Of Lawns and Monogamy

A Lawn at UVA (by JoshBerglund19, licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0)

In approximately 1075 the young Queen of Scotland begged the witangemot to change marriage laws. She feared being forced to marry her step-son in the event that her husband died.

The Queen cited papal precedent. Twenty years earlier, the pope had declared an impediment of affinity. As husband and wife were one flesh, blood relations of one spouse were announced to be blood relations to the partner. Thus the Queen’s hypothetical marriage to her step-son would be as though she were to marry her own son.

The witangemot was torn. The Bible was clear on the duty of a man’s family to provide for his widow. Throughout the western world at that time, marriage was understood as primarily the legal mechanism for caring for the children produced by sexuality. When a man died, kin were to step forward to care for the dead man’s wives and children. If the man had not engendered children, then kin were responsible to produce children with a wife to carry on the man’s legacy.[ref]This biblical history is explicit in the stories of Tamar and Ruth. The law is given in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Property passed to the man who assumed the role of caring for a man’s widow (c.f., Ruth in the Bible. Also the story of the Queen of the Lamanites in the Book of Alma). In Queen Margaret’s lifetime this is seen in the case of Lady MacBeth, whose first husband was murdered by MacBeth.[/ref]

Queen Margaret changed the law, eliminating a key motive for regicide. As for King Malcolm McDuncan III, he invited the would-be assassin to go hunting. When the men were alone, the King told the assassin the plot was known and offered forgiveness if the man were to spare the King’s life. Between the Queen and King, the plot was thwarted.

While monogamy had long been an ideal and norm, Queen Margaret’s plea eventually made monogamy the legal standard. She caused the separation of marriage from the legal responsibility a man’s family previously had for wives and children. It was a sufficiently abrupt change that Queen Margaret was canonized a Catholic Saint for the deed (along with four other miracles).[ref]Margaret’s role in changing the law is documented in the biography her royal daughter commissioned Margaret’s confessor to write after Margaret’s death, a biography cited when she was canonized.[/ref]

Lawns were another mechanism royals adopted to protect themselves. When trees and shrubs were eliminated from the vicinity of a stronghold, there would be no place for attackers to hide. Lesser Lords and commoners had to use the grounds around their dwellings to produce food. Kings and Queens, on the other hand, could tax people for the food they needed.

And so we arrive in modern America, shaped by the fashions of European royals who died many hundreds of years ago.

Why does this matter? Because modern folks are irrationally loyal to the habits of ancient Kings and Queens.

When it comes to lawns, America wastes significant resources (e.g., water), pollutes unnecessarily, and depletes opportunities for crop production. Lawns are defended with passion and even mandated by law in many locales. Even if desert regions, many homeowners will maintain large lawns. Especially nowadays when getting lawncare things are as easy as reading through https://bestofmachinery.com‘s reviews, you will often see them have their lawnmowers or brush cutters working in the summer.

When it comes to monogamy, marriage is often seen as a quaint and unnecessary agreement, with popular media encouraging the idea that sexuality may occur between almost anyone, in a variety of gender and number configurations. (Abortion is encouraged as a means of avoiding certain consequences of sexuality, but that is a subject for another post.) But if marriage is to occur, most agree it should be monogamous at any given point in time.

I’m good with the position that mortal marriages should be monogamous. But there are those who feel this monogamous standard should be enforced on eternal unions.

An example of this is Kathy Bence’s recent article in SquareTwo, where she tries to prove that monogamy should be the rule, even in the eternities. The idea of polygamy, she asserts, is like finding a cockroach in your dessert. Much argument and many scriptural references follow.

I agree with Ms. Bence that it is unlikely that polygamy (specifically polygyny) will characterize a majority of eternal marriages. One has to presume massive wickedness of men and significant righteousness of women to support any argument that a large percentage of eternal marriages will necessarily involve polygyny. There have been approximately 60 billion individuals born on this planet. If anything, the number of males born slightly outpaces the number of females born, if we extrapolate current statistics to the pre-historic past.

On the other hand, Ms. Bence wishes to entirely reject the idea that there will be any plural marriage in eternity. I vehemently reject this position.

Ms. Bence is not alone. Once upon a time I spent significant time on Facebook. In one group, women tried to argue that every righteous woman will have her own monogamous spouse in eternity. They spoke of Kristen McMain [Oaks] and Wendy Watson [Nelson], asserting that in eternity these women will “get to have their own husbands.” Supposedly they would no longer be respectively married to Dallin Oaks and Russell Nelson, each of whom has a beloved prior wife. Instead they would supposedly get to be the only wife of other men to whom these women were not married to in life.

Now, if God were to link people up in eternity to maximize the number of monogamous pairings, that’s fine with me. I figure I’ve known all my spiritual brethren for an eternity. I figure I have affection for all of them. I suppose I would be willing if God asked me to unite with someone other than my mortal spouse for eternity. That would fall under the heading of “Thy will be done.”

However I find it terribly corrosive for people to promote the idea of such eternal fungibility, an eternity where individuals are essentially interchangeable and indistinguishable from one another. I particularly find this corrosive as the people who propone this possibility do so in order that they need not fear ever needing to share their beloved mortal spouse with another.

Why Plural Marriage?

Most folks figure plural marriage was and is about guys getting to have sex with multiple women. They forget that plural marriage was about guys taking responsibility for multiple women (since sex with multiple women is as old as the hills, as common as dirt, and has never required marriage).

Whenever I talk with colleagues (mostly male) about plural marriage, I go straight to that point, that it was about taking responsibility. Most immediately assert that they can’t handle the one spouse they might have and lose all enthusiasm for plurality.

The logical purpose of permitting “plural marriage” in eternity is to allow all children and their parents to be sealed together as part of the family of mankind. There have been too many messy families. If we tried to seal together the family of mankind using monogamy, there would be numerous women and children for whom we wouldn’t be able to find a place.

The necessity of sealing each individual into the family of mankind is asserted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and there are some who believe in Christ who don’t care what the Church asserts. But most Christians do believe that baptism is required for individuals to return to God.

If we don’t bother sealing inconvenient women and children into the family of mankind, then we are less likely to bother performing ordinance work for these individuals. Again, ordinances performed on behalf of deceased individuals is unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the great questions of traditional Christianity is why God would allow individuals to be born who had no mortal chance to embrace baptism. The Church provides an answer.

But if we decline to seek out “non-monogamous” relatives, we won’t be doing their temple work. We quickly devolve to the traditional Christian position where tens of billions of individuals have no hope of access to the ordinance of baptism.

I Don’t Want to Share

There are those who find the possibility of sharing an eternal spouse to be “icky.” That’s fine.

Such people are perfectly free to reject any individual who has been with another partner in the past. Such people are free to require that their spouse eschew any possibility of companionship with another partner should the spouse become a widow or widower.

