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Polygamy Redux


Confidential Informant

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Perhaps I should have said Emma Smith was not liberal enough to agree to disagree with her husband. She was to conservative for her own good.

Emma was a right-winger? This is the first I heard of a political rift in the Smith home.

Maybe "traditional" is a better word than "conservative." And I disagree that Emma was too "anything" for her own good. She was a fantastic human being.

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I think D.&C. 132 has Emma being damned in hell. and not be saved from outer darkness.

Over my dead body! JS could not have done what he did without Emma....despite their differences over plural marriage. There would be no LDS church as we know it without Emma's support.

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The proof texts used all with the possible exception of D.&C. 132:4,6,27 refer in my mind only damnation to what Evangelicals term hell, and LDS call outer darkness. I think D.&C. 132 has Emma being damned in hell. and not be saved from outer darkness. I don't know if the LDS Bible Dictionary's definition for damnation is true. I read through the proof texts but they say something different to me.

I believe if you don't have eternal life you go to outer darkness.

I'm not interested in what "you" believe Dale. I'm only interested in LDS theology at this point. And LDS theology says that anything less than the celestial kingdom can be defined as damnation. I don't for one second believe that Emma's reticence about plural marriage would land her in perdition/outer darkness. Absolutely not. Emma never denied the Saviour.

The definition is not true to me so I pointed out why I considered it untrue. D.& C. 132 talks about persons being damned to outer darkness also does it not? Cannot Emma be damned to outer darkness? The only dispute of mine is whether D.&C. 132:4,6,27 really says saved angels can be damned. The LDS definition for damnation which had been already given correctly by another poster.

Look I had to state what I believed so you could understand why I doubted the LDS definition. I do not see adopting any definition that's made out of what people imagine to be in the scriptures rather than what's really there. To me this LDS definition is a mistake of man that does not originate in the scriptures of the restoration.

Where does D.&C. 76 say you can be saved yet damned? Where is that LDS definition in that section? The only reference that might say it is D.&C. 132. But do the other sections say something different.

The truth of the LDS Church doesn't rest on errors in it's human definitions being pointed out. They gave the best definition they could, but its not neccesarily a definition you should lock yourself into.

D.&C. 132:4,6,27 seems to me to be about damnation to outer darkness of unsaved persons rather than damnation for saved persons. The angels abided in the law for salvation, but did not for exaltation so it was assumed those verses were about them. Possible but I doubt it. This definition developed & LDS started seeing the verses they used in the LDS Bible Dictionary for Damnation was thought to support that. (pg. 652 )

Verse 27 clarifies it was only "after ye have recieved my new & everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowis enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord." The angels were never commanded to practice plural mariage, or had a marriage covenant they violated so are not penalized based on these proof texts. Verses 4,6 say nothing different.

Where do you think D.&C. 132 says Emma is going to perhaps the Telestial kingdom rather than outer darkness? I think D.&C. 132 4,6,27 offers no hope for Emma. I don't believe Emma denied the Savior myself.

But D.& C. 132:54. has Emma threatened with destruction. Not death on the spot as some think but in the sense of Matthew 10:28 which refers to the destruction of "soul and body in Hell." Probably D.&C. 132:4,6,27,54 has to do with something like Mark 16:16 which says "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." The basic principles the same even if we are talking about plural marriage.

Saved from where? Hell & outer darkness. But with this LDS definition is changes things so that it allows for persons saved from a place, but not a state of damnation.

I certainly am discussing LDS beliefs. Sorry if you mistook me for merely discussing my own beliefs. I was discussing my beliefs about that definition in that section of the LDS Bible Dictionary which I made a careful study of. The proof-texts used either support the definition, or it's a bad definition that's neither based on D.&C. 132, or other LDS scriptures but upon a unstable seperate foundation. Human ideas are just human ideas unless really originating with God.

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The definition is not true to me so I pointed out why I considered it untrue. D.& C. 132 talks about persons being damned to outer darkness also does it not? Cannot Emma be damned to outer darkness? The only dispute of mine is whether D.&C. 132:4,6,27 really says saved angels can be damned. The LDS definition for damnation which had been already given correctly by another poster.

Look I had to state what I believed so you could understand why I doubted the LDS definition. I do not see adopting any definition that's made out of what people imagine to be in the scriptures rather than what's really there. To me this LDS definition is a mistake of man that does not originate in the scriptures of the restoration.

Where do you think D.&C. 132 says Emma is going to perhaps the Telestial kingdom rather than outer darkness? I think D.&C. 132 4,6,27 offers no hope for Emma. I don't believe Emma denied the Savior myself.

I'm not sure what you are talking about in your reference to "saved angels" being damned. It may be that I just don't understand your terminology, sorry.

