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John C Bennett made polygamy allegations in Nauvoo. Some are spurious, some are not.

John C Bennett & Nauvoo-Era Polygamy (Clair Barrus 2 of 4)

John C Bennett made allegations of non-ceremonial spiritual wifery. Did that happen? Was there a revelation for Joseph Smith to marry Fanny Alger? Does the 1835 Declaration on Marriage reference polygamy? We’ll talk about the early scandals in Nauvoo. Check...

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Past Episodes

Cheryl Bruno is editor of "Secret Covenants: New Insights into Mormon Polygamy"

Secret Covenants?! (Cheryl Bruno)

Cheryl Bruno is the editor of “Secret Covenants: New Insights into Early Mormon Polygamy.” She has come up with some surprises to the polygamy narrative

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GT Live! MHA Recap 2024

We’ll recap the MHA 2024 Conference with the best historians on the planet from Kirtland, Ohio! Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 42:48

Rick goes inside temple of Christ's Church in Nevada and Utah!

GT Trips #2: Look Inside Temple!

Here is our 2nd Gospel Tangents Road Trip! We’re visiting 2 temples and even get to go inside temple with our camera! Dan & Ann

Our 2nd chance to put Kurt Francom on the hot seat!

*Hot Seat 2: Kurt Francom (4 of 4)

It’s always fun to put Kurt Francom on the hot seat. What does he think about girls passing the sacrament like boys? Is Christian Nationalism

In this 2018 interview, Steve Mayfield discusses Mormon and crime, both good and bad.

Mormons and Crime (Steve Mayfield)

We’re going to be discussing Mormons and crime. Steve Mayfield passed away on March 30, 2024. This interview is from 2018 where we discussed his

What's the role of grace in atonement of Christ? Dr Diedre Green & Dr Eric Huntsman will weigh in.

Role of Grace in Atonement

What’s the role of grace in atonement of Christ? Dr Diedre Green & Dr Eric Huntsman will weigh in. Check out our conversation… Don’t miss

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Livestream: Nauvoo Q&A

Rick Bennett discusses the Q&A given by Community of Christ leaders earlier this week and shares photos from some of the properties in Nauvoo sold

David Boice discusses takeaways from visiting 104 churches and new ideas he has..

Takeaways from 104 Churches

What takeaways does David Boice have from attending more than 104 churches? The author and host of 52 Churches in 52 Weeks will tell us,

Was Alma an unreliable narrator?

Is Alma Unreliable Narrator?

Some scholars have claimed that people like Nephi are unreliable narrators. That is Nephi makes himself look better than he probably was. Dr Michael Austin

Dave Butler (aka D John Butler) has written 2 amazing books on temple theology in the Book of Mormon.

Meet Dave Butler

Dave Butler has written 2 books that deal with temple theology in the Book of Mormon: “Plain & Precious Things” and “The Goodness & the

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I didn’t get my Christmas cards out this year, so here is my video Christmas card! Merry Christmas! #merrychristmas everyone! Podcast: Play in new window

I passed my class! Please help support Gospel Tangents and subscribe to the podcast!

I’m Back! (Please Subscribe!)

I passed my class! Please help support Gospel Tangents and subscribe to the podcast! Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:00 — 1.0MB)

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I Need a Break!

I’m getting a little overwhelmed right now, and I need a break. I’ve started a new MBA program and I have a hard deadline to

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Is LDS Art Getting Better? (Part 6 of 6)

Dr’s Richard and Claudia Bushman’s latest project involves promoting LDS artists.  I asked about how they got involved, and whether LDS art is getting more

Dr Matthew Bowman discusses Mormon Bigfoot.

Mormon Bigfoot (Matt Bowman 1 of 5)

Dr Matthew Bowman is the chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He’s probably best known for his writings about Mormon Bigfoot. We’ll discuss

Matthew Gill says he was ordained by Joseph Smith as well as other angels to become prophet.

Ordained by Joseph Smith (Part 7 of 7)

When Matthew Gill was called as prophet of the Restored Branch of Jesus Christ, he claims that Joseph Smith returned to ordain him prophet. Ordained

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Attempt on Gov Boggs Life

Following the Mormon expulsion from Missouri, someone made an attempt on Missouri Gov Boggs’ life.  Most people think it was Porter Rockwell. What does historian

Michael Quinn: The Full Interview

As we conclude the month of September, I wanted to conclude with the full interview of Dr. Michael Quinn. He passed away unexpectedly April 21,

Lynne Whitesides was the first person disciplined in the Sept Six.

