(Continued from page 379)Polygamy (cont.)
In the introduction to volume 5 of Joseph Smith's History of the Church, Mormon historian B. H. Roberts reveals that [regarding Section 132 of D&C]:
'the date in the heading of the Revelation [July 12, 1843]... notes the time at which the revelation was committed to writing, not the time at which the principles set forth in the revelation were first made known to the Prophet.'
Although the revelation only specifically mentions that a man can have 'ten' wives, the favourable reference to the wives of king Solomon, who was a polygamist in the Bible and had numerous wives, leads to the conclusion that a man can have even more than ten wives and Smith certainly did not limit himself to ten wives. The facts bear this out and we find that Assistant Church Historian Andrew Jenson (in 1887) also made a list of 27 women who were sealed to Joseph Smith. (Historical Record, Vol. 6, p. 233), but recent research demonstrates this to be a conservative estimate. Mormon author John J. Stewart disclosed: '...he married Louisa Beaman at Nauvoo... many other women, perhaps three to four dozen or more...' (Brigham Young and his Wives, 1961, p. 30-31). At the age of 37, Smith married 14 year old, Helen Kimball and also married several women who were married to other men: '...Nancy Marinda Johnson married Joseph Smith while her husband, Orson Hyde, was on a mission to Jerusalem.' (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, George D. Smith, Spring 1994, pp. 10-11).
Stewart also noted that Joseph Smith also had '150 dead women……sealed to him; also a few women sealed to him after his death' (Brigham Young and his Wives,p.96). In the Preface to the Second Edition of her book No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie revealed that over 200 women, apparently at their own request, were sealed as wives to Joseph Smith after his death in special temple ceremonies. Moreover, a great many distinguished women in history, including several Catholic saints, were also sealed to Joseph Smith in Utah. Smith also ignored Old Testament teaching and 'married five pairs of sisters,' a mother and daughter (No Man Knows My History, p. 336; Intimate Disciple, by LDS writer Clair Noall, p. 317).
It is clear that Smith had a problem that could not be solved during his lifetime, and certainly not afterwards as his delusion caught hold and he seemed to believe that he could continue his adulterous ways in an afterlife just as he had on earth. Successive prophets followed his lead and Brigham Young had about 50 wives and 50 children and vehemently supported the doctrine in the form the 'revelation' took, as we can see by examining his writings. Wilford Woodruff, the 4th president of the church, was sealed to about 400 dead women. According to the journal of the Mormon Apostle Abraham H. Cannon, a man could have up to 999 wives sealed to him for eternity ('Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon,' April 5, 1894, Vol. 18, pp. 66-67; original located at the Brigham Young University Library).
After 1852, when the Mormon Church was openly practicing polygamy, the leaders of the church were clearly declaring that it was absolutely essential for exaltation. Joseph F. Smith, who served as the 6th president of the church, made this clear declaration concerning the importance of polygamy:
'Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my protest against this idea, for I know it is false... Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,... he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected.... I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that.' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 20, pp. 28-31).
Brigham Young made this uncompromising statement on August 19, 1866:
'The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269)
When the "Gentiles" stated that polygamy was one of the "relics of barbarism," [Brigham Young replied]: "Yes, one of the relics of Adam, of Enoch, of Noah, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Moses, David, Solomon, the Prophets, of Jesus, and his Apostles" (Vol. 11, p.328).
In a desperate attempt to shore up this 'revelation' the Mormons declared that Jesus, after growing to adulthood, became a polygamist so he could attain Godhood and was married to at least three wives. Orson Hyde, one of the original Apostles of the LDS Church, cited John's Gospel Chapter 2:
'Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, and he told them what to do. Now there was actually a marriage; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. We say it was Christ who Was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed. before he was crucified...I shall say here, that before the Savior died, he looked upon his own natural children, as we look upon ours' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 82 p. 92; see 1853, 1963a).
Orson Hyde also stated that he had taught:
'In my lecture on marriage, at our last conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha and others were his wives, and that he begot children.' (JofD, Vol. 2, p.210)
This false teaching was repeated in other places:
'Jesus got married at Cana and had many wives Martha , Mary and others - he also had many children' (JofD, Vol. 1 p.345-346, Vol. 2 p.79-82, Vol.4 p.259-260).
Orson Pratt declared:
... it will be seen that the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a polygamist, ... the Messiah chose to ... by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of wives under the Christian dispensation....We have now clearly shown 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; ... 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, ... 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 rulers in that Kingdom (The Seer, p.172).
