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"Joseph Smith and polygamy..."


John Corrill

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I'm 17 and I know that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.  I didn't think this was new?  Whats the issue?

Thank you Smiley. No, it's not new at all. But several of the posters (I almost wrote "poseurs") here, despite what they may say about themselves, are actually opposed to the Church, and are looking for some angle of attack. False accusations are their stock in trade, and so if there is any subject which does not appear as the lead article in every Church periodical, the conventional accusation is that the Church is mounting a gigantic cover-up of that subject.

Regards,

Pahoran

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Sorry, but you'll have to spell this one out for me.

If information on a subject is contained in the curriculum materials of the Church, how is it "insanely obvious" that the Church is hiding the information?

Scott,

perhaps "insanely obvious" means something like "obvious only to those who are mentally unbalanced."

That might explain something, don't you think?

Regards,

Pahoran

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I'm 17 and I know that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.  I didn't think this was new?  Whats the issue?

Smiley, please go, no, make that RUN RUN RUN to your bishop and have your mind swept clean of this knowledge, else you will realize that the Church has run completely afoul of history. Where, when, and how did you learn that Joseph Smith had more than one wife? Who taught you this? If it was a member, report his/her name to the bishop and that person will receive a personal visit from the Danites. :lol:

Did you detach the Morg necklace from your neck again? Don't you remember what happened the last time? Well, of course you wouldn't, that was wipe from your mind also. :angry:

And are you still chanting the standardized mantra everynight before going to bed or did you stop that again. If you can't remember the mantra, go the the Stake President and he will tell it to you again. Of course, your mind will have to be wiped clean again because it has started to wander again and mind wandering is strictly prohibited in the Church.

Why aren't Mormon women allowed to wear wristwatches? Because there is a clock on the stove? :P

Smiley, you have been a pain in the past. You had better watch your step!!!

<_<:unsure::ph34r:

:blink::huh::wub:

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Scott:  ...the same teacher's manual was in use four years ago and [maybe] four years before that.

John Corrill:  I would be very curious to know what the previous manual(s) said; if it is the same, etc.  If someone has an older manual, would you please, please, please have a look.  Does it make any reference to "Joseph Smith" practicing polygamy?

I have an old Gospel Doctrine class Teacher's Manual, copyright 1991. (Yes I was teaching GD back then; I alway try to get the job, it's my favorite)

From the lession on D&C 132:

page 77:

"-Why was Abraham justified in having more than one wife and in being willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice? (See D&C 132:29, 34-37) and the quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith.) How has the Lord blessed you when you have obeyed a commandment even though you did not fully understand its purpose?"

"-What may have been reasons for the Lord's commandment to the early Saints to have more than one wife?"

"The Prophet Joseph Smith:

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Pardon, but I don't believe the average adult member of the Church is that ill-informed.

I wish I could agree with this statement . . it's true on some levels. But the basic problem is too many of us don't take responsibility for ourselves and those we (should) care about. We seem to have fewer shepherds and more victims . . er, lambs . . among us all the time.

"Sunday School is for all Church members and interested friends of other faiths ages 12 and older. Its purposes are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen individuals and families by encouraging them to study the scriptures, obey the commandments, receive the essential ordinances, and keep the associated covenants. " http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,4698-1,00.html

Teaching all historical facts is not high on the list of purposes for SS. And far too few of us spend enough time truly studying scriptures. So for those asking to be spoonfed every morsel of information that you wished you had known . . hopefully this morsel explains . . that isn't the goal of SS.

I'd be curious how many of those who went 30 years without suspecting Emma strenuously objected for a reason can say they've done a valiant effort (say 3 out of 4 week) at reading, pondering, and praying over their SS lessons, and attending class, and and participating with those prayerfully developed questions. Assuming a 4 year rotation, over 30 years that should be at least 5 or 6 valiant study efforts of 7 or 8 opportunities on Sec 132.

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Scott: Sorry, but you'll have to spell this one out for me [how the church is not putting forth any effort to explain it, teach it, acccount for it, or even acknowledge the details of it]

John Corrill: There are numerous (I found six hundred +) references, stories, letters, accounts, etc on www.lds.org (gospel library, magazines, curriculum, etc) and the new website on Joseph Smith regarding Emma being Joseph's wife.

I have yet to find a single reference in church published literature that mentions a specific woman, other than Emma, being Joseph's wife. If you find one, or two I'm interested. Are Joseph's other wives less important than Emma? Why don't we hear about them?

Pahoran: No doubt. I'm sure that in the circles you move in, "SLICK and TRICKY use of words" is very highly regarded.

John Corrill: Quite the contrary. However, I was VERY impressed that you were able to outdo even your own previous masterful performances. That statement really was beautiful!!!! A keeper. You should be SO proud!!!!

Pahoran: My "use of words"...was merely truthful.

John Corrill: Oh, I totally agree. I would NEVER accuse you of being untruthful. I thought your statement was completely and totally accurate. I never said it wasn't.

Pahoran: And at no time in your lifetime, or in the living memory of any person on this forum, has there ever been any "secrecy and denial of JS's polygamy."

John Corrill: I have yet to find a single reference in church published literature that mentions a specific woman, other than Emma, being Joseph's wife. If you find one, or two I'm interested. Are Joseph's other wives less important than Emma? Why don't we hear about them? I'm really interested in your thoughts on this.

secret n 1 a : something kept hidden or unexplained (Websters 7th, emphasis John Corrill)

Really, I'm interested in any references in church published literature to a specific woman, other than Emma, being Joseph's wife. Please do get back to me.

dacook: From the lession on D&C 132 : [lots of stuff from the GD manual]

John Corrill: It's interesting that in all the things you quoted from the Gospel Doctrine manual, not once did it mention that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. Only that he wondered about it, had questions about it, etc. Never does it say he had other wives. Interesting....

dacook (quoting the GD Manual quoting Joseph Smith):

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^ Yeah, I agree that it's not really all that high priority to study in-depth LDS history. I mean, SS doesn't exactly dig deep with everything studied. I think it should be the members own responsibility to learn more about the church. There are courses, institute, sites and a lot of different resources people can turn to. If all you ever do is just listen to talks in church - then you won't learn everything about the church.

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Why should the Church leaders make a big deal about polygamy today? It isn't a commandment that is in force, at this time. If you say we ought to be given talks at General Conference, or have whole Gospel Doctrine lessons about it, then shouldn't the Church leaders make a big deal about the United Order, which is a commandment also not in force at this time?

1. Mentions of the United Order are not editted out of journal stories the church publishes.

Nor is polygamy edited out. The issue is which facts meet the SS purpose and today's needs.

At least the United Order somewhat directly relates to a core component of the SS purpose for those living today.

2.  Polygamy IS still a doctrine.  If many men WERE married for all time and all eternity to multiple wives then you know that polygamy exists in heaven - right?  Connect the dots.  If something is a part of heaven, at least for some, is that not something you would be concerned about?

Yes, and the doctrine is that we do not live by it today (even in lands where the law allows). That is and appropriately is the focus of today's gospel teachings. Now as to what God says, we're back to whether people are reading D&C and pondering and praying about it. What concerns would you suggest relate to the SS purpose?

3.  You talk about other elements that are no longer practiced...why not polygamy?  It would be like saying "Since we no longer practice the Law of Moses there's no need to talk about it in church."  That's true, I suppose.  And yet I bet the Law of Moses comes up at least 10 times a week in various lessons and classes.

The comment was not that it is not talked about, because it is both history and doctrine and is discussed as such. The applicable doctrinal talk is we sustain God if He asks us to live it in the future. As the Law of Moses relates in part to many basic commandents that SS is trying to get people to live currently and in many cases daily, it seems appropriate it would get more focus. If you have some suggested lessons that do a better job of meeting the SS purpose which involve this material, perhaps you should write it up and put it in the public domain so manuel writers and editors can consider it.

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John Corrill: I have yet to find a single reference in church published literature that mentions a specific woman, other than Emma, being Joseph's wife. If you find one, or two I'm interested.

Hmm . . I went to the first Church web site indexing current and previously published books and other material which I knew would have such information and found a list of wives on my very first search there. Similar information is available in at least 3 or 4 collections at the site. Not to mention books and news of the Church to be found at Deseret Book. I'd be surprised if there was not a bunch of info at BYU as well (internet and hard copy). Not home to try a search at Church News archives.

Are Joseph's other wives less important than Emma?  Why don't we hear about them?

Interesting question. I'm really interested in your thoughts on this.

Given the marriage dates in relation to his death I don't see the point of your question, though. Why do you think they played as important of a role in the restoration and develoopment of the early LDS Church as Emma?

Do you have materials which make the case their role as plural wives are as important and relevant to our lives today? Why? What doctrinal messages are missing in teachings that reflect current practice? Can you make the case for an important missing truth in how their plural marriages demonstrate God's will for us today?

Why is any up-side you can suggest an example of such worth that it overrides the potential for some to seek after incorrect principles and the potential for derision by those who care not for sacred things?

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1dc: Hmm . . I went to the first Church web site indexing current and previously published books and other material which I knew would have such information and found a list of wives on my very first search there.

John Corrill: Could you post a link or reference. I'm very interested in reading it. Thanks.

1dc: Similar information is available in at least 3 or 4 collections at the site.

John Corrill: Could you post a link or reference. I'm very interested in reading it. Thanks!

1dc: Not to mention books and news of the Church to be found at Deseret Book.

John Corrill: Could you post a link or reference. I'm very interested in reading it. Thanks!!

1dc: I'd be surprised if there was not a bunch of info at BYU as well (internet and hard copy)

John Corrill: If you find anything, could you post a link or reference. I'm interested in reading it. Thanks!!!

1dc: Not home to try a search at Church News archives.

John Corriill: If you find anything, couild you post a link, or reference. I'm interested in reading it. Thanks!!!!

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secret n 1 a : something kept hidden or unexplained (Websters 7th, emphasis John Corrill)

And there is STILL a difference between secret and sacred.

This has been one concept that I have had a frustrating time with while being a member for 28 years (from birth). I don't understand polygamy. I think it is disturbing. I think it is an evil act.

But that's ME. Little, imperfect ME. I don't understand how life works, nor do I understand the science behind quantum physics and nuclear science. That doesn't mean its wrong or faulty-- it means I'M inept in those fields. There was obviously a reason for polygamy in the OT, and if it has something at all to do with the gospel then it would make perfect sense that it was brought back with the full restoration of the gospel.

In upsets me deeply to hear people speak like they know more then God or his Gospel. I have had my own pain from this practice; but instead of angrily kicking my feet, I have accepted that it is something beyond my comprehension and that I'll have the opportunity to learn it at some point in my life.

Why doesn't the church flood the masses with the practice? Because it was private and personal to those that were involved. I would hope the church would keep my private dealings sacred (not SECRET) from the world.

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Pardon, but I don't believe the average adult member of the Church is that ill-informed.

I wish I could agree with this statement . . it's true on some levels. But the basic problem is too many of us don't take responsibility for ourselves and those we (should) care about. We seem to have fewer shepherds and more victims . . er, lambs . . among us all the time.

"Sunday School is for all Church members and interested friends of other faiths ages 12 and older. Its purposes are to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen individuals and families by encouraging them to study the scriptures, obey the commandments, receive the essential ordinances, and keep the associated covenants. " http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,4698-1,00.html

Teaching all historical facts is not high on the list of purposes for SS. And far too few of us spend enough time truly studying scriptures. So for those asking to be spoonfed every morsel of information that you wished you had known . . hopefully this morsel explains . . that isn't the goal of SS.

I'd be curious how many of those who went 30 years without suspecting Emma strenuously objected for a reason can say they've done a valiant effort (say 3 out of 4 week) at reading, pondering, and praying over their SS lessons, and attending class, and and participating with those prayerfully developed questions. Assuming a 4 year rotation, over 30 years that should be at least 5 or 6 valiant study efforts of 7 or 8 opportunities on Sec 132.

I agree that Church members in general need to be more diligent about personal study and the pursuit of knowledge -- and not just pertaining to Church history. (Incidentally, is it the fault of the Church that we don't study more than we do?)

