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When Pondering Polygamy.... Do You Feel


RedSox

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Polygamy wasn't because of widows from the trek West because polygamy began before the trek West, and was practiced by Joseph Smith.

Your current Prophet teaches otherwise. And on live national television.

Larry King Live September 8, 1998 - 9:00 p.m. ET

Larry King: Now the big story raging in Utah -- before we get back to morals and morals, is -- the big story, if you don't know it, is polygamy in Utah; there's been major charges. The governor, Mike Leavitt, says that there are legal reasons why the state of Utah has not prosecuted alleged polygamists. Leavitt said plural marriage may be protected by the First Amendment. He is the great-great-grandson -- is the governor -- of a polygamist. First tell me about the church and polygamy. When it started it allowed it?

Gordon B. Hinckley: When our people came west they permitted it on a restricted scale.

Which is correct, your church history books or your Prophet? My study indicates the history books are correct that it was started by Joseph Smith and that your Prophet is mistaken. But I can understand how many LDS mistakenly believe the "widows" myth when your Prophet promulgates misinformation like this.

Theophilus07

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Your confusing properly sanctioned polygamy with entirely different animals - promiscuity, fornication, and adultery. To compare polygamy to the practices you describe here is like comparing a righteous monogamous marriage to "f*** buddies". Forgive the language please, but I don't know a better term for this relationship. It is insulting to the memory of the people who suffered so much oppression under the government to follow their religion.

Could you please expand on your statements "properly sanctioned" and "righteous monogamous marriage".

But if you still think it's horrible, I only hope that your opinions are equally harsh towards Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and every other Polygamist in the Bible. Even Christ, who used polygamous marriage as the setting for a parable, as he didn't seem to show any dissaproval of it either.

Yes, I do think that any form of polygamy is horrible. I do not see how the act of polygamy provides any form of "righteousness" to one's persona. I do not know of your gender, but what your gender is, is irrelevant for right now. This is completely hypothetical, but could you, being a wife of a husband who claims that he is to take another wife, be OK with knowing that your husband will engage in intercourse with another woman? While one might claim that one who thinks along the lines that "polygamy is not about sex" needs to see what will happen when a husband takes another wife and realistically, they will engage in intercourse with their other wife. I would never have a problem with polygamy if it didn't involve sex, but it does. So to put those thoughts aside is missing the point of why people might have a problem with polygamy.

I do not let the actions or thoughts of others on a particular topic influence my final decision of what I think of it. Just because Christ uses a parable involving multiple wives (polygamy) and "seems" to be OK with it, isn't going to sway my decision. I feel that if one's final decision hinges on what someone thinks (regardless of who they are) then they rob themselves of thinking for themselves. But people should by, all means, try to enlighten themselves on any given topic and if it means getting the opinion of respectable individuals, then their answers/opinions should be given serious consideration. But one's absolute decision on a given topic should not be followed blindly. Not implying that you, No Touch, fall into this category, but I'm just trying to give some clarification on what some of my opinions are on evaluating a topic.

On a side note, I do not view sex between two consenting individuals anything of animalistic nature. It is natural to have those feelings, but I'm not saying that sex between humans and that of animals are of the same.

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Your current Prophet teaches otherwise. And on live national television.

Which is correct, your church history books or your Prophet? My study indicates the history books are correct that it was started by Joseph Smith and that your Prophet is mistaken. But I can understand how many LDS mistakenly believe the "widows" myth when your Prophet promulgates misinformation like this.

Theophilus07

The history books are correct. That Larry King stuff is just PR spin.

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The history books are correct. That Larry King stuff is just PR spin.

I've actually never heard this before about Gordon B. Hinkley (GBH) being interviewed on Larry King Live. Could you please provide a source to help substantiate your claim about the Larry King Live show being PR spin concerning GHB being interviewed? Specifically related to GBH's comments about the practice of polygamy and the trek out West previously posted by Theophilus07.

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If you think the old "widows" myth is not being taught right now in many places in the Church and in letters to the editor, and on message boards on the Internet, you are only fooling yourself. Anyone can test this by visiting any ward and asking why God instituted polygamy. Don't be surprised to encounter the "widows" myth widely disseminated throughout the Church.

Theophilus, I'm not sure how you think this myth is being taught in church. I don't believe it is in any church teaching manual, so it may be that some believe it because they've heard it some where, but teachers have been asked again and again to teach from the information provided for this specific reason.

