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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. dwight

    Tumminio is surely delusional and watches way too much TV and believes what she watches. She knows nothing of the fundamental Morminism and its kind of poligamy which is more prevalent than the Browns and the corruption that exist within. The Browns are more progressive and do not represent the majority of those who practice poligamy within Mormonism.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  2. Grunt653

    Pitiful. Take a trip to Hilldale sometime. The women who live in Hilldale share a husbamd with women who live in Colorado City. They collect welfare from each state claiming they dont know huo the daddy is. The money is communalized. The husband drives a new diesel 4×4, the women make their own dresses.
    Sure come on, lets throw away all we learned the last 1000 years and embrace change cause we are smarter than our forefathers.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • dwight

      Exactly. Anybody wonder how the Browns survive, with him working construction and some of his wives working while supporting all the kids. Outside support from the rich Mormon community and the government. Four out of the five women are not technically in a marriage and capable of claiming single household benefits. The Mormons own the construction co. and out bid the other construction cos. using leverage from the Mormon community and thus kill competetion within the area. It is like a religious mafia.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Some Antics

      So you are saying that because there are groups who are defrauding the State or Federal government through deceitful tax evasion and lying, we should maintain a ban against consenting adults deciding to have multiple partners in their legal partnerships?

      December 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  3. J Russ

    I don't see it as Christians trying to dictate who marries who and what goes on in the bedroom......I see it as the government doing that. Christians may not agree with your choice, and some my voice that, but it's the government that sets the rules. As a Christian I have no concern for your choices that do not affect me regardless of my beliefs. I do take offense at my government dictating what is correct and what is moral and what is legal.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  4. lol??

    All the garbage from the 19th century gave the wurld a swell 20th. Moving on.............

    December 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  5. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=f35gG0x-fo8

    December 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  6. Vic

    I already pitched in on this one earlier.

    Now, I was expecting an article to go on the CNN Belief Blog about ESPN accepting a "Jesus Ad" by a Children's Hospital after rejecting it. I am surprised it didn't, so far!

    December 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  7. Vic

    I already pitched in on this one earlier.

    Now, I was expecting an article to go on the CNN Belief Blog about ESPN accepting a "Jesus Ad" by a Children's Hospital after rejecting it. I am surprised it did, so far!

    December 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Vic

      Sorry, mishap!

      December 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Billy

        Mishap to some; to others, it's an original sin.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  8. lynn

    Icky–Does the man "do" several wives a night and does he bath himself before moving on to the next? The women don't mind sharing a husband, but do they mind sharing the man's private parts? Jealously must play a part in their lives, its only human nature to think you are the one and only love in a man's heart. It's still an icky lifestyle.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Some Antics

      I find eating chicken livers icky, doesn't mean I think it should be illegal.

      There are thousands and thousands of women I have seen during my life that I find icky or unattractive and would never consider being intimate with them, that doesn't mean it should be illegal for anyone to love them.

      Something being icky to you just means it's not for you, and since no one is forcing anyone else to get gay married or polygamous married then why do you care?

      December 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      "Jealously must play a part in their lives"

      Why? Some of us don't suffer from that particular vice. Jealousy is not a natural byproduct of love, like so many think. It's the awful union of insecurity, mistrust, and and vanity.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • theshadowsmoon

        Very well said, Schmaltz, very well said indeed.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • doobzz

      For someone who is raised believing that polygamy is not offensive, it would not seem "icky", any more than people who are raised thinking that Abraham marrying his half sister and raping his slave isn't offensive is "icky".

      Personally, I find nothing wrong with any form of polygamy, so long as it's consensual and respectful. Abraham, on the other hand, is an abomination of a human.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • sunbird

        @doobz
        Whatever Abraham did was not in original design of what God had in mind at creation. Abraham did what he did for the appeasement of his wife's insecurity of not being able to bear a child God gave him the free will to do that. THat's all there is to it. However, within the confines of God's covenant of marriage with his wife sarah, Isaac was born, As a result, all Christians are heritage of that covenantal marriage. Pretty thick and strong roots I would say for staying withing God's covenant. We should probably stick with that one 🙂

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

        I'm well aware of the motives for Abraham's rape of his wife's slave. Could you please explain how that makes it okay for him to marry his sister, force her to lie, pimp her out to world leaders to save his own skin, rape a woman to make things nice for her, and send the slave woman and her child out into the desert to die (again to make nice with his sister/wife)?

