New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

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DarkJedi
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Nov 2014, 05:35

Shawn wrote:I had an experience today that shook me a bit. I decided to drop this polygamy issue. I have been studying it feverishly and writing about it, with a plan to share my writings here and maybe elsewhere. I’m just quitting. It has been a canker on my soul. I’ll only say that a belief in polygamy, whether in the past or in the future, on earth or in heaven, is not required to have a testimony, be a faithful member of the church, follow Christ, have the Spirit, or go to heaven.
I wholeheartedly agree. This is exactly the same way I let go of it. It is not important to my own salvation/exaltation.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Man in the Arena
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Man in the Arena » 01 Nov 2014, 09:42

I view polygamy in the old testament as a product of culture in the region, the same culture that had to have a document to tell people not to have sex with animals and tells women not to speak in churches. That's not the God that I believe in... mine is fair, charitable, just, kind, loving, all powerful, all knowing or nothing at all.

I don't buy the version that out of all the problems in the world, all the things Joseph could be asking about, he was overly concerned about what allowed Abraham's polygamous and cultural relationships... why not worry about world conflict, hunger, poverty, disease, moral failings of men, or any other great problem facing mankind. Instead, polygamy occupied Joseph's thoughts exactly why you would think they would. That is why Oliver called the relationship with Fanny Alger a filthy nasty affair. It makes me sick to think that the leaders of our church would speak against it in public and practice it in private. I agree, God does not sneak away into dark corners, he wouldn't teach eternal truths in secret and tell people to lie about it in public, including concealing the extent of it from Emma. God also wouldn't condone sending people on missions and then taking their wives while they were gone.

I have two daughters and a son. What message do I send them by telling them the church's sanitized version? Do I tell them God doesn't value women? Or can I chalk up polygamy to a cultural thing in the bible that is more of telling of the culture the bible is based on. That's what I choose to believe, it was a cultural practice in a tribal society that recorded their understanding of God in the bible. The practice was never doctrinal or at least a true principle to follow, the same way that telling women not to speak in church does not reflect God's attitude towards women. The practice should have never left the tribal society it came from culturally.

Joseph had a power complex in more ways than just this issue. He was town mayor, store owner, general of the militia, prophet, presidential candidate, banker, mason, and sought to be much much more (leader of the world or at least he got ordained as such). I don't really believe that he was inspired or that his work was devine. He was in my opinion a charlatan and a fraud, but I was raised a Mormon and they are my tribe. I believe you can find beauty in the people of the church through their devotion and service (Mormons generally are good people as are many people devoted to a faith) and that you can really only find God through an independent search. I credit what relationship I do have with God to God and look to him for truth. But anytime you try to find God in an institution or Man, you will be sorely disappointed. That's the problem with growing up Mormon is that you are sometimes asked to choose the institution over what God speaks to your heart.

I got pulled in by a high counselor the other week. He asked me what I felt about service. I told him service is what God would have us do if he were here, but some callings I would feel uncomfortable with and he asked why. I didn't go deep into my doubts but I let him know that I have doubts about Joseph Smith and among other thing polygamy. He asked if I'd prayed, I said that I had and that I'd gotten my answer, but it may not have been one the church would be happy with. What I wanted to ask him or at least Church leadership is if when they pray about things like Joseph's polygamy do they feel the spirit? I'd also like to pose the question of if we are to look to the spirit and also the fruits of it, why are the fruits so rotten? The church had to recall the doctrine to obtain statehood and perhaps at the risk of the Federal government seizing its assets, not to mention all the moral, social, and cultural problems it caused. It stinks of hypocrisy to claim polygamy was inspired, but misunderstood, and so essential to the salvation of man that God decided to take it away because of temporal concerns. The idea that polygamy was all a test is hog wash, because God doesn't tempt you or try you just to mess with you (think the f bomb would be more appropriate than mess with, but I'm censoring myself).
Last edited by Man in the Arena on 01 Nov 2014, 13:01, edited 1 time in total.

Man in the Arena
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Man in the Arena » 01 Nov 2014, 09:55

Also, I'm at least grateful the church tried to address it,but I won't be satisfied until the church disavows the practice as it did on the issue of blacks and the priesthood.

