Author Archives: Kirk Van Allen

Help Kick off the New Mormonverse

Let me give you my last update. It has been an entire month since we left Missouri. Now, I can tell you the sky is more blue, the sun is brighter, and grass is indeed greener. Don’t get me wrong, Missouri is wonderful. In fact, its natural beauty of rolling, lush, green hills and the towering stormy clouds are incomparable. The people there are wonderful as well. Southern hospitality does in fact exist. Our ward was just as hospitable.  They welcomed us with open arms, when we moved to Missouri, in December of 2013. Even when we left, we felt the love of many of the members. What we were excited to leave behind in Missouri, was the threat of church discipline.

One week before we moved, we met with our stake president and area authority. They understood that this was going to be our last meeting, disciplinary action was still looming, and tension filled the room. Immediately after greeting each other, the area authority showed some disappointment that we shared our story with Gina Colvin and John Dehlin. We recognized how sharing our private meeting, publicly, could be disappointing and we apologized, yet we felt that it was an important story to tell, and we never regretted the decision. We then transitioned to the central issue. They felt that we weren’t following the keys of the priesthood. We weren’t addressing concerns with priesthood leaders, but rather expressing them publicly.  That was the problem. They were concerned that readers of this blog might begin to have questions. They explained that they felt the proper way of addressing questions is to go to the Bishop and NOT express them publicly.

I had to ask myself, what good are questions if they can’t be discussed or published? What other branch of knowledge or study doesn’t allow you to ask questions and work through those questions publicly? Isn’t that part of learning and advancing? Questioning is what supposedly kicked off the restoration. Do we not believe that God will answer our questions?  Why are we so afraid of public questioning?

And that’s exactly what we were doing, asking serious questions. Lindsay and I were reading scriptures daily, praying as individuals, a family, and a couple, my wife was going to church weekly, and I was going to church as often as my job would permit, we were having family home evening, I was going on exchanges with the elders, we were both working to fulfill our callings, all while taking care of a new baby, homeschooling, full-time work, and finishing my degree. Lindsay and I were committed to the gospel 100%.  I don’t say this to be boastful, but to show that we were trying our very best. We told the stake president and area authority that we prayed one evening, until we were both crying, The answer came and it was simple. Polygamy was not of God. It was an invention of men. This was of course the beginnings of my initial post and a major faith journey.

I told the leaders that the point of Mormonverse was to highlight things critical and positive about the church, because no matter our opinions of the church, there are both negative and positive things about the LDS church. The problem for our local leaders was that we would be shedding light on the negative issues with the church. Their fear was that negative aspects of the church would cause investigators to reconsider joining the church. I told them that I had done nothing wrong.  The concerns and questions investigators would have, needed to be asked of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I did not have the multiple wives. I did not have the inconsistent revelations and practices.

Cordial arguments were exchanged about proper channels for asking questions, priesthood keys, and the importance of painting the church in a positive light. After 45 minutes of talking, the meeting was winding down and it seemed that we all agreed to disagree.  We had mutual respect for each other, and it seemed we were just  about to leave without a disciplinary council.

And then…..Lindsay opened up. She says she “word vomited”, and yes, it seemed much like that.  What I thought was the end of the meeting, turned into a confession of  all of our doubts and questions. I wanted to give her a nudge under the table, and mutter under my breath, “What are you doing?!” Luckily, she continued. In reality we hadn’t been just studying polygamy, but the church history in general. Lindsay started to share her devotion to our faith and the sense of betrayal she felt, when she learned the church had hidden key historical issues. She opened the flood gates and our local leaders were taken aback. She talked about how the Book of Abraham no longer being considered a literal translation.  She expressed concern about the seer stone used to translate the Book of Mormon, the purpose of polygamy, racism in the church, and a myriad of other issues with the church.  She expressed her frustration that the church published essays that gave us many concerns, and yet, gave no new revelation, no direction, and we were now being threatened for speaking publicly about these issues.

Then came the question from our Stake President, ” Do you have a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon?” Lindsay answered truthfully, ” I believe it has…..inspired parts.” The Stake President said that’s where she needed to start and get a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon. That if that book is true, than we should study it.

We agreed, if the book is true than we should study it. But how did we get the book? Is it honestly a ancient set of scriptures? Did the first vision occur, since there are conflicting accounts of the first vision? Just as we have been taught in the church, the foundation of the church is Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so should we not discover the truth for ourselves? …….

Their answer was to read the Book of Mormon and follow the priesthood keys…………………

Our leaders expressed heartfelt love and concern for our doubts.  What I thought was going to be a sure excommunication after our doubts were vented, turned into concern, and we left amicably.  They prayed for us and wished us well. We walked out of the meeting feeling relieved that the threat of disciplinary council was over. We had spent countless hours, weeks, and months, searching for answers.  As we left that meeting, we felt a huge burden lift.  We realized that our path was not in traditional Mormonism.  We felt the relief and peace that we had been searching for.

On this journey, we stumbled upon the lively, blossoming community of the online Mormon culture.  With it’s rich debates, thoughtful discussions, critical questioning, and humble searching, it welcomes traditional Mormons, NOMs, and those that have stepped past Mormonism.  It’s a world of the small bloggers asking powerful questions, the passionate, heartfelt newspaper editorials, the honest podcasts of the average Mormon members. I think we are looking at a critical time for the LDS church. Concerns are mounting, people are challenging the narrative, and many are seeking answers.

That’s why I’m bringing the next phase of Mormonverse to the online LDS community. I want to combine the tough questions and the positive perspectives of Mormons.  Mormonverse will bring DAILY updated news and opinion sources to one convenient location. You’ll have access to more stories, more opinions, and hopefully, find more answers. But we need a little help to get this project off the ground. Please click on the picture below.

Mormonverse

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What’s Going On?

