A bottom line, for me, on same-sex marriage


There will always be those who yearn, nostalgically but unrealistically, for the supposedly good and simple old days when skies were “blue.”


I read with interest this morning a comment from a formerly-believing Latter-day Saint.  On the matter of same-sex marriage (to which he is enthusiastically committed), he pledged to try to treat opponents of the redefinition of marriage civilly, despite his conviction that our view proceeds from hatred and bigotry, is evil, and does incalculable harm.


I appreciate the candor, and I return it.


I pledge to continue to treat proponents of the radical redefinition of marriage civilly, despite my conviction that, although undeniably well-intentioned, they are deeply confused, and despite my sad expectation  that, by further undermining the already gravely weakened foundations of marriage, their efforts will cause much additional suffering to untold millions of men, women, and children, many of whom aren’t even born yet.


(Please note that I haven’t mentioned religion here.  But I certainly don’t deny that my faith is part of my approach to this topic.  I see no more reason to pretend that my deepest beliefs don’t help to motivate me than did the Rev. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council or, earlier, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Julia Ward Howe.)


The radical redefinition of marriage is neither the first assault on the institution nor, almost certainly, the last.  And the effects will be gradual and their cause less than immediately obvious — especially given the congruent ideological commitment of many to ignoring the obvious and to hoping that it won’t be noticed and/or will go away.  (I have it on solid and multiple authority that whole areas of social science research are, already, effectively off limits for ambitious scholars.  “Here be dragons!”)  So triumphant announcements, on the day after any particular triumph of The Relentless March of History, that the sky hasn’t fallen just because Progress has won another victory over Obscurantism and Hatred, will be largely beside the point.  The sky will, simply, lower, darken, and grow gray.  Visibility will be substantially reduced, and few will be able to recall what the heavens once looked like.



Elder Oaks on religious freedom
Latter-day Saint humanitarian work
“Matthew 11 and Luke 7, 11-13. Coming Unto Christ and Learning of Him”
  • http://nathanrichardson.com/ Nathan

    One key difference between your two stances, as you describe them, is that while you both believe the other’s position is misinformed, lacking clear understanding, and sure to result in pain and suffering, you believe very different things about each other’s motives. You are willing to grant he is well-intentioned; he apparently does not grant that possibility in you.

    And hence the decline of civility. When people can’t accept the possibility of a reasonable, benevolent person coming to a different conclusion than their own, they have to assume that anyone in the other camp is either (1) stupid (or some variation on that) or (2) malicious (or some variation on that), or both. From that comes insults, demonizing, or both.

    • DanielPeterson

      Very true.

      I’ve seen a great deal of hatred in this disagreement, Curiously, it has come almost entirely from those who opposed what they called “Proposition (H)8.”

    • Allen Wyatt

      I posted my thoughts about Judge Shelby’s recent decision over on my blog, and interestingly enough shortly after posting my thoughts–which do not call names nor stereotype others–I had one long-time Facebook friend unfriend me because of them.

      I agree about the decline of civility. While the person wasn’t “uncivil” in unfriending me, I still take it as a sign of the inability of some people to entertain the opposing thoughts of others and still maintain friendship (albeit a cursory one on Facebook).

  • Phil

    To me the logic is simple. Gays and lesbians are born that way. To deny them marriage, and the benefits of marriage would therefore be wrong. I would hope that gay marriage provides some societal benefits in the same way that straight marriage does.

    There is a long history of persecution of homosexuals. To cite a “recently in the news” example, Alan Turing, one of the greatest minds of the last century, was chemically castrated because of his homosexuality (he chose castration over imprisonment). More recently, the suffering of young gays and lesbians who were told that homosexuality was actually a choice and therefore a sin and incompatible with their Church membership has been well documented.

    It is my hope that extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians will hasten the time when gays and lesbians are not ostracized but more fully accepted as part of society.

    I believe in same-sex marriage because I believe in the societal importance of marriage.

    • DanielPeterson

      I understand where you’re coming from, but your logic is simple precisely because it fails to address, or even acknowledge, the concerns of people like Robert George, Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and yours truly.

