Tribal Relationships

This post is a combination of having read this and this post as well as this book:

Our Current Model:
It is often assumed that monogamy comes naturally to us.  Mainstream science – as well as religious and cultural institutions – have maintained that men and women evolved in family-units in which a man’s possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman’s fertility and fidelity.

Marriage between man and woman is essential to [God’s] eternal plan.  Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. … By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families…and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.  Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

We are taught that the ideal for human relationships is that you will have relations with only one person and he or she will only have relations with you — total chastity of men and women before marriage and total fidelity in marriage.  Thus, promiscuity and its associated temptations are of the devil – and one, true monogamous love is ordained of God.  However, it doesn’t take a genius to see that humans have had a historically tough time fitting this mold — which in turn, in the minds of Creedal Christians, only strengths the claim that God ordained it that way – the natural man being an enemy to God, etc.

The basic narrative for the history of ancient humans is that women sought a stable man to stick around to help raise the kids and bring home food – yet wanted to sleep with the sexy rebel because of his genes.  While men sought to impregnate as many women as possible while keeping their women monogamous so they wouldn’t have to spend resources to raise someone else’s kids.  And thus, we are taught that we are the products of these horribly conflicted ancestors.  However, this narrative presupposes that every ancient culture centered around assigning men and women to each other thru marriage, granting exclusive rights of property to individuals, associating sex with paternity, and men providing only for their offspring.  However, when hunter/gatherer communities are studied, it is found that they share all duties communally, as a tribe/family.  Ideas of, “I’m not raising that other man’s kid,” developed later as a function of the agrarian concept of converting labor into personal property.  Marriage may have existed as a social arrangement among many hunter/gatherer communities, but it was one in which sexuality was less well-defined.

Our Tribal Past:
Human society developed in egalitarian tribes that shared food, childcare, and often – sexual partners.  In these small, intimate family groups, the most mature individuals would have had several ongoing sexual relationships at any given time.  Here the extended family, which was often the entire community, is where children were raised.  We are the descendants of these multimale-multifemale tribal groups and, even though we’ve constructed a radically different society from our hunter/gatherer ancestors, the behavioral and psychological traits from the past still manifest themselves today.  This is why we see:

  • Sexual passion that tends to fade even as love deepens
  • Many middle-aged men risking everything for transient affairs with younger women
  • Homosexuality persisting in the face of standard evolutionary logic and scriptural condemnation

Monogamous animals, by definition, don’t have to compete for reproduction and, as a result, are characterized by a low-level of sexual activity.  However, humans sit atop a very short list of animals that engage in sex for pleasure.  No animal spends more of its allotted time on Earth focused on sexual matters than we do.  In fact, the animal world is filled with species that confine their sexual behavior to just a few periods of the year, only during times when conception is highly probable.  Also considering that males have a very large genitalia to body size ratio and that females can experience multiple orgasms indicate that we are designed to engage in concurrent sexual relationshps within a group/tribal setting.

If, as the current narrative says, men are inclined to be promiscuous and women are not, then our behavior should match that of gorillas – which fight over the exclusive rights to have sex with all the women in the group.  However, biologically, it seems that humans are designed to use a woman’s body as the battleground.  In other words, unlike gorillas, who have developed to physically compete for mates, human sperm is made to race against sperm from other men — and the human vagina is the formidable racetrack able to sort out the hardiest genes.

Monogamy’s Results:
The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used to recognize the dangers that a monogamous, family-unit system represents:

Monogamy…is no part of the economy of heaven among men.  Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire. … Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged.  Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers. … Why do we believe in and practice polygamy?  Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practised it.  ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’  It is the only popular religion there…

Monogamy has been used as a means of controlling women in societies since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years ago and sedentary societies have greatly influenced the structure of human mating.  Sadly, one of the legacies of agriculture and industrialization has been STDs, lower testosterone and sperm counts, and sexual repression.  In fact, it was the high-grain, vegetarian diet pushers like Kellogg and Graham – whose diet-plan itself lowers libido – who were also advocates for strict sexual repression and genital mutilation.

The paradox of monogamous marriage is that we do enjoy intense pair-bondings with other people – bonds that intensify with time.  But, at the same time, spark of new relationships is deeply satisfying as well, and new partners has been the tried and true method to boost lowering testosterone levels in middle-aged men for thousands of years.

They Will Have All Things in Common:
The difficult fact to face is we have hunter/gatherer sexual desires in a world where children are not raised in a tribe, where sexually-expressive women are looked down upon, STDs are a real risk, and monogamy is considered culturally and spiritually superior.  Our current model is bad.  We cannot continue on with:  A man eating food laced with chemicals and hormones, taking medicines that lower testosterone and deform sperm while being hooked to watching internet porn and professional sports all day, and a woman with a frustratingly repressed libido struggling to juggle a career and children – trying to form an isolated family-unit.  It has driven our society to a point where more than half of all marriages end in divorce.  When Jesus says that:

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage,

He is indicating that our current model of assigning men and women to relationships of ownership and exclusivity will have an end with this world.  In the celestial state, all things are held in common and all of the Gods are unified.  If Father kept His wives locked away in a harem, then He would be exercising unrighteous dominion – restricting both His wives and His other children from demonstrating their love one for another.

Next article by Justin:  Connecting with Pixels

See also:  Marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God


  1. So, anthropology, behavioral biology, and physiology back up Joseph Smith-type polygamy as the natural sexual order of humans, which is, as the researchers put it, “a multimale-multifemale mating system”, and not Brigham Young polygamy, which is polygyny, and these sciences completely discount monogamy. All of which points to D&C 132 being a bona fide revelation that restored the knowledge of the ancient (and natural) sexual order among humans. Methinks I gotta get my hands on that book.

    I wonder how those who do not believe D&C 132 to be a real revelation will react to this scientific publication that corroborates the truths found within it? Hmm? Any anti-D&C 132-ers out there care to comment on this research? Any of you still think this section was inspired of the devil? Since when does the devil reveal truths to man? Or perhaps Joseph just made some lucky guesses? Lol.

    It is also interesting that the hunter-gatherer egalitarian societies were based upon the assumption that there were plenty of resources to go around: “Hunter/gatherers tend to see the world as plentiful rather than scarce so everyone shares with everyone else.” Kind of reminds me of what the Lord taught in D&C 104: 17: “for the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare”. Surely Zion can be established with such an outlook.

    Good job, Justin, in bringing this book to our attention. It’s another piece of the tribal puzzle.

  2. No matter how much I try to resist the spirit of primitivism I find myself deeply envious of tribal life. I don’t think we reflect on their lifestyle enough, as it is simple, happy, natural, and peaceful, which encompasses much of what I believe Zion to be.

  3. Interesting thoughts. Just curious how this view would be reconciled with scriptural injunctions against either adultery or fornication.

    The original Hebrew in the 10 commandments (there were actually 11 in the original Hebrew) says that “adultery” is nowhere to be found therein, and only found it’s way into the scriptures when it was retranslated. Easier to make sense that way. The real translation was to read, “Do not proceed to break authority vows.” There’s obviously no relation to “adultery” there.

    Interestingly, the original Hebrew also gives one of the 11 commandments as, “Do not proceed to abandon those who need your support,” which seems to go along with what you wrote here.

    But, I’m mostly interested in how this refers to adultery and fornication.

  4. Tom:

    When we think of “adultery” — most tend to only think about it in terms of monogamous relationships, i.e. I had sexual intercourse with a woman other than my current wife. However, where do I commit adultery if I am married to both women?

    Also, the scriptural definitions of adultery vary from what we think of when we use the term. Thru the OT, NT, and D&C, adultery is always defined in terms of a woman having sex with a man who is not her husband.

    This is why Jesus says in 3 Nephi 12:32 that a man divorcing a woman for causes other than fornication causes her to commit adultery — Jesus does not say that the man does. The woman is still married to that man in God’s eyes — would she be under the impression that she is divorced and thereby chose to have sex with another man — she is, in God’s eyes, a married woman having sex with a man who is not her husband.

    I think LDSA has written previously about the definitions of adultry in D&C 132 — I think would be quite applicable to this discussion. Also, did you read this post that I linked to at the top of the page? How do you think this post relates to your question?

