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A View Into Utah Polygamy - Ida Hunt Udall


John Corrill

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Not only was polygamy an evil, but so was the divorce that Utah readily granted women.

Well of course! Ask our Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon women what this unheard of freedom does to their attempts to "reshape their character, bend their image, and distort their identity until the Mormon woman's defiance appears as a deformity". How dare those Mormon women follow their own conscience when their Defenders know what is best for them. They will be punished until they submit.

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Patriarchal society will not accept any woman who refuses to be dominated.  If she persists thus, it rewrites her history and reshapes her character, punitively twisting her will, bending her image, and distorting her identity until her defiance appears as a deformity
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A $50 CAPTURE.

A woman who ran away from her husband at Lawrence some time ago, was found at Fort Leavenworth yesterday by a Lawrence detective and taken back to her home. The officer received a reward of $50 for her capture.

Leavenworth Standard, Kas., Dec. 21, 1886.

And to think that she might have had the option of entering into polygamy! Let us all raise our voices together in praise that she was saved from that horror. I'm sure that will be the last thing on her mind now! If she survives. Small victory, Defenders....but an important one, eh?

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Of course, we all know that later Utah was the second state to enfranchise women, which was later rescinded by the federal government who didn't want all those "degraded and oppressed" women making their feelings known at the ballot box. (Or, as John C. might say, "we can't have all those abused women act in their own interest; we have to do it for them and make them free.") :P

I can't imagine how these noble Defenders sleep at night knowing that Mormon women were out cavorting with the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. On the other hand...that would require some knowledge of the plight of American women in that era.

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Of course, it should go without saying that the vast majority of the quotes I have used on this thread have been from non-LDS sources. I know that there are some who will only pay attention when they know a Mormon isn't involved. (Mormon scholars bad! Non-mormon scholars good!)

-Allen

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Of course, it should go without saying that the vast majority of the quotes I have used on this thread have been from non-LDS sources. I know that there are some who will only pay attention when they know a Mormon isn't involved. (Mormon scholars bad! Non-mormon scholars good!)

-Allen

You think they will pay attention to this?

"Even scholars who have presented in their writings sociological data that demonstrate in bold relief the merits of polygamy in African society have failed to expose the fallacy of the doctrine that monogamy was divinely ordained and not an accretion of European cultural development. Till this day, nearly all European scholars and Westernized Churches in Africa continue to indulge in moral condemnation of the institution of polygamy in a manner prejudicial to scientific objectivity."
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Awyatt [quoting Harriett Young in Cott]: "Wherever monogamy reigns, adultery, prostitution, free-love and foeticide [abortion], directly or indirectly, are its concomitants ... The women of Utah comprehend this and they see in the principle of a plurality of wives, the only safeguard against adultery, prostitution, free-love and the recless waste of pre-natal life." [Nancy F. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 112.]

John Corrill: Alan, I'm just curious if this is also your view of monogamy?

Juliann: ...self appointed Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon women...With friends like this who needs enemies...The Defenders of Dead and Dumb Women can stand proudly with their 19th c. peers...Meanwhile, back on the farm with the Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon women...Ask our Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon women...their Defenders know what is best for them...the Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon Women wouldn't care...Come on defenders! Let's hear the victory dance...leave the dead and dumb white women to slumber in their graves...Small victory, Defenders...I can't imagine how these noble Defenders sleep at night...Um, should we tell the Defenders about the Munsterites...You think they will pay attention to this?

Till this day, nearly all European scholars and Westernized Churches in Africa continue to indulge in moral condemnation of the institution of polygamy in a manner prejudicial to scientific objectivity."  [Psycho theme music throbbing in the background]

Eugene Hillman, Polygamy Reconsidered:  African Plural Marriage and the Christian Churches. (Marynoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1975), 56-57.

Awyatt: Of course, it should go without saying that the vast majority of the quotes I have used on this thread have been from non-LDS sources.

