[Virgins] are given unto him: D&C 121 and 132

Laura Brignone (PhD, MSW) is a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley where she studies technology and domestic violence. Part 5 in a six-part series on the domestic violence implications of D&C 121 and 132. Find Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 6 here.

Once upon a Tempernacle, I was a brand-new missionary in a small Utah town. We had temple trips twice per transfer, and my companion and I usually went with our district leader and his companion. Every temple trip, once we got to the Celestial Room, my district leader would walk behind me and whisper phrases from D&C 132 in my ear, hijack meaningful conversations to get my take on whether it was even worth it for women to go to the Celestial Kingdom as plural wives, etc. [1]

Harassment like this is common. Even if not all men harass women — and, indeed, he was the only one of my district leaders who did — most women experience harassment. [2] Given, as we discussed last week, how a modern reading of D&C 132 mirrors the framing of abusive and violent relationships, it’s easy for ill-intended members of the church to use its potent language to harass, manipulate or terrorize women through fears of losing exaltation, eternal degradation, eternal separation from children, eternal subjugation within plural marriage, and more.

Nor do women necessarily need this support to internalize deep (and often shelved) doubts and fears about eternity based on the language in D&C 132. A woman’s own inner demons can harass her more intimately than any church member. [3] Cruel others may just give reinforcement and validation to the fears and terror already lodged within her heart. 

Will she be an eternal number, one among many “virgins” that “are given to” her husband? Will her husband take the place of the God she has worshipped throughout her life? Will her agency be eternally dependent upon her husband? If she doesn’t feel okay with this will she face destruction? What if destruction feels preferable? Other women might thank her for making space for them. But what about her children?

Poignant to the location in which my district leader chose to harass me, these threats and fears can be especially hard to allay within the temple, as echoes of them appear — and, as of Oct. 2021, none are contradicted — within the endowment ceremony. Carol Lynn Pearson describes all of this in detail based on many interviews with LDS women in her recent book Ghost of Eternal Polygamy.

Okay. So, given all of that, let’s move on to our theme. Time to explore the implications for domestic violence against LDS women.


Was this not all about domestic violence against LDS women?

Well, I mean, as we discussed in the last post, reading the language used to present D&C 132 today does resemble the controlling rhetoric of abusive relationships. So it’s not exactly surprising that many women who do read D&C 132 today experience it that way, even if they’re not in a relationship with a perpetrator of abuse. It’s also not surprising that ill-intended church members would use it as a personal and fairly intimate cudgel against women, as my first district leader did. The harassment, diminished self-worth, fear, and self-doubt any woman can feel as a result of this section and its misuse are a peek under the hood of what religious abuse can feel like and the effect it can have on a person. [4]

But our central theme in D&C 132 is about the violence perpetrated by men against women with whom they have ever been in a romantic relationship, and, no, we haven’t gotten there yet.

Implications of D&C 132 for women abused by men

The internalized fear many LDS women feel around the language in D&C 132 informs their decision-making around marriage and family. Perpetrators of violence and abuse exploit these fears, decision-making constraints and even the language in the section itself in order to further entrench their power and control over the women surviving their abuse. Ultimately, this may increase LDS women’s vulnerability to domestic violence and impede LDS survivors from finding safety or escape.

Let’s take a look at some cultural beliefs, fears and practices that stem from D&C 132 and explore how they may increase LDS women’s vulnerability to abuse.

Belief: “Holding the priesthood means he’s a good catch”

Based on D&C 132, both historically and in the present, many members expect that LDS women in the hereafter must accept any available marriage to a priesthood holder, plural or otherwise, to receive exaltation. [5] This is motivated by women’s reliance on marriage to a priesthood holder for their exaltation (and, because there are so many more active LDS women than priesthood-holding men, the argument goes, plural marriage will be necessary to ensure every righteous woman’s exaltation). 

