Mormon News, January 5–9

In the News

TLC’s “My Husband’s Not Gay” has not even aired yet, but a petition has already garnered over 100,000 signatures calling on TLC to cancel the program. “My Husband’s Not Gay” follows fourute Mormon men (three married and one single) who identify as “suffering” from “same-sex attraction” but who have chosen—or in the case of the single man, would like to choose—to get married and attempt to live a heterosexual life. The show airs its first episode Sunday night. TV critics who have seen advance copies of the program have largely panned it, and those supporting the petition say the show has the potential to do real harm. Josh Sanders, who started the petition, writes that, “I was promised I could change, and told that I should “pray the gay away. But I quickly learned the very real harms of ‘reparative therapy’—a practice that’s been denounced as ineffective and dangerous by nearly every major medical authority.”

On the Blogs

Ever since the LDS Church published an essay examining Joseph Smith’s polygamous practices on its website, an ongoing debate has asked, “Should Mormons already have known this?” Alison Moore Smith, blogging at Times & Seasons, weaved personal essay, anecdotal stories, and a look at official LDS publications and literature to show how a lifelong devout Latter-day Saint could be unaware that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. She explains that official church rhetoric surrounding polygamy is often “fuzzy” and ambiguous. For example, a BYU religion manual only says that Joseph Smith “instructed” priesthood leaders on polygamy; it does not explicitly say Joseph Smith practiced it. Alison and some commenters on the blog also noted that what constitutes “Joseph Smith’s polygamy” is a broader question than one might think. Even if faithful members vaguely know Smith was a polygamist, are they aware that he had teenage brides, that he concealed his wives, or how many he had? It is difficult not to conclude that Latter-day Saints would not have known because it was not in the church’s interest to speak forthrightly about it.

In (Comic)Books

Sunstone editor Stephen Carter and illustrator Jett Atwood have published the second volume of iPlates, a graphic novel of the Book of Mormon. It is a unique way of engaging the Book of Mormon as literature and mining it for compelling stories that unfold on the page. iPlates Volume II explores Alma’s and Gideon’s attempt to overthrow King Noah. Doug Gibson of the Ogden Standard-Examiner interviewed Carter about the work behind the creation of a graphic novel about such a topic.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor