Jump to content

Adding Plural Wives


phaedrus ut

Recommended Posts

In my one and only viewing of Sister Wives I saw the husband preparing to go out on a date as he was "courting" a new wife into the marriage. It made me wonder about historical LDS polygamy. Did men in the church actively date and pursue new wives while they were married? Were there church guidelines about dating other women while married? Does anyone have any historical sources on the subject?

Thanks,

Phaedrus

Link to comment

The independents are more of the daters. The organized groups often are married to each other or into a family through revelation by the prophet of the group.

Link to comment

In my one and only viewing of Sister Wives I saw the husband preparing to go out on a date as he was "courting" a new wife into the marriage. It made me wonder about historical LDS polygamy. Did men in the church actively date and pursue new wives while they were married? Were there church guidelines about dating other women while married? Does anyone have any historical sources on the subject?

Thanks,

Phaedrus

My ancestor's journal states that the wife suggested a woman to her husband and he went and asked her to marry him as a plural wife...then they got married, but it doesn't state how much time there was between the proposal and the sealing.
Link to comment

The two lore that I am aware of in some of my children's ancestry.

Polygamous Husband #1. Already had at least two wives. Was called on a mission to Denmark and was directed as part of the mission to choose another wife and bring her back, of course, when done. This woman was my children's maternal ancestor.

Polygamous Husband #2. Do not know the status of the leader who directed him to do so, but he was told to choose a second wife. He had to go home and tell his first wife. The husband never would have done this at all from his own personal desires. He and his first wife were thoroughly in love as sweethearts, and this situation was most agonizing to both of them. But it was carried out after they discussed it and chose to obey (as they saw it). Not sure whose idea it was of the girl that was selected (and who accepted obviously), I think it was his, hers or both, but not the leader's. Then all three were called to settle a town far away. My children's maternal ancestor was the first wife.

Link to comment

My ancestor's journal states that the wife suggested a woman to her husband ....

I think this is often how it was done...

As it is "the law of Sarah"(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 132:65) I think we can learn something from Sarah/Abraham... it was a combination of trying to fulfill a commandment of God - so it came from God, and from Sarah...

also, as "the law of Sarah" I think there is a symbolic reason behind it... Abraham and Isaac were in similitude of Heavenly Father / Jesus... that would mean Sarah is in similitude of Heavenly Mother... just as Abraham got off at the last minute and did not have to sacrifice Isaac, Sarah got off at the last minute and was able to bear her own child... but in the case of our Heavenly Parents, Jesus died, and he was begotten by a handmaid...

(New Testament | Luke 1:38)

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord...

Mary was a virgin of coarse, there was nothing scandalous about it... but just imagine giving one of your own children up for adoption - or sending your significant other and your child away to live/marry someone else... it would be incredibly hard...

so why use handmaids? why is Jesus the "only" begotten - the only one - and he had to be begotten by a handmaid? what is all the symbolism around all the barren women in the scriptures? ... Eve was unable to have children in her perfect form too... imo it has something to do with the agency of the child, it's a sin, or at least a transgression, to get someone into something that they cannot make an informed choice on... we didn't really make an informed choice to be born on Earth - we understood the idea of it, but did not have the experience to really know what we were getting ourselves into... We do not baptize infants because the point of it is to make an informed choice - I think our Heavenly Parents give birth through baptism - at least 8yo - can only accept those who are able to make an informed choice on it... but that is jmo... sorry for the birdwalk, but for things like this, there has to be a reason behind everything you know? God is not going to just ask us to do something for no reason at all, we are being prepared... we do not live the law of sarah right now, but beyond the veil? so we look back and try and figure out what it is all about... just like Abraham killing Isaac - looks so horrible, what a horrible thing to ask, and then we start understanding the atonement etc. etc. just takes a lot of faith and trust...

Link to comment

Interesting stories. Thanks for sharing. I have a fuzzy memory of a story of Brigham Young courting a new wife and taking her for carriage rides but I can't remember where I read it.

