Eugene England’s Worst. Arguments. Ever.

July 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 6:49 pm   Category: Uncategorized

This post is long, but I didn’t want to title a post as I did without at least trying to back it up. You don’t need to read the whole post to comment, feel free to comment on any one of the several arguments discussed.

I know, we all love Eugene England. You do and I do. Nevertheless, someone needs to point out that the arguments in his famous On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage are not good arguments, and it might as well be me that does it. Twenty years after being published this paper is still influential and gets semi-regular mention in the bloggernacle. The main point of the paper is to argue that there will be no plural marriage in the celestial kingdom. Not for Abraham, not for Brigham Young, and not for your grandpa who was sealed to a second wife after his first wife died.

I don’t have a firm opinion either way as far as this conclusion is concerned. I am not as upset about polygamy as some people are, but I’ll be perfectly happy if Eugene England is correct. My problem with the paper is that I think the arguments he presents are not good arguments. My suspicion is that the arguments frequently get a pass because there are so many people who want the conclusion to be correct that they are not as critical as they would otherwise be. Sometimes I really want a conclusion to be true too, so I know how it feels.

He has two preliminary arguments, then a list of five reasons to disbelieve in celestial polygyny. Let’s take them one by one.

Quote 1: First, we must consider the possibility that polygyny really does not violate fidelity, that if people are good enough they can have trust and sexual wholeness with more than one person. This could well have been true of our polygynous ancestors. Might it be even more likely in the celestial realms where the conditions and our capabilities will be much better than what we know now? I have found that this is the hope and assumption of many, perhaps most, Latter-day Saints who have seriously considered the possibility that they might eventually be required to live in plural marriage. (pg. 143)

England finds two serious problems with this hope.

Problem 1

First, it is based on a dangerous notion: that simply getting more of a good thing is always better—that a great love for one person is even better if extended into great love for many persons.(pg. 144)

This is an obvious (almost embarrassing) straw man. Does anyone believe that the “hope” described in quote 1 is based on the notion that “getting more of a good thing is always better”? Ummm, no. The reason people hold out the hope described is that they believe God commanded Joseph to practice polygamy which would extend into the eternities and they don’t believe the celestial kingdom will be a place of misery. Their hope is based on their faith that God is good and that when they ask for a fish he will not give them a stone.

We observe in the historical record that some plural marriages worked better than others. Some things that seemed to help were an abundance of love and a minimum of selfishness, jealousy, and envy. Since we believe the celestial kingdom is a place exemplifying these things, it is natural to suppose that polygamy could be more successful there than it is here. Couple this with the some people’s belief that polygamy will exist in the celestial kingdom and the hope described in quote 1 seems very reasonable. Clearly, they could be wrong in believing that polygamy will exist in heaven, but let’s not be silly when we analyze their thought process. They don’t get to their belief by way of the idea that “more of a good thing is always better.”

England’s argument goes on to say that although unconditional love is capable of being multiplied, romantic love is not. His evidence for this is …well… he doesn’t give any evidence. He just states this position dogmatically: “those unique and exclusive extra qualities, which give married love the greatest potential of any relationship, require the fully mutual fidelity only possible between one whole woman and one whole man” (pg. 144, emphasis mine). That is a perfectly fine opinion to hold, but he provides no argument and no evidence in support of this view. He simply states this position as a fact. (Check my work on this. Read page 144 and the first paragraph of 145 and point me to his argument.)

Problem 2

England’s second “serious problem” with the hope in quote 1 is that:

such an expectation can tempt us to love inclusively and superficially—even promiscuously—in this life” (pg. 145).

We can all agree that infidelity and promiscuity in this life are evils which must be condemned and eschewed, but does this really have any bearing on whether or not polygamy will exist in heaven? If the doctrine of consecration leads some numbskull to be too free with other people’s property, would this be an argument against consecration per se? Of course not.

The meat of his argument on this point comes when he claims that having a superficial relationship is required by the nature of polygyny. His evidence is that when polygyny was practiced in 19th century Utah, “those who lived it best …apparently found they could do so only by making the relationships more superficial—that is, less romantic, less emotionally intense and focused (pg. 146). He gives some examples and draws on quotes from those who were called to live in polygamy.

Wait a second. Weren’t we considering the possibility that things might work better in the celestial kingdom where people and circumstances are more holy and favorable? Isn’t it possible that the reason people in polygamous relationships had more superficial relationships was precisely because of the earthly limitations that won’t exist in heaven—division of time between wives, jealousy, favoritism, and so forth? Just because someone wrote in 1869 that “a successful polygamous wife must regard her husband with indifference …for love we regard as a false sentiment,” it does not necessarily follow that such an approach is actually required by the nature of polygyny.

I could point to plenty of quotes from women living in polygamy in the same time period who describe polygamy in positive terms and speak of it as a higher law which teaches them to godly virtues. England would have very legitimate reasons to discount or contextualize such statements, but those reasons usually cut both ways. I am suspicious of arguments on either side of the issue that rely on the public statements of those who lived polygamy to establish the fundamental nature of the practice.

England’s five reasons polygyny is not an eternal principle.

He closes by offering five reasons to believe polygyny is not an eternal principle.

(1) – “A requirement so central and important to our eternal salvation should be firmly grounded in the scriptures, but it is not.” (pg. 147)

I think his best point here is that there is no scriptural evidence that polygyny is required for all of those who are to be the most exalted (pg. 148). However, the lack of a scriptural requirement is not good evidence that Joseph Smith will not be married to his plural wives in heaven. D&C 132:39 clearly implies that David would have received his plural wives in the eternities if he had not sinned. England’s mentions this, but offers no reason to question this obvious reading of verse 39.

Moving on. From a historical standpoint, this complaint is quite unreasonable. We received 99% of our modern day scripture during a time when polygamy was a secret practice. It is strange, then, to come along and complain that Joseph Smith did not adequately ground polygamy in his canonized revelations. It is beyond dispute that Joseph himself believed that his plural marriages would extend into the eternities. His closest confidants were clearly taught that polygamy existed in the celestial kingdom. Thus, the fact the doctrine made it into only one canonized revelation is an extremely weak argument against the idea that there will be some amount of polygyny in the celestial kingdom.

