Monday, February 1, 2010

A Glimpse Into What I Think

Here's how my mind works:

I was thinking of a book I recently read ("God Sleeps In Rwanda by Joseph Sebarenzi)about a man in Rwanda whose father was a polygamist. They belonged to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and I don't know what their doctrine or beliefs are on polygamy, but it got me thinking about how this man's father might have been accepted by Mormons if he was converted.

So I was wondering... if a man lives in a country where polygamy is a legally and culturally acceptable practice and he has more than one wife and then converts to Mormonism, would the church allow him and/or his wives to be baptized?

My thoughts at first were that he would probably be out of luck since the Mormon church banned polygamy more than a century ago and excommunicates those who practice it. BUT... since he would have been following a practice that was acceptable under his own country's laws and would have married them before coming to a knowledge of the gospel and the church's beliefs, can he really be held accountable for it? Could they ask him to give up a practice that would then cause his family to be torn apart? (Which would then go against the teachings of the church to not cause separations between husbands and wives.) Or are they able to make allowances for a circumstance like this, since there is no way to "repent" of it without breaking up a family? (And would he really need to "repent" anyways? Is polygamy a sin or just an unacceptable practice except when sanctioned by God?) Would they allow him to be baptized and keep his wives but then work hard to help him teach his children that polygamy is unacceptable? How would he be integrated into a culture that revolves around fidelity to one spouse?

I can see where there would be a lot of different aspects to have to consider and I have no idea what the answers would be. Thankfully, I don't think I'll ever be asked to decide on something like this. But it's still interesting to think about. After all, there are a lot of Mormons out there in the world whose cultural practices and traditions are much different than the ones we in the US are familiar or even comfortable with. It doesn't mean we're right and they're wrong; we just have different ways of looking at and doing things.

I'm sure this would be a pretty rare scenario, but now you know what my mind comes up with when I have a bit of free time. Scary, huh?


Erin said...

I don't know the answers to your many questions, but you bring up good points. I'm glad I'm not God. He's got a lot to sort out.

chelle said...

I am with Erin. I am just glad I don't have to make any of those decisions and that I never will. (or so I hope)
All very interesting to think about though.