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The timeline and reasons of how the idea of polygamy evolved into practice is perplexing. It is causing me doubt how scriptures are to be obeyed, and how to trust the revelatory process. Let's look at the pattern Joseph Smith followed:
March 1830 - Joseph Smith publishes the Book of Mormon (supposedly scripture) which contains commandments from God. The only discussion of polygamy is found in Jacob 2, which clearly condemns the practice. However, there is a provision given for exceptions: only to 'raise up seed' if God commands it.
The Gospel Topics Essay on Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo states that "After receiving a revelation commanding him to practice plural marriage, Joseph Smith married multiple wives and introduced the practice to close associates." The only revelation I know of on polygamy came in July 1843 (D&C 132), yet Joseph Smith had married 22 (by some count) additional wives by July 1843.
2 Big Questions:
1. What revelation did Joseph Smith receive (per the mentioned Gospel Topic Essay) before the D&C 132 revelation that told him to practice polygamy, despite the Book of Mormon's 1830 prohibition (with exception)?
2. In light of the Jacob 2:30 provision for the allowance of polygamy to "raise up seed unto me..." why are there no (known) children that emerged from Joseph Smith's plural wives? Joseph apparently did not use polygamy to 'raise up seed.'
Knowing the background of the Lucy Walker story (if you don't, I can not emphasize enough the need to understand the story - resources below), I am curious how those who both know the story and who are faithful to the restoration and Church authority answer the following question.
Do you take the position that Joseph deceived Lucy Walker about God commanding him to take her as a plural wife, or do you subscribe to a God whose morality has him commanding a man in a father/daughter dynamic to change his relationship with this 16 year old girl living in his home effectively as his foster daughter into a husband/wife dynamic? I am also open to other perspectives that hold some other ground but wood tool answers will not be acceptable in this post (have faith, God will work it out on the other side, go pray about it and get your own answer knowing people get competing answers)
The question is not how does someone other than yourself come down or arrive at a perspective on this question but rather where do you personally come down on this question. I am deeply hoping that you wont avoid all-together or avoid using the mechanism that you know by the spirit that the Church is true hence you don't concern yourself with such conundrums. Instead what is your personal take on this historical issue.
While this historical story has been largely ignored, I think it is the most important story in all of Mormonism. bigger than the Book of Abraham, bigger than Helen Mar Kimball and Fanny Alger, bigger than first vision accounts, and Race and Priesthood.
The list of justifications for plural marriage is long and rooted in scripture, tradition, pseudo doctrine, etc.
If the practice of plural marriage was so important (as the 19th century LDS Church believed), why didn't God give Adam multiple wives instead of just one?
Can someone explain to me how Fanny Alger was a Plural Wife and not a mistress?
The essay states that monogomous marriage was the only legal marriage in America at that time. Are they claiming that Joseph illegally had a marriage ceremony performed?
We know the sealing keys from Elijah weren't received until 1836 though the Alger "dirty, filthy, affair" occurred in 1835 so we know it wasn't a sealing.
At best, Alger would either be an illigitimate/illegal wife of "spiritual wife" similar to what the essay denounced as being done by certain "unscrupulous men". Can someone help me understand how Fanny was a wife?