      • Brian Kissell

        Dan, could you attach a link to some articles or posts where you share some of your concerns? And perhaps some of the concerns of the above mentioned people. I admit that I have a hard time understanding the opposition to gay marriage. I feel like I am very willing to better understand the worries of people like you (Thoughtful individuals who see gay marriage as problematic) and would like to see what you are referring to. I admit that because the issue is so emotionally charged the arguments I often see appear to me to be fear based, and ignoring contrary evidence, but that could merely be due to my bias. Anyways I would be interested in seeing examples of arguments that you find to be compelling.

        • Greg Neal

          I second that

        • Ray Agostini

          (Not Dan Peterson).

          “Lesbian athletic director ‘fired married gym teacher from exclusive Manhattan high school because he was straight’.”:


          • Brian Kissell

            Thank you for posting that article, Ray. I do have to admit that I think it is a good example of what I am talking about. Even if I took the article 100 % seriously, what it would be saying to me is that perhaps discrimination was occurring, which of course would be wrong. I am not sure how that is evidence for why gay marriage should be fought against. And one could even make the argument that perhaps if gay marriage were legal, that sort of discrimination would decrease.

          • Ray Agostini

            I’m quite ambivalent on the question. Generally I have viewed gay marriage as innocuous, and as far as equal rights, fair. I feel confident that the majority of gays who marry will pose no threat to society or “traditional marriage”. Most, I believe, just want to have their freedom of expression, and to be left alone to live their lives in the peace that they desire.

            However, the “radical elements” could drastically alter things. Just like 9/11 did to Muslims in America, and even around the world. I’m not against gay marriage, per se, but is scares me when I read articles like the one I linked. If “moderate gays” speak out against this in abundance, just like moderate Muslims spoke out against 9/11, then I think my fears will be somewhat abated.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            So please point out the fringe; we all should. Radical elements among the Christian Right have most certainly held the stage for decades. They must worry about their power structure and funding eroding because if they speak for God, how could God ever allow a successful life as a same sex married couple? If their proclamations of doom are dismissed, then what sincere legitimacy do they have in speaking for Christians? They are pulling out all the stops of bigoted, fear and hate based speech. It’s all over the internet. They are wrong.

          • kiwi57

            Speaking of “bigoted, fear and hate based speech,” have another look at your own post.

            Observe the hostile (actually spiteful) mind-reading and attribution of nasty motives. Observe the complete lack of any evidence supporting this mind-reading. Observe how it is a textbook example of poisoning the well.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            What evidence are you seeking kiwi? Would you like links to hate speech by those fear mongers of the extreme Christian Right. No need to mind read, just to open one’s ears. Can you do that?

          • Ray Agostini

            “Radical elements among the Christian Right have most certainly held the stage for decades.”

            In America, perhaps. In the 1950s and 60s it was applicable in Australia, but today, not by a long shot.

            The opposition to gay marriage in Australia doesn’t come from the “radical Christian Right”. Labor (something like Democrats in America) prime minister Julia Gillard opposed it, and Kevin Rudd (predecessor and successor to Gillard) initially opposed, but now supports it. It’s a fluctuating issue, not dominated by “the Christian Right”. But by all means, have your paranoia, Lucy. This is an issue that needs to go beyond “sectarian bias”, and be weighed more objectively.

            You might want to check out Australian Marriage Equality: http://www.australianmarriageequality.com/wp/

            On the Liberal side (equivalent of Republicans), some ministers are divided on the issue, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with the “Radical Right”.

            The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) recently legalised gay marriage, until it was overturned by the High Court. The overturning wasn’t necessarily because gay marriage was “wrong”, but because the High Court adjudicated that a lesser court didn’t have the right to create laws currently not sanctioned by the High Court on a national level. The same happened with voluntary euthanasia, which was passed in the Northern Territory, but later overturned by the Federal government. 80% of Australians support VE, yet to this day they’re still denied that option, and it wasn’t the “Radical Right” in State and Federal parliaments who quashed the VE option, though a “conspiratorialist” might be tempted to think so. It was ordinary, often non-religious politicians, concerned about long term “slippery slopes”.

            The valid concerns about same-sex marriage need to be addressed, and what, if any significant impact it may have on the future of society. And this needs to go beyond partisan politics or religious, or even anti-religious ideology.

          • RogersDW

            Precisely Ray. After some fairly intense scrutiny of the radical homosexual movement over the past few years, I have concluded there are two camps in the world of homosexuality: 1) those who privately struggle with same-sex attraction, striving to keep the commandments — including the Law of Chastity — and 2) the radicals whose idea of morality is all-out war against Christianity. The clincher is the radicals speak for ALL of them. Chilling.

            The reason why we should be totally alarmed over the subject of same-sex “marriage” is that it is Pandora’s Box:

            * indoctrination of children in public schools
            * increased depravity on public streets during so-called “pride” parades and celebrations
            * the radical homosexual agenda has been labeled THE #1 threat against religious liberty today
            * religious freedom is being seriously eroded due to the well-funded, well-planned attacks against Christianity

            The ripple-effect of same-sex “marriage” is not benign.

        • mike

          Brian, I put a couple of links in a comment that I made in one of Dan’s posts from yesterday. You may want to look at it. Dan also cites Robert George. He published an important article entitled, ‘What Is Marriage?’ in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. It is worth reading. You can also look for articles by William Duncan from the Marriage Law Foundation.

        • DanielPeterson

          “Mike,” below, has suggested some of the basic sources.

          I’ve blogged and published about them on several occasions.

          • Brian Kissell

            Thank you!

    • joseph peterson

      Even if they weren’t born that way, it’s important still to allow the freedom to marry. Especially as Mormons, where we haven’t always had the luxury of worshipping how or where we like, why are we suddenly the ones to impose upon others and playing the victim card all the while. We have a persecution complex for sure, where we dole it out, and cry foul of wrongs against us.

  • John P

    The heaven I knew in my childhood is gone, perhaps not to be had again as long as I live.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    I wonder Dr. Peterson, if you’ve actually read the studies coming out of Scandinavia regarding the impact of same sex marriage on the overall institution of marriage within? I offered this in response to a comment in another blog you authored.

    From the summary and discussion section of the 2010:2 study entitled “Legal Advances and Demographic Developments of Same-sex Unions in Scandinavia” by Gunnar Andersson and Turid Noack:

    “At the international arena, Scandinavia clearly has played the role of forerunner in the granting of equal rights to couples of different sex-compositions to marry. In the American debate, it has sometimes been argued that these developments have also undermined the status of heterosexual marriage and led to the erosion of marriage in Scandinavia (e.g., Kurtz 2004). An inspection of trends in heterosexual marriage formation in the Nordic countries gives no support to such an interpretation. On the contrary, both Denmark and Sweden witness clear reversals from stable or decreasing to increasing trends in marriage formation subsequent to the introduction of these countries’ partnership laws (Figure 4, see also Ohlsson 2009). Similar short-term or long-term reversals in the same direction can be observed for Norway, Iceland and Finland shortly after the introduction of the partnership laws in these countries (see Andersson et al. 2009). If anything, the democratization of marriage seems to have made this institution more, not less popular.”

    Despite fears, the foundations of marriage have not been weakened, according to this study.

    • DanielPeterson

      Way too early to be relevant to my concerns.

      • Lucy Mcgee

        If you read the study, you’ll find the data used goes back at least two decades. http://www.suda.su.se/SRRD/SRRD_2010_2.pdf

        What time frame would be relevant to your concerns?

        • joseph peterson

          oh, Lucy, Dan doesn’t answer questions of merit, so I wouldn’t push it farther. But lash out, or speak broadly, and he’ll return in kind.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m going to lash out now, Joseph Peterson:

            Stop being a jackass.

            And get a life. At least on Christmas Eve.

          • joseph peterson

            Case in point. See, Lucy, this is what I mean. I happen to elicit a response, while your valid and thoughtful question remains unanswered. It’s his way. :)

          • DanielPeterson

            I answered her question nineteen hours ago — sixteen hours, JP, before your ludicrous claim that I hadn’t answered. See below.

            And, with a cast still on my right (dominant) hand following surgery, it takes me a long and laborious time to write even a short note. I prefer to dedicate that difficult writing time to columns and actual blog entries than to sparring in the comments section.

            Congratulations, incidentally, on the holiday vacation you’ve chosen to take from derisive and insubstantial commenting here. (Lucy McGee is free, of course, to continue posting as s/he chooses.) I hope you find it refreshing!

