In this post Greg Trimble makes a plea for the world to stop “hating mormons” for polygamy.
Let’s get one thing straight, polygamy is the nice word. It was adultery.
From the perspective of the state of Illinois in 1833 forward, these marriages were illegal. They were not performed by a justice of the peace or any other figure of authority, and hence were not marriages. That makes any “plural marriage” in Illinois really just an adulterous relationship according to the law, where some empty promises were stated.
From the perspective of the temple ceremony, one should only have sexual relations with one’s spouse to whom they are legally and lawfully wed in order to be chaste, which makes these relationships unchaste.
From the perspective of Emma, the Fanny Alger interaction in 1832, 4 years before a ceremony was recorded, and 3 years before the sealing power was restored was adulterous. She called it a “Transaction”.
So let’s be straight, it’s time the LDS church stop the spin words and call it “Adultery”. Jews, muslims, and atheists all get to mock members who see “Adultery” as sacred. That’s perfectly within their right.
Now, let’s cover the lies that Greg Trimble spreads:
“the fact that polygamy took place 150 years ago in the LDS church.”
Nope. In 1905 Mathew Crowley, an apostle, was sealed to a 19 year old. That means that polygamous marriages that were condoned stopped in the U.S. about 109 years ago. But Apostle Ivins was sent to Mexico to continue the practice where it was also illegal. So 150 years isn’t even remotely true.
The media has no idea why Mormons practiced polygamy…so don’t listen to them.
Mr. Trimble , the media was very much “listening to them”. The essays were published not just by some loser on the internet with a computer like you and me, but by Church Headquarters. THAT is why it was news. Because for the first time, in the lifetimes of the reporters at the New York Times, the LDS church was upfront about the “Why”.
The Church is making a big push to get everything aired out. They’re cleaning out their closet.
Except that they left out a ton of details. The infamous “Footnote 40” for example points out that all of the sources on the line “Emma knew about some of the marriages”, all the sources listed indicate she did not know about the marriages. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the church is being more open, but until the PR department stops with the double speak, the religion that asks its members to be honest in their dealings with their fellow men will be mocked for not being open and honest. You can live with that, or you can leave with that, but don’t blame us.
detractors of the Church are otherwise presenting in a decontextualized fashion.
Given that the LDS essays state things like “We cannot know how Emma felt about polygamy” when, in fact, she published anti-polygamy statements in Relief Society and threw the children married to Joseph out of her house, I don’t think Mr. Trimble understands what “Decontextualized” means.
Mormon’s don’t live polygamy today and haven’t done so for over 120 years. So how come the media and others can’t just leave it alone.
Liar! Mormons still practice polygamy. The are called the FLDS, and they believe in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith just like you do; so you shouldn’t leave them out of your definition of Mormon, unless you’re fine with Christians calling you non-christian even though you believe in Christ. And why do they practice polygamy, because John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Brigham Young and Joseph said to! Something about it being a new and everlasting covenant that would not be taken from the earth until Christ returned, but hey; that’s I guess too direct a definition for the LDS. But also, as covered, it was only 109 years ago that new marriages stopped.
That 19 year old woman who married Apostle Crowley in 1905, she lived until 1964, meaning you could have a man and two women on the church pew at a ward in 1964 that were polygamous LDS. That’s only 50 years ago.
There’s a major problem with how these topics hit the mainstream media. As they come across your Facebook or Twitter feed in the morning, you’re hit with a title that makes it seem as if no one had ever known about polygamy prior to this week.
I think, Mr. Trimble , the surprise was the quantity of marriages. 40. Think of that number. To put it in context, imagine a football team on the field, all those men/boys in helmets and shoulder pads, now that’s 22 people on the field. Joseph was married to almost as many women as both teams put together. Or perhaps you can pick another sport and use it, as 44 may be going a bit high; but the news wasn’t just “He married a second wife”. He married a lot of women.
Along with that, the 14-year-old was scandalous. Do you remember when this made news?
Why was that news? Because it is scandalous. And admitting that this bastard was closer to Joseph Smith’s behavior than Thomas S. Monson; that is news.
Let’s put it one more way to help you understand. Let’s say that it was found out that 100 years ago, the Pope had 10 illegitimate wives and two were teenagers. Do you think, for a minute, that wouldn’t be front page news? You’re not that special. Your religion deserves scrutiny.
Joseph was never painted as a perfect man to me.
I take this line to be proof Greg Trimble never stepped into any visitor center held by the church or talked to the missionaries. I dare him to pretend to be a non-mormon and ask a pair of missionaries to criticize Joseph Smith and say his greatest flaws. Yeah.
All you have to do is read some of the first few sections of the doctrine and covenants to watch Joseph Smith get rebuked by the Lord over and over again.
Mr. Trimble is here using the “Prophets aren’t perfect” defense. Let me be absolutely clear why this is not okay. Are you listening Mr. Trimble ? I hope so, I hope this gets back to you. Joseph Smith did not just “sin”. He didn’t just “make mistakes”. He wasn’t just “imperfect”. He committed felonies in banking and was found guilty, manipulated the Lawrence out of their inheritance when their parents died, and then fucked them both (They both bore testimony at the temple lot case), he promised salvation to Helen Mar Kimball’s family giving her 24-hours to decide to marry him, he drove Orson Pratt, an apostle to near suicide, he broke the law of the land, the law of the state, and certainly went counter to the culture at the time.
Reading his actions becomes a manual to those who would manipulate and control women and men for sexual gratification. EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE JOSEPH DID NOT, one must reject his actions. The LDS church should not just admit this happened, but decry it as foul, and distasteful to anyone who believes in God and morality, or else you leave open the possibility for future individuals to use Joseph’s methods on youth and unsuspecting individuals in the church.
My own mother was approached in the 1950’s (That’s when there were still apostle’s polygamist wives in pews, remember [update 11/18/2014, I believed that Cowley died in 1954, but had really died in 1940. I was corrected on this and so changed this from being about apostles being in the pews. See when we are corrected we should admit it, and correct it.)] to be someone’s fifth wife. She turned him down, to her credit, but lived in fear of this man the rest of her life. So this is not just an academic debate to some of us. It isn’t just the “Church stopped in 150 years ago so what is the big deal”. It impacted our lives.
Further, Mr. Trimble , if you want to be honest with your readers you should perhaps mention that Polygamy, cannonically, could come back at any time and that church leaders who did not practice it could be removed from their positions, historically. Yes, this is still open that the LDS prophet could say tomorrow “This is happening again” and it could.. so the argument “This all happened 150 years ago” isn’t only a lie, but a hollow excuse even if it were true.
If he was just doing what he was commanded…and you believe he was a prophet…then plural marriage shouldn’t taint the “practically perfect” picture you initially had of the prophet.
And here, Mr. Trimble is where you insult everyone else who believes in God. You see, the idea that God is a rapist, that He would force, against the will, a man and woman to become joined for all eternity is repugnant to anyone who isn’t in love with Joseph Smith. They see through this as a shallow excuse. If you really believe that God will force people at sword point to join their fates for all eternity, and perhaps sexually, probably sexually, (I mean, we have evidence to support up to 45% of the women having a sexual relation with Joseph and direct testimony for over 20%), you have a very very different view of God than your audience you began with.
Yeah, they think this is a big deal, because you’re saying “I believe God is a rapist, and you shouldn’t talk about me thinking that”.
The drawn sword doesn’t make polygamy okay, it calls into question whether Joseph was actually talking to God.
That means that it was Jesus that was commanding the most well known and loved Old Testament prophets to live the law of polygamy at various times in history.
And here we have the next lie. Did God command anyone, ever, to enter into polygamy in the bible? Abraham DOES, but does God command it? King David does, but does God command it?
No. This is only stated in the Pearl of Great Price, written by Joseph Smith (As it has no relation to the funerary text on the papyri as admitted to in another church essay, we can well call Smith the Author until another source document is found) is the only source for this idea. So no, it’s a lie that God commanded polygamy and every other religion can see that (Except maybe Muslims as they have their own take).
Why do people make Joseph Smith into some kind of a monster but omit the fact that Jesus commanded those Old Testament prophets and that those prophets lived that principle fully?
Because it isn’t a fact, and Joseph Smith didn’t just marry a handmaiden and get traded over mandrake root; he took other men’s wives and little girls under threats, oaths, and to the detriment of his followers. That makes him a monster.
Why can’t you see that?
Maybe it’s personal bias. Here is how we could check. Mr. Trimble , write a piece defending another polygamous person who made the news, Warren Jeffs. Defend him with all the vigor you defended Joseph and I’ll believe you that, in fact, this isn’t just a big ol’ slab of personal bias aired out for the world to read.
Until then, I think you need to look deep into the mirror and really think about why the rest of the world views Joseph as a monster. Because the rest of the world would have locked him away as one. And that’s even in historical context.