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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Mike in Texas
Cedar City, Utah

LDSARECHristians. Interesting how God can change His mind. Once Polygamy was "Moral" now its "Immoral" because the "Practice" has been rescinded. I'm afraid that's a distinction that is all too easily be lost on the general public.

Salt Lake City, UT


I'm sure most were answering the question as to whether or not it's wrong in this day and age. I'd be interested in knowing results to a question about whether or not it can be morally okay in other times.

Saint Louis, MO

As a Catholic, I would clear up a misnomer. The Catholic Church believes in divorce but not remarriage. There are also a number of conservatives up in arms over the large number of annulments which have been granted. In addition, for all of the "flack" that the Mormons have taken for early views on polygamy, there are some interpretations of the Koran which appear to allow it. There is very little criticism and the Mormon religion continues to be castigated for something that happened many years ago.

Cedar City, Utah

@LDSareChristians: I join you in the 2% you state my feeling about the issue succinctly. I'd guess, without seeing the survey questions, that the wording of the questions was important in deciding how to acquire and interpret answers to get a "98% against" ratio.

Or, as Mike here points out, it's simply a distinction lost on most

I might add, to avoid the two mothers-in-law thing, if you simply married sisters you'd be good. Hmmm, on second thought....

BTW, people, God has historically "changed his mind" lots of times. The list is long of biblical commandments required in one era, discontinued in another. I have no problem with a creator that knows what's best for different people, different prophets, different times.

Phoenix, AZ

How can Mormons say polygomy is morally wrong and still believe in their scriptures. It appears like a cafeteria religion.

The Caravan Moves On
Enid, OK

Polygamy is flat out immoral and sinful.

That is, unless it is commanded by God.

You see, God commands US what to do, not the other way around. And what God commands, WHATEVER that is, is only for our own blessing and benefit.

Always? Yes, always.

Any Latter-day Saint who possesses a true testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ would obey the same command today if the Lord directed the Prophet to do so. Having said that, I personally doubt he would tell Pres. Monson this today (different situation today), but we need to be willing if that were the case.

(BTW, does it irk any other Latter-day Saints out there that we are often condemned by other Christians for once practicing polygamy despite the fact that the Bible has SEVERAL references to God's prophets practicing it?)

Uncle Rico
Sandy, UT

Hutterite: What does Warren Jeffs have anything to do with Mormonism?

St. George, UT

I wonder if we still had polygamy today if 86% of those polled would still find it "morally wrong"

Salt Lake City, UT

"God has historically "changed his mind" lots of times. The list is long of biblical commandments required in one era, discontinued in another. I have no problem with a creator that knows what's best for different people, different prophets, different times. "

True, but God changing his mind before doesn't mean that all changes denominations make are God's changes.

salt lake city, utah

How can polygomy be morraly wrong when a man/priesthodd holder's wife dies he is allowed to marry another woman in the temple for time and eternity? Polygomy might be practiced as an earthly principle now..but how can it possibly be morally wrong when it's practiced eternally?

Salt Lake City, UT

"I wish someone would finally cut us a break on this. "

I think that as long as LDS members don't condemn Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's polygamy and as long as the LDS church allows men to be sealed to more than one woman in the temple (in situations like where a first wife has passed away) there's probably never going to be a break cut.

layton, UT

@Voice of reason, 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??

Polygamy continued despite the promise to abandon it. In 1899, then Apostle Heber J. Grant President would plead guilty to unlawful cohabitation and be fined $100. In 1906, sixth LDS President Joseph F. Smith "pleaded guilty before Judge M. L. Rictchie in the District Court Friday to the charge of cohabitating with four women in addition to his lawful wife." He was fined $300, the maximum allowed .

@LDS4: Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me ,saith the Lord(Jacob 2:24 &see 27)

Saint Paul, Appoint Elders in every town as I directed you if anyone is above reproach, the husband of ONE wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination(Warren Jeffs&...). (Titus 1:5,6 NIV)

Riverton, UT

"Official LDS pronouncements insist there is a distinction between (sexual) orientation and behavior, but the survey blurs that difference, probably leaving many Mormons unsure how to answer that question. What is clear, however, is that Mormons are trending toward greater acceptance of same-sex relationships, just as society as a whole is, although by a much smaller percentage."

