Abrahamic Concubinage as an Inter-Tribal Function

Note: This is a GEMTAM chapter modified for publication on the LDS Anarchy blog. It contains more information than what is found in that chapter.

The Encyclopædia Brittannica, Eleventh Edition, says the following in its entry on concubinage:

CONCUBINAGE (Lat. concubina, a concubine; from con-, with, and cubare, to lie), the state of a man and woman cohabiting as married persons without the full sanctions of legal marriage. In early historical times, when marriage laws had scarcely advanced beyond the purely customary stage, the concubine was definitely recognized as a sort of inferior wife, differing from those of the first rank mainly by the absence of permanent guarantees. The history of Abraham’s family shows us clearly that the concubine might be dismissed at any time, and her children were liable to be cast off equally summarily with gifts, in order to leave the inheritance free for the wife’s sons (Genesis xxi 9 ff., xxv. 5 ff.).

The Roman law recognized two classes of legal marriage: (1) with the definite public ceremonies of confarreatio or coemptio, and (2) without any public form whatever and resting merely on the affectio maritalis, i.e. the fixed intention of taking a particular woman as a permanent spouse.1 Next to these strictly lawful marriages came concubinage as a recognized legal status, so long as the two parties were not married and had no other concubines. It differed from the formless marriage in the absence (1) of affectio maritalis, and therefore (2) of full conjugal rights. For instance, the concubine was not raised, like the wife, to her husband’s rank, nor were her children legitimate, though they enjoyed legal rights forbidden to mere bastards, e.g. the father was bound to maintain them and to leave them (in the absence of legitimate children) one-sixth of his property; moreover, they might be fully legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their parents.

In the East, the emperor Leo the Philosopher (d. 911) insisted on formal marriage as the only legal status; but in the Western Empire concubinage was still recognized even by the Christian emperors. The early Christians had naturally preferred the formless marriage of the Roman law as being free from all taint of pagan idolatry; and the ecclesiastical authorities recognized concubinage also. The first council of Toledo (398) bids the faithful restrict himself “to a single wife or concubine, as it shall please him”;2 and there is a similar canon of the Roman synod held by Pope Eugenius II. in 826. Even as late as the Roman councils of 1052 and 1063, the suspension from communion of laymen who had a wife and a concubine at the same time implies that mere concubinage was tolerated. It was also recognized by many early civil codes. In Germany “left-handed” or “morganatic” marriages were allowed by the Salic law between nobles and women of lower rank. In different states of Spain the laws of the later middle ages recognized concubinage under the name of barragania, the contract being lifelong, the woman obtaining by it a right to maintenance during life, and sometimes also to part of the succession, and the sons ranking as nobles if their father was a noble. In Iceland, the concubine was recognized in addition to the lawful wife, though it was forbidden that they should dwell in the same house. The Norwegian law of the later middle ages provided definitely that in default of legitimate sons, the kingdom should descend to illegitimates. In the Danish code of Valdemar II., which was in force from 1280 to 1683, it was provided that a concubine kept openly for three years shall thereby become a legal wife; this was the custom of hand vesten, the “handfasting” of the English and Scottish borders, which appears in Scott’s Monastery. In Scotland, the laws of William the Lion (d. 1214) speak of concubinage as a recognized institution; and, in the same century, the great Enlish legist Bracton treats the “concubina legitima” as entitled to certain rights.3 There seems to have been at times a pardonable confusion between some quasi-legitimate unions and those marriages by mere word of mouth, without ecclesiastical or other ceremonies, which the church, after some natural hesitation, pronounced to be valid.4 Another and more serious confusion between concubinage and marriage was caused by the gradual enforcement of clerical celibacy (see CELIBACY). During the bitter conflict between laws which forbade sacerdotal marriages and long custom which had permitted them, it was natural that the legislators and the ascetic party generally should studiously speak of the priests’ wives as concubines, and do all in their power to reduce them to this position. This very naturally resulted in a too frequent substitution of clerical concubinage for marriage; and the resultant evils form one of the commonest themes of complaint in church councils of the later middle ages.5 Concubinage in general was struck at by the concordat between the Pope Leo X. and Francis I. of France in 1516; and the council of Trent, while insisting on far more stringent conditions for lawful marriage than those which had prevailed in the middle ages, imposed at last heavy ecclesiastical penalties on concubinage and appealed to the secular arm for help against contumacious offenders (Sessio xxiv. Cap. 8).

AUTHORITES.–Besides those quoted in the notes, the reader may consult with advantage Du Cange’s Glossarium, s.v. Concubina, the article “Concubinat” in Wetzer and Welte’s Kirchenlexikon (2nd ed., Freiburg i/B., 1884), and Dr H. C. Lea’s History of Sacerdotal Celibacy (3rd ed., London, 1907).

(G. G. Co.)

1 The difference between English and Scottish law, which once made “Gretna Green marriages” so frequent, is due to the fact that Scotland adopted the Roman law (which on this particular point was followed by the whole medieval church).

2 Gratian, in the 12th century, tried to explain this away by assuming that concubinage here referred to meant a formless marriage; but in 398 a church council can scarcely so have misused the technical terms of the then current civil law (Gratian, Decretum, pars i. dist. xxiv. c. 4).

