The Polygamy Problem

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
User avatar
Posts: 62
Joined: 01 Jun 2009, 09:22

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by pinkpatent » 02 Aug 2009, 14:12

I have been thinking about this topic alot lately. I have pondered all the different opinions, scripture, etc, and I was quite surprised at the conclusion that I came to, considering my TBMness. Keep in mind, this is MY conclusion, and each person has to come to their own. I believe that Jospeh was a prophet, but I have concluded that he was NOT acting as a prophet when he instituted polygamy. Nothing adds up, and here are my reasons:

1) Book of Mormon teaches against polygamy.
2) Angel with sword? Come on, angels do not have bodies. How could an angel be toting a sword?
3) Angel with sword, part 2. If God wanted to threaten Joseph with destruction, did he really need to send an angel with a sword? How many accounts do we have where God was displeased with Joseph and chastened him personally?
4) Mary, the mother of Jesus. When the angel came to Mary to inform her that she had "found favor with God" and that she was to be the mother of the Messiah, she humbly agreed to her role in this amazing event. But, Mary was engaged to Joseph. When she was found to be pregnant, Joseph was encouraged to "put her away privily". God sent a messenger to Joseph, in a dream, explaining what was going on. Joseph was not forced to rely on Mary for an explanation. Likewise, IMO, Emma would certainly have been entitled to a personal visit from a Heavenly messenger.
5) THE ABSOLUTE INEQUITY. I am not even speaking of the inequity between men and women in polygamy. I am talking about the basic robbery and damnation of countless good, righteous, MARRIABLE men. Each plural wife represents an unmarried, lonely man. What was/is to become of these men? They have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. They have been taught that their priesthood is not complete without a wife. They have been warned that their exaltation will not be complete without an eternal companion. They've heard that if they are single in Heaven they will "serve" those who have mates. No offense, but that is a crappy deal, any way you look at it.
6) The deception. Its what we DO that matters, not what we say.

I did not include in my ponderings the impact of polygamy on the women, because there are so many pluses and minuses. I just wanted to look at the basic premise, the logistics, the why's and how's. I just cannot come to any kind of conclusion that paints Joseph in a sympathetic light. This does not change my opinion that he was a prophet. But it does strengthen my opinion that he was also a man, with all the failings that go along with being human. It is not my intent to be disrespectful to anyone, but this is the conclusion I have come to. Our second article of faith states that "men will be punished for their own sins", and from what I have concluded, polygamy is punishment for men who have commited no sin. I just can't find that to be God's plan for His children. I have a son. I also have 2 daughters. I can find nothing in polygamy that I would consider of value for any of them.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

User avatar
Bruce in Montana
Posts: 280
Joined: 02 Jun 2009, 16:14

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by Bruce in Montana » 02 Aug 2009, 15:28

Interesting discussion. If I could interject just a few comments in Brother Joseph's defense...

"1) Book of Mormon teaches against polygamy."

It does indeed, but I submit that it is addressing a people who had fell into wickedness at that time...not everyone.

"2) Angel with sword? Come on, angels do not have bodies. How could an angel be toting a sword?"

We can only assume that this is a resurrected being being referred to. If I could share just a couple of instances of sword-toting angels....

To Balaam and his donkey:
Numbers 22:23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
v31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

To David:
1 Chronicles 21:16 And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces.
v27 And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.
v30 But David could not go before it to enquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the Lord

Etc, Etc...
There's too much to address in blog format but, if I could respectfully submit, Joseph Smith was put in a heck of a situation. He did the best he could under the circumstances IMHO.
I agree that things don't seem to "add up" using our 21st century monogamous values. The question may we hold God to our values and traditions?

Just sayin....
mileage may vary...
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-William S.

User avatar
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Feb 2009, 21:25

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by HiJolly » 02 Aug 2009, 17:26

pinkpatent wrote: 2) Angel with sword? Come on, angels do not have bodies. How could an angel be toting a sword?
"angels do not have bodies"? Where do you get that?

Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

User avatar
Posts: 62
Joined: 01 Jun 2009, 09:22

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by pinkpatent » 02 Aug 2009, 18:29

I SO appreciated you posting on this board. I love learning your point of view. I do not always agree with you, but I find you to be very sincere. I also find your story to be fascinating. Thanks for pointing out the instances of angels with swords. I can accept that if an angel in the old testament had a sword, an angel visiting Joseph Smith could have one.

I guess I was projecting my own ideas of angels into my conclusion that angels don't have bodies of flesh and bone. I guess I think of angels as spirits that have either not yet received a body, or have not yet been resurrected. I admit this is an assumption on my part, so just as with Bruce, I can be open minded on that point.

This does not change my conclusion. But I am so grateful to you both for pointing out some possible holes in my reasoning. I love learning and I cannot learn if people don't share what they know.

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Posts: 89
Joined: 20 Jul 2009, 14:20

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by jeriboy » 04 Aug 2009, 17:52

Kinderhook08 said....I believe they don't talk about it because of exactly what happened to me and others like me. They don't want to rock the boat and the majority of people are never going to dig deep enough to find out about polyandry and other controversial aspects of their LDS faith. A few like myself stumble onto things like Mormon Stories and then our curiosity is peaked. We start to read from other sources and it all goes down hill from there.

Over the last forty years I have stumbled onto things, been offered things to read, started reading things, listened to things people were saying etc. And have learned to disern when I was getting into something that was faith distroying. The assault on a LDS's testimony is growing daily. I heard a speaker once who had been set apart to help recover excommunicated members. He was given a blessing that false doctrine and faith distroying material would not trouble him. Those of us who have not received such a blessing must rely on other gifts. There is such a thing as having a questioning mind that leads to faith in the restoration, and one that pulls us away. I pray for help in keeping what little faith I have. It would be a misery to lose my slender gleam of light, and that might be part of the answer, a weakened faith brings unhappiness, we can ask God to help us get it back.

User avatar
Posts: 7042
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: The Polygamy Problem

Post by Heber13 » 10 Aug 2009, 13:24

hawkgrrrl wrote:When you consider the actions and rhetoric (and utter lack thereof) in the current church on this topic, I'm left to conclude that the Q12 have nothing edifying, pertinent or necessary to say on this topic. This could be for any of many possible reasons: 1) it was never an inspired practice, 2) it was only inspired in a different time and circumstance and is no longer relevant for us today or 3) they don't understand the theological significance of it and have no clear answer to provide or 4) they lack consensus on this topic.
Well said, Hawkgrrl. While 1 and 2 are mutually exclusive, 3 and 4 could very well be reasons that are a result of either 1 or 2.

The David O McKay Rise of Modern Mormonism gave great examples of how there can be lack of consensus among the FP adn Q12 in personal belief, even if they all become unified in the approach to handle it in the public.

It is likely that since it doesn't apply to us today, it is not something that is discussed. It would likely raise more questions than answer questions if details were openly taught in Church history classes, simply because we don't know why Joseph did what he did, except that he felt he was told to.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Post Reply