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Yme

What If Polygamy Never Happened

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Lest you waste both your and my time, it has to be to the effect that Joseph Smith was forbidden from ever consummating any of the marriages, not just speculation that some of the sealings may have been platonic.
Nice try there. Don't combine your two arguments into one.

I said,

I think there is quite a bit of doubt, actually. Seeing as it's next to impossible to get many apologists to admit that JS ever had anything but platonic relationships with his wives. These apologists don't seem to think that JS would have ever consummated a plural marriage.

to which you responded,

Interesting that none of these "many apologists" ever seem to show up on message boards such as this one. Pretty much every apologetic argument I've seen is to the effect that there is not enough information to state definitively one way or the other.

Methinks you know that this is a pretty common argument made by some apologists.

I will gladly admit that there is absolutely no evidence that JS was forbidden from consummating these marriages. Although if the platonic sealings apologists are right, what other reason would JS have for keeping it platonic?? He was pretty much given permission to have sex in 132, so if they were platonic, God must have rescinded that permission somewhere, right?

I didn't avoid the question. I said, "Who knows? Who cares?" That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter.
Nobody knows, but many of us care. It is a rather crucial aspect of determining the character of JS. So for you to wave it off as some minor detail that doesn't even warrant a moment of your time is surprising to me.

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Using the word "apologist" as you do in a broad ad hominem generalization is disingenous.
I wonder what term I should use then??
I admit that some members would rather pretend that Joseph Smith didn't have any real plural marriages and others who forcefully assert that all though he was sealed to other women, he did not consumate any plural marriages. Those are not what I would classify as apologists.

There is some annectotal evidence that seems to indicate that he did cosnumate at least one or more of them and had at least one child by a plural wife, but there is also some stong annecdotal evidence that he did not consumate some of them. All personal opinions aside, there however is not any unimpeachable evidence that he did or did not, the key word there being unimpeachable - that is, there is no confirmation and plenty of reasons to be skeptical of of the evidence both for and against.

First, I've never heard of any evidence that he sired a child. Do you have a link you could share? I would like to research this more.

Second, you are absolutely correct. There is evidence, then there is fact. Very little of what happened in the early church is fact. Should that stop me from making decisions based on the evidence that is available? If scientists waited until they KNEW everything, nothing would get done. We have to take what we have, form guesses and work within those parameter. When new evidence presents itself, we should alter our worldview to fit within the new evidences.

I tend to believe that J.S. probably did consumate some, but probably not all, of those marriages. I think most serious students of the topic also believe that he at least consumated some of those marriages. But that is opinion, and no matter how logical it seems to you or me, absent evidence, opinion is not fact.
This is what my current thinking is as well. And I am completely open to rethinking my viewpoint if new evidences are introduced.
If one cannot offer facts, then what can one honestly say? Only that there are no known facts in the matter. And for that honesty, you hoist the apologist on a pillory because he does not admit to what you see as obvious, despite the absence of fact. For all you know, the apologist may be of the same personal opinion, but for the sake of historical accuracy understands the necessity of relating only the facts - for if he fails to do so, another will apply a history razor against him.
Again, I have to disagree here. If we were limited to only facts, we would have next to nothing. We must take the evidences we do have, judge them and draw our own conclusions. We should consider ourselves lucky if we run across something we consider fact.

I want to apologize, from the bottom of my heart, for my all-too-frequent failure (and that of other "Mopologists") to give you the answers your paradigm predicts and demands.

Apology accepted.

Wow, is that ever a strawman! As far as I know, there is no "'JS sealings were strictly platonic'" apologetic argument. There is no apologetic point defended by that. Rather, it is simply an observation of the apparent fact that no one has been able to find any offspring that were sired by Joseph in a polygamous marriage. I don't think any apologists really care whether his marriages (for the most part) were platonic or not.

(Edit: I really should read all the intervening posts before posting, because I see that this point was already beat to death before I got here.)

The fact that you guys really don't care if JS had sex with these wives is awfully disturbing to me. This is the crux of the loss of many members testimonies. And you treat it as if it were something as trivial as whether JS wore red or blue socks.

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Nice try there. Don't combine your two arguments into one.

I said,

to which you responded,

Methinks you know that this is a pretty common argument made by some apologists.

What argument? That he never would have consummated any of his plural marriages? I acknowledge no such thing.

I take it, though, that on a search you haven't been able to come up with anything. I didn't think you could.

