What Jesus Thinks About Polygamy

Exodus 21:10-11

If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.  If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies,  then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

With these scriptures in mind, the Pharisees came to Jesus to get his take on what constitued what “displeasing” meant.  Some thought it only applied to sexual immorality others thought that wrinkles and burnt food counted.  The Pharisees liked the latter definition over the former.  To them Jesus said:

Matthew 19:3-12

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

There are a number of things set up in the Mosaic law that we would not want to live with and acting on them is not what we would call righteous.  The rest of Exodus 21 talks all about selling off your daughter and how to treat slaves.

As you may noticed the Pharisees tried to say that divorce was commanded by Moses and Jesus corrects them.  It was permitted because their hearts were hard. As polygamy and slavery are mentioned right there alongside divorce in Exodus 21, I don’t think we have to take a huge jump to conclude that they were also permitted because the Israelites hearts were hard  (Further backed up by Paul calling elders to be the husband of but one wife). The rules governing them were provisions for remaining lawfully in the nation of Israel.  They were not commandments for righteous living.

Modern day polygamist often claim that living out polygamy is an act of righteousness.  I think Jesus quite clearly tells us that it is an act of hard-heartedness.

When God commanded Joseph Smith to resume polygamy was it because he was calling him to righteousness or hard-heartedness? Will we have hard hearts in the afterlife?

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149 thoughts on “What Jesus Thinks About Polygamy

  1. I already tried bringing up Matthew 19:3-12 as a prohibition on polygamy somewhere in the polygamy Jesus thread, Tim. I don’t think our LDS regulars were impressed.

    Glenn Miller had an article on it at the Christian Think Tank here.

    Deuteronomy 17:17 also warns against a king having too many wives lest his heart be led astray. Somewhere in heaven, David and Solomon are saying, “D’oh!”

  2. I think using that section of Matthew as a prohibition against polygamy is a stretch.

  3. Forget Matthew 19 for the moment.

    In Exodus 21, is it a stretch to put polygamy in the context of divorce and slavery?

  4. Yeah, we have to forget Matthew 19 because it isn’t about polygamy, it is about divorce. Two separate issues.

    “I think Jesus quite clearly tells us that it is an act of hard-heartedness.”

    Definitely not “clearly,” seeing that you (and others) have to go through such explanations to reach that conclusion. And yes, it’s still a stretch to put polygamy in the context of divorce and slavery because Exodus 21 is only talking about one kind of polygamy: that which comes through selling a daughter as a concubine who might later become a wife. That doesn’t address, for example, Abraham’s brand of polygamy. Or better yet, the kind of polygamy mandated under levirate marriage (Cf. Deut 25). Furthermore, Ex 21 is not just about “bad things”—look at verse 33, is it “bad” to dig a pit?

    I’m not arguing that polygamy (of any kind) is or is not the ideal, just that Ex 21 shouldn’t be used to answer that question.

  5. Tim: Gotta agree with the rest. Matt 19 has nothing to do with Polygyny. Ex. 21 seems to approve of polygyny unless you’re not going to provide for the second wife, in which case the second wife is free to divorce according to the Law of Moses. These scriptures just don’t support your claims.

  6. Its hard hearted to Jesus unless the next wife happens to be your brother’s widow. Then you had better man up.

    In that case its hard hearted not to be a polygamist.

  7. I think Jesus quite clearly tells us that it is an act of hard-heartedness.

    It’s just as clear to me, Tim. LOUD and clear. Don’t know how it could get any clearer.

    I also think the standards for leadership in the 1st century NT Church were clearly established (i.e. the “husband of one wife” – Titus 1:6, I Tim. 3:2).

    So, JS and BY would not have qualified for leadership positions in the NT Church, yet we are asked to believe that they were given authority by God to restore the NT Church? The lifestyle standards for the “restoration” leaders sure don’t resemble those of the original NT leaders.

    But I’ve heard sometimes that JS was more about restoring the OT than the NT. So, maybe that’s why there was a returning to the “times of ignorance God winked at” (Acts 17:30)… Problem is we aren’t in those times of ignorance anymore. Since the coming of Christ and NT revelation God “commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30).

    Polygamy was never His idea in the beginning (Gen. 2:24 – “one flesh”).

  8. I don’t think that if Jesus said it any clearer it would matter. He’s right there directly saying that singleness might be better for some for the sake of the Kingdom. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that no Mormon authority has ever backed Jesus up on that one.

  9. It’s loud and clear to you Jessica, because you WANT it to be loud and clear. Simple as that. You think polygamy is “icky.” So you read the Bible in hopes of finding something that gives you an “out” on the issue.

    I didn’t start out wanting polygamy to be true. I was actually pretty-much indifferent to the notion at first.

    A study of the Bible shows me that God is not particularly fussed about the mode of marriage, as long as people are treating each other well.

    Tim,

    You’re turning a verse talking about divorce into a verse about polygamy.

    I don’t think this flies.

  10. Seth, I’m taking the principle that Jesus applies to divorce and then finding that another verse puts polygamy in the same category.

  11. Tim ~ “I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that no Mormon authority has ever backed Jesus up on that one.”

    I am going to disagree with that. The reasons many people are single now days has to do with the declining significance of marriage. I think you would agree that the leadership needed in that area is not to confirm and justify singleness. If the cultural trajectory is toward singleness you have to expect LDS leaders to react to that.

    Here is ultra-conservative President Ezra Taft Benson:

    “We see you as a vital part of the mainstream body of the Church. We pray that the emphasis we naturally place on families will not make you feel less needed or less valuable to the Lord or to His Church. The sacred bonds of Church membership go far beyond marital status, age, or present circumstance. Your individual worth as a daughter of God transcends all.”

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=59a927cd3f37b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    Also, the church no longer advocates that gay men get married. . . .a good change in policy.

    Also, does your church advocate anybody becoming a “Eunuch for the kingdom of Heaven”?

  12. Jessica, based on your logic about who should or should not be worthy for leadership positions at any given time, Jesus was not. He did all kinds of stuff that were totally not okay in the cultural and religious standards set at the time.

  13. I didn’t start out wanting polygamy to be true. I was actually pretty-much indifferent to the notion at first.

    Bullcrap.

    (Sorry, Kullervo, I’m too nice to say the s-word. Please forgive me.)

    Yeah, Jessica is biased on polygamy. So am I. So are you. We’re all approaching the text wanting to see something, or not wanting to see it.

  14. Saying you’re valuable is different than saying not everyone should get married.

    Also, does your church advocate anybody becoming a “Eunuch for the kingdom of Heaven”?

    Yes. But Jesus wasn’t saying you should have to castrate yourself to be a eunuch.

    Gift of Marriage

    Gift of Singleness

  15. “But Jesus wasn’t saying you should have to castrate yourself to be a eunuch.”

    I sure feel sorry for the dudes who missed out on that interpretation.

  16. Interesting… the kids and I have been reading about plural marriage in the OT as we are in the middle of Genesis, and we just finished reading about the mess Abraham and Sarah got themselves into by brining hagaar into the family. ( my heart goes out to hagar, she was used). I don’t see any biblical mandate for plural marriage. I do read that the Bible clearly teaches that marriage ordained of God is between one man and one woman — and the twain shall be one. So I agree with Tim, it was culturally permitted at that time, and like divorce was allowed because of the hardness of the hearts of men ( or shall I say because of the lust of some men’s hearts — thinking of david and solomon here) .

    I am grateful God did deal with plural marriage and the messy family dysfunctions it created. He didn’t cut off those who lived it, but He also didn’t sanction it. We have a wonderful God who works with us, in spite of our sins and trangressions. That is what is beautiful about the Bible ….it is a history of fallen men and women who desperately needed God.

    Just like us today…. fallen men and women in need of God’s grace and mercy,

    gloria

    Gloria

  17. Also, it seems that this entire thread is operating under the assumption that Jesus was NOT himself a polygamist, (Sounds like we need some more discussion on that subject!)

    If he was a polygamist, all of these passages would be interpreted much differently, and there is nothing in this passages that say he was not a polygamist.

    Even if he was not a polygamist, (a proposition that I find almost laughable considering the depth of the evidence) I think we need more information in order to interpret Jesus’ real meaning here. This is generally the problem with sola scriptura, the “scriptura” is so brief on so many points that its hard to honestly be definitive on many subjects, even small contextual facts could really shift how the text should be interpreted.

  18. Just like us today…. fallen men and women in need of God’s grace and mercy,

    Okay, so let me throw this out there. Why is it okay for Abraham to have been a prophet (while mistakenly practicing polygamy) but not okay for Joseph Smith?

  19. Katie ~ I may waver on evidence for the Bible, Mormonism, existence of a personal God, etc. but over these arduous months I have recognized that there is only one rational response to the Del Parsons’ painting and the issue of Jesus’ polgamy:

    “enough said”

  20. KatyJane: would you mind fleshing out your comment a little ?? yes, Jesus was not married and not a part of the pharisees, sadducees, or levites; HE did not have some other Rabbi’s approval, unless you count John the Baptist; but what do you mean by stuff that was “not OK” exactly. thanks

    GERMIT

  21. How do we know Jesus wasn’t married? (For what it’s worth, I’m agnostic on the issue.)

  22. Based on Paul’s writings I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Jesus didn’t have long hair, get drunk or have multiple wives. It’s hard to imagine the first generation of Christians prohibiting their leaders from doing things that Jesus practiced. So Del Parsons is doubly wrong by painting Jesus as a long haired polygamist.

    As to Jesus’ marital status, it’s an argument from silence.

  23. Katie,

    You asked why Abraham was considered a prophet, and practiced plural marraige and why not Jospeh Smith? Is that correct?

    I love to read the story of Abraham, because it so clearly shows us a wonderful example of God’s grace and love and mercy. God’s plan was to have the heir thru Isaac, thru Sarah’s child, not thru Ishmael. Abraham and Sarah lacked faith and took matters into their own hands. Hey, I don’t knock them in some ways, they wanted a child so badly, they were desperate.

    The difference between Joseph Smith and Abraham is that Abraham never ever taught, preached or commanded plural marriage . He didn’t say ” God told me to do this”. No the record is very clear : He hearkened unto the voice of Sarah, not God, and what a mess they made as a result.

    Joseph Smith on the other hand not only did he take other women to be plural wives, he said ” God commanded it”. God may have permitted men to have many wives, because of their lusts or hardness of hearts, but it’s a totally different thing to say ” God commands it, sanctions it and wants it”.

