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Your short answer on Mormon polygamy


Guest joepalmeto

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Guest joepalmeto

In a thread I started asking how current LDS policy against polygamy fits within customs, practices, and laws of other countries with allow polygamy.

Marie posted a short and simple question that was some what off topic and I thought deserved it's own thread:

I, too, being new, am interested in where the idea of multiple wives came from, why it was accepted, and why it was stopped.

Believe me, I know how large the mountain of paper is on both sides of the mormon polygamy argument!

So, both sides, give us your best short answer to the following:

1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

2. Why was it accepted?

3. Why was it stopped?

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So, both sides, give us your best short answer to the following:

1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

2. Why was it accepted?

3. Why was it stopped?

I assume you're talking about the modern LDS practice of multiple wifery (and sometimes multiple husbandry), and not the ancient B.C.E. kind.

To answer your questions:

  • The idea of multiple wives came from Joseph Smith as a way to legitimize his desire to escape the constraints of traditional marriage.
  • It was accepted because those who advocated it had an enormous amount of clout among their faithful followers, all of whom believed that said advocates of this practice spoke for God.
  • It was stopped because of a great deal of pressure from the U.S. Government.

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1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

Joseph was studying the Bible and noticed it with OT Prophets, but didn't know what to make of it. He then asks the Lord, and the Lord explained about Priesthood Keys that Joseph didn't have yet. The Lord explained, there was a particular key that once allowed a man to marry another wife and an have it not be adultry. It was done only at paticular periods of time, when sanctioned by the Lord.

2. Why was it accepted?

Since Joseph was the recipient of the each and every priesthood key, he was required to use them. This would mean, at a paticular period of time, when it was sanctioned by the Lord. Joseph would have to excercize these keys on himself and others. There seems to be a purpose for it in the last days.

Isa. 4: 1 seven women shall take hold of one man.

Because of scarcity of men due to wars Isa. 3: 25.

3. Why was it stopped?

Having asked the Lord, because we were being threatened by the US, and the Lord saw fit to end it. We stopped as to obey the law, once it was saught to be enforced.

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I'll let y'all argue on the rest, but I have to agree that the LDS church stopped due to political pressure. Polygamy was an impediment to becoming a state, and the government wasn't about to put up with some crazy Mormons with multiple wives in the Mountain West. I agree that God may have forseen the consequences of continued practice of plural marriage, but the main impetus was political, not spirutiual.

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Guest joepalmeto
1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

I guess I should answer Marie's questions.

Once JS had a close(cult like) following he experienced what most cult leaders experience, women drawn to him and his position of power over the group.

He could not resist, and indulged. His wife Emma caught him on many occasions. He felt that many were looking to him as a "prophet" and likened himself to Old Testament prophets who practiced polygamy. And with that thought process, he felt he was justified in sleeping with these other women. If God commanded these OT prophets to have sex with other women, then why not me, a modern prophet? He went as far as to claim that an angel with a flaming sword told him that he must either promise to practice the polygamy or the angel would kill him.

He fought constantly with his wife Emma over polygamy. He tried to keep it secret, within his close circle of friends. Some of his friends completely disagreed with it and told him that he must stop and come clean, some of those opposing friends left the church, either by choice or force(ex'd). Others friends jumped in with both feet, people like Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young.

2. Why was it accepted?
It was never known widely until Parley P. Pratt "let the cat out of the bag" in 1852 and then over the next 30-50 years, Brigham Young and his leaders used pious guilt to get the isolated members to accept AND practice it. They taught that the only way to the highest degree in the celestial kingdom was with multiple wives, a.k.a "the new and everlasting covenant".

JS never found widespread acceptance during his lifetime. He tried to keep it a secret, and even canonized a scripture in the 1835 edition of the D&C denouncing the practice. I believe that the origins of the LDS temple ceremony and sacred temple garments originated from this secrecy among his close associates.(note to mods, I apologize if I am not allowed to say that, and delete if I am in the wrong, but I have not explicitly discussed the temple ceremony or garments...)

Even though he was "practicing" polygamy as early as 1833, he did not write down the infamous revelation which became D&C 132 until 1843, wherein a majority of it was directed at Emma telling her that either she accept it or be destroyed. Ironically she lived to a ripe old age and JS was the one destroyed. His unbridled amorous ways, which he called polygamy, ultimately lead to his death because of a local newspaper which he had destroyed for printing the truth about his extramarital interests.

It is important to note that D&C 132 was never canonized into the D&C until 1876. Yes, polygamy was in full swing(no pun) for 41 years while D&C 101:4 strictly forbade it.

3. Why was it stopped?
Brigham Young always placed polygamy over statehood. Had he not died in 1877(some believe he was vengefully poisoned by the sons of John D. Lee, the point man of the MMM), who knows what the boundaries of Utah would look like today.

I think that the US government would have forced the LDS to stop polygamy much earlier, but fortunately for the polygamists, the civil war kept the attention OFF the polygamy as well as the MMM(mountain meadows massacre) for a while.

