Episode 118b: Polygamy Manifesto for Dummies Part 2

31 comments on “Episode 118b: Polygamy Manifesto for Dummies Part 2”

  1. Natachu Reply

    Ok John you had the best line yet in this podcast. Thanks for the early morning laugh … “I don’t even have my head in my hat and *I* can do it!”

  2. resinchrist Reply

    As always, Mike was enlightening. I learned that as a resurrected being, I will have no blood, therefore, no erections. Useful information. I will be spared the need to reach for a towel when I attend nudist functions in the hereafter.

  3. George Miller Reply

    That was a spirited and an incredibly fun podcast. Thanks for the review of Manifesto #2 Dummies podcast. John and the rest of you are so entertaining when you allow yourself to be yourselves and cut loose.

  4. Joe Reply

    John, Glenn, Tom, and Perry: Did any of you consider the CoC at all? The CoC seem to have avoided most of the issues/problems that you have with the LDS Church. Or maybe you are all so disenchanted that this wouldn’t be an option. Just curious?

    • Rich Rasmussen Reply

      I did. I got as far as mapquest even; I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I personally feel that polygamy is the church’s most significant blemish, however, it isn’t the only critical issue I have. My difficulties with Joseph Smith, for example, kept me from making that drive to the CoC.

    • Brock Sampson Reply

      I’m speaking for myself here, but figuring out that the church wasn’t real was like finding out that Santa wasn’t real. Abandoning belief in Santa for belief in the Easter Bunny doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense in my opinion. I’m probably being too judgmental here, but I feel like anyone who leaves Mormonism for another religion has kinda missed the point.

      • Rich Rasmussen Reply

        I refer to this action as “trading one bag of crazy for another”…but I can be too cynical sometimes.

  5. Alastor Moody Reply

    I love these dummies podcast. Like others I really enjoyed John calling the Mormon God a lunatic. John, perhaps a podcast on the morality of the LDS god would be a great idea.

    But when are we going to get the Abraham Covenant Podcast that we keep hearing about?

    The most insightful part, I found was the quote that “god will not allow the prophet to lead the church astray” came from Manifesto 1. I have read that a few time but never quite put it together.

    Definitely one of my favorite podcasts.

    • brandt Reply

      The Abrahamic Covenant is quickly becoming a podcast worthy of mythos and legend. QUICK! Where’s Glenn to start with his folklore about the origins of the podcast! 😉

  6. Gail F. Bartholomew Reply

    I like these dummy episodes because I am a dummy. Please keep them coming. When I listened to the John Dehlin interview with Daymon Smith I think his research makes it pretty clear that all the manifesto’s were wink wink nod nod. I also think clear as well Pres. Hinkly’s quote was a wink wink nod nod. I do not think we have any real reason to believe that any of the church’s statements in between where any different. We know that at the same time apostles where traveling around the church giving the message of the manifesto they were also not only giving approval for but performing plural marriages clear into the 1900’s. We know that at least one apostle was in a plural marriage into the 1940’s. He was exed, but was it for his actions or for his getting caught. The Smith interview also made it clear to me that the real fight about polygamy was over church property and power not really over the doctrine. I think the only reason to believe that the brethren are not still practicing plural marriage is it would be to difficult for them to do so today with out getting caught. I think the split happened between the fundies and LDS more because Taylor would not just roll over and shut up. I do not believe that Woodruff or Smith ever really believed that polygamy was really gone.

  7. JT Reply

    When John suggests that God is a lunatic, I would imagine that he means the Mormon construal of God as inferred by the twisted behavior its leaders pursuing their twisted course all the while to speak for Him.

    Religious people do have a strong tendency to travel down such metaphorical thought tunnels, unchecked by the broader perspective of the goings on around the rest of the planet, constructing Gods that think like they do for the purpose of rationalizing their collective ignorance and stupidity. This is the lunacy. This is pure group-centric solipsism. This is what mistakes a ludiocracy (my word) for a theocracy – at least in my humble opinion.

    • JT Reply


      When you spew, don’t forget to proof read. Is this better?

