Polygamy: Some Statistics and Some Speculations

Because of the inherent difficulties in drawing conclusions from certain types of sources, answers which have been given for some significant questions on early Mormon polygamy are based more on speculation than on demonstrable fact.

I discuss the treacherous nature of newspapers and testimony, especially reminiscences. Several well-known factors are responsible:

As we have all experienced, two eyewitnesses often differ in the details of an event.

Precise memory is fleeting with the passage of time.

On sensitive or controversial topics all are affected by their bias.

Some are blinded such by their bias that they filter out all facts which do not fit. They thus, intentionally or unintentionally, relate what they wish had happened rather than what actually happened.

I raise five questions regarding Joseph Smith, which many insist they can answer with certainty. I point out that the slim and ambiguous nature of the historical sources from Joseph Smith and his plural wives renders responsible students incapable of answering these questions without resorting to various degrees of speculation.  

 

 

1. What was his reasoning and motivation in teaching and practicing polygamy?

2. What was the nature of his plural marriages? Were they all sexual, were they all non-sexual or were some sexual and others not?

3. What was the nature of his polyandrous marriages - marriage to women who were already married?

4. Were any of his plural marriages for eternity only?

5. What men were eligible for plural marriages? What women?

I proceed to present my gathering of statistics from several important historical studies and provide a few of my own speculations on these 5 questions for which I find support from these statistics.

Talk Show host: Van Hale, LDS

Official website: www.mormonmiscellaneous.com  

 

Podcast address: www.mormonmisc.podbean.com       

This is the 22 April 2007 episode of the Mormon Miscellaneous Worldwide Talk Show, now in its 27th year.To listen to future Talk Shows live, go to www.k-talk.com Sunday evenings 5:00 - 7:00 pm MST. If you have a question or comment, your participation is invited by phone or email, regardless of your point of view.

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Mormon Doctrine: Mandatory and Forbidden

For various reasons many insist that there is much mandatory doctrine required of Mormons and much forbidden doctrine. Drawing from many sources and such enlightening examples as the Adam God theory and Polygamy, I demonstrate that, from its beginning, the LDS Church has had very little official doctrine and almost no mandatory or forbidden doctrine. Price: 2:50