The "Mormon" Polygamy Phenomena - Excerpts from the former FLDS member Author
FLDS, Polygamy, LDS, Mormon - Not Their Fault
There is a timely book currently being written by a former member of both the LDS and FLDS religions entitled, “Not Their Fault!” The book states that although they may claim “innocence” of any wrongdoing in the recent events in Texas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is partially and indirectly to blame for what has happened. Here is an excerpt from the book:
Honest research will prove that in order to enter the highest kingdom of God, a righteous Mormon male must live plural marriage (polygamy). Though it is quite embarrassing to the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and some of the other religions associated with Mormon belief, polygamy is and always will be a major part of LDS religion and belief.
(NOTE: Throughout this book, the term “LDS” will always refer to the members of the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as “Mormons.” However, there are many other sects that accept the Book of Mormon as part of their canon of religious scripture.
These also consider themselves as “Mormons.” To not confuse the reader, the terms “LDS” and “Mormon” used throughout the book will only refer to members of the LDS Church. Any other sect will be individual identified with the name by which they are ubiquitously known and recognized.) In 1831, or thereabouts, (no one really can agree as to when), Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, claimed to have received a revelation from God instructing him to take more than one wife. With this revelation came an institution of plural marriage in the Mormon faith that would haunt it forever. From that time forward, many LDS men have gloated in the belief that God has chosen them to be worthy of having more than one wife. Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to Brigham Young, the second President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) said: I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his work and word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business...I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece. (The Deseret News, April 22, 1857, p.52) In the same Salt Lake City newspaper, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862, Brigham Young also stated: Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire. ...Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers. ...Why do we believe in and practise [sic] polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practised [sic] it. “And is that religion popular in heaven?” It is the only popular religion there.
If the lay members of the current LDS Church knew what some of their past “prophets of God” have said about polygamy, surely their view that their religion is not fully responsible for the practice would be properly adjusted. What the members of the LDS faith are taught today is quite different from that which was taught in the past. This book will reveal the true nature of LDS thought and perception in regards to plural marriage in spite of what the LDS pundits and apologists reveal to the public. With the real truth presented herein, the reader can determine for him or herself if the LDS Church should not be held fully responsible for polygamy.
There is no doubt that “being commanded by God” to live the law of polygamy would boost a man’s ego and give him a great sense of purpose and pride. Knowing that the male is chosen as the “head” of the family and that he and his “priesthood” is vital and necessary to assure the family’s salvation, supports and embellishes the LDS male’s value. An acclaimed LDS Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, proclaimed: Of all the men upon the face of the earth we are the most favored; ...we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices. (George A. Smith, The Deseret News, April 16, 1856, p. 45)
Another LDS Apostle, Heber C. Kimball proclaimed: In the spirit world there is an increase of males and females, there are millions of them, and if I am faithful all the time, and continue right along with brother Brigham, we will go to brother Joseph and say, “Here we are brother Joseph; we are here ourselves are we not, with none of the property we possessed in our probationary state, not even the rings on our fingers?” He will say to us, “Come along boys, we will give you a good suit Page 11 of clothes. Where are your wives?” “They are back yonder; they would not follow us.” “Never mind,” says Joseph, “here are thousands, have all you want.” (Journal of Discourses [JD], vol. 4, p. 209)
Early LDS mentality and influence further condemn monogamy by teaching: 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 a curse to a people. (Millennial Star, vol. 15, no.15, p. 227) There should be no doubt in the mind of any honest LDS male, who studies the history of his church and it’s doctrines of salvation with sincere intent, that plural marriage is essential in order for one to be exalted in heaven.
The sixth prophet of the church, Joseph F. Smith states: Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. ...Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith., an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed....If then, this principle was of such great importance that the Prophet himself was threatened with destruction, and the best men in the Church with being excluded from the favor of the Almighty, if they did not enter into and establish the practice of it upon earth, it is useless to tell me that there is no blessing attached to obedience to the law, or that a man with only one wife can obtain as great a reward, glory or kingdom as he can with more than one...I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, pp. 28-31)
The LDS Church taught (and still believes) that the doctrine of plural, or celestial marriage, was the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth; and that without obedience to that principle, no man can ever attain to the fullness of exaltation in the celestial glory. The Millennial Star proclaimed: And we...are believers in the principle of plural marriage or polygamy, ...as a principle revealed by God, underlying our every hope of eternal salvation and happiness in heaven. ...we cannot view plural marriage in any other light than as a vital principle of our religion. (Volume 40, no. 15, pp. 226-7) Upwards of forty years ago the Lord revealed to His Church the principle of celestial marriage. ...the command of God was before them in language which no faithful soul dare disobey. “For behold, I reveal unto you an new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory.” ...Damnation was the awful penalty affixed to a refusal to obey this law. It became an acknowledged doctrine of Page 13 the Church; it was indissolubly interwoven in the minds of its members with their hopes of eternal salvation and exaltation in the presence of God....Who could suppose that...Congress would enact a law which would present the alternative to religious believers of being consigned to a penitentiary if they should attempt to obey a law of God which would deliver them from damnation! (Ibid., vol. 47, no. 45, p. 711)
Many modern LDS members have been convinced that the Lord withdrew his command of living polygamy with what became known in the LDS Church as “the Manifesto.” The Manifesto was publicly issued by Wilford Woodruff (the Prophet and President of the Church at the time) in October of 1890. It maintained that the Church no longer practiced polygamy, “inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort.” (LDS Church, Official Declaration-1, Doctrine and Covenants [D&C], 291-2.) Woodruff goes on to say that he intends on obeying the laws of the land, and would have all other members do the same or be promptly reproved. Later, in 1904, because of United States pressure, a “2nd Manifesto,” or announcement, was given by Joseph F. Smith, reaffirming what the first said regarding polygamy and threatening to excommunicate anyone not conforming. This second announcement is not currently part of the canonized LDS scripture.
These official announcements make great sense to the LDS people who do not want to be seen as aberrant or peculiar from any other religious group. They want to “fit in” with society, and the contemporary LDS Church and it’s members adamantly deny that their religion has anything to do with polygamy and promptly excommunicate any person who espouses it. They want to distance themselves from the practice in the eyes of the rest of the world.
One might ask, “How can the LDS people disavow polygamy when it is an important part of their history and a principle that the early prophets of their church espoused and mandated?” The answer is simple: The typical mainstream LDS member does not have a clue what was said by the prophets, seers, and revelators of what they believe to be the “only true and living church” upon the face of the earth. The leadership of the current LDS Church whitewashes it’s past and calls leaders to positions of authority who are expert and adroit at hiding the truth from the members; thereby trying to avoid the publicity of it’s belief of the essential nature of plural marriage.
Upon honest research, one will conclude that the Manifesto given by the leadership of the Mormon Church in 1890 was a farce. It was presented as smoke and mirrors to stop the United States Government from intervening into the affairs of the LDS Church and allow the LDS members to keep their lands and status as American citizens. Any civilized person should disagree with the course of action that was taken by the United States Government against the Mormons. The Constitution of the United States guarantees all citizens the right to practice religion according to the dictates of their own conscience. The Mormons were not harming anyone by living plural marriage. However, every priest, politician, and orthodox male whose wife would never hear of such a thing, are outraged, and probably a little jealous of what the Mormon religion perpetuated.
Ironically, so-called “Christian Americans,” who base most of their beliefs on the Bible, fail to recognize that there is quite an amount of evidence therein supporting the practice of polygamy. The argument can be made that at times polygamy was justified, and even commanded by God. When the United States Supreme Court outlawed polygamy, the LDS’ constitutional rights were blatantly overlooked and denied by over-zealous politicians and law enforcement officials who didn’t like what the Mormons were doing with their new religious freedom.
