Top Ten Hints for Polygamy Apologists

1. A person’s consent does not make any action toward that person right.

2. A person in a position of authority has an unequal relationship with his or her subordinates. The consent of a subordinate to something they otherwise would not do does not indicate that the authority figure has not abused his or her authority.

3. It is not OK to conceal extramarital sex from one’s spouse to spare the spouse’s feelings.

4. Telling someone after the fact that you have done something deeply affecting them does not change the fact that you have done something deeply affecting them without their prior knowledge or consent.

5. A person’s acceptance after the fact of an action done without their knowledge or consent does not make the action right.

6. Threatening to destroy someone’s reputation if they reveal that you’ve made sexual advances on them is not acceptable.

7. Publicly trashing someone’s reputation after they have revealed your sexual advances is unacceptable.

8. It is impossible for a child to give free and informed consent to an adult authority figure when she is told that her consent will guarantee exaltation for her family.

9. Concealing something from one’s spouse and others is a good sign that you are afraid of the consequences of getting caught. People tend not to be afraid of the consequences of getting caught performing “dynastic” rituals that have nothing to do with sex.

10. Absence of offspring is not solid evidence that someone has not had sex.

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83 Responses to Top Ten Hints for Polygamy Apologists

  1. Camille Biexei says:

    Excellent points. I am surprised by how many Mormons beleive that 1) Joseph Smith did not practicer polygamy;or 2) Joseph Smith practiced only spiritual polygamy, but did not have sex with those women. I suppose that they need to believe that because Joseph so vehemently denied taking multiple wives right up until his death.

    I suppose that we can have a randy, ruthless megalomaniac for a prophet, like Brigham Young, but we can’t have a liar for a prophet.

  2. All excellent points, impossible for any rational, moral person to disagree with them.

  3. I have no issue with 1-9, but how DO you explain number #10?

    Joseph had children with Emma, and the women he may or may not have had polygamous relationships with had plenty of children elsewhere. We have evidence that all sides COULD have children, but oddly nothing from polygamous relationships.

    How is it that someone supposedly as prolific as Joseph had no extraneous offspring? This one that has always had me wondering.

    I have no problem admitting Joseph could be a completely ass at times (I also think a Prophet can be a complete ass, but that is another issue), but his polygamous relationships are a conundrum. Fawn Brodie’s biography of Jefferson relied on this fact, and this proved to be true. Nevertheless, for Joseph, there is just no evidence. Every few years there is some effort to use modern genetics to turn up some illegitimate children, but nothing has panned out that I am aware of.

    I am not arguing for or against the polygamy issue, just this specific fact. Joseph was supposed to have had multiple mistresses in the form of polygamous marriages, but no kids….? It does not add up.

    It also seems somewhat hypocritical. The BOM has no evidence, so cannot be true (which an apologist would disagree with, but I don’t care and will concede for the analogy’s sake). There is no evidence (in terms of children) to support Joseph’s philandering ways, but this means nothing.

    • Camille Biexei says:

      All of the women were suppposedly told to keep their relations with JS secret. However, at least one of them, when on her deathbed, told her daughter she was JS’s child. I cannot remember her name at the moment, but it can be googled. Several of JS’s associates at the time have written about his marriages and it was understood that he was having sexual relations with those women and girls. I think most of the problem we have with verifying all of this is that the church has done such a thorough job with rewriting history and hiding evidence, including gathering and keeping (yes) original journals from the time.

    • runtu says:

      First of all, I really hate it when people like you use loaded phrases such as “philandering ways,” as you clearly assume that I believe he was motivated by lust. I have repeatedly rejected that explanation for his practice of polygamy, but I suppose it’s easier for you to believe I’m just attacking Joseph Smith’s character than it is to discuss what actually happened.

      Second, with your analogy of the Book of Mormon, you are again misrepresenting me. I have never said “the Book of Mormon has no evidence, so it cannot be true.” This is a straw man, just like your “philandering” Joseph is. I suppose this is just more of your attributing bad motivations to people you disagree with, which just suggests to me that you aren’t really interested in dialogue here.

      As for the lack of children, we have solid evidence of one child, Josephine Lyon Fisher. Pretty much every historian agrees she was Joseph’s biological daughter, though no DNA testing has been done to date. We also have anecdotal evidence, as some polygamous wives said they knew of children of his, but they didn’t give names.

