Polygamy was no Mormon harem, but it tore at marriages and hearts

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here) I spent some time re-reading the late Richard S. Van Wagoner’s excellent book, “Mormon Polygamy: A History.” The 19th century tales of harems and never-ending teenage-girl hunting were, of course, lies to excite Eastern U.S. readers. Polygamy was a contradictory doctrine, and extremely dysfunctional. Brigham Young once said that he wished it wasn’t a doctrine, but later also raged that those who disbelieved in polygamy — and even monogomous LDS men — were in danger of damnation. And polygamy led to divorce among LDS elite leaders in numbers that would shock today. According to Van Wagoner, more than 50 marriages of LDS leaders ended in divorce in the mid 19th century.

Indeed, two early wives of LDS apostle brothers, Orson and Parley Pratt, gave their husbands the heave-ho for their enthusiastic embrace of polygamy, and penchant for young, teenage brides. And not every faithful LDS elder with a feisty wife was brave enough to try polygamy. Van Wagoner recounts the tale of one husband who abandoned plans to take a plural wife after his wife informed him that she had received a revelation from God directing her to shoot any spare wife who darkened the family doorstep.

As Van Wagoner writes, though, there was a somber paradox to polygamy, particularly for faithful LDS women who reluctantly embraced the doctrine as a commandment of God yet suffered personal heartache and financial pain due to their husband’s extracurricular wives. Emmeline B. Wells, early Mormon women’s leader and feminist, wrote publicly that polygamy “gives women the highest opportunities for self-development, exercise of judgment, and arouses latent faculties, making them truly cultivated in the actual realities of life, more independent in thought and mind, noble and unselfish.” In her private journal, though, Wells despaired of how polygamy had robbed her of the love of her husband, Daniel H. Wells, member of the church’s first presidency.

Emmeline wrote, “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 cravings of my nature; he is surrounded with love on every side, and I am cast out.”

“He is surrounded with love on every side, and I am cast out,” is an appropriate indictment of polygamy, and no doubt a reason that it has long been discarded by the LDS Church.

As Van Wagoner recalls, another LDS women leader, physician Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, the first female state senator in the U.S., yearned in her personal letters for one husband who would be hers only to cherish. Despite these yearnings, she clung to her LDS faith in “the Principle.” Martha wrote her husband, Angus, that only her divine knowledge of the sacred principle of plural marriage made it bearable to endure. Nevertheless, Martha also wrote this scolding to Angus: “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 …”

For Emmeline Wells, there was a sort of happy ending that was denied many others. As Van Wagoner recounts, in his final years, her frail and aging husband, Daniel, seeking tender care and companionship, returned to Emmeline’s home and side, after mostly ignoring her for 40 years. In her eyes, that probably counted as a blessing due after decades of suffering.

Despite lurid tales and even the teenage bride races, sex was a distant reason for polygamy. It was the result of an odd doctrine, now mostly forgotten in the LDS Church, that taught that the more wives and children one accumulated on earth would increase one’s post-life eternal influence and kingdoms. Yet, one will rarely hear that explanation today.

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41 Responses to Polygamy was no Mormon harem, but it tore at marriages and hearts

  1. Macha says:

    I think the main problem in Mormon polygamy was that men collected too many wives, because to them they were just status symbols, rather than for love and companionship. They weren’t able to give the love and attention or material support to all the women they claimed as wives.

    • NateT says:

      Unless you are mind reader, I find it hard you can correctly discern people’s intent over 100+ years of time.

      • grimalkin says:

        Interesting that a man, Nate, has a quick knee jerk reaction to a thoughtful comment by a woman, Macha.

        • Carol says:

          I think the man’s point is valid. Nobody can know the intentions and motives of another, and especially not this many years after the fact.

          • grimalkin says:

            If you will do some reading and research on the topic, such as autobiographies, journals, studies on polygamy, etc., you will find that what Macha said was often true. Some people made polygamy work, but there were also a lot of abuses and heartache.

    • Joshua says:

      Who knows their motivations? But certain prophets certainly did teach that polygamy was necessary for salvation.

      Brigham Young said: “The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy” (Journal of Discourses 11:269)

      It’s interesting how the church seems to teach that God has changed his plan for salvation since then. Does not seem in God’s character to compromise on major theological issues.

