Lindsay Hansen Park’s Year of Polygamy Ep. 551

In this episode we interview Lindsay Hansen Park about the completion of her Year of Polygamy podcast project.


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  1. This ranks with the best of Mormon Stories and podcasts in general. Lindsay’s done a phenomenal job of historical reporting, always careful to explain her personal biases up front and willing to own the outcome.

    Thanks, Lindsay and John!

  2. I haven’t felt such genuine regard for Mormon fundamentalist polygamists since you interviewed Anne Wilde eight years ago, John. You also seemed to have regained some of your old objectivity in this interview as well which is welcome.

    You drew me in again and again, Lindsay, with your love for these folks and the serious challenges facing them. Oh that the Church fathers wouldn’t be as foolish as to excommunicate a disciple of Christ called to understand and love these red-haired step children of the Brighamites. Good strength to you.

    1. I didn’t have a lot of regard for fundamentalists either until I left Mormonism 12 years ago and finally realized that they (the fundamentalist Mormons) had been stuck in the same brainwashing situation that had kept me faithful in Mormonism for 49 years. I read several books on polygamy and after reading Kristyn Decker’s book “50 Years in Polygamy” I met her and we both admitted that we stayed in Mormonism, and for her, polygamy, because we truly thought we were doing the “right” thing. It takes a very, very long time (if ever) before the shackles finally fall from your eyes and it is bitterly painful to realize you’ve been living and hanging on to the lie.

  3. Lindsay,

    This collection has already become a invaluable educational resource that accurately offers a unique insight to the many aspects, elements and practices of Mormon polygamy. Heartfelt and done with amazing dedication the entire serious was a genuine labor of love. I know it has came with a great personal cost to you. Be assured this will absolutely offer comfort, ease the pain and suffering of those affected by the practice of polygamy. God bless you Lindsey.

  4. Loved this!

    I have a question for Lindsay:

    Please correct me if I am misreprenting your views. You said something to the effect that people should listen to their own inspiration rather than (simply) following their leaders. (I would agree) However, people can still be misled when seeking their own personal inspiration. How does one sort through those alternatives? Theoretically speaking, if/when we stand before God to be judged we will be judged more harshly for following our own flawed inspiration or for (simply) following flawed leaders as commanded? I’ve encountered many LDS people (and LDS leaders)who believe true obedience is to unquestioningly follow the leaders above them and that they will be rewarded for doing so.

    1. There seems to be a general misunderstanding about the meaning of the word “complex”. If doctrine A is true and B is true then conclusion C is true. Another words C is dependent on A and B.

      Seems like a large number of folks experiencing a faith crisis come to the understanding that A and B are not true but C or some parts of C remain true. This makes an individual contradictory, illogical, delusional, inconsistent and/or confused, definitely not an indication of how “complex” one may or may not be.

      1. All people think and act irrationally; Ask any economist.

        People holding irrational beliefs different from yours are not all deluded suckers and/or simpletons.

    2. Maddy,

      I personally believe that God & Christ would never want us to just blindly believe whatever person comes along claiming to be a ‘prophet’ or to have ‘seen God’ or have ‘new scripture’. Christ warned us over and over to beware of & test all prophets who come professing such things or Spirits who give us revelation, to see if they are of God or not, meaning if they teach the same commandments Christ did and if that prophet actually really keeps Christ’s commandments (which Joseph Smith did not).

      So I believe God will hold us accountable for being deceived by man or spirit, for we all know right from wrong deep down and the Golden Rule, everyone knows polygamy is not fair and men would put up with it the other way around, so it doesn’t pass Christ’s Golden Rule, no matter how many prophets come preaching it.

      If we are honest and sincere and really live the Golden Rule and have love & equal respect for others, all genders and races, and care for the needy we will not fall for too many falsehoods from false prophets or false revelation, and when we do we will catch ourselves and repent.

      There is no passing the buck for our deeds, whether to blame man or Spirit. We have to just discern correctly ourselves, that’s the test of this life, to see who will have love & respect & concern for others so we can tell right from wrong. And those who choose right will gain the prize, Eternal Life. Were all on our own.

  5. Michael Surkan

    I am one of those people Lindsey was talking about who is stuck on whether Joseph Smith was a polygamist. It’s not that I think Joseph could do no wrong (e.g. I think the Book of Mormon was his own invention). I find it hard to dismiss Emma Smith’s statements which denied Joseph’s polygamy till the day she died. I also find the lack of any DNA evidence pointing to descendants from Joseph’s polygamous marriages to be a problem.

