Project Zion Podcast

292 | Cuppa Joe | Nauvoo Polygamy and the RLDS Church

August 07, 2020 Project Zion Podcast
Project Zion Podcast
292 | Cuppa Joe | Nauvoo Polygamy and the RLDS Church
Chapters
Project Zion Podcast
292 | Cuppa Joe | Nauvoo Polygamy and the RLDS Church
Aug 07, 2020
Project Zion Podcast

Community of Christ has a complicated history with the practice of polygamy. On today's episode of Project Zion Podcast, Apostle Lach Mackay shares that history and how the church gives space for analysis and open dialogue. The content of this interview was presented at Sunstone Symposium in August 2020. 

Host: Karin Peter
Guest: Lach Mackay 

Show Notes Transcript

Community of Christ has a complicated history with the practice of polygamy. On today's episode of Project Zion Podcast, Apostle Lach Mackay shares that history and how the church gives space for analysis and open dialogue. The content of this interview was presented at Sunstone Symposium in August 2020. 

Host: Karin Peter
Guest: Lach Mackay 

Josh Mangelson :

Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.

Karin Peter :

Welcome to Project Zion Podcast. Today is an episode of Cuppa Joe where we discuss aspects and events in church history and the broader Restoration history. Our guest today is Lachlan Mackay. Now, you may know Lach and know that he's a member of the Council of 12 and also that he serves as the Director of Historic Sites for Community of Christ. So, hi Lach!

Lach Mackay :

Hello, Karin.

Karin Peter :

So we've had lots of discussions about church history on the podcast and you are always a wealth of information. But our topic today is both interesting and uncomfortable, depending on your viewpoint, and it's the topic of polygamy and more specifically, polygamy in Nauvoo. So, because that's an uncomfortable topic, and I'll be honest, it is a little bit of an uncomfortable topic for me. Let's review some church history principles that might be helpful to keep in mind. So what are some things that we need to keep in mind as we begin this conversation?

Lach Mackay :

So I'm thrilled that you shared that it's uncomfortable because I have found that simply saying that out loud, makes it less uncomfortable. Some of our church history principles that I think we need to keep in mind as we have this discussion, is that history informs but does not dictate our faith. I think it's helpful to be reminded that we support and encourage honest, responsible historical scholarship. And with discussions like these, it is really important to try and guard against presentism. We have a tendency to judge people and events in the past through the lens of the present. That's not fair, although it's going to happen to us in the future as well.

Karin Peter :

If that, if anybody has some consolation in that, yeah,

Lach Mackay :

Yeah. So please, always in the back of your mind, it's helpful to be thoughtful about presentism. Remember that seeing both the faithfulness and mistakes in our history, make it more believable, not less. And finally, we do not legislate or mandate positions on matters of church history. So you're going to hear a little bit about what I think today, but there are plenty of other people who do not sure my opinions and that is fine. Okay, so we're not, we're not establishing doctrine here we are simply having a discussionabout research and scholarship. So very different. Okay. So as we kind of launch into this, what would you say to the Community of Christ folks who might ask, "Why are we having this discussion? Why are we even talking about this? Not our issue." What would you say to them? But, I would say, like it or not, it's our issue. It is still with us today. Is behind the scenes most often. But for example, as we talk about issues in the church today like cohabitation, or about baptism, and those in polyamorous relationships, it is with us today. And I think it's also really important to talk about because it has been so uncomfortable to think about this part of our history, that that we just kind of put our history on the shelf. And by doing that we have lost connection with not just this painful part of our story, but wonderful and powerful and compelling parts of the story as well. So I have found repeatedly that it is always just under the surface whenever we talk about church history. And if I just just throw it out there and let it rise to the surface and address it, then it is so much more more comfortable than as we move forward to talk about history.

Karin Peter :

So you used a term that some people might not be familiar with. So let's clarify some terms. You used polyamorous, and that was not on my list of terms that we might talk about. So let's start with that. Can you give us a very brief definition of polyamorous

Lach Mackay :

i think is multiple love.s Poly and more. So those who who have multiple loves in their life, which is something that is—we're seeing quite a bit of in the world today.

Karin Peter :

Okay, so let's define some other terms as we go on. Polygamy.

Lach Mackay :

Polygamy: the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time, so it could be multiple wives or multiple husbands.

Karin Peter :

So what about Polygyny? Is that how it's pronounced?

Lach Mackay :

I think it's polygyny. But I think...

Karin Peter :

Polygyny, even better.

Lach Mackay :

Well, these are not, not terms I use on a regular basis. But polygyny, I think having more than one wife at a time. And then polyandry having more than one husband at a time.

Karin Peter :

So polygamy covers a broader spectrum. Polygyny—had to think about again how you pronounce that— polygyny, more than one wife. That's not a term that we hear when we have this discussion, so that's a new term, and polyandry more than one husband. So how is that different than plural marriage?

Lach Mackay :

So I think that polygamy in plural marriage can be the same thing. But I think that, for whatever reason, my sense is among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plural marriage is a more comfortable form. It's less threatening than polygamy

Karin Peter :

Than the word polygamy, okay,

Lach Mackay :

Yeah and plural marriage was a term used in the in the 19th century, so—our particular brand of itut. But I think polygamy, of course, was as well.

Karin Peter :

So when we get into this discussion, the other term that we hear used is spiritual wife or spiritual wifery. What is that?

Lach Mackay :

I struggle a little bit with this one because I think it kind of means different things in different contexts. And at times, I think we used it and at times we denounced it. pretended we never used it. Now, all of this, of course, was very secretive, but spiritual wife—a person you are sealed to in an eternal marriage—I think is a simple explanation. But I think there's more to it. And I need to do more work on that.

