“The sweet dream of a pure minded boy”

JSmithFirstVision4 In the spring of 1820 Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray. “Humbly kneeling, sweet appealing–‘Twas the boy’s first uttered prayer” says the Mormon hymn (“Joseph Smith’s First Prayer”).

Joseph sought to know “Who of all these parties [Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists] are right; or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it…?” In answer to his prayer, two Divine beings appeared before him.

“Then, to his infinite astonishment, he was told that he, Joseph Smith—young, unlearned, but humble—was to be the instrument through whom the Almighty would reestablish His work in these, the latter day…Such was the glorious beginning of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.” (“Joseph Smith the Prophet,” David B. Haight, Liahona, June 2002)

According to the official version of the First Vision, Joseph Smith was but 14 years old when this happened.

JSmithFirstVision3During General Conference in April 1971, noting Joseph Smith’s youthfulness, then-apostle Ezra Taft Benson described him as a “boy prophet.” Indeed, the age of Joseph Smith at the time of his First Vision is typically included as an important part of the story.

For example, the Mormon Church’s Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual instructs, “Teachers of youth may want to emphasize that Joseph Smith was only 14 years old when he received the First Vision” (“I Had Seen a Vision,” 11-15).

The most recent General Conference found Joseph Smith described as a “boy” or a “young boy” at the time of his First Vision, by three different speakers (see Ensign, 11/14, 51, 70, 105).

JSmithFirstVision1In his own telling of the First Vision story, Joseph Smith referred to himself as “an obscure boy” and “a boy of no consequence” (see Joseph Smith – History 1:22-23).

I think everyone would agree that, at 14 years of age, Joseph Smith was a boy–even a young boy—at the time of this foundational event of the Mormon Restoration.

Yet, even though 14-year-old Joseph Smith is established and accepted as a “boy prophet,” a “young boy,” and a “boy of no consequence,” Mormons choose to describe 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball as a “woman” or a “young woman” when Joseph Smith was sealed to her as his 25th plural wife.

The LDS Gospel Topics essay, “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,” refers to all of Joseph Smith’s wives as “women.” It notes that during that time in American history, some “women” married in their “mid-teens.” Though Joseph Smith married two girls at 14 or 15 years of age (Helen Mar Kimball and Nancy Maria Winchester) the essay never uses the words “girls” or “young girls.” But this is what they were.

At the time Joseph Smith married Helen Mar Kimball, she was the same age (within a few months) as Joseph Smith was when he became the “boy prophet.” If Joseph Smith was a “young boy,” Helen Mar Kimball was certainly a “young girl.” It really cannot be had both ways — Joseph a boy and Helen a woman. Either Joseph was a man at the time of his First Vision, or Helen and Nancy were but girls when the 37-year-old prophet added them to his society of plural wives.

JSmithFirstVision2Though it is understandably more comfortable to imagine Helen Mar Kimball as a “woman” when Joseph Smith married her, Latter-day Saints would get a more accurate picture by keeping in mind Mormon-produced First Vision artwork of the boy prophet. There they may find a candid portrayal of some of Joseph Smith’s wives reflected in his youthful face.

*The blog title is a quote from a Church-produced video shown at the Carthage Jail Visitors Center, also found here.

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 Joseph Smith, LDS Church, Mormon History, Polygamy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to “The sweet dream of a pure minded boy”

  1. falcon says:

    Boy, this article did set-me-off, I must say. One of our devoted LDS posters “Ralph” use to try as hard as he might to justify Joseph Smith’s actions by coming up with all sorts of (erroneous) information about the age of marriage of females in the early 19th century. I’d try to shame “Ralph” as best I could because isn’t there something a little bit creepy about an man in his early thirties hitting on a fourteen year old girl?
    But this is what Mormonism reduces people to; coming up with rationalizations for behavior that is totally unacceptable. This goes right along with Joseph Smith “marrying” other men’s wives. I heard one devoted Mormon (happened to be FLDS) say that maybe these women had been given to Smith in the pre-existence.
    Mormons have this fantastic picture of Joseph Smith and it really has them stuck in gear. They cannot dislodge themselves from the white washed picture that the LDS church promotes.

  2. cattyjane says:

    I am in no way condoning teenage marriage and i dont nelieve it was common in the 19th century for women to marry much older men, who were already married, at 14 years of age. What i find interesting is that Miriam gave birth to the Messiah somewhere between 12 and 14 years of age.

  3. MJP says:

    Does anyone else find humor in connecting a 14 year old male with a 14 year old girl as a sweet dream?

    On a serious note, this is more evidence of the spin the LDS put on everything.

    Catty, we don’t know hold old Mary was, as far as I know, with specificity. All we can go on is culture at the time of Jesus’ birth, which puts her in the 15 y/o range, which means it is a guess. We simply don’t know as it is not addressed in scripture.

  4. falcon says:

    I think what we can ask is, “Was it culturally acceptable for a man in his early thirties to marry a fourteen year old girl in the early to mid nineteenth century America?” Another question might be, “Was it culturally and legally acceptable for a married man in his early thirties to marry a fourteen year old girl in the early to mid nineteenth century America?”

  5. Mike R says:

    I personally don’t think that there is a lot of mileage to get out of the specific issue : is it wrong for a 14 year old girl to be allowed to be married ? That is not the way to refute Mormonism’s polygamy doctrine . I don’t agree with how some states or countries ( Europe ) had on the books the allowable marriage age for girls being young teenagers ( 13, 14, 15 ) , but the fact is they did and so the age of the Kimball girl is’nt going to be a very successful way to expose Mormonism’s polygamy as being a man made venture by Mormon prophets which started with Joseph Smith . There’s much easier ways to expose Mormon prophets as the latter days counterfeit prophets they are . A few example :

    Joseph Smith introduced polygamy and polyandry to be ordinances of Jesus’ gospel administered in His church which he claimed to have restored . That is a lie .

    Joseph Smith pursed women to be his wives behind his wife Emma’s back . That is inexcusable .

    Joseph Smith drifted from the truth about marriage Jesus and His apostles taught by introducing polygamy , he also drifted from the truth about God which Jesus’ apostles taught ( and which the Book of Mormon teaches ) , by introducing a plurality of Gods . So he lied about God , he taught false doctrine to his followers , and his apostasy was continued after his death by those he had
    mentored , like Brigham Young . Joseph Smith was a false prophet .

    What Mormon leaders did and taught in reference to the polygamy their prophet had introduced is a classic reason why these men can’t be trusted to be who they have claimed to be .

  6. Mike R says:

    While some civilized countries and even some laws in the U.S. would allow teenage girls like Helen Kimball to be married , that is not why her parents consented to give her away to Joseph Smith as a wife . Joseph Smith had little concern about any law , even his own Church’s law on marriage , he simply felt that God was speaking to him to do this or that and thus a new doctrine is born . Helen Kimball’s parents fell for a false prophet and so allowing him to woo their daughter was ok to them . Forget about what the New Testament apostles taught , and don’t listen to common sense , just do what the prophet asks ! No wonder why Jesus warned everyone living in the latter days to be on the alert for prophets who come with claims of appointment from Him , but who are instead only counterfeits — Matt 24 :11

  7. cattyjane says:

    Did the laws actually allow all these marriages or were they not performed legally?

  8. MJP says:

    Actually, records show the average age was far closer to what we consider normal. What I have not been able to discover is what the law said, if anything.

  9. falcon says:

    It seems these cult leaders have a proclivity for using their leadership position to satisfy their lust.

    “Rumors about Koresh’s sexual practices with girls persisted for years prior to the ATF raid. Former compound members told stories about Koresh’s alleged practice of having sex with girls as young as twelve. Evidence suggested that Koresh had “wives” who were in their mid-teens, that Koresh told detailed and inappropriate sexual stories in front of the children during his Bible study sessions, and that Koresh taught the young girls that it was a privilege for them to become old enough (i.e., reach puberty) to have sex with him. One former compound member described how Koresh would invent theological justifications for his sexual desires, whether they involved having sex with young girls or with other men’s adult wives. According to information provided to the FBI, at least two minor girls were “wives” of Koresh at the time of the standoff.”


  10. Mike R says:

    yes there was laws on the books in parts of the U.S. that would give parents the right to allow their young teen age daughter(s) consent to be married :

    ” In fact , canon law– said to be created by the monk Gratian ( an ecclesiastical lawyer and teacher who in 1140 published the first definitive collection of Roman Catholic canon law ) — also followed Roman law in this manner. British common law , which was in turn influenced by canon law , recognized the onset of puberty and the right to marry at age twelve for girls and fourteen for boys .As late as 1983 , the Code of Cannon Law ( which is binding upon all baptized Catholics ) decreed the minimum age of marriage to be sixteen for men and fourteen for women .”

    In the U.S. : ” As late as 1906 , six states still retained a minimum age of twelve for girls . These states included Kansas, Missouri, and Rhode Island .” [ Fr. Jason Gray , ” Canon Law vrs Illinois State law on marriage , Dec 2005 ; and S.N.D. North , comp. and Desmond Walls Allen , ed. ,
    ” Marriage Laws in the United States – 1887-1906 ” ; both cited in ” The Persistence of Polygamy ”
    edited by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster , p. 164, 168 ] .

    This is why I maintain that concentrating on the age of some of Joseph Smith’s teen brides is not going to be very productive in a refutation of Mormon polygamy . There are many other ways to show how Mormon polygamy was simply a result of Joesph Smith’s innovation , not a ” gospel truth” revealed to him by God .

    The age of marriage and what is appropriate is an issue with many variables , and does not come with a concrete answer scripturally . It’s a decision that parents , with scriptural guide lines , can decide for their daughters who are teenagers . I personally think it is ridiculous to allow a young teen age girl to marry . But that’s my opinion . Why Joseph Smith introduced polygamy and the way he went about it were simply self serving . Mormon polygamy commenced with and ended with the same behavior — lies . In between there were strange and unsound doctrines introduced by Mormon leaders , some of which have been convienently dodged or denied to have been of any importance ,by these men’s successors for a long time now . And while that seems to have changed a bit recently it still is not something that Mormon leaders are comfortable with discussing in public interviews or what Mormon missionaries will present to those they proselytize .

    Joseph Smith drifted from many scriptural truths that Jesus apostles taught . One of these was concerning marriage , still others concerned God etc . The verdict : Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were false prophets , who , those serious about following Jesus should have walked away from ( thankfully some did ) . According to God’s Word there is a very serious consequence for following prophets who claim to be sent by Him , but who are not .

    All the effort one puts into doing good deeds can not make up for following latter days false prophets . Mormons today need to realize that Mormonism is not the answer .

  11. Mike R says:

    I never quite understood why Mormons think that Joseph’s Smith’s experience in the woods praying and claiming the Father and the Son talked to him is something that proves that the Mormon church is the one true church of Jesus and Joseph Smith was picked to lead it etc .

    Are we supposed to believe this event because a young boy was sincere ? After all , children can always be trusted , but adults are suspect , right ?

    People claiming that they had a vision , or had dead Biblical characters ( O.T. or N.T. ones ) appear to them , or perhaps angels who proceeded to tell some important message that all mankind needed to hear and subscribe to in order to gain a right relationship with God , this is not a new claim by any means . The Mormon church is’nt the only church/ movement started from such a claim .

    In 1935 on Easter morning a 15 year old Korean named Sun Myung Moon was praying in the mountains and claimed that Jesus appeared unto him , as a result a new church was created .
    It grew into several million members and is still operating today . Mr Moon became ” Reverend Moon” , and his followers will use the Bible , are moral people , and believe they are doing the work of Christ to bring peace to mankind .

    In 1990 a young man named Matthew Gill was praying one early morning when a light filled his room after reading the Book of Mormon for the first time when a personage dressed in a white robe appeared unto him , his name was Moroni , and he was sent by Jesus . In 2005 he had another experienced after reading the Book of Mormon and praying , and light filled the room and a personage by the name of Raphael who had come from the presence of the Father and the Son appeared to him . After several more visitations from Raphael , Mr Gill was given commandments and revelations and the given the Book of Jeraneck . Mr Gill finally came to the conclusion that the Mormon church was in state of apostasy and needs to be reformed .

    What do we make of all this ? Angels , dead Biblical persons , Jesus , or even the Father and the Son both , appearing to an individual these days who proceeds to claim a appointment to reveal the real truth about God or salvation long lost or altered by certain men since the time of Christ . Do individuals like Moon and Gill and young Joseph Smith lie about having had such an encounter with “heavenly beings” ? Perhaps . But I think the answer lies in what the Bible records because these types of visitations are not a new phenomenon at all . The apostle Paul warned about angels who may appear to people and convince them to declare a gospel different from what the apostles
    preached — Gal 1:8 . For 2000 years that simple warning has served as a important tool to help identify false prophets / apostles , or any messengers with claims of offering some ” new and improved gospel ” of salvation . Any claims of authority by these types of individuals must be met with a simple comparison of their teachings with what the Bible ‘s prophets and apostles taught . That type of test is vital because spiritual safety is at stake , and in the latter days , with the number of prophets around , that test can not be stressed enough .

    The Mormon people who followed Joseph Smith were fooled because Joseph Smith was fooled by angels of light , beings who only mimicked true angels of God . As a result a imitation gospel was eventually created and Smith proceeded to convince people to submit to him as God’s mouthpiece .

