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When Pondering Polygamy.... Do You Feel


RedSox

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Then it would have been the Anti-Mo's who would have cackled that Pr. Hinckley didn't go on King's show because he was afraid of the hardball questions.

Who would have known? It's not like the previous presidents were making the rounds on the talk shows.

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By that argument I could argue that many monogamous adult women are not free. Their choices are restricted by their government and society.

By that argument I could argue that many [fill in the blank] are not free. Their choices are restricted by their government and society.

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Just my 2 cents:

Every person who practiced plural marriage when called to do so by God had to first gain a testimony of it in order for it to work at all. And when plural marriage was taken away, they had to gain a testimony of it all over again.

We do not believe in blind obedience. We are, each of us, required to receive personal revelation to accept what our leaders teach us.

One of the interesting points about the PBS documentary was that Joseph Smith was the "Henry Ford" of revelation. Not only did Joseph claim to be a prophet, but he worked to ensure that every member received the same revelations that he did. That he succeeded to the extent he did was definitely something new in religious thought. No more 'secret doctrines.' No hidden texts. Everyone has access to God and the right to receive personal revelation from him. For this reason alone, 'Mormonism' is perhaps the greatest expression of democracy in the history of the earth.

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By that argument I could argue that many [fill in the blank] are not free. Their choices are restricted by their government and society.

And yet this country purportedly protects the freedom of religion, so long as it causes no harm and abridges no one else's rights (ex: Human Sacrifice wouldn't be legal, understandably). And yet here is the history: Government decides what religious marital practices are acceptable. Not the individuals.

Your argument ultimately can be no better than it is better for you and the government to decide who they can marry than the religious leaders they trust. While the reality remains that women chose and accepted that lifestyle and forcing them out of it is as much an act of "liberation" as China invading Tibet.

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Mormon polygamy is the curse of an otherwise decent religion. Non-delusional people can see the obvious implications which scream for themselves - an attempt to get the social group to approve otherwise socially unacceptable behavior by claiming divine sanction. It isn't the first time to happen in history.

The reaction to polygamy by Mormons (including my own for many years) is a perfect case study into cognitive dissonance.

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Just my 2 cents:

Every person who practiced plural marriage when called to do so by God had to first gain a testimony of it in order for it to work at all. And when plural marriage was taken away, they had to gain a testimony of it all over again.

We do not believe in blind obedience. We are, each of us, required to receive personal revelation to accept what our leaders teach us.

One of the interesting points about the PBS documentary was that Joseph Smith was the "Henry Ford" of revelation. Not only did Joseph claim to be a prophet, but he worked to ensure that every member received the same revelations that he did. That he succeeded to the extent he did was definitely something new in religious thought. No more 'secret doctrines.' No hidden texts. Everyone has access to God and the right to receive personal revelation from him. For this reason alone, 'Mormonism' is perhaps the greatest expression of democracy in the history of the earth.

I'm not so sure he approached each of his revelations the same way. Another issue, if someone is asked individually by the prophet to live a revelation, which is contrary to any principal that you've been raised to follow (polygamy was a novel concept, regardless of what happened in the Bible), and other then that one request every other revelation you believed with all your heart, and you truly believed that if you didn't follow this man's words then you could doom your soul to eternal damnation. I guess what I'm trying to say, it would be tough not to agree with the prophet, despite misgivings.

Another societal norm at that time was the subservient women that lived in that time. Brigham is criticized all the time for his comments about women and their role. Brigham wasn't the only one with this attitude. Do you really think a women who was placed in this situation would really dare turn down Joseph Smith. Before you answer, consider the fact that Joseph usually approached the brother or father in some cases like Heber's daughter. He then would promise that family eternal salvation if they spoke in his behalf towards the daughter. I think Joseph never guaranteed salvation (due to their continued actions in their lives), however, but the marriage would then join the families with Joseph, which was an attractive idea at that time.

The big question is how difficult would it be to rebuff the prophet, especially if your status in that society was not that of a Emma Smith. I think Emma was the only one who repeatedly changed her mind in regards to polygamy, and ultimately was opposed before she died.

Another factor that hasn't been considered is the following, and is one that I've seen a priesthood holder use on someone I know whom had struggled with being homosexual. The context of this man's advice was the following, "The mind is a powerful gift from God, however the mind can be made to believe what ever you program it to conceive. In other words you become what you think." In other words, you immerse yourself in pornography and the gay culture and you can in fact talk yourself into that lifestyle. Now I personally don't agree with this premise in every case when it comes to homosexuality, but he's correct in more way's than some of would want to admit. SO, if a women who was approached at that time with the revelation of polygamy, and at first she was violently opposed to the whole idea, what makes you not think that she could mentally force herself to accept the doctrine.

A testimony is often subjective and based on feelings and experiences that are often unable to be proven by scientific or logical means. So how are we to know for sure that these women truly had testimony's of polygamy, or simply were railroaded into believing. The answer is we don't know for sure, and no amount of speculation on our end can prove one way or the other if they did or not.

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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?

