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stemelbow

The Church is growing so fast...

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34 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I remember it being in a lot of the manuals in the 80's and 90's when I was young. 

Do you have any sources or links to those manuals that taught about Joseph's polygamy? (If that's what you're referencing....).

34 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It wants just relevant doctrines, true, but everyone had that manual and it spends a whole paragraph on it. It's disagree it doesn't say Joseph lived polygamy. It said he learned about it in 1831 and that he taught it and there were many marriages. i.e. he lived it. I'd have a hard time believing someone who read that and came away thinking Joseph didn't live polygamy.

It does not state anything about Joseph practicing polygamy or state that "he lived it".  You can't assume that anyone would make that connection who reads it, if they read it.... (and that's a big "if".... you'd think that members would read the introduction to manuals, but heck, many don't even read the lessons ahead of time unless they're the teacher let alone reading the introduction).  But once again, the discussion of polygamy was discouraged from being taught and wasn't included in any of the lessons for that year.

Also, you'd be surprised how many members thought that Joseph never got around to marrying any other women before he was killed because of Emma's strong objections.  I learned this when I helped my Bishop teach the 5th Sunday discussion on the polygamy essays.  I was pretty shocked that they believed this (while believing that he taught the principle to other men who did live it while he was alive).  They believed out of respect to Emma, he would never have gone behind her back and married another woman.  So there is a lot of confusion and vagueness within the beliefs of members on this topic and what was stated in that introduction makes nothing clear regarding Joseph taking other wives.

34 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Well you didn't have to really dig. You just had to read the Ensign or take an Institute/Seminary class.

Yes, one had to dig to find any details regarding Joseph's polygamy.  Those were not in any manual or Ensign.  That's what I was referring to.  The church is now trying to get more details out there and control the conversation (rather than members needing to find other sources for the details).  That's a good thing.

Edited by ALarson

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11 minutes ago, why me said:

Several women are several women. How many are several? 

The word was "few", not "several":.

Quote

 

Definition of few

:not many persons or things

 

But either way, it's not an accurate portrayal of the over 30 women that Joseph married.

 

13 minutes ago, why me said:

In a teaching manual, the names of the women are not that important.

They should be and hopefully that will change.  Their stories are as important as the men's stories and should be told.  

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18 hours ago, ALarson said:

 

They should be and hopefully that will change.  Their stories are as important as the men's stories and should be told.  

Unfortunately, sunday school is about 30 to 45 minutes. Not much time at all. And many branches and wards are only meeting for two hours. The time limit prevents information from coming out. The teacher needs to make a decision what to include in a 45 minute lesson and going through the history of Joseph's wives or Hyrum's wives may not be on the top of the list.

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1 hour ago, why me said:

Unfortunately, sunday school is about 30 to 45 minutes. Not much time at all. And many branches and wards are only meeting for two hours. The time limit prevents information from coming out. The teacher needs to make a decision what to include in a 45 minute lesson and going through the history of Joseph's wives or Hyrum's wives may not be on the top of the list.

There are many other lessons given and more teaching moments (than just Sunday School lessons).  Our ward held a 5th Sunday discussion on the polygamy essays and then followed up with discussion in each auxiliary (RS, Elders Quorum and HP).  Any lesson given on the teachings or life of Joseph Smith very definitely should include some accurate information about polygamy (and more than just a quote from Wilford Woodruff about how Emma didn't like it, but Joseph took a "few" wives).  

The newer institute lessons are an example of changes that need to be made.  I think there should be more....but that's a start.

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21 hours ago, ALarson said:

The word was "few", not "several":.

But either way, it's not an accurate portrayal of the over 30 women that Joseph married.

 

They should be and hopefully that will change.  Their stories are as important as the men's stories and should be told.  

The message I am hearing is that the church is embarrassed that polygamy was such a central element in the early days of the church.  By saying a few rather than 30, they are trying to spin it as if it is no big deal.  Did anyone mention that some wives were as young as 14 and some were married to other husbands?   Is this going to be yet again, another claim that polygamy was taught but no one remembers the facts? (because the facts never were stated). And then blame members for not knowing?

It seems like the same cycle is occurring, just leaking out as much as they think they have to tell the members without being fully honest about it.  Sometimes the church is it's own worse enemy.

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21 hours ago, ALarson said:

Do you have any sources or links to those manuals that taught about Joseph's polygamy? (If that's what you're referencing....).