      I suppose there are lots of possible reasons for the apparent lack of offspring. The most likely explanation to me is that Joseph did not have steady sexual relationships with his wives. Given the number of women, the limited time he had, and the need for absolute secrecy, sex was likely extremely infrequent, perhaps limited to the initial consummation after the marriage in many cases. We know that some, if not all, the marriages were consummated, but there may not have been ongoing marriage relationships, at least not in the sense we would consider a normal marriage relationship. If he had been concurrently involved in ongoing sexual relationships with 3 dozen women, the likelihood of pregnancy would have been high. If, however, he had sex on a very limited number of occasions with each woman, the likelihood of pregnancy is quite slim, and we would expect him to father children through the one woman he was having an ongoing relationship with, and that is what we see. There is some talk of abortions being performed, but there’s no solid evidence of that.

      Either way, there’s no reason not to believe most of Joseph’s marriages involved sex, as we have multiple wives’ corroborated testimony to that fact.

      I don’t know why I’m bothering with this, as it will probably just prompt your usual reflexive defensiveness.

      • I asked a simple question, where is the evidence? It would be a triumph for a critic of the LDS Church to find an illegitimate (however we define that term in this case) child, but not a one has been found.

        Given the intensity of many critics, it is odd that nothing has been found. There is little more to it than this

        Why are you accusing me of being defensive? I asked a simply question and you immediately assumed I was attacking you.

      • runtu says:

        I said nothing about you attacking me, but your response, including two straw men, seemed rather defensive. Still does.

      • Straw men? Please explain.

      • Camille Biexei says:

        Runtu, I think you may have over-reacted a bit here. Most people don’t know that “philander” does not just mean engaging in sex with multiple partners. The word implies a casual nature to the sexual liasons. I doubt that JS was ever “casual” about the relations he engaged in. He seemed to be pretty serious about the whole thing and likely believed in it fairly whole-heartedly. He was quite dishonest about it, however, and lied about it up to the time of his death.
        I agree with your explanation about why there is not more evidence of pregnancies resulting from those multiple marriages. He was a very busy man, for one thing, and also had to keep his polygamous relations secret, which would have limited how often he could meet with any of his wives.

      • runtu says:

        I’ve said many times that it doesn’t bother me that he had sex with multiple women. It’s the lying and the coercion that I find difficult to defend. Either way, however, Mormonism does not stand or fall on Joseph Smith’s character, as Joseph said.

      • By the way, not to split hairs, but your comments above about why there were few children is just really a rewrite of this post from 2008…

        https://runtu.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/sexuality-in-joseph-smiths-marriages/

        That is Todd Compton effectively arguing that offspring may have been limited.

        The problem is that you disagreed with Compton a few days later stating that the whole point of polygamy was to be expressly sexual, and oddly enough to have kids…

        https://runtu.wordpress.com/2008/03/30/sexuality-in-joseph-smiths-marriages-part-ii/

        It is always possible that your opinion changed, but it is odd that you would jump on me for using the word “philanderer”, which was not directly addressed to you specifically, when you effectively argued for the specific interpretation of JS’s polygamy was that he did want to, and even have felt commanded to, have sex.

        Just saying, hard to understand why you would jump on me for the philanderer usage, which was again not even addressed to you specifically, it was a generality, given your past comments. FWIW

      • runtu says:

        I think the purpose was to have kids, and Joseph Smith apparently felt completely justified in having sex. I suspect he even wanted to have sex, but that’s an entirely different thing from saying he was motivated by desire. I’ve never believed that and have said as much on many occasions. In the second post you cited, I certainly never said he was motivated by lust. Maybe you’re indeed splitting hairs, but I don’t see a change in my position. Again, if it makes you feel better to believe I’m an inconsistent hypocrite, have at it.

      • He wanted to have sex, but he was not motivated by desire? This does not seem contradictory to you?

        And again, none of this explains why there is no evidence, namely children.

      • runtu says:

        Nope, it’s not contradictory at all. I will say again that I don’t believe Joseph Smith’s practice of plural marriage was motivated by sexual desire. Did Joseph Smith have sexual desires like most men? Yes. Does that mean he married all those women because of his sexual desire? Nope. It’s not particularly hard to understand.

        As I said before, there’s solid evidence that he had one child, but until DNA testing is done, we can’t say there are no children or not. I think Camille and I are on the same page: he didn’t have time (or maybe even the inclination) to have sex with his wives regularly, and that would explain the lack of offspring.

