31: LDS Women and the Principle of Eternal Plural Marriage

Heather hosts an all ladies panel with Lindsay Hansen Park, Amy Blosch and first time guest Amber Pechin Price to discuss the doctrine of plural marriage and how Mormon women deal with polygamy in the “eternities”.

1972 letter from the First Presidency regarding women and temple recommends

Utah Census Number and Mormon Polygamy



  1. Chris

    Great episode! Just kept thinking how this episode should be played by missionaries to investigators – just to prove that Mormons are Christians, too, since this “theology” is IDENTICAL! ;-)

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 04:12:15
    • Tasha Adams

      I think they should play it for investigators, so they kmow what the hell they are getting into! ;)

      Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:48:18
  2. Heather_ME

    I have to take back something I said to Amy in this episode. I disagreed with her when she said my choice to not make covenants was empowering. I said it brought me a lot of misery. Upon further reflection, I think my sadness came from the other choices I made in conjunction with my decision to skip temple marriage. I had also chosen to be single (and intentionally lonely) for the rest of my life. Being single doesn’t have to equate to sadness. There are plenty of people who lead perfectly fulfilling lives as a single person. I’m just not one of them. I’m much happier having the companionship and support of my husband. So, basically, the choice to not take temple covenants can DEFINITELY be empowering. It could have been for me… if I had made different choices along side that decision. :)

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:28:09
  3. Keth

    I think I kind of went back and forth between polygamy not bothering me and then bothering me. When I saw Anna and the King and Anna asks if his wives get jealous he says that he has a personal relationship with each one. That comforted me and made me think polygamy couldn’t be so bad if it was like that. Of course, I had not thought of how it would really work having his time divided up between each one. I used to have dreams of being married to my sister’s husband and in the dream it wouldn’t bother me, but it kind of freaked me out when I was awake. I don’t really worry much about polygamy now because I don’t believe it is right or that we’ll be asked to do it again.

    I have a friend whose grandmother died and her grandfather remarried, but was not sealed to. There has been talk of him getting sealed to his second wife and his family has not taken it well.

    My Mom would joke that she’d be fine with polygamy as long as she gets to pick the other wives.

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 12:36:02
  4. Tasha Adams

    Wonderful podcast! I appreciated the varied members on this panel!

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:27:33
  5. amy

    i’m happy that everyone is enjoying this podcast! Polygamy always provides endless opportunities for discussion :)

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:15:05
  6. Chad

    Thanks. I really enjoyed your discussion. It is funny how my view on polygamy has changed over the years. Being a male and TBM, I thought of course this is the way it is going to be in the eternities. But, as I’ve grown up and gained a much more, dare I say enlightened perspective, my attitude could not have changed more. Now I can only view it as a horrible and bordering on if not evil practice. The church has essentially tried to rewrite the history of polygamy.

    We like to pretend that it was practiced in a very humane and kind manner. Today’s leaders either completely ignore the issue or claim is was practiced very differently than the FLDS currently practice it, but look at the record. Lorenzo Snow at the age of 57 married a 14 year old (this is not an exception to the rule either). Can anyone propose a possible situation where this would be moral (other than perhaps they are the last 2 humans on earth)? I know times where different back then, but they were not that different. You can’t tell me that a 14 year old did that of her own free will and choice. I just do not buy it for a second. I have to imagine that a tremendous amount of patriarchal authority and pressure was involved in this match. It just makes me sick.

    The problem with eliminating and acknowledging the issues surrounding polygamy is that the church and its moral authority just fall apart. Too many of the men that were supposedly prophets, seers and revelators participated in what I can see as nothing less than child abuse.

    Reply Feb 14, 2013 @ 19:10:29
    • Josh

      Chad, I think I could have written your same post – word for word.

      Reply Feb 18, 2013 @ 15:10:10
  7. Ana

    I have a technical question. Is there a way to fast forward any of these podcasts? The podcast has stopped twice, and each time I have had to start listening from the beginning again. It’s frustrating. It would also be nice to rewind when I want to listen again to a comment.

    Reply Feb 15, 2013 @ 17:26:58
    • brandt


      We’ve had some weird problems with our podcast host and our server that we’re trying to iron out. As of right now, your best option is to download it by either clicking the “Download” button or right click-save as.

      Reply Feb 15, 2013 @ 18:20:05
  8. Kathy

    Wow, I didn’t know there were other women out there like my mom. She is a temple attending, tithing paying,tbm, who has no desire to go to the celestial kingdom. We never had a discussion about plural marriage because it was something that would never concern her. When we would talk about her lack of desire to go to the CK she would say that she just didn’t want the responsibility of it all. She refuses all callings except secretary or pianist. She is still very tbm.
    Looking back on my tbm days, if I would have known so many people had so many problems with what was being taught I would have questioned earlier. Instead I thought it was just me.

