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Martin

The Legalization Of Polygamy In The United States

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With civil rights advocates working hard to legalize and sanction same sex marriage, many Christians believe that the courts might revise marriage laws in this country. This could open all kinds of possibilities besides "gay" marriages. For instance, many civil rights advocates believe that the practice of polygamy or other forms of group marriages might become legally acceptable, thus trashing any state laws (including Utah's) which outlaw, for instance, polgyamy.

Should this happen, would Mormons again practice Doctrines and Covenants 132 - plural marriage? Would they again teach, as did Brigham Young, that the only men who become gods, even the sons of gods, would be those who took additional wives in the new and everlasting Covenant of plural marriage.

How would today's Mormon women feel about this?

If the anwer is no, they will never undertake this practice again, then shouldn't the LDS remove D&C 132 from the Standard Works, as the Church has no intention of following this revelation under any circumstances?

Your thoughts please.

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One of the issues with polygamy is that it entails an ideal that is to some extent quite foreign to many of us. Marriage within polygamy is no longer an intimate sharing that should have no secrets. There is no sense of this personal intimacy, and these ideas are generally played down in a polygamous society (it is interesting to see this kind of rhetoric introduce itself within Mormonism as the practice is ramping up there). For those of us (like me) who have been raised with this other set of ideals for marriage, and who work hard all the time to maintain that kind of relationship where there is this intimate closeness and complete openess and honesty, polygamy would be quite foreign and perhaps quite repressive.

As far as removing a section of the D&C, the idea is rather ludicrous. Should we also remove most of the Old Testament since we don't practice the Law of Moses?

Ben

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One of the issues with polygamy is that it entails an ideal that is to some extent quite foreign to many of us. Marriage within polygamy is no longer an intimate sharing that should have no secrets. There is no sense of this personal intimacy, and these ideas are generally played down in a polygamous society (it is interesting to see this kind of rhetoric introduce itself within Mormonism as the practice is ramping up there). For those of us (like me) who have been raised with this other set of ideals for marriage, and who work hard all the time to maintain that kind of relationship where there is this intimate closeness and complete openess and honesty, polygamy would be quite foreign and perhaps quite repressive.

As far as removing a section of the D&C, the idea is rather ludicrous. Should we also remove most of the Old Testament since we don't practice the Law of Moses?

Ben

This was a good and thoughtout response. However, we cannot equate the Old Covenant Law for the Jews with the New Covenant Law. D&C purports to be a "new and everlasting" covenant for the "saints." Therefore, it cannot simply be dismissed. Moses' law was fulfilled by Christ. However, D&C claims it will always be in force, and in fact, the Manifesto(s) did not abolish it but only suspended the practice.

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As members who live in countries where polygamy is already legal cannot practice polygamy and be members of the Church, I don't forsee a change in law in the US effecting the current stance.

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As members who live in countries where polygamy is already legal cannot practice polygamy and be members of the Church, I don't forsee a change in law in the US effecting the current stance.

Yes, and I find that hypocritical. For, the Manifesto suspended polygamy only where it violates the law of the land. If you believe that Smith was speaking for God, his mouthpiece, then shouldn't Mormons in lands where polygamy is legal be practicing it? Furthermore, is it possible that Smith was confused, that he was only speaking from his own desires, and not for God? That is they way it appears when Mormons forsake this revelation so central to Mormonism.

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As members who live in countries where polygamy is already legal cannot practice polygamy and be members of the Church, I don't forsee a change in law in the US effecting the current stance.

these are my thoughts as well.

I think a lot of non-LDS forget that the LDS church membership applies to more than just americans-(especially since there are more LDS outside the u.s. than in it now).

:P

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Martin writes:

This was a good and thoughtout response. However, we cannot equate the Old Covenant Law for the Jews with the New Covenant Law. D&C purports to be a "new and everlasting" covenant for the "saints." Therefore, it cannot simply be dismissed. Moses' law was fulfilled by Christ. However, D&C claims it will always be in force, and in fact, the Manifesto(s) did not abolish it but only suspended the practice.
You missed the point (although Moses' law was called an everlasting covenant too). The point was that indpendant of any other issue, this wouldn't seem to be justification in my views of removing a section of the D&C from scripture. I think you will find a lot of resistance though to the idea that polygamy itself was the New and Everlasting Covenant as opposed to say poygamy being practiced through the New and Everlasting Covenant.

