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LDS rebut N.Y. Times Web article
The Deseret News ^ | 5.6.2008 | Aaron Falk

Posted on 05/06/2008 10:18:16 AM PDT by Utah Girl

The historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took issue Monday with a New York Times opinion piece comparing FLDS polygamists in Texas to 19th century Mormons.

In a statement released Monday, church historian Elder Marlin K. Jensen took exception to author Timothy Egan's portrayal in the Times.

"Mr. Egan's cavalier comparison of FLDS polygamy practices with those of 19th century Latter-day Saints is historically unsupported and simply wrong," wrote Elder Jensen, a member of the church's Quorums of Seventy. "By implication, he also unfairly impugns the integrity of all Latter-day Saint marriages and families, the very institutions they hold most dear."

In a piece posted on the Times Web site April 23, Egan called the polygamists in west Texas "1870s Stepford wives" and "men with their low monotones and pious, seeming disregard for the law on child sex." And Egan drew parallels between present-day FLDS members and 1800s Mormons.

In his response, Elder Jensen wrote, "The conditions surrounding the practice of polygamy in Texas today bear little resemblance to the plural marriage practiced by Mormons more than a century ago," he said. "As thoughtful historians know, a serious study of history does not impose contemporary understandings and sensibilities onto an interpretation of earlier time periods."

Elder Jensen also said Egan's tacit claim that 19th century Mormon women were subservient and backward was false. Women played an integral part in LDS culture, held jobs and were politically active, Elder Jensen said.

"For a long time ... the church was at odds with basic American ideals, and not just because old guys sanctioned marital sex with dozens of teenage girls," Egan wrote. "What you see in Texas — in small part — is a look back at some of the behavior of Mormonism's founding fathers."

"Smith was fortunate enough to find a religious cover for his desire," Egan continued. "His polygamy 'revelation' was put into The Doctrine and Covenants, one of three sacred texts of Mormonism."

In his response, Elder Jensen wrote that men and women often married at a younger age than might be considered acceptable today. A girl marrying at 15 was not uncommon and the common-law marriage age for women was 12, he said. Women were not forced into marriages and divorces were "readily granted," Elder Jensen wrote.

Attempts Monday night to contact Egan for comment were unsuccessful.

Online:

• Column by New York Times Op-Extra columnist Timothy Egan (April 23)
• Response by Elder Marlin K. Jensen, Church Historian, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (May 5)


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KEYWORDS: christ; churchofjesus; ctr; flds; mormon; mormonbashing; oflatterdaysaints; polygamy
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Here are Elder Jensen's comments.

In the April 23, 2008 online-edition of The New York Times, Timothy Egan wrote a post on the Outposts blog claiming that the way polygamy is practiced today by members of the FLDS sect in Eldorado, Texas is the same as it was practiced by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in the 19th century.

While most people know that Mormons abandoned the practice of polygamy at the end of the 19th century, it's also important to understand that the conditions surrounding the practice of polygamy in Texas today bear little resemblance to the plural marriage practiced by Mormons more than a century ago. In fact, a closer look at history contradicts the simple reductive characterizations of "Mormon polygamy" offered by Egan. As thoughtful historians know, a serious study of history does not impose contemporary understandings and sensibilities onto an interpretation of earlier time periods.

Much of the argument Egan makes for similarities between FLDS polygamy and early Mormon marriage practices relates to the claim of "sexual manipulation" of children as evidenced by the age of marriage. In fact, men and women often married at a much younger age in the 19th century than we find acceptable today. Historian Kathryn Daynes, who has studied the subject in depth, says that although the female average age at marriage in the United States during the nineteenth century was twenty or older, a girl marrying at age 15 was not uncommon and certainly was not considered abused. The common-law marriage age for women was 12. Historically, outside of northwestern Europe, women at 14 to 16 were assumed to be ready for marriage.

Egan also seeks to equate the stereotypical view of 19th century Mormon women as timid, subservient, and backward, to the image of FLDS women portrayed in recent days in the media. History, however, paints a different picture. Nineteenth-century Mormon women, in both plural and monogamous marriages, were not just interested in raising families and blindly following their husbands. They were politically active and participated in territorial elections. Many were well connected with national women's organizations. These women also taught school and were active in publishing and literary activities. Some even served their communities by going to medical school and becoming skilled physicians. Because of their competence and level of self-reliance, they did not have to resort to public assistance.

Unlike the contemporary practice of polygamy in Eldorado, Texas, 19th century plural marriage among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not controlled by the arbitrary authority of one individual. On the contrary, decisions related to marriage were settled by consideration of the feelings of all interested parties. Furthermore, the consent of individual women was always honored in any marriage proposal. Though there was some social and cultural pressure, it was not determinative. Both men and women were free to refuse offers of marriage they found unacceptable.

