Polyandry not "hidden" any more

Public forum to discuss questions about Mormon history and doctrine.
Post Reply
User avatar
mackay11
Posts: 2045
Joined: 01 Nov 2012, 18:01

Polyandry not "hidden" any more

Post by mackay11 » 07 Sep 2013, 03:29

Joseph's polyandry was one of the few things that official church sources had never acknowledged.

Not any more.

From LDS.org:

http://www.lds.org/search?lang=eng&quer ... k+place%22

Search results link to the following article on josephsmithpapers.org (an official church website):
Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith. Available evidence indicates that some of these apparent polygynous/polyandrous marriages took place during the years covered by this journal. At least three of the women reportedly involved in these marriages—Patty Bartlett Sessions, Ruth Vose Sayers, and Sylvia Porter Lyon—are mentioned in the journal, though in contexts very much removed from plural marriage.58 Even fewer sources are extant for these complex relationships than are available for Smith’s marriages to unmarried women, and Smith’s revelations are silent on them. Having surveyed the available sources, historian Richard L. Bushman concludes that these polyandrous marriages—and perhaps other plural marriages of Joseph Smith—were primarily a means of binding other families to his for the spiritual benefit and mutual salvation of all involved.
I don't agree with the practice, I personally consider it an error. But at least it's now one that I can legitimately raise from a church source if relevant.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16852
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Polyandry not

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Sep 2013, 09:30

It's hard to overstate how excited I am by the Joseph Smith Papers project, and this is one example of why I feel that way.
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

Ann
Posts: 2576
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Polyandry not

Post by Ann » 07 Sep 2013, 16:24

mackay11 wrote:
Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith. Available evidence indicates that some of these apparent polygynous/polyandrous marriages took place during the years covered by this journal. At least three of the women reportedly involved in these marriages—Patty Bartlett Sessions, Ruth Vose Sayers, and Sylvia Porter Lyon—are mentioned in the journal, though in contexts very much removed from plural marriage.58 Even fewer sources are extant for these complex relationships than are available for Smith’s marriages to unmarried women, and Smith’s revelations are silent on them. Having surveyed the available sources, historian Richard L. Bushman concludes that these polyandrous marriages—and perhaps other plural marriages of Joseph Smith—were primarily a means of binding other families to his for the spiritual benefit and mutual salvation of all involved.
Documents suggest. . . .women were married or sealed to Joseph. . . .apparent marriages. . . .women reportedly involved. . ..complex relationships. . . .Smith silent. I really dislike all the passivity and attention-shifting. This style blurb is maddening to me. It's like Joseph woke up on certain days and, whoa, found himself attached to yet another woman. Who did that?

I'm over Joseph having done it. Or, rather, I have the fallout from it more or less contained. I am not over the church trying to engineer my opinion of it. Put the information out there and let people think what they think. The church had a chance to shape my thoughts on polygamy, and they blew it.

Sorry. Feeling angry right now.

But, yes, this is better than complete denial or silence, but not by that much in my opinion.
"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
cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Polyandry not "hidden" any more

Post by cwald » 07 Sep 2013, 16:54

Ann wrote:
mackay11 wrote:
Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith. Available evidence indicates that some of these apparent polygynous/polyandrous marriages took place during the years covered by this journal. At least three of the women reportedly involved in these marriages—Patty Bartlett Sessions, Ruth Vose Sayers, and Sylvia Porter Lyon—are mentioned in the journal, though in contexts very much removed from plural marriage.58 Even fewer sources are extant for these complex relationships than are available for Smith’s marriages to unmarried women, and Smith’s revelations are silent on them. Having surveyed the available sources, historian Richard L. Bushman concludes that these polyandrous marriages—and perhaps other plural marriages of Joseph Smith—were primarily a means of binding other families to his for the spiritual benefit and mutual salvation of all involved.
Documents suggest. . . .women were married or sealed to Joseph. . . .apparent marriages. . . .women reportedly involved. . ..complex relationships. . . .Smith silent. I really dislike all the passivity and attention-shifting. This style blurb is maddening to me. It's like Joseph woke up on certain days and, whoa, found himself attached to yet another woman. Who did that?

I'm over Joseph having done it. Or, rather, I have the fallout from it more or less contained. I am not over the church trying to engineer my opinion of it...
I was going to say this, but I feel like I'm on a tight leash right now as far as stsyLDS is concerned. Glad you brought it up. Thanks.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16852
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Polyandry not

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Sep 2013, 16:57

Ann, I actually like the wording, since the project is trying to tackle everything based solely on the documentary evidence with as few preconceived notions and conclusions as possible. It's a document project primarily and not a traditional attempt to tell a comprehensive history. Thus, the need for careful disclaimers to say only what can be said from the documents themselves.

"Here are the actual documents and what they say and/or suggest," is exactly what I want.
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

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16852
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Polyandry not

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Sep 2013, 16:59

cwald, the yard fence is still in place, but I undid the leash. You just can't dig under the fence. ;)
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
cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Polyandry not "hidden" any more

Post by cwald » 07 Sep 2013, 17:00

Ray Degraw wrote:cwald, the yard fence is still in place, but I undid the leash. You just can't dig under the fence. ;)
:-)

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

User avatar
mackay11
Posts: 2045
Joined: 01 Nov 2012, 18:01

Polyandry not "hidden" any more

Post by mackay11 » 08 Sep 2013, 00:32

Ann wrote:
mackay11 wrote:
Several later documents suggest that several women who were already married to other men were, like Marinda Hyde, married or sealed to Joseph Smith. Available evidence indicates that some of these apparent polygynous/polyandrous marriages took place during the years covered by this journal. At least three of the women reportedly involved in these marriages—Patty Bartlett Sessions, Ruth Vose Sayers, and Sylvia Porter Lyon—are mentioned in the journal, though in contexts very much removed from plural marriage.58 Even fewer sources are extant for these complex relationships than are available for Smith’s marriages to unmarried women, and Smith’s revelations are silent on them. Having surveyed the available sources, historian Richard L. Bushman concludes that these polyandrous marriages—and perhaps other plural marriages of Joseph Smith—were primarily a means of binding other families to his for the spiritual benefit and mutual salvation of all involved.
Documents suggest. . . .women were married or sealed to Joseph. . . .apparent marriages. . . .women reportedly involved. . ..complex relationships. . . .Smith silent. I really dislike all the passivity and attention-shifting. This style blurb is maddening to me. It's like Joseph woke up on certain days and, whoa, found himself attached to yet another woman. Who did that?

I'm over Joseph having done it. Or, rather, I have the fallout from it more or less contained. I am not over the church trying to engineer my opinion of it. Put the information out there and let people think what they think. The church had a chance to shape my thoughts on polygamy, and they blew it.

Sorry. Feeling angry right now.

But, yes, this is better than complete denial or silence, but not by that much in my opinion.
When I showed this to my wife she said something similar to you. Along with: "so anything written by a critic at the time is unreliable but they completely trust the journal written by and for Joseph?"

I agree that this is still limited and I agree that this is still spun in Joseph's favour. But the fact that an official church website has even acknowledged it happened is, for me, progress. I don't pay much attention to what the church would like me to think any more. I have a couple of dozen quotes, also from church sources, that teach me to think for myself.

In order for the skeletons to start coming out of the closet they need to at least start to acknowledge what has been hiding in that closet.

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Polyandry not

Post by SilentDawning » 08 Sep 2013, 04:54

My question, is, was their physical consummation of these marriages? [Or is it just plain naive to ask this question at all].

This is not addressed in the church statement, and if this happened, and these women were married, it does not bode well for the reputation of a prophet....And I'm not sure how this is for the spiritual benefit of these people if they already had legal families.

No doubt people will rationalize this somehow because it happened so long ago.

On the other hand, I'm glad we are seeing less whitewashing of history than in the past.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Tobin
Posts: 52
Joined: 01 Sep 2013, 13:04

Re: Polyandry not

Post by Tobin » 08 Sep 2013, 08:37

SilentDawning wrote:My question, is, was their physical consummation of these marriages? [Or is it just plain naive to ask this question at all].
The best answer is nobody knows except JS and these women for EVERY case. I think it is clear that in some cases there was physical consummation however which appears pretty bad.
SilentDawning wrote:This is not addressed in the church statement, and if this happened, and these women were married, it does not bode well for the reputation of a prophet....And I'm not sure how this is for the spiritual benefit of these people if they already had legal families.
No doubt. But I don't believe or disbelieve in Mormonism because of the behavior and weaknesses of JS. Let's suppose the JS had one or more experiences with God, but couldn't deal with the responsibilities he felt for having that experience, embellished it, and started doing things he felt was best because he felt special as a result of having had that experience. Does that change the fact he had such an experience? In my view, no. To tie yourself to the idea that as a result of his experiences, JS was anything other than a human-being and quite capable of making mistakes and sinning, is extremely foolish in my view.
SilentDawning wrote:No doubt people will rationalize this somehow because it happened so long ago.
There is no reason to rationalize it. If it happened, it is deplorable. However, all it shows is JS was human and sinned. If people had the belief that JS was perfect and incapable of sin, they will need to adjust their view.

Post Reply