John Corrill: Thank-you for the lengthy review of observations of polygamy by non-LDS people who never actually practiced it. Daynes, Anthony, Hillman, etc, etc, etc. Hillman, actually, was a Catholic Priest in Africa in the sixties whose baptism rate was much lower than his colleagues in other countries. Why? Polygamy was part of the local culture and the Catholic church wouldn't let him baptize polygamists. Baptism is so important to Catholics that they baptize infants as soon as they are able. Catholics fear for the souls of unbaptized people. Hillman made an effort to convince the Catholic church that polygamy was OK, so that they too could be saved by baptism. A noble concern, no doubt, but hardly "scientifically objective"

In any case, I prefer to let the Mormon women, who actually lived and practiced polygamy, give their thoughts about it. I think it is the best source of information we have regarding the merits of polygamy.

Martha Hughes Cannon was a physican in Salt Lake. Smart and capable. Her husband was Angus Cannon, one of the leaders of the church is Salt Lake City. Here are a few thoughts from her diary and letters to her husband. Her lift too, like so many others, shows the neglect and heartbreak that accompanies polygamy:

[a monogamous marriage is] a joy and comfort to witness, where the wife and Mother is proud and happy in the devotions of a noble husband, while he in turn is equally contented and and happy in the possesion of the partner he has chosen for life; while at home in each other's association is where their greatest joys are centered.

Oh for a home!  A husband of my own because he is my own.  A father for my children whom they know by association.

How do you think I feel, when I meet you driving another plural wife about in a glittering carriage in broad day light?  am entirely out of money-borrowing to pay some old standing debts.  I want our affairs speedily and absolutely adjusted-after my sacrifice and loss you treat me like a dog - and parade others before my eyes - I will not stand it.

Will you send remitance - coal - flour etc etc...to say nothing of winter clothing essential to growing children.  I find myself inadequate to entirely support them while they have a so-called 'handsome magnfic' father living.

(Mormon Polygamy, Van Wagoner, pg 95 - 96)

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John, should I use your same dismissive words concerning VanWagoner (and you) that you use to dismiss other scholars who have studied polygamy and commented upon its practice and history. Just in case you think that your standards should be applied evenly, here goes: "Thank-you for the review of observations of polygamy by people who never actually practiced it."

Do you think it is even remotely possible that VanWagoner could cherry-pick quotations the same as you do? When that happens, the only thing that can be done when faced with competing scholarly views that disagree with your conclusions is to dismiss them out of hand, as you did.

Nice.

-Allen

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Awyatt [quoting Harriett Young in Cott]: "Wherever monogamy reigns, adultery, prostitution, free-love and foeticide [abortion], directly or indirectly, are its concomitants ... The women of Utah comprehend this and they see in the principle of a plurality of wives, the only safeguard against adultery, prostitution, free-love and the recless waste of pre-natal life." [Nancy F. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 112.]

John Corrill: Alan, I'm just curious if this is also your view of monogamy?

Does it really matter if it is my view of monogamy or not? After all, I thought you were all for letting the women who lived polygamy speak for themselves.

Or doesn't that apply in this situation?

-Allen

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In any case, I prefer to let the Mormon women, who actually lived and practiced polygamy, give their thoughts about it. I think it is the best source of information we have regarding the merits of polygamy.

Martha Hughes Cannon was a physican in Salt Lake. Smart and capable. Her husband was Angus Cannon, one of the leaders of the church is Salt Lake City. Here are a few thoughts from her diary and letters to her husband. Her lift too, like so many others, shows the neglect and heartbreak that accompanies polygamy:

[a monogamous marriage is] a joy and comfort to witness, where the wife and Mother is proud and happy in the devotions of a noble husband, while he in turn is equally contented and and happy in the possesion of the partner he has chosen for life; while at home in each other's association is where their greatest joys are centered.

Oh for a home!  A husband of my own because he is my own.  A father for my children whom they know by association.