Mormonverse has been silent for the last  few months and I wanted to tell you why. It has been a roller-coaster of a ride. Many of you have messaged me and given  your support. You have poured out your hearts, sharing  what you have been feeling and I’m glad to see there is a community of concerned, critical thinking Mormons. I am not implying that the unquestioning faithful of the church are not critical thinking. I am simply saying that my hesitation in posting my original post, D&C 132: A Revelation of Men, Not God was not unfounded. As it seems that asking difficult questions and coming to difficult conclusions can land you in trouble with church leadership. After posting my FIRST blog post ever. I was contacted by my Bishop, who stated that the Stake President was concerned with my blog. I was met with an ultimatum that I take the blog down in one week or the Stake President would consider taking action, which may have included excommunication. After much intense thought and prayer, I decided to keep the post up. We met with Stake President who said he was originally contacted by Salt Lake.  We also met with an Area Seventy, which kicked off months of conversations with the threat of disciplinary action hanging over my head. For more details surrounding this story check out these links below.

Troubling the Church by Repudiating Polygamy: Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen

Kirk and Lindsay Van Allen – Facing Church Discipline for Rejecting Polygamy (D&C 132)

I have to admit I was very tempted to remove my blog post, I knew what I had written was tough to swallow for many members. D&C 132 is full of inconsistencies, sexism, oppression, and worst of all it is considered scripture. I have come to realize that many people are suffering to reconcile their faith with D&C 132. Some people have left Mormonism to become more orthodox and practice polygamy. Others turn the other way and exit Mormonism, being unable to reconcile D&C 132 with the God they worship. Other members have chosen to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet who did not practice polygamy, believing that Brigham Young and the rest of the church’s prophets have fallen short. While other members remain faithful to LDS church majority and conclude that there is no conclusion, that we can not know the answers to our questions until the next life.

I refuse to believe that the answers are not available. I do not believe that the God of the Restoration would shut the windows of heaven, and refuse to answer some of the most pressing questions of his saints. That is why I have left the blog standing. We need answers! I do not have some unique blog or groundbreaking thoughts. I am just another voice of concern in the growing tsunami of questions. I’m adding my voice to the thousands if not tens of thousands questioning the policies and practices of our beloved faith.  My blog is not a voice of hatred. It is a serious look at the history and the potential of the Church.

More from Mormonverse is coming……

A Response to Fairmormon

Response to Fairmormon by Lindsay Van Allen

We appreciate the attempt of Fairmormon and the Hales to assuage our concerns regarding D&C 132, but we feel it is an explanation that comes up short in many areas.  Brian and Laura Hales initially claim that they don’t wish to misrepresent the original intent of the blog post, but in many instances we felt that there was a misrepresentation of our point of view.  We likewise will not be addressing their article point-by-point both for readability and brevity.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the FAIR response, please follow this link.

http://blog.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Lending-Clarity-to-Confusion.pdf

Fruits of the Spirit

In response to my assertion that polygamy doesn’t pass the “fruits of the Spirit test”, the Hales state, “Church members who lived this practice had great faith, experienced long suffering, …and by their own accounts were blessed.”  We think you are confusing suffering-a-LONG-time, and long suffering. Long suffering is an attitude of patience, not being easily provoked. I’m sure the early saints experienced both long suffering and suffering-for-a-long-time. But suffering is not a fruit of the spirit. It is the expression of oppression. Jesus Christ aims to elevate us from our suffering with his grace. He is also the recipient of our faith. We do not need faith in polygamy, any church program, or any person. We need to exercise our faith only in Jesus Christ.

The Hales quote Lucy Walker stating:

“I will say [that polygamy] is a grand school. You learn self control, self denial; it brings     out the nobler traits of our fallen natures, and teaches us to study and subdue self. … There is a grand opportunity to improve ourselves, and the lessons learned in a few years, are worth the experience of a lifetime.”

As a woman, I appreciate the use of a female voice from our LDS past.  But I wonder in what instances is polygamy used to teach men “self-control and self-denial”?  What exactly are they having to control about themselves?  What are they having to deny themselves?  How does polygamy require men to subdue themselves?
Sarah Pratt, first wife of apostle Orson Pratt stated:

“It [polygamy] completely demoralizes good men, and makes bad men correspondingly worse. As for the women—well, God help them! First wives it renders desperate, or else heart-broken, mean-spirited creatures; and it almost unsexes some of the other women, but not all of them, for plural wives have their sorrows too.”

I would contend that yes polygamy, by the very nature of the institution, requires women to exercise self-control, self-denial, and subdue themselves.  But I would also contend that the inherent inequality of the institution does not require the same self-sacrifice of the male participants.  In fact, I have yet to find a quote, by a male participant of polygamy, that states that he was in any way required to subdue himself or deny himself to effectively practice polygamy.

Martha Hughes Cannon, third wife of Angus Cannon, a Salt Lake area stake president wrote a letter to him stating:

“How do you think I feel when I meet you driving another plural wife about in a glittering carriage in broad day light? I am entirely out of money—borrowing to pay some old standing debts. I want our affairs speedily and absolutely adjusted—after all my sacrifice and loss you treat me like a dog—and parade others before my eyes—I will not stand it.”

Emmeline B. Wells penned this message on September 30, 1874 in her journal:

“O, if my husband could only love me even a little and not seem to be perfectly indifferent to any sensation of that kind.  He cannot know the craving of my nature; he is surrounded with love on every side, and I am cast out.… O my poor aching heart when shall it rest its burden only on the Lord.… Every other avenue seems closed against me.”

With a “glittering carriage” and being “surrounded by love on each side”, I find it hard to believe that these men were living lives full of self-denial, self-control, and subduing themselves. Polygamy gives men the sole position of power and authority.  There is no equal balance of power in the relationship.  It seems that the burden of submission was to be completely shouldered by the female participants in polygamy.  And again I wonder why a loving God would so unequally burden His sons and daughters.

The Hales assert:

“In the 6000 years of religious history, the only adherents to be commanded [to practice polygamy] were the Latter-day Saints between 1852 and 1890.”

pioneer polygamy

We can not decide if the Hales were purposefully disingenuous in making this statement.  In D&C 132:3, we are taught:

Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.

