Eternal Polygamy & You

In regards to my interfaith marriage, I decided a long time ago that when I die, my husband and/or his family can go ahead and have me sealed to him posthumously. They know that I disapprove of work for the dead but they still want to do it. I don’t believe in it anyway, so I figure there’s little point in trying to insist that they not do it after I’m gone.

My husband has indicated that he’s not a big fan of the notion of having more than one wife in the next life and has been adamant that he would never, ever get sealed to a woman who isn’t me. The other day I gave him this scenario: “I die tomorrow, making you a 27 year-old single father with a 2 year-old daughter. You have my work done and have me sealed to you within the next year. Then you fall in love with a young LDS woman who’s never been married. You’re great together, she’s a good stepmother to your daughter, and she’s okay with being eternal wife #2. What would you do?” He groaned and admitted that in that scenario, he’d probably get sealed—but he really doesn’t want there to be a second eternal wife.

I gave him another scenario. He dies young. I eventually re-marry another LDS guy (we all know I have a thing)1 and spend the rest of my life with LDS husband #2. He dies, then before I die my LDS relatives want to know which husband to seal me to. I have the option of being sealed to both.

Again, my husband groaned and stated that he really didn’t want to have to share me with anyone. Fair enough; I don’t fault him for feeling that way.

So, the question is: eternal polygamy (both polygyny and polyandry). How do you feel about it? Can you see yourself having other wives or husbands in the next life? Can you see your spouse having other wives or husbands? What would you do if your current spouse died and you had the option of being sealed to a second person? If you’re a woman, you can either pretend that the church’s current policy allows you to be sealed to multiple people while alive, or you can speculate on which spouse you’d eternally jettison under the current standards. If you’re not LDS, pretend.

If eternal marriage were true, I would only be able to accept two possible scenarios for it:

(1) All people (male and female) must choose one and only one spouse to be sealed to.

(2) All people (male and female) can be sealed to every spouse they had whom they loved.

I could never accept the current practice where men can be sealed to multiple wives but women essentially must choose one man. To borrow a phrase from Kaimi Wenger, that’s “patriarchal bull[crap].”

Scenario #1 seems unattractive since it means people would have to choose among possible multiple living spouses whom they loved. But if Scenario #2 were the case, that would mean that a man could have four eternal wives, each of whom in turn could have four eternal husbands, and so on and so forth. Fair enough, but doesn’t that seem more like group marriage than polygamy?

Eternal marriage seems like a bit of a mess. I confess, it kind of makes me glad that I’m only planning on being married to God as part of the Church as a whole in the next life.

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1 Katie Langston speculated on Facebook a few weeks ago that I like LDS guys so much because they’re technically off-limits to me as an evangelical, so I get “all the benefits of falling for a bad boy but in an actual good boy.” A very good theory! Alternatively, she also suggested that (a) I’m “drawn to the super-charged turbo power of the priesthood and [I] don’t even know it” or (b) I secretly love weird-looking white underwear. These theories are not as good, but they are far more entertaining.

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This entry was posted in marriage, Polygamy by Bridget Jack Jeffries. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bridget Jack Jeffries

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a human resources professional living in Chicago. She holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University with a minor in Hebrew and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and a single mother of two. You can read more of her writings at www.Weighted-Glory.com.

113 thoughts on “Eternal Polygamy & You

  1. I haven’t even read this post yet, but I have to say that the title makes me very excited.

    Now on to read it so I have something substantial to say.

  2. Ha! I had forgotten about my theories. They were very insightful, weren’t they?

    Jack, you are always welcome to quote anything brilliant I say. The less brilliant…well, let’s keep that between us. 😉

    As for me, I am absolutely, positively, 115% UNequipped to deal with the idea of sharing my husband forever. Eternal polygyny = really bad idea. Likewise, I don’t much care for the idea of eternal polyandry (though let’s be honest, it’s way more appealing than polygyny, isn’t it girls?).

    If L died and I got remarried, I’d probably opt no on the sealing.

    I just asked L what he’d do if I died, and here’s how it went down:

    ME: If I died tomorrow and you got remarried, would you get sealed to the new ho?

    L (with far less hesitation than was wise): Probably.

    ME: WHAT?!

    L: Well, she’d probably want to, and if I’m going to take the time to marry someone, I should probably try make her happy.

    ME: And when you got to heaven, who would you choose?

    L (again with no hesitation, this time proving that he is a fast learner): You, of course.

    ME: Correct answer.

  3. I hate the idea of Adam having other wives one day. I just can’t stand it. If he died, I’d probably get married to someone else just for time, not for eternity (which is possible). Or I’d just have a non-temple wedding. Because let’s face it, being with more than just my wonderful husband for eternity would suck. And I’m not loving the idea of him having another wife, or wives. Sick.

  4. I have nothing of value to say re: spouses, because I just have no idea what I’m talking about there.

    But I second the theory on falling for the bad boy because he’s actually a good guy. It’s a lethal and irresistible situation.

  5. Katie: fist bump and non-alcoholic beer to Mr.L…. he’s all that AND a fast learner….when does his TV show and CD series come out ??

    a gentile fan

  6. Jack wrote: (or quoted, actually)

    that’s “patriarchal bull[crap].”

    watch where you step, girl, there’s a lot of that around, some of us are big eaters.

  7. “So, the question is: eternal polygamy (both polygyny and polyandry). How do you feel about it? Can you see yourself having other wives or husbands in the next life? Can you see your spouse having other wives or husbands? What would you do if your current spouse died and you had the option of being sealed to a second person?”

    My wife and I have discussed it, and I really think that neither of us would opt to get re-married. Being married is wonderful, but I think I would shift my focus if I became widowed onto professional excellence and just be some crotchety old widower.

    There’s too many messy loose ends to contemporary serial polygamy, and I think it makes Latter-day Saints a little bit schizophrenic about it (there are still stake presidents and high councilors who love to loudly proclaim that any man who’s been sealed twice is up in heaven with HIS TWO WIVES!) I don’t know if many LDS men would feel so cavalierly about polygyny if they really stopped and considered polyandry as a serious possibility.

  8. I’m not sure why polyandry would be considered more acceptable to women than polygyny. Why in the would would you want an automatic set of golf buddies, football buddies, etc?
    😉

    Yes, when the consequences of polygamy are fully extrapolated, it does have great potential to seem more like a freeform polyamory than any sort of “traditional marriage,” even of the polygamous sort (either -gynous or -androus).

    I couldn’t handle polygamy in this life (either sort). In the eternities? That’s the least of my concerns–I’m just hoping I get to the Celestial Kingdom, thanks. If I make it, I figure the marriage situation will work out for the best, however it shakes out. So I’m not particularly concerned with the idea of my wife being sealed to another man after I’m gone (it’s probably good insurance for her, anyway 😉 ), and I probably wouldn’t deny a second wife a sealing if she so desired.

  9. Katie ~ That is an awesome story. Though if he gets sealed to wife #2, does he actually have the option of ditching her in heaven?

    Alisha ~ I can’t blame you there. Adam was a really good catch.

    Whitney ~ I second the theory on falling for the bad boy because he’s actually a good guy. It’s a lethal and irresistible situation.

    Yup, Katie’s got our number.

    Germit ~ I may have been a little harsh in calling it “patriarchal [bullcrap];” I only meant to make clear that personally I’m not even open to a system where men can have multiple wives in the next life but women must choose one husband. I see no logical or practical reason why the afterlife would work like that. The only reason I’ve ever been given for such a system is “God says it’s this way and we don’t know why,” which is a pretty lame justification.

    I agree that evangelical Christianity has its own patriarchal trappings, and I usually try to call them out.

