“When I started reading, the spirit left the room”

In Sacred LonelinessA disconcerted Mormon from Utah reviews In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, by Mormon scholar Todd Compton (available at our bookstore).

This book takes away from the spirit and I would not recommend it to anyone; there are too many false and/or misrepresented facts.

First red flag for this book is that it is published by Signature Books, NOT a reputable company for good LDS literature. In fact, many LDS bookstores have pulled some signature books off shelves because of their questionable material. The second red flag with this book is that I found when I started reading, the spirit left the room. This book has a lot of false and/or misrepresented facts. If you really want to learn about Joseph Smith, there are much better books out there. This is not a book to read. It only takes away from the spirit and I do not recommend it to anyone.

So here’s a question to our Mormon friends out there: What alternative book would you recommend that focuses on the known wives of Joseph Smith and yet doesn’t “take away from the spirit”? Would you expect to find a book on such a subject that makes you feel good about Joseph Smith?

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42 Responses to “When I started reading, the spirit left the room”

  1. Alan says:

    May I suggest that if the spirit left the room for you when you started reading In Sacred Lonliness, that the book is not to blame?

    The book is factual. It’s author is a member of the church in good standing.

    So why would the spirit leave the room? Here are some ideas:
    -You aren’t ready to read that book
    -The spirit didn’t leave the room, but you misunderstood
    -The spirit loves the truth, and you were simply reacting emotionally to a truth you didn’t want to know
    -Joseph Smith was wrong to practice polygamy, and the spirit was testifying of that to you

    In any event, no one can discredit the historicity or accuracy of the information in Mr. Compton’s book. If you don’t like it, then you don’t like the truth, and that is something you’ll have to come to grips with between you and your father in heaven.

  2. Jeff says:

    I would like to know the answer to that same question too, Aaron. Question for you, did the Mormon in the review list any references on the book and cross-reference with something that would show its “false or misrepresented facts”? If not, its sad that he would say that because any other member of the LDS church would just completely accept that one statement as truth and not look into it for themselves.

    I can imagine that an LDS member feels “yucky”, “scared”, “alone”, or “upset” when one reads anything that, to them, feels false (meaning anything that goes against the beliefs they hold to be true). But lets look at the possibilities on why one would feel any or all of those things.

    Lets all be honest here and admit, as human beings, that we don’t like being told what we currently believe is false. When someone tells you what you perceive to be a “lie”, those feelings I listed are largely what we feel when that happens.

    So how do LDS members tend to explain those very natural and psychological feelings? They do what this guy did and say it was the “Holy Spirit leaving.”

    The problem with that is this. The minute someone reads something or hears something that doesn’t affirm their beliefs but makes them question it, the LDS say to not even put yourself around such things because “ooooh! the Holy Spirit will leave you!” So how do you continue to keep the blinders on your faithful members? You say something like he did.

    “This is not a book to read. It only takes away from the spirit and I do not recommend it to anyone.”

    Sad, very sad.

  3. Falcon says:

    I think this brings up a very valid point I’ve seen not only in regards to Mormonism but Ev. Christianity as well. When “believers” claim something in the Spirit, that pretty much ends the discussion. The “God told me” line allows the person to coop God’s authority and gives the person power. The person is probably most often “going emo”. Way too much of this business of claiming something in the Spirit when it’s just emotion or indigestion.

  4. Jeff says:

    Exactly. Humans act largely upon emotion, rarely logic. The reason I can’t accept Mormonism is because it’s logically a mess. I look at it from a logical standpoint. Theres historical items found that back up the Bible and what it talks about, but theres no tangible evidence to back up the Book of Mormon. Wheres the history Joseph? “I uhh, gave it back to Moroni. He uhh, didn’t want anyone to see any evidence that would help support my claims.” Then how am I supposed to know if what you claim is true? “Pray about it and if ya feel good, there ya go! Duh!”

    Now from outside the box of membership in the LDS church, that looks and sounds absolutely ridiculous, but that is what/is happening.

    What do you think the terrorists FEEL, when they pray about killing innocents? I would imagine they feel a sense of right, of truth, of excitement of the promises that their religion says will come to them if they sacrifice themselves. I doubt they feel any bad feelings or else they wouldn’t do it. They would start to question their leaders. So when an LDS member reads “[filtered profanity or slur]ism” material, they don’t feel good. Perhaps instead of brushing it aside as lies, they should question their leaders about it.

