Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

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SilentDawning
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Dec 2013, 11:44

I don't know -- the Book of Mormon states the purpose is to "raise up seed unto me" [the Lord speaking]. I think the most recent article on the plural marriage history also mentions that God commands it at certain times [for this purpose] -- but I need to check if that is explicitly mentioned. Even if it doesn't it was pretty clear from the Book of Mormon that we a doctrinal basis for plural marriage as a way of fueling population growth and its corollary -- sustaining large families. This helps the church by promoting growth from within.
"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

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Life_Journey_of_Matt
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Life_Journey_of_Matt » 18 Dec 2013, 12:35

Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes for instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage during the 19th century.
This implies that ultimately those who practiced it did so through blind obedience or because of cultural influence, which I have trouble honoring (though I empathize with their plight).
"So oft in theologic wars / The disputants, I ween, / Rail on in utter ignorance / Of what each other mean / And prate about an Elephant / Not one of them has seen." -- from "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Dec 2013, 13:16

"raise up seed unto me"


Breaking out the parser's pen:

That phrase does not have to mean "increase population". In fact, the actual wording says and implies exactly nothing about increased population. Seriously, read it without that assumption, and you'll see it's not there. That interpretation came about as one of the justifications for polygamy by members, but it isn't in the phrase above.

That phrase might mean "have children who are dedicated strongly to God". It's much like Samuel's mother dedicating her son "unto God" and "raising him up" with that promise in mind.

As bad as polygamy was in lots of ways, I think it's hard to argue that it didn't strengthen dedication among the early Saints who were part of it.

It also might mean "create a unique people who are dedicated to God".

That would fit Joseph's idea of restored Israel - or the creation of a new Israel, if you will. If nothing else, the way polygamy created a communal, linked ancestry can lead people to see the LDS Church from about 1850-1950 as a unique people. I've seen non-Mormon historians make that observation in more than one publication.
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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bridget_night
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by bridget_night » 18 Dec 2013, 14:18

I am still in the middle of reading "In Sacred Loneliness" and have read much of church history. It is almost impossible for me to believe that JS did not have a sex addiction problem. He went against what he, himself said in D&C 132 about how the 1st wife must approve and to espouse a virgin. He did neither. He did so much behind Emma's back and hurt her deeply when she found out.

Admin Note:

[This thread is NOT about Joseph or polygamy during his lifetime. We have lots of threads about that topic.

Also, links to sites that are established specifically to cast Joseph and the LDS Church in the worst light possible are not allowed here. Thus, the link and the information from it have been deleted.]

Roy
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Roy » 18 Dec 2013, 15:03

I believe that I understand many of the "theories" put forward for the justification of polygamy.

Some of these theories are just plain wrong on their face. Others will only work if we devalue women as being equal to men.

Part of the problem is that JS gave multiple reasons for polygamy. I had at one time compiled the following list of justifications that could reasonably be traced back to JS:
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. 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 (D&C 132:63).
3. 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.” 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
4. 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
5. To “restore” an Old Testament practice. (Acts 3:21; D&C 132:40, 45).
I find this list interesting in part because # 3 and # 4 are somewhat incompatible with our modern LDS theology.
Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes for instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage during the 19th century.
This statement reminds me of similar statements about the priesthood ban a decade or so ago. (IOW the commandment comes from God, the explanations come largely from men).

I believe that, taking the evidence as a whole, polygamy was not in harmony with eternal truth and fits under the category Pres. Uchtdorf recently described
“There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.... imperfect people make mistakes.”
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bridget_night
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by bridget_night » 18 Dec 2013, 15:43

Thanks Roy!

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Life_Journey_of_Matt
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Life_Journey_of_Matt » 18 Dec 2013, 16:10

In addition to my earlier comment:

The last paragraph of this article is just troubling to me. It seems like nothing but an attempt at saving face. In the quote below, I have mirrored the statements from the article with hypothetical statements to help illustrate why the logic bothers me so much.

...edit....
I removed my original comment since I realize I was shooting from the hip. Institutionally supported polygamy as it pertains to our history just really rubs me the wrong way. I have never seen a compelling justification that couldn't have been solved outside of marriage. Period. If widowed or single women needed temporal support, give them support, but you don't have to marry them all off. The "raising up seed" justifications just seem egocentric and silly. The reference I made that was harsh merely pointed to the "God commanded it" justification, which feeds, IMO, what is one of the greatest cancers in organized religion: blind faith.
...end of edit...

I know this seems really harsh, but I have to call it how I see it.
Last edited by Life_Journey_of_Matt on 18 Dec 2013, 17:38, edited 1 time in total.
"So oft in theologic wars / The disputants, I ween, / Rail on in utter ignorance / Of what each other mean / And prate about an Elephant / Not one of them has seen." -- from "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe

"The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My ongoing story: http://precariousironrod.com/

Ann
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Ann » 18 Dec 2013, 17:05

Roy wrote:
Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes for instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage during the 19th century.
This statement reminds me of similar statements about the priesthood ban a decade or so ago. (IOW the commandment comes from God, the explanations come largely from men).

I believe that, taking the evidence as a whole, polygamy was not in harmony with eternal truth and fits under the category Pres. Uchtdorf recently described
“There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.... imperfect people make mistakes.”
I think the church will eventually back away from polygamy as having been God's express commandment. But considering the fact (I think I looked this up once in an obsessed mood) that Lorenzo Snow's granddaughter died in 2011, it still hits too close to home. Time's a-wastin', though, and I choose to back away now.

(And, for what it's worth, I would never compare anyone involved to terrorists.)
Last edited by Ann on 18 Dec 2013, 17:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Dec 2013, 17:05

Admin Note:

Yes, that is really harsh, Matt - and it can be said about almost anything with which someone disagrees, religious or not, done out of a sense of conviction. There are people here who see no good in polygamy and its outcomes whatsoever, but the people who lived it did so out of a sense of devotion and commitment (men and women both) - and NOBODY KILLED ANYBODY ELSE in practicing it.

There is a common saying that once a comparison to Hitler is made in a conversation, that conversation is over. The same can be said about invoking suicide bombers. Hopefully, that isn't the case here, but that sort of comparison leaves no room for discussion. It ends, or this thread ends.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Dec 2013, 17:26

Ray Degraw wrote:
"raise up seed unto me"


Breaking out the parser's pen:

That phrase does not have to mean "increase population". In fact, the actual wording says and implies exactly nothing about increased population. Seriously, read it without that assumption, and you'll see it's not there. That interpretation came about as one of the justifications for polygamy by members, but it isn't in the phrase above.

That phrase might mean "have children who are dedicated strongly to God". It's much like Samuel's mother dedicating her son "unto God" and "raising him up" with that promise in mind.

As bad as polygamy was in lots of ways, I think it's hard to argue that it didn't strengthen dedication among the early Saints who were part of it.

It also might mean "create a unique people who are dedicated to God".

That would fit Joseph's idea of restored Israel - or the creation of a new Israel, if you will. If nothing else, the way polygamy created a communal, linked ancestry can lead people to see the LDS Church from about 1850-1950 as a unique people. I've seen non-Mormon historians make that observation in more than one publication.
Ray -- I think you can parse this a number of ways. If all it meant is to raise up a rigtheous generation, without any implications for population growth, then why have more than one wife? The fact that its about multiple wives to me clearly implies that its about scale, growth, and increased seed in the church -- on a rapid growth model. Your interpretations both seem a bit of a stretch to me. I don't mean that argumentatively, by the way.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 18 Dec 2013, 18:00, edited 1 time in total.
"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

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