First of the Sept Six: Lynne Whitesides

Lynne Whitesides was the first person punished in the September Six. She shares her story of why she wasn’t excommunicated, who was involved, and where

Paul Toscano looks back 30 years at being part of the Sept Six.

30 Years Later: The Sept Six (1 of 2)

Here’s a throwback episode with Paul Toscano. I thought it would be great to re-visit our previous interview from January 9, 2023 since we discusses

U of Penn professor Sally Gordon explains Black & Indian slavery in Utah.

Black & Indian Slavery in Utah

The Act in Relation to Service legalized slavery in Utah in 1852. Dr. Sally Gordon tells more about how the statute affected both Black &

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Internet Temple Worship (Part 4 of 4)

Have you ever wanted to do internet temple worship? It turns out David & Kristine Ferriman of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship

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Get Peer Reviewed! (Part 10 of 10)

Polygamy skeptics complain that their work isn’t taken seriously.  I’m going to issue a challenge to them to get peer reviewed.  We’ll also talk about

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Civil War Prophecy Downplayed?

The Civil War Prophecy & Baptism for the Dead are 2 of Joseph Smith’s most famous revelations. While important to the LDS, the Community of

Dr Dan McClellan was not a monotheist.

Was Abraham a Monotheist?

Dr Dan McClellan is an Old Testament TikTok star! Was Abraham a monotheist? We’re going to take a deep dive into the Bible, and find

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Tour of Independence (Rick Bennett)

Rick Bennett went on a walking tour of Independence, MO with Matthew Turner. They found 14 Mormon historical markers ranging from the first landowner in

Bonus Episode! Winner Announced!

Greg Louder is our winner of “The Burning Book!” Plus I have a few announcements about upcoming guests and me speaking in April! Podcast: Play

Vickie Speek tells about Famous Strangites, like Martin Harris!

Famous Strangites (Vickie Speek 2 of 4)

Vickie Speek continues our conversation about James Strang, an early rival to Brigham Young. Strang gained some famous Strangites to his movement. He was successful

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Succession Crisis (John Hamer 1 of 2)

Following the death of Joseph Smith, a succession crisis enveloped the Church. Several vied for leadership. While most people recognize Brigham Young and Joseph Smith

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Annotated Book of Mormon

Have you ever wanted to get more resources for the Book of Mormon? David Hocking has put together an amazing resource, the Annotated Book of

Mike Stahlman is putting together Lehi's ship!

Restoring Lehi’s Ship (Mike Stahlman)

Originally scheduled for a museum in England, the COVID pandemic changed things. Ship Captain Phillip Beale had the Phoenicia ship cut into pieces. Half of

Mike & Betty LaFontaine helped purchase a replica of Lehi's Ship called the Phonecia.

Buying Lehi’s Ship (Mike & Betty LaFontaine)

We’re continuing our discussion about the Phoenicia Ship. Heartlanders think Lehi’s ship was built similarly. Mike & Betty LaFontaine were instrumental in purchasing the ship

Dr John Lefgren says First Vision occurred March 26, 1820.

John Lefgren on First Vision

When did the First Vision take place? Dr John Lefgren and Dr John Pratt worked together to come up with a date: March 26, 1820.

Dr Paul Reeve is head of Mormon Studies at University of Utah

Paul Reeve Discusses the Race Ban

Here’s another classic from the archives. This is the first time we’ve released the entire interview of Dr. Paul Reeve. The interview occurred back in

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Mormon Violence & Peace (Patrick Mason)

Patrick Mason holds the Leonard Arrington Chair in Mormon Studies at Utah State University.  He’s written a couple of books on Mormon violence & peace.

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Christ’s Role Reversal (Part 3 of 6)

The scriptures concerning God the Father and Jesus Christ are quite confusing. Even protestant explanations of the trinity are confusing. Paul Toscano notes the Book

Steve LeSueur tells about formation on Danites in Missouri.

Vigilantes & Danites? (Part 3 of 9)

Following the Kirtland Bank failure in Ohio, Joseph Smith fled Kirtland and came to Missouri. Then things started to fall apart there as well.  Historian

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Exponent II

Dr. Claudia Bushman helped re-start a Mormon women’s publication called Exponent II. She was the first editor of Exponent II. She will talk about how

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Twin Relics of Barbarism (Part 1 of 7)

The Republican Party platform of 1856 was founded to eradicate the “twin relics of barbarism: slavery & polygamy.”  Why would they link the two together? 