What I find abhorrent is the idea that people who don’t like sharing will require all the rest of us to live with their prejudices. Can no widower or widow remarry? Can no individual who remains sealed to a prior spouse hope for companionship after the prior spouse is no longer married to the individual?

Case in point: Hyrum Smith married Jerusha Barden in 1826. Jerusha died in 1837 after giving birth to six children. Jerusha was well-loved by Hyrum and his extended family. Though Hyrum mourned Jerusha, there were small children to care for. A short time after Jerusha’s death, Hyrum married Mary Fielding, an English woman whose family had emigrated to Canada before their conversion.

Weeks before Hyrum was killed, he spoke of Mary Fielding’s feelings regarding being the wife of a man who was previously married. Hyrum reported that she was more than willing to be Hyrum’s wife, even knowing that Jerusha had a prior claim.

If you were insisting that eternity must be monogamous, to whom would you have Hyrum be united, Jerusha or Mary?

There are literally millions of other such instances of note in recent centuries.


Then we have the question of women who have no opportunity to marry in this life. What is to be their fate?

Once upon a time I was faced with a prompting to leave my abusive and adulterous first husband. When I questioned the wisdom of this,[ref]I dreaded returning to a “singles’ ward.”[/ref] I felt prompted that the time would “soon” come when I would find a man to love and cherish who loved and cherished me.

Years later, when the yelling and threats had subsided and there were no more coercive suicide attempts on the part of my former husband, I was left wondering when this “soon” would occur.

For the first time, I told someone of the prompting. I confided in my mother. As soon as the words left my mouth, she started to laugh.

“The Lord told you ‘soon?'”

Before she finished her sentence, I understood. In the Lord’s eyes, it would be “soon” if I were the last woman united with a spouse on the afternoon of final judgement. I mentally dubbed my future spouse “Mr. Lowery” and wondered if he would be someone who had died as a newborn or possibly a man with other family commitments[ref]Specifically, I joked I would become Mr. Lowery’s third wife on the 11th hour of the last day of the resurrection.[/ref]

It was therefore a surprise when I started dating Bryan Stout, a 36-year-old bachelor who proposed five months after meeting me (light speed for a deliberate man like him).

Moroni 8

To paraphrase Mormon, he or she who supposeth that no man may be sealed to more than one wife “is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he (or she) hath neither faith, hope, nor charity…;”

Feel free to conduct your own life according to standards of strict eternal monogamy. But don’t presume to revoke the promise of God’s prophets that a woman and her children can aspire to be sealed into the family of mankind through the Abrahamic Covenant. Don’t propose to sever a woman from her beloved husband merely because he was previously married. And don’t refuse saving ordinances to ancestral kin who don’t fit your mental model of eternal monogamy.

As for lawns, don’t maintain them where they make no sense other than to betray your slavish aping of royal fashion.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but that Emma was right to assert she had been Joseph's only true wife.

53 thoughts on “Of Lawns and Monogamy

  1. Meg, great thoughts! Though I’m male, so I can’t speak much to the issue from your perspective. Any thoughts about polyandry being part of exalted eternity? I’ve always felt that the sexual / romantic nature of an exalted relationship may not exist as we know it here. Some of Ty Mansfield’s writings are interesting in that vein in a NorthStar post in 2016 called “There are no [hetero]sexual members of the Church” https://ldslights.org/elder-bednar-no-heterosexual-members-church/

  2. I find it interesting that Carol Lynn Pearson’s book, The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, both demanded eternal monogamy (versus polygyny) and demanded that women be able to be eternally united with all the husbands they had loved in life.

    It’s silly to imagine that there will be exact parity between women and men in eternity (at least among those one might imagine would be able to be married). One can engage in all kinds of arguments, but we don’t live in eternity yet.

    As for this life, the only plural in this life required to permit all children to be sealed into the family of man is polygyny plural. That happens to be the biblical law. As to anything in eternity (plural, much less which type of plural), I’m happy to allow God’s plan to be what it will be.

  3. Meg, This was a delight to read. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  4. Meg. Some great thoughts and insights. I do not know why so many people insist on trying to force their interpretation of how things should be on everyone else. When it comes down to it, we all must eventually submit to the way God sees things because that is how things will be.

    I also do not understand all of the hand and heart wringing over the practice of polygyny either here on this earth as no one is currently commanded (or allowed) to practice it or in the hereafter because God will not force anyone to do something he or she does not wish, if the words to one of our hymns are correct.

    “Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
    To choose his life and what he’ll be;
    For this eternal truth is giv’n:
    That God will force no man to heav’n.”

    I am in the position of one that has a deceased wife to whom I am sealed and a currently living wife to whom I am sealed. I have no idea how that is going to work out in heaven (provided that I make the grade). But I have faith in God that however He works it out, I will be more than happy because I believe that what God has in store for us is better than anything we can imagine and we will find that all of our fears were because we did not trust God enough.


  5. Thanks Meg. I am glad it is a woman who writes this, lest in the writing of it myself I be accused of just being a sex fiend! Not that I could write it with your aplomb. I believe for most it does come down mostly to “icky” and “yucky”, which is totally cultural. Of course some see male domination and and their definition of patriarchy. And many of the harshest critics of polygyny in church circles are completely happy supporting gay and transgender lifestyles. So, with sufficient cultural indoctrination, most people can get over their icky feelings and accept just about anything.
    Love my lawn, and have never once thought it was a way to see invaders, but now that you say it…my wife bought a solar motion sensor light she wants me to put up and I think a clear field of view is necessary to its operation. I guess I’ll keep it for that reason too.

  6. My husband objected to me paraphrasing Mormon and suggesting “eternal monogamy” advocates are in the bonds of iniquity.

    Alas, any hope Mormon’s words might prompt “eternal monogamy” proponents to react appears to have fallen flat.

  7. Thank you for this post, Meg. As someone who’s sealed to a living and a deceased spouse, your words mean a lot.

    FWIW, it’s been my experience that those who preach “eternal monogamy” the loudest have never even been asked to live that principle. Instead it seems to be grounded in their fight against the patriarchy or some misinformed reading of the scriptures that their husband will be given a bevy of wives in the next life.

    (And for anyone who want to learn about my and my wife’s journey to coming to peace with the fact I was sealed to another woman, read my guest blog post in the Millennial Star about this at https://www.millennialstar.org/guest-post-happily-living-with-eternal-polygamy/)

  8. Thank you for such fine thoughts. I went to the SQUARE TWO link to read the article by a Kathy Bence. I apologize for my ingnorance but who are they, SQUARE TWO I mean the people that run the site and what does the site stand for?

  9. Dan Peterson recently characterized Square Two as “one of the more interesting Latter-day Saint publishing ventures…, in which faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints examine contemporary issues.”