  5. amanda says:

    you guys, those so-called wives were sealed to him in the temple after he passed away…it was a fallacy on the part of the members at that time not understanding the ordinance. those sealings are not valid.

    i’m not sure joseph smith had much time to spend with many wives, he hardly was able to spend time with his own wife due to harsh persecution from people who hold the same religious ideology as many here. so its not news to me that those same types of people still persecute his name to this day.

    here’s a counter-question for all evangelicals…do you believe the polygamist prophets in the old-testament to be fornicators? evil men? i can see why non-religious types would have issues with polygamy (even though many of them sleep with many different people, have one-night stands..not so sure why polygamy is morally repugnant to them–double standard) but i don’t understand, especially, “bible-believing” christians would be appalled. have any of you heard of Abraham?
    http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/polygamists/abraham/

  6. Falcon says:

    Amanda,
    I don’t think you’re going to find much polygamy among the Jews after a certain point in their history. It certainly wasn’t acceptable in Jesus’ time or there after. You can’t justify the practice of plural marrage that Joseph Smith started within the Mormon church. There is just too much documentation that JS used his power, authority and position to seduce many of his “wives”. His marrage to these women was a convenient way to cover his sexual passion and adultery. I know it’s tough but at some point you need to see that JS was a practitioner of folk magic who started an alternative religion and took a lot of people down a path to spiritual distruction. I’m not saying this to be mean. It’s well documented historical fact. No amount of good feelings, masked as a confirmation from the Spirit, is going to change it.

  7. Amanda said, “you guys, those so-called wives were sealed to him in the temple after he passed away…it was a fallacy on the part of the members at that time not understanding the ordinance. those sealings are not valid.”

    Are you referring to the wives listed at the link Aaron provided (www.wivesofjosephsmith.org)?

  8. Jeff says:

    I wrote a little bit and then it wouldn’t post. This is bush-league! heh.

    I’m having a hard time understanding what you mean by not having enough time to spend with his wife because of persecution. Could you reference a few things? People can hate on me all day and post things in a newspaper, but I don’t have to waste anytime if I just choose to ignore them.

    As far as your counter-Q. I don’t consider the prophets in the Bible who were polygamists to be “evil”. I consider them a sinner, just as I am and everyone else. They committed a sin. There isn’t any scripture saying that God condones that either. If you know of one, please list it.

    Here’s where you could call someone evil. When you live a life of lies and drag other people down into sin alongside of you. Tearing/pulling people away from the one true God. You might be thinking of Satan at this moment because thats what he does/is doing. A man who sins can be called a sinner. A man who leads others into sin can be called evil. This is what Joseph Smith did with Polygamy. It’s not so much that he practiced it himself, but that he created a doctrine explaining the necessity to practice it in order to obtain the highest degree of exaltation.

    Amanda, will you please answer the question Aaron stated at the bottom of the article post?

  9. Amanda, Joseph Smith had about 30 living wives. Smith, writing to Sarah Ann Whitney (who he “married” when she was 17), gives an example of his adulterous relationships:

    “…my feelings are so strong for you since what has passed lately between us…it seems, as if I could not live long in this way; and if you three would come and see me…it would afford me great relief…I know it is the will of God that you should comfort me now in this time of affliction…the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty…burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts…You will pardon me for my earnestness on this subject when you consider how lonesome I must be…I think emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont fail to come tonight…”

    As you can see, Emma wasn’t fond of these relationships.

    Active, pro-Mormonism historian Todd Compton writes in his book:

    “In conclusion, though it is possible that Joseph had some marriages in which there were no sexual relations, there is no explicit or convincing evidence for this (except, perhaps, in the cases of the older wives, judging from later Mormon polygamy). And in a significant number of marriages, there is evidence for sexual relations.” (In Sacred Loneliness, p. 15)

    The “faith-promoting rumor” is often that Smith merely had dynastic sealings. To be sure, he did have many of them after his death, but this “faith-promoting rumor” doesn’t adequately represent his relationships to living women. Oliver Cowdery, one of the “three witnesses“, described Smith’s relationship to 16-year-old Fanny Alger as a “dirty, nasty, filthy affair”. Ouch. I would never sleep with a 16-year-old behind my beautiful, loyal, loving wife’s back. And Amanda, I fully assume your husband (if you are married, sorry to presume) would never do such a thing. One would expect that Smith would likewise practice fidelity toward Emma, a woman who loved him so much she eloped with him against the wishes of her crushed father (who was concerned over Joseph Smith’s reputation for seeking money via folk magic / money-digging). But Smith keeps violating moral expectations, and slept with 16-year-old Fanny Alger behind Emma Smith’s back. That is what the evidence points to.

