Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Excuses Mormons Give For Polygamy


In my third and final installment about polygamy (my polygamy trilogy), I want to challenge the usual answers people give when asked to make sense of polygamy.

1. It was part of the "restitution of all things." In other words, it was part of the restoration of the gospel. However, polygamy, as practiced in the Old Testament, was never a religious commandment, nor was salvation ever affixed to the practice of polygamy. It was simply a social practice of Middle Eastern cultures at the time - limited in scope to rich and powerful men who could afford to care for multiple women and their children. Levirate marriage, as outlined in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, was to allow men to care for their deceased brothers wife and children. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball did marry some of Joseph's wives after his death, but Joseph had married them first while they were either young single women, or else young women married to another man. Joseph never married the widows of his brothers.

2. The most cited explanation for polygamy is found in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:30) where God says "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people. . ." So, the justification is to have more righteous people. However, according to a new study just published, Mormon polygamy actually decreased the number of children born to women, rather than increased it. This is consistent with studies of other polygamous societies; polygamous females have less offspring than monogamous females. It's only the male polygamist who increases their genetic offspring (or evolutionary fitness) in polygamous societies.

Faced with such facts, LDS apologists are sometimes quick to explain that the Book of Mormon verse refers not to the quantity of seed, but rather the quality of it. Polygamist children, it is claimed, were somehow more faithful or righteous than their monogamist cohort. First of all, there is no evidence to this claim. Second, to me, this sounds like eugenics. Eugenics was a movement started in the late 19th century by Herbert Spencer and Francis Galton, (sometimes called social Darwinism) based on the misunderstanding of Darwin's theory of natural selection. None of the eugenics movements turned out well for the master races involved; and its implementation usually led to nationalism, racism, imperialism, or fascism.

3. Another popular justification is that polygamy was instituted to take care of all the Mormon widows and immigrants in Utah, who couldn't find a husband otherwise. This explanation, however, doesn't explain why Joseph Smith started the practice of polygamy in the 1830's long before the saints migrated to Utah. It also doesn't explain why he married so many young girls, single women, or women who were already married. Also, if you examine Utah population demographics from 1850-1900, it was actually the men who consistently outnumbered the women. Mormon polygamists were not marrying financially bereft widows; they were marrying young girls. The average age of a second wife was 17, and the average age of the third wife was 19.

4. Finally, when all justifications are used up, one final-gasp excuse for polygamy is that it was a "trial of faith" that brought increased testimony to those who practiced it. Sure - make any person sacrifice something to join (or remain in) some group, and they will like that group more strongly than a person who doesn't make a similar sacrifice.  It doesn't matter what the group is, or what they sacrifice for it - they will like it more.  This is true of any group, from college fraternities to UFO cults.  However, it should be obvious that this is a strange phenomenon of human psychology; not evidence that the sacrifice was justified.

This phenomenon has been shown in study after study. One of the first observations of this phenomenon was published by social psychologist Leon Festinger in his classic book "When Prophecy Fails."  Festinger had infiltrated a UFO cult that believed the world would be destroyed by a flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. They also believed their group would be rescued at midnight by an alien spaceship from the planet Clarion. How did they know this? Because their leader, a suburban housewife named Dorothy Martin, claimed to have received instruction from aliens on planet Clarion, and had written them down via "automatic writing."

So, on the appointed night of world-wide destruction, most of the cult met at Martin's home and waited for the aliens to rescue them at midnight. When the alien did not arrive at the appointed minute, they sat in stunned silence and began to feel nervous. By 2 A.M. they began to panic. But at 4:45 A.M., Mrs. Martin (conveniently) received a new revelation: The world had been spared because of the group's faith, and they were to go and tell others about the amazing miracle that had just occurred! (Interestingly, Dorothy Martin's husband was skeptical of his wife's prophecies, went to bed early, and reportedly slept well.)

Festinger predicted that UFO cult members who had sacrificed the most for the cult (some had given away all their possessions, quit their jobs, and left their families) would increase their belief in the cult, and would try even harder to convert others. This is exactly what happend. Those members who were with Martin went out and redoubled their efforts to convert others, and felt even more convinced than before of the truthfulness of their prophetesses abilities. However, Festinger also predicted that the cult members who sacrificed little for the cult (those who had stayed home on the evening of December 20th, and hoped the world wouldn't end as prophesied), would quietly lose their faith. And the majority of them did - quietly distancing themselves from the UFO cult since Martin's prophecy obviously failed.