Karin Peter :

Okay, okay. Fair enough. So we have some definitions for the conversation going forward. And when you cautioned us about presenteeism and looking at the past through our own lens, one of the things that we want to do is kind of picture the early 19th century religious and social context. There were things going on, that informed what happened in our tradition. So what are some of those things

Lach Mackay :

And we often have a tendency to look at at our story, not in context. As if it just kind of fell out of the sky. When in fact we are very much influenced by what's happening around us. And I believe that, that the Spirit was moving on many. Or that many were reacting to events in their societies, and they were questioning things like the nature of how we should live in community. And many, for multiple reasons, are choosing to live kind of 'all things common' in different forms of these societies. And for some reason, among groups of people who chose to live 'all things common'—as we tried, but fairly quickly gave up on— sexuality often works its way into the mix. Larry Foster explored this in a book called Religion and Sexuality. A really good read for anybody who's interested. He looks at three examples. He looks at Shakers, who addressed questions of sexuality by deciding that celibacy was the way to go. Another example of that, not addressed by Foster, but Harmonists [aka Rappites] did the same thing; they chose celibacy. Others though, like the Oneida Community—you might have Oneida silverware in your drawers—Oneida Community in upstate New York, chose to practice complex marriage, where everybody is married to everybody else. Of course, Latter Day Saints ended up experimentally with practicing plural marriage or polygamy. And there are multiple examples of different communal groups asking questions about the nature of physical human relationships. Kind of experimenting with what they thought that might look like.

Karin Peter :

So as we talk about that in Community of Christ and try to put our story in context, there are lots of things that happened in our church history that are reflections of what was happening in the greater society. This is not the only thing communitarianism and and what that means are living communally. We had the Word of Wisdom. We had all kinds of nutritional groups ft and and people giving advice for that and other religious traditions coming out of that. So there were social implications as well. So what kind of brought that on? One of the things that you've mentioned, when you've talked about this is that there was so much social upheaval at the time. What do you mean by that?

Lach Mackay :

I do think there was kind of a reaction to the the anxiety, the unsettledness, created by the 'Westering' movement and people—Manifest Destiny and people looking west and moving west—kind of uprooted. And I think there's also this reaction to the industrial revolution going on. And so I think, I think that's raising questions about the nature, not just of human relationships, but of family. People were experimenting with the definition of family and how that should be lived out. So from plural marriage among Latter Day Saints to the Shakers, where they bleed everybody are brothers and sisters in the community. The Ikarians kind of a similar idea. And I think you can see a similar concept in the 1960s. I was born in 65, so this is not first hand knowledge. But all the Vietnam War and the protests and, and people turning to living in community. So we think of these kind of free love hippie commune, kind of things. I think another example of this phenomenon, and even today, with with the anxiety, unsettledness in the world, this is before even COVID-19, but people questioning the definition of family. So same sex marriage, questions about polyamorous relationships as we discussed. Throuples, which people are comfortable being public about. So I think we're in a very similar time to that in which our denomination was birthed.

Karin Peter :

So that will be surprising, I think for a lot of people to make that kind of comparison about social upheaval and looking for ways of understanding community or family, connecting those. That's really informative. Thank you. So there are some challenges in talking about this. And partly that is because it is history, we weren't there. And we are trying to not just reconstruct what happened through research and scholarship, but interpret that through our lens of our faith community. So what are some of the challenges to this as we explore it?

Lach Mackay :

There's a bunch of them. Among them, that monogamy was the law of the church throughout Joseph Smith juniors lifetime. So you got to kind of deal with that. Whatever was happening w, itas not the law of the church, as laid out in 1835 inn section what was then 101, is now section 111 of the Community, Christ Doctrine and Covenants. That's removed in the LDS tradition in 1876, and replaced with section 132, which we'll talk about later. So from section 111, "We believe that one man should have one wife and one woman but one husband, except in case of death." And that had also been lifted up in Section 42, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart and shall cleave unto her and none else." As well as section 49, "It is lawful that a man should have one wife and they twain shall be one flesh." Both of those from 1831. So the—kind of— the law of the church: monogamy.

Karin Peter :

Okay, so before we go on to the next one, this could be a tangent that they edited out not sure but I have to ask. Why all those references to one wife?

Lach Mackay :

Why a thllose references to one wife. So I think in 1831, simply lifting up the kind of common Christian understanding of monogamy. I think by 1835 we have a couple of things going on. I think that there was a recognition in the larger culture, that all things common in societies sometimes experimented with questions of sexuality and physical relationships. So there were a number of groups that were practicing things like complex marriage or spiritual wifery. The Cochranites, for example, which some of the early Latter Day Saints were Cochranites in Maine. So the fact that they joined us would raise questions. I also think that it's likely that Joseph was having, what we might consider inappropriate relationships at the time,raising questions there. I do not believe that those were eternal marriages, because...for a number of reasons. But Joseph— among them—didn't have the spiritual authority even in the LDS worldview, to be able to seal those as wives. So I think all of those reasons are why that question is coming up.

Karin Peter :

Thanks. That's really helpful. Maybe just for me, not our listeners, but I needed to hear that. All right. monogamy was the church law because of all of the references—and probably more that you gave us—that didn't end up in the Doctrine and Covenants. What else?

Lach Mackay :

So because monogamy was the law of the church, polygamy or plural marriage was always publicly denounced and denied throughout Joseph's lifetime throughout the 1840s. So how do you make sense of public pronouncements, they're printed in the newspaper. They're in people's diaries and journals, while at the same time a practice among the very few that differed. So that that makes it really challenging to try and reconstruct. There's so many public statements denouncing and denying. Also, very rarely is plural marriage or polygamy discussed in diaries and journals at the time. And when it is, it's generally in code. So sometimes it's Masonic code apparently. Things like S A W, meaning sealed or wed. Or W A S for wedded and sealed. Sometimes it's shorthand, like maybe M E for marriage for eternity or M T for marriage for time. So, if you're already skeptical, it's easy to not pay any attention to those coded references. There's even more reason to be skeptical when you start running into sources that were edited or changed when published. So for example, on 5 October of 1843, in Joseph's journal, he gave instruction to try those who were preaching, teaching or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives on this law, Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof, "no man shall have but one wife." That seems pretty clear. Again, that's October at 43. But by the time that makes it into the LDS church history, it is a little different. Joseph gave instructions to try those persons who are preaching, teaching and practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives. "For according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days, there has never but one on Earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred. I have constantly said, no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise." So reverses the meaning completely, by the time it's published. And of course, that's long after Joseph's death, so makes it easy to be skeptical if you want to be skeptical. Finally, well, not even finally, but by 1860 or so and later many participants in the discussion were so passionate about their position, meaning they were so biased in their positions, that I have a hard time paying a whole lot of attention to them. Also, ironically, a lot of the sources on plural marriage are generated decades after the events that occurred. And it's often in response to Joseph Smith III's attempts to prove his dad didn't do it. And some people in the West would say, "Oh, yes, he did." They would track down a justice of the peace put together an affidavit and they would would record their memories. But I don't know about you, but my memories from 10 years ago, let alone 40 are not great. I probably know that something happened. But I cannot reconstruct paragraphs, you know, quotes a paragraph long. But that is what historians work with when they're trying to reconstruct these stories. And so it's really easy to impeach often, if somebody said I was sealed to Joseph on this day by this person. Well, doesn't take too much work to discover that that person was in Springfield, Illinois that day, not in Nauvoo. So yet another reason to impeach. I think it's just a faulty memory from four decades later, but, but you can view it differently. So for all those reasons, it is not an easy story to reconstruct, and in many cases, we just don't know a whole lot of the details.

