Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16785
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jun 2012, 12:10

I like the fact that he didn't stop attending other church's services altogether until after he established the LDS Church. I think it fits his approach of taking the good from everywhere he could find it - and I also think it fits my interpretation of the creeds statement as applying only to a narrowly focused set of dogmatic beliefs.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
Forgotten_Charity
Posts: 779
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 18:33

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 12 Jul 2012, 17:37

Hello all. As I am new here and this is my first post I just want to say a fond hello and thanks for a positive site where we can speak more freely then official LDS sites .:-)
I have spent probably over 2 decades on and off thinking about this topic. One thing that the spirit has always whispered to me is that god would never give a forced commandment like this that can and will hurt many people. It wasn't until recently that I did historical research on this that it seems to be the case. In the Old Testment to Tora pologemy was certainly practiced as it was a common custom and traction at the time. But it most certainly wasn't a commandment to Abraham or David or Solomon or anyone else. Here is a more detailed history dealing with pologemy history in the old testament.
http://www.benyehuda.us/poligamy.htm
In my place of work I get the honor of talking with quite a few knowledgable orthodox Jews and Rabi. Regaurding a "abraham test of faith", in talking with them they made it quite clear that god doesn't give any test that would cause harm to yourself or others unless directly. Never thru a family member, leader, apostle or prophet. But only directly as a "arm of flesh would never be intrusted with such a thing as this that could cause harm to yourself or others. For me this seems to be what Jesus ment when he said he was "no respecter of persons", to never intrust any "arm of flesh" so much as to believe or follow things of a serious nature such as this unless given from god or Jesus unto a person directly and not indirectly.

User avatar
wayfarer
Posts: 1335
Joined: 09 Nov 2011, 15:59
Location: in ye olde world
Contact:

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by wayfarer » 13 Jul 2012, 13:20

Welcome forgotten_charity. Please post a message in the introductions forum so we can get to know your story.

I do not believe that Joseph Smith was commanded by the sword to marry other women. In fact, I've recently come across material that effectively questions the objectivity of those who made claims of Joseph Smith's polygamy, and view Polygamy as quite possibly a corruption of the LDS faith introduced by Brigham Young's and Orson Pratt's missions to the Cochranites.

What the truth is, we will never know. At any rate, someone is lying. The book of mormon clearly denounced polygamy, and the 1835 version of the D&C denounced it. Joseph Smith publicly denounced Polygamy over and over again, and said toward the end of his life, that he believed that Polygamy would be the undoing of the church. This seems like quite a hypocritical statement, if was privately practicing the 'principle', and said that it was a mandate enforced by the sword. So, either Joseph Smith is lying, ... or...

Brigham Young clearly supported polygamy, and clearly made it a requirement for being a leader in the church. He and many of his wives (who were also allegedly Joseph Smith's wives), claimed that Joseph Smith taught and practiced polygamy. Of course, the excesses of Brigham Young brought the arm of the federal government down on "deseret", eventually completely disenfranchising the church, and confiscating all church property -- all because of polygamy. The church organization that Joseph Smith founded formally ceased to exist as a legal entity in 1890. Later, to protect assets from confiscation, the leaders formed the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which formally owns the trademark name of the church -- that's it.

So, in reality, Joseph Smiths prophecy that Polygamy would be the undoing of the Church was literally fulfilled in 1890.

So, I really don't know if JS practiced polygamy. He might just have had some affairs (like with Fanny Alger), and might just have been a big flirt that annoyed Emma. I simply don't know. On the other hand, he might have been the schizophrenic prophet who could publicly condemn polygamy while requiring its practice privately. Much of the 'evidence' of joseph smith's wives comes from an unreliable source: John C. Bennett. there are other sources that may have used bennett's accounts. Others might have been tainted by Brigham's agenda to promote polygamy. I simply don't know. It's very, very confusing.

As for this 1831 recommendation to marry lamanites, it really doesn't have to mean polygamy, but I can see how in the historical accounts, this might get interpreted that way.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

User avatar
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Orson » 13 Jul 2012, 13:52

Wayfarer, have you read Mormon Enigma? It has been years ago for me but I remember it discussing JS III's struggle with the evidence that his father did practice polygamy. I think there were also RLDS leaders or supporters (maybe William Marks) trying to get him to accept the truth of it. I can understand his confusion if Emma never admitted it to him.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

User avatar
wayfarer
Posts: 1335
Joined: 09 Nov 2011, 15:59
Location: in ye olde world
Contact:

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by wayfarer » 13 Jul 2012, 14:06

Orson wrote:Wayfarer, have you read Mormon Enigma? It has been years ago for me but I remember it discussing JS III's struggle with the evidence that his father did practice polygamy. I think there were also RLDS leaders or supporters (maybe William Marks) trying to get him to accept the truth of it. I can understand his confusion if Emma never admitted it to him.
Valid point, and yes, I'm familiar with all the arguments. But at this point, the history is so convoluted, so biased in so many dimensions, I believe it's really hard to make a finite case as to what happened and why. Careful histories these are not, and there is evidence that BY and associates doctored the records. The church has a long history of changing history as we all know. At what point is the doctored history so convincing that the RLDS even began to accept the possibility?

