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August 15, 2020 7:16 pm
Viewpoint on Mormonism. The program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism, is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry since 1979.
Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism.
What does the practice of plural marriage mean for a Latter-Day Saints afterlife? Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry. And with me today is Erik Johnson, my colleague at M. R m. This week we've been looking at an article that was in the July 2020 edition of Inside Magazine. It's found on page 17 titled Why Did They Practice Plural Marriage in the Early Days of the Church? It's written by a woman, by the name of Kate Holbrook, who works with the Church History Department. It's not a very long article, three longer paragraphs, but there are some things that she says that we feel are worthy of scrutiny. And so today we're looking at the last paragraph that she has in this article. What does she say?
Are some church members wonder what our past practice of plural marriage means for the afterlife? Church leaders have taught that plural marriage is not necessary for exaltation or for a turno glory.
Well, let's look at what she says here. Some church members wonder what our past practice of plural marriage means for the afterlife. And the way she tackles that first statement here, she applies it to an individual's salvation or exaltation. And she says that church leaders have taught that plural marriage is not necessary for exaltation or for eternal glory. Now, Mormon apostle Bruce McConkey, who is the son in law of Joseph Fielding Smith, who was the tenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He concurs with that statement. What did he say in his book Mormon Doctrine on page 578?
Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation, all who pretend or assume to engage in plural marriage. In this day, when the one holding the keys has withdrawn, the power of which they are performed are guilty of gross wickedness.
Now he's referring to what are known as the fundamentalist groups. They referred to them as splinter groups from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Some of these groups actually formed right after the manifesto came out and they disagreed with Woolford Woodruff's mandate that plural marriages would no longer be solemnized. But McConkey is holding the position that he did not have to engage in a plural marriage lifestyle in order to be saved.
But this is a mixed message when you look at the entire picture of Mormonism, because as we brought out earlier in the week, Brigham Young certainly didn't agree with that. Brigham Young made it very clear in August of 1866. And if you'd like to look up this quotation, it's found in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269. In one sentence, Brigham Young refutes what Bruce McConkey was saying in his book Mormon Doctrine. What did Young say? The only men who become gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. The only men who become gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Where do Mormon men become gods? Only in one place. That's the celestial kingdom. That is what is known as exaltation. That is known as godhood in Mormonism. So even though the church has had to change this doctrine and if you've heard me on this show before, they're not supposed to change doctrine. But apparently this is one exception. This was not a policy change. This was a doctrinal change, even though the church has insisted that they're not supposed to change doctrine and the idea of families being together forever originated in the 19th century.
Orson Pratt in the Sea Page 158, said if none but God's will be permitted to multiply immortal children. It follows that each God must have one or more wives. So it's important for a family to be able to have enough women to be able to create the children necessary for the next world.
But in the next sentence, Eric, Miss Holbrook says something very interesting. She says, Although I'm personally grateful that monogamy is the rule and that plural marriage is the exception, I do not discount the testimonies and honorable obedience of our spiritual ancestors who practiced this principle. They were being obedient and they had a testimony that it was right. Well, they may have had a testimony that it was. Right. But that doesn't necessarily mean it is right. As we've mentioned throughout this week and another shows, even though the Mormon Church claims that practicing plural marriage was a principle that was given by God. We don't find that in the Old Testament. We never find where God commands this, even though the LDS church insists that Abraham, for instance, was commanded by God to practice plural marriage. But when she says, although I'm personally grateful that monogamy is the rule and that plural marriage is the exception, she seems to ignore one still very important doctrine in Mormonism. And that's what's come to be known as celestial polygamy. In other words, even though the LDS church no longer will tolerate a Mormon male being married to two living women at the same time, it is certainly permissible in the doctrines of Mormonism for a Mormon male to be sealed for eternity to more than one wife. The 17th president of the church, Russell M. Nelson, is sealed to two women. His current wife, Wendy, is going to have to move over when they pass away. For Russell M. Nelson's first wife that he married. The same is true for Dallin Oaks, who is a member of the first presidency, the first counselor to Russell M. Nelson. He also is sealed to two women and that his current wife, Kristin, is going to have to also move over for Dallin Oaks first wife, June Dixon. After they pass away. So polygamy is still very much a part of Mormon theology, even though it's not being practiced quite the same way as it was practiced in the 19th century. When Ms. Holbrook says she's personally grateful that monogamy is the rule, then that plural marriage is the exception. I have to assume she probably knows that if she was to pass away, her husband could marry another woman, and if that woman was not already sealed to another man, her husband could be sealed to that woman and therefore Kate Holbrook would have to move over for her husband's second wife. It's still a part of Mormonism, folks. It has not gone away. But what is fascinating is how she shows what I think is her disdain for this doctrine by claiming that she's personally grateful that plural marriage is the exception.