Karin Peter :

Yeah. And that was, that was the point of keeping it secret.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah. (laughing)

Karin Peter :

Okay. So we've got some terms clarified, and we, we've talked a little bit about some of the issues of context and challenges of reconstructing the story. But aside from the social upheaval of the time, we're talking about a religious tradition. Why was polygamy a part of this as far as our doctrinal understandings, our religious theological understandings? What allowed that social phenomenon to become part of their religious culture?

Lach Mackay :

So there's a number of theories, a number of arguments. I don't think...very few people make decisions for one reason only. Among the reasons I think, probably we're involved in this decision: We are restorationists, meaning they were trying to restore all things, including the things they read about in the Hebrew Bible. So since they thought it was practiced by Old Testament patriarchs, they thought they should as well That gets a little more complex because what appeared to some to be polygamy probably was surrogacy, and it just gets a little more complex. But I think that's behind part. it.

Karin Peter :

Okay.

Lach Mackay :

I think part of it is this concept addressed in Section 132 for the LDS church to "raise up a righteous seed." This idea of having lots of faithful children. And I gotta say, I think it works. Joseph and Emma Smith as of 2020, something like 1600 descendants, Hyrum Smith—and Joseph's children of course, were not involved in polygamy—Hyrum Smith's descendants go west are involved in plural marriage. There's more than 10 times as many descendants today somewhere over 18,000. So this idea of raising up a righteous seed. I think in some ways, it's also an extension of the eternal marriage. So Joseph introduces the idea in Nauvoo that you can be sealed to your beloved spouse in a way that will outlast death. In some cases though there were people whose first wives had died. They had been remarried, they love their new wife dearly as well. The new wife would stand as a proxy for the deceased wife as the husband is sealed the deceased wife. He also, of course, would want to be sealed to his new wife. So suddenly, in the afterlife, there is plural marriage. If it's okay in heaven, surely it's okay on Earth. There are actually letters written from Nauvoo that describe this very situation. One in the Community of Christ archives, Jacob Scott to Mary Warnock, which I think is his daughter. He's saying "Many members of the church have already availed themselves of this privilege, (meaning eternal marriage), and have been married to their deceased partners. And in some cases where a man has been married to two or three wives and they are dead. He has been married to them all in the order in which he was married to them while living." So kind of a an outgrowth in some ways of this idea of eternal marriage. And some of this might be my language. But I don't think Joseph's theology was systematic. He ha not carefully thought all of these things out. And so some have described that, that polygamy in some ways might be an accidental outgrowth of eternal marriage, meaning he didn't kind of think through the implications when he started the process. I don't know. Another reason that some lift up is this idea of dynastic polygamy. This idea that you could seal or bind leading families of the church together in a way that would last into the hereafter. Samuel Brown in his book, In Heaven as it is on Earth kind of helped me understand this much better. He framed Latter Day Saint-ism, in the context of: it is all about defeating death for Joseph. As individuals, as families and as a church community. And if that's kind of the whole point is to defeat death and to stay together in these family relationships from Joseph's perspective, then things like baptism for the dead by proxy, sealings of husbands and wives and children together, and even plural marriages start to make sense. I, I'm not saying I believe in it, I'm saying, I could see if that's what Joseph was trying to accomplish, that plural marriage could be part of that. And that, in his mind, you could seal just like royal families in Europe strategically marry their children, you could seal members of leading families to the church together in a way that would almost kind of drag some of them into the hereafter on Joseph's or other church leaders, coattails in effect. So this idea of dynastic polygamy.

Karin Peter :

Well, I'm thinking about the different readings that I've come across and it was kind of the leaders at a certain level that he trusted that were involved in plural marriage. So I can see where that dynastic polygamy kind of fits that model.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah. interesting to think of, and I would guess totally new to most Community of Christ members.

Karin Peter :

Sure. I hadn't even heard that term before. So that I don't know if it fits that model or if the descriptor and the model fits the reality of what was happening. I'm not sure which came first, but that's okay. So, Nauvoo. That's what we're really talking about is not just polygamy, but polygamy in Nauvoo. So what happened in Nauvoo, which is a big question, but just in this topic of polygamy?

Lach Mackay :

I would say again, in many cases, we don't know. But here's what I think some of the things are that we do know. Let me back up and say some people argue that Joseph introduced plural marriage in Kirtland, the Kirtland period. I just do not see the evidence to support that. I know some of the sources are of a four year old Mosiah Hancock. I think people sometimes see relationships that Joseph may or may not have had with people other than Emma, and believe that if there was any kind of affection, it had to be a marriage. I just don't believe that. So I don't believe that the first plural marriage occurs until Nauvoo. I think it's likely Louisa Beeman in April of 1841. So the first plural marriage in my understanding. They're all very secret, as we've talked about, repeatedly denounced and denied. But by 1843 Hyrum Smith, who was initially opposed to plural marriage, is apparently convinced by Brigham Young, that it is a God and Hyrum believes if he could just convince Joseph to have a revelation on the topic that he, Hyrum, could take it to Emma, and convince her that it was right, it was good. And I think Joseph is saying I don't think so, Hyrum. I don't think Emma's going to go for it. Hyrum and Emma, we're good friends. So okay, let's give it a shot. William Clayton records this and he's one of the very few writing about plural marriage in Nauvoo at the time versus decades later. He says that on 12 July of '43 they gathered in Joseph's office in the Red Brick Store, Joseph dictated William Clayton recorded. This is the document that would eventually become section 132 for the LDS church. They hand this document to Hyrum who heads off to Emma who would have been living in the Homestead at the time. Hyrum quickly returns and says, "I've never had a worst talking to in all my life!" It did not go as planned. But if this version of the story is accurate, and others tell similar versions later, that the only reason the text for Section 132 exists, was to try and convince Emma to accept plural marriage. And I think it was not successful. I will say I think that Joseph did convince Emma, for very brief times, like maybe a matter of minutes, that this was only a spiritual union. It was only the Hereafter. I think Emma might have begrundingly gone along with it for very short periods of time— maybe in 1842. But once she came to the conclusion that it was perhaps more complex than that, she was not a fan, and and did everything she could to be rid of the practice. Participants in plural marriage—I was kind of shocked. And this is based on the work of George D. Smith, his book, Nauvoo Polygamy: But We Called it Celestial Marriage — I'm looking at just those who participated prior to Joseph's death. So Nauvoo had maybe 14-15,000 citizens living in it with maybe another 5000 in surrounding areas. There's only though it seems 33 men at 91 women participating prior to Joseph's death, so it's a really small select group. Participation peaked in 1843. And then fell off dramatically in 1844. And I don't know any scholars who believe that Joseph took additional parole lives after the fall of 43. So I think Emma had convinced Joseph by the fall of 43, that this was not the way to go.

