Posted on

How 132 Would Affect Future Revelations on Women & Gays

With General Conference coming up this weekend, Dr. Bill Smith and I speculate on some possible future revelations coming up!  Would Official Declaration 3 deal with Gays?

GT:  You mentioned a couple of things that were very interesting to me, especially in light of the Family Proclamation.  D&C 132 is kind of the foundation for forever families.  But you mentioned singles and you also mentioned gays.  How do those relate to section 132?

Bill:  Well I think that section 132 is by evidence, at least by internal evidence, it’s very much in the vein of thinking of sex as being in terms of heterosexual sex, of course not necessarily one-man and one-woman sex, but one-man, multiple-women.  So, I think that’s the point of the revelation.  It doesn’t really speak to the possibility of gay marriage.  It doesn’t open that possibility at all.  Whether that can be addressed in some other way, I don’t know, but the revelation, that’s not on anybody’s mind.

GT:  Right.  So, do you see that as being a possibility of a future revelation?

Bill:  Anything is possible.  I don’t know.  Whether people would feel that there is dissonance with section 132 and any further revelation that expanded some kind of approval of gay relationships, gay marriage, I don’t know.  That’s for another generation, I am guessing.  But yes, that might be something that would be addressed.  I don’t know.

Of course we do this in relation to Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants, which is one of Mormonism’s most important revelations:  The New & Everlasting Covenant of marriage.  Is there room in this revelation to accommodate gay marriage?  In our next episode, Dr. Bill Smith will answer that question, and discuss how it might impact future revelations dealing with not only gays, but women as well.

Bill:  Well there’s something of equal probability I think is that we have an official declaration that says that women can be ordained.

GT:  Would that be more likely?

Bill:  Boy I don’t really know.  I think yes, it probably fits better with the current paradigm than say gay marriage would be, recognizing gay marriage.


GT:  Do you see 132 being compatible with say female ordination?

Bill:  Yeah, the polygamy parts seem to partake of the typical sort of patriarchal kinds of views of the 19th century, the 18th century and back.  In terms of incompatibilities, that’s where that would lie.  In terms of ordination practices, those kinds of things, I don’t see an incompatibility there, structure.  I mean it would be easy to enfold women into priesthood structures if that was to take place.  I don’t see a problem there.  I don’t think it would be possible to stop that because you had the same kinds of issues with blacks and the priesthood when the ‘78 change was announced.  They were very clear that this meant that there weren’t any restrictions on their participation in any way.

Is this Official Declaration 4?  Check out our conversation…..

Here are some others episodes you may be interested in.

093: Greg Prince on History of LDS Policy Toward Gays

092:  How to Polygamists Feel about Gay Marriage? (Wilde)

048: What are the Theological Justifications of Polygamy? (Hales)

044: Does D&C 132 Conflict with Genesis? (Hales)

012: Kirtland Era Polygamy (Staker)


Posted on

Critiquing the Gospel Topics Essays

Between 2013-2015, the LDS Church published a series of essays dealing with sensitive topics in the LDS Church.  They are known as the Gospel Topics Essays.  Dr. Newell Bringhurst and Dr. Matt Harris have produced an anthology that will be released later this summer critiquing these Gospel Topics Essays.  In our final conversation, Dr. Newell Bringhurst will tell us more about the work that he’s been putting together on these essays.

Newell:  We go through all 13 Gospel Topics Essays.  It’s composed of 13 chapters.  I probably should pull out my notes so I can remember the name of all the contributors.  We start with the Book of Mormon and look at the historicity of the Book of Mormon, critiquing that essay, critiquing the essay on DNA and the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and of course the different accounts.  We critique the essay that was written on the various accounts of the First Vision, the historicity and authenticity of the Book of Abraham which is another very controversial topic.

We look at peace and violence along the Mormon frontier.  John Turner who did the biography on Brigham Young did the essay on that for us.  He is kind of a marquis figure.  He really did an outstanding job in looking at the whole issue of violence and how it involved the saints.  Although I think one of the strongest essays in there is Gary Bergera who presented at [Sunstone.]  He presented on Joseph Smith and his involvement with polygamy.  Of course, he has a much different spin on whether Joseph had sex with those other women.  {chuckles}

We’ll talk about the other authors as well!  Check out our conversation, and don’t forget to hear our other episodes on polygamy, blacks, and women in religion!  (A transcript of the entire interview will be available soon!)

Posted on

Role of Women in 4 American Religions

March is Women’s History Month.  Two of Four religions founded in America were founded by Women.  In this episode, Dr. Newell Bringhurst will discuss how women have shaped these religions.


Newell:  One of is a comparative study comparing what I call the big four American original religions:  the Mormons, the Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Scientists in terms of their attitudes towards race, ethnicity, and their attitudes towards the place of women.  I actually have one article that was published in the John Whitmer Journal a number of years ago where I draw comparisons between Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and Brigham Young and how they dealt with the issues of slavery.  I’d like to pursue that by looking at the personalities.

I call those religions four American originals because they were all founded by Americans and they were unique to America.  They dealt with the issues in very different ways.  The Seventh-day Adventists was founded by Ellen G. White, they had a very enlightened anti-slavery, somewhat pro-black attitude.  Whereas the Mormons of course kind of moved in the opposite direction, especially under Brigham Young.  Then you’ve got the Jehovah’s Witnesses who were much more accepting of blacks although they came after the Civil War.  They weren’t founded until after the Civil War by Charles T. Russell.

Then you’ve got Mary Baker Eddy.  She was quite anti-slavery even though she lived in the south.  She’s kind of an interesting figure.  It also gets into the issues of gender because you’ve got two of the religions that are actually founded by women:  the Seventh-day Adventists by Ellen G. White, and of course Mary Baker Eddy and so you have the issue of the role of women and gender.

Whereas Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were much more Patriarchal.  Women are not given ministerial positions in either denomination.  So, I’d like to pursue that by looking at the leaders.  As I say I’ve done some preliminary research.  I actually spent some time many years ago, a little bit of time in the Christian Science archives in Boston, Massachusetts.  That’s where the headquarters of the mother church is.

I’ll also ask Newell what projects he’s working on.

Newell:  As you’re well aware, I’m finishing up the Gospel Topics essay anthology with Matt Harris.  We’ve got all the essays in there.  We’re just trying to finally smooth out the introduction.  That’s the only thing we’ve got left.

Beyond that, as I said I’m working with Greg Kofford on the two reprints or reissues of Saints, Slaves, and Blacks[1] and the Fawn Brodie biography.  I’m also interested in a couple of local history projects.  I’ve done a little bit with local history down in Visalia where we live.  I’ve worked with a local historic preservation group in doing a history of our local Fox Theater…One other project I’ve done with local history, I did a history of the Ku Klux Klan in Tulare County.  You wouldn’t think that there would be Ku Klux Klan in California but we live in a very conservative area and the Ku Klux Klan wielded some influence in our area during the 1920s and 1930s and I did some major research there so that kind of got my feet wet for local history.

Check out our conversation…..

Joseph Smith (Mormons), Charles Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Ellen White (Seventh-day Adventists), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Scientists)






















[1] It comes out April 10, 2018.  See for more info.