The raid in Texas is interesting (and differs from AZ and UT prosecutorial efforts) in that polygamy is being attacked directly. So, will this shift in approach result in the end of polygamy (again)?
The underlying assumption in taking 400 children out of their homes is that the lifestyle itself is harmful; invading the temple is a direct challenge to the FLDS religion’s legitimacy. The total absence of ACLU intervention further indicates that there is no legal basis for protection and that national sympathy is lacking due to illegal polygamous behavior. If the FLDS women are viewed as victims, it is as complicit victims. As Alice Walker put it Possessing the Secret of Joy (her book about female genital mutilation), “One tree said to another: I have seen the axe, and the handle is one of us.”
The responses to the raid have varied greatly. There are articles praising TX for its bold action to safeguard women and children from a dangerous patriarchal and insular cult. There are sympathetic posts by LDS who view this action as the Extermination Order II. There are critics of the LDS who condemn any lack of sympathy on our part as being hypocritical. There are women of the FLDS baffled as to why they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs, their children taken from them, and their rights stripped. I would like to explore the shift in approach TX has made, the legal and pragmatic implications of that, and the possible outcomes.
Growing up in the northeast (raised LDS), I had no idea that polygamy was still being practiced by anyone in the US. I had assured my inquisitive high school friends that it had been done away with almost a hundred years ago. I was truly shocked to find otherwise when I attended BYU. My parents are converts, so we have no polygamous ancestry. The first time I heard the term “polyg,” I thought it was an architectural style (“polyg houses”). During my first temple recommend interview I had to ask what a “splinter group” was because I had no idea that (aside from the RLDS) there were other groups that had split from LDS. The idea that anyone would voluntarily practice polygamy if there was any way out of it (e.g. the Official Declaration and it being made illegal) was beyond my comprehension. My own teenage contemplation of polygamy really went no farther than to wonder whether it was something I could have lived if asked like some of those early church women, a safe enough exercise at a distance of a hundred years. It was unpalatable, but as theoretical as other unpalatable things like eating a live cockroach or breast feeding.
Although I was initially outraged and chagrined that UT did not more actively prosecute polygamists who are clearly flouting the law, I gained a lot of respect over time for the pragmatic approach UT and AZ have taken. Texas’ action, while bold, seems excessive; taking over 400 children from their mothers over one anonymous complaint of abuse is overreaching. As a contrast, there are recurring complaints of domestic abuse in some urban low income communities, but they don’t come in and take away all the children in all the neighboring apartments. And they would probably find a lot more abuse if they did. It seems that people’s rights have been trampled and the innocent are being treated without much concern in a “guilty until proven innocent” approach. The incident in Texas has been handled differently for several reasons:
- Texas’ experience with polygamous sects is limited and recent whereas AZ and UT have had long-standing experience with polygamous sects.
- One word: Waco.
- Everything’s bigger in Texas.
- Some have suggested that Baptist sentiment is a force in this raid (at least at whipping everyone into a frenzy).
- Some have suggested that an evangelical political plot is at play by casting the FLDS into the media at critical points in Mitt Romney’s political bid (either for POTUS or VP) to discredit him by a continual reminder that he descends from polygamists and is therefore too weird to hold such high office.
Having said all that, I would not shed a single tear if the end of polygamy is the outcome of this action. I am thrilled polygamy was ended by the LDS in 1890. And a religion (like FLDS) that encourages illegal behavior is inherently harmful if for no other reason than it creates a society of isolation and secrecy. This type of secrecy can be directly harmful (creating an environment in which lying supersedes the truth), but secrecy is also indirectly harmful in that abuse can flourish in an isolated environment.
I acknowledge that there are issues wih prosecuting polygamy that make it difficult because consensual polygamous marriages are not legal; therefore, being in a polygamous marriage is not illegal because you’re only married to one person legally. It’s not illegal in this country to have consensual unmarried sex and children with many partners. It’s called “hooking up,” and it’s quite popular (throw in a tramp stamp and a hairdo, and these women would not be getting hauled off in Baptist school buses). So, prosecution usually focuses on:
1 – statutory rape
2 – abuse
3 – welfare fraud
Obviously, statutory rape and abuse usually require a complainant, difficult to obtain in most cases, but even moreso in a secretive group already wary of outsiders where patriarchal authority is unquestioned. Welfare fraud feels a bit like nabbing Al Capone for postal fraud. And it may fall into the “bigger fish to fry” category for pragmatic reasons.
So, what can be done? If I were running the world, here are a few radical changes I would suggest (speaking of overreaching):
1 – raise the legal marriage age to 18 nationally, no exceptions. 18 is still too young if you ask me. If I had to live with choices I made at 18 . . . well, I’m just glad I do not.
2 – eliminate home schooling or severely restrict it (e.g. limit to one consecutive year and insist on some additional oversight and socialization).
And lastly, if this does mean the end of polygamy (because it is being attacked directly for the first time), take the following steps:
1 – grant the mothers custody on condition they agree not to return to or enter into any more polygamous relationships. This requires ongoing monitoring, but if you’re going to take down polygamy, it’s the only way. Otherwise, TX has to follow the AZ and UT lead and only prosecute what can be prosecuted directly. Placing all the children into foster care seems unduly harsh; if the mothers were given a way to retain their children, even if it meant giving up their (sort of) illegal religious practice, many would comply.
2 – research and prosecute for every instance of abuse, statutory rape, and welfare fraud. Go after these things with a vengeance until they are completely eliminated.
So, do you believe Texas has overreached? And will Texas take it to the mattresses or not? Does this mean the end of polygamy (again, once and for all)? Or will TX back off and follow the lead of AZ & UT, only prosecuting what is feasible? Will the ACLU ever intervene? And if the end of polygamy occurs, can we “re-patriate” this splinter group into mainstream America? Will they ultimately renounce Jeffs as a false prophet, leave the FLDS, and join the LDS? Would they choose their children over their lifestyle if presented with that alternative?
Well, it has taken 10% of the child welfare workers in Texas on this case. I’m conflicted as the local hospital delivers lots of babies to kids as young as nine years old. Baby daddies all over the place and nothing being done about it at all. When I compare the FLDS to the hook-ups and the baby daddies they don’t look so bad. I’m not overly fond of the threatening that Peggy Slack got from the police while reporting on the story.
On the other hand, atavistically I find myself disliking the FLDS and what they do to the young men they expend as surplus, on top of everything else.
BTW, for an ACLU blogger on the topic:
Hawkgrrl, I’ve got very mixed feelings about all this, but frankly it all boils down to the very simple fact that I don’t really care that much for the concept of abusive polygamy. (Abusive being the key word here–if it turns out that polygamy in its very nature is abusive, then I’m going to obviously concede that it has got to go, but I’m going to guess that in certain conditions it can be practiced in a non-abusive fashion. These settings are likely quite rare and probably cannot exist in any modern westernized culture.)
I will take issue with one thing you’ve said, and that’s the restriction of home-schooling. I understand what you are getting at, but frankly the unintended consequences of that particular step are rather unpleasant. As a parent that considered home-schooling very carefully (and ultimately we decided against it for a variety of reasons), I’d have to say that the freedom to home school a child is very important. Even more important is the freedom to place a child in a private school (which FLDS communities could easily develop in lieu of home schooling if that were banned). If it becomes mandatory for all children to attend public schools, then we become dependent on the government entirely for whatever view of the world they wish our children to have. Because regardless of how you like to think of it, there are is a whole range of attitudes and beliefs that are taught at public schools in addition to the bare facts, many of which are blatantly contrary to what I would like my children to learn. Unfortunately. At this point we have enough young children that we simply cannot home school appropriately (that is, it wouldn’t happen), but I think at some point we might go that route. Why? Because I think we can teach more, at a more appropriate pace, in a shorter span, in certain subjects than the public schools can. And we can probably allow the children to pursue a wider variety of interests than the public schools. But right now we simply don’t have the resources or time. When that changes, we’ll do home schooling. But to restrict a parents rights and a child’s opportunity because of some mistakes on the part of others is a terrible idea.
Freedom, fundamentally, comes at the cost of difficulty. That is, if we accept that we allow greater freedoms for everyone, we also accept that we must be on greater watch for the abuse of those freedoms, but we should never actually restrict the freedom itself. That’s a consequence of the concept of agency (and I am a strong believer in the concept of agency and in the concept of obedience, and I see no contradiction) is that we must allow people the opportunity to use that agency to do good or evil, and then when evil is chosen, we must protect others from that evil by separating out those who perpetrate that evil and either isolating them from society or seeking to reform them somehow. This is why I think that prison life should not only be difficult, but it should teach useful job skills, and should talk about philosophy and offer various religious services, so that those who are willing to repent may do so.
In the case of the FLDS, I suspect that many of the women have long wished they could avoid polygamy but have seen no way out. Others, however, probably truly believe that it is the right thing to do. This is probably going to go down in history as one of the most difficult things to decide regarding religion in American Religious History. Not whether or not the Book of Mormon came from gold plates. That will always be an interesting but ultimately relatively inconsequential debate. Polygamy, however, is going to be a battle, if only because there are some women who seem to support it, and seem to want to convince other women–including their own daughters–to join the lifestyle. We can only call it abusive now because of the ages involved, but I guarantee that if there were no pre-18 brides involved, it would be a lot harder to look at it and call it abusive. You might get some, but not nearly as many.
Sorry again for the monster-length post, and for the rambling.
Some of these mothers were never teenage mothers; some of them have kids who all are under 10. Those women have never been victims of statutory rape, and neither have their kids. They have been targeted for what they MIGHT do – what MIGHT happen to the kids. That is beyond scary, no matter what you think of the overall group.
It is hyper-hypocritical. SOME undesirables are being prosecuted for things that others are not, simply because the political backlash of raiding inner-city high schools would destroy the Texas CPS. I’ve worked in those inner-cities, and the situation is not better than the FLDS. Hypocrites, plain and simple, and transparent religious discrimination – since they aren’t targeting anyone else as a group.
It seems that TX and AR and UT have very different views of the enforcement of the purported abuse that has gone on. It appears that AR and UT have turned a blind eye to the situation while convincing themselves of the good things coming from these arrangements.
But, I have to tell you, seeing these women on TV pleading for their children’s return did not show them in the best light. First of all, they looked weird (like a lot of inner breeding has gone on), talked like robots and refused to answer questions that may have pointed to the kind of under-age marrying and abuse that is being alleged.
I have seen some documentaries on polygamy showing non-FLDS situations and, for the most part, the women came off as intelligent, and very aware of the situation they volunteered for. i am sure that not all the situations are that positive, but at least these women seem to have a choice.
The women of the FLDS I saw did not appear this way at all.
hawkgrrl said: “So, what can be done? If I were running the world, here are a few radical changes I would suggest (speaking of overreaching)”
The word you are searching for is “fascism”. The Nazi-like “changes” you suggest are no different than the tactics used by the State of Texas in going into the YFZ Ranch on an unsubstantiated, unverified, anonymous phone call.
Do you seriously want to restrict home schooling? One could make the argument that home schooling is an aspect of freedom of religion. Once home schooling is eliminated, Family Home Evening will be next. But I suppose radical Mosques in this country are OK.
We are reaping harvest grown from the seeds of polygamy sown by Joseph Smith.
…taking over 400 children from their mothers over one anonymous complaint of abuse is overreaching.
It was my understanding that TX has been investigating the FLDS group for years and that the call was the final nod they needed to gain permission to enter the compound.
2 – eliminate home schooling or severely restrict it (e.g. limit to one consecutive year and insist on some additional oversight and socialization).
I fail to see how this would solve the problem. Many people home school for reasons other than religion and fear of society (i.e. deficient public schools). It would be silly to punish them as well. I’m with you on the oversight though, I think home schooled kids should be showing progress toward being productive citizens and if not they should attend public schools.
1 – grant the mothers custody on condition they agree not to return to or enter into any more polygamous relationships.
That would be very hard indeed. How do you tell polygamous families they can’t live together but others that “hook up” can. It just wouldn’t work.
