Christian Polygamy INFO TM
Resource for General INFO about Christian Polygamy
Polygamy does not equal Mormon Polygamy
The reason that the anti-polygamy laws were not overturned in the 1800s and in the years that followed is due to a mistaken confusion.
Namely, a CONFUSION occured which made people think the following:
It does not.
But that's the verbiage in which polygamy was discussed, by both Mormon Polygamists and anti-polygamists, back then and even often in modern times, as well.
It is due to this still-existing CONFUSION by which most people still mistakenly oppose polygamy.
This needs to be corrected.
It is important to understand that this is said only as a matter of explaining both political reality and Mormon doctrine. If anyone wants to see the larger goal of seeing society at large being willing to accept polygamy in general, then what this herein will address does need to be understood as a matter of political pragmatism and perhaps expediency.
Namely, the paradigm of MORMON Polygamy can and will only be able to persuade fellow Fundamentalist-minded Mormons. But It will never be able to succeed in persuading the rest of society to accept polygamy.
Again, let the hearts of any Fundamentalist Mormon readers of this article be comforted to understand that this is not an attack against their religion. Rather, this is only a matter of how, specifically, Mormon doctrine interferes with otherwise being able to so succeed to persuade the society at large.
That's WHY Mormon Polygamy actually failed to prevent/overturn the anti-polygamy laws over a 100 years ago. The foundational doctrines FOR polygamy per the Mormon paradigm (i.e., the actual REASONS why LDS believe[d] in polygamy) are what were opposed by society at large ----precisely because society CONFUSED polygamy with those Mormon-only doctrinal foundational views.
Back then in the 1800s, they wrongly DEFINED polygamy by the terms of the Mormon-only REASONS for polygamy. But polygamy is not defined that way. Polygamy was (WRONGLY) defined to equal Mormon Polygamy. And that is why Mormons failed to overturn it all, instead having to acquiesce to anti-polygamy with their "O.D.1" in 1890.
From the very beginning of Mormon Polygamy, the REASONS for polygamy, as had been presented by Mormon Polygamy, caused what society at large (not without reason) saw (and still sees) as a doctrinal OBLIGATION upon women to have to accept polygamy, no matter what.
To non-Mormons, the very "Doctrine and Covenants 132" itself (the "revelation" which first established Mormon Polygamy) appears to terribly "guilt-trip"-obligate Joseph Smith Jun.'s wife, Emma, to have to accept polygamy ---no matter what. To non-Mormons, the specific "verses" 51-56 of the "D&C 132" even appear to overtly threaten her with being destroyed if she does not accept it. (Surely, Mormons may read that differently, but to non-Mormons, the only conclusion they perceive from that is that of forced no-choice OBLIGATION by means of "doctrine".)
And as Mormon doctrine evolved even further, this not-unreasonably-perceived sense that polygamy (when defined as equaling Mormon Polygamy) was a matter of no-choice OBLIGATION upon women got even more intensified.
The OBLIGATION became even more solidified in the evolving doctrine. (Even as it is understood that Mormons will view this differently from that which is being explained here, it is still important to note that these points here are about showing how NON-Mormons perceive these matters. And so, such Mormons can learn --and thus educate themselves---- about how others see this matter.) To non-Mormons, the growing Mormon doctrine only continued to appear to create a deeper and deeper no-choice OBLIGATION upon women to have to accept polygamy.
For example, due to the exclusively Mormon doctrine of the idea of "pre-existence of souls" who are said (according to Mormon doctrine) to "need" to be born into Mormon families so that these said "pre-existing souls" would not otherwise be born into the said-to-be "unrighteous" (Brigham Young declared this doctinal teaching in his discourses; Chapter XVII, The Family, Birth Control), and combined with the exclusively Mormon doctrine of "celestial marriage" which established the idea of sorts that women's salvation into "higher heavens" is based upon their being in polygamous marriages, this all combines to create a situation about which the rest of society views as putting a no-choice OBLIGATION to force women into having to accept polygamy.
That's WHY polygamy, back then, was (unfortunately) compared with slavery, the two being referred to as the "twin relics of barbarism".
And indeed, to non-Mormons, such a no-choice OBLIGATION very much can have the appearance of being another form of slavery, enslaving women with a no-choice OBLIGATION.
It is also visibly evident that society back then confused polygamy with the Mormon-only doctrinally-believed REASONS for polygamy. This can be easily observed by the fact that some State Constitutions even use the term "celestial marriage" ---which is an exclusively Mormon Polygamy term--- as being part of the wording and definition of polygamy being banned in their laws. The very use of the term "celestial marriage" in law, when defining polygamy, is proof of this confusion of polygamy with Mormon Polygamy by society at large.
In the eyes and ears of non-Mormons, the idea of this basis which would doctrinally OBLIGATE women into polygamy all appears as being only one thing: NO CHOICE for women, slavery.
And removal of CHOICE is anathema to most of society at large. That was so, back then. It is still so, today ---even more so.
Yet THAT is precisely why polygamy was wrongly compared with slavery.
Again, polygamy was wrongly CONFUSED with the doctrinal REASONS for Mormon Polygamy exclusively. And that CONFUSION, because of those REASONS of Mormon Polygamy doctrine, only appeared and still appears to non-Mormons as forcing a no-choice OBLIGATION upon women to have to accept polygamy no matter what. That's what made and makes such non-Mormons think (not without reason that) polygamy then somehow appears to be similar to slavery.
For sure, some of these issues of Mormon doctrine might very well be acceptable and purely doctrinal in the eyes of some Fundamentalist Mormons (and perhaps not to others of such ones). The point in sharing this herein is not about criticizing that religion and its views. (That is for another discussion elsewhere.) Instead, this is merely pointing out why non-Mormon society at large will never accept the idea of polygamy on the basis of the Mormon Polygamy paradigm. Other "Latter Day Saints" might be so willing, but all Mormons need to humbly understand that the rest of society at large will not.
And so must everyone else in the society at large likewise understand the differences as pointed out herein.
This mistaken CONFUSION must now be finally cleared up once and for all:
Polygamy does NOT equal "Mormon Polygamy".
As more and more of society at large can overcome this confusion in coming to understand this important difference, then the society at large will become more willing to accept polygamy indeed, including Christian Polygamy.
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