    Also, I liked your comments on the “ten commandments” in Hebrew. I read a great book a few years back titled The SInai Myth — it can be read online here:

  5. Justin,

    Those issues with adultery is also why I put “fornication” in there because that’s generally man’s territory.

    As to adultery, it seems as though the bulk of the article was discussing tribal relationships where marriage wasn’t in play. Rather, it seemed as though you were discussing the “sharing” of all things, including sexual partners. That seems to be outside of the “marriage” equation where adultery would come into effect, but it would still relate to fornication as discussed in scripture. Am I incorrect in those assumption?

    In the meantime, I’ll read those other posts (probably have read them at some point, but don’t remember much) and return and report…later, though.

    P.S. I forwarded the article to a couple of friends, I’ll share some of their thoughts when they respond (though I honestly doubt that they will favorably receive it). 😉

  6. Rather, it seemed as though you were discussing the “sharing” of all things, including sexual partners.
    Now imagine a tribe in which every member is sealed by the priesthood to the other members of the tribe. The kinship bonds is such a tribe would be extremely powerful, and I believe that is what Joseph Smith — and to a less extent, John Humphrey Noyes — was trying to implement among the saints.

  7. Such an arrangement, in which everyone is married to everyone else, preserves the agency of all. Each male and female become free to be with anyone they desire to be with, at any time, the only possible restriction being the consent of the person who is the object of their desire. There are no monogamous restrictions to their agency.

    Females, in particular, are benefited:

    It would seem to me that there is great sense in multiple mating for females, especially in a highly mobile group. Since there is always the possibility that any male might be the father of any offspring then 1) the offspring becomes the concern of all members of the troop 2) females can call on all males with whom she has mated for assistance 3) to keep frustration in a troop at a minimum and build group cohesion… (Quoted from here.)

    It is the woman who makes the decision who she sleeps with. She has the freedom of choicing her sexual partners any time of the month. During infertile times, she can choose partners with whom she would not like to conceive, but with whom she still can enjoy a sexual union and during the time when she is fertile, she can choose the partner with whom she would like to conceive. This fully preserves her agency. As there is no divorce, the oxytocin bond she has with each of these males remains intact and so she doesn’t suffer the effects of a break in a relationship.

    In the case of the man, he can approach any woman he desires to be with. If she refuses or cannot accede to his wishes for whatever reason, he is not left sexually frustrated, as there are other women with whom he is married, who may consent to a sexual union with him. Marriage, then, no longer becomes a “ball and chain” but a liberating institution.

  8. Well this is a very hot topic. I remember being told by a priesthood leader that we should obey the law of chastity and that all your righteous desires would be realized someday. I know he didn’t mean that someday I would be able to have sexual relations with all the women who were likewise sealed to God in His family. Yet it has settled on my heart that this is the case because I know I have no evil desire and I can also see plainly how there can be no harm done to any and in a world filled with celestial men and women there can be no lack of caring for the children or the mother. In fact the idea that someone would be excluded from an intimate association introduces the existence of elements such as jealousy, ownership of others, envy, selfishness, rejection, superiority etc. These are the very basis of cruelty and abuse in our world today. They cannot exist in the Celestial world.

  9. Here are the only 2 responses I received:

    a) “humans aren’t animals. That is an offense to who and what we are.”

    b) “…we are not animals. Although Father has given ascent to the eating of animals in the Telestial sphere, He has not done so regarding humans.:=) We also have no evidence of familial relationships being the same for animals as there does not appear to be any provision for animals being sealed together for eternities.

    It is interesting that for at least a long time, it has been believed that when a purebred dog, or a thoroughbred horse mated with a non-purebreed or non-thoroughbreed, that their future offspring, even if sired later by a purebred or thoroughbred, could not be considered purebred or thoroughbred. It would seem that more difference is given in this case to animals than humans as it appears to be believed today that humans can copulate with as many mates and not be so affected. This when humans are the only ones that have the seed of godhood within them. Shouldn’t it be obvious that the DNA of a male remains with the female and becomes a part of her when they become “one”. That is what is alluded to in Sec. 132 when it says that a man may espouse many virgins because the are his and no other.

    For a woman to have more than one mate is utter confusion of nature. To mix seed is both physically and spiritually an anathema to the whole plan of eternal progression. This is why adultery carries such strict judgement. Only humans are held responsible for such conduct and the adversary, knowing this, concentrates his efforts at trying to get them to violate such. That alone should be more than adequate evidence of how serious the matter really is.”


  10. a) and b) – Some people’s brains just shut down upon hearing someone refer to mankind as human animals…

    b) – The idea that the DNA of a male remains with the female and becomes a part of her when they become “one” is new to me. Is this person saying that the female’s DNA is altered by the experience, by the vaginal insertion of male DNA? Is this backed up by science or just speculation? Does this apply only with semen inserted into the vagina or does it apply to things eaten? If a female eats a hamburger, does the cow DNA remain with her, becoming a part of her? Does she become part beast? Does this apply to men also when they eat things?

    b) “That is what is alluded to in Sec. 132 when it says that a man may espouse many virgins because the are his and no other.” What about the case of polyandry? (D&C 132: 41; “and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing”.) Does such a woman, appointed to two men by the holy anointing, have the DNA of both men remaining with her, becoming a part of her? What of the case of serial monogamy? A widow or divorced woman who remarries, does she also have both men’s DNA remaining with her, becming a part of her?

    b) “For a woman to have more than one mate is utter confusion of nature.” If this is the case, why does the church allow divorced or widowed women to remarry?

    b) If all the parties copulating with each other are married to each other, how is adultery or fornication being committed? How is the law of chastity being violated?

    Now, here is an altogether new question: As the Lord recognizes legal, non-LDS monogamous marriages between a man and woman as valid for time (until death), would He not also recognize non-LDS polygynous marriages and non-LDS polyandrous marriages, if those marriages were perfectly legal? Would not such marriages be as equally chaste as monogamous unions?

  11. Tom,

    I saw a good example of justification for polyandry on the Science Channel last night:

    This woman’s husband had a car accident, his brain swelled, and caused damage to his frontal lobe. This is the portion of the brain that processes emotions, empathy, social filtering, etc. Essentially, the man’s brain was no longer capable of processing the feelings of love for his wife and daughter. He could feel neither attachment nor malice towards them.

    My first thought was that the woman still isn’t justified in a divorce b/c the man had not committed fornication. She had obligated herself to be with him until death — the accident may have damaged his brain, but it didn’t damage his spirit. He was still the same man, just with faulty hardware.

    However, then my heart sorrowed for her. A woman deserves to have the love and companionship that this man is no longer able to provide her. Their situation doesn’t justify divorce, but I think most would agree that she deserves a man who can feel love for her.

    What would be wrong with this woman marrying another man. She still is obligated to stay with her first husband and help him thru his trials associated with his brain injury, but now she can also have the love and companionship a woman’s heart constantly yearns after.

  12. LDSA,

    I think your question — “would He not also recognize non-LDS polygynous marriages and non-LDS polyandrous marriages?” relates also to the Prop-8 issue. If the Lord recognizes state-sanctioned unions, then couldn’t they legislate immorality and then He would be bound to acknowledge it?

  13. Well I don’t put much stock in the wisdom of men and scientific research all by itself. I think of it as the apocryphal writings. The Lord said of them in D&C 91:5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;
    So I don’t say all science or man’s reasoning is wrong per se. But I don’t believe we as humans evolved from lower life forms neither that life on the earth was formed by chance events. The theory of evolution is the most unscientific thing I have ever seen. But when there are studies of men which do not conflict with sound scriptural teachings and are consistent with truths the Spirit has confirmed I am happy to accept them as true.
    And yes I accept the idea as fact that all those who have been sealed by the holy anointing of the new and everlasting covenant will be free to be intimate with each other with a certain limitation. That is the limitation or rather the protection of righteousness. Here is the true definition of good and evil. Good – blesses everyone and hurts no one. Evil – doesn’t bless or help anyone, it just doesn’t work and in fact can hurt people and all creation.
    The most effective way to destroy populations of flies, mosquitoes or other insects is to have the males spend there reproductive efforts on something that is not a female of his specie. This is usually accomplished by setting out a hormone source which the male insect will regard as a female and he will keep at it till he dies. And the group dies.
    Even in the highest celestial world sex between like sexes won’t work to accomplish a benefit for all.
    But all the prohibitions of extramarital sex between man and woman in this life can be linked to a harm being done to people. And it is undeniable that our monogamous model perpetuates great harm to many. How many single adult females do you know who have no chance of marrying a good man in this life because the law of plural marriage is not being lived? There are millions in the church alone.
    Go study a book or website on spouse abuse (a book you might read is “Why Does He Do That?”). They all explain that the concept of ownership of the spouse is at the heart of all abusive treatment.
    I believe that a feeling akin to this: “My spouse is mine and I won’t share him/her with anyone else.” will bar you from entering the highest celestial world which is the only place where there will be intimate relations.

    PS Justin I dig your new profile image. But I don’t know where it is from. Is the guy a Christ image (or it is you which is pretty close to the same since we all radiate the Christ within) or is he a martial arts competitor?

  14. dyc4557:

    But I don’t believe we as humans evolved from lower life forms neither that life on the earth was formed by chance events.
    Nor do I, nor do I think the views I expressed on tribal relationships requires a person to.

    Even in the highest celestial world sex between like sexes won’t work to accomplish a benefit for all.
    Again, I too agree that same-gender sexual relations are not justified by God.

    But I don’t know where it is from
    It is from Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. In this particular scene, he is in a competitive fight. I like the character of Holmes and the particular movie this is from, and I also like the idea of “fighting the good fight” that this image conjures for me. I had not thought of the Christ-figure imagery before. Thanks.

  15. Justin, as far as I know, there are only three references to marriage in our modern scriptures (the scriptures directed solely to the Gentiles), which consists of D&C 42: 15-17, D&C 132 and the law of chastity as revealed in the temple. To determine validity (morality) in the eyes of God, a marriage must pass all three scriptures.

    In the first case, D&C 42: 15-17, the Lord states,

    And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; and that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation bbefore the world was made.

    We can’t interpret the word marriage as meaning anything other what than it meant at the time the revelation was given, therefore marriage means only that union between a male and a female, not between same sexes. So, from this revelation we know that marriage between a man and a woman is valid (moral) in the eyes of God.

    However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that same sex marriage is not valid (moral) in the eyes of God, because the revelation doesn’t speak of it, so D&C 42 does not invalidate same sex marriage.

    In the case of D&C 132, the Lord speaks about (non-Priesthood) covenants made between a man and a woman in which they marry each other (covenant with each other to be husband and wife) and He says that these unions are only valid (moral) until death. Again, this doesn’t invalidate same sex unions, because it doesn’t speak of same sex unions, so we can say that same sex marriage passes this test.

    Finally, we get to the law of chastity: “The law of chastity is that no woman will have sexual intercourse except with her husband to whom she is legally and lawfully wedded and that no man will have sexual intercourse except with his wife to whom he is legally and lawfully wedded.” In this case, the law of chastity does not prohibit a man or woman from entering into a same-sex marriage, but it does stop them from having sex with each other. It is sex that validates (consummates) a marriage. Therefore, same-sex marriages are invalid in the eyes of the Lord, at least as far as the scriptural laws we currently have. The Lord may reveal more later.

    So, no, although a State may legislate immorality, the Lord is not bound to validate it.

    Now, if you take that same logic, applied to either polygynous marriages or polyandrous marriages, you’ll find that these types of marriages pass all three scriptures. The only prohibition given, in my understanding, is when vows are taken, for we are forbidden to break our vows.

  16. “Now, here is an altogether new question: As the Lord recognizes legal, non-LDS monogamous marriages between a man and woman as valid for time (until death), would He not also recognize non-LDS polygynous marriages and non-LDS polyandrous marriages, if those marriages were perfectly legal? Would not such marriages be as equally chaste as monogamous unions?”

    I have a hard time believing that the Lord gives one whit whether or not a marriage is considered as “legal” according to government regulations.

  17. The Sex at Dawn book is remarkable in so many ways and possibly can have far-reaching effects upon society as a whole.

    Joseph lived in a time in which everyone believed monogamy to be the moral law. The doctrine he received in 1831 of plural marriage went totally against the grain and totally beyond even biblical polygamy. It, essentially, was a “multiple husband-multiple wife marriage system” revealed directly from heaven. It had no scientific validation, whatsoever, until this Sex at Dawn book was published this summer. That’s 179 years of just “hangin’ out there” with no scientific validation. We simply had to take the D&C 132 revelation on faith that this was the order of heaven and it was the intent of the Lord to make it the order of Earth.

    Now, with the publication of Sex at Dawn, we find that mankind is by nature set up with a “multiplemale-multiplefemale mating system” and that this system was practiced in our early history. Joseph’s theology and Sex at Dawn research are a perfect match.

    Sex between male and female is only morally wrong if there is no long-term commitment or covenant between the two parties (known as marriage). Surely the Lord knew in 1831 that mankind was by nature made to mate with mulitple males and females, but what I find so remarkable is that this scientific knowledge wasn’t allowed to be revealed (scientifically) until summer 2010. Why now, I wonder?

    Could it be that now is the time that such research could be used to change certain marriage laws, what with all the Prop 8 marriage debate, the Big Love show, the Sister Wives show, etc? All those polygamy cases making their way up the courts, could they not reach for this research to show that it is unreasonable to fit polyamorous beings into monogamy, that it goes against our very nature? That legislating monogamy is akin to legislating that boys are girls and girls are boys? How will the courts react to this?

    It may very well be that we are on the cusp of a complete societal change and that we will soon see the natural mating and heavenly marriage systems opened up legally, allowing the tribal functions to fully activate again.

  18. I am intrigued with this information about tribal life, but I’m trying to understand how does our Heavenly Mother (the Hold Ghost) fit into this? If HF has many wives, as all things are shared in common in Heaven, then which one is our Heavenly Mother? And our Holy Ghost? Is there a significance to being an “original” wife, as opposed to wives added later on?

    I appreciate any clarification, thoughts or points that will help me understand this tribal dynamic.

  19. I’m glad to hear that tribalism is generating interest here. It is a powerful model for human socitial organization, and it’s something I see the Lord’s hand moving to restore.

    First wife is a common term in polygamous settings. She seems to hold preeminence is almost all polygynous groups — bear in mind that tribal relationships are true polygamy, encompassing both polygyny and polyandry. Also, there is a wiki page for polygamy that mentions the duties the husband has towards the first wife.

    Further, evidence indicates that a plural marriage sealings among the Utah saints was done in just the same manner as we currently do monogamous sealings — except that the first wife knelt to the left of the husband, and then she gave the plural wife to her husband by taking the plural wife’s right hand and placing it into the right hand of the groom — suggesting the first wife had a preeminent role. The covenants between the plural wife and the husband were the same. (see The Seer, Vol. 1, No 2, pp. 31-32; February, 1853)

    I have heard it as speculative doctrine that the reason for prohibition against public prayers to Mother is that b/c of our Father’s polygamy — we would not all have the same Mother in common. Whereas every person on earth could pray collectively to “Our Father.” I do not know that this is untrue — it sounds valid, but I have not prayed for confirmation of that doctrine to know for myself.

  20. I was reading more about this topic this morning:

    Polyamory is the concept of being in love with more than one person at one time. They may have living arrangements in which multiple adults form one family, share economic burdens, care for children, and share sexual access with one another. However, they do not usually attempt to form a legal marriage. Polyamorists tend to have communal, liberal views, while polygamists generally come from conservative religious backgrounds.

    So it seems that the tribal relationships model may be better termed “polyamory” because it is based on the concept that humans should form multi-male/multi-female tribes in which every member shares sexual access to the others.


    While polyandry is rare, societies that allow both multiple husbands and multiple wives is even rarer. The Amazon Zoe tribe is a notable example of this practice. The marriage rituals of the Zoe are complex and not fully understood. It is not known how many wives or husbands one is allowed to have. Usually one woman has several husbands, one or more of whom may be “learning husbands”; young men learning how to be good spouses in exchange for hunting for the rest of the family.

    Also noteworthy is that the Zoe tribe lives as hunter/gatherers — which is something that I intend to address here in the future.

  21. I wanted to address a comment by hell raising Love monster on my newest post.

    He wrote:


    I have been a member all my life. Returned missionary, Temple marriage. 12 children. We have been very active. Now my wife is having an affair with a man who really satisfies her. He gives her more emotional support than I have ever given. Given where I am right now. I can’t forgive neither. And I can’t get this concept you are talking about being in intimate relationship with many wives, or husbands. How do you really wrap your brain around it. Are you just reading books that say that we are meant to have more than one partner. Have you tried it out. It hurts to think of my wife lying with another man at night, and I am all alone. I don’t go get me a mistress because of my being in the church. Where’s the mercy in all this?

    Multiple spousal systems are about expressing love to more than one person. In other words, human beings are capable of loving more than one person (poly+gamy) with all the heart and cleaving only to them. In fact, our Father in Heaven prefers it to be that way because that is the society that exists among the perfected men and women — the Gods and Goddess — in heaven.

    The current narrative is that God has made humans to only be able to love one person (mono+gamy) with all the heart — and that adding another person thereby takes away from your love/cleaving to the first.

    This is not true.

    However, if a person adds another spouse into his/her family at the expense of the first — then they are not initiating a tribal relationship.

    Concerning hell raising Love monster’s case, I would say:

    1) To the extent that it offends a person that another is loving your spouse and fulfilling his/her needs — this is selfish. If the second spouse will add to the fulfillment and love that a person feels, then why would someone be against it?

    2) To the extent that adding another spouse to better satisfy a person takes away from an original spouse — this is selfish. Before adding another spouse, a person must ensure that they are indeed capable of fulfilling another person’s emotional and physical needs.

    Monogamy and polygamy are about the number of people you love — not the number of people you are married to. A love-based relationship is about striving to meet the needs of the other person — not yourself. It is a need-based relationship that focuses on what my spouse does to fulfill me.

  22. Read this today — thought it would apply to the conversation here.

  23. Found this post from Latter-day Main Street from 2008. It was about the “husband/wife-swapping” nature of D&C 132 revelation.

    Thought it might be of interest for readers here.

  24. Someone named Hannah overheard this in a BYU biology class:

    BYU biology professor: “Monogamy… bad system… except the Lord likes it… but it doesn’t work that well.”

    Apparently, he/she can acknowledge that physiologically, human being are best suited to for non-monogamous marriage systems — however he/she is still stuck thinking God favors monogamy.

  25. Bored in Vernal, from Wheat and Tares expressed that she intends to write a post on D&C 132 and Joseph’s plural marriage.

    I actually think Justin’s conception of the tribal model is a pretty interesting take on polygamy, including as it does allowance for polyandry and a more equitable system for females. It fits with what we know of Joseph Smith’s marriages, but not so much with D&C 132. I’d like to see Justin’s defense of this, so I think I’ll start another post on the topic.. look for it!

  26. D&C 132 seems to divide LDS into three camps: those that believe all 66 verses, those that believe none of them, and those that believe only some of them. I, personally, come from the perspective that the revelation is true. I’m not sure that unity of faith over this revelation can be obtained unless all the parties discussing it believe it is entirely false, entirely true, or partially true and false (with agreement over what parts are true and what parts are false.)

    I am amazed at how many LDS can accept the parts of the revelation dealing with celestial marriage (in monogamy only) while rejecting the parts dealing with plural marriage, especially given that the revelation purports to have been given in response to a question about plural marriage. This, to me, is akin to Joseph asking God about the unknown number 6 and receiving an answer which reveals new concepts: 1+2+3=6. People then accept the new concept 1 as true and discard the new concepts 2, 3 and 6 as false. If 6 is a false concept and Joseph asks about it and gets an answer that 6 is a true concept and consists of true concept 1 plus true concept 2 plus true concept 3, how can anyone arrive at the conclusion that only 1 is true, especially since it is a brand new concept not comparable to anything that has been previously been revealed? The only logical conclusion is that either the entire revelation is false, i.e. 1, 2, 3, and 6 are all false concepts, or that the entire revelation is true. But picking a (previously unknown) truth out of a false revelation appears to be a magic act.

    Much of the online discussion of D&C 132 seems, to me, to be either an attack on the validity of the revelation (accusing it as being inspired of the devil) or a mere intellectual exercise. In other words, if there is no belief in any part of it, then discussion of D&C 132 consists of striving to convince people of its evilness. If there is partial belief in it, then those parts that aren’t believed are attacked as uninspired of God, inspired of the devil, evidence of rampant libido, product of culture, etc. If the parts are not believed to be of God, but are merely considered thoughts of man (as opposed to doctrine of devils), then discussion of these parts is a mere intellectual exercise. Because they are not considered inspired, they have no spiritual application to us.

    Only when viewed as a divine revelation (all 66 verses of it), can its spiritual meaning and application be discussed. This would not be just an intellectual (mental) exercise, but a principle and doctrine to be lived and applied in one’s life, so as to receive the benefit assigned to it.

    Perhaps I am just a skeptic, but I do not see many online LDS viewing the entirety of the section as divine revelation. Without agreement on that point, it would be like a Mormon and a Muslim talking about the doctrines found in the Koran. No unity of faith can be achieved, until all are in agreement that the Koran is divine scripture. The very first thing to find out is if the book is the word of God. If it is, then discuss its doctrines. If it isn’t, then toss it into the trash. Same goes with D&C 132. If BiV (or anyone else) approaches the section from an intellectual standpoint, a curious document that has no bearing whatsoever on our spiritual progression, since its doctrines are not inspired of God, it is a wasted exercise and pointless to discuss it. It is but mental masturbation, producing no seed. If, however, she (or anyone else) approaches it as the word of God and desires to discuss what the principles and doctrines proposed therein actually consist of, then it will have real benefit to people.

    I think part of the problem that people have with what I (and others) have written on this blog about D&C 132 is that I am not discussing it as a mere mental exercise, but as a bona fide revelation that concerns us today. In other words, I see it as real scripture, based upon the revelations I have personally received. Many, I think, who enter here and disagree, do so because they do not accept that section as scripture, or at least, as not 100% scripture (picking and choosing which verses to accept as true.)

    But we’ll see what BiV comes up with.

  27. I guess I fall into more of the Strangite camp in regards to section 132. I believe in Plural Marriage regardless of section 132. God has witnessed to me personally the truth of Plural Marriage, so I don’t need section 132 to be a foundation for my beliefs.

    Having said that I generally accept all of section 132 as a true revelation. the parts that most concern me are the parenthesis about only one man holding the keys, and the condemnation of Emma. I haven’t yet prayed specifically about these parts so my mind is wide open. But if there was any part of this revelation which was revised by its transcriber after arriving in Utah(either on his own or at the behest of Brigham); it would be those parts.

    It would be interesting to see when Brigham changed from the Quorum of the Twelve leading the Church to a First Presidency. And then compare that to when this revelation was publicized.

    But anyway these are all just the thoughts of a man.

    As a side note I think the Quran does contain much divine inspiration. Even though i only have gotten halfway through it, I found many truthful things in it. When considering the Lord’s promises to Ishmael I wonder if the Quran is to quickly dismissed by many LDS.

  28. I’ve never read the Koran. There was an elder on my mission who was a former Moslem and I remember his opinion of the book and how it was received. Basically, he looked at it the same way that the Methodist preacher looked at Joseph Smith’s recounting of his first vision: inspired of the devil. Does it, in your opinion, pass the test of discernment found in Moroni 7?

    I wonder, zo-ma-rah, if D&C 132 never existed, do you think that what is written in the book of Jacob (in the Book of Mormon) would influence you against polygamy?

  29. For any interested, the post written by BiV about D&C 132 and tribal marriage systems is up over at Wheat and Tares.

    Also, Zomarah — is there not a difference between “I found many truthful things in it,” and “it is a true record”?

    I ask because I have read the Koran and I received no confirmation concerning its claimed angelic origin. There is indeed true wisdom in the book — but I attribute that to the wisdom inherit in humans, not originating in angels.

    What have been your thoughts?

    Also, ditto the question from LDSA about only having the mention of polygamy in Jacob. That’s an interesting point that I haven’t not yet pondered myself.

  30. Yes there is a difference. And since I haven’t completely read it, nor prayed about it yet, I haven’t made a determination one way or the other. I was just throwing it out there.

    I still have a lot of study and prayer to do in regards to the Qu’ran. But right now it’s not that high on my “to do” list.

  31. Guys, If I may share a pearl I received regarding polygamy in Jacob in the BOM. It occurs to me that polygamy in Jacob is pro polygamy. He is condeming “whoredoms” (non-covenant sexuality) and “concubines” (slave or servant sexuality). He is reaffirming the divine one wife system. Don’t think quantity, think quality. One wife = one-wife = covenant marriage wife. One = covenant as it does in many many other references in the scriptures about being one with God and one with each other.

    I could be wrong though. What do you all think?

    Also, 132 was cannonized in 187Xs I think and the Cowdery monogamy section removed.

  32. About the Koran–and again, I have no personal experience in reading it, so I can’t pass any judgment about it, as yet–that elder who on my mission gave it as his opinion that it was of the devil, said to me that he believed that it was, in very deed, delivered by an angel, but not an angel of God. He didn’t believe that it was merely the “commandments of men,” but delivered by the devil appearing as an angel.

    Sorry for the off topic comment.

  33. I add my testimony to what LDSA has stated in his Dec 30, 2010 comment here.
    I think I have said it before but I want to say it again here and amplify my sentiments a little.
    My testimony is that D&C 132 is a true revelation from the Lord. I have believed that for many years. But after fasting and praying about how this section and others regarding marriage are interpreted by LDSA on this blog I have received an even greater testimony of D&C 132. Many people understand a great deal of it but miss certain key points. I came across this article (probably linked somewhere on this blog) which seems to be written by someone trying to discredit the doctrine of polygamy. Yet it shows that polyandry is indeed a part of the doctrine.
    And more importantly as a result trying to live all the restored gospel I have received an understanding of the basis of the doctrine of plural marriage which is really quite simple and to me undeniable.

    Surely what we are seeing with people disbelieving or picking and choosing parts of Sec 132 is the reason the LDS church does not practice the doctrine as revealed. The law of the land clap trap is only a pretext to cave into the unbelief among those who called themselves latter-day saints.

    The fact is plural marriage will never be accepted by those who are not willing to live the forerunner law the law of consecration wherein all followers of Christ have all things in common.

    Where is the law of the Land which prohibits us from sharing everything we can with each other and entering into a formal agreement to do such? Well there isn’t such a law is there? So pray tell why do we true followers of Christ not live it?

    Reality is staring you in the face.

      If you are not willing and at this point if you are not actually trying to live the law of sharing all your substance with at least one other family then you really can’t consider yourself a true follower of Christ can you?

    I am sounding harsh here and I know we are not being directed by the LDS church to live it now (what does that tell you?). But come on, get real we have the example plainly before us in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Those who believed Christ’s gospel rapidly began having all things in common. They did it because they wanted to. They did it out of love for others. In this dispensation of Christ’s gospel there were those who believed and began living this way. Then (that is right they were trying to live it before they were given revelations on it) the Lord revealed the manner to do so and those principles are before us in the D&C. Is there any better application of the Lord’s words in D&C 58:26 saying, “For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.” ?

    I have begun living in this manner. What I earn and have is for the benefit of all in my tribe even though they are not my immediate family. It has been just a small manner and the Lord is blessing us that it can grow. But by doing so I became converted to the basis of the law. I am a steward not an owner of my temporal substance. God gave me stewardship over some of His creations. To refuse to share is to be selfish with something which in fact I don’t even own. The earth is the Lord’s and all things therein. If you try to live the law of consecration even amongst you and your friends or extended family you will receive the blessing of being converted to the principle of sharing.
    We don’t own our spouses. We share our intimacy with them and they share theirs with us. Love and intimacy is a thing which does not diminish with the sharing but rather increases. People who feel they own their spouse or children can not comprehend that sharing their love is a positive thing. They are fearful that if their child loves a step parent (step parenting is an easy way to see this fact) or in some cases even the other biological parent, then the child will love them less as if love diminishes with the more people who are loved. Obviously we may be afraid that our spouse will love us less if they have another spouse also. We can see that ownership is really a fear based phenomenon. But the perfect love of God casteth out all fear.
    Start with the law of sharing your physical goods and money. Until you can do that you won’t really be able to live or have a testimony of the real law of plural marriage. They are both the same thing one is just to a greater degree.
    To sum it up plural marriage is just a matter of learning to really share. It is not a test it is a profound opportunity to experience more happiness and love than you ever thought possible. I really thank God that I had not started practicing plural marriage until I could understand it a little better. I think it would be bad to practice a principle without comprehending the basis of it.
    Just start with the law of sharing your temporal goods and see if the Lord doesn’t teach you the expansion law also.

  34. Read this today and thought it might apply to this post. The pertinent information is quoted below — apparently wine consumption is correlated positively with monogamy:

    Monogamy, the norm in most cultures today, emerged in tandem with the spread of alcohol, primarily wine, starting in the West.

    Specialists in development economics, Ms. Squicciarini and Dr. Swinnen decided to turn their attention to alcohol and monogamy while discussing a curious fact over a glass of wine near their offices at the Catholic University of Leuven. They wondered why the two most prominent religious groups we associate with polygyny today, Muslims and Mormons, also happened to abstain from alcohol.

    They spent a year combing through published ethnographic studies of more than 300 distinct societies and read through mountains of ethnographic data going back thousands of years. Case after case showed a strong correlation between wine and monogamous men.

    If you were wondering whether there is a causal link compelling drinkers to be monogamous or, conversely, prompting monogamous men to take up the bottle, your answer is no. It’s merely an historical accident. “We call this in economics a spurious correlation,” Ms. Squicciarini said. Both phenomena are independently related to economic factors in each society, specifically three important movements in history:

    (1) Cracks in the polygynous wall first formed in earnest with the expansion of the Greek and Roman empires, which not only spread vines and winemaking expertise but also happened to be the first cultures to introduce formal monogamy.

    (2) Later came the influence of the Christian church, with its “blood of Christ” wine-symbolism and insistence on marital fidelity.

    (3) Lastly, the Industrial Revolution in Europe prompted a growth in alcohol consumption for the simple reason that more people could afford to drink. That same economic shift also put a serious dent in the female-hoarding powers of super-rich landowners. Factory jobs meant wealth was being distributed to a greater number of males, who now were working for cool cash rather than subsisting virtually penniless – and in many cases wife-less – on feudal farms.

    In contemporary parlance, a good job gets you the girl – the girl who would otherwise have shunned your romantic advances to settle for the posh life of a rich guy’s harem. “Since females are better off by sharing the resources of a rich male rather than singularly enjoying the limited resources of a poor male,” the authors write, “there is a positive correlation between polygyny and male inequality.”

  35. Justin:

    Thought you might enjoy this article on the “marital industrial complex” (i.e. monogamy). The interviewee (the CEO of actually made some very poignant remarks about monogamy and our culture.

    (Forgive me if this get’s double posted on another post, for some reason it’s rejected it twice under one of my limitless pseudonyms).

  36. Mr. Anonymous:

    I found your other 2 in the spam folder — probably a combination of the link + funny e-mail address. I went ahead and posted it b/c I heard a radio interview about this guy’s site last week and think it’s interesting — people reading either post can find the article.

  37. Something common I’ve encountered with tribal plural marriages, money-free communities, or anarchy is that people will argue against them based on them being “good in theory” — but not being “scalable” in the real world.

    Because of my preclusion to agency — I would not suggest that the whole world, whole country, or the whole church switch over to living in tribal plural marriage systems. To do such a thing would require lots of control and force [the kind used to keep the current system in place].

    I have been told that my “tribal fantasy” can’t even happen unless “we are in a post-Armageddon world full of utopian clones.”

    In other words, I’ve found [mostly from the comments at the two Wheat and Tares posts addressing polygamy — this one, and this one] that most people wonder what good is a lifestyle that does not scale.

    The most recent post at HuntGatherLove actually talks about the same mind-set often used by animal-rightists to criticize a more paleolithic diet. A lot of her points can be translated to the tribal anarchy discussion with the same applicability:

    I’d say [tribalism has] done me a lot of good. It’s also done my family a lot of good and a great many others. Maybe not a million people, but for the people who have seen [spiritual] improvements with this [teaching], it does matter.

    So where does this kind of thinking come from? The idea that because everyone can’t have something, it’s no good? Is this some kind of socialist dreck?

    I don’t know, but I’m just very glad that the inventor of the laptop didn’t say “Oh, well I guess not everyone can have one of these right now, so I won’t bother making them.” If he had, I wouldn’t be typing this. I am old enough to remember when a laptop was an expensive luxury and the children in my neighborhood were so impressed that my father gave me a broken one that couldn’t even connect to the internet.

    Unfortunately, so many people want to reduce the world into an equation, to be able to tell EVERYONE in the entire world what is right and wrong and how we have to solve our problems. Perhaps it’s a relic of our tribal past, when “everyone” consisted of less than a hundred people. Perhaps it’s an unfortunate side effect of centralized government. I don’t know. But there is no getting away from the fact that world is unequal and we need local solutions to local problems.

    What if someone had just told the African’s point-blank that livestock was unsustainable and they should just give it up and grow millet for gruel? I would view that as a gross disrespect of these people’s desires, needs, and local environment. I understand that globalization has changed some equations, but while it has made some things more or less efficient, there is no way to make the world flat.

    Overall, I’d like to see more respect for people’s own choices. Too often this is framed as a bad thing, such as this article criticizing military buffets, but those are false choices.

    I didn’t get into [tribalism] to save the world. I just wanted to not be [controlled] all the time. I do think there are some broadly applicable [spiritual] principles at play, but I’m more into small flexible local solutions than trying to get the world [tribal]. I do think things can get better for the world, but problems will be solved piecemeal. The arrogance of people with centralized solutions has caused more unintended harm than good.

    Don’t let people tell you that individual changes and local solutions don’t matter. And don’t let people tell you that your [tribal lifestyle] is “un[righteous]” just because everyone in the world can’t [do] it. Look deeper into their motivations…

    She further links to this post — at Aid Watchers:

    That no single key, no formula can, in principle, solve the problems of individuals or societies; that general solutions are not solutions, universal ends are never real ends…
    That liberty – of actual individuals, in specific times and places – is an absolute value; that a minimum area of free action is a moral necessity for all men, not to be suppressed in the name of abstractions or general principles so freely bandied about by the great thinkers of this or any age, such as … humanity, or progress … names invoked to justify acts of detestable cruelty and despotism, magic formulas designed to stifle the voices of human feeling and conscience.

    Are there other examples you’ve encountered of the whole “scaling” argument for certain gospel ideas or implementations?

  38. What Joseph Smith was trying to avoid by the implimentation of a new and everlasting of marriage —

    Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women outlines many arguments for why and how the legislation of marriage and roles for women rendered the status of women as “less than slaves” in the late 1800s.

    That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes – the legal subordination of one sex to the other – is wrong in itself, and now one of the chied hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.

    Read a post about Mill’s book at this site.

  39. While I think there is a lot of good information here, the part I have problems with is reconciling it with D&C 132. The specific issues that I have is verse 7. This clearly states that there is only one man on the earth at any time, with the sealing power, and says it is “Joseph Smith” in the last days.

    It further states that “All covenants … not sealed by this specific person, “and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred” … “have an end when men are dead.”

    So, from a strict interpretation of D&C 132 I am left with the conclusion that any of the things you talk about may be valid, but only in this life, because they have not been sealed by the “one man” with the keys and power to do so.

    And unless you meet the requirement of being sealed by this one man, “then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

    It seems when people about D&C 132 the important issue that fails to be addressed is that covenant(s) entered into since this revelation (sealing, baptism, etc … ) are not valid unless they are performed/sealed by Joseph Smith, or by association the president of the LDS church.

    Obviously this is not happening, so how does one reconcile this?

  40. Clint:

    No marriages are ever “for-time only” — all marriages become eternal marriages. Any discussion on this topic must not forget the subject of sealings during the millennium. All marriages will be made eternal during the millennium — even if the Church and membership can’t have them “validly performed by Joseph Smith, or by association the president of the LDS church.”

    For-time marriages are celestial marriages — just in due time.

  41. Which goes along with concubinage as practiced as a way to get around the Manifesto. Two people made a mutual covenant with each other “as if” the sealing had been placed upon them. So while the sealing was not actually upon them, it was as if it was upon them because they would be sealed at some point.

  42. Tribal relationships coming back into discussion [at this W&T post] got me thinking more about it — and I decided to post the following in re: to the general dislike most people have towards polyandry:

    Research has found that men are more aroused by a polyandrous setting than a monogamous or polygynous one. Images and videos showing one woman with multiple males are far more popular on the Internet and in commercial pornography than those depicting one male with multiple females.

    Researchers looked at the titles being sold on a large pornographic video distributor’s website — and it listed over 900 videos in the “multi-men per woman” genre, but only 27 with multi-women per man.

    If men are hard-wired for either monogamy or polygyny — then what would explain the males in our species being sexually excited by scenes of groups of men ejaculating with one or two women?

    Different experimental evidence likewise backs this up — finding that men viewing pornographic material suggestive of sperm competition [i.e. two men with one woman] ejaculate a higher percentage of motile sperm than men viewing explicit images of only three women.

    Also, there is the fetish of a husband watching his wife with another man — etc.

    Sex at Dawn discusses a variety of societies in which women assist and inspire teams of workers/hunters by making themselves sexually available to them. Drawing a parallel with cheerleaders and the homoerotic competitive games like American football.

  43. That W&T post is revealing. The multispouse tribal anarchy model is definitely not a hit there. It would seem that there are four reasons why people don’t like it: 1) anarchy, 2) tribes, 3) polygyny and 4) polyandry. Lol. If Zion is going to be built on this foundational model, which I believe it will, there will have to be great changes in how people view things in order for them to want this. Currently it appears to hold no attraction to the TBM, whatsoever. And yet, I keep seeing interest in tribes, or a tribal trend, among various segments of the general population, as if the Lord is preparing the people. Not the LDS people, but the people in general. I am beginning to wonder if the pronouncements of the early church leaders (concerning another people establishing Zion if the LDS didn’t live the gospel) were prophetic. I’m beginning to wonder if the “remnant Gentiles” that will end up accepting the gospel and helping the seed of Lehi to build the city of Zion are not specifically a subset of the LDS church, but of the Gentiles at large. In other words, that this remnant is largely, currently, outside of the LDS church. If so, that might explain the reactions this model gets from LDS. (I’m just thinking out loud.)

  44. I just want to say to LDSA that I’m so grateful for this site. My husband and I have been reminded of sooo many things that we had forgotten. I completely agree with your last statement
    ” …not specifically a subset of the LDS church, but of the Gentiles at large. In other words, that this remnant is largely, currently, outside of the LDS church. If so, that might explain the reactions this model gets from LDS.”

    It’s time we banded together and started to form these tribes.

  45. Aiama Goddess — I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed the material here.

    In re: to the “remnant is largely, currently, outside of the LDS church” thing:

    I was reading Romans 11 this morning and I was struck by verses 1-5 [having read your comment just a few minutes prior]:

    I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

    God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

    Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

    But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

    Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

    I think our current observations about the condition of the Gentile LDS church can be seen in the same context as Elisha’s observation [from 1 Kings 19:18].

    I think that the Lord will indeed have a people prepared to fulfill the scriptures every whit. Many thousands that we may not even be aware of who have yet to bow the knee to leader worship and sundry dogmatism.

  46. Justin- Amen!

    18Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

    It’s crazy how true that scripture is. The Lord has been showing us this. It’s sooo exciting to know that simply by following the promptings of the holy spirit that good will prevail. I was giving my husband a blessing a little while ago and was surprised by what the spirit was inspiring my lips to utter. A lot of Europeans, even LDS are being prepared at this time…” I can feel, (I know we all can to a great extent) how the morphic field is becoming bigger. There are parts of the world where no missionary has been, yet the people therein know, live and preach the words of Christ. I hope to be numbered among the Lamanites and assist them in building New Jerusalem.

    We have been praying and fasting constantly trying to horizontally and vertically expand our tribe. We are already very detached from Babylon, or at least as much as we can be at this point. I love the support and validation I receive from this blog. My husband and I bond over reading and discussing its topics and fantasizing about our large tribe that we one day dream of having. The more the merrier!

  47. I just came across a book available to read online titled: Free Love; Or, a Philosophical Demonstration of the Non-Exclusive Nature of Connubial Love.

    It was written by Austin Kent and published in 1857 and seems to highlight the general buzz concerning plural marriage systems that was contemporary with Joseph Smith. The preface quotes John H. Noyes [who I referenced in a comment above] who taught that:

    In a state of heavenly holiness on earth, every dish is free to every guest.

    Noyes full exposition on a biblical concept of multihusband-multiwife tribal communities was published in 1849 — six years after D&C 132 was compiled by Joseph Smith.

    Kent’s basic argument [I haven’t read the book in full as of yet] seems to be that the sexual attraction inherent in our nature as humans must be neither entirely exclusive nor entirely non-exclusive [unrestrained promiscuity and homosexuality]. Rather, pure loving virtues of oneness and intimacy need not [by necessity] rest with one and only one other human being.

    In other words, there is nothing about chastity that confines every man and every women to exclusive relationships of 1-to-1 pairing. No other example of love that humans experience is fitted with such an exclusive “this one and none else” requirement.

    I’ve long since held that monogamy began at the dawn of agriculture b/c it was needed to control women’s sexuality in order to protect this new idea of accumulated property that came with the sedentary lifestyle. However, in reading thru Kent’s book — I also think that monogamy has had such success because it facilitates that grand institutionalized Christian virtue of guilt. Like monogamous marriages are this sort of flagellation, where they are seen as superior by virtue of the fact that they are harder to impose on people.

  48. In the book, Is There Anything Good About Men?, sociologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister noted that only 33% of human ancestors were male — not 50-50 as one would suppose.

    The only way to explain that ratio is polygyny. What that means for us today is that:

    Of all the people who ever reached adulthood, maybe 80% of the women but only 40% of the men ever reproduced. Or perhaps the numbers were 60% versus 30%. But either way, a woman’s odds of having a line of descendants down to the present were double those of a man…

    Most women, in history, who ever lived to adulthood probably had at least one baby and a descendant alive today. Most men did not. Most men who ever lived left behind no genetic traces of themselves.

    Women’s eggs have historically been valuable, while male sperm has been seen as quite disposable.

    The odds that a women would have gotten pregnant was extremely high — while on the other hand, the odds that a man would become a father were not good. The alpha males of the community, who were the ones allowed to impregnate the women because of their high status — therefore it shut out the less attractive or successful men from fathering any children at all.

    I thought about this post when I read that b/c I have written about how polygyny alone is bad for women. LDSA wrote that:

    the male nature is so strong and agressive that it dominates in both monogamy and polygyny. You would think that a man having multiple wives would be outnumbered, that the women would have their way with him and outvote him in everything, but it doesn’t work that way. The unfair arrangement only works as long as the wives are totally submissive to him, otherwise, he won’t enter it. So, patriarchy dominates polygyny.

    But polygyny alone is also harmful to males b/c it is not true patriarchy/androcracy where all men have power — but it is the same model of patriarchal oligarchy that we have in the Church, where a few men hold power over everyone else.

    Only polyandry evens the playing field and creates (in conjunction with polygyny) egalitarianism, where women and men share the power through their various councils. Simultaneous polyandry and polygyny (the multihusband-multiwife marriage system) brings women up to the level of men without reducing man’s own stature. It is the solution Mormon feminists have been searching for, but haven’t found because of their fear of polygamy. Mormon male chauvinists likewise fear it, because the thought of one’s wife being with another guy is too scary. And so we are stuck with monogamy. But as long as the people are monogamous, men will continue to retain the power and women will continue to lament it.

  49. The best thing about a tribal, multihusband-mutliwife family for children, is that there is a group of mothers and fathers for them to model their behavior after and be cared for by. Children today have such trouble because they are often raised by monogamous or single-parent families.

    Daycare is a common destination for many babies — with public school to follow. And at schools and daycares, kids are just dropped off to be cared for by an unrelated adult alongside a group other unrelated children?

    This post at HuntGatherLove was on attachment parenting — and a commenter wrote the following:

    i think the ‘nuclear family’ is one of the major causes of many of our contemporary neurosis. think about it. you are isolated in the company of 2 very imperfect humans. these are your primary models for human behavior…(wow, isn’t that limiting…and scary) until you escape to school or summer camp or, when i was a child, your friends, books & hours in the woods.

    school becomes, even at its worst, a kind of blessing in this case. this is why i’ve always believed (well, one of the main reasons) that it does ‘take a village to raise a child’ – provide access to as many models of behavior, philosophy & personality makes for a sort of ‘foraging/grazing’ for the child in their own search for/uncovering of self.

    and….parents feel less pressure to be the One Source of Everything….which helps them to be healthier, too. it’s a strange thing….we’ve isolated our children to be raised, in person, by a minimum number of real humans…and at the same time our culture subjects them to the pressure of multiple media forces, none of which have their best interests at heart.

    and most parents use that culture as the ‘extended’ family we no longer have access to. it’s amazing we aren’t all completely bonkers…yet, somehow, we go on and maybe even turn it all around 🙂

    Studies have found that children are simply better reared by related caretakers — and caretakers simply to a better job with children they’re related to.

    In the tribal model, every mother/father has a covenant interest in caring for every son/daughter in the tribe — rather it is their literal seed or not.

  50. I completely agree with that. I look forward to the day when my own children have multiple mothers and fathers from which to draw examples, experience and learning.

  51. Justin….? I am seeing that when it looks like the context of your words point to the word “whether” I see you use the word “rather”.

    Is this intentional? Is there a meaning of rather which I don’t know. It reminds me of when I was taught that to say, “It is like…” is incorrect, we should always use “It is as if…” I don’t know if I stick to that convention. I mean, like, you know man? But I see you are consistent so I want to ask and learn.

    And in a more useful vain, I am now living in the Philippines and they are very traditional about many things. They call adult friends of the family Uncle and Aunt and they are treated as such. The feeling of everyone caring for each other’s children is pretty strong. Many children are born having 6 to 8 god parents. In catholic culture these are people who at a minimum stand ready to take the child in if their parents should die. In Philipino culture they will be a source of another adult looking out for the child through out his life. And yes sometimes parents do it to get a donation at the birth. But the bonding of love here is very real. I am sure it is not as full as if it were a real tribe but it is a world away from US culture.
    I had to travel away from my wife for a week. It seemed like everyone who knew us asked her, Where is he? When is he coming back? She is a blood relative to only a few yet all felt an honest concern for her welfare. It is so wonderful even in its partially developed state that to think of leaving it for some place like say, the US is insanity to me.

  52. I write mostly in the way I would speak it. Admittedly, I might just consistently use it incorrectly. I’d have to look at specific instances of where I used “rather” to see if I could defend it — or if it is just a case of typing “there” when one means “their”, or “effect” when one means “affect”, etc.

  53. dyc4557,

    Your comment about the Philippines reminds me of the Save the Males guy, Henry Makow, who is always extolling the virtues of Philippinas. He thinks that American men who are seeking a truly feminine woman should look to the Philippines, not America. He married a Philippina and says they make the best wives in the world.

  54. A podcast — about the agricultural roots of monogamy, and a recent study that used current patterns of language and marriage to determine when monogamous marriages got rolling in Europe and much of Asia.

    It turns out that this kind of marriage is much older than anyone had thought, beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago in what is now Turkey — which places it chronologically and geographically at the agricultural revolution.

    The study confirmed that monogamy was likely established for reasons of property rights and inheritance — something completely foreign to human beings before the sedentary lifestyle.

    Here is the abstract to the study:

    Explanations for the emergence of monogamous marriage have focused on the cross-cultural distribution of marriage strategies, thus failing to account for their history. In this paper I reconstruct the pattern of change in marriage strategies in the history of societies speaking Indo-European languages, using cross-cultural data in the systematic and explicitly historical framework afforded by the phylogenetic comparative approach. The analysis provides evidence in support of Proto-Indo-European monogamy, and that this pattern may have extended back to Proto-Indo-Hittite. These reconstructions push the origin of monogamous marriage into prehistory, well beyond the earliest instances documented in the historical record; this, in turn, challenges notions that the cross-cultural distribution of monogamous marriage reflects features of social organization typically associated with Eurasian societies, and with “societal complexity” and “modernization” more generally. I discuss implications of these findings in the context of the archaeological and genetic evidence on prehistoric social organization.

  55. Found this — Marriage circa the stone age

  56. From Mormon Heretic, referring to D&C 132:51’s mention of Emma Smith receiving a second husband:

    “Emma’s threat to “be revenged and indulge herself” may have been merely a warning to the prophet to give up his spiritual wives. But Joseph H. Jackson, a non-Mormon opportunist who gained the confidence of the prophet in Nauvoo, recorded in an 1844 expose of Mormonism: “Emma wanted [William] Law for a spiritual husband,” and because Joseph “had so many spiritual wives, she thought it but fair that she would at least have one man spiritually sealed up to her and that she wanted Law, because he was such a ‘sweet little man.’”

    Although there is nothing to suggest that Law and Emma were more to each other than friends, Law later confirmed that Joseph “offered to furnish his wife Emma with a substitute for him, by way of compensation for his neglect of her, on condition that she would forever stop her opposition to polygamy and permit him to enjoy his young wives in peace and keep some of them in his house and to be well treated, etc.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 3 July 1887.)

    This post at Wheat and Tares, along with the GEMTAM book project got me looking at the academic literature on the nature of polyandry.

    The standard narrative is that polygamy is justifiable insofar as it promotes “multiplying and replenishing the earth”, “raising up seed”, etc. Therefore, polygyny is the only form of polygamy that gets discussed b/c [according to this standard narrative] polyandry hurts men’s reproductive potential without helping the women, while polygyny doesn’t affect a woman’s potential while benefiting men [ignoring the other claim against polyandry, that of patriarchy’s concern over paternity, “God’s house is a house of order”, etc.]

    In my research for the GEMTAM book project — I saw that the wikipedia entry for polyandry says that, “It is easier to ensure reproductive success (i.e. it is more likely that the female will have offspring).”

    So I looked into that claim myself and found that the literature supports the claim that “polyandry provides genetic benefits that significantly enhance female lifetime reproductive success.” It might help explain why the Lord commanded polygamy of His saints at a time when census data shows men outnumbered women. The polygynists always get caught up on that fact b/c their claim is that with more women than men, Utah-polygyny ensured “righteous seed” was maximized. It’s just that in Utah at that time, women didn’t outnumber men. It was the other way around, hence it would have been prudent to practice polyandry.

    The narrative of the monogamists is that polygyny is was just an excuse for Joseph and/or Brigham’s rampant sexual desires — but polyandry doesn’t fit into that hypothesis.

    Which, of coarse, is why polyandry is the one piece of common ground the fundamental polygynists and the mainstream monogamists share in common — they both reject it equally.

    However, if Joseph was trying to create a bona-fide tribe out of the Gentile Ephramite Mormons — then his polyandry and the polyandry allowed in D&C 132 makes more sense.

  57. This new post at HuntGatherLove, mentions the similarity between monogamy and monoculture:

    To me, the Western nuclear family has many parallels to Western agro-monocultures, in that it represents a less robust and rich caricature of the natural human family structure.

    It’s funny how related the two really are — especially how monogamy rose out of the Neolithic revolution — monoculture begetting monogamy — constantly losing connections and diversity over time.

  58. A recent discovery — a polyandrous planet.

    If you could stand on the surface of Kepler-16b, you’d have two shadows. At sunset, you would see an orange star about the size of the sun and next to it a much fainter red star. As the stars slipped toward the horizon, they would change places in the sky, like partners in a square dance.

    Kepler-16 [is] a binary star system jointly sharing the Saturn-sized planet, Kepler-16b.

    The finding, reported by scientists on NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting space telescope team, adds a new page into Mother Nature’s recipe book for extrasolar planets.

    “It’s the first one that circles two stars, so it’s a fundamentally different kind of planet,” lead researcher Laurance Doyle, with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., told Discovery News.

    From a distance about as far as Venus orbits the sun, Kepler-16b circles both its parent stars in 221 days. The stars, which on average have about 21 million miles between them, fly around each other about every 41 days.

  59. I started reading this book on the evidence in support of naturally egalitarian human society:

    Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior

    Thus far, it seems there would be no reason to believe that humans existed naturally in hierarchical tribes with alpha-males in charge. Instead, evidence suggests that human society came out of largely egalitarian bands that actually punished attempts of dominance with social sanctions, banishment, and even death.

  60. I found these two quotes from a blog about polyamorists:

    Actually, [polyamory] really does the opposite of make me insecure. It’s an ego boost, really.

    What it says to me is that even though you’re dating him, it hasn’t changed your desire to be with me. The fact that you want to be with me despite seeing other people says that there are things about our relationship you can’t get anywhere else. It means you find things about me irreplaceable, things that you don’t have in another relationship, and that preserves the value of our relationship.

    If your interest in Person A doesn’t diminish once you start dating Person B, it means that Person A is special enough and irreplaceable enough to keep around, no matter who else is a part of your life.


    This is why I’m poly. It’s not about being allowed to date lots of people. It’s freedom from the fear that my partner will leave me for someone else, freedom from the need to compete. That our relationship is stronger than any rigid social structure, and we can adapt (while preserving the important bits like intimacy and respect).

    It’s a weapon against the misery of jealousy. The knowledge that I’m loved for being me, and the only reasons the relationship might end are to do with us and the way we behave, not anyone else.

  61. From the new book by Mark Sisson, “The Primal Connection“:

    10 Habits of Highly Successful Hunter-Gatherers:

    Habit #3: Build a Tribe

    Our ancestors depended upon a tight knit social circle. Their survival hinged upon it in fact. The band community of 25-50 people was forged within a sense of mutuality – action for the good of the group. It was more than simple transaction, larger than familial connection (not everyone was related). You became kin by being kin and sharing in the menial work, the ongoing stories, and the meaningful celebrations of the band.

    In this day and age, we live in proximity to numbers that would’ve stunned our ancestors. We count our social media “friends” into the hundreds, but we often miss a sense of close, continual connection. Exposure doesn’t fill our social wells. Neither do status updates.

    These days we can even go through our adult lives with few, if any, intimate relationships – the kind of connections that feel like kin – our own tribe. You’ve seen each other through transitions, successes, and disappointments. You have history and your own stories. The fact is, we haven’t outgrown or out-evolved the need for kin, however. We live with the same genes that benefited from social connection and the same biochemistry that rewards it. With frequent relocations and busy lives, connecting gets complicated. Too many of us end up socially adrift.

    If you find yourself at this point in your life without a core group, build one. Don’t make the excuse that you just missed the boat. It’s just too important. You’ll be glad you didn’t later. Feed this “highly successful” habit by first deepening the relationships you already have. When you begin seeing your partner, family members, kids, and closer friends as your tribe, you gain a whole new level of appreciation for the role they play in your life. Reconnect with old friends, and test the waters to see if there’s potential there to become close again. Get out into the world, meet people, and make an invitation. Invite a coworker for lunch. Join a book group or basketball league. Start a volunteer team at your house of worship or place of work. Create a Meetup group. Host an open house for the neighbors. Over time, cultivate the relationships that seem most genuine and promising. Cultivate that mutuality in small but significant ways. Bring your best to the friendship and expect the same in return.

    [Post here]

    We can start this transition now, while conditions among us are relatively calm — or wait until conditions compel us to start organizing this way.

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