        • DanielPeterson

          A few generations would be enough.

          For honest, free, and non-ideologized social science, anyway,

          • rameumptom

            I’m not convinced that a study from Scandinavia will have equal results in America. There are a variety of dynamics that are very different, including culture, race, religiousity, etc. And as Daniel notes, a few generations will help show what the fall out may be to future generations.
            As it is, as a Latter-day Saint, I believe there is only one form of marriage currently approved of by God, and that is between man and woman. I believe that other forms of marriage will affect the nation in the long run, if in nothing else, in reducing the number of young people to employ and pay for Social Security, military, highways, and other important things that come via taxation in today’s society.
            However, as a libertarian, I believe government should be totally out of the marriage business, and allow people to establish their own relationships via contract.
            As it is, the current gay movement is not libertarian, as we are now seeing private business owners being forced against their own religious views to support gay marriage, as with the wedding photographer in New Mexico. This same form of liberal intervention is forcing religious hospitals and others to provide abortifacients in health care. Clearly there is just too much government going around, each side trying to tip the scale against the other.

  • uteman10111

    How very dramatic. I’m curious as to which definition of marriage you are choosing from in coming to your redefinition? Is it the polygamous one? The one in which you’re allowed to have concubines? How about the one which you’re commanded to marry the woman you raped?

    • kiwi57


      1) As I wrote above: Plural marriage was never imagined as one marriage with lots of partners in it; to the exact contrary, it was always understood as being a state in which a man was permitted to enter into multiple concurrent marriages, each of which was a one-man, one-woman union.

      Thus, there is no “polygamous” definition of marriage.

      2) For “The one in which you’re allowed to have concubines,” that was merely a morganatic form of polygamy; therefore, see point 1.

      3) Likewise, “the one which you’re commanded to marry the woman you raped” was not a distinct definition of marriage; rather it was a legal remedy for rape.

      If you were attempting to show that there have been multiple definitions of marriage, you have failed to do so. All of the examples you cited are different applications of marriage, but they ultimately rely upon the same underlying definition.

      As such, they tend to undermine the case you tried to support.

      • uteman10111

        1) No basis in fact. You are throwing around generalities regarding who “imagines” what plural marriage is or is not. Where is this “imaginary state”, in YOUR mind? Do you really need someone to pull definitions for you?

        2) Yes, in YOUR mind. see point 1

        3) Yes, a legal remedy for rape… as a vehicle to marriage.

        And yes, multiple definitions of “traditional biblical marriage” which is utter BS. Let’s assume the bible is mostly made up by the men who wrote it and the men who’ve edited it over the centuries. Your silly arguments about redefining marriage hold no water.

        • kiwi57

          1) It is what it is. (Or more precisely, what it was.) You may resent it, and you clearly do, but you’ve got no alternative to offer but abuse.

          Polygamy fits within the traditional definition of marriage. Each polygamous husband was the sole man in each of his marriages, and each of his wives was the sole woman in hers.

          2) Not merely in MY mind. While concubinage may range anywhere from virtual slavery upwards, it was usually (and almost always in biblical times) just morganatic polygamy.

          3) Yes, as a “vehicle to” marriage. Under what definition? One man, one woman of course.

          What other definition has there ever been?

          The point is that telling a man he has to marry the girl he’s raped is in no sense a distinct definition of marriage.

          And what’s more, I rather think you know that.

          Uteman: “And yes, multiple definitions of ‘traditional biblical marriage’ which is utter BS.”

          I agree. The claim that there are multiple definitions of “traditional biblical marriage” is indeed utter BS.

          And you are the one uttering this utter BS.

  • joseph peterson

    No, you don’t mention your religion, but you do bring up the religion (or rather, note the departure from it) of the straw man you are pointing to in your lede as exhibit A. It’s this kind of wink-nudge, between the lines ad hominem that is present in nearly all of your writings, and never more so than when you seek to diminish another viewpoint that isn’t your own. I guess we all do that to some degree, but somehow it feels underhanded and more insidious when you do. Please note my ad hominem is forthright and direct, while referring to specific examples to buttress my broader observations, yours is more intimated and assumed, exposing your prejudices, not to those of varying orientations, but rather, to those who formerly believed. Well, my Christmas message to you Mr. Doomsday Scrooge is this: as one who is a believing, practicing, happy and faithful latter-day saint, I support marriage equality. I don’t believe you are deeply confused or full of hate (well I do believe the latter, though not in this instance), I just think we see things differently. If parrhesia is the law of these blogs and discourses, I’m sure you’ll welcome my points of view.