The modern U.S. Government refuses to prosecute any Mormon polygamists. This is because they are sure that with the properly acquired legal help, the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints) and other Mormon polygamists would be granted the right to live as they wish, having the free choice circumstance of two or more consenting adults. Homosexuals would have been treated the same as the polygamists, or even worse, during the 1800’s. Today, for the most part, homosexuals are allowed the freedom to live as they wish. Like polygamy, homosexuality is still against the law in all but a few of the 52 states, but rarely are homosexuals in any state actually prosecuted for living their chosen lifestyle. Since 2003, in a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Lawrence & Garner vs. Texas), homosexuals are granted the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention. It was confirmed that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. So why shouldn’t the polygamists’ rights also be protected? (The marriage, and consummation thereof, of minors or coerced individuals are completely different subjects and will be addressed later.)
In Utah, where polygamy is more abundant than anywhere else in the U.S., the Government will not touch the issue with a ten-foot pole. They know that if the Supreme Court rules the practice constitutional, there will be nothing to keep the LDS Church from reinstating their former practice. Ironically, it is the powerful LDS Church that is the Government’s best advocate of leaving the polygamists alone so that the case doesn’t get appealed to the Supreme Court. This is because there is a high probability that the highest court would rule that polygamy is protected under the Constitution. And why would the LDS Church not want this? Because it’s leaders don’t want to have to tell their 50- and 60- year-old wives that they are to be wed, by the command of God, to a voluptuous 20-year-old.
The LDS Church has been hiding it’s belief in “the practice” of polygamy behind the lauds of platitude it receives from the rest of the world for it’s humanitarian efforts. Though it can whitewash it’s history, the Church cannot hide their historical facts, which overwhelmingly support polygamy as a righteous, God-mandated heavenly principle. Many Latter-day Saints are involved in the upper echelons of both political and business venues. The Church, per capita, is the richest religious group (and one of the fastest growing) in the world. The past has recorded some very interesting facts concerning the manner in which the LDS authorities have attempted to protect their political positions in light of their religious beliefs. In 1904, the Smoot congressional hearings were being held to determine whether or not Reed Smoot, the Utah Senator, should keep his seat in the United States Senate. The hearings were called, “Proceedings Before the Committee on Privileges and Elections of the United States Senate in the Matter of the Protests Against the Right of Hon. Reed Smoot, a Senator From the State of Utah, to Hold His Seat.” According to Walter M. Wolfe, The LDS Apostle John Henry Smith made the following statement: Brother Wolfe, don’t you know that the manifesto was only a trick to beat the devil at his own game? (Reed Smoot Case, vol. 4, p.13)
With a little forthright investigation, one will find Apostle Smith’s statement to be the fact indeed. The Reed Smoot case proved to be one of the most embarrassing incidents in LDS history. It was ascertained through the hearings that the Mormon Church continued to practice polygamy a long time after the Manifesto was issued. Did the leaders of the Church break the laws of the land by continuing the practice? They wouldn’t hear of it! Instead, they established stakes in Canada and Mexico, where male members of the Church were sent to be sealed to their wives for time and all eternity. Neither the French nor the Mexicans cared how many wives a man had. It is common knowledge among the members of the Church that many of it’s leaders had to hide from authorities in order to avoid being arrested for practicing polygamy. They assume, however, that this was before the Manifesto of 1890 was given. They have been grossly misled. Lorenzo Snow, Heber J. Grant, and Joseph F. Smith were all polygamists who practiced “Celestial marriage” behind the closed doors of public scrutiny and the eyes of the general membership of the Church. All of these men were prophets of the Church after (some long after) Woodruff issued the Manifesto. Though the Church has been and still is good at suppressing the real truth and keeping it from public knowledge, they almost blew it in November of 1906, when the Deseret Evening News slipped up and reported that President Joseph F. Smith had been brought up on charges of unlawful cohabitation: President Smith appeared forthwith and entered a plea of guilty and was fined three hundred dollars. The fine was promptly paid and the defendant discharged. (Deseret Evening News, November 23, 1906)
Many LDS men who study the history of the Church and become aware of what the early Prophets and Presidents said of polygamy, question why the Church didn’t deceive “the devil” and his followers, i.e., the United States Government and continue the practice of polygamy. “If God has given the commandment, shouldn’t we obey?” Continued investigation into the modern LDS Church and it’s hidden secrets would lead one to find that the modern Church continues to practice this deception to the public, and more especially to it’s own members. Very few members have access to the original writings and teachings of the early LDS leaders. The LDS Church is very secretive, not only with it’s finances, but with it’s most sacred doctrines and ordinances, and most of their historical documents.