    And when one considers all the living wives of Smith who already had living husbands, one finds that Smith wasn’t merely practicing polygyny, he was also practicing polyandry… something I hear no one even come close to arguing was sanctioned in the Old Testament or even in D&C 132, which says he is only to marry virgins. Again, Smith in serious ways keeps violating Biblical, moral expectations.

    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “ (Matthew 7:15-20)

    If you were looking for the sweet taste of trustworthiness, would you go picking fruit from the tree of Joseph Smith’s life?

    PS On May 1, 1843, William Clayton—a trusted confidant—officiated the secret plural marriage of Joseph Smith to Flora Woodworth (sadly, another 16-year-old). Later, while they were “out”, William was house-sitting for Joseph. Relating what Joseph Smith “says”, he wrote:

    “I have seen 6 brass plates… covered with ancient characters of language containing from 30 to 40 on each side of the plates. Prest J. has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.” (William Clayton’s Journal, May 1, 1843, as cited in Trials of Discipleship – The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon, page 117)

    Not only does all this “fruit” come from the same tree of Joseph Smith, it also is sometimes curiously and ironically associated with the same branch.

    Thanks for listening, and I hope it’s all not too overwhelming. Grace and peace in Christ,

    Aaron

  10. Cully says:

    Amanda, I believe that all men after the fall are sinful, even Abraham. God instituted marriage before sin entered the world.

    (Gen. 2:18) Then the Lord God said, ‘It isn’t good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper (singular) such as he needs.’ (Gen. 2:22) Out of the rib He had taken from the man the Lord God made a woman (singular) and brought her to the man. That’s pretty clear: One Man One Wife = Marriage Instituted by God

    Now, after the fall, when sin entered the world, man came up with plenty of sinful ideas on his own, including plural wives, rape, masturbation, stealing, murder, lies, idolatry and so on. Even after the fall of man, there is no biblical account of Adam ever taking another wife.

    God’s Word is never based on the morality of the times, nor does it hide the sins of those who believe. His Word is based on His Will and God’s Truth. For example, it’s true that the Romans (Caesar Augustus) began to enforce monogamy in marriage because Caesar believed the polygamous relationships of the Roman people were deteriorating their morality and could serve as a downfall of the Roman Empire. One who argues that monogamy is practiced in the New Testament because of morality might now argue that God would today condone homosexuality since it is so prevalent and highly accepted by our society. God is influenced by no one. The Romans have not influenced Christianity. Even the Apostle Paul does not refer to Christians as citizens of Rome, but as citizens of heaven.

    God bless you and keep you and give you peace!
    2 Pt. 3:15

  11. David says:

    Amanda,

    I am going to attempt to address your question here. For myself, polygamy in the Bible does not bother me. I would say the Bible takes a benign, or slightly negative view of polygamy. I know my views are not representative of most American Protestants. I do not see the Bible as having an ax to grind against polygamy like many evangelicals do.
    However, I still have major problems with J. Smith’s brand of polygamy as: he lied about it, linked it to piety, took it to excess to where it was simply fornication, it was adulterous as some of the women were still married, and it was coercive so that it amounted to seduction or even rape. In a official statement in 1835 (and after) your church disavowed polygamy even though it was going on.
    I am willing to say that David was wrong when he slept with Bathsheba. Are you willing to say Joseph Smith was wrong in regards to his version of polygamy? Are you willing to call polygamy wrong, or even morally neutral, as opposed to being necessary for exaltation which has been taught by some of your prophets in times past?

  12. Rick B says:

    Amanda,
    The Mormon Church teaches that polygamy is of God, read D and C 132 for example. As far as the Bible goes, God allowed it, yet He never once commanded it. Show me chapter and verse in the Bible where God says, I commanded you to take more than one wife, for this is good and I require it, it simply is not in their.

    Yes people took many wives in the Bible, but it was sin and no good ever came from it. Abraham took his wifes handmaid, as a result we now have much turmoil in the middle east.

    David took Bathsheba and as a result her husband was murdered and a sword came into David’s house never to leave. The scripture even Teaches in the New Testament One man and one women.

    How can God speak through these verse and say One wife, but the later say in D and C many wives are needed?

