Summarized by Gregor McHardy
Pioneers, Polygamy, Politics Entwined in Hatch's Roots
Salt Lake Tribune 5Sep99 L5
By Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune
While George W. Bush pussyfoots around his activities with drugs in his
younger days, presidential candidate Orrin Hatch has no problem bringing
his skeletons out of the closet. Hatch's great-great-grandfather and
great-grandfather were polygamists, a fact that may endear him to his LDS
constituency, but won't capture many votes among the rest of Christendom.
And although his grandfather died as a result of his alcoholism, not
exactly a laurel on a good Mormon's family tree, Hatch has made no effort
to hide this fact either.
This article looks in-depth at the history of Hatch's polygamist
forebears, mentioning a lot of Church history on the way, including Joseph
Smith, Brigham Young, and the Manifesto. An interesting comment by Jan
Shipps, emeritus professor of religious studies at Indiana
University-Purdue University, helps put 19th century polygamy in a
different light: "The whole notion that polygamy is a danger to the family
was incredibly important in the early 20th century. But people aren't as
afraid of polygamy today as they once were, partly because serial polygamy
-- by which I mean divorce and remarriage -- is the standard rather than
the exception for half the people in this country."