What’s Going On?

Mormonverse has been silent for the last  few months and I wanted to tell you why. It has been a roller-coaster of a ride. Many of you have messaged me and given  your support. You have poured out your hearts, sharing  what you have been feeling and I’m glad to see there is a community of concerned, critical thinking Mormons. I am not implying that the unquestioning faithful of the church are not critical thinking. I am simply saying that my hesitation in posting my original post, D&C 132: A Revelation of Men, Not God was not unfounded. As it seems that asking difficult questions and coming to difficult conclusions can land you in trouble with church leadership. After posting my FIRST blog post ever. I was contacted by my Bishop, who stated that the Stake President was concerned with my blog. I was met with an ultimatum that I take the blog down in one week or the Stake President would consider taking action, which may have included excommunication. After much intense thought and prayer, I decided to keep the post up. We met with Stake President who said he was originally contacted by Salt Lake.  We also met with an Area Seventy, which kicked off months of conversations with the threat of disciplinary action hanging over my head. For more details surrounding this story check out these links below.

Troubling the Church by Repudiating Polygamy: Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen

Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen – Facing Church Discipline for Rejecting Polygamy (D&C 132)

I have to admit I was very tempted to remove my blog post, I knew what I had written was tough to swallow for many members. D&C 132 is full of inconsistencies, sexism, oppression, and worst of all it is considered scripture. I have come to realize that many people are suffering to reconcile their faith with D&C 132. Some people have left Mormonism to become more orthodox and practice polygamy. Others turn the other way and exit Mormonism, being unable to reconcile D&C 132 with the God they worship. Other members have chosen to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet who did not practice polygamy, believing that Brigham Young and the rest of the church’s prophets have fallen short. While other members remain faithful to LDS church majority and conclude that there is no conclusion, that we can not know the answers to our questions until the next life.

I refuse to believe that the answers are not available. I do not believe that the God of the Restoration would shut the windows of heaven, and refuse to answer some of the most pressing questions of his saints. That is why I have left the blog standing. We need answers! I do not have some unique blog or groundbreaking thoughts. I am just another voice of concern in the growing tsunami of questions. I’m adding my voice to the thousands if not tens of thousands questioning the policies and practices of our beloved faith.  My blog is not a voice of hatred. It is a serious look at the history and the potential of the Church.

More from Mormonverse is coming……

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Posted on May 7, 2015, in disciplinary, Mormonstories, Plural marriage. Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Thank you for your determination to continue to look for the answers that so many of us have been seeking for far too long. Finding the answers will then be able to heal wounded hearts, tired minds and troubled spirits so we can all move forward.

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  2. Your bravery in not talking down the blog post is inspiring. While I reached exactly the same conclusions over a decade ago, I have not had the bravery to share my perspective with anyone other than my immediate family and a handful of church members or former church members who I knew where at the very least sympathetic with my prayerful reconciliation with D&C 132. All my love and support to your family.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

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  3. When I heard that you were told to take it down, I was so super hoping you’d leave it up, (while also understanding why you would choose to comply and take it down). I felt like cheering when I heard you’d left it up. It’s takes real bravery to do that and not sure it’s something I would have have the guts to do (considering I’ve remained very private with all my questions about church history that I’ve been discovering).

    You two have been a voice for so many of us. You’ve written my feelings so perfectly that it’s been very therapeutic to read through it and feel heard and feel like I’m not alone in the struggles I’ve had over polygamy and the mind game it’s been for me. You explained everything SO WELL that it is by far my most favorite thing written about polygamy ever.

    Thank you both for what you’ve done and for standing up for truth!

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  4. Janessa Keeling

    I have been following your story ever since I heard it on “Mormon Stories” and your story is inspiring and your courage unquestionable. You have said things that I have believed and questioned for many years but have never been able to express to anyone. Thank you for speaking up.

    I do have one question… What is going on with your disciplinary council? Are you having one? I am aware that you were pushed up to a 70 but I haven’t heard anything from anyone about it. Are you going to update us on that situation? I guess that was more than one question… Sorry.

