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On Sweeping Polygamy under the Rug


Scott Lloyd

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I don't really get it. What exactly is there to be ashamed of. The sincerity of the saints in following what is presented to them, while being persecuted for it, is plain to see and taught as such. I know of no one that has expressed shame of the polygamous heritage among the saints, certainly not by the families that practiced it (my wife's family), less so by converts such as myself. It isn't that important to us today since it is no longer a commandment among us and we have fish to fry in many other kettles.

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I feel that the critics have a doublestandsrd when critizising LDS plural marriage. I ahve nto heard them go against devorces and new mariages equally ahrd. What else those are than plural marriages? In tehm just today ther is usually only one woman in the mans home at the time. In some cases the man even moves between a couple of women allt eh time and theya re not even married... ansTHIS is completely ok... isnt it!

What critics really mean is that WE dont TALK about the plural marriage the way THEY want to! In other words, we do not condemt JS for it and call him names... how could we, as far as we KNOW it WAS a command from God and a strict one too! :P

We can talk about it days on end, but they will keep saying we sweep it under a rug... just because we dont think or speak about it the way they do! Some critics have got their maskin fastened in one thing only...

So supposedly JS HAD found out the whole thing.. so???? What would it change... NOTHING. The gospel is the same and the Church is the same. There is NO WAY to prove that it was not or that it was a true command, except for those who believe in JS. All we can do is wait til we die so will we know. In till then those people who are willing to believe good about JS will believe it was a commandment and those who rather believe the envious, angry and revangeful people whose only task in life was to go around from house to house and gather any negative thought and ghossip about JS and his family they could find in order to spoil his reputation.

In the mean while those who are positive and believe in JS and dont care what world say about him keep on pushing forward with great joy and strength knowing that JS has shown us the rigth way to go.

We really should have a day when nothing else is allowed to write here than plural marriage... we would see how many are interested. Many just are not interested.. nix, noll, zip... it really has NOTHIG to do with our today.

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I don't really get it. What exactly is there to be ashamed of. The sincerity of the saints in following what is presented to them...

Jeff,

The issue Senator raised was not whether we question the sincerity of forefathers, or are ashamed of them (he wasn't claiming either to be the case)...but on what grounds and to what degree one can challenge the faithfulness of people in the here and now who see merit in discussing the principle they lived - and its implications (historical, spiritual, and/or interpersonal).

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In decrying the fact that plural marriage does not get more attention in official Church fora (Sunday lessons, pulpit sermons, etc.) I think Senator may be misreading the matter. I think he believes that the Brethren are ashamed of it.

Argh. CFR. Where did Senator ever say (or even imply) that he thought top LDS leadership was ashamed?

However, this confirms precisely what he DID say just a few hours ago - that people aren't allowed to discuss such things without their faithfulness being called into question.

...the Church leaders are loath to see it misunderstood and defiled, as it surely would be and has been by the adversaries of the restored gospel and by certain schismatic groups who have acted in defiance of the revealed directive from God that the practice be ended, and have adulterated it by the manner in which they have continued to practice it.

The Senator would likely agree with all of that. So please don't set him up as a strawman.

He isn't the enemy. Far from it.

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As I pondered this topic over lunch, an analogy occurred to me.

Consider the following hypothetical scenario:

At some future day, the Church becomes prosperous enough and the spiritual maturity of the membership is such that members generally are able to handle their member-missionary obligations themselves under the auspices of wards and stakes without the need for full-time missionaries.

Suppose the Brethren determine that it is no longer necessary to send 19-year-old, unmarried men across the country or abroad to serve full-time missionaries. Suppose they say, in effect: "The day has come when we are calling you, instead, to remain at home, complete your education and meanwhile find a worthy marriage partner with whom to start your family and begin rearing your posterity in righteousness. Your obligation now is to stay where you are and serve the Lord and His Kingdom in the manner in which you are called and is best suited to you, which may or may not be local missionary service."

Generations of teaching and admonition to the effect that every young man should prepare himself for full-time missionary service would overnight become obsolete.

Would it mean that the people who had served full-time missions over the years were being dishonored? Absolutely not. They obeyed a commandment and answered a call that was issued to them by the Lord through his Prophet at the time. Such calls were necessary and served their purpose.

Would it mean that the past teachings relative to full-time missionary service were suddenly being disavowed or repudiated? Certainly not. They would be regarded as having been true for their time. It would merely be a matter of conditions and circumstances having changed.

If we can conceive of such a scenario, perhaps it makes it easier to understand that plural marriage was a principle and a commandment that was valid at the time it was instituted, but that times have changed, and the Lord no longer requires it and it is not emphasized among His covenant people.

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I don't really get it. What exactly is there to be ashamed of. The sincerity of the saints in following what is presented to them, while being persecuted for it, is plain to see and taught as such. I know of no one that has expressed shame of the polygamous heritage among the saints, certainly not by the families that practiced it (my wife's family), less so by converts such as myself.

Mitt Romney says polygamy is bizarre and awful. GBH condemns it, and said its not doctrinal.

The Joseph Smith of Josephsmith.net is a monogamist.

It isn't that important to us today since it is no longer a commandment among us and we have fish to fry in many other kettles.

You mean important things like reenacting the bone headed decision to send Mormons pioneers across the plains pulling handcarts. If the brethren had any interest whatsoever of honoring the faith and sacrifice of the women who accepted the doctrine under trying circumstances, I am pretty sure they could find the time.

I have a hunch that if one the wards chose to honor the women of polygamy in the days of 47 parade, the float would never see the light of day.

Scott: I, for one, have expressed gratitude and honor for our Latter-day Saint forebears for their faithfulness and courage in obeying this very difficult commandment.

Let me know when Desert News is ready to publish an article that pays homage to those women who agreed to be Smith plural wives, while the practice was illegal and covert?

Until then, I am going to have to agree with Senator.

Though considering that many people have left the LDS Church after learning some of the gritty truths of polygamy, the decision to ignore the topic may be more likely motivated by numbers, than by shame.

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We can talk about it days on end, but they will keep saying we sweep it under a rug... just because we dont think or speak about it the way they do!

I think this is a very important point related to the OP. What do people see when they think of plural marriage? They look at the scandals associated with the FLDS and other groups. The early saints were a pious people of great faith. The heritage they left is one of perseverance in the face of great persecution. It pains me to hear some of the lascivious comments toward Joseph and others who lived this principle, particularly when their opinion are based on extreme bias, presentism and often faulty or incomplete information.

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Mitt Romney says polygamy is bizarre and awful.

So?

GBH condemns it, and said its not doctrinal.

Way to strip the context...care to restore the context here?

The Joseph Smith of Josephsmith.net is a monogamist.

That's funny...I can't find that claim specifically made on that site...ohhhhh, you were hoping that it would list off all the sealings performed? We should probably list the men too, then.

You mean important things like reenacting the bone headed decision to send Mormons pioneers across the plains pulling handcarts. If the brethren had any interest whatsoever of honoring the faith and sacrifice of the women who accepted the doctrine under trying circumstances, I am pretty sure they could find the time.

Uh huh...cuz you speak for the brethren...are you their executive secretary now?

I have a hunch that if one the wards chose to honor the women of polygamy in the days of 47 parade, the float would never see the light of day.

I have a hunch you are right, but not for the same reasons.

Let me know when Desert News is ready to publish an article that pays homage to those women who agreed to be Smith plural wives, while the practice was illegal and covert?

Until then, I am going to have to agree with Senator.

Everyone who's shocked, please say "Aye!"..................................................................................[chirp, chirp]

Though considering that many people have left the LDS Church after learning some of the gritty truths of polygamy, the decision to ignore the topic may be more likely motivated by numbers, than by shame.

You nailed it! Your insights into the inner workings of a giant volunteer organization of which you've never been a part is astounding!

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You know, there are two ways to interpret the only reason given in the scriptures for plural marriage; "raise up seed unto me".

