It’s time to conclude my interview with Dr. Brian Hales. While it probably isn’t a surprise to most people that Brian played a big role in the polygamy essays at LDS.org, I was surprised to learn that he wasn’t the only author? Who were the other two women, and what role did Brian play? (Listen here.)
That was the first thing that was asked of me on the topic of polyandry. Then I just sent them some general stuff, and I don’t know how many iterations it went through there. Again I was excited to contribute to that. I only looked at the Nauvoo material. I know they had Kathryn Daines help out, and Kathleen Flake I think also are the other two that did the input on plural marriage. I hope they don’t mind me saying that but they wanted outsiders to critique it. If there were problems, they wanted to know about them before they published it.
Are you surprised who wrote these other essays?
I know Brian has often been accused of being an apologist, but I thought this quote was interesting, as we discussed him meeting with people with concerns about polygamy.
Other times when Laura and I meet with people, it’s just I think a box that they have to check as they’re on their way out of the church. “Oh yeah I met with the Hales. They didn’t help.” So they’ve kind of already given up their faith.
The only thing I would say is if you’ve got questions, dive in. I believe there’s somebody in the church who knows more about it than the person who wrote whatever you’re reading on the internet and they still believe. With respect to plural marriage, we certainly have read a lot. It strengthened my belief in Joseph. It didn’t make me like polygamy. I don’t. I never want to do it, but my belief in him as a true prophet has just been strengthened.
What are your thoughts regarding Brian’s statement the he doesn’t like polygamy, and his testimony is strengthened with regards to Joseph Smith being a prophet?
We also discussed the belief by some (Denver Snuffer, Rock Waterman, the Prices, conservative RLDS members) that Joseph was a monogamist?
For those who have questions, the easiest way probably to detect Denver is he said Joseph didn’t practice polygamy, and then just look at the evidence. I outline it all here. It is true that most of the evidence that Joseph practiced plural marriage is from late sources, but not all of it. The Nauvoo Expositor states right in there that Joseph Smith had a revelation. It was read to the high council. We’ve got testimonials from William Law and Jane Law saying that Joseph was teaching polygamy. These are contemporaneous. There are entries in William Clayton’s journal. John C. Bennett clearly had heard some rumors. I don’t know that he was ever in confidence of Joseph with it. But to say that it’s all old is not true. There are some very important contemporaneous sources.
What do you think of the arguments Brian makes against monogamy? Do you find these arguments compelling?
We also discussed the Temple Lot Case and why it is important to our understanding of polygamy. Don’t forget to sign up for a chance to win a free book, the Parallel Doctrine & Covenants at gospeltangents.com/newsletter.