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David’s Angelic Ordination (Part 3 of 4)

We’re going to learn more about David’s angelic ordination in our next conversation with David & Kristine Ferriman, co-presidents of CJCCF. We’ll learn more about

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The Final Battle (Part 7 of 11)

The Book of Mormon ends with a great battle with millions killed near a hill called Cumorah. Yet no bones were found near the Hill

Founding the House of Aaron (Part 1 of 5)

I’m excited to introduce you to the House of Aaron, located on the Utah-Nevada border that practices the Law of Consecration, and celebrates many Jewish

Mormon History Groups (Part 5 of 6)

Richie Steadman of The Cultural Hall Podcast asked me more about some Mormon history groups. We’ll talk not just about some old Mormon groups, but

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BoM: Malay, Baja, New York (Part 2 of 6)

We’re continuing our series on Book of Mormon geography theories.  This time we’ll hit Malay, Baja, and New York geography theories. GT:  The next theory

Three Churches of Mormonism (Part 8 of 9)

The late Dr. John Pratt says there are 3 churches of Mormonism. He’ll talk about the purpose that each church fulfills. John:  The restoration branches.

*Comparing Mormons & Pentecostals (Part 8 of 8)

Dr. Christopher Thomas of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary discusses similarities and differences with Mormon Culture. We also learn about the structure of the various Pentecostal

Wordprint Studies (Part 5 of 6)

Wordprint or stylometry studies try to identify the author of a text. Studies have tried to prove ancient as well as modern authorship. What does

Danites in Missouri (Part 5 of 8 )

The Danites were a Mormon vigilante group who tried to fight back against Missouri mobocracy.  Were they good guys or bad guys?  W.W. Phelps &

Mormon-Missouri War of 1838 (Part 4 of 8 )

The years 1836-1838 were some of the most tumultuous in Church history.  Events included the Kirtland Banking Crisis, the Fanny Alger affair, excommunication of high

Jailed Before Joined (Part 1 of 8)

W.W. Phelps is one of the best known leaders in early Mormon history that wasn’t an apostle.  Dr. Bruce Van Orden is the author of

Priests or Priestesses? (Part 6 of 9)

Given the mixed-gender makeup of the Quorum of the Anointed, if LDS women were granted priesthood office, would they be priests or priestesses?  Should they

Keys of the Priesthood (Part 4 of 9)

The Gospel Topics essay on women and priesthood references a 2014 talk by Elder Dallin Oaks.  Dr. Jonathan Stapley said this talk was groundbreaking by

When Joseph Met Lucy (Part 2 of 5)

Dating in the late 1700s wasn’t quite the same as today.  In our next conversation with Dr. Mark Staker, author of “Joseph & Lucy Smith’s

*The Chicago Experiment (Part 9 of 9)

What is the Chicago Experiment?  Back in the 1930s, LDS Church leaders sent employees to be trained in theology.  They came across some sticky theology

Future of Church History

Historians don’t usually talk about the future, because they are historians!  In our next episode with Dr. Casey Griffiths, he will talk about what he

CSI: Carthage Jail (Part 4 of 9)

Not many people know that Joseph Smith not only had a pistol in the Carthage Jail.  Did you know he fired at the mob?  Some

Mormon Interfaith Council (Part 1 of 9)

It seems like most lay members of the Church don’t hear much about the LDS Church working on interfaith councils.  Fewer know about Mormon schismatic

Malay Theory of Book of Mormon

Hey everyone, I’m working on a presentation on the various Book of Mormon geography theories, and will be presenting on May 10, 2021 at 7

Were Revivals in Palmyra in 1820?

Dr. Wesley Walters was one of the first people to question Joseph’s Smith’s account of the First Vision, saying there were no reports of revivals

*Apology to Dorie (Part 13 of 13)

There are many people who wondered how Mark Hofmann hid his secret life of forgeries from his own wife Dorie.  Brent Ashworth was among those. 

Emily Dickinson Forgery (Part 12 of 13)

The Emily Dickinson forgery was briefly touched on in the Netflix documentary.  It turns out that Brent Ashworth played a critical role in identifying that

Hofmann’s Court Mistake (Part 11 of 13)

Brent Ashworth tells about his testimony at the preliminary hearing to decide whether Mark Hofmann should be bound over for trial.  Was it effective testimony? 

