Review: A House Full of Females by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


It is daunting presuming to review the work of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning historian, a Harvard professor, and, perhaps most enduringly, the one who wrote:

“Well-behaved women seldom make history…”

In A House Full of Females, Professor Ulrich for the first time puts forward a scholarly book that addresses Mormon history.

I first heard of this years ago, when a friend with a sister in Professor Ulrich’s Boston congregation told me Professor Ulrich was writing “the definitive” book about Joseph Smith. As I had by that time completed my Faithful Joseph series of blog posts, I reached out to Professor Ulrich.

I wrote: “My friend’s sister, your friend, mentioned you have just submitted the manuscript for a book on Joseph Smith and polygamy, the definitive book, she asserted. I don’t know much more than an assertion that there was a lot less sex than most people assume and that none of the children are Joseph’s.”

Professor Ulrich graciously replied, but informed me someone must have misunderstood:

“I do think it significant that there were so few births to plural wives before Joseph’s death, but my book does not offer any new information on Joseph, Eliza, or John C. Bennett.” Continue reading

Days of Awe

Gale Boyd is a convert to the LDS Church. In 1983, she and her husband decided to move their family to Israel and explore their Jewish heritage.

She was unprepared for the culture shock she experienced as an American Jewish Mormon living in Jewish Zion. Not only was there the language barrier but also the differences in money, weights and measures, Sabbath observance, and even the year was counted differently.

As she became immersed in Israeli culture, she learned about Jewish Holy Days and their symbolism.

Her experiences led her to write Days of Awe with the purpose of sharing with Latter-day Saints the Christian symbolism found in the celebration of Jewish Holy Days.

The book contains a history of Old Testament feasts, their ancient and current patterns of observance, their prophetic symbolism, and their relevance to each of us as Latter-day Saints today.

She also clears up some misconceptions about the Jewish people, their scripture, the complexity of their religion, and their history.

Join Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast and Gale Boyd as they discuss Judaism, Holy Days, and the religious past, present, and future.

To access your free copy of Days of Awe, check out the links to resources at LDS Perspectives Podcast.

It’s a Wrap: Reluctant Polygamist, 6th and Final Edition

Reluctant Polygamist is finally done.

Critics have had over three years to prove I was wrong to assert Joseph Smith was an honorable man who rarely, if ever, consummated the covenants he entered into with women other than his wife, Emma. No one has assembled a reasonable alternate explanation for the lack of children from dozens of “plural marriages.” Despite various instances of ridicule on the one hand or unreasoning dismissal on the other hand, no one has attacked my core thesis and proven me wrong.

Meanwhile I have found additional information that further clarifies this important topic.

I assert Joseph’s actions were prompted by a desire to save his people from a heresy that threatened to derail the restoration itself. Many have considered my position and found it a satisfying answer to the confusion of facts history has left to us.

The sixth edition of Reluctant Polygamist was published March 17, 2017, the 175th anniversary of the founding of Relief Society (now available on Amazon.com). There was no organization more effective than the Relief Society at combating the heresy of illicit intercourse corrupting Nauvoo in 1842. So I thought it fitting that this important anniversary be marked by publication of a revision that points out with even more clarity how Relief Society saved the Saints in 1842. Though the electronic edition was available March 17, I wanted to wait until after General Conference to mention it here at Millennial Star.

However I have no interest in restricting readers to paper copies. The pdf of the sixth edition is available by clicking the following link: Reluctant Polygamist, 6th Edition. I will be discontinuing availability of earlier editions on May 1, though pdf versions of all earlier editions will become available on the Reluctant Polygamist website at that point. The Reluctant Polygamist website will also provide the content of the most recent book in webpages that can be translated into any of 90 languages, along with instructions on how to get the internet or a pdf reader to speak the content to you. These webpages will also include future errata, additional references not included in the print version, and new evidences as they arise. Continue reading