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Could Joseph Smith be a "Fallen Prophet"


Guest Lori

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If early LDS polygamy served a purpose, it was to solidify the religious community, especially in the early Nauvoo and Utah periods from about 1841-ish to the late sixties or early seventies. Now that the Church is on solid foundation, one would hope polygamy is gone forever. I think so.

How could polygamy, as practiced in early Nauvoo, help solidify the community? It was practiced in secret, publically denied, and very few people participated. It didn't solidify the community at all.

It may have helped the Church to endure its many persecutions by creating strong foundations of loyalty.  It established a "royal priesthood."  Just think about how many Kimballs, Cannons, and Smiths there are that still lead in the Church.

Guilt, disguised as loyalty, will do that, yes. It's what holds the Mob, the Cartel, and any number of other secret combinations together. I'm not sure that's such a good thing.

Why does a church that is based on truth and equality need a royal priesthood?

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Why does a church that is based on truth and equality need a royal priesthood?

1. What is your support for your assertion that the church is based on equity?

2. Even assuming you are correct, what is your evidence that your definition of "equity" is shared by God?

I struggle w/ the idea of man's modern interpretations of what is "equitable" being then attributed to God.

Moreover, is it equity of outcome? Or merely equity of opportunity?

C.I.

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"Oh I was trolling along, one moonlight day......yeah just trolling along..."

Why is it that Lori's posts sound suspiciously as if they were being taken verbatim from someone liike John Corrill or Serenity?

As usual, yes, I'm the heartless one whose not buying the premise of this thread.

However, from what I can see in the Bible, there is no such thing as a "fallen prophet." The closest you get is King Davis, who was a prophet of sort, but not "the" prophet as that duty fell to Nathan and it is apparent that David was subject to Nathan as David sought his permission to do certian things like build the temple, etc.

C.I.

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Why does a church that is based on truth and equality need a royal priesthood?

1. What is your support for your assertion that the church is based on equity?

2. Even assuming you are correct, what is your evidence that your definition of "equity" is shared by God?

I struggle w/ the idea of man's modern interpretations of what is "equitable" being then attributed to God.

Moreover, is it equity of outcome? Or merely equity of opportunity?

C.I.

Based on Acts 10:34, D&C 1:35, Deut 10:17, Col 3-23-25: God is no respector of persons. We are all the same to God.

What did you think I meant?

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When it comes to polygamy, it's a dead end no matter which path I choose. To believe that it was commanded makes me feel worthless to God as a woman. The emotional torture of those women rips your heart out.

Do you mean that you have heard ALL the stories of ALL the polygymous wives in early Mormonism and thaty they were ALL bad experiences?

In my wife's heritage are several polygynous families, and we have a few of their journals. There is not even one complaint - especially not against the fact of the plural wifery. There is some (occasional) talk of the sisterhood that existed amoung the wives (the most we know of is 4 wives to one of the ancestors, but only 3 were living at once), and as far as we can tell there were no divorces. The families that came from these relationships (generations later) are a mixed bag - my wife is a TBM (as was her convert father), her mother (and most of her mother's siblings) are "cultural Mormons" and still mostly live in the Price/Huntington area of Utah (which their ancestors helped settle under Brother Brigham), but my wife's grandmother and her siblings were all very active LDSaints, and many branches of their families remain similarly faithful (just a sidenote: we've noticed that most of the polyg descendants who do NOT reside in Utah are active, whereas most that do are not).

The point is that in the journals of my wife's family (all the way back to Nauvoo) we find nothing but the typical struggles of walking to Salt Lake, losing babies, the frustrations of trying to make the desert blossom as a rose, and some frustrations with Utah's statehood claims (as Deseret got chopped down and became Utah). Nothing - NOTHING - about the struggles of being a plural wife (except coordinating some chores); in fact, quite often we read "the Lord blessed us greatly today" and "we have much happiness" etc. - which makes me think that, generally, these people (polygyny and all) were pretty much like us - struggling with life's struggles but appreciative of the abundant blessings.

Admittedly, not all our the relations were polygynous, but those we know who were and whose journals we have simply do not complain about it.

There are also many stories (available to the public; we studied some in one of my classes at BYU) from Brigham Young's children, telling about the family life in their multi-wife family.

