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Joseph, Brigham,lorenzo Vs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Gideon And A Host Of Others


Olavarria

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1) How is the polygamy practiced by the early LDS prophets different from the polygamy of the biblical ones?

2)was it ok for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , Gideon and a host of others to polig?

3)If it was wrong for the OT prophets, why?

4) If it was OK for the patriarchs and their descendants why was it wrong for Joseph and the saints?

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1) How is the polygamy practiced by the early LDS prophets different from the polygamy of the biblical ones?

Well, many of the biblical polygamists were fictional constructs created by people of Palestime to construct a national my around which they could bulid and unify a nation. So, I would say that the primary difference is that in the case of biblical polygamy, the fact that most of it probably never occurred is the overriding difference.

2)was it ok for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , Gideon and a host of others to polig?

Probably inapplicable, but allowing for the doubtful conceit that the characters existed and that their actual lives bore approximate resemblences to the accounts in the OT, then no it was wrong.

3)If it was wrong for the OT prophets, why?
I believe that polygamy is wrong because it increases inequality in two ways:

1) It increases the inequality between rich and poor. While I am no communist, it is undeniable that the rich and powerful control the vast majority of the world's resources. Inevitably the men who become polygamists are rich and powerful. At least in a monagamous society, the privileged are not able to hoard away women like just another resource.

2) It increases inequality between men and women. I frankly don't see how this point can be argued.

4) If it was OK for the patriarchs and their descendants why was it wrong for Joseph and the saints?

N/A.

In sum, polygamy is an inequitable practice no matter who does it and no matter whether coercion is ever involved.

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1) It increases the inequality between rich and poor. While I am no communist, it is undeniable that the rich and powerful control the vast majority of the world's resources. Inevitably the men who become polygamists are rich and powerful. At least in a monagamous society, the privileged are not able to hoard away women like just another resource.

Actually, it ended up "levelling the playing field" so to speak. The more affluent had proportionately more heirs, amongst whom their wealth was divided, while the lesser wealth was divided less. Succeeding generations in 19th Century polygamist Utah saw lower percentages of plural marriages as a result, since this wasn't an "eldest male inherits everything" culture.

2) It increases inequality between men and women. I frankly don't see how this point can be argued.

This argument is probably beaten to death, so I'll keep it short: Men who become good husbands are more rare than the women who wish to be married to them. Men who by virtue of their status in our patriarchal soceity (even monogamous) believe themselves superior to women and as having the right to enforce their will upon them by force are unworthy to have wives. They attack and abuse rather than honor and love, and they feel entitled to this (more so than occurs with women) because of their misconceptions about the man's role.

Some women are fortunate enough to find good husbands. For the rest, you can watch Cops and see the domestic dispute calls or you can watch Dr. Phil and hear about some psycho locking his wife in the basement and feeling justified in that. The point is that all women don't have an opportunity to marry a good husband, and that is where the inequality lies for monogamy. Many women are faced with the choice of taking a flawed spouse they believe they can fix (only to learn otherwise) or just not marrying. And it is something the government should have no say in.

And just so I don't ignore the original questions.

1) Sealing power and Temples is about all I've got.

2) yes

3) N/A

4) it wasn't

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I'm non-Mormon and I have one question here to start with. Suppose I'll have more if I remain interested in the topic.

Who were Abraham's polygamous wives?

Jersey Girl

Sarah, Hagar, Keturah come to mind. There might be more, but I am far from the most Scipturally well-read person around.

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Sarah, Hagar, Keturah come to mind. There might be more, but I am far from the most Scipturally well-read person around.

Was Abraham married to Hagar? What was God's judgement regarding Abraham's relationship with Hagar?

Did Abraham marry Keturah while Sarah was still living?

Jersey Girl

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1) It increases the inequality between rich and poor. While I am no communist, it is undeniable that the rich and powerful control the vast majority of the world's resources. Inevitably the men who become polygamists are rich and powerful. At least in a monagamous society, the privileged are not able to hoard away women like just another resource.

Actually, it ended up "levelling the playing field" so to speak. The more affluent had proportionately more heirs, amongst whom their wealth was divided, while the lesser wealth was divided less. Succeeding generations in 19th Century polygamist Utah saw lower percentages of plural marriages as a result, since this wasn't an "eldest male inherits everything" culture.