Karin Peter :

There a lot of comments going through my head right now. So I am censoring them to be appropriate for our conversation here. So the whole Hyrum trying to convince Emma; the reality that it was happening behind Emma's back; and in some of the material that's out there to read even to the extent that because Emma was married to a leader of the church, her friends were women who were married to leaders of the church, and so some of her friends were some of the participants. So is that a fair statement?

Lach Mackay :

I think that's a fair statement. And it's, for me, among the most devastating parts of the story. It appears to me that, that some of Emma's dear friends, trusted friends were secretly sealed to Joseph without Emma's knowledge, which is really troubling to me. Yeah. So that—it's really, really painful.

Karin Peter :

Right.So the other thing that people bring up that causes a lot of consternation in this is the diverse ages of participants. Anything you want to say about that?

Lach Mackay :

So I think that is also troubling. I think—and I'm gonna get blasted for saying this—but I also think, context is helpful. And although I think relationships with older men and younger women were not common at the time, I think they are far less common now. And I think even now, in many parts of the world, it still happens and we haven't done anything about it and that pains me terribly. terribly as well. But for example, Governor Ford of Illinois was, I think, in his 20s and married a 16 year old, and is later elected governor. So I think that there was, in some ways, different perspectives. I think there is also questions about the nature of the relationships that we can't answer. So it is clear to me that in—well, I think it's clear to me—that in a number of these cases, it was a spiritual union only. I think, in some of the cases it was a physical union as well. I am not the expert, but so I can't really tell which are which. Also, we we lifted up the term early. polyandry, and there was a reason for that. It's because in Nauvoo most of the women that Joseph was seal to early are married to and living with other men, and so I don't know what that means, but—and I'm a little conflicted—should I feel good that that there was some equality in the nature of this? I don't think so. But that's a difficult part of the story. I just read an account where one of the young women said that her father asked Joseph if he would be sealed to his young daughter. It was part of the argument for dynastic polygamy so that therefore, the other church leaders family could be connected to Joseph into the here after. Again, I don't know what the nature of the relationship was though.

Karin Peter :

Okay. All right. So some of the issues that make it a really uncomfortable topic to to broach. So I grew up in the 1960s. And I was taught the kind of common RLDS perspective of the time that basically was Joseph never did it. But there's more to the RLDS kind of journey with understanding or looking into the practice of polygamy in church history. So when did we first begin to, as a people suspect, that—the way I put is fingers in the ears, lalalalala, I can't hear you talking. It never happened." When did we kind of figure out that approach wasn't gonna help us going forward?

Lach Mackay :

So I think there's a couple of answers to that question. I think. I think there were always those among us, including some of the leaders, maybe, but not Joseph III, well I don't know I think there are always some among us who believe Joseph really had been involved. They also in some ways want to defend the traditional RLDS position in the 20th century that he didn't do it. And w believe that because he's said he didn't do it over and over and over again. So you could build a pretty powerful argument that he didn't do it. But I want to back up, it turns out that "he never had anything to do with it" of the 20th century, and the late 19th century, is not really where we started as a people. We started in the 1850s and 60s saying, I think he did it, but repented and we should forgive him. But as the people die off, who were really there in Nauvoo, we start to shift, we start to move into this idea that he didn't do it. Brigham did it. We always love blaming Brigham Young.

Karin Peter :

Of course, of course

Lach Mackay :

Brigham did it. And then by the 19, well, maybe 1960, we began to shift again into this. Well, he might have done it as an outgrowth of the Eternal Marriage concept, but it's not really what he was starting towards, but that might be where he ended up. More recently, I'd say 1983 to present or maybe more, we're back, I think—and I say we meaning our scholarly community—either we think he did it, or I'm actually in the I think he did it, but I think he repented, or at least was trying to get it stopped. And, and I know that's gonna sound like an apologetic argument. But I think there might really be something to it. And I'm not interested in apologetics I'm interested whatever the sources say, and there really are some intriguing sources, some of which we haven't paid much attention to, to support that position.

Karin Peter :

That he did it but he repented.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, or at least was trying to get it stopped, Stopped, and for a lot of different reasons that I can think of. Yeah.

Karin Peter :

Being a wife. I'm thinking, you know, wives wielded some power.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah.

Karin Peter :

Even in the mid 19th century.

Lach Mackay :

I also think that it was clearly spinning out of control. Yeah. I don't think Joseph was killed because of polygamy. I think he was killed because of our use, and some would argue abuse of habeas corpus, but he wouldn't have needed to be using it in that way if the whole polygamy thing hadn't ended up with the Expositor and the demolition of the press, etc.

Karin Peter :

Right. Right. So as a tradition the Reorganized Church, our kind of strain of Restoration history kind of went through this cycle. There were other reasons people believe what they believe. Emma denied it her whole life. Is that true?