      • There is “solid” evidence but no actual evidence? Many of the children that were thought to be JS’s kids are not, how can you call any evidence solid?

      • runtu says:

        There’s no DNA evidence yet, but Sylvia and Josephine certainly thought Josephine was Joseph’s daughter. As I said before, that wouldn’t make sense if Sylvia hadn’t had sex with Joseph. So, whether or not she was his biological daughter (the resemblance is uncanny), it’s solid evidence that they had sex. I don’t think there’s any reason not to believe Joseph had sex with his wives. Do you? I don’t know why he didn’t have more children, but I think my guess is reasonable enough. As I said in the OP, the lack of children isn’t evidence that there was no sexuality involved. Are you seriously disputing that his marriages involved sex?

      • And other people thought that the other kids were Joseph’s. Strongly thought. Yet it was not true. And apparently you knew it was not true, but decided not to mention it, which I find odd.

        As for the sex, I haven’t the foggiest. I have no dog in this fight. I am not as invested in it as you are. As I said before, I think Joseph was a complete ass at times, so if he did, I would not be surprised. I also think it may not have happened, so if not, I am indifferent.

        I do not think Joseph was the devil or a saint. I think he was both. I am the believer who is at peace with the whole situation, because I think God works with what He has, as poor as it may be. You’re the critic who has to invest his whole identity in the question. That is a conundrum for you.

      • runtu says:

        I knew what was not true? I think it’s likely that Josephine Lyon was Joseph’s daughter, but I readily acknowledge that there’s no proof of that. What do you think would be the more “balanced” thing for me to say?

        I don’t believe Joseph was a devil or a saint, either. Why would you think I am invested in deciding that question? His behavior has nothing to do with my belief or lack thereof in Mormonism.

      • So you knew that a number of children thought to be descendants of Joseph, children for which there was strong anecdotal evidence to point to Joseph as a parent, were later proven to not be Joseph’s.

        And you did not mention this. Why?

      • runtu says:

        Because the issue was sexuality in Joseph’s marriages, not offspring. Whether Josephine Lyon is or is not Joseph’s biological child is irrelevant to a discussion of sexuality in the marriages. As I mentioned, the reason I brought up the alleged children is that they are evidence that the women involved thought they were his offspring, which again supports the belief that the relationships were sexual. There’s nothing underhanded about what I wrote.

      • And as I said, I have no problem with 1-9. I only asked about the children. And as I said, it is odd to have a discussion about JS’s sex life, including alleged mistresses, without also mentioning the recent scientific evidence that overturned fairly significant anecdotal evidence.

        You failed to ensure that the full truth is known. If I looked would critics of the LDS Church not insist that the Church does not present the full story? Would I find you making that claim? Just curious.

      • runtu says:

        If I had argued that he had biological children and that was clear evidence of sexuality, it would have been dishonest to omit the evidence to the contrary. Of course, I never made such an argument. I think the evidence for sexuality is indisputable, but then some people disagree. No problem here. And if Josephine does or does not turn out to be his daughter, it won’t affect my conclusion that his plural marriages were more often than not intended to be sexual, and many, if not most were. And again, please stop using loaded terms like “mistresses,” as it’s unhelpful to any discussion.

        As for the church presenting the full story, no, you will not find me making that insistence. The church does what every organization does: present information in a way that suits its purposes. I’ve never had a problem with that.

      • In JS’s day contraception was rather primitive. Any discussion of sexuality would naturally involve children. So the lack of children has a bearing on the sexual nature of the relationship.

        Do you disagree?

      • runtu says:

        Did you read the OP, specifically the part in which I said that the lack of children was irrelevant, in my opinion? You brought up DNA, so it’s a little odd for you to call it unbalanced of me not to mention negative DNA evidence when I didn’t mention DNA evidence one way or another.

      • Again, there was no real contraception in JS’s day. Children are a natural result of sex. You cannot really discuss sexuality without discussing children. You want to put artificial barriers on your argument, which is one reason it is flawed. You do not really have a choice in this case. If you want to discuss 19th century sex, you really do have to address children.

      • runtu says:

        I have addressed the children and why I think there aren’t more of them. My argument doesn’t stand or fall on the children, as corroborated testimony (much of it under oath) from the wives themselves is solid and conclusive evidence that sex was involved in the marriages.

