Not Polygamy Again!

A couple of months ago I (Kathleen from Dialogue) spoke to some younger women in my ward about polygamy. This was in a non-official setting. They were curious. One said, “There is nothing about polygamy on LDS.org.” She grew up thinking polygamy was a way of providing for the widows.

Among the resources I reviewed were many articles from 40 years of Dialogue. Two things stood out in my mind about the exercise. The first is that the majority of people who entered into polygamy had a firm conviction that it was God’s will. The second is that it seemed to be all about priesthood, patriarchy, and hierarchy. The eagerness with which people sealed themselves to apostles or church presidents in order to be part of their celestial families contradicts our more democratic ideas about priesthood. Today I think we would say that all priesthood holders are equal before God and that righteousness or exaltation isn’t linked to church office. Under polygamy having the maximum number of children was also important. The earthly peopling of the celestial family seemed to be a key concept. The man with the most wives and children wins–something.

By the time of the Manifesto polygamy was a harder sell than in the beginning, not just because of the pressures from the US government that tore apart families. The Saints no longer lived isolated from the rest of the country. They were probably influenced by the popular culture of their time, the notions of romantic love, the desire to be like everyone else instead of so drastically different. Still, when the plug was pulled on polygamy, after so many years of vigorous preaching, it must have been disconcerting. One can certainly understand why the practice died hard with many.

There is a thread that leads from the eternal families the polygamists envisioned, and the eternal families we are taught to seek today. What has remained is that the relationships we have on earth can continue intact after death. There are some fairly drastic differences, however. The kind of team relationship, loyal and exclusive, that a husband and wife are supposed to have today would be impossible in polygamy. A statement such as this one from Zina D. Jacobs Smith Young would be incomprehensible today. “A successful polygamous wife must regard her husband with indifference, and with no other feeling than that of reverence, for love we regard as a false sentiment; a feeling which should have no existence in polygamy.”

I couldn’t answer the obvious question these young women had: will there be polygamy in the hereafter? I could tell them that the practice has been discontinued on earth but that the doctrine has never been repudiated. The questions are left hanging. They wonder about their relationships with their husbands. They wonder where they fit in the hereafter. How, if they are sealed to their parents, they can equally be sealed to a husband and his family? The notion only works if one accepts that women are the trading pieces in a patriarchal system, not strong individuals with preferences and rights: a woman leaves the family of her birth behind and becomes part of her husband’s family.

In 1879 the Church lost the George Reynolds test case before the Supreme Court. I doubt our Church would try another test case even if it thought it could win, with the result that polygamy would be legal. Very few people would like to live polygamy again, and yet if it is a fundamental doctrine, as preached in the 19th century, it would seem to be in the eternal future for at least some of us. Do we assume that in the hereafter it will be more appealing? Who would want to be the lucky prophet called either to reinstate the practice or demote those iconic pioneers by saying the practice they sacrificed so much for no longer applies, because polygamy wasn’t the eternal doctrine they believed it was. So we are left with the question, What was polygamy all about, anyway? Maybe Gene England was right: it was the Abrahamic test for that generation. What then, is ours?

Comments

  1. Levi Peterson says:

    Stimulating statement, Kathleen. I have very ambivalent feelings about polygamy. I think that in practice it was a damaging institution with almost nothing to say in its favor. Yet I don’t want the church to repudiate celestial polygamy–unless it repudiates celestial monogamy with it. This is because my mother relied on celestial polygamy. My father was sealed to his first wife, who died. My mother was never sealed to her first husband, whom she divorced. That was a major factor in my father’s decision to marry my mother. He could have her and her children in eternity. Raised in a polygamous home, my mother had no problem with sharing my father with his first wife in the Hereafter. In fact, she often conjectured that the first person to greet her on the Other Side would be, not my father, but his first wife. So let’s hear no more about celestial monogamy. My mother needs celestial polygamy, and that’s just the way things are going to have to be.

  2. Antonio Parr says:

    Christ said that in heaven we are not married or given in marriage. The Bible also says that in heaven there will be no need for the sun, as Christ will be our light; that He will wipe away all of our tears, and that there will be no more crying and no more death.

