Polygamy is a touchy issue – both for still-active members of the mormon church as well as those who have long departed. Mormon women have to dissemble the issue in order to stay sane and active… like it’s something that only happened a long time ago, under the most benevolent of circumstances according to church leaders, and to someone else… so that’s totally ok. Ask any of them to say how they would respond if the prophet decided tomorrow that polygamy was back on the table since marriage has a much broader definition now. See, it’s ok only if it happened to other people.
Since I don’t go to ldsliving.com much (never), I was pointed to this article from John Dehlin’s page about a girl who has reconciled the polygamy issue to herself and we should all do that too. Sadly, what she doesn’t realize yet is that she is demonstrating the precise level of ignorance that it takes to whitewash the past. Now, I’m not saying that somehow, under some circumstance, someone, somewhere has managed to have multiple wives in a benevolent way. I’m saying that once you finally know that that is not how it played out in mormon history, the realization is crushing and putting out propaganda news pieces spits in the faces of those who were subjected to it.
Some of the saddest things I read about in said history were the stories of faithful men sent off on missions for years at a time who later realize that Joseph Smith (and later Brigham Young) had married their wives in their absence. Polyandry really did happen and has finally, very quietly, been admitted by apologetics.
My purpose in writing here is not to list a bunch of facts and say, “Look how big my list is. You should completely believe me.” I write to put down for others what’s going through my head as I try to piece reality back together after running down the road of research; hopefully writing something down that’s a respite in the desert of how-the-hell-did-I-ever-believe-that.
Not long ago, I was thinking about what that would have been like to be out on a mission away from wife and family only to have everything that I loved in the world torn away to serve the needs of a selfish self-proclaimed prophet. I wrote this down:
~~~ Hymn #102~~~ Joseph, Lover of My Wife (original here)
Joseph, lover of my wife,
Take good care of her for me
While I’m called abroad in God’s service
On the mission that you sent me.
Though pains me you’ll lie with her
And it breaks my heart in two,
I’ll be faithful, ever faithful,
Brother Joseph, unto you.
When I come home, I’ll be lonely,
But I’ll take some comfort still
In the solace that she’s with you
In fulfillment of God’s will.
Oh what agony besets me!
Oh what sacrifice is this?
Will you take my daughters also
To your bed – that dark abyss?
If you ever have to ignore the past just to be able to continue to feel good about it, Red Flag!