I am re-posting this post in solidarity with Kirk Van Allen who is being threatened with a disciplinary council for authoring it. This is posted with Kirk’s permission.
What I’m about to say to you may seem shocking, but please read through it completely to understand where I am coming from. I have come to the belief that D&C 132 and Joseph’s teaching of polygamy isn’t, wasn’t, and never will be revelation of God, that polygamy is not of God but rather an idea of men. I believe that it is self-evident that a loving God would not be the author of such confusion, obvious inequality, and emotionally/psychological damage. I believe firmly that if there ever was a practice and verse of scripture that has failed the test of fruits of the spirit, D&C 132 and polygamy would be a sure bet.
Galatians 5 reads:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Yet, apparently in Mormondom there is a law that does not mesh with the fruits of the spirit. That law is plural marriage. It is a subject that causes many peoples’ stomachs to wrench with disgust. It is a topic that is avoided and often disregarded as something that only God understands, yet plural marriage has and continues to affect the lives of every Latter-day Saint. You don’t believe me?
In my own life my parents had taught me that polygamy was the marriage system of heaven. My mother would say, “How else would Heavenly Mother be able to give birth to billions of spirit children, unless she did not have fellow women to help her?” People in my very Mormon community would say things like, “When they bring back polygamy…..” or “If the prophet asked you to practice polygamy, would you do it?”, as if it would be the ultimate faith and devotion to God. My wife has even more disturbing experiences. She was taught that the more righteous the man, the more wives he would have in the life to come. This created a harsh dichotomy in her mind. She wanted to marry a righteous man and yet didn’t want to share her husband in polygamous heaven. She was told that it was a principle designed to teach women humility and to overcome jealousy. (Because no man would ever be jealous or upset over having to share his spouse.) I’m sure Mormon readers, especially women, have stories of your own. The doctrine of plural marriage continues to deeply affecting much of the church culture to this day. From the way we treat women, to the way church business is conducted, to temple practices, plural marriage still colors the filter we look through. If you do not believe me, you need to follow this link to learn more.
The reason I have decided to write this post is to stand up for the women hurting from this painful teaching. I’m doing it for my posterity, so they will know where I stood on the issue. And I’m doing it for every polygamous wife that has ever felt the agony of watching their spouse kiss and love another woman. I’m doing this for every faithful woman that wrestles with the tortuous thought of a polygamous “heaven”. I’m doing this in an effort to help people realize, that with honest study and prayer, you can come to see that polygamy should be thrown into the dust bin of mistakes, never to be resurrected again, and that those rejecting polygamy still remain faithful to God. Let me show you why I believe what I believe-
From personal experience, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been of the opinion that a primary purpose of polygamy was to bring forth more children. God requires polygamy to raise up a righteous generation, yet God has shown in scriptures that monogamous couples are preferred for the of start civilizations, dispensations, and righteous generations.
Adam and Eve, the first people.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Noah and his wife, our first parents after the flood that destroyed mankind.
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah…
13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
Lehi and Sariah, the first parents of the ancient Americas
1 Nephi 1
5…and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.
In each case Adam, Noah, and Lehi all had one wife at a time. When there was dire need to repopulate the Earth with a righteous population, these men found that a loving equal was all that they needed to brave a new world. The scriptures continue to support monogamy in D&C 42:22, 1 Timothy 3:2,12, D&C 49:16, Jacob 2 and 3, Ephesians 5:31 and the list goes on. There are many scriptures that support the overarching idea that a man should cleave unto one woman and none else.
Science, itself, has shown that those in polygamous relationships have less children than monogamous couples would. For example: if a man had three wives, and each of his wives had three children, there would be 9 children born. Statistically, three men married to those same women would have an average of 12 children instead of only nine. If God was looking for quick repopulation, polygamy is not a good way to go about it.
It is self-evident that monogamy is the only type of relationship where total fidelity, trust, and equality can be accomplished. This is something a polygamous relationship cannot provide. In polygamy, marital relationships are perverted beyond something recognizable to any modern Mormon. The Proclamation to the Family, heralded as the blueprint to a successful, godly society states,
All human beings-male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such,each has a divine nature and destiny…Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, andto teach them to love and serve one another…We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.
Let’s take Brigham Young for example, He was said to have approximately 55 wives. A loving husband and father would surely spend an equal amount of time loving and caring for each wife and her children. Unfortunately, for Brigham Young’s wives that would mean that Brigham would help change diapers and play catch, less than one week a year. Many of his wives lived together in dorm-like settings. This would mean they may have seen the president of the church more often than one week a year, but the quality time a monogamous relationship is more likely to achieve, was not possible. These incredibly strong women were forced to be basically single parents, loyal to absentee husbands, in a place they called Zion. Many of them relied on each other to help raise their children so adequately supplied to them. Happiness and love was an afterthought. Zina Huntington, one of Brigham’s and Joseph Smith’s wives depressingly stated:
“It is the duty of the first wife to regard her husband not with a selfish devotion… she must regard her husband with indifference, and with no other feeling than that of reverence, for love we regard as a false sentiment; a feeling which should have no existence in polygamy… we believe in the good old custom by which marriages should be arranged by the parents of the young people.” -New York World, November 17, 1869, as cited in The Lion of the Lord, pp. 229-230
Brigham Young seemed to ignore the lack of love and care with these words:
My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife;’ ‘No, not a happy day for a year,’ says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years. It is said that women are tied down and abused: that they are misused and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wading through a perfect flood of tears, …And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me. I will set all at liberty. ‘What, first wife too?’ Yes, I will liberate you all.”I know what my women will say; they will say, ‘You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.’ But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners; I do not want them to receive a part of the truth and spurn the rest out of doors.”-Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, 1856, pp. 55-57
This comment was an ultimatum given to the women of Utah with a choice that they shape up, or leave and face damnation. Of course, many women did not leave with the threat of eternal damnation over their head. Nevertheless, there was something disturbing to these women that caused grumblings and commotion in the church. It wasn’t just the wives of Brigham Young that suffered. I feel disheartened for the wives of Heber C. Kimball, who struggled for his financial and loving support, when he said:
“I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business… I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece.”-Deseret News, April 22, 1857
Apostle George Q. Cannon further contradicts the proclamation to the family with this statement,
“It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest-lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome, with her arts, sciences and warlike instincts, was once the mistress of the world; but her glory faded. She was a mono-gamic nation, and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”-Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 202
I’m confused, and who wouldn’t be? I understand why the above statements were made. The presidents and apostles defended something that they thought was of God. They were trying desperately to make something work that could not be fixed, they needed it dressed and painted to look presentable to the world. They convinced themselves that polygamy had a purpose and was sensible, yet failed to see that it was a puzzle piece that did not fit in the Kingdom of God.
Let’s discuss the arithmetic of polygamy. Whoever invented polygamy didn’t think the numbers through very well. Polygamy as a long term, multi-generational, possibility, requires an obvious greater number of women. A wise God, knowing polygamy as heavenly form of marriage, did not populate the Earth accordingly. In fact, if anything God did the very opposite of what polygamy requires. It is estimated that for every 100 females born in the world there are 107 males born. There is already a shortage of girls in the world and polygamy compounds the problem. D&C 131 makes the case for man’s eternal happiness and exaltation even more dire in the face of the doctrine of plural marriage.
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
Most Latter-day Saints consider marriage a blessing, an essential step in progression toward perfection, and most importantly a covenant with God to enter his presence. Let me emphasize that it is a REQUIREMENT. Unfortunately, not only will 7 men be left out of marriage possibilities per 50 couples, which is troubling, but polygamy makes marriage an even more daunting endeavor. If every “righteous” man was to take an extra wife, that would reduce marriage possibilities by half. Now instead of 7 men left as bachelors, we have a staggering 57 men unable to find a spouse. That would be 57 men unable to enter the kingdom of God, even if they desperately desired to do so.
If polygamy is the choice form of marriage than there will be some obvious demographic problems with heaven. If every man had three wives, that would mean heaven would be composed of 25% men and 75% women. That seems like some drastic gender inequality. On the one hand, women are forced to share a man because of the sheer lack of them, and on the other hand, it is just as appalling to realize that a loving God would save so many more woman than men. What is it about a man’s gender that predisposes so many less of them to be saved?
If we take it a step further and follow the example of Brigham Young, then heaven looks like a miserably anemic place for men. Brigham Young married 55 women, which if allowed as a possibility in heaven, would mean that 98% of the heavenly populace would be women and only a 2% minority of men. That surely doesn’t sound like heaven for women. Finding an exalted man would be as hard as finding a natural redhead in Spain, you just might want to bring your camera, when you die, to photograph that rare species. If, on the other hand, the demographics of heaven were more aligned with mortal demographics, instead of multiply wives, it would seem that women would need to take multiple husbands. It feels just a little more painful when the tables are turned, doesn’t it?
D&C 132, STRANGER THAN FICTION
That being said, let’s dive into D&C 132, the scripture that was said to be revelation concerning the plurality of wives. This is the same revelation that justified the practice from Joseph Smith to President Joseph F. Smith. It is the principle that led indirectly to Joseph Smith’s arrest and death, when he ordered the burning of the Nauvoo Expositor, which published his secret practice of plural marriage. It is this revelation that has continued the justification of polygamy among Mormon splinter groups, to this day. It is this revelation that has spread ideas of eternal plural marriage in the next life and the possible return of the principle in this life. But what does this chapter actually say? So, in proper LDS fashion, please pull out your scriptures and turn to D&C 132
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
Abraham is first mentioned as a practitioner of polygamy, which is no secret. It is common knowledge that the practice of multiple wives was not only acceptable in nomadic cultures, but was also a means of status, and a culturally acceptable way to build a tribe. We should not confuse the cultural acceptability of a practice as a sign of God’s tacit approval. The Lord, in the Old Testament, makes no mention of giving any wife to Abraham. It is presented as an idea of Sarah. As she was unable to produce any children for Abraham, she decided that the culturally acceptable practice of polygamy might be a good solution. It could even be said that a lack of faith, by Sarah and Abraham led to that tumultuous polygamous relationship. The Lord had promised Abraham offspring, yet Sarah could not bear any children. We know, from the story, that Sarah did actually bear a child, Isaac. But instead of waiting for the Lord to deliver on his promise, she told Abraham, “I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children.” There was no God involved. In fact, this relationship between Hagar and Sarah would breed discontent and jealousy and eventually lead to the expulsion of a child and woman into the desert, away from their family. Does that seem like a gift from God?
