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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Hi Teddy, you make a reasoned point, and maybe I'm to immature to take meat. Never the less I've been led to understand we can go to God for answers. It's my hope that He will lead me to understand what on my own I find beyond my means.

Your open mind despite your concerns is refreshing.  As is your desire to study them out in your mind and ask God for clarity.

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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Hi Teddy, you make a reasoned point, and maybe I'm to immature to take meat. Never the less I've been led to understand we can go to God for answers. It's my hope that He will lead me to understand what on my own I find beyond my means.

Word of advice - don't subordinate your sense of right and wrong to others you believe are older and "better informed." I spent years trying to defend Joseph's actions regarding polygamy. Ultimately, I had to conclude I was defending the indefensible. Find your own path through the evidence.

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5 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I like your commentary. As with so much in history (if not all of it?), we'll probably not arrive at a definitive answer. I am comfortable enough believing that God gave the general idea and Joseph filled in the details mixed with a little of his own uninspired thoughts and desires. I don't fault God for any of it. If I were to, I would by force of logic be pulled into faulting him for literally every calamity that has beset mankind.

 

That is rather a very-very slippery slope. You are saying that God was not clear or His word/instruction was confusing? How are we to trust that the rest of the revelation had not similar unclear and confusing origin? It throws into question everything that came from Joseph's lips. You have therefore no grounds to say this revelation is clear but this one not so much. 

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I felt that too and for most of my life. Then when I had a more personal understanding of his behaviour, I rejected it completely.

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4 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I'm not sure I follow. So are you suggesting the practice of polygamy was a solely a product of Joseph's thoughts and desires (option #2)?

That is the assumption that many people have arrived at.

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3 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

That is the assumption that many people have arrived at.

Yes because Joseph's polygamy just does not pass the morality test. It's profoundly immoral.

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I’m certain that when all the facts are in the prophet Joseph Smith will be vindicated. One of the reasons why many of the mysteries of the kingdom of God are withheld from the children of men is because if they are not spiritually prepared to receive them much more harm is done than good. Just as problematic is the fact that when the spiritually immature learn of the mysteries their first impulse is to reject what they’re hearing as being evil and not of God. The apostle Paul explained this strange phenomenon as follows;

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of STRONG MEAT.

13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised TO DISCERN BOTH GOD AND EVIL. (Hebrews 5)

In verse 14, Paul is clearly testifying that only those who are mature spiritually are able to receive the mysteries of the kingdom without it doing them serious harm. Why? Because only the spiritually mature are able to discern between good and evil, a clear indication that the stronger meat doctrines of the kingdom can easily be misconstrued by spiritual novices to be things not of God. This is the reason why the prophet Joseph Smith once said he dared not reveal all he knows because even his most stalwart defenders would become his most bitter enemies.

For example, the only reason why God commanding Abraham to ritually sacrifice his son is accepted by believers so readily today is because those of the Abrahamic Tradition have been hearing this account repeated matter of factly for millennia. But you can be sure that if Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac didn’t occur until the present day that it would be condemned by virtually all believers as an evil and sick invention of a devilishly deranged mind. All of Abraham’s protestations of innocence, due to the fact that God commanded him to do it, would fall on deaf ears as multitudes would scream, “crucify him!”

 

 

 

The practice of polygamy is not a mystery of the kingdom.  It is just history.  It happened, and there is a lot of first person accounts that can be studied as part of history. If it was an upright and correct principle, then the facts should bear this out. Of course the opposite is also true. You don't need milk before studying history. 

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19 minutes ago, Islander said:

That is rather a very-very slippery slope. You are saying that God was not clear or His word/instruction was confusing? How are we to trust that the rest of the revelation had not similar unclear and confusing origin? It throws into question everything that came from Joseph's lips. You have therefore no grounds to say this revelation is clear but this one not so much. 

Then I'll amend my comment to say God spoke clearly - as He always does - but perhaps Joseph didn't 'hear it' with the same clarity.

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6 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

Then I'll amend my comment to say God spoke clearly - as He always does - but perhaps Joseph didn't 'hear it' with the same clarity.

Still, then how can the rest of the revelation be trusted? How do we know that "Joseph did not hear clearly" in subsequent revelations....some of them...many of them....all of them!

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41 minutes ago, ttribe said:

Word of advice - don't subordinate your sense of right and wrong to others you believe are older and "better informed." I spent years trying to defend Joseph's actions regarding polygamy. Ultimately, I had to conclude I was defending the indefensible. Find your own path through the evidence.

You've proved to be a thoughtful person, ttribe, so I'd like to submit some questions for your consideration. Your recommendations are valid, in my opinion, if morality is viewed as a set of preferences regarding behavior which are internal in nature. However, I think your recommendations don't work if one believes in moral realism, that moral facts are in fact facts, that right and wrong exist independent of any single subject or all of them. If moral realism is true, then why shouldn't we seek the counsel of those who are better-informed? Shouldn't we give their thoughts deference as we would those who are better-informed than us on other issues? And I believe that most people talk about right and wrong in the sense of moral realism, that right and wrong are binding things as opposed to preferences alone, so it appears to me that your recommendations don't hold for a significant majority of people who weigh in on issues of morality. 

