Polygamy

May 10, 2006 | 224 comments
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A comment from my introduction: #2 I hope you feel inspired to blog on your unique perspective on polygamy. That would be fascinating, I think.

Since the man and the woman need each other to live where Father lives, if I prove worthy to live there, I will need a man. I suspect that man will already have a woman. I would hope the woman would be willing to share her man so I can be there.

Orson Scott Card’s character Dinah Kirkham Smith in Woman of Destiny/Saints predicted, “In twenty years, a generation of daughters will have grown up knowing that in God’s Kingdom no man is owned, nor any woman. They will enter into marriage, not caring who was first and who was second, not competing among the wives for mastery, but rather being sisters and upholding each other.�

I desire to be married. I haven’t had the opportunity to marry. I could accept not “owning” a husband but sharing him with another when the goal is building up the kingdom and living in righteousness. Since I’ve never been married perhaps I’m unrealistic.

224 Responses to Polygamy

  1. Julie M. Smith on May 10, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    I think the way out of your conundrum is this sentence:

    “I suspect that man will already have a woman.”

    I don’t know that this will be true:

    (a) For the last 25 years, male converts in Africa have outpaced female converts something like 2:1.
    (b) Generally, more baby boys are born than baby girls.
    (c) When it comes to gender-differentiated death, a male who dies in battle is more likely to be single than a woman who dies in childbirth.
    (d) My husband reminded me recently that we don’t know how the gender issues break down on other planets (!).

    The problem *I* would have with polygamy is that it requires me to be singlemindedly devoted to my husband (spiritually, mentally, physically) without him doing the same.

  2. D. Fletcher on May 10, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve asked some of my non-member woman friends about polygamy, and there seemed to be some agreement: they would rather share a “quality” husband, than be stuck with a single husband of no quality (i.e., was unfaithful to them).

    The sharing thing does seem to be more endemic to women and their values, than to men.

    Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the final word — I asked 3 people.

  3. Mike on May 10, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    I personally think Joseph Smith had a lot of really great ideas, revelations, etc.

    I do not think polygamy or plural marriage was one of them. I do not think it was from God.

    I have ranted about polygamy here before. For me the most outrageous aspect of it is that after 170 years we are still dealing with it. The number of polygamists in our apostate offspring groups is doubling almost every decade. Too much of that growth is due to recruitment straight from the manistream LDS church, or the looney bins of ultra-orthodox Mormonism.

    The LDS church currently teaches what seems to me to be a doctrine conducive to this conversion. That it was the will of God between about 1831? (that date keeps getting pushed back) until 1890, with a bunch of exceptions (post-manifesto polygamy). But now it is not the will of God. But maybe in the future, either in this life or the next it might become the will of God. This sets people up for a “spiritual experience of a fundy kind” that leads right into unlawful cohabitation. Subconscious reproductive drives can not be ignored either.

    Whether completely accurate in the eternal scheme of things or not, I wish the LDS church would come out and say: polygamy was, is and always will be wrong. Period. Dragging the reputation of Joseph Smith through the mud (how could it get any worse on this topic?) is worth saving thousands of people living today from its clutches. Anything to shut off the growing stream of conversions.

    Inspite of HBO shows that depict otherwise, my experience (which are limited) and my research on the subject is that polygamy as practiced in North America by most of those in the so called fundamentalist Mormon movement is one of the most vicious evils in our society today, for those trapped in it. Apparently the FBI agrees; with the inclusion of one of their more independent and powerful “prophets”, Warren Jeffs, on the 10 most wanted lists recently.

    The mainstream church has tried ignoring this problem for over 50 years. That has not worked! It is past time for another approach. What can the LDS church do to better assist in the elimination of this problem? We stand to gain the most from it.

  4. MikeInWeHo on May 10, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Tonight at 10pm ET on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 will present an in-depth look at polygamy. I believe he’s broadcasting out of SLC.

    Details:
    http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/

    Question re: this post. Does the Church teach that a woman needs a man “to live where the Father lives” ?? Isn’t Celestial Marriage only required for the highest level of glory in the CK? I was always under the impression that there will be some who are not at the highest level but still get to live in the presence of the Father.

  5. MaryW on May 10, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I had similar feelings about polygamy when I was single. I thought I could share, especially if the first wife or wives were women I had grown to love and support. I always enjoyed the sisterhood in Relief Society and could envision a group of like-minded women supporting, sustaining, and generally caring for a great man. Now I’ve been married 15 years, some good and some downright unhappy. I might have enjoyed someone to share the burden, but now I wonder, if my unhappy marriage had involved more than just me and a husband – my sister-wives – how awful would that be? I have found marriage to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done . . . and that includes my recent experiences with breast cancer. Intellectually, I can understand the reasoning that has sometimes been given for polygamy, but I still have many, many questions. If it is just all about obedience – why something so guaranteed to make those who obey seem like loonies? If all about sacrifice – wasn’t losing homes, having families murdered, and walking barefoot across the Great Plains a great enough sacrifice? If about raising up righteous posterity – - well, the results speak for themselves. It happened naturally enough. So, now I think “Thank goodness I am not called to live that “principle”!” Perhaps those who did live it and defended it really has strong spiritual manifestations that it was a holy way to live. I have not had the experience and so I still wonder and feel lucky to be in this generation

  6. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Brainstorming further along here, from my armchair: Isn’t it true, if I understand things right, that in the most traditional cultures there was more often than not a large difference in age between spouses? So that wives would often be left as widows? And also that divorce was not too uncommon?

    Thus women individually might tend to be married for a greater portion of their lives than men and to end up having had a greater number of serial partners than would have the monogamous men — so in these cultures at any one moment of time, younger women would tend to be married whereas younger men would tend to be single; however when these men matured, were they to amass some means they would then tend more and more to be married — with those having great means tending of course to be polygamous? Yet, to complicate the picture even more, traditionally weren’t there are also women who were in bondage and who would act as wives although they could be bought and sold and wasn’t there also often a courtesan class as well, who by definition were not married to their single or multiple patrons?

    Sorry to interupt though! lol. Please proceed along other lines of brainstoming now which would provide a greater amount of precipitation to nurture your intellectual question at hand.

  7. Kevin Barney on May 10, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    Given your personal circumstances, I suspected something like that might be your perspective on polygamy.

    I had an experience within the last few years that made me think about polygamy in a new light (from a strictly temporal point of view).

    I was the home teacher to a family where the husband and father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only 30 years old. He left behind him a widow and three children, including a toddler and a brand new baby. It was all a horrendouse ordeal.

    Luckily, this woman was able to get Social Security benefits, so she had a basic source of income to provide for her and her children. She still needed a lot of help, most of which came from an entire army of RS sisters and from me. But the key to her continued financial independence was the SS benefits (there was no life insurance to speak of).

    I remember wondering what would have happened to this family if they lived in the 19th century or in some other part of the world without such generous benefits. Her mother lived on the other side of the world and had no money to support her. What would she have done? The Church could have supported her temporarily out of welfare funds, but it likely wouldn’t step up to supporting her for the rest of her life. She didn’t have any job skills, and the income from any job she got would have been absorbed by child care costs anyway.

    I remember thinking that in a desperate situation like that, polygamy at one time might have been a useful means of providing for the temporal salvation of this little family.

  8. Blake on May 10, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    Mike: Other than just your opinion, what is the basis of your assertion that polygamy is just always wrong? Would you say the same thing of an Arab who had three wives? Would you say the same thing if there were only one man on earth and three women?

    I would really like to hear your ethical or moral theory that supports this judgment. As for me, I see nothing wrong with polygamy per se. That isn’t to say that it would be easy to live polygamy — quite the contary. I suspect, however, that your view about polygamy is just a deep-felt prejudice imbibed from your culture that doesn’t have any sound basis.

  9. roland on May 10, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    What I find really interesting is after all of these many years both the FBI and Utah AG are now chasing after the FLDS as a major criminal organization with a whole plethora of very serious charges.

    What were things like back in 1888?

  10. LD on May 10, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    Carol, I have a lot of compassion for your situation. I have enormous respect for faithful single women in this church. I can understand why polygamy might give some single sisters some comfort.

    “I would hope the woman would be willing to share her man so I can be there.”

    However, I have to say that the above sentiment creeps me out. If the afterlife is anything like this life, I don’t see how it could work. Maybe there are people who wouldn’t mind it, but I believe true marital intimacy is impossible when there is a third party. I find it repulsive that any single LDS women would even entertain the thought that MY husband could be available, even in the afterlife or if I were to die. He is mine and I am his, end of story.

  11. Starfoxy on May 10, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    I can accept polygamy as a strictly temporal practice. We live in a world where (for most of history, and in most nations) if a woman is going to have her material needs met it will be because a man is providing for her. Women have traditionally been barred from providing for themselves, so in the case of caring for widows and otherwise unmarried women polygamy makes a lot of sense.
    The thing that makes it tricky for me, is why does it need to be an eternal principle? And if in the eternities men and women are complete equals why must it still only be one man to many women. One woman to many men doesn’t make sense on earth because we aren’t really equals on earth. If men hold no more power than women do, why not one woman to many men? As long as everyone gets sealed to someone what would be the problem with it?
    The most telling item to me is the fact that of all the opinions I’ve heard on the matter, men are invariably more likely to be accepting of polygamy than women.

  12. queuno on May 10, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Sorry, Mike, but the thought of Anderson Cooper presenting an “in-depth” look at anything is funny to me. My impression of Anderson Cooper’s sense of depth is that he’d drown in a puddle.

  13. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Blake,

    Let’s open the conversation up instead of simply coming down on Mike. From my reading of him, he would ground the ethics of his anti-polygamist stance in what he sees as the real-life, negative effects of its current (and one supposes that, by extension for him, past practice) among fundamentalist Mormons. He hasn’t said specifically but those evils would probably run through the litany of: disattention to individual wives’ needs under color of authority, the foreclosure of career and educational possibilities for women subordinated to husband and family in an extreme way, the lowering of the age of consent until consent drops out, abuse of the welfare system, child rape, abduction, unlawful imprisonment, all the major (ab)uses of polygamy on record among the Kingstons and others. But, even if Mike isn’t basing his anti-polygamist ethics on the severity of secondary and accompanying evils, it’s a cheapshot to call his stance the result of simple prejudice or insufficiently founded because it follows a set of social norms. I don’t think some would feel themselves called to consider and understand polygamy in the open and somewhat sympathetic ways they do if they didn’t form a part of a social and religious body with a polygamous past. Regardless, I’d like to prove my point by asking what might be the non-revealed, non-theological ethics of an opposition to polyandry for those here.

  14. samdb on May 10, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Aletheia,
    The problem with your litany of real-life negative effects of the practice of polygamy is two-fold. First, any and all of those complaints can be made of monogomous relationships. Generally, I would hope that none applies, but individually, each has. Second, because polygamy has, in the U.S., consistently been illegal and persecuted, it is hard to say what a legalized, normalized polygamous relationship would look like. Even still, as I understand it, in certain situations among early Mormons, polygamy allowed wives to receive more educational and career possibilities than they otherwise would have had.

    I don’t like polygamy, but I admit that my distaste comes from a yuck factor, looking at the current abuses (which, because it is an illegal and semi-underground movement, may not be a good yardstick), and because I love my relationship with my wife is one that I can’t imagine sharing. I believe that polygamy was God’s revealed will between 1831 and 1890 (or 1904; I don’t really care about a 14-year difference), and similarly believe that it is not His will right now. At the same time, I agree that I’d like to hear a non-revealed, non-theological theoretical opposition to polyandry or polygamy.

  15. samdb on May 10, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    Sorry–strike “my love” in the last paragraph.

  16. Bookslinger on May 10, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    There are an estimated 8 to 25 million more men than women in China, and will be as many as 40 million due mainly to baby girls being killed/aborted because of China’s “one child” policy.

    Ladies, pray that China opens up quickly to missionary work, and learn Mandarin.

    Or, move to Ghana (and learn Fante or Twi), or Nigeria (and learn Igbo or Yoruba) where men are already joining the church twice as fast as women (see above).

    ———–

    P.S. There are 3 degrees of glory in the Celestial Kingdom, and to enter into the highest, one must be married and sealed in the temple, and have their marriage sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

    P.P.S. Kaimi, thanks for the sidebar link.

  17. Sideshow on May 10, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    Carol,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective! I too was interested in hearing it. While I think it’s probably a good idea not to declare a personal verdict on polygamy either way because we don’t know exactly what its (eternal) role is, I personally would not like to practice polygamy because I only want one wife (my current one) for much the same reason as Julie: I would have a hard time being singlemindedly devoted to more than one person.

    Julie’s point (#1) is very good: don’t assume polygamy is your only option. There are many (wonderful) men who die single. General Authorities reassure single women who worry about not being married that it won’t be an obstacle after mortality, and I don’t think the implication is only “polygamy will be practiced in the afterlife and you’ll be part of it”.

    Also, don’t necessarily give up now — until you’re dead, you don’t need to count on finding a man who is.

  18. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Re traditional culture’s practice of a quasi-”polyandry”:

    Courtesanship* |[*(which, despite this word's contemporary meaning, historically in individual cases may or may not have entailed the woman's engaging in sexand)]| or else the biblical “fertility priestess -ism” /harlotry were, in extraordinary cases, a way for beautiful, strong-willed, well-spoken and clever women to achieve social prominence — often despite a status wherein marriage to men of the prestigious class might have been denied to them. For example, Pericles’s courtesan was Aspasia (who, by Athenisn mores/ religious practice could not have been ethnically Athenian) and David’s was Bathesheba (who was Canaanite). And, in the latter case, Bathsheba was able to influence David to name threir son Solomon his heir. Also it did not in any way seem to Moses to reflect negatively upon them at all for both Sarah and Rebekah to have been depicted as their having as their having fulfilled in some manner the more specifically courtly duty courtesans (which some readers, however, may choose to read between the lines about) — let alone the case of the tribute and honor paid Solomon by the Queen of Sheba as well. And even today, comely women, in an alternate way than that of marriage — and this regardless of whether the woman remains completely chaste or not — might gain social status for herself, not by her entertaining at court, but by becoming singers/ actresses/ famous models.

  19. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    The reason I use “clever” to describe the wiles of such women as the above is this — E.g., couldn’t Bathsheba have found a more secluded place to bathe?

  20. smb on May 10, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    it’s interesting to me to read Joseph Smith’s statements about who he looked forward to seeing in the afterlife. This is not an exhaustive sample, but I think it’s a reasonably representative one, all drawn from Faulring’s compilation of An American Prophet’s Record.

    Closing an admonitory letter to William, he pleaded that God grant them “a crown to enjoy the society of Father, Mother, Alvin, Hyrum, Sophrona, Samuel, Catharine, Carloss, Lucy, the Saints and all the sanctified in peace forever.� (Faulring 90). (they were both married at the time: no mention of wives)

    “More painful to me [are] the thoughts of anhilitation [annihilation] than death. If I had no expectation of seeing my mother, brother[s], and Sisters and friends again my heart would burst in a moment and I should go down to my grave.� (Faulring 146)

    From the Lorenzo Barnes eulogy: “I actually saw men before they had ascended from the tomb as though they were getting up slowly, they take each other by the hand. It was my father and my son, my Mother and my daughter, my brother and my sister. When the voice calls suppose I am laid by the side of my father. What would be the first joy of my heart? Where is my father, my mother, my sister. They are by my side. I embrace them and they me.” (Faulring 366).

    I’m not disputing that marriage/family life are at the core of Joseph Smith’s vision of the highest heaven. I firmly believe that it is. What struck me is the extent to which our current ideas about romance didn’t seem to play a role in these public pronouncements. There are many possible explanations, from the discord related to Emma’s rejection of polygamy to the Victorian cult of chaste womanhood to an emphasis on broader family ties than just the marital couple. It seems to me that polygamy requires the de-emphasis of those intimate marital ties, making spouses much more “fellow travelers” in the Zion society than romantic life partners. As I am married to the perfect woman, I have an abiding antipathy for polygamy on those grounds. I want my wife to continue to be my wife, not my reproductive assistant or co-yoked Saint. As I recall, much of the early pro-polygamy rhetoric was explicit about this problem, demystifying romantic attachments in the interest of building a polygamous kingdom.

    PS, no one has mentioned Eugene England’s essay yet, which I still think is a must-read on this topic. Eugene England, “On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Winter 1987), vol. 20, no. 4.

  21. Lynnette on May 10, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    Like Mike (#3), I’d be thrilled to see the practice simply repudiated. Our current attempts to distance ourselves from it don’t hold up very well when we’re still living with the possibility that it might re-appear, if not in this life then in the next. Not to mention that by allowing men to be sealed to another wife if the first one dies, we’re still in some sense continuing the practice. It strikes me as a bit disingenuous to talk about polygamy as if it’s only something those fundamentalist Mormons are doing, and has no connection at all to the LDS church.

    My concern with polygamy is similar to that which Julie (#1) articulated: there’s an inherent lack of reciprocity to it, in that a woman is expected to be uniquely committed to her husband in a way that’s he not expected to be committed to her.

    And speaking as a single woman, I have to say that I think I’d actually prefer to remain eternally single if my only other choice were a polygamous relationship. But I’m holding out hope that those won’t be the only available options.

  22. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    Period. Dragging the reputation of Joseph Smith through the mud (how could it get any worse on this topic?) is worth saving thousands of people living today from its clutches. Anything to shut off the growing stream of conversions.

    Or maybe it’s a test of faith. Maybe we don’t know better than God.

    Inspite of HBO shows that depict otherwise, my experience (which are limited) and my research on the subject is that polygamy as practiced in North America by most of those in the so called fundamentalist Mormon movement is one of the most vicious evils in our society today, for those trapped in it.

    As I understand it, how polygamy is practiced by these fundamentalist groups is fundamentally different than it was in our Church. Not that there weren’t problems, but not anywhere near the abuse, control, etc. that is happening today.

    Whether completely accurate in the eternal scheme of things or not, I wish the LDS church would come out and say: polygamy was, is and always will be wrong.

    I don’t think our leaders think it was wrong then, so, we can’t really ask them to lie. And if something like polygamy was wrong (which was a big deal), then who is to say other aspects of his revelations weren’t wrong, too? I don’t see how this would somehow elevate Joseph Smith’s position. In the end, I think we just have to accept JS as a prophet, including this revelation, and trust that we will understand this better someday.

    Perhaps those who did live it and defended it really has strong spiritual manifestations that it was a holy way to live.

    I believe this is absolutely true. And I don’t think any of us can really understand that because 1) we aren’t asked to live and experience it and, thus, 2) it would be extremely difficult and highly unlikely that we would be able to understand it — either how it was (what we know of polygamy today is not what it was back then because what we see today is not commanded or guided by God) or even exactly why it was instituted.

  23. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    My concern with polygamy is similar to that which Julie (#1) articulated: there’s an inherent lack of reciprocity to it, in that a woman is expected to be uniquely committed to her husband in a way that’s he not expected to be committed to her.

    The concept of reciprocity gets sticky in our doctrine on various points, and I think it sells us short. Where does trust in God and His principles come into play here? Is it not possible to conceive that something God ordains may not make sense to our mortal brains but is still right, good and purposeful in God’s view?

  24. Mark IV on May 10, 2006 at 8:21 pm

    My concern is that if this is an eternal practice, it means that many more women than men are righteous.

    Assuming that is true (women are inherently better), wouldn’t men be judged more leniently? After all, we assume God takes our capacity into account.

  25. Starfoxy on May 10, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    Mark IV, as I understand it, the traditional idea was that women were less capable, and that is why there would be more women exalted than men. In other words, the idea that there will be more women than men in CK starts from the assumption that women are judged more leniently than men are. I’ll dig up the paper I read that quotes Brigham Young saying so.

  26. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Mulling,

    I can follow you as far as to say that, perhaps, polygamy as practiced by Mormons before it became the domain of splinter groups dedicated to the Principle may have been less egregious in its abuses. I think the practice is structurally imbalanced, tending towards being inherently unequal for women but I think that the severity of its abuses has a lot to do with the insularity and unaccountability of its contemporary practitioners.

    That said, How might the experience of polygamy be unfathomable to us today? Don’t we have historical documents that would allow us to examine the differences between polygamy then and polygamy now (although maybe not from all the voices we’d like to hear from)? Can’t we approximate our lives to theirs through identification? I admit it’s not perfect. We won’t gain the understanding they had in some sense because we are not them. But, then again, we’d never have their understanding even if we continuing practicing polygamy just because of the change in times. Polygamy seems to me understandable and to claim it isn’t is to engage in some serious mystification.

    Finally, if you don’t mind me asking, for whom is polygamy – historical or not – a test of faith? It’s unseemly to assume that those now living it, the women living it in its worst forms, are having their faith tested. God, as least as I ken him from scripture, doesn’t go about placing tests of this kind on his faithful. Abraham had the substitute sacrifice revealed to him forthwith (and saved Isaac besides); Even then, the underlying principle of the temptation was consistent and accessible to Abraham all along.

    P.S. Queuno (#12) is right. Anderson Cooper isn’t a deep-digging journalist. HBO and the other purveyors of occasional exposes on polygamy are more sensationalist, scabrous and willing to tap into anti-Mormon feeling than searchers for truth.