3 Bracton, De Legibus, lib. iii. tract. ii. c. 28, § 1, and lib. iv. tract. vi. c. 8, § 4.

4 F. Pollock and F. W. Maitland, Hist. of English Law, 2nd ed. vol. ii. p. 370. In the case of Richard de Anesty, decided by papal rescript in 1143, “a marriage solemnly celebrated in church, a marriage of which a child had been born, was set aside as null in favour of an earlier marriage constituted by a mere exchange of consenting words” (ibid. p. 367; cf. the similar decretal of Alexander III. on p. 371). The great medieval canon lawyer Lyndwood illustrates the difficulty of distinguishing, even as late as the middle of the 15th century, between concubinage and a clandestine, though legal, marriage. He falls back on the definition of an earlier canonist that if the woman eats out of the same dish with the man, and if he takes her to church, she may be presumed to be his wife; if, however, he sends her to draw water and dresses her in vile clothing, she is probably a concubine (Provinciale, ed. Oxon. 1679, p. 10, s.v. concubinarios).

5 It may be gathered from the Dominican C. L. Richard’s Analysis Conciliorum (vol. ii., 1778) that there were more than 110 such complaints in councils and synods between the years 1009 and 1528. Dr Rashdall (Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 691, note) points out that a master of the university of Prague, in 1499, complained openly to the authorities against a bachelor for assaulting his concubine.

The above write-up adequately shows the differences between a wife and a concubine.  On the one hand there was the wife, who had permanent guarantees.  The marriage contract or covenant she entered into bound her exclusively and permanently to her husband, the only way out being through death or divorce.  The wife received an inheritance and held rights to the husband’s rank or titles, as did the children she bore him.  So, for example, if he was a king,  she became a queen and the children she bore him became princes and princesses who also held rights to an inheritance.

On the other hand, the concubine’s marriage covenant had no permanent guarantees.  She was bound to her husband exclusively and temporarily and held no rights to an inheritance nor to any of his titles, nor did any the children she bore him.  Her marriage contract, being of a temporary nature, could have a stipulated duration of time after which it would end or a stipulated manner by which it could end, such as at the discretion of her husband or herself, and when it ended she was sent away with her children.

The husband leaves his tribe

It is impossible to comprehend Abrahamic concubinage without an understanding of the context of the ancient world, which was tribalism, meaning that the ancients lived in tribes.  Moses wrote:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

If there was a man who lived in one tribe and a woman who lived in a different one and the man desired to marry her, he was, per this standard, to leave his tribe and take up residence in his wife’s.  The woman was always to stay with her tribe, under the protection of her tribesmen, her father and her brothers when marrying a man from a different tribe.

No interfaith marriages

Husbands and wives were also to be of the same religious background.  Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14.)  Interfaith marriages, then, were prohibited by the Lord because such permanent unions would tend to turn the believing spouse’s heart away from Him.  This was especially detrimental in the case of a believing husband and a non-believing wife, for the husband would leave his believing tribe and would be immersed in the unbelieving tribe of his wife.  The marrying of believing husbands to only believing wives would make gospel tribes somewhat insular, or set apart, from the tribes of the world, for they would end up taking wives and husbands only from other gospel tribes.

Concubines did things in reverse

Concubinage worked differently than normal, permanent marriage unions.  A concubine did not remain with her tribe, but left it to live with the tribe of her husband.  After her concubinage contract had ended, she was to leave her husband’s tribe with her children and return to her own.  Also, a concubine could be an unbeliever from one of the tribes of the earth, meaning one of the non-gospel Gentile tribes in the surrounding area.  Because her union was only temporary and she came to live among the believer’s tribe, it was less likely that she would have influence enough over the husband to turn his heart from the Lord.

The union of Abraham and Hagar is the prime example of this.  Hagar was an Egyptian slave possibly acquired as Pharaoh’s gift to Sarah when Abraham and Sarah were sojourning in Egypt.  She was not, therefore, of their religion and tribe.  So Abraham took Hagar to wife as his concubine, not as his wife.  Some time after she had given birth to a male child (Ishmael), her concubinage contract was ended and she was sent away with her son.  Ishmael eventually ended up marrying an Egyptian woman.

Benefits of concubinage

A concubine would bring many benefits to the tribe of her husband.  Being from a different tribe, she would bring with her different customs and ways of doing things, which would enrich his tribe and give them knowledge concerning her own.  She also would learn the customs of her husband’s tribe.  Specifically, she would learn their language, their arts and academics, their tribal organization and politics, their talents and industry, their religion and all their other customs.  And she would be totally immersed in a gospel culture, dwelling among a gospel tribe, so it would be more likely that she would convert to their religion, than that she would convert them to her religion.  If she or any of her children did end up converting to the Lord while residing within the gospel tribe, after her contract ended she would be sent back to her tribe as the perfect tribal missionary, as one who was already fully aware of all the ways of her non-gospel tribe, having grown up in it.

Concubines would also bring great benefits to their original tribes.  Upon her return, a concubine could teach her people all of what she learned while living among her husband’s tribe, including the language and religion of her husband.  In this way, she becomes an ambassador of peace between the two tribes, having lived in both for an extended period and knowing the customs and ways and languages of both.  This would do much for inter-tribal relations, allowing two foreign tribes to more easily interact with each other without any misunderstandings.  What is true for her would also be true for her children, who were raised in their father’s tribe and would now be living in their mother’s.  Each would be immensely benefited by the experience and become natural tribal ambassadors, having allegiances in both tribes.

