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How I learned to love polygamy
The Browns of reality TV show fame practice polygamy, which they call "plural marriage," for religious reasons.
December 18th, 2013
09:34 AM ET

How I learned to love polygamy

Opinion by Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

(CNN) - When I heard a federal judge struck down part of Utah’s polygamy law last week, I gave a little squeal of delight.

To be clear, I'm an Episcopal priest, not a polygamist.  But I've met the family who brought the suit, and these people changed how I think about plural marriage.

Before I met the Browns - made famous by the reality television show “Sister Wives” - I had the kind of reaction most modern-day Christians would have to their lifestyle: Polygamy hurts women. It offers girls a skewed perspective of who they can be. It happens on cultish compounds. It’s abusive.


Yet when the Browns' show debuted, I began to question some of those assumptions, and when I had the opportunity to meet them a few years ago, I questioned them further.

In getting to know Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, and their children, I saw that these parents were extremely invested in raising girls and boys who were empowered to get an education, become independent thinkers and have a moral compass.

Indeed, children were so important to them not because they wanted to create more young polygamists - the Browns want their children to choose their own beliefs - but because their children were the people who would join them in heaven, and they wanted to raise a family kind enough, good enough, to achieve that goal.

The result is four parents equally invested in their children, and a gaggle of young people who are neither spoiled nor timid, entitled nor brainwashed.

The result is also four parents who strive to model what being empowered people of faith looks like in contemporary America.

Since meeting the Browns, I have become a supporter of them and their lifestyle, though I certainly can understand why others remain opposed.

So much negative publicity has been generated - and rightly so - by fundamentalist Mormon Warren Jeffs and his followers that it leaves little room in the American imagination to think that polygamy could be something different.

When I talk about the Browns with my friends and colleagues, most are opposed to my position, believing that the women could not possibly be respected, that the children could not possibly receive the attention they deserve.

MORE: Judge strikes down part of Utah polygamy law in 'Sister Wives' case

But it’s crucial to remember that, when done well, polygamy works because the participants have a different goal for marriage than monogamous couples: Most Americans believe that marriage is for the purpose of cultivating intimacy between two people, both sexual and emotional.

But for the Browns that takes a distant second to the goal of cultivating a community that together can reach heaven. It’s a different way of thinking about marriage and family, but it’s not inherently an abusive one.

Ultimately, I support the decision to loosen restrictions on polygamy because families such as the Browns exist who endeavor every day to live kind, healthy lives that are not harmful, not abusive.

I also believe there are theoretical reasons why, as a Christian, it makes sense to support healthy polygamous practices. It’s a natural extension for those Christians who support same-sex marriage on theological grounds. But even for those opposed to same-sex marriage, polygamy is documented in the Bible, thereby giving its existence warrant.

Some might say that supporting polygamy means supporting the abuse of women. But saying that it is OK for Christians to support plural marriage is not the same as saying that they should condone its abusive practices. Indeed, Christians should not, and cannot, do this.

MORE ON CNN: It's time to reconsider polygamy

It does mean, though, that there is room for Christians to support the right of consenting adults to make choices about marriage that align with their religious beliefs in a country that prides itself on religious freedom.

Through their television show, the Browns helped America learn that polygamists are just like the rest of us - they dress like us, go to public school like us, eat at Olive Garden like us - they just have more people committed to one another than the rest of our families do.

Finally, like us, they want to practice their faith. And as long as that practice is in the service of cultivating loving, healthy relationships that strive to honor God and neighbor, I believe it is possible for even nonpolygamous Christians such as myself to support their calling.

Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an Episcopal priest and author of  "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom." The views expressed in this column belong to Tumminio. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Bigamy • Christianity • Ethics • Faith • Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints • gender issues • Opinion • Religious liberty • Sexuality • Women

soundoff (1,215 Responses)
  1. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    As long as sexual and living arrangements between adults aren't coerced and are easily reversed there's no reason for outsiders to have any influence over them.

    December 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Abigail

      I tend to agree, but I have reservations when there are children. Not so sure it's a good environment for raising them.

      December 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • Drew

        I know plenty of people who were raised by multiple adults (the other adults being grandparents and other relatives.)

        December 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Jesus had two dads and He turned out OK.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Doc
          Maybe three the goat herder hung around a lot.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Grandparents add to the financial stability of a home. Extra non-working wives (as most of these are) with kids detract. I believe these kids were moved to public school, too, which at at least $13,000/kid is a welfare handout most families with a lot of kids and few earners would never pay off in taxes.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • Drew

          Marriage is irrelevant there. Plenty of married couples are childless, and plenty of people have children with multiple other people to whom they are not married. Outlawing polygamy does not keep this from happening.

