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 Post subject: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:05 am 
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EVIDENCE OF Joseph Smith’S EARLY INDISCRETIONS

The other day I was perusing Brian Hales’s website. He has authored several books on Mormon polygamy—Setting the Record Straight: Mormon Fundamentalism, Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations After the Manifesto, and a forthcoming two-volume Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology. His website includes a page titled

“Dan Vogel as an Accuser” http://www.josephsmithspolygamy.com/26Accusers/DanVogel.html

On this page, he briefly criticizes my use of some early sources. Ironically, it is accusatory of me and implies that I have intentionally misused these sources. So I decided to respond to him here (and on another board) and invite him via email to comment if he wishes. I’ll quote each paragraph of his critique along with his footnote and then respond.

Quote:
While no writer or researcher claims perfect accuracy in his or her published works, It appears that Daniel Vogel goes beyond available evidence resulting in assertions that consistently seem to portray Joseph Smith in a negative light.


The accusation of going “beyond available evidence” is one of Hales’ favorite apologetic strategies. For example, he thinks historians go beyond the evidence when they use secondhand or hearsay testimony or make reasonable inferences from the evidence. He believes that he is not obligated to deal with evidence unless it’s both firsthand and explicit. This has lead Hales to adopt the extreme apologetic position that Joseph Smith didn’t have sex with any of the twelve married women he polyandrously married because he personally thinks Joseph Smith wouldn’t have done that, and he defends his position by accusing those who believe otherwise of “going beyond available evidence”. However, because there was no stated restriction on such marriages, shouldn’t Hales see his own theory as going beyond the evidence? He thinks he is simply demanding that his opponents produce explicit evidence of Joseph Smith having sexual relations with married women, but he is doing more than that. He is asserting a position as well, based on an inference--which is that these marriages were for eternity only. The problem is which inference is more reasonable? And which is based on unfounded assumptions about what a prophet can and cannot do? Actually, no one was saying anything about Joseph Smith having sex with his wives—it was an unspoken assumption—until Hales felt the need to defend Joseph Smith by making an imaginary distinction in Joseph Smith’s behavior towards the married and unmarried women he married.

Quote:
Vogel misquotes a statement allegedly from Martin Harris, stating that Levi Lewis accused Joseph Smith of trying to seduce Eliza Winters, rather than correctly citing the statement as Lewis purportedly quoting Martin Harris.[1] This error transforms a dubious account into a firsthand allegation.

--------------------------------------

[1] Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002, 4:296 and Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet, Salt Lake City: Signature Book, 2004, 178; see also Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989, 4; George D. Smith, Nauvoo Polygamy: “… but we called it celestial marriage”, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2008, 29; Grant H. Palmer, “Sexual allegations against Joseph Smith, 1829-1835,” undated [after 1999], unpublished manuscript, Michael Marquardt Collection, Marriot Library Special Collections, University of Utah, photocopy in possession of the author, page one.


Levi Lewis’s statement appears in Early Mormon Documents, but the comment that Hales refers to is from my biography. The other sources are irrelevant to his examination of my work. Here is the statement in my biography to which Hales alludes:

Quote:
Perhaps the testimony of Levi Lewis, son of Nathaniel Lewis, provides a clue as to Joseph Jr.’s early beliefs on marriage. Lewis, whose wife Sophia was present when Emma lost her infant, remembered hearing both Joseph and Martin Harris say that “adultery was no crime.” While this may be exaggerated, Lewis more specifically accused Joseph of attempting to “seduce” Eliza Winters, a close friend of Emma, and claimed that on at least one occasion Martin Harris defended Joseph’s behavior toward the seventeen year old by saying “he did not blame Smith for his (Smith’s) attempt to seduce Eliza Winters &c.”9


Obviously if Lewis is reporting Harris’s defense, Lewis was among those who knew of the allegations against Joseph Smith. The fact that he was reporting Harris’s defense means that he was making such an allegation himself, and that Harris didn’t deny it. The bolded words show that contrary to Hales’s assertion I did attribute the words to Harris, as reported by Lewis. There was no attempt by me to portray the Lewis source as a firsthand account. That doesn’t mean Lewis’s statement isn’t historically useful. It was published and Harris (or Joseph Smith for that matter) had plenty of opportunity to deny it.

Quote:
In addition concerning Eliza Winters, Vogel asserts that in an interview decades later she did not "confirm or deny" the Levi Lewis allegation, when in fact, available evidence does not disclose whether the incident was even discussed.[2] Here Vogel goes beyond the evidence in his assertion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

[2] Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002, 4:346.