(2) – “My second reason for questioning eternal polygyny …is that if polygyny were the highest order of marriage, surely the Lord would want us to practice it whenever and wherever we could on earth. But he does not.” (pg. 150-151)

This argument works equally well (i.e. poorly) as an argument against the law of consecration. I am already far too long, so I won’t elaborate.

(3) – “There is a general Mormon assumption that plural wives who were sealed to polygynists (or are sealed to widowers) are bound in eternal sealings that cannot be broken …But this assumption has been essentially refuted by the modern Church practice, initiated by President David O. McKay, of sometimes sealing a woman to more than one man.” (pg. 151)

This is not an argument for why polygyny is not an eternal principle (as it was advertised to be), but an argument attempting to debunk the reasoning used by believers in celestial polygamy. Even for what it is, it is not a great argument. It seems obvious to me that David O. McKay’s practice was initiated to deal with cases where we could not tell who to seal someone to because they were all dead and we couldn’t ask them. Sealing the person to both possible spouses with the belief that this would be sorted out on the other side of the veil seems like a perfectly pragmatic thing to do. Thus, I don’t see any reason to believe that the David O. McKay policy refutes the obvious implication of our policy allowing men being sealed to multiple women (but not vice versa). The two policies are more different than they are similar.

(4) – England’s fourth argument is that he does not believe the “popular rationale for polygyny” that “there are and will be more righteous women than men” (pg. 151)

Again, this is not an argument for why polygyny is not an eternal principle (as it was advertised to be). It is only a list of five arguments, c’mon. That said, I agree with him that this popular rationale is a bad one.

(5) – “My fifth reason for believing celestial marriage is not polygynous …is that it seems to me, from reflection and from talking with Mormon women, that the devaluation of women inherent in the expectation of polygyny is destructive of their sense of identity and worth now. (pg. 152)

Once again, he doesn’t give any support for this very controversial statement that the devaluation of women is inherent in polygyny. There is prima facia reason to believe that it is not inherently devaluing to women if God commanded it, so if he is trying to convince me of his position, shouldn’t there be some sort of argument in support of this statement? Further, his larger point is that if some women feel devalued by the prospect of polygyny, it must not exist in the celestial kingdom. Why don’t we just use this same argument to do away with historical polygyny? If women feel devalued by historical polygyny, it must not have happened, or God must not have commanded it. This is a non-sequitor. If he is saying that we should choose not to believe in celestial polygamy because we aren’t forced to believe it and it is damaging to our women, then perhaps this is reasonable. However, I don’t see how the reaction of some people to the idea has anything to do with the truth value of the proposition.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. In general I love Eugene England’s writings, but there is very little I can recommend in this paper. Have at me.

55 Comments »

  1. England did not understand the square cubed law or a number of other things. He benefited from being charming and literate, but many, many of his arguments are flawed and rely on the fact that you already agree with his conclusions to be persuasive.

    I learned a lot from looking at bad arguments made by England, though it caused me to not read him as much (for example, this is the first I’ve seen of this paper).

    BTW, I do need to write on how an infinite atonement may have an infinite effect by being transfinite (much like a three dimensional entity is transfinite to a two dimensional world).

    Fun argument, completely divorced from any necessary belief.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — July 21, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

  2. (2) … This argument works equally well (i.e. poorly) as an argument against the law of consecration.

    Actually we are still asked to live the law of consecration now so this rebuttal of yours has no legs as far as I can tell. Sure, we aren’t asked to live the united order now; but that is different than the law of consecration.

    But overall I think you are right — most of these arguments aren’t really arguments at all. (Even though I agree with his position.)

    Comment by Geoff J — July 22, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  3. I’d like to comment on your reason #1 about polygamy not being grounded in the scriptures. I have wondered why D&C 132:34 says, “God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife.” And yet, in Genesis 16:2, Sarai tells Abram to go in to Hagar, without mentioning that God commanded her to give Hagar to him as a second wife. Why didn’t Joseph insert God’s involvement in the decision when he did the inspired translation of the Bible?

    Ishmael was not the birthright son, Sarah’s son still had the birthright. I therefore assume that God did not command Abraham’s polygamous marriage with Hagar because he didn’t pass the birthright to the son of the second wife. Sarah’s purpose in sending Hagar was to get a birthright son for Abraham. If God was involved, it is puzzling that a birthright son was not his goal with this marriage.

    I don’t see the Old Testament supporting Joseph Smith-style polygamy because polygamy in the OT is rooted in culture, not God’s commands. Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah, and Penninah (Hannah’s sister-wife) can be explained by the need for children. Rachel and Leah were polygamous because Laban wanted his older daughter married first. David and Solomon were polygamous because politically powerful men used marriage to cement alliances. Moses’ first marriage appears to be due to political reasons as well.

    In sum, I don’t think the OT supports the idea that polygamy is divinely inspired. Polygamy was a cultural necessity of the time. In the OT, never once is God involved in matchmaking a polygamous marriage. God commands mass slaughter, animal sacrifice, and even the design of priestly clothing. Yet he is never involved in giving extra wives to a man until we get to Joseph’s revelation in D&C 132.

    Even the Book of Mormon condemns David and Solomon’s polygamy in Jacob 2:24, “David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” This verse is immediately followed by the verses about raising up seed, but David and Solomon’s practices are labeled an abomination. Then D&C 132:38-39 say that David’s concubines were given unto him by God. Why didn’t Joseph Smith insert or correct that information into the Bible?

    Joseph Smith explicitly links his revelation about polygamy to OT polygamy in D&C 132:1, where the Lord explains that because Joseph has “inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac [note that Isaac was not polygamous], and Jacob, as also Moses, David and solomon, my servants as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines – .” So I find it troublesome that God is absent from OT polygamy, and that every polygamous marriage described in the OT is explainable by the culture of the times. While Joseph Smith may not have been able to publish revelations on polygamy due to its secrecy, he could have added God into the mix when he translated the Bible.

    I realize that my thoughts are different than the argument England made, but I think his conclusion is valid. There isn’t scriptural grounding for polygamy outside of D&C 132.