    Friends who read Square Two will tell me of interesting articles from time to time. If I remember right, this is the first time a friend told me about a Square Two article they found to be objectionable.

  10. For exalted beings, multiple dimensions of time would solve the “sharing” problem. You would only need one time-line (at least) for each spouse. You would live together “full time” on that time line. But, as exalted beings, you would also have multiple “orthogonal” (if that is the right word) time-lines in which to live “full time” with other spouses.

    This, theoretically, could allow for both polygyny and polyandry.

    Note, only exalted people get to be married at all, and therefore only exalted people could be polygamous anyway. Non-exalted folks, not being “eternal”, would not have access to multiple dimensions of time; they are “immortal” not “eternal.”

    As the square and cube are to the one-dimensional line, so is “eternal” to “immortal”. (I think I’m the first to coin that.)

    Bruce Webster wrote on higher dimensions here:

  11. Most of the articles published on Square Two would be acceptable to most who follow Millennial Star. The article by Kathy Bence reflects some of the gospel theories propounded by Carol Lynn Pearson and others. Sister Pearson wrote some poetry years ago that gained her credibility among Church members. Some view her as a wisewomman, gaining a reputation for wisdom and prophetic insight much like Eliza Roxie Snow. I felt dismay when I first heard of the gospel hobby she adopted in her book ‘ The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy’ because I knew that many would give it credibility on the basis of her previous poetic insights. For those who follow her logic the sealing of more than one woman to any man is a mistake they hope to rectify, however willing and righteous the participants.

  12. It was a fun blast from the past to review Abel’s post, which was resonant with my review of Ms. Pearson’s book.

    As to asserting that multi-dimensional eternity will address a monogamists concern about plurality adds speculation to speculation. Besides, it presumes the plural spouses don’t want to interact, which seems presumptuous, based on my knowledge about how my ancestors bonded with their sisters who shared the same spouse.

    Currently reading Greg Prince’s new book, which discusses the history of the Church’s interactions regarding the matter of same gender attraction, etc. should be ready to post on that this weekend…

  13. Meg — I think you know my position on polyandry. I know what was written by church leaders 180 years ago, but the unqualified language in Handbook 2 on ordinances for the dead states if deceased parties accept the ordinance done on their behalf, and keep the associated covenants, the ordinance is binding. I don’t know enough widows who’ve remarried to have a feel for whether they would want to spend eternity with two or more husbands or not, but I would think surely a woman who’s had two happy marriages would want to spend a happy eternity with both husbands. I have looked hard and long for any official church writings that support and explain the “we don’t seal a living woman to more than one man” policy. I think if we knew and understood the rationale behind the policy, perhaps everything else would be clear. I also think if we’re able to “move on” after the death of a spouse in mortality and remarry, there’s no reason to believe predeceased spouses aren’t “moving on” in the Spirit World, too, at least emotionally, untill the Millennium when they can be sealed, all of which begs the question if one is widowed: Should I remarry?

  14. If one is no longer with a spouse to whom one is sealed, no matter the reason for the solitude, and if one finds another person (with whom one could solemnize nuptials in the temple, whether for mortality or eternity) who makes the heart sing, then absolutely remarry. Hopefully they’re not a selfish creep who abandons you as soon as you become ill, as I’ve seen happened in the case of friends. And hopefully they’re not a nasty person who will take all your money. And hopefully they’re not someone who will challenge your will in a manner that robs your children.

    I’m reminded of a former patriarchy at our stake, whose wife had died. He married another woman who was sealed to her previous husband. When she died of cancer, it was understood that in eternity she would be with the husband to whom she had been sealed. But that was no reason for the two of them to remain lonely during those years that they had together.

  15. Meg, Orthogonal multiple-dimensions of time-lines offers a possible explanation of how the Godhead appears to infinitely multi-task with billions of people.

    i’m sure I don’t have the details right. But In the exalted eternities, or the eternities of the exalted, I would assume that couples could share, either by view or by presence, as many or as few of the availble time-lines as they wish. I would assume that as perfected and glorfied beings, they would “do the right thing”.

    I’m with you in that “it will all work out – it will all be good.” All God’s children will declare His judgements and decrees to be just and good, regardless of final destination. Eventually, we will all be bestowed with the maximum glory that we can withstand, regardless of which kingdom or degree we end up in.

    i’m also with you in that it’s useless, maybe even improper, for us mortals to kvetch about future post-mortal living arrangements given the paucity of details made known so far.

  16. If you’re widowed and fall in love again, yes, get married! I’ve seen too many Latter-day Saint widow(er)s not want to get serious and deny themselves a happy relationship with others because of questions/concerns about how things would work out in the next life. Though I understand the concern, I’m not sold on the idea that we should deny a good relationship in this life because of unanswered questions about the next one.

  17. Several years ago a young couple spoke in a sacrament meeting about their conflict with having another child. The young mother felt that she loved their first child with all her heart and might ignore or deprive another child, or worse, in her mind, deprive the first child by dividing her attention. Without intending to, she became pregnant and discovered that she loved the second child with the same devotion and intensity as the first, in fact not only was her love for the first child not diminished, the love seemed to grow exponentially. After having several other children she began to better appreciate the kind of love God feels.
    I gave birth to ten children and I found that so-called ‘sibling rivalry’ was more likely to manifest when there were fewer siblings. Children in larger families seem to welcome each new baby with joy.
    I am not making a direct analogy between marital and parental love, however in my experience, godly love is not a zero sum game. It is synergistic. In my imagination, if I were married to a godly man with several similarly godly wives I would want to know and appreciate them. It might be fun to have access to my own dimension now and then as in Bookslinger’s speculation, but I would want to have reunions. I just finished watching the opening session of Women’s Conference and the love between the sisters in the leadership of the women’s auxiliaries is palpable. Envy and jealousy are toxic whether between siblings or in organizations. Whether it is through multiple spouses, singular spouses joined in company or some other agency, I am fairly certain that an aspect of Heaven will be cooperation between many to achieve the grand purposes of God.

  18. “I also think if we’re able to “move on” after the death of a spouse in mortality and remarry, there’s no reason to believe predeceased spouses aren’t “moving on” in the Spirit World, too, at least emotionally, untill the Millennium when they can be sealed, all of which begs the question if one is widowed: Should I remarry?”

    Interesting observation, IDIAT. I know things will be finalized by judgement day. Until then, if your spouse sees you from the Spirit World ‘moving on’ (if you will), I cannot assume they will just be absolutely unmoved by it. I can see some rejoicing over it (on one hand of the spectrum) and others feeling abandoned/jealous (on the other hand). These feelings probably will depend somewhat on the relationship the two had in life. What was discussed about what to do after an untimely separation? How did both treat each other in life?

