The Dark Side of a Dark Doctrine

The Canadian Supreme Court (British Columbia) is currently hearing a case on the constitutionality of Canada’s polygamy laws. On December 2 (2010) the court heard testimony from Utah clinical psychologist Dr. Lawrence Beall, who described the “dark side” of polygamy in “fundamentalist Mormon communities.”

Dr. Beall’s remarks focused on the fate and experiences of the women involved in polygamy. Based on his personal counseling of “polygamy survivors,” Dr. Beall detailed some of the problems women had endured upon leaving polygamy. He described these women as “robotic,” saying they shut down their feelings and lived in a sort of numbness. They tended to suffer from “self-blame, guilt and shame.” He had difficulty treating them because they had been told that any problems they experienced were due to their own personal weaknesses.

Dr. Beall also testified that the young girls who had been brought into polygamy didn’t have the power to decide who or when to marry. This differs from Joseph Smith’s 1840s Nauvoo polygamy, the root of the polygamy practiced by fundamentalists. In Nauvoo, the girls did have a say in the matter of their polygamous marriages. But Dr. Beall’s testimony of the dark side of polygamy did include some remarkable parallels to Mormon polygamy in Nauvoo. A few examples follow.

The Canadian newspaper, The Province, reporting on Dr. Beall’s testimony, said:

“When the older man is a church leader, it’s much more problematic. She believes he would never harm her because he’s close to God. She believes to deny him what he wants is the equivalent of denying God.”

Heber C. Kimball was one of the original apostles of the LDS Church in Nauvoo, Illinois. A fully converted polygamist himself, Kimball sought eternal security through a union between his family and the Prophet Joseph Smith. To that end, Kimball offered to give his 14-year-old daughter, Helen, to Joseph as a plural wife. When Joseph accepted, Kimball faced the task of convincing his daughter who was still unaware of his plural wife. After introducing the doctrine of plural marriage to Helen, she wrote,

“[My father] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours… I was skeptical–one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies…”

In this case the church leader was also the young girl’s father. Nevertheless, it was her faith and trust in him coupled with the words of the Prophet Joseph that led her to agree to the marriage. The day after Helen’s father made the request, Joseph personally explained plural marriage to her:

“[Joseph] said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.’ This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.” (Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 498-499)

George D. Smith, in his book Nauvoo Polygamy, also notes,

“Nauvoo citizens accepted plural marriage. The primary expressed reasons for practicing polygamy were belief in the ‘revealed word’ of God and a demonstration of loyalty to Joseph Smith. By this logic, if it had not been ‘right,’ the prophet would not have revealed it. Smith exercised remarkable influence over his followers. He assured them that plural marriage was necessary for celestial-afterlife glory…” (386)

Another parallel revealed by Dr. Beall’s testimony before the BC Supreme Court is this:

“These people have been taught that if they don’t give complete compliance, they will lose their salvation. None of us can probably appreciate that. It means they’re losing everything.”

In 1842, after sending John Walker away on a mission, Joseph Smith approached John’s 16-year-old daughter, Lucy, with a proposal of plural marriage. Smith told Lucy, “I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.” Lucy was not willing to accept. At a subsequent meeting between the two, Smith reemphasized to Lucy that the proposal was “a command of God to you.” Smith said, “I will give you untill to-morrow to decide this matter. If you reject this message the gate will be closed forever against you.” Lucy became Joseph Smith’s 23rd plural wife the day after her 17th birthday. (Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 463-465)

We find yet another concern noted in Dr. Beall’s testimony:

“When the women come to him for treatment, safety is often an issue because ‘they’re often pursued after they leave the community,’ said the psychologist.”

A concern for physical safety was not an element attending polygamy in Nauvoo. However, women who refused an offer of plural marriage and then went public were subject to character assassination perpetrated by Mormon Church leaders. From Richard Van Wagoner’s Mormon Polygamy:

“Not only were church leaders willing to violate the law to promote polygamy, they did not hesitate to blacken the character of individuals who threatened to expose the secret practice of plural marriage.

