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Plural Marriage: The New Marriage-Rights Frontier

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Sociologically polygamy doesn't work out well in the long run. It tends to limit the number of females available to younger men.

True if you look at a population where a large percentage of households are polygynous. However if we look at the population of the US as a whole, the ratio of unmarried females to unmarried males is increasingly greater than 1:1 as we go up in age. So if anything, the current situation tends to limit the number of males available to older females (I'm not sure about the ratios among young men and women).

So what I'm saying is, if we can safeguard against abuses, a little polygamy might be a good thing. I know of middle-aged single women who would rather share a good man than live alone or settle for a man they have mixed feelings about, and see nothing wrong with them having the legal freedom to do so if all parties agree.

By the way, I appreciate your being willing to communicate with me about this subject.

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True if you look at a population where a large percentage of households are polygynous. However if we look at the population of the US as a whole, the ratio of unmarried females to unmarried males is increasingly greater than 1:1 as we go up in age. So if anything, the current situation tends to limit the number of males available to older females (I'm not sure about the ratios among young men and women).

So what I'm saying is, if we can safeguard against abuses, a little polygamy might be a good thing. I know of middle-aged single women who would rather share a good man than live alone or settle for a man they have mixed feelings about, and see nothing wrong with them having the legal freedom to do so if all parties agree.

By the way, I appreciate your being willing to communicate with me about this subject.

No problem. By training I've got more than a few Sociology classes behind me. :)

Men start out with a numerical advantage 105 males to 100 females are born. By about age 25 that ratio is about even. It is after menopause that women become the bigger majority. As few women conceive after age 40 that disincentives younger men whom want to have a family.

A little polygamy would be tolerable sociologically speaking. But I don't see it as a viable solution if large numbers engaged in it. Religion aside if past the age of reproduction, and with informed consent for all parties, let people pick as many spouses as they want.

http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/people/a_gender.html

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No problem. By training I've got more than a few Sociology classes behind me. :)

Men start out with a numerical advantage 105 males to 100 females are born. By about age 25 that ratio is about even. It is after menopause that women become the bigger majority. As few women conceive after age 40 that disincentives younger men whom want to have a family.

A little polygamy would be tolerable sociologically speaking. But I don't see it as a viable solution if large numbers engaged in it. Religion aside if past the age of reproduction, and with informed consent for all parties, let people pick as many spouses as they want.

http://www.nationala...e/a_gender.html

Again thanks for your reply, and thank you for the link. Having no formal background in sociology, I'm a rank amateur here.

Would the opportunity to legally enter into a polygymous relationship significantly increase the number of people who do so, to the point of creating a surplus of unmarried young men? As long as the economically less successful men in the society can still support a wife, probably not. Of course that's an amateur's guess.

I wonder if the situation in Saskatchewan sheds any light on this. Polygamy is against the law in Canada, but in Saskatchewan it is legal to engage in "multiple conjugal relationships", as long as no polygamous marriage ceremony is performed. So if a man and two women wish to live together they can legally do so as long as they don't have a marriage ceremony. Has this resulted in any significant uptick in the number of multiple-partner households in Saskatchewan? I haven't been able to find any information about this one way or another online. Nor have I been able to find out if there has been any significant societal benefit or detriment arising therefrom.

In the course of searching for information about Sasketchewan, I came across the term "egalitarian polygamy". I think this is what I've been trying to describe. Basically, it's polygamy where everyone has equal rights (as opposed to polygamy where the men have more rights than the women, as is practiced by some Mormon fundamentalist sects).

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I'm not a lawyer and I don't even play one on TV. ;) So any information I could give you is just my opinion with long experience in the Church. We do have some lawyers here. You should consider asking them for their ideas about the possibility of some form of legality for it all.

There might be a small bump at first. Probably more from just novelty sake than an actual commitment to the principle. Larger cultural influences would more likely limit its acceptance/practice. LDS experience during Brigham Young's tenure divorce was easily obtained for the women who wanted one. I don't know the experience of the FLDS, but from my little knowledge of their practice divorce really isn't an option. From my personal standpoint while I deeply loved my Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law while they were alive I had and have no desire for more than one.

I think the legal bonds of actual marriage help strengthen marriage, and such "shacking-up" situations would tend to devalue marriage.

I don't see how the US could discriminate against women, by allowing men to practice it and not women.

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I don't see how the US could discriminate against women, by allowing men to practice it and not women.

