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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 09:35
by Sheldon
The latest essay is out and can be found here in LDS.org
It is on the beginnings of Polygamy.

The highlights

They admit JS married a 14 year old girl (they use the words “sealed a few months before her 15th birthday", I guess it doesn’t sound as bad?)

They openly bring up that in the eternities procreation continues and the bringing forth of babies

They openly admitted that Fanny Alger was a plural wife.

They admit that JS was threatened with a sword by an angle if he didn’t comply, and say sometimes the Lord does this kind of thing to get people to do things.

They try to explain why lying about polygamy was not really lying. (footnote: 22. In the denials, “polygamy” was understood to mean the marriage of one man to more than one woman but without Church sanction.

They bring up the Law of Sarah and explain why it wasn't followed, but don't mention that D&C 132 specifically states that if Emma didn't accept the marriages, she would be destroyed.

Re: New Essay on Polygamy!

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 09:44
by Sheldon
And a second Essay just posted on Post Manifesto Polygamy.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 10:02
by Sheldon
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.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 11:07
by DarkJedi
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.
To be fair, Sheldon, I think they're all mostly meant for the faithful. While they can and sometimes do strike down the antis (they can't criticize something as secret that's on the website), I think for the most part they are aimed at orthodox types in order to be able to answer their own questions and the questions of others. I think that works fine for the "average" questioner - those that don't necessarily delve very deeply.

It should also be pointed out, because it hasn't been pointed out on our forums yet, that there is a video and explanation of temple garments that has also recently been released.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 12:16
by Heber13
These types of comments are significant to me in the essay:
Although the Lord commanded the adoption—and later the cessation—of plural marriage in the latter days, He did not give exact instructions on how to obey the commandment.
Some ambiguity will always accompany our knowledge about this issue. Like the participants, we “see through a glass, darkly” and are asked to walk by faith.
The precise nature of these relationships in the next life is not known, and many family relationships will be sorted out in the life to come. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to trust in our wise Heavenly Father, who loves His children and does all things for their growth and salvation.
The message consistent on many of these controversial topics is simple..."we don't know, and it will be figured out in the next life."

The more orthodox members are reminded that there are many things we do not "know", I think the more comfortable we'll all be in church, rather than a peer pressure to value certainty of things that are religious and faith-based in nature...therefore unknowable.

The essay has many faithful tinted reasonable arguments around polygamy. But clearly, they are presented as "possible explanations", and therefore I am equally open to other explanations on the subject. I don't expect to ever make sense of the practice.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 13:11
by Joni
The hand-waving bugs me, I'm not gonna lie. I've wished for years that the LDS Church needs to crap or get off the pot on the polygamy question. I still don't feel like they've done that.

One thing I've always wondered about is the "it was to raise seed" explanation of polygamy. Of course one man + 47 wives will produce a whole lot of children. But so will 47 men + 47 wives. And from what I've read, there was actually a pretty even mix of men and women - so do the other 46 men just not get to enter into the new and everlasting covenant and raise seed of their own? If it was for raising seed, why marry post-menopausal widows? Is the Church saying that Joseph Smith was having sex with teenagers while married to Emma? Next time we go to visit Nauvoo, will the senior couple missionaries be telling us about JS' multiple wives in the tours? And if the Lord's version of marriage is between one man and one woman, does that mean there's only one Heavenly Mother? Why can men still be sealed to multiple women? For me, there are way, WAY more questions than these essays can touch.

It's funny, I *just* listened to the Mormon Expressions podcast on polygamy. It was really interesting, so I guess the issue has been on my mind.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 13:14
by journeygirl
I just read both of them, and once again I am realizing that things I hear from outside sources of the church about it's history are being confirmed by these articles. You hear in conference some of the apostles telling us not to read those kinds of sources, and yet they so far seem to be true. It is also interesting that all of these articles are worded as possible explanations, meaning that they are most likely the kindest reading of the history possible. They don't deny the possibility of much worse interpretations. One thing I noticed specifically about the one talking about the start of polygamy, is it doesn't mention that Emma denied that Joseph practiced polygamy on her death bed. They say since there is no record we don't know how she took all this. It did mention that she accepted some of the wives because they lived in their home, but I don't know if that is fair to say, since she may not have known they were his wives, the article admits that some of Joseph's wives were kept from Emma.

Anyway, my overall feeling now is blech :sick: I hate this topic and personally do not believe God ever commanded polygamy. Even the story of an angel with a sword doesn't sound much like God, more like Satan deceiving Joseph. But whatever, these articles seem to just be well researched speculation. It's been interesting to see what they'll do next, but these are clearly not intended for people like me.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 13:33
by SMiLe
I have always had a hard time reconciling the story of the angel with the sword:
During the third and final appearance, the angel came with a drawn sword, threatening Joseph with destruction unless he went forward and obeyed the commandment fully.
and D&C 121:41
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
In my mind, this hardly seems like the same God. I'm sure that there are some who would tell me that God can except himself from how he expects us to behave, but that feels pretty hollow here. In fact, this particular dichotomy is a primary contributor to my questioning / FC / falling out with the church / whatever you want to call it.

I guess I am with others here when I say that I think it is good the church is addressing this publicly but I find no answers in the article.

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 14:20
by LookingHard
I would think someone with the avatar of Sheldon would have started this post out with "Bazinga!"

Going to need to set some time apart to study these.

As frustrating slow as it seems to be, maybe the brethren are addressing many of the issues (as much as they can) as fast as they can. With such carefully worded essays, I am sure they take time to get everyone willing to say, "OK"

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

Posted: 22 Oct 2014, 15:27
by Ann
I understand the impulse in others to justify what went on, but I have no interest in doing it. On the main points, it's exactly what I feared it would be. I feel that the essay gives people like me no breathing room.