    I recognize that a website as erudite as this one might find the above paragraph to be an impediment to brisk dialogue (heck, even I find it to be an impediment to brisk dialogue). That being said, we can probably bet (well, we’re Mormons — we can’t ~really~ bet) that the hereafter will allow us to love each other fully and perfectly and completely, with no jealousy or envy or strife. Exactly how that will pan out remains to be seem. Perhaps we will all simple sail forever on a wave of love, where we will all feel towards each other a combination of fraternal and paternal and wedded love; perhaps we will be Mr. and Mrs.; perhaps Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. and Mrs. (etc. etc. etc.). Perhaps we will all be as busy as Brigham’s bees, and have no time to think about conjugal visits. Time will tell. Until then, I will try to learn to trust in a God whose very essence is love.

  3. Polygamy — we can’t live with it and we can’t live without it. It wasn’t until I started trading comments in the online community that I discovered (quite to my surprise) how many present-day Mormons still have a lot invested in polygamy. I have actually come around to thinking that the de facto LDS policy on polygamy (“We don’t talk about that”) is the best way to keep it from becoming an actively troubling issue that would alienate some subset of active members.

  4. What Mr. Parr said.

    If there’s a heaven, it will be heavenly.

  5. Mark Pickering says:

    A man’s like and a woman’s dislike of polygamy are rooted in the drive to reproduce. A man likes it because the number of children that will carry his genes (if he is chaste) is not limited by the womb of one woman. A woman dislikes it because her husband’s resources will be divided among the her children and the children of other women (regardless of her chastity).

    This is generally what people mean when they talk about “romantic love,” even if they won’t admit it. Since these constraints on reproduction will presumably not exist in the post-mortal existence, we can expect polygamy to no longer elicit either the like from men or the dislike from women that it does in this mortal existence.

  6. How, if they are sealed to their parents, they can equally be sealed to a husband and his family? The notion only works if one accepts that women are the trading pieces in a patriarchal system, not strong individuals with preferences and rights: a woman leaves the family of her birth behind and becomes part of her husband’s family.

    Not necessarily. The paradox is symmetrical. Men are also sealed both to their parents and to a wife. A man also leaves the family of his birth behind and becomes part of his wife’s family.

    Even throwing celestial polygamy into the mix, it doesn’t necessarily become a system that treats women as commodities and denies them individuality and rights. You could see it as a situation where one father co-heads multiple families, each with a different mother as co-head, rather than one father heading one family with multiple mothers as members of that family.

    I have no idea how things will be, but I’m sure it’ll be great for everyone.

  7. Mark Butler says:

    I do not understand the motivation to find any excuse to see the scriptural account of the role of women and motherhood in the most demeaning possible way. I would much rather read it in the most glorifying manner imaginable.

    There is no sound basis for the contemporary idea of property as something one can use and abuse in the scriptures. At best there is stewardship – in terms of stewardship on behalf of others there is no greater sin than the abuse thereof. No man has an unconditional right to his wife or vice versa. No man nor woman have an unconditional right to their own children. In fact there really are no unconditional rights in heaven at all. All blessings are conditioned upon righteousness.

    Why can’t we see the value of righteous motherhood in the same terms as the value of righteous fatherhood? Rebekah’s family had the right idea:

    And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
    (Genesis 24:60)

  8. Levi, that is actually a very important perspective. For some time, Hyrum Smith didn’t accept celestial marriage precisely because that he saw that it lead to celestial polygamy (his first wife had died and was on his second marriage).

    I think Joseph’s administering of the Fullness of the temple ordinances is perhaps insightful.

    The nineteenth century utilitarian response to polygamy is quite foreign to us (As noted by Zina’s quote – as well as many others). I admire the work and sacrifice that my ancestors went through to sustain the principle. More than anything, I think polygamy disabuses us of being so sure that our way is the only right way.

  9. Mark Butler says:

    I am puzzled here. My comment – which is about as mild an expression of opinion as possibly be imagined, was deleted without notification. Now perhaps my position is unwelcome, or my comments are too long, or whatever. But if the editors see fit to delete them without any reason, in apparent contravention of the ideals of this distinguished forum, perhaps you could just do me the honor of banning me, instead of leaving me hanging wondering whether anything I have to say is beyond the pale or not.

  10. Mark Butler says:

    Well, my comment that I thought had been deleted came back, so my complaint is moot. I apologize for the distraction. Please delete my #9 and this message as well.

  11. Since the chain must go back to Adam, everyone in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will be sealed to one another if you go back far enough. It will be one big family.

  12. D. Fletcher says:

    Polygamy as a way for providing for single/widowed women, is a well-researched topic.

