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Iowa Flooding and Polygamy Cause Debate Within Religions

What do the recent floods in the Midwest, and the attention garnered over the FLDS polygamy case have in common? It might not be obvious on the surface, but they're both instances where headlines are having a big impact on religion. First, the floods:

One grocery-store owner in Iowa, who is a devout Muslim, saw his business of six years washed away along with hundreds of others in the severe flooding last month. But whereas other businesses are signing up to receive federal loans at low interest, he cannot; it is forbidden in the Quran for any believer to pay interest. The store owner claims he will need $18,000 to replenish his stock, a sum he does not have, yet his faith has not faltered: “With all of our losses here, even the loss of a six year effort, I still feel we were blessed.”

In Utah, a somewhat different religious struggle is taking place between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the more renegade Fundamentalist groups, most of whom practice polygamy. To see what's causing the debate,


Each group believes they have a rightful claim to the appellation “Mormon.” The LDS Mormons believe that since traditionally the word Mormon has been used to describe their church that they are the ones whom it should refer to exclusively. The more fundamentalist branches, including the group recently raided in Texas, disagree stating that it is their belief in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is all that is needed to be called “Mormon."

Should a religion's name be proprietary — does the LDS Church have a rightful claim to it? Would you refuse government assistance because your religion dictated?


chancleta chancleta 9 years
Q: "Should a religion's name be proprietary — does the LDS Church have a rightful claim to it?" A: I don't think so. Maybe than should come up with branch names like the many branches of Christianity have done? Q: "Would you refuse government assistance because your religion dictated?" A: I would not however I respect people with devout faiths that follow their beliefs. Similar to how the Amish help each other - I'm sure the assistance he needs will come from a fellow Muslim.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
It's weird that people jump straight to polygamy with Mormonism, like that's the only odd thing about the religion. (Not that Mormons are odd. All religions have, well, quirks.) And honestly polygamy (the non-child-abusing-kind) is not that big of a deal. I don't particularly want to be one of many wives, but how other people choose to structure their family is up to them.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
Thanks guys! I'm glad I could contribute. :bossy:
Megatron Megatron 9 years
Good job, amybdk. I grew up in the "non-crazy" Mormon faith and I always have to explain what the website states in laments terms to people who ask me what number wife I was. It was funny at first, but now it's offensive. As for the Muslim, that really stinks. To each his own, but good for him for sticking to his beliefs.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Thanks Amy. That saved me some time.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Thanks for that update, amybdk! I went to their site, it is very interesting!
amybdk amybdk 9 years
BTW: there's more information (scripture references, explanation,etc.) available at the LDS site.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
There are Islamic organizations that can help the storekeeper, in fact there are Islamic banks that operate under Islamic principles. As for the question of would I be able to refuse government assistance if it was against my religion? I am not sure, to be honest. But, I think it is important to note that a huge part of religion is FAITH, and I think this demonstrates that this storekeeper has faith that God will provide a way for his family. I am interested to find out what you find about the multiple wives question in Mormonism, Dave.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
from "Polygamy (Plural Marriage) The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. At certain times and for His specific purposes, God, through His prophets, has directed the practice of plural marriage (sometimes called polygamy), which means one man having more than one living wife at the same time. In obedience to direction from God, Latter-day Saints followed this practice for about 50 years during the 1800s but officially ceased the practice of such marriages after the Manifesto was issued by President Woodruff in 1890. Since that time, plural marriage has not been approved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and any member adopting this practice is subject to losing his or her membership in the Church."
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'll look, but I'm not sure that there is any passage in the book of Mormon that says it's ok to have multiple wives. What my sister (who is Mormon) says about that issue is when they first moved to Utah, the male/female ratio was greatly skewed to the women (like 10-1), so the men "married" several women to keep bloodlines going. The more fundamentalist groups still practice this because of tradition.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
"And I'd hate to be the judge who ultimately has to hear the Mormon argument - the polygamists will claim they're truly following the Book of Mormon and the LDS have homogenized it for political reasons." I, too, would hate to be the judge in this.
stephley stephley 9 years
I would think there's a Muslim organization that will step in and help the grocer - obviously Muslims run businesses and have been doing something to deal with the interest issue up to now. And I'd hate to be the judge who ultimately has to hear the Mormon argument - the polygamists will claim they're truly following the Book of Mormon and the LDS have homogenized it for political reasons.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
"Should a religion's name be proprietary — does the LDS Church have a rightful claim to it?" I bet Christians (and every religion, really) wish they could keep the crackpots from using their name. Frankly, there are a few people who claim to be Democrats that I wish I could forbid from calling themselves that. With groups that large, though, you don't get to pick and choose. It seems like saying "LDS" generally refers to the more official, you know, less-crazy brand of Mormonism so if they want to distinguish themselves, why not just really embrace that term?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
There are fringe elements in every religion. Except Buddhists. Have you noticed that? You never hear of Buddhists bombing stuff or killing people. Or Eskimos. I guess Buddhist Eskimos must be the most peaceful people on the planet.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
"Would you refuse government assistance because your religion dictated?" No, but it's hard to put myself in those shoes, being an evangelical atheist myself. There's a lot about religion that is great, but I can't fathom acting against my own self-interest so drastically.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I agree with em (nice name ;))...especially if I had a family to support, I would find it really difficult to not take out a loan that would help get us back on our feet after something devastating. But, more power to the grocery store owner for being able to stick to his beliefs. That's also a pretty tough debate over the name "Mormon", and again em's right...I live in a city where Mormons are really rare, and everyone I know who hears the word "Mormon" automatically thinks "freak with 10 wives". :( As far as arguments go, though, I think the LDS group has it right...seems like it takes a bit more than just a belief in Joseph Smith to be a Mormon. To me, at least.
em113 em113 9 years
The refusing government assistance question is a hard one. I've never (nor will I ever be in a situation) like that one, so I can't say anything with certainty. But ultimately the the welfare of myself and my family comes first, even if that means taking out a loan my religion wouldn't approve of. Hopefully, g-d would understand that decision. As far as the LDS argument, I don't blame them for being upset and fighting for the name. Fundamentalist groups have tarnished the word "mormon" to the point where many people assume your a fundamentalist, polygamist when the majority of mormoms are LDS.
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