Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Yme

What If Polygamy Never Happened

Recommended Posts

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

You argued it back on page 2 of this thread, where, in response to my statement:

Joseph Smith's role as prophet of the Restoration was to receive the revelation instituting plural marriage, teach it to others, and set the example by living it himself.

Hounded constantly by his enemies and cut down in the prime of life, Joseph never had opportunity to raise up numerous posterity by means of plural marriage. Had his enemies allowed him to live, and had he gone west with the Saints, there can be little doubt he would have been as prolific as his brethren to whom he taught the principle.

You replied:

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.

(Emphasis added by me.)

Share this post


Link to post

You argued it back on page 2 of this thread, where, in response to my statement:

You replied:

(Emphasis added by me.)

Ahhh...yep. Poor wording on my part.

Apologies for the miscommunication.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not sure I follow your implication that the importance of a sociological factor in the past history of a church correlates in an obvious, neat, and direct way with the attention that should be devoted to that factor in the church's teachings for today.

Unless I'm learning something new today, polygamy was not just a mere "sociological factor" of the Lds Church. Last time I heard from my wife's bishop, it was supposedly revealed doctrine!!! If in fact it truly was a command of God, I would think this history would be a bit more significant that describing it's lack of prominance as merely a sociological factor.

There are certainly more important topics for sermons and religious instruction in today's Anglican/Episcopal churches, for example, than the marital history of Henry VIII -- yet, without that history, there would be no Anglican/Episcopal churches.

The marital history of Henry VIII had nothing to do with creating, receiving nor establishing church doctrine as Smith's and Young's marital history did. Apples and oranges here.

It seems to me far more plausible to conclude that, because it has had to deal with polygamous schismatics ever since the Manifesto, the Church wishes to give as little aid and comfort to apostates and potential apostates as it can.

Huh?!? I am talking about an Lds church web page that probably just recently came into existance, some 100 + years after the Manifesto. Are you suggesting the Lds Church is still afraid today that acknowledging plural marriages of past prophets will lead to mass schisms or troubling apostates today??? IF so, it would clearly demonstrate that disclosure of this past doctrinal practice has not been as widely disseminated in Church materials as I think you are indicating.

I don't claim to be privy to the entirety of God's thoughts on this matter, so can't really give you a definitive answer.

Well I wasn't asking what you or anyone else thought about "His" thoughts on the matter. I was specifically asking those who have a good understanding of Lds doctrine, what it provided "doctrinaly" that would not have been provided with monogamy only!

Share this post


Link to post
Unless I'm learning something new today, polygamy was not just a mere "sociological factor" of the Lds Church. Last time I heard from my wife's bishop, it was supposedly revealed doctrine!!! If in fact it truly was a command of God, I would think this history would be a bit more significant that describing it's lack of prominance as merely a sociological factor.

My initial comment was about the sociological role of plural marriage in Mormon history, as a strengthener of group identity and group boundaries. That's why I spoke about sociology. That's why I spoke in sociological terms.

I was not talking about theology or doctrine. That's why I didn't speak theologically.

If you want to interact with me regarding what I wrote, it would be helpful if you interacted with me regarding what I wrote.

The marital history of Henry VIII had nothing to do with creating, receiving nor establishing church doctrine as Smith's and Young's marital history did. Apples and oranges here.

As a purely social factor in the origins of Anglicanism, Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon is even more central than Mormon polygamy is to Mormonism.

I was talking about plural marriage as a sociological factor. If you want to talk about something else, that's entirely your prerogative. I may or may not choose to join in.

Huh?!? I am talking about an Lds church web page that probably just recently came into existance, some 100 + years after the Manifesto. Are you suggesting the Lds Church is still afraid today that acknowledging plural marriages of past prophets will lead to mass schisms or troubling apostates today??? IF so, it would clearly demonstrate that disclosure of this past doctrinal practice has not been as widely disseminated in Church materials as I think you are indicating.

I'm not sure that I can decipher your idea here, but, yes, there are still polygamists out there, and they still do recruit members from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes successfully. So the Church has been very careful about this for a long time.