Those who sacrificed the most needed to justify the great sacrifices they had made. Those who sacrificed very little didn't have as much sunken costs into the group, didn't feel as duped, and therefore they didn't need to rationalize the cult's beliefs as much. This is why successful groups (whether religions or cults or fraternities) ask their members to make large sacrifices to join, or remain in good standing. And Mormons are asked to make a lot of sacrifices: giving up coffee, tea, smoking, or alcohol, serving volunteer church missions, giving at least 10% of their income to the Church, taking busy Church callings (more like part-time jobs), wearing special temple garments, and sacrificing their individuality and conforming to what the group expects of them.

The claim that polygamy increased the faith of its followers, is undoubtedly true. But it's also true that giving away your possessions in order to join a UFO cult increases your faith in UFO cults. This, however, doesn't justify a mistaken belief in alien spaceships and UFO cult prophecy. Similarly, even if practicing polygamy increased the faith of early Church members, this doesn't mean that Joseph's revelation on polygamy was valid.

44 comments:

  1. Hey Josh,

    I'm a Mormon, a different kind. I differ from the Church about a certain number of issues:

    Polygamy - it never should have happened, and the Church shouldn't have lied about it.

    Black's and the Priesthood - Joseph Smith allowed them to hold the priesthood (which he was right to do), and the Church should have followed his example. The 1970's "revelation" was a political opportunity.

    This whole "trial of faith" crap is bull. I can't stand it when people use that as an excuse for everything. "Oh, you miscarried because God was testing your faith."

    Just wanted you to know...there are more like me out there.

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  2. I see no reason to apologize for polygamy in the first place. So no excuses needed.

    Nothing wrong with polygamy that isn't equally wrong with monogamy as far as I'm concerned.

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  3. "Nothing wrong with polygamy that isn't equally wrong with monogamy as far as I'm concerned."

    That would be because you've never read the research. Polygyny has been compared to monogamy and it creates MORE adverse conditions for women and children than monogamy does. Women in polygyny are more likely to be depressed, have other mental illnesses, suffer domestic violence (as are their children) it also creates a surplus of men which has been shown to be detrimental to society increase violence and crime. It is also less than optimal for children, resulting in fewer resources for them, lower life expectancies and lower educational outcomes. Monogamy isn't perfect but research shows it is better than polygny for women and children.

    Rebeckah

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  4. And what's your basis for comparison?

    Are you comparing third world societies with first world societies?

    Or perhaps comparing the 19th century with the 21st century?

    Or are you taking your studies from polygamists in the United States - where polygamy is illegal and has been driven underground?

    In all these instances, it's a completely one-sided, and unfair comparison. The ills that you describe can almost all be explained away by other social factors than mere polygamy itself - such as poverty, lack of education, or even just a culture that has to live underground.

    So your argument is not convincing to me. Especially considering that I HAVE actually read a lot of "research" on the subject.

    You simply have no credible basis for comparison to make that statement.

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  5. Seth R: Fair enough. You make some good points; we shouldn't compare apples and oranges. However, you should note who is actually practicing polygamy today: mostly backwards societies in Africa or the Middle East that do not value women's freedom and choice the way most Western societies do today. Here in North America, it's people living in religiously fundamentalist, uneducated, backwards, tribal segments of society (LDS fundamentalist populations) that more resemble the Taliban tribal areas of Afghanistan/Pakistan. These are some of the only areas polygamy can thrive, unless you are hiding in plain sight, trying to blend in with modern society. Maybe you can blame their religious fundamentalism or backwardness on the fact that they are persecuted. I don't think it would be a convincing case, but maybe you could.

    However, one ill that can't be solved by polygamy is this: the ability to have a spouse and family is concentrated among an elite male hierarchy. Most other males will not be able to marry.

