In light of the recent discussions about Joseph Smith having many wives and the gender issues survey, I think it’s not inappropriate to bring up the impact beliefs about polygamy have had on the way men and women behave towards one another in the Church.
One thing that I have found quite striking in my discussions with Mormon men about Joseph’s polygamy is the large number who cannot wrap their minds around a Joseph who might have remained physically faithful to Emma, or at the very least didn’t go to bed with every woman he could corner into having sex.
When I talk about this to non-Mormons, they get the implications of the small number of children and the fact the DNA data fails to prove any of the children were engendered by Joseph. They get the idea that there wasn’t effective birth control in 1840.
But Mormon men, in particular, are very invested in a Joseph who was sexual in his plural marriages. Why? Why is my hypothesis on this point treated with derision by some Mormon males who have studied polygamy? What does the “traditional” view of Joseph do for them that they are so invested in protecting it? Continue reading
People always have the weirdest images of Joseph Smith added to their posts or dominating the covers of their books. I decided to go looking to see if I could find a picture that made me relatively happy.
In doing so, I tumbled across Kim Marshall’s blog, discussing a 2nd generation unedited photographic print copied from the original daguerreotype of Joseph Smith from 1840-1844. She clearly marks the images on her website as copyrighted, but the painting at the head of this post is obviously based on that original daguerreotype.
[Update – I now agree with those who assert that Kim Marshall’s photographic print is a photo of the painting, though a much nicer photo of the painting than the “photo” Joseph’s son submitted to the Library of Congress, the one with weirdly chopped off hair that is often used in articles talking about Joseph by those outside the faith. I don’t doubt Kim Marshall’s sincerity. However, for a fun tour of what one can do with photoshop, check out these images of Rowan Atkinson suggesting a lifespan extending centuries.] Continue reading
Last night our family attended a high school production of a new play, A Line in the Sand by Chris Hanna. The play tells the story of the Norfolk 17, black children who had petitioned to attend their neighborhood high schools in accordance with the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
The State of Virginia decided to close the schools rather than admit black students. For months the children’s lives became polarized as the legal battles raged and individuals had to face the consequences of the resulting brinksmanship.
As with all high school productions, there was much to congratulate and much that could have been improved. The students had been encouraged to research the history of the situation, and the play had begun with comments from the perspective of the immediate aftermath of the black students being admitted to the white schools. In these brief statements, we were told that one of the students had been stabbed on her way to class, that she lay bleeding, while no one went to her aid. Unaware that this was not part of Chris Hanna’s original script, the members of my family waited in dread for the final scene which we presumed would show this confrontation. Continue reading
When I was alerted to the fact that there were new and cool articles at lds.org about polygamy, I was sad that there wasn’t a list so one could easily find out when neat new content had been added.
As a result of the media furor over the supposedly shocking Church admission that Joseph married many women, the Church published a response to provide context. This includes a list of the scholarly articles, along with the dates they were published (making my heart happy).
A complete list of the in-depth essays is listed below:
Are Mormons Christian? November 20, 2013
First Vision Accounts November 20, 2013
Race and the Priesthood December 6, 2013
Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah December 16, 2013
Book of Mormon Translation December 30, 2013
Book of Mormon and DNA Studies January 31, 2014
Becoming Like God February 24, 2014
Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints May 13, 2014
Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham July 8, 2014
Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo October 22, 2014
The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage October 22, 2014
If you’ve got some free moments, I highly recommend reading through these.
I recall blogging about the new articles on lds.org regarding plural marriage nearly a month ago (Mormon Polygamy, the Short Version). CNN (Daniel Burke) has finally twigged to these updates.
Of course, CNN uses a pithy title that lacks all nuance but is sure to catch the attention of random readers, Church: Mormon founder Joseph Smith wed 40 wives. Interestingly enough, the factual content of the lds.org articles does deflate the sensationalism one might have expected from an article with such a title. Continue reading