Thursday, June 25, 2015

ENTRY 34 BE TRUE TO YOUR WIFE





BOOK OF MORMON POLYGAMY

Polygamy has not been a policy put in practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly since 1890 and privately since 1912. The LDS teachings from the pulpit are at this time of monogamy. The majority of LDS men seem uncomfortable with the idea of polygamy and profess gladness if it never returned. The totality of LDS women seemingly do not like the subject at all and they often declare that they hope it never returns as a doctrine. Still, the subject of polygamy is a burden to the LDS people. It has created confusion about doctrine.   It has created doubts about the reliability of the teachings of the church and this has extended confusion into what the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is.  But what does the Book of Mormon actually teach about this issue?

The Book of Mormon condemns the practice of men taking more than one wife. For example:

"And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines..." (Ether 10:5)

And this...

1 And now it came to pass that Zeniff conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father.

2 For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness.  (Mosiah 11:1-2)

From the sermon of one man in the Book of Mormon, we receive one of the most complete discourses on the topic in all of scripture. (Jacob 2)

We are taught by Jacob that the hearts of our wives and daughters are tender and chaste and this is pleasing to the Lord. He would not have men break the hearts of their wives and children by violating their trust. To do such a thing is described as an abomination. 

There is no exception in the Book of Mormon that provides an allowance for polygamy. 

There has been one verse which has often been interpreted as providing a loophole of sorts. However, a review of that verse will demonstrate that there is not a justification found within the verse at all. Rather, the meaning of the verse (when taken in context) is that the taking of more than one wife is viewed by God as an abomination because of the hardships and burdens it places on the wives and children.


 
THING 1 and THING 2
 
While reading the following in the book of Jacob, notice how the passage is defining the word “thing”. What is the author referring to as he uses the word "thing" in this context? 

“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.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.

34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.

35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.” (Jacob 2:23-35)

The first usage of the word “thing” refers to that which is written concerning David and Solomon. It concerns those written words which the men of Jacobs’s day were using to justify their own behavior. This behavior is described as “a grosser crime” and “waxing in iniquity” and it is described as “whoredoms”. 

The “things"which are written” are that which the men have taken from the scriptures and changed the meaning of from the scriptures to support their own unrighteous practices. They have “wrested” the scriptures. In this case, they did not change the actual writing of the scripture, nor did they ignore the scripture. They were preaching from the scriptures and reinterpreting the meaning of the words. They were teaching out of the scriptures and yet applying definitions that were completely opposite of the intended meaning. They used these interpretations to support their own wicked practices. They were using the examples of David and Solomon to establish their own doctrine which was in opposition to God’s will in regards to chastity.

The second usage of the word “thing” is very specific. David and Solomon had many wives and concubines and this was “abominable” in the judgment of the Lord. The definition of “abomination” is to take something holy and righteous that was given by God and exploit it for selfish purposes. In this case, marriage which is holy and righteous before God had been exploited by excess in the taking of more than one wife. 

 
CONTRADICTIONS

There is another statement about David and Solomon and their wives found in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 132. It blatantly contradicts the sermon given by Jacob.  

Section 132 is a discussion in and of itself that is worth the time to investigate. My view is that Section 132 is a corrupted document delivered under suspicious circumstances. Section 132 is more than a “wresting” of the scriptures. It is a complete re-write or an addition to scriptures that was not sanctioned by God, nor was the individual who introduced it claiming that he received it from God. Instead, he claimed SOMEONE ELSE received it from God.  And yet, he claimed to be the only one who had sealing power to act on earth  to bind in heaven with the condition that there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power is conferred (D&C 132:7).  How can a man claim to have such power and yet provide no revelation to support that claim? Notice that the name of the individual given sealing power in Section 132: 40-48.  The individual who introduced this document to the church in 1852 is not the same man described in the proposed revelation.  Can a man claim power to seal for eternity based on a borrowed revelation?  When a man borrows a revelation in order to borrow other mens' wives, what is that indicative of the doctrine taught by that man? Do you think it is reliable doctrine?  This is the same error that the people of Jacob committed.  Jacob's people borrowed from the examples of David and Solomon to provide their own authority to indulge in the desires of their hearts.  They ignored the tragic ends of David and Solomon, but charged headlong into the same follies.  

More can be said about the glaring inconsistencies of Section 132.  I hope to write more regarding this important document in our Latter-day history.  However, for now in this entry, we are examining the Book of Mormon and what it says about polygamy. And it clearly condemns the practice of David and Solomon in taking on more than one wife. And it clearly condemns those who justify the practice of it by using David and Solomon as a precedent.