    Abraham never said ” God commanded him to take wives”. Sarah asked him to do that. He listened to sarah instead of God.

    How many times do we jumpe God’s plan for us, and go marching ahead to accomplish what has been promised ? I have done that personally and it only brings a mess upon me.

    Bottom line, God’s word so beautifully states and the “twain shall be one flesh”. God always from the beginning, declared marriage between one man and one woman. Jesus taught that as well. It is man that has messed with God’s plan for marriage. Abraham did that, David did that, and Joseph Smith did that. I think their family lives showed the consequences of their sins.

    Hope this helps in some small way,
    gloria

  24. Hi, jared —

    You mentioned ” a depth of evidence” to conclude that Jesus was a polygamist? Would you please expound on that? I don’t recall reading any evidence in the Bible to support the claim that Jesus was a polygamist? I know that the LDS have other views, but for the sake of the Christians on this list, can you stick to biblical evidence to supporr this claim?
    Thanks,
    gloria

  25. Tim wrote:
    As to Jesus’ marital status, it’s an argument from silence.

    and for those who have no time or patience for ANY kind of argument from silence, this might not have any weight. Given the microscope that Jesus was under, I’m having a tough time thinking that absolutely every mention and reference to his wife, wives, or family were cleaned up and removed from every narrative, every testimony, every remembrance. Why would I believe that ?

    GERMIT

  26. Jared,

    I read Ezra Taft Benson’s talk. That was so beautiful. I wish, during all those years I was single and Evangelical, that the EV clergy had affirmed the single women like that. Instead, all we got was this “Gift of singleness” stuff, which, if I had a copy of a Gift of Singleness sermon written out, I would line the bottom of my birdcage with it.
    For all the EV women out there who want to be childless for the Kingdom of God, Go for it. But count me out, and count my daughter out, too.

  27. Jack, that article was from 2008.

    I’ve been on the bloggernacle since… gee… not sure… think it was like 2004 or something.

    No Evangelical Knows My History.

  28. OK.. the comments are posting out of order for some reason.

    Probably because Tim allowed Blake’s comment or something. That’ll learn him.

  29. Seth ~ No Evangelical Knows My History.

    Yeah, but we could always just do a Nacle search to find out.

    Fortunately for you, I’m not bored enough to read all of your old posts and comments. Yet.

    Lisa ~ Personally, I kinda liked being single. Getting to flirt with all the men I wanted without remorse, not having another person around to de-alphabetize my CD collection, not having to wait till he’s not around to watch rated R movies. It was a pretty good deal. And I think Jack Jeffries had a much nicer ring to it than Jack Meyers.

    Not that I don’t like being married, but I could have lived with staying single.

  30. For all the EV women out there who want to be childless for the Kingdom of God, Go for it. But count me out, and count my daughter out, too.

    Lisa,

    I take issue with your (patronizing) tone. I am a single woman with all sorts of promise in my career, and I am so sick of hearing the attitude that I am somehow bucking God’s plan for my life simply by committing myself to something besides marriage and kids.

    I see married women accomplish great things all the time, with and without kids, but single women have plenty to offer God and the world, too. My aunt has never had kids, and she is a steadfast Christian who has made huge contributions to her community throughout her lifetime. I’d like to think that I’ll have a husband and kids someday, but I seriously doubt God will think less of me and my faith in Him if I commit to doing His work through other means.

  31. Whitney: somehow i don’t think Amy Carmichael “missed out” on anything….and India , and the Kingdom of GOD, is much better off for all she did in choosing a life dedicated to GOD as a single. Don’t back down.

    GERMIT

  32. Jack, you really would have liked the one years ago where I accused American Evangelicaldom of idolatry.

    I’ve said a lot of fun things in my career.

    I can never run for public office.

    Ever.

  33. Whitney,

    How old are you? I’ll be 45 on my next birthday. There is a big difference between marrying at 27 or so, and marrying at 35 or even later. I didn’t marry until I was 37. No, I don’t think my single years were entirely a waste. I think God used them for a purpose. I volunteered in homeless shelters, taught school in the inner city, traveled to Romania to take care of abandoned children in an orphanage, etc. I did the best I could. But I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything. If I’d stayed Evangelical, I wouldn’t have this life. I would have had nothing. I’m not patronizing you. You can do what you want. I, however, am in total agreement with LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, “Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother.” And I’m not backing down either. My great grandmother once wrote in a letter over 100 years ago, “There is no greater work that any woman can do than being a mother, if she does it right.” I stand with her. Why don’t you wait, say, 10 years or so and get back to me about it. Let’s see how you feel then.

  34. Lisa, I guess I don’t follow how staying an Evangelical would have prevented you from getting married? Most Evs I know are family folks. So that doesn’t make any sense to me.

    As a wife and mother, I agree it’s a special calling, but to say it’s the super-dee-duper, extra special-est seems to diminish our brothers and sisters who never marry. And that seems very wrong to me.

    You’re saying God can’t call people to do something other than what you did?

  35. Seth ~ I’ve said a lot of fun things in my career.

    My favorite old Seth comment is definitely this one. Before seeing that, I thought you were kind of a prude, but now I’m relieved to know you’re a pervert just like the rest of us. I didn’t think you had it in you.

    I can never run for public office.

    Being a yellow dog Republican, I wouldn’t vote for you, anyways. I hope you’re not out of the running for LDS apostle though. I’ll be crossing my fingers on that till the day you die.

    Lisa ~ “Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother.”

    I definitely don’t agree with that statement. Sounds like patriarchal bullcrap to me.

  36. Actually, Lisa, why don’t I give my mother a call and see how she feels about the insinuation that her calling in life got knocked down a notch when my dad left her, despite her pleas for him to stay. Why don’t I give my former boss a call and ask how she feels about the insinuation that her failure to marry or have kids means that 20 years of public service as a legislative director in the U.S. Senate and her current job as an English teacher just don’t make the cut when compared with the motherhood and marriage.

    Maybe we can get Mother Theresa’s ghost on the line and ask her about her lackluster achievements?

    Congrats on your accomplishments and your successful family. But I think I’ll take both the married and single female rolemodels in my life and give equal credit to all of them for their successes, struggles, and contributions in this world.

    As for me, I have no idea what God has in store for me, and while I may not be a member of the One True Church (Methodist, thanks), I trust that with His help and grace, I’ll be able to fulfill whatever calling he has for me. And if that happens to include the birth of a beloved daughter, I will happily work to make sure that she has every opportunity to fulfill her own purpose in life, whether she chooses to marry and procreate, or whether she chooses to go it alone (with a loving network of friends and family at her back).

  37. Wow, whitney well said.

    I love love love the beauty of the life of a single person dedicated to God … I see that beauty in the life of a wonderful elderly man in my church, who has the heart of a servant and is single and always has been. He is a sweet heart with a heart of gold!!!

    I loved the life that mother teresa led…. honestly… she personifies the epitomy of Christ….. and she was single….

    I love the life that Amy Charmichael led…… reaching out to the children of India, who had been sold to the Hindu Priests……. amazing……

    There is beauty in singlehood.

    Paul said it so beautifully too.

    Being married is not better than being single — I have done both and believe me being married is not better, just different. I like Jack, would have been content remaining single. ( my husband would strongly disagree with that statement!)

    Both married and single — both have so much to offer, both very different but one not better than the other.

    It is so refreshing to teach my girls and boys that God may call them to marriage and may not. And if God calls them to a life of singlehood – there is nothing wrong with that! In fact, it’s kind of cool because you can do a bunch of great things for God you wouldn’t be able to do other wise.

    No where in the Bible does it say being married is better than being single.

    I for one say enjoy this time of being single and embrace whatever plans God lays out for you – whether that be marriage and family or a life dedicated to serving the King as single woman. Embrace.

    God bless,
    gloria

  38. Lisa,

    May I ask if it’s not too personal, you said you “were” evangelical… may I ask what is your faith profession now?

    If you don’t wish to share, that is ok too.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  39. gloria,

    I know that the LDS have other views, but for the sake of the Christians on this list, can you stick to biblical evidence to support this claim?

    I utterly refuse to stick to biblical evidence to support the claim.

    Behold unfalsifiable proof that Jesus Was A Polygamist

    Please read each comment carefully and I am sure you will be as convinced as I am. (Just ignore all comments by Rick Hurd.)

  40. Yay Whitney!! Your comment got me all fired up!!!

    (‘Sides, you’re totally married to Polygamy Jesus. Why won’t people recognize our love for him?)

    I’m one of those people who wouldn’t do well single. But that doesn’t mean I think I’m better than someone else ‘cuz I found me a man. (And it doesn’t mean there aren’t still moments when single sounds FAB.)

  41. Where does it say in the Bible that there is no greater calling than being a wife and mother?

    One of the awesome, awesome things I have come to just love about being a Christian is that there is nothing wrong with being single!!! Yes!! The Bible speaks pretty clearly about that. Paul speaks beautifully about the benefits of singlehood. He also speaks about marriage and some of the drawbacks of being married and being able to serve God. Both are beautiful — and right before God — being married or single. One is not better than the other. Where does it say that?

    I know the Bible does speak about being a Proverbs 31 woman and of course the scripture about woman being discreet, chaste, keepers at home. (Titus 2), but I have not yet read anywhere that states mother hood and being a wife is the “greatest” calling.

    I thought the greatest call was to be a disciple of our Lord.

    gloria

  42. Whitney,

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Your mother’s calling has not been “knocked down a notch.” She’s your mother. I’m sure that if you asked her, “What is the greatest thing you’ve ever accomplished?” she would say, unequivocally, being your mother. My mom was a career woman in the 1950’s when no woman wanted to be. She loved it. But, on her tombstone, we have engraved, “Beloved Wife and Mother.” I must really have hit a nerve. You never did tell me how old you were. And, for the record, I’m not a member of the “One True Church” either.

    Katie,
    It’s a long story. There is a huge man shortage in the Evangelical church. Past the age of 25 or so, single Christian men just aren’t there. I married a United Methodist who is not a born again Christian, so according to the Ev’s I’m a bad, bad, person. No, I’m not saying everyone has to do what I did. There is no shame in being single if you are by circumstances unable to marry. And yes, you can do wonderful things for the Lord as a single. But, I believe the Evangelical world is really in lock step with our modern feminist influenced world, and this is reflected in the attitude of Ev single men and women today.

    Jack,

    Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t agree with it. But, you know, we’re two different people, and I never said I left the RLDS church because I was opposed to the patriarchy.