    • kiwi57

      What “ad hominem” are you talking about?

      Not yours; yours is, as you admit, “forthright and direct,” and therefore undeniable. I’m talking about the ad hominem you attribute to Dan. Where is it?

      Speaking only for myself: as one who is a believing, practicing, happy and faithful Latter-day Saint, I therefore support marriage sanctity, as the only logical position available to me.

      • joseph peterson

        I’m referring to Dan’s habit of referencing the faith affiliation of those he’s arguing against in one sentence, while claiming to leave church out of it in the next. It’s not ad hominem in the open, because it’s certainly not a negative thing to be “formerly believing latter-day saint,” unless of course you think it is, which is exactly the wink-nudge, inside ad hominem I’m accusing Dan of consistently doing. Kind of like old newspaper articles where James, a black man, was convicted of robbing the bank. The race of the person had nothing to do with the story, and its a journalistic practice that has largely shifted from race to religion and it’s a poor tactic.

        • kiwi57

          You’re right it’s “not ad hominem in the open.” That’s because it’s not ad hominem at all.

          Knowing a person’s intellectual/ideological background is, in the ordinary run of discourse, entirely appropriate. Because, in fact, it is relevant. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be making such a production of announcing yourself as “a believing, practicing, happy and faithful latter-day saint.”

          Now you are of course entitled to hold whatever opinions you may hold. It’s just that not all of them will be logically congruent with that self-description. Certainly your support for what is rather manipulatively labelled “marriage equality” is not.

        • DanielPeterson

          You’re really straining, Joseph P. To the point of fabrication.

          How about giving the malicious fiction a rest?

          If not forever, maybe at least on Christmas Eve?

          • joseph peterson

            And only let you write and publish your opinion on Christmas Eve? Why should you be the only one? You should be so lucky. But since we aren’t so lucky to be spared from your musings, then comment I shall.

          • DanielPeterson

            As a matter of fact, comment you shan’t.

            Nobody’s forcing you to read my musings; whether or not you’re spared them is entirely up to you,

            So is the question of whether you write and publish your opinions — or even, more relevantly, your personal insults.

            I’m not stopping you.

            But I’m also not obliged to let you sneer and criticize me on my own blog.

            Hence, for at least the remainder of Christmas Day, I’m not going to let you.

            Best wishes for your well-earned holiday!

      • joseph peterson

        But what do you deem as marriage sanctity? Man and woman? Man and woman + woman + woman? Man and concubines? I think anytime 2 people commit to each other, it’s hard to build a legitimate case at how that desecrates anyone’s life.

        • kiwi57

          It’s like this, Joseph.

          Marriage between a man and a woman is the very minimum standard for a relationship to rise to the level of “holy matrimony.” There are of course other factors, but one-man, one-woman is the foundation of it all.

          When we talk of marriage, we are not talking about ice skates or knitting patterns or same-sex couples or anything else so completely unrelated to marriage. We are talking about the permanent union of a man and a woman. Accepting, as we do, that the revealed standards of chastity are authoritative and binding, it necessarily follows that the one and only logically consistent position for a believing Latter-day Saint to take is to hold that marriage is sacred, and not merely a social/legal arrangement.

          And just so you know: when I see people pretending that Mormon polygamy was some kind of alternative marriage model in which every partner was married to every other partner, my BS detector starts twitching. Plural marriage was never imagined as one marriage with lots of partners in it; to the exact contrary, it was always understood as being a state in which a man was permitted to enter into multiple concurrent marriages, each of which was a one-man, one-woman union.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            How in the world will same sex marriage ever interfere with LDS sanctioned marriage? You claim authority. Whose authority? And what about those that understand scriptural authority differently than you, or those who don’t care about your belief system? How is any of this going to impact the rights of “traditional” marriage, and more specifically of LDS Church marriage?