    Neal ~ I don’t know if many LDS men would feel so cavalierly about polygyny if they really stopped and considered polyandry as a serious possibility.

    I wonder about that as well, and I wonder if the current leaders who set the policy have seriously considered this question.

    Derek ~ Good answers. I pretty much feel that if eternal marriage were true, I’d have to let my husband have whatever wives he had in this life and he’d have to let me have whatever husbands I have, however weird that works out.

    The thought also occurred to me this morning: how do we traditional Christians think it’s going to work out since we aren’t expecting to be married in the next life? Assume your spouse is a believer. Do we just get up to heaven and say to our former spouses, “Well, thanks for all that sex we had together in our mortal lives, isn’t it good to be just brothers and sisters in Christ now?”

    Weird as that is, I get around it by assuming that whatever God has in store for us in heaven is better than earthly marriage.

  10. I just don’t think either of us (Mormons or Evangelicals) have enough of an idea what we’ll be doing in heaven to know how to answer. Don’t like the thought of “sharing” your spouse? Well, isn’t his heart already split between you, his parents, your children, God…? Yes, sex is the big difference here, but like I said: we don’t know what’s going on in heaven.

    I for one would hope that my wife would remarry if I died so she could enjoy the joy and stability that comes from having a loving spouse. And if she were able to strengthen that relationship via the temple—and yes, the temple has certainly strengthened my marriage—then that’s all the better.

  11. There is a great Sunstone presentation on this issue where the participants largely conclude at the end that a more everyone-is-sealed-to-everyone afterlife is inevitable and needed to solve the multitude of problems that come up.

    We already have that in historic Christianity: When I was united/sealed to Christ by faith, I was united/sealed to everyone who is united/sealed to Christ by faith. I’m already sealed to my wife, not through a ceremony, but through a person, Jesus Christ. And she doesn’t have to make the spiritual varsity team for that to matter.

  12. That’s interesting that Sunstone would conclude that, Aaron. That’s kind of how I’ve always felt about it. As I understand the LDS system, the goal is for the entire human race (or all faithful followers of God at least) to be connected to each other through seals, and traditional Christianity already has all believers being “sealed” to each other through faith in Christ.

  13. Logically, if men are allowed to marry more than one woman, and not vice versa, then the only reason can be because more women will be going to the celestial kingdom and will need some Priesthoodly coattails to ride to get there. So, essentially, Mormon doctrine is that women are more righteous than men. (ooh, will that start a fight?)

  14. Though if he gets sealed to wife #2, does he actually have the option of ditching her in heaven?

    He’d better, because otherwise it won’t be much of heaven for anyone else involved. You know what they say: “Hell hath no fury…”

    Germit, I’m sure Mr. L would gladly take you up on your “near beer” invitation. Sometimes he buys O’Doul’s to reminisce, because the poor dear loves him some beer but since coming back to church can’t drink it.

    Which brings me to my next point. Jack and Whitney, yes, I’ve got your number…but it’s only because I have my own number. L has–shall we say–a “colorful” past, but reformed a couple years before we got married. Good bad boys are nearly irresistible.

    Finally, I am intrigued by this idea that if the patriarchy considered the possibility that eternal polyandry could be in effect, perhaps we’d have a very different policy. Also, I think the idea that we’re ALL sealed to the family of God is kind of at the core of the sealing doctrine, which does indeed have parallels to traditional Christianity–though when you throw “eternal increase” into the mix, that changes the complexion considerably.

  15. Groan.

    I was married to an LDS boy in the Salt Lake temple… who ended up being a Mormon hater, among other less-than-desirable qualities. We got divorced and I got remarried to an absolutely wonderful man. Who happens to not be LDS. I would love nothing more than to spend eternity with DH. Technically, I’m still sealed to the slimeball I married in round 1. Until I con DH into getting dunked, I can’t be sealed to him, which means sealing number one stands.

    I’ve heard that women can’t get a sealing cancelled until they have one to replace it with. Even if I don’t flirt-to-convert my hubby, I really don’t like the idea of being sealed to the other guy. (Yeah, yeah, I know… He didn’t hold up his end, so I’m not sealed to him. I am still blessed by those covenants… blah blah blah.) I would rather not be sealed at all than have the other one hold, even if it’s only a technicality. So here’s a question: can I have the first sealing canceled without one to take its place?

    And lest BrianJ consider this a threadjack, here’s my other two cents. I take comfort in “things will all work out in the end” when I consider my mom. She and my dad were sealed, then my dad died. She married another wonderful man and they were married for time in the temple, but she plans on being sealed to him after he dies. He and my dad were even friends, so I’m sure things will work out. But in my case? Yeah, I don’t want things to work out in the end. I’d like my sealing canceled now, even if it means risking losing out in the future. I would possibly choose a modified number 2, as messy as that may be: All people (male and female) can be sealed to every spouse they had whom they loved and whom they would like to be sealed to. I mean, I loved an old boyfriend and he was wonderful, but I wouldn’t want to be sealed to him. And I did love round 1, but you know my feelings on that one, too.

  16. she wrote:
    Katie Langston
    Though if he gets sealed to wife #2, does he actually have the option of ditching her in heaven?

    He’d better, because otherwise it won’t be much of heaven for anyone else involved. You know what they say: “Hell hath no fury…”

    oooooohhhh….mama…..great HBO script in the works…someone jump on it and turn some coin 🙂

    GERMIT

  17. I think Aaron has a good point there.

    The order of Celestial marriage may be a whole lot more inclusive than just a limited harem of wives (or husbands if you want). It may actually include just about everyone in the highest order of the Celestial Kingdom. Basically everyone married to everyone.

    Which shouldn’t be all that objectionable to Evangelicals really, since it’s merely putting a ritual face on a future reality they already buy into – one big heavenly association of perfect intimate love through Heavenly Father.

    Once again, the only ultimate difference here between Evangelicals and Mormons may be that we put a ritual face on something they prefer to keep more informal.

    Because let’s face it – the Evangelical heaven is a LOT more promiscuous than anything Joseph Smith cooked up.

  18. that1girl–I don’t think you have to have another person to be sealed to in order to get the first one anulled.

    And, if they require that, then just ask to have your name removed from the church records (which undoes all of your temple stuff too), and then get rebaptized, etc. 🙂

  19. I don’t know where you get off calling the evangelical view of the afterlife “promiscuous,” Seth. I have never in my life heard an evangelical speculate that sexual relations with other believers is part of the next life.

    Katyjane ~ Logically, if men are allowed to marry more than one woman, and not vice versa, then the only reason can be because more women will be going to the celestial kingdom and will need some Priesthoodly coattails to ride to get there. So, essentially, Mormon doctrine is that women are more righteous than men.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if some people think that. *eyeroll* Ironically, the current estimated global sex ratio at birth is 107 males to 100 females. If the ratio has looked anything like that throughout human history, in theory there is a surplus of male spirits needing wives and polyandry would be necessary for the entire human race to be saved.

    BTW, I was talking things over with my husband the other day and he mentioned that when work for the dead is done for men, there isn’t a proxy ordination to the priesthood for him. How do men in the next life hold the priesthood at all? Is it just something they automatically get?

  20. Initiatory is usually a less popular part of temple worship, but I’m not going to get into why. So it’s not surprising that your average Mormon would be a bit sketchy on that portion.

    Jack,

    I knew I was probably being too cute using the word “promiscuous” there.

    Let’s look at it this way…

    Suppose the Evangelical view of heaven holds true, and that we are, in a sense, “married to God.” Meaning, we are united in love and unity with God more profound than anything we can imagine or experience here in mortality.

