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JS DID practice polygamy


Scottie

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I think the reason we feel so decieved is because we realize our life has been based on a church that we didn't know the whole story about. If the church is true, shouldn't we be encouraged to learn the anti-mormon beliefs and counter discussions? Especially before going on a mission to represent the church. But so many of us missionaries discover these anti things for the first time on our missions or later.

Example....It doesn't really bother me that JS had and used a gun in Carthage Jail. What bothers me is that we've been taught that story at church many times in detail with that part left out...

My conclusion: Just as with anything else in life, if I want the whole story, I gotta check all the sources, both sides of the issue. So to find the whole story I end up going back and forth between sites like fair and the official church site, to exmormon.org etc..... They all have their own agenda's :P

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In your opinion, where does the blame for this lie? Is this on the members for not researching the history of the church, or is this on the church for not including such a critical historical aspect in the lesson manuals?

I was giving some thought to this last night.

I wonder if the reason for the pendulum swinging so far to the "JS didn't practice polygamy/more women than men" side might be due to:

Overreaction to Fawn Brodie's book. So you have the members going from knowing Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage to Fawn Brodie's book which had errors in it and members overreacting to her book and dismissing it as anti and so you have this kernel of information out there that Brodie made errors about Joseph and polygamy and this kernel of info takes on a life of its own and we end up with the pendulum swinging all the way over to "JS didn't practice polygamy"...

As for the "more women then men", there is documentation that women survived the trail/wilderness better than men and that more men died than women did at least during the years when the wagon trains were patched together and not very well organized and lacking for supplies. So again, we have this kernel of knowledge out there which has grown into "because there were more women then men"...

Add to this the Church sticking closely to its mission: Bringing souls to Jesus Christ. So, unless you have a knowledgeable family or Church member broaching the topic once in a while (although maybe you missed that class because you were busy in Primary, or Sunday School, or you never took seminary or institute and even if you did maybe you weren't paying attention...), or are willing to follow-up on a footnote in one of the Church publications, or just take a gander one day at Joseph Smith's genealogy; then this misinformation just stays out there, uncorrected.

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Scottie:

"Because it shows the character of the so called prophet. In my view, it completely changed the view I had of JS. It was a BIG step in seeing him as the false prophet that I believe he is. THAT is why it is such a big deal."

Let's look at your statement.

JS reading in the Bible, sounds like an OK guy to me. But I guess if you're LOOKING for a reson to Apostatize that's as good as any.

JS comes a acrossed passages that have Prophets of God in ancient times practicing the dreaded "P" word. IF reading the Bible goes against ones character, then I guess we're all in trouble. We better all start reading the Bible so we too can apostatize.

Now knowing that Prophets of God in ancient times practiced polygamy he asks God.

That this goes AGAINST the character of JS exactly HOW?

He gets an answer that God approved of it.

Still speaks nothing of the character of JS.

He asks if Prophets of old practiced polygamy why isn't it practiced in JS time.

If asking God about something goes against ones character, we'd better start praying now so we too can apostatize.

JS then was COMMANDED by God to practice polygamy.

If being COMMANDED by God to practice something goes against ones character.....

That JS was fearful of Emma's reaction shows good sense to me.

I would wonder about any man that wasn't considerate of his wifes feelings.

That JS was a product of his surrounding culture, and had good reason to remain quiet about a nonwestern marriage practice. Much in the same fashion the Jesus the Christ kept quiet before Herod.

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To your point about polygamy... D&C 132 specifically talks about polygamy, and mentions Joseph Smith and his wife Emma by name. How anyone could not read that and not understand that JS was engaged in plural marriage is beyond me.

I will admit that I never read section 132 until recently when I found out that JS was a major polygamist.

Why?

In seminary, we did not get that far. We ended at section 129.

In church there are key verses that are taken from 132 and repeated, some almost out of context I suppose.

YES, I could/should have read through the entire D&C. I had other things to do like work, family, stake missionary, primary and sunday school callings.

I think that is the case with most members. They are just too busy to read all of the standard works. And besides, most of it is rather dry and BORING. Especially for the younger members.

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I think the reason we feel so decieved is because we realize our life has been based on a church that we didn't know the whole story about. ...

I wonder how many Catholics know about papal adultery, murder conspiracy etc. etc. etc.