But I still don't buy it that this makes us as ignorant and ill-informed as John Corrill would lead us to believe. Growing up, I was about as studious as the next Church member, yet by the time I reached adulthood, I understood well enough that Joseph Smith not only received the revelation instituting the practice of plural marriage in this dispensation but that he engaged in the practice himself under commandment from God.

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Scott: I agree that Church members in general need to be more diligent about personal study and the pursuit of knowledge...But I still don't buy it that this makes us as ignorant and ill-informed as John Corrill would lead us to believe.

John Corrill: My own opinion is this [lack of knowledge about polygamy] is not the fault of the members, but rather the intention of the leadership. Obviously, they are pretty diligent in obscuring it as much as possible.

Scott: Criminy, John, do your own Web site searches.... I did a search using the search term "polygamy" and came up with 80 hits.

John Corrill: What I have been unable to find, which led to my above request, is a single reference in church published literature that mentions a specific woman, other than Emma, being Joseph's wife.

For example, there are lots of statements of this sort: "Joseph and Emma were married on [date] in [town]", or, "Joseph's wife Emma...". I have been unable to find a similar reference to say, Sarah Ann Whitney, or Lucy Walker, that indicates they were Joseph's wife. I did find six references to "Helen Mar Kimball" but none of those were in the context of her being Joseph's wife. If you find one, please let me know. As you say, I'm usually pretty good at finding stuff, but I have been unsuccessful on this one. BTW, Scott, why do you suppose we don't hear about these women. Are these wives less important than Joseph's wife Emma? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

My SIL, with a tenure of nearly fifty years in the church, recently discovered (not in church literature, BTW) that Eliza Snow had been married to Joseph Smith. Go figure....

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Juliann: We might see the play they are continually replaying on BYUTV, The Sixth Wife.

John Corrill: This sounded very interesting. I tried to find some info about it on the KBYU website, but was unsuccessuful. Can you tell me a little more about it?

Thanks!

You didnt try too hard, have a look here:

http://www.byubroadcasting.org/programaz/?letter=83

Go down the page a little and you will find Sixth Wife.....

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John Corrill: My own opinion is this [lack of knowledge about polygamy] is not the fault of the members, but rather the intention of the leadership. Obviously, they are pretty diligent in obscuring it as much as possible.

I for one, Sir, share your opinion

I am curious as to what you were taught about the "Surplus of Women" explanation for polygamy.....and if thats what you were taught...who taught it to you?

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John Corrill: My own opinion is this [lack of knowledge about polygamy] is not the fault of the members, but rather the intention of the leadership. Obviously, they are pretty diligent in obscuring it as much as possible.

I for one, Sir, share your opinion

I am curious as to what you were taught about the "Surplus of Women" explanation for polygamy.....and if thats what you were taught...who taught it to you?

<BUMF>

Yes true, I remember while still Stake Clerk, the Stake President informed us and the HC that we must remind all the ward leaders to avoid the subject of polygamy at all costs!

</BUMF>

I'll tell you what it is, we are too busy worrying about real and immeadiate issues than suppressing something that apparently should be embarrasing to us. I have 3 member families in my ward whose welfare concerns keep us busy, I have had 2 deaths recently and one expected soon, I have had 10 convert baptisms in the last 6 months etc etc etc. So Sir, I do not share that opinon....

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It seems that there are 2 extreme views on this. One pole is typified by the following:

[lack of knowledge about polygamy] is not the fault of the members, but rather the intention of the leadership. Obviously, they are pretty diligent in obscuring it as much as possible.

The other pole goes something like this:

it is and always has been the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ, publicly affirmed from the day that plural marriage was proclaimed to the world, that Joseph was a polygamist.

This fact has never been hidden in any "closet."

Could it just possibly be that neither extreme is accurate? It seems to me that both sides make good points, but overstate their cases.

