The Year of Polygamy podcast started out as a weekly series for the Feminist Mormon Housewives Podcast. Due to its national popularity, this site has been created as a better way to manage these important Mormon histories.
For over a decade, Feminist Mormon Housewives, a blog NPR’s Krista Tippets called “legendary”, published essays on subjects pertinent to Mormon women. Ranging from ridiculous tales of the drudgery of home life to heavy hitting religious critiques and feminist theory, FMH has been a bright spot that readers could turn to when they felt alone in their local wards. Since 2013 Lindsay Hansen Park has taken those same topics and tackled them through the medium of podcasting by hosting panel discussion, monologues, and searing and provocative historical research. Over the course of over 170 episodes and over 15 million downloads later, Hansen Park’s work takes research hidden away in archives, brushed aside by religious authorities, left out of official histories, written professionally in abstracts and journals, and compiles it all in a narrative respected by leading historians and compelling enough to interest any casual listener.
The series follows the Mormon faith through the lens of “The Principle of Plural Marriage” from its genesis in 1831 with its originator Joseph Smith, through the hidden history and governmental pressure, to today and contemporary practicing Fundamentalist Mormons.
For the first time polygamy is dissected through a feminist viewpoint, with attention given to the experiences of the women, women who sacrificed everything and suffered long and are never mentioned in museums or landmark tours. Their experiences, along with interviews with experts, scholars, historians, and those still affected directly by the practice, paint a new portrait of how the west was shaped, by the hard work and toil of these invisible women, hidden away through controversy.
Through Hansen Park’s careful work, we see how the practice of polygamy affected every aspect of the LDS church’s formation and is still a shadow hanging over the church, visible in its approach to marriage, the role of women, and the temple ceremonies. Instead of the historical footnote polygamy is often treated as, Hansen Park shows how this practice, started in secret and a direct cause of Joseph Smith’s death, responsible for driving the saints to Utah, and then outward again to Mexico and Canada, the root of power struggles both in the church and out, the cause of suspicion and eventually violence including the Mountain Meadows Massacre, was an instigator to most of the history of American West.
For the first time, The Year of Polygamy shows how the west was settled not only to claim land and mineral rights, but in a very real way to control the bodies and sexuality of women in a way that reverberates today.
About the host: Lindsay Hansen-Park is a 39 year-old women’s rights activist, a feminist writer, and an advocate against gender violence. She was recently the cultural and historical consultant for Hulu’s limited series, Under the Banner of Heaven and is currently heavily involved in the Mormon Feminist movement.
Lindsay is the Executive Director for the Sunstone Education Foundation and the founder of the Year of Polygamy podcast. She wrote for six years at FeministMormonHousewives.org about women’s issues and now podcasts for the Sunstone Mormon History podcast. Her work has been referenced by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Quartz Magazine, and many other Utah publications.
She and her family live in Utah where she raises three beautiful kiddos, gardens, and rages against the machine.
MEDIA AND PRESS:
Where Lindsay’s work has been quoted or referenced:
- BBC World News:
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02b23jm (Start at about 14:53.)
- New York Times:
- Salt Lake Tribune on Sunstone:
- Salt Lake Tribune:
- Plural Marriage: http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/1733664-155/plural-marriage-essay-smith-church-joseph
- Judith Freeman Interview: http://www.sltrib.com/home/4031744-155/books-judith-freeman-is-set-free
- Winston Blackmore http://www.sltrib.com/blogs/polygamy/4199062-155/hear-why-winston-blackmore-who-has?fullpage=1
- Conference on Race: http://www.sltrib.com/home/2280531-155/conference-will-explore-issues-of-race
- St. George Utah:
- City Weekly:
- Wall Street Journal: Wall Street Journal
- The Guardian:
- Sunstone Symposium Seeks To Gather Voices From Every Corner Of Mormonism
- Washington Post:
- Los Angeles Times:
Lindsay’s Published Works:
- New York Times Personal Essay: https://static01.nyt.com/packages/js/newsgraphics/2014/02/27-mormon-essays.js
- Article in Quartz
- Primary Voice, Hillary Clinton article