Concubines could marry afterward

After returning to her tribe, a concubine would be free to contract marriage as a wife to a fellow tribesman or to someone of another people, while remaining among her own kind.  As a tribeswoman by birth, she would be entitled to an inheritance in her tribe.  If she was sent away with gifts from her husband, these would also benefit her people.

Genetic diversity and tribal missionary work

Another benefit, and a main one at that, would be the introduction of genetic diversity among the various tribes practicing concubinage.  A woman from a foreign tribe that became a concubine in a gospel tribe, would end up mixing her tribe’s genetic code (though her) with the genetic code of her husband’s tribe.  If she became a concubine of more than one husband of the new tribe, she would introduce even more genetic diversity into her children.  Then, when the concubinage contract(s) ended, she would take her children, the product of her and the new tribe, back to her old tribe, where these children could then pass on this genetic diversity through marriage into their mother’s tribe.

Without concubinage, gospel tribes become too insular, marrying only among themselves and not generating much genetic diversity.  Also, tribal missionary work becomes more difficult, for it is much easier to send tribal missionaries to a foreign tribe that has had concubines who have already lived in the missionaries’ tribe, who can put in a good word for the missionaries and open other doors, allowing the gospel to go forth unimpeded.

Tribal missionaries that spent much time in foreign tribes, preaching the gospel, could enter into concubinage contracts with women of that tribe for the duration that the missionaries were there.  This would allow the missionaries to marry non-believers without the danger of being unequally yoked in a permanent union.  If the concubine ended up converting to the Lord, the missionary could end the concubinage contract and either leave her there as a new ambassador of the gospel or arrange to bring her to his own tribe as a permanent wife. Whatever they decided to do, the children that came from these unions would create greater genetic diversity for whichever tribe they ended up in.

Concubines must go back

A concubine whose marriage contract does not end and who is not sent back to her father’s tribe defeats the whole purpose of concubinage.  The benefits that come from concubinage—benefits for both her, her children, her husband’s tribe and her father’s tribe—come only when the concubine and her children return to live with the tribe she originated from.  Not receiving an inheritance in her husband’s tribe is necessary, in order that she return from whence she comes.  Otherwise, concubinage is merely a method for the exploitation of women—having the benefits of a wife, without any associated responsibilities.

Abrahamic concubinage as revealed to Joseph Smith

A concubine is a noble, honorable calling and title, that accomplishes a great deal of good for two whole tribes.  Only when viewed in this manner, under tribal filters, does concubinage make any sense.

When Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord concerning how it was that the ancients were justified in having many wives and concubines, he was given the revelation found in D&C 132.  This revelation, for the most part, only speaks of wives.  The reason is because it was the purpose of the Lord that Joseph and the saints establish themselves into two bona-fide, fully functioning tribes of Israel using the principle of plural marriage.  The revelation ends with an enigmatic carrot on a stick:

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. (D&C 132:66)

The only thing that the Lord says about concubines in this revelation is that the ancients were justified in receiving them and that it was accounted to them as righteousness and not sin.  But there is no indication that Joseph was supposed to start contracting concubines, only that more would be revealed later.

Tribal formation first, concubinage second

It makes sense that the Lord wouldn’t get into all the details of the doctrine and practice of concubines at this point because concubinage serves an inter-tribal function and the saints had not, yet, even formed themselves into one gospel tribe.  The intention of the Lord was to have the saints form themselves first into two gospel tribes, a tribe of Ephraim and a tribe of Manasseh and then, and only then, were they to start entering into concubine arrangements with the tribes of the earth.  This would serve to counteract the insular nature of the two gospel tribes, who would marry among themselves, in believer-only marriages.

A commandment to practice concubinage

Although the Lord did not go into detail concerning concubines, there is enough in the revelation and in the Bible for modern, gospel-based tribes organized according to the Gospel-based, Multihusband-Multiwife, Tribal Anarchy Model to enter into concubinage contracts if they see fit.  In fact, the Lord gives a commandment that these things be done in the revelation itself:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand whereby I, the Lord, justified my servants…as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter [of having many wives and concubines]. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law [concerning having many wives and concubines] revealed unto them must obey the same. (D&C 132:1-3)

So, once a gospel tribe is established using plural marriage, the Lord expects it to begin entering into concubinage contracts with the tribes of the earth, in order that the purposes, promises and prophecies of the Lord may be fulfilled about the people of the Lord becoming the salt and leaven of the earth.  The Savior said:

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

Through converted concubines, returned back from whence they come, entire tribes will be converted.  Concubinage, then, is a true principle of the gospel and one which any gospel-based tribe may justifiably embrace.

Concubinage and wife contracts are equally impermanent

All covenants, contracts…that are not…sealed…as well for time and for all eternity…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. (D&C 132:7)

This scripture shows that a marriage contract between a husband and a wife and a marriage contract between a husband and a concubine are similarly temporary.  The only difference is that one is intended to last a little bit longer than the other.  The wife’s contract has an end at death, while the concubine’s contract has an end sometime during mortality, but neither in reality are permanent contracts.

It is the sealing power that will vicariously seal all such impermanent marriage contracts, including concubinage contracts, making them all permanent unions in the afterlife.  Because of this, it is not correct to speak of a concubine as “a sort of inferior wife.”  She is every bit as much a wife as any other and will be sealed to her husband permanently after her death just as every other wife will be, and she will inherit the same reward as a wife will in the eternities.