The footnote to the previous excerpt from my book reads:

Quote:
9. Levi Lewis, statement, in “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register and Northern Pennsylvanian 9 (1 May 1834): 1 (EMD 4:296 97). Elizabeth neither confirmed nor denied Lewis’s accusation when interviewed in 1880. See [Frederick G. Mather], “The Early Mormons. Joe Smith Operates at Susquehanna,” Binghamton Republican, 29 July 1880 (EMD 4:346 60). She married Elisha Squires (d. 1871) in 1837 and was still living with her only son, Stanley, in Oakland in 1887 (Rhamanthus M. Stocker, Centennial History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania [Philadelphia: R. T. Peck and Co., 1887], 557; see also EMD 4:346).


Whether or not Lewis’s report was discussed, Winters didn’t take the opportunity to deny what Lewis so famously reported in 1833, just as Harris and Joseph Smith didn’t. Since writing this it was discovered that Harris accused Winters of having a “bastard child” in a public meeting in Nov. 1832, and she was unsuccessful in suing Harris (see BYU Studies 45/4 [2006]: 113-16). This might explain her reluctance in broaching the subject.

Quote:
Regarding another accusation, Vogel writes: “His [Joseph Smith’s] July 1830 trial in South Bainbridge included testimony accusing him of improper conduct with two of Josiah Stowell’s daughters, Miriam and Rhoda.”[3] In fact, no trial records are extant and I have been unable to identify any “testimony accusing him of improper conduct” matching Vogel’s description. This error carries the potential of turning non-evidence into evidence.

--------------------------------------------------------

[3] Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996, 4:206 fn 9; Vogel seems certain regarding the daughters identities and it appears that he is probably correct, but no records naming them as participants have been found. See Jessee, Dean C., ed. The Papers of Joseph Smith: Volume 1, Autobiographical and Historical Writings. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989, 254, n. 2.


The problem here is that I did not claim a trial record existed, or that the information came from a trial record. This is what I said:

Quote:
Of possible relevance to Joseph Smith’s early concept of complex marriage is a report from Harmony, Pennsylvania, that he and his scribe Martin Harris said “adultery was no crime” and that as early as 1828 he was already pursuing extramarital affairs (V.A.4, LEVI LEWIS STATEMENT, 1834). In June 1829 Smith’s dictation would include discussion of adultery versus God-inspired plural marriage (Jacob 2:30). His July 1830 trial in South Bainbridge included testimony accusing him of improper conduct with two of Josiah Stowell’s daughters, Miriam and Rhoda (see I.A.15, JOSEPH SMITH HISTORY, 1839, 45). In 1844, while publicly denying apostate accusations of secret polygamy, he admitted that similar charges on his character had been made as early as 1827. "I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel," Smith recalled, "before it was reported that I had seven wives" (Smith 1948, 6:410).


Note that I referenced Joseph Smith’s 1838-39 History, where it says:

Quote:
After a few more such attempts, the court was detained for a time, in order that two young women (daughters to Mr Stoal<wel>150 with whom I had at times kept Company; might be sent for, in order, if possible to elicit something from them which might be made a pretext against me. The young Ladies arrived and were severally examined, touching my character, and conduct in general but particularly as to my behaviour towards them both in publick and private, when they both bore such testimony in my favor, as left my enemies without a pretext on their account.


You don’t have to be a genius to figure out the nature of the prosecution’s questioning. Although not explicitly stated, there is no attempt to disguise or hide what is obviously being implied.

Note also that this interpretation is supported by Joseph Smith’s own public confession in 1844: "I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel," Smith recalled, "before it was reported that I had seven wives" (Smith 1948, 6:410). This quote from History of the Church 6:410 was among the items discussed by Hales and me in a series of emails in 2009.

On February 1, 2009, Hales wrote to ask why “in Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet (pages 513-14), you mention the charges of being a ‘disorderly person’ etc. but don’t mention any actually [actual] testimony accusing Joseph Smith of improper conduct with the two girls.”

Evidently Hales was reading my footnote in EMD as a claim that the trial record included the charge of Joseph Smith’s improper conduct with Stowell’s daughters, despite my reference to Joseph Smith’s 1838-39 History.