    See The Moral Animal, by Robert Wright

  13. This is only one of several issues about the hereafter that we all wish we understood better. For example, there’s the fact that we all have to answer for our own transgressions and that individuals have to keep their own covenants to get to heaven. However, we also preach that if the parents are righteous, wayward children will be returned to them in heaven, in spite of their broken covenants. So how is it all going to work out?

    There’s going to be all kinds of family messes for God to deal with in the hereafter, and the worst of them will have been caused by polygamy. I figure polygamy was God’s idea to begin with, so he can figure out how to clean the messes up himself. ;)

  14. Polygamy is not a theological issue as much as a mathematical one. Unless we plan on raiding neighboring galaxies for women, to advocate polygamy is to advocate a plan of salvation based on little but gender when more males are born than females. Most women will make it and most men won’t be admitted just to provide enough wives for the lucky few. And if 27 wives was a good number on earth…wouldn’t a heavenly figure be into the millions to fit our ideas of the infinite nature of God? I find the implication that the CK will be almost exclusively female to be absurd and certainly not scriptural…especially the idea that the atonement does not save us…women do. I think there can be little question that polygamy was a divine commandment. That so many could have participated in such a prolonged group hysteria is a hard sell. Because of studies regarding the ties between beliefs and relationships I can see a practical reason for creating so many relationships…we tend to believe what our family/friends do rather than picking family/friends on the basis of belief. Could polygamy have provided the necessary theological glue for a fragile community? We will never know…but I am surprised by the number of LDS who, without ANY modern prophetic support, insist that there is salvific value in numbers.

  15. Not an insignificant number of people would probably opine that obedience to and acceptance of the teachings on gay marriage in particular, and homosexuality in general, is the Abrahamic test for this generation.

  16. Zina D. Jacobs Smith Young’s quote made me wonder if the women in the polygamous marriages ever had romantic love for each other? I think romantic love is timeless even if it doesn’t have an outlet approved of by whatever current culture. The women might have been drawn to each other romantically and sexually to fulfill each other where their husband couldn’t. Were there cases of lesbian behaviors between wives in the early church?

  17. And to queno: homosexuality has always existed, though, and has never been accepted in society. Wasn’t it just as much of a struggle then?

  18. Siobhan-I’ve always wondered the same thing. I’ve never come across any historical evidence, but I don’t think it is a far stretch to say that lesbian relationships could have existed.
    Dave–I don’t think the “we don’t talk about that” policy is a great idea. When I joined the church my family used all the anti-Mormon literature they could to dissuade me from becoming a member. I really wanted to know the Church’s view on polygamy, but most people were not willing to discuss the matter. Pretending that something didn’t exist doesn’t make it so.

  19. I know that there are those who have asked the question, but let us be quite certain that homosexual acts have always been considered sinful by the Church.

  20. I asked my husband what he thought about romantic relationships existing between sister-wives, and he reminded me that these women were very faithful and, therfore probably would be unwilling to commit the sin of homosexualty.

  21. Lucy, lets be clear though that the state of homosexuality isn’t viewed by the church as sinful, only homosexual acts.

  22. As the church fights gay marriage in the way it does, they recognize the right the state has to define what marriage is, what family is. I wonder if they think now the government had the same right back in the late 19th century when the church was about to be destroyed in temporal matters because of persecution.

    Giving the state such power is a big mistake and a proof that plural marriage will never be reinstated by the Church before the coming of Christ.

    One of the reasons why the GA are so concerned about gay marriage is precisely that they don’t want polygamy to be decriminalized. Many have pointed out that once gay marriage is legal, polygamy will be the next demand.

  23. “proof that plural marriage will never be reinstated by the Church before the coming of Christ”

    And….hopefully not even then.

  24. Christ isn’t a polygamist anymore, right? ;)

  25. Six of my 8 great grandparents were born into polygamous marriages. There were a few cases of two generations of polygamy in my family, but the overwhelming majority of children of polygamists did not marry in polygamy, even before the manifesto. We have diaries and other family papers for many of them, and the overwhelming feeling I get from those papers is a feeling of resentment– at having to work so hard for a living, at having a father who was distant and almost unknown, at having split estates up among 25 children. Very few of the wives seem to have been particularly close, and many seem to have been openly hostile to each other. I don’t think there’s much chance that any sexual contact was going on among them.

  26. Antonio Teixeira says:

    pjj,

    the way the saints undersood and pacticed plural marriage in the past says more about those people than about the principle itself. The same is true about the law of adoption, the united order and other celestial principles that most people were not ready for.

