Mormon Scholar Brian Hales Defends Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

Listen for yourself here.

As one Mormon commenter put it:

“As someone who loves and values the church — is active and serves in the church — and as someone who has a lot to gain from being able to believe only the most positive interpretations about the documented events of his Joseph Smith’s life, my impression after listening to this interview is that this is the best interpretation that can be offered to defend Joseph, and it is not very reassuring.

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122 Responses to Mormon Scholar Brian Hales Defends Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

  1. MJP says:

    Yet, FoF, you continue to ignore my posts…

    How do you reconcile God stopping Abraham but not Smith?

  2. Rick B says:

    Now your a liar, You have not replied to me, I have read every post and every topic. Are you also going to say the same thing to MJP? How about you quote yourself replying to my questions with a time stamp, bet you cannot because you have not.

  3. Rick B says:

    FoF, here is a verse for you.

    John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  4. Old man says:


    I too am waiting for some kind of response to my earlier post, if what we know of Joseph Smith & his prophecies cannot be reconciled with the scriptural definition then why not admit that you have no answers. All of us can be wrong at times, I know I have been & I’ve admitted as much in here.
    I doubt very much if there is anyone on this site who enjoys ‘browbeating’ a man especially when there’s several of us & only one of you. I certainly don’t enjoy it & it saddens me that this should be the only way to arrive at the truth. But, when all’s said & done it was your choice to come in here & if you cannot admit to even the possibility of being wrong then I’m sorry to have to tell you that it doesn’t say a lot for your integrity. No matter what you or any other apologist may say the facts speak for themselves, yes I said FACTS, check out Smiths prophetic record for yourself if you can’t take my word for it. A 7.6% accuracy rate isn’t exactly something to inspire confidence.
    Joseph Smith, as a prophet, can only be viewed as a complete failure &, using the scriptural definition alone, he could not possibly have been called of God.

  5. Kate says:

    I am still waiting for you to show me where Thomas Monson has ever spoken for God……..

  6. Rick B says:

    Wow FoF,
    It seems I am not the only one to claim you have not and cannot answer questions. You going to say to them that you answered them also and they just need to go back and read better? Typical Mormon and internet troll.

  7. Clyde6070 says:

    Gee willikers, I didn’t expect the spanish inquistion. You wrote:
    Mormons feel God commanded Abraham to kill his son.
    God did and yes it was a test. It was also a valuable lesson because Abraham was about to sacrifice him.

  8. Mike R says:

    Fof F , I mentioned that I find your attempt to create an alibi for Joseph Smith’s
    introducing polygamy because God allegedly told him to , to be strained reasoning
    and I see nothing with what you’ve said thus far that would cause me to change my
    opinion. The whole episode with Mormon polygamy was a mess from start to finish
    all because it was the “precepts of men ” packaged up and presented as gospel truth
    by men who claimed that Jesus directed them to do so . The testimony from Mormons
    from some of the plural wives themselves to church authorities have called polygamy
    an essential doctrine in Jesus’ church , a necessity as important as baptism , one of the
    most important doctrines ever revealed to man , a saving ordinance in Jesus’ gospel
    administered by officers of His church , ” restored ” in these latter days .
    This claim is where the spotlight belonged and not back in the Old Testament , after all
    this the latter days and false apostles with their imitation gospels are all vying for our
    attention hence our caution at accepting their claim to be directed by Jesus to restore
    the same doctrines / ordinances that He established through His apostles in the New
    Testament time . But at the beginning on this thread you introduced Abraham into
    the picture , and off you went down a rabbit trail. Now I think others here did a great
    job addressing the issues you seemed fixated on concerning Abraham . You tried to
    use the account of God’s command to Abraham about his son : though it went against
    what Abraham previously understood as God’s commandment to His people about
    this type of terrible act , Abraham was obeying God by following His command . This
    scenario is supposed to be a sort of corollary to justify Joseph Smith’s entering into
    polygamy ? I admit that is quite creative , but it does’nt fit properly with the picture
    painted by Mormon leaders about why they introduced polygamy because Smith was
    supposedly merely re-introducing a lifestyle (polygamy) that God had previously
    desired many righteous men to practice even before Abraham’s time . In fact it
    was even said to mirror the heavenly arrangement God Himself actually lived !
    So the way you tried to compare Joseph Smith’s scenario with Abraham’s was faulty
    from the get go .
    Bottom line here : polygamy ( and some other behaviors ) was allowed by God in the
    Old Testament , but it is not an ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in His
    church which He established through His apostles . Their gospel message was preached
    far and wide ( Rom 1:16) , and it did’nt include polygamy . Mormonism claims to be
    directed by the same Jesus to restore His same church and have the same gospel as
    was established 2000 ago . But the evidence points in another direction , namely , the
    danger of counterfeits which Jesus warned would come in the latter days –Matt 24:11 ,
    and Paul echoed His counsel by writing Gal 1:8 ; 2Tim 4 :3-4 and else where .
    Any LATTER DAY ” NEWCOMERS ” teachings are subject to scriptures . The Word of
    God is available for our protection , and the Holy Spirit is ready to help us use them
    to evaluate the claims of those like Mormon apostles make .