…if the mothers were given a way to retain their children, even if it meant giving up their (sort of) illegal religious practice, many would comply.
My guess is most of them would just run across the boarder first chance they got and set up their polygamous compound in Mexico. It is not that easy to give up something you have been taught to believe your whole life. Your conscience would be eating at you something terrible because you’d feel like you were going against God (even if you weren’t).
Hawkgrrl, way out of line with outlawing home schooling. You sound like a liberal fascist, the kind that are trying to do away with home school in California. I don’t like most home schooling, but people should have the freedom to do so.
To us all, I don’t understand how we can be as vitriolic as we are towards polygamy. There is little difference between Warren Jeffs circa 2008 and Joseph Smith circa 1844. Live and let live. Let them practice their religion. You don’t have to legally condone it, but we have anti-adultery laws on the books and they’re rarely enforced saved for divorce civil proceedings. The fact that MY religion condoned polygamy at one time means that I have to understand it as appropriate as SOME time. It may be appropriate in the future yet again. A careful reading of Isaiah 4 suggests this:
“1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. 2 In that day shall the abranch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.”
Maybe that was already fulfilled with JS and BY but it may be a future promise as well. I just recently told my wife that if we had to live polygamy, I would take additional sweet spirits AND only if I was asked by my bishop to do so.
I do have one tiny request of my FLDS brothers down here in Southern Utah. You can also CHOOSE not to have polygamy and be saved. Really, you can. It’s not necessary. I know you think Brigham Young says we all have to, but its just not true. Many of the early saints were not polygamists. The only ones condemned were those who were asked to enter the order and didn’t. So get off your high horse about it. I’m more impressed if you can live consecration, live IN the world, and help your fellow man, not wear Mormon burquas and separate yourself. Where are your missionary efforts? You’re more like Hassidic Jews than Christians who love you fellow man
Oh, and one more thing: Quit marrying underage girls. You want to protect your way of life, just keep that one little tiny rule, and all the bad police go away. It’s not a big deal, you can still be a Fundie and have tons of wives, they’re just all legal age. Have your own little age-appropriate Manifesto. Manifesto’s work; they get Big Brother off your back.
I have a question for you all. Are you for gay marriage? This is really a rhetorical answer. I’m not meaning to bring gay marriage to this debate, yet again, because the two cases (polygamy and gay marriage) are widely divergent and only remain similar in that they are out of the mainstream of monogamy, but in the case of those of you that are sympathetic to the rainbow cause, I hope you’re consistent with the pettiskirts and unfinished-framed house cause as well.
Polygamy will never end. It’s as eternal as prostitution, taxes, bad breath, and horse farms in Kentucky. It will always be alive somewhere, and I don’t think it really hurts society all that much.
Yeah, I was schizophrenic in this reponse. I apologize.
The bottom line is, this was institutionalized pedophilia, not just abusive polygamy, and the government had to step in. If this were ten consenting adults having a “marriage,” it would be an entirely different issue. The government has a responsibility to step in and stop this practice. The issue with LDS polygamy in the late 19th century is apples and oranges compared to institutional pedophilia. You cannot compare these two at all.
Further regulation of homeschoolers would be throwing out the baby with the bath water or doing exactly what the TX people are being criticized for doing with the FLDS. Homeschooling is highly regulated in almost every state. What, where and how children are taught (presuming there is no abuse) is both the responsibillity and the privilage of parents. For a variety of reasons, my oldest daughter has chosen to homeschool her three boys. It has nothing to do with religion. One of them has a disability which simply cannot be addressed adequately by the public school system where they live, but he is thriving and learning as a homeschooler.
On a personal level, I am ADAMANTLY opposed to polygamy. I am an active member of the LDS Church, but I don’t believe that polygamy is or ever was an inspired practice. With that said, however, I don’t believe we have the right to tell others how to live their personal lives (assuming, again, that there is no abuse). If five women want to live with one man, and he is caring for them and their children, why should the rest of us get involved? Simply because the practice is abhorent to us does not mean we have the right to intervene. There are all kinds of things that we may not approve of that go on behind closed doors, but that doesn’t mean they should all be illegal.
On the home schooling, I definitely would restrict it and put it under more strict guidelines, even for Amish (not forcing them to mainstream schools, though). I realize that’s taking away a “freedom” that exists today, but it is a freedom I feel requires more governance than it has today. Consensual polygamy is a “freedom” TX wants to take away. Not all freedoms are used judiciously by all citizens; hence my view it should have more oversight. All I can say is, don’t vote for me. I grant you my view is somewhat fascist on this topic, although I am no liberal generally speaking.
I believe gays should have access to the rights afforded as civil unions. I am generally a social libertarian. I would not vote for a ban on gay marriage nor would I vote to allow gay marriage. The difference here is the polygamous lifestyle is viewed (at least by TX) as inherently harmful, inhibiting choice, putting children in an environment in which patriarchal authority is unquestioned and abuse goes unreported. The same is not true of gay unions in general. Gays are not a cult (sorry to throw the “c” word out there; I guess the gloves are off now).
If FLDS is a cult, does that mean early Mormonism was a cult? Differences I see are pretty critical: early Mormonism was always a missionary church (not insular), there was a quorum of 12 apostles (not just one man making the unquestionable law for all–even if JS was the top dog, it’s a little more like the Amish council of elders), it was quite easy to leave the church (they left people behind at every stop), only some were asked to live polygamy which was voluntary (if 100% of FLDS are polygamous, is it voluntary?).
Ray – I am interested in your comment that this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
CatherineWO – sorry, I was typing that at the same time you wrote yours. Your homeschooling example is a great illustration of when homeschooling may be a good choice. The latest efforts to mainstream students whose disabilities make it difficult for them to learn or cope have had very mixed results. So, I’m glad there is (at least in some cases) better support and oversight. If the support and oversight is adequate and there is a compelling reason to homeschool, that’s a valid exception. Homeschooling to isolate kids from the world doesn’t seem like a good plan to me, and restricting their access to different viewpoints or teaching methods should be a last resort if no other barriers exist. Restricting it further might help reduce the stranglehold control that cults have over children.
Seems to me you have colonies in states where the civil laws are clearly and wantonly being broken. Action is required even if it places hardships on the government systems and even if it means, in the investigative portion, that the innocent are caught in the same net. And I use “innocent” knowing that even those who may not have participated directly have given their consent to illegal practices and protected it by their participation in the illegal culture.
I don’t have expectations that many lives will be set right by the actions of TX but I don’t fault TX for that. The damage was done by the polygamous sub-cultures. What TX can do — what UT and AZ could also do but are failing to — is wipe out this illegal and destructive way of life.
Girls of 16 who already have babies is clear evidence of statutory rape. There are horrendous stories of punitive measures applied preemptively to babies to assure compliance. Serious birth defects caused by inbreeding are also sufficient examples of the crimes against laws and nature that are taking place in the name of religion.
Polygamy is and always was an outrage, a disgrace and a perversion. And the position of the LDS would be more clear and more aggressive if their embarrassment over the introduction of the practice didn’t come from the fact that it was introduced to the United States by the very LDS leadership. Nevertheless, the past is the past and allowing the abuses and consequences to continue out of false pride is unacceptable on every level.
The calls of allegation were a hoax. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has become a target of Anonymous! The hoax is intended not only to bring down false religion, but to place the government in a compromised position.
On the matter of polygamy being the target rather than abuse in Texas:
The criminal prosecutions are going to be based on polygamy and not abuse.
I might agree with this tactic as a clever attempt to fork the FLDS, and force them to delay polygamous marriages to age 18:
Either the men say they are married to the 16 year olds, thus opening them to a charge of bigamy.
Or the men deny a legal marriage and are charged with statutory rape.
Clever, but dangerous, particularly since they used abuse as the excuse to enter the compound. If the FLDS men are smart they will own up to marrying these girls and challenge the state of Texas to bring bigamy charges. Then there will be an actual showdown over the legitimacy of the laws against bigamy. (Besides, better to go to jail for bigamy than for rape).
Now I expect that the bigamy laws will be upheld, but there will be alot of grief about the manner in which the evidence was gathered.
That is what disturbs me the most about the above quote:
This is exactly why the FLDS men and women are so reluctant to talk to the press, and this strikes me as an attempt to intimidate the men and women of the FLDS into silence.
Even threaten them with not being able to show up in court and challenge the states case because to do so would incriminate themselves under the bigamy statute. This seems a very highhanded way to essentially steal children away from families with a religion people don’t like.
As for the suggested changes you argue for, particularly the restrictions on homeschooling.
I think the point Kate made about the Canadian Human Rights Commision has great validity and pertinence:
Alice, be VERY careful of sweeping generalities.
“Polygamy is and always was an outrage, a disgrace and a perversion.”
I don’t agree with polygamy in our society, but are you really ready to make this charge against ALL polygamists throughout history? Are you Christian or Jewish? Do you accept the practice by those the Bible sees as prophets?
The Bible goes back to the very earliest point of recorded human history. As such, it tells us about events that took place before cultures were organized into what we call civilization. If prophets practiced polygamy it was abandoned by the time Jesus was born. What’s more, in every civilization there are things done because they *can* be done by the powerful, callous and aggressive not because they *should* be done.
Civilization is a move to what is best for the whole culture and protects the rights of the vulnerable. It was the remedy to rapacious behavior of a class with power. I have *no* wish to move backward to the tyranny of the more powerful that we can see exercised by war lords in the Middle East and Africa. I see little difference in the polygamous cultures of the Southwest.
Pervious attempts to disband them were abandoned when they were painful. I see no reason to follow that impotent course when allowing them to continue is a sure course of generations more of subjugation of women, children and vulnerable young boys in addition to the exploitation of US society that pays for the existence of these places in welfare and tax dollars.
Do not confuse devotion with using religion as a weapon or a tool. And do not confuse shared guilt over the early teachings of LDS with an excuse for permitting this repulsive and abusive practice to continue.
Great post Hawgrrrl…I am glad someone blogged about it.
I agree with you that if children are being abused then something needs to be done.
I differ with you on your opinion about home schooling.
“If prophets practiced polygamy it was abandoned by the time Jesus was born.”
This is not true.
Polygamy was practice among the Jews in Jesus’ time.
I don’t remember a single New Testament story about Jesus ministering to a polygamous group.
In any case, it did not appear in the United States until it was introduced by Joseph Smith and his followers.
I don’t think Jesus talked about coffee and tea, either.
No. He didn’t. And he didn’t talk about computers, tractors or frozen foods.
Shall we speculate on his positions on those? Or shall we stick to the topic of old men using young women’s vulnerability and using scriptures to violate them and keep them in lives of subjugation?
Alice, nobody is defending child abuse and statutory rape. The main concern is the way that Texas has gone about it.
Just to be crystal clear: Since 16-year-old girls with children is a clear sign of statutory rape (with which I agree, in general), are you willing to allow the state to remove EVERY child of EVERY 16-year-old mother? Are you at the very least willing to allow the state to remove EVERY child in an entire neighborhood where 16-year-old mothers are common?
even the children of mothers who obviously were NOT teenagers when their children were born?
I have ZERO difficulty with the state of TX rooting it out. Let us stipulate that that entire community of people were born into a life of servitude and bondage with the exception of a few autocratic men who ruled it. I have no illusions that the State of TX can rehabilitate all those lives. But they can stop the possibility of it being replicated for generations to come. And it’s possible that a few lives *can* be rehabilitated — a possibility few are acknowledging. Meanwhile, I don’t think they could make them any worse.
Carolyn Jessop is an example of the fact that it is possible to break the cycle. And she is a witness to why it’s a goal to pursue. Here is her account of how docile personalities were assured:
“Everything you did was monitored and controlled and everybody reported on everyone else,” she said. “It was a police state. You were not allowed to make decisions in your life. I had no power over my life or the lives of my children. It was a terrible way to live.”