  27. Starfoxy on May 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    I was off, it wasn’t Brigham Young, it was George Q. Cannon. The paper (or whatever it is) was “The Redemption of Eve” by Jolene Edmunds Rockwood.
    It says “He postulated that many more women than men would be admitted to the celestial kingdom because women ‘are not held accountable to the same extent as men are.’ They are cursed with ‘yearning after the other sex,’ while men are ‘strong’ and will be held ‘responsible for the use of the influence [they] exercise… over [women].’ He felt that polygamy would help relieve women of their ‘jealousy’ and thus make them able to overcome Eve’s curse.”

  28. Lynnette on May 10, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Is it not possible to conceive that something God ordains may not make sense to our mortal brains but is still right, good and purposeful in God’s view?

    Sure, that’s a possibility. But it seems that either side can play the trump card that “God might opt to do x for reasons which elude our current understanding.” So I see a conversation like this as being more about the extent to which we see such a practice fitting in (or not fitting in) with whatever admittedly limited understanding of God that we do have. And I personally find it very difficult to reconcile the practice of polygamy with my firm conviction that God isn’t sexist.

    Mark (#21), that’s a fabulous question.

  29. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Reading over the above comments I’m particularly struck how a religious paradigm (and also its “canon”) functions as an odering of a culture’s symbols whereby adherents creatively read into it what they may (as a diviner does into tea leaves) . . . !

  30. Ryan on May 10, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    For those of you who are anti-polygamy, why is Joseph Smith the only prophet condemned here? What about all the other prophets throughout the years who practiced? Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Elkenah, Jospeh Smith, Brigham Young…

    How many prophets were wrong?

  31. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Finally, if you don’t mind me asking, for whom is polygamy – historical or not – a test of faith?

    It was probably a test of faith then, and it is surely a test of faith for those of us looking backward. Do we have faith in JS, even though we don’t understand everything he revealed?

  32. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    And many of them were slave holders too (I say with not sarcastic but merely ironic tone).

  33. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Do we have faith in JS

    That should have said something like “have faith in the fact that JS was a prophet”….

  34. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    And I personally find it very difficult to reconcile the practice of polygamy with my firm conviction that God isn’t sexist.

    OK, I understand what you are saying. But I don’t think we can discredit or ignore polygamy, thus we have to figure out how it could fit into our understanding of God. That means that our understanding of polygamy must be off, because I don’t believe God is sexist either. Thus, by my deduction, neither is polygamy as God ordained it. What becomes problematic is when we find something we don’t like and so we just dismiss it, instead of trying to understand it within the paradigm and structures we have.

  35. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    Ryan,

    Joseph Smith is the prophet under discussion because his was the most recent dispensation allowing polygamy. No one is picking on Smith or Brigham Young. It’s just the context of the board. [Besides, who has done any condemning?]

    I don’t know of any Jacobite or Davidic polygamists. As an exercise in comparative religion – since Old Testament prophets and polygamists were brought up – that would be of interest would be to find out what the Talmudic stance on polygamy is. Presumably there has been some kind of abrogation or transformation in understanding that might be a nice parallel for the post-1890 shift in Mormon thought. I’ll ask an Orthodox rabbi I know to see if he can provide any insight.

    And, Kimball, reading the tea leaves…I actually do a variation on Bible divination of the down-home Protestant type. I open up my browser to a random web address, read the 1st sentence have 5 lines down and plug the message into the interpretive scheme of a pre-formulated question.

  36. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Put another way…. I think one way to understanding things like polygamy (or patriarchy as directed by God (not as misapplied by worldly men), or priesthood) is exactly how you have started, Lynnette (25). So, we start with something like:

    - I know God is a loving, impartial God.
    - I know God loves all of His children.
    - Therefore, God could not be sexist.

    - Polygamy (or patriarchy, or priesthood) is from God.
    - Therefore, polygamy (or patriarchy, or priesthood) cannot be sexist.

    So, we have a different paradigm than might be typical if we are using our mortal perspective alone. In order to understand these types of things, we have to think beyond mortal philosophies and viewpoints and seek to understand things as God sees them. The only way to do that is through the Spirit. And with faith as the foundation, not frustration.

  37. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    Well, Aletheia, you’ve no doubt heard that the talmud actually commands polygamy in the case of a widowed woman’s being ritually placed under the same roof as her deceased husband’s surviving brother in the presence of the Jewish community (ritually married) — although I believe the practice is for them to decline to actually physically consumate this union, if what I have seemed to have read is correct? But your rabbi friend will know better, of course — !

    From what I’ve read of our forebear polygs, their practice probably quite paralleled the fundy Mo practice of it today.

    And you divinate to sincerely receive God’s guidance or for the serendipitious (sic) fun of it?

  38. hmmm on May 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    How many of you are willing to at least entertain the idea that while God is infallible, his prophets aren’t? To say that JS or Young or any other is incapable or error or sin is effectively to worship the prophet, not God.

  39. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Mulling,

    I have to admit that I approach the topic with a bit of confusion – given my outsider status – as to the status of Joseph Smith’s prophecies and mandates. It seems to me that some have suggested a sort of “reconciliation” with the historical practice of polygamy because it was something more of an ideal, a suggestion, or a mandate with a time limit. Under this light, polygamy was taken off the books not as an accomodation with the Federal government but because polygamy was a time-limited or imperfectly lived experience. Am I right in taking these as some ways people have, are thinking about polygamy? If so, these can provide problems for understanding the divine and its plans for humanity but they do a serviceable job in safeguarding Smith’s place as a prophet for those who believe him to be such. They also don’t ignore the “problem” of polygamy.

    That said, from the interviews I’ve seen with polygamists of the modern-day variety, the male heads-of-household are prideful, overbearing and insensitive. If I was adventuring an apology for polygamy and if I were taking those men as even rough exemplars of polygamist husbands, I’d say that polygamy was removed as a possibility precisely because, if it is to work at all, the men must be called to a type of service that is extra-human. Polygamist husbands just couldn’t live up to the required level of compassion, concern, holiness, etc. Ryan might be pleased to know that this is the tool that Muslim women in still polygamous countries most often use, taking Muhammad’s prescription to treat wives with equality, to disassociate themselves from unequal multiple marriages and a refraining influence in general on polygamy in religiously-minded Islam.

  40. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Kimball, I really don’t know what Rabbinic Judaism has to say about polygamy. My guess from my interaction’s with modern Jews of all stripes except the ultra-Orthodox is that polygamy just doesn’t happen. Given that it doesn’t happen, there has to be some discussion on the topic. I’ll ask the rabbis at the yeshiva where I teach and see what they have to say.

    I was being tongue-in-cheek about the divination. Although, back when I was a younger, intensely religious and still not Orthodox (of the other variety), I did do the Bible divination thing a few times (despite a legalistic reading of the prohibition against divination that I held to). Now, I’d do the prayers and leave things up to my intercessors and the Pantocrator.

  41. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    Mom used to visit her own grandparent polygs for the summer to help them as a little girl and my dad’s bishop when growing up was polyg (they’re 90 and 99 respectively and I just turned 50). But it’s the forebear I have in common with my cous, historian Juanita Brooks, that my mom would mention to me about a bit as a kid. Mom would say that Dudley Leavitt took his Indian wife at the suggestion of his stake president.

    But then I read the history of it and sure enough, this was a child who had been stolen by the Paiutes from a raid from — Was it the Zuni or Navaho? And then Dudley’s wife bought her from them since they claimed they would kill her otherwise (my mom said as a ploy to sell her). So she was raised by Dudley as a step-daughter before she was married to him at near the age of puberty.

    Of course, Muhammad married his step-daughter Aisha at 9 years old. Although the records, I think, tend to indicate that M. waited for her full puberty before consummating this marriage.

  42. Kimball L. Hunt on May 10, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    FOSTER daugher

  43. Sarah on May 10, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    Some small Jewish communities (apparently all Sephardi) practiced polygamy well into the 20th century at least, and Israel doesn’t seem to actively prosecute Bedouin polygamists within its borders (according to Haaretz, about 30% of the Bedouin practice plural marriage,) though polygamy is a criminal offense within the state of Israel. The Ashkenazi have accepted the polygamy ban for… something like 800-1000 years, but some Sephardi Jews were admitted for immigration with more than one wife after the state of Israel was established.

    http://www.jhom.com/lifecycle/marriage/polygamy.htm

    http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=573&o=2488

    (there’s also a group of rabbis offering support to observant orthodox Jews who want to enter into polygamist marriages on Polygamy.com… remembering that individual rabbis have a lot of discretion and independence, especially outside of Israel, and many people called “rabbi” are not ordained by any outside body)

    I’m quite certain that my local Chabad and Hillel friends would be, erm, opposed to polygamy on religious and social grounds in any case, assuming you brought it up with them at all. They don’t appear to have the same cultural preoccupation with the subject that we Mormons tend to, though to be strictly fair I wasn’t all that aware of polygamy in LDS or biblical history until I was in in my 20′s.

  44. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Kimball, Seems like you have a much more immediate, if still distant, relationship with your polygamist forebears than I do with mine. For me, there much more placeholders in a genealogy list. But, I’d have to ask my own mother some more probing questions to find out all she knows.

    Apparently, there is some debate within Islam as to Aisha’s age at the consummation of the marriage. The hadith (Bukhari) make it out to be nine years old; some reconcile the authority they give to the hadith and the general undesirability of a prophet having sex with a nine year old by claiming that Aisha had gone through puberty. Others claim that she was unsure of her age, misquoting or exaggerating and that she was more in the range of 14-19. The takes seem to me to be incommensurable. How a pubescent teen could be taken for a nine year-old (whatever the acceptance of hyperbole might have been in 7th Century Arabia) is beyond me. You can imagine that critics of Islam find themselves paradoxically upholding the accuracy of the Hadith. [I have to give credit to Wikipedia here; Esposito’s history had nothing readily on hand on Aisha except some quotes from her on Muhammad’s allowances for travellers, etc. when fasting and the ways various Islamic legal schools have interpreted laws of contracts).

    That said, ages of consent are very elastic. In Colombia, for example, the age of consent for women is still 13 years of age (higher for boys if I remember correctly; Funny that I remember an explanation for the higher bar for boys having to do with a legal concern about shielding them from homosexual predators)

  45. Aletheia on May 10, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    Sarah, Thanks for the information. My impression was that my colleagues would be, erm, opposed to polygamy on a number of grounds as well. I also anticipate that, because it’s a non-issue for them, I’ll end up prefacing my question with a more nuanced version of “I was having a discussion of religious attitudes towards polygamy…”

  46. Confused and Dismayed on May 10, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    #33

    M&M,

    You are a very strong apologist for LDS doctrine and mantra of following the prophets. If plural marriage were re-instituted tomorrow by Hinckley (by divine mandate), would you

    1) live this law tomorrow?

    2) be happy living the law?

    Frankly, I’m very surprised at how accepting many on this thread are to the practice of polygamy.

  47. Melinda on May 10, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Why did Joseph Smith want to ask God about polygamy in the first place? From what I recall, he was reading the bible and started praying about why it was just fine for Biblical figures to have more than one wife. So he started the conversation – it was not forced on him by God, notwithstanding that angel with the flaming sword that came later.

    When I read the OT, it’s obvious (to me at least) that polygamy was a cultural necessity in a society in which having children was paramount, and the wealth distribution and patriarchy were such that women had to have a husband and often one man could support more than one wife.

    Abraham and Sarah’s polygamy was instigated by Sarah in response to her barrenness. God’s opinion of their solution can be inferred by the fact that he rejected the child of polygamy, Ishmael, as the birthright son. If polygamy was God’s solution, then Ishmael should have inherited the birthright. So they were polygamous with good intentions, but God didn’t command it, notwithstanding the D&C scripture that says he did. The facts of the story would have been different if God had commanded Abraham to take Hagar as his wife.

    Jacob was a polygamist also due to cultural custom – the older daughter had to be married first, but he really wanted the younger daughter. The solution is to marry both of them. Bilhah and Zilpah got involved during the war between the sisters to see how many children they could give Jacob. Again, no divine involvement here, just cultural practices.

    Elkenah’s polygamy is also easily explained by the need to have children. Hannah was barren, so he married a second wife who could have children. That reason is speculation on my part, but it is true that the first wife couldn’t have kids. If you have to have children, then marrying a second wife is the solution. Polygamy is kinder in this situation than divorcing the first wife (Hannah) and turning her out to starve.

    I find it significant that Zachariah was apparently NOT a polygamist in spite of Elizabeth’s barrenness. That would have been a natural situation for polygamy. Perhaps polygamy was dying out by New Testament times? Other than the command to marry your brother’s widow, of course.

    Anyway, Biblical polygamy is easily explained by culture and customs of the society, which were all based on a patriarchal culture that required that children be born to a marriage, no matter how many wives it took. I have no idea why Joseph Smith thought there was some sort of divine reason behind polygamy. It was cultural, not spiritual.

    I think Joseph got carried away about restoring all things. Lots of other 19th century religions developed some whacked out marriage practices too, like the Shakers.

  48. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    I have to admit that I approach the topic with a bit of confusion – given my outsider status – as to the status of Joseph Smith’s prophecies and mandates.

    One of the things that I think is important to remember as we discuss this is that Joseph Smith was not the only prophet preaching and supporting polygamy. He may have received the revelation to institute it, but three prophets succeeding him supported and continued it. Wilford Woodruff said he would have continued it had he not received the revelation to stop.

    In my mind, there is a more important meta-issue that really is on the table with this — and that is continuing revelation. We don’t practice polygamy because our prophets have said we don’t. What if they changed that tomorrow? Would we follow? At some point, discussing the specifics of something like this becomes a little pointless simply because it is one of those things that has changed due to continuing revelation. I realize it still may be interesting to some to discuss the whys and wherefores of polygamy, but I think it’s important to never lose sight of what polygamy teaches us about continuing revelation.

    One last thought — with something like this, I am always a little leery in leaning too much on historical snippets of information. Especially with something like polygamy, it becomes extremely difficult to truly understand without the spiritual aspect of such a concept. And often, we have to live something to learn the doctrine behind it (John 7:16 — “if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.”) I don’t want this to be a cop-out or a shut-down of discussion, but I do think it’s important to remember that it is most likely impossible for us to fully grasp something like this because we aren’t living it. And, because that is the current commandment, that is a good thing! ;)

  49. Ann on May 10, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    The Shakers were downright mainstream compared to the Oneida Perfectionists.

  50. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 10, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    I have no idea why Joseph Smith thought there was some sort of divine reason behind polygamy. It was cultural, not spiritual.

    But it’s your word against the word of many who believed it was spiritual, including Brigham Young, George Q. Cannon, Wilford Woodruff and many others. I’m sorry, but I will take the words of prophets before I will agree with someone’s personal feelings on the subject. Don’t you see that, if you reject the spiritual aspect of polygamy, you also find yourself rejecting other revelations as well? Where does it stop? Either Joseph was a prophet or he wasn’t. Either the prophets after him were prophets or they weren’t. They didn’t follow polygamy because it was culturally an issue (or culturally acceptable!) They followed it because they knew it was from God. Even the Book of Mormon supports this concept. If you rationalize away polygamy as a spiritual possibility, you have to rationalize other things away as well (including the preaching surrounding this practice, which was clearly reflective of the spiritual nature of polygamy). It’s much easier to just accept it as something that came from God. :)

  51. whistleblower on May 10, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    There has been some information exchanged among bloggernacle admins that mullingandmusing is here on assignment, to make certain that the “proper� viewpoint is represented in LDS blog discussions, complete with copious GA quotations.

    (If the admins on this blog want to run a traceroute on M&M’s IP address, assuming it hasn\’’t changed, they will find it resolves to a Comcast account hosted in SLC).

    So how about it M&M — want to ‘fess up? Plead the fifth? Vigorously deny the allegation?

  52. Proud Daughter of Eve on May 11, 2006 at 12:10 am

    Melinda: Ishmael wasn’t rejected because he was the child of polygamy. God apparently had different plans for him. At one point Hagar ran away but she had a vision in the desert and returned to Abraham’s camp. This does not speak of God’s rejection. Also, Joseph (of the amazing technicolor dreamcoat) was the child of polygamy and one certainly can’t say he was rejected by God. Ishmael wasn’t the birthright child because he wasn’t the child of miracle that God had foreordained; there is also some indication that Ishmael wasn’t given the birthright because Abraham hadn’t married Hagar in the ever-lasting covenant.

  53. Starfoxy on May 11, 2006 at 12:20 am

    M&M What do you make of the preaching surrounding this practice that I referenced in comment 24? George Q. Cannon heavily indicated that women were less capable than men, and so would be held to a more lenient standard at judgement.

    I don’t think that it is as all or nothing as you make it out to be. Yes, either Joseph was a prophet or he wasn’t. I believe he was. Either Brigham Young was a prophet or he wasn’t. I believe Brigham Young was a prophet too. Both of these men preached many doctrines that were later changed by men that were also prophets. Not just “we don’t believe or practice this anymore” but “this isn’t doctrinal (and never was true).” This ends up meaning that nearly anything the prophets have said could later be discounted by the current prophet
    When you open yourself up to believing that a real down-home prophet can preach things as doctrine that aren’t true, it doesn’t mean you have to toss out the whole idea of prophets. It merely means you should recognize that the prophet will always be mortal and imperfect, and that before you believe *anything* you should pray about it and seek the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. If your answer disagrees with the prophet then maybe you’d better pray again just to be sure. But when judgement day comes I will be held accountable for how I acted in light of what the Holy Ghost taught me, no matter what the prophets said.

  54. Ryan on May 11, 2006 at 12:22 am

    have no idea why Joseph Smith thought there was some sort of divine reason behind polygamy. It was cultural, not spiritual.

    I understand that you feel that way. The issue is, many people, inluding inspired prophets, have offered plausible explanations.as to why polygamy might have been necessary. Failure to accept these suggestions does not invalidate them.

    Additionally according to your theory of polygamy by necessity, the early church followed precisely that model. Polygamy was around for a time and was then discontinued why do any of the other Biblical prophets get more credit than JS?

    Methinks a prophet is not without honor except in his own dispensation

  55. Melinda on May 11, 2006 at 12:23 am

    PD of E – no, I don’t think Ishmael was rejected *because* he was a child of polygamy. However, he was not accepted as the birthright son although he was given other blessings. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham for a second wife in an effort to make sure that Abraham had a son who could receive the birthright. God later made it clear that Sarah had to bear the birthright son. So their effort was not condemned, but God did not command them to enter into polygamy in order to produce Abraham’s heir. The polygamous marriage with Hagar was a product of their culture, not the result of a command from God.

    Joseph was chosen by God because of his faithfulness, regardless of whether he was the product of a monogamous or polygamous marriage. Of course God isn’t going to hold his parents’ marriage against him. Polygamy was natural and accepted in OT times, and God never commanded against it. What I am disputing is Joseph Smith’s assumption that God commanded polygamy because in OT times it was somehow superior to monogamy. It wasn’t a command of God; it was a command of the culture.

    God doesn’t think polygamy is evil. He works with the culture of the people. The OT culture included polygamy, therefore many great and glorious people came from polygamous marriages. But the reason they practiced polygamy was because of the culture, not because God commanded it as a more holy form of marriage.

    In my readings about early Mormon polygamy, I’ve been impressed with how well things seemed to work in practice. Sure, it had its problems, but any social system is going to have problems. My hangups with polygamy are mostly about the justifications for it offered by the prophets, which I find to be lacking in logic and often are just plain weird. That’s my own personal opinion, so no, M&M, I don’t expect you to be persuaded by me.

  56. Blake on May 11, 2006 at 12:24 am

    Aletheia: Let me point out that your litany of horribles is nothing but a prejudice — pure and simple. None of the horribles is inherent or necessarily entailed in polygamy. If our argument were successful, it would be equally valid to argue against monogamy or any nature of inter-human relationship whatsoever. So your argument is invalid.

    I note that I grew up (and still live) in Sandy, Utah. One of my best friends in High School was the son of a polygamist family (we had four such families who went to my High School at Jordan High). These were good people. They were exacting, honest and respectful. So your smear campaign doesn’t ring true to me. Indeed, it is anything but accurate.

    So let me begin by noting that you don’t give an ethical theory or view that entails that polygamy is evil — tho you implicitly adopt a consequentialist ethics. That is, you deem polygamy to be evil because it has bad consequence. I won’t go into the severe problems with such an ethical stance (which are many), but grant your presupposition. First, merely listing horribles is inadequate. Certainly a husband will have less time for each woman — but the women will have additional time to be together and support each other. So there are off-setting values. Second, there is nothing inherent in polygamy that requires a man to marry an under-age female. There is no necessary link between child rape and abduction — that is just something that may occur. Further, such things occur in non-polygamous or monogomous relations as well, but I noticed that you just didn’t mention that.

    Netiher does polygamy foreclose career opportunites. I one of the families I knew, the wives were each allowed to take time off to go school. One was an MD, one an attorney, and two were accountants. So you assertion that such foreclosure of opportunities occur is just your own fiction.

    You didn’t answer about the judgments of Arabic polygamy or polygamy where females vastly outnumber males. I suspect you’d say that in such circumstances polgymany was OK. Indeed, given your implicit consequentialist ethic, you would be compelled to admit as much to remain consistent.

    Is there any reason to prefer polygamy over polandry without a revelation? Perhaps not — tho it is obvious that one man can impregnate many females much fast than one female could bear off-spring of many males. So given your consequentialist ethic, there is plenty of reason to prefer polygamy to polyandry.

