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Hasn't this story been well known (in academic circles at least) since Michael Quinn published on the subject in the mid 1980s?

Mark, I think that's accurate. I plan to do a post on Quinn's 1985 article later this week. It's one thing to know the post-Manifesto "story"; it's something else to integrate it into a larger story of Mormon polygamy or church governance.

Nice write-up, Dave. Thanks.

I love the blunt honesty: "most of you are probably better off simply not reading this book." Nice, Dave.

"The Van Wagoner" was my first interesting book on LDS History. Quite an eye opener, but the 1985 article was the real shocker to me. That's what I get for living in the mission field with almost no internet access for 10 years.

"Were there fundamentalists in 1900? Yes; we called them apostles." Great line, Dave.

I would note that Quinn wrote a review of Hardy's book for Sunstone in which he noted that he and Hardy (and Victor Jorgensen) had independently researched much of the same terrain over the years. It appears that Hardy simply beat Quinn to publication with a full-length book. Quinn wrote that "Solemn Covenant's American context, case history approach, distribution tables for marriages, and appendix of polygamists make it the kind of book I expected to write."

Quinn concluded his review by writing: "As extraordinary as Solemn Covenant is, B. Carmon Hardy has not fully communicated the personalities of Church leaders who called each other such nicknames as Mattie, Abram, F. M., Hebe, and Johnny. And there are also hundreds of names, dates, places, and circumstances missing from Hardy's textual discussion and from his appendix of post-Manifesto plural marriages. One day, I will make such a separate contribution. Nevertheless, this book is the most thorough examination of the subject published in the century since the Manifesto. Solemn Covenant is erudite, lucid, provocative, informative, and a must-read for anyone interested in the Mormon past."

A great review. My favorite line: "Were there fundamentalists in 1900? Yes, we called them apostles." I wonder if I would get boo-ed in Gospel Doctrine class if I were to make such a remark???

pg, if you are going to use that in Sunday School, I suggest the following edit: "Were there apostles in 1900? Yes."


Your edit still presents some challenges since some apostles (as you mentioned in your post) lost their apostleship and other such confusions. In the interest of keeping it clear and non-controversial, better this:

"Were there 1900's? Yes."


A great, effectively toned, "Don't read unless you ya just really think ya HAVE to!" review, Dave -- thanks!

I find it more interesting that Mormons at this point and time wouldn't know the interplay of the manefesto in theory and in practice. The only ones I know who would be "out of the loop" wouldn't read any of the books thus mentioned.

An excellent article on this is found at FAIR: Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication.

Hardy published a brief article on post-Manifesto polygamy in the Utah Historical Quarterly about a year ago:

"That 'Same Old Question of Polygamy and Polygamous Living': Some Recent Findings Regarding Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Mormon Polygamy"

Hardy's book has a great appendix about "lying for the Lord" -- it's very balanced and sympathetic, despite the title. Hardy also has a great appendix that lists all known post-Manifesto marriages -- I found my great great grandfather in there, to my amazement. Hardy's style has a wonderful dark, tragic tone. I'm a big fan of Quinn's article, but Solemn Covenant is also superb and the Quinn piece doesn't cover the whole territory by itself.

Excellent review. I think its humorous that you have to recommend that the best action for most is to not read it. This subject deserves more attention. I think many people have been hurt over the years because of this in one way or another, either by having a skewed or inappropriate view of their own ancestors, treating the current Fundamentalists in a cruel or unfair way, or losing their own faith over finding out the "truth" about what happened in contrast to the Myth that is promoted.

I recommend this, and Michael Quinn's related presentations (available on the web) to anyone interested in the subject.

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