    But all of this is speculation. D&C 131 and 132 speaks of the promise of being Gods together and having an eternal increase and living in the highest glory possible. I like this simplicity and tend to focus on it rather than muse too long about speculations. During the millenium it will become much clearer. We should focus on living our covenants to be found worthy to grow light upon light.

    That said, as for myself, I have decided to simplify my life as much as possible. Only one spouse ever for me. Less stress in this life – and potentially less stress and ‘awkward meetings’ in the next.

  19. Pat Chiu strikes at what I’m getting at. Too often, we view second marriages as two people “just taking care of one another until they’re reunited with their first spouse in the hereafter.” I would like to dispel that notion, and that “understanding.” When a man is married to a second wife in the temple, is there any language in the sealing that says he’ll love Wife No. 2 “less” than Wife No. 1? No. When a widow remarries for time (because she can’t be sealed while alive) is there any language in the temple (time only sealing) or does the Bishop say (if BIshop performs civil ceremony) she is to love Husband 2 “less” than Husband 1? Of course not! When you’re married, you’re married. Couples in a second marriage have the same obligations, feelings, and intimacy with second spouse as they did with first spouse. (See Elder Well’s Ensign Article Uniting Blended Families, August 1997). And that’s what makes this discussion more than academic. I actually know a couple, previously sealed to first spouses, who married. Their second marriage lasted 30 years as they lived to an advanced age. In small talkiong with them before they died, they absolutely hoped they would be together, along with their first spouses. They didn’t know how it would work, but they very much wanted that second marriage relationship to endure. I think couples in second marriages, for the sake of children from first marriage, will comment publicly that they’re just married to take care of one another. But privately? I don’t think you can be married in the truest of senses and not want to be with your spouse for eternity — see Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Marriage That Endures,” Liahona, Jul 2003.

  20. Lucas — I’m with you. It’s why I try to take decent care of myself so hopefully I’ll live long enough so my wife won’t want to find another guy to take my place:). I first started thinking about all this when our second child was born. Small talking, my wife said if I were to die, “of course she would remarry.” (We were both 27 years old) When I asked her if she would say and do all the things (intimate and otherwise) with Husband No. 2 as with me, she had to concede “yes.” Then, I asked, why would you want to be with me in the eternities? She literally could have been married to me for 10 years, then married to Husband No. 2 for the next 50 years. We’ve been married 36 years, so I figure I got another 20 or so years before I won’t have to worry anymore. Like all of you, I know in the end, we’ll be happy and at peace with whatever shakes out. But, it would be nice to have some clear doctrine on plural sealings and their effects throughout eternity.

  21. On the one hand there is desire to have absolute certainty. But an adaptation to the old saying might go:

    If you love a person, set them free.
    If they stay, they’re yours.
    If they leave, they never were yours to begin with.

    A being of free will must be cherished rather than caged. Church doctrine is clear that righteous husbands may be reunited with their otherwise unencumbered righteous wives in eternity. Anything other than that is subject to individual circumstance and choice (presuming acceptable to God).

  22. In the early years of my marriage a friend of my wife’s fell on hard emotional times and came to stay with us for a few weeks. I think they had a wonderful time together during the days, talking and working together.

    One evening as we prepared for bed my wife said that she though polygamy would be OK. Then after a long pause she added, “except at bedtime . . . ”

    My response was a two word phrase known to all married men . . . “Yes, dear!”

  23. My ancestor, John W. Taylor, was married to six women. His second wife was named Nellie, and every time she gave birth she hemorrhaged heavily. John came to the decision that he could no longer allow her to risk her life. So apparently he ceased having conjugal relations, though he continued to spend time with her and their children together.

    I suppose it rankled her that he continued to engender children with his other wives, but the only recorded sentiment was her rage that he refused to engender additional children with her. He eventually relented and she gave birth to two additional children before he died of cancer.

    We live in a world that celebrates the companionate nature of marriage, so we focus on the challenges associated with sharing a companion with someone else. But the thrust of biblical law (which is consistent with modern Church doctrine) is the conjugal or reproductive legacy of marriage. That sort of marriage is about fidelity for a reason very different from trust between companions and much more about families trusting that they aren’t caring for offspring from unsanctioned interlopers.

  24. I read a story published on ldsliving.com where Dallin Oaks was interviewed. He expressed uncertainty as to whether or not there would be polygamy in the eternities. This was after his marriage to his second wife. So be careful of your certainties.

  25. I have a female friend who remarried following the death of her husband. She thoroughly loves both men. Why should she be asked to choose between them in the eternities? And why should the children born in such a second marriage have to sacrifice being sealed to both their biological parents?

    [Becky, your question flirts with violation of the comment policy, particularly inasmuch as your e-mail address isn’t valid. Either trust God or don’t. Either trust that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s instrument for bringing salvation to His children or don’t. Angry hypotheticals that come straight from the “Faith Crisis: How to Have One” playbook are not appreciated. – Meg]

  26. From ldsving.com interview with Dallin Oaks:
    “I have learned from many letters received since my remarriage that many who have lost a spouse have questions about the effects of remarriage on family relationships in the eternities to come. There are so many different circumstances involving parents and children, and so little is known about the circumstances of the next life, that it is not possible to give answers to most questions. Some gospel doctrines are revealed only in part. Often, because we do not have these doctrines in their entirety, we cannot tell how they will apply to our individual circumstances.”
    I think that is what Joey refers to.

  27. I will point out that what Joey inferred from President Oaks’s legalistically and pastorally careful answer is not what President Oaks said.

  28. Meg, the best men I know have cared for offspring from unsanctioned interlopers. If marriage was really about caring only for your own biological offspring, no one would ever marry someone with a child from a prior marriage or relationship. No one would adopt. No one would forgive adultery that resulted in pregnancy. And no woman or man would marry someone with children from a prior marriage.
    One of the greatest changes I have witnessed in my lifetime is the acceptance that men and women are alike unto God, clearly taught in the scriptures, but not so clearly taught in the Church during my lifetime. So many of the prior interpretations of how gender roles affect our lives here and in eternity have been completely upended in the statements of current Church leaders. Why should Carol Lynn Pearson not express her feelings about polygamy and the effects our belief in it have on our marriages here and now? She lived through the time at BYU when one of the stupidest talks I have ever read about the place of women became a BYU speech of the year, basically telling women they were just appendages to men. You can see her trying to reconcile this “doctrine” in one of her early poems about being a flowering and fruitful branch to a man’s trunk. Is it any wonder she learned to reject such falsehoods? We have been specifically warned in the Doctrine and Covenants that sin comes from following the traditions of the fathers, in other words from false teachings we accept because they are part of our culture. We need to be questioing; it is part of the growth expected of us in mortality.
    What we teach and the words we use have eternal consequences because they guide the choices we make here. I am grateful to live in a time the prophets have acknowledged that in word and deed, particularly in recent talks given by Dallin Oaks about women’s priesthood power and authority, and in actions taken by the First Presidency. Do we really believe our greater understanding came about because they decided the prophets had already spoken, so God had nothing else to teach us? Or because they recognized something was not right in our interpretations and teachings and needed to be changed?
    Perhaps we need a discussion on women having multiple husbands in eternity. Based on the number of boys vs. girls born (as much as 5% more) and how all those excess boys are deceased by age 12, we have literally billions more men who need wives in the celestial kingdom than we have women who need husbands. Will the men be happy to accept extra husbands for their righteous wives in order for these men to be sealed into eternal families? Or is this really about having sex with multiple partners, okay for me but not for my wife?

