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stemelbow

Joseph'S Polygamy

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BOMT,

You wrote:

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."

I've decided to ignore BOMT's posts in this thread but your posts raises an interesting issue in my mind. Since we truly don't know what went on behind closed doors, how can LDS defenders adequately address the issue of such seeming malfeasance on the part of JS? We can't defend him so easily if neither side knows what went on behind closed doors. Its the perception of polygamy that we're fighting, in defense, that is truly not an easy issue to convincingly defend. That's kind of the thought that caused this thread. Polygamy, for whatever reason, on the face of it seems unethical or immoral. That's the perception I'm faced with that is not something I can reasonably refute.

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Lehi,

You wrote:

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.)

If you had credible evidence that I was secretly "marrying" a couple of dozen women, including the wives of other men, or engaging in any other flagrantly illegal activity, you would absolutely have the right to ask about what I was doing "behind closed doors." So, no hypocrisy here.

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Polygamy, for whatever reason, on the face of it seems unethical or immoral. That's the perception I'm faced with that is not something I can reasonably refute.

How do you defend that statement?

Polygyny is not, ipso facto, immoral nor is it unethical. Even God reserves the right to command His people from time to time, as it pleases Him. There is nothing immoral that God commands, and He has done so.

Polygyny has been a practice around the world for as long as there have been historians, and longer. It has been a practical and higly successful approach to reproduction all that time, and remains so today.

There is nothing at all that makes polygyny reprehensible except cultural norms. To take the position that polygyny is evil or immoral, is to engage in chronocentrism in its worst form. (This ignores the Jacob 2 passage, I know: at this point I'm just addressing it in its cultural milieu.)

Lehi

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Polygamy, for whatever reason, on the face of it seems unethical or immoral.
Why? I can see how some arrangements where women are forced into the marriage and not allowed to have leadership in the family would be immoral, but this is not inherent to the system. Would you see a family involved multiple adult wives all of whom chose to get marry without pressure from others to a man who could financially support them all where the wives could exit the marriage anytime they desired whether to remarry or simply be on her own again as either unethical or immoral? If so, why?

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BOMT,

You wrote:

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."

Of course, we clearly get it Rob.

Coming from someone who could care less in what is sacred to the LDS faithful, yet wants the same people that he offends to take him as "sincere". Plastering Temple content (with a previous option to purchase it for $) is even fair game to Rob Bowman while in his "honorable" profe$$ion.

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How do you defend that statement?

Polygyny is not, ipso facto, immoral nor is it unethical. Even God reserves the right to command His people from time to time, as it pleases Him. There is nothing immoral that God commands, and He has done so.

I'm suggesting to the general culture of our time in America polygamy has the perception, on the face of it, to be immoral or unethical. I could be wrong on that. But when people bring it up to me to criticize my faith, its their perception that I'm dealing with, not whether God Himself has sanctioned the practice.

Polygyny has been a practice around the world for as long as there have been historians, and longer. It has been a practical and higly successful approach to reproduction all that time, and remains so today.

There is nothing at all that makes polygyny reprehensible except cultural norms. To take the position that polygyny is evil or immoral, is to engage in chronocentrism in its worst form. (This ignores the Jacob 2 passage, I know: at this point I'm just addressing it in its cultural milieu.)

Lehi

Fair enough, onthat point, Lehi. I can agree, for whatever reason, that polygamy, if commanded of God, is not immoral or unethical. I don't know if that helps explain the point I was raising.

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Why? I can see how some arrangements where women are forced into the marriage and not allowed to have leadership in the family would be immoral, but this is not inherent to the system. Would you see a family involved multiple adult wives all of whom chose to get marry without pressure from others to a man who could financially support them all where the wives could exit the marriage anytime they desired whether to remarry or simply be on her own again as either unethical or immoral? If so, why?

The impression I get is that's the general perception by people who criticize LDS for polygamy. I think its their perceptions that we ought to address if we'll ever have any chance to alleviate the concern. For me, I would say yes polygamy is inherently immoral if it is not something that God sanctions. That makes it very difficult for me to defend, though. I really can't see it otherwise. maybe I'll learn something someday that would help.

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BOMT,

You wrote:

Coming from someone who could care less in what is sacred to the LDS faithful, yet wants the same people that he offends to take him as "sincere". Plastering Temple content (with a previous option to purchase it for $) is even fair game to Rob Bowman while in his "honorable" profe$ion.