Isaac did not have multiple wives, He was married to Rebekah.
Jacob also practiced polygamy, but once again there is no mention of a command from the Lord. He was tricked into marrying Leah, and Jacob realized that Laban, her father, was the mastermind of the deceit. Jacob was so intent on marrying Rachel that he continued working for Laban, in order to finally marry the woman of his dreams. Zilpah and Bilhah were handmaidens of Jacob’s other two wives, none of which were God commanded relationships. In fact, the scriptures are pretty clear that Zilpah and Bilhah were used by Leah and Rachel in a twisted game of one-upping each other.
Moses is just pure speculation, Moses married Zipporah and she is not referenced very much afterward. Moses later marries an Ethiopian woman. There is no reference of plural wives or having two wives at one time.
DAVID AND SOLOMON
It is no secret that David and Solomon had many wives, if you could call them that. Many were concubines, lesser-wives, or as Webster’s 1828 dictionary refers to them “an inferior kind”. Let’s be honest, when there are hundreds of wives to one man, they are not wives in the modern sense, they are property. And I can confidently proclaim that there are no concubines, or “property wives” in the eyes of a loving God. There are only women. Their inherent value does not change by their title or by the way they are treated. Jacob, of the Book of Mormon, makes it clear that David and Solomon were not acting under the direction of God. Jacob 2 states:
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
THE DOCTRINE AND PRINICPLE
It is important to realize that in verse 1, the revelation states that it is a doctrine and a principle to have plural wives. Many people reason away D&C 132 because they believe that polygamy was a practice and separate from a doctrine. Verse 1 says otherwise. Let’s go on-
3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
The Lord is saying that if you KNOW the law, you MUST OBEY the law. This should mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not following the command of the Lord. or are we?…Monogamy is commanded by the Lord in every other scripture. Is God bipolar? I thought our God was the same today, yesterday, and forever.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.
Again the Lord is saying you must practice the new and everlasting covenant or you can’t enter his presence. Reiterating the importance of the covenant. This, once again, makes it very difficult for men to enter the kingdom of God if all the women are already married.
8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.
What has caused more confusion in the church than polygamy? What has called into question the character of Joseph Smith more than his secret practice of taking plural wives? Why have we ignored this topic for so long and concealed the fact that Joseph was a polygamist? It may be because it’s confusing and not from the Lord.
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.
Did you catch that, The God of D&C 132 is saying that Mormon marriages will pave the way for us to become gods, while all of our single members will become our servants. This God puts so much weight on becoming married in the new and everlasting covenant, that any other unions will be dissolved. Those loving and righteous people will live as single angels, doing our bidding for eternity. This sounds great for my wife and me, but I can’t help feeling concerned for my non-temple married friends and the single adults in the ward. D&C 132 even lays it out clearly, marriages do not happen in the here-after. Which means that God is a respecter of persons. This God seems more interested in saving and exalting married temple goers, than Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and other people, who have done far-more good than I ever will, but were never married in the new and everlasting covenant. It means that God is a respecter of a woman’s ability to get married more than her innate worth as a person. This verse seems to place the entire value of a person on their ability to snag a spouse. Does that sound like the God you worship?
19 … if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant…Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection… and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions…and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
I find it most interesting that God said that the only thing that would prevent a covenant married man from entering heaven would be murder. What about abuse, extortion, adultery, torture, child abandonment, or racist hatred? Wouldn’t those prevent others from possibly entering the kingdom of God. I am definitely not the judge of anyone’s salvation, but it seems clear to me that a loving God would not make such a claim, that anything short of murder is permissible, as long as you enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. So is God a respecter of married persons? As long as you have made the right covenants, you can do whatever you want and “God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:7-8) Does that sound reasonable?
36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
This would be a fair comparison if Isaac was really offered as a sacrifice, but in the most widely used story of the Abrahamic/Isaac sacrifice, Abraham did not actually kill Isaac. In other words, polygamy was not really a test, more like an ultimatum. The early saints actually followed through with the “test” of polygamy and practiced it for nearly 80 years. There was no killing of Isaac involved. Neither should forced polygamy have been involved.
37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness…
38 David also received many wives and concubines, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me…
40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.
Do women have a choice? “received” and “giving”? Are women given as prizes to the most obedient males? Granted, I believe God works with our cultural practices, but polygamy was no longer considered a cultural norm at the time of Joseph Smith. If anything was a revelation from God it was the suffrage movement of the 20th century that turned women from property into people. If there is anything that is evidence of a restoration, it is the final realization of women’s rights. A truer restoration is that of a women’s God given equality and independent mind and personhood, which existed long before Abraham and King David. We needed a restoration of the importance of women.
It seems curious that very little from Old Testament times was “restored” in this “restoration of all things”. Why wasn’t blood sacrifice restored? Why wasn’t the old dietary laws of no pork or shellfish restored? Why weren’t Levite males the sole possessors of the priesthood like in the times of old? Luckily, Joseph wasn’t commanded to circumcise himself, like they were of old. None of that was restored, yet the primitive practice of polygamy made a triumphant return.
54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
What happened to the agency for Emma? The Lord respects the agency of mankind SO much that humans are allowed to commit murders, run prostitution rings, embezzle millions of dollars, torture, and molest, without instant judgment reigned down upon their heads. The Lord, in His mercy, seems to allow them time to change and repent. Yet Emma Smith must practice polygamy or the Lord will DESTROY her? This sounds much different from the Lord of D&C 3 who stated to Joseph,
10 But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;
11 Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.
The Lord is merciful and He tells Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration, the man that the translation of the Book of Mormon hinges upon, the one who communed with the Father, that if he does not repent and translate…he’ll become ordinary. Yep, ordinary. Most likely cut off from the Spirit. The same way that all of us are when we sin. It seems that God is much more willing to be merciful to Joseph than he is to Emma. Joseph’s transgressions will lead to being ordinary; Emma, on the other hand will be destroyed. Does God love Joseph more than he loves Emma? He seems to be willing to give Joseph multiple opportunities for learning and growth; Emma not so much. It is interesting to note that Mormon splinter groups, that continue to practice polygamy, use this scripture to scare women into continuing to practice polygamy. These women are taught that they too will be destroyed if they don’t practice polygamy. Let’s continue with D&C 132
61 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.
This is one of the most damming of verses for the earlier practitioners of plural marriage. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others, by definition, committed adultery. Both presidents of the church married women who were already married and several women who were not virgins. Joseph Smith even lied, or as the church officially stated, he used “carefully worded denials” about the fact that he had many wives to the public and to Emma Smith. This does not help the case for the revelation or the obedience of church leaders to the commandments of God.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
In this verse we learn that if a women commits adultery she will be destroyed. No such warning exists in this chapter for men committing adultery. Yet, if we apply this scripture to men, then the earlier leaders of the church should have had reason to fear for the destruction mentioned in the above scriptures. But previously we learned that as long as a person married in the new and everlasting covenant doesn’t murder someone they will be exalted. So….definitely don’t kill someone, but maybe adultery is okay? I’m not sure. I’m really confused now. Also, why is this God so obsessed with virgins? We should also reject the idea that women are “given” to men to multiply and replenish the Earth. Is this a commandment to multiply and replenish? Yes! But D&C 132 completely ignores any other womanly attributes. Women are not just wombs, but equal partners that I would hope a loving God would recognize for more than just their virginity or wombs. Tithing is also a commandment, we don’t teach men that all they can hope to be is a tithe payer. We don’t have lesson after lesson on the value of men being their ability to pay tithing to God. I, likewise, don’t believe that God views women primarily in their virginity and ability or lack of ability to bear children.
66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.
I don’t profess to be a scholar or a scriptorian. But, what eventually was revealed was the abandonment of the practice under pressure from The United States. I will not judge the character of Joseph Smith or his contemporaries, that is job only for God. What I sought to do here was show that we should look at our scripture and the words of the leaders of the church with honesty. And when I look honestly at D&C 132 and the fruits of such words, I do not see God, but the works of men. How about you?
I must be missing something here — Why would the Mormon church threaten Kirk Van Allen with excommunication for saying that polygamy isn’t of God when the LDS Church opposes it?
What’s more, why would they threaten him with excommunication when is making an argument using almost all church approved information sources? The scriptures are to be used, apparently, only to reach a sanctioned conclusion.
he is being threatened with disciplinary action probably because he is “casting church leaders in a bad light”. it doesn’t matter if he uses legitimate sources (even the church is now using research done by michael quinn in their new essays, while regarding him as an apostate). they don’t care as much about legitimacy as they do about image. they could probaby also say he was breaking his temple covenants, as i seem to recall there being some vow you make saying you won’t criticize church leaders. but i havent been to the temple in a while, so don’t quote me on that. but those would be two charges: conduct unbecoming of a latter-day saint and breaking of temple covenants.
First, this Church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ Himself. Here you will find the authority to act in His name—to baptize for the remission of sins, to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to seal on earth and in heaven.
Those who join this Church love the Savior Jesus Christ and they wish to follow Him. They rejoice in the knowledge that God speaks to mankind again. When they receive sacred priesthood ordinances and make covenants with God, they can feel His power in their lives. When they enter the holy temple, they sense they are in His presence. When they read the holy scriptures and live the teachings of His prophets, they grow closer to the Savior they love so much.
The search for truth has led millions of people to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, there are some who leave the Church they once loved.
One might ask, “If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?”
Some members struggle for years with the question whether they should separate themselves from the Church.
Some struggle with unanswered questions about things that have been done or said in the past. In nearly 200 years of Church history—along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable, and divine events—there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question.
