In pious times, ere priest-craft did begin, Before polygamy was made a sin; When man, on many, multipli'd his kind, Ere one to one was cursedly confin'd: When Nature prompted, and no Law deni'd Promiscuous use of concubine and bride; Then, Israel's monarch, after Heaven's own heart, His vigorous warmth did variously impart To wives and slaves: and, wide as his command, Scatter'd his Maker's image through the land.
We believe in honesty, morality, and purity; but when they enact tyrannical laws, forbidding us the free exercise of our religion, we cannot submit. God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven and against the Government...Polygamy is a divine institution. It has been banded down direct from God. The United States cannot abolish it. No nation on the earth can prevent it, nor all the nations of the earth combined...I defy the United States; I will obey God.
If the Pentateuch is inspired, the civilization of of our day is a mistake and crime. There should be no political liberty. Heresy should be trodden out beneath the bigot's brutal feet. Husbands should divorce their wives at will, and make the mothers of their children houseless and weeping wanderers. Polygamy ought to be practiced; women should become slaves; we should buy the sons and daughters of the heathen and make them bondmen and bondwomen forever. We should sell our own flesh and blood, and have the right to kill our slaves. Men and women should be stoned to death for laboring on the seventh day. 'Mediums,' such as have familiar spirits, should be burned with fire. Every vestige of mental liberty should be destroyed, and reason's holy torch extinguished in the martyr's blood.
Robert G. Ingersoll
For many years I have regarded the Pentateuch simply as a record of a barbarous people, in which are found a great number of the ceremonies of savagery, many absurd and unjust laws, and thousands of ideas inconsistent with known and demonstrated facts. To me it seemed almost a crime to teach that this record was written by inspired men; that slavery, polygamy, wars of conquest and extermination were right, and that there was a time when men could win the approbation of infinite Intelligence, Justice, and Mercy, by violating maidens and by butchering babes.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Some Christian lawyers-some eminent and stupid judges-have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law. Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt-laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love. All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: 'Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men.' He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: 'The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband.' He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: 'Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.' If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been. All that we call progress-the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages-has been done in spite of the Old Testament.
Robert G. Ingersoll
This week, Zuma was quoted as saying, 'When the British came to our country, they said everything we are doing was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way.' But the serious critique of Zuma is not about who is a barbarian and who is civilised. It is about good governance, and this is a universal value, as relevant to an African village as it is to Westminster. If you are unable to keep your appetites in check, you are inevitably going to live beyond your means. And this means you are going to become vulnerable to patronage and even corruption. That is why Jacob Zuma's 'polygamy' is his achilles heel.
When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.
If the Pentateuch is not inspired in its astronomy, geology, geography, history or philosophy, if it is not inspired concerning slavery, polygamy, war, law, religious or political liberty, or the rights of men, women and children, what is it inspired in, or about? The unity of God?-that was believed long before Moses was born. Special providence?-that has been the doctrine of ignorance in all ages. The rights of property?-theft was always a crime. The sacrifice of animals?-that was a custom thousands of years before a Jew existed. The sacredness of life?-there have always been laws against murder. The wickedness of perjury?-truthfulness has always been a virtue. The beauty of chastity?-the Pentateuch does not teach it. Thou shalt worship no other God?-that has been the burden of all religions.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Of course the theologians fought the facts found by the geologists, the scientists, and sought to sustain the sacred Scriptures. They mistook the bones of the mastodon for those of human beings, and by them proudly proved that "there were giants in those days." They accounted for the fossils by saying that God had made them to try our faith, or that the Devil had imitated the works of the Creator. They answered the geologists by saying that the "days" in Genesis were long periods of time, and that after all the flood might have been local. They told the astronomers that the sun and moon were not actually, but only apparently, stopped. And that the appearance was produced by the reflection and refraction of light. They excused the slavery and polygamy, the robbery and murder upheld in the Old Testament by saying that the people were so degraded that Jehovah was compelled to pander to their ignorance and prejudice. In every way the clergy sought to evade the facts, to dodge the truth, to preserve the creed. At first they flatly denied the facts - then they belittled them - then they harmonized them - then they denied that they had denied them. Then they changed the meaning of the "inspired" book to fit the facts. At first they said that if the facts, as claimed, were true, the Bible was false and Christianity itself a superstition. Afterward they said the facts, as claimed, were true and that they established beyond all doubt the inspiration of the Bible and the divine origin of orthodox religion. Anything they could not dodge, they swallowed and anything they could not swallow, they dodged. I gave up the Old Testament on account of its mistakes, its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty. I gave up the New because it vouched for the truth of the Old. I gave it up on account of its miracles, its contradictions, because Christ and his disciples believe in the existence of devils - talked and made bargains with them. expelled them from people and animals. This, of itself, is enough. We know, if we know anything, that devils do not exist - that Christ never cast them out, and that if he pretended to, he was either ignorant, dishonest or insane.
