Comments about ‘Amy Choate-Nielsen: Mormons say polygamy morally wrong, Pew poll shows’

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Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 7:00 p.m. MST

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American Fork, UT

See the article on Warren Jeffs' latest edicts, and ponder whether we should do something about it.

Salt Lake, UT

polls? they never contact me. the way they word questions of course you will get 86% i am sure most are thinking about Jeffs group. and of course due to the current church stance saying the practice is not to be followed at this time. but if you were to ask if they beleive in the law of plural marriage most would say yes. i do. the fact a man can be sealed to more than one woman proves that it is doctrine, we just can't have sexual relations with anyone other than the person we are legally married too. i also think most lds would agree plural marriage will happen again someday when the Lord says it is needed again. polls can show what ever the polster wants the outcome to be. doesn't mean it is true.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

It would be more appropriate to caption the included pictures as- Out of 1000 Mormons, "54 percent say that drinking alcohol is morally wrong."

Saying "Mormons view" or "Mormons say" is inaccurate as polling does not accurately represent the membership of the church. I often voice my concern on here about inductive reason and how polls and statistics only reveal what we know about one sample and nothing about the unexamined majority.

Consider- 14,131,467 members of the church. These numbers only reflect data about 1019 respondents. This poll says absolutely nothing, not even a spec of information about the 14,130,448 that weren't sampled. Even if they sampled appropriate numbers based on which countries they lived in, and only active members, and so on- the data will never be complete and the possibility that the data misrepresents the truth will always remain.

While I'm pleased that attention is being drawn to the church, I simply wish that the reporting, captions, headlines would be more cautionary so as not to give people the wrong idea about the church or the beliefs of church members.

Imo, inductive data simply equates to guessing, gambling, and inaccurate 'record' keeping.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

I cannot think of anything that could ever induce me to seek more than one mother-in-law.

One is enough.

Salt Lake City, UT

I know why they had to ask this question, but being completely aware that the church disavows earthly polygamy at this time, I'd be more interested in questions like what percentage of LDS members believe that there are time periods when polygamy is acceptable and what percentage believe that it'll be practiced by at least some in the afterlife (seeing as there are even current apostles who were sealed to a second woman after the first wife passed away).

Phoenix, AZ

When polygmy is an essencial part of the Mormon scripture how can members be against it. Perhaps a better answer would be that they are against the practice of it for political reasons for the time being.

Salt Lake City, UT

How can Mormons say polygamy is morally wrong? That notion must be in reference to this earthly life because we continue to sanction more than one woman to be sealed (married) to a man for the hereafter. I am confused by the results of the survey.

Bakersfield, CA

What a difference a century can make. From D&C 132 to they despise the practice. My my. The prophets Joseph and Brigham would just be stunned. As would my gr.grandpas, who proudly served their sentences and returned to their families.

And we wonder why the majority of Americans don't know much about Mormonism. Flip flops are never easy to adjust to, let alone justify.

Salt Lake City, UT

Polygamy is not, in and of itself, immoral. If it was, we wouldn't have practiced it. We know that many Old Testament prophets practiced it as well. Some Christians believe that God basically put up with it and didn't really approve. We know that this is false because in 2 Sam 12:7-12, God is reprimanding David for his adultery and reminds David that He (God) was the one that gave David his wives and also said that if they weren't enough, He (God) would have given him more. God goes on to say that as punishment, God was to take those wives from him and would give them to another INDIVIDUAL man.

If polygamy were wrong, God wouldn't have given David those wives nor offered to given David even more. Nor would God have turned around and given those women as wives to another man.

We also know that Paul, in 1 Tim. 3:2 (see also Titus 1:6) says that a bishop should only have one wife. This shows that polygamy was allowed in the early Church. If it wasn't, why would Paul mention that restriction?

The bottom line is that polygamy isn't inherently immoral.


This is really a loaded topic considering accurate Mormon history and current allowances for worthy LDS men to get married in the temple again after the death of other wives.

L Kaiser

The rock,

Lol too funny so true!

