When I started finding out some of the things that Joseph Smith actually did and said, I think he was struggling with trying to bring together spirituality and sexuality. And quite frankly, Christianity has been really bad at this, and most major religions have been really bad at spirituality and sexuality.
You’re supposed to be spiritual on Sunday, sexual when you’re in bed with your partner — your legal husband or wife (right? no-one else!) — and then yet you’re supposed to deny your sexuality in all of these other contexts.
Well, it doesn’t make sense!
Once we avoid the reduction of polygamy into the “sacralization of Smith’s adultery” (Ken Clark, I’m looking at you), then the expansive vision of family, sealing, and eternal lives offered by Joseph’s theology — of which sexuality is an unashamed component — is an intriguing one.
If polygamy was not about Joseph’s sex, was it about sex at all? Are there ills of sexual monogamy that sacral polygamy was intended to overcome? (Did 19th century pro-polygamy apologia ever make such an argument?)