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Distinct polygamy concerns


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We moved into a new ward in April, in an area where we don't have connections. I was asked by the new Relief Society president (called two weeks ago) to address the Relief Society sisters about polygamy, because of concerns that have been expressed that are keeping some sisters away from church or tempting them to formally leave the church. 

What specific concerns with polygamy am I missing in preparing for this? I have . . .

1. Polygamy, period (concern about it being of God, ever, under any circumstances)

2. Caving to political pressure in ending it (concern that the Church followed man and not God)

3. Lying to hide and cover up polygamy (discomfort with lying under any circumstances)

4. Need for the Second Manifesto (1890 didn’t end it outright).

5. Polyandry (Joseph Smith being sealed to other men's wives)

6. Joseph Smith’s teenage wives (concerns about his sealings to women under 18)

7. Polygamy today via sealings to additional spouses (concerns that polygamy will be part of the hereafter, as denoted by sealings to multiple spouses).

7a) Incongruity/disparity between men and women additional sealings. 

8. Modern-day offshoots = 19th Century Mormon polygamy (concerns that polygamy among modern-day offshoots illustrates how it functioned from the 1840s to the early 20th century). 

9. Bad and demonstrably incorrect folk explanations (e.g., more women than men, etc.). 

10. Required for exaltation? Doctrinal shift on this?

11. Lost boys effect (young men squeezed out of the marriage market via marriages to older men).

12. Joseph Smith had nothing at all to do with polygamy. It was all Brigham Young's fault!

13. Fanny Alger

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Thanks in advance for any subtopics under this heading that I'm overlooking!

 

Edited by rongo
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1 minute ago, The Nehor said:

Why multiple seatings are usually only allowed one way.

I think this is rather a significant observation. How come living men can be sealed to more than one spouse but living women are denied this?  

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9 minutes ago, rongo said:

We moved into a new ward in April, in an area where we don't have connections. I was asked by the new Relief Society president (called two weeks ago) to address the Relief Society sisters about polygamy, because of concerns that have been expressed that are keeping some sisters away from church or tempting them to formally leave the church. 

What specific concerns with polygamy am I missing in preparing for this? I have . . .

1. Polygamy, period (concern about it being of God, ever, under any circumstances)

2. Caving to political pressure in ending it (concern that the Church followed man and not God)

3. Lying to hide and cover up polygamy (discomfort with lying under any circumstances)

4. Need for the Second Manifesto (1890 didn’t end it outright).

5. Polyandry (Joseph Smith being sealed to other men's wives)

6. Joseph Smith’s teenage wives (concerns about his sealings to women under 18)

7. Polygamy today via sealings to additional spouses (concerns that polygamy will be part of the hereafter, as denoted by sealings to multiple spouses)

8. Modern-day offshoots = 19th Century Mormon polygamy (concerns that polygamy among modern-day offshoots illustrates how it functioned from the 1840s to the early 20th century). 

---

Thanks in advance for any subtopics under this heading that I'm overlooking!

 

From FAIR:

Why did the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants include a statement of marriage that denied the practice of polygamy at a time when some were actually practicing it?

Question: Was the only purpose of polygamy to "multiply and replenish the earth" and "bear the souls of men"?

Question: If the only purpose of polygamy was to "raise up seed," then why did Joseph not have children by his plural wives?

Jeff Lindsay's page about polygamy may be useful: https://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/polygamy.html

And, of course, the Hales' website: https://josephsmithspolygamy.org/common-questions/

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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I would differentiate between getting married in the temple to someone vs. getting sealed to someone, which I think is different aka this whole adoption practice that the church had in the mid to late 1800's. So, you could get sealed to a woman or man in the temple and you are living with them, kids and providing and all that vs. getting sealed to someone is a name only type deal or adopted to someone. Your husband isn't active or dead but getting sealed to someone else who is but that other person isn't having children with you or really providing for you per se

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Another one: the requirement to be polygamous to make it to the Celestial Kingdom as well as a requirement for a certain number of wives.

And to go along with Tacenda, some of them might have family who were polygamous during the "Mormon Reformation" where young women were induced into marriages with much older men.  I have one ancestor who has a sister that was married at a young age (14) to a much older man (61) because of what happened during the Mormon Reformation.  She left an auto-biography and she wasn't happy with that marriage or that her parents allowed her to get married.

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55 minutes ago, rongo said:

We moved into a new ward in April, in an area where we don't have connections. I was asked by the new Relief Society president (called two weeks ago) to address the Relief Society sisters about polygamy, because of concerns that have been expressed that are keeping some sisters away from church or tempting them to formally leave the church. 

What specific concerns with polygamy am I missing in preparing for this? I have . . .

1. Polygamy, period (concern about it being of God, ever, under any circumstances)

2. Caving to political pressure in ending it (concern that the Church followed man and not God)

3. Lying to hide and cover up polygamy (discomfort with lying under any circumstances)

4. Need for the Second Manifesto (1890 didn’t end it outright).

5. Polyandry (Joseph Smith being sealed to other men's wives)

6. Joseph Smith’s teenage wives (concerns about his sealings to women under 18)

7. Polygamy today via sealings to additional spouses (concerns that polygamy will be part of the hereafter, as denoted by sealings to multiple spouses)

8. Modern-day offshoots = 19th Century Mormon polygamy (concerns that polygamy among modern-day offshoots illustrates how it functioned from the 1840s to the early 20th century). 

---

Thanks in advance for any subtopics under this heading that I'm overlooking!

 

These topics are too vast and require far more than a single class of you are really going to help someone who is struggling.

I would focus on, instead, sharing resources and places they can go and how the ultimate authority is God and to go to him with your concerns

some sources:

Book of Mormon Central on YT

Doctrine and Covenants Central on YT

FAIR Latter-day Saint ON YT

The Latter-day Saint topical articles

Scripture 

 

Honestly, there are so many resources out there, I don’t know how people still have a hard time with this for long periods of time.

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I  should like to see a chart showing the age gap between early leaders and each of their wives and perhaps an average age gap.

We should note that today , with no polygamy , over 50% of first marriages  in general  end in divorce and , of those , over 70% are initiated  by the wife

who must be " unhappy " with the marriage. Apparently monogamy isn't free of problems. 

My biggest concern is that each marriage be entered into by a free will choice. The family dynamic in the 1800s was more like it is now in some Asian countries where the father has  a great influence over the daughter's marriage. Not a fan. 

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To me, the whole polygamy business was a case of Joseph getting a commandment without a lot of feedback about how he was to carry it out. From my reading, Joseph put the problem on a " shelf " as long as he could. He then " played it by ear " and often messed up. It got more orderly in the following decades. 

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1 hour ago, webbles said:

Another one: the requirement to be polygamous to make it to the Celestial Kingdom as well as a requirement for a certain number of wives.

And to go along with Tacenda, some of them might have family who were polygamous during the "Mormon Reformation" where young women were induced into marriages with much older men.  I have one ancestor who has a sister that was married at a young age (14) to a much older man (61) because of what happened during the Mormon Reformation.  She left an auto-biography and she wasn't happy with that marriage or that her parents allowed her to get married.

I recently read a quote pertinent to this subject from a sermon by Brigham Young. In it, President Young said that in order for a man to be worthy of exaltation he must, at very least, be fully willing in his heart to practice plural marriage if the Lord ever commands him to do so. The gist of what President Young said is if a man happens to be living at a time when plural marriage isn’t being practiced he must nonetheless make up his mind beforehand to be willing to practice plural marriage if circumstances change and the Lord commands him to take on more than one wife. He went on to say that if any man believes Section 132 is not of God, that man will most certainly not receive the fulness of celestial glory in heaven but will be relegated to the status of an angel and not a god. I suppose this means that there are now many members of the Church who are in the process of  disqualifying themselves for the fulness of celestial glory.

