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Gospel Topics Chapter 8 Smith Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
May 27, 2021 9:40 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 8 Smith Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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May 27, 2021 9:40 pm

We continue our series reviewing the 2020 book The LDS Gospel Topics Series, this time chapter 8 “Remembering, Forgetting, and Re-remembering 19th-century LDS plural marriage” written by Signature Book publisher George D. Smith. For more on the Gospel Topics essays, visit mrm.org/gospel-topics-essays

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101 for teams is a valuable resource for anyone wanting a simplified view of the Mormon religion from a Christian perspective woman is 101 for teams is available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City or MRM.org .1 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 hoping you're having a very pleasant Friday. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM today we wrap up chapter 8 in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. This chapter deals with the gospel topics essay titled plural marriage and families in early Utah.

It was released by the LDS church on December 17, 2013. The chapter was written by George D.

Smith.

I think he does a very good job in talking about that particular essay that was produced by the church, but in yesterday show Eric. We were talking about a statement that the essay makes regarding the importance or perhaps you might say that not so important understanding of plural marriage during the 19th century, but he ends that section with this comment. He says the churches essay in attempting to soften or mitigate the church's hard-line 19th-century position regarding the centrality of plural marriage may have left some readers with the mistaken, if not erroneous understanding of polygamy's importance to the historical church.

Why is that statement by George Smith so important. Well, we need only turn back a page and look at page 220 to see what the essay tries to do it says the essay stress that while quote church leaders viewed plural marriage is the command of the church generally they recognize that individuals who did not enter the practice could still stand approved of God." No on the next page 221 George Smith the author of this chapter lists several citations from early Mormon leaders, primarily Brigham Young, the second president of the church. He also cites a citation from Joseph F. Smith, who would later become the sixth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

He also mentions John Taylor, John Taylor would become the third president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but in 1866 when he makes the following statement he was an LDS apostle. We want to read for you. The quotation from John Taylor and show you when you compare what John Taylor says with what the essay itself tries to imply there is certainly a contradiction. Where did this commandment come from in relation to polygamy. It also came from God and was made binding upon his servants. When this system was first introduced among this people. It was one of the greatest crosses that ever was taken up by any set of men. Since the world stood when this commandment was given it was. So far, religious, and so far binding upon the elders of this church that it was told them if they were not prepared to enter into it and to stem the torrent of opposition that would come in consequence of it the keys of the kingdom would be taken from them when I see any of our people, men or women opposing the principle of this kind. I have years ago set them down as on the high road to apostasy and I do today. I consider them apostates and not interested in this church and kingdom. So John Taylor is telling the people that this is doctrine that comes from God and is binding upon his servants, he says binding upon the elders of this church twice. He uses the word binding. Then he says if you don't do it. If you oppose that the consequence would be that the keys of the kingdom would be taken from you.

John Taylor looks at those members of the LDS church who oppose this principle.

I consider them apostates and not interested in the church and kingdom that seems to go against what the essay says and what George Smith cites on page 224 space he only gives us four citations but bill in your book in their own words that you put together you have 8+ pages on the issue of polygamy. This was a very serious topic in the 19th century for the leaders and over and over again. They said you had to participate in polygamy, or not have the ability to go to the celestial kingdom.

I think this is important. These are just a few select quotes. It is given, but there are many more resources we can go to on page 225 George Smith brings up the subject of civil disobedience because we know when were going to be talking about it in the future. Broadcast that even though the manifesto was supposed to bring the practice of plural marriage to a close, it didn't really do that. It was still being practiced after 1890.

What does George Smith say on page 225 he writes as a draws to a conclusion. The 2013 LDS essay noted that after the US Supreme Court declared anti-polygamy laws to be constitutional. The church and its members responded by continuing to practice plural marriage and by attempting to avoid arrest as public and private acts of civil disobedience. Offending church members paid fines and submitted to incarceration as well as separated into different households and/or went into hiding under assumed names, particularly when plural wives were pregnant or after giving birth. The essay strategic use of the term civil disobedience seems calculated to bestow greater nobility upon members actions at willfully engaging in unlawful activities than non-Latter Day Saints may have been inclined to grant or than the LDS church today might be so willing to afford.

