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Fifth Columnist

Polygamy Resulted in Fewer Children Per Woman

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Each family that successfully engaged in plural marriage was a family that was willing to defy conventional morality, enter into an often uncomfortable and stressful relationship, and undergo persecution and sometimes imprisonment because they believed in the testimony of the Spirit. It raised children who had unforgettable examples of parents who's priority was what God wanted them to do and who were willing to make great sacrifices to do it.

Would you apply that same statement to families that currently practice polygamy? Many of them believe that is what God wants of them and they would say they are making great sacrifices to be obedient. Are they raising up a generation of higher "quality" families because of the persecution they face?

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That's a valid question.

And one that I'm not qualified to answer. In fact, I don't think any 21st century LDS is qualified to answer that. You would have to study the journals and writings of those that lived that lifestyle and come to your own conclusion.

One possible advantage is in the providing a greater number of mates for believing, priesthood holding men; marriages of women that might other wise be made to unbelieving men thus reducing the chances of children being raised up under the covenant, or "unto me".

Seed are going to be raised either way. In a condition where the ratio of believing, priesthood holding men to women was low, sanctioned polygamy could be a viable solution to helping ensure that a greater proportion will be raised up unto the Lord.

I think that is a pretty fair response.

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what is false?

The studies you cite herein show that women in polygamous arrangements have "seed", thus, seed is raised, so where is the falsehood?

Seed are also raised in monogamous marriages. What is different about raising up seed in polygamy that would justify God commanding it at various and sundry times?

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Seed are going to be raised either way. In a condition where the ratio of believing, priesthood holding men to women was low, sanctioned polygamy could be a viable solution to helping ensure that a greater proportion will be raised up unto the Lord.

Have you got any evidence that believing, priesthood holding men were in short supply? I sure haven't seen any.

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Would you apply that same statement to families that currently practice polygamy? Many of them believe that is what God wants of them and they would say they are making great sacrifices to be obedient. Are they raising up a generation of higher "quality" families because of the persecution they face?

If God had in fact commanded them to enter polygamous relationships the statement would apply to them, yes.

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Have you got any evidence that believing, priesthood holding men were in short supply?

No I don't.

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It isn't false, it's called , multiplication, lets say the average woman in 1841 was having 8 children.

That's 8 children times 1 wife which equals 8 (8X1=8 )

Now if you have 2 wives that's 7 children pre wife (7X2=14)

3 wives that's 6 per wife (6X3=18)

4 wives that's 5 per wife (4X5=20)

5 wives that's 4 per wife (5x4=20)

From this point forward the trend goes in reverse.

In most cases men had 2 or 3 wives, 5 was a lot of wives.

Then you had Joseph with 24 and Brigham with 50 wives and 54 children (that's a lot of seed!)

So in all cases even with your logic the worst thing that can happen is you have the same amount of children with a lot of wives.

Polygamy guarantees far more children than monogamy, hence why God has used it at times to call up seed.

The math behind your evidence shows how false the claim is you made. 20 children is a lot more that 8

I've read this a number of times and it makes no sense. Your early math seems to align with the study by demonstrating that the more wives one has, the fewer children are produced per wife. Then you immediately contradict that conclusion by arguing that Joseph and Brigham produced a lot of seed yet Joseph's wives didn't have very many children and Brigham barely managed to have more than one child per wife. Then you inexplicably state that polygamy guarantees more children than monogamy.

Does anyone else know what LDS Guy is saying?

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Yes, but wouldn't those families have been strong LDS families even under monogamy? I don't see how polygamy would have made any difference. Good Parents raise good kids. If the purpose of polygamy wasn't quantity of children then I fail to see any benefits. Polygamy shouldn't improve the quality of children.

If you did a survey, today, of all the temple marriages among the children of General Authorities, Stake Presidents and Bishops and compared it to the temple marriages of the children of the general membership, including all inactive and former members of the Church, which group would logically have a higher percentage of temple marriages?

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If you did a survey, today, of all the temple marriages among the children of General Authorities, Stake Presidents and Bishops and compared it to the temple marriages of the children of the general membership, including all inactive and former members of the Church, which group would logically have a higher percentage of temple marriages?

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It is conceivable that the statistics could be biased due to family pressures and not worthiness. I have known many people married in the temple unworthily and some worthy people who married outside the temple.

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Does anyone else know what LDS Guy is saying?

I think it is just a common mistake. While plural marriage certainly produces more children for the husband, it does not produce more children in a society than monogamy would, unless you had a lack of men or of men willing to get married, the latter being a problem in early Utah.

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Seed are also raised in monogamous marriages. What is different about raising up seed in polygamy that would justify God commanding it at various and sundry times?

yes righteous seed can be raised in plural or monogamous relationships. But even that fact does not show the BoM to be false as for statements regarding plural marriage.

more importantly, the LDS Gospel isn't solely confined to the BoM. The Doctrine and Covenants states no real reason for it other than it being part of the priesthood.

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I've read this a number of times and it makes no sense. Your early math seems to align with the study by demonstrating that the more wives one has, the fewer children are produced per wife. Then you immediately contradict that conclusion by arguing that Joseph and Brigham produced a lot of seed yet Joseph's wives didn't have very many children and Brigham barely managed to have more than one child per wife. Then you inexplicably state that polygamy guarantees more children than monogamy.

Does anyone else know what LDS Guy is saying?

I didn't say that Joseph had many children I said that he had 24 wives.

Does it matter that Brigham Young barely managed to have more than 1 child per marriage he had 54 children! How is that not raising up seed.

Had he had one wife at the most, even with the most extreme use of modern fertility drugs (which is a sin according to Deuteronomy) he could of had about 20 children at the most, he had more than double that in the 19th Century!

Having less children per spouse doesn't matter when you have many wives, multiplication always beats addition!

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Does anyone else know what LDS Guy is saying?

yes, ignore the math,

he is polygamy provides for a man to have more offspring than if he only had on wife and only had children with that wife.

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If God had in fact commanded them to enter polygamous relationships the statement would apply to them, yes.

That is part of the problem. The only one saying God commanded them to participate are the one's participating. I have no more evidence that God commanded Joseph Smith or Brigham Young to practice polygamy than I do that Warren Jeffs was commanded to practice it. I once read a FAIR article that called the LDS practice of polygamy "civil disobedience" and not really breaking the law. I don't think that most LDS people would consider the actions of Warren Jeffs and his followers to be civil disobedience but they find it to be offensive and want Warren Jeffs to be prosecuted. The action is the same (between various followers of polygamy and the early LDS Church) but it is only the perception or justification that changes.

I'm trying not to discount anyone's religious beliefs. I know that the LDS people believe the prophets were commanded of God, butthe followers of other faiths (or Fundamental LDS followers) believe the same thing.

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The Doctrine and Covenants states no real reason for it other than it being part of the priesthood.

The D&C doesn't state that at all, come on!

The D&C states that through the priesthood a man can be sealed to more than one spouse, Jacob gives the reason for this as to raise seed up to God in the BoM.

You have to take the whole meaning from all the scriptures, as the old saying goes you can't see the forest from the trees. You can't focus on any one verse and expect to get the whole meaning of it, you need to reference it to the rest of the Standard Works, hence the massive amount of work done to make a KJV bible with references to the standard works.

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yes, ignore the math,

he is polygamy provides for a man to have more offspring than if he only had on wife and only had children with that wife.

????

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At the time of plural marriage, there was also a thought that not only was it better for a woman to be sealed to a higher ranking man, but there was a thought that it was better for everyone. That is, before Pres. Woodruff, people were frequently sealed to general authorities, rather than their own parents.

Anthropologists tell us that polygyny is most common in places of limited resources and where there is a wide disparity in resources of those at the top and the rest. For example, a woman might be better off economically as one out of a hundred wives of, say, Bill Gates, than the only wife of one of the lowest paid workers. Generally speaking, that is the only rational reason that might interest a woman in being a plural wife--that having a link to part of a particular man is better for her than be linked to the entirety to another.

There was a disparity in economic resources among the pioneers, but I believe there was more importantly a perceived extremely wide disparity in the "spiritual" wealth (or spiritual merits) of the men. That it was better to be one of 50 or 60 wives of a Church president--spiritually speaking--than to be the only wife of a deacon--because, in their minds, it was virtually certain the Church president would be exalted taking most or all of his wives with him, but it would not be perceived as likely that the deacon.

It may not have been entirely an accident or pure coincidence that the reconfiguration of sealing practices (ending adoption to Church leaders) also ended around the time plural marriage did.

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This does bring up some interesting questions.

1. Was a woman more likely to die in childbirth the more children she had?

2. Did the chances of losing the baby increase? (I know with age, you are more likely to get gestational diabetes and that increases the chance of a stillbirth)

3. What was the male to female ratio within the church in those days? Out of the male members, how many were active/worthy/most likely to teach their children about the Gospel?

Having to share a husband sounds like a raw deal, but makes me wonder if it was easier for women to go without sex knowing their death was quite possible during childbirth. Living in an age where we all have access to birth control and much better medical care, it's hard to imagine that arrangement being acceptable. Even with advanced medical care, I have thought with every pregnancy, "I could die. My baby could die." It's really a terrifying thought. Not very likely, but if I had lived back then and known so many women and babies who did die, I might be happy to be celibate after delivering a couple of healthy babies in case my luck ran out. I have many friends who would have died for sure during childbirth if they had lived back then.

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I didn't say that Joseph had many children I said that he had 24 wives.

Does it matter that Brigham Young barely managed to have more than 1 child per marriage he had 54 children! How is that not raising up seed.

Had he had one wife at the most, even with the most extreme use of modern fertility drugs (which is a sin according to Deuteronomy) he could of had about 20 children at the most, he had more than double that in the 19th Century!

Having less children per spouse doesn't matter when you have many wives, multiplication always beats addition!

The point is, that if each of Brigham Young's wives had their own husbands in monogamous marriages, they, likely, would have produced more children, as a whole, than they did being married to Brigham Young.

If a man has ten wives and each wife bears him five children, that is fifty children. In a society without plural marriage, if each of these ten women were married to their own husband and they produced ten children each, then as a whole, the monogamous marriages produce two times the number of children than the plural marriages.

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The point is, that if each of Brigham Young's wives had their own husbands in monogamous marriages, they, likely, would have produced more children, as a whole, than they did being married to Brigham Young.

If a man has ten wives and each wife bears him five children, that is fifty children. In a society without plural marriage, if each of these ten women were married to their own husband and they produced ten children each, then as a whole, the monogamous marriages produce two times the number of children than the plural marriages.

Best,

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Possibly, but remember that marriage is an eternal choice, you only marry righteous men. If you marry an unrighteous man you very well could be dooming yourself to never achieve exaltation.

Now while they could of had more children individually married to different men, would all of those other 49 men be righteous men of god like President Young?

D&C 131 changed the believed nature of marriage, now you are marring to spend eternity and hope to achieve Godhood. Marrying a prophet of God is seen as a pretty sure shot of achieving Godhood!

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That is part of the problem. The only one saying God commanded them to participate are the one's participating. I have no more evidence that God commanded Joseph Smith or Brigham Young to practice polygamy than I do that Warren Jeffs was commanded to practice it.

Well I certainly do. It's religious evidence given me of the Spirit, of course, but it is evidence.
I once read a FAIR article that called the LDS practice of polygamy "civil disobedience" and not really breaking the law.
Until the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the laws outlawing the LDS church it may well have been termed civil disobedience.
I'm trying not to discount anyone's religious beliefs. I know that the LDS people believe the prophets were commanded of God, butthe followers of other faiths (or Fundamental LDS followers) believe the same thing.

But they can't both be correct (although they can both be wrong). Either God gave the commandment and then withdrew it, or He never withdrew it, or He never gave it in the first place.

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If a man has ten wives and each wife bears him five children, that is fifty children. In a society without plural marriage, if each of these ten women were married to their own husband and they produced ten children each, then as a whole, the monogamous marriages produce two times the number of children than the plural marriages.

Also, you assume here that the other nine men are all capable of having children, when you factor in the number of sterile men (remember back then many diseases like Mumps that cause sterility were commonplace) this number drastically drops. In modern times, this seems common sense in the 19th century no so much potentially.

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Well I certainly do. It's religious evidence given me of the Spirit, of course, but it is evidence.

I appreciate the spiritual evidence you received. It doesn't invalidate the spiritual evidence received daily by those of other faiths.

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But they can't both be correct (although they can both be wrong).

That is kinda where I am at.

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In another thread, CQUIRK posted a link to this interesting study: http://www.newswise.com/articles/polygamy-hurt-19th-century-mormon-wives-evolutionary-fitness

The study showed that "[p]olygamy practiced by some 19th century Mormon men had the curious effect of suppressing the overall offspring numbers of Mormon women in plural marriages, say scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions in the March 2011 issue of Evolution and Human Behavior. Simply put, the more sister-wives a Mormon woman had, the fewer children she was likely to produce."

Yet, the only permissible reason for polygamy in the Book of Mormon is to "raise up seed unto me." Jacob 2:30.

How can we reconcile the fact that the only justification for polygamy in the Book of Mormon turns out to be false?

I certainly think polygamy was a mistake.

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