Response to the Mormons

Wow, a number of Mormons have written some rather nasty things about me on the NPR site; I feel compelled to offer a bit of a response. First, nothing in the entry on the Mormon state of Deseret is incorrect. Some folks thought that my statement that Mormons only "sort of" gave up polygamy was inaccurate, but I wasn't referring to the breakaway groups that practice polygamy today. Instead, I was referring to the LDS teaching that polygamy will be practiced in heaven. Yes, the church has given up polygamy on earth, but they expect to return to the practice in the afterlife. Let me quote church president Joseph Fielding Smith who said (in Doctrines of Salvation Vol. 2 p. 67) " wives will be mine in eternity. I don't know how some other people feel, but that is a glorious thought to me." Now, it's fair to say that I can be snarky, and that abbreviating a long history into a few words can lead to misunderstandings. But you can't say I don't know anything about the LDS church. I lived in the most-Mormon city in America: Idaho Falls, Idaho (yes, the percentages are higher than Salt Lake). I've had long discussions with stake presidents. I have poured through literally thousands of pages of church history.  (And I'm not focused on anti-Mormon materials. For example, I agree with most Mormons who think The Godmakers was an unfair portrayal.) Lastly, anyone who reads my book will understand the jovial nature of the text. We're trying to have some fun here--everyone needs to lighten up. I'm a good Lutheran, but I laugh heartily listening to Garrison Keillor's spot-on ribbing of Lutheran culture. I even have a "sin boldly" coffee mug (Lutherans will get that one).
Mike Trinklein


  1. Who would have thought that an amusing little book about maps would bring out so many loons?

  2. I appreciate your perspective, and realize that your remarks were lighthearted, and I make polygamy jokes all the time.

    However, for the sake of clarity, I must point out the LDS doctrine on polygamy is not universal: we believe that it is sanctioned during certain times for certain needs but is not the "ideal" and not the situation that everyone will end up in. (in a 50/50 population how could it be?) Old Testament prophets like Abraham had multiple wives, but others like King Solomon were condemned by the Lord for taking unauthorized wives. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:27-30 explains this rather clearly.

    While we believe that Joseph F. Smith will indeed still be married to his multiple wives in the hereafter, we don't think that all men will - in fact those who are will be in the minority.

  3. The knowledge you may or may not have of the events is immaterial. The Mormon exodus cannot be simplified to the level attempted in your book without being totally erroneous. If you want to write about the subject, taking into account the intricacies of the events, I'd be happy to entertain your views and opinions.

    I understand the entry in question is from a bathroom book, and isn't meant to be an accurate and informed historic commentary. Nevertheless, taking that twaddle laden entry as the sole point of reference, everyone is justified in saying you don't know anything about the LDS church.