    I like these comments from Benjamin F. Johnson, a close friend and brother-in-law of Joseph Smith. I think they show different perceptions on this issue.

    “How generally was polygamy practiced in Utah?” is a question that I am not qualified to answer, but from my narrow observation, I would “guess” that one-tenth of our church men married plurally, and that two-thirds of that number made a fair success in raising good families, and that the other third was more or less a failure. But my judgment is not to be fully relied upon. (…)

    And while I can believe that to some plural marriage was a great cross, yet I cannot say so from my own experience, for although in times that tried men’s hearts, I married seven wives, I was blessed with the gift to love them all; and although providing for so many was attended with great labor, care and anxiety, yet there was sympathy and love as my reward. And there is not one of my children of their mothers that are not dearer to me still than life. (Benjamin F. Johnson’s letter to George F. Gibbs, secretary of the First Presidency, 1903; emphasis added)

    Kathleen P.,

    many of the early Mormon women were feminists and I don’t think that ladies such as Eliza Snow would see themselves as “trading pieces” in the patriarchal society. They were aware of their important role and “priestesshood”.

    You wrote: The eagerness with which people sealed themselves to apostles or church presidents in order to be part of their celestial families contradicts our more democratic ideas about priesthood. Today I think we would say that all priesthood holders are equal before God and that righteousness or exaltation isn’t linked to church office.

    It actually had to do more with their position in the Holy Order than with their calling in the LDS Church. The temple ordinances, including sealings, belonged to the Church of the Firstborn (accordding to Brigham), a patriarchal family kingdom, above the Church of the Son. On the other hand, people could qualify for these blessings, independently from their office in the LDS curch.

    You ask if plural marriage was ever Mandatory? If you mean by the Lord then I say yes; for it was by command to the Prophet from the first. But from the Prophet to the people, it came as counsel, which when personally given, was not always heeded. But no one who lived worthy of his priesthood and calling was deprived of a right to plural marriage.You ask if plural marriage was ever Mandatory? If you mean by the Lord then I say yes; for it was by command to the Prophet from the first. But from the Prophet to the people, it came as counsel, which when personally given, was not always heeded. But no one who lived worthy of his priesthood and calling was deprived of a right to plural marriage. (Benjamin F. Johnson, op. cit)

    Also, one should note that for apostles and other leaders, plural marriage was mandatory, since “a man who obeys a lower law cannot preside over one who obeys a higher law” (John Taylor). But they didn’t have any monopoly of the practice.

  27. Whoa there Antonio, you are spouting fundamentalist rhetoric. the so-called Church of the Firstborn and its championing and interpretation by fundies is just not supportable.

    It actually had to do more with their position in the Holy Order than with their calling in the LDS Church.

    I don’t think this is supported by the facts.

    And Benjamin Johnson knew the prophet, but calling him a close friend is, I believe, to exaggerate the relationship.

  28. Brent Hartman says:

    “The man with the most wives and children something.”

    That’s right! The man wins the blessings promised to him by our Father in Heaven, for obeying His commandments.

  29. Antonio Teixeira says:

    Benjamin F. Johnson was a member of the Council of 50 – officially called by revelation The Kingdom of God and His Laws… – and as others in that Council he was an adoptive son to Joseph. So besides their friendship, through the Law of Adoption they had a father-son relationship.

    After the martyrdom, Benjamin F. Johnson – who already held power of attorney for Joseph – was instructed to move into the Nauvoo House – a house that was to be of the Smith family forever (D&C 124:59-60)- and take over the affairs of Joseph’s family.

    I don’t know exactly why, Stapley, you would like to dispute these facts but this discussion regarding Johnson can be helpful to show that there were more to priesthood hierarchy than what was visible to the majority of the Church members.

    I hope I am not misrepresenting the LDS Church or its offspring, the Fundamentalists, but I think that most people in these organizations think that the Church of the Son, the Church of the Firstborn and the Kingdom of God are one and the same. The early brethren though saw them as 3 different organizations.

    . . . the subject is spoken of in holy scripture where the phrases Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, the Church of Christ, Church of God, the Church, etc., are often used interchangeably and indiscriminately to represent in a general way that divine institution which God in whole or in part from time to time establishes to help man in the matter of his salvation. But it is proper for the reader to know that Joseph Smith when speaking strictly recognized a distinction between ‘The Church of Jesus Christ’ and the ‘Kingdom of God.’ And not only a distinction but a separation of one from the other. . . . Such in substance, was the teaching of the Prophet on this subject. Not publicly, or at least not very publicly; but he taught the foregoing in the counsels of the Priesthood as many testify, and effected an organization as a nucleus of the Kingdom above referred to . . . (B. H. Roberts, The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, p. 180,181)

    Let me explain what the Church of the First Born is. It is the first Church that ever was raised up upon this earth; that is, the first born Church. That is what I mean; and when God our Father organized that Church, He organized it just as His Father organized the Church on the earth where He dwelt; and that same order is organized here in the City of Great Salt Lake; and it is that order that Joseph Smith the Prophet of God organized in the beginning in Kirtland, Ohio. Brother Brigham Young, myself, and others were present when that was done; and when those officers received their endowments, they were together in one place. They were organized, and received their endowments and blessings, and those keys were placed upon them, and that kingdom will stand for ever. (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 5:129)

    Were Brigham and Heber present when the Church of Jesus Christ was organized in 1830? Nope. But Heber says above that they were present when the Church of the Firstborn was organized. It was in Kirtland that the initiatories were first administered, being then the initial mark of the Church of the Firstborn.

    Notice that when Joseph begins the work of the Holy Order he administers the endowment to 9 men whose church callings were from branch president to patriarch to the church. So the idea that “exaltation isn’t linked to church office” (Kathleen) was there in the beggining.

  30. Antonio, you may want to reevaluate your claims. For more on the Council of Fifty, see here.

    There is no documentation that Benjamin was adopted to Joseph Smith. Other Council of Fifty Members were adopted to the members of the 12 in Nauvoo, but Benjamin wasn’t sealed to anybody. As to Benjamin’s involvement in the Council, you will note in the Quinn paper that he was on the periphery and really didn’t understand the workings of the council.

    If you would furnish a reference for his receiving power of attorney for Joseph, I would be interested. I know of none. As I understand it, Benjamin ran a tavern in Ramus and in Aug 1845 was assigned by the Twelve run the Nauvoo house and the Masonic Tavern because they were both hotel/taverns and he had experience to run such things.

    I’m very well aware of the Nauvoo priesthood structure. As it relates to the so called Church of the firstborn I would check out D. Michael Quinn’s response to Tim Rathbone’s “Brigham Young, the Kingdom of God, The church of the First Born and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (2000 Sunstone Symposium West) at Sonstoneonline.com – Be careful with Tim’s talk though, beyond what Quinn outlines, he misattributes a lot of information to Brigham Young that was spoken by others.

    I agree that Joseph Smith used the term Church of the Firstborn in a very particular way. His discourses in the Words of Joseph Smith are illustrative of this.

    As to the Temple ordinances, it is quite clear that the Fullness of the Priesthood is independent of Church office. However, it is also quite demonstrable that the Fullness of the Priesthood is given primarily to Church Officers. It is also important to note that the Quorum wasn’t organized until Nauvoo even though the Kirtland Endowment had many holy ordinances.

    Out of respect for Kathleen, however, let us relieve this venue of tangents.

  31. The Abrahamic sacrifice for our times?

    Successful monogamous marraige.

  32. Julie M. Smith says:

    ““There is nothing about polygamy on LDS.org.” ”

    Not entirely true:

    http://www.lds.org/newsroom/mistakes/0,15331,3885-1-23477,00.html

    I thought this was particularly interesting:

    “Question: Is polygamy gone forever from the Church?

    We only know what the Lord has revealed through His prophets, that plural marriage has been stopped in the Church. Anything else is speculative and unwarranted.”

  33. Brent Hartman says:

    That’s right, Julie. LDS.org also has the official declaration number 1.

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/od/1

    President Woodruff clearly states, “And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.”

    It doesn’t get any clearer than that!!! We know from reading Section 98 in the Doctrine and Covenants, just how important this is. Let’s read.

    4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
    5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
    6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
    7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
    8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
    9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
    10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
    11 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
    12 For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.
    13 And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.
    14 Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.
    15 For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.

    I really find verse 7 to be interesting. Anything more or less than the Constitution Law of the land, cometh of evil. Powerful words. Then in verse 11 we receive a commandment to forsake all evil. What a wonderful passage of scripture.

