Perhaps the major cause of people leaving the Church and even losing faith in God altogether is the question of polygamy. More specifically, the question of how in the world could have Joseph privately taught it and practiced it, but publicly denounced it?
There is an exodus OUT OF the Church now, and many people name their loss of trust in Joseph Smith as the key reason for their departure.
Whether or not OT prophets engaged in something akin to polygamy is another question for another time. That is not relevant here because Joseph didn’t publicly use OT references to justify the practice, and because the conduct under the microscope is the private v. public accusation leveled against Joseph.
The purpose of this thread is to give voice to commonsense. Surely we will ALL agree (?), whether we’re inside or outside the polygamy camp (speaking of having sex with women other than your first and current wife), that these four items are examples of commonsense:
1) The devil would have targeted Joseph and those around him for corruption. There is ZERO doubt.
2) Joseph was young. 14 years old in 1820, and in his mid 20’s during the early years of the Church. He soon became surrounded by grown men in the Church who were older than he was and who had the disadvantage of more time to become familiar with (corrupted by) the things of this world.
3) Satan would ABSOLUTELY use unsanctioned sex to corrupt the young Church. This would be the PERFECT vehicle to corrupt the people around Joseph. And there is plenty of historical precedent where immoral sex corrupted people.
4) Joseph, being presumably a virgin till marrying Emma, and “unacquainted with men and things” and esp being ignorant of conspiring designs of others to commit adultery against their lawfully-wedded wife, would have been the PERFECT PROFILE for Satan to set his sights on, and for treacherous men too, in service to Satan, to prey upon. He was meek. He was humble. He was pure. He was forgiving. He saw the beam in his own eye. He respected others agency to do according to the dictates of their own conscience.
This is basic COMMONSENSE, agreed?
Therefore, I ask, with the safe assumption that Satan would have targeted young Joseph and those around him, and that Satan would have used illicit sex (spiritual wifeism or polygamy, whatever you want to call it), as THE way to corrupt the young Church, Why are there so many opponents in the Church of the alternative narrative which declares: Joseph fought polygamy?
Don’t folks who adamantly disagree with the idea that Joseph fought vigorously against polygamy only argue against common sense? And they also have to explain away with substantial mental gymnastics these two things:
1) How Joseph could privately teach and practice polygamy, even without Emma knowing about it, while publicly denouncing it.
2) Why the Church disavowed the practice in 1890 officially.
In short, common sense is totally suspended. It’s bizarre how so much energy and passion can be summoned to defend the official narrative that Joseph publicly denounced but privately embraced polygamy, and then for that same energy and passion to vanish with the shrug of shoulders saying “meh, who cares,” when the Church changes its story in 1890. Where’s the passionate defense of polygamy members other than the fundamentalists? Now that I think about it, at least the fundamentalists are non hypocritically being consistent!
Yes, the implications are earth-shattering for the mainstream Church if Brigham was the one who popularized and made normal the practice, and even taught it to be a celestial practice that one MUST enter into to receive exaltation. It would mean the Church not only during Joseph ‘s day was under condemnation, but certainly after his death. It would mean that the Church today is heavily influenced by Brigham Young. It would mean there was an apostasy going on in full force when Joseph was alive, and that he was fighting against it. It would mean that the devil was, surprise, surprise, using sex as a way to pollute the holy church of God! And it would raise questions about WHO was behind and supportive of Joseph’s murder?
Do you grant that this alternative narrative, which aligns seamlessly with commonsense, is possible? Or impossible?
If it’s possible, then that means you must, of your own free will and choice, sacrifice a long-held belief. While, I should add, retaining your faith in Christ and the Restoration!
Might God ask you to sacrifice something that big?
Joseph taught:Lectures on Faith 6:7
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation”.
In summary, commonsense shreds the mainline narrative that Joseph was duplicitous in publicly denying polygamy and secretly practicing it. Commonsense actually explains that Joseph Smith would have been targeted by Satan, and barring the failure of Satan to corrupt Joseph, Satan would have set his sights on those around him and the chief tool of corruption would have been sex with people other than your wife. This is commonsense, and I believe the light of Christ.
Let your conscience guide you to accept the obvious. Be wary of tradition motivating you to ignore commonsense and accepting a mainstream view of history full of contradictions, and which shows no success of Satan in infiltrating the Church in any significant ways, and basically whispering to you, “All is well in Zion.”