  9. Rick B says:

    Wow clyde, you did as I said, you rambled and avoided my questions. I guess I am a mormin prophet according to lds standard.

  10. Brewed says:


    My heart hurts for you.

    It is so hard to see the truth when you are so deep in the lies. You have probably spent your entire life defending your faith. At this point are you defending it because of habit or do you really believe it is the one true church on earth? If so, why? In the face of all evidence that would show us the opposite. You forsake all that God has shown you to be true. Maybe instead of praying and asking if the “church” is true or not, you should start praying and asking God who He is.

    Pharisees? Because we don’t buy into your self proclaimed prophet on a mysterious feeling? Because we refuse to forsake God’s truth for a church created and ruled by man. Because we love Mormon’s enough to stand strong on the doctrine that is what Christ gave us and urge them to do the same.

    Have you ever read the Bible, just to see what it says. Not to prove your church right. Not to evoke good feelings. Just to see what it says?

    In my experience Mormons are afraid to read the Bible, they do not trust it. Yet they trust their prophets, their ensign, their LDS doctrine, nearly blindly. It feels good for them to trust prophets. It feels good to be a good LDS, faithful member.
    I hear all the time “I just have faith, It doesn’t have to make sense”. What do you think faith is based on? What is faith anyways? The definition seems to be changing constantly. God doesn’t tell us to only take things on faith, especially prophets. He tells us to use our brains. We cannot trust JS or the church he founded because as you put it “we trust our brains”. We trust our brains, our bibles, and the holy spirit. This is not pharisaical, this is what God tells us to do. The prophets you speak of, the ones the Bible speaks of, the ones rejected by religious leaders of their day? They were anointed, they preformed miracles, they served as a mouth piece, giving warning. They prophesied. We are not to trust them on their word alone. They had to prove themselves. Did any of them ever ask others to pray and see if what they said was true?

    Do you understand that there are false prophets? Do you understand that they lead us AWAY from God. That they are dangerous? How do you know that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet? All evidence points to the contrary, yet you believe with a passion that is kind of scary. Scary because it is unwarranted and is without question.

  11. brianhales says:

    Hi Everyone, 110 comments regarding my books on Joseph Smith’s polygamy – wow! I want to clarify the title because I think that polygamy is “really really bad.” It expands a man’s emotional and sexual opportunities as a husband as it simultaneously fragments a woman’s opportunities as a wife. It is difficult to defend as anything but sexist and unfair. On the other hand, when all of the evidence is presented, I don’t think that Joseph Smith’s behavior is “really really bad.” He has been badly misrepresented by the Fawn Brodies of the world. If you are sure God was not talking to Joseph in the first place, then no need to entertain that he might have been sincere. But if you think there is a “smoking gun” – slam dunk – credible evidence showing Joseph was a womanizer, then maybe you could share it. Getting transparency on this issue is how we all win, even if we disagree. Take Care! Brian Hales

  12. grindael says:


    Thanks for the comments and clarifying your stance about polygamy. But I have to ask you, if polygamy is so bad, then why institute it at all? What was the purpose of doing so? You obviously believe that God was talking with Smith, so why would God tell him (at the point of a drawn sword) to do something that was “really, really bad?” and make him go through with it? I’ve been to your website and I have to agree with this reviewer about your defense of Smith (and therefore polygamy):

