Polygamy gets a fair amount of attention from time to time, but very little thought of what it means or what it implies as far as what kind of species humanity might be and how relevant men are or just what is to be expected in the next life from eternal relationships.
My own thoughts are influenced strongly by just how irrelevant it is easy for a man to become when there are long term female house guests who fit in well, a situation we had when a friend’s husband got transferred and she had one semester left to finish her master’s degree. It wasn’t polygamy, but my wife and our friend got along like happy sisters and I noticed that I was less relevant. That got me thinking about things I had observed working in simulations and studying animal behaviors.
In most species that are polygamous, the males are mostly irrelevant much of the time. Lions hunt, raise children and interact with the males generally off to the side sleeping in a sort of communal polygamy (2-3 husbands, 8-10 wives in the pride whose history I was reviewing, similar rough ratios in other prides). Unless there is fighting and dying to do, male lions are not part of day to day life.
If you look at walruses — the males could just as easily be television sets most of the time. If we are a polygamous species, what it really implies is that to some extent men are not as relevant to a family grouping as women. In fact, the more women that can be in the family, the less relevant the men become.
This is illustrated in early LDS polygamy by plural households that sent members off to learn art, become medical doctors and otherwise operate independently, with little or no need for any continuous male presence. For many of the women in the relationship, men were irrelevant.
Now, are we actually a polygamous species, just as lions are carnivores, and is that some eternal principal, or is polygamy something else in the fallen framework, just as lions apparently cease to eat lambs in the next life? And, if we are polygamous, what does that really mean? I will address both of those in my next post, because I think polygamy is both more and less than it seems.
Stephen Marsh (addressing something that comes up all the time, but of which there seems to be little deep thought)