For those who are questioning Emma's eternal reward, let me remind you that in D&C 132 is also the doctrine of "Calling and Election". Emma received this blessing and so she will receive a Celestial glory, though she could have to suffer the "buffetings of Satan", but I think LDS doctrine is pretty clear on this. See D&C 132:26-27. Notice the mention of being "destroyed" in the flesh. In my opinion, misery and loss of spirit in this life can be a state of "destruction" here on earth.

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I think you guys should lay off beating up Emma. She had a difficult life. Her husband was hounded and persecuted, as was she. She lost six of her 10 babies either at birth or as infants. She had difficult doctrine to deal with. She loved Joseph and he was taken from her in the prime of life. She had to live without him for another 35 years. So just be nice. She was an elect lady.

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It does seem that the doctrine of the restoration of polygamy was a scandal for many LDS at the time it was first openly proclaimed (after having been secretly practised while being publicly denied in the strongest terms, no?). It seems to have been the only doctrine that is said by Joseph Smith to have required God to threaten him with sword-wielding angels in order to make him obey it. It has certainly been one of the things that has historically caused the LDS church the greatest trouble in its public image and political status.

So may I ask - do you as LDS feel you have any certain knowledge as to why God should have considered it necessary and expedient to ask LDS to practise this doctrine on earth at the time that he did? Why should God care how many wives or husbands people should have? Frankly. his interest seems vaguely prurient.

And why should it be such an important thing to be polygamous in the afterlife?

What good does it do anyone if one member of one sex is married to many members of the other, whether in this life or (allegedly) after it? I believe that demographical research has put paid to the old answer that it was all done in order to give protection to surplus LDS ladies. And in any case in the afterlife the latter consideration hardly applies.

Or is this just another of those things where one has to hear the answer that "God knows best, and all will be revealed at a time of his choosing"? Under such circumstances, sceptics may be forgiven for wondering what other motives Joseph Smith may have had for introducing this doctrine.

Now, I only said wondering. Did I speculate further than that?

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JNclone, I will try to answer your questions. But certain knowledge? Not the kind you would accept, so you can stop reading now, if you would like.

As to why God considered it necessary: He told us it was to raise up a righteous generation. Some have said it refers to numbers. I think it refers to worthiness of individuals.

And I object your suggestion that anything that God does would be prurient.

You asked: And why should it be such an important thing to be polygamous in the afterlife?

The answer is that if polygamy is an eternal law, it is for both here and there. Eternal is eternal.

You asked: "What good does it do anyone if one member of one sex is married to many members of the other, whether in this life or (allegedly) after it?"

The answer is, it does a lot of good to follow God's law. That means we are obedient.

You said: "I believe that demographical research has put paid to the old answer that it was all done in order to give protection to surplus LDS ladies."

The answer is that while the general numbers may be fairly even between men and women, there is a definite shift in the population between worthy men and worthy women. Any ward membership record will show many more active women than active men. If a woman needs to be sealed to a worthy man to receive exaltation, then it stands to reason that there will be plural marriage.

Obedience to God's law has always been a matter of faith. And in matters of faith you will always hear the faithful say, "God knows best, and all will be revealed at a time of his choosing."

You said: "Under such circumstances, sceptics may be forgiven for wondering what other motives Joseph Smith may have had for introducing this doctrine."

Sceptics can wonder all they want about anyone's motives. And with the Freudian theory of projection, we can understand that those with prurient motives themselves will project prurient motives onto others. But forgiveness is not up to us. God will forgive whom He will forgive.

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charity:

The answer is that while the general numbers may be fairly even between men and women, there is a definite shift in the population between worthy men and worthy women. Any ward membership record will show many more active women than active men. If a woman needs to be sealed to a worthy man to receive exaltation, then it stands to reason that there will be plural marriage.

Now on your world-view, that bit of your post seems completely rational to me. Is it your own idea, or does it come from some more official source?

Sceptics can wonder all they want about anyone's motives. And with the Freudian theory of projection, we can understand that those with prurient motives themselves will project prurient motives onto others.

Erm .... half a minute, on that argument if (as seems likely) you are suggesting that I (heavens, and me so nice!) have prurient motives, doesn't that mean that you too ...? Perish the thought!

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JNclone, I have been in Church for a lot of years. Over those times, I could count on the fingers of one hand men who brought their children to church by themselves, or attended alone because they were active and their wives were not. I could not even begin to count over the years,but right now in our ward (I just went through the ward list) and there are 8 women who are either married to inactive or non-member spouses, or are single at older ages. There are no men in the category listed. I think you would find this typical of most, if not all, wards.

And prurient interest? On any thread where the topic of polygamy is discussed, you never hear men complain about it on the grounds that it would be such a burden to support wives and children. The threads are always about how the men wanted to marry lots of women for sex. There is the prurient interest. You even imputed prurient interest to God. Where is your mind?

