Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why Polygamy Makes Sense in an Eternal Perspective

Polygamy is a difficult subject for many people in the West. The practice of having multiple wives is undisputed in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia (source). I think the West, mostly populated by Christians, is critical of polygamy because of it's historic belief in chastity. Today many westerners do not practice chastity but they are quick to rally against those who live in legally accepted marriages consisting of two or more wives because they don't want to face the reality of their own relationships.

Polygamy is a hardship for men financially. Supporting two or more families is expensive. For this reason polygamy is decreasing in Muslim countries as the economy becomes more tied to money. (ibid) Latter-day Saint families practiced polygamy in obedience to prophetic direction. One reason for this practice was to increase the Latter-day Saint population. (Source) The Latter-day Saint religion stopped endorsing polygamy when laws were enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages and published their decision to desist in their scriptures as an official declaration. (source)

I do not pretend to understand all the reasons why polygamy was restored as a gospel truth by Joseph Smith and then officially forbidden. Some aspects of polygamy are logical and others are not. However, in an eternal view of life there is a reason why polygamy makes sense.

I have a great aunt who was a spinster all her life until later in life she married. Her husband had been married about four times before he married her. With some of his previous spouses, he had children and with some he did not. Some of his previous spouses had also previously been married. He was never married to more than one wife at a time. 

When this man dies and goes to heaven, can you imagine a just God telling him that he must pick a wife and the children from that union to keep while the others are no longer his? This is a dilemma. Many good and honorable people have married more than one time in this mortal life.

It makes sense that God honors the marriages that were formed on Earth and allows men to keep all their wives and children. For women who married multiple times, and have multiple families, the choice will be theirs as to which husband to keep. For logistical reasons, every woman can't keep every marriage she ever had and also every man keep every marriage he ever had. Some marriage bands will be dissolved. What happens to the children who have parents, step-parents and adopted parents? Honestly I don't know how God will organize families justly but I'm sure that he will not allow the chaos of this mortal life to continue.

The scriptures say that "all things are done in wisdom and order." (Mos 4:27)

Polygamy will exist in heaven because men who had multiple wives in this earth life may continue to live with all of them. Polygamy will exist in heaven because families are an integral part of God's plan for his children. The family structure will provide a basis for organizing all the children of God.

I honor those who live within the bounds of marriage in chastity whether they are monogamous or polygamous. Marriage is a divinely appointed relationship. I have some ancestors who lived in polygamous marriages and other who did not. I owe my life and blessings to those who came before and I honor my family members past and present.

Image source: flickr

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

God is aware of each one of us and the experiences we have here on Earth are timely in duration and intensity to be a perfect trial of our faith. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).

He has prepared this life to test us. “To be tested, we must have the agency to choose between alternatives. To provide alternatives on which to exercise our agency, we must have opposition.” (Dallin H Oaks) The ability to choose is held inviolate. God will not take away the ability to choose from anyone of us before our appointed hour to die. He does expect us to self govern and temporarily take away the agency of those who break the laws and contracts of our governments. The final judgement of what a just consequence should be he reserves for himself.

God gave his son to atone for our sins so that even the justice of God could be counteracted with mercy if we believe in Him and have faith in his son’s atoning power. In this way, he prepares “a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell” (2 Ne 9:10).

And so good and bad continue to coexist in this world. How does God react to this without intervening unjustly before the appointed time? Sometimes he eases the burdens of those who are suffering so that they can bear up under the conditions in which they find themselves. Sometimes he turns aside disasters (without stopping them) so that they do not affect the faithful as severely. Sometimes he blunts the effect of an evil act so that the lives of his children are spared when they might have been killed. Sometimes he lets us see evil to teach us what we do not ever want to repeat.

God’s assurance is that He will “consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain” (2 Nephi 2:2).


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ecclesiastes - a Book about Hope for those who Despair

The son of King David, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. His purpose in writing this book is to explore the purpose of life and his own hopelessness.

As humans we focus on aspects of life that are expected to bring happiness. The author had the luxury to explore many aspects of life because of his wealth and his conclusion is that much of what is supposed to bring happiness is “vanity” or of a fleeting nature.

In chapter 2, he says, “I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure…I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine.” His conclusion was that it was a folly or mistake to go that route towards “happiness.”