    Our hearts break for the Mormon people and all those who have been fooled into following latter days false prophets .

  12. rabus says:

    I always wondered how Joseph Smith was able to live after seeing the face of God in his official First Vision, and why didn’t his face shine like Moses. My Mormon friends always told me there was a criteria added to Exodus 33:20, but they never know what it is. Well, it turns out Exodus 33:20 was modified in the JST to read:

    “And he said unto Moses, Thou canst not see my face at this time, lest mine anger be kindled against thee also, and I destroy thee, and thy people; for there shall no man among them see me at this time, and live, for they are exceeding sinful. And no sinful man hath at any time, neither shall there be any sinful man at any time, that shall see my face and live.”
    – Exodus 33:20, Joseph Smith Translation

    Then look at D&C 93:1:

    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;

    If the First Vision was true, wouldn’t this mean that Joseph Smith, as a young 14-year old boy who saw the face of God and lived, was a man that was already successful with forsaking his sins?

    Do the Mormon people believe Joseph Smith was already free from sin at the time of the First Vision?

    More references here.

  13. MJP says:

    Yes, there were laws on the books, but I am looking for specific laws dealing with Smith at the time and place of the marriages.

    To an extent, they are not important. However, they are not irrelevant to the Mormons view. If did not do anything illegal, the argument that he was within the law is a fair argument to make. Of course, what is legal and what is right are not the same, so I don’t think legality is the stronger argument.

    Its kind of like saying viewing porn is legal and so it is OK. Yes, its legal, but its not right, especially for someone married or in charge of a religious organization.

    It is interesting to go back and look at other religious leaders and their treatment of marriage and sex. I think the pattern is pretty solid, and Smith exhibited that pattern.

  14. MJP says:

    rabus, welcome!

    That is quite the alteration in meaning, huh?

  15. Mike R says:

    MJP , you rightly mentioned that what is legal and what is right is not necessarily the same thing .

    Helen Mar Kimball , in her autobiography recounts the day her father decided to give her to Joseph Smith as a wife : after Smith explained his doctrine of plural marriage ( celestial marriage ) to her parents to remind them he then turned to her and said ” If you will take this step , it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred .”

    She recounts her thoughts at hearing this , ” This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward .” [ ” Doing the Works of Abraham — Mormon polygamy , It’s origin , practice , and demise ” p. 49 ] .

    Concerning Joseph Smith and his new ” gospel doctrine ” of polygamy : I think words like sneaky and manipulative are accurate to describe him .

    In the currect MRM newsletter ( Jan- Feb 2015 ) it mentions that Mormon apostle Orson Pratt while a mission in the United Kingdom took a 16 year girl as a plural wife . He was 57 . That’s the Mormon ” restored gospel” in action : Mormon missionaries and their gospel — with polygamy as a essential ordinance thereof ! But a actual true apostle of Jesus was right — Gal : 1-8 . Pratt was a counterfeit apostle who was pedaling a counterfeit gospel , and sadly a 16 year old girl was fooled .

    rabas, welcome

  16. Rick B says:

    I would add to what you said by saying this, JS taught no man can see God and live, with out the priesthood. So when JS had his first vision he did not have the priesthood. So that alone makes JS a liar.

  17. falcon says:

    Will a topic like Joseph Smith and a fourteen year old girl flip a Mormon’s thinking regarding the “prophet” Smith?
    I’d say it’s not the strongest card to lead with however once a Mormon begins to question Smith and the “one true church”, it’s just another item to throw on the pile of evidence. I read the testimony of a man who was exposed to this information through materials provided by the LDS church. It really bothered him because he had a daughter who was fourteen at the time. The man couldn’t get it out of his head. His bishop couldn’t dissuade him from his feelings with explanations.
    So we never know for sure what that one thing is that will provide the motivation to nudge the Mormon into the contemplative stage.

  18. falcon says:

    There are a number of videos available on You Tube that chronicle the exit testimonies of former Mormons. Grant Palmer has an interesting one that goes under the heading of his “AhHa Moments” that switched the light bulb on. Mr. Palmer is the author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” and a former educator in the LDS system.
    Another former Mormon who has an interesting story to tell is former LDS bishop Lee Baker. His presentations can be accessed through a quick search of his name on You Tube.
    The reasons I bring this up is that I think often times we’re looking for that one question we can ask or piece of information we can present that might start a Mormon down the road of discovery that will lead them eventually to a saving knowledge of the grace of God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
    Most often there is an incident or a situation that poses a question that nudges the former TBM into a contemplative attitude. There is a reason why LDS leadership do not want their faithful members to begin questioning the background and history of “the one true church”. There are built in cautions that are meant to keep Mormons from a careful examination of the sect and leadership, past and present.
    The LDS church is aware that they have a crisis on their hands with so many members of the sect leaving. In fact, the entire structure of the church in Sweden began to collapse as the members began to uncover for themselves information they had previously not been exposed to.
    Fact-of-the-matter is that access to information is readily available today where a little more work was necessary previously.
    I think those of us who post here are less interested primarily, in Mormons leaving the LDS church as we are having these folks come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, many Mormons fall under the “once burned, twice shy” category and want nothing to do with religion once they uncover the truth about Mormonism.

  19. falcon says:

    I think a question to ask is, “What would the Mormon community in Nauvoo have thought about or how would they have reacted to the news that Joseph Smith had “married” two fourteen year old girls?”

    This is what William Law said about the becoming aware of the “revelation” on polygamy.

    “The way I heard of it was that Hyrum gave it to me to read. I was never in a High Council where it was read, all stories to the contrary notwithstanding. Hyrum gave it to me in his office, told me to take it home and read it and then be careful with it and bring it back again. I took it home, and read it and showed it to my wife. She and I were just turned upside down by it; we did not know what to do. I said to my wife, that I would take it over to Joseph and ask him about it. I did not believe that he would acknowledge it, and I said so to my wife. But she was not of my opinion. She felt perfectly sure that he would father it. When I came to Joseph and showed him the paper, he said: ‘Yes, that is a genuine revelation.’ I said to the prophet: ‘But in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants there is a revelation just the contrary of this.’ ‘Oh,’ said Joseph, ‘that was given when the church was in its infancy, then it was all right to feed the people on milk, but now it is necessary to give them strong meat’ We talked a long time about it, finally our discussion became very hot and we gave it up. From that time on the breach between us became more open and more decided every day, after having been prepared for a long time. But the revelation gave the finishing touch to my doubts and showed me clearly that he was a rascal. I took the revelation back to my wife and told her that Joseph had acknowledged it. ‘That is what I fully expected.’ said she. ‘What shall we do?’ said I. She advised me to keep still try to sell my property quietly for what I could get. But I did not follow her advice. My heart was burning. I wanted to tread upon the viper.”


