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Polygamy in the Book of Mormon


dacook

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Hello Ben,

Moroni however, who had access to the Deuteronomic text, wrote Ether. It isn't a translation. It incorporates material from an earlier text and tradition. So, your point doesn't add much to the discussion. It would seem that the description of the Jaredite king is connected to the earlier description of the Nephite king - the account is earlier although the events they describe are later. Moroni is portraying the Jaredite king as being a wicked king by Moroni's standards. Likewise there is no reason to assume that the Jaredites viewed polygamy as being inherently wicked - their text makes no such claim like the claim made in Jacob 2 and 3 that polygamy was forbidden by God. It seems quite likely that this is a judgement made by Moroni.

I will have to disagree with you Ben with your statement,

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There are so many people who read motives into the written word. Are we all mind readers? There could have been many things going on, and we just don't know. If we assume that monogamy was the commanded state at that time, we can't assume that it always was. When we assume facts, then we can get things really wrong. Then we look silly. Let's just not assume a fact not in evidence. No, I am not a lawyer. :P

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Brackite quotes Don:

Among the Jaredites, it is only the wicked kings who are described as having multiple wives; and among the righteous kings we have a righteous example of monogamy so heroic and absolute as to at least border on the absurd:
No Jaredite record exists. We have no source of this material except what was written by Moroni. So, it is not the Jaredites who are describing this, but Moroni who is describing this. And we presume that he will be describing the polygamy of the wicked kings because this was proscribed in his own culture - not necessarily because it was proscribed in theirs. We could suggest also, for example, that the same story which Don describes as an "absurd" example of heroic monogamy sounds very similar to the story of Abraham and Ishmael.

Ben

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Do we have any scriptural examples of sons referring to their mothers as "my woman"?

The best I could find is John 2:3-4,

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?  mine hour is not yet come."

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"Woman" is not the same as "my women." And I have heard, but cannot remember where, an analysis of the word Jesus used to refer to Mary on that occasion. The question came up because someone had said that it sounded a little rude, and Jesus would not have been rude.

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Take a look at Ether 7: 1-2.

1 AND it came to pass that Orihah did execute judgment upon the land in righteousness all his days, whose days were exceedingly many.

2 And he begat sons and daughters; yea, he begat thirty and one, among whom were twenty and three sons.

Oriahah was righeous all his days and begat 31 children. It would appear he would've had more than one wife to have 31 kids and since he was righeous, it would appear it was approved of the Lord. Unless he had one super wife who had 31 children herself. Not likely.

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Hello gaucho,

Take a look at Ether 7: 1-2.

1 AND it came to pass that Orihah did execute judgment upon the land in righteousness all his days, whose days were exceedingly many.

2 And he begat sons and daughters; yea, he begat thirty and one, among whom were twenty and three sons.

Oriahah was righeous all his days and begat 31 children. It would appear he would've had more than one wife to have 31 kids and since he was righeous, it would appear it was approved of the Lord. Unless he had one super wife who had 31 children herself. Not likely.

The righteous Jaradite King Orihah, could of had his first wife die before he married a second wife, just like the righteous Jaradite King Coriantum had his first wife die before he married his second wife. The only difference would be that the Jaradite King Orihah first wife was Not barren, like the righteous Jaradite King Coriantum first wife was barren. Remember that Charity has stated on this thread that it was pretty common for women do die in giving birth to children back in those ancient days. The righteous Jaradite King Orihah could of had some of his children being born with his first wife, and some of his other children being born with his second wife.

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Is it likely that Orihah had 23 sons and 8 daughters in a succession of marriage as wives died? That would be a real stretch of the imagination. But I suppose we should admit that it would be possible for a wife to produce 8 children, die, a second wife produce 8 and die, and then a third wife produce 8 and die, and then a fourth wife produce 7, and maybe outlive her aged husband. :P

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The righteous Jaradite King Orihah, could of had his first wife die before he married a second wife, just like the righteous Jaradite King Coriantum had his first wife die before he married his second wife. The only difference would be that the Jaradite King Orihah first wife was Not barren, like the righteous Jaradite King Coriantum first wife was barren. Remember that Charity has stated on this thread that it was pretty common for women do die in giving birth to children back in those ancient days. The righteous Jaradite King Orihah could of had some of his children being born with his first wife, and some of his other children being born with his second wife.

I wonder If his second wife was 14 when he bedded her?

We had a couple familes in our ward who had 15 Kids. Can everybody say... Anne Nicole?

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If you assume all 31 of his children were born of monogomous marriages and figure about one child every 2 years, you must agree he was begatting children for at least 62 years. If you take into account that many pregnancies would have resulted in misscarriages, that 62 years might be expanded. So, let's say he first became a Dad at 18, then he was still fathering children at 80. Quite possible yes, but I think a more likely scenario is he had more than one woman at a time.

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And Anna Nichole had how many children with her aged husband? That was not a good example to make your point.

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And you know she used birth control, how?

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Hello Ben,

You wrote,

Moroni however, who had access to the Deuteronomic text, wrote Ether. It isn't a translation. It incorporates material from an earlier text and tradition. So, your point doesn't add much to the discussion. It would seem that the description of the Jaredite king is connected to the earlier description of the Nephite king - the account is earlier although the events they describe are later. Moroni is portraying the Jaredite king as being a wicked king by Moroni's standards. Likewise there is no reason to assume that the Jaredites viewed polygamy as being inherently wicked - their text makes no such claim like the claim made in Jacob 2 and 3 that polygamy was forbidden by God. It seems quite likely that this is a judgement made by Moroni.

While Moroni doesn

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Is it likely that Orihah had 23 sons and 8 daughters in a succession of marriage as wives died? That would be a real stretch of the imagination. But I suppose we should admit that it would be possible for a wife to produce 8 children, die, a second wife produce 8 and die, and then a third wife produce 8 and die, and then a fourth wife produce 7, and maybe outlive her aged husband.

My grandmother had nine children, and would have had several more had her husband not been killed. A woman could very easily have produced a dozen or more children. Furthermore, death in childbirth was not uncommon, and in older cultures widowed men often remarried young women, so it's not in the least improbable that a man, especially a leader of a people, might have had 31 children by two or three (or more) successive wives.

But I'm surprised no one here has commented on what seems to me the most obvious explanation for Amulek's "women". In many older traditional cultures, the women were the responsibility of their fathers before marriage and their husbands after marriage. In addition, upon the death or incapacitation of the father, one son (often the oldest, under primogeniture) would inherit a double portion of his father's estate, and would also be tasked with caring for all the women of his father's household, which would include his wife and any unmarried daughters.

(One might argue that Amulek spoke of the Lord blessing "my father and my kinsfolk", which suggests his father was still alive. And perhaps he was; we need not suppose Amulek to have been orphaned to assume he had more than one adult woman in his household while still having only one wife. But this reference to his "father" could also be a reference to his father's household, a common enough way of referencing things in the Hebrew mindset; or if his father were incapacitated, Amulek might have assumed the responsibility for caring for his household.)

Thus, "Amulek's women" would include his wife (singular), his adult unmarried daughters, and also possibly any adult unmarried sisters left to his care from his father Giddonah's household. To my mind, one wife and any other adult woman in the household from the above possibilities would qualify as being grouped together as his women. Given Jacob's teachings on polygamy, this seems the most obvious explanation, as well as the most likely.

[EDIT: Added clarifying word "successive"]

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Sibling, Having had 6 children, the only thing about your post I disagree with is how "easily" a woman has 12 or more! :P

I certainly agree, that what you suggest is plausible. But I don't think the evidence is conclusive, either way. This keeps popping up from thread to thread. There is just so much we don't know for sure. But we sure do jump in and speculate!

Maybe it is because in our "real" lives we don't gossip. And so here, in anonymity, we can just pop all over the landscape with "did you hear this?" and "so and so said. . . oh my!"

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Hi Ben,

You wrote:

At the same time, once we start talking about original manuscripts, we get to other issues which don't treat your position quite so well. We might discuss the emendation to the text in 1 Nephi 7:1 (dealing with who it is that is "raising up seed"). The emendation shifts it from the Lord to "they" (for discussion, see R. Skousen's Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, pp. 136ff.).

I don't have R. Skousen's Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, but I wish I did. Are you stating that the Printer's Manuscript states that, 'they might raise up seed unto themselves, instead of stating that, 'they might raise up seed unto the Lord,' as is does state in the 1830 edition of the BofM and in the 1981 edition of the BofM?

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Brackite -

The word "they" does not occur in the O manuscript of 1 Nephi 7:1.

Skousen makes the following comments:

This variant has significant ramifications for the meaning. The reading of the original script seems to limit the "raising up of seed" to the women. Oliver Cowdery added the subject pronoun they when he copied the text into P. This emendation also changed the grammatical category for the that, from a relative pronoun (with daughters as the antecedent) to a subordinate conjunction (with the meaning 'in order that', thus making the that-clause adverbial).
Skousen then goes on to discuss the other passages which deal with this notion (as it reads in the original text) - 2 Nephi 3:5, Jacob 2:25, Jacob 2:30, Ether 1:43, Joshua 5:7, 1 Chronicles 17:11, and matthew 3:9. And then he discusses these passages as reflective of the emended text: Genesis 38:8, Deuteronomy 25:7, Ruth 4:5 and Matthew 22:24.

This is an odd issue, since the last four texts which Skousen notes are all dealing with Levirate marriage issues. Skousen notes:

But the emended text in 1 Nephi 7:1 refers to they, not the Lord, as raising up seed.
Which brings up a comment which you have made here (and elsewhere):
According to 1 Nephi 7:1, the Lord God planned on raising seed unto Himself through Monogamy, and NOT Polygamy.
Skousen goes on to say:
Based on evidence from biblical usage, Oliver Cowdery's emended they in 1 Nephi 7:1 should be accepted; usage elsewhere in the Book of Mormon strongly suggests that the reading in O ("that might raise up seed") is highly improbable.
The issue though, whether we accept the emendation as the best reading or not, is that attempting to justify arguments based on changes between P and the first edition when no O is present is rather iffy at best. Don's comments on the likelihood of the change really don't mean anything since they aren't very reflective of the process that I see in going through the textual evidence compiled by Skousen.

I suppose that you could start arguing that O for 1 Nephi 7:1 is the more accurate text and thus that it supports your argument (although not as cleanly as you might like), but after a while, your argument against my position starts to sound a little contrived - particularly when it doesn't answer the other questions which I pose - about why this discussion is taking place, and what the basis would be for the condemnation of David and Solomon. Where in the world view of Nephi and Jacob do your arguments find something solid to rest on? These are much more important than the endless semantic debates which you and Don seem to want to redirect the discussion to.

Ben

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