Here's what the Institute manual - Church History in the Fullness of Times - says on the subject:

A large part of the persecution experienced by the Latter-day Saints

centered around the practice of plural marriage, which was instituted under

the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The law of plural marriage was

revealed to the Prophet as early as 1831, but he mentioned it only to a few

trusted friends. Under strict commandment from God to obey the law, the

Prophet began in 1841 to instruct leading priesthood brethren of the Church

concerning plural marriage and their responsibility to live the law. The

Prophet Joseph Smith dictated the revelation to William Clayton in 1843,

when it was first written. Nine years passed, however, before the revelation

was read in general conference and published.

On 28â??29 August 1852 a special conference was held in the Old

Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. On the first day of the

conference over one hundred missionaries were called to labor throughout

the United States, Australia, India, China, and the islands of the sea. By

holding the conference in August the missionaries were able to get an early

start in crossing the plains before the cold weather set in.

On the second day of the conference, under the direction of President

Brigham Young, Orson Pratt made the public announcement that the

Church was practicing plural marriage under commandment of God.

Speaking of the United States, he declared that â??the constitution gives the

privilege to all the inhabitants of this country, of the free exercise of their

religious notions, and the freedom of their faith, and the practice of it. Then,

if it can be proven to a demonstration, that the Latter-day Saints have

actually embraced, as a part and portion of their religion, the doctrine of a

plurality of wives, it is constitutional. And should there ever be laws

enacted by this government to restrict them from the free exercise of this

part of their religion, such laws must be unconstitutional.â?

Brother Pratt then delivered a lengthy discourse from a scriptural

standpoint concerning plural marriage. He explained that marriage was

ordained of God as the channel for spirits to acquire mortal bodies and that

through plural marriage worthy priesthood holders could raise up a

numerous righteous posterity unto the Lord. Brigham Young then spoke

giving a brief history concerning the revelation on celestial marriage.

Thomas Bullock, a clerk in the historianâ??s office, then read the revelation to

the congregation for their sustaining vote.

I don't see any mention of a lack of worthy men. Just the idea that it would be used to raise up righteous seed.

Please provide a reference where the church teaches that the widows in Utah were the reason for plural marriage.

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Your current Prophet teaches otherwise. And on live national television.

Which is correct, your church history books or your Prophet? My study indicates the history books are correct that it was started by Joseph Smith and that your Prophet is mistaken. But I can understand how many LDS mistakenly believe the "widows" myth when your Prophet promulgates misinformation like this.

Theophilus07

Your quote of President Hinckley does not indicate he stated that it began as the came west. He simply stated that is was practiced on a limited basis at that time which was true. Also, the saints were "coming west" for a long time not just when they finally came to Utah. So please clarify the misinformation of which you speak.

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I've actually never heard this before about Gordon B. Hinkley (GBH) being interviewed on Larry King Live. Could you please provide a source to help substantiate your claim about the Larry King Live show being PR spin concerning GHB being interviewed? Specifically related to GBH's comments about the practice of polygamy and the trek out West previously posted by Theophilus07.

Iâ??m sure this will be considered a treadjack, but I will answer your question. He is the transcript:

Larry King Live

Gordon Hinckley: Distinguished Religious Leader of the Mormons

Aired September 8, 1998 - 9:00 p.m. ET

Larry King: Now the big story raging in Utah -- before we get back to morals and morals, is -- the big story, if you don't know it, is polygamy in Utah; there's been major charges. The governor, Mike Leavitt, says that there are legal reasons why the state of Utah has not prosecuted alleged polygamists. Leavitt said plural marriage may be protected by the First Amendment. He is the great-great-grandson -- is the governor -- of a polygamist. First tell me about the church and polygamy. When it started it allowed it?

Gordon B. Hinckley: When our people came west permitted it on a restricted scale.

Larry King: You could have a certain amount of...

Gordon B. Hinckley: The figures I have are from -- between two percent and five percent of our people were involved in it. It was a very limited practice; carefully safeguarded. In 1890, that practice was discontinued. The president of the church, the man who occupied the position which I occupy today, went before the people, said he had, oh, prayed about it, worked on it, and had received from the Lord a revelation that it was time to stop, to discontinue it then. That's 118 years ago. It's behind us.