Edited by teddyaware
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

It wasn't normal for a very young woman to marry a much older man.

 

teen-brides-1.png

Comparing to the average doesn’t really show how common it is. That is bad statistics. It also seems really high. Are they counting only the first marriage or any marriage?

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

1) The whole compulsion by an angel with a drawn sword story never sat well with me.  

2) Joseph being sealed to other men’s wives never sat well with me.

3) The whole justification of raising up seed never sat well with me - especially considering that Joseph never had seed through polygamy.  Did he really need that many wives to “raise up seed”?  Did he really need to be sealed to married men’s wives to raise up seed?  

4) Yes, lying about it is a concern, but not only because “lying is bad”, but because infidelity is bad and D&C specifically states that polygamy is only condoned where the first wife approves of it and where the other wives are virgins (if I remember correctly - can’t check right now), which was not the case with all of his polygamous wives.

There is an argument that Joseph Smith actually opposed polygamy, that the practice was introduced by Brigham Young and others, but you'd probably have to extend credibility to sources outside the LDS Church to arrive at this conclusion:

https://restorationbookstore.org/pages/joseph-smith-fought-polygamy-online

Edited by manol
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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

In it, President Young said that in order for a man to be worthy of exaltation he must, at very least, be fully willing in his heart to practice plural marriage if the Lord ever commands him to do so. The gist of what President Young said is if a man happens to be living at a time when plural marriage isn’t being practiced he must nonetheless make up his mind beforehand to be willing to practice plural marriage if circumstances change and the Lord commands him to take on more than one wife. 

Joseph made it even simpler:

743216-Joseph-Smith-Jr-Quote-I-made-this

I mean really, all this debate should always end here.  It doesn't matter what we think of polygamy, tithing, word of wisdom, temple work, or any other revealed principle.  If God commands it we'd better figure out how to do it with a smile on our faces.  😁

Edited by JLHPROF
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50 minutes ago, manol said:

There is an argument that Joseph Smith actually opposed polygamy, that the practice was introduced by Brigham Young and others, but you'd probably have to extend credibility to sources outside the LDS Church to arrive at this conclusion:

https://restorationbookstore.org/pages/joseph-smith-fought-polygamy-online

Not a very good argument. 

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I would add 1) squaring the idea of how hard polygamy was for women compared to men with the belief that God loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons and 2) women used in polygamy as rewards for men or viewed as existing to bless men.

This is definitely the hardest.

But starting with certain assumptions we should be able to arrive at a hypothesis.

- God loves all his children, daughters and sons.

- God wants what's best for them and wants them to be happy. 

- D&C 132 including polygamy is from God according to our religion and Church.  So is the belief that sealings are for eternity.

- Sometimes God's commands require sacrifice, challenge, and even suffering before the blessings are realized.

Using these and other axiomatic principles shouldn't it be possible to hypothetically show that polygamy can make any faithful daughter or son happy and bring them blessings despite any difficulties?

So, who has a good hypothesis?  😜

 

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5 minutes ago, bluebell said:

The issue is almost always whether or not God commanded something. Not whether or not we should do it if He did. 

Agreed. And the real risk then is almost always the assumption that God would never command something we don't immediately like. William Law and his wife jumped straight to that conclusion.

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I had previously deleted my comment to Hamba. But shouldn't waste my allotment of posts so have this to say.

I wonder what my life would be like today if I had gone to a class like the one rongo is going to go to and teach/help.

Kudos to the ward/stake ? for doing this for those women that are questioning polygamy or struggling after learning things that were unknown, I was one of them and felt all alone several years ago, start of my loss of testimony. I wonder if their husbands will be with them? Or will this be in a Relief Society class on Sunday, or during the week? Either way. the men could be invited. Maybe this needs to be a 5th Sunday deal? 

I'm rambling on, but need to re-read the opening post. Going off memory. 

Maybe @rongowill set me straight. And maybe answer bluebell's question as well. 

Edited by Tacenda
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