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The polygamy "whitewash" continues ...


Rollo Tomasi

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I know, there have an awful lot of polygamy threads lately -- sorry to add another one, but it involves the current July Ensign and its article on Bathsheba W. Smith, wife of Apostle George A. Smith, and later a Gen'l Relief Society president.

I read the article (I enjoy the historically-based articles) and noticed not a breath of a mention about polygamy, even though I knew George A. Smith had several plural wives, with Bathsheba being the first. Of course, the cynic I am, I immediately suspected "whitwash." But I had no way to confirm my suspicions. Well, someone else did -- apparently the Ensign article was taken from another essay in a book about early LDS women. This person did a comparison, which can be linked here:

http://mormonwasp.blogspot.com/2005/06/lif...h-abridged.html

Interesting how the topic of polygamy was carefully edited out. The "whitewash" continues, imo.

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>The "whitewash" continues, imo.

The Ensign is not a professional journal of history. Removing references to polygamy is appropriate in a magazine focusing on LDS doctrine.

That would be true if polygamy was not and still is a part of LDS doctrine.

Because it is not practiced currently does not mean polygamy is now no longer church doctrine. It hasn't just disappeared.

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If the article was not about polygamy, then why would they mention it? And if polygamy might distract from the message, why would they not leave it out? I haven't read the article yet, so I'll not really get into the discussion.

-Ed

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>The "whitewash" continues, imo.

The Ensign is not a professional journal of history. Removing references to polygamy is appropriate in a magazine focusing on LDS doctrine.

BUT, the article was about the life of Bathsheba Smith (not a discussion about some doctrine or principle), and polygamy played a huge part in her adult life. The way any hint of polygamy was carefully edited out of this historical article evidences (at least to me) the whitewash of LDS history that many here have complained about.

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If the article was not about polygamy, then why would they mention it? And if polygamy might distract from the message, why would they not leave it out? I haven't read the article yet, so I'll not really get into the discussion.

-Ed

But telling us about her watering her potted plants and sewing curtains is considered important information?

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>The "whitewash" continues, imo. 

The Ensign is not a professional journal of history.  Removing references to polygamy is appropriate in a magazine focusing on LDS doctrine.

BUT, the article was about the life of Bathsheba Smith (not a discussion about some doctrine or principle), and polygamy played a huge part in her adult life. The way any hint of polygamy was carefully edited out of this historical article evidences (at least to me) the whitewash of LDS history that many here have complained about.

But although the article is "about" Bathsheba, isn't the point of the article to emphasize faith-promoting events in her life? The Ensign has a reason for talking about her life, a reason that the editors consider "higher" than a strict historical biography. If that reason is to teach us about overcoming adversity, enduring in faith, or whatever, and if polygamy distracts from that purpose, why would they include it?

-Ed

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Interesting how the topic of polygamy was carefully edited out.  The "whitewash" continues, imo.

Interesting how you carefully edit out any mention of the full disclosure that "A longer version of this article appeared as a chapter in Elect Ladies (1990, 60-76). The blackballing continues.

Funny how those double standards work, eh?

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If that reason is to teach us about overcoming adversity, enduring in faith, or whatever, and if polygamy distracts from that purpose, why would they include it?

Perhaps because polygamy probably involved enduring in faith or overcoming adversity.

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I am shocked that the information was excluded regarding "Bathsheba's numerous homes, Bathsheba's wagon, Bathsheba's housework, the Utah War, and Bathsheba's reaction when plans for a new church building intended to house the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations changed to include offices for the Presiding Bishop, the church magazines, and other organizations." (see excerpt from above link)

What a whitewash. Appalling.

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I am shocked that the information was excluded regarding "Bathsheba's numerous homes, Bathsheba's wagon, Bathsheba's housework, the Utah War, and Bathsheba's reaction when plans for a new church building intended to house the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations changed to include offices for the Presiding Bishop, the church magazines, and other organizations." (see excerpt from above link)

What a whitewash. Appalling.

Yep, living "The Principle" (for which many were willing to give up all, including their freedom and property) is on par with one's wagon, housework, magazines, etc. How silly of me to think that polygamy was any more serious than those items of mintuiae we all have. And editing words and parts of words in a sentence to make plural "families" appear as a singular "family" should raise no questions at all. Good grief!

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church hiding.....church hiding....church hiding....oh no , disclosure, quick change tactics, church editing, church editing, hope noone notices that a 16 page chapter from a book (with probably few pictures) was edited down to a 6 page article with lots of pictures. No need to mention that the main thrust of the article is about moving from Nauvoo to Salt Lake.

