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Trouble In Milan


Paddy

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The background: Some YSA in a Milan (Italy) institute class have come across the issue of polygamy/polyandry on the internet. Specifically the account of Joseph Smith proposing and marrying women while their husbands are away on missions. The YSA were rightfully shocked by this information and were soon directed to the Stake President for answers by the institute teacher. Unfortunately the Stake Presidency did not have the answers so they contacted the Area Presidency for comment. The Area Presidency unfortunately sent a communication back to the YSA rebuking them for wanting to know about this information. The short of the story is that the YSA are now very lost and are perceiving this as a cover up.

I am in a position to assist the Institute teacher in Milan by providing some information. I realize that there are resources on FAIR, etc. But what I am asking is if there are some good materials available in Italian that might help in this situation?

I am happy for this tread to debate the issue of church history and its affect in a multi language setting but my first priority is to help the Milan YSA. If the brains trust out there can help it would be appreciated.

Thanks

Paddy

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The background: Some YSA in a Milan (Italy) institute class have come across the issue of polygamy/polyandry on the internet. Specifically the account of Joseph Smith proposing and marrying women while their husbands are away on missions. The YSA were rightfully shocked by this information and were soon directed to the Stake President for answers by the institute teacher. Unfortunately the Stake Presidency did not have the answers so they contacted the Area Presidency for comment. The Area Presidency unfortunately sent a communication back to the YSA rebuking them for wanting to know about this information. The short of the story is that the YSA are now very lost and are perceiving this as a cover up.

I am in a position to assist the Institute teacher in Milan by providing some information. I realize that there are resources on FAIR, etc. But what I am asking is if there are some good materials available in Italian that might help in this situation?

I am happy for this tread to debate the issue of church history and its affect in a multi language setting but my first priority is to help the Milan YSA. If the brains trust out there can help it would be appreciated.

Thanks

Paddy

If you haven't yet, contact FAIR and ask them as there are members who speak other languages besides English on it and there are also some sister organizations to FAIR that might be helpful that they could connect you with (FAIR just put on a conference in Europe with one of them, IIRC).
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Like cal says, contact FAIR.

The area presidency is right though - the information isn't the best to look for, it is hard to deal with at first, because of all the anti material out there. But there is an explination... it takes faith though. Trust the Area Presidency though, they are good to follow.

Worstcase, we could set up a thread here, and translate it I guess. But I'd start with FAIR and other leaders around there first.

Best Wishes,

TAO

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The first thing to note is that the Sealing Power of the Priesthood was not well understood in Joseph's day. I'd strongly suggest that it's not well understood in Thomas' day, either.

If the YSAs in Milano can exlain that, then they have a good chance of grasping the nuances of the "marriages" of Joseph to previously married women. They were not "marriages" as we understand the term, but sealings, and those sealings were specifically for the purpose of creating a link through Joseph Smith, to all the rest of God's family.

But they, as the antis you mentioned, and even a large portion (including me) of the Saints, do not comprehend the scope, power, and purpose of sealings. At best, we are cripples, grasping at straws in a dark, windy room, and there is only a handful of straw set loose from the bale we keep tripping over.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers
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The first thing to note is that the Sealing Power of the Priesthood was not well understood in Joseph's day. I'd strongly suggest that it's not well understood in Thomas' day, either.

If the YSAs in Milano can exlain that, then they have a good chance of grasping the nuances of the "marriages" of Joseph to previously married women. They were not "marriages" as we understand the term, but sealings, and those sealings were specifically for the purpose of creating a link through Joseph Smith, to all the rest of God's family.

But they, as the antis you mentioned, and even a large portion (including me) of the Saints, do not comprehend the scope, power, and purpose of sealings. At best, we are cripples, grasping at straws in a dark, windy room, and there is only a handful of straw set loose from the bale we keep tripping over.

Lehi

I read a lot of anti-mormon materials. There are so many things that I don't know. Anti-mormons say that Joseph Smith was pervert. They say many other bad things. I believe that Joseph Smith is true prophet and there is some kind of explanation why he did what he did. But I still would love to read some responces to that.