    Yes, there are limitations to what the DNA testing can show, but the fact that not one single person has so far been proven as a descendant of Joseph is problematic. This is compounded by the fact that DNA testing has conclusively proven that some people who have claimed to be descendants of Joseph are definitely NOT related to him.

    Every time one of the claimants to Joseph Smith parentage are conclusively disproven a deeper question is cast on other people with similar claims.

    I know there is speculation that Joseph’s polygamous wives had abortions or that Joseph may have had a genetic defect leading to miscarriages, but all that is just guessing.

    As an ex-Mormon, I admit that one of the reasons this line of inquiry fascinates me so much is because the entire legitimacy of the LDS church would go up in smoke if it was ever proven that Joseph was NOT a polygamist.

    It’s ironic that the LDS church NEEDS Joseph to have been a polygamist in order to justify the entire chain of divine leadership they claim from Brigham Young onwards.

    1. You make some very good, very interesting points. The things I wonder about, though, are 1) The affidavits signed in regard to the Temple Lot case by women claiming to be Joseph’s wives. Were those faked or coerced? 2) D&C 132 is pretty blatantly specific. Did Joseph not write that? Or was it meant for others and not him? The lines specifically referring to Emma make it sound like Joseph (or God) was talking about Joseph in particular as well as everyone else. 3) It seems to me that as much as the LDS church needed/needs Joseph to be a polygamist, the RLDS church needed him to NOT be a polygamist. If the RLDS crowd were to form a church based on the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s claims of profit-hood AND eschew polygamy, they really couldn’t admit that he had been an instigator and practitioner himself.

      1. Michael Surkan

        The Temple Lot affidavits are the strongest evidence of Joseph’s polygamy, in my view. That said, these statements were made long after Joseph died and were made by Utah women who had reasons for saying things to support the Mormon leadership they were beholden to.

        But who knows.

        As far as D&C 132 goes, this wasn’t released until many years after Joseph died. We have zero evidence that Joseph himself was the author, other than the word of the people who made 132 public. It would make sense for someone fabricating something Joseph would have supposedly written to mention Emma in it for more authenticity. In fact, it was very smart to have God chastising Emma considering how she had become a thorn in the side of the Utah church by the time they made D&C 132 public.

        I admit that Joseph very well may have been a practicing polygamist, even in the carnal sense. But there are still a lot of mysteries that muddy the waters as to what actually happened. The fact that DNA testing keeps disproving more and more claimants to Smith descent is the most troubling to me.

        The reality is that there is SO much conflicting testimony that it is hard to know the truth of many of the events in Mormon history with an absolute certainty. Everyone seems to look at the historical record with their own prism of biases. How much weight should be given to what Emma says vs what other people say?

        Still, it would sure make things interesting if we could somehow prove Joseph WASN’T a polygamist. For example, evidence showing D&C 132 was forged would be earth shattering.

        It is just absolutely hilarious that the LDS church NEEDS Joseph to be a polygamist in order to justify their ecclesiastical authority.

        1. To quote JSDefender from “Why is the Temple Lot Suit important?”: “The importance of the Temple Lot Suit in relation to Joseph’s character was that in a court of law, Joseph was found innocent of teaching and practicing polygamy. The Utah LDS Church brought forth their best witnesses that Joseph taught and practiced polygamy to prove they were the continuation of the original church. Yet, in an unbiased court of law, the Utah LDS Church could not prove that Joseph taught or practiced polygamy, even with two witnesses who claimed to be Joseph’s plural wives. In fact, the witnesses they produced—their best ones—were not credible witnesses according to Judge Philips.”

    2. I don’t understand this. Why does the LDS church need Joseph to be a polygamist in order to justify its authority?

      1. Levitical Rites and the Melchizedek Priesthood

        Levite Priests were the only tribe to have multiple wives.
        Beyond the sound of one hand clapping
        there is the Melchizedek Priesthood,
        the powers of which allows one to keep time
        with no hands clapping.
        With the sheckels gathered, babes are bonked, the meat is divied up and the hides sold the Levites of the Melchizedek Priesthood hung out in the coolness of their temple and entertained other powers to acquire. That’s why, the “church” is indemnified by this many wife idea.
        And it came to pass, and so it goes –– hope it all gets sorted out in the end.