    So you consequentialist ethic will not support a rejection of polygamy. Indeed, I’m sure that I could come up with a lot of good consequences of such an arrangement (especially since this arrangement was the socially preferred familial arrangement for several thousand years). In the end, let me express my contempt for politicians who want to pretend they are battling polygamy for political gain. I have no problem with ratting out welfare fraud, child abuse and under-age arranged marriages — but none of these are necessary features of polygamy. The friends I had from polygamous families that I knew wouldn’t have any of it. It is ironic, however, that those whose ancestors were decent and honorable people who practices polygamy are now purporting to battle polygamy. The occasional bitter plural wife who comes out against polygamy has no pull with me — I’ve seen way too many bitter husbands and wives from monogomous relationships to believe that such bitterness is anything more than their own refusal to accept accountability.

    Melinda: Your revisionist history of biblical customs is interesting but uninformed. Polygamy was not limited to situations where a first wife couldn’t bear children or someone had to marry an older daughter first. I suggest that those who cannot accept polygamy as a revealed doctrine are just adoting our own social mores.

    That said, I do not advocate for polygamy; but I do advocate for the Constitutional right of those who believe it is revealed from God to practice it.

  57. Carolyn on May 11, 2006 at 12:27 am

    Re. #18:

    “And speaking as a single woman, I have to say that I think I’d actually prefer to remain eternally single if my only other choice were a polygamous relationship. But I’m holding out hope that those won’t be the only available options.”

    Lynette, I’m with you on this. I too am single and the prospect of polygamy in the eternities holds zero appeal. It is not a comfort in any way, shape or form. Call me old fashioned, but I still feel I deserve a guy who is crazy about me and not just pity from some woman who is willing to share her man. That’s not exactly my idea of heaven. (Throw her a bone. Poor thing. She died single!!) Besides, although I am of a certain age, I’m still too young to start looking forward to my death!! That’s what dwelling on a polygamous marriage in the next life would amount to for me. Eeeew.

    While we’re on the subject, a former bishop once tried to “console” me by quoting the statistics on all the young single men killed in battle. Also not comforting, not to mention creepy. Although it does make you look at all those photos of the soldiers on Rememberance Day in a whole new light. (Hmmm, I like him and him. He’s kind of cute.) LOL!!!

    Personally, I feel we spend way too much time in the church labeling each other and focusing on marital status. It’s only an issue when I’m around church members. Everybody wants me to explain why I’m single. Non-members just take it in stride. They seem to understand that some people are married and some people are single. That’s just the way life is. We all need to get over ourselves when it comes to this issue.

  58. Melinda on May 11, 2006 at 12:33 am

    quote: Additionally according to your theory of polygamy by necessity, the early church followed precisely that model. Polygamy was around for a time and was then discontinued why do any of the other Biblical prophets get more credit than JS? /quote

    I’m not sure what you mean by “polygamy by necessity.” Polygamy was part of OT culture. Polygamy was not part of frontier American culture.

    Also, I’m not aware that any Biblical prophet claimed that God gave him a plural wife. Many OT prophets had multiple wives, but I’m not aware that any of them said that God commanded them to take a plural wife. I could be wrong; please correct me. Isaiah talks about God commanding him to go in unto his wife, but she was his only wife. There is some talk that God was involved in getting Saul and David at least some of their hundreds of wives, but I’ve never understood how God was involved in them getting wives for political connection and in war, civil and otherwise. The best that God says in connection with OT polygamy (outside of the D&C) is that a man didn’t sin because he had more than one wife. Faint praise for a glorious and eternal principle.

  59. maria on May 11, 2006 at 12:50 am

    Kimball:

    You and I are cousins! I am descended from Dudley’s 3rd wife, Thirza, the one who actually left him for a period of time when he married the Indian girl. The marriage to the Indian girl occurred so quickly after his marriage to Thirza that Thirza was, understandably, heartbroken that her new husband’s affections were so shortly directed at her (I can’t remember, but I think that Thirza and Dudley had only been married a week or two when he decided to marry the 4th wife). I’m very proud that I’m descended from Thirza…the one wife that put her foot down and said she wouldn’t stand for it anymore. Her blood runs through my veins, that’s for sure.

  60. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 1:19 am

    Blake,

    You need to cool your jets a bit. The heart of that post of mine that seems to have gotten you all riled up was that you were being precipitate in attributing Mike’s anti-polygamist stance to prejudice. I was rehearsing a litany of reasons that perhaps he might adduce in the support of his argument, approximating the tone of his previous posts. In other words, I was ventriloquizing. I was definitely not declaring a “consequentalist” (Although, hey, I do think you should look at fruits) and “dubious” ethics that you could then swoop in and so charmingly rebut.

    Continuing with the thought in my previous post, your defense of the polygamy (or the free practice thereof) is as imbricated in the social norms and sympathies of a group (Should I call them “prejudices”?) as the attacks by others. This is why your evidence – that polygamists and their progeny can be good, decent, and highly-educated people – is anecdotal and personal.

    What’s more, I didn’t say that the “evils” of polygamy are inherent. I, in fact, made my litany one of “attendant” and “secondary”. Perhaps these adjectives still bring “evil” to close to pollygamy for you but they are, in fact, much mitigated as against inherent evils.

    Now, about where we might agree (and a few more disagreements): Because I am politically a secularist, I would have no problem with allowing polygamy as a legal matter. Then again, if I had my druthers I would open up “marriages” and civil unions to all sorts of combinations. Monogamy certainly has its discontents. Because I cherish a robust concept of equality among the sexes, I do think that matrimony is better than polygamy (And, for me, the short-circuit between the spiritualizations and mystifications around the practice and the practice itself are glaring. And I’m not saying that all polygamists are child rapists!) On these same grounds, I agree, monogamy is also severely vulnerable to attack because of bad monogamists and structural defects in the institutions. In some sense, this is where I would say that I am a supporter of monogamy because this is what we do (we Westerners, we mainstream Americans, we Greek Orthodox, etc (recognizing the overlaps, shortfalls and contradictions among these labels)) and because I take it a bit on authority (that of my priest and that of my wife (she being an insistent advocate that that’s what’s best for me)).

    That said, I wouldn’t take biological arguments as saying much either way. Male-female ratios, supposed rates of fertility and production of offspring, etc. have always seemed overly malleable and dubious arguments to me. I would lump these in with that old Darwinian notion that the most attractive male is the most successful reproductively; As you saw in the paper the other day, this argument – although commonsensical – is open for revision again. Even closed to revision on the face, human behavior transcends any biological determinism. I definitely wouldn’t found my ethics on biological-sociological statistics..

    There is no irony that descendents – especially remote ones like me – might quibble over polygamy as opposed to their grandfathers, grandmothers and assorted greats (who may have done some quibbling themselves – especially the (great)grandmothers). I’m willing to give them the reverence owed to the dead as dead but I don’t have to rubber-stamp their convictions or defend their institutions. Besides, from what I hear, my Mormon forebears weren’t mealy-mouthed nor were they wallflowers. They won’t wilt (I’m not really attacking them anyway).

    In any case, this is much more acrimonious than I’d like. I’m going to go cool my jets.

  61. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 1:38 am

    M&M What do you make of the preaching surrounding this practice that I referenced in comment 24? George Q. Cannon heavily indicated that women were less capable than men, and so would be held to a more lenient standard at judgement.

    Before I comment on such a sentiment, I would need to see some examples first. :)

  62. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 2:05 am

    47: When you open yourself up to believing that a real down-home prophet can preach things as doctrine that aren’t true, it doesn’t mean you have to toss out the whole idea of prophets. It merely means you should recognize that the prophet will always be mortal and imperfect, and that before you believe *anything* you should pray about it and seek the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. If your answer disagrees with the prophet then maybe you’d better pray again just to be sure. But when judgement day comes I will be held accountable for how I acted in light of what the Holy Ghost taught me, no matter what the prophets said.

    While I understand what you are saying, I think it’s important to remember that history has shown there are many who have the mindset of “the prophet can be wrong” who have led themselves into apostasy. If one is going to choose to go against the prophets’ counsel, one should be very sure it’s from God and not from one’s own mind or pride or whatever. I’m sure you agree.

    I realize we can’t put absolutes on every word that comes out of every leader’s mouth, but I find an awful lot of scriptural support (and personal experience) for holding to the prophets’ words. I can’t think of a single scriptural example of someone who listened to what the prophets said, decided against it, and was in the right. (I realize that there are exceptions to rules that we need to seek out, but a personal choice that is guided by the Holy Ghost does not negate the general truth of what a prophet says, and that is a key thing to remember, IMO). I also don’t believe we will be struck down at judgment day for following the prophets wholeheartedly in faith. We have been told they will not lead us astray. (e.g., If polygamy was not from God, how on earth could God have allowed it to happen? How could prophets have remained in their place while encouraging what would otherwise be adulterous relationships?)

    Elder Eyring has given us a formula for knowing when to really pay attention to what the prophets say (not that I don’t advocate paying attention all of the time!): “When the words of prophets seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention and fill our hearts with gratitude to live in such a blessed time.” When there is a question about a particular issue, I will look for those types of patterns. That is part of the reason I mentioned the other leaders who also believed polygamy to be divinely inspired. This wasn’t just about Joseph Smith, and that gives me great confidence in the divine source. Also, you might be able to pick out a sentence here or an example there of allegedly erroneous teaching (I still would like to see examples), but the ratio of that to clear teaching about the divine source of the mandate of polygamy is pretty compelling. I don’t buy into the approach of digging for a comment here and a comment there. I look for the general trends in what was said and make assertions with those patterns.

    Along those lines, I don’t particularly buy into the idea that there were that “many doctrines” that have been different. By and large, the prophets have taught the same things through the decades of the latter-days. Sure, there have been pet topics here and there, but the ones typically brought up were rarely repeated by others and were usually not “doctrines.” (We could, of course, be thinking of different specifics here….)

    My point was that, in order to dismiss polygamy, there is an awful lot that would have to be ignored or rationalized away. I find that is often the case. If someone wants to categorically dismiss what a prophet says (not in a “the Spirit has guided me to do something else” but in a “the prophet is just wrong” kind of a way), then they usually are bound to dismiss other things as well. It easily becomes a slippery slope where prophetic guidances becomes too-easily disposable. There is amazing consistency in general in what the prophets teach. To ignore one thing usually creates a domino effect that is hard to stop.

    We had a bishop once that said, “I follow the Handbook so I don’t have to remember what I made up the last time.” That is sort of the same approach I take in life in general. I follow the prophets so I don’t have to remember what I made up the last time. Does that mean I have never had exceptions in my life? No. But those exceptions do not give me the right to dismiss or undermine what the prophets have taught. And if I do dismiss the prophets in general, I risk putting myself (and possibly others) into harm’s way. My personal revelation can go nowhere beyond my own life, and should never be used to undermine what a prophet says.

  63. Kaimi Wenger on May 11, 2006 at 2:39 am

    #51 whistleblower writes:

    There has been some information exchanged among bloggernacle admins that mullingandmusing is here on assignment, to make certain that the “proper� viewpoint is represented in LDS blog discussions, complete with copious GA quotations.

    (If the admins on this blog want to run a traceroute on M&M’s IP address, assuming it hasn\’’t changed, they will find it resolves to a Comcast account hosted in SLC).

    Wow, secret discussions – and I didn’t even get invited! I must have really fallen off the map if I’m not being invited to the smoke-filled rooms for secret discussions among blog admins anymore. (“Should we ban DKL again? Hmm, why not? It’s a slow news day, after all, and ‘Ban DKL’ always plays well for the regulars.”)

    Having missed out on the secret discussions, I can only weigh in on the merits of the comment as posted here, and say that I don’t buy it. (That would have been my contribution to the secret discussions, had I been invited). I’m one of the admins around here, and all I see for M&M is a Salt Lake IP address. Um, if that makes someone a spy, then we’ve got about 200 spies who drop in on a regular basis.

    I disagree with a lot of what M&M says. I think the black-and-white approach is seriously flawed, and a lot of our commenters have done a good job of pushing back. (I think M&M is losing the argument in this thread, and M&M has certainly lost some other arguments before.)

    That said, M&M is a civil, articulate, and prolific commenter who typically argues for positions that are held by a lot of good people I know. I don’t agree with a lot of what she says, but I think she’s doing just fine around here, and I don’t know what is gained by advancing conspiracy theories — especially when the theory as articulated seems to be “any orthodox Mormon from SLC must be a spy.”

    I remain open to being convinced otherwise in this particular case, but it’s going to take quite a bit more than a few orthodox comments and a SLC IP address to convince me.

    And hey, don’t leave me out of the next round of double secret discussions, please, guys. You all know where to find me.

  64. MikeInWeHo on May 11, 2006 at 2:57 am

    Don’t dis’ Anderson Cooper ! The CNN segment tonight (did anyone else here see it?) was GREAT. He repeatedly emphasized that the Church abandoned polygamy over a century ago. It all seemed quite accurate and fair, even vaguely pro-LDS. I found it fascinating. It was the first time I had heard Bushman speak.

    The LDS are in a bit of denial about contemporary polygamous sects. It’s not really accurate to say “they’re not us!” Polygamy in the U.S. and Canada flows directly out of the Mormon experience, right back to Joseph the Prophet. The polygamists may be ex-communicated, but they are Mormons.

  65. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 3:15 am

    Man, Mike, didn’t know that you were such an Anderson Cooper fan. I will say I’d rather see him do a special segment than O’Reilly. Imagine an O’Reilly Factor dedicated to fundamentalist Mormons. Especially if they were coming over the border from Mexico or Canada (Speaking of which – especially given my comments about different forms of civil union – I’m sure you’ve all heard about the two wives of a plural marriage who subsequently married each other under Canadian law, seemingly so that the American member of the pair could avoid deportation)

    About the relation between fundamentallist Mormons and mainstream LDS: I do agree that it’s hard to make the argument that current polygamous practice is totally different from former, pre-1890 polygamous practice. There is simply too much continuity to maintain that, in the before, it was a more spiritualized and perfected practice and now it is a purely degraded and unrepresentative practice. There have to be some continuities and parallells (although, as I said before, some of the abuses I think stem from the very marginalization of these groups). At the same time, one hundred and ten years of differential development (sometimes less) between groups makes for a lot of difference. It’s like saying that Utrecht Catholics and post-Vatican II Catholics are all the same or that Methodists and Pentecostals are fellow travellers. Mainstream Mormons sometimes protest the difference too much but there is a big difference between roots and branches here.

  66. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 3:22 am

    By the way, M&M doesn’t deserve the slander of being a secret agent. I’d say he isn’t until proven otherwise (Although how you’d do that is unclear to me). In any case, what does it really matter in the Internet age. We’ve all taken handles, after all. He’s not an administrator taking down IP addresses and correlating pseudonyms. Imagine the type of detective work he’d be doing on the outs: Who is Proud Daughter of Eve? Lilith? Oh, no, she came before Eve? One of the sisters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? That’s right! I’ve figured it out! It’s Julia who sits three rows back – I’ve correlated with the posts on Seating in Church – middle left at the Newport Ward. Come on…

  67. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 3:42 am

    Actually, Aletheia, I’m a she. :) I didn’t realize the accusations of my secret assignment from SLC had made it over here as well…and word for word, to boot. If sharing quotes from prophets makes someone a secret spy, where does that leave a good majority of Church members? Sheesh….

    Kaimi, thanks for not kicking me out [grin], although I will say I would have preferred it if you had let me reveal my IP address location, but I suppose you have the power since you’re an administrator. Not that it really matters, except that some people have a thing for Utah Mormons, and I haven’t lived in Utah all my life. I’m actually not as closed-minded as people make me out to be. I don’t want to be ignored simply because of where I live. :) If someone chooses to ignore me, it should be strictly on the merits (or alleged lack of merit) of what I may say.

    BTW, I didn’t know we keep score here. So I lose? Who wins? :) I guess I should feel depressed or something…..

    Whistleblower, if you have a problem with what I say, you should just come back with a different perspective. No need to make up stories to make me look like more (or less?) than I am. I’m just a person who likes to think and chat about the gospel.

  68. Bill on May 11, 2006 at 4:00 am

    M&M, when I ignore your comments, it’s because they’re a little bit long. Or they cite five or six quotes where one would do. Or they’re just repeating something you’ve already made abundantly clear earlier in the thread. When I see a short comment from you, containing an argument unbuttressed by this or that authority figure (whose words are, after all, not altogether unfamiliar to me), then I read it.

  69. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 4:19 am

    Bill, I never knew you ignored my comments. I have never been good at short and sweet. Sometimes that is deliberate, often it’s because I simply have a hard time being short and sweet. Can’t make any promises, although I appreciate the feedback. :) (How was that? Short enough?)

  70. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 4:40 am

    M&M, Sorry about the misidentification. I thought I saw some mixed pronoun usage in Kaimi’s last post. Looked back and didn’t find it the second time around. The Internet contributes to indeterminacy and transvestism (Many have thought I’m a woman, after all). I’ll be careful in the future.

    Your posts don’t strike me as repetitive or over long. I tend towards being long-winded myself but, even so, I don’t find myself becoming tired reading yours.

  71. Dan on May 11, 2006 at 5:22 am

    A few of you have mentioned how disturbing it is that so many of us men are not too bothered by polygamy.
    This is something that women find very difficult to understand, but it comes from evolutionary biology. As men, we are wired to spread our seed as widely as possible, while women are wired to seek procreative partners who will simply ensure the best chances of survival for their offspring. That is why women attach a huge amount of value to financial and other measures of security, whereas men are so powerfully turned on by the simple “otherness” of the female body, and thus so susceptible to wanting to look at images of women naked.
    Monogamous marriage is simply not normal for us males, and that is generally true in nature. It requires us to go against a powerful biological imperative, which is an exalting struggle.
    So what the early leaders of the Church were doing was natural. I happen to not like it, and I find their early polygamist apologetics really bothersome, like when Brigham Young used to say “Oh yeah? I don’t even know the names of my wives, but at least I’m not one of those guys who just takes girls to wife and them dumps them on the street, like guys do in New York!” or when George Albert Smith praised polygamy’s effect in decreasing masturbation among men in the Church. I mean, if it’s inspired, it doesn’t need wierd attempts at defending it.
    I also agree with a previous commenter, that the Church’s current statements about polygamy are problematic. We have a lot of male members of the Church who are currently sealed to multiple females, but a female whose husband dies cannot get sealed to another male in this life. If we want to be really honest about what we do as a church, I think we should make those kinds of things known instead of just issuing press releases saying we don’t do polygamy anymore.

  72. TrailerTrash on May 11, 2006 at 7:39 am

    66. >I can’t think of a single scriptural example of someone who listened to what the prophets said, decided against it, and was in the right.

    There is Paul’s fight with Peter in Gal 2.

  73. diogenes on May 11, 2006 at 9:08 am

    I remain open to being convinced otherwise in this particular case, but it’s going to take quite a bit more than a few orthodox comments and a SLC IP address to convince me.

    I have no opinion on whether M&M is a ringer sent from Church HQ.

    But I have wondered for some time now how the “Strengthening the Members” committee would handle (sooner or later, will handle) less than orthodox commentary on LDS blogs. Trying to discipline members who run unorthodox blogs, or make unorthodox comments on blogs — even if the posters could be found — would likely be difficult, and the public relations effects would be very bad.

    It had occurred to me some time ago that the best way for HQ to handle bloggers would be to plant ringers in the discussion to do spin control. I have this mental image of couple missionaries, wearing their nametags, called to cruise the blogs and cite the Handbook a lot . . .

  74. Ronan on May 11, 2006 at 9:21 am

    Diogenes,
    That’s a funny image. But as 95% of the church is unaware of the blogs, wouldn’t it be a colossal waste of time?

  75. diogenes on May 11, 2006 at 9:26 am

    wouldn’t it be a colossal waste of time?

    You have accurately summarized my view of the “Strengthening the Members” committee. But there it is.

  76. Mike on May 11, 2006 at 9:44 am

    Response to Blake #8

    You are right that I have not developed a clear ethical or moral theory that supports this judgment. Of course this is characteristic of Mormons, which I am. We do not develop clear logical theories, but recieve revelations line upon line, in a chaotic way. And you are dead accurate that my distaste with polygamy is from personal encounters with it.

    I dated a girl who was raised as the daughter of a cohab and forced into a marriage with a geezer 50 years older than her at age 14 and was beaten when she left him, delete, delete. etc.

    There was also the matter of my grandfather getting kicked out of a Bishopric for blowing the whistle on the Bishop and the other counselor for their secret polygamy and being forced to move. This was in the mid 1920′s . It resulted in his financial ruin, his being black-balled in the church and his children suffered negative consequences unto the third and fourth generations.

    And I can not forget the old story of my great great grandmother who refused to marry an older polygamist. Initially she agreed to the engagement under pressure from her parents but then openly humiliated the church leader with a public refusal and rejection. So later he raped her and she got pregnant. Her parents then forced her into a marriage with a man who was old and bedridden. At least it gave her bastard child a name and the church took care of widows when he died but not single unmarried parents who were “harlots.”The son who was the result killed himself when he became an adult and figured out what happened. He had two sisters, probably illegitimate, from one of whom I am descended. This sorry tale was told to me by an aunt on her death bed. She said the memory of this story would die with her but she could not bring herself to taking it to the grave. (She later recovered, and denied the story and lived for a couple more decades before passing).