        Going back to the initial post, my argument was that the lack of offspring is not evidence that someone hasn’t had sex. Do you agree with that or not?

      • And you still have a conundrum you cannot really explain.

        As Camille said “There is a lot of evidence, granted, most of it anecdotal”. The evidence, you mention, the corroborated testimony, the wives themselves, ALSO pointed to several children being Joseph’s.

        And modern science has proven this all false.

        How do you explain this? How do you explain that the same anecdotal evidence and claims that you believe supports your assertions, also supported the claim of children, and yet… (there are no children).

        Your claims could explain if there were only one or two women, but there were supposedly a LOT more than that, so….? Statistically at least one or two children should have been the result (I would honestly have to work on the math to be sure, but it seems likely)?

        It seems that there is a huge hole here that no one can really explain.

      • runtu says:

        I have not made a case for any children, nor have I made any argument based on the existence of children, so I will again state that you are mistaken that I’m using the “same anecdotal evidence and claims” to “support [my assertions].”

        My conclusion is pretty simple: multiple wives said they had sex with Joseph Smith, and some of those accounts are corroborated by contemporary witnesses. We have only one woman making the specific claim that her child was Joseph’s, and absent evidence to the contrary, I conclude that she believed this because she had sex with Joseph. Most historians I am aware of conclude the same thing, as it’s difficult to come up with a reason why a woman would believe a man was her child’s father if she hadn’t had sex with him. Even Brian Hales agrees with me. If Josephine Fisher ends up not being Joseph’s biological daughter, it doesn’t affect my conclusion. That Sylvia thought Joseph was the father is sufficient to suggest they likely had sex. I’m still waiting for the DNA work, of course.

        Heck, let’s say that we miraculously get a list of all children Joseph is believed to have fathered, and all of them are proven by DNA evidence not to be his children. That would leave us with the same question: if so many women claimed to have had sex with him, why are there no children? I can think of a few possibilities: 1) The women and family members they told were lying. 2) They had sex, but the wives either did not conceive or miscarried. 3) There were abortions. I don’t believe 1 or 3, so I’m left with #2, which is again what I said in the first place.

        Just out of curiosity, what do you conclude?

      • And your conclusion has some holes in it. Multiple wives said they had children with Joseph Smith, and some of those accounts are corroborated by contemporary witnesses.

        And it was untrue.

        My conclusion is simple. It is a complex case that will likely never be fully understood. If all of the evidence is considered in historical context, Joseph Smith will remain an enigma for the rest of time.

      • runtu says:

        I am aware of only one wife who said she had a child with Joseph, and it hasn’t been shown to be untrue so far. If you have others in mind, please explain. As I recall, one wife said she wasn’t sure whether Joseph or her first husband was the father, but as you say, that child (Oliver Buell, IIRC) was not Joseph’s child. Either way, I’m still puzzled as to why you think I’ve made an argument based on his having had children or not. Why on earth do you continue to argue against something I haven’t said? What’s the point of all this?

        I agree that we’ll never know, and it is indeed a complex case. I don’t think, however, that there is any reason to reject the firsthand testimony of so many women. Do you?

      • runtu says:

        Yes, I have seen that before.

      • And you did not mention it? You said before you see no reason to present a balanced perspective. Why not?

      • runtu says:

        I didn’t see any reason to mention that specific case in a post about whether or not Joseph’s plural marriages involved sex. I mentioned that there was no undisputed offspring, which I thought was sufficient. I guess to you that means I’m not presenting a balanced perspective. For some reason, I’m not surprised.

      • You withheld some fairly interesting information. Why?

  4. Camille Biexei says:

    I think, Joseph Abraham, that your question is not a sincere one. There is a lot of evidence, granted, most of it anecdotal, that JS had children with his various wives.
    “There is no evidence (in terms of children) to support Joseph’s philandering ways, but this means nothing.”
    Perhaps the problem is that you do not care for the evidence and so reject it.

    • What is the evidence? A LOT of people thought that a number of children were Joseph’s. There was a LOT of anecdotal evidence for this. Then DNA testing came along and proved this anecdotal evidence wrong. Would this not cast some significant question on the anecdotal evidence? And it is not like there was one positive confirmation and a slew of negatives, it has been nothing but negatives, so….