Here is the spin:

The natural reading of this statement leads one to believe that polygamy was permitted only after the members came west. Yes, it can be argued that it is a technically true statement; it is none the less misleading.

The figure of 2 to 5 percent is also misleading. The number is closer to 20 to 30 percent. Even the FAIR article titled, The Place of Mormon Women, by Andrea G. Radke gives the figures for Mormon polygamy at 20 to 40 percent.

The practice was not discontinued in 1890. Plural marriages continued, with the blessing and participation of the presidency and Q12 well into the 20th century.

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The practice was not discontinued in 1890. Plural marriages continued, with the blessing and participation of the presidency and Q12 well into the 20th century.

That's correct. If the 1890 Manifesto had actually stopped the practice, it would not have been necessary to issue the Second Manifesto in 1904.

Theophilus07

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Your quote of President Hinckley does not indicate he stated that it began as the came west. He simply stated that is was practiced on a limited basis at that time which was true. Also, the saints were "coming west" for a long time not just when they finally came to Utah. So please clarify the misinformation of which you speak.

You've taken your own Prophet's statement out of context. The preceeding question from Mr. King was:

Larry King: First tell me about the church and polygamy. When it started it allowed it?

To which Pres. Hinckley answered, very clearly:

Pres. Hinckley: When our people came west permitted it on a restricted scale

Mr. King clearly used the words "started" and "when" and Pres. Hinckley clearly used the word "when," too. There is no question Mr. King was asking when the practice started. There is also no question that Pres. Hinckley's answer to when it started was "When our people came west."

What Pres. Hinckley said is misinformation. He should have known it was started by Joseph Smith BEFORE the Saints came west. Are you arguing that he deliberately omitted the part about Joseph Smith? Or do you think his knowledge of LDS history is so incomplete he really did think it started with the trek west?

In any event, when clearly asked when polygamy was started, he should have said, "in Nauvoo by Joseph Smith." To say, "when they started west," is simply not true. Either it was deliberate misinformation and PR spin, or the Prophet really doesn't know LDS history.

Theophilus07

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My wife's Grandmother was married at age 14 (and they are still together), but is that inherently more acceptable because it is a monogamous marriage?

Did she marry a 37-year-old man who had just asked her father for her mother's hand in marriage?

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That's correct. If the 1890 Manifesto had actually stopped the practice, it would not have been necessary to issue the Second Manifesto in 1904.

Theophilus07

If I use the "golden rule" do unto others... I have to admit I would not like my wife to be married to four other guys (or any number). That would really bother me, I am not at a level where I could live that. And to tell you the truth it also bothers me that the church leaders had to stop it twice once should have been enough and to know that other sealings occured (with afore mentioned church leaders) after the manifesto. I am very active, and have a strong testimony can someone please have a stronger argument why this was allowed to happen after the manifesto. My faith is not slipping because I do not base it on history but on the spirit. The Holy Ghost confirmed to me its true and thats all I need to keep me from going inactive. But I still would like to hear an argument or debate why it happend after the manifesto.

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Your current Prophet teaches otherwise. And on live national television.

I am astounded that critics spend so much time listening to our living prophets, whom they do not accept as prophets and with whom they continually find fault. Someone needs to get a life.

It actually reminds me of how the Scribes and Pharisees were constantly trying to trip up Jesus by twisting words. His words to them when they tried to say they were Abraham's childeren were "If ye were Abrahamâ??s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. " (John 8:39-40).

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I would never have a problem with polygamy if it didn't involve sex, but it does.

And that really is the hang-up. However, surely you realize how much sex has been perverted so that it has become something lustful and selfish. I do not believe sex per se was the primary motivation under the OT practice of polygamy nor under the early church's practice, though that is not to say some may have abused the principle. Rather the primary motivation was to procreate and bring forth seed. You can read your own lustful judgements into it but that doesn't make it so.

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And to tell you the truth it also bothers me that the church leaders had to stop it twice once should have been enough and to know that other sealings occured (with afore mentioned church leaders) after the manifesto.

But that should tell you something about how the church members did accept the principle, including the women, that they were still willing to practice it even after the manifesto. You also have to understand that officially the church had to disband it but unofficially was a different matter. Furthermore, it would have been something that was already in place and I would think a certain amount of time would be needed to get the saints to now accept that it wasn't acceptable. I think it had to go to the next generation to totally stop the practice which had been so strongly a part of the lives of the saints and had caused them so much persecution and also created such great faith.