I will gladly admit that there is absolutely no evidence that JS was forbidden from consummating these marriages. Although if the platonic sealings apologists are right, what other reason would JS have for keeping it platonic?? He was pretty much given permission to have sex in 132, so if they were platonic, God must have rescinded that permission somewhere, right?

More straw-man argumentation. Thus far, you have failed to come up with even one instance of a Mormon apologist asserting that all of Joseph's plural marriages were platonic. By the way, do you know Daniel Peterson is on the "Platonic Sealings" thread, searching for instances in which Mormon "apologists" are asserting all of Joseph's plural marriages were platonic? So far, he hasn't spotted any. Perhaps you can go on there and point them out to him.

Nobody knows, but many of us care. It is a rather crucial aspect of determining the character of JS. So for you to wave it off as some minor detail that doesn't even warrant a moment of your time is surprising to me.

Practicing plural marriage in obedience to a commandment from God does not indicate a character flaw -- just the opposite, in fact. So if by "many of us" you mean Mormonism's antagonists, color me unimpressed.

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The fact that you guys really don't care if JS had sex with these wives is awfully disturbing to me. This is the crux of the loss of many members testimonies. And you treat it as if it were something as trivial as whether JS wore red or blue socks.

I'm not bothered by sex. I don't think it's dirty or evil. Did Joseph Smith have sex with polygamous wives? Possibly. Probably. On the whole, so what? Once the legitimacy of plural marriage is granted, sex within a plural marriage is no more problematic, morally, than sex within a monogamous marriage.

I understand that you're particularly exercised about cases involving already-married women and very young women. The evidence for sexual relations in these cases, however, is typically thin to nonexistent, and very likely completely beyond our retrieval. Not much point in hyperventilating about it.

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What argument? That he never would have consummated any of his plural marriages? I acknowledge no such thing.

I take it, though, that on a search you haven't been able to come up with anything. I didn't think you could.

You mean the altered goal posts that you claim you were arguing all along? The one that I admitted was my opinion? Nope, couldn't find a thing.
More straw-man argumentation. Thus far, you have failed to come up with even one instance of a Mormon apologist asserting that all of Joseph's plural marriages were platonic. By the way, do you know Daniel Peterson is on the "Platonic Sealings" thread, searching for instances in which Mormon "apologists" are asserting all of Joseph's plural marriages were platonic? So far, he hasn't spotted any. Perhaps you can go on there and point them out to him.
Did you, or did you not change the requirement for the search a couple of posts up???? Now you take me to task for not looking??? Increditble.
Practicing plural marriage in obedience to a commandment from God does not indicate a character flaw -- just the opposite, in fact. So if by "many of us" you mean Mormonism's antagonists, color me unimpressed.
But that's just the point, who's to say God commanded it?

Any atrocity is justified if God commanded it.

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The fact that you guys really don't care if JS had sex with these wives is awfully disturbing to me. This is the crux of the loss of many members testimonies. And you treat it as if it were something as trivial as whether JS wore red or blue socks.

He was married to them, so if he had sex with them I don't have an issue with it. I'm not convinced I'd be able to live plural marriage in complete happiness, I'm not certain Joseph could, either, but I don't know. It's slighlty more disconcerting to know Joseph fulfilled this particular commandment than the command Noah had to build an ark. I don't have to do either things.

Sex is such a taboo issue.

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I'm not bothered by sex. I don't think it's dirty or evil. Did Joseph Smith have sex with polygamous wives? Possibly. Probably. On the whole, so what? Once the legitimacy of plural marriage is granted, sex within a plural marriage is no more problematic, morally, than sex within a monogamous marriage.

So if your daughter were to come home tonight and tell you that she has joined a cult that practices ritualistic sexual acts, but it's ok because God commanded it, you'd be just fine with that, huh? After all, it's just sex. And, the leader says he has God's say so, so it's now morally justified.

I understand that you're particularly exercised about cases involving already-married women and very young women. The evidence for sexual relations in these cases, however, is typically thin to nonexistent, and very likely completely beyond our retrieval. Not much point in hyperventilating about it.
Already married women, yes. Underage women, not so much. I don't believe JS was a pedophile. I agree that there is very little evidence to support that JS had sex with Helen.

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A leader wanting to instill loyalty could do worse than devising a system that rewards his most loyal of followers by marrying them to lots of women and ensuring them an ever-increasing brood.

Would inheriting any believer genes put one more at risk for Multi-level Marketing? :P

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But that's just the point, who's to say God commanded it?

