In light of two key events happening in the US and within the Church, we are excited to announce the latest in member-driven agitation.
As you know, the US is rapidly moving toward legalizing and recognizing same sex marriage (SSM). The US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and many individual states have already legalized SSM. The remainder is somewhat inevitable, even Utah. In fact, the time will come when the States will realize they no longer have an interest in marriage and this will open the door for the legalization of plural marriage.
As you know, the United States Congress passed laws prohibiting the practice of polygamy (aimed at the Church) and these laws were upheld by the US Supreme Court. Thus, the practice of polygamy was halted by a revelatory manifesto given to President Wilford Woodruff, issued by the Church and sustained by the membership On October 6, 1890. (See Official Declaration 1) Again, in 1904, a “Second Manifesto” was issued completely prohibiting all plural marriages and subjecting those who entered into them to Church discipline and excommunication. A question was even added to the temple recommend interview regarding affiliating with apostate (meaning polygamous) groups.
As you also know, the Church did not disavow plural marriage as a correct gospel principle when the Lord commands it and, at the time, the practice was discontinued for political purposes and to be seen as complying with the law. Utah was applying for statehood, which was granted in 1896.
The practice of plural marriage does continue to this day in a special way. A man sealed in the Temple to a wife who passes away, can marry another women not currently sealed to another man in the Temple, for time and all eternity. Thus, he would have two or more wives, depending on how many times this process is repeated.
And while modern Church Leaders have bent over backwards to reassure the general public that we no longer practice plural marriage and we teach that the standard is monogamy, they never really repudiated the Doctrine. So, in our view, the door is open should the practice no longer be illegal. We await the day that that becomes reality.
We stand on firm Restored Gospel ground when it comes to this doctrine. The practice began with the Prophet Joseph Smith around the beginning of the Nauvoo period and was put into full effect by Brigham Young. The open practice occurred in Utah from 1852 to 1890 (though actually well into the 20th Century). Church leaders taught the principle over the pulpit on a regular basis and about 20 to 30% of the Church membership practiced it. It was thought that complete exaltation in the highest degrees of glory could only be achieved by entering into the practice. The Church has, subsequently, changed its position on this, citing sealing in the Temple as the essential ordinance, not plural marriage.
Given the strong doctrinal position of the past, the time has come to restore plural marriage as an essential practice of the Church. As faithful, active members of the Church we call upon the Leaders of the Church to prayerfully inquire of the Lord if the time is right to restore the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage(s).
Rules and Regulations
While we await that fateful day when the revelation is received, we have a few suggestions when the practice begins again.
- No child brides – Parents will not be permitted to marry off their daughters prior to their 18th birthday. There can be no more than a 15 year age difference between the husband and prospective wife.
- Consent – Plural wives must enter into a plural marriage of their own free will and choice, without coercion and, must receive with the intended husband, a Bishop’s Recommend in order to have the marriage solemnized in the Temple.
- Head Wife – The first wife is always the head wife. What she says, goes. But she also must get along with the other wives.
- Sister Wives Council – The council of wives is equal to the husband in power and authority over the family, but not Priesthood.
- Children or Career – Plural wives will be able to choose from being a stay at home Mother in Zion or have a career. They cannot do both, unless agreed to by the other wives who might have to care for the career wife’s children.
- Schedule – An agreed upon schedule must be put in place to allow the husband ample time with each wife, kind of like Kody Brown does.
- Divorce – is allowed after prayerful consideration
We think with these simple rules will make polygamy socially acceptable to the body of Saints, particularly the women.
Again, we are active, faithful members who know our history and the fact that the practice was suspended only to comply with the law. If the law changes, we hope the Lord will restore plural marriage to the earth. It is certainly a more viable option than the single adult programs of the Church.
Restore Polygamy Activities
We intend to make our feelings known by holding a rally at the south entrance of Temple Square and marching to The Lion House, residence of Brigham Young and many of his plural wives and family. At the Lion House, which we will rent for the event, we will have dinner and tell the stories of the families who lived there. At that time, we will hold a prayer vigil to ask Heavenly Father to re-instate the Principle followed by dessert. Please see the website for actual date and time.
We encourage all to go to the restorepolygamy.com website and create a profile indicating your support of the Brethren in their quest for further light and knowledge on the subject.
We also announce at this time, a new Website plogwifemingle.com. This website, when activated, will match prospective plural wives with brethren with a calling to expand their families. “Find Heavenly Father’s real match for you.” Look for the launch as soon as the revelation is received.
Just as a point of clarification, we are faithful, active, Temple-going members, who sustain our general and local leaders, but who think they need to ask the Lord about restoring Plural Marriage to the Church. We are only asking that they ask. We fully intend to keep the pressure on until they do.
Excellent post Jeff! I’ll sign up for this but I would like to see polyandry optionally included and the age difference cap be increased from 15 to 20 years.
Completely sexist. This shows no respect for my desire to be part of a council of husbands for my wife.
We decided that a man should not ma rry a wife young enough to be his daughter.you know, social acceptability……
We are asking to restore an ancient principle, not break new ground.
Will the first wife “preside” over subsequent wives. Will the subsequent wives agree to “harken” to her as they “harken” to the husband?
The head wife is in charge and what she says goes…..
Brilliant idea! Sees the ongoing marital/political evolution from a positive perspective, such equality should be equally welcomed and shared.
Better add an STD test for newbies so you don’t contaminate the hen house or the Lion House.
