Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jan 2018, 06:27

Joseph wasn't a polygamist in the classic sense, because he didn't live openly with multiple wives, but he married multiple women (or was sealed to multiple women while alive), so he was, technically, a polygamist. That much is indisputable, imo.

Everything else is up for debate, and I am cool with that. People see what they want to believe, and I am cool with that, even as some of what people see truly bothers me.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Jan 2018, 07:36

Related to this discussion it is probably at least somewhat important we mention the section in Doctrine and Covenants on marriage that was removed before Section 132 was published. In the 1835 edition it was Section 101.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper- ... s-1835/259

I point this out just as a matter of historical fact - the church did at one time have canonized scripture which taught that marriage was between one man and one woman.
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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On Own Now
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Re: Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

Post by On Own Now » 29 Jan 2018, 08:19

Yes, but 1835 Section 101 was written and presented as a policy not a revelation. It was placed in the end-matter of the D&C after a section titled "Appendix" and right before Section, you guessed it, 102, which was a declaration of the views of the Church on governments and laws. Not saying it wasn't significant, but just saying that it wasn't on the same level as the other sections, which were presented as revelations.

Section 101 was adopted by the Church committee in charge of publishing the D&C, and importantly, it was adopted by the vote of those present, which did not include Joseph Smith, who was on Church business in the East. The presiding officers were Oliver Cowdery and Sydney Rigdon. See History of the Church, Vol 2, pg 243. Would JS have voted for it? I don't know. But he didn't vote, so I believe the content of the section is dubious. JS could have removed it later, but that likely would have served to fan the flames of anti-polygamy... It is clearly written as a policy document. First sentence: "According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages of this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting...". Later portions talk about how marriages are to be recorded and how to deal with marriages prior to involvement with the Church. IMO, OC and SR, two staunch anti-polygamists, were trying to force JS's hand away from Polygamy.
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Re: Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Jan 2018, 09:15

Agreed, OON. I'm not sure if the folks in 1835 viewed canonized scripture the same as we (or maybe just I) do now, and for all I know they didn't really view the D&C as anything more than a collection of stuff. There are other sections which appear to be written more as policy, but they are, as you point out, presented as revelation. And it is important to note that Cowdery and Rigdon were not in favor of polygamy, and that Cowdery was very aware of at least the Alger affair. I think the general membership of the church at the time did not favor polygamy and very few practiced it.

Just as an aside, we have books of policy now (the two General Handbooks and others) that are revered as scripture by some even though there is no 'Thus saith the Lord" in the beginning.
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: Joseph Smith wasn't actually a Polygamist...

Post by Roy » 29 Jan 2018, 09:19

I have cobbled together a list of polygyny justifications/explanations/reasons from JS or sources close to him.
Polygyny Justifications of JS
1. God commands it: “God said thou shalt not kill, at another time he said thou shalt utterly destroy…that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another…Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is…although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.” RSR p. 441 “I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise. “TPJS p. 256, 324
2. The ancient patriarchs practiced it (apparently without divine condemnation).
3. To fashion a righteous generation on the eve of the Second Coming: “The Lord has revealed to me that it is his will that righteous men shall take righteous women, even a plurality of wives, that a righteous race may be sent forth upon the earth preparatory to the ushering in of the millennial reign of our Redeemer.” RSR p. 326, Jacob 2:24-30
4. For “greater glory”: “The first commandment was to ‘Multiply’ and the Prophet taught us that Dominion & power in the great future would be commensurate with the number of ‘wives, children & friends’ that we inherit here and that our great mission to earth was to organize a nucleus of Heaven to take with us. To the increase of which there would be no end.”…”When the family organization was revealed from heaven- the patriarchal order of God, and Joseph began, on the right hand and the left, to add to his family, what a quaking there was in Israel.” In Sacred loneliness p. 10-11 “Joseph’s kingdom grew with the size of his family, and those bonded to that family would be exalted with him.” JS reportedly said "I know that I shall be saved in the Kingdom of God. I have the oath of God upon it and God cannot lie. All that he gives me I shall take with me for I have that authority and that power conferred upon me." In Sacred Loneliness. The purpose was “to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities…Like Abraham of old, Joseph yearned for familial plentitude.” RSR p 439-440, D & C 132:55 “If your [husband] and you should be alone by the side of such a king as Abraham or Solomon with all his queens and their numerous servants and waiting maids in courtly livery, would he not look like a mere rushlight by the side of such suns, or rather would he be seen at all! I should almost fear that your [husband] would be taken for a servant, and you for a waiting maid; or if they should, in the galaxy and splendor of 144,00 such suns as Solomon, happen to see you and your [husband] with a king’s coronet upon his head, they might think him short of wedding garments, or that the selfishness of his wife had stinted his growth to such an insignificant, crab-tree size! Besides, a Queen to him that has his hundreds of wives in eternity, with children as numberless as the stars of heaven, would receive intelligence, wealth, honour, children, and dominion, in some measure proportioned to the exaltations of her husband and king; while your [husband], not having much to look after besides you, could not demand the same measure of wealth, honour, and dominion, because he could use upon you and your little family but a small pittance of what pertains to one moving in a wider and far more exalted sphere. Your intelligence, and that of your children, could not rise higher than the intelligence of your husband. Consequently, you must see yourself and your husband, and your children, continually outstripped in intelligence by all others around you. Your social circle must consequently be very limited at home. And your offspring not be as numerous. The motive which would lead you to retain your husband exclusively to yourself, would contribute to make you comparatively unfruitful, and also vitiate the mental and bodily functions of your offspring, and sow the seeds of death and mortality in their systems... Hence I see the wisdom of God in not tolerating any such system [as monogamy] among the celestial worthies who are to be kings and queens unto God for ever…. God has determined to bestow His greatest blessings upon the liberal order, and only very stinted favours upon the narrow, contracted order [of monogamy] which you seem to desire. In the former order your children are all the lawful heirs of thrones and kingdoms, and in your favourite order they are only the heirs of servile inferiority.” Millennial Star 1853 Nelly & Abby
5. Pre-mortal commitments: “Joseph said I was his, before I came here. He said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him.” JS had been told to marry Mary, “or suffer condemnation- for I (Mary) was created for him before the foundation of the Earth was laid.” In Sacred Loneliness, also “thou made a covenant with one of thy kindred spirits to be thy guardian angel while here in mortality, also with two others, male and female spirits, that thou wouldst come and take a tabernacle through their lineage, and become one of their offspring. You also choose a kindred spirit whom you loved in the spirit world … to be your be head, stay, husband, and protector on the earth, and to exalt you in the eternal worlds. All these were arranged.” The Origin and Destiny of Women, John Taylor. Said Asael Smith, Grandfather of the Prophet, “I believe God hath created the persons for each other, and that Nature will find its own.” The Family of Joseph Smith p 16
A major theme is that reasons 3, 4, & 5 are no longer consistent with our theology in the Modern Church. We have evolved out theology and polygamy is a relic of a previous time and belief system. The only reasons that still kinda fit are #2 Jacob and others were polygamists and #1 God commanded JS for what purpose we know not. (as an aside that has also been the church stance on the priesthood ban for the last 40ish years - God commanded it for what purpose we know not. [though the essay on Race and the Priesthood does go a long way to helping understand the context of the time and that it could have been cultural racism and limited understanding of gospel expansiveness.])
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