Friday, 7 February 2014

Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah

Published 17th December 2013 http://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng



Found this picture as I was searching for something useful to head this post with. I dont think we in 2014 understand how pitted the church was against the United States, or even what challenges faced us because of polygamy. But even now after so many years we are still very sensitive about this topic. 

The churches essay on Polygamy seeks to give some framework to the discussion. 

Firstly this essay generally only talks about Polygamy in a Utah setting. Much of the challenging genesis of this practise with Joseph Smith is not covered. So as an essay it avoids much of the controversy that plaques questions about Polygamy. I don't know if the church intends to publish an essay on Joseph Smiths practise but for the purposes of this blog I will generally only deal with the information given.

I found the referenced resources just as helpful as the actual essay, full of facts which refuted some myths about Polygamy.

In accordance with a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practise of plural marriage—the marriage of one man to two or more women—was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1840s. - Note here that Joseph Smith had been practising polygamy many years prior in secret. His death in 1844 was directly related, his command to break the printing press in Naavoo, was because the paper had published accounts of his (and other leaders) practise of polygamy, which he vehemently denied. It is worth noting that the RLDS church (now Community of Christ) believe that Joseph Smith never practised polygamy but that was implemented by Brigham Young.

Thereafter, for more than half a century, plural marriage was practised by some Latter-day Saints. Only the Church President held the keys authorising the performance of new plural marriages. - 'Some' might be a little misleading, the reality was the majority of church leaders practised it, all Prophets did, and most apostles. The last prophet to practise it was Heber J Grant who died in 1945 (only his second wife was still alive when he became president). Polygamy had far reaching effects into Latter day Saint culture.

Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes for instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage during the 19th century. The Book of Mormon identifies one reason for God to command it: to increase the number of children born in the gospel covenant in order to “raise up seed unto [the Lord]” (Jacob 2:30). - Interestingly this essay dispels this myth in the reference section with this statement: Studies have shown that monogamous women bore more children per wife than did polygamous wives except the first. Generally Monogamous families produce more offspring especially when ratios of men and women are equal as they were in Utah.


In 1890, the Lord inspired Church President Wilford Woodruff to issue a statement that led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the Church. In this statement, known as the Manifesto, President Woodruff declared his intention to abide by U.S. law forbidding plural marriage and to use his influence to convince members of the Church to do likewise. After the Manifesto, monogamy was advocated in the Church both over the pulpit and through the press. On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages. - One of our biggest myths in the church is that Polygamy ended in 1890. While we have the 1890 manifesto Official Declaration 1 in our Doctrine and Covenants and it seems very clear. Polygamy evolved in secrecy, was hidden from the law, and continued with authorisation by the brethren. Lesser known is the second manifesto of 1904 from Joseph F. Smith that provided for the excommunication of those who continued to practise polygamy. One of our most challenging dichotomies is our Article of faith that says we uphold the laws of the land, when we did not do that in this instance. The other is that despite OD1 and a plea from the Prophet we did not stop.
Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church. - Also little known is that we don't allow people to join the church who practise polygamy even if they come from countries or cultures in which it is o.k. Missionary work in Muslim areas is very tricky. It does beg the question if we believe this is a doctrine that we don't practise because it is the law in the US, what problem do we have with people in other countries practising it where it is not the law? The flip side is also true, in an age of changing understanding of families why aren't we advocating for polygamous families with the hope that we can practise this in the future when its legal?
Plural marriage also helped create and strengthen a sense of cohesion and group identification among Latter-day Saints. Church members came to see themselves as a “peculiar people, covenant-bound to carry out the commands of God despite outside opposition, willing to endure ostracism for their principles. - Polygamy did really define and make the church what it is today. We moved to the Salt Lake basin to effectively 'leave the United States' to practise plural marriage openly. While we continually try to distance ourselves from it, it is our defining characteristic. 

During the years that plural marriage was publicly taught, all Latter-day Saints were expected to accept the principle as a revelation from God. Not all, however, were expected to live it. Indeed, this system of marriage could not have been universal due to the ratio of men to women. - It is a myth that many more women existed than men in Utah. In fact there were slight more men.

Still, some patterns are discernible, and they correct some myths. Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time. Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women. Divorce was therefore available to women who were unhappy in their marriages; remarriage was also readily available. - The references state that Utah had very easy divorce laws to allow for the practise. So divorce and remarriage were common. This brings up interesting questions about the principle of celestrial marriage and how it was viewed in that time, also how sealings worked if women were married multiple times? This seems inconsistent with our current views on marriage and its importance to our eternal salvation. It also seems inconsistent with our views on divorse.

After the U.S. Supreme Court found the anti-polygamy laws to be constitutional in 1879, federal officials began prosecuting polygamous husbands and wives during the 1880s. Believing these laws to be unjust, Latter-day Saints engaged in civil disobedience by continuing to practice plural marriage and by attempting to avoid arrest.  - Civil disobedience? Avoiding arrest? Going into Hiding? There is a great story here waiting to be told of the Mormon passive resistance movement!

So some good dispelling of latter day myths here like 'there were more women than men', 'polgamy ended in 1890' and 'polygamy produced more children'. However it really didn't cover the more troubling or conflicting parts of polygamy as it didn't touch on anything prior to 1847. 

It also doesn't touch on Polygamy post 1904 - The Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was started when the church started excommunicating individuals. Apostle John W Taylor even produced a revelation by his father Prophet John Taylor stating in 1886 that 'the great majority of the church would apostasize and abandon polygamy'. (they are still waiting for us to come back to the practise). The irony is that we as a church condemn and persecute them in the same way we were condemned and persecuted in the late 1800's.

I have lots of questions about this topic. How do we deal with all the secrecy (and dishonesty) that existed with the practise? What do we do with Joseph Smith version of polygamy which seems very different to Brigham Youngs understanding? Why do we currently have such an anti-polygamy stance in the church, which stops us from actively proselyting to Muslim families, and upholding civil rights for alternative families? If we only stopped because of the law why aren't we as a church fighting for changes in marriage law so that we can practise polygamy again? But most importantly - If this is a revelation from God (and essential to our salvation) why is it clouded in so much complexity and shame? 

Concluding Observations:

  • Polygamy is our heritage, we either need to embrace it or admit our ancestors were odd.
  • We need to fight for the rights of others to practise it even if we as a church don't want to.
  • We need to be more open about the history even if it is embarrassing. This shouldn't be a secret.
  • We need to resolve some issues around compliance with the law and compliance with the prophet.

Can we as a church shake off the schizophrenia we have with polygamy?

25 comments:

  1. I am surprised that no one wants to to comment on this subject!

    :)

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  2. Because apparently one has to sign up to have a blog themselves, or something like that.

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  3. To add to the schizoid nature, two of our current Apostles are polygamist in the sense of having married after their wife died, and they speak of both wives as such meaning that they are aware that they are polygamist, and one of the ones that could be isn't because his wife told him she didn't want him to be. To add to the polyandry (which you don't talk about) dead women are sealed to all their husbands.

    The FLDS may not be the best one to point out, the Allred group (Apostolic United Brethren) would make your point much better than the FLDS.

    You are aware of the second manifesto and the Smoot hearings aren't you? They go a long way towards explaining why the church has the position that it has.

    As for not letting Muslims and people in Africa to be baptized, that just seems sort of idiotic to me, I mean it is tied to inertia from the second manifesto and the Smoot hearings as well as what can only be considered as a marketing move by the church leadership to appear more normal starting at that time and continuing today but the very groups that the church was trying to appear normal to are either largely fallen apart themselves or now have provisions for polygamy, even in cases where it doesn't make sense for them to have those provisions. And we how have theological provisions for polygamy and something like 1/8 of our top leadership are polygamist per our doctrine don't allow them to be baptized, and have people talking about it like it is/was an Abrahamic sacrifice which is not the way that the Apostles talk about it and not the way that many that practiced polygamy talk about it.

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  4. thanks John. Your comments are great - especially like the info about the AUB.

    When I was living in Northwest Wyoming, there was talk about several polygamous families living in Lovell. These families seem to have converted (perhaps to the AUB) as recently as the past couple of decades. Missionary work among these groups with validations from prophets like John Taylor might be more common than we think.

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  5. The genetic disorders, nephritis, spina bifida, albinism, and many others are a direct result of early polygamous relationships in Utah. Certainly, God would have known these disorders would happen. Therefore, it is obvious God did not institute polygamy. Joseph Smith did this on his own.

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    1. Thanks Unknown - thats a huge allegation, and not one I have heard before. Do you have any stats or references on that for confirmation and clarrification?

