Anyone knowing and believing their Bible thoroughly will recognise the horrific contradictions - just as Mrs Stenhouse clearly did - but we will examine them in more detail later in this text.
If polygamy sounds very far from Christian family values it is because that is exactly what it is! Jesus himself quoted Genesis 2:24 concerning a husband and wife becoming one flesh and (Matthew 19:5) he never said anything about wives, for he was clearly talking about the singular - one wife - not plural. 1 Timothy 3:1-2,12 is equally clear:
'Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife ... 12 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well ...'
and 1 Corinthians 7:2:
'Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband'
The Bible is clear that Christian leaders and believers in the church must have only one wife. This clear teaching has been intentionally ignored and distorted by the Mormon church in the past, and today, and Mormon family values are certainly not Biblical family values.
The Mormon Church practiced polygamy from about 1832 to after 1890 even though the D&C 101:4 (1835 edition which remained Mormon scripture until 1876) denied the practice in the church by declaring:
'Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.'
Both the Bible (1 Timothy 3:2ff.; cf. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:4-6; Luke 16:18) and the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 16:7; Mosiah 11:2-14; Ether 10:5 Jacob 1:15, 2:23-24; 3:5) clearly condemn the practice of polygamy. Joseph Smith was supposedly inspired to write against polygamy, for in the Book of Mormon we read (Jacob 2:23-24):
'But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.'Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.'
The official line of the church was to deny polygamy and Section 101 was printed in all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants until the year 1876 when Smith had another 'revelation of convenience' and inserted section 132, which permits a plurality of wives in blatant contradiction to the earlier 'revelations.' The embarrassment of one section condemning polygamy and another approving it eventually caused the offending statements in Section 101 to be completely removed from Doctrine and Covenants. Unfortunately for the Mormon Church, original copies of the earlier D&C still exist and are online, e.g.:
Section 132, which was added to the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876 was a 'revelation' given by Joseph Smith on July 12, 1843 and has never been removed, even though the Mormon church contradicted itself again by going back to practicing monogamy.
In 1843, Joseph Smith even told the press that Mormons did not practice polygamy, while at the time he was already married to 12 women, having taken a 17 year old orphan as his second wife back in 1835 (ref. The Twenty-Seventh Wife, Wallace, Irving, NY, Simon & Schuster, 1961).
The following text deals with the main points taken from Joseph Smith's D&C 132 'revelation':
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant 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 -
2 Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.
5 For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.
6 And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.
7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. ...
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
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. ....
25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.
26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.
27 The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.
28 I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was. ...
33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.
34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.
35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.
36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.
38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
39 David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord. 40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word.
41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.
42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.
43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery. …
47 And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.
48 And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven.
49 For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.
50 Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.
51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.
52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.
53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.
56 And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.
57 And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him; for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold, and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.
58 Now, as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.
59 Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.
60 Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood - if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, 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; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.
66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.
The 'revelation' clearly contradicts the Book of Mormon verses quoted above (e.g. Jacob 2:23-24):
'David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord'
and goes against the will of God (as the Bible verses quoted earlier clearly show). The whole of D&C 132 is obviously slanted to persuade Emma Smith (and others) to accept the 'revelation' or risk eternal damnation.
Mormon leaders admit that by July 12, 1843, when the revelation was supposed to have been given, Joseph Smith had already acquired plural wives. The revelation itself makes it clear that he was already involved with a number of women besides his wife, Emma: 'And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph ...' (verse 52). The revelation itself (verse 61) makes it clear that the first wife must 'give her consent.' But Joseph Smith clearly did not follow the rules of his own revelation, for he took plural wives without seeking consent and Emily Dow Partridge, for instance, testified that she and her sister were married to Joseph without Emma's consent. The fact that Smith repeatedly threatened, through Section 132, that his first and only legal wife Emma would be damned or destroyed if she did not accept polygamy does not alter the fact that Emma knew the truth about the deception and never accepted polygamy. While Joseph Smith died in 1844 at the age of 38, Emma lived to the ripe old age of 75 and became the driving force behind the founding of the 'Reorganized' church (RLDS) located at Independence, Missouri. The RLDS refused to accept polygamy and rejected Brigham Young as Smith's successor by pinning the blame for this false doctrine on him and installing Smith's son, Joseph Junior, as the succeeding 'prophet' instead.