    I could go on. I challenge those of you who have polygamist ancestors to search for honest family history. You will be amazed at the evil that is hidden. Not the kind of polished and shined up family history that my aunts and great aunts write up in flowery stories and give to people as Christmas presents. But the kind of stories from cranky old uncles told orally on the back porch because they are afraid to put it on paper. (Where I come from its corn bread and chicken, where I come from its back porch pickin.”)

  77. Mike on May 11, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Another Reply to #8

    Just because I have not created a sound moral and ethical foundation for my belief, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Actually I thank you ( and other responses) for forcing me to think about this in a new way. Here is a rough beginning.

    Lets start with humanism, that each and every person is valuable, a child of God.
    (From a biological and purely agnostic point of view, polygamy is maladaptive and has been strongly selected against by increasingly complex human culture. Short term a few men might get more of their genes into the next generation, but the offspring are at a huge disadvantage. For women it puts all the burden on them and they are at a disadvantage competing alone against couples for limited resources.)

    Lets move to the idea that it takes two parents to raise a child. Child-rearing in true humanism becomes the highest priority. We can see the results of social experiments in our inner city ghettos where only women raise children and men are out of the picture except as fleeting sperm donors. The industrial revolution took men out of the home and isolated them from children much of the time to earn a living. (More recent developments are taking women out of the home and away from children). Polygamy spreads a man’s influence too thin in the process of child rearing. It places almost all of the burden on the women.

    Next we go to the ideas of intimacy. As is eloquently stated right below your comment; “but I believe true marital intimacy is impossible when there is a third party. I find it repulsive that any single LDS women would even entertain the thought that MY husband could be available, …”
    Polygamy prevents both parties from achieving this highest of human experiences.

    Next let us consider the tendency of all people to be bossy and to push other people around. If a few good leaders do it in a way that is better for the entire group then it is acceptable. This is rare. Most of the thrust of western progress had been towards more democracy and more individual freedom. Polygamy puts too much power in the hands of a few men and it is inherently less demcratic than monogamy. (I guess it doesn’t have to, I can imagine some hypothetical tribe where the women are in charge with a female only democracy and they kill off all the young men who are not desirable and keep a few around to act as sperm donors when they want children: sort of a parallel to the drones in a beehive. but this is only half humanism, the female half).

    Theories are great. Reality is what we have to deal with. The reality of modern “Mormon” polygamy is ugly and it needs to stop.

  78. JR from Dallas on May 11, 2006 at 10:17 am

    I’ve never quite understood those who say the church is being disingenuous when it says it has discountinued polygamy citing the current practice of sealing a man to multiple subsequent wives.

    The critics of polygamy wouldn’t see this as polygamy, since they don’t believe these sealings have any practical consequence. So from the perspective of the world, the media, and all the church’s critics, the church has discountinued polygamy in every conceivable way.

    The only way you can believe that the church still practices it in some form is to believe that the sealings are true and valid, which means you must accept all the restoration’s truths: Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and a modern prophet. You can’t even be like Mike, who believes the church is true but that polygamy is not. If it is not a true principle, than obviously the subsequent sealings would have no validity.

    No, to believe the church continues polygamy in some form today is to believe that God recognizes those sealings, which means that they are completely acceptable. And nobody who criticizes polygamy believes that, thus from their point of view, the church does not practice polygamy in any form any longer.

  79. Kevin Barney on May 11, 2006 at 10:28 am

    I caught most of the Anderson Cooper special on modern fundamentalist polygamy. (I say most because I was flipping between that and the NBA playoffs on TNT.) It was interesting.

  80. MikeInWeHo on May 11, 2006 at 10:43 am

    re: 65 Anderson Cooper has always been my absolute favorite, but that’s not an uncommon sentiment here in West Hollywood. He’s gray for pay!

    The overlap between polygamy and SSM is very interesting. Ironic that the Church spends so much money combating SSM and gives little more than lip service to stopping modern polygamy. Even the wording of the Proclamation gives them some wiggle-room on the issue of polygamy. (“Marriage between man and woman is essential….” It does not say “one man and one woman” or even “a man and a woman.”) Such irony here. Everyone freaks out over a couple of lesbians who want to get hitched in Provincetown, while right down the road from SLC thousands of underage girls are being horribly abused by former (and even current, undetected) members who practice polygamy. I do think maybe it’s taking a more aggressive position on polygamy lately, perhaps in response to all the bad press.

    Polygamy has never been “renounced.” The Church never renounces anything, as best I can tell. It just changes direction and moves on. Maybe that’s for the best; I’m not sure. I just wanted to point out what its current priorities seem to be.

  81. Blake on May 11, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Mike: Your jaundiced view of your personal family history based on hearsay, denied statements and sheer fiction were interesting. Your personal venom are understandable (though unjustified) by your judgments based on an Aunt’s statements. Perhaps your venom would be put to better use getting to know a few of the people you so easily condemn.

    Further, you’re going to have to define what you mean by “humanism” because your use doesn’t reflect what that term means in usual discourse. Your assertion that polygamy is maladptive is again a sheer assertion of prejudice. How is it maladaptive in a way that other inter-human relationships are not? I actually know children of polygamous unions — they weren’t at a disadvantage. In fact, having several mothers was at times a great advantage. How is the burden on women in such a relationship? In fact, my observation was that the task sharing and dividing of responsibilities actually made the arrangement quite workable. That said, as a husband I admit that dealing with three or more wives would be a challenge — but so is having more than three children. Just as bad argument.

    As for true intimacy, I don’t have experience with polygamy so I cannot speak to that ( and I suggest that you are presumptuous to think that you can) — but I guess I could point out that about 45% of marriages have a “third” anyway.

    As far as child rearing — I guess I could point out that men seem to be in short supply no matter what the relationship. In monogomous relationships men are very often unavailable. More importantly, the divorce rate and fatherlessness are at an all time high. So if you’re comparing what our society presently gives us with polygamy it is not contest. At least there are others to share the burden and joys with.

    As for theory vs. reality — I suggest that I have more experience with the reality of polygamy than you do. Your judgments are just that — personal prejudices. Further, “Mormon” polygamy has stopped. They believe it is still sanctioned by God; I believe that they are mistaken about that. But those who choose to practice it because they believe it was divinely inspired are well within their rights to do so — and to do so without the uninformed prejudices and judgmentalness that you bring to it.

  82. Mike on May 11, 2006 at 10:54 am

    (If I am making too many comments, just delete this).

    I was visiting my brother in Utah a couple years ago, sitting in church listening to his ward’s all women’s choir. It consisted of about 35-40 women, mostly 20-40 years old, with a handful of older teenage daughters. They sang beautifully. I realized that this unusually talented ward choir closely matched the demographics of the known plural wives of Joseph Smith at the time of his murder.

    My brother is about as orthodox and straight-laced as they come, a great defender of all things Mormon, holding many callings of importance in the ward, although not that well read in the grey areas. I whispered to him: “When they reinstitute polygamy, which of those women would you like to marry?” He chuckled and told me that although many of them were attractive, if you really knew them you wouldn’t want to be married to very many of them, if any of them at all. He mentioned he had enough trouble keeping one wife happy.

    I told him that I was contemplating the possibility of marrying all of them. He gave me a sour look and whispered “that is so twisted, gross, filthy. Some of those girls are only 14 or 15 years old.” Then, “inconceiveable; the problems and the fighting it would create.You are out of your mind.” He put his arm up on the bench behind me and told me that even thinking such thoughts in church meetings could drive the Spirit away, for others too. He gently admonished me to keep quiet and control my irreverent thoughts and listen to the singing. I should have resisted the temptation and just basked in the warmth of his affectionate concern for me. I was a guest in his ward and at his house. But after a few more moments I gave in and whispered to him:

    “You know, Joseph Smith married your whole damned ward choir.”

  83. Blake on May 11, 2006 at 11:25 am

    Mike: Joseph Smith was a much better man than you judge him to be — and I ask who you are to judge? And why is the whole ward choir damned? For some, one woman is way too much; and for most, having one man around is about all that they can bear. However, there are others that no matter who they are with, it is just hell to be with them.

  84. Starfoxy on May 11, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Re M&M in 61, I mentioned that I referenced a teaching by George Q Cannon earlier. I’ll quote it here again,
    The paper (or whatever it is) was “The Redemption of Eve� by Jolene Edmunds Rockwood.
    It says “He postulated that many more women than men would be admitted to the celestial kingdom because women ‘are not held accountable to the same extent as men are.’ They are cursed with ‘yearning after the other sex,’ while men are ’strong’ and will be held ‘responsible for the use of the influence [they] exercise… over [women].’ He felt that polygamy would help relieve women of their ‘jealousy’ and thus make them able to overcome Eve’s curse.�

    The bold parts are where she quotes him directly. I don’t have other quotes handy (maybe some of you could help me out here). I do, however, know that it was taught that a man’s kingdom would be made up of his wives and children, therefore it was necessary to have many wives so that his kingdom could be larger, and could have more potential to grow. In that model women were never thought to rule in heaven other than as caretakers for her husband’s children.
    You keep mentioning that many spiritual teachings that came along with polygamy would have to be discounted if we threw polygamy out altogether. All of the spiritual teachings that I have seen that are tied closely to polygamy are things that are for the most part distictly anti-woman. Most have either already been discounted (that women are inherently inferior to men) or should be discounted (that women will never rule in heaven always being subordinate to their husbands). What are the good teachings that hinge on polygamy’s acceptance that I’m missing?

  85. Mark IV on May 11, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    Starfoxy, thanks for you response to my question way back up in # 24. That’s an interesting statement from brother Cannon. All I can say is: LOL!! While it is quite gratifying to my male ego to think that there are dozens of women who simply cannot control their yearning for me and who therefore can’t be held accountable for their actions as they throw themselves at my feet, my experience in life to date proves otherwise. I consider it an answer to prayer that I was able to convince even one woman to marry me. And the fact that she finds a schlub like me attractive enough to want to have children with me is conclusive proof that miracles do occur. Interesting, isn’t it, that the rhetoric has made a 180 degree turn in the last 125 years?

    With regards to the question of whether we have to reject a prophet if anything he said ever is retracted, I think that is a false dilemma. I don’t think a prophet will ever be completely wrong, but I think it is very possible for a prophet to be only partially right. After all, the principle of “line upon line” applies to prophets as well. That is no reason to discount what they say, and neither is it reason to reject them if some future prophet refines the doctrine.

  86. Mike on May 11, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Did I judge Joseph Smith? I only stated a historical fact in a graphic way. It was my orthodox brother who made judgements ( that I set him up to make, wondering if he would make them) and it is you who are making judgements about me.

    Maybe Joseph could keep the whole ward choir happy. I didn’t say he could or couldn’t. Merely, I pointed out the how difficult and really impossible the task would be from my perspective.

    Joseph Smith married at least 35 women of the ages similar to the ward choir. It is one thing to read thick books about plural wives. It is quite another thing to see that many women all together. Yet another to know the women to the degree a member of the Bishopric knows the women in a Utah ward and contemplate them all getting along with each other in a plural marriage.

    Another issue is whether women are different; better or worse today than they were in Nauvoo. Many of the women in the ward choir undoubtedly had ancestors in Nauvoo. If they are worse, then what is the effect on multiple generations of people living the gospel and teaching their descendants to live the gospel?

    Realize that the entire process of us both being on this website self selects people who are already more compatible than most polygamous wives, not to mention probable similarities in education and mission experiences and living in modern correlated wards. My brother is not on this website in contrast.

    Finally, the choir is not damned in the sense that they are going to hell. The way I used the word damned was for emphasis -that it was the entire choir, not just a couple of the women in the choir.

    Think about this Bro. Blake: If you and I are having trouble discussing polygamy, over 100 years after is was discontinued, how do you think we would get along if you and I were created in the remote pre-existance as women and that fate had us marry the same man? Could you share a spouse with me?

  87. annegb on May 11, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Mike, 35 women. No children. No way.

  88. Blake on May 11, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Mike: You ought to check your historical facts. Where did you get 35 plural marriages for Joseph Smith? You’re off by a bit. Would I share my wife with you? No. But I wouldn’t want to share a car with you either. Further, I’m not having trouble talking about polygamy 100 year after — we’re talking about current polygamy as much as anything in the past… and I’m not having hard time (other than the occasional typo which I think is rather endearing don’t you?). It is simply that you want to paint a parade of horribles about polygamy and yet everything you point to exists in any type of inter-human arrangement — you just want to pick on polygamy because you’re prejudiced. So yeah, I dId judge you to be prejudiced — and that too was not a difficult call. When speaking of those who practiced or practice plural marriage, take them one at at time rather than making judgments like “all married people are miserable and evil.”

    Now I didn’t say that polygamy would be an easy thing to do. But then, monogamy isn’t always easy either. Come to think of it, the challenge to learn to love others is a challenge. That said, you are in no position to judge Joseph Smith or anyone else when it comes to plural marriage.

  89. Harry on May 11, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    Just so that I have this right, could someone please clarify:
    My understanding is that only those who are sealed in the Temple and are otherwise worthy will qualify for the highest glory in the CK. Accordingly, those who are unmarried but are otherwise worthy will have provisions made for them in the hearafter. So my question is this: what about members who worthy in all respects but (for whatever reason) marry non-members outside the Temple? Will they too have provisions made in the hereafter? Or does the fact that they married a non-member automatically disqualify them from the highest glory in the CK?

  90. Gina on May 11, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    #80 MikeInWeHo,
    Just to clarify, the wording in the Proclamation is “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God”. Thanks for your contributions to the bloggernacle. I enjoy your perspective and comments.

  91. roland on May 11, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Blog has a very intense debate on Polygamy going on right now. Quite a few people are starting to refer to Warren Jeffs and the FLDS as the American Taliban, because that is the only other religious group that comes close in the practice of polygamy and a few male leaders exercising very strict control over their followers.

    Also quess who is the only other polygamist on the FBI’s top ten list? A tall bearded guy hiding in the caves of Pakistan. (And he has eluded the U.S. for over 10 years.)

  92. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    89
    Some prophets have come out pretty strongly about the risks of marrying a non-member. The doctrine of covenant marriage is pretty foundational. But I don’t think there is any way we can know how each individual situation will be judged in the next life.

  93. jen on May 11, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Starfoxy,

    Comment #53

    Great comment starfoxy. I agree 100%.

    Comment #46 In response to Confused and Dismayed who proposes a scenario of polygamy reinstituted by President Hinkley. Understanding your point, I thought you might be interested to know that in a 1998 interview on Larry King live he stated his opinion that polygamy “is not doctrinal”.

    Here’s the link to the transcript.
    http://www.jadeusa.net/lds/larryking_980908GH.htm

    What are some opinions in rep ect to the interview.

  94. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    92 –
    I think that may have come out wrong. What I meant is spiritual risks.

    I know some people who have felt spiritually guided to marry their non-member spouses, so what can you say? In the end, such decisions will be between the person and the Lord and only He will be able to determine how things will be worked out.

  95. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    Starfoxy, thanks for you response to my question way back up in # 24. That’s an interesting statement from brother Cannon. All I can say is: LOL!! While it is quite gratifying to my male ego to think that there are dozens of women who simply cannot control their yearning for me and who therefore can’t be held accountable for their actions as they throw themselves at my feet, my experience in life to date proves otherwise. I consider it an answer to prayer that I was able to convince even one woman to marry me. And the fact that she finds a schlub like me attractive enough to want to have children with me is conclusive proof that miracles do occur. Interesting, isn’t it, that the rhetoric has made a 180 degree turn in the last 125 years?

    I think it helps to understand the context of what George Q. Cannon was saying. A paragraph or two before the snippets that were included in that quote, he says:

    “Just think, in the single State of Massachusetts, at the last census, there were 63,011 females more than males. Brother Pratt, in his remarks on this subject, truly remarked that the law of Massachusetts makes these 63,011 females either old maids or prostitutes, for that law says they shall not marry a man who has a wife. Think of this! And the same is true to a greater or less degree throughout all the older States, for the females preponderate in every one.”

    I think that might explain what he was saying about women “yearning after the other sex.”

    Also, I think the statement that “God will hold him [men] responsible for the use of the influence he [they] exercises over the opposite sex.” Exactly how is that anti-woman? Or this one: ” Still there will be millions of women saved in the kingdom of God, while men, through the abuse of this precious gift, will not be counted worthy of such a privilege.”

    In reading the whole thing in context, I’m not so sure it’s as bad as it is made out to be. He was trying to explain benefits to the system of polygamy as he saw them. And it may very well be that situations were different there (like the example above), which means the benefits would have played out differently as well.

    But all of this is really beside my point, which was to say that the divine source of polygamy was repeated so often that it is difficult to ignore. I find it impossible to discount that idea without discounting much more than a snippet or two (including scriptures in the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon). I don’t claim that every thing said about polygamy was enlightened, but that doesn’t “prove” that polygamy itself was not inspired.

  96. manaen on May 11, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    89 & 92

    We had a rousing good — 389 comments before the thread was closed — discussion last year about the rewards and risks of what we came to call NTM (Non-Temple Marriage). Here’s the link to it.

    A too-quick summary is that it’s generally best to follow the guideline of seeking a sealed-in-the-temple marriage but that individual revelation, not that other burning in the bosom, can trump the guideline.

  97. Justin on May 11, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    Cannon’s entire talk can be accessed here.

  98. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks Justin…don’t have a place to link to, or else I would have included the whole thing as well.

  99. Starfoxy on May 11, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Okay, I just read the entire talk (thanks for the link Justin). I agree with you where you say that reading the whole thing it is not as bad as it was made out to be. That doesn’t change the fact that he believed more women would be exaulted because women are less capable than men. Also, all of his ideas about how the topic lifts women up are based on the assuption that a woman’s worth is strictly determined by her marital status and opportunity to have kids, and that she has no ability to care for herself. When the only options for women are old-maid, prositute, or plural wife, then yes polygamy is a great practice. When women can’t work, and when a woman is looked down on for being single or childless then polygamy is great. In other words polygamy was a perfect solution to the myriad problems of an imperfect world. When those imperfections no longer exist then the solution no longer has merit.
    I don’t claim that every thing said about polygamy was enlightened, but that doesn’t “proveâ€? that polygamy itself was not inspired. I personally didn’t claim that polygamy was uninspired, I’m not sure it was or wasn’t. What I do believe, though, is that polygamy is not an eternal priciple, and doesn’t need to be practiced by anyone in the celestial kingdom.

  100. hmmm on May 11, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Blake–Re #88-
    Historian/biographer Richard Bushman says that Joseph married at least thirty-two women (Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, pg. 437), although some others put the number higher.

  101. hmmm on May 11, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Another thing to throw out in the historical/cultural/doctrinal polygamy discussion is that I’ve heard some say that the real reason that Jesus was killed was because he had reinstuted polygamy among the Jews, marrying the Marys, Martha, etc. A little too Da Vinci Code-ish for some, perhaps, but I know an LDS scholar who believes this.

  102. MikeInWeHo on May 11, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    RE: 90 Thanks for the compliment, Gina. I have been made to feel very welcome in the bloggernacle, and it means a lot to me.

    That said, you haven’t convinced me that the Proclamation definitely shuts the door on polygamy as a doctrine. I was quoting from the 3rd paragraph from the bottom. It’s very, very carefully worded. My read is that it was intended to end any debate on SSM without addressing polygamy at all.

    RE: 101 Wouldn’t that be obvious folk doctrine?

  103. bbell on May 11, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    101 is to me obvious folk doctrine from the “defense of polygamy” days pre-manifesto

  104. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 11, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    What I do believe, though, is that polygamy is not an eternal priciple, and doesn’t need to be practiced by anyone in the celestial kingdom.

    Interesting. What do you think about those men who are sealed in this life to more than one wife (not simultaneously, but because of the loss of a wife to death and subsequent remarriage)? Elder Oaks was pretty specific about the fact that his second wife will be his in eternity. I don’t imagine he would feel any differently about his dear first wife. What of that situation? I don’t think polygamy will be required, but I do think it will exist. I guess we’ll see though, right?

    Back to Elder Cannon. I think we can give him the benefit of the doubt because he was working under the constructs and understanding that he had then. Times do change, and maybe even if polygamy were brought back today, he would have different things to say about its benefits and purposes. And I’m still not convinced that he thinks women are inferior. I heard him saying that more women will be exalted because they more worthy than men! Isn’t it possible that there are higher expectations for men because of the responsibility to preside and hold the priesthood? Isn’t that what he was possibly talking about?

  105. Brad Kramer on May 11, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    Some observations:

    I don’t think there’s any way around the fact that early Church leaders (not just BY, OP, or GQC but also JS) believed that polygamy was an eternal principle, sanctioned and circumscribed by divine command. Granted we know much, much, much less about what JS thought about it than subseq leaders, or how it was supposed to be practiced. The necessities of strict secrecy in Nauvoo (to the point that he even attempted to keep it from Hyrum and Emma) prevented Joseph from systematizing the practice or eludicating the doctrinal principles behind it. This surely presented a challenge to Young, Taylor, etc., who sought themselves both to systematize plural marriage and provide theological, moral, sociological justifications for it. I think there is at least a possibility that JS was never able to fully or properly restore the principle and practice, and that his successors tried to best implement an institution they knew Joseph strongly believed in. Obviously there were problems already in Nauvoo (unless anyone here wants to argue that God wanted Joseph to lie to Emma and the Church co-President about it) and, I think, based on historical exegencies (the fact that it had to be practiced secretly, that the Smith brothers were assassinated BECAUSE of it, the Saints being forcibly driven from Illinois, etc), it is likely that things got worse (i.e. farther from the ideal) later rather than better.

