Brigham Young/Poligamia

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Brigham Young y la poligamia

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Pregunta: ¿Brigham Young y Joseph Smith dijeron que a los polígamos se les permitía ir más allá de los límites normales de la interacción social?


Joseph’s point is clear—men, like Brigham, who have reached a certain degree of faithfulness may be asked to do even more difficult things

Nota: Esta sección wiki se basó en parte en una revisión del libro de G.D. Smith Nauvoo Polygamy. Como tal, se centra en la presentación de ese autor de los datos. Para leer la revisión completa, siga el enlace. Gregory L. Smith, A review of Nauvoo Polygamy:...but we called it celestial marriage by George D. Smith. FARMS Review, Vol. 20, Issue 2. (Detailed book review)

It is claimed that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young admitted that the practice of polygamy meant they were "free to go beyond the normal 'bounds'" and "the normal rules governing social interaction had not applied to" Joseph.[1]

“Sometimes Joseph phrased the matter [of polygamy] in terms of being free to go beyond normal ‘bounds,’” G. D. Smith announces. As evidence, he presents Brigham Young’s account of being taught plural marriage. Brigham worried out loud that he might marry a second wife but then apostatize, leaving his plural family “worse off.” In Brigham’s account, Joseph replied, “‘There are certain bounds set to men, and if a man is faithful and pure to these bounds, God will take him out of the world; if he sees him falter, he will take him to himself. You are past these bounds, Brigham, and you have this consolation.’ But Brigham indicated that he never had any fears of not being saved” (p. 364).[2]

Joseph’s point is clear—men, like Brigham, who have reached a certain degree of faithfulness may be asked to do even more difficult things. They need not fear that they will lose their eternal reward if they falter in these Abrahamic tasks, for God “will take him to himself” before they reap damnation. But G. D. Smith seems to be reading “bounds” in the sense “a limit by which any excursion is restrained; the limit of indulgence or desire.”[3] This is why he conceives of it as being “free to go beyond normal bounds”—that is, beyond normal limits or restrictions. This is clearly not Brigham’s meaning. Bounds should be understood as “the line which comprehends the whole of any given object or space. It differs from boundary.”[4] These bounds are not a limit beyond which one may not go—they encircle and enclose all that one must do. Before polygamy, Brigham had already striven to be faithful to the whole of his duty to God. Having done so, he would not be damned. But he was now being asked to fulfill a task not asked of most. The circumference of his bounds—or duties—was enlarged.

Brigham was thus past the bounds because he had done all that God required and more, not because he would violate moral limits

Unfortunately for G. D. Smith’s reading, polygamy cannot be “the bounds” referred to since Joseph told Brigham that he was already (before practicing polygamy) “past these bounds”—that is, the duties required of all men by God—and thus “you have this consolation.” Brigham was thus past the bounds because he had done all that God required and more, not because he would violate moral limits. He had crossed the finish line; he had not gone “out of bounds” or offside.

G. D. Smith argues that Brigham gave “a telling concession that the normal rules governing social interaction had not applied to [Joseph] Smith as he set about instigating polygamy.” But Brigham is not conceding anything like this. His “bounds” are not limits beyond which one may not go, but duties that one must fulfill before anything else might be asked. The bounds are divine duties, not social rules. G. D. Smith caps his argument by citing Brigham’s belief that Joseph “passed certain bounds . . . before certain revelations were given” (p. 365). Thus G. D. Smith wants to paint Brigham as admitting that polygamy required one to transgress social or moral boundaries.

Brigham was clearly making the same claim about Joseph that Joseph made about Brigham. In Brigham’s view, Joseph had not been challenged by the command to practice plural marriage until he had proved sufficiently faithful to guarantee his salvation. For its first practitioners, the challenge of plural marriage was such that a merciful God would not, in Brigham’s mind, require it of those whose salvation would be at risk in the event of their failure.

