Monday, June 24, 2013

The Polygamy Issue Part 1: The Introduction

For Mormons, polygamy or plural marriage as the church prefers to call it,  is a sensitive topic. 

It is part of our history. It was often called The Principal, most likely because the word polygamy was undesirable. There are members who don’t know that Joseph Smith practiced it although he was the one who implemented it. It’s right in the Doctrine & Covenants so I don’t know how they don’t know. I guess it’s the “don’t ask what you don’t want to know” mentality, which I understand. I put the subject of polygamy on the back shelf for years because I didn’t know how to deal with it and the subject made me feel bad.

There are some who deny that he did practice it, although that fact hasn’t been hidden by the church. It’s just been downplayed a lot, but it has not been hidden and many church manuals touch on this subject.

The recently published church manual, "Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society" has a section on plural marriage. Click on the following link and scroll down to "Defending the Practice of Plural Marriage". For more information on what the church says you can go to
the website and enter "plural marriage" in the search box.

No, the church doesn't deny it, but they try not to talk about it too much. It's an uncomfortable subject.
There are some that will say that because we don’t practice it now, it isn’t something to concern ourselves with.

And others will admit to having problems with the concept but would be willing to live it if it became part of the church again.

And then there are those who would willingly embrace it and wish we lived it now. I know someone like this, and surprisingly it’s not a man.

For me it’s a subject that has long bothered me. It has always felt incorrect. It has always felt evil. It has always felt like the wrong path. I have come to the conclusion about why it feels wrong. It's because it is wrong.

We are instructed in the church to follow our feelings of the spirit, and this screams loudly that it’s wrong.

But it isn’t just my feelings that tell me this. The scriptures and logic do as well.

I had initially written a blog post that turned into a way overlong essay. So instead I`ll be posting on this subject in pieces.

I am aware that there will be those who will see me as an apostate - a word often freely thrown around and used towards anyone who doesn`t agree with every tenant of the church. There will be those who might accuse me of trying to tear the church down, which is far from the truth. I am trying to find ways to stay within the church. I have no desire to tear down something that I believe is inherently good. I have no interest in becoming an anti-Mormon and filling my heart with hate towards Mormons instead of love towards my fellow man.  But I wonder about those members who have the same struggles and are afraid to say anything. I have no power to change things. It is not my call. All I`m trying to do is express a viewpoint, the viewpoint that I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. For those who question my devoutness you can read my page post "Why I Choose to Be a Mormon"

I find it interesting that often the same people that have no problem with plural marriage, do see adultery as a serious sin. So much so that we are counseled to not be alone with a married member of the opposite sex. I'll talk about my thoughts on that in another post.

I have chosen not to announce these particular posts on Facebook or other social media. If people are interested they will find me. I do not desire to make anyone uncomfortable or cause a firestorm.


  1. From your post, why do you feel troubled by being opposed to polygamy? I think a very large percentage of church members feel the same. Were you aware that of the twelve apostles during Joseph Smith's time when polygamy was introduced, there is documentation of (sometimes very strong) opposition from every member except one. Ironically, only one member of those twelve was NOT asked or permitted to have multiple wives. Guess which one.

    The Bible and Book of Mormon have several examples where God commands prophets to do something that is otherwise wrong, and certainly would be wrong if we were to do them without specific command or authorization.

    Hope this helps.

  2. I don't feel troubled by being opposed to polygamy. In fact when I finally came to my decision to not accept it as a divine doctrine, I felt peace. However, I have found there is strong opposition and often as a member you tread a fine line in the church when you don't accept everything.

    I will be posting further on this subject. I'm not finished with it yet. Stay tuned.