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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 24: Introduction to Polygamy

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2020 8:20 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 24: Introduction to Polygamy

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 4, 2020 8:20 pm

In this, the fifth week of shows on the LDS Church history book Saints, Bill and Eric open up the topic of conversation for the next few days: Polygamy

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever

One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 Mormonism 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. So glad you could join us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book Saints.

The standard of truth. A history book published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018, we've come up to the time period known as the Nauvoo. The Latter Day Saints have moved into an area called commerce Illinois and they would later change the name of commerce to Nauvoo and there's an interesting paragraph on page 433 that I think really sets the stage for what we're going to talk about today.

It says the years following Joseph's departure from Kirtland. This would be Kirtland Ohio had been turbulent and he had not introduced the saints to plural marriage, then, but the situation was different in Nauvoo where the saints had finally found a measure of safety and stability. In other words, we find that Joseph Smith is surrounded by a number of followers who definitely see him as a prophet of God and according to this paragraph he sees that this becomes an environment where he may introduce this doctrine. That really is nothing really new to Joseph Smith at this time.

He's been toying with this idea for a while and that's what we want to talk about so were going to go back to page 432 that talks about this introduction of this unique LDS teaching it says as much as Joseph welcomed a time of goodwill and peace in Nauvoo. However, he knew the Lord expected him to obey all his commandments.

Even if doing so, try the faith of the saints, and no commandment would be a greater trial than plural marriage, Joseph understood through revelation that marriage and family were central to God's plan. The Lord had sent Elijah the prophet to the Kirtland Temple to restore priesthood keys that seal generations together like links in the chain under the Lord's direction. Joseph had begun to teach more saints that husbands and wives could be sealed together for time and eternity becoming heirs to the blessings of Abraham and fulfilling God's eternal plan for his children. I need to interject here that when it talks about Joseph understood through revelation that marriage and family were central to God's plan. The reason why they have to word it that way is because you are not going to find this doctrine in the Bible.

So whenever you hear any Latter Day Saints use the phrase well according to modern revelation. You can be pretty sure it's not found in the Bible. They have to use that expression because the Bible says nothing about this idea that families need to be sealed together for time and eternity. There is nothing in the Bible that supports this. It's completely unique to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, then the next paragraph goes on to speak about a prohibition to plural marriage found in the book of Jacob, the prophet Jacob in the book of Mormon taught that no man should have quote save it be one wife." Unless God commanded otherwise as a story of Abraham and Sarah showed God sometimes commanded faithful followers to participate in plural marriage is a way to extend these blessings to more individuals and raise a covenant people to the Lord that I think we need to stop here and explain this when it says the prophet Jacob in the book of Mormon taught that no man should have quote save it be one wife.

Unless God commanded otherwise.

The book is referring to Jacob 227 in the book of Mormon where it says wherefore my brother and hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord, for there shall not any man among you have save it be one, wife and concubines, he shall have none.

No, what was the one exception. Though Eric did exception to the rule was unless God chose to raise up seed then God would tend to allow plural marriage mess verse 34. If I well say at the Lord of hosts raise up seed onto me. I will command my people. Otherwise, they shall hearken unto these things and obviously seed here is a reference to children. So here's what we have we have an exception to the rule in the exception meaning of God so desires to raise up seed.

Then polygamy would be okay. But that raises a problem in the context of Mormonism because Joseph Smith. Though we had numerous plural wives. In fact, the LDS church admitted in gospel topics essay on the subject that Smith could've had anywhere from 30 to 40 wives but did Joseph Smith have children through any of these relationships we know of none. In fact, DNA evidence seems to discount any notion that Smith did have offspring through these relationships, so the one exception to the rule.

Joseph Smith doesn't seem to follow. Doesn't that seem a little bit odd, though.

It's not that other Latter Day Saints who practice plural marriage didn't have offspring because certainly they did. Brigham Young had number of offspring through his plural wives.

But Joseph Smith didn't. And I think that is an important question why didn't he fulfill this change from Jacob 227 if he never had the offspring that it was supposed to bring about what it says is the story of Abraham and Sarah showed God sometimes commanded faithful followers to participate in plural marriage is a way to extend these blessings to more individuals and raise a covenant people to the Lord, though I would like to know where that can be found where God sometimes commanded polygamy. I don't see that in the story of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar that gets involved. I see that they go ahead of what God intended. Instead of doing what God intended. They went ahead and try to do their own plan and it cause a major problem because the people that came from Ishmael became the enemies of Israel, so it was a very bad situation. In my opinion the book even brings us out in the next sentences.