        How does this behavior constitute "pretty thick and strong roots I would say for staying withing God's covenant"?

        You can put up all the pretty window dressing you want, but your god and your god's choices for his representatives are abominable. You'd do better to look at what the words really say, rather than how your pastor explains away the bible's rampant misogyny. Or perhaps you don't mind being thought of as chattel.

        December 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • sunbird

          hey dude
          I can understand your angst man but you have to understand that God did not approve of abraham doing that...he actually treated abraham as a sinner for doing those things. Christ came to save abraham and us from doing those things. Those evil things were not part of God's original design. At that time, there weren't laws against incest until God established it HUNDREDS of years later, which is why way later it says in: Deuteronomy 27:22 clearly states that for a man to marry his father's daughter (as Abraham did) is a sin!
          God let a lota things fly before the 10 commandements, and still after the 10 commandments, he let a lota things hang in the air because he knew Christ would come. NONE OF THOSE THINGS FLY AFTER CHRIST! Christ made things right...at this point if you don't believe Christ and his finished work, you are accountable for all the crap that was done in the OT. God doesn't approve of any of those things

          December 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • doobzz

          That's a big ass bite of assumption you took there. I don't have angst about your fantasies. I'm merely commenting on how the founding father of three major religions was an incestuous ra>/b>pist, who pimped his sister/wife out to save himself, among other things.

          I don't buy your excuse that he didn't know any better. Didn't Adam and Steve eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Didn't he "inherit" this "sin"? Kind of makes your idea that he didn't know these things were wrong fall apart.

          And if your god let a lot of things fly, then it's a petty punk, because it killed everyone on the planet at one point, killed children for laughing at a bald man, and numerous other murders because someone "displeased" it.

          " you are accountable for all the crap that was done in the OT. "

          Um, nope.

          December 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • susan

      IKR! It sends a strong statement that a woman = some fraction of one man. Anyone dumb enough to accept it deserves what they get. It's not as if they can't escape.

      December 22, 2013 at 8:19 am |
  9. Shaweet

    If his beard was more grown out, he'd look exactly like Megyn Kelly's Jesus.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  10. Kyle

    In the United States of Soddom and Gommorah, who is anyone to tell me that I can't marry my donkey? He consented to me by nodding his head. Who are you to tell me I can't do this? Love is not a crime.

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

      No problemo.

      A donkey's Latin name is Equus africanus asinus. Asinus is a subgenus of Equus, which includes the donkey and other asses, so you're staying within your own species.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Some Antics

      "Consent: Voluntary Acquiescence to the proposal of another; the act or result of reaching an accord; a concurrence of minds; actual willingness that an act or an infringement of an interest shall occur.

      Consent is an act of reason and deliberation. A person who possesses and exercises sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent decision demonstrates consent by performing an act recommended by another.

      Consent assumes a physical power to act and a reflective, determined, and unencu mbered exertion of these powers.

      A Donkey would not meet the requirement under the law for consent, so your slippery slope proposal is just a lot of wet snot that gets you no where.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    Atheistic arousals flowing amid the theistic accolades have always been a historic normalcy within socialized humanisms ever ebbing and flowing within mostly humane tidal affluences creating many high-minded pyramids of hierarchal existentialism...

    December 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • DL

      wha?

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

      Hitting the bong a bit early today, LL? Rock on!

      December 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        It's 4:20 somewhere...

        December 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • doobzz

          LOL!!! That gave me a good laugh, LL, thanks and have a great day!

          December 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          😳 👿 😳

          I've read that Fla. needs only 200.000 more of 700.000 signatures before February 1st 2014 to have medicinal marijuana to be put on the ballot for Floridians to vote upon... With 500.000 votes now accounted for, I can see Floridians legalizing the medicinal uses of Cannabis...

          December 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • doobzz

          It's only a matter of time, LL. 😉

          December 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • guest

      A lot of pretty words; what are you trying to say?

      December 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        What am I saying you 'guest' do ask..?

        Contemplation plain and simply put, entails a higher cognition of the psychologically astute...

        December 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  12. Tom

    You can't skirt past the fact that Kody is an ego driven narcissist. He drives a 2 door coupe and has 17 children. His wfes clearly do the majority of the heavy lifting. When Cody is with one wife, who's assisting the others in parenting?

    He scoots around from one house to the next staying for some good times and gone before they sour. He is exactly 1/4th of the husband to each of his wives that a healthy monogamous relationship has. Let alone the NATURAL human emotions that at least one of his four wives must struggle with at any given time (loneliness, abandonment, jealousy).