This scripture comes directly after D&C 132:1 which states:

I, the Lord justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines— of their having many wives and concubines—

The Lord states that it is the same as the principle and doctrine that Abraham, Jacob, Moses etc were given (restitution of all things, remember).  The Lord then goes on to state that all that know this law must obey it.  It seems that the Lord, Himself is asserting that plural marriage was not only commanded between 1852-1890.  Joseph Smith stated on many occasions that he was commanded to practice polygamy, and he had been dead for eight years by 1852.  Are the Hales questioning Joseph’s account of the angel commanding him to practice it?  Or are the Hales asserting that Joseph was not under commandment to practice plural marriage?  Section 132 implies that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon had likewise been commanded to practice polygamy, as they were also given the law.  This leads to a very real and justified worry about polygamy being commanded again, since according to D&C 132, it has been the expectation many times before.

Common Misconceptions

The Hales contend that speculation regarding polygamy is unfortunate but not accurate.  While Mormons are quite susceptible to urban legends and fantastical tales, a quick review of our past shows us that these speculations are rooted in foundational teachings by Brigham Young and early apostles. For example-

“We have clearly show that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity, by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His First Born, and another being upon the earth by whom He begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world. We have also proved most clearly that the Son followed the example of his Father, and became the great Bridegroom to whom Kings’ daughters and many honorable wives were to be married. We have also proved that both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time… And then it would be so shocking to the modesty of the very pious ladies of Christendom to see Abraham and his wives, Jacob and his wives, Jesus and his honorable wives, all eating occasionally at the same table, and visiting one another, and conversing about their numerous children and their kingdoms. Oh, ye delicate ladies of Christendom, how can you endure such a scene as this?… If you do not want your morals corrupted, and your delicate ears shocked, and your pious modesty put to the blush by the society of Polygamists and their wives, do not venture near the New Earth; for polygamists will be honored there, and will be among the chief rules in that Kingdom.”  -Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 172

 

Or maybe this quote,

“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire… Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a hold sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers.” Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862

Or this one,

“Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ It is the only popular religion there…” -Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862

We could go on, but you get the idea. The Hales seek to purport that a “polygamous heaven” is a hypothetical speculation.  The early prophets and apostles viewed it as neither speculative nor a hypothetical situation, and they taught it as an eternal law that would be practiced in heaven.

Math
Throughout their FAIR rebuttal, the Hales often dismissed our concerns or conclusions because of “speculation”.  But we found this section of Hales piece to be full of speculative holes.   The Hales state:

“Examining birthrates from the past 300 years and extrapolating those values back through previous millennia may not be justified. Three centuries of statistics comprises only a small fraction of human existence. Since the phenomenon arises from as yet unidentified reproductive physiological factors, assuming a constant trend throughout previous human history is not scientifically warranted.”

According to the Hales, polygamy was only a commandment from 1852-1890.  Yet, we have the available data that during that timeframe there were approximately 1.05 males born for every 1 female.  So during the timeframe that it was commanded, there was a notable lack of females for each male to be polygamously paired.

The Hales suggest that current data can not be extrapolated back through previous millennia and then seek to do just that as they use a 2009 Pew Forum and a 1958 book to suggest that women are more religious than their male counterparts by a ratio of at least 1.09 to 1.  We would like to remind that Hales that this data can not accurately extrapolate the religious practices of the previous millennia.  To use data that only goes back 57 years, to pedestalize women and claim that men are religiously inferior throughout 6,000 years of history is absurd, and should in no way be used as a justification for the polygamous practices of Mormons in the 19th century.

Plural Marriage in D&C 132

The Hales begin this section by listing justifications for Section 132. They begin by saying that “some men and women would need to practice plural marriage”. But D&C 132: 4 states:

“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.”

That doesn’t sound like an optional commandment for a “some” people.  It sounds like it is requisite to return to the Father.The Hales further state that the practice of plural marriage was used:

“(1) To provide a customized trial for the Saints of that time and place (see D&C 132:32, 51).”

I would first like to refer them to back to D&C 132:4. Then I would like to explore the scriptures they state as justification that polygamy was simply a “customized trial” for “some men and women”.
D&C 132:32 states

 “Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.”

There is nothing in this verse that suggests it is a temporary command or personal. In fact, it says we must do it to be saved.

D&C 132:51

“Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, 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.”

This part does sound personal, but it does not address that the entire practice was to be temporary or a customized trial.  Nor does it address the entirety of the practice of polygamy.  Both scriptures fail to present polygamy as a customized trial or state that it was for a specific time or place.  To draw those conclusions from those verses is a stretch at best.

The Hales explain that other previous religious practices were not restored in the “restitution of all things”, because:

“While the revelation does not disclose specifically why these other religious practices were not part of the “restitution of all things” prophesied in Act 3:21, we might note that none of the practices have eternal consequences. So far as we know, blood sacrifice, circumcision, and the Law of Moses rituals have no place in the celestial kingdom. However, the marriage relationship will continue in eternity.”

This statement is purely speculation on the part of the Hales.  The Jews were taught that those practices were requisite covenants to return to God.  Jesus said that he was establishing a higher law, as His atonement had fulfilled the lower law.  If the lower law was fulfilled in Christ, why would certain aspects of the lower law need to be brought back?  If we believe that Christ’s atonement fulfilled every jot and tittle (Matt 5:18) of the old law and that those practices and covenants are no longer required, why would one part of that law need to be practiced again?  Was it not also covered by Christ’s fulfilling of the law?

In the previous section, the Hales were speculating on why there would need to be polygamy.  But in this section, the Hales then double back stating, that to infer polygamy from D&C 132 is “fundamentalism”.  This is a fascinating statement by the Hales.  It discounts nearly 60 years of teachings by modern prophets and apostles.  In 1852, Brigham Young presented D&C 132 as the commandment, by God, to practice plural marriage.  It was further canonized in 1876, to solidify it as God’s law for His people. At a special conference August 28, 1852 Orson Pratt taught:

“There will be many who will not hearken, there will be the foolish among the wise who will not receive the new and everlasting covenant [plural marriage] in its fullness, and they never will attain to their exaltation, they never will be counted worthy to hold the sceptre of power over a numerous progeny, that shall multiply themselves without end, like the sand upon the seashore.”

