Two problems I have with the family proclamation

Despite the fact that The Family: A Proclamation to the World has never been canonized, many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints treat it like scripture.

Whether it is scripture is a topic for another day. What I want to discuss is a couple of things I find problematic in the proclamation.

My understanding, based on the rhetoric of mainstream Mormons is that this proclamation is a response to efforts to legalize marriage equality. If that premise is true, I don’t think that those who drafted the document completely thought through how the wording would affect Mormon past.

Consider this from the first sentence:

. . . marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God . . .

Does that mean marriage between a man and more than one woman is not ordained of God? What about marriage between more than one man and one woman?

Does that mean plural marriage is unordained of God? Does it mean the current practice of sealing a man to more than wife is unordained of God?

What about this sentence from the seventh paragraph?

Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.

Does that mean plural marriage is not essential to God’s plan?

If plural marriage is not ordained of God and is not essential to his plan, why did as a church practice it at all?

If plural marriage is ordained of God and is essential to his plan, then how does it fit into the wording of this proclamation?

27 things in the Mormon Church’s new articles I never learned growing up

Over the past year or so, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been releasing articles on particular topics through their website.

I have personally found several of the articles encouraging because they cover things I never learned growing up: things I learned only as an adult and only through blogs, podcasts, and anti-Mormon websites.

I don’t know why I never learned these things. What I do know is that I never learned them in Primary, Sunday School, Aaronic Priesthood classes, Seminary, or Institute, or even on my mission. I never read them in a church magazine (although recently a handful of them have appeared in Ensign issues) or lesson manuals.

I present below several recent articles and direct quote from each showing facts and ideas I had to learn through non-official channels. Continue reading 27 things in the Mormon Church’s new articles I never learned growing up

Big Love to Show Temple Ceremony

Big Love, the HBO drama about a polygamous family living in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City, is rumoured to be airing an episode next week (15 March) that will feature scenes and events from the mainstream LDS Temple ceremony.

“We researched it out the wazoo,” says [executive producer Mark] Olsen, who along with executive producer Will Scheffer hired an ex-Mormon consultant to help the set and wardrobe designers re-create even the tiniest details. “We go into the endowment room and the celestial room [areas of the temple], and we present what happens in those ceremonies. That’s never been shown on television before,” says Olsen. Adds Scheffer, “But it’s not for shock value. It’s really a very important part of the story.”

The church has issued a response to the unwelcome publicity stating basically that no official protest against the show will be forthcoming but that members are free to boycott as they see fit.

As someone that watches the show regularly, I am surprised by the move, since the show doesn’t really centre itself on mainstream beliefs and the temple ceremony can’t possibly be necessary as “a very important part of the story”—it’s quite the publicity stunt.


Big Love

An email is circulating among LDS circles regarding the HBO series, Big Love. The email is typical social action stuff (i.e. write to the station, complain about the show, take a stand, yadda, yadda, yadda).

A couple of points are made in the letter I thought I would briefly comment on here:

Parodies of beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints occur- belief in priesthood by a man blessing his hunting rifle, belief in personal revelation from the Holy Ghost by dramatic visions that the polygamous leader discusses casually with a friend. Talk of “celestial kingdom”, “free agency”, and the “Choose the Right” slogan are included.

Other than perhaps the “Choose The Right” slogan ( I am not familiar with the context with which its usage appeared on the show), none of the above is specific to only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Big Love. . . demeans and distorts sacred beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By setting the show in Salt Lake City, it blurs the line between the Church and the long renounced practice of polygamy.

Right. Because no other Mormon denominations or followers exist in Salt Lake City. Even so, I wish the originator of this email would explain exactly how it is demeaning and distorting. Is it because they are sexualising polygamy (implied by the earlier statement that it is a “sexually driven show”)? Seems odd then that a sacred belief (if they are indeed referring to polygamy) would be long renounced, or that a long renounced belief would be sacred. After all, I thought polygamy was a practice.

Polygamy Talent

Brigham Young stated the following in a discourse on 31 August 1873:

Now, where a man in this Church says, “I don’t want but one wife, I will live my religion with one,” he will perhaps be saved in the celestial kingdom; but when he gets there he will not find himself in possession of any wife at all. He has had a talent that he has hid up. He will come forward and say, “Here is that which thou gavest me, I have not wasted it, and here is the one talent,” and he will not enjoy it, but it will be taken and given to those who have improved the talents they received, and he will find himself without any wife, and he will remain single for ever and ever.

(Journal of Discourses Vol. 16, p.166)

Is this an actual teaching of the church, that monogamous men will have their wives taken from them because they would not marry others?