Brigham Young did not arrange marriages unless he was asked to, and he readily granted divorces. Far from the misconceptions of life-long servitude to the absolute power of the patriarchy, this non-legalistic system of divorce allowed women considerable autonomy.

In distinction to the cloistered isolation of today's polygamous groups, including the FLDS, Mormon culture in the 19th century was characterized by a vibrancy of productive activity in various fields of endeavor: education, industry, politics, community-building, agriculture, and many professions. Latter-day Saints strived to move apace with the rapid demands and changes of life and sought to embrace modernity, not thwart it. They sought to take advantage of the ideas and innovations of modern life by establishing schools and universities of higher education. In this they followed the advice of Joseph Smith: "One of the grand fundamental principles of 'Mormonism' is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may."

Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sacred and ordained of God. The family is the basic social unit in this life and in the next. The social, emotional, and spiritual health of all family members was (in the 19th century) and is today the primary concern of every Latter-day Saint mother and father. Mr. Egan's cavalier comparison of FLDS polygamous practices with those of 19th century Latter-day Saints is historically unsupported and simply wrong. By implication, he also unfairly impugns the integrity of all Latter-day Saint marriages and families, the very institutions they hold most dear.

Elder Marlin K. Jensen
Church Historian, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

1 posted on 05/06/2008 10:18:18 AM PDT by Utah Girl
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To: Utah Girl

I was thinking about this when I drove to work this morning. We welcome everyone to our church services each Sunday. Stop by a local meetinghouse and get the times.

Anyone is welcome in our homes to see how we live. Policy is that young men and young women should not start dating until they are 16 (group activities are allowed for those 14 and older.) The temples are open to any worthy member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And if there is an open house of an LDS temple in your area, attend it. You can see with your own eyes what is inside. After the temple is dedicated, however, only worthy members can attend.


2 posted on 05/06/2008 10:21:27 AM PDT by Utah Girl
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To: Utah Girl; greyfoxx39; SENTINEL; colorcountry; Elsie
"The conditions surrounding the practice of polygamy in Texas today bear little resemblance to the plural marriage practiced by Mormons more than a century ago," he said.

How so? I see no difference whatsoever.

3 posted on 05/06/2008 10:23:24 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("We must not forget that there is a war on and our troops are in the thick of it!"--Duncan Hunter)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

He explained his reason. Are you 150 years old, or do you mean “see” in some other sense of “it’s how I feel so it must be true”?

Otherwise, you could present your first-hand accounts of mormon marriage in the 1800s, and explain how he got it wrong.

Judging only by the description he gave, and what we know about FLDS, they are remarkably different.


4 posted on 05/06/2008 10:34:48 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT; SENTINEL

Well, I suggest that you ask FReeper Sentinel, who’s the real expert here, based upon his personal experience within the Mormon bishoporic and his access to the official Mormon histories.


5 posted on 05/06/2008 10:41:13 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("We must not forget that there is a war on and our troops are in the thick of it!"--Duncan Hunter)
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To: Utah Girl; P-Marlowe; colorcountry

The self-deception that Mormons have about their past is staggering.

ROTFL!!! I think I’ll pass on the invitation to listen to the public relations and sanitized version of your activities.


6 posted on 05/06/2008 10:45:05 AM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Utah Girl

Several of our members have attended Mormon worship services but the Mormons could not reciprocate. So that was the end of that.

My next door neighbor’s daughter is doing her mission soon. No word on where yet. She’s waiting to see if she has to go to language school.


7 posted on 05/06/2008 10:50:01 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Lord_Calvinus

8 posted on 05/06/2008 10:53:00 AM PDT by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
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To: Utah Girl
In fact, men and women often married at a much younger age in the 19th century than we find acceptable today.

HISTORICALLY INACCURATE, Utah Girl! And...yes, Joseph Smith's marriage to Helen Mar Kimball, among others (see below), puts him in the Warren Jeffs, FLDS, category (and vis versa).

If one looks at US statistics over the past 100 years for example, one sees that men had an average age at marriage of 25.9 years in 1900. Women in 1900 had an average age at marriage of 22 years. For some this shatters an illusion that women 100 years ago were sold into marriage as young children.

Even Jane Austen, writing in the early 19th century had heroines married at the earliest age of 17 or 18. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, which are semi-autobiographical, her father would not allow her to marry until she was 18. Thus it can be said that the average woman was past 21 when entering her first marriage, 100 years ago.

(http://www.wisegeek.com/how-has-the-average-age-at-marriage-changed-over-time.htm)

And this:

Many LDS Church leaders and historians suggest that sexual relations and the marriage of Joseph Smith and his youngest wife, Helen Mar Kimball, fourteen at the time, was "approaching eligibility."