How do you think I feel, when I meet you driving another plural wife about in a glittering carriage in broad day light?  am entirely out of money-borrowing to pay some old standing debts.  I want our affairs speedily and absolutely adjusted-after my sacrifice and loss you treat me like a dog - and parade others before my eyes - I will not stand it.

Will you send remitance - coal - flour etc etc...to say nothing of winter clothing essential to growing children.  I find myself inadequate to entirely support them while they have a so-called 'handsome magnfic' father living.

(Mormon Polygamy, Van Wagoner, pg 95 - 96)

Boy, oh boy. Here's a prime candidate for cherry picking and presenting information out of context. Going back and reading the reference given by John C., I find the following in VanWagoner:

1. VanWagoner says that it was "government pressure to stamp out polygamy and a too-often-absent husband [that] made Martha's marriage less than enviable." Yet, John C. says that the abuse and neglect are inherent in polygamy itself, not in external influences such as government prosecution and persecution.

2. Martha believed that the principle of plural marriage was correct and was willing to bear trials associated with it. (The trials imposed by a society that would not let them live the principle in peace.)

3. Martha's commentary about her dissatisfaction and purported neglect was recorded after her marriage to Angus Cannon had fallen apart. I suppose that such vitriol has never surfaced in a monogamous divorce, now has it?

How do you expect people to take your cherry-picked comments about polygamy seriously when they are taken completely out of context?

-Allen

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Boy, oh boy. Here's a prime candidate for cherry picking and presenting information out of context. Going back and reading the reference given by John C., I find the following in VanWagoner:

1. VanWagoner says that it was "government pressure to stamp out polygamy and a too-often-absent husband [that] made Martha's marriage less than enviable." Yet, John C. says that the abuse and neglect are inherent in polygamy itself, not in external influences such as government prosecution and persecution.

2. Martha believed that the principle of plural marriage was correct and was willing to bear trials associated with it. (The trials imposed by a society that would not let them live the principle in peace.)

3. Martha's commentary about her dissatisfaction and purported neglect was recorded after her marriage to Angus Cannon had fallen apart. I suppose that such vitriol has never surfaced in a monogamous divorce, now has it?

How do you expect people to take your cherry-picked comments about polygamy seriously when they are taken completely out of context?

-Allen

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John Corrill: Thank-you for the lengthy review of observations of polygamy by non-LDS people who never actually practiced it.

More double standards, I see. Have you noticed that the countermopologists seem unable to operate under a single one? Why is that, John? Now that you have given us the ad hominem on Hillman...how about responding to what he said?

In any case, I prefer to let the Mormon women, who actually lived and practiced polygamy, give their thoughts about it.  I think it is the best source of information we have regarding the merits of polygamy.

What you really mean is the snippets that support your prejudice. Do you intend to continue to hide what was said so that you can make it look like you want it to? What was being said about the motives of the church for leaving things out, John? Does the same standard apply to you?

Her lift too, like so many others, shows the neglect and heartbreak that accompanies polygamy:

What John does not want the reader to know is that Martha stood behind polygamy, regardless of her own sorrow. Reader beware that these quotes are preceding and following the quotes he has picked for you to know..he has had to literally extract them from the midst of Martha's true sentiments in order to present a false picture.

In a 3 February 1888 letter to her husband while she was in Europe, she wrote that the trials of polygamy would be unendurable without "a thorough knowledge fro God, the principle for which we are battling and striving to maintain inpurity upon the earth is ordained by Him, and that we are chosen instruments in His hands to engage in so great a calling".  She added that "even with this assurance grounded in one's heart we do not escape trials and temptations, grievous at times in their nature."

Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature, 1986), 95.

Is anyone claiming that polygamous marriages were easy, desirable or even imaginable? No. How disgusting that anyone would take these women's words and twist them to support their own prejudice. Have you ever lived polygamy, John? That is your standard! What right do you have to use the women who believed in it and sacrificed for it as nothing more than fodder for your own selfish purposes? If you quote them, have the integrity to quote them in full.