    Make no mistake about it: this is apologetics. Hales is committed to making Joseph Smith look as clean as a whistle. To do this, he is obliged to paint some witnesses as unreliable, extravagant, and ant*-Mormon; yet, somewhat inconsistently, he is willing to accept statements from these or like characters when they support his claims. Hales’ polemical concerns drive him to defend a number of difficult positions such as:

    *Joseph learned of the correctness of plural marriage by 1831 (85).
    *Joseph was never accused of polygamy prior to 1841 (144-146, and over and over throughout the book).
    *A marriage ceremony (as differentiated from a sealing ordinance) took place between Joseph and Fanny Alger in 1835 (198, 109 note 7).
    *Authority to perform such a plural marriage existed before the sealing keys were restored in April 1836 (119-120).
    *Joseph did not have sexual relations with his two 14-year-old wives, his polyandrous wives who were experiencing conjugal relations with their legal husbands, or any woman to whom he was not married (285).
    *Some of Joseph’s marriages were for “eternity only” (421-441).
    *John C. Bennett’s licentiousness was completely unconnected with Joseph Smith’s polygamy (ch. 20).

    And that’s only in the first volume. But never before has so much information and evidence been gathered together in the same place. Hales and Don Bradley, his research assistant, have made a remarkable effort to include every pertinent source they can find. Overall, Hales’ writing style is engaging and thorough; he uses just enough of each quotation to include the context, yet not so much as to be boring or pedantic.

    Polygamy is just wrong. It has shown itself to be over and over again. (That is the “smoking gun”) Anyone who would instigate this as a practice commanded by God… when that kind of behavior is truly “really, really bad.”

  13. Kate says:

    ” I want to clarify the title because I think that polygamy is “really really bad.” It expands a man’s emotional and sexual opportunities as a husband as it simultaneously fragments a woman’s opportunities as a wife. It is difficult to defend as anything but sexist and unfair. On the other hand, when all of the evidence is presented, I don’t think that Joseph Smith’s behavior is “really really bad.”

    What? This is talking out of both sides of your mouth. Joseph Smith ” expanded his emotional and sexual opportunities as a husband ( many times over) while fragmenting Emma’s opportunities as a wife.” Not to mention dishonoring her and committing adultery with already married women. Joseph Smith’s behavior was really, really bad. Just ask Emma.

    I have some questions for Dr. Hale and all other Mormon men here. If you found out that your wife had married over 30 men, one third of which were already married to other men, would you be OK with that, or would you think it was really, really bad? What if she told you God told her to do it and she was threatened by an angel with a sword? Would you wonder which ones she had sex with? Would that eat at you? What if you knew she had married 4 of them, would you wonder which one she was sleeping with when she wasn’t in your bed? It wouldn’t be all wonderful and acceptable if the tables were turned, would it?
    What Joseph did was not only really, really bad, it was disgusting and proves without a doubt that he was and is a false prophet.

  14. brianhales says:

    Hi Again, Thanks for the comments.

    Joseph Smith gave three reasons for plural marriage. (1) Restitution of all things (Acts 3:21). (2) Provide bodies for noble and great premortal spirits – i.e. multiply and replenish the earth. (3) The primary reason (as I see it) for plural marriage is the teaching that exaltation occurs only to couples. There are no single men or single women in the Mormon Celestial Kingdom. Plural marriage of some kind (polygyny – one husband with multiple wives or polyandry – one wife with multiple husband) would be needed unless there were exactly the same number of worthy men and women at the final judgment. D&C 132:61-63 explains that polyandry is adultery and the polygyny is permitted for the exaltation of the plural wives.

    Obviously it is impossible to understand the dynamics of polygamy (polygyny) in heaven, but on earth it is sexist and unfair.

    This explanation won’t satisfy many (maybe none). But if we want to understand Joseph Smith’s polygamy, we should seek to see it through the eyes of those who practiced it in Nauvoo. They were just as skeptical, if not cynical, and you and me. Yet they saw in him a consistency and even virtue. Otherwise, they would have dump him and his teachings. The Fawn Brodie version is just a comic book stuff. She did a hatchet job on Joseph, but a worse hatchet job on his followers as she portrayed them as gullible dupes who were so stupid they couldn’t see he just wanted sex. But Brodie (et al.) is so smart that a hundred years later she could figure it out. They weren’t that dumb and indiscerning and Brodie wasn’t that smart. They would never have followed the Brodie version of Joseph Smith.


