Jump to content

Archived

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

phaedrus ut

Living among polygamists

Recommended Posts

When I was a fulltime missionary, I was transferred into a ward where the ward mission leader and his wife had some other, obviously pregnant woman living with them. At first, I assumed she was a visiting relative or something. Only later did I learn the back story. Our WML was a baby doctor who worked in his own practice four days a week and then volunteered in a charity clinic the fifth day. One day, a woman had come into the clinic for a pregnancy exam. She said she was scared to be pregnant because she was a user of crack cocaine, and she knew how bad that was for a baby. It turned out she was indeed pregnant, and Bro H had then reminded her how important it was that she stay clean at least for the duration of the pregnancy. She said she knew she couldn't do it without help. He asked her what kind of help she needed. She said she needed to be somewhere far away from crack and from her 'friends.'

Bro H went to another room, rang up his wife, and asked her, 'What do you think?' She said, 'Bring her home. We've got a spare bed in the garage; we can set it up in the girls' room.' Which is precisely what they had done. The 'visiting relative' was a random crack addict who needed a safe place to stay for nine months, and she was sharing a room in this family's modest three-bedroom home with their two young girls.

During this same time, my companion and I received a media referral for a seventeen-year-old boy who'd seen a Book of Mormon ad on the TV. When we met with him, his father, who was very opposed, said he couldn't stop him meeting with us, but forbade us doing it at their house, so we started teaching him in the WML's home. This boy was in year 12 and had already been accepted into the air force. It was near the end of the academic year, so he would be taking off for training in a few months. As we taught him, he developed a strong desire to be baptised. We told him that, due to still being a minor, he'd need parental permission. He said his dad would never provide it. We told him to ask anyway.

The boy came back and told us that his dad had 'sort of' given his permission. In short, he'd told the boy that he couldn't stop him getting baptised, whether it was now or later on when he was at the air force training centre and eighteen, so he wouldn't tell him no, but he would tell him that, if he bacame a Latter-day Saint, he would be dead to the father and the rest of the family. He would have to leave the house, never to return, never to visit, never to phone or write or email.

I told the boy that he could wait the necessary time to get baptised after leaving home, but he said he didn't want to wait that long, that he was going to lose his family either way and didn't want to postpone the blessings he so desired. I asked him what he was going to do about accommodation, and he shrugged his shoulders. The WML's wife, who, along with their sixteen-year-old son, was participating in the discussion with us, said, 'Don't worry. We'll find a spare bed and set it up in the boys' room.' Which is what they did.

Months later, after I had been transferred, the pregnant guest gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Bro H was the attending doctor, of course. She cuddled the child for a few hours and then summoned the doctor and said, 'Before I met you people, I had no idea that a family could be so happy. You have everything I want for my son. Please do me a favour and take him as your own.' Once again, Bro H went to another room, rang up his wife, and asked, 'What do you think?' She said, 'Bring him home. We'll find a cot and put him in our room.' He was legally adopted into their family.

I was in awe of this family. Their home, built as it was on the simple principles of the gospel, was a place where love and joy and peace reigned. It was also porous, with a warm welcome to whoever needed to join them in the heaven-like goodness they had forged. In the instances I mentioned above, what was needed was never to add someone to the family by marriage, but, having watched them in action, I have no doubt what the entire family's response would be if such were what was needed: Bring the person home.

On this point, I am reminded of an excellent Ensign article by D. Michael Quinn, a few excerpts of which I've copied below:

How a family accepts members who join it by marriage is, in some ways, analogous to how a Church accepts members who join it by baptism. The experiences of plural marriage make the analogy even closer. The Whitney family rose nobly to the challenge in a way that was an example to the Church. On 27 July 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded a revelation to the Whitneys on plural marriage.

Share this post


Link to post

Lust may play a part in marriage, only in the sense that lust is a desire to procreate.

I'm agreeing with Nic on this one... I think we should try to avoid lust if possible. At least for me, that is.

Share this post


Link to post

I mean that we must not conflate marriage with lust.

Agreed. I fear that those who look at marriages such as that, mentioned above, between Newel K Whitney and Emmeline Blanche Woodward Harris and can only see a lust-filled man getting a sweet, young thing into his bed reveal far, far more about themselves and what motivates them personally than they do about the actual practice of plural marriage within the Church of Jesus Christ.

One of the ruling principles in my PhD research has been to create a history which, despite its inevitable flaws, would at least be recognisable to the people who actually experienced it. The critics' caricatures of plural marriage would in no way be recognisable to the vast majority of those who lived it and therefore knew it firsthand.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm agreeing with Nic on this one... I think we should try to avoid lust if possible. At least for me, that is.

I have a desire to have sex with my wife, is that not lust? Which to me is a subset or one may consider it a lesser segment of love. Lust without love which can be expressed in marriage is empty, like sugar it burns itself out but provides no real staying power for marriage. I do not recommend lust as it stands alone, but I understand clearly that unless there is limited or no sexual desire between husband and wife (which may occur due to age or physical ability), that lust is indeed a part of the process by which we have a family.

I agree that lust, by itself is to be avoided since it does not provide fully what is needed, but it is a component of what is needed in families. Lust is a personal desire which is merely selfish when not powered by love. I hope I have made myself more fully understood rather than adding to the confusion. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I don't consider lust a natural part of married life. Lust doesn't care who the object is, because it's a self-centered desire to satisfy one's own craving. Normal sexual relations should involve a real love and caring, along with a desire to please the other person, as much as yourself.

Definition of lust:

uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness. 3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving

Share this post


Link to post

I note you used one definition and not the full list of definitions presented. Are you perhaps saying that your use is the only one that is valid?

As a noun

intense sexual desire or appetite.

2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.

3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for ): a lust for power.

As a verb

to have intense sexual desire.

7. to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often followed by for or after ).

And more...

Lust is natural and indeed lust without love often defines the natural man, and it is a part of marriage, but it is controlled (which negates one definition but not others). I have a very powerful urge to be with my wife, often, and even as we have been married these 25+ years I still find her desireable in a strong passionate sense. After all, I ain't dead.

I disagree with you view of lust and prefer the intense desire it creates within us to procreate. It has its place and is a part of the unique love a man has for his wife, as opposed to love for one's daughter, son, and neighbor.

Share this post


Link to post

I for one would not enjoy living in a marriage with no physical attraction between the partners.

Share this post


Link to post

I note you used one definition and not the full list of definitions presented. Are you perhaps saying that your use is the only one that is valid?

As a noun

intense sexual desire or appetite.

2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.

3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed by for ): a lust for power.

As a verb

to have intense sexual desire.

7. to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often followed by for or after ).

And more...

Lust is natural and indeed lust without love often defines the natural man, and it is a part of marriage, but it is controlled (which negates one definition but not others). I have a very powerful urge to be with my wife, often, and even as we have been married these 25+ years I still find her desireable in a strong passionate sense. After all, I ain't dead.

I disagree with you view of lust and prefer the intense desire it creates within us to procreate. It has its place and is a part of the unique love a man has for his wife, as opposed to love for one's daughter, son, and neighbor.

I didn't see anything in any of those definitions, of a positive nature. Actually, lust is a sin. It is a part of the "natural man", I agree, but not a positive part. Lust is a self-centered desire.

http://www.porn-free.org/lust.htm

Share this post


Link to post

I disagree with your characterization. If you wish to presume that a strong physical attraction to ones wife is somehow a sin, I can only say that apparently my wife and I live in sin, but feel no need to repent. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I disagree with your characterization. If you wish to presume that a strong physical attraction to ones wife is somehow a sin, I can only say that apparently my wife and I live in sin, but feel no need to repent. :P

Now, on that Jeff and I agree!

Share this post


Link to post

"Lust" has negative connotations attached to it, as demonstrated by many of the words associated with it:

Main Entry: lust Part of Speech: noun Definition: appetite, passion Synonyms: animalism, aphrodisia, appetence, appetition, avidity, carnality, concupiscence, covetousness, craving, cupidity, desire, eroticism, excitement, fervor, greed, hunger, itch, lasciviousness, lechery, lewdness, libido, licentiousness, longing, prurience, pruriency, salaciousness, salacity, sensualism, sensuality, thirst, urge, wantonness, weakness, yen Antonyms: chastity, disenchantment, disgust
There is also the difficulty of the scripture where Jesus condemns looking at another with lust. ("28But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to alust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart."). In a quick scan, the word "lust" in the scriptures is always used in condemnation.

In order to avoid dragging that negative usages of the term into the conversation, surely it would be better to agree on using a synonym without the same negative connotations, such as "passion" which is also used in the scriptures in positive and neutral ways.

Main Entry: passion Part of Speech: noun Definition: strong emotion Synonyms: affection, affectivity, agony, anger, animation, ardor, dedication, devotion, distress, dolor, eagerness, ecstasy, excitement, feeling, fervor, fire, fit, flare-up, frenzy, fury, heat, hurrah, indignation, intensity, ire, joy, misery, outbreak, outburst, paroxysm, rage, rapture, resentment, sentiment, spirit, storm, suffering, temper, transport, vehemence, warmth, wrath, zeal, zest Antonyms: calm, calmness
As you can see, the difference in what the two terms are associated with in the language (and thus people's minds) are dramatically different even though they are very similar in their denotations.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't see it as entirely negative since it also means passion. Some would consider passion a bad word since it implies an overriding desire, as does ecstasy and others. Eye of the beholder I suppose. Some will see the word lust as inherently sinful since they were taught such things were inherently sinful. I don't see it that way, just as I don't see sex or the desire for sex as inherently sinful. As I have stated, eye of the beholder.

Share this post


Link to post

If David had only looked upon his wives with lust, would he have been considered falled and sinful?

Share this post


Link to post

I don't see it as entirely negative since it also means passion. Some would consider passion a bad word since it implies an overriding desire, as does ecstasy and others. Eye of the beholder I suppose. Some will see the word lust as inherently sinful since they were taught such things were inherently sinful. I don't see it that way, just as I don't see sex or the desire for sex as inherently sinful. As I have stated, eye of the beholder.

I am just saying that if one wants to discuss such things with others, it is wise to agree on the meaning of one's terms and it is easier to do so when such terms do not carry a lot of baggage (such as always being used in a negative way in the scriptures would tend to taint a religious discussion if trying to use the word "lust" in a positive way).

Share this post


Link to post

If David had only looked upon his wives with lust, would he have been considered falled and sinful?

That would depend on how Christ meant his instruction about a man who looked on a woman with lust in his heart had already committed adultery. In the English version, there is no qualification that the woman is not unmarried and it appears that she might even be married to the man who is lusting though one tends to assume it's talking about other women. It would be interesting to find out if the original language is more specific.

In my view, "lust" carries with it the objectification of the other as a sexual object (something that exists to be acted upon, not to act together with) whose purpose is to satisfy a physical need, not something that I think it appropriate between even married people. Any emotion or physical response that diminishes the humanity of the other is sinful, imo, no matter who is involved and how willing they are to be 'objectified'.

Share this post


Link to post

Good grief, Jeff. No one here thinks it's a problem that you feel physically attracted to your wife. That you want to name that attraction using a word which the scriptures reserve for something very different to what you're talking about is your prerogative, but it doesn't really help the discussion when the critics keep howling out that early Mormon polygamy was just an excuse for the exercise of lust--a thin and shameful mischaracterisation which, as I've asserted above, the actual participants would find alien.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't see it as entirely negative since it also means passion. Some would consider passion a bad word since it implies an overriding desire, as does ecstasy and others. Eye of the beholder I suppose. Some will see the word lust as inherently sinful since they were taught such things were inherently sinful. I don't see it that way, just as I don't see sex or the desire for sex as inherently sinful. As I have stated, eye of the beholder.

Passion is a completely different word and, of course, there is no problem (at all!) with having passion for your spouse. THAT is desirable.

But, lust is more akin to an addiction (like a lust for money). It's a consuming addiction that doesn't care about anyone or anything, other than to satisfy a deep and driving need. It is aberrant, as one definition presented it. An "abnormal" obsession with something.

Really, it has nothing to do with normal passion for your wife or husband.

Putting this in a polygamous context, I don't think polygamous relationships are, necessarily, anymore "lustful" than one on one relationships. You can have lust, or normal passion, within either of those kinds of relationships (or any other). The outlook would be dependent on the individuals involved.

Share this post


Link to post
But, lust is more akin to an addiction

I am addicted to love? I am in lust with love? Hmmmmm...

"You" say it has nothing to do with "normal" passion. How do I know you are normal and you know what passion is? How do we know you aren't somewhat puritannical and so therefore passion to you is a handshake and lust is giving into a kiss? I appreciate the way you choose the words. But I lust after my wife. And if David had not lusted after Bathsheba but lusted only after his wife (or wives)I don't think we would have had the moral play and meaning we do today. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I have a desire to have sex with my wife, is that not lust?

It depends why you desire to have sex with your wife. The reason isn't always lust. Lust refers to the 'greedy' side of it, so to say... the desire for pleasure.

Which to me is a subset or one may consider it a lesser segment of love. Lust without love which can be expressed in marriage is empty, like sugar it burns itself out but provides no real staying power for marriage.

I know. But what I am saying is that there are other reasons to have sex than lust... not all the reasons are lust... and I know God doesn't want lust to be my reason if I have it at all.

I do not recommend lust as it stands alone, but I understand clearly that unless there is limited or no sexual desire between husband and wife (which may occur due to age or physical ability), that lust is indeed a part of the process by which we have a family.

I disagree - lust, as I defined it up above (my own definition of it, not from a source), the 'greedy desire for pleasure', has no part in mairrage.

I agree that lust, by itself is to be avoided since it does not provide fully what is needed, but it is a component of what is needed in families. Lust is a personal desire which is merely selfish when not powered by love. I hope I have made myself more fully understood rather than adding to the confusion. :P

We just have different definitions, don't worry about it too much.

But I will tell you, in my definition, lust is never powered by love, because it is selfish and greedy. If it is selfish and greedy, it is lust. If it is caring, kind, compassionate, hesitant, self-controlled, and willing to be sacrificed, then it's love.

Definitions, they are a confusing thing =P.

Share this post


Link to post

I do not see lust in and of itself as being selfish or greedy anymore than I see the need to breath as being selfish or greedy, both serve our best interest and both tend to be done for selfish reasons (to stretch a metaphor or sorts), both are natural occurances that we carry out for self preservations. However there is a proper time to breath and a proper time to pant. I will leave it at that.

Share this post


Link to post

Let's just say that words mean things, and the definition of "lust" is not what is meant by a healthy attraction to your spouse...it just isn't a part of the definition. I'm sure you love your wife and you are attracted to her...that's great...but, if it's a healthy attraction, an attraction that includes her wishes and desires, as well as your own, it's not lust.

"You" say it has nothing to do with "normal" passion.

That is a part of the definition. It didn't just come from me. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I appreciate you slant on the semantics, I and some of the definitions disagree with you emphasis just as you disagree with mine. I agree leave it at that. And all this talk allowed for some lusty behavior which was with passion (also part of the definition) and with love, which is not negated by it.

King David was not punished for his lust but his use of lust in the wrong way (my wife said that not I). I tend to agree. But thanks for your view.

Share this post


Link to post

I appreciate you slant on the semantics, I and some of the definitions disagree with you emphasis just as you disagree with mine. I agree leave it at that. And all this talk allowed for some lusty behavior which was with passion (also part of the definition) and with love, which is not negated by it.

King David was not punished for his lust but his use of lust in the wrong way (my wife said that not I). I tend to agree. But thanks for your view.

Okay, no problem, Jeff. I understand your view. I just wouldn't use the term lust in that way. But, it seems we are defining it a bit differently.

Nice talking to you. :P

Share this post


Link to post

I do not see lust in and of itself as being selfish or greedy anymore than I see the need to breath as being selfish or greedy

Let me ask you this - do you want to have sex with your wife because of the feelings - or because she asked you to. That's the difference (to me).

both serve our best interest and both tend to be done for selfish reasons (to stretch a metaphor or sorts), both are natural occurances that we carry out for self preservations.

On the contrary, breathing I must do or I die. I don't have to have lust if I don't want to... the consequences are not as big. We breathe, not because we are selfish, but because we worry about dying.

However there is a proper time to breath and a proper time to pant. I will leave it at that.

It is not to me to say what God wishes for you, that it isn't. You may look at it how you wish... for me God does not wish for me to desire that thing in any way but for the things he has commanded of me. But that is his commandment to me solely. Perhaps he has a different one for you =).

Share this post


Link to post
Jeff K., on 17 February 2011 - 10:12 PM, said:

I do not see lust in and of itself as being selfish or greedy anymore than I see the need to breath as being selfish or greedy

Let me ask you this - do you want to have sex with your wife because of the feelings - or because she asked you to. That's the difference (to me).

You waited to be asked? Do you wait for fish to fall into your basket? No, you tease them on the line first.

Quote

both serve our best interest and both tend to be done for selfish reasons (to stretch a metaphor or sorts), both are natural occurances that we carry out for self preservations.

On the contrary, breathing I must do or I die. I don't have to have lust if I don't want to... the consequences are not as big. We breathe, not because we are selfish, but because we worry about dying.

And without the other, death becomes a welcomed option.

Well, all of this has wetted the apetite, talk later.... :P

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...