053: Current Repercussions of our Polygamous Past

10352199_10152685439858881_529959953215131049_nNatasha Helfer Parker interviews a top-notch panel, Lindsay Hansen-Park, Kristine Haglund, and Dr. Kristy Money for a panel discussion regarding the psychological, relational and cultural repercussions Mormons currently continue to wrestle with as they attempt to make sense of their polygamous past.  The panel explores many of the myths, folklore and doctrine still relevant in LDS communities today.  Even though the doctrine of polygamy was suspended back in the late 1800’s and polygamy is not practiced by members belonging to the mainstream church today, the doctrine was never revoked and is still found within the pages of Mormon scripture.  This leads to many members distancing themselves from the practice while still grappling with eternal possibilities and implications.  The panel explores how these dynamics currently play a role in many members’ marriages, divorces, re-marriages, etc.   This interview comes at at time when the church has released several official essays where the
history of polygamy is officially addressed at this level of detail for the first time since the Manifesto.  74939_492400254134360_1176090193_n

Lindsay Hansen-Park is the Assistant Director for the Sunstone Education Foundation and has been running a podcast series at Feminist Mormon Housewives called the Year of Polygamy where she shares insights on the exhaustive research she has done on the topic of Mormon polygamy.

Kristine Haglund is the current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, a Mormon historian and cultural commentator.

1920631_10101311918032719_1703296475_nDr. Kristy Money is a psychologist who received her PhD from Brigham Young University and recently wrote an op-ed
for the Salt Lake Tribune called: LDS Church Should Make Clear Smith was Wrong to Take 14-year-old Wife


Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo

Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage

7 comments for “053: Current Repercussions of our Polygamous Past

  1. Kate Alvey
    January 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Fundamental inequality: “There’s no question he has control and she never can.”
    When polygamy was here on the earth and was done the Lord’s way, the men had to work with the first wife and they had to both be in agreement. It wasn’t the husband just went out and “collected” another wife without the consent of the 1st wife.
    When we look at polygamy through our mortal eyes instead of our eternal eyes it is hard to comprehend indeed, but when we understand the time differences it helps to understand why women made the decision to enter into a polygamous relationship.
    Women in the 1800’s was a whole different “ballgame” than in today’s world. We cannot compare the 1800 women with today’s women.
    Polygamy was a calling. Under the direction of God, those who lived the polygamous law, when they were called, were successful.

    • February 4, 2015 at 1:09 am

      Kate Alvey, unfortunately you are incorrect. The D&C is clear that the woman is supposed to accept other wives, but if she does not, the man can take more anyway. Oh, and she’ll be destroyed for disobedience.

      Even with that Joseph Smith didn’t follow this pattern. Emma didn’t even know about most of the “extra” wives JS collected.

  2. John Shaw
    January 30, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    What a fascinating discussion from women I have a great deal of respect for. It breaks my heart to hear this discussion and realize how much easier it is for a man to go through than a woman.

    I realize that you didn’t likely intend to get into some of the areas you covered, but I wanted to just state, that I’ve lived in several of the scenarios from the podcast. I was married in the temple, civilly divorced, re-married in the temple, then temple divorced to my first (as she got married to someone else). In addition, I served as a stake clerk and have had the opportunity to validate and submit many, many applications to the First Presidency for clearances, cancellations, etc.. I’ve seen a polygamous man and woman (not married to each other) excommunicated, and even a previously polygamous married woman be interviewed by a member of the 1st Presidency to be re-baptized and eventually, have temple blessings restored.

    All that to say, unequivocally, that YES, it matters to the 1st Presidency what a husband or wife writes in their letter either requesting or in response to temple clearances and cancellations. I’ve seen clearances NOT happen because a man has ‘hidden’ his past and when the previous wife’s letter was submitted with detail not included by either than man, his bishop, or his Stake President, the 1st Presidency overruled both the Bishop and Stake President and denied the clearance.

    I’ve seen cases where both a man and a woman were granted temple cancellations based on the circumstances of the ending of the marriage, granted these are not the norm.

    As to not knowing, I can’t imagine a bishop or stake president not taking the time if someone truly would seek it out to ask.

    I’ll just end with this. When I got divorced the first time, my Bishop reminded me that my ex-wife was still sealed to me and that she was still my responsibility until she remarried in the temple. I looked him in the eye, and said, “Bishop, that just isn’t true. My guess is that I’ve done several thousand more pages of reading on the matter than you have, and it is my fervent conviction through prayer and fasting that it is just not the case.”

  3. A Happy Hubby
    January 31, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Great podcast. I think it is hard for men (even ones that want nothing to do with polygamy) to grasp how even the theoretical religious teachings can affect a woman. Keep preaching and more of us cave men will get it over time.

    Oh – and I want to point out a mistake at the start of the podcast. Natasha said there were, “3 great/wonderful women on the podcast.” I think that is incorrect. Natasha maybe was just trying to be humble, but Natasha is in my book as “a great/wonderful woman.” You go girl, um I mean girls. 🙂

  4. Kristine
    February 2, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    John, I’m very glad to be wrong! Thanks for the additional information.

  5. February 8, 2015 at 6:30 am

    This is very thought provoking. I’ve listened to LHP work but I’m glad you did this podcast. I think that women do need to give voice feelings more. But the culture stifles this. That’s another subject.

  6. Reagan
    April 5, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    So I just want to clarify. It was said that in order for a baby to be sealed to its parents it has to have taken a breath outside the womb. So does this mean that the current policy of the church is that if a woman who is a convert had any miscarriages or stillborn children before joining the church, she isn’t allowed to go to the temple to be sealed to that baby? She can only go to the temple and have it sealed to her and her husband of the baby actually took a breath outside the womb?

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