I don't think you could call polygamy a leveller any more than you could call the purchase of a yacht a leveling factor. In ancient times, extra wives were the domain of the wealthy, today fabulous consumer goods mark their place at the top of the wealth chain.

Polygamy legitimizes the practice of the rich and powerful in securing for themselves a disproportional number of wives and children. I in no way begrudge the rich their riches, but wealth should not entitle a man to the privilege of extra wives. And it is only the (comparatively) rich or the (comparatively) powerful that engage in polygamy, both historic and modern. The fact that it may lead to proportionally less inherited wealth for their descendents is as irrelevant as the fact that money today's wealthy spend on fabulous vacations is money that cannot be inherited by their progeny.

This argument is probably beaten to death, so I'll keep it short: Men who become good husbands are more rare than the women who wish to be married to them. Men who by virtue of their status in our patriarchal soceity (even monogamous) believe themselves superior to women and as having the right to enforce their will upon them by force are unworthy to have wives. They attack and abuse rather than honor and love, and they feel entitled to this (more so than occurs with women) because of their misconceptions about the man's role.

Some women are fortunate enough to find good husbands. For the rest, you can watch Cops and see the domestic dispute calls or you can watch Dr. Phil and hear about some psycho locking his wife in the basement and feeling justified in that. The point is that all women don't have an opportunity to marry a good husband, and that is where the inequality lies for monogamy. Many women are faced with the choice of taking a flawed spouse they believe they can fix (only to learn otherwise) or just not marrying. And it is something the government should have no say in.

Sorry, I just don't buy the 'there are too few good men around' argument. Do you have anything more solid than examples from trash culture like Cops and Dr. Phil backing this up?

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Was Abraham married to Hagar?

To my knowledge, Ishmael was not considered an illegitimate child.

What was God's judgement regarding Abraham's relationship with Hagar?

Certainly seemed more favorable than Sarah's was after she bore Isaac (Gen 21:9-21)

Did Abraham marry Keturah while Sarah was still living?

Unclear. The event is recorded in a chapter of Genesis after Sarah's death, but no real clear statement is made in this respect. Chapter 25 seems more concerned with simply discussing Abraham's descendents and their inheritance, and must mention Keturah here, as she had been ommitted earlier. One cannot discuss her 6 children by Abraham without talking about her, and there really seems to be no reason for her apparently uneventful marriage to Abraham to be spoken about in the middle of an earlier narrative.

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I don't see a time in any practice of polygamy, from Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's to Abraham's and anyone else, where it hasn't represented a culture that valued women and wives as more or less just property, to be aquired by the successful man. We read of the Lord "giving" wives unto righteous men, and taking wives away from men who fall, and giving them to other men (David). I just don't see that as a healthy attitude toward women. Don't think I blame God though. I don't think God exists - I blame the culture that wrote the Old Testament stories. I realize it sounds "presentist" to judge them by today's standards, but you asked if I thought it was wrong, and I say yes. Just like we wouldn't stone to death someone who committed adultery, or a youth who talked back to his parents.

And with respect to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's practice of it, and some others back in the early days of the church, I cannot respect it at all. One hallmark of Joseph's practice of polygamy, in fact the one that stands out in my mind the most, is deceit. Public deceit, as when the church denied publicly, and Joseph Smith denied publicly, that polygamy was being practiced, as well as private deceit, as when Joseph hid his activities from his wife and deceived her. The second hallmark of his practice, to me, is coercion, where Emma was bullied into accepting Joseph's practice of it (we've even canonized a "revelation" commanding her to accept it or be "destroyed"). Likewise there were the girls who felt coerced into the practice, some successfully and some unsuccessfully. Nancy Rigdon comes to mind. The story of Joseph telling a girl that an angel with a sword threatening to kill him if he didn't take her as his wife comes to mind. Joseph promising whole families exaltation if only the girl will submit to his entreaties and become his 30somethingth plural wife comes to mind. The story of Joseph's attempted "courting" of Sarah Pratt comes to mind.

So no, I don't think that any of the "scriptural" practice of polygamy was ever a good thing, and I don't think the modern practice of it in the early LDS church was ever a good thing either.

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Polygamy legitimizes the practice of the rich and powerful in securing for themselves a disproportional number of wives and children. I in no way begrudge the rich their riches, but wealth should not entitle a man to the privilege of extra wives. And it is only the (comparatively) rich or the (comparatively) powerful that engage in polygamy, both historic and modern. The fact that it may lead to proportionally less inherited wealth for their descendents is as irrelevant as the fact that money today's wealthy spend on fabulous vacations is money that cannot be inherited by their progeny.

You are viewing women and children as commodities. Not me, and not the people you are trying to portray. A woman should have THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE to marry a man who is already proven to be a good husband and already has a solid and stable marriage. If she doesn't want to be a 2nd Wife or treated like a commodity, she doesn't have to be. If you're arguing about a culture or forced marriages, how would it be any different in restricting a woman's freedom if forced into a monogamous marriage?

And the issue of inheritance matters. You cannot say "this system widens the divide making the rich richer and the poor poorer" when over a generation, it has the opposite effect, spreading out wealth among more and more people, fewer people having excessive wealth.

Sorry, I just don't buy the 'there are too few good men around' argument. Do you have anything more solid than examples from trash culture like Cops and Dr. Phil backing this up?

Do I really need to like go and dig up stats on how many men walk out on their wives and abandon their family responsibilities - especially compared to women? Or do you honestly believe that the numbers of women abandoning their families is equal to the same for men? Not to mention domestic abuse and so forth. Yes there are bad women in the world as well. But are you convinced there are as many as there are wife-beaters, dead-beat-dads, "players", and the like? Seriously, this is the flaw in our patriarchal culture. Are you really going to deny that men are less inclined to be responsible family wise, kind, humble, and much more likely to be abusive?

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You are viewing women and children as commodities.

No, I am pointing out how polygamy turns them into commodities attainable only to the wealthy or powerful. I don't view them that way at all, but I see polygamy commoditizing them and this is what I pointed out.

Not me,

I'll trust you on that.

and not the people you are trying to portray.

I disagree. As Sethbag has already pointed out:

I don't see a time in any practice of polygamy...where it hasn't represented a culture that valued women and wives as more or less just property, to be aquired by the successful man. We read of the Lord "giving" wives unto righteous men, and taking wives away from men who fall, and giving them to other men (David).
A woman should have THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE to marry a man who is already proven to be a good husband and already has a solid and stable marriage.

Actually, I'm a libertarian and I agree with this statement. But having a right to do something does not make it a moral choice. I would argue for a person's right to do any number of things which I do not condone personally.

If she doesn't want to be a 2nd Wife or treated like a commodity, she doesn't have to be. If you're arguing about a culture or forced marriages, how would it be any different in restricting a woman's freedom if forced into a monogamous marriage?

Yeah, and what about the first wife? What are her options if her husband says he has received a revelation to take on a second wife?

And the issue of inheritance matters. You cannot say "this system widens the divide making the rich richer and the poor poorer" when over a generation, it has the opposite effect, spreading out wealth among more and more people, fewer people having excessive wealth.

First of all, when I said it widens the rich/poor divide, I mean that it imparts on the wealthy a privilege that should not be attainable by virtue of one's wealth. This is the widening factor--giving additional privilege. The fact that it may tend to spread inherited wealth more thinly has no bearing on whether multiple wives are a privilege that should be attainable by superior wealth.

Do I really need to like go and dig up stats on how many men walk out on their wives and abandon their family responsibilities - especially compared to women? Or do you honestly believe that the numbers of women abandoning their families is equal to the same for men? Not to mention domestic abuse and so forth. Yes there are bad women in the world as well. But are you convinced there are as many as there are wife-beaters, dead-beat-dads, "players", and the like? Seriously, this is the flaw in our patriarchal culture. Are you really going to deny that men are less inclined to be responsible family wise, kind, humble, and much more likely to be abusive?

Dig up whatever stats you like, just be sure that they represent a complete picture of the ratios of deadbeats/inadequate parents on both sides. I don't want to deal in stereotypes here.

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1) How is the polygamy practiced by the early LDS prophets different from the polygamy of the biblical ones?

2)was it ok for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , Gideon and a host of others to polig?

3)If it was wrong for the OT prophets, why?

