“I have a problem with this. This is Warren Jeffs territory. This is not the Joseph Smith I grew up learning about in the Church and having a testimony of. This is not the Joseph Smith that I sang ‘Praise to the Man’ to or taught others about two years in the mission field.
A lot of members don’t realize that there is a set of very specific and bizarre rules outlined in Doctrine & Covenants 132” (CES Letter)
D&C 132 is one of the most read scriptures in the Mormon church. How did CES Letter grow up in the church and not hear about it? How do they still not understand it? The church makes no secret of the commandments in the scriptures. Some commandments are defunct, including polygamy, because they have been superseded by later revelation. But gospel principles are the same and never change.
Always Consensual – If a man intended to marry polygamously, his first wife had to give her full consent. There was no allowance in the church for anyone to be forced, coerced, or manipulated into anything. Personal agency is an important concept that protects members of the church.
“And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery… if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified.” (D&C 132)
Obsolete Commandment – It is incorrect for CES Letter to use present-tense grammar when they claim “there is a set of very specific and bizarre rules.” No, there was a set of rules. Not there is a set of rules. Past tense! Additional D&C scripture superseded this polygamy policy, and now polygamy is not permitted in any case.
Circumstances change and so do God’s commandments. We do not sacrifice animals on altars like in the Old Testament. For the sacrament, we drink water instead of wine. The principles of sacrifice and the sacrament are the same as they always have been, however. The same goes for marriage. It has always been a principle that God might command men to take multiple wives to “raise a seed,” or cause reproduction, like He did with Abraham. D&C 132 makes clear that this was the purpose, and it was indeed necessary at the time of the early church, as anti-Mormons were murdering them at a rapid rate and they needed a larger population to settle Utah.
Eternal marriage has always been a gospel principle regardless of whether the circumstances demand multiple wives or just one. Right now it is just one because polygamy would be very a bad idea.
Marriage For Eternity is Different – Civil marriage and eternal sealings were totally different things. To be sealed “for eternity” did not necessarily involve being married “for time,” because a sealing for eternal cohabitation in the afterlife did not involve sexual or earthly relations during one’s lifetime. The “new and everlasting covenant” of eternal marriage would nullify civil marriage in the afterlife: “All old covenants have I caused to be done away.”
Offensive Comparison – Of all CES Letter‘s outrageous attacks on Mormons, the comparison to Warren Jeffs is the worst. Jeffs reportedly raped little girls, violated the law, and ran a disgusting cult full of incest and pedophilia. There was none of that in the LDS church. This is like calling a modern German a Nazi simply for being born in Germany. It is bigoted slander, malice, and dehumanizing hatred. The church always condemned the kinds of things Warren Jeffs did, and above all the church has always followed the laws of the United States.
What leads a person to tell such hateful lies about a group of people? Why do anti-Mormons feel the need to tell these lies about Joseph Smith’s polygamy and harass Mormons? Polygamy is not even allowed now, so why can’t they just let Mormons be? Stop calling cultists like Warren Jeffs Mormon and stop inventing a comparison where none exists.
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Ad Hominem||The Warren Jeffs comparison is like screaming, “You are literally Hitler!” It is childish and offensive. Joseph Smith is nothing like Jeffs.|
|Joseph Smith did not have sexual relations with Helen Mar Kimball or any other young women, as he was sealed for “eternity only.” He likely did not have sexual relations with any plural wife at all. The “new and everlasting covenant” of sealing was different from civil marriage, as it was for the afterlife and did not involve earthly relations by itself. Only those sealed “for time and eternity” could have involved sexual relationships. There is no evidence of sexual relationships between Joseph Smith and any of his polygamous wives.|
|Strawman Fallacy||CES Letter incorrectly characterizes D&C 132 as disregarding the consent of women. They mischaracterize obsolete commandments as still applicable.|
|Guilt By Association||The reason CES Letter picked Warren Jeffs is because he is polygamous and calls himself a Mormon. He isn’t.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats the slanderous comparison to Warren Jeffs twice in this argument. CES Letter goes on to repeat the argument three times.|
|Subjectivist Fallacy||Just because CES Letter somehow didn’t hear about D&C 132 and does not understand it doesn’t mean most Mormons don’t.|
CES Letter calls the polygamy issue “bizarre” and “a problem.”|
Why do so many “pro-equality” activists, good progressives who say people should be free to marry whoever they love, condemn Mormons for their history with polygamy? The same anti-Mormons who attack us for the old history of polygamy also endorse gay marriage and equality. They equate marriage with love. Shouldn’t polygamy be on their list of marriages that deserve equality?
Well yes, it should, and this is why anti-Mormons spin polygamy as something that coerces and manipulates women into subjugation. Lately, this narrative has become evens easier as there really are crazy cults that actually do victimize young girls and force people to marry, criminals like Warren Jeffs. Interestingly, we only seem to hear about splinter groups in Utah, however…
This is why this argument’s narrative about women being victimized is so important. Opponents in the media have trumpeted this narrative since the beginning. In the 1800’s, American newspapers were putting out story after story about how women in Utah were treated as “slaves.” It led to the federal government for the first time registering all marriages, controlling the definition of marriage, and jailing Mormons who did not fit that definition. Still today, Mormons are persecuted as some kind of oppressive patriarchy that victimized women. This narrative gives opponents justification for attacking Mormons while claiming to be “pro-equality.”
|The key component is the claim that men are victimizing women. This frame of ‘predator versus victim’ leads us to a Marxist ideology. Marxism is all about protecting victims from the predators. Marxists think the biggest miracle about mankind is that we evolved to the top of the food chain without ever becoming predators of other animals. Economically, Marxists protect working classes from a predator class.
Marxism is all about protecting the vulnerable from those seeking unequal advantage–and all about keeping people weak in order to keep them reliant on a benevolent dictator for safety.
A major part of Marxism is the deconstruction of masculinity.
They seek to pick positive masculine traits that propagate the ideology, such as the gusto to fight for the cause, and eliminate “toxic masculine” traits such as the desire to marry and have children in a traditional family. They think traditional families are evil because men contribute labor to the economy while women are “subjugated” as mothers and do not perform labor. The ideal for Marxists is a state where men and women are completely equal working bees and children are grown and raised by the benevolent dictator state. Nobody is preying on anybody.
The narrative that women are coerced into marriage because of Christianity comes straight from Karl Marx, and it is nothing but an attack on the traditional family. CES Letter‘s appeal to emotion is not only about attacking the church. It is about replacing the testimony of a gospel with… something else. Marxists believe females are oppressed by men in a giant class struggle that hinders their economic output. Polygamy in the Mormon church was problem for Marxists because the higher law of eternal marriage is the perfect example of “inequality” that Marxists hate.
|Big Lie – CES Letter uses the same big lie tactic that they used against the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. They start of with the big lie that marriage for time and for eternity were the same. This compounds and leads to other lies to attack Joseph Smith’s character, such as this ridiculous lie that Joseph Smith was victimizing women. One lie leads to another.|
This lie is easier for the reader to accept after all those earlier arguments that attached the same kind of narrative about the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham. If Joseph Smith made up all these books of scripture haphazardly, isn’t it reasonable that he made up revelations about marriage in order to steal underage girls?
CES Letter can get away with this Big Lie because it is the consensus among so many fake scholars that Joseph Smith had carnal relations with girls, and because it takes so long to actually investigate the evidence. People are too lazy to actually look through all the historical documents. Even mainstream church apologists are beaten down by all of the accusations and have give way to the big lie. They are too tired defending against it. They let CESLetter get away with the big lie that Joseph Smith “married” underage girls, as we understand the definition of marriage today which involves sexual relations. Even if you don’t believe the allegations, just this association frames Joseph Smith as a creep.
For the Book of Abraham, the big lie was that the book was “translated” from a recovered fragment of papyrus that we now know is the Book of Breathing. They repeat it over and over. With polygamy, the big lie likewise will be used by CES Letter to make all sorts of implications to attack Joseph Smith’s character.
Contradiction Strategy – CES Letter gives a few bits of incorrect leading evidence; the reader connects to dots in their mind; and CES Letter pushes it to a sweeping generalization. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, why did he manipulate women into having carnal relations with him? People are much more likely to believe CES Letter‘s string of illogic because they connected the dots out on their own, subconsciously, even if they don’t agree with it at first. They are also more likely to believe the evidences for that deduction, which in this case are falsehoods.
We could see the intellectual tricks and sophistry CES Letter used to portray Joseph Smith as a fraud in their arguments about the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham. Well, even if that were all true and he were a fraud, so what? Aren’t Mormons still nice people who make the world a better place? The powerful thing with these polygamy arguments is that CES Letter tells you why Mormonism is still evil: it victimizes girls. It matters because Joseph Smith was a creep who preyed on women. This is easy rhetoric for them to push, as the internet is filled with all kinds of false rumors about Mormon polygamy and because the fake news media labels modern-day polygamist cultists as “Mormon”. It is easy to just repeat claims over and over, not give any evidence, and make the issue personal through manipulative repetition.
Total Hypocrisy From Anti-Mormons – Yet, in the Soviet Union the minimum age of marriage was 16! And age 15 was considered old enough and were quite common. By age 25 Russian girls were considered “old maids.” So Marxists really have no reason to complain about Joseph Smith even if the phony allegation were true! According to Marxist law, he didn’t do anything wrong–even if they were earthly marriages, which they weren’t.
|Therefore, any Socialist-leaning anti-Mormon is a total hypocrite when he complains about Joseph Smith’s polygamy. They are only pushing the rhetoric to attack the Mormon traditional family and smear Joseph Smith’s character.
Meanwhile, the “marriage equality” crowd pushes children to make ‘choices’ about their gender and applauds drag parties for 10 year old boys. The age of consent completely flies out the window when it comes to influences pushed onto children in the name of Socialist “equality.”