On Tuesday the Utah Supreme Court reversed the convictions of polygamist Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of felony rape as an accomplice based on a technicality having to do with how the jury was instructed at his trial in 2007. Following the ruling a hearing to decide whether to extradite Jeffs to Texas to face charges there was canceled.
I am not expecting to read denunciations of polygamy in general and Jeffs in particular by Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage any time soon, or, well … ever. I also am not expecting the Mormon Church to mobilize its members against polygamy the way it has against same-sex marriage equality, no matter how often it claims that marriage is between one man and one woman.
While NOM and the Mormon Church have been very effective at claiming that the word “marriage” should belong to and be defined by religions that reject the validity of same-sex marriage — and only those religions — I seem to be the first person to notice the definition of marriage varies significantly according to the religion that is defining it — and that no religion has more definitions of marriage than the Mormon church.
According to the Mormon church, the only real marriage is a celestial marriage, which is a union between a male and female who are both Mormon, who both have been sufficiently obedient to the church elders and hierarchy and current with their tithes to have a “temple recommend,” and which is performed in a Mormon temple. According to the Mormon church, absolutely no other form of marriage is truly spiritual or sacred. Mormons also practiced polygamy, which they prefer to call “plural marriage,” until 1904. Currently mainstream Mormons can be excommunicated for practicing plural marriage, but the church’s official Web site leaves open — to people who understand the structure of the Mormon church — that its prophet may have a revelation any minute that re-institutes plural marriage. The third form of marriage is any marriage performed outside of a Mormon temple — it is spiritually inferior. By definition. By people who are not you. And who practice a different religion. Which they are grooming you to accept by convincing you that only an anti-gay religion can define marriage. Which will pretty soon morph into bullying you into agreeing that only the Mormon religion can define marriage. Then you are REALLY going to have to jump through some hoops.
To get a peek into the brave new world of polygamy — oops! plural marriage! — check out a recent story on Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the National Geographic. My father subscribes so in a subsequent issue in the “Letters to the Editor” section, I saw that one reader explained how the polygamists can afford to have so many wives and children: since their marriages are religious, but not legal, only one spouse is lawful and therefore related but all the other spouses are not so they — and their children — are eligible for welfare. In other words, polygamists game the system and live off their Uncle Sam — who takes the money from you, Joe and Jane Taxpayer — until that happy, happy day when they have enough votes to take over.
Call me crazy, but the gay agenda of simple and total equality still leaves our Constitution and democratic republic in place and I’ve got to say that it looks a lot better than having our Constitution overthrown and replaced by any religion.