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    2. Take a look at the Hutterites to see how close interbreeding affects an individual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13PDs89I9cUhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9nvamq3IEg

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    3. Also read this article: http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3498536

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  6. If anyone is willing to go out to a public square and extol the virtues of what is found in D&C 132 it will soon hit you that it is not of God. Your listeners will make that very clear to you. Even in the closet with those of the same ilk the material is not even openly discussed but deliberately avoided. Most people quietly acknowledge the sham that it is. Blessing/Obedience ?? Look at the posterity of Joseph Smith as evidence. One of his sons was committed to an asylum after finding out that their father was a polygamist but also polyandry (missing revelation???).

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  7. Brother Ganesh, I think you are doing some significant personal issues, and what you decide to do is ultimately up to you. I would like to see you remain in the Church, since I like having diverse, multiple opinions within the Church. This is, however, something I think you should decide for yourself.

    What I can say is that it is entirely possible to remain LDS, an active and believing LDS member, while fully recognizing that many of the stories we tell ourselves about our faith are whitewashed at best. It is, in many ways, very Oedipal. At some point in our lives we have to figuratively kill our father, or in this case, realize that some of the figures in our lives that we may have idolized, are less than perfect. The Church you knew is dead, but this is not the end. Even once a son learns that his father is imperfect, there is still a person there. The love and caring do not go away. In many ways, this is necessary for growth.

    There is a great article about Joseph Smith related to "playing the ball where it lies" referring to playing golf and you find the ball in a rough patch of ground. It is useless to wish it were somewhere else, and walking away is not an option (I hope). When you realize that Joseph was at times a jerk, a pompous ass, and a flawed human being, it makes what he did accomplish that much more significant in comparison. The Church has made, and continues to make, mistakes, but this is only human.

    I think it is far more helpful to know that the Church is flawed. I stayed because I have a deep faith in God and have had a number of deeply spiritual experiences in the Church. I can accept the warts because of this. I would hope that you stay, but you have to make that decision for yourself. I wish you best.

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  8. Thank you, Yusuf. Very good advice.

    Most of us gained much through the instrumentality of the Church. It would be a shame to chuck it all because of the warts.

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  9. Thanks for the judgemental line up there, Steve. You actually motivated me to write something.

    I chucked it all because of the warts 3 years ago, and although I have lost some relationships, and there was a shaky period where I had to decide who I actually was, I have never regretted it for a moment. I have gained so much more than I lost!

    Deciding to live in line with my actual core values doesn't make me weak or flippant. I "studied my way out" so I was confident that I had been lied to my entire life, and I wasn't interested in being lied to any more.

    I have more time, money, clarity of thought, friends, and peace. It would have been a much bigger shame to stay.

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  10. Ganesh,

    It's a wonderful sign that you are a thinking man that you are having such questions and doubts about the history of the Church. There is hope for you since you have the courage to seek and ask for the truth. While most members don't want to know the truth, they prefer to follow blindly because it's much easier, they don't want to have to think for themselves and 'prove all things and persons before believing in them, as we are commanded to do, for that takes alot of effort, time and study and prayer and most of all really righteous living so one is worthy of the Holy Spirit to tell them the truth of all things.

    But you are on to something you don't even know yet. All the tidbits the Church is admitting to is just the tip of the iceberg. They are glossing over and sugar coating some very vital and serious issues, without really admitting the whole truth because that would bring down the house. They are just trying to pacify all the questioning going on in the Church today, and trying to stop the huge exodus of the best and brightest from leaving. But it will never work, for the internet has dawned a new day of truth, the time has come for old truths to be known and no longer kept hidden by the Church. Things that will reveal the unthinkable to LDS members, that the church is not true and that prophets can and do fall and lead many astray with them and that false prophets can take over the church and fool everyone. Many members still won't believe the truth though, for again, it's too hard and requires too much personal responsibility for shouldering their own salvation and discernment of truth, they like to stay like little children and let someone else tell them right from wrong and what to do or think about everything. Growing up is hard to do.

    But the truth is if you're willing to face it and have the ability to see and accept it, is that Joseph never did live or believe in polygamy, it was all Brigham Young. Joseph constantly fought and taught 'against' polygamy his whole life, look it up, it's all there, and he continually warned the Saints that they would be damned if they ever fell for polygamy or for even a prophet or anyone who came preaching it, even if it was him! Thus many Saints back in Nauvoo would not follow Brigham Young, for they remembered Joseph's warnings about it, but most members had already lost the Spirit and thus easily fell for the false or fallen prophet Brigham Young, and thus many followed him out west and suffered because of it. And the rest is history, written by BY and his supporters to make it look like Joseph sanctioned polygamy and other things like the temple endowments, etc., which again appears to all be Brigham Young's falsehoods.

