Sustainable Polygamy

By: Bored in Vernal
December 31, 2010

With a 2004 lawsuit came the coining of the term “Lost Boys” to describe those young men in the FLDS community who have been cast out — ostensibly to reduce competition for older men in the sect who marry large numbers of younger wives. This phenomenon is apparently limited to the FLDS because of the extremely closed nature of the community and other factors peculiar to the group.  Despite this, the term “Lost Boys” is now widely used to describe the unsustainable nature  of polygamy in general. The generalization of FLDS practices to polygamy as a whole is far too prevalent for my taste.

For example, the reference case on polygamy unfolding in B.C. Supreme Court of Canada features dozens of lawyers, a series of expert witnesses and a weighty cache of written material. The case also features affidavits of people who live, or used to live, in communities where polygamy is practiced. The goal in hearing the testimony of these witnesses is to decide whether laws prohibiting polygamy in Canada should be upheld. Is polygamy in itself a criminal practice that should remain illegal based on harm to women, children and society? Or can the practice be separated from abuse which may occur equally in other segments of the population? What has fascinated and exasperated me has been the spotlight on the specific FLDS practice of polygamy throughout the testimony. Canada’s polygamists run the gamut from liberal practitioners of polyamory to Islamist polygyny. Estimates put the number of Canada’s multiple-spouse families between 2200 and 18,000, compared to the 33 families at Bountiful with an FLDS background.  It seems strange that in this venue the battle is being fought on the basis of the practices of a small unrepresentative sect.

So, in considering whether or not polygamy is sustainable, let’s move on beyond the few hundred “lost boys” of the FLDS!  I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while, and in my last post, two scenarios were mentioned.  The first, by commenter Thomas, I mention with tongue in cheek:

“All you need to make it sustainable is to adopt a warrior-ethic tribal model, like the Afghans, American Indians (historically), or some of the rougher species of great apes. That has a twofold payoff: You get to raid the next tribe over for their women, plus you get your surplus males killed off. There’s your Sustainable Polygamy model right there.”

I mention this scenario only to show that one needn’t insist that there are always surplus males in a polygamist community, even if the multiple spouse marriages are wholly polygynous.  Off the top of my head, I can think of others, such as a community where sizeable groups of males serve vital roles as celibate priests or shamans.  Or what about small open groups of polygamists located within a larger society where there is a high degree of divorce,adultery, and other forms of marital turnover? (hm, sounds awfully familiar..)

But the situation I’d really like to discuss with this post has been presented by Justin on his (oft-linked) post at LDSAnarchy, Tribal Relationships. In Justin’s model, small intimate tribal groups are formed on the basis of multi-male, multi-female relationships. Men and women share partners within the tribe, making it both polygynous and polyandrous. In his post, Justin explores how this model of polygamy is sustainable, both physically (our bodies are designed to engage in concurrent sexual relationshps within a group/tribal setting) and emotionally (while we enjoy pair-bonding, sexual satisfaction decreases over time and both males and females crave the stimulation of new partners). Justin decries the current model of assigning men and women to relationships of ownership and exclusivity. He encourages instead a tribal system where all things are held in common, including spouses.

I am fascinated with how well this fits with some of what we know about Joseph Smith’s approach to polygamy. It doesn’t disturb me to contemplate that Joseph’s taking of multiple partners came from his robust, passionate and libidinous personality.  However, I also like to view Joseph’s polyandry as an effort to experiment with and transform social structures, as well as a desire to follow what he considered spiritual direction. Otherwise, his sealings to women who were already married is difficult to explain.

Justin’s approach begins to diverge with Mormon thought, however, when compared with traditions and texts.  After Joseph’s brief alliances, succeeding Mormon leaders embraced polygyny as the sole form of multiple spouse partnership, eventually abandoning even this variation on the Western monogamous model of the family. Justin seems to view the tribal arrangement as workable, if not completely countenanced, for active modern Latter-day Saints.  I can’t imagine this to be the case.  And there are difficulties reconciling such a system with our primary documents on marriage and the family.

D&C 132, a treatise on plural marriage for Latter-day Saints, sets forth laws governing the “plurality of wives,” with instructions on forming polygynous unions.  I invite Justin or other interested persons to reconcile this section of the Doctrine and Covenants with a tribal system of marriages to multiple spouses of both genders. Throughout the revelation, women are “given” to men in marriage.  Emma, our prototype, is commanded to “receive” women into her household, and to cleave to Joseph and none else. If she does not abide this law, she is told, she will be destroyed; while Joseph will be crowned with (other) wives and children, and an hundredfold of blessings. Furthermore, it seems clear that once a woman contracts with a man to be his wife, she is to raise up seed to him only. She cannot be with another man, or it is adultery (see verses 61-63). This same condition is not required of a man, for he is permitted multiple spouses under the new and everlasting covenant. The Law of Sarah seems even more problematic to a tribal system.  According to this provision, a woman can approve or disapprove a man’s choice of additional wives.  However the caveat is that if she does not approve, she becomes the transgressor, and is destroyed, and her husband is exempt from having to seek her approval. No such law is mentioned for a man, nor is there provision for women to seek additional spouses.

It is no wonder that Mormon women may become agitated by this presentation of plural marriage.  I certainly hope Justin can show how the tribal system fits into this paradigm, for I am rather partial to the communitarian vision of celestial marital relations presented by this group of LDS anarchists.

I know that Mormon polygamy is a particularly loaded subject, and I suppose that rants are expected. But I’d really like to consider the tribal system on its merits in a somewhat dispassionate way. First, do you think Justin’s tribal system is sustainable?  (And if you bring up Lost Boys, you’d better be prepared to show me where this phenomenon has ever occurred besides among the Warren Jeffs-led FLDS, a mere segment of the Mormon-based polygamous population.) Is a tribal system more fair and equitable for females than monogamy or polygyny? Next, do you think this fits with polygamy in Nauvoo? Could Joseph had something like the tribal system in mind with his polygynous/polyandrous/male-to-female/male-to-male sealings?  Lastly, how does D&C 132 fit in? (Extra points if you include analysis of the history of the document!)

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158 Responses to Sustainable Polygamy

  1. MoHoHawaii on December 31, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Sexual dimorphism in a primate species correlates well with how polygamous that species is. When the differences in body size between males and females of the primate species is very large, you can predict a large amount of polygamy, and indeed this is the case with gorillas. This correlation makes a lot of sense because in these cases sexual selection would depend mostly on male competition rather than female choosiness.

    The fascinating part of this is when you plot incidence of polygamy against the ratio of male to female body weights across various species of primates, our particular species falls exactly where you’d expect on the trend line: men are slightly larger than women, and human beings are slightly polygamous.

    I find this beyond fascinating. For all our talk of culture and social influences, to a rough degree of approximation our behavior as a species fits right in with the data from other primates. Culture and biology are linked in a way– culture can affect sexual selection, and this over many generations affects biological traits like relative body size. Behavior and biology evolve together.

    We can debate culture and religion all we want, but the modest difference in human male and female body sizes indicates that polygamy is not the norm for our species. We’re more like bonobos than gorillas in this respect. For this reason I throw my hat in with those who say that polygamy is not particularly stable organizing principle for human populations.

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  2. Bored in Vernal on December 31, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    MoHo, is this body size linked to polygamy or polygyny?

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  3. MoHoHawaii on December 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Yes, polygyny only.

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  4. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    This is long — so forgive any typos that there may be.

    First, do you think Justin’s tribal system is sustainable?
    Given that when humans lived as hunter/gatherers — our communities were multihusband-multiwife tribes, I’d have to say that it was more sustainable than what we are doing now.

    Liberate the masses from the monogamous restrictions [laws of illegality] placed upon them and then it will be manifest what form of marriage mankind would naturally choose. The multihusband-multiwife system would quickly make monogamy obsolete.

    Monogamy’s “success” is a direct result of the state’s monopoly on marriage and its extreme prejudice against anything else [coercion] – just as communism’s success was a direct result of the state forcing people to accept it. But monogamy should be viewed in terms of the divorce, separation, and infidelity rates among monogamists. It is really serial monogamy that is the order of the day.

    Is a tribal system more fair and equitable for females than monogamy or polygyny?
    Anthropology, behavioral biology, and physiology back up Joseph Smith’s revelation on polygamy as the natural sexual order of humans, which is, as researchers have termed it, “a multimale-multifemale mating system” – it is neither Brigham Young’s polygyny nor is it monogamy.

    It is strange that the male nature is so strong and aggressive that it will typically dominate in both monogamy and polygyny. One would think that a man having multiple wives would be outnumbered, that the women would have their way with him by outvoting him in everything – but it doesn’t work that way. The unfair arrangement only works as long as the wives are totally submissive to him, otherwise, he won’t enter the union. So, patriarchy dominates in polygyny. Plus, in monogamy, patriarchy also dominates – leading most marriages to end in marital problems, separation, and divorce.

    Only polyandry evens the playing field and creates [when in conjunction with polygyny] egalitarianism — where women and men share their power thru their various councils. Simultaneous polyandry and polygyny [the tribal, multihusband-multiwife plural marriage system] brings women up to the level of men without reducing man’s own stature. It is the solution that Mormon feminists have been searching for, but haven’t found because of their fear of polygamy. Mormon male chauvinists likewise fear it because the thought of one’s wife being with another man is too scary.

    And so we are stuck with monogamy. But as long as the people are monogamous, men will continue to retain the power and women will continue to lament it, and serial monogamy will still continue to be the order of the day.

    Could Joseph had something like the tribal system in mind with his polygynous/polyandrous/male-to-female/male-to-male sealings?
    Well, the first plural marriage sealing Joseph Smith performed was himself to a woman who as already married. So “the Principle” began with one woman having two husbands and one man having two wives.

    Polygyny is not sin:

    And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

    And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

    If a woman gives consent to her husband to take additional wives, releasing him from any vows of fidelity he may have had, and giving him permission to marry this or that woman, he is justified in taking on the additional wives, for it is marriage with consent and thus a marriage ordained of God.

    When taking on a second wife, the man needs the consent of the first wife. When taking on a third wife, the man needs the consent of the first two wives, and so on and so forth. As long as all give consent, there is no sin.
    Polygyny, whether practiced in the new and everlasting covenant [or the law of the priesthood], or practiced in a for-time, man-made covenant [or concubinage], is ordained of God as long as the wife or wives of the man give consent.

    Polyandry is not sin:

    In the new and everlasting covenant, there are two ways in which a woman get can an additional husband. One way is that she is simply sealed to a second [or third, etc.] husband.

    And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    The second way is that her husband breaks his marriage vows and commits adultery, whereby she is taken and given [i.e. married] to another man. She remains married to the first husband, for the word “taken” doesn’t explicitly mean that she has received a divorce.

    And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.

    Outside of the new and everlasting covenant, a woman may obtain a second marriage thru consent of her current husband or husbands, in the same way as discussed above for polygyny. Like polygyny, polyandry is ordained of God, as long as all parties involved give consent.

    LDS men often object to polyandry based on:

    And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

    And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

    These verses only state that a man cannot commit adultery with a wife that belongs to him and to no one else. They do not state that a man commits adultery with a wife that belongs to both him and someone else. The gospel is all about joint-ownership, or becoming joint-heirs with Christ of all things that the Father has.

    There is no gospel law against a wife belonging to two or more husbands, or to a husband belonging to two or more wives. The scriptures do not prohibit such an arrangement. To make this assumption is to make them say what a person feels most comfortable with.

    Not giving consent to marry is sin:

    When a man wishes to take an additional wife and his current wife or wives do not give their consent, which are the keys of this power, then they sin because they are forbidding him from marrying, making them not ordained of God.

    Likewise, when a woman wishes to take an additional husband and her current husband or husbands do not give consent, then the husbands become sinners in forbidding her from marrying.

    The law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women.

    And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
    Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

    Transgression consists in forbidding to marry, which makes the person doing the forbidding not ordained of God — whether they are the state, the Church, parents, or a spouse.

    How does D&C 132 fit in? (Extra points if you include analysis of the history of the document!)
    I’ll go for some extra points first: Contextually, D&C 132 appears to be an amalgamation revelation — along the lines of D&C 130, and 131.

    Meaning verses 1-40 are the Lord’s revelation on the law of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, verses 41-50 are another revelation in answer to a different question concerning adultery, verses 51-61 address Emma specifically, and verses 62-66 answer concerning the previously stated “law of the priesthood.”

    These would have been given throughout different periods ranging from 1831 – 1843.

    D&C 132 “fits in” b/c it is the key to establishing strong tribal bonds. A tribe is a form a human organization based around kinship and shared belief — and is the earliest form of human community. Tribal affiliations exist naturally among humans — when states don’t exist to break them up.

    The scriptures speak of two kinds of tribes: the tribes of the earth and the tribes of Israel. In the Lord’s eyes — a person belongs either to one of those tribes or the other.

    The Lord chose to establish His kingdom on earth thru the chosen tribal affiliations of Israel [the house of Israel]. Currently, however, the tribal nature of the gospel lies in a suspended state. We are told we are a member of such-and-such tribe during a patriarchal blessing, but there are no tribal connections in place.

    We have shared beliefs, but not kinship — however, without both, we are not fully organized as the Lord’s tribes of Israel. We may call each other “brother” or “sister” so-and-so, and tend to all be of the same tribe [that of Ephraim] — but most members will view their family as distinct from other LDS.

    Kinship is the key to understanding Joseph Smith’s polygamy and D&C 132. Rough Stone Rolling noted that, given the number of women Joseph married and the lack of children his marriages produced, that:

    The marriages are numerous enough to indicate an impersonal bond. Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children, and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities…. He did not lust for women so much as he lusted for kin.

    D&C 132 is not precisely the same as Biblical polygamy. While there are aspects of it that are similiar, D&C 132 adds the additional dimension of polyandry. It is therefore patterned after the unity of the heavens, in which every God and Goddess are equal in the bonds of all things — which include martial bonds. In heaven, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, because our current model of assigning the genders to relationships of ownership and exclusivity will have an end with this world.

    Had Joseph succeeded in promoting D&C 132’s full doctrine among the people, the Gentile Ephraimites would have been converted into a bona fide tribe — which would have been a tribe stronger and unlike any other tribe on earth, since all would have been bound to all others thru bonds of marriage covenants. It would have resembled the tribal family of the heavens.

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  5. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    MoHo Hawaii: Are you familiar with the Sex at Dawn research that my Tribal Relationship post discusses?

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  6. MH on December 31, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    You know, there is some wiggle room in section 132, but it requires some parsing and some history to fully understand it. There is an interesting caveat in verse 41,

    “if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed cadultery and shall be destroyed.”

    Ok, so it appears that the Lord could cammand a woman to be with another man if by his holy anointing. Furthermore, in relation to Emma there is another interesting point in verse 51.

    Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.