    I think it is possible to believe that JS was inspired to institute the practice but that it was a very real problem that subsequent leaders should have abandoned long before 1890 and used bad theology to justify. Indeed, M&M, linking the spiritual teachings about polygamy to its basic legitimacy as a divinely sanctioned institution is problematic, since so many of those teachings — most notably the repeated, authoritative, and express assertion that plural marriage was absolutely necessary to achieve the highest degree of exaltation (to say nothing of the quorum’s rantings against the evils of monogamy) — have been repudiated in all but the most formal sense (i.e. no current prophet has said “when so-and-so said this about pm and exaltation, he was dead wrong”). Again, we know very little about what went on behind closed doors in Nauvoo, but we do know that notwithstanding Joseph’s well-attested virility (eight children with Emma, I think) and notwithstanding the incredibly vast progeny of his successors, and notwithstanding the belief of people like Bushman and Compton (which I share) that he had sexual relations with most if not all of his wives, there is no evidence that Joseph sired any children by any woman other than Emma, no evidence for abortions, etc.

  106. not ophelia on May 11, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Interesting. What do you think about those men who are sealed in this life to more than one wife (not simultaneously, but because of the loss of a wife to death and subsequent remarriage)?

    What would you say about a woman who’d had more than one husband during this life? Say one who was posthumously sealed to all of them?

    I’ve always heard ‘well, she’ll have to pick one.’ Don’t know why that would be any different than Elder Oaks’ situation.

    N.O.

  107. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    Whew — Had to read a lot to catch up since I last posted here!

    Aletheia, I thot you’s a gurl, not that this matters — but, just, when I see names like Faith, Hope Charity, I tend to assume. What does Aletheia mean? Greek, right? And yes do report back from the yeshiva on the talmudic development of feeling re polygamy, thanks! *

    |[* (Re a fossilized/ unconsumated, Talmudic polygamy, I "wikipedia'd" to the mitzvah of Levirate marriage, among the 613 mitzvot as had been enumerated by Maimonides. Which is performed by the widow-in-question's removing the shoe from the surviving brother of her deceased husband in front of an assembly of the community, ritually effecting unconsumated marriage. Then, she ritually spits towards him -- ritually divorcing him and thereby releasing him from any further requirements in their momentary betrothal; which release is also one of the 613 mitzvot. You see, exemplary examples of these laws were given in the Torah in the instance of the Leviterate marriage between Judah and Tamar and in Ruth's widowed mother's releasing her would-be husband from the requirements of Levirate marriage.)]|

    Maria — Hi cous! Yeah:
    __________
    [. . .1st --> . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sixteen year old . . .Mary married Dudley when he was twenty-two
    [. .then --> . .Two years later, fourteen year old . . .Mariah (MY forebear) married Dudley
    [& then --> . Four years later] Sixteen year old . . .Thirza (YOUR forebear) married Dudley
    & then –> . .Half a year later fourteen year old. . .Janet married Dudley
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    then –> A dozen years later, twenty-nine year old Martha married Dudley! ;^)

  108. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    (Wow, twenty-nine! Almost an old maid by comparison.)

  109. Brad Kramer on May 11, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    Let me also add that I don’t think it matters at all if M&M is a “plant.” Even if she is (which I doubt), she has never misrepresented herself or lied to anyone. I sincerely, sincerely hope, notwithstanding my disagreements with her, that her presence here will remain strong and that she will continue to defend the faith (including against my own heterodox proclivities) with boldness and eloquence.

  110. Brad Kramer on May 11, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    Plus, M&M, I’m argumentative by nature, so I never ignore your posts :)
    Keep ‘em coming!

  111. Starfoxy on May 11, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    M&M re 104, I agree completely with what Not Ophelia said about Elder Oaks. It is just church policy that allows men to be sealed to more than one woman sequentially. Using that as an arguement to support the doctrinal nature of polygamy falls flat if it can’t apply equally to women as well.

    And I’m still not convinced that he thinks women are inferior.
    Where you heard him saying that women wil be exalted because they’re more worthy, I also heard that women will be more worthy because they are held to a lower standard. Lower standards are reserved for the less able, or spiritually inferior. Either way, what do you make of this quote from the talk Justin linked? “but every woman who chooses can be an honored wife and move in society in the enjoyment of every right which woman should enjoy to make her the equal of man as far as she can be his equal.” [emphasis mine]

  112. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    I did talk to my rabbi friend today about the halakha and polygamy. We rambled around the subject for a good half-hour with the promise of another conversation some other time ending it all. Some of the specifics were already contained in Sarah’s links to askmoses.com, etc. Nevertheless, he basically made the following points: Rabbi Gershom’s ruling on the issue – in which polygamy was forbidden to the Ashkenazim – had a temporal limit of a thousand years. But, because of its longstanding and because it has become a social norm, it is now accorded the status of halakha. He said that the Sephardim had not received a ruling on the issue so it’s more open for them. He speculated that, because marriages are performed by religious in Israel, a Sephardim could conceivably find someone to perform a multiple marriage (Although this conflicts with the information found in Sarah’s links). He asserted that there is no moral objection to polygamy in Judaism per se. He felt that what was determinative in establishing monogamy or polygamy among the diaspora was the practice of the surrounding community given the history of Gershom’s ruling (do this temporally so as not to offend Christians, the case of Jewish practice in some Muslim countries (Yemen, for example, where Jews had taken multiple wives), and what he saw as an applicative interpretive principle of “the law of the land is the law” (with the caveat that this usually applies to contractual law). He also maintained that, where polygamy was practiced, a guiding principle was one, parallel/deriving from Muhammad’s limitation of 4 wives, emphasizing the need to treat wives equally and support them financially (A hard bargain and one that can’t be done with a multiplication of wives).

    As for patriarchal practice of polygamy and other forms of union, he placed a cut between a time before and after the law. So, Jacob’s marriage to Rachel and Leah was not a problem because it came before the Mosaic prohibition on marrying sisters. As far as polygamous practice goes after the giving of the law, he saw it as being allowed but not necessarily a model. He explicitly refused to grant any spiritual or transcendental value to polygamy as against monogamy.

    Finally, he stated that, when and where polygamy is conceptualized at all among modern Jewry, it is among the ultra-Orthodox and with a twist. According to him, the married and unmarried are not the only two categories at work. Concubinage is another possibility and he saw more questions arising in situations like that of an ultra-orthodox Jew in Brooklyn who, having taking a wife at a young age not based on attraction, finds himself having an affair with an unmarried Jewish woman. Is he committing adultery? He held forth the possibility that the married man and the unmarried woman involved could be seen as entering into a clandestine contract where the woman becomes his “concubine”. The way he talked about it, this possibility seemed to be real but on the edges of halakhic interpretation, to be adjudicated by the rabbis there and obviously not accepted by all Jews. I thought it was interesting because it opens things up in a way very different from the temple marriage scenarios we’ve been contemplating here.

    Anyhow, about my handle. “Aletheia” means “truth” in Greek. Don’t get me wrong, though. I have no pretensions of being in possession of the truth nor of disseminating it here for all to read. I just liked the name when I heard it so many years ago, have thought that I’d give it to a daughter when my wife comes around to giving me one (Holding forth with something like, “Look at my daughter. She is my truth. Her life is a truth for me.”), and thought I’d use it as a handle in the meantime. And, hey, I can understand that you might think I was a “gurl”. I wasn’t going to disabuse you actively; just let my rabid masculinity bark out over time.

  113. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    Laughs re the cute parananoia cum self-flattery with re the prospect of a Strengthening plant: As if gospel-faithful T&S admins couldn’t function well enough on their own! (And methinks m&m no doubt walks away with a form of “contra” pride people who’d been found to have been on Nixon’s enemy list had — chuckles.)

  114. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Aleyth, if I kin call ya this: Also one of the 613 is a mitzvot for one’s taking of a captive as a sexual partner, to release her from bondage.

    My landlord in “South Beach” (the Art Deco district of Miami Beach) when I resided there was a yeshiva. (Oh and the suburbs of northern Miami Beach was said to consist of the largest contiguous area of predominantly Jewish ethnicity in the entire United States.) And now I live in Teaneck, New Jersey, which has quite a few halachic Jewry living here as well, although I now interact with them much less.

    An extremely good friend of mine, an immigrant who’s overstayed her tourist visa, has worked for years here — as well as also over in Scotland, of all places — as a masseuse. And a couple of her customers are orthodox Jews. Also I’ve spoken to a secular Jew who mentioned his uncle in Long Island had remained Orthodox it came out that he had come to retain masseuses or the like. Perhaps there’d be something in Hoseah being exemplary in this regard?

  115. manaen on May 11, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    What I do believe, though, is that polygamy is not an eternal priciple, and doesn’t need to be practiced by anyone in the celestial kingdom.

    104. I don’t think polygamy will be required, but I do think it will exist.

    Melvin J. Ballard commented on the un-necessity and the possibility of polygamy:

    “Those who are denied endless increase cannot be what God is, because that in connection with other things, makes him God. The eternity of the marriage covenant ought to be understood by Latter-day Saints clearly to be the sealing of at least one woman to one man for time and for all eternity. Then do not get confused on that point and imagine that it necessarily means more than one woman. It may be, certainly, but it does mean at least that one man and one woman are sealed together by the power of the holy priesthood and by the sealing approval of the Holy Ghost for time and for all eternity, and then that they keep their covenants, before they will be candidates for the highest degree of celestial glory, and unto them only of all these groups of our Father’s children is the promise made of endless or eternal increase.�

    – Melvin J. Ballard, “The Three Degrees of Gloryâ€?, Discourse in Ogden Tabernacle, 22 Sept 1922, p. 10. PDF scan of full text’s original publication available here.

  116. Confused and Dismayed on May 11, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Re Post #93.

    From the interview with Hinkley is the following quote from the link:

    “PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY:
    I condemn it yes, as a practice, because I think that it is not doctrinal, it is not legal and this Church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring obeying and sustaining the law.”

    M&M – Let’s see you try some mental and verbal gymnastics in explaining this one. You have previously asserted that polygamy was a divinely and prophetically restored law and doctrinal principle. But now the current prophet has stated that “it is not doctrinal.” So which is it? Do you believe the current latter day prophet or the one who revealed the principle initially?

    The problem is that as much as we may wince at the bad press and PR damage we get when the FLDS gets media attention, I don’t think we are being intellectually honest when we say we don’t believe polygamy anymore. Yes the orthodox body of the LDS Church doesn’t practice it (on Earth) today, but the principle is sanctioned in scripture in D&C 132 and it will still be in force in the eternities for some (or perhaps maybe all???). We believe that Joseph, Brigham and others will live eternally with all of their temple sealed wives as will Abraham and other Biblical prophets, etc. And anyone today will inherit multiple wives if they are married for time and eternity today in succession (ie first wife dies, then the male remarries for eternity with the next wife).

    So as much as we want to distance ourselves from the FLDS – the reality is we still embrace the principle today. Maybe that’s one reason why we don’t talk about Heavenly Mother…because we don’t know if it’s singular or plural by our own doctrinal ramifications.

    I think this would cause many people’s head to spin (regarding the LDS Church) if we were being honest with what we really believe about plural marriage. So Joseph was commanded by an angel with a flaming sword to restore this principle, but I don’t think we give full disclosure to new members that they have to accept this principle as well when they enter the waters of baptism….

  117. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Kimball, I guess Aleyth is as good as anything. I did a search a few hours back of Teaneck, New Jersey. It looks to be a real center of religious pluralism. There’s a Baha’i faith center, a whole spectrum of synagogues (including the Jewish Conversion Center), and even a masjid. It’s opened up my admittedly prejudiced – I admit to this prejudice as preconception – view of New Jersey. It’s what I get for listening for watching that Gotti show.

    Hoseah? I would imagine the fitting the masseuse under the heading of a concubine – if that’s what you’re aiming at – would be a difficult proposition. Foremost because I’m assuming they are non-Jewish. Even an indulgent rabbi would have to declare that going to a masseuse for anything but a massage was infidelity.

  118. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    Ah but would a concubine — not fully a wife — need be Jewish? As the talmudic reasoning specifically gives it as one of the 613 mitzvot, with regard a captive who succumbs to having sex with a member of the covenant/ i.e., becomes his concubine, to give this individual her freedom.

  119. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Well, as Hoseah (as you know, considered a quite early prophetic book) writes presumably allegorically of Jehovah’s having commanded him to marry a fertility priestess?

  120. Aletheia on May 11, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    Well, my friend put it in (the Jewishness of the concubine) as a stipulation in his discussion. Seems concubinage as a third term depends on reaching a mutual agreement and not on captive taking.

    Thanks for the reminder on Hoseah. Have to go back too the prophets.

  121. Kimball L. Hunt on May 11, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Deuteronomy 21
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    11 and seest among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife;
    12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
    13 and she shall put the raimant of her captivity off off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother* a full month; and after that thou mayest go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
    14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her.
    _____
    |[*(her parents' not having been spared)]|

    ============================
    I should get my friend to talk of this particular customer of hers to me somehow; as actually it’s one specific individual I’m thinking of here — and as she’s discreetly, in a very roundabout way, made mention of how he talks much about his religion and customs to her. And, if I were to exaggerate what she would tell me and change names & events around, her experiences with him could conceivably make a fascinating portion of a screen play? Hmm — ! lol.

  122. Tatiana on May 11, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    Well, since Joseph also took women to wife who were already married to other men, I think I have to conclude that polyandry is as much an eternal principle as the seemingly more popular polygyny.

    I personally believe both are divine principles, just not to be practiced right now on earth.

    I find it interesting that more men than women are okay with polygamy. Does this also apply to polyandry? What would the men here feel about sharing their wife with co-husbands? Women, would you want to have more than one husband? Personally, I feel it would truly work. (I would not consider it unless it were sanctioned by the church, though.)

  123. Joan Hildebrand on May 11, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    I’m reading a book that I can’t put down, explains it all and is written by someone who lived the life.
    Daughter of Saints by Dorothy Solomon

  124. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Confused and Dismayed,
    I just realized that I missed a post earlier on that deserved an answer. I will get to that in a minute. But first, you said:

    M&M – Let’s see you try some mental and verbal gymnastics in explaining this one. You have previously asserted that polygamy was a divinely and prophetically restored law and doctrinal principle. But now the current prophet has stated that “it is not doctrinal.â€? So which is it? Do you believe the current latter day prophet or the one who revealed the principle initially?

    I went back through my posts and didn’t see where I said it was doctrine, although I did use the scripture about understanding doctrine — and that could apply to doctrine behind a principle. Since we don’t really know how things will be in the next life, I am more comfortable calling polygamy a practice (and I should have been more clear about that — sorry). I am perfectly comfortable saying that practice can change, and thus I have no problem with the above. Which really ties into your other question from earlier in the discussion:

    If plural marriage were re-instituted tomorrow by Hinckley (by divine mandate), would you
    1) live this law tomorrow?
    2) be happy living the law?

    I have to say that, although it would not be easy, if I truly believed it was a divine mandate, I would follow it as I know my husband would. It is not a comfortable concept for almost everyone, myself included. But I believe in the doctrine of continuing revelation, and I would seek for the understanding that I believe God can give to those who strive to obey His will. This is not something, however, that I would jump up and down about (that is an understatement). I hardly know someone who would. That is a good thing, since we would be in trouble if we practiced it today. :) I’m not sure there is need to be so dismayed. We should be grateful for the faith of the early Saints who were required to enter into this practice. And we can be grateful we are not asked to. :) But I think the right answer is just to be willing to do whatever God commands. And his commands for His people as a people (as a whole) always come through His prophets.

  125. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 12:12 am

    but I don’t think we give full disclosure to new members that they have to accept this principle as well when they enter the waters of baptism….

    Since we don’t have a full understanding of this principle, what would such “disclosure” accomplish? We can’t even agree about what will happen in the next life among this small group here. What matters when someone gets baptized is that the person has a testimony of the Savior; of the plan of salvation; of the divine, prophetic calling of Joseph Smith; of the veracity of the Book of Mormon; and that the Church is true and living. None of us has a full grasp on all the “extra” stuff, and frankly, that is not necessary for us to completely understand. Thank goodness, because if it is, we are all failing miserably! :) Line upon line, precept upon precept.

  126. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 1:02 am

    Either way, what do you make of this quote from the talk Justin linked? “but every woman who chooses can be an honored wife and move in society in the enjoyment of every right which woman should enjoy to make her the equal of man as far as she can be his equal.� [emphasis mine]

    Starfoxy, I am not sure how to address this for three reasons. 1. Because I don’t really understand what Pres. Cannon meant by that (he may have had views or understanding that were not complete (maybe he didn’t know how things will play out in the next life (none of us does, really!), or we may not understand the spirit of what he is saying…I think we ought not read too much into it); 2. Because I care very little about what he said when our current prophets believe in what our prophets say today about men and women being equal before God (and equally important in His plan) — both male and female have the possibility to be exalted as God is — and if we have that, what more can we want? BUT, 3) I don’t think I see “equality” in the same way you do. I hear you saying “polygamy could be ok only if polygyny is ok.” I do not hold to the notion that everything has to be checklist-like equal in order to be OK If only polygamy and not polygyny were practiced in the next life, I would be OK with that because I trust explictly in God’s fairness and justice and love for His daughters and sons, and I also know that I will have a clearer vision than I do now. If I hold God to being just and fair and equal in this life, I am holding Him to an unfair standard because this life is not designed to be perfectly fair and equal and just. Similarly, if I expect what I think is fair and just and equal with my limited mortal mind to be applied to the next life, then I am trying to impose imperfection on a perfect and perfectly loving Being, and that gets me nowhere. I am content to let things like this go until we receive more revelation on them or until I no longer see through a glass darkly. I truly see no other way to deal with the specifics with things like this, because it is generally beyond our mortal sphere and ability to comprehend the life God has waiting for us. All I know is that it will be the best of the best He has to offer if I am faithful. And that is enough for me.

    As a general comment, I tend to think that, at some point, the best approach is Alma’s approach when he talked to his son, Corianton (who was worried about some points of doctrine). Alma simply said about those fuzzy points: “It mattereth not.” And I think one of his final points is salient: “And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” What I need to worry most about, rather than troubling myself over things I can’t yet understand, is whether I am on the path to receive “all the Father hath.” My job is to be as faithful as I can, to try to be like and rely on the Savior, and let Him take care of the rest! And that means trusting in His perfect love and perfect plan for those who are faithful. We have to trust that He really will work things out in a way that will be good and right and wonderful. If I didn’t trust in that, I would go nuts! :)

  127. Juliann on May 12, 2006 at 2:21 am

    I think this would cause many people’s head to spin (regarding the LDS Church) if we were being honest with what we really believe about plural marriage. So Joseph was commanded by an angel with a flaming sword to restore this principle, but I don’t think we give full disclosure to new members that they have to accept this principle as well when they enter the waters of baptism….
    ———————
    We do? Since when? It was not practiced by the majority of members even when it was being preached. When someone can give a definitive definition of marriage in the eternities debates about who is participating might make sense. As far as I can see…almost everything that constitutes “marriage” as we know it will pass away. Unless you believe that eternal life is supposed to be a honeymoon cottage with your honey I don’t get the angst. Is heaven going to be just more exclusive family groups that favor some and keep others at bay? Can God be God and love someone more and others less? Are we even going to have hormones? If so…will women get their fair share or will men have less? How exactly will childbirth work in a realm that is supposed to be bloodless and painless? Is anyone seriously suggesting that women will have bulging bellies for eternity? Or is it just as likely that creation is active *creation* instead of passive incubating? Could the polyandry not signal that we are going to be in groups not couples? If we are forming groups to accomplish creation will the gender of those who constitute the group even matter as long as the necessary elements are there? In other words…how productive is it to construct an eternity on a situation that is almost exclusively controlled by our mortal bodies and the state?

  128. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 3:22 am

    I agree completely with what Not Ophelia said about Elder Oaks. It is just church policy that allows men to be sealed to more than one woman sequentially.

    I completely understand that this is your opinion, but Elder Oaks made it clear that his second wife is his “eternal companion.” He was married to his first wife until age 66, which means he raised his family with her. I hardly think it possible that in saying Kristen is his eternal companion that June is now not. So, what I heard him saying is that he will somehow have them both as eternal companions. I don’t pretend to know how things will work, but I am finding it hard to be convinced that this concept is simply a matter of “church policy.” Don’t you think Elder Oaks might know a little about how sealings might work? Don’t you think it’s interesting that he didn’t just say that Kristen is his wife, but his eternal companion? You might think now I’m the one reading too much into this, but it did stick with me enough to remember it four years later. And my husband noticed it, too. Again, I’m not saying this is all warm and fuzzy to me, because it’s not…I don’t understand how it will all work, and it’s not comfortable because I don’t know what things will be like. But I think we need to at lesat consider that there might be some aspect of this that shows up in the next life. But, again, we can know without doubt that it will not be anything that isn’t good and right and wonderful, because that would go against God’s promises. Again, in a sense, “it mattereth not.”

