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May 26, 2021 9:39 pm
Answering questions by Bill McKeever during Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians want to share their faith with friends and loved ones. We should pick up your copy today that your favorite Christian bookstore viewpoint on Mormonism program that 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 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 we continue looking at chapter 8 in the book the gospel topics series a scholarly engagement, a book that was published by signature in late 2020. It contains 13 chapters that critique the 13 original gospel topics, essays that were posted online on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints between the years 2013 and 2015. This chapter deals with the subject of plural marriage. There were three original essays that dealt with that subject. This one deals with the essay that was titled plural marriage and families in early Utah.
It was posted on December 17, 2013. The chapter title is remembering forgetting and re-remembering 19th-century LDS plural marriage written by George D. Smith, who is the co-owner of signature books.
The paragraph that we are about to read really goes along with the title that George D. Smith picked for his chapter and were going to begin today on page 219.
He writes the idea plural marriage was introduced in 1830 practiced secretly in the early 1840s, and a decade later in 1852, was publicly announced 24 years later in 1876 plural marriage was canonized as LDS doctrine and covenants section 132 just 14 years after that in 1890, polygamy was ended by manifesto. The historical reality was then suppressed for over a century but was gradually reintroduced by dedicated historians. In December 2013.
The practice of plural marriage was officially admitted in some detail by an LDS gospel topics online historical essay.
Thus, from the perspective of 2013. The arc of documenting a memory suppressing that memory and collective rediscovery had come full circle. Let's talk about what he says in the first part of that paragraph he says that the idea plural marriage was introduced in 1830 practiced secretly in the early 1840s, and a decade later in 1852. This is after they've moved to what came to be known as a territory of desert rat. Eventually, the state of Utah.
It was publicly announced within 24 years later 1876 plural marriage was canonized as LDS doctrine and covenants 132. Let's not forget that there was for many years in the doctrine and covenants a section that denied the practice of plural marriage. They were trying to separate themselves from this practice, but here in 1876.
Now they're going to freely admit that this is a practice that God has commanded them to follow. But what I find interesting is how he says just 14 years after that in 1890, polygamy was ended by manifesto. Officially, it was Bob manifesto as it's known today, which is really nothing more than a press release or not. The revelation we've I don't even know where that revelation. If there is one even exist. I've never seen it in print. But most people turn to the manifesto of 1890 when Wilford Woodruff the fourth president announced that to the church.
Here's what I think needs to be discussed here in 1876 they put in section 132 that talks about the necessity of practicing plural marriage infected includes a curse on Emma Smith if she doesn't go along with the wives that had already been given to Joseph Smith. Her husband, when I see those numbers put together like that Eric, my first thought, and I have a note in the margin of my copy of gospel topics series God's shortsightedness. Doesn't it seem a little bit odd that God would command this practice it would eventually be put in Scripture.
In 1876, and then only 14 years later, the Mormons have to repudiate that practice what the God of Mormonism see this coming down the road you would think that if the God of Mormonism had any type of future insight that he would have known this is the last very long put it in 1876, but on the take it out just 14 years later as I was talking about yesterday. How do you think that affected a lot of Latter Day Saints.
It certainly had to be confusing to many of them who were very familiar with their history. Smith goes on to say the LDS church is essay on plural marriage and families in early Utah walked a tight rope and reflecting on the one hand, belief in the church's doctrines and prophetic reliability of its 19th-century officials sustained by church members as living prophets and on the other hand, a commitment to scholarly oriented analysis and discourse in walking this tight rope. The essay articulated several statements that merit our attention.
You see, George Smith has noticed something that I think cannot be overlooked. What you do when you have leaders telling you, and quite forcefully I might add up until 1890 when the manifesto then comes out. But up until that point, the leaders in the church were hammering on this subject. They were telling the people. This is of God. We can not abandon this principle. If you do so you might as well get rid of Mormonism. This is what the people were being told, and then like I say, all of a sudden, in 1890. It's forget everything you ever heard change your thinking were going in a new direction. No doubt that had to be very confusing to a lot of members on page 220 Smith writes the essay asserted that quote. There was much love, tenderness and affection within many plural marriages," but at the same time allege that quote, the practice was generally based more on religious belief than on romantic love." The essay provided at this point, a reference to one plural couples experiences ostensibly implying that such an example might be generalized across other such marriages get the essay also pointed out correctly. I believe that where plural families live geographically. Now they were in the 1840s in Salt Lake City made a difference in how plural marriage was experienced publicly acknowledged versus not announced.
It is therefore difficult to accurately generalize about the experience of all plural marriages.
Despite this caution, the essay occasionally wrist doing precisely what it sought to avoid a cast plural marriage in a generally positive light, making his judgments about a practice in the early LDS church.
The 21st century members lacked evidence to understand or evaluate, either positively or negatively, that that is an interesting observation that Mr. Smith makes there that the essay occasionally wrist doing precisely what it sought to avoid testing plural marriage in a generally positive light.
I've heard Latter Day Saints do that. I've also heard many Latter Day Saints expressed to me personally that they don't like the idea of plural marriage and you would think if there's that many who don't like it. Now they could be doing what is mentioned in the book using a present this type of view. In other words, judging the past five how they view it currently and forgetting how it was understood at the time it was being practiced, but still it would be difficult for me to assume that plural marriage was a pleasant experience, especially when you consider all the things that Brigham Young would say in various sermons about women who just couldn't get in line on this. He was, not constantly rebuking them, but more than once.
He certainly makes mention of women who don't seem to want to get along with the program and I think you even read one of those statements earlier in this series built.
I think he makes an excellent point at the bottom of page 220 needs actually going to give citations from early LDS leaders to support his point when he writes the essay stressed that while church leaders view plural marriage is a command of the church. Generally, they recognize that individuals who did not enter the practice could still stand approved of God in this instance the essay might be read as misstating if not misrepresenting the actual position of the 19th century church and his leadership on the central place of plural marriage in his theology and practice. In fact, belief in and practice plural marriage was according to the highest ranking LDS church officials. The central defining tenant of church doctrine. So then he goes on, Bill, and he's going to give these citations. He lists a total of five different citations.
The first one is from Brigham Young in 1855, where Young said now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so. I promise that you will be damned. There. That was a statement made by Brigham Young. If you do not continue to do so. I promise that you will be damned. How does that statement by Brigham Young square with the citation on 220 that Mr. Smith gives the essay stressed that while quote church leaders view plural marriage is a command to the church, generally."
They speaking of the church leaders quote recognize that individuals who did not enter the practice could still stand approved of God.
You're right, this is a good point that Mr. Smith is bringing out.
You cannot square that statement with that citation from Brigham Young, the second president of the church.
Here's one from 11 years later. Brigham Young gives the only men who become guys even the sons of God are those who enter into polygamy.
Others attain onto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the father the son, but they cannot reign as king's in glory because they had blessings offered onto them and they refused to accept them. In 1878, an apostle who later became the six president of the church. Joseph F. Smith said this. Some people have suppose that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity or nonessential to the salvation or exultation of mankind. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea for I know it is false. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the ceiling power according to the will of God is a fulfillment of the celestial marriage, in part, and is good so far as it goes in so far as a man obliges conditions of the law. He will receive his reward.
Therefore, and this rewarder blessing. He could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions, but this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to the celestial law by complying with only a portion of his conditions has deceived himself now again Bill. These are citations that Smith gives from these different leaders we've use these quotes before, but I think it's interesting that he brings out this point in the Mr. Smith says while church members adult men and women were not required as a condition of continuing membership to contract plural marriages. They had every reason to understand that from the church's perspective, couples who chose to remain in monogamous marriages were not only less than fully committed to the church they would not attain in the hereafter. The greatest reward awaiting only those most obedient to church teachings raining forever as gods and goddesses over an endless eternal progeny.
Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is