Brigham sees the matter as a command that he does not wish to fulfill—he would prefer to be dead—but that God confirms as his will

Immediately preceding the language quoted by G. D. Smith, Brigham tells an apostle that

the spiritual wife doctrine came upon me while abroad, in such a manner that I never forget. . . . Joseph said to me, ‘I command you to go and get another wife.’ I felt as if the grave was better for me than anything, but I was filled with the Holy Ghost, so that my wife and brother Kimball’s wife would upbraid me for lightness in those days. I could jump up and hollow [holler?]. My blood was as clear as West India rum, and my flesh was clear.[5]

In this passage, Brigham sees the matter as a command that he does not wish to fulfill—he would prefer to be dead—but that God confirms as his will. His bounds are duties to fulfill, not limits that he is now free to exceed.

Further evidence: Heber C. Kimball

That this reading is correct, and that G. D. Smith is in error, is confirmed by Heber C. Kimball’s similar doubts and reassurance: “Finally [Heber] was so tried that he went to Joseph and told him how he felt—that he was fearful if he took such a step [to practice plural marriage] he could not stand, but would be overcome. The Prophet, full of sympathy for him, went and inquired of the Lord. His answer was, ‘Tell him to go and do as he has been commanded, and if I see that there is any danger of his apostatizing, I will take him to myself.’”[6]

Kimball’s bounds—the commandments given him—had increased. But having already proved his faithfulness, he would not be damned for failure. Kimball apparently clung to this promise and would soon write to his wife that “my prayer is day by day that God would take me to Himself rather than I should be left to sin against Him, or betray my dear brethren who have been true to me and to God the Eternal Father.”[7]

The Kimball data is absent from Smith’s analysis, but one wonders if it would have helped. To accept it would require a modification of the thesis that polygamy was driven by lust and a violation of barriers, and that Joseph knew it.

Pregunta: ¿Brigham Young se jactó de su capacidad de conseguir más esposas aunque estuviera casado con 50-60 mujeres?


The references do not support the claims

As is often the case, the references do not support the claims, and the worst possible interpretation is placed on what are likely innocent remarks, or remarks intended to teach a spiritual point.

The Tanners cite multiple sources for this claim. They are examined below.

Journal of Discousces 5:210

Brigham is here discussing Thomas B. Marsh's return to the Church, and it is inaccurate to describe him as "boasting."

In conversing with brother Marsh, I find that he is about the same Thomas that he always was—full of anecdotes and chit-chat. He could hardly converse for ten minutes without telling an anecdote. His voice and style of conversation are familiar to me.

He has told you that he is an old man. Do you think that I am an old man? I could prove to this congre[ga]tion that I am young; for I could find more girls who would choose me for a husband than can any of the young men.

Brother Thomas considers himself very aged and infirm, and you can see that he is, brethren and sisters. What is the cause of it? He left the Gospel of salvation. What do you think the difference is between his age and mine? One year and seven months to a day; and he is one year, seven months, and fourteen days older than brother Heber C. Kimball.

"Mormonism" keeps men and women young and handsome; and when they are full of the Spirit of God, there are none of them but what will have a glow upon their countenances; and that is what makes you and me young; for the Spirit of God is with us and within us.

When brother Thomas thought of returning to the Church, the plurality of wives troubled him a good deal. Look at him. Do you think it need to? I do not; for I doubt whether he could get one wife. Why it should have troubled an infirm old man like him is not for me to say. He read brother Orson Pratt's work upon that subject, and discovered that the doctrine was beautiful, consistent, and exalting, and that the kingdom could not be perfect without it. Neither can it be perfect without a great many things that the people do not yet understand, though they will come in the own due time of the Lord.


Journal of Discourses 8:178

Brother Cannon remarked that people wondered how many wives and children I had. He may inform them that I shall have wives and children by the million, and glory, and riches, and power, and dominion, and kingdom after kingdom, and ..


Pregunta: ¿Por qué Emma Smith y Brigham Young no les gusta el uno al otro?