That seems like a delicate task for the writer or writers of this essay. At one point you're claiming to be a church that follows the laws of the land but yet at the same time. In the essay you're lifting up those who practice their faith despite the fact that the government was saying you're going to go to prison if you do so. He continues on page 225. During the decades of the 1880s at the high point of the federal campaign against polygamy.

LDS leaders adopted a strident tone, one absent in today's more public relations conscious church in their rhetoric of civil resistance. Consider, for example, the following two statements. The first presented as a revelation from God. The second, as an authoritative declaration from the church's highest governing Council, the three-member first presidency at said Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth president of the church and this is what he writes and I say again what I want to that nation or house or people who seek to hinder my people from obeying the patriarchal lob Abraham which is plural marriage, which deleted to celestial glory which has been revealed onto my saints through the mouth of my servant, for whosoever do with these things shall be damned. Saith the Lord of hosts, and shall be broken up and wasted away from under heaven by the judgments which I have sent forth, and which shall not return unto me void, and thus with the sword and by bloodshed and with famine and plague's and earthquakes and the thunder of heaven and the vivid light means shall this nation and the nations of the earth be made to feel the chastening hand of an Almighty God until they are broken up and destroyed and wasted away from under heaven, and no power can stay my hand therefore let the wicked tremble, let them that blasting my name hold their lips for destruction will swiftly overtake them with the date of the that statement again. Eric has stated 1880, 1880 as distraction swiftly overtaken them no more than them will, obviously it would include the government of the United States pieces and I say again what want to that nation or house or people who seek to hinder my people from obeying the patriarchal lob Abraham or plural marriage.

This is specifically a threat against the United States government.

Let's not forget the moral act, the anti-bigamy act of 1862, and then later on, you would have the Edmonds Tucker act. Later in the 1880s, the hammer is coming down on the church. They better stop this or they're going to be disenfranchised in the properties going to be confiscated by the government it's the church that ends up crying uncle, not the US government, but will here's what I find fascinating about this. This is supposed to be a revelation to Wilford Woodruff not the time. He's an apostle. Later he would become the fourth president. But it's it's supposed to be a revelation to Wilford Woodruff. Now when this revelation was disseminated to the membership.

Did they not understand this as being just as much a revelation or command from God as the doctrine of polygamy itself and the reason why that is because if they felt that the doctrine of polygamy certainly came by revelation to a leader in the church. Why would they take this particular Revelation with any less seriousness but yet as you've noted, it was the church that failed and even though Wilford Woodruff attributes these words to God. In other words, he's adding words to God's mouth that God never said why are there still members of the LDS church today. Obviously this statement if nothing else proves that at least Wilford Woodruff was a false prophet because that did not happen the way Woodruff said it would happen. He says God is going to do all these things if nothing is done about the restrictions on this patriarchal law of Abraham and yet nothing was done to alleviate those restrictions. He also list one more citation. That's from the LDS first presidency and epistle to the Latter Day Saints and this one is dated 1986. I'm just going to read a portion of it where this statement says that it means dishonor treachery, cruelty and cowardice. The police is not the law but a gross and wicked perversion of the law above the revealed will of God and the noblest promptings of the human heart.

It is a promise that no true Latter Day Saints can make and that no humane being would demand but yet the church would acquiesce in years to follow. On page 226. Smith writes the 1880s also saw a ranking church leaders perform a special cursing ordinance.

After compiling a 13 page list of nearly 400 names of the church's enemies including passenger sitting US Pres. Martin Van Buren S Grant Rutherford B Hayes and James Buchanan.

So the church has an enemies list. And as it says here nearly 400 names and we see only four of the names that were on there that were prominent United States presidents. Obviously, this meant a lot to the leadership at that particular time that they would come up with this 13 page list George Smith and by commending the church for this essay. He says the church is 2013 gospel topics essay plural marriage and families in early Utah is evidence of a laudable institutional willingness to begin to address the challenges of a past that is more controversial and more interesting than many earlier church officials had us believe. So despite the many criticisms that George Smith has. He does commend them for coming forth with this kind of information. Thank you for listening. If 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 Mormonism research. We hope you'll join us again as we look at another viewpoint is as with most Christian organizations Mormonism research ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you. If you like what we do and how we do it, would you consider helping a more immediate financial obligations really go to my website MRM.org at the right you'll see in only click there and follow the instructions. MRM is a Christian nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and your gifts are tax-deductible, and only that they are greatly appreciated.

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