Mormon Media Observer: Suggestion to reporters: Replace polygamy coverage with something deeper

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  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 3, 2010 1:05 a.m.

    I would also say I am saddened to see the end of the two comments per person rule. It avoided drawn-out recriminating debates where people got into totally pointless discussions of off the wall facts as we see here.

    The main teaching of Doctrine and Covenants 132 is not polygamy, but the eternal nature of the marriage covenant. Doctrine and Covenants 132 is totally explicit that the blessings and opportunities spoken of can be obtained by a man marrying a woman according to the prescribed order and in no way does it require there be polygamy.

    I also have to agree with ?, I have never been taught to avoid the use of "modern" translations of the Bible. In fact I have seen articles published by FARMS where the authors quote from various post-1800 translations of the Bible, and there is at least one professor at BYU who in his New Testament class requires students to read from a version of the New Testament in addition to the KJV.

    Lastly, there are many languages in which the Bible was not translated until after 1830.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 3, 2010 12:59 a.m.

    Idaho Coug,
    Allowing men to be sealed to a second wife after their first wife has died is not in any way, shape, means or form polygamy.

    Only people who unilaterally reject re-marriage after the death of a spouse could realistically object to such a practice.

    I am glad to see Lane Williams is clear in stating the truth that the Civil War was connected with slavery. It is sad to see that some people still believe the lies that it was not. I would reccomend to any who do not understand this that they read "Apostles of Disunion".

    I would also point out that even George Romney's connection to polygamy was less than some things imply. His father was not a polygamist, so his birth in Mexico was one generation-removed from the persecution of men who insisted on recognizing all their families.

    Sharrona ignores the fact that the teachings of the Journal of Discourses are not accepted as authoritative in the LDS Church. LDS Church doctrine holds no position on whether Christ was married, and the attempt to imply it does constitutes a twisting of the doctrine.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Dec. 2, 2010 6:49 a.m.

    I've not heard that we are not to look to modern translations. As far as I know we are taught to seek out the best books and to seek learning by study and also faith. D&C 88:118 and D&C 109:7,14.

    What modern translation of the Bible are you using that we might better understand one another?

    Merry Christmas.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Dec. 1, 2010 6:29 p.m.

    ?: said, "Matthew testified that all prophets up to John the Baptist prophesied of Christ. He came. Paul then mentions that God continued to speak to his prophets, as the apostles were also prophets."

    Wrong, this is another reason the LDS are taught not to look at modern translations,paraphrases and very few Mormons study Biblical Greek,lower criticism,is very rare.
    "Until John the Baptist began to preach, the laws of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides, but John introduced the Good news(Luke 16:16 L.B. )
    Order of Church government, And God hath set some in the church, First Apostles,Secondarily Prophets (1 Cor 12:28 KJV). LDS Church order is wrong.
    But now in these days he has spoken to us through His Son(Hebrew 1:2 L.B.)
    "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession Christ Jesus."(Hebrews 3:1 KJV ) One of Jesus many titles he is the last prophet.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Dec. 1, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    cmtam: Neither of the scriptures you reference indicate that there would not be anymore prophets. Matthew testified that all prophets up to John the Baptist prophesied of Christ. He came. Paul then mentions that God continued to speak to his prophets, as the apostles were also prophets. Christ will come again and no doubt there is much to prepare for this event. There is nothing the Lord will do save he reveals it to his prophets first.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Dec. 1, 2010 9:10 a.m.

    Re;? "The Bible warns of false prophets, but nowhere does it say there would be no more prophets called of God as there had been prophets of God in days of old. "And,Amos 3:7 says that there is nothing the Lord will do except he reveals it to his prophets".

    "For all the prophets an the law(Moses) prophesied until John(the Baptist).( Mt 11:13)
    "God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last day(latter days) spoken unto us by His Son"(Hebrews 1:1,2)

  • sb Fort Knox, KY
    Dec. 1, 2010 5:53 a.m.

    If any of us today were living in the days of Christ or in the days of the prophets of old, would we believe them to be who they said they were and are? Would we have believed the Savior to be the Messiah? So, it is in our day. Will we believe those whom the Lord sends?

    Amos 3:7 says that there is nothing the Lord will do except he reveals it to his prophets. Only makes sense with so much yet to happen that the Lord would have prophets in our day.

    If journalists want to cover stories about this church, then cover polygamy if it's pertains to the story. Otherwise, there is so much more to learn about the church in order to understand the hearts and minds of its members. Having an understanding of what is in the Book of Mormon is a good place to start. (End)

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    Dec. 1, 2010 5:46 a.m.

    Paraphrasing D&C 132:37-39, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and many other servants of the Lord received many wives and concubines as they had been commanded and did not sin except in those things they received not by the Lord. David's wives and concubines were given him by the Lord, by the hand of Nathan the prophet. He did not sin save in the case of Uriah and his wife.

    In Jacob 2:27 these were command to only have one wife and no concubines. Yet, in Jacob 2:30 the Lord says that if he will raise up seed, he will command it. Otherwise they were to obey these things.