    Brian Hales

  15. MJP says:

    Wow, Brian. Does it not bother you that God would require something we, in your words, find “really, really bad”?

    Does it not bother you that there is an alternative that does not require marriage to be with God in heaven? Does it not bother you that those who are not married, those who have been faithful and their spouses have not, are barred from entering your highest kingdom through no fault of their own?

    It bothers me.

  16. Rick B says:

    What bothers me is, brian ignores what Jesus said and believes what he wants. The mormon prophets, I mean religious leaders went to Jesus and said, this women went through seven husbands and then she died. So who will she be married to in the next life? Jesus said to the mormon prophets, I mean religious leaders, you do not know scripture. Their wil be no marraige they will be as the angles in heaven.

    Yet like the mormon prophets, I mean religious leaders, they ignore Jesus also and don’t like that he said, you don’t know scripture.

  17. Kate says:

    Well Dr. Hale, I’ve never even read Fawn Brodie’ s book, so much for that. I have however read my family’s history book. My family was with Joseph Smith from the beginning and they were also polygamists. It destroyed families. You are simply repeating the same tired, regurgitated crap I’ve been told my whole life. Mormons did leave over polygamy. The ones who knew about it that is. Joseph Smith lied about it in public. Are you telling us that the women who were already married to other men couldn’t multiply and replenish the earth with their husbands? They couldn’t receive the celestial kingdom with their Mormon husbands? Mormons scream that Joseph never had sex with them, so how was he to replenish the earth with these married women? Joseph Smith had an affair with Fanny Alger long before he came up with polygamy. He was an immoral man and yes, a womanizer. You didn’t answer my questions. Would you think it really, really bad if your wife did to you what Joseph did to Emma? Even if she claimed it was a revelation from God?

    How do you explain polygamy in Brigham Young’ s day? He was having men sealed to him, what’s up with that?

  18. grindael says:

    The Fawn Brodie version is just a comic book stuff. She did a hatchet job on Joseph, but a worse hatchet job on his followers as she portrayed them as gullible dupes who were so stupid they couldn’t see he just wanted sex. But Brodie (et al.) is so smart that a hundred years later she could figure it out. They weren’t that dumb and indiscerning and Brodie wasn’t that smart. They would never have followed the Brodie version of Joseph Smith.

    Not everyone agrees that Fawn Brodie’s bio on Smith is “comic book stuff”. So… those who followed Warren Jeffs? What were they? Those who followed David Koresh? What were they? Your answer is too simplistic, and just won’t fly. It has been proven wrong by history too many times. Joseph Smith began his career by duping people. (As an Impostor with a peep stone). There is evidence that he never gave up this penchant for buried treasure and that he was still hoaxing people well after 1826. For example, he wrote his brother in May 1838 and said,

    verily thus saith the lord unto hyram smith if he will come strateaway to far west and inquire of his brother it shall be shown him how that he may be freed from debt and obtain a grate treasure in the earth even so amen. (Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, page 358)

    You won’t find that “revelation” in the D&C. What did happen? Joseph & Hyrum wound up in jail a few months later, and John Corrill (who was badmouthed by Joseph mercilessly – who called him a “murderer at heart”); still helped out two of his brothers who were not arrested, giving Samuel H. ($9.62) and William B. (75 cents), to help them get out of Missouri. Hyrum never got out of those financial difficulties in Missouri but wound up losing everything.

    This kind of spririt (treasure seeking) was handed down from Joseph to his Apostles. In 1859 over a two day period the Twelve met and discussed (among other things) their financial situation. The comments are enlightening (as reported by W. Woodruff in his Journals). They were divided “Concerning the feelings of many of the people against seeing the Twelve prosper in Temperal things.” Orson Hyde “related a dream about B[u]ll[i]on & gold &c. J Taylor said I will prophesy that it shall be fulfilled. Lorenzo Snow said I will prophesy that the Moon is made under which it shall be fulfilled. O Hyde said I will Prophesy that the time will soon come when we shall have all that we want.” Well, it didn’t happen for Hyde. He lost all his property in Carson County, Nevada when the Mormons fled back to the Salt Lake Valley in 1857, and perhaps Hyde was hoping he would get it back. He didn’t. Orson Pratt had similiar problems, mostly because Young kept sending him on missions because he couldn’t stand him, nor Hyde. Brigham Young though, did very well for himself because he got a $10,000 a year salary and unlimited access to church funds. He (of course) lied about his salary to those like Horace Greely when he was asked if he was paid anything.