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The Ensign is not a professional journal of history. Removing references to polygamy is appropriate in a magazine focusing on LDS doctrine.

Polygamy is still a major piece of LDS doctrine. Unless you think Brigham Young had his wives revoked from him - you believe polygamy exists in the eternities. That's LDS doctrine.

It's BIG doctrine. The difference between sharing the eternities with 1 wife vs. several is not a small matter.

If that reason is to teach us about overcoming adversity, enduring in faith, or whatever, and if polygamy distracts from that purpose, why would they include it?

How could it distract?

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I mean, nobody would be interested in the fact that she gave 5 wives to her husband willingly and in great faith.
(emphasis mine)

that kind of 'super mentality' gives yourself permission to edit in or out whatever you please. the more this type of thinking is accepted, the further away from the truth later tellings will be.

If one is going to address a subject, s/he owes it to the audience/readers to cover it completely. to do otherwise (the sanitized or 'sugar coated' version) is a disservice to most any audience, and least in the long run, because it leaves a false impression.

Telling the full truth is not always convenient, but it's always the best (IMHO).

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Polygamy is still a major piece of LDS doctrine. Unless you think Brigham Young had his wives revoked from him - you believe polygamy exists in the eternities. That's LDS doctrine.

Not to mention that polygamy is still practiced to some degree in the LDS Church today -- as we all know, a widower (already sealed to his 1st wife) can be married and sealed for eternity to a 2nd wife (so long as she hasn't already been sealed to another man), but a widow (already sealed to her first husband) cannot do the same with her 2nd husband (can only marry him "for time"). Case in point: Dallin Oaks, who often refers to his 2nd wife, Kristin, as his eternal companion.

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I haven't read the article so I shouldn't be posting in all probability but I have to agree with Rollo on this one. Bathsheba Smith's life was wrapped up in polygyny. I have ancestors who parcticed polygyny. The effect was far reaching and was a commitment beyond belief. Mentioning this wouldn't have detracted from the article. Whether this is a "whitewash" or not, I can't say. What I can say is the editorial board of the Ensign should hav included it. We believe polygamy came from God as a commandment. Showing how this affected and effected the lives of the Saints who lived it would be commendable. This was a Trial of Faith for many members and shouldn't be ignored because we don't practice it now.

Dr Fatguy

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>The "whitewash" continues, imo. 

The Ensign is not a professional journal of history.  Removing references to polygamy is appropriate in a magazine focusing on LDS doctrine.

BUT, the article was about the life of Bathsheba Smith (not a discussion about some doctrine or principle), and polygamy played a huge part in her adult life. The way any hint of polygamy was carefully edited out of this historical article evidences (at least to me) the whitewash of LDS history that many here have complained about.

How do you know polygamy played a huge part in her life? Did you know this lady and her innermost thoughts?

If an article were written about Abraham's wife do you think it would have her portrayed as "hurt" that Abraham had a young "hottie" and actually had a kid with her?

I don't understand the pre occupation with polygamy. In past times the Lord required it and who knows He may require it in the future, I don't know.

Stop lambasting the LDS Church for a religious practice we believe was revealed by God Himself and go lambaste the Old Testament prophets.

Sheesh :P

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To be honest I think the Church is a little too "sensitive" about polygamy. Of course, part of the reason is the amount of flack dished out by antis (and other detractors). And it is also easy to see why the Church would be reticent to write anything that might be construed as promoting or sanctioning polygamy in any way, for fear that some member might decide to take up the practice today.

On the other hand, a lot could be said for the faith and sacrifices of early saints if we were not so sensitive about polygamy.

-Ed

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This is a simple case of damned if you do, damned if you dont.

So what! If they had left polygamy in the article then there would be critics crawling out of the woodwork as well. Since it wasn't really germaine to the purpose of the article, it was left out.

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To be honest I think the Church is a little too "sensitive" about polygamy.  Of course, part of the reason is the amount of flack dished out by antis (and other detractors). And it is also easy to see why the Church would be reticent to write anything that might be construed as promoting or sanctioning polygamy in any way, for fear that some member might decide to take up the practice today.

Moreover, as reflected in the portion of its Web site directed toward news media, the Church has an on-going problem with outside media that fail/refuse to differentiate in their reports between the Church proper and apostate-offshoot groups -- some of them with a history of perpetrating violence -- that continue to promulgate the practice of polygamy.

As for charges of a whitewash, I would agree that they are quite hollow considering the fact that the Ensign article cites a longer version that does discuss polygamy and which the reader can access easily enough.

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