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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Mormons, Gays and Polygamy (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Mormons, Gays and Polygamy
BBegley
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I've been wondering about the strength of anti-gay marriage sentiment in the Mormon community for a while. Most of the e-mail blasts and social networking prop 8 support came from Mormons I know.

Here's my question:
What part of the drive to prevent gay marriage from within the LDS community stems from a concern that it opens a path to legal polygamy?

Is there concern that if one barrier comes down, that some faction within the LDS community would begin pushing actively to make polygamy legal? That it could divide and/or marginalize a religious denomination that is growing and becoming more accepted as a mainstream branch of Christianity?

Let's say that there is no LDS support for a move to legalize polygamy. Once it was legal, would the church allow it?

I know that OSC's position on gay marriage was been endlessly discussed here, so I have no interest in his personal feelings on the matter unless he's discussed the direct question above.

I am also aware that other organizations, in particular the Catholic church, have been very actively opposed to gay marriage. I was raised Catholic, and have a lot of Catholic family and friends. I know that the Knights of Columbus and some of the bishops are virulently opposed to gay marriage, but I don't see that opinion embedded in the general Catholic population the way I do in the general Mormon population.

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BlackBlade
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I've never been exposed to a segment of the LDS church that is concerned that polygamy will be making a return. I am comfortable saying that opposition to same-sex marriage has nothing to do with our being worried about polygamy. It stems primarily from scripture and sermons given by our leaders indicating that the acceptance of same-sex marriage in this country will further erode the basic structure of the family.

I have contemplated what doctrinally would need to be done if laws prohibiting the practice of polygamy were removed (as they should be). Part of me believes the church should then resume polygamy, but it also says quite explicitly that polygamy is not permissible at all times, and that God decides when or where to allow it. So for the time being, the church could continue to not observe polygamy until such a time as God instructed them to. A commandment that could come immediately, or many years later.

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Stephan
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Removing laws prohibiting polygamy won't erode the basic structure of family, but gay marriage will?

edit: Or is your opinion different than the general consensus?

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stilesbn
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It's also worth noting that most Mormons you talk to on here and in most online communities that I've seen are usually pro-gay marriage.

I haven't seen any poll numbers on how many Mormons are for or against gay marriage. There could be a strong echo chamber effect happening online but you would be surprised at how many people don't follow the general consensus.

Also somewhat interesting, most people I know that are Mormon and against gay marriage (and profess the opinion publicly for me to observe) live outside Utah.

Unfortunately this is all anecdotal so I guess pretty much useless.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
Removing laws prohibiting polygamy won't erode the basic structure of family, but gay marriage will?

edit: Or is your opinion different than the general consensus?

I've made my opinions clear many times on a few threads. I was only answering the questions for the general membership (if such a thing can even be done), not offering my own opinions on gay marriage. But simply put, no I don't think allowing one but not the other is a correct choice insofar as our nation or the family is concerned.
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scholarette
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I think there is some part of LDS view on marriage influences by our history with polygamy. When the courts ruled against allowing polygamy, LDS people broke up families and excommunicated anyone who didn't go along. We accepted ye rule of society even if it went against our beliefs and families. So, at some level, I think LDS are more ok with society/government ruling what is a family and expecting that people will go with that. It is how we responded and so why can't others? I dont think this is articulated but listening to people's arguments, there are hints of that. Marriage is not a civil right everyone deserves is part of the underlying assumptions. Saying prohibiting ssm denies rights is kinda incomprehensible because we gave up our marriages when commanded to.
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Xavier
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quote:
It's also worth noting that most Mormons you talk to on here and in most online communities that I've seen are usually pro-gay marriage.
I wouldn't confuse being silent on the issue for being pro-SSM. I'd guess that a large majority of LDS here and on sakeriver are opposed. They just got sick of arguing it and so now no longer do so.

Which I don't particularly blame them. Their argument comes down to "this is what my religion tells me", and that's not a viewpoint that is easy to argue from.

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MattP
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quote:
Also somewhat interesting, most people I know that are Mormon and against gay marriage (and profess the opinion publicly for me to observe) live outside Utah.
For what it's worth, I know many people in Utah who are against SSM, which makes sense for the redest of the red states. There are plenty who support SSM as well, but we did pass one of those "no gay marriage" amendments to the state constitution pretty handily a few years back.
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Polygamy at this point is almost more myth than reality for most Mormons. It's not in the conversation. People outside the church mention polygamy in conjunction with Mormons much, much more than it ever gets discussed inside the church.

SSM is a topic that is more frequently talked about, and I must say that the majority of Mormons I know are against it to some degree, for a variety of mixtures of reasons. However, I've lived in SE Idaho and Utah for long enough that I can't say I have the pulse of Mormons in the "field."