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Theophilus:

You must remember that Larry King Live oops! shows are edited. As such, the complete answer was probably not aired; and, thus, not in the transcript. The editing was most likely done by non-LDS. Given that, I'm sure a copy of the show was given to Pres. Hinckley before airing. He may or may not have had an objection to that short question/answer spot, but if he did, the editors still had their right to leave it as-is.

Given the above speculation, supposing the Pres. Hinckley didn't care that that particular answer was edited the way it was, we can safely assume that he is correct, when the saints came west, polygamy was allowed. That does not negate that when the saints were east, polygamy was also allowed. (Dang, my class in Discrete Mathematics and its section on Proof Theory, that is, Logical Equivalence, keeps coming back to me over and over agian. A tough course... and Automata Theory was no easier, but now I understand how languages can be built and converted.)

IMO, Pres. Hinckley did not fully answer the question. He only answered, or the answer that was aired, only covered half of the question of when was it allowed. It was allowed when the saints went west. Again, t That does not mean it was not allowed while they were also in the east.

Oh, by the way, to answer the topic's question: I feel apathy towards the subject.

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I am totally against polygamy, even though I try to respect my ancestors who practiced it.

Polygamy is not sustainable and could not be considered moral under Kant's Categorical Imperative. If everyone tried to practice polygamy it would self-destruct.

Polygamy is inherently unfair to women. Why? Multiple reasons, but here's one: The husband gets to share all of his wives resources, but each wife has only a fraction of the husband's resources, especially if he dies. Marriage ought to be about equality, but polygamy is all about inequality.

One can rationalize that polygamy had a purpose in the early Mormon Church, but I hope the practice remains in its coffin -- forever.

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If Larry King's shows are edited, then why does he call it "Larry King LIVE?"

There, I fixed my response for you <_< (see above)

As you can probably tell... I'm a BIG fan of his show :P

Anyway, what is West? West of what? The wild west was Ohio and Illinois... but I'm digressing in my apology for a stupid statement.

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Theophilus, I'm not sure how you think this myth is being taught in church. I don't believe it is in any church teaching manual, so it may be that some believe it because they've heard it some where, but teachers have been asked again and again to teach from the information provided for this specific reason.

I went with my LDS wife to an LDS church a couple of weeks ago and not only the Sunday School class teacher but virtually all of those in attendance discussed how polygamy was started to take care of all the widows whose husbands died on the trek west. It was presented in the tone of voice which intimated, "Duh, everyone knows this." In addition, personal acquaintances in Utah recently wrote me that two "pretty and perky" Sister tour guides on Temple Square defended polygamy as necessary so the widows of men who died on the trek west could be taken care of by surviving LDS men who made it to Utah.

As an off-topic aside, my acquaintences also reported that the "pretty and perky" tour guides fielded questions by attending LDS who wanted to know where in SLC they could go to see the "Steed" residence. I'm told the Steed family is a fictional family in a series of LDS novels, The Work and the Glory. The LDS my acquaintences ran into on Temple Square evidently thought the Steeds were a real family.

As a second off-topic aside, my acquaintances also visited the Beehive House, where Brigham Young lived for most of his life. The tour guides there failed to mention any of Brigham Young's plural wives so my acquaintances asked about his wives and was told he only had two, and only married the second after the first died.

Please provide a reference where the church teaches that the widows in Utah were the reason for plural marriage.

"In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an unusual condition prevailed. More women than men joined the church...There were not enough men to go around...The alternative was plural marriage."

Berrett, William E., The Restored Church, Deseret Book, 1956, p.250. As you may know, Deseret Book is 100% owned by the LDS Church.

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Whenever Mormonism is brought up in public discourse its going to raise questions about polygamy. The two subjects go hand-in-hand like Tom/Jerry, Abbott/Costello, Donnie/Marie and Proctor/Gamble. The church has taught that those who want to go to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom will need to participate in the glorious principle of the new and everlasting covenant of the plurality of wives. That's why my ancestors entered into it and their journals speak of this. They considered this principle as important to enter into and abide by as any faithful, believing LDS member today considers any covenant they make in the temple. The principle of the plurality of wives was an important one to them in the Restoration of all things. And yes they feared that one day the wicked people of the world would try to take away this plain and precious Restoration principle from them. All the spin in the world can't change this history of theirs.

