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

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Post Reply
User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7203
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

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

Post by Heber13 » 27 Oct 2014, 10:29

Roy wrote:This actually bothers me because it seems like the essay is saying this to envelop the whole issue in a fog of mystery and then cherry pick and highlight some "reminiscences" over others.
yes...exactly...I was thinking it too, Roy. Actually, it doesn't bother me though, it confirms to me what I think about often...people don't use "Buffet Mormons" as a term of respect...but I see that we all do it...and the church does it. I guess I'll be more inclined to stop cherry picking at the buffet table when the church leaders and lesson manuals do. I say that tongue and cheek...realistically, what I'm saying is it is of comfort to see we all do that cherry picking as we frame our opinions and beliefs.
Roy wrote:All of this does not mean that God didn't command polygamy or that God didn't send spiritual confirmations to the participants. It merely expresses that there is at least enough evidence against as there might be for God sanctioned polygamy. I simply see a much more human, fallable, and messy narrative of events.
I find most things I study deeply result the same way...human, fallable, and messy...since it all comes through mortals, many times very inspired and wise mortals. At some point, there is a choice on what we make of it all. Even having this essay on the church website...it will be read differently by different people, depending on their point of view. Again, another lesson for me on how interesting revelation and inspiration works, and I feel confident I'm allowed to think about polygamy the way I do.
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."

User avatar
Shawn
Posts: 707
Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 14:22
Location: Utah

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

Post by Shawn » 27 Oct 2014, 14:30

I wouldn't say "They admit that JS was threatened with a sword by an angle if he didn’t comply." In my view, the article unfortunately gives credence to a supposed event for which there is only dubious evidence.

User avatar
Shawn
Posts: 707
Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 14:22
Location: Utah

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

Post by Shawn » 27 Oct 2014, 14:57

In biblical times, the Lord commanded some of His people to practice plural marriage…

There is no proof of this. The message given to David by Nathan, “Thus saith the Lord...I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom” (2 Samuel 12) could mean the “master’s wives” were given in the same sense that the Lord sent quails to the Israelites, gave them a king, and acquiesced when Martin Harris wanted to borrow the BoM transcript. It could also mean the women were just placed in the care of the king’s household. Every other instance of polygamy in the OT indicates the people acted on their own.
..the Lord…did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.

This is just sad. When God gives a commandment, he prepares a way for it to be accomplished. In the case of polygamy, Joseph sneaked around behind Emma's back and took additional wives long before seeking her approval. The gospel of Christ "was not done in a corner," but polygamy was done in deep, dark corners. He was sealed to women who already had a husband. I think God would have at least clarified that part. Joseph took wives and then allowed them to be kicked out of the house. He vehemently denied he was doing it and ended up dying as a result. I fail to see God's hand in all that.

I could say a lot more, but I'll just say that it's best not to defend the past practice of plural marriage. Someday the church will have to backtrack on this. The more I learn, the uglier it gets, and a lot more will be revealed through the Joseph Smith Papers project.

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3532
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

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

Post by hawkgrrrl » 27 Oct 2014, 19:45

Shawn wrote:I wouldn't say "They admit that JS was threatened with a sword by an angle if he didn’t comply." In my view, the article unfortunately gives credence to a supposed event for which there is only dubious evidence.
Bingo. Also, the Law of Sarah??? The supposed Law of Sarah that I think was literally invented for essay points to a real issue, that Sarah was the one who gave her handmaid to her husband to have a child, but D&C 132 says that a man has to ask his wife, and if she refuses, he can anyway and she will be destroyed. That's not what happened with Sarah!

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16808
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

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

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Oct 2014, 08:21

My overall view of modern polygamy is that it is an incorrect tradition of our fathers instituted because the philosophies of men got mingled with scripture - and, in this case, I exclusively use the male signifiers intentionally.

I actually do believe there were some real benefits (and at least one important one), but they didn't and don't outweigh the negative results.
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
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

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

Post by Orson » 30 Oct 2014, 08:46

Ray DeGraw wrote:I actually do believe there were some real benefits (and at least one important one), but they didn't and don't outweigh the negative results.
Yes, and yes, I agree with both points. We can find a silver lining to the most unthinkable horrors, but that doesn't mean if you could go back you wouldn't stop the negative event from happening. I think the point that the church has yet to come to terms with is that a polygamous relationship is fundamentally abusive to women. I don't choose those words lightly, a polygamous relationship is absent fidelity from the wives perspective because it is not and cannot be exclusive. I do acknowledge that it can work for some women - women who are extremely independent and honestly don't care about having a close personal, exclusive, emotional/intimate relationship with their husband... or in short women who don't want fidelity in their marriage.
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
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7203
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

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

Post by Heber13 » 30 Oct 2014, 09:30

Orson wrote:We can find a silver lining to the most unthinkable horrors, but that doesn't mean if you could go back you wouldn't stop the negative event from happening. I think the point that the church has yet to come to terms with is that a polygamous relationship is fundamentally abusive to women.
I agree, Orson. It can show the power of faith, I think. Because while most people taught about this practice in the early 1800s were shocked, some can look for those silver linings or faith on doctrines such as linking together families or promises of blessings in the next life to rationalize and try to live something in this life most people think are unacceptable. It still happens today with fundamentalists. We just look from the outside in to those communities, but I'm sure those that live it today still find ways to live happy and don't view the abuse to women as a terrible thing, but focus on what they value in it and ignore the abuse it has.

It is interesting what people will try to accept if you precede it with "God has commanded it".
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."

User avatar
Shawn
Posts: 707
Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 14:22
Location: Utah

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

Post by Shawn » 31 Oct 2014, 09:55

This is interesting:
It also shaped 19th-century Mormon society in other ways:...and ethnic intermarriages were increased, which helped to unite a diverse immigrant population.
-Early Utah Essay
Hmmmmm. We know that white people marrying black was frowned upon a little, but perhaps a few other “ethnic intermarriages” occurred. I can’t tell because a footnote in the essay references an article that seems nowhere to be found. This is an example of the stretches being made in the attempt to justify polygamy.

Ann
Posts: 2574
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

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

Post by Ann » 31 Oct 2014, 11:06

Shawn wrote:This is interesting:
It also shaped 19th-century Mormon society in other ways:...and ethnic intermarriages were increased, which helped to unite a diverse immigrant population.
-Early Utah Essay
Hmmmmm. We know that white people marrying black was frowned upon a little, but perhaps a few other “ethnic intermarriages” occurred. I can’t tell because a footnote in the essay references an article that seems nowhere to be found. This is an example of the stretches being made in the attempt to justify polygamy.
I assume (?) they're referring to things like Welsh marrying Danes. Maybe the ethnic mixing happened on an accelerated timeline in polygamous Utah, and that's great, but...hardly a justification, like you say. I think they're just pointing out some not-awful results of the practice.
"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

User avatar
Shawn
Posts: 707
Joined: 07 Jun 2012, 14:22
Location: Utah

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

Post by Shawn » 31 Oct 2014, 15:49

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.

Post Reply