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Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations After the Manifesto 0th Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1589580350
ISBN-10: 1589580354
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About the Author

Brian C. Hales, co-author of the 1992 publication The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy, an LDS Perspective, works as an anesthesiologist at the Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton, Utah. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former full-time missionary, he is the webmaster of mormonfundamentalism.com, a website dedicated to provided viewers with a historical and doctrinal examination of Mormon fundamentalist topics including the practice of polygamy. Brian has presented at the Mormon History Association meetings and at the Sunstone Symposium on polygamy-related topics. His articles have also been published in Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought and the Journal of Mormon History. In addition to his historical works, Brian has authored three books on doctrinal themes entitled The Veil (Cedar Fort, 2000), Trials (Cedar Fort, 2002), and Light (Cedar Fort, 2004) He is the father of four children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Plural Marriage Restored

One of the more controversial doctrines taught by the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith was that, under the proper circumstances, the marriage of one man to more than one wife was sanctified and holy.1 For puritan mentalities of nineteenth-century America, the practice was virtually unheard of except as an exotic practice of the "heathen Turks," and resistance was high.2 Nevertheless, Joseph Smith felt compelled to teach a new form of marriage which he believed the Lord had restored to the earth through him. Called the "New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage," it described how husbands and wives may be joined together in a bond that transcended death. Included as a part of this new marriage covenant was plural marriage as had been practiced by Old Testament patriarchs.3 Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage

Precisely when Joseph Smith learned of the correctness of plural marriage is not known. He published the Book of Mormon in 1830, which states: "For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. . . . For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people, otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:27, 30). While specifying monogamy, this statement leaves the door open for future polygamy should God command it.

It appears that Joseph Smith may have asked the Lord about plural marriage as early as 1831. In that year Joseph felt inspired to revise the Bible wherein he reviewed the accounts of the ancient patriarchs who practiced polygamy.4 Abraham was married to Sarai (Sarah) and had two additional wives: Hagar (Gen. 16: 1-3) and later Keturah (Gen. 25:1) and concubines (Gen. 25:6). Jacob, (renamed Israel by God), had twelve sons by four wives and concubines (Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah). Moses too was a polygamist (Exod. 2:21; Num. 12:1). Early Church member Lyman E. Johnson recalled that "Joseph ...


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Greg Kofford Books Inc (March 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589580354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589580350
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,135,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Van Wagoner VINE VOICE on October 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I originally purchased this book for my wife who has been interested in what makes modern polygamists tick. I browsed through it and decided that it would be worth my time to read. It turned out to be a very educational experience and helped me understand the history of Mormon fundamentalists much better.

This book was published by Greg Kofford Books, a small publishing house in Utah specializing in Mormon and regional studies. I have read several of their books and have been impressed with the quality of their material.

This book is a study of the beginnings and history of Mormon fundamentalism. It is not an apologetic work on polygamy, but focuses on the claims of authority by the leaders of the major polygamous sects. The author states that he did the research and wrote this book after a sister became involved in one of the polygamous sects.

The first part of the book talks of the claims of authority that the LDS church used to implement and then stop the practice of polygamy. The discussion then went into detail of how difficult it was to stop polygamy within the church. After the first manifesto, the practice was still continued outside of the US and even somewhat within the US. There was opposition from several key leaders including some apostles. Eventually a second manifesto with issued during the time of the Smoot hearings, where penalties of excommunication were threatened for anyone performing plural marriages. Two apostles were ultimately excommunicated along with several other local leaders over the next several years in an attempt to stop the practice.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is rich in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how certain Church members split away from the main Church to form their own group in the early 20th century. It is a facinating review of American history.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in American history or religious history.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good book for an overview of Mormon Fundamentalism from an LDS viewpoint. I recently read a review of the book on Mabel Allred which clarified or corrected several things she had written, which are also found in this work by Hales. I think the editor of the book on Mabel Allred used Hales as a source, so those of you who buy this book may want to read this review:
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Format: Hardcover
This book purports to be a reasonably accurate history of Mormon Fundamentalism. It is instead a work of unabashed Mormon Apology. Throughout the book Brian Hales demonstrates a general lack of respect for historical facts and constantly interjects his bias against his subjects. This book is clearly an attempt to discredit Mormon "Fundamentalists" and support mainstream mormon veiwpoints. If you are looking for a biased narrative whose only purpose is to convince you that all other veiwpoints are wrong and those of the curent mainstream in the church are the only credible ones, then by all means buy this book. If you actually want to understand the big picture, and get historically acurate information, buy "Silencing Mormon Polygamy" from Drew Briney.
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Format: Hardcover
I will wait for a book whose title & rationale do not again mistakenly project polygamy as fundamental to Mormonism or as preceding our doctrine of monogamous marriage. In every age of the Gospel, including Joseph Smith's (D&C 49:16), the doctrine of monogamy always preceded, and subsequently interrupted, polygamy's divergent practice. All 4 cataloging topics of this book's copyright page again perpetuate the error of calling this practice a "doctrine" (Hinckley, Nelson, Ballard, Widtsoe, Talmage).

It is surprising that in today's information age, yet another book omits & contradicts historical demonstration that Mormon polygamy came at the end rather than the beginning of polygamy's epidemic in globally-Western society (Hardy); that ancient polygamy evolved either out of, or as a precursor to, slavery (Lerner); that polygamy is legally & socially incompatible with freedom & democracy (Kurtz). Since monogamous Isaac & Rebekah tried to terminate polygamy from his father's culture, the author wisely removes Isaac's name from the list of supposed Old Testament polygamists named in our unschooled & recollected Section 132, which Joseph Smith never canonized. But Hales missed that BYU Studies & student manuals also remove Moses (in deference to factual historian Josephus).

As for Hales needing additional information to know whether Adam & Noah were polygamists, it is already amply clear in the Old Testament record that they were not. But Christ himself repeats the answer about Adam in singular & exclusive terms as he twice adds the word "twain" to our Genesis account when quoting that scriptural record to the Pharisees: "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
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