Is Polygamy Still Mormon Doctrine?

John Dehlin Mormon 128 Comments

Stephen M and his comments about the recent PR film put out by the church entitled “Mormon Myths and Reality” inspired this post.

Today’s LDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:61 reads:

“And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse aanother, 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 not defunct scripture, nor has this verse been removed from our canon. Yes we stopped practicing polygamy because of legal/political/governmental adversity, but I’m not sure that we ever renounced the belief. Doesn’t polygamy remain fundamental Mormon doctrine in 2008?

Am I wrong, or is Stephen trying to distance us from the scripture? How should members reconcile the scripture with PR videos like this, which seem to show a detestation for polygamy?

Is this doctrine one of the main reasons that our pioneer ancestors risked life and limb to cross the plains? Don’t we teach that the family is central to Mormon doctrine, and isn’t any scriptural teaching about family worth our respect? Especially if we’re still practicing it (as my mother) in our temples?

Should the scripture be changed, or should we stop speaking out so harshly against polygamy? I struggle with this sometimes.

Comments 128

  1. It is my opinion that the Church has distanced itself publicly from polygamy because it seems to be a doctrine that is largely unknown, from the top ranking leadership down to the individual member. Policy has changed over the years regarding who can be sealed to whom and when. The fact that it makes the church look better to those on the outside is just a bonus to those who think this is the correct direction to take the church.

  2. While we did not renounce polygamy, it certainly is not authorized practice today. Maybe calling it unauthorized would be a clearer way to put it, but it seems just as disingenuous if not more so to call it current Mormon “doctrine” when it is not even remotely current Mormon practice (Sealings and theoretical temple situations in the afterlife aside).

  3. I think that the Church needs to do whatever it has to do with PR, and we should leave that which is for the next life for the next life, and should leave whatever happens in the temple with widows/widowers for the next life as well. I think we get too fixated on this principle that really for all intents and purposes, has nothing to do with most people in the Church who will never marry more than one spouse after another dies. Let’s leave this little exception for the next life, because, perhaps the Lord will simply redistribute the spouses in the next life. We have no assurance of polygamy in the next life for regular people. We have no assurance that Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s wives will not be redistributed to others in the next life either, especially because of the extreme number of them. It seems that their numbers went to an excess, and does it seem logical, fair, or just that most men would end up with just one and have others with tens and hundreds? This argues for redistribution of them after this life.

  4. The Church does detest polygamy, whenever it is unauthorized by the Prophet who has the keys, just as it detests any other sexual sin, because its adultery when not authorized. No plural marriage in this day is authorized, and is therefore detested (with the exception of the cases of widowed people).

    1. Is monogamy outside the temple also adultery then? Civil marriages are not authorized by the key holder or the Lord either. How are the unauthorized plural marriages different in this respect from unauthorized monogamy? The church does not seem to detest all sexual relations outside the church, or outside temple marriage, so why target practices that are at least scriptural, even if unauthorized, more than the unscriptural practice of civil marriage? 

  5. I personally would like to see the doctrine of polygamy renounced, but I don’t see how the church could do that and hold to the idea of an unchanging God. After reading several journals of polygamous women, both past and present, I just can’t wrap my mind around a loving God commanding it. I strongly relate to Jacob 2. I agree with the protestors of modern polygamists that say “polygamy is abuse”. But that’s me.

    Flipping the coin I associate fundamentalists wanting to be called “Mormon” with our wanting to be called “Christian.” Just because we (or they) don’t meet someone else’s definition, does that mean that we (or they) are not? Wouldn’t the greater Christian action be to allow them (the fundamentalists) to be associated by name to the tradition from which they sprang?

    Maybe I’m wrong in putting people’s feelings above doctrine, or above PR objectives.

  6. John,
    No, polygamy does not remain _fundamental_ Mormon doctrine in 2008. Whether it is doctrine, on the other hand, depends entirely on how you define “doctrine.”

    If you define it as anything contained in canonized scripture then sure it is, but so is not eating bacon and death to a disobedient child and no meat for the most part. (Yes, I know Peter had a vision, but so did Wilford Woodruff. Neither vision appears to have de-canonized the overturned scripture.) So I think we can clearly point to examples of not changing scripture to conform to subsequent revelation. (FWIW, we do that constitutionally, too: the U.S. constitution still has the horrible language about blacks counting as 3/5 of a person, in spite of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Although people do argue that the continutation of that language is hurtful, they don’t argue that it means that, in 2008, African Americans count as 3/5 of a person in the United States.)

    Even when practiced, polygamy qua eternal, central principle was contra Jacob’s teaching in the BoM.

    Which is to say, even in the 19th century, polygamy as fundamental doctrine was questionable vis-a-vis canonized scripture (which doesn’t deny the possibility, but clearly places it as an exception).

  7. Yes John, it’s all so simple, how could I have missed it? And Jews still believe in animal sacrifice and in stoning people who violate the sabbath, and Christians believe divorce to be heretical and that women should veil themselve in churches when prayers are said. And they’re both careful to avoid eating meat sacrificed to pagan gods. All so simple.

  8. Oh, and no, it’s not a principle reason why our ancestors risked life and limb crossing the country (at least until 1852, with the public announcement of polygamy). It is, however, why many of them risked federal prosecutors and jail and being thrown off the jury and voting rolls in the late 1800s.

    I wouldn’t dream of minimizing their sacrifice. But that sacrifice doesn’t obligate us to adopt what has been revelatorily changed. (And I stand by the fact that it was changed by revelation, and not in contravention of eternal principles, but right in line with them.)

  9. It was loyalty to the Church and obedience that they sacrificed for. They did what was asked of them back then, not particularly because it was polygamy, but because it was what was asked of them. And they would similarly renounce it as we must today if they were living today and asked to do what we are asked to do today. We are asked to do whatever we are asked to do, and we sacrifice to do whatever that is at the time. That isn’t about polygamy or monogamy.

  10. As an outsider, it does seem sort of weird to me that my Mormon friends are more vehemently anti-polygamy that most people I know, yet (1) they have a strong and concrete belief that their temple-sealed families are eternal, and (2) the current temple sealing practices for widowers suggest that some eternal families will be polygamous.

    The it-all-gets-sorted-out-in-the-afterlife answer isn’t very satisfying; it sort of undermines the concreteness of the eternal families doctrine (and thus its attractiveness). But maybe there’s something I don’t understand.

  11. Well, my take on it is that the primary scripture is the Book of Mormon that states that polygamy (including polygny) is a temporary law, given from time to time.

    I could be wrong in how I read them together.

    Personally, I see polygamy as a doctrine given to the saints that made them into an ethnic group in a period of decades rather than centuries, and that got the Church through 1910 to 1970 when membership started to become something else.

    Consider that non-members are called non-members now, not gentiles.

    But I think it filled a very real purpose in God’s plans, and those who lived it seemed to think so as well, seeing it as part of liberating women.

    I also see it as not fitting the needs of the Church or God’s plan for us at this time, just as I feel comfortable wearing blended fabrics and cutting my hair and beard.

    “we should leave that which is for the next life for the next life”

    Just because that statement is true doesn’t mean that we will though 😉

  12. Living Prophets are needed in part because some scripture becomes obsolete and there is a need for continuing revelation.

    Thank goodness, since I do not want to practice stoning, animal sacrifice, or circumcision. Similarly, I consider polygamy to be obsolete, never to return.

    Do we really need to say we still believe in stoning, animal sacrifice, and circumcision because they remain in our scripture? I don’t think so.

    1. Stoning and animal sacrifice, are physical represntations used to influence or persuade people.  The animal sacrifice was clearly known to represent the sacrifice that the Son of Man was to make on our behalf.  And Stoning was obviously not a commandment, but a punishment for breaking a commandment.  Let us not forget, that when Moses came down form the mount the first time, the people were worshipping Idols.  In his anger he broke the tablets.  The Isrealites were so corrupted by egyptian life that they were not ready for a higher law.  and, obviously the act of stoning doesn’t have any clear eternal implications.  However, with the case of polygamy, It can of course have eternal magnitude.  So for us to say it is obsolete, is premature.  The sin comes not in having more than one wife, but in like others have said before, doing that which is unauthorized by God.  It has clrealy been removed from practice.  But God in no wise condemned polygamy.  Any use of our “real powers”, procreation, and others, without Our Heavenly Father’s consent is a sin.  God has ordained certain systems or requirements for us to use Our Heavenly powers, those specifically tied to creation,  Anything outside of his order is a misuse of those powers.  Polygamy is an eternal principle, but perhaps we misused it, or were really not ready to live it, and so that has been taken away from us, and we are not allowed to do it.  Just as only the Prophet can enter the Holy of Holies.  If you or I tried to do that we would suffer dire consequences.

  13. I wouldn’t say anything will NEVER return. I will just say that I don’t need to know right now what will be. And to speculate on that at all and therefore to conclude anything is to have false hopes (both for those who hope it will come back, AND for those who hope it won’t). Because those who hope it won’t might be shocked and disappointed, as well as those who hope it will. And for those who hope it will, you should just calm your hormones and think about how hard it would be to please one woman, when its hard enough to please one. The formula for happiness is: happy wife = happy life. Unhappy wives = unhappy afterlife.

  14. Plural marriage was restored as the true order of eternal marriage in the Celestial Kingdom. There is no such thing as eternal monogamous marriage if you believe section 131 and 132 are divine. It may not be “public doctrine” in the church at this time but it is most certainly still a fundamental principle to exaltation. There are 3 levels in the Celestial Kingdom and I often wonder why LDS never question who inherits the middle glory. LDS doctrine continues to hold that only those who have entered into plural marriage can be exalted, even though the church leaders have chosen to keep members knowledge at “milk” level right now.
    LDS temple marriage of the monogamous kind that we practice today is still considered “Celestial” in that they will inherit a Celestial Glory but that is not the same thing as exaltation.
    I had a lengthy discussion with a FLDS member who stated that it is monogamous couples who will inherit the middle glory of the CK, as servants to the exalted couples who have entered plural marriage. This does coincide with the revelations and teachings of Joseph Smith on polygamy. Also keeping in mind that there will be progression between these kingdoms for those that were not able to practice plural marriage on earth.
    There are mainstream LDS who understand this doctrine but keep it private from those who are not ready in their testimony for it.

    I personally reject polygamy as Godly but I do understand the Mormon Doctrine of it.

  15. I doubt it is the lack of expounding on the part of others that keeps us from learning the purpose of polygamy. It seems to me that all “commandments” can teach us about the nature of God and our relationship to Him. Looking at polygamy from this angle will help us to gain a better comprehension of the benefit Joseph saw in implememting this practice. Does God really care about a man marrying more than one woman? I doubt that, but certainly man can learn about his relationship to God and other men as he faithfully practices and contemplates the meaning of relationships.

  16. Sorry for the long post, but the forward is necessary for my opinion on polygamy.

    Just over a year ago, I was speaking with a colleague about religion and God – one of the major challenges that he had with Mormonism was the apparent inequality between men and women. When you live in the 21st century, you cannot help but be aware of the issue that women have been subjected to all sorts of abuse at the hands of male focused society and life. As I’ve learned, aged and been married, I have found it difficult to explain this patriarchal order that exists in the church. As a child it seemed easy to explain that men worked and women stayed at home to rear their children – it was God’s will. As an adult the question is more difficult.

    It seems to me that the idea of God has been evolving from the Hebrew deity obsessed with vengeance and obedience to the much more tolerant expression promoted by Jesus. And yet, Christian history is not one of tolerance as religions are lived in the society of the adherent. It would seem that scripture is interpreted according present day norms. A common perception of God today is that he (or she) is truly no respecter of persons. So, a religion that doesn’t allow for women to play a role in every capacity and position cannot possible be supported by the Supreme Being – according to public perception today.

    However, religious institutions will argue that the concept of God is not bound by public perception (even though this is undoubtedly the case) but that God can only be understood though scripture or divine revelation – as is the case in Mormonism. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the defining roles of men and women are intricately tied in with the concept of the divine and humanity’s eternal progression. God is male, but he is also our father. The literal concept of God being our father follows that to produce us he needed a wife. Thus, in Mormonism there is the concept of the Heavenly Mother. For the past one hundred and sixty years the concept of salvation in Mormonism is that humanity ultimate destiny is to become heavenly parents and take on the role of God.

    In this way I believed you could successfully argue that eternal progression explained the apparent differences in gender roles but the essential equality between the two. No other Christian faith, according to my knowledge, talks about a Heavenly Mother – in essence the divine is both male and female even though we talk of God as he. In the partnership they are equal with different roles to play.

    From a naturalistic perspective we can see the differences between men and women – the physical and emotional differences between men and women are both visible and apparent, and yet we continue to tout the equality between them. Our society recognizes differences and rewards those who accentuate their differences between themselves and others. Consider the medical profession. Many roles are played with each role being important and vital, but the orderly doesn’t get paid the same as the nurse, and the nurse doesn’t match the doctor, and the doctor doesn’t match the surgeon or specialist.

    However, the doctrine of polygamy decries equality. It says on an eternal basis that women are not equal to men. If it turned out that only one man was celestialized and a billion women were worthy of exaltation that one man would be enough to bring about those women’s exaltation. This also implies that roles of men and women are not supposed to change even in the eternities – the men get to go off and do great things while the women have to stay at home raising the children.

  17. My reading of D&C 132 is that the church affirms polygamy in the afterlife for those who are in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. It mystifies me that people conclude otherwise, and it seems to me that the church goes through a lot of effort (even neglecting a doctrine takes effort) to avoid that uncomfortable doctrine.

  18. I have a friend whose father is currently sealed to two living women.

    He and his first wife were married in the temple. After a few years and a few children, they civilly divorced.

    She petitioned for a temple divorce but he petitioned that their sealing remain intact. Thus far, the church has not decided to cancel their sealing.

    Later, he remarried and was given permission to be sealed to his 2nd wife. His 2nd wife had not previously been sealed.

    Theirs is an odd corner case but exceptions like this are reviewed and decided on weekly by the First Presidency.

  19. Is polygamy still mormon doctrine?
    I dunno, but I’ll bet there are alota hrny old boys out there that wish it was. Heeheehe…

  20. Paul,

    Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a “temple divorce.” The Church doesn’t do divorces. The only equivalent is a cancellation of sealing – which to date is only granted reluctantly (presumably on the God will sort it out theory), and generally only when a previously sealed wife is prepared to be sealed to a new husband.

    The default policy is always to let a sealing stand. No one has to petition to preserve one. One only petitions to have a sealing cancelled – and those petitions are only granted (as far as I know) under the circumstance mentioned.

    Barring a new revelation that repudiates the whole Utah period, it would seem that the LDS policy implies the position that there may be polygyny in the celestial kingdom, and the leaders are going to error on the side of caution before cancelling sealings willy nilly.

    My opinion (which doesn’t really matter) is that policy is an echo of a historical disdain for civil government, that marriage is a civil as well as a religious institution, and that a civil divorce makes a marriage (and a marriage sealing) null and void in God’s eyes, and that the idea that there is any residual value in preserving a marriage sealing on the books after a civil divorce is ridiculous.

    It tends to suggest that all divorces are illegitimate, that we do not honor civil authority, that there is some residual blessing to being married in the temple after a divorce(!), and that God forces people to stay married who do not want to be.

    The only policy that makes sense to me is one where a civil divorce results in an automatic cancellation of sealing – subject to possible remarriage and re-sealing of the same couple.

  21. That should be “having been married in the temple after a divorce”. It also shows considerable disrespect for any subsequent civil marriage, and hence for the institution itself.

  22. I dont understand the conclusion some draw as needing an approval from someone with “authority” to cancel a sealing. Sure, that might be a church policy, but arent we taught that the blessings of a sealing are based on faithfulness. Then isnt it really the individual who has sealing power, not the appointed “authority”.

    As I stated in the beginning, and verified by any responses on any thread ever written on the topic of polygamy, it is a vastly misunderstood doctrine from the top of the leadership down.

  23. “However, the doctrine of polygamy decries equality. It says on an eternal basis that women are not equal to men.”

    Wrong. In plural marriage, all are EQUALLY YOKED by the principle. All the women are equally yoked as wives, and all men are equally yoked with more than one wife.

  24. My reaction when first reading this post yesterday was like Sam B’s: polygamy is simply not a “findamenta” doctrine of the Church. I say that because, to me, “fundamental” is synonymous with “foundational.” There is little or nothing of the gospel structure that we live and teach today that has polygamy as its foundation. Sure, I agree with most commentators here that God-sanctioned (or ordered) polygamy remains a theoretical possibility – i.e., that we have not adopted the position that monogomy is an eternal law. But that doesn’t make polygamy fundamental to my beliefs.

  25. John,

    I don’t know if you’ve read it, but Eugene England wrote a very thoughtful and well-reasoned piece for Dialogue arguing that there will be monogamous relationships only in the celestial kingdom. I wish I had the reference. He makes much of the claim that when we argue for celestial polygamy, we are actually using sexist assumptions (albeit clothed in pedestal language) like women are more righteous than men, therefore more of them will be found in the celestial kingdom. Since they need to be married to live in the highest level, this logic leads to the conclusion that one man equals a whole slew of women. One of his main planks is that all those who die before the age of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom. He then uses the best demographic data available globally to indicate that historically male children have died at greater rates than women, etc. He also makes a number of arguments against polygamy based on the nature of God as we understand him, morality,etc.

    The Church is going to lose more and more thinking women unless this issue is clarified sensibly and soon. I mean, what is the point of sacrificing everything the Church asks if your reward in the next life is polygamy?

  26. In a patriarchal church I am sensitive to how a woman may feel devalued by not having her wish to have a sealing withdrawn when her ex is free to be sealed again. Perhaps when the first sealing is still “on the books” the first but now ex-wife should be given the right to object to the second sealing as the D&C says? 😉

  27. “However, the doctrine of polygamy decries equality. It says on an eternal basis that women are not equal to men.”

    Yes, it states that in a marriage, men are not as essential as women. You ought to think over the implications of that.

    BTW, as to sealing, it is seen as a gospel ordinance, with the sealing the significant part rather than the “sealed to.”

  28. “We are beasts of burden trapped in the drudgery of marriage?” asks Devin.

    My response:

    Get a life. Yoked in this case = the weight of responsibility. Whether one looks on it as a drudgery I suppose depends on whether one would have a good attitude about it if they were asked to do it. Since we are not asked to live that law, then its irrelevant.

  29. Perhaps when the first sealing is still “on the books” the first but now ex-wife should be given the right to object to the second sealing as the D&C says?

    Why the wink? Your suggestion makes perfect sense.

    On the subject of the post, I would reframe the question. Polygamy can be discussed on either on either a theoretical or personal level. John’s question seems to be on the theoretical level, but many commenters are responding on a personal level. So let me provide an answer that addresses the personal level: It is NOT church doctrine that any man or woman will be forced to spend eternity in a polygamous relationship against his or her will. And the alternative is NOT going to hell.

  30. Gej,

    I like your solution. Try that with the First Presidency and see what happens.

    I do think that quoting scripture to authority should always be the first resort of humane responses to any troublesome Church issue.

    And Dude, Devin’s point may be that choosing to use images of beasts of burden may reveal how we feel about marriage in the Mormon culture. Isn’t it a duty rather than a choice?

  31. Mitt Romney on polygamy:

    Romney, a Mormon, said in the CBS interview. “And I must admit I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.”

    I highly doubt polygamy was god inspired in the 1800’s or Biblical times. Or shall I say I believe a loving GOD would not have instituted polygamy. That is my opinion.

  32. quote Last Lemming:”It is NOT church doctrine that any man or woman will be forced to spend eternity in a polygamous relationship against his or her will. And the alternative is NOT going to hell.”

    I don’t believe anybody is arguing that the doctrine forces us into polygamy without choice. We will always have our free agency. However, the alternative is enter plural marriage or lose out on exaltation/eternal progression. THAT is Mormon Doctrine. For some people it would be hell to lose exaltation.

  33. Hey folks, polygamy has always been wrong, this hasn’t changed. It isn’t something from God.

    The people in the early days were just as repulsed as people of today.

    God wouldn’t do this to society’s wives, sisters and daughters. And when man takes it upon himself to do it anyway it doesn’t seem to work out too well.

    God bless and good luck with the doctrine conundrum.

  34. Mark D.,
    CFR on your definition of Mormon doctrine being only that which is “taught by the church.”

    131 and 132 is contained in our Doctrine and Covenants today, therefore it remains current doctrine that plural marriage is required for exaltation. I understand Mormon Doctrine to be that which is canonized scripture.
    Many LDS Prophets have taught that polygamy was required for exaltation before it became a taboo subject. (I am assuming you are aware of the countless statements and teachings on this.) It was foundational to the plan of salvation. (becoming a God and making worlds)
    Now the church focuses on “milk” since we are not allowed by law to live this commandment.

    If you can show me canonized Mormon scripture by our Prophets that removes this requirement, I would be surprised. I would like to point out again that temple marriage today (monogamous) is considered Celestial in that you will be in the second level of the Celestial Kingdom. I am looking for any First Presidency scripture that states monogamous temple marriage qualifies for EXALTATION. I have never seen such a statement.

  35. “However, the alternative is enter plural marriage or lose out on exaltation/eternal progression. THAT is Mormon Doctrine.”

    Uh, no its not. D&C 132 clearly shows that you can enter monogamously, and its particularly hazy about whether you are absolutely required to enter into polygamy after you are exalted. Are you telling me that Nephi didn’t enter into exaltation because he was forbidden to live polygamy? Are you telling me his brother Jacob, who was commanded by the Lord, just as his father Lehi, to forbid polygamy, could not enter into exaltation?

  36. D&C 132:19 states that “if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant…they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things…” Note that wife is singular and the conditions I omitted with ellipses do not include marrying a second wife.

    It is true that 19th century prophets taught that the new and everlasting covenant was synonymous with polygamy, but that interpretation is not required or even supported by the D&C. The verses on polygamy only clarify that polygamy can be justified within the new and everlasting covenant, not that it is required.

    And I strongly resist the notion that anything less than exaltation can be considered hell. Only the sons of perdition will experience hell after the resurrection. Those who inherit a degree of glory will consider themselves to be in heaven and be able to pursue the activities that bring them the greatest joy.

  37. “And I strongly resist the notion that anything less than exaltation can be considered hell.”

    I strongly resist the notion that people that don’t get exaltation will not be tormented by the fact that they lost out on it… I know I will be eternally tormented by remorse if I don’t.

  38. “It is true that 19th century prophets taught that the new and everlasting covenant was synonymous with polygamy, but that interpretation is not required or even supported by the D&C. The verses on polygamy only clarify that polygamy can be justified within the new and everlasting covenant, not that it is required.”

    Last Lemming,

    You are cherry picking a scripture and taking it out of context with the entire revelation of 131 and 132.
    Read that scripture IN CONTEXT and you can’t come away believing monogamy will qualify for exaltation without intentionally ignoring the rest of the revelation.(which is often done in Sunday school when we study this section)

    If polygamy was only an afterthought to the revelation on the “new and everlasting covenant” then why did Joseph keep the entire revelation secret from the church? If it was meant for both forms of marriage, he could have taught it the way we do today and kept the polygamy part to his inner circle of polygamy followers.

    As for your question of Nephi, and other monogamist Prophets who were not allowed to live polygamy on earth- they will have a chance to enter plural marriage in the Celestial Kingdom and become a God just as single men and women will be given the chance to marry in the next world.

    Part of the doctrine on polygamy includes the teaching that we are becoming like God. Prophets have taught that God and Jesus were polygamists.
    It’s all foundational to the plan of becoming like them and creating worlds. Monogamist couples assist those worthy of exaltation in the creation but they will not reign as Gods. This is the doctrine contained in our LDS scriptures today and followed by Fundamentalist LDS. 132 also allows for polyandry for those women that want to marry a man holding a higher priesthood.

  39. Dude (assuming your are one),

    If it turns out there is a shortage of women in the celestial kingdom and the only way you could be exalted is to share a wife with somebody, would you do it? Or would you suffer the eternal torment you believe to be the alternative? (If you would share, then Good Mood has his or her answer.)

    For those who insist that the numbers will inevitably work out equally, how do you reconcile that with agency? The probability that the number of men in the CK will exactly equal the number of women is, absent divine intervention that contravenes agency, vanishingly small.

  40. Last Lemming,

    With all the retarded liberal people out there and Commie Chinese aborting their babies, especially girl babies, I can assure you that it appears to me there will be no shortage of females in heaven.

    I don’t care which way it turns out to be, because the truth is whatever it is regardless of what Last Lemming or anybody else says. And I assure you that neither I nor you know what that truth is with regard to polygamy in heaven.

    And your rhetoric doesn’t bother me, because it has no bearing on how things will turn out.

    I just know that I am striving for exaltation and hope I don’t lose it.

  41. Can you not see how absolutely futile it is to argue how many women vrs men will end up in the CK? Does it really come down to this? We are reduced to coming up with arguments for or against polygamy based on the numbers we can crunch?

    I happen to believe it is a waste of time trying to come up with literal, carnal interpretations of things that are spiritual. The law of polygamy was a physical practice to assist in learning a spiritual principle. There is no need to argue over who belongs to whom and how many in the kingdom of God. Jesus said to forget about the observation because “the kingdom of God is within you” when he was presented with arguments like this. (Luke 17:21)

  42. In reference to this comment from above:
    “Monogamist couples assist those worthy of exaltation in the creation but they will not reign as Gods. This is the doctrine contained in our LDS scriptures today and followed by Fundamentalist LDS.

    FYI – Warren Jeff’s, the fundamentalist guy, is incarcerated and no longer a “prophet” by his own admission.

    In reference to this comment from above:
    “132 also allows for polyandry for those women that want to marry a man holding a higher priesthood.”

    This doesn’t sound like the traditional MO, shouldn’t it read: 132 allows a man with a higher priesthood to marry another man’s wife if he chooses. ?

  43. Good Mood. Polygamy in heaven isn’t necessarily about what anybody wants. Its about the fact that its one plausible possibility for how it may turn out whether anyone wants it or not. I for one don’t want to conclude something when there is no basis for making a conclusion. I conclude that I will do what I’m asked, whatever that is.

    What if everybody is gay in the Celestial Kingdom. Last Lemming, if you were asked to enter into gay plural marriage in the Celestial kingdom, would YOU do that? I know I’d rather go to hell than deal with that one.

  44. You may have misunderstood my question: “Why would anyone want polygamy in heaven?”
    Anyone includes “the creator or God”.

    Polygamy is a hairball of a mess. I expect my God to have something more divine than that.

    And many folks do think that their doctrine is a basis for making a conclusion on what to expect in the next life.

  45. Well, perhaps the creator god doesn’t want polygamy in heaven for all I know. Why would he indeed? Didn’t I just say that neither I nor nobody else has the answer? Then why are you even asking?

  46. Good Mood said: “FYI – Warren Jeff’s, the fundamentalist guy, is incarcerated and no longer a “prophet” by his own admission.”

    The doctrine and teachings on plural marriage did not come from Warren Jeff’s, they came from Joseph Smith and are contained in our Doctrine and Covenants. Your point is irrelevant.
    Most polygamists in this country do NOT follow Warren Jeff’s and consider themselves “independents” that view our church members as “sell outs”. Independent fundamentalists more faithfully follow the teachings and doctrine taught by Joseph Smith and other LDS prophets.

    If our church no longer believes in plural marriage as a requirement for exaltation then why don’t LDS leaders remove it from our scriptures?
    Why do they continue to practice “spiritual plural marriage” in the temples for men who remarry?

  47. “If our church no longer believes in plural marriage as a requirement for exaltation then why don’t LDS leaders remove it from our scriptures?
    Why do they continue to practice “spiritual plural marriage” in the temples for men who remarry?”

    For all we know, this is a mere holdover or vestige from the plural marriage stuff that hasn’t died out yet entirely, and perhaps in the future the Church will take steps to entirely renounce it. Or perhaps its an indicator that the Church really never did change its core doctrine, and that it would bring back plural marriage if the current order of things were shaken up and collapsed. Thats what I mean. What good does it to ask these questions, or come to conclusions of any kind when they just go unanswered? And all you get is a bunch of people with opinions?

  48. In response to:
    The doctrine and teachings on plural marriage did not come from Warren Jeff’s, they came from Joseph Smith and are contained in our Doctrine and Covenants. Your point is irrelevant.

    Not quite, the point is that folks who follow JS’s polygamy doctrine end up incarcerated (then and now).
    Jeffs just took it to another level by trying to validate the doctrine today with his claim as a prophet.

    In response to:
    If our church no longer believes in plural marriage as a requirement for exaltation then why don’t LDS leaders remove it from our scriptures?

    Great Question, I don’t think they like all the controversy that comes with it.

  49. I have a question for anyone who may still be reading this comment board.
    In D&C 132:61 it states “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;” 11 of Joseph Smith’s 34 wives were already married to other men when they married the Prophet Joseph. So 11 of his wives were not virgins and were vowed to other men.
    My question is, where is this type of polygamy sanctioned?

  50. D & C 132: 41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.”

    Some members believe this scripture allows for polyandry (or a woman who has lost her virginity) on the condition the wife is sealed and anointed.

  51. John said “11 of Joseph Smith’s 34 wives were already married to other men when they married the Prophet Joseph. So 11 of his wives were not virgins and were vowed to other men.”

    In section 132:7 “And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed,………..are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.”

    Brigham Young quote: (from Compton’s “In Sacred Loneliness”)
    “The Second Way in which a wife can be seperated from her husband, while he continues to be faithful to his God and his priesthood, I have not revealed, except to a few persons in this Church; and a few have received it from Joseph the prophet as well as myself. If a woman can find a man holding the keys of the preisthood with higher power and authority than her husband, and he is disposed to take her he can do so, otherwise she has got to remain where she is … there is no need for a bill of divorcement … To recapitulate. First if a man forfeits his covenants with a wife, or wives, becoming unfaithful to his God, and his preisthood, that wife or wives are free from him without a bill of divorcement. Second. If a woman claimes protection at the hands of a man, possessing more power in the preisthood and higher keys, if he is disposed to rescue her and has obtained the consent of her husband to make her his wife he can do so without a bill of divorcement.”

    Joseph was able to marry vowed women because they viewed any marriage outside the sealing as meaningless via 132 verse 7. In their mind it wasn’t polyandry. The women who engaged in polyandry were forced to continue living with the first husband out of secrecy & protection. As I posted above, section 132 verse 41 allows for this type of polyandry. Once they were safe in Utah, polyandry was not needed. We see in Zina Jacob’s case she chose to leave her husband Henry to be with Brigham Young once they were safe to expose it.

    Sorry ladies, no equal opportunity for us in the Celestial Kingdom.
    Polyandry will have no place and is not a principle of heaven. Joseph only intended this as a temporal practice out of necessity to keep plural marriage secret, and transition the Saints to Celestial Marriage.
    Women can’t be sealed and anointed to more than one husband in the afterlife.

  52. “Sorry ladies, no equal opportunity for us in the Celestial Kingdom.”

    No equal opportunity? All will be living the same principle if plural marriage is there. That’s equal opportunity. If monogomy is there instead, then all will be living that law. If all women have to be plural wives, then that is equal. It may not be your definition of equality just because you think that women should have the same calling as a man or something, but it is indeed equal. It is no different about how women are not to hold priesthood, but enjoy its blessings. All women are in that same situation. That is equal. And they will enjoy all the priveleges of exaltation ether way. That is equal.

  53. Thank you LA. That is great information you provided.

    What are your thoughts on
    Jacob 2:24 “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” and
    D&C 132:38 “David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, 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.” ?

  54. “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.”
    Brigham Young – Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pg 269

  55. Dude said: “If all women have to be plural wives, then that is equal. It may not be your definition of equality just because you think that women should have the same calling as a man or something, but it is indeed equal. It is no different about how women are not to hold priesthood, but enjoy its blessings. All women are in that same situation. That is equal. And they will enjoy all the priveleges of exaltation ether way. That is equal.”

    No we are not equal in LDS doctrine by nature of the Patriarchal order. If I have more than one husband during my lifetime and they are both honorable men that I love, I am not able to be with both of them in eternity. Yet a man can have as many wives sealed to him in eternity as he desires.
    How is that equal?

    My complaint was not intended to be a comparison of our roles as husband and wife in the hereafter or in mortality. Women already have the priesthood after going through the temple, but we do not teach or talk about that today. (that milk thing again) I want to focus on eternal marriage and how that affects the relationships we have formed on earth. I know a few women who are sealed to their deceased husbands and equally love their second. Some of the second husbands are not sealed to anybody. These women don’t want to choose between the two good men.

    from the CHI:
    SEALING OF WIFE TO HUSBAND

    1. A living woman can be sealed only to one husband.

    2. A living woman having had more than one civil marriage, but sealed to one of her husbands, has thereby exercised her right of choice and cannot be sealed to any other husband unless the first sealing is cancelled.

    3. A deceased woman having had more than one civil marriage, but having been sealed to one of her husbands during life, cannot be sealed to any other husband by proxy because she exercised her election to be so sealed during lifetime.

    4. A deceased woman having had more than one civil marriage, but not having been sealed to any of her husbands during her lifetime, may, after the death of all husbands and any of their subsequent spouses, be sealed to any one or to all of her husbands, leaving to the woman and to the Lord the decision as to which one, if any, of the sealings will become effective.

    LDS Church Handbook of Instructions

  56. Great question John and we would need an entire topic devoted to this. It would be great to have an RLDS member explain how they view this section along with LDS. I have studied both positions and respect them equally.
    John said: “What are your thoughts on
    Jacob 2:24 “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” and
    D&C 132:38 “David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, 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.” ?

    When I read Jacob 2 IN CONTEXT, there appears to be a contradiction with 132, despite verse 30 (the LDS loophole for polygamy). You have to read verse 30 like this to take the LDS position:
    “For if I will raise up seed unto me(through plural marriage) I will command my people (to practice whoredoms and abominations), otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” (monogamy)

    This doesn’t work for me on several levels.

    1. If there were ever a time God would have needed seed raised unto him, it would have been at the time he commanded Nephi and his brothers to take wives after being led out of Jerusalem. Unless these marriages were kept secret/sacred from the Book of Mormon, we have to assume they were monogamists.