I think the story related by Maidservant of the husband and wife in love as sweethearts seems like the most difficult. I can only imagine the difficulty of bringing another person into a loving marriage.

Phaedrus

Link to comment

Taking Joseph Smith as the prototype we see that he approached each woman directly and privately, usually in person first; announced the Lord's will that she marry Joseph; and in cases of severe reluctance or even disbelief on the part of the woman/girl, Joseph would resort to language typical of Swedenborgian logic, wherein he would assert that they had been soul-mates in the preexistence and were meant for each other in this life, regardless of any other conditions (such as the woman/girl already having a husband and even children): and that "not all the devils in hell could keep them apart" (words to that effect); and (or) the "angel of the Lord stood before me with a drawn sword and threatened me with destruction if I did not obey and take you to wife" (again, words to that effect, resorted to more than once), etc. There was no dating, no courtship, only command and warning; even prophetic cursing if the woman/girl disobeyed the word of the Lord through his prophet. All was done in absolute secrecy, making any courtship out of the question.

Later, in Utah territory, there was little if any courtship, as already indicated in the anecdotes of this thread. Usually, polygamy was a severe burden for all involved. But there were notable exceptions where the participants claimed to be happier in that relationship than they would otherwise have been in a monogamous one -- see Todd Compton's, "In Sacred Loneliness", for one of the best single sources on real life polygamy in early Mormonism; where possible, through the eyes of the very women who had been Joseph Smith's wives and later married other Mormon leaders "for time" only; Compton is honest in his efforts to show historical polygamy as it was, not as some agenda-driven exercise for or against the Church....

Link to comment

I have a fuzzy memory of a story of Brigham Young courting a new wife and taking her for carriage rides but I can't remember where I read it.

I believe you are thinking of the story of Ann Eliza Webb.
Link to comment

Taking Joseph Smith as the prototype we see that he approached each woman directly and privately, usually in person first

CFR. My readings indicate he asked permission from the head of the household she was a member of first.

wherein he would assert that they had been soul-mates in the preexistence and were meant for each other in this life
CFR that he said this for the majority of the women he was sealed to.
Link to comment

In my one and only viewing of Sister Wives I saw the husband preparing to go out on a date as he was "courting" a new wife into the marriage. It made me wonder about historical LDS polygamy. Did men in the church actively date and pursue new wives while they were married? Were there church guidelines about dating other women while married? Does anyone have any historical sources on the subject?

Thanks,

Phaedrus

I'm reading the book "More Wives Than One", an interesting and scholarly study of Polygamy in Manti (and Utah in general). If there's one thing to be learned from this book, it's that there were general trends but few universal characteristics. Polygamy in 1855 was very different than polygamy in 1875, and there were many different reasons people chose to marry polygamously.

But based on the situations and data in the book, it doesn't sound like "dating" was a big part of the process for very many polygamous wives.

She does note that part of the decline in plural marriages in the 1880's can be attributed to the younger generation placing more emphasis on romantic love, and that there was even a trend for girls to choose to marry a less righteous younger man if only to ensure he wouldn't be commanded to take plural wives (as the more righteous older men in Church leadership were).

Link to comment
based on the situations and data in the book, it doesn't sound like "dating" was a big part of the process for very many polygamous wives.

I submit that "dating" was not a big part of the mating routine in the XIX for any but the very wealthy, and then not among "old money".

Romance, as we understand it, is not a very effective strategy for finding a mate. Far better, in terms of longevity and stable families, is the arranged marriage. Mom'n'Dad are more interested in their children's long-term happiness than the children themselves, whose view is obscured by their hormones.

Lehi

Link to comment

Romance, as we understand it is not a very effective strategy for finding a mate. Far better, in terms of longevity and stable families, is the arranged marriage.

The problem with this assumption is that most cultures that have arranged marriages also tend to discourage, sometimes drastically, divorce so we don't if the marriages are stable due to choice or social pressure. While I think that some social pressure should be involved to help encourage people to work out their problems in the relationships, I don't think having no or little option is very helpful, but more likely to created a sense of helplessness and giving up. and enduring rather than trying to change things for the better.