There are bad reports, certainly, but as one of my literature teachers explained, often great literature is born of strife, not contentment (not labeling dissident former polygynous wives as great authors).

I would highly recommend that you seek out some of these family journals from the early years of the Utah Church - you may just find solace. In one of our student wards back when we were in college my wife once gave a talk and cited something from one of her pioneer ancestor journals; by the end of the day two other wardmembers shared some of their own copies of pioneer journals (in fact, one let me copy a first-hand account of those who came into SLValley with BY). Perhaps there are some in your ward with similar family journals they would share (ours are not public, but we share them as we can).

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Based on Acts 10:34, D&C 1:35, Deut 10:17, Col 3-23-25: God is no respector of persons. We are all the same to God.

What did you think I meant?

Obviously, when God says he is no respector of persons he means something different than what you take him to mean. He does not respect persons, but the Hebrews where his "chosen" people. He does not respect people but His gospel went first to the Jews and the gentiles only secondarily.

In other words, I am highly dubious that what God considers to be "equitable" is on par with what you consider to be "equitable."

C.I.

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Glad to see this topic come up so often. When I first found out about Joseph Smith and Polygamy, Polandry, and the taking of a 14 year old, my world crashed and burned, because I lost my faith in a man that I thought so highly of.

I felt sick to my stomache, and was very much depressed for several weeks...

I will NEVER feel good about something so aboninable as Polygamy.

Remember Polygamy was against the law of the land in Missouuri, but yet the Articles of faith claim we MUST obey the laws of the land.

Polygamy and Poladndry are true sins against the Lord and God of love.

It does not work, it will never work and goes against the fundemental law of family.

You cannot love two women at the same time. One will always feel second class.

1 man, 1 women.....

Please answer me this, if Joseph Smith was instructed to "RAISE SEED" ...then where is all the SEED from the other wives? Eh????? Exactly...NONE!!

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Another factoid. You will raise up MORE seed if you have one woman and one man.

The law of averages dictate that is the MOST efeciant and productive way to raise SEED.

There is wisdom in a one man, one woman relationship of postierity.

Polygamy, Polandry, do NOT pass any tests whatsoever.

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All the excuses that apologists make for it don't pass the test. There were more men than women.

I don't think this is entirely fair.

Can you point out anyone making an actual argument (as opposed to someone who simply asserts it) that there were more women then men and that this necessitated polygamy? I haven't heard that from anyone who claims to be an apologist, certainly not from FAIR or FARMS, but only (cluessless, IMHO) members.

The whole idea was debunked by JOhn Widtsoe 100 years ago.

Plural marriage has been a subject of wide and frequent comment. Members of the Church unfamiliar with its history, and many non-members, have set up fallacious reasons for the origin of this system of marriage among the Latter-day Saints.

The most common of these conjectures is that the Church, through plural marriage, sought to provide husbands for its large surplus of female members. The implied assumption in this theory, that there have been more female than male members in the Church, is not supported by existing evidence. On the contrary, there seem always to have been more males than females in the Church. Families -- father, mother, and children -- have most commonly joined the Church. Of course, many single women have become converts, but also many single men.

The United States census records from 1850 to 1940, and all available Church records, uniformly show a preponderance of males in Utah, and in the Church. Indeed, the excess in Utah has usually been larger than for the whole United States, as would be expected in a pioneer state. The births within the Church obey the usual population law -- a slight excess of males. Orson Pratt, writing in 1853 from direct knowledge of Utah conditions, when the excess of females was supposedly the highest, declares against the opinion that females outnumbered the males in Utah. (The Seer, p. 110) The theory that plural marriage was a consequence of a surplus of female Church members fails from lack of evidence.

-Evidences and Reconciliations 390-391.

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Moxy

Remember Polygamy was against the law of the land in Missouuri, but yet the Articles of faith claim we MUST obey the laws of the land.

Get you facts straight!

It wasnt against the law in Missouri. The Mormons where forced out of Missuori then the Law was put in place... The same thing with Ohio. Now Illinous it was against the Law but then... Only bacause they put up law following Missuri and Ohio... Why did the Governor allow the Mormons back into the state?

