Faith-Promoting Perceptions

On April 10, 2008 the Reuters blog, FaithWorld, discussed the “fundamental” PR problem the LDS Church is facing these days with the shakedown at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ YFZ Ranch in Texas. Blogger Ed Stoddard wrote somewhat sympathetically about the unfortunate “polygamous Mormon” stereotype being perpetuated among an undiscerning public. The general trend is to recognize no distinction between LDS Mormons and FLDS Mormons; to most people there is no difference.

I agree that this misunderstanding is unfortunate. Mormonism (and Fundamentalist Mormonism) should be evaluated based on what it actually is, not what it is perceived to be. I think most Mormons would agree with me in theory, yet in defending their Church their declarations sometimes rely primarily on faith-promoting perceptions. Consider this comment left by a reader of the Reuters blog:FLDS girls on bikes

“When I hear about these psycho polygamist sects making national news and the news agencies referring to them as ‘Mormons’ and ‘followers of Joseph Smith,’ it just makes me sick. These people are about as much followers of Joseph Smith as terrorists are followers of the Muslim faith! There practices are considered apostate and evil, and anyone who abuses a child, in OUR faith, is worthy of death (subject to the laws of the land, which we put before our own laws). Oh, how I wish people would search out the truth about us instead of believing what they hear from whoever they hear it from.”

This Mormon’s perception is that Fundamentalists have nothing to do with Mormonism’s founding prophet. He doesn’t seem to realize that the polygamists do follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, though they do not follow the marital teachings of later LDS prophets, from Wilford Woodruff on. The Mormon commenter calls the Fundamentalists “psycho” polygamists whose practices are “apostate and evil” and says anyone who abuses a child is worthy of death. But Joseph Smith himself engaged in marriage to young girls, sometimes resorting to threats and manipulation in an effort to secure them as plural wives.

Another interesting comment on the issue is found in a reader’s response to an article in Deseret News:

“I am LDS in Texas. FLDS, and all others who practice polygamy in Texas, Utah, or wherever, are nothing more than pedophiles and slavers who use laws protecting religious freedom to get away with it.”

This Latter-day Saint’s faith-promoting perception is like that of the Mormon quoted earlier. She does not seem to recognize similarities between FLDS polygamy and polygamy in the early days of her own Church. If these modern day polygamists — practicing The Principle for the very reasons Joseph Smith and Brigham Young claimed God required plural marriage — are “pedophiles and slavers”, what does that make the founders of her faith? How were they any different? She might argue that they were commanded by God to do what they did, but the FLDS members believe they are obeying God as well.

Certainly the parallels between Joseph Smith and Warren Jeffs’ FLDS teaching and behavior are not exact, but history confirms that the FLDS understanding of God’s requirements for exaltation are more closely aligned with Joseph Smith and early Mormonism than are the doctrines of today’s LDS Church. While ignoring this truth might be a welcome faith-promoting perception for Mormons, it causes me to echo the commenter on the Reuters blog: “Oh, how I wish people would search out the truth about [Mormonism] instead of believing what they hear from whoever they hear it from.”

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Marriage and Singlehood, Misconceptions. Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to Faith-Promoting Perceptions

  1. Curtis says:

    WHAT?!? Not representative of true mormonism? I find this so funny, yet sad.

    These people are the true mormons. They are holding strong to the faith. The Utah mormons are apostate and would have been blood atoned in the early days of the church.

    But then again, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and all the early followers would be ex-communicated today.

  2. eric017 says:

    I think the point has been made here before that there are hundreds of LDS splinter groups. Each time the main LDS churched changed it’s docrine, groups broke away claiming the main church was apostate. This has happened repeatedly from before the Kirtland fallout to 1978, when persons of African desent were given the priesthood, and beyond. I agree that the FLDS are living much closer to the docrines taught and behavoir modeled by Joseph Smith. I think that persons in the main church are emotionally ‘married’ to “the Work and the Glory” and “Prophet of the Restoration” image of Joseph Smith to see a spade for a spade.

  3. traveler says:

    As someone living outside of Utah – and the church – I think the perceptions of various FLDS/Splinter groups and LDS people are quite distinct to the mundane or “gentile” world.
    The general LDS member doesn’t usually dress like an extra from the “Little House on the Prairie” series. (hahah)

    Which groups are closer to what JS taught?

    That’s something that I cannot even begin to guess at – as he himself seemed to be constantly changing his philosophy on a regular basis.

  4. falcon says:

    The question of course is, who are the real Mormons? I don’t think Mormonism changed as the result of a “revelation”. In-other-words, the prophet didn’t instigate the changes. The changes were forced on the LDS Church by outside pressure. It was only then that the changes were made. I agree, early Mormons would be much more at home in the FLDS groups. I don’t think the Utah church has any real claim on the restored gospel as it is. May be someone can help me out here. Wasn’t there some legal case that identified one of the splinter groups as the direct decendent of the original? Had something to do with some temple land in Missouri.

  5. Michael P says:

    I can offer an explanation for the shift: these splinter goups have ignored God coninuing “revelation” and are thus now preaching heretical teachings. Joseph Smith sure would have been in on the revelations, so a comparison is not valid.

    Any Mormons want to weigh in and tell me how I did?

