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Courtesy the Darger family
Joseph Smith's 40 Wives, Life in a Plural Marriage, and More
November 20, 2014
Summary:  Why the Mormon church is admitting that founder Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives, and we meet a modern Utah family of 27. Plus, Soundscapes part two: Islam's call to prayer.

Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
Joseph Smith and The Theology of Polygamy November 20, 2014
The Mormon revelation about plural marriage begins with an angel, as so many spiritual epiphanies do. As the telling goes, between 1834 and 1842, a heavenly being visited founder Joseph Smith three times to demand that he practice polygamy. Reluctantly, he agreed, and by the end of his life he would have as many as 40 wives. The church banned the practice in 1890, but this October, his many partners were officially acknowledged by the church for the first time.

Pictured: Emma Hale Smith, the first of Joseph's many wives, in 1844. For her, according to the LDS website, plural marriage "was an excruciating ordeal."

Jana Reiss, Mormon author and contributor to Religion News Service
Terryl Givens, scholar of the Mormon Church and professor of religion at the University of Richmond
Courtesy the Darger family
The Darger Family: Love Times Three November 20, 2014
Picture this: it's Sunday morning and your congregation of twenty-something people gathers for church. Except that the service is in your house, and all those people are your family. That's a typical weekend for the Dargers, a Utah family of 27 who say they're going back to the original teachings of Joseph Smith. From November 2012.

Pictured above: Maddie, Logan, Sabrina, Tavish and Kyley Darger in 2006.

Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger, authors of Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage

Arian Zwegers | flickr
Soundscapes: Islam November 20, 2014
For the second part of our Soundscapes of Faith series, we listen to one of the most beautiful sounds in Islam: the call to prayer, or adhan. Sometimes sung live, sometimes broadcast from a recording, it rings out in many Muslim countries 5 times a day, summoning believers to pause and remember God.

Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University