        1. Ephima Morphew

          Melchizedek Priesthood and Levitical Rites

          As a restorationist, Joe was obliged to invoke arcane stuff, magic thinking and obedience the prophet.
          And it came to pass the Mormon Prophet took Proto–Jewishness and turned arcane thought into Mormon Re-invention of Priestly Hijinx; if The Sister–Wife is good for The Chosen, low so many years ago, why not keep Levitical thinking as being the Lord’s Chosen Peoples’ commandments.
          So Joe, gathered up some Masonic Stuff and invoked blessings to all through the Power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
          Inorder to clean up Mormondom, the Brother–Husband must enter into the fray to balance the Sister–Wife.
          Restoration is not Rocket Science but it is genetically complicated with the Brother–Husband and the Sister–Wife making so many more babies and defusing Priestly authority for blessings and authority.


      2. Michael Surkan

        If Joseph Smith wasn’t a polygamist then Brigham Young lied about the revelation for polygamy and D&C 132 is a forgery. Don’t forget that Brigham claimed that the practice of polygamy was a law which God had revealed to Joseph Smith who had passed it on to him (and others) in secret.

        The LDS church needs Joseph to have been a polygamist or else the passing of authority from Joseph to Brigham is illegitimate.

        1. The passing of authority from Joseph to Brigham is still illegitimate even if Joseph Smith secretly practiced polygamy, for then it means he constantly lied about it to the whole church and most importantly to his wife & children, totally leading everyone astray, and causing many if not most members to not later follow Brigham because of Joseph’s warnings against polygamy.

          And Christ was very clear about lying and that it’s impossible for those who do it to be true prophets or maintain any authority, let alone trust.

          Not to mention how Christ clearly condemned all polygamy too as adultery, and all the other countless things LDS leaders did and still do today that are contrary to Christ’s teachings.

          So whether Joseph lied or Brigham lied it means the same for the Church today, it’s totally illegitimate. Lying is a worse sin then many want to believe, not even prophets can get away with it, for who would trust them anyway once found out they were lying?

          And then there are even worse things that Christ condemned that the early leaders did, like adultery by polygamy, abuse of women & wives in polygamy, emotional & physical abandonment of wives and children in polygamy, inequality of women (Priesthood & position & power in church, home and society), allowance of divorce & remarriage, slavery, racism, paid prophets, asking for & using tithing for things other then the poor, etc etc.

          Thus there are so many other even worse things done then just ‘lying’ (as bad as that is) by the leaders of the Church since the beginning that it’s absolutely impossible that the Church could be true or of God.

          People have to ignore & excuse the breaking of most of 10 commandments to think any LDS leader was a true prophet.

          With prophets like that who needs to beware of false prophets, for apparently true prophets and false prophets do the very same things.

    3. The statement regarding DNA infers that Joseph’s plural marriages were never physically consummated. While that may have been true for some of Joseph’s wives, I don’t accept that being true for all of Joseph’s wives.

      DC:132, which provides the framework for the practice of Plural Marriage, clearly states that the Lord sanctions this practice in part to “multiply and replenish the Earth” among other reasons. By this yardstick, Joseph should have been following his own revelation. Personally, I think he was following his own revelation to the greatest extent possible given the multiple distractions (such as running for President of the United States, Mayor and Nauvoo Legion duties, and the persecution etc..)

      Regardless, we know that this certainly was not the case with Brigham Young and hundreds of other Senior Church leaders. There are descendants from multiple wives by them. This matters since the legacy and priesthood keys the currently leaders lay claim to – all pass through these polygamous / polyamorus individuals. This is exactly why the LDS church cannot completely divorce itself from polygamy.

      This podcast did an excellent job explaining how fundamentally interwoven the concept of Plural Marriage is with the Mormon / LDS faith. This goes for fundamentalist faith as well as LDS ‘mainstream’ – all Mormon faiths. The core definitions of Heaven and full Exaltation are built upon Plural Marriage.

  6. Katie Did What?

    Very well done, Lindsay. It inspired me to want to focus on Mormonism for my senior project. I am so impressed with your research. You should do a dissertation on your findings.

  7. Excellent podcast! I’m in full agreement that polygamy is NOT of God. It seems most thinkers and studiers of the matter come to this conclusion also. I feel sorry for those who need to believe Joseph was righteous in this, considering all of the evidence against him and the early leaders.

    Good job, Lindsay!

  8. tropical animal

    Thanks for an “insiders view of polygamy.” Need more time to study it. Like to see it in print. Polygamy is “us,” our history, our belief, you say. Our Mormon ancestors are polygamists.

