Monday, February 20, 2012

Romney Polygamy Family Tree

While Mitt Romney may disagree with the practice of polygamy and its practice by his prior church, polygamy seems to be very prominent in the Romney family tree. Romney ancestors did not only practice polygamy but endorsed it. Mitt Romney’s great-great grandfather Parley P Pratt had twelve wives and in 1852 sermon his brother Orson Pratt, “became the first church official to publicly proclaim and defend polygamy as a direct revelation from God”.  Romney’s great grandfather Miles Park Romney had 5 wives and he married the fifth one in 1897, after LDS church banned polygamy 6 years ago in 1891 and a federal law which banned the practice three decades earlier. Romney father, George Romney, former Michigan governor, who was born in Mexico, were church members who fled in the 1800’s after US law banned polygamy and to escape religious persecution. The Romney family did not return to the United States until 1912, “more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy”.  While reading this family history, one realizes how much prominent polygamy was in the Romney family during Miles Park Romney and Parley Pratt’s time. 

It seems like generation after generation, they were all polygamist until the church banned it and US law prohibited it, polygamy started to fade away slowly from their lives.  The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph smith, had 33 wives and Brigham young, the guy who expanded the church from Midwest to Utah had 55 wives.  Smith’s repeatedly said the God authorized polygamy. That is a big issue, if this is not inequality, then what is?  A Man having 33 wives and 55 wives respectively, in my opinion is just cruel, unfair, and it degrades women. What makes men so superior than women and why were they the only ones allowed to practice polygamy and why couldn’t the women marry different men? 

Remember the court case?, Reynolds vs. Unites States, where the court found that laws banning polygamy were constitutional and did not violate the Mormons right to free exercise of their religion. I believe that court made the right decision because freedom of religion is not greater than the law of the land. 

As a part of activity we did in class the other day, I was part of “Protecting Mormon Women’s rights”  group , and after reading this article I have a witness and I would like to make a case against the church leaders and other various for-polygamy groups. The witness in this case is Hanna Hood Hill, Miles Park Romney’s (great-grandfather) first wife and our presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s great- grandmother.  In her biography she stated “I felt that was more than I could endure, to have him divide his time and affections from me. I used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow. If anything will make a woman's heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife. ... But I put my trust in my heavenly father, and prayed and pleaded with him to give me strength to bear this great trial." This statement above, clearly shows that pain of Mormon women, who had to endure watching her husband with several other women, and were not for-polygamy, rather were opposed to it.  They may have been forced to practice polygamy, but that didn’t mean they believed in it and it is a clear example of male domination over women.  While Romney has said on several TV occasions that he believes a "marriage is between a man and a woman ... and a woman and a woman”, while his views may have changed over the years, but we still haven’t forgotten the history.

11 comments:

Emrah K said...

I do not defend Mormons' polygamy but I think there is not any logical or scientific reason to prohibit polygamy. There are two arguments that first is emotional case of women, second is the understanding of morality. In law, is an emotional case sufficient argument to make a law? In addition, the understanding of morality depends on cultures, time, and religions. In this case, American morality can be sufficient argument to prohibit polygamy but it does not mean polygamy is bad inherently. Maybe it means polygamy is not proper for Americans.

Angela S. said...

For that matter, even if we agree that polygamy is bad, why does it matter that he has relatives that were polygamous? I honestly do not understand why we are so fascinated with the ancestors of the politicians we have running for office. I do not care if politician X’s ancestors were saints of murderers. What matters to me is what politician X has done in the offices he has already held.

Blake_S said...

I have to agree with her point on the history of Romney's family. They may have been practicing polygamist but that is something of the past. Romney does not support the practice anymore yet like Angela points out, we seem to be obsessed with what Romney's past his beyond his birth. His family is a separate entity that a person should not be judged upon. A person should only be judged based upon their ability to perform their promises and what they have done in the past.

Sachin G said...

It does matter who the relatives of presidential candidate are and even more when it has criminal history to it. For example, today i could choose to run for president and if my ancestors were terrorists, are you saying you wouldn't object me being a president? Of course you would! Because i would have those same genes in me. The reason Americans object Romney, a Mormon president is because as a christian nation we oppose polygamy.
you know the saying, its either the christian way or the highway.

joycek said...

I agree with Blake, it doesn’t matter that Romney’s ancestors practiced polygamy. Historically, polygamy was the usual practice for Mormons, especially wealthy families. Romney’s family history only shows that he comes from money and from a family of Mormons. Romney made the statement that he believes marriage is between ‘a man and a woman’ - and that is the usual practice for Mormons today. The Reynolds v U.S. ruling redirected the concept of polygamous marriage to monogamous marriage, as did the revelation of their president. It is a fascinating historical moment.

Angela S. said...

Actually Sachin I don’t believe that there is a criminal gene. I think candidates should be judged on what they do, not what relatives did. The only exception that I would make to that is, if we were talking about living relatives that had some level of control over the candidate in question.

Olivea M said...

I do not understand why Romney's family tree is a pertinent issue. I do not think that his family tree or anything that his relatives did in the past have anything to do with his ability to run for President and if elected, assume his Presidential duties. What matters are the qualities that he possesses himself, that would make him a desirable Presidential candidate.

Christiana Torere said...

I have to agree with Angela, I don’t think a family history of why a Politian is a Mormon is important. A family history on religion does not help determine what you will contribute as a Politian, however family history may be helpful to determine the Politian ways of thinking; but not always true. In society your parents/ancestors do not determine what type of person you will be, therefore collecting information on a Politian about the history of their family’s religion should be irrelevant. At the end of the day, gathering a family tree of information is just another bias way to determine what kind of person you are by comparing you to your ancestors.

Noorin K. said...

Romney's past is a Romney past but it is one that he had no control over. Today he stands against it and that is what people should focus on and move forward. They should not base a person's capability on what his or her family has believed in the past. We each have separate beliefs. I have nothing against polygamy as long as women are not being guilted into it. As long as no one else is being harmed or hurt because of a polygamist and their life, I believe it is okay to practice what you believe.
It’s ridiculous how some people put restrictions on others just because it is not the norm they are used to in their own life.

Amisha P said...

I agree with the most of the pervious comments. It should not matter about politician’s ancestors. Today, majority of the morons do not believe in polygamy. If you trace their family tree you may find that someone practiced polygamy. It is not fair to judge someone based on what his or her ancestors did. Some southerners should not run of political offices because someone in their family might have been a slave owner? It would not be fair to judge them, because it was not them who were slave owners it was their ancestors. It is a similar case to Romney he does not endorse polygamy but his ancestors did, should he always be judged for that?

crunchycheetos said...

I agree with Emrah. Morality and emotions should not be sufficient enough to influence legal matters. I also agree with what everyone else is saying about the relevance of Mitt's ancestry. I'm sure all of us could find something that our ancestors did, which have NO reflection or relevance to our current lives. The political sphere is based largely on image, to adapt to our modern times and for some reason, we find personal life intertwined with professional life. There should always be a separation between the two; similarly to church and state.

Preston L.