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

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

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Nov 2014, 20:25

Who here has said they believe God ordered polygamy?
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

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

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 06 Nov 2014, 08:38

Man in the Arena wrote: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.
I think Church leaders don't want to admit or even seriously consider the possibility that previous leaders could have been wrong about this mostly because of the idea that prophets will never lead the Church astray plus D&C 132 specifically talks about it as if it came from God. Especially in the case of Joseph Smith I think it would be very painful for some of these leaders to face the idea that they have basically dedicated their entire lives to a cause based on what Joseph Smith started if he could have simply been making most if not all of it up as he went along. So my guess is that many of them basically rationalize and make excuses to maintain faith in Joseph Smith at all costs. For example, if God could command Abraham to sacrifice his son mostly to test if he would be obedient then why couldn't he command Joseph Smith to marry other men's wives? The general idea is that God decides what is right not us so we supposedly just need to be patient and continue to have faith and we don't need to understand why God does things or allows things to happen the way he supposedly has already.
Last edited by DevilsAdvocate on 06 Nov 2014, 08:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 06 Nov 2014, 08:42

Ray DeGraw wrote:Who here has said they believe God ordered polygamy?
These essays claim that God commanded polygamy. That's the main problem here; basically many Church members and investigators are simply not going to believe this story but the Church apparently expects them to just accept this explanation if they have serious questions about this embarrassing history. Well if many Church members don't really trust past and present Church leaders in the case of polygamy then why should they trust them in the case of current supposed commandments like tithing and the WoW? Basically Joseph Smith's documented external behavior really doesn't look all that different from Warren Jeffs and the like. You can try to claim that it is more complicated than that and he was just misunderstood but he really was a legitimate visionary prophet in spite of all the cases he acted like he knew what he was talking about when it turned out that he really didn't but that's just not what many people are going to see when/if they find out about some of the issues like polyandry, the Book of Abraham discrepancies, treasure hunting, etc.
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Nov 2014, 19:45

I get that, DA - but the comment made it sound like the disagreement was with something written here.

If that was not the case, I apologize.
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

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

Post by Man in the Arena » 07 Nov 2014, 15:32

Ray, all I meant to imply was that I believe it to be fair to question the motivations of Joseph concerning the practice of polygamy, especially in light of official statements put out by the Church. I don't mean to be contentious, although it may have come off that way (it's a hot button issue for me- sorry). I also didn't mean to imply that Joseph also never did any good or that he may never have been inspired by God in one way or another. To the contrary, I believe he was a very flawed man- who I may never understand or be able to reconcile the good with the bad.

I apologize. I believe a certain way that may be not in line with current church teachings and have chosen to reconcile incongruencies in such a way to allow me to hopefully be able to move past flawed beginnings in favor of a way that allows me to find God in my own life while realizing the institutions/correlated teachings of the Church are flawed as well. I am still trying to figure out what the Church means to me and why I stay. I know I'm not the only one in this boat, but I apologize if I offended you Ray. Thanks for doing what you do on this site. This may be the only place besides talking to my wife quietly at night where I can speak to other people about how I'm feeling. Thanks for your efforts in uplifting others.

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

Post by DarkJedi » 07 Nov 2014, 15:51

Man in the Arena wrote:Ray, all I meant to imply was that I believe it to be fair to question the motivations of Joseph concerning the practice of polygamy, especially in light of official statements put out by the Church. I don't mean to be contentious, although it may have come off that way (it's a hot button issue for me- sorry). I also didn't mean to imply that Joseph also never did any good or that he may never have been inspired by God in one way or another. To the contrary, I believe he was a very flawed man- who I may never understand or be able to reconcile the good with the bad.