Concubinage has a heavenly origin

Lastly, concubinage appears to be patterned after a heavenly object (a comet, a planetoid, a planet or a brown dwarf) that enters an insular solar system for a time, causing new planetary birth (the electrical expulsion model of planetary birth) and then after passing through leaves the solar system with an entourage of captured, newly birthed, planetary objects.

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  1. It seems to me many of us have this urge to somehow make polygamy work in Mormonism. Frankly, I think Joseph committed a grievous sin. He was a handsome, charismatic man–a born leader, a powerful man. He did what most of us men would have done in his position, but that doesn’t make it right. He was an older man who had numerous illicit affairs with younger women. He cheated on his wife. Then he lied about it publicly, denouncing polygamy again and again and again. Let us not expend our efforts trying to fit polygamy into Mormonism any longer. Instead, let’s expend our efforts trying to forgive the man Joseph Smith, founder of our religion. It is time we all decided to simply be monogamous, because that is all that people who love their spouses want to be…may the ways of the world be damned. The early saints made polygamy work, but most of them were miserable in the process, whether man or woman; how could this be the order of heaven? I don’t care if polygyny, polyandry, and “concubinage” serves Mormonism’s or society’s needs. For once, society will defer to my needs: I want no part of it. I want nothing whatsoever to do with the practice. I love my wife. I want neither to share her nor to be shared. That’s what matters–the sanctity of our marriage, our intimacy, our union.

  2. Noah, do you also think Abraham committed a grievous sin in taking Hagar and Keturah to wife as his concubines?

  3. Whether Abraham committed sin or not is debatable, however, according to the Lord, the offspring of Hagar and Keturah were apparently cursed and did not result in producing the elect of God.

    Isaiah defines those that follow after righteousness and that seek the Lord as those that came from Abraham and SARAH-

    1 HEARKEN to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
    2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

  4. I think there’s a difference insofar as Joseph went against the grain of society and Abraham went with the flow of it. No, society isn’t always right (it isn’t even usually right), but if Abraham sinned, it was a sin of ignorance. Joseph’s sin was calculated, meant to sate sexual urges. It’s worth noting that both Emma and Sarah and countless other women hated the practice. I apologize for derailing to true purpose of your post, because you really are debating with an ignoramus, but despite Mormonism’s scandalous history, I’m just sitting here wondering, “Who needs it?” People who don’t take their relationships seriously and find commitment difficult belong in polygamous relationships. Those of us who love our spouses, let us be content with monogamy. Of maybe that’s the trick: Legalize polygamy, respect agency, and give everyone a choice. Still doesn’t absolve Joseph. The important thing is that I, personally, can forgive the man.

  5. Okay. Hate to double post, but I need to justify what I said. It seems I’m contradicting myself near the end. I realize we live in a society of rampant promiscuity, infidelity, and serial monogamy. On that basis, there seems to be a need to re-link actions with consequences, which is why I do a 180 and suggest the legalization of polygamy. However, that would reflect a “lesser law” not a “greater law”, i.e., a law of heaven. In other words, I believe monogamy is ideal if society can by and large endure it. That’s why I maintain Abraham was living by the customs/traditions of his day (even though Sarah still hated it), whereas Joseph quite frankly cheated on his wife with multiple women, many of them nearly half his age. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what he was up to.

    However, he may be absolved yet. There are those who argue he never practiced polygamy, that when he denounced it publicly he actually meant it, and genetic testing has so far yielded no descendants except those belonging to him and Emma. It’s a long shot; we shouldn’t hold our breath, but it will be interesting to see how the testing continues to unfold.

  6. I’m just going to jump in here real quick. I don’t have time for an extensive reply. This is what got me:

    “People who don’t take their relationships seriously and find commitment difficult belong in polygamous relationships. Those of us who love our spouses, let us be content with monogamy.”

    I strongly disagree with this. Commitment is central or successful Plural Marriages. I would even bet that people in Plural Marriage must have even more commitment to make it work than in monogamous marriages. But of course there are too many variable to make an absolute claim.

    You also seem to be saying that only those people who do not love their spouse are interested in Plural Marriage. Loving someone does not mean that you can only love that one person. Do parents only love one of their children? Does God only love one of his children? I sure hope not.

    I don’t really care about Joseph Smith’s plural marriages or lack thereof. My belief in Plural Marriage is based on my own personal witnesses, not on the actions of another man.

    It is largely our culture that promotes monogamy. This is fueled by our natural greed and jealousies. Many people don’t want to share, or they are jealous. These attributes are for the most part all negative.

  7. I had a thought while reading this post. My wife has left me, and wants to be independent. She has been in relationship with another man.

    I have difficulty feeling like the father to my children, because of what she has done. I have twelve.

    My thought is that maybe women who want to be divorced from their husbands, are in truth concubines, and for this reason, men who find themselves in the same situation as myself, lose interest in the children that are brought forth from such a union.

  8. Hell Raising Love Monster:

    My wife, likewise, is leaving me (though for decidedly different reasons), and I can tell you that I retain all the interest in my children that I could. They – and my feelings for them – will remain as close to me as I can. Honestly, there’s a bond between us that – whether seen or not – is something I hold special and dear to me, regardless of what my spouse thinks of me (apostate) or does to our relationship.

