Mormonism and Gay Marriage

by Rocky Hulse

December 2008

First let me say, I am opposed to gay marriage. I believe the Bible is quite clear that marriage is between one man and one woman, and I am completely against any attempt to alter that definition. Now, with that being said, I believe that the Mormon Church has an ulterior motive in opposing gay marriage. Their motive, I believe, is not totally centered on the Biblical definition of marriage. I believe they are also opposing gay marriage because of polygamy.

Polygamy? What has polygamy got to do with gay marriage? Gay marriage has everything, in Mormonism’s case, to do with polygamy. If the law of the land where to change and allow gay marriages, polygamy would surely be the next challenge to the definition of marriage. If polygamy was ever to become legal in the U.S., it would be “the straw that broke the camel’s back” in Mormonism. It is one thing to talk in a future tense about the practice of polygamy in the next life, quite another to see it in the present.

Should polygamy become legal the Mormon Church, in accordance with the “Manifesto” which outlawed it in 1890, would have no leg to stand on not to embrace it. The “Manifesto,” written by the 4th Mormon Prophet, Wilford Woodruff, states: “Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise….And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.” As can clearly be seen here by the “Manifesto,” polygamy was only discontinued because the laws of the land prohibited it.

The dilemma the Mormon Church finds itself in with respect to “gay marriage” is that if the prohibition against “gay marriage” falls then the prohibition against “polygamy” would most assuredly fall next. The “Manifesto,” as clearly seen in the quote above, only outlaws polygamy in the Mormon Church because the laws of the land prohibit it. The Mormon Church knows that if those prohibitions were removed and polygamy could once more be practiced freely, it would be the demise of the Mormon Church. Not its prohibition against those of African descent holding its priesthood, not its opposition to the “Equal Rights Amendment”, or its position on “gay marriage,” could topple the Mormon Church’s house of cards like the issue of polygamous marriage can.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, it’s one thing to address polygamy in some future state as compared to it being a present reality. Mormon women are very good at compartmentalization of polygamy in the future. They rationalize that they will be in an enhanced “Celestial” mental state of purity of body and mind and therefore will be able to see the purity and dignity of plural marriage in the eternities to come. On the other hand, for Mormon women to have their husbands bring home some new teenage cutie as the new wife and close the bedroom door exercising his priesthood mandate of procreation, would be quite another issue.

Reading the journals of the women of Mormonism in the late 1800’s that were victims of polygamy is a walk through the corridors of pure mental anguish. Mormon polygamy was not an institution of beauty and serenity; instead, it was a religious forced situation that burdened the women of Mormonism to the extreme. The thoughts and feelings expressed in early Mormon journals of women trapped in this institution will literally rip your heart from your chest. The mental cruelty these women experienced is heartbreaking.

Nothing would change to our modern day if polygamy would once again become legal. The Mormon Church can tout all day that polygamy is of divine origin and will be practiced in the next life; however, for it to become lawful today would cause Mormon families to disintegrate. Mormon women would not tolerate sharing their husbands with multiple women. If polygamy became legal in the U.S., the only way to maintain some stability in the Mormon Church would be for the current Mormon Prophet to have a “revelation” stating that polygamy is not to be practiced in the Church today. This “revelation” would be in absolute conflict/contradiction to the “Manifesto” given by the 4th Mormon Prophet, Wilford Woodruff, who said polygamy was only stopped because the laws of the land prohibited it; but then, how would that be new to Mormonism? Contradiction, conflict and confusion between Mormon Prophets and Apostles have been consistent since Mormonism’s inception.

This writer does not believe that the Mormon Church opposes “gay marriage” simply based on the sanctity of marriage being between “one man and one woman.” An underlying reason that cannot be discarded is the agony of polygamy that would once again plague Mormon households should “gay marriage” open the door to polygamy again! Mormonism cannot survive polygamy; hence, opposition to anything that could open "Pandora's Box" to polygamy must be opposed!!!