Recently, I made some comments on another blog concerning the LDS revelation on polygamy (D&C 132) and I thought that I would re-publish them here. As Jacob 2: 22-35 always seems to come up whenever discussing D&C 132 with people who do not believe that that section is a revelation from God, I felt the need to expound those verses somewhat. Here is my exposition:
Comment expounding Jacob 2: 22-35
Let me attempt a brief explanation of what is going on in Jacob 2, as I understand it. The key to understanding the verses found in 22-35 is the word “whoredoms.” What is being condemned by the Lord is whoredom. And what is a whoredom? A whoredom is any illicit sexual commerce, in other words, whatever the Lord has said, “No,” to, is a whoredom. That is the key. So, with that in mind, let’s take yet another look at these verses:
22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce], because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
Lehi had received commandments from the Lord modifying the law of Moses and taking away all the plural marriage provisions of it and causing monogamy with no concubinage to be the approved marriage doctrine for the Nephites. Because of this, from Lehi onward plural marriage became a whoredom (illicit sexual commerce.) The Nephite men thought to commence plural marriage anyway, as that was a part of the original law of Moses, and were using the same old prophet (good, righteous and pure, meaning undiluted or unmodified doctrine) – new prophet (modified doctrine, meaning apostate) tactic many people use nowadays. Specifically, they were pointing to David and Solomon and the righteous deeds these polygamous men had done.
24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
To counteract this, the Lord points to the unrighteous deeds of David and Solomon. He doesn’t point to plural marriage in general, but to the abominations David and Solomon committed in the name of plural marriage, meaning that they “had many wives and concubines” instead of “receiving many wives and concubines” from the Lord. In other words, they illicitly took wives which were forbidden them to take. In the case of David, this was the Uriah affair. In the case of Solomon, he took wives of a forbidden people. Again, to be even plainer in writing, the Lord here is pointing to the whoredoms of David and Solomon.
25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
A righteous branch is a branch that obeys the Lord. The Lord is not referring to polygamy here and equating righteousness with monogamy and unrighteousness with polygamy. Had the Jews of the Old World obeyed the Lord’s commands, they would have been a righteous branch even while practicing polygamy.
When the Lord says He doesn’t want the Nephites to do like them of old, He is not referring to the Old World practice of polygamy, but to the Old World practice of disobedience. So, the Lord is simply saying that this Nephite branch is to hearken to His words (obedience) or THEY WILL BE CURSED. He will not allow them to prosper in disobedience.
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity [approved sexual commerce] of women. And whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce] are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
These are the commandments given to Lehi, repeated here by Jacob. Whoredoms is not referring to polygamy but to all sexual commerce prohibited by the Lord. In the case of the Nephites, as they had received a law of monogamy (a modification of the law of Moses), polygamy in their case was a whoredom, whereas in the case of the Old World Jews, polygamy was not a whoredom, as it was permitted.
29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
The emphasis is on keeping the current commandments of the Lord. It is the current prophet’s words that are the most important, not the words of dead prophets. The Lord is not so much concerned with polygamy, as He is concerned with obedience.
30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.
This is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain it anyway. “Raise up seed unto me” refers to plural marriage. “I will command my people” means that plural marriage is illicit sexual commerce (a whoredom) to the Nephites unless the Lord commands its practice. “These things” refers to the new commandments received by Lehi, which modified the law of Moses for the Nephites.
31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.
The abominations and wickedness that the Lord speaks of do not apply to the law of Moses-approved practice of plural marriage found among the Old World Jews (and those of other lands), but to their disobedience to His commandments. Again, the Lord is talking of disobedience to His commandments and not specifically of the general practice of polygamy.
32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.
33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Remember, the Lord is still talking about whoredoms (illicit sexual commerce) and other disobedience, not about polygamy in general. Polygamy in the Old World was not whoredom, but in the New World it was.
34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.
35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.
Okay, that seems self-explanatory to me. They did wrong not because polygamy was intrinsically wrong, but because the Lord made it wrong through Lehi for the Nephite people, until the Lord should make it right again (which He did later on in 4 Nephi.)
End of comment
Here’s another comment I made on the same post, concerning what I had mentioned above about 4 Nephi:
Comment expounding 4 Nephi polygamy
The Nephite branch became righteous when the Lord visited them and they “graduated” from the law of Moses to the law of Christ. Everybody still alive (after the destructions caused by His death) then converted to Christ. Interestingly enough, upon becoming a “righteous branch,” the record states the following:
And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people.
