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Question 45


Under the date of 5 October 1843 Willard Richards, keeper of Joseph Smith's personal journal, recorded Smith gave "instruction to try those who were preaching, teaching, or [crossed out in the original: 'practicing'] the doctrine of plurality of wives on this Law. Joseph forbids it, and the practice thereof.--No man shall have but one wife." (Faulring, The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, p. 417) Yet Smith had provided a revelation which sanctioned the practice of polygamy, Doctrine & Covenants 132, nearly three months earlier and was clearly engaged in the practice himself.

Why did Joseph Smith denounce plural marriage after recording a revelation in which he was told it was the "law of the priesthood"?


The timing of Joseph Smith's journal entry makes perfect sense to me as the principal of plural marriage is so misunderstood. Using the complete quote pertaining to plural marriage from Oct 5th 1843 from his journal entry for the day says "Walked up and down St[reet] with Scribe and gave instructions to try those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing ["practicing" struck through] the doctrine of plurality of wives on this Law. Joseph forbids it and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife." Let's paint a picture here. Joseph makes the announcement of Plural Marriage. It is misunderstood, and becomes the focal point of discussion of doctrine in the community. Men request to take multiple wives. Men preach and teach the subject on the streets of the community. Just as David was overcome by lust so are those that are preaching and teaching this doctrine. These people on the streets preaching and teaching this doctrine have forgotten that Jesus Christ is the center of salvation and the heart of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith walking down the street preaches to those who are lust filled that they need "not" put aside your first wife for a second wife. Joseph teaches that principal in Jacob 2:27-29 as the preferred method of marriage and for those who are "not" called to practice in plural marriage. You as an individual cannot be granted more responsibility if you have not fulfilled your current responsibility.

In closing I would like to add that he was not condemning the practice of plural marriage. Joseph Smith was condemning those who were preaching and teaching the practice of polygamy that did not understand the practice and making it the central doctrine based on lust. -ER (LDS)

[ER's response to this question arrived just as Questioning Mormonism implemented a 300 word limit on responses. Because ER had written a longer response before learning of the new word limit, we have included the full text on another page. To read ER's complete response, please click here.]

The crossing-out of the word "practicing" amounts to an approval of polygamy by default. For a self-proclaimed "prophet" to do this is unacceptable. Scripture has a coherency and a consistency not to be found in the "holy books" other than the Bible that the LDS Church stands upon. Concerning the Bible, the qualification "insofar as it is correctly translated" is a basis for not following it.

The truly liberating Gospel of grace alone, faith alone in Christ alone is clearly seen when Scripture is taken on its own terms and He draws us to the TRUE FATHER. -CB (non-LDS)

The same reason he joined the Methodist Church after reportedly being told by God not to do so, and that "all other creeds were an abomination in His sight."

One of the tests of validity of faith has historically been consistency, and Joseph Smith fails this test.

(I was born and raised LDS and am now happily Catholic.) -KR (non-LDS)

Joseph Smith prohibited the practice of plural marriage because he never intended it to be doctrine at all.

The doctrine of plural marriage originally began as a way for Joseph to persuade young women who had fallen under his spell to have sex out of wedlock in contravention of morality. In other words, the notion that a man could have sex with just about any woman under the guise of "plural marriage" was merely a trick.

In the beginning he never intended this to be known, but since the women were willing and the activities were so obvious, other church officials found out. Joseph silenced them by making them confederates with the right to do the same. That brought about the fabrication of a "revelation" to justify the "secret" practice. I have spoken with at least one LDS on the Internet who is very proud that he is the descendant of a plural marriage solemnized in the Nauvoo Temple, even though this act was heresy and in violation of church law at the time. In fact, it is similar to the current Community of Christ (RLDS) practice of secretly ordaining practicing homosexuals as priests, even though the official church law prohibits it.

When asked regarding polygamy at Nauvoo, Smith indicated the printed doctrines of the church and deny the charge, just as homosexual activists in the Community of Christ (RLDS) point to the ruling of the standing high council that practicing homosexuals cannot be ordained (in both cases the speakers knew full well that the proscription on the books is ignored with full knowledge and cooperation of the First Presidency.)

I bring up the example of the Community of Christ to show Mormonism is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" despite apologetic protest. -GW (RLDS)

I think Joseph Smith denounced plural marriage after recording D&C section 132 simply because he never saw so much trouble coming. I stated that I'm Lds because I want people who read my response to know that, YES, I was a mormon, and I was able to look at things objectively. Therefore, I concluded that The LDS church is completely fraudulent, and it has been contradicting itself over the past century. -M (LDS)

It's once again proof that Joseph Smith was
1. smarter than LDS apologists give him credit for
2. a speaker to audiences
3. Inconsistent
4. Thought himself above the regulations he placed on others (Issuing himself a liquor license) -B (non-LDS)

titus 1:2: god who cannot lie. ok. if god who cannot lie says in d and c 132:3 "for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same"; 132:4: "i [god] reveal a new and everlasting covenant." since when is everlasting only for a limited time? if 132:3 says the law is revealed, mormons teach that their prophets reveal god's will to us the people, so this means they must obey the everlasting covenant or you will be damned 132:4. mormon doctrine says to be damned is not attaining the 3rd heaven. Now j smith went and taught this to the people because it's god's will as 132:3-4 teach. so if they misunderstood it is not on god but on him, j smith, who was god's mouth piece. also 132:4 god says no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter my glory. i.e., 3rd heaven. do mormons really read their teachings? someone wrote "jacob 2:27-29 is the preferred method of marriage for those who are not called to practice plural marriage." first of all this is not what jacob teaches. second of all we read in d and c that all who hear it must do it. and j smith was the mouth piece of god. read jacob 2:27-29 where god says more than one wife is an abomination and whoredoms. so who's lying here: god or the mormon mouth piece? titus 1:2 says it is not god who is lying. for further talks you can reach me at [email protected] -RB (non-LDS)