  129. Whut the on May 12, 2006 at 3:26 am

    If the Church is going to sell itself on “forever families”, it had better define what, exactly, that means. It’s disingenous to indoctrinate little girls and boys with “I always want to be with me own family” and hook converts with “don’t you want to live with your wife forever?” when no-one apparently knows what the case is after death.

    How, exactly, is the Church any different than any other Church in a knowledge of the Afterlife? The only difference is that it pretends to know, its leaders claim they (and maybe only they?) will have the two or more wives they married (eg Oaks) and they charge 10 percent to let you into the temple to do ordinances that don’t make sense and do nothing to inform who’s *really* sealed to whom in the next life.

  130. Whut the on May 12, 2006 at 3:38 am

    At least other churches claim everyone will be together in heaven and there are no hoops to jump through! God is not the author of confusion, but the sealing doctrine is one of the most confusing of all…

  131. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 4:06 am

    Starfoxy,
    I think I need to clarify something. Let’s say I live for a long time, buy my husband passes away on our 12th anniversary. I have no confidence in my ability to be a single parent, nor to live without someone (an adult!) by my side for the duration of my life. I would indeed struggle intensely with the idea that, if I remarry, it would be for time. That might mean I might miss a chance to remarry if I met someone who had not been married and didn’t want to “take a chance” marrying me and not for eternity. I would struggle wondering how things would all work out. I do not want you to think (as I tend to sometimes oversimplify my views) that I have no understanding for the inconsistencies you see in the church policies on this subject. I do not mean to gloss over that and say I don’t care or think about that. What I was trying to say is that what does get me through such tough issues is an absolute faith in God’s love for me and in His perfect justice, mercy and promises of eternal happiness. So I choose to shelve the mortal concerns (not saying that’s an easy thing) and trust that He will make everything all right. I know that may sound like a copout to some, but what else can we do, really? Anyway, just wanted to try to communicate that I am not blithely going along with no concerns or questions or understanding. I understand and relate to more than I think I communicated about what you have been saying. Hope that made sense…it’s late…..

  132. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 4:12 am

    when no-one apparently knows what the case is after death.

    I don’t think that is completely true. We are told we will have family relationships continuing after death. I think there is ample teaching that this can be person-specific (I fully expect to be with my husband after this life, provided we are faithful).

    How, exactly, is the Church any different than any other Church in a knowledge of the Afterlife?

    There is no simple “heaven and hell” picture; there are three degrees of glory (which means even the “bad guys” will have a degree of glory, because of the Savior’s atonement and because of the choices made in the premortal life (which got us all here in the first place); there is a judgment, but it will come after everyone is resurrected with a perfected body. These alone are significant and specific teachings, are they not?

  133. Whut the on May 12, 2006 at 7:29 am

    Okay…maybe I should have been more specific, but given the context of my post, it should have read “How, exactly, is the Church any different than any Church in a knowledge of the Afterlife and our relationships with those we love/our family members?”

    Actually, with this new, expanded queestion, the answer becomes even more absurd. We tell potential converts they have the hope of being with their families forever if they join the Church, but don’t show them the fine print of the trillions of things they’ll need to do to accomplish this. If little Billy learns about Forever Families in Primary but it turns out that he is gay and he later chooses to have a loving partner and raise kids with him, Forever Families (TM) somehow just doesn’t apply to him. In fact, Forever Families (TM) just doesn’t apply or even appeal to a lot of people, alive or dead. All the combinations of marriages/divorces/people living together/children born of one night stands, etc. makes for a very complicated family relationship mess. Does every righteous sealed couple even *want* to be together in the eternities? There’s another tough question.

    Some members believe they will get to choose new spouses after this life. Others feel they’ll be eternally married to all of the spouses they were sealed to in life and/or after death. Yet others feel that even if they choose to marry outside of the temple, since Heavenly Father is merciful, they’ll be able to be sealed to their non-member spouse regardless. Regardless of what past prophets have said, every member believes what he/she wants to believe and what makes him/her feel good about him/herself and his/her relationship. The alternative is to fret and worry about the afterlife and be concerned about being good enough to merit an eternal family in the afterlife.

    It seems that nowadays, true doctrine is whatever you want to believe. I miss the days when prophets unequivocably stated what the will of the Lord was concerning our people: President Kimball said “the heavens are closed (i.e. the highest level of the CK” to people who wilfully chose to marry outside of the temple when they should have either never married or waited to find a temple worthy spouse. In today’s world of political correctness, hurt feelings, and a global church of fractured families (part-member or non-marrieds/divorced), the leadership does not want to make any such pronouncements. So the Church is a touchy-feely make-it-up as you go along/whatever you want the CK to look like is right kind of operation. Why bother with temples? Why bother?

  134. Starfoxy on May 12, 2006 at 11:37 am

    M&M,
    1. Because I don’t really understand what Pres. Cannon meant by that (he may have had views or understanding that were not complete (maybe he didn’t know how things will play out in the next life (none of us does, really!), or we may not understand the spirit of what he is saying…I think we ought not read too much into it);
    This is exactly what we’ve been saying. You’re willing to use this logic to discount what he said about women’s inequality, while I’m willing to use it to discount what he said about polygamy being an eternal divine principle. In fact, I’m willing to say that what he said about women’s inequality serves to show that he did have incomplete understanding, and that his incomplete understanding about women’s worth colored his understanding about the importance of polygamy. He was saying that polygamy is great for women (and at the time it may have been) but the joys of polygamy are contingent on an imperfect world that treats women poorly. It appears that he thought that the and inferior state of women was eternal, therefore polygamy must be eternal because it serves to lift up inferior women by letting them be married. We now know that women are not inferior, and don’t need to be ‘lifted up’ by polygamy in the eternities the way they did then.

    3) I don’t think I see “equality� in the same way you do. I hear you saying “polygamy could be ok only if polygyny is ok.� I do not hold to the notion that everything has to be checklist-like equal in order to be OK
    I think Julie said it best back at the beginning of the thread. I don’t think it is asking for checklist-like equality to require that the most fundamental and important relationship we have now and in the eternities be one of similar reciprocity. The single minded devotion of many wives cannot be reciprocated by a single man. If you will insist that man’s devotion can be reciprocated, then it stands to reason that (men and women being equal) a woman could have singular devotion to many men.
    I don’t think there will be either polygamy or polyandry, but if you will use any logic to convince me that there will be polygamy then you must admit that all of that logic could be equally applied to polyandry. If logic demands one, then it must demand the other as well. If you will use the words of the prophet to convince me then you must show that the words of those prophets were not colored by the misogyny of their times. Nearly all the words of the prophets in regards to polygamy are surrounded by words of unconcious misogyny.
    And here is our breaking point, I believe that the policy of the church that allows men (like Elder Oaks) to be sealed to more than one woman is a relic of a practice that was incorrectly understood to be eternal. Church policy has not yet changed, but I believe that it will eventually change. It will either change to allow polyandrous eternal sealings, or will be changed to disallow polygamous eternal sealings. It appears that you believe that the policy of allowing polygamous sealings is indicative of polygamy’s (not polyandry’s) eternal nature. And that belief that the policies of the church could be doctrinally incorrect is an incorrect belief that could be settled with more faith in the words of the prophets. I believe that the institutional inertia of the church prevents such policies changing at the same rate that the understandings of the prophets and people could change (the logisitics of changing such a policy are a nightmare). Furthermore to maintain consistencies the prophets must, at times, match their words to the policies. I don’t think that the allowing of polygamous sealings does any real harm (other than worrying nitpickers like us) because it will all be worked out anyways.
    I’m glad your belief on this is more nuanced then you let on. You’ll probably be glad to know that my belief is much more trusting than I let on (ie, I might be willing to admit that our mortal understanding could be so out of whack that polygamy could be eternal, fair, and make me very happy, and all my thoughts on it are going through a dark glass). Either way, these discussions wouldn’t be nearly so enjoyable if we didn’t become stereotypical characatures of ourselves. :)

  135. Brad Kramer on May 12, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Even if GQC is right about polygamy (but not polyandry) being an eternal principle, his misogyny could still be errant (which I think we can all agree it is). I’ve always understood that individual faithfulness qualifies one for entrance into the celestial kingdom, that sealed marriage qualifies one for its higheest degree, that, on at least some level, polygamy will be practiced in the celestial kingdom, and that that means that more women than men will qualify on individual merit for celestial glory. Polygamy, as an eternal principle, is, to me, a testament of the inherent (in the eternal sense) superiority rather than inferiority of women. Polygamy–not polyandry–balances the equation that values both individual merit and marital bonds in a universe where one gender (female) is more inately righteous than the other. Does any sentient person really need convincing that men are the weaker (in the sense of personal righteousness, ability to overcome sin, temptation, etc.) gender?

  136. Starfoxy on May 12, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Brad, You cannot convince me that men are weaker. I refuse to believe it. And furthermore I will not stand for it when men and boys say they can’t help themselves and that women are just better than they are. It’s a weak excuse to justify not taking responsiblity for bad behavior. As for the endless examples of how women act better than men all the time, I think that is a direct result of misogyny.
    On the other hand, I am completely bewildered about how polygamy is an eternal testament of the inherent superiority of women. I’ve tried to think of how that works out and I just don’t see it. Could you explain the thought process that got you to that conclusion?

  137. Juliann on May 12, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Polygamy–not polyandry–balances the equation that values both individual merit and marital bonds in a universe where one gender (female) is more inately righteous than the other. Does any sentient person really need convincing that men are the weaker (in the sense of personal righteousness, ability to overcome sin, temptation, etc.) gender?
    —————-
    What is the difference in saying women are less “intelligent”? I’ve noted that the righteousness platitude is usually given as a condolence prize when women weren’t quite seen as equals in the stuff that really mattered…it comes off as patronizing and insulting to men. I have yet to see anyone explain where all of the women are going to come from. To create a celestial kingdom of multiple wives is to create a celestial kingdom almost devoid of men. That means we will be exalted because of gender and little else. And anyone who thinks that an eternity constituted of a few lucky men and billions of women is going to be run like the Lion House is out of their mind. It will be a matriarchy.

  138. Juliann on May 12, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Actually, with this new, expanded queestion, the answer becomes even more absurd. We tell potential converts they have the hope of being with their families forever if they join the Church, but don’t show them the fine print of the trillions of things they’ll need to do to accomplish this.
    —————————–
    One of the most consistent things in prophetic statements is the promise that the “children will return”. All it takes is someone to be the righteous sealing link in the chain of saviors. It seems like an oxymoron in a religion that emphasizes works but paradox is what makes religion compelling.

    Boyd K. Packer, “Our Moral Environment,� Ensign, May 1992, 66

    The measure of our success as parents, however, will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.
    It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
    It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled.
    “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.� (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, p. 110.)
    We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them. President Brigham Young said:
    “Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.� (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., 2:90-91.)

  139. manaen on May 12, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    135 & 136.

    RE: Polygamy’s expected result that more women will be in CK than men indicates that women are innately superior/more righteous/just better than men. This logic is not compelling.

    Did you know that brown horses eat more hay worldwide than white horses eat? They aren’t hungrier, there’s just more of them.

    Maybe the final celestial score doesn’t indicate which sex is superior, but only which has more members. It’s even possible that a lower ratio of more-numerous women results in a higher tally than does a higher ratio of less-numerous men. Who would be superior then?

    I do NOT propose to know the answer — my personal supposition is that the true answer to which is better; women or men, would be: “no.” I tend to wonder whether the answer is in Christ’s intercessory prayer (Jn 17), in which He speaks of “oneness” and in Paul’s statement that, “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord” (1 Co 11:11) and in Erastus Snow’s comment that, “There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female.” (JD 19:272). Maybe our goal is to be Elder Snow’s “component parts,” each to “act well your part” (DOM) with your agency, in the greatest realization of our potential: deity. Maybe this is why the Church’s basic unit is the family and not the individual.

  140. manaen on May 12, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    138.
    Juliann, thanks for the quotation from Elder Packer. My ex had her and our children’s names removed from the Church’s rolls. I’m working on refellowshipment. Our still-intact sealing is the one tenuous thread upon which I base my hopes to recover my children. I’ve found comfort in the Whitney quote, but was unaware of BY’s comment. Thanks for sharing it!

  141. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Well, I just wrote a post and it got eaten up somewhere in cyberspace.

    Vocabulary is not one of my strong points. I realized I was using the word polygyny when it should have been polyandry. Thanks for reading what I meant and not what I said.

    Starfoxy, is it possible that Pres. Cannon knew the practice was divine, and tried to use logic to back it up? I think sometimes we can try to explain things logically that we know spiritually, and it comes out not quite explaining things in a way that does justice to the spiritual principle. I wonder if that is what we might be seeing. And I think he did his best with what he knew. But any faulty logic presented on a spiritual principle does not necessarily negate the truth of the principle. It just reveals the humanness of a person trying to explain something.

    You all might be interested in something that is on today’s Newsroom site at lds.org.
    http://www.lds.org/newsroom/mistakes/0,15331,3885-1,00.html
    This has corrections to news stories about various topics on the sidebar, and the particular story is about corrections to faulty reporting re: Warren Jeffs and all of that. There is also a history link about 2/3 down the page that includes the following:

    “Polygamy…the marriage of more than one woman to the same man — was an important part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a half century.” [Doesn't look like the leaders will be renouncing this historical practice anytime soon]. While clarifying that it is completely not allowed now, the website states that “”It’s important for today’s observers to understand that leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not apologize for the historical practice of plural marriage,” Turley says. “It is viewed as a commandment of God for that period of time. Now that the commandment is no longer in force, Church leaders speak out against the practice….”

    I also found this interesting…
    “Faced with official government opposition and an unrelenting anti-polygamy campaign, many Latter-day Saint plural wives surprised women in eastern states, who had equated plural marriage with the oppression of women, by publicly demonstrating in favor of their right to live plural marriage as a religious principle.
    “In January 1870, thousands of women gathered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle to manifest their displeasure and protest against anti-polygamy laws. Turley says they called it ‘the Great Indignation Meeting.’”

    I wish we could talk to our sisters who were there and let THEM give us some perspective. It is so hard to understand this ancient and then 19th-century practice in 21st century modes of thinking!

  142. Allie Sanders on May 12, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    I really love your blog! So smart and sophisticated! I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments!
    Remind me a lot of my visit to BYU (run by LDS) to see Gladys Knight’s concert. Here, found some info about this event on some gym floor cover site – http://www.covermaster.net/success.html.
    Anyway, we had numerous discussions about polygamy with my friend and at the end we both agree that as God’s children we cannot be judgemental to each other.
    That you for the great thoughts in your blog! Allie.

  143. Aletheia on May 12, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Perhaps it owes something to Anderson Cooper and the fact that media coverage tends to come in waves. In any case, the L.A. Times has an article appearing today on Warren Jeff’s FLDS and the polygamists in Colorado City/Hilldale. Pretty harrowing accusations.

  144. Rsummer on May 12, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    I am a conservative Christian who is very unfamiliar with Morman beliefs and history. I have never met a mormon. I have been educating myself recently as I have been looking at all the likely presidential candidates and Mitt Romney might run.
    I must say I am astonished by what I have been reading. I assumed Mormons no longer practiced polygamy because it is a sin, now I see its not a sin, its just not lawful.
    As for Romney, definantly no. I’ve seen him joke about multiple wives and its so not funny anymore. I feel sick.

  145. Whut the on May 12, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    How does the idea that all parents who are sealed and live righteously will never (spiritually) lose a child even make sense?

    Does this go for only parents who were sealed in this life, the first time (marriage) around? Children born out of the covenant to parents later sealed? Couples sealed posthumously? If really doesn’t work on any level, except to placate and mollify or comfort parents who grieve a “wayward” loved one.

    It seems to me that a “not one sould shall be lost” idea is anithetical to free agency.

  146. Whut the on May 12, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    It’s also related to magical thinking and/or superstition.

  147. Kimball L. Hunt on May 12, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    Rsummer: Just say no to drugs — and Mitt Romney. Just kidding. (Sort of. I mean, I respect whatever your political decision while I nonetheless was raised to not believe polygamy to be in its essence particularly onerous — )

  148. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 12, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Rsummer,
    Before you dismiss us completely, please try to learn a little more about what our basic beliefs are. This particular thread probably sounds simply wacky, but, believe it or not, we are pretty normal people. :) Seriously, you might get a better overall view of us by going to http://www.mormons.org. Polygamy IS a sin for us today. Please don’t let this discussion be something that throws you. At least find out what our basic beliefs are so you don’t feel so sick. :) And remember that a site like this is designed to let us all blabber away about whatever we think about stuff…not to be any representation of official viewpoints of our church. (The thought that you might even consider anything here as a complete or accurate representation of our church (since, again, we are bantering back and forth more than anything) makes ME feel sick!)
    Godspeed to you….

  149. Aletheia on May 12, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Rsummer,

    As one of the non-Mormon contributors to this board, I feel I have to respond and hope that my response can gain a hearing without the handicap of being interpreted as apology. I think you’d be making a very bad choice if you based your decision to vote or not vote for Romney on his church affiliation and, especially, on the really varied discussion around polygamy on offer on this thread. Besides the fact that Romney is definitely not a polygamist and that the LDS Church disavows polygamy, I think that applying a religious litmus test to Romney, at best, misses evaluating him realistically as a potentially conscientious and able officeholder (with whom you’d have alot in common) and, at worst, rejects him out of hand on the basis of the same kind of religious prejudice that beleagured Catholics before and during JFK’s candidacy. Although I think it’s obvious, let me repeat that you can be a capable and moral politician as a Mormon (as well as the opposite); You really need to pursue a process of political and not religious discernment here. So, I hope you consider Romney on the merits of his platform and his character as a politician rather than on his church affiliation. I’ll even promise to do the same when the next Evangelical candidate despite religious differences when he or she comes up for election in my district.

  150. Juliann on May 12, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    Manean: Maybe our goal is to be Elder Snow’s “component parts,� each to “act well your part� (DOM) with your agency, in the greatest realization of our potential: deity. Maybe this is why the Church’s basic unit is the family and not the individual.
    ———————-

    Exactly. M. Catherine Thomas wrote a piece for the Book of Mormon Lecture series. If you subscribe to FARMS it is here: http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=43

    “God has fulfilled His promises to us, and our prospects are grand and glorious. Yes, in the next life we will have our wives, and our sons and daughters. If we do not get them all at once, we will have them some time, for every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ. You that are mourning about your children straying away will have your sons and your daughters. If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. . . . Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity.” [Lorenzo Snow in Brian H. Stuy, comp. and ed., Collected Discourses (Burbank, Calif.: B. H. S. Publishing, 1989), 3:364]

    It is my understanding that the very point of mortality is to imitate Christ, “…you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory.” Somehow this seems more to the point than quibbling over wives and husbands and limiting eternity to our mortal desires and dim understanding of how family will be organized to accomplish eternal plans of salvation. All I know is that heaven will be HEAVENLY.

  151. Rsummer on May 12, 2006 at 10:34 pm

    I will keep an open mind. But I am starting to see that polygamy is an evil form of spousal and child abuse. Not funny at all. And all week I’ve been seeing that creepy polygamist, who is wanted by the FBI, on TV. And Romney can joke about polygamy. He should know better.
    I would add that a lot of people will vote for him based on his religion. And a lot will vote against him based on his religion. Same thing I think.
    Aletheia, I am not an Evangelical Christian, as in the Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell kind of Christian. I don’t even know what religion my Senators or Governor belong to. It doesn’t matter to me. But I would say President is a bit different.
    All that being said I respect most people and their Faith, be they Jewish, Catholic, Christian, etc. etc. (Except Islam). I think thats the worst religion out there.

  152. Rsummer on May 12, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    I should have said Extremist Islam, whatever thats called.

  153. Kimball L. Hunt on May 12, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    la ilaha ill-allah wa anna Muhammadar rasul allah

  154. Juliann on May 12, 2006 at 10:58 pm

    I will keep an open mind. But I am starting to see that polygamy is an evil form of spousal and child abuse. Not funny at all.
    ——————–
    An open mind will require you to realize that the same thing could be said about monogamy….MUCH more abuse has been done there. If people are committing crimes they need to be held accountable for the crimes not their living arrangements…unless we want to have a single standard and treat all adulterers equally. I think Christians need to clean up their own backyard before they start peering over their neighbor’s fence. The Christian divorce rate and acceptance of serial polygamy is scandalous.

  155. sweet on May 12, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    I think Juliann meant serial monogamy.

    If abuse is more common in monogamous relationships, it is only because monogamy itself is more common. Isn’t this obvious?

  156. Aletheia on May 13, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Rsummer,

    If Romney jokes about polygamy (And, by the way, what did he say and on what venue?), I’d say he’s trying to make light of what is one of the few (and stereotypical and inaccurate) ideas that a large segment of the American population has about Mormonism (along with the ability to identify missionaries by their white shirts and some idea that Joseph Smith was a prophet). When every show from Scarlborough Counry to daytime CNN presents Romney’s Mormonism as a problem and a political liability by formulating questions like, “Now, Steve, don’t you think Romney being Mormon is going to be a serious political liability as he tries to appeal to the conservative Christian base of the party?”, and preceding to a discussion around it, Romney has to adopt some strategy that will allow him to rebut false attributions (“He’s a polygamist like the rest of them”) in a 5-minute period that doesn’t allow him to go into historical and theological depth. That said, Romney is monogamous as are all members of the Mormon Church. Some Mormons have taken a series of approaches to the historical fact of polygamy, to its possible meanings as theology and theosis, to its inherent value or attendant evils on this board. You’d find it hard to pin down a one-size fits all outlook on the issue. What’s for sure is that you can’t make an easy identification between those Mormons here or those Mormons you’d meet out in the day-to-day world with Warren Jeffs and his communities (see L.A. Times article for a voyeuristic account) or the Kingstons or whatever debased polygamist makes it on the news report.

    That said, as for myself, I don’t really need or want to know about the religious affiliation of my president or any other political officeholder. I think the specifics of a president’s political convictions are largely irrelevant for the setting of policy and the identification of religion and political party dangerous and onerous. What I find especially distasteful, however, is when holders of high office take action in God’s name or make an appeal to the divinity for justification. It gives me the feeling of being in front of that Pharisee from Christ’s parable who went into the temple, declaring his own righteousness while disparaging another for his sinfulness, and left with his prayer answered (or answered only by his own self-righteous display). Not only that, with all the Biblical warnings about how difficult it is for the rich and the powerful to be close to God, I am doubtful that the president has regular, much less privileged, access to the divine. If he did, he’d soon learn the first lesson of humility. Given Bush’s and Clinton’s (and the list goes on) public and private sins, I have even more trouble believing they have the type of relationship with God that would allow them to declare and follow his will in a public manner (although they may have the same insight as all us sinners).

    Anyhow, I wasn’t using the Evangelical label in any specific or disparaging sense. By using it, I wasn’t putting you among the Falwells, Swaggerts or Robertsons of the world. For me, an Evangelical is any member of a series of low church groups that have a body of doctrines and practices more or less in common – movement of the spirit, decentralized church hierarchies, strong belief in the Bible (sola scriptura), de-liturgized worship services, historical relationships with revivalist Methodism, Pentecostalism, etc. The most common and easy way I can recognize an Evangelical is that they call themselves Christians (without declaring themselves to be, say, Methodists or Lutherans or Catholics somewhere in there) and by their asking me if I’ve been saved or received Jesus in my heart. I have serious doctrinal differences with Evangelicals and my Church has some serious tensions with them at times but the term is a wide and non-disparaging one in the way I use it.

  157. Aletheia on May 13, 2006 at 12:06 am

    Anyhow, what happened to Carol? Have we so severely threadjacked that she’s uncomfortable jumping in?

  158. not ophelia on May 13, 2006 at 12:30 am

    How does the idea that all parents who are sealed and live righteously will never (spiritually) lose a child even make sense?

    Are you sure they [i.e. early church leaders] weren’t talking about the other meaning of ‘sealing’, i.e. sealed up unto eternal life/calling and election made sure. I believe this was how the term ‘sealing’ was used in the early church. And that sort of sealing is something not many of us get a chance at these days.

    N.O.

  159. Jay Beswick on May 13, 2006 at 12:58 am

    Interesting site, you might try reading some of the FLDS theology to understand what the press or media is using as their spring board into the “principle” or “work”. FLDS books such as “In Light and Truth” or “Priesthood Succesion” or “Priesthood Articles” reference many sermons and discourses incommon with the mainstream church. Warren Jeffs, along with his father was prolific and has published several dozen hardback books. In addition the press or media has accessed several of the audio cassettes that Warren has produced. I have 550 of these, but have no idea how many actually exist. The theology in common shouldn’t be to alarming, considering the roots in common, but I highly recommend reading these before getting in any heated debates.

  160. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 1:16 am

    Well, if the early church leaders were talking about the “other” meaning, the modern church leaders should not have included that doctrine in General Conference a few years ago and given people false hope, or else they should have clarified that the two “sealings” are different.

    As it stands, sealings are meaningless.

  161. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 1:58 am

    #139
    manaen, in my post that got eaten up in cyberspace, I commented on this awesome comment. I think that sums up things so well. Thanks for sharing.

  162. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 2:12 am

    Re Romney:

    I’d read — on Millennial Star? — people’s saying Mitt should make light of polygamy before he’d even done it — his or someone else in his camp’s having the same idea; but Mitt’s original tack had been to completely ignore religion as an issue, making anyone’s mention of it rather a non sequitor. Which, although I’m no poli sci type, I think’s probably his best bet. I kind of like Mitt but then I generally like overly earnest people and thought Jimmy Carter was simply great. And It’s too bad if people like that aren’t wiley and savvy enough, sometimes, to govern well?

    Aletheia:

    Swaggart rocks, my fave televangelist: down home, tellin’ it like it is! Don’t really care about his habit of masturbating while looking at the “workin’ girls.” But then I think religion’s a kind of art and find him to be a primitive-style natural at it.

  163. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 2:34 am

    Rsummer:

    Topuche` when you said if people can tend to vote for somebody due their religion (/culture /ethnicity), they should certainly also be allowed to tend to vote against ‘em for this reason too! And we all somewhat do, either way (whether this fact’s sad or not!) Smiles.

  164. Aletheia on May 13, 2006 at 2:53 am

    Jimmy Swaggart was a favorite of my mother’s at one time. Some of the shine went away after the 1st scandal. While he was still in disgrace – but following his tearful apology that we remember all so well – he was busted with a prostitute in his car on Indio Blvd. in Indio, California. It just happens to be about a quarter to half a mile from my parents’ home. That one really sent the first scandal home to my mother. That said, she has seen him on more than one occasion giving sermons at churches in the Coachella Valley (where Palm Springs is located for y’all) and said he was still an inspiring preacher. No surprise I guess since, like Jim Bakker (for some, although not me), he had charisma in buckets. Paul and Jan Crouch – whose incredibly tacky TBN headquarters can be seen off the 405 right across from that elite mall complex that is South Coast Plaza – are my pick for entertainment when I land on their station and decide to pause for a while. Jan’s hair is a piece of baroque excess just like the carpet and furnishings; Paul has always reminded me of a henpecked car salesman. If it weren’t for the fact that too many get bilked by the pair, my pleasure is their rascality would be complete.

  165. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 3:06 am

    Lol.

  166. Mark Butler (II) on May 13, 2006 at 3:31 am

    The wayward children returning theory is like the Calvinist doctrine of irresistable grace (the ‘I’ in TULIP) on steroids – it pretty much entails that all, including the sons of perdition, will eventually be saved. After all why should we think the salvation of all our children is guaranteed when the same power does not save one of the best and the brightest of our Heavenly Father’s?

    The idea that Lucifer himself should be saved is a little to Star Wars New-agey for me. Joseph Smith said it truly is a “doctrine of devils” and commanded it should not be taught. (cf. D&C 76:45-48).

    So if we deny that it has the power to affect our spirit children, but just our temporal children, what about Adam and Eve? Cain was both a son of Adam and a son of Perdition? Which rule applies – Joseph Smith’s or Lorenzo Snow’s?

    Or as some have claimed is this promise only given to those of the last dispensation? If so, what is the basis for such dispensational discrimination, and what is the mechanism by which this principle operates? Are we really talking irresistable grace? or perhaps rather perfect foreknowledge? What about the logical contradictions associated with the latter?

    Why is it that God “saves all the works of his hands, except the sons of Perdition” – shouldn’t irresistable grace make it possible to save all the sons and daughters of Adam? Or are all of us born to faithful Latter Day Saint parents just better somehow – all of us, each and every one the elect of God, chosen before our birth, and implicitly sealed up unto life and salvation before we have taken our first breath?

    According to Joseph Smith, the war in heaven was fought over the fact that some (the Sons of Perdition) would not be saved – a third of the hosts of heaven were so afraid of not being saved that they fell by default. That is tragedy. Now if Satan’s plan were actually possible – i.e. all could be saved, we should have just accepted it and we could have saved ourselves a whole lot of trouble, right?

    So why is it that his plan does not work? Is it perhaps that grace is, as the Armininans have it, resistable after all? That our eternal destiny is actually within our hands, not just an inevitable result of seeds cast in stone endless eternities ago? That this life has a purpose – that our salvation stands in the balance – rather than some sort of painful Perseverance of the Saints, the elect of God cast down here to suffer for some reason infinitely beyond our capacity to understand?

  167. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 3:36 am

    Deep. (As always with Butler!)

  168. Juliann on May 13, 2006 at 3:37 am

    I think Juliann meant serial monogamy.

    If abuse is more common in monogamous relationships, it is only because monogamy itself is more common. Isn’t this obvious?
    ——————————
    Yes, I did mean serial monogamy…thanks for the correction. As for abuse…it isn’t the numbers it is the ratio. If the variables were controlled (socio-economics, education, political repression, status of women, etc) I seriously doubt there would be any more abuse in polygamy than monogamy. Today’s horrifying stats on women killed by their husbands certainly aren’t coming from polygamists. And I still don’t understand how a Bible believer can call polygamy a sin and get “sick” over it when their religion was founded on it.

  169. Mark Butler (II) on May 13, 2006 at 3:39 am

    Thank you for the compliment, Kimball.

  170. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 3:48 am

    Whaddya’ll think about what Pres. Faust said recently?

    “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.� 8
    A principle in this statement that is often overlooked is that they must fully repent and “suffer for their sins� and “pay their debt to justice.� I recognize that now is the time “to prepare to meet God.� 9 If the repentance of the wayward children does not happen in this life, is it still possible for the cords of the sealing to be strong enough for them yet to work out their repentance? In the Doctrine and Covenants we are told, “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
    “And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.� 10
    We remember that the prodigal son wasted his inheritance, and when it was all gone he came back to his father’s house. There he was welcomed back into the family, but his inheritance was spent. 11 Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy.

    I think he hits on something that is really important…that perhaps the sealing blessings won’t mean exaltation, but salvation. Exaltation requires more than just what parents have done, according to what Pres. Faust says. I think his point of view adds some more to chew on with regard to the whole wayward children issue.

    What I have seen with this blessing is children coming back in their lifetimes (in my own childhood circle of friends) whom I would never have believed could have come back (in my youthful ignorance, perhaps, but still the comeback stories were pretty stunning).

  171. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 3:53 am

    way back to 109 and 110–
    Just wanted to say thanks for your comments.

  172. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 3:54 am

    OK, one more thing from Pres. Faust:

    Perhaps in this life we are not given to fully understand how enduring the sealing cords of righteous parents are to their children. It may very well be that there are more helpful sources at work than we know. (See John K. Carmack, “When Our Children Go Astray,â€? Ensign, Feb. 1997, 7–13; Liahona, Mar. 1999, 28–37 — references in original). I believe there is a strong familial pull as the influence of beloved ancestors continues with us from the other side of the veil.
    President Howard W. Hunter observed that “repentance is but the homesickness of the soul, and the uninterrupted and watchful care of the parent is the fairest earthly type of the unfailing forgiveness of God.� Is not the family the nearest analogy which the Savior’s mission sought to establish?

  173. Mark Butler (II) on May 13, 2006 at 4:38 am

    M&m, That first part of that quote is from Orson Whitney – President Faust quotes him, but then procedes to deconstruct the passage – showing where it is reasonable to a degree, but definitely *not* giving it an unqualified endorsement. Indeed, I think President Faust quoted it precisely to dispell its undoctrinal impact due to its wide circulation within the Church, rather than to further promote its common (and undoutedly original) interpretation. Sort of the “embrace and revise” strategy of theology.

  174. annegb on May 13, 2006 at 10:42 am

    For those of us who live in southern Utah, where polygamy is a daily reality, well, speaking for us, but if it bothers anybody that I speak for them, sorry, polygamists are basically lazy low lifes who don’t care for their wives or their children. They could have half a wife and they couldn’t support them.

    It’s got nothing to do with religion, or even a choice of lifestyles. It’s all about the white trash weakness.

  175. Blake on May 13, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Annegb: Re. #174. Come on, how well do you really know these people? It seems to me that you are just being judgmental and intolerant — not to mention just plain old prejudiced (e.g., could thay all really be just as you say?). Remember, your judgments tell us more about you than the people that you are judging.

  176. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 11:47 am

    M&M, the “coming back in their lifetimes” still makes no sense when you consider exactly who the people in question are and what their circumstances are. So, I guess this special privelege of “your children will come back the Church whether they like it or not” goes to the favored few who:

    1. Were sealed in the temple
    2. Bore their children in the covenant
    3. Raised their children in the Church
    4. “Lost” their children to inactivity.

    Does this scenario work equally for:

    1. Parents who were civilly married but later got sealed–much later, when the children were growing or grown?

    2. Converts whose children left the church, but who didn’t marry in the temple?

    3. Part-member families where one spouse joins the Church but who WOULD have been sealed only if the husband were on the same page?

    4. People (i.e. eventually everyone who has ever lived or who ever lived) who are sealed posthumously? Will their link magically be restored?

    ___

    The statement by Faust is obviously meant to comfort and placate anguished members who are yearning to make sense out of the sealing doctrines. Increasingly as the Church grows and fewer “whole” families are joining or remaining active, the questions about the veracity of sealings will come up, and all the answers sound circuitous, hollow and ridiculous.

  177. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Yes, Anne, RELIGION can certainly be an addictive weakness — as can blogging. Which is probably why Times & Seasons to me’s probably like crack cocaine to another– ! lol

  178. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    So in other words, polygamy doesn’t matter because there won’t be any (as we know them on earth) marriages in the next life. Sisters like Carol should find a nice non-member to be happy with in this life instead of looking forward to being in a group marriage in the next, with someone else’s husband…

  179. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Glad we settled that one, Whut: Thanks! lol

    PS Carol: I’m available! Smiles. lol

  180. slm on May 13, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    #164, I live precisely one minute from South Coast Plaza and the TBN headquarters. A few years ago Jan’s lavendar hair caught my eye in the mall parking lot. She was walking rather laboriously to her car, as she weighted down with about six shopping bags. When she finally reached her Mercedes, I noticed the Jesus fish attached to the rear. The clashing imagery struck me as ironic and I am still thinking of writing a poem about it some day :)

  181. Aletheia on May 13, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    I always assumed that Paul and Jan made it over to South Coast Plaza given their extremely consumerist lifestyle, the temptations on offer at South Coast (Tiffany’s, Versace, Cartier, you name it) and the oh-so-close proximity of their headquarters to the mall. I’ve been on the lookout when I’ve gone but never had your experience of seeing speculation turn into reality (Why aren’t there more sightings of one or the other of them? I’d think there would be enough to support a whole industry). Anyhow, I compliment you on your ability to pick out errant televangelists at the mall and look forward to the poem if you come around to writing it.

  182. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Is it so difficult to entertain the thought that the sealing ordinance was not originally meant for everyone–probably just for Joseph and his close associates? That it really has nothing to do with who is married to whom in the afterlife.

    Getting everyone to the temple by saying the ordinance is efficacious in maintaining bonds in the afterlife is a great coercive devise, but it has little real-life value, especially given the unique martial/non-marital situations of the trillions of world inhabitants.

    If “everyone gets a degree of glory” anyway, and if people supposedly can visit between kingdoms and levels, what’s the big deal about “being sealed”?

  183. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 6:18 pm

    (Shhh, Whut. That’s supposed to be a secret — )

  184. Rsummer on May 13, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    Aletheia,
    Romneys’ joke is something about Evangelicals and Mormons having similar views on marriage. Evangelicals believe marriage is between one man and a woman and Mormons believe marriage is between one man and a woman, and a woman and a woman and a woman. I can’t recall it word for word but thats the gist of it.
    Last night I watched the 2hr thing about polygamists and Mormons and Warren Jeff on 360. It was very strange. I don’t know of any Mormons living in the part of the USA where I live. I’ve certianly never met any. But seeing those women and children of those FLDS sects and their clothes reminded me of some mennonites where I live. Homemade dresses and the long hair. Kinda weird how they look alike yet they are polar opposites in their beliefs.

  185. Juliann on May 13, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    M&m, That first part of that quote is from Orson Whitney – President Faust quotes him, but then procedes to deconstruct the passage – showing where it is reasonable to a degree, but definitely *not* giving it an unqualified endorsement. Indeed, I think President Faust quoted it precisely to dispell its undoctrinal impact due to its wide circulation within the Church, rather than to further promote its common (and undoutedly original) interpretation. Sort of the “embrace and reviseâ€? strategy of theology.
    —————-

    This is where we get into the perpetual dilemma of dueling apostles. The reason it is so circulated is that it was circulated by apostles…with the help of the Ensign. The only qualifying statement I could find previous to Faust that substituted “salvation” for “exaltation” was JFSmith. Since Mormon theology has never made consistent distinctions in this area (and scripture even less) I don’t find after the fact deconstructions convincing…and Faust even ends with a disclaimer. I have also never understood what the Prodigal Son was supposed to say about anyone but the nasty brother. If we interpret it to mean that what the son lost ultimately matters then we are preaching against the restorative powers of repentence. Anybody remember the discarded metaphor of sin being a nail driven into wood…it can be removed but the hole always remains? That was eventually denounced. A better lesson for this parable would be that *money* isn’t our ultimate goal…being united is.

    Whut the, you can’t have it both ways… a heaven with an IMMENSE family of one mother and father, our current limited families being just a prototype, and then insist that a sealing must mean that our small and limited family units are eternally confined to a mortal condition that will pass away.

  186. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Exactly, Juliann; I’ve been saying that sealings are meaningless. If we’re all one big happy family anyway, there’s no need for them beyond an obedience tactic or setting Mormons apart from other religions (and even barring other religions, even relatives, from weddings as a way of underscoring the differences). The ordinances obviously have no efficiacy in this life or the next.

  187. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    I have also never understood what the Prodigal Son was supposed to say about anyone but the nasty brother. If we interpret it to mean that what the son lost ultimately matters then we are preaching against the restorative powers of repentence.

    Unless repentance works differently in the next life…. (because I think Whitney’s comment, as well as Pres. Faust, were referring to post-mortal returning to the fold).

    I don’t know how we can expect to know exactly how things will play out in each situation, because then we would be taking on the role of Judge, and that’s not our place. I think we should trust, however, in the fact that there are blessings associated with sealings. They are anything but meaningless, even if we don’t understand all of the nuts and bolts of how specifics will work out. That’s just par for the course in mortality. To throw the baby out with the bathwater just because we don’t understand it all is foolish.

  188. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    mullingandmusing: Why don’t you suggest some particularly insightful questions for Logan podcaster brother John Dehlin to ask Grant Palmer in their soon-to-be-recorded interview? [ Link: http://mormonstories.org/?p=90#comment-1559 ]

    Oh! also m&m since you — like Grant? — are especially adept at “popularizing” difficult concepts in a well-conceived presentation & since many of John Dehlin’s podcasts often deal with various Mormons’ mostly unresolved crises of faith, I’d be wondering if you’d consider submitting to being interviewed by John yourself!

  189. Mark Butler (II) on May 13, 2006 at 8:12 pm

    It does not follow from the principle that sealings are not absolute that there are therefore meaningless or of no effect. God’s grace is resistable – he can force no man to heaven. If you take out the absolutism from Orson Whitney’s statement the way Pres. Faust did in his 2002 talk, the rest is very reasonable – not sealing as a binding “cord” but as a binding “power” – an increase in supernal persuasive activity associated with the faithfulness of a parent, if not actually performed by those ancestors themselves – watching over us in a manner not too far distant from the idea of guardian angels. No simple matter of super-erogation, like credits and debits of grace in a balance book, but the increased effort of loving parents, both temporal and heavenly to do everything possible to save their posterity – their first and fundamental responsibility throughout all eternity.

  190. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    189 — Mark, beautifully put.

    188 — Kimball, I’m much too boring of a person to be interviewed. And I don’t think Grant Palmer and I are much alike at all, at least not in some basic, fundamental belief kinds of ways. Unless I have misunderstood what little I know of his point of view, he thinks the Book of Mormon is a made-up story and didn’t seem too thrilled with Joseph Smith, either. (His book has caused people to leave the Church; I want people to stay in the Church.) Not exactly my speed, ya know? :)

  191. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 9:06 pm

    mullingandmusing: OK, lol.

    However, I was solely comparing you to Grant your ability to — popularize? meaning: if Grant’s notoriety is due his popularizing seeming problems in Mormon studies, you yourself seem adept in sort of popularizing a pithy defense of the spirit of the gospel?

  192. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 13, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Kimball, not quite sure what to say except that I’m just someone who is passionate about the gospel. :)

  193. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Well, among the first dozen-plus folks Dehlin has podcasted is convert John Lynch’s three-parter — chairman of the Foundation for Apologetics Information and Research — that I’m gonna give a listen to, too. Smiles.

  194. Juliann on May 13, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Whut: Exactly, Juliann; I’ve been saying that sealings are meaningless. If we’re all one big happy family anyway, there’s no need for them beyond an obedience tactic or setting Mormons apart from other religions (and even barring other religions, even relatives, from weddings as a way of underscoring the differences). The ordinances obviously have no efficiacy in this life or the next.
    ————————-

    Please don’t do the speaking for me. I am not a fan of false dilemmas…nothing I have said or think constitutes any agreement that sealings are “meaningless”.

  195. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    The problem isn’t that the principle of sealings is not absolute. The problem is that the principle is nonsensical. We were given brains, and we should study things out in our minds–especially things that affect lives significantly.