  20. Mike R says:

    falcon , asks the question : ” What would the Mormon community in Nauvoo have thought about or how would they have reacted to the news that Joseph Smith had ‘ married ‘ two 14 year old girls?”

    It’s hard to say just how much news of his clandestine lifestyle was public to them . Probably very little . He kept his polygamy activity hidden from his wife for a while , and from the majority of his church flock a lot longer . He had fooled so many women into marrying him ( two dozen ) by the time 14 year old Hellen Kimball’s father gave her to him . The reason her father ( a Mormon apostle ) failed her was because he was fooled into following a false prophet whose skill at convincing people to follow him was very polished indeed . Her father failed her , not because she may have been to young legally , but because he was fooled into thinking Joseph Smith had heard from God to introduce polygamy as a essential ordinance in Jesus’ newly restored church and of His gospel .
    This is what false prophets do . It’s nothing new , but sadly innocent sincere people get deceived .
    One of the best examples of this is seen in Mormon prophets and their introduction of polygamy.

    Men like Herber C. Kimball were misled into submitting to a man who claimed to be a prophet and he was eventually led away from the truth concerning many important issues , marriage was only one. Herber Kimball blindly followed Joseph Smith to the extent he was willing to give his young teenage daughter to him as another wife . This kind of allegiance to a latter days prophet like Smith is a good example of a failure to properly test him first , similar to why the apostle John counseled his flock ( 1Jn 4:1 ) . That kind of test is the place to start , even today . After Joseph Smith’s death Mr Kimball was still clueless concerning where people could find trustworthy spiritual guidance to avoid being misled into error :

    ” If you cannot believe brother Brigham and brother Herber and brother Daniel and the Twelve ,whom have you to go to hearken to ? Who is there to lead you ? lay aside the men who lead you , and where is your salvation ? ” [ Jof D v 5 p. 30 ]

    The answer to Mormon apostle Kimball’s above question is a simple one : The apostles that Jesus actually did send out to teach his gospel ( Rom 1:16 ) , that is where the safe guidance and the salvation which people need can be found — not in following Mormon leaders .

  21. falcon says:

    There’s a little trick that these leaders of aberrant religious sects like to play on the rank-and-file and that’s a “you’re not spiritual enough” to accept whatever bogus idea or practice they present. It’s right up there with the “outside threat” technique where by the leadership screams that the sect is under attack. That’s suppose to draw folks in closer and promote a deeper commitment to the leader.
    What happens when folks join these groups is that they are seduced little by little so at some point their judgement gets totally eroded.
    In the account of William Law and his wife Jane, they had maintained their sense of propriety and ability to discern when something was not right. They paid a heavy price for their whistle blowing. In these types of groups, if someone points out a problem, they become the problem.
    We see this going on in the LDS church today. Things don’t change over time in that if someone leaves the LDS church, the leaver is the problem. They are said not to have had a strong enough testimony. So if you’re testimony is strong enough, you’ll eat whatever is put before you by the leadership. The leavers are also said to have fallen into sin or will, within a year, be totally morally bankrupt.
    We had a guy on here, a major TBM, whose theory was that people left the LDS church because they stopped reading the BoM. I found that pretty strange. So if they had continued to read the BoM they wouldn’t have the questions they had about the LDS church, the history of Mormonism and/or the founding prophet?
    I think the LDS church is and will experience a lot of erosion in the ranks by young people. Grant Palmer said that 45% of returning missionaries don’t have temple recommendations after a certain period of time. There just not that into it. The LDS church has tried a preemptive strike lately with the publishing of their “essays”. I guess these essays are suppose to be some sort of inoculation against shaken faith syndrome.

  22. Ralph says:

    It’s taken me a while to get to this, so sorry if it’s a little late. It appears that this thread has been side tracked by the polygamy and marriageable age arguments. If you read the OP the actual problem being looked at was why was it OK to call JS by the infant noun ‘boy’ when he was 14 years old and the two 14 year old females were addressed by the adult noun ‘woman’. There are a number of plausible reasons for this. One is addressed above – the fact that in this day and age the age of consent and marriage for females has changed so people looking at a 14 year old female getting married, especially to a much older male, is sickening. That, however, is a flawed argument for a number of reasons – 1) different times had different measures of acceptability so we cannot judge them and their time by our standards; 2) it makes an emotional argument, not a logical one.

    The legalities of age has already been addressed by someone, ie it was legal to marry a 14 year old female in that era. The legalities of polygamy has been questioned and I don’t know the answer to that one, but I do know that a number of people on this site have said they would break the law to do what God wants them to do, and JS was doing just that (whether or not you want to accept it was from God, it was real for JS), so that is a moot point.

    Let’s now look at another plausible reason –

    On an online dictionary it states that a definition of a woman is a female that can do adult things like procreate, look after others, etc. So if a female has started having periods, she can be referred to as a woman regardless of her age. I know of girls that have started periods at 11 years old, and some at 17 years old, so a 14 year old can be a woman. I have seen this definition played out in a number of period (excuse the pun) movies/tv shows where a girl has had her first period and a female member of the family has said “welcome to womanhood”. In fact, in many cultural groups in the past the sign of a girl coming of age and when she was able to be married was when she had her first period. That was the mark of womanhood. In literature, Juliet was supposedly between 12 and 14 years old and was classed as a young woman; in the Taming of the Shrew, the sisters were in their early teens (younger than 16). In Medieval times (and before) when child mortality was high it was customary in many cultures to marry the girl off after her first period and then she would bear children until either she died in child birth or she was unable to have more. This is when in families at that time there were something like 16 children born but only 3 or 4 survive (found this in my family history). So why is it strange that the people who wrote the church history at that time refer to the two 14 year old females as ‘women’?

    As far as the term for ‘boy’ or ‘man’ to be used, look at the same time periods – what marked the transition from boyhood to manhood. With males there is nothing like a period that shows a change in their body – facial hair was not a good indicator as many men do not grow full beards and in some races they do not grow much hair at all. So usually the transition was due to some achievement in their life – like their first big game kill; their first kill in a war/duel; the first time they had sex with a female; etc. When it came to age of marriage, it was usually older than females – for example from what I have read the Jews married their females off just after they had their first periods but the males were around 16 – 18 years old or older. So there is a possibility that the age of transition from boyhood to manhood was considered older than the transition for females from girlhood to womanhood. So again, keeping this in mind, without some external cultural achievement for JS, why would it be strange for the people who lived at that time and wrote the church history, to use the word ‘boy’ for JS? And since that is what is written in church history, that is another reason why it has been perpetuated in current literature and media.

