“Also, the new wife must be a virgin before the marriage and be completely monogamous after the marriage or she will be destroyed (D&C 132: 41 & 63). It is interesting that the only prerequisite that is mentioned for the man is that he must desire another wife…” (CES Letter)
Wife’s Consent Required – This argument is false. 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)
CES Letter clips out much of this verse to make it sound like the “desire to espouse another” was the only requirement. Not true.
I don’t see what is so bizarre or creepy about the expectation to abstain from sexual intercourse outside of marriage. I don’t see why this is something to complain about. The church has always expected this from men and women. I think any healthy society expects this.
Keep All Covenants – Men and women were to be faithful to all of their covenants. This included baptism, priesthood, and temple covenants. This was a requirement for polygamous marriage. D&C 132 declared one must “abide in my covenant,” referring to all of the covenants required for salvation in the gospel. This is why eternal marriage was performed in the temple. These prerequisites for polygamous Mormon marriage were strictly enforced, as “the conditions of this law are these: All covenants.”
Sealing Keys Required – This is an obvious requirement for anyone who knows about the Mormon priesthood. Eternal sealings were an endowment, and you can’t give yourself an endowment. The basic concept of the priesthood is that blessings are bestowed by a priesthood holder to another person. It must be made by “the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power.”
CES Letter shows ignorance of basic priesthood concepts by stating that a living prophet’s revelation is not needed:
“It does not say that the man must get a specific revelation from the living prophet, although we assume today that this is what was meant”
Yes, it clearly does.
“All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity… and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred, are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.”
D&C 132 makes clear that a living prophet controls the keys and the entire system of holy covenanting. The reason for this is to avoid the king of confusion and bad associations that CES Letter is trying to force upon us.
“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.”
Obsolete – Polygamy is banned in the Mormon church today, though chastity and eternal marriage are still an eternal principle. It is quite manipulative for CES Letter to use present-tense grammar when discussing this:
“The only form of polygamy permitted by D&C 132 is a union with a virgin.” (CES Letter)
It was permitted. Not is permitted. Past tense! Additional D&C scripture superseded this polygamy policy, and now it is not permitted in any case, though the general doctrine of eternal sealing for the afterlife is very much alive.
D&C 132 talks to men and women equally in regards to polygamy and eternal marriage. Other religious movements of the time introduced polyandry, where men and women were having with multiple people. D&C makes it clear women were to have only one husband at a time.
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
The entire premise of this argument is false. Desire for another wife was not a man’s only prerequisite.
D&C 132 does not fail to declare a man must get specific revelation from a living prophet. It says this very clearly.
|CES Letter cherry-picks 11 words from D&C 132 and completely disregards the rest of the chapter which contradicts what they claim it is saying. They ignore all scriptural and historical context to make it sound like women were oppressed and non-virgins were excluded.|
|Strawman Argument||CES Letter gives a false representation of what Mormons believed and what they currently believe, and Mormon orthopraxy.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats this argument on p. 69.|
Authoritarian Mindset – Anti-Mormons instigate class competition between the sexes by portraying some kind of unfair discrepancy or disadvantage that men had–hundreds of years ago. This argument serves to divide the Mormon community and fuel class hatred. It is interesting that CES Letter is incorrectly claiming that D&C 132 gave men so much power with no prophetic oversight. This is an interesting claim, because not only is this totally incorrect, it also gives us a look into CES Letter‘s ideology: strict control over the people and strict control over their personal relationships. This is the authoritarian mindset that CES Letter represents.
For all their talk of “equality” and “freedom to marry,” it is anti-Mormons who banned 19th century Mormon polygamy, the freedom for Mormons to consensually marry whoever they wanted. It is these same anti-Mormons with the same authoritarian mindset today who push the federal government to further intrude on the definition of marriage and further control personal relationships, under the guise of “equality.”
Why is CES Letter complaining that there are not enough prerequisites? Why is CES Letter complaining that there is not enough modern-day control by the church over marriage? Think about it. Anti-Mormons typically want a more vague scope of how marriage is defined, but they want the prerequisites to be more constricted and the oversight of an authoritarian power to be more oppressive. They typically want to tell you who you can or can’t love, just like they did with Mormons in the 19th century and using the same arguments as they did in the 19th century, and they want to do it in the interest of an “equal” Socialist society.
Appeal To Emotion – CES Letter uses an emotional argument for polygamy, whereas they used intellectual arguments against the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham. In each case, they set a rigid binary standard for right or wrong based on modern, popular sensibilities and apply that to Joseph Smith’s history, as if this is real history.
We saw their modus operandi at work as they stuck with modern Egyptologist’s translations of the facsimiles and acts like this contradicts Joseph Smith’s interpretations for the Book of Abraham. This is how CES Letter works. They give a few bits of incorrect leading evidence in a constrained context; the reader connects to dots in their mind; and CES Letter pushes it to a sweeping generalization.
|Big Lie Tactic – In this argument, CES Letter approaches marriage from our modern society’s definition, ignore all historical context, and perpetuate the big lie that eternal sealings in the temple were the same as a civil marriage with a physical relationship. If Joseph Smith was a prophet, why did he violate women’s rights? Well, he didn’t! But people are much more likely to believe CES Letter‘s string of illogic because they connected the dots out on their own, subconsciously. They are also more likely to believe the evidences for that deduction, which in this case are falsehoods.
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 “progressive” ideas about marriage and 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.”
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.
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 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.
The arguments are contradictory–CES Letter incorrectly complained that Joseph Smith was marrying other men’s wives, but now suggests that only men and not women were allowed to by polygamous. But the narrative doesn’t need to make sense, because it is a purely emotional appeal.
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.”
CES Letter says he was led to believe something different about Joseph Smith. “This is not the Joseph Smith I grew up learning about in the Church and having a testimony of.” This shows how dependent and weak CES Letter was, demanding the church to hand them all the answers instead of researching things for themselves. It also suggests that the definition of “testimony” was depthless. If a testimony is indeed crushed by new information, it wasn’t much of a testimony to begin with, because truth doesn’t change. Truth changes for Marxists and worldly Socialists, and they believe whatever narrative they need to in the moment for their ideology and universal salvation and dictatorial control, but real truth is never altered by “new” information, only solidified.