Link to comment

I said: Taking Joseph Smith as the prototype we see that he approached each woman directly and privately, usually in person first

CFR. My readings indicate he asked permission from the head of the household she was a member of first.

The adult women, especially those already married, he approached directly; most of them in person.

I said: wherein he would assert that they had been soul-mates in the preexistence and were meant for each other in this life

CFR that he said this for the majority of the women he was sealed to.

What does the majority have to do with it? He said this to several of the women he proposed to. It wasn't a stock MO....

Link to comment

The adult women, especially those already married, he approached directly; most of them in person.

I am calling for actual references.

What does the majority have to do with it? He said this to several of the women he proposed to. It wasn't a stock MO....

The way you wrote it made it sound to me like this was his standard protocol, if you now concede he did this only in a few situations, I would agree that is consistent with what I have read.

Link to comment

@calmoriah: Todd Compton, in each chapter about Joseph Smith's polyandrous wives, relates the details about how he proposed to them. E.g. (page 212) Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner (as also Zina Huntington) was coerced by Joseph Smith with the “angel” story: “Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the devils in hell should never get me from him.” At the time she is already married to Adam Lightner (in Missouri since 1835) Joseph Smith told her to stay with Adam after Brigham Young performed the sealing in February 1842 (page 213). When Mary said that she was leaving Nauvoo with her husband, Joseph Smith in tears prophesied calamities upon her and her family for her decision to “leave the Saints” (and him) – her autobiography claims total fulfilment of everything Smith said. Later Mary was sealed to Brigham Young for time, in the fall of 1844 (BOP #35).

Link to comment
Todd Compton, in each chapter about Joseph Smith's polyandrous wives, relates the details about how he proposed to them
Well, then you can make a count of how many he went directly to personally first and show that it was "most" (I am assuming you are talking solely of the polyandrous marriages, if you are claiming he did this with most of his plural marriages, then you need to expanding your accounting to a majority of all his sealings). Even in the quote you give, it does not established that Joseph did not talk to anyone else first.

The first likely plural wife was Fanny Alger and this appears to have been arranged with a go-between: http://www.fairblog.org/2009/05/31/the-fanny-alger-marriage/

Link to comment

I don't see the point you are driving at. Iirc, Joseph Smith personally approached most if not all of the women to do the actual proposing. Yes, he often had another person broach the subject first, but not always. Again, what point are you making here?...

I'm asking you to prove your claim rather than just stating it as a fact. Giving a link is not enough without a quote or numbers that demonstrate your claim is accurate.

Link to comment

There was no dating, no courtship, only command and warning; even prophetic cursing if the woman/girl disobeyed the word of the Lord through his prophet.

This is a formal request, CFR.

You might start with Liza Rollins Lightner. We have her diary, and she freely discusses her marriage proposal from JS. There are other sources, so let's see your cursing, commands, and warnings.

Let's see what you got, sir.

Link to comment

I don't see the point you are driving at. Iirc, Joseph Smith personally approached most if not all of the women to do the actual proposing. Yes, he often had another person broach the subject first, but not always. Again, what point are you making here?...

Questing beast,

Did this third party also use the threats, warnings, and curses? Give us the details on this interesting technique for making a proposal.

Link to comment

This is a formal request, CFR.

You might start with Liza Rollins Lightner. We have her diary, and she freely discusses her marriage proposal from JS. There are other sources, so let's see your cursing, commands, and warnings.

Let's see what you got, sir.

First of all, my initial post was from memory. There may not be a second case of Joseph Smith "cursing" one of the women who backed out or rebuffed him. The one case I know of is the one I posted reference to above, where Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner had "calamities" prophesied upon her, and claimed later that everything Joseph had "prophesied" regarding her and her family came true. That was the "cursing" I was referring to as part of his coercive tactics of persuasion....

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...