Ben

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Yes, and I find that hypocritical. For, the Manifesto suspended polygamy only where it violates the law of the land. If you believe that Smith was speaking for God, his mouthpiece, then shouldn't Mormons in lands where polygamy is legal be practicing it? Furthermore, is it possible that Smith was confused, that he was only speaking from his own desires, and not for God? That is they way it appears when Mormons forsake this revelation so central to Mormonism.

Which manifesto are you speaking of? Smith didn't have anything to do with either manifesto. The first one was issued when Wilford Woodruff was President. The second was a Joseph Smith, but not the same as who was the mouth piece for D&C. I also think it would be hypocritical of the Church to be polygamous in some countries and not in others. Polygamy is no longer a practice and I don't believe it will return.

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Yes, and I find that hypocritical. For, the Manifesto suspended polygamy only where it violates the law of the land. If you believe that Smith was speaking for God, his mouthpiece, then shouldn't Mormons in lands where polygamy is legal be practicing it? Furthermore, is it possible that Smith was confused, that he was only speaking from his own desires, and not for God? That is they way it appears when Mormons forsake this revelation so central to Mormonism.

You clearly do not understand the law of polygamy. you seem to be under this impression that any one could practice if it was legal. This is not the case. the LDS chruch has always maintained and our scriptures back this up, the we are to only practice polygamy when called/commanded to do so. It is not acceptable to practice it even if it were leagal just because some one feels like it.

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Yes, and I find that hypocritical.

I find it prudent.

For, the Manifesto suspended polygamy only where it violates the law of the land.

Which at the time was essentially only the US. Pray-tell, what was the status of members a decade after the manifesto that had squirreled away to Mexico and continued to enter into polygamous marriages?

If you believe that Smith was speaking for God, his mouthpiece, then shouldn't Mormons in lands where polygamy is legal be practicing it?

No.

Furthermore, is it possible that Smith was confused, that he was only speaking from his own desires, and not for God?

Yes it is possible.

That is they way it appears when Mormons forsake this revelation so central to Mormonism.

To some perhaps. It's hardly the majority "appearance" that I have encountered.

If I understand you correctly though, are you admonishing the Saints for currently not practicing polygamy? Does it cause you angst that we donĂ¢??t?

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Should this happen, would Mormons again practice Doctrines and Covenants 132 - plural marriage?

D&C 132 discusses plural marriage, but does not require it. You are misreading D&C 132.

The Church is prohibited by law from teaching or advocating polygamy, yet we still have D&C 132. Obviously, neither the leaders of the Church nor most of the members see this section as requiring a polygamous marriage, or it would have been excised long ago.

D&C 132 says that exaltation requires marriage in the new and everlasting covenant, which is temple marriage, not plural marriage.

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Martin writes:You missed the point (although Moses' law was called an everalsting covenant too). The point was that indpendant of any other issue, this wouldn't seem to be justification in my views of removing a section of the D&C from scripture. I think you will find a lot of resistance though to the idea that poygamy itself was the New and Everlasting Covenant as opposed to say poygamy being practiced through the New and Everlasting Covenant.

Ben

Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law for Christians. The Law still stands for those outside of Christ - therefore, the Old Testament Covenant is everlasting. Certainly we see it in force as far as the land of Israel is concerned, for God covenanted with Abraham for the Promised Land.

Actually, D& 132:4 states quite clearly that plural marriage IS the new and everlasting covenant:

4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

So, it would appear that Smith was stating that it was necessary to enter into this type of relationship (plural marriage with multiple women), and that failure to do so would mean damnation. I think it would have to be stretched beyond recongnition to mean otherwise. And, it was obvious that polygamy is in view throughout the whole "revelation," especially when it mentions that poor Emma will be damned if she failed to receive all these "virgins" God was giving Smith in this "new and everlasting" covenant.

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For those of us (like me) who have been raised with this other set of ideals for marriage, and who work hard all the time to maintain that kind of relationship where there is this intimate closeness and complete openess and honesty, polygamy would be quite foreign and perhaps quite repressive.

Not necessarily.

If you can have an intimate closeness and complete openess and honesty with one wife, why not with all of your wives? What would you tell one that you wouldn't tell all?

OR, what would prevent you from having that type of relationship with one wife while your relationships with your other wives was a different type of a relationship?

Btw, in response to the OP:

The laws of God are often different and/or independent of at least some of the laws of men.

The fact that legislators says something is "okay" doesn't mean everyone in the Church is going to do that.