On February 10, 2009, I responded:

Quote:
I don't have any source besides Joseph Smith's History. I think the idea of calling two females to testify of Joseph Smith's behavior “both in public and private” in the hope of impugning Joseph Smith's character implies very strongly there was a sexual element to the accusations. Although he wasn't explicit, I don't think Joseph Smith was hiding that aspect of the story, especially since he was exonerated. His 1844 confession that he was accused of polygamy shortly after his marriage in South Bainbridge shows that such accusations were being made since 1827 in the town where Stowell lived. I think that is the simplest reading of these texts, and any other interpretation is going to sound strained or lawyerly.


Despite this explanation, Hales responded on February 12, 2009: “The footnote seems to indicate that manuscript documentation for ‘testimony accusing him of improper conduct’ during the trial actually exists, so I wanted to be sure and have a look at it.”

On February 24, 2009, I replied: “I didn't intend to imply some other source besides Joseph Smith's account. If I had one, I would have cited it for sure.”

On March 1, 2009, Hales wrote:

Quote:
I appreciate the clarification on your footnote. For me, it seems that the wording indicates that testimony actually exists, rather than it is just assumed to exist.


This is obviously an unlikely reading of my footnote, but to insist on his reading even after his error was pointed out is stubborn and dishonest. Hales continued: “I’m sure you agree that antagonists and protagonists must guard against going beyond the evidence in our claims. I expect my upcoming books will be scrutinized for such things.” Oddly, Hales is oblivious to the fact that his interpretation of my statement goes beyond what I actually said, and that it rests on personal reading. Regardless, with this inane defense he manages to avoid discussion of what Joseph Smith’s History states.

But our discussion didn’t end here. Hales moved from this to another inane and unlikely interpretation of Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement.

On March 5, 2009, Hales wrote:

Quote:
I had a question. You wrote that “His [Joseph Smith’s] 1844 confession that he was accused of polygamy shortly after his marriage in South Bainbridge shows that such accusations were being made since 1827.” Joseph Smith’s actual quotation indicates the accusation of polygamy came after he started proclaiming the gospel: “I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives.” It is hard to know what Joseph Smith meant by “proclamation of the Gospel.” But this doesn’t appear to be a confession that he was accused of polygamy five minutes after he was married. Rather, five minutes after he first proclaimed the gospel he was accused. Without knowing what he meant, the exact chronology is unclear and claiming Joseph Smith confessed to polygamy accusations in 1827 seems to go beyond the evidence. I hope you won’t excuse this as simply “apologetic rhetoric” because it seems to be a valid observation.


On March 11, 2009, I responded:

Quote:
Of course, any text deconstructs when one demands more precision from it than circumstances of its creation can warrant. I think Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement is intentionally hyperbolic and exaggerated. But it quite clearly refers to the New York period. Even your reading of five minutes after proclaiming the gospel alludes to his 1830 trials since he said it was for that reason that he was tried—“I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him on a warrant, on the charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, etc.” (DHC 1:88). This [reading] ties in with Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement. Contrary to your reading, it can be read as follows:

“I had not been married scarcely five minutes [before it was reported that I had seven wives], and made one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was [again] reported that I had seven wives.”

The two events were separated by three years, but the Stowell sisters were at both events. It won’t due to simply argue that Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement isn’t precise, and therefore it is unusable. That’s quibbling.


It can be seen from the foregoing that Hale’s attempt to escape the implications of Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement IS simple “apologetic rhetoric” and polemic and that my use of it is based on reasonable historical inference.

Quote:
Problems such as these demonstrate that interpretive accounts, whether antagonistic and apologetic, must be referenced to the actual historical documents in order to avoid misunderstanding.


The only thing Hales succeeded in demonstrating is that readers of his critiques need not trust his judgment, because they are liable to be incomplete, misrepresentative, and violate the rule of charity, which states that in debate you must respond to your opponents argument in its strongest form. Blake Ostler praised the authors of The New Mormon Challenge for observing this rule:

Quote:
In all of my a dealings with these good men, I have been impressed by their charity and kindness. My assessment is that they are genuinely good people and I like them. In addition, the authors are in fact among the finest Evangelical scholars. It is refreshing to deal with Evanglicals who engage the presumption of the rule of charity. That is, rather than attack a caricature of Mormonism, these authors have made an informed and good-faith attempt to present our arguments and beliefs in their strongest form. They present their best take on Mormonism and then honestly assess problems that arise given these beliefs. Thus, their arguments are worthy of both respect and considered response.
http://www.fairlds.org/New_Mormon_Challenge/


It comes down to a simple rule—“critique others as you would have them critique you.”