    This “withdrawn” commandment seems to refer to an incident I blogged about:

    On one occasion, according to Smith’s private secretary, she threatened that if he continued to “indulge himself she would too.” [William Clayton Diary] Although Emma apparently countenanced two of her husband’s 1843 sealings–to Emily and Eliza Partridge–she recanted within a day and demanded that Joseph give them up or “blood should flow.” Her change of heart came after she found Joseph and Eliza Partridge secluded in an upstairs bedroom at the Smith home. The realization that the sealing represented more than a “spiritual marriage” or “adoptive ordinance” devastated her. [From page 293]

    Joseph H. Jackson, a non-Mormon opportunist who gained the confidence of the prophet in Nauvoo, recorded in an 1844 expose of Mormonism: “Emma wanted [William] Law for a spiritual husband,” and because Joseph “had so many spiritual wives, she thought it but fair that she would at least have one man spiritually sealed up to her and that she wanted Law, because he was such a ‘sweet little man.’”

    Although there is nothing to suggest that Law and Emma were more to each other than friends, Law later confirmed that Joseph “offered to furnish his wife Emma with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in his house and to be well treated, etc.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 3 July 1887.)

    This seems to show that Joseph may have been willing to allow polygyny and polyandry, but verse 51 seems where the Lord withdrew the polyandry for Emma. So, it appears that section 132 could allow for both polyandry and polygyny if God allows it. As such, there would be less of a problem with running out of males in a polygamous society.

    Funny thing is I was watching Eclipse with my wife tonight. She made a joking comment that if only Bella could choose both Jacob and Edward…. She was much more open to that form of polygamy.

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  7. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    MH — Your Eclipse reference is astounding. I noted that very thing to my wife the last time we watched that movie together [maybe 2 weeks ago].

    I saw another example of justification for polyandry on the Science Channel a while back:

    A woman’s husband had a car accident, his brain swelled, and caused damage to his frontal lobe. This is the portion of the brain that processes emotions, empathy, social filtering, etc. Essentially, the man’s brain was no longer capable of processing the feelings of love for his wife and daughter. He could feel neither attachment nor malice towards them.

    My first thought was that the woman still isn’t justified in a divorce b/c the man hadn’t committed fornication. She had bound herself to be with him until death — the accident may have damaged his brain, but it didn’t damage his spirit. He was still the same man, just with faulty hardware.

    However, then my heart sorrowed for her. A woman deserves to have the love and companionship that this man is no longer able to provide her. Their situation doesn’t justify divorce, but I think most would agree that she deserves a man who can feel love for her.

    What would be wrong with this woman marrying another man. She still is obligated to stay with her first husband and help him thru his trials associated with his brain injury, but now she can also have the love and companionship a woman’s heart constantly yearns for.

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  8. Th. on December 31, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    .

    I don’t have a long and thoughtful comment, but I utterly agree that treating the FLDS as “normal” is an inherently awful idea and fails to recognize the universal prevalence of not-one-man-and-one-woman systems.

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  9. G on December 31, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    (hey BiV, here’s me commenting!! :) )

    I have only briefly looked at Justin’s articles and links (sorry J, I just don’t have the time and I’m not interested in the spiritual aspect of marriage).

    My only real hang-up with polygamy (once issues of consent and sex w/ minors have been cleared up) is the double standard that permits Husbands but not Wives multiple partners. Once that double standard has been eliminated, I am all for alternate methods of mating and loving and, well… (can I say [profanity deleted] on this site?).

    but for me it has nothing to do with the hear-after etc. For me the big issues are consent and respect and equality and mutual fulfillment. And so my main concerns become how men and women are conditioned to view themselves and others when it comes to sex.

    Most excellent post, Biv. thank you :)

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  10. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Interesting, G… regarding equal access to multiple partners for Wives. Obviously there are other issues at play, but it makes me think of HOW offended people are at the idea of polyandry, while having multiple wives in Nauvoo is okay. I have to wonder if there is some sexism in that. Or maybe I’m out in left field here, and biased due to the fact that my grandpa’s great grandmother was married to two men, one of them J.S. :D

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  11. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 31, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Personally I think trying to fit the round peg of “anarchy” and “tribalism” into the square hole of Mormonism is a futile effort.

    Not that I have any vested interest in either or any inherent like or dis-like for either but let’s call a spade a spade.

    Joe wasn’t “going there” with DC 132, and “tribal plural marriages” Were a hit with like .00001 percent of the population from the late 60′s until the fog cleared in the 70′s and they got jobs and quit living in their vans. (not that there’s anything wrong with living in a van or not having a job…) it does however live on today in it’s probably more true to the spirt of anarchy present form known as “swinging”. A religious experience, i’m sure. Let’s not forget what separates us from the animals.

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  12. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    MH / Justin – there must be a lot of people thinking the same thing, because I was thinking the SAME THING after watching Eclipse and a marathon of TLC’S “Sister Wives.” What’s wrong with Bella and her Brother Husbands?

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  13. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 31, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    oh yeah, and funny how Joe offered to let Emma get another husband and then quickly had a revelation that said for her not to… How convenient.

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  14. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    In my experience in therapy trainings and learning about therapists who work with swinging and polyamorous couples, many (not all) of these couples eventually decide to be monogamous. We may crave sexual variety, but we also depend on emotional security even more so, and many (again, not all) of these couples eventually decide they cannot create enough emotional safety as long as there are extradyadic relationships going on. This says nothing about the “right” or “wrong” of the matter, only that some couples have to sacrifice safety for variety, or give up some variety for safety. On the other hand, in writing a paper on extradyadic relationships, I came across a phenomenon among the polyamorous – some of them value the emotional insecurity that these relationships bring – they feel that things like jealousy, for example, add excitement.

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  15. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Sister Wives was very telling for me:

    The hypocrisy of the husband is greatly manifested — when asked by his first wife how he would feel if instead of him courting and kissing a fourth wife — she courted and kissed another husband/boyfriend.

    His repulsion was instantaneous — he couldn’t even imagine it. He even admitted that he felt like a hyprocrite saying it, because it obviously was not a fair arrangement, but he couldn’t help but see polyandry as sin.

    The only justification he could come up with was that the women agreed to the arrangement.

    The man could admit that his polygynous arrangement was unfair, but was still culturally conditioned to insist that it was just — the wives giving their consent soothing his conscience about the whole thing.

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  16. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    AdamF — swinging and polyamorous couples do not come together and make love by way of a covenant to co-habitate and to continue to love each other.

    This couples feel a void b/c “swinging” does not create permanency — which is God’s purpose for marriages.

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  17. G on December 31, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    (::shuddering:: did I really write “hear” for “hereafter”??!!)

    and thank you AdamF: I very much think there are all sorts of double standards that cut both ways in this sort of thing (a matriarchal backlash against patriarchy is just as much of a step backwards).

    Now, all of my lofty ideas are purely theoretical. I do think the practice of such open relationships has huge potential for emotional mess-making. But interesting what you just noted: sometimes that heightened drama IS part of the excitement.

    However, another piece of beef (HA) I have with sexuality and mating and marriage is Ageism A harsh inequality that biology seems to have hardwired into us that makes us perceive males as sexually desirable into much later ages than females. It is considering that sort of thing that I rage against: men, as they age, being able to collect more and younger lovers than woman of corresponding age.

    This is a trend I really wish to look at harder, to explore how much of that is biological, how much is cultural conditioning, and find how to ensure the equal treatment of and (and sexual fulfillment for) women in all walks of life.

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  18. G on December 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    justin, yah… that’s probably where you and I just don’t see eye to eye. I think getting god involved in how/why we marry is a HUGE mistake.

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  19. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    yo G, worry no more. Here ya go:
    http://www.dateacougar.com/

    Happy new years!!!

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  20. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    G:

    God’s involvement is minor — especially compared to the state or a church’s involvement.

    Marriage is accompanied by a covenant between a man and a woman [known as the marriage vows]. God wants men and women to come together and have sex, and He wants them to remain together — continuing to have sex.

    However two people wish to enter into such a covenant is up to them. D&C 132 tells us that God accepts “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that are made among people “both as well for time and for all eternity,” regardless of who or what entity or entities ordained them — at least until “men are dead,” at which point such “contracts…have an end.

    Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God.

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  21. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Justin – that’s interesting… “swinging and polyamorous couples do not come together and make love by way of a covenant to co-habitate and to continue to love each other.”

    That sounds correct, based on my own stereotyped views of these couples, but I can’t speak for them… I am familiar with some polyamorous groups who do so in more of a “covenant” type setting. Are you hypothesizing that having a “covenant” would allow for enough safety in the setting of variety? Interesting…

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  22. G on December 31, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    justin; I’d have to believe in god first ;)

    (I don’t) (no biggie)

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  23. Justin on December 31, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    AdamF: Are you hypothesizing that having a “covenant” would allow for enough safety in the setting of variety?

    Most feelings of insecurity are a function of things being unstable or transient. People generally feel safer when things have a sense of permanence.

    Couples who swing [by which I mean engage in sexual relations with multiple people] generally do not form marriage relationships with the swinging partners. It is only the sexual novelty itch they are seeking to scratch.

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  24. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    Maybe if I have some of these swingers or polyamorous couples in my office someday, we’ll discuss the idea of forming permanent polyamorous unions as an option, rather than continuing in the insecure relationships or entirely discontinuing them

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  25. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    At the same time, it seems like entering into any kind of agreement or covenant or whatever it is, would also restrict variety – not to just one, but to whatever number involved. I’m inclined to believe that variety and safety are negatively correlated… each person or relationship needs to find the optimum combination.

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  26. Bishop Rick on December 31, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    G hit the nail on the head. Polygyny and Polyandry is all about sex and nothing more. There is nothing sacred or celestial about building a harem of sex partners.

    Stop hiding behind religion and admit you just want to have multiple sexual partners without offending any of them. I will respect you a lot more. Right now you are just kidding yourselves and trying kid the rest of us.

    I’m not buying it.

    No one said FLDS was the norm. That was an assumption made by some of you. Look it doesn’t take a genius (actually maybe it does going from the responses here) to figure out that polygamy causes a lost boys scenario if it exists long enough and is practiced by the entire community. The reason Lost Boys is known to have happened with FLDS is because they live in a closed society. When polygamists live among mainstreamers, you will never run out of females.

    This isn’t rocket science folks. Tribes are closed societies. Males will continue to dominate (right or wrong) women will continue to be treated like property (like 132 describes them). You are kidding yourselves if you think a polygamous tribe can work for an extended time.

    Oh and who raises the kids in this free love society? None of the kids would know who daddy is cause mom is banging the whole tribe.

    The idea is stupid, unsustainable – both physically and socially – and has nothing to do with religion.

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  27. adamf on December 31, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    “Polygyny and Polyandry is all about sex and nothing more.”

    Taking this a step further, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but often sex is not about sex per se. Example – a husband wants sex multiple times every day. That had nothing to do with physical pleasure – what he needed was safe emotional connection and the only way he knew how to do that in a way that wasn’t threatening to him was intercourse. Variety may be the “spice of life” for a lot of us, but I think addressing the underlying needs related to sex is often (not always) more helpful. Joseph may have had a strong libido, but I wonder what was really going on for him… sealing not only wives, but sons etc. to his family. I think it’s plausible he had a big scary hole in his emotional world (who wouldn’t, in his position) and tried to medicate it.

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  28. funkydory on December 31, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    My brain hurts!

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  29. Bored in Vernal on December 31, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    Why?

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  30. funkydory on January 1, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    The comment that polygamy is all about sex is more than silly. The kind of thinking that concludes that aspiring polygynists are driven by sexual urges in a way that is distinct from the mating urges of aspiring monogamists is flawed. It might be more accurate to focus a criticism on the tendency for people to crave something “new” or “variety”. Bottom line, there are honorable athletes and dishonorable athletes. Likewise, there are honorable copulators and dishonorable copulators. If God sponsored the restoral of the polygamous covenant, then great. If He didn’t, it still does not affect whether individuals are honorable or not in the way that they fashion their families. If there is a God, then he certainly will judge the motivations of each individual, but He will not curse men for being sexual, He will curse them for being disloyal, deceitful and unfair.

    There is nothing inherently pure or noble about monogamy. All telestial humans are inherently corrupt and will be judged on the extent to which they transcend their corruptibility, REGARDLESS of how many adults in their family. The benefit of polygamy is that it AUTOMATICALLY challenges one’s integrity. Some fail that challenge; some pass.

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  31. Bishop Rick on January 1, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    adamf, did you really fall for that? But seriously, let’s assume that guy’s story is legit. I’m not talking about the one in a million nut case, I’m talking about the average Joe.

    Funky, if you really believe that, maybe something else is causing your brain to hurt.
    Just sayin.

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  32. adamf on January 1, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Rick – fall for what? What are you referring to? That he asked for sex 8 times a day or it was due to something else? His wife was the one who told me about it. Neither of them said anything about “emotional connection” – that is my interpretation. And based on talking with other therapists and professionals in the field, this phenomenon is not uncommon.

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  33. Bishop Rick on January 1, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    adamf, it was a poor attempt at humor referring to the guy needing sex several times per day because that is the only way he knows how to connect.

    Now that I know that story is merely hearsay, I take it a lot less seriously.

    I think guys that talk about this to shrinks is very uncommon. For that matter, I think guys that talk to shrinks at all is very uncommon. You make it sound like everyone is talking to a therapist about this stuff.

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  34. AdamF on January 1, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    I see your point – if you consider a wife telling me something her husband was asking to be hearsay because she told me and not her husband. I’m totally fine with you dismissing it though, it’s anecdotal, as is other therapists and trainers talking about this.

    “You make it sound like everyone is talking to a therapist about this stuff.”

    Of course I sound like that. I’m biased. It’s my job. Couple therapists run into this kind of stuff a lot. Perspectives are undeniably skewed.

    I’m glad you thought it was at least a “poor” attempt at humor, but in that case I wasn’t trying to be funny (LOL). I really do believe that people use sex to meet their emotional needs, and that some people don’t know how to ask for those needs to be met in ways other than things like frequent sex.

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  35. LDS Anarchist on January 1, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    To answer BiV’s questions: ditto what Justin #4 said.

    I don’t find the tribal model all that radical as some make it out to be. The current practice of the church is to allow a man to be sealed to multiple wives, just not at the same time or while all of them are living. If his first wife dies, he can be sealed to a second wife, and so on and so forth. With women, they are sealed to all of their dead husbands when they die. So, if a woman is married in life to 7 husbands (serial monogamy), and then she dies, she is vicariously sealed to all 7 of her husbands. Everybody eventually will be sealed to every peron they ever married, regardless of how they married, for all marriages that are entered into “until death do them part” will be sealed and turned into celestial marriages. The church, then, already practices polygyny and polyandry, just not with all spouses living.

    The tribal model just takes what we are already doing in our sealing ceremonies, and applies it to living people, instead of to just dead people. Nothing more, nothing less. What’s so radical about that?

    I mean, we baptize for the dead, but we also baptize for the living, right? The ordinances are equally valid and the covenants equally binding, right? One is not more valid than the other. What can be done for the dead can be done for the living and vice versa.

    So, if we marry men to muliple wives and marry women to multiple husbands (while some or all of them are dead), the same principle can and does apply to the living. The tribal model holds up both scripturally and in light of current church practice, because it is part of the gospel, for the gospel is and has always been and will always be tribal in nature. This is why we are assigned to a tribe when we receive patriarchal blessings.

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  36. Justin on January 1, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    It seems to me that the only person worried “all about sex and nothing more,” is Rick — not the polygamists.

    Rick, can you honestly not conceive of two humans wanting to be married to each other for any other reason than unbridled sexual lust?