Bonus: Ask Me Anything March 26

Now is your chance!  I will be available on Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) starting at 10 am on March 26, 2021.  Sign

Lucy Mack Smith Forgery (Part 4 of 13)

Brent Ashworth purchased a faith promoting letter from Mark Hofmann and then toured the state of Utah bearing testimony about this wonderful letter.  Problem was,

Black Lives Matter (Part 7 of 7)

If you think racism is no longer a problem, think again.  In our final conversation with Joseph Freeman, he outlines continued problems he has personally

Enduring Systemic Racism (Part 6 of 7)

While Joseph Freeman was the first person to break through the racial priesthood barrier in the LDS Church, he has experienced a lot of racism

Instant Celebrity (Part 4 of 7)

Following his ordination in June 1978, Joseph Freeman became an instant celebrity.  He was asked to be interviewed on prominent news networks and was a

Joseph’s Baptism (Part 3 of 7)

What does it feel like to be an adult convert to the LDS Church?  Joseph Freeman describes those vivid feelings as he rose up out

Meeting Mormons at PCC (Part 2 of 7)

Joseph Freeman was a Holiness preacher when the U.S. Army stationed him in Hawaii.  He made what turned out to be a life-changing decision to

Holiness Preacher Joins Army (Part 1 of 7)

February is #BlackHistoryMonth, and I’m excited to kick of the month with a race-barrier breaker!  Joseph Freeman was the first black man ordained following the

Getting to Know Darren Parry (Part 1 of 9)

I’m excited to have my first congressional candidate on the show, Darren Parry. We’ll talk about Darren’s unsuccessful bid to become congressman in Utah’s 1st

Church History Library (Part 5 of 5)

The Church History Library is one of the most state-of-the-art libraries in the world.  Historian Richard Turley shepherded the construction of the new building, where

Saints (Part 4 of 5)

It’s been about 100 years since the LDS Church published a history of the Church.  Richard Turley thought it was about time to update it

Hired After Hofmann (Part 1 of 5)

Richard Turley retired in 2020 after working in various roles for the LDS Church.  This will be a special treat, because I’m turning the microphone

How Americas were Populated (Part 8 of 8)

We’re concluding our conversation with Dr. Thomas Murphy.  Last time we talked about why modern Egyptians don’t match current Egyptians.  Dr. Murphy says a similar

Possible to Lose DNA? (Part 7 of 8)

According to the Gospel Topics essay, the reason why Middle Eastern DNA isn’t found among Native Americans is because the Nephite/Lamanite DNA was dwarfed by

Who Killed the Indians? (Part 6 of 8)

It is well-known that Europeans wiped out many Native Americans.  The Book of Mormon claims that darker skinned Lamanites killed the white-skinned Nephites.  Is it

Religious Fights over DNA (Part 2 of 8)

To say Dr. Thomas Murphy’s research about DNA and the Book of Mormon raises eyebrows among LDS Church leaders is an understatement.  Not only did

White Horse Prophecy

Many people have heard about the White Horse Prophecy, but few people understand the details.  Did you know it has been disavowed by LDS Leaders? 

Chad Daybell & Zombie Apocalypse

Chad Daybell has been in the news over the past year over the suspicious disappearance and deaths of his new wife Lori Vallow’s children and

Bo, Rowe, & Pontius: LDS Apocalypticists

We’re moving into modern day apocalypticism.  We’re going to talk about 3 main figures:  Bo Gritz, Julie Rowe, and John Pontius. Bo was former army

Apocalyptic World Wars (Part 4 of 7)

Wars bring death, and with it, apocalyptic thought.  In our next conversation with Dr. Christopher Blythe, we’ll talk about how World Wars 1 and 2

Mormon History of Apocalypse (Part 2 of 7)

Apocalyptism has been important to Latter-day Saint theology and is why we’re called Latter-day Saints.  In our next conversation with Dr. Christopher Blythe, we’ll get

Maxwell Institute: A Religious Thinktank

What is the Maxwell Institute exactly?   I’m excited to introduce Dr. Christopher Blythe of the Maxwell Institute.  We’ll get acquainted with him, learn more about

Race, Priesthood, & Randy Bott (Part 6 of 7)

During Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president BYU professor Randy Bott made headlines in a Washington Post article discussing racial teachings.  It turns out that

*Bear River Massacre (Part 9 of 9)

The Mountain Meadows Massacre killed around 100 immigrants from Arkansas in the Utah Territory.  But did you know that a massacre of 2-3 times more

Kingdom of the West (Part 8 of 9)

Historian Will Bagley has contributed to several volumes of western History called Kingdom of the West.  He’ll introduce us to the set. Will:  Let me

Trials of Lee/Forgery

John D. Lee was convicted in the second trial for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  Will describes what he believes was a deal

MMM Cover Up

It took 18 years to start the first trial of John D. Lee for the atrocities at Mountain Meadows.  Why did it take so long? 

