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VideoGameJunkie

Forget Joseph Smith, what about Lorenzo Snow's polygamy?

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Joseph Smith gets a bad rep for his polygamous sealings, but they didn't produce any children or have sexual relations. What should be of more interest is Lorenzo Snow's polygamous lifestyle and age difference where he did have children with his young wives.

At age 30, LDS Church Apostle Lorenzo Snow married 18-year old Charlotte Squires.

At age 31, Snow married 33-year old Mary Adaline Goddard.

At age 31, he married 18-year old Sarah Ann Prichard.

At age 32, he married 26-year old Harriet Amelia Squires.

At age 34, he married 17-year old Eleanor Houtz.

At age 39, he married 24-year old Caroline Horton.

At age 43, he married 17-year old Mary Elizabeth Houtz.

At age 44, he married 16-year old Phoebe Amelia Woodruff. (had 7 children together)

At age 57, he married 16-year old Sara Minnie Ephramina Jensen. (had a child a year later. Lorenzo had actually been courting her since she was 14, but married at 16)

Notice the age gaps here with relations happening. I don't see why Joseph Smith is the key target all the time when talking about polygamy while it seems the lifestyle of soon to be prophet Lorenzo Snow seemed worse.

And what's interesting is how Wilford Woodruff was trying to give his daughter Phoebe away at a young age. First he tried to give her to Brigham Young when she was 14 and Brigham was 56. It seemed women were treated like cows back in the polygamy days as quoted by Heber C Kimball; " I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow."

I see a lot of the FLDS and Warren Jeffs in these practices and I hope women weren't treated like cows 150 years ago.

Edited by VideoGameJunkie

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Excellent observation.  Polygamy was polygamy, but the devil's in the details.  The more you learn how it was practiced the more concerning it becomes. 

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Imagine we practiced polygamy today and imagine at your current age marrying 16 year olds and sleeping with them and having children with them. Would you feel a bit dirty, or would you feel justified knowing it's ok from the Lord? And notice as Snow's age kept going up the age of his wives kept being minors.

Edited by VideoGameJunkie

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Here's info about Joseph Smith's wife Helen Mar Kimball's life at 14 years old accepting polygamy eventually, but suffering emotional scars along the way. It makes you wonder how many of the other young teens and women in polygamy felt deep down.

In 1843 Apostle Heber C. Kimball had an important talk with his only daughter, fourteen-year-old Helen Mar.  She wrote: “Without any preliminaries [my Father] asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives...The first impulse was anger...my sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure; for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, ‘No I wouldn’t!’...This was the first time that I ever openly manifested anger towards him...Then he commenced talking seriously and reasoned and explained the principle, and why it was again to be established upon the earth. [This] had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake.” 

Then father “asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph...[and] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours...I was sceptical-one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.”  Unknown to Helen Mar, Heber and Joseph had already discussed the prospect of Helen Mar becoming one of Joseph’s wives.  Heber now sought her agreement.  Helen recalls, “Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter”

The next morning Joseph visited the Kimball home.  "[He explained] the principle of Celestial marrage...After which he said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God& his angels could see my mother’s bleeding heart-when Joseph asked her if she was willing...She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking, & to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was as sure to come...; but it was all hidden from me.”  Helen’s mother reluctantly agreed and in May of 1843, Helen married Joseph Smith.

During the winter of 1843-44, there were weekly parties at Joseph Smith’s Mansion House.  Many of Helen’s friends attended, as well as her sixteen-year-old brother William.  Disappointed, Helen wrote, “my father had been warned by the Prophet to keep his daughter away...I felt quite sore over it, and thought it a very unkind act in father to allow [William] to go and enjoy the dance unrestrained with others of my companions, and fettered me down, for no girl loved dancing better than I did...and like a wild bird I longed for the freedom that was denied me; and thought myself  an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur.”

In June 1844, Heber was away from home on a mission and wrote to Helen: “MY DEAR DAUGHTER-...be obedient to the counsel you have given to you...If you should be tempted, or having feelings in your heart, tell them to no one but your father and mother; if you do, you will be betrayed and exposed...You are blessed, but you know it not. You have done that which will be for your everlasting good for this world and that which is to come. I will admit there is not much pleasure in this world...Be true to the covenants that you have made...Be a good girl;...your affectionate father.”  A few weeks later Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage.  After one year of marriage, Helen was a widow. 

Helen’s father would eventually marry thirty-nine wives.  She wrote, “I had, in hours of temptation when seeing the trials of my mother, felt to rebel.  I hated polygamy in my heart.”  Helen later fell victim to a prolonged illness: “For three months I lay a portion of the time like one dead...I tasted of the punishment which is prepared for those who reject any of the principles of this Gospel.”  Eventually she was converted to polygamy and recovered from her illness, “I fasted for one week, and every day I gained until I had won the victory...I learned that plural marriage is a celestial principle, and saw... the necessity of obedience to those who hold the priesthood, and the danger of rebelling against or speaking lightly of the Lord’s annointed”.  Helen later summarized her experience with plural marriage in a poem: 
 

     I thought through this life my time will be my own
     The step I now am taking’s for eternity alone,
     No one need be the wiser, through time I shall be free,
     And as the past hath been the future still will be.
     To my guileless heart all free from worldly care
     And full of blissful hopes and youthful visions rare
     The world seamed bright the thret’ning clouds were kept
     From sight and all looked fair...

          ...but pitying angels wept.
     They saw my youthful friends grow shy and cold.
     And poisonous darts from sland’rous tongues were hurled,
     Untutor’d heart in thy gen’rous sacrafise,
     Thou dids’t not weigh the cost nor know the bitter price;
     Thy happy dreams all o’er thou’st doom’d also to be
     Bar’d out from social scenes by this thy destiny,
     And o’er thy sad’nd mem’ries of sweet departed joys
     Thy sicken’d heart will brood and imagine future woes,
     And like a fetter’d bird with wild and longing heart,
     Thou’lt dayly pine for freedom and murmor at thy lot;

     But could’st thou see the future & view that glorious crown, 
     Awaiting you in Heaven you would not weep nor mourn.
     Pure and exalted was thy father’s aim, he saw
     A glory in obeying this high celestial law,
     For to thousands who’ve died without the light
     I will bring eternal joy & make thy crown more bright.
     I’d been taught to reveire the Prophet of God
     And receive every word as the word of the Lord,
     But had this not come through my dear father’s mouth,
     I should ne’r have received it as God’s sacred truth.

Edited by VideoGameJunkie

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5 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

Imagine we practiced polygamy today and imagine at your current age marrying 16 year olds and sleeping with them and having children with them. Would you feel a bit dirty, or would you feel justified knowing it's ok from the Lord? And notice as Snow's age kept going up the age of his wives kept being minors.

Imagining something like that is sinful these days. 

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

Imagining something like that is sinful these days. 

So why is it sinful now, and the saints of the 1800s had "all the fun?" I know they didn't have fun as they were being persecuted. But how did they know how many wives they should have and what ages?

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2 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

So why is it sinful now, and the saints of the 1800s had "all the fun?" I know they didn't have fun as they were being persecuted. But how did they know how many wives they should have and what ages?

I could only offer guesses.  It all seems rather disturbing to me.  I do believe there have been some posters here who say they have no problem whatsoever with LDS polygamy. 

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I understand polygamy is a doctrinal commandment from God, but it seems being a 40 or 50 year old and wanting to marry and sleep with teenagers seems more like it'll get you a ticket to the Telestial Kingdom, not Celestial Kingdom and exaltation. But I'm not the one to judge. Maybe sleeping with teenagers is okay in the grand scheme of things, not just in our 21st century minds.

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4 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

Maybe sleeping with teenagers is okay in the grand scheme of things, not just in our 21st century minds.

What age is OK?

-guerreiro9

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5 minutes ago, guerreiro9 said:

What age is OK?

-guerreiro9

In America it depends what state you live in. Some states 16 is the age of consent, others 17, and some 18.

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50 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

Imagine we practiced polygamy today and imagine at your current age marrying 16 year olds and sleeping with them and having children with them. Would you feel a bit dirty, or would you feel justified knowing it's ok from the Lord? And notice as Snow's age kept going up the age of his wives kept being minors.

It's an unfortunately reality of polygamy that you need younger and younger wives just to make the numbers work. Male to female ratios are usually about 1:1. So to expand the pool the wives need to be pretty young. Another reason why polygamy is a bad idea. 

Edited by Gray

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If I had been living in that time period and had a wife and teenage daughters I would not trust the apostles to be around them. And when you look at the details of how polygamy was actually carried out by the saints you see where Warren Jeffs got his influence.

Edited by VideoGameJunkie

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58 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

I understand polygamy is a doctrinal commandment from God, but it seems being a 40 or 50 year old and wanting to marry and sleep with teenagers seems more like it'll get you a ticket to the Telestial Kingdom, not Celestial Kingdom and exaltation. But I'm not the one to judge. Maybe sleeping with teenagers is okay in the grand scheme of things, not just in our 21st century minds.

It is just not right on so many levels.

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By all accounts Mary the Mother of Jesus was 12-14 years old when she had Christ.

Ruth, the Widow Moabitist and Christs Great-Great-Great... Grandmother was 20 and her Husband Boaz was 80.

Rebekah may have been 3 when Isaac was married to her. :blink:

Edited by Zakuska

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1 hour ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

I understand polygamy is a doctrinal commandment from God, but it seems being a 40 or 50 year old and wanting to marry and sleep with teenagers seems more like it'll get you a ticket to the Telestial Kingdom, not Celestial Kingdom and exaltation. But I'm not the one to judge. Maybe sleeping with teenagers is okay in the grand scheme of things, not just in our 21st century minds.

This is a very modern reading. We also need to jump on Abraham who was marrying a still fertile and presumably very young woman and having three children after Sarah died.