Despite the trials it brought Abraham's marriage to his plural wife Hagar had brought forth a great nation but it doesn't mention as you have just said that nation was always a thorn in the flesh to Israel, but when the gospel topics essay came out about plural marriage. It also mentions that Abraham was commanded to practice plural marriage and we did a search into the footnotes to see will maybe they have a reference that we were not familiar with and it didn't all. It merely did was have a reference to the biblical verse that talks about Abraham taking Hagar as it assumes a plural wife but there's nothing in those references that said that he was commanded to do so.

You see, this is something that the Mormon church reads into the biblical account to try to justify some of the claims that Joseph Smith comes up with later on. Smith claims he was commanded to do it and he tries to make it sound as if Abraham was as well to draw this kind of a biblical parallel but you don't find that anywhere in the Bible as you said, Eric, and I think correctly so it was kind of like Abraham taken it upon himself to fulfill something that he wasn't physically able to do with the time and it caused a lot of serious complications that quite frankly folks we seek taking place today. Just think about that. We still see that tension between Israel and the Arab nations we back to Abraham trying to bring about something that God didn't command him to do so for this book to further the myth or should I even go so far as to say to further the lie that God somehow commanded Abraham to take on more than one wife is just utterly preposterous. But as it goes on to say in this paragraph plural marriage would likewise try the saints who practice it. Yet the Lord promised to exalt them for their own medians and sacrifice.

While I appreciate that the church is trying to be upfront and honest with his history that years ago.

It did not do it really wasn't until the gospel topics essays came out that they actually came out and said that Joseph Smith did have between 30 and 40 wives as you mentioned earlier but at the same time there and to be able to justify it because, well, if Abraham was commanded to do it than Joseph also was commanded to do it and it gives in a way to justify that polygamy ever took place. I don't think God ever intended either Abraham or Joseph Smith to be able to do this.

I believe Joseph Smith did this on his own volition and we see a lot of issues. I think it leads to his death. I think without polygamy. He probably would not have been killed but because of all the things that he did with polygamy and ended up causing a lot of hurt feelings. And I think there were a lot of people upset with another expositor that came out that he destroys the printing press. The book goes on page 433 and says Joseph also had confidence in the United States Constitution, which protected the free exercise of religion. Earlier that year the knobby city Council had affirmed this right when it passed an ordinance declaring that all religious groups were permitted to worship freely in Naboo. The law extended the Christians and non-Christians alike.

Even though no one in Naboo followed Islam. The ordinance even specifically protected Muslims who sometimes practice polygamy now when I read that, I have to admit, I'm kind of perplexed why of old beliefs that the Muslims have did they have to include that some of them practice polygamy or the authors of this book trying to imply here. If a Muslim with plural wives was to come and live in Nauvoo that Joseph Smith would have no problem with them having many wives now it's true that in these minutes that the footnote here talks about it does mention a number of religious beliefs including Mohammed and's as they were understood to be at that time, but it doesn't specifically say anywhere in their that they would be welcome if they were practicing polygamy.

It does not say that in the footnote that's given here in the book. So why did they include that unique practice among the Muslims. We know that Joseph Smith was toying with the idea of polygamy before 1841 when this ordinance came about. We know this by reading the very next page 435. This is goes back to 1840. Joseph Smith is already starting to practice polygamy.

I just found it fascinating, though, that they would include that Muslims sometimes practice polygamy of all the teachings that Muslims hold to. Why did the authors see it being important to include that practice is it because they're trying to show that Joseph Smith was very progressive in his beliefs, or is he trying to show that God was already getting him ready to instigate the practice of polygamy and therefore it felt it necessary to throw it in here. He knew the practice of plural marriage would shock people and he remain reluctant to teach it openly and I went essay to spell most people in the Midwest where this is taking place were believers in the Bible and the Bible is very much a monogamous book and of course there's going to be opposition because it does not come from biblical truth that comes from Joseph Smith's own mind, and his desire to be able to have as many wives as he wanted to in tomorrow's show were going to continue with this thought of how Joseph Smith introduces the teaching of plural marriage in the community work he is mayor, the community of Nauvoo, Illinois. Thank you for listening you would like more information is research ministry.

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