    1Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    1Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

    Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

    JS failed when it comes to these verses, So tell me, did God change His mind? Rick b

  13. Jeff says:

    I was actually in Springdale Utah near Zion today with my in-laws, and my wife and children. The subject of Mountain Meadows came up and its funny how quick my sister in law wrote it all off by saying “People say Brigham Young was involved in it but he wasnt.” And I’m sure that new movie that come out is full of false information. I smiled and kept my mouth closed because it wasn’t the place and time for a religious discussion. Funny thing is that neither of them knew what it was called “Mountain Meadows Massacre.” Sounded like my sister in law really did some studying into it. Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because her husband converted to Mormonism to get married to her and brought it up then was fed information with no reference or resource behind it. I eventually was able to get him alone and lay out the facts of what happened in a non-confrontational way.

    Anyways, I also mentioned Joseph Smith having over 30 wives. He said nuh-uh, Brigham Young started Polygamy, he was only married to one person. This killed me. To see that he hopped into a religion and doesn’t even know a smidgeon of the history of his church. He was fed the white-washed church’s version of Joseph Smith and accepted it, denying any other possibility or actual fact.

    It’s also sad to note that my wife told me not to speak to him about anything I learned of the history of their church because she doesnt want her sister getting all upset..

  14. Alex says:

    Jeff,

    Is it a bad thing that I’ve gotten desensitized to situations like the one you’ve described above? It’s truly disconcerting to see people give themselves away to a religion without first checking into it in a scholarly way (I.E. Making sure to see what both sides have to say and weighing the evidence in an unbiased way before coming to a concrete decision… I think they call it “critical thinking” if you want to get technical).

    I do have to give some props to all of those organizations out there that have a profound influence on the general public via misinformation and ignorance. It’s truly an effective (albeit, sad) means of thought control… and when that source promises happiness and stability for those that abide by its teachings, well, it’s not very hard to see why people run with it.

    I’d also like to commend the marketing department of the LDS Church for doing such a bang-up job. Apparently, the more “good” things that are associated with an organization, the harder it is to view that organization with a critical eye. I believe they call this “Groupthink.” Here’s a link to Groupthink on Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink#Preventing_groupthink
    (check out #6 on the list of symptoms to see what I’m talking about here)

  15. Cully says:

    Amanda, you ask “here’s a counter-question for all evangelicals…do you believe the polygamist prophets in the old-testament to be fornicators? evil men?”

    God instituted marriage between one man and one woman prior to the fall of man.

    Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, ‘It isn’t good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper (singular) such as he needs.’ I believe that all men after the fall are born sinful.

    Genesis 2:22 Out of the rib He had taken from the man the Lord God made a woman (singular) and brought her to the man.

    That’s pretty clear: One Man One Wife = Marriage

    After the fall, when sin entered the world, man came up with plenty of sinful ideas on his own, including plural wives, rape, masturbation, stealing, murder, lies, idolatry and so on.

    Even after the fall of man, there is no biblical account of Adam ever taking another wife. Abraham, though faithful, was sinful. Scripture makes no attempt to hide the sinfulness of God’s chosen people. The fact that Jacob married four women does not mean the Lord condoned it. God does not approve of everything He tolerates. He takes many situations, even today, and works His will in spite of our sinfulness. The Lord blesses His children because He loves them, not because they are able to remain sinless. He remains faithful to His children because He has promised to do so.

    Respectfully,

    1 Peter 3:15

  16. Rick B says:

    Sorry this is off subject, but Sharon is on Vacation and I dont have your email Aaron to write you and ask this, But why is the Comment section closed to the topic of ” Lean, mean, god-making machines”?

    I do not understand the point your making by putting that info out, but not allowing people to reply. Thanks, Rick b

  17. Aaron Shafovaloff says:

    I’m on the back porch of someone’s lake house here in North Carolina avoiding the bazillion great nieces and nephews for now as I work in preparation for a presentation tomorrow. I can’t really oversee the blog. That’s why.

    Plus, we all should just take a break sometimes… and read a good book and spend time with the family!

    Grace and peace!

    Aaron

  18. Robert says:

    Aaron,
    Wow..thanks for the great link!
    Have a good vacation!

  19. Robert says:

    Aaron,
    I just viewed your photos…beautiful family!

    Question: Have you ever investigated the “Way of the Master” evangelism principles?