 
THING 3 and THING 4
 
 
The third usage of the word “things” is the “thing” in question. This is the word that has been “wrested” in the sermon of Jacob. We will get to that word usage in a moment, but first let’s review the last usage of “thing”.

“34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.”

The last use of the word “things” is once again referring to something negative. These “things” are described as something that they “ought not to have done”; and also something that has brought “great condemnation” unto the people. We know that it is still referring to that which the men of Jacob’s day were doing. They had taken the scriptures and used them to excuse themselves in taking more than one wife. They had rationalized something that God had forbidden them to do and it was proving to be something that pierced the hearts of many with deep wounds.

Jacob gives no allowance for the practice of taking more than one wife. He describes it as “abominable”,“a grosser crime”, and “something ought not to have done”. Four times he uses the word “thing” and the context of three of those word usages indisputably describe this sin as “abominable” and a “grosser crime”. 

Oh the irony! Jacob warns against misusing the scriptures. Jacob warns against misrepresenting the scriptures to practice whoredoms (Verse 23). And here in this very passage given by Jacob is the only verse (Verse 30) in the Book of Mormon that has ever been used to justify the taking of more than one wife. There is not one other verse in the Book of Mormon that has ever been construed to mean that polygamy is of God…just this one…which Jacob warned should not be used to support such a practice.

Now take a look again at verse 30. 

“For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” 

The word “things” as used by Jacob has already been defined in the context of his sermon. Keeping with the context of the Jacob’s sermon and paying attention to his warning that we should not use the scriptures to rationalize the practice of taking more than one wife, we can see the real meaning of verse 30. 

 
CORRECT INTEPRETATION
 
The correct interpretation of verse 30 is as follows:

“For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people and they will obey my voice; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things which are abominable and a grosser crime.”

We see that Jacob did not leave a loophole for polygamy. He was condemning it. According to his teachings, if the Lord has a will to raise up seed, how does he do it? He does this by commanding his people. Those who will listen to his voice and keep his will are those who become the seed of God. This is the kind of seed that Jacob was referring to.

We can see this in verses 25 and 26:

"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."

Notice that the Lord intends to raise up a righteous branch (a righteous seed) and that in the process of doing so he leads the people out of Jerusalem and wants them to disavow themselves from the practices of those "of old". In otherwords, to raise up this righteous branch (righteous seed), this people must NOT do like them of old and must NOT take more than one wife.

The Book of Mormon clarifies what it means to raise up seed unto the Lord. It is not a reference to a massive population. It is in reference to a family relationship. That relationship has a father who is God himself. 

" 4 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. "(Mosiah 27:24)

25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;

26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (Mosiah 27:25)

And from the New Testament we receive the same understanding from the following:

“12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. “ (John 1:12-13)

From these references and others we understand that the righteous Seed Raised Unto the Lord are those who are born again and have become the sons and daughters of God because they are redeemed by Christ. This redemption is a result of their desire to do the will of God, just as Christ the Redeemer did nothing save it was the will of God. Raising Seed Unto the Lord is not about building up a church or a nation. It is about being born again and becoming a Son or Daughter of God.

With this understanding, please read again the sermon of Jacob in Verse 30 where it talks about a Seed Unto the Lord. This verse would be in complete opposition to the words in Verse 25 if it were interpreted to mean polygamy is approved. It would also be in complete opposition to the rest of the context of the Book of Mormon. The following interpretation would fit the context in a much more harmonious manner:

“For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up sons and daughters unto me, I will command my people and they will repent and be redeemed; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things which prevent them from being born again.”(Jacob 2:30)

Jacob reminds the men that the hearts of their wives and children are tender and pure before God and that the betrayal by husbands and fathers had pierced their hearts with a deep wound that they carried to their graves. Polygamy has been a wound to the hearts of the LDS wives and children as well. It is plain to see in the history of its practice. It is a subject that has created a shadow of worry for LDS women even to this day. 


WHY IT MATTERS
 
The doctrine is still “on the books” in Section 132. In actuality, polygamy is still practiced in a “spiritual” sense posthumously. LDS men can be sealed for “time and all eternity” to more than one woman. If the first wife has passed away, then the man can be sealed to a second wife. This has led many women to ask the question, “Will I have to share my husband in the afterlife?” 

