Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

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Heber13
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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Heber13 » 30 Oct 2014, 10:09

Shawn wrote:...but it would be worse for me to stick to the notion that "God commanded it, and that's that."
:clap: Well said! That would be worse. Sometimes learning stuff and opening up to new ideas is painful, even if necessary.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

afterall
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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by afterall » 30 Oct 2014, 10:32

DarkJedi wrote: I completely agree with you Mac, and feel the same way. However, the vast majority of church members don't view it this way at all, leaving us to deal with them. That generally means biting our tongues in meetings and conversations while essentially being forced to listen to that which goes against our own beliefs.
I sit in church some days and wonder just how many of us are biting our tongues?

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Oct 2014, 10:59

That's why I seldom bite mine - even though I almost never share my full view of some things.
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

afterall
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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by afterall » 30 Oct 2014, 12:23

Ann, thanks for posting this. That was painful to me to read, but very valuable.

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Willhewonder
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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Willhewonder » 09 Aug 2016, 19:52

As a newbie to the forum, I am impressed by the amount of anguish and pain accompanying threads and discussions of polygamy. I am staggered by the depth and breadth of feeling. I think there are two reasons for my ignorance of this. First, as a man, I believe I have a "privileged class" bias. I am just getting used to the term itself, but I believe it fits this situation. Polygamy just doesn't hit me like it must a woman, although the idea of polyandry and the husband upgrade program grates on me.

Secondly, I grew up in an environment where polygamy was taken for granted, even though it was accepted that due to the Manifesto, the family's participation in the fullness of the "New and Everlasting Covenant" was temporarily suspended. All four of my grandparents grew up in polygamous homes. As I grew up, we were constantly with grandparents, great aunts and great uncles, uncles and aunts and cousins of all sorts and ranks (1st cousins, 2nd cousins, and many of them removed multiple times). It was a while before I began to realize that there are aunts and Aunts and why I had so many of both. They were always talking about things that happened in polygamist homes and situations that arose in such an upbringing. Not that I paid a lot of attention and took notes, it was simply in the background.

I'd like to make a few comments and share a couple things, but I don't want to tread heavily on tender hearts. Perhaps I shouldn't say anything at all. Still, I may have something to contribute. Please forgive me if I offend, I have no intention of proselytizing any particular position in spite of my innate bias and family background.

For me personally, even though I grew up in the midst of TBMness (remember that story about slipping out in the middle of family prayer for another inning of baseball and then coming back to find they had only got down to blessing the Lost 10 Tribes? - that was us), I have always considered polygamy to be less about me and more about my wife. And maybe because of something my mother said about it as I grew up. Her mother, I think had some negative things to say about her experiences in a polygamist home. I think Ray was right when he said that a lot of members just decided not to live the law and ignored it. I guess that would be me too, let the chips fall where they may. There would be/ will be no polygamy for me except at the insistence of DW. And I don't mean faint protestations. DW would have to threaten to leave me and be serious about it before I would consider it and then only her choices for other wives. Then there would have to be negotiations and contracts and understandings on everyone's part, and enthusiasm too and no tears or back to square one. Knowing DW, this is not going to ever happen, much to my personal relief. Besides, now that I'm ill, it's a moot point.

There is actually such a precedent in my father's family. My great great grandfather declined to live the law, but his son, my great grandfather did. He was actually encouraged by his first wife to marry her cousin. They were headed for a lonely frontier community and her cousin was her best friend. (!) Later in his life, he married a third wife while she was still in high school! I gather the third wife was all for it, as long as she could go to school dances and other youth activities! She had her own house, and my great grandfather was locked out of his older house when it was his turn to be with the younger wife. Apparently, there were pretty good feelings between the families. The younger wife had a standing open breakfast for all my great grandfather's children at her house.

