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Bringhurst’s Approach to Controversy

We’re continuing our discussions with Dr. Newell Bringhurst.  We’ve talked about the controversial topics of blacks and the priesthood, as well as Fawn Brodie, and we’re going to continue to talk about controversial topics with Dr. Bringhurst.  What is Bringhurst’s Approach to Controversy?  We’ll ask him in this episode?

GT:  Apparently you enjoy controversy.  You’ve talked about blacks and the priesthood and then you talk about polygamy.  What are your latest polygamy books that you’ve put together?

Newell:  I’ve been involved with Craig Foster, a co-author, co-editor.  The two of us together did a series of volumes.  They are anthologies, collections of essays by various contributors as kind of a trilogy.  Volume 1 is the Persistence of Polygamy:  Joseph Smith and the Origins or Mormon Polygamy.  That was initially published in 2009 and we focus on the controversial aspects of Joseph Smith and his involvement and practice of polygamy.[1]

How does Newell deal with controversial topics?  Mentions his books have many perspectives from many different authors.  For example,

Newell:  Don Bradley did an essay on Fanny Alger, arguing that Joseph’s marriage to Fanny was actually a marriage and not an affair, not a “nasty, filthy affair” as Oliver Cowdery said.  I tend to take issue with him.  I allowed him to make his case and he gave a good argument for his position.  I felt like it should be out there for people to consider.  I’ve always considered myself to be fair-minded when I look at controversial issues.  I want to make sure that people are aware of all sides of an issue.

What does he like most about the study of Mormon history?

Newell:  I think that’s one of the healthy things about the field of Mormon studies.  You can disagree and not be disagreeable and still remain friends and enjoy camaraderie with people you disagree with.  I think that’s one of the great things about the whole field of Mormon studies.

Check out our conversation…..

Dr Newell Bringhurst talk about how he deals with controversy

[1] Volume 2 was published in 2013: The Persistence of Polygamy: From Joseph Smith’s Martyrdom to the First Manifesto, 1844-1890.  See .  Volume 3 was published in 2015:  The Persistence of Polygamy, Vol. 3: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present.  See

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