Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Church in 2080

According to research conducted by non-Mormon sociologist Rodney Stark in the 1980s, he developed a straight line projection of growth in the Mormon Church. Critics laughed at his projections, however, discovered fast that even though Mr. Stark’s projections were off, they under estimated the population of the church in 2080. I won’t be alive to see it, but how many members are projected to belong to the church 63 years from now?
a.                  54 million
b.                  102 million
c.                   178 million
d.                  268 million
Yesterday’s answer:
B.   The women
The following from French Botanist Jules Remy:   Remy realized that a large part of the outside world’s condemnation of polygamy was based on the assumption that the system was forced on unwilling women. There was condemnation for the Mormon men, pity for the Mormon women. He knew that if he could present the woman’s side of the matter, he would have the heart of the story and the kernel of interest. He had supposed that talking with Mormon women would be as difficult as conducting an interview in a seraglio. But to his amazement he found that once his identity was established and he was accepted, it was as easy to talk with Mormon women as with women in any other Christian society.
   He was even more amazed when he found that the greatest approval for plural marriage came from the Mormon women. He was fortunate in finding a wife of a prominent Mormon-some thought it was a wife of Brigham Young, though this is not disclosed—who was educated, very much aware of the world, and who freely talked things over with the visitor.
   “Why, then,” she said to me one evening when the conversation had recurred to this subject, “why should I blush to accept this dogma of our  faith which the majority of Christians reject with so much contempt and disdain. Have I not the Bible on my side? That Bible, which I have been accustomed to consider sacred from my childhood, does it not sanction polygamy? I there see, in that very Bible, that a man unquestionably holy, the friend of God—a man faithful in all things, and a man obeying God’s commandments, who is called in the New Testament the Father of the Faithful—in a work that  Abraham was a polygamist. That some of his wives were called concubines matters not; they were not for this the less his wives, and the difference in name does not alter the thing. And Jacob, his grandson, was he also a man according to God? Did not the Lord bless him? Was he not commanded to become a stern and to multiply? Now, Jacob, unless I am mistaken, had four wives who gave him a dozen sons and one daughter. Who will dare to say that God ever condemned these several marriages, and the fruits that came from them? The twelve sons which Jacob had by his four wives became princes, heads of tribes, patriarchs; and their names have been preserved throughout all generations.  . . . At a later period I find plurality of wives perpetuated, sanctified by the laws of Moses, and everything ordered in conformity with it. David the Psalmist not only had several wives, but as the Lord himself, speaking through the mouth of the Prophet Nathan, told him that since he had been guilty of adultery with the wife of Uriah, and had committed murder, he would take away all the wives he had bestowed upon him, and give them to one of his neighbors. . .
   “Consider if this fact be not conclusive: in this instance God blames and punishes adultery and murder, while he authorizes and approves polygamy.”
   Remy confessed that, while his faith in what he regarded as the Christian ethic of monogamy was not set aside by this onslaught, he found his teacher to be a very convinced and doubtless sincere zealot “whose natural beauty was enhanced by the fervor of her argument.” And hardly pausing for breath, she continued:   
   “The Polygamous law of God throws open a door to all vigorous, healthy, virtuous women by which they may become the honored brides of virtuous men, and the mothers of dutiful, virtuous , healthy and vigorous children. Let me ask you, Sir, what woman is there in the whole of France who would be inclined to marry a drunkard, a debauchee, a spendthrift, an idler, a man tainted with hereditary disease—what woman would ever consent to become a prostitute, or to pass all her life unmarried and in the deprivation of all natural affection, if the polygamy of Abraham, or in other words the patriarchal word of God, were adopted in your country and accounted by everyone honorable and sacred?
   “Behold the result of abandoning the sacred laws of marriage [polygamy] appointed by God; behold the consequences of the adoption of the laws of Rome which forbid marriage to Priests and Nuns, and do not allow others to marry more than one wife. This law compels a number of  women to pass their lives in single blessedness, without husband, without  children, without a friend to protect and comfort them; or still more, it  condemns them to a  life of poverty and loneliness, in which they are exposed to temptations, to culpable connections, to the necessity of selling themselves. Man, on the other hand, rich in means, is tempted to squander them in secret with his mistress and in a unlawful way, while the law of God would have given her to him as an honorable bride. All this engenders murder, infanticide, suicide, remorse, despair, wretchedness, premature death, and at the same time their inevitable accompaniments—jealousies, broken hearts, dissensions in the bosom of families.”

Robert Mullen, The Latter-day Saints: The Mormons Yesterday and Today (New York: Doubleday, 1966), 170-172.

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