We do. And you don't.

The real issue is that you reject the prophethood of Joseph Smith. And that's scarcely a newsflash.

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He was married to them, so if he had sex with them I don't have an issue with it. I'm not convinced I'd be able to live plural marriage in complete happiness, I'm not certain Joseph could, either, but I don't know. It's slighlty more disconcerting to know Joseph fulfilled this particular commandment than the command Noah had to build an ark. I don't have to do either things.

Sex is such a taboo issue.

No, just because JS said he was married to them doesn't mean he actually was. If he wasn't, it creates a HUGE problem.

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You mean the altered goal posts that you claim you were arguing all along? The one that I admitted was my opinion? Nope, couldn't find a thing.

Did you, or did you not change the requirement for the search a couple of posts up???? Now you take me to task for not looking??? Increditble.

So what is it, exactly, that you claim is the "common argument" of "many [Mormon] apologists"? That Joseph "never would have" consummated any of his plural marriages? I'm not altering goal posts, just trying to understand what it is you are saying. And to see if you can document it. So far, you've lived down to my expectations.

But that's just the point, who's to say God commanded it?

Are you acknowledging, then, that if God commanded it, it wouldn't be the "atrocity" you assert that it is?

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If scientists waited until they KNEW everything, nothing would get done. We have to take what we have, form guesses and work within those parameter. When new evidence presents itself, we should alter our worldview to fit within the new evidences....

<snip>

...If we were limited to only facts, we would have next to nothing. We must take the evidences we do have, judge them and draw our own conclusions. We should consider ourselves lucky if we run across something we consider fact.

Reputable scientists use observations of repeatable experiments and make careful distinctions between hypothesis and theory. Do you have any corroberated observations of Joseph consumating his plural marriages?

Can you not see that it is not your assertion that Joseph consumated some of his plural marriages is the problem, it is the false stawman you have constructed against apologists who simply state that there isn't any confirmable unimpeachable evidence that he did?

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We do. And you don't.

The real issue is that you reject the prophethood of Joseph Smith. And that's scarcely a newsflash.

Exactly. And why do I reject it? Absent this undeniable spiritual witness, my poor soul is left to interpret the evidences. And they scream pretty loudly that JS was a fraud.

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So if your daughter were to come home tonight and tell you that she has joined a cult that practices ritualistic sexual acts, but it's ok because God commanded it, you'd be just fine with that, huh?

No, I wouldn't. Why? Because I don't believe that God commanded it.

And that's the issue. You don't believe that God commanded Joseph Smith. We do. Hardly a newsflash.

After all, it's just sex. And, the leader says he has God's say so, so it's now morally justified.

You'd better take a moment and stuff some of that straw back into your guy. It's showing.

Nobody has said here that the simply saying "God commanded it" justifies an act. But God's actual commanding of an act would, for us believers, justify it.

The difference between us is simply this: We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. You don't. That's scarcely a newsflash. But it's circular reasoning to insist that plural marriage was not commanded by God and that that demonstrates that God did not command plural marriage.

Absent this undeniable spiritual witness, my poor soul is left to interpret the evidences. And they scream pretty loudly that JS was a fraud.

A claim with which I strongly disagree.

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So what is it, exactly, that you claim is the "common argument" of "many [Mormon] apologists"? That Joseph "never would have" consummated any of his plural marriages? I'm not altering goal posts, just trying to understand what it is you are saying. And to see if you can document it.

No, that he "didn't" consummate any of his plural marriages. I'll find some references for you...give me a minute.
Are you acknowledging, then, that if God commanded it, it wouldn't be the "atrocity" you assert that it is?
No, it is still an atrocity, just a sanctioned atrocity. But then again, God is about as immoral as they come, so I would expect it from Him.

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No, just because JS said he was married to them doesn't mean he actually was. If he wasn't, it creates a HUGE problem.

This has got to be one of the most inane statements I have ever read thus far. Let's see...Joseph Smith says he was married to them in private entries...multiple wives stated that they were married to him...multiple other witnesses states that Joseph Smith was married to other wives who said they were married to him...Nauvoo Temple records record multiple sealings and marriages...looks like a lot of people all saying the same thing, and that is that Joseph Smith actually married those wives.

Nope. No problem here at all. :P

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No, just because JS said he was married to them doesn't mean he actually was. If he wasn't, it creates a HUGE problem.

For whom does it create a problem?

