William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Law Of Plural Marriage -- Suspended? Or Revoked?

A poll asked the question:

"The Law Of Plural Marriage -- Suspended? Or Revoked?

The priesthood law requiring plural marriage was...
suspended. (10 votes [13.33%] - View)
Percentage of vote: 13.33%
revoked. (3 votes [4.00%] - View)
Percentage of vote: 4.00%
neither suspended nor revoked -- only the practice of it was suspended by the Church. (39 votes [52.00%] - View)
Percentage of vote: 52.00%
I don't believe there is such a law. (19 votes [25.33%] - View)
Percentage of vote: 25.33%
Other (explain below) (4 votes [5.33%] - View)
Percentage of vote: 5.33%"

To which I responded:

I chose option four, for several reasons. First of all, I believe that God does not command any of us to either marry at all or to marry particular individuals. I believe it is a choice he leaves to our sole discretion. Second, I do not believe that God would condition anyone's right to marry several individuals on that person's faithfulness in the LDS faith. I believe that, generally speaking, God always has, and always will, permit consenting, mature, sane adults to enter into marriage contracts with the opposite sex as they see fit, whether that be with one or more partners, so long as there is no coercion involved and the relationship is truly consensual.

For those reasons, I think it is a fiction to imagine that God ever suddenly permitted (or for that matter, commanded) JS and other priesthood holders in the Church's early days to practice polygyny. I believe that they (along with every other sane, mature, consenting adult, whether in or out of the church) always had the moral right to enter into polygamous marriage.

As for the revocation of the practice of polygamy, history strongly suggests that the sole basis and concern was opposition by the U.S. government which was causing great problems for the Church. No other reason is given as best as I recall, even in the official declaration. So in any event, there is no legitimate reason to believe that God presently restrains members of the Church from practicing consensual polygamy for the so-called moral reasons which seem to underlie present-day popular perception among LDS members.

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