And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them. (4 Nephi 1: 10-11)
These passages are referring to the doctrine of plural marriage and the promises made to those who enter therein. When the full Nephite record comes forth, it will show this. So, the Nephites were temporarily prohibited from entering into this practice while they lived the law of Moses, for reasons known only to the Lord, while the Jews in the Old World and the 10 Tribes of Israel in the Northern Countries, were allowed by the Lord to have plural marriage under the same law of Moses. In other words, these were three groups of contemporary people living different laws of the Lord. This doesn’t mean that one group’s laws were unjustified before the Lord. The Lord “commands and revokes” as He pleases. It is His privilege and as long as each group of people kept the commandments He gave to that particular group, they were justified.
Also, it should be kept in mind that the plural marriage under the law of Moses was not the plural marriage under the law of Christ. Plural marriage under the law of Christ is a doctrine of exaltation. Plural marriage under the law of Moses was not a doctrine of exaltation, however, it did prepare a people for the doctrine that came under the law of Christ. And that was what the law of Moses was for, to point people to Christ and to prepare them for Him and His doctrines.
So, the Nephites lived the doctrine of plural marriages under the law of Christ, from the visit of Christ to them onward, a period of 300+ years. Most people miss this and I can only believe that this is by the design of the Lord. When the Book of Mormon went forth at first, it was the intention of the Lord that it be the public doctrine, the milk, while the meat was to be revealed privately and over time revealed publicly as the public was ready for it. Had the Book of Mormon been exceedingly plain on this point of plural marriage, from the get-go, upon it being published, everyone would have rejected it, as the world was not ready for the doctrine of plural marriage.
As it is, the wording in the Book of Mormon was sufficiently obscure (on purpose) that people (even Joseph Smith!) mistook the Lord’s words in Jacob 2 as being a condemnation of all plural marriage. Most people completely missed the meaning of “For if I will, saith the Lord, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things,” the meaning being that only the unauthorized practice of plural marriage was condemned. Now, after the doctrine of plural marriage has been publicly taught, the chapter heading expounds the principle plainly, but when first published, the meaning of Jacob 2 was “hidden in plain sight.”
Also, the verses in 4 Nephi were (and still are) obscure to many people and most did not understand that they spoke of authorized plural marriage being practiced among the Nephites according to the more excellent law of Christ.
Besides all of that, Jacob 2 served another purpose: that of getting Joseph to inquire about plural marriage, which ended up revealing some meat, so we see in this that the purposes of the Lord are fulfilled and none of this has anything to do with perversion or whoring spirits, but with how the Lord works among the children of men, meaning according to their conditions.
End of comment
As I mentioned above that even Joseph Smith, at first, did not understand the meaning of Jacob 2, I will next re-publish here another couple of my comments, from that same post, which talk about Joseph’s understanding.
First, some background. A question had been asked,
Why would Joseph Smith, as the Seer of the Lord who translated the Book of Mormon be asking why God justified David and Solomon in taking multiple wives when in fact it was through his efforts in translating the Book of Mormon that he was able to reveal to the world that David and Solomon WERE NOT JUSTIFIED in having multiple wives[?]
This question was referring to D&C 132: 1. As an answer, I responded with this:
Comment answering question concerning D&C 132: 1
Joseph approached the Lord concerning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not concerning Moses, David and Solomon. Jacob’s remarks about David and Solomon made him wonder about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so he made inquiry about these three prophets. The Lord, though, in his answer to Joseph, threw in a surprise for Joseph, for he included three more justified servants in his answer, two of which Joseph was thinking (because of Jacob’s words in the Book of Mormon) were not justified. In fact, when the angel appeared to him with the answer to his question, Joseph quoted the Book of Mormon to him. Joseph knew it was a true angel from God, as he had already received the keys to discern true and false angels and had applied the keys. So, the Lord’s response was to not only explain Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s justification, but also to expound a bit on the meaning of the Lord’s words to Jacob, which Joseph, at the time, did not fully comprehend. This is why the first verse reads like this:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, [at this point there is a break of "as also" because the Lord is giving more than Joseph asked for, to teach him that David and Solomon were also justified, except in those things which they did not receive from the Lord, in other words, the Lord's intention was to more fully explain Jacob's words in the Book of Mormon] as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
Had Joseph made inquiry of all six men, it would have read, “as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—”
End of comment
After this, I was asked a question:
“Why would the Lord reveal that David and Solomon were not Justified in the Book of Mormon and then say that they were justified in this revelation?”