Well I wasn't asking what you or anyone else thought about "His" thoughts on the matter. I was specifically asking those who have a good understanding of Lds doctrine, what it provided "doctrinaly" that would not have been provided with monogamy only!

Don't forget that you also asked, in the very same passage, about why God instituted plural marriage, particularly in view of the fact that it has caused public relations challenges for the Church in subsequent years. I responded to that question. I didn't respond to your other question. I'm still free, I think, to choose what I want to respond to and what I don't want to respond to.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think you've been paying attention to all of the responses on this thread. Staccato stated it very succinctly:

I shall enlarge a bit on what Staccato said.

Raw population figures and male/female ratios, whether in Utah territory as a whole or specifically in the Church, mean nothing in this discussion, as plural marriage was a limited practice engaged in by those who were among the more righteous members of the Church.

Thus, it had the effect, in a relatively short time, of creating numerous faithful households and genealogical lineages through which the restored gospel could be taught and handed down through the generations. This rather quickly brought about a critical mass that not only could ensure the survival of the Church in the face of oppression, but could spread the Mormon faith globally, thus fulfilling the prophecy that through Abraham and his seed (in our day meaning righteous Latter-day Saints) all the nations (families) of the earth would be blessed.

Could plural marriage have continued indefinitely? I'm convinced the answer is no. But it lasted just long enough to bring about this critical mass. To illustrate this, just reflect on the fact that virtually every person today with Mormon pioneer ancestry, including many members of the Church, has descended through one or more polygamous genealogical lines.

In light of this reasoning, the message in Jacob 2:30 makes sense: Monogamy is the default condition among the people of God, but the Lord, at certain times, will decree the practice of plural marriage to "raise up seed unto" him. This is precisely what happened with the Church in this gospel dispensation.

Raw population figures and male/female ratios, whether in Utah territory as a whole or specifically in the Church, mean nothing in this discussion, as plural marriage was a limited practice engaged in by those who were among the more righteous members of the Church.

This is new to me also. Does the Lds Church now teach that those who practiced plural marriage were "more righteous" than those who practiced monogamy? While this concept seems to be consistent with remarks I've read from Brigham Young and Joseph F. Smith, I had been told directly from a bishop in my wife's ward that such was not the case. It also seems to indicate that there were very few righteous men in the early Lds Church if we believe current Church claims that polygamy was practice by very few.

Thus, it had the effect, in a relatively short time, of creating numerous faithful households and genealogical lineages through which the restored gospel could be taught and handed down through the generations. This rather quickly brought about a critical mass that not only could ensure the survival of the Church in the face of oppression, but could spread the Mormon faith globally, thus fulfilling the prophecy that through Abraham and his seed (in our day meaning righteous Latter-day Saints) all the nations (families) of the earth would be blessed.

This sounds like a great inspirational story to tell on Sundays but makes little sense upon examination. IF there were no gender imbalance disorders to support the NEED for polygamy, how can one man with two wives generate offspring any faster than two men with one wife each? Furthermore, much of the oppression you refer to was directly related to anti-polygamy sentiment that existed in society both then and now. A practice of monogamy only would have avoided much of what you say polygamy was needed for in the first place.

I also have to wonder that if polygamy was truely commanded by God, why did Joseph Smith spend his entire adult life denying his participation in it for obviously several years???

Could plural marriage have continued indefinitely? I'm convinced the answer is no. But it lasted just long enough to bring about this critical mass. To illustrate this, just reflect on the fact that virtually every person today with Mormon pioneer ancestry, including many members of the Church, has descended through one or more polygamous genealogical lines.

Then its practice was much greater than what the Lds Church would want us to believe today.

In light of this reasoning, the message in Jacob 2:30 makes sense: Monogamy is the default condition among the people of God, but the Lord, at certain times, will decree the practice of plural marriage to "raise up seed unto" him. This is precisely what happened with the Church in this gospel dispensation.

Is this what the Lds Church really teaches, that monogamy was a "default condition"???? And could you define what you think "raise up seed unto" Him? How does polygamy generate offspring any faster than monogamy where there is no gender imbalance?

