Espouse the Truth

Letters published April 9, 2008

Get religion! Mormons legal eagles

"The Temp," March 26

Practicing polygamy a Mormon no-no: Interesting profile of someone who sounds like a fascinating person. However, the description of Allred's religious background was unclear at best and misleading at worst.

No "devout Mormons" practice polygamy. That has been grounds for excommunication from the Mormon church since 1890. The "polygamous compound" and "extremist sect" mentioned in this article may have been a splinter group with a nominal historical association to the fifth-largest Christian religion in America and the largest religion ever founded on American soil, but that sect is not the same church which now has 13 million members worldwide and is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

It is disingenuous to allow readers to draw such a conclusion, when a few more words would have clarified the distinction.

Jason Crandall

For the Bible tells me so? Man, Mormon apologists are everywhere these days. The Mormon Church still believes in polygamy. They just don't practice it right now on earth. They do, however, practice spiritual polygamy, as men can be "sealed" to many women — like when his first spouse dies, he can be "sealed for all eternity" to a second wife, etc.

Mormon women do not receive the same benefit. Mormon scripture reads: "And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood — if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. And if he have 10 virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified."

This was supposedly "revealed" to Joseph Smith, a polygamist and founder of the Mormon Church. This passage is still on the books, folks. Mainstream Mormons still believe polygamy to be a "higher law of God" that is just not being practiced right now. All it would take to return polygamy to mainstream Mormon practice is a simple "revelation" of the prophet. In other words, Thomas Monson could just say, "We are practicing polygamy again," and poof, it's back.

The fact is, the Mormon church is embarrassed by its polygamist past and cannot admit it was ever a wrongheaded idea. You can understand why this author and people all over the world are confused by Mormonism and polygamy.

Until the church says polygamy was wrong in the early church, it's never coming back, and deletes passages like those above, it will always be associated with polygamy.

Former Mormon Cult Member

"Badass Boy Scout," March 26

Defending Their Lives
Terez reminds us of the humanity of all: Far from me to complain about an article that so nicely lays out the goals of the Federal Public Defender's office here in northern Ohio. The defense never rests, though, so let me please add one important clarification:

Never would we all work so hard for our community if I or others in my office held such personal disdain for our clients by referring to them in the manner in which I am quoted. The quote has some contextual history that illustrates the challenges all appointed defense counsel face.

A longtime friend once introduced me to his son as being someone who represents "the scum of the earth." I honestly don't think it was meant maliciously — indeed, he said it rather matter-of-factly. Truth is, his view is shared by much of mainstream America, especially when that same part of the mainstream happens to have been a victim of crime.

We, as defense lawyers, work daily to combat that attitude, doing what we can to provide our best advocacy for clients who are entitled to nothing less. The public calls our clients all kinds of names — lowlife, trash, even worse. Our clients, though, have other names: father, mother, son, daughter. The constitution makes sure we are around to see that no one ever forgets the second set of names.

Dennis Terez
Federal Public Defender

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