Note: Joseph Smith taught polygamy.
The date in the heading of the Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, Including the Plurality of Wives, 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. This is evident from the written revelation itself which discloses the fact that Joseph Smith was already in the relationship of plural marriage, as the following passage witnesses: "And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me." There is indisputable evidence that the revelation making known this marriage law was given to the Prophet as early as 1831. History of the Church, Introduction to Volume V, B.H. Roberts, 1951.
Note: Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.
When the Prophet Joseph organized the Relief Society at Nauvoo, on the 17th of March, 1842, Sister Eliza R. Snow was appointed to fill the very responsible position of secretary in that most important organization. She was sealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Celestial Order of Marriage, which includes Plurality of Wives, June 29, 1842; being one of the early converts to that doctrine. After the martyrdom of her husband, June 27, 1844, Sister Eliza was prostrated with grief, and besought the Lord with all the fervency of her soul to permit her to follow the Prophet at once, and not leave her in so dark and wicked a world. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Volume 1, 1935. Andrew Jenson.
Note: Joseph Smith wanted to keep the doctrine of polygamy to himself.
PLURALITY OF WIVES.-October 5, 1843. "Gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practising the doctrine of plurality of wives; for, according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise." Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel; Salt Lake City, Utah; Desert News Company, 1882.
Note: Brigham Young confirmed the lust of Joseph Smith.
I asked if Joseph Smith died a true prophet. He spoke, "He died a true prophet, Brigham Young is now the man to lead the Church. If you will covenant with me not to reveal it to the world there shall be things revealed to you that shall be greatly to your benefit." I then saw in a vision the beauty and glory of plurality of wives. It said, "Your mother and your sister, Sarah, do not believe in plurality. Almira knows it is right. Tell them what you know and they will all believe you." Writings of Early Latter-day Saints and their Contemporaries, Utah Religious Studies Center, 1996. Milton Blackman and Keith Perkins, editors.
Note: Brigham Young openly proclaimed polygamy as Mormon doctrine.
In 1843 the law on celestial marriage was written, but not published and was known only to perhaps one or two hundred persons. It was written from the dictation of Joseph Smith, by Elder William Clayton, his private secretary, who is now in this city. This revelation was published in 1852, read to a general conference, and accepted as a portion of the faith of the Church. Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, LEMB Inc., 1982. L.G. Otten and C.M. Caldwell.
Note: Brigham Young lied that the doctrine of polygamy was being taught.
"But," say they, "what of your peculiar doctrine? What did you come to the mountains for? What did you leave us for? We suppose it was on account of your peculiar doctrine." I reply, "Pause! Wait a moment! When we left the confines of what is called civilization the doctrine of plurality of wives was not known by the world, and was not taught by us, and was known only to a very few member of our Church; but since we have declared this revelation we have dwelt in peace and safety, so we were not persecuted for that, sure. We did not leave Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, or any other State or neighborhood within the confines of civilization for believing in the doctrine of a plurality of wives." I say this to all who hear me. I want our young folks to understand this, or they may perhaps grow up with the idea that we were driven from our homes in consequence of our belief in celestial marriage. Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, June 4, 1871.
Note: Bruce McConkie confirmed the lust of Joseph Smith.
At a still later date, temple endowments and other ordinances were revealed -- all of which are a necessary prelude to the performance of an eternal marriage, a marriage between one man and one woman, or between one man and more than one women, as the case may be. After these things the practice of celestial marriage, including plurality of wives, was commanded. In 1843 the previously revealed doctrine of celestial marriage (including plurality of wives) was recorded for the first time; added truths were also stated in the revelation as finally recorded, as for instance a reference to the fact that the keys of sealing now had been given and also special instruction to Emma Smith relative to plural marriage. (D. & C. 132:45-47, 51-55.) Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1966.
Note: George Albert Smith advocated the continuance of polygamy in 1886.
While we are considering this subject, we will inquire, did the Saviour in any place that we can read of, in the course of his mission on the earth, denounce a plurality of wives? He lived in a nation of Jews; the law of Moses was in force, plurality of wives was the custom, and thousands upon thousands of people, from the highest to the lowest in the land, were polygamists. The Saviour denounced adultery; he denounced fornication; he denounced lust; also divorce; but is there a single sentence asserting that plurality of wives is wrong? If so, where is it? Who can find it? Why did he not say it was wrong? Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, George Albert Smith.
Note: Parley Pratt places the laws of the land higher than Mormon Doctrine.
The Old and New Testaments, the Constitution and laws (if the United States, and the laws of Utah Territory shall be their standard; and if in all this wide range one item of law can be found wherein God, angels, men, prophets, apostles, the Son of God or the Holy Spirit have made plurality of wives a crime, a transgression of law or an immorality, then, on these conditions, we will renounce Polygamy. But till this is done we shall hold the law of God on the subject of matrimony, including a plurality of wives, as a most sacred institution, binding on our own consciences, in the free exercise of which we claim the protection so freely and fully guaranteed by the constitution of our common country. The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, chapter 50.
Note: True Christians are not intimidated by governmental leaders to change doctrines.
Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."
Note: Polygamy was banned in 1890 by a Mormon prophet with a spin.
Section 132, recorded in 1843, authorized the practice of plural marriage. The keys to this practice however, are vested only in the Lord's prophet and used only with divine approbation (D&C 132:7; Jacob 2:30; HC 6:46). Because a Prophet of God, holding these keys, revoked the law of plural marriage in 1890 (see OD-1), the law of the Church at the present time is the same as when section 49 was revealed: "Wherefore, it is lawful that [a man] should have one wife" (D&C 49:16). Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah, Bookcraft, 1996.
Note: Utah is granted statehood after polygamy is renounced.
Repeated efforts to achieve statehood were turned aside by the Congress, mainly because of falsehoods and misinformation circulated against the Saints and because of the public opposition [p.616] to the Saints' practice of plural marriage. With the issuance of the Manifesto by Wilford Woodruff, calling an end to polygamy, Congress was more favorable to granting statehood for Utah. This became a reality on January 4, 1896, when the whittled-down Territory of Utah (now only 84, 916 square miles) became the forty-fifth state of the Union. (SLS, 413-18.) Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah, Bookcraft, 1996.
Note: Mormon apologists are defending polygamy in our day.
I do not deny that polygamy is now abhorred in Western culture generally and in modern Christianity particularly. What I deny is that the source of that abhorrence is biblical. It is derived not from the biblical heritage but the classical-the abhorrence of polygamy comes from Greece and Rome. As orthodox a figure as Saint Augustine knew that the prohibition of plural marriage in the church of his day was only a matter of Roman custom: "Again, Jacob the son of Isaac is charged with having committed a great crime because he had four wives. But here there is no ground for a criminal accusation: for a plurality of wives was no crime when it was the custom; and it is a crime now, because it is no longer the custom .... The only reason of its being a crime now to do this, is because custom and the laws forbid it." Though pagan culture could freely tolerate multiple sexual partners, it could tolerate only one wife. In that respect Greco-Roman culture was very similar to contemporary Western culture. Are Mormons Christians?, Stephen E. Robinson, 1991.
Note: God did not want mankind to have plural marriages.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.
Matthew 19:4-6 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female (not females),' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife (singular), and the two (not three or more) shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two (not three or more) but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
Note: The Holy Bible warns against associating with those given to change.
Proverbs 24:21-22 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; For their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring?
Brigham Young with some of his wives was a career criminal due to Abraham Lincoln signing the Morrill Act in 1862.
Polygamy hurt 19th century Mormon wives' evolutionary fitness
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Polygamy practiced by some 19th century Mormon men had the curious effect of suppressing the overall offspring numbers of Mormon women in plural marriages, say scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions in the March 2011 issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.
Simply put, the more sister-wives a Mormon woman had, the fewer children she was likely to produce.
"Although it's great in terms of number of children for successful males to have harems, the data show that for every new woman added to a male's household, the number each wife produced goes down by one child or so," said IU Bloomington evolutionary biologist Michael Wade, whose theoretical work guided the study. "This regression is known as a 'Bateman gradient,' named after the geneticist who first observed a similar phenomenon in fruit flies."
The paper's coauthors were Jeffrey Moorad (Duke University, Indiana University Ph.D. 2005), Daniel Promislow (University of Georgia), and Ken Smith (University of Utah).
The researchers' survey of birth, marriage and death records from the Utah Population Database covers nearly 186,000 Utah adults and their 630,000 children who lived or died between 1830 and 1894. This period marked an important transition for the nascent Mormon Church, as polygamy began to be phased out in deference to U.S. laws banning the practice but also via internal pressure from the Mormons themselves.
The scientists' study confirmed their expectation that a moratorium on Mormon polygamy would have the effect of decreasing the intensity of sexual selection among males and ultimately bringing the strength of reproductive selection on men closer to that acting on women. With fewer polygamous marriages, more males had access to wives, which led to a decrease in the variation in Mormon males' mating and reproductive success. The scientists estimate that ending polygamy reduced the strength of sexual selection on males by 58 percent.