Polygamy is something that is not practiced by men. If polygamy is practiced it, by its very nature, must be practiced jointly by both sexes.

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I'm not a lawyer and I don't even play one on TV. ;) So any information I could give you is just my opinion with long experience in the Church. We do have some lawyers here. You should consider asking them for their ideas about the possibility of some form of legality for it all.

Great idea, thanks!. At some point in the not-too-distant I should probably start a thread on the subject over in the general discussion section.

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Oh, it is pretty plain that if gay marriage becomes the law, there will be no argument against polygamy. Heck, even the Vatican suggested the same in its announcement last week.

I don't think it will ever be us again, given another chance JS would tell the angel with flamming sword to go ahead and kill him. I would have...

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Let me remind you all that "polygamy" and "polygyny" means one man multiple women. A woman cannot practice polygamy (unless she is I suppose a lesbian). "Polyandry" is term for one woman many men.

"Polyamory" is a generic term for a multiple partner situation. And I suppose that would include, say, two men and three women as a single marital unit.

And with that, it just keeps getting weirder and weirder, IMHO.

Sounds like something Robert Heinlein wrote about in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".

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Polygamy (from πολύς γάμος polys gamos, translated literally in Late Greek as "many married")[1] is a marriage which includes more than two partners.[1] When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny, and there is no marriage bond between the wives; and when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry, and there is no marriage bond between the husbands. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called group marriage.[1] The term is used in related ways in social anthropology, sociobiology, sociology, as well as in popular speech. In social anthropology, polygamy is the practice of a person's making him/herself available for two or more spouses to mate with. In contrast, monogamy is a marriage consisting of only two parties. Like monogamy, the term is often used in a de facto sense, applying regardless of whether the relationships are recognized by the state (see marriage for a discussion on the extent to which states can and do recognize potentially and actually polygamous forms as valid). In sociobiology and zoology, polygamy is used in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating.

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Polygamy (from πολύς γάμος polys gamos, translated literally in Late Greek as "many married")[1] is a marriage which includes more than two partners.[1] When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny, and there is no marriage bond between the wives; and when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry, and there is no marriage bond between the husbands. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called group marriage.[1] The term is used in related ways in social anthropology, sociobiology, sociology, as well as in popular speech. In social anthropology, polygamy is the practice of a person's making him/herself available for two or more spouses to mate with. In contrast, monogamy is a marriage consisting of only two parties. Like monogamy, the term is often used in a de facto sense, applying regardless of whether the relationships are recognized by the state (see marriage for a discussion on the extent to which states can and do recognize potentially and actually polygamous forms as valid). In sociobiology and zoology, polygamy is used in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating.

When you're right, you're right. I got mixed up a bit is all. -gamy got confused with -gyny.

I had a work supervisor decades ago who carefully explained to me once that he was a misogamist, not a misogynist. Meaning that he thought poorly of marriage, but not of women. Apparently he had had a very bad marital experience that put him off of marriage. I should have remembered.

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When I first cam to the church, I believed that it was still very quietly going on, and as long as abuses do not occur, I have no issue with it and am happy to do as the GA wishes. I do think that there could come a time when it could be used again. I would not want him marrying my daughter, and I think 3 or 4 wives are plenty. The wives should have veto authority on any additional wives.

I currently live in a situation that at times feels a bit plural marriage, though no one touches me. We women work in the kitchen together and life is generally pleasant. I have been watching the Youtube series about the Blackmores in Bountiful, BC. It has made me think, though his present 13 wives is way too much. The FLDS live across the field from him; the followers of Warren Jeffs. That is just sick in my opinion.

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As there are more boy babies than girl babies born. Over time, any polygamous society is self defeating. So I don't see any society where there is large scale polygamy lasting very long.

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As there are more boy babies than girl babies born. Over time, any polygamous society is self defeating. So I don't see any society where there is large scale polygamy lasting very long.

After a couple of years there are more girls than boys( about 5 % more ). Polygamy will work well after the folks are over 75 because the ratio of men to women at that age is significantly over balanced. I agree that the " lost boys " syndrome is a serious impediment to

long term polygamy. Maybe that's why the patriarchs sent their boys far away to get a wife.

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If the "married" coupling of a man and a woman are "proper example of the ideal to society", then, I say, polygamy (one man multiple females spouses) fits within that ideal as well. (My main contention is not advocating polygamy, but demonstrating that ssm is not the slippery slope to polygamy, given that polygamy is supported as within the rules/definition of marriage and same sex marriage is not)

Polygamy isn't one man, multiple female spouses....that is polygyny. And the problem is not that "polygamy" will become legal (I think it will have to)....it is that no one even considers the reality it will also mean polyandry. So fellows, it may be your wife that is seeking other husbands. The good old days are long gone.