    So my main point is that in cultural history and literature, females are referred to as women at a younger age than males are referred to as men because of what reference the cultures have decided to use to determine the transition from childhood to adulthood in each one.

    These days and ages, since child mortality has decreased dramatically, we allow our children a longer childhood period and decided to assign age parameters on what is and isn’t a child or adult. So our parameters of what is a woman and man are different to the ones used a couple of centuries ago and thus cannot be read into any references in literature from those time periods or anything that refers to those time periods.


    You keep asking about polygamy and the NT – can you show me anywhere in the NT where it says that polygamy is not allowed for general membership? I know there are a couple of references for some church leaders, but I am talking about general church membership. Did you know that the Jews at the time of the NT were polygamists? Look it up on Google. Now knowing that, can you show me where in the NT it states that to join the church one has to divorce all of their extraneous wives first?

    Since you all take ‘sola scriptura’, can anyone show me in the Bible where it says outright that polygamy is not allowed? I have shown in the past where it has been commanded of God – the levirate marriage – so at least in one instance it is from (actually a command – part of the Mosaic Law) and allowed for by God. But can anyone show me where it is absolutely spoken against? To give you another person’s perspective – Martin Luther said he cannot find anywhere in the Bible that prohibits polygamy, and in using this knowledge he performed a polygamous marriage for someone else.

  23. falcon says:

    So Ralph, I take it you approve of polygamy and would favor the practice if the law in your country would allow you to. Actually LDS still practice a form of polygamy in that it’s never been taken off the books, so to speak. A man can be sealed to any number of wives in the temple as long as the previous wives are dead. I think you’re a good candidate for the FLDS. At least one of the sects has men marrying adolescent girls. Does that appeal to you?
    Can you show me where in the NT polygamy is encouraged as a practice so that men can go to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom and become gods? You’re the one that has to demonstrate that polygamy was practiced and encouraged by the apostles for the purpose of exaltation. You are making a conclusion that’s illogical. Can you show me Ralph, where in the NT human sacrifice is prohibited? If you can’t, that means it was part of the early Church and allowed.
    Using your odd form of Mormon logic, anything that is not specifically condemned in the NT is allowed.

  24. falcon says:

    Well it seems that we always have to go through this with Ralph as this appears to be a topic that he really grooves on. So here we go:

    “There is no documentation to support the idea that marriage at fourteen was “approaching eligibility.” Actually, marriages even two years later, at the age of sixteen, occurred occasionally but infrequently in Helen Mar’s culture. Thus, girls marrying at fourteen, even fifteen, were very much out of the ordinary. Sixteen was comparatively rare, but not unheard of. American women began to marry in their late teens; around different parts of the United States the average age of marriage varied from nineteen to twenty-three.”
    “You merely need to go to your local courthouse and ask to see the old 19th century marriage books. Take a look at and pay attention to the age at marriage. Sure a very few did, but it was far from the norm. The vast majority of women married after the age of twenty.”
    “In fact, look up the marriage ages in the Smith family before polygamy. You’ll find that one of the Smith girls was 19. The rest of them, and their sisters-in-law, were in their early 20s when they married. The Smith boys’ first wives were in their 20s. The same pattern was true for the various branches of my family and the rest of American society at the time.”
    “On the extremely rare occasions women younger than 17 married, it was to men close to their same age, not 15 to 20 years older.”
    The entire article can be accessed here:

    As long as we’re on the topic; does anyone really believe that an angel with a sword appeared to Joseph Smith and told him he would kill him if he didn’t marry more women? Smith, the great manipulator, used this line on one of the women he was trying to seduce.

  25. falcon says:

    I can see why Ralph fights hard for the concept of polygamy and the marrying of young girls to older men in the Mormon cult. It’s odd and it’s dispicable and when it’s exposed, it’s a real turn off for both Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

    “Couched in the endless excuses justifying polygamy many in the Church thought nothing of marrying children. LDS apologists have stated ‘no one would blink an eye’ when a 16 year old girl was married, but the problem in this statement is that there weren’t any non-Mormons around to blink an eye – marriages or no marriages.”

    “They moved to the Rockies to isolate themselves from outsiders to do what they wanted, legal and otherwise; and so they wouldn’t have to answer to anyone. One of the resources I use for the Polygamy and Mormon Church Leaders series is based off George D. Smith’s work ‘Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841-1846: A Preliminary Demographic Report’.”

    “His report candidly exposes what was going on in Nauvoo during the Joseph Smith era. He studied 153 polygamists, how many wives and kids each man had and their ages. He also summarized their ages, polyandrous marriages and divorces.”

    “As I began looking at his report and those I’ve written, the number of young girls who were pressured into childhood marriages just can’t be ignored as it stands out like a sore thumb.”

    Seriously, who would want to be in the position of having to defend Mormon polygamy and the marrying of adolescent girls to older men. And then we have our buddy Ralph trying to come up with some sort of convoluted thinking that if the NT didn’t prohibit polygamy, then the (Church) must have approved of and practiced it.
    So I ask Ralph, do you have any evidence that what the Mormon/LDS church has believed, taught and practiced at any point in its history was what the first century Church did?

  26. RikkiJ says:


    “I have shown in the past where it has been commanded of God – the levirate marriage”

    A. Yes the Bible commands levirate marriage under only these conditions:
    1. Death of a husband (
    2. No heir (Deut. 25:5, ESV)
    3. Brothers dwelling together (Deut. 25:5, ESV)

    Therefore since the previous husband isn’t alive when the brother marries, it is not polygamy.

    Therefore it is not commanded by God in Joseph Smith’s situation – there were no dead wife’s brothers that purposed his plural marriages.

    B. Polygamy was practised in a subset or corner of Judaistic society, not at large. In the Bible, it was only recorded for some aristocracy. Google verifies the same. Are you making this stuff up?New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology There is no evidence that it was widespread, and even if it is, it’s not commanded by the Bible en mass, only for those who do not have an heir, along with the previously mentioned conditions.

    C. Eve was created for Adam (1 Tim. 2:13, ESV). The Biblical precedent only has God creating one man – one woman relationships.

    D. The leaders (deacons and/or elders) were to have only one wife [this doesn’t work for the polygamous 19th century LDS] (1 Tim. 3:2, KJV; 1 Pet. 5:3,ESV).

    The leaders are to be examples to the church at large with one wife, and that is the model that Christ employs.

    E. Can you show me Ralph where marriage to your goat is prohibited in the New Testament? If it doesn’t that means it’s allowed – according to your logic

    F. Leaving Martin Luther aside, you may say that the NT doesn’t prohibit polygamy. But it commands leaders to not have more than one wife.

    G. Jesus doesn’t talk about polygamous relationships, but discusses a man leaving his parents and the being joint to his wife. How can leave his parents again for the second or more marriages, for he has already left his parents first?

