Week 8: Why Monogamy?

Discussion Preparation:

More than one of you has already asked "what is the big deal about polygamy?" This week we'll be debating this, nineteenth-century style, by conducting a mock trial of a nineteenth-century Mormon polygamist. In preparation for class, I'd like you to think about a role you might be able to assume in our debate. I also want everyone to write out, and be prepared to hand-in (these can double as posts):

  1. Two examples of arguments from the readings that support polygamy.
  2. Two examples of arguments from the readings opposing polygamy.

Questions to write about:

  1. Did the two sides of the nineteenth-century debate about polygamy disagree about the goals of marriage?
  2. Why and how did nineteenth-century Americans object to polygamy? How persuasive do you find their arguments today?
  3. Why and how did the nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints defend polygamy? How persuasive do you find their arguments today?