17 June 2009

Redefining Marriage, Part 2?

Daniel (author of Formerly Barred) has posted something I've been mulling over and hadn't yet bothered to collect quotes for aside from one or two. I think I'll save myself the trouble and simply link to his post. Whether or not you believe the current political battle over same-sex marriage can or should be compared to the doctrine of plural marriage, the statements of past prophets certainly offer some food for thought.

Incidentally, to my knowledge, such statements have never been officially retracted or denounced by any presidents of the church since. As far as I can tell, those statements are a reflection of LDS doctrine, and plural marriage is still considered a celestial order despite being forbidden in modern institutional practice. Even though I strongly dislike the idea of practicing it (hey, back off--I struggle enough with the idea of one wife, OK?), I think it should be legal (that doesn't mean making child abuse and tax evasion legal, folks).

I'm not sure why people keep quoting the church as saying "one man and one woman," but I've not seen them use such wording. They've said "a man and a woman." That may seem like splitting hairs, but I don't believe the church authorities chose that wording lightly. I'd guess they dare not totally close the door on the future of plural marriage. They're clever that way.

On a related note, I've often wondered whether legalization of same-sex marriage will ironically open the door for the legalization of plural marriage, which will then open the door for another revelation reinstating the practice within the church (probably only when it happens on a global scale)? After all, might it not be hypocritical for supporters of non-traditional marriages who claim to support "all" families if they were to reject a non-traditional but historically very traditional form of family? You get ready for it. It'll happen. I prophesy. *hiding under the table to avoid lightning strikes...because it's storming outside...why else?*


Daniel said...

"The first step is to comprehend the doctrinal foundation for marriage. The Lord declared that marriage is the legal wedding of one man and one woman" -Elder Russell M. Nelson, "Nurturing Marriage" May, 2006

"We have a deep commitment to marriage (defined as a union between one man and one woman)" -Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Faith, Family, Facts, and Fruits" November, 2007

"We must stand firm, brothers and sisters, at this time when the adversary is using differing lifestyles in an attempt to replace the marriage of one man to one woman." -Elder M Russell Ballard, "The Sacred Responsibilities of Parenthood" March, 2006

Original Mohomie said...

Ha, quick way to find citations: challenge the correctness of an intelligent and resourceful person. ;-)

The wording of Prop 8 was "a man and a woman", and I have seen that wording consistently throughout the church's published statements about the issue. But you've shown there have also been statements defining marriage as between "one man and one woman" from individual apostles, which would seem an indication of inconsistency to me if I didn't take into account audience and purpose in their statements.

Although I have to admit it does seem a bit crafty to proclaim marriage is "defined" or "declared" by the Lord as the union or wedding of "one man and one woman". Where is that definition, again? Let's see...nope, not in Merriam-Webster. How about scripture...? No...let's see...perhaps the U.S. Constitution...?

OK, maybe I'll just chalk it up to being a bit casual in wording and not really thinking about the ramifications of using "one" instead of "a", or maybe there is not difference and you can have lots of combined "one man one woman" marriages to form a plural marriage. ...gosh, defining marriage is tricky...

Stephalumpagus said...

Obviously I'm no authority, but personally I don't believe polygamy will be reinstated on this earth until after the Savior comes. And at that point, I don't think we'll be arguing politics very much. To me, polygamy has a lot to do with the principal of celestial marriage in the temple and less to do with legalization of non-traditional marriages. Even if polygamy were made legal, I highly doubt the Church would reinstate the practice. But again, that's just my personal opinion.

Original Mohomie said...

I don't see why the church wouldn't reinstate a practice if it is an eternal principle and became a socially acknowledged and tolerated practice unless it would clearly hinder the work to re-embrace it, which it may, particularly since many in church leadership have been so diligent in distancing the church from the practice.

Ugh, I have so many thoughts about plural marriage...which I shall save for perhaps another time and place. Bleh.