Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

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LookingHard
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by LookingHard » 12 May 2016, 08:27

QuestionAbound wrote:...
1856 – Brigham Young says that his wives have not seen a happy day in years and he would rather his wives get along than to fight b/c if they fight, he will put them out
1861 – Abraham Lincoln signed law making polygamy illegal (BY marries 6 more wives after this).
1876 – D&C redone: 101 taken out, 132 added in
1890 – Manifesto where Wilford Woodruff says that public polygamy will stop b/c it’s illegal and they believe in obeying the law of the land.
Are you going to go into how polygamy was still being authorized by some of the top church leaders (sometimes in Canada, sometimes in Mexico where the law turned a blind eye)? Some leaders were excommunicating people for taking plural wives while others were approving. Then finally some teeth was put into it saying we will excommunicate anybody that practices it.

No mention of the pressures mounting on the church (the US Gov was convescating all the churches assets and about to take over the temples)?

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QuestionAbound
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by QuestionAbound » 12 May 2016, 09:06

Heber13
Or explain how not everything done in the past is right for us today, or how little we really know from the records. So...avoiding all that...it really started because Joseph was thinking about it, and it is in the bible and ancient cultures, from which our society has progressed and is no longer acceptable.
Yes!

ALL that really needs to be said is: Some people thought it was a good idea and practiced it. We don't practice it today and we don't teach it today. The end.
But, that won't cut it, so...

Looking Hard, this is what I've added this morning:

1856 – Brigham Young says that his wives have not seen a happy day in years and he would rather his wives get along than to fight b/c if they fight, he will put them out
1861 – Abraham Lincoln signed law making polygamy illegal (BY marries 6 more wives after this).
1866 – Brigham Young says that men can only become gods if they practice polygamy
1876 – D&C redone: 101 taken out, 132 added in
1890 – Manifesto where Wilford Woodruff says that public polygamy will stop b/c it’s illegal and they believe in obeying the law of the land.
Church still practices polygamy through sealings (offshoots in Mexico/Canada)
1904 – Joseph F. Smith says that the church will excommunicate people who practice polygamy
1958 – Bruce R. McComkie said that plural marriage would come back to the earth (not official spokesman)
1998- President Hinckley says about polygamy, “I condemn it, yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.”
2006 – Church PR dept had interview with LA Times:
Question: Is polygamy gone forever from the Church?
LDS PR: We only know what the Lord has revealed through His prophets, that plural marriage has been stopped in the Church. Anything else is speculative and unwarranted.

And that bolded part is I think where it should end. :clap: :thumbup:

Anything else is speculative, including Elder McConkie's remarks.

Minyan Man
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by Minyan Man » 12 May 2016, 11:18

QA, prepare for a lot of questions. Great timeline.

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mom3
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by mom3 » 12 May 2016, 12:05

Two additional thoughts - I realize this is a bombshell topic - at the same time - Congratulations. You have been handed an opportunity. You get to add to a conversation. That's an honor and a trust.

Yes it's only 10 minutes, but it opens doors. I encourage you to not feel obligated to fix this 200 year old problem in 10 minutes.

If it were mine, I would embrace it. I would look at it as teaching children to read. I can't hand them a book and let it rip. I teach them the alphabet, the sounds, what the letters and words look like. This is the introduction. I don't go into the stupid rules of affect vs. effect, or the silent "P" in psychology, or the "c" makes the hard, soft, or neutral sound. That's farther along.

Do we have a mess- yes. 10 minutes nor 10 hours is going to fix it.

I am thrilled your Bishop even wants to touch it. I learned about polygamy the hard way, and while I was learning about it for someone else, another group of uninformed members was trying to claim it never happened and wanted to fire a school teacher for the lies they felt she was teaching. By introducing it you may be saving a person you don't know.

It might also help to remember that polygamy doesn't upend everyone, even when they know the facts. I know many of us here do have opinions of discomfort, but I know people who have polygamy knowledge and don't get wound up by it.

Enjoy the honor. Honor the courageous women who practiced it. When we approach the tough topics with love we will help with the healing that needs to take place. I think you will be fantastic.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2016, 12:39

With only 10 minutes, I would skip the Biblical stuff entirely, lay out the modern-day timeline, and focus on the current situation - much like what Heber13 said.

I would tell the kids that I don't believe for a second that polygamy will be required in the next life, and I would end by quoting from the BOM verse in Jacob - stressing that it is clearly only as a rare exception that it is allowed but that monogamy is the Lord's default ideal.

I think that is an orthodox approach that also puts it in its place without opening a potential fight with other leaders. It also fits the timeline focus but gives you a chance to say it won't be required of anyone.
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On Own Now
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by On Own Now » 12 May 2016, 13:33

Just a few thoughts on the timeline.