One is simply to increase the population. The other is to ensure children grow up in the gospel. Other reasons that may have been given doctrinally may be reasonable too. However, I would like to propose another reason given in the scriptures that we might be overlooking. It will surely cause some of you, especially the females, to frantically jump up and down. Nevertheless, here it is:

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

Whether or not you agree this is a valid reason for plural marriage, it surely precludes any notion of polyandry because it does not say anywhere else that it is not good for the woman to be alone. Obviously women are to be married, and therefore not alone, but it's the angle the Lord takes that sets the correct tone for doctrine such as the Proclaimation on the Family etc.

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Mitt Romney says polygamy is bizarre and awful.

Mitt Romney does not speak for the Church. And I don't concede that you are representing his intent accurately here.

GBH condemns it, and said its not doctrinal.

CFR that President Hinckley said such a thing regarding those within the LDS Church who practiced plural marriage prior to the issuance of the Manifesto.

You have egregiously distorted President Hinckley's words. And we have been thus been jaybeared yet again.

The Joseph Smith of Josephsmith.net is a monogamist.

What bilgewater!

You mean important things like reenacting the bone headed decision to send Mormons pioneers across the plains pulling handcarts.

I'm reluctant to address this non sequitur and potential thread derailment, but I will point out that of the 10 handcart companies, eight were successful and accomplished the purpose for which they were intended.

If the brethren had any interest whatsoever of honoring the faith and sacrifice of the women who accepted the doctrine under trying circumstances, I am pretty sure they could find the time.

I have a hunch that if one the wards chose to honor the women of polygamy in the days of 47 parade, the float would never see the light of day.

And you have thus ignored what I've said earlier about the wisdom of not giving the subject more exposure to the derision and mockery of individuals like you who would use it as a club with which to beat up the Church.

Let me know when Desert News is ready to publish an article that pays homage to those women who agreed to be Smith plural wives, while the practice was illegal and covert?

Se above.

Though considering that many people have left the LDS Church after learning some of the gritty truths of polygamy, ...

Helped along, in many cases by the likes of you, who are not so much interested in honoring the polygamists of the past as they are in using them as a tool to discredit Mormonism.

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As I pondered this topic over lunch, an analogy occurred to me.

It's a very good analogy.

But in fairness,it fails to correct the way you chose to defame Senator in your OP.

Generations of teaching and admonition to the effect that every young man should prepare himself for full-time missionary service would overnight become obsolete.

Would it mean that the people who had served full-time missions over the years were being dishonored? Absolutely not. They obeyed a commandment and answered a call that was issued to them by the Lord through his Prophet at the time. Such calls were necessary and served their purpose.

Would it mean that the past teachings relative to full-time missionary service were suddenly being disavowed or repudiated? Certainly not. They would be regarded as having been true for their time. It would merely be a matter of conditions and circumstances having changed.

If we can conceive of such a scenario, perhaps it makes it easier to understand that plural marriage was a principle and a commandment that was valid at the time it was instituted, but that times have changed, and the Lord no longer requires it and it is not emphasized among His covenant people.

But what if, generations after that change, those who attempted to discuss the sacrifice of those young men & women, and the struggles and challenges they faced, and the blessings they experienced, what if their comments were shouted down, and they were called unfaithful, and were accused of thereby questioning the decision of LDS leadership to call them home?

Only then would the analogy provide a better match for what happened over Senator's departure. Fair enough?

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It's a very good analogy.

But in fairness,it fails to correct the way you chose to defame Senator in your OP.

But what if, generations after that change, those who attempted to discuss the sacrifice of those young men & women, and the struggles and challenges they faced, and the blessings they experienced, what if their comments were shouted down, and they were called unfaithful, and were accused of thereby questioning the decision of LDS leadership to call them home?

Only then would the analogy provide a better match for what happened over Senator's departure. Fair enough?

I don't agree that Senator has been defamed. Unfortunately, he made his comments then chose to depart the board. I would thus prefer to discuss the broader issues and not make him the topic.