    Comment by Melinda — July 22, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  4. Melinda,

    Why didn’t Joseph insert God’s involvement in the decision when he did the inspired translation of the Bible?

    I can think of a few good reasons.

    1. It wasn’t in the version given by Moses.
    2. God didn’t want it publicly known at that time.
    3. The change was contained in a revelation to Joseph, so wasn’t added, just as other revelations with scriptural changes were not added to the inspired version.

    By the way, I do not necessarily view D&C 132:24 as stating that God commanded Sarah to give Hagar (except possibly indirectly, through Abraham). I rather view God’s command as authorizing Abraham to take Hagar.

    Even the Book of Mormon condemns David and Solomon’s polygamy in Jacob 2:24, “David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” This verse is immediately followed by the verses about raising up seed, but David and Solomon’s practices are labeled an abomination. Then D&C 132:38-39 say that David’s concubines were given unto him by God. Why didn’t Joseph Smith insert or correct that information into the Bible?

    I don’t read this passage from the BOM as condemning *all* polygamy. Rather, it condemns the practice of taking *many* wives; echoing a similar passage in the Mosaic law about the wickedness of kings and rulers taking many wives.

    Comment by P. Nielsen — July 22, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  5. Melinda: Interesting ideas and exegesis. I have several thoughts. First, your suggesting that God didn’t recognize Hagar as a legitimate wife and that God’s covenant promises didn’t include Hagar seems strained to me. First, in Gen. 21 Sarah casts Hagar out of the household (out of jealously apparently and to make sure her child, Isaac, alone was the recipient of the birthright). However, in 21:12-13 an angel appears to Abraham and explains that Abraham will be blessed through Ishmael because “I will make a nation, because he is thy seed.” The angel’s words are in fulfillment of the promise to Abraham Gen. 17 that God covenants to make many nations through him. Indeed, Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham after God promises in Gen. 15 to makes Abraham’s seed as numerous as the stars. That is followed by an angel appearing to Hagar in Gen. 16 commanding Hagar to return to Sarah after Sarah apparently turned her out because Hagar had done what Sarah asked. However, the angel also states to Hagar “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly.” (v. 10)

    So it seems strained to suggest that God has not sanctioned Abraham’s polygamy when God twice sends an angel to confirm that Hagar too is blessed with the covenant blessings and commands Hagar to return to Abraham’s household.

    It seems to me that Dt. 21: 15-17 is a rather explicit approval of polygamy under the Law of Moses. Further, in Numbers 12:1-15 Moses’s sister complains because he takes another plural wife who is Ethiopian (in addition to Sephora). However, God chastises her for complaining against Moses regarding that matter.

    In 2 Sam 12:7-9 Nathan chastises David for taking a wife not given to him by God, but Nathan is fairly explicit: “Thus, saith the Lord … I gave thee … they master’s wives.” So this scripture seems to be saying as I read it that God was upset because David murdered Uriah and took Bathsheeba who belonged to Uriah, but God gave David his other wives.

    Why isn’t D&C 132 enough? As I read what you’re saying (correct me if I’m wrong) Joseph didn’t really receive a revelation about polygamy and the revelation that purports to be from God actually misconstrues the Old Testament about polygamy. Is that what you’re saying?

    Comment by Blake — July 22, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  6. Isaiah55 “8 ¶ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
    11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

    I think it’s hard to fully comprehend all things and reasons why the lord commands us to do things. But his ways are not our ways. I’ve often asked myself if there was no other way Nephi could have got the brass plates without the nessesity of killing laban which is contrary to the lords commandments. Nevertheless the lord commanded it by the hand of Nephi, and it was a challenge of great faith by Nephi to be able to follow through, despite how faithful he had been thus far in their journey. It goes to show that the lord must prove our faith in all things to be counted worthy.
    Joseph Smith once said that if there was any other way the lord could have tried Abraham further than that of offering his son, he would have done it. We too must be tried at some point and somehow.
    Our faith is tried today as we live by commandments givin in these latter days by our prophets. We neither see proof, nor most times have things even explained to us. Yet, it must be so as to try our faith.
    I don’t think the real question is wether or not Polygamy is a true principle or a celestial principal. I think the real question is wether or not Joesph Smith was speaking as God’s prophet when this commandment was givin in this dispensation. The arguement for no real previous scriptural evidence other than Section 132 is very weak. The same could then be said for the Word of Wisdom. D&C 89. The fact is, we believe in a modern day prophet and revelation.
    Having faith to accept this teaching will require the assurance that this commandment came to us through revelation from God to the prophet Joseph Smith. The way to know that Joesph Smith was a prophet of God is to read and Pray about the Book of Mormon and to get an answer to the truthfullness of that Book. I know that sounds like a missionary response but it is in fact true none the less.
    So it’s really a question of faith in my eyes. I have faith that our exaltation in the celestial kingdom will give us nothing but Joy and eternal happiness even if that means living the law of polgamy. In saying that, I’m impartial to polgamy. It either is or it isn’t. I don’t care either way.
    God’s way and understanding is not ours. My case closed.

    Comment by Gunner — July 22, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

  7. Geoff,

    Actually we are still asked to live the law of consecration now so this rebuttal of yours has no legs as far as I can tell.

    Sure, pick the one argument I don’t flesh out and tell me it has no legs–lol.

    If I accept your distinction and replace my reference to the law of consecration with the united order, do see where there might be some legs? England says that “if polygyny were the highest order of marriage, surely the Lord would want us to practice it whenever and wherever we could on earth. But he does not.” Isn’t this identical in reasoning to the statement: “if the united order is the highest order of society, surely the Lord would want us to practice it whenever and wherever we could on earth”? Surely this is not a valid reason to reject the united order, is it?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 22, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

  8. Good point Jacob. It was the specific example you used I was nitpicking about. Your argument seems sound.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 22, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  9. Jacob,

    Maybe even a better example than the united order, would be the celestial law concerning divorce, mentioned by Elder Oaks this last conference.

    Comment by P. Nielsen — July 22, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

  10. P Nielsen,

    True, good point. You can pretty much use any example where something is agreed upon as being a higher law.