I'm reminded of the parable of the talents when I think about Mormonism/Polygamy. Some will be open/honest in their talents and doctrines they've been given. Others will hide them in the earth and be ashamed. I think Jesus taught that we should not be ashamed. Someday I predict we'll have a polygamy museum in Utah run by the National Park Service where people can learn about the pioneers, their polygamous lifestyle and the philosophical reasons behind Mormonism polygamy.

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I have polygamy on two of my four grandparents side. One of these sides has ties to Joseph Smith through one of his polygamous wives.

I find the topic amazing, and have gone through these family journals many times. I think they were brave to be so cutting-edge in their practice of it. They were unique and brave to break the law in order to follow it. Whatever polygamy may be, it is not boring. I hate boring. I think the current mainstream mormon church is boring.

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Theophilus:

You must remember that Larry King Live oops! shows are edited. As such, the complete answer was probably not aired; and, thus, not in the transcript. The editing was most likely done by non-LDS. Given that, I'm sure a copy of the show was given to Pres. Hinckley before airing. He may or may not have had an objection to that short question/answer spot, but if he did, the editors still had their right to leave it as-is.

Given the above speculation, supposing the Pres. Hinckley didn't care that that particular answer was edited the way it was, we can safely assume that he is correct, when the saints came west, polygamy was allowed. That does not negate that when the saints were east, polygamy was also allowed. (Dang, my class in Discrete Mathematics and its section on Proof Theory, that is, Logical Equivalence, keeps coming back to me over and over agian. A tough course... and Automata Theory was no easier, but now I understand how languages can be built and converted.)

IMO, Pres. Hinckley did not fully answer the question. He only answered, or the answer that was aired, only covered half of the question of when was it allowed. It was allowed when the saints went west. Again, t That does not mean it was not allowed while they were also in the east.

Oh, by the way, to answer the topic's question: I feel apathy towards the subject.

Larry King Live is called "live" because it is broadcast live. The response you see and hear for Pres. Hinckley is what he actually said. He was clearly asked when polygamy was started (both the word "when" and "started" were used), and he clearly said it was started when the Saints headed west. This information is simply incorrect. It was started before the Saints headed west, by Joseph Smith. IMO, Pres. Hinckley should have stated the truth instead of the PR spin because I'm positive as a many-time guest on Larry King Live he knew the show was being broadcast live and simultaneously being videotaped for replay so his answer could be checked by others.

As as your apathy is concerned, you certainly put in a lot of passion and time and effort for something for which you are apathetic. I frankly don't believe you are apathetic or you wouldn't have (1) written the first response and then (2) gone back to edit it.

Theophilus07

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You also have to understand that officially the church had to disband it but unofficially was a different matter.

Are you stating, then, that not only did the Church lie about polygamy when it was in Nauvoo, but later, it also lied in 1890 in Utah when it claimed it was stopping the practice?

Actually, I think the Church DID lie in Nauvoo and again in Utah in 1890, and clearly had no intention of actually stopping the practice because the Quorum of the Twelve and members of the First Presidency continued to authorize its practice (including taking more wives themselves) until 1904 when the Second Manifesto was issued.

I cannot advise you about your personal beliefs, but my personal integrity prevents me from following the precepts of a Church which has such a thoroughly documented track record of deliberate and chronic falsehoods and public deception.

Theophilus07

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If I use the "golden rule" do unto others... I have to admit I would not like my wife to be married to four other guys (or any number). That would really bother me, I am not at a level where I could live that. And to tell you the truth it also bothers me that the church leaders had to stop it twice once should have been enough and to know that other sealings occured (with afore mentioned church leaders) after the manifesto. I am very active, and have a strong testimony can someone please have a stronger argument why this was allowed to happen after the manifesto. My faith is not slipping because I do not base it on history but on the spirit. The Holy Ghost confirmed to me its true and thats all I need to keep me from going inactive. But I still would like to hear an argument or debate why it happend after the manifesto.

Hmm..having your wife married to four other man besides yourself. If polyandry was instituted was announced at the pulpit, let's say a Frank Herbert "White Plague" event were to occur, and most of the child bearing women were to die off suddenly. Would men in our church support the prophet if they stated that their wife was to be shared with other men.

I'm not sure it would be received as well as the women accepted polygamy.

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