Thursday, January 20, 2011

Put the Bigots on Defense

The blogger at The Religiously Sanctioned Co-Habitation Chronicles has an entertaining and thoughtful essay in which he calls on his fellow LDS church members to accept that polygamy (polygyny) is part of the church’s heritage, and not to get upset when someone mentions it or expresses some mistaken impression about it.

Polygamy is a part of our collective history. It might be embarrassing. Maybe it’s even painful to recollect. But it’s there. The longer we deny it or try to change it, the longer we as a Church will continually bob back and forth between self-hatred (and try to recreate ourselves as a completely anti-polygamous group and hate on others who practice it, which is dangerous, uncharitable, and disingenuous) and smugness (and try to label anyone who brings up polygamy as ignorant and laugh haughtily at their stupidity and discount anything they say, which is dangerous, uncharitable, and disingenuous).

When I see us backpedaling and running around trying to tell the world that “Oh my GOSH we are NOT polygamous OKAY?!?!?!??!?!!!”, all I see is our own angst and embarrassment, exposed for everyone to see. It’s clear that we as Mormons are more uncomfortable with our polygamous past than anyone else, and it makes us look kind of guilty, guys.

Nobody should feel ashamed or defensive about a family history of polygamy. Bigots should instead feel ashamed that they would make fun of someone based on such a thing, and that they’d keep people from having the freedom to marry in there here and now.

If someone asks you if you are, or your ancestors were, polygamous, ask them “What does it matter? Are you looking for tips?” Seriously. Instead of getting upset or defensive ask them what the problem is. None, or virtually none, will be able to articulate a single problem.
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