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Politics for Mormons
'cause we all have an opinion
CNN Report 
12th-May-2006 05:38 pm
I've been quiet for too long. Howbout a nice rant?

FIRST OF ALL, IT'S POLYGYNY! Can we say, dictionary?

CNN ran a report a couple of nights ago (see: http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/ for more info) that seemed to spark an interesting discussion on their blog. I'm not entirely sure who their censors are, but nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to type several paragraphs (yes, I was succinct) and never have them show up . . . . yea, I know, that's what my personal blog is for *sigh*.

While overall it was a decent report, I did find that CNN spent too much energy attempting to differentiate the FLDS group from the main LDS church, when they should have been explaining that both religions share a common history and they diverged in 1890 with the FLDS group maintaining the doctrines from the original church leaders and the larger LDS church revising their dogma and becoming an offshoot from the original beliefs. Instead, they seemed to keep repeating that mainstream mormons do not believe in polygyny all the while vilifying the FLDS as some sort of splinter group when in reality they COULD be praised for holding on to the convictions of their forefathers despited government retribution.

Now having said that, am I a supporter of this child-molesting, brain-washing cult? Of course not, the perpetrators of these crimes against children should be dragged by horseback down the mainstreet of town then have their entrails removed with a spoon. (ask me how I really feel) My point is, let's focus on what they are doing that is criminal and harmful and is a drain on society as a whole.

Seriously, the only reason this issue is getting any publicity at all is because anytime John Q. Public hears anything with the prefix POLY, all that jumps to mind is SEXXXXX! WHOOHOO!!! And as we know, sex gets ratings. Face it, the typical male things, YEA, LOTS OF WOMEN!!! What they don't comprehend is the REALITY of multipartner marriage. Take EVERYTHING about marriage, good and bad, then multiply it times seven (or however brave you think you are). That's reality.

I'm sorry, but polygyny as it is practiced in the FLDS closed community is not right for the same reason that I am against religions like the mainstream LDS church. They take people raised from birth to think and believe one way, give them a "plan" of how their life is going to be, and by the time they've reached an age where they can think for themselves, they are trapped and any actions the would take to change their lives for the better would profoundly impact their own children and family members. Family is wielded as a weapon to enforce the desired behavior. I mean what parent is going to choose to speak out, knowing that if they do, that their children would be removed from them or that you would be 'put out' of the community, or physically punished, etc, etc? Can we say cultural conditioning?

Several bloggers on CNN's site were annoyed with the fact that the reported chose to use the Salt Lake LDS temple as the backdrop for his report. Yes, it was a sleazy attempt to connect the mainstream branch of the LDS church with modern day enforced polygynous groups. The only real connection between these two groups anymore is their mutual history. However what COULD they have used as an impressive backdrop? I was thinking something like the Berlin Wall would have been appropriate.

Many of the pro-LDS bloggers vehemently denied the mainstream branch has any connection to polygyny. Unfortunately the the doctrines of plural marriage are intimately intertwined with the basics of the dogma. The plan salvation including eventual celestialization and exaltation require plural marriage to exist, however as current earthly political climate is not accepting, it has been taken away from the LDS. Make no mistake It is STILL an accepted LDS doctrine regardless of what the majority of the church members think.

I am simply amazed at how many of the pro-LDS posters feel that the FLDS "broke-away" from their church. They just don't seem to be able grasp that back in the late 1800's, many good church members we're living their lives, then suddenly the rules changes. Many true believing church members must have realized that at the core of the TRUE church's doctrines, plural marriage was an everlasting, unchanging principle. I mean read some of the prophet's writings on the subject, those of Joseph Smith, Heber C. Kimball, & Brigham Young. These are the great leaders that the members of this time period looked to as spiritual giants. So when the rules changed, regardless of the reasoning, it should be easy to understand that those who held fast to the words of the prophet were the truly the most faithful church members. And yet . . . . . THEY are viewed as the apostates.

13th-May-2006 06:53 am (UTC)
Our common history makes this sad. John Taylor (the last prophet we really share) spent the last days of his life hiding from federal marshals, and many FLDS see this as precisely the same kind of persecution. In light of how the government over-reacted in Waco, I'm very alarmed by Jeffs making the ten most wanted list. I hope people do not die from this.

Yes, it's hard not to interpret the 1890 manifesto as capitulation to the federal government, which was in the process of breaking the LDS Church and disenfranchising its members. However, I find it strange you take issue with the claim that fundamentalists broke away from us. That's an entirely fair description. In 1905 the LDS Church purged two general authorities from its midst, and these men were eventually excommunicated for continuing to advocate the practice of plural marriage. People excommunicated in 1905 and thereafter formed the kernel of the fundamentalist movement. It's not like after Smith's death, which was a schismatic mess. In the 20th century it's very clear that Latter-day Saints cast the polygamists out. When a small group of people break off of the trunk, there aren't many other ways to describe it.
13th-May-2006 12:40 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's a matter of perception. I don't see it as an issue of numbers, the quantity of church members is not what defined what the church was and what it was not, it was the doctrines that defined the church. To me, the trunk were those who were defined by the original beliefs, the branch is created when a change in doctrines occur. It sounds to me as if you feel that whoever has the greatest number of followers define the religion as a whole, not who is following a specific set of precepts.

Hearing that makes it easier for me to understand why the majority of church members can say and believe that the FLDS is the branch and not the trunk, however I certainly can't agree with that kind of reasoning.

Personally, to me, beliefs and ideas are more important than majority rule. If I believe in an idea, I'm not going to change that belief just because most other people do so. I guess that's why I have a little bit of respect for the flds as they had firm enough faith in their beliefs to follow them regardless of popular opinion.

Ok, and this is another subject I've been wanting to discuss - People are concerned with this blowing up into another Waco-type event. I realize at the core of both branches of the LDS church is the idea (culturally ingrained) that martyrdom=exaltation. Don't ask me to provide scriptural proof or anything like that because that's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the fact that most all members subconsciously connect the dots that (A)Joseph Smith=(B)martyred=(C)exalted - then A=C. Therefore in the FLDS community where they've isolated themselves even more than members of the LDS church do, has this really been taken to the extreme? Have they really given up enough of their self-identities to just say it's god's will and die? I would hate for that to happen, it would be tragic.
13th-May-2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's a matter of perspective, so the LDS position is not wrong. Especially considering that one of the core beliefs of the Utah church is continuing divine revelation. The prophet of these respective groups could trump any prior beliefs (as critics often claim Mormons do with the Bible).

Thus, the only question is whether or not Wilford Woodruff is a true prophet in the spirit of Joseph Smith. The LDS say yes (meaning that he's fully capable of articulating new practices revealed by God), whereas FLDS say he was the first apostate president.

Both organizations could therefore claim to be the legitimate heirs of Mormonism.
13th-May-2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
I suppose in that situation, members during that time could have picked which position suited them better as individuals and followed that path, maintaining that they were still with the true church.

I don't know, I realize that from inside any organization it's difficult to maintain objectivity, but over the course of the last 100 years, couldn't they (the FLDS) see that the were being pulled TOO far from mainstream society? I mean once you reach a point where you are SO cutoff from the rest of the country, you can't HELP but fall under whatever localized dictator is available.

Mind you, I'm no scholar on the FLDS, I was mainly commenting on the recent CNN reports. Does/did their organization have a council of 12 supporting their prophet? It seems to me that a check and balance system failed. I'm just trying to figure out how that sect ended up running so completely amuck in contrast to the LDS.
13th-May-2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
Actually, there are many polygamist groups, and this one just happens to be the most problematic. Only them and the Kingston clan regularly sanction underaged marriages. In contrast, the the "Allred group" {Apostolic United Brethren) doesn't condone such marriages. The AUB and FLDS actually fractured in the 1950's over the disagreements with the then-president's pick of Rulon C. Allred to the priesthood council (which has a kinda similar function to the LDS Quorum of the Twelve). Allred opposed arranged marriages which were common in Hilldale/Colorado City. The FLDS pulled out of the church Allred would come to lead.

The FLD was probably once the biggest, but Warren Jeff's leadership has kinda expelled a lot of former members. My understanding is that Jeffs has almost a monopoly of power in his church—others aren't even allowed to perform plural marriages.
13th-May-2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
Arranged marriages are still common there. What I'm writing is nigh unreadable. I need more sleep.
13th-May-2006 12:55 pm (UTC)
I understand your assertion regarding the schism between the two groups, but you seem to have forgotten one of the basic doctrines of the church: continuous revelation.

While the FLDS continued to practice the doctrine of plural marriage (which, given that it's "many wives" and not "many women" would be polygamy), they ignored the more basic doctrine of revelation. The principle remains, but is not to be practiced at all times.

This rejection of continuous revelation may be why many LDS members today consider them a splinter group.
13th-May-2006 01:45 pm (UTC) - Hi Winter! :-)
Polygyny -
The condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time. : the state or practice of having more than one wife or female mate at one time.

Polygamy -
The condition or practice of having more than one spouse at one time. Also called plural marriage. : the offense of having several and specifically more than two spouses at one time.

The tie to mormonism devalues the term polygamy as the FLDS (and previously LDS) form of polygamy was almost solely polygyny. There were few instances of polyandry practices, but thanks to the lazy usage of the word, in the average persons point of view polygamy=1 man and many wives which is incorrect. What relevance does this have? It's kinda like just assuming that all mormons have many wives, wouldn't it be nice if people had the correct perceptions of how things really are as opposed to how people just assume things are? Perhaps if people described things accurately MANY misconceptions could be dispelled.

Ah winter, I've missed your insight into my philosophical ponderings. Does this mean you're no longer frustrated with my questions again? :-D

I didn't forget about continuous revelation, I simply reject it's validity on the merits of almost 200 years of 'continuous revelation'. For me, there are far too many positions the church has taken on various issues that indicate it is not led by divinity. Either that or our creator is insane.

Institute polygyny, recall polygyny.
Blacks can't have priesthood, oh wait, yes they can.
Garments (most sacred of things) should be cut this way, no wait, make them smaller.
Gays are excommunicated if found, no wait, not if they're celibate.
Abortion is murder, no wait, in some situations it is permitted.

My point is that you would think that if ANY of these issues really had any eternal relevance and weren't just fleeting societal issues, that our creator would have had a bit stronger of an opinion on them . . . . or else like so many other issues would have directed the church to have no opinion and leave it up to the membership to decide for themselves.

I suppose that could be a reason why LDS members view the FLDS as a splinter, however I honestly think it's more of a quantity over quality situation. . . . . "there are more of us so THEY must have broken away from us", with no more thought given to the matter.
13th-May-2006 01:47 pm (UTC) - Re: Hi Winter! :-)

Ah winter, I've missed your insight into my philosophical ponderings. Does this mean you're no longer frustrated with my questions again? :-D

No, it means that I still think your perspective is, frankly, off. I'm just putting in my two cents and letting you go.
13th-May-2006 01:57 pm (UTC) - Re: Hi Winter! :-)
That's too bad, your pov on things usually makes me think. My loss.
13th-May-2006 06:16 pm (UTC) - Re: Hi Winter! :-)
You seem to equate continuous revelation with the idea that God must therefore be leading the church with explicit instructions for every societal issue, which the people would subsequently execute flawlessly the whole time. I don't think this was ever claimed (in fact, just the opposite). I don't think even the Biblical-period church under the OT prophets or NT apostles could be argued to have seen it that way, either.

The LDS church claims that for the most part, God sees the wisdom in letting us work out a lot of our own issues, with his guidance here and there—and even then, there's an opportunity for growth in our using our brains to work to understand how it all is supposed to work.

And it's easy to miss the actual point behind a lot of things like what you mentioned if you're focused on the outward practices or policies, which the LDS have always believed are subject to change to best work for each generation. The eternal principles behind them, however, don't change.

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