As a result, women, as well as their family members and friends, are incentivized to prioritize marriage to any man who exercises the priesthood over marriage to any man who does not because he will not be able to exalt or be exalted with her. This priority persists, both doctrinally and culturally, no matter how good the non-priesthood holder is and no matter how problematic the priesthood holder is (as long as he is seen as worthy to exercise his priesthood). The marriage value this gives a priesthood-holding man, as well as the pressure this places on a woman to marry him, is amplified by the gender ratio in the church. Since single LDS women so heavily outnumber single LDS men, there are plenty of “virgins [to be] given unto” the potential or former husband of any woman who makes a spot available in the here and now.

When “holds and uses priesthood” is essentially synonymous with “a good marriage” for a woman, it may not feel worthwhile for anyone to distinguish between a healthy relationship and an abusive one as long as the man in question holds and uses his priesthood. This gives a huge advantage to priesthood-exercising men to commit abuse with relative impunity as long as they do it in a way that does not interfere with others’ perception of their priesthood worthiness. For the wives of these men, enduring abuse may be a sacrifice they feel they must make to remain faithful on the covenant path that will secure their exaltation. 

Belief/fear: “Once you’re 24, no one else will want you anyway” 

For a young woman, feeling safe and loved by the person who marries her may not feel as relevant or urgent as securing her exaltation through marriage to a priesthood holder. Anecdotally, each and every LDS woman I know in Utah has felt the social pressure of being “past her prime” if she was unmarried at 24 years old. Pointed judgment, skepticism, pity, and intrusive questions begin to lower her visible respectability and raise the spectre of her being one of the “[virgins] given unto” a random man in the eternities. As recently as this summer a single 24-year-old I know was delighted when coworkers at her new job in Provo, UT respected her and treated her like a person, not “less than” because she was unmarried. This was the first thing she cited when describing its “great work culture.”

This experience can be even worse for LDS women who have been divorced or are sexually experienced. Anecdotally, some LDS men treat a woman’s sexual experience as license for sexual harassment or even assault — and, because they do so serially, their actions harass and assault many LDS women. LDS men and women alike often consider single women with sexual experience as lesser: less pure, less respectable, less “worthy.” If a woman is not a “virgin” who can be “given unto” her husband, she has no place in the rhetorical kingdom of D&C 132 unless her priesthood leader “take[s] her and…give[s] her unto another man who hath been faithful” — ostensibly as a plural wife in the hereafter.

Some single LDS women who are 24+ and/or sexually experienced may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place and may more readily enter risky, uncomfortable marriages in order to restore their social safety, respectability and personhood. A perpetrator of abuse can exploit the stigma and fear many single adult women face as well as the isolation that comes with them. One of several ways he can do this is to subtly reinforce that stigma while positioning marriage with him as a way out of her second-class status. Within marriage, he can continue using this stigma and fear as leverage to convince her to stay in a relationship she would otherwise leave. 

Fear: “Okay, let’s see… tonight’s wife is #437.”

Many women fear LDS doctrine suggests their exaltation is only possible in an eternally subjugated, second-class role, contingent on their unidirectional service as queens and priestesses to an exalted husband who has become like God. This belief alone can diminish a woman’s sense of intrinsic value, individual worth and agency and make her more vulnerable to a perpetrator of abuse’s entrapment. For LDS survivors of abuse, who experience a unidirectional relationship with their husbands in mortality, this expectation can appear to justify the perpetrator of abuse’s behavior. 

In addition, there is a strong tradition among both early and modern Saints in which a woman’s status is based on her “number” — first wives have dominion over second wives, and so on. Thus, for any woman who anticipates being a second (or later) wife, her status in the eternities would be subjugated not only to her husband, but also to her husband’s first (or any earlier) wife. This expectation can leave women wondering what, if any, blessings await them in the Celestial Kingdom — particularly if they anticipate being a second (or later) wife. Given this, women may feel that staying in an abusive relationship is a sacrifice that will allow her to remain a first wife — with slightly more blessings and privileges — in the hereafter. This also increases the pressure on single women to marry as a first wife, even in a risky relationship.