    Now suppose Person A – “Bob” from London, gets to go to the Evangelical heaven. Likewise, Person B – “Nancy” from Anchorage, goes there as well. Neither ever met each other prior to death. Both are then united in perfect love with God as Evangelical theology promises.

    It follows that both are united in love with each other.

    So, what ends up happening is that Nancy and Bob wind up sharing a more intimate love with each other than they ever shared with anyone while in life – including their earthly spouses. Whether they have sex with each other is probably irrelevant at this point – so profound and all-encompassing is their intimacy with each other VIA God.

    Sex is merely a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality. You can “cheat” on your wife without ever hitting the sack with someone else. What is worse? Cheating on your wife emotionally, but remaining physically “monogamous?” Or having sex with another woman, but remaining emotionally loyal?

    Hard to say (and I will grant you that it’s hard to separate the two aspects).

    Personally, I think what Bob and Nancy have going on with each other in the Evangelical heaven is much more profound and all-encompassing than earthly sex.

    So, it is in this sense that I use the word “promiscuous.” Webster’s gives the word three meanings:

    1 : composed of all sorts of persons or things
    2 : not restricted to one class, sort, or person : indiscriminate
    3 : not restricted to one sexual partner

    So, much like the way Baptist ministers use the word “cult” in respect to Mormonism, I had a technical meaning of the word in mind. Evangelical heavenly love is actually, in some sense, deeply promiscuous.

    Yes, the word has sexual overtones. But then again, Evangelicals wouldn’t be the first to be upset to hear their heaven being described in sexually charged terms.

  21. I have never in my life heard an evangelical speculate that sexual relations with other believers is part of the next life.

    Then I’m not going.

    Just kidding.

    So what you’re saying, Jack, is that the concept of eternal sex never comes up as a possibility in discussions among Evangelicals–only when you deal with Mormons? There are no schools of thought within your camp to that speculate that intercourse will be around in the afterlife?

    I’d also open this question up to all the Evs in the room.

  22. While I can empathize with the sentiments, I think it would be wise to recognize the unknown factors involved in the hereafter. I suspect that, once we have achieved our final state, we will likely see things far different than we do now. From the Mormon perspective, to arrive at exaltation, we will have been entirely purged of those baser emotions and have a much greater perspective as divine entities. Jealousy might be entirely absent from the equation. And it seems to me that from a mainstream Christian perspective, while they may not believe in exaltation in the same sense we do, there is obviously some refining of the soul through the gift of the Savior. After all, there is no marriage and no sex in the mainstream Christianity version of heaven, is there? If there is no sex, those desires and to an extent those relationships would have to have been eliminated, correct? And if we all have perfect love for one another, doesn’t that imply a universal form of the deep empathy which is supposed to be part of the marital relationship? We just don’t know enough about life after the resurrection to make any firm predictions about what we will and will not be able to tolerate.

    Jack, I can’t blame you one bit for calling it patriarchal bull[whichever expletive you prefer]. If post mortal marriage allows only polygyny, there is a very clear indication that the man has something which the woman does not, something which makes him more essential to exaltation than she. I don’t at all like the implication. I’m able to take the whole issue of polygamy on faith for the time being, but it isn’t something of which I “have a testimony.”

    And I agree that the idea that there will be more women in heaven is nonsense people use to rationalize away the dubious implications of LDS polyandry. It doesn’t stand up to any sort of cursory analysis.

    I’m skeptical the idea that the temple sealing is just a way to formalize the sort of “body of Christ” relationship mainstream Christianity promotes. There seems to be far too much emphasis on the individual relationship of marriage, and it’s role in our eternal increase.

  23. Katie ~ There are no schools of thought within your camp that speculate that intercourse will be around in the afterlife?

    Not that I’ve heard. The “we will be as the angels” quote is pretty popular, meaning we won’t be married so sex wouldn’t be appropriate. Some evangelicals even think we’ll be sexless, though I don’t. I honestly hope that we have all of our sexes, races, skin colors, eye colors and hair colors in the next life, because I think they’re beautiful.

    This is the part where somebody tells me that it’s not heaven without sex and if I’m expecting to find better than sex in heaven, my sex life must suck. But people are always saying “It won’t be heaven without ________!” It won’t be heaven without sex, it won’t be heaven without beer, it won’t be heaven without my favorite dog whom I loved so much, it won’t be heaven without Aunt Ruth. To which I say, whatever. If evangelicals are right and it was God who designed sex and made sex fun and exciting, is it really that hard to imagine that He has other, even better ways of pleasing us?

    I think people are going to learn that having sex and beer and their dogs and Aunt Ruth in their lives wasn’t nearly as essential to their existence as they thought it was.

    Seth ~ Initiatory is usually a less popular part of temple worship, but I’m not going to get into why.

    Oh, I think I know why. But my husband likely hasn’t done initiatories since before we were married, so that would explain his fuzzy memory of what goes on in them.

    It follows that both are united in love with each other.

    See, I’m not so sure that this follows — or at least I’m not sure that being “united in love” in the next life has any comparison to what it means in this life. Stripped from the envy and prejudice and all of the other things which make us imperfect people in this life, Nancy and Bob may have a perfect love for each other, but I’m not sure that means they automatically have an intimate, emotional connection in the same sense that people can and do here. I seriously doubt that we’ll instantly know what every believer around us is like. I’ve always thought that getting to go out and meet the rest of the body of Christ that lived throughout the ages and developing a connection with them was going to be part of the fun.

    I’m also not sure that having intimate emotional connections with people other than one’s spouse is in itself a bad thing. I only view it as a bad thing if it’s done while denying that same connection to your spouse or without your spouse’s knowledge. If a deep emotional connection is the same thing as marriage, then I think I’m probably a serial emotional polygamist.

    So, much like the way Baptist ministers use the word “cult” in respect to Mormonism, I had a technical meaning of the word in mind. Evangelical heavenly love is actually, in some sense, deeply promiscuous.

    Yes, the word has sexual overtones. But then again, Evangelicals wouldn’t be the first to be upset to hear their heaven being described in sexually charged terms.

    So now you’re taking your cues from the Walter Martin crowd?

    Nah. I think you’re just trying to be a rabble-rouser.

    Derek ~ If post mortal marriage allows only polygyny, there is a very clear indication that the man has something which the woman does not, something which makes him more essential to exaltation than she.

    Thank you, Derek. I get really tired of hearing insistences that this rule isn’t implying something about the essence of men and women.

    I don’t blame you for taking it on faith. It isn’t something I could ever take on faith, but admittedly there are plenty of other things in my religion which I do take on faith.

  24. Jack, Aaron, Seth: as Derek says, there is an emphasis on the “individual relationship of marriage” that points to a distinction. Even without considering the Evangelical view (and why would we want to discuss that anyway?), Mormonism already sets up a distinction between sealed and sealed-to-a-spouse: I am sealed to my parents and my children, but made no formal covenant with them; I did, however, make a specific covenant with my wife. Thus, I see my sealing to her as quite different than my sealing to others. I can’t make any specific comments about the Sunstoners since I didn’t hear the discussion, but concluding that we’re all just one big ball of sealed up souls seems to miss a vital point.

  25. Brian ~ That’s probably true enough. I could always see the significance of the marriage sealing in the LDS system, but I had a hard time understanding what was the point of the parental/sibling sealings beyond a nice, mushy feeling. I still don’t see the point or what the difference will be between filthy Gentile me and my filthy Gentile sister v. a BIC LDS friend and her BIC sister.

    But in that case, we’re still back to the problem that the only fair system is to either make everyone pick one spouse or let everyone be sealed in eternal matrimony to whomever they like, spiraling off into community marriage.

  26. I think we’re missing the important point that the institution of marriage only recently became centered around love and affection. There were many, many centuries where marriage was primarily for property, power, and procreation.

