Why is the Mormon Church revealing so much about its polygamist history NOW?
What is it they're trying to deflect?? Even the Obama Admin doesn't
voluntarily produce evidence of anything- not about the VA, IRS, Benghazi,
ObamaCare, Illegal Immigration, Russia, Afghanistan etc. Nothing. I know that
the Family: a Proclamation to the World was produced in response to
Hawaii's fight against Gay Marriage. What is the Church trying to confront
and deflect now? This "History" is truly disturbing. We were taught in
Primary that Smith and his friends only married singles and widows to protect
and replenish the church from within. We weren't taught he married 14 yr
olds and MARRIED women. Plus, there weren't any/ many children born of the
plural marriages. NONE of it Makes ANY Sense. Were there abortions performed,
especially on the 14 yr olds to hide his lasciviousness? What was the TRUE
reason for Plural Marriage? Something smells really fishy.
Sharrona, Third, Bennett, in his book The History of the Saints written
published in October 1842, fails to identify any teachings similar to those
privately taught at that time by Joseph Smith or any teaching like those in the
revelation on celestial and plural marriage (now D&C 132).
Sharrona, Research shows that individuals much closer to Joseph Smith than John
C. Bennett did not learn about plural marriage until almost a year after Bennett
left Nauvoo. By his own recollection, William Law, second counselor in the First
Presidency, was introduced to the secret polygamy teachings in mid-1843. Sidney
Rigdon, first counselor in the First Presidency, never learned about plural
marriage from the Prophet. Hyrum Smith, Joseph’s brother, ]Associate
Church President, and Church Patriarch, didn’t learn about celestial
marriage until May 1843. Similarly, Emma Smith was taught in the
spring of 1843. If William Law, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and even Emma Smith
didn’t know about plural marriage until 1843, then it is unlikely that
Bennett knew about it either.Second, Bennett admitted in an October
1843 letter that he did not learn about eternal marriage the entire time he was
in Nauvoo. (John C. Bennett, “Letter from General Bennett,” dated
October 28, 1843, Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa, December 7, 1843), 1.)This is an important statement from Bennett himself. Bennett didn’t
know about plural marriage the entire time he was in Nauvoo.
jtopherj-Regarding the LDS Church and race, Elder Delbert
Stapley's letter to George Romney was clearly written as personal - not
Church - advice to Romney. Romney promptly did just the opposite of what Elder
Stapley advised him to do - he actively supported civil rights legislation.At least some members of the Twelve Apostles were personally in favor of
a change on extending the priesthood to Blacks, beginning at least as early as
the early 1950's. Several of the Twelve appear to have been personally in
favor of a change at the time of Elder Stapley's letter. A majority of the
Twelve may have favored a change sometime in the late sixties. But it was not
unanimous until President Kimball presented it in 1978.When the
revelation on the Priesthood came in 1978, Elder Stapley was hospitalized and
dying. He may have been the last to hold a contrary view - but even he supported
the change. And by the way, though we may now disagree with his
stand on that issue in the letter to Romney, Elder Stapley was - in every other
respect - a great man.
Back in this historic time, the average age for women at FIRST marriage could
not possibly have been 21. None of my ancestors in that era were Mormons -
quite to the contrary - some of them helped drive the Mormons from Illinois and
Missouri.Most of my many great-grandmothers from that period were closer
to 14 than to 21 when they first married.And, by the way, Nauvoo was
still "frontier" when the Saints left. It was in the Military Tract of
Western Illinois which only started being settled a decade before the Saints
arrived. Prior to the Black Hawk War of 1832 it was subject to Indian
attack....and a very unsafe place.
I can't wait for the article they post about Joseph Smith's 14
People can say what they want and we will never agree about the morality of
marrying young girls, etc.But the fact remains is that Joseph and
Emma were less than forthcoming about his polygamy and polyandry, and the
Church has covered up or whitewashed (or use whatever term you like) the facts
for the past 100 years or so. People like me, who has been taught this fantasy
account of Joseph and Emma in church for my whole life are angry about it. This
website, by cleverly beginning the discussion after Joseph's death, is just
more of the same.
MikhailIf god was the designer of the revelation then he
wouldn't have put it in there that you can't take another mans wife to
be yours... surely god would have understood the norms of the day, and would
have mad that more clear. You can't say one thing is revelation, then have
people break it and use the excuse of "the norm of the time"It doesn't add up. Same thing as the word of wisdom - the revelation was
given but they didn't follow it in the early years of the church because it
was tradition to drink...
@BrahmabullAt the time of Parley P. Pratt, it was the estranged wife
of Hector McLean, the estranged husband of one of Pratt's plural wives,
Eleanor McLean. During the mid to late 1800's, women and men didn't
run to court to dissolve their marriage - as is more common today. This is
especially true of situations where the estranged wife and the estranged husband
resided in different states. The use of Parley P. Pratt as illustrative of
thoughts concerning plural marriage is not invalidated because Parley P. Pratt
married a woman who contended that she was no longer married - especially given
the legal standing of marriage as it existed in the 19th century. One of the
difficulties that we find ourselves in today is trying to compare things as they
are to things as they were. I believe it is likely that God understands since
He is the designer of the plan which is meant to provide the optimum experience
for each of His children to grow in understanding through the experiences
provided to them in the condition of things "as they are" for each of
I find the argument some posters are advancing that what's right and wrong
changes over time " and none of us has the right to project our morals over
other generation" to be repugnant. I think things like slavery and marrying
another man's wife behind his back have been and will always be wrong. One thing is sure however… we will never agree with each other on
these points. What I think we can agree on however is that it is wrong to
whitewash the past or try to conceal it. For example a BYU professor wrote an
article for this paper the other day and referred to Joseph Smith as having a
wife (singular). Written church materials have long "overlooked" Joseph
Smith's polygamy and polyandry. The very posting to the website we are
discussing on this board can be considered a "whitewash" in that it
starts the discussion on polygamy after Joseph Smith's death (thereby
avoiding polyandry and other things that went on).Perhaps we can all
just agree that lightness (openness) is better than darkness and leave it at
@John Pack Lambert of Michigan"A deceased woman can be sealed to
multiple spouses in the temple."Now you have my wife's
attention, but cite the authority for your assertion please.Regarding Kathryn Daynes work and the "lost boys" syndrome, she is not
a mathematician and the syndrome does exist. Math is math and if a bunch of men
marry more than one woman in a community with more males than females, there
will not be enough females for all males to marry.
will7370You are aware that Parley P. Pratt was murdered... He was
killed because he took the legally married wife of another man and was sealed to
her... This practice was forbidden strictly in the doctrine and covenants. Not a
good example to use Parley P. Pratt.
@Llew 40I am sorry that the dating pool sucks for you. As a male, I
thought the dating pool sucked too. But of course then I think of the "lost
boys" of the FLDS Church and their dating pool. Polygamy has denied most of
them the chance of ever being able to marry a "sister" because they have
all been snatched up by the powerful old men of their community.
@Llew40,While I sympathize with you and other single members of the
church, being unmarried is no different from other adversities. Marriage is not
everything. We tend to turn it into an idol in the LDS culture. Obtaining an
education can also be fulfilling. Many married members of the church still face
untold hardships and trials. Being childless sucks. Being poor sucks. Being sick
sucks, losing loved ones suck. The list goes on. We'll never know how God
will compensate, but these adversities should not lead to a change in God's
word. I can't imagine married couples who can't give birth being given
a 'revelation' to start sleeping with other married couples to
increase the possibility of conception so as to deal with their childlessness.