  43. ” I married a United Methodist who is not born again Christian, so according to the EV’s I ‘ m a bad, bad person.”

    Oh Lisa. I am sorry you have been made to feel this way. That is awful. I am sorry. Hey, people can be nasty ,can’t they? Down right mean and nasty.

    My heart goes out to you Lisa. It sounds like you are happily married now and enoying motherhood.

    I wish you the very best,
    gloria

  44. Seth, you said, You think polygamy is “icky.”

    Yep, I sure do! I won’t deny it.

    So you read the Bible in hopes of finding something that gives you an “out” on the issue.

    I’ve never read the Bible looking for any “out” on this issue. As I said before, the Bible’s position on this is very clear to me. The Bible never commands polygamy and says that God’s original plan was for one man and one woman to become one flesh. Paul said it was better to be single and serve the Lord without distraction (I Cor. 7:34-40), but that marriage was also a beautiful thing and glorifying to God. Either way – whether a person marries or remains single – the most important thing is that they are seeking to serve the Lord and bring Him glory. Marriage is totally unessential to the gospel plan of the Bible. Jesus said there would be no marriage in heaven. So there is absolutely no reason for me to be searching the Bible for any “out” on this. I think the Bible has made clear God’s desire and plan for marriage.

    Katyjane ~ I’m not sure exactly what you meant by the “stuff” Jesus did that was not ok. ?? I agree he didn’t conform to the Pharisees’ legalistic rules, but He kept God’s law perfectly.

  45. Jessica ~“The Bible never commands polygamy “

    What bible do you read?

    Deuteronomy 25: 5-10

    Matt. 22: 24 (23-33).

    Here Jesus absolutely approves of polygamy, the ultra-icky marry-your-brother’s-widow-and-have-children-in-his-name variety.

  46. Why does God care so much about making sure your brother has kids in his name?

    And why does the poor widow have to submit to the random brother as the new father, BY DIVINE COMMAND?

    I think straight up polygamy is relatively “tame” compared to the weirdness of this arrangement.

  47. Lisa wrote:

    But, I believe the Evangelical world is really in lock step with our modern feminist influenced world, and this is reflected in the attitude of Ev single men and women today.

    maybe it depends on which pond you’re fishing in….but mostly, NO, not even close girl, most of the ev.’s preach something a LOT like what you’ve been trying to sell: married is like a step or two better…single is OK, but…. I know this is GERMIT’s take, so test it out on your ev. friends, if you still have any.

    the difference is: we have no official theology that supports this and GLORIA hit the nail squarely on the head: the highest calling is DISCIPLE, something that goes beyond race, gender, or marital status. There is no ‘something higher’ than that. If that’s not high enough for someone, I’m not sure who they are following. It’s baloney to think that believing this in any way diminishes marriage or parenting: it just puts them in their right place: BEHIND following JESUS.

  48. The kind that firmly shakes your hand, looks you straight in the eye, and says “hey – how are ya?”

    gloria, I also utterly refuse to stick to Bible evidence. If some Evangelicals here don’t like it, that’s fine. They don’t have to talk to Mormons if they don’t want to.

  49. Jared, where in those passages does it say the brother who is to marry the widow was already married? We know in the case of Ruth that she married a single relative. Also, the Hebrew word for brother does not refer to a natural brother. It can be another relative as in the case of Ruth.

  50. ” Gloria I also utterly refuse to stick to Bible evidence. If some Evangelicals here don’t like it, that’s fine. They don’t have to talk to Mormons if they don’t want to.”

    Hi, Seth. Do you try to come across as gruff in your demeanor seth? I ask because sometimes you come across as cocky, and I sure don’t want to think of you like that, but maybe you want to appear that way? In any case, I had to ask because I have noticed this before, not always but just was curious. No offense intended. 🙂

    In any case, you sure don’t have to use Biblical evidence when speaking about whether Jesus practiced plural marriage or not, but you have to admit that Christians here or else where are not going to take LDS evidence as legitimiate. That was what I was trying to say, seth. Everyone other than LDS are going to laugh at the LDS views on Jesus being a polygamist. It just doesn’t match up to what the Bible says about it.

    In any case, hey you are free to say what you wish but some folks just aren’t going to give it credence.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  51. I shouldn’t say “everyone” but LDS are going to laugh… that’s not right to make that assertion. I should rather say ” many Christians” may laugh …… some may actually look into it. But I have yet to meet a born again believer who embraces the idea of Jesus being married and to more than one woman at that. 🙂

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  52. Germit:
    ” the highest calling is DISCIPLE, something that goes beyond race, gender, or marital status. There is no “something higher” that that. If that is not high enough for someone, I’m not sure who they are following. It’s baloney to think that believing this in any way diminishes marriage or parenting: it just puts them in their right place : BEHIND JESUS.”

    AMEN!

    This is something the Holy Spirit has been teaching me. There is nothing more wonderful than being a disciple of Jesus , and if all I can do my whole life long is hang out with the King of Kings – than that is pretty awesome!

    Before coming to the Lord I believed like Lisa that there was no greater calling than being a mother in Zion. A wife to my husband…. to have an eternal family was the goal.

    The difference now is that I am still a mother and a wife, and I know that God wants to help me do the best I can in those roles ,but in no way is it nearly as important as being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

    Following HIM comes first and foremost, behind my husband and my children and everything else.

    I think I had my husband, my marriage and my family on a pedestal before…… almost at “idol” status. That was wrong. Jesus now takes that place. He is the one and only on the altar of worship.

    God bless,
    gloria

  53. Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother

    How bummed am I to realized I can’t serve Christ with the highest calling. Hate it when Amazons take over the church.

    /end sarcasm

    There is no higher calling than to serve Christ in whatever place you are currently in.

    Jared ~ There really is not indication for Duet. that you have to take your brothers wife as a second wife. When the Saducees challenged Jesus on that passage they were trying to trick him into saying that polygamy exists in the afterlife. Again, I don’t think it matters if Jesus clearly states polygamy is bad. He ups the ante and clearly states there is no marriage at all in heaven and can still be completely ignored.

  54. Jack~ “Straight-up polygamy”

    Consensual choice of husband and wife about who is part of the relationship.

    Rather than forced polygamy- God says that a Man marry his brother’s wife (regardless of whether they hated each other.)

  55. Gloria: excellent post; the catholics and some protestants use a phrase: “being centered”; it can take on an eastern flavor, but basically it means putting JESUS in HIS rightful place, and then the universe is in order. that’s a crude paraphrase; your post reminded me of that.

    Your LOVE for your savior makes you a better theologian than you realize, and a powerful speaker. Keep up the good work, holding the WORD and a charitable heart to all in both hands…you will go far.

    GERMIT

    throw some of your kids names in a post, or get my e-mail, and I’d be honored to pray for them some time.

  56. “There really is not indication for Duet. that you havethat you have to take your brothers wife as a second wife”

    Right, I guess you don’t have to marry her, just impregnate her and raise her kids as if they were your brother’s. . . . no marriage necessary.

    Wow, you evangelicals have such icky ideas on sex and marriage.

    /end sarcasm.

  57. Germit,

    It’s not just me saying this as an ex-Evangelical. You should read the book, “Getting Serious about Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness.” by Debbie Maken. Mrs. Maken is a bible believing Evangelical Christian, and she really does a number on the modern, unbiblical, “Gift of Singleness” teaching.

    In reflecting on these comments, I find it highly ironic that out of all the people here extolling the virtues of singleness, I would be willing to bet money that no one on here had to endure it for as long as I did. I was a 37 year old lifelong celibate virgin when I married. I did the best I could.

    The content of some of these comments here have definitely confirmed to me that my decision to walk away from the Evangelical world was the correct one.

  58. Lisa ~ The content of some of these comments here have definitely confirmed to me that my decision to walk away from the Evangelical world was the correct one.

    That’s a cheap shot, Lisa, and I think you know it. If you’re happier in a mainline Protestant church with your RLDS leanings, and if that has brought you into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, then I say more power to you. Given the way you say the evangelicals you knew treated you, it probably is a better place for you. I myself was happy attending a mainline Protestant church for years (though admittedly it was a mainline Protestant church with strong evangelical tendencies).

    You said earlier that you and I are different women. That’s exactly the point. Saying that all women have no higher calling than to be a wife and mother is to try and force half the human race into those molds, when some people aren’t very happy with or good at those roles.

    Obviously that’s not you. You’re very happy being a wife and mother, and I don’t believe anyone should have tried to get you to stay single for any reason—even to avoid a perceived interfaith marriage. But just because you found happiness and fulfillment there doesn’t mean everyone else will.

    BTW, mainline Protestants and Mormons both have a more slanted female-male ratio than evangelicals do. For Christian groups in the United States, evangelicals have the highest percentage of males.

    Jared ~ Consensual choice of husband and wife about who is part of the relationship.

    Alright, but I’d like to point out that this consensual polygamy is a fairly untested system then. Biblical polygamy was almost always due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. ancient surrogate motherhood, widows cared for by BILs) or horny kings taking too many wives, and I’d be hard-pressed to call early LDS polygamy “consensual,” though it eventually grew into something more like that.

    Seth ~ The kind that firmly shakes your hand, looks you straight in the eye, and says “hey – how are ya?”

    Shakes my hand, eh?

  59. ” Germit: Throw some of our kids names in a post, or get my email and I’d be honored to pray for them some time.”

    Thanks, germit. My husband is the one that really needs the prayers right now. Praise God each one of my children ( save the youngest 2 that are really young) have come to know Jesus as King and have come out of the LDS. Nothing short of a major miracle. My hubby spent 2 hours with my pastor yesterday hashing out biblical teachings, so he really needs the prayer and intercession.

    I digress, though. Here’s my kids names:
    Jacob, 16
    Hannah 14,
    Rachel 12,
    Samuel, 11
    Rebekah, 10
    Peter & Paul ( twins) 8
    Sarah Grace , 7
    John , 5
    Naomi , 4

    Hey and if you think of it, please send a prayer heavenward for me, I really need a lot of grace to be able to be a living witness to my husband.
    Thanks & God bless,
    gloria

  60. Lisa,

    I would love to share a blog with you of a wonderful Christian woman who his living an amazing life for God .. she is single and is raising orphans in Uganda…. she is absolutely in Love with Jesus and her light shines bright.

