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12 hours ago, california boy said:

I am curious what you think of concubines.

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

EDTA: One should also consider the horrific story of the Levite and his concubine in Judges 19 - 20.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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36 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

In all these cases, such treatment of women is horrific and profoundly wrong. 

What happens when we need to believe some or all of these cases were God-ordained? Such compromise makes it easier to believe poor treatment now is God-ordained.

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2 hours 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?

It leaves it with a lot of wrong behavior. Unless you are going to defend sexual slavery and things like turning her and her son to die in the desert when they became inconvenient. 

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

It leaves it with a lot of wrong behavior. Unless you are going to defend sexual slavery and things like turning her and her son to die in the desert when they became inconvenient. 

Yes, and then there is the horrific mistreatment of the Levite's concubine in Judges 19 - 20.

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

In all these cases, such treatment of women is horrific and profoundly wrong. 

What happens when we need to believe some or all of these cases were God-ordained? Such compromise makes it easier to believe poor treatment now is God-ordained.

Depends on what someone claims is "God-ordained."  And what can it mean to say that "poor treatment now is God-ordained"?  Not sure who is making such a claim.

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

Or you can do like a recent President did and cheat on your wife, divorce her, and marry your sidepiece while having more affairs throughout that don’t get that far.

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4 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Or you can do like a recent President did and cheat on your wife, divorce her, and marry your sidepiece while having more affairs throughout that don’t get that far.

Well, you do need a Michael Cohen to make payoffs.

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Concubinage as a concept is problematic because it is a word that has been used to describe all kinds of situations in many cultures and eras. To modern eyes the most benign is something like a temporary marriage where they are wed for a distinct period of time but the ‘marriage’ is more matrilineal and when the time is up the concubine returns to her own family and the children are hers. This is what I suspect some of the early prophets might have meant when they talked about possibly needing something like concubinage in the future. Then you go down to subordinate wife due to lower caste or marriage order or whatever, situations where it is basically a claim without anything we would recognize as a marriage (she is ‘his woman’), and slave women forced (with or without consent) into a kind of marriage.

Chinese emperors are probably the ones who took this the most to excess with multiple wives and hundreds and sometimes around ten thousand concubines (Solomon was a lightweight) with all the soap opera politicking that leads to. Generally a lot of the concubines were ceremonial though. It is likely the Emperor was only sexually involved with around 50 or so. One Chinese emperor scandalously went monogamous primarily to stop the politicking over the succession. It is suspected this is because one murderous concubine killed his mom.

Fun side note: I was recently very peripherally involved in the design of a dynastic simulation game. To fit the era of the game the religions were set to be monogamous, polygamous, or allow concubines. One problem was terminology as you could in game have your ruler design their own religion plus there was one African dynasty that was matrilineal in that time period and allowed their female ruler multiple male ‘concubines’ so they needed a word that could fit for a male concubine. Eventually they settled on consort. Ask me some time about the weird nudist human sacrifice cult I designed in one game. It was nominally Christian too. We were very firm on equality between the sexes. In fact the leader who first declared herself pope had three husbands and outlived six consorts. She ate one of the consorts. She was a cannibal and often ate those who displeased her. The consort was also her nephew. The cult didn’t have an incest taboo. Her first husband was also her brother and most of the consorts were family members. I was trying to run a eugenics program to improve the traits of the family. She also belonged to a cult of the Horned god and went to their origiastic bachannals. She had 14 children and lived to be 98. She was a good pope though. Expanded the faith into France via the sword. Her daughter brought down the papacy and her grandson liberated Constantinople and Jerusalem and healed the Christian schism with her cult as the primary faith and all other Christians now being heretics. This is why I should never be put in charge of anything.......ever.

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7 hours 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?

Hi Robert, you've certainly given me something to consider. Thank you.

I don't think it necessarily  follows that a rejection of modern polygamy requires one to reject the validity of Abraham and other patriarchs. There were many things commonly accepted in those days that shock common feelings of morality today, slavery is an easy example. This doesn't mean that today's morality always trumps the former concept of morality. 

I think one needs to sift through the history of the practice within the restored Church and do ones best to search for truth. Eventually one will draw conclusions as to the righteousness of the practice.

 

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Concubinage as a concept is problematic because it is a word that has been used to describe all kinds of situations in many cultures and eras. To modern eyes the most benign is something like a temporary marriage where they are wed for a distinct period of time but the ‘marriage’ is more matrilineal and when the time is up the concubine returns to her own family and the children are hers. This is what I suspect some of the early prophets might have meant when they talked about possibly needing something like concubinage in the future. Then you go down to subordinate wife due to lower caste or marriage order or whatever, situations where it is basically a claim without anything we would recognize as a marriage (she is ‘his woman’), and slave women forced (with or without consent) into a kind of marriage.