Joseph F. Smith stated:

“A careful reading of the revelation on plural marriage should convince any honest man that it was never written by Brigham Young, as it contains references to Joseph Smith himself, and his family, which would be utterly nonsensical and useless if written by President Young. The fact is, we have the affidavit of Joseph C. Kingsbury, certifying that he copied the original manuscript of the revelation within three days after the date on which it was written.” [Improvement Era], vol. 5, October 1902, p. 988 (emphasis mine)

A huge problem with the Hales’ statement is that it is full of presentism.  If the church has decided to re-interpret the intent D&C 132, they can do that.  But to project that reinterpretation back on the original purpose and intent of the revelation is inaccurate.  To claim that section 132 does not justify the practice of polygamy, is to claim that the prophets from Joseph Smith to Heber J. Grant did not understand or properly administer D&C 132.  D&C 132 was presented as the commandment justifying polygamy.  To claim that there is no polygamy within its pages is to claim superior knowledge of the section and its intent than 7 modern-day prophets.

Hales argument also completely ignores verses 61-62 which state:

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.

These verses discuss marriage to multiple women as the law of the priesthood.  We can argue all day long about whether The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage was in fact plural marriage, though it must be understood that Joseph Smith-Heber J. Grant viewed it as such.  What we can not discount is that verses 61-62 say that the law of the priesthood is that a man can take multiple wives.  To claim that section 132 does not authorize plural marriage is to claim that these verses don’t really mean what they say.

Eternal Marriage and Plural Marriage

The Hales discuss D&C 132:16-17 without actually quoting the verses in their entirety, which is understandable.  They are some of the more difficult verses to stomach.  They read:

16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

The Hales explain that we don’t know what the unmarried “ministering servants” duties will be, as if this is some kind of consolation to those that will leave this life unwed.  Whether they are baking celestial brownies or singing beautiful hymns, the Hales admit they are in a state of “damnation or the inability to progress”.  Hales doesn’t address this issue as there seems to be no great way to say that if no one happens to marry you in this life or you are unable to marry for reasons outside of your control, you have just drawn a short stick for eternity.

domestic servant

Sorry you didn’t get married on earth. Can you come rub my shoulders, when you are done with those?

 

Hales explains that 132 provides an option just in case there are more worthy women than worthy men in the final judgment.  But why is there no provision for the opposite occurrence?  I don’t love my sons less than my daughter, nor are they inherently less spiritual or righteous than my daughter.  Why did a loving God not provide a provision for the occurrence of a majority of righteous men?    Hales has been clear that speculation on ratios of men v. women in the celestial kingdom is fruitless, but why would God only make a provision that accounts for a way to help more women enter the Celestial Kingdom and not more men?

D&C 132:26—Unconditional Exaltation?

Hales says that my interpretation of D&C 132:26 (“I find it most interesting that God said that the only thing that would prevent a covenant married man from entering heaven would be murder”) is extreme.  Here is the verse to study for yourself.  What is your interpretation?  I think the verse is pretty clear.

26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

The Hales are correct.  This is an extreme view to think that once you are married, you can commit any sin short of murder, and you will eventually be exalted.  And yet, the Hales offer no other interpretation of this verse.  They simply say that it is extreme.  This is why there are huge issues with D&C 132.

D&C 132:61–63—“If any Man Espouse a Virgin”

We have to ask the Hales if they pulled a groin muscle, because they were doing some crazy contortions trying to explain how Brigham Young and Joseph Smith followed these verses.

contortion

D&C 132:61-63 reads:

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; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

Hales asserts that these verses don’t say they “only” have to be virgins.  With that logic it seems many things can be permissible that are currently forbidden.   D&C 89:5 says:

That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

According to the Hales’ logic this verse does not specifically say white wine, nor does it say ALL strong drink, and it surely doesn’t say champagne.  So we can not assume that these are forbidden by this scripture.  It didn’t specifically say these things, so we wouldn’t want to “liberally interpret” them would we?  You can see how using this form of interpretation would wreak havoc on our collective understanding of scriptures and makes no sense.

The Hales insist that the word “wife” is used much more than the word “virgin” in section 132, therefore we should assume that in this case the Lord, really only meant wife, not really virgin.  This logic would force us to rethink many of our current beliefs.  1 Nephi 11:13 states:

“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.”

According to the Hales’ logic, this verse is simply calling Mary a wife.  That’s all.  She was just a wife, not technically a virgin, but just Joseph’s betrothed.  This logic flies in the face of all of Christendom.  If the Hales’ want “virgin” to mean “wife” that leads to significant ramifications for our Christmas story and belief about Jesus’s birth.

Mary and Jesus

These verses in D&C 132 specify that if a man wants to marry a virgin, he does not commit adultery.  It does not mention any other marriage arrangement.  To try and infer another marriage arrangement, when there is no other arrangement specified is looking beyond the mark.  Hales further asserts that D&C 22:1 teaches us that the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (which Hales earlier stated isn’t polygamy, you are a crazy fundamentalist if you think it’s polygamy) loosens vows to previous spouses.  Well let’s read the verse together:

“Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.”

That does cause one to stop and ponder, until you read the verse in context.  You see, Brian and Laura did something here called proof-texting.  That is where you take a totally unrelated verse of scripture and you use it, out of context, to justify your argument.  When we look at this verse in context, we see that the Lord is discussing baptism.  And how he only accepts baptism done by His authority.  It is in no way related to section 132, nor did early members of the church view D&C 22:1 in this manner.

There is no mention in D&C 132 that a sealing covenant loosens a legal or lawful marriage.  This is never discussed in section 132 and proof texting scriptures from unrelated sections of D&C doesn’t suddenly give a sealing that power.  In current church practice, we neither teach this nor promote this teaching.  D&C specifies that the marriages are to be to virgins, that are promised to no one else.  There is no other type of marriage mentioned.  To infer that there is, is inferring things that are not found in the actual text.