I don't need responce that would show me that Joseph is good man, I believe that he was good, not perfect, but good man, but I want to understand more what was the purpose of marrying women of other man. Thanks.

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But they, as the antis you mentioned, and even a large portion (including me) of the Saints, do not comprehend the scope, power, and purpose of sealings. At best, we are cripples, grasping at straws in a dark, windy room, and there is only a handful of straw set loose from the bale we keep tripping over.

Oh, please.

For the non-believers, the explanation is rather simple, and has been repeated throughout history. Smith was a false prophet.

For some believers, ie William Law, the explanation is also simple. Smith was a fallen prophet.

The only ones who struggle to understand the purpose of these "sealings" are those who want to maintain the belief that Smith was acting in furtherance of his prophetic calling when he married these women.

That said, if the explanation is found by a deeper understanding of the complexity of the power and purpose of sealing, then shouldn't the explanation come from those who speak to and for God for all, rather the scholars of FAIR and FARMS. Do you believe that Professor Peterson in a better position to understand and explain the power and purpose of the sealing than President Monson?

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Oh, please.

For the non-believers, the explanation is rather simple, and has been repeated throughout history. Smith was a false prophet.

For some believers, ie William Law, the explanation is also simple. Smith was a fallen prophet.

The only ones who struggle to understand the purpose of these "sealings" are those who want to maintain the belief that Smith was acting in furtherance of his prophetic calling when he married these women.

That said, if the explanation is found by a deeper understanding of the complexity of the power and purpose of sealing, then shouldn't the explanation come from those who speak to and for God for all, rather the scholars of FAIR and FARMS. Do you believe that Professor Peterson in a better position to understand and explain the power and purpose of the sealing than President Monson?

You know what is sad Jaybear? Your interpretation.

If I were to adopt a child and seal my self to that child is that the same as marriage? You darn well know that a sealing and a marriage are 2 different things that sometimes overlap and sometimes don't. It would seem that when one considers all of the evidence of JS "wives" that it would seem that his sealings or marriages, if you want to call them that , were not traditional marriages in any sense. But.... you already knew this. I agree with Lehi.

Edited by Mola Ram Suda Ram
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Oh, please.

Do you believe that Professor Peterson in a better position to understand and explain the power and purpose of the sealing than President Monson?

It is possible that President Monson understands better than Prof. Peterson. Who knows? But prophet doesn't say antything (I believe for some good reason). So we can do our best to try to understand. And if Prof.Peterson is one of those people who might know better and more than I do, I will hear what he has to say.

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The background: Some YSA in a Milan (Italy) institute class have come across the issue of polygamy/polyandry on the internet. Specifically the account of Joseph Smith proposing and marrying women while their husbands are away on missions. The YSA were rightfully shocked by this information and were soon directed to the Stake President for answers by the institute teacher. Unfortunately the Stake Presidency did not have the answers so they contacted the Area Presidency for comment. The Area Presidency unfortunately sent a communication back to the YSA rebuking them for wanting to know about this information. The short of the story is that the YSA are now very lost and are perceiving this as a cover up.

I am in a position to assist the Institute teacher in Milan by providing some information. I realize that there are resources on FAIR, etc. But what I am asking is if there are some good materials available in Italian that might help in this situation?

I am happy for this tread to debate the issue of church history and its affect in a multi language setting but my first priority is to help the Milan YSA. If the brains trust out there can help it would be appreciated.

Thanks

Paddy

Yet another example that the church needs to be more forthright with their history....how many similar scenarios could be avoided if the church actively sought to defuse these ticking time bombs of history by actively teaching these things in an open setting. They surely could slip it into all the other history lessons that are actively taught in the LDS faith, somewhere between the vision in the grove and the establishment of Utah.

How many testimonies have to be doubted before the church seeks a different tact? And no, testimonies should not rise and fall on this sort of stuff, but the fact is, they do. They shouldn't, but they do, as we have witnessed, and will continue to witness, time and again.

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You know what is sad Jaybear? Your interpretation.

If I were to adopt a child and seal my self to that child is that the same as marriage?

My interpretation? Heber Kimball and William Law shared my understanding the purpose of Smith proposed "sealings" to their wives.

By contrast, can you name a single husband who expressed a belief that this sealing was on such innocent terms.

Nice try though. Comparing these women to innocent children who looked to Smith as a father figure.

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Walden:

I don't know how much more the Church can be open about polygamy. JS practiced it secretly(as in not open to public knowledge). Brigham Young started the practice being open to the public knowledge after they left the US. Its practice have been done and over with for over a hundred years in the Church.

Edited by thesometimesaint
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How many testimonies have to be doubted before the church seeks a different tact? And no, testimonies should not rise and fall on this sort of stuff, but the fact is, they do. They shouldn't, but they do, as we have witnessed, and will continue to witness, time and again.

It didn't affect my testimony. It didn't affect many people's testimonies. I was an atheist. But one day God gave me a revelation. I felt Holy Ghost and I became a believer in instance. I actually KNEW at that moment that there was God. That was very powerful witness of the Holy Ghost. No matter what people say about God it will never affect what happened that day when God reveiled something wonderful to me.

The problem that some people never had testimony, they only said that they had. Some people had testimony but they started to have doubts:"what if that was just my imagination, or hallusination?" They become overwhelmed with what people say.

But I do not believe everything what people say. I will accept facts. But I know now that those who say negative things about our prophets actually do not have as many facts as thay claim they do.

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The first thing to note is that the Sealing Power of the Priesthood was not well understood in Joseph's day. I'd strongly suggest that it's not well understood in Thomas' day, either.

If the YSAs in Milano can exlain that, then they have a good chance of grasping the nuances of the "marriages" of Joseph to previously married women. They were not "marriages" as we understand the term, but sealings, and those sealings were specifically for the purpose of creating a link through Joseph Smith, to all the rest of God's family.

But they, as the antis you mentioned, and even a large portion (including me) of the Saints, do not comprehend the scope, power, and purpose of sealings. At best, we are cripples, grasping at straws in a dark, windy room, and there is only a handful of straw set loose from the bale we keep tripping over.

Lehi

Translation: "Line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, there a little", is metaphorical only and not literally understood.

If I take your meaning, you excuse even Joseph Smith for not understanding clearly what "sealing" is all about. And the Church knows SQUAT about it since Joseph Smith: virtually everything the Church teaches as doctrine on "sealing" and temples in their entirety came from Joseph Smith. In fact, we have LESS now that we did then. "Line removed from line, precept from precept; lose a little here, lose a little there", until it becomes comfortable. Dissemble with the facts. In fact, Joseph Smith used coercion upon many of the young, impressionable women that he "married" secretly. THAT is the problematic part in all of this: the secrecy, the lying/coverup and the subsequent obfuscation through denial....

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I want to make a suggestion, that I believe is consistent with the counsel of the Area Presidency.

I woould hold a fireside for the YSA, as follows.

+++++++++++++

Thank you for coming. I am sure that there are some things that concern you as you look on the internet. On of the challanges of being a member of Christ's church, we face the opposition of those who make every attempt to destroy our faith. You can draw your own conclusion on what motivates them to do this.

Every day we are faced with decisions, and I want to talk to your about some questions that you and you alone can answer.

Before we start discussing this thing that concerns you, let's get back to the basics. Every individual will face these two questions, these decisions, in this life or in the next.

1. Is the BOM the word of God?

2. Was Joseph Smith chosen by God to be His living prophet?

Now we get down to another very important question -- does the Lord say and do things that we do not understand.

Is it sometimes necessary for us to do things such as paying a tenth of our income to the church, keeping the Sabbath day holy, etc that may not make sense but we trust the Lord that we need to do what He tells us. etc...

Even for us who have been in the temple, there are many thing which we do not understand. And we realize that we will not understand them until we go into the next life.

And sealing as husband and wife for eternity is something that we will not truly understand until we pass into immortality, until we go beyond the veil. But let's be patient and see if we can get a glimpse.

We often think of the temple sealing as "marriage" -- a man and woman are married in the temple. We put the temporal marriage, husband and wife in this life, alongside the eternal relationship. And normally that is true.

