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Thread: Can we have a "real" discussion about Joseph Smith and Polygamy?

  1. #1
    Libby
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    Default Can we have a "real" discussion about Joseph Smith and Polygamy?

    This subject was one that was especially bothersome to me and one of the main reasons I ended up leaving the church.

    Why did Joseph have himself sealed to girls as young as 14?

    Why did he marry women that were already married?

    Why were these girls/women coerced by telling them that their families' spiritual lives depended on whether or not they married Joseph?

    Do you believe there really was a "destroying angel" that would have taken Joseph's life, if certain of these women had not married him?

  2. #2
    seebok
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    This subject was one that was especially bothersome to me and one of the main reasons I ended up leaving the church.

    Why did Joseph have himself sealed to girls as young as 14?

    Why did he marry women that were already married?

    Why were these girls/women coerced by telling them that their families' spiritual lives depended on whether or not they married Joseph?

    Do you believe there really was a "destroying angel" that would have taken Joseph's life, if certain of these women had not married him?
    Sure.

    Some say Joseph Smith got the idea to practice polygamy from Martin Luther, who sanctioned polygamy and advocated it to Philip of Hesse and to the founder of JD's Anglican Church, King Henry the 8th. I think it's more likely he just got the idea from the clear evidence in the Bible. You are aware of course that more Evangelicals practice polygamy today than members of the Church of Jesus Christ did in their entire history, no? It's sanctioned by Baptists, Anglicans, etc., mostly in Africa.

    Your ***ertions concerning marital manipulation by Joseph are obviously manufactured to paint polygamy evil and Joseph a scoundrel, but indeed throughout history, women have been taken advantage of in marriage. If you have a problem with that, perhaps if you reach out your hand I can lift you onto the bandwagon with me.

    s.
    Last edited by seebok; 11-23-2008 at 08:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Libby
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    Quote Originally Posted by seebok View Post
    Sure.

    Some say Joseph Smith got the idea to practice polygamy from Martin Luther, who sanctioned polygamy and advocated it to Philip of Hesse and to the founder of JD's Anglican Church, King Henry the 8th. I think it's more likely he just got the idea from the clear evidence in the Bible.
    I didn't ask where he got the idea. I ***ume you believe he got it via revelation. That was my understanding, when I was LDS. (And multiple marriages to one woman at a time is hardly the same as polygamy)

    You are aware of course that more Evangelicals practice polygamy today than members of the Church of Jesus Christ did in their entire history, no? It's sanctioned by Baptists, Anglicans, etc., mostly in Africa.
    And this has exactly what to do with my questions?

    Your ***ertions concerning marital manipulation by Joseph are obviously manufactured to paint polygamy evil and Joseph a scoundrel
    Hardly. These are facts with which I struggled for a very long time and I don't appreciate you minimizing that and trying to paint me as the enemy.

    but indeed throughout history, women have been taken advantage of in marriage. If you have a problem with that, perhaps if you reach out your hand I can lift you onto the bandwagon with me.

    s.
    Well, I'm glad you have a problem with that, as well, but do you believe Joseph took advantage of these women/girls? I'm serious, Seebok. Please don't play games with me. What was Joseph's motivation? Why did he marry already married women?

  4. #4
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    This subject was one that was especially bothersome to me and one of the main reasons I ended up leaving the church.
    Its a crazy one.

    Why did Joseph have himself sealed to girls as young as 14?
    To my knowledge he didn't expand upon that. It seemed rather personal, I guess. Generally he did expand a little here and there on polygamy in general. It started with his concern as he read of such among the ancients.

    Why did he marry women that were already married?
    I don't know if he considered it marrying them, but rather being sealed to them. Anyway, the why is a tough question. We don't know. He didn't expand on it much.

    Why were these girls/women coerced by telling them that their families' spiritual lives depended on whether or not they married Joseph?
    Don't know. Don't even know whether the allegations are true or not, frankly.

    Do you believe there really was a "destroying angel" that would have taken Joseph's life, if certain of these women had not married him?
    huh? Which ones?

    love,
    stem

  5. #5
    Libby
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    Hi Stem. Thanks for the response.

