Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

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mormonheretic
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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by mormonheretic » 11 May 2011, 21:32

I've heard the John C Bennett stuff, but I don't think that is reliable information.

Don Bradley gave a presentation about Fanny Alger at the MHA meetings last year. In his paper, he quoted stories saying that Fanny appeared to be pregnant, and Joseph (1) sent Fanny away to avoid scandal and Emma's wrath, (2) he went on a spur of the moment trip to Massachusetts at the same time to avoid appearances of impropriety. Apparently Fanny had a hastily arranged marriage to a non-Mormon soon after. Bradley states that if Fanny had a child, it either was still born or died soon after birth. No birth certificate from the time period exists so it is unknown if Fanny was pregnant. (She went on to have 9 children.) Richard Bushman believes the evidence about Fanny's pregnancy is weak.

There is another story about Eliza R Snow. Supposedly, Emma was furious with Eliza about something, and some have speculated that Eliza may have been pregnant. As the story goes, Emma shoved Eliza down the stairs at the Mansion House, inducing a miscarriage. The story has been documented in some books, but Richard Bushman discounts these stories in Rough Stone Rolling. I blogged about this a few years ago. If you're interested in these and other stories, see http://www.mormonheretic.org/2009/06/14 ... -and-snow/

curt
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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by curt » 12 May 2011, 21:44

There is no question that the lack of other offspring presents the most compelling case that JS did not practice polygamy, at least in the carnal sense. It is quite possible that he sealed himself to many women but did not actually engage in sexual intercourse with them. I think that the lack of more offspring pretty much assures that is the case. Destroys the idea that JS was some kind of lecher and could even account for Emma's refusal to believe he practiced polygamy. This is an area of inquiry that needs much more study. If JS didn't view polygamy as something to be carnal, rather than spiritual alone, then it does seem to raise serious questions about BY and those who followed that path, and brings into question whether they were truly inspired by God let alone prophets. Of course, it also raises other, troubling issues. From the entirely negative side-why would JS have put down the "prophecy" anyway, if he did not seek to use it for sexual satisfaction? From a more positive side--did he not understand the prophecy? Was he confused by it? Did he carry it out reluctantly, even if only in a non-carnal sense? JS was a very powerful figure with a vast ego and a charisma that could bring men and women to him. The questions on his polygamous activity abound.

Curt

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by mom3 » 12 May 2011, 22:39

In Believeing History Bushman implies that Joseph struggled with the polygamy revelation. Joseph clearly recalled Jacobs admonition against anything like polygamy. Joseph also did love Emma. The lack of children may have come from this struggle. Could he have been trying to straddle two commandments from God. It is also very possible that he was busy. It's hard for us as readers to imagine how intense the early church period was-for good and for bad. Along with constant migration, community reestablishment, jail and court time. Not to mention trying to study languages, re-translate the bible and so on. Time to be with anyone was probably lacking. Brigham Young had more time to increase his posterity. One final thought. Joseph and Emma lost children. Though they had others maybe Joseph was reluctant to risk that pain again. There really is just so much we don't know. Which leaves us with only speculation.

"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Tom Haws
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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Tom Haws » 13 May 2011, 05:03

I found some information on this yesterday. I may paste some of the direct quotes.
curt wrote:Destroys the idea that JS was some kind of lecher and could even account for Emma's refusal to believe he practiced polygamy.
Actually, the historian consensus is that Emma knew about polygamy, witnesses some of the weddings, occasionally made peace with Joseph over it, and at other times was (appropriately, IMHO) was positively and vocally indignant with Joseph about it.

The public face of Emma was consistently one of denial. But Joseph and Hyrum and Brigham (and others) knew she knew.

To me, the most troubling aspect of polygamy/polyandry (off the topic of this thread) was that Joseph consistently lied about it through the entire ten years, and never repented. That's not good religion.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 May 2011, 06:50

The lying and secrecy bother me the most, but I also understand it if Joseph really did believe it was a command from God and part of the restoration of all things - and if he knew the practical result of making it public knowledge. He had Abraham lying about his marriage to Sarah as an example, and he had Emma's feelings to consider (as ironic as that sounds given the situation).

I don't think the overall evidence supports the argument that he was a lecherous guy who just wanted to get more action, even as I can't rule out the possibility that he had active hormones that played a role in his beliefs regarding the overall situation. I really do believe the whole topic is VERY complicated - but the lack of proof of children (and the tests on suspected lines that have been negative), the lack of accounts of long-term, continued sexual activity and the multiple "forms" of marriage and sealing that occurred throughout his life point more to a man who was trying to understand and implement something he didn't fully grasp than to a randy guy out to get all he could get, imo.

The DNA issue is a big "plus" for Joseph, I believe - even if it probably never will be conclusive.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Heber13 » 13 May 2011, 10:19

I don't believe his actions and his character as described by so many people support he was two-faced and really a sex-mongerer in hiding, as some try to characterize him to be and break down his image of a prophet of God.

However, Richard Bushman presented some of the events, and when I read that it makes Joseph more human, but still a very good human trying to do what he thought was commanded by God. Polygamy still doesn't make sense to me, and I don't see Joseph found a way to have it make sense openly in the public eye. In a way, Joseph was taught from the beginning that some things are of God (i.e. Golden Plates) but need to be kept secret from those who can't handle the truth or just because it is not good to have all things out in the open to achieve the purposes designed.

I'm not saying I like that, or I am comfortable with it ... only realizing there was a lot of stuff Joseph dealt with on a daily basis ... so it would be easy for me to say what I would hope for from a Prophet of God with no secrets...but I wasn't living the life Joseph was living.

I agree with Ray, I believe it was complicated, and Joseph was human, and we just don't know any more than that.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by SamBee » 14 May 2011, 09:23

If Jefferson's extramarital children can be found why not JS?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Brown » 14 May 2011, 10:53

I guess I just don't get why it would matter. Say we track down a long lost great-great-granddaughter of JS. Then what?

It's pretty much already a given that JS had multiple wives and I am pretty sure most people have sex with their spouse. So if we already know that, what's the significance of filling out the family tree?

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 May 2011, 15:02

That's pretty much how I see it, brown - but it would put an end to the arguments of those who say Joseph really wasn't involved in polygamy or that there was no sexual component at all in the relationships in which he was involved.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Polygamy and Brother Joseph's DNA

Post by Tom Haws » 14 May 2011, 15:30

In the big scheme of things, I agree with Brown and Ray. To me, personally, on the average day, the matter of offspring doesn't really matter because of what Brown said. When, however, my Dad asked about it, it got me to thinking. I still may post a bunch of pertinent source quotes.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
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Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
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