    This is why I have a hard time trying to put marriage-in-heaven in terms of romance. It seems more like a projection of what we idealize here on earth as the “perfect relationship” as opposed to how we grow in relationship with God. Sure, sex is meant to take place within the bonds of marriage, but for those who passed on thousands of years ago, what would be the point of sex in in heaven if their marriages were really about social and economic stability?

    Yes, marriage is about a special covenant with your spouse. But as the emotions/motivations behind that covenant have changed over time, I believe that it makes less sense to view our post-mortem relationships through our own earthly lens and more sense to look at them more from a meta-perspective.

  27. I wasn’t saying that more women are, but that logically, if men are allowed to marry more than one woman, and women are not allowed the same, and you have to be married to someone in the temple to get the highest level of exaltation… if there is ONE man with two wives in heaven, then there will be more women in heaven. Thus, Mormon doctrine as it stands implies that women are more righteous than men, as more women will be going to the Celestial Kingdom. (Assuming that going to the Celestial Kingdom is a benchmark of righteousness.)

  28. In other words, my argument wasn’t that there are more women in the world so thus polygamy is necessary in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to go to heaven.

  29. “or let everyone be sealed in eternal matrimony to whomever they like, spiraling off into community marriage.”

    What’s “spiraling” about it?

  30. Jack:

    As I understand the LDS system, the goal is for the entire human race (or all faithful followers of God at least) to be connected to each other through seals,

    But in Mormonism that is achieved through the sealing of parents to children, not by husbands and wives. Same terminology, happens in the same location, but radically different in concept.

    You can’t really divorce the Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage from humankind’s potential to become like God. Parent-child sealing is about welding together the human chain from Adam all the way to “the winding-up scene,” which is somehow necessary for salvation or something, but husband-wife sealing is necessary for exaltation and the creation of new spirit children.

  31. Whitney, great point.

    Katyjane, I get what you’re saying. Of course, for righteous women to outnumber righteous men still seems like a poor reason for allowing the polygamy to only swing one way. If it swings both ways, everyone still has the opportunity of being sealed to a righteous person of the opposite sex, even if women in the CK outnumber men by that legendary 7 to 1 statistic.

    Seth, by spiraling I guess I just meant that I find the implications of it a little dizzying/confusing/complicated. I didn’t say what direction things would be spiraling in.

    I mean, come on. If both polyandry and polygyny are in practice, people can date other people’s spouses. Now that’s just weird.

    OTOH, you could probably have some really rockin’ key parties.

  32. Well, and it’s not like the whole “women are more righteous than men” argument has never been used as a way to get women to go along with being treated differently…

    MEN: Women-folk, we had a meeting this morning and came to a brilliant conclusion. We’re going to deny you all sorts of influence and control!

    US: Ummm, okay. And why is that again?

    MEN: Because, you are so much more righteous than us, you can take it!

    US: Oh, well that makes sense. Carry on, then.

    Whitney, excellent point. You = smart.

    OTOH, you could probably have some really rockin’ key parties.

    And let’s be serious, who doesn’t love a good key party? …..Anyone?…..Anyone?

    Right. Me neither.

  33. Whitney: I’m not sure I buy that. I can think of several stories—some ancient, some even more ancient—that are about love and marriage. It seems the two have always been interconnected, even if at times/different cultures the ideal of love has taken a back seat for some people.

    If you have some compelling history to convince me that love within marriage is a recent invention, I’d be quite interested. Until then, I’m not ready to radically re-look at temple sealings.

    (Also, there is probably a distinction between romance and love in the history of marriage. I’m more willing to believe that romance is a recent addition….)

  34. Jack: this whole “spiraling off” thing seems to suppose that everyone wants to have multiple spouses. As has been clearly shown here and elsewhere, most of us don’t seem to want that. Even if we granted that everyone be sealed to anyone they were ever married to, that really doesn’t add up to a whole lot of polygamy, does it? In other words, just because you can’t imagine being able to control yourself when you go to heaven and find it filled with suit-wearing Mormon men, doesn’t mean no one else will.

  35. Whitney, you’re right that marriage was functionally about property and progeny (which, in many instances, was practically the same thing…). However, at least within the Christian tradition, I think it was always expected for the couple to develop a close relationship. They took a more active interpretation of the word “love,” in that the couple was supposed to work at developing that intimacy and love. Granted, they didn’t place nearly the emphasis on romance in love that we do–but for the vast majority of people until the last hundred years, there was precious little opportunity for romance in the daily struggle to survive.

    Not that this conflicts with the essence of your point, which I think is rather correct.

    KatyJane, I apologize if I gave you the impression I thought that you are one of those who trying to rationalize. I see what you’re saying, and it makes logical sense, but for me, it doesn’t resolve that moral meaning.

    BrianJ, I think the spiralling of the logical ramifications is worth considering even if not everyone is salivating for prolific polyamorous relationships. It raises questions about true nature of the institution of marriage and what it means to be “sealed” if there can potentially be marital daisy chains (Jim is married to Betty and Jenny; Jenny is married to Jim and Robert and Fred; Fred is married to to Jenny and…). If we presume that the LDS conventional thought that we are going to become Gods and Goddesses after exaltation, this sounds much more like some pantheon than anything approaching monotheism.

  36. Brian ~ As has been clearly shown here and elsewhere, most of us don’t seem to want that.

    “Most of us” have only had one spouse. The only one here who has posted who has had more than one marriage was Nicole, and she only wants one spouse because spouse #1 was a bum.

    Personally, while I certainly want my husband to be the only husband I have in this life, if he were to die young, I would definitely want to get married again. And if eternal marriage were true, I would probably want to be married to all of the spouses I had in this life.

    I’ve known people who were married 2 or 3 times to spouses who themselves were married 2 or 3 times. If my own father marries again (which seems likely), that will put him on marriage #3 in his early 50s. These numbers can quickly add up.

    In other words, just because you can’t imagine being able to control yourself when you go to heaven and find it filled with suit-wearing Mormon men, doesn’t mean no one else will.

    Hey, I’m not the only one who can’t control myself…

  37. Brian,

    You’re right, love/romance certainly isn’t exclusive to modern marriage…my point was simply that historically, it wasn’t the prime motivator behind marriage like we think it is today. I can think of a bunch of good men who would provide security and commitment in a relationship, but I have absolutely no desire to marry them. In the past, my expectations of that extra “spark” would have been more of simple luxury rather than part of the normal package that I insist on today.

    Just off the top of my head, Pride and Prejudice comes to mind as a good example of when Western society saw this norm changing. The Bennett girls were certainly dreaming of love in their marriages, but Elizabeth’s best friend approached her marriage to Mr. Collins from a purely pragmatic point. In my admittedly brief study of that book, it’s been my understanding that Jane Austin’s treatment of that juxtaposition was pretty spot on in describing the shifting attitudes toward marriage during that era.

    Granted, that’s a work of fiction. But as another off-hand example…arranged marriages still happen all the time, and have for a loooong time…those couples may grow into love, they may not. But while mutual affection may be of some concern to the parties and the parents, it’s really not the primary driver, and it’s a very Western idea that it even should be. In fact (and I don’t have a cite, I can look for it if you want), it’s my understanding that there are cultures where the American insistence on love in marriage is actually criticized as misplaced at best.

    Weddings within monarchies are another good example; we can all criticize whether they were “real” marriages or just business arrangements, but legally speaking, they were marriages, they produced children, and they weren’t necessarily filled with the tawdry affairs that Henry VIII made famous.