    Joseph taught and put it in the original scritpures (D&C 101) that all marriages were to be public, for all to witness and celebrate in and Joseph also put scriptures in the D&C that taught 'against' polygamy, but of course BY took those out once he got to Utah and replaced them with 132 to support and justify his vile behaviors.

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  11. Ganesh, Continued -


    If you are willing to search out the truth about church history and things like these and other vital issues like BY never received any authority or keys to continue the true church and things like Tithing being changed to 10% of all earnings instead of how Joseph taught that it was 10% of your surplus after taking care of your families needs. Big difference, and the fact that the 'poor' who tithing is really for (and not for building chapels, temples, missionary work, malls or salaries for top leadership) until there are no more poor among us, means that the poor weren't meant to pay any tithing at all, but instead to be given tithing money to support them, especially all single mothers (the fatherless) so they don't have to leave their home and children and work, otherwise all else fails anyway and going to churches and temples is all in vain for the poor are ignored and neglected for the most part, as they are today in the Church, except for a token few just to make the Church look like they are giving a little something to the poor, while their top brass lives high on the hog on the widows mite.

    Yes, it's all very hard to believe for one who has grown up in the Church and been deceived all their life that this is the only true church and that prophets can't lead us astray. Well, truth be told, they can and they have. We need to wake up and prove all things for ourselves and as Joseph Smith and other prophets have taught, we need to compare every person and precept, opinion and doctrine we hear, especially from church leaders, to what Christ said. When we do that Joseph said we will easily see who is an imposter.

    Christ condemned many of the teachings and practices of the current LDS Church, things like polygamy, divorce & remarriage, tithing, paid church leadership, ignoring of the fatherless (single mothers). Yet the Church that Joseph started we opposite to the one Brigham took out west and the one we have today. Joseph Smith would never recognize the LDS Church as even remotely close to the one he started, in fact I believe he would be repulsed by it.

    If you are really sincere about seeking the truth and not afraid of learning things that will change your paradigm and if you are honest in your beliefs in Christ and want to follow his teachings, then I have a couple links for you to study, where truth is not feared but celebrated and studied and embraced.

    For much documented truth about church history, as told from the other side, for where else would you get it, please study the book "Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy", which can be read online for free at restorationbookstore.org.

    puremormonism.blogspot.com While not everything you will read on this site it true, he at least studies the real truths off the scriptures and history and doesn't sugar coat things to get followers like the Church does. I enjoy most of the things he posts and I believe the truth he presents can help thinking people wake up to the truth and the deceptions they have fell for all their lives.

    The Church, since Brigham Young, wants us to believe that Joseph Smith lied about polygamy and really did live it, but we know that 'true' prophets can't lie and lead the people, then or today, astray or they would be fallen prophets and no one would believe in them or trust them. But Brigham Young seemed to believe in lying and so many other vile things that are completely contrary to the teachings of Christ, and thus I believe he had so many men and women lie about polygamy, especially pertaining to Joseph Smith, so to justify their whoredoms.

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  12. Ganesh, Continued -


    If you are a sincere truth seeker these links should help you find your answers to the questions you are having. And as you study the pure words of Christ in the New Test. you will see even more clearly how completely contrary the LDS Church is today from the Church Christ or Joseph Smith started. I would not even call today's LDS Church 'Christian', for it teaches so contrary to Christ, and is preaching and practicing so many falsehoods that destroy people, marriages and families today.

    I believe the true Church has gone into apostasy, after Joseph died, (as the Book of Mormon foretells the "Holy Church of God' will in the last days) and I believe Joseph saw what was happening and tried to stop it but the members wouldn't listen to or follow him, they wanted whoredoms like polygamy instead, thus they fell for such. I believe from all I have studied of church history, that Joseph was about to excommunicate Brigham Young and other apostles, because they were living and believing in polygamy. Joseph seemed to not trust Brigham or many of the apostles in those last years. But the victor gets to write the history so we haven't heard about the truth until now, with the dawning of the internet.

    I believe that Joseph Smith will return with Christ soon one day to re-establish the true church in ZIon.

    I encourage you to seek the truth and study these things, especially the words of Christ and Joseph Smith words that we can prove he published and said while alive. There is so much out there that is only hearsay and rumor about Joseph, things others 'said he said or wrote in his journal, etc.', but we can only trust what he actually signed his name to, things he put in the scriptures and published while he was alive.