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1 minute ago, OGHoosier said:

You've proved to be a thoughtful person, ttribe, so I'd like to submit some questions for your consideration. Your recommendations are valid, in my opinion, if morality is viewed as a set of preferences regarding behavior which are internal in nature. However, I think your recommendations don't work if one believes in moral realism, that moral facts are in fact facts, that right and wrong exist independent of any single subject or all of them. If moral realism is true, then why shouldn't we seek the counsel of those who are better-informed? Shouldn't we give their thoughts deference as we would those who are better-informed than us on other issues? And I believe that most people talk about right and wrong in the sense of moral realism, that right and wrong are binding things as opposed to preferences alone, so it appears to me that your recommendations don't hold for a significant majority of people who weigh in on issues of morality. 

You misread me.  I suggested that the poster not subordinate his/her judgment to others, not that he/she avoid seeking understanding from others. Indeed, I would encourage the poster to seek out ideas, thoughts, etc.  But, I'm suggesting we (all of us) shouldn't abandon our sense of right and wrong based solely on the say-so of others.  

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18 minutes ago, Islander said:

Still, then how can the rest of the revelation be trusted? How do we know that "Joseph did not hear clearly" in subsequent revelations....some of them...many of them....all of them!

We don't. I believe that is where faith enters in. Also the principle that we will be held accountable for the light that we have and no more. 

In my mind this is just the question of prophetic infallibility. To assert that Joseph must always have heard clearly is to assert prophetic infallibility. Prophetic infallibility is contra-doctrinal. The point of ongoing prophecy is to perpetuate and refine the church as it goes forward. To hold that we received an infallible kerygma, a Deposit of Faith, from Joseph, just makes us Catholics or Protestants minus 1800 years. 

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1 minute ago, ttribe said:

You misread me.  I suggested that the poster not subordinate his/her judgment to others, not that he/she avoid seeking understanding from others. Indeed, I would encourage the poster to seek out ideas, thoughts, etc.  But, I'm suggesting we (all of us) shouldn't abandon our sense of right and wrong based solely on the say-so of others.  

Very well, I believe I did misread you. Thanks for the clarification. 

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8 minutes ago, Islander said:

Still, then how can the rest of the revelation be trusted? How do we know that "Joseph did not hear clearly" in subsequent revelations....some of them...many of them....all of them!

The Savior reiterated that Moses had given a decree of divorce to the people to pacify and accommodate the wickedness in the hearts. “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning", Jesus said: They wanted to test His consistency, and to see whether on this point He still held with the stricter rule of Shammai, and not with the laxer rule of Hillel. The Pharisees wanted and often divorced their wives for any reason. They had corrupted the law of God to the point where is was "lawful" to put away a wife for whatever minute cause whatsoever and Jesus condemned that and pointed that God NEVER intended for divorce to happen.  For example, Jewish historian Josephus records how he had divorced two wives on grounds comparatively trivial (Life, c. 75, 76), and speaks incidentally in his history of “many causes of all kinds” as justifying separation (Ant. iv. 8, § 23).

The Pharisees, no doubt, wanted to ensnare Jesus by forcing Him to stake a position where He may find Himself at odds with the prevailing view, especially that of the rulers. It is unclear on what grounds Herod Antipas had divorced the daughter of Aretas, but it is very likely that here, as afterwards, the Herodians and their cohorts were working with the Pharisees. Here, in Perea, they might count, either on the Master shrinking from openly voicing His convictions, or stating them in a way as to provoke the tetrarch’s wrath, as John the Baptist had done. Either way, they were hoping to score points against Him in public.

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33 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

The practice of polygamy is not a mystery of the kingdom.  It is just history.  It happened, and there is a lot of first person accounts that can be studied as part of history. If it was an upright and correct principle, then the facts should bear this out. Of course the opposite is also true. You don't need milk before studying history. 

Who said history can't be a mystery? The "reasons why" for historical actions are certainly mysterious often enough. And that, I believe, is what we're asking about here. 

Oh, you certainly need milk before studying history. The milk of proper theory, the milk of proper training in historical thinking, and the milk of background information which lets you make sense of the mess of data before you. Interpretation of history does not spring up sui generis. And one of the first and foremost questions which must be asked is "what things would I expect to see that would bear this out"? And one must consider whether they are a competent authority to render judgement on the matter. 

I believe that this is the drum @Kevin Christensen has been beating lo these many years. 

 

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Polygamy has never been an issue that has bothered me.  It is probably because of how much polygamy is in my personal ancestry line.  Almost all of my direct ancestry practiced polygamy.  And in my direct ancestry or their immediate siblings, I have relationship stories that go from extremely loving families to almost abusive families.  I have a stories where it is the woman who basically proposed, others where the first wife told her husband who his second wife would be.  I have ancestors who married their 15 year old daughter to a 61 year old as a second wife.  I have post-manifesto polygamy, post-second manifesto polygamy (they were excommunicated), polygamy sect break offs (also excommunicated), and probably the only known case of Brigham Young approved sperm donation.  And I learned in 1st grade about Joseph's polygamy.

I see polygamy kind of similarly to how JLHPROF does.  Joseph Smith was commanded to practice polygamy but wasn't told exactly what to do.  Some of the women, he was inspired or commanded to marry.  Others, he choose the same way men normally choose wives; they think they are beautiful or fun to be around.  Was there jealousy?  Definitely.  Was it hard?  Definitely.  Was it perfect?  Absolutely not.  But it was commanded by God and they tried their hardest to follow it as best as they can.

Edited by webbles
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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

I think Compton portrays things, even true things, in their worst possible light at times.  Just be mindful of that.

Thanks JLHPROF, I'll try to keep your observation of bias in mind. There is so much information to sift through. 

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Your open mind despite your concerns is refreshing.  As is your desire to study them out in your mind and ask God for clarity.

Thank you.

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1 hour ago, ttribe said:

Word of advice - don't subordinate your sense of right and wrong to others you believe are older and "better informed." I spent years trying to defend Joseph's actions regarding polygamy. Ultimately, I had to conclude I was defending the indefensible. Find your own path through the evidence.

Hi ttribe, I think the milk and meat analogy has merit in many cases, and possibly in my own case. I know I've come to wrong conclusions in the past, and it's possible I can do so again. Humility can be an asset in finding the truth. That said I will come to my own conclusions and reject what I find to be false even when dressed up with sophistry. 

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14 minutes ago, webbles said:

Polygamy has never been an issue that has bothered me.  It is probably because of how much polygamy is in my personal ancestry line.  Almost all of my direct ancestry practiced polygamy.  And in my direct ancestry or their immediate siblings, I have relationship stories that go from extremely loving families to almost abusive families.  I have a stories where it is the woman who basically proposed, others where the first wife told her husband who his second wife would be.  I have ancestors who married their 15 year old daughter to a 61 year old as a second wife.  I have post-manifesto polygamy, post-second manifesto polygamy (they were excommunicated), polygamy sect break offs (also excommunicated), and probably the only known case of Brigham Young approved sperm donation.  And I learned in 1st grade about Joseph's polygamy.

I see polygamy kind of similarly to how JLHPROF does.  Joseph Smith was commanded to practice polygamy but wasn't told exactly what to do.  Some of the women, he was inspired or commanded to marry.  Others, he choose the same way men normally choose wives; they think they are beautiful or fun to be around.  Was there jealousy?  Definitely.  Was it hard?  Definitely.  Was it perfect?  Absolutely not.  But it was commanded by God and they tried their hardest to follow it as best as they can.

Good take in my opinion. 

A few of the more convincing reasons I've heard for polygamy:

1. Cultural divisor. The Saints needed something to set them apart as a community from the broader world. 

2. Cultural unifier. The backlash to the Manifestos highlighted the fact that polygamy had sunk into the Saint's "peculiar people" identity. I can see such a peculiar identity being necessary in keeping things together in the early days. And for obvious reasons the unifying factor could not be something anodyne...or else there would be nothing "peculiar" about it. 

3. Abrahamic trial. The Church is receiving the same exact covenants Abraham did after all.  Literally the same. 

4. Getting the Church weaned off conventional socially-constructed morality structures and into a more divine-dependent frame of mind regarding ultimate morality. Cf. 1 Nephi 3. 

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34 minutes ago, webbles said:

Polygamy has never been an issue that has bothered me.  It is probably because of how much polygamy is in my personal ancestry line. 

Your background has offered you comfort with the practice and you've been dealing with the issue for much longer than I. 

 

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8 hours ago, Risingtide said:

I feel that I need to believe that what Joseph Smith taught and practiced regarding polygamy was inspired by God. Even though we no longer are required to live it, I still feel bound to believe God directed Joseph Smith in introducing it into the theology and practices of the Church. ............

The problem with rejecting that belief (as Carol Lynn Pearson has done) is to similarly reject the ancient biblical Patriarchs -- who were the foci of God's promises.  If Joseph Smith was wrong, then the Patriarchs were wrong.  If the Patriarchs were wrong, where does that leave the Bible?

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12 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with rejecting that belief (as Carol Lynn Pearson has done) is to similarly reject the ancient biblical Patriarchs -- who were the foci of God's promises.  If Joseph Smith was wrong, then the Patriarchs were wrong.  If the Patriarchs were wrong, where does that leave the Bible?

I am curious what you think of concubines.

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1 minute ago, california boy said:

I am curious what you think of concubines.

Coming soon in a revelation near you.

Edited by The Nehor
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17 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The problem with rejecting that belief (as Carol Lynn Pearson has done) is to similarly reject the ancient biblical Patriarchs -- who were the foci of God's promises.  If Joseph Smith was wrong, then the Patriarchs were wrong.  If the Patriarchs were wrong, where does that leave the Bible?

Possibly wrong. 

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