The Latter-day Saints have had an odd relationship with polygamy, which is understandable when you see those currently practicing it. If the LDS is your friendly, clean-cut neighbor always willing to do good and give a helping hand, then the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the creepy uncle with a mean face and grabby hands. The main church did away with polygamy when they wanted Utah to gain statehood (by way of a divine revelation), and many Saints who love polygamy just weren’t having that. They saw the revelation against polygamy as a cheap political maneuver, and decided to take all their toys and go elsewhere. Strange thing was, even though they superficially did away with polygamy, some in the main church were still taking part in plural marriage, which proved to be embarrassing later on when they were called on it.
Anyhow, today the main LDS declare that the FLDS are not “mormons,” which strikes me as odd. I know that the FLDS doesn’t follow the mainstream LDS, but by believing that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, doesn’t that kinda make you a Mormon by default, without all the gross stuff that the FLDS decided to tack on after that?
It does make sense that the main church would want to distance itself as much as possible from the FLDS. They’re not just creepy...they’re downright nightmare inducing. They have their own towns, where the cops are part of the church (making escape impossible). They encourage keeping women in line and obedient by all means necessary, which naturally means savage beatings and mental degradation. Old men in their 70s can marry (and therefore, of course, have frequent sex with) young girls ages 14 and up, thus destroying their chances of ever having a normal sexual life. Girls are taught at an early age, at home and in school, that men are their masters, and being disobedient is a sure ticket into the tortuous pits of hell. They’re told to “stay sweet,” no matter what. Boys suspected of being gay are thrown out of the community, literally. One time a large group of boys were rounded up and dumped off in some area, told never to come back. Teachers are allowed to smack their students around and humiliate them in class, and don't lose their jobs even in the rare instance where parents complain about it. This isn’t even mentioning the strange animal sacrifices and reintroduction of blood atonement that Warren Jeffs promoted.
Would this have been avoided if the main church kept polygamy? Does polygamy naturally lead to abuse towards women? I don’t know. I know that the FLDS can get away with this because they are their own self-contained community, and therefore can enact all kinds of crazy laws due to divine revelation. The strange thing is, without all the abuse and creepiness, I understand why the FLDS exists. Polygamy was a divine revelation given to Joseph Smith, it’s in the Doctrines and Covenants, and Brigham Young promoted it with the same kind of intensity that Apple used for their iPad. And yeah, when it was done away with by divine revelation, it does seem a bit convenient that it was something they needed to do anyway to appease the government. Either God is rather flexible with his divine orders, or some major religions function exactly like any other political group. Once the message no longer sticks, do away with it and try another angle.