    Since we are talking about point (2) and I didn’t really say much about it, it is interesting to look at England’s full argument. He points to the fact that the church takes action against those trying to legalize polygamy, and that we don’t let people in countries where it is legal practice polygamy. For a person of Eugene England’s experience and insight, I am blown away that he thinks those are good arguments against eternal polygamy. Could anything be more obviously rooted in historical, temporal, and pragmatic necessities?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 22, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  11. Blake and P. Nielson, I agree that God sanctioned Abraham’s marriage to Hagar. But I still contend that God didn’t command it. I view the situation as God allowing people to go ahead with their best efforts to fulfill his prophecy about the birthright son and Abraham’s posterity. So while Abraham was certainly not condemned for taking Hagar as a wife and fathering Ishmael, he was also not commanded to do so. Perhaps God didn’t need to issue the command because polygamy was so ingrained in the society, and a polygamous marriage was the obvious answer to Sarah’s barrennes, so God didn’t need to command something that was going to happen anyway.

    In Numbers 12, God refuses to countenance Miriam criticizing Moses’ polygamous marriage, but again, God didn’t command Moses to marry polygamously. As I mentioned, Moses’ marriage to a foreigner may have been politically expedient.

    Deut. 21 civilizes the barbaric custom of stealing women from conquered tribes. At least the kidnapped woman is given the dignity of wife status, instead of a more awful fate. The situation sanctioned in Deut 21 is a far cry from a celestial marriage.

    In the OT, God doesn’t condemn men who marry polygamously. Polygamous men were prophets, and God accepted their offspring as legitimate. But the actual text of the OT does not show that God ever commanded polygamy. He simply accepted (and cilivized, as in Deut 15) a custom of the society that his prophets lived in. There may be good reasons Joseph Smith didn’t add in any Godly initiative in setting up polygamous marriages in OT times. But the fact still remains that the text doesn’t show us God being involved in polygamous matchmaking.

    Blake points out that Nathan says that God gave David his many wives and concubines in 2 Samuel 12:17-19. But Jacob in the BOM condemned David and Solomon for having many wives in Jacob 2:23-24. At the least, that shows that God’s approval of the polygamy of the Israelite kings was questionable.

    My point is that the polygamy practiced in the OT is not the same polygamy practiced in early Mormon times. OT polygamy was rooted in cultural requirements, and the examples of polygamy that we have in the OT mainly concerned political marriages and marriages to produce a son when the first wife couldn’t have a son. Mormon polygamy was obviously counter-cultural, and was not practiced for political reasons, or because the first wife was barren.

    Joseph Smith didn’t restore OT polygamy. He received a revelation about an entirely new motivation for multiple wives, and preached it to a society that was revolted by the very concept.

    Ergo, England is correct when he says polygamy is not rooted in scripture. Polygamy was rooted in OT culture. It is not mentioned in the New Testament, and mentioned only once in the BOM in a reference that condemns it and immediately offers an apologetic for it. D&C 132 purports to be the direct descendant of OT polygamy, but it is so different that the only thing it has in common with OT polygamy is the fact that it leads to multiple wives. The motivations are entirely different. D&C 132 gives a religious requirement for polygamy that is lacking in OT polygamy.

    Comment by Melinda — July 22, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  12. I think judging the OT is always difficult simply because most of the texts have come down to us in such an edited form. Most of our understanding of Israelite religion comes from the southern Kingdom and then most from post-Exilic traditions.

    Having said that though merely point to a text (say levirate marriage) and saying “that’s a cultural trapping” seems dubious. I’m not saying it isn’t a cultural trapping. But the fact other people did it doesn’t seem to entail it being a cultural trapping. Consider the modern Church. If we applied that same reasoning to our practices, what would result? Would the sacrament or baptism be merely cultural simply because other religions did it?

    I’m not saying we can’t make “cultural trapping” arguments, but I think the arguments themselves have to be much more sophisticated. Unfortunately few people appear to be making such arguments. (Primarily, I suspect, because for Mormons the most interesting period is that before Moses – a period for which we have almost no information)

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I’ll fully admit that the practice is one of the more distasteful to me and dealing with the history is sometimes a trail of faith. More because of the practical realities of any human living it in a way filled with love and charity. I just don’t think human cognition is such that very many could remotely live polygamy. However I’m wise enough to recognize that these limitations may very well not apply to a resurrected being which presumably has cognitive structures quite different from us today.

    I tend to agree with Stephen that most of Eugene England’s articles weren’t really arguments but persuasion for those who either already agreed with him or those on the fence who shared his particular underlying stance. This one in particular has always been a troublesome article, in my mind. I’ve never understood why it is so popular for some.

    Comment by clark — July 22, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

  13. Whoops. Resurrect being not bean. LOL

    Comment by clark — July 22, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

  14. Melinda: I grant your primary point that polygamy practiced among Mormons was different than OT polygamy precisely because it was culturally acceptable in OT times and not in Joseph’s lifetime. Therefore, polygamy could not function as an “Abrahamic test” in Hebrew culture as D&C 132 contemplates. It is precisely the fact that polygamy was counter-cultural that it functioned as a religious test of unfathomable faith for early LDS. I believe that this counter-cultural and perceived counter-morality aspect of polygamy is the sine qua non for its practice. Only in this way could it function to strip away every pre-conception that we have about how God must be and the limits we set on what God can command. Once it became culturally acceptable in LDS society at least, its essential function as a category-busting, pre-conception neutralizer ceased and its usefulness for that purpose could no longer continue.

    Comment by Blake — July 22, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  15. Clark,

    That’s a good point about “cultural trapping” arguments. BTW, if you want to talk about resurrected beans you’ll need to go back the the Orson Pratt thread.

    Blake,

    Good points, thanks for chiming in. Just so that I am fair to Eugene England, I should mention that he does spend some time at the beginning of the paper talking about why he thinks polygamy was instituted and he makes an argument similar to your #14 about Abrahamic tests. I agree, of course, that polygyny functioned as this sort of test in the early church, especially as Joseph was first introducing the endowment to a select few.

