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rockpond

Church statement on Equality Act

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45 minutes ago, Calm said:

It is unlikely in my view polygamy will be reinstated unless there is widespread (as in multinational) governmental approval of it.  I can see it as possible opening up polygamy in countries where it is legal, though unless there is a huge change in concentration of Saints, I think it will be necessary for the US to be one of those countries...at least take the antipolygamy laws off the books...which may be happening sooner than later.

Are there not mainstream Christian groups that already do this (allow members of polygamous families to join their congregations) and if so, has this impacted how they are viewed?  Lutherans appear to allow polygamists to be baptized, but in most places once members cannot marry more wives if I understand the rule correctly.  Anglicans as well.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy_in_Christianity#Lutheran_Church

If the Church starts expecting It of leaders or calling people to the practice as in the past, that might impact people's perception...but if there is widespread acceptance of it already in the culture, who knows imo.  Cultural acceptance changes both much slower (racism) and much faster (SSM) than I would expect.

Are you thinking the church could condone polygamy in the countries where it has been traditionally practiced, without promoting it as the preferred method of marriage here in the USA and other western countries?  Its an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how it would work in practice.  With D&C 132 and early church leaders promoting polygamy/celestial marriage as the highest form of marriage, how could the church possibly allow it again and not also promote it as superior to monogamy as early church leaders did?  

I will say, that if the church ever does attempt to reinstate polygamy as mainstream practice as it was in the past, that it not only will it be relegated to marginalized religious status, but that I will likely stop participating permanently.  I just can't imagine myself finding enough in common with the church to make it useful for me at that point.    

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16 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Are you thinking the church could condone polygamy in the countries where it has been traditionally practiced, without promoting it as the preferred method of marriage here in the USA and other western countries?  Its an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how it would work in practice.  With D&C 132 and early church leaders promoting polygamy/celestial marriage as the highest form of marriage, how could the church possibly allow it again and not also promote it as superior to monogamy as early church leaders did?  

I will say, that if the church ever does attempt to reinstate polygamy as mainstream practice as it was in the past, that it not only will it be relegated to marginalized religious status, but that I will likely stop participating permanently.  I just can't imagine myself finding enough in common with the church to make it useful for me at that point.    

The answer is very simple: Modern/continuing revelation.

Belief and claims of continuing revelation provide the church the avenue to make any change it deems necessary or righteous or useful or restorative. Seriously, the church doesn't have to be hindered by the past if it chooses to break away from it, or embrace it. It only matters on what the current leader(s) decide.

But I'm with you. It's hard to imagine the church doing this and surviving (at least in its current state).

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1 minute ago, HappyJackWagon said:

The answer is very simple: Modern/continuing revelation.

Belief and claims of continuing revelation provide the church the avenue to make any change it deems necessary or righteous or useful or restorative. Seriously, the church doesn't have to be hindered by the past if it chooses to break away from it, or embrace it. It only matters on what the current leader(s) decide.

But I'm with you. It's hard to imagine the church doing this and surviving (at least in its current state).

Ok, yes, I understand they can message things differently to not talk about polygamy as being the superior and God promoted.  But what would that kind of difference in messaging look like in practice?  What happens when you have one or two apostles or even GAs who are openly polygamous, while the rest of them are still practicing monogamy?  Would those apostles consider themselves to be living a higher law in their mind, even if not spoken about publicly?  What happens when they show up to an event with their multiple wives and they have those wives give talks to the congregation and they mix into these talks the virtues of their husband and how affirming he is and how they just love their roles as sister wives. 

I'm trying to imagine a scenario where a blended monogamy and polygamy on equal footing theologically speaking could exists in harmony, considering the past teachings of prophets and the canonized D&C 132.  I just can't picture it not devolving into a class system of sorts, no matter how much modern/continuing revelation the current leaders might preach on the subject.  It would look extremely bizarre, wouldn't it?  

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9 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It only matters on what the current leader(s) decide.

I've heard @JLHPROF say this before and it makes sense, from what I've seen. The only doctrine in the LDS church seems to be whatever the current leader says it right.

