Gay marriage and polygamy

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?



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9 responses to “Gay marriage and polygamy

  1. dteeps

    Just some clarification — It’s not about Mormons. They are not a branch of Mormons – they are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are a sect that held tightly to one aspect of Mormon doctrine once and have ignored most others.
    But it will be interesting to see what happens if Canada legalizes plural marriage – at this point what does marriage mean? Anyone can marry anyone at any time for any reason? Can I marry my dog? (, my video game? (

  2. E-rock

    Dang Dav! You beat me to the punch with the dog-marriage!

  3. Ted

    Couldn’t we make the same argument with polygamy? Unless you’re insinuating that gay people are one step closer to dogs than straight people (which I don’t think anyone is going to assert here, hopefully). Which, if that is your concern, perhaps you should ask God about it, since he sanctions polygamy.

    • Ted

      I just realized you ARE making that argument with polygamy. I feel like such a jerk now.

      Marriage has always been a pretty fluid concept throughout time. If the marriage is based on godly principles, I think that is the key. But what do I know?

  4. shematwater

    Personally, I am not praying that Plural Marriage comes back any time soon. However, when it does (as I believe it will) I am perfectly willing to embrace it, and I hope the rest of the church is as well, considering it is taught directly in our standard works.
    I do watch such developments as this one in Canada with interest.

  5. Jing Hu

    If i’m not mistaken Mormons believe Jesus Christ and God our seperate beings. So in a sense it is contradictory to our Christian beliefs.
    As a Christian WE believe ….God is The Creator and The Father of Jesus The Christ

  6. Jing Hu

    The Mormons also believe in Joseph Smith and the holy book called “the holy book of mormons” I hope i didn’t offend anyone. Perosnally i don’t think they are Christians. *hides in the bushes so momrons won’t attack me* lol.

    • Ted

      Haha, I think you’ve hit a sore spot with a lot of Mormons (and Christians). Mormons believe they are Christian because they believe in a religion central to Christ and his Atonement and salvation. “Mainstream” Christians don’t think Mormons are because we subscribe to a “persona view” of the Trinity (three separate beings completely one in purpose) rather than the more traditional Trinitarian view of one “essence.”

      In actuality, the persona perspective was very popular and accepted for a good portion of the early Church, and was not viewed as heterodox until later in Christian history.

      I think there are some fundamental “we agree to disagree” moments between Mormons and other Christians, but I hope over time we can smooth them over, as Protestants and Catholics today (who have learned to play nice and accept that they both believe in Christ).

      • Ted

        Oh, also, the title of the book if “The Book of Mormon,” not “the holy book of mormons,” which does have a nice ring to it. :p

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