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|Polygamous Dichotomy or Dichotomous Polygamy?|
Apr. 1st, 2008 at 10:40 am
Polygamy has been discussed numerous times in various blog settings – here, here, here, for example. I have read a few books about the subject and have an ok understanding of the history of polygamy in the Church (the good – if there is any, the bad and the ugly, primarily from reading Richard Van Wagoner’s book). Last week my sister-in-law (recently sealed) asked me a question for which I could not give a “good” answer. Her question was “We know that historically in the Church, a man could be married/sealed to more than one living woman at the same time, but that now you will be excommunicated if you are married to more than one living woman at the same time. However, a living man can be sealed to more than one woman today (as long as only one of the women is living). This seems contradictory – either we believe in polygamy or we do not.”
I thought my response was kind of lame – I told her that I don’t believe that polygamy is a celestial law or a doctrine, and that it is a vestige of the old way of doing things. I think that God will figure out all of the mess in the afterlife, which is likely to be much more complex than any of us realize. To me, polygamy is similar to the ban on Priesthood – merely a cultural vestige with no doctrinal rationale, despite efforts to create a doctrinal rationale for it. Polygamy has been too inconsistently practiced (e.g., sometimes practiced and sometimes forbidden) to qualify as doctrinal in my book – not that my book is particularly important or relevant as to whether something is doctrinal.
I must admit that I am very uncomfortable with the possibility that men still have the ability to be sealed to more than one woman because polygamy is, in fact, a doctrine and will be practiced in the eternities. I am interested in other’s thoughts/responses to her question.