"This study was very exciting for us, in large part because you just don't get to see the demographic effects of dramatically changing a mating system within a single population -- in any organism," Wade said. "It's an added bonus that this change from polygamy to monogamy just happened to involve people who kept such thorough records of the marriages, births and deaths at that time."
Wade, who specializes in the evolutionary biology of mating systems, says much of his work has elucidated and expanded on the ideas of Angus Bateman. Bateman, a prolific theorist, was unable to empirically test all his theories about mating and mating fitness before he died in 1996. Last year Wade and Northern Arizona University biologist Stephen Shuster co-wrote a retrospective on a classic paper Bateman wrote for the journal Heredity in 1948. Wade and Shuster extolled Bateman's vision, in particular the way in which Bateman thought sexual selection should be quantified. Bateman's critics thought his reductions of biology were too simplistic, yet Wade says Bateman's simple formulas are often dead-on.
"Bateman's ideas still are very much alive, the present study included," Wade said. "It was also his idea that selection could be stronger on males than on females, that what can be an advantage to males can be a disadvantage to females of the same species. And the advantage isn't just in having more mates. You may simply produce more offspring, than the average, if you're a male successful in reproductive competition against other males."
Which isn't to say systems of polygamy in humans or elsewhere in nature are necessarily good for all the males involved. Indeed, Wade says, polygamy is a bad thing for most males of a species.
"When the ratio of sexes is about equal, for every male that has three mates, there must be two males that have none," Wade said. "If a male has even more mates, then the disparity among male 'reproductive' haves and have-nots can become quite great."
So if polygamy (or the female equivalent, polyandry) is disadvantageous to most of the sequestered sex and most of the mate-sequestering sex, why should such systems survive?
"The complete answer is still forthcoming," Wade said. "One thing we know now, based on rigorous studies in many species, particularly the fruit fly, is that selection can be so strong on males that it can drag the entire species off of a naturally selected viability optimum."
Wade points to a familiar example.
"Take the peacock," Wade said. "Its tail is magnificent for attracting females and bad for attracting predators. It is believed that in some situations there is a "predator hard cap" on the fitness of sexual characteristics. But there's also research suggesting even the predator hard cap can be overpowered if sexual selection on males is strong enough. That is, males trade high risks to their lives in order to gain large numbers of mates and thereby offspring."
This research was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (DEB-0717234 and DEB-0614086) and the National Institutes of Health (RO1GM065414-06 and P30-AG013283). The coauthors also thank the Pedigree and Population Resource, funded by the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, for helping to maintain the Utah Population Database. "Mating system change reduces the strength of sexual selection in an American frontier population of the 19th century," Evolution & Human Behavior, vol. 32, iss. 2, pp. 79-156 (March 2011)
Polygamous judge may lose job in Utah
State Supreme Court will hear case today on jurist who has three wives and has held a seat on local bench for 25 years.
The Associated Press Wednesday, November 2, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY – For 25 years, Walter Steed has served the tiny southern Utah border town of Hildale as a Justice Court judge, handing down rulings on drunken driving and domestic violence charges. Now, after acknowledging that as part of his religion he is living in a plural marriage with three wives, he's facing an order to give up his post.
The Utah Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case today at Brigham Young University in Provo.
Utah's Judicial Conduct Commission issued an order seeking Steed's removal from the bench in February, after a 14-month investigation determined Steed is a polygamist and as such had violated Utah's bigamy law.
The initial complaint against Steed was filed with the commission in November 2003 by Tapestry Against Polygamy, an advocacy group founded by ex-polygamous women who organized to help others leave the handful of secretive religious colonies that practice the principle.
"If you are taking the constitutional oath office to uphold the law, you should not be breaking the law," Winchester said. "So, it's 25 years that when knowing he's violating the bigamy law, he's taking the oath of office ... holding himself out as a public authority. You can't have it both ways."
Steed's attorney, Rod Parker, contends Utah's bigamy statute is being unfairly applied and that at stake are constitutional issues of privacy, liberty and freedom of conscience and religion.
"The problem with the statute is that it isn't enforced, except in rare cases," said Parker, noting that when applied to people outside fundamentalist religious groups, there are identifiable victims, people who have been duped into marrying a person who already has a spouse.
That didn't happen in Steed's case, Parker said. Steed legally married his first wife in 1965. The second and third wives were married - or "sealed" as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refers to it - to him in religious ceremonies in 1975 and 1985. All three women are biological sisters, and no one in the family was expecting that the second and third marriages would be civilly recognized.
"I think it's an equal protection problem," Parker said.
Both Utah's attorney general and the Washington County prosecutor have declined to prosecute Steed for bigamy, Parker said. And the state Supreme Court's chief justice, Christine Durham, opted not to place Steed on administrative leave during the investigation.