      When John suggests that God is a lunatic, I would imagine that he means the Mormon construal of God as inferred by the behavior of its leaders pursuing their twisted course, all the while claiming to speak for Him.

      Religious people do have a strong tendency to travel down such metaphorical thought tunnels, unchecked by a broader perspective of the goings on of the rest of the planet, constructing Gods that think like they do for the purpose of rationalizing their collective ignorance and stupidity. This is the lunacy. This is the pure group-centric solipsism. This is the mistaking of a ludiocracy (my word) for a theocracy.


      • JT Reply


        Slightly … but I’m feeling a bit mean … and a little dissociated …


  8. James Reply

    Great podcast.

    What I always come away from when a discussion of polygamy takes any form is a general confusion and dismay. I get that god is possibly beyond my level of thinking to the point that I can comprehend his/her purposes and workings. Tom suggests this, and I have heard this type of comment in response to every doubt I have ever expressed to anyone. “Just have faith, it will all work out in the end.” And flatly I just say BS! Enough. (no offense, Tom…). At some point the fully restored gospel in its plain and simple form has to be just that – plain and simple. Polygamy, what a mess. What a disaster. What a complete bullet to the head of Mormonism. You said it, Tom – it’s issue numero uno! At one point I would have claimed there is nothing that was singular in killing off the church for me as real and divine, but the more and more polygamy gets discussed and rehashed, the more it is clear for me that it was, and continues to be, one gigantic FUBAR.

    John, thanks for also pointing out that the “vision” of the church in ruin if polygamy was continued was not much of a vision. Like saying it might rain as you walk through the accumulating puddles on the sidewalk.

    Twas shocking to hear Mike back on the wire as well. Not sure what to think but grateful he was relatively timid.

    Polygamy. At one point an Angel with a sword is making it very clear how to proceed and then we are left with the ambiguity and half-truths of “to whom it may concern”. And the church wants credibility? Come on!

    And the time you spent on the conference address of the manifesto, the voting, the tears, the lack of response from the congregation – that is really good detail to help put it in context and make it more real. What a terrible, terrible mess. What a disaster!

    More of this, please! This is the kind of stuff that I can listen to over and over and walk away with more understanding, (and admittedly even more questions). I am pulling back out my Quinn books as I type to re-read some of the things you covered.


  9. Brian Reply

    The question was raised how did term “Manifesto” come about.

    In conference when it was read in and then voted upon:

    President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:
    “I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

    On another issue—hang in there, Mike. As an inactive member, I rarely agree with your faithful views, but they really add a needed dimension to the podcasts. Appreciate what you have to say and the fact that you face the music as the minority each and every podcast.

    I imagine in their meetings leading up to the announcement it was referred to as a “manifesto” and once it was announced using that name, it stuck.

    The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous.
    Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890.

  10. Anonymous Reply

    Best book I’ve read on the subject— Utah Polygamy and the Manifesto….as well as post-Manifesto polygamy is Solemn Covenant: THE MORMON POLYGAMOUS PASSAGE by B. Carmon Hardy.


    Some have called the book Quinn had wanted to write following his publishing of his papers on post-Manifesto polygamy.

    Clearly the Manifesto was not viewed in 1890 as it is now. Many most saw it as way to get the gov’t off the Church’s back and not revelation or binding. The need for another document in 1904 seems to bear that out. The problem was made worse by the mixed messages sent by LDS leadership. Leaders were approving marriages and marrying more wives themselves while saying that such marriages had ended publicly. After the Manifesto the 1st Presidency which had exclusive control of sealings delegated the power out so that marriages could continue and they could maintain plausible deniability. Eventually the idea was that despite claiming that all plural sealings had ended they would continue in Mexico and Canada— although they still continued to a smaller degree in the US as well— w/o the Brethren needing to be directly involved. Defenders say that post manifesto polygamy was the result of local leaders acting on their own accord but it appears that the plan was form the top that local leaders continue and allow the 15 (or at least the 1st pres.) to try an remain ignorant of the details.

    Anyway I think it’s interesting how a document that was viewed as — as Charles W. Penrose put it— a way to “beat the Devil at his own game” to now being a canonized “revelation.”