    It's simple biology when males to females are born in a 1:1 ratio, into a society that males marry 2 or more females (with more powerful males marrying more females), you will have males that can't get married inside the system they were brought up in. So they are kicked out for petty reasons and branded heretics, or leave on their own power and are branded apostates. Either way, they are ostracized from the family and community they grew up in. This is happening today and has nothing to do with polygamy being illegal in Utah. It's the community of polygamists that disenfranchises and ostracizes their surplus males.

    And secondly, you have the females that are born into the system. Females are usually traded as commodities by males in polygamist systems. Females usually have little say over who or when they marry - usually to a male who is much older than them, who they are not in love with.

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  6. Isn't that just bias in favor of the status quo?

    Besides, polygamy doesn't rule out a woman having more than one husband, so it doesn't need to be inherently patriarchal.

    The problem is that polygamy was brutally repressed and driven underground. This created two problems:

    1. It forced polygamy to operate in secret - which created a culture of secrecy and illegality and isolation from society that allowed abuses like what you see with the FLDS to flourish. If the practice had always been legal, you wouldn't have seen this isolation and abuse - at least not on this scale.

    2. It cut polygamy off from all the liberalizing influences and societal advances that changed monogamous marriage over the past century. Monogamy has come a long way since the end of the 19th century. Polygamy has been denied the opportunity to do the same thing.

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  7. Seth R:

    You never addressed the main problem that polygamy creates (that I brought up earlier); namely the fact that men and women are born in a 1:1 ratio. In societies that practice polygamy, not all the males are able to find a spouse. This creates huge problems for the genetic "losers" who cannot get a mate. Could you explain how a polygamist society can solve this problem that it creates?

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  8. Society is never about mere numerical unity. And polygamy was never intended to be practiced on such a large scale that all women would be expected to be in polygamous marriages. Even in 1800s Utah.

    After the initial craziness of Nauvoo polygamy, the practice calmed down significantly to where guys were having two or three wives at most. I imagine that would be the norm today if the practice had continued.

    In early Utah, the numbers worked out fine, because the population was always growing. Guys tended to marry girls two or three years younger than them. So that meant that as long as the population kept growing, there would always numerically be more eligible girls than guys. Kind of a population pyramid scheme I guess. So the Utah system actually was quite sustainable while it lasted.

    The FLDS system is not sustainable because you have a small population locked into a compound and the math simply doesn't work. Thus all the abuses you hear about there.

    If you unleashed a small amount of polygamy into the wider national society however, I imagine the impact would be negligible.

    And also keep in mind how many divorced singles there are out there right now under our monogamous system.

    Obviously the numbers aren't working out for our modern society anyway. So I don't see why you or I should care about a bit of number disparity from polygamy.

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  9. Seth - your argument makes absolutely no sense. It doesn't mater how big the population is: males and females are always born in a 1:1 ratio since sex determination is a random process like the flip of a coin. Whether the population is small (like FLDS populations) or large, the math never works out. Even if males are only marrying 2 or 3 females. If one male marries 2 females, then there is 1 male who marries none. If a male marries 3 females, then 2 males do not get to marry. And when you have the super hierarchs at the top (incidentally, males that are higher in the hierarchy marry more females) who marry upwards of 10, 20, 30, even 40 or 50 females. That leaves (you guessed it) 10, 20, 30, even 40 or 50 males without spouses if they stay in the polygamist system. The only alternative is to recruit in single women, divorced women, or kick out male offspring who are a potential rival to men in power.

    And I'm only focusing on how it effects males (who are not the biggest losers in a polygamist society). I haven't even considered how it effects women and children.

    And since my OP was about Joseph Smith and his practice of polygamy, let's just mention all the lying that went on, and how heartbroken his wife Emma was about it, and how it lead to his own death at Carthage, and how the Church has lived with the shameful shadow of polygamy for over 100 years now, and how the Church distorts its own history about polygamy - a form of lying, and how the FLDS polygamist cults today are negatively effected by Joseph's legacy of polygamy.

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  10. I'm ignoring your last paragraph, since it constitutes a subject change.

    The math actually did work in 1800s Utah.

    Imagine a population pyramid. And as you go down the pyramid, there are MORE new births in each succeeding year.

