BIG LOVE 5:04 Oath (open spoilers)

A largely ‘meh’ episode other than bringing Rhonda back. Has her husband been on the show before? (Verlan was the name of one of the LeBaron brothers, a family of real life and really crazy Hollis Green like polygamous cult leaders- no idea if it has further significance in Mormonism.)

I know that dreams don’t have to make great sense, but thought it odd that Emma Smith looked a Donna Reed-ish housewife, as did Lois in the same dream. I liked that she denied the existence of Joseph’s plural wives, or at least the really young ones (who were NOT all orphans or waifs he took in- onewas the daughter of Heber Kimball, later the number 2 man in the church and one of the most enthusiastic polygamists with dozens of wives of more than 60 children).

A question for Dogzilla or other past or present Mormons: how is Emma Smith regarded in the mainstream LDS? I would think her denial Joseph practiced polygamy and disavowal of the Utah church would have to be embarrassing as would her sons and descendants forming the Reorganized LDS, but otoh it is like the royal family. Speaking of, is the Reo LDS seen as a heretical sect?

I’ll really have to have a second viewing of this episode before I can make any real opinions, but on the surface – they packed a lot of crap into 60 minutes! The more I see of FLDS and even LDS information, the more it grates on me. I don’t know what Barb can possibly be thinking of–a fundamentalist LDS sect that recognizes women?! While that would definitely be a first, I just don’t know what it would really accomplish in the long run. :frowning:

I can’t recall seeing Verlan in any episode previously, Sampiro. What was up with the look Alby gave him? And why the heck would they try to shake down Alby?! That made no sense. But heck, everyone on the show is just really fucked up and disfunctional with a capital D. Many of them are emotionally stunted, even the “regular” LDS, but especially the FLDS and compound folks. OMG, stunted is just so inadequate! I doubt that a team of psychiatrists and psychologists would be able to sort them out!

Again, I’ll really have re-watch the episode to be able to digest and make good opinions on it.

Poor Kevin Rankin (Verlan), he’s gotten a lot of work since playing Tara’s brother on Buffy but most of his roles are essentially Donny, the white trash dude.

I know I’m reaching here but with all the intense looks between Alby and Verlan, I wondered if Alby lusted after Verlan at some point. I’m not sure about the age difference between the two. I considered that Alby might have tried or succeeded in coercing Verlan into some kind of homosexual activity.

Yeah, it’s just based on some staring but it really seemed like Verlan went in there with more ammunition than just Rhonda.

Bill should get [del]run over[/del] tapped every episode.

I had never heard the story that Joseph Smith’s plural wives were orphans or waifs, especially since Joseph was known to adopt such children as he and Emma had a very high infant mortality rate. No, Joseph slept with all, or the majority of, his plural wives. It gets a little complicated because in the first 30 or so years of Polygamy, some LDS saints practiced sealings to LDS church leaders that weren’t considered temporal marriages. For example, there were single women, mostly in Europe, who had never met an LDS leader, who would be sealed (i.e. matched with on an eternal basis) to a favorite leader before beginning the Journey to Utah. This practice ended early and the rumors are that the Utah leaders didn’t know initially, and put a stop to it early - but these sealings remained on the records for many years. But it was clear that Joseph intended to have sex - and children - with all of his wives. (The same cannot be said of a minority of later Utah polygamous marriages. A few of these marriages were considered “charitable marriages” where the leader would marry a widow or spinster to help support her - usually the sister of an existing wife - but these marriages were the small minority.)

Now or then - In the first 100 years or so, Emma’s reputation was pretty low in the eyes of LDS members. She and Brigham Young never got along, even before the polygamy revelations. She didn’t support Brigham, promoted her son as an alternative, married a non-member (by all accounts a good man who went on to form the company that is now the Diamond Match Company), took “Church Property” in Nauvoo as her own (In Emma’s defense, the early ownership titles were really messed up, and there was a real co-mingling of “Church Property” and "Joseph Smith’s Property), and denied polygamy ever happened. On the other hand, she welcomed LDS missionaries traveling to the east into her home, and while she strongly criticized Brigham Young and Polygamy, she didn’t say a lot of bad things about the LDS people.