          • DanielPeterson

            I’ve suggested over and over again that people consider the actual arguments, and I’ve especially endorsed the various writings (including a book) of Robert George, Ryan Anderson, and Sherif Girgis.

            Refusal to read the available materials isn’t convincing proof that they don’t exist.

          • Doug Ealy

            Thank you for your thoughtful response. Here are a couple of quotes by Brigham Young that helped me understand the importance of traditional marriage (I have a few minutes since I’m waiting for my excited kids to go to sleep before I can setup for Christmas morning):

            Quote 1: “The whole subject of the marriage relation is not in my reach, nor in any other man’s reach on this earth. It is without beginning of days or end of years; it is a hard matter to reach. We can tell something with regard to it; it lays the foundation for worlds, for angels, and for the Gods; for intelligent beings to be crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. In fact, it is the thread which runs from beginning to the end of the holy Gospel of salvation — of the Gospel of the Son of God; it is from eternity to eternity.” JD 2:90

            Society is playing with things they don’t understand. Many think they know but they don’t. My support for traditional marriage is based on trying to keep people from making a terrible albeit well-meaning mistake.

            Quote 2: “No man can be perfect without the woman, so no woman can be perfect without a man…” Brigham Young, “Speech Delivered April 6, 1845,” Millennial Star 6, no. 8 (Oct 1, 1845): 121

            When I was in the military a group of us attended a presentation given by the Marines. During the question and answer session the Marine officer was asked why women had a separate boot camp than men. His response was “’cause men ain’t women and women ain’t men — next question.” True statement. Men need women and women need men to be complete. I don’t understand why same sex attraction occurs, but I know what the Lord’s program is and eventually all things will work out for those who serve the Lord. I think it is interesting that traditional marriage supporters are accused of not being loving. I disagree. The best way to help our fellow man is by putting the Lord first. Pres Benson taught: “Therefore, if you desire to help your fellowmen the most, then you must put the first commandment first. When we fail to put the love of God first, we are easily deceived by crafty men who profess a great love of humanity, while advocating programs that are not of the Lord.” CR Oct 1967 p. 34.

          • Bryan Dawson

            Are you really quoting Brigham Young? Aren’t you aware that the church is currently trying to distance itself from his doctrine? From blood-atonement, to Adam-God doctrine, and especially the “blood of Cain will never recieve the priesthood” ban, he’s lost favor in the eyes of the church and they are backpedaling. Pick another president.

          • DanielPeterson

            The Church isn’t backing away from Brigham Young.

          • kiwi57

            “Currently?” You mean, approximately since his lifetime?

            Since none of those things have ever been held as doctrine — at least, not as anti-Mormons choose to interpret them, which distorts their original meanings anyway — there’s actually nothing to back away from.

            Incidentally, from whom did you quote that passage about “blood of Cain will never recieve [sic] the priesthood?” You did put it in quotation marks, but since it directly contradicts what Brigham actually said on the subject, I’d be intrigued to know where it comes from.

          • uteman10111

            How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof.
            Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:290 (JournalOfDiscourses.com)

          • DanielPeterson

            Your actual quotation from Brigham Young, uteman10111, directly contradicts your summary of Brigham Young.

          • uteman10111

            “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there.”
            Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862

          • peredehuit

            Um … Ok. Judging from your prior statements in this discussion, I can only assume your intention is to discredit Brigham Young. This statement doesn’t contradict what has been revealed in D&C 132 or in Official Declaration 1. D&C 132:19: “And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” It says that *a* man marry *a* wife. If plural marriage were intended I would assume that it would say *a* man marry wives or something to that effect. To obtain the promises, plural marriage is not required. In D&C 132:61 it states; “… and again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent…” plural marriage is completely voluntary by both the man and the woman. At the time of the statement you quoted above Brigham Young was teaching about the eternal nature of plural marriage — something taught in D&C 132. Official Declaration 1 stopped the practice and monogamy has been the policy of the Church. There is nothing inconsistent with this. D&C 56:4 states: “Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.”

          • uteman10111

            You’re assuming joseph smith received revelation from God. Your assumption is incorrect. This “revelation” came many years after joseph took his housemaid to bed under the nose of his wife Emma. He then took many, many more, even after denouncing polygamy multiple times.