      I think what this really demonstrates is the problem with the idea that there are Living Prophets in charge of the LDS Church today. Doctrine and endowments are always changing. New revelations are added, old revelations are updated, and what is a sin today was not a sin yesterday and vice versa. Did Israel’s prophets contradict each other or add/subtract from the revelations of their predecessors? No, because one Holy Spirit spoke through all of them. The same spirit does not speak through the Mormon prophets.

      • Theresa says:

        The same holy spirit does not speak through the Mormon prophets………you said it all!!!In other words They all believe in a false prophet (Joseph Smith)who added his own doctrines through a demonic angel called maroni.If you search the Bible you will not find anywhere where man becomes god.There is only one God & only one way to be in God’s family & that is through Jesus Christ his son who died for our sins.There is no scripture that says oyu must be polgamist to enter the kingdom of heaven.Celestuel marriage is a lie from the pit of hell

  2. Bob Becker says:

    “Van Wagoner recounts the tale of one husband who abandoned plans to take a plural wife after his wife informed him that she had received a revelation from God directing her to shoot any spare wife who darkened the family doorstep.”

    Wonderful story. Feisty lady indeed.

    That’s the trouble with modern faiths relying on continuing divine revelations. How can you decide with certainty who is having them, or is wrongly claiming to? Who’s able to prove conclusively god is not whispering in someone’s ear? Who’s able to prove conclusively that god is?

    That’s one reason John Winthrop’s Bible Commonwealth government in Massachusetts had to get Anne Hutchinson: she was preaching that no only did she have divine revelations [an idea disturbing enough in its own right], but that everyone could. That made her a very dangerous woman for Gov. John Winthrop… ironically, for the very same reasons the Puritans were dangerous people for the kings of England. Consider Winthrop’s problem with Hutchinson: If as she preached everyone could appeal to divine revelation to justify their actions, what authority would remain for the governor?

    John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts tells one of his colonists to do this. The colonist says “no.” Winthrop demands by what authority the colonist refused to obey a lawful order of the Governor? And the colonist replies “God told me I don’t have to!

    That way lay anarchy, Winthrop thought. Or civil war. [Which indeed is what followed in England and the Puritans there were going to execute a king.]

    I don’t know a great deal about Mormon history, but from what I’ve read, some posted by Doug here, both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had considerable problems with brethren claiming they too had divine revelations, ones which did not mesh at times with those being revealed by Smith and Young.

    • LMA says:

      A single reply can be used for this comment and the one that follows (by D. Michael Martindale). While I’m no expert on Mormon history either, I know enough to agree that individuals claiming their own revelations historically was a problem for the Church. Mr. Martindale’s letter reveals that the problem continues (albeit to a much lesser extent) modernly. The Church resolves the tension (on one hand, we are led by revelation and the Holy Spirit; on the other hand, the Church as the body of Christ (Col. 1:18) can’t be split by claims of conflicting revelations) in the same way as the early Christians. In Ephesians 4, Paul urged the Church “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” based on “One Lord, one faith, [and] one baptism.” In other words, there is to be revelation (Paul elsewhere enjoined the Church to “despise not prophesyings,” 1 Thess. 5:20) and guidance of the Spirit, but the guidance will be uniting not dividing. The solution is a priesthood, a doctrinal hierarchy that, while foreign to today’s Protestants, has always been well understood by the Catholic church. As Paul explains, Christ “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets [where are prophets and apostles today?] … [f]or the aperfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [t]ill we all come in the unity of the faith … , [t]hat we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine …”

      I’m delighted that plural marriage is no longer part of God’s plan for his Church. But religious condemnations need to consider the fact that it was practiced anciently by the patriarchs of the Old Testament. I don’t know what issue caused Mr. Martindale to defy his priesthood leaders, but I’m sure it wasn’t the Spirit of God.

      • Erick says:

        “I’m delighted that plural marriage is no longer part of God’s plan for his Church.”

        These kinds of statements are very confusing to me. I really don’t think there is any way of wiggling out of polygamy while trying to maintain the integrity of the restoration.

        • LMA says:

          I’m not sure why the statement would be confusing, but I will try to un-confuse it if I can. There is integrity to the restoration in the sense that the canonized doctrines and principles of the restoration have been inspired by God at all times. They have also changed over time and with the times. Just as the apostles of the early Church could explain that ancient dietary laws and other mandatory practices (e.g., circumcision) were no longer in force, so could God repeal what He instituted, both anciently and modernly, with regard to plural marriage. From the Bible, we know that there were times when it was an accepted practice, and times when it was not.

          • Erick says:

            It’s difficult to try and pair changes in principles of the restoration with dichotomies between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The changes you mention were results from the fullfillment of the “Law”. Jesus introduced the higher Law at the sermon on the Mount. So, are you arguing that there was some kind of dispensational distinction between Joseph Smith’s era and ours? As I read D&C 132, coupled with the manifesto, I don’t get the impression that polygamy was intended to be temporary “practice”, but rather in consequence of Wilford Woodruff’s warning in the manifesto, that our current suspension of it is the temporary component.

            So, when I hear comments like “I’m glad polygamy is gone”, I can’t help but wonder if you are really just comforting yourself in a false sense of security. There is more than enough teaching from former Church leaders that God lives as polygamist. When we don’t like what they have said we just argue that his comments were merely opinions – still the methods for determining what was opinion and what was more authoritative, appears quite arbitrary.

        • LMA says:

          So, actually, Erick, there isn’t anything arbitrary about saying that God’s commandments to His people can change over time. I gave you some examples – your response is to say, well, those are dispensational. They’re still examples of God’s commandments to His people changing over time. 1 Cor. 14:34-35 says, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” There hasn’t been any dispensational change since that instruction was given, but that commandment isn’t in effect today – is it? As far as your impressions are concerned, I’m not responsible for your impressions. All I can tell you is that you’re plainly not in a position to receive revelation for the Church. :-) The intent of my earlier comment was that the Church is protected against being carried to and fro on every wind of doctrine by a priesthood, led by a prophet and apostles, just as the Lord intended (Eph. 4: 10 – 14).

          [The website doesn't allow me to reply to your reply to my reply, so I had to reply to your original reply. If that makes sense. *grin*]

          • Erick says:

            Fair enough. I just don’t see that you can put polygamy into the same basket as Paul’s teachings on the role of women in exhortation. Particularly in consideration of Brigham Young, and Joseph Smith emphasis on Polygamy as condition of exaltation (particularly BY). That was the reason for my comment. I get why people dislike polygamy, but I see a conflict in rejoicing in the restored gospel while simultaneously rejoicing in the (temporary???) suspension of one its defining principles.

      • Joshua says:

        I have a couple issues with your post. First, you say that revelation given should be lead to unity. What is unifying about leaders having revelations that overturn previous revelations, or teaching things that undermine previous teachings? A study of early church history, especially regarding Doctrines and Covenants, will reveal that revelation has been added to and subtracted from time and again. It’s even done today.

        Secondly, protestants do have a priesthood. Jesus Christ is called our eternal High Priest in the line of Melchizedek throughout Hebrews. While some churches choose to replace him with a man, we do not. The Bible is our ultimate authority, being the Word of God, inspired by God. Where you have the words of a man, we have the living and immortal Word of God. The Bible is clear that the priesthood belongs to all those who place their faith in Christ(1 Peter 2:5,9 and Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6). Additionally, Apostles were those who had seen Christ resurrected. The Bible calls the apostles part of the foundation, along with Christ, of our church (Ephesians 15:19-21). A foundation is laid once. You claim to have living apostles, but do you have a new Christ among you too? By the way, revelation specifically says the names of the twelve apostles will be written in New Jerusalem, but makes no mention of your “apostles.”

        The Mormon church is quick to find individual verses, usually only one or two, taken out of context to support their doctrine, while ignoring dozens of verses that explicitly contradict their interpretation. The true church(followers of Christ) looks at the Word of God as a whole, interprets Scripture with Scripture, and conforms itself to God’s Word rather than vice versa.

    • Tom says:

      Mr. Becker
      It is my understanding that Joseph Smith was an extremely prolific revelator. In fact that was one of his three official titles, the other two being Prophet and Seer. I believe the title was “Joseph Smith Prophet, Seer, Revelator”.

      On the other hand I think Brigham Young was much more judicious and reserved in his revelations, saving them for the really big and important issues. At one point there was a splinter group set up fort at the mouth of Weber Canyon, and the leader laid claim to prophecy and revelation. I believe his name was William Godbe, and the group was known as the Godbeites. (which was the inspiration for the term Godfreyites incidentally) Well President Young took extreme action in protecting his revelatory turf and sent the militia up and squashed them, killing the false prophet Godbe in the process. The lesson was don’t be messing around with prophecy and revelation, it is only meant for the big boys. I think the modern day church still takes this position, it ain’t for everyone.

      Perhaps Doug, our wonderfully informative Mo History guy, can clarify that for us. Heck, maybe he can even give us an actual revelation count for the first two Presidents of the Church?

