Skip to comments.Warren Jeffs and the abandonment of tradition [Real MormonISM]
Posted on 08/15/2011 4:17:17 AM PDT by Colofornian
Last week, a Texas jury convicted Warren Jeffs, leader of the polygamist FLDS Church, of two counts of child sexual assault...For Americans who are increasingly interested in the religion of the two Mormons running for president, Jeffs' conviction raises what could appear to be difficult questions about modern Mormonism.
There is no formal connection between Jeffs' FLDS Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... From 1852 until 1890, however, the Mormon Church did publically teach and practice polygamy...
Given that history, many Americans ask themselves whether Jeffs' cocktail of religious authority, polygamy and child sex represents some dangerous essence concealed within the apparently wholesome veneer of mainstream Mormonism...
...Many modern Latter-day Saints fear that in Jeffs they see a living relic of their own religious past, a piece of perfectly preserved 19th-century Mormonism, like a frightening prehistoric monster encased in amber. They do not like what they see, but given the enormous importance of historical memory for Mormon identity this fact presents a problem.
Answering any of these questions requires a nuanced understanding of history. If the stories they tell about their own origins are true, the spiritual progenitors of the FLDS began their split with mainstream Mormonism in the 1880s at the height of the federal government's intense legal crusade against plural marriage.
Modern Mormons and modern polygamists have thus been pursuing divergent paths for more than a century, a much longer period than the founding generation of Mormonism that they jointly claim...
...19th-century Mormonism did contain some of the elements of Jeffs' story: plural marriage, prophets with loyal followers and geographic isolation. These elements, along with utopia building and a fiery millennialism, pushed 19th-century Mormonism in upon itself, creating barriers with the outside, "gentile" world and at times earning that world's suspicion and hostility...
(Excerpt) Read more at deseretnews.com ...
Ah, you sly devil, you, Nathan B. Oman. First, notice a key qualifier on the supposed "jumpstart" date for polygamy?
See that word "publicly?" Joseph and Hyrum Smith were still both publicly denying this as a teaching in the early 1840s -- even though Smith was already practicing it!
The leading Lds apologist organization, FAIR says Smith had the idea of polygamy only a year after the Book of Mormon came out (1831). On Aug. 7, 2009, one of the groups some Mormon FREEPERS link to -- FAIR -- a Mormon apologetics organization -- held its annual apologetics conference. One of the presenters (Greg Smith) gave a boldly-titled workshop: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Plural Marriage* (*but were afraid to ask) [Original Source url: http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2009_Everything_You_Always_Wanted_to_Know_About_Plural_Marriage.html]
Greg Smith was wrapping up his workshop when he took one last question: "I am a woman and NOT a fan of polygamy, although I and my husband are both descendants of it. Is the text of D&C 132-58-66 the origin of the practice?" Answer: The best historical evidence suggests that plural marriage was revealed to Joseph by 1831, and that he was teaching it to a limited circle by that year.28" (Footnote #28 went to: See discussion here: http://en.fairmormon.org/Polygamy_book/Initiation_of_the_practice)
Well, of course, it was "revealed" in the bodily shape of a minor girl -- a new 14 year-old maid (Fanny Alger) Smith had in the bedroom at least by 16 if not earlier.
* Oman could have chosen 1831 as a date to mention. (He didn't).
* Or he could have chosen when D&C 132 was placed in front of Joseph Smith's original wife's nose, Emma (July 1843). (He didn't).
* He picked the latest year possible -- the year Mormons were finally force to go "public" with the secret they had been living for 20 years! [Gunnison published a book on Utah Territory in 1852, mentioning polygamy, and forcing the mainstream LDS church to go public]
What's also interesting about the rest of Oman's article is how he tries to maintain that a key difference is how "sequestered" the fLDS church is vs. the LDS church. Yet, that's the roots of Mormonism! Smith kept moving the church from town to town because of non-receptance (NY, 1830s) to a bank bankruptcy (Kirtland, Ohio), and losing a war (Missouri, 1838). And certainly, Smith kept polygamy a secret-secret for years -- just like the secrets of Warren Jeffs!