            The official declaration put an end to it… for some people. It continued to be practice in many parts of the state of Utah and many were sent to Mexico to continue it.

            Polygamy is an evil, horrible excuse for depravity. Warren Jeffs is a perfect example of the results.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m not going to devote any time to arguing with so dogmatically certain a fellow as uteman10111, but I feel that I should publicly register my disagreement with his claims above.

          • kiwi57

            uteman10111: “Polygamy is an evil, horrible excuse for depravity. Warren Jeffs is a perfect example of the results.”

            Ah, smearing by association. All the most cynical, dishonest demagogues do it, so why should you be any different?

          • uteman10111

            You are SO full of crap. Multiple concurrent marriages?? Where do you come up with this? One man marrying multiple women is exactly that! You can spin it any way you want to but the fact is polygamy is polygamy.

          • kiwi57

            I never said that polygamy wasn’t polygamy. But if you would like to take a moment off knee-jerking (and regurgitating anti-Mormon prooftexts) you’d realise that I’m right.

            Under polygamy, each new wife marries only the husband. She doesn’t marry the other wives. So a man with seven wives had seven weddings, each time with just one woman.

            But thank you for that example of civil disagreement. “You are SO full of crap.” Is that as good as it gets, is it?

          • uteman10111

            Now you’ve resorted to talking in circles, bruised ego and all. Your “traditional” marriage arguments are weak and unsupported. You claim the “way” polygamous marriages are performed makes them ok. You’d like to believe that speeches from the pulpit by the prophets don’t result in doctrine and yet BY’s teachings on race and polygamy are found in the Journal of Discourses as well as current church lesson manuals.

            Whatever you do, keep those blinders on and memorize the talking points that are being taught. Parrots are good for something.

          • kiwi57

            I’m afraid your mind-reading skills are defective. I recommend you keep your day job.

            You might also like to take a course in remedial reading. When you understand what I actually wrote, feel free to come back and talk again. Your blind lashing out has failed to engage my position in any meaningful way.

          • uteman10111

            How is one supposed to “engage” in your position when it’s vague at best and mostly made up in your mind? You provide no data or relevant resource to back up anything you say, yet you expect people to just take what you say on face value. You’ve been taught well. Blindly follow what you’re told and be sure to not read anything that’s not approved by your leaders.

          • kiwi57

            uteman10111: “How is one supposed to ‘engage’ in your position”

            Good question.

            You start by reading instead of merely assuming. Read whole sentences instead of disconnected words that elicit some kind of pavlovian response. Then, if you discover that I’ve said something you disagree with, try thinking about a counter-argument instead of merely throwing a handful of irrelevant prooftexts in my direction.

            Here’s a little exercise to help you on your way. You erupted with disgust, derision and adolescent abuse when I said that Mormon polygamy consisted of “a state in which a man was permitted to enter into multiple concurrent marriages, each of which was a one-man, one-woman union.”

            Go back to that post. Read it again. Read it as slowly as you need to in order to comprehend what it’s about; I promise the words will stay on the screen for as long as you need them to. (I can absolutely guarantee that they’ll outlast your attention span.) Then, if you still don’t get it, go back and look at the post to which I was replying.

            Then try to formulate some sort of response that doesn’t involve idiotic anti-Mormon stereotypes.

            You’re welcome.

          • uteman10111

            kiwi, your arrogance is showing. In your simple mind disagreement = anti-mormon. Is it a stereotype if it’s a true statement? So far you ARE the stereotypical mormon apologist who thinks he and his religion are the only truth on the face of the earth. Be informed; just saying/typing it doesn’t make it true.

            I’ve cited quotes from Journal of Discourses as well as the Deseret News. Apparently those aren’t relevant enough for you?

            You have no proof that your silly “traditional” marriage is any better than same-sex marriage. You have no proof that same-sex marriage will damage “traditional” marriage.

            There IS plenty of evidence that polygamous marriage (regardless of your definition) is damaging. (See joseph smith, brigham young and warren jeffs to begin with). Why did joseph smith hide his polygamy from his first wife for so long? Why did he hide it from the married men who’s wives he married? Why did brother brigham hide it from the feds?

