Notes on Reconciliation

Sunday, I spoke with three members of the ward who came to visit. They showed concern for my well being and the well being of my family. I don't want to go into too much detail, but there was one discussion that stood out for me. I explained to them the major issue that I have with polygamy. I asked them how it is that they can reconcile Joseph Smith taking wives from members of the church and having children with them. How can they feel like that is ok with them. Two of the answers were not much of a surprise to me. I have tried these answers on myself:
  • I was not there at the time and things were different then for them then they are now, so I can't judge.
  • All I know is how I feel when I read the Book of Mormon.

The third answer did surprise me. He said, "Brent, if God Himself were to ask you to do something, anything, would you do it?" I thought about it for a few beats.

I replied, "If God Himself were to ask me to take your wife as my own and have children, I would not do it. I would question where it is that I was getting my revelations from."

He replied, "That is the difference between you and me. I would know that God is all powerful, and all knowing, and that he knows things that I don't understand, and so I would do it, just as God required tests of prophets of old, such as Abraham."

He is right. That is the difference between him and I. I later asked him, "Would the same hold true if the prophet asked you instead of God Himself?"

He replied, "Just stick with the premise. If God Himself asked it." I could see that I could not move to the corollary that is generally accepted within the church, and that is that the leadership of the church speaks for God.

This is one of the most dangerous parts of a religion for me. A leader of the church can ask anything of the members of the church because God has asked it. Once it becomes God's will, the followers don't question it, but I believe that they should question it. This is the premise that Holy Wars are fought under, and the premise that polygamy falls under as well.


larksong39 said…

I was reading some of the actual1830 newspaper accounts of Joseph Smith's activities, and I couldn't help but think that those who followed and believed in him were basically superstitious and ignorant, and I'm making a judgment there, of course. But my ancestors believed and followed him, and as a result I was raised in the belief system that Joseph Smith developed, and I was very enmeshed in every aspect of it. I think now, knowing what I know now, if I in this time and day heard of a man who claimed to have seen an angel who instructed him where gold plates were buried, and he dug them up and translated them into a book, not allowing anyone to see the plates, etc.--I wouldn't follow him. It would so obviously be a fraud and a ridiculous one at that. But intelligent people are following him and his ideas still today! It's really interesting to me how people can follow something without questioning. Especially, something like polygamy--unless they have something within themselves that is agreeable with that kind of life.
I agree that, for me, the most dangerous part of a church is when men claim to speak for God, and people actually accept that and follow accordingly. And that is one of the most fundamental doctrines of the LDS church. What kind of people are willing to accept this kind of doctrine?

My husband and I were talking about this life, and the question came up--would we like to continue living forever and ever, never growing old, on this planet? My husband thought that might be great, but for me, I want to move on when that time comes.

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