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The definition is not true to me so I pointed out why I considered it untrue. D.& C. 132 talks about persons being damned to outer darkness also does it not? Cannot Emma be damned to outer darkness? The only dispute of mine is whether D.&C. 132:4,6,27 really says saved angels can be damned. The LDS definition for damnation which had been already given correctly by another poster.

Look I had to state what I believed so you could understand why I doubted the LDS definition. I do not see adopting any definition that's made out of what people imagine to be in the scriptures rather than what's really there. To me this LDS definition is a mistake of man that does not originate in the scriptures of the restoration.

Where do you think D.&C. 132 says Emma is going to perhaps the Telestial kingdom rather than outer darkness? I think D.&C. 132 4,6,27 offers no hope for Emma. I don't believe Emma denied the Savior myself.

I'm not sure what you are talking about in your reference to "saved angels" being damned. It may be that I just don't understand your terminology, sorry.

For those who are questioning Emma's eternal reward, let me remind you that in D&C 132 is also the doctrine of "Calling and Election". Emma received this blessing and so she will receive a Celestial glory, though she could have to suffer the "buffetings of Satan", but I think LDS doctrine is pretty clear on this. See D&C 132:26-27. Notice the mention of being "destroyed" in the flesh. In my opinion, misery and loss of spirit in this life can be a state of "destruction" here on earth.

I appreciate your post on this one alter idem. D&C 132 has key doctrines found within it that prevent us from discarding it as some sort of a libido-driven revelation. One cannot simply skim over D&C 132 and expect to understand it, it requires a bit of effort on our part.

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The definition is not true to me so I pointed out why I considered it untrue. D.& C. 132 talks about persons being damned to outer darkness also does it not? Cannot Emma be damned to outer darkness? The only dispute of mine is whether D.&C. 132:4,6,27 really says saved angels can be damned. The LDS definition for damnation which had been already given correctly by another poster.

Look I had to state what I believed so you could understand why I doubted the LDS definition. I do not see adopting any definition that's made out of what people imagine to be in the scriptures rather than what's really there. To me this LDS definition is a mistake of man that does not originate in the scriptures of the restoration.

Where do you think D.&C. 132 says Emma is going to perhaps the Telestial kingdom rather than outer darkness? I think D.&C. 132 4,6,27 offers no hope for Emma. I don't believe Emma denied the Savior myself.

I'm not sure what you are talking about in your reference to "saved angels" being damned. It may be that I just don't understand your terminology, sorry.

For those who are questioning Emma's eternal reward, let me remind you that in D&C 132 is also the doctrine of "Calling and Election". Emma received this blessing and so she will receive a Celestial glory, though she could have to suffer the "buffetings of Satan", but I think LDS doctrine is pretty clear on this. See D&C 132:26-27. Notice the mention of being "destroyed" in the flesh. In my opinion, misery and loss of spirit in this life can be a state of "destruction" here on earth.

"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged; but remain seperately and singly, withoou exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity ; and henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever." (D.&c. 132:17)

Look in the LDS Bible Dictionary for it's definition of damnation.(pg. 652) It applies in popular LDS thinking to not only sons of perdition, but to persons persons not exalted also.

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Clone and Charity:

Take your discussion to another thread. This one is mine and you are getting off topic.

dale said:

As to whether God approved, or dissaproved of it anciently. God was silent on the matter so either tolerated, condoned it.

ARRGgghhh.....no, He wasn't "silent on the matter!" That is the whole point of this thread. God wasn't silent and, in fact, on at least three occassions He publicly pronounced his support for the practice in express termsd. 1) The mosaic law 2) commands for leverite marriage and 3) Nathan's comment to David.

Mover, his tacit approval is seen in His sending an angel to tell Hagar to return to Abraham and Sarah, even after she was treated abominably by them.

This isn't a case of consent by silenct. It's a case of having very clear, positive approval from Him.,

C.I.

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Here is a rough version of the thread starter. The originator of the thread controls the topic.

You need to tell me why 1) God never complained about it even once. 2) God told David that it was God who had given David all those wives. 3) Why God included provisions for proper its proper practice in the Law when that would have been a perfect time to proscribe it by law.
But therein lies you problem: you are claiming that God hates polygamy when the scriptural record is quite clear that He really does not when it is practiced in accordance with His command and under the rules He has given.

So, [

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Since plural marriage was practiced among only the most devout Church members

I am cautious enough about how prone some people are to misreading others' comments that I feel the need to clarify that there were plenty of very devout couples among the monogamous ones, that all that is being claimed is that the polygamous marriages were drawn from the pool of devout members (it would require both parents being devout for one thing which was not always the case).

Thanks for this clarification, calmoriah.

Yes, this was my intended meaning. Among my own first-generation Mormon ancestors, for example, I can think of only one polygamist, yet, to my knowledge, all were devout.