    Some people have used the Abrahamic test motif to argue that if it was an Abrahamic test, then there must be something analogous to a ram in the thicket, and this must be the escape from polygamy for all the people who were asked to live it. (For example, I was at a VOICE lecture on BYU campus in 2000 where Valerie Hudson made such an argument.) I found the argument to be less than persuasive, but at the meeting there were a lot of people eating it up, presumably because they were so anxious for the conclusion to be true.

    Melinda,

    Good comments, thanks for participating. You make some good arguments about OT polygamy. I think your use of Jacob 4 to offset 2 Samuel 12:17-19 is the weakest of your many rejoinders (certainly Nathan’s statement is more relevant than Jacob’s commentary, no?). As to Abraham and Hagar, it is a fairly fine line to draw between “sanctioning” and “commanding.” I agree that the OT account doesn’t have God specifically commanding the marriage, but then, D&C 132 does have God specifically commanding it. Your approach is one reasonable option, but another reasonable option is to believe D&C 132 and assume the account in Genesis is not perfect.

    Even if I were to grant your point about the OT, notice that my response in the post to this argument had nothing to do with the OT, but to Joseph Smith. Modern-day polygyny is the topic at hand, so modern-day revelation seems like the most important to ask about. To complain that it is not well grouded in the scriptures is to complain that Joseph Smith didn’t give us more canonical statements about it. However, we have plenty of examples of things we have canonized from Joseph Smith which were either offhand remarks, or letters, or answers to questions (i.e. not theophanies). Thus, what was in the mind of Joseph Smith seems like a reasonable standard to use if he was prevented by the secrecy of polygamy from publishing his revelations on the subject. As it turns out, what was in the mind of Joseph seems to contradict Eugene England’s point rather directly. That is why I object to his argument.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 22, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

  16. On a somewhat related note, Lifting the Veil of Polygamy is now available online. Full disclosure: it is an evangelical Christian movie.

    Comment by Aaron Shafovaloff — July 23, 2007 @ 1:30 am

  17. Melinda,

    I agree that God sanctioned Abraham’s marriage to Hagar. But I still contend that God didn’t command it. I view the situation as God allowing people to go ahead with their best efforts to fulfill his prophecy about the birthright son and Abraham’s posterity. So while Abraham was certainly not condemned for taking Hagar as a wife and fathering Ishmael, he was also not commanded to do so. Perhaps God didn’t need to issue the command because polygamy was so ingrained in the society, and a polygamous marriage was the obvious answer to Sarah’s barrennes, so God didn’t need to command something that was going to happen anyway.

    I cannot (nor do I desire) to force my testimony that D&C 132 is true scripture upon you. My argument rests solely on its validity, so I think I’ve said everything I can on this point.

    Deut. 21 civilizes the barbaric custom of stealing women from conquered tribes. At least the kidnapped woman is given the dignity of wife status, instead of a more awful fate. The situation sanctioned in Deut 21 is a far cry from a celestial marriage.

    You read the wrong part of the chapter. The later verses make it clear that polygamy wasn’t wrong under the law of Moses. Nobody is arguing that celestial marriage is taught in the Old Testament, only that polygamy was justified under the Mosaic law. I personally prefer Deut. 25:5-10, where a brother is told to marry his brother’s widow to raise up seed (in certain circumstances).

    Blake points out that Nathan says that God gave David his many wives and concubines in 2 Samuel 12:17-19. But Jacob in the BOM condemned David and Solomon for having many wives in Jacob 2:23-24. At the least, that shows that God’s approval of the polygamy of the Israelite kings was questionable.

    I would again draw your attention to the word ‘many’. The BOM doesn’t condemn polygamy in general (except when God commands against it), but rather condemns the practice of taking many wives.

    Ergo, England is correct when he says polygamy is not rooted in scripture.

    No. D&C 132 is a clear contradiction to this. And, in this context, we are not talking about polygamy, per se, but eternal marriages to more than one person which will continue for eternity.

    By the way, D&C 132 uses Christ’s promise (in the New Testament) of multiplied houses, children, mothers, wives, and so forth as a proof-text for multiple celestial marriage.

    Comment by P. Nielsen — July 23, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  18. Just to note, Todd Compton argues that many polygamous marriages of Joseph Smith – perhaps the majority – were dynastic in nature. Thus if one is going to look at LDS polygamy perhaps one should consider how it and religious cult (in the technical sense) were viewed among royalty amongst the Yahwists. That one can see Joseph Smith’s restoration focusing in on the royalty but moving that royalty to all endowed members. Of course this is pretty explicit in the endowment if you know what to look for. (Tokens of Kingship)

    Comment by clark — July 23, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  19. To misphrase, the Wizard of Oz:

    Jacob J., pay no attention to the arguments behind the article.

    I actually think #4 is pretty persuasive, but its one of those things that you either accept or you don’t.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 23, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  20. …pay no attention to the arguments behind the article.

    Ha ha, nice one. (4) is one of the better arguments, I agree.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 23, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  21. Ah, I express myself badly. I disagree with both you and Eugene England in finding the argument that more women than men will be saved persuasive.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 23, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

  22. I find England’s arguments regarding the number of people saved to be of rather dubious value. Some are somewhat persuasive (say the number of males that die before the age of accountability) but tell us little if children who die before 8 are raised in the millennium. (i.e. aren’t automatically given exaltation, which frankly never made much sense to me)

    Comment by Clark — July 23, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  23. Adam,

    Okay, now I am really confused.

    Eugene England does NOT believe more women than men will be exalted (he believes the number will identical). I agree with him that the reasons people believe more women will be saved are dubious and generally insulting.

    Your position is that there WILL be more women than men exalted?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 23, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  24. Jacob, I can’t speak for Adam, but I’d say we don’t know. Given that ignorance I’m not sure we can simply discount 19th century claims. (Although I personally tend to find them either as apologetics for polygamy or simply based on the phraseology “son of perdition”)

    So I’m agnostic on the subject. However England claims to know that we’re saved at equal rates. I just am skeptical of being able to know that.