BTW, Joseph Smith's nephew, Lds "prophet" Joseph F. Smith, said as a leader in the Lds church (1878) that the purpose of D&C 132 was for none other than Emma Smith:
When the revelation was written, in 1843, it was for a special purpose, by the request of the Patriarch Hyrum Smith, and was not then designed to go forth to the church or to the world. It is most probable that had it been then written with a view to its going out as a doctrine of the church, it would have been presented in a somewhat different form. There are personalities contained in a part of it which are not relevant to the principle itself, but rather to the circumstances which necessitated its being written at that time. Joseph Smith, on the day it was written, expressly declared that there was a great deal more connected with the doctrine which would be revealed in due time, but this was sufficient for the occasion, and was made to suffice for the time. And, indeed, I think it much more than many are prepared to live up to even now.
Source: PLURAL MARRIAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS ONLY-OBEDIENCE IMPERATIVE-BLESSINGS RESULTING DISCOURSE BY ELDER JOSEPH F. SMITH, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake, July 7, 1878...see PLURAL MARRIAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS ONLY
Of course the "personalities" he references is primarily "Emma Smith," who is referenced three times later in D&C 132.
I'd say it's pretty "odd" for a man to have been practicing extra-marital "contact" since 1831...
...have a "formal" ceremony for the first time with an extra-marital partner in 1841 (the Beasman woman)...
...and then finally get around to showing wife Emma this document in the summer of 1843...
...and how "convenient" that the Mormon god not only targeted Emma in D&C 132, but that it contains specific "anti-polyandry" behavior...showing that Emma had already threatened tit-for-tat behavior.
From the article: Given that history, many Americans ask themselves whether Jeffs' cocktail of religious authority, polygamy and child sex represents some dangerous essence concealed within the apparently wholesome veneer of mainstream Mormonism...Many modern Latter-day Saints fear that in Jeffs they see a living relic of their own religious past, a piece of perfectly preserved 19th-century Mormonism, like a frightening prehistoric monster encased in amber. They do not like what they see, but given the enormous importance of historical memory for Mormon identity this fact presents a problem. Answering any of these questions requires a nuanced understanding of history. [Oman]
Why of course! "Nuance" away, oh DesNews spinmeister!
* Oman could have mentioned that the Lds church continued to privately solemnize additional plural marriages in the 1890s and 1900s....to the tune of hundreds -- if not a few thou. (He didn't). For sample details, see the appendix of B. Carmon Hardy's book, Solemn Covenant. He lists hundreds! (And more have been uncovered since the early 1990s when the book was published).
* To the extent that the Mormon Church was forced to issue a "this time we really mean it" Second Manifesto in the early 1900s Second Manifesto (but he didn't).
* Or that ...every LDS Church President openly practiced polygamy for over 120 years...continuing through 1945 and Heber Grant...In light of the above, I find attempts by LDS members to distance themselves from their FLDS cousins on the grounds polygamy is morally and/or spiritually and/or doctrinally wrong both amusing and disingenuous. (FR poster Zakeet: Source: PLURAL MARRIAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS ONLY post #52)
* Or that some of the mainstream Lds polygamists who married in the early 1900s were still living together (and still accepted as mainstream Mormons) until they died in the early 1960s. I mean come on. Mainstream officials had solemnized their wedding vows. How could they kick them out? (They didn't).
But, alas, Oman failed to mention any of these "mainstream" Mormon polygamous realities.
How "convenient." How "nuanced."
So, not only does Oman try to erode Mormon polygamy's origins by over 20 years on the front edge, but he even needs to start placing the spirit of fLDSism amongst the mainstream Mormonites in the 1880s! Old Oman is trying "accordion apologetics." Squeeze mainstream Mormonism into about a 30-year period (1852-1880s) and voila! Magic! Why, polygamy, to hear Oman's "nuanced" voice, was just some flash-in-the-pan overnight fling!
What Oman also avoids mentioning is how mainstream Mormons today regard marriage as eternal. That includes the 19th & 20th century Mormon polygamists. Per today's Mormonism, these polygamists are still sleeping together as isolated polygamous clans on stars or planets near Kolob (wherever that is). I mean, hey, you can't get any more "isolated" than that. Yet, Oman's big point for differentiating the fLDS from the LDS is how isolated the fundamentalists are.
Today's Mormon church has a few current general authorities who have been sealed supposedly "for eternity" to more than one wife. That means that per the 1998 LDS Church Handbook of Instructions for LDS that these men will be sleeping with multiple wives for eternity!
Not only this, but what did many of the polygamous Lds "prophets" say would happen if Mormons eschewed/laid aside polygamy? (Ya gotta know that Wilford Woodruff, the guy that issued the 1890 manifesto not only remained a polygamist, but took on another wife after 1890).
For an interesting discussion on this, see my next post re: an 1878 Sunday morning sermon given in the Salt Lake City Mormon Tabernacle by Joseph Smith's nephew, Joseph F. Smith.
FR poster P - Marlowe, quoting Lds "prophet" Joseph F. Smith -- who actually was a Mormon leader in 1878 when he said this...but didn't actually become a "prophet" til during the manifesto aftermath, said: I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that. P-Marlowe added: I wonder how many LDS members would cling to the precious words of the future prophet today? I suspect the FLDS members still cling to these words. Maybe they get their initials from Joseph F. Smith. (Source: PLURAL MARRIAGE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS ONLY, post #13)
Also from Joseph F. Smith's sermon: Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I WANT HERE TO ENTER MY SOLEMN PROTEST AGAINST THIS IDEA, FOR I KNOW IT IS FALSE. There is no blesssing [blessing] promised except upon conditions, and NO BLESSING CAN BE OBTAINED BY MANKIND EXCEPT BY FAITHFUL COMPLIANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS, OR LAW, upon which the same is promised. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage IN PART-and is good so far as it goes-and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefor [therefore], and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it.
Smith, Joseph Smith's nephew, makes it quite clear that Mormons who duck polygamy are...
...out of compliance with the full measure of the Mormon god's law...
...& therefore ineligible to obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law...
...and he "protests the idea" that it is considered by some "saints" to a "non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind."
"Exaltation" in Mormon talk = highest degree of glory -- becoming gods.
Q What was going on in the 1870s when Smith gave this message?
A FR poster Zakeet: ...citing the opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Reynolds v. United States case (98 U.S. 145), George Reynolds, Brigham Young's personal secretary, plead as follows:
On the trial, the plaintiff in error, the accused, proved that at the time of his alleged second marriage he was, and for many years before had been, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church, and a believer in its doctrines; that it was an accepted doctrine of that church "that it was the duty of male members of said church, circumstances permitting, to practise polygamy; . . . that this duty was enjoined by different books which the members of said church believed to be to divine origin, and among others the Holy Bible, and also that the members of the church believed that the practice of polygamy was directly enjoined upon the male members thereof by the Almighty God, in a revelation to Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of said church; that the failing or refusing to practise polygamy by such male members of said church, when circumstances would admit, would be punished, and that the penalty for such failure and refusal would be damnation in the life to come." He also proved "that he had received permission from the recognized authorities in said church to enter into polygamous marriage; . . . that Daniel H. Wells, one having authority in said church to perform the marriage ceremony, married the said defendant on or about the time the crime is alleged to have been committed, to some woman by the name of Schofield, and that such marriage ceremony was performed under and pursuant to the doctrines of said church>/b>."
Well, what was Brigham teaching on polygamy?
* WHY do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to His servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, AND the Lord's servants have always practiced it. And is that religion popular in heaven? It is the only popular religion there, for this is the religion of Abraham. (Journal of Discourses Vol 9, p. 322)
* IT is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists - at least in your faith, OR you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 268)
* The only men who become Gods, even sons of God, ARE those who enter into polygamy (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 268)
So, here we have Oman in this article attempting to telescope mainstream Mormon polygamy to a generation; and yet Brigham Young said "the Lord's servant's have always practiced it" and "It's the ONLY popular religion" practiced in heaven! Boy, Oman would have been "fired" by Brigham Young as his PR agent!
More vintage Brigham: Hear it ye elders of Israel AND mark it down in your log-book. The fulness of the Gospel IS the united order AND PLURAL MARRIAGE, and I fear that when I am gone this people will give up these two principles which we prize so highly. (Brigham's sermon at the dedication of the Saint George Temple. He was a prophet in this sense...as the Mormons yielded both the socialistic/communistic "United Order" + polygamy!)