In the 143rd General Conference, Apostle LeGrand Richards recounted an incident which had occurred earlier in his career. After speaking to a group of ministers from other churches, one of them raised a question: 'He said, `We have heard it said that you believe that God has a wife. Would you explain that to us?' I think he thought he had me in trouble, and so rather facetiously I said, `I don't see how in the world he could have a son without a wife, do you?'' (Ensign, July 1973, p. 79). This kind of puerile response sets the standard for Mormon 'apologetics.'
The early Mormon 'apostle', Orson Pratt, figured predominantly in heretical statements:
'Therefore, a Father... could increase his kingdoms with his own children, in a hundred fold ratio above that of another who had only secured to himself one wife. As yet, we have only spoken of the hundred fold ratio as applied to his own children; but now let us endeavor to form some faint idea of the multiplied increase of worlds peopled by his grandchildren, over which he, of course, would hold authority and dominion as the Grand Patriarch of the endless generations of his posterity' …… Using multiplication to justify their false doctrine of heavenly adultery Pratt continues 'While their Father, therefore, was peopling the second world, these millions of redeemed sons would people one million of worlds.... the number in the third generation amounts to one billion three million and three worlds. The fourth generation would people over a trillion, and the fifth over a quadrillion of worlds; while the one-hundredth generation would people more worlds than could be expressed by raising one million to the ninety-ninth power. (The Seer, March 1853, p. 39)
In response we simply quote the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, who made it clear to the Sadducee's that they were mistaken in their understanding, for after the resurrection there is no giving in marriage but we become like the angels of God who have no offspring (Matthew 22:23-32):
23The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27And last of all the woman died also. 28Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
That the clear teachings of the Bible are ignored and led to a confused state of marriage in the early Mormon Church is illustrated by this account by Mrs T.B.H. Stenhouse, who told of a woman who wanted to be sealed to Jesus Christ:
One of the wives of Brigham Young--Mrs. Augusta Cobb Young ... requested of her Prophet husband a favor of a most extraordinary description. She had forsaken her lawful husband and family ... to join the Saints, ... when the lady of whom I speak asked him to place her at the head of his household, he refused: ... finding that she could not be Brigham's "queen," and having been taught by the highest Mormon authorities that our Savior had, and has, many wives, she requested to be "sealed" to him! Brigham Young told her (for what reason I do not know) that it really was out of his power to do that, but that he would do "the next best thing" for her--he would "seal" her to Joseph Smith. So she was sealed to Joseph Smith, ... in the resurrection she will leave him [Young] and go over to the original Prophet (Tell It All, p.255).
The 1879 'Reynolds decision' was a turning point in polygamy. George Reynolds, a Mormon living in the Utah Territory under federal laws, was charged with violation of a federal law forbidding multiple marriage in all federal territories and argued that the 1st Amendment states clearly that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. He was convicted, sentenced, and lost his appeal, and the Court thereafter turned to the 'Reynolds decision' time after time as it considered many questions about free exercise of religion. The decision is notable for distinguishing between the freedom of conscience, which is protected under the Constitution, and freedom of religious action, which is not. This led to more Mormon church members being taken to court for practicing polygamy. Their defence that the law of God was higher than the law of the land and deserved prior obedience is perfectly true for genuine Christian beliefs, rather than Old Testament errors, and they would be admired for their fortitude if they were truly upholding a law of God instead of helping promulgate an unholy practice which God has never ordained.