Here in the Hatrack-o-sphere, I'd say people who aren't immediately and stridently in favor of SSM for whatever reason are as tired of getting a "diagnosis" as they are of the endless standoffs.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Here in the Hatrack-o-sphere, I'd say people who aren't immediately and stridently in favor of SSM for whatever reason are as tired of getting a "diagnosis" as they are of the endless standoffs.
Yeah, no, this place doesn't have 'standoffs' against people who are nonstrident and not immediately open about support for SSM. They happen to people who are clearly against it, and it mostly happens to them because of the reasons they are against it.
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BlackBlade
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I'd say that many of the folks who who voiced opposition to it, did at times have reasons I found compelling and legitimate. But since it's usually rooted in faith, folks who are not religious only see that as foolishness ultimately, and can't be content with it.
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Here in the Hatrack-o-sphere, I'd say people who aren't immediately and stridently in favor of SSM for whatever reason are as tired of getting a "diagnosis" as they are of the endless standoffs.
Yeah, no, this place doesn't have 'standoffs' against people who are nonstrident and not immediately open about support for SSM. They happen to people who are clearly against it, and it mostly happens to them because of the reasons they are against it.
Waco-style standoffs aren't exactly what I meant, but those happen too. I'd call it more trench warfare, and the trenches haven't moved for a long time. The problem being that no one feels like they can stay in the middle of the trenches for very long before ducking and running toward one or the other. Or getting down and staying there.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Waco-style standoffs aren't exactly what I meant, but those happen too. I'd call it more trench warfare, and the trenches haven't moved for a long time. The problem being that no one feels like they can stay in the middle of the trenches for very long before ducking and running toward one or the other.
Unless you're speaking strictly of Hatrack, the trenches have been moving at a very brisk pace on this topic.

Now that said, I admit: a common response of mine when someone complains that anti-SSM folks are getting a bad rap is a mental sigh or even an eye-roll. I'm well aware that this sweeps up more than a few people who don't deserve it, and I try and keep that in mind when I think about religious people complaining now that they're being unfairly criticized on the issue of SSM.

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I am speaking mainly of Hatrack and various other forums frequented by jatraqueros--who tend to know each others' stances on a variety of topics and carry the same discussions between boards.

I'm curious how the trenches are moving in the overall discussion, however. My impression has been that the two sides are only digging themselves in more and more. That doesn't mean that change isn't happening at a brisk pace--but that's a different metaphor, IMO.

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MattP
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quote:
I'd say that many of the folks who who voiced opposition to it, did at times have reasons I found compelling and legitimate. But since it's usually rooted in faith, folks who are not religious only see that as foolishness ultimately, and can't be content with it.
Not foolish so much as not relevant. People that believe it should be illegal for religious reasons have different basic views about the proper role and reach of government than I do. And the people who believe it should be illegal for non-religious reasons are usually carrying that argument on top of an existing religious opinion.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I'd say that many of the folks who who voiced opposition to it, did at times have reasons I found compelling and legitimate. But since it's usually rooted in faith, folks who are not religious only see that as foolishness ultimately, and can't be content with it.

As do some of us who are religious.
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Marlozhan
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I am LDS and I can only see two real reasons that LDS people can be opposed to SSM:

1) It truly is a faith issue. It is based in the real belief that God has decreed that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that this decree is based on the eternal identity of our spirits, which existed before this life. When it is a faith issue, you can't really get away from that. I happen to believe that our spirits are eternally male or female. However, I also happen to believe that we can't know for sure in this life whether someone is truly male or female. This is because one of the fundamental beliefs of our church is that our mortal bodies are imperfect. This is why some people can be born with genitals of both sexes or have other physical differences that are outside the norm. I can't claim to know for sure when someone's imperfect mortal body does or does not line up with that person's eternal gender.

2) The belief that to allow SSM changes the definition of marriage. In other words, if SSM is allowed, then the old definition of marriage no longer applies. In this interview, it is worded better than I can:
quote:
Some people promote the idea that there can be two marriages, co-existing side by side, one heterosexual and one homosexual, without any adverse consequences. The hard reality is that, as an institution, marriage like all other institutions can only have one definition without changing the very character of the institution. Hence there can be no coexistence of two marriages. Either there is marriage as it is now defined and as defined by the Lord, or there is what could thus be described as genderless marriage. The latter is abhorrent to God, who, as we’ve been discussing, Himself described what marriage is — between a man and a woman.

A redefinition of that institution, therefore, redefines it for everyone — not just those who are seeking to have a so-called same gender marriage. It also ignores the definition that the Lord Himself has given.

For me, a good question to address in this debate is this: If the whole world discovered, through scientific proof, that God was real and that every person had a clearly eternal spirit with a single gender that could not change, and we knew what those genders were, would it change anything about this discussion regarding the rights of marriage? Also, this discovery includes the realization that men and women are fundamentally designed to be complements of one another.

Because, basically, that is where LDS people are coming from: the firm belief that spiritual gender is eternal (though again, our mortal gender is subject to mortal interference) and can't be changed no matter what you do. LDS people believe that to try to create a form of marriage that will be incompatible in the eternal scheme is setting people up for long-term unhappiness, even though, in mortality, there can be happiness for people that have same-sex attraction and are able to be in same-sex relationships. It is based in the idea that a loving Heavenly Father is more concerned with what will make us happy forever than with what will only make us happy in mortality.

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Tuukka
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I don't have much to say the OP.

But this did bring up an old opinion of mine: I don't have any problems with polygamy being legalized. I would imagine that at some point in the (far) future it will be.

But I think it's a bad system, especially when it's only the man, who can take several wives (This is still fairly common in many parts of the world).

The problem is, if a man has four wives, then there are three men who will never have a wife.

And not being able to have a wife, and children, is gonna cause a lot of pent-up frustration and hate, which will easily find a unhealthy outlet somewhere.