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:55 am 
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Fascinating stuff, Dan. Thank you for posting it. IMHO, this and every other example of apologetic misrepresentation on this site should be moved into a specific area for easy reference.

One quick question, Dan. To your knowledge, did Fanny Ager obtain any kind of a divorce to end her “plural marriage” to Joseph before she married Solomon Custer in 1838? I don't mean for this to derail this thread, but I've always been curious about it.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:25 am 
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I seriously doubt it, but I haven’t made a thorough investigation of the matter. Where would she get a divorce from since it wasn’t legally recognized in the first place?

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:49 pm 
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The accusation of going “beyond available evidence” is one of Hales’ favorite apologetic strategies. For example, he thinks historians go beyond the evidence when they use secondhand or hearsay testimony or make reasonable inferences from the evidence. He believes that he is not obligated to deal with evidence unless it’s both firsthand and explicit. This has lead Hales to adopt the extreme apologetic position that Joseph Smith didn’t have sex with any of the twelve married women he polyandrously married because he personally thinks Joseph Smith wouldn’t have done that, and he defends his position by accusing those who believe otherwise of “going beyond available evidence”. However, because there was no stated restriction on such marriages, shouldn’t Hales see his own theory as going beyond the evidence? He thinks he is simply demanding that his opponents produce explicit evidence of Joseph Smith having sexual relations with married women, but he is doing more than that. He is asserting a position as well, based on an inference--which is that these marriages were for eternity only. The problem is which inference is more reasonable?


Precisely Dan!

This is a common theme in apologetic rhetoric. They demand absolute "proof" for said arguments, and if you cannot provide explicit proof from "first hand" accounts, then they think they are on solid ground for dismissing it as gossip, unfounded rumor or at the very least they van chalk it up to a biased interpretation from "anti-Mormon." Case in point, Joseph Smith didn't have sex with women because there is no DNA proof that he did. All the historical testimony from those women who claimed he did, mean nothing to them. When the Church published a talk around the turn of a century, by one of Joseph Smith's wives who said she knew he had children by other women, all this is scrapped aside as her own opinion and "second-hand" accounting. Yes, when one marries a multiplicity of women, you don't get to just insist sex wasn't intended. That's precisely what married couples do! You wouldn't assume that childless couples today don't have sex, would you? Of course not.

Wasn't there an interesting discussion on the forums some years ago about the historian's fallacy they use regarding hearsay? I believe it involved Chris Smith and Ben McGuire, but I could be wrong. The apologists insisted that hearsay is worthless to historians and of course they love to envision a modern-day court scene, because as we all know, hearsay evidence is immediately throw out.

You see this from all the rank and file apologists. Dan Peterson once said something to the effect that the burden of proof is on the critics for virtually everything they say, implying how easy the apologist's job was. Meaning, all the apologist has to do is demand absolute proof, and when it isn't provided, the apologist wins because the LDS truth claim remains "plausible." They don't seem to understand the beauty of inductive logic or how plausibility is rationally ascertained. They seem to think plausibility is the default position for LDS claims, unless the critics can disprove it with absolute proof.

Last month I ran into this problem in a number of threads while posting at MAD. It isn't just the amateurs who think this way either. You'll see some of their scholars who have presumably been trained as historians. Amazing.

Anyway, good stuff Dan. Keep it coming. We need to hear more from you.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:59 pm 
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I had a chuckle at Wade calling you a wannabe (or I guess hobbyist) historian - and then pretending he didn't mean it as an insult. Then the other wannabe historian (other than Wade, that is), Will Schryver, starts in on the attack. Both seem more than a little bitter.

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:20 pm 
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I seriously doubt it, but I haven’t made a thorough investigation of the matter. Where would she get a divorce from since it wasn’t legally recognized in the first place?

Thanks for the response!

Where would she have gotten a divorce? Good question…I haven’t the faintest idea. Maybe I should have phrased my question like this: From Joseph’s perspective, would Fanny’s marriage to Custer have been an adulterous relationship?


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:52 pm 
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If she didn't get a divorce, then her polyandry is well-documented (unless, of course, the original relationship was adultery).

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:52 pm 
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I'd like to respond to Dan Vogel's critique of my concerns regarding his use of evidences. I appreciate the time and energy he has expended creating his response and his kindness in making me aware of it via private email.

In his opening paragraph I was a bit surprised to read (concerning me): "…he thinks historians go beyond the evidence when they use secondhand or hearsay testimony or make reasonable inferences from the evidence. He believes that he is not obligated to deal with evidence unless it’s both firsthand and explicit."

In fact, I don't "think" or "believe" these misrepresentative straw-man assessments and really didn't think Dan, a veteran at polemics, would employ such ineffective techniques. Hopefully I would never attempt to tell people what Dan "thinks" or "believes," since being a nontelepathic, I couldn't be sure.

Regarding Dan's defense of the three criticisms I voiced on my website, I must simply state that after reading all the defense and reasoning, I'm remain convinced that a vast majority of unbiased readers would review what Dan has written and conclude (1) that evidence exists that Levi Lewis personally accused Joseph Smith of trying to seduce Eliza Winters, (2) that a record of testimony exists accusing Joseph Smith of improper conduct with two of Josiah Stowell’s daughters, Miriam and Rhoda, and (3) that documentation exists showing that the topic of Joseph trying to seduce Eliza came up in the 1880 interview and she responded without affirming or denying. I argue no such documentation actually exists, believing that Dan's reporting of the three episodes go beyond the evidence. Readers are left to evaluate Dan's verbiage and draw their own conclusions.

Actually, I'm grateful for Dan's criticisms especially where he addresses sexual polyandry. For me, it is a case of the Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. You know the story that tells of an emperor with clothing that is visible only to those who are "fit" and is invisible to everyone else. The adult members of the kingdom go along with the pretense until a child declares the king's attire is nonexistence. Similarly, for decades the conventional interpretation of the Prophet's plural marriages has included sexual polyandry. But what happens when we take a close look at the evidence supporting it?

Here's the primary challenges for proponents of the position that Joseph Smith practiced sexual polyandry (1) Identify solid supportive evidence. You can start here: http://josephsmithspolygamy.com/JSPolya ... cerpt.html I've tried to list every evidence I can find and if I've missed something please let me know. I would argue if this is the best documentation available, it doesn't come close to counterbalancing the contradictory evidence. (2) Do not ignore Joseph’s theology because Nauvoo polygamists were not ignoring it. Writers who dismiss Joseph Smith's teachings under the notion that the Latter-days Saints were not abiding it create histories that describe people who behave like comic book characters. Fawn Brodie's Joseph Smith is a caricature and so are most Church members she describes depicting them as so undiscerning that they couldn't see what Fawn declares so confidently, that polygamy was libido-driven. (3) Explain the duplicity of the wives accepting some parts of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage while blatantly rejecting other parts. And (4) Account for the lack of reactions among believers and unbelievers to Joseph’s apparent hypocrisy.

Joseph Smith was sealed to thirteen (Todd Compton identified twelve and I add Esther Dutcher) women with legal husbands. Fawn Brodie was sure he was sleeping with them during the same times they were sleeping with their legal husbands. Hmmm…. But what about evidence? Todd Compton proposed in In Sacred Loneliness that Joseph married Sylvia Lyon on February 8, 1842 and later fathered a daughter with her (Josephine). But the date is unreliable and newly discovered documents in the Andrew Jenson files show that there were consecutive marriages, not polyandrous sexuality. We can discuss this further if you like.

There are many problems with the idea that the Prophet practiced sexual polyandry. I'll list one in this post and perhaps I will expand if there is interest. The proposed timeline associated with Joseph Smith’s alleged sexual polyandry seems unrealistic. According to the accusations, Joseph was sealed to his first polyandrous wife, Zina Huntington Jacobs on October 27, 1842 and would have been sleeping with her from that date forward. During the next twenty months, it appears he was sealed to all of his polyandrous wives, so by July of 1843, he had been married to possibly thirteen women who had legal husbands.

On July 12, 1843, the Prophet received the revelation on celestial and plural marriage that was designed to justify and explain the practice of plural marriage. If he had at that point been practicing sexual polyandry for over a year and a half, it seems likely that somewhere within that revelation he would have dictated a verse or two authorizing conjugal polyandrous relations. It might have read: “A woman who is espoused to a husband according to the law of the land is given unto him, but if she be with another in the new and everlasting covenant, she is given to him also on earth as well as in the eternal worlds.” Such a doctrinal declaration would have authorized sexual polyandry and assuaged theologically criticisms, should any have arisen.

However, the revelation on celestial marriage contains no such directives. Instead it condemns those relations as “adultery” (D&C 132:63, 41). And in the revelation he tells his polyandrous wives that, by the way, you “shall be destroyed” because of your sexual polyandry with me (v. 63). Can you see the problem? If Joseph was engaging in polyandrous sex, condemning it in the revelation doesn't make sense. Brigham Young, John Taylor, Zina Huntington, Eliza Snow and other polygamy insiders were not that stupid as to not figure out what the revelation was saying. Importantly, no one complained at any level. That no backlash or complaints were registered by those aware -- and dozens were apprised of the Prophet's polyandrous sealings -- seems implausible. It is likely that his hypocrisy would have been detected by observers provoking questions, disbelief, and possibly retaliation from the wives or their male relatives.

I argue that real people don't behave this way. Big screen actors and comic book folks do because the script requires it. It seems that if on July 12, 1843, Joseph Smith had been practicing sexual polyandry with his polyandrous wives for any period of time, telling those women that their relationship with him was adultery and they would be destroyed because of it made little sense. For Joseph Smith to include a statement that condemned his personal behavior regarding the practice seems illogical.

This is just one of several important contradictory evidences that no sexual polyandry advocate has addressed.

I'd invite any reader including Dan to respond to this observation or the four problems with the sexual polyandry tradition. Or anything else. I'll try and reply but I cover these things in my upcoming volumes, but they probably won't be out until mid 2012.

Thanks!

Brian Hales


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:35 am 
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Hey Brian

It looks to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that you are, at least in this thread, only suggesting that Joseph Smith did not have sexual relations with his polyandrous wives. Is that correct? I have sometimes thought that he married these particular women (who themselves were already married) in order to give more legitimacy to the spiritual and/or purely celestially dynastic aspect of plural marriage. So it's not hard for me to believe that he did not have relations with these particular wives. Although using the wording of section 132 to bolster this idea is a little tricky perhaps, since other parts of it condemn him, namely that which states that the first wife must give her consent to additional wives, and he clearly did not have Emma's consent, as others in Nauvoo surely knew. In other words, if he was in clear violation of this part of the revelation, what's to say he wasn't in violation of other parts?

I guess my main question is to clarify whether or not you think he had sexual relations with his non-polyandrous wives, given this:

Doctrine and Covenants 123:63 wrote:
But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.


ETA: emphasis

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Last edited by floatingboy on Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:54 am 
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p.s. Is it correct to refer to Joseph Smith as practicing sexual polyandry, or polyandry of any sort (he could only practice polygyny)? I presume you mean to specifically refer to his polyandrous wives and whether or not they were practicing sexual polyandry? My intention is not to split hairs, but rather to clarify whether or not you're talking about Joseph Smith practicing sexual polygyny at all or if you're only talking about his polyandrous wives practicing sexual polyandry.

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:08 pm 
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floatingboy wrote:
p.s. Is it correct to refer to Joseph Smith as practicing sexual polyandry, or polyandry of any sort (he could only practice polygyny)? I presume you mean to specifically refer to his polyandrous wives and whether or not they were practicing sexual polyandry? My intention is not to split hairs, but rather to clarify whether or not you're talking about Joseph Smith practicing sexual polygyny at all or if you're only talking about his polyandrous wives practicing sexual polyandry.


It is crucial that apologists defend Joseph Smith against the practice of sexual relations with polyandrous wives at all costs. Many will freely admit to Joseph's sexual relationships with his other wives. Evidence pointing to sexual relations with polyandrous wives, however, seems to dramatically weaken apologetic claims of dynastic purposes and strengthen the claim of critics that is was primarily about sex.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:01 pm 
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Brian,

I appreciate having this chance to discuss your criticisms of my use of some early sources relating to Joseph Smith’s possible early indiscretions. My main concern is your accusation that I go “beyond available evidence” and misrepresent or manufacture evidence. I’m happy that you are willing to discuss your views on polyandry in detail, but I’ll set that aside and focus on what concerns me most. I’m disappointed that you essentially gave no response or justification for your accusations and refused to respond to my critique. So, I’ll give it another try.

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I argue no such documentation actually exists, believing that Dan's reporting of the three episodes go beyond the evidence. Readers are left to evaluate Dan's verbiage and draw their own conclusions. …

Regarding Dan's defense of the three criticisms I voiced on my website, I must simply state that after reading all the defense and reasoning, I'm remain convinced that a vast majority of unbiased readers would review what Dan has written and conclude …


No, Brian, it’s up to you to defend and justify your accusations. You didn’t do it on your website, so here is the place.

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(1) that evidence exists that Levi Lewis personally accused Joseph Smith of trying to seduce Eliza Winters,


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This error transforms a dubious account into a firsthand allegation.


