Hi, I’m Zoe, Joshua & Charlotte’s oldest daughter. Who would have guessed that this would be my maiden blog post? (No pressure, right?) I’ve toyed with the idea of contributing to this blog for a while now, and am finally pulling the trigger, so to speak.
We were in Missouri several weeks ago – my father, my younger brother, and I – to celebrate the Biblical Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles, in the English) as commanded in Leviticus 23:34-43. Most of the time we camped on the property of a lovely family we know out there who are also polygamous. (They have two wives currently.)
Also camping on their property were several other people, all of which knew the family well (including the fact that they are polygamous) except for one man.
We had all sat down to dinner one of the first nights we were there and I was lost in my own thoughts when I suddenly heard that one man say to the father of the host family, “I don’t mind you having two wives, but I’ve never met someone who has before.”
My mind snapped back to the conversation at present – obviously the man had just found out that our friends were polygamous, and his response was revealing.
“Ah,” I thought to myself, “You’re not a Mormon, are you?” (This is most notable because everyone else there was.)
You see, there are two kinds of Mormons – those who think polygamy is acceptable (these are generally Rocky Mountain Saints – those who came West with Brigham Young to Utah – with the notable exception being, of course, the LDS) and those who think polygamy is un-acceptable (generally the Prairie Saints – those who followed leaders other than Brigham Young after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and stayed in a more easterly location – and also the LDS).
So how could I tell the man was not a Mormon?
He started off by saying that he doesn’t mind polygamy – in other words, he was not LDS or a Prairie Saint – and then he said that he’d never met someone who was polygamous before – in other words, not a non-LDS Rocky Mountain Saint. If he was a part of a branch of Mormonism which did not allow polygamy, he would have most likely had strong feelings against the practice, and if he was in a branch of Mormonism which allowed polygamy, he would have met someone who was polygamous before, I guarantee it. Where polygamy is allowed in Mormonism, it is almost always practiced by at least a small percentage of the population.
It was an interesting moment, and my deduction was confirmed – the man was raised Baptist and later became a Torah-observant Christian, but was not Mormon in the least.
It’s rather funny to me, to be honest, to see how much some Mormons hate polygamy. Any LDS people who have significant (5-6 generations back) Mormon heritage are almost certainly descended from at least some polygamists, and the LDS church never codified scripture which condemned polygamy (yes, of course there is Official Declaration 1 – also known as “the Manifesto” – however, its message is more along the lines of ‘we do not sanction polygamy if the law is against it’ than what most LDS people think it is), yet most of them hate the practice with a passion.
And here was this man, his religion having no recent ties to polygamy, and yet he had no issue taken to the practice.
Perhaps, on second thought, that’s not so strange after all. We humans have a tendency to condemn most, and most vehemently, those faults which we have just recently overcome ourselves. So, if you are are seeing the world through a LDS paradigm, one in which polygamy is considered evil, then being cognizant of the ‘tainted’ past of your church and ancestors could have the effect of galvanizing your rejection of, indeed even repugnance toward, those who are so backward as to be still committing the sins of your own yesteryear.