Many women, including some domestic violence survivors, single women and women with less-active or non-member husbands, fear they will be forced to spend eternity in a loveless marriage with someone they may not even know — likely as a plural wife — in order to achieve exaltation. This fear can be especially paralyzing for domestic violence survivors contemplating leaving abusive husbands to whom they have been sealed in the temple. The unknown within their relationships typically precedes pain and abuse, so anticipating an eternity in another unknown relationship may feel particularly alarming. Opting for “the devil they know,” these fears may also deter survivors from leaving. A perpetrator of abuse can leverage this tradition to crush a survivor’s hope that either temporal or eternal happiness and love will ever be available to her, reducing her motivation to leave.

Practice: “Sweetheart, I’m so sorry — I could only pick one.”

For widowed LDS women, remarrying a worthy LDS man requires cancelling her sealing to her first husband. Thus, widowed LDS women, especially young widows with children, face the vulnerable and terrifying choice to carry the challenges of life alone, carry them with a partner she cannot marry in the temple, or pay the excruciating cost of severing herself from her first husband in the eternities after losing him in this life.

And each choice carries risks. If she wants to marry again, many worthy LDS men will avoid widowed and divorced LDS women whose sealings are not cancelled, since neither she nor any children they share would be with him in the eternities. Marrying a non-LDS man would necessitate a mixed-faith marriage she may not want. Yet, cancelling the sealing to her first husband may feel like forcing him to die to her again, after his death. 

And it’s not only the quandary itself that can cause pain for women. Perpetrators of abuse seek out partners with relationship vulnerabilities — for women in the church, these include age, sexual experience, having children, and having an intact sealing, among others — that make them less desirable and therefore easier to isolate and exploit. Much like the single women who are “past their prime” at age 24, if a widowed woman who has internalized a second-class status based on the cultural implications of D&C 132 wants to marry again but is not yet ready to dissolve her first sealing, she may be more likely to feel relief at finding someone in the church who is willing to marry her. A perpetrator of abuse can more easily exploit this dynamic to isolate her and trap her into an abusive relationship and/or marriage. [6]

Implications of D&C 132 for abuse against other Saints 

The fears and pseudo-doctrines that have erupted around D&C 132 affect not only women abused by male partners. As it turns out, not every man wants a lot of “virgins…given unto him.” Some don’t even want two. Some don’t care if the person they’re with is a virgin at all, as long as that person is someone they love, and who loves them. The rhetoric in D&C 132 imposes a norm of polygamy on men as well, irrespective of their love, their wants, or their spiritual and emotional needs. 

Now consider the impact of this language on LGBTQ+ Saints. The general mental health risks within mixed-orientation marriages are pretty well understood. Imagine telling a gay man “you won’t have to marry a woman. You’ll have to marry six.” It might make him unironically wonder, much as a woman might have wondered in scenarios earlier in this post, just how much worse than heaven destruction can really be?

Around the time of Prop 8, an LDS friend who is attracted to women (and whose experience I share with permission) mentioned that she wouldn’t mind polygamy as long as she could fall in love and build an intimate, reciprocal relationship with one of the other wives, and just involve the man as a fast-track for procreation. “Why not?” she asked, “it would be perfectly chaste — we’d already be in the same marriage!” Yet, while practitioners of plural marriage found their marriages were successful if wives forewent emotional intimacy with their husbands and found it with each other, we both suspect this is something church leadership would advise her not to hope for.

While some of D&C 132 can be read to describe a heaven in which loving families are sealed together forever, for many readers the language throughout the rest of the section evokes exaltation as a Hell in which they can imagine only eternal torment, and to which the only alternative is utter destruction. Many women — especially domestic violence survivors — and other members of the church feel a great deal of anguish around this. Abusive and other individuals who wish to inflict harm, harassment and abuse understand this and leverage the wording of D&C 132 against them.