I apologize. I believe a certain way that may be not in line with current church teachings and have chosen to reconcile incongruencies in such a way to allow me to hopefully be able to move past flawed beginnings in favor of a way that allows me to find God in my own life while realizing the institutions/correlated teachings of the Church are flawed as well. I am still trying to figure out what the Church means to me and why I stay. I know I'm not the only one in this boat, but I apologize if I offended you Ray. Thanks for doing what you do on this site. This may be the only place besides talking to my wife quietly at night where I can speak to other people about how I'm feeling. Thanks for your efforts in uplifting others.
That is the greatest value of this place - being able to express your thoughts, doubts, and questions safely. So by all means, come here and do so - but our little community likes it if we get mutual respect without sweeping generalizations.

FWIW, while polygamy is not particularly my issue, I don't believe the stuff about the angel and the sword, either, and there are other things I don't believe that Joseph Smith said and did. I do believe in the First Vision, however.
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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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Nov 2014, 18:07

It's cool, Man in the Arena. Really, I wasn't offended; I just misread the comment.

It happens to all of us at one time or another.
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

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

Post by Heber13 » 08 Nov 2014, 09:34

Man in the Arena,

I think you're safe to share your thoughts, and even frustrations, here. It's all good. I agree with a lot of your thoughts and I don't understand or like things that have been said around polygamy.
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."

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

Post by Cedar » 11 Nov 2014, 19:29

Today seems to have been a bit of a media explosion for the Church, having news stories of the plural marriage essays making front page news in many major news outlets. The Church seems to have responded by this article in the newsroom of LDS.org. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/c ... pics-pages

I guess I was a little surprised that those outside of Utah or areas with higher LDS membership would care enough to make it a national news story, but I suppose many find polygamy fascinating (usually in a train-wreck kind of a way), so these essays would make for good attention-grabbing headlines.

My husband hadn't heard about the two latest essays before today, and only found out about them when he saw the story about them on CNN (which I was rather shocked by - he was aware of the other essays right when they came out, and I figured he just didn't say anything about them to me because he knows it is a sensitive issue for me).

Anyway, I was just wondering what people thought about these news stories, and what it means for the Church. Will it just get people riled up for a few minutes, but not have much impact overall, or will it have a more lasting negative impact on people's perception of the Church? Will these news stories create more conversations with those who are not members, asking the missionaries and members about these issues? I am also concerned for the missionaries - I hope that they have been informed about these essays, and given some guidance about how to deal with any questions regarding them. I can only imagine how awful it could be for a missionary who was not aware of these nitty-gritty details, to be questioned about them, and then realize that the church had released an official essay without telling the missionaries about it. Does anyone know any missionaries personally, and how the missions are dealing with these essays (the polygamy ones in particular, but really any of the essays)? I am also wondering if the average member is aware of these essays and their contents? I live in "Mormonville" and it seems really hit or miss when I ask people about it if they are aware - sorry, I know this last part has been discussed here before, but maybe with more national recognition, this has or will change?

I realize that I may just be blowing this out of proportion, because polygamy is an extremely hard issue for me. This essay felt like a punch in the gut because it reaffirmed that the Church's official position is that plural marriage was good and commanded by God, and that the angel with the flaming sword was legit in the eyes of the Church, and that my views on the subject are very obviously outside of the Church's view. I do not accept that plural marriage was of God in any way, and feel it was probably instituted by Joseph Smith in his zeal for the "restoration of all things", and his desire for the human race to be sealed together as a family, and an incomplete understanding of exactly how to do this, while coming from a very male-centric perspective. I try not to come from the perspective that it was just a power-trip, sex-drive thing (but realistically, those probably played into it in some way, even if subconsciously, I just don't want to believe that was the main or only motivation) . I definitely recognize that these essays were a HUGE step for the Church in historical transparency, and willingness to be upfront about an difficult subject with uncomfortable details, and that is truly amazing, but I'm still having a hard time with them.

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

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Nov 2014, 20:00

I can only address my son in South America as far as missionaries are concerned. He knows about the essays because I have told him about them. He tells me polygamy is a non-issue there, and he did read one of the two newest essays last week. I would be interested to know what missionaries here are told about them.
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."

My Introduction

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