    I do believe that love should be central to a marriage. But in the words of my own mother, there are times when you simply don’t love each other, and (hopefully) you learn to work through it. I don’t think it’s hard to believe that there are couples who simply don’t love each other from the outset; they’re in it for other (and sometimes, more pressing) reasons. There are plenty of couples who fall out of love but stay married just because. (My host family in Ecuador was in this situation…as Catholics, the parents wouldn’t divorce, and neither spouse dated other people, but they lived separately and maintained a civil yet platonic relationship with each other.) There are millions of people who are lucky enough to find someone they love enough to share their life with. But I do believe that’s somewhat of a luxury, and marriage is an old enough institution that it seems a bit unrealistic to insist that love as we understand it has always been a basis–rather than the ideal–of that institution across all cultures.

    That said, I obviously have no idea what is said in temple weddings/sealings, and what kind of understanding of love that communicates to those of you who have done it. I’m certainly not trying to take a shot at that; I just think that when we’re discussing our expectations for the afterlife–whether we believe that marriage per se exists or not–we need to be careful to distinguish the expectations we have now of the emotions involved in that relationship from the reality of what marriage has been for different people and cultures over time.

    I don’t disagree that living in heaven comes back to living in a state of love, but as Jack and Seth have been discussing, that word itself is a term of art, and I think it’s worthwhile to look at how the construction of that word within the context of marriage has changed with societal expectations of what marriage is about in the first place.

    And now I see from my email that I’ve taken long enough on this to have other people express part of what I’m trying to say. So I also agree with Derek’s point, and I’ll just reiterate that circumstances other than love may form the basis of a marriage, so that’s one of the reasons I have problems accepting marriage in the afterlife as an extrapolation of what marriage looks like to those of us within a certain culture and certain time.

  38. In other words, just because you can’t imagine being able to control yourself when you go to heaven and find it filled with suit-wearing Mormon men, doesn’t mean no one else will.

    I know I won’t be able to. It’s the ties.

  39. PS–what of hermaphrodites? What happens to them??

    (I don’t mean to threadjack, but I do think it’s an interesting angle on this subject.)

  40. PS–what of hermaphrodites? What happens to them??

    I would imagine that from the LDS perspective, where one’s sex is an eternal attribute, they would be restored in the resurrection to whichever is the sex of their spirit.

  41. Whitney: The first problem is that Victorian (or any other era) attitudes toward marriage do not really get at my objection because those attitudes could actually reflect changes from the original* state; i.e., marriage started out as A, then changed into B or C, and today we are back to A. If so, then it is wrong to say that today’s attitude A is a recent invention. This would also be true if marriage started as A+X, then shifted to just X, and today we view marriage as only A—it’d be correct to say that marriage had changed, but not to say that A is a new ideal.

    Second, perhaps it would help if I clarified my terms. When I say that love and marriage have an ancient/original connection, I don’t mean love in the “romance/affection” way, but rather in terms of devotion and commitment—i.e., “love” for one’s spouse has been the ideal similar to “love” for one’s parents. Commitment is the heart of the LDS sealing covenant, whereas there is nothing about covenanting to give eternal caresses or perpetual FTD deliveries to one’s spouse. While we often discuss intimacy and affection as an important part of marriage, they are viewed as ways to strengthen the pair bond and not as the end goal of marriage.

    If I understand your objection, you think that discussing post-mortem relationships in terms of romance is wrong because marriage originally meant only business. I’m agreeing with you on the romance part, but disagreeing that marriage has always-until-recently meant only business. Today we say, “these two people love each other, thus they should get married.” I agree that this has not always been the norm (though I can certainly think of many old stories that focus on that ideal—1/2 of Shakespeare’s works come to mind). In a purely business agreement, there is no devotion to the other party; I give you something because I want something better for myself.

    One of the oldest stories I can think of (on the subject of love within marriage) is Jacob and Rachel. Yes, this marriage is about economics, but there is clearly an element of love and devotion to the story as well. Other biblical precedence for the “original” meaning of marriage is found in Gen 2:24: as “one flesh,” the man and the woman cannot view each other only in terms of “property, power, and procreation.” Rather, they are devoted to each other’s welfare, the way my right half is devoted to my left.

    __________________
    * I realize that this is a problematic word, but bear with me or this is going to head toward hominid evolution, etc. which is a totally different problem.

  42. re hermaphrodites: no such thing in humans, strictly speaking. True hermaphrodites—e.g., worms—have functional male and female sex organs (either simultaneously or sequentially). No such situation has ever been found in humans (nor any other mammal or bird, to my knowledge).

  43. “I’ve always thought that getting to go out and meet the rest of the body of Christ that lived throughout the ages and developing a connection with them was going to be part of the fun.”- I look forward to this as well; but with the added element that because of the sealing connections, we’ll all be like long-lost cousins.

    I don’t have a problem with the inequality of men getting to have more than one wife, but women only having one husband, and here’s why: I think women get to choose the husband they like the best. My husband hates that idea, because he thinks it’s unfair that someone might come along after he dies that I’ll like more. I just smile and tell him that if he loves me that much, he’d better be REALLY nice to me.

  44. Hi Brian,

    (I need more time to think about what I want to say, but I figured I’d throw out a couple things…)

    First, I see your point with the “evolution” of marriage argument, and I’m mulling it over. I think we’re actually closer on this point in general terms, e.g. “commitment.” But when we get into discussions of which spouse one would prefer for sex in heaven, it just doesn’t make much sense to me, because again, it seems like we’re trying to superimpose our understanding of marital relations onto something much more constant than the human experience with marriage.

    And yes, I thought about Jacob and Rachel, too, but that marriage came after Jacob and Leah. I think there must have been some level of affection between Jacob and Leah given the number of kids that came out of it (that, or I’ve read The Red Tent too many times), but initially their marriage was all business.

    Anyway, I will try to add more later, but thank you for your thoughtful responses.

  45. I should clarify by saying that the “we” that is discussing sex in heaven, I meant the thread, not just Brian and me.

  46. I think that there probably wasn’t much love between Jacob and Leah, at least not at first and not in the early years. He was tricked into marrying her because “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn” (Gen. 29:26). That implies that there was probably something about Leah that made it hard for Laban to marry her off to anyone else, so he snuck her in with Jacob. The text says that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and “hated” Leah (Gen. 29:30-31).

    However, when you think about it, Rachel died young giving birth to her second son. Joseph and Benjamin would have been raised by Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah, regarding them as surrogate mothers. Jacob had the rest of his life to get over Rachel and fall in love with Leah—though I think his devotion to Benjamin and his callous disregard for the lives of his other sons in preserving Benjamin shows that he never really stopped loving Rachel more than Leah.

    The romantic in me hopes that the fact that Leah was buried with Jacob (Gen. 49:31) along with Isaac & Rebekah, Abraham & Sarah, shows that there was some sort of reconciliation between them before Leah died, but we just don’t know.

  47. Whoa, Jack has admin powers on this blog! Tim, what have you done?

    Whitney: yes, I think we are close to agreement. And mind you, I’m not talking about sexual intercourse in heaven. I have no idea whether such things take place there. I’m just trying to think about whether the way LDS discuss the purpose of marriage today is consistent with historical views—and by implication, eternal views.

  48. Kristy: I like your idea. That one gets my vote! Sure, it would be difficult if we loved and married two men and had to choose, but I know girls who have had to choose between men here. It’s hard, but it might just be one of those things that has to be done.

  49. Thanks That1girl- I was being a bit flippant about not being bothered by the unfairness. it has bothered me in the past, for many of the reasons already mentioned here.

    But the idea appeals to me because it has a “you-cut-the-cake-but-I-choose-the-slice” type of fairness, and it eliminates the problem of everybody potentially being married to everyone else.

  50. Kristy, I hear ya, but it still seems like a bad idea to me. what if I only have one husband and don’t get to choose between ’em–he can still have as many wives as his little heart desires? No thanks.

    Kullervo, ask Katy about why my blog is temporarily locked. I sent her an email about it, but I forgot to copy you. It’ll be back up in a couple weeks.

  51. That was really poorly worded.

    What I meant to say is, What if I only have one husband in mortality and never have others from which to choose? Just in case that was vague enough to be unclear.

  52. I would also like to ask why Heaven is still going to put us in a position to make tough choices? I mean, Heaven is, by definition, awesome (even if I’m relegated to the lowest level), so I’d be awfully disappointed if our eternal reward turns out to be just slightly improved over life right now.

  53. Kristy, while your theory may be nice, it isn’t doctrinally supported in Mormonism by anything except “The gospel according to Kristy”, as far as I know.

  54. ” I mean, Heaven is, by definition, awesome ”

    The real question is how awesome. . .

    By contrast to a burning lake of fire of eternal torment, watching re-runs of “House” for eternity may be considered awesome. . . . well maybe not “House” but you get my point.

    God doesn’t seem to have too much concern for the comfort of his children based on a survey of earthly life.

    I am sure He may have some interesting surprises up in Heaven.

    Also, I wouldn’t count on much fairness given how things are sorted out down here.

    Women have constantly gotten the short end of the stick on earth, what makes you think they won’t get it in heaven. Didn’t the same God create both the heavens and the earth?

  55. Katie Langston- You’re right that on an individual level, it’s not fair at all. It’s only on a macro level that it evens things out- for every woman who ends up sharing her husband after the fact, there is a man who discovers that maybe he should have been a little more accommodating. 🙂

    Katyjane- No, my theory isn’t necessarily doctrinally supported, and I admit I was being a bit flippant. Not because I don’t take this seriously, but because I find that humor helps sometimes.

    I do feel strongly that eternal marriage is a true principle, and Jack asks what are the implications of that for people who have had more than one spouse? Of the options she mentions, I think Patriarchal Bull[crap] is most likely, although I’m not happy with it. So I remind myself of the things I do feel at peace about (and I really do feel right about the principle that marriage is eternal, even so).

    So then I realize the “Patriarchal Bull[crap] label assumes that the situation is all positive for men (they ‘get’ to have multiple wives) and negative for women (they can ‘only’ have one husband). Why not see it differently: men ‘have’ to keep all their wives, and women ‘get’ to just have one husband? That formulation makes me smile. And that takes the sting out of speculation based on my incomplete (and probably misunderstood) information.

    It’s not doctrinal. It’s just a glimpse into how I sometimes deal with difficult questions. Analyze it. Wrestle with an answer I don’t necessarily like. Be humble enough to remember that my premises may be wrong or incomplete, and my conclusion way off, even if I can’t see how. Set it aside, if possible with a smile.

  56. See, you have the disadvantage of having heaven basically not described at all. You just sort of have to assume and hope it’s not going to suck.

  57. Kristy, your joke about seeing polygamy differently reminds me of a Young Men/Young Women’s activity from my youth. It was some mock game show, Church trivia thing. During the course of the contest, the host asked the question “what is polygamy?”

    One of our youth leaders blurted out “it’s where a guy gets to have multiple headaches!”

    Multiple honey-dos, multiple “I’ve got a headache,” multiple households from which we have to take out the trash, multiple “you never take me anywhere!”…Maybe we men would come out on the short end of the polygyny stick after all…
    😉

  58. Jared – You’re right, but if I was LDS, I’d be holding on to that Joseph Smith quote about even the lowest level of Heaven being waaaaaay better than what we’ve got here on Earth.

    But I’m not LDS, so instead I operate off the premise that God is good, and I operate off the premise that living with Him in a state of grace unhindered by my human weaknesses is good.

    A lot of us here reject Calvinism because of its (perceived) implication that God makes monsters and then punishes them. I would argue that a God who creates men and women as human beings, and then punishes the woman as a second-class-citizen of eternity simply because she’s not male, is just as illogical.

    (Of course, I’m not even sure that I concede that gender is eternal, so this is hypothetically speaking. I also recognize that my argument could get into Adam and Eve/punishment of woman’s transgression debates, and I’ll just say right now that I don’t even take the Creation story literally, so I’m probably not a worthwhile debate partner on that issue.)

    All of which is to say that the more I become a God-chaser, the more I feel a sense of “good” in my life. So I think living in the full and divine presence of the Lord has GOT to be awesome.

  59. I think the fact that women got the first look at the resurrected Christ is pretty cool. They were trusted to carry out the Message, and that is most definitely not Patriarchal Bull.

  60. Maybe so, too bad that Paul forbid them to speak in church afterwards. . .

    Also, its possible that they got to see Jesus first because they were his polygamous wives. . . but that is probably worthy of another discussion entirely. (somebody should post on that)

    I have to agree that some early Christianity seems to have been a bit less patriarchal. Some even postulate that Luke was written by a woman.

  61. If they had been Jesus’ polygamist wives, then they would have been blazing a trail of assassination destruction on their way back to town with their colored belts of power. Obvi.

  62. Whitney,

    I think I have to agree that all we can do is trust that God is Good… and “House” re-runs, though mildly entertaining, are definitely not “Good”. (I would take eternal Giligan’s Island re-runs over the eternal lake of fire)

    I don’t think “logic” has much to do with it. Nothing seems very “logical” to me about how God rolls.

  63. I don’t think “logic” has much to do with it. Nothing seems very “logical” to me about how God rolls.

    Don’t say that, Jared. You will make the Evangelicals’ heads asplode.

  64. My head is going to explode, but only because it’s Mormons who are always telling me that my concept of God is logically contradictory/incoherent. We point out something logically inconsistent and completely arbitrary in Mormonism—teachings on eternal gender roles and marriage options and how sucky they are—and suddenly logic isn’t Mormonism’s friend anymore. Wonder of wonders.

    And yes, there is plenty of stuff in the Bible which qualifies as patriarchal bullcrap. However, even the hardest of hard complementarian evangelicals who takes the most misogynistic readings of those passages doesn’t claim that women are eternally subordinate to men and that subordination will continue in the next life. I don’t even think complementarians who employ Trinitarian subordinationism in their ideology go that far.

    Every time I surf the Bloggernacle these days, I’m hearing Mormons talking about how the Calvinist God is a savage monster and the Arminian God is a nice effort but ultimately an incoherent mess. Well Mormons, you’re just going to have to deal with hearing that your God is a chauvinist jerk who eternally favors one gender over the other—and my rejection of that has very little to do with logic. I simply find it appalling.

    One last question: are deceased women ordained to the LDS priesthood by proxy during their initiatories?

  65. Wow. . . I really hit a nerve. I don’t think “logic” is a friend of religion in general.

    Mormons don’t believe that women are eternally subservient to men, just that men might get to have more spouses. Its arguable who is on the best side of that equation.

    There is nothing “illogical” about chauvinism. Just as there is nothing “illogical” about choosing a Chosen people for thousands of years and ignoring everyone else. God is as racist as he is chauvinistic. Its only been about 150 years since God thought about some real civil rights and equality.

    The stuff in the Bible may be appalling but isn’t it the “word of God”?

  66. One last question: are deceased women ordained to the LDS priesthood by proxy during their initiatories?

    Noper.

  67. Eh, it’s a nerve that I’m letting you hit, Jared. Weren’t we all complaining a few posts ago that there hasn’t been any good fighting here lately? Might as well have some fun with this topic—and trust me, I am having fun.

    I would have to disagree that it’s arguable who has the better side of the eternal polygamy question. Remember, men don’t have to be eternal polygamists; they can choose to have just one wife. Women don’t have any options except one husband. More options seems like the superior position to me no matter how you look at it.

