Brian and Laura Hales are the authors of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding.
Brian is an anesthesiologist. Brian’s interest in polygamy began when he had a family member who was excommunicated for joining a polygamist group. As a result he researched and wrote three books about polygamy. However, he kept getting questions specifically about Joseph Smith and polygamy, which is why he wrote Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology (plus 2 more volumes) and Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding.
Laura is a copy editor for the Mormon Historical Sites Foundation and also edits on a freelance basis. Laura has always been interested in history. Her interest in polygamy was sparked after reading her husband’s trilogy, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology. These books were written for the historical community and she felt that they should write another book about Joseph Smith and polygamy for the LDS community.
The interview covers common myths about polygamy, upcoming projects, their 7 most commonly asked questions, and helpful tips for church leaders who are addressing individuals’ questions and concerns about polygamy. Some of the helpful points they cover are:
- The topic of polygamy needs to be addressed early and in a supportive and nurturing environment.
- Joseph Smith was human just like any other leader we see in the church. He made mistakes and didn’t do everything perfectly.
- Leaders and teachers should be open to questions and researching when they do not know the answer.
- Sometimes a person just wants to have their fears and concerns validated and heard, rather than discounted and ignored.
- When people have questions and concerns, information and patience are needed.
- Purchase Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding
- Joseph Smith’s Polygamy Website
- Mormon Polygamy Documents
- Gospel Topics Essays
- Revelations in Context
- Joseph Smith’s Papers Project
- Fair Mormon Answers
- BYU Religious Studies Center
- The Maxwell Institute
- BYU Studies
*A big thanks to Heather Mecham for writing up the summary for this interview.