“Sarah Pratt was not the only woman to suffer from this policy. The 27 August 1842 Wasp, for example, branded Martha H. Brotherton a ‘mean harlot,’ and Nancy Rigdon suffered the same treatment after she opposed Smith’s polygamous proposals. Stephen Markham, a close friend of Smith, certified in the 31 August 1842 ‘Affidavits’ that he saw Nancy Rigdon in a compromising situation with [John C.] Bennett. He claimed ‘many vulgar, unbecoming and indecent sayings and motions’ passed between them and testified that he was convinced they were ‘guilty of unlawful and illicit intercourse with each other.’ …[However,] ‘the young men of the city came forward and gave certificates against Markham, stating that they believed Markham willfully and maliciously lied to injure the character of Miss Rigdon, and to help Smith out of the dilemma.'” (38-39, fn 12)

There is much more that could be brought forth to demonstrate the “dark side” of polygamy, both then and now. What the Old Testament Preacher said is true: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

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 Early Mormonism, Fundamentalist Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Polygamy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to The Dark Side of a Dark Doctrine

  1. Jerry Holt says:

    Susan Ray Schmidt tells her story on about her being in and coming out of the LaBaron polygamist group. Susan wrote a book "Favorite Wife" and is in the video "Lifting the Veil of Polygamy".

  2. falcon says:

    What is revolting to me is the manner in which modern day Mormons defend the polygamy of Smith and the charter members of his clan. This is how the thinking of these cult members gets flipped. Something that should revolt and disgust them becomes beautiful and a "principle" that was revealed to Smith by God. The sexual deviancy of Smith and his lecherous crew becomes a blessed, wholesome and marvelous thing that only the really truly spiritually deep person can understand.
    Cult leaders and false prophets seem to always get into some form of sexually deviancy. It's where they naturally gravitate to. It's always sex, money and power with these guys.
    The 19th century period in which Smith operated was a time of religious experimentation. "Free love" was just one of the many facets. The Shakers went the other way and became celibate. Fat chance Smith would have ever gone in that direction!

  3. Sarah says:

    Not only did Smith use the God commanded it and you will not gain salvation argument, but he also completely perverted the Bible and God's word to prove his revelation.

    If you look at the actual wording in his revelation found here — D&C 132 — you'll see that, according to Joseph Smith, the practice of taking plural wives was given to Abraham and David by God.

    Now I'll not argue that Abraham and David didn't have multiple partners — but they were not wives.

    In Abraham's case, it was Sarah who told him to sleep with her slave, Hagar. It was not God's command. In the same way, it was the lust that overcame King David's heart that caused him to be with Bathsheba, and nothing that God commanded.

    What sickens me most is the way that Smith — and those who have come after and practice polygamy — have perverted and misrepresented God's word.

  4. f_melo says:

    "“[Joseph] said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.’"

    Amazing how Joseph Smith was able to sell eternal life like that. It makes the Catholic Church´s selling of indulgences not look as bad…

    I mean, all you had to do was to enter into a plural marriage and abrakadabra, you and all your family are saved no matter what you do, even if you shed innocent blood? Wow, i´m so glad i´m out of that mind-twisted cult!

  5. It seems then that the main distinction between Joseph Smith and Brian David Mitchell was merely that of tactics – the goal was the same.
    Which makes sense considering how much time Elizabeth Smart spent at Temple Square AFTER the kidnapping – since Mitchell told her that God had told him to do this. How could a Mormon argue in principle against this?
    Anybody comment yet on the classic polygamy defense by referencing Abraham, David and so on – which one of these polygamous situations worked out well????? Yeah all were disasters.
    As well as the classic Mormon defense of JS by saying that the women needed protection blah blah blah. Compton's research blew that out of the water.
    Any lurking Mormons – how can you defend a man who did this over and over again? How can you trust your life and soul to such a consummate womanizer?
    There is no possible defense to someone who would pressure, especially young girls and already married women, by threatening their soul or by bribing them with salvation for everyone. That is what the Muslim girl was told when she blew up a Jewish girl's party in Jerusalem – 70 of her family would reach paradise.
    When you run from the true God it does not get pretty…

  6. Violet says:

    My friend's child died. I stupidly said that I tried to imagine the pain she was going through (imagining my child was suddenly taken.) She explained that most people were emotionally retarded. I know she was in severe grief and did not mean this statement to be hurtful. She really does not have a mean bone in her body. I did not take this personally as I understood her to mean that she was on a higher spiritual plain. I believe, she knows this to be true and that my belief (just regular Christianity) is shallow and 'insufficient' to cope with extreme loss. Not that this is my fault, or Christianity's fault, it is just the way it is. There is a 'selling' of superiority as in higher spirituality.

  7. RalphNWatts says:

    Or Violet,

    She just means what she said – its about emotions not spirituality.

    When my son was still born the social worker at the hospital told my wife and I that the grief and anguish that parents go through when their child is still born or dies just after birth is greater than when someone loses a loved one of a different age. I have to take her word for it as I have not done any research into it and I have only lost one child. But through my experience I know that even if you try to imagine what it is like, you will never get close unless you go through it yourself. And I don't wish it on anyone, so I hope you don't have to go through it.

    Even knowing that I will see my son after this life, still did not fill that hole and grief completely. Understanding and believing in something is different to how the emotions react.

    So may be what she said has nothing to do with religion or spirituality, just about good old plain emotions.

  8. wyomingwilly says:

    Bill, you asked if any Mormon lurkers would answer the question, " How can you trust your
    life and soul to such a consummate womanizer.? " I think a statement from the highest level of Mormon
    leadership might answer your question : Elder Marion G.Romney quoting past president Herber J.
    Grant , ' My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to
    do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. ' Then with a twinkle in his eye,
    he said, ' But you don't need to worry. The Lord will never let His mouthpiece lead people astray. ' "
    [ Conf. report Oct.1960 p78 ] . This is why Mormons trust their leaders. Scary.

  9. f_melo says:

    " ' My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to
    do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it"

    Hitler would be so proud of him…

  10. Jeff says:

    How do they still believe in Joseph Smith?

    Journey has the answer… "Dont stop, belieeevin', hold on to the feeelin"

  11. Julius says:

    Hey guys, a few of you may remember me. I came here a few weeks ago studying non-Islamic beliefs surrounding Muhammad. I read the responses to my post. A couple were strange responses. One said you're not angry at Mormons, but then accused me of being a victim. So maybe "angry at Mormons" was the wrong term, but that fellow seemed bitter at everyone.

    Anyway, this is a fascinating site. I've thought a lot about the comments that were posted in response to me. If you feel it is so important to out Joseph Smith as a false prophet don't you feel it is equally important to out Muhammad?

    Also, on this current article; I was under the impression that anyone practicing polygamy in the Mormon church today was removed from the church. Fundamentalist Mormons are not members of the Mormon church, correct? Are Mormons practicing polygamy in Canada? Is it only in the United States they've renounced the practice?

    Thanks for those with kind responses. 😉

  12. falcon says:

    If Mormons don't find some sort of rationalization for Joseph Smith's behavior, their faith in him and Mormonism crumbles. So if he is seen as a prophet, then everything he did or said must be from God. Smith was suppose to have, after all, restored "original" Christianity.
    It doesn't occur to them that their is no evidence that any of Smith's restoration, was practiced by the first century church. The apostles didn't have multiple wives nor did the Jews of that time. A Mormon is beyond disingenuous to suggest their giant conspiracy theory explains why polygamy or the rest of the Mormon myth does not appear any where in the Bible or any other historical writing for that matter.
    Polygamy is one example of what happens when people begin to trust that they are receiving special revelation from God. The fruit of polygamy is enough proof that this practice was not of God.
    Joseph Smith would not even rank high enough to be classified as a fallen prophet.

  13. Violet says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for your encouraging words. We talked every day through her pregnancy and the first year of her little girl's life. I wasn't 'most people'. I was me. She said something about 'the church' before any other words could be spoken, church friends, church activities. It was like she was insulating herself from me or something. My husband and I could not have biological children and adopted two boys at birth, now ages 11 and 8. Emotionally, I know children can be hurt or taken in an instant. While watching our children a few years ago, she said her children came directly from God. (It was a long time ago but the conversation was her explanation of spirits on the other side and how they need bodies or something to come to this side.) I didn't even mention that I thought mine came from God too.

  14. Violet says:

    I think I know what you are saying though. Thank you. My mom said adoption was easy. You just walked in the hospital and picked up the baby. She knew I had to go to therapy to grieve a child I could never have. Kind of like, someone will never have my mom's eyes, or my dad's smile. People can say horrible things. You are right. True, I must agree with your social worker. No one can understand it. I am reading a book on the Art of Comforting Others (not sure of the exact title.)

  15. Violet says:

    Ralph. Hi. It The Art of Comforting, What to Say and Do for People in Distress by Val Walker. Maybe it was just good old plain emotions.

