Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Traditional Biblical marriage, between one man and 40 women: Mormon founder’s marriage pattern

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The Mormons spent millions in California to ensure that gays (whether Mormon or not) not be allowed to marry—another prime example of how a religion attempts to force non-believers to follow its rules. The Mormons were very explicit that the only form of traditional, Biblical marriage was one man and one woman—though of course the very founder of the Mormon religion took 40 wives. But that doesn’t matter, somehow. (One thing about religion: it does not have to make sense, and since it doesn’t have to, it seldom does.)

The rise of the Internet, however, made information more readily available. Whatever the Mormons might hide in the fastness of Utah and their temples, individual Mormons with a web browser could easily search and find interesting facts probably not prominent in Mormon teaching—such as the utter fraudulence of Joseph Smith’s “translations” of a scroll of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Google “joseph smith translation of hieroglyphics” and you’ll find much information that the Mormon church has not wanted people to know and certainly strove to keep from Mormons. (Joseph Smith claimed to have translated another book, as you will recall, and we no longer have the manuscript to study—but we do know how Joseph Smith went about translating: he made it up.)

Laurie Goodstein in the NY Times points out how the Mormon church is now recognizing the easy access even Mormons now have to facts about their religion, and they’re belatedly trying to get ahead of the curve:

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.

The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith.

“Joseph Smith was presented to me as a practically perfect prophet, and this is true for a lot of people,” said Emily Jensen, a blogger and editor in Farmington, Utah, who often writes about Mormon issues.

She said the reaction of some Mormons to the church’s disclosures resembled the five stages of grief in which the first stage is denial, and the second is anger. Members are saying on blogs and social media, “This is not the church I grew up with, this is not the Joseph Smith I love,” Ms. Jensen said.

Smith probably did not have sexual relations with all of his wives, because some were “sealed” to him only for the next life, according to the essays posted by the church. But for his first wife, Emma, polygamy was “an excruciating ordeal.”

The four treatises on polygamy reflect a new resolve by a church long accused of secrecy to respond with openness to the kind of thorny historical and theological issues that are causing some to become disillusioned or even to abandon the faith.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is formally known, has quietly posted 12 essays on its website over the last year on contentious topics such as the ban on blacks in the priesthood, which was lifted in 1978, and accounts of how Smith translated the Book of Mormon, the church’s sacred scripture.

Elder Steven E. Snow, the church historian and a member of its senior leadership, said in an interview, “There is so much out there on the Internet that we felt we owed our members a safe place where they could go to get reliable, faith-promoting information that was true about some of these more difficult aspects of our history.

Continue reading.

I wonder whether they document the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, in which Mormons murdered 120 emigrants, men, women, and children, heading for the West Coast. Why slaughter 120 innocent civilians? They were not Mormons.

Maybe all religions are like the Taliban once you strip off the finery. In any event, it’s interesting how free access to information is threatening to religions.

Written by Leisureguy

11 November 2014 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Religion, Technology

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