Reluctant Polygamist ARC Release

RP_CoverThe Reluctant Polygamist ARC is available for order today.

The Kindle edition is available for $0.99

A paperback edition is available from CreateSpace for $6.55 if you use discount code X2WKPKUV.

The paperback edition is at for $8.25, and with free Prime shipping (for those with Prime), Amazon might be the least expensive option. If you don’t see this listed, check back in a day or two.

Here is the pdf file. You’ll need a password, which you can get by following these PDF Instructions. The file has a watermark reminding you to delete this by 2/29/2016.

This is an ARC

As mentioned, this is an Advanced Review Copy of the book. Any and all criticism is welcome and may alter the final book. [updated 12/10] Initial feedback from KA and Reader has been incorporated, along with fixing endnote numbering and a few other details. For more information, check out the details a

I had hoped to have a complete, polished version available. And when it comes to the text itself, I think I have achieved that goal.

Since first publishing this, I’ve fixed a few things. However some endnotes are mere hints of where I need to go to get the full reference.

This version lacks an index. A bridge too far. Besides which, adding an index would increase the price of the hard copy, which I don’t want to do. However I will be making an index available no later than December 23, 2015.

Why so Cheap?

Since I’ve already been yelled at once via e-mail this morning, the eventual final release version will be priced above cost. But this review copy is available at cost. If I were more rich than I am, I would make it available for free.

That said, if you have a legitimate reason why you should receive a free review copy, please e-mail me at stoutmtc at gmail dot com. For example, if you’re one of the amazing people I cite in the book, your copy is free.

Parental Discretion Is Advised

Yes. This book discusses illicit intercourse as required to ensure there is no confusion. I don’t use gratuitous language, but I dare say this book includes more detail that some readers would be comfortable with. So if you’re planning to give this to a precocious 8-year-old, you might want to read it first. Alas, in a printed book I can’t use the brown wrapper tricks possible on the internet.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

20 thoughts on “Reluctant Polygamist ARC Release

  1. Too many worldly outsiders would connect a sword to the idea that JS was (in their minds) a “swordsman”. And not enough insiders would get the reference to the angel who commanded him to do plolygamy.

  2. Hi Reader,

    The document is not attributed. It basically claims Joseph never taught plural marriage, only sealings which had no intended conjugal component.

    The authors premise is that all LDS leaders after the death of Joseph Smith were wrong.

    I suspect this document was written by someone supporting Snuffer. Certainly it is being used to forward Snuffer’s agenda.

    My “proofs” Joseph Smith taught Celestial marriage, with an allowance for plural marriage, extend beyond those this anonymous author calls into question. However this author does a decent job summarizing the reproductive history during Joseph’s life.

  3. How many pages does the ARC contain?

    Just curious, trying to get an idea how long it might take me to read it.

  4. It’s ~ 265 pages, not counting footnotes and appendices.

    There are 31 chapters, so you could do a chapter every day or two and still be done in time to provide all kinds of useful feedback before the Feb 2016 deadline.

    If you get the kindle version ($0.99) the text to speech feature is a available, if you have one of the kindles that lets you take advantage of that feature.

  5. Why do you care whether or not JS had sex with his wives? It seems that the official point of polygamy was to raise up seed and therefore sex must be a part of that. So, I don’t see why you are so worried about what he supposedly did not do with his wives behind closed doors. Does it strengthen your faith to close your eyes to the obvious? Is this why you espouse this seemingly untenable belief?

  6. Hi Perplexed,

    I care because my ancestor was one of those who entered into Celestial marriage with Joseph Smith. In researching her and her friends, I am unable to find any of them who credibly conceived Joseph’s child (other than Emma, of course).

    If you saw my response to the folks claiming Joseph was a monogamist, there’s certainly enough lack of evidence to allow some to claim Brigham Young invented it all. Their position is the verse giving “raising up seed” as a commandment in D&C 132 is a post-1844 invention. They would state that the mention of that in Jacob does not appear to be something Joseph invoked during his lifetime.

    The position of Reluctant Polygamist is that Joseph was, in fact, so reluctant that there are no children despite the prodigious number of Celestial marriages involved. However I refute the position of the Joseph Smith Monogamy folks that Joseph Smith never planned for Celestial marriage to include conjugal relations.

    I invite you to read the ARC and tell me where I am wrong. What you have said in your comment seems at the level of Priesthood Quorum banter rather than serious study of the subject.

  7. Doesn’t the church essay “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” admit that some of JS’s marriages were for time and eternity meaning there were sexual relations?

    Didn’t many testify under oath that there was sex involved in Plural marriage with JS in the temple lot case? If you think they lied and perjured themselves, what proof other than mere hope do you have?

    Again, what does it matter if JS or BY introduced sex into the equation? Isn’t the doctrine false either way? Is it somehow holy if there wasn’t sex involved?

  8. The only one who explicitly talked about carnal intercourse rather than some other euphemism was Eliza Partridge [Smith Young]. Yes, I do think she may have perjured herself.

    I don’t agree with the scholars who put together the Church essays, when it comes to these particular matters.

    The proof “other than mere hope” that I have is in the book that I am offering for review in this post. So stop being a troll and read, like a responsible grown up.

    The pdf if free, with the only complication that you need to e-mail me to get the password.