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9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Ok, yes, I understand they can message things differently to not talk about polygamy as being the superior and God promoted.  But what would that kind of difference in messaging look like in practice?  What happens when you have one or two apostles or even GAs who are openly polygamous, while the rest of them are still practicing monogamy?  Would those apostles consider themselves to be living a higher law in their mind, even if not spoken about publicly?  What happens when they show up to an event with their multiple wives and they have those wives give talks to the congregation and they mix into these talks the virtues of their husband and how affirming he is and how they just love their roles as sister wives. 

I'm trying to imagine a scenario where a blended monogamy and polygamy on equal footing theologically speaking could exists in harmony, considering the past teachings of prophets and the canonized D&C 132.  I just can't picture it not devolving into a class system of sorts, no matter how much modern/continuing revelation the current leaders might preach on the subject.  It would look extremely bizarre, wouldn't it?  

While I could see the US Gov't or SCOTUS legalizing polyamorous marriages in the next few decades, I don't see the Church bringing back polygamy.  It seems to me that the general direction of the church right now is moving more towards mainstream Christianity.  Practicing polygamy again would take us out of that realm forever.  And, I believe, it would also cause another schism just like when the practice was ended a century ago.

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4 minutes ago, rockpond said:

While I could see the US Gov't or SCOTUS legalizing polyamorous marriages in the next few decades, I don't see the Church bringing back polygamy.  It seems to me that the general direction of the church right now is moving more towards mainstream Christianity.  Practicing polygamy again would take us out of that realm forever.  And, I believe, it would also cause another schism just like when the practice was ended a century ago.

I agree with your assessment as well.  But I do wonder if they would allow those who are already married polygamously in a country where it is still practiced more commonly, to be baptized and to be considered an active member in good standing while maintaining their polygamous relationships?  That might be a small step towards a more integrated scenario like Calm is speculating about.  What would that look like potentially?  

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53 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I agree with your assessment as well.  But I do wonder if they would allow those who are already married polygamously in a country where it is still practiced more commonly, to be baptized and to be considered an active member in good standing while maintaining their polygamous relationships?  That might be a small step towards a more integrated scenario like Calm is speculating about.  What would that look like potentially?  

I could see church leaders wanting to do that but not knowing how to allow it because if polygamy were to become legal here in the US, they wouldn't have the grounds to prohibit it.  And then there would be those among our members practicing polygamy and maintaining membership in the church.  

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26 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I could see church leaders wanting to do that but not knowing how to allow it because if polygamy were to become legal here in the US, they wouldn't have the grounds to prohibit it.  And then there would be those among our members practicing polygamy and maintaining membership in the church.  

Would it be impossible for the church to simply accept "legal marriage" however that is defined?

There may be a few people rushing out to become polygamists if it became legal but I suspect the vast majority would choose to remain monogamous. But would it really have to be one or the other?

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10 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Would it be impossible for the church to simply accept "legal marriage" however that is defined?

There may be a few people rushing out to become polygamists if it became legal but I suspect the vast majority would choose to remain monogamous. But would it really have to be one or the other?

Wouldn't you see a lot of the members of fundamentalist groups, re-joining the mainstream COJCOLDS if it became legal?  Also, at some point you'd have Bishops and SPs who practice polygamy and then eventually GAs and Apostles.  How could that possibly work without creating a system of people practicing the "higher law" and those who are appalled by polygamy believing that monogamy is superior.  Its really hard for me to imagine it working out well considering our history on the topic.  

 

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16 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Would it be impossible for the church to simply accept "legal marriage" however that is defined?

There may be a few people rushing out to become polygamists if it became legal but I suspect the vast majority would choose to remain monogamous. But would it really have to be one or the other?

Nope, not impossible.

And I'm not saying that they shouldn't.  I wouldn't be opposed to the church, once again, accepting the practice of polygamy.

I was more trying to acknowledge the problems it would create and the very tough spot that the Brethren are in.  If they allow it where it is legal, then they are indicating that the Lord approves of it as long as the state does.