Roy
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Roy » 01 Nov 2014, 10:02

Man in the Arena wrote:I don't really believe that he was inspired or that his work was divine. He was in my opinion a charlatan and a fraud, but I was raised a Mormon and they are my tribe.
I agree with much of what you said but I don't quite step out onto this limb. It presumes to know the motives of JS. I understand that there is some evidence to support this conclusion. Thankfully there is also evidence that doesn't quite fit in with the charlatan theory. I therefore choose to believe that JS did have some sort of spiritual experience and that he genuinely believed in his own mission. Sometimes it seems that he just made stuff up and flew by the seat of his pants. Other times it seems that he developed ideas and concepts in his own mind and used the church to experiment with them (this is my belief about polygamy). Sometimes JS produced truly impressive work and sweepingly expansive concepts.

I believe that because JS really believed that he was a prophet, he felt justified in doing all that he did.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

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"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Ann
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Ann » 01 Nov 2014, 11:34

Man in the Arena wrote:
I have two daughters and a son. What message do I send them by telling them the church's sanitized version? Do I tell them God doesn't value women? Or can I chalk up polygamy to a cultural thing in the bible that is more of telling of the culture the bible is based on. That's what I choose to believe, it was a cultural practice in a tribal society that recorded their understanding of God in the bible. The practice was never doctrinal or at least a true principle to follow, the same way that telling women not to speak in church does not reflect God's attitude towards women. The practice should have never left the tribal society it came from culturally.
The problem is that people are tribal. Now we need people who will sit in class and conversations with the tribe and say their truth. I will never again pass up an opportunity for fear of what might happen to me. Out of consideration for others (for fear of what I might do to them), I will adjust content and tone, but not the essentials.

I think there are more like-minded members out there than we think. My VT texted me the other day and I decided to be candid - said I was having a bad day reading the church's new polygamy essays. Reply: "I don't believe in polygamy. At all."
Last edited by Ann on 01 Nov 2014, 11:39, edited 1 time in total.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Heber13
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Heber13 » 01 Nov 2014, 11:38

Man in the Arena wrote:Also, I'm at least grateful the church tried to address it,but I won't be satisfied until the church disavows the practice as it did on the issue of blacks and the priesthood.
I like the effort as well. I can see it being good, if not perfect. Being satisfied with anything said on polygamy would be hard for me...unless it is disavowed, as you said.
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."

Ann
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Ann » 02 Nov 2014, 09:50

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/1764577-1 ... n-consider

I'd like to know what you all think of this. In my mind, this is why a lot of people just can't "let go" - there are too many present-day repercussions that are unacceptable.

(What a mess.)
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Heber13
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Heber13 » 02 Nov 2014, 10:10

please consider revisiting the policy that male priesthood leaders conduct worthiness interviews (discussing sensitive topics such as sexuality) alone with women and girls as young as 8 years old.
It makes sense to me to start proposing ideas that make sense in our society, and accepting less rhetoric of "sustain the priesthood who hold keys".

Perhaps the essays open the door for these things to be talked about by active members, giving more a leg to stand on in expressing women's voices without as much fear of being labeled as heretics.
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."

Man in the Arena
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Man in the Arena » 02 Nov 2014, 16:17

I think the Salt Lake Tribune piece is extremely thoughtful and should be listened to by Church leaders. What harm would it do for the church to acknowledge that Joseph and other leaders made a mistake when it comes to polygamy? I don't think it would diminish faith, but it might do a good deal to restore faith.

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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by hawkgrrrl » 02 Nov 2014, 17:07

If it prevents future abuse of girls and women, it will be worth it, and honestly, it's the responsible thing to do. The problem is that the church took a stance defending the indefensible, and now we've got some of our stalwart members saying "Oh, time's were different then. 14 was perfectly legal. Parents sanctioned it." etc. Come on, people. A 14 year old consenting to marry a 38 year old man is not consent, and I think most of us have heard stories of PH leaders who've gone rogue and used the same justification to seduce women under their authority. I know there was a mission president in the late 70s or early 80s who convinced several sister missionaries they were going to be his plural wives and got them to sleep with him.

What goes around comes around.

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