Polygamy website gets shut down!

Recently a BYU professor hosted a website providing links and easy to find information from LDS church history on the subject of polygamy at the BYU website polygamy.byu.edu.  In it you could ask such questions as “Did Joseph Smith marry young girls?” or “What do current Church leaders say about Polygamy”  You could find all you wanted to know and very concise answers to your questions.  It was published at the end of January.  The site was then posted on By Common Consent  a popular LDS blog by linking to it on a sideblog on Saturday Feb 3rd. 

Monday afternoon Feb 5th it was pulled from the BYU site with no real explanation.  The Salt Lake Tribune published this article today that goes into some detail about the removal of the website.  I was able to save the content of the site if anyone is interested I can e-mail it to you or you can do a search and view the cached pages from google windows live, whatever you choose. 

It is difficult to find unbiased information on hot topics such as polygamy and Mormons.  It pushes buttons and makes some uncomfortable.  This website was a great source for historical information that clarifies many issues.  There are many sites such as the apologetic FAIRlds and others that provide some information.  But an easy to search directory had not been implemented until polygamy.byu.edu was launched.  But as quickly as it came it went.

 It will be interesting to follow as more information arises.  I would not be surprised to see the proprietors of the polygamy.byu.edu to reopen elsewhere in the next few days.  Keep posted.


11 Responses to “Polygamy website gets shut down!”

  1. 1 Chino Blanco February 6, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Me again. I think your comments are spot on and you nailed the main reason I’m kinda perturbed by this whole thing: the fellow who put together the polygamy.byu.edu pages actually did quite a good job of it, and deserved better than getting his contribution yanked without explanation.

    Now that I’ve found your blog, this is where I’ll check back for updates on this, cheers!

  2. 2 Ben February 6, 2007 at 11:43 am

    I understand your frustration. As soon as more info comes out we will better understand. From the perspective of BYU I understand why they removed it. If in fact there was no proper clearance. It is a private web site. I would not be surprised if the site popped up under another domain name soon.

    It is a delicate situation for the church. But i am with you 100% about access to information. I think there needs to be an outlet for all types of info.

    If you look hard enough it is there. You can reference church history from LDS.org You can still purchase the Church History books as well. Information is there for seekers, but not for the masses.

    Perhaps it has to do with not casting your pearls before the swine.

  3. 3 Thunderchops February 6, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    “Perhaps it has to do with not casting your pearls before the swine.”

    I have a hard time coming to that conclusion given the church’s efforts to whitewash their official published history throughout the years.

    E.G. References to tobacco use by Joseph Smith & co in Carthage from the original printings have had the word “tobacco” changed to medicine.

    Changes such as that, however minor they may seem, are right in line with Boyd K. Packer’s insistence that all that is truthful is not helpful. It doesn’t seem to be as much a case of “pearls before swine” as much as it seems to be a case of “protection through whitewash” and “denial via omitance.”

  4. 4 Ben February 6, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Perhaps thunderchops.

    There are various and valid reasons for this “Whitewashing”.

    As you said that an analogy comes to mind.

    If you own a home would you fail to upkeep and maintain the home in sake of historical accuracies. i.e. not paint your home because of fear it will diminish the character of the original paint. That does not mean that one can not take photographs of the original through the years and document changes. Archive information is important. So is the need to maintain the home.

    That said, The Church is a living and breathing entity and the ongoing cleansing is needed. That does not mean however we should set fire to all the archives or lock them up completely.

    I believe maintaining the “home” so to speak is a duty that needs to be done meticulously and with much care. Paying attention to the historical context as well as the modern updates…

  5. 5 Peter February 6, 2007 at 3:00 pm


    The trouble I see with your home maintenance analogy is that, unlike a house, history doesn’t need to be cleaned up to be history–it just is. Plenty of people prefer their historical objects to be original over pristine. Sure, the interpretation of various events will change as more information comes to light or some is forgotten, but I doubt there is a real need to ever cover history up with something new and call the new old. Which isn’t to say the Church has no business negotiating its own history, just that it’s not the sole proprietor.

  6. 6 Ben February 6, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    One more thing. I tried posting a reply to your comments on the further light and knowledge. But it requires a password.

    I believe there needs to be a source of information from the church so people can read for themselves the facts as opposed to second hand. They should not “dance” around these topics.

    That is why I encourage people to see for themselves and have provided the links and pages above.

  7. 7 Ben February 6, 2007 at 3:06 pm


    true history needn’t be cleaned up. Perhaps my analogy was mis-interpreted.

    My point is that history is what it is should be recorded and made available but it is different from the current Church Image and ideals it is trying to portray. History now on such topics is difficult and laborious yet is still available for dedicated seekers. (Such as those who research at a library etc and go looking for info) The rest of the people learn by second hand rumors folk lore etc.

    It is my hope that these more “tender” topics will be more available for seekers to access this info from “the horses mouth”

  8. 9 Ben February 6, 2007 at 10:15 pm


    Thanks for the post. There you have it… Back up just as predicted. See links Above.

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