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Traditional Catholic Faith => Catholic Living in the Modern World => Topic started by: Matthew on October 26, 2010, 12:17:47 AM

Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: Matthew on October 26, 2010, 12:17:47 AM
"Sister Wives" explained: A fundamentalist Mormon polygamy primer

Going where no reality show cameras had gone before, TLC this fall aired “Sister Wives,” a television series that invited voyeurs into the lives of a fundamentalist Mormon family that practices polygamy.

The finale aired earlier this month, when Kody Brown of Lehi, Utah, married his fourth wife and, with the addition of three stepchildren, expanded his kid base to 16.

And while the show set out to reveal the human side of such families – not one sexed-up by Hollywood (think HBO’s “Big Love”) or sullied by allegations of under-aged brides (think the trial of Warren Jeffs ) - it kept details about faith out of episodes.

Maybe that was a decision by TLC producers. Or perhaps the family, which is facing possible bigamy charges, wanted to keep those aspects of their life sacred. The finale’s spiritual wedding ceremony - only Brown’s first wife is recognized legally - was off-camera, after all.

So here's a primer on what drives families like this one, religiously, historically and culturally.

"Purest at its source"

Even though polygamy was disavowed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890,  the LDS Church is still trying to shake its association with the practice, known among Mormons as plural marriage.

Joseph Smith, Jr.,  the church's founder and its first president, was the one who introduced the idea.

He established the church in 1830 after translating the Book of Mormon from golden plates that he said an angel revealed to him in New York State.

Smith – who, like all subsequent church leaders, is considered a prophet - continued to share revelations and new doctrines throughout his life. Among those revelations recorded in 1843 in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of Mormon scripture, were teachings about plural marriage.

That Smith recorded these teachings is all Anne Wilde needs to know. Wilde, 74, was raised in the mainstream LDS Church but became part of the fundamentalist Mormon movement and the second wife in a plural marriage.

“I kind of look at the gospel as a stream of water, and it’s the purest at its source,” says Wilde, a spokeswoman for Principle Voices, a Utah-based group that educates the public about polygamy. “If those are eternal doctrines, then how can man change them? They can change procedures, but when they start changing eternal doctrines that God has said…that’s where I draw a line.”

Wilde says that about 38,000 people, mostly in the western U.S., are fundamentalist Mormons - though they are affiliated with different communities.

The essential belief among those who practice plural marriages is that they are necessary to achieve the greatest exaltation in what Mormons refer to as the celestial kingdom, the highest of heavenly kingdoms.

In fact, even if LDS Church members don’t practice plural marriage on earth, their scripture still teaches that in heaven it is possible. Mormons also believe that families are sealed together for eternity.

Though historians say that Joseph Smith had numerous wives, and some estimates exceed 30, he didn’t admit it. His first wife (and only legal one) denied it, too.

Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith and in 1847 led Mormon pioneers west to what became Utah, reportedly married 56 women.

The price of going public

It wasn’t until August 1852, at the LDS Church’s general conference in Salt Lake City, that plural marriage was first spoken about publicly.

Such talk, and the open practicing of such marriages that followed, did not go over well on the national stage. Polygamy, observed in an estimated 20 to 25 percent of LDS homes at the time, was just one of the factors that prompted the U.S. government to face off with Mormon settlers in the late 1850s.

In the ensuing decades, Congress would pass a handful of laws to abolish plural marriages. By the time of the Edmunds Act of 1882, polygamy was considered a felony compared to slavery. Practitioners faced fines and prison, and even those who merely believed in the doctrine were forbidden to vote or serve in public office.

Brigham Young had died five years earlier. The LDS Church ’s third president and prophet, John Taylor, a practicing polygamist, assumed his position in 1880. With the passage of the Edmunds Act, he - like many others - was forced into hiding.

In 1886, Taylor “nailed himself to the mast” on the issue of polygamy, says Ken Driggs, an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, who has written extensively about fundamentalist Mormons and their legal history.

This was when Taylor shared a revelation, which he said he received from both Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, upholding the practice of plural marriages.

Fundamentalist Mormons believe that Taylor shared this message with church officials who visited him. He revealed the names of those who would form a special quorum of apostles with authority to continue performing plural marriages, no matter what happened with the LDS Church, Driggs writes in a 2005 article for a Mormon journal.

The battle against Mormon polygamy continued while Taylor was underground, with 1887's Edmunds-Tucker Act forcing women to testify against their husbands, requiring anti-polygamy oaths and laying the groundwork for the U.S. government to seize high-value church properties, including temples.

Taylor died the year the law passed. He was succeeded in 1889 by Wilford Woodruff. And in 1890, Woodruff, who the Utah History Encyclopedia says initially had supported the practice of polygamy, issued what became known as the 1890 Manifesto: “I publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriages forbidden by the law of the land.”

A condition for Utah getting statehood, which it won 1896, was a ban on polygamy in its constitution. And while the LDS Church teaches that Woodruff prayed for guidance, his words have been called a declaration, not a revelation. The feeling among fundamentalist Mormons is that government pressure, not faith, was behind the end of plural marriage.

