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John Larsen

Joseph F. Smith on Plural Marriage

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"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false."

Joseph F. Smith (Prophet, Seer and Revelator)

JD 20:28

Was Smith right or wrong?

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"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false."

Joseph F. Smith (Prophet, Seer and Revelator)

JD 20:28

Was Smith right or wrong?

If he's right, then LDS today cannot claim to have access to the "fullness" of the Gospel.

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"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false."

Joseph F. Smith (Prophet, Seer and Revelator)

JD 20:28

Was Smith right or wrong?

Smith was wrong........on a number of levels........

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If he was a Prophet, then how were his revelations wrong?

Smith was wrong........on a number of levels........

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"Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation of exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false."

Joseph F. Smith (Prophet, Seer and Revelator)

JD 20:28

Was Smith right or wrong?

He is correct. The more people you serve, the more glorious you are. If you dedicate yourself eternally to two people, you will be more glorious than if you dedicate yourself eternally to one person. However, both of these examples are greatly glorious all the same.

Alas, this is talking about polygamy in the eternities, so it wouldn't effect fullness of the gospel =). But we don't have the fullness of the gospel quite anyways, as we aren't living the law of cons. right now.

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If he was a Prophet, then how were his revelations wrong?

Excellent question......think about it........

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JD 20:28

Was Smith right or wrong?

For 1878, he was right.

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I have thought about it :P It would mean either he is correct, or he is not a prophet? And what is the law of cons?

Excellent question......think about it........

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I have thought about it :P It would mean either he is correct, or he is not a prophet? And what is the law of cons?

The "law of consecration" which many associate with plural marriage.

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You have me there. I'm unfamiliar with the term ;)

cons. = consecration

But given the subject matter, it was an injection of comic relief :P

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For 1878, he was right.

That was my understanding (when I was a member). Requirements for Saints could vary, depending on the times in which they lived. But, it was also my understanding that plural marriage would be a part of the Celestial Kingdom.

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For 1878, he was right.

The Gospel is not an eternal truth, but dependent upon date and time? Is there any truth or moral that is not relative in Mormonism?

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I have thought about it :P It would mean either he is correct, or he is not a prophet? And what is the law of cons?

The Law of Consecration is a special celestial law, that is rather hard to live by. The Saints tried living by it in their early years, but were unable to due to the high amounts of sacrifice involved. So God replaced it with the law of tithing for the time being.

In the Law of Consecration, everyone's income goes to the bishop, and the bishop distributes it to people according to their needs (family size, disabilities, etc). Thus nobody starves or is too poor to care for their family. And everybody is in the service of the others.

But yes... if you would like to know more about it, just ask =).

BTW, I wouldn't associate the law of consecration with polygamy, other than that they are both celestial laws which the Lord has asked of not to participate in at the time. I have a feeling though that after the second coming (or perhaps even before that), we will be living it once again.

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cons. = consecration

But given the subject matter, it was an injection of comic relief :P

Thanks senator....I eventually found it on my own and edited my reply. Sometimes I need to read the thread a little more closely.......

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The Law of Consecration is a special celestial law, that is rather hard to live by. The Saints tried living by it in their early years, but were unable to due to the high amounts of sacrifice involved. So God replaced it with the law of tithing for the time being.

In the Law of Consecration, everyone's income goes to the bishop, and the bishop distributes it to people according to their needs (family size, disabilities, etc). Thus nobody starves or is too poor to care for their family. And everybody is in the service of the others.

But yes... if you would like to know more about it, just ask =).

BTW, I wouldn't associate the law of consecration with polygamy, other than that they are both celestial laws which the Lord has asked of not to participate in at the time. I have a feeling though that after the second coming (or perhaps even before that), we will be living it once again.

When I told my still faithful daughter-in-law that living the law of plural marriage was a distinct possibility she was horrified and didn't believe me. I think there are many of the younger generations of the church that believe it was a strange aberration and is gone forever.

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When I told my still faithful daughter-in-law that living the law of plural marriage was a distinct possibility she was horrified and didn't believe me. I think there are many of the younger generations of the church that believe it was a strange aberration and is gone forever.

I'd agree. Although I can guarantee at least one of them knows, that person being this poster right here. :P;)

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Many many of the prophets in the Old Testament lived in polygamy, so why would it be considered something that could never/would never occur or occur again? I can't say that my mind delights in the idea, but that doesn't mean that it isn't truth.

I'd agree. Although I can guarantee at least one of them knows, that person being this poster right here. :P;)

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Before the 1890 "Manifesto", it was repeatedly and emphatically taught from general conference that in order to faithfully live the full gospel and receive the highest glory in the CK you HAD to practice plurality of wives in THIS LIFE. Men who only took the minimum of two wives were censored for lack of faithfulness. Furthermore, "the practice" was taught to be an essential feature: For instance

"The doctrine of polygamy with the Mormons is not one of that kind that in the religious world is classed with 'non essentials.' It is not an item of doctrine that can be yielded, and faith in the system remain.... Mormonism is that kind of religion the entire divinity of which is invalidated, and its truth utterly rejected, the moment any one of its leading principles is acknowledged to be false..... Polygamy was revealed by God, or the entire fabric of their faith is false. To ask them to give up such an item of belief, is to ask them to relinquish the whole, to acknowledge their Priesthood a lie, their ordinances a deception, and all that they have toiled for, lived for, bled for, prayed for, or hoped for, a miserable failure and a waste of life." Millennial Star - Vol 5:27, October 1865