There is no documentation to support the idea that marriage at fourteen was "approaching eligibility." Actually, marriages even two years later, at the age of sixteen, occurred occasionally but infrequently in Helen Mar's culture. Thus, girls marrying at fourteen, even fifteen, were very much out of the ordinary. Sixteen was comparatively rare, but not unheard of. American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three.

In the United States the average age of menarche (first menstruation) dropped from 16.5 in 1840 to 12.9 in 1950. More recent figures indicate that it now occurs on average at 12.8 years of age. The mean age of first marriages in colonial America was between 19.8 years to 23.7, most women were married during the age period of peak fecundity (fertility).

Mean pubertal age has declined by some 3.7 years from the 1840’s.

The psychological sexual maturity of Helen Mar Kimball in today’s average age of menarche (first menstruation) would put her psychological age of sexual maturity at the time of the marriage of Joseph Smith at 9.1 years old. (16.5 years-12.8 years =3.7 years) (12.8 years-3.7 years=9.1 years)

The fact is Helen Mar Kimball's sexual development was still far from complete. Her psychological sexual maturity was not competent for procreation. The coming of puberty is regarded as the termination of childhood; in fact the term child is usually defined as the human being from the time of birth to the on-coming of puberty. Puberty the point of time at which the sexual development is completed. In young women, from the date of the first menstruation to the time at which she has become fitted for marriage, the average lapse of time is assumed by researchers to be two years.

Age of eligibility for women in Joseph Smith’s time-frame would start at a minimum of 19 ½ years old.

This would suggest that Joseph Smith had sexual relations and married several women before the age of eligibility, and some very close to the age of eligibility including:

Fanny Alger 16

Sarah Ann Whitney 17

Lucy Walker 17

Flora Ann Woodworth 16

Emily Dow Partridge 19

Sarah Lawrence 17

Maria Lawrence 19

Helen Mar Kimball 14

Melissa Lott 19

Nancy M. Winchester [14?]

And then we have these testimonies:

"Joseph was very free in his talk about his women. He told me one day of a certain girl and remarked, that she had given him more pleasure than any girl he had ever enjoyed. I told him it was horrible to talk like this." - Joseph Smith's close confidant and LDS Church First Councilor, William Law, Interview in Salt Lake Tribune, July 31, 1887

When Heber C. Kimball asked Sister Eliza R. Snow the question if she was not a virgin although married to Joseph Smith, she replied, "I thought you knew Joseph Smith better than that." - Stake President Angus M. Cannon, statement of interview with Joseph III, 23, LDS archives.

Short Bios of Smith's wives: http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org

Did Smith have sex with his wives?: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/joseph_smith_sex.htm

Whatever the average age of menarche might have been in the mid 19th-century, the average age of marriage was around 20 for women and 22 for men. And a gap of 15 to 20 years or more between partners was very unusual, not typical. Whatever biology might have to say, according to the morals of his time, several of Joseph Smith's wives were still inappropriately young for him.

(http://www.i4m.com/think/polygamy/teen_polygamy.htm)

9 posted on 05/06/2008 10:56:39 AM PDT by pby
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To: AppyPappy

Could not reciprocate? I can go anywhere I want to. When I am with family who are not Mormon, I attend Church with them. Oh, how I hate all these anti Mormon posts.


10 posted on 05/06/2008 11:02:58 AM PDT by Saundra Duffy (For victory & freedom!!!)
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To: Utah Girl

I need to say something here in all charity.

This FLDS story is making me realize that ‘truth’ is a very soft item in the LDS religion. It seems that it is like clay, that it can be molded and shaped. On top of that, it seems ‘truth’ can be whatever it is because someone ‘feels’ it to be so.

I do legitimately think that this is a cause for the large number of liberal Mormon politicians, irrespective of the LDS ‘conservative’ teachings.

Are there liberal ‘Christian’ politicians as well as there are liberal ‘Mormon’ politicians? Of course there are, but my observation still stands that the root of liberalism is the inability to concretly define truth, and this refusal to accept the link between Joseph Smith and Warren Jeffs is on display, and most people in America are recognizing the connection.

On a political note, this would be a very unwise time to have McCain choose Romney for VP.


11 posted on 05/06/2008 11:07:26 AM PDT by fishtank (Fenced BORDERS, English LANGUAGE, Patriotic CULTURE: A good plan.)
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To: Saundra Duffy

My neighbor said it varies across the country. It’s more traditional. In this area, you are expected to always find a Mormon church rather than visit another church. Evidentally, there is some record keeping involved.


12 posted on 05/06/2008 11:08:15 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: fishtank

***This FLDS story is making me realize that ‘truth’ is a very soft item in the LDS religion.***

When one considers that Joseph Smith literally pulled the Mormon religion out of his hat is it really any wonder?


13 posted on 05/06/2008 11:21:05 AM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

I thought that since you said “from what I see, there’s no difference”, that you would be the person to ask about why you “see no difference”.

I didn’t realise you were in fact just channeling other freepers, and had no basis for your opinion.


14 posted on 05/06/2008 11:21:11 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: pby

Since there were still states in this century who allowed marriages that young, it obviously was something that happened. Whether it was the norm or not is a more interesting question.

I was surprised when it was posted that Loretta Lynn got married when she was 14. But I was talking to a neighbor from Loisiana and apparently there are a few girls getting married at very young ages there as well.

At one church I have personal knowledge of, the son of the minister married a 15-year-old.

Again, not to say it was the norm. Also not sure we can compare 1900 to 1850, by 1900 we were well into the industrial period; 1850 was still a different cultural era altogether.


15 posted on 05/06/2008 11:26:14 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Utah Girl; pby
Well, maybe the LDS should start with "rebutting" their own less PR-minded historians & other Utah folks in the know.

The stuff below should be kept in mind of PBY's context mentioned in post #9...that the average age in 1900 was actually 26 for men & 22 for women.

As one poster on another thread said: the FLDS are the LDS of yesteryear...

Note how young the 19th century Mormon wives were!

The book, Changing World, p. 226: The early Mormon leaders certainly did allow their young people to marry at an early age. Mosiah Hancock was only 11 years old when he was "sealed" to a "young girl." According to his journal, he was "born in Kirtland, Ohio, on April the 9th, 1834." ("The Mosiah Hancock Journal," typed copy, p.1). On pages 20 and 21 of the same journal, he recorded: On about January 10, 1846, I was privileged to go in the temple and receive my washings and annointings. I was sealed to a lovely young girl named Mary, who was about my age, but it was with the understanding that we were not to live together as man and wife until we were 16 years of age. The reason that some were sealed so young was because we knew that we would have to go West and wait many a long time for another temple.

According to Stanley P. Hirshon, who wrote a biography of Brigham Young: "Make haste and get married," Remy heard Young preach. "Let me see no boys above sixteen and girls above fourteen unmarried." ... In 1857 The New York Times, reporting the sealings to old men of two girls aged ten and eleven, estimated that most girls married before they were fourteen.... Troskolawsski knew one bishop who was sealed to four of his nieces, the youngest thirteen years old....On August 1, 1856, he put on the stagecoach for Ohio twelve-year-old Emma Wheat, who was being forced into a marriage she detested." (The Lion of the Lord, pp.126-27).

Changing World, p. 225: The shortage of women was so great that some of the men were marrying girls who were very young. Fanny Stenhouse stated:

"That same year, a bill was brought into the Territorial Legislature, providing that boys of fifteen years of age and girls of twelve might legally contract marriage, with the consent of their parents or guardians!" (Tell It All, 1875, p.607).

According to http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no91.htm, Stenhouse was "at one time had been a firm believer in Mormonism and had even allowed her husband to take another wife. She wrote: "It would be quite impossible, with any regard to propriety, to relate all the horrible results of this disgraceful system.... Marriages have been contracted between the nearest of relatives; and old men tottering on the brink of the grave have been united to little girls scarcely in their teens; while unnatural alliances of every description, which in any other community would be regarded with disgust and abhorrence, are here entered into in the name of God...It is quite a common thing in Utah for a man to marry two or even three sisters.... I know also another man who married a widow with several children; and when one of the girls had grown into her teens he insisted on marrying her also... and to this very day the daughter bears children to her step-father, living as wife in the same house with her mother!"(Tell It All, 1874, pages 468-69)

Per researcher George D. Smith (Source: "Nauvoo Polygamists", George D. Smith, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1994, p. ix, as found at http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no91.htm) discovered that of "a list of 153 men who took plural wives in the early years of the Mormon Church. When we examined this list, we noted that two of the young girls were only thirteen years old when they were lured into polygamy. Thirteen girls were only fourteen years old. Twenty-one were fifteen years old, and fifty-three were sixteen years old when they were secretly enticed into this degrading lifestyle."

"I shall not seal the people as I have done. Old Father Alread brought three young girls 12 & 13 years old. I would not seal them to him. They would not be equally yoked together...Many get their endowments who are not worthy and this is the way that devils are made." (Source: Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 5:58.)

Examples of real young girls being married off in 19th century Mormon families: Judson Tolman, 19, married first wife Sarah Holbrook, 13, in 1846 before adding 4 more wives; James Francis Johnson married Rozina Richmond, 13 (perhaps 14) in 1876...then J.F. Johnson took on another wife in 1894 after the so-called "manifesto" supposedly "ending" polygamy--to Clara Barber who was 16--maybe 17. J.F. Johnson was in his late 30s at that time he married Barber.