“The method he would use with infants [to ensure docility] was a form of water torture,” Jessop said of her former husband. “He would spank the baby until it was screaming out of control, and then he would hold the baby faceup under a tap of running water so it couldn’t breathe. He would do this repeatedly. Sometimes, it would go on for an hour, until the baby was so exhausted it couldn’t cry anymore. This method he called ‘breaking them.’”
If that doesn’t chill you then look into the vacant eyes of any one of those mothers who are crying for their children now and tell me they would or could protect them from abuse.
Alice, If those practices were used, you bet the abusers should be prosecuted and sentenced to life in solitary confinement. However, that’s not what the official explanation has been thus far. Until that charge is made, I can’t support removing the children (even the boys) for concern of potential statutory rape – which is what we have been given thus far. What I am saying is that it shouldn’t be ok to do whatever you want to do, constitutional protections be damned.
Also, you didn’t answer my question. Please re-read comments #24 and #25 and answer the actual questions I asked. What is the mothers and children are not living in a polygamous community? Are you STILL willing to allow the state to do what it is doing here? There are LOTS of neighborhoods in this country where pregnancy among teenagers is rampant – where girls have 4-5 kids by the time they are 20, with 4-5 different fathers. The illegitimacy rate in some inner-city areas is reaching or has passed 80%. Are you willing to allow the state to do there what it is doing here – removing ALL children no matter what to keep them from being abused and impregnated later?
Tell you what, if they (not so certain who “they” is since the TX authorities have standing only within TX) went to individual homes and did the same thing where there was reason to believe they would eventually be able to identify the abused and the abusers, I’d support them in that too. But you tell me where their effort is more likely to have the greatest return and impact. And I’ll tell you what I think of officials in UT and AZ who are still turning a blind eye to the same abuses within their borders.
Meanwhile, instead of nipping at the heels of law enforcement who are trying to protect a vulnerable population and break a cycle of overt lawlessness, why don’t we concentrate on praying that they will remember what their goal was and do everything in their power and even find additional resources to deliver those children from a controlling and abusing world and provide them with educations and more alternatives in their lives than they were ever going to have last month.
People have no problem with what the State of Texas is doing here because we live in a perverse and corrupt world filled with cold, callous, and hateful people.
We are all affected by the insidiousness of this culture around us, and we are all controlled by our fears.
We have a homosexual government in a paedophilic society, where people want to impose control on others because they cannot control themselves.
What the State is doing here is an outrage, but only expect things to get worse from here on out! Just wait till they bring the military cordon to a metropolis near you.
So much for all the “liberal Mormons” out there… Marriage between males is fine with you, but how dare someone have more than one wife! Talk about double standards in our pansy, politically-correct world!
It is just absolutely ridiculous that the State’s case is founded upon the fact that they could not locate divorce records!!! THINK WITH YOUR BRAINS, PEOPLE!
Adding that there is, of course, no relationship between everyone in a neighborhood and a pregnant 16yo in the general population. OTOH, there is a clear relationship between the people in a community with the kind of socialist economic order that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young designed and such as *is* the design of the YfZ. What’s more, the very unanimity of the community which is directed from the top and fortified by generations of interbreeding is the very mechanism by which unwilling young women are made willing to make themselves available to smelly old men who already have wives of 20, 30 and 40 that they’ve grown tired of.
Re: Homeschooling is highly regulated in almost every state
I was a direct witness to the state of homeschooling (or keeping home from school, as my wife calls it) in Arizona. The parents in this family considered the mere presence of textbooks and the enrollment of children into online correspondence school the end of their responsibility. The mother worked and the dad was “disabled” and did nothing (he felt that homeschooling kids was the mothers responsibility.) OR, if the kids didn’t open the books and study them, then it was the kids fault that they didn’t get an education. The kids would thus sit home and watch videos all day long and lack even simple literacy. The other kids in their Sunday School classes would make fun of them because they couldn’t read the scriptures. When it came time to finish the online tests or miss out on a high school diploma, the mother would complete the tests herself and submit them. We tried to play Catch Phrase with the kids one time, and the teenage boy couldn’t read the term “tree of life” without help. We considered turning them in to the Arizona social services or other authorities until we found that there were no requirements to show that you were actually educating your kids, thus there would be nothing that could be done. This was a deplorable situation. We tried to work with a couple of the kids to get them into college classes, but they were so far behind and so intimidated by formal classroom education that it was a huge barrier. Their opportunities for a successful future are forever stunted. Yes, the parents are the ones to blame, but who looks out for the kids when the parents do nothing. They didn’t want their kids associating with all the evil influences found at a public school, but their own kids were getting into trouble because they didn’t have anything else to do. I guess some states actually require kids to take tests to show that minimum standards are met. Shocking that nothing like this exists in Arizona.
Alice, I am trying to focus on the actions of the state, so let me phrase it this way:
If they are convinced that abuse is inevitable, and if they are convinced that crimes are being committed on a widespread scale, ***why did they go after the victims (the women and children) and leave the perpetrators (the men) free?*** Why couldn’t they have let the children stay in a familiar and non-threatening environment (their homes with their mothers) and taken away the men who are accused of the illegal and repulsive actions? The state could have accomplished the exact same thing with FAR LESS trauma to the kids.
All of the other issues aside, this is what bothers me the most – that it appears as if very little thought was put into the very real trauma they are imposing on these kids and what they are NOT doing to the men. If the men are the criminals (and I can accept that), why not arrest them? If the evidence doesn’t justify their arrest, then it shouldn’t justify the removal of the children – and if they are interrogating minor children (some as young as 2) in the absence of anyone they know in order to gain “evidence” against the men . . . scary doesn’t even begin to describe it.
They want to inoculate the children, simple as that.
Alice, we do not need to know about your improprieties with “smelly old men”… You cannot hide your base drives and perversions behind your self-righteous and all-assuming attitude.
Sexual perverts see sexual perversion everywhere they look!
Ray- I can see that taking the men into custody is an acceptable alternative. But it seems to me that there is still the issue of keeping the compound open and unmolested to gather appropriate evidence.
#34 – Please stow it, Derek. That is WAY beyond acceptable.
Thanks, Ray. Kind of you but I assure you I am more than capable of disregarding nonsense.
Oh, but speculating as to their improprieties isn’t “WAY beyond acceptable”… I think you just made my point…
Polygamy in New Testament Times:
Alice: “why don’t we concentrate on praying that they will remember what their goal was and do everything in their power and even find additional resources to deliver those children from a controlling and abusing world and provide them with educations and more alternatives in their lives than they were ever going to have last month.” Hear, hear! The pragmatic concern is dealing with 416 additional children in an already taxed foster care system. If some of the women can be repatriated and monitored (somehow), there may be a way to return some of the children to their (single) mothers. Outreach by LDS families willing to take in FLDS foster kids has been suggested by other comment boards also. If saving the children from a sheltered, insular cult that encourages illegal behavior is the object, child welfare has to come first. The threat is that like mercury in the desert, when you step on it, it rolls away and forms elsewhere.
there are 4000 registered sex offenders in my city, Why don’t they come roll up the lot of us and haul us off for questioning?
p.s. I am not one of them, I meant haul off the whole city, AS IF…
Taking exception with you, hawkgrrrl, after seeing interviews with a couple of the women of YfZ Ranch. They seem profoundly devoid of personalities. I’m not saying they look like they wouldn’t be the life of the party or that they couldn’t hold a stimulating conversation. I’m saying they seem remote and lack appropriate emotional responses. Even when they talk about the children being missing they speak without any apparent conviction, cry as if pretending to and switch moods and topics on a dime.
I am NOT saying that I think they are insincere. I am saying that I think they are so abused themselves that they are profoundly depressed and or mentally ill and otherwise not capable of raising emotionally healthy children — especially in the situation where the children will need rehabilitative work.
On a slightly different topic, the news reports I am hearing suggest that TX had no idea the extent of the problem when they entered the ranch in search of the complaintant. They estimated the total population of YfZ to be about 100 adults and children. But, once confronted with the extent of the problem they had no choice but to remove them until they were satisfied that they had safe living conditions.
Alice, you just nailed my biggest problem with the way the state has handled this. They had no idea what they were getting into, which means they ended up over-reacting.
Best example: They say they are trying to protect the children from sexual abuse, including statutory rape. I understand that motivation, but if that is the case **why remove the girls under 10?**
Even more tellingly, why remove the boys? Based on absolutely everything I’ve heard about this group, those boys were in no danger whatsoever of sexual abuse and statutory rape. They are not accused of abuse or being abused – only of being indoctrinated. This means that the state removed the boys because of the TEACHINGS of the group, NOT because of any actions by or toward them. How is that possibly defensible from a legal standpoint – and how does that not scare you beyond belief? If kids can be removed from their mothers for what they are being TAUGHT, what’s to stop the state from doing the same to other groups that teach unpopular and “weird” concepts?
Size and political clout alone, as witnessed by the state’s unwillingness to arrest baby daddies and remove the kids they produce from the baby factories that call themselves mothers – **and Christians**. That irony is missed by most people, but how could the state possibly remove children from those who profess to be Baptists and Methodists – even as they break the moral command just as openly and blatantly as any polygamists? (More so, actually, since the polygamists at least have an appearance of dedication to family, twisted as it might appear to others – and actually be.)
Bottom line: I just hate double standards, and this case is the ultimate in double standards.
AP Headline: “Polygamous-sect hearing in Texas descends into farce”
“Walther signed an emergency order nearly two weeks ago giving the state custody of the children after a 16-year-old girl called an abuse hot line claiming her husband, a 50-year-old member of the sect, beat and raped her. **The girl has yet to be identified.**”
“Department of Public Safety Sgt. Danny Crawford testified to DPS’s discovery of a church bishop’s records taken from a safe at the ranch that listed about 38 families, SOME of them polygamous and SOME that included wives 16 or 17 years old. But under repeated cross-examination, Crawford acknowledged the records contained NO evidence of sexual abuse.”
“At issue was an attempt by the state of Texas to strip the parents of custody and place the children in foster homes because of evidence they were being physically and sexually abused or in imminent danger of abuse.”
All of them are in danger of imminent sexual abuse?! Preposterous.
“The children, who are being kept in a domed coliseum in San Angelo, range in age from ***6 months*** to 17 years. ***Roughly 100 of them are under 4.***”
How is this not over-reacting?
I agree that TX is clearly going after polygamy and the FLDS religion, and that they were assuming this was another Waco on their hands. As they say, “Don’t mess with Texas.”
Alice may have a point about most of the women being too out of touch and depressed to retain custody, although I have to hold some hope that there are some women in the group who are fit to be mothers under the right circumstances (including repatriation). Other interviews with FLDS women have shown some to be college-educated and articulate. We are only seeing what the media shows. But I am inclined to believe that many of the children are better off growing up more mainstream. People can say “which religion will be targeted next?” but I believe FLDS is over the line into cult territory, even if not on the David Koresh scale. A peaceful cult. But a cult.
the bull – thanks for that clarification. I did a double take!
Ray- You assume that only kind of abuse in question is sexual exploitation. That may have been part of the initial allegation but even that allegation included charges of physical abuse which is not gender specific. There are also reports that underage boys were forced into labor. There is a question about what kind of education any of the children got.
You and I are sitting in front of our computers making guesses. The authorities in TX were on the spot having sworn duties to discharge and overwhelming decisions to make. I am not comfortable second-guessing them and I see more than enough justification to have acted in some manner.
I remind you that no one has been charged with anything. But temporary steps have been taken — justifiably in my opinion — to gather information in a safe environment to determine what the long-range tack should be.
Meanwhile, I hope AZ and UT will profit from what TX learns about conditions on the YfZ Ranch and the legal proceedings arising from it. Because there are hundreds more children living in circumstances that could be similar and may be worse. This is a *sick* situation as the merest consultation with your stomach should indicate.
None of you have a point as we sit here in the cult of the Internet, sheltered by insular websites, feeding our own egos, gratifying our lusts to be better than others. Feeling so angry with ourselves that we must dream of kidnapping other people’s children and then attempt to rationalize it.