Share this post


Link to post

"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

To address the O.P. in the same vein as Dan, I am quite in agreement that polygamy was extremely important to the development of the Church. From what I see in the people that I know in the Church, it is the case that even at this point in the Church's development the real "core" of the Church is people who are descended from polygamy. What I see is that it is very literally true that the Lord commanded polygamy in order "raise up a seed unto me", and that it succeeded quite spectacularly. I suspect that had the Lord not instituted polygamy, there may well have not been a sufficient "critical mass" for the Church to be able to survive and grow.

Share this post


Link to post

The Church has never lived or died on its public relations efforts. For most people who investigate and ultimately embrace Mormonism, its polygamous past is nothing more than a curiosity. Those who give it as a reason for falling away probably would have found some other reason or set of reasons to do so if polygamy had not been there for them to latch on to.

The church obviously puts some stock in its public image, or else it wouldn't bother to hire PR firms. So, unless you think that the church is an unwise steward wasting money on PR, they are getting some value from the money they spend on PR, thus good PR =good for the church. The corollary is obviously that bad PR = bad for the church. Has polygamy created any bad PR for the church? If the answer is yes, you then have to admit that polygamy has, in certain ways, hurt the church.

As to polygamy being nothing more than a curiousity, I am scratching my head thinking I must have, at some point in my life, read statements from Brigham Young, John Taylor and others that would not portray it so trivially, but I'm glad that it is so easily brushed aside today.

Share this post


Link to post
The church obviously puts some stock in its public image, or else it wouldn't bother to hire PR firms. So, unless you think that the church is an unwise steward wasting money on PR, they are getting some value from the money they spend on PR, thus good PR =good for the church. The corollary is obviously that bad PR = bad for the church. Has polygamy created any bad PR for the church? If the answer is yes, you then have to admit that polygamy has, in certain ways, hurt the church.

All true.

The question is whether, overall, net, plural marriage helped or harmed the Church. I'm not sure that the question can be answered decisively from a mortal perspective. I suggested one way (to me a rather important way) in which it might have helped.

As to polygamy being nothing more than a curiousity, I am scratching my head thinking I must have, at some point in my life, read statements from Brigham Young, John Taylor and others that would not portray it so trivially, but I'm glad that it is so easily brushed aside today.

I believe that Scott Lloyd said that for most contemporary converts it's probably little more than a curiosity. That's a bit different.

Share this post


Link to post

All true.

The question is whether, overall, net, plural marriage helped or harmed the Church. I'm not sure that the question can be answered decisively from a mortal perspective. I suggested one way (to me a rather important way) in which it might have helped.

Agreed, and you'll notice in my initial post I credited you with that idea as well--wouldn't want to be accused of plagarism. Also as I mentioned, whether or not you believe it ultimately hurt or helped the church probably is viewpoint dependent.

I believe that Scott Lloyd said that for most contemporary converts it's probably little more than a curiosity. That's a bit different.

Fair enough, but his post still inaccurately downplays the role that polygamy has played, both historically and currently, in the Mormon church, and this largely goes to the point of this thread. Whether or not you believe polygamy ultimately helped or harmed the Mormon church, I don't think you can dispute that its influence, past and also present, has been tremendous.

Share this post


Link to post

But in the case of the kingdom of God, the scriptural purpose of an "ever-increasing brood" is altruistic: to have the wherewithal to take the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people so that the covenant of Abraham can be filled in that all the nations (families) of the earth are blessed.

You can take pretty much any idea and couch it in religious language and make it sound altruistic. And as a believer you naturally would do so. That doesn't change the fact that it could serve non-altruistic purposes, and you saying that it was altruistic then offering up its proponents' stated rationale as proof that it was altruistic is circular and ignores my initial point.

Share this post


Link to post
"What if polygamy never happened with Joseph Smith."

probably wouldnt have CoC/RLDS.

"What did the Lds church achieve by having polygamy that it would/could not have achieved without polygamy"?
I have a very strong view on that, but I'll pass.
"If, as according to Lds Church claims today, so few practiced polygamy, why was it necessary at all"?
Perhaps it isnt intended for just a few.

"If it was so important, why does the Lds Church say so little about it in its official website and distance itself from it"?
Our religion is a practicle one. Why study principles we don't get to apply? While we are at it, we should also publisize the united Order.
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.

Wow, so people lose their testiomony if Joseph was an all out plygamist, but Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David doesnt phase them?

I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic.

Share this post


Link to post

I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic.

Yeah, that's the last time we glean a principle from the Bible... sheesh

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, that's the last time we glean a principle from the Bible... sheesh

Well Sean, as you know, God allowed Abraham to commit adultery but didn't pass judgment on whether it was good or bad. Just like Paul allowed baptism for the dead but didn't pass a judgment on it. See how the game works?

Share this post


Link to post

Well Sean, as you know, God allowed Abraham to commit adultery but didn't pass judgment on whether it was good or bad. Just like Paul allowed baptism for the dead but didn't pass a judgment on it. See how the game works?

Like how Jesus allows good works, but isn't sure how he feels about them?

Share this post


Link to post

Like how Jesus allows good works, but isn't sure how he feels about them?

Exactly like that. Now you're getting it!

Share this post


Link to post

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.

And yet, there is no proof that he was a fraud. What we do have is a book called the book of mormon. And no one has proven this book untrue or false. In fact, there are many theories out there but none of these theories have stuck so far. Of course, you can take your pick and choose one of these stories about how the book of mormon came about but...it will still be speculation.

When a person looks at the life of JS, he or she will see an extraordinary story. Not just of JS but also of the people around him. The book of mormon had witnesses because there will always be people like you: Doubters and name-callers. But the book still sits tall in the saddle. And that can perhaps irk you to no end as it does your friends on the other board. But such is life.

Evidence is a wonderful thing. But the evidence needs to show that the book is a fraud and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt that it is. And as of this moment, the evidence comes up short.

Share this post


Link to post

Here is an interesting article from USA today. It seems that Martin Luther supported polygamy. I suppose that if it was good enough for Martin Luther, it is okay for JS to practice polygamy. For after all, who can argue with Martin Luther?

Also as the article states: polygamy is common in the world and it is also in the Old Testament.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/colum...03-turley_x.htm

Contrary to the court's statements, the practice of polygamy is actually one of the common threads between Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Deuteronomy contains a rule for the division of property in polygamist marriages. Old Testament figures such as Abraham, David, Jacob and Solomon were all favored by God and were all polygamists. Solomon truly put the "poly" to polygamy with 700 wives and 300 concubines. Mohammed had 10 wives, though the Koran limits multiple wives to four. Martin Luther at one time accepted polygamy as a practical necessity. Polygamy is still present among Jews in Israel, Yemen and the Mediterranean

I just don't get all the fuss by our protestant friends.

Share this post


Link to post

The difference between polygamy and adultery? The polygamist made an honorable contract with his wives (and his wives had choice in the acceptance of a second marriage). The adulterer cheats, lies, and breaks his vows. Sounds like the difference between good and bad to me. Or maybe just the difference between treating women with respect and treating them like things. Oops, that's the same thing, isn't it? :P

That's why Muslim's have more than one wife, because the way they disrespect women.

Share this post


Link to post
Wow, so people lose their testiomony if Joseph was an all out plygamist, but Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David doesnt phase them?

I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic.

Any atrocity that an individual could commit has been commanded by God at some point in the Bible.

JS could have sacrificed children on a alter and people like you would say, "God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, so why couldn't he command JS to sacrifice other peoples sons? I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic."

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps a few too simple questions but: "What if polygamy never happened with Joseph Smith." "What did the Lds church achieve by having polygamy that it would/could not have achieved without polygamy"? "If, as according to Lds Church claims today, so few practiced polygamy, why was it necessary at all"? "If it was so important, why does the Lds Church say so little about it in its official website and distance itself from it"?

Without it, the church would not have been able to sustain itself. Men were being killed and women outnumbered them. Therefore LDS women would have married outside the church and followed their husband into apostasy.