    Comment by Clark — July 23, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  25. Jacob J.,
    we just can’t know for sure, but I tend to think that its highly unlikely that the numbers will be exactly even (especially, I’m afraid, in a world of LFW and limited foreknowledge) and I’m further inclined to think that any disparity is more likely to favor women then men.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 23, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  26. Clark,
    I think the view that little children who die before the age of accountability are raised in the millennium makes the most sense of church practice and doctrine, though that doesn’t necessarily rebut England’s point if (1) you believe that those children will almost certainly make it to the Celestial Kingdom, which at least McConkie affirmed, and (2) you think that making it to the celestial kingdom doesn’t just mean being a ministering angel but means marriage and the whole nine yards of exaltation. I’d say, tentatively, that I affirm #1 but disagree with #2.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 23, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  27. Ditto Clark #24—I don’t think we know, so why argue for one way or another? If Gene England had special knowledge about the relative numbers of men and women being saved, then it’s not much more implausible that he knew about polygamy in heaven either. (though I think Jacob J. is only saying that this is a poor defense of polygamy, and I agree…). In fact, along these lines I don’t think we can rule out polyandry either (didn’t Compton document some polyandrous cases too, or am I thinking of a different book?).

    Comment by Robert C. — July 23, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

  28. Robert, you’re thinking of the right book.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 23, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  29. Clark (#24), Adam (#25),

    I don’t really disagree with either of you here (I know, it’s disappointing to me too). I don’t think we have any way of knowing and I see no reason to think the numbers would end up being precisely equal unless we start with that as a premise as England does. As to the idea that the disparity will favor women, I know this is a topic that gets discussed a lot (dare I say ad nauseum?) along with gender roles/women-and-the-priesthood but I have yet to see an argument that seems convincing. Matt Evans’ list doesn’t do it for me, but maybe that’s what Adam meant when he said “its one of those things that you either accept or you don’t.” in #19.

    To be honest, I thought I would take more heat for disparaging this paper. Is there less love for it than I think, or are many people holding their tongues?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 23, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  30. I think England is respected and loved for his talents for personal essays, the questions he wasn’t afraid to raise, and the role he played in organizing fora to thoughtfully discuss issues in Mormonism, and not so much so for his rigorous philosophic or theological thinking….

    Comment by Robert C. — July 23, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  31. Whatever the failings in the paper, one contribution it makes is that it finds a way to separate the polygamy part of D&C 132 from the eternal marriage part of D&C 132. England wasn’t the first to redefine celestial marriage as including monogamous unions, but his textual parsing of Section 132, I think, makes the most persuasive case that it is a temple sealing, whether monogamous or polygamous, that constitutes celestial marriage rather than polygamous temple marriage.

    I’ve wondered before if EE isn’t being quite sincere in this article; that he wasn’t so convinced of this argument, but he felt like it was an important one to make as an effort to legitimize the expectation that one will not have to be in a plural marriage to reach the highest levels of exaltation. Maybe his goal was to overshoot so his reader would think, “well, I can’t agree with all that, but I can meet him halfway and agree that polygamy isn’t required in heaven.” Maybe I’m giving him too much credit.

    Comment by JKC — July 23, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

  32. Adam, the idea that most children in the Millennium are celestial tends to spin on its face the notions of free will and responsibility, doesn’t it? After all if God doesn’t hold us accountable for the evil we do because of our environment and bodies, thus rendering judgment just, he certainly can’t hold us accountable for the good we do for similar reasons.

    Comment by Clark — July 24, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  33. Robert,

    You may be right. Certainly I respect him for all the reasons you listed. I remember when I first read his response to the Lester Bush article on priesthood (years ago now, but I am young so it was long after the ban had been lifted). I was very influenced by his reaction, and deeply moved. I have always had affection/admiration for him since that time.

    JKC,

    one contribution it makes is that it finds a way to separate the polygamy part of D&C 132 from the eternal marriage part of D&C 132.

    Well, this separation is certainly an important one for the modern church since we are big on eternal marriage but not so much on polygamy (practicing the rhetorical skill of understatement). EE’s strategy in 132 (pg. 148) seems to be to read the text in the narrowest possible sense, without regard to contextual or historical circumstances, and say that there are very few words (by percentage) that overtly lock us into the idea of eternal polygyny. I have a different sense for how many of the words allude to polygamy and the doctrines that surrounded it at the time it was dictated by Joseph. EE claims that there are only two verses which could suggest eternal polygyny, but this is far too low a number if we connect a couple of obvious (and undeniable) dots when we read the text.

    However, I think there are very legitimate reasons offered by D&C 132 to separate polygamy from eternal marriage. Specifically, when I pay close attention to the word “law” in D&C 132 (it appears 33 times in 66 verses), I find that it is an important thread holding the whole thing together. I notice that “my law” is tied over and over again to “my word,” and the constant consideration is to whether something was done according to God’s word/commandment or not. Uniformly, if it was not done according to God’s word/commandment, it is not justified. This seems like perfectly good grounds to separate eternal marriage from polygamy from the standpoint of the modern church in which we believe God has revoked the command to live polygamy.

    Your theory about EE’s strategy of intentionally “overshooting” is very interesting, I think it is actually a pretty reasonable suggestion.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 24, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  34. Clark (#32),

    I agree. I have previously speculated on this site that the blanket salvation we promise to children is the same as the blanket promise of salvation which was given in the BofM/D&C76 for those who die without hearing the gospel (work for the dead had not yet been revealed at those times). I suspect children will get a chance to hear the gospel and react to it just like everyone else gets the chance before they are judged.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 24, 2007 @ 10:38 am

  35. It is a puzzler, Clark (#32). Jacob J.’s solution requires a bit of wresting the scriptures, but its wresting we’re perfectly willing to do when it comes to those who died without hearing the gospel (though if I recall, there’s at least one scripture that states that salvation is to those who died without hearing the gospel ‘who would have accepted it’ but there’s no such qualification for children).

    One complicating factor, for me, is that if we argue that people’s salvation isn’t influenced by their environment then we are effectively saying that everything we do for others is meaningless. My personal solution for now is to believe that the environment does indeed constrain free will significantly, such that children in the millennium really only have a choice between being sons of perdition, ministering angels, and exalted beings (assuming that ministering angels and exalted beings are distinct categories), with ministering angel being the sort of default category. I’d say that terrestrial life is more or less the default nowadays.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 24, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  36. The role between world and responsibility is a very tough one philosophically. But it does raise lots of interesting theological questions that are often overlooked. Folks, especially at this blog, are all up in arms over free will. But I wonder if perhaps those espousing a very extensive free will have thought through all the theological implications.

    Comment by clark — July 24, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  37. Yes Clark, we have. And have dealt with the subject at in a few posts. See here and here for examples of my thoughts on the subject.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 24, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

  38. Adam (#35),

    though if I recall, there’s at least one scripture that states that salvation is to those who died without hearing the gospel ‘who would have accepted it’ but there’s no such qualification for children

    Right, you’re thinking of D&C 137:7, which was given as a stepping stone toward the full revelation on salvation for the dead (after D&C 76, but before D&C 128). We no longer believe that God judges people based on middle knowledge (i.e. knowledge of what they would have done) but by presenting them with the gospel and letting them react in actuality. The knowledge came piece by piece.

    Since we still have no revelation making sense of the salvation of little children, I wouldn’t expect we would have a similar qualification for children yet. Obviously I am just speculating, but it seems like the same answer that worked for those without law would work equally well for children. And we do have blanket salvation declared for those who die “in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them” in the BofM, so there is a precedent.

    Clark (#36),

    Any suggestions for interesting theological questions we have overlooked?

    Comment by Jacob J — July 24, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  39. Could be, Jacob J. Not so sure salvation for the ignorant is as settled as you say. On the other hand, the fact that we have had this evolution on salvation for the ignorant, but not on salvation for children, while interest in salvation for children remains high, suggests that maybe the way things turn out is different.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 25, 2007 @ 7:26 am

  40. Well, I think the salvation of children tied up with free will is the most interesting one. The very nature and possibility of judgement is an other. I’ve not seen either adequately addressed anywhere.

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  41. Clark,

    Well, I just offered some thoughts on the salvation of children, which I’ve commented on before. Maybe I will turn it into a post and flesh it out a bit, that might be a good idea.

    As to the nature of judgment, I just posted on that topic a month ago, I’d love to have you comment on that thread and shoot some holes in my proposal.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 25, 2007 @ 9:05 am

  42. Adam,

    Not so sure salvation for the ignorant is as settled as you say.

    Okay, I a curious what you mean by that. Are there competing theories of how the plan of salvation deals with those “not having salvation declared unto them” in their earth life? I was thinking this was a pretty settled doctrine, so I am interested if I missed out on a controversy.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 25, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  43. Jacob I must have missed that post (or barely had time to glance at it) I’ve been tremendously busy. I’ll take a gander. I was more thinking of folks addressing this topic in writing though. (i.e. journals and books)

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  44. Jacob, I read the post, and while it’s good and I agree with most of it, I don’t think it ultimately addresses what I see as a problem.

    Now I will admit that the few who accept MMP have a way out from the problem of free will and judgment. I (and most) don’t buy MMP so the problem of judgment, especially in terms of resurrected body, is a big one.

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  45. To add, consider the merely problem of paradise and spirit prison. If our bodies are much of who we are and God would be unjust to judge us according to what we aren’t responsible for (most of our brain structure) then how does he decide who goes where? Saying one could progress, as LDS theology of prison does, isn’t the biggest problem. The question that’s more interesting is that of people who are good who are exalted but don’t deserve it. I fear that if one isn’t careful one is led towards a Calvinist view of judgment. (I’m not saying you adopt such a view – just that I think that a lot of popular rhetoric of judgment tends in that direction)

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  46. Ahh yes. That is an interesting problem which I’ve thought about frequently. I’m not sure I agree that MMP solves the problem, but maybe I am not thinking of the right MMP solution.

    In fact, I think many of the MMP detractors here have argued that MMP exacerbates the problem because of the lack of continuity introduced by so many and so frequent resurrections. If I live in the same body for a long time, I become more and more responsible for my brain structure. If you keep taking away my body and giving me a new one, it seems like that makes this problem worse.

    Comment by Jacob J — July 25, 2007 @ 1:41 pm

  47. I’ve not thought about MMP and bodies too much. I think MMP simply avoids the problem because there could be a fuzzy boundary that doesn’t matter since at worst you have a delay. i.e. consider the person who might deserve Celestial rather than Terrestrial. At worst they have to wait a while to get Celestial glory.

    Now the problem is that for this to work MMP must go in both directions, something most MMP I’ve encountered don’t tend to discuss. i.e. someone in Celestial glory decides to fall. Now perhaps that’s what happened to Satan. (One might point to Adam in BY’s theology – but it seems to me that’s a special case) The point being though that ultimately judgment need not be accurate in MMP.

    Now whether that really works is more complex. Partially for what you suggest. But more because we still demand God be just and so epistemological limits (maybe God can’t separate out the body from non-body) may render big theological problems.

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  48. Put more succinctly it seems the demand that God be just requires a kind of omniscience. The question then becomes whether this omniscience is possible without foreknowledge. (I assume many will say it is, but it’s not clear it is even though I can’t articulate a particular problem)

    Comment by Clark — July 25, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  49. Some thoughts about what was going though Joseph’s life and mind came to me upon reading Dr. Bushman’s book and Blake Ostler’s paper on Plural Marriage as an Abrahamic Test. The whole rough draft is at this location: http://ldsfocuschrist.blogspot.com/2007/05/joseph-smiths-plural-marriages-attempts.html

    The Introduction is below.

    Let me know what you think;
    Steve St. Clair

    Introduction

    In Richard Bushman’s writings, he has provided an interesting map of the transformations that were going on in Joseph Smith’s mind during h)is experiences at the beginning of the restoration. He shows Joseph’s slow and painstaking discovery of his successive roles as (1) participant in forgiveness / redemption / conversion, (2) seerstone-gazer, (3) translator, (4) fulfiller of prophecy, (5) seer, and (6) prophet. It was the second half of his presentation at the Joseph Smith Symposium in Washington, D.C. in 2005. The text for that presentation is now available in hard-copy format, both in the February 2006 issue of BYU Studies (a double issue containing the full text of all the presentations) and a hard-cover book published by Deseret Book in March 2006.