I heard corroborating testimony about it from a witness in a most unexpected place. Upon moving to my present location in the frozen wastelands of the north, our memberships were read into our new ward. When we sat down, the lady in front of me turned around and said she knew my great grandfather. After the meeting she told me about him. It turns out she was married to the stake patriarch. She was from the community my great grandfather had moved to. She and her school girl friends knew his third wife and giggled about how young she was and marrying such an older man. I swear the patriarch's wife giggled as she told me! That must have been 35 - 40 years ago.

What does God think about all this? Was polygamy ever instituted by Him? Personally, I think it may have been. I don't know for sure. Was it implemented according to His wishes? I believe not. Were people ever comfortable about it in this dispensation? I don't think so, despite my family background. Do I think He would ever expect us to live it again? Not in this life and not in any way we would be uncomfortable with it in the Hereafter. Do I think we will feel we have been penalized in the Hereafter for not living it? I very much doubt it.

Anyhow, I am so sorry for all the heartache I hear on the forum about this. I like what Ray said about ignoring the supposed rule, and figuring that God will work it out with us to our satisfaction. I have felt overwhelming love from Him in the midst of my sins, and inadequacies and despite what I said about a privileged bias on this subject, can't believe he loves me anymore than anyone else.

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Heber13 » 10 Aug 2016, 09:36

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Willhewonder. I appreciated your honesty and respectful tone. It is good to hear many voices and experiences.
Willhewonder wrote: I think Ray was right when he said that a lot of members just decided not to live the law and ignored it. I guess that would be me too, let the chips fall where they may.
I think for me there was a progression of thought I went through in my life:
1- Didn't know anything about it despite growing up in the church
2- Shocked to hear about it and that it wasn't anti-mormon lies
3- Tried to look for apologetic answers on how it was preached and how that aligns to gospel principles
4- Nope...seeing the impact it has to my daughters and their self-image...completely rejecting it as a mistake in our past, and never was from God.

The only way I could see it having any eternal acceptance is if it was equally practiced as polyandry, husbands also having to share wives with other men. If that equal ground cannot be taught as part of it, then it cannot make any sense to me, whether men or women in the past were good people and tried to live it and accept it happily. People did lots of things in the past and tried to be good people doing it...but it doesn't change whether it is right or wrong.

I will just never forget my daughter coming home from church in tears, saying they studied the D&C in class and that priest age boys were telling her that if she wanted a temple marriage, she would have to accept that we would practice polygamy in heaven, so she just needs to be ready to share her husband. Nope. Not even "let the chips fall where they may" on that one...my daughter need an emphatic NO from her dad that God would never require that from her. Ever. It is too damaging to her self-image of the very core of who she is as a being and her purpose on earth and the next life.
Willhewonder wrote:What does God think about all this? Was polygamy ever instituted by Him? Personally, I think it may have been. I don't know for sure.
I don't think any of us know this for sure. But...to speculate on this...how could polygamy come from God unless God treats his sons different than his daughters?

It seems to go down that path when I think of this topic. Then I think of Heavenly Mother. Then I think about what the church is teaching about differences between men and women...
...then I come to the conclusion I reject some things the church teaches. I just do. I feel better about myself to believe mormons should own our mistakes of the past, not ignore them and not try to explain them. Just own it, and try to move forward realizing some prophets tell us to do things that aren't right...like investing in the Kirtland bank, or withholding priesthood and temple ordinances based on race, or telling men and women polygamy is ok. They get it wrong. God doesn't stop them. Perhaps later it gets fixed. But it is better to just say we got it wrong than keep perpetuating apologetic theories to justify the man who came up with something wrong, instead of just accepting they are wrong sometimes.

I hope you don't feel I'm attacking you or that I think you are pro-polygamy or explaining it away or anything...I'm just trying to have the discussion too...and share how I have viewed this. And as I reveal these thoughts on it...I find often how even trying to be understanding to my wife and daughters...I still can never see it like they do on how this teaching is so painful. I tread lightly. As a man, I have a limited voice on this issue. But I hope I don't offend you...I'm simply sharing thoughts. But I more importantly don't want to offend any other woman.

