Skip to main content

The Best Information on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: A Review Round-up

Today, Interpreter published three reviews of the soon-to-be released book on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding.  The first review, written by Gregory L. Smith, the author or co-author of a smattering of articles on Joseph Smith’s polygamy, concludes, “[Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding] is warmly recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about Joseph’s plural marriages but particularly to those just venturing into its sometimes choppy waters. Were I not vulnerable to the sin of envy, I’d wish I had written it.”

The second review, written by Suzanne Long Foster, the direct descendant of one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, “I enjoyed this book and found it very helpful. … the book did help to place a lot of the information into a coherent timeline that allowed me to understand the relationships between events more clearly than I have before. I found the book to be faith-affirming and a further testimony of Joseph Smith’s life as a prophet of God. I would recommend it for those struggling with the topic as well as those who want to know more so they can be prepared for questions from others.”

Finally, the third review by Craig L. Foster, the co-editor and contributor to The Persistence of Polygamy trilogy, “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding is an excellent and essential volume that will not only answer questions and offer solace to “truth seekers [who] may encounter details that are uncomfortable when studying early polygamy” but will also be a useful and interesting volume for those who have spent years studying the subject. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all.”

Given the background of each of these reviewers—two of them seasoned scholars of Joseph Smith’s practice of plural marriage—these are some weighty recommendations. While I grant that I do not carry half the credentials that these writers do, I would just like to add my own voice these reviewers in recommending this handy volume. Questions continue to swirl around Joseph Smith’s polygamy, and no one is better positioned to answer those questions than Brian C. Hales. Forgot whatever you heard about Brian C. Hales being an “apologist” or whatever—apologist or not, he has done more extensive research than anyone else. His unwillingness to simply accept the theses and assumptions offered by previous researchers on certain topics (such as polyandry) also means he offers the most thorough analysis of the many of the primary sources than ever before.  His wife Laura adds important perspective in this volume: not only is she a women, which is an important perspective to consider when tackling polygamy topics, but she this information is relatively new to her, thus enabling her to relate to readers who are also learning these details for the first time.


Odds are that you or someone you know has had or will have questions on Joseph Smith’s polygamy. Having this summary of the latest thinking on the matter will go a long way in answering your questions, or helping you address the questions of those you know. You can pre-order from FairMormon for a discounted price. Or, get it for FREE with the purchase of Brian C. Hales comprehensive 3-volume set, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology, and thus have access to the research that supports the conclusions laid out in the new volume. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Nephite History in Context 1: Jerusalem Chronicle

Editor’s Note: This is the first contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Jerusalem Chronicle (ABC 5/BM 21946)
Background
The so-called “Babylonian Chronicles” are an important collection of brief historical reports from Mesopotamia, found in Iraq in the late-19th century.1 They are written on clay tablets in Akkadian using cuneiform script, and cover much of the first millennium BC, although several tablets are missing or severely damaged, leaving gaps in the record. One tablet, colloquially known as the “Jerusalem Chronicle” (ABC 5/BM 21946),2 provides brief annal-like reports of the early reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (biblical Nebuchadnezzar), including mention of his invasion of Jerusalem.
Biblical sources report that King Jehoiac…

Nephite History in Context 2a: Apocryphon of Jeremiah

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Apocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q385a)
Background
Between 1947 and 1956, a few well preserved scrolls and tens of thousands of broken fragments were found scattered across eleven different caves along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran. Now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are arguably the most significant discovery ever made for the study of the Bible and the origins of Judaism and Christianity. Among the writings found are the earliest copies of nearly every Old Testament book, many of the known apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and several other texts discovered for the first time at Qumran. Altogether, more than 900 differe…

Nephite History in Context 2b: Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here.
Letters of ʿAbdu-Ḫeba of Jerusalem (EA 285–290)
Background
The Amarna Letters make up the bulk of the 382 cuneiform tablets found at Amarna, Egypt in 1887. The letters date to the mid-fourteenth century BC (ca. 1365–1335 bc), with most of them coming from the reign of Akhenaten (ca. 1352–1336 bc), though some date to the reigns of Amenhotep III (ca. 1390–1352 bc) and perhaps Smenkhkara (ca. 1338–1336 bc) and Tutankhamun (ca. 1336–1327 bc). The collection includes international correspondence between Egypt and other nations, such as Assyria and Babylonia, but most of the letters are to and from vassal kings in the Syria-Palestine region, whic…