Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

Gospel Topics Chapter 7 Bergera Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2021 4:49 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 7 Bergera Part 6

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 14, 2021 4:49 pm

We continue our series by looking at a chapter on polygamy written by Gary Bergera, responding to the Signature book published in 2020 on the Gospel Topics Essays. For more on the Gospel Topics Essays, see


Looking for a resource written for young people. That explains the Mormon religion from a biblical worldview. Mormonism 101 pertains by Mormonism research ministries. Johnson addresses basic LDS doctrine while answering important questions such as, is it okay to date my woman friend.

This book will help you better understand what can otherwise be a complicated religion. Mormonism 101 pertains available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City for purchase online and .1 Newman's commandment examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on 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 hoping you're having a very pleasant Friday. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague at MRM today we wrap up our look at chapter 7 titled through a glass darkly, Joseph Smith, and plural marriage, a chapter written by Gary James Berger in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement.

Now I know we've taken some extra time to look at this chapter, but I think the subject matter is very important. We are also going to be looking at two more chapters within this book that deal with the subject of plural marriage. But before we close out today.

Esther Berger has some complaints about this particular essay and this is what he says on page 208. Finally, the essay does not reference some of the most important scholarship on the history of Mormon polygamy. Frankly, I find it difficult to read. This omission is anything other than deliberate. Given that the essay refers explicitly to quote the contributions of scholars to the historical content presented in this article."

He gives a number of examples of authors and their books that he feels should have been included as well. He may have a point in the reason I say that is because he specifically laments the omission of George Smith's book, which was titled Nauvoo polygamy but we called it celestial marriage is reason being that Smith was the first scholar to calculate the number of men and women involved in plural marriage. By the time the church reached the Salt Lake Valley in mid-1847. Instead, Mr. Berger says the essay at note 20 ignores Smith's pioneering study and instead cites the later authors work to document the number he goes on to say that the essay most frequently cites researcher Brian C. Hales, who aided in the preparation of the essay, and whose own work is referenced eight times, but he goes on to say that his concern is not so much with Hales work however much.

One may agree or disagree with his interpretations as it is with the essay's tethering itself so tightly to the arguments and conclusions of only one scholar when the insightful work of other scholars is just as if not more persuasive. He goes on and says the argument that Joseph Smith was a reluctant polygamist downplay Smith's exuberant enjoyment of life and charismatic allure. He was after all 35 years old in 1841 it imposes on him, a brand of mortality that was foreign to him and ignores the ramifications of his own and others' perception of him as heavens lawgiver quote that which is wrong under one circumstance may be and often is right under another." Smith reportedly taught of plural marriage and elsewhere elaborated that there are quote many things in the Bible, which do not as a now stand accord with the revelation of the Holy Ghost to me." One thing that Mr. Berger Desi. He does tend to jump back and forth with his thoughts. He'll say something and then he'll address it again in this issue that he raises on page 209 that you just read Eric has to do with the argument that is been often raised by many Latter Day Saints that Joseph Smith's involvement in plural marriage had nothing to do with sexual lust. I think Mr. Berger has a problem with that. I mean, as he says here he was 35 years old in 1841 and this idea as he says imposes on Smith, a brand of morality that was foreign to him and ignores the ramifications of his own and others' perception of him as heavens lawgiver and then out of the blue he gives that quote that which is wrong under one circumstance may be and often is right under another. That is a reference to a statement that Joseph Smith made in a letter to Nancy Rigdon who was the daughter of Sidney Rigdon, Nancy Rigdon was approached by Joseph Smith to be a plural wife and I think Joseph Smith naturally assumed that this 19-year-old girl was going to do whatever he told her to do and she basically told him to go take a flying leap. I'm sure that surprised him.

Let me read you this story that's found in the book, Sidney Rigdon, a portrait of religious excess. The story is found on page 295.

But Nancy, a buxom and winsome girl, according to one account was not cooperative. Despite her tender age. She did not hesitate to express herself, the profits seductive behavior shocked her. She rebuffed him in a flurry of anger. It goes on to say, incredulous. The feisty Nancy countered that if she ever got married she would marry a single man or none at all.

Grabbing her bonnet. She ordered the door opened, or she would raise the neighbors. She then stormed out of the hide Richard's residence.