24 yo Arthur Clark married 14 yo Mary Rasmussen as the second of four wives; Charles Richardson married 14 yo first wife Sarah Adams in 1882--his third wife (Carolina Jacobson) was probably 16 & he was 30. (He had 4 wives overall)

Thomas Chamberlain II actually double-married two 17 yo on the same date in 1873...and then added on a 15 yo (Ann Carling) in 1875 followed by her sister--also 15--three years later.

Abel Hardy married a 15 yo (Maria Cooley) in 1896 and then post-manifesto, married Cynthia Porter (16) in 1901. (Hundreds of 16 yo LDS girls were married off as plural wives in the 19th century and early 20th century).

Notice how the initial LDS leaders set the terrible example for fLDS leaders by being in their 40s or late 30s (or beyond re: later LDS "prophets")

Just look at the compulsory "wifehood" of underaged teens: Brigham Young, when he was in his 40s, wedded 15-year-old Clarissa Decker, 16-year-old Ellen Rockwood (when Young was 44); and 16-year-old Lucy Bigelow (when Young was 45).

Its initial "prophet"--Joseph Smith--promised salvation to the household of the Kimball Klan, and what do you know? 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball, who initially hated polygamy, was part of Smith's harem. Smith also added to his long list of wives 16-year-old Presendia Huntington; 17-year-old Mary Rollins; 17-year-old Patty Bartlett; and 17-year-old Sarah Ann Whitney. (Smith allegedly began his pre-marital affair with Fanny Alger when she was 16; Smith was the legal guardian of her).

As for LDS 19th century old men: "Joseph E. Robinson recalled that President Lorenzo Snow told him that he had father a child in his eighty-eighth year." (source B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant, p. 93)

Even the LDS "prophet" who posted a manifesto to "end" polygamy added a wife in 1897 when 90-year-old Wilford Woodruff married 49-year-old Lydia Mountford.

16 posted on 05/06/2008 11:31:43 AM PDT by Colofornian
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To: CharlesWayneCT; SENTINEL
Charles, you know dang well what I'm talking about since you've been on all the same threads that I've been posting on. I'm at work right now, and don't have time to take your bait and ferret the historical citations out. But, for your reading amusement, I suggest that you start here.
17 posted on 05/06/2008 11:34:38 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("We must not forget that there is a war on and our troops are in the thick of it!"--Duncan Hunter)
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To: Colofornian; Utah Girl
This quote helps us keep the issue in context, as well:

Brethren, I want you to understand that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. The brother missionaries have been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake."

- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Lion of the Lord, New York, 1969, pp.129-30.

And...for further context, what reason did Joseph Smith give to 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball that compelled her to marry him?

And...if Smith's teenage polygamous marriages were so culturally acceptable back then...THEN WHY DID HE LIE ABOUT NOT HAVING ANY POLYGAMOUS WIVES?

Are you really contending, here, that Smith's polygamous marriages to teenage girls was acceptable?

18 posted on 05/06/2008 11:46:54 AM PDT by pby
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To: AppyPappy

There is no “record keeping” involved. Mormons are free to visit other churches, without any restriction.

The ward clerk keeps track of gross attendance at various meetings, but no one is keeping track of whether any particular individual is attending church meetings.

And, even if they were, that wouldn’t preclude someone from visiting another church if invited.

If you are talking about simply attending a different church if you are visiting somewhere away from home, most Mormons would look for another Mormon church. For us, the purpose of attending Sacrament Meeting on Sunday is to take the sacrament as administered by those with priesthood authority. If a Mormon family knows ahead of time that they are going to be far away from a Mormon meetinghouse, their Bishop can give them permission to have the priesthood holders in the family administer the sacrament. The family would probably hold their own little meeting, then.


19 posted on 05/06/2008 11:59:22 AM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

I rarely read the part of the threads that are simply LDS-bashing, because it has nothing to do with my interest.

However, what I have read didn’t put the charges made against the FLDS on par with what this particular person claims was the norm in the LDS church in the 1800s.

So when you said you could see it, I was asking for what you saw that made it the same.

I don’t really want to go off and research it, and if you want to tell me to pound sand, that’s fine.

I know when I make statements, and people ask me what basis I have, I like to tell them, because my point of posting was to educate and convince others.

I know other people just like to post for other reasons than to be informative. Nobody is required to be informative.


20 posted on 05/06/2008 12:03:56 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Utah Girl
After the temple is dedicated, however, only worthy members can attend.

Good thing God doesn't deem me unworthy.............

21 posted on 05/06/2008 12:09:08 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Hillary's heart is darker than the devil's riding boots.................)
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To: Saundra Duffy
Oh, how I hate all these anti Mormon posts.

Do also hate anti-Christian posts?

22 posted on 05/06/2008 12:10:20 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Hillary's heart is darker than the devil's riding boots.................)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Is it the norm, and worthy of defense, for a man to marry multiple teenage girls, while being married to many older (some married) women?

Was this just normal behavior for that time period?

23 posted on 05/06/2008 12:13:48 PM PDT by pby
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To: Saundra Duffy; Osage Orange
Oh, how I hate all these anti Mormon posts.

("Oh, how I hate [Mormon] history")

(I'd say the 2 are equivalent, eh, Osage?)

24 posted on 05/06/2008 12:14:17 PM PDT by Colofornian
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To: fishtank
"This FLDS story is making me realize that ‘truth’ is a very soft item in the LDS religion. It seems that it is like clay, that it can be molded and shaped. On top of that, it seems ‘truth’ can be whatever it is because someone ‘feels’ it to be so."

You've got this absolutley right. In fact the church policy that attempts to explain this is "FOLLOW THE LIVING PROPHET". The argument is apparently God didn't foresee technicalities in his commandments to previous prophets, but don't worry, we have a "living prophet" who will sort things out. Also God's original plan which he revealed earlier has been thwarted by faithless members of the church, UNTIL EVEN THE WHOLE CHURCH IS UNDER CONDEMNATION !! (I have actually heard this preached from levels all the way to the top, from the pulpit)

Don't blame God and don't blame the prophet either when they are wrong, IT's YOUR FAULT, so you OWE US !!

Also, if things are going well, it is OUR fault, so YOU OWE us.

....And if things are good for us, but bad for you, God is punishing you so YOU OWE US !!

Psychologists call this a "double bind", or a cult of guilt.....Find a factual quote from Brigham Young or Joseph Smith, even by accident and they pull your temple recommend for associating with apostate groups. They will even do that to you if you watch South Park. (not kidding)

25 posted on 05/06/2008 12:15:44 PM PDT by SENTINEL (SGT USMC....YOU NEVER HAVE TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR A REAL PROPHET !)
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To: Utah Girl; Osage Orange
After the temple is dedicated, however, only worthy members can attend. [UG]

Good thing God doesn't deem me unworthy.. [OO]

Ya know, I don't think we even see Mormons use the word "temple" aside from the Mormon one, do we? Paul twice wrote the Corinthians about being a bodily "temple of the Holy Spirit." If this bodily habitation was fully predicated upon the person being 100% "worthy," it'd never happen.

26 posted on 05/06/2008 12:17:26 PM PDT by Colofornian
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To: pby

I don’t think polygamy has ever been “normal”, certainly not in this country.

The topic was the age of marriage, which I also can’t say what is “norm”, which is why I said I didn’t know what the norm was, just that it wasn’t non-existant for younger marriages.


27 posted on 05/06/2008 12:25:30 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
On May 3, 1844, the History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 411, reported that Joseph Smith responded as follows to the accusation that he "kept six or seven young females as wives": "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. "I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."

The article on marriage, which was published in the early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants was frequently used by the early Mormon Church to counteract the report that polygamy was being practiced. On Sept. 1, 1842, this statement appeared in the Times and Seasons (vol. 3, p. 909): "Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused... we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed in the church.

" '...Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife, and one woman, but one husband,... ' " In vol. 4, p. 143, of the Times and Seasons, we find the following: "We are charged with advocating a plurality of wives, and common property. Now this is as false as the many other ridiculous charges which are brought against us. No sect have [sic] a greater reverence for the laws of matrimony, or the rights of private property, and we do what others do not, practice what we preach." In the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, vol. 3, p. 74, the following denial appeared: "But, for the information of those who may be assailed by those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-Day Saints, and never will;... the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants; and also all our periodicals are very strict on that subject, indeed far more so than the bible."

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter. . . . all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. . . . and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned . . . (Doctrine and Covenants 132:1-4).

One of the first women listed as a plural wife of Joseph Smith is Fanny Alger, a teenager who lived in the Smith home in the mid-1830's. Todd Compton, an LDS historian, commented that her marriage to him in Kirtland, Ohio, established a pattern that was repeated in Nauvoo, Illinois: Smith secretly marries a teenage servant or family friend living in his home, and his first wife Emma forces the young woman from the premises when she discovers the relationship (In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Todd Compton, p. 25). Oliver Cowdery, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, became aware of the relationship between Joseph and Fanny but considered it a case of adultery. In 1838 he wrote to his brother, Warren, about the episode: When he [Joseph Smith] was there we had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A dirty, nasty, filthy affair of his and Fanny Alger's was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself (Letter written by Oliver Cowdery and recorded by his brother Warren Cowdery; see photograph in The Mormon Kingdom, vol. 1, p. 27).

Oliver Cowdery, one of the "Three Witnesses" was excommunicated from the church for revealing Smith's affair. Smith set a pattern of rule in the LDS church that is still practiced today, when the "truth" doesn't "smell good".