      • Tom says:

        Actually I kind of mangled the facts in my above comments on Godbe and the Godbeites. Seems Godbe was not killed in the siege at Uinta, in fact it wasn’t the Godbeites involved there, but another break away group called the Morrisites.

        The Godbeites was a group who took great exception to Brigham Young’s economic policies and isolationism and revolted to form their own sect which denounced most things LDS. In the process they started the Salt Lake Tribune.

  3. D. Michael Martindale says:

    Was the problem a bunch of people having revelations that contradicted Joseph’s and Brigham’s? Or was the problem the arrogance of Joseph and Brigham that they alone had the right to have revelations for everybody else?

    This is not an academic question for me. I have had revelation that I was convinced was authentic, but my bishop told me it was of Satan because he didn’t like what it said.

    So I was put in the unpelasant position of deciding if I would obey my bishop or the Spirit of God.

    Anyone want to guess which I chose?

    • Joshua says:

      Are you speaking of an experience in the Mormon church? I do not believe the testimonies in that church or the doctrine taught there come from the spirit of God. Neither am I convinced that every spirit that testifies is of God, unless that testimony concurs completely with the Word of God. Do not put your faith in the testimony of another, arrived at by feelings or a spirit without knowing for certain that it is from God. But also do not place your faith in your own feelings or testimony without being certain that spirit is of God.

      Remember, Satan reveals himself as an angel of light. The Bible tells us (1 John 4:1) to test every spirit whether it is of God, and to study scripture to know whether the things preached to us are true (Acts 17:11). I say this for your own sake, that you wouldn’t be led astray from something untrue to something else untrue.

  4. Zions Tribe says:

    It has been conjectured through compitent Acedemia Sources
    that President Young maintained only 13 Plural Wives in seperate
    Domisile, and only for the purpose of perpetuating the Davidical
    Seed of Joseph.
    Call it an “Old Wife’s Tale” if you will; Brother Brigham seperated
    through hospitable seperation from his 13th Companion. With
    undue strain, the choice was made to “free” her self from the
    “Woman-Sufferage” she was witnessing.
    To avoid noteriety, and “sacred-gossip” among the faithfull, Elder
    Brighams Companion consealed her self in the “Running-Board”
    seat platform of a stage coach.
    Under direction from the President, she made safe passage to
    the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountain Divide, the “Mile-High”
    City, Denver. There she was a stunch “Advocate” of Equal Rights
    under the law, {With out the Need of a Constitutional Ammendment}.
    Her predesesors and the Domino-Effects of “One Voice Crying in
    the Wilderness”, eventually won the “Privledge for Woman to Vote”
    as a forerunner to the rest of the nation, in Colorado, Utah, Idaho & Nevada.
    I have seen a “Black and White” photograph of Brigham Young
    smoking a “Tipperillo”. In my past residency in the Beehive State, I
    would commute UTA Route #12 from my Ogden Home, and pay
    Homage to the Frontersman. In the Zen Buddhist Tradition, I would
    “Gift” his Cement Block Resting Place with a “Cigar” in the Cemetary
    Just East of Latter Day Temple Square.

  5. NateT says:

    Poligamy is hard wherever it is praticed, for the very reasons the title states.

  6. Aloysius says:

    Family lore says that one great grandfather was perfectly content with one wife. But she was intellectually converted to “The Principle” and hounded him to get on board. One day he told her to draw his bath he was going courting. He left the house and doubled back to find her in tears. That ended the nagging.

  7. betty says:

    I told my husband if polygamy came back so be it……just don’t pick a lazy one because I’m NOT picking up after her!!!! Ha !

  8. Craig says:

    Are the mormon leaders buying their way to heaven?

    • Erick says:

      Nice link to David Icke – if I remember correctly he advances the notion that most U.S. Presidents, of other of the global elite, are actually reptillian humanoids. It’s good see you are reporting from credible sources.

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  10. Stephen M. Cook says:

    You opoine “… sex was a distant reason for polygamy”.

    I would suggest as regards the history of men, sex, and vanity, was the reason for everything.

  11. Neal Cassidy says:

    it is always interesting to note some of the fables of polygamy. Not all families lived together in one big happy family. Often families were located a great distance apart and the husband traveled from household to household at specific times. Many families had to struggle to survive without a male head of household to help provide. The visiting familes circuiot often was not to provide support but just a reason to visit for sex and procreation. lots of familes depended on the local ward to provide necessities needed for basic survival. Young men were often unable to find a wife/spouse for themselves because many young women were pledged or married to older men. The rosy scenario often portrayed as a benefit of plural marriage was not the reality. Many families struggled and the choildren did not have a strong male role model in the home.