Lach Mackay :

I don't know that that's true. Although we often think That. I do want to say before I launch into some of the sources, that I am very much indebted to Richard Howard and his The Changing RLDS Response to Mormon Polygamy: A Preliminary Analysis, it's a John Whitmer article from 1983. As well as Alma Blair, and his RLDS Views of Polygamy: Some Historiographical Notes from 1985. Also john Whitmer Pioneers, there were some that were even earlier some as early as 1960, that were raising some questions. But they did critically important work. So, Alma Blair points out that the position of the Reorganization is consistent in that we are have always been antagonistic towards polygamy. We've always thought it was immoral, but has not been as consistent as our understanding of Joseph's really relationship to its introduction. So that has evolved and sometimes with good reason. So you asked about Emma. Here's what Emma said, on 9 March of 1844. So this is is recorded at the time it's in the Relief Society minutes. "The voice of innocence, (which was a an article, proclaiming our innocence from being involved in polygamy) was then read and approved. Emma continued further by exhorting all to take heed in their ways, and follow the teachings of brother Joseph. And when he preaches against vice to take heed to it, and said, he meant what he said, concluded her remarks by requesting all to use their common senses, and they would teach us right principles if we would adhere to them. Further, that we must be willing to forgive what has passed in consideration of repentance and reformation." Now, she doesn't explicitly say "I'm talking about polygamy," but I really think she's talking about polygamy, especially when you start adding other sources. So that's 9 March. Here's what William Law, previously a member of the First Presidency had to say, on 19 March of 44. This is in his Nauvoo diary. "Hyrum Smith was here a few days ago. He said they were not doing anything in the plurality of wife business now and that he had published a piece against it". So Hyrum is telling William Law, we've stopped. Now, William didn't believe him. But just a couple of days previously, in The Times and Seasons, Hyrum had published a piece against it. "There is no such doctrine (meaning plurality wives) taught here. Neither is there any such thing practiced here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine is culpable and will stand the chance to be brought before the High Council and lose his license and membership." So, of course, in the past, readers of that have sometimes just thought, well, that's part of the cover up. I think it's part of the change of heart that they really were trying to get it stopped by this point. Issac Sheen publishes in 1852, in the Saturday Evening Post, "Joseph Smith repented of his connection with this (meaning spiritual wife doctrine) and said it was of the devil." And that is reprinted in the very first issue of the saints Herald, Isaac was the editor. So the very first issue of the Saints Herald says he did it, but he repented. We should forgive him. William Marks stake president in 1840s, Nauvoo. Which was a far more important position than we would understand it to be now critically important position. But Marks says consistently and repeatedly, "Joseph did it. He came to me long before he was killed and said, 'I've made a mistake. I'm going to preach against it. You press charges, we got to get this stopped.'" Now, some people have tried to turn Marks' statements into something different. "I have been deceived," says Joseph. And later we would say, "Yeah, you've been deceived by Brigham who secretly introduced polygamy." That is not what was William Marks was saying. His first account. Marks' first account says, "Joseph, however, became convinced before his death that he had done wrong," meaning Joseph had done wrong. And Marks again is consistent. There's multiple accounts for him saying that, even Brigham Young 1866 General Conference in Utah says "Joseph was worn out with (it meaningfully). But as to his denying any such thing, I never knew that he denied the doctrine of polygamy." And of course, Brigham wouldn't know because he and most of the 12 were out on campaign missions for Joseph in his run for US president. They came home. William Marks, who they knew was always opposed, is saying "Joseph had a change of heart". They didn't believe him. ButI'm , I'm open to the sources, but I think it is definitely worth considering. And the more I look, the more sources I find to suggest that that Joseph really was by spring of '44, thinking "I got to get this stopped." Now what I'm not clear on is did he decide it was gonna destroy the church, "so I gotta get it stopped," or did you decided "I made the wrong decision." It is wrong.

Karin Peter :

Right.

Lach Mackay :

I still am kind of on the fence on that one.

Karin Peter :

Okay, so he was deceived, or he didn't do it, or it never happened or he did it, but he repented, or, as you mentioned earlier, he might have done it by accident. That has got to be my very personal favorite of all of these. "Honey, I'm so sorry. I accidentally married somebody else." I mean, how? How does that happen? Lach?

Lach Mackay :

Yeah. So, so what, what that argument is trying to say is that the theology behind it was not carefully planned out. That that's a...

Karin Peter :

Well that's a given.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, an unintended consequence of eternal marriage is what that argument is. Whether it's intended or unintended, I think it's clearly is a consequence of eternal marriage. But beyond that, I don't knowl.

Karin Peter :

So we we have had this antagonistic relationship with the whole idea of polygamy in the Reorganization. And we had to grapple with it when we came to the reality that people who had gone to Utah and practicing polygamy were coming back and participating with the Reorganization. So what happened with that?

Lach Mackay :

So a number of different things happened with that, some of which are incredibly painful. I think in some cases, people who affiliated with the Reorganization in Utah came back and left plural families behind which is heartbreaking. I think in some other cases, they brought plural families back and supported them, but not, of course, publicly as husband and wife or even secretly as husband and wife. I think as here's my public family, and It's my responsibility to take care of this family as well. It's really hard to reconstruct those stories, though, because as you can imagine, in neither case, were they proud of their actions.

Karin Peter :

Right? And there wouldn't be records, marriage certificates, birth certificates, that kind of thing. There would only be what family lore, maybe?

Lach Mackay :

And as we know that family lore is often not particularly helpful. But Lou Wygand a number of years ago wrote on the topic, and and I do know, families in the church today, whose ancestors did this. But it's pretty painful to talk about.

Karin Peter :

Yeah, yeah, I can see why but those relationships been severed—care of children.

Lach Mackay :

Yep.

Karin Peter :

Women in that age being left to fend for themselves or to be fodder for another polygamous family.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah.

Karin Peter :

A lot of different reasons. So within the Reorganization in the leadership of this fledgeling group of people with their antagonistic relationship to polygamy. How did they? How did that inform how they lead? How did that inform doctrine and policy and praxis in the Reorganization?

Lach Mackay :

That's a really good question. And I don't think I have a good answer. I think Joseph III eventually came to understand that it was his role to clear his father's name. He started on 1860 April 6 of 1860. The day he joined with us saying, 'I think my father was a good man, a good man would never do that. But if he did, he was wrong.' But I believe that, that he became convinced that he hadn't done it and was really good at convincing others of that eventually, not initially. In fact initially, he didn't have a lot of luck. So, one of my favorite stories is in 1867. Now our our General Conferences—now, World Conferences—traveled at the time. And the 1867 General Conference was held in Keokuk, Iowa. And prior to the conference, church leaders, including the Council of 12, and the presidency, met in the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, upstairs, and among the business they conducted was a debate about Joseph, Jr. and polygamy. And I don't know that they knew this, but they were having that debate just a few feet from the room where apparently section 132 (LDS) was dictated. So whether it was intentional or not, I love the fact that they had come back to the very place where the concept was was put on paper for the first time, to debate what should happen to members and leaders of the church who might believe or teach? So they passed a number of resolutions. One of them said that members who might believe in polygamy or sealing or spiritual wifery, whether it's privately or publicly, are potentially going to get in trouble. So they're in danger of the Council, meaning of being charged. You can't believe that you can't teach that you can't think that. And even a little harsher to what they called official members, which meant priesthood. If any of them were going to teach or endorse or encourage in public or private, they were going to be silenced. And potentially if they didn't repent, cut off. So they're addressing it head on in 1867, which suggests that there were questions about it in the church.

Karin Peter :

Oh, absolutely. So as I went through some of your material, it's that same 1867, where a decision was made about what they would try to share openly.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, so they're debating not just about LDS members in 1867, and what they should teach or practice, but they also end up discussing a resolution that would clear Joseph Smith Jr. of participation in plural marriage. That discussion didn't go as well, though, and they ended up tabling it on the ground that its passage would be more injurious, that good, because of the almost universal opinion among the Saints was that Joseph was in some way, connected with it, meaning connected. So, I think that's kind of interesting that there was what they perceived to be kind of a universal opinion in 1867, that Joseph was somehow involved.

Karin Peter :

Okay. So our ongoing community with the Reorganization, got involved in a little bit of political response to polygamy, and I'm assuming it's because of what was happening in Utah with the territory and their bid for both territorial status and then statehood. So what was going on? And what was happening in the RLDS group.

Lach Mackay :

So I think as polygamy kind of rose to become one of the two major national political issues: slavery and polygamy the twin relics of barbarism, I think we began to address it more and more. Initially 1863 a resolution calling on members of ministers not to talk about it, but by 1870 as things are starting to fire up we appoint a committee of five to draft resolution or memorial to Congress, setting forth the church's views. So we were intent on saying, that is not us. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Josephites is not the same Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of Brighamites that are teaching and practicing polygamy. The memorial by the time we got done, stretched to eight pages.

Karin Peter :

Oh my gosh,

Lach Mackay :

Our attempt to make it clear that that was not us. 1876 we revisit it and are encouraging Congress to take more decisive measures in the suppression of alleged misrule and tyranny in Utah, and again made the point that the RLDS church were not polygamists. That was also another memorial to Congress. By 1882 we pass a resolution offering thanks to President Chester A. Arthur and others for the passage of the Edmonds bill. But we also were concerned that William A Everts, US Secretary of State, had decided not to allow apparently Mormon immigrants in the belief that they were polygamists. And we believe that that would stop RLDS members from being allowed to immigrate. And we are working with Everts to try and convince him to to change his position. He refused our request and argued that law abiding immigrants are secure against interference. So we had nothing to worry about is his argument. I'm not sure we were convinced. It kind of fires up again in the early 20th century. And I'm not positive on this, but I think it probably is connected to Reed Smoot, and his campaign and eventual election. And by the time he's seated, and there are these Reed Smoot hearings that take place over a number of years.

Karin Peter :

So for folks who aren't remembering their US history, Lach go back. He ran for Congress out of Utah.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, I think he did, I think senate but this is way out of my area of expertise. And the debate was whether they should seat him or not, because of polygamy.

Karin Peter :

Right.

Lach Mackay :

And so we're passing resolutions, this is kind of early, but I still think it must be related—1902 and again, in 1903, we reaffirmed the church's support for constitutional amendment prohibiting the practice of polygamy in all US states and territories. So we kept asking for this constitutional amendment. And again, I think it has to be related to Smoot somehow, but but it could be wrong. That's simply my speculation.

Karin Peter :

And at the same time in Utah, there are the original manifesto and then the second one and the realization that although there was a public manifesto against polygamy, that continues practice of polygamy. In reality, it was still taking place. And there was all kinds of legal battles and debate over that.

Lach Mackay :

And I'm not clear how, how widely known how public that finally 1904 Manifesto was. But you're definitely right. That could also be part of the context, or maybe all of the context.

Karin Peter :

Well, we did tend to keep our finger on the pulse of what was happening in Utah.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah.

Karin Peter :

So we did try to get—we did offer support as an as a body, which is interesting that we offered political support for something at that period of time. And there are other kinds of battles going on. And one of them was that there was a book written about Joseph Smith called No Man Knows My History. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Lach Mackay :

I can. So Fawn Brodie, of course David O McKay's niece, wrote a biography of Joseph and I believe that we were pretty helpful allowing her access to our archives. I'm guessing we thought it was going to be a positive portrayal. Israel A. Smith was our Prophet president by that time. My sense is that when the book came out, he felt betrayed and tricked. And so Israel spent a lot of time battling the idea that Joseph was a polygamist, so it had kind of calmed down quite a bit for the first half of the 20th century, but fired up again this battle with No Man Knows My History.

Karin Peter :

And that book is actually still available for people if they want to read Fawn Brodie's perspective on Joseph Smith, one of my favorite phrases about the Nauvoo period comes from that text it was Joseph saying to his friends, that something had happened and it had upset the peace of my household. He used that phrase many times in Brodie's book, so Alright, so let's fast forward a little bit and let's talk about the RLDS Church having to come to grips with polygamy again in the 1960s, when the church had gone into India, and there was now an issue about polygamous groups joining the church and just for our listeners information, David Howlett, who's part of the church history, church historian team for Community of Christ did a Project Zion Podast on India, where he just touched on this subject, but it has a big connection to the issue of polygamy for the Reorganization. So what's going on?