I don't think BY found a revelation on polygamy in his drawer and thought, oh, now it all makes sense. It's probable that they did come across it, but it was well known. Finding it wasn't what made them publish it, rather the timing was finally right to announce publicly what everyone already knew.

Is 132 the revelation that JS shared with others? I kind of think either it's a fabrication to recreate the lost revelation or else it's a highly doctored version. That's my own bias and I don't have anything to point to except that it doesn't sound like JS and it doesn't sound like Nauvoo-era polygamy.

But there definitely was a revelation that JS shared with others. William Law, in the Nauvoo Expositor, said HS had shown him the revelation, and the Expositor, of course, was printed during JS's lifetime.

JS was a polygamist; that much is as certain as just about anything we know about him. Emma knew about it. That's also pretty certain.

Also, regarding Section 101 and the reworking of the D&C. That's often used to show that JS didn't practice polygamy and that BY was the originator of it and later revised history. But those claims are pretty poorly founded:
On Own Now wrote:On not including D&C 132 until the 1876 edition of the D&C - Early polygamy was officially a secret, but it was a poorly kept one. In the Nauvoo era, everyone in the country, in and out of the Church, seemed to know that JS was many wives. The Warsaw Signal and the Nauvoo Expositor were pretty clear about it. Even during the last few weeks of JS's life, the minutes of the Nauvoo City Council were published in the Church-owned Nauvoo Neighbor, including these words hinting at it from the Mayor (JS): "They make it a criminality for a man to have a wife on the earth while he has one in heaven, according to the keys of the Holy Priesthood." Soon after establishing the settlements of Utah, the Church announced the revelation on polygamy by reading it from the pulpit in conference in August of 1852 and it was published in the Deseret News a couple weeks later. It's true that it wasn't included in the D&C for almost 25 more years, but the 1876 edition was the first printing of the D&C in Utah, and the first new edition of the work since JS's death, so it's not like the Church sprang it on the people at that point. It's an oft-cited fact to say that D&C 132 wasn't included until the 1876 edition, but honestly, I don't know what the point of that factoid is as it pertains to polygamy.

The original section 101 that stated that monogamy was the law of the Church had a dubious beginning. It was inserted in the 1835 edition of the D&C by vote of the committee in charge of the publication, run by Oliver Cowdery and Sydney Rigdon, two staunch anti-polygamists. And the vote to include the statement was taken while JS was in the East. Furthermore, it's not a revelation at all, but a statement of policy. That's the history. My interpretation of it is that OC was trying to force the Church into an official position that wouldn't let JS continue the polygamy concept.
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Shawn
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by Shawn » 12 May 2016, 13:50

QuestionAbound wrote: 2:30-
  • (From the original 1830 edition)
    “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people: otherwise, they shall hearken unto these things.”
    Notice the colon after the word people?
    That gives verse 30 a distinct meaning.
    That punctuation was changed in 1849 by Orson Pratt and now reads:
    “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”
    The punctuation change give a whole new meaning to the verse.
I didn't know about this change. For the last year or so, I have strongly believed that Jacob 2:30 is interpreted completely wrong. I believe it's saying:
For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me (which is what I have been doing without polygamy since I led Lehi out of Jerusalem), I will command my people to be monogamous; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things (seeking to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon).

Roy
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by Roy » 12 May 2016, 14:05

Great timeline.

I believe that you will find yourself woefully short on time. I would hand out a copy of the modern timeline (beginning with JS) to the audience and then read the timeline from a projector at the front of the class. I would then wrap up with the statement from BoM that polygamy seems to be a temporary condition for specific circumstances only - and that monogamy appears to be the official order of heaven.

If anyone has further questions, I am sure they will seek you out.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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QuestionAbound
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by QuestionAbound » 12 May 2016, 19:57

Thanks to everyone for the support!!!

For those who feel that I should focus on the modern-day timeline, where and how do I begin?

And, what can I include? There is SO much...so much denial...so many marriages...

So much of what we "know" isn't concrete. Some of what we have is second or third-hand information, so I can't talk about it like it's fact.

I am not 100% sure that JS practiced polygamy.
Ugh.

Minyan Man
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Re: Giving a presentation on polygamy...help?

Post by Minyan Man » 12 May 2016, 21:42

There is a book that I understand that the GA's use when people ask questions about polygamy.
It is titled: In Sacred Loneliness The plural Wives of Joseph Smith by: Todd Compton.
I haven't read it yet. It looks like it contains everything you would want to know.

For your presentation, you need to consider your audience & keep it on their level.
Too much detail & it will get you into the minefield I was talking about earlier.

Good Luck

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