However it is possible for two people to be sealed together who were never married. This is possible, and has been done. For example, after the death of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, several women were sealed to these prophets vicariously.

We can see that a woman can be sealed to a man where there was no marital relationship. In the early days of the church this was more common than today.

I think I have given you enough infomation for you to make up your own mind. Draw your own conclusion on how the Prophet Joseph Smith behaved in a very difficult situation, under the commandment of the Lord. The Lord gave Joseph Smith a difficult commandment, and whether you have the faith that he behaved honorably while following that instruction.

You decide to follow the prophet, or whether you will be influenced by those who desire to destroy your faith.

Edited by cdowis
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In fact, Joseph Smith used coercion upon many of the young, impressionable women that he "married" secretly.

CFR.

Keeping in mind that coercion means "use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance."

Edited by Fly Fisherman
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I read a lot of anti-mormon materials. There are so many things that I don't know. Anti-mormons say that Joseph Smith was pervert. They say many other bad things. I believe that Joseph Smith is true prophet and there is some kind of explanation why he did what he did. But I still would love to read some responces to that.

I don't need responce that would show me that Joseph is good man, I believe that he was good, not perfect, but good man, but I want to understand more what was the purpose of marrying women of other man. Thanks.

I also believe Joseph Smith was correct and sincere when said that he was not perfect and never claimed to be; but he was not guilty of sinning in his heart. A desire to commit sin was not in his nature.

And I believe that he had powerful physical drives/needs. The evidence points clearly to this conclusion. He worked this into his religion, so that the "restoration of all things" included "patriarchal marriage or plurality of wives" like the Genesis patriarchs and later prophets had. That Joseph Smith went about this in secret is the damaging part, because he clearly lied to the public and lived his double standard. He only extended polygamy to the "elite" of the Church because Emma was about to blow the lid off his "little" secret. His closest friends knew about Fanny Alger; it was what formed Oliver Cowdery's break with Joseph. The later girls described the arguments that Joseph used to convince them to "marry" him; if we deny the validity of the young women's own statements, we have no "facts" to examine at all.

I can't answer the question, why did Joseph Smith marry the wives of other men? Nobody can. If he had not done that, I would still be striving to believe and gain "further light and knowledge" about Mormonism. But perhaps it was inevitable that I "break" with dogmatic religion, all of it, in the long run. The polyandry of Joseph Smith just slapped me awake. I don't know what would have awakened me if it hadn't been for that. But a disbelief in limited (finite) concepts for an anthropomorphic god had been growing inside of me for a long time before I learned of the polyandry of Joseph Smith.

When I realized that the evidence for Joseph Smith's polyandry was as strong as any evidence for believing anything ever gets, I had to accept it: or else stop studying history altogether, and turn my back on any human evidence whatsoever for anything. As I am not prepared to do that, I just interpret the human evidence the best I can.

And here I am: no longer believing that such things as "prophets" exist or ever existed, as portrayed by the dogmatic assertions of their followers. To my wider view, ALL of humanity are "prophets", which of course renders the dogmatic definition of the word "prophets" meaningless. It is just a way to say: "All human beings are directly connected to God forever."

I do not see any need for "authority to act for God" either: so, no priesthood in the dogmatic, exclusive sense; ALL of us are priests and priestesses, if such terms could even be held to have any non dogmatic meaning.

So, Mormonism is not "special"; not any more so than Joseph Smith himself. If his life is worthy of emulation to you then his religion is also worthy of your adherence. If you can forgive his polyandry, or any number of other "faults", it is asking no more than expecting you to accept Christianity with all of its warts and blemishes. Or any other dogmatic religion with any manner of imperfections.

I accept, and reject, them all in part; I could not give my allegiance - my total devotion - to any of them. The only religion I must live true to is my personal religion, i.e. my integrity, or, my God-given awareness of justice. To be fair to Joseph Smith: I believe that he did this very same thing, and believed that his religion was God's religion. To pretend was never in his nature. He was convinced that his polygamy and polyandry was true doctrine. And I think that holding this view of Joseph Smith's character requires a great deal of charity!...