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    • It seems the threat of a disciplinary council is over. I say “seems” because no official end to our talks ever took place. Our last meeting with the area seventy ended cordially and we left with hugs. They wished us good luck. We are making moving in a week back to Idaho. Hopefully we will leave the threat of disciplinary action behind as well.

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  5. Thank you for bringing attention to this. I had a similar (albeit brief) conversation with a member of my stake presidency during my last temple recommend interview. He asked if I agreed with or supported any whose teachings were counter to the teachings of the church and I chuckled a little. He asked why, and I responded that I understood that question was added to ferret out people aligned with offshoot groups that practiced polygamy. I then said that not only was I not sympathetic to practicing polygamy, that I believed if the church truly did not believe in polygamy, that it should be removed from our scriptures. He looked at me like I was crazy and said it was doctrine and couldn’t be removed. I of course did not want to argue the point (leaders hate that), but I wish I remembered that Gordon B. Hinckley had told Larry King that is WASN’T doctrine.

    Anyway, this has been a source of shame for this church for a long time. The more we can distance ourselves from that, the better.

    PS. Does anyone really believe the ‘flaming sword’ story? That an angel *forced* him to do what men through the ages have done because they succumbed to the natural man and had sex with the housekeeper, the woman next door, their friend’s wife, etc., etc.? Not a believable story at all. Besides, what would the coroner’s report look like? “Yessir, he was cut up and burned up too. Hmmm…. must have been a flaming sword!”

    Keep up the good work!

    Ron

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  6. I’m so sorry for what you are experiencing. We need to be able to address the things that threaten our faith. Please find the courage to keep questions addressed. We need to be able to get the answers to faith threatening issues. Thanks for being one of the voices needed.

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  7. Hello Kirk, I’ve read many perspective here. Are you thoughts that polygamy is not of God or d&c132 is not of God written by Joseph to try to win over Emma ? Thanks

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    • Well you definitely know my feelings on D&C 132. As for plural marriage, I also believe that is NOT an institution of God. I don’t believe God had any hand in giving wives to Abraham or David and Solomon, I think these were cultural practices. Just as women weren’t allowed to own property or were “given” in marriage, the practice of plural marriage is more of a symbol of the value of women as property rather than as people. The practice of plural marriage is inherently unequal. The focus is on the man, while the women are left justifying why the men get the better part of the deal. Plural marriage is an invention of men.

      I also believe that plural marriage should NOT be illegal. I believe that 2 consenting adults should be allowed to enter into unequal marriages. I also believe that God may except their marriage if done with the best of intentions. But I refuse to believe that God would ever force Emma Smith or Hagar or any other women to submit themselves to their husbands.

      That’s my two bits, thanks for commenting.

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  8. Sorry I reread the first part of the post . It’s stated there that you disbelieve polygamy completely . I fully understand your thoughts, but am confused at the leaders response since the church believes it is of God and practices it today. I guess I must conclude there answer to the question and council to the members is since you are not required to live it you can choose to not believe it is of God. The only problem is to me at least, is that either Joseph was a liar and adulterer or it is of God and he was a true prophet . I know many try to fit him into certain molds they feel complies with there feelings and understanding, but liar and adulterer doesn’t fit the mold of prophet of God . Thanks

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    • My conclusion about D&C 132 definitely gives me more questions rather than answers. It opens the door for questions about Joseph Smith and the restoration. But I think we need to critically think about these difficult questions. We should seek the truth.

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      • Thanks for your response and blog. I’m sorry to see you have to go through meeting with the leadership for discussing scriptures of the church . One of my comments came up as knowitall instead of Paul ?? Anyway best wishes.

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    • Paul, why does it have to be a binary? What if Joseph was a prophet but he was mistaken (or worse) in this particular area? It wouldn’t be unheard of for a man with great power and influence over people to let it get away from him. That’s been happening for millenia.

      It seems the church has bent over backwards lately saying that prophets and leaders are not perfect, yet when confronted with the idea that Joseph could have made a mistake they hunker down and issue essays with statements that say ‘carefully worded denials’ instead of ‘lying’.

      The church recently attributed the priesthood ban on Brigham Young’s racist culture and ideas (see also the Adam-God theory), but still reveres him as a prophet and hasn’t rejected all of his teachings. This all-or-nothing mentality we’ve developed is not healthy.

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  9. The church has thrown out several of Brighams beliefs. Adam God , curse of Cain, blood atonement . I agree they are not perfect. I’m not sure how Joseph could be mistaken about adultery, it’s been a commandment a long time. He wasn’t mistaken in setting it up as part of the priesthood and teaching it to others. I have no problem with people practicing polygamy today or any relationships that they like as long as all parties are agreeable to it. God is the one that said thou shalt not commit adultery. Ive been a member 34 yrs and have been taught all along sexual sin is next to murder, ( spencer kimball ) which I don’t agree with. But sexual relations with 34 women some married to other men is either commanded by God to the prophet Joseph Smith or adultery, to me I can’t see that he could mistake to two. If the case is he made a mistake , I think I may make a few if I can talk my wife into it.

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    • Paul, I don’t appreciate your joke about wanting to make a few “mistakes” if you can talk your wife into it. This is one of the reason’s why the topic of polygamy gets me so nuts. I have heard other people make comments similar to yours, and I am bothered that many men (even if only in thought), use Joseph’s behavior to justify their own misdeeds or to downplay their desires to make mistakes with other women. That is very demeaning to women who yearn to be the only one that their spouse cherishes and desires. But I admit, when it comes to the polygamy/polyandry topic, I am not very willing to take a joke I guess.

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      • Paul, I didn’t appreciate the joke either. I don’t understand is the ‘defend Joseph at all costs’ mentality. Bad men can do good things, and good men can do bad things. Why couldn’t the church have left it as they leave many other things lately, ‘we don’t know’, instead of doubling down on the ‘it was commanded by God’ line. Or here’s an idea…we have 15 men who are supposed to be prophets, seers and revelators. I haven’t heard any of them directly address the members to clear this up. Past prophets (I’m looking at you, Brigham) didn’t hesitate to make bold statements about things beyond the veil.

        The temple ordinances very much indicate that we still believe in eternal polygamy, but publicly we say it’s all behind us. It’s not behind us. It stares us in the face every time we participate in a sealing ordinance, every time a woman is designated a priestess to her husband, and every time a woman covenants to obey/hearken to her husband instead of directly to God.

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      • Sorry square peg, my wife was watching me type it as we laughed about it. We’ve been married 30 great years and we love a joke. I was thinking of Emma saying if you can do it I can , when they approached William and Jane Law. I don’t see that it’s demeaning to women that practice polygamy willingly . It’s there choice, I do agree if women were forced or made to feel they were commanded by God to enter into polygamy then the men were under sin , forcing anyone’s choice is satans plan and in my thought the greatest sin. “Warning” if you see a post by me there’s probably going to be a joke in it somewhere. The joke I made about it was in response to the statement that Joseph may have made a mistake in practicing polygamy. There is no way it was a mistake. We practiced it 75 years and do today if the first wife dies. I know a man living today with his wife , his third , the first two have died , he is sealed to three. I just thought it funny that Joseph may have been mistaken. Maybe, he slipped and fell into the bed.

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    • I should have chosen another word instead of mistake. I don’t think it was an innocent “oops, I accidentally married my young housekeeper without my wife’s knowledge/consent” mistake. What I meant was that it would not be unheard of for a religious man with a lot of power to misuse that power to coerce women to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. The church makes no concession that Joseph could have erred in ANY way. I think it’s damaging for the members when they hold Joseph to an impossible standard.

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      • I’m not defending Joseph, I just don’t see middle ground at least according to church teachings on polygamy vs adultery. Adultery breaks the heart of the spouse , wife or husband ,and destroys or terribly injures the marriage. if he was an adulterer with 34 or more women, I can’t trust him as a man or prophet . I was converted in 1985 to the perfect image history , now I’m trying to understand all the history true or untrue that I’ve learned in the past few years. It’s tough, i make jokes under stress,about everything, being serious to much is no fun, I dont try to offend. It took the church 150 yrs to say Brigham was a racist and many other leaders after him. The founding fathers of this country were racist, my grandfather was racist. I don’t know the churches next thought on polygamy but I presume it will change in the coming years as new men move into the first presidency . I rarely comment on the Internet in fact probably less than 10 times so my etiquette is probably off. This blog was interesting so I had to . I’ll try to keep it to myself but can’t promise. I have some good racist jokes too. God is good always , He blesses us every moment of the day, life is indeed good.

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  10. I agree, anything taught by men, should be questioned. God has always taught to test his word ,practice it , prove me now herewith sayeth the Lord. Thanks for your response and the blog..

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  11. A church with an open canon and a claim to continuing revelation has ways of keeping its belief in eternal families while shedding the vile stuff in 132. It’s starting to look very suspicious when it doesn’t. I thought it was some sort of oversight or inertia that kept it untouched in the D&C, but the church seems to be doubling down on 132 – to the absolute horror of women who assumed it never would.

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  12. Thank you for your posts. We need more people willing to speak the truth. They would back down if we did.

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  13. Kirk,

    Thanks for leaving your blog up. I think it requires a lot of courage and determination especially after you were told to take it down. Glad you were able to find a way to voice your concerns and to an extent, have the church “respect” them (surely they didn’t have anything to do with the Hale’s response to your blog entry? ;)).

    To me (and probably to many), the biggest issue is, if Joseph Smith was able to “cook up” section 132, then what else did he cook up? if this was not divinely inspired but merely a “revelation” cover up intended to calm Emma down (did it calm her down?), then the same template of “convenient revelation” could be applied to other doctrine: law of tithing, law of consecration, word of wisdom, let’s start a bank, and on and on?

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  14. Don’t see any recent comments, so I’ll chime in. I was wondering what your status is, and came to this blog to check. I just want to add my support. I was very impressed with you and Lindsay on the MS podcast. You are helping people and you need to know that. I’m concerned today as I hear that the church is going to “let” women have more say in ward council. OK, that has nothing to do with the ordain women movement, right? This seems to be the pattern. Cut off the voice off reason and then act like you just happened on an idea, like…letting blacks have the priesthood, or giving women more say. I don’t think 132 will hold up in the long run, but I fear that good folks like you will be kicked out along the way. So sad and frustrating.

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  15. Kirk,

    I came across your blog for the first time today while I was browsing through Mormon Stories–I recognized your picture on the thumbnail because we happen to come from the same hometown. Small world! You are a brave man, and I applaud your diligence in studying this issue out and your courage to ask the kinds of questions that can potentially get you in trouble with church authority.

    I’ve never commented on anything like this before, but as I read your post I felt prompted to open my mouth. The purpose of my comment is to tell you that for the first time in my life, I am finally at peace with the issue of polygamy. You say that you refuse to believe that the answers are not available, and I’m right there with you. The answers are available. Here is a link to a paper written by a man named Denver Snuffer: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Plural-Marriage.pdf I strongly encourage you to read his paper, as well as his blog posts and book “Passing the Heavenly Gift” that he references within the paper. The teachings of this man (beyond just what he’s said about polygamy) have transformed me within the last year to the concerned, critically thinking Mormon that I believe God wants us all to be. Polygamy was indeed an abomination before God as you’ve said, but Joseph had something much different in mind than what is often attributed to him. You seem to me to be an honest seeker of truth, and I promise you the answers lie within the references I’ve given you. God has not closed the windows of Heaven. They are open.

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    • Thanks for commenting. I can’t say I have read passing the heavenly gift. But I have read other Denver snuffer material And have followed the Adrian Larsen blog, To the Remnant. Denver snuffer has rejected the Brigham young style and I’m glad. Yet I find other problems with Denver snuffer, the book of Abraham, and the Book of Mormon as well. I’m glad you have found a path with snuffer, but for me it seems the answers lie elsewhere.

      Thanks for commenting,. you should private message me on Facebook because I’d like to know who you are and catch up.

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