Yes & No. There are the three Gospel Topics essays on LDS.org that deal with the topic of polygamy. It probably won’t surprise you that Brian Hales played a significant role in this. However, there are two other authors who played a very significant role in the other two essays! Who are these women?
That was the first thing that was asked of me on the topic of polyandry. Then I just sent them some general stuff, and I don’t know how many iterations it went through there. Again I was excited to contribute to that. I only looked at the Nauvoo material. I know they had Kathryn Daines help out, and Kathleen Flake I think also are the other two that did the input on plural marriage. I hope they don’t mind me saying that but they wanted outsiders to critique it. If there were problems, they wanted to know about them before they published it.
Are you surprised who wrote these other essays?
I also asked Brian if he ward members know about his expertise on polygamy?
You know most of them don’t know. We were at a ward party one time and we were sitting by some younger couples that I didn’t know because they had just split our ward, or rearranged the ward boundaries and there was a young gal sitting right across from me and she was, “Wait, you’re Brian Hales!”
Does he talk to people about polygamy?
Some of them come with faith and we can give answers, and then they go away happier. I mean it isn’t an easy click your fingers, I’m doing better thing. But we always tell people, just keep learning. Be transparent. Learn everything. Don’t give up until you’ve learned. You don’t have to give up faith today. Find out what’s going on. You can read the anti’s but read the answers. Read the responses.
Other times when Laura and I meet with people, it’s just I think a box that they have to check as they’re on their way out of the church. “Oh yeah I met with the Hales. They didn’t help.” So they’ve kind of already given up their faith.
The only thing I would say is if you’ve got questions, dive in. I believe there’s somebody in the church who knows more about it than the person who wrote whatever you’re reading on the internet and they still believe. With respect to plural marriage, we certainly have read a lot. It strengthened my belief in Joseph. It didn’t make me like polygamy. I don’t. I never want to do it, but my belief in him as a true prophet has just been strengthened.
Is he working on any other projects?
The thing that I would add as a response to your question, Rick, is that I’ve never been really been comfortable with the naturalist’s explanation of the text of the Book of Mormon. If you can see up here, maybe you can’t but there’s all these versions of the Book of Mormon up here, the different printings year by year and if you look at the naturalist view, it’s just that Joseph got up one day and started to dictate this text, the 116 pages. Then there’s a pause and we go to Oliver Cowdery shows up and then over a period of just a few weeks, he dictates 273,725 words by my count of the Book of Mormon text; that’s the 1830 version.
I’ve just never been comfortable that Joseph could have dictated that and so I’ve been investigating the different theories about that. I’ve written an article I hope to have published. In this article, what I did is I compared Joseph to other 24 year old or younger authors who wrote big books and I compared their education. I compared their word counts and the complexity of their books. When you line them all up, 24 years and older—Joseph was 23 when he dictated it but it was published a year later when he was 24. I have to use the publishing dates of these other books because they are obviously written before. The biggest book written by anybody 24 or younger is about 180,000. Joseph’s book is almost 50% longer.
Look for Brian’s future essays on the topic of the Book of Mormon! (Don’t forget to listen to our other conversations, from Canadian polygamy, to polyandry, to teen brides, to monogamy, to Fanny Alger, to justifications for polygamy!)
Check out our conversation! There’s a video below and a transcript!
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