    The opening poster/blogger mentioned that as a single person, she’d be willing to be sealed to a man already married so she could be exalted.

    Only in Mormondom would an intelligent, normal single woman entertain such thoughts, and it’s all because of the teachings we have on sealings. It is not good for man or woman to be alone, and pining away for an afterlife married to someone else’s husband is a direct product of harmful teachings of sealings.

    We have GOT to repudiate foolish teachings so that the mental, emotional and spiritual health of so many of our members can be restored.

  196. hmmm on May 13, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    195–Whut–
    What the heck do you make of Malachi 4:5-6–that sealing is essential for the whole human family or the earth will be cursed?
    It’s not just the marriage sealing, but binding ordinances to tie us all together in one big family. As I understand it, that’s what we’ll be doing for a thousand years during the Millennium (and it might take that long to straighten it all out!). What you call a “foolish teaching” is at the heart of the gospel and is the restorative for many members’ mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You think the prophet is going to repudiate this teaching and close all the temples?
    Hope you catch the spirit of Elijah yourself someday…

  197. Whut the on May 13, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    I thought we didn’t believe in curses anymore?

  198. Kimball L. Hunt on May 13, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Say, Whut, Is “the” your middle or your last name?

  199. annegb on May 14, 2006 at 12:12 am

    You’re right, it was an unkind bigoted statement. The twenty or so families I know personally fit the bill, though.

    Plus just go drive through Colorado City and it’s a crummy place, no advertisement for the good life, I’ll tell you.

    Also, we see so many in the stores here and the women just look down trodden. Very seldom do you see the women look well, in any way. I sort of glare at the men and dare them to flirt with me or consider me a wife candidate and smile sympathetically at the poor girls.

    They might be all over the world, but the ones in my back yard have it pretty rough. Not the men, though. Not the men.

  200. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 2:19 am

    My forebears, some of em converted in Denmark & Swiss cantons and told to embark for Zion, ended up being sent by B -Young to, say, Santa Clara to live The Principle in preparation of the Savior’s imminent return; and now his children’s children look upon those still shouldering on with, well, rightful alarm. Which (for me anyway!) makes me wonder why own forebears hadn’t looked on what they were being asked to do with the very same kind of alarm — and why they didn’t catch the next emigrant company back to Iowa.

  201. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Sense is a subjective kind of thing – for example the scientific process does not rest on hard logic – there is no way one can prove the Sun will come up in the morning tommorrow – even probability is subjective, so we can’t prove that the sun will probably rise in the morning either.

    The reliability of even the “hard” sciences is based on certain basic assumptions or senses that we have about basic reality. Some very intelligent people, say David Hume for example have had a hard time accepting such straightforward inductive arguments – arguments about things we cannot prove or even know for certain.

    As Joseph Smith said, faith is the principle of all action – and in most cases, faith follows from sense about the way things really are. I cannot prove God lives – but every sense I have tells me he does. I cannot prove sealings are effective – but my sense of the scriptures gives me the faith to believe that God honors them.

    Ultimately faith is a confessional thing – we rarely have enough evidence to be compelled to believe – it is our sense, our spiritual sense of things that leads us to choose to believe, to stretch our faith, to confess God’s name before the world at large.

    That reason free from the anchor of spiritual sense regards gospel principles meaningless and unjustified is irrelevant – all of us face trials of our faith, oftimes severe trials from time to time. It is our sense of things greater than us that gives the evidence to believe those things we cannot fully understand – if not to believe the exposition we have been given – to believe what we can believe.

    What good does it do mock the faith of others even when it seems unseemly? Even a partial truth is better than none at all. Why tear down unless one has something better? What is the alternative here – if families continue beyond the grave, and God respects the authority of the Priesthood – then the sealing power of persuasion is an ultimately rational conclusion – one could hardly expect God to do otherwise.

  202. annegb on May 14, 2006 at 9:55 am

    Mark, a lot of polygamists don’t live that way because of any higher faith. Men are being exploitative and women are falling for it.

  203. Whut the on May 14, 2006 at 11:35 am

    When single people consider waiting for marriage until death (instead of marrying an available suitor outside of the covenant) you have to examine the doctrines that underly such a phenomenon.

    Is it rational? Is it normal? It it healthy? Is it even true/possible?

    Yes, some things can be taken on faith, but putting one’s life on hold for the remote possibility that one will be married to someone else’s spouse in the afterlife shouldn’t be one of them.

    Like Protestants, we believe that we will be with loved ones after death. Let’s just leave it at that and not indulge in fantasies that are harmful to singles, divorces and widow(wer)s. They make their life decisions based on the truth/untruth of this doctrine. People who are already married (whether or not they are sealed) do not have to struggle with such issues. They either say “Oh, Heavenly Father will see to it that I will be with my spouse for eternity one way or another” or “We’re sealed in the temple, so as long as we’re faithful we’ll be okay.”

    Sisters (and brothers) like the opening poster who believe in both polygamy and the sealing doctrine being essential often waste their lives remaining single in hopes of being sealed after they’re dead. This is not a healthy way to live.

  204. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    If there’s two sides to a “faith divide,” and Whut seems to fall this side of it. Subtly disconcerting to those falling on the other.

    During my earliest ANTI-Mo / atheist phase, I lived in SLC in “the Avenues.” And for some reason I visited church one time, I can’t remember now why? (Well, perhaps I’d told Mom, “Sure I didn’t mind going, it’d be no big!”; then, bein’ stringently honest, this required me to go once?) Anyway, when I went, I was absolutely floored, flabbergasted — just amazed at the gospel doctrine teacher.

    He was this absolutely brilliant University of Utah (where I was attending) professor; and what tripped me out is that it was obvious that he actually believed the Church. Shakes head in amazement. It was like I had encountered a person with four arms, who thought it just to be absolutely normal and unexceptional or something.

    The thing is — Then I’d been repulsed. But now I’d be fascinated and even wanting to know his uh secret, for lack of a better word, y’know?

  205. DKL on May 14, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    I just spoke with my wife about this, Carol, and she’d have no problem at all sharing me. Her exact words were, “Take my husband, please!

  206. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    WT (#203), Now that is a legimate question – we once had a very long thread on that very issue, and I took the side that it was not only irrational, it was in the best interest of all concerned, including God’s that a person delay marriage indefinitely in this life because they cannot find a temple-worthy member of the church to marry.

    The only reasonable basis for such indefinite marriage avoidance would be if God considered marriage out of the covenant a cardinal sin – where all scriptural indications indicate otherwise – a non-covenantal marriage may indeed be void in the next life, but the scriptures indicate that God values faithful marriages. To believe otherwise speaks very darkly of his character and betrays a neo-Manichean bias against all things non-LDS.

    At some point – properly determined by careful pondering and prayer in the context of a particular situation – there has to a be tradeoff, where the benefit of marriage and children, not just the temporal benefit, but the consequences to all in the life to come, outweigh the opportunity cost of forclosing the remaining possibility of a temple marriage in this life.

    If the rhetoric of the Church seems otherwise, I would suggest that is because they have conciously chosen to preach the rule, and not the exception. Absolutist interpreters of gospel doctrines should take care not to read the principle of inspired exceptions out of the gospel. This is (or ought to be) a classic case of the exception proving the rule.

  207. Juliann on May 14, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Whut the, if you think we should use our “brains” you really do have to account for the possibility that we are. You said: “The opening poster/blogger mentioned that as a single person, she’d be willing to be sealed to a man already married so she could be exalted.” You then demean this decision. Sealing is an ordinance as much as a marriage. If baptism is efficacious then sealings can be efficacious. If you continue to restrict sealings to a state sanctioned union between a man and woman then there is no possible way to have a discussion because sealings are more than this. I own my baptism…I own my sealing. If I was unsealed I would desire a sealing as much as I desire a baptism. Since we do allow for broken sealings we can consider all the partners in a sealing to be functioning as proxies until the final act in the plan of salvation. The players may be sorted but agency will always apply. The sealing remains as the baptism remains….who may be acting as proxy should never be made the only point of the sealing.

  208. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 14, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    Absolutist interpreters of gospel doctrines should take care not to read the principle of inspired exceptions out of the gospel. This is (or ought to be) a classic case of the exception proving the rule.

    This is a good point. That said, as a general response, we should remember that if someone finds him/herself as an exception, he/she should be sure not to preach against the rule, either. Personal revelation should not be used to undermine general principles taught by the prophets. And we can’t fault that kind of teaching.

  209. Whut the on May 14, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    When Spencer W. Kimball said “the heavens are closed” to those who wilfully marry outside of the temple, he didn’t say “except if you pray about it and decide not to.” I haven’t heard the phrase “your mileage may vary” in General Conference lately.

    Does this “only if you pray about and receive confimation to” apply to all the uncomfortable and/or inconvenient commandments?

    If someone’s gay and prays about having a same-sex relationship, and believes the answer is “yes”–would this be one of those exceptions?

    If a single person can’t finid a marriage partner in or out of the temple and feels that a healthy romantic/sex life is a viable alternative–would this be one of those exceptions?

    If someone doesn’t want to or can’t obey the Word of Wisdom, is this one of those exceptions?

    If so, maybe we shouldn’t worry at all about the “activity” level of the members of the Church. Maybe everyone is simply acting on the exceptions clause. That’s cool by me.

  210. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    Whut: Short answer to your propositions A – D:

    Well, ahem: “Yes”! (But, ahem, then: “No”! — too!)

    But to some fundy “good” people, ANY kind of conceivable “Yes” answer to such propositions is simply shocking! However, I believe these fundy’s very Scrips actually say that all have agency and are only REALLY punished for the natural result of the true complexities of their decisions and not MERELY upon their obedience or disobedience to doctrinaire forumulations; and, in fact, moral reality really does put the answers to all such questions upon a continuum rather than to something that would be able to be seen from all points of view as being necessarily black or white.

    So while in reality the answers to such questions must always be some “shade of grey,” there are still means whereby values and spatial directions can be distilled out of such complex processes to determine their relative blacknesses-or-whitenesses and goodnesses-or-badnesses.
    Which is a bit of a mouthful, but let me explain by saying that ya are given two choices (A) — I don’t know: marrying in the temple versus (B) marrying outside of it. According to a premise valuing temple marriage, if all other factors are equal, the white is A and the black is B.

    All other factors being equal.

    But then there is (A) marrying an honorable mate versus (B) not marrying an honorable mate — and all OTHER conceivable factors, et cetera and so forth, ad infinitum. So what-cha do is ya take a look at any complex decision that then you look at how each of its constituent factors place upon such a continuum. If the weighted factors dealing with choice A tend to find placement somewhere to the RIGHTWARD direction than are whatever weight you percieve proper to be given to factors involving your choice B, why then ya choose choice A as the “right” or best decision. But if you have another option that falls even to the right of this choice A, then this is the right one and choice A then becomes the wrong one. I./e.: If the shade of day is technically GREY, to those who’re standing in brightest sunlight, this shade is DARK; but to those crouching within the pitch blackness of a cave, the shade of day under a tree at the cave’s entrance day is LIGHT.

  211. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    WH, you are using argumentum ad extremum again. These questions are a matter of a proper, and inspired balance of multiple considerations – not arbitrary personal whim. There is a different between reason and “right reason”, just as there is a difference between the motions of the Spirit from a foundation of faith and understanding and whatever fancy strikes one at the moment.

    Due to a diversity of opinions even at the highest level of the Church – an appeal to every statement of a past or present Church authority as if it were a stark expression of Aristotelian logic is bound to lead to contradiction and confusion. Just as in interpreting the scriptures, we need to balance all the faithful sources available to us and perceive the overall spiritual principles pertinent to the situation accordingly. This manner of black and white, legalistic, bipolar and bipolarizing doctrinal exegesis that so infects common LDS discourse is getting really old – read Joseph Smith – he doesn’t talk that way – most of the contemporary leaders of the Church do not talk that way either. Many have just become inured to reading everything that way – lily white or the blackest shadow – where the real world is composed in shades of gray and proper maintenance of moral boundaries requires the studied application of knowledge and discretion with the aid of the spirit of grace not to overthrow but to help us navigate the map of fundamental principle.

  212. Whut the on May 14, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    Yes, Kimball–my point, though, is that without the doctrine of needing to be sealed to reach exaltation (and no one even knows exactly what that means) the quandry over whom to marry would be nonexistent: people would simply marry someonecompatible in/out of the Church and in/out of the temple.

    The main reason it takes fasting, prayer, going against the prophets’ teachings, etc. to come to the decision of a “special circumstance” marriage is that the doctrine is: one must be sealed to a spouse to be exalted.

    Is baptism negotiable? Are unbaptized people allowed into the Celestial Kingdom?

  213. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    Joseph and the Nauvoo mystics said people will eventually be availed of enough intelligence, wisdom, grace to choose the right & partake of the right foundational rites — if not in this life then in the worlds to come.

  214. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    According to Brigham Young unbaptized people are not even allowed in the telestial kingdom – i.e. they will have to learn the gospel, repent, be baptized, and accept the gift of the Holy Ghost in the spirit world before inheriting a Kingdom of Glory.

    “And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.”…

    “And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

    And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.

    For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (D&C 88:24,31-33).

    As the scripture says, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.

    The Telestial world is part of God’s kingdom (cf. D&C 76:114), they are “heirs of salvation” (76:88), salvation requires baptism (Mark 16:16), ergo a prima facie argument that the Telestial glory consists of saved, baptised individuals – perhaps low lifes when they were here on the earth, but repentant ones in the final analysis.

    To refuse to obey a telestial law, is to refuse telestial glory (D&C 88:24), any person that instransigent will be “quickened”, but yet “return unto their own place”, inheriting some quasi limbo between a state of glory and outer darkeness (D&C 88:32).

    The salvation we preach is not merely that of eternal exaltation it is the gospel necessary to avoid a considerable tenure in hell, and eventually to obtain any sort of salvation at all.

  215. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Mark — Given that the Nauvoo mystics — my generic for Prophets & Seers — say that the temporal earth is telestial sphere; a millennial earth, a terrestial one; while the premillennial afterlife’s a non-degreed & time-durational sphere whose essence nonetheless is of an eteral, finer-grade physicality . . . wouldn’t both the premillenial afterlife and, after its advent, the millennarian one, be among the worlds to come?

  216. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Yes, Kimball – the difference is that apparently (most of) the heirs of the telestial glory will spend the millennium in the spirit world (Rev 20:5), where (most of) the heirs of terrestrial glory will live on this earth during the Millennial reign (D&C 76:85).

    According to Brigham Young many of the heirs of celestial glory would inherit their (initial) exaltations early in the milliennium and even travel back and forth from some celestial world to this one.

    The doctrine of the “final” judgment also derives from Revelations 20 (v.12), but there are numerous indications that the judgment process is more temporally distributed than a single event at the end of the millennial period. For example Abraham has already entered into his exaltation according to D&C 132 (v. 21). And Jesus Christ of course.

    Now the idea that this earth is a telestial state of glory is interesting, but difficult to defend from the scriptures. It is scriptural that in the millennium this earth will be restored to its “paradisaical” state (cf. Isaiah 65). And it is also scriptural that the earth will eventually be celestialized (cf. Rev 21,22). But yet a period of rebellion hardly compatible with celestial harmony will occur during the latter end of the millennium, so we split the difference – swords turned into plowshares during the millennium, the streets turned into “gold”, the celestial city, and a new heaven and earth afterward.

    The most explicit contemporary scriptural exposition of this doctrine is D&C 88:25-26 – The earth abides a celestial law, fulfils the measure of its creation, and notwithstanding it shall “die”, it shall be quickened and the righteous shall inherit it.

    However the telestial world has glory “surpassing all understanding” (D&C 76:89), so asserting that this world is telestial in the same sense as the telestial kingdom is, is problematic. I made an argument over in a related discussion at New Cool Thang that this world is sub-telestial, comparable to the quasi-limbo described in D&C 88:32. It may very well be that the millennial world is sub-telestial as well – I certainly have a hard time concieving of it as a “glory surpassing all understanding” – although given Joseph Smith’s comments on the ministry of translated beings, perhaps the proper term is “proto-terrestrial”.

  217. Kimball L. Hunt on May 14, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    “THANK you, elder McConckie!” lol. No — just kiddin’! (Since I know brother Bruce is made fun of on the ‘nacle for his immaculately crystalized views); but, Mark: thank you for real — smiles.

  218. Mark Butler (II) on May 14, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    I don’t have any problem with Elder McConkie other than he had a tendency just to state his views as if they were manifest doctrine – even before his call to the Apostleship – instead of documenting his arguments or the scriptural and prophetic evidence for his position. Even when writing in the same mode his father-in-law Joseph Fielding Smith did a good job of that.

  219. annegb on May 15, 2006 at 12:00 am

    Yeah, I’m sharing Bill, too. I already have, I think, five other wives. Let me count, uh, Kathy, Julie, Alice, a couple others who are married, but think he’s a better candidate.

    I’m not kidding.

    They aren’t all that welcome around here now, but later, I’m good with that.

    Whut the, exaltation is over-rated.

  220. no one on May 15, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    I have been married for a little over a year. And when i think what I really gain from marriage besides being sealed and being potential able to go to the highest level of the celestial kingdom, is companionship. is someone to talk about a hard day, someone to do things with on the weekend, someone who is always there for me. I have a great job with potential for a very well paid future unless i choose to work less or not at all. Even if i worked one day a week I would still make more than a full time school teacher. So I don’t need a man for money, I can support myself very well. And if i was single and 37 and I had burning desire to be a mother and the biological tick tock of the clock is going, there is always international adoptions of ophan’s. I am sure a little child would have a much better life with me as a single mom who could support them than a chinease orphanage. I now two parents are better, but those aren’t the choices here, it is single mom with a good job or orphange. So I don’t even need a man for children. So if my husband had 5 other wives and wasn’t able to give me any time, what would i get from marriage. NOTHING. Polygamy wouldn’t work intodays society, because women don’t need men that much any more. Polygamy would only be a set back to finding friends for a support stucture. I think that sister wives I am sure would argue and fight alot. And then again maybe polyandry is for me, if polygamy is an eternal principal because JS lived it. then polyandry is to.

  221. annegb on May 15, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Get back to me in 23 years on that.

  222. tab on May 16, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    51

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the various discussions here, but comment #51 about a plant from SLC has really been bothering me. Is the accusation that a poster is a plant from SLC a real one, or just a joke? Sometimes it is hard to read humor on the net. If it isn’t joke, then I have a real concern. Is the poster implying that the church leadership in SLC is somehow supposed to be our enemies, trying to spread their ideas through spies, or trying to distract us from the truth?

  223. Katie P. on May 16, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    # 220

    So if my husband had 5 other wives and wasn’t able to give me any time, what would i get from marriage. NOTHING.
    ————–

    I agree with this. I would not enjoy being part of a polygamous marriage – it sounds like all the hard parts of being single (loneliness, parenting alone) along with all the hard parts of being married (your decisions affect more than just yourself). I don’t need a husband to support me, and I don’t need sister-wives in order to make friends. I’m very much looking forward to being married, and I do not want to have my future husband’s attention being diverted to another woman who has just as legitimate a claim on him. Rather than settle for half of a husband or an unhappy marriage, I’d rather be single. When one is single, there is still a possibility of having a good relationship.

  224. Non-juggler on May 30, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    The basic rule of a juggler

    is to be able to divert the attention of the public, away from the place where he is fabricating his trick or where the main point is, for which purpose he magnifies what is happening somewhere else.

    The western world, which is against polygamy since Indo-Europeans started their conquests 2.000 years before Christ, tried to entice us to think that polygamy is about sexual pleasure or (when it doesn’t sell anymore that sex is bad), that is about lack of romanticism or that it creates an inequality between men and women. But the point lies somewhere else.

    If it were about repressing “sexual sins”, prostitution wouldn’t have been tolerated in such a generous way. If it were about protecting romanticism, marriage among people of different races and/or social classes wouldn’t have been so repressed (even made illegal). If it were about making men and women equal, single mothers wouldn’t have been so mistreated, both men and women would have been imprisoned for abortion (I suppose, to make an abortion you need a man to produce a foetus and evading his responsibilities) or somebody would have thought that each women –spinster or widow- had the right to go into a polygamous marriage if she wanted to (men didn’t need polyandry for this purpose, since they are a minority).

    No my friends: sex and marriage have a social meaning, which has been concealed to us by these jugglers, so that we didn’t realise a few obvious truths:

    • Single women, spinsters or widows, even in USA, are in a 60% under the poverty line. Let us imagine what it will be in underdeveloped countries, that is what we all were once and for thousands of years: prohibition of polygamy means destitution, children without a father (3 million in Brazil) and prostitution. In present India, poor parents kill their newborn daughters, may be, because they don’t see a decent future for them if they don’t get married.
    • Since the excess of women over men is always small, who wants to be a polygamist has to look for women outside his social class or race, what melts both of them and is precisely what is has to be prevented. When polygamy is prohibited, rich men use poor women for fun.
    • This is why those societies where polygamy is forbidden are societies split in social classes and that is the origin of social hate. This is why Moslems were immune to communism and this is why social revolutions have always taken place in the West.

    I have just uncovered where the juggler’s trick was hidden: this is the origin of the prohibition of polygamy by Indo-Europeans 2.000 years ago: they were conquerors, who didn’t want to melt with the victims of their conquests, but to have them perpetually as servants and slaves.