Are you asserting that ANY kind of sexual relations whatsoever outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage is a HUGE problem?

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No, that he "didn't" consummate any of his plural marriages. I'll find some references for you...give me a minute.

Who's moving goal posts now?

Many posts ago, I postulated that, had Joseph been allowed to live and go west with the Saints, his posterity from plural marriage would likely have been as prolific as that of his Brethren. You countered by citing mythical arguments from equally mythical "apologists" that all of Joseph's plural marriages were platonic, ergo (by your reasoning) he never would have had any posterity from them. I challenged you to document your assertions about arguments from Mormon apologists. You seem to be having some trouble doing so.

No, it is still an atrocity, just a sanctioned atrocity. But then again, God is about as immoral as they come, so I would expect it from Him.

This makes no sense.

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Reputable scientists use observations of repeatable experiments and make careful distinctions between hypothesis and theory. Do you have any corroberated observations of Joseph consumating his plural marriages?

Although there is no proof, there are a few evidences that JS consummated his marriages.
Can you not see that it is not your assertion that Joseph consumated some of his plural marriages is the problem, it is the false stawman you have constructed against apologists who simply state that there isn't any confirmable unimpeachable evidence that he did?
I can see this point, yes. There is a difference between "He didn't consummate his marriages" and "there is no proof that he consummated his marriages".

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This has got to be one of the most inane statements I have ever read thus far. Let's see...Joseph Smith says he was married to them in private entries...multiple wives stated that they were married to him...multiple other witnesses states that Joseph Smith was married to other wives who said they were married to him...Nauvoo Temple records record multiple sealings and marriages...looks like a lot of people all saying the same thing, and that is that Joseph Smith actually married those wives.

Nope. No problem here at all. :P

So?? Anybody can claim to marry anybody. That doesn't make them married.

None of these marriages were considered legal by anybody outside of the church.

Tell me again how this is inane??

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"Wouldn't the LDS church be better off if it hadn't happened?"

Since I value myself as being awesome, and happen to be the great, great, great ... great grandson of a polygamist, I'd have to answer no. I think the Church is better off with me in it. :P

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I can see this point, yes. There is a difference between "He didn't consummate his marriages" and "there is no proof that he consummated his marriages".

So are you ready to acknowledge, then, that there is no inconsistency between the above and my earlier conjecture that, had Joseph been allowed to live relatively unoppressed, as the Saints were when they finally got to the Mountain West, he likely would have produced progeny from his plural marriages?

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So?? Anybody can claim to marry anybody. That doesn't make them married.

None of these marriages were considered legal by anybody outside of the church.

Tell me again how this is inane??

Since you condemn God as being "about as immoral as they come," what's your moral basis for implying that a marriage sanctioned by the state is superior to one that is not so sanctioned? And what's your moral basis for asserting that consensual plural marriage is wrong? Not God, surely, for you have railed against him as sanctioning "atrocities" and being as "immoral as they come."

Since you've said God is immoral, you must believe that there is such a thing as morality. Who is the author of your version of morality?

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So are you ready to acknowledge, then, that there is no inconsistency between the above and my earlier conjecture that, had Joseph been allowed to live relatively unoppressed, as the Saints were when they finally got to the Mountain West, he likely would have produced progeny from his plural marriages?

I'm not sure where I ever argued that.....but yes, I would concede this point.

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Since you condemn God as being "about as immoral as they come," what's your moral basis for implying that a marriage sanctioned by the state is superior to one that is not so sanctioned? And what's your moral basis for asserting that consensual plural marriage is wrong? Not God, surely, for you have railed against him as sanctioning "atrocities" and being as "immoral as they come."

Since you've said God is immoral, you must believe that there is such a thing as morality. Who is the author of your version of morality?

Honestly, I don't have a problem with consensual plural marriage.

The problems I have with JS are the questionable methods he used to get women to enter into these marriages, sneaking around Emma's back, lying to the people...both in and out of the church, marrying other men's wives, especially those men who could have had their wives sealed to themselves and burning the press when it exposed his polygamy. I would bring up Henry Jacobs and his heartbreaking tale, but since we're not talking about BY here, I'll leave him out.

As far as God being immoral, is it not still immoral to slaughter children, even if God commands it? Or do you subscribe to the theory that the maker of the law can break the law whenever He wants?

To me, an immoral act is an immoral act, regardless of who commanded it. It may come from God, but it is still an immoral act, it's just a sanctioned immoral act now.

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