    I’m not sure how we can apply the feelings we have for a spouse who leaves us to the kids who should remain separate and apart from the spouse herself.

  9. Inter-Tribal Concubinage Found in Nature

    In at least three different sets of circumstances female langurs solicit males other than their so-called harem-leaders: first, when males from nomadic all-male bands temporarily join a breeding troop; second, when females leave their natal troops to travel temporarily with all-male bands and mate with males there; and third, when a female for reasons unknown to any one, simply takes a shine to the resident male of a neighboring troop (Hrdy 1977; Moore 1985; filmed in Hrdy, Hrdy, & Bishop, 1977).

    Bold emphasis mine.

    Empathy, Polyandry, and the Myth of the Coy Female” by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, published in Conceptual Issues in Evoutionary Biology, Third Edition, 2006

  10. I have seen in my life people who could not accept the idea of plural marriage. To say “Joseph sinned in this thing” does not begin to solve the issue. It is a little laughable to talk about children from Hagar being cursed when Genesis 21 has an angel of God looking out for him and the resultant history of Hagar’s children is a fantastically large posterity who like the descendants of the Lamanites have the promise to all be converted someday. And lets add to that thought the fact, not a matter of interpretation but fact that the God of Israel established the chosen tribe (family lines) from a polygamous marriage and 2 of the wives who were probably concubines. So saying the true order is monogamy flies in the face of the actions of God. But Noah you hit the nail right on the head when you said “I want neither to share her nor to be shared.”
    But God does not say that. Rather Jesus tells us “38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” Oh maybe the Doctrine and Covenants is false. Nope that doesn’t cut it either because Romans 8 :16 says all those who are followers of Christ shall be joint heirs with Him of the kingdom of God. And heir receives all that the Father has. God believes in sharing.

  11. Another thought occurred to me today that may pertain to inter-tribal ooncubinage and also, perhaps, to Hell-Raising Love Monster.

    “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)

    Turning these hearts one towards another implies that there was a separation. The standard interpretation of this scripture (as applying to the vicarious work for the dead) assigns DEATH as the separator, but it may also apply to the LIVING. After all, in the temple we perform the work for the DEAD and for the LIVING. But a nuclear family with mother, father and children that live together doesn’t really give much of an image of a separation. The only way to make it fit for the living is to assign an emotional separation to the scripture, or to merely say that they will be separated in the future if these sealings do not occur, which still ends up assigning DEATH as the separator.

    However, if you look at the inter-tribal concubinage model explained above, you’ll notice that it creates a physical separation IN LIFE after the contract is over between the children and their fathers. The temple work for the living, if applied to living children of one tribe (the children of a former concubine) and their living fathers of another tribe, literally would turn their hearts one towards the other, making the scripture apply in a very literal way to both the dead and living.

    So, it may be that concubinage will be coming back into practice so that this prophecy is fully fulfilled, or fulfilled in every particular.

  12. Zomarah and LDSAnarchist, I have the same answer for both of you: Polygamy is suitable for people who have difficulty with monogamous commitment. Zomarah, you said, “I would even bet that people in Plural Marriage must have even more commitment to make it work than in monogamous marriages.” The reason this is true is because NOBODY except sex-crazed megalomaniacs and “old-school” Mormons want this. A) It forces people to take responsibility for their infidelity (this is kind of a quasi-advantage), and B) Monogamous people simply don’t like the idea. That is, one person satisfies his (or her) urges/needs and a lot of other people suffer.

    The selfish/jealous argument is absurd. My commitment to my wife is based on sobriety (faith, hope, charity as opposed to carnal, sensual, and devilish), not selfishness. Once again, I want to emphasize that Joseph’s main sin was lying to Emma and the entire Church–publicly denouncing the practice again and again while privately practicing it. And let’s just hope the Sarah Pratt account (and others) isn’t true. As far as polygamy goes, my main point is that it reflects a lower law, not a higher one. If it happens to be celestial law, I can only assume it exists to fulfill a logistical requirement, i.e., that there really will be uneven numbers of men vs women. Of course, I gather that you’re talking about something completely different than me…promoting some communalistic idealogy.

    I’m not going to say much about the scriptures you quoted because I simply don’t think they’re applicable. The United Order asks that you share your excess. My wife is not “excess”, nor am I.

    To be honest, however, if the Church reintroduced polygamy, I would be surprised, but it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Unfortunately, I think there’s a reformation/revival coming, and I don’t necessarily think it’s coming from the q15, so one can rely neither on current authority, historical precedent, nor the scriptures. Seems to me your best bet is the still small voice.

    There was a time that I took the idea of communal spouse-swapping quite seriously, so I’m not as close-minded as I mind come across. A friend and I were doing this Plato’s Republic kind of thing. However, I ended up with a “stupor of thought” of sorts, and ultimately, the whole I idea proved quite unpalatable, although I’m not sure why. Maybe you should repeat the experiment.

    I respect what you’re doing here–and along with Zomarah, I’m quite fond of your respective blogs.

  13. Noah how do you explain Isaiah chapter 4? It is talking about a time when women will want to marry men even as one of several wives. And it says this is at a time when all that are among the living shall be called holy.