    I ask that because I noticed that you’ve done some evangelism…

    God bless,
    bob

  20. Robert, thanks!

    And yes, and I believe in the “law before gospel” principle. I think the practical method of stepping people through the ten commandments is a great way to get people beyond the hazy, generic notion of “sin”. My wife and I are big fans of Todd Friel‘s radio show.

    Grace and peace,

    Aaron

  21. Burt T. says:

    Aaron,

    Can you cite your reference for the letter you say Joseph Smith wrote to Sarah Ann Whitney. Just curious what it is.

  22. amanda says:

    all of you who responded to my comment about plural marriage in the bible, abraham etc…missed the point i was making.

    Abraham was a prophet!!! not just ANY prophet, his seed was blessed beyond measure…now read your comments again, with this in mind and see the correlation between your condemnation of joseph smith, the prophet.

    JEFF…here is that scripture in which God CONDONES plural marriage,

    Jacob 2:27, 30
    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
    • • •
    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    Aaron- in the new testament, Jesus’ time, there was no plural marriage—and it may have been considered a sin, but at some point in the bible (the book that you use to measure any belief or practice) plural marriage was condoned of God–Abraham as an example:
    Abraham 2: 8-11 talks about the blessings bestowed upon Abraham, and His righteousness in the Lord…he was taking many wives, apparently. if that was wrong, he was still a prophet…and given this great blessing. this pretty much casts your argument in the dump, because you use plural marriage to invalidate JS

    so it was practiced, then NOT practiced (in the bible)….the restored gospel? it was practiced, now it is NOT practiced (in the lds faith) and is considered a sin if a man takes wives. you have to understand that polygamy (according to the scripture i referenced) was a tool that God used to further His purposes. Only men who were commanded of God to take wives were obeying Him. anyone who took wives without being commanded, were sinful- and condemned in that respect. you see this in the bible time and time again, examples of those who do it out of commandment from God, and those who do it out of lust

  23. Amanda, how does Jacob 2:30 support Joseph Smith’s polyandry? Mormon historian Richard L. Bushman does not deny that Smith was married to at least 10 women who had living husbands (Todd Compton states the number is 11).

  24. Jeff says:

    Amanda, is the book of Abraham in the Bible?

    If it isn’t, then you cant quote from it because we all are aware of the major controversy of that “scripture” created by Joseph Smith.

    Is the book of Jacob in the Bible?

    Same.

    I don’t care if you claim that the BOM is true, but in my eyes it isn’t, so quoting from it doesn’t do anything for you nor me. Show me, in the Bible, where God condones plural marriage.

  25. Rick B says:

    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    The Bible teaches God is ALL POWERFUL, That verse imples God is not powerful enough to raise up people one by one, he needs many wives for one husband to do it, I also agree with Jeff, quote chapter and verse from the Bible about plural wives. But since you quote from the pearl, lets look at the BoM and D and C also.

    The Book of Mormon. In Jacob 1:15-19 and 2:21-25, it teaches that David and Solomon did evil by having many wives. Then, in Mosiah 11:2, it teaches many wives is a sin.

    Now, here is a contradiction because in D and C 132:37-39, it says it was not a sin for David, Solomon and others to have many wives. Now, I thought God could not lie? But God’s word is both in the B.O.M and D and C, so either man wrote it and messed up or God lied. This is just my thoughts looking at the Mormon scriptures. Rick B.

  26. Jeff says:

    Holy cow. I give you a BIG thanks Rick for pointing out those “scriptures” to me in Jacob and Mosiah. I didn’t realize the BOM outright declared that David and Solomon committed an abomination to the Lord of desiring/having many wives/concubines.

    Those scriptures completely and utterly contradict the D&C 132:37-39 you pointed out.

    Amanda, I’m not playing around when I say this, but how can you explain that? I am really wondering if there is even a good explanation of that without saying that God is a liar or the BoM/D&C, one or the other, is wrong.

  27. Rick B says:

    I love it when people tell me I need to read the BoM, I did, and look at what I found. As a matter of fact I read the BoM, the D and C and the pearl of great price, along with the orinigal D and C with the oringial lectures bound into them, plus the 1888 Pearl of great price, many changes between the first printing and the latest ones. I know more than Amanda care to give me credit for. Rick b

  28. Cully says:

    Amanda,
    Genesis 11:30 records that Sarai was barren and had no children. God’s promise to make Abram’s family a great nation must have been an amazing thing to hear, yet Abram and Sarai believed. Sadly, like many of us today, they didn’t wait on the Lord to work His plan. Even though God spoke directly to Abram and laid out His plan, Abram and Sarai were impatient.