    What this means is that for every 24 year old guy in Utah in 1880, there actually were about 2.4 21 year old females. Which is the exact marrying age.

    As long as the population kept growing, there were always enough wives for each guy to have two, if so inclined.

    I doubt that was indefinitely sustainable, but it does demonstrate why there was no societal problem with "lost boys" in 1800s Utah, like there are with the FLDS.

    And your entire argument relies on an artificial situation where there's a perfect 1:1 ratio for guys and girls in the marriage market.

    This simply does not happen today. Lots of women who want to marry in our modern society are left with no one available.

    This is happening right now.

    So your assertion that the entry of... say... 2000 polygamist guys into the US marriage system would "deprive" a lot of American guys of desired brides simply doesn't hold any water.

    A lot of American guys are already opting out of marriage simply because they don't want the responsibility. So the shiftless dorks can hardly complain if the women were to go elsewhere.

    Hypothetically speaking, of course.

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  11. Seth - I can see there is no convincing you of the fact that males and female are born in a 1:1 ratio. Polygamist societies are closed systems where the males and females born into them are expected to be polygamist too. However, the math doesn't work (see above for the arithmetic). There is no pyramid system. I'll leave it at that.

    And why ignore my last paragraph? That is what my OP was about. It was about the polygamy that Joseph Smith practiced. He lied. He cheated. He hurt others. His legacy continues to hurt people today. There is no single greater proof that he was a charlatan.

    If you want to practice polygamy, then go to the Middle East, Southern Utah, or Africa where it is the way they do things. Gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, and walruses also practice it. I get the sense that you want to practice it. Otherwise, why protest so much?

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  12. I take it by the fact that you are now attacking me personally you are conceding the debate?

    I ignored the last paragraph because it wasn't the topic we were discussing, and bringing it up was pretty-much just you trying to divert attention from the fact that this particular topic wasn't going your way.

    Are you denying that it is possible for a population to have more babies in 1882 than they did in 1881? Are you seriously denying that populations can expand and grow from year to year?

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  13. I'm not conceding anything. Populations grow, but they grow in a 1:1 ratio of male to female. Answer the question I posed of how Mormons solve the problem! It is not solved by having more females for males to marry!

    And I didn't divert the conversation. My OP was about Joseph Smith and the excuses Mormons give for polygamy until you thread-jacked it. Therefore my point about Joseph's practice of polygamy is pertinent. Would you like to defend Brother Joseph? While you are at it, explain how populations can give birth to more females than males. Two big questions you have not answered yet.

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  14. Your 1:1 ratio only works if guys and girls are marrying people exactly the same age they are.

    Within the same age group - yes - perhaps there is a 1:1 ratio.

    But guys rarely marry girls the same age as them. They usually marry younger. And there were more 21 year old girls in Utah than 23 year old guys in the year 1881. Simple population growth stats there.

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  15. Once again - that makes no sense. It's a 1:1 ratio whatever your age is.Iif you check the male to female ratio of any society, no matter how small or large, no matter what your age, it's always a 1:1 ratio. I'm disengaging now. Have a wonderful Father's Day tomorrow. I'll enjoy mine since I am part of a monogamous society where I could find a mate and have offspring. I'm assuming you are too. Aren't we lucky. Thank you for your interest in this post.

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  16. The ratio of men to women in Utah during the decades that polygamy was practiced was even worse than 1:1. Look up the statistics. Utah always had far more males than females. The prospects for young men were few, especially considering the middle-aged and old men who were marrying teens and young women as plural wives. Seth R, your explanation is creative, but definitely not convincing.

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  17. Anabelle,

    Your stats are based on the census figures for that time period. But this doesn't tell an accurate story.

    The reason there were more men than women in Utah at that time was almost solely due to the non-Mormons who flooded into Utah during the silver-rush to work the mines.

    These men weren't even on the Mormon marriage to begin with. So you can't include them in your stats.

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  18. The census figures show that during the entire time polygamy was practiced in Utah, that men outnumbered women. Period. I don't know that it matters that some of these men were non-Mormons. The point is that there was a surplus of men who were marrying more than one women.