    • Theresa says:

      Most polygamist familys are not happy familys.Even if they are rich.You are right.Children need a father who is there .A wife wants & needs her husband home with her & the children EVERY NIGHT.Polygamy is a custom & not a commandment.Joseph Smith made it a law to keep if you wanted to be “a god” in the after life.I feel sorry for all who led astray by his false doctrine of plurel marriage.

  12. Aaron says:

    One thing seldom mentioned is whether those teen-age brides who married old geezers did so out of romantic love and their own free will…or if they were coerced into those marriages in some way. My great-grandmother married a much older man who already had a wife and family. A close check of our genealogical records indicates she was not even 14 yet!

    • Joshua says:

      A quick study into Joseph Smith’s own polygamy will reveal that the young women were sometimes coerced into marriage with promises of their eternal salvation.

    • Theresa says:

      You need not question if these young girls married out of love…..come on…tell what 14 year old has a fantasy of marrying some old fart who has a wife?They were told to marry these men .They were told that it was god’s will.They are also told that if they refuse that they will go to hell.I call that a cult & child molesting.

  13. Bob Becker says:

    Only point I wanted to make, on historical grounds, was that once you open the door to personal and on-going Revelation [as Anne Hutchinson did], you have to face the tacky problem of deciding, somehow, what is and is not a legitimate Revelation, and who , from among those claiming to have received one, did actually receive one. And that matter in the end is often decided as a matter of power [those Revelation's are legitimate whose adherents have the power to enforce their legitimacy on the community and to crush or otherwise eliminate counter claims] — e.g. John Winthrop having Anne Hutchinson tried and convicted for blasphemy [in a fixed trial if ever there was one in Massachusetts].

    Believers, of course, would argue that the fact that their particular list of true Revelations prevailed is evidence that god favored them by ensuring their victory. But that’s edging awfully close, seems to me, to the \whatever is is right\ POV, as well as being only a slightly altered variation of \appeal to the god of battles\ to settle differences. [God \votes\ by arranging victory on the battlefield for one side or the other. That's what made defeat in the Civil War so bitter for many Presbyterian Confederates: they appealed to the god of battles to justify their cause... and they lost. Hard thing to live with, the realization that God was not on your side when you'd sacrificed so much in the certain belief that he was.]

    Smith and Young’s problems with their coreligionists who claimed to have had [un-sanctioned] revelations were more evidence of the same problem all continuing-revelation faiths have, I thought. Just a few issues ago, for example, the SL City Weekly did a long feature piece on someone who claims to have received a Revelation/divinely inspired translation of some lost LDS text, and the LDS people who are accepting the legitimacy of his vision/translation and following him… to the annoyance of the mainstream LDS church, and the pain of their LDS relatives who see all this as apostasy. And there’s Warren Jeffs and his merrie band, and the abductor of Elizabeth Smart, and John Krakauer’s subject in Under the Banner of Heaven, and so on ad infinitum.

    It’s a problem, I think, inherent in any faith that teaches that the Age of Revelation continues even unto the present.

  14. RGS says:

    Polygamy is a broad subject
    There is Mormon Polygamy still practiced in Utah and Canada
    There is Muslim Polygamy still practiced in the Middle East and Where ever Muslims dwell.
    There is Jewish Polygamy which is still practiced among Ultra Conservative Jews in Israel and in other nations around the world.

    Then there is the question of Christian polygamy. According to the words of Jesus Christ and Paul the Apostle on Divorce — it is forbidden with the exception of the partner falling away from the faith and departing — thus making the faithful believer free to marry again or remain single and devoted alone to God. (Like those who hae made themselves eunnics for the Kingdom of Heaven.

    In the modern cult of unscriptural divorce -(Those lacking any fear of God and Jesus Christ’s retribution for such acts) These in the sight of God are actually polygamists — and we might add here Polygamists in the Mormon sense discussed here as severing any relationship with their first or other older wives, while surrounding themselves with younger newer sportier models.

    Polygamy in the bible (Law of Moses) demands that the husband take care of all the needs of his first wife, and or concubine providing them with food, raiment, a roof over their head, — and — and — wait for it — regular sexual relations (This would seemingly include love and kindness) — to deny a wife or concubine any of these things was and is sin against God.