Bagley Critiques Turley (Part 4 of 9)

Following Will Bagley’s 2002 release of Blood of the Prophets, Richard Turley published Massacre at Mountain Meadows in 2008, as well as some collected legal

Ascension of Brigham Young (Part 5 of 7)

Denver Snuffer will tell us about how the Law of Adoption affected Brigham Young’s plan for succeeding Joseph Smith.  We’ll focus more on the sealing

Is Gay Contagious? (Part 4 of 4)

In our next conversation, we’ll talk about whether homosexuality, and heterosexuality, are contagious.  Is it possible to change one’s sexual attraction?  Dr. Taylor Petrey will

Exodus & Israelite Polytheism (Part 3 of 7)

Ancient Israelites believed in a pantheon of gods.  They weren’t monotheistic.  In our next conversation with biblical scholar Colby Townsend, we’ll learn more about the

Dating Old Testament (Part 2 of 7)

A lot of us have heard of biblical terms like Pentateuch, Torah, textual criticism, documentary hypothesis, but we probably don’t understand what they clearly mean. 

Theo-Democracy in Deseret (Part 6 of 8)

Following Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young tried to implement theo-democracy in the Territory of Deseret, which is now known as Utah.  In our next conversation

Electioneer Missionaries (Part 3 of 8)

More than 600 men and women were called to be electioneer missionaries on behalf of Joseph Smith’s campaign for president. It was the largest missionary

Rick on Hot Seat (Part 5 of 5)

There are many good and bad things in Mormon history.  Some people leave the Church over these issues.  John Larsen of the Sunstone Podcast puts

Intro to Gospel Tangents (Part 1 of 5)

John Larsen of the Sunstone podcast sat down in August 2019 to learn more about Rick Bennett of the Gospel Tangents podcast. John:  Gospel Tangents

Reconciling Joseph’s Magic & Masonry

There are some active Latter-day Saints who may be surprised to learn about Joseph Smith’s beliefs in magic as well as the connections between freemasonry

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Joseph’s Magical Masonry (Part 6 of 7)

Many people in the 19th century believed in magic.  We’re not talking parlor tricks.  We’re talking about real magic.  In our next conversation with Clair

Strang’s Mormon Missions (Part 2 of 6)

Following James Strang’s prophetic call, he sought to gather people to his movement.  Strang’s Mormon missions included trips to Kirtland, Ohio, home of the temple,

2nd Manifesto Polygamy (Part 5 of 8)

Since the 1890 Manifesto didn’t totally end polygamy, the LDS Church issued a 2nd Manifesto.  It turns out that still didn’t end the secret practice

Intro to Christ’s Church (Part 1 of 8)

I’m excited to introduce David Patrick and Benjamin Shaffer.  David is an apostle and Ben is a Seventy in Christ’s Church based in southern Utah. 

* Temple Lot Worship Services (Part 7 of 7)

In our final conversation with historian Jean Addams, we will talk about similarities and differences between LDS and Church of Christ (Temple Lot) worship services.

3 Church Reconciliation? (Part 6 of 7)

The Church of Christ based in Independence, Missouri has made several attempts to reconcile with other restoration churches.  We will talk about one breach with

Dispute Over the Temple Lot (Part 2 of 7)

Following Granville Hedrick’s return to Missouri, the RLDS Church eventually made their way to Independence as well.  But even though the Church of Christ had

An Excommunicated Believer (Part 3 of 8)

In September 1993, six scholars were disciplined by LDS Church leaders over their writings.  Dr. Margaret Toscano’s husband Paul was one of these, although Margaret

Critics & Apologists (Part 12 of 12)

Some people call Historian Don Bradley an apologist for his seemingly too rosy view of the Book of Mormon.  Some apologists think he is stretching

Dating Fanny Alger (Part 1 of 12)

Don Bradley is one of the funniest Mormon historians I know.  In our first conversation with Don, we’ll talk about my first memory of him,

*Impact of Protests on Apostles (Part 7 of 7)

If you’d like to check out this episode, please sign up for my newsletter.  It’s completely free.  Go to  to find out how the apostles reacted

Civil Rights Investigation at BYU

Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal government tried to put pressure on the LDS Church to quit discriminating against blacks with regards