That's just not how it works. So I find it difficult and ridiculous that
polygamy could have been given to take care of unmarried members. Never mind
that some records claim that the early church leaders married already married
women. Okay, this is my last post on this topic. Before I leave, I
want to assure all unmarried people that God is aware of you, all will be well.
As a mid-single female member of the church, the dating pool sucks. As many
sixteen year old girls are discovering...the dating pool sucks. Hence, the Lord
lowers the mission age for girls. Living the unexpected life isn't easy. It
sucks to be alone, yet I'm supposed to find comfort that I'll get my
cake in the next life while everyone else flaunts theirs. Remember, there was no
Nauvoo Single Adult First Ward in Joseph Smith's day and young men
didn't require a sword wielding angel to compel him to date, court and
marry a virtuous young lady, or even several. It is with great anticipation I
eagerly await how God plans to counteract all the return sister missionaries,
obtaining bachelor degrees, living the celibate life asking, "Is this
@theidma: It's obvious you haven't read much Church History. You
sound more like a fundamentalist born-again Christian than a Mormon. The reality
is that Joseph Smith began polygamy in the late 1830's and definitely in
the 1840's. The revelation was obviously from the early 1830's.
Thousands of saints accepted these teachings and practiced polygamy, believing
that it was God's Celestial Law. As far as my testimony goes, I accept
former day prophets and Latter-Day prophets as my guide, as we are instructed to
do. I also accept Jesus Christ's teachings. As far as the scriptures say,
Abraham and many other Old Testament prophets had plural wives, as did Jews in
the New Testament Church. Again, you are choosing which scriptures to accept
and which to reject. Just because Jesus said nothing about plural marriage does
not discard it as a principle of the gospel. BTW, the whole revelation (D&C
132) refers to plural marriage, not just the verses you refer to, although
Church authorities conveniently changed the emphasis of those verses in light of
Govermental pressure to end the practice.
People should stop attacking the statements on the website on unfounded
mathematical models and go look at the sources. Kathryn Daynes has done very
extensive studies, has found that in fact it is true that in Mormon communities
in Utah there was a very, very high marriage rate and no evidence that anyone
who wanted to get married did not get married. How this works is a bit harder to
explain, but growing populations are a key.
@JoeBlowGood point. Many of us we believe Joseph Smith
was a Prophet of God and that God revealed it and commanded it. Others
don't believe that. If it is that simple, and I think it is, then the
argument or discussion is over, isn't it?If you don't
think the discussion is over, it will eventually end in each side calling the
other side "stupid" or "ignorant" or "can't think for
themselves" or whatever. As you know, those kinds of attitudes eventually
lead to hatred and frustration.For those that think JS made it up,
then that is your (their) opinion. For those that think God commanded it, then
that is my (our) opinion. None of us were there. A lot of hatred developed
against the Mormons and mad, hateful, evil people usually lie. Times were hard
and difficult for those in and out of the faith, and none of us have the right
to project our morals onto any other generation. My Catholic grandmother married
when at 12 and lied about it. No doubt had parental consent and that was in
1900, last century, and married a working man significantly older and all in
A deceased woman can be sealed to multiple spouses in the temple.
Why is a man marrying a 14-year-old girl wrong? I have to question this
assumption, because it makes the actions of many of my non-polygamous ancestors
wrong by definition. The fact of the matter is marriage customs and rightness is
tied to complex issues of society. Many people need to avoid such
black and white thinking. What is wrong is the manipulation of 14-year-old
females into sex by adult males who plan to use them and abandon them. Starting
a truly committed and life-long marriage is a totally different issue.
Nauvoo was the frontier, as well as Utah. Those who attempt to apply
21st-century sensibilities about age at marriage to 19th-century arrangements
are engaged in a horrible type of presentism that should be outrageous. In the case of Joseph Smith especially they are also engaged in another
type of 21st-century assumption. They are assuming plural marriage will always
lead to sex, an assumption that is not supported by evidence. Thomas G.
Alexander has argued based on his study of Wilford Woodruff that consummation of
marriage normally waited until the spouse reached the age of 18.I
would caution against the blythe assertion that Emily H. Wells Grant could have
divorced Heber J. Grant. Such was not a realistic option for either if they
wanted to remain in line with the covenants they had made with God. While the amount of love that existed in plural marriages varied, to discuss
Grant without considering the clear levels of love that existed between him and
each of his wives is to miss many important points.
The attack on Heber J. Grant for having been fined in 1899 misses the point.
Wilford Woodruff clearly never called on anyone who was in plural marriage in
1890 to stop it. Those men had made solemn covenants before God to keep their
wives. Heber J. Grant entered into all his marriages before 1890.
The ethnic integration from plural marriage did not just relate to immigrants.
Intermarriage with Native Americans was much higher as a result of plural
marriage, as we can see in the case of Ira Hatch.
The wave length of some in here is like, you become more perfect in practicing
Polygamy or in doing it you will gain salvation etc.I strongly
disagree.Salvation terms are on an individual basis, I could qualify
and then my wife might not.Marriage and plural marriage are items to
responsible commandments, not meaning anything about your personal salvation,
but it is like a task force that provides a broader scope for children at
certain times of history.You are saved by means of the Atonement,
not by the number of wives you have.Being married in Polygamy, a man is
still married to one wife only, it is the wife that is put up to the business to
oversee other women to receive such blessings.Plural Marriage is the
term being used, but the reality is that this man will be accountable to only
one wife. Emma Smith might have never understood that during her lifetime. So
the word Polygamy does not fit the religious intention. A word is missing.Sorry.
@theidmaJesus Christ did not teach marriage is between one man and
one woman nor did he teach during his mortal ministry that marriage can be
between one man and multiple wives. However, He did teach plural wives to Moses
and polygamy was the norm of the Hebrew/Jewish culture at the time of Jesus.
Even Roman Law had provisions for Jewish polygamy. I have yet to reconcile the
marriage customs involving 10 virgins, though, but think it is a rather
interesting parable using 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom.IMHO, I believe Joseph Smith was commanded to teach the Saints about plural
marriage since 1831 but resisted and the Lord admonished him many times. I
don't have proof of this but that is just the feeling I get from my limited
knowledge of Church history.
It is reminiscent of Jones Town.