28 posted on 05/06/2008 12:28:51 PM PDT by SENTINEL (SGT USMC....YOU NEVER HAVE TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR A REAL PROPHET !)
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To: lady lawyer

With all due respect, lady, you have not attended Elders quorum or High Preist quorum meetings, and THEY DO keep track of weekly attendance, and they send missionaries and home teachers out after them when the miss church. They even conduct monthly “Persoanl Priesthood Interviews” with these groups where they inquire about tithing and wether the wife is working out of the home against the “prophet’s commandments”. you wouldn’t know about this, it is kept from the women.


29 posted on 05/06/2008 12:34:40 PM PDT by SENTINEL (SGT USMC....YOU NEVER HAVE TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR A REAL PROPHET !)
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To: SENTINEL

Change a name or two and I’d think most people would think this was talking about the FLDS. But, then, Joseph Smith is the progenitor of the FLDS.


30 posted on 05/06/2008 12:34:40 PM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: SENTINEL

Baloney.


31 posted on 05/06/2008 12:36:50 PM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: Colofornian
Yes, I think it bothers them greatly.

They don't want to face the facts, IMO.

Change is hard...and it can hurt emotionally, financially, personally, etc..

32 posted on 05/06/2008 12:38:46 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Hillary's heart is darker than the devil's riding boots.................)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I don’t think polygamy has ever been “normal”, certainly not in this country.

Well, then...the problem for Mormons is that they cite alleged cultural norms (19th century mean age for marriage..albeit, they do not quote it accurately) to justify their prophets' marriages to young teenage girls.

BUT...they can't have it both ways! If societal norms set their marital practice, then polygamy would not have been a doctrine and practice of the prophets and the LDS church in the 19th century.

The topic was the age of marriage, which I also can’t say what is “norm”, which is why I said I didn’t know what the norm was,...

It has already been shown that the historical mean age of women at marriage was twenty, or greater, at the time. That was the norm...not fourteen to sixteen.

Joseph Smith lied about his marriages and coerced, at least 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball, his brides into polygamous marriage...Sounds just like the FLDS, today,which is the point of the overall issue.

33 posted on 05/06/2008 12:41:17 PM PDT by pby
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To: pby

“Mean” age just means that there were an equal number women younger than 20 and older than 20 being married. It doesn’t mean it’s the “norm.”


34 posted on 05/06/2008 12:42:55 PM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: pby
"If one looks at US statistics over the past 100 years for example, one sees that men had an average age at marriage of 25.9 years in 1900. Women in 1900 had an average age at marriage of 22 years. For some this shatters an illusion that women 100 years ago were sold into marriage as young children."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

35 posted on 05/06/2008 12:44:08 PM PDT by ansel12 (Texas, having to clean up Utah's Latter Day Taints. this cult stuff sucks.)
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To: pby
"It has already been shown that the historical mean age of women at marriage was twenty, or greater, at the time. That was the norm...not fourteen to sixteen."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

36 posted on 05/06/2008 12:47:09 PM PDT by ansel12 (Texas, having to clean up Utah's Latter Day Taints. this cult stuff sucks.)
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To: Lord_Calvinus

No...


37 posted on 05/06/2008 12:49:34 PM PDT by ejonesie22 (Haley Barbour 2012, Because he has experience in Disaster Recovery.)
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To: pby
England and Wales were not very different than America.

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38 posted on 05/06/2008 12:50:41 PM PDT by ansel12 (Texas, having to clean up Utah's Latter Day Taints. this cult stuff sucks.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT; Virginia Ridgerunner; Politicalmom; metmom; colorcountry; FastCoyote
I know other people just like to post for other reasons than to be informative.

Mr. Mind-Reader at it again...tell me, non-mormon CW, do you get these "revelations" of what other FReepers are thinking as a voice from the Holy Spirit, accompanied by a "burning in the bosom"?

39 posted on 05/06/2008 12:55:27 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (FLDS.... making babies with children because their God wants earthly bodies for spirit babies.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT; Virginia Ridgerunner; Politicalmom; metmom; colorcountry; FastCoyote
I know other people just like to post for other reasons than to be informative.

Mr. Mind-Reader at it again...tell me, non-mormon CW, do you get these "revelations" of what other FReepers are thinking as a voice from the Holy Spirit, accompanied by a "burning in the bosom"?

40 posted on 05/06/2008 12:55:28 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (FLDS.... making babies with children because their God wants earthly bodies for spirit babies.)
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To: colorcountry; Pan_Yans Wife; MHGinTN; Colofornian; Elsie; FastCoyote; Osage Orange; Greg F; ...

FIP Ping to #25


41 posted on 05/06/2008 1:00:11 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (FLDS.... making babies with children because their God wants earthly bodies for spirit babies.)
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To: Utah Girl; lady lawyer; Saundra Duffy
We believe in honesty, morality, and purity; but when they enact tyrannical laws, forbidding us the free exercise of our religion, we cannot submit. God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under banner of heaven and against the Government...