Share this post


Link to post

Finally, what "specifically" did polygamy provide to the Lds doctrine that would not have been provided via monogamy? Why was it needed in the first place? Everything I have seen and read clearly shows it had nothing to do with there being more females than males in the lds population. It just seems to me, unless you adopt a "persecution complex" perspective, that polygamy only caused problems with respect to the acceptance of the Lds Church (both then and now) without providing it any real doctrinal or reproduction benefits.

Actually, I find in most religon's of Christ there are more females than males. Simply because males are naturaly uncommited and are more sustained to their natural man.

Share this post


Link to post

And yet, there is no proof that he was a fraud. What we do have is a book called the book of mormon. And no one has proven this book untrue or false. In fact, there are many theories out there but none of these theories have stuck so far. Of course, you can take your pick and choose one of these stories about how the book of mormon came about but...it will still be speculation.

When a person looks at the life of JS, he or she will see an extraordinary story. Not just of JS but also of the people around him. The book of mormon had witnesses because there will always be people like you: Doubters and name-callers. But the book still sits tall in the saddle. And that can perhaps irk you to no end as it does your friends on the other board. But such is life.

Evidence is a wonderful thing. But the evidence needs to show that the book is a fraud and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt that it is. And as of this moment, the evidence comes up short.

You've given this argument before, and always seem to ignore my counterargument.

By that logic, all scripture should be true. After all, I'm betting you can't show that the Qur'an, Bhagavad Gita, The Torah, etc are a fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, can you?

Share this post


Link to post

Any atrocity that an individual could commit has been commanded by God at some point in the Bible.

JS could have sacrificed children on a alter and people like you would say, "God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, so why couldn't he command JS to sacrifice other peoples sons? I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic."

Plural marriage isn't an atrocity.

God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son.

Share this post


Link to post
Any atrocity that an individual could commit has been commanded by God at some point in the Bible.

JS could have sacrificed children on a alter and people like you would say, "God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, so why couldn't he command JS to sacrifice other peoples sons? I'll never understand why people are soooo hung up on this topic."

This is a difficult issue. And it raises difficult issues. What are the sources of morality? If not God, or some sort of supernatural moral law, where is the basis for morality? What, given your conviction that we most likely live in a purposeless universe in which people are simply meat machines fated to rot, is the source of your morality? On what basis, beyond sentimentality, would you condemn this or that atrocity? Is there a basis? Or is morality simply an expression of personal tastes?

But it's not only an issue for religion. Every atrocity known to humankind has been commanded by atheistic ideologies, too, at some point or another -- and, in fact, at least during the past century, in quantities that vastly dwarf the misdeeds of religious people. (Just recently, Sam Harris, in the best-selling atheistic book The End of Faith, has proposed that certain religious people may need to be killed, simply and solely because of their beliefs. I find the notion obscene, and you probably do, too. But on what basis, besides subjective preferences, would you condemn it?) And every conceivable atrocity has been committed for entirely non-ideological reasons, too. Humans don't really need moral cover for murder, rape, and theft; they're entirely capable of doing such things on their own.

By that logic, all scripture should be true. After all, I'm betting you can't show that the Qur'an, Bhagavad Gita, The Torah, etc are a fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, can you?

I don't think that anything very significant with regard to the claims of religion -- including your own atheism -- can be demonstrated beyond someone's more or less reasonable doubt.

That, however, doesn't deliver us from the inescapable necessity of choosing to the best of our ability how we will react to those claims, and acting on the basis of that choice.

Your fundamental objection to Joseph Smith's polygamy rests on your conviction that he was not a prophet. Our reaction to Joseph Smith's polygamy -- which is, I think, far and away the most perplexing thing in his biography for a believer -- rests on our conviction that he was a prophet. The two positions remain incommensurate for that very reason.

Share this post


Link to post

Plural marriage isn't an atrocity.

Says you. In the context of how JS and the early saints practiced it, I beleive it was.
God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son.
So? God's tests for JS were different than for Abraham. He chose not to stop JS' hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...