The people who leave the mainstream LDS Church and form or enter groups who call themselves “fundamentalist Latter-day Saints” (including several different churches with as many different names) have simply investigated the truth and determined that the modern LDS Church has failed to live up to the commandments of God, and therefore has lost the Holy Priesthood and all of its rights. It is an honest, authentic Latter-day Saint who can recognize and accept the vast wealth of the Church and it’s desire for power and status. In these people’s minds (the minds of sincere Mormon believers), the modern LDS Church and it’s “false prophets” are corrupt, and have fulfilled the prophecy of a true (as they believe) prophet of God: You might as well deny “Mormonism,” and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose the doctrine [polygamy], and the whole of them would be damned. (Kimball, Heber C. Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 203)
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), as well as all others who practice polygamy, believe that the LDS Church has fallen into corruption and it’s leaders are damned. It is not their fault that they believe this way. And once they establish this line of thinking and make it a part of their religious mindset, they can no longer continue their adherence and devotion to the mainstream LDS Church. To them, the Church becomes like all other “churches of the devil” that exist in the world. And the early LDS Church history supports them in all that they do and believe. Those men, who the fundamentalists Mormons believe were prophets, seers, and revelators in the early days of the Church, have convinced them that without polygamy, no man can be exalted.
It is time that members of the Government and the public at large should understand the true state of the question, and the real issues involved in these propositions. The doctrine of polygamy with the “Mormons,” is not one of that kind that in the religious world is classed with “nonessentials.” It is not an item of doctrine that can be yielded, and faith in the system remain. “Mormonism” is that kind of religion the entire divinity of which is invalidated, and its truth utterly rejected, the moment that any one of its leading principles is acknowledged to be false...The whole question, therefore, narrows itself to this in the “Mormon” mind. Polygamy was revealed by God, or the entire fabric of their faith is false. To ask them to give up such an item of belief, is to ask them to relinquish the whole, to acknowledge their Priesthood a lie, their ordinances a deception, and all that they have toiled for, lived for, bled for, prayed for, or hoped for, a miserable failure and a waste of life. All this Congress demands of the people of Utah. It asks the repudiation of their entire religious practice today; and inasmuch as polygamy is, in “Mormon” belief, the basis of the condition of a future life, it asks them to give up their hopes of salvation hereafter. ... in requiring the relinquishment of polygamy, they ask the renunciation of the entire faith of this people. ...There is no half way house. The childish babble about another revelation is only an evidence how half informed men can talk. ...those who so unwisely seek to stir up the Government to wrath, will yet learn there is but one solution of the “Mormon” problem— “Mormonism“ allowed in its entirety, or ”Mormonism" wiped out in blood. (“The Government and Polygamy,” Millenial Star, vol. 27, p. 673-6)
God has told us Latter-day Saints that we shall be condemned if we do not enter into that principle; and yet I have heard now and then... a brother or sister say, “I am a Latter-day Saint, but I do not believe in polygamy.” Oh, what an absurd expression! what [sic] an absurd idea! A person might as well say, “I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in him.” One is just as consistent as the other. ...If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet; I would renounce the whole of them, because it is utterly impossible, according to the revelations that are contained in these books, to believe a part of them to be divine—from God—and a part of them to be from the devil; ...I did hope there was more intelligence among the Latter-day Saints, and a greater understanding of principle than to suppose that any one can be a member of this Church in good standing, and yet reject polygamy. The Lord has said, that those who reject this principle reject their salvation, they shall be damned, saith the Lord. ...Now I want to prophecy [sic] a little. ...I want to prophecy that all men and women who oppose the revelation which God has given in relation to polygamy will find themselves in darkness; the Spirit of God will withdraw from them the very moment of their opposition to that principle, until they will finally go down to hell and be damned, if they do not repent. ...if you want to get into darkness, brethren and sisters, begin to oppose this revelation. Sisters, you begin to say before your husbands, or husbands you begin to say before your wives, “I do not believe in the principle of polygamy, and I intend to instruct my children against it.” Oppose it in this way, and teach your children to do the same, and if you do not become as dark as midnight there is no truth in Mormonism. (Pratt, Orson, Journal of Discourses, vol.17, pp.224-5)
How could any honest Mormon not agree that if polygamy is false, so is the whole of the Mormon faith? Not that the principles of Christianity taught therein are not good, but the principles of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and many other religions, are just as good. Still, the fact remains that the Mormon people (at least the male members, which includes all of the leaders), maintain that in the hereafter (or even sooner than that for some) and during the Millennium when Jesus establishes his truths once again, that plural marriage will once again be instituted upon the earth.