    In answer to your last question:

    Zina Huntington Jacobs

    Zina declined Joseph’s proposal and chose to marry Henry. They were married on March 7, 1841.

    Zina later wrote, that within months of her marriage to Henry, “[Joseph] sent word to me by my brother, saying, ‘Tell Zina, I put it off and put it off till an angel with a drawn sword stood by me and told me if I did not establish that principle upon the earth I would lose my position and my life’”. Joseph further explained that, “the Lord had made it known to him she was to be his celestial wife.”

    Zina chose to obey this commandment and married Joseph on October 27.
    http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/home.htm

  6. #6
    seebok
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I didn't ask where he got the idea. I ***ume you believe he got it via revelation. That was my understanding, when I was LDS. (And multiple marriages to one woman at a time is hardly the same as polygamy)



    And this has exactly what to do with my questions?



    Hardly. These are facts with which I struggled for a very long time and I don't appreciate you minimizing that and trying to paint me as the enemy.



    Well, I'm glad you have a problem with that, as well, but do you believe Joseph took advantage of these women/girls? I'm serious, Seebok. Please don't play games with me. What was Joseph's motivation? Why did he marry already married women?
    I'm sorry you believe the patriarchs of the Bible were scoundrels. I'm only willing to go as far as to acknowledge that marriage is too often not well implemented and that women are often victims.

    With your views, it surprises me that you can have any faith in the Bible at all. I encourage you to pray for strength and perhaps the ability to forgive if that is where you are in your life. As you grow in the Lord, my hunch is that you will be able to shift some of the blame for polygamy from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph to the social conventions of the times, people like Martin Luther, and possibly even your own at***udes. And that's not an easy thing. Good thing Christ can strengthen you, but you have to want his help.

    Best

    s.

  7. #7
    Libby
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    Quote Originally Posted by seebok View Post
    I'm sorry you believe the patriarchs of the Bible were scoundrels. I'm only willing to go as far as to acknowledge that marriage is too often not well implemented and that women are often victims.

    With your views, it surprises me that you can have any faith in the Bible at all. I encourage you to pray for strength and perhaps the ability to forgive if that is where you are in your life. As you grow in the Lord, my hunch is that you will be able to shift some of the blame for polygamy from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Joseph to the social conventions of the times, people like Martin Luther, and possibly even your own at***udes. And that's not an easy thing. Good thing Christ can strengthen you, but you have to want his help.

    Best

    s.
    I wasn't aware that the Patriarchs of the O.T. married already married women. Would you like to give me an example of that?

    (You really have no idea how much I prayed about this)

  8. #8
    seebok
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I wasn't aware that the Patriarchs of the O.T. married already married women. Would you like to give me an example of that?

    (You really have no idea how much I prayed about this)
    You never heard of frontier divorce? That was quite a common thing in 18th century America. Like with common law marriage, the paperwork wasn't always up to today's standards. And a if a few of these frontier divorced women ended up in plural marriages, that's not really an issue. The problem you are having may be one of "presentism", projecting today's standards on people in the past who had different standards.

    It tastes correct to me to understand that women have always been and are today way too frequently victims in their marriages. That has little to do with whether polygamy or monogomy is practiced. If I implied that the ins***ution of polygamy was part of the problem, let me clarify. Polygamy was so new and different in a 19th Century America with Elizabethan at***udes, its implementation was difficult and naturally lead to, you guessed it, women more frequently being victims. If I have a problem with 19th century polygamy, its the implementation of polygamy, not so much the practice of it. As I've already said, if I had a problem with the practice, I'd have to chuck the entire Bible. And I don't want to be in your new position.

    On your other point, I regret to inform you that I do not have copies of Abraham's multiple marriage certificates. But indeed, the patriarchs did have wives plural. I pulled this up in about a minute.

    Gen. 31: 17
    17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;

    Evans like to try to make the case that these others were not really wives. Clearly they are just trying to contrive reality to fit their current worldview.