The level of snark and insensitivity in this post is very disappointing.
Frankly, I’m too distracted by the fact that this *does* sound better than my current YSA “programs” to think very deeply about what you’re trying to parody or the implications thereof.
Well then. Please form a line at my door. Bring your resume, your most tasty dish, and gardening gloves. Also immunization records and std test results. Oh, and bank statements. Polish up your skilz SW, cause if I have to deal with an auxiliary, I want it to pull its own weight.
1. You missed one of the major objections society has to polygamous communities (as opposed to individual polygamist families): the “lost boys” who are discarded by the community because over time there are not a sufficient number of young women available to become plural wives. The related issue is the prioritization of wives being married to the wealthiest, most powerful men in the community, leaving young men coming of age unable to find a suitable mate, even for a singular marriage.
2. Your proposal of a “council of wives” with “equal power” to their singular husband makes very little sense. It makes the wives, functionally as individuals, have only a fraction of the authority in their own family as the husband has. Thus their relationship will always be one of gross inequality.
Great manifesto. Keep working on the details. 😉
I have a hunch that if I actually typed in the domain, I’d get rick-rolled.
Ditto on babaroni’s #2. For #6, it probably should be something to the effect of “All decisions on childcare and career/job should be made in council with all adults in the family”
That should leave you room for your caveat, as well as room for any men who feel the need to stay home and care for children rather than have a job.
Wow Jeff–the movement grows quickly. I see this article was just published in the Tribune by Peggy Fletcher Stack!
Restore Polygamy has rolled out the next phase of its push polygamous marriage acceptance — and it doesn’t involve trooping to Temple Square.
But it does involve, in true Mormon fashion, attending meetings — either online or in person.
The group’s debut tactic was to rally at the Lion’s House last month. On both occasions, men and women, dressed in their Sunday best, walked en masse to downtown Salt Lake City’s historic polygamy venue to demonstrate by vigil, organizers said, their readiness for the Principle.
Regarding renting the Lion House, they were rebuffed — and they said they would not make a further attempt.
Clearly, these polygamists have work to do persuading top LDS leaders to acknowledge their cause.
Restore Polygamy is striving instead to build grass-roots support within the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by creating small discussion groups to find more proponents among the vast majority of Mormons who say they are comfortable with the current monogamous marriage status in the Utah-based faith.
The polygamists have created “Six Discussions” — modeled after an earlier LDS missionary strategy for teaching potential converts — describing Mormon theology, scriptures, history and interpretations that provide context for potential polygamous marriages. They also spell out differences between how monogamists and polygamists are treated in the contemporary church and raise questions about those practices.
The first discussion topic is called “See the Symptoms” and includes an essay on monogamy as well as a game of “Monogamy Bingo.” Its squares had statements such as these: “If you looked for spiritual guidance, it was usually from a monogamist.”
The Restore Polygamy materials are meant to spark fresh thinking among Latter-day Saints, says group founder Jeff Spector. “We are at a precipice of a conversation about marriage,” Spector says. “We want to bring that conversation to a wider audience, not just to people who already agree but to anyone with questions about marriage and polygamy.”
“We want to know what the future could look like,” he says. “We want to be part of that future and to frame [divine] revelation as a participatory process.”
To that end, organizers are staging online discussions of the six topics and urging supporters to create their own small groups in living rooms or on Google Hangout across the globe to debate the material.
That effort has already begun, Spector reports. “We have heard from men and women all over who are inviting friends and neighbors.”
One follower organized one such online group across five time zones with participants who range from mainstream Mormons to moderate members to polygamous believers.
Haha! I see what you did there.
As a gay man in a polygamous (polyandrous) relationship, I recognize this initiative as nothing more than a cheap ploy on the part of Jeff Spector to entice me into returning to the cold clutches of his church. Get thee behind me, Jeff!
Beautiful, Nick 🙂
I tried the march on the Lion House, but they just kept trying to get me to buy rolls. Evidently polygamy is all about the rolls 😉
Excellent work, but I need to correct two things. One, we are thinking about 29 discussions in honor of Brigham Young wives. And, two, we view this as a missionary effort to take the true gospel to the hundreds of off shoot groups that currently embrace polygamy in fundamentalist organizations. The program will be entitled “Come back, come back to the true gospel with all your wives and children.” Of course, we are also hoping to move the show “Sister Wives” to BYU-TV.
knock yourself out. seriously.
you think this shows the ridiculousness of it, but it more accurately reflects the ridiculousness of the detractors if this is *really* the best they can do.
Some might be able to do better, but not be on firmer gospel sod than this.
I see what you are saying and we are certainly open to suggestions as long as folks realize we are faithful, active members, who are just asking……
Details can be worked out in the meantime.
I’m not sure what the true point of this post is. It seems to be trying to mock the idea of Ordain Women holding public actions to bring attention to their cause, but to me it just seems to point out that if polygamists were to try this tactic, they would have ample doctrinal and historical justification for doing so. Moreover, I wouldn’t blame anyone for requesting clarification of that point from those who claim prophetic authority, whether they are pro-polygamy or against it. So if this piece is intended as an indictment of OW, then I think it misses the mark, and if it’s not intended as such then I don’t know what it is advocating. Maybe it’s not satire at all.
Re. #9: The level of snark and insensitivity in this post is very disappointing.
David, you wanted more?
Well, at least i didn’t get Rick-rolled when I went to the website.