    In fact, everyone here shoud take a peek and read. It will touch your heart in so many ways.

    http://www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com

    God bless,
    gloria

  61. Lisa: I was 40 when I married my wife, and she was my first sexual partner….how much money were we betting 🙂 ??

    I’m not sure of Debbie Maken’s thesis, I’ll do a search on the book and check it out. Singleness as a gift has been taught for many centuries, so I’m not sure in what sense Ms. Maken thinks it’s “modern”. I’m sure there are a WIDE variety of views that can be found on singleness, but I stand by my statement, in too many churches, singles are given some kind of second class citizenship. I’m praying that this changes, it is not Christ honoring.

    glad to have you here and sharing your views, whether I like them all or not….hope this experience has made you more thirsty for Jesus.

    GERMIT

  62. Lisa,

    First, we need to clarify that I am not evangelical, nor have I ever claimed to be.

    Second, I didn’t tell you my age because my age is irrelevant to this discussion. My (evangelical) little sister got married a year ago. Jack and Katie (sorry to bring you into this) got married when they were younger than me. Hell, about 2/3 of my graduating high school class is married with multiple children by now. Age here is irrelevant.

    What is relevant is your condescending attitude toward those women who are apparently kidding themselves about what it means to remain single. My point in mentioning my mother was not that she rejects the significance of motherhood. And you’re right on one thing…she often tells my sister and me that we are her greatest accomplishment. But guess what. She hasn’t had occasion to be an “honorable wife” since my dad divorced her, and I seriously doubt she’ll choose to be a wife again. And I think she makes that decision for the same reason that my former boss chose to remain single. And for the same reason that a wonderful woman for whom I babysit chooses to remain single. Marriage, for all its wonderful virtues and gifts, is not the exclusive source of what makes them happy and what fulfills them. It’s not the exclusive source of their service to God. My mother chose to marry and have children in the first place because that is what she wanted. She chooses to remain unmarried now because that is what she wants. She’s not kidding herself, and she’s certainly not naive as to what she’s missing out on. It’s just something that is no longer worth it to her.

    I certainly support people getting married. But the reality is that trying to rank marriage/motherhood against other callings in life seems like a futile effort due to its gross generalizations of life experience and circumstances–not to mention a gross generalization of how we may best serve our Lord. Trying to rank marriage/motherhood against other callings in life severely undermines the value of what unmarried/childless women have accomplished in this world. Is that to say we devalue motherhood and marriage? I don’t think so, because I don’t believe we have to evaluate these things as an either/or. God has made different choices available to us as we are able and as He provides our support. I don’t think motherhood or marriage per se trumps everything else women do.

    As one last example, I submit Mary Magdalene. Throw away the prostitute rumors started by some pope in the Dark Ages, and we are left with an intriguing and obviously powerful woman who was a true disciple of Christ. We don’t know her marital status, and we don’t know her status as a mother (unless your name is Dan Brown). But we do know that she loved and followed Christ in a way that none of us ever will, and we know that she was witness to one of the greatest miracles of the ages. That is the highest calling indeed, and it had nothing to do with her uterus or her dowry.

  63. Why thank you katyjane, I am happy to have your input!

    And I suppose you’re right about Mr. Brown…I mean, the guy has classic art to back up his theories. Alas, I have no art to back up my theory on the single life. Except maybe some angsty music from Ani DiFranco.

    (Also, I think you and your hubby are pretty much on my Top 10 Favorite Couples list.)

  64. Also, Katie, Gloria, Jack, and Germit,

    Thanks for your input, too. I’d say more, but I’m all typed-out now!

  65. Oh, I just love it. So now I’m not even a Christian, I don’t “love” Jesus because of my choice of marriage partner. For the record, I do very much love Jesus, more than you will ever know. He saved my life. Ev’s do not have the monopoly on Jesus, in my opinion. My marriage to my husband has increased my faith, because I see that God is much bigger than the tiny, weany, “box” that some Evangelicals always seem to try and put him in. You know, I have a question, for those of you Ev’s who are always ragging on the LDS over the Book of Mormon. My husband has read his Bible every day since he was in college, (he’s in his 50’s now) He prays every day. But he does not have a testimony of the Bible being infallible or inerrant. In fact, he believes that Evangelicals have misinterpreted passages of the Bible to arrive at their beliefs. (He has studied the works of several different theologians) So I guess God has written him off. I guess my husband doesn’t have the right heart to be born again or something. If the Bible really is infallible and inerrant, and the Born Again experiences are really true, surely he would have had one by now? After almost forty years of daily Bible study and prayer? I guess it’s all his fault. I guess God just doesn’t like him or want him in his kingdom. Never mind that he believes he’s a sinner, and that Jesus is his Saviour, no born again experience, he’s just out of luck.
    Gloria, I don’t mean to be unkind, but it is really very hard for me to take you seriously, because, some 24 years ago, I sounded just like you, or very similar. You are just starting on a path that I went down a long, long, time ago. I’m not saying that you are wrong to do what you are doing, not at all. But your way is not what God wants for me.
    This all started because I told someone that I had read a talk which they had provided a link to, and I felt that the talk was beautiful. I stand by that statement, and the ones after it. Sorry if some people are upset by that.

  66. Germit,

    As far as the bet goes, if you and your wife are ever in the same place at the same time as my husband and I, we’ll take you out to dinner.

  67. Lisa, nobody said you weren’t Christian or that you didn’t love Jesus. Or if they did, it wasn’t me.

    What I think is hilarious is that you just called Gloria out by saying that her way is not what God wants for you.

    Try applying that theory to the rest of us.

  68. Whitney,

    I think you’re the one who is being condescending here. I said in my very first post to you that I did not believe that my years as a single woman were wasted, and I listed several ways in which I tried to serve the Lord during that time. My comment was in reference to the Ev teaching on “The Gift of Singleness” If you’re not an Evangelical, I don’t know why you even care. Since you never did give me your age, I have to assume that you are younger than I am. With all due respect, Ma’am, I disagree with you that your age is not important. I know lots of women who were never bothered about being married when they were younger. When they hit 40 and begin to realize that they will never have children….. maybe you will be lucky and it won’t bother you. I hope it doesn’t. Maybe you are older than I am, in that case, I don’t know what to say. I’ve said in a post above that I believe there is no shame in having to be single because of circumstances. So, I don’t know what more there is to say, because I’m not taking back the comment I made to one of the other posters.

  69. Lisa, I care because comments like “being a wife is the highest calling” have been thrown in my mom’s face by well-meaning people who are concerned that she’s missing out by remaining single. I care because comments like that are inherently insulting to women who simply chose not to marry or have kids.

    I apologize if I came off as condescending. I certainly don’t find any fault a priori in those who marry and have kids. I just vigorously disagree with some of your opinions on the meaning behind those choices.

    I’m glad we both recognize that amazing things are possible outside of marriage or parenting. As I said in my own earlier comment, I do hope to get married and have kids one day, but I don’t know if that’s actually in the cards for me. Rather than fall prey to comments (and believe me, they’ve come my way) that I’m too stubborn and my priorities are misplaced, I choose not to believe that remaining single or childless somehow means that I missed out on what God really wants for me.

    With that, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  70. Jack wrote:
    Saying that all women have no higher calling than to be a wife and mother is to try and force half the human race into those molds, when some people aren’t very happy with or good at those roles.

    and I would add ” or called by GOD to a different role: singleness”.

    I think some have painted GOD into a box where the only way , or perhaps the HIGHEST way that HE would bless is through marriage. This is a fundamental error in understanding the parameters of calling. If Jesus HIMSELF brings up the possibility of being single ‘for the KINGDOM’s sake, who are we to argue that, or put it into second class status ?? And as I’ve said repeatedly, ev.’s , sadly, have done this in subtle ways, despite theology that teaches otherwise.

    I am glad, LISA ,that you have found happiness in marriage. That’s worth celebrating, but so is Whitney’s path also.

  71. That’s nice Jessica.

    I think Jared’s point still stands though.

    I think the Deut. passage needs to be read in context. God obviously didn’t mean for a married man to take a second wife if his brother dies because God had already made that clear by one of the 10 commandments a few chapters back… “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Deut. 5:18).

    As I already mentioned, the example of Ruth demonstrates that the “kinsman redeemer” relative was single. BTW, I think that story is one of the most beautiful love stories ever. Rather than it being an “icky” command, the kinsman redeemer command is SO beautiful and shows God’s love and care for widows. I can see how widows could have been mistreated or neglected or scorned as if somehow God was punishing them or any number of bizarre folk doctrines that could have cropped up. I think God made the command knowing men’s hearts and how they can turn on those who are vulnerable and hurting. He wanted to make sure that men wouldn’t cast a widow away as if she were second-used goods, so he required that an available, single male relative would marry her.

  72. Whitney: I was a small group leader for 8 or 9 years. MOST of the women in our group were older than 40, divorced, and not remarried. Not sure how this happened, certainly nothing orchestrated by my wife and I. I know EXACTLY what you’re saying, or as exactly as a guy can who is himself married. They have had their ups and downs, few have remarried, all love JESUS and are pursing HIM as best they can.

  73. As one last example, I submit Mary Magdalene… we do know that she loved and followed Christ in a way that none of us ever will, and we know that she was witness to one of the greatest miracles of the ages. That is the highest calling indeed, and it had nothing to do with her uterus or her dowry.

    That was BEAUTIFULLY put, Whitney.

  74. Lisa ~ So now I’m not even a Christian, I don’t “love” Jesus because of my choice of marriage partner.

    I’m not sure where you’re getting this. I’ve re-read the comments on this thread and I don’t see where anyone has implied that you don’t love Jesus. I certainly don’t see where anyone has said anything negative about your marriage.

    @this tangential topic: Two other possible examples of women for whom marriage and children weren’t their greatest callings:

    Miriam ~ The Talmud holds that she was married to Caleb, but the Bible never mentions a spouse or children. She stood on her own merits and was important to Israel’s leadership (Micah 6:4, “For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam”).

    Anna (Luke 2:36-38) ~ Arguably the first Christ evangelist. She was only married for 7 years and then was a widow for the rest of her life—she’s 84 years old when she speaks of the infant Christ as he is presented at the temple. We don’t know if she had any children, but she definitely spent most of her life unmarried. I believe some commentators see significance in the fact that her marriage length is recorded as 7 years (she was a perfect wife) and her age is recorded as 84 (12 x 7 = 84, the number of the tribes of Israel times the number for completeness/perfection), signifying that she was very pious.

    I’ve also always seen significance in Luke 11:27-28:

    As [Jesus] said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed! But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

    If motherhood is part of the pinnacle of female Christian discipleship, than I don’t know why Jesus bothered correcting this woman. She was just praising motherhood, right?