"God will not change his law of celestial marriage. But the man, the people, the nation, that oppose and fight against this doctrine and the Church of God will be overthrown." Lorenzo Snow (1886, from jail) - History of Utah, Whitney, 3:471

"Those who made the attack perhaps hope to drive the people of God to renounce the doctrine and promise not to obey the revelation. Unless the Saints apostatize, such an action on their part is impossible. By doing so, they would deliberately shut the door of the celestial glory in their own faces.... To comply with the request of our enemies would be to give up all hope of ever entering into the glory of God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, the Son. ... So intimately interwoven is this precious doctrine with the exaltation of men and women in the great hereafter that it cannot be given up without giving up at the same time all hope of immortal glory." George Q. Cannon - Jun. Instructor, May 1, 1885, Editorial

So yes, Joseph F. Smith was right. But with 20/20 hindsight over a century later, it is obvious that the Church then is not the same church today. What that means to mainstream Mormons is surely and vastly different than to a believing FLDS Mormon....

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Many many of the prophets in the Old Testament lived in polygamy, so why would it be considered something that could never/would never occur or occur again? I can't say that my mind delights in the idea, but that doesn't mean that it isn't truth.

I don't know why it wouldn't be practiced again - I think it will be. And if one looks in D&C 132, the reasons given are rather just (in my opinion). To me, it's something that seems fair, and that's why I guess I don't have a problem with it, but I guess most of the people of the young generation haven't been shown that yet. In time, I suppose.

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That was my understanding (when I was a member). Requirements for Saints could vary, depending on the times in which they lived. But, it was also my understanding that plural marriage would be a part of the Celestial Kingdom.

I'm not sure how much the Lord expects us to understand before understanding the need to keep whatever covenant He has placed us under in the first place.

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If he was a Prophet, then how were his revelations wrong?

The real question is what equals a revelation?

Is every opinion of a man revelation?

I say no, I have many opinions on things that have nothing to do with the revelations I have received for my life from the Holy Ghost.

I believe that socialism is a crime against humanity, I believe this very deeply. I openly will discuss this topic with much passion at times, this does not make it revelation from God but my opinion on a subject from my temporal knowledge.

Joseph F. Smith was speaking from his personal beliefs here, not from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. If he was speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost he would of told us with the famous "Thus sayith the Lord . . ." preface.

At this point his words would have to be accepted by unanimous decision of the General Authorities as the will of the Lord, and sustained by the Body of Christ to be a revelation.

Many vicious detractors like to act like every word out of a prophet's mouth is revelation. This is not biblical or logical, a prophet is still a man or woman, they still have there own opinions and beliefs outside of the revelations they receive from the Lord.

So the answer to your question is, President Smith's revelations are not wrong.

This statement he made is wrong, the reason why it can be wrong and none of his revelations be wrong is that this statement is not a revelation!

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Isn't it true that at it's 'height' only 15% of LDS men had more than one wife? Isn't it also true that no man could take a plural wife unless he was directed to do so? (I'm honestly asking as i think i remember reading that but i might be remembering wrong).

If those two things were true then it is reasonable to reconsider what JFS meant by his quote, knowing that when he said it, most of the LDS membership had no access to plural marriage.

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Isn't it true that at it's 'height' only 15% of LDS men had more than one wife? Isn't it also true that no man could take a plural wife unless he was directed to do so? (I'm honestly asking as i think i remember reading that but i might be remembering wrong).

If those two things were true then it is reasonable to reconsider what JFS meant by his quote, knowing that when he said it, most of the LDS membership had no access to plural marriage.

When I was studying in America, I took an Institute class from Dr Kenneth Godfrey, who asserted that, based on his own research, during the height of the practice of plural marriage, 1/3 of all adult men in the church never married, in large part due to a complete lack of possible companions.

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Isn't it true that at it's 'height' only 15% of LDS men had more than one wife? Isn't it also true that no man could take a plural wife unless he was directed to do so? (I'm honestly asking as i think i remember reading that but i might be remembering wrong).

If those two things were true then it is reasonable to reconsider what JFS meant by his quote, knowing that when he said it, most of the LDS membership had no access to plural marriage.

This is true as far as I know, in most cases plural marriage was almost like a calling. You were approached by the leadership and asked to take another wife, you when needed approval of your current spouse(s).

Once the practice was banned some members continued the practice until 1910, these marriages were conducted and sealed against the wishes of the First Presidency and without there knowledge and permission. These marriages are not valid since you need First Presidency approval to seal any plural marriage. Those who entered into theses marriages were excommunicated, some of them went off to form various polygamist sects that make us the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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The Gospel is not an eternal truth, but dependent upon date and time? Is there any truth or moral that is not relative in Mormonism?

The Gospel is certainly eternal truth. The delivery system in this temporal world is headed by Christ and is appropriately no more static than our bodies, lives, world conditions or even the planet throughout their temporal existence. So the Church structure and its practices necessarily change over time and from time to time under His direction. Whatever the covenants may be, they become the eternal principles for that people to live by (Eternal is His name), or "the fullness."

In this way the keys to deliver the Father

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