    Also, I’m interested in your defense of monogamy. Why does God prefer a system that forbids people from loving more than one person?

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  37. Stephen Marsh on January 1, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    not that there’s anything wrong with living in a van or not having a job… ;)

    C, there are cultures where all parties marry across age gaps. All young women marry older men with assets. When the men die, the women marry younger men, who are with them until they die. The asset base flips back and forth.

    It is interesting how Northern European monogamy has really spread across the world as a strong norm.

    Also interesting is that no one (up to comment 25 or so when I wrote this post) discussed Jacob’s sermon in the Book of Mormon vis a vis this discussion.

    Or that the LDS used to be a tribal/kinship/ ethnic group created much faster than the normal, through to the mid 70s or so, with lingering traces into the 90s.

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  38. Stephen Marsh on January 1, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    None of the kids would know who daddy is which is why such cultures were matrilinear and a man’s heirs were his sister’s sons.

    Interesting discussion, and I’m glad it did not get out of hand.

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  39. Eric Nielson on January 1, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    A couple of thoughts:

    Jacob 2 plays into this as well. Unauthorized polygamy is referred to as being equivalent to whoredoms. It seems that a tribal type system described above would break down in terms of trading sex for power and wealth, where the more sexually desirable folks would be tempted to use this to their advantage with negative results on the community.

    Also, should concern over STDs play into this analysis as well?

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  40. Justin on January 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    I see the people who use a 500 BC Lehite law of monogamy to dismiss plural marriage along the same lines as Christians who use the OT to insist that the day of rest ought to be on Saturday, or that male infant’s genitals ought to be mutilated, or that tithing ought to be paid on the “first-fruits” regardless if a person is wealthy, poor, or needy. Especially considering the interesting wording of 4 Nephi 1: 10-11.

    The LDS have been given the revelation of D&C 132, and we ought to be more interested in that, than a law not pertaining to our people.

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  41. Tom on January 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Justin: D&C 132 tells us that God accepts “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that are made among people “both as well for time and for all eternity,” regardless of who or what entity or entities ordained them — at least until “men are dead,” at which point such “contracts…have an end.”

    You sure about that?

    D&C 132 says no such thing, at least according to my reading. It says (again, to me) that all “covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that (a) are not made AND (b) entered into AND (c) sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force …; “for all contracts that are not made unto this end [being sealed by the HSoP] have an end when men are dead.”

    It does not say that God accepts all those things no matter what. It only says they’re of lasting value if you don’t cut out that seemingly insignificant part about being sealed by the “Holy Spirit of promise.” Otherwise, this particular verse says nothing about what God accepts, or does not accept.

    Personally, the God I believe in is mostly only interested in what I choose to do. If I choose a polygynous lifestyle, and so do my partners, then God’s probably cool with that. If I choose a monogamous lifestyle (even if it’s by coercion through the state), then God’s probably cool with that. If I come upon new “light” and “knowledge,” then God’s probably hip to that, too, and would probably want me to act on that new information.

    But, we simply can’t assume that what’s right for you is right for me and vice versa. Personal revelation isn’t universal revelation.

    Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God.

    Agreed. And herein is where most of us (and our Church™) have issues. To us, marriage is a monogamous thing. Nothing outside of monogamy is allowed. As such, we forbid countless people from marrying (or thinking about marrying). We refuse to look outside the box that has been created around us and force others to come into that same box and abide by its unfortunate conforming ideals.

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  42. Bishop Rick on January 1, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    “Rick, can you honestly not conceive of two humans wanting to be married to each other for any other reason than unbridled sexual lust?”

    Sure, if you are a woman. I just don’t think men think with their brains as much as … women. Regardless of any other reasons that may exist, sex will always be near or at the top. It is my opinion that if a man marries 10 women, 9 of them were influenced more by sex than anything else … maybe all 10. Guys are inherently self-centered. It takes a lot of effort for a man to do what comes second nature for women.

    My biggest problem with polygamy is that people are trying to tie it to religion. The covenant of polygamy wasn’t restored. It didn’t exist in the first place. Joseph Smith made that stuff up. Read section 132. It is demeaning to women. I will never believe that polygamy came from God. It doesn’t make sense.

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  43. hawkgrrrl on January 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    I think Bishop Rick makes a valid point about why tribal polyandry breaks down: paternity. In tribal cultures, it literally does take a village to raise a child. Roles are assigned to individuals, not with the family as the basic unit, but with the village’s needs in mind as a whole. This is why the model worked well in primitive hunter-gatherer communities.

    When property rights became a concern (agrarian communities), suddenly paternity became necessary to ascertain because people owned property as individuals and wanted to project those rights to future generations through inheritance. In that model, it became impractical for women to have polyandrous relationships because maternity is always known whereas paternity is always insecure (studies today show 3% of paternity consistently differs from what is claimed).

    The heart of patriarchy is insecurity over paternity.

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  44. hawkgrrrl on January 1, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Another note – to G’s comment about the inequity in attraction between men & women, IMO it is biological up to the point that we are attracted to fertility. IOW, the inherent inequity is biological in that it encompasses a larger number of male fertility years (age 15-70+) vs. female fertility years (age 15-50).

    The part of attraction linked to male ability to provide is IMO at least partly a social construct that would have been different if females had dominated (instead of men) when the agrarian model emerged.

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  45. Justin on January 1, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    The heart of patriarchy is insecurity over paternity.

    The heart of tribalism is charity — or the overwhelming desire to share all things. In such a tribal marriage arrangement — a man is not selfish, worrying about “wasting his money” on a child that “ain’t his.” Paternity is, relatively speaking, a recent human invention. Coming around the same time as another human mistake [which you mentioned Hawkgrrrl] — agriculture.

    Instead, he will look upon all children born to his wives as his children, regardless of whether they are his biological seed or not. This engenders charity, because all husbands/fathers will care for all the children, not just their own.

    Instead a man may be like Mormon:

    And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

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  46. Justin on January 1, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Tom:

    I’m totally fine with people who choose monogamy.

    But the key here is choosing.

    Do you really want to be monogamous?

    Choose monogamy because you want to. Not because your parents tell you to, or the state or Church(TM) expects you to, or all your friends and relatives would think you’re weird if you don’t.

    Even if your partner wants you to be monogamous – only choose so if you really want to.

    But if you feel committed to your partner, and they feel committed to you, and you both like the idea of monogamy – go for it!

    D&C 132 contains a provision for a couple willfully choosing to enter into vows of fidelity whereby they agree to not love any other people [meaning monogamy].

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  47. mcarp on January 1, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I have, admittedly, not read all the posts, but aren’t there stories about young men being run out of SLC in the BY days? Also, whorehouses that were run for the satisfaction of the young men who could not find wives?

    I don’t have a reference, but I will try to find one.

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  48. mcarp on January 1, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    http://www.watchman.org/lds/painpolygamy.htm

    Bishop Warren Snow of Manti, San Pete County, although the husband of several wives, desired to add to his list a good-looking young woman in that town. When he proposed to her, she declined the honor, informing him that she was engaged to a younger man. The Bishop argued with her on the ground of her duty, offering to have her lover sent on a mission, but in vain. When even the girl’s parents failed to gain her consent, Snow directed the local Church authorities to command the young man to give her up. Finding him equally obstinate, he was one evening summoned to attend a meeting where only trusted members were present. Suddenly the lights were put out, he was beaten and tied to a bench, and Bishop Snow himself castrated him with a bowie knife. In this condition, he was left to crawl to some haystacks, where he lay until discovered.[he] regained his health but has been an idiot or quiet lunatic ever since. And the Bishop married the girl.

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  49. adamf on January 1, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    mcarp – do you have an original source for that story? I’m really interested. That link has a reference list but it is woefully inadequate – it only says “Smith” and the page numbers… unless I’m missing something…

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  50. adamf on January 1, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    Oh nevermind, I think I found it. Some obscure book from 1870 for $30 on Amazon. Better let Watchtower interpret it for me and save the money. ;)

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  51. Bored in Vernal on January 1, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    mcarp, don’t give too much credence to an anecdotal horror story. There are horrible crimes committed by polygamists as well as monogamists.

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  52. Bishop Rick on January 1, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Justin, are you proposing that the tribes go back to the hunter/gatherer ways, and do you think men are just going to give up their kids and adopt someone else’s kids?

    You seem to be living in your own private idaho.

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  53. Jon on January 1, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Don’t know much about the group marriage stuff but just from reading about polygyny it doesn’t seem to work very well. Just read the old testament. Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s wives didn’t like it that they were married to more than one woman. In recent mormon history (BY’s and JS’s time) it seems the same, their women didn’t like it. I’m not well read in this but there seems to be a pattern. I’ll stick to one wife even if I’m told to marry more.

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  54. LDS Anarchist on January 2, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Tom #41, re: D&C 132: 7.

    Both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the law of Moses (as put forth in the standard works, and not just solely in D&C 132) teach us to keep our word, meaning to keep all of the “covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, [and] expectations” we freely enter into. This law is not limited to only dealings with Deity, but to any contract we enter into with any of the children of men. The Lord doesn’t need to approve of these contracts before we are bound by the gospel to honor them. No, the instant a contract goes into effect, we are bound by gospel law to keep our word. If we do not keep our word, we commit sin. Any and all contracts we freely enter into are accepted by Him as valid, binding and of full force, at least until the parties are dead. At that point, we are free from the contract’s terms.

    Because these contracts are valid in the eyes of the Lord (during mortality), we are commanded to keep all vows, oaths, etc., that we make. If they were not valid, or if they required God’s approval before we were required to keep their terms, the law of God would not require us to always keep our word. But this is not the case.

    Again, this law is the same under both the law of Moses and the law of Christ. Christ summarized it this way,

    “But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.”

    So, we are to keep our word in all things because of the validity of man-to-man contracts. And these laws come from other scriptures, not just from D&C 132.

    D&C 132: 7, then, in no way invalidates the gospel law of contracts, covenants, vows, oaths, etc. It merely explains that man-to-man contracts have an end at death and that there is a way in which contracts can remain in force after death.

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  55. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 6:04 AM

    Rick — expect I don’t live in Idaho

    Jon — I said previously that D&C 132 is not precisely the same as Biblical polygamy.

    While there are aspects of it that are similiar, D&C 132 adds the additional dimension of polyandry. It is therefore patterned after the unity of the heavens, in which every God and Goddess are equal in the bonds of all things — which include martial bonds. In heaven, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, because our current model of assigning the genders to relationships of ownership and exclusivity will have an end with this world.

    Had Joseph succeeded in promoting D&C 132’s full doctrine among the people, the Gentile Ephraimites would have been converted into a bona fide tribe — which would have been a tribe stronger and unlike any other tribe on earth, since all would have been bound to all others thru bonds of marriage covenants. It would have resembled the tribal family of the heavens.

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  56. cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Another possibility is that our perceptions are just wrong. Seeing patterns and indications in Josephs erratic marriage practice’s is nothing more than wishful thinking on our part. in other words he had no direction beyond satisfying a personal sex drive through religious coercion. I highly doubt he was “experimenting” with anthropology.

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  57. cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Secondly:

    In spite of what we want to conclude about Joseph Smith, no one would ever conclude that these unique concepts are part of the divine plan by observation of modern Church teachings. The Church has gone to great trouble to distance itself from Polygamy, so I doubt you’d ever hear even a theoretical acceptance of these so-called tribal free-love arrangements. That has to be considered in any theories on what Celestial Marriage really looks like.

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  58. [...] of diverse families, BiV analyzes the economics of sustainable polygamy, and Poly Mom gives practical advice on finding a poly [...]

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  59. adamf on January 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Cowboy, I totally agree with you – our perceptions are probably wrong. Take that a step further though, with “he had no direction beyond satisfying a personal sex drive” – that is probably wrong as well. :)

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  60. cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Sure I could be wrong, but I don’t mind over simplifying some things. He claimed in many instances that specific marriages were commanded from God. Furthermore, he received a revelation that taught polygamy generall (and conveniently flatters him with the assurance of his own Salvation, and unsympathetically attempts to settle the matter of Emma’s objection with a sexist decree as from God). It’s not likely therefore that Joseph was experimenting. He supposedly heard the voice of the Lord, he wasn’t haphazardly struggling his way around promptings. Given this I would simplify that he was either strictly following the will of God, in which case tribal anthropological correlations are irrelevant, or he was strictly pursuing his own self-interests. Perhaps relegating the latter strictly to a sex drive is not warranted, but if it wasn’t ordained of God, who cares? It was still selfish coercion and manipulation to detriment of those whom he pretended to shepherd.

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  61. adamf on January 2, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Yeah, I was not suggesting any reasons FOR polygamy, only carrying the “process” of your statement a step further. Honestly, I don’t think sexual variety was JS’s only motive, but I don’t claim to know what he was thinking.

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  62. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Justin, you keep referencing Matthew 22:30 in your defense of section 132, but in fact Matthew 22:30 pretty much goes against section 132. If marriage doesn’t exist in heaven, then what is celestial marriage?

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  63. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Rick — if you’d read the (oft-linked) post at LDSAnarchy, Tribal Relationships [which BiV referenced in the original post], then you’d understand my use of the scripture.

    To quote the post, b/c I doubt you’ll read it:

    [Jesus] is indicating that our current model of assigning men and women to relationships of ownership and exclusivity will have an end with this world.

    In the celestial state, all things are held in common and all of the Gods are unified [BiV linked to this post too, it would be helpful for your participation in this discussion if you'd have read that too].

    If Father kept His wives locked away in a harem, then He would be exercising unrighteous dominion – restricting both His wives and His other children from demonstrating their love one for another.

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  64. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Justin, I read it the first time you referenced it. I just don’t agree with it.

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  65. Cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    To do a little bit of a turnabout, in defense of Justin’s position from at least a Mormon point of view, this concept of communal free-love would justify an otherwise odd teaching by Elder McConkie that God the Father had literal physical intercourse with Mary. I have generally bristled against this teaching, particularly because of how inconsistent it seemed to be with how I understood mariage and sex from an LDS perspective. If we are to believe that Elder McConkie is correct, that would make God either a philanderer, or we would have to conclude that he also married Mary. The problem is, she was espoused to Joseph and eventually had Children with him. In order to justify this we would have to conclude that:

    1) God and Mary were not married, and so God is entitled to impregnate women to whom he has not made Eternal covenants with

    2) Joseph was given some type of special role where he was to play a temporary role of tending Gods wife during mortality

    Two additional issues come up in consideration of 2):

    2-a) If the above is the case, wouldn’t that make Mary sort of a Polyanderess? That means God Shares a single wife with Joseph.

    2-b) It works more like Justin suggests, and God was just revealing a little about how marriage is more communal in the Celestial realms, than we may be willing to admit.

    If I had to pick one, 2-b) probably makes the most sense to me…but that says nothing of how the whole thing rubs me wrong in the first place. My guess is that the good men of the Church started preaching before thinking, and that has resulted in this very bizzare sort of quasi-doctrinal monstrosity that would offend nearly every sensibility of modern Mormonism. That’s the problem I have with the whole notion of Polygamy and all of its theoretical abstractions. Essentially it is so foreign to the tastes, values, and ideals of most mainstream Mormons, that I can’t get my mind around how two seemingly competing ideals could ever share space.

