Broaching the topic of polygamy is very difficult for the Saints, especially the women. We feel so much pain in our hearts to hear this discussed. Our temple sealings also have implications for whether marriages will be polygamous in the celestial realm or not. Since the mainstream Church hasn't provided us with many answers on this, we are left to wonder. And hope against hope that after living a full life of service in the Church, we won't be asked to share our husbands.
After listening to some podcasts about current fundamentalist Mormon polygamy practices and post-manifesto polygamy practices in the early Church, it's no secret that polygamy is messy business. However, I felt less anguish in my heart about the issue after learning that many women who practice polygamy today live happy lives. Polygamous relationships can be abusive or healthy, just like monogamy. Now, I'm not saying that I want to become a polygamist or I will be okay with it in the next life. I'm just saying there are aspects to this lifestyle that I might not have considered: that some people live productive, happy and healthy lives in this system. And hey, if you're finding a way to attain that happiness, more power to you.
Many women worry that in order to attain celestial glory, they will have to take on polygamy in the spirit world. Here is my thought: I don't think we'll have to. The eternal principle of the gospel is free agency. Apparently, we fought a war in heaven over this issue. To me, that says that agency is an eternal principle. We have always had our agency to act and to choose to take on ordinances and covenants if we desired to. Are we strongly encouraged to go to the temple and get sealed in the temple? Of course. But no one in the Church is forcing you. You may have to deal with the weight of gossipy judgement, but those people are not living your day to day life.
If polygamy is like a kind of ordinance, then you don't have to participate if you don't want to. Will it cause differentiation between the Saints? It could. Maybe it could be something as not-so-subtle as Church callings: like you get the "good", highly visible callings if you're a polygamist. If that's the case, I am completely fine with the polygamists running themselves ragged while I spend some more quality time with my husband on our couch made of super-fine-matter or whatever it's supposed to be.
We experience a lot of pressure in the Church in regards to our family lives. If polygamy in heaven does exist, and our people are the same people they are today, it could be like other major transitions in our lives that other people feel they have an input in: like dating, marriage and childbirth. Everyone wants to see you happy and see who you will end up with, because it's just so exciting!! when that happens. Of course it is. But until you are ready for those blessed events, let's not rush things. I think of polygamy in heaven the way that I think of having a baby: it's no one's business but yours and your husband's. You make a decision as a couple and you stick with it. If anyone were to ask me why I don't have a baby right now, I'd say: "Oh, sounds like you're offering to pay for my rent or give me free child care, or wake up for me in the middle of the night when the baby cries. No, that's not what you're saying? Oh. Guess you'll have to wait a little bit longer for a baby outta me."
We're all about choices in the Church. Let's not forget that as we contemplate our futures.