Here’s a brief response to Dan’s first video on polyandry:
- There is nothing new here.
- The DNA evidence regarding Josephine’s paternity is not what I expected, but it was what I had hoped. Joseph's sealings to legally married women are easier to understand if Windsor Lyon is Josephine biological father. For an analysis, click here.
- Polyandry proponents who quote me and other apologists--like over and over and over in the video 🙂 --demonstrate they don’t have any better evidence to cite. If Dan had limited himself to evidences supporting his theory, the video would have been much much shorted--even brief.
- In early 2014, Dan and I exchanged a series of emails (see http://mormonpolygamydocuments.org/hales-vogel/) In those I asked him to agree or disagree with various statements. To the sentence: “There is no solid evidence of polyandrous sexuality in any of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages,” he wrote: “[Vogel] Agree.” Dan was well aware of the Josephine Fisher affidavit at that time. Apparently in the past two years he has changed his mind.
- Dan Vogel's methodology is “bread-crumb scholarship.” Follow the breadcrumbs (evidences and interpretations) just as he presents, do not look to the right or the left, and eventually you can arrive at his conclusion.
- The primary evidence for polyandry is this sentence: “She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, she having been sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon had was out of fellowship with the Church” (italics added). Dan insists there is only one interpretation—the one he offers. Good scholars will admit that other valid interpretations exist.
- Dan dismisses the second half of the sentence through creative logic. Objective scholars will note the second half is just as credible as the first half. This is important because the declaration that Sylvia was “sealed to the Prophet at the time that her husband Mr. Lyon was out of fellowship with the Church” is very consistent with a non-sexual eternity-only sealing. It really makes no sense if it was a time-and-eternity marriage creating a polyandrous situation for Sylvia. Windsor’s membership status would have been unimportant.
- The question boils down to did Sylvia mean Josephine was Joseph’s daughter physically or spiritually? If we assume spiritually, the DNA evidences fits perfectly. If we assume physically, then we also must assume Sylvia was mistaken (two assumptions). Calling Occam's razor.
- I appreciate Dan's acknowledgment that Josephine’s statement is the best evidence that Joseph Smith practiced polyandry. That says a great deal about the type and quality of the supportive documentation.
- Polyandry (or whatever Dan wants to call it) would have been an explosive practice—far more controversial than polygyny. There is no context for the alleged behavior. Dan reacts aggressively to the idea today but we are to believe the Nauvoo polygamists reacted very differently, very passively. Seems a bit unreal.
- No person, including Dan Vogel or Brian Hales, can create documented history by simply stating what they think happened. It doesn’t work that way. Evidence is paramount.
- Polyandry advocates suffer from two primary weaknesses. First, there is no context for a behavior that would have been highly controversial.
- Second, there is no unambiguous evidence. That is, there is no documentation that a woman in Nauvoo ever believed that she did have or could have two husbands at the same time.
- At the end of the first video, Dan quotes part of a letter from Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner written in either 1870 or 1880:
- Unfortunately, Dan does not include other portions of the letter:
He [Joseph Smith] preached a great deal about women being virtuous or they would not enter the kingdom of heaven. […] I could tell you why I stayed with Mr. Lightner. Thing the leaders of the Church does not know anything about. I did just as Joseph told me to do, as he knew what troubles I would have to contend with. Joseph [sic] hair was a light brown color. […]”
- This is not strong evidence of polyandry. It could be describing a polyandrous relationship or it could be referring to a non-sexual "for eternity" sealing, a form of sealing that was not being performed by Church leaders in the 1870-1880 time period. This statement seems more ambiguous than Josephine Lyon's statement mentioned above, but it is front center for several seconds in Dan's video showing the evidence he highlights is not strong evidence.