Mormons: Third Most Hated Group in America? Part 2 – Polygamy

What kind of cretin would practice polygamy?” – Me

I would assert that, in general, most people would have a reaction similar to the quote above regarding polygamy. Just saying the word incites a very special kind of disgust.

Unfortunately, one of the things for which the LDS Church is best known is polygamy. Despite the Church’s best efforts for over 100 years to remove the stigma of its previous polygamous practices people still think that many Mormons have multiple wives and are a bunch of sexed crazed predators out to marry the youngest, most innocent girls possible. Even HBO got in on the action and made a highly rated provocative TV series based on Mormon related polygamy (RIP Bill Paxton).

The LDS Church has gone through considerable lengths to distance itself from the practice. Members who practice polygamy are promptly excommunicated. Furthermore, the Church downplays as much as possible the fact that both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were linked to the practice. I can understand if people, after hearing that the founding prophet practiced polygamy, wouldn’t want anything to do with the Church.

However, like many other things, the issue is clouded by the murky waters of time, bias, and history being written by those who control the history books. I can see how the practice could be considered detestable by outsiders, but are they getting the full story?

As an aside, I’m a bit surprised that the rabid social justice warriors haven’t started a social crusade to allow marriage between any number of consenting adults. If it’s rational to an individual that two consenting adults of the same sex can be, indeed should be married, then what’s the moral or logical argument against plural marriage? For some reason, gay marriage and trans-gendered rights are the rad thing to fight for these days. The less sexy plural marriage is thoroughly neglected by these social justice warriors who are out there fighting every day for the minority rights. I would appreciate a little more rationality and consistency from these people. Oh wait, they aren’t anchored to a rational world, just a morally obscure world in which emotion rules and logic is neglected. I apologize, I’ll get off my box. Subject for the next post.

Onward then. Anywho, the interesting thing about LDS Polygamy is that the whole thing, the whole enchilada, the whole nine yards, was attributed to Joseph Smith as the first practitioner of this icky, yucky, despicable practice. Many well respected LDS Church members have written lengthy books on the subject, i.e. Richard Bushman and Brian Hales. However, interestingly enough some (I’m looking at you remnant people) actually propose that Joseph Smith didn’t practice Polygamy. Heresy!!!! What are you nuts!!! Are you kidding me?? Didn’t you know that the Church threw Joseph Smith under the bus for Polygamy over 150 years ago!!?

Well, not everyone sees it that way. You can see some examples of this here and here.

Honestly, these people make great arguments. Good enough in fact that it convinces me to a great degree that Joseph Smith possibly didn’t practice polygamy to the degree that we thought, or he was doing something different altogether.

Nevertheless, despite this, the Bushmans and the Hales of the world make great arguments in favor of Joseph Smith practicing Polygamy.

Thus, where lies the truth? 

Joseph Smith was adamant about having one wife all the way into Nauvoo, and Brigham Young was adamant about receiving polygamy as a celestial principle from Joseph Smith. Therefore, Joseph Smith lied, or Brigham Young and his posse lied, or they both lied. All can’t be telling the truth, that my good sir/or mad’am is an impossibility.

Thus, where lies the truth? 

According to the scriptures, many ancient prophets practiced polygamy. Therefore, saved men were able to practice polygamy and still be saved. What does that mean?

Thus, where lies the truth?

I would strongly encourage anyone reading this blog, especially non-LDS folks, not to be too hasty in throwing Joseph Smith right back under that bus. Ignore the world for a bit. Suspend judgement for a bit. Let the Lord give you understanding on the subject. If the Book of Mormon and all the other scriptures that Joseph Smith produced don’t give you pause at least long enough to decide intelligently and prayerfully whether Joseph Smith was God’s instrument in any capacity, then I recommend you give yourself pause to figure out whether you should pay attention to what came through Joseph Smith.

Just my $.02

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