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Modern Polygamy Timeline & Purpose - not sure I follow...


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The timeline and reasons of how the idea of polygamy evolved into practice is perplexing.  It is causing me doubt how scriptures are to be obeyed, and how to trust the revelatory process.  Let's look at the pattern Joseph Smith followed:

March 1830 - Joseph Smith publishes the Book of Mormon (supposedly scripture) which contains commandments from God.  The only discussion of polygamy is found in Jacob 2, which clearly condemns the practice.  However, there is a provision given for exceptions: only to 'raise up seed' if God commands it.

The Gospel Topics Essay on Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo states that "After receiving a revelation commanding him to practice plural marriage, Joseph Smith married multiple wives and introduced the practice to close associates."  The only revelation I know of on polygamy came in July 1843 (D&C 132), yet Joseph Smith had married 22 (by some count) additional wives by July 1843.

2 Big Questions:

1. What revelation did Joseph Smith receive (per the mentioned Gospel Topic Essay) before the D&C 132 revelation that told him to practice polygamy, despite the Book of Mormon's 1830 prohibition (with exception)?

2. In light of the Jacob 2:30 provision for the allowance of polygamy to "raise up seed unto me..." why are there no (known) children that emerged from Joseph Smith's plural wives?  Joseph apparently did not use polygamy to 'raise up seed.'

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1. Some have questioned its validity but there's this revelation:

http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/indianpolygamyrevelation.htm

2. Opportunity.  There's little evidence Joseph was able to room with many of his wives.  Odds of getting pregnant -

https://www.todaysparent.com/getting-pregnant/trying-to-conceive/what-are-your-odds-of-getting-pregnant-each-month/

There were a few who believed their children were Joseph's so we know those relationships were physical.  But more often than not they went back to their lives after the sealing.

Edited by JLHPROF
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34 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

1. Some have questioned its validity but there's this revelation:

http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/indianpolygamyrevelation.htm

This revelation (if we are to accept it) indicates that polygamy is to be instituted with Native Americans to produce whiter children, and essentially eradicate the darker skins of those people.  Maybe that also falls under the Jacob 2 provision 'raise up seed?'  It does not appear that any of these men raised many children (if any?) with these Native American plural wives.

How was the Jacob 2 provision met?

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1 hour ago, SouthernMo said:

2. In light of the Jacob 2:30 provision for the allowance of polygamy to "raise up seed unto me..." why are there no (known) children that emerged from Joseph Smith's plural wives?  Joseph apparently did not use polygamy to 'raise up seed.'

We don't know that he did not use polygamy to raise up seed, all we know is that he was unsuccessful.  If we look at the practice of "raising up seed" as more of a group effort, there is justification for those who practice in good faith and are unsuccessful (sterile men for example). 

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3 minutes ago, pogi said:

We don't know that he did not use polygamy to raise up seed, all we know is that he was unsuccessful.  If we look at the practice of "raising up seed" as more of a group effort, there is justification for those who practice in good faith and are unsuccessful (sterile men for example). 

Perhaps - but it is interesting to note that he seemed to have no trouble fathering children with his first wife Emma.  With so many wives thereafter, we don't have evidence or substantial claim (that I know of) of any children?  We could speculate as to why.  But (and I don't mean to be crude), with so many wives, he didn't seem to be trying too hard to raise up seed with them.  He clearly did not suffer from sterility.

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 I believe the concept of plural marriage was one that developed in stages, the same way we learn many gospel principles; line upon line and precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10). Joseph Smith at first learned and taught the spiritual aspects of it. Most sealings to him were primarily for the eternal aspects of it. Spiritual wives in the next life would also create seed in the form of spirit children. Those he was sealed to were with either single women or women whose husbands were either disaffected from the church or were non-members. They wanted to be sealed to someone who would be certain to obtain eternal life in the Celestial kingdom. Some were even sealed to him after he died. There were a few he was sealed to whose first husbands were active members, but they did that because they wanted to bind their families together to be linked into eternity. This would be more correctly called polyandrous marriages; marriage without cohabitation.
Aside from this we don't know for sure that Joseph Smith did not have any children with some of these women; there just isn't any verifiable record of any children being born to any of his "spiritual wives".

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2 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

The only revelation I know of on polygamy came in July 1843 (D&C 132), yet Joseph Smith had married 22 (by some count) additional wives by July 1843.

Post-June 27, 1844, there was a lot seed raised unto the Lord as per Jacob 2.

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1 hour ago, JAHS said:

 I believe the concept of plural marriage was one that developed in stages, the same way we learn many gospel principles; line upon line and precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:10). Joseph Smith at first learned and taught the spiritual aspects of it. Most sealings to him were primarily for the eternal aspects of it. Spiritual wives in the next life would also create seed in the form of spirit children. Those he was sealed to were with either single women or women whose husbands were either disaffected from the church or were non-members. They wanted to be sealed to someone who would be certain to obtain eternal life in the Celestial kingdom. Some were even sealed to him after he died. There were a few he was sealed to whose first husbands were active members, but they did that because they wanted to bind their families together to be linked into eternity. This would be more correctly called polyandrous marriages; marriage without cohabitation.
Aside from this we don't know for sure that Joseph Smith did not have any children with some of these women; there just isn't any verifiable record of any children being born to any of his "spiritual wives".

Joseph should have just sealed himself to these women's parents, wouldn't that do the same thing?

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5 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

2. In light of the Jacob 2:30 provision for the allowance of polygamy to "raise up seed unto me..." why are there no (known) children that emerged from Joseph Smith's plural wives?  Joseph apparently did not use polygamy to 'raise up seed.'

I take this exception to be in be in in a general or collective sense rather than individual.   In other words, the practice was for many in the church. Whether Joseph himself had a bunch of kids or not is not the intent.  Appealing to individual cases or examples will always have problems.  It is said that one of the reasons for marriage itself is to multiple and fill the earth.  However there are many examples where married couples are not able to have kids for various reasons.  These examples do not refute or create problems for the overall directive in marriage to have kids.  I suppose there would be cases in polygamy where many kids did not happen if infertility issues existed with the guy.  So I see Jacob 2:30 to hold to the same basic premise.  The group is to practice polygamy to raise seed but there may be examples within the group that do not follow this for various reasons. 

 

I also believe that polygamy existed among the Jaredites.   The brother of Jared for example probably had more than one wife.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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2 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I take this exception to be in be in in a general or collective sense rather than individual.   In other words, the practice was for many in the church. Whether Joseph himself had a bunch of kids or not is not the intent.  Appealing to individual cases or examples will always have problems.  It is said that one of the reasons for marriage itself is to multiple and fill the earth.  However there are many examples where married couples are not able to have kids for various reasons.  These examples do not refute or create problems for the overall directive in marriage to have kids.  I suppose there would be cases in polygamy where many kids did not happen if infertility issues existed with the guy.  So I see Jacob 2:30 to hold to the same basic premise.  The group is to practice polygamy to raise seed but there may be examples within the group that do not follow this for various reasons. 

Perhaps - but then why did Joseph not bear more children from his many wives?

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2 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

Perhaps - but then why did Joseph not bear more children from his many wives?

With fertility issues probably not be an issue I see three possibilities.  First, he just did not spend enough time around his wives have a lot of kids.   Second, he made a decision not to have a lot of kids as he knew his life was in constant danger and felt it better for him to personally not leave his wives with kids without him there to raise them.   Polygamy and having lots of kids works better in situations where there is some peace and stability.  Joseph Smith life was one with not much stability and more chaos.  Finally, perhaps and related to the 2nd point, there was not sex involved between him and these wives.  One can be married and not have sex.  So if Joseph viewed these marries more as spiritual marriages or eternal marriages rather than marriages in the normal sense,  he was sealed to these woman but nothing really beyond that occurred.

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4 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Finally, perhaps and related to the 2nd point, there was not sex involved between him and these wives.  One can be married and not have sex.  So if Joseph viewed these marries more as spiritual marriages or eternal marriages rather than marriages in the normal sense,  he was sealed to these woman but nothing really beyond that occurred.

I realize that this is a possibility, and no one else was in the bedroom, but come on!  Do any students of Joseph Smith (or LDS polygamy) see this as a legitimate possibility?  I'm sure there were instances (Jane Tippets?) of marriages that were not consummated, but I understand that the position that polygamy was a system of 'spiritual wives' without intercourse has been thoroughly debunked, despite it offending our Victorian sensibilities.

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1 hour ago, SouthernMo said:

but I understand that the position that polygamy was a system of 'spiritual wives' without intercourse has been thoroughly debunked, despite it offending our Victorian sensibilities.

Like I said earlier there were women who had themselves sealed to Joseph after he died. Pretty sure there was no intercourse involved. And those spiritual wives may not produce seed in the mortality but certainly could be involved in the creation of spirit children in the next life.  

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6 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

What do you mean?

That was the day Joseph was murdered. Within 50 years others had raised thousands of children to the Lord as per Jacob 2 giving a huge jumpstart to the Restoration.

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36 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

That was the day Joseph was murdered. Within 50 years others had raised thousands of children to the Lord as per Jacob 2 giving a huge jumpstart to the Restoration.

 Do you have data to show that women in polygamist families for more children and women in traditional families?

It’s still begs the question why Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy  in a manner contrary to the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

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45 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

That was the day Joseph was murdered. Within 50 years others had raised thousands of children to the Lord as per Jacob 2 giving a huge jumpstart to the Restoration.

Also - how does having lots of children 15 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon and introduction of the priesthood  “jumpstart” the restoration?

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9 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

For some outside reading you can look at the 3 volume set about polygamy by Brian Hales. IIRC of all the documented women sealed to Joseph , there were only a couple+/_ where it was strongly shown to be intimate. 

Ok - so why be sealed to so many wives if not to fulfill Jacob 2:30?

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1 minute ago, SouthernMo said:

It’s still begs the question why Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy  in a manner contrary to the teachings of the Book of Mormon.

The reality is you are asking people a question of why someone (in this case Joseph Smith) did or acted a certain way 175 years later.   All we can do is guess and I suspect that whatever answers we come up with simply will probably not be completely accurate.  If you had a time machine and you could go back to 1844 and ask Joseph, he would give you the correct answer and one that you probably would agree with or accept.   This is one issue that people have a hard time with.  They try to get all the answers in history but all the answers simply do not exist.  I believe that a lot of what Joseph did he  and why he did it he was not asking himself at the time  "what will people think or how will they interpret this action 175 years from now. "  He is just like us.  I make decisions in my life with no regard on how people long after I am gone would ask or questions why I did this or that and don't leave a record of why I did things.  We can never know what people will be thinking or will bother them a century from now.

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33 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

You hold Joseph Smith to the same standard of judgement that you do anyone else?

You need to spend a little time reading about the prophets , both ancient and modern. People have a tendency to put them on spiritual pedestals. God chooses them mostly because they are willing to follow Him and His counsels . Did Noah have any flaws?, Moses? Elisha? We recently had a thread about Joseph F Smith and his response to the priesthood question. Was he flawed? Probably, and yet if one actually looks at his entire life and accomplishments one would be hard pressed to do a tenth of what he did to further the Kingdom. You seem to want the prophet to be a marionette that moves at the slightest touch and never puts a foot wrong. With what judgement you judge , you will be judged. Personally , I cut the prophets all a fair amount of slack in the hope that God does a bit of cutting when it's my turn. 

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2 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

The command to practise plural marriage did not fit anywhere into that list. It required sincere, 'unceasing' seeking; the willingness and the ability to obtain revelation; and the desire to obey the conviction once it came. The end result: people who 'heard the words of the prophets' and 'hearkened unto their words' -- i.e., seed unto the Lord. Without it, the Church would have remained barren. Instead, it flourished.

It's the same process today. The authorised mouthpieces of the Lord are, like the Master they represent, stones of stumbling and rocks of offence for some, sanctuaries for others. One response produces seed unto the Lord; one results in sterility.

This is what I have come to understand as the main purpose for polygamy--to create a people who are all prophets--direct line to God.

Edited by Maidservant
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7 minutes ago, Maidservant said:

This is what I have come to understand as the main purpose for polygamy--to create a people who are all prophets--direct line to God..

Exactly! It's the rock of personal revelation that makes us Saints so frustrating to some, inscrutable to most. Trying to find a motive or motives for early Saints' embrace of plural marriage whilst bracketing revelation is a fool's errand.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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