  75. First of all, I think Jack made some good points up above. Probably the tone that seems to have offended so many of you stems from years of being shoved into a mold I was never meant to fit. That is not y’alls fault. Whitney, I would never tell a woman in your mother’s position that motherhood is a woman’s highest calling and try to make her feel like she was missing out on something. That is unbelievably rude. I think that context is important here. In her book, Debbie Maken talks about Evangelical women who really, really, want to be married. These are NEVER married women, by the way, not divorced. Instead, they get lectures on “Be content” “Let the Lord be your husband” or even worse, “It’s idolatry to want a husband more than you want to follow Christ.” Some of these women even have to go on antidepressants, they get so despondent, feeling like God doesn’t love them. This is a major beef I have against Ev’s. If the GoS really is true, and someone is called by God to be single, why is there not more support from their brother’s and sister’s in Christ? At least in the LDS church you have home and visiting teachers. In theory at least, everyone has someone coming to their home to visit them every so often–although I’ve heard LDS singles complain they don’t get visits, so it doesn’t always work. But at least the LDS have a plan, even if they don’t always follow it. When I was single, Evangelical, and miserable, it was reading the words of LDS prophets like Mr. Ezra Taft Benson that breathed new life and strength into my soul. They gave me hope to keep on going. I’m sorry that so many on here seem to be offended by his words. But I will not apologize for liking what he said, and being comforted by it. It was like Revelation to me.
    Gloria, I feel I’ve been too harsh on you. I do apologize to you for what I’ve said. I wish you every happiness in your new life, and I pray that things will go well with you and your husband.

  76. Oops, I said, “motherhood” up above. I meant “being a wife” This is a blog where we are talking about our opinions. Just because I may believe something, do not ever think in real life I’m for going up to someone and verbally berating them because their choices/circumstances in life have been different than mine. Believe me, I’m not EVER one to give anyone a hard time about being single, or to tell someone they have to get married, although I know there are people like that. I know how I felt being single.

  77. Jessica,

    While the Bible does not mention any requirement that the previous brother be single anywhere, and polygamy was common during that period the practice of marrying the widow does have many great stories.

    The beautiful story of Er’s widow Tamar and his brother Onan reinforce that God seems to indicate that the law was really focused on the widows feelings rather than procreating heirs. Both brothers were killed for trying not to spoil her beauty by avoiding pregnancy. God seems to have been dead set on Tamar fulfilling her “highest calling.”

    I suppose God could have simply given women equal rights with the law of Moses. .. but maybe that would be like giving blacks the priesthood in time of slavery, silly to say the least.

    (I am not really trying to be sarcastic, but it reading the bible with rose-colored glasses is a pet peeve for me)

  78. Both brothers were killed for trying not to spoil her beauty by avoiding pregnancy.

    It says that?

    Side-rant: Not that anyone here is doing this, but can I say how annoying it is that almost every passage in the Bible involving women is picked over and analyzed for misogyny, but passages telling men to use their sexuality for sperm donation aren’t viewed as misandrist? ‘Cuz that seems like a rather sucky deal to me.

  79. LISA wrote:
    This is a major beef I have against Ev’s. If the GoS really is true, and someone is called by God to be single, why is there not more support from their brother’s and sister’s in Christ?

    now you and Whitney are singing a duet …..I don’t sing much, or else it would be a trio.. ther ARE some churches that “have a plan” as you put it, and affirm and build up the singles; this is needed at all ages , but especially 21 to 30, as many young adults fall into some kind of black hole post college years: many churches just don’t know what to do with young adutlts that aren’t ‘paired up’.

    trust me, there are ev.’s who are working on this , I know that’s too late for your situation.

    Jesus affirmed HIS mom a few times, but HIS big deal is discipleship and following HIM, and when relationships of all kinds come up, the pre-eminence of discipleship also comes up, repeatedly.

    GERmIT

  80. Jessica: “I think the Deut. passage needs to be read in context. God obviously didn’t mean…”

    Nope. Not at all obvious. Provide all the exegesis you want, but please stop saying it’s “obvious” or “loud and clear.”

  81. btw, Jessica, where does it say that Boaz was single? He was an older, wealthy man; seems pretty obvious that he was already married for several years.

  82. Jared C: the story of Er, Onan, and Tamar is not totally applicable here, because it predates the institution of the Law. If I’m going to call “proof-text” on Tim for using Deut 24, then I’m going to call “proof-text” on you for using Gen 38.

  83. “Many churches don’t know what to do with young adults who aren’t paired up.”

    I think the LDS idea of single’s wards is absolutely fabulous. I’ve attended some many years ago. Got asked out too. I am from a layman’s church, and I was used to being active all my life. Get born again, there is nothing to do but sit in the pew. Maybe once or twice a year I could play in the church orchestra, but everytime there was a big, important, program, the church I went to would hire professional musicians at my instrument. They wouldn’t even ask me to play third part or help set up chairs. It was like, we don’t need you, you’re not good enough–even though this was the church where I attended faithfully. I was a greeter for awhile, worked with the little kids until my mother died and it grew too painful. I couldn’t continue it, much as I loved kids. I’ve often thought that the pastor’s wives could really play a role in helping out the single women. If I were a pastor’s wife, I would make it my special area of ministry to work with single women, 45+. Of course, I would be available to younger women as well. I would invite all the older single women over for coffee or tea at least once per month or so, study the Bible with them, pray with them, get to know them and form a relationship with them so as to be better able to pray about their needs. My focus with them would not be marriage necessarily, but to pray with them regarding the areas of their life where they wanted to grow in the Lord, to be a support and encouragement to them. I would try to make a point of calling them at least once per week, even if only for a minute or two to see how they were doing. If one of them were struggling, I would surely want to be there for them, not to tell them, well you just need to be CONTENT with being single.
    In case you’re wondering, right after we were married, I approached the single’s pastor of the church where my husband and I were attending, and said that I wanted to be a friend to a single woman my age who was struggling. I explained my situation as a single person, and said that I didn’t want that to happen to anyone else. She told me that they didn’t have anyone, and suggested I go over to the old folks home and visit. Not that I didn’t want to, but I have visited so many people in nursing homes. In college, I developed friendships with an elderly lady in the nursing home, and called her daily to chat.
    Germit, it’s not “too late” for me. I refuse to look at my life in that way. I refuse to believe I’ve somehow failed or not chosen God’s best for me, just because I didn’t follow the Evangelical party line.

  84. BrianJ said:

    btw, Jessica, where does it say that Boaz was single? He was an older, wealthy man; seems pretty obvious that he was already married for several years.

    What we’re told about Boaz is that he was older and wealthy. You’re right, he almost certainly was married when he met Ruth, likely to more than one woman. Kind of puts a different spin on the story, doesn’t it?

    (I’m not endorsing polygamy, by the way, nor am I endorsing Ruth’s method of proposing marriage. There’s definitely an ick factor there.)

  85. Jack~ “but passages telling men to use their sexuality for sperm donation aren’t viewed as misandrist? ‘Cuz that seems like a rather sucky deal to me.”

    Well Onan sure got a sucky deal. That story always scared the hell out of me.

    BrianJ:~ If I’m going to call “proof-text” on Tim for using Deut 24, then I’m going to call “proof-text” on you for using Gen 38.”

    The law was there prior to Moses, wasn’t it? ( it was still wrong to kill in God’s eyes before he sent the tablets down from Sinai) Why else would God kill Onan for not following through?

    And to be clear, I don’t think the passage proves anything other than you need to take what the Bible says with a grain of salt or disbelieve some passages entirely. And that if you do believe every word of the bible, polygamy is not weird at all compared to some of the other stuff that went down under divine approval.

  86. Lisa said:
    Never mind that he believes he’s a sinner, and that Jesus is his Saviour

    Sounds like he’s born-again to me. Congratulations on marrying a Christian. Who is saying you have to have a born-again “experience”? I don’t even know what that is.

    And honestly, who said you weren’t a Christian? I couldn’t find it. Please name names and repost the quote.

  87. LISA: oooooops…that wasn’t the “too late” that I was intending. OF COURSE God has great stuff for you to do, look at Moses in his ‘grey years”, and Joshua, and Caleb. No, what I meant was, “too late (now) for that particular church to do things differently , related to singles, in YOUR case…” that’s what I meant, and did not (obviously) communicate very well.

    You seem to have a passion for ministry, that’s a flame you want keep lit, a wick to keep trimmed. And the singles, esp. the ‘older singles’, of whom I was a member for many years, needs your experience and passion. Go for it.

    As to ev.’s being just ‘pew sitters’, yes that’s often the case and a cause for concern in many churches. I dont’ know a single pastor that’s OK with that….the hurdle is what to do about it, how to get people energized, equipped, and put in a place where they are being used of God. Easier said than done, but every pastor I’ve known wants that.

    have a great week,
    GERMIT

  88. Jared ~ Well Onan sure got a sucky deal. That story always scared the hell out of me.

    Yup, if I were a man, I think that story would put the fear of God into me, too.

    Of course, given all the bad doctrines on sexuality that have come out of that account, I think I’m scared just the same. On the plus side, “onanism” is one of my favorite words ever. (Just the word, not the practice.)

  89. ” As one last example I submit Mary Magdalene… we do know she loved and followed Christ in a way that none of us ever wil , and we know she was witness to one of the greatest miracles of the ages… That is the highest calling indeed, and it had nothing to do with her uterus or her dowry.”

    That was beautifully said, jessica.

    I find no greater JOY that in simply following Jesus.

    He truly is my all and all,
    gloria

  90. ” Gloria I feel I have been to harsh on you. I do apologize to you for what I have said. I wish you every happiness in your new life and I pray that ghing will go well with you and your husband.”

    Thank you Lisa, for your kind remarks. I absolutely took no offense in your comments towards me at all. I have learned one has to be pretty thick skinned on forums like these. : ) You had something to share with us all, and although I have not walked in your shoes, I can feel empathy and compassion for your prior experiences . I am glad that you are happily married and enjoying your little girl.

