This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
“In the Church’s Sunday School manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , the Church changed the word ‘wives’ to ‘[wife].'” (CES Letter)
|Clarification For Reader – The word wife is printed in brackets [ ] so that the reader knows that the quote has been changed. This is what it means when something is in brackets .There is no effort at deceiving here. In the first reference to “wives,” Brigham Young was addressing multiple people (specifically, the First Presidency, Apostles, bishops, priesthood quorums, and presiding officers), so saying “your wives” was not a reference to polygamy. The other reference, “his [wife] and children,” makes it clear that the word has been changed, as the context of his message had nothing to do with polygamy and the purpose of this lesson in the manual had nothing to do with polygamy.|
Not A History Book – This is a book to help teach spiritual lessons, not a history book. I’m not sure why CES Letter would be upset that polygamy is omitted from an LDS lesson considering how angry they are that Mormons once practiced polygamy. So do they want polygamy in our teaching manuals? Now they are upset that we don’t promote polygamy?
A quick search on the LDS.org website shows over a dozen official Teaching Manuals that talk about polygamy. I doubt there is a person in the United States of America who isn’t aware Brigham Young practiced polygamy. There is absolutely no attempt to white-wash history. We teach lessons all the time about what happened in history. But this particular section in the Brigham Young manual is not about what happened in history. The quote was about maintaining healthy relationships. It was a lesson about the gospel. If polygamy is no longer a policy, why would the church not change it from “wives”?
Omit Brigham Young Teachings On Polygamy? – So what about all of Brigham Young’s teachings about polygamy? Do Mormons just pretend like they don’t exist? CES Letter says:
“Not only is the manual deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist but it’s deceptive in hiding Brigham Young’s real teaching on marriage: ‘The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.’ – Journal of Discourses 1 1 :269” (CES Letter)
CES Letter is repeating the same phony argument they made earlier. They just don’t get it.
Polygamy was a policy, not doctrine, and policies change.
Now repeat it after me… slowly: Polygamy was a policy, not a doctrine, and policies change. One more time: Polygamy was a policy, not doctrine, and policies change.
This quote about who becomes “Gods, even the sons of God” applied strictly to those people in those circumstances. CES Letter snips out the rest of the quote where he said, “at least in your faith.” As in, this only applied to them because it was the policy at that time, but for others it doesn’t apply. This is all clearly explained in LDS teaching material. Brigham Young said in the part of the quote CES Letter snips out: “If it is wrong for a man to have more than one wife at a time, the Lord will reveal it by and by, and he will put it away that it will not be known in the Church.” But even if this weren’t the case, why isn’t CES Letter overjoyed that Mormons don’t teach Brigham Young’s policies on polygamy? I thought CES Letter was opposed to polygamy?
The Brigham Young manual contains a tiny fraction of everything he said. The manual includes quotes that are important to the lessons. Again, why include a quote about polygamy that no longer applies?
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Falsehood||The Brigham Young teaching manual does teach “Brigham Young’s real teaching on marriage.” It just does not teach polygamy, which he made clear applied to only those times.|
|Appeal To Ignorance||CES Letter covers up vital context of the quotes. They incorrectly imply that the changed wording was speaking in a context of monogamy vs. polygamy. They weren’t; he was only talking about maintaining healthy relationships.|
|Cherry-Picking||CES Letter points out one clarification in one manual, and ignores all of the other manuals which discuss polygamy in great detail.|
|Non Sequitur||CES Letter suggests omitting one quote is a white-wash, but it is impossible to include everything Brigham Young said in one manual.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats the same quote and argument they made on p.38.|
|Shifting Goalposts||Does CES Letter want us to teach polygamy or not?|
Now, CES Letter recycles the same argument they already made earlier over again, and they add the spin that it is being covered up by the church. They can’t give any serious evidence for any kind of coverup, just that a random line in a teaching manual that has nothing to do with polygamy and nothing to do with history omits the word “wives.” Scandalous! But if there were a real cover-up, how did CES Letter find out about this issue in the first place?
This is how CES Letter operates, heavily on innuendo. The entire argument is not only false, it is illogical. Why would the Mormon website talk about polygamy if this is something we no longer practice? As far as history goes, the records are all available. CES Letter demands the church openly teach about these things, yet condemns the church for ever teaching them? This is how CES Letter operates: through innuendo. They repeat the Big Lies, and they wrap them in a veneer of science.
Hypocritical Anti-Mormons – Why do so many “pro-equality” activists–who think people should be free to marry whoever they love–condemn Mormons for their history with polygamy? Wasn’t Zina a consenting adults who made all of her decisions for herself? Shouldn’t polygamy be on their list of marriages that deserve equality? Well yes, it should, and this is why anti-Mormons spin polygamy as something that coerces and manipulates women into subjugation. Lately, this narrative has become evens easier as there really are crazy cults that actually do victimize women and force people to marry. Interestingly, we only seem to hear about splinter groups in Utah, however.
Doesn’t CES Letter themselves revise their pdf? Why are they allowed to revise their writings but attack Mormons for omitting the word wives, and putting [wife] in brackets?
|Big Lie – CES Letter uses the same big lie tactic that they used against the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. They start of with the big lie that marriage for time and for eternity were the same. This compounds and leads to other lies to attack Joseph Smith’s character, and they repeat the Big Lie over and over. One lie leads to another, and now suddenly saying “[wife]” instead of “wives” in a teaching lesson that has nothing to do with polygamy is a cover-up.|
Marxists believe some classes of society are victimized by the misdeeds of other classes–-in this argument, specifically women victimized by men. This goes back to the idea of “original sin,” which feudal lords taught to their workers. If faced with a sin that you didn’t commit and you can’t reconcile, universal salvation is the only possible answer. In a Socialist society, you are lumped by class and suffer for the misdeeds of others in that class. Mormon men are unequal to Mormon women because of this original sin, and we need “social justice” to equalize the classes. It is interesting that skeptics would treat polygamy like some kind of original sin that Mormons aren’t allowed to get past, as the feudal Dark Age Lords also enforced their universal salvation ideology by oppressing the people with an original sin doctrine, Adam’s sin. Universal salvation follows original sin: Propagate social justice or you are damned for Joseph Smith’s polygamy.