Chinese emperors are probably the ones who took this the most to excess with multiple wives and hundreds and sometimes around ten thousand concubines (Solomon was a lightweight) with all the soap opera politicking that leads to. Generally a lot of the concubines were ceremonial though. It is likely the Emperor was only sexually involved with around 50 or so. One Chinese emperor scandalously went monogamous primarily to stop the politicking over the succession. It is suspected this is because one murderous concubine killed his mom.

Fun side note: I was recently very peripherally involved in the design of a dynastic simulation game. To fit the era of the game the religions were set to be monogamous, polygamous, or allow concubines. One problem was terminology as you could in game have your ruler design their own religion plus there was one African dynasty that was matrilineal in that time period and allowed their female ruler multiple male ‘concubines’ so they needed a word that could fit for a male concubine. Eventually they settled on consort. Ask me some time about the weird nudist human sacrifice cult I designed in one game. It was nominally Christian too. We were very firm on equality between the sexes. In fact the leader who first declared herself pope had three husbands and outlived six consorts. She ate one of the consorts. She was a cannibal and often ate those who displeased her. The consort was also her nephew. The cult didn’t have an incest taboo. Her first husband was also her brother and most of the consorts were family members. I was trying to run a eugenics program to improve the traits of the family. She also belonged to a cult of the Horned god and went to their origiastic bachannals. She had 14 children and lived to be 98. She was a good pope though. Expanded the faith into France via the sword. Her daughter brought down the papacy and her grandson liberated Constantinople and Jerusalem and healed the Christian schism with her cult as the primary faith and all other Christians now being heretics. This is why I should never be put in charge of anything.......ever.

Were you modding Crusader Kings?

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14 hours ago, Risingtide said:

Thank you for your advice. Nearly all of Christendom agrees with those fundamental principles, and I do as well, but I feel a need to accept the teachings of the church that reach beyond those fundamentals.

I think it best to begin with those things that are most immediately (developmentally speaking) connected with the fundamental principles of the Lord's personal victory over sin and death, because these are how we develop the capacity to increasingly and more fully apply the mercy and grace extended to us through His Atoning sacrifice. Joseph Smith's quote continues, "But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth." When these things are properly applied, the "reaching beyond" takes on a whole new meaning and character including the development of transcendent attributes and attitudes. These can help us see people and things as God sees them. Perhaps more simply put, the spirit of prophecy will help us understand the prophets.

On what basis do you need to believe that what Joseph Smith taught and practiced regarding polygamy was inspired by God, and on what basis are you bound to believe God directed him in introducing plural marriage?

Edited by CV75
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7 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

So do you believe that having concubines were also a commandment from God?

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15 hours ago, CV75 said:

Personally, I would take a step back and identify what the Lord has said what need to believe. That certainly simplifies life on one hand and opens up an incredibly abundant life of the other, with the Spirit personally confirming both.

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Joseph Smith)

So, would this be considered a creed?

If we take Joseph's statement to it's most basic level regarding the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, at the core the message seems to be... God loves us and there is continued existence after death.

What if this is really God's intended message to us; God loves us, we will continue to exist, therefore love God and love those around us. What if the rest is just filling in the gaps of how and why? 

16 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 alternatives as I think about it are:

1.God gave JS a very vague idea that it was to be practiced and Joseph himself filled in the details. In this I would find some fault in God's management of a practice that had such monumental consequences for Joseph and the restored church. 

2. Joseph Smith went rogue, maybe confusing his thoughts and desires with heavenly inspiration. 

I'm very open to other ideas I have yet to fully consider.

I believe Brigham Young and others followed and taught what Joseph taught.

To the OP regarding God's management style in the restoration, the same criticism could be made of God's management of all of creation and his plan of happiness throughout all religious practice. Because reliance on imperfect human's to share the message of God will inevitably result in screwed up ideas, doctrines, teachings, etc. It creates tribalism. If you think about that communication strategy between leader/subjects/employees/children in any other course of life we would judge that strategy to be extremely flawed. On the other hand, if God doesn't care about the details of religion but is simply trying to convey a level of hope for continued existence of each person, the existence of a greater power who loves, and the expectation that people treat each other well, then the communication strategy is just fine.