Lach Mackay :

It does and it results in what I think might be one of our proudest moments, although I don't—I wish I had been aware of what was happening. So we're we're expanding internationally, we are going into polygamous cultures non Christian cultures. And we are interacting with people who like what we have to say and want to be baptized. But of course, they're polygamous. And what do we do about that? What we did eventually in this was highly controversial, is decide that we would baptize them. We would allow them to keep their plural spouses as long as they agreed not to take any more parole wives, and that they would raise their children as monogamists. And it kind of worked from what I can tell. We knew that that to require them to cast off their spouses or to leave them, as some of our early members did, tragically, would be in this context a death sentence and so by 1972 we pass, I'm sorry we received Section 150 of the Doctrine and Covenants this is W. Wallace Smith. 1972 again, saying that the Church must be 'willing to bear the burden of their sin' is the language from the time. So basically, we would take their sins upon ourselves. We would baptize these people in the hopes that monogamy wouldn't triumph in the end, and that it kind of did.

Karin Peter :

So this would have been a tough one, a lot of people who'd kind of spent their entire religious life with this anti polygamy, battle, anti polygamy stance, the claims that had been made, the rhetoric that had been offered, all of that. So what are your thoughts on that and how that affected the church as a whole? Did it prepare us for changes to come or did it make changes more difficult?

Lach Mackay :

So I think that this is a high point for the church. To be willing to see through the emotion. We defined ourselves by our opposition to polygamy, as you suggested, for so long. But to recognize what now we would say is the worth of the women and children. And that we had something to share that could be transformative in wonderful, powerful ways. And, and to be brave enough as a people to make that move is just incredible to me. And wonderful irony, that we ended up in a place where we knowingly have polygamous members. And of course, our cousins in the West are horrified at that thought in their own tradition. I just think it's stunning and amazing and wonderful, that we were willing to take this step really to step out in faith and I think it is kind of an early, early step that leads on to the path of Community of Christ, maybe one of the early expressions of what the church was, was becoming.

Karin Peter :

And we have been on a journey of becoming. So where are we now with some of this? Now, you said that there are lots of different perspectives. And you're sharing yours on this. So is this talked about outside of historical conferences and that kind of thing? Are people more accepting of the sources, the source material? I know in my own family, so my family members have been less than willing to accept source material that came out of the Utah church or descendants from the Utah church, what, what's going on now and this whole topic?

Lach Mackay :

So here's where I think we're at and it doesn't quite work, but I like to think of this as we are going through the stages of grief when it comes to Joseph and polygamy. That we believed in him for so long. We defended him for so long. And then to discover that perhaps we were wrong. Just devastating. So I think we went through denial. I think we went through anger. And I think some of our members are still there. For people who—and I meet Latter Day Saints and Latter-day Seekers in this place as well—who are just so angry with Joseph, that they can't see any of the positive. If you come from a black and white world, and Joseph was revered, and suddenly it's clear that he made some mistakes, some big mistakes, the only thing that can be you know, if he's not revered, he has to be evil. There's no in between. It's black or white, it's good or bad, good or evil. I think the world is not black and white. I think life takes place in the gray. I think Joseph was capable of great good and significant mistakes. And again, in some ways he's deeply flawed. I think many of us skip the bargaining and the depression stage of the stages of grief. And some of us are moving into the acceptance stage that allows us to embrace not just the wonderful and positive of Joseph as well as recognize and admit and repent for the negative. But it also allows us I think, more importantly, to reconnect with the amazing parts of our story that that we just weren't thinking about didn't want to talk about is just too painful. So I think that's part of where we're at now. I also think there's this really strange swapping of positions that has taken place. I fairly regularly now meet members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who believe that Joseph had nothing to do with polygamy.

Karin Peter :

Yeah.

Lach Mackay :

And they think that although they don't really recognize this, in many cases, they have embraced the work of Richard Price, now deceased, who was a leader in the Restoration, schism in the Community of Christ. He gathered all kinds of sources on Joseph and polygamy. Now, I think, Richard, my take is that he knew what the answer was when he started and he didn't let the sources swayed him. And I don't think that's the best way to do history. But I also think he has an amazing collection of sources that I can interpret through my own lens, but his material has infiltrated The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and particularly the followers of Denver Snuffer in ways that I don't think they recognize. So it's not uncommon now for, for me to encounter folks from the LDS tradition who think Brigham did it, Joseph had nothing to do with it. While I bumped into members from Community of Christ who think he might have had something to do with it. So this really interesting role reversal. I also think that DNA and genetics have added a really fascinating and kind of puzzling piece to this equation. So, you know, the the old RLDS defense was always well, there are no children of Joseph's from other than Emma. How do you really know for most of the generations, we made that argument, again, because most of the women sealed to Joseph early were married to and living with their husbands. So if there's a child, whose child is it? And more recently, DNA has allowed us to try and find out are some of these families who thought that they were really Joseph's descendants, but not from Emma, are they? And that genetic study has been going on for, you know, 15 years now, maybe. And to this point, there are there's no genetic evidence that Joseph had children from other than Emma. Some people have argued that that Dr. Bennett knew how to perform abortions, and I think he probably did. But I also think the whole point of plural marriage was to raise up a righteous seed. It just doesn't make any sense to me that, that that would be why there are no children from other than him. So that's caused me to kind of step back and and reconsider the nature of the relationships.d We already knew that some were only spiritual, not physical, but I still think some are physical. Some have suggested maybe that that there was a one time, consummation of the marriage in some cases, of course that would reduce the likelihood of children. But I just don't know how to make sense of that part yet. Interesting.

Karin Peter :

Yeah.

Lach Mackay :

So much we don't know.

Karin Peter :

But it took how long for Sally Hemings and her descendants to be honored?

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, but in their case, the genetic evidence supported the traditional understanding.

Karin Peter :

Yeah, but it took a while to find her and find them and find that.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah. In Joseph's case, of course, that could still turn up. But some of the people, some of the family lines tested were not good candidates to begin with. These were geneticists not historians that were doing this work, but they've also tested the best candidates. It is only a piece of the puzzle. So you need documentary evidence that you also then combine, but based on the documentary evidence, the best candidates now have been tested and they are not Smith's. So I don't know what to make of that.

Karin Peter :

One of the mysteries of trying to piece it back together.

Lach Mackay :

One of many.

Karin Peter :

So when we talk about polygamy in Nauvoo, we talk a lot about Emma. And what did she know? When did she know it? Those kinds of things, but other than the effect it had on Emma and, and using her lifelong denial as our kind of banner.

Lach Mackay :

Not lifelong.

Karin Peter :

Oh, I'm sorry, no, her "he repented?" No, we modified that denial.

