The article is here.
“Among those revelations recorded in 1843 in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of Mormon scripture, were teachings about plural marriage [link to D&C 132).”
Section 132 actually wasn’t added until 1876. Until 1876, then-section 101 (removed in 1876) actually forbade polygamy. In 1843 the “revelation” was still secret, and Smith was vehemently denying polygamy (as mentioned later in article) while busily accumulating women (even women already married to living husbands).
I am glad they give fundamentalist Anne Wilde a voice:
“If those are eternal doctrines, then how can man change them?”
Great question. Sure seems like Mormon leaders led their own people astray.
CNN also drops a bomb that the mainstream LDS Church doesn’t want public:
“In fact, even if LDS Church members don’t practice plural marriage on earth, their scripture still teaches that in heaven it is possible. Mormons also believe that families are sealed together for eternity.”
Woops. That’s embarrassing (particularly the first part, and the second part considered in conjunction with the first part).
Make no mistake, Mormons didn’t practice polygamy swimming down the stream of American culture. Joseph Smith re-introduced it in the face of a contrary culture. He rooted it in what he thought were eternal patterns, and Mormon leaders went on to further erect a theology around it. It was suspended in 1890 (with an “uhhh, we are actually serious this time” in 1904), and not only is the Mormon Church unclear over whether it could be re-introduced before the return of Jesus, it is noncommittal over the grandiose theological undergirding leaders once gave it. For now, it hangs in the air. The embarrassing past is neither renounced nor fully embraced. And the future remains open.
This theologically informed practice of Mormon polygamy (even when considered apart from all the abuses and cultural weirdness), rooted in the teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor, distanced by cowards Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith, is ever-relevant to mainstream Mormonism. Even while claiming a heritage in its leaders, the LDS Church refuses to take any responsibility for splinter groups and their practice of polygamy. Like rubbing a dog’s nose in a carpet it soiled, the CNN article makes the LDS Church face a piece of its unsavory history.
You did this, Mormonism. This is your doing. You are responsible for the very existence of modern-day polygamous splinter groups. Your prophets led people astray. Yet you throw fundamentalist polygamists under the bus and disown them with a vengeance. They’re your Mormon family, but you don’t even want them to use the label “Mormon.”
“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.'” (Psalm 32:5)