    He is very selfish indeed.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • doobzz

      To be fair, there are a lot of men all over the world who father children with multiple women and then let the women handle it from there on out.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • susan

      Pretty much it. And the women have severely damaged and low self-esteem for choosing this. Fine, legalize it- but don't sanction it as a healthy paradigm for women while they are abused and very publicly being made fools of. I've yet to see a healthy version of poly-anything anywhere. Those who insist they can be almost ubiquitously have abominably-low standards/raised from abusive background, or seem to be referring to a relationship synonymous with "casual dating". Healthy monogamous couplings are rare enough!

      December 22, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  13. McBob79

    At this point anyone should be able to marry anyone else no matter how many, what gender. Right... that's what the people want.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  14. mr sensitive

    THE ANSWER IS 'YOU DON'T LET THE WOMEN KNOW ABOUT YOUR HUGH HEFNER COMPLEX" ...hefner has all those women to choose from for a day of the week cuddle buddy, dinner dates, etc. NOW who's the man?!

    December 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bob Dealin'

      You got to serve somebody
      It might be a devil or it might be your wives
      but you gonna serve somebody

      December 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  15. Paul

    Historically, men who had several wives kept them as property, much like certain male animals keep harems. I have no way of knowing if polygamous marriages have the same "sense" but it does seem surprising not to see women with multiple husbands. To me, it seems as if the women are being kept.

    In any case, I cannot see how the people in such a relationship can achieve the same level of emotional intimacy as could be found in a two person relationship. It almost seems like a way of avoiding that kind of intimacy.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Saraswati

      There are women in the US with multiple male partners; it's just less common. It has been a norm in some parts of India and a few other cultures. What we would be looking at in modern society is allowing both at once, which is a much more complex and new scenario.

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

      You hit the nail on the head.

      December 22, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  16. 7

    Hello Folks.

    Everyone is invited to visit

    http://www.thetreasureofzion.com

    December 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bob Dealin'

      I'd like to go
      I need to stay
      I'd like to hear more...
      b-but just go-go away

      December 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  17. dwight

    The Browns are Mormon, not Christians, as they follow the Book of Mormon as the word of God and not the Bible. The history of the Mormons is not kind to poligamy, as it was decided and added after the Book of Mormon was written as an addendum that was pushed by Brigham Young to Joseph Smith. Joseph smith bought into the concept ousting many husbands and taking their wives and his own wife was not happy with the arraingment. This concept is even taught against in the original BoM, but not in later publications by Joseph Smith. The concept of Poligamy has one husband with many wives, so what happen to the other men in the society? They are pushed out by the established men of the Mormonism. This is what Warren Jeffries did over and over again to amass his wives. The Browns are a reformed group of poligamy and not part of the hard liners and are put in the nicest light by a fake show. What happens if the husband dies? Five women do what? As far as being Biblical it was never promoted by God, as God only promoted one state- one woman and one man.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Shaweet

      They are Christian. Sorry you don't want to claim them, but TS.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "they follow the Book of Mormon as the word of God and not the Bible"

      Not so. They follow both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • melissalasure

        They follow the Bible. The Book of Mormon is just another set of scriptures!

        December 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Topher

          Which is a heresy.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Shaweet

          Oh, dear, another Christian elitist. The only "true" Christian is Topher.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Joey

          One man's heresy is another man's sound theology.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • sunbird

        they follow the book of Mormon and the bible but the bible is not the sole authority and therefore they are not Christians. Christians are not only defined by following Christ but because Christ IS the word (John 1:1) The word is as established in the canon since 100 A.D- 400 A.D. time period. Things have not changed since.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • G to the T

          So ONLY protestants are "true Christians (TM)"? Sola Scriptura is the surest way to 40K versions of christianity – ALL "true" to the ones that follow them.

          December 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Topher

      Which makes them NOT Christians.

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

        No, not believing in Christ would make them not Christians. They believe in Christ. ALL of them! Even the polygamists.

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

          But you must believe in the correct Christ. The Mormon Christ is not the Christ of the Bible. They have drastically changed Him in their theology. And besides that, just believing in Christ won't help you.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • sunbird

          Even the demon believes in Christ...its not enough to believe Christ but to believe what he taught,especially the commandment to love God. To love God means to love what he says. What he says is that Christ is the word. The word is what's written in the bible not whats written in the book of Mormon. There has been a decided canon since the apostle John and has not since changed

          December 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • Joey

          What Topher means by "correct Christ" is the Christ he believes in, as obviously he couldn't possibly be wrong.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Sunbird
          Was John the Apostle present at the Nicene Council?
          If the canon doesn't change, why do Protestants have fewer books in their Bible than the Catholics?

          December 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Madtown

          But you must believe in the correct Christ
          ----
          LOL!!!!!!!!!!! The essence of Topher in 1 sentence.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • Topher

          Has nothing to do with what I believe in, but has EVERYTHING to do with what God says in the Bible.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "If the canon doesn't change, why do Protestants have fewer books in their Bible than the Catholics?"

          Those extra books are not inspired Scripture. Even the Jews never held it to be so. I have no idea if the Catholics hold them to be. But they are good for information on the times.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • sunbird

          @Doc Vestibule
          Hey man...as the comment above me says...they are not inspired. The inspired canon has remained consistent. There is another canon that the Catholics have but they more for tradition and for historical information. They don't have claims that takes one's allegiance away from the inspired canon. Their other canons don't take away from the affirmation of the inspired canon that Jesus is God, and he is the ONLY way to God the Father for salvation. Now protestants and catholics disagree on soteriology doctrines but the tenants stay firm. Primary doctrines stay firm.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • sunbird

          Hey @joey...I know Topher might've come off as arrogant when he said but I am sure what he meant is that the true Christ is defined as of what's written in the inspired scriptures....The book of Mormon takes away from the exclusive claims mentioned in The bible. I come in peace 🙂

          December 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          You would make a great Supreme Leader, I don't think being a fundie Christian is right for you. If you convert to Islam and move to Iran your pronouncements would become the TRUTH. You are pretty lame as an apologist for jesus.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Topher may believe that he is the only Christian – the image of Christ he carries arround in his head may, to him, be the only accurate representation of Christ. Or perhaps he will allow that a succinct description of Christ will work to identify the Christ all true Christians believe in. If that's it, what suffices to identify the One True Christ?

        December 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • sunbird

          what is an accurate representation to Topher might be an accurate representation to millions in the world What topher believes about the true Christ is not to say that He is right about what he believes...he is just stating fact...he can only say what he knows of the bible. The bible says that the true Christ is the son of God. The bible says that you can only be reconciled to the father ONLY through the son and enter the kingdom of heaven ONLY through Christ. So the Book of Mormon takes away from those exclusive claims. Those are facts...check every source you got. 🙂

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

      Correction. Mormons are indeed Christians. They do follow the Bible (Old and New Testament) and the Book of Mormon is another testament. You are obviously uninformed. Do not state falsehoods.

      Regardless of your falsehood statements of Mormonism, the Browns are not "Mormon". They belong to a fundamentalist branch that is not upheld by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormon.

      I enjoy watching the Browns on Sister Wives. But they way they live is not how all polygamists live. I would say the Browns are more modernized, if that makes sense. They also make a good salary to be able to afford the four homes they recently purchased on the cul-de-sac. Hardly comparable with other polygamist families, even some regular one-husband one-wife couple.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Saraswati

        It's kind of funny that you criticize the OP for his strict definition of Christian and then do the exact same thing in defining Mormons.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • lilsnicklefritzy

          I see what you mean. But there is a difference in the name of the church they belong to– and differences in beliefs. Guess it's the difference between a Southern Baptist and a 7th Day Baptist. (Don't ask me the differences– I don't know!) 🙂

          I just wanted to point out they all are Christians.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I agree they are all Christians, but that to say that implies a definition structure under which the Mormon subgroups are all Mormons.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • sunbird

        you cannot serve two masters....either you follow the gospels as written in the bible or you follow the Mormon. The canon for scriptures were closed for discussion unofficially in 300-400AD....and then officially a century later. Things have not changed. The bible contradicts with the teachings in the book of Mormons. Christians believe in the BIBLE ALONE for sufficiency, and for complete truths, and as THE ONLY inspired word OF GOD HIMSELF. The apostles and the apostolic fathers are the only ones authorized to authenticate via The Holy Spirit to what was ACTUALLY the word of God. WHoever believes SOLELY on that are real Christian. Like I said before...even demons believe in Christ

        December 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Saraswati

          On the fundamentalist Christian definition they may not be Christians, but on the secular sociological definition held by the majority of the world's educated population they are just another Christian sect, albeit polytheistic and materialist.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • lilsnicklefritzy

          I obviously don't know much about what you said... but if Mormons (any kind of Mormon) believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, how does that serve two masters? Wasn't it Billy Graham that just recently decided that the Mormons were Christians?

          December 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • sunbird

          Are Mormons Christians? According to a 2008 article in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Decision magazine, authored by the CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing wing LifeWay Resources, the answer would seem to be "no".
          Check your source. Billy would never say that

          Also. To believe that the Book of Mormon is inspired is to go against what's written in the bible. So that would means serving two masters

          December 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Madtown

          To believe that the Book of Mormon is inspired is to go against what's written in the bible
          ------–
          Why do you believe the book of mormon is not inspired, but the bible is? Maybe you've got it backward.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • sunbird

          @madTown
          Here is a basic list of what true Christianity teaches as essential doctrine according to the Bible.
          1.There is only one God in all existence (Exodus 20:1-4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5).
          2.Jesus is divine (John 1:1;14; 8:24; Col. 2:9)
          3.Forgiveness of sins is by grace alone without works (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:28; 4:1-5)
          4.Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:39)
          5.The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4)

          Mormonism denies that there is only one God in all existence and also denies the forgiveness of sins alone in Christ alone. Therefore, it is outside Christianity. It is not a Christian religion.
          (Borrowed from CARM)

          December 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Madtown

          what true Christianity teaches as essential doctrine according to the Bible.
          -------
          So, biblical scripture is inspired, because it says so in biblical scripture. That's not a very convincing argument. Do you have anything better, that doesn't rely on scripture?

          December 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • sunbird

          @madtown
          I am rather confused by your request...but I will nonetheless try to answer. I hope I answer faithfully to what is true. Would you agree that we are to believe facts based on their longevity? So since the scriptures have made these claims for thousands of years, and have remains firm under scrutiny, I would rely on that. Now, in context of Mormonism, which came around 1823, is almost 1800 years too late to rely on, in respect to competing with Scriptural source as inspiration.
          There are two propsitions
          a) Now, in another 1800 years, if Mormonism still exists within the claims of Christianity, they might have a stronger reliability as a historical source...that's 1800 years of credibility for the Mormons WOW...you might be onto something.
          but here's the thing, which leads me to my second:
          b) In 1800 years, while Mormon's reliability increases, the scriptures reliability also accrued...which 1800 +1800(or 2000 whatever)= 3600 years of reliability. This still leads me to choose scriptures to be the reliable source for sole definition of Christianity and its exclusive claims

          The only way that my second or b) propective would come crashing down is IF in 1800 years, the claims of Christianity fades under scrutiny, while Mormonism claim to being within Christianity supercedes. Very unlikely!
          Even if that happens, lets say, it would be shaky. Christianity is defined by Christ. What Christ said are factually in the BIBLE. So if the bible says what Christ said, and the Book of Mormon contradicts (with keeping in mind that they're 1800 years late in reliability), then they still can't redefine Christianity.

          Let me know if I should explain this MORE CLEARLY!

          December 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Joey

          Would you agree that we are to believe facts based on their longevity

          I would in no way agree with this statement.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Joey

          For example if what you said is true, then black people would still be considered inferior to white people just because people believed it to be true for a long time.

          December 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • Madtown

          Would you agree that we are to believe facts based on their longevity?
          --------
          No, I would not agree. "Facts" have objective truth, validity, and provability. I simply asked you to say why the bible is inspired, and how you know this to be true. What's so confusing about that?

          December 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Either you can follow the OT or you can follow the NT" See the problem if you turn it around. They claim the book of Mormon is contiued revelation. It's the next chapter in the same "book" (bible), not a different belief.

          They have JUST as much right to claim being christian as the Greek/Russian Orthodox, Catholics, etc. You know, the MAJORITY of people that call themselves "Christian".

          December 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bilbo

      Dude / Dudette –

      If you want to discuss "mormonism" (which, in and of itself is incorrect, since people in this faith are "Latter Day Saints" and not "mormons") at least do a MINIMAL amount of research so you don't sound like an idiot.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints uses BOTH the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and accept both as the word of God. Please get it right, if you want to have a reasonable discussion. You must know some basic facts.

      Warren Jeffs and those folks are NOT Latter Day Saints (aka mormons) – they are Fundamentalists. Big, big, big, big difference. The official stance of the LDS church has long disavowed polygamy – and if you want to know the history behind it go ahead and look at LDS.Org. The LDS church actually posted an official statement on this issue.

      Please go get educated and stop trolling.

      Thanks!

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

        You know there is something wrong when majority of the Christians don't warrant for you Mormons. THis can be true of anything...like a journalist being validated or a source being validated or lets take it further
        What if a dog says they are human? THEY TRULY BELIEVE THEY ARE HUMAN....and yet majority of the world says they are not. Its pretty obvious! Even with hundreds of denominations in Christianity...MOST ORTHODOX Christians, from catholics, to orthodox, to greek orthodox, to evangelicals, presbys, Baptists Pentecostals, ALL BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE AS THE ONLY INSPIRED WORD!!!!!!!!!!!!! THey don't think Mormon's are Christians. Sorry buddy...just cause a dog wants to call themselves a human, doesn't mean they're humans lol

        December 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • G to the T

          Incorrect – ONLY protestants claim that their version of the bible (whichever it ends up being) is the TRUE and ONLY word of god available to humanity. Even then most protestants hold to extra-biblical beliefs (even if they aren't written down somewhere).

          December 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • TnDave

      Correction. The Browns are not Mormons. They are from a disaffected offshoot of Mormonism. The LDS church (Mormon) does not practice or condone polygamy today. Any members who practice polygamy will be removed from church membership. You can find more detail, and a recently updated article on the Mormon church's position on polygamy on LDS.org

      December 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  18. Ehsan

    Polygamy should not be regulated by law or religion..... It should be regulated by families .. if a family want it, who is the government or religion to stand on their way.. The woman needs to have the right to divorce if she doesn't want the relationship

    December 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      This ruling wasn't actually about polygamy at all – CNN is just trying to drum up traffic. It was about a cohabitation law.

      But if you are talking about either legal marriages or cohabitation, it is much more difficult for a woman to leave a marriage where there are other wives and children unless they are all working and legal co-parents. In general there are far few financial resources to go around so the woman is financially trapped if she has kids.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Prenuptial agreements mightn't be a bad idea.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Saraswati

          If there isn't enough money to go around a pre-nup won't help.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  19. HapHazzard

    1) Did you choose it?
    2) Are you happy?
    3) Can you get out of it if you need to?

    Why is it more difficult than that?

    December 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Alias

      Children
      Someone has to think about the children.

      December 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • HapHazzard

        How does that preclude children?

        December 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        The "think of the children" always comes up in debates about marriage, polygamy or gay marriage, heck in the past even interacial marriage. But the fact is "normal" parents can treat children just as bad and worse than non-traditional family units. So yes think about the children, but it's individual to the people involved, not just what kind of family the children are in.

        December 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Alias

    So many posters here are stuck on the polygamy half of this.
    America prides itself on everyone having equal rights.
    What about the women who would be able to have many husbands? Wouldn’t there be potential benefits and problems there also?
    Let me try to show what a confusing mess it would be to regulate this: I am currently married. Obviously, I have only one wife and I am her only husband (as far as I know). IF they change the laws so a person can marry multiple spouses, then I could legally marry another woman and she could may a second and third husband. If my first wife has a child, who has legal responsibility, and if we divorce who gets custody?
    Are they also going to require DNA testing to know who the biological parents are?

    December 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      First, I have not heard of any talk of actually legallizing one person having multiple marriages. The recent court decision only overturned making cohibitation of polygamists. So basically you can only have one legal marriage, but now multiple consenting adults living together.

      As far as the complications you mentioned, how is that any different than unwedded baby momma drama?

      December 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Alias

        You are clearly not up on the laws involving parental rights, are you?
        Currently – at least in this state – if a woman has a child her husband is responsible for that child unless a legal action is taken and a judge decides he is not. Simplified version.
        An unwed woman can name the father of her child and the man is responsible unless he takes legal action, etc.
        In the situation above, with current laws, there would be 3 men responsible for a child. Can't you see how that could get messy in a divorce?

        December 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Fake Name

          I work for Family Court in my state. What you are saying isn't as big or rare of an issue as you may think (sadly). You are correct about the husband being the presumed father, but if polygamy was made legal laws would have to be changed at that time to address that problem when she names multiple husbands and paternity can easily be established by DNA testing if needed. It would not be the first time a mother had a child with 2 or more potential fathers. Custody and child support would still only be determined between the two biological parents.

          I'm not arguing for this (it would make my job hell), but it's not as serious as you may think.

          December 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
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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.