"God commands what He commands. Period.If God commands a man to have
more than one wife, He commands it, then how is that immoral?"That would be hard to argue with. But.... The question that I,
and it would appear that many others also have, is "Did God command
it?"Or did Mr Smith put that idea forth in order to justify a
desire to "know" other women.Did God also command that Mr
Smith marry other married women?When one looks at the whole picture,
it becomes much less "believable"
IF, in the end, there are in fact more women than men that are judged worthy of
living with God and Christ (and I suspect there will be, based on simple
observations of what sex causes the most trouble in this tormented world), since
marraige, in it's ideal form, is an eternal principle, what would be more
selfish?....excluding women (whose husbands did not qualify themselves for the
Savior's Atonement) from the most intimate and intense relationship
possible for all eternity (and I'm talking about the marriage relationship,
not "sex") or graciously allowing the women whose (ex)-husbands are not
in God's presence to enter into the relationship of marriage?If, repeat "if" there are in fact more women than men in heaven (or
even if there are more men than women in heaven...possible, but not likely) the
question of polygamy as an eternal arrangement is not about "sex" but
about "selfishness" and it's opposite: love.Again, this
is an "if" supposition, not doctrine that is being stated. As for me, I
have enough weaknesses to overcome just being married to one wife, let alone two
I've never understood all the gnashing of teeth over polygamy.God commands what He commands. Period. If God commands a man to
have more than one wife, He commands it, then how is that immoral?And, yes, that means if God were to tell a man that his wife needs to marry
another husband ('reverse' polygamy, whatever the word for it
is....polyandry?) then that should be immediately done as well. (And, yes, as my
posting name implies I am a male.)Just who directs whom?....does man
tell God what to do or does God tell man what to do?Abraham and
David practiced polygamy in the Old Testament, as sanctioned by God. Does any
serious Christian really believe that 'nothing' in the Old Testament
is of any value or relevance? Were 'all' things done away with the New
Testament? Really? Seems to me that Jesus said absolutely nothing about
abolishing the Ten Commandments.Quit getting hung up on the physical
intimacy of the relationship and instead simply focus on doing some honest
research, which definitely includes prayer to the one who knows all things (God)
with the only question of importance: did God command it or not?
Serious question. Was the LDS church for plural marriages before they were
against plural marriages?
@dski "Church doctrines and policy aside, once the Courts dismantle marriage
laws, its open season for polygamy whether we like it or not."That has been my fear with the slippery slope of same-sex marriage. If there is no government contract for marriage that can be held up in court,
then there is no more legal divorce. Partners can practice infidelity and steal
joint financial accounts from their spouses and children without any legal
recourse. In other words, the problems with co-habitation without a legal
marriage will become the problems of all traditional families too.
Wastintime said in response to @1.96Who said (Joseph Smith)he
wasn't (a prophet)? I'm not sure what you're trying to say above.
Are you trying to say he was infallible, that he never did anything wrong? Your
statement makes absolutely no sense to me.Agreed! People have
different interpretations of what a prophet is? In my reading of the bible there
is no such thing as an infallible prophet except Christ. Look again at Adam,
Noah, Moses, Peter,and even Abraham. They each had a lesson to learn as they
bumbled around their own questions.
OldCoug1. RE: Jacob 2:30."For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts,
raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken
unto these things."God allowed polygamy because there was an
overabundance of women in the LDS Church, making it necessary for men to take on
more than one wife."The U. S. census records from 1850 to 1940,
and all available Church records, show a preponderance of males in Utah, and in
the Church. The excess in Utah has usually been larger than for the whole United
States, as would be expected in a pioneer state. The births within the Church
obey the usual population law -- a slight excess of males. Orson Pratt, writing
in 1853 from direct knowledge of Utah conditions, when the excess of females was
supposedly the highest, declares against the opinion that females outnumbered
the males in Utah. (The Seer, p. 110)". (1 Cor 6:9 NET )Do you
not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, *adulterers, passive homosexual
partners, practicing homosexuals.
@ OldCoug1:Obviously, your testimony is in latter day prophets. My
testimony is based on JESUS CHRIST, the only infallible being. The only perfect
person that ever walked upon the surface of the earth. When it comes to ANY
OTHER PERSON, I have to think and let the Holy Spirit guide. I was born and
raised in the LDS church, not knowing about the Prophet Joseph Smith's
other wives. I was only taught about Emma Smith, until I grew up and started to
research for myself. While I know that Joseph Smith was called of God, and the
restored gospel is true, I also know that later in Joseph's life, he had
political and other ambitions that influenced his actions. When I read D&C
132:41-66, it does not feel like a revelation from God, but a rationalization
for his actions. This section would be akin to King David 'receiving a
revelation' that having a man murdered for his wife is okay,after his
affair with Bathsheba. If polygamy is the order in heaven, JESUS would have
taught it or there would be some implied reference to it(in the New Testament or
the Book of Mormon.)
RE: OldCoug1, Are all of those people damned because of their belief? (1 Cor 6:9 NET )Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters,
*adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals.God
allowed polygamy because there was an overabundance of women in the LDS Church,
making it necessary for men to take on more than one wife? "The
U. S. census records from 1850 to 1940, and all available Church records, show a
preponderance of males in Utah, and in the Church. The excess in Utah has
usually been larger than for the whole United States, as would be expected in a
pioneer state. The births within the Church obey the usual population law -- a
slight excess of males. Orson Pratt, writing in 1853 from direct knowledge of
Utah conditions, when the excess of females was supposedly the highest, declares
against the opinion that females outnumbered the males in Utah. (The Seer, p.
110)"."18 of Joseph's wives had never been married ,. 4
were widows…However, the remaining 11 women were married to other husbands
and cohabitating with them when Smith married them. (In Sacred Loneliness,
@dustmanI understand that the Church is trying to provide a resource
for folks who have questions about, or want to gather objective information on,
these issues but agree that on some level they can be read to be a bit
defensive. Many of the posts on this thread are even more defensive, trying to
spin God's will in a way that won't offend anyone's
sensibilities.I applaud the resources but note that the futility of
those posts is clear. The scripture are full on instances where God's
actions are going to offend the sensibilities of folks who whose "eyes
cannot see afar off."The flood in Noah's time comes to
mind. How many children perished in that flood. Those of other Christian
denominations who point to topics covered in the recently published articles and
say those practices could not have come from a just God and are unjustifiable
because they offend their sensibilities would likely have difficulty explaining
the divine causation of the flood using those same sensibilities. Those with an understanding of the depth and breadth of God's plan have
the tools to understand both.
This new posting on Polygamy is much less forthcoming than the Race & the
Priesthood posting. Questions I have are: 1. How can we square
Joseph’s practice of Polyandry? I’ve still never seen a compelling
argument for why God would command Joseph to practice this. 2. Why did
Joseph feel like a commandment to practice Polygamy was so urgent that he needed
to practice this behind Emma’s back?3. The history around the
Manifesto has a lot of complexity. The Apostles and Prophet believed that the
New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage and Plural Marriage were one and the
same thing. The Manifesto was just a public statement to get the Feds to stop
persecuting the saints. When did the doctrine of the Plural Marriage change to
no longer be required for exultation? There are so many quality resources
for LDS members who want to learn more about these and other important
questions. FAIR MORMON is where I started searching, and then just using the
footnotes to go to other sources. LDS church historians have written many books
on the history involved. I’m still working on the conclusions that I need
to draw from these complicated issues.
I think all this article points out are the joys of plural marriage. I was
expecting more from the church. I'm a little disappointed that the church
feels it has to be defensive about revelation. If its true, its true. It will
speak for itself.
It really was not uncommon in Joseph Smith's day for girls to get married
young. If you are familiar with literature of this era you would be aware of
this. As repulsive as it is to us in our time, It was not strange for teenage
girls to marry much older men. For example, look up EDEN Southworth's book
The Hidden Hand (1850).About it being an "eternal principle"
for girls to not get married at this age is imposing our current belief system
on God. The times in which we live now are much different than the history of
this world has seen. We are as much a product of our time as Joseph Smith or
Brigham Young were, and our thinking and behavior follow. God is
not a product of any time and is not bound by our social norms, however, He
understands them and being a good parent God works with His children - where
they are. God does not change anymore than we who are parents do while dealing
with our children in the specific ways they need. As much as we try
to make it so, God's ways really are not our ways.