The Wilford Woodruff Manifesto officially ending polygamy as Church practice was not 'issued until 1890, and excommunication for practicing plural marriage did not come until 1904.' (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1966, p.128). But the Mormons continued to openly preach polygamy until the year 1890. During this period the Presidency of the Mormon Church made it clear that polygamy was everything Smith had claimed in his 'revelation', e.g. Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to Brigham Young, emphasized:
'the principle of plurality of wives never will be done away ...' (Deseret News, Nov. 7, 1855)
'Some quietly listen to those who speak... against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have half-a-dozen devils with them all the time. You might as well deny 'Mormonism,' and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose the doctrine, and the whole of them will be damned.' (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203)
Apostle Orson Pratt spoke in similar vein:
'Both God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as time……' 'Now if you deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned .' (The Seer, p,172)
Again, Apostle Pratt strongly affirmed that it was absolutely essential that polygamy was not be given up by the church:
'God has told us Latter-day Saints that we shall be condemned if we do not enter into that principle; and yet I have heard now and then... a brother or sister say, 'I am a Latter-day Saint, but I do not believe in polygamy.' Oh, what an absurd expression! What an absurd idea! A person might as well say, 'I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in him.' One is just as consistent as the other....' If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet; I would renounce the whole of them, because it is utterly impossible,... to believe a part of them to be divine--from God--and a part of them to be from the devil;... The Lord has said that those who reject this principle reject their salvation, they shall be damned, saith the Lord;...Now I want to prophecy a little.... I want to prophecy that all men who oppose the revelation which God has given in relation to polygamy will find themselves in darkness; the Spirit of God will withdraw from them the very moment of their opposition to that principle, until they will finally go down to hell and be damned, if they do not repent... if you do not become as dark as midnight there is no truth in Mormonism.' (Journal of Discourses, vol. 17, pp. 224-225)
Often the Mormon excuse for such writings is to declare that these were personal opinions which are not in the official Scriptures of the church - and are therefore to be ignored - but, as we showed earlier, Brigham Young had declared (JoD, Vol. 13, p.95) that his transcribed and checked sermons appearing in the Journal of Discourses were Scripture! Here we find Mormon Apostle Pratt even states he will prophecy - and, of course, an obvious LDS response is that Pratt was no prophet. But the statements he makes here are clearly in perfect harmony with the 'revelations' of Smith and he supports every idea couched in D&C Section 132!
In another discourse, Kimball made this emphatic declaration:
'It would be as easy for the United States to build a tower to remove the sun, as to remove polygamy, or the Church and kingdom of God.' (Millennial Star, vol. 28, p.190)
President Brigham Young responded to a question which was frequently asked:
'Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?' If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted.' (Deseret News for Oct.10, 1866)
Despite the increased government pressure against polygamy the Mormons were determined to continue the practice - despite their protestations that this was not the case! Shortly before the Manifesto was given (which declared an end to the practice of polygamy, but which was not stated to be a 'revelation' so practicing Mormons could continue to flout the law), Lorenzo Snow, who later became president of the church, was claiming that no such revelation would ever come. When Snow was on trial for practicing polygamy, Mr. Bierbower, the prosecuting attorney, predicted that if he was convicted, 'a new revelation would soon follow, changing the divine law of celestial marriage.' To this Lorenzo Snow responded:
'Whatever fame Mr. Bierbower may have secured as a lawyer, he certainly will fail as a prophet. The severest prosecutions have never been followed by revelations changing a divine law, obedience to which brought imprisonment or martyrdom.
'Though I go to prison, God will not change his law of celestial marriage. But the man, the people, the nation, that oppose and fight against this doctrine and the Church of God, will be overthrown.' (Historical Record, 1886, Vol. 5, page 144)
We quickly see who was right in this matter for, despite the protestations of Lorenzo Snow, the 4th president of the church, Wilford Woodruff, issued a Manifesto in 1890, claiming that it was given to stop the continuing persecution of the church for polygamous relationships. He stated:
'The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would happen if we did not stop this practice... all ordinances would be stopped... many men would be made prisoners... I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write...' (Evidences and Reconciliations, 3 volume edition, pp. 105-106)
So, despite the Manifesto not being declared a 'revelation', Woodruff claims that God showed him 'by vision and revelation' what the outcome of God's supposedly divine revelation would be and that he then 'wrote what the Lord told me to write'! This is saying - as plain as day - that God could not protect His people when they followed His divine commandments and therefore instructed Woodruff to lie by telling him what to write but not declaring it to be a 'revelation'!
Have things changed since the early days of Mormonism? Today, Mormons who are caught practicing polygamy are excommunicated. Mormon men are not allowed by the church to have two or more, living, legal wives at the same time. Yet the practice is continued by 'fundamentalist Mormons' who are merely following the clear and unequivocal teachings of all the 'infallible' early Mormon 'prophets'!
While the present leaders of the Mormon Church condemn fornication, adultery, and incestuous relationships, during the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young these were normal and 'commanded' practices. Joseph Smith, for instance, 'married five pairs of sisters' and even a 'mother' and her own 'daughter' (No Man Knows My History, p. 336). In her book, Intimate Disciple (page 317), Mormon writer Clair Noall verified that Smith married a mother and her daughter:
'Sylvia Lyon, Patty's daughter and the wife of Windsor J. Lyon, was already sealed to Joseph. This afternoon she was to put her mother's hand in the Prophet's.'