How does it feel to be the proud people dressed in fine apparel gathered up into a great and spacious building, pointing out at the world and mocking those that stumble in the darkness as they search for the iron rod?!?
First of all…. Underage boys forced into labor?? Thank goodness CPS doesn’t check on those poor farm boys.
It is traditional for young children to work. That’s not abuse in any way.
Next, apparently there are several women who claim to be over 18 (including a 20 year-old who’s lawyer was complaining today that he has not be able to see her)
The position of CPS is that they don’t look over 18, and they don’t believe them when they claim to be older so they get to imprison them.
Now maybe CPS is right and they are lying, but I don’t see how that suspicion can be used to imprison them. America’s legal system assumes that people are telling the truth- it’s incumbent upon CPS to provide proof that they are lying.
I find it very disturbing that CPS can grab a young woman and demand that she prove (somehow- since they are not accepting birth certificates) that she is over 18 before she can go free.
I mean, I think of a good friend of mine, Diana. She’s 24, but she looks like a junior high student. She’s 5 foot 2, and looks very young.
Also, the fact that girls at the FLDS ranch thought having children was the greatest thing that could happen to them… that’s evidence of brainwashing?
Also, the key element in CPS case seems to be that they have been taught that it is okay for “children” (meaning teenagers) to have children. CPS argues that that is so horrible that none the children can be returned to their families.
I might point out a few things. First of all, Texas law allows 16 yearolds to marry with their parents permission, that implies that the state of Texas thinks it’s acceptable for 16 year olds to have children (under certain circumstances). Also not to long ago (4 years) Texas state law said 14 year olds could marry with their parents permission. So lets tamp down the outrage just a bit okay.
Now I understand the argument that these are not legal marriages and therefor statutory rape laws still apply- I agree with prosecuting the “husbands” for rape. I repeat that I support that.
However, using the mere religious belief that a 16 year old is old enough to marry as evidence of abuse is outrageous. Are we going to take away all the Muslim and Hindu children too?
When I was growing up (~12 years ago when I was 15), there were a bunch of Mormon girls between Kansas City and Adam-ondi-Ahman that were into marrying off and having children at age 17 (legal age in MO). It was certainly not a condoned practice nor encouraged behavior, it was just what some very devout girls really wanted.
One such girl had a thing for me and hoped that I might be her 17-year-old mate. While I wasn’t about to go for such a thing, I also wasn’t about to ridicule her for her eagerness like you guys seem so happy to do (even if I did break her heart by ceasing our correspondence, as I did not then know how to handle such a situation).
And this is to say nothing of eager Mormon girls in Kansas that can marry at age 14!
If you guys would study history and theology, you would know that the institution of marriage is ONLY about procreation and nothing more. So Texas used to think 14-year-olds could have children by their husbands, and many states still think this!
I generally agree with ya hawkgrrrl; but maybe not in the granting mothers custody if they agree to leave polygamy.
I’d say that consenting adults should be permitted to live as they wish (even gays) and even if they are ‘living in sin’ as they say. Let them face the consequences before God if they wish to live that way.
But this FLDS raid thing made me remember what Pt Woodruff said in conference when he ended polygamy, what he said his dream was about. Its like the FLDS are living today what the LDS church would have gone through had they continued plural marriage. Todays’ raids and problems are roughly similar to what Pt Woodruff predicted would happen.
And I saw some women from FLDS on Larry King Live. They where all adults who had their children removed because a 16 year old was going to be married off to a 51 year old? Something is missing here in what TX alleges -even if these women are living in sin.
Great post by the way 🙂
Great post, hawkgrrl! Until Texas repeals its bigamy law, the state of Texas is free to prosecute members of the FLDS community who are breaking the law. While tragic, these children are in state custody and separated from their parents because their parents are engaging in criminal behavior. Polygamy is illegal. If you don’t like it, lobby your state legislature to change the bigamy laws.
News on CNN today says they have identified that the caller was not from YfZ ranch, as the FLDS women claimed. However, TX will still have to determine what to do with the kids.
ECS – nice to see you over here! I’ve enjoyed your comments and posts on the other sites.
A good friend of mine was raised in a polygamous household, but not FLDS. Her dad just wanted to have 4 wives. They were raised non-religiously. Although she was not part of a cult, she does pretty much hate her dad because of the kind of person he was to choose to do that. It’s pretty messed up.
I have 3 fathers and 3 mothers, but since my family has divorce records, they won’t be hauled off to jail any time soon. Having been raised Mormon, I don’t much mind the fact that I have extra parents.
It was coming to terms with my theology and embracing the doctrines I was taught to believe as a child that made me not “pretty much hate” my parents for the divorces and changed my mind as to thinking things were “pretty messed up”.
Maybe you guys don’t understand Mormon theology completely, but when my biological mother and father and their spouses die, my elder brother will perform the temple rites to seal my mother to her 3 husbands and to seal my father to his 3 wives.
Maybe you guys don’t understand that this is a cult website about a cult religion (Mormonism). Any religion worth practicing demands a cult from its followers! Read the dictionary, and stop using the perverted, demeaning, and meaningless definitions of a popular brain dead culture.
You guys sound like zombies or mind control slaves. BRAAAAAINS!
“Polygamy is and always was an outrage, a disgrace and a perversion.”
So was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob also perverts? For those of you who believe it “never was” of the Lord or condoned, throw out half of your Old Testament. What happens if the Church goes back to it in the future, or in the Milennium, or in Heaven. Elder Oaks was at a fireside a few years ago and repeated twice that he was sealed to his two wives. That makes Elder Oaks a polygamist, albeit a heavenly one. Sometimes our outrages are based on our own correlated circumstances and cultural proclivities. Humility in these matters is always key.
As you say, Peter, D&C 132 is still alive and can be reinstated at any time. …which is, I suppose, why the church has been embarrassingly silent about YfZ.
This post is terribly problematic. There isn’t any firm evidence that polygamy is being attacked directly. Sure, it is being attacked indirectly, but it doesn’t seem to be the number issue at hand. If polygamy were being attacked directly, the men would be under fire and would be tried for bigamy.
In addition, suggesting that this means the end of polygamy seems quite naive. It’s not going anywhere. As I’m sure you’re aware, the FLDS are only one among many such communities in the U.S. (some are Mormons of some stripe, others have no affiliation with Mormonism whatsoever).
And do you really believe that outlawing homeschooling and raising the legal marriage age in all states to 18 would help the problems you outline here? Do you see any problems with those solutions?
alice, your comment #18 and subsequent comments prove that cultural imperialism is alive and well in America today. How sad.
Peter – I’m firmly in the “wait and see” camp on celestial matters like being sealed to more than one spouse and the law of consecration. I’ll get to the theoretical commandments once I master the ones I have been given. That should keep me busy enough for the next 60 years or so. I agree with you that humility is always key.
Alice – I think the church’s silence is like having a distant in-bred cousin get arrested publicly. The FLDS are our Billy Carter. We’re not responsible for this relations illegal activities, but somewhat embarrassed and a concerned about what will be said about the family tree.
Peter Brown said, “So was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob also perverts? For those of you who believe it “never was” of the Lord or condoned, throw out half of your Old Testament.”
This is a fallacious misdirecting of the argument. To try to sum up the Christian opposition to LDS polygamy, as I understand it, is:
1) Joseph Smith was not a prophet because Christians do not believe his teachings accord with nor follow from the teachings and practices of Christ’s church that radically altered the doctrinal and cultural paradigm from that of the Jewish bible period. Furthermore, Christians see the internal inconsistencies with what Smith claimed about his revelations, and how he went about obtaining them (folk magic, divination, etc.) to furthermore raise doubt about his veracity in speaking for the divine. [It further compounds the problem that this evaluation of Smith is in a post-Enlightenment western culture where the historical case is especially doubt-casting; though it is fair to argue that historicity on its own is not the best critical argument since Christians do not equally apply it to their own scriptural record.]
2) As Christians take objection with Joseph Smith’s legacy of spiritual leadership, it also calls into question his private behavior and character, for ex: how he went about implementing polygamy. It is believed this a) was especially questionable compared to how he went about with his other so-called revelatory processes (much more specious, deceitful and on the sly), and b) was replete with especially questionable practices e.g., abuse of power and the culpability in having other women members enter in to a polyandrous relationship with him.
3) Christians consider that some other OT Fathers’ or kings’ (Abraham, David, etc.) practice of polygamy, concubinage, and polyamory a cultural practice which God indulged, and is sinful, were we to practice them ourselves, in light of new NT standards. The OT practices are not doctrinal because we do not have scripture teaching the practice as doctrinal — and we certainly have many Jewish cultural practices laid out as matters of holiness within the Pentateuch/Torah. Furthermore following the Captivity it is clear that polygamous practices fell out of cultural normalcy with the Jews, and reduced further as Greek cultural influence spread. By the time the Christian church was established we have not only monogamous culture as the heterosexual norm, but also specific doctrine in the early Church that a man is the be the husband of only one woman.
4) Since we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, obviously we’d have to throw out all scripture if we did so because people (and prophets) sin. This is a fallacious argument. Smith’s polygamous doctrine, may not be necessarily condemnable if it were a) a cultural, legal norm and b) permitted from God, yet because of Smith’s questionable revelatory and spiritual leadership heritage, Christians reject that it was a revealed practice. And it certainly was not a legal nor culturally sympathetic practice. (It continues to be revolting marital practice to most sensibilities, including many modern LDS members.)
5) It is true David the king was given wives and concubines by the prophet, and David’s behavior isn’t directly condemned except where he took as wife another man’s wife (Uriah) and had him killed. This is not justification for the implementation of polygamy in the early LDS church. Furthermore, since Joseph not only took extra wives not in accordance with this biblical example (he was an authority unto himself and could not be questioned nor “checked” like David could), but he took other men’s wives as his own, clearly perpetuating a sin like unto David’s with Bathsheba.
6) Lastly, even where polygamy was a cultural practice in OT scripture, it was never taught as a divine order. Therefore for Smith, and especially for leaders from Young afterward, to teach that polygamous marriage was God’s ultimate divine law and expectation also does not follow from biblical culture nor teachings, whether OT or NT.
All of this evidence and argument is compelling to Christians that LDS polygamy’s start was sinful and not of divine origin. The seeds we see in the FLDS scandal were sown from the beginning of its practice in the LDS church.
“As Christians take objection with Joseph Smith’s legacy of spiritual leadership, it also calls into question his private behavior and character, for ex: how he went about implementing polygamy.” I believe this statement is backwards. Most of the critics of JS originate their criticism in his personal behavior and character (fortune hunting, boisterous character) and then interpret his deeds as the result of his “morally bad” character (outcomes were fraud, immoral relations, deification).
If you take JS’s character to be good, these outcomes are placed in a wholly different light than the view of critics. JS becomes a fallible human, with failings on par with everyone, who was asked by God (or believed in earnest that he was) to both preach and do some extremely difficult things. I, for one, cannot reconcile the image of JS I see with that of his critics. Was he a terrible financier? Heck, yes; although, there was no national banking system, so my modern standards are pretty high. Was he lustful and adulterous? I don’t see that–he was very devoted to Emma, and polygamy broke his heart. Was he the most boisterous person to hold the title prophet? Probably. Did he intentionally deceive people to make himself important or to get gain? I just don’t see that. I believe JS was earnest and humble and tried to do the right things, whatever else his failings may have been.
hawkgrrrl (62): I can see your perspective, though I don’t hold it myself. I have LDS friends who do. All who do define themselves as heretical, in that they think that Smith was not only fallible, but particularly flawed. Yet they believe that divinity still worked thru him — even though all of them don’t accept the modern LDS church narrative about these events. When Smith is so radically defined, that he neither fits the standard to which Christians object, nor to that which most mainstream LDS believe, it is challenging to debate the point. Such a person rejects the standards of the orthodox critic, and the orthodox of their own self-professed faith. But this is the walk we have seen with many spiritual heretics, and it is a walk with which many of them are comfortable. One has to respect that honesty.
I still think the outcomes of Smith’s heritage (and to this point, particularly what we are discussing here about the FLDS) are radically inconsistent with scriptural doctrine and culture, and especially with that laid out in NT scripture. But then, I also am a Christian. So I’ve chosen my team 🙂
hawkgrrrl- I admire the fearlessness of your honesty.
hawkgrrrl (#61): I quote the Church Handbook of Instruction, chapter 8 “Temples and Marriages”, section “Sealing Policies”, p. 73 — “Deceased Women: A deceased woman may be sealed to all men to whom she was legally married during her life. However, if she was sealed to a husband during her life, all her husbands must be deceased before she can be sealed to a husband to whom she was not sealed during life.”
The Church WILL practice the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage in the hereafter, it is our doctrine and practice today. The Church WILL again practice the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage on the Earth upon the completion of the restoration (the restoration, contrary to popular Mormon belief, is not yet complete).
In early days of our Church, the women also had multiple husbands. (Its called “plural marriages”, folks, not “plural wives”!) The women were sealed “for time and all eternity” to one husband, and they could then marry further husbands and be sealed “for time only”. Upon their deaths, they would be sealed “for time and all eternity” by proxy to all of their “for time only” spouses.
Joseph Smith, Jr., shared wives with Parley P. Pratt and others!
Derek – I don’t dispute the handbook, but what does it mean? It can mean lots of things. I for one can’t fathom what happens after death as clearly as you do, but I am a few years closer to it than you are, so maybe I don’t want to peer over the precipice just yet. It certainly never said that everyone would be living polygamously as they were on YfZ ranch.
I am aware of the marital mish-mosh in the early church to which you refer. These relationships were simply nothing like anything outside of science fiction, IMO, and I don’t understand them in practical terms. They are totally foreign. They were not living like the YfZ ranch. They were not living like Abraham or Jacob. The marriages are almost more like an intricate square dance, and seemingly as intimate (which is to say, not very). Couples came together, do-si-do’d (or didn’t), and pulled apart again. Eight people in one dance, four in another, three here. Yet, it wasn’t a lustful orgy. An orgy I would understand (well, I read Helter Skelter anyway).
I suppose my life with kids and husband, a job in a complex modern industry, a blackberry, flying across the country every other week, would also seem foreign to those people 150 years ago. Things that I don’t understand and can’t fathom don’t get in the way of the things that I do know. But I appreciate your thoughts.
Well… the doctrine on the necessity of a spouse to enter the highest order of the celestial kingdom, and the self-evident differences in the number of valiant men, and the number of valiant women suggests that polygamy must be at least permitted in the life after death, although probably not required… (as the difference in numbers does not seem to reach 2 to 1 ratios).
This seems to be what logic would dictate, however, I am open to the possibility that mortal logic can not comprehend the plan of God.
We have pronouncements from people such as Wilford Woodruff and Bruce R. McConkie that plural marriage will return at some point. But plural marriage is not the same as the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is only an appendage to it. I think you would be hard pressed to find an authority in the Church now who would agree with these statements of earlier authorities.
I think plural marriage is a messy thing by nature that will be sorted out in the next life, and there is nothing that guarantees it will be practiced in the millennium or the next life. We simply don’t know what will be revealed in the Millenium. We simply do not know if the wives will be redistributed in the next life who previously lived in a plural relation so all are monogamous.
God is no respecter of persons. So either all will be monogamous, or all will be polygamous. Many early brethren referred to plural marriage as a “blessing.” This is a “blessing” that nobody can receive in our day because it is not offered, and those who pass on through mortality to the spirit world in our day do not have the opportunity to live it. Either the Lord has to equalize it by making all relations polygamous in the next world, or he needs to make it all monogamous. But I contend nobody knows which way it will go.
Cicero – “self-evident differences in the number of valiant men, and the number of valiant women” I’ve heard this said many times, and said it myself, but the view from relief society doesn’t look so much grander than the view in priesthood. I don’t buy this argument anymore. I just think the LDS have a mother complex. We revere women beyond what women deserve and conversely we criticize men far too much. Just my opinion from the other side of the house.
UFO Skeptic – if it’s decided in the next life, I hope it goes to referendum. I know where my vote lies.
hawkgrrrl, I know which way a man’s “natural man” would vote, but I also know that those feelings have to be bridled, as we have been commanded. If it is all polygamy in the next life, then those feelings will be put to good use. If it is all monogamy, then those feelings will have to be taken away, because they won’t serve anything, and certainly the Lord would not leave men to be tormented by those feelings in eternity.
Objectively if I didn’t have a natural man, I would vote for monogamy, if my vote was based on pure logic and not feelings.
“Joseph Smith, Jr., shared wives with Parley P. Pratt and others”
Your statement is misleading and wrong. Pratt and his wife where almost divorced, so they then decided to continue their ‘life’ marriage to be faithful to the law, but the wife wanted to be sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity. They all agree to this set up. That was far from ‘sharing wives’.
And the church does allow a woman to be sealed to several husbands after death but to permit the children to be sealed to both of their own parents, not to share husbands. It’s a situation similar to divorce today when the children don’t change parents necessarily because they divorce. The handbook clarifies this and you should have quoted that sentence too.
“We revere women beyond what women deserve and conversely we criticize men far too much.”
Very, very true.
Hawkgrrrl said, “I don’t dispute the handbook, but what does it mean? It can mean lots of things.”
Hawkgrrrl: What does your “for time and all eternity” sealing between you and your husband mean? I think Mormonism is pretty clear as to what these sealings mean.
Well, it will mean exactly the same thing for my mother and her 3 husbands!
My ancestor Charlemagne has been sealed for time and all eternity to all of his wives and concubines. How does this differ from your sealing or my mother’s sealings? It doesn’t.
The Lord will not compel anyone into polygamy or monogamy. Resurrected and exalted beings will inhabit spheres one above another according to their progression. If your progression falls short of plural relationships, then I hope you’ll get into the Celestial kingdom with only one husband.
Although, I’m 100% certain that when the veil is rent and you have full access to the knowledge of God, that you will be able think back to these posts of yours and be utterly ashamed of yourself. (The same goes for me, and I fully expect to be ashamed of my posts to this forum.)
It has already been decided how things will be in the next life, and when you have access to those truths and that perfect knowledge, you will have no contentions with it (unless you just happened to forget to rebel in the pre-existence and join Lucifer’s host).
UFO Skeptic :—
Please see The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (the bracketed aside is an editorial clarification written by Joseph Fielding Smith):
The Celestial Glory
Section Six 1843-44, p.301
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]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom: he cannot have an increase.” (May 16, 1843.) DHC 5:391-2.
hawkgrrrl (66): All I can say is I always enjoy your lucidity and perspective on these discussions
On an aside, this marriage after death LDS conceptualization only bespeaks the LDS “common doctrine” perspective of literal deification. Why else for such an institution and doctrine to be taught as Truth?
It’s too bad that LDS have — or at least my wife and I had — the belief that Christians think no relationships transcend into life hereafter. I mean, marriage as an institution has all sorts of practical benefits in this life to regulate sexual norms, parental accountability, and legal entitlements. (And probably the worse of those ‘entitlements’ in the history of the institution is considering that women are mere property. That whole comment of “redistributing’ wives or partners in the hereafter just gives me the creeps.) Anyhow, Christians consider the emotional bonding between husband and wife also as special and transcendant, a a deep soul-bonding we hope (and have no reason to doubt) could continue into the hereafter. But neither spouse owns the other, nor will be ‘redistributed’ to another. Our ultimate commitment is to God in Christ. My misunderstanding of this doctrine is probably one reason I once considered Christianity hopeless.
Just as we humans enjoy all sorts of positive, healthy and emotionally-fulfilling non-sexual relationships in this life, including with our personal God, there is no reason to believe relationships do not transcend into heaven. We don’t all hope for separate mansions on separate clouds where we only talk to Jesus Christ for eternity! IMO, there is no reason for an institution of marriage to exist in the hereafter. That is, unless, one literally accepts that humans must become Gods and that sexual bonding, legal entitlements and parental accountability must exist in Heaven and be perpetuated on and on….
Anyhow, the “rubber on the road” for me is that many LDS and Christians alike spend far too much time living as if they are killing time for the hereafter. I’m all for heaven on earth. Marriage can be heaven and hell on earth. I’ve seen it both ways. (Thankfully I enjoy a heavenly aspiring relationship now.) Hawkgrrl’s humorous “square dance” analogy, and the literal outcome observed in the present and historical record of observant polygs, is enough for me to be convicted such is Hell on Earth. Good enough reason for me to expect no better for heaven if that’s the standard.
Not a continuation of the same conversation, perhaps, but I’ve just read that the Warren Jeffs’ group has bought and are developing properties in CO, SD and ID.
Your statement is misleading and wrong. Pratt and his wife where almost divorced, so they then decided to continue their ‘life’ marriage to be faithful to the law, but the wife wanted to be sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity. They all agree to this set up. That was far from ’sharing wives’.
Actually, Carlos, your statement is somewhat misleading and wrong, too. Joseph Smith’s early polyandrous practices appear to often have been without the first husband’s agreement, as you suggest. See Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling and Todd Compton’s In Sacred Loneliness for more on the issue.
I cannot find this “clarification” of which you speak. Please feel free to quote your copy of the Church Handbook of Instruction (mine is copyright 1998). There is such such “one-woman-to-many-men proxy sealings are only for the benefit of their terrestrial children, and not for the reproductive benefits of Celestial kingdom” language.
To complete my quote of The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith above (#75):
“Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory. The unpardonable sin is to shed innocent blood, or be accessory thereto. All other sins will be visited with judgment in the flesh, and the spirit being delivered to the buffetings of Satan until the day of the Lord Jesus.”
I expect that a woman sealed to many men and exalted to the Celestial kingdom will “continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory” by all of her husbands. It is simple logical extrapolation in the absence of negating revelation.
And please feel free to explain away D&C 132:41 in support of your contention that women can’t have multiple husbands in this probationary life (that is, men sharing wives):
“And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.”
typo #79: “There is such such” == “There is no such”
Theologically and historically, marriage has ONLY ever been about procreation. Mormons expect to be married in Heaven precisely because they expect to procreate in Heaven.
We procreate on Earth to bring down our brother and sisters. We procreate in Heaven to have children of our own.
You said, “Your statement is misleading and wrong. Pratt and his wife where almost divorced, so they then decided to continue their ‘life’ marriage to be faithful to the law, but the wife wanted to be sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity. They all agree to this set up. That was far from ’sharing wives’.”
Obviously, you do not know what you are talking about. I quote from the notes of “‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest: An Appeal for Freedom, Justice and Equal Rights”:
“Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt Smith, 1808–1891, born in Bethel, Maine. Mary Ann married Nathan Stearns and had one daughter born in 1833. She was left a widow when Nathan Stearns died five months later. She and her mother heard the gospel and were baptized by Apostle David W. Patten… They gathered to Kirtland, Ohio, and in 1837 Mary Ann married a widower, apostle Parley P. Pratt. In 1838, they moved to Caldwell County where they experienced unimaginable persecution. Elder Pratt was incarcerated in the Richmond Jail, without trial, for eight months. The family was reunited in Nauvoo, Illinois, in July 1839. In 1840 the family accompanied him on a mission to England. They returned to Nauvoo in 1843. Mary Ann was sealed for time and eternity to Joseph Smith on 24 July 1843; and for time to Parley P. Pratt on the same day. The family ‘was expelled from [Illinois] in the fall of 1846, just after the battle of Nauvoo. They settled at Winter Quarters.’ Mary Ann then left Winter Quarters and returned to Maine. Several years later, ‘She again retraced her steps westward, arriving at Salt Lake City, overland in the fall of 1852.’ Parley P. Pratt, returning from his second mission to the Pacific, wrote: ‘On my arrival home, I found my wife, Mary Ann Frost, and my two children, Olivia and Moroni, who had arrived from Maine, her former home, where they had been for several years. The two children were glad to see me, but their mother had for several years been alienated from me. I however, supported her until the following spring, when she applied for and obtained a bill of divorce; after which, with the two children, she removed to Utah County.’ Mary Ann Pratt never remarried.”
