Wow. The new church essays about plural marriage have me stunned. Not only have they validated many of the sordid facts surrounding the institution and the initiation of plural marriage (although they left quite a few out, and they massaged others to seem less horrible than they actually were), they have also boldly restated that plural marriage remains a "thing" in church doctrine. One thing is clear: I AM SO GLAD I LEFT. Reading the essays, particularly after all the searching I've done on my own, showed me that the Church spins things just so.
Some things they can't make right, however. One person on Reddit mentioned that he has lost faith in the church by reading "months away from her fifteenth birthday" in the part of the essay that describes 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball. As if that made it okay. It made the person wonder what other information the Church was obfuscating.
Other Mormons are doing their darnedest to justify the Prophet. "Lots of people married really young girls during that time!" I've seen on Facebook. Yet think about it: think about what language we use when we talk about Joseph Smith at the "tender" age of fourteen. That God would reveal his will to a boy so young, so pure, so naive, so ignorant of the ways of the world, so far from the callousness of adulthood.
Then picture 14-year-old Joseph getting married to a 38-year-old woman. Who already had lots of other husbands.
Gross. Yet people justify the opposite. Just because a girl can menstruate doesn't mean that she should be the reluctan nth wife of a much older man (and she was reluctant! Read her journals! She wept!). Really, peeps. Grow a heart. It was wrong. It was gross.
Mr. T has heard lots of talk on Reddit about how many Mormons think that the church's essays are fake and from anti-Mormon sites. It makes me sad for them. And all the meanwhile, Mormon women keep weeping, keep wondering if their husbands will take another wife if they happen to die or how many sister-wives they'll have in the next life. So much wasted time spent feeling less-than.
The whole thing is gross.
I can't believe that we're justifying plural marriage all over again when it so thoroughly contradicts so much of our own (gross) doctrine. D&C 132 says that men should only take virgins as multiple wives, yet Joseph married 11 women who were already married (which the Church essays also justify). The essays says that Joseph married other married women to forge links between families even though Jacob 2:24–30 says that it's only for raising seed. The essays state the Law of Sarah as the escape clause that allowed Joseph to commit adultery without Emma knowing. Have you heard of the Law of Sarah? It's the most ridiculous and heartbreaking law ever. And somehow it's also okay that Joseph used promises of eternal salvation and threats of destruction to convince women to marry him. With three of the wives, Zina Huntington, Almera Woodard Johnson, and Mary Lightner, Joseph told them that he would be slain by an angel with a drawn sword if they did not marry him.
Gross, gross, gross. So happy that I can fully reject it all. I feel an immense amount of relief. For all those Mormon women reading this who can't stand polygamy, know this: manipulation of power is not and has never been of God. When there is manipulation, amen to the priesthood of that man, and you can feel free to reject anything thereafter. Plural marriage was a heartbreaking farce that destroyed so many relationships and lives. The Church supposedly does not practice plural marriage today but from these essays it is eminently clear that there is still a form of it that is still creating unequal power balances in marriages and relationships. It is wrong. If there's a God in heaven, he/she/it would be weeping right now.