Is the thought of sharing your husband in the afterlife your idea of heaven or is it your idea of hell? If God would not give a stone to a son who asked for bread (3 Nephi 14:9), why would God give hell to a wife who asked for a faithful husband? Although some things cannot be fulfilled in this fallen world to test our patience, what would cause a lack of the fulfillment of righteous desires in heaven? It cannot be heaven if it is a place where Righteous Desires go unfulfilled. 

“So why was it ever necessary to practice polygamy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” 

This question has often been asked by every thoughtful child raised in the LDS church who comes across this topic. What are the common responses that an LDS member might expect to hear when asking this question? One commonly offered answer was published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their official website under the following link: 



“Latter-day Saints do not understand all of God’s purposes in instituting, through His prophets, the practice of plural marriage. The Book of Mormon identifies one reason for God to command it: to increase the number of children born in the gospel covenant in order to “raise up seed unto [the Lord].”

This explanation is a falsehood. 

Remember the words of John the Baptist? The Pharisees dismissed his authority to baptize. They ignored the call to repent. They rationalized that their leaders could never lead them astray because they had the proper authority. They taught that they received authority from Moses and that they were the recipients of the promises given to Father Abraham.  For this reason, they were willing to dismiss any message that did not come from within their chain of command recognized by the proper lineage and by the appointment of the proper authority. John was acting outside of the channels of stewardship established by the sustained leaders. However, John reminded them that it was only God who gave any man authority to act in the name of God. Any authority had to be received directly from God and not from man. God can give his authority to whomever HE chooses. 

John said the following:

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Mathew 3:9)

So consider this in regards to the rationalization that polygamy was required “to increase the number of children born in the gospel covenant in order to raise up seed unto the Lord” or that “there are not enough righteous men to go around in heaven”:

If God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham, then is not God able to raise up a faithful husband to a virtuous woman? The idea that there are not enough righteous men to go around for all the righteous women in heaven is absurd. If God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham then is not God able to raise up seed unto the Lord through a husband and wife who are faithful to one another and to the Lord? 

If it is shown by John’s rational that God does not need a hierarchy to establish his work; then we can also surmise by his same rational that God can raise up children unto the Lord to fulfill the promises of posterity from even stones. We see that God has no need for polygamy to raise up a seed. He can easily raise up nations from just one couple consisting of nothing more than one man and one woman. For example, from Adam and Eve came the entire world.

Christ taught a few words concerning marriage. He taught that Adam and Eve were made by God from the beginning to be one flesh. He taught that a man must “leave” even his father and mother behind and join to his wife as one. If the fidelity of marriage is described as leaving behind even your father and even your mother to be one with your wife, how much more so is it necessary to leave behind all others? It is described as a relationship from two (twain) who become one. These TWO are intended by God to be ONE. The marriage as described by the Lord is to cleave unto her and NONE else.

“1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judæa beyond Jordan; 2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 3 ¶The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19)

Polygamy requires that the first wife is put away. This putting away is not as final as a divorce but it is still a “putting away” of the first wife. The sting of that putting away is as painful as divorce. Instead of the “twain” joined to be one, the first wife is set aside to a degree. She is not completely abandoned, but there is a displacement in the union.  

This is in fact the example that David set in his practice of plural wives. He easily dismissed one of his wives when she gave voice to the pain of her own heart. David rationalized that it was right to put Michal away when she sought to correct him. How dare she correct him when he was made king of all Israel by God! (2 Samuel 6:21) This was the pride within David’s heart that allowed him to break the heart of his wife. For Michal, she was put away by David for the rest of her life because she yearned to be married to a man who might have had a faithful heart for her. She was already sharing her husband with other wives, but she still sought for virtue within the king that might demonstrate his faithfulness to those that had been given to him. Did his appetite have no end? It was this kind of heart break that Michal was experiencing and that Jacob was witnessing among his own people. It is this kind of heart break that can be read in the history of the LDS church.

“ 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

20 ¶Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.

22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.” (2 Samuel 6).

Despite all of these warnings and examples, we only need the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ to understand the truth of these things. The most convincing scripture of all that demonstrates that polygamy is not of God is the following:

"12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (3 Nephi 14:12; Matthew 7:12)

From Christ’s simple teachings it is easy to understand. Husbands, how much anguish would it cause you to have to share your wife with another man? If the idea creates revulsion and anger within you, then it is clear to see that you should not place her in that situation in which she must share you with another. If you would not have your spouse taken from you by another, why would you ever ask it of her?