It is odd to me that some LDS do not admit or do not want to see that the way polygamy fits into church doctrine is at least downplayed today. It seems obvious that this subject is intentionally avoided most of the time, most likely because of the negative reaction that could be expected from investigators or new/uninformed members. I personally think that it is close to a don't ask/don't tell mindset, but not quite there. Do missionaries bring up polygamy if not asked about it? I would highly doubt it.

At the same time, it is not something that is being systematically erased nor is it being actively denied. And it is true that a curious individual can find plenty of information on polygamy in the church if he/she takes the time to look. LDS leaders are always telling members to read the scriptures. I wonder if John, in the 35 years he mentions, never read Official Declaration 1 from D&C. No, it doesn't specifically state that JS practiced polygamy. But it plainly confirms that the church practiced polygamy. This never even generated enough curiosity for him to ask the question?

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I think you're closer than you might think. In a way both are true.

The Church has something called the Threefold Mission of the Church.

Perfecting the Saints, Redeeming the Dead, Proclaiming the Gospel

None of those missions require much if any discussion of polygamy, so the Church doesn't expend resources talking about it. On the other hand the Church doesn't deny or hide it, polygamy is just not pertinent to proclaiming the Gospel or Perfecting the Saints at least in the Church's view.

Since it isn't discussed in Church in any great detail, it becomes and issue that a member who doesn't spend time delving into Church history doesn't really learn, that makes it an issue that can surprise or shock a member who is presented with the information especially when framed in the most negative ways possible. That makes it a perfecting the saints issue, perhaps more light will be shed on it in time.

I'm not holding my breath, because the need to discuss polygamy is counterwieghted by the fact that the more the Church talks about or defends polygamy officially, the more it could be construed as promoting polygamy, which could cause members to start to associate with polygamous fundamentalists.

Any member who is interested in understanding polygamy can delve into it if they want to. Both perceptions are correct in a way. :P

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Smith: You didnt try too hard, have a look here:

http://www.byubroadcasting.org/programaz/?letter=83

Go down the page a little and you will find Sixth Wife.....

John Corrill: Thank you Smith! When Juliann mentioned it, since we had been talking about Joseph Smith, I wondered if if might be in regards to his polygamy, but it's not. I'm still hoping though...

Smith: I am curious as to what you were taught about the "Surplus of Women" explanation for polygamy.....and if thats what you were taught...who taught it to you?

John Corrill: I don't remember being taught anything about polygamy. I knew it happened in Utah, probably because of the Lion House, etc. but I have no recollection of ever being taught or discussing the reasons for polygamy.

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But it plainly confirms that the church practiced polygamy. This never even generated enough curiosity for him to ask the question?

Asking questions, or questioning, is not permissable in my family. If any questions are actually verbalized, then you are pounced upon by three or more of the nearest family members. :P

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johndoe:

The Churchs claims on the long ago practice of polygamy are not the extreme.

The people who are yelling coverup, and conspiracy. Are like the man standing in front of a fast approaching Mack Truck, Yelling: "I don't see you, I don't see you".

"Don't want to admit"? We proudly proclaim that the Prophets of old were polygamists. We proudly proclaim that polygamy was sanctioned of God. We proudly proclaim that JS revealed it again; That under Gods direction we did and will someday practice it again. We proudly proclaim that revelation has not ceased and that polygamy is a true and everlasting principle. We proudly proclaim that revelation has been given that at the present time we do not PRACTCE polygamy.

At this late date is there any adult in the Church that does not know about pretty much ALL there is to know about polygamy? I did an informal survey of my friends that are NOT members of the Church. They knew that at one time the Church practiced polygmy. It is a common joke world wide that "Mormons" practice polygamy today.

Why should a couple of 19 year old missionaries discuss polygamy. They have a hard time with getting people to read the Book of Mormon, and to pray.

I can we it now; Mr. Jones we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We have an important message from God for you and your family. He wants you to have more than one Mother-in-Law. ROTFLMHO

The Church has gone to great expense to make the Scriptures available to all that are even remotely interested. We publish official books on our history. We publish periodicals telling what is happening in the Church today. We broadcast to the world our General Conferences, and other events. Our prophet even goes on national syndicated televison and gives interveiws.

The information is there, it is available. It is not the Churchs fault if people do not want to know.

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