Dear 100 Hour Board,
The following link detailing the stories of two of Joseph Smith’s wives is utterly repulsive to me. Why does God not allow the girls to exercise agency, for one. In these days we don’t tell a man that he can receive revelation on behalf of someone that they are to marry them and have no choice. And the sheer terror of a girl running away, Joseph Smith using a current plural wife to groom a future wife. This shows all the characteristics of those awful leaders who use power and position to manipulate with fear. Fear is not of God. Again, the link shows something utterly repulsive to me. It is so wrong. And some of the stories of the other wives are not far off. Can someone enlighten me as to how this is ok? Reading history objectively, none of this is cool. And I’m not even against polygamy. But the methods used? Horrendous. And what also doesn’t add up is a number of Joseph’s plural wives being sealed also to Brigham Young. I get it that sealing was different back then (again, how is that a thing if truth is eternal and principles are being restored as they once were) but we don’t seal a woman to more than one man now. Just a man to more than one woman. The stories of these women are horrendous. I knew about the link because Yayfulness shared it on a response on here at one point. Please, tell me how this is ok. Seems like the typical white man in power using religion to get what they want.
-My Name Here
I previously wrote a really long answer about why polygamy sucks and how you can still have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Church while believing, as Carol Lynn Pearson does, that polygamy was man-made and one of Joseph's biggest mistakes. I highly recommend reading The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy by Carol Lynn Pearson; it is an incredible book that looks at how polygamy impacts women and men today in the Church and offers a way to better understand it.
I don't think I can properly express how horrified and angry I am about how women were and are treated in the Church through polygamy. It isn't ok. Anyone who tells you it is okay cares more about feeling comfortable with their views of certain men and institutions than about the feelings and experiences of these women.
Also know that by simply recognizing that this is not okay does not mean you have to leave the Church. I know plenty of women and men who are firmly set against polygamy, believe that what Joseph and Brigham did was not okay, and still have a testimony in and love for the Church (such as Carol Lynn Pearson). I also know people who left the Church partly because of this. Simply recognizing the validity and pain of these women's experiences does not mean there is now only one set path for you. Ask questions, pray, study it out in your own mind, and follow what God wants you to do.
If you have any questions or just want to talk, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
-guppy of doom
Yeah, polygamy is wacky.
-Sunday Night Banter