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After a couple of years there are more girls than boys( about 5 % more ). Polygamy will work well after the folks are over 75 because the ratio of men to women at that age is significantly over balanced. I agree that the " lost boys " syndrome is a serious impediment to

long term polygamy. Maybe that's why the patriarchs sent their boys far away to get a wife.

This reminds me of the set up joke about the doctor that made no sense because no one ever assumed a doctor could be a woman.

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Polygamy isn't one man, multiple female spouses....that is polygyny. And the problem is not that "polygamy" will become legal (I think it will have to)....it is that no one even considers the reality it will also mean polyandry. So fellows, it may be your wife that is seeking other husbands. The good old days are long gone.

For the world I agree that multiple " spouses" might become a reality.

For the Church, polygamy - as one man multiple females, might also happen again; As 7 woman shall cleave unto one man to take away their reproach.

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As there are more boy babies than girl babies born. Over time, any polygamous society is self defeating. So I don't see any society where there is large scale polygamy lasting very long.

When lower quality males like me are freed from the responsibilities of marriage because higher quality men have all the women, we are more available for dangerous jobs like mining, high rise construction, etc. where you don't want to risk a man with a family depending on him.

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For the world I agree that multiple " spouses" might become a reality.

For the Church, polygamy - as one man multiple females, might also happen again; As 7 woman shall cleave unto one man to take away their reproach.

Even the church's Institute manual debunked that interpretation long ago. It is nonsensical anyway. One of the church's main purposes is to protect the family....precisely because there is no reproach for unmarried women, heck, they can even vote.

And I can only shake my head at the bizarre assumption that polygamy in the US would only be about men having multiple wives. It really highlights how unthinkable polyandry is for men as they casually discuss polygyny for women.

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Even the church's Institute manual debunked that interpretation long ago. It is nonsensical anyway. One of the church's main purposes is to protect the family....precisely because there is no reproach for unmarried women, heck, they can even vote.

For purposes of expanding my knowledge base, could you provide reference to the institute manual that debunks the 7 woman shall cleave unto one man, I have never read anything on that verse other than what is in the BOM.

And I can only shake my head at the bizarre assumption that polygamy in the US would only be about men having multiple wives. It really highlights how unthinkable polyandry is for men as they casually discuss polygyny for women.

If plural spouse were legal in the US, I agree it could not be limited to men having harems.

However, the history of polygamy in the Church shows that it was limited to selected men having more than one wife with whom carnal relations were permitted.

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For purposes of expanding my knowledge base, could you provide reference to the institute manual that debunks the 7 woman shall cleave unto one man, I have never read anything on that verse other than what is in the BOM.

Hint: Don't read Isaiah.

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(13-23) <a href="http://scriptures.lds.org/isa/4/1#1" target="_blank">Isaiah 4:1. “Take Away Our Reproach”

Verse 1 of chapter four seems to continue the thought of chapter three rather than to begin a new thought. This phrase suggests that the condition mentioned in verse 1 is caused by the scarcity of men, a result of the devastation of war mentioned in Isaiah 3:25–26. The conditions under which these women would accept this marriage (“eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel”) are contrary to the Lord’s order of marriage (see Exodus 21:10; D&C 132:58–61). To be unmarried and childless in ancient Israel was a disgrace (see Genesis 30:23; Luke 1:25). So terrible would conditions in those times be that women would offer to share a husband with others and expect no material support from him, if they could claim they were married to him.

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As Isiah 4 and comparatively 2 Nephi 14, the Institute manual for Isaiah paints a very bleak picture.

The Book Of Mormon institute manual is quite disappointing in its study of 2 Nephi 14.

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As Isiah 4 and comparatively 2 Nephi 14, the Institute manual for Isaiah paints a very bleak picture but is very opposite in the Book of Mormon manual.

The Book Of Mormon institute manual is quite disappointing in its study of 2 Nephi 14.

One, I thought you were claiming nothing more than wishing to expand your knowledge base as you had only ever read the verse in the BoM. Two, this is what the BoM institute manual says. "

2 Nephi 14:1. “Seven Women … One Man”


  • A great number of the men will be killed in battle or taken captive, leaving the women with the destitution of being both widows and childless."

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