Polygamy is a divine institution. It has been handed down direct from God. The United States cannot abolish it. No nation on earth can prevent it, nor all the nations of the earth combined,...

I defy the United States; I will obey God.

Source: John Taylor (on January 4, 1880), President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Quoted in Under The Banner of Heaven John Krakauer, Doubleday (July 15, 2003)

FLDS maintan that they are following the religion that was handed down from Joseph Smith and reinforced through revelation as noted above. They also contend that the LDS has compromised itself in capitulating to the laws of the US government on the issue of polygamy. Therefore, the FLDS claim that they are the only true church. Why are they wrong?

And other than the practice of modern polygamy, what are the doctrinal differences between the LDS and the FLDS?

Don't these two organizations have significant commonalities, except for the modern practice of polygamy?

42 posted on 05/06/2008 1:00:22 PM PDT by pby
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To: Utah Girl

Why didn’t they just ask Elder Romney about this topic?

He would have interesting opinions I would think. Especially when one considers the fact that his father was born in a break-away ‘fundamentalist’ polygamist community in Mexico.


43 posted on 05/06/2008 1:00:23 PM PDT by BlueNgold (... Feed the tree!)
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To: ansel12; Utah Girl; Saundra Duffy; lady lawyer

Thank you for the back-up documentation, anse112.


44 posted on 05/06/2008 1:02:01 PM PDT by pby
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To: SENTINEL
The article on marriage, which was published in the early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants was frequently used by the early Mormon Church to counteract the report that polygamy was being practiced. On Sept. 1, 1842, this statement appeared in the Times and Seasons (vol. 3, p. 909): "Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused... we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed in the church. " '...Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife, and one woman, but one husband,... ' " In vol. 4, p. 143, of the Times and Seasons, we find the following: "We are charged with advocating a plurality of wives, and common property. Now this is as false as the many other ridiculous charges which are brought against us. No sect have [sic] a greater reverence for the laws of matrimony, or the rights of private property, and we do what others do not, practice what we preach." In the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, vol. 3, p. 74, the following denial appeared: "But, for the information of those who may be assailed by those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-Day Saints, and never will;... the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants; and also all our periodicals are very strict on that subject, indeed far more so than the bible."

Yes. Here is Vol. 5, p. 474, March 15, 1844, Times & Seasons by Hyrum Smith, Joseph's brother: "Whereas brother Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that thtat man teaches false doctrine, for therer is no such doctrine taught here; neither is there any such thing practised here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such odctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and lose his license and membership also: therefore he had better beware what he is about."

(Notice Hyrum Smith's cleverly worded out of "will stand a CHANCE to be brought before the High Council"...and for what purpose, I add? (To be congratulated perhaps by Joseph Smith of the 'High Council' for "having as many wives as he pleases"...perhaps if he became one of the dozen men who shared their wives with Jos. Smith?)

45 posted on 05/06/2008 1:02:13 PM PDT by Colofornian
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To: greyfoxx39; AppyPappy; P-Marlowe; Colofornian; Elsie; aMorePerfectUnion; Osage Orange; JRochelle; ..
From the article: "The historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took issue Monday with a New York Times opinion piece comparing FLDS polygamists in Texas to 19th century Mormons."

Well, that answers the questions of why all the mormon threads got pulled into the News forum.

46 posted on 05/06/2008 1:03:32 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (FLDS.... making babies with children because their God wants earthly bodies for spirit babies.)
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To: BlueNgold

Ouch...


47 posted on 05/06/2008 1:08:44 PM PDT by ejonesie22 (Haley Barbour 2012, Because he has experience in Disaster Recovery.)
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To: lady lawyer
Look at the posted historical statistics, Lady Lawyer...

Plural marriages, involving 14-17 year olds and married women, aren't even close to the societal "norm" (but neither was lying about it...or seer stone fraud, or banking fraud that leads to bankruptcy, or copying masonic rituals, or falsely translating plates and funeral papyri, or destroying printing presses, or adultery, and so forth).

48 posted on 05/06/2008 1:09:56 PM PDT by pby
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To: greyfoxx39

LOL. I wonder when FR will allow Muslim posts urging us all to join with Mohammed, and see the “truth”?


49 posted on 05/06/2008 1:13:46 PM PDT by colorcountry (To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: pby

The problem with getting into any kind of discussion with you people is that you constantly shift ground. It is pointless, tedious, and frustrating to try to reason to a conclusion, because you constantly respond with non sequiturs. The issue was not plural marriage, but whether teenage girls commonly got married in the 19th century. They did. The mean age was much lower then than it is now, meaning that there were more teenagers getting married. If the mean age was 20, then there were just as many teenagers getting married as women over 20.

I’m done with you.


50 posted on 05/06/2008 1:14:29 PM PDT by lady lawyer
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