Reluctant Polygamist

Reluctant Polygamist : Joseph Smith Jr.

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Mormon founder Joseph Smith was shot by a mob in 1844 while in the custody of the State of Illinois. Many agree his violent death was linked to reports that he had secretly married several women. The history of polygamy haunts believers even today. Joseph's successor, Brigham Young, taught that plural marriage was critical to salvation, though only a minority of Mormon men ever had more than one wife. Joseph's wife, Emma, would maintain on her death bed that she'd been Joseph's only wife. Brigham's followers and Emma's descendants would each honor Joseph's memory, while embracing entirely divergent versions of Joseph's history. Reluctant Polygamist examines the difficult birth of the Mormon belief that all mankind can be united with their loved ones in eternity. Stout explores the intrigue that fundamentally divided those wishing to embrace the Restored Gospel for which Joseph had given his life. Jeff Lindsay writes, "[Stout's] analysis of the cultural setting in which polygamy was introduced and the details of the life of her polygamous ancestor add several new dimensions to our understanding of polygamy... Reluctant Polygamist is a remarkable example of investigative journalism, almost a murder mystery or spy thriller in the making... There are some very scary bad guys in this story-and Joseph is not one of them." - Jeff Lindsay, LDS FAQ: Mormon Answers, Mormanity Blog Gregory Prince writes, "Reluctant Polygamist asks the reader to accept the complexity and ambiguity of LDS plural marriage, rather than going for a simplistic explanation. I think that's a real service." - Gregory A. Prince, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 386 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22mm | 562g
  • English
  • 1530935156
  • 9781530935154
  • 2,454,068

About Meg Stout

Meg Stout is a a research engineer and long-time family historian whose ancestors lived with Joseph Smith in the years before his death. As a teenager, Stout was shocked to learn of Joseph Smith's polygamy. For decades she harbored significant doubts about the faith in which she'd been raised. Joseph Smith wasn't just the founder of her religion. He was the husband of one of her ancestors and beloved of other ancestors who sacrificed everything in their attempt to obey God within Joseph Smith's religious context. Ms. Stout's ancestors also include one of the two major conspirators who orchestrated Joseph's death. Ms. Stout's used the skills from decades of research engineering to methodically examine data from all credible sources. In the process, she crafts a coherent and satisfying narrative describing the real, fallible, sometimes evil, and yet noble characters who gave birth to Mormonism. In the process, she uncovers intrigue that explains why Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, would have been willing to be misunderstood and reviled rather than betray the terrible secrets of those they loved. Ms. Stout also discusses why Brigham Young may have made polygamy tantamount to a mandatory requirement, the more shocking as it becomes clear that Joseph Smith doesn't appear to have envisioned a society where every man was required to take on a plural wife.
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