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  66. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    I prefer 3.
    God didn’t have sex with his daughter to produce Jesus.

    I know James Talmage taught that God had sex with Mary. I didn’t realize McConkie did too. Perhaps he was echoing Talmage.

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  67. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Rick — where do you suggest Jesus’ 23 autosomal plus his Y chromosomes came from?

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  68. Cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    It’s in Doctrinal Commentary on the New Testament. Funny thing, some time back BIV did a post on this topic, where there was some debate on Talmages wording. The way I read Jesus the Christ it sounds like Talmage is arguing the Mary concieved Jesus in a way that is beyond our mortal understanding. Others have interpreted his comments to mean that God had physical intercourse with Mary.

    As for your third option, I tend to agree with you. I just find it highly problematic for the Church when you have key leaders taking positions like these where the appropriate thing would be to not speculate. In other words, I’d be okay thinking this opinion shouldn’t matter, except I’d also like to give Elder McConkie enough credit to assume that if he wasn’t sure that God had revealed this to him, he wouldn’t speak. He did speak, and now we’re left to speculate like he did.

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  69. AdamF on January 2, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    “Rick — where do you suggest Jesus’ 23 autosomal plus his Y chromosomes came from?”

    Well, NOT from S-E-X because that is dirty.

    Cowboy – Yeah, I read JtC twice in two years (on the mission) and I interpreted it to mean “beyond our understanding.” I can see how others interpret it differently though.

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  70. Cowboy on January 2, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Justin -

    I don’t think that’s ever been the real issue. Mormons believe that Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, changed water into wine, raised the dead, and took upon himself the sins of the world in order to satisfy some law we don’t understand. Given all this, I think most of the prevailing thought is that God is a being capable of executing his will without needing to submit to mortal means. In other words, when God is in the equation leaving the matter unanswered except for a supernatural appeal to his alleged omnipotence, is generally good enough. Unfortunately, McConkie needed to make the sort of point that you are, and by trying to prove that God is man of flesh and bone, he incidentally made him mortal – and sort of a hippy too.

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  71. Bored in Vernal on January 2, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Here’s the link to my last year’s post on Mary. I footnoted a lot of the quotes by LDS leaders on the relations between God and Mary. Several of them are ambiguous, but I think you can tell what they are trying to say.

    Interesting how this conversation is starting to dovetail with the other post I put up today!

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  72. brjones on January 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    I have no real, personal interest in this topic from a religious standpoint, but I think Justin has made the most compelling argument thus far.

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  73. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Justin, we are talking about supernatural magic here. God could have waived his hand over Mary’s belly and implanted a fetus. As crazy at that sounds, I like that much more than the incestuous alternative.

    Of course other alternatives are she became pregnant by Joseph or some other mortal, or perhaps the entire story is fabricated and Jesus never existed.

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  74. AdamF on January 2, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Yeah, I don’t like the “incestuous alternative” either – although our “history” is full of it, beginning with Adam and Eve, right?

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  75. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Rick (73) “we are talking about supernatural magic here.
    I’m not talking about magic.

    AdamF (74) “beginning with Adam and Eve, right?
    Or beginning with any one of us and our spirit sibling spouses.

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  76. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    AdamF, We know that the world didn’t begin 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve so I know that incestuous story never happened.

    Justin, If there are multiple Gods having sex with multiple wives in heaven, that kind of cancels out the surety of incest in our finite world doesn’t it?

    brjones, Just what argument has Justin given? I have heard of one tribal fantasy that can’t even happen unless we are in a post Armageddon world full of utopian clones. How is that a winning argument?

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  77. AdamF on January 2, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Bishop, you crack me up. Thanks. :D

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  78. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Rick: I’ll assume you are responding to my comment to Adam (74) — I was giving that remark in jest, after the spirit of Adam’s remark concerning Adam and Eve.

    However, as I’ve stated concerning paternity: Paternity is, relatively speaking, a recent human invention. The heart of tribalism is charity — or the overwhelming desire to share all things.

    Instead of carefully marking paternity and spousal ownership — a man within a tribe will look upon all children born to his wives as his children, regardless of whether they are his biological seed or not. This engenders charity, because all husbands/fathers will care for all the children, not just their own — like Mormon, all children are alike unto [them].

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  79. Bored in Vernal on January 2, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Rick, I gotta say that I love the tribal fantasy, too; the communal nature of such a society intrigues me, and I’d like to try and see how it would work! You’ll probably make fun of me for this, but it appeals to some sort of spiritual longing I have..

    Wouldn’t you just love to know if Justin has already started his tribe??!!

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  80. Justin on January 2, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Unfortunately, in a church culture where many bishops are like our resident Rick here — anonymity is a powerful thing.

    However, I will answer by saying that — for my wife and I — this is not just an intellectual exercise, but a principle and doctrine to be lived and applied in one’s life, so as to receive the benefit assigned to it.

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  81. Bored in Vernal on January 2, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    (I KNEW it!)

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  82. Corktree on January 2, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I’m still not convinced that variety of partners is the only way to manage our lack of sexual luster, but I would really like to hear from Justin’s wife on this matter. Does it really level things out and solve all the problems inherent in a monogamous physical relationship? I think that has to be answered when questioning sustainability if our biological natures are used as a reason for why these relationships make sense.

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  83. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    BiV, I won’t make fun of you for being intrigued by the tribal fantasy. I can certainly see its merits.

    I can also see its flaws and know that it can never work in an open setting for reasons I have already stated. I think its funny that Justin claims paternity is a recent human invention. That claim is absurd. Humans aren’t even the only species that practice it. For that matter, humans aren’t the only species that practices monogamy.

    Justin if you want to be taken seriously, stop making things up and expecting people to just accept it.

    Oh and I guarantee there isn’t a single bishop like me.

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  84. AdamF on January 2, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    “humans aren’t the only species that practices monogamy”

    That’s correct – the Prairie Vole is monogamous, and some birds I think. There is another kind of vole that isn’t monogamous, but researchers found they could amp up the oxytocin and they would start acting that way, while in the prairie vole, if they blocked it the voles would all turn into little James Bonds.

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  85. hawkgrrrl on January 2, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    I guess the claim that paternity is a recent invention depends on your definition of recent. Certainly there were many tribes living in a technology-less state even a few hundred years ago who did not attempt to determine paternity. And yet, there were also many who did. But if you go back tens of thousands of years, paternity disappears when land ownership disappears. If you consider man as living for 150,000 years or so, then you can claim paternity is a relatively recent invention.

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  86. Bishop Rick on January 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Paternity was a precursor to civilization. I’m talking about william, not grog.

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  87. LDS Anarchist on January 3, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    BiV #79, I know of at least 5 LDS men–4 of them married, 1 of them single–who are at some stage of planting a tribe of their own. Others who have visited my blog have indicated a desire to establish a tribe. Time will tell whether they will act on it.

    I don’t think that anyone, as yet, has obtained tribal lands and united two wives to a husband and two husbands to a wife, but all of these men are at the planning stage, at the very least. It remains to be seen who will be the first to purchase land and plant the tribal seed.

    Tribal ordinances, though, have already begun. I, myself, have already been re-baptized and re-confirmed as tribal ordinances and have been administering the sacrament tribally, with bread and wine. Others are, undoubtedly, either doing the same or in the process of preparing to do the same.

    Establishing an egalitarian tribe is not as difficult as one would think. There are a lot of people in the world who are fed up with the world’s inequalities. Also, the Sixties did much to loosen up our prudish Puritanical and Victorian sensibilities. (Joseph’s time was actually harder to seed a tribe than now.) Yes, Mormons are generally still prudes, but non-Mormons have come to be tolerant of alternative marriage arrangements and their only beef with polygamy is that polyandry is disallowed in most of it. An egalitarian tribe doesn’t have that hang-up. So, the prospective tribal member is found pretty much everywhere you look.

    The hardest part of seeding a tribe, then, is the initial start-up: the purchasing of tribal lands upon which singles and matrimonies can gather. Once that is accomplished and a tribe is seeded with two wives and two husbands linking them all together, the seed can grow very fast.

    I wonder, BiV, as you have stated you are intrigued by this model, what your husband thinks about your interest in it, or, if you are single/divorced with children, what your children think of your thoughts on it? Do they think these are dangerous thoughts or are they supportive/nonchalant because they know you’d never act on them?

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  88. Bored in Vernal on January 3, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    ha, well, my husband and children do know of my interest and are horrified. But they are all very conservative Mormons and are appalled by almost all of my thoughts.. guess that’s why I blog.

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  89. Justin on January 3, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    In reply to paternity:

    For humans, tracking paternity began with the agricultural revolution.

    Imagine you are witnessing humans at the dawn of agriculture. We had just previously spent hundreds of thousands of years living in the paradise of hunter/gatherer tribes.

    Humans neither sowed, reaped, nor gathered into barns because we took from the earth as we had need. We were clothed as the lilies of the field — neither toiling nor spinning to make garments to cover our nakedness.

    This Edenic lifestyle came to an end when Satan successfully employed mortals in implementing such things as sedentary agriculture, urbanization, monogamous family-units, exclusive rights to property, states, etc.

    Such systems of domestication required a control-based relationship with the land, plants, and animals being domesticated – and, by extension, unrighteous dominion over humanity. We can see that this, over time, has devolved to where every conceivable physical thing from food to land to to people to genes to ideas are viewed as assets and property to be owned and controlled.

    Also — in reply to humans and monogamy:

    Monogamous animals, by definition, don’t have to compete for reproduction and, as a result, are characterized by a low-level of sexual activity. However, humans sit atop a very short list of animals that engage in sex for pleasure. No animal spends more of its allotted time on Earth focused on sexual matters than we do. In fact, the animal world is filled with species that confine their sexual behavior to just a few periods of the year, only during times when conception is highly probable.

    Corktree — I’ll relay your question to my wife and found out what her response is.

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  90. Justin's Wife on January 3, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    so the question was,
    “Does it really level things out and solve all the problems inherent in a monogamous physical relationship?”

    tribalism isnt meant to solve all the problems in a monogamous relationship. u are. if a person is not capable of carrying on one good relationship with one spouse, then adding a second spouse isnt going to fix the first one. just like they say that getting pregnant wont fix a bad relationship.

    every relationship comes with good things and bad things. tribal marriages are about multiplying those good things, while working on the bad things.

    im admittedly more comfortable with the idea of justin having another wife than i am with taking on another husband (though i do like the idea of having a second person caring and providing for me and our children).

    however, he is the same way. there is a single sister in our congregation ive been talking to about the tribal system. i think im more excited about it than he is.

    also, im more interested in the other aspects of tribalism. we arent currently living at a place where we can build a tribal community, so im not all that concerned with adding other spouses. justin likes to talk about tribal relationships because hes a bit more controversial than i am.

    i focus more on ecological breast feeding, homeschool, homebirth, and a real-food/paleolithic diet for our family. those are the parts of tribalism that i think are more pressing to focus on.

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  91. brjones on January 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    #76 – Well, the appeals to authority based on scripture are meaningless to me, so I’m just looking at it from a secular standpoint, and according to my own logic. I’m not saying that Justin has convinced me that tribalism should be participated in by everyone, but I don’t think that’s what he’s saying (although he clearly thinks it’s the preferred order). The points I agree with are 1) that if people want to live in a tribal, polyandrous situation, they should be allowed to, just as if people want to be monogomous, they should be allowed to; and 2) that there isn’t really any support (absent selective scriptures) for the idea that monogomy is the natural and correct societal order. The society in which we live has deemed monogomy to be the rule of the day; fine. I have no problem with that. Many other cultures obviously do the same, and other cultures have done differently. I think it’s up to each society to decide what it wants to do. That said, the fact that the current culture in which we live has made that determination at the current time, does nothing to convince me that monogomy is more moral, effective or healthy than an alternate way of cohabiting or parenting. Frankly, even if it were the case that every society in human history had made that determination, I wouldn’t see that as a conclusive determination that that means it is the “correct” way to live. There are a number of things that the vast majority of human civilizations have in common that I think are flat wrong. Maybe this is another.

    I’m not saying Justin’s position is correct, I’m just saying I don’t think anyone has presented any particularly compelling evidence that he’s wrong. Most people’s views on the subject are going to be culture and religion-centric. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the majority of commenter’s on a mormon-themed blog are going to argue in favor of monogomy (which is ironic considering the fact that had we lived 120 years ago, most people here would be arguing vociferously for the opposite position). I also think that 99.9% of people who say they aren’t interested in having sex with anyone other than their current spouse are lying.

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  92. Cowboy on January 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    “This Edenic lifestyle came to an end when Satan successfully employed mortals in implementing such things as sedentary agriculture, urbanization, monogamous family-units, exclusive rights to property, states, etc.

    Such systems of domestication required a control-based relationship with the land, plants, and animals being domesticated – and, by extension, unrighteous dominion over humanity. We can see that this, over time, has devolved to where every conceivable physical thing from food to land to to people to genes to ideas are viewed as assets and property to be owned and controlled.”

    I don’t like the audacity connoted in atheism, so I prefer the descripter Agnostic. Furthermore, I like the idea of hoping for an afterlife, etc. Still, when I read stuff like the above – and get a sense of what a religious world view is capable of – I find myself emotionally sprinting towards the atheist border as though my life depends on it. I understand and somewhat sympathize with the idea that capitalism run amok can be socially devastating, I just don’t buy that Satan has ever had anything to do with it. Furthermore, I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with it in the abstract. Animal rights are one thing, but notions of “subduing the land” through sedentary agriculture as an affront to the planet, only work if you hold to a paradigm that the planet is a living thing with a soul, and intelligence. Otherwise it’s just zoning, and any real offense comes in the form of equality between people and species. I like the idea of not producing waste, but also realistically understand that it is an elusive topic, particularly within the framework of economies of scale and specialization. This is more efficient than what I understand being advocated in the tribal agenda – so long as there is enough demand for the production volumes required to sustain sedentary production/specialization/growth. If production exceeds demand then the excess can be considered either luxury or waste, and again that becomes a little more elusive. For practical purposes, subsistence economies have never truly been managed in the first place, and never really account well for uncertainties in production. The best subsistance methods therefore have generally broken from total subsistence (your lilly’s of the field example) and have included the need for reserves and surplus. Once you go that far however, you might as well take the next step and move towards efficient production.

    In any case, and additionally, any mention of subsistence today as an economic alternative, is always derivative of “god as an interventionist” type of religious thinking. Using the “lilly’s of the field” example, you have to expect that God will care for you by providing the necessary sustenance for you continued model. Even still, Jesus’s analogy was never intended to address all people as representative of the lilly’s. Afterall, some lilly’s are just planted in places where it could be argued that God did not provide. Rather he was particularly comparing his apostles to those lilly’s that were cared for as a comparison for his injunction that they go forward preaching his gospel without purse or scrip. Jesus could not have been making the argument that every lilly every born will be provided for in a manner that will allow for a normal life cycle. It would not take much work to see that chaotic distribution in how rain, sunshine, and protection from natural hazards, are doled out, directly affect the likelihood that a lilly will grow beautifully to maturity. In other words, Jesus was either ignorant, or never intended his parables to be taken to this extreme. Not only is this whole concept a high risk gamble on God, but also a gamble that he behaves the way we think/hope he does.