A book revealing the truth about Smith's adultery (Linda King Newell & Valeen Tippets Avery Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 2nd ed. (University of Illinois Press, 1994), 394 pages, paperback, ISBN 0-252-06291-4) won the 1985 Mormon History Association's Best Book Award and the 1985 John Whitmer Association (RLDS) Best Book Award.
Written by two LDS women - one (Avery) a history professor and the other (Newell) an independent writer in Salt Lake City, this biography of the first wife of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Jr., was the fruit of nine years of extensive research, and was well-received by Mormon scholars, including the late BYU historian Marvin Hill. The authors wrote in their introduction that they have written, 'neither to support nor to dispute doctrine,' and they cite the words of General Authority Brigham H. Roberts to express their guiding philosophy for treating the facts: 'to frankly state events as they occurred, in full consideration of all related circumstances, allowing the line of condemnation or justification to fall where it may ...'. As Luke P. Wilson wrote at:
'The book's title expresses the fact that, for many, Emma's legacy has come down through history as an enigma: though a model of the virtuous, supportive and submissive wife, Emma rose up in revolt against the doctrine of polygamy, which she found personally odious, and in direct conflict with the Book of Mormon. She stubbornly opposed Joseph at every turn in his attempt to practice and teach plurality of wives. The authors present a mountain of evidence to dismiss the negative picture of Emma as strong-willed and shrewish - a caricature spawned by Brigham Young, who deeply resented Emma's adamant rejection of polygamy, and feared the refusal of the slain prophet's widow to make the journey to Utah would harm the vulnerable sect.
It is striking to learn that while Emma was polygamy's tireless foe, she was neither a prudish nor judgmental woman. The book documents that Emma was a personal witness to Joseph's infidelity with 19-year-old Fanny Alger during their years in Kirtland, Ohio, and yet, she was ever willing to forgive her husband for this and other sexual indiscretions. What she did find intolerable, however, was Joseph's attempts to build an elaborate doctrinal justification for the violation of the monogamous marriage bed. While Emma Smith is the central character in this book, it also marshals damning evidence against the duplicitous character of her first husband. In Nauvoo, 38-year-old Joseph repeatedly used the claim of divine revelation to coerce teenage girls to become his wives. Surely a more self-serving string of revelations would be difficult to imagine. One cannot avoid the irony in the fact that on the very night before the arrest that would lead to his brutal murder, Joseph was secretly plotting to use his fugitive status as an occasion for a period of protracted cohabitation with several of his young plural wives. And all the while he was writing labored expressions of intimacy to the unsuspecting Emma.
The implications of the evidence for our estimate of Joseph Smith's character are sobering. In the words of Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of the Journal of Mormon History,
the [Newell and Avery] biography of Emma Hale Smith was deeply disturbing to me for the documentation it provided about Joseph Smith and the origins of polygamy . . . . Let me be specific. I was shocked and disgusted to discover that Joseph Smith married a fourteen-year-old girl, fully consummated that marriage, and concealed it from Emma. My image of 'prophet' did not accommodate this kind of behavior. I could not begin to find holy motives for such behavior ('The Garden God Hath Planted: Explorations Toward a Maturing Faith,' in Sunstone, October 1990, 26-27).
At least in respect to polygamy, subsequent Mormon history has vindicated the character and convictions of Emma over those of Joseph for the Church finally abandoned the practice in 1890, 11 years after Emma's death.
Ann Eliza Young, who had been married to Brigham Young, charged that Joseph Smith was guilty of adultery:
'Joseph not only paid his addresses to the young and unmarried women, but he sought 'spiritual alliance' with many married ladies... He taught them that all former marriages were null and void, and that they were at perfect liberty to make another choice of a husband. The marriage covenants were not binding, because they were ratified only by Gentile laws.... consequently all the women were free....'
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, the wife of Adam Lightner, stated:
'Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in Hell should never get me from him. I was sealed to him in the Masonic Hall,... by Brigham Young in February 1842 and then again in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C. Kimball' (Affidavit of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, cited in No Man Knows My History, page 444)
What was the 'source' of this new 'revelation' by Smith? In a speech given at Brigham Young University (Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?, p.215-216), Mrs. Lightner said that Joseph claimed an 'angel' came with a 'drawn sword' and told him that if he did not enter into polygamy 'he would slay him.'
A familiar story? These kinds of scams are still pulled today by men like Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts, who claimed that a 900-foot Jesus appeared to him and later declared that 'God' had told him he would be killed if his followers didn't send $8,000,000! The Joseph Smith deception is as old as the hills and can be worked in many ways!
(Continued on page 319)