The plural wives of Joseph Smith are the focus of Todd Compton’s book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents. As a sequel to his 1997 volume, The Documents provides the primary sources Compton used in his book about Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages. In this interview, Todd Compton discusses his new publication, shares thoughts about reactions to his research, and provides highlights from his book.
Nineteenth century Latter-day Saint missionaries preached to many different cultures, including Europeans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. At the same time, their home lives were complicated by the practice of polygamy and the long absences of the men as they served missions abroad. In this interview, Imperial Zions author Amanda Hendrix-Komoto discusses the complicated intersections of race, family, respectability, and settlement that Latter-day Saints experienced in Utah and abroad in service of their religion.
After attending a Relief Society meeting in 1857, Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that “the house was full of females.” As someone who practiced plural marriage instituted by the Prophet Joseph Smith, the comment could have applied to Woodruff’s home life. In this interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich discusses how early Latter-day Saint sources shed light on female authority and plural marriage.
Emma Hale Smith is sometimes viewed only as “Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma.” Stories are told of her wrestles with polygamy or her decision to remain in Nauvoo. There’s even a new argument that she may have possessed a Joseph Smith daguerreotype. But Emma is more than a story. In this interview, Jenny Reeder shares insights from her Emma Smith biography, First: The Life and Faith of Emma Smith.
Saints 3 is the third volume in the new official history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Scott Hales (General Editor and lead writer) and Jed Woodworth (General Editor and lead historian) discuss the Saints book and tease Saints Volume 4.
Historians Brian and Laura Hales reflect on their years spent researching polygamy and plural marriage, and talk about their latest projects.
What is polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have more than one wife? Did Latter-day Saints love or hate plural marriage? Historian Brittany Chapman Nash tackles these questions and more in a candid interview.