I would even go as far as to say that a lot of problems of violent extremism in Middle-East and Africa are related to polygamy. There are a lot of young men there, who due to their social status, have trouble getting wives. With no prospect of having wife, family, children, what are they gonna do with their lives? They've been castrated, they are impotent, and there is nowhere to put the aggression that keeps on building inside them.

Well, except fanaticism and violence, of course.

If it were equally acceptable for women to take many husbands, and this were a common cultural habit, It would help to solve the problem.

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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I'd say that many of the folks who who voiced opposition to it, did at times have reasons I found compelling and legitimate. But since it's usually rooted in faith, folks who are not religious only see that as foolishness ultimately, and can't be content with it.
Not foolish so much as not relevant. People that believe it should be illegal for religious reasons have different basic views about the proper role and reach of government than I do. And the people who believe it should be illegal for non-religious reasons are usually carrying that argument on top of an existing religious opinion.
*shrug* If the religious beliefs are irrelevant, no wonder they’re so hard to argue from.

IMO, people who think SSM should be illegal for religious reasons and people who think SSM should be illegal for non-religious reasons are only two groups of people. But others get herded into the same corral with them all too often.

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MattP
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quote:
*shrug* If the religious beliefs are irrelevant, no wonder they’re so hard to argue from.
Well the problem is that at that point there's a meta-argument about whether the government should be codifying the religious views of a particular denomination as laws that everyone else should be subject to.

We all generally support a secular government, even those who sneer the word "secular" as if it were a curse word, right up to the point where we think we can abandon that principle without fear of our own liberties being threatened. The LDS church was once the victim of mob-rule majority-driven disenfranchisement and they have benefited greatly from the increasingly secular nature of Federal and State government, even while delivering conference talks on the danger of secularism.

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The word is definitely being co-opted. “Secular” meaning a government with no state religion and “secular” meaning influences that don’t always square with one’s religious values aren’t necessarily the same thing. Church leaders aren’t pushing for establishment of a state religion in conference talks. They are cautioning church members to hold to certain standards and values in their personal lives while eschewing others.
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MattP
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quote:
The word is definitely being co-opted. “Secular” meaning a government with no state religion and “secular” meaning influences that don’t always square with one’s religious values aren’t necessarily the same thing.
I agree that the distinction is important and wish there was more precision around that.

quote:
Church leaders aren’t pushing for establishment of a state religion in conference talks.
To the extent that they are suggesting which laws should exist based on explicitly religious reasons they are, though. "Legalizing immorality" is the phrase that jumped out at me. Because the immorality of SSM is largely determined by religious opinion, that is an explicit condemnation of secular law.
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Well, and whether or not this leads to a discussion on the separation of church and state, there's still a difference between pushing for the establishment of one's church as the state religion and desiring to see one's values, religious or otherwise, reflected in legislation. I'll hold that yes, the church leaders are pushing back against the legalization of SSM with that phrase. That's pretty obvious in the context of the particular talk. However, I don't think the Mormon church is coming out in opposition to the legislative process, which thanks to the separation of church and state clause, is secular in nature. They're certainly not doing more than a huge variety of organizations are on both sides of the SSM debate in calling for their values and ideals to be represented in ongoing legislation.
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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
For me, a good question to address in this debate is this: If the whole world discovered, through scientific proof, that God was real and that every person had a clearly eternal spirit with a single gender that could not change, and we knew what those genders were, would it change anything about this discussion regarding the rights of marriage? Also, this discovery includes the realization that men and women are fundamentally designed to be complements of one another.

An equally good question would be, what if the whole word discovered, through scientific proof, that God is real and every person has a spirit and the spirits aren't gendered. That gender is a limitation of mortality and irrelevant to the eternal essence of the person.

Because that is, I think, the essence of the gap between people who insist that same-sex marriage is contrary to the definition of marriage and those who don't. The first group sees marriage as the combination of two fundamentally different things, and the second doesn't.

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Dogbreath
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I spent some time in Colorado City, AZ when I was 18, and it left me pretty disgusted with Mormonism for a while afterwards. (I try to be very civil about it on these boards, and have no problem with most Mormons as individuals, but I consider the religion as a whole to be evil - mostly because of the huge number of friends and acquaintances who have been damaged by it) From what I've seen, polygamy seems to inevitably lead to abuse, and an inclination to treat wives as property rather than equals. The large barracks-like houses with boarded up windows, young women with furtive, haunted looks (when I saw them at all)... I challenge any of you to spend a week in that town and tell me you think Polygamy is a good idea.

That being said, I also believe if 3 or more consenting adults choose to marry one another, than it's not my business to stop it. I can see a lot of problems with taxation, inheritance, power of attorney, etc. that would need be resolved, though. For example, how many wives can you claim on your taxes? If you're n the hospital, which wife gets to choose whether to pull the plug or go ahead with a risky operation? Do they vote? What if there's a tie?

What if two of your wives (or husbands) want to gay marry eachother? Can that be worked into your existing contract, or do they have to get their own separate marriage contract? Does it count as adultery?

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Rakeesh
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I'm there with you on the whole 'in practice' problems being so substantial that I wonder if the problem is actually with the practice or as a result of its illegality. I'm inclined to think that *any* arrangement of polygamy that involves one husband and multiple wives only would be prone to abuse, because, well, the inequality is built in. It's on the ground floor.