“Have faith, it will all work out”

Some members have faith that God’s plan cannot be so cruel. They choose to believe that God’s plan is different than the language in D&C 132 would suggest; they often frame this choice as “having faith it will all work out.” Many of these members also encourage others, especially those who feel intense fear over the language in D&C 132, to do the same.

While this impulse can come from a good place, it is morally difficult to tell a woman who faces this fear to “have faith, it will all work out.” Her fear stems from doctrine forged by modern revelation. It forms the bedrock of her most intimate, cherished relationships. It shapes her participation in her family. It suggests her eternal exaltation or destruction may hang in the balance. She feels this fear precisely because her faith is so strong. 

Telling her to “have faith, it will all work out” parallels telling a mother in another Christian faith to “have faith, it will all work out” when her unbaptized child dies. When either woman hears “have faith, it will all work out,” what she may hear is an admonition to have faith that the prevailing interpretation of her faith’s foundational doctrine, whether baptism or celestial marriage, is wrong — and with no idea of what may be right. 

For a person with deep and abiding faith, this is impossible without further light and knowledge from a trusted and authoritative source. Because her fears stem directly from the earnestness of her faith, faith alone cannot take away her fear over the eternal destruction of a beloved, otherwise-worthy soul. As she reads scriptures that suggest hell awaits the unbaptised, or destruction awaits those who resist plural marriage, faith alone cannot suggest Christ’s atonement lights a pathway for that soul’s peace and belonging. 

This is why we have restoration. In the LDS faith, we believe that God has restored his church to the earth through Joseph Smith, and that this includes keys to ongoing divine revelation that allow God’s children to receive His further light and knowledge on an ongoing basis. In coming weeks, the Come Follow Me manual will cover the sections that describe the redemption of all unbaptized children and vicarious baptisms for the dead. In my opinion, this further light and knowledge constitutes one of the greatest gifts of the Restoration. 

May the ongoing Restoration grant equal peace and light to those — especially domestic violence survivors — suffering under fears of eternal pain, subservience and obsolescence based on the language of D&C 132. 


[1] Two years later, he married one of my companions, who later divorced him, from what I can gather, for domestic violence.

[2] Consider that a comparatively small number of men commit the vast majority of sexual assaults. Patterns of harassment are less well-researched but plausibly similar.

[3] I’ve often wondered if the culture of anxiety, perfectionism and scrupulosity among LDS women stems from a semi-conscious effort to carve out individual worth against the presumed likelihood of disappearing in the eternities as a nameless, agentless plural wife.

[4] A refresher from the first post, spiritual abuse includes actions intended to disrupt a person’s spiritual practices and force them to abandon or violate their beliefs. In this case, some of the practices disrupted and beliefs violated for women would be a personal relationship with God (replaced by her husband), individual worth, and divinely-appointed reciprocality in intimate relationships.

[5] Brittany Chapman Nash, Let’s Talk About Polygamy; 2021. Deseret Book: United States; 40-41. As in the last post, unless otherwise linked, all statistics, facts and descriptions about plural marriage come from this book.

[6] The people most vulnerable to being swept up by these perpetrators of abuse are those who face the greatest risk of severe harm from them, as well. If a woman surviving domestic violence has children who do not belong to the male perpetrator, he is more likely to kill her and/or the children.


If you suspect you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, the following resources are available to call or chat 24/7. Abuse is never the survivor’s fault:

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453; https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/ 
    • available to kids, parents and concerned individuals in the US and Canada
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; https://www.thehotline.org/
    • available to survivors and concerned individuals in the US
  • RAINN: 1-800-656-4673; https://www.rainn.org/ 
    • Available to survivors of unwanted sexual contact, parents, caregivers and concerned individuals
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
    • Available to anyone with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, their loved ones, and other concerned individuals.


  1. Kudos. Bookmarked. (Literally. I’ve tried to do the same in about 1/3 the word count. Now I’m tempted to just link to this.)
    By the structure of the series the focus here is on Section 132. But I think the LDS world discussion that we need to have is labeled “polygamy” or Carol Lynn Pearson’s Ghost of Eternal Polygamy. It’s not just the section in the D&C that’s at issue.
    Also, I find a number of clues that the institutional church, what I sometimes refer to as the Correlated Church, would like to bury the issues and have us all think that we can and have moved on from polygamy.
    Finally, I think the single most important place for this conversation to be had is between a couple thinking about marriage. Different attitudes and different assumptions about polygamy and about the meaning and lasting significance of section 132 create a built-in rift in too many LDS marriages.

  2. Amen to the Priesthood of that District Leader.

  3. You’ve given us a lot to think about here. I am reminded of Eugene England’s 1987 article in Dialogue “On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage.” Of all the reasons he speculated about for believing that polygamy was not the ideal order of the eternities is that such relationships devalue women, in the sense that it implies that “… it is simply a way of saying that one good man is in some sense the equivalent of more women than one, however “righteous” those women are compared to the average man.” And in that kind of thinking, I believe we see the seeds of potential abuse both emotional and physical being planted in men and women, which does not sound like eternal bliss to me. I have always had questions about Section 132. You have raised a lot more that need to be addressed.

  4. Alma Frances Pellett says:

    “have faith, it will all work out” is condescending as hell, akin to “oh ye of little faith”. Comfort now, teach later when (and if) appropriate.
    I wish it wasn’t so hard for the Church (and people in general) to just say, “we were wrong in this, trying to make sense of something we didn’t, and don’t, fully understand.” Pull sealing back to the original inclusion, just being sealed to whomever you have a relationship to, and leave it at “this is the best we understand for now”.

  5. I'd rather be anonymous says:

    “she wouldn’t mind polygamy as long as she could fall in love and build an intimate, reciprocal relationship with one of the other wives…”

    I am glad I’m not the only one who thought of that, at least.

  6. Excellent post. Just commenting to add my witness that I have either experienced or know first-hand women who have experienced every single one of these fears / problems. There is deep trauma among LDS women as a result of this doctrine.

  7. This is fantastically written. Section 132 is also fodder for abuse in cases where it isn’t even intended. My father is a good man and loves his daughters. He has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Yet when I repudiated polygamy, he urged me to think of one of my single friends and asked wouldn’t I want her to be able to have a husband. What if my friend marrying my husband was the only way for her to be sealed? My stepmom, also a wonderful person, chuckled at my insistence that I would never practice polygamy, even in heaven. Luckily, none of this is an issue now since I have left the church and don’t believe there is a single shred of divinity in the practice of polygamy.

    But in my father and stepmother’s minds, polygamy was a noble sacrifice made by the early saints, and they have a testimony of its spiritual origins. But really some conversations I’ve had with them, like the above, are abusive. They were never meant to be, but having your own parental figures pressure you to accept an abusive practice as right is amazingly disturbing. Section 132 can make even the most Christ-like people not have an ounce of charity towards others because all other considerations and women’s humanity are necessary sacrifices to maintain the facade of prophetic infallibility.

    The fears about coercion are all well-founded. There is no clarity or comfort on how sealings really work. Technically my divorced parents are still sealed. My mother has not been an active church member in many years. But when I was active, I agonized over not being with her after I die. I spoke with a temple president, who in a compassionless way, assured me I would be sealed to another righteous female relative instead. That was his understanding. But a few years ago, my father mentioned that he would be with my mother in the next life because they were sealed. I told him he wouldn’t be because my mother doesn’t want to be with him. He doesn’t want to be with her either, but oddly enough, he truly thought that he would have two wives in the eternities. It’s all so sickening and really disrupts people’s spiritual wellbeing and growth in this life. There are messages from church leaders about faith and fear not being able to coexist, yet they continually stoke fears by refusing to abandon this harmful egregious doctrine.

  8. I’ve certainly been told, and told myself, “it will all work out.” I appreciate you breaking down that for what it is.

  9. “When either woman hears “have faith, it will all work out,” what she may hear is an admonition to have faith that the prevailing interpretation of her faith’s foundational doctrine, whether baptism or celestial marriage, is wrong”.

    This was the cognitive dissonance at the start of my faith journey. Thank you for articulating it.

  10. As a man who is terrified of my wife dying because of what the ‘doctrine’ of polygamy would mean for her and what it would mean to anyone I’d consider marrying, I have long not been able to even fathom how incredibly damaging it is to women themselves. I only have sons, but I know that if I had daughters, my leaving behind much of Mormon faith would have happened even sooner.

  11. Father of Daughters says:

    As a father of daughters, I appreciate all of the posts in this series as I continue to try and understand how polygamy, D&C 132 and all the mess packed around these topics affect women in the church. I don’t like polygamy and would happily throw it out of all doctrine, but because I’m a man it doesn’t affect me in nearly the same way as it does my wife. It’s pretty easy for me to ignore if I want to. I say this as a way to encourage all men out there to spend more time listening to women on these topics and to keep your mouth shut and just let them talk. I’ve been trying for some time to understand how the doctrine of polygamy has impacted my wife, and I’m making progress, but it still surprises me sometimes about just how fired up it makes her. (She’s generally not a very fiery person.) So again: men, go listen to women about this and if they aren’t doing at least 90% of the talking in the conversation, you’re doing it wrong.

    One other thing I want to add is that my wife and I have agreed that in the event that one of us were to die, we can accept that the surviving person would get remarried at some point. However, we have agreed that neither of us will be sealed to anyone else. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about the doctrine of polygamy in the church, but there doesn’t need to be any polygamy in my family.

  12. Stephen Hardy says:

    After reading all this is there any wonder why a woman didn’t pray in general conference for well over 150 years? Or that women don’t sit on the stand in a position of authority? Or simply that women don’t have significant authority?

  13. Holly Miller says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for articulating, Laura.

  14. I have a pretty great marriage, although at this point it’s pretty much a mixed-faith affair (I’m an agnostic these days and he’s a believer). But this hangs in the back of my head, a looming, happiness-eating thing that I try very hard not to think about. When I do dwell on this emotional void and the fear that it’s actually the truth, I wonder very sincerely if I will choose destruction over eternal humiliation. I have no desire for first wife “power,” as that is just pathetic collaboration in an emotional hellscape. Church would tell me to let go of my pride, which of course now I recognize is a manipulative tactic. Polygamy rots everything, and I hate it.

  15. A Poor Wayfaring Stranger says:

    My sister suddenly died 5 1/2 as the result of a traumatic brain injury she’d sustained just a few months before. About a year and a half later her husband announced that he was getting remarried in the temple to a divorcee who had just had her sealing to her first husband canceled so that she and my BIL could be sealed together. Up until that time I’d never really given much thought to widowed men remarrying and being sealed to another wife. Suddenly the full horror of the situation dawned on me and I couldn’t help but feel in my heart of hearts that my sister was very upset on the other side of veil because she had had no say in becoming part of a polygamous marriage. Several times I strongly felt her dismay as I prayed about my feelings about this issue and asked God for guidance. We both loathed polygamy because it had had such terrible and lasting consequences on both sides of our family, and it was our generation on both sides that finally decided to confront and name out loud the terrible things that had happened during polygamy that had so negatively affected our great-grandmothers, grandparents, parents and ourselves as a result. We, our brothers and our cousins all vowed that the stain of polygamy stopped with us and we then all got the help that we needed to make sure that we would think and act as well as raise our children in radically different and much healthier ways than we ourselves had been. That was over 20 years ago.

    In the end, after much thought, discussion with my husband and prayer I decided that I couldn’t attend the sealing of my sister’s husband to a new wife. Because I deal with a chronic health issue I’m sure that family members thought that this was the reason why I didn’t attend the sealing. However, my sister’s only child, her son, called me a few days later and asked me if I had stayed away from the wedding out of respect for his mom. When I said yes he began to cry and thanked me for standing up for her. He had tried to reason with his dad and ask him to marry his new wife for time only out of respect for his mother but his father was unable to see why being sealed to two women was being disrespectful to his first wife. He comes from a family of longtime church “stars” so I wasn’t terribly surprised by his response. It’s a shame that the ghost of polygamy is so ingrained in our church that the men often seem totally incapable of seeing the situation from the women’s point of view. I’ve seen the heartache that the unequal treatment of men and women with regard to marriage and sealings in the temple have caused friends and now family. Surely something that causes this much pain and divisiveness cannot truly be a loving Heavenly Father’s will for His children! Thank you so much for your excellent and informative series of articles. I have forwarded them to family and friends who also feel deeply about the subjects that you’ve discussed.

  16. Stranger, I’m so sorry for your loss. Polygamy truly does complicate grief in a unique and terrible way. I love how you stood up for her sister, and by extension her son.

    This reminds me of how hard it is to break a sealing to an abusive spouse. Or would it even be possible for my husband, if I died, to break our sealing if he wanted to marry someone else in the temple for eternity? I would prefer to have our sealing broken then to be signed up for polygamy without consent.

  17. I cannot stop thinking about this post. I want to tear 132 out of the canon. Why can’t we answer the question about the next life and “the principle” by rejecting the over-claiming of early church leaders and those who still claim it today. Simply saying “we don’t know why” (as was done with race) and “God will work it out” does not address the real damage this has done.

  18. purple_flurp says:

    the point about ‘marrying a priesthood holder no matter what’ reminds of me a demographic phenomenon I’ve noticed over the years.

    In the Provo/Orem area of Utah you can find a lot of single LDS women in their late 20s and early 30’s who were born and raised in Latin America and many/most/some(?) of them end up marrying and getting sealed to men 5-7 or so years younger than them. I wondered why this was a for a while, until once such woman told me that growing up as a female member of the church in Latin America, church leadership there, as in North America, constantly emphasizes the necessity of marrying a worthy and active priesthood holder. However in much of Latin America, active women outnumber active men by an even wider margin than in North America.

    This woman told me that once your marriagle age in the country she was from, there were virtually no options when it came to prospective partners because single men are usually inactive by the time they’re adults. Her oldest sister was proposed to by a former missionary from the US who served in their hometown and she agreed to marry him and move to the US to live with him. After that, the other sisters moved up to the states once they had enough financial means to do so ended up marrying american men who were active presumably worthy-priesthood holders.

    The hurdle is that coming from economically depressed areas, these women need to work in their home countries for several years to have the means to move to the US (Utah). This is why they’re in their late 20’s-early 30’s when they finally have enough money to make the attempt.

    Unless you do that, the reality for these women is, if they want to adhere to these ideals of having temple marriages, it’s unlikely and you either up being celibate and single for your entire life or you marry a non-member and end up outside of the church and inactive.

    So I think it’s interesting that the leadership tries to ‘build-up’ the church outside of the US, but while simultaneously pushing the temple marriage ideal, they end up driving migration of active members to already predominantly active church member areas.

    It’s a sort of ‘brain-drain’ if you will. A lot of the wards and branches I’ve visited in Latin America have the same active member demographics. Old folks, a handful of ‘power couples’ that make up the leadership and the young children of those power couples and relatively few teenagers. Young women outnumber the young men by like 5:1. There will be a handful of young single adult women, young single adult men are virtually non-existent.

  19. Anon for This says:

    As a never married woman I am terrified that my options will be polygamy or nothing. With so many extra women in the Church what do you think will happen to us all?

  20. Rex Gonzales says:

    A lot of chatter about a man made “revelation” so the founder of the Mormon church could have his cake and eat it too. I like how Joseph Smith built a woman be damned clause into it to keep any precocious ladies from getting any ideas to turn the tables. I will leave you with the “what’s more probable?” question. What is more probable? That God would deliver such a message to a man or that a man would make up such a revelation to serve his won interests. I think that the answer quite obvious.

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