Is it a requirement to belong to that church?

I have several histories of the papacy on my shelf. It's not a pretty story and make any little peccadillos of Joseph Smith seem like nothing.

I say this not to bash the Catholics, but to point out that ANY church has issues in its history that could be criticized.

In comparison to most others, the LDS church looks pretty clean.

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"Church History in the Fullness of Times"

Religion 341 -343

This church manual is the basic reference/teaching guide used throughout the church for church history.

Page 255 - 256 (I'll only include the salient quotes)

"Revelations on Marriage

... The law of celestial marriage, as outlined in this revelation (D&C 132) also included the principle of the plurality of wives...

... Accustomed to conventional marriage patterns, the Prophet was at first understandably reluctant to engage in the new practice. Due to a lack of historical documentation, we do not know what his early attempts were to comply with the commandment in Ohio. His first recorded plural marriage in Nauvoo was to Louisa Beaman; it was performed by Bishop Joseph B. Noble on 5 April 1841. During the next three years Joseph took additional plural wives in accordance with the Lord's commands."

Just a couple of thoughts, and, everyone, please understand I am not trying to be negative; just some food for thought.

In recent years the Church seems, to me, to be distancing itself more and more from its polygamous history (which is understandable). To understand this we really need look no further than this year's Gospel Doctrine class, which deals with Church history. In the teacher's manual for this year's Gospel Doctrine class (first published in 1999, I believe), in Lesson #16, which discusses D&C 132 and eternal marriage, polygamy is not mentioned at all in the main lesson. Instead, there is a blurb about polygamy in the "Additional Helps" section (and it's the last "help" at that). The manual also instructs the teacher to read this blurb only if the issue is first raised by a member. So, all things being equal, the Church would prefer that polygamy not be discussed if at all possible.

Another interesting tidbit (in my mind, at least). As part of this year's Gospel Doctrine class, every member received a copy of the booklet entitled "Our Heritage: A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint" (published in 1996). If you look through there trying to find a discussion (or even mention) of polygamy, you would probably look in the sections dealing with Ohio (where the revelation was received) or Nauvoo (where the practice really took off), right? You will find nary a mention. Instead, you have to jump way ahead to p. 97, after the discussion of the 1880 Jubilee in Utah, to find the first mention of Joseph Smith and 1830's polygamy (in other words, it is 50 years out of sequence), apparently placed there in the context of federal prosecution of Utah polygamists. And note that the actual text is very careful not to state that Joseph personally practiced polygamy:

"While working on the translation of the Bible in the early 1830s, the Prophet Joseph Smith became troubled by the fact that Abraham, Jacob, David and other Old Testament leaders had more than one wife. The Prophet prayed for understanding and learned that at certain times, for specific purposes, following divinely given laws, plural marriage was approved and directed by God. Joseph also learned that with divine approval, some Latter-day Saints would soon be chosen by priesthood authority to marry more than one wife. A number of Latter-day Saints practiced plural marriage in Nauvoo, but a public announcement of this doctrine and practice was not made until August 1852 general conference in Salt Lake City. At that conference, Elder Orson Pratt, as directed by President Brigham Young, announced that the practice of a man having more than one wife was part of the Lord's restitution of all things."

So, not only is Joseph Smith and polygamy inserted 50 years out of sequence, but the language is carefully drafted not to specifically state that Joseph himself practiced polygamy. True, the Church may not technically "hide" its polygamous history, but it sure makes it hard to find (particularly as it relates to JS) and downplays it any chance it gets.

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Example....It doesn't really bother me that JS had and used a gun in Carthage Jail.  What bothers me is that we've been taught that story at church many times in detail with that part left out...

Well it's not because the Church left it out of its manuals. So the teacher would be to blame here. One (or maybe several) of the manuals even has pictures of what a pepperbox looks like.

For example, the Church History manual, take a look at p. 281:

Church History manual

(This is a pdf file.)

So you can't really blame the Church for what the teachers leave out. Maybe some teachers don't want to touch it for fear the class will end up going on some tangent or maybe it's something as simple as the class running out of time. Still, if you're not in class that day and you're not one to study at home, you'll miss it altogether.

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Do you think that we SHOULD know about JS having multiple wives?

In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter much to me. I think it isn't discussed that much in conference talks, etc. because polygamy isn't very relevant to our lives right now. Also, the details aren't clear about how, when, where, who. It's muddy.