  14. Noah, I certainly respect your belief that monogamy is the way for you to live. I just don’t agree that monogamy is any worse or better than Plural Marriage. Nor that Plural Marriage is only acceptable to deviants. Monogamy all over the world largely stems from the spreading of the Catholic church by the Spanish and other seafaring, colonizing nations. By the time these nations went around colonizing and enslaving the world the Catholic church had completely outlawed polygamy. So monogamy was being promoted as the only acceptable system. I find it interesting the that complete ban on polygamy came about from a Church that was in great apostasy.

  15. Here is an interesting article on this very topic


  16. Noah, since you obviously think that polygamy is a wicked practice, do you also believe that people who practiced it surely could not have brought forth true divine relevations? So, for example, do you reject all the inspired writings of Moses, the polygamist, since, as he was practicing abomination, he could not have been justified, sanctified and purified and his revelations, then, could not have come from God? Do you throw out the writings of Alma the elder, the polygamist? And the writings of David and Solomon, the polygamists? I’m just curious. What about the revelations of Joseph Smith, the polygamist? If we were to throw away all the “inspired” writings of polygamist prophets, what are we left with, I wonder?

    The law of consecration and stewardships deals with excess, the United Order deals with creating joint-stewardships. Marriage is a stewardship, with a steward and concerns. Polygyny increases the size of the stewardship, adding more concerns. Polyandry creates a joint-stewardship. Both principles (increasing one’s stewardship and creating joint-stewardships) are part of the gospel, as illustrated by the following scripture found in D&C 82:

    Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Edward Partridge and Newel K. Whitney, A. Sidney Gilbert and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, and W. W. Phelps and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships

    And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just—

    18 And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church

    Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.

    Finally, I don’t think that either myself, nor my wife, could be characterized as “sex-crazed megalomaniacs” nor do most people consider us to be “old school” Mormons. We are both converts to the church and if anything, our ideas are radically different than anything found in Mormonism today or previously. I have no problem with her having additional husbands and she has no problem with me having additional wives. If fact, she is desirous to expand our tribe horizontally and has given the tribal model much thought and consideration. She has expressly given me the green light to do this. Do you still account this as infidelity even though no trust has been broken and all things are done both with consent and agreement on the same principles? Also, my wife and I have been monogamous all our lives, yet we have no problem with the GEMTAM. We see it as an application of the principle of charity, which it indeed is. So, why is it that we have no problem with this principle but you do, if both you and us have been raised in an environment of monogamy and educated that monogamy is the only true and righteous form of marriage?

    See, I can accept your view and desire to remain monogamous and will not diss it at all, but you feel the need to be critical of other forms of marriage, calling them abominations. Your stance is one of self-righteousness, taking a holier-than-thou stance. Do you really think that you stand more justified in this thing than I do before the Lord? I can only think that your response is a defense mechanism, a knee-jerk response, and that you still haven’t grasped these principles. We often villify what we do not understand.

  17. Hi, LDS Anarchist. I just want to assure you that I’m here because I like you’re blog and find your ideas both fascinating and challenging. I don’t have time to respond now, but if polygamy is something that you and your wife are both interested in, then no, I would not consider that infidelity. I will write more when I’ve found time to think of an intelligent response.

  18. Don’t worry, Noah, I didn’t take your comments as anything other than an honest opinion and I’m glad you are here and expressing yourself.

  19. Sorry, dyc557, but I’m going to have to take the cheater’s way out. Scriptures are not binding upon how I live my life. They are a guide. I rely far more upon reason and personal inspiration. Another man’s revelation is but philosophy to me. Isaiah’s a good read, but I’m not going to live or die by it. John Taylor had some fantastic words about the gospel NOT being found in the scriptures; I think I’ll dig them out and write a blog post on the matter.

    Zomarah, truthfully, my opinions are very liquid on this. I’ll think I’ve arrived at a conclusion, and then my wife will point out how I’m “just thinking like a man” again. That’s interesting what you say about the Catholic Church though; I didn’t know. I used to be more TBM than I am now, and when I was, I was far more accepting of polygamy. My wife, however, whom I had only recently married, was struggling desperately with it, so I’ve spent many years fine-tuning my position. Two things bear heavily on my mind though: 1) It seems around ten of the women Joseph married were nearly half his age. 2) Polygamy seems to have been forced upon the saints rather than presented as a choice. Again, your comments about the Catholic church are interesting, but on the other hand, we’re just now getting to a point where society doesn’t allow men to treat their wives like property. I wonder if practicing polygamy back then was considered any different than owning a herd of cattle.

    LDS Anarchist, you bring up a good point. On one hand, it was my understanding that Solomon, at least, had sinned in having an excess or wives/concubines that were not ordained of God. On the other hand, how does one account for Joseph Smith (who, admittedly, I have been the most critical of in all of this)? After all, I think he is the reason why many Mormons either support polygamy or struggle with it. But no, I don’t “throw away” his revelations. In fact, the reasons I stay LDS revolve primarily around him and my love and respect for the man. As twisted as it sounds, I simply believe he was a prophet who was wrong about polygamy. The basis upon which I say that comes fully from personal experience. That is, I know I am not a righteous man, yet I still receive the gift of inspiration…sometimes to the extent that I consider it the gift of prophecy, so at least I believe it’s possible. Moral purity is not the prerequisite for the gift of prophecy, but a keen desire to know and follow God, to see beyond the illusion, so to speak, and I think Joseph had that. In other words, I believe in his revelations, but I don’t believe in his polygamy. Or rather, I don’t believe in any arrangement where one or more individuals feels they have been pressured, lied to, manipulated, etc. Personally, I just don’t think it’s right for me and I’m quite skeptical about it resembling the celestial order (I believe monogamy is sufficient). Politically, I’m fairly neutral as long as it remains a matter of choice, because in this regard I am very libertarian and not very socialist. I believe society, like the Church, has an obligation to families and not the other way around, so again, it must remain a matter of choice, and arguments that what makes my wife (and ultimately me and the kids) miserable is nevertheless good for society will, understandably, fall on deaf ears.

