Friday, July 24, 2020

Sacred Gestures

Brass Plate, Sumhuram, Khor Rori, Oman

Caananite god Ba'al

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Some Thoughts on Difficult LDS History

I toured the Brigham Young Farm House at This Is The Place Heritage Park in SLC, UT last week with a close friend.  My youngest sister had her wedding and reception at the venue.  While cleaning up, I intentionly showed Brigham Young's home to my friend.  She was understandably horrified viewing several nice family portraits of Brigham Young surrounded by numerous wives and daughters. Thankfully, this friend and I are amazingly still talking and she is still investigating the Church.

God revealed polygamy to JS. JS didn't want to do it. JS had the idea to be spiritually sealed without actually being married or consummating a legal marriage. Emma is initially supportive. Fanny Alger shows up pregnant. Accusations fly. Emma no longer supportive. Friends close to JS jealously pressure him to accept their daughters in spiritual sealing (Victorian age thinking) to form familial connections with JS and NOT the other way around. JS is martyred.

Brigham Young and Church feel responsible to care for JS's sealed women. LDS men refuse to marry women already eternally promised to JS. BY, married and provided for these women already sealed to JS. BY was cleaning up for situation unintentially created by JS.

The ideal purpose of polygamy is to use institution of marriage and family to care for the fatherless and widow. In most cases and ideally, a husband and wife are voluntarily called to receive a woman as a second wife and build her her own home and give her children who would ultimately care for their mother in her later years. This is how LDS polygamy was typically and ideally practiced.

JS, BY, Heber C Kimball nor Warren Jeffs do not accurately reflect how LDS polygamy was practiced or meant to be practiced.

Just as Moses struck the rock twice and was not permitted to enter the Promised Land, I think the posterity of JS was not permitted to remain in the LDS Church.

JS may have sometimes had difficulty following a commandment because he understandably worried how the world would view it. This led JS to use the seer stone in a hat instead of using a bagerskin bag over the head with the Urim and Thummin. (Lapham), JS worried how other would view it, but the face in hat likely turned out worse.

Similarly, JS worried how he would be viewed for practicing polygamy and just marrying Fanny Alger outright and stopping there instead of the complicated spiritual sealing business which caused much more problems.

Joseph Smith is God's prophet and the prophet of this dispensation. Was JS perfect? No. Did JS make a few mistakes? Maybe. Was JS chastised and punished from time to time? Likely. Is JS fallen? Absolutely NOT. And I'd be careful to question JS's standing because that as each one of us might just find ourselves looking JS eye to eye on judgement day. I know I could never cast a stone.

Again, a review of what happened:
1. One man married to one woman is ideal but polygamy is practiced in both the OT and NT.
2. Sexual sin is about breaking trust, responsibility and relations outside of commitment.  
3. The family is the institution pure religion uses to care for the fathless and the widow via marriage and adoption.  
4. Restoration of all things.
5. Angel with flaming sword commands JS to practice polygamy.
6. JS and Emma decide to enter into spiritual sealings which were never consumated. Sealing is destinct from marriage.
7. Emma was initially supportive.
8. Close friends desire to seal daughters to JS (Victorian Age thinking).  Everyone was wanting to be sealed to JS at the time including Jane Manning James who was sealed as a daughter
9. Fanny Alger turns up pregnant.
10. Accusations and gossip spread.
11. Emma no longer supportive of spiritual sealings.
12. Family of Fanny Alger knew the situation and remained faithful.
13. JS Assassinated 
14. LDS Men would not marry women sealed to JS.
15. Brigham Young married women sealed to JS in a form of Levirite marriage to raise up righteous seed unto a brother. 
16. Emma Smith denied that JS practiced polygamy
16. Modern genetic studies confirm that JS had no offspring by sealed women. 
17. Polygamy served a necessary and beneficial welfare role in frontier Utah until it was repealed.

God seems to place a barrier to faith in every generation.  Adam fell.  Noah had a crazy idea about a flood. Abraham almost sacrificed his own son. Moses killed the Egyptian. Jesus was viewed as illegitimate. And the Joseph Smith sealings are seen as him acting as a self-interested opportunist.