Anchorage, AK

Wow... I am of the 2%. I can't believe that all our early leaders who practice polygamy were immoral. Ditto the old testament prophets.

Not sure how to explain this....
OK, most would agree, sex in marriage is moral. Sex outside marriage is immoral.

So, when Polygamy is authorized and allowed by God, it is moral. But if it isn't authorized by God, it is immoral.

So, today, or since 1890, the practice of polygamy is immoral. The idea or concept of Polygamy in and of itself, is not immoral.

OK, let the fireworks begin.....

Lindon, UT

My Dad, who converted to Mormonism in 1955, says Plural Marriage (Polygamy) is the Word of God. He also said he's prepared to live the Law of Eternal Marriage (Polygamy) in the next life (life after death).

I guess just like when the LDS Church changed its mind about Blacks not being worthy to hold the Priesthood in 1978, Polygamy is the latest LDS Church doctrine to be reversed.

I wonder what else will change in the World of Mormonism as the LDS Church seeks to mainstream itself and become more acceptable to the world?

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

Isn't polygamy still Mormon doctrine (although it's practice has been suspended because it is against the law of the land)?
See D&C Section 132. If so, then how can 82% of members believe it is immoral? Do the 82% not know the tenants of their own religion?

Milnthorpe, Cumbria

@The Rock and L Kaiser...you could always select brides whose mothers have already passed beyond the veil...that way, you won't meet your mothers-in-law until the after-life, by which time you will have proved your worthiness as husband to your bride(s) :o)

PA Rock Man
Allentown, PA

Re Voice of Reason:

This poll never claimed to be about Mormons all over the world, it claimed to be about self-identified (active) Mormons in the United States, hence the title, "Mormons in America".

I disagree with your point that polls only reflect the results of the sample, not the population. The whole point of statistics is that if you have a large and diverse enough sample size then the results of the study reflect the actual population. That is why a margin of error (5%) is attached to this study. When the pollsters say "54%..." it actually means between 49-59% of self-identified American Mormons think that alcohol consumption is morally wrong. I suspect if the population included lapsed members who do not consider themselves Mormons, then we would that 54% drop to 20% or even less.

PA Rock Man
Allentown, PA

When I think of something being "morally" wrong I think of things that are inherently wrong, like murder, lying, or being mean to others. I am interested in why most of us Mormons consider alcohol and polygamy morally wrong when both were practiced by leaders and members in good standing in the 19th century church. Do Mormons really consider these practices "morally wrong" or just currently formally prohibited? This nuance in how we view these activities is important because it would influence, for example, how we treat non-Mormons who choose to drink alcohol.

Miami Area, Fl

"So, when Polygamy is authorized and allowed by God, it is moral. But if it isn't authorized by God, it is immoral."

But, to accept the "authorized and allowed by God" you must accept one mans word that it is what god wanted.

Religious leaders throughout history have done that. Nothing new here.

It could have been driven by gods will.

But, isn't it just possible that it was merely one mans carnal desires?

Somewhere in Time, UT

The methods used by these surveys are proven statistical methods. I don't have any problem believing the results.

It is made very clear in the scriptures (Book of Jacob) that polygamy is IMMORAL and it NOT to be practiced unless it is commanded by God. That is COMMANDED by God. You don't just get permission. It is to be commanded. No other situation is morally acceptable. It has been 122 years. I wish someone would finally cut us a break on this.


First thanks to the author of the article for distinguishing between LDS and the fundamentalists!

Though there were other things an earlier commenter posted on, about the "moral issues" being one of times when God said it was ok, and when he said cease. Like sex within the bonds of marriage is not only accepted, but expected and grounds for divorce if not taking place at all. Yet, any sex outside of marriage is so wrong that in the Bible it was something you could get stoned for.

I would like the make a somewhat similar distinction with alcohol. If one has made a covenant with God, not to drink it, but does, that is morally wrong. For one who has made no such promise, then they are not breaking trust.
I personally think drinking alcohol it is not needed or good for the body, and some people (and their families) are really hurt when it is abused or they drive drunk, but in moderation I do not think it is not morally wrong. Still it would be better for people to drink water, or fresh grape juice.

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