Sunday, June 29, 2014

Filling pockets full of virgins

Isn't it at least a little strange that following Joseph Smith's death many of his wives were divvied up between Brigham Young and Heber Kimball? It's a fact that many of those women didn't meet the requirements for plural marriage in the first place and should not have been married to Joseph, but why would they end up automatically marrying other early Mormon bigwigs? Is there another rule about wives trickling down the chain of hierarchy upon a prophet's death?

What about Brigham and Heber's other wives? I'm sure if we were to look at the lives of each of these sister wives and the situations surrounding their polygamous marriage, as has been done with Joseph's wives, we would find plenty of instances to doubt the divinity and righteous practice of the Law of Plural Marriage. Maybe some day I'll get around to it, but then where would I then stop? How many early Church leaders practiced polygamy? How many women had to cope with the practice despite their better judgement?

Years ago we heard that polygamy helped house and provide for widows. Taking care of the surplus of women is a good thing. We heard that polygamy was needed to boost the Mormon population even though polygamy doesn't actually do that. We were told that only a very small percentage of Mormon men practiced it as if that would somehow make how it was practiced ethical. We even heard our prophet say he did not think polygamy was doctrinal even though the commandment and explanation of it is still contained our scripture.

There's a lot of history here that we could discuss - a lot - and the LDS Church is trying to discuss it as little as possible while still appearing open and willing. What I would like to see is more focus on the people who felt constrained to practice and not on the institutional justifications.

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