    As for marriage, this also hearkens to the idea that Adam and his posterity actually lived, and in this manner, and that everything since has been a social and spiritual regression from the social ideal. While I won’t suggest that there aren’t any possible benefits from tribal communalism, particularly in mitigating the ill effects of single parent households, etc, it does not adequately demonstrate how this system compensates for the personal needs of loyalty, commitment, and one-to-one companionship. It also fails to consider how and whether monogamy actually represents progress towards personal and social ideals. Instead it is just historically trivialized as the by product of victorian influence with the assertion that must mean it is bad.

    In short I’m not certain anything has adequately demonstrated here, in spite of the fact that Justin has demonstrated a comprehensive consideration of his argument. It largely rests on religious assumptions, and will therefore ultimately only be rational on the fringe among those who share similar religious ideologies and expectations.

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  93. Justin on January 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Regarding “but notions of ‘subduing the land’ through sedentary agriculture as an affront to the planet, only work if you hold to a paradigm that the planet is a living thing with a soul, and intelligence.

    My ideas on that topic initially began when I read Jared Diamond’s essay, “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race” — so I’d recommend you’d read that and see what you think.

    Also, many secular scholars view the Garden of Eden story as a folk-memory or allegory — which depicts humanity’s innocent and leisured hunter-gatherer past [when we could pluck fruit from the trees and spend the rest of our days in leisure].

    But then we “fell” into a harsher life of agriculture — with its sweat, toil, and daily labor.

    It is known that primitive farming was harsh, compared to hunting/gathering, b/c of the archaeological evidence.

    When people made the transition from hunter-gathering to settled agriculture, their skeletons changed — they grew smaller and comparatively less healthy as the body adapted to a diet poorer in fat/protein and higher in anti-nutritive compounds as well as a more wearisome lifestyle. Also, evidence indicates that the newly domesticated animals likewise suffered.

    Also, concerning marriage — the Sex at Dawn research represents another secular source from which I drew together the model BiV wrote about.

    These come from non-religious sources. I likewise do not agree with everything in them b/c of my “religious ideologies and expectations“. And yes, I took such information and combined it with the scriptures and the manifestations of the Spirit to me.

    So while parts of it may be convincing to someone of a non-religious persuasion — I can’t help but agree that as an LDS, my religious context precludes assuming a “need for reserves and surplus”, that “God [will] not provide”, or that “Adam and his posterity [did not] actually live”” etc.

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  94. Cowboy on January 3, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Justin:

    I read the article. I think it is ultimately drawing a false dichotomy. The one point I will agree with is that surplus production ultimately leads to a class system, and social inequality. However, most of the evidence cited for Mr. Diamonds case represents a relatively short period of time where society changed from hunter/gather to farm production. It seems that out the gate that transition would have been detrimental to society, as the work/life balance changed, and when agricultural production would have been most technologically primitive. In one case it points out that life expectancy went from age 26 to age 19, yet fails to consider how that changed during the last several centuries – particularly the last two hundred years. It fails also to consider that most technological advancement has been managed through cooperation, fueled by exchange. Exchange has been most efficiently managed through surplus production. In other words, Mr. Diamonds research would have never happened in a hunter/gather society. Also, if leizure quality is measured strictly in terms of time, then our homeless population enjoys the best quality of leizure. If leizure is instead a ratio of free time and luxuries enjoyed, again the hunter/gather subsistence model falls short. Further debatable is the inherent bias of modern hunter/gatherers. Have they been properly introduced to modern luxuries so as to fairly eschew a luxury cruise in favor of more time sitting butt-naked in the mud?

    Ultimately the article is a false-dichotomy, which at some points demonstrates genuine problems associated with progress (yes, I said progress), but falsely suggests that the total costs exceed the benefits.

    In any case, as for your religious paradigm, we certainly disagree – but that is perfectly acceptable. You feel that you have your reasons for believing the way you do, and I have no real objection to that other than it is not a perspective I share.

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  95. Justin on January 3, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Cowboy — I can appreciate that, and thanks for your perspective on Diamond’s essay.

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  96. Rigel Hawthorne on January 3, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    “Men and women share partners within the tribe, making it both polygynous and polyandrous.”

    Having spent a longer than average time in LDS singles wards and witnessed the mating rituals that are associated with males attracting females, I saw more than my share of single women being drawn to the cocky, arrogant, attention-seeking, hollow-talking, self-righteous or daringly wayward male members, or in the common language, though overly pejorative: “jerks”. So after enduring that “tribal” experience, I have little enthusiasm for subjecting a long-sought and robust partnership to the potentials of a testosterone driven “pecking order” of a group of shared partners. Our pioneer ancestors couldn’t even share their finances…are we that much more spiritually advanced to share, within a group, the emotions of intimacy? Now if there was a need, such as in the days of Brigham Young, to assist in the siring of an heir to a man who was made infertile by his mortal experience or for a woman who was barren, that is a different matter. With modern reproductive knowledge, however, the ability to provide reproductive assistance with greater dignity for the couple and less swapping of Human Papilloma Virus has been achieved. (If just the Church Handbook of Instructions was as progressive with assisted reproductive situations as Brigham Young was willing to direct). Wouldn’t tribal lifestyle also (in the same vein of subsistence) subtract contraceptive practices from the equation of modern life? Polls taken on Mormon Matters would suggest that contraception is something most bloggers are quite happy to have.

    Justin, on the other hand, I do appreciate your intellectual exploration and find that it provides a refreshing alternative interpretation to some of the topics that are not generally studied. I can’t say, however, that I have had the spirit continue to dwell within me when I have read some of the more daring diversions from the standard approaches of carrying out the three-fold mission of the church.

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  97. brjones on January 3, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    I feel the spirit equally as strong when I read things supporting the three-fold mission of the church as when I read things that depart therefrom.

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  98. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    If youre into the commune type tribal plural marriage stuff go for it, but saying you got there by way of Joseph Smith? Ehhhhh I don’t think so.

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  99. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    #97 did you feel the spirit when you read my comment in #98?

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  100. Justin on January 3, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Rigel:

    As my wife mentioned in #90, activating tribal functions by obtaining tribal lands and uniting a multihusband-multiwife family is beyond the current scope of possibility for many people right now — given the particular circumstances they find themselves in.

    I wouldn’t note judge a person who is currently living in monogamy to be in sin [It is the LDS monogamists who would judge the would-be polygamists]. For this is according to the gifts of the Spirit, in which the Lord works — “suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.

    D&C 132: 43 mentions a provision of the Lord’s law in which a couple may choose to place one or the other or both “under a vow“. This would be a vow of fidelity in which they agree to not love any other people as a part of the marital covenant. The Lord recognizes this choice — therefore I do too.

    One may still activate tribal worship services and other tribal rituals — while still choosing to refrain from loving other people.

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  101. Stephen Marsh on January 3, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I’ve dealt with extended families, the modern LDS tribes, and did not like the social power and hierarchy they created.

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  102. Justin on January 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Stephen:

    The family ties that make up a tribe are different than those that make up nuclear and extended families, as well as those that bind individuals to a neighborhood or community.

    Extended families that are not organized into tribes typically don’t act as a group, but merely as a bunch of nuclear families that have some relational [not covenantal] ties to each other that are closer withing a neighborhood or community.

    Each nuclear family of the extended family still typically acts individually.

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  103. brjones on January 3, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    #99 – As strongly as I ever have in my life, and that’s the truth. In fact, I award you spirit bonus points for responding directly to my comment. You are truly inspired.

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  104. Bishop Rick on January 3, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    Justin’s tribal fantasy (and that’s all it is folks) sounds really good if you buy into all of his misinformation and religiously skewed nonsense.

    He claims that pre-agriculture, life was an eden. That statement makes me embarrassed for him. He then claims that life expectancy decreased with the introduction of agriculture. Did he mention that the world population at that point in time was only 1 million? Life expectancy increased dramatically with the introduction of agriculture. You see, Greg figured out one simple concept that Grog couldn’t, that surplus helps in winter and time of famine. Justin hasn’t even figured that out yet. He is opposed to surplus. He thinks the few acres his “tribe” acquires will always have fruit, the pond will always have fish and there will always be wild deer and prairie chickens in the border hedge, to sustain his “tribe”. He also hasn’t considered that the women will be pregnant their entire fertile lives since they are having continuous unprotected sex, but I’m sure all those bastards running around, won’t put any strain on the communal economy.

    All his “smaller skeleton” statements are taken way out of context. They don’t take into account climate and terrain and assume that smaller skeleton’s are less healthy when in fact they were denser and stronger as a result of eating more calcium from the green vegetables. Protein diets are deficient in calcium. One of the top sources of calcium is from dairy (you know, domesticated cows).

    Justin, STOP acting like you are setting up a real self-sustaining tribe that will bring the world closer to Zion.

    All you are doing is setting up a commune for unbridled secret sex at night while you keep your day job. The hypocrisy is insulting.

    Like I said before, admit all you are doing is creating a free-love commune and I will respect you more, than the naive misrepresentation you are currently displaying.

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  105. Bishop Rick on January 3, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    brjones #91

    Judging by the number likes vs dislikes received by fake tribal wannabes vs realists respectively, I would say you have it backwards.

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  106. Cowboy on January 3, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    I wonder if John Lennon were to read this post, if he wonder whether or not he was just being copied again?

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  107. George on January 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    #104. Apparently you, of all people, have it all figured out. Congrats and good for you.

    As for me, I’ve appreciated Justin’s insights because of the out of the box thinking it presents. I loathe dogmatic thinking and wonder why it is so prevalent in our society. We’ve developed into an “its my way, and you’re all wrong” culture. Having had a couple of discussions with Justin in the past, I have no doubt we could discuss most any topic without resorting to “nonsensical” or “hypocritical” or “skewed” comments. Histrionical disagreements with Justin doesn’t (and won’t) make you a realist, though it might help you sleep better at night.

    And, with that, I once again see the wisdom of first sentence in comment #80. Dogmatism is alive and well and, until we can learn what “…persuasion, …long-suffering, … gentleness and meekness, and …love unfeigned…” means, it will continue to be. Unfortunately.

    P.S. I “liked” comment #91 not because I’m a “fake tribal wannabe,” but because I appreciated the measured and thoughtful response. Maybe some day I can be as much a “realist” as some here profess to be, but if their responses are the standard by which I’ll be judged, I sure hope not.

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  108. LDS Anarchist on January 4, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    What exactly is the difference between a fake tribal wannabe and a real tribal wannabe? I’m just trying to figure out where I fit…

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  109. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 5:31 AM

    A tribe isn’t “a commune for unbridled secret sex at night” — it is a form a human organization based around kinship and shared belief — and is the earliest form of human community. Tribal affiliations exist naturally among humans — when states don’t exist to break them up.

    The scriptures speak of two kinds of tribes: the tribes of the earth and the tribes of Israel. In the Lord’s eyes — a person belongs either to one of those tribes or the other. This is whether you or not you are “creating a free-love commune” to garner the respect of Rick.

    The Lord chose to establish His kingdom on earth thru the chosen tribal affiliations of Israel [the house of Israel]. Currently, however, the tribal nature of the gospel lies in a suspended state. We are told we are a member of such-and-such tribe during a patriarchal blessing, but there are no tribal connections.

    We have shared beliefs, but not kinship — however, without both, we are not fully organized as the Lord’s tribes of Israel. We may call each other “brother” or “sister” so-and-so, and tend to all be of the same tribe [that of Ephraim] — but most members will view their family as distinct from other LDS.

    Kinship is the key to understanding Joseph Smith’s polygamy and D&C 132.

    The tribal plural marriage that I have outlined is based in part on my reading of D&C 132 and is also patterned after the unity that exists in the heavens, in which every God and Goddess are equal in the bonds of all things — which include martial bonds.

    Had Joseph succeeded in promoting D&C 132’s full doctrine among the people — then the Gentile Ephraimites would have been converted into a bona fide tribe of Israel [not just one in name].

    Also, Rick — as you pointed out the Like/Dislike ratios — I noticed that all the “yellow” comments [except BiV's #51] are in defense of multihusband-multiwife tribes, even if they don’t agree with it.

    The only “pink” comment is yours — just saying.

    Also, I asked you previously (#36): “Also, I’m interested in your defense of monogamy. Why does God prefer a system that forbids people from loving more than one person?” You never answered.

    Also — ditto LDSA’s question, “What exactly is the difference between a fake tribal wannabe and a real tribal wannabe?

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  110. Bored in Vernal on January 4, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    I “liked” #91, too. I enjoy the conversation when people agree or disagree respectfully. And I think I might be a fake tribal wannabe.

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  111. Cowboy on January 4, 2011 at 6:21 AM

    I’m not going to dispute that their was probably greater communal kinship among the “tribes” of Israel during the second millenium B.C.. In fact I am well aware of current notions which suggests we are relative hermits by virtue of how we rely on technology for communication, as opposed to face to face contact. Still, I am not aware that the tribes ever practiced the form of marriage you are advocating en masse? Polygamy, in some cases, but mutual husbands and wives?

    “in which every God and Goddess are equal in the bonds of all things — which include martial bonds”

    Do you have better evidence for this, where Joseph Smith spelled it out, as opposed to these rough inferences to equality that you are taking to extreme interpretation? As far as I read section 132, it was intended to be anything but equal. In fact, some of the challenge I have with Joseph Smith is that what he taught, and what he practiced were not always the same. Take for example this supposed “law of Sarah”. This was strictly an attempt at trying to give Emma some skin in the game, without really giving her anything. She was made to appear to be a partner in the Polygamous unions in an attempt to assuage her feelings of inferiority by giving her the false sense that she was divinely pre-eminent over the other wives. This was to be demonstrated by giving her a say in the decision and selection of additional wives. In reality, most of Joseph’s Polygamy was practised outside of Emma’s purview, and great effort was made to keep her away from that process. Joseph even re-married the Partridge sisters in a new ceremony with Emma present, to keep her unaware that Joseph already married them. There is some reasonable speculation that Joseph may have even entertained the idea of letting Emma have another husband if she desired, but based on the evidence, it seems more likely that this was just a concession he was willing to make to get her off of his back. Back to my original comment, this has me running for the border.

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  112. Bored in Vernal on January 4, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    Good points, Cowboy #111. This is why I agree with Justin when he says “Kinship is the key to understanding Joseph Smith’s polygamy” — but not to understanding D&C 132. I do think that Joseph’s actions (i.e. marrying several wives polyandrously) support a possible belief in a Justin-described tribal system. But try as I might, I canNOT make D&C 132 read that way. The Law of Sarah seems misogynist to me, as well, though Justin describes it as applying to men, too (??) I’m still feeling the same way about 132 as I did in the OP.

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  113. jmb275 on January 4, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Wow, what a post and discussion!

    Here are some thoughts in random order:
    1. I like Justin’s exploration of the topic. However, I can’t help but feel we are really trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Anarchy is primarily about agency, maximizing liberty, and obvious immorality of the use of violence and coercion. Yet here is an anarchist promoting a tribal environment in which most certainly such problems will arise. It is within the rights of an individual (or group) to engage in such a tribal arrangement (well, if our gov’t weren’t so up in our face), but it’s strange to me to hear that an anarchist would welcome such a situation.

    To Justin, I’d be interested in your response to these questions (maybe you answered these in your post, but honestly, I just don’t have time to read it right now):
    a) how do you envision such a tribal arrangement working when there is an overwhelming abundance of historical evidence that suggests that coercion will most certainly set in (the very thing anarchists detest)?
    b) why do you appeal to modern revelation (D&C 132) when faced with a reference to the BoM, but ignore the PoF which proclaims the doctrine of monogamy? Is that just a modern revelation with which you disagree?
    c) how do you balance your need for individuality and communalism?

    2. Ultimately, I’m with Adamf in questioning the emotional attachment need fulfillment in such a society. Physically, biologically, mentally perhaps we may be wired for multiple partners. But emotionally, attachment theory (a well scientifically validated theory) would seem to suggest we need an emotional partner to meet our needs. Is the tribe capable of meeting those needs? Perhaps some research on attachment theory in polygamous tribes is needed.

    3. How do we deal with jealousy, envy, and a host of other human emotions that arise from having to share our most prized possessions with others?

    4. I’m not convinced that it is entirely the fault of the state that monogamy is our social norm. Does someone have some research on the origins of pair bonding, etc.?

    5. Oh, and to Rick, I think on this one you’re just off the mark. Men have relationships to meet emotional needs. Sex (for most men) fulfills those needs (after all, the rush only lasts a few seconds). Men are NOT inherently selfish (that’s a vicious lie propagated by our society and absolutely NOT backed by science).

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  114. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    In an attempt to answer the questions of BiV and jmb275:

    It can be difficult for one to summarize comprehensive articles of thousands of words into the comments section [hence my use of links]. I’m not asking that anyone enact/accept the model I and LDSA have written about by virtue of the few hundred words in these comments.

    BiV — the inclusion of polyandry [as I and MH have mentioned on this post] is the aspect of D&C 132 that must be explained away prior to labeling the revelation misogynistic. I would recommend that you try to re-read D&C 132 — not in light of what you know about the Church(TM) [i.e. that they work to concentrate power in the hands of a few men], but in light of what you know about God [i.e. that He does not regard anyone as more or less by virtue of their genitalia].

    It is b/c of my understanding that God honors the consent of free agents and that He would not favor either androcracy or gynocracy over the other — that I can say that the law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women.

    The revelation was spoken to Joseph in regards to his wife — therefore it is addressed in “she then becomes the transgressor” language. However, what makes any person a transgressor according to the law of Sarah, is withholding consent [this is according to D&C 49:15 as well].

    jmb275:

    a) how do you envision such a tribal arrangement working when there is an overwhelming abundance of historical evidence that suggests that coercion will most certainly set in (the very thing anarchists detest)?

    That saints seek to obtain charity according to the steps Mormon outlined in the Book of Mormon. If you don’t have an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything you have with everyone else, you don’t have charity. And without charity — we are nothing.

    b) why do you appeal to modern revelation (D&C 132) when faced with a reference to the BoM, but ignore the PoF which proclaims the doctrine of monogamy? Is that just a modern revelation with which you disagree?

    The Proclamation on the Family is still currently exactly that — a proclamation by a quorum of priesthood holders. It, unlike D&C 132, has not been sustained by the keys of the church as binding on the church of Jesus Christ.

    Further, Tribal marriage sealings are Marriage between man and woman — and therefore count as being essential to His eternal plan. Also, the tribal model likewise agrees that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony.

    c) how do you balance your need for individuality and communalism?

    My understanding is that the LDS establishment of Zion is not supposed to look like the Nephite church, nor like the 1st century church, nor like the ancient church, nor even like the church during the time of Joseph Smith. We are not to pattern everything after them.

    This latter-day kingdom is to be the culmination of everything that has gone on before, as well as new things never before revealed.

    We are not just to worship individually, but also as a companionship, as a family, as a tribe, as a congregation, as a stake, as a city, etc.

    God embraces the one and the all. The principle is not “this or that,” but “both, plus more.”

    This is where tribal worship services come into play. In this way, one can practice tribal services that can exactly follow the revelations — instead of solely feeding from “current church practice.”

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  115. Bored in Vernal on January 4, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Looking forward to Justin’s responses. But I want to jump in to discuss jmb275′s point 2 above while we’re waiting:

    I’ve been accused of being too idealistic, and perhaps it is true. But my vision of tribal polygamy includes MORE emotional attachment, not less. That’s probably why I prefer this “tribes” model, based on a religious commitment more than what is known as polyamory. Polyamory connotes free love and little attachment, but religion-based polygamy strives for the growth of the individual into a less selfish, more loving character. (see funkydory’s comment #30: “The benefit of polygamy is that it AUTOMATICALLY challenges one’s integrity.”) When I picture myself in some such situation, I imagine that I would become more attached to more people, not less. I am, after all, capable of loving more than one person at a time. Adding a spouse doesn’t have to mean you love the first one less, or must somehow detach from them.

    I guess this goes into your point 3, too. Spiritually motivated polygamy would come with a high degree of motivation to overcome the “baser” human emotions like jealousy. It seems to me that early Mormon polygamy failed most often when, rather than forming tribe-like family systems, they segregated the wives and children into distant homes, sometimes separated by states or even countries!

    I would be most interested to see some research on attachment in polygamous tribes. I don’t know of any that fit the bill of what Justin describes, though, do you?

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  116. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    In regards to research — a quick search online yielded me:

    This [The Anthropology of Polyamory]

    and this [Polyamory online FAQs]

    FWIW

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  117. Cowboy on January 4, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    “Men have relationships to meet emotional needs. Sex (for most men) fulfills those needs (after all, the rush only lasts a few seconds).”

    A good bull-ride only lasts 8 seconds, but I don’t think it’s popular because Cowboys are trying to create and emotional bond with a Bull.

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  118. jmb275 on January 4, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Re Cowboy

    A good bull-ride only lasts 8 seconds, but I don’t think it’s popular because Cowboys are trying to create and emotional bond with a Bull.

    Whoa, Cowboy! Huh? Are you really comparing sex to a bull-ride? I won’t argue with you, but I think it extremely naive to think that men ONLY have sex for the thrill. I recognize it’s not more than that EVERY TIME, but in a healthy relationship men often seek sex because it’s how they know how to emotionally attach to their partner. Read Dr. Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight” for more info.

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  119. jmb275 on January 4, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    Re Justin and BiV
    It’s interesting because I almost wrote a second comment about idealism, and then you both perfectly illustrated it.

    That saints seek to obtain charity according to the steps Mormon outlined in the Book of Mormon. If you don’t have an overwhelming desire and willingness to share everything you have with everyone else, you don’t have charity. And without charity — we are nothing.

    This is a very lovely thought, and one I most certainly agree with. However, it’s not real life. I asked about how you envision it working when coercion rears it’s ugly head? What is your practical solution for solving this problem. People won’t be charitable all the time (aside from completely ignoring the obvious reality that what one views as charity is another’s oppression). And, perhaps most importantly, how will you address the fact that if your tribe has sufficient cohesion to keep it together there will also be silent dissent and eventually unhealthy oppression via social forces? In other words, you didn’t really answer my question.

    I’ve been accused of being too idealistic, and perhaps it is true.

    In my experience anarchists and communalists are two sides of the same idealistic coin. I have had long debates with an anarchist and I’m always left with solutions that rely on an idealistic perspective of human nature but don’t really address the problems that arise. I think this is why such social experiments have repeatedly failed throughout history and will continue to fail.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that idealists exist because they push us toward good things and continually remind us what we “fight” for (as long as we don’t take them TOO seriously). But at the end of the day they inevitably ignore the messy reality of earth-life and human nature.

    BTW, Justin, I agree that PoF is not revelation as per Mormon theology (common consent and all that), but I think you still have to reconcile the reality that you can’t engage in such a situation and still be a member of the modern church (unless you’re deceiving the leaders since the church’s policy is to ex polygamists).

    Also, what I meant in question c) is how you personally balance your individualism and communalism? As an anarchist you must value agency and liberty heavily. How would you balance the reality that along with communalism will come untold responsibilities that put the group ahead of the individual? What if you want to do something else, or have “alone” time?

    When I picture myself in some such situation, I imagine that I would become more attached to more people, not less. I am, after all, capable of loving more than one person at a time. Adding a spouse doesn’t have to mean you love the first one less, or must somehow detach from them…Spiritually motivated polygamy would come with a high degree of motivation to overcome the “baser” human emotions like jealousy.

    Certainly. I agree. But what happens if you child isn’t capable (read: doesn’t want to) love more than one person. Suppose he wants ONLY you.

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  120. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    jmb275:

    There are many who have envisioned a “utopian” society and think that it can be done by intellect or belief alone [i.e. without faith in God].

    Mankind alone can do much to create idyllic settings and near/temporary utopias. The problem is that mankind is not alone.

    I know it may not mesh with some people’s worldviews (#92) but Satan is among us to sow discord. We need to cast him out of our presence in order to achieve peace. This can only be done thru God.

    If Satan were not a reality, then Zion could be established without religion. This is where other idealists [like anarchists] go wrong by rejecting both God and Satan — b/c this only sets them up to be captivated by Satan.

    They end up casting out God — the only power that can deal with Satan, who will still remain among them.

    Because of my preclusion to agency — I do not suggest that the whole world, whole country, or the whole church switch over to living in tribal plural marriage systems. To do such a thing would require lots of control and force [the kind used to keep the current system in place].

    However, it’s not real life.
    It is if what you read/hear touches you personally and you choose to seek to obtain charity according to the steps Mormon outlined in the Book of Mormon [assuming you are LDS and would be interested in obtaining the gift of charity]. It will become “real life” for you within your tribe.

    They can’t stop the marriage from happening, they can’t discipline the newlyweds without evidence, witnesses and/or confessions, and they can’t keep the for-time plural spouses unsealed [because eventually all marriages will be sealed in the temple during the Millennium].

    MikeS asked me on a previous post:

    I understand your point in theory. In reality, however, it wouldn’t take very long for people following this multi-tribal model to be excommunicated from the LDS Church.
    Do you therefore suggest that this “leavening” take place outside the LDS Church?”

    I answered that, one should first take a look at what the Church(TM) can really do to a person living a non-standard style of marriage. It does not take lying.

    The Lord has, essentially, opened the way for any of children to establish themselves tribally, without repercussions from the state or from the church. The only ones who have power to stop it from happening are those within your family holding the keys of consent.

    Also, valuing agency and liberty heavily does not necessitate that I value solitude or that I ought to despise family-related duties or tasks.

    An+anarchy mean no+rulers. It means that I’m free to enter into a marriage covenant that places me under an obligation to provide materially for my wives/children and to love/serve them unconditionally. It means that others are free not to.

    What if you want to do something else, or have “alone” time?

    If, for example, I desired to go on a mission because I feel called by the Spirit to preach — I should be free to remain on my mission either until the Spirit tells me to return to my family or when I desire to see them again. This is according to the scriptural directions on how missionary work should operate (D&C 19: 36-37 and D&C 42: 4-5).

    Having a tribe that exhibits polyandry would make fulfilling these scriptural directions possible. I would have no problem with leaving my wife in the care of other men who have taken on the same covenant obligations towards her as I have.

    I would then be at liberty to do as the Spirit directs me.

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  121. jmb275 on January 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Re Justin
    I think I see what you’re getting at.

    I know it may not mesh with some people’s worldviews (#92) but Satan is among us to sow discord. We need to cast him out of our presence in order to achieve peace. This can only be done thru God.

    I can respect this faith/hope. I personally still do not believe this is a reality, but I can see where you’re coming from. I think we sow most of the discord on our own without any help from Satan.

    It is if what you read/hear touches you personally and you choose to seek to obtain charity according to the steps Mormon outlined in the Book of Mormon [assuming you are LDS and would be interested in obtaining the gift of charity]. It will become “real life” for you within your tribe.

    Certainly, but what if someone didn’t choose? Like a child? Or what if I change my mind? Again, I find this idealistic. Suppose that what I hear/read touches me and I choose to join such a tribe. Suppose then that things get harder and harder because people make mistakes, offend, and otherwise hurt me, or perhaps it just wasn’t what I expected. Imagine I have a child and I see that child NOT happy in this arrangement. What can I do? Ideally I would just leave. Aside from the physical difficulties of doing that (which happen whether there is coercion or not) there would be social forces to keep me in, maybe even coercion. Do you disagree? My question is what will you do in such a situation? And your response is that such a situation wouldn’t exist.

    The message I hear from you is “if everyone agrees, and everyone chooses, and God helps us, this would work.” I agree, but I have to admit to myself that not everyone will agree and choose freely all the time. The real question then becomes how long will people suppress their disagreement and/or overlook it for the good of group? And how do you square that reality with your preference for liberty.

    Also, valuing agency and liberty heavily does not necessitate that I value solitude or that I ought to despise family-related duties or tasks.

    Of course. However, very often anarchists are individualistic, precisely because they do not wish to conform to what the group wants. I recognize it’s useless to debate what “anarchy” is since experts themselves don’t agree. But it seems to me that the roots of anarchism are individuality and liberty. I don’t see that large tribes, churches, states, or any other group are conducive to those ideals.

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  122. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Defining anarchism is definitely beyond the scope of a discussion here. Experts can’t agree b/c defining anarchism is like nailing jello. To define “anarchism” as having this or that aspect would then tell anarchists that they can’t be this or that thing. Which is itself against the idea of anarchy. So I agree that we ought not address the meaning of anarchism and what it entails an anarchist ought to be like.

    jmb275 — it is your tribe to grow as you see expedient or to allow to lie dormant as you see expedient. There are other aspects of tribalism that one can choose to activate currently (discussed in #90 and #100). However, the gospel itself is meant to be lived tribally — as the children of God organized into the tribes of Israel.

    Addressing your question of what to do if you’ve already added an additional spouse and now feel that it’s “too much” — I would have to say that this is no different than a single adult choosing to enter a monogamous union.

    What should they do if it gets to be “too hard” for them? Divorce? Some may think so, but I don’t think that the scriptures justify a permanent separation from a spouse because once he/she got into a marriage — it just wasn’t that easy for everyone to agree and choose freely all the time.

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  123. LDS Anarchist on January 4, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    jmb275, it sounds like you’ve just talked anarchist theory with this anarchist friend of yours without examining anarchism in practice. I’ll get you started. See 1930′s Spanish Anarchy.

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  124. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    LDS Anarchist, from your link:

    “Although they were eventually defeated by Franco, a brutal dictator…”

    As I recall (mostly from Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia), the Spanish anarchists were defeated by the Spanish communists and “liberals,” not Franco’s Nationalists. The Left’s tent back then was only so big, and once the POUM got in Stalin’s way, they were taken care of.

    “…Rich says that “the defeat of the Anarchist Collectives was not a result of their Anarchist principles, it was due to their betrayal of them.”

    One hears this a lot, about losers. If only they’d been more ideologically pure, the gods wouldn’t have smitten them. “O ye fair ones…!”

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  125. LDS Anarchist on January 4, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    LoL. You didn’t click the link within the link, did you?

    Btw, I sent jmb275 to the first link because it had my first-hand assessment of how the old Spaniards I had personally met felt toward that anarchist movement, plus it contained the link to the article on that movement. The intention was to read my brief introduction and then go in and read the article linked. Perhaps this was too much to ask.

    I will now link the article itself: “Stand fast and fight to the last”: The Spanish Anarchist Collectives

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  126. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Yes, it was. Especially since you didn’t ask.

    I admit I have a hard time taking “anarchism” seriously, in light of the knuckleheads who go around wearing the tag these days — as they protest for more government-provided services. One gets the impression that they’re not too clear on the “an-” party of “anarchy.”

    I will say this: Of all the utopian notions floating around in the early 20th century, Spanish anarchism was probably one of the least toxic. Which is probably why the *really* serious leftists felt they had to shoot them.

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  127. Justin on January 4, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    Thomas/jmp275:

    There is also the book The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, which relates specifically with tribal anarchism.

    A brief review of the book can be found here [Anarchist Horticulture]

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  128. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Justin — Interesting article.

    One detail that wasn’t mentioned: The tribal societies that manage to sustain themselves over the long-term do so by the proverbial “living in harmony in nature.” Not nice sweet nature, but nature red in tooth and claw. In addition to frequently high rates of violence (it’s debated whether hunter-gatherer societies have higher rates of violence than settled ones — I read the evidence as saying “yes”), in order to keep numbers down to where the available non-agricultural resources are sufficient, they have to practice abortion and infanticide on a systematic scale. And because male mortality tends to be higher (often because of violence), this means that more little girls than boys get tossed out for the tigers to munch on.

    Maybe “paleos” had a healthier diet (grubs, anyone?), and maybe they didn’t have to put up with kings and priests. But you can only make that lifestyle look attractive, if you systematically ignore great swaths of inconvenient evidence. (Jared Diamond is particularly good at this.)

    The American founders’ basic idea was that there was a third way between anarchy and the leviathan State: the idea of “ordered liberty.” Since — although I don’t at all like king and priests bossing me around — I can’t decide which two of my kids I should have left out for the bears, so the rest of us don’t exhaust the supply of mussels and prickly pear, I think I’ll stick with working on the ordered liberty model, as long as it shows any promise at all.

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  129. jmb275 on January 4, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Re Justin and LDSAnarchist
    Thanks for the links. I’ll try to look over them the next few days. You’re right, I have not examined many real life implementations, mostly discussed the theoretical aspects of it. Though I find myself very much in favor or limited gov’t and maximizing liberty, like Thomas, I haven’t been able to really take it seriously.

    As for the discussion at hand, I appreciate the perspective. I absolutely agree with your assessment that Joseph intended the Gospel to be lived tribally. I’m simply not on-board.

    One issue no one has brought up is the research suggesting that, in fact, Joseph never actually practiced community (don’t laugh). There are researchers who don’t believe that he did, and they can make a fairly convincing case. IF that’s true, and it’s all a creation of BY, what does that do to your analysis?

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  130. Bishop Rick on January 4, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Justin #109

    Also, Rick — as you pointed out the Like/Dislike ratios — I noticed that all the “yellow” comments [except BiV's #51] are in defense of multihusband-multiwife tribes, even if they don’t agree with it.

    The only “pink” comment is yours — just saying.

    That is exactly the point I was making. The majority of participants on this thread are clearly in your corner…and now I have 2 pink comments.

    I was also misunderstood that I disliked comment #91 which is not the case. I only mentioned that he got it backwards about this board being anti polygamy.

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  131. Bishop Rick on January 4, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Justin #109 part II

    Also, I asked you previously (#36): “Also, I’m interested in your defense of monogamy. Why does God prefer a system that forbids people from loving more than one person?” You never answered.

    Actually I have answered, and I never said God prefers anything. You are reading things that were not written and vice versa.

    Also — ditto LDSA’s question, “What exactly is the difference between a fake tribal wannabe and a real tribal wannabe?

    Now that is an interesting question. It will take 2 responses because it was poorly asked.

    a. There is no difference between fake tribal wannabes and real tribal wannabes. They are both just wannabes.

    b. As I have said ad nauseam, you are not creating a real tribe, only a fake one. (Ah now its starting to come together) and as such, you are just a wannabe, incapable of creating what you claim.

    I can’t really blame you for that though, because as I have also pointed out ad nauseam, you can’t create a real tribe unless we are suddenly thrust into a post-armegedden world, and all that remain alive are utopian clones.

    The fact that you are attempting to do this behind the veil of anonymity backs me up. Plus everything else that I have stated.

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  132. Bishop Rick on January 4, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    jmb275 #113

    You take a very long post and basically agree with me, but just so that you don’t look like you really agree with me, you give me a jab at the end…incredible.

    And BTW, I’m not off on men being self-centered. The reason there is no science backing that statement up is because most scientists are men. (ok I made that up, but it makes you think)

    I don’t need science on this one when I can see it quite plainly with my 2 eyes. If you can’t see it, that is very telling.

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  133. Cowboy on January 4, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    I always like Thomas’s comments…admittedly even when I disagree with him. However, this time I agree with him.

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  134. George on January 5, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Re: #131

    I can’t really blame you for that though, because as I have also pointed out ad nauseam, you can’t create a real tribe unless we are suddenly thrust into a post-armegedden world, and all that remain alive are utopian clones.

    Who says I have to wait for a post-Armegedden world to start a tribe? Isn’t my family (wife + kids) a scaled down version of a larger tribe? We function very much like a tribe might – we make up our own rules of what’s kosher or not, we keep ourselves distinct from the rest of society, we live together, eat together, teach each other and are mostly autonomous.

    Borrowing from the 1828 dictionary, the first definition of tribe is little more than a “family, race or series of generations, descending from the same progenitor and kept distinct…”. If that doesn’t describe my nascent family, I’m not sure what does. Sure, we might be more familiar with the term “family” in everyday life, but in reality I see each family as an individual “tribe” insofar as we allow it. They can be extended families, or not, but the essence is right there. I see no reason why I couldn’t refer to this family of mine as my “tribe,” and yet you’d suggest that it simply cannot happen absent some post-apocalyptic horror.

    That’s sheer rubbish. Open your mind, man, and stop putting stakes up all around about what can and cannot happen.

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  135. Bored in Vernal on January 5, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    Amen, George. (lovelovelove the JS quote!)

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  136. Justin on January 5, 2011 at 5:07 AM

    jmb275 (#129): “IF that’s true, and it’s all a creation of BY, what does that do to your analysis?

    I still read polygyny and polyandry with the law of Sarah [consent] as the key to establishing the tribes of Israel in D&C 132. And I still understand the scriptures to indicate a multihusband-multiwife marriage family among Gods and Goddesses in heaven.

    Rick (#131): “Actually I have answered, and I never said God prefers anything. You are reading things that were not written and vice versa.

    Then what does God prefer — since your stance appears to be that He clearly doesn’t prefer polygyny or polyandry? It was the only natural extension of your distaste for plural marriages that I would have thought that you assume God prefers monogamy.

    The fact that you are attempting to do this behind the veil of anonymity backs me up.

    What does anonymity on the internet prove?

    George (#134): “I see no reason why I couldn’t refer to this family of mine as my “tribe,” and yet you’d suggest that it simply cannot happen absent some post-apocalyptic horror.

    I second BiV’s “Amen” — that was well said. A “tribe” is simply a form a human organization based around kinship and shared belief. If those two things are there, then you have begun a tribe.

    There are functions of tribalism that can be activated currently with a 1 husband:1wife:children tribe. Tribal plural marriage is simply the means whereby a tribe grows or is enlarged.

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  137. Cowboy on January 5, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    “I second BiV’s “Amen” — that was well said. A “tribe” is simply a form a human organization based around kinship and shared belief. If those two things are there, then you have begun a tribe.”

    Hold your horses on that one. This whole time you have been intertwining polygamy with a tribal-communalism. Bishop Rick countered by suggesting that you are not going to get this model to take en masse without a major socio-political catalyst. George responded by suggesting that the nuclear family is just a microcosm of this tribal model. I say B.S. Just because the “traditional” family shares a commonality of being a fundamental unit for establishing cultural identity, does not mean that it is just a smaller version of tribal communalism. More particularly, just because they share an “essence” does not mean they are both socially compatible.
    Bishop Rick has been a little heavy on the insult side, but ultimately he is right. These free-love communes and social experiments were very common among those in the hippy movement. Furthermore, they are still interspersed throughout the mid-west based on all types of religious, sci-fi, and fantasy themes. They include everything from UFO cults, to elf-lore mythology, to OT derivative Pandanaram groups. I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few of these whack jobs in the past, and have observed that they are nothing more than a haven for social outliers, the impoverished and destitute, and emotionally disturbed. In the worst of cases they prey on run-away’s. Perhaps this is not exactly what Justin and LDS Anarchist have in mind, but shooting from the hip, my guess say’s this is who they will attract and ultimately appeal to in large numbers. Frankly the greatest distinction between this particular flavor of free-love commune and the other mentioned above, is just that, flavor. It’s all in the same category; this brand is just Mormon themed free-love communal tribalism. They may build their tribes on the fringe, but ultimately will fail to have much impact on the social revolution efforts. They may respond by suggesting that they are only concerned with building their own tribes, and are not interested in promoting this out to the world at large, but I would disagree. Their prolific web-based advocacy suggests that this is exactly what they are doing.
    Lastly, between LDS Anarchist and Justin, we are losing a little touch here as to what distinguishes a monogamist tribe from the traditional LDS families. According to LDS Anarchist, the traditional family is just a “scaled-down” version of the free-love tribe. Including Justin’s comments, they should also have total agency, and begin taking the sacrament as an entire meal on their knees, ultimately rejecting the presiding authority of the Church, if of course that’s what they want to do. He bases this entire idea on Joseph Smith, who frankly was a control-freak. Once Hiram Pages revelations began encroaching on Joseph’s territory, and particularly when Oliver Cowdrey started getting on board, Joseph clarified the chain of command. It also fails to consider Josephs political ambitions as Mayor, General, and Presidential Candidate. You can’t cherry-pick the behaviors of Joseph Smith that you like, in order to draw useful inferences about his possible intentions.
    Finally, as a last consideration, this is ultimately a message that will best resonate among a small margin of those with LDS inclinations. The Church proper, which holds the cards right now, does and will vigorously oppose this religion with all their power. Unfortunately they are the ultimate voice on Mormonism, and can dismiss this effort quite easily. By and large, most of the other Polygamy cults have made their way largely by breeding, not by drawing converts in any critical way. This is largely because of the Church’s influence, seeing as how Utah has generally taken not to prosecute situations that don’t entail child abuse.

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  138. Justin on January 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    This whole time you have been intertwining polygamy with a tribal-communalism.

    That’s because for a family to grow their tribe, adults that join must do so on the basis of kinship bonds [that's blood, marriage, or adoption] — the bond of kinship that applies to D&C 132 is the bonds of matrimony.

    Of the three covenants given to the LDS that are sufficient to establish them in Zion: (1) The law of consecration [in which they freely share of their substance],
    (2) The United Order [in which they bind themselves by covenant to establish Zion],
    (3) And the new and everlasting covenant of marriage [which, according to D&C 132, includes polygyny and polyandry -- and in which they freely give of their love and hearts in plural marriages, binding all members together by bonds of kinship].

    Of those three — plural marriage is probably the most powerful because if one is able to give consent to freely share a spouse with other spouses [effectively eliminating all jealousy and envy and engendering charity], then sharing everything else would come easier.

    Ultimately rejecting the presiding authority of the Church.

    What I’m saying applies to tribes and tribal ordinances. The priesthood, when used within a tribe, becomes a tribal priesthood. When using priesthood in a church setting, you then need church permission. When used in a tribal setting, the tribe has jurisdiction, not the church.

    Tribal ordinances [which include tribal plural marriages] are beyond the scope of LDS general authorities. Formal church discipline cannot come without evidence, witnesses, and/or confessions. And so long as a tribe is basing their actions on the scriptures — there is no deception in answering worthiness questions like “Do you keep the law of chastity.”

    As I said in (#114): It can be difficult for one to summarize comprehensive articles of thousands of words into the comments section [hence my use of links]. I’m not asking that anyone enact/accept the model I and LDSA have written about by virtue of the few hundred words in these comments.

    My family is the way it is because of our understanding of the nature of priesthood, the keys or authority, and marriage — and how those relate to our tribal business and our family dynamics.

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  139. Cowboy on January 5, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Sorry for the repost, but the formatting on my previous comment was driving me nuts.

    Cowboy on January 5, 2011 at 10:17 AM
    “I second BiV’s “Amen” — that was well said. A “tribe” is simply a form a human organization based around kinship and shared belief. If those two things are there, then you have begun a tribe.”

    Hold your horses on that one. This whole time you have been intertwining polygamy with a tribal-communalism. Bishop Rick countered by suggesting that you are not going to get this model to take en masse without a major socio-political catalyst. George responded by suggesting that the nuclear family is just a microcosm of this tribal model. I say B.S. Just because the “traditional” family shares a commonality of being a fundamental unit for establishing cultural identity, does not mean that it is just a smaller version of tribal communalism. More particularly, just because they share an “essence” does not mean they are both socially compatible.

    Bishop Rick has been a little heavy on the insult side, but ultimately he is right. These free-love communes and social experiments were very common among those in the hippy movement. Furthermore, they are still interspersed throughout the mid-west based on all types of religious, sci-fi, and fantasy themes. They include everything from UFO cults, to elf-lore mythology, to OT derivative Pandanaram groups. I have had the misfortune of interacting with a few of these whack jobs in the past, and have observed that they are nothing more than a haven for social outliers, the impoverished and destitute, and emotionally disturbed. In the worst of cases they prey on run-away’s. Perhaps this is not exactly what Justin and LDS Anarchist have in mind, but shooting from the hip, my guess say’s this is who they will attract and ultimately appeal to in large numbers. Frankly the greatest distinction between this particular flavor of free-love commune and the other mentioned above, is just that, flavor. It’s all in the same category; this brand is just Mormon themed free-love communal tribalism. They may build their tribes on the fringe, but ultimately will fail to have much impact on the social revolution efforts. They may respond by suggesting that they are only concerned with building their own tribes, and are not interested in promoting this out to the world at large, but I would disagree. Their prolific web-based advocacy suggests that this is exactly what they are doing.

    Lastly, between LDS Anarchist and Justin, we are losing a little touch here as to what distinguishes a monogamist tribe from the traditional LDS families. According to LDS Anarchist, the traditional family is just a “scaled-down” version of the free-love tribe. Including Justin’s comments, they should also have total agency, and begin taking the sacrament as an entire meal on their knees, ultimately rejecting the presiding authority of the Church, if of course that’s what they want to do. He bases this entire idea on Joseph Smith, who frankly was a control-freak. Once Hiram Pages revelations began encroaching on Joseph’s territory, and particularly when Oliver Cowdrey started getting on board, Joseph clarified the chain of command. It also fails to consider Josephs political ambitions as Mayor, General, and Presidential Candidate. You can’t cherry-pick the behaviors of Joseph Smith that you like, in order to draw useful inferences about his possible intentions.

    Finally, as a last consideration, this is ultimately a message that will best resonate among a small margin of those with LDS inclinations. The Church proper, which holds the cards right now, does and will vigorously oppose this religion with all their power. Unfortunately they are the ultimate voice on Mormonism, and can dismiss this effort quite easily. By and large, most of the other Polygamy cults have made their way largely by breeding, not by drawing converts in any critical way. This is largely because of the Church’s influence, seeing as how Utah has generally taken not to prosecute situations that don’t entail child abuse.

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  140. Justin on January 5, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Cowboy:

    I’ve responded to your 137/139 — it’s just awaiting moderation — due [I imagine] to containing more than 2 links.

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  141. Andrew S on January 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    comment fished out. sorry for the wait

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  142. Cowboy on January 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Justin, when you suggest that polygamy is not central to this idea, I am having a hard time seeing how different your views are to what the Church intends to be. Could they just not argue that President Monson is just the head of the tribal family, and we are just earnestly awaiting the return of the United Order? What really distinguishes your views is an extremely narrow parsing of D&C 132, followed by specific interpretations of Joseph Smiths erratic marriage practices, to support a free-love arrangement. That is the real distinguishing factor, that and you would like to regress to hunter/gathering. Still, I don’t think you have made an overly compelling case for how your authority (justified by Mormon thought) would exceed that of the current First Elder of the Church. If you accepted Brigham Youngs succession in that role, then it is hard to make your case. Particularly seeing as how authoritarian both he and Joseph Smith were.

    I think we just approach things from two completely opposing frames of thought. I guess you have the unfortunate task of being a “missionary” for a cause that’s doomed crash on the runway – or at least fail to ever really take off.

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  143. Bishop Rick on January 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    George #134
    “Who says I have to wait for a post-Armegedden world to start a tribe? Isn’t my family (wife + kids) a scaled down version of a larger tribe?”

    Uh that would be NO…unless your kids are planning on incest to keep the “tribe” going.

    BiV #135
    “Amen, George.”

    Really BiV? That breaks my heart. Partly because I like you and what you stand for, and partly because George was just flat wrong.

    Justin #136
    “Then what does God prefer — since your stance appears to be that He clearly doesn’t prefer polygyny or polyandry?”

    I have no idea. I don’t pretend to know what God thinks. All I know is that I am slightly against all forms of polygamy…alright, I am totally against them.

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  144. George on January 5, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    Rick, your comments both baffle, bemuse and appall me. Your focus (and others) on the sexuality part of this discussion is both telling and unfortunate.

    Did not Lehi find some way to broaden his tribe without resorting to incestuous relations? The mere reference to incest is only an option for those with extremely limited (and questionable, IMHO) imaginations. And, for you to confine my tribe/family to an incestuous finality is beyond ignorant. Expansion of tribes in this general context is really no different than modern day marriages (i.e. you go out and find yourself a spouse wherever you are wont to find him/her), but lets ignore that and focus on the incestuous finality you ignorantly resort to.

    Seriously, broaden your horizons and think just a bit.

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  145. Bishop Rick on January 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    George, you are the one that set the limits by referring to your family as a tribe. If your family is a tribe, then it only backs up my claim that tribes are unsustainable. Of course I don’t think your kids are not going to engage in incest. The fact that you went there first is both telling and unfortunate.
    See how that goes?

    Your family is not a tribe. You have to bring in outsiders to make it a tribe, at your own admission.

    I really don’t know why you are struggling to grasp this.
    Its not that tough.

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  146. Bored in Vernal on January 5, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Aw, Rick. Really, if you saw my family in action, you would definitely call it a tribe.

    I hope I haven’t alienated you with my comments. I can see that in your own way you are trying to combat sexism with your attack of polygamy. I totally understand people who see it this way. I get that polygamy is repugnant to a lot of people. I just have this idealistic wish? dream? vision? that such a model could foster a consecrated lifestyle and help purify the soul. Like you, I just don’t see it being acceptable for a committed LDS, but I wish I could have given it a try.

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  147. Bishop Rick on January 5, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    If I thought it could work, be fair and ethical, be sustainable, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I have no examples of that. Polygamy in the LDS church certainly did not fit that bill. I don’t think polygamy is fair and I certainly don’t think it is sustainable, not only because of numbers, but because of human nature.

    Keep dreamin’ BiV. Everything works in dreams.

    (that was a sincere closing statement for those of you already lining up to pink me.)

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  148. Cowboy on January 6, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    “I don’t think polygamy is fair and I certainly don’t think it is sustainable, not only because of numbers, but because of human nature.”

    I think the observation here by Bishop Rick, about human nature, is an ignored point or at least an underlying assumption in the free-love communal argument. In other words, Justin and others have stated that to truly have charity, is to not want to keep something, like a personal relationship, to your selves. I don’t think this is a self-evident fact. A challenge very common in wards for example, is when the Bishopric tries to disrupt “clicks”. The term “click” is quite ambiguous because to those in the click the relationship is seen generally as just a circle of tight nit friends. To those on the outside, it is seen as social elitism. Furthermore, what is generally happening is someone on the outside is venting frustruation as to why they don’t seem to “click” as well with so-and-so, the same way that another so-and-so does. Is it because the click really lacks charity, or is it more because our inherent social proclivities are such that we need to develop unique and tight bonds with certain people and subsets of an otherwise charitable community? Am I for example, uncharitable because I loathe to consider sharing my wife with my neighbor. Is it selfish, perhaps. Is it unrighteous or undesirable behavior in the Eternities, I don’t know that this case has been made. Furthermore, while communalism may serve some social benefits, would a free-love arrangement strengthen my relationship with my current wife, or at best diminish it in order to equalize my relationship with the entire community. If latter is correct, is this something I need to overcome, or does Justin, Biv, LDS Anarchist, George, fail to understand human nature as Bishop Rick says. My bet is on the former.

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  149. George on January 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    My last comment on this topic (to the applause of the non-Bishop rick and others):

    Speaking of the words we use, re #145:

    “I don’t think your kids are not going to engage in incest.”

    Interesting choice of words there.

    If you go back to my original comment, I referenced the 1828 Webster’s dictionary. I probably wouldn’t have used tribe to describe my family if that dictionary hadn’t first used it as well. Look up the definition, if you must, but you’re the one putting the qualifier on what a tribe is/isn’t:

    “Your family is not a tribe. You have to bring in outsiders to make it a tribe, at your own admission.

    Perhaps it’s mere semantics, but I don’t need to bring in outsiders to make it my family a family, though it certainly started by bringing in an outsider (my wife). Sure, when my kids are older and marry someone, then that is, by your definition, bringing in outsiders. It adds another dynamic to it. Just because I’m at a stage where I’m not actively “adding an outsider” doesn’t change its essence, it’s merely a different stage.

    Re 147:

    “If I thought it could work, be fair and ethical, be sustainable, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I have no examples of that. Polygamy in the LDS church certainly did not fit that bill. I don’t think polygamy is fair and I certainly don’t think it is sustainable, not only because of numbers, but because of human nature”

    If this is the standard, then what institution, practice or policy actually fits the bill? Just what is, in today’s world, “fair and ethical” or even “sustainable”? Are we talking solely about forms of marriage in this context, since you referenced polygamy, or would you extend it logically to other areas? Is business fair and ethical? Is the work you do, the rates you charge/pay or the mere participation in the beast of capitalism fair and equitable, let alone sustainable? In regards to polygamy, are we discussing the tribal model set forth above, Brigham’s model of “do this or you won’t be exalted” or something altogether different? What about monogamy? Is it fair and equitable? Is it sustainable? Does a 50% success rate define sustainability?

    Now, what about your comment on “human nature,” or Cowboy’s assertion that I fail to understand “human nature”? Indeed, the question in my mind is whether we’re to succumb to “human nature” in the first place. Human nature is largely defined by jealously, greed, avarice, lust, competition (et al) on the bad side, and compassion, kindness, love and understanding on the good side. But, which side typically rules the day in our era? Which one is more descriptive of “human nature” when things get boiled down?

    Now, if you define “human nature” as the set of distinguishing characteristics that are also practical, then it might be different discussion. But even practicality is likewise influenced and largely controlled by the State insomuch as only certain activities are allowed (State sanctioned activities), while others are coerced out of existence. It’s stated by some that where society goes, the church (and her members) soon follows. And, if that’s the case, are we better off following those footsteps, or trodding our own path?

    What I think is missing, in a larger context, is the ability for most (if not all) parties involved here to realize that there’s not a “one size fits all” solution for most anything in life. What’s right for me, clearly isn’t right for the more dogmatically inclined Rick; what’s right for Justin, likely isn’t right for me; etc. That being said, it’s unfortunate that those disagreements take place in an environment where some feel inclined to lob epithets when they see something they don’t like, let alone that unsettles their carefully crafted world view. That, I’m afraid, is one of the downfalls of “human nature,” always resorting to a “my side is the best/only way.”

    If that is human nature, and it generally proves so on a day-to-day basis, then I have no choice but to agree that Justin’s model is neither fair, nor sustainable because the general definitions of what is fair and sustainable are based on/in a society that is predicated on competition and oneupmanship. Predicated on proving one’s point. Predicated on “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

    Now, if we do want to make this conversation happen in a gospel context (and even there, not all would agree), then are we to succumb to our modern definitions of “human nature,” or are we to overcome them and redefine what “human nature” really is? Can “human nature” be synonymous with the “natural man”? If not, why not?

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  150. Cowboy on January 6, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    “Can “human nature” be synonymous with the “natural man”? If not, why not?”

    Obviously that depends on your theology. How succesful has the Atonement of Jesus Christ been at putting off the “natural man” of homosexuality? As of right now, even Church leaders seem unsure of how likely such a thing is in terms of mortality.

    “but you’re the one putting the qualifier on what a tribe is/isn’t:”

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. This whole conversation started with a consideration of the plausiblity of Mormon communal-tribalism. That has been defined by those advocating the concept, which includes the free-love/interchanging of spouses. Bishop Rick was simply following the implications. Whether he is correct or not, you and others have opened the door for these concepts by trying to promote this contrivance of “Celestial Swinging” – all in the spirit charity of course. Frankly, it sort of begs the question, if one is going to appeal to pseudo-Mormon teachings which hearken to an assumed tribal lifestyle that began with Adam, and logically included incest. If I wanted to take the argument further, we could consider the example of Lot, an OT contemporary of Abraham who was documented to have had a brief polygamist incestuous encounter with his daughters, under limited conditions. These are the supposed forebearers and religious traditions you are pulling from to make a case, so you have defined it.

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  151. Bishop Rick on January 6, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    George #149,
    “Speaking of the words we use, re #145:
    “I don’t think your kids are not going to engage in incest.”
    Interesting choice of words there.”

    Wow, that looks suspiciously like a freudian slip, but was actually a casualty of post-before-proofread.

    I meant to say:
    “…I don’t think your kids are going to engage in incest.”

    I hope you got my intended meaning.

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  152. Bishop Rick on January 6, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    #149 part II
    ” Is business fair and ethical? Is the work you do, the rates you charge/pay or the mere participation in the beast of capitalism fair and equitable, let alone sustainable?”

    Kind of apples to oranges. I don’t have the same relationship with my boss as I do with my wife…but I suppose you could if your boss was part of your tribe.

    “Now, if we do want to make this conversation happen in a gospel context (and even there, not all would agree), then are we to succumb to our modern definitions of “human nature,” or are we to overcome them and redefine what “human nature” really is?”

    This statement is why it appears that you don’t understand the concept of human nature. Human nature is not something you can change thru definitions. Stating that human nature is “this” doesn’t cause it to stop being “that”.

    Human nature is like water. It always runs downhill, taking the path of least resistance. You can dam the water up, causing it to stop running downhill, but eventually all dams fail.

    The same would hold true in a tribal commune. You might be able to dam up the natural tendencies of man (meaning women and men) for a season, but eventually human tendencies (jealousy, selfishness, etc.) would creep in, causing the dam to fail. This is especially true for communities that grew larger in size, which is inevitable.

    Hunter/gatherer tribes are used as the example of successful tribal communities, but the reality is, those weren’t sustainable either, because here we are.

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  153. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 6, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    well, glad we got this all sorted out.

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  154. Barnes on January 7, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Thought this recent article might be of interest to some:

    “Even though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounced polygamy in 1890, a religious studies expert says that mainstream Mormons are nearly evenly split over whether it should continue to be practised. W. John Walsh said Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court that the LDS church’s official position remains that polygamy is banned, but that it’s possible that somewhere between 50 and 60 per cent of the church’s members “would like a return of polygamy, which they see as a holy practice. The other half would not like to see a return of polygamy and deem it to be “an archaic practise,” said Walsh, who was testifying as an expert on behalf of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in a constitutional reference case that will determine the validity of Canada’s law prohibiting polygamy. …

    If Walsh is right, that suggests that if Canada’s law is struck down, it could cause a major schism in the LDS church and would likely mean a large contingent of disaffected Mormons wanting to immigrate to Canada. Membership in the LDS church is estimated at about 13 million worldwide with 6.7 million living in the United States. …

    Walsh went on to call polygamy “the natural order of things” that men would have multiple wives (polygyny) and women would not have multiple husbands (polyandry) because polyandry would not result in the greatest number of children. …

    Under questioning, Walsh said Wednesday that as a general principle, he believes polygamy should be legal with “reasonable restrictions” as long as it is between consenting adults. He also said that he believes it’s unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court would today uphold that country’s anti-polygamy law as it did in the Reynolds case, which resulted in the mainstream Mormon church renouncing polygamy in 1890.”

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  155. Bored in Vernal on January 8, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Barnes, I did read a few reports on Walsh’s testimony. Years ago, I would have believed his estimate that 50% of members believe polygamy is a holy practice and would like to see it come back. I remember that it was common when one married to gain a testimony of polygamy in case you ever had to live it in the future. But I just don’t see any of this now. I believe that many more than half of all members deem it an archaic practice. But even should Walsh be correct in his estimate, whoever is speculating that there would be a massive influx of LDS into Canada if they sanction polygamy is out of touch with mainstream Mormonism. No matter what they might personally believe about polygamy, almost all Mormons will follow the Church’s instructions on the matter. Canada’s stance on polygamy has NO chance of causing a “major schism in the LDS church.”

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  156. Bishop Rick on January 8, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    “Walsh went on to call polygamy “the natural order of things” that men would have multiple wives (polygyny) and women would not have multiple husbands (polyandry) because polyandry would not result in the greatest number of children.”

    Now that’s hilarious. If you have 10 women and they are all married to 1 man, or they are each married to 10 men, you still only have 10 women.

    How does polygyny result in more children than polyandry? Nonsense makes my head spin.

    Also, I agree with BiV. If there was any migration due to polygamy being legalized in Canada, it would be TO the United States, not from it.

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  157. [...] I guess this is why there are a few who note that polygamy isn’t necessarily a “debunked” concept in Mormonism. It might be a dream deferred, but perhaps one that won’t explode. It might be something that happens in the afterlife. But then I wonder…why do people resist the the idea of polygamy in heaven? Is there a fear that the relationships in heaven will mimic the certain failings or limitations of conventions in mortality? (and must those failings apply to all polygamous relationships in mortality or…?) [...]

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  158. The Tribal Church « LDS Anarchy on January 25, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    [...] discussion on plural marriage at Wheat and Tares taught me that most LDS will consider any discussion on organizing multihusband-multiwife tribes as [...]

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