Jump to content
Seriously No Politics ×

What if polygamy was never practiced?


Anna

Recommended Posts

Family of four, You really would refuse to obey a direct commandment of God?

Link to comment
Annie Tanner suffered, too, from a growing disillusionment with the religious underpinnings of polygamy, and a conscious realization that many of her humiliations had been suffered for a cause in which she could no longer believe. Eventually she came also to doubt what she had been taught as a child, that women were less than equal to men in intellect and talent.

When writing this memoir in 1941, as an old woman of seventy-seven, she reproduced the evolution of her feelings and intellectual convictions with clarity and eloquence. The book is in no sense an attack on her church. "Our religion," she writes, "gave us power to endure." Her complaints are muted, her restraint extraordinary. Nevertheless, the portrait of her husband that emerges from her recollections, letters, and diary entries is that of a narcissistic, self-indulgent man who abused his wives and children. One suspects that the writing was a catharsis long overdue in her life. The memoir speaks to all women who have shared their husbands with other women, and in a different sense it has a message, too, for all men who have fantasies of the presumed delights of the polygamous life.

Your post is a violation of the FAIR message board rules which state: ". . . all quoted material must be fully referenced. Posts which in our opinion violate this rule will be removed." Every single word up there right down to the commas is a cut and paste from the Signature book website:

A Mormon Mother: an autobiography by Annie Clark Tanner

A lot of the suffering which Annie Clark Tanner experienced was due to:

Worse, the marriage also happened to coincide with the U.S. Government's merciless pogrom against Mormon polygamy

Link to comment
What if the Church never practiced polygamy?

This is a big what if question. I think things would be very different today if Joseph Smith would have remained faithful to Emma.

First, I think the church in Kirkland would have seen less persecution. Joseph wouldn

Link to comment
You misunderstand Emma's place.  She is with Joseph, where she belongs.  You do not have the right to place such a judgement on her.

I am not so sure that anyone here can state that she would want to be with Joseph. Is it outside the realm of possibilities that she see's him as a habitual adulterer? Just maybe? :P

Anna, I for one, completely understand your question. <_<

Some have stated the necessity for the "Furnace of affliction". The saints suffered in many ways outside the realm of polygamy. Perhaps the law of consecration could have been practiced for an extended period - that was affliction. A multitude of other sacrifices could have been set in place for "Testing".

Polygamy, unlike the law of consecration or requiring(encouraging :unsure: ) young men to serve missions, is an affliction that poisons the church's image yet today.

Link to comment

So much mis-and disinformation! So little time! Here goes.

Observer: The smiley face was at the idea that so many people think only of the positive outcome of some event, and don't include the whole realm. Sorry if in my attempt at brevity I didn't explain myself well. And did you notice the "us" part of the sentence? I didn't say all of "you" who would be burned as stubble. My goodness. I spend some amount of time myself quaking in my boots that I am not doing all I can to be found worthy at the last day.

maxrep12: There is a very touching account of Emma's last hours. I can't put my hand to the reference. But I am sure someone on the board knows. At her last moments, Emma called out to Joseph. She told her son who was attending her that she saw Joseph, and he was holding their baby in his arms, waiting for her. Emma loved Joseph as he loved her. I am sure she would not appreciate your insults to her beloved husband.

And the "poisons the Church today" comment. The Lord wants to see who will follow Him and who won't. The responsbility to be a god is a heavy one. Only those who will be true and faithful under any circumstance can be trusted with the power. Those who will follow an easy path, but balk when the going get rough don't have what it takes for that kind of responsiblity. We all have our supreme tests. Abraham was asked to sacrfiice his only son. Maybe polygamy was the supreme test for others. Ask yourself what your supreme test may be and what you will be willing to do, if God asks you to do it.

Family of 4: I would answer you the same as the above paragraph. We don't know what will be revealed or commanded in the future. (D&C 27: 6 And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days.) Maybe the restoration is not complete.

