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

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

Post by LookingHard » 24 Oct 2014, 10:40

SunbeltRed wrote:I appreciate what the Church has done and I think they did a good job, but knowing more about the history and having read a lot more about it, they chose to highlight some things but not others. There are still some gaps.

Agreed. It certainly keeps people from being able to say I have just been looking at anti-Mormon stuff. I have looked at some, but it becomes quite clear fairly quickly by the quick conclusions that it is all fake.
SunbeltRed wrote:the over arching problem is that all my life I have been told that the Prophet and the Q15 are led directly by Christ. Whatever they say is direct revelation. But the essays keep making the point that although they do receive revelation, it is not very clear, and they have to discern what it means, and sometimes they make mistakes. So members have given time, money, resources, their lives to living commandments that then are changed or adapted and their sacrifices, in some instances, have been for naught.

I guess what I am trying to say, in a roundabout way, is that the essays don't really help me because my faith in the institution has been undermined and I don't know how to get it back (and I don't think I ever will). And that is a really hard paradigm to work in sometimes...
This is also where I am struggling.

There was a comment on that link that hit me when I read it.
How would we respond to the hoped for modifiers to prophetic statements in other doctrinal statements?
Monogamy is God’s standard, for now.
I think the qualifiers would ultimately divorce people from any reliance on the church, and at best realign allegiances directly to Christ (bypassing his authorized servants). A fair hope, but one that you only need to go a step further to “reveal” the church isn’t necessary at all.
I am feeling much more like I need to focus on WWJD and I feel compelled to find some volunteering that feels like it is really directly helping others in real need - not just helping someone that is moving and could have easily afforded a moving service. It used to me that there was not much difference between God and the church. I feel I am working on (realizing?) they are separate. In fact I am a bit displeased with the church's imperfections and feel I need to back off there and focus a bit more on my relation to what Christ preached directly. At the same time I do see that the church helps people be better more than most any other organization I am aware of. I wonder if a portion of me has "outgrown" church. To me that feels a bit presumptuous. I don't have much of a desire to part from the church, but I did a year or so ago during the middle of my faith crisis.

It is a work in process.

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

Post by Heber13 » 24 Oct 2014, 10:59

SunbeltRed wrote: I appreciate what the Church has done and I think they did a good job, but knowing more about the history and having read a lot more about it, they chose to highlight some things but not others. There are still some gaps.
I agree. I have found RSR a great resource book for some good balanced information. I still like that book.
SunbeltRed wrote: But the essays keep making the point that although they do receive revelation, it is not very clear, and they have to discern what it means, and sometimes they make mistakes.
Ya...and I like that such things are said by the church committees on the church website. I love quoting LDS.org material, it is much harder for people I talk with to dismiss my source. Stuff I find on the Internet on other sources...easy for some people to just dismiss outright and not deal with the point I may be making. For that reason, the essays are helpful for me to not feel I'm just kicking against the pricks with these real issues.
SunbeltRed wrote:I guess what I am trying to say, in a roundabout way, is that the essays don't really help me because my faith in the institution has been undermined and I don't know how to get it back (and I don't think I ever will). And that is a really hard paradigm to work in sometimes...
Wonderfully said, SBR. Very honest and sincere expressions. Thanks for sharing.

I guess I just feel like through my personal study and soul searching and prayer and time in the mountains talking to God...what I came to was exactly what the essays are saying..."we just don't know some things for sure, but it will get worked out in the next life." So...it is now up to me to decide my faith and relationship to God and the church. I wish I could go back to the days I was certain everything the true church of God did was directed by the Hand of God, as if Christ was on the earth leading the church himself, and that mistakes were things others in the world had to deal without a prophet, unlike us.

But if I can't go back to my prior days...I must move forward with faith God knows I can survive this. Others have. And so can I. I want truth as it actually is, not the blue pill that returns me to safety even if living within a false sense of self.

While I long for the days of my past faith, I look forward to a greater faith and deeper relationship with God, and more compassion and understanding with my brothers and sisters around me, while embracing not everything in the church is at it seemed to me. Somehow...I find greater meaning in the truths of the gospel. And yet, it comes at a price that I have a harder time obeying things that make no sense to me in the church.

