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Interesting Defenses of Polygamy (Part 4 of 6)

A non-Mormon man wondered if he might be able to participate in polygamy.  Helen Mar Kimball wrote a scathing response to this man while offering a strong defense of polygamy.   Dr. Larry Foster discusses this interesting defense of polygamy.

Larry:  There was a very interesting defense of polygamy by one of Joseph Smith’s plural wives, Helen Marr Kimball, who then became married to Whitney– Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, later, but I forget which Whitney she was married to, but she was briefly a plural wife of Joseph Smith. She wrote a defense of why we practice plural marriage. She starts with a very interesting story about a man who had written her. He described a very complicated situation in which he was unable to have sex with his wife.  He loved her. He was taking care of her, but it was impossible to have sex with his wife, and he wondered if he were to become a Mormon, if it’d be acceptable for him to have another wife. She wrote back to him, chastising him and saying, “This is terrible. You’re awful.” I guess he was living in this type of relationship and he wanted to see if it could be regularized as a Mormon. And she said, “This is terrible, your great sin,” and so forth. But if it had been under the authority of the Mormon Church, it would have been okay. This is very interesting to me. She was a very thoughtful writer. She appreciated the problem that he was in, but she really gave him an earful about how he really needed to repent.

GT:  It wasn’t under proper authority.

Larry:  It wasn’t under proper authority, and I don’t think she ever got to the question of what would happen if he joined and tried to do it?

We will also discuss Brian Hales‘ three-volume work on polygamy (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3).

Larry:  Brian Hales, he’s done great work by giving us a 3-volume, 1600-page collection with accurate transcripts of virtually all the stuff that relates to polygamy, pro, anti, but he interprets it wrong, ahistorically.  I think his major goal is to actually argue that none of these women that were sealed to Joseph Smith, who were married to other men actually had sex with him in this life, that they were only sealed for eternity and did not have sex with him in this life.  I think this has been almost definitively disproven by Michael Quinn.  Michael Quinn is one of the most knowledgeable and most reliable, I think, historians of all aspects of Mormonism, especially 19th century Mormonism.  He’s done a lot on the 20th century as well.

GT:  Let me jump in there, because, and I’ll be a Brian Hales defender for just a moment, because I do know that he’s done at least two DNA studies with Dr. Ugo Perego.

Larry:  Right, but this is about possible children by some of these women.

GT:  But I know that Sylvia Sessions Lyon was one case, and he’s since changed his opinion since he wrote those books, but he was arguing with Sylvia Sessions that she was married to Brother Lyon, I can’t remember his first name–it was consecutive marriages.

Larry:  It doesn’t hold up.  If you look at the detail, and that’s what Michael Quinn has done, but here’s the thing about that particular case. In that particular case, she’s told her daughter.

GT:  Josephine Lyon.

Larry:  Josephine Lyon, just before she died, she said, “I wanted you to know this, I have kept this from you all these years, but you’re really Joseph Smith’s progeny.”

GT:  Yeah.

Larry:  Well, then we did the DNA testing and it showed that she wasn’t.

GT:  Right, she was a daughter of Brother Lyon.

Larry:  Listen to this. What does the fact that she told her daughter that she was Joseph Smith’s progeny mean? She then knew that she had had sex with Joseph Smith, even if that particular example of the sex didn’t produce progeny from him. It was exceedingly controversial to have children in Nauvoo from 1841 to 1844 as a polygamist.  It was illegal. It would have been totally disapproved up by most Mormons who were taught to have to be strictly monogamous and thought that was heinously sinful to have more than one marital partner, or relationship of any sort, outside of marriage. So, any children that would have been born, would have been covered up. I know we have some examples of how that happened.

Check out our conversation….

Helen Mar Kimball wrote a very interesting defense of Mormon polygamy.

 

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Critiquing Book of Abraham Apologetics (Part 9 of 9)

Historian Dan Vogel will conclude his discussion on the Book of Abraham.  He will tell why he thinks some apologetic arguments about the Book of Abraham just aren’t valid.

Dan: [Hugh] Nibley tried to say, and the current apologists repeat it, that, “Oh, these characters in the column is just an exotic way of organizing all three documents, so that they know where to go to each paragraph, that’s the same.” The problem with that is that they really don’t begin each paragraph. They begin each part of the translation.

When you look really close, it’s not a paragraph where each character appears. Sometimes the paragraphs are split right in the middle of a sentence and another character, or there’s a fragment of a sentence, just about five words to a character. So they’re dividing the text up to line up with the characters. They’re not arbitrarily put in there for decoration or an exotic way of organizing the paragraphs. It’s very obvious. At the top of the third translation of the Book of Abraham, the one that has three verses in the handwriting of W. W. Phelps. At the top says, “Translation of records have been found in the catacombs of Egypt.” And in the other column “character.” Then Phelps takes the first character and numbers it one, the second character he numbers it two. Then over here he underlines, Chaldea one. Abraham two.

Then there’s a third character he wrote, which is a real elaborate one that is dissected in the alphabet. But it doesn’t number it, because it has a lot of parts. The other two just have one part. This one has a lot of parts. You read all over the place trying to match it up. But the translation next to it, if you look in the grammar, and you find that character, that’s the translation given that character.

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Historian Dan Vogel critiques various apologetic arguments on the Book of Abraham.

Check out our other conversations!

294: Lost Book of Abraham?

293: How We Got Book of Abraham

292: First Vision Conflicts

291: 1835 Account of First Vision

290: Making a Case for Melchizedek Priesthood in 1831?

289: Methodist Visions

288: Why “Pious Fraud” Ticks off Everyone

287: Dan Vogel Was a McConkie Mormon!

 

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Lost Book of Abraham? (Part 8 of 9)

The papyrus fragments believed to contain the Book of Abraham were lost for decades in the Great Chicago Fire.  What happened to them?  Are some still lost?  Historian Dan Vogel will answer these questions.

GT: So I guess in a nutshell, the Hugh Nibley line of reasoning is we’ve got these Kirtland Egyptian papers. They don’t match. The translation is incorrect from what we have. We lost it in the Great Chicago Fire. But there was something that was lost, which I guess, could we assume that that’s the book of Joseph that was lost in Chicago?

Dan:  No, we have the book of Joseph, which is the Ta-Sherit-Min papyrus, which is part of the ones that are chopped up onto the thick paper that we have.

GT  Those are the Joseph scrolls?

Dan   That was identified as Joseph.  In December of 1835, Oliver Cowdery, in the Messenger and Advocate described that papyrus including the Pillar of Enoch; also, the three in one God. There’s a little drawing of three figures.

So we lost the part that was intact, the two feet.  We have one foot of the beginning part, facsimile one, and the next one, and then another fragment. Then there was two more feet, probably, that were missing, that included facsimile three. And the reason why we know that is because when Emma sold the papyri to Combs, and then Combs sold part of it to the St. Louis Museum, there was an Egyptologist there. I’m not remembering his name right off. But he gave a description of the papyri for the museum’s catalog. And in there he mentioned facsimile three.

GT:   So, have we lost anything, then?

Dan:  The name Osiris was on it, because the name Osiris is on this.

GT:  So that’s the only piece that we lost?

Dan:  Or that we know of; that we can exactly say. We don’t know.

GT:  But, we have essentially, what Joseph said was the entire Book of Abraham, the entire Book of Joseph. We have those that we can still look at today. But those are really the Hor scroll and the Book of Breathing scroll. Is that correct?

Dan:  Right. So, we don’t have the Amenhotep fragments. They could have been there. Facsimile two, the hypoocephalus, the round one was already pretty damaged, because they made a drawing of it and there’s parts missing, and Joseph Smith had Headlock fill in the missing part to make it look nice and neat. I don’t think he’s being tricky. I just think they’re just too fussy about it looking good. But, so those could have been among the ones that were burned, or they could have just totally fragmented and that’s why they had them copy parts into these books.

Check out our conversation….

What was lost in the Great Chicago Fire? Dan Vogel tells us.

Don’t miss out other conversations with Dan!

293: How We Got Book of Abraham

292: First Vision Conflicts

291: 1835 Account of First Vision

290: Making a Case for Melchizedek Priesthood in 1831?

289: Methodist Visions

288: Why “Pious Fraud” Ticks off Everyone

287: Dan Vogel Was a McConkie Mormon!