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3 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Wouldn't you see a lot of the members of fundamentalist groups, re-joining the mainstream COJCOLDS if it became legal?  Also, at some point you'd have Bishops and SPs who practice polygamy and then eventually GAs and Apostles.  How could that possibly work without creating a system of people practicing the "higher law" and those who are appalled by polygamy believing that monogamy is superior.  Its really hard for me to imagine it working out well considering our history on the topic.  

I don't think it would be inevitable for the church to turn into a "higher law/lower law" church, per se. At least not any more than it already is regarding temple recommend holding versus non-recommend holding. But it would depend on how it was taught by leadership. If some upper leaders started living the principle but affirmed that it was a personal choice and not any kind of requirement or status issue, I don't see much of a problem. Also, I'm not sure that having fundamentalists join the church would necessarily doom it. It certainly wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I think there is still a lot of common ground shared. I think success would most likely hinge...as it always does...on loyalty to and acceptance of church leadership as God's chosen.  In my mind, that would be the more difficult bridge to cross than marital status as polygamous/monogamous. The church did both in the past so it seems possible they could do both again in the future.

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2 minutes ago, rockpond said:

Nope, not impossible.

And I'm not saying that they shouldn't.  I wouldn't be opposed to the church, once again, accepting the practice of polygamy.

I was more trying to acknowledge the problems it would create and the very tough spot that the Brethren are in.  If they allow it where it is legal, then they are indicating that the Lord approves of it as long as the state does.

Yeah, but I don't see that as opposed to current teachings of honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law. I think it's widely known both in and out of the church that a BIG part of the church ceasing the practice of polygamy was directly related to government laws and practices. So if the government could influence the cessation, why couldn't it also influence the renewal of the practice?

I just don't see it as an insurmountable issue for the church IF it decided to reinstitute (or at least allow) the practice of polygamy. There would definitely be issues. Some people would leave, some would join, but the church would go on.

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12 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I don't think it would be inevitable for the church to turn into a "higher law/lower law" church, per se. At least not any more than it already is regarding temple recommend holding versus non-recommend holding. But it would depend on how it was taught by leadership. If some upper leaders started living the principle but affirmed that it was a personal choice and not any kind of requirement or status issue, I don't see much of a problem. Also, I'm not sure that having fundamentalists join the church would necessarily doom it. It certainly wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I think there is still a lot of common ground shared. I think success would most likely hinge...as it always does...on loyalty to and acceptance of church leadership as God's chosen.  In my mind, that would be the more difficult bridge to cross than marital status as polygamous/monogamous. The church did both in the past so it seems possible they could do both again in the future.

Wouldn't that undercut all the recent rhetoric and focus on the "traditional family".  As I see it, that pillar of how they define family values is the core doctrine of the modern church, and I think if they were to widen the definition of acceptable family structures to include polygamy, I think it significantly undercuts that message.  What would be the core church emphasis going forward if polygamy becomes kosher?  

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17 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

don't think it would be inevitable for the church to turn into a "higher law/lower law" church, per se. At least not any more than it already is regarding temple recommend holding versus non-recommend holding. But it would depend on how it was taught by leadership. If some upper leaders started living the principle but affirmed that it was a personal choice and not any kind of requirement or status issue, I don't see much of a problem.

I try not to be judgmental of polygamy, but for me personally, in spite of all my ancestors who practiced it, and my attempts to not look down on others that I meet who practice polygamy, I still have a strong objection to it on ethical grounds.  I think its fundamentally sexist.  So the question I have to ask myself is whether or not I would be comfortable operating in a church that justified this kind of union as acceptable, and I guess my answer is I honestly don't know.  If they promoted it as the superior model, I definitely think I would no longer participate in the church.  But if they were just accepting of those who practice, without overtly condoning or condemning it, would I feel comfortable enough to participate?  I'm not sure.  Its an interesting thought experiment to consider.  

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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

I've heard @JLHPROF say this before and it makes sense, from what I've seen. The only doctrine in the LDS church seems to be whatever the current leader says it right.

This is a position that conflicts with Judeo-Christian religious history and the history of the restored Church. It is an exaggeration of the principle of having a prophet and apostles while ignoring that prophets and apostles actually must follow someone - God. The fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church precludes the hair-brained actions that this type of exaggerated concept promotes or, at least, attempts to propose. 