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IMHO the reason its not talked about more is because we covenanted with the FED Gov. not to...

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy

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I don't agree that Senator has been defamed.

? Seriously? You're of the opinion that your depiction of him enhanced his reputation?

Unfortunately, he made his comments then chose to depart the board. I would thus prefer to discuss the broader issues and not make him the topic.

While I think the context for his leaving IS the broader issue.

Because it addresses the nature of the developing community he left behind. Us.

Let's please not sweep THAT under the rug.

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? Seriously? You're of the opinion that your depiction of him enhanced his reputation?

While I think the context for his leaving IS the broader issue.

Because it address the nature of the developing community he left behind. Us.

Let's please not sweep THAT under the rug.

I could try to dredge up a past thread in which Senator has participated. I'm not going to do that, as he is not here to speak in his own behalf. Again, I don't want this thread to be about Senator, but on the matter of the focus (or lack thereof) on plural marriage in today's Church. I didn't open the thread to quarrel with Senator or with others about him.

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IMHO the reason its not talked about more is because we covenanted with the FED Gov. not to...

Sorry, this makes no sense to me. It IS history. No one should be afraid of teaching and talking about history unless there is a hidden agenda.

But I think it is all too clear that the Chuch would rather distance itself from this part of it's history for obvious reasons.

One just needs to look at the Church website on the "History of the Prophets". Not one mention of the polygamous wives of prphet's who practiced polygamy. Yet the marriage of every wife of prophets who practiced monogamy is reflected as a "significant event"!

Unfortunately it's pretty clear how the Church wants to distance itself from this history. That's why we don't find it in our teaching manuals today.

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One just needs to look at the Church website on the "History of the Prophets". Not one mention of the polygamous wives of prphet's who practiced polygamy. Yet the marriage of every wife of prophets who practiced monogamy is reflected as a "significant event"!

I'm not aware of a Church Web site called "History of the Prophets." I just looked and couldn't find one. Can you provide a link?

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Unfortunately it's pretty clear how the Church wants to distance itself from this history. That's why we don't find it in our teaching manuals today.

While we are waiting for DanGB to supply us with a URL for the "History of the Prophets" Web site he says the Church has, I will rebut the above claim with this electronic link to a page in the Institute of Religion Student Manual "Church History and the Fulness of Times" which summarizes the history of plural marriage in the latter-day Church. DanGB's claim that "we don't find it in our teaching manuals today" is thus quite wrong.

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First off, people make their own reputation and claiming to be defamed is not the same as an "un enhanced" reputation. I don't think anyone was defamed. Now it is plausible that the positions set forth by someone can be easily countered, but that is not defamitory, that simply is a lack of forthought. So lets leave the defamation issue aside since it sounds more like sour grapes than it does an actual statement of fact.

Polygamy is not that important, the analogy presented regarding missions was an excellent analogy. All good men "must" or "should" go on a mission. If that requirement or strong urging were relieved, then of course the idea of everyone going on a mission at 19 would be considered of much less importance. In other words, such things are not necessarily eternal and forever, they are requirements or part of the requirements the Lord puts for to his people from time to time.

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Again, I don't want this thread to be about Senator, but on the matter of the focus (or lack thereof) on plural marriage in today's Church.

Why would we teach about a principle we no longer follow? Our mission in Church lessons is to Perfect the Saints, where would a history lesson about a no longer used practice fit that mission?

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None of the biographical sketches on this page mentions any of the marriages of the presidents of the Church, plural or otherwise. The information on President Wilford Woodruff, however, does include the fact that after much pondering and prayer he received the revelation discontinuing the practice of plural marriage.

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Why would we teach about a principle we no longer follow? Our mission in Church lessons is to Perfect the Saints, where would a history lesson about a no longer used practice fit that mission?

Some folks apparently think that by not giving greater attention to this past chapter in Church history, we dishonor those who practiced plural marriage. I, of course, disagree and see wisdom in not exposing those people or the principle more fully to the profane derision of those who would distort our beliefs.

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