    The question for many in regard to the church, polygamy, the Book of Mormon, and anything else regarding the principles, doctrines, and practices of the church is whether or not Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and the prophet today is he a prophet of God?

    The Bible warns of false prophets, but nowhere does it say there would be no more prophets called of God as there had been prophets of God in days of old. (Continued)

  • donn layton, Ut
    Nov. 30, 2010 6:23 p.m.


    Joseph Smith had several wives, Brigham Young is said to have had 26 wives.
    Actually Joseph Smith had at least 40 probaly several more. Brigham Young had more than 55 wives. The FLDS prophet Jeffs had only 22 wives.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 30, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    To Sharrona: I'm a bit surprised with your answer. Thank you. I'm not ashamed of the practice of Pologamy nor should any member of the Church be. It was practiced, that is a fact. Joseph Smith had several wives, Brigham Young is said to have had 26 wives. These are facts that stand out there. If you read the Old Testament you will find that the sons of Jacob did not all come from the same mother. If I remember correctly they came from three different mothers. Each would hold a significant spot as they would become the heads of the ten tribes of Israel. Jacob's name would be changed to Israel. This is all made very clear in the Bible. So yes pologamy was authorized by the Lord because he never condemned Jacob, his father Isaac, his father Abraham or Moses for having a pluarality of wives.

    See my above posts as to why David and Solomon was condemned. When pologamy is not authorized we are expected to be married to one woman or one man depending on our gender. These are enforced today by the LDS Church. We do not practice pologamy for the living.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Nov. 30, 2010 8:54 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: is honest about polygamy and follows the Prophets. "The grand reason of the public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based upon polygamy, according to the testimony of the philosophers who rose in that age, A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers. We might almost think they "were Mormons." Jedediah M. Grant (JoD v.1 p.346) one of many Mormon authorities on Jesus being married.
    After polygamy was announced as official Mormon doctrine. Mormons tried to find ways to make Jesus a polygamist and a prototype of Mormon males. But false, in the first hundred years after the death of Jesus several Christians and anti-Christians writers wrote of him, but none even hinted of him having a wife.
    These posts raises some logical questions. Are Mormons willing to be truthful about polygamy? That is an essential part of the Mormon religion(LDS,FLDS,not RLDS) and that Romney should be honest and upfront, as other Mormons are.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 29, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    To cmtam: You really fail to understand that pologamy was authorized by the Lord. When it is not it is an abomination. He authorized Abraham, Moses, Isaac, David and Solomon besides many others to have multiple wives. He has suspended the practice in this dispensation. If tomorrow President Monson was to say it is authorized again then it would be approved. It is up to the Lord. The Book of Mormon says basically that it is an abomination as long as it is not allowed by the Lord.

    I know the proper teaching of Pologamy. Only 5% of the LDS men ever practiced it. You had to be called by to even practice it. Pologamy is authorized when the Lord so authorizes it as he did with Joseph Smith. Nothing you say will ever change that.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Nov. 29, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska said,"but in no way did he condemn Abraham, Moses or Isaac. Why, because they stayed within the law and commandments of God."
    "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away"(Deuteronomy 17:17)

    "Jacob is talking ONLY to the Nephite nation",
    "Behold, the Lamanites your brethren whom you ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins,are more righteous than you; they have not forgotten the Commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father-that they should have save it were One wife,and concubines they should have none, and there should,and there should not be wholesome committed among them. (Jacob 3:5)

    Inasmuch as the church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; We declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman,but one husband, except in the case of death.(D&C 101:4, 1835 edition p. 251) Dec 16, 1833,now edited as others were? It agrees with (Jacob 3:5),

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 29, 2010 5:43 p.m.

    To cmtam: To make a point perfectly clear, Jacob is talking ONLY to the Nephite nation.

    Secondly, Solomon married several women outside of the faith which was forbidden by the Hebrew Law. Those he married that were Hebrew were not an abomination before him. David had only one wife that the Lord did not give to him and that is the one that has cost him his celestial glory. All of the others if you care to read you will find that the Lord gave to him. Just as Abraham was given a wife who bore him a son outside of his first wife.

    Jacob condemns plural marriage where it is outside what the Lord has authorized. To try and excuse David or Solomon by saying they didn't have the scriptures is false teaching. They knew very well what was authorized and what was not. Moses had more than one wife as did Abraham but notice that Jacob didn't condemn either of them. The condemned David and Solomon but in no way did he condemn Abraham, Moses or Isaac. Why, because they stayed within the law and commandments of God.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Nov. 29, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    Even without all of the religious persecution received by the LDS church because of polygamy, it would have been abandoned anyway. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that with the exception of raising up a righteous seed, polygamy should not be practiced. Since the "righteous seed" had been raised up, the practice would have ceased very soon anyway.