I like our society better for the most part but I am not going to condemn President Snow or Abraham for living in theirs.

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1 hour ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

In America it depends what state you live in. Some states 16 is the age of consent, others 17, and some 18.

... and in some places it is younger.  I'm not asking what is legal, I'm asking for you to define "OK".

-guerreiro9

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3 hours ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

..............................................................  

Notice the age gaps here with relations happening. I don't see why Joseph Smith is the key target all the time when talking about polygamy while it seems the lifestyle of soon to be prophet Lorenzo Snow seemed worse.

And what's interesting is how Wilford Woodruff was trying to give his daughter Phoebe away at a young age. First he tried to give her to Brigham Young when she was 14 and Brigham was 56. It seemed women were treated like cows back in the polygamy days as quoted by Heber C Kimball; " I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow."

I see a lot of the FLDS and Warren Jeffs in these practices and I hope women weren't treated like cows 150 years ago.

None of Lorenzo Snow's marriages were to women younger than 16, and the age differences aside, that was not an unusual age for marriage in those days.  You are shocked and see his lifestyle as "worse" than Joseph Smith, and suggest that women were being treated like cows then.  In fact, the record of polygyny among the LDS in those times bespeaks an admirable sisterhood among the wives -- who came to be very independent and strong women, rather than the chattel you depict them.  Any comparison with Warren Jeffs, who was raping both prepubescent boys and girls, is sick.

Yet, when the famous crooner, Bing Crosby, married a very young woman late in life, and started a second family, he was only admired.  People often adopt situational ethics and forget that yesteryear was a different world than today.  Presentism reigns supreme.

The cow reference reminds me of a Marcello Mastroianni movie in which he did refer to a particular woman as a "cow."

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6 hours ago, stemelbow said:

Excellent observation.  Polygamy was polygamy, but the devil's in the details.  The more you learn how it was practiced the more concerning it becomes. 

At 57 year old man marring a 18 year old girl is not of god.  That is for sure.  This is was what Warren Jeffs, David Corresh, and others have done.  

Edited by sunstoned

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10 minutes ago, guerreiro9 said:

... and in some places it is younger.  I'm not asking what is legal, I'm asking for you to define "OK".

-guerreiro9

Let me guess, over 40, a widow ,  and with 6 kids to take care of. That said, I wonder how big that demographic pool was. 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

This is a very modern reading. We also need to jump on Abraham who was marrying a still fertile and presumably very young woman and having three children after Sarah died.

I like our society better for the most part but I am not going to condemn President Snow or Abraham for living in theirs.

But we must admit that President Snow's society was much more closely related in time and culture to ours than Abraham.

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yet, when the famous crooner, Bing Crosby, married a very young woman late in life, and started a second family, he was only admired.

Not by his first wife . . .

;)

 

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3 hours ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

I understand polygamy is a doctrinal commandment from God, but it seems being a 40 or 50 year old and wanting to marry and sleep with teenagers seems more like it'll get you a ticket to the Telestial Kingdom, not Celestial Kingdom and exaltation. But I'm not the one to judge. Maybe sleeping with teenagers is okay in the grand scheme of things, not just in our 21st century minds.

Not in the 21st century, O.K.  I see that you use the present tense here and elsewhere in this thread.  Customs do change through time, and back in the day when there was no high school, teenage girls were considered women.  They were not allowed to vote.  They did not participate in industry or high finance.  Women worked at home doing "women's work."  Having babies.  Lots of them.  Was entirely normal.  It is irresponsible for us to judge those times by our own enlightened society in which women are equal to men and can do virtually any job that a man does.  And in which women are put through a secondary and college education system which treats them as children for an extended period.  I'm not sure that that is a good thing.

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4 hours ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

Joseph Smith gets a bad rep for his polygamous sealings, but they didn't produce any children or have sexual relations. 

Notice the age gaps here with relations happening. I don't see why Joseph Smith is the key target all the time when talking about polygamy while it seems the lifestyle of soon to be prophet Lorenzo Snow seemed worse.

I don't think that Joseph Smith necessarily gets a bad wrap for practicing polygamy; in my experience, the bad wrap is from the failure by the church to acknowledge or discuss Smith's practice of polygamy. The polygamy practiced by Brigham Young and later prophets was discussed and openly taught in church classes, while Joseph Smith's polygamy was kept more under wraps.

Either way, the thought of men nearing 60-years old taking multiple teen brides is sickening.

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Ya imagine if you had a Mia maid or laurel aged daughter. Would you be cool if an apostle asked to marry them and then sleep with your laurel daughter? And imagine if that apostle was 40 or 50 years older than her and already has other wives and even other teenage brides. Now imagine one of the apostles claims he thinks as much about choosing cows as he does about wives. That should paint a picture of how bad polygamy was. And I'm not even going into polyandry.

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But what goes through the mind of a 57 year old apostle that says, you know what I already have tons of wives, but I want a 16 year old to marry and sleep with too.

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