"40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Mathew 25:40)

A man’s wife is much more than the “least of these” and Christ has taught that the pain of even the least is taken on by Him. Her broken heart and her sorrows that she endures from the abominations and grosser crimes of others is a burden that Christ must endure. A husband who is One with his wife, also takes on the burdens of his wife in an attempt to follow the Savior who takes on the burdens of all.

Polygamy is a burden on the wife but it is a burden that no man should ask of his wife because he becomes the source of the burden by its practice. Therefore he could not possibly consider the practice seriously knowing that he would be the source of burden rather than the reliever of burdens. He ought to be the one to bear her burdens as Christ would do. He ought to be her freedom from abominations and grosser crimes, rather than the source of such.

These two teachings of Christ are sufficient to understand how God views the issue.

It is evident that the Book of Mormon also teaches that the taking of more than one wife is not of God. Read more of Jacob’s words. See what he said about the Lamanites who were identified as the unrighteous nation. 

“Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?” (Jacob 3:7)

Observe how God was ultimately willing to preserve the Lamanite people and in part this was because they loved their spouses faithfully even when they would not believe in Him. God would give them leniency for their faithfulness in marriage despite their lack of belief in God. Yet God could not save the Nephite people because of their infidelity in marriage despite their belief in God and despite their religious lifestyle.  It seems God will preserve a people who do not believe in Him but do practice faithfulness in marriage. He destroys a people who actually believe in Him but do not practice faithfulness in marriage. What does that say about the priorities of God?
 
 
DEALING WITH DEFENSE MECHANISMS

In discussing these things, please do not jump to conclusions. We are only talking about Polygamy and what the Book of Mormon teaches about it. Nothing more and nothing less. For example, what does this mean about what Joseph Smith was doing in Nauvoo? Or what about something someone quoted Joseph Smith as saying? Or what about the teachings of d Brigham Young? What about Sealing of Eternal Families?  What about the Priesthood?  What about the idea that “God can command anything He wants to” or the idea that “He commanded such things as a test of faithfulness”?  What about the Abrahamic Sacrifice that the early saints endured in the practice of this thing?  

What about Wilford Woodruff who declared the president of the church can never lead the church astray?  

Do you realize that he made that statement specifically to the church in regards to polygamy?  The federal government was confiscating the property of the church because of polygamy.  Wilford Woodruff was offering concessions to the government by agreeing to cease the practice.  However, he fully intended to allow the practice to continue in secret.  He published this statement in the newspaper as a reassurance to the LDS members that their Celestial Marriages (Plural Marriages) would continue. He wasn't going to lead them astray because they were going to continue the doctrine covertly. As others stated when they relayed Wilford’s words, "He was going to beat the devil at his own game." This was his way of letting the people know that the doctrine he had been teaching was absolutely necessary for salvation was not really going away, it was just going underground.  It did until further exposure of it was brought before the government in the Smoot hearings long after the turn of the century.    What does this context reveal about the traditions we have been handed?  

We have not had time to discuss all of these side issues that would branch off of a discussion such as this. Those things have been set aside for another day.  We have only considered the Book of Mormon and its message which was given to a people who believe that book was a gift from God to correct the errors in their traditions.

Therefore please do not think that as I write these things that I am saying that all of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are without merit, nor am I saying you should not go to church.  I am not suggesting that you should stop praying and begin drinking copious amounts of alcohol.  In other words, if we believe the Book of Mormon and take it at its own word, it leaves us without a justification for this thing. 

We cannot address all such topics in one short discussion.  Please don’t panic and think that all good things are lost. Keep all of the good that you find wherever you may find it. Trust in God and trust that He will teach you the Truth of all things, one line upon line, one precept upon precept

Likewise a word of caution, there are those who I gather with in prayer and for sacrament who are in polygamous families.  I consider them friends.  And I do not say these things in condemnation of them, nor do I make any implications regarding how they are to personally work out their own salvation with God.  In terms of the greater weight of sin being placed on the shoulders of families, the majority of sins have come from the monogamous, the religious, and the “holy”.  The heart breaks of pornography and adultery and divorce have been heaped upon the children by those preaching chastity while failing to abide by their own professed law.  Today we have said nothing about these great sins, which are no less in the eyes of God.  In fact, these are even greater sins by the nature of the hypocrisy.