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Yeah, but I don't see that as opposed to current teachings of honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law. I think it's widely known both in and out of the church that a BIG part of the church ceasing the practice of polygamy was directly related to government laws and practices. So if the government could influence the cessation, why couldn't it also influence the renewal of the practice?

I just don't see it as an insurmountable issue for the church IF it decided to reinstitute (or at least allow) the practice of polygamy. There would definitely be issues. Some people would leave, some would join, but the church would go on.

Your logic is spot on.  I don't disagree.

I'm just thinking of the publicity that such a policy reversal would generate.  In the eyes of the world, we would be returning to polygamy.  It's not insurmountable, but it would be an institutionally painful decision to make.

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37 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

This is a position that conflicts with Judeo-Christian religious history and the history of the restored Church. It is an exaggeration of the principle of having a prophet and apostles while ignoring that prophets and apostles actually must follow someone - God. The fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church precludes the hair-brained actions that this type of exaggerated concept promotes or, at least, attempts to propose. 

In today's church, a change requires unanimity of the FP and Q12.  So, it can't be just what the current prophet wants.

I suppose the salient question is: has the Prophet (President) ever made a statement of change to his counselors and the Q12... and had them not unify behind him?

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

In today's church, a change requires unanimity of the FP and Q12.  So, it can't be just what the current prophet wants.

I suppose the salient question is: has the Prophet (President) ever made a statement of change to his counselors and the Q12... and had them not unify behind him?

It would not surprise me to see that this process has evolved with each prophet and over time. I suspect the early prophets of the restoration, beginning with Brigham Young, were more autocratic  while as time passed the desire for agreement was wanted. 

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23 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

It would not surprise me to see that this process has evolved with each prophet and over time. I suspect the early prophets of the restoration, beginning with Brigham Young, were more autocratic  while as time passed the desire for agreement was wanted. 

Yes, I definitely think it has changed over the history of the Church, that's why I prefaced my comment with "in today's church".

I don't know how much Joseph Smith consulted with the quorum.  He seemed to receive direction directly as if the Lord was speaking to him.

I agree that Brigham Young was likely more autocratic -- maybe a necessary quality with the challenges that faced the church under his leadership.  Some (most?) of his unique doctrinal teachings seem to be disavowed now -- maybe that's related.

David McKay seemed want both revelation from the Lord and unanimity among the apostles (based on my reading of his biography).

Today, we've had a few public statements from the prophet and apostles indicating that prayerful unanimity among the 15 is key and is indicative of the will of the Lord having been reached.

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5 hours ago, rockpond said:

While I could see the US Gov't or SCOTUS legalizing polyamorous marriages in the next few decades, I don't see the Church bringing back polygamy.  It seems to me that the general direction of the church right now is moving more towards mainstream Christianity.  Practicing polygamy again would take us out of that realm forever.  And, I believe, it would also cause another schism just like when the practice was ended a century ago.

It would seem that what is called "mainstream Christianity" is more accepting of gay marriage.  If they are going to accept something like that that has zero scriptural support, surely they can accept polygamy which has pretty good scriptural support.  I do think however that accepting polygamy and gay marriage would create a schism in the church.  Probably less for polygamy simply as mentioned, it is supported in scripture.

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46 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

It would seem that what is called "mainstream Christianity" is more accepting of gay marriage.  If they are going to accept something like that that has zero scriptural support, surely they can accept polygamy which has pretty good scriptural support.  I do think however that accepting polygamy and gay marriage would create a schism in the church.  Probably less for polygamy simply as mentioned, it is supported in scripture.

The non-LDS Christians that I have spoken with see polygamy as being condemned by the Bible.  So I would argue that they don't see the scriptural support that you do.  I can't explain where they see that, just passing along what I've been told.

I have no evidence for this, but my impression is that both among LDS and non-LDS Christians, there is far more support for church acceptance of gay marriage than polygamy.

 

ETA:  The wikipedia entry on Polygamy in Christianity gives some insight.  Look at the "New Testament" section.  I'm not saying I agree with these, just sharing them for reference.