    I wish you and your family all the best,

    gloria

  91. Tim,

    Germit, June 9, 6:12 pm

    …the highest calling is Disciple…There is no ‘something higher’ than that. If that’s not high enough for someone, I’m not sure who they’re following. This rankled me because in my mind, it gets turned into, if you’re not content with your life, there is something wrong with you. I’ve been publicly (on a blog) called an idolater and told that God has handed me over to my evil lusts because I married a man who doesn’t believe the words “infallible” or “inerrant” can be applied to the Bible. Actually, the way I just stated it is my husband’s true opinion. He doesn’t like it phrased the way I phrased it in my post because the way I said it originally, it makes it sound like he believes the Bible is full of errors. My husband believes that the teachings in the Bible are all true, and can never fail. But, being written by men, it has errors in it. And, like I said, he’s not an Evangelical. I tried for a long time to be content and live a life for God, but I never could shake the desire to be married. So, I get really sensitive when people say, “If you aren’t willing to put Christ FIRST, above marriage, there is something wrong with that.

    Gloria, June 9th, 7:27 pm

    “Before coming to the Lord I believed like Lisa that there was no greater calling than being a mother in Zion.”

    Well, to me anyway, that sounded like she didn’t think I had, “Come to the Lord” because I believed a woman’s highest calling was to be a wife and mother.

    Germit, June 9, 2009

    …hope this experience has made you more thirsty for Jesus.

    I’ve reread this one after a little sleep, and maybe he didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but, I thought at first he was trying to imply that there was something wrong with my desire for Jesus, again, to me it was an insinuation I either didn’t know or love Jesus enough.

    Not that it matters so much. I still love President Benson’s words to the LDS women, and I understand why EV’s would reject them. In all fairness, he was speaking to loyal LDS women. If only during my years as an Evangelical, some pastor would have preached, “You are a daughter of God and are valuable to the Church regardless of marital status!” Instead it’s “You’d better be content with where God has placed you, or you’re an idolator. You must not really love Jesus enough if you’re not content.”

  92. Lisa: ” I’ve been pubically called an idolatar and told that God has handed me over to my evil lusts bcause I married a man who doesn’t believe the words “infalliable” or “inerrant” can be applied to the Bible.”

    Dear Lisa,

    Again I am so sorry you have been the object of such mean and unkind treatment. Truly I am. I have been called a number of names since leave the LDS church, and at times it is hurtful. I know that it hurts. I am so sorry.

    With that said, you shared that you get sensitive when people say if you aren’t willing to put Christ first , above marriage there is something wrong with that.

    I would have to say, there is no condemnation in Christ, Lisa. You have not lost your salvation or standing in God’s eyes simply on the fact that you married a Methodist. Last time I checked, methodists are christians. 🙂 I am sorry that some have made you feel less valuable because of that. That is wrong. Love should have been extended instead of condemnation.

    I would also have to add one thing, though I you may already know this and agree — Jesus did tell us that we are never to put anything before Him. Not a husband, a child, or anything.

    He said it beautifully when He stated:

    “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and he that loveth son or daughter more than me in not worhty of me. ” Matt 10:37, Luke 14:26

    I am not in any saying you don’t put Jesus first in your life. You probably do!

    What I am saying is that I think it’s easy for any of us to have “idols” in our life. Our jobs, our kids, our house, etc. Any of us can fall prey to this, and hey I for one am chief sinner!

    Jesus wants all of us, not just part of us. I realized that when I left the LDS. My husband was not happy with me, and although I love him very much, there is no way I could have put him or my marriage in front of my discipleship to the King of Kings. Jesus came first, and as much as that makes my husband frustrated at times that is the way it has to be. Jesus first. Then husband, and family etc.

    I am again not saying you think that marriage is more important than Jesus and being a disciple. I am merely sharing some thoughts.

    I do not in any way judge that you didn’t come to the Lord, lisa. If you have felt that I did, I offer my sincere apologies. Only Jesus can judge our hearts, and thank God for that! I merely stated that before coming to the Lord I felt that motherhood and being a wife is the greatest calling in my life…… but God showed me differently and His word showed me differently. Does that mean that I think that being a mom and wife isn’t important? Of course not. I believe God wants me to be a loving mom and wife, but in no way do I view those roles as superior to being a disciple.

    I am sorry if my words don’t come out the way they should. Sometimes email communication is truly not the best way to share. I do wish we could meet and sit over a cup of coffee and just share. 🙂

    Again, I am so sorry you have had such heart aches, and I sincerely happy to hear that you are enjoying motherhood and family life.

    God bless,
    gloria

  93. Tim,

    Born again Experience,
    It was fall semester of my senior year, and there was a lot of turmoil going on in my life. I’d been having lots of questions and problems with the Book of Mormon. And with RLDS Section 186 of our D & C the year earlier. I was under a lot of pressure and getting easily frustrated. I had been meeting with some Christians, and one of them talked me into reading the Book of Romans. I started, and before I got to the end of that book, something had happened to me. I was calm and peaceful, I stopped swearing. All of a sudden, I just knew that salvation was by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ alone. It was different. There are some groups of Christians that say you have to have a definite “experience” like this or you’re not “born again” My husband says experiences like these are called “peak” experiences in the literature. He’s never had one. I don’t know what to think anymore. I don’t think you have to have something like this in order to be a Christian, but I did. As mad as I get at Ev’s sometime, I can’t ever deny that this happened to me though.

  94. LISA: you’ve obviously put a lot of thought , to the point of meditation (meant in the positive, “mulling over” variety), into this last post. Some observations.

    1. you already know this, but ANYTHING good, true, and holy can be (and probably has been) used to hit someone over the head with, can be made into some kind of blunt “truth instrument”. the truths of CONTENTMENT, calling to singleness, DISCIPLESHIP, can all be made less than helpful depending on what is , and isn’t said, even the WAY that something is taught can be demeaning and hurtful. I don’t know your past, you certainly do. Maybe my description above fits your journey.

    2. if you, or I, are not content , there IS something wrong with our lives: contentment is the “normal christian state”, and to not be content is like a “check engine” light on the dash. Having said that, not being 100% content all the time makes us human, not the most wicked of sinners, and maybe that point was lost on those who taught you before. Pity, they should have known, and taught, better IMO. We’re human, we have ups and downs in every area, even as married folks.

    3) CONTENTMENT does NOT mean that there is no desire for improvement, no desire for something else. If you were made to feel like a freak for wanting something better, maybe your past teachers just didn’t understand ‘contentment’ all that well. Don’t want a long threadjack on this, but one can be “content” and not necessarily quiet and still and complacent.

    4) be careful about generalizing from YOUR ev. experience to what ALL ev.’s think, teach, or practice….both past and present. You KNOW what YOU’ve been taught at ONE place , or maybe a few; granted. That doesn’t mean that the evangelical world fits inside your box. Or mine for that matter.

    5) my hope for you is my hope for me: that we are moving closer to JESUS, even if only one small step at a time. No one has “arrived”, that I’ve ever met. that’s what I meant by “thirsty for JESUS” . We’ve conversed two or three times on the internet, so I am no expert in how thirsty , or quenched, you are with JESUS. How could I know that ?

    Since you’ve stayed with this thread this long, I’m guessing that you have a message in your heart that you want ev.’s to “get”, and to hear your story. If I’m right with my guess on that, one more GERMIT word to finish: give your fellow posters every benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of others and they will return the favor. A LOT depends on whether otheres WANT to talk to you. Some ev.’s , I’ll admit, never ‘get this”, and will treat you shabbily. I’m confident you won’t get into that form of ‘amusement’.

    Hope you don’t mind me prattling on and on….it’s a cheap way to work off lunch 🙂

    God’s best and highest for you and yours
    GERMIT

  95. Eric: I was being facetious in my comment about Boaz’ marital status. It’s possible he was married, possibly to multiple women, possibly he was divorced, or a widower, or any number of things. But the text doesn’t tell us anything about it.

    Jared: “The law was there prior to Moses, wasn’t it? ( it was still wrong to kill in God’s eyes before he sent the tablets down from Sinai) Why else would God kill Onan for not following through?”

    What law was there during Onan’s life? The levirate law? Or a law against coitus interruptus (that is not recorded in any of our texts)? Or a law against “spilling seed” for any reason? Or a local custom/law that God didn’t even institute but he still expected Onan to follow? Or maybe God just gets mad when a guy has a sex with a woman when the woman thinks it’s for love/babies but the guy just wants to get off?

    My point is that you are using Onan as an example of levirate/polygamous marriage, but the text doesn’t say that that is the reason God was displeased. It just tells us what Onan did and that God didn’t like it, not why. You’re connecting dots from Gen-to-Deut the same way Tim is connecting dots from Deut-to-Matthew—and by “connecting dots” I mean “proof-texting.”

  96. BrianJ said:

    I was being facetious in my comment about Boaz’ marital status.

    Sorry for taking you seriously, then. 🙂

    But I was serious. Chances are that in that time and culture, an older man with wealth would be very unlikely to be a bachelor.

    Either way, though, it doesn’t change the reasons that book is part of our scriptures.

  97. Lisa, I agree with your husband. I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that says you’ve got to have an experience. Many do have experiences, but it’s not a requirement.

  98. Tim, you’re right. But I have heard evangelicals say (I’m talking about laypeople here, I’m not saying any church officially takes this position) exactly what Lisa has been told. I have heard more than one evangelical who can point to the moment when he or she became a Christian — and say that if you can’t do the same you haven’t done what you need to do to become a Christian (so to be safe, you had better do it right now).

    It’s one of the things that turned me off to evangelicalism, for I could never point to such an event either. Believing in Jesus as Savior is something I had always done (and still do), and I got tired of the judgmental attitude that many evangelicals had. So I can understand what Lisa is saying.

    I think it’s bad soteriology even from an evangelical perspective. Evangelicals, like Mormons, can spread their own form of folk theology that fails to hold up under scrutiny. And I think that’s what Lisa ran across.

  99. Eric wrote:

    I think it’s bad soteriology even from an evangelical perspective. Evangelicals, like Mormons, can spread their own form of folk theology that fails to hold up under scrutiny. And I think that’s what Lisa ran across.

    Perfect description: folk theology. And sometimes it’s bolstered by some proof texting, and sometimes it’s not, either way it’s bogus: C.S. Lewis, among others, could not point to an exact time (in moments) or even a specific prayer….how many ev.’s want to throw him off the bus ??….well, maybe a few who had terrible Anglican experiences…. 🙂 “Born again” is a state of our hearts and spirits, not an “event” exactly. But this has been mismanaged often, and the folklore around it has a life of its own.

    Nice post ERIC.
    GERMIT

  100. Thank Charles Finney for that one.

    I can name the day I became born-again but I didn’t have a transformational experience or any sort of burning in the bosom.

