Wow!! The anonymous-yet-official mysterious oracle of the CoJC0L-dS has just officially admitted that Joseph Smith married multiple women, including teenagers and other men’s wives! And other interesting stuff about Mormon polygamy! This is big news because bringing up any of these fact (true and well-established as they are) has traditionally been enough to get you branded “anti-Mormon”! So it looks like lds.org (the official website of the CoJCoL-dS) is now an anti-Mormon website. And, while it’s a step forward, the essays contain some pretty questionable rationalizations:
Let’s start off with this gem:
In Joseph Smith’s time, monogamy was the only legal form of marriage in the United States. Joseph knew the practice of plural marriage would stir up public ire.
Despite the fact that polygamy was illegal, Joseph went ahead and did it. That might be permissible on its face (God’s commandments trump everything else, right?), except that, possibly to try and soothe the “public ire,” Joseph wrote in the twelfth article of faith that church members believed in “obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.” The Articles of Faith were penned in 1842. By the church’s own admission in this essay, Joseph took his first plural wife in the “mid-1830s.” Joseph Smith lied. Publicly. And his lie is now canonized in Mormon scripture.
It’s bad enough to defy satire, almost. Especially considering that on other parts of the lds.org website, they explain how young and innocent a fourteen-year-old is (when talking about Joseph Smith himself) — which naturally invites comparison with the two fourteen-year-old girls he married when he was 37.
Personally, I think they timed this new revelation to draw attention away from that video they released about Mormon underwear (which, being funnier, had more potential for jokes to go viral without some distraction to make it yesterday’s news). OTOH, it’s hard to imagine the CoJCoL-dS would be so Internet savvy, considering they just made this newbie blunder of drawing attention to what they don’t want you talking about by deleting some items after posting an article. Of course, the church-owned universities are embracing the latest technology to enforce the dress code. 😉
These new essays aren’t the only news from headquarters: There’s also a rumor that the CoJCoL-dS will begin allowing civil-marriage-plus-temple-sealing in the US (as they do in other countries! In other church news, that whole giving-mishies-iPads thing is having the expected effect, despite impressive indoctrination. Oh, and “Trunk-or-Treat” has morphed into a horrible monstrosity. Oh, and maybe Moroni was an intergalactic troll!
In scripture study, God wants you to acknowledge how wrong you are with respect to Him. In Alma, we learn to follow God’s commandments even when they’re impossibly vague and contradictory — it’s impressive how people can place so much emphasis on one possible interpretation of an isolated passage.
In faith journeys, Runtu is reflecting upon death without fear. In Seattle, Mormon leaders invited gay members back to the enjoy the blessings of the second-class status the church offers them. Similarly, there was an interesting tale from one of Mormonism’s heretics who, well, read for yourself:
He asked me, sincerely, what it would take to “get me back” in the Church.
I told him, flatly, “I’m never coming back. What would I ‘come back’ to?”
In books, Steve Evans reviewed The Lost Book of Mormon — looks interesting!
I was worried I wouldn’t have time to write SiOB this weekend — my parents are visiting, and I figured maybe it would be impolite to slip away for a few hours to read all these fascinating pieces on Mormon polygamy etc., and compile the links for you! But they decided to spend enough time visiting their respective churches that I had no problem finding time for my own church-related fun! Happy reading!