How the Doctrine of Polygamy Affected My Modern Mormon Life
I no longer cry over this issue. After hours of reading*, discussing, and meditating on this topic, I’ve come to decide that a loving, just God won’t ask for that. So I don’t think that it will even be an option. This understanding gives me great peace. YMMV, of course.
And people’s mileage does indeed vary. A friend commented to me that she’s never been bothered by polygamy, and thinks that under the right circumstances it could be just as viable as any other sort of marital relationship. I with my relativist tendencies wants to agree that it could work for some people – different strokes for different folks and all that.
But there are some things that my gut tells me should not be tolerated, even taking into account different cultural ideals. Subordination and domination within marriage, for example. Spouse beating, for example. And I’m afraid that at this point in my life I’m inclined to put polygamy into that same “not to be ethically tolerated” category. (N.B. I am not implying that polygamy necessarily involves wife beating or domination. Read on for my reasons for believing polygamy is fundamentally wrong.)
The feminist (and the romantic?) in me has a hard time accepting that even in the most ideal circumstances, polygamy doesn’t devalue and disempower the woman to some extent. When the man always has parts of his heart and life that are off limits to each of his wives, when a wife is not a co-partner with someone else, but instead one of several to be presided over – it just doesn’t sound to me like the type of marriage that God would want for his children.
So I’ve made my peace with polygamy – by rejecting it. Have you made your peace with it? How? Have you agonized over this, like me, or is this doctrine just not something you choose to think about?