    The Lord sealed a covenant with Abram. Abram was to be the father of a great nation. After living ten years in Canaan with no successful pregnancy, Moses records Sarai’s unfaithful solution. She gives her Egyptian maid, Hagar, to Abram. Like Adam with Eve, Abram went along with Sarai’s request. This fruit, too, must have looked good to partake of.

    Once Hagar realized she was pregnant with Abram’s child, Hagar despised Sarai. Sarai mistreats her, and Hagar runs away. The Lord’s Angel (Christ) finds Hagar at a desert spring and tells her to return to Sarai, her mistress, and submit to her. Notice that the Lord does not tell her to go back to her “husband,” He does not acknowledge her “marriage” to Abram in any way.

    Abraham gave a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. Hagar and Ishmael, like God’s prophecy revealed in Genesis 16, mocked Isaac. Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of them both, and Abraham reluctantly does so at the insistence of the Lord. Notice once again, the Lord does not refer to Hagar as Abraham’s wife, but as his slave.

    The story of Abraham and Sarah and their disobedience through appointing Hagar as a wife to Abraham lives on today in the sad state of the Middle East, with Arabs and Israelites living in continued conflict. We know this will continue until the end, as scripture makes clear. There’s no great billboard in support of polygamy lurking in those shadows.

    In spite of Abraham’s sinfulness, the Lord chose to work through him. Abraham remained faithful to the Lord. His faith was counted to him as righteousness.

    Cully

  29. Ralph says:

    RickB and Jeff,

    Using your argument about God using polygamy to increase a population means that God is not all powerful falls down when you look at other instances in the Bible. The first reference has been discussed in another posting, its when Samuel tells King Saul to destroy the Middianties, every man, woman, child and beast in the city. If God is so powerful, why did He have to resort to getting the Israelites to murder innocent children and women, which flies in the face of the 6th commandment that God gave the Isrealites? Why didn’t God just kill everyone Himself and allow the Israelites to move in with ease? Then there is the Exodus from Egypt. Yes God ultimately helped them escape, but why all the rigmarole? Why not just get Moses to tell the Israelites to pack-up and go and He (God) will supply the defences? I am sure there are many more examples but 2 is enough for space limits.

    As for the question of contradiction – The scriptures require God telling the person when to marry another wife, and (I think) who the next wife is. David took Bethsheba without God’s approval, who knows if he took others similarly, but one is enough to make it wrong. Solomon was worse, he took gentile wives who corrupted his faith and sent his family and the kingdom of Israel down the gurgler. These wives were not taken by God’s approval so it was a sin. However the other wives that they had that were given approval by God were not a sin. Thus no contradiction.

  30. Cully says:

    Hey Ralph,

    Do you have Biblical references supporting your statement that God appointed man/men to take more than one wife at a time?

    God does not approve of everything He tolerates. He chooses to work His plan through us in spite of our sinfulness; that doesn’t mean He approves of our every decision or action.

    Could it be that you’re mistaking God’s silence as approval?

    Respectfully, Cully

  31. Burt T. says:

    Aaron,

    Given Bill’s recent paranoia about every quote being backed up by a reference, I am surprised you have not responded to my question from a week ago.

    Please cite your reference for the letter you say Joseph Smith wrote to Sarah Ann Whitney.

    I am just curious what it is.

  32. jeff says:

    Yes, Ralph, I too would like to see you give a couple biblical references on God appointing man/men at a time.

    The “scriptures” don’t say that either man’s doings were abominable because of taking “this certain wife without the Lords approval”, it says they did evil by having many wives. Unless you have something to support the opposite besides putting words into God’s mouth, then your argument holds no strength.

  33. jeff says:

    woops type, I meant, I would like to see biblical references of God appointing men/man to have more than one wife at a time.

  34. Burt, thanks for the reminder. I had been out of town when you asked for that. I used the quotation from WivesOfJosephSmith.org, but it is also quoted on page 155 of Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community, by Lawrence Foster. The footnote reads:

    Letter of Joseph Smith’s, dated August 18, 1842, in Joseph Smith Collection, Church Archives. This letter has been photographically reproduced, along with a line by line transcription, in H. Michael Marquardt, The Strange Marriages of Sarah Ann Whitney to Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, Joseph C. Kingsbury and Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: n.p., 1973), pp. 6-9. Marquardt’s accompanying text provides background information and a suggestion of the fluidity of marital relationships during the early development of polygamy in Nauvoo.