  6. Ammon says:

    I can recall during classes in the Mormon church skipping over D&C 132 as if it just was not important. One thing that I have never understood is the reason that it has remained in scripture. I also still do not understand the current doctrine of the church applied to the character of Joseph Smith. Mormons highly revere him while ignoring his history. As a Christian (really, I am no longer a Mormon) I think that our Christian Heritage has some ugly marks. I do think that most Christians are willing to acknowledge these issues. I am glad we don’t have to cover or ignore the person of Christ in order to legitimize our way of life.

  7. Rick B says:

    The question I have is this, Why do LDS want to be called Christians when we clearly have different gospels, and as Christians we do not believe JS was a prophet of God, and we do not believe the BoM, the D and C or the Pearl is from God.

    Yet the FLDS are not acknowleged by LDS as Mormons and the LDS do not want to be put in the same group as FLDS, Yet the FLDS believe JS was a prophet of God, they believe in the early LDS leaders and they believe the BoM, the D and C and the Pearl is from God.

    Seems the FLDS are closer to the LDS than us Christians, yet the LDS say and do to the FLDS what we as Christians do to the LDS, Yet it is wrong of us to say and do this, yet it is not wrong for the LDS to do the same thing. Rick b

  8. woenigma says:

    Mary, the mother of Jesus, was only 14 when she married a much older man Joseph, who many in the Christian sect would like to call a widower. Was he? The problem with Joseph’s marital status it comes from a book that only the Catholic Church has and for some reason they will not let anyone else look at.

    The 12 tribes of Israel comes from 1 man and 4 wives. Why would God have his chosen people come from such a union?

    We are all on a slippery slop and tend not to see things as they are. What of our inner cities, 12, 13 and 14 year olds give birth daily, where is the outrage over that and many are raped? This is child abuse! Yet it’s never addressed, let’s just pass out more condoms and keep MTV playing to ruin our youth and keep them on the public assistance.

    There have been no charges filed in TX and the supposed abused 16 year old has not been found. Do any of you know any polygamists? What is such a concern to me is our willingness to condemn when we have no facts only TV hype!

  9. falcon says:

    This is off topic, but I may be able to shed some light on the Virgin Mary question. First of all, my recollection from my Catholic days, is that Catholics have a hard time thinking that Mary ever had sex. Jesus’ brothers are thought to be cousins. As to her age, I don’t think the scriptures tell us. A “secret book” in Catholic hands that they won’t let anyone else see? I think that’s probably an urban legend. The deal on plural marrage in the OT. I don’t think it was practiced by the rank and file. I don’t think we see it after the Babylonian captivity. I’ll look it up.

  10. Lautensack says:

    It seems to me that you find no fault in polygamy, that’s fine, you are entitled to believe what ever you will. However rather than address the issue you seek to deflect the questions raised saying well Israel came from one man and four women.* If you do not see anything wrong with polygamy then why condemn it and say that they are outside the Mormon faith? If you do see something wrong with it then why try to defend it by deflecting the topic?

    Actually when I attended lds seminary they didn’t so much skip section 132 as they skipped parts of it, those pertaining to polygamy, while speaking to other parts which pertained to celestial marriage selectively.

    *Side note, Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah, and two concubines, Bilhah and Zilphan not four wives. And technically the twelve tribes came by two men, Jacob and his son Joseph, and five women. Joseph, not Jacob, fathered Ephraim and Manasseh by Asenath.


  11. Rick B says:

    The Bible does not tell us the Age of Mary, so even is she was 14 so what. It was a different time and culture back then, and it was still One man and One women.

    As far as talking about the 12 tribes and the issue of polygamy in the OT, The Bible is not afraid to show the sinfullness of Man.

    You will not find in Scripture where God says, You must marry many Wives, or I God command You to marry many wives, Yes it happend, but Did God command it? No, Did God allow it? Yes. God does not step in and stop us every time we choose to disobey Him.

    As far as Kids really young Having sex goes, I or you can say, we do not like it, but yet we really cannot stop every Child that wants to have sex. We can talk with our own kids and try and keep them away, but over all we cannot stop people from living in sin.

    As far as Kids being raped goes, many times cases of Rape are never reported, if the person who is raped does not report it, then the law cannot do anything about it. Rick b

  12. Berean says:

    Which form of Mormonism today is following more closely to the teachings of Joseph Smith? The FLDS without any doubt. Warren Jeffs is a modern day Joseph Smith. When the FLDS say that the LDS Church in Salt Lake City is apostate they would be correct simply on the basis of which church is following the teaching of D&C 132? The FLDS!

    The modern LDS Church once against has put its “head in the sand” on the history of their founding and beloved prophet in whom they sing hymns to just as of last weekend. Joseph Smith engaged in plural marriage as did Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith. Take a trip to Salt Lake and look at the tombstones of Woodruff, Snow and Smith notably. Their plural wives are listed on their tombstones. These prophets continued to practice polygamy despite the ban in 1890.

    It amazes me that the modern LDS Church seems so shocked by what they are seeing. I imagine these pictures we are seeing of the women and children dressed like people in the 19th century I think gives a good idea of what it looked like in Salt Lake City from 1847 to the first part of the 20th century. Joseph Smith was married to 7 girls under the age of 18. Two of them were 14. The most famous of the 14 year-olds was Helen Mar Kimball. Also, who can forget the Joseph’s fling with Fanny Alger in whom Oliver Cowdery wrote his inflammatory opinion of the affair in 1838 on his way to excommunication?

    When some LDS missionaries saw Todd Compton’s book “In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith” sitting on my table when they dropped by for a visit they were disturbed especially when I told them that Deseret Books sells it. I brought them up to speed on LDS history and asked them what they were going to do about D&C 132. Answer? Silence. Deseret Books denied to me that they sell it until I gave them the SKU number…shocked.

  13. eric017 says:

    The situation in Eldorado, and ultimately the reason Warren Jeffs is in prison, arises from the ‘prophet’ recieving revelation commanding men in the FLDS church to give thier underage daughters as plural wives to older men. Joseph Smith’s marriage to Helen Mar Kimball came about in much the same way. It was as much a deal between Smith and Heber C. Kimball as it was betten Smith and Helen. So, ultimately I’m of the opinion that the FLDS is ultimately more “Mormon” than the LDS church because they certainly seem to follow Smith’s theology much more closely. I can also see parallels between the theocracy of local government control in Colorado City, AZ today and the theocracy of Brigham Young’s 19th century Utah. Ultimately, we must remember that the church has never denounced D&C 132. They continued to practice polygamy behind closed doors until at least the 1920s. Indeed, even today in the LDS church the spirit of polygamy is still practiced. A man may be sealed to more than one wife provided the first wife(s) has(ve) passed on. If a celestial marriage is more important in Gods eyes than a civil marriage, how can the church claim to not practice polygamy? The church can’t openly condemn polygamy, because they still believe in ‘the principle’ and practice the spirit of the D&C 132. Today though, like so many other things, it is couched in much more polite terms like “families can be together forever”.

    BTW, I’m the product of polygamy. My great-great-grandmother was the second wife of my great-great-grandfather. I’m also distantly related to the infamous LeBaron clan.

  14. David says:

    I love the it when truth comes out even when it was not intended to:

    “These people are about as much followers of Joseph Smith as terrorists are followers of the Muslim faith!”

    I can say “amen” to that ust from a different perspective. Mormons are commanded to enter into plural marriage – just like Joseph and Heavenly Father did. Muslims are commanded to jihad (struggle) and kital (fight)- just like Muhammad did. Therefore, the fighters are the ones who are taking Islam to its philosphical end. They have guts and a love for Islam to do what it calls for even when it is not PC. Same goes for Mormons. The “fundamentalists” are trying to follow the words and deeds of their prophet Joseph Smith even if it is not PC. Look at the text below from the Koran (Surah 2 Iyat 216) and substitute polygamy for fighting.

    Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.

  15. Danielle says:

    Hello there everyone!

    When I decided to leave the church in 2000 the bishopric came to my house. Told me to stop reading anti-Mormon literature and stuff like that; they asked me to come back to church. I brought up this topic (among many others) of polygamy. I was told that “we don’t practice polygamy”. So later when they left I looked up that subject in the Mormon Doctrine book (I am not positive it was that book, I had so many LDS books). It basically told me that when Christ comes back he will reinstate polygamy as law. It really amazes me that my own bishoprics basically slipped it under the rug and just left me without answers. They want you to research things and be smart about things (as long as it is not negative information about the church of course). But they don’t want to bother with your questions.

    Polygamy is a hard thing for a lot of LDS women. A lot of my LDS friends and I would talk about how awful it was. How desperately sad it would make us if our husbands had other wives. It is sickening to know that you will not be good enough to be the one and only bride of your husband.


  16. Berean says:


    Bruce McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” (1979, 2nd edition, paperback) on page 578 states:

    “Those who entered into this holy order (plural marriage) at the Lord’s command, and who kept the laws and conditions appertaining to it, have gained for themselves eternal exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world…Later the Prophet and leading brethren were commanded to enter the practice, which they did in all virtue and purity of heart…After Brigham Young led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, plural marriage was openly taught and practiced until the year 1890…(okay, here it is – drum roll please) Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium.”

    It’s a holy practice according to Mormon Doctrine. If it’s holy then why is it shunned by the LDS Church today? I guess, once again according the LDS Church, God can’t make up his mind which practices and doctrines He wants practiced and when. I think from Wilford Woodruff to Thomas Monson today the Church likes its headquarters in Salt Lake City rather than in Mexico City because that is where they were headed in 1890 by threat from the U.S. government.

    I think the FLDS and other splinter groups are correct when they accuse the LDS Church of selling out to the U.S. government.

    For those that haven’t seen the video “Lifting the Veil of Polygamy” put out by Living Hope Ministries, I highly recommend it. Note: have your kleenex box close by because the stories of these dear people is heart wrenching.

  17. falcon says:

    I know that “Mormon Thinking” drives us nonMormons up a wall. That’s because everything in Mormonism is predicated on the Mormon belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet who received revelations and visions from God. Mormons will defend the goofiest proclamations by Smith including that the moon is inhabitied by six foot men who dress like pilgrims. Who can explain a mindset where the fundamental precept is to maintain faith in Joseph Smith no matter what. “Belief in the prophet” is what drives cults. Next is degrading the full integrity of the Bible. Next is promote a doctrine of the nature of God which is diametrically opposed to the commonly accepted view. Lastly, change the doctrine of the Son of God, making Him less than He is and subvert the concept of Salvation. It’s the same old routine. But people keep falling for it. Eventually the prophet breaks down tne sexual mores of the group. Kind of like pimps do.

  18. lillym says:

    I live pretty close to the Eldorado mess. I’ve been following it closely because it’s obvious this group has crossed the line from being a “sect” (like the Amish) to being a full-blown cult.

    All I wanted to add is that I’m praying for all the children in this compound, that God would deliver them from these liars and let them see His truth. Here’s the warning that I think is truly terrifying, in light of what these adults force the children to believe and do:

    Matthew 18:6
    But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

  19. Arthur Sido says:

    My wife and I have often mused that many of the polygamous, fundamentalist mormon splinter groups look far more like old school mormonism than the sanitized, PR driven modern church. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would be far more comfortable and at home in southern Utah or Eldorado, TX than they would be in 2008 Temple Square.

  20. Rick B says:

    I want to know why God said one man but many Wives, but will not allow one women and many husbands?

    I know, the D and C was based on a man wanting many women.

    Also if all these posts are not true, where are the Mormons to show us the truth? I notice many times their are topics where little to no Mormons reply. I figure it is because it is hard to fight the truth. Rick b

  21. eric017 says:

    It isn’t just sexual mores broken down, it is more than that. In many cults, the cult leader ultimately controls the sex lives of the members. They determine who can sleep with whom, often but not always reserving a disproportionate share for themselves. They reassign spouses rewarding or punishing devotion and obedience or lack there of. When one puts together names, locations, dates, and stories together in a dispassionate way, it appears this is exactly what Joseph Smith was doing in the last few years of his life and perhaps even earlier. Brigham Young almost certainly did this, based on the reports of the women themselves. How much more powerful position over someone could their be? One can literally tell another person’s wife that they are sleeping with them from now on, and the other person is complicit.

    I don’t really like to use the word ‘cult’ with the LDS church, because I’m not sure the name still applies. However, from the outside completely ignoring doctrine and just looking at documented history, the parallels with other well known so-called cults are too close for comfort. Many LDS persons can’t ignore “that the church is true” for a moment and see these similarities. Mormons are wonderful, normal, moral, and rational people in most ways; it is sometimes mind-bending to ask why they can’t see this.

  22. Arthur Sido says:

    Eric, having left mormonism about six years ago, let me assure you that the term “cult” still applies.

  23. eric017 says:

    I know what you mean, and sometimes I agree. The word can be thrown around carelessly and be a conversation ender. So, I avoid it.

    I had a thought yesterday. If Mormons really are Christian, which they are dying to be accepted as such, what harm could there be in admitting that Smith and Young were no different than Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, as history strongly suggests? If thier faith is so well grounded in Jesus, as they claimed over and over again last weekend, admitting that Smith and Young were false prophets theoretically shouldn’t matter. Such a denouncement shouldn’t be all that faith damaging (again theoretically, from a Christian perspective). Because, as Christians our faith is in Christ and Christ alone (I think we can agree on this definition). Why the need to accept Smith and Young, and Monson at all?

    I think I know the answer, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

  24. falcon says:

    The topic of this post caused me to do a search again on Mormon sects or sects of Mormonism. I remember some months back, a Mormon cortributor here said that he considered all those who called themselves Mormons, real Mormons. I thought that was pretty wierd considering one of the biggest Mormon groups, outside of the Utah bunch, doesn’t even subscribe to many of the basic tenets of Mormonism. Anyway, I was wondering what separates the Utah group from the FLDS groups. It’s not that one belives in plural marrage and the other doesn’t. I think it comes down to the fact that the FLDS folks “practice” plural marrage and the Utah group doesn’t. As far as I know, the Utah LDS church still believes in plural marrage as a practice out there in the celestial kintdom. Or don’t they? If they don’t, do the Mormons who died and went off to the celestial kingdom prior to the outlawing of plural marrage, still get to keep their wives? If not, it must have come as a real shock to them when the prophet who tubed the practice pulled the rug out from under them. I just don’t think the LDS prophet could get rid of the practice when it was fundamental to the whole program of progression to godhood. I think the Utah church went into apostasy and the FLDS group restored the restored gospel. That makes sense to me!

  25. Jacob5 says:

    I am very interested in finding out why those who outright reject the LDS faith feel somehow compelled to try to difine what is the true definition of the LDS faith. That would be like me trying to difine which of the other Christian churches is truly the Christian church, when I don’t recognize either of them as the true church.
    I am sure there are those in this forum who may wish to have an LDS member prove which is the true LDS religion, but I think we already have enough difficulty trying to get those of the other Christian churches to understand that we are also Christian. How about we take this one step at a time.

  26. falcon says:

    You’re dealing with Christians here who are involved in apologetics which is defined as defending the faith. We feel that if we want to have an honest discussion then it’s important that everyone agree on the definition of terms. Why do we get to define what Christian is? Because we’ve been around for 2,000 years. If someone wants their group to join the Christian family, then we check out their statement of faith. The LDS groups have distinctives that set them apart from each other and orthodox Christianity. In dealing with these groups, we want to know what they believe and why. Mormonism claims to be a restoration of the original Christianity. However the “original” that they have restored themselves to is a product of revelation. There is no historical record of the LDS beliefs having been part of the primitive Christian Church. When someone says something was revealed to them, we are taught to take it a part brick by brick and examine it. If I say I’m LDS and yet don’t subscribe to any of the tenants of that faith, you’d call me on it.

  27. Anubis says:

    Mormons are only a step away from FLDS church. It’s no great divide like current Mormons think.

    First you have the quotes from past prophets that this will be reinstated in the last days.