In their argument, the Hales want to have their cake and eat it too.  Just a few paragraphs earlier, the Hales explained that the New and Everlasting Covenant was not marriage and certainly not plural marriage.  In this section they tried to explain that not only is it marriage, but it is a special type of marriage that dissolves previous marriage contracts, which is stated nowhere in section 132.  Why are the Hales furiously trying to explain that a sealing cancels a lawful marriage?  Because the history of polygamy is fraught with confusing stories that don’t align with D&C 132.

For example Zina Huntington was married to Henry Jacobs on March 7, 1841.  When she was seven months pregnant with Henry’s child (not a virgin), she was married to Joseph Smith.  This marriage happened on October 27th, 1841.  The Hales’ assumption is that the marriage to Joseph did away with Zina’s marriage to Henry.  BUT Zina continued to live with Henry and even bore him another son.  Either Zina was living in sin with Henry or her marriage to Joseph had not voided her marriage to Henry.  The plot thickens further.  After Joseph’s death, Brigham claimed Zina as his wife, and was sealed to her for time on February 2, 1846.  This is also the date that Zina was sealed to Joseph for eternity.  So was the earlier marriage just a marriage or was it a sealing?  After her sealing to Joseph Smith and her sealing for time to Brigham, she left Nauvoo with HENRY. Zina had lived with Henry for nearly two years after Joseph’s death, and there was no formal sealing or divorce from Henry, when she began to live with Brigham.  Someone please explain to me how this relationship works with section 132.

 

D&C 132:64

I find the quote from Emma Smith that Brian and Laura used in this section fascinating:

“I desire with all my heart to honor and respect my husband as my head, ever to live in his confidence and by acting in unison with him retain the place which God has given me by his side, and I ask my Heavenly Father, that through humility, I may be enabled to overcome that curse which was pronounced on the daughters of Eve. I desire to see that I may rejoice with them in the blessings which God has in store for all who are willing to be obedient to his requirements.”

Article of Faith #2 states:

“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.”

Eve

Are all women cursed for Eve’s transgression?  Why are men not cursed for Adam’s transgression, but women are cursed for Eve’s transgression?  What curse is it that I have to overcome that was pronounced upon Eve?  Why am I punished for a choice I didn’t make?  This quote, alone, opens a huge can of worms and issues.  Thank you for bringing it to our attention Laura and Brian.

The Zenith Teaching of the Gospel

Brian and Laura claim that though both eternal marriage and plural marriage are mentioned in section 132 (but again, if you see plural marriage in section 132 you are a “fundamentalist”), they are separate doctrines.  They illustrate their point with this quote from Joseph F. Smith in 1879:

“This doctrine of eternal union of husband and wife, and of plural marriage, is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man in any age of the world. “

Did you catch that?  Smith said “doctrine…is”.  The word “is” is used with a singular subject.  If the subject was plural, the proper predicate would be the word “are”.  Smith is referring to eternal unions and plural marriage as a singular doctrine.  The Hales spent quite a few paragraphs trying to separate the two, but it seems that Joseph F. Smith viewed them as one and the same.  So as much as the Hales would have us believe that they are separate.  They are simply viewing the text with their 21st century lenses.  Those practicing “the principle” viewed them as one and the same.  To claim they never were, is again using presentism.

Plurality in Eternity

The Hales call fear of polygamy in the eternities “unfounded”.  We have addressed this previously, but just to refresh your mind:

“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire… Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a whole sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers.”- Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862

So maybe not as “unfounded” as the Hales would have you believe.

The Hales are quick to assert that we just really don’t know what we will want in eternity, because we are telestial beings that can’t understand the eternities.  I am sure that there are things we don’t understand now, but Alma 34:34 states:

Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

Alma specifically says that the same spirit we have now will possess us in the eternal world.  If I am the same person, I will love my spouse with the same deep regard and fidelity.  With a perfected Celestial body, I can only imagine how more deeply united we will be; how we can truly become one.  We are taught that God loves us more deeply than we can even fathom.  I can only imagine how deeply he cares for Heavenly Mother.  With such enhanced love, I can only imagine the deep wrenching that I would feel to have to share my spouse with another.  It would hurt beyond all description in this life.  The pain would be unbearable in the next.

In this fallen, mortal world. I find myself equally yoked with my spouse.  We compliment each other beautifully.  We are completely devoted to each other.  Our strengths and weaknesses are nearly perfectly balanced out by each other.  We have grown together into  a solid, unified team.  He is my perfect partner, and I am his perfect partner.  Eternity would be empty without my spouse at my side, and the perfect equality of our team would become imbalanced with an additional member.  I am my husband’s equal.  He does not need 2+ women to create balance.  God got it right the first time with Adam and Eve. The symmetry of monogamy truly is Celestial.

We have spent nearly ten pages counterpointing the FAIR apologist argument. The Hales have strained at a gnat (Mormonverse) and swallowed a camel (polygamy and D&C 132). In other words, it is not my blog that needs more critical analysis, it is D&C 132. But what we really need on this subject is further revelation. We need revelation on the subject to clarify the very hurtful implications that we can make from section 132. The doctrine is unclear and in many places it is disturbing. What we need, is a revelation from God.  Will there be polygamous relationships in the next life? Will there be compulsory plural marriage in this life or the next? If God is the author of this revelation, can’t he help us understand the doctrine? If at anytime during the restoration there was a need for revelation, it is now, when confusion and theological debate abound.  We claim the gift of a living mouthpiece for God, an oracle for His teachings and truth. We’re asking President Thomas S. Monson and the Quorum of the Twelve to please pray about D&C 132.  We need revelation!  The Hales and Van Allens could go round and round discussing what the word “virgin” means but all of it is moot, without clarification from God.

 

D&C 132: A revelation of men, not God

solomons-wives-and-idolatry 

What I’m about to say to you may seem shocking, but please read through it completely to understand where I am coming from.  I have come to the belief that D&C 132 and Joseph’s teaching of polygamy isn’t, wasn’t, and never will be revelation of God, that polygamy is not of God but rather an idea of men. I believe that it is self-evident that a loving God would not be the author of such confusion, obvious inequality, and emotionally/psychological damage.  I believe firmly that if there ever was a practice and verse of scripture that has failed the test of fruits of the spirit, D&C 132 and polygamy would be a sure bet.