    2. What is the moral law of heaven? If adultery is abominable only on the premise of authorization and not something higher like “do unto others”, chastity, becoming one, equality, etc. I have serious issues with that.

    3. There are several scriptures that we could go over in Jacob 2 that do not mesh with the LDS interpretation of verse 30 and 132. I will do a separate post of them.

    The LDS answer would be that David and Solomon took wives that were not authorized, therefore it was abominable. In 132 is says: “38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, 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.”

    So if you hold section 132 as divine, then that would be a reasonable explanation to the contradiction.

  57. I find it fascinating that section 132 allows for almost any behavior that Joseph had engaged in during Nauvoo polygamy. Even when he kept marriages from Emma, the scriptures allow for it. Gaining the first wife’s consent, is not really consent. If Emma refused to obey and give the wives to Joseph, then he was exempt from the law of Sarah. (consent)

    “64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
    65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah…”

    I personally don’t “know” if these scriptures in 132 are from God but my heart and mind tell me it’s from you know who. Thankfully I don’t have an umbrella testimony so I can reject those things that conflict with my conscience. We are all cafeteria Mormons so I don’t know why members can reject scriptures and doctrines on blacks, genocide,stoning, incest,slavery, etc. but not this section. We preach prophets are fallible but most members won’t practice that belief.

  58. Here are the scriptures that contradict D & C 132/plural marriage and verse 30 of Jacob:

    Jacob 2:
    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. ”

    So here we see God is commanding MONOGAMY to raise up RIGHTEOUS seed. He led them out of Jerusalem, where polygamy was the cultural norm, and into a NEW land. This is a very serious contradiction to the LDS belief.

    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.”
    Verse 26 “Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;”

    This is another contradiction I find. The people here in Jacob began modeling themselves after polygamist Prophets “of old” and using the scriptures to justify plural marriages & concubines. (which was a form of marriage at that time, but second class) God is not telling the men to just stop committing adultery but is talking specifically about having more than one wife. So we can assume they were practicing plural marriages/concubines.

    Then have Joseph Smith who is doing just that- modeling himself after Prophets “of old” and using the OT scriptures to justify & restore it. LDS also use the OT in defense of polygamy. It’s ironic in that the Book of Mormon is the most correctly translated scripture we have and it condemns the polygamy of these Prophets.
    The people in Jacob did not “understand” the scriptures because it wasn’t clear if polygamy was condemned or justified in the OT. God will not allow them to make the same mistakes in this new land so He corrects the errors of the Bible in Jacob.

    The third contradiction I see is more subjective but appears throughout this section. In Jacob 2 God is very compassionate to the mourning, sorrow,crying, and tender hearts of the women who were victims of polygamy.
    Yet in D & C 132 women are damned and lose their exaltation if they don’t allow their husband any virgin he desires to espouse.

    I know LDS will say that authorization is everything but I can’t reconcile that belief with a loving God. Sacrificing for God is one thing but this is an ETERNAL principle and not the salvation most LDS women are hoping & working toward.

  59. John,

    The key to BY’s quote there is that he said that those men who didn’t become Gods didn’t “because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.” We don’t have such “blessings” offered to us, so we couldn’t accept them even if we wanted to, because we have no opportunity. Therefore, God would be an unjust God condemning people for that which he himself has removed from their reach. THAT is why men in our day can become Gods being monogamous.

    On the other hand, there is one anecdotal twist here. A guy that used to live in an old ward I used to be found himself in the situation of being a widower, because his wife died. He met another woman and was hesitant to marry. According to his story, the spirit came upon him and told him that his “salvation would suffer” if he didn’t marry the woman he had met. So, if there is any real substance to that story, the principle BY pointed out may actually apply to some widowers who the spirit independently commands to remarry. But it certainly does not apply to those who have no opportunity.

  60. “I am not able to be with both of them in eternity. Yet a man can have as many wives sealed to him in eternity as he desires. How is that equal?”

    Actually nobody knows how it will turn out, and thats why I have no confidence that this principle is for everyone, even in eternity. But assuming that scenario is correct, it is equal because all are equally yoked in the principle, and all women would be in the same situation, as would all men. I know if I had to deal with a bunch of women whining about how unfair it is, I certainly would not want it. Thats why all the women made it so hard on their husbands back in the day because they were all whining about how unfair and unequal they thought it was. They have no sympathy for his situation, when its hard enough to please one whiny person, now you have to please 10 that now make life miserable. You would think that they would have more charity for the person that is trying to please them all. If that is how heaven is because of people complaining about how unfair they think it is, then I think I’ll go to hell.

  61. “Women already have the priesthood after going through the temple, but we do not teach or talk about that today. (that milk thing again)”

    Uh, no they dont. They can officiate in certain ordinances, but it is not done by virtue of priesthood. It is done by authorization to do so given by priesthood authority. They can even participate in laying on of hands, but it is a prayer of faith, not by virtue of any priesthood.

  62. So LA, Dude, John….a lot of scripture, interpretation, deep thought etc..

    What’s your position on polygamy?

    Right, Wrong…Undecided?

  63. Right when commanded and/or authorized by the one holding the keys (i.e. the Church President). Adultery when not. I am not convinced that it is for everyone in the celestial kingdom, but it will be what it will be. I don’t think anybody knows how that will turn out.

  64. The scripture that is posted here discusses “taking virgins” and that “belongeth unto him and noone else”. OK. right there you have a problem.
    As most of us know, Joseph Smith and other men married other mens wives…so right there: They were not virgins and they did belong to someone else. I think the actions do kindof contradict what is said in their own scripture……..OK how do you get around that one?

  65. I have studied alot about plural marriage and if you read ‘In Sacred Lonliness’ it is pretty clear that Joseph told the women he married that polygamy was the most important doctorine ever revealed to him. Why would God reveal the most important doctorine ever and then only have it apply to those people who were able to practice it for a short period of time……i don’t buy the excuse about since we were not offered it Brigham Young’s quote does not apply.

    If you read Brigham’s quotes on polygamy and speeches he is pretty clear that #1 he thought LDS would always be practicing it and #2 It was essential to be in the celestial kingdom.

    It makes not sense that it is only essential to be in the CK if you happen to be those few mormons able to practice it….i don’t buy that reasoning.

    Most LDS men I know seem to think that they will probably have to live it in Heaven, just not here. If you read all of the doctorine surrounding it, that is the only thing that makes sense (although I don’t buy into polygamy anyway).

    As a side note: If God did instruct Joseph to practice polygamy, why would he practice it BEFORE the sealing power was here on Earth? Fanny was the first wife by 1833 yet the sealing keys were not even restored until 36. How can have a celestial marriage with no sealing keys???

  66. I fully support the current church position that we are not to practice polygamy. In a practical sense, I have wondered how polygamy could work when you consider that some statistics have shown that there are more males born than females (by the time they reach marriageable age there may be more females because males tend to do things that kill them off sooner). If this statistic is accurate, there are either roughly equal numbers of male and female spirits or slightly more male spirits. The only way polygamy could work in the Celestial Kingdom would be if there were substantially more righteous women. Ok….. surveying in my mind the men and women I have known, maybe that isn’t such a stretch.

    I have never felt a need to apologize for our past and I fully believe that polygamy continues to exist in some form in our doctrine. I understand it was a difficult doctrine for many, but not all. I love our heritage and my polygamous ancestors. I will be ticked if someone tries to break up my family in the hereafter.

  67. “The scripture that is posted here discusses “taking virgins” and that “belongeth unto him and noone else”. OK. right there you have a problem.”

    Actually, Patriarchal blessings show that many in the days of Joseph Smith were to be among the 144000 spoken of in the Book of Revelation, who were obviously married men. And they will clearly arise in the resurrection to be among the 144000 high priests in the last days. Virgins, therefore, in this context means, as D&C 132:52 puts it “virtuous and pure before me”, meaning chaste.

  68. “polygamy is so stupid unless your the man.”

    Perhaps everyone who has such assumptions should hold their tongues until they understand all things. As Joseph Smith told one of the plural wives he married (Brigham Young’s sister) who thought she would just want to be single in the resurrection, “Joseph said, ‘Sister, you talk very foolishly, you do not know what you will want.'” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, pg. 166-167)

  69. Amazing how we can argue about the points of church history and doctrine that have no bearing on our current goal here on earth.

    Polygamy was practiced by all of the ancient prophets, it was practiced in 1800. It is not practiced today becuae a LIVING PROPHET of GOD has decreed it so. If you doubt the LIVING PROPHET get on your knees and ask for confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

    This is such a silly argument. Let us talk about Faith or Repentence. There just isn’t enough scriptural truth out there to contest this principle and ALL of you are quibbling over your own percieved idea of “WHAT IF”. Let it go. No one knows and all of this…”WELL THE PROPHETS SAID…” is really just your opinion. Pull out canonized scripture and stop posting about your opinion. You would all fail if this was an essay because you reference one scripture.

    Go back to what really matters and leave your theories alone. No one in this life has a definitive answer on this subject and so it should not be the basis for an argument.

  70. I had the discussion with my relatives a while ago and we discussed the statistics….obviously the ratio of men to women made no sense for polygamy. They came to the conclusion that there must be many more women that are righteous than men. Really- I am sorry but nothing surrounding polygamy makes any sense to me.

    When I sing the song ‘families can be together forever’ I just don’t picture me, my husband, his 100 wives, our thousands + children all being that happy family. Not only that, the idea of mass production and being eternally pregnant just doesn’t sit with me. Plus my children will be so busy having their own babies, worlds etc. that who has time to spend any time being together at all?

    I told my relatives if this is the Celestial kingdom I would be happy to take the next lower one…..The gospel would be much more comforting to me if it was as I had hoped……I love my husband too much to share him with multiple women. That is no plan of happiness to me, and I know that is not what I would want.

  71. One more comment I wanted to make, is polygamy would seem a lot better to me if it was not done in such a suspicious setting. I would think that the Lord would not bring a commandment that made so many people suffer (especially poor Emma Smith). Joseph and Emma had such a beautiful relationship until she found out about his relationship with other women.

    What about the poor men that lost their families for eternity to Joseph? Most of them were faithful to the gospel, yet their children were selaed to anther man, and their wife would not be theirs in eternity…….something is just not right!

  72. Quoting my LDS friend: “This is not the eternal salvation I was working towards” (upset after she learned the doctrine on exaltation)
    That is really what it all comes down to. Eternal marriage/forever family is the Celestial prize many of us hope and work toward on this earth. (thanks in large part to LDS culture and the church) Once you learn the “meat” does it draw you closer to Christ or away from Him? I can sympathize a little with why the church tries to in a sense, cover up this doctrine and keep it out of any church discussion.
    For a man, I can understand the desire for polygny or “70 virgins” in heaven. Men are blowing themselves up for such a reward. But for a woman, that is more like hell.
    I think many Mormon women secretly struggle with this doctrine & hate/dread/repulse the thought of sharing their husband here or in the Celestial Kingdom.
    I hold great admiration for the honorable men who abhor and reject this doctrine.

  73. Mark L. said “The only way polygamy could work in the Celestial Kingdom would be if there were substantially more righteous women. Ok….. surveying in my mind the men and women I have known, maybe that isn’t such a stretch.”

    I cringe when men say that more women are righteous therefore polygamy must be necessary there. When you take into account female hormones, DNA, history of oppression, etc. we are are not more righteous, just more emotional and nurturing. That is how our bodies were designed. God even made our voices higher pitched so that babies would bond better with us.

  74. quote Mark L. “I fully support the current church position that we are not to practice polygamy. In a practical sense, I have wondered how polygamy could work when you consider that some statistics have shown that there are more males born than females (by the time they reach marriageable age there may be more females because males tend to do things that kill them off sooner). If this statistic is accurate, there are either roughly equal numbers of male and female spirits or slightly more male spirits.”

    Actually, if you believe in the doctrine of accountability by age 8, there will be more males in heaven. More boys statistically have died before the age of 8 throughout history and are automatic heirs of the Celestial Kingdom. Hmmm, perhaps polyandry will have a place there….

  75. John Smith says, “Go back to what really matters and leave your theories alone. No one in this life has a definitive answer on this subject and so it should not be the basis for an argument.”

    That only works for people that don’t care about theories or “What Ifs” like you, and I suppose you don’t, so I guess you will be the one to follow your advice, and those who wont will not. As for people that care about theories, who admit that the theories are not answers but merely what ifs, they will continue to delve into them. Trying to come to a tentative understanding of things is the beginning of “searching it out in your mind” when you seek for revelation on a subject. If you can’t understand that, then I suppose you are not searching for revelation on this subject, so for you, getting back to basics will suit you just fine.

  76. “For a man, I can understand the desire for polygny or “70 virgins” in heaven. Men are blowing themselves up for such a reward. But for a woman, that is more like hell.”

    Actually, for the man it is hell too, because the woman sits there and makes his life hell, because he has to listen to how it is such hell for the woman. So if you think that a man desires that, think again.

  77. There are so many things we just do not know. I have a whole list of things I want to ask when I get to the other side. I hope and am confident that things will work out. I have some strong preferences. I hope my preferences are in keeping with the truth and God’s will. In my discussions with my Catholic and protestant friends at work, we all agree and hope that God is merciful, or there may be no hope for any of us. If I get to the other side and God says, “Mark, I have some surprises for you. Things are not quite what you expected.” My response will be, “I have always sought truth. Tell me the truth and I will try to live it.”

  78. I appreciate the honestly of this website for tackling hard issues. That is commendable. The truth on this issue is obvious. Read D&C 132, particularly verse 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.”

    To say LDS teaching rejects plural marriage is to lie and deny LDS scripture. When Pres. Hinckley categorically denounced plural marriage from stage he was damning himself and cannot enter into the Celestial Kingdom according to D&C 132.

    Here’s my final thought that I always must humbly share:

    Joseph Smith changed the Bible to say we are saved by grace AND works. This is not so. Our works are as fifthly rags, and Christ alone is sufficient to save us from eternal damnation. Search the Bible and see if what I say is true. Thank you.

  79. @ Mark L

    What if I came to you and said, “Mark, I have some surprises for you. Things are not quite what you expected.” What would your reply be to me?

    I ask this because it seems to me that it is more common that God answers our prayers through each other than having Him directly replying to our requests.

    Your humility is commendable, but it seems a mistake to me that so many of us believe that we must wait until some other existence to comprehend the Gospel.

  80. I had quite an interesting time reading this blog. My take on polygamy was that it was more or less Joseph Smith’s idea, and he found all kinds of revelation to account for it. Read “The Red Queen” the chapter on Polygamy and the Nature of Men, as well as Monogamy and the Nature of Women. It explains things a lot better than do any of these comments, including the quotes from the D&C. However, assuming that what the church teaches about the celestial kingdom is true – every man and every woman who desires to live righteously and attain the highest degree of glory, has to be given an opportunity to marry – then it seems likely there will be a sex imbalance, in which direction no one knows – therefore some type of plural marriage might be necessary

  81. Mark- I like your comment about God being merciful. I am still active LDS but have serious doubts and really don’t know what to believe anymore. Sometimes it is frustrating to me because I am willing to do whatever God wants me to do….but what is that? I really don’t know. I wish I knew….How can I be judged if I don’t know what God really wants me to do? It is frustrating to me.

    The polygamy issue is what started my skepticism and other things just added to it. It makes no sense? If Joseph was not truthful about polygamy and did start it because of his own sexual desires, then how can I know other ‘revelations’ were true?

    I have researched polygamy inside and out and nothing makes sense…..this one princlple of the gospel has ruined the church more than Satan could have himself. There is a dark cloud hanging over the church and makes others not want to listen because even over a hundred years later, all people think about is Mormons are polygamists. We had to give it up anyway, and in the long run it has only ruined the church.

    I have these questions:
    – Why would God originally condemn polygamy in the D&C and then change his mind later and change the scripture?
    – If God really wanted Joseph to live polygamy, wouldn’t he inspire him (especially the first time) to marry a woman who would last and make it special (Fanny left the church and married someone else).
    – If God commanded polygamy wouldn’t he first give Joseph the sealing keys (how can you have an eternal marriage and intimate relationships before being sealed was even possible?)
    -Would God command someone to live something that broke at least 3 of his ’10 commandments’? Joseph lied to his wife about it and lied in public (thou shalt not bear false witness) Joseph took other men’s wives (thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife) Joseph had relations with other women and lied to Emma about it and did not even tell her (thou shalt not committ adultery).

    Why would God command Joseph to do something deceitful to those he loved most?……It has to make you wonder??? Why would he want to put this dark cloud over the church which surely keeps people away?

    I am trying to find truth “By their fruits, ye shall know them”….. With all of the suspicious details surrounding polygamy, it does not look like good fruit to me. Too much lie, deciet and hurt feelings went along with this revelation. And to top it off, it makes no sense.

    1. You might want to start asking questions further back in time. Why did God make the following commandment to the Israelites (via Moses)?:

      “If [a man] take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall 
      he not diminish.” (Exodus 21:10)

      If God always considered polygamy an abomination, surely he would have told Moses and outlawed it, but instead we see him here making laws concerning it. This is not an isolated example in scripture either.

      Apparently God considered Jacob/Israel to be a righteous man even though he had children from 2 wives and 2 concubines.

      “…Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee [David] king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given thee such and such things.“
      (2 Samuel 12:7-8)

      Wasn’t David already married when Saul died? Even if he wasn’t, it says here that God gave him his “master’s wives.” This in fact is the scripture Joseph Smith was studying when he received the revelation we now know as D&C 132.

      Imagine if you die and go to heaven and find out that God is a polygamist on a massive scale. How will you feel about it then?

  82. “When Pres. Hinckley categorically denounced plural marriage from stage he was damning himself and cannot enter into the Celestial Kingdom according to D&C 132.”

    I suspect that whatever President Hinckely did, if it doesn’t agree with what you believe, you would say he wasn’t going to be saved. So what does it matter to you? The Bible is the only standard by which you would judge Mormons, so it seems, and only your own interpretations of it at that. It seems to me that you lack compassion for those who do not agree doctrinally with you. Yet President Hinckley, in spite of his doctrinal differences with the so-called “traditional Christians”, was one to practice “pure relgion” by the standard James specifies: “Pure areligion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” There’s the definition of pure religion from the Bible that you hold to, and the Mormons excel in it. So I would be quite careful if I were you condemning people for doctrinal differences with you, when they keep to the “true religion” of the Bible. Perhaps it is you that should be looking in the mirror about who is in danger of the council because he shouts “RACA”.

  83. If we look at the history of the manifesto do we not discover that Pres Woodruff did not write it?
    Was it not written by Charles W. Penrose with the help of Elder F.J. Cannon and John White? Was it submitted to a committee of Gentiles(non-Mormons) Judges C.S. Zane, C.S. Varian and O.W. Powers? Was there not a change in wording insisted upon and was not it re-copied by a clerk? I think that there was much pressure put on Pres Woodruff not only by the Gentiles but Mormons themsleves. Especially Mormon business men. My gosh look what they, Gentiles were doing in regards to property,members, statehood etc. Pres Taylor was also under great pressure but the Lord told him to reject any compromise in regards to the eternal principle of plural marriage. Maybe Pres Woodruff signed it to beat the devil at his own game. The manifesto seemed to be a diversion. I do not believe there was ever any intention on Pres Woodruffs part to “suspend” plural marriage indefinatly. Certainly is was not Gods intention. Possibly we thought through legal means we could vote it into law once statehood was achieved but then look what happened. Did not Pres Woodruff state ” we won’t quit practicing plural marriage until Christ shall come”? Also I do believe the Prophet Joseph stated at one time that he was living in defience of the rule of “the church” on the matter.

    How can an eternal doctrine restored through Joseph Smith for this last dispensation be unauthorized as far as the priesthood is concerned? The body of the church can vote on what it choses.

    I would assume that as the “the church” moves forward we will try ever hard to be accepted by “the Gentiles” Look at who we are wanting to break bread with.The very Gentiles(non members) who insist we are not Christian. As the doctrines restored through Joseph Smith ever fade away so we can become more mainstream Christians maybe the Lord will see fit for a second “restoration”

  84. I just happened to come across this site looking for a different site, but I need to say one thing here.
    First of all, there really is only one question, Was Joseph Smith a true prophet? If so the church is true, is not, it is false. They only way to really find out the truth, is to honestly in a humble attitude, read the book of Morman, and ask God the Eternal Father in the Name of Jesus Christ, in prayer, if it is true. A true testimony can only come in this way. Man does not convert Man , only the power of the Holy Ghost, can give this wittness. Those who really want to know the truth will do this, those who are content with assuming or questioning, or being derogative will not take these steps. Linda

    1. Good advice Linda. I would add to it that you should take all your questions to God, just like the questions about Joseph Smith being a prophet or the Book of Mormon being an inspired book of God.

  85. “Maybe Pres Woodruff signed it to beat the devil at his own game. The manifesto seemed to be a diversion.”

    It’s abundantly clear that the Lord’s hand was in it whatever the case, however the details played out, and it was revelation in action.

    “Certainly is was not Gods intention.”

    God’s intention was for it to play out as it did, or else it would not have played out that way.

    “I would assume that as the “the church” moves forward we will try ever hard to be accepted by “the Gentiles” Look at who we are wanting to break bread with.The very Gentiles(non members) who insist we are not Christian.”

    We only do it because we want to siphon off of them people who will come and join us, and we need good PR. When we are done with that, then we won’t have to present ourselves that way anymore and we can revert more to our more distinctive doctrines, that is, if any of those distinctive things we have dumped were ever absolutely true to begin with. As there are many things to be revealed, we may or may not revert back to them, or we may change in ways that were never foreseen in directions that people would have never thought of, because the Lord is at the helm.

  86. Polygamy. Fallen Prophet? I don’t know for sure but I do have my doubts about how inspired it really was. For example, if you believe section 132 is inspired then Joseph Smith marrying other men’s wives is definately wrong. Section 132 states that a man can marry a “virgin” but not a married woman (Jospeh Smith married at least 11 already married women–polyandry). The direct reason for Joseph Smith’s death was related to polygamy. The Nauvoo Expositor was published by William Law (a former counselor to Joseph Smith and definately “in the know”). William Law alleges that Joseph tried to seduce (marry) his wife out of his presence, she refused. William and Jane Law then left the Church and published the Nauvoo Expositor the subject of the first edition was the then secret practice of polygamy in the Church. Joseph, as mayor, was furious and ordered the Expositor printing press destroyed. Now you can say that William Law was an apostate (which is true) but his and his wife’s claim of Joseph’s seducement to Jane is corroborated by the experience of at least 11 other women who did go along with Joseph even though they were married to other men. Some of Joseph’s “plural” wives swore out affidavits and left first hand accounts of sexual relations with him (example: Syliva Session–already married to another man–told her daughter Josephine Lyon on her deathbed that she was the biological child of Joseph Smith and not her legal husband).
    When polygamy finally ended in 1890, Wilford Woodruff gave a sermon at a Stake Conference in Logan(about 1891) in which he said the Lord showed him what would happen if the Church did not abandon polygamy–Gov’t would take over the Church, imprison the men and shut down the work for the dead. If polygamy was really a divine practice or if it was inspired in some fashion–would the Lord be saying something like that? It sounds to me like the Lord was not pleased with what the Church was doing and he got after Wilford to either end the practice or else.

    Now switch forward to today. The Church covers all of this up. No mention of polygamy or discussion is in the manuals or tolerated in any classes. For good reason, if most members knew of the sordid details there would be a mass apostacy. I even recall a conversation with a General Authority about the polyandry of Joseph Smith–he told me it had to do with “family relationships”–that was weird and did not answer the question, it seemed like a dodge.

    So what to do? I stay with the Church, it’s all I’ve got and I don’t want to jeopardize my “family relationships” (ie, wife, children all of whom believe and no nothing of all of this). But I have my doubts. I suspect a day is coming (maybe not too far off) when the Church with the mounting pressure of information readily available from the internet & other sources will be forced into dealing with all of this balogney. It will not be a pretty day, many of the flock who haven’t confronted this but have buried their heads will be “blown away”. This day will come and the longer it takes the worse it will be.

  87. 1904 Smoot investigation.

    The Chairman: “ Do you obay the in having five wives at the same time , and having them bear you eleven children since the manifesto of 1890

    J.F. Smith “ Mr Chairman, I have not claimed that in the case I have obeyed the law of the land… I do not claim so, I have said that I prefer to stand my chances against the law…. And I wish to assert that the Church has obeyed the lawof the land, and that it has kept its pledges with this Government; But I have not, as an individual, I have taken that chance myself….” Congress, 1904 (Smoot Investigation, Vol 1, pp. 197, et. Esq)

    Evey General authority but one took plural wives after the 1890 Manifesto this to include Wilford Woodruff.

    By the actions of the general authority that the 1890 was then and still is now a deception. You all can delude yourselves but plural marriage is the only path to exaltation.

    Funny but sad the more things change the more they stay the same. what did the Lord say to JS “they draw near with there lips, but are far from me with there hearts”.

  88. Joseph Smith did not do the church any favors when he decided he wanted to marry young girls in secrecy, and then justify it as a revelation.

    This discussion may not be definitive, but as a whole, it is very clear that polygamy is very much a part of the church today.

    It does raise quite a number of questions about the moral fitness of the founders of this church.

    The latest facts and details regarding the compound in Texas are shocking to the point where I think the world will expect more than lip service regarding the doctrine that has made having sex with a child OK in the eyes of God.

    Joseph Smith was a con man, a very, very good one.

  89. Hi, I just read all of your blogs regarding this topic of Polygamy. I am Catholic but not opposed to Polygamy per se. I think society makes much too big of a fuss about it. The Old Testament is filled with people who had many wives and concubines, some blessed by God, others not. Jesus spoke his words in his day. There is no 100% way to know if his words are eternal (regarding one man and one wife) or if he was speaking specifically in his day’s cultural setting. (an entire blog like this one could be devoted to this topic as well) He definitely contradicts a long history of Jewish men with many wives. If a woman chooses to have sex with another man it is basically adultery. There is no room around that one like your religion may have such as the difference between earthly marriage and one sealed in a holy way… I’d like to hear more about that idea.

    Anyhow, the issue I think that infuriates society is that some men are in the LDS religion, fundamentalists or not, because they can get away with either polygamy or pedophilia, not because they want to go to the highest heaven but rather because they want to have sex with and perhaps feel in control of women and children. Those men taint your religion just like the priest and bishops tainted mine.

    In any event, I think the issue can’t get resolved if in your religion’s perspective future prophets can alter your religion based on new inspirations. I realize that I am not one to talk, for example, masses were supposed to be read in Latin then now English, etc…things change. But in my opinion, if I were an LDS I would be pro polygamy because I think it is in your original, and some present, writings that people should do so.

    Why then do LDS people run away from that, in my opinion, hugely important issue of populating the earth and your future planets?

    If you are all in the process of coming into or developing your own godhood, then why not stand up for your faith? I think you should, somehow, as a whole, decide if in fact you believe in Joseph Smith and the basic prophets and doctrines. Then decide if polygamy is or is not an integral part of your religion. Then stand by your beliefs even if they contradict what society preaches, as long as they don’t harm others. That is why we live in America – or at least one great reason.

    You have a very large stake in the world. LDS’s are everywhere. You go from country to country converting people. But what are you converting them too?

    If I were to allow myself to be converted to another religious faith then I’d want to know what I was believing, even if it included unsavory things (e.g. if you considered polygamy unsavory). I know my church was involved in massacring many people in the crusades. Even though that is not church teaching the killing of innocent people was condoned by the pope – and even thought of as a righteous act. I want to know everything about my faith, not just the points I think are good. Then I will decide if I want to be a part of my religious faith or not.

    May God bless you all for seeking the truth, whatever it is. I think that it is amazing that such a strong dialogue is going on here to find out what is the truth.

    Keven

  90. Who really even should care whether it is or isn’t? What a genuine waste of brain power and energy to be concerned over this question which is unanswerable.

    Rome is burning, people are being consumed and this is the debate of the day? Give me a break. Get real, go find a family or a person that needs a little compassion, a visit, some hope, attention or love. Go to the temple. Do something besides debating the undebatable.

    Let me out of here, pronto!

  91. Mormons that are civilly married and a few years later married/sealed in the Mormon Temple (spiritual marriage binding for eternity) and divorce by civil law years later, still be considered spiritually married? Are they polygamists if they remarry? Because if they are, I am a polygamist and so is my ex-husband and a lot of other Mormons. Try thousands, because the Church recognizes the sealing as husband, wife and family even after the civil divorce. Is this polygomy like the FLDS Group in Texas?

  92. There are a number of verses and sections in D&C that are no longer valid. And there are scriptures that were never canonized that are valid.

    The fascinating thing about 132 is that it clearly is follow-up to an earlier revelation that is no longer extant where Joseph was told to give Emma up, or where Emma was commanded to take another husband.

    Personally, I think the Emma-specific stuff is why Emma wanted this version of the revelation on polygamy burned.

    Polygamy is clearly no longer a practice allowed on earth when all parties are still alive. Mormons do enter into “polygamous” marriage arrangements from the eternal perspective whenever a man who is sealed to a woman the law no longer considers a spouse (e.g., because of death) is sealed to another woman in the temple.

    Moderately terrifying story: My Grandma had been engaged to a wonderful Mormon guy. Then she eloped with Grandpa – a drinking, swearing, smoking man who thought the LDS church was a farce. When former fiance was dying, nearly 50 years later, he allegedly told my grandmother his wife would grant him a divorce so he could marry Grandma in the temple. Grandma gently rebuffed former fiance (of course she would have had to leave Grandpa in order to take advantage of former fiance’s offer). After Grandpa died and the requisite year had passed, Grandma was sealed to Grandpa.

    I asked Grandma about the tale of former fiance two months before she died, after she had been sealed to Grandpa. “It was completely innocent.” Hah. We’ll never know for sure what would have happened had fiance outlived Grandpa, however.

  93. You people are Crazy . Polygamy isnt Part of the church of jesus Christ your only suppose to have one wife and they are not suppose to be minors. We do not practice polygamy either… the “people” that call themselves mormons arent even mormons. They Are Fundamentalist and are not part of the church. Thank You and realize that what you are comitting is a crime!

  94. Meg Stout said: “The fascinating thing about 132 is that it clearly is follow-up to an earlier revelation that is no longer extant where Joseph was told to give Emma up, or where Emma was commanded to take another husband.”…..

    What is this earlier revelation that is no long extant? What is the source for this info?

    Thanks

  95. The source of the info is the Doctrine and Covenants. Meg is making a reference to the 51st verse of 132: “Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.”

    Clearly this implies an existing revelation with a sacrificial imperative was in effect for Emma at the time of the receipt of D&C 132. The nature of the intended sacrifice has been speculated by many scholarly types, in light of other “Issac-type” sacrifices that Joseph reportedly asked of saints to try their faith. But to my knowledge we don’t have anything solid as per what exactly had been asked of Emma.

  96. An interesting anecdote: I was talking to an Arab friend of mine about adoption. I asked him what he would do if his wife could not conceive. He said, “Oh, I’d get another one I guess.” It took me a moment to realize what he was saying; at first I thought he meant divorce, but that wasn’t it… He’d get ONE MORE wife. When I explained that having multiple wives was illegal in the United States and a sure source of persecution, he was outraged. He didn’t understand the western position at all, and even went on to protest that it was part of his religion, the practice of which is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

    We had an involved conversation about polygamy. In regards to how polygamy-practicing countries see love, it was a real eye-opener for me. He didn’t see it as a problem at all; quite the contrary. And I have little doubt that he loves his wife… he says romantic things about her during casual conversation more frequently than many other married acquaintances of mine.

    I find polygamy to be repugnant, but I have now been forced to wonder if I don’t find it so because I have grown up in a society where monogamy is strongly emphasized in depictions of ideal love. My ideas about ideal love are well-instilled. The effect of innumerable instances throughout my life involving depictions of monogamous romantic love and monogamous nuclear family values leading to associations of “monogamous” with “ideal” can’t be overemphasized. The love that westerners practice is so all-encompassingly represented in media and society that it’s impossible for most westerners to disassociate love from monogamy.

    We see love as private and exclusive, and hence the main problem (if not the only problem) with polygamy is sexual jealousy. Certainly we are hardwired for that type of jealousy as part of rational self-interest; any evolutionary psychologist would be quick to point that out. But a quick glance at the context in which eastern polygamy arouse lends another perspective as for why it might be part of rational self-interest for social ideals of romantic love to permit polygamous relations. Let’s take Abraham as an example. He was led by the Lord into a hostile environment with poor agricultural conditions and aggressive neighbors, where the land he was promised came with occupants and his property rights were enforced by himself. In Abraham’s society, having a big family didn’t mean awesome family reunions. It meant survival and power; in those terms, under primitive conditions polygamy works. It produces a collective naturally imbued with connectivity and loyalty far beyond what can be otherwise outsourced to another party. These people are less likely to leave in order to start their own colony. They are interested in expanding and maintaining the viability of the Abrahamic franchise, thus the bigger Abraham’s family, the more stuff they enjoy as a group. In the mathematics of big families, polygamy can’t be beat.

    There are other strong socially stabilizing factors associated with polygamy that are often ignored. The Nobel prize-winning economist Stephen Levitt points out the crime-lowering effects of abortion in his book “Freakonomics”. Basically, his research just points out that undesired children from unstable homes are exponentially more likely to lead criminal lifestyles. Abortion takes care of undesired children. So abortion lowers crime.

    It’s an easy extension from stabilization caused by legal abortion to stabilization induced by polygamy. Why do women get abortions? Here’s the reasons given in a study conducted among 1700 women having abortions a few years ago (Torres, Aida and Jacqueline Sarroch Forrest, Family Planning Perspectives, Volume 20, Number 4, July/August 1988, p. 170.):

    -Woman is concerned about how having baby would change her life 16%
    -Women can’t afford baby now 21%
    -Woman has problems with relationship/wants to avoid single parenthood 12%
    -Woman is unready for responsibility 21%
    -Woman doesn’t want others to know she has had sex or is pregnant 1%
    -Women is not mature enough, or is too young to have child 11%
    -Woman has all the children she wanted, or has all grown children 8%
    -Husband or partner wants woman to have abortion 1%
    -Fetus has possible health problem 3%
    -Woman has health problem 3%
    -Woman’s parents want her to have abortion 1/2%
    -Woman was victim of rape or incest 1%
    -Other 3%

    Numerous other studies have shown that the leading factor in predicting criminal behavior is presence of a father in the home. That’s above socio-economic status, race, and education. Polygamous societies are better able to meet the needs of women in terms of providing an environment where children are desired. By the same curious mechanism as abortion, polygamy increases social stability and lowers crime. And as a nice side-effect, polygamy decreases abortion rates as well. That at least fits the “multiply and replenish the earth” profile.

    This doesn’t erase MY (perhaps socially-imbued) ideas about what ideal love is, and it doesn’t give me any insight pertaining to how it is exactly God sees polygamy in the eternities, but I can appreciate some practicality in polygamous practices, and that in itself is relieving. Knowing that polygamy has positive elements, and that there are other humans out there, whole societies of them, that form meaningful loving relationships with plural wives, lends some credulity to Joseph’s revelation of what just might very well be the mechanics of godly eternal social constructions.

  97. I almost lost my testimony over the fact that polygamy was ever practiced and could possibly be. I went into a dark place that I could not get out of. I was told by my father 4 weeks before I was married that there was polygamy in heaven. I loved my husband so much and could not go on living if there was polygamy in heaven. I spent months reading, praying and crying and finally an answer came to me- I felt that Christ was literally next to me and understanding exactly how I was feeling as if he were me. He has authority to do anything and I felt that he would take care of everything and that my happiness and peace was above everything. I experienced this 7 years ago and it saved me. I have a stronger testimony and know now that Christ will take care of everything (and I will NEVER live polygamy)- I feel peace about that!

  98. There’s an alternative reading I’ve heard proposed for verse 51 of Section 132 that seems to fit accomodate the “Abraham” reference even better: As a test of his faith, Joseph was ordered to poison Emma’s food, but Emma then refrained from eating it. Bizarre, I know, but only slightly less so than the “give-Emma-another-man” interpretation.

  99. As I look around at nature, I notice that there does not seem to be an imbalance. God seems to have organized patterns and an order to things.
    When Noah was commanded to build the ark, he brought living things in two at a time, male and female. He did not bring in one male and three females. I believe Polygamy is NOT a celestial thing but a commandment that is entered to in life whenever the balance and order are threatened. It never was intended for long periods of time, as the balance in nature eventually returns. The notion that there will be more females than males in the Celestial Kingdom is a bias against males and seems ridiculous, at best. There are commandments that we have been given that are higher in the order of things—such as love your neighbor as yourself. Which could mean that a Young or Kimball would potentially give up wives to great neighbor guys killed in the Civil War, etc.
    Temple ordinances give us all the chance for eternal parentage and keeps things organized. Women are now being sealed to more than one husband after death. This was not a practice untill recently. People will have a choice. Free agency is also another principle that LDS people adhere to. A loving God gives us all many chances for success. The LDS also believe that we are learning and progressing even in the spirit world. There is no doubt in my mind that our creator knows how to do math and believes in equality and order in the Universe and in his kingdom.

  100. Does anyone secretly question that the prophet made a misjudgment or mistake on this revelation? It has caused the church a great deal of problems and the introduction into our American society of polygamy has created situations among other sects that are horrendous. If you question it, does that mean you don’t believe Joseph was a prophet? I believe he is a prophet but I wonder as to this revelation. I read accounts that women were saddened to their core over it and the thought of that kind of life boils my blood with innate and natural jealousy a woman has for the love of one man.

  101. I read my comment from yesterday and visited here to see if anyone addressed my comments. I want to add, also, that I have been contemplating this doctrine for quite some time and cannot digest it as a right decree from Heavenly Father. Women do not desire to become a goddess of their own world, mother children for eternity and share a husband. We just want to walk alongside our Savior and be with our families for eternity, which includes our one husband who is devoted to only us. Heavenly Father put that desire within women’s hearts to have all a man’s love, not split with other females. This is not heaven to us. Why on earth would that be our final reward? This whole idea is self serving and does not glorify Heavenly Father in any way, and absolutely gives no benefit or incentive to make it to the celestial kingdom for a female.

  102. In obedience to this commandment, many have gone forth and taken upon themselves a plurality of wives; consequently, they are not condemned in this thing, so far as the Book of Mormon is concerned; and we consider this book to be part and portion of our religious creed; and the Constitution of America gives people a right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. But our opponents say no person has a right to commit crime under that saying. I admit it. But prove that polygamy is a crime. You can prove that murder, stealing, and cheating your neighbor are crimes. You can prove a great many things to be criminal, from the Bible and from reason. If you search the great commentaries on law, they will inform you that all criminal law is founded on Divine revelation. When Divine revelation points our a crime, they generally adopt it as such, and attach penalties. The Bible is the foundation of most of the criminal laws of Christendom. Point out in the Bible where polygamy is a crime, and then you may say we have no right to embrace it as part of our religious creed, and pretend it as part of our constitutional rights. If we embrace murder, stealing, robbing, cheating our neighbour, as a part of our religious rights, then the Constitution will condemn us. Not so with polygamy. If we should embrace adultery in our religious creed, then we may be condemned as criminals by the laws of God and man; but when it comes to polygamy, which is not condemned by the Bible any more than monogamy, and embrace that as a part and portion of our creed, the Constitution gives us an undeniable right of worshipping God in this respect as in all others. Congress have no more constitutional right to pass a law against polygamy than they have to pass a law against monogamy, or against a man living in celibacy.

    Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Sen., delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 24, 1859.
    Reported by G. D. Watt.

  103. I disagree that the practice of polygamy necessitates an inequality between men and women. I also don’t believe it is necessarily true that men have exploited and oppressed women since the dawn of time – much of this exploitation and oppression is with regard to our conceptions, and doesn’t attempt to understand history in terms of the people who live it.

    I will not try to outline here why I have come to these conclusions, when Ken Wilber and other evolutionary biologists and sociologists have expressed it so much better.

    But when it comes to our assumptions about polygamy, much of what we know just ain’t so.

    “In relation to all these matters, the safe path for the Saints to take is, to do right, and, by the help of God, seek diligently and honorably to maintain the position which they hold. Are we ashamed of anything we have done in marrying wives? No. We shall not be ashamed before God and the holy angels, much less before a number of corrupt, miserable scoundrels, who are the very dregs of hell. We care nothing for their opinions, their ideas, or notions; for they do not know God, nor the principles which he has revealed. They wallow in the sink of corruption as they would have us do; but, the Lord being our helper, we will not do it, but we will try to do right and keep the commandments of God, live our religion, and pursue a course that will secure to us the smiles and approbation of God our Father. Inasmuch as we do this He will take care of us, maintain His own cause, and sustain His people. We have a right to keep His commandments. But what would you do if the United States were to bring up an army against you on account of polygamy, or on account of any other religious subject? We would trust in God, as we always have done. Would you have no fears? None. All the fears that I am troubled with is that this people will not do right—that they will not keep the commandments of God. If we will only faithfully live our religion, we fear no earthly power. Our safety is in God. Our religion is an eternal religion. Our covenants are eternal covenants, and we expect to maintain the principles of our religion on the earth, and to possess them in the heavens. And if our wives and children do right, and we as fathers and husbands do right in this world, we expect to have our wives and children in eternity. Let us live in that way which will secure the approbation of God, that we, his representatives on the earth, may magnify our calling, honor Him and maintain our integrity to the end; that we may be saved in His celestial kingdom, with our wives, and children, and brethren, from generation to generation, worlds without end. Amen.”

    Remarks by Elder John Taylor, made in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April. 7, 1866.
    Reported by G. D. Watt.

  104. Where did this commandment come from in relation to polygamy? It also came from God. It was a revelation given unto Joseph Smith from God, and was made binding upon His servants. When this system was first introduced among this people, it was one of the greatest crosses that ever was taken up by any set of men since the world stood. Joseph Smith told others; he told me, and I can bear witness of it, “that if this principle was not introduced, this Church and kingdom could not proceed.” When this commandment was given, it was so far religious, and so far binding upon the Elders of this Church that it was told them if they were not prepared to enter into it, and to stem the torrent of opposition that would come in consequence of it, the keys of the kingdom would be taken from them. When I see any of our people, men or women, opposing a principle of this kind, I have years ago set them down as on the high road to apostacy, and I do to-day; I consider them apostates, and not interested in this Church and kingdom. It is so far, then, a religious institution, that it affects my conscience and the consciences of all good men—it is so far religious that it connects itself with time and with eternity. What are the covenants we enter into, and why is it that Joseph Smith said that unless this principle was entered into this kingdom could not proceed? We ought to know the whys and the wherefores in relation to these matters, and understand something about the principle enunciated. These are simply words; we wish to know their signification.

    …..

    Previous to this revelation, who in all the world had any claim upon their wives in the eternal world, or what wife had a claim upon her husband? Who ever taught them any such principle? Nobody. Some of the novel writers have noticed it, but they did not claim authority from heaven; they merely wrote their own opinions and followed the promptings of their own instincts, which led them to hope that such a thing might be the case; but there was no certainty about it. Our position was just as Joseph said: if we could not receive the Gospel which is an everlasting Gospel; if we could not receive the dictum of a Priesthood that administers in time and eternity; if we could not receive a principle that would save us in the eternal world, and our wives and children with us, we were not fit to hold this kingdom, and could not hold it, for it would be taken from us and given to others. This is reasonable proper, consistent, and recommends itself to the minds of all intelligence when it is reflected upon in the light of truth. Then, what did this principle open up to our view? That our wives, who have been associated with us in time—who had borne with us the heat and burden of the day, who had shared in our afflictions, trials, troubles, and difficulties, that they could reign with us in the eternal kingdoms of God, and that they should be sealed to us not only for time, but for all eternity. This unfolded to us the eternal fitness and relationship of things as they exist on the earth, of man to man, and of husband to wife; it unfolds the relationship they should occupy in time to each other, and the relationship that will continue to exist in eternity. Hence it is emphatically a religious subject so deep, sacred, and profound, so extensive and far-reaching, that it is one of the greatest principles that was ever revealed to man. Did we know anything about it before? No. How did we get a knowledge of it? By revelation. And shall we treat lightly these things? No. The Lord says that his servants may take to themselves more wives than one. Who gives to them one wife? The Lord. And has he not a right to give to them another, and another, and another? I think he has that right. Who has a right to dispute it, and prohibit a union of that kind, if God shall ordain it? Has not God as much right to-day to give to me, or you, or any other person two, three, four, five, ten, or twenty wives, as he had anciently to give them to Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, etc.? Has not the Lord a right to do what he pleases in this matter, and in all other matters, without the dictation of man? I think He has. Every principle associated with the Gospel which we have received is eternal, hence our marriage covenant is an eternal covenant given unto us of God. Then, when poor, miserable, corrupt men would endeavor to trample us under their feet because of the principles of truth which we have received from God, shall we falter in the least? No, never. Its opposers may croak against it until they go down to the dust of death; God will defend his work which he has introduced in the latter days; and, the Lord being our helper, we will help him to sustain it

    John Taylor
    Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April. 7, 1866

  105. “Should the scripture be changed, or should we stop speaking out so harshly against polygamy?”

    Neither. Polygamy is evil, Celestial plural marriage is holy and sacred.

  106. Polygamy is doctrine and it’s doctrinal and it’s a law, called Sarah’s law. It’s currently approved in D&C 132.

    However, Polygamy is a sin is also doctrine, or at least it was for 40 years. It’s just that this doctrine was removed from the doctrine and covenants by Brigham Young in the 1870s.

    Section 101 in the D&C (don’t look, it’s not there anymore) for 40 years read:

    “Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is as liberty to marry again.”

    In 1935 it was adopted by common consent at a conference of the church (presided over by Joseph Smith) as doctrine and added to the doctrine and covenants, where it stayed, unchallenged as doctrine for 40 years.

    See: http://www.centerplace.org/library/study/dc/ldc-marr.htm

    So, really, it would be OK for the church to go back to the original doctrine, say that God never changes, polygamy isn’t an eternal law, just a temporary aberration.

    It will happen someday, in my opinion. It may happen very soon. The church as a whole is opposed to it. And the original doctrine is that polygamy is a sin. And the doctrine was only changed in the 1870s when BY and other leaders were under fire from the gov’t for the practice . .. so they “doctrinalized” it . . .maybe in an attempt to say the gov’t couldn’t encroach on it because they were bound to practice it b/c it was church doctrine.

    I don’t know why it’s played out this way.

    But the first doctrine was that polygamy is an evil.

  107. It all makes sense if you accept that Mormonism, like all religions, is man-made. Joseph Smith did not receive a revelation from outside himself, but within himself, to begin the practice of plural marriage. His reasons do not have to be bad or unholy, but they were personal, and perhaps done for what he considered to be good reasons. At some point, the US culture turned against the Mormons, and made this very “holy” practice difficult or impossible…especially if Utah wanted statehood. There was another “revelation” then, to stop polygamy. Again, another man-made decision. Either it is ALL true, because it is from God. Or, you accept that Religion is from man/woman, and that the practice of religion is driven by scriptures (rules/”laws”) written and interpreted by human beings. If you start flip-flopping on polygamy, what is going to happen with black (men) in the priesthood?

  108. We wouldn’t even be discussing polygamy as though it were so outlandish if it weren’t for the fact that men of power in Europe practiced infidelity instead of polygamy. The Chinese, the Thai, Muslims, Sikhs, American Indian tribes, African tribes, and the Israelites all practice(d) polygamy. It’s really not a very interesting topic. In fact, obsessing over polygamy as though it were an inherently creepy idea is the most Eurocentric position I can imagine. I believe better than 70% of cultures practiced some form of polygamy prior to European expansion.

    Also, quit obsessing over the Church’s older policies toward people of African descent. The choice to exclude them postdates the Church’s found, and keeping that segment of humanity out of the church allowed it to grow unfettered both at home and abroad.

    In other words, the leaders of the Church probably don’t repudiate older doctrines that aren’t cool in moder America because they’re still valid. That doesn’t mean we practice them now. That doesn’t mean we’ll practice them later. It does mean that they weren’t a mistake.

  109. This is an issue that has caused me personal turmoil and confusion, as it seems to for many others. I never gave it much thought until as an adult I was looking more deeply into church history for the first time, and started to learn more in-depth about Joseph and Emma Smith. The more I read and thought about early church practices, plural marriage and its application over time, and current church doctrines and beliefs, the more questions and fewer answers I found. I started to deeply struggle with my feelings and unanswered questions, and continued to read and search for a way to make sense of it all.

    Although I could perhaps accept that there were some practical benefits to the church and to some women arising from the practice of plural marriage in the 19th C., it seems to me that all of these benefits are only broadly understood, and entirely connected to the unique and difficult historical era in which the early saints lived. (For example, some argue that it demanded and instilled a deep commitment to sacrifice in converts and the rising generation, it gave the church a unique cohesiveness and identity and set it apart from the world, it allowed women to share household responsibilities which widened their support network and gave greater freedom for education and other pursuits in an era when they had few individual rights, etc.). Perhaps I could accept that some of these were real in a general sense. But none of this eases my confusion over the individual pain and suffering that many women endured because of plural marriage (starting with Emma), or my aversion to the language used by early leaders which invariably downplayed women’s feelings, and implied that a women’s role is to submit to her husband’s preferences and decisions about marriage, and provide him with more glory, more posterity, and a greater exaltation that she gets to partake in by association. I also don’t understand the basic contradiction in how marriage, sex, equality, and fidelity are taught and understood in the church today verses how differently these concepts were applied during the era of plural marriage. A man’s commitment of real fidelity to his wife was never entire – he was always free to seek other attachments if he could provide adequately – and from all I can find it seems even content plural wives of necessity did not have a personal, intimate, and complete relationship with their husbands as we are taught to seek after today, but relied more on other women for support. It was a workable situation in which children could be cared for and the church could be developed, but it’s hardly a model for ideal marriage today. We are taught by current general authorities that for us, the marital bond is paramount above other associations, and that our commitment to our spouse must be total. My experience in marriage is vastly different from a 19th C. plural wife’s, being based on a loving, passionate, one-to-one, deeply intimate, profoundly personal commitment that is truly equal and total on both sides. This is the foundation of what my marriage is, the intention we both had when we committed to be married to each other, so the idea of my husband forming intimate relationships with other women feels like a betrayal to both of us, and to our relationship (just as would be the idea of me forming such relationships with other men).

    So your question is one that I have struggled with too. Obviously early leaders thought this principle was one of the cornerstones of exaltation. That is no longer taught at all by general authorities, yet the doctrine has been neither refined or better explained. I’m not sure I can make sense of this either. The fact that there are men who are widowed and form a loving marriage with a second wife doesn’t really explain the current doctrine to me, because many women who are widowed do the exact same thing. I can only offer a few random thoughts, based on a very broad reading of the scriptures, and my own prayers and personal experiences (which may or may not be helpful to other people). First, I don’t find any doctrinal support for the idea that there will be more women exalted than men – I don’t necessarily think that is truth. Second, I have to believe that God respects the personal commitment my husband and I made to each other, and that it is not his intention to betray that sacred relationship or the way we experience it, especially as part of our eternal reward. Third, I don’t think the early church leaders’ interpretation of what celestial families will be like is necessarily the absolute picture of truth. Even their understanding of it changed over time. Yet they had to make sense of the difficult commandment they believed God required of them, so they naturally interpreted and justified it as an eternal, higher law. But I feel pretty certain that I do not have to picture their marital form as superior to mine, or our eternal reward as a place where everyone is in a Brigham Young-type family arrangement for eternity. Gordon B. Hinckley said this in the October 1991 conference: “Beyond the wonderful and descriptive words found in sections 76 and 137 we know relatively little concerning the celestial kingdom and those who will be there. At least some of the rules of eligibility for acceptance into that kingdom are clearly set forth, but other than that, we are given little understanding.” Sometimes I feel like our current doctrine is only a collection of fragments from the past. Certainly it seems to be an incomplete picture, one that has not been clarified. I don’t know, then, how to interpret our doctrine exactly, but the more I have worked over this issue for myself, the less I feel bound to believe that the correct way to picture eternity is a realm full of plural marriages.

  110. Pingback: FLDS kids out of the frying pan… « shenpa warrior

  111. I do love the reply and comment by William Clayton – “Neither. Polygamy is evil, Celestial plural marriage is holy and sacred.”.

    It is such a difficulty to live upon this world while knowing the higher law to be true. It is such a difficulty to see the lack of understanding for it, while here on earth. It is such a difficulty to forcibly be held to abstinence, from living a higher law according to the God of our own understanding. When our heart yearns for the freedom to simply, truly live…

    Polygamy has been made evil by an evil world. What I see are single mothers who struggle every day. Abandoned women who have learned to no longer trust, and then close off from love. Relationships broken by monogamous infidelity and revolving monogamous unkept promises. People broken. Lives broken. Sisterhood destroyed through monogamous jealousy. The opportunity to love and be loved by another, destroyed.

    You who believe that polygamy is a bad thing may have your believes. You always have, as a matter of fact (with the exception of a very short time period in the U.S.). Yet you have bound the most loving to a life of despair. For a higher law lives within in our hearts and will never die. We are left incomplete every single day. Incomplete from not having another sweet voice within the home. Not having another sister’s helping hands, whose desire, joy and how she shows love is to be of such helpful nature. Incomplete from not having my sister who is my best friend, and a woman I would love to share with my husband because I love them both so much that I would give the world to them if I could. Their happiness builds more upon my own happiness… Heart broken that I have to live in this world…

    Polygamy is not evil. This world is.

    LOVE ALWAYS

  112. John,
    I feel that plural marriage is an eternal principal (at least in the Celestial Kingdom). Personally, I feel it is misleading for PR to say that it is not doctrinal when it was taught as an eternal principal and remains in section 132 of the D&C. It is understandable that the LDS Church wants to distance itself from any connections with polygamous, but it is just becoming more and more dishonest. I hold to the Helen Whitney philosophy of the public will think we are weird for our beliefs, but it is better to own those beliefs and not be dishonest about them. If I was interviewed about it I would say, “Plural marriage is doctrinal in the Church. However, Church law does not allow nor endorse the practice of polygamy at this time in order to comply with civil law.”

  113. hello folks.. my husband dr. kittywaymo is a descendant through polygamy, of Joseph Smith (lucy walker smith kimball and catherine walker smith , 2 sisters sealed to the Prophet, then after his death “aunt lucy” married heber c. kimball for “time” only) i am VERY proud of my husband’s polygamous background.. he sure genetically turned out PERFECT if i do say so myself:) he is a kind, compassionate, patient, respectful husband and great surgeon and doctor.. anyway, my Jewish ancestry (my mom and dad are both Jewish, mom hellenistic jew (greece) dad italian (southern italy a lot of jews migrated there). anyway, my ancestry Avram etc practiced polygamy too.. I don’t have a problem with the doctrine, I am a highly educated retired newscaster.. i’m glad were not practicing it, but if the Prophet said we were going to again, I would obey the Lord and do His will through His servant the Prophet. This may sound funny to some of you, not to me.I have absolutely no doubts that the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints is the Lord Jesus Christ Kingdom and Church upon the earth. So are the doctrines, G-d Bless and Shalom

  114. During my trip to Thailand a few years back I saw a group of people north of Chaing Mai who were called “the hill people” and the “Karen” tribe. One of the interesting features was that they would wrap bands of brass around their necks and elongate their necks. At first it was interesting to see these women with necks that looked like beer bottles (they call them long necks) and as I wandered through the village I noticed young girls who had bands of brass around their necks and it occurred to me that they were already creating the next generation of freakshow participants with these 10 – 12 year old children who of course had no choice but to be exploited. Because of that revelation it occurred to me what was happening and I felt bad for these poor kids.

    A ll of us look at the FLDS faith with some concern as we learn of the men who have dozens of wives and hundreds of children (Winston Blackmore of Creston, BC, Canada) and who rape the welfare system to support their guargantuan families. I’m quite clear that this is the kind of polygamy Joseph Smith and the early Church leaders taught up until 1904 when the Church under pressure decided it was in their best interests to quit. The practice started in the 1830’s and didn’t end until 1904. It wasn’t until around 1927 that the main body of the Church split from the polygamous families.

    The scripture is clearly in the 132nd section of the D&C. I think a problem is the Church can’t touch any of these old “scriptures” because that would lead to the idea that perhaps the early “prophets” were not inspired after all.

    Current Church looks nothing much like the Church Joseph Smith started. All of the current manuals give the impression that earlier Church leaders were monogamous and had dutiful, loving wives which could not be further from the truth.

  115. I disagree that early Mormon polygamy was and/or is comparable to those who practice it today while exploiting the welfare system. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had nothing to do with preaching that sort of practice.

  116. This has been a big doctorinal issue for me. I have read all of the Old Testament examples of polygamy. However, none in the New Testatment and no positive examples in the Book of Mormon. If it was an appropriate God given revelation why did it start in secret and end in secret….start with lies and end with lies? I still have no answers, but for some reason I will see you in Sunday School this Sunday. Go figure.

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