    There is more than one kind of polygamy. Independent or I type polygamy, as in Arizona and Joseph Smith’s polygamy. The polygamy of the I type has advantages over the J type. For example, in AZ I polygamy, the developing youngsters have the advantage of cross-family mothering. In Joseph’s polygamy, since it was secret, there is no cross-family mothering, or cross-woman bonding and interaction. In AZ I polygamy, cross-marriage sex, with permission, is O.K. In J polygamy, a woman takes vows that she will be destroyed in the flesh if she touches another woman’s husband. (Though this rule does not apply to Joseph Smith.)

    Still wonder what happens to the extra males. Are they dropped off in Wyoming or Florida?

    Fascinating podcast, Lindsay. Brings more questions than answers.

    Your podcast brings up a very real discussion as to what is the best pattern of marriage and community. Certainly not the celibacy of the New Testament,nor Joseph’s secret type of polygamy. Monogamy for most? Monogamy has its strong bonds, but it also has it’s satiation effect. And it is very lonely because it does not have the loving cross-family and cross-marriage interaction.

    Perhaps responsible polyamory?

    I definitely do not believe in the way marriage and family are lived today–isolated and alone in mass non-caring non-communities, as it is practiced today.

    In fact, this is sick.

    Perhaps, the answer is in our tribal past. We are tribal animals, and we need the cross-family, cross-marriage interaction of the tribe and the group bonding and love that this brings.

    I would like to hear more about the loving emotional climate within the AZ groups you observed. WOW. Is there any way we could create that–in the ward grouping system, or, indeed, if need be, independent of the church. It seems that the AZ I groups are love-creating, love-driven people. Are they?

    What are the underlying principles that create the loving community climate in the AZ communities? Tell us more about this, Lindsay, about that feeling and how we can create it.

    Mormons, have the small community, the ward. And at least they pretend, or verbally say, they have the principle of “love.”

    Is it possible that Mormons could realize the tribal advantages of the small community, the ward, or tribe, as you observed it in AZ? How?

    Or, are Mormons too obsessed with repeating, brainwashing and keeping members lined up with the “one pattern of all.” Are they too
    compelled by their knee-jerk obedience to the hierarchy, to actually develop their full exciting potential for the “love-driven communities” they could have? Frustrating.

    Thanks John and Lindsay, for this idea-provoking podcast.

    Love you all.

  9. Adrie de Jong

    Wonderfull podcast !!!!!

    Since I returned to mormonism feb.2014 [read: listening to Mormons Stories and FMH] I’m ringing like a bell. My insights are swaying from one side to the opposite and back, and it hits me hard each time an insight hits the wall, ringing like hell, completely convincing me and than doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt, doubt and hits the opposite meaning, with the same clearance, just to fall back into doubts again. I’m still going, but not as fast as it went. I’m starting to see things more clear now, and which way I am heading or finally am or getting ready for.

    As a teenage mormongirl I had romantic ideas about polygamy: practical, help each other raise kids and have time to develop talents and have a job ! I had no idea of how it would be when you are truly married. I left the church and when I got married I learned how jealous I was, so, polygamy would never be an issue for me ! However: I lived a plural relationship, my ex had a woman with kids in his homeland on the other side of the world (South America) and we sent money for them and since I considered it also important for him to see his children regularly, he went home to be with (t)his woman and children. I grew up in a poor family, my mom raising her kids alone, and I was happy I was able to help a sister and her children who were facing a simular situation. On both sides there was no jealousy, just happiness ! But my ex was a singer in a band in my country and he got attention from many beautiful ladies, my gosh, was I ever jealous when they talked with him. Polygamy on the other side of the world is bearable, but close at home certainly not ! ;o)

    Polygamous Joseph Smith was such a thing that swayed from one side to the other. I came to the church with the knowledge Joseph was polygamous. What a delightfull sound when Rock W. and Micheal S. shared a view Joseph had never been that way !!!!! Wow, that felt sooooo GOOD !!!!! But listening to FMH-Lindsay and hearing Brain Hales and John Hamer talk the opposite, people I consider sincere, having studied the material, and bringing up new ‘evidence’ as: D&C 132 is mentioned in a dairy written on a date around 1840, I geuss, I just have to assume Joseph Smith did. :o(

    Still, I am not totally ready with it, and there is a lot of information to study, but my health is not so good, that I am able to get through it all. So, I have to rely on Lindsay, Brian and John, but in my heart I am more fan of the view from Rock W. and Micheal S. for the same reasons Micheal Surkan mentions ! There is no offspring, offcourse JC Bennett, a close friend, could have done abortions, but gossipping and slander are for me no real evidence that Joseph did it. I keep these things in mind, and probably time will tell how it really was. (At least: when you die you are able to know all things, so, my curiosity will be satisfied, it’s a matter of patience.)

    I also got this for me new idea about the true church that Joseph Smith builded: I first thought it was all instructed by angels and authorities from the New Testament, but since a year I am learning a new insight. And I noticed it being mentioned aswell in the comments at Mormon Matters Podcast – that strengthened me: that Joseph Smith was creating a new true church by gathering and combining all the things that were going on in his days: the vision (was also seen by a woman), the Book of Mormon and other books, D&C combining other insights, Masonry and if the guys from Kinderhook had not told it was fake, he probably would have included that as well. Than he made the mistake of listening to several men around him who were involved with polygamy and unfortunately he included that, too. He didn’t live long enough to see or work out how it could, should and would be, didn’t see how damaging it is for women. Emma immediatly took distance after Joseph’s death, but Brigham Young and others carried it on, and clearly not in the light and insight as Joseph would have done. Maybe if Joseph would have lived long enough he would have seen that polygamy was a mistake ? I think Joseph had sincere ideas about building a new church as Lindsay say: to make people happy. When I came to be a member I never had the idea that Joseph was without faults. But after I had left the church a mormon friend showed me a movie about Joseph Smith, walking around healing people and it looked like they talked about him like he was Jesus Christ, which gave me a strange feeling. To me Jesus is way above Joseph Smith and Joseph was just pointing us into the direction of Jesus. It’s this last year I learned that the church has made this shift and made Joseph more holy than he was. Too bad, it doesn’t do him right. :o(

    Since the excommunications keep on going and I really got sick and speechless when Rock Waterman was excommunicated too, I got to the point that I probably could do without the LDS-church. That insight rang as a bell and opened the door with a feeling of sweet fresh air ! Than dark clouds gathered and I wondered why the hack I fell in love with this church and wasted so much time on it ! Why were The Osmonds not Rdls ????? Than I would have fallen in love with a church that would fit me much better !!!!!

    But this episode opened the sky wide and bright and brought a happy tune to me. The way Lindsay explains her sights on things, but especially ‘that is how we do’ … and also how things went with the mother who didn’t want to be on television, because her soon-2-b daughter-in-law didn’t know she was marrying into a polygamous family, made me sing: ‘shame and scandall in the family’. I guess Mormons come closest to Jews when it comes to painfull fun-making taboos !

    A wide grin came up on my face and I want to share the song with you all:
    Shame and Scandal in the Family by Shawn Elliot (with lyrics)

    The nice thing at the end of the song is: everything turns out fine !
    Let’s hope that will also work out for all those mormons,
    within or outside the lds-church !

    Afteral, this church allways made me happy and even now it still is able to make me laugh ! Somehow I am not yet able to get rid of it and have to deal with it a little longer ! Thanks to you John D and Lindsay and all the other podcasts that I can listen too, I still feel related to the Mormon church and it still feels great to be busy with it. And thanks to you all who comment ! I love to read it and learn from your insights. It feels like a warm family ! Like home ! :o)

    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  10. I just finished listening,a lot of it I knew because of my study from a year and a half ago into why I was a mormon and a Christian. What a long Strang trip it’s been, sometimes it’s like living in an alternate universe . I’m 54 and just now breaking out of my mormon shell. I’m crying as i listen to the question answer period because I’ve been so brain washed/indoctrinated and I grew up in a non active part member family. I feel so much compassion for those in polygamy. It’s so hard to free your self from indoctrination, almost impossible. Thank you to everyone that make these great podcasts possible and thank you Lindsay for being so engaged in What you love. You are helping me to have insights I might never have learned.


    Happy and Free in Provo.

  11. I was a little confused and conflicted by some parts of the interview. Maybe I’m the only one and I don’t get it but I thought LHP was a feminist that spoke up any time women were in a bad situation for them. Whether polygamy happened 200 years ago or now, I don’t see how it’s a good, healthy, free environment for ANY women. So I don’t get why the comparison with gay marriage and calls for decriminalization and/or legalization? did I hear right that perhaps it should be legalized? so that women can get health insurance? how about not allowing it so it’s not a concern from the get-go?

    Lindsay, I totally don’t want to oversimplify your comments nor do I think it should take away from your call to understand fundamentalists instead of pointing at them as “the weird”. I was just like “uh?” when I heard you perhaps support polygamy (if consensual) and some of its possible benefits (like big families, etc). Totally took my by surprise.

    1. Feminism means supporting women in their choices. I don’t think I said anywhere that I support coercive or abusive behavior.

      As far as legalization, I think you’re missing the key part. Polygamy has been illegal and guess what? Polygamy not only didn’t stop, it thrived. It thrived because of the secrecy. Leaders like Warren Jeffs used the fact that it was illegal to control and scare his people. Legalization will take that fear away from folks and help them get the resources they need.

      1. I believe the problem is not that polygamy is illegal, but that the law isn’t enforced with men like Warren Jeffs, who take advantage of innocent or naive women, even when the women were wiling, for most polygamous women are innocently raised in it & trapped, which the law should recognize.

        If they legalize polygamy, and I believe they soon will (and I believe the LDS Church will then allow it again too, for it never stopped teaching it and sealing men to multiple living wives), but legalizing polygamy will only cause it to grow and become far more popular and many more women will become tragically and innocently entangled in it, and have to learn the hard way how abusive it is, when the old laws and morals already knew it was and tried to protect women.

        For I believe polygamy is always abusive in every case (and also always ‘adultery’ according to Christ) no matter what prophet or culture tries to justify it, even if some women may like it. There have always been lots of women throughout time who are ok with abuse and control by men & being used by or submissive to men.

        Many women fought against women getting the right to vote. Many LDS women today still believe the husband should have the last say in decisions and preside over the family instead of doing it equally. etc. Some women just don’t want the responsibility of equality, even if they are treated badly.

        The biggest problem is the children who are raised in it, who aren’t allowed to think or talk critically about it, but who are pressured to believe in it and live it as young naive women, for no laws are there to protect those children.

        By keeping polygamy illegal most women and children today are then protected from it, whereas if it was legal then far more women would get naively caught up in it and once involved in it, it’s hard to leave whether legal or not.

        The answer is to help women & children get out of polygamy, not set things up so more fall for it.

        1. I understand your passion and support for women but disagree with your approach. Having it illegal is partially what got us into this mess. Actually, it’s a large part. The history of my series talks a lot about this. It allows people to go underground and with underground comes a lot of harm and secrecy. Making it illegal only strengthens the power of leaders, not lessens it. It gives them a great persecution complex, greater fervor, greater fear to use, and more ability to abuse.

          If it is legalized, then all of those things have to fall away and people will have more resources to realize that they aren’t as persecuted or chosen as they believe, they are just living an unhappy life.

          I know it’s hard, because polygamy can be so damaging to so many and brings up emotional reactions. But if you are truly interested in rooting it out, it won’t come from making it illegal. That has done NOTHING in the past century and a half to stop or quell it.

          1. Thank you for you response Lindsay.

            But I don’t think we can say that making it illegal has done ‘nothing’, for laws against polygamy stopped the LDS from practicing it, which protected countless future women and children from it, and the Church was a one of the biggest, if not ‘the’ biggest, polygamous group in US history. Such laws also stopped many other smaller groups who tried to practice it, like the Cochranites.

            While some LDS went off and secretly continued to practice it (FLDS) their numbers grew much slower because it remained illegal. If the law hadn’t stopped LDS polygamy then the Church would still be practicing it today, probably in very large numbers and the polygamy problem would be huge and effect thousands if not millions of women and children pressured to live it and put up with it.

            If the law would not allow the FLDS & other poly groups to continue, like it didn’t allow the LDS to continue, then I believe that would take care of the vast majority of the problem.

            For even if polygamy is legalized there will still be abuse associated with it and women will still be trapped in it, just like women are abused and often trapped in monogamous marriages, even though there is a way out. Abused women don’t usually leave abusive marriages, for many reasons, so it would still be the same with polygamy only worse.

            For monogamy is not naturally abusive, only if the spouses don’t keep their vows & thus are abusive, but I believe polygamy is naturally abusive in every case, which only compounds the abuse likely to happen just because spouses are human. When if it was still illegal & the law actually applied, with mercy for the women so they would feel free to inform on the man, then far more women & children would not get trapped or born into it.

            For again, shorty I believe we will see that once legal, polygamy will become far more popular, for it can be portrayed as a really good thing (just look at how all the LDS even still today believe in it) and unfortunately it usually takes time and experience living in polygamy to learn just how abusive it is, and by that time women are pretty entwined with it and it can be very hard to leave because they don’t want to be apart from their children, full or part time because of custody battles, even if polygamy was legal.

            I think history has shown us how protective laws against polygamy have been, especially when it’s enforced. Just like laws against any other abuse or crime helps protect people.

            I & most of my relatives & friends could easily have been raised by polygamous parents had the law not stepped in and forced the LDS to stop it.

            Even now my active LDS parents & relatives & friends still believe in, excuse & praise polygamy. Convincing me that they will surely accept it when it’s legalized by Church and State, many even look forward to it.

  12. Wow, what a great podcast. I wish it was longer! I could listen to Lindsay all day! An incredibly brilliant, thoughtful, compassionate soul. So happy to be ‘re’-acquainted with these type of Mormons at this point in my life. Thank you John, for Mormon Stories.

  13. why is she still calling herself a historian without a phd in history . i have a masters degree in history and would not dare call myself a historian

    1. A Degree weather a Masters or PhD doesn’t magically make a person a historian. Hard research, productive publishing, and innovative arguments makes a person a historian. To be an academic historian, sure, a phd or perhaps just a masters is needed. But there are plenty of independent historians. In Mormon Studies Dan Vogel and Will Bagley out produce about every PhD holder in the field.

    2. meh history is silly in that it is most noticed when someone is considered an expert and that expert offers his/her opinion about what happened. But they do best when they note that the things they are saying is just their subjective opinion. That’s basically all we heard from Lindsey/Hales and company.

    1. 551: Lindsay Hansen Park’s Year of Polygamy
      I listened but did not watch the video. After watching a short snippet I was totally distracted by her tics, Hair-flipping and chewing gum.
      As a Historian she does not exude confidence in the message.
      As a historian, If she had begun with Mormon Philo-Semitism and explained the reasons for the subjugation of females and progressed from there the podcast would have more grounding for Mormon understanding. The use of females as chattel is historically based and needs understanding.
      The Restoration of Judeophilia Mormons have much to apologize for in their apologetics.


      1. so lemme get this straight – to be a historian you have to:

        -speak confidently (ever met the denizens of the history dept? i guess not)
        -not flip hair
        -not chew gum
        -start talking about history when Ephima Morphew says the discussion should start.

        this will come in handy someday if i ever decide to major in history. thanks.

        oh wait, it won’t because none of that has absolutely anything to do with history, or the study of history, research, etc. credibility and scholarship is important. you’re stuck on the stupid stuff like looks. congrats, you’re shallow.

      2. Ephima- Really? I absolutely think she exudes confidence. I would hardly call her hair flipping and gum chewing “tics”. She just isn’t pretentious. I love real people.

        Well done, Lindsay. Thank you for all of your work.

    2. Look around. She’s respected and visited by world class authorities on this topic. Have you listened to any of the series? What a silly little pot-shot.

    3. As a public historian, I’m fairly certain that over a hundred 100 hours of polygamy research made available to others can’t be reduced by my gum chewing. If it does, that’s unfortunate for them. Perhaps if I ever give up this gig and get my Master’s in history, I’ll learn to curb my gum chewing. Not likely, but perhaps. I’m confident enough that I don’t worry about ridiculous/misogynistic expectations mentioned here, stop me from making killer content. It doesn’t work for you, but this series was pretty rad. (Yes, I sad rad! Will work on vernacular in the PhD program). Thx

      1. I appreciated the interview and think Lindsay has a lot to offer. With that said. Not chewing gum would have been a courtesy to viewers and brought a higher level of professionalism. The gum chewing was a distraction for a bit but I was willing to look past it and realize none of those things i mentioned above where things she was going for.

      2. Lyndsay, you have contributed valuable information. I’ve enjoyed your perspectives at FMH, and always respected your approach and opinion. Your comments on the essays held me and I gave you a big amen at the end. Two points here are relevant and instead of dismissing them out of hand I think you should give them some consideration.

        First, the title of historian I take very seriously. When you applied that title to yourself I gave a little chuckle. Your weekly contributions regarding polygamy at FMH, and your year in polygamy although a great contribution, borrows heavily from research and work already assembled. At best I’d call you a researcher and organizer of information, and even then, your research is assembling “research”. So you can call yourself what you want, hell, you can even can even insist I call you a historian, but that would be hard for me to do.

        Second. You can chew gum and flip your hair and say “like” all you want, and it doesn’t diminish you in the least to your talent. However if you want to refine another talent, the talent of public speaking, of being in front of the camera, or a high definition mic that does pick up everything that comes out of your mouth with perfect clarity then you have to take this skill seriously because it is a separate discipline. You are becoming a spokesperson for a cause, and in addition to your knowledge and your talent in representing those without a voice, your future in representing those without a voice through venues of mass media including cameras and mics deserves your attention to honing and refining a talent there, for your reach through these venues is valuable, and you are worthy of your hire. Showing up in front of the camera most people would not quibble that one ought have one’s hair combed and teeth brushed. However requesting one to spit out the gum and find connectors other than “like”, is about as misogynistic as asking a woman to keep her wrists straight and fingers rounded while beginning the piano.

    4. Aaron, I am a historian (don’t worry, I do have a PhD), and I chew gum when I am giving lectures in the University at which I teach.

      Your meritocratic preoccupation with little letters behind a name is the epitome of reductive. Not sure if you were going for irony, but there we are.

  14. I checked this site for days and days waiting for the podcast to be posted, I was so excited. I listened to the audio first and when the video came out days later, I watched it too. I found the audio to be excellent and listened to it a few times. I noticed the gum chewing and hair flipping in the video too. I also felt that at times Lindsay seemed to be a little annoyed. I think it was probably that she was hot in there, like she said in the beginning of the podcast, and she was probably chewing gum to keep her mouth moist so she could speak, I never noticed her take a drink of water throughout the whole interview. Her insights and perspective though are really top notch. Her answers are answers, not non-answers that too many so called professionals give. She has researched and she has strong well- reasoned opinions. I suspect that if she was a Phd that we would get something a whole lot more watered-down. But Lindsay encourages us to have our opinions, and to give that space to others, and that’s valuable, to be told, that it’s ok to be where one is. That’s what I like about her work, that it has lead to answers, not more unanswered questions. Thanks Lindsay for helping me gain insight through your research, the freedom to use my own reason, and, the example you bring of your Mormon experience!

  15. tropical animal

    I would say a woman as pretty, as smart, as sensitive, as articulate and as real as she is, can tell it any way she wants to.

    I enjoyed the fact that she didn’t make her remarks from a culturally or politically correct perspective. I enjoyed the way she was real. She told it like it is–the way she saw it, experienced it, felt it.

    Love you Lindsay, love you all.

  16. Remember, if polygamy were ever legalized in the U.S. then it would be legal for EVERYONE – not just Mormons and FLDS but Moslems, New Agers, swinging Atheists, etc. (However, it’s highly doubtful that Catholics or Fundamentalist Christians would hop on board. In the early third century, the Church Father Turtullion once quipped: Christians share all things in common except their wives whereas the Pagans share nothing but their wives!)
    And, assuming sexual equality, then there really is no difference between Polygamy and Polyandry. One can argue as to whether or not society would be better but I think we can all agree that it would be a Lawyer’s Paradise. Think of the Divorce Court cases! He said and She said and She said and She said and Levi said and Asher said and Joseph (Daddy’s Favorite!) said……..
    No. Before engaging in such a radical change in society I am inclined to agree with G.K. Chesterton who said that before one removes a fence, one should at least research and explain why the fence was put up in the first place.

  17. Awesome!!! I’m going to start going through your podcasts.

    Would love to hear someone like yourself talk to Dr Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn author), and get an outsiders perspective looking in, who has studied other cultural polygamy and polyandry groups.

    Good work John and Lindsay! :-)


  18. I want to thank you Lindsay for your dedication, time, and research. I found the series so educational. Thank you also for being brave and vulnerable. Putting yourself and your work out in the open where some may choose to criticize is courageous. I don’t understand people who lower themselves to personal and cruel attacks and I hope you know these kinds of statements say more of their character than yours. Thank you again for countless hours of research. Love to you.

  19. @Minute 53 Lindsay says that Polygamy fundamentalist are everywhere, and @54:30 says that is very common. That John Larsen said there were three members in each ward, that is nonsense.

    Way over estimated, and I haven’t met a Mormon fundamentalist in 20 years of membership. Although, granted there is always a weird member here and there and I lived in 3 or 4 different wards.

    But I guess Lindsay is more exposed and looking for this information.I’ll keep my eyes open, but I don’t think she is correct on this one. Makes me lose credibility on the rest of her statements.

  20. Early deception of Joseph Smith on the issue of Polygamy and Polyandry not only tells us “something about the early Church” It tells us much more about the real character of Joseph Smith. Simply put, he lied and so did the Church. You can try to justify it all you might, but these lies destroy the credibility of the truth claims of Smith and the Churches that came out of his “restoration”.

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