If an individual tells others that he or she is a Mormon, and that person does not want to be a hypocrite, then he or she should live Mormonism how it was originally revealed by it’s early prophets. Every other person who claims affiliation to Mormonism and does not live by every word that issued forth from the mouths of the Prophets is a hypocrite. The early LDS leaders testified and prophesied that the day would come when the Church would fall into corruption because of greed, materialism, and non-adherence to the doctrines and ordinances of salvation, which will always include (or Mormonism is false all together) plural marriage. To the Fundamentalists, the modern leaders of the LDS Church are fallen, false prophets, and do not have the Priesthood of God. How, therefore, could they possibly follow false prophets, seers, and revelators to hell, which, according to the earlier leaders of the Church, was exactly where they would be going by not practicing plural marriage? If you are a woman in the LDS Church, what do you actually think goes through the minds of the leaders and all of the Priesthood holders, including your husband? Surely, when the Lord comes again, he will re- institute plural marriage. Your doctrine mandates it. Bruce R. McConkie, a modern-day LDS prophet, seer, and revelator stated that although the practice of polygamy is a “gross wickedness” at this time, “Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the Millennium.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 578-9)
The Mormon apologist, John J. Stewart, stated: The Church’s strictness in excommunicating those advocating and practicing plural marriage today has apparently been misconstrued by not a few loyal Church members as an acknowledgment that the evil falsehoods. ...and other misconceptions about plural marriage, are true, and that the Church’s near silence on the doctrine today is further evidence that it regrets and is embarrassed by the whole matter of plural marriage.
Such an inference is, of course, unjustified and unrealistic. The Church has never, and certainly will never, renounce this doctrine. The revelation on plural marriage is still an integral part of LDS scripture, and always will be. (Stewart, John J. Brigham Young and His Wives, 1961 pp. 13-14) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not want to admit to it or talk about it. The women fight the thought of having to share their husbands with someone else. However, no matter how many changes the Mormons may make in their doctrines and policies, one thing will always tarnish their shiny religious armor—they once believed in the degrading and unequal practice of plural marriage, and continue to believe that the most righteous will live in polygamy forever. Mormon men secretly look forward to the day when they can righteously have sex with many women. Of course, they will never admit this to their dear wives; but women, put yourselves in their shoes and believe for a moment that one day you will be able to have sex with all kinds of different men, when the Lord will not only condone it, but will furthermore command it (according to your doctrine). Does knowing this doctrine deter you or the millions who pay ten percent of your income to the LDS Church? Of course it doesn’t bother the men, who have been heard saying to each other, “I can’t wait until polygamy comes back!”
The modern problems associated with the practice of polygamy have arisen from a male’s honest and sincere belief that living this way is keeping the commandments of God. Though their “god” might be their desire for sex and power over others, they find themselves in a religion that condones and supports the subjugation and exploitation of women. The irony of the whole issue at hand is that the very first prophet and organizer of the LDS faith, Joseph Smith Jr., who allegedly established the practice of polygamy, never actually lived or taught the principle as it is lived today. However, in our day it is lived by tens of thousands of Fundamentalists as it was perpetuated by the men, starting with Brigham Young, who grossly embellished what Joseph taught. This book will expel all the misunderstandings associated with plural marriage and will explain the principle as Joseph Smith Jr. intended it. Not only will the reader find the real truth to be fascinating, at the very least, but will gain a better perspective of the issue that will support the fact that the practice of polygamy is Not Their Fault!
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