Galatians 5 reads:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Yet, apparently in Mormondom there is a law that does not mesh with the fruits of the spirit. That law is plural marriage. It is a subject that causes many peoples’ stomachs to wrench with disgust. It is a topic that is avoided and often disregarded as something that only God understands, yet plural marriage has and continues to affect the lives of every Latter-day Saint. You don’t believe me?

In my own life my parents had taught me that polygamy was the marriage system of heaven. My mother would say, “How else would Heavenly Mother be able to give birth to billions of spirit children, unless she did not have fellow women to help her?” People in my very Mormon community would say things like, “When they bring back polygamy…..” or “If the prophet asked you to practice polygamy, would you do it?”, as if it would be the ultimate faith and devotion to God. My wife has even more disturbing experiences.  She was taught that the more righteous the man, the more wives he would have in the life to come.  This created a harsh dichotomy in her mind.  She wanted to marry a righteous man and yet didn’t want to share her husband in polygamous heaven.  She was told that it was a principle designed to teach women humility and to overcome jealousy.  (Because no man would ever be jealous or upset over having to share his spouse.)  I’m sure Mormon readers, especially women, have stories of your own. The doctrine of plural marriage continues to deeply affecting much of the church culture to this day. From the way we treat women, to the way church business is conducted, to temple practices, plural marriage still colors the filter we look through. If you do not believe me, you need to follow this link to learn more.

The reason I have decided to write this post is to stand up for the women hurting from this painful teaching. I’m doing it for my posterity, so they will know where I stood on the issue. And I’m doing it for every polygamous wife that has ever felt the agony of watching their spouse kiss and love another woman.  I’m doing this for every faithful woman that wrestles with the tortuous thought of a polygamous “heaven”. I’m doing this in an effort to help people realize, that with honest study and prayer, you can come to see that polygamy should be thrown into the dust bin of mistakes, never to be resurrected again, and that those rejecting polygamy still remain faithful to God. Let me show you why I believe what I believe-

MONOGAMY

From personal experience, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been of the opinion that a primary purpose of polygamy was to bring forth more children. God requires polygamy to raise up a righteous generation, yet God has shown in scriptures that monogamous couples are preferred for the of start civilizations, dispensations, and righteous generations.

Adam and Eve, the first people.

Genesis 2

 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Noah and his wife, our first parents after the flood that destroyed mankind.

Genesis 7

There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah…

13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;

Lehi and Sariah, the first parents of the ancient Americas

1 Nephi 1

5…and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.

In each case Adam, Noah, and Lehi all had one wife at a time. When there was dire need to repopulate the Earth with a righteous population, these men found that a loving equal was all that they needed to brave a new world. The scriptures continue to support monogamy in D&C 42:22, 1 Timothy 3:2,12, D&C 49:16, Jacob 2 and 3, Ephesians 5:31 and the list goes on. There are many scriptures that support the overarching idea that a man should cleave unto one woman and none else.

Science, itself, has shown that those in polygamous relationships have less children than monogamous couples would.  For example: if a man had three wives, and each of his wives had three children, there would be 9 children born.  Statistically, three men married to those same women would have an average of 12 children instead of only nine.  If God was looking for quick repopulation, polygamy is not a good way to go about it.

It is self-evident that monogamy is the only type of relationship where total fidelity, trust, and equality can be accomplished. This is something a polygamous relationship cannot provide. In polygamy, marital relationships are perverted beyond something recognizable to any modern Mormon. The Proclamation to the Family, heralded as the blueprint to a successful, godly society states,

All human beings-male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny…Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another…We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.

Let’s take Brigham Young for example, He was said to have approximately 55 wives. A loving husband and father would surely spend an equal amount of time loving and caring for each wife and her children. Unfortunately, for Brigham Young’s wives that would mean that Brigham would help change diapers and play catch, less than one week a year. Many of his wives lived together in dorm-like settings. This would mean they may have seen the president of the church more often than one week a year, but the quality time a monogamous relationship is more likely to achieve, was not possible. These incredibly strong women were forced to be basically single parents, loyal to absentee husbands, in a place they  called Zion. Many of them relied on each other to help raise their children so adequately  supplied to them.  Happiness and love was an afterthought. Zina Huntington, one of Brigham’s and Joseph Smith’s wives depressingly stated:

“It is the duty of the first wife to regard her husband not with a selfish devotion… she must regard her husband with indifference, and with no other feeling than that of reverence, for love we regard as a false sentiment; a feeling which should have no existence in polygamy… we believe in the good old custom by which marriages should be arranged by the parents of the young people.”  -New York World, November 17, 1869, as cited in The Lion of the Lord, pp. 229-230

Brigham Young seemed to ignore the lack of love and care with these words:

My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife;’ ‘No, not a happy day for a year,’ says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years. It is said that women are tied down and abused: that they are misused and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wading through a perfect flood of tears, …And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me. I will set all at liberty. ‘What, first wife too?’ Yes, I will liberate you all.”I know what my women will say; they will say, ‘You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.’ But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners; I do not want them to receive a part of the truth and spurn the rest out of doors.”-Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, 1856, pp. 55-57

This comment was an ultimatum given to the women of Utah with a choice that they shape up, or leave and face damnation. Of course, many women did not leave with the threat of eternal damnation over their head. Nevertheless, there was something disturbing to these women that caused grumblings and commotion in the church. It wasn’t just the wives of Brigham Young that suffered. I feel disheartened for the wives of Heber C. Kimball, who struggled for his financial and loving support, when he said:

“I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business… I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece.”-Deseret News, April 22, 1857

Apostle George Q. Cannon further contradicts the proclamation to the family with this statement,

“It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest-lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome, with her arts, sciences and warlike instincts, was once the mistress of the world; but her glory faded. She was a mono-gamic nation, and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”-Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 202

I’m confused, and who wouldn’t be? I understand why the above statements were made. The presidents and apostles defended something that they thought was of God. They were trying desperately to make something work that could not be fixed, they needed it dressed and painted to look presentable to the world. They convinced themselves that polygamy had a purpose and was sensible, yet failed to see that it was a puzzle piece that did not fit in the Kingdom of God.