@bj-hp --" early teens as that is the best time for child
bearing."No it isn't.Infant death:mothers 15 or younger -- 8.1 infant deaths per 1000 live births16-17 --
6.3/100018-19 -- 5.4/1000Another study found that infant
mortality was more than 50% higher in teen mothers than in older mothers. Preemie babies:under 20 -- 14.5% preemies20-29 --
11.9%Low birth weight babies:under age 15 -- 11.7%15-19 -- 10%19 -- 9.5%Babies dying in the first year of
life:under age 15 -- 16.4/1000all ages averaged -- 6.8/1000One huge study of nearly 200,000 children in more than 50 countries
found that children had the best health outcomes when they were born to mothers
who were having their **first** child at 27-29.The reason for
marrying off young girls is very simple: as soon as a girl has passed puberty,
she can get pregnant. So if a man wants to absolutely guarantee that all of her
children belong to him, he must grab control of her as young as he can.It's all about control and paternity. It has nothing at all to do with
the "best" age to give birth.
@theidma: You can't pick and choose what scriptures you want to accept.
Well, I guess you can, but it leaves open to question your testimony of the
gospel. D&C 131 and 132 are canonized scriptures. They didn't
"come up with them" later. It's a matter of history. I think there
is Polygamy in Heaven because of what prophets have revealed about these things.
Why do you think that men can be sealed to more than one wife if a man is
widowed and marrys another in the Temple? Which wife would he have in the
eternities? Men can be married to more to one wife as far as the eternities are
concerned, they just can't live with them here since it is against the
Church. Approximately 30% of the Church members practiced polygamy during the
time when the Church practiced polygamy. Are all of those people damned because
of their belief? What happens to those wives who were faithful and were sealed
to one husband? I submit to you that those men will have those wives in the
Those who approach these issues understanding "all are alike" unto God
to mean that mortality needs to be an "equal" experience for everyone is
bound to be confused and frustrated.Everyone's mortal existence
is unique and billions have and will go through mortality without any knowledge
of, much less a connection to, Christianity.God's plan is
comprehensive enough to address everyone's mortality in the context of
their immortality.For those of us who have been introduced to that
plan, I respectfully suggest that insight into gospel and other issues can be
gained by pondering one question from the scriptures "what lack I yet?"
and one declaration "that the glory of God might be made manifest."
marxist posted: I have been under the impression that "the new and
everlasting covenant" is plural marriage. Am I mistaken?===================Yes. You are mistaken. It is "A" marriage
authoritatively sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise for eternity. D&C 132:7 defines what "the new and everlasting covenant" is.
The parameters surrounding Plural marriage were simply covered later in that
"I fail to see why plural marriage is a subject for discussion.The
Lord said to practice it, so we practiced it.The Lord said to stop
practicing it, so we stopped practicing it.End of subject."Some things that don't pass the "smell test" should be
questioned.Throughout history, people have been mislead in the name
of religion.And they believed wholeheartedly. 911 ring any bells?I do not know if that is the case concerning polygamy or not. But it
should be questioned.
@bj-hp --" early teens as that is the best time for child
bearing."No it isn't.According to one study:mothers 15 or younger -- 8.1 infant deaths per 1000 live births16-17 -- 6.3/100018-19 -- 5.4/1000Another study found that
infant mortality was more than 50% higher in teen mothers than in older mothers.
Facts from the March of Dimes:Teen mothers are more
likely to have preemie babies. under 20 -- 14.5% preemies20-29
-- 11.9%Teen mothers are also at higher risk for pregnancy
complications such as anemia and high blood pressure.Babies born to
teen mothers are more likely to have low birth weights:under age 15
-- 11.7%15-19 -- 10%19 -- 9.5%Babies of teen mothers are
more likely to die in the first year of life:under age 15 --
16.4/1000all ages averaged -- 6.8/1000The reason for marrying
off young girls is very simple: as soon as a girl has passed puberty, she can
get pregnant. So if a man wants to absolutely guarantee that all of her children
belong to him, he must grab control of her as young as he can.
Marriage itself is an eternal principle. Up until the 70s and later did it
become a crime to engage in marriage with someone under 16 years of age. We have
no idea as to age of Mary but it was common even then that marriage took place
as early as 14. In many countries of the world it is even encourage to marry
girls in their early teens as that is the best time for child bearing.In this country there are many cases even today where girls in their yearly
teens are still married. Though this appears backwards and immoral to others,
to some it is not. I consider it wrong in today's age but in the early
days of this country it was not considered wrong at all, in fact it was
encouraged. As the eastern United States became more sophisticated many things
that were once ok were then frowned upon. Even slavery which to many didn't
mean much became more and more frowned upon except where it was prevalent.
Society norms change over time but certain moral issues do not. You can't
say today's morals are correct and then allow homosexual activity as a
Helen Mar Kimball’s own account of Joseph’s marriage proposal to her
records Joseph making his pitch in these words: “If you will take this
step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your
father’s household & all of your kindred.”What 14
year old Helen didn’t know at the time was that the marriage had already
been agreed to by her father and the 37 year old married man whom she innocently
and trustingly looked up to as God’s Prophet. What would one expect her
answer to be?
@Standard Deviation,If covering your sholders to remain modest is
some kind of eternal principle that doesn't change with societal pressures,
shouldn't middle-aged men not marrying young teenage girls also be an
eternal principle? If you had a 14-year-old daughter and you found out she had
a serious boyfriend who was 37, would you be okay with it? Even if she promised
they weren't having relations? If it had come out that the current prophet
was having extra martial affairs and not obeying the Word of Wisdom would you
dismiss it because it's totally normal in our current society?
I fail to see why plural marriage is a subject for discussion.The
Lord said to practice it, so we practiced it.The Lord said to stop
practicing it, so we stopped practicing it.End of subject.
I was also thinking...people are human...daaa and being human we arent
perfect..and we are guided by perfection though through the Holy Spirit. If you
read history any kind of history...you will see all kinds of things..as I stated
earlier in the old testament..in the old testament its much like the book of
mormon..one war after another..then the new testament changes..more like
instruction...we learn gradually from our mistakes and others mistakes..God
allows us to suffer these things...He also tests us...as he did with Isaac and
Abraham. why would God ask us to do anything...He has His reasons. all we know
is we have to obey...and when you look at history..yes some things seem
contrived by men to serve their purpose..because we are weak..but be wary of
those who spread lies and rumors on heresay...because it can cause doubt....a
tool of the devil...pray before you speak.
scary....I wonder if the comment by the church is because of the show on TV
called "sister wives"...I watched that for awhile. I also saw the other
show that was shown while romney was trying the first time for the
presidency...my my how the devil gets his dig. Im not worried...when I read all
the things said on here..God does what He wants to do. Im reading the old
testament and off and on there are prophets and men in the bible who have more
than one wife and concubines etc. read it. So, I think God makes things as they
need to be for a certain time frame. it doesnt mean that those participating
will do it right. men are fallible. I am glad however being a jealous person not
to have lived then. but notice what I said..I would have to really work hard at
not being jealous. by the way the mormon church isnt the only church having
polygamy..I saw a show on tv were this other religion had wives..these women
were elderly and werent suffering. my husband says though..one woman is more
@will7370"Everyone who criticizes plural marriage has never received a
witness of the true spirit of the doctrine. "Or maybe
you're wrong and the doctrine was a fraud."Those who
participated were to have been men and women of a Celestial nature, rejecting
all selfish and carnal corruptions that the world tries to stain it
with."Corruptions? Like what? Justifying having sex with
multiple people and deeming it totally okay?