---------

quote:
For me, a good question to address in this debate is this: If the whole world discovered, through scientific proof, that God was real and that every person had a clearly eternal spirit with a single gender that could not change, and we knew what those genders were, would it change anything about this discussion regarding the rights of marriage? Also, this discovery includes the realization that men and women are fundamentally designed to be complements of one another.
For me it wouldn't. Assuming it somehow became possible to know all of these things without asking this hypothetical Creator a bunch of pointed questions, why does one human being have the right to attempt to govern the private practices of another? You need a good reason, and in this scenario it's actually unchanged: God says so, except that it is known definitively that this is true.

Well, alright, God says its wrong, so after we firmly shore up the ban on SSM, we then move on to full criminalization of homosexuality I assume, and blasphemy?

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I'm there with you on the whole 'in practice' problems being so substantial that I wonder if the problem is actually with the practice or as a result of its illegality. I'm inclined to think that *any* arrangement of polygamy that involves one husband and multiple wives only would be prone to abuse, because, well, the inequality is built in. It's on the ground floor.

Polygamy isn't criminalized (unless you do so to commit tax fraud). It's not like, say, marijuana or internet piracy. You can claim to have as many wives as you want, just not legally.

Gay marriage is illegal in most of the US, and I've yet to see *any* studies, even from NOM or other anti-SSM organizations, that postulate that gay unions (whether they claim to be married, or are simply cohabiting/raising a child together) are more prone to abuse and domestic violence than straight ones. Polygamy, OTOH, at least the one older man, many younger (often teenaged) women type, is founded on unequal relationships - and is far more prone to abuse by it's very nature. It's legal status has nothing to do with that.

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BlackBlade
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Dogbreath:
quote:
I spent some time in Colorado City, AZ when I was 18, and it left me pretty disgusted with Mormonism for a while afterwards. (I try to be very civil about it on these boards, and have no problem with most Mormons as individuals, but I consider the religion as a whole to be evil - mostly because of the huge number of friends and acquaintances who have been damaged by it) From what I've seen, polygamy seems to inevitably lead to abuse, and an inclination to treat wives as property rather than equals. The large barracks-like houses with boarded up windows, young women with furtive, haunted looks (when I saw them at all)... I challenge any of you to spend a week in that town and tell me you think Polygamy is a good idea.
Yeah, that's not Mormonism. That's Mormon Fundamentalism.

None of the Mormons on this board have ever been in a polygamist compound. The last polygamist in my family for example was my great great grandfather.

Not only that, that's not polygamy anymore than the illegal brothels that Oscar Wilde frequented that produced drugged up boys for his pleasure are what is meant when we talk about homosexuality. Polygamy is underground, because of laws against it. As a result only those willing to flout the law practice it.

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Dogbreath
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Several people I know IRL *have* been in polygamist compounds. One joined the military to get away from it. (When you live in the desert, don't have a car, the local authorities are members of your religion, as is everyone you know, escaping isn't as easy as you might imagine. Yes, even if you're a "consenting adult")

That being said, polygamy isn't exactly criminalized. Any man can live with as many consenting adult women as he pleases and call them his wives, and the authorities won't stop him unless he actually tries to get a marriage contract with more than one of them. You could say the same thing about any gay couple who refer to themselves as "married" while living in a state where SSM is illegal. Yet gay couples aren't any more prone to domestic violence and abuse than straight couples, nor are they "underground."

I do think it's funny that any time someone of your religion does something morally despicable, the classic response I get is "oh, he's not a *real* Mormon." I don't think the actions of those people necessarily automatically damn the church as a whole, just as I don't think I should be blamed for a soldier who goes crazy and kills 15 people, but me claiming "oh, he's not a *real* soldier" would just be silly. For that matter, just as I believe the military tends to attract, and also create, violent people, I do think the LDS church (particularly the fundamentalist wings thereof) promotes values which are in opposition to morality and society. I think of working with homeless youth who were disowned by their parents for violating some Mormon doctrine or another (usually for being gay), or friends who have been shunned by their families and communities for basically being honest about their personal beliefs and being men of honor and integrity. I also know another Mormon man who lies about his lifestyle and personal beliefs every time he goes home, so he won't be shunned by his family.

I don't want to get into too big of an argument, partly because of time, and partly because I hold a lot of respect for you, but I hope you can trust me when I say I have a lot of good reasons for viewing Mormonism as a despicable and immoral religion, and for thinking that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (in all it's iterations) has had a profoundly deleterious impact on society.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Several people I know IRL *have* been in polygamist compounds. One joined the military to get away from it. (When you live in the desert, don't have a car, the local authorities are members of your religion, as is everyone you know, escaping isn't as easy as you might imagine. Yes, even if you're a "consenting adult")

That being said, polygamy isn't exactly criminalized. Any man can live with as many consenting adult women as he pleases and call them his wives, and the authorities won't stop him unless he actually tries to get a marriage contract with more than one of them. You could say the same thing about any gay couple who refer to themselves as "married" while living in a state where SSM is illegal. Yet gay couples aren't any more prone to domestic violence and abuse than straight couples, nor are they "underground."

