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Bad Memes

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen many of these memes.  I’d like to point out some of the ones that I’m not much of a fan of.  Take this one from Elder Ezra Taft Benson.


On the one hand, it seems to be intended for conservative leaning folks, those who can’t seem to stomach Donald Trump’s overt racism, and those who think Hillary Clinton is a perpetual liar.  So, you seem forced to choose the lesser of two evils, so the quote from Benson makes sense.  Voting for evil is still evil, right?

Here’s the problem with the meme.   Continue Reading »

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Doctrinal History of Vicarious Work

A friend asked me about the doctrinal history of why Mormons, and specifically Joseph Smith, came up with the doctrine of baptism of the dead, and vicarious ordinances.  He noted that in Elder Bednar’s 2011 General Conference talk, Bednar tied vicarious work not only with the visit of Elijah to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but also with the earliest foundations of the church.  I hadn’t considered that as a possibility before and thought it would be interesting to look at.

Of course we all know that the First Vision occurred in the spring on 1820.  Bednar notes that Continue Reading »

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Was the Revolution a Mistake?

Monday July 4 is Independence Day in America.  I came across an interesting (heretical) point of view:  3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake.  Dylan Matthews argues that

  1. “the British Empire, in all likelihood, would have abolished slavery earlier than the US did, and with less bloodshed.”
  2. “Independence was bad for Native Americans”, and
  3. “America would have a better system of government if we’d stuck with Britain”

I think Matthews has a strong case for the first 2 items.  As he states,

Abolition in most of the British Empire occurred in 1834, following the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act. That left out India, but slavery was banned there, too, in 1843. In England itself, slavery was illegal at least going back to 1772. That’s decades earlier than the United States.

Continue Reading »

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Does D&C 132 support Polyandry?

This past week, we’ve discussed polyandry–the idea that a woman can have multiple husbands.  (Polygyny is the concept where a husband can have multiple wives.  Polygamy encompasses both polygyny and polyandry.)  The reason this came up was due to a presentation I attended at the Mormon History Association meetings.  Many people have charged that Josephine’s mother Sylvia had 2 simultaneous husbands: Joseph Smith and Windsor Lyon.  Brian Hales has argued that following Windsor’s excommunication, Joseph Smith was sealed to Sylvia Lyons, and they gave birth to Joseophine Lyon.  However it was discovered that Josephine shared her father Windsor Lyon’s DNA, not Joseph Smith. For critics of Hales position, it seems to indicate that Sylvia was having sex with both Windsor and Joseph at the same time, and didn’t really know who the real father of Sylvia was.  Hales argues a few other possibilities:  (1) She didn’t know she was pregnant with Windsor’s child when sealed to Joseph, (2) The sealing between Joseph and Sylvia was a non sexual eternity only sealing, or (3) Sylvia was in transgression for having sex with Windsor when sealed to Joseph.

I made a passing reference that D&C 132 may indicate polyandry is permitted when I said Continue Reading »


Joseph’s DNA test

The most exciting, newsworthy event at the 2016 Mormon History Association meetings was the announcement of the DNA test of Josephine Lyons.  As the story goes, Joseph Smith had more than 30 polygamist wives.  Except for Emma, none of these wives had children via Joseph.  There had been a few rumored children but John Reed Hancock was ruled the child of Levi Hancock back in 2011.  By 2007, genetic researcher Ugo Perego had ruled out 5 other children rumored to have been fathered by Smith:  Mosiah Hancock, Oliver Buell, Moroni Llewellyn Pratt, Zebulon Jacobs, and Orrison Smith.

Despite these reports, Brian Hales believed that Josephine Lyon was the genetic offspring of Joseph Smith and Sylvia Lyons.  The association is rather convoluted.  Many have claimed that Sylvia had 2 husbands at the same time.  The reality is that her husband Windsor Lyon was excommunicated from the LDS Church.  Hales claimed that this excommunication was a spiritual divorce in the eyes of Joseph, though there was no legal divorce.  Here is how it is worded on the FAIR website. Continue Reading »

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MHA 2016

I really enjoyed the Mormon History Association meetings at Snowbird, Utah this weekend.  I can’t tell you how much fun these meetings are for me.  The thing I hate most is when there are 2 sessions at teh same time that I want to attend.  It can be difficult to choose at times, but I was really happy with the ones I attended.  I wanted to give a short recap of the speakers I heard. Continue Reading »

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Memorial Day Mortality

Monday May 30 is Memorial Day in the United States.  It is a day to remember our war dead.  I saw on Facebook someone said that they didn’t really have any war dead to remember, so she just remembered her family.  I guess I’m in the same boat.  After doing some genealogy, I discovered 2 of my ancestors served in the Civil War from Pennsylvania, but both lived long lives.  When Memorial Day comes around, I always think of my brother because Memorial Day always feels like the anniversary of his death.  Tuesday May 31 is the 10th, so Memorial Day feels like an unfortunate anniversary.  My sister died 18 years ago this coming October. Continue Reading »


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