There are few things that upset me more than a bully. And by a bully, I mean one who is better equipped singling out and holding up for scorn someone who is not as gifted or skilled in order to make themselves look better to the world.
In Brian Hale’s latest blog post he first mocks Jeremy for not being an expert when Jeremy never claimed to be as much. His “Letter to a CES director” was just that, a letter to ask questions that went viral.
“but when individuals attempt to expound and defend a specific historical interpretation before the public, it seems it would be wise to familiarize themselves with the latest research on the topic. “
By which of course he means HIS research.
And what is the crux of his argument? That the women “Enjoyed it”.
“A woman would have her choice, this was a privilege that could not be denied her.”
He quotes Lucy Walker, and we all know that women who are under-aged or propositioned by men in powerful positions in the community are totally allowed to have a choice. No, that’s why we have codes for “Statutory rape” and harassment.
Brian Hales seems absolutely fine with the relationships co-erced by a man with political and religious power over women into forcing them into relationships by touting that eternal salvation may be on the line. We call that “Rape” in our society, and it was handled similarly under the views of the Victorian era. Bigamy laws in Illinois were changed in 1833 to be exponential per account of the crime which means that Joseph would have been on the hook for 200^35 dollars (more than all money produced in the world at that time and 6 months^35 months in prison (or over a billion years). These were crimes. They were morally wrong. Sexual relations aren’t required to see that. Why is it so hard for Brian Hales to understand that we have problems with immoral behavior regardless of the Sex issue?
Jeremy Runnels, however, doesn’t mention the sexual nature. He just mentions the marriages as being disturbing regardless of sex.
Like many authors before him, Runnells implies sexual polyandry occurred; that is, that the wives were experiencing sexual relations with both their legal husbands and Joseph Smith. Yet, Runnells presents no credible documentation to support his interpretation,
Let’s evaluate Brian Hales interpretation.
Brian Hales’ argument hinges on the existence of “eternity only” sealings. A mormon historian looked through his website for evidence of these sealings and learned there is only one documented “eternity only” sealing. This document even states the husband was OK with it and the marriage was intended for after this life only.
Brian’s argument depends on extrapolating: “This reality supports that any of Joseph Smith’s plural marriages where sexuality is not documented could have been an “eternity only” sealing including eleven of his fourteen sealings to women with legal husbands.”
In the quote above he uses the phrase “could have been.” In his rationalfaith’s article however, he wrote, “research indicates.” These imply two very different meanings.
So there are documented cases of sex for 19 of the marriages, and evidence for ONE after-this-life eternity only sealing, and Brian Hales lectures the amateur for not being familiar with the topic, or making assumptions?
He then attacks Jeremy for using “Anti-mormon sources” (Ad hominem) citing his use of the “Temple Lot Case”
One example of the weaknesses that are repeated over and over in his essay is illustrated when Runnells allegedly quotes Lorenzo Snow’s 1892 Temple Lot deposition. According to Runnells, Snow gave this testimony:
That’s right, you can read it in the case yourself, and unless Brian has credible evidence that this quote was mishandled or forged, or put in by aliens to trick the faithful, then he’s just deceiving the reader to attack the credibility of someone who had the guts to ask tough questions.
This quote is in the RLDS notes of the temple lot. It is a court document. The original may very well not contain this quote, but as a formal historian, Brian needs to do more than shift the blame on to Jeremy for being deceptive, he needs to provide the counter evidence.
Where is the accountability for apologists when they lie, bully, use fallacies and make up their own “research” to assault those who question? Shouldn’t the standard applied to Kate Kelly apply also to Brian Hales, as he is clearly teaching his own set of doctrines (The idea the marriages were not sexual is in direct conflict with D&C 132, something I’ve not seen Brian adequately address)? Who watches the apologist watchment?
I’ll end with this, maybe Brian Hales should “familiarize himself with the latest research on the topic before he expounds or defends a specific historical interpretation” particularly one that hinges on such flimsy evidence, and apparently requires ignoring counter evidence.
And possibly he should stop being a bully.