CharisEvangelizing a Mormon Girl Through My Daughter
Just had a meaningful intellectual time with my, as of yesterday, 12-year-old daughter, Charis, helping her as she IM'ed her LDS friend on the subject of the LDS Church and polygamy. Charis burst into my office asking me how I should respond to her friend. Charis had just told her that she's not going to base her faith on some guy (Joseph Smith) who had, according to the LDS Church, 30-40 wives. Her LDS friend gave the typical LDS excuse that the women back in the early LDS Church didn't have that many husbands to choose from. I explained to Charis that this is pure LDS urban legend; there are no facts to support it. Further, concerning the place where polygamy was primarily practiced, the back of Brigham Young's statue in downtown Salt Lake City says that of the pioneers who came out on July 24, 1847, there were 143 men and only 3 women! That should be obvious since men are stronger than women, and if any were to die out on the trek west, you'd think it would be the women, not men. So if anything, that would suggest that polyandry, not polygamy, should have been the rule. That took a little explaining, but she finally got the point.
I was also able to share with her that the Book of Mormon in Jacob 2 calls polygamy "abominable" (24) and the only excuse for it was to raise up seed at the Lord's command (30). But why would polygamy even be necessary for that? If everyone simply practiced monogamy and was fruitful and multiplied, that would sufficiently take care of the problem. I mean, that's exactly what Adam and Eve did. God didn't give Adam many wives to raise up seed. The quality of their relationship was way more important than the quantity of human beings, which by the way, God could always make them out of the dust or other men again anytime He wanted.
I also told Charis about how 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 are clear that the Church leader in the New Testament is to be "the husband of one wife." Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many of the early LDS Church leaders directly went against God's command here.
Charis' friend at this point simply said she just has faith in what her church teaches. So I told Charis to ask her if she wouldn't like to know if her faith is true or if it is simply making her happy, but leading her to death as Prov. 14:12 says. This is why we are instructed to test all things and hold to the good (1 Thes. 5:21). Those in other religions claim to take things on faith as well, but obviously they can't all be true. At least some have got to be false.
Charis and her friend both said they accepted each other as friends, but Charis told her just because she accepts her doesn't mean that Charis accepts what her friend believes. They even told each other that they would even like to go to each other's church some day.
Afterwards, I told Charis how Smith was not just into polygamy, but polyandry, which is something that even the LDS Church also acknowledges. I also told her that polygamy was going on long before LDS came to Utah. Smith was involved in it and he never came to Utah. Back where the LDS were prior to coming to Utah, there's, again, no indication there were more women than men or vice versa.
I finally told Charis that not even Smith was listening to the exception for polygamy in Jacob 2:30 to raise up seed, since 1) Smith was marrying women past child-bearing ages, and 2) where are all the kids born from all these polygamous relationships? Later, I also thought that there's no excuse here for Smith taking other men's wives... unless of course Smith knew that these women's husbands were all shooting blanks! However, 1) that would be putting asunder what God had joined together to be one, 2) there's no reason to think that, and 3) given all the tawdry information on this subject (yes, there is much, much more!), the simpler explanation is that Smith was your typical cult leader who had a bad case of PMS--power, money, and sex. I told Charis that most of the women were quite young, so putting all this information together, she naturally inferred that Smith was doing all this, not for raising up seed, but for his own pleasure! Ding, ding, ding, ding!
Charis said that she now gets why philosophy is so helpful and she now has quite an incentive to pursue it further. She said it makes issues so much clearer. Ding, ding, ding, ding!
President, Courageous Christians United
West Jordan, UT
November 12, 2021