    “and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matt. 19:5, NIV)

    The logic of polygamy falls outside of Christian teachings in the NT.

  27. RikkiJ says:


    If that isn’t enough, let’s look at first century church’s practices:

    1. James(Jacobus) the Just leads the church (not Peter). There’s no apostolic succession based on the office of Peter. Peter was never called a Prophet.

    Therefore a Prophet never led the church.

    2. Baptisms for the dead were practised by those outside the church. That is why Paul writes, “what will those do who are baptized for the dead…” (1 Cor. 15:29, NIV)

    3. Jesus Christ is a person of the Trinity where God is only one. (John 17:3, ESV) The NT Church never believed in polytheism. Yet the LDS church believes.

    4. The Bible teaches that the church is incorruptible as far as a general apostasy goes (Eph. 3:21, KJV; Heb. 12:26-28, Matt. 16:18)

    “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages”

    5. Scripture cannot be broken or corrupted. Jesus said,

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” – The words of Christ do not need to be added to or restored, for they shall never pass away. (Luke 21:33, NASB)

    The LDS church therefore is a false religion that goes against the teachings of Christ.

    P.S. – Moderator, hope I haven’t gone off topic

  28. falcon says:

    You have my permission to go off topic……………….but you didn’t.
    You have to understand Ralph. I’ve been dealing with the guy for years. He’s a sweet man and a devout Mormon and absolutely about as deceived as you are ever going to find someone.
    I pray for him and his family. I hope he makes it out, but if he does God will have to shake him to his boots. You see, Ralph has had spiritual experiences too profound to even share with us here. That’s fine but people in the occult have spiritual experiences also.
    Spiritual experiences, being devout and sincere and well-meaning don’t get a person saved as we all know.

  29. RikkiJ says:


    If Falcon is right, then you have had a deep spiritual experience or spiritual experiences. I respect your experiences. But Christ warned about deep spiritual experiences that warrant following a different Christ.

    For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:24, ESV)

    1. Jesus calls these false messiahs and false prophets
    2. Jesus tells us these signs will be great (according to Jesus)
    3. Jesus tells us these great signs and wonders will be to deceive
    4. Jesus tells us these are of such greatness if it is even possible, they can deceive the elect

    Could it be, falcon that the spiritual experiences you have experienced are deceptive in origin?

    There is a far departure from the teachings of the LDS church and the early primitive church. God loves you.

  30. Rick B says:

    God never commanded, I.E, said to anyone, I GOD SAY, YOU MUST HAVE OR TAKE MORE THAN ONE WIFE.

    Did God allow Men to sin and live in sin yes. Muslims are for having many wives. Why dont the women ever get a say in the matter? Why is it if the Guy wants it he gets it? But if the women are not cool with it, then thats to bad.

    Also why dont we ever hear about women taking more than one husband? I know it does happen, but not to the same scale of Polygamy. Also When we read about these cases in the Bible, we see Grief and heartache, we never see happy marriages. The women fight among themselves and fight with the husband. It’s not Good.

    Here we see ONE Husband and One Wife.
    1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    Here it says, Love your WIFE, Singular, Not wives.
    Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

    Again, love your wife, not wives.
    Eph 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

    There are plenty more verses that say the same types of things, it mentions one wife, not many.

  31. falcon says:

    I try to get inside Ralph’s head and try to see things from his perspective to better understand him but to be honest, I can’t do it. I can’t think Mormon. I know who God is and having come to know Him through a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ, my thinking is clear. I can’t say the same for Ralph.
    If Ralph ever does come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, he’ll look at his former mind-set, and like happens to former Mormons, wonder how in the world he could think the way he did. I was watching a video presentation by Lee Baker, former Mormon bishop, and he says he can’t explain how he could have excepted the things that he now sees as total futility and nonsense.
    We’ll continue to pray for Ralph that the eyes of his understanding will be open and he too will come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  32. RikkiJ says:


    Just a thought. Recently, I spoke to a friend of my mom’s. She was a believer in a religion from the South Asian subcontinent. She had investigated Catholicism (specifically the RCC) and wanted to join it. She had heard of the ‘miracles’ in Lourdes. She landed in France, and managed to get to Lourdes, but got lost trying to find the grotto. While searching, suddenly a lady in blue appeared to her(the Virgin Mary) and directed her to the grotto, and thereafter disappeared in front of her eyes.

    If the logic of the LDS testimony is valid(many Christians too, hold to this), then a miracle must prove the belief true. Yet, Matthew 24:24 clearly disputes this logic.

    This lady had her miracle and became Catholic. However, much later on God brought her out of Catholicism and into the true faith, that is Sola Christo. In Christ alone.

    With this in mind, I hope you can just look at differently, that is, a miracle can be from the deceiver.

  33. RikkiJ says:

    Sorry, last post was to Ralph. Apologies.

  34. Mike R says:

    Ralph, your question to falcon about polygamy in the New Testament was a red herring . It ignored the elephant in the room , i.e. there is no record of the apostles in the New Testament practicing polygamy or teaching the virtues of polygamy as Mormon apostles did . Also, the Book of Mormon does not teach that it was practiced when Jesus established His church in America . We can speculate all day long about the other issues you mentioned but those will not refute the plain fact that in the New testament church Jesus established through His apostles and the gospel that those men were sent out to preach had nothing about polygamy being a essential church ordinance , like Mormon leaders viewed it . Mormon missionaries like Orson Pratt preached a gospel that included plural marriage as a important and essential doctrine ( and while preaching in the United Kingdom he had a convert to his gospel — another wife , a 16 year old girl ) , but the gospel which Paul preached did
    not . Two different gospels , one was the true one the other a counterfeit . One was preached by a true apostle and the other by a latter days counterfeit apostle .

    Brigham Young claimed polygamy was , ” one of the best doctrines ever proclaimed to any people” .
    [ Deseret News Extra ,9-18-1852 , p. 25 ] .

    Mormon leaders were quite outspoken in teaching about how polygamy was a better system of marriage than monogamy , and they had help in promoting that idea from women in the church .One woman testified : ” Plural marriage is the platform on which is built Endless Kingdoms and lives and no other or all combined principles revealed can be substituted as a compensation . It is only our want of knowledge that we do not hail it as our greatest gift.”
    [ Esther Romania Bunnell Penrose , memoir LDS Archives 6-7 ] .

    other women joined in defending their leaders teaching about polygamy and in one event 22,626 of them signed a petition declaring that without polygamy, ” man cannot hereafter attain to a fullness
    of exaltation “. [ See ” Petition of 22,626 Women of Utah” , House Misc. Doc. 42 1876 . Cited in Doing the Works of Abraham –Mormon Polygamy It’s origin, practice , and demise ” Edited by B. Carmon Hardy , p. 112 ] .