I'm going by memory - but no as I said most manuals aren't online and I just don't have time to run up to the BYU Special Collections to look through old manuals. 

But of course the issue is what counts as "details." It sounds like both of us agree it's regularly mentioned in vague ways. It seems clear that the Ensign and at least some recent (pre-2015) manuals mention Joseph and others being married to multiple people. To me that's the key issue - I've always fully acknowledged that some elements such as ages or polyandry weren't discussed. The issue of Emma not accepting polygamy would probably be an other of those details. I've met lots of people ignorant of that but then many people who have heard the tales that were rampant in the early Utah period about Emma - including the infamous "throw Eliza R. Snow down the stairs causing a miscarriage" myth.

 

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On 9/18/2017 at 11:18 PM, ksfisher said:

It's interesting, because I hear about all those things and kinds say so what.  I guess I've never looked to the church to teach history.  I've looked to the church to teach the gospel which to me is a separate issue than did Joseph did for treasure or not (and if he did it doesn't bother me as I did some pretty stupid things when I was a teenager).  Honestly, I really don't think church leaders in the past have had that great a grasp of history, but I'm not really sure I'd expect them to. 

It's interesting how two people can be presented with the same information and have two completely different reactions. 

I can understand not everyone is interested in history, but aren't you interested in whether the church is being honest about what happened?  For me, it is not the history that is the problem, it is the covering up.  The white washing.  It shows a lack of integrity, which seems to be pretty important if you are a church that constantly expects its members to be honest and live with integrity.  

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2 minutes ago, california boy said:

The message I am hearing is that the church is embarrassed that polygamy was such a central element in the early days of the church.  By saying a few rather than 30, they are trying to spin it as if it is no big deal.  

I think most Mormons most definitely are embarrassed or at least quite uncomfortable talking about polygamy. 

That said I don't think they have some duty in a manual primarily about practical theological & ethical teaching ought put the worst light possible on all the history. In any case the Church is now linking to the main article on the subject in most manuals and it does say "careful estimates put the number between 30 and 40" and has references for further research for those interested.

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7 minutes ago, california boy said:

I can understand not everyone is interested in history, but aren't you interested in whether the church is being honest about what happened?  For me, it is not the history that is the problem, it is the covering up.  The white washing.  It shows a lack of integrity, which seems to be pretty important if you are a church that constantly expects its members to be honest and live with integrity.  

It's one thing to complain that in manuals designed for teaching basic principles they don't delve into historic controversies. I think saying there's a cover up is completely different. To my eyes you're conflating the two.

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5 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It's one thing to complain that in manuals designed for teaching basic principles they don't delve into historic controversies. I think saying there's a cover up is completely different. To my eyes you're conflating the two.

I'm with Californiaboy on this.  The manuals do touch on controversies, they just often cover up the controversial parts, or change the story in order for them to appear non controversial.  I recall just after my mission.  I was called to teach EQ and had the BY manual.  I was reading the lesson once and decided to see if I can piece together where the chapter was coming from.  It seemed like half the chapter dealt with polygamy when you went to the sources.  It was way clever how they made it appear that there was absolutely nothing controversial in what he was saying.  Yes, I pointed out the cover up type of stuff in the lesson that week.  It caused a bit of a stir. 

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14 hours ago, california boy said:

I can understand not everyone is interested in history, but aren't you interested in whether the church is being honest about what happened?  For me, it is not the history that is the problem, it is the covering up.  The white washing.  It shows a lack of integrity, which seems to be pretty important if you are a church that constantly expects its members to be honest and live with integrity.  

I actually am very interested and majored in history in college.  Perhaps it's because I have read so much history that conflicting accounts don't bother me.  Pick up two books about any historical event and it's possible to read two completely different accounts.  Both can be correct.  One may choose to include or emphasize some aspect of the story that the other completely ignores.  That's just the way history is, it's messy, it's ambiguous.  Neither author is being dishonest, just looking at a different piece of the picture. 

The church has chosen to emphasize the parts of history that are relevant in building peoples faith today.  Teaching something like polygamy really doesn't have any application in my life today as I'm not a polygamist.  Whether or not the Book of Mormon was translated by the U&T or by a seer stone in a hat has no bearing on whether or not I understand and live the principles in that book today. 

As I said, I love history, but I'm not looking to the church to teach it.  I'm looking to the church to teach me how to live today so I can keep the covenants I've made and help other people do the same.