    Second it’s in D&C 132

    Finally you have the temple marriages where one man can get sealed to multiple women (as long as his current wife has passed on). But one woman cannot get resealed in the temple if her husband dies and she marries again.

    What’s that old quote from Spencer W Kimball something like ‘Even if you lust after a woman in your head you have committed adultery’.

    Same thing applies for this situation even if a Mormon plans on doing it later or in the after life means they are planing on doing it.


  28. Michael P says:

    Hey all, here’s a nugget someone told me re D&C 132 today: it wasn’t for all Mormons! Only for those he commanded polygamy.

    Any other thoughts/ideas on this claim?

  29. falcon says:

    That makes perfect sense to me because we’re talking Mormonism here. Anything and everthing “fits” as long as a person accepts Joseph Smith as a prophet and his revelations and visions as true. The doctrinsl details really aren’t that important. That’s why when hard evidence is presented that the BoM is not a historical document, it makes no impact on the true believing Mormon. It could be claimed that only Joseph Smith was commanded by God to have multiple wives. That would be OK and acceptable.

  30. Rick B says:

    Michael P.
    What you said cannot be entirly true, Here is the first few verses from D and C 132,

    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.

    Since you read this, it means it was a law that was revealed unto you, so you must obey it.

    Since when have the LDS denounced this law of God? They have not, so this means the LDS are not living according to Gods laws and are not obeying him.

    If they say, well God put this aside for another Time, then I would ask, Why did God then say,

    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.

    Rick b

  31. Jacob5 says:

    If you were truly interested in learning the truth about the LDS faith, perhaps I might find that argument valid, but as I assume, you do not even regard our church to be Christian (which we believe to be a very defining character of our church) why even try to discuss what church is the true LDS church.
    This is why I say it is a waste of time to try to difine which is the true LDS faith. As I have said before, we do not waste our time in trying to difine our church by claiming which other churches are wrong.
    So, unless you are even willing to concede our church is Christian then I find no other course of this discussion.
    As to D&C 132, if it was supposedly a commandment for all, then why, even with the most liberal percentage, were so few engaged in this practice at that time. Were we saying that only that small percentage could be ever attain the full glory. Despite your arguments, I will clearly say that no, it is not the case. Plural marriage was questioned about by Joseph Smith that is true, but as for the section which does discuss it, it mainly talks about the law of being sealed to a spouse.
    Listen this isn’t the bible, simply reading our scriptures does not give you guys “authority” over our doctrine. It just proves that you are literate. If you reject the scripture outright, it obviously negates and authority you claim to have. That is why we have continued revelation which helps difine more accurately what has been previously spoken of. If you agree differently about the bible fine, great, go ahead. But when you start arguing with members that study these things along with continued revelation than that is just foolishness.
    You guys reject our church, that is your choice and opinion, but don’t think for a second that you have greater knowledge about our church than we have.

  32. Ralph says:


    I will echo Jacob5’s sentiments – Section 132 is mainly discussing eternal marriage when referring to the new and everlasting covenant. This can be seen by reading further into the chapter from v6 to v28. These describe the new and everlasting covenant in regards to marriage. Nowhere in this description does it say that a man has to have more than one wife to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. The discussion about plural marriage is after this description.

    Now the reason I said “ the new and everlasting covenant in regards to marriage” is because there are 2 or 3 references in the D&C about “new and everlasting covenant”, and in Section 22 this is discussing baptism 1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning. Section 131:2 gives the references to marriage which is then explained in 132 as a follow on, And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]. But there are 8 references in the D&C to ‘everlasting covenant’ and 4 references to ‘new covenant’.

    As for your remark to MichaelP about the law having been given to him and now he has to obey it, you are right on the money. When the prophet says something that is from God it is from the whole world to listen to and obey regardless of their religious beliefs. This is seen with the Bible – any non-Bible (should I specify NT) believers are still bound by God’s word in the Bible whether they believe in it or not. The same goes with our prophets (if we are the one and only true church – for your own comfort).

  33. Lautensack says:

    My question is not on polygamy or to bash your post but you wrote something very peculiar. You wrote, “Listen this isn’t the bible, simply reading our scriptures does not give you guys “authority” over our doctrine. It just proves that you are literate. If you reject the scripture outright, it obviously negates and authority you claim to have….You guys reject our church, that is your choice and opinion, but don’t think for a second that you have greater knowledge about our church than we have.”
    Now does this simply apply to Mormonism or all aspects of life? If I do not subscribe to Islam am I unable to interpret what the Qu’ran and Ha’dith state so clearly about it? And if I do not subscribe to abortion does this mean that I cannot accurately portray what abortion is? Now Muslims might say you are trying to paint us in a negative light when I say Islam is not a religion of peace, but it is right there, in the Ha’dith, in the Qu’ran. And those who are pro abortion might rant and rave, “You are not accurately describing us!” If all I have said is that abortion is the systematic killing of unwanted children, have I lied? Likewise if your scriptures and earliest prophets state that polygamy is necessary to enter the Celestial Kingdom, and I simply state that those FLDS groups follow the teachings of your scriptures and earliest prophets more closely than the Utah sect have I lied? And while yes I may not be an authority on the subject would you submit that Brigham Young is? If so what how can you contend with his statement, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.” JoD 11:269


  34. woenigma says:

    These post for the most part are mob rule. I asked the question before do any of you know any Polygamists?
    Let’s look at our society. How many in our society have had sex at an early age, sex before being married or have committed adultery, MOST! What about child pornography and the sick men that do it, yet why are we not up in arms to have these men KILLED and out of our society?
    Let’s face it; the sex drive is hard to control! In Bible times (Falcon look this one up) if you slept with a women you were married to her! You supported her! If you did not your brother HAD to support her. Sounds like a pretty responsible thing to me compared to todays society. A women that slept around was stoned! So has God changed his rules or have we changed our rules? How many single woman do we have in our soceity? How many illegitimate children? Abortion? Sex and homosexuality is sold to our children everyday on TV, where is the outrage? Does our current monogamy system really work?
    Yes, I believe in polygamy, if lived in righteousness it’s an amazing thing. Rick B- Women do not have more then one husband because knowing who your father is, is very important! In King David’s time the PROPHET gave David more wives, how can that be sin? If God wants righteous seed he will command polygamy!
    Joseph Smith was commanded to live it or die. Brigham Young was sick about having anything to do with it at first. You people know nothing of what they went through yet you are so critical! Why not get off the anti stuff and actually try to edify one another?

  35. falcon says:

    Why do you show-up on this site if you’re not willing to discuss the topics at hand? This idea that you’re not going to discuss these matters because I’m not interested in learning the truth is, in my opinion, a convenient escape hatch for you. I’ve asked on countless occasions for Mormon posters to straighten me out on any matters that I’ve been inaccurate. The problem is your definition of “interest”. I think in your world “interest” means to not challenge the Mormon religion’s claim to be the restoration of historic Christianity.
    If Mormonism wants to be Christian then it needs to meet the standard requirements of doctrinal belief of the Christian faith including the nature of God, the trinity, the deity of Christ, the vigin birth of Jesus, the atonement, sovereign grace and human works, the judgment of God, etc. There are reasons for definitions and standards of doctrine. It is dishonest and misleading for the Mormon Church to be presenting itself as “Christian” when it doesn’t subscribe to the basic doctrines of Christianity. So we seek to clearly define what Mormonism teaches and believes in the interest of clarity, accuracy and honest dialogue.

  36. Michael P says:

    Woenigma, this is a bit of distraction, as I see a lot from Mormons on this issue.

    You say polygamy is a wondeful thing. Have you ever practiced it? How do you know?

    As to society, you are right, it is sick, and we should be outraged. But this does not address the fact that these groups are closer to JS’s version than Monson’s.

    One last thought– you beleive he was commanded to it or die? Or did he just say that to pull the wool over some eyes?

  37. eric017 says:

    I think that persons here have done a good job at answering Jacob’s question, but as a former Mormon, I would like to give my perspective.

    Jacob wrote: “I am very interested in finding out why those who outright reject the LDS faith feel somehow compelled to try to difine what is the true definition of the LDS faith.”

    My answer: because SOMEONE has to. From my experience, the LDS paradigm is this: “The LDS church is the true Christian Church, and all other Christian Churches have only a portion of the truth.” Is this idea not reiterated by every speaker on Fast and Testimony Sunday?

    If this is true, as Christians we want to know why and how it differs from what we believe. However, if we take the official statements of the church in 2008 it is very hard to figure out exactly why. So this site and others attempts to peal back the onion and compare current official statements with past official statements. There are inconsistancies all over the map, differing definitions that are often not disclosed publicly, and an unwillingness to be honest with the Mormon Church’s own history. Mental backflip apologetics and unofficial just-so faith promoting stories abound. For example, if it was only Brigham Young’s opinion that Adam is God, what are we to think when we read that he emphatically stated that when he spoke it was doctrine from the prophet. The Journal of Discourses were the 19th century version of todays Conference Ensign which I was taught should be considered scripture!!!

    So what are we left with? What are we to think when the current official publications don’t jive with what the church’s own history tells us Smith and Young actually said? Why on the surface does it appear that the only difference between the LDS and FLDS church’s is a bit of modernization and a very well oiled PR department?

  38. falcon says:

    Our discussion here basically settles in to, “What constitutes Mormonism?” and “What constitutes Christianity?” I’ve been doing some reading on the history and beliefs of the Mormon(?)sect called the Community of Christ formerly The Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Is this group and the FLDS embraced by the Utah LDS Church as being part of the same religious system? My impression (and I could be wrong) is that the FLDS and the Community of Christ really don’t want anything to do with the Utah LDS group. Now why would that be? In fact these two groups have drawn clear distinctions between themselves and the Utah based Mormons. So my point is (I guess) that the Utah Mormons seem to enjoy and thrive on the fog bank of doctrine, teachings and proclamations that is their tradition. We Christians keep pushing them to be clear and precise about what they believe and they keep resisting these attempts. So we’re left to define the Utah LDS for ourselves. It is kind of convenient however, if the group can simple keep saying, “We don’t believe that?” whenever something is stated by us with supporting evidence.

  39. Rick B says:

    Jacob Said

    Jacob wrote: “I am very interested in finding out why those who outright reject the LDS faith feel somehow compelled to try to difine what is the true definition of the LDS faith.”

    Jacob, did you ever read this?

    Read pg 188 of Doct of Salvation vol 1.

    I quote Joseph F Smith. “CHURCH STANDS OR FALLS WITH JOSEPH SMITH. MORMONISM, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. Their is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed: his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false”.