            If “traditional” marriage is such a sacred and perfect institution then why do more than 50% end up in divorce? Why do more than 50% of mormon temple marriages end up in divorce?

            You and the fool who wrote this blog have no leg to stand on. You have no cited examples of how same-sex marriage is any less worthy than “traditional” marriage. Claiming a mythical figure, Jesus or some crazy religious zealot said so isn’t a relevant source either.

            You should give up your holier-than-thou tirades. Try a more scholarly approach. It might give you a shred of credibility.

          • kiwi57

            uteman10111: “I’ve cited quotes from Journal of Discourses as well as the Deseret News. Apparently those aren’t relevant enough for you?”

            Since they don’t address anything I actually wrote — no, they’re not.

            uteman10111: “You have no proof that your silly ‘traditional’ marriage is any better than same-sex marriage.”

            I don’t believe I’ve addressed that topic anyway.

            But since you brought it up: “traditional” marriage is actually marriage, while “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron.

            uteman10111: “There IS plenty of evidence that polygamous marriage (regardless of your definition) is damaging.”

            I’m not here to defend polygamous marriage. My sole interest in that topic is to point out that it’s a red herring. Someone, above, tried to pretend that it represents a different definition of marriage. In that, they were mistaken, as I demonstrated.

            uteman10111: “Why do more than 50% of mormon [sic] temple marriages end up in divorce?”

            Why do you imagine that an outright lie is okay if you word it as a question?

  • jafnhar

    Do you remember when we (more or less) agreed that a Christian is someone who says they are a Christian? Well, I read the paper and found myself annoyed at this idea that the state ought to only recognize “real marriages”. I’m married to my wife because 13 years ago I said in word and writing that I am and she agreed. Yes, the state was there to confirm it, but that only concerns legal matters, which are very important, but I’d consider my wife no differently (nor my children) if the state had had nothing to do with it.

    Now imagine if the state only recognized “real religions”. The Swedish list of “real baby names” come to mind too. The state, alas, cannot reflect the totality of human experience.

    Or here’s a good one: “the state cannot choose or change the essence of real marriage”, as though marriage were like gravity… as though any human institution were like gravity. (OK, I know for the LDS marriage is indeed like gravity, but that, I think, is an extreme position, and derives from the tendency of humans to attach more significance to their lives than is really warranted).

    The nice thing about being human is that we are only mostly slaves to our nature, but not totally. We can decide to change, and indeed, carry through change. When it comes to the laws around something as complex as human relationships (and the relationship between spouses is different in degree from other relationships, not kind), the state can only craft approximate fits, if it can manage to pull even that off. It’s an exercise in drawing lines. We include these relationships and exclude those relationships. Why? Certainly not because it makes philosophical sense, but because that’s what works for the current society. Sure, maybe philosophically same-sex marriage opens the door to polyamorous marriage (and that would be fine by me), and maybe I’m an example of why that’s a philosophical slippery slope, but that does not make it a social or legal slippery slope. All the philosophy in the world can’t convince people to accept what they don’t want to accept.

  • Your favorite Uncle Frankie

    Merry Christmas Dan! I would now like to thrown down the gauntlet: If you post a blog entry about gay women who wear pants to Church, I bet it will receive more comments than any entry you have ever written.

  • Lamont Cranston

    You are one sorry excuse for an American. You think you get to use the government to deny me equal rights under the law because of your weirdo religion? It’s too bad there were any mormoids left alive after the 19th century. It would be a better world if we could have just built a nice memorial and reflected on the “sadness” of the “loss”.

    • joseph peterson

      Dan, now this ^^ is baseless insults, I would hope you see a difference. And Lamont, Dan is not a sorry excuse for an American. His (and my) religion is no weirder than others, and his passion and concern for his country is admirable, even though I wildly disagree with his conclusions and severely critique his tactics.

    • kiwi57

      So Dan’s a sorry excuse for an American — but you’re just hunky-dory while you lament the failure of 19th century bigots to exterminate your ideological enemies.

      That’s quite remarkable.

    • DanielPeterson

      I’m very happy, Lamont Cranston, to have my blog post and your comment sit side by side so that readers can easily compare their tone.