          December 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • anchorite

      That's just it though, by demanding that the taxpayer sign off on it and give them multiple tax breaks and multiple custody and everything else a marriage confers, they insisting it become our business.

      January 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • Keith

        It seems that your government has decided that families are important to the "state" so they have decided to give benefits to those that choose to have families. I don't believe that we should restrict how those families are structured.

        May 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
  2. Eric

    So Danielle, would the Browns support women marrying more than one husband, polyandry? If not, how can you say or imply that their religious understanding of marriage and family is "empowering" for women? Isn't gender hierarchy and male privilege still central to their belief and practice? To point out that polygamy is "not an inherently abusive" relationship is hardly enough.

    December 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Keith

      You must not be married if you assume that multiple wives confers any power to the man at all. In fact each wife diminishes what little influence he may have. I have a hard enough time keeping up with one wife, I can see no reason to burden myself with additional responsibilities.

      May 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
  3. Colin

    If all are willing participants, let them be. If young women are coerced, that it obviously different, but consenting adults can live as man-man; man-woman; woman-woman; man-women; men-woman; or men-women as far as I'm concerned. I have no interest in what other people do in their bedroom.

    Have you ever noticed that it is always the Christians (and other theists) who want to dictate to everybody who and how they must love. As if it's any of their dam.n business.

    Christianity is the belief that an all-knowing , immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my $ex life. Atheism is the belief that the foregoing belief is ludicrous.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Fixed!

      In Colin's opinion Christianity is the belief that an all-knowing , immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my $ex life.

      In Colin's opinion atheism is the belief that the foregoing belief is ludicrous.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Colin

        So fixed, do you know any Christian who does not believe what I said?

        December 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Fixed!

          Yes! I live in the real world. Not your imagination...Sorry

          December 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Colin

          So fixed, your god is not all-knowing then?

          December 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Fixed!

          God must know all there is to be known.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Colin

          Fixed – so it does have a personal interest in what goes on in people's bedrooms. Thanks for playing.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Fixed!

          Thanks for just stating your opinion again. I get it, you have a stereotyped understanding of what Christians are and what they believe. It is easier for you to trust your imagination than look at reality.
          In reality you are just as deeply flawed as these Christians and this God you can't stop thinking about.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
        • Jon

          He is not a rocket scientist. He is a message board poster. If he had the education, intelligence and qualifications he would be writing CNN articles. Not bashing them like a troll.

          Give Colin a break. Let him believe what he wants.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Colin

          I responded to what what you just told me you believed !!

          December 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Fixed!

          God knows everything about you. You can bs yourself and other people. But deep down God knows the truth. This isn't about what happens in the bedroom. This is about how you live your life.
          So, yea, some right wing-fundies and some message board atheists decide God knowing all must just relate to bedroom behavior. Good for you guys. Another trait you have in common.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Colin

          Fixed, you said "So, yea, some right wing-fundies and some message board atheists decide God knowing all must just relate to bedroom behavior."

          I never restricted it to that. My point (which you either can;t get or want to ignore because it is embarrassing to admit) is that, if God is all knowing, it must know what goes on in people's bedrooms. And this is a crazy belief.

          Ergo, Christianity is (for this and many,many other reasons) a crazy belief. Childish, simplistic, cowardly and crazy.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          ahhh Foxed, you really are delusional on so many levels ...

          December 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Joey

        NO that really is what millions upon millions of Christians actually believe. In fact, everyone who thinks that being gay is a sin believes that.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Fixed!

          There are millions of g.ay Christians. I am one.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Joey

          What does that have to do with the fact that millions upon millions of Christians believe that god is interested in what goes on in human's bedrooms?

          December 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Fixed!

          There are millions of Christians that don't think the way you imagine they do.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Fixed!

          Most Christians I know don't believe that being g.ay is a sin.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • Colin

          Fixed -that's because, being gay, most of your friends are most likely either gay or straight people who do not have an issue with gay people. So, you attribute a personality to your sky-fairy consistent with your World view. As do the fundies and all other religions.

          Ever noticed that God loves all the same things you do, disapproves of all the same things you do, and has an identical moral outlook to you? Ever wondered if you made him in your image and not vice-versa?

          December 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Joey

          that is nice, but most Christians I know do think being gay is a sin.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Colin

          Joey -that's because, disapproving of gays, most of your friends are most likely straight people who disapprove of gays. So, you attribute a personality to your sky-fairy consistent with your World view. As does Fixed, other gay people and all other religions.

          Ever noticed that God loves all the same things you do, disapproves of all the same things you do, and has an identical moral outlook to you? Ever wondered if you made him in your image and not vice-versa?

          December 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Joey

          I don't disapprove of gays. I am all for gay marriage being legal. Sadly most of the Christians I know are not.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
        • Joey

          Also I don't believe in a sky-fairy, or any gods for that matter.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
      • igaftr

        Corretion to fixed.

        Fixed according to fixed.
        There, fixed it

        December 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Fixed.
        As you appear to disagree with "... christianity is the belief that an all-knowing , immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my sex life."

        What do you think christianity is about then. Christians want to regulate who can marry, and who can have consensual sex, based upon religious belief – which sounds like a personal interest in an other's sex life.

        December 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Fixed!

          Not all Christians behave that way. Just like not all atheists devote an insane amount of time to thinking about and talking about Christians and religion on blogs.

          Christians and atheists actually agree on a lot of things in regards to what you are talking about.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Fixed,
          If you follow the news, I don't know how you can disagree with that statement "Christians want to regulate who can marry, and who can have consensual sex, based upon religious belief".
          Another christian who spends all day on a belief blog complaining about atheists doing the same. Another christians alleging that they are victims when it is they who push their beliefs into our lives.!

          December 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Colin : Have you ever noticed that it is always the Christians (and other theists) who want to dictate to everybody who and how they must love.

      How do you define 'love' in the given context?

      December 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • Joey

        The same way you would define it when talking about your wife/husband and children.

        December 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Austin

        John 15:26-27

        New International Version (NIV)
        The Work of the Holy Spirit

        26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

        Live 4 Him keepin it real!

        December 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • igaftr

          Using Lie4him and "real" in the same sentence does not compute.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • N

          igaftr

          Stop acting like a troll. Don't change a person's name to a derogatory name. That is what immature school kids do. Are you an adult? No self-respecting atheist should have any criticism with a Christian while ignoring your moronic messages.
          Love,
          A fellow atheist.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • igaftr

          N
          Lie4him has a long history of misrepresenting science and giving opinion as if it were truth.
          That name was earned by all of the lies that person keeps posting.

          Mind yourself, and I will mind me.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Jon

          In other words, no, he is not an adult.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • Colin

        Joey pretty much captured it.

        December 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Joey

          I have a feeling that he won't want to use that definition.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • kjnm

      Charles Darwin even noted the abuses that come with polygamy. He showed how selfish men have historically been when they've practiced it

      December 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  4. the one truth

    As long as they receive the same tax benefits as a 2 person marriage....what exactly is the big deal?
    Does it offend christian sensibilities? Because worshiping an ancient sky god made up by middle-eastern Jews is offensive and idiotic to me.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    one brand of Christianity telling another brand of Christianity what they can and cannot do.

    and yet it's the SAME BOOK!

    and Christians wonder why atheists laugh at Christianity.

    December 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Colin

      Always funny to see internal disputes in the ranks of the Pe.nis-Nazis.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Fixed!

      Some atheists laugh at atheists that spend all day talking about Christians and God.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      They do provide a certain level of humor.
      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/16/fox-news-host-elisabeth-hasselbeck-thanks-creationist-for-standing-up-to-the-atheists/

      December 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Divorce: it's like parole from a life sentence

    One was bad enough!

    December 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Question

      Which 'one' are you talking about?

      December 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • Answer

        ===>that one over there!

        December 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  7. CommonSensed

    So long as they're good parents who cares? So many examples of "traditional marriage" parents who are utter FAIL at raising kids.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  8. Topher

    "But even for those opposed to same-s.ex marriage, polygamy is docu.mented in the Bible, thereby giving its existence warrant."

    Doc.umented, not endorsed.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Why did God then reward King David with a harem full of his enemies' wives?

      "Thus says the LORD God of Israel : 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. ' I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!"
      – 2 Samuel 12:8

      December 18, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Alias

        That does kind of sound like endorsed.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Topher

        First, that means nothing more than God had given David everything that was Saul's. It never said he married any of them and never says that he slept with them. Second, if I took your reasoning, God also gave everyone in Judah and Israel for David to marry. Clearly this didn't happen. And I'd also like to point out that the Bible states that the reason for Solomon's fall was that he married a bunch of women when he was told not to ...

        "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." Deuteronomy 17:17

        "11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant." 1 Kings 11:11

        December 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had came from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David. 2 Samuel 12:8
          It would be pretty reasonable that David was sleeping (fornicating) with his extra women with some regularity in order to have more children. Jeessuuss, Topher, you know how that works having knocked up your wife unless you are claiming multiple immaculate conceptions but that would negate jesus being a one of.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • sly

          Dude ... you take someone else's wives and NOT SLEEP WITH THEM? Are you gay? Crazy? Of COURSE he slept with them – what the hell else does one do with your enemies wives.

          Have 1 for breakfast, 2 for lunch, and all of them for dinner.

          You my friend are lost.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Give it up Topher, you idiot. Multiple wives were a part of the culture in the ancient Near East, (which is where the Babble GOT ALL it's legalisms). It did not CONTRIBUTE anything to the norms of the time.

        Lamech (a descendant of Cain) practiced polygamy (Genesis 4:19).
        Abraham had more than one wife (Genesis 16:3-4; 25:6, some called “concubines”).
        Nahor, who was Abraham’s brother, had both a wife and a concubine (Genesis 11:29; 22:20-24).
        Jacob was tricked into polygamy (Genesis 29:20-30), and later he received two additional wives making a grand total of four wives (Genesis 30:4, 9).
        Esau took on a third wife to please his father Isaac (Genesis 28:6-9).
        Ashur had two wives (1 Chronicles 4:5).
        Obadiah, Joel, Ishiah, and those with them “had many wives” (1 Chronicles 7:3-4).
        Shaharaim had at least four wives, two of which he “sent away” (1 Chronicles 8:8-11).
        Caleb had two wives (1 Chronicles 2:18) and two concubines (1 Chronicles 2:46, 48).
        Gideon had many wives (Judges 8:30).
        Elkanah is recorded as having two wives, one of which was the godly woman Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-2, 8-2:10).
        David, had at least 8 wives and 10 concubines (1 Chronicles 1:1-9; 2 Samuel 6:23; 20:3).
        Solomon, who breached both Deuteronomy 7:1-4 and 17:14-17, had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:1-6).
        Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines (2 Chronicles 11:21), and sought many wives for his sons (1 Chronicles 11:23).
        Abijah had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:21).
        Ahab had more than one wife (1 Kings 20:7).
        Jehoram had wives (2 Chronicles 21:17).
        Jehoiada the priest gave king Joash two wives (2 Chronicles 24:1-3),
        Jehoiachin had more than one wife (2 Kings 24:15).
        if Yahweh, (the god of the armies, cared), something would have been said or done.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Topher

          Ad hominems aside, you haven't demonstrated that God endorsed them. Yes, polygamy existed and was even tolerated. But as I posted, God forbid it. So all these men who had multiple wives (and no, concubines are not wives) were sinning and thus need a Savior.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          It is not ad hominem to call you a coward, liar and a fool when you reaffirm those descriptions everyday. Sh!t man read your own posts.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Topher
      The line from the article that you should pay the most attention to "the Browns want their children to choose their own beliefs". So go easy on the brainwashing Topher but of course you won't. The one universal thing about Born Agains is that they have to tell everyone else how to live and think.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Philip

      "Doc.umented, not endorsed."

      God was talking directly to some of these polygamists; if he didn't like polygamy you'd think he'd mention it to them. Perhaps you can point out where God forbids it?

      December 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Topher

        Deut. 17

        December 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          He should not take many wives, you interpret as take only one wife, more lies from our Topher, twist and turn the words to suit your purpose, pathetic.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Alias

    As a matter of legal responsibility and children, this could get messy.
    IF a man has 3 wives, and one of those wives has 2 other husbands, who is reaponsible for the children?

    I see comedy when they all 6 show up in divorce court seeking custody.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • G to the T

      You are describing a group marriage, no polygamy. In polygamy it's one husband per several wives. Polyandry would be one wife with multiple husbands. In both cases, the participants are not married to anyone else outside of that group.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • Alias

        We seem to be making different assumptions about how it would be regulated,
        If they ever change the laws I have no doubt some states will create real messes.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • G to the T

          True – but I'm not aware of any historical precedent for what you are describing whereas polygamy and polyandry have exitsted in various places throughout history.

          December 18, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • Drew

        No, polygyny is one husband, multiple wives.

        December 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Agreed. Polygamy s either of both. The whole world could be in one big relationship under true polygamy.i

          December 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  10. Topher

    " ... but because their children were the people who would join them in heaven, and they wanted to raise a family kind enough, good enough, to achieve that goal."

    Well, that's going to be a problem ... the Bible says there are none who are good.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Alias

      I care as much about what your bible says as you care about what Buddah said.
      Myabe less.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • Live4Him

        You cared more. I wouldn't have responded to a post on Buddah.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • ??

          Are you Topher, L4H??

          December 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Interesting. I would not have thought the two to be the same person.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • G to the T

      Wow – really trying to find SOMETHING wrong with this aren't you Toph?

      December 18, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Topher

      Because it is wrong. While I like the Browns very much — they seem like very nice people — part of their beliefs include the Bible. And the Bible says there are none who are good and that trying to be good and do good deeds is trying to earn your way into heaven. Christianity is not a works-righteous religion. Of course, Mormonism isn't Christianity and so have added these things.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Topher
        You seem to be the only authority of what is right or wrong. Pray tell us where in the bible it says polygamy is a sin? Your Baptist parsons twist the words in the bible so much it is hard to recognize it as the same book.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Adam

        Let's not start one of those "Your brand of Christianity is flawed, unlike mine, and so isn't really Christianity, like mine" kind of attacks.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • Philip

          No kidding, right? It cracks me up how everyone is so sure they've interpreted everything properly and those other sects have messed it all up and so are not really practicing Christianity.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Topher

        This isn't a "my Christianity is better than your Christianity" argument. It's just a matter of truth. Mormons don't call themselves Christians. In fact, their originator created Mormonism because he claimed Christianity had been corrupted over the years and was no longer in line with how it should be.

        December 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Philip

          I suggest you visit mormon.org and see if you are correct about them not claiming to be Christian.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Caught in yet another lie, keep up the good work.

          December 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Martin

          From askamormon.org:

          "Yes, we are Christians. ... This is based on the fact that we follow the teachings in the Bible – esp New Testament. ...We believe in Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is the Mediator between us and God. He suffered and died for our sins. Only through Jesus can we be saved..."

          December 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Topher

          askamormon.org is not official church doctrine.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Joey

          It is pretty simple, really. Do Mormons believe that Jesus died for their Sins? What? they do? Then they are Christians. Everything else is just opinion.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Got to any list of Christian religious sects/cults and you will find both Mormons and Catholics part of the list. They even include some of the nuttier cults like Baptists but of course you know better being the ultimate arbiter, what a moron.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          Mormons do indeed call themselves Christians.
          The first article of faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is“ We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”

          They are non-trinitarian Christians, but still Christian.
          For a better understanding of their views on Jesus Christ (their Lord and Saviour), you can read "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent" by Jeffrey R. Holland Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles off of the LDS.ORG website.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • ??

          "Not an official church doctrine"

          According to Topher, nothing is, excepts what HE deems proper doctrine.

          Keep reaching. You're a known liar, sir.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc

          If they are non-Trinitarian, they are not Christians. It's an essential belief. You cannot honestly call yourself Christian and Mormon. They are contradictory.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Wayne

          "You cannot honestly call yourself Christian and Mormon"

          Says you. Plenty of people say different.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • Topher

          Says me. Says the Bible. Says Christian doctrine.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Joey

          Topher, I thought the only belief that matters is that Jesus died to forgive the sins of the world? Isn't believing that the only way to heaven? If so then how could one's views on the trinity be the least bit important?

          December 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          I'm done playing Mormon apologist, but please do read that article I cited.
          It's from 2007 and is the current, official LDS stance regarding Trinitarian dogma as written by one of their high mucky-mucks.
          I probably like the Mormon church even less than you do, but neither am I a fan of your peculiar sect.
          However, at the end of the day, both churches say theu're christian.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          The trinity is mainstream Christian doctrine, Topher, but on what basis do you say it's biblical? Your Bible allows the doctrine or your Bible demands it?

          December 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • Wayne

          Funny how the people who insist that one can't use anything besides the bible for Christian beliefs like to also insist on the trinity, which is not described in the bible.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Says me, pompous and arrogant, who the hell do you think you are? Says the bible, really where in the bible does it mention the LDS or the Baptists or any other Christian sect, just your deceitful spin again? Says Christian doctrine, BS every cult/sect has their own version of doctrine and every cult/sect think they are right? You prove again that calling you a coward, liar and idiot is not ad hominem. BTW thanks for "banning" me but I still can get my points across, so all you did was ban me from your inane direct answers for which I am thankful, LMAO.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Topher

          Joey

          "Topher, I thought the only belief that matters is that Jesus died to forgive the sins of the world? Isn't believing that the only way to heaven? If so then how could one's views on the trinity be the least bit important?"

          Not quite. Trusting in Him is good, but you also must repent. Also, if you throw out the Trinity, who is Christ? Is He not the Son? If He's not God, his death was useless to us. So the Trinity is of VAST importance.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "However, at the end of the day, both churches say theu're christian."

          I'm not too proud to stand corrected. But it's my understanding that Mormons calling themselves Christians is a relatively new thing and used mostly by the youth of the church. It also seems to have gained new life when Romney first ran for president. Could be wrong on all of that, but it's what I'm told. But they still can't get around the fact what they teach is anti-Biblical and thus anti-Christian. They are not Christians.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Topher

          The Bible demands it.

          And it's a fallacy to say the Bible doesn't describe the Trinity. While the word "Trinity" isn't found there, it's clearly taught. Even in the OT, which is also often claimed. So all I can tell you is to read it for yourself.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Can you go over the relevant parts of the Bible, Topher?

          December 18, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher

          Finally a true statement. If He's not god, his death was useless to us. That's it you've got it, stop while you are being rational.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Me

          That is 100% a LIE, I have practiced Mormonism as a child and teen and it is more christian than you are that is for sure!!! You do realize that these polygamist groups are BREAK OFFS of the mormon church and are NOT part of the church, mormons do not believe in or practice polygamy. Now I am against all organized religion and you are making a great point of why I am, that does not mean I am not religous, just not part of organized religion!!

          December 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Joey

          I am not sure how you can claim that the Jewish people who wrote the Testament wrote about a Trinity that they didn't even believe in. At best Christians came back to the Old Testament and twisted parts of it so that they could claim ii mentioned the Trinity.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Wayne

          Topher: "Also, if you throw out the Trinity, who is Christ? Is He not the Son?"

          Why can't he be the son without there being a trinity? As I recall, there was a big debate about this in the early church. The trinity side won, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were right.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Me

          Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "However, at the end of the day, both churches say theu're christian."

          I'm not too proud to stand corrected. But it's my understanding that Mormons calling themselves Christians is a relatively new thing and used mostly by the youth of the church. It also seems to have gained new life when Romney first ran for president. Could be wrong on all of that, but it's what I'm told. But they still can't get around the fact what they teach is anti-Biblical and thus anti-Christian. They are not Christians.
          ___________________________
          WRONG again buddy, I was part of the church in the last 70's and 80's and they have been and called themselves christians since the start!!! Got to love people that think they know everything about something and really know absolutely NOTHING about everything! LMAO

          December 18, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Topher

          Wayne

          "Why can't he be the son without there being a trinity?"

          You do understand that when we call Jesus "The Son" we aren't calling Him God's offspring, right? The Son is a role designation within the Trinity. The Son is submissive to the Father as the Holy Spirit is submissive to the Son.

          Also, Jesus was God. Not only did He claim to be and prove to be, He had to be in order for Him to be able to take our punishment for us and to then defeat death by rising from the grave. And if there's no Trinity, and Jesus is God, who then spoke at His baptism ... what descended on Him like a dove? The Trinity is essential.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I would call Mormonism a polytheistic Christianity. They do seem to want to hide the polytheism, however.l

          December 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • Wayne

          "You do understand that when we call Jesus "The Son" we aren't calling Him God's offspring, right? "

          I understand that you're not. That doesn't mean you're right.

          December 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • Keith

        That is why there are 41,000 Christian denominations, many of them do not believe in your church either.

        May 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
    • Joey

      Yes, the bible says none are good, so obviously people shouldn't strive to do good things or be kind in life. Is it just me or does anyone else fell like they are taking crazy pills every time they read a post from Topher?

      December 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  11. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    It gets worse. The rapturists dis their own born again birthright and try to shuv it onto the not-a-jews. It's a peculiar form of pharisaical racism. It's way over the head of any A&A.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  12. Erik

    Careful there, CNN, most of your women are 'Sandra Fluke' kinds are progressive feminists, they may take offense to your references to opinions of others endorsing sister wife acts.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Erik

      *kind of

      December 18, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Erik

        sheesh that statement won't be complete without this -> 😉

        December 18, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  13. palintwit

    Let's face it. A voice than can cut glass combined with chronic flatulence is what tanked Sarah Palin's political career. She was a rising star indeed.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  14. Lana

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ

    December 18, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Stop it. Just stop it.

      December 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  15. ThinkFree

    Similar to the change of heart experienced by the author, history has shown time and time again that when we relax our prejudices about new and different ideas and practices, the reality isn't near as bad as expected. And with plural marriages like the Browns, which emphasize being good and nice, it seems that families like theirs might benefit society rather than destroy it. I support them!

    December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      There's nothing wrong with it as long as it is between informed and consenting adults. I'm not familiar with these people's story but many FLDS girls are indoctrinated at a young age and boys are often outcast. Then there's the welfare aspect of their living choices.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  16. Red Rocker

    Am I the only one that was aroused when she said, "... I gave a little squeal of delight." ?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Alias

      Porbably.
      Very probably.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:01 am |
      • G to the T

        Nope – I had the first initial impression.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  17. Alias

    The bible only seem to think it is men that can have multiple wives. Can a woman also have as many husbands as will have her?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There are very few historical examples of polyandry, likely due to the plain facts of human reproduction – IE: one man can impregnate several women per day but a woman can only reproduce around once a year.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Alias

        I wasn't considering the reproductive efficiencies, just a little thing called equal rights.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • N

          I agree with you. What's good for the goose, and all.

          December 18, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • lunchbreaker

        It might work for kangaroos, the female kangaroo has 3 va ginas and can get pregnant from differnet males in each one.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • doobzz

          Considering that Eve was a genetic male who supposedly populated the entire world, I'd say anything is possible for xtians to rationalize.

          Interesting about the kangaroo though.

          December 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    The Bible is rife with examples of "righteous" polygamists.

    GENESIS 4:19
    "Then Lamech took for himself two wives : the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah."
    Deuteronomy 21:15
    "If a man have two wives, one beloved and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:"
    Exodus 21:10
    "If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights."
    King David is called "a man after God's own heart" and he had multiple wives.
    1 Samuel 25:43 states:
    "David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives."
    2 Samuel 5:13:
    "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David."
    2 Samuel 12:8
    "Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel : 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. ' I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!"
    GENESIS 32:32
    "And he [Jacob] arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok."
    2 CHRONICLES 11:21
    "Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters."

    December 18, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • CommonSensed

      Don't confuse them. They want to pick and choose their facts and history.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Ann

      Doc:
      What's your point. While committing these sins they were not called righteous people. They were punished for their sins just like everyone else. As you rightly states, David was a man after God's on heart. He was the apple of his eye. Not because of his sin but his praise and love for God. He had a repentant heart. God allowed all of this but he did not agree with it. Just like he allow us to do a lot of wrong things and get away with it today, all in his Name; but because of his great love for us and mercy we are not consumed. Jesus said shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; not someone else wife but his own. Also, the Bible makes it clear that no adultery or fornicator will enter his kingdom.

      December 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • igaftr

        Ann
        The bible also makes it clear that you can make striped gots by having a mating pair stare at striped objects, that you can tell if a woman is unfaithful by having her drink holy water mixed with dust, and that there was a global flood....all of which are ridiculous.

        Don't believe everything you read.

        December 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Ann

          Conscience tells you that if a man comes home and takes a shower after handing out with his so called buddies, he is unfaithful. LOL

          December 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • igaftr

        Ann
        The bible also makes it clear that if you are a woman, you should be asking your husband or patriarch for answers such as the ones you seek.

        December 18, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
        • Ann

          That's why Jesus came through a woman giving us equal footage. Don't you know that we (women) now have a voice. We don't have to listen to idiots like you. Go read your Bible!

          December 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Ann
          I think you should go back and read YOUR Bible.
          Timothy is in the New Testament.
          , "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."
          – 1 Timothy 2:11

          If Christ redeemed womankind for leading humanity to all perdition, why was God's curse upon your gender not lifted?
          Childbirth is still a painful affair, isn't it?

          December 19, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  19. Holiday Winter Scenes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MSoLTSdmsM

    December 18, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  20. oh brother

    Brother Husbands

    December 18, 2013 at 9:36 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.