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Author Topic: Court to rule on polygamy  (Read 8622 times)
dazzler96
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Posts: 2


« on: November 03, 2005, 03:56:36 PM »

This thread may not have much to do with gaming itself but here in Australia we don't get many stories about Mormons and especially polygamy.  While watching the news this morning I saw an interesting story on a Utah judge who is facing the sack because of his polygamy.  He is legally married to one lady and in spiritual marriage with two of her sisters and it highlights an interesting conflict between religious beliefs and the laws that the judge is sworn to uphold.  From the limited reading I've done on this, the law is more interested in prosecuting people who are committing crimes such as abuse or dodging paying taxes and fraud.  The case against him says he is bringing his office into disrepute because of his practices, he counters by saying that it doesn't influence his decisions as a judge.
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Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2005, 04:26:43 PM »

Challenge:

Make this piece of situation into a Town.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
James Holloway
Member

Posts: 372


« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2005, 06:36:12 AM »

Challenge:

Make this piece of situation into a Town.
Well, we know that the Territorial Authority is responsible for handling marriages, right? That's why it's possible for two Faithful people to have sex without being legally married, because there might be issues with the local TA county clerk or something. I don't have the correct Town format here, because I'm just thinking out loud.

So let's say that the local TA sheriff or garrison commander has a wife who has some progressive ideas. She's found out that the local steward has multiple wives, and she's mad as hell about it -- the second wife is much younger, and she figures that the Steward is just using the opportunity to score some young trim. She's persuaded her husband to refuse to recognize any second marriages, and is trying to prosecute the Steward on the grounds that bigamy is a crime.

The problem is that the Steward really is just in it for the young stuff, but his second wife genuinely cares for him and is happy to be married to such a worthy man. And the Steward absolutely can't be seen to allow the TA to dictate to him on matters of religion. He's going to try to rally the townsfolk to defend the institutions laid down in the Book of Life. And that means getting in front of the guns of TA troopers.

Pride: the back-east woman thinks she knows what's best for everyone, and that it's for everyone to be like her. The Steward has taken a second wife because he wants one rather than needs or deserves one.
Injustice: the TA commander is interfering in the religious practices of the Faithful.
Sin: the Steward is endangering everyone's safety.
False Doctrine: partly motivated by the lady's arguments, and partly by the fear of their husbands and suns getting mown down by TA marshals when they come to arrest the Steward, some of the town's women have begun to agree and speak out against polygamy.
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foucalt
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2005, 07:58:52 AM »

I was pretty sure both Dogs and Stewards could perform marriages as I read the text, which kind of circumvents the authority you depend on your TA guy having. But, obviously, you can have it however you want in your game.

Here's the town I made for Fred's challenge:

Quote
Representatives of the Territorial Authority will generally be either a claims officer or other bureaucrat, or a circuit rider not unlike you Dogs. Only larger towns will have any sort of Territorial law enforcement— a sheriff— but he’s most likely to be Faithful, elected to the job by his congregation. The Territorial Authority’s real concern is that taxes are paid and nobody interferes with the mail— it worries about “keeping the peace” only insofar as lawlessness interferes with taxes and mail.
- page 9 in my copy of Dogs

It's a fair-sized town, and so in addition to the infrastructure of the Faithful, there's a TA-recognized sheriff, Bro. Aliam. Aliam is Faithful, but he's a convert from Back East, and that's part of why he was elected sheriff - the townspeople thought he'd do a better job dealing with the TA since he can talk like one of them and yet represent Faithful interests. Aliam is happily married to Sister Beatrice. Then the town's steward, Brother Cedric, talks with the King of Life and tells Bro Aliam that its time for him to take a second wife, in fact, Cedric thinks his daughter Sister Dehlia would be an excellent match, and he said so from the pulpit last week during his sermon. Problem is, Aliam doesn't really want a second wife because although the TA turns a blind eye to polygamy in general, they'd never allow it in one of their officers and being sheriff is the only thing Aliam loves as much as Beatrice. So he grabbed Beatrice's hand and they walked out of the meeting mid-sermon.

Pride: Aliam thinks its more important to uphold his secular office than to follow the wishes of the King of Life as revealed to his steward. 

Injustice: Cedric's daughter Dehlia has always had an eye for the sheriff, and is now heartbroken that he's refusing to take her as a second wife. She thinks he's hiding behind his badge because in truth he finds her repulsive. Worse, she and Beatrice have always been friends, and that whole relationship has turned awkward and neither of them knows quite what to do about it. Beatrice herself had thought Dehlia might make a fine second wife someday.

Sin: Cedric, outraged by the embarassment of having Aliam leave the meeting right after he was told to seek a second wife, prayed at the end of the meeting for Aliam to be chastised and fall ill. He didn't do it because the King of Life told him to, he did it because of his own Pride, and that was a sin. Dehlia feels ugly, and so when Brother Ephraim casually flirted with her, she seduced him and they made love in her father's barn. Ephraim's too ashamed to tell the steward about it. Dehlia is pressuring him to come back for more.

Demonic Attacks: The King of Life doesn't answer prayers built on Pride, but the Demons eat that stuff up. Within a couple of days, Aliam is injured when he falls off his horse and breaks his left arm (not his gun arm, mind you). The break was bad and his bones broke the skin, leading to infection. He is now laid up in bed with a fever. Cedric won't visit him to heal him, and Aliam won't accept the Steward in his home now anyway.  Brother Ephraim's best oxen ran off the evening he was in the barn with Dehlia and he can't any trace of them. His farm will surely suffer if he can't plow it when the ground thaws. He's hired a Mountain Person tracker to look for them.

False Doctrine: Cedric now believes he can just smite whoever he wants whenever he wants, with no need to listen to the King of Life for inspiration on the subject. 

Corrupt Worship: The instance of Cedric praying for Aliams illness was itself Corrupt Worship as much as it was Sin, as it was a misuse of ceremony. Ephraim anointed the Mountain Person tracker with Sacred Earth before sending him on his way to look for the oxen. When the tracker returned with them, he anointed them, too.

Aliam wants the Dogs to heal his arm and tell him he doesn't need to take a second wife just because his Steward says so.
Beatrice wants Aliam to be healed, but wants the Dogs to convince him to take Dehlia as a second wife.
Cedric wants the Dogs to tell him he was right to curse Aliam, or wants Aliam to suffer at the hands of the Dogs, which he feels would justify him in the same way.
Dehlia wants to feel pretty again. She wants the Dogs to make Aliam marry her even though now she intends to make his life miserable for the embarassment he caused her during the sermon.
Ephraim wants to feel better about sleeping with Dehlia even though he knows he was used. He's not sure whether that means coming clean and repenting (and telling the Steward what he did with his beloved daughter) or proposing to Dehlia and trying to put the sin behind him while still being with her.

If the Dogs never came: Aliam will eventually get gangrene and die, and Cedric will feel his death was a victory. Cedric will misuse his authority and ceremony to hurt anyone who has a disagreement with him and the Demons will obey him while it suits their purposes. Soon, Cedric will start to teach others to do the same and there will be a false priesthood in place, ready to curse and/or kill anyone who opposes it. Ephraim will be attracted to the false priesthood, and will continue to wrongly use Sacred Earth to deal with problems it has nothing to do with.
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David Younce

dave dot younce at gmail dot com
James Holloway
Member

Posts: 372


« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2005, 02:39:08 PM »

I was pretty sure both Dogs and Stewards could perform marriages as I read the text, which kind of circumvents the authority you depend on your TA guy having. But, obviously, you can have it however you want in your game.
By the book, a marriage has to be certified by the TA, which is why it's sometimes permissible for unmarried Faithful to have sex -- because it's not always possible for two Faithful who would otherwise marry to do so, even if their local Steward approves.
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TonyLB
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Posts: 3702


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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2005, 02:43:11 PM »

James, do you have explicit textual evidence for the TA's authority being required?  Or are you saying "It is possible for virtuous, loving people to remain unmarried, therefore the TA must be required to marry them, because there is no circumstance in which their Steward would fail to do so"?  You've phrased it as "X must be true, it explains Y" twice now, which makes me wonder whether you're referring to Y as authority for proving X.
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2005, 05:48:31 AM »

In the "Love, Sex & Marriage" section in town creation:

Quote
- Between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman, romantic love is virtuous, and sex is probably a sin.

...Now, see that “probably”? That’s because the King of Life is, occasionally, a realist. Sometimes, when it matters, He prefers a loving family to official recognition.

Especially because getting married isn’t just a Faith thing. It’s also a Territorial Authority thing. Not all people who should marry are able to, legally, be it because of fees, corrupt Territorial representatives, or various other difficulties — all the result of the unrighteousness of the non-Faithful and the corruptness of the Territorial Authority and the other religions.

-Vincent

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Neal
Member

Posts: 143


« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2005, 06:54:25 AM »

So X (Marriage is also a TA thing) is sometimes a sufficient explanation for Y (Sex between unmarried Faithful is not necessarily a sin). 

Those three qualifiers ("also," "sometimes," and "not necessarily") make this little corner of the bedroom a hotspot for Pride and False Doctrine, it seems to me.  It's the squishy place in an otherwise firm terrain, and as such, I'm sure it invites all kinds of rationalizations on the part of the Faithful.  "Man, all those licenses, all that travel to see this clerk and that judge.  Surely the King of Life wouldn't begrudge us a little nookie in the meantime?  I mean, we'll get married eventually."
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TonyLB
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2005, 07:02:08 AM »

Vincent:  Thanks for the cite.  Sorry.  I should have found that on my own.
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James Holloway
Member

Posts: 372


« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2005, 12:23:20 PM »

You've phrased it as "X must be true, it explains Y" twice now, which makes me wonder whether you're referring to Y as authority for proving X.
As you can see, I was (apparently not very well) trying to say "X is true; it is cited in the process of explaining Y."
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2005, 04:02:53 AM »

Especially significant given the news item: polygamy might well be totally illegal in your game's Territorial Authority. All of those leaders of the Faith might be living in sin.

By 1910 that's how it worked in Utah. I guess you could argue, if you'd a mind to, that that's how it still works.

-Vincent
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