This, is our journey. I truly believe God is leading me forward through it so I can grow. I return to my faith I once thought I knew, and now find more meaning reinterpreting things through my new prism, seeing more colors than I did before...even if the light has not changed, my view of it has, and I like it. It's more colorful. It's not easier, but it feels like I own my faith now.
1 Cor.13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
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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LookingHard
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by LookingHard » 24 Oct 2014, 12:42

I hope I am not being the guy who walks up to a circle of friends and starts trying to dominate the conversation. It is just so nice to be able to converse with others that are on the same general level. I really could have used this forum a bit over a year ago.

If I am overbearing, someone send me a Private Message and put me in my place. I expect I will naturally calm down after I say (in not so many words) "yea- me too!" :)

I can relate to part of what Heber said:
Heber13 wrote:While I long for the days of my past faith, I look forward to a greater faith and deeper relationship with God, and more compassion and understanding with my brothers and sisters around me, while embracing not everything in the church is at it seemed to me. Somehow...I find greater meaning in the truths of the gospel. And yet, it comes at a price that I have a harder time obeying things that make no sense to me in the church.
especially the last part. I have no problem spending 8 hours at church on Sunday (no sarcasm - I don't). I do have a real hard time getting excited about going to yet another meeting on such and such (and not having really gained much for the last 10 occurrences of the meeting).

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

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Oct 2014, 13:24

nibbler wrote:Perhaps I'm in a unique corner of zion? I was just recently told that I couldn't show the people in my temple prep class the recent video about temple clothing. :crazy: :? :crazy:
Wow! Seriously? Like really, really? :wtf: Frankly I think I'd do it anyway, or at least tell them where to find it at home.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Oct 2014, 13:33

LookingHard wrote:

I am feeling much more like I need to focus on WWJD and I feel compelled to find some volunteering that feels like it is really directly helping others in real need - not just helping someone that is moving and could have easily afforded a moving service. It used to me that there was not much difference between God and the church. I feel I am working on (realizing?) they are separate. In fact I am a bit displeased with the church's imperfections and feel I need to back off there and focus a bit more on my relation to what Christ preached directly. At the same time I do see that the church helps people be better more than most any other organization I am aware of. I wonder if a portion of me has "outgrown" church. To me that feels a bit presumptuous. I don't have much of a desire to part from the church, but I did a year or so ago during the middle of my faith crisis.

It is a work in process.
We all are works in progress, every.single.one.of.us. Separating the church and the gospel is a good first step. I have been working on that for some time, and much of it can be separated. Simplifying the gospel by separating it from the church has been invaluable to me - it's why I feel as though I have progressed. The gospel itself is really quite simple when separated from the church. Please understand I am not bad mouthing the church here, nor am I advising leaving the church. I have, however, been liberated and now recognize that the gospel and the church each have their own places. Polygamy - whether or not JS practiced it - was not of the gospel.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Oct 2014, 13:35

LookingHard wrote:I hope I am not being the guy who walks up to a circle of friends and starts trying to dominate the conversation. It is just so nice to be able to converse with others that are on the same general level. I really could have used this forum a bit over a year ago.

If I am overbearing, someone send me a Private Message and put me in my place. I expect I will naturally calm down after I say (in not so many words) "yea- me too!" :)
You are definitely not that guy - as long as you keep agreeing with us! ;) Seriously, that's the best part of this forum - that we can have open, honest, civil, and non-anti discussions like this - all the while hiding behind our masks (except Ray). :D
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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Ann
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Ann » 24 Oct 2014, 14:06

Am I wrong, or are there just two options? Either no one among the influential believes that a polygamy doctrine hurts women and girls, or they believe it does, but proceeded anyway. Joseph Smith's actions are beyond reproach. The early saints are lauded, and I understand why. But my daughter will be taught this spring in seminary that God countenanced it all? Reading between the lines, the essay says that polygamy is doctrinal, acceptable, kosher when commanded, or however you want to say it. She's not going to believe it, and I expect it will have a severe impact on her attachment to the church, my investment and participation notwithstanding.
"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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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Oct 2014, 14:34

Am I wrong, or are there just two options? Either no one among the influential believes that a polygamy doctrine hurts women and girls, or they believe it does, but proceeded anyway.


Or that some "among the influential" believed that there are quite a number of doctrines that are painful, but that life, to a degree, is about dealing with pain / sacrifice. That general idea was FAR more common back in that time than it is now.

Or that people in the earlier times generally weren't as aware of sexism, particularly with regard to marriage issues, as we are now. I think that is indisputable.

