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stemelbow

Joseph'S Polygamy

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Is it possible to accept JS' polygamy as authentically from God?

Let's keep in mind that he seems to have:

lied about it by denying being involved.

That revelation from God in D&C 58 explicitly says the saints need to live by the law of the land. (D&C58:21)

That he probably had relations with at least some of the women (possible unchastity)

thanks for your comments

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Is it possible to accept JS' polygamy as authentically from God?

Absolutely. I do.

Let's keep in mind that he seems to have:

...

That he probably had relations with at least some of the women (possible unchastity)

It is not possilbe to have unchaste relations with your spouse, irrespective of how many legitimate (not necessarily "legal") spouses you have. (The law is not always—and less and less so of late—legitimate: whose business is it if a man and several women agree to such an arrangment?)

Lehi

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The revealing obsession of what Joseph Smith did behind closed doors shamefully and endlessly continues.

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Absolutely. I do.

It is not possilbe to have unchaste relations with your spouse, irrespective of how many legitimate (not necessairly "legal") spouses you have. (The law is not always—and less and less so of late—legitimate: whose business is it if a man and several women agree to such an arrangment?)

Lehi

I think that works if you're thinking eternally, possibly, but D&C 58, as earlier alluded to seems to negate the "its chaste because they were eternally sealed" idea. Does it not? I mean it seems to me that if the sealing was in essence marriage too, then he was not obeying the law of the land by being married to multiple women, right?

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Is it possible to accept JS' polygamy as authentically from God?

Let's keep in mind that he seems to have:

lied about it by denying being involved.

That revelation from God in D&C 58 explicitly says the saints need to live by the law of the land. (D&C58:21)

That he probably had relations with at least some of the women (possible unchastity)

thanks for your comments

I think you can accept it was from God, but also that he made some mistakes in implementing it as we often do when trying to follow commandments, especially if they are unfamiliar to us.

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The revealing obsession of what Joseph Smith did behind closed doors shamefully and endlessly continues.

I have absolutely no obsession of what Joseph did behind closed doors. But his behavior if shameful would be a concern to me. Its not easy to square polygamy with the teachings of the Church that I hold dear. Let's at least be honest about that, right?

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I think you can accept it was from God, but also that he made some mistakes in implementing it as we often do when trying to follow commandments, especially if they are unfamiliar to us.

I can definitely agree with that. I would add, polygamy seems like people would have seen it as "from the devil" on the face of it in JS' day. Perhaps the secrecy of it was a necessity?

Is it also reasonable to assume that it got out of hand even in JS' day and think it was initially commanded by God?

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I can definitely agree with that. I would add, polygamy seems like people would have seen it as "from the devil" on the face of it in JS' day. Perhaps the secrecy of it was a necessity?

Is it also reasonable to assume that it got out of hand even in JS' day and think it was initially commanded by God?

What do you mean by out of hand?

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What do you mean by out of hand?

Oh I don't know. Perhaps he was mistaken and married/was sealed to women he shouldn't have? Or perhaps men who werne't supposed to enter into polygamy were allowed to, for whatever reason.

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I have absolutely no obsession of what Joseph did behind closed doors. But his behavior if shameful would be a concern to me. Its not easy to square polygamy with the teachings of the Church that I hold dear. Let's at least be honest about that, right?

It is not a concern for the majority of members. It is also not a concern on exactly how Mary was with child without Joseph.

It is only a concern for those who project their own "shameful" behavior for to be truly honest, you stick with the facts - not pure speculation on what Joseph Smith did or didn't do.

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It is not a concern for the majority of members. It is also not a concern on exactly how Mary was with child without Joseph.

It is only a concern for those who project their own "shameful" behavior for to be truly honest, you stick with the facts - not pure speculation on what Joseph Smith did or didn't do.

I'm not sure what to say to you bookofmormontruth. If you wish to condemn in your participation in this thread, then so be it. I'll just have to ignore your posts. I'm trying to have a thoughtful discussion here. I have no proclivities to leaving the Church or nothing.

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Why did God say that the laws of the land would not need to be broken to follow him? That is very contradictory if the law did actually need to be broken to follow him.

D&C 58:21 Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

There are no qualifiers in that sentence.

In addition, anything outside of monogamy was against the laws of the church. The Article on Marriage called for strict monogamy and was accepted by the body of the church and added into the Book of Commandments. Regardless of who wrote it, that made it law unto the church. Section 42 is the law given to the church in Kirtland. It also calls for monogamy. It is against the laws of the gospel to covet your neighbors wife. Indeed, wives were coveted.

D&C 42:22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.
D&C 49:16 Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;

The Article on Marriage read in part (notice marriages were to be performed in public):

According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies; therefore we believe that all marriages in this Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints should be solemnized in a public meeting or feast prepared for that purpose, and that the solemnization should be performed by a Presiding High Priest, High Priest, Bishop, Elder or Priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority. We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this Church from marrying out of the Church, if it be their determination so to do; but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Marriage should be celebrated with prayer and thanksgiving, and at the solemnization, the persons to be married, standing together, the man on the right and the woman on the left, shall be addressed by the person officiating as he shall be directed by the Holy Spirit, and if there be no legal objections, he shall say, calling each by name: 'You both mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition: that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives?' And when they have both answered 'yes,' he shall pronounce them 'husband and wife,' in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by virtue of the laws of the country and authority vested in him. 'May God add His blessing and keep you to fulfill your covenants from henceforth and forever. Amen.'

The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages solemnized in his branch. All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this Church should be held sacred and fulfilled.

Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.

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It is not a concern for the majority of members.

I think it is a concern to more members that you might realize. Especially women.

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I have absolutely no obsession of what Joseph did behind closed doors. But his behavior if shameful would be a concern to me.

If they were shameful. But, whatever they were, they were not shameful.

Its not easy to square polygamy with the teachings of the Church that I hold dear. Let's at least be honest about that, right?

It's quite easy for me. What's the problem?

Lehi

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Oh I don't know. Perhaps he was mistaken and married/was sealed to women he shouldn't have?

Quite possibly. I think his understanding of what sealing was supposed to accomplish is not the same as ours due to the further revelation sought and received by President Woodruff who directed that we be sealed to our parents and their parents and not church leaders. I think the sealing to church leaders was based on the erroneous interpolation that the celestial family was to be set up along the same lines as the church structure in a kind of tribal context, easily understood imo from using the OT as a guide in some ways with JS as the patriarch and all becoming part of his extended family. IIRC, his possibly second plural wife---possibly 5 years after the first and it was 3 more years until he chose a third wife, this time a single woman---was a polyandrous sealing so it may also have been that he was trying to obey the command of plural marriage technically while not actually having it to impact his mundane world, the relationship being in name only. And it appears in the cases of the youngest (HM Kimball) the marriage was purely for sealing her family to his, at least at the beginning, as she stayed with her family and enjoyed a normal life going out to dances and such as if she was single (it may have been intended as some sort of betrothal where in the future the marriage would be consummated, but there is no evidence that this took place or was expected to take place prior to Joseph's death...I would assume that it would have once Helen reached the age of 17 or so).

I also don't have a problem with accepting that sealings may have been intended even by God to have served a different purpose in the early days of the Church and not just that he allowed the misunderstanding of the ultimate purpose of sealings for whatever reason. Baptism procedures have changed over time as well. I don't see in that case that earlier multiple baptisms were wrong, just that they are no longer needed as there are other ordinances and blessings that can fill that role and reserving baptism for the one very special covenant emphasizes the uniqueness and importance of the rite now when so many disregard ritual as primitive or childish, something to be discarded.

Or perhaps men who werne't supposed to enter into polygamy were allowed to, for whatever reason.

Definitely with that one...or perhaps I should say that there were men (and women) who were supposed to enter into it but then betrayed God's gift by abusing it....as happens with pretty much any covenant that God has given to man from time to time. Just as today individuals are allowed to go to the temple who later on turn them back on their covenants and treat them as less than the dust under their feet.

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I think it is a concern to more members that you might realize. Especially women.

Then those women need to understand that plural marriage primarily benefited women (and their children).

Under wide-spread Plural Marriage (or polygyny, in general), all women who want to marry can, but under the system of monogyny we live with today, not all women can marry, and many are left without husband, and without children. Many choose to become secret wives (“kept women”) and most of these cannot have children because it would blow their cover. Many others simply shack up with a guy with no contract for her (and their) support. Many choose the woeful state of "single mother" (and expect us to shower them with gifts and sympathy because of their wicked choices).

The ones who are truly harmed under polygyny are those men whose status and wealth are so low that no woman would have them as husbands.

Lehi

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If they were shameful. But, whatever they were, they were not shameful.

How can you possibly know that? There could have been some shameful behavior involved. Its quite possible.

It's quite easy for me. What's the problem?

Lehi

Well, the OP gets to the beginning of the problem.

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Quite possibly. I think his understanding of what sealing was supposed to accomplish is not the same as ours due to the further revelation sought and received by President Woodruff who directed that we be sealed to our parents and their parents and not church leaders. I think the sealing to church leaders was based on the erroneous interpolation that the celestial family was to be set up along the same lines as the church structure in a kind of tribal context, easily understood imo from using the OT as a guide in some ways with JS as the patriarch and all becoming part of his extended family. IIRC, his possibly second plural wife---possibly 5 years after the first and it was 3 more years until he chose a third wife, this time a single woman---was a polyandrous sealing so it may also have been that he was trying to obey the command of plural marriage technically while not actually having it to impact his mundane world, the relationship being in name only. And it appears in the cases of the youngest (HM Kimball) the marriage was purely for sealing her family to his, at least at the beginning, as she stayed with her family and enjoyed a normal life going out to dances and such as if she was single (it may have been intended as some sort of betrothal where in the future the marriage would be consummated, but there is no evidence that this took place or was expected to take place prior to Joseph's death...I would assume that it would have once Helen reached the age of 17 or so).

I also don't have a problem with accepting that sealings may have been intended even by God to have served a different purpose in the early days of the Church and not just that he allowed the misunderstanding of the ultimate purpose of sealings for whatever reason. Baptism procedures have changed over time as well. I don't see in that case that earlier multiple baptisms were wrong, just that they are no longer needed as there are other ordinances and blessings that can fill that role and reserving baptism for the one very special covenant emphasizes the uniqueness and importance of the rite now when so many disregard ritual as primitive or childish, something to be discarded.

Definitely with that one...or perhaps I should say that there were men (and women) who were supposed to enter into it but then betrayed God's gift by abusing it....as happens with pretty much any covenant that God has given to man from time to time. Just as today individuals are allowed to go to the temple who later on turn them back on their covenants and treat them as less than the dust under their feet.

Thank you, so much, for that helpful post. even not having a great grasp of the details, as it appears you have, I think I find myself much in agreement with your comments.

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Then those women need to understand that plural marriage primarily benefited women (and their children).

Under wide-spread Plural Marriage (or polygyny, in general), all women who want to marry can, but under the system of monogyny we live with today, not all women can marry, and many are left without husband, and without children. Many choose to become secret wives (“kept women”) and most of these cannot have children because it would blow their cover. Many others simply shack up with a guy with no contract for her (and their) support. Many choose the woeful state of "single mother" (and expect us to shower them with gifts and sympathy because of their wicked choices).

The ones who are truly harmed under polygyny are those men whose status and wealth are so low that no woman would have them as husbands.

Lehi

I'm a little stunned at this rationale. I really mean no offense, but it just confuses me. I don't know, shall we ask single women, in the Church, who yearn to be married if they would prefer to share a husband to being single? I just don't see too many of them jumping on board. Single life for women, while lonely, can also be beneficial, I'd think. I know a number of single women who seem quite happy.

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I'm a little stunned at this rationale. I really mean no offense, but it just confuses me. I don't know, shall we ask single women, in the Church, who yearn to be married if they would prefer to share a husband to being single? I just don't see too many of them jumping on board. Single life for women, while lonely, can also be beneficial, I'd think. I know a number of single women who seem quite happy.

I know a number of women who would prefer to be single and others who would prefer to share a husband if he was the type of man they desire their husband to be rather than even being married to someone who was less than what they wanted.

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Under wide-spread polygyny many men would be left with no spouse and no sexual outlet and no ability to have children. I'm not sure why that is a good thing from a sociological perspective.

Also, statistics show that women who share a husband have fewer children than those with their own husband. If we look at Brigham Young we see that many of his wives had no children at all. In fact, William Horne Dame was allowed to have multiple wives and he was sterile. The way the saints practiced polygamy leads me to believe that it wasn't really about offering more women the opportunity to bear children.

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BOMT,

You wrote:

The revealing obsession of what Joseph Smith did behind closed doors shamefully and endlessly continues.

Let me guess...we should not pry into what happened "behind closed doors" because it was sacred.

So apparently we are not to view Joseph Smith, who entered into plural marriage relationships with more than two dozen women in 1842 and 1843, as suffering from any "obsession" nor view what he did as in any way "shameful"; it is those who question that practice (including Mormons who question it) who are supposedly obsessed and shameful.

Now that's "revealing."

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Under wide-spread polygyny many men would be left with no spouse and no sexual outlet and no ability to have children. I'm not sure why that is a good thing from a sociological perspective.

Also, statistics show that women who share a husband have fewer children than those with their own husband. If we look at Brigham Young we see that many of his wives had no children at all. In fact, William Horne Dame was allowed to have multiple wives and he was sterile. The way the saints practiced polygamy leads me to believe that it wasn't really about offering more women the opportunity to bear children.

K Daynes did a study demonstrating the economic advantages of plural marriages for immigrant women (especially those who came to the West without family) showing some very interesting data. Her stats also showed there was no 'lost boys' syndrome or large single population of men who desired to be married who couldn't. In a culture where many older/independent women had the choice of marrying or not as well as easily obtaining divorce if desiring to go into a monogamous relationship, you would not find the same sort of structure where women were assigned to husbands as soon as they hit puberty or a certain age or even earlier for a family alliance as can happen in some polygynous cultures. IIRC, one of the reasons why plural marriage was more or less dying out even before the feds got involved was the lower immigration population and thus less women seeking financial security through plural marriage. Utah's early history with plural marriage is probably unique enough that it should be studied as a separate phenomena from what I've read of those who had done serious research in this area.

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I know a number of women who would prefer to be single and others who would prefer to share a husband if he was the type of man they desire their husband to be rather than even being married to someone who was less than what they wanted.

Fair enough. I'm sure for women who would share the other wife might also have to play into the decision. I can't imagine it all, it'd be pretty tough, I'd think.

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Let me guess...we should not pry into what happened "behind closed doors" because it was sacred.

No, it's because it was private.

Surely you do not object to people asking you about what goes on "behind closed doors" at your house, do you? (Because we know you're not a hypocrite.)

Lehi

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