It is ironic to think that many people are deceived into believing that Mormonism has always taught strong family values when the real eternal commandments of their founders are to practice adulterous relationships. And how did the 'prophets' and 'apostles' inveigle the poor Mormon women into gratifying the lusts of the men? Here is another cunning speech:
'You have the privilege of forming tabernacles for those spirits. That is what plurality of wives is for, and not to gratify lustful desires. Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children in the name of the Lord that are full of faith and power of God - receive, conceive, bear, and bring forth in the name of Israel's God, that you may have the honor of being the mothers of great and good men of kings, princes and potentates that shall yet live on the earth and govern and control the nations. Do you look forward to that? or are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not, but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, `I have got man from the Lord!' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 37).
When God instructed Adam to be fruitful he also planned that he should have only one wife (Genesis 2:18-24). How tragic it is when men try and overthrow the clear instructions of the Bible and insert their own perverted lusts as the commandments of God. Apostle Orson Pratt argued that:
'if plurality of marriage is not true or in other words, if a man has no divine right to marry two wives or more in this world, then marriage for eternity is not true, and your faith is in vain, and all the sealing ordinances and powers pertaining to marriages for eternity are vain, worthless, good for nothing; for as sure as one is true the other also must be true.' (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 21, page 296)
What a great pity that misled Mormons ignore this advice. It is clear that Mormons must decide whether to follow the Bible's clear teachings, and agree that polygamy is an abomination followed by ignorant and sinful men - which even the Book of Mormon agrees on - or they must accept the full teaching of D & C 132. If they accept the first premise and reject the second then logically they must also reject the teachings of the men who insisted that polygamy must be followed and would never be done away with in any circumstances. If they foolishly accept the claim that the Book of Mormon is the most perfect book on earth, and that no one could get closer to God without its precepts, they must still reject Section 132 of D&C as a false revelation.
It is a fact that Mormons who do not practice polygamy have been condemned by their own prophets. In contradiction of Section 132, some Mormons now claim that polygamy is not even necessary for 'salvation' (Mormon Doctrine, p. 578) - while they still use Section 132 as a basis for the eternal marriage ceremony performed in Mormon temples!
Although Mormon Church leaders no longer sanction the practice of polygamy on earth, it remains an important part of their doctrinal view essential for the hereafter, as quotes from their leaders have made clear:
'Both God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as time…' (Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p,172)
LDS President Wilford Woodruff declared:
'If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can't do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past.' (Journal of Discourses 13:166)
Who are you going to believe?
In 1891 the First Presidency and Apostles of the Mormon Church made the following statement in a petition to the President of the United States:
'We formerly taught to our people that polygamy or celestial marriage as commanded by God through Joseph Smith was right; that it was a necessity to man's highest exaltation in the life to come.' (Reed Smoot Case, Vol. 1, page 18)
Thus we see that, despite all the bombast and posturing, the leaders of the LDS crumbled like dust before the government of the USA and slowly came to heel. No wonder the 'fundamentalist Mormons' treat them with the disdain that the Roman Catholics of old hold for the present-day Papal incumbent, John Paul II, who has reversed many of the Papal Roman Catholic Church traditions they boasted in for so long!
Clearly, Mormon history is one of constantly changing and contradictory revelation, as the corrupt and despicable con-artist, Joseph Smith, struggled to cover up his lies and lusts. Despite this major doctrinal change made by Mormon leaders, Dr. Hugh Nibley had the incredible gall to boast:
'Yet of all churches in the world only this one has not found it necessary to readjust any part of its doctrine in the last hundred years.' (No Ma'am, That's Not History, page 46).
In another desperate cover-up the LDS church still teaches polygamy - except its location has now shifted from earth to heaven. The late Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie went along with this foolish contradiction and claimed that polygamy would be reinstituted in the millennium here on earth! (Mormon Doctrine, p. 578). Now they appeal that marriage lasts forever while leaving out the details:
'Parents will have eternal claim upon their posterity . and will have the gift of eternal increase, if they obtain exaltation.... a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go to an earth like this one... There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become god; and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring.' (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, Church Educational System, 1986)
The truth of the eternal fate of those who follow Mormon doctrines is stated clearly in the Bible:
'But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.' (Revelation 22:15)
'Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.' (Jeremiah 3:8-9)
'Because they have done disgraceful things in Israel, have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in My name, which I have not commanded them. Indeed I know, and am a witness, says the LORD.' (Jeremiah 29:2)
'How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses.' (Jeremiah 5:7)
Jesus warned all men of the root of sin:
21 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication's, murders,22 'thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.23 'All these evil things come from within and defile a man.' (Mark 7:20-23)
(Continued on page 381)