4) If it was OK for the patriarchs and their descendants why was it wrong for Joseph and the saints?

1} Polygamy in bibical times had many differences. the OT polygamy was set up and instructed by G-d mainly because it was already going on, He used it to serve his means. (this happens a lot in the OT) Wives were given, wives were taken away, wives were blessed with children etc etc... G-d did not place disfavor unto the women however.

LDS format... JS marries in the name of G-d...states many times that G-d has handed him "so and so" as a spiritual wife, never minding that she is already married and better yet, REFUSING the marriage. JS lies to his last days almost about his role in this so called request of G-d. JS marries, somewhat at random, and does not have a natural, physical relationship with all of his wives. It would appear, only IMO, that many of his so called wives were married for less then G-dlike reasons and for Chruch and Temple rites.

2} this one was answered shortly up aboe, as was number 4.

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No, I am pointing out how polygamy turns them into commodities attainable only to the wealthy or powerful. I don't view them that way at all, but I see polygamy commoditizing them and this is what I pointed out.

I will reiterate - that is your view - that they are commodities in such a situation. Mormon polygamists didn't sell and trade wives, they were not passed around as slaves against their will. You can read their own writings to attest to it. Much like the sort of plural wives depicted in Isaiah 4:1, these women were in many cases educated, intelligent, and industrious, not the down-trodden slaves that Anti-Mormon America depicted them as.

I'll trust you on that.

Thanks

I disagree. As Sethbag has already pointed out:

No offense to Seth, but just cause he says it doesn't make it true.

Actually, I'm a libertarian and I agree with this statement. But having a right to do something does not make it a moral choice. I would argue for a person's right to do any number of things which I do not condone personally.

That's a plus for you, but my question to you is "is it moral to refuse someone that choice?" Remind yourself, we aren't talking about stealing or murder, which no one should have a choice to do to someone else. If it is ever immoral to force a woman to marry a particular person, is it any less immoral to prevent her from marrying another person?

Yeah, and what about the first wife? What are her options if her husband says he has received a revelation to take on a second wife?

Aside from disapproving, if she finds herself in a marital situation that she cannot bear she can/could have easily obtained a divorce. The Church even in the 19th Century, while it counsels against divorce and encourages married women to work out their issues, has never been one to force women to remain in a marriage they could not (or did not wish to) bear.

First of all, when I said it widens the rich/poor divide, I mean that it imparts on the wealthy a privilege that should not be attainable by virtue of one's wealth. This is the widening factor--giving additional privilege. The fact that it may tend to spread inherited wealth more thinly has no bearing on whether multiple wives are a privilege that should be attainable by superior wealth.

Now you are viewing it as a privilege. Why is it bad that a man who has been successful be able to support more women, rather than them being forced into terminally single lives or into marriages with men who are unable to support them, usually leading to problematic marriages? Forget this idea that all men should be kept equal and are equal, and think of the women who (lets be honest, in our patriarchal society are still bound to be somewhat dependent on their husbands) should be allowed to marry into the most stable situation possible in order that the children they bear might grow up not in poverty, but with all their needs met. Do you think it better that potential children be denied more stable upbringings because it further states the divide between men who can support wives and those cannot effectively support a single wife?

Dig up whatever stats you like, just be sure that they represent a complete picture of the ratios of deadbeats/inadequate parents on both sides. I don't want to deal in stereotypes here.

Lets start here Mothers have numbers up in a few of the categories in physical abuse, and as primary care givers, also are charged more with neglect, but scroll down to the sexual abuse table - Not only do you see double the amount (done by mothers) being perpetrated by "fathers", but the total for the reported sexual abuse cases by fathers is higher than any number in any other category for mothers or fathers. But if you just want the big picture scroll all the way down to the totals - not only do Fathers perpetrate more cases of abuse, but compare the numbers for step-father and step-mothers, the former committing more than TEN TIMES as many acts of abuse on children.

But wait, there's more, and this is still just abuse.

I mean really, do you actually believe there is not a huge disparity between men and women in these things?

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1) How is the polygamy practiced by the early LDS prophets different from the polygamy of the biblical ones?

2)was it ok for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob , Gideon and a host of others to polig?

3)If it was wrong for the OT prophets, why?

4) If it was OK for the patriarchs and their descendants why was it wrong for Joseph and the saints?

1. It isn't so much the practice that offends most, it is the command, which cannot be of God.

2. God never commanded Abraham to polygamy. When did God ever command it?

3. Which OT prophets taught polygamy? Which practiced polygomy? Even Abraham had Haggar booted out.

4. It wasn't as you say. It was not commanded. For example, look at what God said on the topic to those who would be king of Israel. He forbid them to have more than one wife. Yet even David failed in this regard. Because David failed to keep all the commandments of God in no way says God condones breaking His commandments, let alone to charge God commanded breaking His commandments.

Evidently the only way to defend Mormonism is to attack the word of God??? I think you should be capable and able to get beyond than dear:-)

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4. It wasn't as you say. It was not commanded. For example, look at what God said on the topic to those who would be king of Israel. He forbid them to have more than one wife. Yet even David failed in this regard. Because David failed to keep all the commandments of God in no way says God condones breaking His commandments, let alone to charge God commanded breaking His commandments.

You can argue your first 3 points if you are unwilling to look beyond the Bible, but this is simply inaccurate. They were not prohibited from having multiple wives, only wives who would "turn their heart" away from God. David's wives were given to him by God.

Beyond that, the scriptures do give a number of guidelines for handling multiple wives, so while it may not COMMAND IT, it at the very least condones it, as there lacks any prohibition against it, and it is practiced.

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Who were Isaac's wives? Does anyone have an OT ref for that?

JG

I'm not aware for Isaac. But for Jacob (since I'm guessing that question is coming next, his first 2 wives are Leah & Rachel (Gen 29). Then later he took/was given 2 more: Bilhah and Zilpah (Gen 30).

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I'm not aware for Isaac. But for Jacob (since I'm guessing that question is coming next, his first 2 wives are Leah & Rachel (Gen 29). Then later he took/was given 2 more: Bilhah and Zilpah (Gen 30).

Were Bilhah and Zilpah actual wives or concubines? I think the latter is the case. I also think if you read further through Gen 35, the outcome demonstrates that Jacob no longer engaged in polygamy.

Jersey Girl

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Were Bilhah and Zilpah actual wives or concubines? I think the latter is the case. I also think if you read further through Gen 35, the outcome demonstrates that Jacob no longer engaged in polygamy.

Jersey Girl

The distinction is irrelevant. Concubines as understood in the OT was not the sex slaves you hear about Chinese Emperors having. They were wives of lower social classes with less social recognition. Either way, if you want to make the distinction, does that mean you find concubinage more acceptable than plural marriage?

I see nothing in Gen 35 to suggest that Jacob ceased to practice polygamy. God commands Jacob to be fruitful and multiply (verse 11) and Jacob complies by producing offspring through all four of his wives (23-26). Perhaps you are speaking of Rachel dying (19), but that still leaves Jacob with 3 wives, and no indication that abandoned any of them.

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The distinction is irrelevant. Concubines as understood in the OT was not the sex slaves you hear about Chinese Emperors having. They were wives of lower social classes with less social recognition. Either way, if you want to make the distinction, does that mean you find concubinage more acceptable than plural marriage?

I see nothing in Gen 35 to suggest that Jacob ceased to practice polygamy. God commands Jacob to be fruitful and multiply (verse 11) and Jacob complies by producing offspring through all four of his wives (23-26). Perhaps you are speaking of Rachel dying (19), but that still leaves Jacob with 3 wives, and no indication that abandoned any of them.

I, personally, find neither acceptable. Your understanding of "concubine" isn't the way I understand it.

Where you say "less social recognition", I would say no legal rights at all. I'll look into that more.

Jersey Girl

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I, personally, find neither acceptable. Your understanding of "concubine" isn't the way I understand it.

Where you say "less social recognition", I would say no legal rights at all. I'll look into that more.

Jersey Girl

Perhaps more to the point - do you think the Bible (OT) presents concubinage as acceptable (a claim that is also supported in D&C 132)?

I'll just add on that to say "no legal rights" would be incorrect. The children of concubines are recognized as legitimate, and courts have even recognized parties as a concubines in inheritance disputes, giving the indication that they do have such rights.

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