Everyone who criticizes plural marriage has never received a witness of the true
spirit of the doctrine. Those who participated were to have been men and women
of a Celestial nature, rejecting all selfish and carnal corruptions that the
world tries to stain it with. It goes hand in hand with the covenant to forget
oneself and sacrifice all things. It's unfortunate that many were unable
to live the higher law. Parley P. Pratt makes a wonderful defense of the
doctrine in his autobiography, and contrasts it with the world's corrupt
view of it. It is an exalting and true principle, and will one day be
re-instituted among men.
There have been multiple threads about the average age of marriage for women in
the early 19th century. The problem with that argument is that it isn't
about average. It's about normal. Was it socially acceptable
at that time for a 14 year old girl to marry? And how abnormal was it?If you look at the same data showing that 21 was the average, it shows that
today the average is closer to 25. However, that doesn't mean that it is
abnormal for a woman of 18 to marry today. In fact, in Utah many young women
still marry at 18 and 19 years of age. That might shock some, but it not
abnormal in the society they live.That means there is a variance of
7 years between the average and what is socially acceptable. Going
further, do young women get married at 17 today? Yes, rather unusual, and most
people would be concerned about the relationship, but few would get up on their
moral high horse about it.The same would be true about marriage at
14 in the early 19th century. A bit odd, but acceptable for the time.
RE: Joe Blow - You failed to mention the real "revelation" BIGGIE, which
was moving the church out of the United States in the trek west. There were
plenty of scriptures linking the church to the nation, but the Lord directed it
be otherwise for a period of time. That was a real test of faith.The church's existance wasn't in peril concerning the "Blacks
and the Priesthood." It would have continued no matter what. In the
1960's, the First Presidency issued a letter that foretold that the
revelation would someday come, and that they couldn't act until it was
received. The revelation came in 1978 because it was time for it to come. The church is led by Jesus Christ, who can see the end from the
beginning. All things will be revealed during the Millenium, but until then, we
have to endure this test of faith.
@ OldCoug1,I do not believe that those sections talking about
polygamy in the Doctrine and Covenants were revelations from God. I believe that
church leaders started the practice and then these sections were added to
explain away their conduct. The same way several church leaders came up with
'doctrinal support' for the Priesthood ban on Blacks, which has now
been shown to have been based on various leaders' personal opinions. And
why would you think there would be polygamy in heaven? I totally disagree with
that. I am so not sharing my husband with any other woman in this life or the
next. The New Testament settled this already, "one man, one wife!" Well,
you're entitled to your beliefs, as I am entitled to mine. So I respect
A majority of biblical scholars believe that Mary was only 14 or 15 when she was
married to a much older Joseph (30+).
It appears that the 12th article of faith wasn't operable between 18799 and
1890 when it cam to polygamy, just as it's not operable today re the
Church's position on illegal immigration.
Cats and others seem to argue that times were different so marrying children was
okay. So let's examine this idea of moral relativism to see where it takes
us. I can walk into a brothel in Nevada today. It is commonly done and it is
legal. But is it right? I could recite other appalling but legal practices by
many societies but I think we get the idea. Also I think it's already been
established that the average age women were getting married in America at the
time was approximately 21 years old.1.96 Standard Deviations argues
"Regardless, arguing about statistical methods won't prove anything.
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Plain and simple." I cannot be sure what
he/she means, but he seems to be saying that profits can do what they like or
they are infallible. We know of course that they are not infallible because
they have told us so. And although the church has sidestepped Joseph's
practice of polyandry (by confining the website discussion to Utah polygamy) I
don't think it can be justified by any scripture or other means. Any
The mores that sanction or condemn polygamy vary between cultures and times in
history. Moral judgments vary from one individual to another. Legally,
it’s against the law in the United States. Whether or not it’s
ordained of God cannot be proven for either 19th century Mormonism or for the
Israelites of Biblical times. To say that Joseph Smith was subject to common
human foibles is a basic tenet of Christian belief.
"It also shaped 19th-century Mormon society in other ways: marriage became
available to virtually all who desired it;"I'm kind of
surprised that no one has commented on the above statement from the website
because I believe it is not only false, but the opposite is actually true. I
will give a simple example here. Assume that there are 100 people in your town;
50 of them are male and 50 of them are female. If each man takes one spouse,
then marriage is available to virtually all who desire it. But if one man
marries 20 women, then marriage has become virtually unavailable to 19 other
men. Not only is this obvious, but we actually see this occurring today with
the "lost boys" of the FLDS Church. There were more men than women in
Utah, and there were way more men than women in the areas surrounding Utah. So
the existence of polygamy actually made marriage less available to many men.
And please don't tell me that the women in their 20's that Brigham
Young was marrying in his 60's had no other prospects!
I wouldn't exist if Polygamy never existed (well, in the family that I
have, since I believe in the pre-existence). So personally I'm grateful for
it. And as a single woman? Yeah, if I had the choice of who I wanted to marry
then I'd be all for polygamy if it were socially acceptable. Why? Ok, I
won't name all the reasons for the fear of sounding bitter and burnt from
the dating game.To be honest, I think that polygamy is hard for us to
swallow because of cultural reasons and because of a history of abuse to women.
But polygamy was practiced in different times and cultures--sometimes done
right, sometimes done wrong. It's wrong when women are seen as possessions,
but I think would be right if it was ordained by god and if women were seen as
beloved with something to offer to the family (the same goes for a two-person
marriage). Yeah, there would be the potential for psychological problems
(jealousy, etc.), but those same psychological problems arise from being single.
There are pros and cons to both sides. Yes, polygamy is abolished, but it
CatsDon't you think that a church led by god would be above the
standard of marrying girls that young? If Joseph was getting revelation,
wouldn't that have been one of them? "Stop marrying children" would
have probably been revealed by god long before "don't drink or
The age of consent in the early 19th century was only 10. In Delaware, it was
only 7. I find this hard to swallow but it is a fact. I believe it was because
children were seen as maturing earlier in those days due to the responsibilities
placed on them. I'm glad this isn't the case any more, but that it
how it was viewed at that time. In earlier times there wasn't really any
such thing as a child. Children were just considered small adults. The concept
of a childhood is definitely a more modern concept.Girls married
very young in those days and 14-16 was not considered young to marry at all.
Edgar Allan Poe's wife was 12 when he married her. Many married at 13.
Juliette of Romeo and Juliette fame was only 13. Nowadays we see this as way
too young (myself included) but it was very common historically.
@ theidma: I respectfully disagree. Joseph Smith received revelations as early
as 1831 and the early Saints believed polygamy was ordained of God. In the
Journal of Discourses polygamy was preached from the pulpit for 50 years.
D&C 131 and 132 are about the plurality of wives. Those are revelations to
Joseph Smith. The emphasis has changed in the 20th and 21st century, but you
can't just take all of the early saints who practiced polygamy and throw
them in the garbage can. Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, Daniel Wells, Joseph
F. Smith, all felt that it was ordained of God. Polygamy will be practiced in
the Heavens, it is God's economy of sociality. We can't practice it
here because of the law, but you can't say that it isn't ordained of
God just because you don't believe in it. If you want to really understand
it, read Hardy's Solemn Covenant, Wagonner's Mormon Polygamy, read
Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman. These are LDS Historians who have
written extensively on the subject.
All this communing with the Lord talk is interesting.President Hinckley
said from the pulpit during conference that he has "never" spoken to God and that nobody has since Joseph Smith. He gets "impressions". I
found that a fascinating revelation it and of itself. Puts a different light on
the entire subject doesn't it.
I have been under the impression that "the new and everlasting covenant"
is plural marriage. Am I mistaken?
Well.ok-The unchanging moral standard, in spite of societal
pressures, is regarding marriage between man and woman and the law of chastity.
It is not about appropriate marriage age. There is also no evidence there were
sexual relations between Joseph Smith and Helen Mar Kimball. Even if there was,
they were married and not in violation of the commandments.In our
day, culture and circumstances, marriage between age 14 vs 37 is creepy.
However, you cannot use our mindset to judge the Saints in the 19th century
frontier. I have a book about my 19th century polygamist ancestor, Edward
Bunker, and in there it shows a completely different mindset regarding marriage
and polygamy than what we have today. For example, there is mention
of married men making agreements, that if one of them were to die, the living
man would then take the deceased man's widow as another wife. This would be
done in order to protect and take care of the widow and her kids. This shows
their mindset toward marriage and polygamy was much more about responsibility,
providing and protection than intimate relationships.
Folks!Polygamy is coming back. Once the court opens the door for same sex
marriage,its here. When 2 or more consenting adults live the way they want,
society has no business telling them they can't. Government will be forced
out of the marriage regulating business by decrees of the Courts. The writing is
on the wall. Who are we to tell these people they can't? If they want to do
it, let them have it. Our business is to mind our own, not others, church
members or not. There are those who are happy where and how they live although
society have a problem with it. I have a hard time enough with one wife, imagine
the headache with 2 or more. Church doctrines and policy aside, once the Courts
dismantle marriage laws, its open season for polygamy whether we like it or not.
Remember, there is a billion people (Muslims) out there who are practicing
polygamy today as part of their cultural faith. Good or bad, but it is a fact
and it is coming to the neighborhood near you.
1aggie posted: Issue #1: in my hypothetical I did NOT divorce my first wife. I
was married and sealed to both in the temple. Forget about sealing.... am I
married to both in the eyes of the Church? Are all of the elderly gentleman in
our church who believe they are still married to their first wives (and never
divorced them) not actually married to them? If not, please cite your authority
for these divorces.========I wasn't trying to evade, in the
limit space to write, I thought a divorce with wife still alive on earth more
illustrative. When your (scenario) wife died, you are no longer considered
married by the laws of the land, (ie treated like a divorce). Hence no issues by
government about you marrying again. Re issue 2. If you die, your
wife can marry again. Just can't be sealed again. Marriage and
sealing are separate acts. The government only cares about marriage. A sealing
means nothing to the ole secular government.
@1.96"Regardless, arguing about statistical methods won't
prove anything. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Plain and simple."Who said he wasn't? I'm not sure what you're trying to
say above. Are you trying to say he was infallible, that he never did anything
wrong? Your statement makes absolutely no sense to me. And if
"arguing about statistical methods won't prove anything" then why
did you start the argument?
While we're splitting hairs over mean values, distributions and variances,
a thought has occurred to me. Is anybody out there familiar with human
physiological development over the past 160 years in America? I'm curious
as to how a 14 year-old in 1848 might differ from a 14 year-old today.
Those who use the Journal of Discourses to prove a point are really using
something that is basically partial doctrine but have never been part of the
Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most of the
information is valuable but in no ways reflects doctrine.Most of the
Journal of Discourses information especially as stated by Brigham Young and
other leaders early in the History of the Church were published in Great Britain
much the Ensign and Friend and New Era are today.David is criticized
for his polygamous marriages in the Book of Mormon based on the fact he took one
wife that was not given to him by the Lord. The same is said about Solomon that
they took wives not specifically given to them to take. Abraham, Moses, Jacob,
Isaiah and others didn't take any wives other than those that were given to
them, thus nothing is said about their polygamous marriages. In fact Abraham
was so righteous that he was his posterity was to be blessed of ALL nations on
earth. Unfortunately, many fail to understand this. The article is correct and
I come from a polygamous heritage.
@LDSareChristians"If you had divorced your first wife, and
married another, having been sealed to both. You'd be sealed to both, but
married to one. "Nice try. You complicated the issues and
changed my hypothetical in your attempt to evaded both issues I raised.Issue #1: in my hypothetical I did NOT divorce my first wife. I was married
and sealed to both in the temple. Forget about sealing.... am I married to both
in the eyes of the Church? Are all of the elderly gentleman in our church who
believe they are still married to their first wives (and never divorced them)
not actually married to them? If not, please cite your authority for these
divorces.Issue #2. When I die can my wife do the same thing I can do
(marry another without first divorcing me)? If not, then why not (please cite
your authority)?Finally, after these questions are plainly answered
we must ask ourselves how much things have really changed from the days of
Was Christ's ministry to all the world or were the apostles sent to the
Jews only? What was Christ's answer to the Samaritan woman who asked when
the gospel would go to her people? Why do some here think that God should
conform to them?
How many Old Testament prophets had plural wives? Was polygamy practiced in the
time of Christ? Inquiring minds want to know....
RE:Craig Clark,John Bennett is not a reliable source of information on Joseph
Smith.What about Brigham Young?…when you feel like
killing me…as some of the people did who called themselves brethren in the
days of Joseph Smith, look out for your selves, for false brethren were the
cause of Joseph’s death, and I am not a very righteous man.(JOD Vol 3.
P.49)Brigham Young comment about,Early in the spring of 1844 a very
strong bitter feeling aroused against Joseph, among many of his brethren in and
around Nauvoo. Some declared that he had sought to get their wives them and had
committed adultery many times. Francis Higbee had the some members swear an oath
before God and all holy angels, .that they would give their life, liberty and
influence for the destruction of Joseph Smith and His party.(Millennial star V.
@kvsnmnsn"Should women who have high standards for who they're
going to marry be legally required to stay single for the rest of eternity?"
"may not be worse than the alternative, which is monogamy for the
lucky and celibacy for the unlucky."That would only be relevant
if there were canoodling in heaven, in which case who is really the one getting
"lucky" in this polygamy situation?
atl134-A normal distribution is probably not likely -- I used it as
an illustration only. Reporting a mean value without its corresponding variance
is incomplete. Give me the entire marriage age distribution, and its variance,
and that will be a starting point to determine what were "typical" ages
for marrying. Wastingtime also compared a mean value of age 21 vs a single case
of age 14 for shock value. This is not adequate given we don't know the
underlying variance of the population.I also didn't get into
sampling strategy and comparing proper populations. No space to discuss this
sufficiently. In short, Wastingtime wants to compare the mean marriage age of
all American women vs. Mormon women living on the frontier. This has the
potential to be problematic because it may not be apples to apples. A more better comparison would be something like Non-Mormon American women
living on the frontier vs American mormon women living on the frontier. By
nature of circumstance on the frontier, it may be more likely to marry younger
than not living on the frontier.Regardless, arguing about
statistical methods won't prove anything. Joseph Smith was a prophet of
God. Plain and simple.
1aggie, Marriage and sealings are separate actions. It's
simply a convenience that when a sealing takes place, a marriage also takes
place, and documents are also filled out to satisfy government requirements.
Due to law, in England, a marriage takes place in an LDS meetinghouse, and then
the couple go to the temple to be sealed. If you had divorced your
first wife, and married another, having been sealed to both. You'd be
sealed to both, but married to one. Being sealed to two woman with
promise of having both in the after life, is not practicing polygamy here and
now, which is the only realm the government cares about. Joseph
Smith was sealed to a bunch of woman of whom he never married or conducted
marriageable duties with.
"it's flying in the face of the facts to compare the two changes as if
they involved caving in to the same amounts of pressure"Who said
the pressure was equal in both instances. And what does it matter.The point was that there was pressure and it was mounting and that anyone
could have seen the prudent course of action. Both of those seem to point to
wise decisions of intelligent leaders.Had the end of polygamy or the
end of the priesthood ban come out of the blue, it would have seemed more
"revelatory" to me. Instead, they appear to be reactionary.
Standard Deviation,We are consistently told by our leaders that
God's morality doesn't change because of societal pressures. This is
why we are encouraged to dress modestly and live a chaste life even though not
doing so would be the norm by today's standards. If these
moral standards are unchanging why are we then having to perform these mental
gymnastics to justify Joseph marrying 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball when he was
37 years old? It's one thing for a teenage girl to marry a man a few years
her senior, but quite another when he is middle-aged.
@ kvnsmnsn,In regards to your response to Mack2828's post; I
respectfully disagree. Many women would rather be single, than be subjected to
becoming another woman's husband's wife, under the pretense of it
being essential for their exaltation! Also, we are talking about the gospel
here. Just because there are more women than men, does not mean that church
leaders should change God's words! Today, women are still more than men,
how come people are living happily without polygamy? Let's face it,
polygamy was never ordained of God in the latter days. It just wasn't.
I'm LDS too, and I know that the church leaders are human. The early
leaders who married all these young women, did it of their own accord. There was
no revelation for that. You know it. There's absolutely no way it was of
@ Texan from UtahI disagree that Race and the Priesthood was an
excellent essay. It does a good job of clarifying the church's stance on
race but in my opinion it creates more questions than answers, particularly in
regards to prophetic revelation. I'm ok with the idea that God doesn't
need to dictate every "jot & tittle" to modern day prophets but in
regards to excluding an entire race of people from blessings of the gospel
I'm at a loss for words. We're taught these men regularly
commune with the Lord. Under that presumption, I don't understand why it
wasn't corrected sooner especially if we "all are alike unto
God."There is some real ugliness when it comes to early church
history. Take Delbert L. Stapley's (apostle) letter to Governor Romney in
1964. It's very concerning if that was the general thinking among the
brethren. I wish the church would address our history head on and not try and
white wash it (no pun intended). I'm a card carrying member;
please don't assume I'm trying to push a particular agenda.
@Wastintime and others,My wife's ancestors were Baptists and many
were in frontier America. Nearly every woman we find in her ancestry married at
14 to 16. It was very common and encouraged by their parents.
About some of the above speculations...I say the scriptures are so clear about
it, one man and one woman, that it would fill the whole board to quote them.Polygamy was an exception for a few.It was by revelation, not asuming.If you can't get over the point, it is not the church' fault,
but your fault, reading scriptures is lacking. You are not reading them enough.
You don't know them.You don't understand them.
Mack2828 posted:=This article makes me feel sick and sad inside.
Deep in my heart I can feel=that polygamy is wrong and yet I am a member
of a church that feels otherwise.=What am I to do? I feel stuck.Mack2828, why do you "feel that polygamy is wrong"? You and I both
live in a church that has three actively-attending women for every two
actively-attending men. (I think this is true for all other Christian churches
too.) Because we're committed to following the law, we simply end up with
a lot of single women in the church. That doesn't change the fact that it
isn't good to be alone. Should women who have high standards for who
they're going to marry be legally required to stay single for the rest of
eternity? I'm no big fan of polygamy, but I'm simply forced to the
conclusion that it may not be worse than the alternative, which is monogamy for
the lucky and celibacy for the unlucky.
JoeBlow posted:=From the outside looking in, many of the
"revelation" biggies are very easy to=come to a rational logical
conclusion.==Polygamy is most likely explained by the concept of
human weakness.=The end of Polygamy is fairly predictable based on
pressure from various=angles.=Black and the Priesthood was also
predictable as outside pressure increased.It amazes me sometimes
when people compare the "end of Polygamy" with the end of the priesthood
ban. Brigham Young attempted to leave the existing boundaries of the United
States in order to find a safe haven for polygamy. The United States was on the
verge of legislating the LDS Church out of existence over the issue of polygamy.
The "pressure from various angles" regarding polygamy was much greater
than the "outside pressure" regarding the priesthood ban. I'm glad
the LDS Church discontinued polygamy, and I'm glad the LDS Church
discontinued the priesthood ban, but I think it's flying in the face of the
facts to compare the two changes as if they involved caving in to the same
amounts of pressure.
@1.96 standard deviations"if marriage age at that time was normally
distributed"Not a terribly good assumption though since
there's a lower limit to when one could get married less than 10 years away
from the mean but the upper bound is well as high as one can age. So it'd
be skewed... um... shoot, is it skewed left or skewed right. I never remember
which is which. Point is there's a long tail to the right and things are
more bunched up to the left of that mean value. You would then have more than
50% (perhaps 60 or 70%) on the lower side of the mean since, for example, 5 18
year olds getting married would be needed to balance out one 36 year old getting
married if the average is 21.
From the outside looking in, many of the "revelation" biggies are very
easy to come to a rational logical conclusion.Polygamy is most
likely explained by the concept of human weakness.The end of Polygamy is
fairly predictable based on pressure from various angles.Black and the
Priesthood was also predictable as outside pressure increased.Guidance from above or not, with the exception of the start of Polygamy, any
wise leader would have done these things for the survival of the LDS church.
Wastintime-Even if the mean (average) marriage age was 21 back then,
that doesn't mean anything. Averages can be deceptive. You need the
variance/standard deviation to get a better picture of the age distribution. Not
everyone who married back then was at "average" age. For
example, if marriage age at that time was normally distributed, 95% of the of
marriage ages would be within +/- 1.96 standard deviations of the mean of 21
years (assuming this mean is true). So, if the standard deviation of marriage
age at that time was 4 (making up a number here), 95% of the marriages occurred
approximately between ages 13-29. Therefore, marrying at age 14 would not
necessarily be considered uncommon.In short, give me the real
standard deviation of the marriage age of that time period and then we can have
real discussion about the "average" and what it may imply. Reflecting
upon the 19th century with a 21st century mindset isn't always the wisest
thing to do. Neither is giving a half-hearted statistical effort to support a
Now let me get this straight: if my wife dies and I marry another one in the
temple, am I, in the eyes of the Church, married to both of them or not?If I die, can my wife marry another man in the temple without first
divorcing me?If I can marry multiple women (as long as all but one
are dead) but my wife cannot marry multiple men (whether dead or alive) do our
beliefs regarding plural marriage really differ today very much from 150 years
Christopher B,Why would God impregnate a 14-year-old virgin who was
espoused to another man? Didn't He know that was wrong?If
I'm not mistaken, some states (back east, I think) still have the legal
marrying age at 14, if the parents consent. If God's say-so isn't good
enough, I guess you could believe the government.
Obviously the Church believes that by disassembling the discussion of polygamy
(away from Joseph Smith and its origins) it can make the practice seem more
palatable. However the attempt is unwise because it is impossible to do and it
appears cowardly and deceptive.For example, the discussion on the
website admits that women were married at young ages in Utah (age 16 or 17 or,
infrequently, younger), stating that it is "was typical of women living in
frontier areas at the time". However, Church leaders were marrying young
girls, as young as 14, long before they arrived in Utah. For those of you who
don't know, the average marrying age at the time for women in America was
"Women were free to choose their spouses, whether to enter into a polygamous
or monogamous union, or whether to marry at all." ... much the same as
Mormon women today are free to wear whatever clothing they like to church on
Sunday, including pants.
How young were some of Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's wives do we
know? I have heard some were as young as 13-14 is this right?And
if so, why would God tell a prophet to marry a 14 year old?And NO,
claiming "that's how they did things back then" doesn't impact
anything. God knows that a man marrying a 14 year girl is wrong, so please
don't suggest that God was tied to the societal norms back then.
The article could be a little more clear about plural marriage families after
the Manifesto. Although, the Church abandoned the practice of plural marriage,
it certainly did not go around breaking up existing families. For this reason,
some families moved to Mexico and Canada, not to continue the practice but to
preserve their current families.sharrona - The Apostle Heber J.
Grant President was married in 1884, six years before the manifesto. He never
married again. He was charged with unlawful cohabitation and fined $100 not for
performing a marriage but for the birth of his daughter in 1899. His wife made
her choice, she could divorce her husband due to the change, stay married and
never have children, or go into hiding and have a child with her husband. President F. Smith is more interesting, he married in 1899, only one year
before the manifesto. He never married again, but he did continue to have nine
children. For this reason he was charged $300 the maximum allowed.
It's good to make this clarification, I don't know how many times
I've heard or read false ideas like "it was instituted because there
were more women than men back then".@Mack2828"I
don't think these are 100% official church doctrine. "I
find that most of what is said here and in the one about blacks receiving (or
not receiving) the Priesthood actually has been said by church officials in
more... official contexts, it's just that people lose track of them and
fall back on false explanations for why these things were in place. For the most
part this is more like a reminder rather than something new.
I don't think these are 100% official church doctrine. If they were they
wouldn't come out in a gospel topics article on the church web site,
rather, The First Presidency would issue them in a signed statement on official
church letterhead.So in my opinion they are helpful for some, but not
official church doctrine or policy.
This article makes me feel sick and sad inside. Deep in my heart I can feel that
polygamy is wrong and yet I am a member of a church that feels otherwise. What
am I to do? I feel stuck.
I'm grateful for the vast true teachings released by the LDS church thru
Deseret News. This helps me to explain o questions others have and boosts my
testimony of our beloved leaders who I pray for daily. I am not fazed by the
negative comments and give low credibility to those who would try to discredit
any true teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Keep up
the superior news reporting.
sharrona,John Bennett is not a reliable source of information on
Joseph Smith. Once close to Joseph, he became his most bitter enemy. Many of the
conversations Bennett later describes having had with Joseph are not credible in
my view.As for Wilford Woodruff, he never claimed to have received a
revelation to discontinue the practice of plural marriage. He was writing in
regard to then current legal realities. The Manifesto, which advises Church
members to not enter marriages prohibited by the law, signaled a decisive change
in Church policy but not in Church doctrine.
RE: Craig Clark, Wilford Woodruff received the revelation to discontinue the
practice and return to the standard of monogamy.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.J S
had 34 wives from 14-56 years old, 10 were still married to other men, i.e.
Orson and Marinda Hyde(John C.)Bennett was the most intimate friend of Joseph
for a time. He boarded with the prophet. He told me once that Joseph had been
talking with him about his troubles with Emma, his wife. ‘He asked
me,’ said Bennett, smilingly, ‘what he should do to get out of the
trouble ?’ I said, ‘This is very simple. Get a Revelation that
polygamy is right, and all your troubles will be at an end.’” (Dr.
W. Wyl, Mormon Portraits: Joseph Smith the Prophet — His Family and His
Texan from Utah-"[...] Many priesthood holders in the LDS Church
still believe that plural marriage is God's standard for the highest degree
of celestial glory."Strange. I don't know why church
members would speculate on such a thing. I don't think the church needs to
address this formally since it is already spelled out in the scriptures. D&C 131:1-2 makes no reference to plural marriage for the highest
degree in the celestial kingdom. It says:"In the celestial glory
there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man
must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting
covenant of marriage];"Eternal marriage is required enough for
the highest degree. Married to one person is good enough. Church members
don't need to speculate on the eternities -- a simple reading of the
scripture will answer this question.
There are a number of theological issues that have always been perplexing to me.
Polygamy, same sex attraction and women and the priesthood to name a few,
remain beyond my understanding. I look forward to eventually making sense of
each of these issues though I suspect complete understanding will not occur in
this life time. Faith in God is requisite to personal peace. Our finite
experience seems to preclude an adequate perspective to fully comprehend
God's purposes. I am willing to set such issues aside for the time being
and focus on the basic tenants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Efforts to
acquire more Christ-like kindness, compassion and love should keep me very busy
It is a great article. I was, however, very pleased with the way the LDS Church
put down spurious doctrines that had arisen with regard to race in their
excellent article on Race and the Priesthood. I would like to see them do the
same here. Even though the article clearly states that, "The Bible and the
Book of Mormon teach that the marriage of one man to one woman is God’s
standard", there are still many in the LDS Church who believe this standard
only applies to mortality and not to eternity. Many priesthood holders in the
LDS Church still believe that plural marriage is God's standard for the
highest degree of celestial glory.
"....For their part, many Latter-day Saint women publicly defended the
practice of plural marriage, arguing in statements that they were willing
participants."______________________________In contrast to
the Mormon women who defended the practice are those who endured it in sad
silence. For a first wife in a plural marriage, it must have been abject
humiliation to wonder if her husband no longer found her attractive. How
difficult it must have been not to not brood over it.Those women
deserve to be heard from too. In the apologist rewriting of history, the dark
side of plural marriage too easily gets swept under the rug.
Must read: "A Mormon Mother" by Annie Clark Tanner.This
details just how polygamy affected women in early Mormonism. It's not
"anti-Mormon" and she remained faithful to the LDS Church until she
died; but she clearly shows how hard polygamy was for the average Mormon woman
stuck in the practice.
What a fantastic article. A very few of my ancestors practiced polygamy, but
for those who did, it benefited them immensely in the early years of the church.
I'm glad that I am not asked to live that way, but am humbled that my
ancestors who did, overcame trials and pulled together as a family to make it a
blessing for everyone in the family of those days. Transitioning out of
polygamy had to be heart wrenching and even more challenging than living it in
the first place. But today, I believe marriage between one man and one woman is
good for our day. I love marriage. I love family. I love the temple. I love
companionship and partnership as we build our eternal lives together; working at
it each and every day. Thank you dear leaders of the Church for your excellent