    So many more examples I could use , but these should raise a very interesting question : if polygamy was that important why would Jesus’ apostles in the New Testament be silent about it ? Answer: because Jesus’ true apostles taught what He gave them to teach as the gospel , but Mormon apostles created a gospel from their own minds . Mormon leaders ” taught for doctrine the commandments of men ” , and polygamy was a good example of that type of teaching error .

    Herber Kimball gave his 14 year old daughter to Joseph Smith for one reason , and that was because he had been fooled into following a latter days false prophet . Smith used his office as a church leader to manipulate Mr Kimball into getting his daughter to join his other two dozen wives .
    Today , we see this same type of thing happening with some T.V. preachers who manipulate people into giving them a lot of money , they use the “God told me ” line and sincere people think they are being obedient to God by surrendering their money to these preachers .
    Smith told certain people that God told him to practice polygamy , and Mr Kimball believed him and even gave up something much more valuable than money to obey him — a innocent 14 year old girl !

    Mormonism is not the answer .

  35. Ralph says:

    In Wikipedia it states this about polygamy among the Jews (and yes it is well referenced) –

    ”Despite its prevalence in the Hebrew bible, scholars do not believe that polygyny was commonly practiced in the biblical era because it required a significant amount of wealth.[93] Michael Coogan, in contrast, states that “Polygyny continued to be practised well into the biblical period, and it is attested among Jews as late as the second century CE.”[94]

    The Torah, Judaism’s central text, includes a few specific regulations on the practice of polygamy,[95] such as Exodus 21:10: “If he take another wife for himself; her food, her clothing, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish”.[96] Deuteronomy 21:15–17, states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son’s mother and likes another wife more;[97] and Deuteronomy 17:17 states that the king shall not have too many wives.[98] The king’s behavior is condemned by Prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 8. (The understanding of the Jewish perspective on co-wives may also be derived from the Hebrew word for co-wife found in the Tanakh, “צרה” [Tza’rah], which forms the same root as the Yiddush word, “צרות” [Tzoo’rus], meaning “trouble”.) It is important to note, as explained by Israeli lexicographer Vadim Cherny, that the Torah carefully distinguishes concubines and “sub-standard” wives with prefix “to” (lit. “took to wives”).[99] Despite these nuances to the biblical perspective on polygamy, many important figures had more than one wife, such as in the instances of Esau (Gen 26:34; 28:6-9),[96] Moses (Ex 2:21;Num 12:1),[96] Jacob (Gen 29:15-28),[96] Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:1-8),[96] David (1 Samuel 25:39-44; 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:13-16),[96] and Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3).[96]

    The monogamy of the Roman Empire was the cause of two explanatory notes in the writings of Josephus describing how the polygamous marriages of Herod were permitted under Jewish custom.[100]

    The Rabbinical era that began with the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE saw a continuation of some degree of legal acceptance for polygamy. In the Babylonian Talmud (BT), Kiddushin 7a, its states, “Raba said: [If a man declares,] ‘Be thou betrothed to half of me,’ she is betrothed: ‘half of thee be betrothed to me,’ she is not betrothed.”[101] The BT during a discussion of Levirate marriage in Yevamot 65a appears to repeat the precedent found in Exodus 21:10: “Raba said: a man may marry wives in addition to the first wife; provided only that he possesses the means to maintain them.”[102] The Jewish Codices began a process of restricting polygamy in Judaism. The Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, while maintaining the right to multiple spouses, and the requirement to provide fully for each as indicated in previously cited sources, went further: “He may not, however, compel his wives to live in the same courtyard. Instead, each one is entitled to her own household.”[103] Finally, the most authoritative codex, the Shulchan Aruch, builds on all of the previous works by adding further nuances: “…but in any event, our sages have advised well not to marry more than four wives, in order that he can meet their conjugal needs at least once a month. And in a place where it is customary to marry only one wife, he is not permitted to take another wife on top of his present wife.”[104] As can be seen, while the tradition of the Rabbinic period began with providing legal definition for the practice of polygamy (although this does not indicate the frequency with which polygamy in fact occurred) that corresponded to precedents in the tanakh, by the time of the Codices the Rabbis had greatly reduced or eliminated sanction of the practice.”

    It goes on to say that a full halt of the practise came at around 1000 CE.


    You are discussing polyandry with your description of the Levirate marriage – I am talking polygyny. Yes, the first husband of the woman is dead, but what of the brother? The Law of Moses states that he must marry the widowed sister-in-law – what it does not state is that he has to divorce his first wife if he has one. So if he is already married and he does not want to go through the humiliation of halizah which was –

    Deuteronomy 25:7-10 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

    So the surviving brother would have 2 wives if he were already married. And this was from God.

  36. falcon says:

    I’m glad when Ralph shows up here and posts because the mindset that he presents is informative regarding to what I now call Chapel Mormons who populate the world of the “naive true believing” Mormons.
    For these folks any explanation will do in order to maintain their emotional equilibrium as the seek to reinforce what they want to believe about Joseph Smith and historic Mormonism. It’s a lot easier to sacrifice credulity as long as this type can maintain their believe in what is really indefensible. The average person, learning that Joseph Smith had upwards of thirty-three wives some of whom were married to other men and a couple who were fourteen years old, is shocked, horrified and repulsed by the idea.
    One of my favorite sayings is, “To the cult member, any thing that is revolting or convoluted serves to reinforce what they believe in.” That’s the mindset of the true believer. It doesn’t matter how nasty or farfetched something is, it just means that their faith is being tested and they need to maintain their strong testimony.

  37. RikkiJ says:

    @ Ralph – Here are your mistakes:

    In your quote from Wikipedia, it states:

    scholars do not believe that polygyny was commonly practiced in the biblical era because it required a significant amount of wealth

    1. It was not commonly practised
    2. Even if it was practised, it needed to be between two brothers, who shared a common heritage and lived together [see Rashi’s explanation below]
    3. It was only for the purpose of carrying on the lineage of the dead brother

    If we are to accept levirate marriage, Joseph Smith did not abide by the conditions of leviracy, which I have listed above. It was not meant en masse, but conditionally on the need for the lineage of the dead brother to be continued.

    Deuteronomy 25:7-10 … However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

    So the surviving brother would have 2 wives if he were already married. And this was from God.

    2. Nowhere does it say that the brother did have a previous wife nor did it prohibit it from having another. However, it’s clear there’s no command to marry another if he chooses not to.