La animosidad entre Brigham Young y Emma tuvo múltiples motivos: personales, religiosos y financieros

En la sesión de octubre de la Conferencia General 1866, Brigham Young hizo estos comentarios:

..."A mi conocimiento, Emma Smith es uno de los más malditos mentirosos que conozco en esta tierra; Sin embargo, no hay nada bueno que me negaría a hacer por ella, si ella sólo sería una mujer justa; Pero ella continuará en su maldad. No seis meses antes de la muerte de José, llamó a su esposa Emma a un consejo secreto, y allí le dijo la verdad, y le pidió que lo negara si pudiera. Él le dijo que los juicios de Dios vendrían sobre ella inmediatamente si ella no se arrepentía. Le contó el tiempo en que se comprometió a envenenarlo, y le dijo que era una hija del infierno y literalmente la mujer más malvada de la tierra, que no había ni una más perversa que ella. Contó aquí dónde había tomado el veneno, y cómo lo puso en una taza de café; Dijo: "Tienes ese veneno de tal y tal, y lo bebí, pero no pudiste matarme". Cuando entró en su estómago se dirigió a la puerta y la arrojó. Él le habló en ese consejo de una manera muy severa, y ella nunca dijo una palabra en respuesta. Tengo testigos de esta escena alrededor, que pueden testificar que ahora estoy diciendo la verdad. Dos veces ella se comprometió a matarlo. [Utah Historical Quarterly, vol. 48, Winter 1980, 82]

La animosidad entre Brigham Young y Emma tenía múltiples motivos: personales, religiosos y financieros. Brigham, por todas sus fuerzas, tenía poca paciencia para cualquiera que traicionara al profeta, que él percibía a Emma haciendo en múltiples niveles. Esto hizo que la acusación de envenenamiento fuera plausible para él. El episodio parece haber sido una pelea familiar entre Joseph y Emma, dos mortales que viven en algo de una pecera, bajo presiones y tensiones enormes.

Emma cometió errores en el juicio, como todos nosotros. Su juicio está en las manos de Dios, no en las nuestras ni en las de Brigham Young.

Si Brigham Young tenía un rasgo de carácter constante, era su fidelidad absoluta a Joseph Smith. Brigham tenía muy poca paciencia para aquellos que humillaban o rechazaban a José; Las dificultades que José experimentó con Emma sólo pueden haber frustrado al leal Brigham.

Después del asesinato de José, Emma se negó a ir al oeste con los santos. Parece, entre otras cosas, haber estado preocupada por proveer a sus hijos, así como protegerlos de la violencia que había reclamado a José. Emma y Brigham también discreparon acerca de qué partes del patrimonio de José eran propiedad personal y que pertenecían a la Iglesia.[8]

Brigham también consideró a Emma deshonesta y mentirosa porque continuó insistiendo en que su marido nunca había enseñado la doctrina del matrimonio plural

Brigham también consideró a Emma deshonesta y mentirosa porque continuó insistiendo en que su marido nunca había enseñado la doctrina del matrimonio plural. Tan firme fue Emma en este punto que la Iglesia Reorganizada de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días lo sostuvo como un artículo de fe, y los hijos de Emma nunca aceptaron la idea de que José había instituido el matrimonio plural. Debido a que a Brigham le había culpado a Emma de ser el inventor del matrimonio plural, probablemente se sintió mal utilizada por ella. Brigham, después de todo, vio a Emma como la lucha contra el hombre Brigham venerado como el Profeta, y él sabía que Emma sabía que José enseñó matrimonio plural.

Finalmente, Brigham fue el sucesor de José, y Emma desafió esa sucesión apoyando a su hijo, Joseph Smith III, como el líder "correcto", y como alguien que no enseñaría la odiada doctrina de la poligamia (que Emma afirmó falsamente que Brigham había impuesto a la Iglesia).