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I said: "In fact, Joseph Smith used coercion upon many of the young, impressionable women that he "married" secretly."

CFR.

Keeping in mind that coercion means "use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance."

Read Todd M. Compton's book, In Sacred Loneliness. It's all in there. And yes, coercion is what Joseph used: his position as prophet and leader was used to spook the girls into marriage. If they didn't marry him then they were casting themselves "out" of God's favor. His use of the angel commanding him with a drawn sword to enter into "the practice" of patriarchal marriage, i.e. threatening him with destruction if he did not obey, he used more than once on impressionable young women: if they did not "help" him obey by marrying him, he would be destroyed. When they balked he even prophesied cursings instead of blessings upon their futures if they did not obey his/God's command to marry him. That is genuine intimidation....

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I said: "In fact, Joseph Smith used coercion upon many of the young, impressionable women that he "married" secretly."

Read Todd M. Compton's book, In Sacred Loneliness. It's all in there. And yes, coercion is what Joseph used: his position as prophet and leader was used to spook the girls into marriage. If they didn't marry him then they were casting themselves "out" of God's favor. His use of the angel commanding him with a drawn sword to enter into "the practice" of patriarchal marriage, i.e. threatening him with destruction if he did not obey, he used more than once on impressionable young women: if they did not "help" him obey by marrying him, he would be destroyed. When they balked he even prophesied cursings instead of blessings upon their futures if they did not obey his/God's command to marry him. That is genuine intimidation....

What would you do if an Angel with a drawn sword was threatening you with destruction if you didn't do something distasteful?

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I'd be questioning the origins of such an "Angel", and on my knees praying for God to protect me.

And if it was confirmed that he was from the God of Abraham?

Edited by Nathair
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And if it was confirmed that he was from the God of Abraham?

I'm confident that would not be the case. May as well ask me if a murderer is acting under the God of Abraham. The answer is, "no".

God stayed Abraham's hand, seems to be a point that is lost on Mormons. I don't see that happened with Joseph Smith's lust.

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I'm confident that would not be the case. May as well ask me if a murderer is acting under the God of Abraham. The answer is, "no".

God stayed Abraham's hand, seems to be a point that is lost on Mormons. I don't see that happened with Joseph Smith's lust.

So what you are saying is if an Angel commanded you to violate the customs and mores of your society, he could not be from God? What about the times God's prophets were commanded to lay waste and destroy entire nations? Furthermore, we have been given no reason to believe that the Prophet's behavior had anything to do with lust except projection from some already inclined to criticism.

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The background: Some YSA in a Milan (Italy) institute class have come across the issue of polygamy/polyandry on the internet. Specifically the account of Joseph Smith proposing and marrying women while their husbands are away on missions. The YSA were rightfully shocked by this information and were soon directed to the Stake President for answers by the institute teacher. Unfortunately the Stake Presidency did not have the answers so they contacted the Area Presidency for comment. The Area Presidency unfortunately sent a communication back to the YSA rebuking them for wanting to know about this information. The short of the story is that the YSA are now very lost and are perceiving this as a cover up.

I am in a position to assist the Institute teacher in Milan by providing some information. I realize that there are resources on FAIR, etc. But what I am asking is if there are some good materials available in Italian that might help in this situation?

I am happy for this tread to debate the issue of church history and its affect in a multi language setting but my first priority is to help the Milan YSA. If the brains trust out there can help it would be appreciated.

Thanks

Paddy

This is great that you have the desire to help out. I am sure there are great resources and information to share with these youth to give them "broader perspectives". These men who had their wives sealed to Joseph Smith remained friends with the Prophet so it had nothing to do with "sexual relationships" that our enemies desperately try to peg it as.

Unfortunately, in "crisis of faith" matters a good dose of reading the Book of Mormon, prayer and fasting etc.. are the only means to turn a "crisis of faith" into an increase of faith.

It is also important to validate what they are going through and not be afraid to talk about the issue. But once they feel they have been "heard", the basic fundamentals should be implemented and then let them "wrestle with their faith" after all we can do for them.

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