    Back now to the New Testament. Seemingly unknown to most Christians today, in the days of Jesus Christ and the Apostles polygamy was practiced by the Jews, along with having slaves, and sexual slaves aka concubines. It is inconceivable that among the three thousand that came to Christ on the day of Pentecost and in some of the other places in the book of Acts that record large numbers being converted — that there were some Polygamous Jews.

    No matter what is commonly taught no where in the Gospels or Epistles does Jesus Christ or the Apostles directly condemn Polygamy. They did not, and could not because not one jot or one tittle of the law of Moses would fade away for Christ’s followers who were to follow the law after the spirit. as opposed to following the letter of the law.

    Of interest is the Gospel and Epistles references to slaves — again neither Jesus Christ nor the Apostles condemned such practices (As these were allowed in the Law of Moses) Jesus sees “Servants” Slaves but does not rebuke their masters, nor demand they be set free. Paul in the Epistles declares that Christian Slaves having Christian masters could not demand freedom or being on equal footing with their masters as they were slaves. Paul demands Christian Slaves server their unbelieving masters with rigor. These passages regarding slaves bring into play the issue of Christian concubines under the same rules. (How shocking)

    We have found two places in the New Testament Greek that speak of concubines) We have also found that Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 speaks of men marrying again (Polygamy) and if they did so it would only bring hardship and trouble –which is in fact the testimony of scripture. In observation on these passages when Hilda would lose her fizz and bang in the marital bed — in direct disobediance to the law of Moses where sex was to be “a daily wage” this as discussed above was a major sin against God (Not just the husband) of which Paul speaks of as causing the other partner to fall into sin — such that would be accounted and held by God and Jesus Christ against the partner who denied paying their daily sexual wages — the bible allows for this — taking on another wife while keeping, carring for including sexually the first wife. Remember Divorce for a Christian is anathama.

    One final reference from Paul speaking of a Christian and his family or household (This would include polygamous Christians of the day) For a Christian man or woman not to take care of their family and household they are worse than an infidel.

    The meaning here is very strong in the Greek — this is repeating the words that it will be worse (On judgment day) for those who once believed and turned away than for those who never believed. Here Paul declares that it will be worse for a Christian Husband or Wife or Wives that take not care of one another daily (As afore mentioned) along with those of their household and family (Offspring of wives or concubines) than one that followed Christ and then turned back (Being an Infidel)

    So serious is the meaning of this that all Christians who have divorced unrighteously condemn themselves to eternal death unless they were to care for as demanded of God their “Former wife or Husband” which we all know would bring no end of trouble under the current corrupt system.

    Speaking of Jesus commandments on Divorce this is why the Apostles in astonishment replied “Then it is better never to touch a women” In other words they understood the absolute meaning of Christ’s words so much so that it put fear in their hearts about marriage and “Touching a woman sexually”.

    It is also interesting to note that we will say here those in Church office were to be the husband of ONE WIFE, in other words not the husband of two or more wives, –or — the husband of one wife and a concubine. As they walked not as what God designed in the beginning with Adam and his wife which Christ cited in speaking of Divorce. In other words we see that God has a higher regard for a man and one wife than a polygamous man in regards to the church as being an example of Christ and His love for His bride the Church.

    We live today in a world and church steeped in a most sinful form Polygamy — while pretending that it is not so.

  15. Joshua says:

    I’d appreciate if you would source your information. Some, myself included, are not familiar with Jewish history, for instance, and may not take your claims that polygamy was still practiced during the 1st century AD at face value.

    Secondly, polygamy is clearly unacceptable for any church leader, at the very least. 1 Timothy 3:2 and 3:12 command church leaders to be a one woman man. Titus 1:6 says the same.

    I’d be curious how the early LDS leaders justified their polygamy in the face of these verses. I’d imagine they simply claimed that God had revealed to them it was okay again.

  16. Doug Gibson says:

    Joshua, you seem to have an unhealthy obsession with Mormonism. This forum welcomes critiques, but it’s also to explore history and its interesting events and the persons who made the history. So, try to control yourself with posts; the same advice applies to overzealous defenders of the LDS Church.

    • Tom says:

      Well now Doug, I re-read all of Joshua’s posts on this thread, and while he does seem to have Mormon issues or interests, I couldn’t find anywhere that he seemed “out of control”. At least not any more than any one else who takes the Bible and the BOM literally.

      I especially like the “interesting events and the persons who made the history” part of your site here. Some of the theological discussion that rears it’s head hereabouts is interesting as well, just not as much.

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