Today we are considering only one line of doctrine that we have inherited from our fathers.  It is a relevant discussion today because of the current issues which are in the news.  A Utah Judge has already struck down the polygamy laws in the state of Utah.  This ruling occurred in 2013.  There have been major overthrows of the concept of marriage by the United States Supreme Court in June of 2015.  And this has given some the courage to continue to press for further changes in regards to polygamous unions.  There is an attempt to establish polygamy as a legal form of marriage within Montana right now even as I write this in July of 2015.  These changes demonstrate that our children will be placed in a position where they must choose whether these “new” things that are being established by law in our lands are truly of the Will of God or if these “old” things are the precepts of men.  This discussion is primarily intended for my children, that they may gain understanding.  And in particular, that they may gain understanding about the Book of Mormon and what is truly written within its pages.

One stumbling block for Latter-day Saints is the willingness to examine our own traditions.  We have many personal experiences that have validated some of our beliefs and we link those experiences to the totality of our religion.  We fear that if one aspect of our religion proves in error that the whole of our faith would be destroyed.  We cling to the idea that it must all be true or it must all be false.  This simply is not the case.  The “all or nothing” mindset is not of God. God teaches line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Christ calls the errant to return to Him.  By implication, this means if we have not yet found Him, there is some error left within us.  We ought to eagerly seek out the errors that we may understand how to fully repent and return to the Lord.  We can take joy in the recognition of an error as it brings us closer to the Lord through repentance.  Therefore, we ought to examine all of our traditions carefully.

 
CONCLUSION

But honestly, aren’t you glad that the Book of Mormon teaches a man to be faithful to his one and only wife?  

A man should be faithful to his one true love, does not that teaching ring true? 


16 comments:

  1. This is a well thought out brilliant article. Thanks so much for your insight.

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  2. This is a well thought out brilliant article. Thanks so much for your insight.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I could not have stated it better!

    And that is with hundreds of pages written referring to both Jacob 2 and 3, and the blatant contradictions of D&C 132 written by Brigham Young and Williard Richards referring to some of Joseph's words at the beginning most likely.

    We have come to the same conclusion, especially about the clarification that in order for the Nephites to obey the commandment of God, they are to heed Jacob and the Lord's command, otherwise they should or would hearken to "these things" or the abominations if they continued to want more than one wife, totally making this verse clear, and not the other way around.

    It is verified over and over the Lord making Himself very clear that he does not change the law to create seed, but that if the Lord is to have ANY righteous people, or seed or branch, then they have to heed the command, otherwise they would hearken to the wicked practices of old.

    This is so relieving to see that other people get this, especially at this time.

    Yes, nothing can hinder the Lord pouring out knowledge upon His saints in the Latter Day time.

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  4. Well done. It's too bad discussions like this don't happen amongst members. They prefer traditions over searching truth.

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    1. Exactly. Open dialogue is what I wish could happen among my family and friends. Unfortunately, an only one or two ever really show any desire to discuss topics with others who have differing viewpoints. How do any of us learn if we only discuss things with people we always agree with?

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  5. The article was good but we still run into the same problem. What about Abraham and Jacob. Why were they not condemned alongside David and Solomon? We can go on to speculate from there. But I don't think the Book of Mormon is a closed case against polygamy.

    Unfortunately, the conclusion was just monogamist feel goody pablum.

    The teaching "rings true" because we are culturally conditioned to believe it. I can hardly count on western culture being an accurate indicator of divine truth.

    We like the romantic idea of a man being faithful to his one true love because that's what we are culturally conditioned to feel good about. Polygamy "just feels wrong" so we find any excuse to discount it despite the great amount of evidence to show that polygamy is normal for humans.

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    1. Thank you for your response Zomarah. If you are the same Zomarah I've crossed paths with on other blogs or forums then I've enjoyed reading the dialogues we participated in, in those places. I appreciate the counterpoints. The warning is well received about avoiding reading our biases into the text. It happens all the time and it's worth reconsidering if I really got this right.

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    2. Worrisome that Zomarah (or anonymous) can discard all this well stated and researched information, including the heartbreak of women over this principle. As far as Old Testament examples God tolerated lots of not-so-nice stuff in the Old Testament that were not restored as part of his eternal plan. After all, Hagar was an indentured servant or slave...she had little say in her fate...should we bring that back? “While the Torah allowed polygamy, its ideal is monogamy, which is why every instance of polygamy described in the Torah is described in a negative way. And Torah narrative is as important a source of values as is Torah law.” Dennis Prager.