Richard Bushman escribe sobre la acusación de envenenamiento:

A finales del otoño y el invierno de 1843 y 1844, la relación de Joseph y Emma se rompió sólo una vez. Durante la cena del domingo 5 de noviembre, José se enfermó, se precipitó a la puerta y vomitó con tanta violencia que se dislocó la mandíbula. "Cada síntoma de veneno", notó Richards en el diario de José. Esa noche en la reunión de oración, Richards, escribió en código que José y Emma no se vistieron con la ropa especial habitual, una señal de que estaban demasiado en desacuerdo para participar. Al día siguiente, Richards escribió que Joseph estaba "ocupado con asuntos domésticos". Años más tarde, en la atmósfera antiemma de Utah, Brigham Young habló de una reunión en la que José acusó a su esposa de introducir veneno en su café. Brigham interpretó la negativa de Emma a responder como una admisión de culpabilidad. Aunque probablemente hubo una discusión, la acusación de envenenamiento fue infundada. José era susceptible a vomitar de todos modos. Incluso había dislocado su mandíbula mientras vomitaba una vez antes; Y cinco semanas después del episodio de la cena de 1843, volvió a enfermar, vomitando con más violencia que nunca. Durante esta última pelea, José dijo con gratitud: "Mi esposa me esperaba".[9]

Brigham y Emma no estuvieron de acuerdo en la disposición de la herencia de José

Además, Brigham y Emma no estaban de acuerdo con la disposición de la propiedad de José. La ley de Illinois en aquel entonces sostenía que ninguna iglesia podía tener más de diez acres de propiedad, y que muchas de las propiedades de la iglesia estaban en nombre de José. Al mismo tiempo, una gran parte de la deuda de la Iglesia era sostenida por José como un ciudadano privado, por lo que Emma era responsable de las deudas de la Iglesia, pero tenía una reclamación menos clara sobre las tierras de la Iglesia que José tenía como Fideicomisario .[10]

Esta situación difícil fue complicada por las inmensas demandas en el tiempo de Brigham Young. Él delegó una gran parte de la interacción de la Iglesia con Emma a Almon Babbitt, un hombre que carece grandemente de tacto:

El aire de Almon Babbitt ... bordeaba el pomposo ... Babbit proporcionó a Joseph el consejo legal que resultó en la destrucción del "Expositor", luego se negó a ayudar cuando José fue encarcelado en Cartago diciendo: 'Usted es demasiado tarde. Ya estoy comprometido en el otro lado.'[11]

O bien Brigham Young no era consciente de la propensión de Babbitt a alienar a los que lo rodeaban o, como José antes que él, pasaba por alto sus faltas porque necesitaba su conocimiento jurídico. En el futuro Brigham tendría su propia caída con Babbitt y la grieta sería tan ampliamente conocida que, cuando los indios mataron a Babbitt en las llanuras occidentales en 1856, los periódicos orientales erróneamente informaron de que Brigham le había ordenado que lo mataran.

Mientras tanto, Emma asumió que, debido a que estos hombres representaban a los Doce, actuaron por órdenes directas de Brigham. Y Brigham, su relación con Emma, en el mejor de los casos, no se molestó en separar la retórica inflamatoria de las cartas de Babbitt de las probabilidades menos dramáticas. Babbitt haría que las peticiones de Brigham a Emma fueran súbitas e irreflexivas, y sus respuestas a él eran egoístas y defensivas.[12]

Pregunta: ¿Por qué Brigham Young dijo que las mujeres "no tienen derecho a entrometerse en los asuntos del Reino de Dios"?


Brigham's intent has been distorted

Brigham Young said women "have no right to meddle in the affairs of the Kingdom of God". This is used to portray Brigham as authoritarian and sexist. However, Brigham's intent has been distorted, and those who cite this have used presentism to bias the reader against him.

Sally Denton uses this quote, and uses D. Michael Quinn, as her source. Unfortunately, Denton omits the context which Quinn's volume provides:

[women] have no right to meddle in the affairs of the Kingdom of God[—]outside the pale of this they have a right to meddle because many of them are more sagacious & shrewd & more competent [than men] to attend to things of financial affairs. they never can hold the keys of the Priesthood apart from their husbands. [13]

Brigham then continued, "When I want Sisters or the Wives of the members of the church to get up Relief Society I will summon them to my aid but until that time let them stay at home & if you see females huddling together veto the concern." [14]

Brigham's statement about "meddling," then, in no way reflects on women's competence or skills—he insists that many know better than men. Brigham's point is that women have no right to priesthood government. This statement was probably precipitated by Emma Smith's use of her role as head of the Relief Society to resist Joseph's teachings, especially plural marriage. [15] Brigham is signaling that those without priesthood power may not dictate to ordained priesthood leaders about priesthood matters.

The author relies on presentism, since Brigham and virtually all of his contemporaries (men and women) likely had attitudes about women's roles which would strike us as "sexist"

Though the quote seems offensive and exclusionary, we need to remember the context of the time. Attitudes toward women during that time, and even 100 years later, were far from our current attitudes. It is unreasonable to expect people living in a different time to fit 21st century perspectives. Brigham was, however, quite liberal for his day—he encouraged women to get an education: for example, he even assigned several to travel to the eastern United States to get training as physicians.

Pregunta: ¿Brigham Young creía que uno no podía entrar al Reino Celestial a menos que fueran polígamos?

Wilford Woodruff: "El presidente Young dijo que no habría hombres salvos en el reino celestial de Dios con una sola mujer con muchas esposas y sin la esposa en absoluto"

Asistí a la escuela de los profetas. Hermano John Holeman hizo un largo discurso sobre el tema de Poligamy. Él afirmó que ninguna persona podría tener una gloria celestial a menos que Él tenía una pluralidad de esposas. Los discursos fueron hechas por Le Harrington O Pratt Erasto Nieve, D Evans JF Smith Lorenzo joven. 'El presidente Young dijo que no habría hombres salvos en el reino celestial de Dios con una sola mujer con muchas esposas y sin la esposa en absoluto.' [16]

Wilford Woodruff: El presidente Young dijo ... Un hombre puede abrazar la Ley del matrimonio celestial en su corazón y no toma la segunda esposa y justificarse ante el Señor

Entonces el presidente Young habló 58 minutos. Dijo que un hombre puede abrazar a la Ley de matrimonio celestial en su corazón y no toma la segunda esposa y justificarse ante el Señor.[17]

Brigham Young y el matrimonio plural

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  1. George D. Smith, Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage" (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2008), 364–365. ( Index of claims , (Detailed book review))
  2. Citing Brigham Young Manuscript History, 16 February 1849, LDS Church Archives. The quoted material is on pp. 19–20.
  3. Plantilla:Webster1828
  4. Plantilla:Webster1828 (Compare article for "boundary.")
  5. Church Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–circa 1882, DVD 2, call number CR 100 102, vol. 19 (19 February 1849), 19.
  6. Plantilla:Book:Whitney:Life of Heber C. Kimball
  7. Heber C. Kimball to Vilate Kimball, “My Dear Vilate” (23 October 1842), cited in Augusta Joyce Crocheron (author and complier), Representative Women of Deseret, a book of biographical sketches to accompany the picture bearing the same title (Salt Lake City: J. C. Graham & Co., 1884). (accessed 2 December 2008).
  8. “Memoirs of Joseph Smith III (1832–1914),” ed. Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, The Saints Herald (2 April 1935): 431–434.
  9. Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 498.
  10. See discussion in Plantilla:ME2 Las leyes contra las iglesias que poseen propiedades se discuten en la página 258.
  11. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:660. BYU Studies link
  12. Plantilla:ME2 1
  13. Plantilla:CriticalWork:Quinn:Mormon Hierarchy
  14. Seventies Record, 9 March 1845, holograph, LDS Church Archives (cited in Beecher, see below).
  15. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, "Women in Winter Quarters," Sunstone no. (Issue #8:4/15) (July 1983), note 37. off-site (Inglés)
  16. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 6:527 (journal entry dated 12 February 1870). ISBN 0941214133.(énfasis añadido)
  17. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 7:31 (journal entry dated 24 September 1871). ISBN 0941214133.(énfasis añadido)