  29. Meg,
    I do not know why you choose to characterize Becky’s comment as an ‘angry hypothetical. One of my friends is in exactly the situation she described. She has met with her bishop a number of times to express her concerns regarding it. It is no angry hypothetical in her life because her children refuse to be sealed to her and their non-biological father. It is a matter of current concern for which her bishop has no answer that satisfies her or her children.
    And I think if you choose to post on such controversial topics, you shouldn’t be attacking the opinions of others who disagree with your interpretations. Their disagreements with your arguments does not mean they constitute failure to support the Church leaders. It means they believe in President Nelson’s statement that the Restoration is not complete and changes are coming. If you are free to speculate on eternity, why shouldn’t they? This doctrine is hardly set in stone. Brigham Young once taught that a man who only had one wife in this life could not expect to keep her in the world to come. Later prophets disavowed that.

  30. If that was the quote that Joey was referring to, it was widely taken out of context. Here’s the link to the article as well as the preceding paragraph before that quote. Sounds like Oaks not only believes he’ll have two wives in the next life but wanted to make sure his second wife was comfortable with it too.

    “It was also important to both of us that Kristen felt comfortable about becoming a “second wife.” She understood the eternal doctrine of relationships. She was becoming part of an existing eternal family unit, and she has always been eager to honor and include June. In tribute to June she often says, “I am so thankful for the influence of a righteous woman who refined Dallin and the children into the husband and family I love today.””


  31. To Tj, Becky’s comments were hypothetical for her. Obviously there are families facing the situation she cites. My acerb comments in response to what she said was informed by the fact that she’s not merely trolling, but either can’t spell her own e-mail address or was intentionally providing a bogus e-mail address.

    To Kim, I don’t recall asserting that “marriage was really about caring only for your own biological offspring…,”

    I agree that “We need to be questioning; it is part of the growth expected of us in mortality.”

    You say “Perhaps we need a discussion on women having multiple husbands in eternity.” IDIAT has been having that discussion with me since 2014 (if not 2013). The question becomes what God intends with respect to how intelligences are invited to become spirits and then nurtured. I have no idea what God thinks is optimal for this, but I am willing to let Him determine that rather than forcing my mortal understanding on Him. In the mean time, I’m happy to be patient with whatever Church leadership suggests.

  32. Meg, I did not parse Becky’s comment as trolling either.

    Because a deceased woman is then sealed to all her mortal husbands (a living woman can only be sealed to one man at a time, living or deceased, right?) , that seems to leave open the possibility of polyandry in the eternities.

    There have been teachings that children begotten between a sealed-widow and her second husband “belong” to her and her deceased first husband (ie, levirate marriage.) But the fact that the church then seals her to her second husband after her death, leaves open at least the possibility of other arrangements.

    I think I’m with you in that the over-arching principles will be:
    a) everything will work out.
    b) it will all be good, and in accordance with eternal laws/principles.
    c) every exalted being will be happy with the outcomes, whatever those are.

    So if children-of-second-marriages want to hope for polyandry and being sealed to their biological father, I think it still acceptable to nod and say that that is at least possible.

    That, and … multiple dimensions of time.

  33. Kim,
    I acknowledge that there are more male babies born than female. However, it is an assumption to think that _has always been_ the case, and _will always be_ the case. We don’t know the ratio before records were kept, and all bets are off for what happens in the Millennium.

    Also, for at least as long as history has been kept, those of us males who do make it to adulthood have consisted of a higher percentage of dirty-rotten-scoundrels/headed-for-the-Telestial-Kingdom types than women do.

    IOW, while 100% of children, male and female, who die make it to the CK, _it would seem_ that a much higher percentage of adult women _would_ make it than adult men, more than negating the 5% excess males being born.

    Further evidence:
    a) missionaries baptize more women than men, and
    b) have you seen the sex ratio at church Single Adult functions?

    Or, as Brigham Young supposedly said “Hell (or was it Outer Darkness?) is mostly men.”

  34. Bookslinger, if the recent estimate given on Familysearch is correct, about 110 billion people have been born on this planet. The excess 5% males means 5.5 billion extra males who die young and are available for celestial marriage, far more than any females baptized or in the singles programs. Yes, we do not know if what is always was or will be, but unless God has a lot of extra righteous women left to bring to earth or brought a lot more in the past than we know about, it is looking good for eternal polyandry.
    And Meg, I believe you owe Becky an apology. Labelling someone a troll, calling their example angry and implying they are parading a faith crisis says much about your inability to tolerate someone disagreeing with your opinion.
    I hate this topic. I watched it cause endless pain and heartache during the 25 years I spent in singles wards. Numerous divorced men found it hard to remarry because women did not want a man still sealed to his former wife. One bishop’s wife took several opportunities to clearly tell the single women that they were never to believe she would approve her husband being sealed again if she died first no matter what spiritual prompting they thought they received. One woman drove her ex-husband’s second wife from the church following his death. And new spouses of both sexes verbally trashed the ex-spouse, proclaimed themselves the eternal spouse and claimed that the children and grandchildren belonged to the new marriage for eternity. My favorite behavior was the men divorced multiple times telling everyone they would have all their ex-wives and children in the next life. And informing the women that the bishop had assured them the children belonged to them since they had the priesthood.
    This topic may be of interest to a small minority, but those affected could use more light and knowledge. Joseph Smith told us we could identify the truth of the gospel because it tasted good. For many, polygamy here or eternally, tastes bad and we reject it the same way Sarah rejected Hagar and Ishmael with the Lord telling Abraham to follow her demand.

  35. “One bishop’s wife took several opportunities to clearly tell the single women that they were never to believe she would approve her husband being sealed again if she died first no matter what spiritual prompting they thought they received”

    So what. What authority does a bishop’s wife have over the witness of the Holy Spirit?

    “I hate this topic.”

    Yeah, you’re not the only one.