  35. Ralph says:

    Cully and Jeff,

    Bible references indicating God can institute polygamy when He wants to are – 2 Samuel 12:11-12 – This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’

    Here it says that God will give all of David’s wives to ONE person, who will lie with them in broad daylight (ie not in secret), as apposed to David sleeping with Bathsheba in secret. Now if God will not command anyone to commit sin, then this ONE person who will have David’s wives as his own is not sinning.

    Next is the law of Yibbum (ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yibbum) where if a married male dies and has no children, his wife is married to his brother. The oldest brother is given the opportunity first. This law is carried out whether the brother is already married or not, which, as the Wikipedia article states, brings in polygamy, which is commanded by God.

    Finally, in 1 Kings 15:5 it says – Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

    It doesn’t say that David did 2 things wrong, being many wives and the Uriah thing – It says that everything David did was right in the eyes of the Lord EXCEPT the Uriah thing, because it was commanded of him – and as we know David had 8 main wives of his own then however many more wives and concubines. The thing with Uriah started when David slept with Bathsheba and ended when David had Uriah killed.

    God can institute polygamy if and when He wants, but it must be directly from Him. Its like when He commands people to kill even thought its against the 6th commandment. He rules supreme.

  36. Ralph says:

    Cully and Jeff,

    Here is some more from Wikipedia about polygamy. The first part is from the section on Christianity – I don’t know how you feel about St Augustine. The last part is about the Jews and polygamy in the Torah (the 5 books of Moses in the OT).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy

    Saint Augustine saw a conflict with Old Testament polygamy. He writes in The Good of Marriage (chapter 15, paragraph 17) that, although it “was lawful among the ancient fathers: whether it be lawful now also, I would not hastily pronounce. For there is not now necessity of begetting children, as there then was, when, even when wives bear children, it was allowed, in order to a more numerous posterity, to marry other wives in addition, which now is certainly not lawful.” He refrained from judging the patriarchs, but did not deduce from their practice the ongoing acceptability of polygamy.

    Scriptural evidence indicates that polygamy among the ancient Hebrews, though not extremely common, was not particularly unusual and was certainly not prohibited or discouraged. The Hebrew scriptures document approximately forty polygamists, including such prominent figures as Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Esau, and David, with little or no further remark on their polygamy as such. The Torah, Judaism’s central text, includes a few specific regulations on the practice of polygamy, such as Exodus 21:10, which states that multiple marriages are not to diminish the status of the first wife; Deuteronomy 21:15-17, which states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son’s mother and likes another wife more; and Deuteronomy 17:17, which states that the king shall not have too many wives. One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage, wherein a man was required to marry and support his deceased brother’s widow, as mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5-1

  37. Cully says:

    Ralph, you misread my question.

    I asked if you have Biblical references stating that God specifically told man to marry more than one wife.

    I didn’t ask for you to point out references where polygamy is acknowledged. Again, the Lord never condoned or encouraged polygamy, although He does acknowledge its existence. David is righteous by faith, not because he remained sinless before/after Uriah’s murder.

    Polygamy may have been “lawful” according to the times (many ungodly nations also practiced polygamy), but it was not commanded by the Lord of His people. As we approach a day where homosexual marriage may soon become lawful in our society, I am certain the Lord will not approve of it; although He will obviously acknowledge its existence should it come to pass.

    Ex. 21:10, “If a man marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing, and marital rights.” David was guilty of this (2 Sam. 20:3). This is one of a series social responsibilities stating “If a man, then…” For example, Ex. 22:16, “If a man seduces a virgin…” See also Dt. 22:23.

    2 Sam. 12:11-12 foretells the painful consequences of David’s sins as Absalom has intercourse with his fathers concubines (2 Sam. 16:21-22). David’s subsequent treatment of them was sinful as well (2 Sam. 20:3).

    BTW, you misquoted Dt. 17:17. You added “too” before “many wives.” The verse reads much differently as written, “He must not take many wives…”

    Also, Dt. 25:5-10 speaks to the widow being married to her brother-in-law. It does not assume that the husband’s brother is already married, although you did. A great New Testament reference to this is Matt. 22:23-33. Specifically verses 29-30, “You’re wrong,” Jesus answered them. “You don’t know your Bible or God’s power. When the dead rise, men and women do not marry but are like angels in heaven (spiritual not sexual).