Lewis did accuse Joseph Smith of trying to seduce Winters, and that Harris didn’t deny it. The problem is you are assuming that this means Lewis had firsthand knowledge, which I never said. If I wanted to make it appear like I had firsthand testimony, I could have simply said Harris accused Joseph Smith without mentioning Lewis. That’s the expected method of misrepresenting a source such as this.

If Lewis was relying only on Harris for this information, he would not have said Harris didn’t blame Joseph Smith for this indiscretion. Lewis’s account presents the attempted seduction as a given, as common knowledge in the neighborhood, and that Harris didn’t blame Joseph Smith for trying.

What gives this statement credibility is not whether it’s firsthand or secondhand but that it was published so that both Joseph Smith and Harris had ample opportunity to challenge it.

You are attempting to quibble about my presentation without dealing with the evidence. Furthermore, the implication is that you believe you don’t have to deal with it since it’s not firsthand, and what’s not firsthand is dubious.

So, please, show me how my statement about Lewis goes “beyond the evidence” and how it changes Lewis’s statement into a firsthand account.

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(2) that a record of testimony exists accusing Joseph Smith of improper conduct with two of Josiah Stowell’s daughters, Miriam and Rhoda,


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This error carries the potential of turning non-evidence into evidence.


I made no such claim. I never said there was a record for this 1830 trial. I merely said the trial--not the trial record--“included testimony accusing him of improper conduct with two of Josiah Stowell’s daughters. Following this, I cited Joseph Smith 1838-39 History.

In support that such accusations did occur in 1830, I quoted Joseph Smith’s 1844 statement that he was accused of polygamy in New York. Despite your weak apologetic in an email to me, my use of it is entirely reasonable and your suppression of it violates the rule of charity, as also your suppression that my source for the 1830 trial was Joseph Smith’s History. You tried to make it appear that I was inventing a source.

So, please, show me how my statement about Lewis goes “beyond the evidence” and how it turns non-evidence into evidence.

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and (3) that documentation exists showing that the topic of Joseph trying to seduce Eliza came up in the 1880 interview and she responded without affirming or denying.


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Here Vogel goes beyond the evidence in his assertion.



The last part of the above statement is what I said, but the first part is your invention. I simply stated that she did not take the opportunity when she had it.

So, please, show me where I said the topic was brought up and how my statement goes “beyond the evidence”.

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In his opening paragraph I was a bit surprised to read (concerning me): "…he thinks historians go beyond the evidence when they use secondhand or hearsay testimony or make reasonable inferences from the evidence. He believes that he is not obligated to deal with evidence unless it’s both firsthand and explicit."

In fact, I don't "think" or "believe" these misrepresentative straw-man assessments and really didn't think Dan, a veteran at polemics, would employ such ineffective techniques. Hopefully I would never attempt to tell people what Dan "thinks" or "believes," since being a nontelepathic, I couldn't be sure.


Brian, I didn’t read your mind to find out what you “think” or “believe”—you told me.

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Similarly, for decades the conventional interpretation of the Prophet's plural marriages has included sexual polyandry. But what happens when we take a close look at the evidence supporting it?


That’s what I mean. To believe Joseph Smith participated in sexual polyandry is to go beyond the evidence, right?

I don’t want to get bogged down in the polyandry subject, because I want to focus on your accusations.

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:32 am 
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I would like to thank Dan Vogel for making me aware of Brian Hales comments and criticisms.

As I have read Hales work and listened to his presentations, my conclusion is that Hales is quite adept at presenting historical fiction. At the Sunstone Symposium in August Hales presented his ideas about Smith and Nauvoo polygamy. One of these claims is that John C Bennett was not an insider and did not know about Smith's polygamy ideology. It seems to me that Hales has either ignored or refuses to read the historical record of the Nauvoo period, and selects only material that confirms his thesis. I have decided to call this the: "Throw everyone else under the bus to protect Joseph Smith history."

Hales treatment of Fanny Alger is equally selective and an excellent example of reaching beyond the sources. Hales has decided that the Far West Record and Oliver Cowdery's letters (both written with in a couple of years of the "affair") are not as useful as Mosiah Hancock's infant remembrances and Eliza Snow's forty year recollections. Hales would never consider that either of these people would have motives to change the historical record since one was a relative of the Algers and the other a plural wife of Smith's. Hales also wants to claim that this "dirty, nasty, filthy affair" is nothing more that a marriage or non-sexual relationship. Who really is reaching beyond the sources?

It should also be pointed out that when Hales writes that HE added Esther Ducther as one of Smith's polyandrous wives, it was in fact the Nauvoo historian Joseph Johnstun who discovered this marriage. This woman and her legal husband's lives were equally tragic after this "marriage" like most of the other Smith polyandrous marriages. Smith left nothing but destruction and sorrow in his wake as he took these young women as his wives, but Hales wants to turn this time period into a Disney movie.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:52 am 
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I love the logic that since Joseph and Fanny had sex, they must have been married, but in Nauvoo the thinking gets turned on its head to be that if Joseph and a woman were married, they must not have had sex.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:51 pm 
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Ron Priddis wrote:
I love the logic that since Joseph and Fanny had sex, they must have been married, but in Nauvoo the thinking gets turned on its head to be that if Joseph and a woman were married, they must not have had sex.

+1,000

Ron, you are a genius!

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:00 pm 
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Dr. Shades wrote:
Ron Priddis wrote:
I love the logic that since Joseph and Fanny had sex, they must have been married, but in Nauvoo the thinking gets turned on its head to be that if Joseph and a woman were married, they must not have had sex.

+1,000

Ron, you are a genius!

+ another 1,000. Truly genius in how succinctly, Ron, you point out how biased the conclusion is if necessary to save JSJr.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:22 am 
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Dan Vogel, Ron Priddis, Brian Hales, and Joe Geisner... all in one thread. Wow. What a blessed day for Mormon Discussions.

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:52 pm 
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Do you think there would be a market (and a possible movie deal) for a book series entitled, The Work and the Chastity?

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:39 am 
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I think Dan Vogel is wrong. Dead wrong!

Wrong to expect intellectual honesty and scholarly rigor from Brian Hales. Particularly when it was so obvious from his initial treatment of Vogel´s arguments that he´s no interest in either.


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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:33 pm 
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BrianHales wrote:
There are many problems with the idea that the Prophet practiced sexual polyandry. I'll list one in this post and perhaps I will expand if there is interest. The proposed timeline associated with Joseph Smith’s alleged sexual polyandry seems unrealistic. According to the accusations, Joseph was sealed to his first polyandrous wife, Zina Huntington Jacobs on October 27, 1842 and would have been sleeping with her from that date forward. During the next twenty months, it appears he was sealed to all of his polyandrous wives, so by July of 1843, he had been married to possibly thirteen women who had legal husbands.

On July 12, 1843, the Prophet received the revelation on celestial and plural marriage that was designed to justify and explain the practice of plural marriage. If he had at that point been practicing sexual polyandry for over a year and a half, it seems likely that somewhere within that revelation he would have dictated a verse or two authorizing conjugal polyandrous relations.

By the same token, it would be equally likely that somewhere within that revelation he would have dictated a verse or two about non-conjugal polyandrous marriage if that is what he was up to.

Looking at what we do know, there were other occassions when Joseph Smith violated the rules set out in D&C 132 by marrying young virgin's without the permission of his first wife. This makes it clear that this particular revelation wasn't something that guided his actions when it came to who he married and what he did when he was alone with a wife.

BrianHales wrote:
If Joseph was engaging in polyandrous sex, condemning it in the revelation doesn't make sense. Brigham Young, John Taylor, Zina Huntington, Eliza Snow and other polygamy insiders were not that stupid as to not figure out what the revelation was saying. Importantly, no one complained at any level.

That's factually incorrect. People did complain, such as Jane Law.

Regarding the ones who didn't complain, a certain type were okay with rationalizing--after all, if the Prophet tells you it's okay to have sex with him, who cares what he teaches on Sunday? It's your little secret, and you're merely following the prophet. If they were okay with rationalizing away the church's public teachings about polygamy, why would they have a problem rationalizing a secret revelation about polygamy, as well?

BrianHales wrote:
That no backlash or complaints were registered by those aware -- and dozens were apprised of the Prophet's polyandrous sealings -- seems implausible. It is likely that his hypocrisy would have been detected by observers provoking questions, disbelief, and possibly retaliation from the wives or their male relatives.

Do the names William Law, Jane Law, Wilson Law, Austin Cowles and Robert Foster mean anything to you?

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 Post subject: Re: VOGEL RESPONDS TO APOLOGIST BRIAN HALES
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:51 pm 
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I agree with Analytics that there was some backlash. Sarah Pratt didn't think too much of Joseph's advances and told her husband as much. Orson agreed and ended up being excommunicated for his unwillingness to yield to Joseph's will.


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