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Nytimes Article - The Wives Of Joseph Smith Inspires Utah Artist


theplains

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The article is here.

 

Is that a typo?  Could a fifth-generation member of the LDS Church really not know

about Joseph's plural wives?  

 

One can only imagine the knowledge that exists in countries far away like China,

Brazil, or Africa.  Has a similar acknowledgement been made in their languages

via Ensign or something else?

 

Thanks,

Jim

 

 

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It seems really strange. Why would members accept polygamy from BY if JS hadn't already started it? I can't remember specifically when I learned about Joseph's polygamy but I know it didn't surprise me at all, for exactly that reason.

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That is the golden question, "She is almost 60 and how could she not know about them"?

 

Not that we need another thread on that point. I think it portraits are great and will help her achieve her goal of bring them to the forefront.

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Scholars aside, I'll bet you couldn't find ten people who knew that JS had that many wives before media picked it up....let alone their names. I knew JS began polygamy but I had no idea how it was done or the extent of it until I was well into adulthood. I can't speak for other cultures, but for Americans immersed in the Utah culture it is absurd to claim no knowledge of it. Even the critics brandish the flaming sword so that narrative needs to be adjusted for consistency. However, it is somewhat like growing up knowing that Japan was bombed to end the war and then only later finding out the extent and human cost. 

 

Bottom line is that these women do need to be acknowledged and put back into Mormon history.

I knew about them in High school from a seminary teacher but i know my teacher was a rare breed.

Edited by bluebell
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It seems really strange. Why would members accept polygamy from BY if JS hadn't already started it? I can't remember specifically when I learned about Joseph's polygamy but I know it didn't surprise me at all, for exactly that reason.

Yes, and it was only the RLDS Church members who used to claim that Brigham invented polygamy (now, as the Community of Christ, they formally admit that Joseph practiced it).  LDS members always maintained that Joseph was the prophet who directed that it be practiced.  For someone now to announce that they had never heard of such a thing seems almost quaint.

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Scholars aside, I'll bet you couldn't find ten people who knew that JS had that many wives before media picked it up....let alone their names.

..................................................................

It is almost as though Fawn McKay Brodie had never published her biography of Joseph Smith in 1945, with a full listing of Joseph's wives.  Maybe no one reads books anymore.  Maybe when someone has never heard of somethihg, that means that no one else has either.

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Scholars aside, I'll bet you couldn't find ten people who knew that JS had that many wives before media picked it up....let alone their names. I knew JS began polygamy but I had no idea how it was done or the extent of it until I was well into adulthood. I can't speak for other cultures, but for Americans immersed in the Utah culture it is absurd to claim no knowledge of it. Even the critics brandish the flaming sword so that narrative needs to be adjusted for consistency. However, it is somewhat like growing up knowing that Japan was bombed to end the war and then only later finding out the extent and human cost. 

 

Bottom line is that these women do need to be acknowledged and put back into Mormon history.

 

Well, put my name on that list. I grew up knowing--I think I knew as a kid in the 1960's. I never thought it was  a big deal. Orson Scott Card knew--he wrote Saints, a novel about Joseph's wives in 1983. I'm not a scholar; a novel is not written for scholars. I really struggle with members who know so little about their own religion and its origins. I recall having a discussion with an anti-Mormon in the 90's who stated that one of the things he was most struck by was how little most LDS knew about their own religion. 

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It is almost as though Fawn McKay Brodie had never published her biography of Joseph Smith in 1945, with a full listing of Joseph's wives. Maybe no one reads books anymore. Maybe when someone has never heard of somethihg, that means that no one else has either.

Fawn Brodie's book was considered anti. Probably very few read it because of that. And if they did it might account for several inactives in the pre internet age who kept mum for fear of putting someone else in their situation or they didn't want to be an apostate for saying anything. Remember that little rule? So many ward Bishops or leaders tell the unbeliever to keep it to themselves. If not they'll hurt other's testimonies and cause them to leave. Therefore becoming apostate and going to outer darkness when they die, according to our doctrine.

I always found it interesting before my faith crises, now journey, being told people studied their way out of the church, as if knowledge is a bad thing?

Edited by Tacenda
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I simply can't understand why members are claiming that they didn't know about Joseph practicing plural marriage. I remember reading a book about 20 years ago called Life Of Joseph Smith: The Prophet written by First Counselor George Q. Cannon in 1886. If I remember correctly, there was an entire chapter on Joseph's plural marriages. And this was published by Deseret and available in the LDS bookstore near the Temple. Not exactly a secret!

 

Is there anywhere in the Scriptures where it is taught that the "Leave It To Beaver" nuclear family is the only type of family approved by God?

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I remember learning it in Primary from my mom's best friend who was our Primary president.  It was during sharing time. 

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Fawn Brodie's book was considered anti. Probably very few read it because of that. And if they did it might account for several inactives in the pre internet age who kept mum for fear of putting someone else in their situation or they didn't want to be an apostate for saying anything. Remember that little rule? So many ward Bishops or leaders tell the unbeliever to keep it to themselves. If not they'll hurt other's testimonies and cause them to leave. Therefore becoming apostate and going to outer darkness when they die, according to our doctrine.

I always found it interesting before my faith crises, now journey, being told people studied their way out of the church, as if knowledge is a bad thing?

I have never believed that "people studied their way out of the church," and have always thought Brodie's book was very widely read.  I had no problem with knowing that Eliza R. Snow was a plural wife of Joseph, and later of Brigham.  I was always so proud of her poetry.

 

What I find so warm and friendly about Mormonism is that members worldwide are so broad-minded and variegated, unafraid of more knowledge.  Indeed, almost unique in religion is the tendency in Mormondom for the best educated to be the strongest members -- unlike other religions.  This bodes will for the future of the faith.  For me, the ignoramuses which you mention are the exceptions which prove the rule.

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I don't know how old I was when I learned about Joseph's polygamy. But I remember snickering about the name Fanny. So I'm guessing 12-13

I think Eliza R Snow being another wife was also very common knowledge. The argument being the line in O My Father about a heavenly mother came from her husband Joseph.

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