Now this would be a couple that were members of the church pretty influential at that time Van Wagoner goes on to say that within a day or two. Amanda the name of Willard Richards who is referenced in that previous paragraph delivered a private letter to Nancy, the prophet, as was custom, had dictated the personal communication through his scribe. The essence of that message made an intriguing appendage to Sidney Rigdon's ninth of April E for Mark's funeral sermon, according to observer Wilford Woodruff. That's the same Wilford Woodruff would become the fourth president of the church president Rigdon. Sidney Rigdon took as his text quote when we see a principle that makes us the most happy if we will cultivate that principle and practice it ourselves. It will render others copy" then Wagoner goes on to say, the prophet and listen carefully. The prophet who habitually use language as much to conceal as he did to express began his letter to Nancy with the cheerful assertion happiness is the object and design of our existence. After a brief discussion on keeping the commandments. The message cut to the chase and this is what the letter said by Smith that which is wrong under one circumstance may be and often is right under another does it not surprise you that an individual like Joseph Smith would use this type of manipulation tactic on a young girl to get what he wants. This is why I think Berger is absolutely correct. You cannot rule out any of Joseph Smith's sexual desires for these girls and these other plural wives. You just can't do that and I think it's turning a blind eye to the circumstances for any Latter Day Saints who chooses to do that when he says that which is wrong under one circumstance may be and often is right under another. What's he basically admitting he's the best he's basically admitting something is wrong here and you better get over it. I think that as Christians we might say that could be partially true bill because there's what's called the law of the higher good. And this idea for instance with Rahab the prostitute that was living who was living in Jericho, so Rahab allowed spies to come into Jericho and then when she was asked about it she lied and she's commanded in Hebrews chapter 11 the Hall of Fame. Some would say well I guess mine is okay well this is a different circumstance here completely, because what Joseph Smith is doing is committing adultery, and adultery is wrong in all shapes and forms. I don't think there's any justification is not one of those arguments, like the law of the higher good where you could possibly make a justification for ally. Adultery is adultery. Berger goes on page 210 to say Smith may have been a man possessed of intense spirituality and craving for contact with the divine. But he was also a man of singular intellect, passion and appetite. Excitement powered his existence, friendship and family form the bedrock of his idealized celestial social order, love and sex. Or, as he termed reproduction quote unquote occupied an integral place in his plural marriage teaching that same sociology which exists among us here Smith taught will exist among us. There.

That is in heaven, only it will be coupled with eternal joy which glory we do not now enjoy citing doctrine and covenants section 130 verse to his 1843 revelation stated explicitly that plural wives are given unto him that is the husband to multiply and replenish the earth, citing doctrine and covenants section 132 verse 63, but then Berger offers some advice because remember he does have some problems with this essay and here at the end of his chapter.

He offers what he calls his unsolicited advice to the, the author or authors of the gospel topics essay on Joseph Smith and LDS plural marriage. He writes do not be afraid to acknowledge the problematic nature of the primary sources, especially when memory dependent reminiscence form the foundation of your work. Be skeptical of the details.

Such sources contain, including precise dates, direct and summarize quotations attributed to Smith and to others interpretations of doctrines that cannot be supported by contemporary documents.

Recitals of events that sound too good and/or too convenient to be true, especially when they cannot be independently corroborated beware of your own present test and other biases. If you cannot set them aside. Admit them to readers. Be cautious. Avoid making definitive sounding conclusions invite prepublication comment from a variety of scholars, not simply those who share your own inclinations. I think most people would probably say that that's pretty good advice for just about everything and we are all prone to fall short of some of those categories, Billy talked about this before, but we are recommending that somebody who's interested in what we been talking about these past weeks. Get the book. The LDS gospel topics series and I invite you not only to read that.

But to read the original gospel topics essay center located on the church website. Because these are very important and I think as Christians we can use these as evangelistic tools because I think there are many Latter Day Saints who do not like what the church has written that they didn't know about before 2014 and if you want to find those essays is probably a lot faster to go to because on our homepage. If you scroll down you'll see a box and that will take you directly to the gospel topics essay.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request our free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is in their own words collection of Mormon quotations compiled by Mormonism research ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic and pick up your copy of the Utah lighthouse bookstore or

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime