It's not often I find the courage to bring up controversial subjects.
I'm not entirely sure I have brought up "controversial" subjects yet. Yes, the gay marriage thing. Whatever. I'm over it. It's something people are angry over, targeting the church over (after all, we were vocal. what? we can exercise our freedom of speech in the democratic process but dissenters can't? as long as the protests at the temple are peaceful, i say they deserve at least our respect to their feelings to allow them to have their say)
Anyway. This one does make me nervous, but I think it deserves some discussion. We'll see what other people think, yeah?
A comment string a few entries back brought up the P word. I don't really know how, but I know I'm the one who brought it up.
C'mon. You know what I'm talking about. It's like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Mormons and...
This is kinda a "hush hush" topic. Some consider it "sacred." Some, I think most, don't know how to talk about it.
I mean, how do you talk about this?
"God commanded it."
Yeah, you know...truth or not, that just doesn't cut it for outsiders. It doesn't really cut it for some insiders to be honest. It might work for the zealous, passionate new member, but if something were to happen - say, hubby cheated or something - she might feel differently about sharing her husband, even if God commanded it.
I've been around some women who joke it off. "I'd love to have more wives. I could delegate some of the stuff I have to do."
Some rationalize it. "I'd have to give permission, right?"
"Abraham was asked to do something unthinkable as a test of his faith. This is no different."
Uhm, if we're going by history...I don't know about permission. It's nice to think so, but Emma didn't give permission; she wasn't even aware of many of Joseph's wives.
And yeah it kinda is different from Abraham.
First, I would never ever question Abraham's faith. That said, I can't believe he was like "Kill my kid for you? Can I do it now?"
Unless God caught him on one of "those" days. Any parent knows what I mean. It's like after the morning I had. My four year old son gets up before we do anymore. Generally he just watches cartoons and might make breakfast for the other two (he's surprisingly clean about it), but this morning he decided to clean out the fireplace, still hot with embers.
Or the time I found him dipping a paper cup into a toilet bowl full of crap.
If God caught Abraham on one of these days, perhaps Abraham would've jumped at the idea. "I was hoping you'd say I could! Do I have to get him on an altar, or would the tent do?"
But seriously now. If Abraham was human and loved his child, his only son - and I think that's a safe assumption - and if this is supposed to allude to the difficulty and the emotional turmoil and yes, utter importance, with regarding Heavenly Father and Christ, than...yeah. I imagine he fought and cried and anguished over this.
But he went to the altar. We can assume the resignation was sincere. Despite everything he'd been told, he was going to kill his kid for God. That's not faith. That's knowledge.
But here's where the parallel ends, I think: God stopped him.
God never stopped Joseph Smith from taking on other wives. And as far as Emma goes, when she was able to reconcile herself to the idea, it was only temporary. She couldn't handle it and kicked those women out. Joseph had to practice this in hiding for the most part. Emma never taught her and Joseph's sons about it. To this day, the RLDS Church (which her sons founded) denies Joseph ever practiced polygamy.
Any woman...scratch that. There are people who willingly practice this. I don't imagine there are many, if any, LDS women who could and feel good about it. I couldn't. That would very well be the straw that breaks this girl's back. It's weak as it is.
I know, I know, I know. I've read D&C 132. Often. I know this is a Celestial doctrine. I know if I can't accept it I'm unworthy to be in His presence. At least that's what I've heard, and it really rubs my fur the wrong way. Really? Everything could hinge on that? Eh.
I know God knows my heart. He can't possibly...I just couldn't. I empathize so much with some of our more feminist sisters. For God to come and command my husband to take on another wife, sleep with her, have babies with her...
No wonder some women feel like nothing in this Church, like second-class. I totally get it. You might say "well, we don't practice it now," but we do. Spiritually. When my mom came with our family to the Sacramento, California temple open house, the tour guide brought up the subject. I'll never forget my mom turning to me and saying, "So, if you died, Eric could get married here and still be married to you?"
My heart plummeted. I didn't want to lie, so I didn't, but I did at least give voice to my disapproval. I wouldn't want it.
(just as a quick side note: yes, I know. I've found the most chivalrous men in this church. My husband treats me like a queen and I'm unbelievably blessed for it.)
I have great difficulty understanding and accepting doctrine that I can only see serving to beat down women, and don't you dare try to tell me this wouldn't beat down women. You'd better have some serious backup if you're going to do that. Even if I had faith enough to follow, I would be among the most unhappy people ever. It's breaking my heart now to even think of ever having to live such a doctrine, let alone accept it. I'd want to know why. I think I'd deserve and have some right to know why. If that's prideful, so be it. I'd want to know. I'd even be as bold as to demand it. I think a lot of you would, too, and if our God is as loving as we teach, He'd understand.
I dare any one of you women to honestly and sincerely imagine the situation and then tell me you would have the faith. Maybe some of you would. I doubt it, though. I love my husband. We have some crazy outofthisworld connection. Some might find the story of how we met and how we "knew" unbelievable. The fact is I love him, and I'm okay with being selfish about him. Even after I die, I wouldn't want him taking anyone else on.
He's mine, and I'm his. It's the most exclusive of relationships. If my relationship, if my marriage is as sacred as we've been screaming and waving signs around for, then, I'm sorry: no more girls allowed. You can say that nullifies my testimony. I say it's ridiculous to assume Joseph had to be right on absolutely everything in order for the entire gospel to be true. That's a lot to put on one man. There have been, from what I understand, a few things we've changed through the years. As a reader of mine cited in his entry today,
1 Corinthians 13:8-10
8 ...but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Yes, I know this is "different," but one cannot shoot me down because I struggle with such a touchy doctrine. It's trickier than people want to make it. We want to not think about it. It's easier to not think about it. It's easier to say it happened because the ratio of men to women was less than desirable. It's easier to say it happened because older women needed care for, or that God wanted to "raise seed unto him."
The fact is we don't really know. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we don't know. We can guess to make ourselves feel better about it (because, really, is there anyone in the Church who would welcome this with open, unflinching arms? I hope not), but we don't know.
And I hatehatehate that it is so central to our doctrine. Central enough that the heighth of my salvation depends upon my "acceptance" of it. Well, accepting the doctrine means that you would do it if asked. Even if you really believe you could do it, how would you feel? About your husband, about your wife, about God...about yourself?
There's really no other way to put it. I know exactly how I'd feel.
I'd feel like shit.
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5 days ago