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My Facebook feed has sported a range of reactions, from the been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt cynicism of “Oh, we’ve known about this stuff forever; it’s no big deal” to full-on stages of grief at the news that Joseph Smith really was married to teenage girls, and that he likely lied to Emma. And the first stage of grief is always denial, right? When in doubt, call those who disagree with you about history the Gadianton robbers.Some of us reach the maturity of stage 5 a lot faster than others, it seems.Five highlights of the revelations: 1) “Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married.” Back in January after the first Gospel Topics statement about polygamy was released, one criticism I had was that there was no mention of the historical truth of polyandry in Nauvoo. Now the Church has openly acknowledged it.* 2) Some of those polyandrous relationships were for “eternity only,” but some may have been sexual.(“Other women [who were already married] left no records, making it unknown whether their sealings were for time and eternity or were for eternity alone.”) 3) Joseph Smith’s first plural marriage occurred as early as the mid-1830s, after an angel appeared to him three times to demand that he commence plural marriage.
It’s not terribly surprising (to me) to see that the idea of “being alpha” is continuing to be tossed around as the end-all/be-all of dating; it’s a part of the DNA of men’s dating advice – the complaints of Nice Guys lamenting the popularity of assholes, nerds complaining about jocks getting all the girls and of course, the obsession in PUA circles with status games and “shit tests” – that is, acting in such a manner as to “test” a man’s status by trying to make him supplicate or otherwise disqualify a man from being a potential sexual partner.So if you’re looking for wise, informed, well-modulated reactions to the news, check out Julie Smith’s cognitive-dissonance-free take on the polygamy statements at “I think the odd confluence of 1950s American corporate culture, historical amnesia, and rapid world-wide growth led Mormonism to advance the idea that a CEO-like prophet got regular memos from God, bullet-pointed with precise operating instructions designed to maximize return for the next quarter.Diligent work by historians, now disseminated instantly and internationally, shows that that vision isn’t quite precise.” Some TBMs may be uncomfortable with all of the provisional, hesitant language of the polygamy statements, especially the one on Kirtland and Nauvoo.The idea of the “high-value, alpha male” is a popular one – in fact, it’s one of the regular arguments in the comments sections, especially whenever I post about masculinity or what makes men attractive to women.The problem, unfortunately, is that the cultish worship of “alpha” is incredibly toxic, poisoning interactions between men and women and actually making it It’s tempting to ascribe behaviors to “nature” as a way to give the the gloss of authority and excuse one’s desires with “we’ll, this is just how it’s supposed to be, can’t do nuthin’ about it.” But if one is going to attempt this, it helps to actually understand what the real natural behavior is instead of making assumptions based on what we WANT to be true and ultimately begging the question.