It's not the rule the way it is right now in this mortality. That's true. But what I find fascinating, as though she doesn't seem to be quite as adamant about her dislike for the practice, Mitt Romney, a current senator from the state of Utah, certainly expressed his abhorrence for this doctrine when he was running for president. What did he say there, Erick?
The practice of polygamy is abhorrent. It's awful. And it drives me nuts that people who are polygamists keep pretending to use the umbrella of my church, he told the examiner. My church abhors it. It excommunicates people who practice it. And it's got nothing to do with my faith.
It's got nothing to do with his faith. Now, if he means that within the context of having two or more living wives for one Mormon male, then okay, perhaps he's correct in that, if that's what he's trying to get across to us. But when he says the practice of polygamy is abhorrent, it's awful and it drives me nuts.
I wonder how many folks know that Mitt Romney is the product of a plural marriage relationship because he is. Now, I'm not at all implying that Mitt Romney's father was a practicing polygamist, but there was an article in the church owned Deseret News that came out on February 25th, 2007, titled Polygamy Was Prominent in Romney's Family Tree. And it opens up with this paragraph. While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Republican presidential candidates, great grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great great grandfathers had 12. So it's easy for him to say it's so important. But his ancestors obviously didn't think it was so abhorrent or awful. It probably didn't drive them nuts. But when he says it drives him nuts that people who are polygamists keep pretending to use the umbrella of my church. That's an interesting accusation because, Eric, you and I have talked to practicing polygamists and they have the impression that they are the true church. It's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that abandoned this practice of polygamy as it was set forth by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and John Taylor. They give us the impression that it's the Mormons that are trying to be under their in Barella because they think they're the ones that are still being true to this practice and true to their founding prophet, Joseph Smith.
We have active polygamist groups in Utah here today that would say exactly what you're saying, that they're the true church, that the LDS church is the apostate church. Well, you've got the already the Kingston's, the FLDS. These groups have thousands of people involved in them. So for Romney to make it sound like polygamy doesn't play a role when today we know the top two leaders of the church do believe in polygamy. Yes, it's only in the spiritual sense. But still, they do believe they're going to see both of their wives in the next life and that they will have a chance to be able to add on otherwise as well. So polygamy is not a dead issue?
No, it's not a dead issue at all. And so when when Romney tries to give the impression that it's got nothing to do with my faith. Well, again, you need to ask what you mean by that, Mr. Romney. Are you talking about having two or more living wives at the same time? OK, we'll give you that. But polygamy certainly has much to do with the LDS faith today. You cannot go backwards in a race this if you don't like it. You can't erase it because to get rid of this idea of having polygamy in the hereafter, you would have to take away all those wives that were sealed to Brigham Young, all those wives seal to Joseph Smith, all the wives that have been sealed to other polygamists in years gone by. And that would probably be difficult for even many modern Latter-Day Saints to swallow.
I want to reiterate what you were saying earlier, that Kate Holbrook says she's personally grateful that monogamy is the rule and that plural marriage is the exception. And I wanted to say one more time. It's not the exception in the next life that polygamy will be reinstituted. This is what Bruce McConkey says. And Mormon doctrine, page five, 78. Obviously, the holy practice will commence again after the second coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium. Many Latter-Day Saints out there may think of the celestial kingdom as the grandparents, the parents and the children sitting around the fire. And that's all there is to the celestial kingdom. But that's not what Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 says, and that's not what the leaders have taught for so many years.
Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding is a research ministry, we encourage you to visit our Web site at W W W dot m or M dot org, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Have you ever wondered what life is like for women and children who are trapped in polygamy? If so, you're invited to hear from ministries aimed at reaching those in polygamy, as well as testimonies of former polygamists who are now Christians. This event will be held in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday, September 19, from eight thirty to two 30 p.m. Registration is twenty dollars per person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch for questions or to register. Call Chris at eight zero one seven five four three six three six. Again, that's eight zero one seven five four. Thirty six. Thirty six.