    Reply Feb 17, 2013 @ 14:50:29
  9. Wes

    Best line from this episode –

    Amy: “I’m so glad I’m out of this shit.”

    Reply Feb 19, 2013 @ 12:48:05
    • amy

      LOL! *spontaneous utterance*

      Reply Feb 20, 2013 @ 15:19:54
  10. Ozpoof

    It’s incredible how much psychological trauma this doctrine causes women who played by the rules and looked the part – nice, TBM, hetero breeders.

    It’s not just gays and others who don’t fit the Mormon mold who are damaged by this religion.

    I really loved this episode and appreciate seeing the church through the eyes of the people I thought had it so good – heterosexuals. I guess we all got hurt.

    Take care.

    Reply Mar 01, 2013 @ 09:55:43
  11. Rob

    This was my introduction to the Expositor and not only did I learn a lot, but it got me to start listening to some of the other podcasts as well.

    I’ve been trying to make sense of what I see and experience here and Utah and hearing it from folks who grew up in it helped explain the situation better (didn’t make it any less disturbing though).

    I am a father of little girls and I cannot understand how any LDS man could promote this (or any version of it) for their daughters. It truly boggles the mind. I see this in my neighborhood and I want to grab these fathers by the neck and ask them how they can do this to their little girls.

    Reply Mar 02, 2013 @ 21:30:21
    • amy

      yay!!! welcome new listener!

      Reply Mar 17, 2013 @ 07:19:44
  12. zo-ma-rah

    Very nice discussion. I enjoyed it. It was nice to see this subject from a woman’s perspective. But I think the discussion was muddied by the culture bias of the panelists. anciently humans were very much polygamist in an egalitarian way. All the men shared all the women. It was only with the advent of agriculture that males become dominant and things such as property rights became important. Before that a father didn’t are if a child was his genetically or not. There are still cultures today where after a woman becomes pregnant she is encouraged to have sex with multiple males. Each of those males feels they are the biological parent of the child.

    The disgust with polygamy today doesn’t come from polygamy itself but rather our modern culture. It is possible to live in polygamy without any jealousy at all. The problem is we are culturally programmed to feel that jealousy. I think we would all be a lot better of if we quite blaming polygamy and started to examine the enculturation we all experience. The feeling that someone can’t share their husband or wife is just cultural bullcrap. I don’t believe the Joseph was perfect and I believe Brigham Young was wrong in a lot of things especially polygamy. It was Brigham’s version of polygamy that cut out polyandry(woman with more than one husband). Under Joseph Smith women could have more than one husband.



    I think that this post from LDSAnarchy explains a lot of those more far out Mormon teachings that just don’t make sense from other perspectives. While not a lot of people can stomach what this post proposes it actually is what makes the most sense to me. It explains a lot of what was discussed in this episode. Things such as becoming Gods, creating planets, who is married to whom, creating planets, etc.

    Reply Mar 12, 2013 @ 03:36:18
    • amy

      i think you are right….the convo is “muddied” because of cultural bias. But we weren’t trying to talk abt polygamy in an expansive, world-view perspective-we were specifically speaking to polygamy in the context of Mormonism, the CK and how women in (and out) of the Church have dealt with it or deal with it. If we had aimed to talk abt the issues you feel were lacking then the discussion wouldnt have been entitled “LDS Women and the Principle of Eternal Plural Marriage”. As such i feel we addressed our topic perfectly. Also, from everything i have ever read on the subject of early Mormonism and polyandry, very few husbands were “in” on JS’s marriages to their wives….not exactly a good argument for polyandry IMO (and i still dont know how that even falls under DC132 doctrinally). And also from what i’ve read none of the women approached JS in hopes of being married to both him and their husbands so it seems like it was not so much as “Under Joseph Smith women could have more than one husband” as it was just another way for him to accrue more women. Women were always the bartering tool and they rarely if ever had any power or real choice in the matter.

      And, as a woman that actually has no real problem with polygamy, it really pisses me off when anyone claims that “we would all be a lot better of if we quite blaming polygamy and started to examine the enculturation we all experience” because what you are essentially saying is that the problem isnt the “problem” its the person. That if we could just “get right” with the program everything would all make sense and we would all be SO much happier. Hmmmmm ….. where have i heard that before….?

      Reply Mar 17, 2013 @ 07:19:06
  13. zo-ma-rah

    Well I understand that the purpose of your discussion was limited to the LDS context. Yet the panelists kept saying how bad polygamy was; not Joseph Smith’s polygamy, Brigham Young’s polygamy etc.; just polygamy. My point is that this conversation was heavily biased against polygamy and, in my opinion, didn’t do very well at showing positive and beneficial polygamy.

