Reconsidering No Man Knows My History by Newell Bringhurst

By Newell Bringhurst

Numerous students reexamine Fawn Brodie, her Joseph Smith biography, and its carrying on with significance to Mormon historical past.

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51 Almost from the moment of their first meeting in the summer of 1943, Brodie and Morgan became fast friends. More important, Morgan became a virtual mentor to the fledgling author, assuming the role of chief critic. 52 Morgan quickly demonstrated his skills in thoroughly critiquing a preliminary draft of Brodie's manuscript consisting of ten chapters, taking the story of Joseph Smith and the Mormons up through their expulsion from Jackson County, Missouri, and to the Zion's Camp army's subsequent march from Ohio to Missouri.

The sheer drama of the man's life held me spellbound... I found that Mormon historians had so deified their prophet that they had robbed him of the healthy, earthy qualities which endeared him to his people. The old anti-Mormon diatribes, on the other hand, gave Satan the whole credit for his success. "32 Meanwhile, Brodie pushed ahead with her writing and research. Although she had completed seven chapters, taking her account of Joseph Smith to 1831, and had collected enough material to write up the story of the Mormon leader's experiences in Ohio and Missouri up to 1839, there remained research to be done on the crucial Nauvoo period, including Smith's introduction of polygamy and the critical events leading up to his violent death in June 1844.

64 Brodie theorized that the promiscuous nature of plural marriage initially appealed to Mormon women as well as men. In response to Brodie's disclosure, No all lamented: "It is hard to take, but I can swallow it, if such promiscuity did exist on the part of the women too. " In stark terms, Brodie asserted: "I think polygamy was Page 23 disguised whoredom. But the disguise was so good that it metamorphosed the system into something quite different. After all the difference between fornication and sacred matrimony is merely a few mumblings from any mangy justice of the peace.

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