    ***uming for a nano-second that there were no plural marriages among the OT patriarchs, are you really saying that had Joseph and Brigham and others just had concubines or heifers for breeding purposes like the OT Patriarchs did, you'd be o.k. with that? If this is what you are saying, I'm glad I'm not an Evangelical -- children have always deserved to be born into and raised within a family unit, by a man and his wife. This is how it was among the Patriarchs and the early Saints, despite any "implementation" problems or inequities they may have experienced with non-traditional marriage.

    Best

    s.

  9. #9
    Libby
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    If I have a problem with 19th century polygamy, its the implementation of polygamy, not so much the practice of it. As I've already said, if I had a problem with the practice, I'd have to chuck the entire Bible. And I don't want to be in your new position.
    You are exactly in my position. I don't have a problem with polygamy, per se. When I joined the church, I knew that polygamy had been practiced in the early church. I didn't have a problem with it, but my perception of it was very different from what I later learned to be the reality of it. So, like you, my problem is with the implementation. That's why I have asked about Joseph's marriages to very young girls and to other men's wives. And, also, about the way in which these girls/women were induced into marrying him. It seems to me that the "implementation", as you call it, might have something to do with whether or not one can accept that this was actually from God.

    My (very naive) perception of polygamy in the early church had Joseph marrying single, eligible women, closer to his own age...or perhaps women who had lost their husbands in the struggles of the early church and in need of care. (This is actually what the church teaches about polygamy, if and when it comes up at all, and I believed it).. So, excuse me for being upset when I finally learned the truth.

  10. #10
    seebok
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    You are exactly in my position. I don't have a problem with polygamy, per se. When I joined the church, I knew that polygamy had been practiced in the early church. I didn't have a problem with it, but my perception of it was very different from what I later learned to be the reality of it. So, like you, my problem is with the implementation. That's why I have asked about Joseph's marriages to very young girls and to other men's wives. And, also, about the way in which these girls/women were induced into marrying him. It seems to me that the "implementation", as you call it, might have something to do with whether or not one can accept that this was actually from God.

    My (very naive) perception of polygamy in the early church had Joseph marrying single, eligible women, closer to his own age...or perhaps women who had lost their husbands in the struggles of the early church and in need of care. (This is actually what the church teaches about polygamy, if and when it comes up at all, and I believed it).. So, excuse me for being upset when I finally learned the truth.
    Well Libs, I don't think you need to be brain dead to have missed certain realities and ***ociated sensational representations of the truths about polygamy as practiced in the 19th century Church of Jesus Christ. And I don't think anyone needs to be faulted for not sticking your nose in all those fine details and sensationalizations.

    The fact of the matter is that it's nearly universally known that members of the Church, including at the highest levels, practiced polygamy. It was publicly announced in 1852. And the resources Compton used to document and develop commentary on Joseph's experience have been available beginning in the same timeframe. Compton's book BTW is what the critics often go to.

    If this troubles you, like I said, to be consistent you need to be just as troubled by the Bible. Frankly, it's o.k. to have these kinds of questions and even doubts. Doubt is the opposite of faith and in the lives of those who live by faith, doubt is necessarily also present. If you have a hunger to tip the scales from doubt back to faith, I recommend this very balanced paper which a friend of mine wrote:

    http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/Polygamy...varication.pdf

    And if you are satisfied remaining in an Evangelical free-for-all, do nothing and remain blissful in a movement that can not be criticized for any specific thing because it takes no stand -- or better stated, all stands. In instances where for instance the Evangelical church practices polygamy, the Evan apologist points to others who don't. And where the meaninglessness of life becomes apparent to to those enmeshed in Calvinism, they point to Arminianism. And then when God's sovereignty needs bolstered, those same people point back to Calvinism. You can live your life conveniently avoiding the really troubling issue in Evangelicalism, like water off the back of a duck.

    In the Church of Jesus Christ you have an opportunity to take a stand for faith, warts and all.

    best

    s.