Sometimes questions arise because we simply don’t have all the information and we just need a bit more patience. When the entire truth is eventually known, things that didn’t make sense to us before will be resolved to our satisfaction.
Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to what the “facts” really mean. A question that creates doubt in some can, after careful investigation, build faith in others.
And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.
In the title page of the Book of Mormon we read, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”6
This is the way it has always been and will be until the perfect day when Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth.
It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.
Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
Hi, Mom. (You really could be my mom, actually, based on your shared testimony.) You really don’t need to create a excuse for my choices regarding participation in the church. I didn’t “stumble because of mistakes made by men.” (BTW, misspelled words are mistakes. Coercion of young women is something the legal system calls a felony.) I evaluated the history myself using church history sources. I came to the conclusion that almighty God would not be a racist, nor would he have the need to “restore” a marital practice the Bible never tells us he established. He wouldn’t condone lying, even in the interest of the “one true church,” and he wouldn’t communicate through plates bearing an unknown language. I utilized that acquired knowledge to make a decision, which I own, and which has opened up a perception that makes sense where the church never did. Clearly, embracing your faith works for you. I choose to embrace my doubts.
By their fruits ye shall know them. the fruits of Joseph Smith: books(BOM/BOA) that have no historical foundation based in science or reality; a clear record of plagiarism(see BOM & temples); secrecy and deception with regards to the practice of polygamy/polyandry; retroactively(5yrs) introducing the idea of priesthood restoration(hint:it didn’t actually happen); dramatically changing what happened during the first vision at least 4 times(I don’t know how anyone who saw God and Jesus would get that confused. maybe i’m off base, but pretty sure that would have been seared in my brain); heavy amounts of manipulation recorded. That’s just Joseph Smith, don’t even get me started on the church itself. The fruits of both are bitter and rotten. I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
Because it’s all BS and church leaders don’t like people pointing it out. So they threaten excommunication to shut people up and keep them in line. I think the LDS mindset is slowly changing with the #MeToo movement and equality for women and minorities in the US has been put in the spotlight. Plus access to all this information is at everyone’s fingertips now so it’s only going to get harder and harder for church leaders to “keep a lid” on things like this by threatening a few with excommunication. Excommunication might be welcomed, this isn’t the only “man made” revelation from Joseph Smith
Because although the church doesn’t officially “practice” polygamy, they still believe that polygamy was revealed from God. Its the sort of cognitive dissonance and attempts to shut people up that happens when someone tells a horrible lie and then goes to great extents to rationalize it away or prevent people from thinking about it critically.
Because the Church does not really oppose polygamy. The have never repudiated the doctrine as set forth in Section 132. Only suspended the practice.
If you read through the church handbook for bishops and stake presidents its pretty clear that the church still practices what I’d term “spiritual” polygamy. There’s an entire section on being sealed to multiple (deceased) wives in the temple.
So while the church doesn’t practice it – its still very much doctrine.
The church does still practice polygamy and seals men to multiple ‘living’ wives, just one at a time by ‘serial polygamy’.
Men can get sealed & divorced as many times as they want and get lots of women ‘technically’ sealed to them. I know one guy who was divorced 11 times and also took his 12th wife to the temple to be sealed to him too.
In fact, it’s becoming such a common thing that probably more men practice ‘serial polygamy’ today in the Church then men did back in Brigham’s day.
I am not a Mormon but do not Mormons affiliated with the Salt Lake Temple believe that the currrent ruling aginst polygamy is only temporary and that it is to be restored and that break away groups such as in Colorado City are excommunicated from the main LDS group not becuase they are practicing polygamy but because it is not to be permitted at this time.
The church doesn’t oppose plural marriage it still practices it if the first wife dies. The husband with have two in the next life in that case .
so glad I finally left this crazy cult. Wish it was as easy for me to shed my membership as it has been for you John. Don’t back down Kirk!
I learned a lot from this piece. I truly hope that Kirk is looking into a career in writing or journalism. I am not Mormon, in fact, I am an Atheist. But this piece is so captivating and unbiased, I haven’t seen that in many Christian blogs. I hope that many people have a chance to read this. Well done my friend.
I am so grateful to Kirk for writing this article. He has included in it all the arguments and quotes and concerns that I am so happy to be covered in an article. So many people that are angry at me for leaving the church don’t even believe me when I try to bring some of these things to their attention. The church doesn’t want these things talked about by faithful members, because then they can’t claim that it is merely lies being spewed by a bitter ex mormon. So because he is still an active member, it tends to give more validity to the words. If I say the same things to friends or loved ones, they seem to think I am making things up merely in an attempt to hurt their testimony. They are trying to set a standard here, and let members know that they do not want open discussion about these sickening issues. They alone want to be the ones to explain them in hard to find essays FINALLY done because of all the many people who have been drawing attention to these things that obviously do not sound like anything a loving God would command. By excommunicating people who so articulately explain why polygamy was a cold, cruel, insensitive, unnecessary thing-they help keep an atmosphere of fear in the members so that they will continue to keep quiet about their disdain for the principal, hoping to keep people in the dark to the details that frequently cause faith to fail when explored in greater detail. I applaud any faithful member willing to stand up about these things and not fear the consequences. It saddens me and surprises me how many of my friends and loved ones who have done so much in the church for so many years have heard so little about any of these issues. And when they are brought up, they are scared to death to hear anything. Why can’t they see that God would not want us to live in fear. If we have to hide what really happened to keep it “faith promoting”-then there is something severely wrong with the “truth”. It baffles me on a daily basis why people continue to put their fear from allowing them to learn the truth. But then, I can’t blame them I guess. My quest for truth over the years has left me in a very lonely and misunderstood place among my friends and family. People don’t want to feel they will lose the respect of those they care about most in order to find the real truths. I will admit, it has not been a pleasant place to be. But I will not sit back the rest of my life and pretend that things are different than they really are just to remain comfortable. We should be able to seek truth without feeling we will lose all that matters most to us. I pray for a day when the climate in the church is not as it is now, where fear controls the direction of our spiritual quests.
Another thing that loved ones say when these things are brought up is, “I don’t need to know these things. They aren’t pertinent to my testimony. I only need to concentrate on the simple and basic truths of the gospel.” What I always have to hold my tongue on in responding with is, “Yes, but the devil truly is often in the details.” But I guess the details you don’t know won’t hurt you they assume?
Brave, insightful and respectful post. I believe we should examine LDS doctrine and history with an open mind, and not be afraid to follow the logical trail wherever it leads us. I’m a faithful Mormon who is still struggling with the idea of polygamy, and this post offers a refreshing perspective of a problematic doctrine that, quite frankly, most Mormons would rather ignore.
I, too, struggled with the polygamy issue my entire Mormon life (49 years) to the point of instructing my husband that if I died he was free to remarry but not in the temple. I hated the idea of polygamy and it still makes me ill – I even knew of J. Smith’s polyandry for about 10 years before I left. The seer stone, the DNA problem, but mostly the Book of Abraham sent this faithful Mormon out of the church. I went from faithful to gone within 2 weeks. When I left in 2003, it was 5 years before I had my name removed because I wanted to be absolutely certain that I would not regret my decision. When we requested name removal, I also requested the return of my tithing amounting to over $20,000 – claiming manipulation by fraud. I’m still waiting for my money – when they accepted my name removal request they did not mention word one about the money they manipulated out us. The whole thing started when I decided to read the standard works. I started with Bible because the BOM was the “second witness”. Reading the Bible led me on the quest for Jesus Christ and right out of the Mormon church. This is off topic, but it offends me that Mormons believe the atonement happened in the garden and not on the Cross. Good luck with your journey – when I cracked open the door I became buried in an avalanche of Mormonism’s unsavory history and doctrine which I could no longer ignore. My exit continues to be one of the most painful experience in my life and I’m afraid like Dustin the bitter taste lingers still — an experience that only other faithful Mormons who leave can actually understand. I pray and will continue to pray for Mormons and polygamists, to free themselves from the deceits and blasphemy of Mormon doctrine.
Kirk, you have outlined in a clear, non confrontational manner exactly what so many of us members believe: polygamy was a mistake and not of God. For the Church to threaten you with discipline for such a respectful and dare I say faithful approach is unconscionable. Whether or not they like it, the Church is going to have to face the fact that the world has changed. No amount of discipline will stop thought provoking and honest discussion of difficult church topics.
Thank you for an excellent and informative article.
Excellent post. Thank you for sharing. At the beginning of my search for truth, I read and re-read D&C 132. I prayed for understanding. I really wished to understand polygamy. I. The end, I concluded that D&C 132 was not the word of God. It makes little sense. Surely an all knowing, all loving God could communicate something so important much more clearly. Thank you for this.
Mr. Allen seems very determined that plural marriage is not for him. He’s 100% right. It’s not. But when he insinuates that it’s not for me either, he oversteps his bounds. Consider the possibility that there are valid lifestyles besides the one you have chosen. Consider the possibility that God is pleased with other lifestyles besides the one He is pleased to see you living. Consider the possibility that the fruit of plural marriage can be “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Galatians 5). Mr. Allen’s post appears to be almost as narrow-minded as the actions of his church are against it.
There are endless possibilities to consider, and I would defend your right to pursue any one of them provided consent is part of the bargain. I disagree that Kirk’s post is “narrow-minded”. He uses an effective amount of logic and analysis, as well as scripture, to make a case that I find compelling. How is that narrow minded?
Unbiased, open-minded writing is usually not so one-sided. To be fair, though, his intentions were only to express a personal belief about the Doctrine & Covenants and pass it on to posterity.
We certainly agree that coercion, in any family structure, is wrong.
Okay, Charles, I’ll call you on this one. Show us some polygamous families that work. Show us some healthy, mentally stable younger teenage woman raised in polygamous families who are NOT totally messed up. The LDS church never succeeded in creating such stable families in the polygamous years, and I have never met any such polygamous families of today. Plenty of messed up polygamous families, though. I realize there are messed up monogamous familes, but I CAN show you several examples of stable, mentally healthy young women who were raised in monogamous families in spite of the broken monogamous families. Your turn. Can you demonstrate that polygamous relationships produce healthy women?
I really could show you. Not having permission to violate people’s privacy, though, I’ll have to settle with this question for you:
When is the last time you pulled up your favorite news website and read the headline “Town goes about its business peacefully”? News is mostly negative, but even the occasional positive headline must at least be sensational. It is the only kind of news that spreads. Just so with polygamous news. Happy, healthy, confident, content, fulfilled, well-adjusted polygamist women are the last you are likely to hear about. But if you really wanted to go looking, you would find them. I promise.
I have never studied any polygamy sect where there wasn’t coercion of the women and sometimes of the men. I be studied the FLDS the Rulon Allred , and the LeBaron sects and one other.
Charles, I would challenge you to watch “Sons of perdition” and tell me that the fruit of those plural marriages are love, joy, peace. This isn’t whether plural marriage is or not for Kirk. It’s about how it takes away the agency of people and objetifies and degrades women. Don’t fool yourself. No intepretation of how poligamy makes sense can replace the suffering and death it has left behind. Did you consider that possibility?
The fruit of THOSE plural marriages is not love, joy, or peace. I totally agree with you there. We are also in agreement that an individual’s agency is sacred, and, of course, it is wrong to degrade women – or anyone. Equality is the cornerstone of any good society. If someone caused “suffering and death”, they shouldn’t have. Perhaps they needed a reminder of D&C 121: 41-45.
You’ve heard the old quip: It wasn’t Adam and Eve and Judy and Linda and Michelle. It was Adam and Eve.
“Haven’t you read that in the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”
For those of you who still put stock in Jesus’ words, note a few things. First, this is the way it was meant to be from the beginning. If the Bible were an owner’s manual, this is how we were designed. Second, note the number: man and wife are in the singular. Even father and mother are in the singular; it isn’t “father and mothers”, or “father and mother and mother and mother.”
That’s funny, I’ve never heard the quip about Adam and Eve and Judy, Linda and Michelle….. only the one about how God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And let’s be honest, they’re both true.
Charles, I am responding to your March 9th post. For many years, I always gave the benefit of the doubt to Joseph Smith and subsequent Prophets on the subject of Plural Marriage. Over a period of a decade, the more I researched the history, and this is critical – the actual facts and evidence in how it was introduced and practiced – the more I became convinced that Polygamy was not an institution of Jesus Christ. This was a sad conclusion that I never took lightly, and it seems that Kirk has also confronted many of the same emotions leading to his own conclusions in this article.
I implore you to do your own research and not take anyone else’s word or testimony on this very crucial point, “Is Polygamy really the highest order of marriage and most important key to man’s exaltation in God’s celestial kingdom? This is the exact”Principle” as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and a myriad of Church Prophets and leaders over a period of many generations, including Apostles and leaders well past the Manifesto – check for yourself. Interestingly, after Joseph, I hold no grudge against these well intentioned men. They were extremely faithful, but they were simply mislead. This isn’t the conclusion any faithful member wants to hear, but the good news is that it can be verified by anyone patient and persistent enough who is motivated by discovering what is really True, and what is not. Good luck brother.
“Interestingly, after Joseph, I hold no grudge against these well intentioned men. They were extremely faithful, but they were simply mislead.”
I disagree with you here, even as I agreed with all else you wrote, as your research has led you to condemn polygamy also. They were “prophets, seers and revelators.” Why didn’t God tell them they were doing wrong? Pres Woodruff only caved because it was expedient, not because he believed God told him to – hence the continuing of polygamy for another 15-20 years, including sending men and wives to Mexico and Canada to circumvent the US law.
As I read the language of Heber Kimball, Young, journals of women, girls in polygamy, it disgusted me; it’s so demeaning to women, it’s heartbreaking. The poverty, the isolation. These men spoke of women like they were cattle – actually Heber Kimball did liken them to cows. They were seen as nothing more but a womb for children, another notch on the Celestial Glory climb.
I’m a mother of 4 loved and wanted children, but pregnancy is hard, delivery is hard, months of recovery while caring for newborns and young children is hard. And these women mostly did it without financial, emotional or physical help.
It makes me crazy to even think about the horrors, for women, of polygamy. Of course the men loved it.
If these men didn’t
Allow me to elaborate a little further to clarify my reasoning for citing that “I hold no grudge against those leaders after Joseph – they were simply misled”.
First and foremost, “Intent” is what I was focusing on in making this statement. As I studied Church history, I found little or no evidence of willful intent to defraud church members over polygamy, other than by Joseph Smith himself. Subsequent leaders seem to have unintentionally perpetuated Joseph’s falsehoods acting with good faith; many times putting themselves in peril and causing personal misfortune over their support for polygamy.
Many of us responding here to Kirk’s Post have discovered that we too have been misled by LDS Church leaders on this topic.
Were these leaders really all intentionally corrupt and deceptive, or have they simply been propagating a deception (originating from Joseph Smith) they were taught by others before them in a long chain across generations? This is what I have observed. Others might choose to see a more organized conspiracy.
I was a young wide eyed, naive convert when I was 18 almost 19.
I could hardly read and had no critical thinking skills. If the Church told me to do something, I had no access to any information other than what I was told, so I did it.
I didn’t learn about most of the issues of the Church until after I had taken a hiatus from being a member. I was so buried emotionally trying to keep up with all of the things I was “suppose” to be doing that created an incredible sense of guilt and embarrassment of not being able to keep up with what I thought was expected let alone all the things I piled on top of that trying to prove my worthiness.
If you start asking reasonable questions, it’s pretty easy to disassemble any truth claims.
Given the importance of marriage, is it even reasonable to think one man could possible keep multiple wives happy and content?
Brigham Young had many, many children. Is it possible for him to be a devoted father to the children he could likely not even remember the names of?
Joseph Smith had to lie to his wife Emma in order to keep his multiple marriages a secret from her and in public. How could anyone who is carrying that kind of duplicitous character be capable of receiving any kind of spirit?
I was forced to miss the weddings of my children after 25 years of devoted service, to them, my wife and to the Church. I know multiple men in the Church who have missed out on attending any of the weddings of their children while their wives did thinking that it was their husbands fault for not being able to keep up financially. The experience is heart breaking beyond belief. I can’t help but wonder, “How in the world” could this be sanctioned by God?
The question of “Will polygamy be instituted again?” The doctrine is still believed since it’s the basis of the Temple marriage and the Church’s doctrine of “eternal life” and populating other worlds. The temple interview questions of the 1870’s specifically asked if you believed and supported plural marriage. It continues to this day as part of the Doctrine and Covenants. Even during the period of the manifesto and until at least 1904, the Church publicly denounced plural marriage while secretly sanctioning new marriages. Up until last year when they published the 13 articles, they finally admitted these facts while not accepting responsibility for publicly professing to have ended plural marriages in 1890.
The only reason I see it, that members stay active and faithful is that most members are too busy to actually research the information or the thought of the Church not being what they’ve been taught is too hard to comprehend and so like the proverbial ostritch, they keep their heads buried in the sand.
I do not believe that God is pleased at all with any polygamy, ever. For he sent his Son here to condemn it & warn us that it is adultery, in every case. Christ taught against polygamy on so many levels, not just commanding married men not to marry other women, but to also live the Golden Rule. And I haven’t found any men who desire to live polygamy ‘the other way around’ and raise his kids alone most of the time, hardly never seeing his 1 wife is must stay completely faithful to, who is always out dating or living with her multiple other husbands.
Christ taught a gem in the Golden Rule, it always proves the lie. And I wouldn’t call Christ narrow-minded either, he understood what he was saying completely.
So I believe it’s impossible to find real ‘love, joy, peace, etc.’ living polygamy, though some of course may think they have. For history has shown that most women are ok with mistreatment and inequality from men & husbands. It took women 6000 years before they started asking for the vote & true equality. Yet still today many women still resist their divine equal rights.
I have known many people who have had or are having affairs on their spouse and they always believe & claim they are so much happier and at peace and really believe it is love, and they do look happy together insomuch that you would really think they are. It is said that those who commit adultery never think they are, they always feel justified in what they are doing.
The Adversary is expert at making wrong ‘feel’ & ‘look’ right and giving us counterfit feelings that feel the same as the real deal. That’s why Christ said we will only know right from wrong by using ‘his’ words to determine if our actions & beliefs are right or not, no matter how good we may feel about them.
While I oppose polygamy in my spiritual life and agree to the idea of this article, your comment is necessary and a valid reflection for the writer; as he should consider this document a ruff draft to what could be a great paper!
You are talking lifestyle he is talking doing it for religious reasons. two different items.
All the confusion surrounding polygamy and other troubling issues of Mormonism become crystal clear once we abandon the notion of “divine restoration” and see the church for what it is: a cultural artifact of 19th century America, created by 19th century American men and women. If we strip out everything cultural about the church, there is little, if anything, left.
This was a good piece John, very informative and well constructed. I think many LDS members are ashamed of polygamy and yet don’t even know half the history associated with it. This type of reasoning needs to become more public and prominent to members everywhere.
As much as I liked your explanation here, the approach felt a little like fighting fire with fire. Using weird unproven stories from the bible to contradict weird unproven doctrine from the D&C. It’s like using logic from Harry Potter to explain the Matrix.
However, your arguments DID show the many inconsistencies exhibited by the church today and brought into question the validity of many aspects of the D&C. It’s a solid article and I thank you for posting it. Hope all is well, keep up the good work!
i disagree with your take on using the bible because it’s like using harry potter to justify the matrix. the only people i know of that practice polygamy are christian/mormon fundamentalists, so it makes perfect sense to use the bible (which they believe in) to disprove their own practices. now, if you practice polygamy and it has nothing to do with god, then it makes no sense to use the bible to convince you. as long as you see harry potter and the matrix as canonical/from god, it’s completely logical to use them as support.
I guess another way of putting it would be to say that there are better ways to justify that Section 132 is not from God. John did this in his post by talking about how polygamy, mathematically and emotionally, didn’t make sense. I was totally on board with that logic. The part that I was hung up on was using the Bible to tear down this section of the D&C, as both of which are (most likely) equally nonfactual.
It may sound cynical but I meant no offense. It’s a good article and did its job in showing glaring inconsistencies.
agreed. it clearly showed the glaring inconsistencies between the practice and everything else the lds church claims to believe. which is not surprising, seeing as they claim the book of mormon to be the most correct book on earth, yet institute practice that are not supported by, and many times contradict, book of mormon teachings. you didnt sound cynical at all. like you said, there are other ways to show how downright wrong polygamy is. i believe kirk’s target audience is practicing mormons, so it makes sense to use scripture to debunk polygamy.
This is fabulously written. I know a number of faithful sisters who do not want to go to the Celestial Kingdom for the very reason of Polygamy as the Heavenly system of marriage. All these church disciplinary actions, and threats of the same just draw unwanted attention to the contradictory doctrines and dogma.
I’m confused as to why Kirk is facing disciplinary action for this blog post, while Todd Compton is able to get off scott free for making essentially the same points in the last chapter of In Sacred Loneliness. Apparently priesthood roulette strikes again.
“Apparently priesthood roulette strikes again.”
Yes. Where does Kirk live?
in most cases, disciplinary action really is local. if you’re popular or have a following, like john dehlin, kate kelly, denver snuffer, the toscanos, etc., then a general authority will most likely be involved in one way or another. but otherwise, it’s just local leaders and it’s up to their judgment. in this case, it’s probably a bishop or leader who wants to play “look at me daddy” with the higher authorities so they can see he’s a loyal pawn and they can count on him so they can promote him higher up the patriarchy. if he succeeds, he might just be your next apostle ;)
I used to wonder how intelligent, moral people could build the gas chambers in Auschwitz, but they did. Not only that, but after spending a day working to conduct mass murder, camp commandants could go home(adjacent to the camp)and have dinner with the family. I can even imagine the younger children gleefully saying “Daddy’s home!” as he walked in the door.
Here, leaders of the Church, knowing the affect it would have on their livelihoods, and the state of Utah, and given all “the good” the Church does, they have to perpetuate the deceit.
Maybe the names of all of the free thinkers is on a dart board and they throw a dart to see who the Lord wants them to discipline this month since to toss too many people out would draw suspicion and create too much negative publicity. I suspect every time a new blogger shows up asking questions, the leaders heave (in unison) a “Oh Holy Crap! Not another one!!”
Great points Bob.
‘Evil’ usually feels ‘righteous’ & ‘right’.
But the cat is out of the bag now with polygamy and all other Church history, and can’t be put back in or explained away. The exodus is in full swing and only going to snowball & get bigger and faster in the coming months & years.
So I believe it’s only a ‘short’ amount of time before all good people with a conscience leave the Church over polygamy and the many other false & evil things preached & practiced by the Church all these years, things good people probably already sense are not right, and as they learn more & more truth about these things they will put 2 & 2 together & join the mass exodus.
Pretty soon the only people left in the Church will be men who don’t respect women and thus are ok with polygamy, and women who don’t care to be respected or have their equality honored.
For polygamy is replusive to righteous men and women, just as Christ (and Joseph Smith also) taught it should be.
I think the Church is all about trying to preserve itself at all costs. What would happen to Utah economically if the Church were to collapse? The Church has a chance to set the record straight with these 13 articles and it still isn’t doing it. Anyone who knows Church history and asks any direct questions can expect half truths and more of the same. It becomes more disappointing when you know the facts and watch a Jeffrey Holland lie through his teeth. To hear a Dallin Oakes suggest that he and any leader is above criticism or reproach is bizarre. I thought if anyone would be reliable and honest it would be them. Frankly I’m waiting for the next major scandal. Very disappointing and frustrating.
The preaching and practices of the leaders of the Church (from Joseph’s day to today) are no longer frustrating but make perfect sense once we come to see who they really are, the false prophets that Christ warned us about.
It is not disappointing but despicable. We should not be frustrated, we should be revolted. Our hearts know the truth if we haven’t hardened them.
Just one quibble, no one that was involved with Auschwitz was moral though they may well have been intelligent. More likely normal people who in an extreme situation acted in an incredibly immoral reprehensible manner by participating in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
D&C 132 is the millstone around the neck of the Church, I certainly do not want anything to do with it anymore as long as this false immoral doctrine is upheld and members are threatened when they publicly disagree with it like Kirk has.
Actually Todd many of those who worked at these death camps felt like they were serving the Reich. As young people they were force fed Nazi propaganda in the Hitler Youth going to large youth rallies and singing marching songs a lot like the songs the Church youth sing. When members of the Church declare their belief “with every fibre of their being” they aren’t kidding. By putting any real questions on the proverbial shelf and not ever demanding real answers and being taught not to question anything or criticize the “leaders” people are, over time, stripped of their capacity to think and behave morally.
That’s how you end up with practices of temple marriage and leaving faithful parents out of the weddings of their children and no one in the Church has the capacity to stand up and say,”this is wrong.” Or how you end up with a Mountain Meadows Massacre and no one has the courage to say stop.
How many general authorities are there seeing what’s going on behind the curtain and yet they say nothing. I heard an expression years ago that went, “Why do you do what you do when you know what you know?” In Nazi Germany people obeyed because they feared punishment or death by their superiors. I used to wonder about Stephen Covey, and others, and how a person who taught openly about the importance of honesty and integrity how he could stay in the Church. Check out Hitler’s Children on YouTube. The similarities between the Nazis and the Church, not including the violence of course, is striking.
Kirk did a fine job in characterizing the essential problems with polygamy as highlighted in D & C Sec. 132. It will be very interesting to see if he has ignited a new trend in church disciplinary counsels, where otherwise believing members begin to be singled out for expressing an opinion on whether they believe a particular passage of scripture is true or not.
The great irony for Kirk is the depth and quality of scholarship that exists to support his position – hope those fifteen men are well prepared!
Kirk, be sure to remind the brethren to… “Never, never doubt what no one is sure about!” Willy Wonka
Even when I was a believing member, I never believed Polygamy was from God. It is clearly an unworkable, twisted, sexually deviant practice. To say it is of God is to say the Mormon God is a moron without the math skills of an 8 year old. An now having read about the hundreds of thousands of lives wasted and ruined by this foul doctrine, even if I still believed, I would argue it with the so-called prophet himself. Section 132 continues to pull church members into the foul pit of polygamy and thus it needs to be repudiated and pulled out of the D&C.
I hope you all will come to realize that the main reason the LDS church disciplines people is when they perceive a person to threaten their power. It’s not about doctrine, false teachings, respectful language, or whether people cite church-approved sources when airing grievances. This is true of all power structures, not just the LDS church: most of their actions center around preserving their power.
Once you understand this, you no longer need to say things like “I don’t see why Kirk Van Allen is facing a disciplinary council for X, Y, or Z” He’s facing discipline because his argument makes too much sense and is getting too much attention and it calls into question whether the prophets from Joseph Smith onwards are 100% divinely inspired. This threatens the power structure of the LDS authorities, therefore he is in trouble.
HOLD the presses !! An angel with a sword just appeared to me while I was heating frozen burritos and revealed to me that Kirk Van Allen must be excommunicated. Some things that are true are not very useful.
Section 132 was written to justify an adultery that had already been committed. Notice the idea that a man cannot commit adultery if the female is a “virgin” and committed to no other man. That perfectly fits the relationship with Fanny Alger and the charges that were levied against Bro. Joseph charging that it was in fact adultery. However, it damn’s brother Joseph when he married other men’s wives who were certainly not virgins, and they were by any definition legal and morally “committed” to other living men.
Understand this. From the viewpoint of Church leaders, if section 132 is fraudulent, then it must all be fraudulent. This polygamy polyandry monstrosity speaks volumes to the certainty that Joseph Smith was nothing more than a opportunist con-man, exploiting religious faith to obtain power, prestige, and wealth and illicit sex from misguided 19th century mystics.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the church could ever disavow polygamy without invalidating it’s very theological underpinnings. To say that polygamy was flat out wrong is the same as saying that numerous prophets have been wrong.
If so many of the Lord’s anointed leaders can be so wrong about polygamy then how do we know they are “right” about anything else?
The church is between a rock and a hard place. Denouncing polygamy will undermine the foundation of the church’s authority. Maintaining lip service to polygamy slowly erodes the faith of its members. Both options are bad.
I’m going through a faith crisis right now, very much due to the logic you lay out here. Only for me, it is not polygamy, but the “Priesthood Ban” that’s done it. The Church in their official essay on “Race and the Priesthood” basically admitted that it was a doctrine of men and not of God.
I don’t want to get into it much more than that as I’m not at the point that I want to shake anybody else up, but as you seem to see the challenge the Church has given itself with the “Prophets are never wrong [at least on important stuff],” stance.
There’s so much that I love about the Church, but it paints itself into a corner with so much of its rigid absolutism. I’ve come to really dislike that oft-quoted scripture, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” because I think it’s baloney in the way most people interpret it. I’m really hoping we can figure out a way to be more flexible, to allow more room for a diversity of opinions, cultures, and life-styles to be a part of the Church family. Its self-imposed rigidity is going to cause it and/or its members to break, when all we need is more room to bend. The more global the Church becomes, the less homogeneous, and the more wiggle room it and its members will need to feel accepted and welcome. But change is not speedy in this Church. I hope the dinosaur principle (fail to evolve –> go extinct) doesn’t become its downfall.
This is an excellent and expertly constucted description of “the problem.” This material creates such a lump when it is “swept under the rug,” that practically no one can avoid tripping over it.
More Thanks than I can express Kirk for expressing thoughts and truths – heart aches & pain I’ve known & FELT for too many years. Speaking as a daughter of the “prophet” Owen Allred of the AUB, I’m grateful to have banished the God who created all that sorrow & death for hundreds of thousands. . .
Kristyn, So good to see your comment here. I loved listening to your story on the Year of Polygamy podcast! Truly you have earned the right to speak the truth about the horrible effects of polygamy.
I also have lived a form of polygamy. My husband is actively looking for his 3rd wife. Thankfully the God of the LDS Church or any of it’s break offs, is not the God Christ taught us about.
Christ’s God teaches completely opposite things then polygamy and commands the complete respect and protection of women from all forms of abuse & adultery by men.
I really wish that John Dehlin would do a show on Kristyn’s experience. I think her book, “50 Years in Polygamy” is probably the best polygamy book (and I’ve read dozens) I’ve read. I grew up around the Allred neighborhood but knew absolutely nothing about them. The AUB people were probably the most moderate of the polygamists and I think her book is the most fairly-portrayed of the bunch of the polygamy lifestyle. I’ve read her book three times – it is riveting! I heard her speak recently at my Senior Center – what an excellent speaker!!!
I’m curious what people think about the idea of polygamy/plural marriage going “both ways”, meaning that both women and men could have more than one marriage partner?
It is certainly possible to honestly love more than one spouse (a clear example of this is a man/woman whose previous spouse has died, and they remarried; in these cases they clearly love both their living and deceased spouses). And I think that someone with a pure heart could love more than one living spouse as well, I don’t know if I see love as something ultimately confined to just one person.
Also in the current Church Handbook of Instructions, it states that women, if they are deceased, may be sealed to all of their spouses they were married to in mortality. So even in the LDS Church it appears that polygamy can apply to women having multiple marriage partners as well.
While I don’t know the definitive answer/truth on polygamy, currently it seems to me that, if men/women were able to love purely, and without pride/jealousy/unrighteous dominion, then it indeed would be possible for both men and women to have plural spouses. But in my opinion it would have to go both ways – meaning both men and women could have plural spouses if desired. And it would have to be only by consent – meaning no coercion/commanding/etc for plurality of spouses. (many of the historical troubles with polygamy seem to stem from the coercion/commanding/etc, rather than mutual consent; also of course the fact that historically only men were to have plural spouses, and not vice-versa)
Any thoughts on this?
If we believe in Christ, he answered your question, teaching that polygamy is adultery and that neither married men or women can remarry another spouse. (Mark 10:11-12) And Christ never said it’s ok to remarry after a spouse dies either, that was man’s idea.
Christ even visited, comforted & almost surely eventually embraced Mary (as she was about to when she 1st saw him but he said no, not having been to the father yet) (who I believe was his wife) to show that relationships & marriage are eternal and lasts after death. So people are still completely married even though their spouse is deceased.
Do we really think our deceased spouses are dating, falling in love and marrying in heaven? Or are they waiting faithfully for us to join them and hope we will keep our vows & do the same? Why would we think we can break our vows, but they can’t or shouldn’t?
Why would Christ call polygamy, remarriage & desires for another person ‘adultery’ here on earth, but then allow it in heaven just because people didn’t stay faithful to their deceased spouse? The thought makes reason stare.
What may look & feel like ‘real love’ isn’t necessarily real love. According to Christ, true love is totally exclusive, thus he taught no remarriage. Counterfeit love looks & feels just like the real deal, as we see daily around us with people in all kinds of relationships. Affairs can feel just as wonderful & right & loving as any marriage. The only way to know if it’t real love is by the circumstances according to Christ’s teachings.
If Christ expects people to not remarry who are abused, abandoned or divorced by their living spouse, who they never see again in this life, then why wouldn’t he expect widowed spouses to remain faithful too. It would make no sense to allow widows/widowers to remarry but not those who are abandoned spouses.
So it only stands to reason there is no polygamy either way in this life or the next and Christ expects us to stay faithful to our 1 spouse ‘forever’, like we promised we would.
Yes, people cam love more than one person. So if I die and my husband were to choose to seal himself to another wife, I will likely be able to find another man, that was single in this life (or vise versa) that I could therefore love as well (while still loving my first spouse), but still have an eternal monogamous relationship, eternal polygyny or polyandry makes no sense to me, personally I don’t care if it would be offered equally, in either case it’s just wrong. If that is part of the CK, count me out, I really don’t need it. That’s my thoughts.
That’s right, it is just so wrong and so cruel.
everyone should attempt to read fair’s response to this article. some points are just laughable. they claim that we don’t know when or even if polygamy will be reinstituted again. it seems they miss the fact that it is being practiced today, albeit a different way (men can be sealed to multiple wives. if the wife dies, or you separate, you can be sealed to your next wife and it doesnt cancel out the previous seal. elder nelson is sealed to two women at this point i believe. but women can only be sealed to one man.) you can dress it up, but polygamy is still polygamy.
i think any mormon planning to get married should ask their significant other if they would practice polygamy or reject it, and depending on the answer, they should run for the hills or be happy their marriage will be a partnership and not servitude.
Correct that living men can be sealed to multiple wives (providing the previous wives are deceased). Actually women can be sealed to multiple husbands as well, provided both the woman and all the men she was married to are deceased (for example, if she was a widow and remarried). This is stated in the current Handbook of Instructions.
Actually, the Church lets men be sealed to all the ‘living’ women they want to collect, just as long as he dumps & divorces the previous ones 1st (the Church is just fine with that), before he starts dating & marrying his next wife. (I know a man who divorced & married 12 women in succession before he recently died, and the Church allowed him to be sealed to the 12th one too when he married her.)
Serial polygamy is alive & well in the Church and getting more popular by the day. Never mind that Christ condemned it, but when did LDS Leaders ever care about or follow what Christ said anyway.
I hope you will have time, in the near future, to share the story of William Law and his wife ( and Emma). D&C 132:151-156. To my mind that tells the story of polygamy in a nutshell. Show Grant Palmers ‘AH-HA’ moments again. Many people may not have seen that speech. It really puts polygamy in perspective and verifies the evidence of the “Man Made Practice”.
Two additions: William and his wife. Her name was Jane. The scripture that talks of this is 132: 51-56.
I too would love more information about the William Law story.
I am not sure.. why we are focusing on part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ… I worry about people who get so caught up in things that are not being practiced today. Why and for purpose this was all done.. I don’t think many really know why polygamy happened and was practiced it is a law that i have really struggled with but I do not think about it as the major conviction of an Latter day Saint.. I think the biggest thing with this article is the lack of faith and having to see everything and know everything to believe in something.. Why would we need faith then? This the natural mans way of thinking.. We are all natural and some of us need to see more and have evidence of everything.. so we seach it out and are we going to reputable sources? Some of the things you were taught and wife were taught.. may have been taught by parents but was it taught with the right source of knowledge.. I have never heard such things. I understand that we will have questions in the church… everyone of us.. but its what we do with those questions.. and if we are bring others down.. or away from a belief because of our personal opinion their are consequences.. I do not want to follow anyone whose ideas change with the direction of the wind… that is the world. The only true source of knowing something is prayer oh yeah you have to have faith.. and be careful of not listening to the wrong spirit..
My brother says Faith is the ability to stay in glorified ignorance when all proof and evidence proves the opposite. God gave us brains to discover and then KNOW the truth; not guess or buy the something because some men said so.
i think i understand where you’re coming from. many people in the lds church decide to just live the principles of the gospel and not worry about the problematic issues in church history. that’s fine, as long as they don’t stop others from working through these issues. there are many instances where church practices have damaged people in very real ways, and it wasn’t mandated by god. faith is important in religious activity, but who are we to have faith in – god or men? that’s what this article is trying to posit – that polygamy wasn’t of god, but of men. you should never assume that everything the president of the lds church says is from god, even if you believe he was called to be a prophet. as joseph smith said, “[i’m only a prophet when i act/speak as one.]” another practice that was mandated by men and not god was the ban of black people from priesthood and temple ordinances (read the article on the official lds site called blacks and the priesthood if you havent done so already). men called by god are just that – men. and they make mistakes. you should never hear of a weird/damaging doctrine and just say “well, i dont understand it, but i will support it regardless because prophets instituted it, so i guess it must be from god.” thats blind faith, and god never wanted blind followers (intelligence is the glory of god). put yourself in those women’s shoes – how would you feel to be one espouse among many? basically raise your kids without the presence of their father? how would you react if the current prophet stated that polygamy was again a practice, and your spouse told you that you would have to live it or be cast out of the family? if you decide not to worry about this doctrine, that’s fine. but dont try to convince others to stand down, as this is a satanic practice that the church still practices – if you pass away, your husband can be sealed to another wife and, according to this “doctrine”, you will share him among other wives in the eternities. just think about that.
p.s.: i agree with not listening to someone who’s doctrines change with the wind. case in point, polygamy was a requirement for exaltation, and now you can get excommunicated for it. pres. young said it was a requirement for celestial glory. pres. hinckley said polygamy wasnt doctrinal. paraphrasing bob dylan: the doctrines they are a-changing.
Yeah, I prayed about polygamy and the Spirit told me that it was not from God. And when I think about it I feel it can only come from someone evil that treats women as merchandise and only thinks about having sex with many women, even married women. Obviously polygamy was never instituted by God. It is not practiced today but it still influences the church today. How? It predisposes the church to communicate withouth transparency. It promotes a church culture of revealing half truths. It promotes dishonesty and purposely keeps people in ignorance. It destroys faith and the very image of a kind God, turning him Into a carnal God.
The fruits of polygamy in the past and in the present testify of the evil and abomination that this disgusting practice was. Truly a work of the devil and evil men. May they all rot in hell. Amen.
“Faith”,Your concern comes through in your post as very sincere and heartfelt. So, why should anyone be the least concerned about “Polygamy”? I would like to offer one absolutely critical reason that affects you and everyone in the Church today. That reason is TRUTH. It is truth that is most at stake here.
Was Joseph Smith commanded by the Lord to introduce Polygamy as a TRUE gospel principle? Will good and faithful women be commanded to practice Polygamy in the next life? These are questions virtually every Latter Day Saint woman has asked herself after reading D & C 132. The typical reflex – since the answers to these questions affect all of us so profoundly – is to put these questions on a proverbial shelf for later examination. Kirk Van Allen has bravely taken Polygamy off the shelf and after careful study, has expressed his public opinion that Polygamy was never a true principle from God.
How important is Truth to YOU? Is Truth more important than Faith? Is it even possible to learn the truth about Polygamy?
Here is but one easily verified example for you that two Prophets of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, and Joseph F. Smith knowingly lied to Church members about Polygamy. Since 1890, and even stated within the Manifesto itself, Church members have been officially taught that plural marriages were no longer sanctioned.
Yet for more than 20 years, it has been well-documented that more than 260 plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1906. Approximately 40 of these were authorized by Joseph F. Smith personally. The evidence for this has now finally been acknowledged on LDS.org in a Church-sanctioned essay on post-Manifesto Polygamy. (Also see the book Solemn Covenant by B. Carmon Hardy)
This is but one small example of a historical pattern of lies and deception surrounding Polygamy. The truth about its institution and practice can be verified from available facts and records in evidence if you are willing to search for yourself. Don’t take Kirk Van Allen’s word for it or anyone elses – study it out on your own! At the end of the day, is it better for you to accept the TRUTH of something, no matter what you have been taught by the well-intentioned, but not so well-informed? I believe it goes without saying that those professing a belief in Jesus Christ have a duty to uphold Truth, even when church leader’s credibility may be in danger. This article is not trying to lead people astray from the gospel, only away from a great deception.
Put your head in the sand if you will Faith, but an objective historical look at Mormon polygamy and polyandry directly speaks to the essential credibility of Joseph Smith and of the modern church as well. It’s not only that they practiced this barbaric unjust matrimonial system, it’s also that they repeatedly lied about it. For many, not blinded by the incessant propaganda of the Church, this personal and deliberate institutional deception destroys the overarching credibility of their foundational claims.
And, dear “Faith”, faith has one very serious problem. It can be and often is misplaced. It was by faith that many women, some married to other living men were convinced that they must marry Joseph Smith. By faith the people of Jonestown, and Waco, and Heaven’s Gate are dead. Just who or what are you putting your faith in? “The arm of flesh” – Joseph Smith – Brigham Young – Monson?
“the only ones who benefit by faith over knowledge, are those who are supported by the willful ignorance of the faithful”
Faith is the final refuge of the foolish. In if you want to find a system that changes with the wind, do a careful historical survey of doctrinal changes by this church.
The church has lied. That’s why is important to focus on this issue. Polygamy is moot at this point, you’re right. But the church has led to you before, how do you know it won’t lie to you again? Not only that, but church leaders are threatening somebody just for asking questions. Are you really okay with that? This just shows why is important to do your own reading, thinking and learning, and not trust church leaders blindly, because they haven’t always been so honest with you.
So The Lord thought the Prophets of the Old Testament committed whoredoms when speaking to Jacob in the Book of Mormon yet tells Joe that they were given to them by Him in section 132? I’m confused because I thought God was not a God of confusion? Oh well, let me go try Moroni’s promise real quick to get an answer. Be right back.
Was section 132 even written by Joseph Smith? My understanding is that it wasn’t brought to light until many years after Joseph’s death. Could it be that someone else wrote it and then claimed that it had been given to them in private by Joseph before he passed away?
Would love a Mormon Stories podcast featuring Kristyn Decker from the Allred group. She only had one sister wife but the heartache she endured and described in her book Fifty Years in Polygamy is heart wrenching. She was the daughter of the AUB’s prophet, Owen Allred. Her journey out of polygamy and Mormonism is enlightening as well as courageous. She is an excellent speaker.
A few words by BH are relevant here on what he thought of 132.
JofD 11:267, “IF it is wrong for a man to have more than one wife at a time, the Lord will reveal it by and by, and he will put it away that it will not be known in the Church. I did not ask Him for the revelation upon this subject. When that revelation was first read to me by Joseph Smith, I plainly saw the great trials and the abuse of it that would be made by many of the Elders, and the trouble and the persecution that it would bring upon this whole people. But the Lord revealed it, and it was my business to accept it.”
BY (Brigham Young) not BH, sorry.
Also considering that Emma burned the original July12, 1843 copy of section 132 I would consider it a difficult revelation. For me (recognizing neuroethics bias here) any secret sexual relations, unions, marriages, or sealings whether polyandrous, polyamorous, or polygamous without the knowledge and consent of your wife is adultery. The number of women Joseph made a commitment of some kind to was around 35, and she knew and consented to 4 of them, therefore at least 31 adultery cases led their marriage to the brink of divorce. As William Law said, “If an angel from heaven was to reveal to me that a man should have more than one wife, and if it were in my power I would kill him.” As Terryl Givens said recently in an Interfaith voices NPR interview in Nov20 with Jana Riess concerning the angel with a drawn sword, “Terryl givens – do you swallow it? “I don’t know as an historian we don’t have real good confirmatory evidence. Doctrinally or theologically I find some problems with it, it doesn’t sound like a very meek, gentle and persuasive angel, it sounds like a different kind of influence that is being exercised there. it seems inconsistent with the kind of God, and the kind of influence that generally is exercised in any righteous context that the Lord approves of.”
The way the polyamory was practiced also violates sexual relation laws in the Bible and Book of mormon. For example, 1) No concubines: Jacob 2:27 “For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;” 2) No marrying sisters: Leviticus 18:18 “While your wife is living, never marry her sister as a rival wife and have sexual intercourse with her.” 3) No polyandry: Romans 7:3 “So if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she will be called an adulterer.” 4) no marrying mother/daughter: Leviticus 20:14 “When a man marries a woman and her mother, they have done a perverted thing. The man and the two women must be burned. Never do this perverted thing.” 5) Marry only virgins with your wife’s consent: D&Cov 132:61 “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.” Did Joseph have a right as an ordained king of the quorum of anointed to violate all these theological and societal laws? We also can’t just say that “everyone is imperfect”, mormon doctrine says that prophets are fallible, and imperfect, “but nobody believes it” and so forth. As God said about repeat adultery offenses in D&Cov 42:26 “But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.” Anyways, I’m throwing my hands up here, it is difficult to sing the song “praise to the man” now. Looking to other exemplary individuals for inspiration on marriage is much more healthy.
Thanks for all the great comments! I can personally attest to the “sadness and death” of spirit and soul of living polygamy. Because of being born and raised in polygamy, to the AUB “prophet” Owen Allred. Because of being PROGRAMMED to believe that “women will be destroyed,” if we didn’t live polygamy and couldn’t live in the Celestial Kingdom with the rest of our families. . . it took me 40 years to wake up to that bull crap, and 10 more years before I divorce. I left polygamy and wrote my book UNCENSORED Fifty Years in Polygamy, Big Secrets and Little White Lies. I should have called it Huge RED Lies.
Let’s consult the liahona. According to early Saints it was taken to Utah.
Surely then we can know what direction to head.
I bet a million bucks polygamy will never be embraced by the writings of the liahona. Oleahoned
It is the crystal ball of all crystal balls.
From what I hear, it is in plain English too. If you see it, it spurs in you a lust so strong that you never desire to look for truth in murky waters again.
If you are brave enough to publish and believe and heed the liahona… Then you are brave enough to denounce polygamy as trash. Trash from the Lord? Trash none the less.
This article is amazing it takes the facts and asks the reader to honestly think for her/himself
The church really can”t do much because they would be denying their own history and Joseph smiths teaching They’ll probably find something else to unfairly excommunicate him for
It’s both easy and justified to conclude that D&C 132 is man-made and not from any god.
Having concluded that –– and here’s a problem for the church if it ever wanted to admit that it was all Joseph Smith –– it’s just as easy and justified to conclude that the entire D&C, and the entire Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, are also purely man-made.
And either before or after those justifiable conclusions, one can honestly and critically examine the Bible and conclude that it and Christianity are purely a man-made inventions, too, with no god anywhere involved.
It’s easy to see why Boyd K. Packer believed that not all things that are true are necessarily helpful.
D & C 132 is what put a bee in my bonnet over whether or not to continue with the church. I’m giving myself until Easter to sort it out but I have to say this article is brilliant and says everything I think in regards to Joseph Smith and his self-serving revelations. And Emma Smith, that poor woman. No woman in her right mind would endure this station and no loving God, no loving Father would want his daughter to endure such disrespect.
I love this. This kind of shady politics is a big reason why I left the church. The content of this post, while excellent, is almost less relevant to me than the fact that is author is facing disciplinary action FOR SHARING THE TRUTH. You realize that is a typical behavior of dangerous cults, right? As more and more people are sharing the truth and being punished for it, I am more and more confused as to how anyone can honestly believe that this is a church led by inspired men of god.
(Also, I disagree that monogamy is the *only* way to have a loving, stable, equal relationship. I am in a relationship with a man and a woman, and we are all very happy together. We are all there by choice because we care deeply for one another. Polygamy *as the mormons practice(d) it* is twisted and misogynistic, but that doesn’t mean monogamy is the only one-size-fits-all option for every single person in the world. It’s actually not for everybody. Just saying.)
Kirk, thank you so much for this article! I found it to provide clear logic and a well-worded argument. The idea of polygamy has caused me inner turmoil for years and I find it degrading and disgusting. I had such a hard time feeling like God loved women at all. Polygamy has made me feel that as a woman I am disposable, inferior, and merely designed destined to be in a constant state of longing and depravity. When I would bring this up tdeld often make me feel faithless and petty. When I finally decided that the supposed “celestial kingdom” sounded more like hell I finally decided that they can have it! But after reading the Emma Smith: Mormon Enigma and seeing her perspective it became pretty clear to me that Joseph Smith wasn’t entirely “right” in the head.
I find it very interesting the so many people ignore the fact that IF Sec 132 is not from God then the Prophet Joseph committed adultery beginning with his first plural wife in 1833 and thus was a false or fallen Prophet from that time forward. That would also mean the every President of the Church that lived polygamy was also a false Prophet because they would have all been living in adultery. Even if Joseph were a fallen Prophet most seen people to think nothing of it, the Church is still true.
If Joseph had committed adultery he would have lost his Priesthood and ANY KEYS of the Priesthood he may have received. (read D&C 121:36-37 very carefully https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/121?lang=eng ) By living in adultery there is no way Joseph could have retained the KEYS of the Priesthood. Without the KEYS of the Priesthood there is NO possible way that the LDS Church could be the true Church of Jesus Christ. The restoration of the Priesthood and all of the Keys was the whole point of Joseph’s mission. Without the Priesthood the LDS Church is just another man-made church, nothing more.
You cannot accept the LDS Church as the true Church of God if the founder of the Church was living in sin/adultery. Without the Priesthood we would be no different than any other church.
I would give your argument some validity, that Sec 132 if of man and not of God, only if Joseph had NOT entered into polygamy. But the fact that he did enter into polygamy the real question is: did he retain his Priesthood after he took his plural wives? If he did retain his Priesthood and all the Keys, then God approved of Joseph and of him living plural marriage. If he did not retain his Priesthood (per D&C sec 121) it was because God did NOT approve of him living plural marriage, and so he was living in the sin of adultery, and never repented of it.
Without the Keys of the Priesthood having been perpetuated in the Church through all the polygamist leaders since the days of Joseph, we are only part of an extremely rich, powerful, and very elaborate 15 million member social club.
You are correct. We are just realizing that we are only a part of an extremely rich, powerful & elaborate 15 million member social club/cult.
I still can’t believe how duped I was, for so long & to give such men so much of my money, time & support & expose my children to their vile teachings.
The fact is, if Joseph really lived polygamy, then the Church could not be true or Joseph a true prophet. For Joseph lied about it & led the Church astray so that many would not Brigham or believe in polygamy. And Christ said that ‘lying’ totally disqualifies a man to be considered a true prophet or disciple.
But, most importantly, Christ clearly taught in the New Testament, that polygamy was always adultery, and he trumps everyone, so just on that alone it’s case closed.
So it is impossible for the LDS Church to be a true church of Christ, or Joseph or any other leader to be a true prophet, IF they lived polygamy, or lied, or broke any of Christ’s commandments, which it seems they all did.
Christ was very clear on how we should discern true prophets, he said we will know them because they don’t lie, don’t abuse women, don’t commit adultery, etc. They keep ‘all’ of his commandments, including the Golden Rule (which is the basis of all laws & commandments & what man would be ok with polygamy the other way around, with him only 1 wife he rarely sees, while his wife has many husbands?)
We know that either Joseph lied or Brigham lied, so no matter who, the Church could not be a true church anymore with any true authority, for they could not retain any true authority since they didn’t keep Christ’s commandments.
But the real deal is, that it is ‘not’ a fact at all that ‘Joseph entered into plural marriages’. It is only hearsay, mostly by those who had every reason to lie. And no amount of hearsay is proof of anything.
The ‘fact’ is, that there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that Joseph ever preached or practiced polygamy. It is all based on vile hearsay.
But there is ‘tons of documented published proof’ by Joseph himself while he was still alive & could still defend & speak for himself, that Joseph was totally against polygamy his whole life & continually warned the Saints never to fall for it, not even if he himself came preaching it.
But we know it’s human nature that most people ignore the real ‘proof’ in LDS history, for it seems most would much rather believe in salacious ‘hearsay’.
But even if Joseph was innocent of polygamy, he still did not keep Christ’s commandments in so many other ways, so it’s impossible he could have ever been a true disciple of Christ or true prophet of God. But most have never studied Christ’s teachings so they don’t see that. But it’s as easy to see as 2+2=4, if we are willing to see it.
So, no matter what, if you really believe in Christ, it’s easy to see that the Church can’t be or have ever been, true.
But that doesn’t mean the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true & still here in all it’s glory in the New Testament. It is, and we can still follow Christ & his teachings today just as much as when he was on the earth 2000 years ago. And we don’t need any middle men to do that.
I have not been duped. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that D&C 132 is a true revelation from God, just like all the rest of D&C.
The Gospel is not a buffet where we can pick and choose what we will accept and what we won’t, it’s either all true or none of it is, there is no in-between.
The whole point of my previous post was that the “IF” Joseph committed adultery he would have lost his Priesthood, which he did not, and so those Priesthood Keys continue here on the earth to this day. Remember that the whole point of the LDS Church is the restoration of Priesthood Authority, to be able to perform or carry out the saving ordinances, such as baptism.
I don’t see how we can follow Christ if there is no authority to perform the ordinances, like baptism. Jesus himself went to John the Baptist to be baptized because John had the authority to carry out that ordinance.
Do you remember the covenants that God made with Abraham (the father of God’s chosen people)? God made those covenants with Abraham AFTER Abraham became a polygamist by taking Hagar as his plural wife. Why would the Lord do that if Abraham was living in sin? Why would the Lord Promise Hagar the plural wife that her son Ishmael would become a great nation if he was conceived in sin? Remember Isaac, the heir of the family, he was born after his father Abraham was a polygamist, or an adulterer depending on how you want to look at it, yet the covenants continued with Isaac down to Jacob (Israel). So in the end you have the Lord’s chosen people coming from polygamists!
I also don’t know where in the New Testament Christ condemns polygamy, on the contrary Christ himself says “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39). So Christ is telling us to do the works of a polygamist? Hmmm…
There is plenty of proof that Joseph had many plural wives, I recommend you do a little more thorough investigation. But then you may or may not believe what you find.
My father, the wisest man I ever knew, used to say that because truth is consistently supporte by logic and reason, falsehoods revealed by logic and reason. Your brilliant essay proves he was correct.
I am a active closet non-believer. I hear so often that Polygamy help build up the church, but I bet our growth would be greater if we simply were a Restoration church without polygamy. Especially today our missionaries would have a much more attractive message. It appears polygamy caused more damaged to the church than good and that is short sighted. Men are short sighted not God.
Polygamy is often sold in the the church that it helped build the church’s numbers. But, I argue that if we were a restoration church without polygamy we would have attracted more people. Especially today, our missionaries would have a more palatable message. It appears polygamy was short sighted if it was for growth of the church and men are short sighted not God. And isn’t the main goal of the church for Jesus Christ to save as many souls as possible.
The members in the church(which I am one of) often say polygamy help build up the church. I would contend the church would have larger if their was no polygamy. Imagine the restoration story without polygamy–the missionaries could sell that much easier. It appears that polygamy was short sided and so is man. But, God is not.
Not necessarily. The very adversity and persecution the saints suffered was critical in building the sense of fanatacism and martyr complex that has been so essential to the church.
Just look at how the RLDS (now Community of Christ) church is. The RLDS adopted a very enlightened (and palatable) theology, but that did NOT fire the passions of people who want to believe. If you want to build a religious following you have to make your members suffer. They will love you for it.
Amen. It is ALL showbiz!
Their were other restoration churches not persecuted, can you honestly say we would have been persecuted has hard without polygamy. And Truly can you really imagine a Christ that Would finally restore his church on this earth and first thing want to start polygamy. And let not forget how Joseph Smith did not follow his own polygamy rules. Yes, business wise polygamy is short sighted. The argument that God wanted his people to suffer is insane. All Christians suffer. He would not tell women to join polygamy or suffer destruction. Really, that is not my Christ
Very good logic John.
Let’s see if this gets posted this time.
For all those who want would like to eliminate all the negative things that the Church has in it’s history so we can get along better with the world.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Well funny thing is that people seem to believe what they are told too easily. Just because a religion claims to be some re-established church one should not take their word for it.
Like in this Doctrine & Covenants it was just Joseph Smith writing down what he wanted. Stuff like below (from D&C 132) came solely from Joseph Smith’s own mental fantasy-land, including of course the text like “…saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God…”
54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
Maybe some folks end up believing in it because they grow up in the religion. Children are of course easier to mold than adults. Which is probably again a reason why LDS church desires to have large families.
When you get older you can of course start thinking by yourself. But then you need to be either strong enough of fed up enough to deal with all the social pressure.
Joseph Smith & Brigham Young used this “doctrine” to commit adultery and to be absolved of any wrong doing, plain and simple. Let’s just say I was an investigator and not a lifelong indoctrinated member, would I believe and embrace this “revelation” ? No. If Scientology published something like this, no one (except maybe their current members) would believe it came from a true higher being either. Let’s just call the Mormon church what it really is, Ziontology.
D&C 132 is a good example of how people can be lulled away into false security and false doctrines. I know of this one analysis (there may be more) done on D&C 132 on the writing style: https://seekingyhwhcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/lds-dc-132-writing-style-analysis-by-enid-debarthe.pdf
Which confirms my belief that the Prophet Joseph Smith never engaged in or taught polygamy but was true to his wife Emma. These are the revelations that the Prophet Joseph received against polygamy: The Prophet Joseph Smith never taught or lived polygamy, in fact he said that if a person receives a message or revelation that contradicts a previous revelation you may know it is not of God but of Satan, who may appear as an angel of light to deceive [Times and Seasons 3 (April 1, 1842): pg. 747]. The [Times and Seasons] quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith shows that D&C 132 was in direct contradiction of former section 101 of 1835 Doctrine and Covenants and D&C 42:22-26 and D&C 49: 15-17 (Three Witnesses to this Truth). According to Emma, the Prophets wife, Joseph never received D&C 132 revelation.
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My experience is that all women do is To Replenish Earth…because the polygamy command makes LDS women bare endless kids to keep the male monogamous and endlessly working to make ends meet — cause he could find someone else and divorce her lickity split..
The in the after life mumbo jumbo wreaks Muslim epic — men promised 7 wives in afterlife if they, for instance blowup a place where their are infidels..but it’s all good cause they haven’t taken Temple oath of no murder to enter Ultimate Heaven Place…lol..and it appears that posthumous sealings if ‘other faith marriages’ after death..wowser..double standard..because LDS is a Cult (ure) onto itself .hoping to keep white race to populate earth, it’s spiritual eugenics and Kingdom Here on Earth Politics…my experience after 40 sexually abused years (non Temple going) to make me succumb to the cult -six years to get my name off rolls..and of course the sexual abuse will be attributed to ‘sins of father’s on heads of children..in effect no spiritual forgiveness in this life..only mitigation of bad experiences..sorry I choose a loving God who forgives..just my humble opinion..