All I'm saying is that the history of polygamy is one big, gigantic fraud. Several possibilities:

1. Joseph Smith is completely innocent of any 'spiritual wifery'. - this seems very unlikely.

2. Joseph Smith had dalliances with other women, but did not preach polygamy. He seems to likely have had dalliances, including a dirty, nasty, filthy affair with fanny alger. as to whether he preached polygamy? Maybe yes maybe no.

3. Joseph Smith somehow got hoodwinked in to thinking Polygamy was ok by Bennett and Young. found it to be a convenient way to cover up his dalliances. this is my guess.

4. Joseph Smith fully preached polygamy and forced it on the apostles including Young. this seems as unlikely to me as #1.

5. #4, plus God actually was the source of the commandment to practice polygamy and polyandry. to me? not possible. I would categorically reject worshipping or having anything to do with such a god. He's a demon.

and on the last point, i'm off the hook. "It's not doctrinal" - GBH.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

User avatar
Forgotten_Charity
Posts: 779
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 18:33

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 13 Jul 2012, 14:45

I agree wayfarer. It is interesting because it is both important(for historical records) and mute(it doesn't really effect us or the truth in the church). Prophets never have and never will be perfect or even close to. We just tend to embellish and idolize as such. It's a human trait to do so. Although I think this relates to Christ teaching of no respecter of persons. To trust but to not completely put all faith(blind faith) in any man(women) no matter their title. Polyandry was never sanctioned or religiously practiced among the Jews though. In fact it was also against the law of the land. To marry another mans wife was considered a sin unto itself. But to have sex with her was considered a sin equal to murder. And to have a child with said marriage was to create a "bastard child". A bastered child was only allowed to marry another bastered child. I myself choose not to judge and wait for god to sort it all out in the next life. Just because prophets from all ages made mistakes doesn't mean they didn't have moments of inspiration(sometimes profound) from god. However I didn't think of it lately until my TBM fiancé talked about reading some books she read that only the bishop has that he let her read. Wished said that it was a commandment after death to marry 7 wife's in the celestial kingdom. I disagreed and she said its true that is what the church(TM) sanctioned book from the bishop said and it was a commendment in the celestial kingdom. I'm stumped if we currently believe it will be a forced commendment. I respectfully disagree with her or he book as to it being (forced) in a place were not everyone will be happy with it but forced to live in a eternal happiness place (unhappily )? But on a happy note even though their is evidence to sudjest that both JS and BY may have done or altered things. They still gave some profound insights as well. Especially for the time.

User avatar
Forgotten_Charity
Posts: 779
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 18:33

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 13 Jul 2012, 15:11

Sorry for the "wall of text". I'm not used to writing in awhile. I want to say that this--> http://mormonmatters.org/2010/08/02/why ... -they-say/

This article makes Quinns' book "early mormonism and the magic works view seem credible to how the early saints viewed things. Since it was BY and Orson Hyde that introduced polygamy if I remember correctly. And Orson is giving a testimony to the transmogrify event of BY into JS when.... He wasn't even there to witness it according to the records. That just gives tempered and possibly set up evidence a credibility. Although I do not view it in a deluded sense, it seems they did see things or try to see things constantly with their "spiritual eyes". How else can people give a testimony to a event they never even saw? Seems not far distant from what happened over the years with polegamy. But also not far distant from things like "Christer Columbus" discovered America. A truth? Yes! The truth? No! He certainly did. But he wasn't the only one, or the first. But it is taught in our schools non the less. Until we go to college or a more credible high school.

Nephite

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Nephite » 16 Jul 2012, 13:25

wayfarer wrote:I do not believe that Joseph Smith was commanded by the sword to marry other women. In fact, I've recently come across material that effectively questions the objectivity of those who made claims of Joseph Smith's polygamy, and view Polygamy as quite possibly a corruption of the LDS faith introduced by Brigham Young's and Orson Pratt's missions to the Cochranites.

I think any evidence linking the Cochranites to Joseph Smith is weak. "Spiritual wifery" was never taught or practiced by Joseph. Richard L. Bushman wrote, “The possibility of an imaginary revelation, erupting from his own heart and subconscious mind, seems not to have occurred to Joseph. To him, the words came from heaven” (Rough Stone Rolling, chapter 25, section titled “Marriage”). Joseph did consider the possibility that it was revelation from the devil, but then learned firmly that it was of God.
wayfarer wrote:What the truth is, we will never know. At any rate, someone is lying. The book of mormon clearly denounced polygamy, and the 1835 version of the D&C denounced it. Joseph Smith publicly denounced Polygamy over and over again, and said toward the end of his life, that he believed that Polygamy would be the undoing of the church. This seems like quite a hypocritical statement, if was privately practicing the 'principle', and said that it was a mandate enforced by the sword. So, either Joseph Smith is lying, ... or...
Let's not forget Jacob 2:18. Clearly, there was allowance for exceptions. Bushman addresses the issue of denial well: “To safeguard his burdensome secret, Joseph publicly and repeatedly denied he was advocating polygamy. In his mind, he wasn’t. He distinguished between authorized celestial marriage and the illegal practice of bigamy or the racial ideology of spiritual wives. By denying his involvement, Joseph was trying to wall off John C. Bennett’s lascivious schemes for enticing women into illicit relations from the carefully regulated performance of priesthood marriages” (Rough Stone Rolling, chapter 25, section titled “Marriage”).
wayfarer wrote:Brigham Young clearly supported polygamy, and clearly made it a requirement for being a leader in the church. He and many of his wives (who were also allegedly Joseph Smith's wives), claimed that Joseph Smith taught and practiced polygamy. Of course, the excesses of Brigham Young brought the arm of the federal government down on "deseret", eventually completely disenfranchising the church, and confiscating all church property -- all because of polygamy. The church organization that Joseph Smith founded formally ceased to exist as a legal entity in 1890. Later, to protect assets from confiscation, the leaders formed the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which formally owns the trademark name of the church -- that's it.

So, in reality, Joseph Smiths prophecy that Polygamy would be the undoing of the Church was literally fulfilled in 1890.
I can't find any source with that quote. I don't believe the church was undone. The 1887 Edmunds-Tucker Act disincorporated the church and allowed the confiscation of properties, but not all of the property was actually seized. Sure, it may not have been a legal entity anymore, but it still existed.
wayfarer wrote:So, I really don't know if JS practiced polygamy. He might just have had some affairs (like with Fanny Alger), and might just have been a big flirt that annoyed Emma. I simply don't know. On the other hand, he might have been the schizophrenic prophet who could publicly condemn polygamy while requiring its practice privately. Much of the 'evidence' of joseph smith's wives comes from an unreliable source: John C. Bennett. there are other sources that may have used bennett's accounts. Others might have been tainted by Brigham's agenda to promote polygamy. I simply don't know. It's very, very confusing.
It appears to me that Joseph and Fanny were married. Bushman wrote:
Only Cowdery, who was leaving the Church, asserted Joseph’s involvement. On his part, Joseph never denied a relationship with Alger, but insisted it was not adulterous….Her story was recorded as many as sixty years later by witnesses who had strong reason to take sides. Surprisingly, they all agree that Joseph married Fanny Alger as a plural wife. Ann Eliza Webb Young, the notorious divorced wife of Brigham Young who toured the country lecturing against the Mormons, thought the relationship was scandalous but reported that Fanny’s parents "considered it the highest honor to have their daughter adopted in to the Prophet’s family, and her mother has always claimed that [Fanny] was sealed to Joseph at that time." (Rough Stone Rolling, chapter 18, section titled “Fanny Alger”)
I am glad for what I have read in Bushman's book. I have actually gained a testimony of plural marriage. I have read "Should We Defend our Past Polygamy" [Compact Version] by Curtis Henderson and I do not buy any argument that it was all a mistake. That would mean there was widespread authorized adultery in the leadership of the church. If that were the case, there is no way the church could be "true" in any way anymore. For what it's worth, I think it's awesome that women gained testimonies of it. Zina Huntington Jacobs said, “I searched the scripture & buy humble prayer to my Heavenly Father I obtained a testimony for my self that God had required that order to be established in this church.” And here's a long story that really did it for me:
The reaction was almost invariably negative. One young woman, Lucy Walker, was struck with horror on hearing the doctrine. She was fifteen when the Prophet invited her to live in his house….Lucy worked as Emma’s maid while going to school.

In 1842, when Lucy was fifteen or sixteen, Joseph told her, “I have a message for you. I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman. “Lucy was astounded. “This announcement was indeed a thunderbolt to me.” Do you believe me to be a Prophet of God? Joseph asked. “Most assuredly I do,” she reported herself as saying in her later autobiography. “He fully Explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage. Said this principle was again to be restored for the benefit of the human family. That it would prove as everlasting blessing to my father’s house. And form a chain that could that could never be broken, worlds without end.” “What have you say,” Joseph asked her. “Nothing,” she replied. Rather than exert more pressure, Joseph back away. “If you will pray sincerely for light and understanding in relation thereto, you Shall receive a testimony of the correctness of this principle.” Lucy felt “tempted and tortured beyond endurance untill life was not desirable.” “Oh let this better cup pass,” she moaned.

For months Joseph said nothing more. Then in the spring of 1843, he spoke with Lucy’s brother William, following the usual pattern of asking for permission from a relative. William told Joseph that Lucy must decide for herself. In April 1843, Joseph spoke again and this time he exerted pressure: “I will give you untill to-morrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.” Lucy hated that.

This aroused every drop of scotch in my veins….I felt at this moment that I was called to place myself upon the altar a liveing Sacrafice, perhaps to brook this world in disgrace and incur the displeasure and contempt of my youthful companions; all my dreams of happiness to the four winds, this was too much, the thought was unbearable.

Facing an ultimatum, Lucy bluntly refused, unless God Himself told her otherwise, and “emphatically forbid him speaking again to me on this Subject.” Joseph blithely replied, “God Almighty bless you,” promised her a manifestation, and left.

After a sleepless night in prayer, Lucy felt something in her room. “My room became filled with a heavenly influence. To me it was in comparison like the brilliant sunshine bursting through the darkest cloud….My Soul was filled with a calm sweet peace that I never knew. Supreme happiness took possession of my whole being.” Going down the stairs to “go out into the morning air,” she met Joseph, who took her by the hand, led her to a chair, and “placed his hands upon my head, and blessed me with Every blessing my heart could possibly desire.” On May 1, 1843, William Clayton married Joseph to Lucy. “It was not a love matter,” she wrote later, “but simply the giving up of myself as a sacrifice to establish that grand and glorious principle that God had revealed to the world.” After Joseph’s death, Lucy bore nine children as the plural wife of Heber C. Kimball.”
Both of those are from Rough Stone Rolling, chapter 25, section titled “Marriage.” The Lucy Walker account shows that it seemed hurtful at first, but then there was peace and happiness. From the same section, Bushman wrote:
Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities….Like Abraham of old, Joseph yearned for familial plentitude. He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin….He did not court his prospective wives by first trying to win their affections….The language was religious and doctrinal, stressing that a new law has been revealed. She was to seek spiritual confirmation.
Please forgive me for making this post so long and for using so much material from Bushman's book. It has just helped me understand more. I don't think the issue of polygamy is very mysterious. It was an authorized practice. God's ways are not our ways. To me, that is a far easier to accept than the idea that is was completely man-made and somehow it's still okay for me to be a member of the church.

User avatar
wayfarer
Posts: 1335
Joined: 09 Nov 2011, 15:59
Location: in ye olde world
Contact:

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by wayfarer » 16 Jul 2012, 13:57

Well, who knows. I have zero testimony of Polygamy. I have zero faith that it was commanded of god. And I think I'm in good company:
Larry King interview with GBH wrote:KING: You condemn it.

HINCKLEY: I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.
questions?
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

Nephite

Re: Acknowledgement of 1831 Revelation of Polygamy?

Post by Nephite » 16 Jul 2012, 14:56

wayfarer wrote:Well, who knows. I have zero testimony of Polygamy. I have zero faith that it was commanded of god. And I think I'm in good company:
Larry King interview with GBH wrote:KING: You condemn it.

HINCKLEY: I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.
questions?
Considering the context of the discussion between King and Pres. Hinckley, the subject was the current practice of polygamy in Utah by those who are not members of the church. They are not talking about the practice by church members in the 19th century.
Larry King: But when the word [polygamy] is mentioned, when you hear the word, you think Mormon, right?

Gordon B. Hinckley: You do it mistakenly. They have no connection with us whatever. They don't belong to the church. There are actually no Mormon fundamentalists.
...
Larry King: President Hinckley, when the press pays attention to it, it does affect you, certainly, in a public relations sense?

Gordon B. Hinckley: It does, because people mistakenly assume that this church has something to do with it. It has nothing whatever to do with it. It has had nothing to do with it for a very long time. It's outside the realm of our responsibility. These people are not members. Any man or woman who becomes involved in it is excommunicated from the church.
...
Larry King: Should the church be more forceful in speaking out? I mean, you're forceful here tonight, but maybe -- they've been saying that it's rather than just a state matter, encouraging the state to prosecute.

Gordon B. Hinckley: I don't know. We'll consider it.

Larry King: I'm giving you an idea.

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes.

Larry King: Would you look better if you were...

Gordon B. Hinckley: I don't know that we would or not. As far as I'm concerned, I have nothing to do with it. It belongs to the civil officers of the state.

Larry King: You condemn it.

Gordon B. Hinckley: I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.

Post Reply