    Good podcast. I suggest people check out the Hardy book as well. It’s good stuff.

  11. Guest Reply

    The Abrahamic Covenant is quickly becoming a podcast worthy of mythos and legend. QUICK! Where’s Glenn to start with his folklore about the origins of the podcast! 😉

  12. Jacob Brown Reply

    Reading Quinn’s book, “Extensions of Power,” made me realize that before David O. McKay, the president of the church wasn’t consistently regarded as the powerful and singular authoritative spokesperson for God, i.e. The Prophet. Joseph Smith was The Prohet. It seems like the presidents of the church after Joseph Smith lived in his shadow. Maybe this could explain some of the mamby pamby that was attributed to the Manifesto. Quinn paints a picture of the church leadership stuggling for power between the President and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. There must have been an interesting dynamic going on behind the scenes that we may never know about.

  13. Lstevekimball Reply

    Heber J Grant was in fact a polygamist and had three wives. I just had a chance to listen. Thought this should be corrected as it seems pretty critical i.e., a polygamist prophet in 1945. He married a first time in 1877 and then twice more in 1884. It’s your podcast but hey why not et it right, as if there isn’t enough bad info out there already. Few, very few Mormons today understand that polygamy was being practiced by most of their leaders even into the 50’s. If they knew that they might wake up a bit. Polygamy isn’t an old issue for the church. You might consider a podcast on why the church took the stand publicly over Colo City polygamists, you will learn enough to know it was a repeat of what happened 80 years earlier.

    By the way it might also be a good thing for listeners to understand a man today who was sealed to a women in the temple need only have a temple clearence in order to marry a second. Although a civil divorce is typically necessary, there is seldom cancellation of the 1st eternal marriage. This is what caused me to start questioning and eventually leave. I refused to be a plig. Thanks!

  14. X Reply

    I’m with Glenn when it comes to the belief that unexalted (ie terrestrial and telestial) beings will be genital-less. Where does this even come from? Where can the source for such belief be found even? Is it just inferred from the idea that as exalted beings who have attained “eternal life” will procreate their own spirit children to populate their own worlds without end that those who are damned to the lesser kingdoms will just not have the option of even pleasuring themselves, they just lose those parts of their bodies? That seems to be contrary to the doctrine of the resurrection entirely. The resurrection, as I understood it always meant that you would be returned to a perfect physical form of the human body without flaw (even if you were born deformed or without limbs, etc). One could only assume that the doctrine of the resurrection applied to sex organs as well. Why would one have to be castrated or hysterectimized instead of just being rendered sterile, however that is done when it comes to “spirit children”. Who’s to say that sexual intercourse is the act which brings forth spirit children also? Aren’t we taught that as exalted beings we will also have physical bodies? So how, if sexual intercourse is the method by which spirit children are conceived, will glorified beings create spirit children while in their physical bodies? I would assume that the act of intercourse would still yield physical “bodied” children as well, unless you get “spirit sperm” and “spirit eggs” in a glorified body. Anyway, to hypothesize on the details of what a non-celestial body of a person’s anatomy will be is in itself somewhat ludicrous to even ponder given the doctrine of resurrection as it is taught. Just my take, feel free to enlighten me if I’ve misstated the doctrine or otherwise misunderstood.

  15. Anonymous Reply

    This inspires me to finally dig in and learn more about my polygamous ancestors, of which I have more than a few. Great session.

  16. Anonymous Reply

    This inspires me to finally dig in and learn more about my polygamous ancestors, of which I have more than a few. Great session.

  17. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    A few of my favorite mormonexpression.com quotes:
    John “When Joseph Smith didn’t want to practice polygamy, God sent a flaming angel sword to cut off his nuts.”
    Tom “They dug their trenches in ambiguity.”
    and a close runner up,
    John [Polygamy] “ended with a thud”.

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  19. ff42 Reply

    Believers claim that ages ago the BP sent his assistant through the door, explained some rules to the users, was killed by the users, returned through the door and that the assistant will soon return; this time kicking ass.  How can we know that it happened before and/or will happen again?

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