July 2015

Following the United States Supreme Court ruling, giving civil recognition to same-sex marriage relationships, on June 29th the First Presidency felt the need to issue a letter reconfirming its stand against homosexuality (as if we didn’t already know). It asks all bishops to meet with “all adults, young men, and young women on either July 5 or July 12 in a setting other than sacrament meeting and read them the entire statement.” Don’t members already understand such a well established doctrine? A copy of the letter and ‘background material’ can be located at ‘Life After Mormonism.’ (Click ‘next’ to continue reading).

It occurred to me that if the Mormon god really does provide any modern day revelation – surely he really should have advised his earthly leaders that this would happen long before they made themselves look extremely stupid, not to mention morally censurable, by illegally trying to manipulate the Prop. 8 vote in California and getting fined $5,000 for their trouble (see June 2013 note below), and equally as illegally plotting against sexual equality in Hawaii (see November and December 2013 notes below) – to save them from such embarrassment. Clearly, he doesn’t and he didn’t! These previous Church sponsored activities also fly in the face of a statement in the new letter “The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree.” Hypocrisy is in full flow. California and Hawaii were anything but kind and civil actions. Pretending ‘tolerance’ after such blatant prior attempts to stop modernisation of the law in a reasoned manner is reprehensible in the extreme, especially when it has absolutely no effect on faithful Mormons. In typical Mormon fashion, the Church tried to influence the law, so non-Mormons would have to adhere to its own antiquated and claimed biblical ideology, but of course, would still love them.

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During June, I was contacted by a descendant of the Henry Smith Tanner family who provided interesting information about the ‘last polygamous child’ I wrote about in The Mormon Delusion Volume 1. During my 2006 research on Family Search, I had concluded that David Smith Tanner (possibly the last LDS polygamous child), had died in 1954. This turns out not to be the case after all and he is in fact still alive and well. I am most grateful for the information and the following addendum has now been published.

Volume 1: Addendum. (Scroll down to ‘The last polygamous child’).

Page 214 of The Mormon Delusion, Volume 1, contains the following statement:

“Apparently, the last polygamous child known to have been born within the Church was not born until 1931. Henry Smith Tanner married plural wife Colombia Eden Richards on 1 February 1909. Colombia’s child, David Smith Tanner, was born on 19 April 1931 when at least three of Tanner’s five wives were still alive, according to B. Carmon Hardy (1992:419). Whilst Henry died in 1935, all five wives were actually alive at the time of David’s birth and also his death, according to some Family Search records. David is recorded as dying in 1954 at age twenty-three, all five of Henry Tanner’s wives passing on later, between 1958 and 1980.”

Elsewhere, on pages 274, 297, 306, 324 & 348, Volume 1 confirms that such details are just a guide giving a likely picture and they may not all be entirely accurate. “Family Search… family links checked, dating can be very unreliable… Genealogical information sometimes conflicts and details included are those deemed most likely correct… Accuracy of information… is estimated at about 90%.”

David Smith Tanner turns out to be a case in point. It transpires that the Family Search record claiming that David died in 1954 is actually incorrect – he did not die at that time as recorded in Family Search. I was recently contacted by a family member who has confirmed that David, and his older sister, Roselyn, are in fact currently living children of Henry Smith Tanner. I was delighted to discover that the last known polygamous child did not die in 1954 after all and am pleased to report that following a long career practicing dentistry in San Jose, California and Sandy, Utah, as of June 2015, David is still alive and well at age 84 and living in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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