They currently allow pornography, for instance, while God doesn't allow that.

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D&C 132 discusses plural marriage, but does not require it. You are misreading D&C 132.

The Church is prohibited by law from teaching or advocating polygamy, yet we still have D&C 132. Obviously, neither the leaders of the Church nor most of the members see this section as requiring a polygamous marriage, or it would have been excised long ago.

D&C 132 says that exaltation requires marriage in the new and everlasting covenant, which is temple marriage, not plural marriage.

Well, am I misreading Brigham Young, another one of your prophets who said:

"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269).

Seems to me that all Mormons must be damned if they fail to enter into plurality of wives when it is legal to do so. Unless, of course, you deny both Smith's and Young's words!

Not necessarily.

If you can have an intimate closeness and complete openess and honesty with one wife, why not with all of your wives? What would you tell one that you wouldn't tell all?

OR, what would prevent you from having that type of relationship with one wife while your relationships with your other wives was a different type of a relationship?

Btw, in response to the OP:

The laws of God are often different and/or independent of at least some of the laws of men.

The fact that legislators says something is "okay" doesn't mean everyone in the Church is going to do that.

They currently allow pornography, for instance, while God doesn't allow that.

So, you are quite prepared, are you not, to add additional wives to your household? How about your current wife, Paul? Would she be happy with the prospect?

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That is they way it appears when Mormons forsake this revelation so central to Mormonism.

I flatly dispute this characterization. Polygamy is not now, nor has it ever been central to Mormonism.

Even "characteristic of Mormonism" is a tremendous stretch.

Only a minority of Saints ever practiced it and fewer still were required to.

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Unless, of course, you deny both Smith's and Young's words!

Ok, I deny them. Now what?

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Why the quotes?

Isn't that obvious? Smith married several women under this new program who were already married (to Mormon men). I don't think they were virgins. Therefore, I must assume that the word is used in a metaphorical way.

Ok, I deny them. Now what?

That's fine with me. I'm not a Mormon.

I flatly dispute this characterization. Polygamy is not now, nor has it ever been central to Mormonism.

Even "characteristic of Mormonism" is a tremendous stretch.

Only a minority of Saints ever practiced it and fewer still were required to.

Actually, it was certainly central to the LDS system in the 19th century. Even your prophet was in hiding from the law at that time. Why do you think Young led you guys to Utah - because it grew good beets? He wanted an out of the way area to practice this new and everlasting covenant.

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Actually, D& 132:4 states quite clearly that plural marriage IS the new and everlasting covenant:

4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

Where is it clearly stated?

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Well, am I misreading Brigham Young, another one of your prophets who said:

"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269).

First and foremost, the entire quote in context please. Cherry-picked prooftexts have been declared passe until the next Millenium.

Second, the Journal of Discourses are not binding upon the Saints for they are not canon.

Third, Brigham Young was not the only Mormon prophet, nor was he the last.

Seems to me that all Mormons must be damned if they fail to enter into plurality of wives when it is legal to do so. Unless, of course, you deny both Smith's and Young's words!
I deny your spin on their words, but happily grant that your conclusion is highly speculative (the whole "seems to me" thing admits as much) and is not binding upon any who actually understand the faith.

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Where is it clearly stated?

That the revelation is a new and everlasting covenant.

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Isn't that obvious?

To the base mind, perhaps.

Smith married several women under this new program who were already married (to Mormon men).

You say married, some say sealed... poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe.

I don't think they were virgins.

I don't spend much time speculating on the sexual history of long-passed people. I'm weird like that.

Therefore, I must assume that the word is used in a metaphorical way.

The word in D&C 132:61-63? You mean where it states that they are "vowed to no other man." I would assume (if I were to dwell on such things) that isn't metaphorical, but what do I know.

That's fine with me. I'm not a Mormon.

And it's fine with me, I am Mormon.

So now what? Is it still causing you angst that I won't run out and marry a bunch of women if polygamy is legalized in the US?

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So, you are quite prepared, are you not, to add additional wives to your household?

No, not yet. I think I would need to get a better paying job to support the wives I would want, if God allowed me to have many more. But then again, God has a way of providing for those who accept his will, so maybe everything would work out okay fine without that.

How about your current wife, Paul? Would she be happy with the prospect?

If not, she could probably get accustomed to the idea. Some things take some growing into.

Do you think you would be happy with the prospect of joining our Church if God allowed you to have more than one wife?

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