    Now to go along with the quote by BY that Lautensack Gave, read this

    “Some quietly listen to those who speak against the Lord’s servants, against his annointed, against the plurality of wives, and against almost every principle that God has revealed. Such persons have a half dozen devils with them all the time. YOU MIGHT AS WELL DENY “MORMONISM,” AND TURN AWAY FROM IT, AS TO OPPOSE THE PLURALITY OF WIVES. Let the presidency of this church, and the twelve apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203)

    Rick b

  40. Just for Quix says:

    As former Mormons our families gave us grief when we became Christians. Now, while I love theological pursuits, it really was matters of the heart — particularly a conviction to seeking out a better relationship with God — that led us to change. Our families would argue against this spiritual witness warning us not to be deceived. This only begged the discussion to become one of theological and scriptural convictions, and similarly, historical considerations. But pinning down Mormons to theology, and scripture, as we all know, is brutal. The true “historicity” of Mormonism is really no older than the reign of the current prophet. “Continuing revelation” allows the sidestepping of problematic doctrinal and historical issues while maintaining the claim of exclusive Truth, special revelation and divine authority. It’s exasperating this slippery malleability!

    If there were ever a better fit for Paul’s warning of Ephesians 4:14 to not be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness…” it is this aspect of Mormonism. And ironically, Mormonism numbs its adherants to recognizing this by applying this very scripture as one of many attacks against traditional Christianity, and its loyalty to the Bible. Ergo, if it applies to “THEM” it can’t apply to “US.”

    If any issue in the modern LDS experience causes cognitive dissonance it is polygamy. And if anything from polygamy it is Smith’s polyandry. The best defense FAIR can come up with is to say Joseph had the authority to give and take in marriage as he decided, including living spouses. Brutal! But also good news. In direct conversation you might get a Mormon to play these same gymnastics if the subject of polyandry just doesn’t kill the conversation in the first place. But if my experience is any prediction, the issue gnaws and haunts the conscience of many LDS privately. This FLDS problem is good publicity to turn up a notch on the dissonance meter.

  41. eric017 says:

    Just for Quix,

    I like your insights. I agree that the polygamy issue gnaws and haunts thier consciences, especially women. From conversations I had, as recently as 15 years ago, the question wasn’t really why the 19th century church practiced polygamy. The question was a matter of when God would command the church to resume the practice. I can’t really speak to how things are now, but I’ll bet behind closed doors this mentality remains. It really is the 15000 lb elephant in the room in Mormonism’s attempt to be considered Christian.

    For me, the thing is this. Thoughts, ideas and culture don’t arise in a vaccuum. The modern FLDS weren’t people who just decided one day to read the BOM, follow Joseph Smith and marry a pasle of wives. These people either broke away from the LDS church themselves or thier historic ancestors because they believed what D&C132 says and what Brigham Young taught regarding the need to have multiple wives to get into the highest level of heaven.

    The Utah church still practices the spirit of polygamy. “We haven’t done that for 100 years” won’t fly with this former Mormon. After the manifesto, the leaders still practiced it in secret until the 1920s. It has only been since then that the church has ex’ed persons caught doing it. And of course it should always be pointed out that there are many, many, many men in the LDS church today who have been sealed to multiple women following thier first wife’s death. I’m sure that they expect to have not just one, but all thier wives in heaven.

    Next time we hear “families can be together forever,” remember that this ‘revelation’ comes directly from D&C132 as does polygamy.

  42. Michael P says:

    Eric, interestingly, at another site where I have been discussing this, the Mormons first went to the OT to defend polygamy as a Biblical concept.

    The more I think about it, how sad that is. Its as if they are more concerned about defending polygamy– something outlawed by their own church, then they were about discussing the historical comparisons.

    I think it stems from the idea that Mormons cannot stand the idea of Joseph Smith being equated with bad people, the whole image thing. But the whole thing reeks of dishonesty and dillusion.

  43. eric017 says:


    I think you hit the nail on the head with: “Mormons cannot stand the idea of Joseph Smith being equated with bad people”. As was pointed out by Rick B. above, Joseph F. Smith (Hyrum’s son who was the sixth prophet) stated essentially that the whole thing depends on whether or not we can trust Joseph Smith. But going to official sources to try to determine in an unbias way, for me is akin to listening to the Ford dealer instead of consumer reports. The church never outright denies evidence suggesting that Smith was untrustworthy or did bad things. They just ignor it and accuse those that keep bringing things up as anti-mormon, and hope it goes away. Additionally, they strongly dissuade thier members from reading anything critical of the church, even if the criticism is true. Polygamy highlights this perhaps more than any other issue. Joseph could do no wrong, so in the end polygamy must be okay, even defended.

    Ultimately, this was the reason why I left the church; because I could not honestly say that “I knew Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.” It is dishonest to ignore history in favor of a sanatised “history”. I hope and pray that polygamy haunts Mormons, for no other reason than it might lead them to Jesus. Again, if Mormons really are Christians (who by definition put thier faith and trust in Jesus and Jesus alone), what harm can it do to admit Smith’s mortal failings? Christians certainly do not have to do the same with the likes of Luther, Calvin or Wesley. The answer I think is that the house of cards will come tumbling down for a lot of people.

    How blessed we are as Christians, with our faith and trust in Jesus and Jesus alone.

