The many definitions of adultery


Note: This post deals with physical adultery in marriage and not with spiritual adultery (committing adultery in thought or committing adultery against God by going after idols, etc.)

The Bible’s Definition of Adultery

  • Adultery = “Unlawful breach of a marriage covenant; consisting of a man (married or unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a woman who is either married or betrothed to another man.”
  • Adulterer = “A man who has sexual intercourse with the wife or betrothed of another man.”
  • Adulteress = “A married or betrothed woman who has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband.”

The Hebrew word for adultery is na’aph and refers to a “woman that breaks wedlock.”  (See Strong’s #5003.)

To explore the biblical definition of adultery, lets set up some imaginary couples with which to mix and match and come up with an ADULTERY or NOT ADULTERY conclusion.

Two Non-Temple Marriages Aaron and Abigail were married to each other outside of the temple.  Brad and Bertha were married to each other outside of the temple. Two Singles Charles is a single man.  Deborah is a single woman.

So, using the above imaginary people in pretended affairs, we come to the following conclusions:

ADULTERY

If Abigail and Brad have an affair, both are guilty of ADULTERY because Abigail is married to (belongs to) Aaron and not Brad.

If Bertha and Aaron have an affair, both are guilty of ADULTERY because Bertha is married to (belongs to) Brad and not Aaron.

If either Abigail or Bertha has an affair with Charles, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Abigail and Bertha are both married to (belong to) men other than Charles.

NOT ADULTERY

If either Aaron, Brad or Charles has an affair with Deborah, this is NOT ADULTERY because Deborah is not a married woman (does not belong to anyone.)

If we add a polygynous marriage (which was practiced during the time of the Bible) to the above couples, we get the following:

One Polygynous Non-Temple Marriage Peter is married to both Polly and Patricia outside of the temple.

All the same rules apply as above when you mix and match people in affairs.  Also, when you put Peter with either Polly or Patricia, you don’t get adultery.

NOT ADULTERY

If Peter is with Polly, this is NOT ADULTERY as Polly is married to (belongs to) Peter.  If Peter is with Patricia, this is NOT ADULTERY as Patricia is married to (belongs to) Peter.

Scriptures that pertain to this definition:

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.  (Leviticus 20: 10)

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you  (Deuteronomy 22: 22-24)

(See also Proverbs 6: 207: 27)

To understand the above, it is important to grasp the concept of the biblical marriage covenant or contract.  In all the biblical marriage contracts, the woman was joined to the man, not vice versa.  Thus, the woman was given to the man and the man received the woman, not vice versa.  So, the married woman belonged to the man, meaning that she was his property (according to Encyclopaedia Judaica) and he had exclusive right to her and not vice versa.  This is why the biblical definition of adultery always deals with what occurs between a married woman and someone other than her husband.

In modern civil marriages, each one is said to belong to each other and/or to give him or herself to his or her spouse and they often exchange vows.  This was not what occurred with the people of the Lord during the time of the Bible.

To read an in-depth exegesis of the biblical laws concerning marriage, adultery, etc., please review the following, well-written articles courtesy of the Christian (non-LDS) Righteous Warriors web site:

Biblical Polygyny (part 1): Definition of Words

Biblical Polygyny (part 2): Polygyny in Scripture

Biblical Polygyny (part 3): Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Biblical Polygyny (part 4): Common Objections to Polygyny

Biblical Polygyny (part 5): Clash of Cultures

An Open Letter to the Christian Church Regarding Polygyny

Biblical Definitions of Important Terms

These same articles, and others, are also listed on their Controversial Truths page.

The Definition of Adultery Given by the Lord to Joseph Smith

The following revelations were given by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he inquired about adultery:

And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.  If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.  And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.  And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.  (D&C 132: 41-44)

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.  And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.  But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.  (D&C 132: 61-63)

It is important to realize that the temple ceremony which unites a man and his wife for time and all eternity by the holy priesthood, has it so that the man is under no vow to his wife and also that the man receives the woman and the woman is given to the man and not vice versa. In fact, the wording of the above revelation indicates that the woman then belongs to the man, just as the ancient Jews were married.

Now, lets make up another imaginary group of people, with temple marriages included, as well as a polyandrous marriage:

Three Temple Marriages Ephraim and Ethel were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Felipe and Fanny were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Felix and Fiona were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Also, Felipe has been “appointed unto Fiona by the holy anointing.” Two Non-Temple Marriages Garrett and Gigi were married outside of the temple, Garrett taking a vow of fidelity.  Henry and Harriet were married outside of the temple, but Henry took no vow.  Two Singles Ian is a single man.  Jill is a single woman.

So, using the Lord’s definition of adultery given to Joseph Smith and the above imaginary people in pretended affairs, we come to the following conclusions:

ADULTERY

If Ethel has an affair with Felipe, Felix, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Ethel is married to (belongs to) Ephraim and not to any of these other men.

If Fanny has an affair with Ephraim, Felix, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Fanny is married to (belongs to) Felipe and not to any of these other men.

If Fiona has an affair with Ephraim, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Fanny is married to (belongs to) Felix and not to any of these other men.

If Gigi has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Gigi is married to (belongs to) Garrett and not to any of these other men.

If Harriet has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Garrett or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Harriet is married to (belongs to) Henry and not to any of these other men.

If Jill has an affair with Garrett, this is ADULTERY because although Jill is married to (belongs to) no man, Garrett is under a vow to Gigi.

NOT ADULTERY

If Fiona has an affair with Felipe, this is NOT ADULTERY because Felipe is “appointed unto her by the holy anointing,” meaning that she is married to (belongs to) both Felix and Felipe, her husbands.

If Jill has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Henry or Ian, this is NOT ADULTERY because Jill is married to (belongs to) no man and none of these men are under a vow.

If we add a polygynous marriage (which was practiced during the early days of the restored church) to the above couples, we get the following:

One Polygynous Non-Temple Marriage Peter is married to both Polly and Patricia outside of the temple.

All the same rules apply as above when you mix and match people in affairs.  Also, when you put Peter with either Polly or Patricia, you don’t get adultery.

NOT ADULTERY

If Peter is with Polly, this is NOT ADULTERY as Polly is married to (belongs to) Peter.  If Peter is with Patricia, this is NOT ADULTERY as Patricia is married to (belongs to) Peter.

The Lord’s definition of adultery coincides with the biblical definition, with the addition of two points: that a man who is under a vow can commit adultery with an unmarried woman and that polyandry (a wife with multiple husbands) is a sanctioned practice if appointed by the holy anointing.  Thus, the marriage laws revealed by the Lord to Joseph Smith is rightly called plural marriage or polygamy as it encompasses both polygyny and polyandry.

Modern Dictionary Definition of Adultery

If you look at any modern dictionary under the entry of “adultery,” you’ll find a definition similar to the following:

“voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband; also : an act of adultery”

(Taken from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary’s entry on adultery)

Most, if not all, churches and legal entities (governments) subscribe to this modern view of adultery.

During the time of Joseph Smith, the dictionary in use was Noah Webster’s first edition, published in 1828.  Under the entry of “adultery” that dictionary give the following definition:

ADUL’TERY, n. [L. adulterium. See Adulterate.]

1. Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring.

By the laws of Connecticut, the sexual intercourse of any man, with a married woman, is the crime of adultery in both: such intercourse of a married man, with an unmarried woman, is fornication in both, and adultery of the man, within the meaning of the law respecting divorce; but not a felonious adultery in either, or the crime of adultery at common law, or by statute. This latter offense is, in England, proceeded with only in the ecclesiastical courts.

In common usage, adultery means the unfaithfulness of any married person to the marriage bed. In England, Parliament grant absolute divorces for infidelity to the marriage bed in either party; and the spiritual courts divorce a mensa et thoro.

(Taken from http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/word/adultery)

It is interesting to note that the 1828 definition is essentially the same as the 2008 dictionary definitions, which means that Joseph broke away from the definition of “adultery” that was current for his time and returned to a practice that almost exactly matched that of the biblical definition.

Modern LDS Church’s Definition of Adultery

In the book, True to the Faith, published by the Church, we read under the Chastity entry the following definitions of the sins of adultery and fornication:

The Ten Commandments include the command that we not commit adultery, which is sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband (see Exodus 20:14). The Apostle Paul said that it is “the will of God” that we “abstain from fornication,” which is sexual intercourse between an unmarried person and anyone else (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Latter-day prophets repeatedly speak out against these sins and against the evil practice of sexual abuse.

This definition is identical to the one found in modern dictionaries and is how most people define adultery, nevertheless, it departs from both the biblical definition as well as the one given by the Lord to Joseph Smith.

Definition of Sexual Intercourse

Although I don’t know the exact standards given to our priesthood leaders as to what kind or kinds of sexual intercourse could result in adultery, I do know from my experience in talking with two women who have broken the law of chastity that oral sex does not constitute, in the eyes of the priesthood leadership, adultery. This was surprising to me, as I believe most Americans think that a married man or woman having oral sex with someone who is not his or her spouse is adultery. But on this point, the leadership breaks with the ideas of modern society.  Full frontal intercourse definitely qualifies as possible adulterous activity, but I do not know about “the back door” kind.

Conclusion

All of this shows that adultery is defined in various and sundry ways.  Adultery is widely interpreted and assigned to all extramarital affairs—extramarital being anything outside of the first marriage, as polygyny and polyandry is not recognized as valid—by modern legal systems and churches (including the modern LDS Church), whereas the biblical model narrows it down quite a bit to only extramarital affairs involving married women and excluding polygynous relationships.  The Joseph Smith model adopts the biblical model and expands it to include vow-breaking men, while narrowing it to exclude polyandrous relationships anointed by the priesthood.  And finally, the world looks upon any extra-marital sexual activity to be adulterous, while the Church has more narrow definitions.

It may be helpful to keep all of this in mind the next time you hear that someone has had an “adulterous relationship.”  Depending on the model you choose to use to define adultery, the act may more aptly be titled fornication.

Next Chastity article: Does legalized, same-sex “marriage” break the law of chastity?

Previous Chastity article: Why the long process?

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

About these ads

44 Comments

  1. I think you are delving into dangerous ground with “belongs to” and the idea that a temple marriage does not include a vow of fidelity. In the temple you vow “with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this holy order of matrimony in the new and everlasting covenant” and the promises are contingent “through your faithfulness” to one another and to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As far as “belongs to” goes, the language in the temple is “receive her unto yourself” for the man and “give yourself to him … and receive him” for the woman.

  2. Derek, I’m not sure what you mean by “dangerous ground.” My wife and I are married in the temple and that I recall (it’s been awhile since I’ve done a sealing), the wording of the ceremony is such that it is consistent with what is written in D&C 132, namely, as you state, that the man agrees to “receive” the woman and the woman agrees to “give herself” to the man. I don’t recall whether the word “vow” is used in the ceremony, and in fact, I don’t believe it was used, at all, but I do recall that the agreement that we made (to God) was to keep the covenant. The new and everlasting covenant of marriage (explained in D&C 132) uses the words “belongs to” when describing the marriage relationship it creates. Even though presently we are not under a legal system that allows polygyny, the wording of the temple ceremony and of D&C 132 both indicate that should polygyny become permissible again one day, those men who have been married in the temple can take a second spouse (while the first one is living) without committing adultery, as they are under no vow of monogamy to their wives. The wives, however, having given themselves to their husbands, cannot take a second husband by the same token, as they now (using the language of the revelation) “belong to” their husbands.

    In the article above, when I used the phrase “vow of fidelity,” I was talking more of the “vow” part than the “fidelity” part. Fidelity is, of course, an expected part of marriage for both parties, but from the revelation it becomes apparent that an expectation of fidelity and a vow of fidelity are two different things in the eyes of God. A man who is expected to be faithful to his wife who has an affair with an unmarried woman, according to the revelation, does not commit adultery (he commits fornication) if no vow of fidelity has been taken, whereas the man who was expected to be faithful to his wife and who vows fidelity to her and then who has an affair with an unmarried woman is classified (by the Lord) as an adulterer.

    My understanding of the temple marriage covenant is that we agree to receive the woman as our wife, not that we agree to receive only this one woman and no other woman evermore. Essentially, we agree that there will be no “putting away.” This is why “putting away” is a sin except in the case of fornication. So, a man married in the temple who has an affair with an unmarried woman commits fornication, not adultery. And if he marries a second wife (who “belongs” to no one else), it is not adultery.

    The husband spoken of by the Lord in this sentence of the revelation: “And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery” is not in the new and everlasting covenant. That is my understanding of the revelation. The wife of this man, in the preceding sentence, is not in the new and everlasting covenant (of marriage), therefore her husband cannot be, also. Therefore, this sentence I quoted only applies to civil marriages and not to temple marriages. That is my understanding. If the Lord had in mind that the husband referred to in this sentence was the same husband in the new and everlasting covenant mentioned two sentences before, and if the new and everlasting covenant does, in fact, contain a vow unto to the wife of fidelity, than there would be no reason for the Lord to include the qualifier “and he was under a vow” when talking about circumstances in which a husband can commit adultery. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

  3. One more clarification: In the preceding comment I am using the definition given to Joseph Smith by the Lord, not the current definition used by the modern Church in defining adultery. In the modern definition, a man commits adultery if he’s had an affair with an unmarried woman, even if he has been married in the temple.

  4. Well, I think that “to make a covenant” is to vow (i.e., synonymous). So we delve into semantics (which this post is already about). I expect that fidelity is one of “all the laws … of matrimony”.

    Are you familiar with Section 101 of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (p. 251), titled Marriage: “husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others during your lives”? There Joseph Smith defined one legal condition in “all the laws of matrimony”, “husband” and “wife”, words used in the temple covenant and promise.

    The exact language of the temple ceremony is no secret, it has been easily available online for decades now, even from Temple-working members of the Church, for example:

    http://ldsendowment.org/sealing.html

    The way I take the wording is: the man takes, and the woman gives and takes; “receive her” vs. “give … to him” & “receive him”, respectively.