THE MATH

Let’s discuss the arithmetic of polygamy. Whoever invented polygamy didn’t think the numbers through very well. Polygamy as a long term, multi-generational, possibility, requires an obvious greater number of women. A wise God, knowing polygamy as heavenly form of marriage, did not populate the Earth accordingly. In fact, if anything God did the very opposite of what polygamy requires. It is estimated that for every 100 females born in the world there are 107 males born.  There is already a shortage of girls in the world and polygamy compounds the problem. D&C 131 makes the case for man’s eternal happiness and exaltation even more dire in the face of the doctrine of plural marriage.

D&C 131

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

Most Latter-day Saints consider marriage a blessing, an essential step in progression toward perfection, and most importantly a covenant with God to enter his presence. Let me emphasize that it is a REQUIREMENT. Unfortunately, not only will 7 men be left out of marriage possibilities per 50 couples, which is troubling, but polygamy makes marriage an even more daunting endeavor. If every “righteous” man was to take an extra wife, that would reduce marriage possibilities by half. Now instead of 7 men left as bachelors, we have a staggering 57 men unable to find a spouse. That would be 57 men unable to enter the kingdom of God, even if they desperately desired to do so.

If polygamy is the choice form of marriage than there will be some obvious demographic problems with heaven. If every man had three wives, that would mean heaven would be composed of 25% men and 75% women. That seems like some drastic gender inequality. On the one hand, women are forced to share a man because of the sheer lack of them, and on the other hand, it is just as appalling to realize that a loving God would save so many more woman than men. What is it about a man’s gender that predisposes so many less of them to be saved?

If we take it a step further and follow the example of Brigham Young, then heaven looks like a miserably anemic place for men. Brigham Young married 55 women, which if allowed as a possibility in heaven, would mean that 98% of the heavenly populace would be women and only a 2% minority of men. That surely doesn’t sound like heaven for women. Finding an exalted man would be as hard as finding a natural redhead in Spain, you just might want to bring your camera, when you die, to photograph that rare species.  If, on the other hand, the demographics of heaven were more aligned with mortal demographics, instead of multiply wives, it would seem that women would need to take multiple husbands.  It feels just a little more painful when the tables are turned, doesn’t it?

D&C 132, STRANGER THAN FICTION

That being said, let’s dive into D&C 132, the scripture that was said to be revelation concerning the plurality of wives. This is the same revelation that justified the practice from Joseph Smith to President Joseph F. Smith. It is the principle that led indirectly to Joseph Smith’s arrest and death, when he ordered the burning of the Nauvoo Expositor, which published his secret practice of plural marriage. It is this revelation that has continued the justification of polygamy among Mormon splinter groups, to this day. It is this revelation that has spread ideas of eternal plural marriage in the next life and the possible return of the principle in this life.  But what does this chapter actually say?  So, in proper LDS fashion, please pull out your scriptures and turn to D&C 132

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—

ABRAHAM

Abraham is first mentioned as a practitioner of polygamy, which is no secret. It is common knowledge that the practice of multiple wives was not only acceptable in nomadic cultures, but was also a means of status, and a culturally acceptable way to build a tribe. We should not confuse the cultural acceptability of a practice as a sign of God’s tacit approval.  The Lord, in the Old Testament, makes no mention of giving any wife to Abraham.  It is presented as an idea of Sarah.  As she was unable to produce any children for Abraham, she decided that the culturally acceptable practice of polygamy might be a good solution.  It could even be said that a lack of faith, by Sarah and Abraham led to that tumultuous polygamous relationship. The Lord had promised Abraham offspring, yet Sarah could not bear any children. We know, from the story, that Sarah did actually bear a child, Isaac. But instead of waiting for the Lord to deliver on his promise, she told Abraham, “I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children.” There was no God involved. In fact, this relationship between Hagar and Sarah would breed discontent and jealousy and eventually lead to the expulsion of a child and woman into the desert, away from their family. Does that seem like a gift from God?

ISAAC

Isaac did not have multiple wives, He was married to Rebekah.

JACOB

Jacob also practiced polygamy, but once again there is no mention of a command from the Lord. He was tricked into marrying Leah, and Jacob realized that Laban, her father, was the mastermind of the deceit. Jacob was so intent on marrying Rachel that he continued working for Laban, in order to finally marry the woman of his dreams. Zilpah and Bilhah  were handmaidens of Jacob’s other two wives, none of which were God commanded relationships.  In fact, the scriptures are pretty clear that Zilpah and Bilhah were used by Leah and Rachel in a twisted game of one-upping each other.

MOSES

Moses is just pure speculation, Moses married Zipporah and she is not referenced very much afterward. Moses later marries an Ethiopian woman. There is no reference of plural wives or having two wives at one time.

DAVID AND SOLOMON

It is no secret that David and Solomon had many wives, if you could call them that. Many were concubines, lesser-wives, or as Webster’s 1828 dictionary refers to them “an inferior kind”.  Let’s be honest, when there are hundreds of wives to one man, they are not wives in the modern sense, they are property. And I can confidently proclaim that there are no concubines, or “property wives” in the eyes of a loving God. There are only women. Their inherent value does not change by their title or by the way they are treated. Jacob, of the Book of Mormon, makes it clear that David and Solomon were not acting under the direction of God. Jacob 2 states:

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

THE DOCTRINE AND PRINICPLE

It is important to realize that in verse 1, the revelation states that it is a doctrine and a principle to have plural wives. Many people reason away D&C 132 because they believe that polygamy was a practice and separate from a doctrine. Verse 1 says otherwise. Let’s go on-

Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.

The Lord is saying that if you KNOW the law, you MUST OBEY the law. This should mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not following the command of the Lord. or are we?…Monogamy is commanded by the Lord in every other scripture. Is God bipolar? I thought our God was the same today, yesterday, and forever.

For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

Again the Lord is saying you must practice the new and everlasting covenant or you can’t enter his presence. Reiterating the importance of the covenant. This, once again, makes it very difficult for men to enter the kingdom of God if all the women are already married.

Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

What has caused more confusion in the church than polygamy? What has called into question the character of Joseph Smith more than his secret practice of taking plural wives? Why have we ignored this topic for so long and concealed the fact that Joseph was a polygamist? It may be because it’s confusing and not from the Lord.

15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.

16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

Did you catch that, The God of D&C 132 is saying that Mormon marriages will pave the way for us to become gods, while all of our single members will become our servants. This God puts so much weight on becoming married in the new and everlasting covenant, that any other unions will be dissolved. Those loving and righteous people will live as single angels, doing our bidding for eternity. This sounds great for my wife and me, but I can’t help feeling concerned for my non-temple married friends and the single adults in the ward. D&C 132 even lays it out clearly,  marriages do not happen in the here-after. Which means that God is a respecter of persons. This God seems more interested in saving and exalting married temple goers, than Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and other people, who have done far-more good than I ever will, but were never married in the new and everlasting covenant.  It means that God is a respecter of a woman’s ability to get married more than her innate worth as a person.  This verse seems to place the entire value of a person on their ability to snag a spouse.  Does that sound like the God you worship?

19 … if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant…Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection… and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions…and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

I find it most interesting that God said that the only thing that would prevent a covenant married man from entering heaven would be murder.  What about abuse, extortion, adultery, torture, child abandonment, or racist hatred?  Wouldn’t those prevent others from possibly entering the kingdom of God. I am definitely not the judge of anyone’s salvation, but it seems clear to me that a loving God would not make such a claim, that anything short of murder is permissible, as long as you enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. So is God a respecter of married persons?  As long as you have made the right covenants, you can do whatever you want and “God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:7-8)  Does that sound reasonable?

36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

This would be a fair comparison if Isaac was really offered as a sacrifice, but in the most widely used story of the Abrahamic/Isaac sacrifice, Abraham did not actually kill Isaac. In other words, polygamy was not really a test, more like an ultimatum. The early saints actually followed through with the “test” of polygamy and practiced it for nearly 80 years. There was no killing of Isaac involved.  Neither should forced polygamy have been involved.

37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness…

38 David also received many wives and concubines, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.

39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me…

40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.

Do women have a choice? “received” and “giving”?  Are women given as prizes to the most obedient males? Granted, I believe God works with our cultural practices, but  polygamy was no longer considered a cultural norm at the time of Joseph Smith.  If anything was a revelation from God it was the suffrage movement of the 20th century that turned women from property into people. If there is anything that is evidence of a restoration, it is the final realization of women’s rights. A truer restoration is that of a women’s God given equality and independent mind and personhood, which existed long before Abraham and King David. We needed a restoration of the importance of women.

It seems curious that very little from Old Testament times was “restored” in this “restoration of all things”. Why wasn’t blood sacrifice restored? Why wasn’t the old dietary laws of no pork or shellfish restored? Why weren’t Levite males the sole possessors of the priesthood like in the times of old?  Luckily, Joseph wasn’t commanded to circumcise himself, like they were of old.   None of that was restored, yet the primitive practice of polygamy made a triumphant return.

54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.

What happened to the agency for Emma? The Lord respects the agency of mankind SO much that humans are allowed to commit murders, run prostitution rings, embezzle millions of dollars, torture, and molest, without instant judgment reigned down upon their heads.  The Lord, in His mercy, seems to allow them time to change and repent.  Yet Emma Smith must practice polygamy or the Lord will DESTROY her? This sounds much different from the Lord of D&C 3 who stated to Joseph,

10 But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;

11 Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.

The Lord is merciful and He tells Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration, the man that the translation of the Book of Mormon hinges upon, the one who communed with the Father, that if he does not repent and translate…he’ll become ordinary. Yep,  ordinary.  Most likely cut off from the Spirit. The same way that all of us are when we sin.  It seems that God is much more willing to be merciful to Joseph than he is to Emma.  Joseph’s transgressions will lead to being ordinary;  Emma, on the other hand will be destroyed.  Does God love Joseph more than he loves Emma?  He seems to be willing to give Joseph multiple opportunities for learning and growth;  Emma not so much. It is interesting to note that Mormon splinter groups, that continue to practice polygamy, use this scripture to scare women into continuing to practice polygamy.  These women are taught that they too will be destroyed if they don’t practice polygamy.  Let’s continue with D&C 132

61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

This is one of the most damming of verses for the earlier practitioners  of  plural marriage.  Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others, by definition, committed adultery. Both  presidents of the church married women who were already married and several women who were not virgins. Joseph Smith even lied, or as the church officially stated, he used “carefully worded denials”  about the fact that he had many wives to the public and to Emma Smith. This does not help the case for the revelation or the obedience of church leaders to the commandments of God.

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63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

In this verse we learn that if a women commits adultery she will be destroyed. No such warning exists in this chapter for men committing adultery.  Yet, if we apply this scripture to men, then the earlier leaders of the church should have had reason to fear for the destruction mentioned in the above scriptures.  But previously we learned that as long as a person married in the new and everlasting covenant doesn’t murder someone they will be exalted.  So….definitely don’t kill someone, but maybe adultery is okay?  I’m not sure.  I’m really confused now.  Also, why is this God so obsessed with virgins?  We should also reject the idea that women are “given” to men to multiply and replenish the Earth. Is this a commandment to multiply and replenish?  Yes!  But D&C 132 completely ignores any other womanly attributes. Women are not just wombs, but equal partners that I would hope a loving God would recognize for more than just their virginity or wombs.  Tithing is also a commandment, we don’t teach men that all they can hope to be is a tithe payer.  We don’t have lesson after lesson on the value of men being their ability to pay tithing to God.  I, likewise, don’t believe that God views women primarily in their virginity and ability or lack of ability to bear children.

  66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.

I don’t profess to be a scholar or a scriptorian. But, what eventually was revealed was the abandonment of the practice under pressure from The United States. I will not judge the character of Joseph Smith or his contemporaries,  that is job only for God. What I sought to do here was show that we should look at our scripture and the words of the leaders of the church with honesty. And when I look honestly at D&C 132 and the fruits of such words, I do not see God, but the works of men. How about you?