Edited by ksfisher

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52 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I'm going by memory - but no as I said most manuals aren't online and I just don't have time to run up to the BYU Special Collections to look through old manuals. 

I'm pretty certain that no lesson manuals in the 1980's and 90's (on up until recently) taught about Joseph's polygamy (that's why I asked if you a source for this).  As already referenced, the one manual on his teachings gave instructions not to discuss it.  But there were a few random, vague references (albeit inaccurate, IMO) to his polygamy in some publications put out by the church for members.

 

52 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

But of course the issue is what counts as "details." It sounds like both of us agree it's regularly mentioned in vague ways. It seems clear that the Ensign and at least some recent (pre-2015) manuals mention Joseph and others being married to multiple people. To me that's the key issue - I've always fully acknowledged that some elements such as ages or polyandry weren't discussed. 

I agree.

Edited by ALarson

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28 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm with Californiaboy on this.  The manuals do touch on controversies, they just often cover up the controversial parts, or change the story in order for them to appear non controversial.  I recall just after my mission.  I was called to teach EQ and had the BY manual.  I was reading the lesson once and decided to see if I can piece together where the chapter was coming from.  It seemed like half the chapter dealt with polygamy when you went to the sources.  It was way clever how they made it appear that there was absolutely nothing controversial in what he was saying.  Yes, I pointed out the cover up type of stuff in the lesson that week.  It caused a bit of a stir. 

Again those manuals were pretty explicit in the introduction that they were only focusing on teachings relevant today. So I don't consider that whitewashing.

Now I do consider it a pretty reasonable criticism that we have this weird hybrid between topics and studying what these figures wrote. It ultimately just doesn't work. It's hard to teach from as teachers often are confused as to whether they're supposed to be teaching the subject or the particular statements on the subject. Contrast this with say when we teach on a conference talk. There's still some tension (are we talking about the talk or the topic?) But with the Presidents of the Church manuals nearly all the quotes are distorted somewhat from their original context. 

So if you're just complaining about that point in general I'd agree. I just don't think it particularly is an issue of polygamy or whitewashing so much as trying to fit pretty disparate quotes to a topic that's relevant. I think they got much better at it in the last few manuals but those early ones were tough IMO. I think the Church would have done much better just haven't topical chapters without trying to make it also about particular figures.

 

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22 hours ago, ALarson said:

The word was "few", not "several":.

But either way, it's not an accurate portrayal of the over 30 women that Joseph married.

 

Quote

"I bear record that Emma Smith gave her husband in marriage to several women while he was living"

The word "several" was used, but that was because it was referring to the plural wives that Emma was aware of.  I don't think they wanted to bring up the  marriages that occurred without her knowledge.

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2 minutes ago, Oliblish said:

 

The word "several" was used, but that was because it was referring to the plural wives that Emma was aware of.  I don't think they wanted to bring up the  marriages that occurred without her knowledge.

Whether Emma knew or not...doesn't change what it is.

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12 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Again those manuals were pretty explicit in the introduction that they were only focusing on teachings relevant today. So I don't consider that whitewashing.

Ok.  Whatever word you want to attribute works.  I thought cover up works, even if qualifiers saying they were focusing on teachings for today. 

12 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Now I do consider it a pretty reasonable criticism that we have this weird hybrid between topics and studying what these figures wrote. It ultimately just doesn't work. It's hard to teach from as teachers often are confused as to whether they're supposed to be teaching the subject or the particular statements on the subject. Contrast this with say when we teach on a conference talk. There's still some tension (are we talking about the talk or the topic?) But with the Presidents of the Church manuals nearly all the quotes are distorted somewhat from their original context. 

Sure.  I get the tension. 

12 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

So if you're just complaining about that point in general I'd agree. I just don't think it particularly is an issue of polygamy or whitewashing so much as trying to fit pretty disparate quotes to a topic that's relevant. I think they got much better at it in the last few manuals but those early ones were tough IMO. I think the Church would have done much better just haven't topical chapters without trying to make it also about particular figures.

 

Sure.  I agree. 

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6 minutes ago, Oliblish said:

The word "several" was used, but that was because it was referring to the plural wives that Emma was aware of.  I don't think they wanted to bring up the  marriages that occurred without her knowledge.