      I am not that invested in whether or not Joseph had the kids, I am OK either way. I am only pointing out that, as you said, the evidence is there, and someone seems upset, but it is not me.

      How do you explain the fact that in light of modern science, the anecdotal evidence has failed every time?

      • runtu says:

        I think we’ve both already said how we explain the lack of children, but it’s just a guess. I do happen to believe that, until there’s some work done with Josephine Lyon’s DNA, you cannot say definitively that there were no children.

        I’m not upset about the evidence or the lack thereof. What I am slightly irritated about is that you have several times accused me of attributing lustful motivation to Joseph Smith (I haven’t), needing Joseph Smith to be bad guy (I don’t) and not being balanced because I neglected to inform my readers of a particular negative DNA outcome, even though I’ve acknowledged more times than I can count that there’s no DNA evidence.

        I think I have a right to be irritated when someone attacks my character and honesty.

        If nothing else, I’m sure you’re having a nice little chuckle about having successfully trolled me again.

      • No, you could never definitively say that there were no children, but you could mention that so far all scientific evidence came up with nothing.

        You can say that you are not upset about the lack of evidence, except you said you knew it, but completely failed to mention it. If you could point to where I attributed any belief in lust to you, I would be interested.

        I used the word philanderer, because I have seen that word used by critics a LOT in the past. I could point to a number of places on the Internet where you have commented and others have used that word. It is a common motivational claim. I am not sure why you think it was directed towards you specifically. You seem to WANT your character and honesty attacked since you continually turn everything into a direct attack. Sort of odd…?

      • runtu says:

        I believe I’ve said multiple times that so far the DNA evidence has been negative, and it’s not in the least upsetting to me. Again, that wasn’t the issue in the post I wrote, but you knew that already.

        You used the word “philanderer” because you have seen other critics use it, but you used it in direct response to something I wrote. And yet you wonder why I think it was directed at me. Hmmm.

        And you got me: I have a bit of a masochistic streak, and I have trouble sleeping at night if my character isn’t attacked at least once during the day. I explained why I think you have clearly attacked my character, and of course rather than deny it or even acknowledge that you might have come across that way, you instead tell me that finding attacks on my character unpleasant is further evidence of my poor character.

      • Where did you initially mention the DNA evidence? Did you bring it up or respond when it was brought up? If you did not being it up, why not?

        And why are you looking to be insulted. I said before it was a general comment, but you REALLY want it directed at you personally. Why?

      • runtu says:

        I have told you twice why I didn’t bring it up: it wasn’t relevant to the discussion. If I thought it was, I would have brought it up. There was no intent on my part to deprive my readers of the truth.

        No, I don’t want it to be directed at me personally. Generally speaking, if I inadvertently say something offensive to someone else, I apologize. What I don’t do is accuse them of deliberately wanting to be offended, as that usually doesn’t help improve the conversation.

      • Sorry, stepped away. Can you explain why children would not be a discussion of 19th century sexuality, given that contraception was relatively primitive? It would seem like a natural link.

        So first you are personally maligned, and now you did not think I directed anything at you personally? Does that make sense?

  5. Camille Biexei says:

    What are you trying to prove, Joseph Abraham? You seem unable to let this go, whatever it is. Perhaps you have implied your point, but I am at a loss to determine what that is. Are you trying to “prove” that runtu is not honest and that you are? Whatever the agenda here, please, just spit it out and have done. As it is, you just look petty.

    • runtu says:

      I honestly don’t know what he’s getting at. He wants me to acknowledge making arguments I haven’t made and then admit that I deliberately omitted pertinent information in not making those arguments. It’s just strange, isn’t it?

    • There is no agenda. I asked a simple question about Runtu’s argument. You yourself said “There is a lot of evidence, granted, most of it anecdotal, that JS had children with his various wives.”

      Why did all of this anecdotal evidence prove to be wrong? Does this have repercussions for other conclusions based on similar anecdotal evidence?

      This is not an agenda, it is a question that no one really wants to answer. The only logical answer that I can arrive at is that much of the polemic on both sides of the isle is likely wrong. Joseph was likely neither sinner nor saint, but that does not really fit into anyone’s paradigm.

      I do find it interesting to know that Runtu wrote a whole post about JS’s sex life and failed to mention that testing had proven that many of the kids thought to be his, were not. He also knew it, but did not mention it. This is odd to me.