:P

Polygamy and Poladndry are true sins against the Lord and God of love.

Glad to know Gods a sinner. <_<

2 Sam 12

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I find the critics take a much to simplistic view of this issue. After having read both sides, I just don't find what the critics claim.

I don't like the practice of plural marriage either. My great grandmother was very unhappy with it. She continued to call her husband, "Mr. Wood" until she finally divorced him. (As a side note...my grandmother, who was a child, loved the large family unit.) Also, now that I am getting older, I am beginning to understand many of the problems it would cause.

But, I also find there were (at that time) good and useful purposes for it.

Not speaking from a religious standpoint....just the practical for a moment. Before I even start, I know this will sound like a justification. This is just meant to be for thought.

We have to remember early on what the job opportunities were for women. They were practically non existent. There was no WIC, no Aid for Women with Dependant children etc. It provided a means of support for some of those families. Studies of later period polygamy show this to be the case. Most of the plural marriages that took place in Manti (according to Daynes) were Widows, Divorcees and daughters of polygamists. Not too many that were practicing monogamy changed over. Plural marriage also provided a strong support group for farming, for starting over in a new land, and support for when the husbands were called away on missions. They went into a third world nation area and tried to survive without starving. They almost didn't make it.

The second thing to remember is the divorce laws of Utah. They were the most liberal in the country. Brigham Young made it clear that the women would have complete freedom in this issue. For a woman to divorce her husband it was very simple and no reason had to be given. On the contrary, for a man to divorce a wife was very difficult. So the women stayed in the driver

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Another factoid.  You will raise up MORE seed if you have one woman and one man.

The law of averages dictate that is the MOST efeciant and productive way to raise SEED.

There is wisdom in a one man, one woman relationship of postierity.

Polygamy, Polandry, do NOT pass any tests whatsoever.

I believe the argument is not "seed" but "righteous seed". I hope you understand the nuance.

Scott

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When it comes to polygamy, it's a dead end no matter which path I choose. To believe that it was commanded makes me feel worthless to God as a woman. The emotional torture of those women rips your heart out. I am not a feminist. I love everything about being a mother, wife, homemaker-all of it. If Heavenly Father loves me, why would he command something that completely destroys a woman's spirit. IF it's not practiced here I have to accept it to be with my husband in the C. Kingdom so why would I even want that? I am starting to feel despair over it. I have a testimony of Book of Mormon but not of the D & C. (especially 132) It's not just the fact that I am considered lower than man-it's that God just passes women around like we are cattle if I accept this doctrine. This is the least desirable belief for me and to continue believing in all of the church will make the rest of my life misery now that I know the truth of polygamy.

You know, I once left the Church mainly because of this issue and because of the priesthood issue.

You see, like you, with my modern and "fair" sensibility's of equality, I believed such things were anathema to Gods Church. However, because I had faith, I humbled my self and was eventually able to learn more and actually discover that the Church was literally God's Church. Like you are now, I was simply ignorant of what those two things really were and meant for the Church.

Plural Marriage as practiced by the Church was NOTHING like the FLDS of today.

So, you get that out of your head right now, because that is what you are basing everything of your judgement on as to the evilness of it. Sure, there might be the rare example from history of problem, but it was the exception, not the rule. Only the most worthy of men and women were called to Plural Marriage, which is another difference of the FLDS. Monogamy was still the standard in the Church, not plural marriage. The woman was not degraded in any way with the practice in the Church. If you think the Church was like that, then you don't know the Church at all.

Let me ask you a simple question. Do you think in heaven there will be more men or more women? In otherwords, do you think in general the woman is more righteous than most men? I think so. Why do you think we even have the Priesthood? It's because we need that kick in the butt to serve others. My wife who's Chinese from Malaysia didn't even grow up in the Church at all, yet willing service wise she runs circles around me. I'm a selfish lout in comparison.

Now, when I finally understood the "problem" issues related to the Church, and learned more about it, that's when I was fully converted intellectually and spiritually. But as to Plural Marriage, it wasn't until a little later did I really spiritually understand it, after intellectually understanding it.

You see, I went to an older singles adult dance once (usually went to the young singles since I was young at the time), and I met two very choice daughters who were still fairly young. One was younger and was divorced having a couple of kids already and the other was a little older but never married. Also, most of the men I saw at this dance, were not of the best of quality. Anyway, while dancing and associating with these good sisters, the spirit of the Lord touched me like never before. So much love filled my soul that I was pained deeply, and in that moment I understood Gods reasons behind Plural Marriage. I understood, that it was simply one manifestation of Gods love for ALL of his children. You see, these good sisters deserved a righteous husband, and their children especially deserved a righteous father to raise them unto righteousness. Yet today, so many good sisters and their children are essentially thrown to wayside like inferior garbage simply because they could not find a righteous man and have an Eternal Family, and quite often, it is the Children that really suffer, even by Apostacy. You see, in the LORDS Church, Plural Marriage wasn't about Lust, it wasn't about abusing women, it was about LOVE. The most purest form of selfless Love. I can never forget this. The pure love I felt was so strong, that I still remember it to this day, and am even saddened that the wickedness of man forces us to give up completely this God Ordained practice. But, nevertheless, it will all work out according to Gods will. It's simply unfortunate that so many have to suffer and even leave God in the meantime.

Anyway, the Lords Church is different, and always has been. For you to equate the evils of the world in this practice to the Churches practice and meanings, shows that you do not know God or His Latter-day Work and Glory as much as you think. If a prideful and arrogant man such as I was able to humble myself and figure it out, so can anyone else.

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There were more men than women in Utah.

Was this the case all the way through, from 1847 until the Manifesto, or just in the early days?

It is my understanding the rate of plural marriage diminished over the years, even as the population expanded with the influx of immigrant converts.

Also, not all of the men in the territory were Mormons. There were, for example, military personnel stationed in the territory. And a labor force for the mines.

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Another factoid. You will raise up MORE seed if you have one woman and one man.

The law of averages dictate that is the MOST efeciant and productive way to raise SEED.

There is wisdom in a one man, one woman relationship of postierity.

Polygamy, Polandry, do NOT pass any tests whatsoever.

Hmm... King Solomon would disagree with you.

:P

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Tabuloth,

The point of D&C 132 is to teach us about Eternal Marriage! How covenants made through the priesthood and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise works in marriage (and other ordinances). If people are only reading D&C 132 for tips on Plural marriage then they are really are missing the boat.

I agree. God Commanded Abraham to have children... Sarah was barren so she gave Abraham another wife. Same with Jacob. And just look how God blessed all these barren women! Talk about Roger Rabbit!

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Let's examine this from how God works in the Bible. If polygamy and the things Joseph did as commanded by God are Biblical, then what is the problem?

Do we disdain the Bible because God told Abraham to sacrifice his son? In some ancient accounts, Abraham actually did slay his son, and then God raised him from the dead. How about Abraham marrying his young niece, Sarah? Aren't we bothered today by the implications of incest? Oh, and he also married several women, as did his grandson, Jacob, and Moses.

Do we disdain the Bible because slaughtered all of mankind in the Flood? Or destroyed people at Sodom and Gomorrah? How about Samuel spearing an unarmed king? Or God commanding Moses and Joshua to destroy every woman and child in the cities they conquered?

All of these things, IMO, are repugnant acts. However, I recognize them as things God required, and it isn't for me to question them. It is only for me to find out if God really chose Moses, Abraham, Joshua, and Joseph Smith as prophets. If He did, then what exactly is the issue? If God didn't choose them, then what are we doing as Judaeo-Christians?

As for David Whitmer, he left the Church. He had a chip on his shoulder in trying to destroy the Church. Yet, he still maintained his witness of the Book of Mormon. So, if we DO accept his thoughts on Joseph Smith the polygamist, don't we also have to accept his witness of the BoM? If so, then that means that Joseph was a true prophet of God, at least in the beginning. The only question then, was Joseph fallen - or was David fallen? IMO, the answer is fairly simple.

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All of these things, IMO, are repugnant acts. However, I recognize them as things God required, and it isn't for me to question them. It is only for me to find out if God really chose Moses, Abraham, Joshua, and Joseph Smith as prophets. If He did, then what exactly is the issue? If God didn't choose them, then what are we doing as Judaeo-Christians?

I find the phsycie (sp?) intresting of requiring perfection in others while pointing four fingers right back at our self.