    During those meetings Heber C. Kimball brought up peep stones,

    At a quarter to 12 oclok H. C. Kimball & D. H. Wells called. * [The asterisks in this entry are Woodruff’s.] H. C. Kimball said this made me think of the time when I returned from England. Joseph was presidet & the presidency of the Seventies they had met with a seers stones to see what they could see. When I went in Z Pulsipher said dont be excited Brother Kimball is Nothing but a man. They treated me vary Cooly & I went home and wept.*

    Then we all rose up & shook hands with them & recieved them Joyfully. O Hyde explained to Brothers Kimball & Wells what we had done, and would like to hear from them. Brother Kimball said I consider evry ruling man in the Church that Has the Holy Ghost is a prophet seer & Revelator & he should have the spirit of that office. (Woodruff Journals, Vol. 5, p. 29, 7 February 23, 1859)

    Were they looking for treasure guardians? Thought Kimball was a spirit? These are only a couple of examples.

    If polygamy was as simple as replentishment the earth, then why was it discontinued? Especially when Brigham Young said it wouldn’t be, and John Taylor & Wilford Woodruff received revelations that it would not be.

    Why didn’t the Mormons just move to a place where they could practice it? Perhaps because Joseph Smith made prophecies like this one,

    [April 13, 1844. Saturday.] A.M. at President Joseph’s recording Deeds. He prophecied the entire overthrow of this nation in a few years. (George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.129).

    And they felt that they would be returning to Jackson County. Lorenzo Snow still believed it at the turn of the century, and told a group of Saints that they would live to see that day.

    And Brigham Young said that there would be single men in the Celestial Kingdom,

    12 I spent the day in the Council House untill noon. I attended the school of the prophets. Brother John Holeman made a long speech upon the subject of Poligamy. He Contended that no person Could have a Celestial glory unless He had a plurality of wives. Speeches were made By L. E. Harrington O Pratt Erastus Snow, D Evans J. F. Smith Lorenzo Young. Presidet Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.528, Feb. 12, 1870)

    Of course they would not be in the highest tier of the CK, (according to other statements) but they would still be there. He also said, per Woodruff, “President B Young Spoke 1 Hour & 18 Minuts. In his remarks He said that a Man who did not have but one wife in the Resurrection that woman will not be his but [be] taken from him & given to another But he may be saved in the kingdom of God but be single to all Eternity. Mother Eve was the Daughter of Adam. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 7, p.152)

    Young said in March of 1857,

    If we past our inspection before Joseph we probably should Peter & Jesus. Then we should be quite safe. If all this people did not go to a celestial kingdom it would be their own fault. But will all have the same exaltation & glory in the Celestial Kingdom? By no means. There will be but few that go there that will be crowned kings & Priests & Gods. There will be many millions in the Celestial kingdom that will not be exhalted to those hier blessings. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 30).

    Take your pick of which quotes to believe. He was all over the board with this, the same as Smith was. You may want to think about all the children that are automatically saved in the CK when you do your calculations. Young taught,

    Sunday I met with my Quorum in the morning & attended meeting all day. John Taylor Preached in the morning and // President Young Preached in the Afternoon. He read the Vision given to Joseph Smith & Sidney Rigdon then He preached upon it. He spoke of the various glories & the different Characters who would occupy them. He said all Children who died in childhood would go to the Celestial kingdom and their Mothers if they do not keep the Celestial law will not go whare there children are & will never see them again. But the Children will be given to others. He said many interesting things. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.90, Jan. 11, 1863)

    According to Young they will grow up, but according to Smith they wouldn’t. So pick a prophet to believe.

    And the main reason for polygamy is to teach that exaltation only occurs to couples? So a “couple” is a man with 35 wives? This could not have been taught without the polygamy? And I think your reasoning is flawed. In D&C 132 the only reason for polygamy was to “raise up seed”.

