Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wifery of JS

There is conflicting information available about how many wives Joseph Smith Jr had. Some say as many as 48 while he was alive. But from what I read Joseph openly spoke against polygamy. Emma his first wife claimed Joseph never had additional wives. Also it appears that Joseph was married to about 12 other women who were married to other men simultaneously.

I hate to say it, but it seems a bit off. Church historians have confirmed he taught that polygamy was a true concept but denied ever condoning the practice. But yet he had polyandrous and polygamist wives. Some as young as 14 years old all the way up to women in their 50s.

Some of these marriages appear to be non-sexual because some of his [Joseph's] wives would stay with their current husband. But there is reasonable proof that the other marriages were of a sexual nature. I read a mob in Ohio wanted to castrate Joseph because he had sexual relations with a young girl.

The Church really puts Joseph Smith on a pedestal as a prophet. But it is hard for me to believe such things when it looks like his sexual desires are insatiable. I know I am going to offend every person who reads this. But these are genuine concerns of mine.

I was blindly following the guidelines of the church. This is one of the reasons why I had to discontinue any active part within the church.

Another thing I have a hard time with is God coming down and having "sex" with his daughter, Mary, to create Jesus Christ. My wife Deb thinks that Mary and God were "married" in order to go about it the "right" way. If that were true that would be another polyandrous marriage. What happens to Joseph? If I had a choice between a supreme being and a mortal man, I'm going with the supreme being. A sure ticket into heaven. My guess is Mary would do the same.


Anonymous said...

I leave this up to Dad. :) I guess what it boils down to is deciding who is telling the truth. I don't know all the facts, but I, too, have had questions, and when it came to he-said/she-said I had to decide who I was going to believe. And I am not at all offended by your questioning. :) I don't think Heavenly Father wants us to blindly follow, but to know.
"quidevi" quizzical Dave

Zaphod said...

As you have said already, it is really difficult to get much accurate information on the internet. Before the internet, there was no want of malicious people who were willing to say anything about the Prophet Joseph Smith whether they had any evidence or not. Of course, these "evidence-less" critics are the ones now being quoted as the authorities by whom we supposed to judge the life of Joseph Smith.

I have read almost every anti-Mormon publication printed before 1990 and in nothing have I had my "eyes opened" to the "truth". There is hardly anything in these writings more than innuendo and speculation. Even "quotes" by those who were supposed to be in the "know" were poorly redacted and viciously twisted in order to support the critic's already skewed view of the Church and its doctrines.

Was Joseph Smith perfect? Of course not, no more than any who have ever lived upon this earth have been, save one, the Lord Jesus Christ. Did Joseph make mistakes? No doubt, but even with my learning (which is considerable by the way), I am not in a position to make definitive statements about exactly what those mistakes were.

What were Joseph Smith's motives for taking multiple wives? Can anyone declare them with any degree of certainty? Fawn Brody pretended to do so in her books. When she wrote in the same manner about Thomas Jefferson, the world villified her for her presumption. The fact that the world did not villified her for the hatchet job she did on Joseph Smith speaks volumes about the attitude of the world toward the servants of God.

Wherein did Joseph Smith offend the God of Heaven in his association with those who were sealed to him? Can anyone say? Can anyone speak to the tests through which the early saints passed in their dealings with the whisperings of the Spirit of God? Does it make any difference whatsoever whether the relationships between Joseph Smith and his wives were sexual or not? Whose business is that? How would anyone really know?

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for decades claimed that Joseph Smith never taught plurality of wives, this a reflection of Emma Smith's claims late in her life. The burden of historical proof, however, even in their own volumes of church history, has made the subject not worth fighting for on their part.

At the heart of the matter is whether God ever commanded any of his servants, in any age of the earth's history, to have more than one wife. If He did, than our modern sophistication and high-handed obcession with monogamy is perhaps unwarranted. The fact of the matter is that God never commanded sodomy, incest, fornication, homosexuality, beastiality, lesbianism, masterbation, or any of the other multitudes of morally repuganant activities that are rife in the world today. He has commanded sexual fidelity to one's wife. He has commanded the abstinence from anything that would damage a wholesome relationship between a man and his wife.

Has He ever commanded that a man take more than one wife? Yes, at various times and places for a variety of reasons. Does this make God morally corrupt?

Is plural marriage difficult? Yes, far more difficult than monogamy. The degree of patience and love required is a geometric function, increasing tremendously as a family grows. In part, we experience some of this when children are born into a couple's life. The mother's attention is focussed on her growing child, perhaps being a little less attentive to her husband as a result. A woman only has so much physical and emotional strength. As the family grows, however, so do her abilities to love and nourish those around her. Is a man incapable of increasing his capacity for love as his family grows? Apparently not, even though he may find difficulties and perhaps some failures along the way as he learns.

In my family tree there are those who stepped outside of the bonds of matrimony and committed heinous acts of infidelity against their spouses. There are also those who loved and cherished more than one wife, some at the same time. As I look at the character of these men when compared with the unfaithful, I prefer those who honored their priesthood, their wives, and their children without compromising their love for the God of Heaven.

Joseph Smith was one of those men who loved God with all of his heart and tried to honor Him in everything that he did. Joseph also loved all those who were sealed to him, Emma and the others whom Emma gave to him. He was faithful to each and every one of them, cherished them, nourished them, provided for them as best he could, and left this life without offense against God or mankind.

I realize that this is just your dad talking, one who has taught the "company line" for most of his mortal life. To my knowledge, however, I have never taught anything that I did not believe with all of my heart. Do have unresolved issues in my mind and in my heart? Of course I do, but I have every confidence that there will come a day in which all of those things which I presently can't get my mind around will become completely and perfectly clear. It has been that way now, for me, for more than fifty years.

Trillium said...

Each of us has questions that may not be resolved during our mortal lives. Such challenges of our faith are necessary because they are our opportunity to be obedient like Adam was. Adam was commanded to offer sacrifices, and he was obedient for “many days” before an Angel appeared and asked him why he was doing this. Adam responded, “I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” The Angel then revealed the purpose and symbolism to Adam. Prior to the Angel’s teachings, Adam may have had serious questions, apprehensions, and perhaps even erroneous speculations about the practice of blood sacrifice. In our lives, each of us is offered the opportunity to have an Adam experience of obedience in the face of unanswered questions and other tough experiences.

There are questions that I have not had resolved, but I am willing to walk by faith, and try to be obedient to the principles I’ve been taught, because of a few key things that I know are true. These truths (things that I can never refute) keep me optimistic and full of hope about eventually having hard questions answered satisfactorily. The things I know and cannot deny are: the reality of the existence of God because of His direct answers to my prayers, and the truths that are whispered to my heart and mind as I read the scriptures. I have been “taught from on high” as I have read the scriptures because the Holy Ghost attends those books and testifies of their truth. Without the Holy Ghost as companion and comforter, I would be overcome by the challenges of this life. I am humbly grateful that the Lord has been so patient and long-suffering with my stumbling along in my imperfections and with my sometimes thrashing about in the midst of trials.

Zaphod said...

With regard to the paragraph that you added after I made my original comment: At some point you have to decide whether or not you are a Christian. If you are not, then it does not make any difference what anyone suggests what Christianity is. If one is a Christian, then you have to decide why it is that you are.

Either Jesus of Nazareth is literally the Son of God or he isn't. If he isn't then all arguments to the contrary are meaningless. If he is, what does it mean to be the Son of God? What powers did Jesus have and why?

Most Christians testify that Jesus possessed power over death and hell. What doies that mean? Typically, most Christians believe in the power of the resurrection, that somehow through the power and authority bestowed upon the Christ he was able to rejoin his own body and his own spirit together again, overcoming the death that he suffered upon the cross. Christians believe that not only he was the literal beneficiary of that power, but that all of his disciples will come forth from their graves at some point and will find joy and happiness with him in Heaven. Latter-day Saints and others who study the New Testament assiduously, also believe and accept that every man, woman, and child who has ever lived upon the earth, or who will ever live upon the earth, will enjoy the benfits of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; all will come forth from their graves as well. This is the "free gift" so often spoken of by believers. If you don't believe in the literal resurrection of the dead than you can't be much of a Christian.

The second aspect of the Sonship of Jesus CHrist has to do with the redemption from personal sin that was achieved by Jesus, begining in the Garden of Gethsemane and culminating upon the cross. Either he suffered for the sins of mankind or he did not. If he did not, then all further discussion is meaningless. If he did, how did he achieve it? The scriptures are quite clear that he was able to do so because of his literal relationship with God the eternal Father. No man has been able to suffer for his own sins sufficiently in order to receive salvation. Therefore there had to be an independent mediator of some kind, or all of creation would have had no purpose, everything succumbing to natural and eternal law. Jesus suffered for the sins of mankind. That is fundamental to Christaity. Without that conviction, Jesus becomes just another nice man whoi was badly treated by a corrupt and preditory society.

Where did Jesus get the power over death and hell? No man could have given it to him. We as Christians conclude that the Father gave it to him. When and where? First, by ordination. According to the teachings of Paul the Apostle, Jesus is the great High Priest of our salvation. Where did that priesthood come from? There is only one person whose power and authority supercedes that of the Savior.

At some point, each of us has to decide what we are going to believe about Jesus. Is he the literal Son of God or not? If he is, then how did he get to be the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh. If Jesus is not the genetic offspring of God, whose son is he?

We sometimes get hung up on our cultural mores without giving a great deal of thought about what we are concluding. Other sometimes disturbing conumdrums include: What is the genetic relationship between Adam and Eve? Who did their children marry? Who did the grandchildren of Noah marry, assuming that the scriptures are truthful when they testify that only eigth human beings survived the universal flood? These questions are varioius answered, most of which are not universally satifying because of the compulsive/obcessive culture in which we live.

How did Mary find herself with child? Am I curious enough to want to have an open vision regarding the process? I fear to offend the God I love to even ask. I think that if that was meant to be a topic of casual discussion, the scriptures would be far more explicit.

At some point we have to ask ourselves some fairly significant questions. Like, what do I believe about the nature of Godliness? Is God, by definition, a moral being? Would he ever do something fundamentally wrong? Would he command sexual morality and then be, Himself, immoral? Whatever the process, whatever the nature of the relationship between the Father and the mother of Jesus, so that the Savior could be called the Son of God, all was done according to eternal law, consistent with all that God has ever revealed to His children.

Many have tried to make catagorical statements about the birth of Jesus; most have fallen short of the truth of the matter.

Do I have an opinion on the matter? Yes I do. What is it worth? Not much, except as it pertains to the integrity of God and Mary. Mary was a virtuous young woman who never violated the law of chastity her entire life. To believe that God would violate the same law is to believe in a God not worth worshipping. Now how do you reconcile all of these elements and still be a Christian? Sometimes you just have to be patient until, in the Lord's economy, He chooses to touch your mind and heart with the truth.