Just dumbfounded!

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Teancum asks:

Interesting. How did she stay on good standing when Matthias Cowley was one of two apostles excommunicated for post Manifesto plural marriage?

It is true that Matthias Cowley and John W. Taylor were removed from the Quorum and from the Church for continuing to perform plural marriages. The marriages that they performed, however, were not dissolved. Usually, the husband was called into the Church authorities and told to keep a low profile and not to hold high Church office. Such individuals were able to attend the Temple, and they remained in good standing.

Blink writes:

How could polygamy, as practiced in early Nauvoo, help solidify the community? It was practiced in secret, publically denied, and very few people participated. It didn't solidify the community at all.

My point is that polygamy created bonds among people who practiced it, and it enlarged the social network among people. What you call "secret" in Nauvoo was not all that secret. Rumors were wild, leading to further persecutions, by the way. I think the inner circle in Nauvoo (complete with plural marriage, prayer circles, and associated rites) were fully prepared to give their lives for the Church if necessary, in ways that other LDS members were not prepared to do.

I am not saying Nauvoo plural marriages didn't create messes. They did. But, there may have been positive social outcomes that influenced the very survival of the Church. Since that is speculation, you are more than welcome to disagree. But, these are conclusions I have reached after many years of my own research.

Would I advocate a return to polygamy? Never. I abhor the practice, and regret that it ever started. But, then again, I am not God.

Blink further asks:

Why does a church that is based on truth and equality need a royal priesthood?

Evolutionists call it "kin selection." It is just fact that human beings are more solicitous towards kin. How did Jesus build his first Quorum of the Twelve? See my FairLDS thread "James, James, James, and James." The fact is that James and John Bar-Zebedee, brothers, may have been related to Jesus through their mother Salome, a suspected sister of Mary. Peter and Andrew were brothers. Then there was the other James, a Bar-Alphaeus, and a brother to Jude Thaddaeus and possibly Matthew. These three are often suspected of being part of Jesus' family. And of course, there was James the Just, the brother of Jesus, if he was actually a different person from James Bar-Alphaeus. To me, that's a lot of relatives, with not much diversity by the way.

It seems to me that the LDS Quorums of the Twelve just followed the established precedent!!

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Evolutionists call it "kin selection." It is just fact that human beings are more solicitous towards kin. How did Jesus build his first Quorum of the Twelve? See my FairLDS thread "James, James, James, and James." The fact is that James and John Bar-Zebedee, brothers, may have been related to Jesus through their mother Salome, a suspected sister of Mary. Peter and Andrew were brothers. Then there was the other James, a Bar-Alphaeus, and a brother to Jude Thaddaeus and possibly Matthew. These three are often suspected of being part of Jesus' family. And of course, there was James the Just, the brother of Jesus, if he was actually a different person from James Bar-Alphaeus. To me, that's a lot of relatives, with not much diversity by the way.

Then people SNEER at GBHs son being called into the 70s. :P

Blood is thiker than wine.

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How is the loneliness and struggles of being a polygamous wife any different than the struggles and loneliness of a single wife?

IMO, polygamy, when properly done, gave a woman many sisters to assist her. She had a defense against an abusive husband through her sisters. When the man was sent on a mission (7 year missions, anyone?), she had others she could fall back on.

I'm not pro-polygamy. However, I find it interesting that people have such a problem with polygamy, but we get almost no discussion on the topic of adultery. Our Church leaders were sent into hiding, while many of those Congressmen and law officers that enforced the anti-polygamy laws were scamping around, cheating on their wives. Where is the benefit in that?

I'm not advocating polygamy as a method to reduce adultery. I am advocating a prophetic role in requiring it, when God requires it, because of the circumstances. In the wilderness, trying to establish new colonies where Indians, drought, or many other events could destroy the small LDS population in the West; building up the population as quickly as possible was an important factor in their success.

Yes, some relationships suffered. But don't we have many faltering relationships without polygamy involved? What's the difference? We are not in this life to have it easy. We are here to work out our salvation. If God were to call upon us to each sacrifice our oldest child, would you do it or seek some politically correct remedy? Would God be denounced, or would He be obeyed? So it is with polygamy.

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