And, of course, Young was only following what Joseph Smith said: We have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction (Millennial Star 5:259)
Joseph Smith's personal secretary, William Clayton: From him, Joseph Smith, I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth, AND without obedience TO THAT principle, no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in Celestial Glory. (Historical Record 6:225-227)
“Or that ...every LDS Church President openly practiced polygamy for over 120 years...continuing through 1945 and Heber Grant...In light of the above, I find attempts by LDS members to distance themselves from their FLDS cousins on the grounds polygamy is morally and/or spiritually and/or doctrinally wrong both amusing and disingenuous.”
Ahh so people cannot renounce sin in your view. Its a good thing Jesus doesn’t take that view with Christians.
How does this college professor know which Mormons will wind up together in the same afterlife place -- and which won't?
Doesn't this imply that the fLDS won't be merged at all with the LDS?
Don't both brands of Mormons have Mormon temples?
Don't both brands of Mormonism teach "marriage is forever?"
Therefore, since Mormons can't predict which "temple Mormons" from which Mormon sect will wind up where, isn't it possible fLDS polygamous Mormons will wind up in celestial heaven per Joseph Smith's & Brigham Young's "version?"
If the first 120 years of Mormonism's "prophets" were all polygamous...on what grounds do the LDS exclude the fLDS from the highest degree of Mormon heaven? (And becoming gods?)
Didn't Brigham Young teach that: The only men who become Gods, even sons of God, ARE those who enter into polygamy (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 268)
Sure, they can. But current Mormon leaders don't deem past polygamy by Mormon leaders as "sinful."
You've raised an argument from silence. No Mormon apologists try the angle you've just mentioned.
You don't know my internal motivations; so stop judging me.
The Lord loves Mormons; and I love them with the truth: Love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6)...it doesn't squelch it...like some advocate.
0-for-3 to start the week in two posts, eh? Keep trying. You're bound to utter truth some post.
It tells of how Joseph Smith landed upon the idea of presenting polygamy as a command from God...since Smith had a history of going after his maids (not only his original teen maid, Fanny Alger, but 19 year-old Eliza Partridge, whom Emma had hired to look after their two-year-old). Emma Smith found them out.
The parallels are there: Both Joseph Smith & Warren Jeffs preyed upon (vs. praying upon) 14 yos.
Both used temples & "houses of God" to do it; Jeffs inserted beds into temples to consummate religious rituals with 12 yo & young teens.
Joseph Smith had a rather convenient "revelation" from the Mormon god on Jan. 19, 1841 -- less than 3 months before Smith took his fourth plural "wife"...an event that would accelerate by Fall, 1841 where he would take at least 30 wives in a 25-month period (thru Nov. 1843).
Where can we find that "commandment-revelation?" Well, it's embedded in Mormon "scripture" -- under Doctrines & Covenants 124:
Smith has just got done praising a Mormon preacher, Lyman Wight, for "preaching for Zion...and he shall beget glory and honor for HIMSELF and unto my name." (D&C 124:18)...Smith was all about preaching for self-glory & self-honor...when Smith five verses later discusses the need for a certain boarding house to be built.
"And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord..." (D&C 124:23)
He adds "This house shall be a healthful habitation..." (v. 24)
Well one of those "words" from the Mormon lord that Smith contemplated there was polygamy. Many of his wives wound up boarding there. Smith indeed considered that "healthful" to his sexual desires.
Catherine Baldwin Johnston was a young woman who visited Nauvoo with her husband in the early 1840s. She had a noteworthy encounter with Emma Smith related to polygamy, recounted below by her sister, Eudocia Baldwin Marsh.
About two years after the settlement at Nauvoo it was reported that Smith had received a revelation in regard to Spiritual wives or celestial marriages as they were called. This was strenously denied by the better class of Mormons, but the document as put forth and circulated by Smith, among his confederates has since been published and openly advocated by Brigham Young and the Church at Salt Lake, as all the world knows. In this revelation great pains had been taken to conciliate Emma, Smiths wife, and to prepare her for the new dispensation. In it she is addressed by name and commanded to obey or she will be destroyed. She was apparently obliged to acquiesce in some degree, at least outwardly, but no doubt felt much the same degree of indignation that any other woman would under the same circumstances. That she was not at all reconciled to this state of things I think is proven by the reply she once made to a question on the subject.
Some time after my first visit to Nauvoo one of my sisters accompanied her husband on one of his business trips to that place. They went to Smiths Hotel and after supper were shown into a large parlor where seated around the room in groups of three or four were ten or twelve well dressed young women. They were laughing and chatting together in a lively manner, some engaged with light needle work, others quite idle. Leaving his wife in the parlor her husband soon after went out into the town to attend to the business which had brought him there. He was detained until rather late, and my sister feeling somewhat fatigued asked to be shown to her room, where she began making preperations to retire for the night.
Her husband whose business to Nauvoo had been with some of the Gentile citizensand who had been during the evening, regaled with terrible stories of kidnapping and sudden disappearences of visitors to the citycame in shortly afterwards and not finding her in the parlor where he had left her, immediately began storming around inquiring for and calling her loudly by name. As he passed through the long corridors, his wife heard his voice and much surprised opened her door and asked him what was the matter. When he saw her he ran and clasped her in his arms, exclaiming, my dear wife I feared these wretches had spirited you away and I should never see you again. She laughed at such an absurd idea, but he said, If you had been listening to some of the tales I have heard to night, you too would have been alarmed. I shall never again permit you to be out of my sight when in this town.
When they came down stairs next morning they were ushered into the parlor to await the announcement of breakfast. Most of the young women of the previous evening were again assembled there and presently Mrs. Emma Smith came in, and seated herself near my sister whom she had met before, and with whom she began talking in a friendly way. My sisters mind however had been a good deal wrought up by what she had seen and heard, and she determined to express something of what she felt to some of these people. So she turned to her and said, Mrs. Smith where do your people get this doctrine of Spiritual Wives? The woman with a face flushed to a dark red, and with eyes blazing with fury said Straight from HellMadam. Some of the young women blushed, too. Some giggled, others looked stolid and indifferent, but a call to breakfast relieved the situation and no more was said.
(Mormons in Hancock County: A Reminiscence, reprinted in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society [spring 1971], Vol. 64 No. 1, 40-41. Punctuation minimally standardized. Paragraph breaks added for readability. Italics in the original.)
Secondary source: Mormon Coffee: Where did the Mormon doctrine of polygamy come from? Emma knew.
facts are facts colofornian
You Cut-n-paste the same tired mantra over and over. Many times its the exact same text so obviously its a prepared agenda.
If you’re going to quote the Bible you should be more careful about it.
1 Cor 16:4-7
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Another nice qualifier.
Any jury, looking at the EVIDENCE, would rule that the Flds folks follow the Sriptures and DOCTRINES of MORMONism more closely than the LARGER group, based in Salt Lake City.
Uh, the inability to DEFEND MORMONism on it's merits?
Hey...new copy arrives every week. And that which I do resurrect from a previous post -- if you've read it before and now are reading it again, just goes to show you it takes more than one reading from folks for it to sink in. And it can't be too tiring if you're back readin' that which is posted again...again.
Of course, no "prepared...mantra" accusation comes from your keyboard about the 52,000+ Mormon missionaries out there. That means since they do 2-year missions, they are re-infusing over 25,000 missionaries each year...missionaries who undergo "prepared...mantra" training sessions @ the Missionary Training Center. These "prepared...mantra" training lessons are then regurgitated upon the public-at-large for two years' runnin' by 52,000+ Mormon mishies...
That means, 6 days per week, if a pair of missionaries made 250 contacts a week...that would be a million contacts by 4,000 missionary teams alone. Maybe 6.5 million contacts per week by all their teams put together. All regurgitating roughly the same thing -- with only slight variations.
So here you're not bothered by those mantra lessons intensified by thousands of Morbots-on-the-loose in white shirts & ties...but a single poster postin' some things electronically bothers you. Interesting perspective.
From my "thanks-for-sharing" cut-n-paste prototype:
Thanks for sharing, Mr. Anonymous Freeper Poster __________ (fill-in-the-blank)
When would be a good time to stop by your home and explain to you why ALL of so-called Christianity is apostate?
Why yes; there ARE about 50,000 more of us; repeating the same message.
If youre going to quote the Bible you should be less selective about it...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.