So she was still married to Parley P. Pratt and need a bill of divorce. Looks to me like Joseph and Parley shared a wife any way you look at it!
RE:”Please see The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (the bracketed aside is an editorial clarification written by Joseph Fielding Smith):”
Where does it say polygamy here in D&C 131??? No mention of it at all. It doesn’t say anything about it, and your reading into this of polygamy is unjustified. Of course someone has to have a temple marriage to be exalted. There is no mention of polygamy here.
RE: “It has already been decided how things will be in the next life, and when you have access to those truths and that perfect knowledge, you will have no contentions with it (unless you just happened to forget to rebel in the pre-existence and join Lucifer’s host).”
I suggest to you that you don’t have an understanding of how things will be in the next life and how things will be sorted out, and neither does anybody else, including me.
typo #81: My comment was for Just for Quix #76, sorry Christopher #78…
RE: “That whole comment of “redistributing’ wives or partners in the hereafter just gives me the creeps . . . neither spouse owns the other, nor will be ‘redistributed’ to another. Our ultimate commitment is to God in Christ. My misunderstanding of this doctrine is probably one reason I once considered Christianity hopeless.”
I’m sorry if my use of redistribution was somewhat perplexing, but perhaps it isn’t the right word, and it certainly wasn’t implying “ownership” by any means. This is in reference to a doctrine in D&C 132:
“44 And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.”
I’m applying this concept of giving someone to another to a hypothetical situation in heaven where all people would be monogamous, championed by Eugene England. Bro. England believed that all people would be monogamous in the Celestial Kingdom. If that is true, then the implication is that all plural wives with the exception of the first wife will be “given” to other men, certainly not in some sense of “ownership” as if they are property, but in the sense that people who are married “belong” to each other, in that they are sealed to each other, and have a bond. For example, the phrase “belongeth unto him and to no one else” (D&C 132:61). My point is, if there is no polygamy in the Celestial kingdom, these wives must be given to others, otherwise they cannot be married, and if they are not married, they cannot be exalted, according to d&C 131.
sorry about the bold in that previous comment. the tags got messed up
I don’t really get what the big deal is about polygamy. I am active mainline LDS and I have no interest in a polygamist lifestyle myself, but why do we care so much about it? I definitely feel that we should protect our citizens (especially children) from violence and sexual abuse. But aside from this, why is polygamy so threatening to us?
Derek: I’m reminded of the axiom “So heavenly minded, as to be no earthly good.” But I’ll admit my baggage of the past makes me pretty critical of polygamist belief and practice.
Marriage is never been ONLY about procreation, though this is probably its most significant function. I know the logical extension — or at least how it manifests itself in LDS ‘common doctrine’ — of LDS Celestial Marriage, be it polygamist or otherwise. I reject this doctrine on the heretical nature of such theosist extension, and I also have concerns about how I think it perverts the holiness of a committed monogamous marriage.
Admittedly, the Bible does not teach at length about what relationship husband and wife have in the hereafter. We have numerous passages where Jesus refers to his abiding commitment to humanity or the church as the marriage covenant, so this would lead one to believe that when marriage works well, the Lord sees it as reflective of all that was holy in his relationship to and sacrifice for Man. Similarly in the creation narrative God considers the union of Adam and Eve as good. But we also have “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage.” (Matthew 22:30). Critical exegetical analysis of these passages in Matthew and Mark may not necessarily refute that earthly marriage relationships do not abide after the resurrection, which is the common, and possibly correct reading. However the act of marrying or being given (an act in this cultural period of two men, father and husband-to-be exchanging the property: the woman) appears not to be heavenly. I think the transformative exegetical reading would support Jesus criticizing the cultural Jewish notions of how marriages were conducted, and rejecting that this is how Heaven operates. (And in like fashion I find it caustic any teachings or beliefs about God just assigning partners for eternity in the hereafter, as if such persons are property of the other partner.) Nevertheless, I am comfortable with the traditional Christian reading of these passages, because the other analogies by Jesus leads me to believe true committed relationships endure regardless of what heavenly institution houses it. In this sense, Heavenly union is BEYOND procreation.
I really don’t believe Joseph’s “Restoration” brought any new light to the world on this matter: doctrinally or pragmatically; to me the polygamy doctrine and evidence in practice is revolting.
RE: “I definitely feel that we should protect our citizens (especially children) from violence and sexual abuse. But aside from this, why is polygamy so threatening to us?”
Like it or not, it is part of our history, and it defined the Church for a long period of time. And we will continue to be defined by it because it is in the public consciousness and wont die. We have to continue to remind people we have nothing to do with it.
RE: “(And in like fashion I find it caustic any teachings or beliefs about God just assigning partners for eternity in the hereafter, as if such persons are property of the other partner.)”
Nobody said that in this scenario of monogamy in heaven where excess plural wives would be given to others would be just “assigned”. Its amazing how people are reading so much more into these things than I was actually saying. People are so sensitive to anything and make one an offender because of feminazi bullcrap that it just amazes me. What happens in our day when someone is “given” to another after a marriage is dissolved? They DATE, AND THEY FIND SOMEONE THEY LOVE, AND THEY MARRY. This is how the process of “given to another” will work in the Celestial kingdom, just as it is done here, if plural unions are dissolved and wives are given to others.
My word people. Get off this “property” thing and start thinking with your brains about what we are really talking about.
UFO Skeptic :—
The race of Gods is co-eternal with matter which is chaotic element and in which dwells all glory.
The terms of the Priesthood are established from everlasting to everlasting. They are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; they are eternal and unchanging.
Our little world in the sea of worlds will not hold some Nicene-like council in the hereafter where we petition to change the Order of the Priesthood as it has existed from time immemorial.
I think you misunderstand my point, for we agree: plural marriage must be commanded by valid priesthood authority; and there is only one man on Earth at a time that holds these keys (the President of the Melchizedek priesthood); and vain polygamy like that of David and Solomon is an abomination before God, the Lord being pained by the sorrows and sufferings of the daughters of his people; and plural marriage is commanded to raise up a righteous branch unto the Lord, to enlarge his kingdom. (Jacob 2)
I have not said in all of this that one must maintain polygamous relationships in order to attain the Celestial kingdom, but I think that was Brigham Young (can’t cite a source here, going from memory)…
The Holy Ghost has born witness to me that I have 3 mothers and 3 fathers, and that I will so have them for eternity in the hierarchy of the everlasting Priesthood. So what if you and Bro. Eugene England are offended by this idea, for I am elated by it!
I also believe the Lord will yet reveal more details as to how plural marriage in the new and everlasting covenant ties together with the law of consecration, but this is only personal speculation and feeling that something must still be missing from our understanding of these doctrines.
But the purpose of eternal life is to enlarge the Kingdom of our Father, and what better way to do that than to have multiple relations under which to bring about our own kingdoms within God’s Kingdom.
RE: “So what if you and Bro. Eugene England are offended by this idea, for I am elated by it!”
Far from it. I think you actually misunderstand ME as well. You see, I BELIEVE in plural marriage in eternity. You see, I BELIEVE EVERYBODY will be polygamists in the Celestial Kingdom and that they will ALL be required to live it, otherwise, God will be a respecter of persons, allowing some men to have the blessing of plural marriage, and not allowing others to ever have that blessing. I am elated by the concept that I will be a polygamist, if I make it, so I am no longer tormented by the natural man.
You see, I cannot deny the possibility that I am WRONG in my belief. And if I am wrong in my belief, the only other possibility is that Eugene England is right. Because I have been denied the blessing of plural marriage in mortality, and must deal with the anguish of seeing other women and having to bridle my feelings and fight my passions to keep the commandments. If plural marriage is true for eternity, then I will be blessed with putting these feelings to good use.
If Eugene England is right, then the only way I will not be tormented in eternity by the natural man is for these feelings to be taken away in eternity. Do you get my drift? This is why I’m even talking about Eugene England’s beliefs, because I might be wrong in my beliefs.
UFO Skeptic :—
Ah, the wonderful world of the written word lacking spoken inflection and containing many typos and unspoken assumptions!
Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, one of us, one of us!
Love ya and yer posts, g-money homey loke!
UFO Skeptic (88): I didn’t cite you out specifically on this matter. I have heard this assumption throughout my LDS past of “assigning wives”, and particularly if one starts to delve into sayings on the matter in the JoD. My point is this: the history of marriage has more often been one about property, legal entitlement, procreation, and by extension, dynasty. The romantic notion of dating and falling in love are quite modern. There is no good reason to assume that this is how Celestial Marriage operates. Look at how early Mormon leaders passed around women in their charge!
Like I alluded to before, the Sadducee trick to Jesus was to ask which of seven brothers would own the woman in the hereafter. (Thiis has been the conventional norm through most of human history.) Jesus sidestepped the issue, and went right at the heart of their disbelief in the resurrection. But this is also a pretty well preserved synoptic clarity: relationships in heaven don’t work like they do here in earth. If God entrusts us joy and “heaven on earth” that can be found in sexual satisfaction, abiding relationship, and the pleasure of birthing and parenting, one can imagine his love, joy and glory held for those who are His Own, since the marriage is a common metaphor. Still I don’t think any of this biblical material supports the traditional LDS celestial marriage doctrine — polygamist or monogamist — and especially cautions us to be careful about transposing modern conventions of how relationships (marriage or otherwise) will or ought to work on Heaven. That’s not “feminazi bullcrap.”
RE: “My point is this: the history of marriage has more often been one about property, legal entitlement, procreation, and by extension, dynasty. The romantic notion of dating and falling in love are quite modern. There is no good reason to assume that this is how Celestial Marriage operates. Look at how early Mormon leaders passed around women in their charge!”
I think Jesus Christ is better than that. I think Jesus Christ treats people as human beings. I think that early Mormon leaders were mistaken in their mistreatment of women as much as they were about bigotry and blacks. Brigham Young was responsible for the denying of priesthood to blacks, and it took a revelation to fix it! Joseph Smith never denied it to them. But that was the time these people lived in. They had a lack of light and knowledge that we have now about how everyone, black or white, male or female, are human beings, and Jesus Christ will never allow women who are HEAVENLY MOTHERS IN EMBRYO for crying out loud, to be treated that way in eternity!!!!!!! Do you think Elohim treats his wife/wives(?) like that! Of course not. Do you think he would allow his daughters to be treated like that!? Heavens no.
RE: “and especially cautions us to be careful about transposing modern conventions of how relationships (marriage or otherwise) will or ought to work on Heaven.”
Nobody is transposing anything, or at least not me. I’m the first to admit that I don’t know how it will work. I only have my beliefs, and I can only acknowledge a myriad of possibilities.
RE:really don’t believe Joseph’s “Restoration” brought any new light to the world on this matter: doctrinally or pragmatically; to me the polygamy doctrine and evidence in practice is revolting.
I used to get comments like “how many wives do you have?” all the time. So I understand wanting to separate “Us” from “Them” in the public view. My question isn’t about that. My question is why do we feel so viscerally threatened that we use words like “revolting” or “disgusting” when we describe the practice of polygamy? Why are we so offended by it?
Derek: “Theologically and historically, marriage has ONLY ever been about procreation.” That’s just silly and an obvious oversimplification, to say nothing of what it reveals about your personal sexual attitudes. To stick with the theological and historical precedent, though, I appeal to the Bible. The fertility period usually ends when the woman is about 50, and many women in the Bible were still sexually active without hope of procreation. When they became pregnant, they were surprised (Elisabeth, mother of John the Baptist and Sarah wife of Abraham). There’s your historical and theological precedent for non-procreational sex.
“What does your “for time and all eternity” sealing between you and your husband mean?” Well, that’s a good question. If we die, and it turns out my husband merits celestial glory, but I only merit terrestrial, it doesn’t mean we’re together. Or does it? Does he come down to the terrestrial kingdom for non-procreative conjugal visits? Do I become a perk? And what am I doing in the terrestrial kingdom? Gardening? I always pictured gardening, but that’s probably just because of the latin root of the word terrestrial. Not sure I want to garden for eternity, but maybe it’s better than playing gin rummy with my husband’s other wives.