  101. entirely not his fault….it was something in the upstate N.Y. atmosphere…… sorry, my evil-ness has come out to play…

    GERMIT

  102. Ok, I’m only going to say one more thing on the levirate marriages. The only examples we have in scripture of levirate marriages do not say that the kinsman redeemers were already married. In the case of Tamar it seems apparent they were not. She was waiting for one brother to grow up after all (as Brian pointed out this is prior to the Law, but I think the principle still applies). In the case of Ruth, the context of the book favors the monogamy view. The book starts out by talking about Naomi who had one husband and her two sons who each married one wife. Boaz was sleeping alone, by himself, when Ruth “proposed.” I suppose it’s possible to read this with “rose-colored glasses” as Jared pointed out. It’s also possible to read stuff into the text that simply isn’t there. Not everyone in OT times was a polygamist after all. And the Bible doesn’t shy away from talking about those who practiced polygamy. So if Boaz had multiple wives, the text could have said as much. Anyway, it doesn’t say this and so it’s reading it into the text to assume this was the case. It’s another argument from silence. I stand by my point that God’s perfect plan for marriage from the beginning was very clear: one man+one woman=one flesh. This is made even more clear in the greater revelation of the NT in passages that have already been cited.

  103. Considering how common polygamy UNDENIABLY was in that culture Jessica, it seems pretty darn likely that Levirate marriage resulted in polygamy with fair regularity.

    You’re really grasping here.

  104. “Resulted in” is different than “commanded by God” which was my whole point. The argument that it was “commanded by God” is an argument from silence because it cannot be shown from the text that this is so.

  105. Tell me Jessica, does God “command” us to get monogamously married either?

    Or is this another Biblical “argument from silence” as you put it?

  106. Nope, no command to get married in the Bible. Definitely not part of the Bible’s gospel.

  107. Could it possibly be that God isn’t all that concerned about the specific form of marriage, as long as everyone is being treated well?

  108. Seth,

    Jesus said,

    “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife [singular]; And they twain [two people=monogamy] shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:6-9)

    Do you not see how polygamy involves man putting asunder the one-flesh principle that God has ordained?

  109. Jessica~ “I stand by my point that God’s perfect plan for marriage from the beginning was very clear: one man+one woman=one flesh.”

    This is really as un-biblical as the idea that polygamy is the “higher” form of marriage.

    if “one man+one woman=one flesh” was God’s primary concern wouldn’t he have told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob only to take one wife?

    Wouldn’t God have written the law to preclude polygamous levirite marriages?

    If both my brother an I are married, and his wife dies, I would then be “commanded” into polygamy.

    This overlay of your own opinion on the bible is exactly like saying that God’s “perfect plan” for society was equal rights for men and women. Equal rights may be absolutely good, and there may be things in the bible that allude to this, but the Bible as a whole certainly doesn’t support the proposition that this was some sort of “perfect plan” of God.

    Tim said in the original post:

    “As polygamy and slavery are mentioned right there alongside divorce in Exodus 21, I don’t think we have to take a huge jump to conclude that they were also permitted because the Israelites hearts were hard “

    I find the hard-hearted-Isrealite idea very peculiar. I think its a fundamentally problematic idea that God did not give “higher” law until Jesus came because those before him were somehow less capable of righteousness. I can’t see how our hearts are any less “hard” than the Isrealites’.

    Jewish scholars would certainly argue that Jesus wasn’t teaching anything really new regarding the moral law that was not present in previous rabbinical teachings.

    Jesus didn’t speak out against slavery (or polygamy) during is ministry that we know of, and other places in the New Testament the text tacitly endorses slavery and forced servitude.

    This seems to be just a way of putting words into God’s mouth, allowing Him to endorse our modern ideas of Right, Proper, and Just in society even though the Bible doesn’t really support some of our most cherished societal values.

  110. above should read

    “If both my brother an I are married, and HE dies, I would then be “commanded” into polygamy. “

  111. Yup and a man can be “twain” with one wife, and then the next, and then the next, and so forth. Same for the woman.

    Nice try though.

  112. Okay. Question for my fellow evangelicals and Protestants:

    We’re evangelizing in a country where polygamy is practiced legally. A man with three wives and two children from each wife is converted to the Lord along with his household.

    Do we tell him that he has to divorce two of his wives, each of whom he has children with?

  113. Jared : you have a way of reading into the text what you want to see. The Bible tacitly endorsing slavery ?? I don’t think so: just because GOD didn’t squash the practice and make it impossible to do does not mean HE was behind the idea. You assume that if GOD does not take action on something NOW, HE is somehow culpable. If you want to know GOD”s view of slavery, look closely at the life and words of Jesus, can you defend slavery from that ??

    I am well aware that many in the slave trade thought, and taught, exactly as you do. They didn’t get it either. The zealots wanted to hold GOD culpable for Roman occupation. They didn’t get it. GOD’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way, at least that’s what I’d suggest.

    GERMIT

  114. Jack,
    Doesn’t it really depend on how the pastor proof-texts the Bible? I think you’re questions going to get just as many answers as there are worldviews goign in to figuring out how to answer the question.

  115. GERMIT-“you have a way of reading into the text what you want to see. The Bible tacitly endorsing slavery ??”

    Seriously? Is there any way to read the bible. God regulated slavery in a way that is totally incompatible with our understanding that Slavery is completely immoral.

    Behold the “Word of God” on the subject:

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

    There is not one passage in the bible that says slavery is immoral and un-christian. Sola Scriptura completely fails to give the “correct”guidance.

    In fact, God never ended slavery by his Word, even in the Mormon canon. That was something men had to do. If there would have been at least one revelation on the subject it might have been a whole lot easier.

    One can assume that God doesn’t care about slavery that much. Abolishing it was never one of His priorities, else why would he have left it undone when he closed the Canon?

  116. JaredC: Based on your logic, one could assume that GOD didn’t care about quite a few things…again, HE did nothing to explicitly end the pagan occupation of ROME either. Did HE not care about that ?? I suggest HE did and does, but HIS answer is not to overtly topple the system that isn’t working, whether it’s slavery or ROME, but to work from the inside and change men’s hearts. This will have an effect on both governments and attitudes of people as property. I think your fundamental misunderstanding is not knowing how the kingdom operates, and not grasping that the kingdom is GODS’ big priority, not any one social or political agenda. Those ARE important, but only as an extension of the Kingdom.

    This might not be the way I would do it, or you would do it, but I’ll stand by my point that this is clearly GOD’s agenda as it’s understood in the bible. Sorry if that sounds “fundamentalist”.

    GERMIT

  117. Oh. . . here “God” explicitly allows slavery:

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    I think these sorts of passages are only slightly more challenging to those who believe in scripture is inerrant and the doctrine of sola scriptura than Mormons.

    I bring them up not to put down the Bible, or make any argument against it, but simply to point out that Evangelicals who condemn Mormon polygamy as immoral, strange, unnatural, etc. also, apparently believe that far “worse” things were approved by God at some point.

    I think its very difficult to put the God of the bible in the modern liberal box.

  118. “I think your fundamental misunderstanding is not knowing how the kingdom operates, and not grasping that the kingdom is GODS’ big priority, not any one social or political agenda.”

    You are right, I don’t know have the slightest idea how God runs his Kingdom or why he runs it the way he does.

    But I am not talking about what God did or didn’t do, just what he said in his “only” Word.

    He did speak very clearly against Roman idolatry and all other kinds. But He allowed slavery and even supported it by having his Apostles preach the virtues of being an obedient slave.

    Fighting for Justice as a slave may even have been in opposition to early christian doctrine. Its hard to know which side of the Civil War Paul would have been on.

    Bottom line, You could live the law of God AND have slaves. You just have to be a kind master.

    Apparently you can be a polygamist too.

  119. ” yup and a man can be “twain” with one wife and then the next, and the next, and so forth. Same for women.”

    Man, I am sure glad that missionaries don’t talk like this to their investigators, or the LDS would have precious few converts. 🙂

    gloria

  120. Ok, here’s a question for LDS readers:

    I have always wondered what would happen if a man converts to mormonism and is a polygamist ( such as a muslim man from Africa) what would happen to that man and his family — I mean the LDS church officially declared no more plural marriage – so how do missionaries handle that when they convert muslims or men in africa who do practice this?

    gloria

  121. ” Is it possible that God isn’t at all concerned about the specific form of marriage as long as everyone is treated well?”

    Well, God is pretty specific about “who” a person has sexual relations with… the OT is pretty clear on that. No beasts, no father’s wife, or father’s daughter, sister, mother in law, sister in law, neighbor’s wife, etc. and definately not those of the same gender.

    So I would say , Yes God is concerned about the specific form of marriage. I think He also most definately concerned about how spouses are treated – we have lots of counsel on how to treat your spouse in the NT.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  122. Gloria,
    Mormons are now a whole lot less charitable than other Christians wrt former polygamists. Complete cessation is necessary. Other Christians grimace and bear it, noting that there is no biblica injunction against polygamy, and noting, as Martin Luther did, that Polygamy is preferrable to divorce.

  123. So , what do the elders do when they teach a polygamist family — I have always wondered about that one… I mean I can’t imagine them saying send your 2nd and 3rd wife away… but I would think they would say “no more” wives? What do you think? I mean have you ever heard of that scenario?

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  124. Gloria ~ I mean I can’t imagine them saying send your 2nd and 3rd wife away…

    That’s exactly what they do. A polygamist has to become a monogamist before he and his family can join the LDS church, even in countries where polygamy is legal and culturally sanctioned.

    I imagine the church doesn’t convert very many polygamists, but who knows.

    That’s why I’m curious what evangelicals think polygamists should do upon conversion, since we’re apparently the ones who believe polygamy was prohibited by Matthew 19 and such. Personally, I don’t think he should have to divorce his excess wives. I tend to agree with arguments that Jesus was saying polygamy was not acceptable in Matthew 19, but he very clearly said divorce was not acceptable either, and evangelicals tolerate that to differing degrees because it has become so culturally common. So shouldn’t polygamy be tolerated if a person is already in it upon conversion?

  125. ” That’s exactly what they do”

    Jack ~~

    Do you know that for sure, or is that your hunch? I ask because I would like to know “officially” what Elders are instructed to do. I can’t imagine having to put away women and children. Oh can you imagine?

    Then again, what do Christian missionaries do that evangelize and those souls come to Jesus? What are they to do ? Do you know?