Even with the manifesto, there was dissension within. Taylor ’s son, John W. Taylor, was an apostle in the LDS Church. But he stepped down and was eventually excommunicated because of his continued support of plural marriages. For this reason he and his father are often held up as heroes among fundamentalist Mormons.

Fundamentalists splinter

What evolved in the 20th century, even after a second manifesto in 1904, was the quiet growth of a fundamentalist Mormon movement. The people within it held fast to their beliefs, even as the LDS Church tried to shut them and their practices down.

Fundamentalist Mormons see themselves as maintaining the core practices and beliefs of the LDS Church - including plural marriages. Many consider themselves Mormons, although the mainstream church itself won’t knowingly have anything to do with them and excommunicates them as quickly as it can find them.

Fundamentalist Mormons say the apostles who’d been called by Taylor to perpetuate plural marriages later called new men to carry on the tradition. As a community, they settled along the Utah and Arizona border. But conflicts within the priesthood council about the succession of leadership would eventually lead to a split.

Today, there are a handful of fundamentalist Mormon groups, as well as polygamous families who call themselves independent.

Only one group has gone so far as to say that the mainstream LDS Church, in banning plural marriages, is guilty of apostasy. That group - the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – has gotten the most media attention.

The FLDS Church, with a membership of no more than 10,000, has seized headlines and spread an image of a fundamentalist Mormon women wearing pastel prairie-style dresses and updos. The church's former leader, Warren Jeffs, was on the run until his 2006 αrrєѕт, and the raid on a Texas ranch in 2008 prompted allegations of forced marriages and child brides.

People like Wilde, the spokeswoman for Principle Voices, are quick to say that FLDS and fundamentalist Mormons are not synonymous.

“Please don’t paint us with the same brush,” says Wilde, who dresses in modern clothing, wears her hair short and insists that no one seeing her walk down the street would peg her as a woman in a plural marriage.

She wants people to see her, and women like her - including those featured on “Sister Wives” - as thinking and believing women.

They’re educated, she says . They work. They don’t live off the government. Their kids go to school and are showered with love and company. They went into plural marriages as consenting adults with eyes, hearts and minds open.

And, she says, they’re not hurting anyone.

Though Wilde’s husband died eight years ago, she says the 33-year marriage was wonderful. She won’t say how many sister wives she had - “only two of us are still living” - but she says the arrangement allowed her independence and that she never had to worry about her husband being alone.

“We don’t want it legalized. We want it decriminalized,” she says of plural, spiritual marriages. “We just assume they [government officials] stay out of our marriages. Our marriage is for all time and eternity. The priesthood is the important thing, not the law of the land.”
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: St Jude Thaddeus on October 26, 2010, 11:51:52 PM
Quote from: Matthew

“I kind of look at the gospel as a stream of water, and it’s the purest at its source,” says Wilde, a spokeswoman for Principle Voices, a Utah-based group that educates the public about polygamy. “If those are eternal doctrines, then how can man change them? They can change procedures, but when they start changing eternal doctrines that God has said…that’s where I draw a line.”



This always cracks me up, coming from this bunch of lunatics. "If these are eternal doctrines, how can man change them?" when coming from a Mormon, has got to be the greatest example of irony imaginable. They belong to a religion based on the hallucinations of a nobody pedophile, and yet they pretend to revere the Holy Bible. Tell me, Mormon cult members, where in the Bible does it mention inheriting your own planet when you die or a church led by "elders" instead of priests? Or angels named "Moroni" and "Mormoni" and the Mayans being one of the "Lost Tribes of Israel", along with the Angles and Saxons?

Central America is full of these pathetic losers. Whenever I run into some of them in the street, I start asking them in a loud voice, here in this mulato country, to explain why the Mormon cult considered black people to be subhumans until about fifty years ago.

Usually they just turn tail and scoot away, leaving me to explain to any crowd that has gathered around exactly what the Mormon position was on other races until fairly recently. Then I fill them in on a few more of their wacky beliefs and that's about all it takes.

Also, when I was in the States, I would always take all of their propaganda if I saw any in a public place and dump it into the garbage.

Hopefully, with God's grace, I have helped drive many people away from that Satanic cult.

Don't get me started on the Scientologists...
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: JoanScholastica on November 03, 2010, 01:56:23 AM
I remember way back then that I used to be so impressed with the LDS... I'd have gone converted hadn't my mother brought me to the SSPX.
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: Cheryl on November 03, 2010, 06:15:40 AM
Quote from: St Jude Thaddeus


Central America is full of these pathetic losers. Whenever I run into some of them in the street, I start asking them in a loud voice, here in this mulato country, to explain why the Mormon cult considered black people to be subhumans until about fifty years ago.

Usually they just turn tail and scoot away, leaving me to explain to any crowd that has gathered around exactly what the Mormon position was on other races until fairly recently. Then I fill them in on a few more of their wacky beliefs and that's about all it takes.


It is sad indeed that the once Catholic countries of South and Central America and Mexico are embracing this lunatic religion.