So, for the first 100 years or so, there was a lot of awful things said about Emma by Utah Mormons. It was pretty unfair, and often mean spirited. Since around 1960 or so, the pendulum has swung pretty far the other way - she is often portrayed as part of a really romantic love match pairing. Really, many of the modern retellings of the Emma and Joseph story sound like a very chaste Harlequin romance. Now most popular treatments completely ignore the post-martyrdom issues.

As far as the LDS and RLDS (now Community of Christ) relationship - it is generally pretty good. The RLDS Church, who owns very important historical buildings and sites, has been good about sharing them with LDS people, they produce historical documents which are valuable (for example - the only place you can get a Book of Mormon in Herbrew is from the CoC), and are generally respected. (As a friend of mine said - “They are the only non-kooky offshoot of the Church”.) Granted, they consider us as the successful, but wrong, offshoot and had a hard time being associated with the LDS Church due to the associations of polygamy.

The Utah branch of the LDS Church thoroughly discredited Emma’s claims that Joseph was never a polygamist. They portrayed Emma as a lying apostate. But that was in the 1800s. The LDS Church of the 1900s and the 2000s is not the same church.

Basically, Mormons today believe in a fictional Emma who barely resembles the actual Emma. And the impression is that Emma was always a believer in Joseph’s revelations. For example, any Mormon could recite the story of how Joseph was reluctant to practice polygamy. He allowed Emma to choose his “second” wife. What’s not told is that on multiple occasions before, Emma had thrown her best friends out of the house when she discovered they were having an affair with Joseph. Emma did indeed grudgingly grant permission for Joseph to marry a pair of sisters who were living in his houshold. The girls’ diaries report that they held a mock ceremony to marry Joseph in Emmas presence, but they had already been married to Joseph months earlier. And IIRC they were wives #22 and #23. Although it’s hard to get a good count, because it’s unclear who Joseph was marring versus who he was just being commanded by God to have sex with.

I missed this episode because I was out partying and I will catch up to it later this evening.

Your question is difficult to answer, but for the most part, let me put it this way. *You *know more about mormon history than most active mormons do. In general, Emma Smith is revered as an obedient faithful wife of the Prophet who was just so strong and courageous ( * gush * ). Many, many mormons do not even know that JS was married to other women, some of whom were already married and several of whom were 16 or younger. Emma Smith’s diaries and journals revealed that she was very uncomfortable with polygamy, but Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants contains verses where god allegedly spoke directly to Emma and commanded her to support polygamy or else be condemned.

After JS was killed and the church was scrambling to reorg itself and figure out who the new prophet would be, there was quite a bit of political maneuvering of which Emma Smith was a part. JS’s assets were tied to the church so Emma was basically left penniless. When BY & Co. started out for Utah, she remained behind and eventually remarried.

And yes, the RLDS, the FLDS, the Stangites, the Danites, the Community of Christ and pretty much just about any other offshoot from the original JS mormonism is considered heretical. The RLDS and the FLDS consider the mainstream LDS church to be heretical. The mainstream LDS church also considers the Catholic church to be “The whore of Babylon.” To the mLDS, there is only one true, restored gospel church and that is the COJCOLDS. Everybody is an heretic.

I see that Reloy3 and I are basically on the same page about Emma, but not so much on the views of the RLDS/CoC vs. MLDS. Let me just say that my post was based on my opinion, which was pretty much formed by what I heard in my house.

So perhaps, you just read my father’s opinion about the other sects. :wink:

On this list, Fanny Alger was a young girl living in the Smith household until Emma threw her out. Church co-founder Oliver Cowdery was exommunicated for encouraging Joseph to come clean about the affair he was having with Fanny.

Sometimes a Johnson (? not sure about that name) girl is listed as the first plural wife, but I don’t think there’s any real evidence of a marriage or even an affair. A family was allowing the Smiths to stay with them. Then they tarred and feathered Joseph because one of the sons suspected Joseph of having an affair with one of the daughters. Mormons today know about the torture, but they don’t know that the aggressors were Joseph’s hosts or that it involved allegations of sex with young girls.

Emma saw Joseph kissing Eliza Snow in the hallway, and she threw Eliza down the stairs. There is speculation that this caused Eliza to miscarry Joseph’s baby.

Certainly the Partridge sisters (selected by Emma) were not the first plural wives. They also were living with the Smiths. Emma was unaware that they were married to Joseph in March 1843. They married him again in May after she selected them.

After Joseph’s death, Emma denied that he ever practiced polygamy. She pretended the whole thing was invented by Brigham Young and John Bennett. Her sons seem to have believed her.

I got this same vibe from the Verlan/Alby glance. Hmmm. . .

It was on the show last night and has been on the show before when Bill mentions the young girls Joseph married and is told by a mainstream apologist (a tourist in Carthage and last night a legislator) that they were orphans or girls who needed protection. What’s interesting about the “What belonged to Joseph Smith v. what belonged to the Church” property mash up is that it happened again with Brigham Young’s family- took years and lawsuits to sort out.

I liked the exchange between Rhonda and Alby: “We’ll tell a court what Roman Grant did to me” and he finishes the sentence with “And they won’t care less”. Plus he probably knows she’s lying- for all his corruption and hypocrisy Old Roman doesn’t seem to have been a skeezy perv- never seems to have laid a hand on her during the courtship. He was a way more complex villain than Alby because he actually did have a few admirable qualities.

What’s Adaleen’s deal? I understand that she doesn’t want to be penniless and alone but you’d think living with the Henricksens would beat living with Alby. And I also wonder what’s up with Cara Lynn and sexy math teacher; of course she put him into a hella-mega awkward situation talking about her father. His “Yeah, I had a brother who was killed and it was horrible, let’s get back to math” makes me that’s leading somewhere. Since his parents look pretty normal I’m assuming he doesn’t have a secret compound past.

If Lois has herpes, it did NOT cause her dementia. I mean, seriously, WTF? Everybody knows the STD that causes neurological issues is syphilis. I could tell you that when I was 12, ffs.

And goddamn Margene is stooopid. “I guess I was just too young to understand it before!” “I was willing to do anything to get away from my crappy home life. ANYTHING.” Not helping, sweetie. Not the tiniest little bit.

An upcoming episode is called D-I-V-O-R-C-E (the name of an old country song for those unfamiliar). I wonder who it refers to; I’m hoping Barb, but could be Lura as well since she would be Alby’s legal wife.
Nicky and Margene don’t have legal marriages so they wouldn’t need a divorce. I’m positive they could get child support (it’s happened in polygamous splitups) but I wonder if they could get palimony.

Isn’t Margene supposed to Divorce Goran?

What was with the very end shot, the lighted-but-dark hallway? Were we supposed to think the swearing in was just a dream? The ceremony did seem sort of surreal, in a cheesy way.

I’d never heard that herpes causes dementia. Is that because it doesn’t, and the Mormons don’t know any better, or because I have just never heard it?

I was half expecting him to be shot by a mystery assailant.

A strange episode. I’m trying to remember if they have done any dream sequences before, and I thought it was an odd device to start using at this junction. This one didn’t add much of anything to the episode. The herpes thing was so weird that my brain just deleted “herpes” and substituted “syphilis.” I’m guessing they said herpes because - if I understand this right - herpes can be dormant for a long time and a lot of people don’t know they have it, whereas syphilis can’t progress to the stage Lois is at without a lot of physical symptoms that she and other people would have noticed. Unless I’ve missed something, that’s really bad writing.

The truth is skeezy enough even if they did not have sex. What Alby would know, I think, is that Rhonda never wanted to have sex with Roman but relished her social status as his future wife.

Herpes virus linked to dementia.

It increases the risk of dementia. It does not cause dementia. I don’t remember Bill’s exact words, but the episode made it sound like the dementia was a symptom of the herpes infection, meaning her exposure to the virus from Frank is to blame. It sounds like herpes do not work that way.

It could be Bill is misunderstanding- the tests showed she has dementia AND she has herpes and he made a connection that’s not there.

That’s possible, yes. Maybe they’re establishing that mistake so they can do something with it later. But given what was going on I don’t think any of the characters were supposed to be misinformed. I think we’re supposed to believe Bill when he says the doctor told him her dementia was brought on by herpes. That scene and Lois’ role in this episode in general was to emphasize what a raw deal Mormon women get when they get married to scumbag believers like Frank. To support that point, they had Lois say their family doesn’t have a history of dementia. For all the world it sounds like the implication is that she was faithful to Frank, but he followed The Principle, married a bunch of women (and who knows if he got any on the side), and wound up with herpes, which he passed to her, causing her dementia.