Historical Mormon Smackdown: Multiple spouse edition!

Okay folks, back to the show!

What is the more personally disturbing form of plural marriage to you: Polygyny vs. Polyandry?

Vote early, but don’t…er…vote often.

ed. corrected per will’s suggestion (polygamy equates with polygyny for the purpose of the poll, though).

15 Replies to “Historical Mormon Smackdown: Multiple spouse edition!”

  1. Could you put a 3rd choice, which is, “It doesn’t bother me.” I’d be interested to see the ratio with this choice involved.

  2. Tim, I thought about doing that, but I think that most people would choose the 3rd option. I like the dual options because it problematizes an issue that I thought I had resolved.

    Obviously, I put up the question in response to John Redelf’s recent post. My first reaction to that post was, “They are equally squicky to me, so I don’t have an especial problem with either”. That said, when I frame it this way, it makes me wonder why I chose the way I chose (polygamy).

    Is it because I don’t believe that I will be asked to live a polyandrous existence, wheras there is the deep-seated LDS fear that we might get asked to live polygamy again? Is it that the currently-practicing polygamous groups I am aware of are so creepy? Is there something in me that believes that a polygamous relationship would be more damaging/inticing/ruining to me than a polyandrous one? Do I think that polyandrous relationships are somehow more fair? I don’t really know where I stand on these issues right now; the question makes me think about them. All my half-formed answers seem to make me find polygamy more disturbing; but I feel a need to work out why that is. So, that’s why I went with the question I did.

  3. Strictly speaking, polyandry is a form of polygamy. Maybe you intended “polygyny” instead of polygamy?

  4. Thanks will. I’ll make a change in the post although I’ll have to leave the poll untouched. Besides, I think most of our readers got the point.

  5. Well, John, your sister-in-law once told me that if you kissed a girl, and she kissed another guy, then you practically kissed that guy according to the transitive property. So, in a polyandrous relationship… (you do the math.)

  6. Okay polyandrists, I’ve tried to explain why I find polygyny more disturbing. What is your reasoning?

  7. John C., I have no problem with polygamy when it is commanded by God. I am disappointed with your light-minded treatment of this.

  8. I find polyandry more squicky because I could see myself as happy with sister-wives but I can’t see myself as happy having more than one husband to deal with.

    Also, and I may be being totally naive or stereotypical here, but I can see sister-wives getting along better than brother-husbands.

  9. Geez, I just went over and took a look at the place this came from. It needs a warning from the Surgeon General.

    If I weren’t such a nice person, I’d copy the whole thing over here and deconstruct it.

  10. John F.,
    I have a problem with both, but I would do either if I was convinced God was commanding it. I believe that this was the attitude of the modern saints who participated. I do not mean to make light of the situation; I mean to help myself and others understand how we deal with it. Admittedly, I am doing this is the form of a rather silly poll, but whatever works. As I stated earlier, I wrote it because John R.’s recent post on the subject got me thinking along these lines. I am curious as to why my treatment deserves censure and his does not.

  11. Polygyny is fine in a Christian family, (not Mormon). I am a firm believer in polygyny as it is described in the Bible, and I would love to debate anyone who has a biblical stance on this topic. People today are caught in a frenzy on this topic, I even heard it compared to gay marriage, and other grotesque perversions. To compare the likes of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and David to beastiality as I seen in a Nashville paper. What are people thinking? All were practiced in the Bible for sure, however only one was blessed and that one being polygyny. Plus to tell you something else, it works, plain and simple.

  12. Hm. Fine in the OT. Not fine for a Latter-day Saint. Not fine for anybody living in Utah or any state that acheived that status after Utah.

  13. it works, plain and simple

    What Bible are you reading? I (respectfully) disagree. It seems to frequently lead to sadness and despair. A few case examples:

    1. Lamech, the Bible’s first polygamist. Gen. 4:19-24. You can’t tell me this guy wasn’t a jerk.

    2. Joseph. Although the “families of the earth” came of his unions, but look at the strife, confusion, favoritism, jealousy, and deception which came of it (Gen. 25:28; 27:1-45; 35:22ff; 38:18-28, etc.).

    3. David. 2 Sam. 13:1-29, and the effects of his mulitple conjugal unions in chapters 15-18, inclusive.

    4. Solomon. His case is text-book for the sadness and betrayal which accompanies OT polygamy: 2 Kings 11:1-4.

    5. Abraham. Gen. 16:4-16 (esp. 4-5). His extra-marital union causes jealousy and rage.

    Yet it seems that the divine hand has a work to do through these problematic relations. Again, the power of God working things out for good. But one cannot also ignore the strife, sadness, and jealousy which the text mentions in connection with its practice. So in my opinion, the OT does mention the problems that come with it.

    Mormonism is another proof that the practice inevitably leads to sadness (enter discussions of the book Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith…).

  14. What about Jacob 2?

    Personally, I do not know a woman in the church that is looking forward to living polygamy for eternity. Read the “19th wife” on the web and then you will get a good feel of the kind of pain it really caused.

    Here is a good thread to get this really going:
    Utah became a state under the condition that it recognize that marriage is a lawful binding of one man to one woman. If gay marriage passes, then will it not open the door to polygamy? Couldn’t the church end this whole discussion on gay marriage immediately by this fact? There is hardly a Christian in the country that would not do whatever it took to stop plural marriage from being legal if the church took this as a chance to get polygamy legal again.

    I’d really like some other thoughts on this subject.

  15. MoMom,
    I think the Church has moved on and isn’t interested in a reinstatement. So, I don’t see this being an issue. But, what do I know…

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