Brian Hales uses supposition and deception to accuse an amateur of the same

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:

And here it is, in the temple lot case 

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.

This entry was posted in Apologetics, Current issues. Bookmark the permalink.
Last edited by Mithryn on July 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm

10 Responses to Brian Hales uses supposition and deception to accuse an amateur of the same

  1. Mike says:

    Bravo! I love how Hales and Christensen attack Runnels as if they are both salesmen with competing products. Runnels uses rational thought and evidence to test the claims of these two men and when the evidence deflates the hypothesis, instead of doing the intellectually honest thing and acknowledging the flaws in the product; they attack the questioner. Basically smearing him for having intelligence, honesty and courage. It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly those men can determine that showing your shoulders as a woman is bad; but marrying children and raping women is somehow o.k. It get’s to the root of the problem with these men, which is that their religion keeps them from being better people and it’s tragic. They’d rather see people revert morally than to see real progress. In the case of Runnels, they’d rather smear his name, than stand on the right side of the argument. It give me chills and in a very bad way.

  2. Richard says:

    I neither know of Brian Hales , nor do I want to . But I do know that Jeremy’s composition is brilliant and spot on . I came through the back door to find the letter and it confirmed everything I already had known through my own discoveries . The letter simply cannot be refuted by anyone . Those who try are either liars or fools .

  3. Hi Jeremy et al.

    Sorry I don’t mean to be a “bully” and I probably should have chosen a different title.

    I also appreciate your attempt to provide some documentation from the Temple Lot trial, but your link is not that. You have been deceived by Herald House or Price Publishing, both printed edited versions of the Temple Lot litigation. The originals are housed at the Eighth District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, with a carbon copy at the Community of Christ Archives. The LDS Church History Library offers both microfilm and digital photographs of the microfilm (unrestricted).

    The statement quoted by Runnells is from one of the edited versions and I’m not surprised that the RLDS editor added some commentary that has been mistaken as have been stated in the original testimony.

    Here’s the transcript:

    189 Q. And the man that violated this law in this book [Doctrine and Covenants 1835 edition] until the acceptance of that revelation by the church violated the law of the church if he practiced plural marriage? A. Yes Sir. He was cut off from the church. I think I should have been if I had.

    190 Q. What would be the condition of the man that would marry more than one person prior to the giving of that revelation in 1843? A. What would be the condition of a man that would do that?

    191 Q. Yes sir? A. Why he would be cut off from the Church.

    192 Q. Would not it have been adultery under those revelations I have just read? A. Yes sir. I expect it would be.

    193 Q. You are one of the apostles in the church at the present time are you not . . .

    I have posted a scanned copy of the actual document here:…/

    The scan may be skewed in your views, but you and download it or right click on “open image in new tab” to see it and enlarge it as you please.


    Brian Hales

  4. Sorry to follow up in a separate comment but the confusion regarding the Temple Lot testimony is expanding and so I wanted to address it separately.

    Jeremy says he is planning a response to me. Great, but in order to avoid getting lost in the weeds (as John Dehlin would correctly say), why don’t you provide one allegation and I will respond. Then we can go to your second etc. I don’t expect to change your mind, but we can create a record that our audiences will benefit from. And we can both assure that we are using primary sources.

    Everyone wins!


    Brian Hales

    • Mithryn says:

      This comment did not get approved for a long time due to the debate on the Mormon Historian facebook debate. I was waiting for its resolution.

      The summary: Brian Hales provided a source for the Lorenzo Snow quote that corrects Jeremy Runnels. Several individuals challenged Brian Hales to produced sources beyond the one on his site that “eternal marriages” were performed. Mr. Hales left the group without providing evidence.

      The one instance provided includes that the husband demanded it be eternity only, and appears to be an exception that required Joseph to alter the normal practice. This seems to undermine all of Hales’ theory that sex was uncommon, and again; he left rather than reply with sources.

  5. Nick says:

    So, Brian, I am curious.
    I’m just an average and basic student of Mormonism. Served a mission, grew up in the church, married in the temple, callings, etc.
    How do you square the requirements given in DC 132 and Jacob for polygamy -being that if the law is given the wives must be virgins and it is for having kids? By those two requirements it would seem logical to call anyone who broke those requirements as being apostate or teaching something against doctrine which is worthy of excommunication.

  6. Tzaddi says:

    First, Richard, 90% of the CES letter had been refuted before it was even written. The rest also easily refuted.

    And for Nick, if you really wanted to know the answer to that question, you know Brian has a website and a three volume series on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, right? You can find the answer to that question in addition to many more if you take the time to read what is already available to you.

    • Mithryn says:

      Poorly refuted, which he illustrates on his rebuttals to FAIR

    • Todd B. says:


      Please list the points from the CES Letter that have been refuted. You may also want to visit Jeremy’s site to read his rebuttal to FAIR’s response to the letter. FAIR actually agrees with most of what Jeremy says in the letter, FAIR just chooses to interpret things differently, they certainly have their bias for obvious reasons.

  7. Pingback: The father of all lies | Exploring Mormonism

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