      • runtu says:

        I have not made any polemic arguments about Joseph Smith’s sex life, and I do not believe he is “sinner or saint,” which is just silly. I have simply stated that there is good reason to believe he had sexual relationships with some, if not all, of his wives, and you apparently don’t take issue with that.

        So I’m left to wonder, What is interesting or odd about my writing about Joseph Smith’s sex life without asserting that he did or did not have children? I would really like to know.

      • Polemical: “a contentious argument that is intended to establish the truth of a specific understanding and the falsity of the contrary position.”

        Aren’t you attempting to establish the truth of a specific issue?

      • runtu says:

        Most of us understand that an argument is not necessarily polemical, as one can argue for a position without being contentious. If there has been contentiousness in our conversation, it hasn’t originated with me.

      • You have been discussing Joseph Smith’s sex life. Secret liaisons, secret mistrsses, the whole nine yards. You never mentioned the kids. You even tried to avoid the issue with #10 above.

        You admit to knowing about the recent genetic testing that proved that children thought to be Joseph’s, were not Joseph’s, but you did not think it was important?

        You knew information, you were actually talking about the subject matter, and you decided to omit that information.

        Isn’t that a little polemical?

      • runtu says:

        That there was likely sexuality in Joseph’s marriages is hardly a controversial issue. I’ll be charitable and ignore your use of “secret liaisons, secret mistr[e]sses, the whole nine yards,” as nothing I have ever written approaches this kind of sensationalism. I think this is where the problem lies: you think I “decided to omit” exculpatory information, as if I had made a deliberate effort to hide the truth. If that is what you believe, I am sorry, but that is simply not true.

        First of all, the two articles you referred to were written in 2008, some 3 years before the article in the Deseret News was published. I may be an amazing person, but even I am not capable of writing about things that haven’t happened yet. The article to which you are responding now doesn’t mention DNA, probably because I didn’t think about DNA one way or the other. My last point acknowledges that there are no definite children. How you can find that polemical or questionable is beyond me.

      • This is interesting. So we have your comments from 2008, and your comments here.

        How have your perceptions changed?

        There appears to be no real change in your position from 2008 despite the fact that the DNA evidence seems to be something of an interesting development.

        If your position changed, how so?

        If your position did not change, why not?

      • runtu says:

        My position hasn’t changed much, I suppose. There are around 30 identifiable wives, give or take depending on the source, though the exact number will likely never be known. I believe some of these marriages were what Sam Katich calls “loose, dynastic” relationships that did not involve sexuality. There is firsthand testimony of sexuality in a number of the marriages, though for most of the marriages nothing is known either way. I take the wives’ word for what they did in their marriages for two reasons: 1) the purpose of plural marriage was to have been to raise up seed, which usually involves sexuality; and 2) the testimony they gave was clearly something they were uncomfortable with, which suggests to me that they would have preferred not to say anything but felt compelled to confirm what had happened.

        What has changed is the negative DNA evidence for a number of people that many people assumed to have been Joseph’s children. I’ve never staked out a position on that other than to acknowledge, as I did in this post, that there is a lack of children. I am aware of only one case in which a mother said her child was Joseph’s child, but until we have some DNA evidence, it doesn’t mean much other than something must have happened to make that woman believe that.

        I’m still unclear as to why you find Joseph’s having sex and/or children with his wives to be troubling enough that it would make him a “devil” or “sinner.” That’s fascinating to me. Please do explain.

      • This makes no sense. As you say

        “1) the purpose of plural marriage was to have been to raise up seed, which usually involves sexuality”

        …so….

        Where are the kids? If this was the purpose, what happened?

      • runtu says:

        I don’t know what happened. As I said before, there are a few possibilities, but your guess is as good as mine. What do you think happened?

      • I hate no idea. I think it will likely never be known. That is why I am curious about your speculation.

      • runtu says:

        I agree it will likely never be known. I’ve already given my best guess, but that’s it. Who knew that making a guess would turn me into a dishonest polemicist?

      • You admittedly omitted some interesting at the very least, important I would say, information. Camille even said outright….

        “There is a lot of evidence, granted, most of it anecdotal, that JS had children with his various wives.”

        If you had pointed out that most of this anecdotal evidence was proven incorrect a while back, she probably would not have said this. If I had not asked she would presumably continue to believe that there were a lot of JS’s kids running around. How is it that she did not get that from your comments? I just find it odd.

      • runtu says:

        If she believed there were lots of kids running around, it wasn’t from anything I said. That’s the problem, I suppose. In the original post, where should I have mentioned the lack of children? Oh, wait, I did mention the lack of children. Should I have said that “lack of children (proven by DNA testing in all but one case) is not evidence that one has not had sex”? Would that have made you feel better?

        Again, you’re still ignoring my question: why would Joseph’s having sex or children with his wives suggest he was a devil or a sinner? Where is that coming from?

      • ” In the original post, where should I have mentioned the lack of children?”

        In point 10. That’s what I said in the beginning. You could have explained that despite the recent evidence that many of the suspected children were NOT JS’s, but you did not. It seemed that point 10 was a specific attempt to head off this claim, but addressing it so obliquely, it really seemed like an argumentative attempt to cover up the issue without addressing it head on.

      • runtu says:

        I figured it was clear enough that there were no children, as in “Absence of offspring is not solid evidence that someone has not had sex.” If I wanted to cover up the fact that there was an absence of children, I wouldn’t have said there was an “absence of children.”

        Again, why are you refusing to answer a simple question from me?

      • I think that is misdirection. You could have elaborated. You said you knew about the DNA studies. You had a clear avenue to discuss it, but did not. This is odd.

        I did not answer the question because I already know what my stance is on morality. Also what you do with your personal life is your business not mine.

      • runtu says:

        It wasn’t intended as a misdirection, just an observation in a very brief top ten list. If you want to believe it was done in bad faith, I can’t help that.

        As for my question, you said that my statement that Joseph Smith likely had sex with his wives was an attempt to show in a polemical way that he was a sinner and/or a devil. It has nothing to do with your “stance on morality” (talk about a misdirection), nor does it have anything to do with my personal life. If you’re going to say something like that, at least have the decency to justify it.

      • It just does not make sense to me. You gloss over the children issue.

        Nevertheless, you know that, while it certainly was not earth shattering it is interesting, the fact that several children thought to be JS’s were recently proven to not be. This certainly seems like pertinent information, particularly since you specifically brought up children. You did not bring it up. You even admit you knew about it. So I asked why. This is neither an attack nor passive aggressive. It is a rather simple question with no ulterior motivation.

      • runtu says:

        Well, I’m sorry I didn’t live up to your expectations about what information I needed to remember or elaborate on. I don’t think the lack of children is compelling evidence that Joseph Smith didn’t have sex with his wives. I’ve made that clear, though clearly you see this as “glossing over” pertinent information and I don’t. And I’m sorry, but I do see your repeated assertions about my hiding information in a polemical effort to show that Joseph was a sinner/devil as attacks on my character. It’s not even subtle, though passive-aggressive is pretty close to the mark.

        I see once again that you refuse to say why you think acknowledging Joseph Smith’s sexual relationships is the same thing as calling him a devil or a sinner. Seems awfully strange for you to demand answers from me but refuse to answer a simple question.

      • Again, none of this is personal. I asked a question because I thought something was odd. If I brought up children, I would have felt obligated to mention the new, amplifying information that had recently come up. I asked, because I was curious. Is it possible that the question was as innocuous as that?

        Then you repeat over and over that the point of plural marriage is to have children…making the lack of children again somewhat odd. So I asked why you would not mention the lack of children, given the purpose you see for the institution.

        I think there are some holes in your reasoning, why does it have to be personal?

      • runtu says:

        You never did answer my question: why would having sex or children with his wives make Joseph Smith a devil or a sinner?

      • runtu says:

        Another thing I’m wondering is why you think Joseph having sex with his wives would make him a sinner. I haven’t said anything like that, so I’m left to assume you find it troubling. As I said to Camille, that’s not an issue for me, as I’m fine with adults entering into consensual sexual relationships. Perhaps you’re not.

  6. Camille Biexei says:

    Nothing you have said, Joseph Abraham, has taught me anything I did not already know–“If I had not asked she would presumably continue to believe that there were a lot of JS’s kids running around.” No. I have been researching JS for decades. He is my relative and my family has been in the church from the beginning (Smiths). At 64 I have had a lot of time to consider the character of JS, his motives, etc. The only real puzzle here is what is your motive for your passive-aggressive and supercilious comments and questions, and also why does runtu continue to give you the time of day.