  9. My Kindle can read the text but after my initial experience with listening I think it would be better for me to go ahead and read the hard copy. I found it difficult to get through all of the various antics of the strikers and their victims. It was really cruel time and it became clear that often the women who were victimized by the strikers were already victimized by the mobs of Missouri.

  10. Meg, it is my understanding that it is part of the unwritten order of things for priesthood holders to not divulge quorum banter to those outside the quorum. Have I been wrong, or has your husband violated LDS “guy code”?

    Wait. i’m asking the wrong person.


  11. Perp, if you can suspend disbelief long enough to read it, you’ll see the bigger picture that Meg paints. You can read a draft of her book online, here at M*, in her “Faithful Joseph” series of posts.

    i haven’t downloaded and read her ARC yet, so I dont know at what point she now introduces her various theses. If I recall correctly, she didn’t explicitly state or at least didn’t obviously highlight some of her theses in the series of posts, but rather used connect-the-dots type reasoning sprinkled throughout, and left it up to the reader to notice if it was an important point.

    Maybe someone will formally review her book and give away the two incredible insights that I think stand out.

    The Hales husband and wife team reviewed her online series of posts, but they so stumbled on some of the fine point analysis with which they disagreed, (and frankly which they appeared to me to misunderstand) that they didn’t see the overarching big picture that could be made if you just connected the factual and evidential dots in a slightly different fashion.

    Meg’s connect-the-dot picture does a far better explanation of how the term “spiritual wifery” came to be, what it really applied to (hint: not celestial marriage not church sanctioned polygamy), and how it got conflated with celestial marriage and polygamy, than any other historian’s untangling of the conflation.

    You’ve possibly heard the phrase “thesis-antithesis-synthesis”, which I think relates to the Hegelian Dialectic. Meg’s analysis of the historical documents and testimony, and her “connect the dots” interpretation of those events, documents, and claims is the “synthesis” that resolves the whole Nauvoo polygamy mess for me!

    Actually, Meg’s theses work (the theses that are important to me) _EVEN IF_ Joseph had sexual relations with some of his eternity-AND-time sealings/marriages. The important point is that all sides (seem to) agree that Joseph had no progeny by anyone other than Emma.

    I actually gave away the key points (the ones that I thought were key) in the threads dealing with the Hales’ responses. And since Meg doesn’t want to give away too much in this thread, you’ll have to read the Faithful Jospeh series or the ARC, and the Hales’ response threads.

    And by the way, I don’t believe the doctrine of celestial marriage and the related doctrine of plural marriage are false.

    Since I’ll be lucky just to barely make it to the Terrestrial Kingsom, I’ll be one of those living “singly and separately” anyway.

  12. Hi Bookslinger,

    I don’t hang out in Priesthood Quorums much, but I’ve been around Mormon men for a few decades. It was clear Perplexed wasn’t a woman, and it seemed possible they were at least formerly an active member of the LDS Church.

    The synthesis of the data, as I see it, is that there was a pervasive sex scandal in Nauvoo that Joseph and Emma were attempting to quash. Simultaneously Joseph, with Emma’s knowledge, was (finally!!!) instituting Celestial marriage, which is key to the work of tying mankind together as one eternal family. Necessarily, Celestial marriage requires that families seal their forefathers to all the wives their forefathers’ had married in life, along with all the children borne by those women.

    Whether or not Joseph consummated any of his plural marriages during 1844 (unlikely during 1841-1843), Brigham Young moved to ensure Joseph’s plural wives had a chance to bear children. For the following 45 years, honorable Mormon men engendered children with their wives. Then the unsustainable practice of plural marriage in mortality on the massive scale practiced in Utah was ended.

    The ending of mortal plural marriage caused disruption that is difficult for most modern Mormons to comprehend.

    The result of all that occurred is the hope modern Mormons have that their families can be together in eternity. No wife will be cut off merely because her husband was a widower. No child will be an eternal bastard because their parents had something other than the ideal monogamous marriage.

    That’s it, in a nut shell.

  13. By the way, Bookslinger, your words are perhaps too reminiscent of Fanny Young’s words. I suspect you will find yourself wherever you long to be, once purified of any less-noble elements (refer to D&C 19 for the interesting discussion of eternal punishment, which the revelation indicates is a temporary state intended to purify us from evil).

    If you love God’s work and yearn to assist Him in accomplishing that work, your desires will qualify you. That is, the “qualifying” desire makes you willing to pay the price, even if that price is merely shedding your sins and allowing Christ’s atonement to make you whole.

  14. Hi Pat Chiu,

    I’m happy to send you a hard copy. I appreciate your feedback.

    For myself, I was so upset with Dr. Bennett when I learned all that Catherine Fuller had previously endured that, could I have, I would have exhumed him and punished him in a manner matching my rage. But given that such an act isn’t possible and wouldn’t really do anything to further punish Dr. Bennett, I came to appreciate Joseph’s apparent willingness in December 1843 to show Dr. Bennett a pathway to repentance and forgiveness.

    Those who have objected to my suggestion that Eliza Snow might have been taken in have not embraced the historical record that demonstrates widespread acceptance of spiritual wifery on the part of honorable people. Joseph’s great work was saving as many of these as would heed his teachings, while still implementing the seemingly similar teachings regarding Celestial marriage.

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