Wednesday, October 11, 2006

pre-exit 4: some big issues

I saw that there were problems. Instead of asking the important questions that the problems should have brought up, I thought my way around the problems. Regarding blacks and the priesthood, I thought, “There’s some reason Heavenly Father gave blacks the priesthood only in 1978. What is it?” I never thought it was due to some inferiority or natural inequality of black people. I eventually settled on the idea that God allows humans, including leaders of His Church, to make mistakes and do some things at their own pace. In other words, denial of the priesthood of blacks was mostly influenced by racist America, and God was slowly bringing the church along to come to a more perfect version of the church. (Never mind that I was taught that the church was perfect as “restored” to Joseph smith, or that the gospel is the same yesterday, today, and forever.)

I performed similar testimony-saving gymnastics with the other big issues, and my (ever-changing) conclusions were, like the above, in fact contrary to some of the teaching of the church. I was sure, for example, that I wouldn’t be made to practice polygamy if I was fortunate enough to make it to the Celestial Kingdom with my husband, even though the D&C section instituting polygamy as necessary to salvation (as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor certainly understood it) is still on the books. And therefore, apparently, still in force, if only in the next life. But I couldn’t imagine a just and kind Heavenly Father who loved me to require me to share my husband with another woman (or women) (despite the fact that he "did require it" of plenty of other women in 19th century Nauvoo and Utah).

Polygamy was an ongoing debate among me and my peers. Was it required? Would I only have to practice if I agreed? What if my husband isn’t faithful; will I be married off as the umpteenth wife to another man? Could I live with my husband screwing another woman? Surely God wouldn’t really make me? What did it mean that D&C 132 was still on the books? Could I interpret it differently? It really just meant marriage itself is required for salvation, not polygamous marriage, right? Right?

Some of my peers couldn’t even stand the debate. Couldn’t even hear the word “polygamy’ without flipping out. It was too horrendous, awful. And yet we never doubted that it was (or at least had been) a part of God’s True Church, and sanctioned by God.

11 comments:

Eric said...

I had all the same conflicts, and more. I tried to convince myself that these things exist because they must. Eventually, I discovered something I knew all a long. Everything about the church boild down to one fact: the church was invented, not inspired. Once I accepted the fact that Joseph Smith invented the church, every inconsistency with the church made sense! Of course polygamy, priesthood withheld from blacks, temple rituals, male superiority, and others felt wrong because it was wrong. It was all based on a lie.

Things are so much easier now.

Glad to see another out there trying to move beyond mormonsim and exmormonism and into normal life. I wish you the best!

And welcome to the blogging world! You've been added to my blog link list! ;]

If you don't mind, send me an e-mail sometime.

Eric

from the ashes said...

Oh, believe me, I had many other conflicts too! And I eventually came to the same conclusion you did--it was invented. And then everything made sense.

I just haven't gotten to that point in my story yet...It's taking me longer to tell it that I thought it would. But it's turning out to be great for me to just talk it all out. I'll drop you a line soon.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Loving your story...keep it comin'!

from the ashes said...

Thanks, sister. I wrote a whole bunch of posts in one sitting, and I'm releasing them over the week. 'Cause I don't have time to write them during the week. This weekend I'll get a new self-therapy session and let my story get to the good stuff--the real questioning.

Just one of many said...

My husband asked the bishop how he'd feel if he had to share his wife here and in eternity. His response "I don't have to worry about that"!! Enough said!

from the ashes said...

Ah, but doesn't he? Polyandry (one woman, multiple husbands) was practiced by JS too!

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

It's pretty crazy how many wives were shared over the years by JS, BY and a bunch of other apostles.

from the ashes said...

Like Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Smith Young?

Oh, and did I mention that Lightner, her first husband, was still alive when she married Smith and Young?

Devin Johnson said...

Wait.

Your church made you become a poligamist?

wow you had it bad.

Devin Johnson said...

oh, and the reason that poligamy had been part of the curch is because The 2nd prophet (whats his name) was a poligamist. You cant ban something that your leader is practising.

do some research

from the ashes said...

devin- Nope, I wasn't a fundamentalist, so I didn't live in polygamy, thank goodness. But D&C 132 still states that polygamy is part of the CK. And there is certainly plenty of talk among members, though not necessarily in the SS manuals, about the place of polygamy in the CK. Plenty of Mormon women worry about having to become polygamist spouses. Obviously it is an issue in people's minds.

And research? Did you see the list of books on my sidebar? You are asking me to do some research when you can't even think of Brigham Young's name? What is more, it was NOT BY that started polygamy, it was Joseph Smith. See Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Bushman, and In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Compton, both books that talk about JS's instituting and practicing of polygamy, and both books "sanctioned" by the Brethren of the LDS church. Both authors are practicing, believing, faithful Mormons. In fact, you can look up JS's other wives on the LDS church's genealogy website. His wives have been mentioned in the Ensign.