True.  And of those "several", Joseph had already been secretly married to them behind Emma's back prior to her consenting.  Joseph then continued to keep it a secret by performing mock sealings to the Lawrence sisters in front of Emma.

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4 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I'm pretty certain that no lesson manuals in the 1980's and 90's (on up until recently) taught about Joseph's polygamy (that's why I asked if you a source for this).  As already referenced, the one manual on his teachings gave instructions not to discuss it.  But there were a few random, vague references (albeit inaccurate, IMO) to his polygamy in some publications put out by the church for members.

Well, in the 70's there were a lot more explicit discussions in the Ensign so I'm skeptical the manuals would have avoided the issue. The vaguer manuals that were more focused on basics really developed in the 90's - especially with the shift to rotating through a chronological study of the scriptures. People are primarily familiar with the pretty big changes in manuals that Pres. Hinkley introduced in the 90's. In many ways the manuals prior to that were much more substantial.

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21 minutes ago, ALarson said:

True.  And of those "several", Joseph had already been secretly married to them behind Emma's back prior to her consenting.  Joseph then continued to keep it a secret by performing mock sealings to the Lawrence sisters in front of Emma.

This is true, but it was actually the Partridge sisters I believe.

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34 minutes ago, Oliblish said:

This is true, but it was actually the Partridge sisters I believe.

Thanks for correcting and clarifying.  (I always get them mixed up and even looked it up before I posted....and I still wrote "the Lawrence sisters" :lol:)

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5 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I'm with Californiaboy on this.  The manuals do touch on controversies, they just often cover up the controversial parts, or change the story in order for them to appear non controversial.  I recall just after my mission.  I was called to teach EQ and had the BY manual.  I was reading the lesson once and decided to see if I can piece together where the chapter was coming from.  It seemed like half the chapter dealt with polygamy when you went to the sources.  It was way clever how they made it appear that there was absolutely nothing controversial in what he was saying.  Yes, I pointed out the cover up type of stuff in the lesson that week.  It caused a bit of a stir. 

Polygamy is not that controversial. It has become rather mainstream in viewing because of reality TV which has brought it into people's living rooms. I remember hearing about it in my high school history class. It didn't phase me at all. Mormons were mormons...a people who were different. Muslims still practice it and in Europe it is secretly practiced by quite a few muslims. Social workers are aware that it is practiced in Europe.

Edited by why me

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1 hour ago, why me said:

Polygamy is not that controversial. It has become rather mainstream in viewing because of reality TV which has brought it into people's living rooms. I remember hearing about it in my high school history class. It didn't phase me at all. Mormons were mormons...a people who were different. Muslims still practice it and in Europe it is secretly practiced by quite a few muslims. Social workers are aware that it is practiced in Europe.

I don't find polygamy to be that controversial either.  I don't think it is a great idea,  but I don't find it all that disturbing that it gets practiced in different parts of the world.  Like I said,  it is more the way the church has handled it.  I don't like distorting things just because you can.

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1 hour ago, why me said:

Polygamy is not that controversial. It has become rather mainstream in viewing because of reality TV which has brought it into people's living rooms.

I honestly don't have any issue with it as long as consenting adults are involved.  

It's the details regarding polygamy and polyandry that are difficult for some especially when they first learn about them regarding Joseph and others.

Edited by ALarson

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On 9/20/2017 at 11:26 AM, ALarson said:

Do you have any sources or links to those manuals that taught about Joseph's polygamy? (If that's what you're referencing....).

Apparently archive.org actually has scans of many old priesthood manuals from the 70's and 80's. I've not successfully been able to download one yet though. Still trying.

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Well, in the 70's there were a lot more explicit discussions in the Ensign so I'm skeptical the manuals would have avoided the issue. The vaguer manuals that were more focused on basics really developed in the 90's - especially with the shift to rotating through a chronological study of the scriptures. People are primarily familiar with the pretty big changes in manuals that Pres. Hinkley introduced in the 90's. In many ways the manuals prior to that were much more substantial.

The 90s Book of Mormon Institute manual dropped, iirc, to about a fourth of the size.  I gave mine (I had donated it to our ward library, but no one checked it out) to a guy that was just disgusted with the newer one and happened to see my copy when visiting our ward and begged it off of me.  By then I was using online stuff (which was why it was in the ward library) more, so I passed it on.

If we are talking about including Institute manuals for polygamy, I can check the one used prior to the Church History in the Fullness of Times (used in 70s and 80s).  Let me know.

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