  11. #11
    Libby
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    I spent quite a bit of time in a response to you, Peter, but when I went to post it, I had been logged out. This board seems to log you out if your are not active for a few minutes. <sigh>

    This is what I wrote (in essence - the short version).

    First of all, I appreciate the link, but I had already read that, before I left the church. It was not very satisfying...but I'll admit, at that point, I was probably very difficult to satisfy. I didn't find his arguments relating Joseph's polygamy to "civil disobendience" very compelling...especially when he started comparing it to hiding Holocaust victims. But, when I have some time, I will go back and read it again. It's been a couple of years.

    Secondly, I do not blame anyone in the church for my ignorance on any subject. I take total responsibility for that. I read the Book of Mormon and had an "experience" with it, which lead me, heart first, into the church. My head followed much later.

    Thirdly, (if that's a word ) I have been attending an Evangelical Church for the past year and half, but right now I am not attending any church. I seem to always run up against the "really troubling issues" at some point or other. That's one of the reasons I stayed away from religious ins***utions for so many years, before my conversion to the LDS Church.

    Lastly, I just wanted to say something that I have told a few of my LDS friends, recently. I am not an enemy of the LDS Church. I started down that path, shortly after I left the church, but it was not right for me. That's not to say it's not "right", at all...just not for me.

  12. #12
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Hi Stem. Thanks for the response.

    In answer to your last question:



    http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/home.htm
    Are you pulling a JD? I get what you mean but it appears you are re-***igning the meaning of hte quote to something else, after reading your previous comments.

    love,
    stem

  13. #13
    Libby
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    Quote Originally Posted by stemelbow View Post
    Are you pulling a JD? I get what you mean but it appears you are re-***igning the meaning of hte quote to something else, after reading your previous comments.

    love,
    stem

    I don't understand what you mean. You asked where Joseph was threatened with death by an angel. I showed you. I think he also told that story to Emma.

  14. #14
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I don't understand what you mean. You asked where Joseph was threatened with death by an angel. I showed you. I think he also told that story to Emma.

    my question was which ones. I see now your initial comments were a misstating. No big deal. I guess you just got a little carried away, like many do.

    love,
    stem

  15. #15
    Libby
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    Stem, I'm really not following you. I misstated something? What?

  16. #16
    seebok
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    Hi Libby

    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Secondly, I do not blame anyone in the church for my ignorance on any subject. I take total responsibility for that. I read the Book of Mormon and had an "experience" with it, which lead me, heart first, into the church. My head followed much later.
    The Church of Jesus Christ teaches a "Holy Ghost first approach". If you now place your "head" first over the Holy Ghost, you missed an important epistemological lesson, namely, "reason" serves an important "ministerial" function, just not the "magisterial" one Father JD preaches.

    There are many good reasons not to follow Father JD in his prideful error which elevates reason over and is dismissive of the Holy Ghost. I think the following general points adapted from scholar William Lane Craig are worth pointing out to you:

    1) Following Father JD would deny the right of true faith to all who lack the ability, time, or opportunity to understand and ***ess the arguments and evidence. The consequences would no doubt consign untold millions of people who have faith in Christ to unbelief.
    2) If one embraces Father JD's approach, those who have been presented with more cogent intellectual arguments against Christ than for him would have an excuse before God for their unbelief.
    3) JD's view creates a sort of intellectual elite, a priesthood of philosophers and historians, who will dictate to the m***es of humanity whether or not it is rational for them to believe in the gospel. But surely faith is available to everyone why, in response to the Spirit's drawing, calls upon the name of the Lord.
    4) JD's approach subjects faith to a vagaries of reason and the shifting sands of evidence, making Christian faith rational in one generation and irrational in the next.

    I just don't understand why JD demeans the the Holy Ghost!? The Holy Ghost is our veridical evidence. JD's intellectual reason for belief which he sells here on WM is just pride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Lastly, I just wanted to say something that I have told a few of my LDS friends, recently. I am not an enemy of the LDS Church. I started down that path, shortly after I left the church, but it was not right for me. That's not to say it's not "right", at all...just not for me.
    D&C 6: 22
    22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
    23 Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

    best

    s.

