Skip to comments.LDS rebut N.Y. Times Web article
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.
• 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)
I’m sorry, but nothing you could say would hurt my feelings.
Frankly, to anyone who knows me at all, the notion that someone could tell me what to think or do is laughable. I wasn’t raised by active LDS people. My father, who was a prince, thought it was “hocus pocus.” My mother was a lapsed Mormon.
I’ve been fortunate to spend a good part of my academic and professional life around truly brilliant people — people who are smarter than me, and without a doubt, smarter than any of the anti-Mormon zealots on FR. Some have been believers, some have not. I’ve questioned and studied it out for myself, and decided that I agree with the believers. And, beyond the intellectual appeal of the Church to me, I have had spiritual experiences that I cannot deny, and wouldn’t think to discuss on a place like FR.
My decision to live within and by the teachings of the Mormon church has reaped nothing but benefits for me and for my children. So, do your worst. Nothing you or anyone else on FR could say would change or cheapen that.
With that, I’m through with this thread.
When the federal government announced that they would start to seize the temples, the LDS Church decided to obey the law. At that time, the Church received a revelation from God that changed church beliefs and practices. The fourth president of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, issued a manifesto (called the "Great Accommodation") on 1890-SEP-24. It theoretically suspended the solemnization of new plural marriages for an indefinite interval.
Woodruff wrote, in part,
"And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land."
Other than the Great Accommodation, what are the doctrinal differences between the LDS and the FLDS?
To cut right to the chase on the topic, however, I believe the current LDS church is IDENTICAL to the FLDS church, ONLY MORE ASHAMED OF JOSEPH SMITH AND BRIGHAM YOUNG. I will let mormons attempt to defend themselves against that statement.
I do believe that they differ from he early church inasmuch as the FLDS don't insist on the use of the "Deseret Alphabet" to isolate even communication from the outside world. this is one aspect in which the LDS church attempted to be EVEN MORE CONTROLLING than the FLDS.
SIGHhhh....well, I've been doing MY part...I've been handing these cards out for just MONTHS!
As to entertainment, your posts are entertainment enough, LOL.
Just pinging a few folks to your informative discourse (and because it obviously gets under your skin).
...And without even an attempt disprove the quotes of the prophets listed here. I am sorry you are so afraid, but respect your right to religious freedom.
You know, Joseph Smith said on many occasions that nobody will get into heaven without his ok....I wonder if God will use this as a test. Only he knows, but I intend to be prepared by knowing who I choose.
I've seen the studies that talk about census figures, but they are from 1890 and beyond. I don't dispute them.
An interesting but limited study of a geneological site, showing "average" and earliest ages for the last 5 centuries.
I doubt that the "average" marriage age was ever much into the teen years, because of statistics. Suppose the average age was 18. For that to be true, for each woman of age 40 who gets married, you need to have 11 16-year-olds get married.
The median age would be more informative than mean, but I doubt the median age was all that young either.
But I also have no problem believing the age of marriage was much lower than it is today.
"The True Church is always persecuted, and the Mormons have always been persecuted."
Mormons also seem to believe that disagreeing with them and pointing out the errors of their religion is a form of persecution. This very attitude shows that they really know nothing first-hand about being really persecuted.
Self-deception is just about the strongest compulsion there is.
We covet and protect our "vain jangling" at all costs.
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." -- John 3:19
Be wishy-woshy about mean, average (same thing), or median...It doesn't matter. It was not typical, or regular, or normative, or standard, or commonplace throughout 19th century society for young teenage girls to marry...
And, yet...it was quite commonplace, normative, standard, regular among the LDS society. JUST LIKE THE FLDS, TODAY.
Hard to say. None of the Mormons I talk to have expressed what appears to be shame regarding those men, although none defend it. Nor do those Mormons I talk to seem to hold the same views of things as you say the church requires of them. While I don’t agree with their beliefs, I believe these people to be honest.
As they are all happily and mongamously married, and faithful to their wives, and loving to their children, I can hardly agree with you that they are identical in practice to the FLDS who is accused of polygamy, statutory and straight-on rape, and child abuse.
I cannot speak for the Mormon church in general, or any specific member other than those I know. So I am only offering anecdotal evidence, but I see no evidence to lump them with FLDS. If you are speaking theologically, I have no opinion in that regard, only in the practical, worldly view.
Ping away. I merely note it as evidence of my observation regarding your post, which I make without any opinion as to whether you even HAVE a brain to read.
I don’t think it was his hat that the mormon cult was pulled our from.
Please don’t compare Judaism to the mormon cult. Judaism is a wonderful religion while Mormonism is an evil, soul-destroying, mind-stealing cult.
What exactly do you call sex with teenage polygamous wives (that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, other Mormons engaged in)?
Additionally, Joseph Smith was in the Carthage jail on charges of riot and treason stemming from his ordered destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press. Smith ordered the destruction of the press because they had printed the truth about Smith, including his polygamous relationships. Were Smith's actions, here, moral and upright?
“As I said nothing about what other people are thinking, I fail to see how your response is a response to what I said.”
“It certainly is an example of a post that does not seek to inform people about anything.”
As a Catholic living in Utah for all these years I have found the LDS to be great neighbors. They have excellent family values and great families. I have seen nothing that would lead me to the word ‘cult’...and the LDS Church is about as far from that as you can get what with all the semi-autonomous powers the local Bishops and Stake Presidents have.
Cults need to have ALL of the power, for the big decisions as well as the day-to-day decisions, given to 1 person. That just doesn’t happen in the LDS Church.
What you have on these threads is a small group of people who have always (down thru history you can spot them a mile away) tried to re-invent God thru their own hatred. They are on these threads trying to pass of their hatred as something from God. It isn’t. When I read the New Testament I have always been amazed at how many times, and in how many ways, Jesus talks about LOVE. About loving your enemies....about loving those that speak ill of you. Those on these threads who offer nothing but hate obviously do not have the Spirit of Christ within them.
Ignore them. Feel sorry for them. Pray for them.
But you will not get them to change their minds....and they will continue to spout out hate against the LDS.
I’m proud of the LDS friends and neighbors. I’m going thru some major medical problems right now....and my LDS friends and neighbors are helping every single day to cope with the problems. I never asked...they just acted. They are acting more Christ-like than any ‘Mormon Hater’ on these threads.
I’m proud of my LDS friends and neighbors.
Charles, stop misrepresenting what I said. We've been battling for the past two weeks over this issue, and you know exactly what I'm talking about on this thread.
The difference between what the modern-day FLDS practices and what the early Mormons under Smith and Young practiced are almost the same thing. In fact, I would argue that the modern LDS was the one that diverged (slightly) from Smith and Youngs "teachings" under serious federal pressure so that Utah could join the Union, leaving the FLDS sect to carry on in the original faith, as promulgated by Smith and Young.
“Ping away. I merely note it as evidence of my observation regarding your post, which I make without any opinion as to whether you even HAVE a brain to read.”
(But he did it first!)
You know the answer to that response.
These are YOUR WORDS, after all:
“I dont understand your statement. Im sorry. Im letting you know so that if your intent was to actually convey information, and not just make a snide comment, you have a chance to expand your statement so that maybe I will understand what point you are trying to make.