Introduction

    Mormon Polygamy, A Virus of the Mind is a thesis that examines the alleged revelation received by Joseph Smith that commands Mormon men to pursue plural wives.  The thesis will also examine the behavior the revelation induces. The revelation is Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants, or D&C, colloquially referred to as the LDS law book.  Although the practice of polygamy, more exact polygyny (one man with two or more wives) was ostensibly discontinued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890, the revelation is still part of LDS scripture.  Because it is still scripture causes one to suspect that the Church still considers polygyny to be a correct principle, the practice of which has been suspended.
    The Utah Constitution “forever forbids the practice of polygamy.” To be precise, polygamy may be one man with two or more wives, or one woman with two or more husbands,”polyandry.” The Utah Legislature has made it a 3rd degree felony covered under the Bigamy Statute. In May 2006, the Utah Supreme Court in Utah v. Holm, ruled that Utah’s ban on polygamy was constitutional.  In August 2007 the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Utah’s ban of plural marriage didn’t violate the rights of J. Bronson, G. Lee Cook and D. Cook who wanted the State of Utah to issue Mr. G. Cook a license to marry J. Bronson, a prospective plural wife. Yet polygamy is openly practiced in Utah and the Bigamy Statute is being ignored by the Utah Attorney General and other prosecutors.
    The reason Utah’s Bigamy Statute is being ignored by some prosecutors, I submit is because polygyny as an alleged Mormon religious tenet is given respect.  However, this thesis  will argue that the Mormon brand of polygamy does not deserve respect and should not be respected.  This thesis will make the case that Section 132 is nothing more than a scio-biological creation, an earthly, man-made product of Joseph Smith’s mind which is much more plausible than Joseph Smith’s supernatural explanation.
    It is the contention of this author that Joseph Smith’s desire to cohabit with many women was inspired by his Y-chromosome and when the alleged plural marriage revelation was reduced to writing in the form of a doctrine, it became a meme. 
    Most of us are acquainted with genes  but the nascent science of “memetics” will probably be new to many readers.  Richard Dawkins, a prominent biologist, is credited with coming up with the term “meme” describing it, for my purposes, as a unit of information in the form of instruction that emanates from the brain and is passed on from brain to brain much like genes.  In other words, a “meme” is analogous to the gene even in how it is pronounced – rhyming with gene. 
    It is my contention that the practice of Mormon polygamy is gene-meme driven.  In that regard, so you will know the direction in which I am going, I’m treating Section 132 as a meme that is compatible with the Y-chromosome.  The two working together results in a variety of behavior – some aberrant and bizarre.  It is the behavior that genes and memes induces and how the brain rationalizes this behavior that I find so compelling.  From the Mormon polygamist point of view practitioners are merely complying with the will of God, in other words, following the instructions of Section 132.  From the gene-meme point of view, practitioners are vehicles for the survivability, prolificacy and longevity of genes and memes.  This thesis will advance the theory that Section 132 has taken on a life of its own, replicating itself like a virus, by being passed from brain to brain.  For further information pertaining to the phenomenon of memes see Appendix I
     
    This thesis will also address and answer the following questions:
1.   Is Section 132 consistent with Christian morality?  In other words, is Mormon plural marriage part of what Joseph Smith claimed was the restored gospel.  If Joseph Smith is correct then plural marriage should have been a religious tenet of the first Christians.

2.  This thesis characterizes Section 132 as an inherently male dominated, coercive doctrine.  If it is in fact male dominated and coercive, why then are polygamous women coming forward and defending the lifestyle on national television?  I will attempt to answer that question.

3.  Was the brand of polygamy practiced under the tutorship of Brigham Young of a higher caliber, more consensual and less corrupt than the polygamy practiced by contemporary Mormon polygamists – as some Mormon apologists maintain?

4.  How spiritual is Mormon polygamy as opposed to the secular?  To be more specific, does Mormon polygamy have a dominant biological component, which in reality superimposes the spiritual?

    The answer to this last question is my primary reason for proposing that because Mormon polygamy is gene-meme driven it does not deserve respect. This all relates to blind faith and blind obedience, which are also memes produced by the brain.  Many religious people see blind faith and blind obedience as virtuous, but what it really means is placing control of your life in the hands of someone else.  A deeply religious person may say, “Jesus Christ is at the helm of my life,” and in many cases following the Jesus Christ of the Bible produces very good people.  But following the Jesus Christ of Section 132 has turned some men into monsters and resulted in the abuse of literally thousands of women and little girls.  The problem I have with the Mormon fundamentalist idea of  “following Jesus Christ” is too many people are really following a self imposed, {selfish) prophet who claims to represent and know the will of Jesus Christ. The prophet is often selfish in that he superintends his group in a manner that benefits mostly him.  This, I submit, is what we have today in Mormon fundamentalism.

     This thesis is not a direct attack against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Since 1890 when President Wilford Woodruff issued his Manifesto which suspended the practice of polygamy, the LDS Church wisely suspended other doctrines, rituals and traditions that appear to no longer be useful in furthering the mission of the Church – doctrines like the Law of Introduction, Law of Consecration, United Order, the Gathering and Calling & Election Made Sure.
    Fundamentalists resist change whereas the Church appears to foster change when its in the best interest of the Church.  For example, the legs and sleeves of the sacred, temple undergarment has been shortened to comply with modern dress standards. The Temple Endowment has been modified to conform with American principles. The wisdom of these changes is validated by the phenomenal growth of the LDS Church.  What began as a handful of people in 1830 has evolved into a worldwide religious institution with a membership exceeding 12 million.
     There is a wide gulf between the LDS Church and Mormon fundamentalism which came about gradually after the 1890 Manifesto.  Many of the doctrines, rituals and traditions like Consecration and United Order were suspended as the Church became more “Americanized.” The alleged mission of the fundamentalists is to keep alive those principles suspended by the LDS Church.  The fundamentalists still believe those suspended principles are  essential for exaltation – especially plural marriage.  The organized fundamentalists have created profit and non profit institutions by capitalizing on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Some of these corporations function like churches with the primary purpose of raising money to enrich the leaders and keep the practice of plural marriage alive. 
   
    When we think about behavior we are generally referring to past behavior, behavior that has already been acted out.  But as behavioral scientists have learned, when a subject, or individual, is confronted with controlled variables behavior can be predictable.  For example, if a normal man is approached by an attractive, scantily dressed woman in all probability he will experience a degree of erotic arousal.  I intentionally selected an example dealing with sex because that is what Section 132 is about – sex – power and money.  Its an easy equation.  If you control sex it give you power to compel money.  SP=M. 
    The thinking and behavior of Mormon polygamists is unique – they are a breed all there own because their rationalization in many respects does not conform to the general mold of Christian thinking – although they insist they are as Christian as the next guy.  Many appear very normal, are honest, except for polygamy, and are law abiding and likeable. Some polygamist men are good fathers and there wives, excellent mothers.  But the lifestyle tends to attract some eccentric (a polite way of saying weird) characters.  It also attracts pedophiles, con artists and fanatics.(See Polygamy Under Attack)
    Eric Hoffer, Richard Dawkins and many more independent thinkers propose that man invented god – at least a god of the type that is represented by Mormon polygamists.  If they are right then it stands to reason that man also invented Satan.
    It seems that we humans tend to welcome spiritual explanations for good and evil.  Some call it the “law of opposition”- up and down, right and wrong, love and hate. Contrary to Christian beliefs the ancient Gnostics taught that if we wanted to know God we should look inside ourselves – the same should apply to the Devil.  If the Gnostics are right, then each of us may be carrying around the stuff of good and evil – in other words we may have the raw materials to become creators or destroyers.
    The power of belief can enhance or inhibit an individual’s behavior.  For example if a child is repeatedly told by people around him that he is dumb or clumsy (memes), in all probability he will grow up believing and behaving as if he were dumb and clumsy.  By the same token if the child is inculcated with the belief that there is nothing he can’t do if he sets his mind to it, in all probability he will grow up to be intelligent, confident and productive. 
    Hollywood has capitalized on a belief in devils and the Catholic practice of exorcism.  Mormons cast out devils too by the laying on of hands.  The unfortunate people who are objects of these exorcisms may actually believe they are possessed by devils.   
    There are many Mormon women who have difficulty in adjusting to plural marriage, especially monogamous women, or first wives.  Jealousy, envy, paranoia, insecurity and depression are natural consequences of Mormon plural marriage.  It is not uncommon for a husband or priesthood leader to convince the troubled woman she is possessed by devils, and then put her through the ritual of laying on of hands.
    If she is a firm believer in the power of the priesthood she may actually be cured – a phenomenon akin to the placebo.  But that would be rare.  Her emotional problems are biological, a natural result of stress and anxieties – a condition far stronger than the healing illusion induced by belief in an all-powerful priesthood.
    A belief in devils that dispenses evil like a sower of seeds, and the belief in a priesthood that has power over devils is memetic – meaning it is a belief or myth conjured by the brain.  Superstition, myths and doctrines are all “memes,” meaning they are products of the mind.  In review, a  meme is a unit of thought, an idea, book, doctrine or artifact that is passed on from brain to brain by a vehicle such as a teacher, movie, newspaper, book or priest.  The ideas behind automobiles and computers are memes.  When a meme takes on a life of its own it is called a virus – because it behaves like a virus, the only purpose of which, is to replicated itself.  It is my theory that Mormon polygamy [Section 132] is a virus of the mind.  Its mission is to replicate itself, and as history has shown, it doesn’t care how  –  seduction, rape, coercion, conscription, deception, kidnap – all of which Mormon fundamentalists have done.
    Devil and priesthood beliefs are religious memes.  Within the concept of Mormon fundamentalism, memes depicting devils and evil spirits are contrived stories to explain why a monogamous wife becomes depressed and ill when her husband starts chasing young women in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Jealousy, envy, hatred, competition and dominance are genetically induced reactions when one is threatened, and during feelings of impotence, insecurity and danger – not the work of devils.  It is perfectly normal for a monogamous wife to be jealous and experience depression when her husband climbs into bed with a young, fertile plural wife.  It is perfectly normal for a monogamous wife to feel insecure and fall ill when food, clothing and the house payment are suddenly shared with one or two other families.
    Emotions like jealousy are called foibles – something Mormon fundamentalists teach that are easily overcome. What fundamentalists claim are weaknesses of character, like jealousy, were once attributes necessary for survival and reproduction.  These human conditions have been passed on over thousands of generations until now, and now, many idealists think they are no longer necessary or useful.      
    Emotions like jealousy originated in what Richard Dawkins labels “selfish genes.”  They are what Will Durant calls “individual instincts” as opposed to the “social instincts.”  The social instincts are memes the brain invented to civilize, temper, reroute or check the “individual instincts” that are passed along by “selfish genes.”  Rape and theft are examples of untempered “individual instincts,” runamuck.  When properly scrutinized, Mormon polygamy can be seen as a gene-meme driven practice — the Y-chromosome and Section 132 working together in a symbiotic relationship.
    A Devil is a mythical person who inspires people to do things the social instincts have labeled sin. If there really is a Devil, then Mormon polygamy must be his playground where he turns what most Christians consider sin into virtue.   
    The last chapter of this thesis is devoted to Nineteenth Century authors who will answer the question, was the brand of Mormon polygamy practiced under the tutorship of Brigham Young of a higher quality, more principled and less corrupt? Some of these authors were well acquainted with Brigham Young.

    This  thesis is not an opinionated rant, although I expect Mormon apologists will try and make that argument. I am well aware that many of the conclusions in this thesis will not bode well with true blue Mormons who have a huge investment in their belief. But when facts compete with fantasy, facts must prevail
    Although I do not attack the LDS Church per se, I do question the authenticity of Section 132 and make the argument that it is “a virus of the mind.”  I also call attention to the apparent Church indifference that their scripture is being used by unscrupulous men to commit adultery, commit the crime of bigamy and coerce women into a life of “celestial servitude.”  Other than that I praise the Church for creating a patriotic, wholesome, family orientated environment to raise children.
    I am not adverse to religion of any kind no matter how fantastic as long as it is designed to improve the life of individuals and the masses.  I don’t care if my neighbor believes in the divinity of a yellow dog, reincarnation, karma or whatever, if it makes him a better person and a better citizen.  I’m not even opposed to polygamy if it is absolutely consensual, fair and free of all coercion.  I even think polygamy could be good in the lives of some women which I will explain later.  I don’t think legalized prostitution will reduce rape or child molests. I do think there is a place for legalized, controlled prostitution in an orderly society.  And no one will be able to convince me that there is not a connection between pornography and sex crimes.  In the sixties and seventies as pornography become step by step more and more bold and outrageous, there was an unmistakable parallel in sex crimes.  Pornography is a meme with a set of instructions and some  men with perverted minds follow those instructions. 
    Sex is also a reliever of tension.  In many cases sex offenders are suffering from sever instances of stress and anxiety.  Lets face it, all normal men have a sex drive, its built into our Y-chromosomes.  A primary function of the brain is to invent memes that regulate and control our sexual propensities so they conform to the “social instincts.”  Monogamy, marriage and family values are the most obvious and successful [social instincts] needed to support an orderly society.   
    My iconoclasm is not without cause.  The lives of thousands of women and children have been severely marred, many left dysfunctional by what my research reveals is a fantastic, fraudulent, illicit doctrine. As an adviser to Tapestry Against Polygamy I was often asked to consult with many women abused by polygamist men.  Their stories are heartbreaking, especially when there is little that can be done. As a former deputy sheriff who helped hunt down murderers like Ervil LeBaron and Ted Bundy, I find unscrupulous religious leaders who use faith and religion to sexually prey on young women among the most ruthless and despicable criminals. A professional burglar has much more integrity than one of those. And because nowadays almost anything with a religious connotation or that incorporates the name of Jesus Christ seems to count as religion, causing so-called religious sexual predators to go unprosecuted.  Today it seems our legal system bends over backwards to give respectability to man’s “selfish instincts,” and it seems more and more megalomaniacs crawl out from under rocks to try their hand as a revelator or some other type of spiritual quackery – and within the concept of Mormon fundamentalism there is a cornucopia of opportunity. Men claiming they have met God, an angel, Joseph Smith or some other resurrected being who charges them with a special mission come and go in Mormonism like blisters – leaving in their wake gullible acolytes with empty pockets and pregnant women with broken lives.
    Mormon Polygamy, A Virus of the Mind should appeal to anyone who doubts the spiritual propriety of Mormon polygamy.  And I predict that the open minded Latter-day Saint who is not afraid of unsanitized Mormon history will find this thesis very interesting. 
    A religious persuasion is generally predicated upon faith and not the accuracy or truthfulness of its beliefs and doctrines.  For example there is no known empirical evidence that Moses ever existed or that the Exodus took place, yet look at how the first five books of the Old Testament has influenced the lives and behavior of millions of people.  The worth of a religious persuasion should be based on the behavior it influences.  In that regard, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as of today has among its members some of the finest people on earth.  I credit this salient behavior to the suspension of  controversial principles like plural marriage, which have been replaced by an emphasis on clean living, a productive work ethic, a formal education, honesty, family values and patriotism. 
       But as a selfish meme,  Mormon polygamy has spread to neighboring states – Texas, South Dakota, Missouri, Canada and Mexico – a problem that has gone from a local to a regional problem and will  ultimately become a national problem – traveling like a virus – unless checked.
    There is one untapped audience that seems confused over the claim that  women choosing Mormon polygamy are exercising their civil rights, and that is the feminine movement.  I will attempt to unravel the paradox or conundrum and explain why pro polygamy women defend and recruit other women to join a male dominated, inherently coercive lifestyle. 
    James D. Harmston and Warren Jeffs are proof in the polygamy pudding that Mormon polygamy is a dirty, earthly undertaking protected by a religious veneer.  Harmston verifies my theory concerning the Y-chromosome [that sex is the primary motive], and Jeffs personifies the prophet who profits from merchandising sex and plural wives. (See Polygamy’s Rape of Rachael Strong)
    My goal is to use my experience and knowledge to educate the unexposed and ill informed, and at the same time bolster women’s rights.  There will always be potential converts to Mormon fundamentalism and polygamy. That’s because there is too much power, sex and money to be had.   Many men deny that their Y-chromosome is urging them in the direction of plural marriage.  Nevertheless, this book may discourage vulnerable brains from giving in to the genetic propensity to have sex with many women,  and save a few single moms and daughters from a life of celestial servitude.   
    Almost without exception, each time I have been interviewed by the media, or contacted by one of my readers, I am asked where I currently stand with religion. This is my reply: I am no longer interested in organized religion because of all the deception. I don’t want a middle man, not a pope or prophet, or bishop, priest or pastor between me and God.  If there is a God I will handle my salvation on my own. 
    The deception and outright lies have drained me of faith, but I still have hope.  I can only believe in what is logical and what my senses can confirm, and even then I know that because of subconscious prejudices my senses may sometimes be mistaken. 
    I feel closest to God while lounging beside a clear, bubbling brook meandering through a grove of quaking aspen, or watching for fossils in the desert – most anyplace where man has not gouged out the side of a mountain, poured asphalt over top soil, and obscured the sky with pollutants.  Each Spring I see God’s handiwork in my vegetable garden where miracles are common and go unrecognized by many city dwellers. Consider a seed the size of a freckle evolving into a gorgeous tomato plant, or a seed the size of a grain of sand turning into a carrot.  Each seed has its own special set of instructions – and what a variety – pumpkins, corn, strawberries…  Wow! 
    I see metaphoric wisdom and truths in nearly all scripture.  And I have yet to see a code of ethics that can improve upon the Ten Commandments.  I think an atheist or skeptic can be just as spiritual, egalitarian and altruistic as a Catholic, Muslim or Mormon.  I guess when it comes to religiosity I am more in tune with men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, who were Deists, and by dropping those names I am not suggesting I have as keen a mind. It might be noteworthy that Deism is not that far removed from the notion of “intelligent design,” that is, if “intelligent design” is not a sneaky way of trying to prove the existence of an unembodied, disembodied, or resurrected being called God who created all, sees all, knows all, and capriciously intervenes in the lives of humans.
     Today, the crime of bigamy is being ignored by some Utah prosecutors, and I suspect it might have something to do with the belief that Mormon polygamy is a legitimate, religious tenet.  Therefore, before the crime of bigamy will once again be taken seriously in Utah, and abused women receive proper judicial assistance, respect and support they deserve, the Mormon, religious meme called polygamy, quarterbacked  by the Y-chromosome, needs to be stripped from Mormonism.  I think this book has that capability.

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