I do think it's funny that any time someone of your religion does something morally despicable, the classic response I get is "oh, he's not a *real* Mormon." I don't think the actions of those people necessarily automatically damn the church as a whole, just as I don't think I should be blamed for a soldier who goes crazy and kills 15 people, but me claiming "oh, he's not a *real* soldier" would just be silly. For that matter, just as I believe the military tends to attract, and also create, violent people, I do think the LDS church (particularly the fundamentalist wings thereof) promotes values which are in opposition to morality and society. I think of working with homeless youth who were disowned by their parents for violating some Mormon doctrine or another (usually for being gay), or friends who have been shunned by their families and communities for basically being honest about their personal beliefs and being men of honor and integrity. I also know another Mormon man who lies about his lifestyle and personal beliefs every time he goes home, so he won't be shunned by his family.

I don't want to get into too big of an argument, partly because of time, and partly because I hold a lot of respect for you, but I hope you can trust me when I say I have a lot of good reasons for viewing Mormonism as a despicable and immoral religion, and for thinking that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (in all it's iterations) has had a profoundly deleterious impact on society.

There's not a smart religion out there. The very idea is oxymoronic. Singling out Mormons is pointless. Mohammed married a 9-year-old girl, for Pete's sake. You think Islam wasn't set up from the beginning for the subjugation of women by that? All the major religions are about equally stupid. The reason most of the long-term atheists and agnostics around here don't go after the Mormons specifically is because Mormonism is a minor blip in the face of all the stupid, stupid things that have been done in the name of religion. It's like getting mad at one crow that steals from your garden, when an entire flock of them took 1000 times as much food from you yesterday.
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Dogbreath
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This thread is about Mormons and polygamy, steven. So I feel like this is a good place as any to talk about some of the shortcomings of Mormonism and polygamy. Were this a thread about Islam, I would probably be talking about Islam. I don't think you have a leg to stand on, nor do I think it's reasonable to start a topic like this and not expect some negative reaction to it. Or to expect those who react negatively to keep their opinions to themselves.

Just because there is more than one stupid religion doesn't mean it's pointless to discuss one religion in particular. Nor does it mean all religions are equally stupid and destructive. Islam is far, far worse than Mormonism in that regard, for example.

You'll also notice I never called the LDS church stupid, nor do I really have a problem with religions based on how intellectually stimulating I believe them to be. My sole criteria (as far as this thread is concerned) is how *harmful* they are.

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Hobbes
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quote:
I do think it's funny that any time someone of your religion does something morally despicable, the classic response I get is "oh, he's not a *real* Mormon." I don't think the actions of those people necessarily automatically damn the church as a whole, just as I don't think I should be blamed for a soldier who goes crazy and kills 15 people, but me claiming "oh, he's not a *real* soldier" would just be silly. For that matter, just as I believe the military tends to attract, and also create, violent people, I do think the LDS church (particularly the fundamentalist wings thereof) promotes values which are in opposition to morality and society.
Dogbreath, this isn't analogous to finding out that an enlisted man has shot civilians and then claiming he doesn't count because that's against military code. This is analogous to some guy wanting to shoot up civilians, getting kicked out the military for it, forming his own militia that claims to be the real US military and then shooting civilians. The LDS Church is different from most other, non-Catholic, Christian denominations in that membership in the Church is very regimented. And there's no "fundamentalist wing", or any other wing. If you proclaim different doctrine than taught by the Church (i.e. claim polygamy is to be practiced today) you will get excommunicated quite swiftly.

Hobbes [Smile]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
That being said, polygamy isn't exactly criminalized. Any man can live with as many consenting adult women as he pleases and call them his wives, and the authorities won't stop him unless he actually tries to get a marriage contract with more than one of them. You could say the same thing about any gay couple who refer to themselves as "married" while living in a state where SSM is illegal. Yet gay couples aren't any more prone to domestic violence and abuse than straight couples, nor are they "underground."
Oh, OK. So as long as it's not done through legal channels, and with all the benefits and protections marriage is afforded by the government, you can be as polygamist as you want.

quote:
I do think it's funny that any time someone of your religion does something morally despicable, the classic response I get is "oh, he's not a *real* Mormon."
Dude, seriously? Do you think any percentage of what people call the "Mormon/LDS Church" is polygamist these days? Seriously. If you are a member of the church, and take an additional wife, instant ex-communication. Why do you think many of the Mormon Fundamentalists broke off in the first place? They weren't willing to stop being polygamists.

quote:
I do think the LDS church (particularly the fundamentalist wings thereof) promotes values which are in opposition to morality and society
I'm sorry you feel that way, I think the religion is an enormous force for good.

quote:
I think of working with homeless youth who were disowned by their parents for violating some Mormon doctrine or another (usually for being gay), or friends who have been shunned by their families and communities for basically being honest about their personal beliefs and being men of honor and integrity.
FWIW The church has recognized this disturbing trend and has vocally instructed that it stop. You will never hear a leader of the church advocate for that sort of disfellowship.

quote:
I don't want to get into too big of an argument, partly because of time, and partly because I hold a lot of respect for you, but I hope you can trust me when I say I have a lot of good reasons for viewing Mormonism as a despicable and immoral religion, and for thinking that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (in all it's iterations) has had a profoundly deleterious impact on society.
You have met some polygamist Mormon Fundamentalists, and also worked with youth who were treated terribly by their parents who were Mormons.

What can I say? Those parents were sinning, just like all of us do, and unfortunately very grievously in this case. But who are you to judge? You're extrapolating a bad behavior that has basis in bad tradition, and somehow that tips the balance worldwide.

There are more Mormons outside the United States than in, none of those Mormons have ever been polygamists, and politically they aren't conservative in many cases or liberal, they are whatever they have over in that country.

Yes, the church makes mistakes, but it also spends an incredible amount of time caring for the poor, the sick, the needy, the uneducated, the suffering. Mormons aren't tooting their own horn while they do it, and the news doesn't exactly care when a church does charitable work, it's much more interesting to focus on where they're weird or against the grain, and hammer on that all day.

--------

steven: I can't permit those sorts of posts as moderator. You are not permitted to disparage a specific religion or religion in general. You know this.

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scholarette
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Dogbreath, the LDS church excommunicates anyone who practices polygamy and has repeatedly proclaimed that polygamy is not acceptable. So, when people say polygamist are not real mormons, it is based on more than just a nebulous definition of real. The LDS church also has fairly extensive records of membership and those in polygamist compounds will not be listed in them. A random person who claims to be Mormon but has never been baptized would be discounted as well because they are claiming membership to a church but have not fulfilled even the basic requirements of membership.
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Elison R. Salazar
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also steven Islam was very progressive by contemporary standards when it came to treatment of women. Officially doctrine called for all your wives to be treated and cared for equally. Additionally women could own property and inherit and so on.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
[QUOTE]Oh, OK. So as long as it's not done through legal channels, and with all the benefits and protections marriage is afforded by the government, you can be as polygamist as you want.

I think you misunderstood the point that I'm trying to make: if abuse happening in illegal polygamous families only happens because polygamy is illegal and that they've been "driven underground", then why isn't there similar levels of abuse happening in illegally married gay families? Neither are criminalized, both happen, but has one drastically worse results.

I don't think legalizing polygamy would change this. Though as I said, I'm not opposed to legalizing it. Just because I personally think it's appalling and immoral doesn't mean I think the law should prohibit it, necessarily.

quote:
Dude, seriously? Do you think any percentage of what people call the "Mormon/LDS Church" is polygamist these days? Seriously. If you are a member of the church, and take an additional wife, instant ex-communication. Why do you think many of the Mormon Fundamentalists broke off in the first place? They weren't willing to stop being polygamists.
Many protestant churches splinter for various reasons (I know of one that split because they couldn't agree on what constituted "appropriate worship music"), and many (even the majority?) are accountable to no higher body or denominational authority than the congregation itself. Yet I feel I can use the word "protestant Christian" to refer to Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, and a 30 member non-denominational church in the middle of nowhere, and I'm seldom corrected for doing so. (I have had some baptists use the "they're not real Christians! They haven't been born again!" line on occasion) And this is a group with far more differences between their various churches than there are between the various sects of Mormonism - hell, try to find 2 IFB churches that agree with each other doctrinally more than the LDS and FLDS church. But they're both undeniably Baptist. And I argue that the LDS and FDLS churches are both undeniably Mormon.

So, to be absolutely clear, when I say "Mormonism", I refer to the religion as a whole, not any specific church, ward, bishopric, or governing body. And again, I find it strange that so many of your religion claim that members of the FLDS church aren't Mormons. Perhaps they aren't members of your specific church, but they certainly follow your religion and it's tenants.

quote:
I'm sorry you feel that way, I think the religion is an enormous force for good.
As do I. And I think the LDS Church does a tremendous amount of good as well. You might be conflating my comments with Steven's, but you'll notice I didn't say I found it to be *just* those things or *just* evil, and in other places I have on occasion praised Mormonism as well as other religious groups. But that doesn't mean I should ignore the evil and harmful parts of it. It's not about "tipping the scale", it's about "holy crap, this religion has a tremendous amount of power, and because of some silly or dangerous principles and doctrine inherent to the religion, a lot of evil is being done in it's name, and because of it's influence." I think that evil and it's cause needs to be recognized and addressed.

quote:
FWIW The church has recognized this disturbing trend and has vocally instructed that it stop. You will never hear a leader of the church advocate for that sort of disfellowship.
Nonetheless, it happens, and in disproportionate numbers to the rest of society. To be fair, Mormonism isn't the only religious group that does it - Independent Fundamentalist Baptists are just as bad, if not worse, and think of them the same way I do Mormons.

As far as the rest of the post: I think maybe you're underestimating my intelligence, or ability to understand the subject rationally. Which is fair - you shouldn't necessarily have to interpret my words in the best light possible, especially when those words are ambiguous and many others have made arguments similar to the one you're arguing against. So I don't blame you for that. But believe me when I say I'm not simply judging the religion based on anecdotal evidence - I'm judging it based on the influence it has on people, and how it inspires, encourages, and justifies the actions I mentioned.

I am willing to concede that I may be biased or blind in this matter in some way I don't realize, and I'm definitely open to new ideas.

I also argue (based on many years of lurking on this forum and reading your posts) that you are somewhat blind in the defense of your own religion, and use tactics you wouldn't accept or use when discussing other subjects. You keep dismissing the tremendous amount of harmful things being done by Mormons as being individual cases... at what point do you realize that these actions are far more common among Mormons than the rest of society, and start examining what parts of your religion cause people to do these things? I believe you when you say the prophet isn't telling people to disown their gay or atheist children, yet this continues to happen at far higher rates than among families with similar beliefs and conviction, but different religion.