    It would seem to me the woman has the better end of the deal, at least from the perspective of licensor and licensee. The licensor gives, while the licensee takes, and it is the licensor that controls/grants the legal agreement.

    Aside from licensor/licensee, don’t we all want to be the person that both gives and takes. Don’t we count people that only take as selfish?

    I don’t disagree with your assessment that married persons cannot commit adultery with one another (i.e., those they are married to [plural marriages multi-husband & multi-wife included])!

    What I find dangerous is, “If Jill has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Henry or Ian, this is NOT ADULTERY because Jill is married to (belongs to) no man and none of these men are under a vow.”

    I would say Ephraim, Felipe, and Felix are under the strongest vow, and that they’re not in the clear until they’ve been appointed to Jill by the holy anointing (which for Jill means “for time” in every sealing after her first, until after her death when she is re-sealed to all parties “for time and all eternity” by proxy [her one time-and-all-eternity sealing from life need not be re-sealed]).

    As for sex acts, call me old fashioned, but I’ve gotta chalk them all up as adulterous for married individuals, when engaged in with people they’re not married to or pursuing marriage with (some aspects of the sex act, kissing/hugging at various levels of intensity, is all a part of the courting process, no doubt).

    I’m certainly not old fashioned enough to accuse committed or engaged individuals of adultery or even non-married people (I am not married in a 9-year relationship, though we call each other husband and wife affectionately [we did perform our own "marriage" "by my priesthood" at bedside 3 1/2 years into our relationship and six months before we had sex, but that was unofficial and only for us]). We’ve talked about 3 marriages, actually: the 1 we’ve already had; the 1 for our family and public, Catholic wedding; and 1 for God and Christ, our sealing. She knows I’m a polygamist (or so I tease her — what else do people expect from “Mormons”), but she has me convinced I can’t practice it with her. *grin*

  5. Numbers 30 –
    2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
    3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth;

  6. The wives, however, having given themselves to their husbands, cannot take a second husband by the same token, as they now (using the language of the revelation) “belong to” their husbands.

    “Belong unto” to be exact. :) I think the men “belong unto” the women as much as the other way around, even if the revelation was apparently authored for the males in particular.

    I think it is obvious that “the holy anointing” that women can be “appointed unto” is the sealing itself (i.e., the same token, the token, sign, and name of the patriarchal grip), and I believe that women can be sealed to multiple husbands while living (as I said above). The doctrine that controls the sealing of women (as revealed by Joseph Smith, Jr.) is that women can only maintain one “for time and all eternity” sealing while alive, all future sealings must be “for time” (erroneously referred to as “for time only” within the Church). Upon the death of both parties in a “for time” sealing, it is Church procedure to seal by proxy “for time and all eternity” those spouses (the proxy sealings are usually performed by family members).

    When my mother and the 3 legal husbands she has had pass, my brothers and I will re-seal her “for time and all eternity” to all 3 men. When my father and the 3 legal wives he has had pass, my brothers and I will re-seal him “for time and all eternity” to all 3 women. This is standard Church practice, and it is covered in the Church Handbook of Instruction.

  7. So, a man married in the temple who has an affair with an unmarried woman commits fornication, not adultery. And if he marries a second wife (who “belongs” to no one else), it is not adultery.

    Oooh… I see your semantical argument now. Very similar to my, “some aspects of the sex act are all a part of the courting process”. I didn’t get that from your example with Jill.

    He still commits adultery against his wife if he doesn’t end up marrying the woman of his affair.

    But in your Jill example, Jill could be with all 3 temple-married men while not belonging unto any man; who does she marry now by the token? All 3, I would say. Or must 2 of the men always commit adultery because only 1 man can take her?

    (Sorry for over-posting as a result of skimming.)

  8. The husband spoken of by the Lord in this sentence of the revelation: “And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery” is not in the new and everlasting covenant. That is my understanding of the revelation.

    Yes, I too get the feeling that normal non-temple marriages are being discussed here. That has been my understanding as well.

    But v. 44, “And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it”, here’s a woman under vow that remains unbroken, and Joseph is about to “to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.” This must be talking about non-temple vows being upgraded to temple sealings, the candidates must not have committed adultery? I think this verse is a little murky. Is she receiving the same man she is under vow to or another man?

  9. Let me quote these verses with comments in braces to give my understanding of them.

    41 [This is the beginning of the definition of adultery and it is defined by the woman's marital status and actions:] And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant [temple marriage-this is the first qualifier], and if she [temple-married wife] be with another man [single or married man, it doesn't matter-an extramarital affair occurs, this is the second qualifier], and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing [no polyandry sanctioned by the Lord has occurred], she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    [To recap: Adultery consists of a temple-married wife having an extramarital affair with a single or married man who is not another of her spouses, meaning that the single or married man is not appointed unto her by the holy anointing (sanctioned polyandry).]

    42 [This is the second definition of adultery, again defined by the wife's marital status and actions:] If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant [non-temple marriage, non-temple married wife-first qualifier], and she [non-temple married wife] be with another man [single or married man, it doesn't matter-an affair occurs, this is the second qualifier], she has committed adultery.

    [To recap: Adultery consists of a non-temple married wife having an extramarital affair with a single or married man.]

    43 [This is the third definition of adultery and the only time it applies to the husband, defined by his marital status, actions and vow status] And if her [continuing from the previous sentence, this is the non-temple married wife] husband [non-temple married husband-first qualifier] be with another woman [single woman, as if it is a married woman it is automatically adultery, or covered under the first and second definitions-an affair occurs, this is the second qualifier], and he was under a vow [the non-temple married husband must be under a vow to his wife, which presupposes that it is also possible to not be under a vow when marrying outside of the temple-third qualifier], he hath broken his vow [the third qualifier is the clincher, the real reason why this act is considered adultery] and hath committed adultery.

    [To recap: Adultery consists of a non-temple married husband, who is also under a vow to his non-temple married wife, having an extramarital affair with a single woman.]

    44 And if she [non-temple married wife whose non-temple married husband commits adultery according to definition #3] hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow [this presupposes that all non-temple married wives have made vows to their husbands, defined as giving themselves to them], and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her [to divorce her from her husband] and give her unto [and marry her to] him that hath not committed adultery [another man, who has not broken a matrimonial vow] but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.

    The presupposition that I understand from above is that it is the breaking of a matrimonial vow that separates adultery from fornication. If there is no vow, there cannot be adultery, although there can be fornication. In all cases, a woman who enters into holy matrimony, whether it be a temple sealing or a non-temple ceremony, is considered to be under a vow to her husband. As adultery in a man is only defined by non-temple married men who are under vows to their wives, this presupposes that temple marriages do not put men under vows to their wives. Also, as non-temple married husbands must be under a vow to their wives in order to be able to commit adultery with a single woman, this presupposes that it is entirely possible to marry outside of the temple without the husband being under a vow, as well as marrying with a vow. The vow-no vow difference seems to revolve around the giving and receiving. A wife gives herself always in every marriage, therefore, she is always under a vow, while a husband only receives her in the temple ceremony and in non-temple ceremonies, unless the non-temple ceremony or marriage contract specifically contains provisions that put the man under a vow to his wife.

    In common law marriages, with a marriage contract, I can conceive of a marriage in which the husband is under no vow to his wife whatsoever, so this interpretation of the scripture makes sense to me. Also, it becomes apparent that the above verses are almost identical to the biblical definition of adultery and the importance of keeping one’s vows.

    One more thing, the verses you quoted from Numbers associate a bond or binding with taking an oath. This reminds me of the biblical way of marrying, in which a woman was joined to the man (or bound to the man) and not vice versa. This would indicate that the wives entered matrimony with a vow while the men did not.

  10. This also brings to mind the practice of wives taking the surname of their husbands, essentially binding themselves to them in name, too.

  11. The Jill NOT ADULTERY scenario works because everyone is vowless:

    If Jill (a single woman under no vow) has an affair with Ephraim (a temple married man under no vow), Felipe (a temple-married man under no vow), Felix (a temple-married man under no vow), Henry (a non-temple married man under no vow) or Ian (a single man under no vow), this is NOT ADULTERY because Jill is married to (belongs to) no man (and thus is under no vow) and none of these men are under a vow.

    The above scenario would be fornication. Under the biblical law, marriage must ensue after fornication, but under the laws revealed to Joseph, there doesn’t appear to be such a provision. If there is one somewhere, that I missed, let me know.

  12. That sheds an interesting light on the Fannie Alger (JS’s fist plural wife) incident. Joseph asked Oliver Cowdry to publicly admit that to his knowledge Joseph had never committed Adultery. Oliver, who knew what was going on, reluctantly agreed. Interesting….

  13. sorry, JS’s first plural wife

  14. It is important to realize that Lamech is the first man in Scripture to take women as though they “belong to” him. Genesis 4:19,23-24 Lamech is certainly not the example we want to follow.

    Possession of women is like unto murder to get power and gain.

  15. BruceC, I don’t think LDS Anarchist’s rationalizations here can protect Joseph Smith, Jr., from a charge of adultery, unless a less-legalistic approach is taken to interpretation of the above scriptures. Joseph Smith, Jr., and Emma Hale took Christian marriage vows and were married outside of the sealing doctrine. Therefore, Joseph Smith commits adultery according to LDS Anarchist’s above-stated logic. Was the sealing ordinance introduced before the endowment? By what vow or covenant were the first plural marriages taken?

  16. Derek, my understanding is that Joseph committed adultery according to the biblical definition, but according to the definition given in D&C 132, he did not. Even though Joseph and Emma were wed according to the traditional Christian marriages of that day, any vows they took would most likely be vows of fidelity, meaning that they promised each other that there would be no extramarital affairs. Joseph would not have broken this vow, as he married all the women who came after Emma. It is unrealistic to think that back then and even now, that traditional Christian marriages would contain vows of monogamy, meaning a vow to not take another wife. Polygamy wasn’t even thought about as a possibility, so why make a vow prohibiting it? As the Lord could appoint other men unto the married women, Joseph could not commit adultery in instances of polyandrous appointments. In other words, Joseph fit the description of having married Emma and not being under a vow (of monogamy), although he may have been under a vow of fidelity.

    I do not know the circumstances of the first plural marriages, but even if the another wife that Joseph took to himself was married to her husband in a Christian ceremony, and not in the new and everlasting covenant according to D&C 132: 41–and let’s say that this was Lucinda Morgan Harris, married to George W. Harris–as this was celestial marriage and not a civil ceremony, Joseph would have been the husband to Lucinda, and George would have been the man appointed unto her, and not the other way around, thereby bypassing adultery. The man “appointed unto her” in verse 41 is not defined as a man who is in the new and everlasting covenant, so it may be any man, whether in the covenant or not. This may have been done in some of the polygynous unions of Joseph and his wives (who were also married to other men.)

  17. The man “appointed unto her” in verse 41 is not defined as a man who is in the new and everlasting covenant, so it may be any man, whether in the covenant or not.

    I have to disagree with you wholeheartedly here. Women having multiple husbands, as in the case you cite, must also occur under the new and everlasting covenant. The language here is “for time and all eternity” vs. “for time”, not “new and everlasting covenant” vs. “appointed unto her”, etc. All Mormon plural marriage occurs under the new and everlasting covenant. Unless the women wrote about it, we don’t know whether George or Joseph got the “for time and all eternity” sealing. With Pratt’s wife, it is known that Joseph got the “for time and all eternity” sealing. But the point is moot because after death proxy sealings make all female sealings “for time and all eternity”.

    There is no favoritism to males or Joseph Smith, Jr. PERIOD!

  18. appointed unto her by the holy anointing

    The sealing of the new and everlasting covenant is a holy anointing. In fact, the sealing is not complete, and the calling and election is not made sure, until the anointing of the feet in the Second Anointing.

    [no polyandry sanctioned by the Lord has occurred]

    Yes, polyandry has occurred in the Church and has been sanctioned by the Lord. On the same day that Parley P. Pratt was sealed to his wife “for time”, she was sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr., “for time and all eternity”. This woman maintained two sealings while living. Women can enter into as many “for time” sealings as are authorized by the one on earth at a time who holds the sealing powers, but even that one person in authority cannot give her more than one “for time and all eternity” sealing while she is living. As I’ve said numerous times, upon death, all “for time” sealings become “for time and all eternity” through proxy ordinances.

    Parley P. Pratt’s wife is not listed in the website you’ve linked to. See footnote 45 here:

    http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/MormonWomenProtest.pdf

    Mary Ann Frost Stearns Pratt Smith, 1808–1891, born in Bethel, Maine. Mary Ann married Nathan Stearns and had one daughter born in 1833. She was left a widow when Nathan Stearns died five months later. She and her mother heard the gospel and were baptized by Apostle David W. Patten: “I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1835, being convinced of the truthfulness of its doctrines by the first sermon I heard; and I said in my heart, if there are only three who hold firm to the faith, I will be one of that number; and through all the persecution I have had to endure I have ever felt the same; my heart has never swerved from that resolve.” They gathered to Kirtland, Ohio and in 1837 Mary Ann married a widower, apostle Parley P. Pratt. In 1838, they moved to Caldwell County where they experienced unimaginable persecution. Elder Pratt was incarcerated in the Richmond Jail, without trial, for eight months. The family was reunited in Nauvoo, Illinois, in July 1839. In 1840 the family accompanied him on a mission to England. They returned to Nauvoo in 1843. Mary Ann was sealed for time and eternity to Joseph Smith on 24 July 1843; and for time to Parley P. Pratt on the same day. The family “was expelled from [Illinois] in the fall of 1846, just after the battle of Nauvoo. They settled at Winter Quarters.” Mary Ann then left Winter Quarters and returned to Maine. Several years later, “She again retraced her steps westward, arriving at Salt Lake City, overland in the fall of 1852” Parley P. Pratt, returning from his second mission to the Pacific, wrote: “On my arrival home, I found my wife, Mary Ann Frost, and my two children, Olivia and Moroni, who had arrived from Maine, her former home, where they had been for several years. The two children were glad to see me, but their mother had for several years been alienated from me. I however, supported her until the following spring, when she applied for and obtained a bill of divorce; after which, with the two children, she removed to Utah County.” Mary Ann Pratt never remarried. See Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge & Crandall, 1877), 406; Lyndon W. Cook, Nauvoo Marriages: Proxy Sealings, 1843-1846 (Provo: Grandin Book Company, 2004), 17, n. 3; “Death of M.A. Pratt,” Deseret Weekly, 5 September 1891; and Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, compiled and edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000), 510.

  19. Derek, I corrected your comment #1766. When I wrote comment #1765 above your comment #1766, I made a typo, writing 42 instead of 41. After posting, I caught the typo and corrected it, but not before you posted your reply, quoting part of my comment with the typo in it. So, I’ve corrected the typo so that it reads 41 and not 42.

    Here is the text, again, of 41:

    And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man [man #1] receiveth a wife [woman #1] in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man [man #2], and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    I think we are on the same page when I say that the text indicates that man #1 is married for time and all eternity to woman #1 and that woman #1 is married for time and all eternity to man #1. However, man #2 can be a single man (LDS or non-LDS), a man (LDS or non-LDS) married to woman #2 for time only (civil marriage) or a man (LDS) married to woman #3 for time and all eternity. Regardless of the three scenarios, woman #1 will end up committing adultery with man #2 if she is with him UNLESS he has been appointed unto her by the holy anointing. The text of that verse doesn’t explicitly state that appointing a man unto a married woman is only valid unless it is for time and all eternity. A power to marry a person for time and all eternity also implies a power to marry for time only and not for eternity or for eternity only and not for time. It is all encompassing. And, if fact, religious ministers have always had the power to marry for time only, including LDS ministers, so this is demonstrated by historical fact.

    Additionally, the text of that verse and those following do not imply that polygynous unions that are not for time and all eternity are looked down upon by the Lord and are adulterous, but the text indicates that they are only bad if there has been a vow (of monogamy.) So, the Lord recognizes both polygynous unions for time and polygynous unions for time and all eternity, as long as vows (of monogamy) are not taken. Temple, eternal marriage has no such vows, so the Lord starts out talking about that type of union first.

    The text, in my reading of it, does imply a distinction between polygyny and polyandry. Any man not under a vow of monogamy may take another wife, but no married woman can be with any other man unless the Lord approves it through his servant. So, in my reading of the text, there does appear to be favoritism, as you call it, going on.

    One more thing. I know you state that “all Mormon plural marriages occur under the new and everlasting covenant.” All Mormon plural marriages may have occurred in the past under the new and everlasting covenant, but I see nothing in the text to prohibit any Mormon plural marriage from occurring for time only.

  20. Sealings are never “for time only”. That is a Satanic lie that has crept into the Church Handbook of Instruction. Do not fall for it!

    “For time” sealings are “for time only while the woman lives”, without the qualification “while the woman lives”, “for time only” is a lie. The word “only” is not added to the temple language, only the words “and all eternity” are removed.

    The words “holy anointing” refer to matrimony in the new and everlasting covenant and nothing else.

    Satan does not want you to understand the sealing ordinance, because he wants you to be like Lamech.

  21. Derek, consider this–

    If you look at the phrase in question:

    and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing

    you’ll notice that anointing, along with the adjective holy, really is the only reason why anyone would consider that this appointment was a sealing for time and all eternity. If you take out that phrase, it reads like this:

    41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.

    Appointments in the church are callings and callings do not mean sealings for time and all eternity, so it the phrase “by the holy anointing” that makes a person believe we must be talking about a temple sealing for time and all eternity.

    However, if you look at the very same revelation for all other uses of the word “anointing,” here is what you come up with:

    7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

    18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

    19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

    So, the phrases “of him who is anointed,” “through the medium of mine anointed,” “through him whom I have anointed,” and “by him who is anointed” all are simply referring to Joseph Smith, Jr., the Lord’s anointed. The only break from using the word anointed in reference to Joseph Smith seems to be in verse 41, when the Lord says, “by the holy anointing.” But could it possibly be that the Lord, here, too, was simply saying that the appointment permitting polyandry had to come through Joseph Smith and not from any other man? Could not the phrase “by the holy anointing” mean the same thing as the other four phrases used in the revelation that all meant “by Joseph Smith, Jr.”?

    Unless we take this view, that “and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing” simply means “and I have not appointed unto her by Joseph Smith, Jr.,” we must decide what “holy anointing” consists of.

    You take the view that “holy anointing” refers to celestial marriage. I won’t say that that is not a possibility, however, when I was married in the temple to my wife, I was not anointed in that ceremony. It seems strange to me that when two unmarried people are married for time and all eternity they don’t get anointed, whereas a married woman appointed to another man does get anointed. Why the change in ordinance since it is just the same celestial marriage as the first type?

    Also, the anointings that I am familiar with are not of an eternal nature. We anoint with oil to heal the sick. Ancient kings of Israel were anointed, but this wasn’t so that they would be kings for time and all eternity. So, where do we have any indication of an anointing being for time and all eternity?

    Also, the word “holy,” although LDS might think of it as referring to a celestial marriage sealing, as opposed to a marriage for time only, which is perhaps why the Lord used it, simply means “set apart.” We get set apart all the time in callings and appointments, but none of that is for eternity, but for time only. Of course, as the priesthood is the power of God, that doesn’t mean you can’t set someone apart for eternity, for you can, but I guess what my point is that to automatically assume that the phrase used by the Lord in verse 41 must mean a celestial marriage sealing doesn’t seem to be supported by text of the revelation. I believe it may encompass both time and/or eternity and not just time and eternity together.

  22. The Initiatory and the Sealing and Anointing are the only “holy anointings” I know about.

    Yes, Joseph Smith was the Lord’s anointed who was the only man on earth at that time to authorize Sealing and Anointing.

    I have decided, and guess what I’ve been trying to say, which I think I’ve said clearly already, is: the holy anointing is matrimony under the new and everlasting covenant. It is the anointing of the feet to make your calling and election sure.

    You were not anointed because the Second Anointing is no longer performed for the general membership.

  23. I need to re-read Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith so I can cite the quotations, because this is all in there.

    No marriages are ever “for time only”, all marriages become celestial marriages. Have you forgotten the millennial sealings? All marriages will be made eternal in the Millennium, even if our Church and membership can’t understand this right now. “For time” sealings are celestial marriages.

    All ordinances for all people must be performed, because the final judgment cannot occur until the entire kingdom has been prepared for judgment by the performance of all ordinances (if Christ does not present a perfected kingdom for judgment, then he and his atonement are not perfect). This includes all endowments, all sealings, all second anointings, all adoptions, etc.

    A woman can have only one “for time and all eternity” sealing while living, her other sealings are “for time”. Women in our Church have had multiple husbands while all husbands were still alive, even if our Church and membership can’t remember this right now.

    Sorry to be a stickler and so ready to argue over this, but my mother will soon have two celestial marriages (my father “ft&ae” and her husband “ft”), and when her and her husbands are dead it will be made three celestial marriages and her one “ft” will be made “ft&ae”, and all the misunderstanding in the world isn’t going to stop it from being true. I obviously feel very strongly about this, two divorces have given me two additional fathers — and I have come to know that these men are my fathers for eternity, even if my family can’t perform the law of adoption ordinances ourselves because our Church is so full of misunderstanding. I am happy to imagine that my issue will correct our mistakes through the right performance of ordinances in the millennium.

