January: Post-Manifesto Polygamy

Discussion Lead:
Barbara Jones Brown

Barbara and Lorna

Friday, January 3, 2014, 7:30 pm

Mark and Elizabeth England’s Home
1194 S 500 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

We have the very good fortune of having Barbara Jones Brown present and lead a discussion on a topical subject. The church just made history this past month by officially posting on their web site some of the more thorny issues of our history, including post-manifesto polygamy.

Barbara has written and spoken extensively about “post-Manifesto polygamy,” or the Latter-day Saint practice of plural marriage after 1890. She is the biographer of Lorna Call Alder, who was born and raised in northern Mexico’s polygamous Mormon “colonies” in the early twentieth-century. (105 year old Lorna is next to Barbara in the photo above.) Brown won Utah State University’s Leonard J. Arrington Award for her work on this subject. She holds a master’s degree in American History from the University of Utah, where she was a Floyd A. O’Neil Scholar and a U.S. Department of Education fellow. She was the content editor of Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley and Glen M. Leonard’s Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Oxford University Press, 2008) and is now at work on its sequel.

As always, our discussions are more fruitful if we take the time to read ahead. Please become familiar with some of the following:

The Church’s official presentation of the topic in Gospel Topics

Here’s a historical essay Barbara wrote about polygamy, including post-manifesto polygamy, and her personal struggle to understand my ancestors and others who practiced it.

Want to dig deeper? Barbara suggests the following:

D. Michael Quinn, LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890–1904, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1985, 9–105.

For those who want to really delve into this topic, here’s a few books on the topic:

B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage (University of Illinois Press, 1992)

Kathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle (University of North Carolina Press, 2003)

Kathryn Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910 (University of Illinois Press, 2008)