Less than 24 hours after its removal from a university Web site, a polygamy page crafted by a Brigham Young University employee has a new home.
Jim Engebretsen has relaunched the page, which offers historical and scholarly works on the origins and status of polygamy within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at www.mormon-polygamy.org.
Engebretsen had posted the page, without appropriate approval, on the university’s official Web site. After learning of the page on Monday, administrators asked him to remove it.
Engebretsen did so quickly, explaining he erroneously believed the “personal project” had been properly cleared. He also said he hoped to find a new home for it – which didn’t take him long.
Engebretsen is an assistant dean for corporate relations and MBA director at BYU’s Marriott School of Management. He moved to Utah from Philadelphia two years ago – a move that drew obligatory jokes that he was relocating to find another wife, he said.
People back East “still think that Mormons practice polygamy,” said Engebretsen. He also said he encountered a lot of “negative, inappropriate, not true information” about the faith while serving as an LDS Church mission president in Oklahoma.
So Engebretsen launched the polygamy page with the aim of bringing to light “things written by prophets of the church and why [polygamy] is not practiced” today.
“This is an attempt to put down factual information,” said Engebretsen, who is chairman of the More Good Foundation, a nonprofit created to promote “good LDS Internet content.”
The polygamy site describes its content as “non-comprehensive, non- authoritative” information provided “to those interested in learning more about this defining part of Mormon church history.”
Engebretsen takes a frank approach to touchy questions: Did Joseph Smith marry young girls? Did he lie about polygamy? Did his words about plural marriage in Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants contradict other Mormon scripture? The LDS Church disavowed polygamy in 1890 and today refutes any connection to so-called “Mormon fundamentalists” who continue to practice plural marriage.
Engebretsen said his next project will involve another misunderstood topic: Mormon missionaries.