    Remember the requirement of levirate marriage:

    2. They should reside together (Deut. 25:5-6, NASB)

    Rashi discusses the need for joint lineal inheritance, along with the requirements of leviracy here:

    “If brothers reside together: [meaning] that they were both alive at the same time, [lit. that they had one dwelling in the world]. It excludes the wife of his brother who was no longer in the world [when he was born]. [This means as follows: If a man dies, and his brother is born after his death, his widow may not marry the brother of her deceased husband.] –
    [Sifrei 25:155, Yev. 17b]
    כי ישבו אחים יחדו: שהיתה להם ישיבה אחת בעולם, פרט לאשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו:
    together: [This law applies only to brothers] who share in the inheritance“together” [namely, paternal brothers]. This excludes maternal brothers. – [Sifrei 25:155, Yev. 17b]
    יחדו: המיוחדים בנחלה, פרט לאחיו מן האם:

    having no son: Heb. וּבֵן אֵין-לוֹ [Literally,“and he has no son.” Here, the word אֵין can be read also as עַיִן, meaning to“investigate,” because an א is interchangeable with an ע (see Yev. 22b). Thus, the verse also teaches us:] Investigate him [if he has progeny of any sort]-whether he has a son or a daughter, or a son’s son or a son’s daughter, or a daughter’s son or a daughter’s daughter. [And if he has any of these, the law of יִבּוּם does not apply.]

    the eldest brother: Heb. הַבְּכוֹר, [literally“the firstborn.” However, here it means that] the eldest brother [of the deceased] should perform the levirate marriage with the widow. — [Sifrei 25:156, Yev. 24a]
    והיה הבכור: גדול האחים הוא מייבם אותה:
    she [can] bear: Heb. אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד [literally, “who will give birth.”] This excludes a woman incapable of conception. – [Sifrei 25:156, Yev. 24a]
    אשר תלד: פרט לאילונית שאינה יולדת:
    will succeed in the name of his deceased brother: [literally,“will rise in the name of his brother.”] The one who marries his wife, is to take the share of his deceased brother’s inheritance of their father’s property [in addition to his own share]. – [Yev. 24a]
    יקום על שם אחיו: זה שייבם את אשתו יטול נחלת המת בנכסי אביו:
    so that his name shall not be obliterated: This excludes [from the obligation of יִבּוּם] the wife of a eunuch whose name [was already] obliterated. – [Yev. 24a]”

    Remember, Ralph, the Bible allows for the dead brother’s brother to leave, an escape clause so to speak:

    However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say

    Where did Joseph Smith or the early LDS church abide by the Levirate marriage requirements?

    Did Joseph command the continuation of the lineage of those who were dead, or didn’t have children and were his brothers?

    Simple, he didn’t

    Can you see then, why some would say it’s a way of legitimizing his philandering ways?

  38. MJP says:

    Wow. Did I read Ralph just make the argument that a woman is one who can bear children? So, a boy who can get a ‘woman’ pregnant is not a man?

  39. Mike R says:

    Ralph, when I read that last post of yours a question I have for you is ” So” ? That was something that none of us were surprised to see . It proves nothing , it does’nt make any case to support the polygamy which your leaders introduced . Some Jews at the time of Christ or beyond naturally still had many practices which they forefathers had lived , why would’nt they ? Your rationale that this somehow proves that polygamy was in accord with what the apostles taught as part of the gospel they preached is truly ” strained reasoning ” on your part . Jesus as Jehovah , Israel’s God , permitted some Jews in the old testament to take an additional wife(s) for various reasons ( the “Levirate ” marriage is a example ) but that was to make the best of a very difficult situation for a family , it was not the norm . None of the examples of where Jewish men practiced polygamy was God’s original plan for men and women , and so Jehovah ( Jesus) when on earth had His apostles teach the original
    arrangement — one man and one woman ( Matt 19:1-8 ; Eph 5 ) . Leaders in Moses’ ” church ” were permitted to have more than one wife , leaders in Jesus’ church were not ( 3 Nephi 27:8 ) .
    Jehovah had slowly steered man back to His original desire for marriage ( Adam and Eve ) .

    The polygamy in the O.T. compared to Mormon polygamy has little in common . It’s clear that like other latter days prophets , or even some T.V. preachers , they simply find something in the O .T. to rip out of it’s historical / cultural context in order to justify a new practice or teaching they want their followers to submit to in order to please God etc . Mormon leaders did this very thing with
    their polygamy doctrine .

    What Mormon leaders taught about polygamy was truly ” out there ” . Brigham Young called it one of the most important doctrines ever , other Mormon leaders claimed that it was a superior system of marriage all around . From the Church’s ” Millennial Star” : ” … the one wife system not only degenerates the human family , both physically and intellectually , but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality ; it is a lure to temptation , and has ALWAYS proved to be a curse to a people .” [ Vol 15 , p. 227 . Cited in ” For Any LDS : ” One Investigator’s Unanswered Questions ” , p. 298 ] .
    Does that sound like something that Jehovah would have told Moses to proclaim to His people ?

    In the O.T. polygamy was permitted to help alleviate the the sorrows, and unfortunate happenings in life hence Levirate marriage allowed . But in Mormon polygamy , since it was introduced for a different reason than in Moses’ day , women had a hard time living it out . Wives of Mormon leadership shared in private journals what they could not say in public interviews . Women such as
    Zina Young and Mary Young , plural wives of Brigham Young ; Phebe Woodruff , plural wife of apostle Wilford Woodruff ; Sarah Pratt , plural wife of apostle Orson Pratt ; Emmeline Wells , plural wife of Daniel Wells a member of the First Presidency ; Dr Martha Cannon , plural wife of Stake President Angus Cannon ; and the list goes on . These women married to some of the highest leaders in the Mormon church had suffered the type of emotional problems that sharing her husband with other women naturally causes . It goes against the very inner longings of a female and thus was never God’s design for marriage .

    So much could be said about the issue of Mormon polygamy , it commenced in lies to the majority of the LDS church body and after it ended ( 1890 ) lies continued for many years .

    The Bottom line Ralph , and you might get off your law of Moses’ dodge and look at why this practice was made into a essential ordinance in Jesus’ church and of His gospel by your leaders when neither the apostles in the New Testament church nor the church leaders of Jesus’ church He established in America ( the Book of Mormon ) teach it was practiced .

    Mormons were faithful to the pattern the N.T. and Book of Mormon taught was practiced concerning marriage — one man and one women , no polygamy . But unfortunately that did’nt last to long as Joseph Smith drifted from the truth , he later made matters worse by also drifting from the truth about God which the Bible and Book of Mormon shared . Mormon prophets are men who succumbed to their own desires — becoming Almighty Gods with a myriad of wives to populate worlds with their offspring thus gaining more dominion and power . Polygamy was their fast tract to achieve that level .

    Well meaning men deluded by their own vain ambitions . The Mormon people need to walk away from such men . God will help , ask Him today .

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