  24. Derek, I liked that link to the endowment texts so much that I added it to the sidebar. Thanks.

    I am not discounting what you’ve said in the last two comments as false. You may be right. However, I am open to other interpretations, including what I wrote above.

    Concerning no “time only” marriages, I understand your point of view and based upon my own experience and understandings, can see the evidence for it. However, that topic has some items that require a bit more depth of exposition, so it might make for an interesting separate post.

    I purposely left out the Initiatory (and Second Anointing) from my list of anointings, as those ordinances are not directly part of marriage sealing ceremony. Of course, all the ordinances of the temple are linked and all of them point to eternal marriage, but I still wanted to keep the ordinances separate.

  25. Well, I think the Second Anointing is intimately tied to the sealing ceremony. In the descriptions I’ve read of the Nauvoo-era ordinance, the Sealing and Anointing were not separate ordinances.

  26. LDS Anarchist, you assume above that the second man of verse 41 has engaged in an extramarital affair.

    But couldn’t it be the case where the first man is sealed to her for eternity spiritually, but hasn’t known her physically, and another man is allowed to “know her” for time only?

    And that IF the second man is DIRECTED BY THE PRIESTHOOD to be her husband for time only, and arrogantly becomes the husband of a woman sealed for eternity to another man, THEN that woman would be guilty of adultery (and the man would be as well).

    And thus wouldn’t all of these arguments about polyandry being permitted by D and C 132 fall as well?

  27. When I wrote above:

    And that IF the second man is DIRECTED BY THE PRIESTHOOD to be her husband for time only, and arrogantly becomes the husband of a woman sealed for eternity to another man, THEN that woman would be guilty of adultery (and the man would be as well).

    >>>That should have been instead:

    And that IF the second man is *not* DIRECTED BY THE PRIESTHOOD to be her husband for time only, and arrogantly becomes the husband of a woman sealed for eternity to another man, THEN that woman would be guilty of adultery (and the man would be as well).

  28. And by using the word “becomes” her husband, I’m talking about the consummated marriage act by the 2nd man, whereas the 1st man married to her for eternity has only been spiritually sealed to the woman (like Joseph was before Mary had Jesus).

    If the second man is authorized by the priesthood to be married to her physically for time only, then that wouldn’t be adultery, and it wouldn’t be polyandry (at least not in the flesh) as well.

    If the second man is NOT authorized by the priesthood to be married to her physically for time only, then that WOULD be adultery.

  29. John, it sounds like you are trying to get the scriptures to the point where no biblical adultery would take place (adultery requiring consummation with both men and not just one man) and also no physical polyandry. I suppose if she consummated marriage with only one man, your scenario would hold up. The thing I find that strains such a thought is that a “spiritual sealing,” as you called it, would essentially be the temple sealing ordinance, but without consummation. Yet, how can you fulfill the sealing ordinance without consummation?

    When we are sealed as married couples, we covenant and promise to “observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this holy order of matrimony in the new and everlasting covenant” and are given the charge to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” So, wouldn’t consummation be part and parcel to observing and keeping the laws, rites, and ordinances of this order of matrimony?

    That is not to say that Joseph Smith must have consummated with the other wives that were sealed to him, but when comparing the temple sealing words with the words found in section 132 it doesn’t seem to me to indicate that verse 41 was referring to strictly non-sexual relationships, either with man #1 or man #2. The whole purpose of marriage, in fact, is to put a stamp of approval upon the sex act. Take away the sex act and men and women might as well be unmarried roommates.

    Also, the phrase “be with another man” (man #2) obviously indicates a sex act, though you may interpret “receiveth a wife” (man #1) as non-sexual. I do not, though, based upon the temple ceremony, which plainly indicates sex is part of the covenant.

  30. LDS Anarchist,

    I’ve studied 132 and this article and other related materials over and over ad nauseaum and I’ve come around to your way (I believe the Lord’s way) of thinking on the issue of polyandry.

    Subject to male priesthood directives, I’m convinced that Mormon Scripture under D & C 132 permits polyandry.

    That being said, I have several questions/comments for you.

    First, WHY do you think this is? What is the *purpose* or *purposes* of polyandry? We know that polygyny is the most efficient way of “bearing the souls of men” into the world because one man can impregnate many women. Whereas no matter how many men she has, a woman can only be pregnant by one man’s child at a time, and can only produce a relatively limited number of children in her lifetime. So again, what do you think are the theological and/or practical purposes for polyandry as permitted by D & C 132:41?

    Also, a comment. Art Bulla is a Mormon fundamentalist who claims he is The One Mighty and Strong. He also claims to have received a revelation that Joseph Smith IS the Holy Spirit, the 3rd member of the Godhead, and that the Holy Spirit finally took a mortal probation (body) in the form of Joseph Smith.

    In the King Follett discourse, Joseph IS recorded as saying something to the effect of WOULD TO GOD THAT I COULD TELL YOU WHO I AM BRETHREN! clearly implying that who he really was/is of some momumental importance beyond being the Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the restoration, which everyone who knew him and truly followed him accepted as a matter of course.

    It seems to clearly imply that he was saying that he was some OTHER IMPORTANT THEOLOGICAL PERSONAGE (like John the Baptist being the return of Elijah as per Malachi Chapter 3 and the words of Jesus).

    Could Joseph Smith BE the Holy Spirit? because it says that HOLY SPIRIT has to approve all of these new and ever lasting covenant sealings, but it also says that Joseph Smith IN THE LAST DAYS is the ONLY ONE to be able to approve these sealings.

    It does NOT say that Joseph Smith is the only ones *in the last days* UNTIL HE DIES to be the ONLY ONE to be able to approve these sealings.

    Therefore, if Joseph Smith STILL IS THE ONLY ONE APPROVING THESE SEALINGS TODAY, IN THESE CONTINUING LAST DAYS, doesn’t this imply that Art Bulla is correct, that Joseph Smith must be the Holy Spirit Himself?

    It seems to make D & C 132 internally consistent if this “revelation” is actually true…

    ?

  31. This is a reprint of a post I wrote on another board along these same lines. My beliefs are in some areas close to Mormon Fundamentalists although I different in certain ways and in certain places. To wit:

    In my mind, the only real question left is WHO has the right to
    perform these marriage ordinances. See verse 7:

    7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are
    these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows,
    performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not
    made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him
    who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that
    too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of
    mine anointed, whom I have appointed ON THE EARTH earth to hold this
    power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power
    IN THE LAST DAYS, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on
    whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of
    no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the
    dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end
    when men are dead.

    >>>A strict literal reading of this verse would NOT permit even the current President of the LDS to hold this office or these keys! Why? because it says that ONLY JOSEPH HAS THE POWER to perform these sealings ON THE EARTH IN THE LAST DAYS.

