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Ailing Church Leaders: “Not Ideal Governance”

I enjoyed our latest conversation with Greg Prince.  We talked about incapacitation of church leaders due to medical factors.  Is this a problem in our church ailing church leaders having such an advanced age and becoming incapacitated due to medical issues?

Greg: So, if you’re just looking at this from a medical standpoint, it’s inevitable that incapacitation of an LDS Church president will be both more frequent and longer lasting.  In a fast-paced, complex world with a growing church, that may not give you the ideal governance.  So the question is, what do you do about it?

What we did about it is to say look.  Here’s the medicine involved in this, period.  If they choose to address the situation at some point, it’s their call.  But what we can say with a high level of confidence, because we looked at this through the eyes of medicine is, this is the situation.  It’s going to happen more frequently, and last longer.

Now a few month ago, Greg took some flak over a comment he made about church policies changing.  He made a similar comment to me when I asked if he saw the succession policy changing.

GT:  Do you ever see this policy changing?

Greg:  I see virtually anything changing because I have seen everything change.  I’m not aware of a single LDS doctrine of any significance that from 1830 forward has gone completely unchanged.  You’d think a lot of them would, but it turns out, no there were some substantial changes in many cases very early on.  If you just look at the First Vision narratives, you see the evolution of Joseph Smith’s theology of deity, and it’s taking place in a very rapid fashion and in a very dramatic fashion.

It wasn’t just nibbling at the periphery.  He was going through evolutionary leaps in the way that he portrayed the godhead.  That was reflected in his subsequent retellings of the story of the First Vision.  Each time he told it anew, it incorporated the then current version of his theology of deity.  That’s why those different versions are telling different stories, because they became theological narratives rather than historical narratives.

What do you think?  Are LDS policies changing?  Has there really been no LDS point of theology that hasn’t changed significantly over the history of the church?  Don’t forget to talk about our previous conversation on the leadership vacuums caused by extended periods of incapacitation.  Check out the conversation…

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Polygamy & 2002 Olympics

This is our last conversation with Anne Wilde.  I’ve really enjoyed talking with her and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.  In this episode we’ll talk about the reasons why she co-founded the group, Principle Voices, and her role in the 2002 Olympics.

Then for various reasons, there were three of us:  Mary Batchelor, Marianne Watson, and I that thought somebody has got to come out with a better representation of how this principle can be lived, and not let the women that are leaving and have a bitter story to tell be the voice of polygamy.  They have a right to tell their story.  We never doubted that for a minute.  But there were three or four, and they were coming out, a few more, and writing books about what a terrible lifestyle was.

So the three of us got together and really felt impressed that we were the ones to write a book with a more positive outlook on it.  So we did, and we sent out invitations for plural wives to participate anonymously.  We got a hundred responses.  It was amazing the stories that they told.  We said keep it short, one or two pages at the most.  Give us an expression of your testimony or experience that you had to show that this principle can work for you, not everybody, but it works.

Don’t forget to learn more about her personal life!  Check out our conversation…..

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How Does Anne Justify Concubines & Law of Sarah?

We’re going to take a deep dive into section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It deals with the Law of Sarah.

Anne:  Yeah, ok.  Ideally the Law of Sarah is the first wife gives consent for any subsequent wives.  If she does not give her consent then it says that the man is exempt from that law, which is the case with Joseph Smith.  Emma didn’t give her consent except for a couple of instances, so he was exempt from that law.  He could go ahead and take wives without her consent according to section 132, and I believe that’s the case.

GT:  So why have a law if you’re exempt from it?  Is that really a law?

Anne:  Well it’s an ideal law, if things were [ideal], but the thing is, if that were the case then the woman would have control over the family, who came in it, who he married.  This is a priesthood law.  This is not a matriarchal law.  The man is obligated I believe, and Ogden did, to try and be as patient as you can with the first wife and explain it to her, have a period of time where you are working with her if she’s opposing it, and then if it comes to a point where you can see that she’s never going to accept that, does that mean his exaltation is jeopardized because the first wife won’t let him live a celestial law?  That doesn’t make sense.  It’s a priesthood law, not a woman’s law.

GT:  I understand that.  A woman, most LDS women, I’m going to try my best to channel my LDS woman here, but they’re going to say, “Well look.  You’re telling me—to me the Law of Sarah, if a man can be exempt from the Law of Sarah, what’s the point having a “Law of Sarah?”  It’s more of an idea.  It’s ideal.

Anne:  No, it’s an ordinance.  In fact during the marriage ceremony she is supposed to put the hand of the future wife, the prospective wife into the hand of her husband.  That’s part of the ceremony. But if she doesn’t go along with it and is not going to be there, he’s exempt from that.  Otherwise, it just makes sense to me.

We also discuss concubines.

Anne:  Well my understanding of that is that they are “lesser wives.”  They are not covenant wives.  They are probably not eternal-type wives.  But I think there are traditions and customs in countries that God allows to happen.  They may not be His religious way of doing things, but he allows them to adhere to the customs and traditions of the country at the time.  I would assume it was something like that.

Abraham was building up a kingdom, kind of like, whatever the reason, God acknowledged that.  It’s not a religious thing necessarily.  We talk about the difference between civil rights and religious rights, they were civil ceremonies probably, probably.  I really don’t know how to explain that any better.

GT:  These concubines would have been for time only essentially?

Anne:  Yeah, correct.  Who knows if some of the others are going to be only for time too?  You have to be worthy.

Anne Wilde will give her perspective on these two important points in section 132.  We’ll also talk about the verses that refer to Emma Smith being destroyed if she doesn’t accept polygamy.  What does Anne think about this?  Check out our conversation…..