Tuesday, February 06, 2007
BYU Polygamy Page - dumped
BYU polygamy Web page dumped
'Personal project' had sought to explain topic
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:02/06/2007 06:52:44 AM MST
A Brigham Young University employee's attempt to offer an explanation
of "Mormon polygamy" on the school's Web site proved short-lived.
Jim Engebretsen pulled a polygamy page he had posted at
polygamy.byu.edu on Monday afternoon after being told it violated
Engebretsen did not have approval to place the "personal project"
on the school's official Web site, said Carrie Jenkins, BYU
But for at least three days, it appeared BYU might be tackling
head-on a topic that has bedeviled its owner, The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose own Web site approaches the subject
of polygamy with great care.
By Common Consent, a blog site that offers LDS news and
commentary, announced Engebretsen's page Saturday under the headline,
"BYU debuts a website devoted to Mormon polygamy."
At the page, visitors could read about the origins of polygamy in
the LDS Church as well as current LDS Church President Gordon B.
Hinckley's denouncement of its modern-day practice (the church
abandoned plural marriage in 1890). The site offered scriptural
references to polygamy, speeches on the topic by former LDS leaders
and links to academic research on plural marriage.
Its approach was candid, to say the least.
Under the heading "Polygamy," it posed such questions as "Did
Joseph Smith marry young girls?" and "Did Joseph Smith lie about
practicing polygamy?" with answers drawn from or linked to scholarly
works at other Web sites.
The answers in short: Yes and yes, but times were different and
the dishonesty was a form of civil disobedience, according to Gregory
L. Smith's linked paper at The Foundation for Apologetic Information
Engebretsen is the MBA director and an assistant dean for
corporate relations and career placement at BYU's Marriott School of
He and two BYU professors - Daniel Peterson and Robert Millet -
recently launched the More Good Foundation to help spread positive,
accurate information about the LDS faith on the Internet.
The polygamy page was launched in that spirit, said Engebretsen,
who worked with students to create the site and its content.
In his experience, Engebretsen said, polygamy ranks next to Mormon
missionaries - a subject he also plans to take on in the future - as
the most misunderstood aspects of the faith.
"It is a project to help people understand a little more about
polygamy and our church history," he said. "This is an attempt to put
down factual information."
Monday, Engebretsen acknowledged that as a relative newcomer to
Utah and BYU - he moved here from Philadelphia two years ago - he was
still "trying to figure things out."
"I thought they had cleared more of the information than they
had," he said. "We'll find another home for it. We were just trying to
get good content out. I can understand why they don't want it to be
associated with BYU."