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When Pondering Polygamy.... Do You Feel


RedSox

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Right now I'm doing research on Mormon fundamentalism. It has been eye-opening to read quotes from Heber J. Grant about the evils of polygamy ("new" polygamy), while he himself was a polygamist. Although I've not read the records from the Smoot hearings, I think that JFS probably struggled to both live and decry polygamy.

Today, many of us are the descendant's of Mormon polygamists. Regardless of that fact, when you think of pre-1904 polygamy, are you disgusted? enthralled? intrigued? ashamed?

For me, I'm somewhat fascinated by the whole idea. It's hard to imagine men and women willingly entering polygamy. In a way, I'm proud of the great amounts of faith that my forebearers had in the principle, but I'm also somewhat horrified by some of the hardships a polygamist life exacted upon plural wives (and sometimes husbands...especially when they were on the lam).

What are your reaction to the practice?

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I feel sorry for the women of polygamy. I don't believe it's the "highest" and "most holy" principle. If men were more faithful, there would be no need for it. God created Adam and Eve who came from each other. He did not create Eve, Joan, Sherri, Martha, Bertha, Shirley, Mary and Gladys from Adam.

1 Corinthians 11

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Woman ... as in singular. ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN, who came from each other, before the Lord. THIS is the highest, most holy principle.

In your limited understanding of heavenly principles.

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I am fascinated by it and believe that when practiced under God's law there is nothing shameful or evil about it. But I do see how men can abuse it and then it becomes something else. I can see many advantages to it in certain circumstances.

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I believe that polygamy is a very colorful aspect of lds history and a practice that the lds should be proud of. It took a lot of courage for JS to implement this practice at the instructions of god. True, he may have made some mistakes in implementing it, but the practice demonstrates that JS was a man of god who took a risk to his own life to obey god's will.

I see nothing wrong with lds polygamy as practiced by the early church. Be proud lds.

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I would be one of those that was disgusted by it. However, if some woman didn't mind her husband sharing intimate relationships with other women (no matter how much her reasoning unsettles me), then who am I to really argue?

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I feel sorry for the women of polygamy. I don't believe it's the "highest" and "most holy" principle. If men were more faithful, there would be no need for it. God created Adam and Eve who came from each other. He did not create Eve, Joan, Sherri, Martha, Bertha, Shirley, Mary and Gladys from Adam.

1 Corinthians 11

11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

Woman ... as in singular. ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN, who came from each other, before the Lord. THIS is the highest, most holy principle.

Except that we have a living Church and if you go by that scripture you'd have to discount the Prophets who were commanded to take women into polygamy for the Lord's will from the OT.

Marriage certainly is the highest and holiest when it is ordained of God. Thank goodness plural marriage was ordained of God.

I'm one of those polygamist women who don't currently polyg. I would love to live such a principle and not just for the extra help around the home,( :P ) but because I love the Lord and my God and if that is what I was called to live, I would do it with a happy heart.

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I have quite a few ancestors that practiced polygamy and I am inspired by their ability to maintain their faith while living under difficult circumstances. Joseph Lee Robinson is one of my ancestors and he did not take a second wife until his first wife said yes. She was very much against it at first until she received a vision that changed her mind.

By reading their journals it's very clear that this was not something they wanted to do, but they were willing to do it and the result was many many faithful and hard-working descendants (maybe I'll include myself one of these days :>)

Modern readers see this as mainly a sex issue. By reading about their experience, I don't believe they saw it that way.

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I have quite a few ancestors that practiced polygamy and I am inspired by their ability to maintain their faith while living under difficult circumstances. Joseph Lee Robinson is one of my ancestors and he did not take a second wife until his first wife said yes. She was very much against it at first until she received a vision that changed her mind.

By reading their journals it's very clear that this was not something they wanted to do, but they were willing to do it and the result was many many faithful and hard-working descendants (maybe I'll include myself one of these days :>)

Modern readers see this as mainly a sex issue. By reading about their experience, I don't believe they saw it that way.

Sex was certainly part of early polygamy in the church, why would the emphasis on procreation not be apart of the reason to implement the practice. Brigham and Heber did realize many children through this principal. Some times it makes my chuckle when I see the attempts to whitewash polygamy as purely spiritual or when we as LDS people attempt to down play the sexual dimensions to such unions.

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I am fascinated by it and believe that when practiced under God's law there is nothing shameful or evil about it. But I do see how men can abuse it and then it becomes something else. I can see many advantages to it in certain circumstances.

Same here. I've read the Journal of Joel Hills Johnson a couple of times (and journals of two of his wives), and the poems to his wives are simply beautiful. I think that in and of itself, there is nothing shameful or evil, but men (namely myself) could definitely abuse it and turn it into â??something else.â? I doubt I would ever be able to share my love so completely and respectfully as to not turn it into something corrupt, but I know that it was/is possible for others to do so without being as brutish as I would be.

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I always think of Jacob and his four wives and the children of Israel... the chosen people of the Lord... from a polygamous marriage...

I believe the principle was of God for his purposes, ancient and modern. I am not ashamed or disgusted because of the biblical precedent and my faith in modern prophets, so I don't think LDS should now be hanging their heads or apologizing. Am I glad we are not required to live it today... certainly. I fully expect in the eternities it's very possible polygamy will be in order...

Garden Girl

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Sex was certainly part of early polygamy in the church, why would the emphasis on procreation not be apart of the reason to implement the practice. Brigham and Heber did realize many children through this principal. Some times it makes my chuckle when I see the attempts to whitewash polygamy as purely spiritual or when we as LDS people attempt to down play the sexual dimensions to such unions.

Please pay attention to what I actually said - not what you wanted me to say:

"Modern readers see this as mainly a sex issue."

Thank you for proving my point.

Also, last time I checked, sex and procreation are often unrelated.

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Please pay attention to what I actually said - not what you wanted me to say:

"Modern readers see this as mainly a sex issue."

Thank you for proving my point.

Also, last time I checked, sex and procreation are often unrelated.

First, there is no need to get so defensive about my comment. I wasn't attacking you personally.

Second, procreation and Sex are in fact related the last time I checked. You can't procreate without sex being an element in creation. Unless you figured out a way that I haven't kawikadave???

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I would fall under the intrigued category.

It would definitely present a different dynamic to life to live such a lifestyle. It is not as documented as the one man one woman marriage, there would be less self help books and advice to guide you along the path to a successful polygamous marriage.

Imagine the difficulties and complexities there are to overcome. If men and women can raise children in righteousness, have a happy home, and learn to live a good life in those circumstances then their character, charity and compassion would be far above what I can ever imagine myself having.

The LDS pioneers certainly were not wimps, faint hearted, undedicated, nor without testimony of what they believed.

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Same here. I've read the Journal of Joel Hills Johnson a couple of times (and journals of two of his wives), and the poems to his wives are simply beautiful. I think that in and of itself, there is nothing shameful or evil, but men (namely myself) could definitely abuse it and turn it into â??something else.â? I doubt I would ever be able to share my love so completely and respectfully as to not turn it into something corrupt, but I know that it was/is possible for others to do so without being as brutish as I would be.

There are also many journal entries of the abuse, the neglect and lack of closeness with these polygamous relationships as well. It may well be a reality that man's ability to cope with such a relationship maybe made perfect in the eternities, but perfection was certainly elusive in the 19th century when it was actually practiced in Illinois and Utah.

As for fundamental polygamy (which this post threat began with ) it certainly has been abused, and I find it hard to find any good reasons to legalize it's practice today.

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First, there is no need to get so defensive about my comment.

Heads up, when you accuse someone of whitewashing, expect them to respond in a similar fashion.

I wasn't attacking you personally.

Glad to hear you weren't attacking me personally. Who were you attacking then?

Second, procreation and Sex are in fact related the last time I checked. You can't procreate without sex being an element in creation. Unless you figured out a way that I haven't kawikadave???

Again, you aren't reading very well. What I said is that sex and procreation are often unrelated. I'll let you figure that out.

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There are also many journal entries of the abuse, the neglect and lack of closeness with these polygamous relationships as well. [â?¦]

Which is a sad reality. Hence the second part of my post where I readily admit that I would likely be the type of brutish person that would cause such. I unfortunately know my demons, and that there are a few that dwell within me that Satan himself fears.

Hopefully, as you said: â??man's ability to cope with such a relationship maybe made perfect in the eternities.â? Given that G-d seems to love all of His children (with the exception of Esau), Iâ??m sure the capacity for mankind to love will be increased substantially in the hereafter (at least I hope so anyway).

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There are also many journal entries of the abuse, the neglect and lack of closeness with these polygamous relationships as well.

No one is saying that polygamy was properly practiced by everyone. There certainly were abuses and neglect. However, one could say the same thing about marriage in general. Some husbands are loving, respectful, and caring. Others are abusive, cold, and harsh.

This is not news.

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My Title is confussing. I actually wanted reflections on 19th C. polygamy, and not on the fundies. My research is what prompted me to ask the question, that is the only reason I decided to mention it.

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I have never thought that there was anything "shameful" about polygamy and its practice. It might seem quite odd from our modern day perspective and social progression (women, minorities, etc), but polygamy in and of itself is merely a social familial arrangement. If all the participants are consenting adults, then it does not seem any different than any other agreed to living arrangement.

Personally, I see Polygamy and its practice as a sort of "proof" (my subjective proof anyway) that Mormonism is not constant and it changes according to what is acceptable and what is not in society. It is change that just affirms that there is no "everlasting and unchanging" God at the helm.

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My take is a bit nuanced:

1. Polygamy is not a healthy way of living.

2. I feel that polygamy was likely introduced by JS for far less than nobel reasons (it helped rationalize and "spiritualize" his prior extramarital indugences--Fanny Alger etc.)

3. Later polygamists were only guilty of being fooled or carring on a tradition that they were born into. In most cases they did their level best to make polygamy a wholesome and nobel thing.

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