    There is a ton in Mormonism to imply that women are eternally subordinate to men. The entire thing is structured God=>men, men=>women, and some Mormons do teach it directly. If the answer to the question in my last post is “no” and women aren’t given the priesthood posthumously, that would be another huge indicator of the status of Mormon women in the next life. (I’m about to hit post and I see that Kullervo answered my question, so there you go.)

    Yes, I think God is entitled to be as sexist and racist as He wants and He can arbitrarily make one group of people slaves to the other if He wants. There’s plenty of all of the above in the Bible: racism, sexism, and slavery. But in the last few hundred years, every major Christian group has somehow come to the conclusion that the racism and slavery were temporal, cultural concessions for another time period that have neither modern-day nor eternal applications. So why should the sexism be part of God’s true nature and eternal plan for humanity? That’s what I don’t get.

    Seems like it should be all or none.

  68. “there is no male nor female. . . ” not Patriarchal Bull

    “Submit yourselves one to another, husbands to your wives” . . .not Patriarchal Bull

    “by common consent do not deprive one another”. . . not Patriarchal Bull

    Not to mention all the praising he did of specific women and saying their households belonged to them. Women not being allowed to speak is nothing compared to the fact that they weren’t even allowed in the room by Jews.

    That jerk Paul did more to liberate women than anyone at that point in history (and perhaps since). His attitude towards women was much more scandalous at his time than it is in ours.

  69. Interesting point about Paul Tim.

    It’s also interesting to me that women in 1800s Utah, under Brigham Young, had a more progressive and egalitarian situation than women just about anywhere else in the United States at the time.

    Most liberal divorce laws in the country. First place with a female vote. Until that stupid national Republican party took it away, that is…

  70. And for the record – I think women are simply fabulous.

    More could only be a good thing.

    Incidentally, I feel the same way about men.

    I just read a Christian sex book where the authors argue that it’s perfectly okay to notice when members of the opposite sex other than your own spouse are attractive.

    I feel so liberated.

  71. FWIW, I don’t think anyone who subscribes to religion can a monopoly on logic. And I say this as a believer. All religious traditions are based on a number of rationally dubious concepts. All religious adherents rely on something more than mere logic or objectivism for the underpinnings of their belief. For either side–make that any side, as there are many more faiths than just LDS and mainstream Christian–to charge the other with irrationality is hypocrisy and arrogance.

    I myself stick with the LDS faith in part because it seems to me to “make sense” in ways other faiths do not, but I freely admit that this has as much to do with how it resonates in my soul as any rational analysis. I as freely admit that there are doctrinal elements which make absolutely no sense, and which I accept grudgingly at best (the issue of Mormon polygamy and the misogynist implications it absolutely does carry). I can only hope that these are either distortions of the true doctrine by imperfect people, or that they will make more sense once my mind has exalted.

    Jack, as to your question about women, the priesthood, and initiatories, I would suggest that Kullervo (btw, I didn’t think there were other people in the world interested in Finnish mythology…good to know I’m not entirely alone) may be incorrect. The language of their initiatory does, I believe, suggest a form of priesthood, which is supported by the fact that the endowment ceremony mentions them as priestesses.

    Since you know me, you know that I’m not saying this as an LDS apologist. I make no claims that this somehow is equal to the very specific and hierarchical priesthood authority which men are granted to use in this life, or that we should just brush off concerns about inequality between the genders because women will have their priesthood eventually.

    And my jokes in the last comment notwithstanding, I agree entirely that you really can’t argue that men aren’t getting a privileged status in polygyny.

  72. Yesssssss. I feel like no thread has reached the status of being truly great until it’s christened by Kullervo.

  73. In the temple, if I remember correctly, women are told to hearken until their husband as their husband hearkens unto the Lord, while men are told to hearken to the Lord.

    Now, really, that winds up with everyone ultimately hearkening unto the Lord, but the fact that women don’t have that direct line always kind of bugged me. Also the fact that Kullervo got to know my name and I didn’t get to know his–and presumably never would.

    And Seth, I don’t think that you can look at a frontier culture for terms of progressiveness–because that’s going to be the way things have to be in order to get stuff done. Egalitarian? Sure. But is the reason because people thought that everyone was actually equally capable? Or because someone had to do the work and there weren’t enough man-folk?

  74. I ditto Kullervo on the bull, Tim, sorry.

    Paul, progressive? I have a hard time reading anything he wrote because it is all so backward, closed minded, and always reads to me more like his opinion than like true scripture. Beh, sorry. Rant for another time, another thread.

  75. I don’t want to get off on too much of a tangent regarding Paul and women; I know a ton about the subject and I could go on and on. Brief thoughts:

    1) No, I don’t think Paul was a feminist.
    2) Yes, I do think his attitude toward women was better than a lot of other men of his time. If you don’t believe me, read Tertullian. You’ll be begging for the good ol, “progressive” writings of Paul. Calling Paul misogynist is to commit the worst form of presentism.
    3) Bad English translations have made the “misogynist” Paul passages even worse. Not that they were fabulous on their own, but they’ve had help from hierarchical bias.
    4) If we assume that Paul wrote every epistle bearing his name (and I do believe that), then the data concerning Paul is almost contradictory. Yes, there were passages which seemed to say harsh things about women, but there are also passages where he offers fantastic praise of women. We have passages telling women to sit down and shut up mixed with passages calling women deacons and apostles and acknowledging the female leaders of house churches, begging the female leaders of churches to reconcile for fear of tearing the church apart, and praising women as his co-workers. Plus Galatians 3:28 really is the biggest egalitarian banner in the Bible. You’re not going to find a better statement of gender equality in antiquity.

    Rather than go over all the details of this here, I recommend this article by Glenn Miller at the Christian Think Tank. It gives a good introductory analysis of the positive data concerning Paul & women and offers basic apologetics for those controversial passages. Miller’s entire Women in the Heart of God series is one of my favorite online articles ever.

    Jared ~ Yes, arguably Mormonism derives its God=>men, men=>women system from 1 Corinthians 11. However, it’s a stretch to say the text says that, and even more of a stretch to say that the text implies that’s an eternal order.

    This is my point: let’s say that the Bible is the most patriarchal document in the world. Everything it says about women is taken in the worst light possible: women are the weaker sex and are supposed to wear head coverings so that the angels won’t rape them and they aren’t allowed to speak in church and or teach men or hold authority of any kind and wearing jewelry and braiding your hair is wicked and you have to be a good girl so that God will keep you safe through your painful childbearing which btw is so painful because mother Eve listened to a talking snake-man and ate an apple. Oh and your husband is your “head” and lord and master. Did I mention that the Hebrew word for husband is “Ba’al”? Good stuff.

    Even if all of that is true… the Bible doesn’t say anything about that being the order of things in the next life. Some would even argue that it teaches that marriage and gender don’t exist in the next life. I only have to put up with this crappy patriarchal order for 80 years, and then I’m free.

    Mormonism says the crappy patriarchal order goes on forever. That’s a lot worse than 80 years. I keep on hearing Mormons say that even if Calvinism is the true nature of the universe, they want nothing to do with it and they’ll happily go to hell. Well, I kind of feel the same way about eternal patriarchy.

    For the record, I think Mormonism is going to change its teachings on patriarchy in the next life someday. And I don’t think Mormonism abuses women or hates women or anything of the sort. I just don’t think it’s the pinnacle of egalitarianism that the Valerie Hudson crowd wants it to be.

    And I’m kind of being a brat on purpose.

    Derek ~ See, now I’m tempted to just go read the transcript of the initiatories for the dead, but I’m not going to do that. Here’s my thing: in the initiatories for dead women, are women promised any kind of power that they aren’t promised for the living initatories? If not, I don’t see how the postmortem ritual grants them priesthood. I utterly reject the notion that the current endowment gives women priesthood or lets them hold it in the temple or anything like that. That’s comfort food for subordinated women.

    I know you’re not a patriarchy apologist; I’m just extremely wary of dangling carrots.

  76. If they had been Jesus’ polygamist wives, then they would have been blazing a trail of assassination destruction on their way back to town with their colored belts of power. Obvi.

    10 points for this comment, Whitney.

    Jared, I thought you liked God? No?

    I’m with Derek and Jack and…well, whoever else because I’m too lazy to go upthread and figure out if I’m leaving someone out…that it’s not really arguable that polygyny is a system in which men are privileged. They are.

    Although, I will say that I was at a Relief Society activity last night and a friend said to me, “You know, I’d be okay with polygamy. Someone else to take care of the kids, do the laundry every once in a while, have sex with the husband for me. Nice.”

    So different strokes I guess…

  77. Jack, unless I read him wrong, I don’t think Derek’s point was that women are given priesthood authority posthumously, but that in the temple they are given a semblance of priesthood authority period. I don’t think there’s much difference between the living and dead ordinances (having only received the living ordinance once, obviously, I could be wrong).

    Having said that, I’m not aware of ever being given anything that could be construed as a sense of independent priesthood authority (meaning authority I didn’t receive through my husband)–but admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve attended the temple.

  78. I would NEVER outsource this task to someone else.

    Oh hell no. But I honestly know several women who would probably prefer it that way.

    Which pains me. Because sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed–especially by women. But that’s another thread entirely.

  79. Jack

    I’m just extremely wary of dangling carrots.

    And you’re absolutely right to be wary.

    I utterly reject the notion that the current endowment gives women priesthood or lets them hold it in the temple or anything like that. That’s comfort food for subordinated women.

    For all practical purposes, I’d say you were right. Some might argue with you on doctrinal grounds, but I tend to be more concerned with the practical applications myself.

  80. I honestly know several women who would probably prefer it that way. Which pains me. Because sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed–especially by women. But that’s another thread entirely.

    They need to make their husbands read this book. It kicks so much ass.

  81. Some might argue with you on doctrinal grounds, but I tend to be more concerned with the practical applications myself.

    And it’s the practical application that gets me, Derek. I think the principle of endowment-empowerment is sound enough. But since the only priesthood ordinance women can perform is one where it would clearly be inappropriate to have men do it, I’m just not convinced.

    BTW, thanks for coming over here and participating. It’s good to have your feedback on this. 🙂

  82. Katie asked: “Jared, I thought you liked God? No?”

    I suppose that depends on what you decide “God” means.

    I like God well enough, but does “like” really have anything to do with religion?

  83. 2) Yes, I do think his attitude toward women was better than a lot of other men of his time. If you don’t believe me, read Tertullian. You’ll be begging for the good ol, “progressive” writings of Paul. Calling Paul misogynist is to commit the worst form of presentism.

    Comparing Paul to another basically contemporary Christian apologist does not make a very strong case, for the record.

  84. Comparing Paul to another basically contemporary Christian apologist does not make a very strong case, for the record.

    How about contemporary Jews?

    “Blessed be Thou for not having made me a Gentile, a woman, or an ignoramus.” ~ Rabbi Judah, Tosephta Berakoth, 7, 18

    “Woman is the origin of sin, and it is through her that we all die … Out of clothes comes the moth, out of woman comes wickedness. A man’s wickedness is better than a woman’s goodness; it is woman who brings shame and disgrace.” ~ Jesus ben Sirach 25:24; 42:13-14

    “The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive, not for her humiliation, but that she may be directed; for the authority has been given by God to the man.” ~ Josephus, Antiquities I, 48-49

    “From women let no evidence be accepted, because of the levity and temerity of their sex.” ~ Josephus, Antiquities IV, 219

    Want me to drag out some pagans who didn’t like women? Because I can do that, too.

  85. I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m just saying you need at least a decent cross-section. Tertullian may in fact be completely representative of the attitudes of Roman-influenced civilization in the first and second centuries, but it would be like comparing two Mormon general authorities to try to get an accurate picture of attitudes about women in the 20th century, generally.

  86. JACK: before you get in way over your eyeballs at school, you should crank out a large article/smallish book reg. egalitarianism. that would be an interesting read….maybe not Zondervan center rack, but I bet Borders would carry it.

    GERMIT

  87. “but what about what YOU’VE decided “God” means?”

    I haven’t entirely decided; not enough reliable, consistent information. . .

  88. Interesting post, Jack……….

    I would have when I was mormon I would have expected polygamy as part of the ‘package’ deal of being exaltated and eternal increase. I mean how can one woman and one man populate a planet by themselves? So, yeah when I was LDS I expected to live plural marriage in the eternities. So did my husband, although he never seemed to get excited about that or revel in that fact and either did I . We figured we would be able to deal with it when it happened.

    Now, that I am a Christian I would have to say Thank you Jesus that we don’t have to worry about eternal marriage or plural marriage!! I love the whole doctrine and belief that my whole standing in heaven is not based upon a worthy priesthood holder. I am so relieved to know that salvation is an individual affair, not tied to being married again.

    I can tell you that is a relief! I am sure my husband enjoys the fact that I don’t razz him anymore about completely his priesthood duties or not. 🙂

    Bottom line is I think we can’t even fathom what heaven will be like — I think our fellowship with God will be at such a level, that our human understanding can’t even grasp it. We won’t need marriage or plural marriage because we will truly partake of the marriage of the Lamb.

    Oh what a day it will be!
    I can’t wait,

    Gloria

  89. This is all very interesting. I have a question though, especially for the women here. I am an man happily married in the temple 8 years now, three kids.

    If a couple are married and one dies young, Lets say the husband dies leaving a young wife and three kids. He of course would not want her to leave him and marry another man while he is alive, why should he feel any different if he dies? If this marriage is really eternal then is it not just as important to be faithful to each other in life and in death? But…

    Consider this too. If I died tomorrow leaving my wife of 8 years with three little ones. I would never wish her to remain a widow for the rest of her life either. I would never ask her to do that. But in my heart I would never want to give her away to another man either. BUT Think about this.. after 8 years marriage, then she remarries and builds another marriage with another man and they live happily together for another 50 or 60 years, really then, after all that time whose wife is she really going to be after all that? Would she really want to give up a life long happy marriage of 60 years for one she had only begun with her first husband? A marriage of only 8 years, that has been dormant and sitting on the shelf for 60 years, by two people who are not the same people anymore? She would be his wife after all that time, not mine. Would I want her back after she had lived 60 years, an entire married life with some other man? The person she would be after all that would be all his, not mine. I would think it would be better in this case to be divorced and go separate ways.

    I think I would feel better just giving her completely to her new husband and moving on. This is my concern with eternal marriage. Not really a concern though unless I died. My wife doesn’t want to talk about this and says she would remarry if I died. I think If she would not wait for me then I would have to leave too. I could not imagine going back to my wife after she’d spent a lifetime with someone else. I would want to start over too. Would I be expected to wait on the other side of the vail? lonely and single all that time too?

    What do you think about this?

  90. Why would I not want my wife to remarry another nice guy after I’m dead who can take care of her and the kids and make her happy – aside from being a creepy selfish possessive douchebag?

  91. Why would I not want my wife to remarry another nice guy after I’m dead who can take care of her and the kids and make her happy – aside from being a creepy selfish possessive douchebag?

    If I die, I certainly would want my wife to marry a decent guy who would take care of her and my kids.

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