Confussion??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Pa Pa :P

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Mormon polygamy is the curse of an otherwise decent religion. Non-delusional people can see the obvious implications which scream for themselves - The reaction to polygamy by Mormons (including my own for many years) is a perfect case study into cognitive dissonance.

Yes, those poor delusional Mormons. Of course you would think given the physical hardship and practicalities of their lives they would have sluffed off some of that delusion. The term cognitive dissonance hardly fits. These faithful people believed what they were doing; they had no conflict between actions and belief. It is only the present-day self righteous judges of history who have conflicts.
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What are your reaction to the practice?

Disgusted and puzzled. As pointed out in the PBS program last night, Joseph Smith really torpedoed his life when he introduced polygamy into Mormonism. Why do that to himself? From what we know about his formative years, Joseph had lots of drama in his life. Introducing polygamy into Mormonism just cranked the drama up. It's a psychological truth that people seek that which is familiar, and will unconsciously go to extra-ordinary lengths to re-create drama in their lives when plenty of drama was what they experienced during their formative years, particularly their childhood.

The practice of polygamy was Joseph's 'shadow' coming through. His pursuit of single women (including teenage girls) and married women was his attempt (not understanding himself psychologically) to reconcile his libido and desire for variety (how varied was his life!) within a context that he could justify to himself in his mind. Abraham, the Biblical patriarch, and King David of the Old Testament had wives and concubines, so it was OK for Joseph to do the same (in his mind).

The problem was that in the United States in the 19th-century, Americans were predominantly Protestant, which had taught their ancestors (and those of Joseph, Emma, and other early church members) that God authorized only the marriage/union of one man and one wife. Mormon polygamy ran smack into 19th-century American sexual morality - and ended up losing.

Mormon polygamy is one of many examples of the power of belief. As mentioned in the PBS program, Brigham Young told Joseph that he'd rather be dead than practice it. Yet because of Young's belief that Smith was a prophet of God, the Almighty's spokesperson on Earth, he eventually complied. The same was true of Apostle Heber and Vilate Kimball (husband and wife), whom Joseph had told God commanded that Vilate marry Joseph. Talk about creating drama in your life! Tell your friend/close church associate and his wife to do that which was morally reprehensible to them, given their Protestant upbringing and beliefs about marriage.

Polygamy is Joseph Smith's infamous 'legacy'. Before he died, he lamented (once) introducing into the church/Mormon society. Even today, it wounds the hearts and minds of women and girls in the more authoritarian Mormonism-rooted polygamist communities.

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First off, welcome to you, pbsviewer, to our forums.

I suspect that there will be many who join in here because of the PBS Special, and I hope that you all will take the time to search our various posts and maybe even visit the FARMS website to read articles based on questions that you have now that you have seen the show on PBS.

Polygamy is Joseph Smith's infamous 'legacy'. Before he died, he lamented (once) introducing into the church/Mormon society. Even today, it wounds the hearts and minds of women and girls in the more authoritarian Mormonism-rooted polygamist communities.

It's a good thing, then, that most of Joseph Smith's legacy has nothing to do with polygamy and more about understanding Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and our relatioship with Them.

The splinter-groups that still practice polygamy do not practice it (nor other doctrines of the church) as they were originally intended.

As for how I feel when I ponder it

... shame? Nope. It was a commandment from God. He had allowed it in OT times, and it is hinted that He allowed it in NT times.

... pride? Why would I feel pride? *I* didn't do it. One of my ancestors did - I'm glad they figured out how to make it work. I might feel proud of them, but not for myself.

... apathy? No. I think that it is a part of my religion, though not practiced right now. If I am called on, in the future, to become a part of it (here or in the hereafter), I'll have to make a decision then.

... musical? Why, yes! A BYU friend of mine made up a little song to the tune of "Some Day My Prince Will Come" that dealt with this:

Someday my Prince will come

In the Millenium!

And he will say to me,

"Will you be Number Three?"

And I will say to him,

"Buzz off, clown!"

Jane

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I feel pride. I think it's great that the LDS didn't shy away from this divinely revealed order of things. Didn't kowtow to the mainstream. Yes, it went against 19th-century American morality. And so the LDS thumbed their collective nose at 19th-century American morality, and also at the United States Army itself. We were willing to stand up for our beliefs. Our beliefs did not "end up losing" to 19th-century American morality. We would have went on practicing polygamy forever had not the Lord commanded us to stop.

I'm proud when pondering polygamy.

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My answer is to the initial question:

I have a pluthera of emotions regarding the topic. Such as if I died and my husband married then we all eventually died and were in heaven... I would not want him to HAVE to choose - so in that instance I can comprehend it to some degree...

But as to how I feel about it overall. I would say that I feel embarrassment, sorrow, anger, frustration, humilliation, disgust, and then Grateful.

~Embarrassed anytime anyone brings it up and asks why our church ever participated in it and why or if we still do.

~Sorrow for the women that felt they were following a commandment from the Lord and were subjected to bigger trials because of it.

~Anger for the vanity of man to feel they could impose this as "From the Lord."

~Frustrated because there are many beautiful things about our religion - but because of Polygamy - many will not hear any of it.

~Humilliated to think that my church believes that it is a righteous principal that is supposed to come back some day (Heaven forbid any woman be duped into believing that!) and then

~Disgusted that a sexual desire is as big of a topic as it is! A mans vice has become the so called "Word of the Lord."

~Grateful that my husband feels much as I do on the topic and that we have not been asked to practice such a despicable act (IMO.)

I then guess that you need to step back and decide if you truly feel that Joseph was leading as a Prophet or a Man at the time he had a fling with Fanny - and if what he wrote in D&C was inspired or what he was trying to impose upon Emma.

People need to realize that a man and a woman married know more of each other than all the speculations from the outside. People can put on many faces. For myself I tend to believe that Emma put up with more than her fair share and that her husbands extreme Labido brought much heartache to her and many others!!!!

Simply my true feelings on the matter. That does not say I don't believe that much of the church and its teachings are true.

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While the reality remains that women chose and accepted that lifestyle...

Women did not choose polygamy, it chose them. The women didn't approach JS and say, "Will you ask the Lord if it's OK for a man to have multiple wives?" They were commanded to do it, and the salvation of their families was promised in return for their obedience.

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Women did not choose polygamy, it chose them. The women didn't approach JS and say, "Will you ask the Lord if it's OK for a man to have multiple wives?" They were commanded to do it, and the salvation of their families was promised in return for their obedience.

Joseph Smith was no one if they didn't believe and trust him, and they chose to trust him, in this, as they had in their faith. All of them were converts, no one indoctrinated from birth with their entire world hinging on this. These people chose to join the church, and they chose to follow Joseph Smith. And when he presented them with the principle of plural marriage, they chose to accept it. No one was forced into marriage, they accepted it because they believed what Joseph had taught on the matter, and they had/have a right to do so.

Again, how is it any different for you or the government to chose monogamy for them? In what do they have a choice when you say "we will remove your children, arrest your husband, and seize your property if you practice polygamy"? "Threats" with regards to their salvation (really exaltation, but you would use them interchangeably) are at least worthless if a woman doesn't believe. The weight of the government is a compelling force no one can deny, no matter what they believe.

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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?

What exactly should I be ashamed of? We still practice polygamy, just not at the same time. If the order of heaven makes room for it, I cannot get excited about getting disgusted about it here on earth. Of course, for myself, I would jump in front of the funeral wagon hoping it would end my trauma, just to do BY one better.

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All of them were converts, no one indoctrinated from birth with their entire world hinging on this. These people chose to join the church, and they chose to follow Joseph Smith. And when he presented them with the principle of plural marriage, they chose to accept it. No one was forced into marriage, they accepted it because they believed what Joseph had taught on the matter, and they had/have a right to do so.

Helen Mar Kimball wasn't even four years old when her parents were baptized in 1832. That's as close to being "indoctrinated from birth" as one can get. Then when she was a few months shy of her 15th birthday, JS asked her father, Heber, if she could become his plural wife. JS told Helen that by marrying him the salvation of her family was secured. That's a lot of weight to put on the shoulders of a 14 year-old girl.

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Helen Mar Kimball wasn't even four years old when her parents were baptized in 1832. That's as close to being "indoctrinated from birth" as one can get. Then when she was a few months shy of her 15th birthday, JS asked her father, Heber, if she could become his plural wife. JS told Helen that by marrying him the salvation of her family was secured. That's a lot of weight to put on the shoulders of a 14 year-old girl.

Put yourself in that position, and stop thinking that we are all like mindless sheep. I doubt it was a decision made easily, But if even the Father, who again, was not indoctrinated, came to accept and approve of this, who are you to say otherwise? Clearly if he, knowing JS personally, believed he was what you all believe more than a 100 years removed, then he could have easily picked up his family walked away. First it is the bride that cannot consent, they are "forced" into it (Which BTW, still happens amongst monogamous people as well, it is not a unique feature of polygamy). Now the Father also cannot consent. Is there any way in the world you would accept a woman choosing to enter a plural marriage, whether or not that choice is influenced by a belief on its ramifications on their salvation/exaltation? Such beliefs also influence the women who enter into monogamous marriages - does that also invalidate their consent?

I think the question boils down to Do you believe Joseph Smith was acting as a Prophet or Man when he introduced Polygamy?...
Man.

But do you believe that Joseph Smith was ever a Prophet?

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Would Jesus talk to them?

He would try, and they would ignore him. Or change the subject with dumb irrelevant questions. At the end of the day we only have limited time & energy to do our work in this world, and it could be much more effectively spent on people who don't think they know everything while being actually ignorant.

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But do you believe that Joseph Smith was ever a Prophet?

That is a different topic all together... I am refering to polygamy and polyandry. To answer you is a bit of testimony sharing. :P

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That is a different topic all together... I am refering to polygamy and polyandry. To answer you is a bit of testimony sharing. :P

It wasn't directed at you.

The point I was making is that is irrelevant to ask if someone thought that Joseph was acting as Prophet or Man when he revealed D&C 132 and brought plural marriage if they do not believe he was in any way a Prophet. Clearly such a person cannot ascribe any divinity to his revelations.

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