Last week Sierra and her friend did a "treat run" to Safeway. When she got home she said
Mom, I didn't mean to, but I overheard this conversation at the grocery store....
What she overheard turned into a long discussion between the two of us. Basically, two young adults (a man and a woman) were taking about the lds faith. The woman said she had been dating an lds guy who she really liked, and went on to say several nice things about him. The man responded by saying, "You know that mormons use to practice polygamy, right?".It's inevitable. Even though the lds church ended the practice of polygamy over a hundred years ago, it's often still the first thing people think of when the mormons are mentioned. It's understandable. It's a difficult concept, and something considered "sensational" even today as witnessed by the success of such shows as "Big Love" and "Sister Wives". Polygamy has been practiced almost since the beginning of time. As a woman, every time I read about Abraham being commanded to take Hagar as a wife, my heart hurts for Sarah. Several years ago the concept of polygamy became so troubling to me, that I went to see our bishop to get his input. I expressed my feelings and concerns to him, and I loved his response.
Terra, if you were to ask most women in the church today, they would tell you they have a hard time with polygamy. The Lord knows you and knows your heart. This is something you need to take back to Him to work out.
He didn't say, "Terra, you just need to get over this," or "Terra, just take my word for it that it's ok." To this day I have so much love and respect for that bishop.
So, if God commanded polygamy in ancient times (and I believe He did), then why couldn't He command it during the time of the pioneers. Whether it was a commandment is something I'd never questioned. What I did question, was why? After a lot of study, and a lot of prayer, I had several impressions.
First, I believe that there are some questions that will not be answered on this earth. I believe that God wants us to trust Him and have faith that He can see the bigger picture. And, I believe someday God (our Heavenly Father) will answer all of our questions (I have a list....like scorpions? really?). Second, I recognize the importance of obedience. I know there is protection in being obedient to what God asks us to do (even when we don't understand why). As a mom, the story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice Isaac is incredibly difficult to understand, yet I know it happened for a reason (also on my list). Third, polygamy is not my trial, my trials are different, but I still have them. I truly believe that God will never give us a trial that we can't overcome (with His love). Am I grateful that polygamy wasn't my trial? Yep.
I have a the upmost love and admiration for the early lds pioneer women. They were strong and faithful and immovable in what they believed. This past Sunday my friend led a powerful discussion during relief society (our women's class). She quoted Eliza R. Snow (an early pioneer)...."It was high time (to) rise up in the dignity of our calling and speak for ourselves...The world does not know us, and truth and justice to our brethren and to ourselves demands us to speak...We are not inferior to the ladies of the world, and we do not want to appear so."
If I may speak for myself....I love that just as our children come to us with their questions, we can go to a loving Heavenly Father with ours. Because I now feel peace about the whole concept of polygamy, Sierra and I were able to have an honest, in-depth discussion about something difficult. At the end of our talk, I encouraged her to take her questions back to Heavenly Father. And I promised, that if she would ask in faith, she'd get answers.
|Eliza R. Snow|