Lesson 20 A Heart Full of Love and Faith: The Prophet’s Multiple Wives?

LDS Belief:

In order to obtain the highest degree of heaven a person must be married in the Temple. Through Joseph Smith God commanded plural marriage. Anyone who rejected this covenant would not be permitted to enter into God’s glory. LDS women today are protected from sharing their husbands with “sister wives” because Polygamy was abolished. In 1890 the US Government forced the LDS Church to end polygamy and abide by the laws of the land that it had been violating for fifty years.

LDS Words

Found in lesson 20, page 246:
The Prophet Joseph told Emma that he was “a true and faithful friend to [her] and the children forever,” and he thanked her for her “warm and true-hearted friendship

Found in D&C 132:
(Heading) Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet…as also plurality of wives… Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831.
Verse 1: “…Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines
Verse 52: And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph…and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.”
Verse 64: “…if any man have a wife…and he teaches unto her…as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her…

Found in D&C 131:1-3:
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

Found in D & C Declaration 1, Manifesto:
“The question is this: Which is the wisest course for the Latter-day Saints to pursue—to continue to attempt to practice plural marriage, with the laws of the nation against it and the opposition of sixty millions of people, and at the cost of the confiscation and loss of all the Temples, and the stopping of all the ordinances therein, both for the living and the dead, and the imprisonment of the First Presidency and Twelve and the heads of families in the Church, and the confiscation of personal property of the people (all of which of themselves would stop the practice); or, after doing and suffering what we have through our adherence to this principle to cease the practice and submit to the law, and through doing so leave the Prophets, Apostles and fathers at home, so that they can instruct the people and attend to the duties of the Church…”

Link to Lesson:

TofP Lesson 20

The Bold Truth:

All who have faith in Jesus will dwell in the highest degree of heaven with Heavenly Father—no matter whether they were married or single. Heavenly Father has commanded that marriage is between one man and one woman. Having more than one wife is committing the sin of adultery. Anyone who has ever practiced plural marriage sinned against God’s Holy law and suffered earthly consequences.

I recently watched a you-tube video called “Emma Smith — A Woman of Faith”. It emphasized several traumatic events from Emma’s life with background music repeating the words “How much can one heart take?” This video didn’t mention what I believe was the most difficult thing Emma’s heart endured—the unfaithfulness of her husband.

Every woman should put themselves in Emma’s place. How would you feel if your husband told you he had received a revelation from God commanding plural marriage? He then “obeys” God by “marrying” several women and consummates those marriages. Imagine lying alone at night knowing that the man you love is in the same house sexually involved with another woman whom he claims was given to him by God. Would you believe him and submit to his priesthood authority? It appears Emma tried to object, but Joseph claimed God told her to “receive all those that have been given unto” him or she would be “destroyed” (D&C 132:52, 64).

Reading Joseph’s love letters to Emma in this Lesson and knowing that he was being sexually intimate with other women was not easy for me. It’s hard to understand how any man could declare his love and loyalty to his wife at the same time destroying the intimacy he had with her by giving it to other women. While it’s hard to understand, I know it happens because the man I married in the temple did this to me.

Since Emma believed her husband was a Prophet she must have been conflicted about what was truly right. If she would have turned to scripture she would have learned that Joseph was wrong. Nowhere does Heavenly Father command plural marriage. When we read about men with multiple wives these are passages which merely describe what’s happening. (For instance, God did not command men to have sex with harlots, even though scripture describes that Judah committed this sin, Genesis 38:15).

What is the truth about plural marriage? God’s Apostle instructed Bishops and Deacons they were to be husbands of but one wife. The Bible clearly shows the painful and natural consequences of the unnatural union of polygamy. Whenever women shared a husband we read of favoritism, rivalry and bitter jealousy. The sins of the father were “visited” upon his children and grandchildren through horrendous consequences including banishment, slavery, rape, betrayal, murder and rebellion. This was true for Abraham, Jacob, Hannah, David and Solomon’s families (Isaac and Moses did not practice polygamy).

Jesus testified that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman, who become one flesh. They are no longer two, but one! In addition, a marriage founded on God’s love is even more rewarding and awesome! It’s a lovingly intimate relationship where two people forgive each others faults because they have received this forgiveness from Jesus! When Christ is at the center of a marriage, that marriage flourishes!

As painful as Joseph’s revelation concerning plural marriage was to Emma; it is not his most damaging revelation about marriage. He revealed that to gain the highest kingdom one must be married and both the husband and wife must be worthy to enter. A single person or a person whose marriage partner falls short will spend eternity as a “ministering servant for those who are worthy of a far more” exceeding eternal glory.

Eternal Consequences

Don’t place your faith in LDS prophets who claim you must have a marriage relationship to dwell with Heavenly Father. The only relationship that matters is your relationship with Jesus!

Is He your Savior from the sins that entangle you — even the ones you can’t seem to forsake? Do you trust completely that His blood covers all your sins and leaves you spotless? Are you so grateful for everything Jesus did for you that everything you do is for Him?

Or, does Jesus merely give you the gift of resurrection and the opportunity to dwell with God if you do “all that the Savior commands”? If so, on Judgment day you will stand before God in your own imperfect and soiled righteousness.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Polygamy forbidden:
– Deut 17:17
– Lev 18:18
– Mal 2:14-15
– Matt 19:4-5
– Mark 10:2-8
– Titus 1:6
Evil Effects of plural marriages:
– Deut 21:15-17
– Gen 16
– Gen 21:9-16
– Gen 29:30-34
– Gen 30:1-23
– 1 Samuel 1:4-7
– 2 Chr 11:21
– 1 Kings 11:4-8
Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, not God
– Genesis 16: 1-6
Marriage is for earthly life, not eternity
– Matt 22:29, 30
– Mark 12:24, 25
Sins of the Fathers
– Exodus 20:5
Bishops can have only one wife
– 1 Timothy 3:2, 12
Additional LDS Words

Found in Gospel Principles, page 255:
“The atonement of Jesus Christ assures each of us that we will be resurrected and live forever. But if we are to live forever with our families in Heavenly Father’s presence, we must do all that the Savior commands us to do. This includes being baptized and receiving the ordinances of the temple.”

Found in D&C 132:16:
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. 17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

Links to Additional LDS Words:
Emma Smith, A Woman of Faith: How Much Can One Heart Take
You Tube Video Clip
Joseph Smith obeyed the command of plural marriage
Gospel Topics
Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, D&C Chapter 31
Address by President Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto
Doctrine and Covenants Official Declaration 1, Manifesto
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