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  6. As for Abraham and Jacob... I have this to share:

    Abraham: As I understand from a scriptural perspective, after Abram’s name was changed to “Abraham” (he was 99 years old) (Genesis 17: 1,5) and his wife Sarai to “Sarah” (she was 90 years old) (Genesis 17: 15,17) is when they both made a covenant with God to no longer practice “polygamy” and return to only one wife system as Adam and Noah were instructed when the races of men were to start anew. Remember much of Israel, anciently was in the lands of the “heathens” who practiced many wives and concubines and because of this influence, a lot of Israel fell into this deception and counted it a “good practice,” when it really wasn’t.
    Isaac’s name was never changed for he kept the covenant that his father Abraham and Sarah had made with God. He never practiced polygamy ever.
    Jacob’s name was changed to Israel when he made the same covenant as Abraham and Sarah had made and denounced polygamy from that time forward.
    Every time a “new name” is given, it is symbolic of a covenant we make with God to change our nature and life style to emulate and manifest godliness and holiness of character.
    It is my opinion that Abraham and Israel repented of polygamy before they left mortality, I solute them!
    To me it shows that “prophets” can make mistakes and repent, just like anyone else. They are not invisible or invincible to sin, lust or any other practice that can lead a person to their own damnation. The calling and mantel of a “Prophet” is to awaken us to seek a “face to face” with God as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) had.

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  7. Thank you for bringing up Abraham and Sarah. I do not believe I adequately addressed the Bible aspects of polygamy when I wrote this. Since writing it, I came across a book title "Is Polygamy Biblical?" By Dorris Hansen. It is short, but provides some valuable insights I think.

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  8. I don't know if anyone noticed, but these verses tell us that polygamy or many wives was one of the reasons Lehi was commanded to call the people of Jerusalem to repentance and why they were led out of Jerusalem...

    31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.
    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.

    32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

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  9. Thank you Sandra Harper. That is a good point. Its funny how we can read verses like that over and over through the years and not see them for what they are really saying.

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  10. The bottom line is, Christ clearly and in multiple teachings condemned all forms of polygamy, serial or concurrent. And not only do Christ's teachings trump any so called prophet's teachings, His teachings were just natural law (science)(meaning this behavior brings this effect), they pertain to all ages of time, just like the law of gravity does. No custom or mortal or even God can change eternal natural law or negate it's effects.

    So since polygamy is eternally contrary to Christ's & God's commandments, then the Church cannot be a true church with true prophets, at least not since BY. For true prophets would have known this and they would have be faithful to their wives, and not believed in slavery, paid ministry, or any other of the things contrary to Christ BY and other leaders preached or practiced.

    Christ clearly taught we discern his true prophets in any age, by the fact that they keep all his commandments. And we would know false ones because they don't. And BY and most other church leaders clearly did not keep Christ's commandments. Nor does the Church today, still encouraging and allowing serial polygamy, among other things contrary to Christ's commandments.

    But since Joseph Smith didn't keep all of Christ's commandments either, even if he didn't live polygamy as he claimed, he couldn't have been a true prophet either, even though he taught wrote and did many true and good things, like all false prophets do to appear righteous.

    Neither could Abraham have been a true prophet for he lived polygamy and appears to have had other concubines also, after Sarah died. Not to mention he tried to sacrifice his son, and the way he treated Hagar, etc, which are also contrary to the laws of God & Christ and completely contrary to what a true prophet would do.

    The Bible is filled with so called prophets who claimed to speak for God and have his blessing but appear to have not kept Christ's commandments. But since they taught easier doctrines than Christ did, they did have lot of followers who believed that they were true prophets, and thus were written into history as true prophets.

    But Christ did not make telling true prophets from false ones rocket science, for one of his main concerns was that we wouldn't be deceived by false prophets. So he made it very easy to tell them apart, by whether or not they keep all of his few and simple commandments.

    Christ taught us to prove all things by facts (by behavior) not by feelings or warm fuzzies as most base their beliefs in their religions on. Christ did not want us to just believe someone's claims to be a prophet, whether anciently or today. He wanted us to see if they really kept his commandments and even then did not want us to follow them or make them our leaders, but to only follow Him and his simple and few teachings.

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  11. I probably shouldn't let this irk me as much as does, but in both in D&C 132 and the church's official website, Isaac is named as a polygamist, despite no evidence or record that he indulged in the practice. That ought to be the first clue that 132 is, at the very least, partially a fabrication.

    Excellent, concise explanation of the facts. Thank you.

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