    And bottom line, as Christ and Joseph taught, only those who have true charity, true everlasting unconditional love, especially for their spouse, will see the truth and be willing to accept it. All others will be easily deceived by falsehood and false prophets that abound around us today, especially in the Church.

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    1. DeeLyn -

      Sorry, but I feel like you're struggling to make something that makes no sense, make sense. And it just doesn't compute.

      The fundamental flaw in your rationalizations for your (extremely complex!) beliefs is that they're only beliefs. They have no inherent weight or value because they can't be verified. And what can be?

      Truth. Plain and simple truth. IF the BOM was real, IF JS was a prophet, then the truth would be obvious and the evidence copious, and it couldn't be hidden or contradicted. It's called parsimony, and I'm sorry to break it to you, but you won't find that anywhere near religion, mormon or otherwise.

      We live in an era where outrageous claims like Joseph's can now be easily challenged and dismissed, and there is zero proof -- genetic, archaeological, anthropological -- that would suggest that the BOM isn't a fabrication and that the church is based on truth.

      All things being equal, the simplest explanation is not that the church is in apostasy -- it's that its just all been lies from the beginning. The emperor has no clothes. We were deceived one of the best, most manipulative corporate cults ever. It's not my shame, it's theirs. Carrying on as though there's a shred of salvageable value to this farce is, frankly, delusional.

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    2. Ms. B,

      Not sure exactly which parts of my post you are saying make no sense or can't be verified, but it can be proven by historical documents published by Joseph himself, that Joseph preached against polygamy and warned the Saints against it.

      Now if Joseph really did lie and lived polygamy on the sly and made up everything else including the BoM, then of course he was a false prophet just like BY. But I don't believe he did, for he knew too much truth and he preached the doctrines of Christ, which are what we are to judge all prophets or teachings by.

      But even if the BoM was a fabrication, it still contains mostly truth and is very helpful to read and it preaches of Christ and his doctrines. So to me it really doesn't matter if Joseph was a true prophet or not, or if the BoM was from God or not, for I only listen to people or writings that are in harmony with Christ. No person, prophet or book of scripture is perfect (except Christ), so we must always use discernment to tell truth from error in any and all sources or people we may be exposed to.

      I base all my beliefs on Christ and his teachings and I only believe in those who preach and practice his same teachings, for nothing makes any sense but Christ's doctrines of true Charity. Without Charity we are nothing and we and society soon fall into chaos and disintegrate.

      It seems most prophets throughout history have eventually fallen for things like polygamy and lost their standing before God and led their followers astray. It has been very rare to find a righteous man or prophet with the true love of Christ in his soul. I have never known of or heard of one today.

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  13. Meh - there's no proof of Jesus either. Having a feeling or a belief is not proof.

    All religion, especially Christianity, is rife with the same problem: it's based on falsifiable beliefs that have repeatedly been challenged and failed the test of evidence. The same kind of lies and liars as JS are found all through 'scripture'. We are faced over and over again with the same kind of obvious forgeries, inconsistencies, conspiracies, and anachronisms.

    Despite hundreds of years of research trying to find a shred of proof, it turns out there was no Noah, there was no flood, there was no Abraham, no battle of Jericho, there was no Moses and no Exodus. Nobody lived till they were 900 and nobody was raised from the dead. Nobody wrote about Jesus till 300 years after he supposedly died, despite being part of a literate society that kept good records. JS simply picked up what was left and embroidered a little. He's no better or worse than the rest of them. It's all part of the same lie.

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  14. Ms. B,

    You can believe that way if you want, but proof is in the eye of the beholder. No one needs documented proof to know if the teachings of Christ are true and right, anyone can test them out in their own life and also look at the last 6000 years to see what proves good and bad, right or wrong, and what makes sense and what doesn't. Everyone understands the Golden Rule. Everyone understands true love, and though everyone wants it, very few are willing to give it in return.

    Even if Christ never really lived, it still doesn't take away that his message was true and is the only way for people and societies to prosper in freedom and happiness.

    We all believe and live by the teachings we choose to, and only in the next life will we see who was right and who was wrong.

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  15. I somewhat agree with you, but I feel like we're speaking different languages.

    What are beliefs? Are they reliable? Do they change when presented with contradictory evidence? I don't "believe" there is no god, I am simply accepting the lack of evidence and applying it with logic.