    I still believe my statement that “we would all be a lot better of if we quite blaming polygamy and started to examine the enculturation we all experience” is accurate. I’m not blaming the people I’m blaming out culture. It is our American culture that causes our problems with polygamy. So polygamy is not the problem. Humans evolved in polygamous egalitarian tribes. Human’s successfully lived for thousands of years in polygamous tribes without jealousies and without the modern problems associated with polygamy. So it is clear that the problem is not with polygamy, but with our modern cultural relationship to it. And i do firmly believe that if we can strip away our negative cultural notions and practices we would be better off. The problem is the culture. The way to fix it is to change our culture. We change our culture by changing ourselves.

    41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    The clause, “and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing” allows for a condition where a woman can be married to more than one man.

    Reply Mar 19, 2013 @ 15:13:35
  14. Alex Ashby

    When someone in church explains that there will be way more women than men in the celestial kingdom (which I don’t believe) so we either have option #1 of sharing our husbands with them or a option #2 of keeping those women from progressing, let’s respond with “secret option number 3″ which is to create a bunch of male spirit children, send them to an earth and then our single sisters can choose their pick of those that “make it back”. After all, we’ll be Goddesses then, will we not?

    Reply Mar 28, 2013 @ 18:42:11
  15. Mike

    This was my first exposure the Expositor. My impression is this episode was bias against the Mormon culture. As husband with ONE wife, I don’t ever want any more than one. As a father of two daughters, I don’t want them treated as second class citizens.

    What the panelists passed off as Mormon doctrine, are things I was never taught. Maybe they are exposing bad Mormon traditions. For example I was never taught that after I die i was going to be assigned to marry more wives. I reject that as doctrine.

    My understanding is marriage, like baptism has to be done in this life. So if I die with one wife, then I’m not going to be assigned a heard of women in the next life. My wife would spend an eternity trying to perfect me! How could I possibly be perfect for her, then be perfect for another woman. I don’t follow nor do I believe that.

    Also the panelists pointed out teachings from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young but I didn’t hear any later leadership quoted. And the sources – like Journal of Discourses – are not doctrine…at least I don’t take them as doctrine.

    I do agree that in the more recent years, the church has glossed over some things. And this medium is a good check on the culture of mormonisn. There are a lot of things wrong with the culture. But I have not rejected the fundamentals as I understand them and how they apply to me.

    No matter how much I disagree with the “doctrine” I heard on this episode, I agree with much of the criticisms of the Mormon culture. I’m always interested to hear honest discourse

    Reply Mar 29, 2013 @ 14:44:14
  16. Amber

    Once a prophet always a prophet… unless you say something embarrassing.
    I would contend that until there is nothing from Mormon Doctrine used in manuals then it is indeed “Doctrine.” Cherry picking only the ‘good’ parts isn’t acceptable. Mormons you have a shitty past. Your prophets said a lot of shitty things as Prophets. Accept it and own it- don’t dance around it. They’re either prophets or not.

    Reply Apr 12, 2013 @ 17:23:19
    • Alex Ashby

      I couldn’t agree more with you Amber. Honesty would clear out all the skeletons and allow people to deal with the truth & heal. Could say more to back you up but you put it perfectly.

      Reply Apr 14, 2013 @ 01:17:58
    • Joseph

      This cracks me up… @ Amber.. Are you currently a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Yes or No, if Yes, why have you not asked to have your name removed from the records of the church? I also have to question why you ladies care so much about tearing down one’s belief’s? Right or Wrong, it doesn’t matter and it certainly ISN’T your job to tear down someone else’s belief? If you don’t go to church, who freaking cares??? You ladies spewing all of this does not effect me in any way shape or form, are you trying to get more people ‘educated’ is that the name of the game?

      In the end, why does it matter, if you don’t believe then don’t participate… I’m sure you’ll find you will have more time to be a mother, friend, wife and neighbor then trying to complete some conquest…. What if all Mormon’s are wrong, how does that effect YOU negatively?

      The End!

      Reply Jun 25, 2013 @ 22:10:06
  17. Mike

    Infallibility of prophets? Wrong religion. I would say all the prophets made unprophetic statements. Even Paul. So the shitty things prophets said like “love your family”, “love God”, live a better life, be kind, repent, try your best all get thrown out because of fallible statements they made. I don’t dance around anything. You can tell me your view of cherry picking. But you don’t have the right to tell me what I believe. I know what I have been taught. And I was never taught about being handed a gaggle of girls in the next life. That’s yet another religion.

    I’m more interested in why you do what you do. Stick with your views, opinions, facts as you know them, what you think is good or shitty. That is interesting and entertaining.

    I know all about me and my faith. And I’ll believe what I believe. I don’t really care what you find “acceptable” about me.

    Reply Apr 14, 2013 @ 01:10:21
    • Greg Rockwell

      Mike, I think there is something to be said here about defensible views of Mormonism, vs. the comprehensive or definitive view of Mormonism.

      You have a defensible view of Mormonism, extracted from legitimate source material. It works for you. It doesn’t sound like it involves a ton of Kolob-based cosmological speculation. It doesn’t sound like it involves the 18th century Utah gems passed down from earlier prophets. To what degree it may involve Bruce R. McConkie-isms or even nuggets of joy from our dear present Boyd Packer is not clear. What is clear is that you are pulling theological material from a giant pool of possibilities, applying it to your life in ways that you find satisfying and (hopefully) productive and you appreciate that.

      This is a defensible view of Mormonism. Uchtdorf, for instance, presents a defensible view of Mormonism.

      But it is not a definitive view of Mormonism. Nor is it comprehensive. AND THAT’S OK.

      Amber, for her part, also presents a defensible view of Mormonism, drawn from source material that is every bit as defensible as yours. That source material includes folk doctrine and prophetic utterances. Undocumented folk doctrine is a highly common (and defensible) aspect of the Mormon experience. As we saw in this last conference when we learned that you should bloom where you are planted, or in the prior when we learned that sleepovers are not encouraged, or as practically any young woman could tell you when she reminisces on licked cupcakes.

      Likewise, it is hard to understand blithely tossing out the Journal of Discourses as illegitimate when it is essentially everything said by the guardians of the prophetic priesthood line of authority over many generations. The only logical response to tossing out the Journal of Discourses is to toss out current conference talks as well (and I would consider that a defensible view of Mormonism as well, but then, what are you left with? I guess you could be left with the RLDS/COC, itself as defensible as the Brighamite church).

      Amber’s view is no more comprehensive than yours, but it is every bit as defensible. It may not be the Mormonism you identify with or adhere to, but it comes from the definitive Mormon wellspring.

      I contend that there can be no coherent, comprehensive, definitive view of Mormonism to follow. The source material is too much of a mess. There are too many contradictions, too many reversals. The truth, in this case, does not circumscribe into one great whole.

      If you really need (Mormon) truth to come together into one cohesive whole, you will most certainly be disappointed, and probably lose your faith.

      If you don’t, bully for you.

      Ok, now that I have (hopefully) validated everyone’s position, I do have a minor sticking point that needles me incessantly.

      If one wants to defend the fallibility of prophetic utterances (and believe me, I understand why it is necessary), how does one reconcile the temple teachings on “the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture” which features prominently in the highest instruction Mormons have from heaven?

      For some reason Jeff Holland skipped that in his talk and I deeply need someone to help me understand why our very human, prophetic leaders follow Satan’s pattern of teaching by mixing their own human philosophies with divine teachings. It’s…. troubling to me.

      Can you help?

      Reply Apr 15, 2013 @ 12:36:21
      • Mike

        I was away for some time so there was a delay in checking in on this site.

        Sorry I can’t help you. I believe you describe yourself as disavowed or non-believer, or an apostate. How is it that you write about “our very human, prophetic leaders”? I’m confused because by your own definition they are not your leaders are they?

        I’ve listened to a couple more episodes on this site, and this site isn’t what I thought it would be. The site is more of a condemnation of the Utah Mormon culture, extrapolated to their doctrine.

        So sorry, I can’t help you understand something you fundamentally don’t believe.

        Reply May 07, 2013 @ 20:49:22
  18. Laura B

    If, by “Utah Culture,” you mean “Patriarchal misogyny,” then, yes, this site is a condemnation of a culture which has treated women so poorly that we use more anti-depressants and make less money than our peers across the nation. We are not blaming any particular man for this issue–it IS a cultural phenomenon, much like the Taliban is a cultural phenomenon, and we are trying to figure out just how we got here so that we can go forward with more equality and well-being. We don’t want to leave anybody behind; we just want to break free from cultural and social bondage.

    Reply May 30, 2013 @ 13:51:05
  19. My thoughts on polygamy in podcast format | notjustonereason

    […] Give it a listen […]

    Reply Jun 26, 2013 @ 00:06:41
  20. Carrie

    Ok, so polygamy teaches me that as ONE woman in myself WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. There must be more than one woman for a man to be a God. It also makes me feel that men are disgusting creatures that always want sex. I can’t even right now. Seriously. My daughter is supposed to be baptized next month and now I totally don’t want her to now.

    Reply Jul 06, 2016 @ 00:14:40

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