On the other hand, plural marriage was much more common in my wife's ancestry. This means, of course, that the heritage of plural marriage is even greater for our children than for either one of us. That will be the case for their descendants as well, especially if they take spouses who also have plural marriage in their ancestry.

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I think her point was that we shouldn't follow everything that is taught in the old testament and therefore defending polygamy using the old testament is bogus. Unfortunately for me its not a convincing argument.

I agree, but she fails to see, or mention, that we do not live by the laws of Moses anymore. However, this does nothing to negate the fact that polygamy was OK with the Lord at that point, and therefore, can be again.

Aren't there are a few other things we don't live by anymore that were in the OT?

My best guess as to why we don't follow previous commandments is because they were given to different people in different times:

Exodus 12:14; Leviticus 23:21,31,41 - Holy feast days

Exodus 29:42; 30:10 - Animal sacrifices

Exodus 30:8 - Incense

There are people who know the scriptures a lot better than I do who can find examples where the chosen people were commanded to kill the bad guys. Those commands, while valid at the time, would get you the chair today.

Just a few thoughts.

T-Bone

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The objections to early LDS polygyny that I've seen have never addressed the OT scriptures that CI has listed in his most recent post. At most they, from a strictly scriptural standpoint, have tried to extrapolate a [supposed] early Christian rule of limited application based upon the text (1 Tim 3:2) to a permanent rule of universal application.

May I suggest that the real objection is that early LDS polygyny looks(ed) like the hereditary enemy of the Christian churches, Islam? The anti-Muslim propaganda that we know about (and there's quite a lot) from the times of Muslim expansion into Europe, east and west, included a fair amount of prudery over the Harem and the Houri concepts.

In short, I think the reaction is unexamined from a scriptural standpoint because LDS polygyny speaks to unspoken prejudices against the Old World enemy much more than about anything could. Here is a little something from Unk's website on what some folks were saying back when: Yankee Mahomet

The ground was being laid even earlier than that 1851 item: if JSJr=Mahomet, then early LDS polygyny=Harem. That kind of thinking is very prevalent.

And yet, as inevitable as the comparisons must have been in the XIXth Century, why must they persist? The arguments are no more scriptural today than they were then . . . or during the years from about 850-1750 when Europe was fighting Islam both in the Levant, Iberia, the Balkans, the Caucasus even to the gates of Vienna. They have to do with something else entirely.

Would it be possible for the antiMormon critic of LDS who so decries early LDS polygyny to look inward and discover the true source of his prejudice?

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"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged; but remain seperately and singly, withoou exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity ; and henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever." (D.&c. 132:17)

Look in the LDS Bible Dictionary for it's definition of damnation.(pg. 652) It applies in popular LDS thinking to not only sons of perdition, but to persons persons not exalted also.

C.I., I hope my comments are not "off topic", but I didn't want to leave Dale's question unanswered.

Thanks Dale, the verse reference helps.

I think Pres. Kimball's comments regarding this verse might help:

"It is clear in the Lord's announcement that righteous men and women will receive the due rewards of their deeds. They will not be damned in the commonly accepted terminology but will suffer many limitations and deprivations and fail to reach the highest kingdom, if they do not comply. They become ministering servants to those who complied with all laws and lived all commandments."

In LDS doctrine, God's idea of exaltation is having eternal increase; to have this, one must be married for eternity in the new and everlasting covenant (monogamous or polygamous). If a person qualifies for a celestial exaltation but does not choose marriage in this covenant, they cannot have all the blessings that God would like to give them, but that is their choice. Their choices will limit the level which they can progress to.

We are not all the same, we don't all want the same things in life--or in the afterlife. I think God hopes for each of us to want to follow him into his work, but how much we each want to do that, I think depends on us. :P

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I think you guys should lay off beating up Emma. She had a difficult life. Her husband was hounded and persecuted, as was she. She lost six of her 10 babies either at birth or as infants. She had difficult doctrine to deal with. She loved Joseph and he was taken from her in the prime of life. She had to live without him for another 35 years. So just be nice. She was an elect lady.

I never intended of sounding like I was beating up on Emma. I am as anti-polygamy as Emma was. I like her am also Community of Christ/RLDS. But D.&C. 132 has content related to Emma & it kind of came into the discussion. It's neccessary to interpret the document as you would any other religious text.

It kind of wandered from the starters original topic, so I will try & make a comment related to the starters original post.

--------------------

Anyway to me God never got into the polygamy matter because it was no big deal to him as long as it was not a problem. I only think of one instance where God was silent about an issue until the New Testament. The Jews had gotten into works for salvation. Pauls writings taught grace in addition to obedience. I do not know that God being silent for long periods of time means he condones polygamy, or anything else he disagrees with. I feel more God tolerated it.

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