  38. amanda says:

    CULLY, you are wrong, i have referenced biblical scripture on this forum SEVERAL times where God condones and COMMANDS polygamous relations in order to “raise seed”. oh, and ABRAHAM ring a bell? he was a prophet, right? yeah.

    here’s that reference,
    Jacob 2:27,30
    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
    28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
    29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I WILL COMMAND MY PEOPLE; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.
    (CAPS FOR EMPHASIS)

  39. Cully says:

    Hey Amanda,

    Wow. I sense you’re taking this personally. I’ll try not to take your yelling as such.

    You’re right, Abraham is a prophet, but the Lord NEVER COMMANDED him to take more than one wife. His seed was plenty for Isaac to be born. His taking more than one partner did nothing to further the Lord’s plans. If anything, it created a future of war and unsettlement between Arabs and Israelis.

    I asked for Biblical references. The book of Jacob isn’t in my Bible. Where did you buy yours?

    This is one you can’t win.

  40. Kelly says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I too once thought that God commanded polygamy among the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, because I couldn’t understand why these faithful men would do such a thing. But then I realized that Isaac only married one wife, Rebekah. That raised the question: Was Isaac sinful or less valiant than Abraham or Jacob? LDS apologists like to cite the three patriarchs as models of polygamy, but Isaac doesn’t fit that model.

    Either way, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all under the old covenant. All of the supposed references to God’s condoning polygamy (posted by others) have been from the Old Testament. Christ, under the new covenant, certainly did not institute or command polygamy, in fact it is the opposite – see 1 Tim 3:2, to name one. We live under the new covenant where polygamy is as obsolete as the law and the prophets, “By calling this covenant ‘new’, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” Heb 8:13

    As a side thought, did you know that God no longer speaks with His people through prophets? Read Hebrews 1:1-2. God now uses the gift of prophecy, and it was/is given to many (1 Cor. 14:1), but not the office of prophet.

    Most importantly, if God commanded Joseph Smith to practice polygamy in order to “raise up seed unto me”, as you stated in Jacob 2:27-30, then where is that seed? Where are Joseph’s children through his many wives? Did God populate Nauvoo or the West with Joesph’s seed?

    As far as I have read, all of Joseph’s children came through Emma only, and they all stayed in Nauvoo rather than going west. So the theory of Joseph practicing polygamy for raising up seed, and citing the Jacob reference to back up Joseph’s polygamy, does not stand.

    Kelly

  41. Rick B says:

    Hey Amanda, you never replyied to my Problem here of why the Bible, BoM and the D and C dont Jive.

    Then I suggest you re-read the account of Abraham, God was clear, His wife would give Birth to a Child, Sarah could not wait, so SARAH not God told Abraham to sleep with Hagar.

    Show me where God told Abraham to sleep with Hagar and I will drop the subject. You simply cannot do it. Rick b

  42. amanda says:

    i already know that you have a problem with understanding their relevance to each other, rick…otherwise you would be mormon. i, on the other hand, do not have the same problem as you. i have only found ANY scripture from Him to compliment each other quite nicely.

    i didn’t say that God told abraham to have more wives, did i? i referenced a scripture in which god said he WOULD command plural wives…the significance of abraham in this discussion is the fact that Cully suggested that polygamy was only IN the bible, but still a sin…but abraham was a prophet, so that conclusion doesn’t “jive”.

    Cully, you assumed i was angry or yelling because i used caps, fair enough- i used caps for emphasis- i thought i mentioned that.

    it seems like i made a mess of my previous argument— in my previous study of this subject, i was cross-referencing biblical scripture and other scripture in order to understand more–i had a list and was working off of that list when i responded to you..still,
    i was making a logical leap to the reference in Jacob which happens to be in the book of mormon (i thought you knew that, sorry)…but i made that leap BECAUSE of the relationship Abraham had with God, and his polygamous relationships….as an offering of possible REASONS. If abraham’s lifestyle was repulsive to the Lord, then why would He use Abraham as an instrument and mouthpiece? as a chosen one (refer to abrahamic covenenant)…and so i then referenced jacob without context (sorry) to suggest the logical reason or CONTEXT for polygamy in both the bible, AND restoration. (if abraham is ok to do it, then why not joseph smith? and if they are both wrong in doing it, then it still wouldn’t effect their validity as prophets- based on logic)

    sorry, i’ll be the first to admit that my last attempt to bring more context to polygamy was a bit lame. i’ll try to do better next time, we’re all learning right?

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