Lach Mackay :

So there's some William McClellan suggested in 1847 she did for a very brief period, talk about it. Okay. But later she says things like, well, Joseph said that if everybody lived righteously you know this might be able to work. But no, it didn't, kind of thing. But she was consistent, I think, in her public statements that she was Joseph's only only wife.

Karin Peter :

Yes. And that was to her deathbed, was it not that he had one wife.

Lach Mackay :

Her deathbed testimony. And I think she's right. I think that Joseph only had one legal wife. Joseph, the third had a really legalistic mind, and he had to get it from somewhere. I think he got it from Emma.

Karin Peter :

I know in my own life, I'm really careful about how I phrase things. So absolutely. We we need to look at that. When we talk about this, though, we talked about the women in the plural marriages, women who were affected by this and we seem to talk about them from the perspective of the men to whom they were sealed or married or refer to them through which leader they are married to—talk about the wife of Kimball, the wife of William Law, the wife of... So it kind of allows us to keep what was happening at arm's length and not make it real because we're not dealing with women evolved as human beings, we're dealing with them as appendages to men. So if we begin to name what happened, and you talked about, about that, and the women become people to us in our study of history, many of them manipulated or coerced into participating. How do we learn their stories as a, as a people, as Community of Christ? How do we learn their stories? And can we learn to claim them as we claim Emma as women of faith? Not simply as a victim?

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, there's a couple, there's many things I think at play there. One of them Is that we're products of our culture as well. And so until recent years, that's how we saw the world. So, you know, we are the Joseph Smith Historic Site. Now I thought we were doing pretty good when we picked that name and you know, in 2000 or so because we understood it to be not just Joseph Smioth, Jr., but Joseph Sr and Joseph the third. I thought, well, you know, I like that. Of course, if we did it today, I would want to call it th Emma and Joseph Smith Historic Site or the Joseph and Emma Smith Historic Site. Part of me wants to put Emma first because she was here so much longer. Her story is decades and decades long here. We did when we did write ups for the homes here. We have interpretive signs in front of a lot of the houses. And we included the wife's name as well, which I feel good about, but that transition is really even only happened In my own life, since 2000, I know I'm a late comer. But as historians we also are a little handicapped in that most of the source material focuses on the men. There's not a lot to work with, from the women. There's really very little written by Emma, for example. And it's, it's a challenge. It's hard to overcome. So we have to be intentional about capturing and reclaiming the stories of the wives of the women that I think are critically important, I think, for Community of Christ today maybe more important because we already know those other stories. But often the women who were so focused on caring for the others, you know, the Abolish Poverty, End Suffering focus, nobody was doing it better than the women. I wonder if that's a sexist statement? I mean, think about that. So I think, admit our failures, repent and pledge to do better is what we can do.

Karin Peter :

Yeah.

Lach Mackay :

I think that we talk about Worth of Persons. And we need to recognize that, that we didn't view women as of equal worth in the 19th century. And I still don't think we're there today. We've got plenty of room for improvement. But those are just a few of the things I think we can draw from.

Karin Peter :

Sure. And the historical nature of highlighting the accomplishments of the men obviously plays into this but I think also our anti polygamy DNA, if you will, in your Reorganization makes us not really wanting to learn the stories of the women who would have been pluralized. That makes us uncomfortable?

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, no question. And I, I struggle internally with that as well, for example, my earlier statement that that these were not wives, and legally they're not. But is that degrading or somehow suggesting that they're less than? Maybe? I don't know.

Karin Peter :

I don't know, either. But if we're talking about matters of faith, and we talk about women entering into plural marriage, I think we have to be willing to look at that and say, what does that teach just also about the blessings of community?

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, I do think it's fascinating that when Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness, which is a collection of biographies of the women, he understands were sealed to Joseph. From, from some scholars in the Church of Jesus Christ, Todd was savaged in part because I think in the way he he cited his sources of it was pretty roughly received. And I think that that Mark Scherer on behalf of Community of Christ made a statement that was we support good scholarship, wherever that leads. So...

Karin Peter :

What a turn around.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, although he didin't explicitly say I think this is good scholarship it was probably a little politically sensitive. But yeah, it wasn't a turn around.

Karin Peter :

Yeah, absolutely. So as we conclude our conversation about this do you have any like closing, wise words for us on this topic as we might want to explore it or any last thoughts?

Lach Mackay :

I just find it fascinating, that when we're open all of us in Nauvoo, tell the story of this community, and have spent decades doing it, while never talking about plural marriage, when it is so critically important to the story. And I'm just like, I can't understand how we can tell the story without talking about it, although we've done it for a long, long time. But the other side of that is, of course, that although we don't talk about it much now, unless asked, and then we're happy to talk openly and honestly, they also didn't talk about it in the 1840s. So, maybe it's appropriate,

Karin Peter :

We know the tradition.

Lach Mackay :

Yeah, I do think that we're all moving into a place where we have to be more comfortable claiming our past, as I've said repeatedly, the wonderful powerful, glorious, and the painful. It's ours, whether we like it or not, and by claiming it, it frees us to move forward,

Karin Peter :

it does indeed, and allows us to look at how we've been shaped and formed as a people. Well, I want to thank you, Lach for having this conversation with me about polygamy in Nauvoo. If our listeners would like to learn more on this topic, you've mentioned a number of places where they can look, if you are interested in how the church talks about it in its missionary material, you can look at the Illustrated Church History, and how it's referenced in that text. You can also find Mark Scherer's treatment of the topic in Volume One of Journey of a People. There are the two john Whitmer Historical Society articles that Lach referenced and Lafch do you have any other pieces of information where people might look on this topic?

Lach Mackay :

I think that's where I'd start—those four would be a great place to start.

Karin Peter :

Alrighty, so Lach. Thank you again for this conversation. And for our listeners. This has been an episode of Cuppa Joe for the Project Zion Podcast. I'm Karen Peter. Thanks for listening.

Josh Mangelson :

Thanks for listening to Project Zion Podcast. Subscribe to our podcast on Apple podcast Stitcher, or whatever podcast streaming service you use. And while you're there, give us a five star rating. Project Zion Podcst is sponsored by Latter-day Seeker Ministries of Community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Latter-day Seeker Ministries or Community of Christ. Music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinze.