Tuesday, April 1, 2008

For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none

So, for years I defended the idea of early Mormons practicing polygamy by saying that they only did it to take care of those poor pioneer women whose husbands died on the plains. Or that it was something that was practiced by those in the Bible as well so why not now. After all, God does not change, right? These were ideas that I was taught by various church leaders but they never seemed to sit too well with me. I was reading yesterday and came upon an interesting passage in the Book of Mormon that talks about those who practiced it in the early days.

Jacob 2:22-28
22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
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;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

Now, I think I probably read this section 20+ times in my life but never really stopped to think about how it relates to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and many other men in the early days of the church. Joseph himself “translated” the BoM so you would think he would know about how God felt concerning the idea of having more then one wife. After all, it was the translation work that brought up questions about baptism and the priesthood so why would he have just skipped over this part?

I have not found a passage that states so clearly the disdain God has towards those who have more then one wife and take away the chastity of women. Now, why then would God command Joseph to implement the principle of plural marriage if he was so displeased with David, Solomon and the Nephites for doing the same thing? If there is a God, I do not think he would. I especially don’t think he would have compelled Joseph to do it by sending an angel with a flaming sword to him threatening to take his life. I also do not think that God would command his prophets to take other men’s wives for their own while they are still married and even pregnant. If what Joseph claims is true about plural marriage, then his God is not one I care to believe in. I believe that Joseph, thinking of his own need for power, did this knowing it was wrong. Why else would he have hid it from Emma, his first wife, as well as others for so long? Why would he send men off on missions and then only months later, take their wives as his own? That practice, in any time in history, would not be looked upon with favorable eyes.

For those of you who doubt that Joseph practiced polygamy and polyandry, go to familysearch.org yourself, just like I have done, and do a search for Joseph Smith marriage records from 1827 and on. I will make it easy on you, just…click here. What will you find? On a church run website, you will find the records of the majority if not all of his marriages, including those women he married while they were still faithfully married to another man.

D&C 132:61-63
61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed…

So, according to the revelation given above, as long as the second wife is a virgin and the first wife gives her consent, the marriage is ok. While I disagree with the principle, I am willing to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt up to this point. The problem for me comes next. If the woman is not a virgin and or is vowed to another man, the one trying to marry her is not justified. By that note, anyone who Joseph and others married that were previously married, they did unjustly and committed adultery because of it. Now, it is believed by those brethren that they were not committing adultery but what of the women how already had a husband? According to verse 63, they did commit adultery by being espoused but also being with another man. That is quite the double standard.

I leave you with the words of one of the late Apostles of the LDS church…

"I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow." - Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Twenty Seventh Wife, Irving Wallace, p. 101.

I think that statement just about sums it all up. Now I think I’m going to be sick!


  1. wow nicely put....I only wish the majority of your readers were open minded.

  2. that is one of the things that has always mystified me about the mormon religion -- the "elders" are younger - which to me is an oxymoron to begin with -- then there's the fact in Titus 1:6
    An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife -- also, Hebrews 13:7-9 (in regards to leadership and teaching)
    7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

    9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

    I truly believe God doesn't change from one generation to the next - you keep on researching - my hope is you will reach those seeking more knowledge and that they will pray for wisdom to use that knowledge to exit a religion that has been built on a "man's vision" and not a faith based on our Holy Creator --