The Misinformation Around Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young
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I want to respond to a couple of statements made by Julianne from the now closed "Weed" thread, because she absolutely nails it. She is spot on and I think the discussion at this level needs to occur before any progress can be made on the SSM issue.
Speaking as a straight, white, man, I recognize that I come to the traditional church teachings of priesthood, sealing, polygamy/polyandry, and SSM from a certain privileged position. The church's teachings and practices benefit me and they always have. Even though there is little to no evidence for how celestial families will actually be organized and function in the CK I used to think I had it all figured out. Obviously, I thought, marriage is essential to have legal physical intimacy which is necessary for creating offspring with one or multiple wives. Yet there is no firm teaching about how spirits are created. Are they born like a baby is born into mortality? There is no evidence or teaching for that, but it is widely assumed. That assumption then justifies polygamy while discrediting polyandry and even SSM. After all, if the entire purpose is to create spirit offspring and it is thought that it happens in a way similar to creating biological offspring, then it makes sense. But that is ALL based on assumptions.
Based on these assumptions many are willing to condemn others to lives (and possibly even an eternity) of loneliness.
So (we) don't even know what the afterlife looks like. It is unknown. Yet we think (we) have enough information to condemn and judge others, and since most of us come at it from positions of privilege, we are in the position to enforce our dogma upon the less privileged. The church is not unique in behaving this way. It is how society has always worked. But recognizing the assumptions for what they are and being humble about how much we really don't know, can help society improve.
Julianne also stated...
How can one categorically dismiss SSM when there is little to nothing known about family organization in the next life, even regarding a variety of heterosexual family organizations. Which sealings will be valid? Polygamy/polyandry? Only those which benefit men? Who are the children sealed to? There is a lot of "The Lord will work it out" mentality, which is fine because it acknowledges a lack of understanding and knowledge. The problem comes when one then loses all humility and attempts to define how family relationships will or will not work for other people. I agree with Julianne that the polygamy/polyandry topic is closely tied to the SSM topic and must be ironed out.
So maybe this can be a thread that can be commented on instead of derailing other threads when this subject comes up.
*Julianne, I hope I didn't misunderstand or misrepresent you. I really appreciated where you were trying to take the discussion.
On another thread, cdowis, in his inimitable style, called for a CFR for Joseph Smith's Polyandry, specifically that he had intimate relations with three married women. I had briefly referenced Brian Hales.
I'll answer this CFR in more detail in my second post. For starters, here's a reference to Joseph's polyandry on LDS.org (search results linking to josephsmithpapers.org):
As such I'm a little surprised by cdowis' suggesting I'm "peddling nonsense" when I'm basing my conclusions of Joseph being in polyandrous relationships on the work of Brian Hales, Richard Bushman and josephsmithpapers.org. Perhaps his specific concern was my suggestion that Joseph appeared to have had intimate relations with three of his polyandrous wives (while they were legally married to another living man). As mentioned, I'll answer that in a second post.
What also interests me is whether this practice has scriptural precedent. In the same thread, 'lvjd66' referenced Ruth as a scriptural precedent for polyandry.That seems an odd example, given her first husband was dead before she even met Boaz. As such, I've asked him whether he still claims polyandry has scriptural precedent. At his request I've moved the question out of his SSM thread.
In a different thread, stargazer said (in reference to Helen Marr Kimball's marriage 'for life only' to Horrace K. Whitney while being sealed to Joseph):
I'm not actually sure this does justify polyandry but would be interested in more information to consider it.
So here's the question:
Based on your understanding and conclusions about Joseph's polyandry, is there scriptural precedent?
If not (and this isn't a 'sola scriptura' argument), is this practice instead an unprecedented revelation to Joseph, rather than a (short lived) restoration of old doctrines? As President Uchtdorf said, "the Restoration is an ongoing process we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.”
Does the ongoing restoration always need precedent or could there be things we are taught as part of God's ongoing revelations that have no precedent at all?
By Stone holm
In several of the threads discussing what was said in the recent Church essay on polygamy, Commenters have made the argument that the Church allows the sealing of deceased women to more than one man, that there is some evidence that Joseph Smith may have been sealed to married women, and personal knowledge of special exceptions having been granted allowing living women to be sealed to a living man when they have been previously sealed to a deceased man. This evidence is usually used in an attempt to discredit the idea that polygamy is doctrinal or to assert that it is "unjust". Sometimes with the further argument that it has been disavowed as doctrine.
My personal feeling is that these arguments may perhaps provide the evidentiary basis for acceptance of polyandry, but are not evidence that polygamy was never doctrine, or that it is disavowed doctrine. While I am of the firm belief that polygamy has not been disavowed as a doctrine that only applies when the Lord says it should, and while I am doubtful that the Church by its actions ever intended to sanction polyandry -- I do not know what to think of the arguments that several Sisters have made that suggest otherwise. So this is not strictly a rhetorical question. What is the likelihood that the Church would in the future, or has it in the past, acknowledged polyandry as a possible state for eternal couples in the Celestial Kingdom? By asking this question, I do not want to be mistaken as asserting that this is what the Sisters were intending by their arguments, they were intending to promote something more like monogamy -- it is simply my understanding of where their arguments actual lead, which is not to overthrowing polygamy, but supporting polyandry. Your comments please.
Most of you are aware of Brian Hales's new books on Joseph Smith and polygamy.
Brian documents Joseph Smith's polygamy in some detail, including Joseph's several sealings to women legally married to other men. Brian marshals evidence that these marriages, while "ceremonially polyandrous," were not sexually polyandrous: a wife was not having sexual relations with more than one husband during the same time period. In other words, she effectively went from being one man's wife to being another man's wife, rather than having two true husbands at the same time.
Brian finds none of the evidence for sexual polyandry incontrovertible or persuasive, and presents evidence against it (e.g., D&C 132's apparent condemnation of multiple husbands).
Not everyone is convinced by his arguments, and this is perhaps the primary basis on which some have dismissed him as an apologist.
As Brian's primary researcher and good friend, I helped craft some of the arguments he presents on this subject, and I think the case he can present on this is quite substantive.
But given that not everyone is persuaded by these arguments, and given that we never know what could pop up in further sources, I wonder how other believing Latter-day Saints might react if they became convinced some of Joseph's marriages were sexually polyandrous.
Suppose hypothetically that a source were to turn up which established Joseph's participation in sexual polyandry beyond doubt (and, by the way, while I have materials not in Brian's books, I am aware of no such source). What would you make of it?
One could lose faith over it.
Or one could believe it justified because, as Joseph once wrote, "whatever the Lord requires is right"?
Or one could theologize it--e.g., understanding polyandry as not necessarily evil, just as polygyny isn't, and might perhaps exist in the celestial kingdom.
Or one could explain it based on the needs of the time--that it served some temporary function in the 1840s that was no longer needed later and won't be needed after this life either.
Or...what? I'm sure this doesn't exhaust the options
I guess what I'm asking is, what would you see as the live options for dealing with sexual polyandry?