My answer was the following:
Comment concerning Joseph’s understanding of Jacob 2
Because the Lord didn’t say that David and Solomon were not justified in the Book of Mormon, he said, “which thing was abominable before me.” He never mentioned justification. He just mentions a “thing” that was abominable before Him.
At first, Joseph (and currently yourself and others) misunderstood Jacob’s words and thought that David and Solomon were unjustified by the practice. He did not understand just what the “thing” the Lord was referring to was and erroneously thought that it referred to all instances of the practice of plural marriage. This is why Joseph quoted Jacob’s words to the angel when he was told of the principle of plural marriage.
And so we have one of Joseph’s wives saying the following:
An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle [plural marriage], he would slay him. Joseph said he talked to him soberly about it, and told him it was an abomination and quoted scripture to him. He said in the Book of Mormon it was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and they were to adhere to these things except the Lord speak. (Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg.1 – Pg.2)
So, this shows that Joseph was confused over Jacob’s words in the Book of Mormon and inquired of the Lord about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and NOT Moses, David and Solomon, because he already believed David and Solomon were unjustified per the Book of Mormon. This is why the Lord phrased it “as also,” which means “and also,” to indicate to Joseph that not only were the first three justified, but the last three were also.
So, Joseph’s question was doctrinally sound and consistent with what we know of those times. The problem you are having, then, is not with Joseph’s question, but with the Lord’s answer to him. Joseph applied the keys to determine a real angel from a false angel, so a real angel from God appeared to him and delivered this real doctrine in answer to his honest inquiry.
I [Mary Lightner] asked him [Joseph Smith] if Emma knew about me, and he said, “Emma thinks the world of you.” I was not sealed to him until I had a witness. I had been dreaming for a number of years I was his wife. I thought I was a great sinner. I prayed to God to take it from me for I felt it was a sin; but when Joseph sent for me he told me all of these things. “Well,” said I, “don’t you think it was an angel of the devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, it was an angel of God. God Almighty showed me the difference between an angel of light and Satan’s angels. The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me. “But,” said he, “they called me a false and fallen prophet but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before.” (Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg.1 – Pg.2)
The answer made him recoil and resist, but he eventually was able to wrap his mind around it and embrace it.
End of comment
My next group of comments were originally split up into multiple comments, but I’m here putting them all together:
Comments concerning polygamy & the law of Moses
I find it interesting how the Lord’s words to Jacob are held up as the final word and the rest of the Lord’s words given in the Bible are discarded. That is what I see on this post and comments. Of course, anyone is free to do this, but this is the same sort of tactic used by apostate Christianity, but in reverse order: they throw out the Book of Mormon in favor of the Bible.
When both the Bible and Book of Mormon are held up, and both are accepted as the word of God, you cannot honestly take the Lord’s words of “which thing was abominable before me” as meaning a wholesale condemnation of the practice of plural marriage. It must mean something other than that. If you force such a meaning, you must throw the Bible out the window, for the Bible contradicts such an interpretation.
Paul said of the law of Moses: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7: 12) And in verse 14 he said, “For we know that the law is spiritual.” So, the law of Moses is holy, just, good and spiritual. Paul’s words, not mine. To say, then, that the law of Moses, which was given by Yahweh, was abomination, or allowed abomination, or even commanded abomination, is contradictory.
We know, from the Bible, that King David married at least 4 women with the approval of the Lord:
David, king of Israel took Abigail and Ahinoam, “and they were also both of them his wives;” (1 Sam. 25: 42-43). Then he “took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem;” (2 Sam. 5: 13). With two wives and concubines (plural) he at this time had at least 4 wives. The Bible later says that “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite;” (1 Kings 15: 5). In this passage we have an assurance that David done right in taking all his wives and concubines, except in one instance, for which he was severely chastised. In the case of Uriah the Hittite, David committed adultery with his wife, and then had Uriah killed in the Battlefield. This was adultery and murder and it was condemned by the Lord, but his prior marriages were, according to the Bible, approved as “right in the eyes of the Lord”.
This is consistent with D&C 132, which basically says the same thing. In order for Jacob 2: 24 to be consistent with the Bible, the abominable thing referred to by the Lord concerning David was the Uriah affair and not the general practice of polygamy.
The law of Moses both permitted polygamy AND COMMANDED IT, in certain instances.
