An “Insanely Long” Look at the LDS Church’s Polygamy Essay

A longtime friend, whom I respect greatly, has written a long and thoughtful response to the LDS church’s recent essay about plural marriage in the early days of the church. I’ve said what I needed to say about the essay in an earlier post, but his essay is for those who really want to dig into the essay. As he says, it’s “insanely long” (53 pages!), so be forewarned. Note that you’ll need a PDF reader.

FWIW: My Thoughts on “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” Essay



4 Responses to An “Insanely Long” Look at the LDS Church’s Polygamy Essay

  1. CAB says:

    My first thought is, “insanely long” is appropriate for an insane subject.
    But I am weary to my soul over this business. Which is not to say I am not interested in the essay–just that I need a little recovery time from all the other essays, posts and diatribes from people on all sides of the issue.
    As a relative of Joseph Smith and a product of polygamy myself, I have difficulty with neutrality on this one.
    Thanks for posting it.

    • runtu says:

      I’ve had this a few days, and it took me some time to get through it, as well. Weary is a good word, as that’s how I feel. I don’t know why, but I had actually hoped the essay would be open and honest, as advertised. It’s not the first time the church has disappointed me. (I should mention that the author of the response is an active member of the LDS church. I don’t know why that would matter.)

      • CAB says:

        Unfortunate or not, it would matter to me because my default mode in regards to active LDS is that they are unable to be objective–or even honest–about such a volatile and divisive subject. I assume that whatever they have to say is going to be an apologist position. That may be an unfair assessment, but I think it is true more often than not.
        I have always assumed, and I have seen no evidence to dissuade me from that assumption, is that the church posts these essays in order to further obscure the issue, not actually come clean on anything. They are attempting to “control the message,” and minimize the damage to the church’s reputation.
        A great deal of relevant information is left out of the essay–sins of omission rather than co-mission.
        The most telling phrase of the whole piece is describing Helen Mar Kimball as a “few months short of 15.” No mention is made of the other 14 yr old bride and many other disturbing relationships.
        If this essay is a thoughtful, honest approach to this difficult subject, I will look forward to reading it.

  2. skepticalalways says:

    Just finished reading it. It is a very compelling understanding of the shortcomings of the essays. I like how it exposes the misrepresentations of “universal” ambiguity of sex in marriages of the LDS essay’s author regarding teenage brides and already married women. The LDS essay’s author projects ambiguity in one or two relationships as ambiguity in ALL the relationships. I would enjoy a podcast with Rollo and Brian Hales regarding omissions and misrepresentations in the essay.

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