Preparing for the “Polygamy Podcast”

OK…I’m ready to do the “Polygamy Podcast.” My plan is the following:

  • I’d like to use as a framework for the podcast this collection of facts I’ve assembled–all drawing from Church or primary sources.
  • The purpose of the podcast will be to lay out these basic facts–in other words, “Mormon Polygamy Facts That Cause LDS Folk to Struggle”
  • I’ve sent the link to FAIR, and have asked them (for a 2nd time) to provide any and all additions/corrections that they feel are relevant.
  • I have sent out an invitation to FAIR for their top polygamy expert to come on the podcast. I will welcome any and all thoughts/explanations/additions that they want to add. The purpose of this segment will be to help active LDS understand why these facts don’t have to impact testimony negatively (as Greg Kearnes did so elegantly w/ the Masonic issue).
  • If there’s any other expert and/or amateur who’d like to weigh in on the issue/podcast, I’m happy to entertain

I hope to hear back from FAIR soon. If any of you have thoughts/feedback in preparation, please supply soon!!!!



  1. Brian Hales has written about the priesthood issue in post-Manifesto polygamy. He did a presentation at the last Sunstone Symposium that was increadibly well done, and well organized. If you want to cover post-manifesto priesthood issues (such as the John Taylor revelation, etc…), Brian Hales would be a good choice.

  2. I also spaced it and forgot Daniel Bachmann. I think he is a bit antagonistic to Compton, but his thesis on the topic remains seminal. Email me if you want his contact info.

  3. I wouldn’t refer to Compton’s book as THE book on Mormon Polygamy. It’s THE book on JS’s polygamous wives, but not for polygamy later. How about listing “non-apologetic” scholarly works, and then listing some of the other books on the subject, in addition to Compton’s. For example, Jesse Embry’s “Mormon Polygamous Families”, and “Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage”
    by B. Carmon Hardy, I’d also include “A Mormon Mother” by Annie Clark Tanner, somewhere, although it’s a memoir rather than a scholarly work. Jesse Embry is a BYU professor, so should not be too scary for most folks to read. Mormon Polygamy: A History, Richard Van Waggoner is another one that should definitely be on the list. Also, I can’t find the title right now, but there was a recent book studying one town, Manti, if I remember right, and the extent of polygamy there in the 1880s. Also, D. Michael Quinn had at least one article in Dialogue about 1985 about Post-Manifesto Polygamy– that is available online. This is a complex subject, and I think that you ought to at least list other sources for people who are interested.

  4. John, this isn’t directly related to this particular issue, but I wanted to point out that it’s getting hard to find particular podcasts on the site now. I referred someone here who had a very hard time finding the right one. Could you add a list somewhere, with just the titles and links to listen, not all the comments etc?

  5. Thought I’d quote you to a slightly more complete O.C. source …

    Despite these profound spiritual experiences, Oliver’s letters reveal a crisis of personal and family estrangement from Joseph Smith by early 1838.

    The Three Witnesses had seen an angel with Joseph Smith, but later they tended to compete rather than cooperate with his leadership. Cowdery disagreed with the Prophet’s economic and political program and sought a personal financial independence that ran counter to the cooperative economics essential to the Zion society that Joseph Smith envisioned.

    Nonetheless, when Oliver was tried for his membership, he sent a resignation letter in which he insisted that the truth of modern revelation was not at issue: “Take no view of the foregoing remarks, other than my belief on the outward government of this Church” (Far West Record, pp. 165-66).

    This trial was related to the excommunications of Oliver’s brothers-in-law John Whitmer and David Whitmer, also at this time; this paralleled Oliver’s earlier support of the Whitmer family in the matter of Hiram Page’s competing revelations (D&C 28:11-13).

    The Church court considered five charges against Cowdery: inactivity, accusing the Prophet of adultery, and three charges of beginning law practice and seeking to collect debts after the Kirtland bank failure (see Kirtland Economy).

    Oliver’s charge of adultery against the Prophet was simplistic, for Oliver already knew about the principle of plural marriage. Rather than deny the charge, the Prophet testified that because Oliver had been his “bosom friend,” he had “intrusted him with many things” (Far West Record, 168). Brigham Young later said that the doctrine was revealed to Joseph and Oliver during the Book of Mormon Translation (cf. Jacob 2:30); clearly a fuller understanding of the principle of plural marriage came by 1832, in connection with Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis (cf. D&C 130:1-2).

    Brigham Young added that Oliver impetuously proceeded without Joseph’s permission, not knowing “the order and pattern and the results” (Charles Walker Journal, July 26, 1872, Church Archives). Oliver married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer in 1832, and problems with polygamy apparently influenced him and the Whitmer family to oppose the principle later.

  6. OK John, I see what you mean. For some reason when I click about the link on the right side, in Firefox, nothing happens and I thought it was just there as a little advertisement that you could find all the podcasts here. It works for me in Safari.

  7. I’d like to point out a few things about polygamy which seem to be important to me:

    1. The belief in polygamy is not an optional issue,Joseph Smith made clear that we have to believe in it, if we are not to be damned:
    “4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting acovenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned•; for no one can creject• this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

    2. According to family-search sources and other historical documents, Smith has married women who were already married. According to the following verse from D&C 132, he was entering not into plural
    marriage but committed adultery, for his pseudo-wifes were no virgins.

    “61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.”

    3. If on this ground, you ignore (euphemistic: deemphasize) polygamy as God’s eternal doctrine, you stop believing in the prophet and start to build a church on your own ground, not on priesthood authority but on the ground of your judgement of what is of divine origin and what is just Smith’s mere lustrous motives.

    I’m quite excited about how your podcast will turn out.


Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top