When Moses took a second wife, he was not in violation of the Law given to him by the Lord. That law does not prohibit plural marriage and in fact, recognized the possibility of multiple wives:
If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn. (Deuteronomy 21: 15-16)
In fact, the Law of Moses sometimes may have commanded Plural Marriage. When a woman’s husband died, the Lord commanded that a brother of the husband was supposed to take her as his wife. (Deut. 25: 4-10.) If he was already married, then at that point he would have had two wives. The Law as given to Moses does not mind that.
So, in order to hold onto your pet theory that the Lord’s words in Jacob 2 negates D&C 132, you have to throw out the entire Old and New Testaments, too. Now, how badly do you want to keep to such a theory?
Btw, these quotes were taken from polygamy.com. Here is another interesting quote from the same source:
Many of the leading men of the Bible had more than one wife in some form of marriage relationship at the same time. This includes Abraham, Jacob (Israel), Moses, David and others. The Law that Moses gave also made provision for plural marriage and in some cases, it seems that plural marriage was even commanded by the Law of Moses. There is evidence that multiple wives was an acceptable practice all through ancient Israel, including the time of Christ and it was not until the end of the 1st Millennium AD that some Jews officially rejected polygyny. One branch of Jews never agreed to this and still accept the practice of plural wives to this day.
One last thing, the marriage doctrine given in D&C 42 is completely compatible with plural marriage. It is not a doctrine of monogamy, but a doctrine of fidelity. It is, in essence, the law of chastity, stated differently.
End of comment
As the above comment mentioned D&C 42, I might as well talk about that, too.
In addition to holding up Jacob 2 as the standard of monogamy and the reason why D&C 132 must be a false revelation, D&C 42 is also held up as contradictory to section 132. So, here were my answers to such a proposition.
The definition of “none else” is “not one beside” or “no other.” So, if the Lord meant “none else” to indicate the exclusion of all others in 132 then that is his precise meaning in 42. If you hold to the belief that 42 allows for multiple spouses then you have to believe that the Lord was not excluding Emma from multiple spouses in 132. In which case the verse becomes nonsense. Either way, according to the verse in 132 living this “law” was required for Emma’s salvation.
Comment concerning D&C 42: 22 and D&C 132: 54
The Lord was excluding Emma from multiple spouses in 132. The wording in section 132 is different than in section 42. In D&C 42: 22, it is a command to “cleave unto [thy wife],” whereas in D&C 132: 54 the command is to “cleave unto my servant Joseph.” Had the Lord said to Emma, “cleave unto your husband,” it would have left open multiple husbands, but He didn’t say that. He stated a specific person, not a specific title. (”Wife” being a title, designation or office of a person.) This is why the early saints who practiced plural marriage had no problem with D&C 42: 22, at all. It is compatible and not contradictory.
End of comment
Later, came the rebuttal and question,
You focused on the term “cleave” without addressing the issue of the words “none else.” To me the words “none else” are more important in these two passages. Are you suggesting that in section 42 “none else” means something other than “no other” or “not one beside?”
My reply was the following:
Comment on why D&C 42: 22 is a doctrine of fidelity, not monogamy
I left out “none else” because the phrase, when combined with just “wife” does not indicate monogamy. It only indicates fidelity. Have you ever wondered why the Article on Marriage was even necessary, if D&C 42 put forth a doctrine of monogamy? The Article on Marriage would then be redundant in stating that the saints believed in monogamy, would it not?
If I marry a wife and then she dies, does D&C 42 prohibit me from taking another wife? If section 42 indicates that I am to cleave only to one wife, then I can only be married once and I can only cleave to her and to none else, even if she dies. I am to remain single and widowed forever more, for if I take another wife I would be cleaving unto someone other than my (first) wife.
Of course this is not the meaning of the scripture. It is a doctrine of fidelity, not monogamy, meaning that I am only to cleave to my wife, whether I have one wife or ten wives. Each woman married to me, whether in succession (after their deaths) or with all of them still living (in polygamy), is to have me cleave to her and to no one else who is not my wife.
End of comment
Note: the reason why I am placing these comments all together like this in a single post is because of my intention—should I ever again find myself talking to someone about D&C 132 and they bring up Jacob 2 (or D&C 42) as proof that D&C 132 is a false revelation—to point to this post. If you agree with the above comments and also, like me, tire of hearing the same worn out Jacob 2/D&C 42 objections, feel free to use them, also.
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