    In my first quick reading of Dr. Bushman’s new book Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling I had not noticed him doing the same thing for the issue of plural marriage. During my first reading, I was focused entirely on Joseph’s clearly unusual individual actions, such as marrying Fanny Alger, marrying women who were already married to other men, and so forth.

    But in my SECOND reading (and subsequent readings), I have noticed that he uncovers what appears to be a very clear similar pattern in Joseph’s actions relating to plural marriage. I think this would be of great interest to scholarly members of the church who are wrestling with questions about plural marriage. It may also be of assistance to members wanting to throw a more positive light on the issue of plural marriage in the answers they provide to questions about Latter-day Saint history.

    Based on Richard Bushman’s insightful information, arranged in order of dates and clustered around key occurrences in the history of plural marriage, it revolves around Joseph’s gradual discovery of Abraham as a pattern.

    Joseph identified readily with him because of the Smith’s having to endure the loss of support of their extended family and kinship-group when they moved to upstate New York. He recognized that Abraham had undergone a similar experience in departing from his homeland in Haran to journey to the Promised Land, as well as nearly every other experience throughout his life.

    Joseph came to realize that he needed to pattern himself after that patriarch in numerous ways, and it would have included living the law of plural marriage that Abraham had lived.

    His reading of the Abraham narratives in the Old Testament made him realize that plural marriage was acceptable when done to preserve literal offspring.

    His threatened emasculation, the death of most of his children, and the personal nature of the threats hurled by the Jackson County persecutors made him fear for the survival of his literal posterity, and he arranged the marriage with Fanny Alger to protect against it.

    Between then and the time he began sealing women to himself or his family in 1841, many factors changed.

    He learned the New Testament and Book of Abraham understanding of the children of Abraham as his converts, not his descendants.

    His family circumstances changed in that his literal posterity became completely unthreatened, and the tragedy in Far West threatened his Abrahamic kinship group of all ages and genders.

    His desired relationship to the women married to him or sealed or adopted to Emma and him during the 1840’s, resembled that of relatives or kinswomen in the Abrahamic sense, rather than involving romantic or physical attraction.

    As things drew to critical point at end of his prophetic career, he realized that the marvelous blessings being unfolded to the Saints of the endowment, sealings of families for eternity, and the second anointing as an assurance of heaven, needed to be qualified for by a supreme Abrahamic test.

    Joseph concluded that Abraham’s family had met a supreme Abrahamic trial or test, and that people in Joseph’s time would be asked to overcome a test of equal proportion. Not too far distant from that thought would be the idea that Saints in Joseph’s day invited to participate in the Abrahamic experience would each have some almost insurmountable Abrahamic test to overcome, customized to their own personality.

    In their review of Todd Compton’s book titled “In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith” in the FARMS Review of Books, Richard L. Anderson and Scott H. Faulring correctly describe the historian’s dilemma when source materials about people’s innermost thoughts in short supply:

    If we had the benefit of Joseph Smith’s explanation for each of his plural marriages, we would be in a better position to judge the motives and depth of his relationships; but, since we do not, wisdom and prudence dictate that we withhold many judgments until we do. Biographers in this area are tempted to create historical fiction, which purports to read minds and furnish all answers, but serious history cannot run ahead of responsible source materials.

    Another reviewer of that book, Danel W. Bachman, described the dilemma about Joseph Smith and plural marriage in these terms:

    Compton’s thesis is that early Mormon marital ideology explains why Joseph Smith had so many wives, some of whom were quite young, and a third of whom were already married and thus living in polyandry once they married him. Most certainly it is necessary to understand Joseph’s theology to understand his conduct; but my analysis of the prologue of Compton’s book clearly demonstrates that much more research into this area is required to give us an adequate picture of both Joseph’s doctrinal understanding and his actions as plural marriage was introduced into the church. (Danel W. Bachman, Prologue to the Study of Joseph Smith’s Marital Theology, Farms Review of Books, 1998)

    My hope is that these ideas and concepts, drawing from the Abrahamic sources that Joseph had in his hands during the time of the unfolding of plural marriage, will help to illuminate his motives in some small way.

    Comment by Steve St. Clair — July 29, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  50. Hi, I know this ended almost a year ago but hopefully someone can help me… is the general concensus on here that McConkie was right or England regarding eternal progression and knowledge (i.e. God knows everything in our Sphere, or God knows everything PERIOD.) There are some things that McConkie said that bother me and I am of the thought personally that what England said makes more sense…

    Thoughts?

    Comment by England vs. McConkie — April 2, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

  51. Re #50,

    I don’t think there is a general concensus on the topic you raise. If you ask the perma-bloggers at this site, you will find that most of us lean toward God having some limits to his knowledge. However, when it comes to the details of those limits, we disagree. I’m not sure we’ve explored it in great detail, I’ll see if I can post something tonight and we can see if anyone wants to discuss it.

    Comment by Jacob J — April 2, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  52. Just a brief note regarding Steve St. Clair’s post above (#49), wherein he quotes a portion of a review I wrote. He correctly identifies my first name as spelled “Danel” in his introductory comments, but the extract and reference which he has taken from his website incorrectly identifies me as “Daniel.” Moreover the word which he has twice spelled “prolog” (title and text), should be “prologue.” Incidentally, the quotation is from page 137 of that review. I encourage Mr. St. Clair and all others who operate websites to be more accurate in what they write, by carefully proof reading their online material.

    Comment by Danel W. Bachman — May 12, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  53. BTW, the last sentence of the paragraph cited above by Mr. St. Clair may properly be added to the quotation:

    “Thus Todd Compton’s analysis turns out to be an inadequate prologue to a study of the marital theology of Joseph Smith.”

    Comment by Danel W. Bachman — May 12, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  54. Proof read too late *>) “my” should be “may”! How is that for the pot calling the kettle black?

    Comment by Danel W. Bachman — May 12, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

  55. Thanks for the corrections Danel. I fixed your name in the citation so that it will be correct for anyone who stumbles upon the reference here. I also changed “my” to “may” as you had intended.

    Comment by Jacob J — May 12, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

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