Polygamy wasn't a cause for me changing my views of god and church. But it rose to the top of my list as I looked into it. It confirmed many things for me. I guess I could use Elder Holland's analogy of an answer to a prayer being to go down the wrong road as one teaching method to know for sure what the wrong road is without ever wondering again. That's polygamy. The wrong road. For sure. We were allowed to go down it. Now let's not own it and know there is a better way for the eternities. It introduces to me new thoughts...such as prophets are sometimes allowed to go down wrong roads. Then I think of new issues, like SSM, and then...ya...it impacts how I view prophets and how I believe God wants me to search for truth by not rejecting all things from church leaders, but not worshipping them either.

It's either that or else prophets just teach random stuff and it's all a crapshoot, god isn't involved in any of it and we figure it out as we go. Or worse, the devil leads prophets astray and the church is in apostasy.

All in all...polygamy doesn't impact me and I don't have to live it. It's in the past. But my thoughts behind it are still important as I view my wife and daughters and all women. Those thoughts are in the present.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Ann » 11 Aug 2016, 01:08

willhewonder, I enjoyed reading your stories. I really do understand that polygamy was just part of a multi-faceted life for many good people and that the church is full of their descendants. They were real people and they can't be painted with too broad a brush, but I think there needs to be a dividing line between past polygamy and today's women and girls, and that's where the essays failed miserably. In an attempt to get more information out there and humanize the practitioners of polygamy, we threw today's women under the bus. Women and girls are still told, explicitly and implicitly, that polygamy is fine with God in this life, that whenever he chooses, he could command it, and that faithful, selfless women would do this. It's just a terrible message to send in this day and age. I think we're keeping company with the wrong people in this world when we uphold it as a godly arrangement. I wish our leaders - who are charged with leading the whole church of men and women, would listen to the distress this causes. I truly do appreciate that you read the OP and decided to comment, because it gets us talking. I don't mean disrespect to anyone in your family. I'm sure your wife likes knowing where you stand on this, but so many other women in the church have lived long lives on shaky marital ground.

I just read elsewhere a quote from Patrick Mason's FAIR Mormon talk this last weekend. It's an overall glass-half-empty sentiment, but I do think it can be applied to our current paralyzed posture towards polygamy in the LDS church.
“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless.”

― Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism
LDS women who hate polygamy have no legitimate place to be in the church. You keep quiet, you ignore, you stew, you shelve. There's only one accepted narrative, and there's not much compassion for women in it. But...I was in Provo a couple months ago and found t-shirts for sale in a small new/used, independent LDS bookstore. So maybe things are changing and there is a small pack of girls running around Provo wearing those "TEAM EMMA" shirts.
"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

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by dande48 » 11 Aug 2016, 04:13

Willhewonder wrote: What does God think about all this? Was polygamy ever instituted by Him? Personally, I think it may have been. I don't know for sure. Was it implemented according to His wishes? I believe not.
I fully believe, that God could've instituted polygammy, and that when practiced right the whole thing could've been an uplifting affair. It's only been in the past couple centuries that folks began to marry solely out of mutual feelings of romantic love, and not because of socio-economic considerations.

BUT it was insituted in a way that was very cruel to women, and to most men. I still can't quite figure out Joseph Smith, with a lot of his personal history being clouded, but I am NOT a fan of Brigham Young. I wish the Church would publish a factual essay on him. There is no reason why I single man, at the head of the church, should become the wealthiest in the west (because of his calling), and take on 50+ wives. Plus, a great deal of what he said, including over the pulpit at General Conference, is explicitly contradictory of our modern teachings.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by Mrs. SuperChicken » 11 Aug 2016, 04:46

So maybe things are changing and there is a small pack of girls running around Provo wearing those "TEAM EMMA" shirts.
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: Not angry, just done - fMh polygamy post

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Aug 2016, 07:24

I'd wear a Team Emma shirt.
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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