Parker also questions the motive behind the Tapestry complaint.
"There is no allegation that it's affecting his performance on the bench," Parker said. "It really is truly only about his private conduct."
Winchester agrees there's no question about Steed's performance but contends the point is moot.
"My view is that judges are held to a higher standard," he said, adding that neither federal nor state courts have yet found that bigamy - even as part of religious practice - is protected by the Constitution.
Justice Court judges are appointed to four-year terms by city councils or county commissions to handle class B and C misdemeanor infractions, charges with penalties that don't exceed up to six months in jail or $1,000 in fines.
Judges are not required to have any legal education or training before appointment, Winchester said. A truck driver by trade, Steed was first appointed to the bench in 1980. He is paid a few hundred dollars monthly for serving in the part-time position, Parker said.
Mormons believe their church is the one and only true church established by Jesus Christ in New Testament times.
That church, however, was hopelessly corrupted soon after Jesus ascended into heaven, which led to what Mormons call the Great Apostasy that resulted in the misinterpretation and misteaching of many scriptures.
Mormons believe that the true church had to be restored, through the priesthood, a term which refers to male believers who have the authority to act in the name of God.
Here's a short, admittedly incomplete, history of the Mormon movement:
In 1823, 17-year-old Joseph Smith Jr., a young man who practiced so-called "black magic" to find buried treasures in his hometown of Palmyra, N.Y., was visited by the angel Moroni, who told him of a sacred text written on solid-gold plates buried on a nearby hill.
Eventually, Joseph was able to uncover and transcribe these plates, which became the Book of Mormon, the history of how an ancient Hebrew tribe left Jerusalem 600 years before the birth of Christ and traveled to North America.
This tribe eventually split into two rival groups, the Nephites, the fair-skinned good guys, and the Lamanites, who were not favored by God.
According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus, after his resurrection, visited North America to share his gospel with the two clans, who then quit fighting for a while, but eventually started up again.
The dark-skinned Lamanites eventually slaughtered all the Nephites, and became the ancestors of modern American Indians.
Mormon was a wise leader of the doomed Nephites, and his son was Moroni, who would eventually return as an angel to reveal to Joseph Smith that the church he would found would lead to the salvation of mankind.
But the greatest promise of the Mormon religion was that each follower would have an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Divine revelation, starting with Joseph Smith, was a bedrock of the new religion he founded in 1830.
Mormons believe God has not always been the supreme being of the universe, but attained that status through righteous living and persistent effort. They believe God the Father has a "body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's."
Mormon leaders also have taught that Jesus' incarnation was the result of a physical relationship between God the Father and Mary. They believe Jesus is a God, but that any human can also become a god.
While there are far too many differences with Christianity to list here, for most Christians, Mormonism is seen as a false religion. Mormons, in turn, believe present-day Christians follow hopelessly corrupted doctrines and teachings and that as Latter-Day Saints, they are the true sons and daughters of Israel.
Another sacred text for Mormons is the revelation to Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 132 of this text has become the rallying cry for polygamous fundamentalists. In it, the prophet described plural marriage as part of "the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth."
After being arrested, Joseph Smith was murdered in Illinois in 1844 by a mob.
Brigham Young, who also had multiple wives, later became leader of Smith's church, and led the Saints to the Great Basin of Utah.
The issue of polygamy became a national scandal, pitting the federal government against the LDS church, and kept Utah from gaining statehood.
In 1890, LDS leaders gave up polygamy.
The church, cleaned up of this nefarious practice, moved from being considered a wild-eyed sect of crackpots into its present standing as a pro-family, conservative, entirely sensible American faith.
The church today excommunicates any member either practicing or openly advocating the practice of polygamy and believes that it is improper to call any of these splinter polygamous groups "Mormon."
But after the LDS church forsook polygamy, various splinter groups left to continue the practice, which persists today in Utah and neighboring states. Polygamist churches of Mormon origin are called Mormon fundamentalist.
Mormon fundamentalists believe the church sold them out to gain acceptance. Modern-day polygamists believe that the LDS church, in forsaking Section 132, has lost its way.
Fundamentalists also cite another part of the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 85, in which it was revealed to Joseph Smith that "one mighty and strong" will be sent to Earth to restore the Mormon church to its rightful place, which they say would include Joseph Smith's "most holy and important doctrine" of polygamy.
Both FLDS and mainstream Mormons believe that Smith was a prophet on the order of Moses, and believe in the same "scriptures" that Smith said were revealed to him.
There are between 30,000 and 40,000 FLDS polygamists living in the American West, Canada and Mexico — less than 1 percent of the LDS worldwide church.
WORD FAITH INDEX