Do you think that we should know about his refusing alcohol when having his leg operated on?

In the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter much to me. It does teach a principle that is still relevant, however. That's probably why it's given as an example. It also is a story that is also appealing/relevant for youth.

At the same time, the story of Porter Rockwell opening a bar in Joseph's house in Nauvoo is less well known. :P

What are you looking for Scottie? Reasons to disbelieve or reasons to believe? You say you just want the unvarnished truth, but the church history will provide some of both. Where is your testimony rooted?

I'd say the people who suggested you avoid anti info were probably spot on for you. Look at the result.

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Lightning may strike me, but...

I think Rollo is right that the church, if not downplaying it's plural marriage history, at least doesn't up-play it recently. There is more in my 1991 manual than in my current one.

Let me hasten to add, however, that I don't think this is out of shame, or a cover-up, or desire to deceive. I think it's because this issue is not pertinent to the gospel in our day and has nothing to do with the three-fold mission of the church; to perfect the saints, redeem the dead, and proclaim the gospel. It's not part of any of those missions for us.

It would just be distracting and potentially even more divisive to keep bringing it up in official channels. There truly are more important things for the church and gospel doctrine teachers to spend time on.

So yes it is discussed in manuals and classes, perhaps less lately, but that's OK. We haven't been commanded to practice it, so it's not pertinent to us. Joseph and the Saints until 1890 were commanded to practice it, so it was pertinent to them. For us it's of historical interest, like blood sacrifice. Interesting, but not essential to our salvation.

If JS practicing polygamy comes up in my GD class on sec. 132, my short answer is going to be "So What?"

I'll give it about 5 minutes max. then move on to eternal marriage, which does concern us. If anyone wants more they are welcome to see me after.

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thesometimesaint,

This is how I percieve it.

I posted a while ago how it doesn't ring true to me that God would command JS to start practicing polygamy right off the bat. It was against the law and I believe that God would have commanded JS to either go west where the law didn't apply or try to get the law changed before starting polygamist relationships.

Plus, in Sec 132 there is SO much talk of damning and destroying against JS and Emma. Add those with the fact that he didn't reveal it to Emma until (was it 7 years) after he supposedly received the revelation.

I also don't beleive that God would ask JS to practice this behind Emma's back. God would require JS to explain it to Emma and threaten damnation BEFORE he started.

To me, it reeks of fraud and speaks volumes to his character.

Just my thoughts, though...

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What are you looking for Scottie? Reasons to disbelieve or reasons to believe? You say you just want the unvarnished truth, but the church history will provide some of both. Where is your testimony rooted?

I'd say the people who suggested you avoid anti info were probably spot on for you. Look at the result.

I have been VERY careful to research both side of each issue I have faced.

There are MANY anti issues that don't hold any water with me. DNA being a huge one. I just see too many holes to hold much water.

However, I see far more holes in the apologist explainations for most other issues.

Looking at the anti information was just what I needed. I thank them wholeheartedly.

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Aaa... do some fact checking first Scottie.

It wasnt against the law of this country at the time. Anti-Bigamy laws chassed the Mormons around the country. They finally went to Illinois where yes it was a gainst the law. But Where else where they supposed to flee to? And they where already practicing it... this was one of Fords big questions... what to do with the Polygamist Mormons. What do you do? Go in and break up familes. Tare children from their parents arms? Causing much hard ship, starvation etc. etc. etc.

They werent ready to Go west yet, and yes even Joseph wanted to go west where they would be left alone and was about to do it the night before going to Carthage, but Hyrum talked him out of it.

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It wasnt against the law of this country at the time.

Ok, it wasn't against the law.

Anti-Bigamy laws chassed the Mormons around the country.

What laws? I thought it wasn't against the law?

Chased them WHERE around the country?

They finally went to Illinois where yes it was against the law.

But, I thought it wasn't against the law?

But Where else where they supposed to flee to?  And they where already practicing it... this was one of Fords big questions... what to do with the Polygamist Mormons.  What do you do?  Go in and break up familes.  Tare children from their parents arms?  Causing much hard ship, starvation etc. etc. etc. 

They werent ready to Go west yet, and yes even Joseph wanted to go west where they would be left alone and was about to do it the night before going  to Carthage, but Hyrum talked him out of it.