Or that many believed the "restoration of all things" had to include all things they read in the Bible, no matter how painful - and that actually was a common idea back then.

My own take, that I've believed for a long time:

The Restoration is a process, not an event (as President Uchtdorf said recently), and there will be bitter fruit of some kind in the vineyard until the very end that will need to be pruned right up until the very end - and that the bitter fruit is incorrect doctrine, NOT people. It includes people, since people are the ones who teach incorrect doctrine, but I love Jacob 5 specifically because I think it destroys the idea that everything taught in Church is the pure word and will of God.

People do the best they can to understand and live their lives according to the dictates of their own consciences, subject greatly to the prevailing ideas of their times. There was a LOT of stuff in the times of Joseph and Brigham that was radically progressive; there was a lot of stuff that wasn't; there was some stuff that was traditional; there was some stuff that was regressive. I wish that wasn't so, but, as a history teacher, I know it's common to all ages and people.
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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Heber13
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by Heber13 » 24 Oct 2014, 14:49

Ann wrote:She's not going to believe it, and I expect it will have a severe impact on her attachment to the church, my investment and participation notwithstanding.
Yes...my daughters HATED the way it was talked about at church. They were even told by some people, mostly other youth who didn't know better, that they would have to learn to accept it but the good thing was they didn't have to worry about it in this life. Uh...I think that response was worse...their eternal marriage was going to be polygamous???? ay-yi-yi

I had to make sure I taught my daughters what I believed, and give them permission to totally disagree with people teaching other stuff at church. You can actually teach greater lessons to the kids by inoculating them at home, than just the subject at hand.

It's not just you, Ann. This is a subject that rubs me so wrong...I hate it. But looking at the history and accounts we have...it sounds like that was most of the early saints reactions as well. So...to see it being accepted by so many because of spiritual experiences despite their reaction towards it initially...it becomes an interesting topic to me on revelation, and church teachings, and what God asks of His children, or what people interpret from ancient scripture. It's interesting, despite the practice being unacceptable to me.
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 DevilsAdvocate » 25 Oct 2014, 08:58

Sheldon wrote:OK, I just finished reading both of them twice! My overall impression: They are not great, but they also are not bad. Lots of skillful language used and carefully crafted words. That’s why it took so long for them to come out. I believe they will help the general member be more comfortable with our past, but do nothing for those that already have an axe to grind. They are for the faithfull.
I don't know; if these essays were really for the faithful then it seems like they wouldn't be quietly tucked away in some obscure corner of their website but they would instead be published in the Ensign, official lessons, and/or conference talks and specific Church presidents or apostles would be willing to put their name on them (Matthew 5:13-16). Can you imagine what would happen if some of the points in these essays were openly talked about in missionary discussions, official lessons, conference talks, etc. such as that Joseph Smith was married to multiple women including a 14-year-old and women that were still married to other men and publicly denied it claiming that he only had one wife but it's supposedly not as bad as it sounds because we don't know for sure if he actually had sex with them or not and God supposedly commanded him to do this?

In that case, I suspect that very few people would be interested in having anything to do with the Church much less investing anywhere near the time, money, effort, etc. that the Church continues to ask for and expect out of members. So it's no surprise that we continue to see some of the sugar-coating, whitewashing, "milk before meat", etc. that we do because full disclosure and informed consent simply would not go over very well in most cases especially with the high commitment the Church currently demands. To me it looks like they felt like they needed to provide some kind of semi-official apologetic response as an attempt to reassure and inoculate the relative few that are interested or concerned enough to go out of their way to try to find some way to make sense of these apparent problems with the Church's story.

Maybe the fact that they are finally trying to respond to these issues at all instead of pretending they don't exist is already a baby-step in the right direction but to me every one of the essays that I have read so far was basically missing the point and didn't really do anything to address the real underlying reason why some of these issues are so problematic, namely that they provide perfectly understandable and legitimate if not overwhelming reasons to not put as much trust in LDS scriptures and prophets/apostles as the Church continues to ask for and expect. The essays I have read basically tap-dance around or flat out deny this point so to me they all basically sounded like, "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." That might work alright for some members especially if they only have a few major concerns but when it ends up being one problem after another with practically no end in sight then at some point there is almost no other choice but to admit that maybe these supposed prophets just don't deserve to be trusted anywhere near as much as they have been by many active Church members up to this point.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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