What about the children Jason? Most polygamy is bound to cause a situation of poverty, reduced parental involvement particularly of the dad. And if it's the sort of polygamy promoted by J. Smith which is tied to religious belief ...polygamy is not a choice it ends up being perpetuated through indoctrination from a young age.
First lets get one thing straight. I am not defending LDS polygamy. I am not a fan of it, don't like it, believe it was an mistake to institute it and there is no question it would have been the end of the LDS Church had the Church not abandon it.
So what about the Children? I think it results in neglect for the children. How can a father parent the many children most plural marriages had? How can it be an intimate situation when the father is often absent? And sure there is the financial support as well. However I do not know the statistics on LDS polygamous families and how they fared financially.
I don't really find this abusive except maybe for Emma.
Ok but based on what I have read I do.
But the adults in the scenario you give (except Emma) are not being abused. They have a responsibility for their choices. They don't have to follow Smith, that's their choice. And they weren't indoctrinated from a young age.
I think you underestimate the charisma a strong religious leader has on their followers. Not only that but in Smiths case his followers were convinced he was a prophet on the caliber of Moses. So I still find his use of power and position to pressure women and even men into following the polygamous doctrine abusive.
He also used his position of power as well as some women's faith in him as a prophet to persuade them to marry him. All very abusive and repugnant.
No not really. If adults are so gullible as to believe Smith, that's their problem. Smith is not responsible for others stupidity.
Ok we will have to disagree to some extent. Of course there were some for whom this was the straw that broke their belief such as William Law. But he only believed Smith was a fallen prophet.
However after the LDS Church publicly practiced it, while I think it was still an unhealthy and could end up in an emotionally empty relationship for many women I think it became less abusive.
So this I do wish you to respond to. Why do you think for many women the LDS polygamy "became less abusive"?
Perhaps that was an over statement. Yet if you read what many of the women in plural marriages wrote about it, it seems that many were quite happy, felt loved, believed it was of God and felt satisfied with their life. Many others did not of course. Perhaps that still does not remove the abuse it created. And sure, tying it to a religious doctrine makes it more compelling especailly as you note for those children raised in it.
The biggest issue may have been that top leaders seemed more succesful in obtaining women, teachings that a woman was justified in leaving her husband for another in higher power, teaching that such marriage was required to get to the highest reward in heaven-all this added to moral problems in the LDS practice of polygamy.
Jason the whole system of LDS polygamy was immoral, there is no justification for it.
I do not think I am arguing that it wasn't.
However, on the other hand it was not mandated and a person could opt out not to practice it and only 25% of the Church did so. As time progressed it seemed most who entered into polygamy did so of their own choice. So while it was rife with problems I am curious to know why you think it was worse than adultery if most he did it did so under their own choice?
So the ones who "did so of their own choice", subjected their children to indoctrination of it, using religious beliefs as justification. The liklihood the children would carry on polygamy was high..and keep in mind Smith's polygamy allowed for essentially handing over daughters at a young age to other men. So for women brought up in a polygamous system indoctrinated into the religious belief system which incorporated polygamy ..it's not likely the young women are capable of choosing rationally. It's an abusive system for women Jason, albeit there can be mitigating circumstances to justify polygamy, but Smith's or the LDS' polygamy has no mitigating circumstances to justify it.
I don't think I am disagreeing with you here.