  44. Ralph says:


    I read the JoD article that you refer to and it also states ”…that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained” in the same paragraph. JoD 11:266

    If you know anything at all about how polygamy was practised you would know that the only ones who had more than one wife were those who God allowed by revelation. All those who took another wife without God’s approval were living in sin, while those who God did not allow, if they had in their hearts the faith to follow this principle (as BY stated above) then it would be counted as if they had lived this principle and they could still receive exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom.

    It is what is in our hearts, as well as what we do, that we will be judged upon. So what you put into your last post shows that either you did not read the entire article or you do not fully understand our faith.


    No where in your quote does it state that one has to practise polygamy, it is just addressing those who do not wish to accept it as an official church teaching, which then puts them into the category I quoted above – those who do not believe in polygamy with all their hearts.

    As for the article Lautensack quoted from – it’s a very good article and discusses a very interesting concept about polygamy and one of the reasons to practise it. It goes along the lines of a quote I have heard attributed to someone (I think it was Mark Twain) who assessed Utah and its polygamy for the US government it goes something along the lines of ‘they (the LDS) polyg without polyging when we (general US population) monog without monoging.’ I could be wrong about the quote, its been a while since I’ve heard it.

  45. falcon says:

    I don’t buy the concept of receiving polygamy from God based on revelation. Yea, as if it were evident that someone took additional wives without the benefit of revelation and poeple would know that. The practice is flat out morally wrong and I think it’s time for you as an individual and the LDS church as an institution, to condemn Joseph Smith and all those who practiced it. It was never practiced by the NT church. By your explanation you seem to be making excuses for this deplorable practice. I see Joseph Smith as a false prophet. I think that at the very least you could see him as a fallen prophet.

  46. Jacob5 says:

    Your right Falcon. All those who practice(d) polygamy are deplorable, and anyone who ever practice(d) it should be shunned and all of their teachings should be pronounced false. These are wicked wicked people and the very fires of the eternal flaming pit should consume them where they stand.
    So through out the Book of Mormon, D&C, the Pearl of Great Price, Psalms, The parts of Genesis referring to Abraham, Samuel,Kings and Chronocles referring to David and Solomon, the Songs of Solomon, The Book of Ecclessiates, Proverbs, and all other quotes of such people in the New Testament. They were all clearly fallen prophets seeking to have their way with women.
    Oh also the temple of Solomon was also false as he was a false prophet.

  47. falcon says:

    There you go again, mixing and mismatching, reaching and trying oh so hard to find some justification for Joseph Smith’s adultery and the introduction of a deplorable, dispicable practice. You cannot provide any evidence in the Bible that God ordained or commanded that individuals practice polygamy. The Bible describes what a few did in the OT, it does not prescribe it as a normal practice especially in the NT and within the Body of Christ. Name me one of the original apostles that practiced polygamy and provide the Bible verses that command it in the NT.
    I’m not going to let you get away with listing some books of the Old Testement and charging that plural marrage is commanded there. I’ll tell you what, let’s just take the Book of Proverbs. I read it everyday. I’ve yet to come across any verses that tells believers to take on more than one wife. Please have the integrity to at least admit that God did not reveal to Joseph Smith that he should marry other men’s wives.

  48. Lautensack says:

    The Quote you are referring to in full context is:

    It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: “We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,”-the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them. – JoD 11:268-269

    In context it seems that to be a polygamist in faith is to be a polygamist in practice, or at the very least be willing to be a polygamist in practice. Also something that should be noted is Celestial marriage in this time in it’s fullness referred to polygamous marriages. See also JoD 16:166; 20:28

    For an online version of all cited sources:


  49. Jacob5 says:

    Deuteronomy 21:15; Exodus 21:10 (which occurs only 22 versus after “thou shalt not commit adultery.”; 2 Samuel 12:8 (was there condemnation for David’s many wives? No, they were given to him of the Lord. In fact in 1 Kings 15:5 it says the only thing he did wrong was the taking of another man’s wife)
    The thing I see a lot of are examples of polygamy in the bible, but I don’t see a lot of scriptures outright condemning it. There are scriptures that restrict who a man may not marry but nothing that specifically says, thou shalt not commit polygamy. Now in our church we do have scriptures baring those from simply taking extra wives, and our own scripture which ends our practice of polygamy. But nothing like that is specifically stated in the Bible. Unless you can prove me wrong.

  50. falcon says:

    I think what you are using here is what is called “the argument from silence”. In-other-words if the Bible doesn’t say that a believer can’t have more than one wife, then it must not be forbidding it, therefore it is permitted. Beyond scripture, I think we can look to tradition and practice. Polygamy was not and has not been a tradition in the Church. In speaking of the qualifications for leadership, Paul tells Titus to appoint Elders. One of the qualifications is that the prospect must be the “husband of one wife” (Titus 1:6). In the differing cultures the missionaries were working, the meaning here is clear. Without writing an entire paper on this, what needs to be recognized is that when God’s people returned from Babylonian exile (537 BC) onward, references to polygamy cannot be found in the books of the OT. By Christ’s time the practice was monogomy among the Greeks, Romans and Jews. Finally, when looking at Deut. 17:17, God clearly forbids Israel’s kings from this practice saying “And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away again”. Polygamy, incidentally, is first mentioned in regards to the Cainite people who were considered wicked. My point has been that Joseph Smith started this practice out of the same wicked heart that was present with the Cainites. He needed to be called out on his sin and shamed and disciplined for his manipulation of the faithful under the guise of prophetic revelation. His sinful legacy lives on within the polygamist cults we see in the news today.

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