So, apparently Canada may be considering the legalization of polygamy. Not that they will embrace polygamy overnight any time soon, but apparently the debate is in the courts. And yes, it’s about Mormons. Well, a branch of Mormons living in Bountiful, British Columbia (I had no idea there was more than one Bountiful in this world). This, I think we can agree, is heavily influenced by the debates about gay marriage. After all, if gays can get married because marriage isn’t just between a man and a woman, then certainly marriage could be between a man and a woman and woman and a woman?
The irony in all of this should not be ignored. Us Mormons have gained infamy (deserved or not) in the recent, highly publicized Prop 8 debacle, and now the passage of that which we most loathe could finally bring legitimacy to a marriage system the U.S. government forced us to abandon over 100 years ago because it perverted traditional marriage.
Now, the Church has largely abandoned polygamy, and though in the beginning the Church and American society saw each other as inherently incompatible, we’ve become friends. However, polygamy continues to exert influence on our culture today. I know many women wary, wondering if they’ll have to live it someday (and dreading it). I’ve heard other women callously told that if their husband falls away, it’s okay because they will have a more righteous husband in the next life, most likely as a sister-wife. And while I’ll not go into much detail, our temple liturgy continues to heavily bear the stamp of polygamy and the doctrinal justifications formulated to support it.
So if this legalization spreads from our brothers and sisters up north, will polygamy make a comeback? Will we return to an era of polygamy while our FLDS brothers and sisters grumble about how polygamy is “popular” again and how they were into polygamy before it was cool? Will we finally confront our polygamous roots, rejecting it entirely when the opportunity is presented once again to embrace it? Or will we just cough awkwardly and relegate it into the dusty taboo box to be swept under the bed, like Heavenly Mother and peep stones?