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cinepro

Dante'S Polygamy

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In a recent discussion on polygamy, what started out as a rather focused discussion on one specific aspect of the practice soon became fuzzy with people introducing other unrelated parts.

This led to misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the history of polygamy and why, exactly, some people (LDS and non-LDS) have a problem with it.

So, to clarify the issue, I would suggest that the history of polygamy in the LDS Church isn't one thing that we can refer to as "polygamy", but instead it is a subject with many layers. And as you descend through the layers, the practice gets more and more objectionable for many people.

If I may, I would like to get peoples' impression on how these layers (or "rings") would be organized. As a nod to Dante's Inferno and the trauma some people feel as they learn more and more about polygamy in the early LDS church, I would refer to this as "The Nine Rings of Polygamy Hell".

Starting at the most general and placid and leading towards the most specific and objectionable:

First:
The most basic general knowledge - "Some early LDS practiced polygamy, including Brigham Young. The Church stopped the practice in 1890"

Second:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and was sealed to upwards of 30 women".

Third:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and married women without Emma's knowledge."

Fourth:
"Joseph Smith's wives included women who were married to other living men."

Fifth:
"Joseph Smith publicly denied polygamy at the same time he was practicing it"

Sixth:
"Joseph Smith taught the principle of plural marriage to some women while their husbands were away on missions, suggesting they enter into the practice before their husbands got back"

Seventh:
"When Emma consented to polygamy under limited circumstances and suggested two potential wives whom Joseph had already married, Joseph performed a second sealing ceremony to make Emma think he hadn't already been sealed to them instead of telling her they were already his wives"

Eighth:
After the Church published the Manifesto in 1890, Wilford Woodruff and other Church leaders continued to authorize and perform a very small number of plural marriages.

Ninth:
Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected, and part of the motivation for them accepting the offer may have been promises made to them about the eternal state of their family based on if they accepted or denied the offer.

Based on what I've seen on this forum, that's my first draft for how people tend to react to information about polygamy in the Church. Meaning, people tend to be relatively unfazed by the first ring, and get more fazed as they descend towards ring nine.

I'm curious what other people have experienced, either in their own studies or from the reactions of people around them. Obviously, there are people who are unfazed by all of it; I'm not saying this applies to everyone. I'm thinking of this as more of a framework for general reactions.

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In a recent discussion on polygamy, what started out as a rather focused discussion on one specific aspect of the practice soon became fuzzy with people introducing other unrelated parts.

This led to misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the history of polygamy and why, exactly, some people (LDS and non-LDS) have a problem with it.

So, to clarify the issue, I would suggest that the history of polygamy in the LDS Church isn't one thing that we can refer to as "polygamy", but instead it is a subject with many layers. And as you descend through the layers, the practice gets more and more objectionable for many people.

If I may, I would like to get peoples' impression on how these layers (or "rings") would be organized. As a nod to Dante's Inferno and the trauma some people feel as they learn more and more about polygamy in the early LDS church, I would refer to this as "The Nine Rings of Polygamy Hell".

Starting at the most general and placid and leading towards the most specific and objectionable:

First:
The most basic general knowledge - "Some early LDS practiced polygamy, including Brigham Young. The Church stopped the practice in 1890"

Second:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and was sealed to upwards of 30 women".

Third:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and married women without Emma's knowledge."

Fourth:
"Joseph Smith's wives included women who were married to other living men."

Fifth:
"Joseph Smith publicly denied polygamy at the same time he was practicing it"

Sixth:
"Joseph Smith taught the principle of plural marriage to some women while their husbands were away on missions, suggesting they enter into the practice before their husbands got back"

Seventh:
"When Emma consented to polygamy under limited circumstances and suggested two potential wives whom Joseph had already married, Joseph performed a second sealing ceremony to make Emma think he hadn't already been sealed to them instead of telling her they were already his wives"

Eighth:
After the Church published the Manifesto in 1890, Wilford Woodruff and other Church leaders continued to authorize and perform a very small number of plural marriages.

Ninth:
Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected, and part of the motivation for them accepting the offer may have been promises made to them about the eternal state of their family based on if they accepted or denied the offer.

Based on what I've seen on this forum, that's my first draft for how people tend to react to information about polygamy in the Church. Meaning, people tend to be relatively unfazed by the first ring, and get more fazed as they descend towards ring nine.

I'm curious what other people have experienced, either in their own studies or from the reactions of people around them. Obviously, there are people who are unfazed by all of it; I'm not saying this applies to everyone. I'm thinking of this as more of a framework for general reactions.

As I "learned" more, I personally experienced trauma.

Meaning, I felt sick inside. I have learned since then, that the reason why I felt that way was that what I was reading was based on pure speculation and not based on facts. It stemmed from a lack of understanding and from fear which doesn't come from the Lord.

To intertwine polygamy with Joseph Smith's supposed "deception" is when it gets "fuzzy" and doesn't make out the man I personally know or those who were more intimately associated with him.

In addition, we have to acknowledge we don't know all the facts including faithful LDS members so no outside critic will have all the answers to all the complexities surrounding polygamy.

Because I believe it is based on pure speculation and unworthy sources, I take exception to the "third", "sixth", "seventh" and "ninth" (CFR) and since this is a "draft", I would add in the BIble's polygamy in one of the layers.

Today, I am unfazed by it because I know whatever and however he went about his life, Joseph Smith is in the Celestial Kingdom. So if I start to "doubt" what kind of man he really was or how he behaved, well I better start looking at myself for this man has been exalted, I haven't.

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On my first discussion after bapism I asked my new home teacher:"Why before it was OK for God that some of His prophets had more than one wife and now it is not OK with God?" My home teacher told me that it is OK with God if some men have more than one wife but we live in society where it is against the law to have this practice. He told me that prophets of our Church did practice polygamy before. I said:"They did?" He said:"Yes, they did"

I told myself:"Hm, they must be true prophets. If God doesn't change and it was OK with Him before, than it should be OK with Him now."

The fact that polygamy was practiced in Church and that baptism for the dead is one of the ordinances made me believe even more that LDS Church IS TRUE. It is OF GOD.

Then later I read all those things about Joseph Smith. It made me feel sick. BUT I told myself:"I don't know if all those things are accurate 100%. What if evil men try to make Joseph Smith look like a horrible person? But I DO know that Holy Ghost testified to me that JS is true prophet. I remember how one evening I received a revelation from God when I was a member for 1 month and I still was asking God many questions about Church. I was inspired to follow what I learn in Church and that this will bring me true happiness. I decided that I will do that. I started to do that and that changed my life.

I don't care what people say about those who died many years ago. I don't accept hearsay as true fact, but I care about what Spirit is teaching me.

I like this saying by LDS writer Dr.John L. Lund "Don't lose faith in what you know because of what you don't know!"

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I like this saying by LDS writer Dr.John L. Lund "Don't lose faith in what you know because of what you don't know!"

That has always been my philosophy.

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Obviously, there are people who are unfazed by all of it; I'm not saying this applies to everyone.

I'm one of those, though when I first heard about polygamy I didn't have the reaction Alla did. I was disturbed I must admit, but I knew the church was true because that had been revealed to me. So I tabled it. Later I had some experiences, and of course did more reading, which caused me to accept it and so it never fazed me after that, no matter what I heard.

I think the principle is something that we will never fully understand on earth because too many worldly feelings keep us from truly experiencing the love of one another that is intended. When we learn to love unconditionally all the petty jealousies and feelings of being inferior disappear.

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I like this saying by LDS writer Dr.John L. Lund "Don't lose faith in what you know because of what you don't know!"

Isn't this the guy who was recently arrested for trafficking stolen antiquities or some such?

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I'm one of those, though when I first heard about polygamy I didn't have the reaction Alla did. I was disturbed I must admit, but I knew the church was true because that had been revealed to me. So I tabled it. Later I had some experiences, and of course did more reading, which caused me to accept it and so it never fazed me after that, no matter what I heard.

I think the principle is something that we will never fully understand on earth because too many worldly feelings keep us from truly experiencing the love of one another that is intended. When we learn to love unconditionally all the petty jealousies and feelings of being inferior disappear.

I only want to add something. Personally I don't like plural marriage idea. I want to be the only one. But I believe that in heaven I won't care about. I believe that it is here on earth Satan makes me feel:"Oh, you are not special, because you are not the only one".

Sometimes He plants these ugly thoughts:"Oh, Father has so many children that you can not be special to Him, you are not the only one". Jealousy will not exist over there. Buit only love between sister wife #1 and sister wife #2 and their husband. I BELIEVE.

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Isn't this the guy who was recently arrested for trafficking stolen antiquities or some such?

I have no idea.

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In a recent discussion on polygamy, what started out as a rather focused discussion on one specific aspect of the practice soon became fuzzy with people introducing other unrelated parts.

This led to misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the history of polygamy and why, exactly, some people (LDS and non-LDS) have a problem with it.

So, to clarify the issue, I would suggest that the history of polygamy in the LDS Church isn't one thing that we can refer to as "polygamy", but instead it is a subject with many layers. And as you descend through the layers, the practice gets more and more objectionable for many people.

If I may, I would like to get peoples' impression on how these layers (or "rings") would be organized. As a nod to Dante's Inferno and the trauma some people feel as they learn more and more about polygamy in the early LDS church, I would refer to this as "The Nine Rings of Polygamy Hell".

Starting at the most general and placid and leading towards the most specific and objectionable:

First:
The most basic general knowledge - "Some early LDS practiced polygamy, including Brigham Young. The Church stopped the practice in 1890"

Second:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and was sealed to upwards of 30 women".

Third:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and married women without Emma's knowledge."

Fourth:
"Joseph Smith's wives included women who were married to other living men."

Fifth:
"Joseph Smith publicly denied polygamy at the same time he was practicing it"

Sixth:
"Joseph Smith taught the principle of plural marriage to some women while their husbands were away on missions, suggesting they enter into the practice before their husbands got back"

Seventh:
"When Emma consented to polygamy under limited circumstances and suggested two potential wives whom Joseph had already married, Joseph performed a second sealing ceremony to make Emma think he hadn't already been sealed to them instead of telling her they were already his wives"

Eighth:
After the Church published the Manifesto in 1890, Wilford Woodruff and other Church leaders continued to authorize and perform a very small number of plural marriages.

Ninth:
Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected, and part of the motivation for them accepting the offer may have been promises made to them about the eternal state of their family based on if they accepted or denied the offer.

Based on what I've seen on this forum, that's my first draft for how people tend to react to information about polygamy in the Church. Meaning, people tend to be relatively unfazed by the first ring, and get more fazed as they descend towards ring nine.

I'm curious what other people have experienced, either in their own studies or from the reactions of people around them. Obviously, there are people who are unfazed by all of it; I'm not saying this applies to everyone. I'm thinking of this as more of a framework for general reactions.

I don't really have a problem with any of these rings.

I learned slowly over time, overcoming each one at a time.

Perhaps the best lesson to learn though is, it is best not to listen to those who make it sound worse than it is. This is how I view the rings, and how I justify them.

First: Some early LDS practiced polygamy, including Brigham Young. The Church tried to stop the practice in 1890. The revelation was given in D&C 132.

Second: Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and was sealed to upwards of 30 women, as God commanded him.

Third: Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and married women without Emma's knowledge, due to a clause in D&C 132.

Fourth: Joseph Smith's wives included women who were married to other living men, for various reasons, as when God commanded him.

Fifth: Joseph Smith publicly denied polygamy at the same time he was practicing it, for the safety of himself and the saints.

Sixth: Joseph Smith taught the principle of plural marriage to some women while their husbands were away on missions and suggested they enter into the practice while their husbands were away, when commanded by the Lord.

Seventh: When Emma consented to polygamy under limited circumstances and suggested two potential wives whom Joseph had already married, Joseph performed a second sealing ceremony to ensure that Emma didn't get angry at him for having already been sealed to them.

Eighth: After the Church published the Manifesto in 1890, Wilford Woodruff and other Church leaders continued to authorize and perform a very small number of plural marriages. It is very hard to go cold turkey though.

Ninth: Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected. (I am not sure the second bit you included is factual - it is more of an opinion, the way it is stated.)

It took a while to get used to, but nah, I tend not to have problems with polygamy anymore. And I don't let the drastic negativism of others run away with me. I think about the situation solely between God and Joseph. And I leave out the commentary. But that's how I deal with it =P.

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Isn't this the guy who was recently arrested for trafficking stolen antiquities or some such?

Not arrested I believe, detained and then let go after posting a bond.....possibly. It depends on what source I've heard is most accurate. It would be best to remain cautious about exactly what has happened as newspaper accounts are not always accurate and wait to get more details.

For those interested, this is the most recent article I could find: http://www.sltrib.co...uities.html.csp

Further discussion would be off topic, so go post it in the In the News.

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Then later I read all those things about Joseph Smith. It made me feel sick.

To the point of this thread, which specific things were you referring to?

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...

Based on what I've seen on this forum, that's my first draft for how people tend to react to information about polygamy in the Church. Meaning, people tend to be relatively unfazed by the first ring, and get more fazed as they descend towards ring nine.

I'm curious what other people have experienced, either in their own studies or from the reactions of people around them. Obviously, there are people who are unfazed by all of it; I'm not saying this applies to everyone. I'm thinking of this as more of a framework for general reactions.

I would arrange the "rings" differently. And I am sure others would also, depending on what aggravates them more. To me, the polyandry is the ninth ring. I already knew about the continuing practice after 1890. I already accepted that Emma made "discoveries" and was adamantly against all of the "patriarchal marriage" thing. The thing that breaks Mormon polygamy apart as not "God-revealed" is Joseph Smith's polyandry. And I would like to believe the assertions that his relationships were only "on paper" as it were and had no carnal aspect to them, but I simply cannot. To me the whole secrecy thing is damning. And the fact that B. Young absolutely rejected the slightest trace of polyandry just makes Joseph Smith's mistake all the more glaring....

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I believe that he didn't know that he was breaking the law. I may be wrong but this is what I believe.

I still like what he said:"don't lose faith in what you know because of what you don't know".;)

I love his "How to Hug a Porcupine" book, don't generally like self-help psych books, know a bit too much about how it should be done I guess. OTOH, there is another book of his I'm definitely not recommending.

Sorry to continue the derail, I just really hate starting new threads for some reason.

Okay, I've just got to add one more comment about this---I believe as well when he states he didn't know he was breaking the law, but then he goes on to blame the government for not making it clear. I have been in the same situation (didn't know we were supposed to have student visas for our kids because no one mentioned it at the border and then the school just assumed we did instead of asking us....and then there was the time our Russian visas were out of date and we didn't know it because we didn't know Russian, the visa company had made a mistake), but the reality is that when we choose to be a guest of a country, it is our own responsibility to obey the laws. In this case where the tour company is offfering its services with the promise to take care of everything, the tour company should have doubled and tripled check that they understood everything about laws about buying and transporting souvenirs before allowing their customers to participate in such things so they could keep their customers safe. So I don't think he should go to jail and if the coin collection is legitimate, hopefully he will get it back and the tourists will get back those things they purchased legally, but if there is a fine to be paid, either he (if he is part of the company and not just a 'consultant' under the protection of the company) or the tour company itself should do it (in our case, the visa company which made the mistake paid our fee since we had purchased their service on the promise they would take care of such things).

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I only want to add something. Personally I don't like plural marriage idea. I want to be the only one. But I believe that in heaven I won't care about. I believe that it is here on earth Satan makes me feel:"Oh, you are not special, because you are not the only one".

Sometimes He plants these ugly thoughts:"Oh, Father has so many children that you can not be special to Him, you are not the only one". Jealousy will not exist over there. Buit only love between sister wife #1 and sister wife #2 and their husband. I BELIEVE.

Being a guy, I suppose, this gives me a different perspective. Or at least as an LDS guy, it does so.

First, understand that there is a crucial difference between "polygamy" and "plural marriage. Not to consult a standard dictionary, but "polygamy" could be seen as some kind of drunkard's dream of male lust, where a man takes to himself a series of ever younger women while discarding the older "worn out" ones at will, in order to satisfy his carnality. On the other hand, "plural marriage" involves being married to two or more women. And I mean married, with the same responsibilty to each of them, to support, both physically and emotionally each of them as if she were his only wife, dividing himself as equally as he can, and keeping that covenant with each of them.

The ideal expressed in this definition of plural marriage would be hard to actualize. I've examined myself and my feelings and discovered that I believe I could make a good stab at it, though it would be hard. In other words, if called upon to live that principle I believe I could make it work. Because of the implications inherent to the principle of eternal marriage, my wife and I discussed this some time ago and she is of the conviction that she could also make it work. Fortunately, we are both well along in years, so there is virtually no danger that if the principle were required to be practiced again in the church that we would be asked to participate. In this life, at least.

With regard to being the "only one", I think that in the celestial state, even in a plural marriage situation the husband would be able to give himself 100% to each of her who might be his wife, and none would notice any lack. That is, of course, in the nature of the Eternal. After all, our Father in Heaven knows each of us -- all of his children throughout His entire Universe -- perfectly, so clearly there is no limitation on an Eternal being when it comes to being in multiple places at one time. Assuming "time" is a real thing in such a setting.

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Third:
"Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and married women without Emma's knowledge.

Sixth:
"Joseph Smith taught the principle of plural marriage to some women while their husbands were away on missions, suggesting they enter into the practice before their husbands got back"

Seventh:
"When Emma consented to polygamy under limited circumstances and suggested two potential wives whom Joseph had already married, Joseph performed a second sealing ceremony to make Emma think he hadn't already been sealed to them instead of telling her they were already his wives"

Ninth:
Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected, and part of the motivation for them accepting the offer may have been promises made to them about the eternal state of their family based on if they accepted or denied the offer

, I take exception to the "third", "sixth", "seventh" and "ninth" (CFR)

Ninth: Some of the women who entered into polygamous marriages with Joseph were younger than we might have expected. (I am not sure the second bit you included is factual - it is more of an opinion, the way it is stated.)

The issue of Joseph Smith's polygamy is covered in well-referenced detail in Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness. Each chapter is an biography on one of Joseph Smith's wives. He substantiates each of these claims by quoting primarily friendly contemporary sources (most importantly the women themselves, of whom the vast majority were faithful church members until death). I believe cinepro is referring to Marinda Johnson Hyde and Sarah Pratt in the sixth point, Emily and Eliza Partridge in the seventh point.

@TAO Helen Mar Kimball's own account of events leading up to her marriage to Joseph Smith makes it clear that conditional promises were made regarding her's and her family's salvation. Also see Sarah Ann Whitney and the Partridge sisters.

To be honest, cinepro's nine points are quite conservative. I would include as a tenth point that Joseph engaged in sexual relations with many if not all of his plural wives (including those who were married to other men). This is perhaps best documented by Joseph F. Smith's interviews with many of Joseph Smith's plural wives done ironically to counter RLDS claims that Joseph Smith didn't practice plural marriage.

I think most church members don't have knowledge of any more than the first point.

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Yes, almost exactly like that, cinepro.

As I descended further and further down, it got worse for me. Then one day it dawned on me: This was all made up by Joseph Smith. You can imagine the relief and comfort that gave me. The world is a much happier place for me now. It's like living in a fog of depression and then suddenly being freed to walk on a beach in the warm sun.

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I would consider the 9th circle to be the Lawrence sisters. Joseph was made legal guardian for two minor orphans, Maria and Sarah Lawrence, and trustee for their estate. In 1842 both girls begain living with Joseph and Emma in their home. In May 1843 Joseph took both sisters as his plural wives. Joseph was their husband, guardian, prophet, mayor, and trustee of the family estate.

Phaedrus

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I would consider the 9th circle to be the Lawrence sisters. Joseph was made legal guardian for two minor orphans, Maria and Sarah Lawrence, and trustee for their estate. In 1842 both girls begain living with Joseph and Emma in their home. In May 1843 Joseph took both sisters as his plural wives. Joseph was their husband, guardian, prophet, mayor, and trustee of the family estate.

Phaedrus

Did God tell J.S. to marry them? I believe He did.

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Did God tell J.S. to marry them? I believe He did.

Yeah, blame it all on God.

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With regard to being the "only one", I think that in the celestial state, even in a plural marriage situation the husband would be able to give himself 100% to each of her who might be his wife, and none would notice any lack. That is, of course, in the nature of the Eternal. After all, our Father in Heaven knows each of us -- all of his children throughout His entire Universe -- perfectly, so clearly there is no limitation on an Eternal being when it comes to being in multiple places at one time. Assuming "time" is a real thing in such a setting.

That is beautiful. I believe that we can not understand right now eternity very well. But I DO believe that plural marriage is of God and it is eternal principle which we will understand very well when we get there. Because we will be able to love everybody the way God loves us.

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Yeah, blame it all on God.

I don't blame anybody, I just told you what I believe. If you don't believe that is your problem, not mine.

The most important thing that you can not prove that my belief is wrong ;) .

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Did God tell J.S. to marry them? I believe He did.

It's possible that God thinks a intimate relationship between a foster parent and his minor children is a legitimate relationship. And I can see that there is scriptural support for this.

Phaedrus

(Such remarks are uncalled for and you are banned from this thread. mods)

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To be honest, cinepro's nine points are quite conservative. I would include as a tenth point that Joseph engaged in sexual relations with many if not all of his plural wives (including those who were married to other men). This is perhaps best documented by Joseph F. Smith's interviews with many of Joseph Smith's plural wives done ironically to counter RLDS claims that Joseph Smith didn't practice plural marriage.

Hmmm...it never even occurred to me that anyone would find this objectionable. In fact, from a doctrinal standpoint, I would be more disturbed if he hadn't tried to have children with his plural wives. (Off the top of my head, I can't recall the Lord ever giving another reason for polygamy than to "raise up seed".) Indeed, Joseph could have accomplished any other spiritual benefit by sealing the women as daughters (and without any of the controversy). The only reason you would need a marriage sealing would be to create posterity.

But unless he married some serious cougars, not "all".

As for the claims inherent in the Nine Rings of Polygamy Hell, after years on this forum I considered them to be in the realm "common knowledge" and I was too lazy to provide references for them. But we shouldn't underestimate the ability to use denial as a coping mechanism as well (but since denial is just one way to reach a state of "unfazed", it is included in the general principles in the OP).

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