Edited by rockpond

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14 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I have no evidence for this, but my impression is that both among LDS and non-LDS Christians, there is far more support for church acceptance of gay marriage than polygamy.

 

That might be true but I would just say that this attitude does not come a doctrinal, scriptural, or historical point of view.  This support is coming from somewhere else.  I don't personally get it but I guess I am just old white guy who is out of touch. 

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31 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

That might be true but I would just say that this attitude does not come a doctrinal, scriptural, or historical point of view.  This support is coming from somewhere else.  I don't personally get it but I guess I am just old white guy who is out of touch. 

You don’t think there could be other scriptural interpretations of the biblical practice of polygamy?  Did you look at the outline of the argument in the New Testament section of the Wikipedia entry I linked to?

The Book of Mormon condemns the practice with the exception of when the Lord commands it to raise up seed. 

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I believe there is a strong possibility that multiple-spouse marriages could become both socially acceptable and legally recognized by the U.S. government in the future,

Since marriage between same-sex couples is already recognized, the inherent patriarchy of polygamy past isn't likely to become an issue.  Meaning, if government recognizes mutli-spouse marriage in the future, it could be between several men and one woman, or between several women, or between several men, etc.  In that sense, I think it's unlikely we'll ever see the institutionalized patriarchy of LDS polygamy of the past ever return.

And when you think about it.... currently, LDS theology regarding sealing is modeled on a 'chain' approach where couples are two people in a link along a vertical chain between Adam and Eve (at the beginning) to their last descendent (at the end of the chain), w;hich some cross overs betwteen linking different strands of the chain when intermarrying/intermingling.

Even with the above paradigm in mind, is it THAT big of a stretch to imagine that for multi-spouse marriages, there may be a loop of intermarried (multi-spouse) groups of people on some levels along the chain, representing those that are married to more than one person?  I mean, if the who chain is already linked anyway, and LDS believe that there already are some "looped links of chains" in the fabric of the sealed totality of the eternal divine family, why can't such 'links' of group marriages return once more?  

Of course, I'm speaking of the theological possibility, not the social one--yet.  Socially, we aren't there yet, and the current leadership wouldn't be ready for it.  But I think society is moving fast on acceptance of non-traditional relationships, and there are some clear economic/division-of-familial-labor benefits of group marriage, let along scriptural precedent within Mormonism, for such.

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On 5/20/2019 at 12:54 PM, hope_for_things said:

So it sounds like you are characterizing the 2015 policy as a mistake, and the roll back of that policy as inspired.  Just curious, but before the policy was rolled back, did you personally feel like it was inspired or not?  

As for my intentions, I'm not saying the church is false or true.  I personally don't believe it is true or false, and I think that binary view of the church is a big problem.  

If polygamy is ever reinstated, that will certainly spell the permanent relegation to marginal status for the church.  I don't see that ever happening.  

The 2015 policy seems, to me, to be an extension of the existing policy that was already in place for Muslim and polygamous children.

I'm not an expert or anywhere near that level; just seems to me like policy does not equal revelation. Example: was a revelation required when the same policy was originally written and children of polygamous and Islamic parents were listed? Were promptings required? Sure and they were likely followed. 

I try not to view things from a personal perspective - like just to me - math, physics, science, morality, exist and they always have and will so I dont see any benefit in me getting offended by their existence.

I doubt God, Jesus, Their Ancestors created principles like gravity, inertia, priesthood, math, morality, biology, etc. Just me here but I think They likely followed the principles Their Predecessors followed. 

So for me to think that current, mortal leaders of the Church can redefine principles they did not create seems misguided. 

Isaiah 10:15 - Shall the axe (Church) boast itself against him that heweth therewith (God, Jesus)? or shall the saw (Church) magnify itself against him that shaketh it (God, Jesus)? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were not wood.

As for polygamy - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is the least of your worries. I doubt plural marriage has certainly spelled the permanent relegation to marginal status for Islam, whose religion practices it.  You wouldn't want to interpret that religion, its people, culture, etc. in a binary fashion, would you?

First Amendment: Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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