    Just for reference, for those of you that don’t know the Constitution, the first Amendment is the area of the Constitution that directly deals with religion.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

  34. Brent, you will also note that the Edmunds-Tucker act is considered constitutional.

  35. Brent Hartman says:

    Brother Stapley, as long as the Edmunds-Tucker act doesn’t prevent the free exercise of religion, then I would agree with those that declared this act constitutional.

    However, if it does prohibit the free exercise of religion, then we would know from the counsel of our Lord, in the 98th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, that this act cometh of evil. By commandment, the Lord has instructed us to forsake all evil.

    We know from Doctrine and Covenants, section 101, verse 80, that the Lord himself established the Constitution of the United States. We know the will of the Lord. His will is that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Anything more or less than this cometh from evil.

    Brother Stapley, do you believe that the Edmunds-Tucker act is in harmony with the Constitution of the United States and the will of the Lord?

  36. Brent, I think that it was upheld as constitutional by our constitutionally establashided system. I also think that the Church’s position on the Utah state constitution’s banning of polygamy forever was indicative of the Church’s view that it is constitutional as well. Until the court rules otherwise, you don’t have much wiggle room.

  37. that the Lord himself established the Constitution of the United States

    I think you are reading this verse differently than many.

  38. Brent Hartman says:

    Brother Stapley,

    Is it your position that plural marriage was not a deeply held religious belief of the saints, or is it your position that Edmunds-Tucker didn’t prohibit the free exercise of religion, as promised by the Constitution?

    In order to harmonize Edmunds-Tucker with the Constitution, one of these two scenarios would have to be true. Right?

    As far as wiggle room goes, I’m doing just fine. Not only am I promised wiggle room by the Constitution of the United States, I’m also promised all the freedom I need in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 98, verse 8.

    “I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

    Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.” (verses 8-9)

    I may mourn, but I am not afraid.

    “Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy. For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.” (verses 14-15)

    My only fear would be if I was unwilling to live the Laws of God in order to follow the unconstitutional laws of man.

    Now, as to my interpretation of Doctrine and Covenants 101:80, what is the alternative interpretation of this passage of scripture?

    Let’s read exactly what it says.

    “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

    I stated, “…that the Lord himself established the Constitution of the United States.”

    The Lord stated, “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land…”

    These two statements, by the Lord and me, seem to say the exactly same thing. Don’t they?

  39. Brent said:

    “as long as the Edmunds-Tucker act doesn’t prevent the free exercise of religion, then I would agree…”

    Obviously the Edmunds-Tucker act does prevent the free exercise of religion, but there is a larger question here: does the exercising of that religious right infringe upon the rights of other innocent people in a way which harms them; the courts seem to think that the practice of polygamy does. Just because a practice is condoned by a religion, does not automatically mean it should be legal. A certain faction of Islam currently condones flying planes into buildings, but I don’t think there is a sane person alive who will say doing such should be allowed.

    J. Stapley is right when he pointed out “that it was upheld as constitutional by our constitutionally established system.” You yourself pointed out that “that the Lord himself established the Constitution of the United States”, this constitution is what was used to illegalize polygamy.

  40. Brent Hartman says:

    It saddens me when otherwise good men, put their faith in fallible men, rather than our infallible God.

    God has spoken. The Constitution of the United States was established by our Lord. The words of the Constitution are clear.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereoff…”

    The revelation given in Section 98, of the Doctrine and Covenants, is the word of God. His words are clear.

    “And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

    And that law of the land, which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privleges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

    Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law, which is the Constitutional law of the land;

    And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.”

    Hear the word of the Lord!

    “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

    Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion? I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge, for men ought always to pray and not to faint, which saith—

    There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying: Avenge me of mine adversary.

    And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

    Thus will I liken the children of Zion.
    Let them importune at the feet of the judge; And if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor; And if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president; And if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation;

    And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers;
    Even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

    Pray ye, therefore, that their ears may be opened unto your cries, that I may be merciful unto them, that these things may not come upon them.

    What I have said unto you must needs be, that all men may be left without excuse;

    That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered; That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.” (D&C 101:80-95)

    I share with you the words of our Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

  41. Steve Evans says:

    Amen right back at ya, Brent. Always good to have a lengthy and bizarre sermon posted in the comments.

  42. Brent Hartman says:

    No problem, Steve. I appreciate your kind words. I was shooting for peculiar, but bizarre is close enough. :) Perhaps you could point out some of the more bizarre parts so I can know if I should get the credit, or if the credit should go to our Lord. Thanks!

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