We had a poll up last week that asked you to opine on Biblical polygamy, Joseph Smith’s polygamy, and polygamy in the next life. There were also a couple of questions that asked about church attendance and belief. If you go back to the poll, you can see how people answered. For example, it looks like W&T readers are largely active (69%) but consider themselves unorthodox (60%). In this post, I’ll go a little beyond those results and show vote counts on the polygamy questions, broken down by categories on the attendance and belief questions.
First, here are vote counts on the polygamy questions, broken down by answers to the church attendance question.
Active voters were far more likely than others to say that God commanded Biblical polygamy, but even among them, the number one answer was that it was wrong.
The “don’t know” response dominated for active and semi-active voters, but inactive voters and those who attend other churches preferred the explanation that Joseph lied. Also, as with Biblical polygamy, it’s pretty much only active voters who voted that God inspired Joseph Smith’s polygamy.
Very few voters–all active–voted that polygamy will be required in heaven. Most voters preferred the explanation that it would be either optional or not allowed, with the preference shifting toward not allowed with decreasing church activity. And of course a large percentage of voters also voted that they didn’t know.
Voters at all levels of activity (other than those attending other churches) were most likely to say they didn’t know how multiple sealings would be resolved in the next life. Active voters, though, were more likely than others to vote for alternatives such as complicated polyamory, monogamy only, or even polygyny only.
Now, here are vote counts on the polygamy questions, broken down by answers to the church belief question.
Orthodox voters were most likely to vote that God commanded Biblical polygamy. Other voters preferred to label it wrong, although unorthodox members also frequently voted that God had allowed it.
As far as Joseph Smith’s polygamy goes, orthodox voters generally said God inspired it or that they didn’t know. At the other end, NOM voters and ex/never-Mo voters voted that Joseph lied to cover his affairs. Unorthodox voters voted for both of these explanations, but were far more likely than other voters to say they didn’t know. It’s interesting that for voters all the way in or all the way out, the explanation appears to be more obvious (although people disagree about what the explanation is); it’s only in the middle that voters say they don’t know.
Orthodox voters were most likely to say polygamy will be optional in heaven. Unorthodox voters also voted for this option frequently, but were far more likely than orthodox voters to say it will not be allowed or that they don’t know. NOM voters almost entirely rejected the idea of it being optional, voting mostly that it will not be allowed or that they don’t know. Ex and never-Mo voters largely voted that it will not be allowed. This question really highlights a divide between orthodox and unorthodox voters on the one side, and NOM and ex/never-Mo voters on the other.
On the question of how multiple sealings will be resolved, orthodox and unorthodox voters were more likely than NOM and ex/never-Mo voters to cast votes for options other than “don’t know.” Orthodox voters were more likely to vote for polygyny only, though, while unorthodox voters preferred the complicated polyamory and monogamy responses.
Please point out any of the patterns that I might have missed (or misinterpreted)!
Awesome results Ziff! A few things stand out to me. Nearly all those who believe polygamy in teh Bible is God-commanded were active members, yet among active members, just 1/3 believe biblical polygamy was God-commanded.
Regarding polygamy in heaven, the only people who said it was required were active, but this was a tiny minority. Polyamory in heaven was much higher than I expected.
Most people on this website believe biblical polygamy was wrong.
I know for one of the answers I filled in an “other” box. I’d be interested know what those “other” answers were and where they fell on the spectrum….
Really interesting. I wonder how much of this is a chicken / egg question, though. But srsly, if believing polygyny is ordained of God is required, I’m out.
Fascinating. Thanks Ziff.
Good question on the “other” responses, Kristine.
On the Biblical polygamy question, most respondents who said “other” said it was a cultural practice, God had nothing to do with it, but it was just a thing some people did then. (Also, I realize now that I lumped in “don’t know,” which might have been an actual response option, with the “other” responses.)
On the JS polygamy question, most respondents who said “other” wanted to vote for more than one option: Joseph lied *and* he was deceived, or Joseph was inspired *and* he implemented it wrong.
On the polygamy in heaven question, the “other” responses were mostly not in favor of the idea, for example, multiple respondents conceded that there might be polygamy there but wanted to add that the possibility made heaven less appealing to them.
Hedgehog, hawkgrrrl, and MH, thanks! And thanks y’all for inviting me to come over and crunch some fun numbers!