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Let's learn more about Martha. She was a "27 year old resident physician" and later the first female state senator in the US. (see Van Wagoner). Since we are apparently back to the small brain theory...how do you explain her support of polygamy with this resume, John?

Van Wagoner described the problems as "near-constant lack of money and a husband occupied with other family, church, and civic responsibilities" (p 95). This is something that we could hear about many monogamous marriages today. This is not a reason to misuse these women.

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Allen: VanWagoner says that it was "government pressure to stamp out polygamy and a too-often-absent husband [that] made Martha's marriage less than enviable."

John Corrill: VanWagoner may have said that, but Martha (who actually lived polygamy) didn't say that.

Allen: Yet, John C. says that the abuse and neglect are inherent in polygamy itself, not in external influences such as government prosecution and persecution.

John Corrill: Polygamists blaming the government for their plight is something that continues to this very day. The government didn't cause the hurt Martha Cannon felt when she saw her husband, "driving another plural wife about in a glittering carriage in broad day light? [while I am] entirely out of money-borrowing to pay some old standing debts." This kind of hurt is intrisic to polygamy.

Allen: Martha believed that the principle of plural marriage was correct and was willing to bear trials associated with it.

John Corrill: Yes, this is the only way polygamy can exist - when it is hoisted upon women as some purported required religious principal. Where are the women clammoring for a polygamist marriage, unless accompanied by religious coercion? As wikipedia says:

A handful of polygamy web-sites have attempted to offer such "polygamy personals" for polygynists. But such sites accomplish very little because they always lack the most sought-after individuals: single women who are actually and currently interested in marrying polygynously.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy

Women don't like polygamy, Allen.

Allen: The trials imposed by a society that would not let them live the principle in peace.

John Corrill: I cannot tell you how grateful I am that society rescued my ancestors and subsequent posterity, including myself, I suppose, from the practice of polygamy.

Allen: Martha's commentary about her dissatisfaction and purported neglect was recorded after her marriage to Angus Cannon had fallen apart.

John Corrill: As did most plural marriages, according to Annie Clark Tanner.

Allen: How do you expect people to take your cherry-picked comments about polygamy seriously when they are taken completely out of context?

John Corrill: I suspect because most people have a good understanding of the hurtful dynamics that exist in polygamy.

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And here we are back to square one...how many pages and John is still withholding information. What has changed since these comments on the first page, John?

Well there we go, just excerpts without any context, or dates and the excerpts leave out anything positive therefore giving the wrong impression in many, many instances.

Read it for yourselves instead of John Corrill's "glimpses."

Consider the timeline when many of the events were written... oops, that will be hard to do since John Corrill neglected to date his excerpts.

I'm missing the logic here. Because John happened upon finding one relationship where the people weren't doing very well, I can be sure that this was typical of all??

Froggie tried to rescue John by adding more addled logic:

I must confess I have a difficult time understanding why there are those who actually defend this lifestyle, or what motivation they may have. But that may be the feminist in me talking.

Of course, no one is defending "the lifestyle". I think it is pretty clear no one wants it. We are defending the women who chose it and their right to do so without being demeaned and misused. But that may be the feminist in me talking. :P

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Juliann: Let's learn more about Martha. She was a "27 year old resident physician" and later the first female state senator in the US. (see Van Wagoner). Since we are apparently back to the small brain theory...how do you explain her support of polygamy with this resume, John?

John Corrill: In my previous post regarding Martha, I said:

Martha Hughes Cannon was a physican in Salt Lake. Smart and capable.

I'm asking you, Juliann, to quit making up blatently false statements and misrepresentations about me that implies my disregard and contempt for these women, when in fact quite the opposite is true. If I see this again from you, I will ask the moderators to address this issue.