  16. clyde says:

    There was an article in time magazine about polygamy. An older couple were of a polygamous sect and the wife told the man to marry her sister. In a way that would have been doing 'it right'. I think it doesn't suit a woman well when the man just takes a wife without her knowledge. Polygamy has been practice at various times in the bible.

  17. f_melo says:

    "If you feel it is so important to out Joseph Smith as a false prophet don't you feel it is equally important to out Muhammad?"

    Because Islam never claimed to be the only true form of Christianity there is! Muhammad never invented a new Jesus and went around saying that all other denominations of Christianity were corrupt like Joseph Smith did.

    I focus on Joseph Smith because i´m a former mormon, i might as well use the knowledge i gained while in the Mormon church to help mormons see the deception behind it and how it is different from what the Bible teaches. The same way one hopes ex-Muslims will do the same, but there are a lot of people, like James White for example, specifically addressing and challenging Islam.

    It would be interesting for me to learn more about it, but time does not allow me to get into it at the moment.

  18. Sarah says:

    Polygamy has been practice at various times in the bible.

    Perhaps it has. But my question is, have any of those times in the Bible been as a directive from God?

  19. gpark5 says:

    15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it but he who does the will of God abides forever. I John 2:15-17

    Men struggle with this because of their sin nature.

    Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…

    Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

    Mark 7:21-22 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.

    James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

    James 4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

    2 Timothy 2:22 says, Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    So, the problem is that, instead of going to God and having one's doctrine and practices be God's will, some religious leaders and groups go to their own evil hearts and draw their doctrine and practices from their own depraved imaginations. The result will always include doctrine and practices that are based upon "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" rather than the will of God.

  20. f_melo says:

    "Perhaps it has. But my question is, have any of those times in the Bible been as a directive from God?"

    No, not once. Perhaps it would be there if you subscribed to the idea that the Bible has been intentionally corrupted by a Monk-conspiracy(which is on a par with DaVinci Code-ish "scolarship"). Of course you then take advantage of that to justify adding anything you think should be there and isn´t. If anyone points that out you can just say "oh, there´s a bunch of stuff missing from the Bible, and the rest was altered by evil people".

  21. f_melo says:

    "Polygamy is one example of what happens when people begin to trust that they are receiving special revelation from God."

    and things could go downhill from there very fast – you know, God could reveal that it is ok to commit homosexual acts, that pedophilia can be practiced with children above 8 years-old(the age of responsibility when a child is capable to discern between good and evil, meaning that a child at 8 is now completely mature and responsible for his actions), etc. That kind of stuff is Satanic to the core – and that´s the danger people allow themselves in when they despise the Word of God and follow after con-men that feed their egos and fantasies.

    "A Mormon is beyond disingenuous to suggest their giant conspiracy theory explains why polygamy"

    I´ve watched the Old-Testament DVD the mormon church makes available for teacher to use, and there´s one segment showing how the scriptures where corrupted – a bunch of monks hidden somewhere crossing off words in the manuscripts. I felt sick after watching that and turned it off.

  22. f_melo says:

    "where some sociologists showed that polygamists live longer than monogamists and singles"

    Really. Ralph i have to ask you then, if a study shows homosexual couples live longer than heterosexuals, would that make it ok, and even encouraged?

    "So I guess married women draw the short straw unless they are in a polygamous marriage"

    You must be joking… You know, you´re free do believe whatever you want, but don´t come spilling that stuff saying it is from God.

    I wonder what are you doing that you haven´t already been engaged in plural marriage. What is keeping you from living in a plural marriage with the fundamentalist mormons? You know, you´re so crazy about it, so i was just wondering.

    Now, if you want to follow the "prophet" Joseph, this is how you start: You have your wife hire a teenage girl to be her maid. Then you seduce that girl and start having intimacy with her. Now, when your wife or someone else catches you, you claim to be following a revelation given you by god to start once again the practice of polygamy and that that teenage maid was to be the first one.
    After a while, start asking married women to marry you as well without notifying their husbands. You go from there…

    Oh, the righteous godly Joseph Smith, so many good and moral lessons we learn from him.

  23. falcon says:

    Joseph Smith came up with one of the all time "greatest" hustles in order to get women into the sack. He'd tell them that their salvation and that of their families was guaranteed if they'd enter into this most solemn and holy union with him. In one case, when the woman he was hitting on wasn't buying into his plan he told her that an angel with a sword appeared to him and said he'd kill Joe if he didn't start marrying more women. This is what happens when you get a very verbal convincing guy with a terrific sex drive and sprinkle some holiness on to cover the morally sensitive women with some justification for fornication.
    Polygamy has been around since the dawn of man, much of it related to religion. I think it's probably an alpha male thing. As far as Christianity goes, the apostle Paul gave, as one requirement for leadership, that a man have only one wife. Joseph Smith gave as a requirement to reach the highest level of the CK and that of godhood, a man had to have more than one wife. In Paul's church Smith couldn't have been an elder. In Smith's church, Paul couldn't become a god since he wasn't married. Jesus wouldn't even qualify given Smith's strict guidelines to godhood.
    But remember this, anything about Smith and his teachings, always comes back to the nature of God. Smith found his justification for polygamy in his weird teachings on the nature of God. Anyone who'd accept Smith's multiple god theory would be a candidate to accept everything else including polygamy.
    When a person gets God wrong, it leads to every error conceivable. Because it's at that point that every other error becomes easy to swallow especially if it appeals to the pride of man and his lust for power and sex. It just gives it all a little religious cover. Makes it all OK since it's deeply spiritual, difficult to understand and accept and is just for those chosen few who are getting their revelation and confirmation directly from God; no matter if it appears as sin to the great unwashed masses of people.

  24. RalphNWatts says:

    Wow fmelo,

    Yes the data was from scientific research, but didn't you see the smiley face at the end of my comments? I was being sarcastic. I was marrying together data from 2 research reports, which cannot really be done unless research is done to show that they are compatible. As a scientist I always read the literature I need to with a skeptical view until their data does support what they are trying to say.

  25. RalphNWatts says:


    Did you know that polygamy was also practiced in the Protestant church in Europe for a few decades?

  26. f_melo says:

    Sorry, but i´ve read so much crazy stuff coming from mormons that i´m going to need more than a smiley face to tell the difference…

  27. wyomingwilly says:

    Polygamy. This chapter of Mormonism can serve as reminder of how important it is to take Jesus'
    warnings seriously ( Matt.7:15 ). The Mormon people who followed their prophet into polygamy were
    people just like us who post here on Mormon coffee. They were not stupid or dumb for submitting to
    their prophet. They were not stupid, they were misled, led astray. Anyone can be misled by false prophets.
    Mormons in striving to please God have been convinced that to do so requires that they submit to
    their prophet. Might they have imitated the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 ) and checked the prophet's teaching
    against the Word of God first. We who do not follow end-time (latter-day) prophets need to be thankful
    to God for the truth of Jesus , and then to reach out in love to those who are misled.

  28. f_melo says:

    Was polygamy commanded by the Protestant Church? Was it a requirement for someone to go to Heaven?

  29. falcon says:

    Yes indeed, it's that psychological hook that grabs people and they are led into all sorts of aberrant and heretical beliefs and submit themselves to religious practices that are not consistent with a Spirit led life in Christ. But here's the deal, they believe it is consistent with faith in Christ. This really has nothing to do with intelligence because quite often very smart people get into all sorts of spiritual and emotional traps. Why are some girls/women attracted to bad boys? It's because the bad boys are exciting and a little dangerous. How do pimps get teenage girls to turn tricks for them when doing so is degrading? Why do people keep sticking money into a slot machine that hasn't paid off for three hours?
    And why do Mormons who eventually learn about the history of the Mormon church and about the type of person Joseph Smith was, continue to believe the Mormon myth? In this latter case it's because the truth is too hard to accept. It's easier to rationalize Smith's behavior and labor to find some sort of excuse then face the awful truth and that is, the Mormon church isn't true, Smith isn't a prophet, the BoM is a fabrication and the modern "prophet" is just a guy with an expensive suit.
    Think about having to give up forever families, and celestial marriage and becoming a god. The truth is just too much too handle.

  30. falcon says:

    If someone wants to find support to justify polygamy, it's really not that difficult to do. Let's take another issue, drinking alcoholic beverages. I can find support for it. The Bible tells us not to get drunk, it doesn't tell us we can't drink. The apostle Paul told Timothy to drink some wine as a remedy for his frequent stomach ailments. Jesus turned water into wine, yes wine not grape juice. So there you have it. Mormons are off base regarding the restrictions on drinking alcohol in fact Joesph Smith drank. Andy Watson was telling me about this truck stop he goes into frequently in Utah and he sees all of these Mormons sitting there drinking coffee. I guess they haven't gotten the memo about that yet or they really don't take the restriction that seriously anyway.
    If Mormons want to use the OT as proof that polygamy is OK, why not have concubines also and why not throw in a few slaves for good measure? For a man, he wouldn't have to invest anything emotionally in the relationship with a concubine or a female slave and he'd have all of the side benefits.
    I've watched people justify and rationalize their behavior and believe me, it can be done quite easily.

  31. RalphNWatts says:


    You asked ”Perhaps it has. But my question is, have any of those times in the Bible been as a directive from God?” I did a quick internet search and came up with this site and its comments about polygamy as a directive from God in the OT –

    Besides the freedom given to men to take multiple wives, there were three specific situations in which a man incurred marriage obligations, even if he already had a wife: sex with an unbetrothed woman (Ex 22:16-17; Deut 22:28-29; cf. 1 Cor 7:36), death of a married brother without a male heir, called yibbum or Levirate marriage (Deut 25:5-6) and redemption of property bound to a childless widow of near relation (Lev 25:25-26, 35; Ruth 2:1; 3:2; 4:14).

    This discussed the Law of Moses as given to the Israelites from God – so it is a directive from God.

    As far as my comment about polygamy in the Protestant churches, according to this article it is still being practised in some areas of the world, and there are some supporters for it within the more ‘western/monogamy’ Protestant churches. So there are Christians practising polygamy now (even in the USA) and some that are supporters of it but don’t practise.

    There are other websites saying the same thing if anyone is interested.

  32. f_melo says:

    "As far as my comment about polygamy in the Protestant churches, according to this article it is still being practised in some areas of the world, and there are some supporters for it within the more ‘western/monogamy’ Protestant churches"

    Please give us some names.

    Ralph, none of those references contain anything even remotely similar to mormon polygamy. Keep trying though, one day you´ll finally have to admit the whole polygamy thing came from one horny charismatic man you call a prophet.

  33. wyomingwilly says:

    Ralph, Joseph Smith was'nt the only "latter-day " prophet to claim to have been chosen
    by God to restore His long neglected "truths'.That he was influenced by the many groups
    in the late 1700's and early 1800's which have been termed " Restorationists" is no
    secret. Many well intended people have sought emulate the faith and practice of the
    patriarchs of the O.T. Others reason that if believers in the O.T. did something then it
    must have had God's approval, after all it's in the Bible, right ? An history altering event
    happened with the New covenant , inaugurated with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
    There are people who have always stumbled over this .

  34. wyomingwilly says:

    cont. Your appeal to passages in the O.T. to try and justify Joseph Smith's claim
    of restoring " a new and everlasting covenant " of polygamy , is weak. The law of
    Moses was given by God, but not every effort to implement that law(s) instigated
    by the Jewish people in an effort to define it was a " directive from God " . Many
    of those were attempts to solve very difficult situations . God might allowed this
    but it was not His original plan for man ( compare Matt.19:7-8 ) .

  35. falcon says:

    Joseph Smith did have an interesting twist on the practice of polygamy. He declared that morphing to deity status depended on a man collecting a harem of woman to assist the would be god in procreating enough spirit children to populate all of the man-god's planets. I've tried to do the math on this spirit children procreation scheme and all I've got to say is that there needs to be a lot of wives and a whole lot of procreating going on to populate a solar system or even an earth. I'm guessing that there's probably some sort of instant procreation gestation formula to make this happen. Interestingly enough, the Mormon woman-goddesses are going to spend eternity pregnant. Boy I don't know about that. Think about an eternity of morning sickness. What a treat!

  36. wyomingwilly says:

    cont. What should be the real question here is , " did Joseph Smith restore
    the destroyed New testament church of Jesus Christ ? " Did he restore the practice
    and doctrines of what Jesus taught his apostles to take to all the world ? When we
    see how Mormon leaders defended their practice of polygamy as a true doctrine
    of Jesus Christ it becomes quite evident that they were misled , they never heard
    from God at all. A couple quick examples: It was taught that the " pattern of heaven"
    practiced by God , was polygamy . Incredible. Also at Conf. in 1852 it was
    taught from the pulpit that there were so many choice spirits waiting to be born into
    favorable parentages among the LDS —white parentage, not into the "degrated"
    parentages of African negroes, or heathen nations ! So Matt 7:15 is appropriate here.

  37. Sarah says:

    1. Where in Deut 25:5-6 does it state anything about taking a second wife? It merely says that a brother ought to marry his brother's widow. It says nothing about polygamy. In fact, I can easily argue that this is a command to an unmarried brother, should his brother leave behind a widow.

    2. Again with Ex 22:16-17 — where does it say "even if he is already married"? (same with Deut 22:28-29 and 1 Cor 7:36 )

    This is a clear problem with interpretation of scripture — in your case, coming from a Mormon background.

    I admit I didn't read the entire article you linked. Instead, I am reading the scripture.

    It is clear to me that these directives are to protect a woman from rape or molestation from a man. It also protects the widow — taking care of our own, if you will.

    It has nothing to do with already married men; the assumption that these directives ought to be followed by a married man as well as an unmarried one — well, that's on you and your interpretation.

  38. falcon says:

    The manifesto that supposedly ended polygamy was not a revelation. The reason we know that is because those in leadership continued to practice plural marriage. A little known fun fact is that thee are fundamentalist Mormons who have been reinstated in the Utah church after their death. If one believes in Mormonism, they can't become gods unless they practice plural marriage. It is fundamental to Mormonism. I think I'm right in saying that polygamy hasn't been removed from the D&C. If Mormons were serious about it, they'd get it off the books. If polygamy is ever legalized in this country, the Mormon leaders are going to have a very interesting situation to deal with.

  39. f_melo says:

    "Jesus wouldn't even qualify given Smith's strict guidelines to godhood. "

    Didn´t you know, Jesus was in a polygamous marriage during His mortal life:

    "Jedediah M. Grant, second counselor to Brigham Young, made these comments:

    Celsus was a heathen philosopher; and what does he say upon the subject of Christ and his Apostles…. He says, "The grand reason why the Gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ, was, because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth, and Mary, and a host of others that followed him." …

    The grand reason of the burst of public sentiment in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his crucifixion, was evidently based on polygamy…. A belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the persecution of Jesus, and his followers. We might almost think they were "Mormons" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp. 345-46)."

    source –

  40. f_melo says:

    "It's easier to rationalize Smith's behavior and labor to find some sort of excuse then face the awful truth and that is, the Mormon church isn't true, Smith isn't a prophet, the BoM is a fabrication and the modern "prophet" is just a guy with an expensive suit.
    Think about having to give up forever families, and celestial marriage and becoming a god. The truth is just too much too handle."

    Falcon, you nailed it.

    That´s how i see my family reacting to the truth… sometimes some of them take me telling the truth about Joseph Smith´s behavior as a personal attack against themselves and get very angry, even though they don´t know the guy – all they know about him is through the church´s spin machine. We never really compared the Book of Mormon with the Bible while i was growing up and my parents never actually studied it thoroughly before joining – it all happened through "spiritual" experiences and missionaries saying stuff like "now that you know it´s true you have to be baptized otherwise the spirit that you feel right now is going to abandon you", etc.

    I think that has to do with the way people are generally brought up, you know, nobody teaches you to think critically, to ask questions, just follow your feelings/emotions, act on your intuition, etc. Not that intuition is a bad thing, but it should be used with caution.

  41. f_melo says:

    "Andy Watson was telling me about this truck stop he goes into frequently in Utah and he sees all of these Mormons sitting there drinking coffee. I guess they haven't gotten the memo about that yet or they really don't take the restriction that seriously anyway."

    Most mormons i´ve discussed that with when still a member weren´t convinced about the whole coffee deal – because if you really think about it, if it is because of caffeine then you´d have to cut soda and chocolate, among other things. Those things are freely consumed, so, it doesn´t make sense. Some of my friends just said that they were doing it because god said so and they had to obey, and one day they´d understand why.

    There´s something else besides caffeine that makes coffee bad, but i can´t remember it right now.

    It´s funny how arbitrary that stuff is – everything else is left open for people to choose, and there are stuff much worse than coffee that isn´t clearly ruled out. That not to mention how awful it is to believe you´re not "worthy" because of a cup of coffee.

  42. f_melo says:

    If they are gods they could come up with better ways of doing that – doesn´t God just speak and it happens?

    I mean, if even the guys that came up with the Matrix movie thought about machines growing human beings through some genetic engineering process, how come the gods can´t develop a better system that lets women actually enjoy their eternal reward?? Maybe it´s one of those eternal laws established by the Force, that can´t be changed(even thought they change all the time according to circumstances).

  43. f_melo says:

    " The reason we know that is because those in leadership continued to practice plural marriage. "

    Since when the top leaders care about that stuff? Remember Joseph Smith:

    "Because of the fact that Joseph Smith did not keep the Word of Wisdom, Almon W. Babbitt felt that he had a right to break it. On August 19, 1835, Mr. Babbitt was brought to trial, one of the charges being "that he was not keeping the Word of Wisdom." In his own defense Babbitt "said that he had taken the liberty to break the Word of Wisdom, from the example of President Joseph Smith Jun., and others, but acknowledged that it was wrong …" (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 252)."

    Lots of examples of that here –

  44. f_melo says:

    " In fact, I can easily argue that this is a command to an unmarried brother, should his brother leave behind a widow. "

    I think this is the first time that appears in the Bible – Genesis 38:7 "And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. 8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also. 11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown:(…)

    I agree with you, Tamar was waiting for Shelah to grow up, that mean she was supposed to be his first wife.

  45. RalphNWatts says:


    Firstly, those were not my words, so it’s not my interpretation as you say. Secondly, the site I directed you to was not and LDS site nor was the author LDS as far as I know.

    Now as it goes for Deut 25:5-6, this is discussing Levirate marriage. The scripture does not state anything about taking a second wife as you said, however it says that the husband’s brother should take as his wife and they must have at least one son in that marriage. Neither does it state that the husband’s brother had to be unmarried. So what happens if the husband has only one brother who is already married – it states in the scripture – “The husband’s brother SHALL TAKE her to him to wife.

    The next few verses gives the brother an out. But first the elders of the city (ie religious leaders) are called in to talk him into marrying the sister-in-law. If he still refuses she gives him and insult and he goes on record throughout the nation as not fulfilling his duty. In other words, he is publicly humiliated before he is allowed to step down from marrying his sister-in-law.

    Look up any site on the web about the Levirate marriage and they will tell you it allows for polygamy – so again, it is not my interpretation, but a general consensus. Your original question was ”But my question is, have any of those times in the Bible been as a directive from God?” This was a directive from God.

    As far as the other scriptures go, you’re right, they do not say ”even if he is already married” – but they also don’t qualify if the male is married or not. So logic/reason surmises that it pertains to both, as there are no other penalties mentioned specifically for those already married. But like I said, these are not my ‘interpretations’ but someone else’s who is not LDS as far as I know.

  46. f_melo says:

    "This was a directive from God"

    I guess Jesus forgot that bit in His Gospel presentation – he should have taught "He that believeth and is baptized and is married to multiple wives through a masonic ceremony shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

    So, Ralph, If the U.S. said tomorrow that polygamy is ok, how would you go about picking them?

  47. RalphNWatts says:


    Reread what I said – I was discussing the Levirate marriage requirements. If polygamy was re-instituted in the US it would not affect me as I am in Australia :).

    If it was re-instituted in Australia (I believe that is what you mean) then I don't need to worry too much right now. My 2 brothers that are married already have a son each and my youngest brother is not married yet. When he does get married if he dies without children then I don't know who out of the 3 of us left would get to marry his wife, but all 3 of us are married.

    As far as normal polygamy goes, I don't want another wife. Unless the prophet tells me directly that I have to take another, then I won't.

  48. wyomingwilly says:

    Ralph, you once said on this forum that only LDS have the correct interpretation of
    scripture. So why are you so fast at finding some "parallel " in some exception to
    the norm in O.T. Jewish lifestyle as a way to justify Mormon polygamy, and then
    be reluctant to stand behind it ? Scowering the O.T. for some exception to
    God's ideal for man and marriage, and then running with it to use it as an alibi
    to justify your prophets polygamist lifestyle and teachings just is'nt very " logical
    and reasonable" . Your prophets merely used the O.T. as a way to convince their
    followers that this "new" and everlasting covenant of " spiritual wifery" had God's
    approval. Unfortunately this tactic seemed to work .How Mormon leaders defended
    this doctrine is'nt remotely consistant with what Jesus taught His apostles in His
    church , the new covenant. Which church you and your leaders now claim to represent.

  49. clyde says:

    No I didn't but was it practice after the black plague?

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