Robert G. Ingersoll
You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman... I have been traveling over the old world during the last few years and have found new food for thought. What power is it that makes the Hindoo woman burn herself upon the funeral pyre of her husband? Her religion. What holds the Turkish woman in the harem? Her religion. By what power do the Mormons perpetuate their system of polygamy? By their religion/ Man, of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, 'Thus saith the Lord, ' of course he can do it. So long as ministers stand up and tell us Christ is the head of the church, so is man the head of woman, how are we to break the chains which have held women down through the ages? You Christian women look at the Hindoo, the Turkish, the Mormon women, and wonder how they can be held in such bondage... Now I ask you if our religion teaches the dignity of woman? It teaches us the abominable idea of the sixth century-Augustine's idea-that motherhood is a curse; that woman is the author of sin, and is most corrupt. Can we ever cultivate any proper sense of self-respect as long as women take such sentiments from the mouths of the priesthood?
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement - the number restriction (two and only two) - is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.
The grand reason of the burst of public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based upon polygamy, according to the testimony of the philosophers who rose in that age. A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus and his followers. We might almost think they were 'Mormons.'
Jedediah M. Grant
The response of the men who were introduced into polygamy between 1841 and 1846 was anything but enthusiastic. The same was true of the women who were offered the chance of becoming plural wives. Apart from the fact that the new system collided with moral assumptions they had grown up with, there were practical difficulties that made polygamy less attractive. For the men to support additional wives was seldom easy.
Leonard J. Arrington
Old Testament, is really one of the most wickedest books you'll ever come across. God is an insecure, rage-filled hybrid of Bobby Knight and Suge Knight. He's got these anger issues that you can't believe. He's like John McCain if McCain could fart hail. He's pro-slavery, he's pro-polygamy, he's homophobic, he'll kill you for masturbating.
The aura of the theocratic death penalty for adultery still clings to America, even outside New England, and multiple divorce, which looks to the European like serial polygamy, is the moral solution to the problem of the itch. Love comes into it too, of course, but in Europe we tend to see marital love as an eternity which encompasses hate and also indifference: when we promise to love we really mean that we promise to honor a contract. Americans, seeming to take marriage with not enough seriousness, are really taking love and sex with too much.
Of all the names Polygamy went by (so as not to exasperate the Gentile population and even some of the wives of the members' own bosoms any more than necessary) -- such as Pluralism, Plural or Celestial Wedlock, the Principle, the Doctrine, the New Covenant and the Gospel Dispensation of the Meridian of Consummate Time -- the latter was thought to be the least like waving a red flag in front of a bull. But as it was hard to remember and did not make instant or any other kind of sense, it was not much used.
God has told us Latter-day Saints that we shall be condemned if we do not enter into that principle of polygamy; and yet I have heard now and then (I am very glad to say that only a low such instances have come under my notice) a brother or a sister say, 'I am a Latter-day Saint, but I do not believe in polygamy.' Oh, what an absurd expression! What an absurd idea! A person might as well say, 'I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in him.'
If we are going to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and Kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with the prophets and apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether.
The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.
Biblically defined marriage is a man and a woman for life, and so anything different than that is not God's ideal whether it be polygamy, whether it be divorce, whether it be a marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. The ideal would be a man and a woman under a covenant of God's blessing.
Biblical backing for Mormon behavior is easy to find, although Mark Twain is reported to have denied its legitimacy to a Mormon. The Mormon claimed polygamy was perfectly moral and he defied Twain to cite any passage of Scripture which forbade it. 'Well,' said Twain, 'how about that passage that tells us no man can serve two masters at the same time?'
In America, as was the topic earlier about polygamy, consenting adults are supposed to do - be able to do whatever they want to each other, whether it's marrying multiple partners, marrying someone of the same sex, prostitution, marijuana. As long as you're not hurting anyone else, it's really none of the government's business.
The principle of plural marriage was revealed to the Mormons amid much secrecy. Dark clouds hovered over the church in the early 1840s, after rumors spread that its founder, Joseph Smith, had taken up the practice of polygamy. While denying the charge in public, by 1843 Smith had shared a revelation with his closest disciples.