They wanted statehood and ultimately had to give up polygamy to get it. In 1890 Wilford Woodruff promised the US government that they would stop the practice. in 1896 Utah was inducted into the union. However, they did not keep their promise, it was merely moved underground.

In 1904, Joseph F. Smith made a second promise. However, it still took many years of internal purging before it was finally stopped.

The third prophet of the LDS church, John Taylor, claims to have had a vision where Jesus/God told him that polygamy must be practiced and defended even until death. That is were the FLDS get their excuse for continuing to practice polygamy in the four corners region of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

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So, both sides, give us your best short answer to the following:

Joe ends up answering his own question? Why post the question if you knew how to answer it in the first place?

1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

This was answered very well by Ray. It came while Joseph Smith was going through the translation of the bible. Joseph asked how some in the Old Testament could have more then one wife.

2. Why was it accepted?

Who knows really, except when the Lord brings forth a

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1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

I'm assuming the Old Testament is the oldest "record" we have of polygamy. So, to the degree that it had to "come from" somewhere, instead of someone figuring it out on their own, I would assume Joseph was inspired by the Old Testament.

2. Why was it accepted?

Why wouldn't it be? Once you get people to commit themselves to believing, you can get them to do absolutely anything. Polygamy is hardly the most unusual belief adopted by a religious movement.

3. Why was it stopped?

Outside pressure seems to the most obvious reason.

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Guest joepalmeto

To be fair, here is a very recent pubic statement from the LDS church concerning a brief explanation on polygamy in the church.

Polygamy: Latter-day Saints and the Practice of Plural Marriage

It was one of the most hotly debated and fiercely contested religious principles in 19th-century America and, in the public mind at least, stamped the Mormons of that era with a distinctiveness that would follow them until the 21st century.

Polygamy

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1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

From God. The Bible shows God authorizing it in several cases. In the Book of Mormon, God states the reason for it.

2. Why was it accepted?

Because people believed that JS and BY were prophets of God (as do I). And since this is Christianity, plural marriage doctrine could easily be seen in the scriptures.

3. Why was it stopped?

In the Bible, why does God authorize plural marriage in certain cases and not in others?

Perhaps it's purpose had been fulfilled and the Lord allowed circumstances to arise to signal the saints that it was time to stop.

One thing is for certain and that is that the Church did not lie about it's practice in the late 1800's. They simply did what anyone else would and should do. They signaled their intent to follow the law of the land; then they waited until it was seen for sure that they would get no help in the courts to overturn the laws that prevented them from freely practicing their religion.

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1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

As others have stated, I believe that Joseph received inspiration when studying the scriptures and was then given a revelation about plural marriage. I also believe that it was instituted as it was in days of old for the building up and strengthening of the kingdom on earth. Both building up and strengthening occurred.

2. Why was it accepted?People who are obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel often adhere to commandments even if they are uncomfortable with them on some level

Take for instance the Word of Wisdom: many people would rather be having a smoke or a nip at whatever time of the day it suits them but when they join this church, with serious commitment, they learn to follow the commands of God---in such a case---the WoW reigns in their new life since it is an avenue to gaining good sound moral judgment and discernment from the Holy Ghost.

3. Why was it stopped? I agree with the sentiments of most who have posted here. The Lord saw it was time. But if you read the Manifesto you will see that we still teach it and believe in it, however, not for this day and age. When the people can't or won't live a command the Lord may revoke it and it's blessings

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1. Where did the idea of multiple wives came from?

God, The Prophet had questions on Abraham and His wives and the Lord revealed plural marriage. not really that tough to understand.

2. Why was it accepted?

Cause God revealed it.

3. Why was it stopped?

Cause God said to stop.

Not really that complex.

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Multiple husbands? This is new to me... might you have an example?

Multiple husbandry... I've heard Joseph's polygyny was by sealing only, as the RLDS/CoC claim, and those sealed weren't known to be intimate up until Brigham's time. But Joseph was going sealing crazy with the sealing power. Cause not only were spouces and families sealed, I hear from the RLDS/CoC that Joseph even contemplated the possiblity of sealing servants to their masters. Thus RLDS challanging Brigham's authority in the matter of altering the nature of sealings.

Anywho, Alan (Local CoC/RLDS poster) in that same conversation, once said that Joseph had accually sealed himself to a man, I don't think he gave any details or sources. Maybe thats what Shades is refering to... I don't know.

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Guest joepalmeto
My question is why do you ask insincere questions?

Insincere?

Geez, I am definitely not here seeking further light and knowledge.

Do you really think this board is for doubting members to have their tender questions answered?

This board is place were pro mormon apologists flex and exercise their apologetic muscles. The want people like me to post here. Sort of a training ground for junior Mo'pologists.

If you desire to discuss how the priesthood lesson made you feel then the Nauvoo.com board is the place to be.

If you want to lock horns with evil apostates like me, then this is the place. :P

If all they allowed were TBMs on this board, you all would be board outta your minds.

Now lets get back to lockin' horns!

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