    Here's John A Widstoe making the further point that there were also more Mormon MEN than WOMEN:

    "The implied assumption in this theory, that there have been more female than male members in the Church is not supported by existing evidence. On the contrary, there seems always to have been more males than females in the Church...The United States census records from 1850 to 1940, and all available Church records, uniformly show a preponderance of males in Utah...This theory is not defensible since there was no surplus of women."

    - LDS Apostle John A. Widstoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 1960, pages 390-392

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  19. Wilford Woodruff letter to Heber C. Kimball (dated April 1, 1857) complaining about the lack of women to marry in Utah:

    ". . . nearly all are trying to get wives, until there is hardly a girl 14 years old in Utah, but what is married, or just going to be."

    And this is the alpha male of the society who already had 11 wives (and that's modest among his prophetic predecessors):
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/7207/WWfamilies.htm

    Poor guy.

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  20. All that tells me is that Widstoe was going off the same census figures that Anabelle was, and making the same mistake she did.

    And of course it matters is they were Mormon or not. Everyone here knows that Mormons were only supposed to marry Mormons. That's true even today - and was certainly true then.

    Not to mention that the guys working the silver mines weren't even usually looking to snag a Mormon girl to marry. They were out there isolated in places like Park City and the west desert. They were hoping to make their fortunes and then LEAVE Utah forthwith to go somewhere ELSE.

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  21. Seth R.,
    Can I ask where you are getting these census figures? Can you provide a link or source?

    Josh and Annabelle seem to be looking at different figures. And apparently Widstoe's quote shows that he (Widstoe) was referring to actual church records as well as census figures.

    Your explanation is "creative", but without the hard data to prove your point, it's not gonna fly with me. Make me a believer!

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  22. Seth R.,

    "My two primary vices are computer games and making bold assertions without backing them up."

    I'm pleased to me you too, Seth!

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  23. Anonymous is right - Widstoe clearly says that he was referring not just to Government census data, but also "TO ALL AVAILABLE CHURCH RECORDS" that "uniformly show a preponderance of males in Utah." Woodruff's quote also shows that it was marriageable LDS women that were in short supply also - exactly what you would expect to happen when there are more men, less women, and polygamy being practiced within a population.

    OK Seth R - ball is in your court: back up your unsupported claims please.

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  24. I imagine I could come up with some citations for you. I'll have a look and get back to you.

    But I'll just note - it's not like you guys have provided any proof or backing for what you're claiming here either - aside from a couple isolated Widstoe quotes of dubious authority.

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  25. Seth - let's not forget who is making the original claim here: you are, when you say that the US Census figures don't apply to Mormons since they were inflated by supposed non-Mormon miners. You have provided no evidence of that. Please back it up - otherwise, the only evidence you have is your own statement that is of "dubious authority."

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  26. Finally managed to track down an article outlining all these stats we've been talking about.

    http://www.fairblog.org/2010/10/12/go-west-young-man-and-sex-ratios/

    Sorry for the delay.

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  27. First problem: your source is a Mormon apologetic website! Apologists formulate a conclusion first, and then select facts that fit their forgone conclusion (that the Church is true). Keller doesn't like the US census date, nor does he like John Widstoe's statement upholding the census with Church records - so Keller massages the data to fit the conclusions he wants: "There was a shortage of Mormon men!"

    No problem. Just create some fancy statistical nonsense terms like "SR, PMASR, SPMASR, SMAM (M), and SMAM (F)," to obfuscate the very clear US census data, crunch some numbers using arbitrary groupings of populations based on an age range and a population he selects, and presto- whamo! - now you have more women than men!

    Once you have created this "fact" out of thin air, then you simply assume that the Lord knew this all along, and introduced polygamy to Joseph Smith in 1831, to prepare for the calamity of having a surplus number of women in Utah 80 years later! That is the most creative "explanation" for polygamy that I've heard yet.

    This was a great example of ad hoc reasoning used by apologists to explain away any uncomfortable fact about Church history - after the fact.

    Just ask yourself this: if this was the real reason for polygamy, why wasn't the Lord telling it to members of the Church when they were practicing it? It wouldn't be too hard for a prophet to make a prophecy that in the year 1890, there would be a surplus women in Utah because of an influx of female converts (which is assumed in Keller's blog) and an increase number of non-Mormon males (also not supported with any data by Keller). But nobody ever said any of this until Keller invented it apologist style, ad hoc, out of thin air and manipulated stats. Brilliant!

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  28. Snort.

    There you have it folks.

    When the chips are down, Josh doesn't have any useful response other than waving his hands and yelling - "He's an apologist!"

    Pathetic Josh. Are you really this incapable of dealing with this argument?

    All this really proves to me is that you were stalling for time when you asked me earlier for a source, because you found yourself mentally unequipped to usefully deal with the new concepts.

    Be honest now Josh. You didn't really want me to provide sources for my argument in the first place, did you? You were hoping that I wouldn't have anything, and then you'd get to come on here and crow two days later about how my argument was "full of it" because I didn't have a footnote for you. That way, you wouldn't have to deal with the argument in the first place. You could simply wave it away as "not worth my time."

    Then when I actually gave you a source (that does deal in the objective data), you panicked, and immediately adopted a knee-jerk reaction of "shoot the messenger."

    And in your panic, you also seem to have lost sight of WHY I provided the link in the first place - to provide a citation for the population data I was mentioning. That was the main reason I cited the article - for the population data.

    I notice that in your hysterical little comment above, you conveniently didn't address that at all.

    Wonder why that could be Josh. You seem to be more concerned with saving your own face in this discussion than you are in actually dealing with the data.

    Oh... and I assume you didn't look at any of the citations that article provided either - correct?

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  29. Seth,

    Let's say you are married to the love of your life. You are lovers, best friends, you can talk about anything, you made children together, share a happy loving home and work hard everyday to take care of that family. Let's imagine that this woman whom you love, share a special bond with and make sacrifices for marries another man. Imagine her sharing all the same things she shares with you. Imagine her LOVING him deeply (maybe even more than she loves you), giving herself to him and having HIS children. Not only is your "special one-on-one bond" with your wife shattered - imagine being expected to help take care of the children she had with HIM as well as your own. Is that the kind of life you would be happy living? If not, why? If so, why?

    Let's put all statistics and facts aside. Does polygamy feel right and good in your heart and mind? I hope we can all agree that a human relationship can and should be on a much higher and more intellectual level than a breeding "relationship" of simple-minded instinct-driven animals.

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  30. I'm a little more secure in our relationship than viewing another man as a threat to my own relationship.

    And why does her marrying one automatically mean I lose my one-on-one relationship? It all depends on the context. If she was neglectful of me, sure. Don't think I would like that. But I don't think she would inevitably be neglectful.

    Believe it or not - this is something both me and my wife have discussed in a strictly theoretical way. I'm fine with the theoretical notion of her having more than one husband. She's fine with the idea of me having more than one wife.

    But it all depends on how it's implemented, doesn't it?

    Personally, I have no wish to practice polygamy myself. But that's because I'm not financially stable enough to do it, and my time management and people management skills aren't good enough for me to feel like I could pull it off well.

    Furthermore, the modern social context is not conducive or friendly to polygamy. So I would regard it as a bad idea for that reason as well. People have not been trained by society to engage in a relationship like this well.

    So for purely practical reasons - I have no desire to practice it in this life. But neither me or my wife have any problem with polygamy being a reality in heaven.

    In fact, I hope it's at least an option for some people.

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  31. Seth,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I agree that everyone should have the right to practice any type of relationship that they truthfully consent to and are TRULY happy living. Actually, I guess they have the "right" to consent to a relationship that DOESN'T make them happy too. So in all reality it just comes down to how each person individually feels.

    I believe any kind of relationship that someone is forced or scared into or has to talk themselves into - ESPECIALLY in the name of "God" is wrong (my opinion). As long as the person really truly WANTS to practice polygamy, monogamy, what have you...then let them have at it.

    Let's just be careful and mindful of the lives we bring into our decisions. Our children may not feel the same as we do and we should allow them the same freedom we have without guilt or rejection.

    If anyone wants to add, agree or disagree with what I've said I'd love to hear your opinion. This kind of discussion only helps me grow and have a broader understanding of life.