Instead of different Trad groups arguing amongst ourselves about our differences, we should be sending out missionaries to counter the half-baked mormon missionaries and bring the true religion back to these people. :incense:
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: St Jude Thaddeus on November 03, 2010, 09:09:57 PM
The Morons, excuse me, Mormons, are huge here. They have plenty of money, and a false front of happy families, clean-cut obedient kids, and prosperous lifestyles, all brought down by US missionaries, which they use, not very subtly, to convince their victims to join up. The vast majority of their prey are once-Catholics who never learned anything about their religion from heretic priests and watered-down catechisms and are thus completely unable to defend themselves against the Mormon arguments, or even seriously question them.

For forty years the V2 priests were telling everybody that all religions are equal and apologizing for all the terrible abuses the nasty, uncool old "mumbling in Latin" Church used to commit. Now they are reaping what they sow.

True Catholic evangelization will not and cannot begin until the rotten apostate V2 invention is gone from the planet. How can I convert people when I can't send them to the nearest "Catholic" church for instruction? When I can't invite Father over for a chat with them? When I can't take them to Mass with me, to witness its overpowering truth and beauty? Right from the beginning, I have to tell some potential convert about the mass apostasy after V2, and how the Novus Ordo, which is 99% of all the masses, churches, and priests, much be avoided, all of which makes me sound like some kind of a schizoid cult member. The ones who respond the best are actually some Protestants, who have experienced or heard about the same thing happening in their own denominations during the last century. They can definitely relate. The problem with them is that they have become so conditioned into not realizing the Church is an institution, and not just a loose voluntary association of Bible-readers, that they are not willing to take the next step and actually convert.

How can a bunch of bottom-feeders like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Adventists go door to door recruiting people and trad Catholics cannot? It must be that God has willed it to be so. He wants a small Church right now; He want the false sects and divisions to flourish. We have turned our back on Him and now He has turned away from us.

Sometimes I think we need to go about all day, year-round, in sackcloth and ashes, eating nothing but black bread, salt, and water, in reparations for the terrible offenses we have caused so good a God as He is. How deeply have we insulted Him, and how rudely have we shoved Him away.
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: albert cipriani on November 28, 2010, 08:05:45 PM
Quote from: St Jude Thaddeus
True Catholic evangelization will not and cannot begin until the rotten apostate V2 invention is gone from the planet. How can I convert people when I can't send them to the nearest "Catholic" church for instruction? When I can't invite Father over for a chat with them? When I can't take them to Mass with me, to witness its overpowering truth and beauty? Right from the beginning, I have to tell some potential convert about the mass apostasy after V2, and how the Novus Ordo, which is 99% of all the masses, churches, and priests, much be avoided, all of which makes me sound like some kind of a schizoid cult member.


You are so right.  How do you square this circle?  Catholic dogma states that the visible Church will remain until the end of time.  Yet 99% of the visible Church is “church” in name only.  In our life times, the true Church seems to have disappeared.  Yet we’ve got a dogma that says this can’t happen.

Ruminating on this conundrum is causing me to have a more expansive definition of “Church.”  My way of trying to square the circle is to speculate that the “Church” is the assembly of people who DESIRE to be in God’s Church (who aren't necessarily yet in God's Church).  This is a relativistic approach and I don’t like it.  But I can’t conceive of anything better.

Taking it to its logical conclusion, anyone TRYING to be in the right Church, TRYING to worship God the way He wants us to, will eventually end up a Traditional Catholic.  In this view, people who die Baptists or Novus Ordites are lying in the same bed of disbelief.  Conversely, people who start out as atheists and are moved by their love of truth and reality to become theists and are on their way to becoming Baptists but are interrupted by death before they make it to Catholicism are maybe honorary pre-emptive members of the Catholic Church.  I’d like to think so anyways. – Cheers, Albert the Traditional Catholic Ruminating and Despairing of Understanding
Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: Elizabeth on November 28, 2010, 08:25:55 PM
They are the the scariest group out there, IMO.  Don't let them set foot inside your house.

William H. Kennedy has a talk about them online.  Their many satanic beliefs are too many to mention. (He only scratches the surface, but he goes into their growing influence in the military.)

They have gained a lot of momentum during our crisis, as such cults do.

Thanks for the update from your area, St. Jude Thaddeus.

Title: Sister wives explained
Post by: Elizabeth on November 28, 2010, 08:27:18 PM
Quote from: Cheryl
Quote from: St Jude Thaddeus


Central America is full of these pathetic losers. Whenever I run into some of them in the street, I start asking them in a loud voice, here in this mulato country, to explain why the Mormon cult considered black people to be subhumans until about fifty years ago.

Usually they just turn tail and scoot away, leaving me to explain to any crowd that has gathered around exactly what the Mormon position was on other races until fairly recently. Then I fill them in on a few more of their wacky beliefs and that's about all it takes.


It is sad indeed that the once Catholic countries of South and Central America and Mexico are embracing this lunatic religion.

Instead of different Trad groups arguing amongst ourselves about our differences, we should be sending out missionaries to counter the half-baked mormon missionaries and bring the true religion back to these people. :incense:
:applause: :applause: :applause: