Thursday, November 13, 2014

Polygamy

It seems that some stories in life are always fun to bring up rather than focusing on whats important. This happened this week as the New York Times let out that Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, was in fact a polygamist. Oh no! My testimony is gone! How could a seemingly innocent man be capable of such vulgar atrocities? Oh wait, I am not an un-educated Mormon so I knew about all of this years ago.

I want to make just two points in this brief article. First, that being a polygamist does not disqualify Joseph Smith from being a prophet. Second, that polygamy is not really as bad as it is made out to be. Lets take a look...

It seems in their effort to discredit the Prophet that the issue of polygamy comes up. Yet, these Bible worshipers seem to forget that Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon were all polygamists. In fact David was given some of his wives by the Lord himself according to the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:7-8). If a prophet must be single or monogamous then these men are disqualified to. That would put the Jews and the Christians in a tight spot, don't you think?

As a philosopher, I am aware that people will object to this argument with this "David was given his wives because of culture, not because he was ok with polygamy." Hmm... So God is bound to a culture even if it is at odds with his will? I seem to recall him telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in order to disprove that he approved of child sacrifice, a common occurrence in Abraham's day. If polygamy was sinful, certainly God would have said something.

But he commanded kings of Israel to not take multiple wives in Deuteronomy 17! Lets quote that scripture :"Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold."

Hmm... it seems the problem is not polygamy itself, but who is married. The problem was that if a man married foreign women, there was the possibility that he could turn away from Jehovah and worship the idols of Canaan, as happened with Solomon. But polygamy is not forbidden.

Ok, but a prophet would not marry another man's wife while he was still living! Hmmm.... You have me stumped there. Not. Keep in mind that while Joseph was sealed to many women, there is a difference between marriage and sealing. Sealing is a priesthood ordinance, marriage is an agreement for a man and woman to live together. Joseph for the most part did not live with any of his other wives, and often when he was sealed to another man's wife the husband stood as a witness. Rather strange for a man to do if he knew the man was after his wife's skirt.

Also, Joseph only had children with one women, his first wife Emma Hale. If the Prophet were the horny toad his enemies make him out to be, he surely would slept with all these women. He had many children by Emma, but none of these other women bore him children. Perhaps the Prophet was an true husband after all.

Ok....... But he married teenagers! Hmm, I take it the Bible worshippers don't like the Pocahontas- John Smith story. No matter. The problem here is we are putting 21st century standards on a 19th century man. In the Prophet's time, the legal marriage age was 10, and it was not uncommon for a man to marry a women that age. Contrast that with today, when the legal age in most states is 16. Puts a little perspective on it eh?

It seems I have vindicated that the Prophet could practice polygamy and be a prophet after all. Oh dear, I have to to church on Sunday now? Tears....

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