    Verse 7 assumes inherently within its verse that it WAS ALREADY THE
    LAST DAYS (a day to Lord is as a thousand years to us, says both the
    Bible and the Pearl of Great Price) when Joseph Smith was in his
    (first? last? only?) mortal probation ON THE EARTH. Once it IS THE
    LAST DAYS (before a coming judgment or the Final Judgment), IT STAYS
    THE LAST DAYS. I think that’s a reasonable assumption. So

    ONLY JOSEPH SMITH HIMSELF

    could still have this POWER ON THE EARTH TODAY.

    Not Brigham Young himself after Joseph was martyred.

    Not Munson, today’s LDS church President.

    It’s Joseph Smith or nobody. According to a strict literal reading of
    the verse above. IT NEVER SAYS THAT WHEN JOSEPH IS DEAD IN THE MORTAL
    BODY THAT SOMEBODY ELSE TAKES OVER! It doesn’t even remotely imply
    it…

    …it says HE HAS IT,
    ON THE EARTH,
    FOR (ALL OF) THE LAST DAYS.

    And nobody else.

    Period.

    That’s pretty stunning.

    And there’s really only one logical (or revelatory) conclusion.

    Art Bulla may just be right.

    Joseph Smith MAY JUST BE THE 3RD MEMBER OF THE GODHEAD, the Holy
    Spirit.

    That’s the ONLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION that would PERMIT 132 to BE TRUE
    and EXECUTABLE *ON THE EARTH THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAST DAYS* beyond the
    time that Joseph Smith is still walking in flesh on the earth (that we
    know of at the moment).

    And that would complete a big hunk of my understanding, my UNIQUE
    understanding of Mormon theology, in one particular area.

    Remember, I believe and have believed for some time now that the

    HOLY SPIRIT

    is the

    FATHER

    of

    who WE ON THIS EARTH CALL THE FATHER (Father Adam, truth be known).

    What if Joseph Smith really was the Holy Spirit, and in these last
    days, came down to earth, Father of the Father, Grandfather of the Son
    (Jesus), to give us Restoration revelations near the Final Days of
    this earth before it’s destroyed by fire and replaced with a new earth
    in its paradisical glory.

    I would then argue that ANY duly authorized Melchizedek Priest, acting
    under the authority of the HOLY SPIRIT (Joseph Smith present), would
    be authorized to perform polygynous and polyandrous marriages under
    the Plural Marriage doctrines of D & C 132. Joseph Smith, the Holy
    Spirit, would be present and perform the Sealing Himself.

    PY,

    JL

    PS I believe also that when immortals put on mortality, there is
    something about that “fall” that causes them to suffer
    a degree of amnesia from their past immortal existence that only comes
    back to them gradually and in fragmentary bits and pieces as their
    mortal life unfolds. Eventually, they discover their divine mission
    but they don’t know and understand it from the very beginning. There’s
    no evidence that Jesus did until age 12 or later and I’m sure he
    understood it better at age 30 then he did age 12. I believe the same
    is likely true with Joseph Smith and other annointed men of God…

  32. John Lester wrote, concerning the allowance of polyandry,

    First, WHY do you think this is? What is the *purpose* or *purposes* of polyandry? We know that polygyny is the most efficient way of “bearing the souls of men” into the world because one man can impregnate many women. Whereas no matter how many men she has, a woman can only be pregnant by one man’s child at a time, and can only produce a relatively limited number of children in her lifetime. So again, what do you think are the theological and/or practical purposes for polyandry as permitted by D & C 132:41?

    John, my understanding is that Joseph’s mission was to prepare the way of the Lord and to restore all things. He started out his ministry in the dispensation of the last times

    Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; (D&C 27: 13)

    but sought for the dispensation of the fulness of times, which was/is the main part of his mission. The dispensation of the fulness of times is special and different from all previous dispensations.

    That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1: 10)

    Most LDS understand that the dispensation of the fulness of times was to gather together in one all things found in previous dispensations, but we seem to have missed the fact that all things in heaven were to be likewise gathered together in one on the earth. So, Joseph Smith never was bound solely to the Bible. He couldn’t be, as that would not fulfill his mission. Everything found in previous dispensations and everything found in heaven is to be brought to light, gathered in one and lived by the saints.

    The principle of polyandry may not be found in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, but that doesn’t matter. Joseph’s mission is to go where no man has gone before, obtain the principles of heaven and bring them down to Earth so that we, the saints of God, could live them, so that heaven on Earth would exist.

    There is still a lot more that needs to be done. There are still many things of previous dispensations that must be restored. There are still many things in the heavens that must be revealed.

    And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen. (D&C 132: 66)

    As the above scripture indicates, we have not, yet, received the full matrimony laws. But we will. And Joseph is the one who must gather in one all these things before the Lord comes to prepare the way before Him.

    So, as to your question, the purpose of revealing the principle of polyandry is so that the kingdom of God on earth exactly resembles and corresponds to the kingdom of God in heaven. The principle of “as above, so below” applies. (See Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?)

  33. Re: Art Bulla, although I don’t know much about the man, based upon his writings (the ones that I’ve had occasion to read on his web site) and his ideas that you have put forth here, I’d say the man is an impostor and I would take all his words with a grain of salt. His idea that Joseph is the Holy Spirit doesn’t hold scriptural water, as I understand the scriptures. For example, the Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, yet, Joseph was a sinner, so, how can a member of the Godhead be a sinner? Another example: Art Bulla specifically preaches against Joseph coming back from the dead to continue his work of preparing the way, even receiving revelation to that end, despite the prophecies concerning Joseph being healed. Now, if the doctrine of Joseph coming back from the dead is false, I would expect a true prophet of God to denounce it. But, likewise, if the doctrine is true, I would expect a false prophet to denounce it, as the devil would not want people to follow a returned Joseph. The question then becomes, is Art a true or false prophet?

    Also, your interpretation of “and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred” seems to be a stretch and speculation. But I appreciate the comments and input.

  34. Well, I would agree that, at the very least, Art is rather “eccentric.” But I’ve always found that I can learn something from almost everybody in some way, shape or form.

    You’ve made the same initial argument that I made against Bulla’s claim of JS being the Holy Spirit. That in D & C Joseph is described as a “sinner” and how can a “sinner” be a member of the Godhead?

    That argument is still rather persuasive in my mind. But here’s a supposition. What if it’s only the Son’s (Savior’s) responsibility to live a sinless life in mortal flesh? What if it’s possible that the Holy Spirit, when taking a mortal probation, doesn’t have the requirement of sinless perfection in mortality placed upon him, seeing that the Savior’s blood covers his sins in the flesh while on earth? like anyone else…

    …then it seems to me that Art Bulla’s argument is plausible and that would add consistence to their only being ONE IN THE LAST DAYS appointed to hold the office of sealings for the new and everlasting covenant.

    Regarding the Scripture that you cite and link regarding Joseph Smith’s marring and recovery, what makes you necessarily think that this is speaking of Joseph Smith? I’m not saying it isn’t, but I’d like to hear your understanding of the passage…

  35. Also, if you don’t mind me asking, when you say you are an “anarchist,” what do you mean by that?

    Aren’t there many different definitions of that term today?

    How do you see yourself as an “anarchist?”

    ?

  36. John, regarding your anarchy question:

    From the Anarchist FAQ:

    A.1.1 What does “anarchy” mean?

    The word “anarchy” is from the Greek, prefix an (or a), meaning “not,” “the want of,” “the absence of,” or “the lack of”, plus archos, meaning “a ruler,” “director”, “chief,” “person in charge,” or “authority.” … “An-archy” means “without a ruler.”

    Here’s a quote from one of the articles found on this blog:

    A state creates a division among the people of those who rule and those who are ruled. Anarchy, on the other hand, has no rulers, but all men are equal and get through life co-operating with each other. According to Patricia Neill, the Webster’s 1847 edition of the dictionary gave the definition of the word anarchism as meaning private rule. So, anarchy can mean that all mankind rule equally, privately, with no class division. (Anarchy does not require perfect people)

    Joseph Smith’s famous quote, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves” is essentially anarchy in action.

    Anarchy is the absence of compulsory government, meaning the force of the State. It consists of voluntary associations, agreements, institutions, relationships, etc. It is freedom from compulsion. It is the principle of agency. (See The role of agency in political systems.) It is the order of heaven, which exists without compulsory means, meaning it is completely voluntary.

    In this way, I am an anarchist.

    Additionally, though, I am LDS, so I voluntarily accept the Lord as my King and Lawgiver. (See Scriptural Discussion #8: Anarchism-Approved and Prophesied.)

    As to what kind of anarchist I am, I consider myself a tribal anarchist. For more information, see the Anarchism/Anarchy Linked Articles (30 Total) section of the Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist.

  37. I agree that we should learn from everyone. If Art had merely given his opinion concerning this or that, that’s one thing. But when a man starts to show forth revelations he has received as if they came from God, the revelations, that quite another thing. It may be mere inventions or imaginings of his mind, it may be delusions (a mental condition), it may be revelations from someone other than God, or it may be actual revelations from God. Based upon the Holy Spirit = Joseph Smith thing alone, that knocks out the latter possibility (that the revelations come from God.

    The scriptures are clear that if God sins, he ceases to be God. In other words, he loses all power. Not just some power, but ALL power. The Holy Ghost is God (as is the Father and the Son). Should the Holy Ghost sin, everything else would cease to exist, too. (For in depth explanation of this, see Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?, as well as the other two that follow: Deep Waters: Lehi’s model of the universe and Deep Waters: Creatio ex nihilo, creatio ex materia and creatio ex deo are all true doctrines.)

    That part of the chapter is referring to the gathering and restoration of Israel. Joseph is the one who is to restore all things and gather Israel together and redeem Zion. He is the man being referred to in that verse. He is the one that is to make a proclamation to the kings of the earth, so “that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” The Lord here is talking about the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which Zenos’ allegory is fulfilled and the Lord of the vineyard is finally obeyed in all things. I may have to write up a separate post and bring all the references that I can together so that people can see it. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  38. Well, again, I still remain undecided as to whether Art Bulla’s revelation of JS being the Holy Spirit is correct.

    Could it not be true that the Holy Spirit in His Office of

    SPIRIT

    cannot sin,

    BUT

    in a mortal probation be permitted to sin outside of the office of the Holy Spirit?

    Stop and think about all of the things that you say Joseph Smith is going to do in the future.

    Does that sound anything close like any ordinary kind of mortal man?

    I’ll read all of your Deep Waters links.

    Thanks,
    ;)

  39. Fair enough on your indecision.

    To your question, “Could it not be true that the Holy Spirit in His Office of SPIRIT cannot sin, BUT in a mortal probation be permitted to sin outside of the office of the Holy Spirit?” I will ask other questions:

    “Is it the spirit that acts righteously (or sins) or is it the flesh? Does the flesh act independently from the spirit? Are not our bodies mere raiment upon our spirits? Does just changing ones clothing or taking them off (or putting them on) relieve one of the consecuences of one’s actions?”

    My understanding of the prophecies concerning what Joseph will do during the dispensation of the fulness of times doesn’t show him to be a superman. It just shows that he and those participating in the work with him, will be endowed with power from on high to finally accomplish the mission the saints in all ages have been given of establishing Zion. My understanding is that he will be mortal, but that this time (being a different time than when the foundation was laid) the way will be opened up so that the people of the Lord will be able to accomplish all His commandments.

    When you think about it, what kind of faith does it take to follow someone who claims to have returned from the dead? The remnant that gathers will be especially prepared and conditioned to exercise the very faith needed to establish Zion (great faith). It will be entirely different circumstances than when Joseph was first here.

  40. So in these definitions could one come to conclude that kissing, (although being courting) would not be adultery? Would this still be a church punishable offense?

  41. “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” (Rom. 16: 16)

    “All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.” (1 Cor. 16: 20)

    “Greet one another with an holy kiss.” (2 Cor. 13: 12)

    “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.” (1 Thes. 5: 26)

    Does that answer your questions? Lol.

  42. Adultery is breaking a marriage covenant. Any person who is married and has an affair is committing adultery, regardless of whether the other partner is married.

    As for narrowing down the definition of adultery to let some people off the hook for impropriety, that is not what the Lord intended. In fact, you really have to consider a broader view of adultery to even begin to encompass what fits the definition in the Lord’s eyes.

    By the way, consummating a marriage but not making it legal doesn’t get you off the hook in the Lord’s eyes, either. According to the Bible, the only way to correct fornication is by marrying and never putting your partner away from you. So, hate to break it to those who are trying to skate around adultery by repeated incidences of fornication … you’re not fooling the Lord at all.

  43. It now being 2010, I’d like to state here for the record that my view on marriage has altered significantly since writing the above post and comments. My understanding of marriage now supports pretty much what Derek P. Moore wrote above in his comments. This is kind of embarrassing, giving that he wrote his comments back in 2008 and it has taken me this long to come to conclusions more inline with his views.

    That said, I must disagree with and correct one of Derek’s statements, based upon my current understanding of marriage. He said,

    I’m certainly not old fashioned enough to accuse committed or engaged individuals of adultery or even non-married people (I am not married in a 9-year relationship, though we call each other husband and wife affectionately [we did perform our own "marriage" "by my priesthood" at bedside 3 1/2 years into our relationship and six months before we had sex, but that was unofficial and only for us]). We’ve talked about 3 marriages, actually: the 1 we’ve already had; the 1 for our family and public, Catholic wedding; and 1 for God and Christ, our sealing. She knows I’m a polygamist (or so I tease her — what else do people expect from “Mormons”), but she has me convinced I can’t practice it with her. *grin*

    The correction is this: Derek, you ARE married. The marriage that you have (assuming that you are still married) is valid in the eyes of God (if not in the eyes of the church and the state) and is ordained by Him.

    I also wish to correct myself. In one of the comments I wrote, quoting D&C 132: 44, “”…my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her [to divorce her from her husband]…” I no longer believe that “to take her” equates to divorce. I believe this verse speaks of polyandry.

  44. [...] only source of information I could quickly Google up that supports these ideas and is concise is a site by a Mormon, but it’s more or less using the same bible as every other flavor of Christianity. If you [...]


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 133 other followers