Yeah, this is about what I expected from you. "Plastering Temple content" is an absurd characterization of what is the reality on our website, which is that if you look carefully for it you can eventually find ONE PAGE with LDS temple content out of nearly two hundred pages on our site. The "previous option to purchase" a book about the temple ceremony directed the reader to another organization's website; we obtained absolutely no money from such purchases (and the money they obtain merely covered printing costs). Even so, once I knew about this, however, I removed it, and I also had posted on the same page a caution to readers about reading and using the information. None of this is good enough for you, however, and in fact you find it convenient as an excuse to dismiss anything I say (or even ask!) and to change the subject to avoid hard truths. And so you continue to throw dollar signs into words in an effort to distract attention from the real issues.

The fact is, you're embarrassing other Mormons here.

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

I have always failed to see how plural marriage benefits families. The husbands (usually already busy as leaders of the church) suddenly found themselves spread even thinner, dividing their time between multiples wives, many children, and their church responsibilities. Other than the possible attraction of the sealings, I believe polygamy reduced the familial bonds as opposed to increasing them. I suppose if marrying a wealthy man, there could be some financial benefits.

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I'm suggesting to the general culture of our time in America polygamy has the perception, on the face of it, to be immoral or unethical. I could be wrong on that. But when people bring it up to me to criticize my faith, its their perception that I'm dealing with, not whether God Himself has sanctioned the practice.

Sorry, I got the impression that it was your position that polygyny is, on its face, immoral.

The idea of anything’s being immoral in contemporary USmerican culture is laughable, as far as I'm concerned. I think of "pop culture" and, immediately, a Petri dish comes to mind.

The question, then, seems to be, why does this particular person believe that Plural Marriage is unethical? The only reason I have heard is that it is coercive, but that is not, and never was, in the fundamental nature of Plural Marriage, and not even in polygyny.

(By the way, it helps to get the terminology straight. Polygamy and polygyny are different, albeit related, things. Polygyny is the condition of having multiple wives. Polygamy is the condition of having multiple spouses. It includes polygyny and polyandry, the condition of having multiple husbands.) Plural Marriage is the condition of having multiple wives in a God-sanctioned arrangement exclusively in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The best answer I have is that it's nobody's business outside the group whether they choose to have one wife or many. It's not the state’s job to impose the monogynist option, and the state has no legitimate interest, just as no one else has a legitimate interest in defining marriage and the various states it can take. (I don't want to get into so-called same sex "marriage", because it's a political response to the political mess caused by the state’s getting involved in the first place.)

Lehi

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The problem is that manipulation and coersion were used in early polygamy by a man in a position of trust. Threats were used and later they were canonized. Promises of eternal life were also used.

There were many young brides who would have been even more easily influenced by people in positions of power and trust than older women. There were young women who relied wholly on the prophet Joseph for their room and board. He was a father figure, religious leader, government leader, militia leader, etc. He held about all the positions of power and trust over them that was possible at that time! He was in a position to groom many of these young women since he lived with them or they lived with him.

You can't expect a 14 year old to make an adult decision like that with everything she holds dear hanging in the balance.

There were real consequences to rejecting Joseph. Public smear and humiliation, or what, be kicked out of the home and community. I am sure that being told your eternal salvation (and that of your family) and Joseph's very life relied on you complying weighed heavily on these young women.

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BOMT,

You wrote:

Yeah, this is about what I expected from you. "Plastering Temple content" is an absurd characterization of what is the reality on our website, which is that if you look carefully for it you can eventually find ONE PAGE with LDS temple content out of nearly two hundred pages on our site. The "previous option to purchase" a book about the temple ceremony directed the reader to another organization's website; we obtained absolutely no money from such purchases (and the money they obtain merely covered printing costs). Even so, once I knew about this, however, I removed it, and I also had posted on the same page a caution to readers about reading and using the information. None of this is good enough for you, however, and in fact you find it convenient as an excuse to dismiss anything I say (or even ask!) and to change the subject to avoid hard truths. And so you continue to throw dollar signs into words in an effort to distract attention from the real issues.

The fact is, you're embarrassing other Mormons here.

I don't represent or speak for other "Mormons" (how about being respectful in calling us by our official or recommended name) is that possible Rob? Of course not, and thank goodness you don't speak for other EVs (some who condemn what you do and represent).

"once I knew about this"? You don't know what is on your own website? You have to be shown what is on it? Unbelievable!

You are easily dismissed because you have lost all credibility (we should take a poll to show this) so no need to keep whining about it.

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I can agree, for whatever reason, that polygamy, if commanded of God, is not immoral or unethical.

One must also keep in mind that it is easy for a person to say "God commanded me to do it" even if there was no such command.

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This topic has been closed by a moderator.

Reason: appears to be going downhill already

Kind regards,

Mormon Dialogue & Discussion Board Staff

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