Evening With An Author

Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History & Theology (3 vols.)

Brian C. Hales

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We are pleased to announce that Brian C. Hales–author of the newly published (available on Feb 26th) trilogy, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology–will be at our store on Wednesday, February 27th, to speak about the book and sign copies. He will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 pm to sign and will begin speaking at 6:00. We hope you will stick around afterwards to enjoy some refreshments and have another opportunity to get your book signed and visit with the author. Don Bradley, who assisted with volumes 1 and 2, will also be in attendance.

Few American religious figures have stirred more passion among adherents and antagonists than Joseph Smith. Born in 1805 and silenced thirty-nine years later by assassins’ bullets, he dictated more than one-hundred revelations, published books of new scripture, built a temple, organized several new cities, and became the proclaimed prophet to tens of thousands during his abbreviated life.

Among his many novel teachings and practices, none is more controversial than plural marriage, a restoration of the Old Testament practice that he accepted as part of his divinely appointed mission. Joseph Smith taught his polygamy doctrines only in secret and dictated a revelation in July 1843 authorizing its practice (now LDS D&C 132) that was never published during his lifetime. Although rumors and exposés multiplied, it was not until 1852 that Mormons in Brigham Young’s Utah took a public stand. By then, thousands of Mormons were engaged in the practice that was seen as essential to salvation.

Victorian America saw plural marriage as immoral and Joseph Smith as acting on libido. However, the private writings of Nauvoo participants and other polygamy insiders tell another, more complex and nuanced story. Many of these accounts have never been published. Others have been printed sporadically in unrelated publications. Drawing on every known historical account, whether by supporters or opponents, Volumes 1 and 2 take a fresh look at the chronology and development of Mormon polygamy, including the difficult conundrums of the Fannie Alger relationship, polyandry, the “angel with a sword” accounts, Emma Smith’s poignant response, and the possibility of Joseph Smith offspring by his plural wives. Among the most intriguing are the newly available Andrew Jenson papers containing not only the often-quoted statements by surviving plural wives but also Jenson’s own private research, conducted in the late nineteenth century.

Telling the story of Joseph Smith’s polygamy from the records of those who knew him best, augmented by those who observed him from a distance, may have produced the most useful view of all.

“Brian Hales wants to face up to every question, every problem, every fear about plural marriage. His answers may not satisfy everyone, but he gives readers the relevant sources where answers, if they exist, are to be found. There has never been a more thorough examination of the polygamy idea.” —Richard L. Bushman

Brian C. Hales, board-certified anesthesiologist in Layton, Utah, graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in biology and from the University of Utah, College of Medicine. He has written numerous articles for Mormon Historical Studies, Dialogue and the Journal of Mormon History.  One of his seven books, Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto (Salt Lake City: Kofford Books, 2007), was awarded the “Best Book of 2007” prize from the John Whitmer Historical Association.

Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History (vols. 1 & 2) and Theology (vol. 3). Kofford Books, 2013. 623, 594, 322 pp. Hardcover. Reg. $100.85, SALE $89.95.

Also available:

Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto. Kofford Books, 2011. 524 pp. Paperback. $31.95.

Mormon Fundamentalism – Setting the Record Straight. Brigham Distributing, 2008. 153 pp. Paperback. $9.95.

We hope you will be able to make it to the event–if you are planning on coming, you can visit the event page on Facebook here  and let us know!  If you can’t make it, we can get a signed set for you to either pick up in the store or receive in the mail.

Shipping: Media Mail: $8.00 for the trilogy, $1 for each additional book

Priority/FedEx/UPS options available—inquire for details

Utah residents—please add 7.05% tax

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