Perhaps God, in his infinite wisdom, should have waited to reveal polygamy until they were ready to go?

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This:

To me, it reeks of fraud and speaks volumes to his character.

is very odd, indeed.

Either G-d gave JSJr. the revelation that became our section 132

Or He did not.

Either G-d commanded JSJr. and Emma to practice polygyny

Or He did not.

Either JSJr. was a true prophet

Or He was not.

Fraud, which requires knowing concealment or misrepresentation, is an inapposite concept here.

Character is likewise an inapposite concept here.

Just because one of my G-G-Grandfathers may have been an abusive practitioner of the Principle (the jury's out on that one) does not make the Principle not of G-d: G-d commanded us to multiply and replenish the earth, but some of us abuse the power that enables us to do so. JSJr.'s character, good or ill, is not particularly relevant on my view to the truthfulness of his prophetic calling or the divinity of G-d's pronouncements to/through him.

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Scottie,

The states of Ohio and Missouri put up anti-bigaamy laws as a response to Mormons living within their borders. Then while Mormons where being chased out of Missouri to Illinous the laws went up there too. Then we moved out of the country only to have the land bought out from under us and then the Feds finaly put up the Federal law. Prior to that time it was up to the states. So it wasnt agaisnt the law until after Mormons where chased out or IOW as a response to Mormons.

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Then while Mormons where being chased out of Missouri to Illinous the laws went up there too.

This is incorrect. Illinois enacted its first anti-bigamy law years before the Mormons arrived (and probably before JS had taken his first plural wife). The law was enacted on February 12, 1833, and provided that any person convicted thereunder was subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years. (Revised Laws of Illinois 1833, pp. 198-99).

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Either G-d gave JSJr. the revelation that became our section 132

Or He did not.

I believe he did not.

Either G-d commanded JSJr. and Emma to practice polygyny

Or He did not.

I believe he did not.

Either JSJr. was a true prophet

Or He was not.

I belive he was not.

Fraud, which requires knowing concealment or misrepresentation, is an inapposite concept here.

Character is likewise an inapposite concept here.

Could you please explain further? I'm not quite sure what you are saying.

Just because one of my G-G-Grandfathers may have been an abusive practitioner of the Principle (the jury's out on that one) does not make the Principle not of G-d:    JSJr.'s character, good or ill, is not particularly relevant on my view to the truthfulness of his prophetic calling or the divinity of G-d's pronouncements to/through him.

You are free to believe what you will. I belive that God never spoke to JS and revealed polygamy to him. I believe that JS saw an oportunity to excercise sexual licence through the name of God.

Let me ask you a question...

If your daughter had decided to join a religious cult (now, I'm not calling the LDS church a cult here...) which required that all new females pass the test of faith by having sex with the leader, who had stated that God told him this was required of God, wouldn't you be suspicious?

In my view, JS did the same thing.

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In response to:

(now, I'm not calling the LDS church a cult here...)

Of course you are. Don't let's be disingenuous here.

But back to your question:

If your daughter had decided to join a religious cult (now, I'm not calling the LDS church a cult here...) which required that all new females pass the test of faith by having sex with the leader, who had stated that God told him this was required of God, wouldn't you be suspicious?

This was never done by JSJr. or anybody else, this:

In my view, JS did the same thing.

notwithstanding. Our flatlander cousins (Alan or Dale will correct me if I get this not quite right) never found convincing evidence that JSJr. "cohabitated" with his wives. Now, I'm not quite sure I'd go that far, but I certainly am convinced by the evidence that any "cohabitation" was quite an infrequent thing. I do not believe the Eliza Snow tumbling down the stairs story. JSJr. or BY undertaking the care and maintenance of their plural wives is quite a different kettle of fish than a Jim Jones doing what you described. By taking on the obligation of earthly husbands to JSJr.'s wives after his deaths, BY and the others vowed to fulfill JSJr.'s support obligations.

Don't you get the difference? A wife has a claim to maintenance for herself and her children. A "member's" daughter, on your scenario, has no such claim, since she, allegedly as a religious sacrament, sacrifices herself as described. A wife has rights. Your "member's" daughter has none. If you can't get the difference between wife and mistress (you describe the latter in your scenario), I'm afraid I cannot help you understand the difference between JSJr. and Jim Jones.

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(now, I'm not calling the LDS church a cult here...)

Of course you are. Don't let's be disingenuous here.

I am really not. I have had this discussion before, and I truely DO NOT think the LDS church is a cult. At least as it exists today.

The jury is still out on whether I would consider the early church a cult by today's standards.

Don't you get the difference?  A wife has a claim to maintenance for herself and her children.  A "member's" daughter, on your scenario, has no such claim, since she, allegedly as a religious sacrament, sacrifices herself as described.  A wife has rights.  Your "member's" daughter has none.  If you can't get the difference between wife and mistress (you describe the latter in your scenario), I'm afraid I cannot help you understand the difference between JSJr. and Jim Jones.

Except that these polygamist "wives" were never legally and lawfully married to JS. They were never wives in the eyes of men. Just because I self proclaim that we are married/sealed in the eternities does not mean it is a valid marriage.

These "wives" didn't have any more rights than my scenario. If they refused, they were in danger of damnation. What kind of "rights" are those?

JS bullied these women into "marrying" him by renaming it "sealing" and threating damnation if they didn't.

If D & C 132 says right in there that the reason for polygamy is to raise a righteous generation, why do we believe so strongly that JS didn't have sex? The OTHER polygamist men had sex, right? It was a commandment to have children, right? There is evidence written that he did, right?

I'm sorry, but I still belive my scenario to be akin to what took place with JS.

I really didn't want this thread to turn into a "why did polygamy happen/why is it wrong" thread. I just wondered why so many people didn't know JS practiced it.

I think that we all agree that the church is moving away from actively teaching this...or any polygamy...to members. Now the question remains as to their motives.

IMHO, teaching members from a young age all the messy facts of the church is FAR better than letting them find out later on. I've said before that it is strange to me how BY being a polygamist never bothered me, but when I found out JS was it deeply disturbed me. I don't know why that is. Perhaps because I was finding out a LOT of disturbing information about the church at the same time, so this was just compiled into all of that.

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I've said before that it is strange to me how BY being a polygamist never bothered me, but when I found out JS was it deeply disturbed me.

As Paul Simon wrote, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." I daresay your what I view as a prissified sensibility on this subject is not prior to your problems with JSJr. as Prophet of G-d.

I don't know why that is. Perhaps because I was finding out a LOT of disturbing information about the church at the same time, so this was just compiled into all of that.

Chicken or egg? I vote Chicken -- as I stated above.

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I've said before that it is strange to me how BY being a polygamist never bothered me, but when I found out JS was it deeply disturbed me.

As Paul Simon wrote, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." I daresay your what I view as a prissified sensibility on this subject is not prior to your problems with JSJr. as Prophet of G-d.

I don't know why that is. Perhaps because I was finding out a LOT of disturbing information about the church at the same time, so this was just compiled into all of that.

Chicken or egg? I vote Chicken -- as I stated above.

Boy, you sure shut my mouth there!

Ignore everything and resort to name calling. GREAT argument...

I don't think I have anything more to say to you.

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Chicken or egg?  I vote Chicken -- as I stated above.

Boy, you sure shut my mouth there!

Ignore everything and resort to name calling. GREAT argument...

I don't think I have anything more to say to you.

My apology if you think I was calling you chicken. I was talking about order of events and causation: Chickens lay eggs.

I still maintain your loss of testimony of JSJr. as prophet of G-d and His Christ preceded your alleged problems with JSJr.'s polygyny.

As to your sensibility being prissified . . . I was a bit overboard there as well. Sorry.

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Just a thought.

Why would one want to leave the church for this sole reason?

I'd say that all church histories have something in them.

Moses was a murderer. and yet, we still abide by the commandments.

the prophets and the apostles as well as the women who were used in the Kingdom of God were not all perfectly moral people.

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Then while Mormons where being chased out of Missouri to Illinous the laws went up there too.

This is incorrect. Illinois enacted its first anti-bigamy law years before the Mormons arrived (and probably before JS had taken his first plural wife). The law was enacted on February 12, 1833, and provided that any person convicted thereunder was subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years. (Revised Laws of Illinois 1833, pp. 198-99).

Yes Illinois inacted theres soon after Ohio had inacted theres and the Mormons had been chased out.

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