    Religionists make an extremely bold claim when they proclaim there is/was a God or Jesus, when there is literally no evidence for either. The burden isn't on me to disprove it, it's on them to prove it (with actual proof, not feelings). The easiest thing to accept is that it was all a fabrication from day one.

    Now I do agree with you that "Christian" Philosophy, when applied, can be a good thing for society. But it has nothing unique about it. The rules to live by that non-Christian and pre-Christian societies came up with are pretty much the same: be nice, forgive and respect others. There doesn't need to be a deity involved in order for us to have ethics and reason. There are many other ways besides Christianity to live in harmony in society. I'm an atheist who wholeheartedly rejects the concept of the supernatural, and I am an ethical person. I don't need a fictional being looking over my shoulder to keep me from killing people or stealing, and I question the integrity of the person who only does good things for rewards or avoids doing bad things out of fear of punishment.

    What's with this 6,000 years business? Humans have been creating religious concepts for some 300,000 years.

    Sorry DeeLyn, no dice.

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  16. No one can ever prove whether there is a God or not, for it's based on spiritual promptings, revelations, visions, visitations with angels or Christ, etc. which no one can prove really happened, and even if they did Satan can counterfeit them all and appear as even Christ to many people. I can't tell you how many people I know who profess to have be visited by Christ and promised eternal life by him and yet they live totally contrary to his teachings. So I don't believe it was the real Christ that they met with.

    And yes, I agree that many societies and people have lived the Golden Rule and can be nice, forgiving and respectful, though even that is usually only a few who can do that, but true unconditional love is a different thing, that is only possible in it's true form if one believes in God and an afterlife where their true love will make all the difference, for true love seems foolish if all we have is this one life. It makes no sense to have true love if you don't believe in God and eternity. The sacrifice needed to have true love, especially in marriage, is not possible or even logical unless one believes in God and eternal lives and that everyone will finally repent in the next life and live righteously in heaven, despite how they are here. True love and it's sacrifice is absolute foolishness to the natural man, for it requires way too much to be worth it. I don't even know anyone who even possesses or believes in true love, but Christ did teach it and I believe it's a true principle, but it's rewards don't usually come in this life, only in the next.

    And it is only true love that keeps a marriage or society from disintegrating in chaos, I don't know of any society or people who have maintained true love, except Enoch's society in the Bible, if true, or the people in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon after Christ visited them, but they were not able to maintain it past 1 or 2 hundred years and then went down into chaos and destruction. All other societies throughout recorded history have either self-destructed over and over and/or lived unrighteously and demeaned and abused women, which again is chaos and not freedom and happiness for anyone.

    So bottom line, some people can live the Golden Rule without a belief in God, but true unconditional love, especially in marriage, is quite another thing. And unless we can keep marriages together and respectful and happy, and protect women and children from abandonment and abuse, then society will self-destruct too. For marriage and true love is the foundation of society, without it no civilization will last long in peace.

    I don't know of any recorded histories of people or societies past 6000 years. Evidence that they existed yes, but not any written histories that I know of.

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  17. Hang on - are you saying that my marriage isn't based on true love because I don't believe in God? And that RELIGION is going to save me from being demeaned and abused? Here's the truth: the most oppression and disrespect I've ever had as a woman has been from religion and religious people. And my marriage is awesome; I've been neither abused nor abandoned. Wrong again.

    Statements like that are exactly what's wrong with religion, and why it's so destructive to intelligence. You don't even know how to use logic and rational thinking, and you don't know how crazy you sound as you contradict yourself.

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  18. Once again mainstream LDS publications covering various aspects of polygamy including Joseph Smith's practice of it and the fact that he married some younger wives:

    * "Polygamy (Plural Marriage)," lds.org
    * The 2008-2009 lesson manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), pages vii–xiii
    * Davis Bitton, "Great-Grandfather’s Family," Ensign (Feb 1977), 48
    Marriages to young women
    * Dean Jessee, "‘Steadfastness and Patient Endurance’: The Legacy of Edward Partridge," Ensign (Jun 1979), 41
    * D. Michael Quinn, “The Newel K. Whitney Family,” Ensign, Dec 1978, 42

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    1. Jeff. I finally looked at these references you provided and they are very poor. They hint at polygamy in general but do not talk about Joseph Smiths practise of pural marriage.

      The church has obviously become a lot more open about Joseph Smith's polygamy/polyandry with the release of the Kirtland/Nauvoo essay this week. But the amount and vagueness of these references suggest it has not been forthright about this issue till now.

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