I'd argue it has to do with something I've seen in IFB churches I call "the appearance of evil" (after a sermon I heard), which is a idea that it's important to pretend like you have a sinless family and life, and that hiding just sin as important, if not more, than actually confessing and repenting from it. It's actually something I'd like to discuss in more detail, but this post is overly long already, and it wouldn't really fit this thread.

[ April 12, 2013, 01:57 AM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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Dogbreath
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I'll start another thread about it tonight or tomorrow, if you're interested in discussing it, though. Or I'll make a detailed post in this one, provided it doesn't get too bogged down or flamey.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I'll start another thread about it tonight or tomorrow, if you're interested in discussing it, though. Or I'll make a detailed post in this one, provided it doesn't get too bogged down or flamey.

I think it would be a good idea to read the response to you that Hobbes offered. The distinction between LDS and FLDS is way bigger than you're making it out to be.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I'll start another thread about it tonight or tomorrow, if you're interested in discussing it, though. Or I'll make a detailed post in this one, provided it doesn't get too bogged down or flamey.

I think it would be a good idea to read the response to you that Hobbes offered. The distinction between LDS and FLDS is way bigger than you're making it out to be.
I understand there's a large difference, I've done a decent amount of research on them. (I passed through Colorado City while heading to the Paria Canyon from Vegas, and ended up staying a few days on my way back with an (unmarried and rather bitter) guy there who runs a gas station/convience store and sells hiking gear to people passing through. He gave me a pretty indepth history of the town. He also called all the residents Mormons, and they self identified as Mormons, from what I saw.

My argument over this is mostly semantic. I'm aware the LDS church centered in Salt Lake City prohibits polygamy. I wasn't attacking that church at all, I was attacking polygamy - something I first witnessed being practiced by Mormons in Colorado City. And sure enough, several people felt the need to tell me "they aren't real Mormons!"

Even fundamental baptists, who claim only people who have been "washed in the blood" are "real Christians" will generally accept people outside of their little sect referring to Cathoics and Anglicans and Methodists Christian. Yet LDS typically feel as if they have the authority to forbid nonbelievers from using the term to apply to other LDS they happen to disagree with. Which is just crazy. What gives them the superior claim to the word? I'm prettt sure it was coined to describe followers of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon long before any schisms.

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Samprimary
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Is it a for real official standpoint, wherein the LDS says that the fundamentalist mormons aren't mormons?
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advice for robots
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Correct. They are not part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon church, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are not counted on the church's records. They are not part of church administration in any way. This isn't just a doctrinal difference between two sects of the same religion. Insisting that it is, the way Dogbreath is, is kind of silly.

ETA: If the FLDS call themselves Mormons, so be it. It's not the official name of either church. But if someone is going to start talking about Mormons and their polygamy, then yes, expect someone to point out the distinction.

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MattP
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Lest anyone think this is just Mormons circling the wagons - I'll back this up as well. The FLDS and several other splinter groups that trace their lineage back to Joseph Smith's organization are in no way affiliated with the current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Prop 8 and sending missionaries to interrupt your football game watching fame.

That's not to say that some of them don't have a plausible argument justifying their legitimacy above that of the church in Salt Lake City, but that ship sailed many many decades go. Victors write the history and all that.

If you keep going on about how horrible Mormons are because of the whole polygamy thing you're going to sounds pretty silly to anyone who knows better and you are unfairly smearing the larger organization that most people actually interact with.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
I'll start another thread about it tonight or tomorrow, if you're interested in discussing it, though. Or I'll make a detailed post in this one, provided it doesn't get too bogged down or flamey.

I think it would be a good idea to read the response to you that Hobbes offered. The distinction between LDS and FLDS is way bigger than you're making it out to be.
I understand there's a large difference, I've done a decent amount of research on them. (I passed through Colorado City while heading to the Paria Canyon from Vegas, and ended up staying a few days on my way back with an (unmarried and rather bitter) guy there who runs a gas station/convience store and sells hiking gear to people passing through. He gave me a pretty indepth history of the town. He also called all the residents Mormons, and they self identified as Mormons, from what I saw.

My argument over this is mostly semantic. I'm aware the LDS church centered in Salt Lake City prohibits polygamy. I wasn't attacking that church at all, I was attacking polygamy - something I first witnessed being practiced by Mormons in Colorado City. And sure enough, several people felt the need to tell me "they aren't real Mormons!"

Even fundamental baptists, who claim only people who have been "washed in the blood" are "real Christians" will generally accept people outside of their little sect referring to Cathoics and Anglicans and Methodists Christian. Yet LDS typically feel as if they have the authority to forbid nonbelievers from using the term to apply to other LDS they happen to disagree with. Which is just crazy.

Well, no.

The above passage is confusing.

This:
quote:
Even fundamental baptists, who claim only people who have been "washed in the blood" are "real Christians" will generally accept people outside of their little sect referring to Cathoics and Anglicans and Methodists Christian.
Is referring to who gets to call themselves Christian. And by the way, many member of those denominations don't like calling Mormons Christians.

But then here:
quote:
Yet LDS typically feel as if they have the authority to forbid nonbelievers from using the term to apply to other LDS they happen to disagree with.
"The term" is no longer Christian, it's Mormon. You switched it.

I promise you, Catholics would object to a protestant denomination calling themselves Catholics.

If we find a Lutheran sect that sacrifices babies to god, does that reflect poorly on Catholics? After all, they were the same religion, once.

That's the quality of argument that you've put forth so far.

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Darth_Mauve
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On a different tangent, I heard a suggestion that the threat Gay Marriage has for "traditional marriage" for conservatives is not really the legitimization of homosexuality.

Its the total abandonment of standard traditional sexual roles.

Men can not be considered "Masters of the household" if both members of the household are men, or if neither of them are men. The traditional roles of Men and Women become blurred and this is something that a patriarchal institution like LDS and most other churches, find disturbing.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:

If you keep going on about how horrible Mormons are because of the whole polygamy thing you're going to sounds pretty silly to anyone who knows better and you are unfairly smearing the larger organization that most people actually interact with.

I'm not going on about how horrible Mormons are about the whole polygamy thing... I'm going on about how horrible polygamy is about the whole polygamy thing. My dislike of Mormonism nowadays comes from entirely different factors. (which I've also stated in this thread) And,FWIW, that *was* my first interaction with the Mormon Church.

Regardless, I have met people who call themselves Mormons and Latter Day Saints, and who are called Mormons by those around them, who practice polygamy. They follow the teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and they practice the same religion. If some members of their religion want to claim they're "not real Mormons" that's fine, but I think it's absurd to make everyone else redefine a term just because you happen to not like them, and rather dishonest as well.

Dan: Ok. What about if a Baptist church split into 2, and they both went on calling themselves Baptist? Because that happens all the time. Also, I'm aware many members of those denominations don't like calling Mormons Christians. Do you agree with that assessment? Do you think Mormons should be forbidden from referring to themselves as Christians?

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quote:
Regardless, I have met people who call themselves Mormons and Latter Day Saints, and who are called Mormons by those around them, who practice polygamy. They follow the teaching of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and they practice the same religion. If some members of their religion want to claim they're "not real Mormons" that's fine, but I think it's absurd to make everyone else redefine a term just because you happen to not like them, and rather dishonest as well.
I think you're creating a big conflict out of thin air here. While there might be some LDS members who sniff when you mention the FLDS church and say, "Oh, those aren't real Mormons," they are few. Most LDS think of the FLDS as a completely separate church--not as a bunch of wannabe Mormons, but as a separate church entirely. As in, Methodists and Lutherans are separate churches. They may have similarities and common roots, but a member of one church probably does not think of herself as a member of the other. All anyone on this thread has been doing is making that distinction--not bringing up some old dislikes and grumbling about them.

There isn't some silly fight going on between two branches of the same sect. Maybe it's perceived differently among FLDS members. I don't know. If so, it's a very one-sided fight. If they call themselves Mormons as well, so be it. They do share that heritage. I didn't know they regularly called themselves Mormons. I'm used to "Mormon" referring to my church. But I'm not going to begrudge them the name if they claim it as well, even if it creates confusion.

But it's reasonable to expect that, as people (even seasoned journalists) continue to conflate the FLDS and the LDS churches, especially in terms of polygamy, the LDS church will continue to emphasize that we are separate churches, and if pressed, emphasize that we are separate organizations with some quite different fundamental beliefs and practices.

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BlackBlade
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Dogbreath: I'm not sure if you want to change your mind on the subject, and I don't get any jollies out of defining what other people's beliefs are.

But FLDS and other Mormon splinter groups actually have an *enormous* difference of doctrine. It's big enough that there *has* to be a distinction, or else discussion is impossible. It's not the same religion. It has nothing to do with me not liking them calling themselves Mormons. They can call themselves what they want.

The FLDS you met probably do believe the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, but that's where the similarities largely end. There are like 13 prophets since then that all LDS people believe in, that they definitely do not. They have 3-4 leaders/prophets that the LDS church would never recognize as legitimate.

The LDS church ex-communicated that entire community back in the 1930's. They don't believe our church is the true church, we don't believe theirs is.

You are welcome to call them Mormons, as are they. But when you say in essence, "I think the Mormon church is a force for bad because of polygamy and anti-homosexuality" it's going to cause people to go "Bwuh?" Because you are talking about two different groups of people.

Also what AFR said.

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BlackBlade
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Sorry to double post but I have to agree with AFR on something else. I don't hear the FLDS church being discussed by people where I go to church. If there is a conflict, I'm not aware of it. We largely ignore what they do.

I only know about the FLDS church because of Warren Jeffs, and my own researching/seeing the news.

The whole Mormons want to be called Christians but Christians don't want that, isn't really what is going on here, when we take issue with you calling the FLDS church "Mormons".

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Rakeesh
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Hmm. You know initially I thought Dogbreath was being somewhat unfair, conflating F and LDS, but having considered it more I think I can see where the differences to a complete outsider would seem more like window dressing and less like a serious, fundamental difference. Yes, the LDS have cast out the FLDS, but what is that to someone unconnected to either, who sees both as untrue, outside faiths?
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Hmm. You know initially I thought Dogbreath was being somewhat unfair, conflating F and LDS, but having considered it more I think I can see where the differences to a complete outsider would seem more like window dressing and less like a serious, fundamental difference. Yes, the LDS have cast out the FLDS, but what is that to someone unconnected to either, who sees both as untrue, outside faiths?

*Shrug* An opportunity to do a little research before saying anything? If both churches are just untrue, outside faiths to you, I don't see where you can second-guess what they say about their internal differences.
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