Friday, July 29, 2011

Under The Influence

“... if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouses the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then he is justified.”  - Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132, verse 61 (Taken from a Mormon website.)

     Hello fellow bloggers, readers and passers-by,

     Today's society is under the influence. Not just from drugs and alcohol. Electronics, pornography, wealth, and fame are but a minuscule few. However the one most discouraged in topical conversation: Religion. And if you are a frequent visitor to either of my blogs, you know where I stand when it comes to organized religion and the belief that one preacher-man can take us all to heaven, his way is THE right way and his 'take' on the good book is the only one matters, all other denominations are wrong, so on and so on...

     With that being said, I thought I would jump right in to the Warren Jeffs Trial. Jeffs, a fifty-five year old man from Texas, is charged with sexually assaulting two girls, 17 and 12, whom he later married. These charges carry a sentence of up to life in prison. He is also facing an October trial for a bigamy charge. He alleges to have 70 wives. And he fired his defense counsel and chose to represent himself.

     So what is polygamy? Polygamy is marriage to two or more wives. The first recorded polygamist was Lamech who took unto himself two wives (Genesis 4:19). And the same goes for Abraham and even Solomon. But God did not command this. These acts were done because these men rejected God's plan out of the hardness of their hearts.

     But this strange word is not something new... well, not new to history. Polygamy dates back to religious sects such as Hinduism and Buddhism. But they were merely copies of something much older and manifested. In Egyptian times, the more wealthy would participate in polygamy. Pharaohs practised polygamy which helped to seal alliances, establish their dynasties and resolve questions of succession. In instances were polygamy was practised one of the women would be named as the main wife and enjoyed a special and higher status compared to any other wives. In addition, the average age for an Egyptian woman to marry was 14 -- the man's average age was 20.

     Jeffs role in the Mormon community is one of objection for the common day Mormons. The reason why stems from his fundamentalist viewpoint. Fundamentalist Mormonism was the beginning of the enforcement of the 1890 Manifesto which caused various splinter groups to leave the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church in order to continue the practice of plural marriage. This form of marriage was at one time highly regarded by LDS and the contributor to this movement was Joseph Smith, Jr. He claimed that on July 17, 1831, he received a revelation that 'plural marriages' were right and to only be done by men who were chosen.

     Polygamy among these groups persists today in Utah and neighboring states as well as in the spin-off colonies. Polygamist churches of Mormon origin are often referred to as "Mormon fundamentalist" even though they are not a part of the LDS Church. Such fundamentalists often use a purported 1886 revelation to John Taylor as the basis for their authority to continue the practice of plural marriage. The Salt Lake Tribune stated in 2005 there were as many as 37,000 fundamentalists with less than half of them living in polygamous households.  The discrepancies make one very aware that if documentation on who the first one was to receive the 'revelation' left something to be said about the revelation itself.

     The issue is not whether it's right or wrong: we can see that it is like an opinion and to each his own. However, allowing religion to depict a form of rational law over man's law, is anything but rational.  Society as a whole and as individuals, grow based on our emotional drive. Our passion for something we feel strongly about. Even the way we raise our own children, with the 'do the right thing' mentality, all filled with emotions: I believe our conscience resides in our emotions, rather than that little fella sitting on our shoulder. And the same goes for religion. It is not based on rational objectives, but rather a feeling, albeit happy, holy-ghost filled, surreal, that of repentance, or the sheer fear of God. Either way, religion mixed with fundamentalist ideology is a sure recipe for moral deterioration. Because our feelings and emotions can sometimes mix with that of 'wrong' thinking... That's when the devil on your left shoulder, drop kicks the angel on your right shoulder!

     These cults, religious sects and claims to prestigious life-ever after drama can be tied to the works of Hitler, Hussein and Bin Laden. In addition, their individual beliefs may be the downfall of human kind, teaching hatred rather than brotherly love. Hatred in the fundamentalist LDS would be their beliefs that their way is the true way to God and while their hatred is not expressed in explosions or acts of war, they are better shown with self-fulfilling prophecy that only those who are truly devoted to the FLDS will make it to heaven.

     Will Smith described in a song, "Ms. Holy Roller, new angel, got ya Bible out shoutin' and you're ringing a bell mid-life, reborn, can't wait to tell, if I don't believe what you believe, I'm going to hell..."  His claims that a woman done wrong all her life, then by the saving grace of God, found Jesus during her midlife and started preaching that her way is the right way, all the while, he had been born and raised in church, reading the bible and trying his best to live a straight and narrow way of life. So who is right?
     And we should remember that while our brains think, "sex is sex is sex", God said when he commanded Moses of the 10 most important things Christians should remember: Thou shalt not commit adultery... If we take this literally, having sex without marriage constitutes fornication, which is NOT adultery, but rather, just fornication. If we take it with our emotions, "sex is sex is sex" and it's adultery.  And in the eyes of the law, all murder is homicide, but homicide is not always murder. So it would suffice to say all polygamy is adultery, but adultery is not always polygamy.

     You can read the 2009 Utah case information on Warren Jeffs here.

     So how does a woman not commit adultery? The King James version tells in the gospel of Luke, the teaching of Jesus about divorce is stated briefly and forcefully: "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery" (Luke 16:18). The ONLY exception for a wife to remarry is if her current husband dies and it is her will to remarry, then she may do so wholly and without sin. Just curious... can anyone tell me if a husband can remarry, should his wife die? Sort of a double edged sword if it isn't in there, in my honest opinion.

     I'll let that simmer for a little while... Time to get dinner going! I'll tell you one thing is for certain: There is no way this side of heaven that I would ever want or have more than one husband -- EVER!

     Until Tomorrow,

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