite wife as far as inheritance (Deut 21:15-17). NO WHERE DID JESUS DO AWAY WITH THESE LAWS GOVERNING POLYGAMY.

    As for virgin not being virgin, look up the screw up Matthew made in connecting the virgin birth with Isaiah 7:14, no virgin birth prophecy was ever made and the birth stories of Matthew and Luke are so contradicting it is obvious they were going out of their way to in trying to get Jesus born in bethlehem as to make him the messiah.

    The above is the precise reason 55% of Mormon apostates go atheist or aganostic, there is confusion and historical problems with the Bible, Jesus, Joseph Smith, and all scripture claims.

  51. Elwood,

    God did not write the Old Testament, men did. And God did not command all those things you listed, men commanded them and attributed them to God, like most people attribute their feelings & inspiration to God today.

    Most people think their warm fuzzies, inspiration, visions, dreams, etc come from God, when probably most don’t, for they contradict each other and Christ’s laws, and God is not a God of confusion, or we have nothing to go on as truth and no standard to judge anything by.

    The only true scripture or words from God we might have are the few words of Christ in the Gospels, assuming they were transcribed without errors, which is highly unlikely and in studying it seems impossible. (Every other book of scriptures was written by fallible men, whereas Christ was considered a God and perfect)

    But that doesn’t mean that the majority of Christ’s teachings weren’t true just because they were written down & transcribed by men. But it’s impossible for mortals to really know for sure if Christ was who he said he was, or if there is really a God or if Christ’s words are really truth.

    The best we can do is live Christ’s teachings & experiment with them and see what kinds of effects they have on people, families & societies. I believe they do prove to be the wisest words known to man, to preserve & promote peace, love, happiness, liberty & prosperity. So I believe most all of Christ’s words attributed to him are true.

    And if Christ’s words are true then they prove most of the Bible false, for God cannot decree things contrary to his own laws that Christ layed out. For Christ said that his laws are how we judge all truth from error and what really comes from God or not or who are true prophets vs false prophets, for true prophets would not do or teach anything contrary to the commandments of Christ.

    That means that most of the prophets in the Old Testament were either wrong and deceived to believe their inspiration really came from God, especially where it contradicted Christ’s teachings. So just because they said God declared something, doesn’t mean he did. Just look around today at how many different people and religious leaders claim opposite things from God. The same happened back then.

    Those old prophets were just fallible men who could make mistakes and misinterpret inspiration as easily as we all do today.

    And Jesus did teach that all polygamy was adultery, when he taught that all divorce & remarriage was too, if you study closely what he said. So if one believes in Christ then it’s impossible for polygamy to ever be ok or commanded by God.

    Thus that proves that Brigham Young made up D&C 132 & polygamy etc., which is not surprising at all given his low character which he proved even at the pulpit and in his other writings, beliefs & actions.

    I give Joseph Smith the benefit of a doubt that he didn’t ever preach or practice polygamy since there is absolutely no proof he did, only tons of proof he was totally against it his whole life. But even still, he didn’t follow Christ very well either, so he proves he was a false prophet also, who made up scriptures & wrote the BOM with help from others, for power, gain & glory.

  52. FYI — the MormonVerse domain is no longer active, the links to the original post and the Van Allen response is gone. Is there a way to still access these?

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