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17 hours ago, Risingtide said:

I can't force myself to believe it. It doesn't seem to work that way for me. My hope is that the Holy Spirit will confirm that what Joseph Smith and later prophets taught about polygamy is true. Not that that conformation leaves me on easy street.

On its merits by my own lights which are admittedly limited it seems a mistake that polygamy was taught and practiced.

My position it it was not instituted by God and I started off where you are at. I tried to make it work but never could.  One of the big lunch pins for me at least being pulled out and such. Best wishes in whatever direction this takes you.

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16 hours ago, teddyaware said:

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!”

Personally I believe the Abraham story is simply myth and if God actually did do this I cannot imagine a more cruel act.  It seems that only a megalomaniac would require such a thing.

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15 hours 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.

The idea that you have to be spiritually mature to understand some things is arrogant and ludicrous. And it is a lie. If something doesn't make sense there may be a good reason why.  Jumping through the mental gymnastic hoops that Teddyware is talking about to insist this is the only way to understand certain things should set off warning alarms in your head.

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15 hours ago, JAHS said:

Well if Nephi (cutting off Laban's head) and Abraham can be vindicated I assume Joseph Smith will be also.

Or both are simply stories.

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11 hours ago, california boy said:

I am curious what you think of concubines.

Hmmm.  Well, given the fact that my prospects for finding an actual wife are minimal at best at this point, perhaps some sort of minimally-committal, quasi-committal arrangement such as concubinage might have to suffice. :huh::unknw:

;):D

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

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

I do.  ;)
But the Church has never had a specific position on it.  It was taught by early leaders in official settings, believed by many of them and by many members, but it was never an official canonized Church doctrine.

However, official canonized Church doctrine requires marriage for exaltation.  And just as there is no official doctrine on his marriage or polygamy, there is no official Church doctrine that exempts Christ from that requirement.
Quite the opposite given his statement at baptism.  How can he have eternal increase without an eternal companion?

I think stating Christ wasn't married is pretty shaky ground for a latter-day saint.  The polygamy speculation comes into play when we look at his potential wives.   His conduct towards multiple women is that of a husband to a wife.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Jesus_Christ/Was_Jesus_married

Edited by JLHPROF
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1 hour ago, ttribe said:

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?

Not sure I understand the question(s) here.  Societies certainly change their ethical and social norms over time, but it is not clear that they get better or worse.  Seems to me that it can go either way, and it certainly has in the 20th century, for example.  Polygyny is quite common among both humans and animals, and they are genetically predisposed to it.  Doesn't make it right, and being "right" is itself a value judgment which changes with time.

The doctrine of progress is false, and people do not actually evolve so much as they simply change or adjust.  Living in an open society in which high ethical and social norms are accepted is quite unusual.  The totalitarian temptation is simply too strong for most societies.  People like to be told what to do and how to do it -- a notion which provides stability and predictability.  I put a high value on the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, but many people prefer to jettison such frills for ideological reasons.  To them, free speech and free press are unnecessary, even dangerous.

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21 hours ago, Risingtide said:

I don't think alternative #1 is plausible. I don't think God was lax in directing JS. Maybe God felt it necessary for the Saints to adopt practices that would inevitably lead to conflict and anger with the nation forcing the Saints to move time and time again, and eventually flee the US where for a time they could practice the religion with less disturbance .

As I read Church history, I get the impression plural marriage was less a factor in the persecutions and deprivations inflicted on the Saints than is often supposed. It was not widely or definitively taught until the early Utah period of Church history. Rumor was all the enemies had to go on up to then. They found other excuses and rationalizations for their bigotry. 

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

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. 

Whatever the case historically, Mark Twain did visit SLC and took a look around.  At first he thought that polygamy was a matter of Mormon male lust, but when he took a gander at Mormon women he decided he must be wrong.  Why?  Suffice to say that Twain thought that the men who married multiple wives were showing compassion toward women who simply did not look that attractive.  Naturally he said that tongue in cheek.  However, you do need to consider, Tacenda, that plural marriage has its hardships for men.  Many Arab Muslims claim that having more than one wife increases the number of problems and expenses, and so should be avoided.  A foolish man might very well think it a great custom, and a ruler might view it as a matter of prestige (like having a Maserati), but a wise man would be very hesitant.  Even being married to one woman can be very difficult.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

My position it it was not instituted by God and I started off where you are at. I tried to make it work but never could.  One of the big lunch pins for me at least being pulled out and such. Best wishes in whatever direction this takes you.

I’ve never had a lunch pin be pulled out before, but I did lose a meal ticket one time and had to pay for my lunches out of pocket. 

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2 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Whatever the case historically, Mark Twain did visit SLC and took a look around.  At first he thought that polygamy was a matter of Mormon male lust, but when he took a gander at Mormon women he decided he must be wrong.  Why?  Suffice to say that Twain thought that the men who married multiple wives were showing compassion toward women who simply did not look that attractive.  Naturally he said that tongue in cheek.  However, you do need to consider, Tacenda, that plural marriage has its hardships for men.  Many Arab Muslims claim that having more than one wife increases the number of problems and expenses, and so should be avoided.  A foolish man might very well think it a great custom, and a ruler might view it as a matter of prestige (like having a Maserati), but a wise man would be very hesitant.  Even being married to one woman can be very difficult.

True. If satisfying his lust is an average man’s motivator, there are easier ways to accomplish it that don’t involve taking on the obligations and burdens of marriage. 

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5 hours ago, california boy said:

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

The Bible seems to indicate that:  Ex 21:10, Deut 21:15-17, 25:5-10, Psalm 45:9

Quote

"Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee from the hand of Saul, And gave thee thy master's house and thy master's wives into thy bosom." (2 Sam. 12:7)

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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6 hours ago, Risingtide said:

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.

Value judgments are notoriously fickle and time-bound.  Valid ways of knowing ultimate reality or ultimate values may include reason, intuition, and the witness of the Holy Spirit.  One may pick and choose among those as one sees fit, or as conscience dictates.  Everyone has his own version of truth, whatever it may be.  However, in our modern polity, we are attempting to ensconce a Constitutional version of freedom of choice and equal protection of the law in our actual socio-legal structure.  We have made homosexual marriage as valid as heterosexual marriage, and we are likely to see the legalization of polyandry and polygamy as well.

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5 hours 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.

Probably the only reason they would be in the minority is because a huge percentage of the church members were baptized in the last few years :)

Pretty much every one I know well in real life knows much of the "true church history, practices, and teachings".  And I'm not shy talking about some of my polygamous stories.  I find them absolutely fascinating and share them in church, family, and social gatherings.

I think there are a lot more members that have harmonized the "true church history, practices, and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings" than you are giving credit.  I was in a fast and testimony meeting when a much older woman got up and bore her testimony on polygamy and talked about some of the hardship.  In another ward, I attended a Sunday School class where we played a jeopardy style game and one of the questions was "How many wives did Jesus have?" (the answer caused a minor argument since people obviously disagreed on the number).

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2 minutes ago, webbles said:

In another ward, I attended a Sunday School class where we played a jeopardy style game and one of the questions was "How many wives did Jesus have?" (the answer caused a minor argument since people obviously disagreed on the number).

Oooh -- fun thread topic.  I'm really surprised those presiding allowed the question.

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Oooh -- fun thread topic.  I'm really surprised those presiding allowed the question.

I feel so bad for your poor missionaries. 

44 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

No, the third game in the series.

:P

I approve. I'm a fan of CKII but I haven't tried CKIII because II is so cheap on Steam. 

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8 minutes ago, webbles said:

Probably the only reason they would be in the minority is because a huge percentage of the church members were baptized in the last few years :)

Pretty much every one I know well in real life knows much of the "true church history, practices, and teachings".  And I'm not shy talking about some of my polygamous stories.  I find them absolutely fascinating and share them in church, family, and social gatherings.

