Special Roundtable Discussion: Polygamy

In this special roundtable discussion, The Interpreter Foundation has brought together three experts on the history and practice of plural marriage within Church History.  Craig L. Foster, Brian C. Hales, and Gregory L. Smith have all published and presented widely on this topic.  They come together here to hold a panel, moderated by Andrew C. Smith, to discuss some of the more complex and potentially poorly understood aspects connected with plural marriage and its place within the LDS context.

The ninety minute discussion covers general topics related to plural marriage, including:

  • historical overview of how and why Joseph and others began its implementation
  • the historical context for marriage in the 19th century (issues of age and timing, as well as economic and historic influences)
  • the development of the institution theologically
  • a discussion of polyandry and sexuality in general within plural marriage relationships and potential offspring
  • discussion of Mormon historians treatment of such
  • and the accusations and rhetoric used against Joseph Smith and other leaders for their practice of polygamy.

The discussion ends with some practical suggestions for us in the Church today: why should we know the details of the early Church history of polygamy more than a century after the fact and how can we talk about this polygamous history better in the Church.

This roundtable is also available as an audio podcast, and will be included in the podcast feed. You can listen by pressing the play button or download the podcast below:

Additional resources and links on polygamy and plural marriage can be found below:

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