Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Don't Like Polygamy, but Many Critics Are Hypocrites

I don't like polygamy - and I loathe the way polygamy works in many situations. I understand abhorrence for polygamy in our current culture and time, but I also think it's interesting to see attacks on it in our own Mormon history from people who think it's disgusting that anyone over 100 years ago could even entertain the idea. Not only is there the historical reality of it being so widespread, but many of those same people don't fuss nearly as much about serial adultery or multiple sexual relationships outside of marriage. I know people personally who despise polygamy and think of it as a great evil who are far less vocal or bothered by someone using willing women for nothing but sex - no commitment, no emotional attachment, just a body to use momentarily and forget.

It also doesn't escape me that such complete disregard for sex involving commitment is much more prevalent in our own society than polygamy is or ever has been - and yet polygamy (even when every person is a consenting adult) is called a great evil while serial, non-committed sex is accepted, at worst, as a moral failing. Polygamy is labeled a terrible threat, while rampant non-committed sex is almost ignored in similar discussions - even when the numeric and structural elements of such sex are polygamous in nature.

Again, I don't like polygamy, but I have worked with high schools and colleges for many years. Give me a choice between polygamy among consenting adults (with no hint of coercion and/or eternal punishment for not participating) and what I know of the sexual practices of many high school and college students, and I'll take that type of polygamy every day - and twice on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Amen. And ask someone who beats up on polygamy how they feel about serial monogamy - remarriage after the death of a spouse and our sealing policies, and suddenly there is head scratching. I find that those who know nothing of remarriage after the death of a spouse are closet skeptics, meaning they just can't fathom the idea of loving two people serially, much less the notion of loving them contemporaneously in the eternities. Yet, I know both men and women who are in happy second marriages (because of death) and look forward to continuing their relationships with both spouses in the eternities.

Anonymous said...

One of the unanswered questions about polygamy is whether the young women -- and in many cases young girls -- who became plural wives did so out of their own free will or whether they were forced into plural marriage by their fathers. In my own family, a great grandfather took a second and then a third wife. The second wife, who was my great-grandmother, was 13 years old when she married him -- not yet 14! He was well into his 40s. I seriously doubt she did this of her own free will. Stories abound in our collective history of men "giving" their daughters to other men, sometimes general authorities, as gifts. This is evil in my opinion and cannot be made less evil by my behavior, whatever it is, more than a century later. Yes, some critics of polygamy might be hypocrites based on their behavior today, although I don't personally know any such people, but no amount of sin today can lessen some of the sinfulness one finds in the polygamy of yesterday.

Papa D said...

Anonymous, the First, the example of people who have loved more than one spouse at different times, equally and deeply, is the primary reason I can't condemn the concept of polygamy in a blanket way, no matter how I feel about it for myself and with regard to how it has been implemented in the past and still now.

Anonymous, the Second, my primary concern has been, is and always will be the issue of true consent. That's why I said in the concluding paragraph, carefully and intentionally:

"Give me a choice between polygamy among consenting adults (with no hint of coercion and/or eternal punishment for not participating) . . ."