  • cmtam lake forest, ca
    Nov. 29, 2010 12:57 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska said,
    "Polygamy was practiced in the Old Testament. Abraham, David and Solomon all were allowed to by the Lord." The BofM,
    Polygamy should not be practiced ,"Behold,David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubine,which thing was abominable before me saith the Lord. "Wherefore my brethren,hear me, an hearken to the word of the Lord; For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none." (Jacob 2:24,27)

    (Jesus)"And said, for this shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain(two) shall be one flesh." (Mt 19:5)

    "and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of One wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (Titus 1:5,6) Paul after Pentecost, the O.T. saints did not have the permanent gift of the Holy Spirit or always written Scripture.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 29, 2010 12:09 p.m.

    Ti Clifton: Your Civil War history is flawed. First off South Carolina shot the first shots of the war. There was no invasion at all. Secondly, slavery was just a small portion is correct as most of it dealt with States Rights which slavery was one aspect of. Third, South Carolina and several other states left the Union as soon as President Lincoln was elected.

    Slavery was not abolished until 1863 and after the Battle of Gettysburg. The first battle of Bull Run was after the shots by South Carolina so to say anything contrary to that is incorrect history.

    Pologamy has not been practiced by the LDS Church for over 150 years but still stands as an eternal principle. Secondly, a wife can be sealed to more than one husband as my mother will be once the other men have passed on. It will then be up to her to determine who she wishes to live with in the eternal aspect. Yes, Joseph Smith had multiple wives but we also know that he did not cusumate every one of those marriages. Pologamy was practiced in the Old Testament. Abraham, David and Solomon all were allowed to by the Lord.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Nov. 29, 2010 11:38 a.m.


    "Slavery had nothing to do with the War."

    Then why did the Constitution of the Confederate States specifically and explicitly authorize it? Read it.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Nov. 29, 2010 11:27 a.m.


    Whether or not Mormons will one day practice polygamy really has little if any bearing on presidential politics. Do you really think that a President, any President, has the power under the Constitution to unilaterally override the laws of 50 states and overturn Supreme Court rulings which nearly pounded the LDS Church to oblivion in the 1800's to bring back polygamy? Moreover, do you really think that even if a Mormon President were to propose a bill to decriminalize polygamy that the Congress would pass it?

    Even if we assume that polygamy really will be instituted at the beginning of the millenium, what difference does that make now? Last I checked, the Millenium isn't here yet.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Nov. 29, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    "...reporters need to stop finding excuses to write about the history of polygamy in the LDS Church without good reason. It can be compared to reporters writing about a particular organization today while describing its beliefs of a century ago"

    Any reformation in social focus on Mormonism needs to begin with the Mormon Church. As exemplified in this quote, Mormons today are very schizophrenic about their current position on Polygamy. In some instances it was a "practice", in others a discontinued "belief", or as elsewhere stated in this article an "abstract" idea or "obscurity in Mormon doctrine". Apparently the Mormon Church has yet to come to terms with polygamy, so why would anyone expect the Journalists of the world to suddenly get it. Their job is to uncover issues to tell a story - but this article like so many others says "hey, don't look over there, that's not the story we want to tell. Come document our good side". It's an absurd request.

    Lastly, it is quite disappointing for a Church that was founded on revelation to hold so many "obscurities of doctrine" on issues that are (section 132) so central to the founding belief system.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, Texas
    Nov. 29, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    You wrote in part "For example, the Democratic Party, the champion of the Civil Rights movement, was filled with strident racists 100 years ago, and its historic embrace of slavery can be said to be responsible, in part, for the Civil War."

    Slavery had nothing to do with the War.

    The War began when Abraham Lincoln invaded the seceded States. The secession was triggered by dissatisfaction with an overweening, unresponsive central government -- the same cause that triggered the secession of the original thirteen States from Britain in 1776, the secession of Mexico from the Spanish Empire in 1818, and the secession of Texas from Mexico in 1836.

    If the seceded States were concerned that they would lose slavery, they had only to re-enter the Union and ratify the Corwin Amendment, which stated: "No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."

    The author reasoned from inaccurate information, just as many of our detractors do.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    Nov. 29, 2010 9:33 a.m.

    RE: Idaho coug,Good point polgamy is problematic, because Polygamy is essential to the Mormon religion. Brigham Young was asked,"Do you think we shall ever be admitted as a state in the union without denying the principle of polygamy? If we are not admitted until then. We shall never be admitted."(JoD).

    The future,"Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium".(Mormon Doctrine p 578.)

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Nov. 29, 2010 7:59 a.m.

    Very good article. However, I think we need to be prepared that your invitation for jounalists to "dig deep" may not always lead to the type of conclusions we would hope.

    For example, you ask that polygamy be minimized as it has not been practiced for roughly a hundred years. What happens when the jounalist who digs deep learns that we actually do allow men to be sealed to multiple wives in the case of death or divorce while allowing women to be sealed to only one man at a time in this life? That practice may paint a bit of a different picture at least regarding the doctrine of plural marriage than we may have hoped.

    You ask that they read the BofM to really understand it. Not all will take away the same message we tend to as members. As journalists they will explore various resources that lead to numerous historical questions. The story may not be what we hoped.

    We should encourage jounalists to "dig deep" into the LIVES of Mormons. They will find abundant service, charity and clean living. But an invitation to dig deep into our doctrine may prove problematic.