Skip to content

Radio Free Mormon: 171: A Bad Defense is the Worst Offense Part 2

RFM continues his historic discussion with Jonathan Streeter about Joseph Smith’s polygamy; and the defenses apologists use to try to justify it!


11 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 171: A Bad Defense is the Worst Offense Part 2”

  1. I already heard this podcast. How did I do that? Was it part of the 3 hour plus podcast that I already heard?

    1. That’s gotta be it.

      Jonathan Streeter put up the entire 3-hour interview on his podcast the day it happened.

      I am trying to be more considerate of my listeners . . .


  2. Thank you RFM….

    Talk about going into the belly of the beast; someone has to do this nasty housecleaning and you and your bud got down to the skid marks in the toilet bowl on this trilogy. No wonder you had a headache at the end of it…this is brutal to listen to, but alas it must needs be.

    For myself, a product of the earliest polygamy very close to the prophet Joseph, this is in my DNA and only stopped at my great grandmother.

    Wading through this with you has been really gross and I find that these stories are tremendously upsetting….upsetting in the sense that it reawakens the trapped , powerless feelings and coercion that strongly underpin everything that Mormonism is about.

    These stories must be exposed and thank God for men like you two who have the stomach to do it for the benefit of us all. I may have to pass on the third instalment however.

    Honestly, I admire you both for the thankless job this research is…just know I appreciate it. It’s no small thing.

    1. Dear Angie,

      Thanks so much for your supportive comments!

      I am putting the final touches on the third and final installment to get it ready to go up this afternoon!

      It is easy (for me, at least) to look at this historically and analytically and forget the fact that these are real people with real feelings involved in these stories.

      I tried to get out of my head at parts during the discussion and talk about what it must be like to actually be in this situation.

      I know I can never really imagine how awful it must have been, but I give it my best attempt nonetheless!

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. RFM,

    You really accept a copy of a copy from the church historians office as legitimate, while the original magically vanished? I understand if you want to continue in the faith of your fathers and believe they received polygamy from JS and he claimed he got it from God etc, but your standard for evidence is shockingly low. Let’s not talk about the moon landing and insult each other, but focus on the fact that this could have literally been typed by anyone, at any date, and be 100% fabricated. If this document dealt with any other historical figure it would have been tossed out.

    You need to address why Joseph Smith accused Newel Whitney in scripture of belonging to a “Nicolatian Band.” Why would the man introducing polygamy secretly simultaneously be accusing his Bishop of being part of a wife-swapping secret combination condemned in the Bible? If you believe Whitney, then Smith was being insane by simultaneously exposing himself. Let’s not even touch the fact that William Law recanted and denied that Joseph Smith ever propositioned him or his wife, and that his family _still_ won’t let anyone read his journals.

    I’m a descendent of Newel Whitney and he was an evil man who spawned many evil polygamous offspring. Taking his word in this case with so little evidence is preposterous. There’s no reason to accept his witness on this when he lied his entire life. Why didn’t he burn the letter? He was willing to give his 17 year old daughter in marriage to a grown man, but he disobeyed the command to burn the letter? How convenient that letter _didn’t_ get lost, while the one without instructions to destroy it immediately was lost once it was already historically important.

    You’ve got a lot more faith and trust in the Whitneys to tell the truth than I do, but I grew up in their lies so..

    1. Do you believe that Newel K Whitney also preserved the only copy of D&C 132 even though the original was burned? Even though the woman who was accused of burning it never saw it or heard of it? This guy has a knack for saving documents of dubious origin from fire! Too bad nobody gave him a copy of the book of breathings eh The Brighamites use the same stories over and over

  4. The temple ceremony changed in January 2019 to have both husband and wife give themselves to each other rather than the wife alone being given and received by the man.

  5. I’ve been reading Benjamin Park’s book. The Sarah Whitney story knocked the wind out of me. This podcast topic has been therapeutic with perfect timing!
    There was discussion comparing Abraham’s sacrifice to the Whitney family as justification. I beg to differ. Abraham just got faked out. Sarah’s parents followed through. For Sarah, it was worse than death. She would live her days miserably enslaved.

    1. The story about plural marriage and Joseph Smith I heard in my early years in the church were about how he approached Heber C. Kimball, saying God had told Joseph to marry Heber’s wife.

      After a lot of soul-searching and struggling, Heber and his wife (Vilate?) finally agreed to the proposition.

      Joseph told them it was just a test, that it really wasn’t required of them.

      That is the ONLY story I heard about Joseph’s practice of plural marriage during my first decade or so as a latter-day saint.

      The church did a good job of keeping the lid on the rest of the story.

      Until the Internet . . .

  6. This series with Johnathan Streeter is excellent. I thought I was already familiar with the Sarah Ann Whitney episode, but listening to your joint insights really brought up a light of great additional points.

    All of the deceit in Nauvoo polygamy, including Joseph’s lies to Emma, the saints, the sham wedding of Sarah and Joseph Kingsbury, the repeat ceremony with Partridge sisters, etc. really brought to mind the teachings on Honesty from none other than the LDS “Gospel Principles” book — see snippet below.

    RFM, I would love to hear an episode where you dive into the below chapter (Honesty) from Gospel Principles and show how completely counter to this church history ran at times, esp. Nauvoo polygamy. I think that would be very powerful.

    “Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.