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I'm asking you, Juliann, to quit making up blatently false statements and misrepresentations about me that implies my disregard and content for these women, when in fact quite the opposite is true. If I see this again, I will ask the moderators to address this issue.

Well...glad we have that one settled. She is "smart and capable". Then how do explain her support of polygamy, John? You can't without acknowledging that women have the right to make their own choices without your blubbering pity? Is that why you continue to misrepresent her?

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You Defenders of Dead and Dumb Mormon Women, you are not going to be able to prance in here and drop your twisted versions of women who sacrificed their lives for something they believed in. Understand? Am I angry after years of this despicable behavior? Yes! And the party is over. You have quotes from women who believed what you want them to...you can revel in those. You may not distort, twist and put words into the mouths of those women who stood behind the choices they made. Take your toxic garbage to the sites that enjoy denigrating women.

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Juliann: Then how do explain her support of polygamy, John? You can't without acknowledging that women have the right to make their own choices without your blubbering pity?

John Corrill: I think there is a very good explanation. I prefer the words of those who actually lived polygamy:

I doubt there was a woman in the church who was in any way connected with Polygamy who was not heartsick...They would not admit it in public because of their loyalty to the church and their brother and sisters...the women try to be brave, but no woman is able to share a husband whom she loves with one or more other women...  (George S. Tanner, Mormon Polygamy, pg 93)

Some of the brethren here have to take more wives, whether they want to very bad or not, and Bro. [Heber C.] Kimball says those that havn't but one, she rules, and he makes so much fun of them, that they are ashamed, and get another one as quick as they can.  (Ellen Clawson, ibid, pg 98)

[Phebe Woodruff on how it is that she can publically defend polygamy]: I loathe the unclean thing [polygamy] with all the strength of my nature, but... I have suffered all that a woman can endure.  I am old and helpless, and would rather stand up anywhere, and say anything commanded of me, than to be turned out of my home in my old age which I should be most assuredly if I refused to obey counsel (ibid, pg 101)

If any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise you will be damned. (Brigham Young, Deseret News, 14 Nov 1855, also ibid pg 91)

There was a lot pressure in early Utah to practice and support polygamy. This pressure took the form of religious coercion as in Brigham Young's above statement threatening damnation to fear of loss of physical resources as in Phoebe Woodruffs explantion. It appears to me that people didn't practice polygamy because they wanted to or because they liked it.

Ok John knock off the blanket statement that all women were coerced into polygamy. It is degrading to some of our members who's ancestry came from such unions, and were happily married and adored by their husbands. This is the final warning on such statements. -Mods

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So we are back to the dead and dumb excuse, eh? Couldn't possibly be because they believed it was the right thing to do and were willing to make the sacrifice. Oh...you are still pretending that we all think it was a bed of roses so you can avoid having to do the intellectually honest thing and stop withholding information?

Now go back and give us the rest of the story, John. You know...the words before and after your cherry picked quotes , the stuff you are so diligently hiding?

I have the book, John. You aren't going to win at hide and seek. :P Come on now...what did Sadie Johnson say? Come on...you can do it. You can let her have her say. Come on...let's see it!

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There was a lot pressure in early Utah to practice and support polygamy.

Of course there was. There is a lot of pressure in any society for any number of things. What pressures would you be under in your little fantasy world of the perfect 19th c. life you think Mormons were missing out from?

This pressure took the form of religious coercion as in Brigham Young's above statement threatening damnation to fear of loss of physical resources as in Phoebe Woodruffs explantion.  It appears to me that people didn't practice polygamy because they wanted to or because they liked it.

Tsk tsk....you set the standard, John. No "appears to me" unless you lived it! Remember? Now...please refuse to explain why most Mormons didn't succumb to this overwhelming pressure and remained monogamous. Anybody keeping count of how many times John is refusing to even acknowledge the question? What explains it, John? They had bigger brains? I can't really think of another explanation....

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