This quote from the article correctly points out that the interpretation of the questions can make a big difference, e.g., we can't be sure how respondents interpreted "homosexuality". The second quoted sentence therefore makes no sense. I would say, "It is impossible to conclude from this survey that Mormons are trending toward greater acceptance of same-sex relationships."

As already pointed out, the same kind of interpretation issue has surely fouled up the question about polygamy. We would get very different results with "Do you feel it would be morally wrong for you to engage in polygamy?" versus "Do you feel the practice of polygamy is always morally wrong?"

Fairfax Station, VA

The Pew Research is carefully designed to give results for an entire population based on the polling of a select few-that's how CNN can predict an election outcome after polling certain precincts and voters-so the results are solid. And two well known mormon experts, bowman and givens, were consultants on the project. So read the results and weep or shout for joy-they are an accurate reflection of Mormons in America.

Many mormon families face the situation of a son or daughter who is actively homosexual- count the ones you know; thus the poll shows a softening from the official chruch stance of homosexual activity as wrong,wrong, wrong! families dealing with loving or turning out a homosexual son or daughter are opting for love, and IMHO that is good.

just saying!

Ravenna, OH

This is typical if you try to live a godly life (Celestial law) by obedience or following the rules. You focus too much on the words of the commandments and lose the spirit. That's what Christ said was the failing which afflicted the Jews. Are we merely the latter-day chosen people gone wrong in the same way?

Polygamy, homosexuality and alcohol consumption do not define a godly life either by avoidance or adoption. The harder parts are about living the principles of loving God and our neighbors, being humble, teachable, peaceable. How many words has Jesus spent on these issues? Few to none.

It is our fixation with these matters that is the problem. We're sweating the small stuff. After we feed the poor, heal the sick, have no poor among us and lift up the downtrodden then maybe we will have a little time to work on these, but for now we stand in serious violation of the clearly spoken words of the Savior while being zealots on matters that He chose to pass over.

When there is nobody in your town who is sick or hungry then you may make judgements about minor matters.

Provo, Ut

I agree with most of the commenters above. Stating that Mormons surveyed hold moral objections to polygamy, really doesn't clarify much. The question not answered is that of what constitutes "morality"? If morality, as many religious people such as the non-Mormon religious philosopher William Lane Craig asserts, is simply a code obligations and duties imposed by a moral law-giver (God), then in the Mormon paradigm of modern Prophets, polygamy is immoral because the current "policy" forbids it. Still, this says nothing as to whether modern Mormons view polygamy as being inherently immoral. This is the question that needs to be answered.

Anecdotally, in my conversations with Mormon friends I notice something of a divide in attitudes, where some feel quite convinced that in spite of our polygamous history, Joseph Smith was still wrong about the "principle", whereas others feel that God can and will command it at certain times and places and that ultimately Polygamy is the Celestial form. I don't know what the actual number would be, but I think they would reflect a little differently had the question of morality been qualified to a more specific standard, ie, "Why is polygamy immoral?"

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Yet the guy who started it all had at least 32 wives, 9 of whom where married to other men and one as young as 14.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

D & C 132 still makes it a requirement for the celestial kingdom. It's still 100% doctrine.

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

Is this "NEWSPEAK"?. "Oh, did you hear about this?" the host of CBS' Late Show with David Letterman asked his audience recently. "A campaign staffer on the Newt Gingrich campaign was fired because he was making negative comments about Mormons. I thought, now, wait a minute, isn't Newt in favor of multiple wives?." (The polygamy punch line is a familiar one when it comes to poking fun at Mormons as though Mormons and polygamy are synonymous in mainstream media. Ironically, the practice that's most linked to Mormons is a practice most Mormons oppose.) While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives. Romney's family came from England, converted to Mormonism, came to America and quickly turned to plural marriage which led them to an unexpected exile and exodus to Mexico and then just as abruptly, they fled back to the USA to avoid a revolution. Smith's revelation that God authorized polygamy remains in Article 132 of the Church's doctrine and covenants. In addition, Mormon widowers who remarry today believe they will live in eternity with their multiple wives. Two of Romney's great-great grandfathers had 12-wives.

Phoenix, AZ

It seems like in the game of Mormon polygamy ulitmately its the women who get the short end of the stick; so how do Mormon women rectify the practice of polygamy in their minds. It seems they would be looking for a female god so as to be more attuned to women's equal rights here on earth.

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