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  32. Seth: What data? The blog post provided no data other than made up massaged statistics that the author invented, ad hoc, to erase the fact that Utah had more men than women. His argument, about how God might be preparing for a female dominated population in Utah by introducing polygamy, doesn't make any sense either. I responded to those two arguments. I'm quite capable of responding to an argument, if one is made, and if it's semi-rational. However, there is no substance to your argument to respond to.

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  33. Seth,

    Another question...you state your reasons for not wanting or being able to practice polygamy now, but you don't explain why you and your wife would be okay with practicing Polygamy in heaven...will you elaborate on that?

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  34. Pretty much the flaws in human character like selfishness and jealousy are out of the picture in heaven.

    Which makes it not so much a problem.

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  35. Seth, what do you think the purpose of practicing polygamy in heaven is?

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  36. Unifying human hearts with each other.

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  37. Seth: How does polygamy accomplish that? Would polyandry accomplish the same thing? If not, why not? If so, why doesn't the LDS Church allow women to be sealed to multiple men?

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  38. OK, definition time...

    Polyandry = One woman, married to more than one man

    Polygyny = One man, married to more than one woman

    Polygamy = BOTH polyandry AND polygyny

    Polyamory = loving more than one person, marriage not necessarily involved.


    When I say polygamy, I mean polygamy.

    If I meant polygyny, I would have said "polygyny."

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  39. I know what the terms mean. Are you saying that only polygamy accomplishes "unifying hearts with each other" and that polyandry doesn't? Now that we've cleared up the definitions, would you like to answer my other questions?

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  40. I'm fine with polyandry or polygyny. I also think that's the way the whole dead-spouse scenario is eventually going to play out in the LDS Church. They just haven't gotten there yet.

    But in temple work for the dead, there are women being sealed to multiple husbands. That's already happening. They just haven't extended it to living women as of yet.

    If you asked me why, I'd probably say its just inertia.

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  41. A bit of a double standard there: men can be sealed to multiple living women, women can only be sealed to one man while alive, or more than one after they are dead. Although the Church hasn't expressly commented on why the double standard exists, I think it is probably because polygamy will be practiced in heaven. Polyandry - not so much. Letting women get sealed to multiple men (after they are dead) would apparently let them pick which one they wanted to be sealed to later on.

    So back to my original questions: How does polygamy accomplish the "unifying of hearts and minds" in a way that monogamy doesn't? And would polyandry do the same thing?

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  42. Why not?

    What makes you think that there's only room for one person in the human heart?

    Last week's Netflix viewing of Sleepless in Seattle?

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  43. Seth, your reasoning (unifying hearts together) for practicing polygamy (meaning a man marrying more than one woman AND a woman marrying more than one man) could possibly be acceptable only in a perfect world (A.K.A "Heaven"). It still sounds a little off, but I can't disprove it just like you can't prove it. However, if we're talking about what the Mormon church teaches...you are wrong.

    In D&C 132:61-63 it says: 61) And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. 62) And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified. 63) But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

    Then in Jacob 2:27-30 it says:

    27) Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and 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;

    28) For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

    29) Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

    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.

    31) For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

    I feel that this whole belief system depicts a God that is self-serving, contradictory and bias to the male race. Is that the kind of God the LDS church believes in? Here are my questions with regards to what the church teaches TODAY (not our own analogies offered up to soften the doctrine).

    1. If God is eternal, why the need for such a rush (polygamy) to raise up seed unto himself?

    2. If we believe God is all loving and all powerful, why would he, when he feels the need to raise up more seed unto himself, ignore the true pain and sorrow polygamy causes to so many of his daughters? If he's all powerful, I'm sure he could find another way...actually, I believe God HAS found another way...it's called Monogamy. It works quite well when there is no end in sight (AKA: Eternity).


    3. If we believe the war in heaven...then we believe in free agency...God wants us to live with him again, but doesn't want to force us. It was Satan who wanted to use force. God using polygamy to raise up seed unto him doesn't seem to go along with what the LDS church believes the war in heaven accomplished - free agency. We are creating a God that is forcing his will through procreation.

    When it's all said and done - it only makes sense (to me) that intimate, procreating relationships should be reserved for monogomy and the pure love of Christ be used to "unify hearts together".

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