I think there are a lot more members that have harmonized the "true church history, practices, and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings" than you are giving credit.  I was in a fast and testimony meeting when a much older woman got up and bore her testimony on polygamy and talked about some of the hardship.  In another ward, I attended a Sunday School class where we played a jeopardy style game and one of the questions was "How many wives did Jesus have?" (the answer caused a minor argument since people obviously disagreed on the number).

Are you in Utah?

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15 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

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. 

That might all be well and good if the divisor/unifier/trial/unconvention was moral. But how can it be moral when it is wrought through deception at all levels? How is it immoral when it is wrought through coercion?

In any other context, what do we call it when an authority figure draws people together by getting them to do bad things together? Whatever qualities it may have that enhance group cohesion, it is still unhealthy. 

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19 minutes ago, webbles said:

Probably the only reason they would be in the minority is because a huge percentage of the church members were baptized in the last few years :)

Pretty much every one I know well in real life knows much of the "true church history, practices, and teachings".  And I'm not shy talking about some of my polygamous stories.  I find them absolutely fascinating and share them in church, family, and social gatherings.

I think there are a lot more members that have harmonized the "true church history, practices, and teachings with their testimonies and current church teachings" than you are giving credit.  I was in a fast and testimony meeting when a much older woman got up and bore her testimony on polygamy and talked about some of the hardship.  In another ward, I attended a Sunday School class where we played a jeopardy style game and one of the questions was "How many wives did Jesus have?" (the answer caused a minor argument since people obviously disagreed on the number).

If that's the case, it wouldn't be the first time people justified immoral things in their minds for what they perceived as a greater purpose. 

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47 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

That might all be well and good if the divisor/unifier/trial/unconvention was moral. But how can it be moral when it is wrought through deception at all levels? How is it immoral when it is wrought through coercion?

In any other context, what do we call it when an authority figure draws people together by getting them to do bad things together? Whatever qualities it may have that enhance group cohesion, it is still unhealthy. 

I'll be honest, my conclusions about the morality of the enterprise taken as a whole are different from yours. There isn't a way around that. It's partially because I am not as confident as you are in the accuracy of the coercion and deception paradigm. There's also more to it. 

I'll also state that a true cultural divisor, in order to be a real divisor and not merely a quirk, must be repellent to the dominant culture. That does not justify the dominant culture's assessment as authoritative. 

And to fully accept your argument I'd have to adopt suppositions about the authority of divergent moral systems which I do not hold. First and foremost among them is the idea that any morality which is merely socially constructed is truly binding beyond the sense of being a forcible imposition by society upon the individual, coercive in itself and fundamentally deceptive in its claim to authority at all levels.  

I'll not say that I would have done everything Joseph did, but I don't consider myself and the fine points of my own social mores (which appear to be manifestly determined by time and place more than any inherent rightness tbh) to be a sufficient metric for judgement. I guess the question is: what do we define as healthy? And are we entitled to enforce that across all times and spaces and societies? And if Joseph acted imperfectly, what does that mean in the aggregate?

O tempora, o mores!

Edited by OGHoosier
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Whatever the case historically, Mark Twain did visit SLC and took a look around.  At first he thought that polygamy was a matter of Mormon male lust, but when he took a gander at Mormon women he decided he must be wrong.  Why?  Suffice to say that Twain thought that the men who married multiple wives were showing compassion toward women who simply did not look that attractive.  Naturally he said that tongue in cheek.  However, you do need to consider, Tacenda, that plural marriage has its hardships for men.  Many Arab Muslims claim that having more than one wife increases the number of problems and expenses, and so should be avoided.  A foolish man might very well think it a great custom, and a ruler might view it as a matter of prestige (like having a Maserati), but a wise man would be very hesitant.  Even being married to one woman can be very difficult.