  17. #17
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Stem, I'm really not following you. I misstated something? What?
    You originally asked,

    "Do you believe there really was a "destroying angel" that would have taken Joseph's life, if certain of these women had not married him? "

    I asked which ones. Your quote doesn't say anything about certain of these women not marrying him. So it appears you misstated or misunderstood.

    love,
    stem

  18. #18
    Jude 3
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    Quote Originally Posted by seebok View Post
    Sure.

    Some say Joseph Smith got the idea to practice polygamy from Martin Luther, who sanctioned polygamy and advocated it to Philip of Hesse and to the founder of JD's Anglican Church, King Henry the 8th. I think it's more likely he just got the idea from the clear evidence in the Bible. You are aware of course that more Evangelicals practice polygamy today than members of the Church of Jesus Christ did in their entire history, no? It's sanctioned by Baptists, Anglicans, etc., mostly in Africa.
    So, how many wives did Martin Luther have?

    Jude 3

  19. #19
    Jude 3
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    Quote Originally Posted by stemelbow View Post
    Are you pulling a JD? I get what you mean but it appears you are re-***igning the meaning of hte quote to something else, after reading your previous comments.

    love,
    stem
    Nothing but diversionary tactics by the Elbow!

    Poor Joseph! He had the pure heart of a monogamist, but the cruel and mean LDS god send an angel to force him to sleep with all those teenaged girls and also to lie to Emma about it.

    "The angel forced me to.....honest, Emma!"

    Amazing how quickly Joseph capitulated to the "angel's instructions." And he "capitulated" frequently, too!

    What a guy!

    Jude 3

  20. #20
    seebok
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    Default The Evans' stinking bag o maggots

    Quote Originally Posted by Jude 3 View Post
    So, how many wives did Martin Luther have?

    Jude 3
    the ole "stinking bag o' maggots" advised the practice. I'm not so sure he himself could have gotten any additional give his self description

    Thus spake Martin Luther of himself, in his Sincere Admonition to all Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion (1522), in Luther's Works (English Translation), volume 45. 70.

    s.

  21. #21
    Libby
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    Quote Originally Posted by stemelbow View Post
    You originally asked,

    "Do you believe there really was a "destroying angel" that would have taken Joseph's life, if certain of these women had not married him? "

    I asked which ones. Your quote doesn't say anything about certain of these women not marrying him. So it appears you misstated or misunderstood.

    love,
    stem
    When you asked "which ones?" did you mean which ones did not marry him? I thought you meant "which ones did he tell of the destroying angel"...which is why I gave you an example.

  22. #22
    Libby
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    The Holy Ghost is our veridical evidence. -Seekbok
    I agree with this, but how do you explain those who say they have a Holy Spirit witness that the LDS Church is not true? How you know who is hearing/feeling the "real" Holy Spirit?

  23. #23
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    When you asked "which ones?" did you mean which ones did not marry him? I thought you meant "which ones did he tell of the destroying angel"...which is why I gave you an example.
    You said "certain of these women", so I asked which ones. So which ones, if that is what you truly meant, are you talking about specifically?

    love,
    stem

  24. #24
    stemelbow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I agree with this, but how do you explain those who say they have a Holy Spirit witness that the LDS Church is not true? How you know who is hearing/feeling the "real" Holy Spirit?
    Why question the Holy Spirit's witness if another mortal human contradicts what He witnesses to you? There is no reason to put another man's claims on the same level as revelation from God. That'd be silly wouldn't it?

    love,
    stem

  25. #25
    seebok
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    I agree with this, but how do you explain those who say they have a Holy Spirit witness that the LDS Church is not true? How you know who is hearing/feeling the "real" Holy Spirit?
    I can not look into the heart of another. Hence I focus on a reality/experience I am familiar with. What I know is that the gift of the Holy Ghost is sweet to the taste and that others can enjoy that same sweetness. Everyone can experience that and everyone has the opportunity to align accordingly or not.

    s.

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