    Smith says specifically,

    32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.

    Verse 30 defines the “promise”:

    30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

    That means that without doing the “works of Abraham”, (polygamy) one cannot attain exaltation, or the promises of Abraham. This is cut and dry. But there is also another requirement:

    61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. 62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. 63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

    There are three things here, which Joseph ignored.

    *He did not get permission of his first wife (beforehand) to marry some of those women which many of his “Apostles” did also.
    *He did not have children by all of these women. (Which was the stated purpose of polygamy) Interesting that William Clayton took Margaret Farr to be his wife and got her pregnant right away, which was no little cause of trouble to them, proving that they did have sex with their plural wives in Nauvoo and why would Joseph be any different?
    *Not all of these women were virgins which D&C 132 states they must be.

    I could almost agree with you that Joseph was not some sort of scoundrel if he had only kept his own rules. But he did not. He constantly broke them and lied about it. One can claim extenuating circumstances for the lying, but that really doesn’t cut it. Polygamy is simply a horrendous doctrine and there was no good reason to practice it, and no good reason for God to send an angel to force Joseph to do so. Joseph set one standard for others and another for himself and a handful of his secret quorum and broke every church rule and regulation to do so. It goes right to his credibility as a prophet and apostle of Jesus Christ. He was no better than Warren Jeffs or David Koresh.

    64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

    Obey or be destroyed. There is all kinds of things wrong with this, and though Emma rejected polygamy, she was not “destroyed” and supplanted by one of his wives that accepted it. And for those that do think that polygamy is really, really bad, Brigham Young said,

    those who spoke against A Plurality of wives & in there feelings will not receive it will never inherit the Celestial Kingdom of God for it has always been pr[actic]ed [p.494] there and always will be & thousands of women will be saved there who have been trodden under the feet of men & what will be done with them if men did not have more than one wife? Men are the Lords of Creation & God will hold them responsible. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.494, Sept. 20, 1869).

  19. grindael says:


    I think it is obvious from Mr. Hales comments that he thought that polygamy was bad, so I think he already answered your question. But that is really not the point. Joseph Smith is forever linked with a really, really bad thing, and there aren’t any really, really good reasons for him to be, except for the ones that Historians like Mr. Hales have problems accepting. But I respect his work. I’m saving to buy his books, which I think are valuable resources, even if I don’t agree with his conclusions about Joseph Smith.

  20. grindael says:


    One of the greatest sources for information on Joseph’s polygamy is William Clayton’s journals. To this day, they have not been released to the public. Smith’s “Intimate Chronicles” is flawed because he could not compare what he collected with the originals.

    Perhaps if the Church was more open and Fawn Brodie had had access to many of the documents that were kept secret in her time, (and still are) she could have written a better biography. But we will never know, will we?

  21. Kate says:


    I am just trying to digest what Dr. Hales is saying. He says polygamy is really, really bad, sexist and unfair. Then turns around and says Joseph’s behavior was not really, really bad. Not only did he practice polygamy behind Emma’s back, he took away the chance for Mormon men to receive the celestial kingdom with their own wives by secretly marrying them himself. Didn’t he deny these men exaltation? He lied many times over to everyone. Part of the reason he was in Carthage jail is because of his lies about polygamy. His behavior was really, really bad. I don’t understand how faithful Mormons miss this. Is the desire to believe so strong that any explanation will do? Why is lying and deception acceptable from certain people? When did God EVER say that lying and deception is acceptable? When did he say adultery is acceptable? This type of behavior is really, really bad and Joseph Smith was up to his eyeballs in it.
    Polygamy is a sore spot with me. I was raised to believe that I would live it for eternity if I made it to the celestial kingdom, and I lived most of my life knowing it could be reinstated at any time, so best be prepared. I still listen to my family and friends fret over “what if.” It is still messing with Mormon women’s heads. I’m so glad I’m out of the madness.

  22. grindael says:

    Here is D. Michael Quinn’s response to Mr. Hales presentation about polygamy from Mormon History Association’s Annual Conference Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 29 June 2012 (expanded-finalized, 31 December 2012; circulated in mid-2013, called “EVIDENCE FOR THE SEXUAL SIDE OF JOSEPH SMITH’S POLYGAMY”. I think this will help understand Joseph’s polygamy in its true light.

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