The other thing that seems problematic about sealings is that our children are sealed to us, but they are also adults for eternity, equals with us. And we are sealed to our ancestors. So, is being sealed that significant? I’m sealed to my mom, but if she’s not celestial, do I get sealed to my dad’s new celestial wife or wives? So, again, what’s the significance of it. Does it have some sort of benefit? Do we have to show a “sealed” membership card to get in? Maybe it’s for communication purposes, like the Verizon network. We can telepathically communicate with those to whom we are sealed. See? Not so clear what it means to be sealed.
UFO Skeptic – your “natural man” vote is for polygamy? Well, my “natural woman” vote would be for monogamy.
RE: “My question is why do we feel so viscerally threatened that we use words like “revolting” or “disgusting” when we describe the practice of polygamy? Why are we so offended by it?”
Because my ancestors that had 5 wives weren’t “revolting” or “disgusting” people who did what God commanded. And if Elohim has 10 wives, that relationship is certainly not “revolting” or “disgusting.” If your Heavenly Mother is a plural wife, is she engaging in an revolting principle? I think not. We are talking about something that is a holy principle that among adults who are of age, if commanded by God, are doing a work God commands.
FLDS pedophiles are who are “revolting” and “disgusting” who marry little girls in puberty, who take advantage of little girls before they come of age, before they know what they are getting into. What is disgusting is pedophilia and incest, marrying ones nieces or daughters or whatever crap they are doing.
UFO Skeptic – hear hear!
James – “My question is why do we feel so viscerally threatened that we use words like “revolting” or “disgusting” when we describe the practice of polygamy?” I think it has more to do with our only contemporary examples. If Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie were scouting for additional spouses, the sign up list might be a bit longer.
I really can’t imagine ancestral polygamy very clearly. And if I were in a polygamous marriage I would either want to be the top wife or opt out entirely, but that’s just the kinda gal I am. I just can’t relate. It’s too foreign. But so are lots of things, like death, the law of consecration, being born and raised in a different country, etc. I didn’t call it revolting, but I did compare it to eating a live cockroach. They might be delicious I guess.
hawkgrrrl: I suppose I am assuming that the Catholic position on marriage is the “historical/traditional” position. Certainly much of the Reformation had to do with disagreement over this very issue. Consult your local Catechism for the particular definition of marriage that I am using here. I don’t agree with the Catholics, for sure. And I’m not legally married to my girlfriend (whom I call wife) of 9 years (yet).
UFO Skeptic :—
You say, “Do you think Elohim treats his wife/wives(?) like that! Of course not.”
The Eloheim is the “grand council of the gods”. Ahman is the revealed name of God the Father, who is a member of the Eloheim. (Son Ahman is the revealed name of Jesus Christ.)
The Elohim as God the Father thing results from Mormonism being a milk-before-meat religion at the moment. When Mormonism taught meaty doctrines, the difference was well understood (or at least better understood than it is today).
It’s a technicality, though, as our God the Father is in the Eloheim, and he is the only God in the Eloheim with which we are concerned.
Too bad we’re not supposed to cook the kid in the milk of its mother!
Derek, in all seriousness, can you say something – just one thing – without accusing everyone else of being stupid and uninformed? You are talking here with adults who have spent years studying and considering these things – in at least my case, more years than you have been alive. I have no authority on this blog, but please keep that in mind as you comment.
Good answer. I guess it’s true. Most contemporary polygs are pretty weird. We don’t really have any good examples of what a healthy contemporary polygamous relationship would look like.
James, Most comtemp *American* polygamists *of whom we know because they practice openly* are pretty weird. There are millions of non-weird, non-American polygamists around the world, and certainly thousands of non-weird, American polygamists here in the States who simply live quietly under the radar. I grew up near a few polygamist families, and they (the adults and kids) were exceedingly normal.
Homeschooling to isolate kids from the world doesn’t seem like a good plan to me, and restricting their access to different viewpoints or teaching methods should be a last resort if no other barriers exist. Restricting it further might help reduce the stranglehold control that cults have over children.
This statement make shows a serious lack of understanding of home school. I agree that there are some parents doing it for the wrong reasons, but to generalize like you have done is silly. Home schooling should be the first choice of parents if they are committed and able to do it. Kids learn better in home school and do better than their public school peers. Just because some people that home school do it for religious purposes is not a reason to think home school is backward. It would not help to make everyone go to public school. In many cases you would be sentencing many children to academic mediocrity or worse.
Again you are misreading and misleading; obviously you have read a handbook (i guess provocation.net?) but unfortunately you don’t actually grasp how it all works.
Even today people can marry in the temple for time only (as to Pratt) and separately for ‘time and all eternity’ (ie to Smith in celestial marriage). There two separate ordinances which mean that you live as a couple now with your ‘time’ partner but will probably have your ‘time&all eternity’ partner in heaven; but even that can change.
In the post-polygamy era the church wants to control this more closely so one can only do this with one person at a time during life without cancellations etc but, via proxy, where you first husband died, a woman can do the same thing even today that Mary Ann did back in 1843.
That doesn’t mean that you ‘share’ a wife at all. Almost every widow today does the same thing but usually first for ‘time and all eternity’ and then later for ‘time’.
The author of “‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest” didn’t understand this either and I now believe that only those who actually work in the temple understand how it all works. But at least that author recognizes that Pratt and Mary Ann didn’t get along!
(Ah that Handbook reference is in brackets in the hardcover copy but provocation.net missed it)
hawkgrrrl, Re #95
I think, well actually I’m certain, that the Covenant continues wherever you end up, in a way, just like it continues with parents and sealed children if they end up in the terrestrial. The difference is that those in the terrestrial wont have access to the same blessings as the celestial, especially procreation. This is one reason why its better to not have known should you end up in the terrestrial since your there as a kind of failed potential God who had all the ordinances!
Also I think that, should your mother not ‘make it’, she is still in the line although the ‘authority’ jumps to the first grandmother. Remember that in heaven we won’t be organized by stakes and wards but by family groups and, just as in a ward, within those family groups there could be a lot of less actives and others in trouble.
Whatever the case I’m sure that we are only scratching the edges of the sealing power and sealing doctrine. This is after all ‘all that God has’. Many things are still mysteries, for example, wouldn’t two Gods procreate a God a la Jesus and not spirits?
We could go on for ever but hopefully those girls in Texas won’t have to marry at 16 anymore! 🙂
If it was up to me I’d have Bushman disfellowshiped, at very least, for his book.
He took malicious rumors and gave then some academic credibility. Imagine a 22nd century historian repeating the rumours about Pt Hinkle’s ‘sex parties’?
Haven’t read Compton’s book so I’ll pass for now.
Fwiw, if you follow progression from intelligences to spirit children to mortals to spirits to resurrected beings I think it’s clear that it’s not clear. To extrapolate HOW we moved from each state/stage to the next is pure conjecture, even when it comes to mortality. We know the mechanical means by which our physical bodies come into being, but even our most advanced medical experts have NO CLUE whatsoever exactly how the sperm and egg became what they are. If we don’t understand even that process fully, how in the world can we imagine we understand any other aspect with clarity.
Surely, we “see through a glass darkly” – essentially nothing more than the broad outline – the border of the puzzle that is life.
Ahman is one of the names of the Father, but Elohim is the Hebrew name for the Father and it is certainly one of many valid names. Adam is also another, and no, he is not Michael. He was the first Adam who had a son named Michael, who was the guy that ate the fruit and fell into mortality. This Adam never fell into a mortality after his resurrection, contrary to the messed up Adam God Theory.
RE: “Too bad we’re not supposed to cook the kid in the milk of its mother!”
I have no idea what the heck this means. Please explain.
I meant to add a *grin* to #110 – really. I apologize for the omission.
RE: “If it was up to me I’d have Bushman disfellowshiped, at very least, for his book. He took malicious rumors and gave then some academic credibility.”.
Carlos, in response to this, in case you haven’t noticed, Bushman has taken on the anointed-one-Nibley status, chief Church apologist, the one who comes up with the new explanations for everything that is controversial in our history. His theories are starting to take on quasi-official status as did Nibley’s. I don’t find fault with Bushman, because he is doing his best with a very messy thing, namely New Mormon History. And if he can put an apologetic spin on it so people who haven’t found a way to live on their own light can retain faith, more power to him. As for people that are advanced in history and doctrine to the point where no controversy can shake them, they can shed themselves of the FARMS/Nibley/Bushman type apologetics for real advanced history that isn’t pretty, but are able to still retain testimony because they are grounded in the Holy Ghost. I know about Adam God and Mountain Meadows Massacre, and yet I can still sing Give Said the Little Stream with the best of them, and I feel the Holy Ghost burning in my heart. I don’t need apologetics to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet even though he practiced Polyandry, but some people do. I don’t need apologetics to explain away Brigham Young’s Adam God theory to know that Brigham Young was a prophet, yet Adam God is false. Because I feel the Holy Ghost burning in my bones and I know that Brigham Young was a prophet of the Most High God. So let them have their spin until they are ready for the good stuff, so they won’t choke on it.
‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest is a 91-page pamphlet written in 1886 by female leaders of the Relief Society as the final result of some conference they held in an attempt to redress the grievances they had with how the government was treating them for being polygamist (“give us back our husbands”, etc.). It is a very good read, check it out. Mormon women pretty much started the feminist and suffrage movements, and ‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest is a direct artifact of that era.
I think that ‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest is a very pertinent and applicable source to bring to this discussion.
Never heard of Provocation.net, what is this site (looks blank to me)? And what “handbooks” do you speak of?
I try to stick to more legitimate sources, like TPJS, or Key to the Science of Theology, and other classic works (aside from Scripture). I buy them from flea markets, eBay, or download PDFs from Google Books or BYU’s digitized library.
Are you saying that women are not re-sealed “for time and all eternity” to all of their partners upon death by proxy?
UFO Skeptic :—
To quote Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 371-372:
Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844
An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James’ translators, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, “In the beginning he head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,” or, as others have translated it, “The head of the Gods called the Gods together.” I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.
In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through–Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.
PS: Carlos — Duh! You speak of the Church Handbook of Instruction which I was citing. I thought you meant I was getting my ideas from some “how to be a radical mormon” handbook on some site called provocation.net. I am a professional Internet troll (GNAA anyone?), and trolling is a form of provocation… *wink* Sorry for my confusion.
UFO Skeptic & Ray :—
“Do not cook the kid in the milk of its mother” (Exodus 23:19) is the Old Testament’s condemnation of milk-before-meat theology. It can be translated variously; but the Jews interpret “do not give milk before meat” literally, so they will not cook meats in milks, nor will they have a glass of milk to drink when eating meats, etc.
I interpret the passage as relating to the practice of teaching milky concepts (Elohim as God the Father) before teaching meaty concepts (Eloheim as the Grand Council of the Gods, or simply Gods) as our Church does today.
From my studies, I find that Joseph Smith, Jr., only ever taught quite meaty concepts.
‘Mormon’ Women’s Protest covered in the New York Times (March 8, 1886, Wednesday):
MORMON WOMEN PROTEST.
POLYGAMOUS WIVES WHO ARE CONTENT IN THEIR SLAVERY.
This is our heritage, and we are still seeing the same thing from the media today, over 100 years later!
A link to the PDF of the original pamphlet is located at the end of article.
I’m well aware that Elohim means Gods. It doesn’t particulary matter to me if you reject the usage as a name for the head God. I use it that way and I will continue to use it that way. It works for me, and I don’t care what anybody says. It doesn’t even matter to me if this is a new 20th Century Mormon thing that was never that way in ancient scripture or even in Joseph Smith’s day. I’m a believer in the ability of our leaders to get new revelation, or to even apply things a certain way that were never historically applied a certain way. I’m a veil worker at a temple and I know I stand at the veil for who I stand there for. I know his identity, and I don’t care which name anyone cares to apply to him. Allah is good for me too. Krishna and Zeus are good names too for all that matters to me, if they are referring to the same guy which they are.
