“Why do we believe in and practise polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ It is the only popular religion there, for this is the religion of Abraham, and, unless we do the works of Abraham, we are not Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise” (July 6, 1862, Journal of Discourses 9:322).
Brigham Young, God’s alleged modern mouthpiece, makes it ultimately clear that God is at the center of the polygamy issue and that this God revealed the practice to Joseph Smith. However, in a recent interview with Mike Wallace, Mormon candidate Mitt Romney stated, “I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.” Romney could have been using hyperbole, but without knowing for sure, I have to assume that to Mitt Romney polygamy is more awful that hearing your home has burned to the ground, or more awful than hearing a doctor tell you that you or a loved one has cancer, or more awful than hearing that all your children have been killed in a car accident.
This is not the first time Romney has spoken disparagingly about plural marriage, yet I am not aware of any journalist who has asked what I think should be an obvious follow-up question, “If the practice of polygamy is truly awful, doesn’t that make the Mormon God culpable?”
A Mormon fundamentalist who believes in living “the principle,” would immediately say no. Those who firmly believe in plural marriage insist that the idea of assigning blame comes only from those who have denied the faith of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor. Still, I’m curious as to how Romney would answer this question. Did God make a mistake when he revealed this practice to Joseph Smith? Did God require something “awful” as a condition of salvation? If that is so, what does this say about Romney’s God? Or, better yet, what does Romney’s display of distain say about Romney?