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7 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think it best to begin with those things that are most immediately (developmentally speaking) connected with the fundamental principles of the Lord's personal victory over sin and death, because these are how we develop the capacity to increasingly and more fully apply the mercy and grace extended to us through His Atoning sacrifice. Joseph Smith's quote continues, "But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth." When these things are properly applied, the "reaching beyond" takes on a whole new meaning and character including the development of transcendent attributes and attitudes. These can help us see people and things as God sees them. Perhaps more simply put, the spirit of prophecy will help us understand the prophets.

Are you suggesting I set aside my investigation of polygamy?

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4 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

Are you suggesting I set aside my investigation of polygamy?

You didn't ask me but...

If you want to truly understand how and why polygamy was practiced in the early church and the subsequent reversal...in stages...then keep studying.

If you want to build ore retain your faith in the restoration and the idea of prophets and continuing revelation in a way that you can actually trust to get God's will right, I'd suggest you stop. Obviously some people are able to harmonize the true church history, practices and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings but I'd suggest they are the minority.

IMO- the justifications for polygamy are a faith destroyer. You've been warned ;)  Proceed at your own risk.

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24 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

 

To the OP regarding God's management style in the restoration, the same criticism could be made of God's management of all of creation and his plan of happiness throughout all religious practice. Because reliance on imperfect human's to share the message of God will inevitably result in screwed up ideas, doctrines, teachings, etc. It creates tribalism. If you think about that communication strategy between leader/subjects/employees/children in any other course of life we would judge that strategy to be extremely flawed. On the other hand, if God doesn't care about the details of religion but is simply trying to convey a level of hope for continued existence of each person, the existence of a greater power who loves, and the expectation that people treat each other well, then the communication strategy is just fine.

I don't believe the blame if any exists is with a laxity on God's part. 

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33 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You didn't ask me but...

If you want to truly understand how and why polygamy was practiced in the early church and the subsequent reversal...in stages...then keep studying.

If you want to build ore retain your faith in the restoration and the idea of prophets and continuing revelation in a way that you can actually trust to get God's will right, I'd suggest you stop. Obviously some people are able to harmonize the true church history, practices and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings but I'd suggest they are the minority.

IMO- the justifications for polygamy are a faith destroyer. You've been warned ;)  Proceed at your own risk.

Consider me the minority I suppose. This has not been my experience. 

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17 minutes ago, Risingtide said:

I don't believe the blame if any exists is with a laxity on God's part. 

Can you explain why not?

IF God really cares about the details of religion, including the restoration and polygamy, then He either A- allowed the prophets to get things wrong or B- the elements that seem wrong were really His intention all along so any harm caused by polygamy was intended. Is B really a better alternative than A?

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59 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You didn't ask me but...

If you want to truly understand how and why polygamy was practiced in the early church and the subsequent reversal...in stages...then keep studying.

If you want to build ore retain your faith in the restoration and the idea of prophets and continuing revelation in a way that you can actually trust to get God's will right, I'd suggest you stop. Obviously some people are able to harmonize the true church history, practices and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings but I'd suggest they are the minority.

IMO- the justifications for polygamy are a faith destroyer. You've been warned ;)  Proceed at your own risk.

I also would be considered in the minority.
I don't consider social norms to have any bearing on God's ideas.  I think there are many more things that will be in the gospel as we learn and grow that will go against every moral, societal, and ethical principle and tradition we currently believe.  I want God, not my idea of God, and so I don't hold God to any supposed moral benchmark we might set.  The "God wouldn't do that" argument doesn't hold water.

"But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn dodger for a wedge & a pumpkin for a beetle; even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the saints prepared to receive the things of God, but we frequently see some of them after suffering all they have for the work of God will fly to peaces like glass as soon as any thing Comes that is Contrary to their traditions. They cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a Celestial law & go through & receive their exaltation I am unable to say but many are called & few are Chosen."  Joseph Smith

Edited by JLHPROF
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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

You bring up something that reminded me of something that has bothered me and that is that men can't do monogamy and so instead of affairs or going to prostitutes then polygamy is the answer. Not sure which prophet or apostles said this in the early church but it is something I disagree with wholeheartedly. It's not a normal thing for men to need, hogwash. 

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

So, would this be considered a creed?

If we take Joseph's statement to it's most basic level regarding the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, at the core the message seems to be... God loves us and there is continued existence after death.

What if this is really God's intended message to us; God loves us, we will continue to exist, therefore love God and love those around us. What if the rest is just filling in the gaps of how and why? 

To the OP regarding God's management style in the restoration, the same criticism could be made of God's management of all of creation and his plan of happiness throughout all religious practice. Because reliance on imperfect human's to share the message of God will inevitably result in screwed up ideas, doctrines, teachings, etc. It creates tribalism. If you think about that communication strategy between leader/subjects/employees/children in any other course of life we would judge that strategy to be extremely flawed. On the other hand, if God doesn't care about the details of religion but is simply trying to convey a level of hope for continued existence of each person, the existence of a greater power who loves, and the expectation that people treat each other well, then the communication strategy is just fine.

I take Joseph Smith's statement as the his explanation of our religion’s priorities, with the appendages connected to Christ being the “way” or the means to become and exist as Jesus does.

I think that individually and collectively, the covenant people are willing and strive to abide His revelations within the bounds in which we individually and collectively live. For example, He did not expect the people of the brother of Jared’s dispensation to collectively have faith in His having a physical form, but the brother of Jared did (and was commanded not to share it) as he expanded the bounds (in this case, the bounds are light and knowledge) in which he lived as an individual.

Sometimes, as in the case of plural marriage or the priesthood ban, the “bounds” of earlier revelations are no longer currently clear, and perhaps they weren’t in days or yore, either. Nor are the “bounds” or limits to our individual light and knowledge to see things as God does very clear, whether that pertains to the past, present or future.

To tie it in to the idea of a “communication strategy,” I see the communication as part of a broader “becoming strategy” where the communication is improved as “oneness” through agency is more fully attained. This oneness is developmental and progressive, beginning with the immediately connected appendages of faith in Christ, authorized repentance, baptism of water and fire, and so forth.

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1 hour ago, Risingtide said:

Are you suggesting I set aside my investigation of polygamy?

Not at all. I am advocating an approach that will help you proceed by identifying 2 things: 1) The basis on which you need to believe that what Joseph Smith taught and practiced regarding polygamy was inspired by God, and 2) the basis on which you are bound to believe God directed him in introducing plural marriage. Doing so has everything to do with recognizing the essential nature of the prioritization set forth in Joseph Smith's statement.

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Do we or does the church still believe that Jesus was a polygamist? Or is there anything said officially by the church? 

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Can you explain why not?

IF God really cares about the details of religion, including the restoration and polygamy, then He either A- allowed the prophets to get things wrong or B- the elements that seem wrong were really His intention all along so any harm caused by polygamy was intended. Is B really a better alternative than A?

I think this binary adopts an approach to prophetic revelation that I don't believe is valid. 

I don't believe God can just download the Right Way To Do Things into our heads ex nihilo. At some point post-exaltation we're supposed to walk out on our own, at which point we will be the law unto ourselves. An arbitrarily-chosen bulk-downloaded Right Way won't be a sufficient education. The point of a mortal experience is not merely to exercise agency but also experience the pitfalls of it etched into our souls, which requires the incremental, line-upon-line style of divine correction manifested in our individual lives. It may better serve God's purposes to point us in the right direction and guide us there incrementally rather than overwhelm us in one moment with an Exhaustively Infallibly Correct Way Of Doing Things from the get-go. 

This is even before one gets into  questions regarding constraints on divine action, concerns of prophetic agency vs. divine coercion, and a lot of other metaphysical questions introduced into the theological sphere by Joseph Smith's denial of the omnigod. Skeptical theism (the philosophy that we aren't fit to stand as moral judges of God because we cannot know the factors in His decisions to a sufficient degree to justify moral judgement) was in my mind strong enough on classical theism alone, but the addition of potential constraints on God multiplies its power. 

Also I endorse @CV75's thoughts. 

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9 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

They were especially convenient in cases of childlessness of the wife, as in Abraham's case.  In general, most ancient civilizations allowed concubinage, from Asia to Rome.  In Rome, where half the population was slave, a slave woman could legally be used as a concubine by the owner (she had no choice), even though there was allowed by law only one wife.  This was also true in the American deep South, where rape of female slaves was normalized.  Yet they had strict monogamy.

In modern times, of course, an important man like John F. Kennedy has one trophy wife, but many affairs.  This was also normal for his father Joseph P. Kennedy.

Never mind the fact that women were treated like property and breeding stock, right?  We should just accept the notion of polygamy as being normative because, well, it's been around so long?  We shouldn't evolve; we shouldn't question.  Just do it, because others have done it and someone comes along and tells us God said he should do it, too, so that should be good enough, right?

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