The official LDS church maybe notorious among the Hellenisticly monogamous Western World for having promoted and practiced polygamy over a century ago. However, among those who believe in “doing no harm to a neighbor” that is irrelevant. They are notorious as strict persecutors of their own true believers in Mormonism.
Mormons in the late 1800s had just enough political power to influence major political elections. Joseph Smith bartered the Mormon vote for political favors even before he ran for president in 1844. The mainstream politicians didn’t like Mormons taking a piece of the political pie and so decided to prosecute polygamy as a way to stop them. The Mormon elite had a choice. They could sell out their doctrines and destroy their families and regain political privilege, or they could suffer through the persecution of the tyrannical American government. They chose the former.
Much less clear is the church’s position on polygamy in the eternal hereafter. When a Mormon man and woman are married in the Temple, they are “sealed,” which means they and their children will be bound together forever in heaven—what Mormons call the celestial kingdom. If a Mormon man becomes a widower, or if he is divorced, he can remarry in the Temple—and thus be sealed to more than one woman. (Mormon women, on the other hand, need to have their previous sealings canceled before they can be sealed again.) Doesn’t this mean, in effect, that men can have multiple wives in heaven? LDS Church officials decline to answer specifically, saying only that “the Lord has not given answers to all the details of life after death. There are some things we simply don’t know.”
How deceptive can they get? They say “we simply don’t know” when the issue is whether 1+1=2 simultaneously sealed wives, and thus “afterlife polygamy.” Do they disbelieve in math? It isn’t a debate about what constitutes a “sealed marriage” because this uses their own beliefs to define it. Why not admit that they believe in polygamy in the afterlife? Remember that the US law only prohibits freedom of religious practices, but claims to allow freedom of religious belief only. Are they worried that US law will be binding in the afterlife?
But the answer to why they do such is pretty obvious. Such an admission fuels the arguments of fundamentalist Mormons. Since the LDS claims polygamy was required once but forbidden today, they are on the morally weak ground of being flip-floppers, and to make up for it, they have become the biggest persecutors of those who didn’t believe the Mormon elite could overrule doctrines and destroy formerly approved families. Now they may claim that it is the state that prosecutes polygamy, but especially in Utah, the LDS is the state. The state does anything only by the approval of the LDS voters.
This brings an essential lesson of “divide and conquer” in religious persecution. The state demands it be accepted as sovereign. A religion refuses. It gets persecuted. The state makes “an offer that can’t be refused” to some leaders of the religion to accept and praise/worship the state as sovereign. Some give in. Those leaders become the wealthy, and powerful by the privilege of the state, and the only ones free to speak their side of the argument. The followers of the original religious beliefs refuse to follow the new leaders or their new direction and beliefs. The new leaders become the new persecutors of their original religion. They even claim that the old believers are ungrateful for their “religious freedom” now provided by the state. The original part of the state that persecuted the religion no longer has to persecute the religion. because the new version of the old religion becomes the most intent on exterminating the old religion, and becomes the real persecutor.
The paragraph above doesn’t refer just to LDS persecution of polygamists, but to most religions in history, including mine. The exceptions are mainly the Anabaptists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I’d be interested in other examples. The state requires the praise of the religions and when they give it, they become de facto state religions.
So for a hundred years, the LDS has been continuously persecuting those who followed older LDS beliefs. Is that all? No. Now we have Mitt Romney, a totalitarian neocon who is trying to force his real religion (statism) on the entire world, killing those who want to be free to live in peace.
Also, I find it odd how so many of the crooks of SCO are Mormons. Did the LDS sell what was left of their souls to Microsoft? Just a quick description. SCO (a Microsoft spin-off) bought some rights (but not copyrights) to license Unix. It then claimed (falsely) to own Unix in total, that Linux contained over 1 million lines of proprietary Unix code (still not finding a single one), claimed that IBM added Unix code to Linux (without evidence), tried to threaten all Linux users to pay it $699 per computer or risk lawsuit, sued companies that used Linux, etc.
In short, multiple Mormon leaders of SCO were and are intimately involved in the fraud and extortion, and their own actions show they knew it was a fraud to begin with. Groklaw shows hundreds of unanswered details. Here is an example of a Mormon who admits SCO has no case and reflects poorly on the LDS church. Ah, but here’s the thing. If some rich and powerful Mormons are acting crookedly and embarrass the whole LDS church, shouldn’t the LDS church publicly rebuke them and/or make them stop? …But as far as anyone knows, they don’t. The LDS can’t claim people like SCO CEO Darl McBride are so insignificant they’ve never heard of him either. It seems they are quite proud of him.
If the LDS had any morals it would renounce the forced destruction of families and persecution of polygamists. It would renounce totalitarian politicians, both in Utah and national, and crooked abuse and falsification of claims through courts such as by SCO. Since it does not, just like in the SCO case, the LDS as an institution can be dismissed through “summary judgement” without ever needing to consider which of its religious claims might be true or false, because its actions are opposite of both natural moral standards and its own claimed moral standards.
Such is the result of having an extremely centralized religion. Contrary to anti-SCO Mormons, you can judge a centralized body by how it ignores the sins of its own rich and powerful and refuses to discipline them.
Note: Since someone’s bound to ask: No, I don’t desire to practice polygamy, but I don’t see anything wrong with it, only with destroying families. A Nigerian friend grew up in a family where his father had five wives. (Hey J.O. Are you reading this! I even referenced you!) :)
UPDATE: Yes, the LDS is officially aware of Darl McBride, and seems to be very tolerant to his brand of extortion.
Since the lawsuits were filed, you personally have been criticized and ridiculed in various blogs and publications. How do you view the comments of your critics? It’s a little bit of a strange twist to the story how I’ve become the most hated man in the industry. I was speaking at Brigham Young University last year, and I held up the Fortune magazine that had me on the cover that said, “He’s corporate enemy No. 1, and his name’s Darl McBride.” I said it must have been a slow year for corporate enemies.