It may be as you say. That if the principle of plural marriage were to be commanded again, that 90% of the Church would fall away. That might be the fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Those who will not follow God will be winnowed out.

It may not be that this will be required again. It may be a sufficient test for God to know who places limits on their obedience to him.

Link to comment

Charity,

no doubt she loved him. Given the times and divorce statistics then, she mostly likely had to play the hand she was dealt. She probably had intense hatred for the man as well.

If she has an opportunity for a do-over in the after life, Joseph may find himself ancient history in her book.

Link to comment

maxrep12: Your mind reading capabilities are astounding. Not only over distance, but over time as well. Show me one instance in any recorded words of Emma where she said she hated Joseph. And refute her dying moment of joy at seeing Joseph again. Doesn't sound like any kind of do-over to me.

Link to comment

Ask yourself what your supreme test may be and what you will be willing to do, if God asks you to do it.

Well, I was trying to come up with a few examples of things I absolutely would not do, but I decided they were inappropriate for discussion and might get me banned. I will mention that I did come up with a few sick examples for a "supreme test." I doubt even you would pass my examples, Charity.

I will also note that your question could be universally applied to cults, terrorists and all manner of evil in the name of God.

I suggest a slightly different version of your question:

Ask yourself what your supreme test may be and what you will be willing to do, if a man claiming to represent God asks you to do it.

For many people this edit changes nothing....which is a very scary fact. Check the headlines. Believers are passing their "supreme test" every day, all around the world. :P

Link to comment

Folks - I have received an inordinate number of complaints regarding this thread. I need to go to church right now and will review all the posts when I return this afternoon.

Try to be nice to each other until then and I will have some comments then.

Why do this threads always have to disintegrate into acrimonious discourse?

Archon

Link to comment

Observer, We can argue this "is it really God" idea forever. When I have a spiritual witness that a man has been chosen by God as His prophet, and then a confirming witness that this prophet is speaking for God on a specific matter, I would do it.

Do not try to add in the terrorist angle.

Link to comment

Whether "then" or "now", however, do you believe there would be any significantly postive aspects of the church that would have been lost if polygamy was never practiced?

I see no positive aspects of Polygamy (as practiced by the Saints) at all. I admit that I am biased by my 21st century middle America world view. We will never truly know what went on in the hearts and minds of the early Saints, but taken as a whole, the practice of Polygamy has brought misery, persecution and abuse on untold thousands of people. Both then and now.

I have read on this and other boards that its purpose was to raise up a righteous seed. I remain unconvinced. The ratio of the male to female in 19th century Utah was roughly even. Monogamy by itself would have been more than sufficient to produce product a righteous seed. Besides, where is Joseph

Link to comment

Without the history of polygamy, I agree that the Church would be much more popular, and consequently would probably have many more people joining it. But would that be a good thing? NO! Not in my opinion, absolutely not! We already have WAY too many people who are only willing to go so far, and who cause huge troubles when something goes wrong. We already have way too many people who are never truly converted and end up either leaving the Church over little matters (not saying all those who leave the church are in that category, don't anyone make me say what I didn't say) or weighing the Church down with their constant criticisms.

Have I wished at times that the Church would be more popular? You bet! Very often, as I was growing up. But now that I am among those who have to take care of the Church and the members, I wish it were more difficult to get baptised and that we would take in only those who are really willing to obey God all the way. Too many converts have a spirit of "pick and choose": "I don't mind that doctrine, but I don't want to hear about that one". But the LDS Gospel is a package, it's not customisable. Unfortunately, by downplaying such peculiarities as polygamy, it looks like the Church is sending the message that members can pick and choose which doctrines they don't mind believing in, and that it's OK if they refuse to accept some of them.

Del

Link to comment

Del March, Well said. Thanks.

Link to comment
maxrep12: Your mind reading capabilities are astounding. Not only over distance, but over time as well. Show me one instance in any recorded words of Emma where she said she hated Joseph. And refute her dying moment of joy at seeing Joseph again. Doesn't sound like any kind of do-over to me.

Charity,

no one here on the board has any confidence in my "mind reading" abilities :P . I stated "probably", as that is my best guess. I think it would be a stretch of reason NOT to conclude that Josephs relationships with women caused Emma inner turmoil that most of us are fortunate enough not to have experienced.

So Really, is it not possible, even likely, that Emma would have opted to marry another had she been given the opportunity to gaze into the future before wedding Joseph?

Joseph and Emma had a life together with children. Of course bonds were formed.

Link to comment

OK folks I am back from Church where I had a better discussion in Sunday School than you seem to be having with this thread.

I have read the entire thread and am disappointed that no one seems to be able to stick to the topic. The topic dealt with what you might THINK about the question. That means personal opinion. You all need to understand that personal opinion does not require quoted sources.

Juliann asks that Anna justify her thoughts based on "Network Theory." I do not know what Network Theory is and a simple explanantion would be appreciated. It is more meaningful that a summary be given along with a source in such a discussion.

Observer goes wild over the use of a smiley face. Chill a bit and enjoy the discussion. Other posters could receive the same sort of comment from Archon.

When anyone says anything that might be taken negatively the responses go wild. Why? Why not just respond to the comment without making personal attacks.

I am not sure that polygamy can be discussed without this happening but I would like to see an effort.

There have been interesting points and comments raised by almost all of the posters. Either discuss them with kindness for each other or the thread will be closed. FAIR enough?

Archon will check in again. :P

Archon

Link to comment

Juliann asks that Anna justify her thoughts based on "Network Theory." I do not know what Network Theory is and a simple explanantion would be appreciated. It is more meaningful that a summary be given along with a source in such a discussion.

Thank you Archon,

You have done more for my spirit of fair (and reasonable) play on this board in this one post than I have seen since I came here. Admittedly, I have been susspicious that Juliann and the moderators were one and the same person.

[but just to be safe here, I want you to know that I am very cautious of the "Trojan Horse" angle :P<_<:unsure: ]

Now can someone please explain what the "Network Theory" is and why it is applicable to this thread?

Link to comment

Polygamy in Utah seemed to receive a lot of press time and public awareness in the 1800s of the LDS/Mormons there. In fact, because there was so much attention directed at Utah...other Restoration churches/groups were mistakenly assumed to be of the same class and received some of the same negative treatment even if they didn't believe or practice polygamy. Some of these movements spent time explaining what they were not instead of what they were.

I wouldn't think it would be unrealistic to believe that the LDS/Mormons in Utah gained a monopoly of ignorance among the world in the 1800s with their unique beliefs...even more different than during Joseph's lifetime (unless you want to say since they became public). The term 'Mormon' even though was a negative term, began to be more exclusive to the LDS/Mormons of Utah with little or no references being made to other groups. Another example, 'Latter Day Saints'. It seems that in modern encyclopedias the 'Josephites' or RLDS church is rarely mentioned except maybe a brief comment in the first paragraph when in the past a few paragraphs might go into more explanation. In the midwest, there were areas where RLDS congregations/branches existed and were simply termed Latter Day Saints.

I understand for the most part in autobiographies and other sources that when polygamy was first introduced publically in August 1852 in Utah that there were thousands of members that left the church. England had some 3,000 alone leave and perhaps more become inactive. This in part may have been due to the repeated denials made by apostles and missionaries whether they knew it or not that polygamy was being practiced in Utah. People don't tend to believe those that lie to them.

Bradley E. Barnhart, priest (RLDS Restorationist)

Springfield, OR.

Link to comment

This thread was an attempt to cast a "revised portrait" if you will, on how the Church would look if polygamy was never practiced.

It was not about the merits, claims, criticisms or testimonies of polygamy.

It really was a "what if".

There have been some very interesting replies. And I do not care what side is taken, but at least provide a "reasonable explanation" for your position.

I am really interested in how everyone believes the Church would be viewed, accepted and percieved "TODAY" if polygamy was NOT practiced and why.

I could care the least about why you believe or don't believe it was required!!!!

Link to comment
If it wasn’t practiced, would it have any impact on our theology, doctrine or beliefs?

I don't think so, unless eternal marriage is linked to polygamy (I haven't researched the subject, so I wouldn't know).

However, the Antis would have to change their tactics: instead of proclaiming that men made gods will have entire harems of submissive goddesses, they would ask how God can make sure that there will be exactly the same number of exalted men and women :P<_<

If it wasn’t practiced, would our Church size (membership) and growth rates be materially different today?

That's too complicated for me to figure out.

On the one hand, it is certain that its past history of polygamy gives a bad reputation to the Church. On the other hand, it sure gives it visibility. People might have the wrong idea about the Mormons, but at least they have heard of them! In France, if you say "Pentecostal" or "Baptist", chances are that you will only attract a vague and disinterested look. But if you say "I am Mormon", boy do you get people excited! It might not be the nice kind of interest, at least at first, but at least people want to discuss it, they want to know how someone apparently normal like you can be Mormon. That's a huge advantage, in a way.

If it wasn’t practiced, would we have any different opinion of our past prophets or hold them in any different light than we do today?

Not me.

Perhaps one of the reasons I look at the practice of polygamy with the skepticism I do is because I often wonder:  “What did polygamy accomplish for the Church that would not have been accomplished with just the practice of monogamy?”

As I said, it gave it huge visibility.

Another thing that others have mentioned before is that the persecution endured because of polygamy tightened the LDS community and thus made it more durable. The very fact that there is such a thing as the "Utah Mormon Culture" is a testament to that durability. The fact that the early LDS had to fight for the recognition of some of their practices transformed what was originally a religious issue into a social one, and the Gospel took on an aspect of tradition. I'm not saying this is an only good thing, because we all know that cultural Mormons can be a big problem, but it sure helped the Church endure and make its own deep nest.

Just my opinion, obviously.

Del

Link to comment

My impression is that the church would be larger.

What I have noticed though is that polygamy could be the single greatest cause elimating convert growth among our peers in this day and age. Among those who might be our social, economic, and educational peers, polygamy may prove to be a "deal breaker" before an open study of mormonism can begin.

As a youth, we were consistantly reminded that we are the lords elect who were saved for the last days. If there are elect individuals in our social arenas outside of church, polygamy is likely a stumbling block in their ability to evaluate the church in a fair manner.

The interesting point that I see is that convert growth among people who might be stable and contributing members with retention, has all but come to a standstill. There may be other factors as well, in addition to polygamy.

Lastly, these are my impressions, I have no study to cite

Link to comment

maxrep: I just got back from church and it took me a while to catch up. I still think I need to step in here about your comments about Joseph and Emma. Particularly how you think Emma might have regretted marrying him. Here is some information:

Joseph and Emma were married for 17 years before his murder.

Emma next married Lewis Bidamon and they were married for 35 years before her death. That is more than twice as long as she was married to Joseph.

At the moment of her death, while still married to Lewis Bidamon, she called out to Joseph. This does not sound to me like she regretted her marriage to Joseph.

I see that as strong evidence of her love for Joseph.

Link to comment

maxrep12: There is a very touching account of Emma's last hours. I can't put my hand to the reference. But I am sure someone on the board knows. At her last moments, Emma called out to Joseph. She told her son who was attending her that she saw Joseph, and he was holding their baby in his arms, waiting for her. Emma loved Joseph as he loved her. I am sure she would not appreciate your insults to her beloved husband.

Charity, I would be interested in a link to this account. Being a reasonable individual, I can accept that this occured. Could it also be possible that her son might have fabricated the event in maintaining family integrity?

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...