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/Old discussion (or perhaps more accurately "obsolete discussion"), including use of "Mormons" and RK's list of basic beliefs.


Dmerrill, IIRC, Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women posthumously, but not concurrently with their marriage or sealing to another man. This does not seem to be polyanderous. I don't recall encountering mention of doctrine or practice of polyandery in Mormonism, even in the early days. --BrantEaton

That's probably because it is little discussed. However, it is well documented. For one example, see In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Tood Compton, PhD (classics, UCLA). Or, Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner. Or, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (a biography of Joseph's first wife, who strongly disapproved of his polygamy but was powerless to stop it). Any of those will point you to the primary sources.
The source materials I have found contain declarations by contemporaries of Joseph Smith alleging _his_ polyandery/adultery. Accepting these sources does not establish a pattern of practice or declaration of doctrine for the church. --BrantEaton
Good point, I have to agree with you there. Let's leave it for the moment, and when I start working on the JS biography I will move it there. --Dmerrill

This is of course a contriversial subject, and I have read the primary sources, and have found that Joseph Smith was seeled to women who were already married to non-members. The idea was that sealing to someone was essential for exaltation. There is no evidence that Joseph actually cohabitated with these seelings, and it seems that they were no more than a religious formality. --James L. Carroll

There were many allegations of children from these women, which certainly implies more than sealing happened. We need to do much research before asserting any of that ourselves, of course, which is why it's not in the article.
<joke suggest="Smile: it's funny">Was "Mr. Smith" the only man in the neighborhood for a period of 28 days centered on the 266th day before delivery of these children?</joke>


Can we at least use the words correctly here, folks? Polygamy is plural marriage, of any form. Polygyny is one/many women (in marriage or breeding). Polyandry is one woman/many men (in marriage or breeding). Polyamory is plural dating/cohabitation (that one is well-established but hasn't made it into most dictionaries yet). --LDC

I think we *are* using them properly. Joseph Smith married multiple women (polygyny), some of whom had other husbands (polyandry).

Yes, I think you were using "polyandry" correctly when you asked the first question (note the spelling, though), but I think most of the other text here assumes you were asking about something different.

This is precisely the question: Was polyandry (used to spell much gooder when i were stil in school) a feature of Mormon practice or doctrine at any point, even in its very early period? Some contend (and cite statements supportive of the assertion) that Joseph Smith as an individual practiced polygyny, "traditional extramarital activities," and caused some of these women to practice polyandry. These accounts are (understandably) not widely known in the modern church. The veracity of these statements is likely a subject of dispute. --BrantEaton
Very well put. In fact, I'll copy some of that statement to the article. --[Dmerrill]]

Even if Joseph Smith married women already married to other men, it is only polyandry if he thought their original marriages were valid. I honestly don't know what he thought. But I doubt that he would have viewed himself as practicing polyandry. -- SJK

If they were legally married, and he legally married them, it was polyandry, wasn't it? --Dmerrill
I don't know what the early Mormon attitude was toward the marriage laws of the state. Current polygamists twist them around something awful - using strategic marriage and divorce to claim that they aren't married to more than one woman, and separating their concept of sacramental marriage and legal marriage. --MichaelTinkler
This reminds me of an amusing sidenote pointed out to me by a Persian friend. She didn't mind the idea of plural marriage one bit. What she hated was Americans shacking up with their BFs/GFs and cheating on their spouses... all perfectly legal.

Dmerrill: Well, if they were already legally married he couldn't legally marry them, under U.S. law. Everywhere in the U.S. polygamy is a legal impossibility. (Sure, Mormon polygamists have more than one wife in a cultural sense, but legally they do not.) And legal marriage is really irrelevant to polyandry -- polyandry is a anthropological, not a legal, concept. Of course, as an anthropological concept legal considerations can be relevant, but they are not determinative. -- SJK

Hehe, good point. ;-) Whoever gets around to really fleshing that section out will have to clearly document exactly what was really going on. Personally I don't know the intimate details, so I can't say which of these is what JS did. --Dmerrill

Current version looks like parody. Should we move it to Humor and replace it with a serious article? --Ed Poor


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