    Gloria

  126. Gloria ~ I’ve spoken about this with many LDS people in the know and never been told anything otherwise. The LDS participants can correct me if I’m wrong. It was first brought up to me years ago when I was taking the missionary discussions to try and quash my own objections to polygamy: “Well, we don’t allow it right now, even in countries where polygamy is legal, if a polygamist wants to convert he has to leave his other wives.” If the policy on that is changed, I’d love to hear it, but I doubt it.

    I haven’t ever heard of Christian missionaries telling polygamists to divorce. I imagine, at worst, they would simply tell them that they can’t take more wives and can’t be deacons/elders/pastors, but I really don’t know.

    For the record, there is a Christian Polygamy movement out there. I did used to talk to a few “Christian polygamists” online, but they held to heterodox views on the Trinity and I’ve since found that the group I knew is considered heretical by even the larger Christian polygamist movement. I tell ya, the Internet is full of weird people.

  127. Jared wrote:

    He did speak very clearly against Roman idolatry and all other kinds. But He allowed slavery and even supported it by having his Apostles preach the virtues of being an obedient slave.

    First of all, I love the first obversation: dead on. Yes HE certainly did, but here’s something totally curious, what is GOD”s answer to, or antidote for idolatry ? This is a puzzle, because as GOD, HE certainly has the wherewithal to stomp the crap out of anyone, or anything that opposes HIM. And it seems HE has a history of doing that from time to time in the OT. Then we enter the ‘church age’, what is GOD’s agenda, and HIS methodology ?? I won’t rant for hours on this, but the picture of JESUS before Pilate gives us a disturbing , but ultimately hopeful glimpse. Pilate, and idolatrous ROME lives for another day…..but the KINGDOM goes forward nonetheless.

    Maybe you think I’m just tunnel visioned on this. Think modern China, or even Africa, where slavery of the overt variety is alive and well. How’s GOD”s kingdom doing over there ?? In this respect, you are so right to say that slavery (of THAT variety) is not GOD’s priority, or not HIS highest priortity. Couldn’t agree more (short term , that is: upon Christ’s return , that’s another matter)

    Paul was not making a case for slavery, he was making a case for being OBEDIENT, so that the gospel would be clearly seen, recognized, and understood. The same man, Paul, said that “there is neither slave nor freeman….” meaning that the status of being “free” or NOT having that status “slave” is NOTHING compared to what the gospel offers.

    GOD choosing to not run roughshod over slavery is more a statement about HIS Kingdom methods than about HIS alleged insensitivity to that kind of abuse.

    GERMIT

  128. JACK wrote:

    but he very clearly said divorce was not acceptable either, and evangelicals tolerate that to differing degrees because it has become so culturally common. So shouldn’t polygamy be tolerated if a person is already in it upon conversion?

    well, some of our accomodation to divorce is certainly cultural, why kid ourselves, but some is certainly biblical: there are specific scriptures that say under condition x. y. or z. one can divorce. Contrary to what I’ve read in this thread, there is absolutely NOTHING like that for polygamy in the NT, and I’d say a great idea is to interpret the OT thru the lens of the OT, some may not buy that….oh well.

    You mentioned that in the example, the ‘household’ was converted, so my thought is that GOD is going to mention this “one flesh” situation to them and one will stay and the others leave. Which one ?? Thorny situation, but my hope would be that through prayer and seeking agreement with HIM and each other, some kind of order could be agreed on.

    MANY cultures think nothing of living together, instead of, or prior to marriage. We don’t leave that situation alone do we ?? Actually, many churches do…..but I don’t think that’s any kind of solution either.

  129. Jack, it’s also my understanding that a man is required to divorce the extra wives as well before baptism.

    I disagree with this stance of my Church. But I do think I understand where it’s coming from. We have a clear instruction not to practice polygamy that we’ve had for almost 100 years. And the stereotypes of Mormonism are so prevalent that you just know that if we started allowing existing polygamous relationships in Africa our enemies would have a field-day with it.

  130. God’s methods, as you describe them, make no sense to me.

    I like that answer: know what ?? they made NO sense whatsover with the men and women who knew HIM (Jesus) best, so you are in very good company. The Kingdom, as I understand it, is pretty much upside down to what makes sense, what seems to work, what GOD “ought” to do. I’m not trying to be unnecessarily cryptic, that’s just how it seems to me.

    A caricature of my point (not that you’ve done this) would be to assume that GOD just doesn’t give a rip about social justice or issues until HE comes back and kicks ass……that is NOT the case: William Wilberforce did a faithful job of fighting slavery for SPIRITUAL reasons, and I’m glad he did, and he persevered and succeeded. Having said that, I’d maintain that the KINGDOM would have gone forward with, or without that success. Just as the KINGDOM will go forward with, or without , many a social and/or political battle won here in the states. The battles are important….the KINGDOM is way MORE imortant.

    You may not be interested, but this is why more and more ev.’s are NOT going to be so invested in ONE particular agenda item….other than the gospel itself. Not pietism, but not the right wing agenda either. Hope this helps.

    GERMIT

  131. I think it’s tragic that a man must send his second or third wife away or divorce them — especially in light of the biblical mandate of no divorce…. of course most would say that the 2nd and 3rd wife is “adultery” …….so….

    Oh how messy…… and sad for the kids too.

    I for one think polygamy just leads to dysfunctions in the family and relationships between sibs and wives. I’ve read enough about what goes on in the FLDS to know that it is tragic for most invovled.

    Gloria

  132. I’d say a polygamist man does not have to divorce his wives. But the better situation would be that he return to his status of “one flesh” with his first wife and the local church supported the other wives.

    Will we challenge married homosexuals to divorce as part of their path to discipleship? Most certainly.

  133. Germit–what exactly is idolatry, in your opinion?

    Gloria, while I wouldn’t want to be in a polygamous (or polyandrous) relationship, I don’t think that one can categorically say that it leads to dysfunctions. In cultures where it works and is acceptable, it might work better. Our culture doesn’t condone it, so of course people practicing it here are likely to be weirdos and fringe people anyway, and the fact that they have to hide it makes it likely that there will be all the more abuse, etc.

    It works for the bees, right?

  134. Sorry to be explicit or at all inappropriate, but it would suck to have to be the all-of-a-sudden celibate second wife, Tim, eh? (OR husband…)

  135. KatyJane: CRAP….you would have to ask that….OK , load framing nailer……press nose tip against skull…..press trigger…….repeat as needed…. my answer will confirm that I’m much more a talker than a doer, but hey, “all men are liars…..” (no mention of WOMEN…..hmmmm)

    IDOLATRY: giving my allegiance, my heart, my affections to anything, anyone, any idea or plan or pursuit in a way that diminishes the same for GOD. that’s my fly-by-the seat-of-my-pants rough draft definition…….it’s from my very small brain, so let me amend it later, as needed…..deal ??

    when I say “for GOD” I do NOT mean CHURCH, or RELIGION, or anything related to church, per se. In fact religious idols can be the absolute worst: my success at such and such ministry….my good name among some academic or religious elite…. how well the pastor thinks of me…. how well ‘my’ church is doing…..you get the picture. the apostle PAUL finally “got this” when he compared his ass-kicking success BEFORE as a “pharisee among pharisees” (similar to 4 advanced degrees from Div. school, and a mega-church pedigree) and his AFTER as a ragamuffin, itinerant, tent-making babbler. I’m sure tha’s how he looked…..and oh that smell….

    Other popular idolatries:

    nationalism (this is GOD”s country…..yeah, well, which one ISN”T God’s country ??);

    celebrity status itself and the need for that: how many confernce speakers come from a church of 146, but the guy/girl can REALLY bring it from the pulpit….

    prosperity itself: old as the hills….my health, my wealth, is cuz GOD just likes me…..(more than those who don’t have these things)

    might add to this list later…..it’s worth thinking about

    YOur question made my brain hurt……
    GERMIT

  136. Seth ~ I never liked the LDS practice of telling polygamous families in other cultures to divorce before conversion, but I can’t really deny that allowing them to join as polygamists would be a public relations nightmare for the church. There does seem to be something wrong about breaking up polygamous homes in the name of the church’s image, but I can’t deny the reasoning behind it. Guess it sucks to be you guys.

    Tim ~ I agree that evangelical Christian churches are going to wind up challenging gay marriages to break up upon conversion and discipleship. I don’t think there’s any denying that.

    However, the biblical case for polygamy is arguably pretty strong and the case against it is rather fuzzy, while there is no biblical case at all for gay marriage. There seems to be something wrong about telling polygamists to break up their families when we venerate so many men in the Old Testament who were themselves polygamists. I’d feel odd about it at least. A neutral stance in the case of people who were polygamists before conversion seems best.

  137. Hi, katyjane —

    From what I have about polygamous families here in the U.S. it stinks — especially for the kids…….many of the women who have spoken out about their experiences with polygamy say that men are “mononogomous” emotionally but physically/ sexually a polygamist. From my reading, most polygamous men have a “favorite” wife … which may lead to “favorite children”… I think the kids suffer because kids instinctly know if their dad rejects them or not. Now I am not sure how it works in tribal socities……

    I think if any system was to work it would be for a woman to have various husbands… the men/fathers would not know “whose” child it was , so they would all be doting on the child, ( so no more favorites) and then if there various men employed that would add to the economic status of the family, etc.

    I am not advocating either system — just throwing some thoughts out there.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  138. Let’s say the newly converted man and his three wives talk it over, and two of them voluntarily agree to split from the husband. Are the those women then allowed to get remarried biblically?

  139. Lisa – Yes, they can get remarried. As Exodus 21 states, if your husband is not providing his marital duties you are free to divorce (and a woman at that time would have to remarry to be fed).

    Katy – being celibate after divorce sucks for everyone. Those women would be free to remarry. I think divorced celibacy would still be a better environment for those women than polygamous marriage. As the biblical record attest, it’s not a happy situation for any family. Women in polygamy are not equal to their husbands.

    Jack- I’m open to the neutral stance but I think monogamy is something a disciple will choose (and he’ll work out financial support for his past indiscretions).

  140. TIM; REALLY like both of these:

    But the better situation would be that he return to his status of “one flesh” with his first wife and the local church supported the other wives.

    Jack- I’m open to the neutral stance but I think monogamy is something a disciple will choose (and he’ll work out financial support for his past indiscretions).

    well said; esp. about the local church helping out with support….that’s walking the walk
    GERMIT

  141. gloria,

    The FLDS aren’t a really good example of polygamy because there are so many other screwed-up variables that can explain the abuse OTHER than the polygamy.

    The FLDS don’t even constitute the majority of Joseph Smith’s followers who practice polygamy. Certainly not the majority of polygamists in America.

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