Believe me I do know that the men don't get off easy with many wives! But what I was saying is I don't believe men need polygamy like some apostle said, because then he won't go to the women of the night. I think men are able to live monogamy just fine, and live faithfully. You see I have a lot of respect for men, and most of them are decent and would never have to have multiple partners to have a bunch of sex. 

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I'd like to pose a question to you. Do you believe that what you see is reality, pure reality, reality itself, and that your experience and what you have learned have nothing to do with how you interpret these perceptions?

If not, then that indicates that your background experience and state of learning and wisdom affect what you perceive to be real. In which case it is obvious that maturity is needed to understand some things. Why wouldn't spiritual maturity be needed to understand some things of the gospel? That isn't arrogant or ludicrous. 

Experience and maturity are needed to understand some things, this is a known fact of the human experience. Unless, of course, toddlers are actually equal to adults in terms of cognition and understanding. However, this is not true, so instead we have come to understand that the way we have grown up conditions what we eventually see. We often believe that what we see is the "truth". Not so. What we see is our observations situated against our expectations, emotions, and other factors, and this is what we come to believe. A fuller formula,  looks like this: 

So, our experiences definitely influence what we come to believe. Why is it ludicrous, then, that understanding spiritual things requires experience with spiritual things? Unless, of course, one believes that the only necessary experience is conventional secular experience and everything is best understood within that framework. That sort of assertion just assumes the conclusion without proving or even defending it. 

You've asked for intro works on philosophy. I respect that but in truth it's difficult to choose just one. Philosophy is an extremely broad subject with whole libraries written over thousands of years on each one of a host of different focuses. This sort of question refers to epistemology, the study of "what is knowledge" and "how do we know things". We tend to answer both of these questions intuitively, on reflex. Thinking a little deeper reveals the questions to be much more complicated, and in many cases the stuff we are taught in school assumes the answers to philosophical positions which kids don't even know exist, but just believe them because they are indoctrinated in school. All childhood education is indoctrination of one kind or another. No form of education can really discuss all the questions which it is expected to answer. For starters to some basic questions, I recommend Kevin Christensen's article which I quoted above, as well as pretty much anything else he's written at Interpreter regarding these things. In my estimation, though he isn't a professional philosopher, Christensen gets the issues pretty well. I'll look around for some good introductory materials which I can get to you later if you like. 

@mfbukowski is also very knowledgeable on these things.

Unfortunately, though, we must bear in mind that there is almost no topic on which experts can be expected to disagree so much as philosophy. 

Great stuff- that precisely nails it.

We simply cannot see "reality" as it is because every past experience affects every future one.  In cases of psychological trauma that becomes obvious- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Albert_experiment- here showing a experiment that would never be allowed today.

But even benign experiences color our perceptions.

And then we have physiology as well.  I had a bad left eye as a kid and did not even know I needed glasses  until having an eye test in school around the age of 5. I thought everyone had a bad left eye, or at least an eye that saw differently than the other.  And today I see that experience as coloring much of my life- especially in my awareness of "other ways of seeing".  

Again I would encourage reading Chantal Bax on the Death of Man and individuality after Wittgenstein- https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Chantal+Bax%3a+Subjectivity+after+Wittgenstein%3a+The+Post-Cartesian...-a0377663127 this would be for you personally Mr. @OGHoosier since others I think will not get it's importance.

Essentially her conclusion is that even though "the self" may be culturally contingent/determined to a large extent- our diversity of experience makes us all "individuals" and therefore arguments in favor of determinism simply don't work.  We literally BECOME what we experience and from that we create our worlds.

And yes that could be an allegory for how Human Intelligence- as "god" creates worlds.

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3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Hmmm.  Well, given the fact that my prospects for finding an actual wife are minimal at best at this point, perhaps some sort of minimally-committal, quasi-committal arrangement such as concubinage might have to suffice. :huh::unknw:

;):D

Just to clarify: You would have or be the concubine? Not that I’m looking, just curious...

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