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

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

Post by startpoor » 11 Nov 2014, 20:33

A friend of mine asked me today what I thought about the church's news release today. I was also surprised it made national headlines.


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

Post by nibbler » 12 Nov 2014, 02:06

Cedar wrote: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?
I singled out a few questions to comment on but the whole post was an excellent series of thoughts.

I believe only time will tell. I've seen a few of my more orthodox friends both share and comment on the NY Times article. They were unanimous in stating that none of the things mentioned in the essays were new; most comments were in the spirit of "move along, nothing to see here" or "we knew all this already, so this shouldn't trouble you" - even though they led with this statement, no one had mentioned that they were troubled yet.

Many other posts gave what are now the more standard justifications for some of the issues that people find more troubling, people marrying when they were 14 was common back then, etc. Some that took the more defensive positions mentioned that they hadn't read the essays.

But that's one side. It's going to be difficult for a person that is beginning to question or worry about the implications to post their thoughts in that kind of environment. Many people in that camp are probably doing what I would have done, silently ponder outside of public forums.

The "truth" vs. the "truth" debate was coming to a head. I think that further delays in addressing the subjects in the essays would have had more of a lasting negative impact than actually releasing the essays. To the point, I believe that leaders making that determination is exactly why we have the essays. The generation(s) that were lead to believe a different narrative than what is related in the essays may very well be a write-off, but the hope is that the rising generation will have a more open leadership guiding them. This may have to be the case in the information age.

I think the leadership would do well to directly address how it is perfectly okay and even understandable that these issues may be troubling to some members... for people that were affected directly and their families that may not see anything wrong with the information in the essays but see everything wrong with their loved one that does.

They may even consider apologizing, for years of attempting to disparage people that were indeed telling the truth, for casting more accurate representations of church history as anti-Mormon half-truths and casting less accurate representations as full truths. I realize that there's no one person to blame, but perhaps we could borrow from the lessons in the temple and leadership could offer a vicarious apology for people that have been negatively impacted in any way by any member of the church over these issues. People considered to be on the "wrong" side of this decades long debate really, truly need to be ministered to.

To be clear, I do not feel like I am owed an apology nor do I feel anyone is owed an apology. My suggestion that an apology might be in order follows more out of leading by example. If leaders apologize it may help members that may have put these issues before family apologize. It can help with the repentance process on both sides.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

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

Post by SunbeltRed » 12 Nov 2014, 08:31

A friend of mine taught GD on Sunday and read the communication from the church about the topics section on LDS. org. He asked how many people knew about the essays there, in a class of 40, the number of people who had heard of any of these essays....0.

I told him I wasn't surprised, but I don't think a lot of people know about them. And even if they are aware the essays exist, I doubt many people have read them.
Last edited by SunbeltRed on 12 Nov 2014, 08:44, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 Nov 2014, 08:32

"Many other posts gave what are now the more standard justifications for some of the issues that people find more troubling, people marrying when they were 14 was common back then, etc." But it wasn't common. Not at all. Average age for women to marry was 22, and the average age of menarche was 16.7, meaning girls younger than this were often pre-pubescent, unlike today.

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

Post by nibbler » 12 Nov 2014, 09:19

hawkgrrrl wrote:"Many other posts gave what are now the more standard justifications for some of the issues that people find more troubling, people marrying when they were 14 was common back then, etc." But it wasn't common. Not at all. Average age for women to marry was 22, and the average age of menarche was 16.7, meaning girls younger than this were often pre-pubescent, unlike today.
Preaching to the choir. You could point out that only 1% or fewer of all marriages involved 14/15 year olds, you could point out that the 14/15 year olds were marrying people closer to their own age, etc. Starting those discussions really isn't going to change people's minds. Just reporting what I'm hearing. The vocal appear to be largely unphased. But again, I'm sure people that feel otherwise may be too timid to speak up in that environment, much like asking questions in SS... you have the feeling that questions will be met with accusations not discussion, so you keep your thoughts to yourself.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

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

Post by West » 12 Nov 2014, 10:10

But again, I'm sure people that feel otherwise may be too timid to speak up in that environment, much like asking questions in SS... you have the feeling that questions will be met with accusations not discussion, so you keep your thoughts to yourself.
Yeah, from my experience, as soon as someone brings up any doubt or asks any hard-hitting questions that might be interpreted as doubt, most of the time it seems the teacher will give a quick half-answer, and then the rest of the class or discussion is spent on people bearing testimonies -- instead of a logical, fact-based discussion, it turns to using emotion to drown out doubt. Not that emotions aren't a viable and very necessary human experience to have, of course. Just draining. And many people don't have the interest or the energy to deal with that, unfortunately.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

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

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Nov 2014, 10:22

Coping mechanisms are coping mechanisms, and they are used because they work. It can be frustrating when one mechanism dominates to the extent that all that is left for others is silence, but I try hard to be as charitable as I can and focus on the good, sincere people employing the coping mechanisms.

In the words of Elder Wirthlin, I try to play my own unique instrument in the orchestra of God - but I never try to drown out all of the others. That would make me just a different expression of their overly loud participation - and, unless I was willing to get into shouting matches (which I usually would win simply because few of them will shout at church), which I am not willing to do, I would lose every attempt to out-volume them. I play so others who aren't confident enough to play yet will hear a counter-melody and know they aren't alone - and there are SO many in that situation, far more than we tend to think. It's called a silent majority for a reason.
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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West
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Re: New Essay on Polygamy! (update, a 2nd one posted also)

Post by West » 12 Nov 2014, 10:33

That's a really excellent way to approach it, Ray. I'll have to try it for myself. I know that I would have loved it if someone had expressed even a tiny comment of doubt during SS or RS after my FC, so I could know that I wasn't alone in a room full of TBMs. I suppose if I want that culture of supporting those with doubts instead of shutting them down or shutting them out, it's got to start somewhere.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

And God said 'Love Your Enemy,' and I obeyed him and loved myself. -Kahlil Gibran

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

Post by GBSmith » 12 Nov 2014, 10:43

Ray DeGraw wrote:Coping mechanisms are coping mechanisms, and they are used because they work. It can be frustrating when one mechanism dominates to the extent that all that is left for others is silence, but I try hard to be as charitable as I can and focus on the good, sincere people employing the coping mechanisms.
If you're happy with your ward/branch, calling, friends and associates and if you feel like the church is a positive in your life then it doesn't matter that JS had multiple wives, some young and some already married. I heard Jan Shipps at a NW Sunstone comment about this twenty five years ago but then it was the Book of Abraham. It will matter if the shelf gets too heavy or if there's trouble in one of the other areas and then it's near impossible to ignore. Being able to make peace with what was then and what is now is not going to be helped by the essays unless there's some work in bridging that gap. I've come to terms with it by the way I view JS but I'll never be a TBM with all that entails.

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

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Nov 2014, 11:09

I've come to terms with it by the way I view JS but I'll never be a TBM with all that entails.


Yup - and finding peace in that is wonderfully liberating.
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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