    • runtu says:

      Good question. Honestly, I’ve been struggling lately with my old friend, depression, and I’ve probably been more sensitive than usual as a result. I had been doing better, but I may need to get an adjustment in my medication. In short, his personal attacks came at a vulnerable time for me, and he ran with it. I know I shouldn’t have let him get to me, but I did anyway.

      • Why do you think everything is a personal attack? I used the term “philanderer” and you were ready to demand satisfaction with pistols at dawn. Is it possible I was just using a term that had been applied to JS by a legion of people across the spectrum of belief?

        Have you considered that nothing I have said is an attack or personal in any way?

        I am sorry you are not well.

      • runtu says:

        I’ve considered that, and I ended up agreeing with Camille. Pistols at dawn? Nah, but it would have been nice if you had stepped back and acknowledged what you’ve been doing. Oh, well.

      • As I said, I saw some holes in your reasoning, so I asked a question. This was not an attack. You are perfectly free to believe otherwise if you like.

      • runtu says:

        Originally you asked me why I thought there were no offspring, and I gave you my best guess. You took off from there and suggested that I deliberately withheld important information in a polemical attempt to show that Joseph Smith was a sinner/devil (these are all your words, as you may recall). You really want me to believe that was not meant as an attack?

      • You are correct, I asked about the offspring.

        Then, I brought up the DNA tests, and you said you knew about it already. That was odd. So I asked about that.

        What you believe is entirely dependent on you, but I know it was not a personal attack.

        I would ask why you really seem to want to take everything as a personal attack?

        If I use ANY term; philanderer, saint, sinner, I should have used walrus just to see what happened, it becomes an insinuation that is directed at the very soul of your integrity.

        To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a question is just a question. But…you could take my statement as a personal attack.

      • runtu says:

        Then why use all the loaded words, such as philanderer, mistresses, devil, and so on? Those are not words I ever use in discussing Joseph Smith, and usually when people insert them into a conversation it’s done for a reason. What was yours? When it’s happened to me, it’s almost always to exaggerate my opinion so as to imply that I am hostile to Joseph Smith in some way or think he was evil. It doesn’t make for civil conversation, to say the least.

      • Do you really think those words are loaded? Given the subject matter, those are relatively mild. And, why do you assume that the words were directed at you?

        Once again you seem absolutely determined to be mortally insulted. Have you considered you might have a problem?

      • runtu says:

        Being the recipient of passive-aggressive nonsense isn’t exactly the same as being mortally insulted, but thank you for showing your colors.

      • Has it occurred to you that this is very passive aggressive on your part?

        As I said, my questions were simply questions, but you for some reason really want to believe that it was some sort of insidious plan to insult you.

        Now, your response to the perceived, but incorrect, passive-aggressiveness is to be….passive aggressive?

        Have you considered that all of this may be entirely in your head? Is it possible, when I say that nothing was directed towards you…that nothing is directed towards you? If you just accepted that at face value, the entire charade and complicated attempt to insult that you have brewed up….would all go away. None of it is true, but you need for it to be true. You may want to consider why.

      • Camille Biexei says:

        Then you certainly do not need this kind of disrespectful, self-righteous nonsense disguised as honest enquiry. My advice is to ignore him. I have enough experience with my own old friend to know of what I speak (and as a retired therapist). You owe this guy nothing. Because I like you and value your efforts to present information fairly, I ask you to let this go. Be in the business of taking care of yourself, not entertaining the specious demands of some bloated ego with an axe to grind.

      • runtu says:

        I’m letting it go. In an odd way, it’s actually helped me feel a little better, as unpleasant as it has been. I’m very hard on myself, which is something I’m still working on even after a lot of therapy, so my first reaction to these kinds of attacks is to wonder whether I really have been that unfair or dishonest or whatever. I know I haven’t done anything deserving the nastiness he’s thrown at me, so I’m good. But you’re right. I don’t need this, especially not now.

    • Not to contradict, but you specifically said,

      “There is a lot of evidence, granted, most of it anecdotal, that JS had children with his various wives.”

      Based on the statement it appeared to me that you might not have been aware of the recent DNA tests.

      Nevertheless, since a lot of that anecdotal evidence has been proven to be wrong, I would think that the statement should be reevaluated. If the evidence pointed one way, and the facts proved the evidence wrong…?

      Wouldn’t that show a need to reassess what you were considering as evidence?

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