  36. Could those of us who believe polygamy in the next life would constitute Outer Darkness be left alone. We are clear. We do not want to defy God but this would harm our feelings of self-worth, our sense of an exclusive relationship with someone. God is clear that He will tolerate no other Gods. We too have passions which require us to speak frankly. There are things you share and things that are made sacred by not sharing them. I have found that in order to truly love someone completely, in the way that exists in the best marriages, I need to feel my husband is mine and mine alone. A friend told me she feels she could enter polygamy so long as she did not actually love her husband. After all, it is only sex, and that can be satisfying with many men. But I hope for something more. And in the polygamous relationships in the scriptures, there is always the loved wife and the others. No one ever gives a talk about Abraham and his eternal wife Hagar or Jacob and his adoration of Leah. Who wants to be Leah or Hagar in mortality, let alone eternity?

  37. Hey, Hagar is cool. Leah is also cool, coming up with that mandrake trade. I frankly find Rachel to be a bit pitiable, what with stealing her father’s idols (presumably so she could continue worshipping them) and then lying about it. Sarai/Sarah is fiesty, even if no one talks about how Pharaoh was in love with her.

    I have seven female ancestors who were married to a man who had other wives. One was the first wife (Agnes, wife of James Taylor, father of the John Taylor who became prophet). All the others weren’t first wives, but they were beloved and adored, both by their husband and the other women in the family.

    I suppose a favorite story is about Mary Bell, who was 16 when the other wives of Joseph Leland Heywood asked him to marry Bell, who was his ward, because they all loved her and they didn’t want to lose her to a suitor who would take her from the family.

    Emma Lucinda Holmes was similar. Her two sisters had married Job Welling, and English widower. The sisters tried to persuade Emma Lucinda to join them in marriage to Welling, but she resisted from some years. Then they asked her to accompany Job to General Conference while the sisters remained at home (one was giving birth that week and the other was serving as midwife). At Conference, Job was called to be a missionary in Australia. Sometime during the following month Emma married Job and became pregnant with her first child. Job would write home delightful crossed letters to his beloved MPE (Marietta, Phoebe, and Emma Lucinda). In 1900 the three sisters and the surviving children had a picture taken. Shortly thereafter, the family had an image of Job’s first wife inserted into a convenient corner of the group photo. Interestingly, no one bothered trying to paste a picture of Job into the group shot (he had died about 15 years earlier).

    Elvira Cowles [Holmes] named Emma Lucinda after Emma Hale [Smith], for whom Elvira had worked as governess. Elvira was one of those who covenanted with Joseph Smith prior to his death in 1844. When Elvira died, the line of mourners reportedly stretched for a mile. Though Elvira was relatively obscure, she was great friends with many we remember from the past.

    Sophia Whitaker was one of the English ladies who married John Taylor. I think everyone feels John particularly loved Margaret, with whom he enjoyed an intellectual bond. But when Sophia had a stroke, it was her home the federal agents staked out, certain that John Taylor would risk capture to comfort her. Whether John was able to visit Sophia before her death is unknown. What is known is that the federal agents didn’t apprehend him. Within the family Sophia’s death is presumed to be one of the key factors that led to his death two months later.

    Eliza Roxie Welling was named after Elvira’s good friend and fellow Relief Society officer, Eliza Roxcy Snow. Nettie Wooley [Taylor] reported that while hiding underground during the 1890s she had a dream/vision of seeing a beautiful woman in a dream and hearing the words, “This is John’s fourth wife.” Nettie’s husband, John W. Taylor, was an apostle, and Nettie had become his third wife shortly before the Manifesto was issued. For nearly a decade Nettie would scan every room, alert to find this dreamed woman and prevent the union, which would violate the Manifesto. After spending time in the temple with John, Nettie returned home and found that her children were not being watched by a local widow (Emma Lucinda Welling), but by Emma’s daughter. Seeing the dream woman in her home was such a shock to Nettie that Nettie fainted. John, concerned for Nettie’s health and the health of his second wife, Nellie, reached out to the Welling widows and asked if they had two young ladies who would make appropriate assistants for his Farmington wives (Nellie and Nettie). Since one of Nettie’s children was the writer Samuel Taylor, we have the details of why Nettie believed John would marry Eliza Roxie. Apparently Nellie had a similar conviction that John would marry Eliza’s sister, Phoebe, but those details are lost to history. All of John W. Taylor’s wives adored him, to the point that they refused to remarry after his death of cancer (and each of these lovely ladies had serious suitors).

    The seventh lady was Mary Bell’s mother, Mary Leamon Bell, who technically married the already-married Hezekiah Peck in Nauvoo. However that doesn’t really count, since Peck only “married” Mary Leamon [Bell] because any man who stood proxy for the deceased husband of a widow in a 1840s Nauvoo sealing ceremony was subsequently married to the proxy “for time.”

    Where some see plural wives and think “ick!” I see stories of families who loved one another and had great and grand adventures.

  38. Meg, Knowing how strongly many feel about this, and how the Church warns us that the role of Satan is one who creates contention among the followers of God, I can only believe you should be avoided at all costs.

  39. Hi Francine,

    I suspect you are being guided by Russell Nelson’s 1986 talk, “The Canker of Contention.” That, or certain scriptures President Nelson cites, such as 3 Nephi 11:29-30.

    However I do not understand President Nelson to be saying that we may not disagree. And I do not think that “Let [all things] be done… in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” is consistent with telling the internet that I should be avoided at all costs.

    For what it’s worth, folks on the internet had said all manner of derisive things about me. Fairly recently a paper I submitted to the JWHA journal was rejected because my paper defends Joseph Smith as a good man. The same paper was rejected by Mormon Interpreter because I suggest it is possible that some early Church leaders were flawed and repented.

    Usually people read my posts and either say nothing or mention that they agree with me. It’s actually been somewhat depressing this past year.

    For what it’s worth, my initial post here at M* was titled “Faithful Joseph.” And I still believe that it is entirely possible that Joseph never engaged in sexuality with anyone other than Emma. Yet there are those so threatened by the possibility that Joseph Smith was functionally a monogamist that people were threatening on Facebook to unfriend anyone who mentioned my name.

    Those you feel I am contending with would be very happy with a sexually monogamous Joseph, I suspect. Yet this leaves the question of why we are sealed to one another. My assertion is that scripture and prophets/apostles/female leaders have been unanimous in telling us God’s purpose is to save mankind, all who will accept God. I assert that sealing all members of the family of mankind through temple ordinances is the way in which that is to be done (and in this I am consistent with all statements made by authorized representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

    It is for this reason that I warn against the unintended consequences of elevating monogamy as an eternal standard.

  40. BTW, Francine, it appears you left a letter out of your email address.

    I was trying to figure out which logical fallacy your comment falls into. I think it is sterotyping. Because you feel I am discussing a contentious subject, and since you feel all contention should be avoided, you are telling the internet that I am to be avoided at all costs.

  41. Tj mentioned a woman who had children, but who subsequently married a man who was not the father of her children.

    The woman has embraced the gospel and apparently been sealed to the man to whom she is currently married. She wishes her children to be sealed to her. Since she is sealed to her husband, who is not the biological father of the children, her children are refusing to be sealed to her.

    There is an interesting historical precedent, which occurred in the family of Joseph F. Smith. Alice Kimball had married one of the sons of Apostle Rich, but that son was a bad seed and ended up getting convicted in relation to a bank robbery. I don’t know if he killed anyone, but I was told that the common perception was that the United States used the example of bank-robber Rich as proof that plural marriage was an evil practice, then used that emotional argument to help pass the Edmunds-Tucker Act.

    Alice divorced felon Rich and subsequently married Joseph F. Smith. Joseph F. Smith decided it would be more pleasing if the children were sealed to himself rather than leaving them born in the covenant to felon Rich.

    Spencer Kimball, I was told by the friend who was descended from felon Rich and Alice Kimball, was of the opinion that Joseph F. Smith had erred in having the Rich children sealed to himself.

    I would suggest to the lovely lady that she love her children and simply request that they have themselves sealed to her and whatever man it pleased them after she dies. And then they can let God sort things out in eternity.

    For my part, my first child was born in the covenant while I was married to her father. After I divorced her father, I remarried in the temple. We have never bothered trying to “fix” the way my daughter was connected to the family of mankind via covenant. It hasn’t been an issue for her, even though she has fraught feelings towards her bio-dad and rather adores her step-father, my current husband.

  42. I appreciate you posting this. I wish it were unnecessary, but as I see it, the internet status quo seems to be that we must accept plural marriage is wrong and icky.

    So those who can’t help themselves deserve an occasional opposing voice like this.

    That said, there are somethings that we don’t need to get ahead of the prophets and shout from the roof tops, if they aren’t doing so. So we should be balanced in this.

    My feeling is that those who contend opposite of this post are just wrong. And those who want to bring up this subject are probably not using the best judgement, from a spiritual perspective. How do I claim that? By looking at what the Lord’s servants are saying and doing…

    From an academic, theoretical one, I’ve got no issues. But it’s clearly dicey. Those who are sickened by this issue no doubt have faced real trauma that informs their feeling, so we should be kind. It doesn’t make it right though.

    I think any consideration of knowing God must contend with just what kind of hell that we go through on Earth that is equally an unparalleled Paradise… when we observe everything else in the known universe.

    Well, we’re blessed beyond measure so much that we can find the devil in the midst of paradise. For some this might be a tangent or punting on a difficult issue, but the more I experience and learn the less I’m worked up by doctrinal arguments when I consider so much tragedy wrapped in the literal miracle of our existence.

  43. Renae: Sorry, my logic chain wasn’t clear.

    I didn’t mean that there are 5.5 billion excess righteous women in the singles program. I used the fact of more women than men in the singles program as an illustration that way more than 5% of men, in any size sample, are unrighteous a-holes who will never make it to the CK. In my defense, I offer that as “guesstimate-opinion” and not a “judgement.” 😉

    IOW, the 5% “excess” are more than “made up” by the, oh… let me pick a number, just guessing…, 20% of the males who do make it to adulthood who are doomed to the Telestial for being such pig-dogs.

    I have no official/formal studies or surveys to back this up, other than
    a) way more men in prison than women.
    b) my observations of human nature. I am more confident that much more than 5% of men are “Telestial”, than in the figure of 5% excess males going all the way back to Adam.

    Or, if I’m still not using correct math-wording, let me try this… the percent of men who are wicked (and headed for the TK) surely exceeds the percent of women who are wicked, by at least, and probably much more than, 5 points.

    I think women will outnumber men in the CK, and men will outnumber women in the Terrestrial and Telestial. Just my two cents.

  44. Book – “my observations of human nature”

    I completely agree with your assessment of men being prone to being “pig dogs”. Men tend to be more prone to breaking the law, violence, sexual abuse, anger, etc. That being said, women tend to be less forgiving, more cowardly, depressed, manipulative, judgmental. Anytime you point out women’s flaws people object, but this is well documented and of course, in demographic statistics you have state as a given that these are averages that don’t necessarily apply to every specific individual, and it’s the extreme segments of the population that typical account for the major social problem/differences.

    But all that said, the whole point of me wading into that minefield is the following:
    I’m not sure why the Lord is more forgiving of a personality flaw common among men (let’s say men’s tendency toward outward physical hostility) than women (let’s say women’s inner physical hostility toward’s self).

    Families and society suffers dramatically from physically violent men. Families and society suffers dramatically from depressed women.

    We imprison men for their psychological issues.
    We create medications and expensive therapy treatments and support networks for women’s issues.

    Let’s not be so harsh to condemn men to outer darkness just yet. I’m saddened when I see my son try to control is outward directed anger at things. I’m no less saddened when I see my daughter turn inward and rage at herself.

  45. I detect a math problem.

    When we look at modern numbers, China has 118 males for every 100 females and Rwanda (where I presume abortion is rarely practiced due to general poverty and social attitudes) has 101 males for every 100 females.

    China’s ratio is acknowledged to be due to the elective abortion of girls.

    I suggest it is more rationale to project that there are 1-2 extra males per 200 individuals born. Using the 60 billion number, that would suggest there have been an extra 300 million males. Using the 110 billion number someone raised, that’s still less than a billion.

    Ignoring numbers and the hope that everyone ever born will be paired with a celestial partner in eternity, there is the matter of how we unite the family of mankind now. We need to create welding links from every child to their mother and at least one man the mother was married to. If every woman and all her children are united, the every man gets welded in as a byproduct (all being children of a mother). Obviously current Church policy is to allow posthumous dealings between all children (adopted or biological) with the mother and whichever husband(s) the one performing ordinances cares to include.

    The important thing is to perform saving ordinances for every child of age ever born into the family of mankind.

  46. libcon, good points. I think we also tend to project (or assume) current western attitudes on non-western cultures, and to project/assume modern attitudes on previous generations, when such really isn’t the case.

    I’ve met at least one person who thought the CK is going to be the most populous kingdom, and the TK the least. THat could be possible due to:
    a) so many dying before age of accountability, (guaranteed exaltation).
    b) so many living/dying without ever being exposed to the gospel, (guaranteed at least the CK, if not exaltation.)

    For some reason, maybe the passage “and few there be who go in thereat” and my take on sec 76, I’ve assumed the TK to be the most populous, and the CK to be the least. But I will be happy to be proven wrong.

    Yes, we all, men and women, have flaws, and are sinful. My assumption is that men are more prone to do the kinds of things that are going to “bump us down a kingdom”.

    I also apologize for the harsh tone and over-the-top nature of my previous comments on this thread.

    Meg, That’s good to refocus the thread on what we can/should focus our efforts on: making the linkages through ordinances.

    Another related question for you, Meg. Since the Church of the Firstborn, ie, the exalted folks, is eternal, going on where the non-exalted lower orders of the CK don’t go, … have you ever thought that there will be a “second sealing” that links up _only_ the folks who are in the Church of the Firstborn?

    If a family “chain” criss-crosses the 3 kingdoms, won’t that chain be “broken” and have gaps when the exalted order of the CK “moves on” ?

  47. Presuming the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eschatology is correct (as I presume), then God will make it possible for all to enjoy the most expansive life in eternity they can bear.

    In cases where someone has effectively opted out due to their own, personal, preferences, then adjustments will be made.

    We think of sealing as between a woman and a man and between a child and parents. But if we remember that God is also part of that sealing (perhaps the most important of the triune members of any such sealing), then we can see that God holds together the cloth of desire and hope that makes up the eternal family of mankind. Whether it is needful for God to rearrange individuals within that fabric to make it whole is up to Him.

    I also recommend consideration of Heber Q. Hales’s vision circa 1920. While not canonized, it was shared with Church membership (I’m thinking Church leadership had Heber read it in General Conference). In this vision, we were all busy and all were present together, independent of kingdom. In this version of eternity (versus an idea that the Celestial Kingdom is physically separated from the “wicked”) we may maintain precious associations even if an individual we love did not make choices requisite for the highest level of Celestial glory.

  48. By the way, Carrie talked about Leah, suggesting that no one wants to be a Leah.

    I forgot to point out that Leah was Jacob’s first wife. So in a monogamous eternity, Jacob would only be married to Leah. That would leave Joseph and Benjamin as eternal bastards (and Ephraim and Manassas would be eternal bastard grandkids). Unless those proponing eternal monogamy have a way to clarify how the children of “inconvenient” wives get to be sealed into the family of mankind.

  49. Meg, I looked up Heber Hales’ 1920 vision of his visit to the _pre-resurrection spirit world_. That fits in with my understanding of the pre-resurrection spirit world, that missionary work and temple/genealogy work is paramount there.

    My take on the word “eternities” is that “eternities” don’t start until post resurrection/judgement. So when we talk of “eternal” families/monogamy/polygamy, I’ve always assumed that we’re talking about arrangements post-Judgement Day, as described in Section 76. (Yes, families still exist in the post-mortal/pre-resurrection spirit world. But it’s still a “work in prorgess” in that time frame.)

    So… I still have my questions on how to parse/unpack section 76, but acknowledge that that bit of scripture may be more of a “teaser”, and not to be dwelt on. Basic principles, Genealogy/Temple work, enduring to the end… all need to be our primary focus.

  50. “Unless those proponing eternal monogamy have a way to clarify how the children of “inconvenient” wives get to be sealed into the family of mankind.”

    I don’t think this is necessarily the case, if a marriage was illegitimate in the mind of the future spouse (ie would the plural wife have consented, if there were good alternative?).

    You are very creative in seeing solutions with your plural marriage series. So you could be more creative if you wished.

    Consider a future state where a wife did not wish to be sealed it was not worthy to a husband. Wouldn’t that make the kids bastards too, according to your logic?

    It ALL rests on agency. The righteous use of agency. It overrides it all. It’s so important the Father watched in agony as his blameless Son took all the blame. He watches as his children continue to do unspeakable things to each other now. Sometimes even in his name.

    That reality must be included into our understanding of God in our faith.

    So, I can see a future state where the wife would not be sealed and the husband and children would happily be adopted into a righteous family and through the priesthood sealing power even experience a fullness of what life could have and should have been like were the children of men to live and act righteously in their time. Consider it a not only being aware of, but actually experiencing in memory multiple time states in a parallel universe.

    But if I can imagine a son who is content to be adopted mentally into an alternate universe of genealogy, due to the righteousness of those involved, then I can also imagine a wife who recognises that the worth of souls is great a Godly exalted plural union with someone perfect by definition would not be lacking in anything meaningful. Our mortal procreative biology is surely linked to eternity. So procreatively, the possibility for plural marriage can still make sense.

    The only aspect that doesn’t make sense is our stubborn ideas of emotional attachment or intimacy being impossible in a plural situation. Yes, I don’t say that lightly. But I just can’t help take what thousands of years of recorded history shows about mans barbarism, and God patiently telling his destroying angels to stay their hand… With what amounts to basic jealously over eternal … What? Inequality of intimate feelings or something?

    I don’t belittle those feelings, except to acknowledge they’re very real, deeply rooted in our humanity, often linked to our overreactions and pride, and way way way below the various legitimate travesties that exist.

    Being married into a righteous family isn’t a travesty. If God said wives had plural husbands, I’d feel no different. I’d wonder how such a situation made sense, but a perfect God requiring it would see further than I could.

    All the fuss over this issue people feign is tragic. If they aren’t feigning, see a psychiatrist or talk to your Bishop because no one is asking you to live it — and if they are then talk to your Bishop or Stake President asap. If you can’t stomach the idea of being a part of it, consider the one who stomached standing by while the work which made your resurrection possible took place in the Savior’s mortality. We’re his heirs — that means we’ll be like him.

  51. Is it possible that careful attention to the actual temple covenant structure, which is now a bit more clearly articulated in temple ceremony, could inform this discussion? I have personally found it both fascinating and satisfying to take these wonderful questions concerning polygamy, polyandry, multiple probations, resurrections, dimensions etc. to my Heavenly Parents… who for years, I might add, have been more than a little forth coming! 🙂

    When it comes to the actual ceremony performed in the temple, which connects a man and a women in a “legal and lawful marriage” within the “new and everlasting covenant” I found it wonderful to identify the “sealing” portion of THIS Ordinance to be in obvious reference to the Sealing of “The Blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities…..etc.” UPON each individual participant and according to each person’s individual “faithfullness” to personal covenant promises PREVIOUSLY made with The Lord. I believe it is both interesting and noteworthy to listen carefully to the distinctions made in the two different ordinances performed in the sealing rooms of our temples.

    The combination of my understanding of the quite discernable difference between these two ordinances is what most beautifully serves me. As I am paying attention to my own priority vertical covenant connection with The Father and The Son, I find a more, graceful and increased capacity to form connected, horizontal “witness” relationships with ALL of my fellow brothers and sisters.

    I have noticed that the more I make metaphorical “witness couple” connections with fellow covenant making brothers and sisters on the same journey, the less likely I am to worry about “who gets who” in a future glorious dimension!

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