I guess I just think its silly to say “Eloheim” or even “Abba” instead of “Father”, especially when we don’t speak Hebrew. I realize the temple gets to be wordy and esoteric/mystical, and that its a rather creative expression of our beliefs. I must apologize to my now-favorite-temple-worker for reading the ritual when I was 15 years old (thank you Internets)… 😉 You bring up a good point though, and that is that the only source for Elohim meaning Father seems to come from the temple ritual itself and so far as I can tell none of the other standard works. But can’t one person stand in for a council in a dramatized ritual?
In any case, I would posit that Zeus and Krishna come from a perversion of genealogical sources, just like Odin (Zeus) and Thor (Herakles) come from the misinterpretation and deification of the Irish/Nordic genealogical oral tradition into a pantheon of paganism.
Derek – FWIW, I disagree with your interpretation of the OT prohibition of stewing the kid in the milk of its mother (“thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk” Deut 14:21). IMHO, your explanation is a mixed metaphor. The prohibition is a food (purity) prohibition as you point out, not an allegorical instruction about milk before meat. It’s listed with other food prohibitions in the OT. The milk before meat argument is Paul’s way of explaining how to teach new converts “line upon line.” Not stewing the kid in the milk of the mother is akin to not forcing someone to “carry their own cross.” I interpret it as being against undue cruelty or adding insult to injury. Again, just my opinion. To bolster that, there is no mention of “milk before meat” in the OT specifically. Only in the NT (1 Corinthians 3:2 & Hebrews 5:12) and D&C 19:22.
Jay – in your earlier post, you stated that more oversight of homeschooling is beneficial. In #103 you say it “should be the first choice of parents if they are committed and able to do it.” I agree with your first statement, but not your second. The problem I see with the second statement is the assumption that home schooling is superior to public schooling; I’m sure there are many lousy public schools out there, but there are some drawbacks to home-schooling that are inherent even under the best circumstances: 1) access to alternate viewpoints is restricted in a home schooling environment; you have access to written words of other teachers, but no dialogue with other students or teachers, 2) no parent can know every subject as well as every other subject; a parent may be brilliant at math, but not great at art or literature (or vice-versa), 3) social interaction and skill is an even greater predictor of success than academic achievement; kids can’t develop the social skills of emotional intelligence in a socially restricted environment, and 4) kids need to learn to make their own choices; you can’t keep them from the world and expect them to thrive when they then enter the world. They may come out academically brilliant, but unable to lead people or to influence in society. I merely object to basing a decision to home school on a desire to shelter kids from worldly influence. There are probably other valid reasons to home school, provided there is reasonable oversight. Not all states provide reasonable oversight.
Considering tonights ruling on the FLDS children I thought I ought to post a link to my comprehensive thoughts on the matter:
I’m trying to get the Conservative-libertarian alliance to take a look at the situation, but we’ll see how it goes.
Hawkgirl: My asumption that women are more righteous then men tends to be driven by my mission experiences.
Women investigators were always easier to get to:
Read the BofM
and commit to Baptism.
In fact Elders often whined about having to give up their best investigators tot he Sister missionaries.
Additionally, when dealing with a part member family usually it was pretty easy to get the non-member wife to investigate the church even if the husband was inactive, but almost impossible to get non-member husbands to- even if the wife was very active.
There were a few exceptions as always. I in fact had a reputation for getting male investigators to church, but even I saw that women seemed more responsive to spiritual promptings. I wonder at what other people’s missionary experiences were.
Certainly there must be a solid reason for it existing in the food purity laws of Deuteronomy (I can imagine cooking meat in milk of the same species to be not the most healthy thing, maybe prions develop under such conditions or something). But you’ve overlooked its initial context in Exodus 23 where it is listed among regulations as to appropriate forms and methods of worship.
I don’t wish to discount what you’ve contributed to the topic, but we are taught in Sunday School that Scripture has multiple layers of meaning. I think that we are dealing with one such verse here. It would probably be very insightful for all of us if we were to reference the Hebrew and Strong’s Numbers directly on this one.
Aside from that, hawkgrrrl, congrats on the wildest thread on Mormon Matters in quite some time.
Hawkgrrl said, “The other thing that seems problematic about sealings is that our children are sealed to us, but they are also adults for eternity, equals with us. And we are sealed to our ancestors. So, is being sealed that significant? I’m sealed to my mom, but if she’s not celestial, do I get sealed to my dad’s new celestial wife or wives? So, again, what’s the significance of it. Does it have some sort of benefit? Do we have to show a “sealed” membership card to get in? Maybe it’s for communication purposes, like the Verizon network. We can telepathically communicate with those to whom we are sealed. See? Not so clear what it means to be sealed?
This is an excellent question, one that has been asked of me by several different Christian friends who are curious about what LDS believe and why they believe what they do. I agree that it doesn’t make much sense what import “sealing” means, especially, when one really gets down to it, the only basic Celestial unit is the husband & wife(s).
It also begs the question of the whole procreation thing, too. And here I confess that neither the Christian or LDS belief is very concrete on the matter. If, according to Christians, we abide deep relationships in the hereafter, even if that may not called by the mortal term ‘marriage’ what is the purpose of resurrected sexual organs? Perhaps we are raised androgynous? Perhaps we can participate in emotionally bonding or pleasure sex, but would not need to (or can’t) procreate?
Carlos said, “The difference is that those in the terrestrial [won’t] have access to the same blessings as the celestial, especially procreation.” And here is where the LDS belief makes even less sense to me. Are non-topmost-level Celestial beings on downward resurrected androgynous? How does God keep terrestrial beings from procreating? Are they just sterile? (In which case procreation isn’t a vital human identity, nor something which ‘resurrection’ perfects.) Does God punish ‘lower beings’ if they engage in any type of sex, even emotional or playful? Does he abort spiritual pregnancies?
Now the gestation of a spiritual being is certainly unknown, but hey, as much as I love my two kids, if I could enjoy an emotionally bonding, and perhaps even sexually pleasurable relationship without having my wife/soul partner be perpetually pregnant (which is a logical perpetual state if you have to populate worlds) I think she’d also happily sign up for terrestrial kingdom living with me, too. (Of course that’s only where we end up anyway as well-intentioned Christians, I guess. *grin*)
While what I said above is a bit tongue-in-cheek, I personally find it makes more sense to concede Heaven just likely doesn’t work the way things do on earth. I think this is natural given how often Jesus denounced all the way people thought heaven would work (ex: giving in marriage), or affirmed how the Kingdom doesn’t operate by mortal standards of power, glory, righteousness, who deserves admittance, etc. It just may be highly probable that even mortal natures by which we self-identify as extremely important here on earth — gender, sex, marriage, procreation — may not be mirrored in the hereafter the way LDS or Christians expect. Therefore, for now, I’m more content to have faith and enjoy God’s Reign/Kingdom/Heaven on Earth, and put more trust and humility in God’s mercy, righteousness and justice in the hereafter. Most LDS I know seem to really feel similarly even where our doctrines of heaven don’t agree.
Just for Quix :—
I think she’d also happily sign up for terrestrial kingdom living with me, too. (Of course that’s only where we end up anyway as well-intentioned Christians, I guess. *grin*)
Don’t worry… One of us will do your proxy work here on Earth, and you’ll receive those blessings before the eternal judgment in the spirit world. I have no doubt that you’ll be exalted to the Celestial sphere! 😉
As they say, “No empty seats!”
Just for Quix :—
I personally find it makes more sense to concede Heaven just likely doesn’t work the way things do on earth.
Things Earthly are in the image of things Heavenly.
Cicero: “My asumption that women are more righteous then men tends to be driven by my mission experiences. Women investigators were always easier to get to: Read the BofM, Attend Church and commit to Baptism.” I’m actually doing a post on this in a couple of weeks. I caution interpreting female willingness to listen to and commit to the church as indicating their superior righteousness. It could be like the Pepsi “sip test” that many will remember. In the 70s, Pepsi challenged Coke to a “sip test” in which participants were asked to try un-labelled sips of a cola. Pepsi won every time. But it was eventually found that Pepsi’s initial sweetness gave it a higher rating for a single sip, but over an entire can of the drink and over a 12 pack of it, results faded. People found it cloying compared to Coke. Coke was much more palatable long-term. Of course, Coke had to go through the whole New Coke debacle before finally figuring this out. So, women might initially be more drawn to the missionary discussions than men, but I don’t see that it gives them a deeper understanding or more abiding, enduring commitment than men. Women just seem to have a different style, and more social willingness to engage than men.
Derek (125 & 126): Well, I’m certain I won’t be procreating in the Celestial realm; I’m quite certain that I reject polygamy and always will on very sound spiritual reasons. But, hey, I always trust that you will eventually accept God’s grace, and won’t go to Hell. ‘Course if the Calvinists have it right I may be there with you anyway. 😉
Christians see the “image” of God’s creation (including us) a spiritual quality. As beautiful and good as this mortal creation is and can be, heaven is a more transcendent glory. All the joy, beauty and grace we experience beckons us to trust in God and magnify His glory, the pinnacle of which glory cannot be mortally beholden.
Hawkgrrrl (127): I look forward to your upcoming thread. There are a lot of assumptions and gender role divisions that sometimes are rigidly maintained on this assumption that women are more spiritual. (I believe it is more likely that primal meat-winner males feared being undermined by the creation power of women, and is regrettable that the Judeo-Christian mystical tradition has largely, IMO, perpetuated this fear into inequality and silly justifications for maintaining such.)
I wrote about spirituality vs. righteousness on Wednesday, before reading the last few comments here. It is a bit free-flow, stream of consciousness, since I had never thought specifically about it in the precise manner outlined in the post. The scriptural macro-view alone (2nd paragraph) is fascinating. Since it is stream of consciousness, the comments add something to the first thoughts – including some alterations in my initial thinking. I certainly am nowhere near a final conclusion on the topic.
If anyone is interested, it is at:
Interesting interview comments from Carolyn Jessop (ex-FLDS, FWIW) today in the Vancouver Sun newspaper about the fitness of the FLDS mothers:
And while some of the mothers have said they will do anything to get their children back, including leave the reclusive, breakaway Mormon sect, Jessop said Texas ought to require psychiatric evaluations.
“I don’t think there is one of them who is stable enough to get their children back. Mind control is classed as a mental illness and a child’s right to safety far exceeds a mother’s rights.”
“The women in this society will never protect their children. . . . They turn them over to the perpetrators.”
Hawkgrrrl (#46 I think) ‘But I am inclined to believe that many of the children are better off growing up more mainstream. People can say “which religion will be targeted next?” but I believe FLDS is over the line into cult territory, even if not on the David Koresh scale. A peaceful cult. But a cult.’
I have read only half the posts. However (thanks for the blog, needing to vent), to me the bottom line issue here is, the immediate issue here is not what a cult is (although my own feeling is it is pretty much beliefs without size and power), but rather the issue is punishing kids, tots, for what we perceive as the sins of their parents.
Your thinking is straight; and I would take mine in the same direction of planning a freer life for these tots if I could. That said, the immediate problem is reuniting tots with their own families, now. The starting point for this Texas “solution” is destruction, which is definitely not the way to begin.
What on earth does restricting homeschooling have to do with FLDS? They weren’t homeschoolers. They operated a legal private school in the state of Texas.
And if you’re going to regulate homeschoolers, who receive no federal funds and educate no children except their own, when are you going to start regulating home kitchens in the same way we regulate public kitchens. It’s ridiculous. The reason the state does regulate public schools is because they are public institutions. The reason it constitutionally cannot regulate homeschools is because they are NOT.
And since when would public institution with a 25 percent or greater failure rate (25 percent of GRADUATES of public schools are functionally illiterate) monitor the functions of private individuals in their homes, particularly when parents teaching their own near 100 percent success rate when it comes to literacy, and they do substantially better than public schools by every other measure as well?