Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mormon. Do you think there is going to be more men or women in Gods "Celestial" kingdom ? Why? —hanging in there

If you're hearing this from believers, it's usually in the context of talking about polygamy in the after life, as some responders have already pointed out. Of course some members are better informed than others about how polygamy worked in the early church, but there are some widely held misconceptions among members that seem to help them make sense of it.

More righteous women than men is the most plausible I think, at least when judged according to Mormon standards. But one also commonly hears polygamy justified as a means of "taking care of widows"--could be true in some cases but hardly describes what was happening. Also it is said that they needed to raise up seed to expand their numbers, but I don't see how that one is any harder to do with one wife to one husband. And finally some plural marriages were purely dynastic, a means of sealing families together. Many women had themselves sealed posthumously to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Again, that happened, but doesn't begin to explain Joseph's 33 wives or Brigham's 50 or whatever estimate you happen to believe.

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