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Wednesday, September 28, 2005 

Punchline = Polygamy

Despite the fact that I have not attended church in more than three years, every time I hear a Mormon polygamy reference as a joke punchline, I am literally up in arms. You should see it... my arms go up, my jaw drops down, and I look at who ever is nearby--sometimes this is the dog--in utter disbelief.

I realize that most of the people making these jokes probably know that Mormons (mainstream, not Fundamentalist) don't practice polygamy anymore, but I just can't help becoming aghast each and every time.

Of course, maybe I just see more of it than most people. I do watch a lot of Stand-Up, but the topic also hits mainstream in a lot of sitcoms and some dramas.

My husband recently learned much more about Mormons and the LDS faith through reading Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. Although much of it focuses on two Mormon Fundamentalists who committed murder "on God's orders" in 1984, Krakauer also gives an extensive history of the founding of the church. Apparently he gives information that is balanced with both the official LDS accounts and the "anti-Mormon" accounts. Since the book spent a number of weeks on the New York Times Best seller list in 2003, the concept of Mormons & polygamy spent some more time in the spotlight.

I sincerely doubt that the association between polygamy and Mormons will go away any time soon. I do wonder, however, if that would improve if polygamists were prosecuted, taking away the appearance of acceptance by the state government in Utah.

This may come off as overly bitter...but Mormonism deserves to be equated with polygamy. It's Joseph Smith's legacy. Thanks for Colorado City and all it's abusive offshoots Joseph!

My favorite joke about Mormons so far has been from the Showtime serries "Dead Like Me" Where one character showed her true nature and a civillian got a spiritual encounter.

The supervisor says "the last time something like this happened Joseph Smith thought he saw God, now the Mormon's have a F*ing monopoly on the hotel industry."

If it's any consolation, the state does seem to be cracking down on the folks in Colorado City. Maybe it's just not getting much press outside of Deseret.

Ah, yes, polygamy. It really is heavily associated with the LDS church. But I agree with Wendy in that I think it should be. I mean, the LDS church did practice polygamy for a while, so the rest of the world isn't just going to pretend it never happened.

And maybe I'm just insensitive, but I like a good religious joke. Even if it does poke fun at a truth. I make fun of my Catholic friends for "eating Jesus" during Communion, and they make fun of the SBC for being "so fat," because we're the heaviest denomination in the South. I make fun of my Episocpalian friends for being so open to everyone and everything, my Methodist friends for being so wild, and my agnostic/atheist friends for having no clue. As long as it's all in good fun, and isn't being said seriously or maliciously, I'm all for it.

But as a serious sidenote, it's news to me that there are still practicing polygamists in Utah. I was under the impression that most of the FLDS churches were in Cananda and that they were shipping brides in from the U.S. to Canada.

We're surrounded by polygamists in our ward. I worry they'll go to the mattresses and start duking it out over who they believe is the prophet.

Krakauer's book was very well written and I couldn't put it down. As an active Mormon, I wasn't insulted, I think he tried to get at the truth. But he did make mistakes. I can't recall them off hand, but he was wrong in his facts. More accurate than others, though.

His book wasn't really about polygamy, or Mormonism, in my opinion. I think it was more about spousal abuse and fanaticism, which can happen in any religion.

1. I dispute that Krakauer's book was well written (if you mean at all accurate, well researched, or that his stated belief/theory/goal is sound. If you merely mean, he's a good storyteller, the I agree reservedly.)

2. I think we should enjoy the ribbing, but I still get upset at the misunderstanding. I wrote about a 10-page vociferous letter to the editor at my undergrad for a cartoon that made fun of mormons. (so i am thin-skinned, but know that I shouldn't be.)

3. my favorite line, is from A River Runs Through It (the movie, cuz I'm not gonna look up the quote to see if it's in the book):

describing Methodists,
"like Baptists, who could read."

4. lastly, Colorado City.
*sigh*. What kind of 'fruit' is this? Outsiders, point to it, and say "By their fruits ye shall know them"--ergo, Joseph Smith or at least Brigham Young = false prophet.
Insiders say, "that's just what happens when you don't follow the prophet".

Same thing with Mountain Meadows, I guess. I don't think you can blame the LDS Church for those things. But it's an open question as to JS or BY.

What do you mean the "appearence of acceptance." There are PLENTY of polygamous families in my ward.

Latter-day saints STILL believe in polygamy. Ask Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who is confident he will have (at least) two wives in the Celestial Kingdom: June and Kristen.

Growing up in the mid-west and the east coast, I got asked daily how many mothers I had... "One," I would answer. "How many do YOU have?" It got old.

Funny side note though, in New Jersey, we were always confused with the Amish. Friends would marvel that I drove to school in a car...

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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