  20. I feel I got off track with my point. The question is this: Is polygamy good for us, i.e., individuals and families, or are we merely trying to make reconciliation with our thorny history when we should leave well enough alone? I mean, polygamy is gone, and I’m quite confident that it isn’t coming back…not from within the Church anyway.

  21. The royal classes have always had secret doctrines & a peculiar sexual ethic. Many German princes had been secret (or not-so-secret) polygamists; the last German Emperor lost favor with his people over rumors of his bigamous practices.

    These people had little justice or rightness in their deeds. We should not be looking to the past as a model for the future, unless we want to bring upon ourselves the same condemnations.

    Polygamy can be both good & evil. For example: divorce & remarriage is the most destructive form of polygamy, which we openly practice today. Concubinage is certainly not one of the beneficial or productive forms of polygamy. Nor are left-handed marriages. All are equal, there are no firsts, seconds, or thirds.

  22. Oh that the God of Israel and His Father Elohim may smite me with the same condemnation They visited upon, Moses, Abraham, and Jacob. And may I never recover!!!

  23. I’ve been reading through these comments since I missed the bulk of this conversation on my vacation.

    Noah wrote:

    Polygamy is suitable for people who have difficulty with monogamous commitment.

    I can’t think of any other instance where a person’s inability to handle one thing is evidence why they would want multiple things.

    Let’s think of a relationship most-similar to a spouse as an example — children:

    Would we say that having multiple children is suitable for people who have difficulty with raising one child?

    Owning multiple cars is for people who can’t handle having one car?

    Working multiple jobs is only for people who have difficulty handling one job?

    Why is one-true, monogamous love seen as morally superior? My theory is that it enshrines the great Western virtue of sacrifice and suffering.

    Monks feel they are more “pure” because they suffer through celibacy. Monogamists likewise feel their path is more refined because they keep those “natural-man” passions in the bounds the Lord has supposedly set.

    Enshrining that great virtue of suffering is the same reason Western medicine is so contrary to natural birthing practices. It’s a God-given injunction that women suffer during labor after all, and those hospital doctors were going to make bloody-well sure the women did.

    They’re totally blown away by the evidence of women in the tribal cultures going out behind a tree with the tribe’s midwife and birthing the baby without any interventions, putting the baby straight on the tit, and getting back to work picking the rice [or whatever]. How were they exempt from Eve’s curse?

  24. dyck/jew:

    At this rate you probably are on a path to being cast out into the wilderness for 40 years, where you give into the unrighteous dominion of your wife who forces you to abandon your 1st son & her cherished handmade, and where your sons quarrel & turn upon one another only to deprive you of your most beloved.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be Zion.

    Good luck with that,


  25. Derek Hi. You are so useful. Though your comments were meant to cast the experiences of Moses, Abraham and Jacob as bad things and were very rhetorical in nature the truth of the life of the man you are talking to is quite stunning. I am older than you. I have more experience at life than you. Something all your book learning and computer skills can never equal. Joseph Smith taught that the knowledge that one has found favor with God comes only through the sacrifice of all earthly things. He taught that because Jesus Christ taught him that and Jesus stated it in succinctly D&C 98:11 to 15.
    So it is not rhetoric nor theory what I have experienced in life. And for 30 years I did give into unrighteous dominion by my wife and the LDS church or rather because of the teachings of the LDS church. And because of those two forces I too lost all earthly things. Like Jacob even my first born and only son was taken from me for 5 years, zero contact, even he was turned against me by lies and the church leaders helped keep him in those lies. And to this day three beloved daughters are turned by the lies from living the gospel of Christ. But they are taught instead to use see others as evil, stupid and defective and refuse to treat them kindly as Christ invites us all to do.
    These experiences of 30 years and the loss of my son for 5 years and the loss of all my earthly wealth and even the slander of my name before my friends and relatives has all been for my good and gave me experience just as the Lord told Joseph his suffering would do for him and just as it did for Moses and Abraham and Jacob. In fact the correct response to these trials on the part of those men sanctified them for eternal life.
    But Moses wasn’t forever in the wilderness but was taken to heaven without tasting death. And Abraham didn’t lose his blessings which God had promised him. And Israel lost his son only for awhile only to see his son made a ruler over many. And of these men god has said, “They are not angels but are gods.”
    Derek you aren’t defective, just inexperienced and young. These men will indeed be in Zion when the heavenly Zion comes down to join with the earthly.
    I retain my prayer that God will treat me as He has them. And thanks to your comment Derek I review and see that so far He has.

  26. Frankly, dyck/jew, you weren’t even listening to what I was saying in the first place. I wasn’t talking about Abraham, Jacob, or Moses, who in my estimation did not take concubines, but took wives.

    Maybe Abraham’s experience most closely resembles concubinage, and certainly his experience with the unrighteous dominion of a wicked woman closely resembles some of your experiences…

    But I was speaking towards the last several thousand years of Gentile polygamous practice which was so secretive & stratified (even Joseph Smith gave into this tendency of secret doctrines & secret practice, if not the stratification of different classes of wives and offspring).

    I gotta say I feel for “Hell-Raising Hate Monster”, but I have a different interpretation… In the face of a wicked husband his wife is going after her foreordained glory of possessing many husbands in the eternities.

    It’s not about age or experience, dyck/jew. I don’t think I’m defective, but from your stories here & elsewhere it seems like you might think you are. Maybe you are, but at this point I can only claim you seem broken & downtrodden. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, I think you’ll be able to put yourself back together again (but you better hurry, like you say, you’re old & your time is short).



  27. PS: Justin, you might want to search & replace the word “tit” for “teat”. kthxbye

  28. When referring to breastfeeding, I’ve always heard tit used, as in:
    Is he still on the tit?” or “She’s done really well on the tit“, etc. I’ve only heard teat used when referring to animals — like the teat of a cow — rather than to humans.

    I’ll leave it to LDSA to determine if tit violates the proscription of profanity — but, in justification, I’ll add:

    ORIGIN Old English tit [teat, nipple,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tit and German zitze.

  29. Someone edited “tits” to “teats” in a comment of mine, I thought perhaps it was you… 😉 I guess ‘tit’ plural is “moar” profane, even though babies suck on both tits not just one of them. Perhaps someone else besides you & LDSA edits comments around here…

  30. I’m not sure how many admins have the ability to edit comments — but I’ve never edited a “tit” to a “teat”. I just try to keep an eye out for the common ones: a$$, fuc#, $hit, etc. I did edit Elder Chantdown once when he made a reference to sucking the d-ck of Satan.

    even though babies suck on both tits not just one of them

    After birth — a baby is put straight onto a singular nipple, though they will go on to nurse on plural nipples throughout their life. It was the act of parturition followed immediately by pulling the baby up to the tit for nursing that I was referring to — so that’s why I used singular.

  31. In case you didn’t understand where he was going with that, Chantdown was merely repeating the sentiment of this generation’s greatest prophet: Bill Hicks.

  32. Going way way back… But yes, Justin, that is precisely what I am saying. Nobody wants polygamy unless they feel bound to reconcile their own beliefs to it as a means of absolving Joseph Smith and thereby retaining his prophethood in their eyes. Instead, I have chosen to redefine for myself the prerequisites of prophethood. But perhaps there is a lesson for me to learn here–that I have been too quick to judge our beloved Joseph, but frankly, I would rather put the polygamy debate aside and not wrestle with it any longer. I do feel like God speaks to me, and I do not feel as though polygamy is necessary to the Plan, although, admittedly, it may not be absent from the plan. I simply don’t know. If we are to take celestial polygamy as a given, then one question remains: Is there such a thing as celestial monogamy–worlds without end?

  33. mono+gamy — to love one and only one

    that would not be a part of the economy of heaven. God is charity and He means for humans to develop and expand that innate capacity for love — not box it up and put bounds on it.

    poly+gamy — to love many

    those in the celestial world will be equal in the bonds of all things, which include the bonds of matrimony. Those who are unwilling to receive all things that the Father has will not enter into that degree of salvation — b/c they are not willing to receive what they otherwise could have [due to their stinginess].

    Monogamy is the human invention to justify human traits [jealousy, control, property rights, etc.] — polygamy is the natural order for humans b/c it is the pattern of the family of God, which is a state in which all are free to love everyone else — where no one is married or given in marriage, meaning given in exclusive relationships to this one as opposed to that one.

  34. “Gamos” is Greek for “marriage” not “love”.

    Noah is wrong to suggest that desire for polygamy results only from cognitive dissonance regarding Joseph Smith’s practice of it. It is ingrained in our genetic instinct, it is natural.

    It is apparent to me that Joseph Smith was mostly impressed by the secreted history of polygamy among the Gentile nations & the royal culture. Joseph Smith was directly descended from a practicing bardic lineage, his family were hereditary ecclesiastical princes & great compilers of native annals. He would have known this history & their genealogies intimately. Joseph Smith, Jr., was a MacGaibhnion (M’Gowan or Smith) of the Clan King of Clanna-Rory of the Royal House of Ir (the namesake of Ireland). His family were bards for the competing dynasty of the O’Connors (of the Royal House of Heremon). He taught that we should study our genealogies & the histories of nations because he knew that our lost scriptures were contained therein.

    Y’all need to read about your descents from Phoenician Scythian warrior-kings & Egyptian princesses and the long lines of pan-Continental dynasties that followed. The lineages of Gomer & Magog are well-maintained & consistent across cultures (Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, Manx, Nordic, French, Spanish, Hungarian, German, Lebanese, Turkic, North African, etc.). The native annals corroborate & reconcile the traditional Hebrew & Egyptian chronologies.

    Read moar.

  35. “Gamos” is Greek for “marriage” not “love”.

    You’re right Derek — let me clarify:

    When two people come together and make love, the love demonstrated and generated is intended by God to continue on forever. The marriage bonds are what keeps people connected so that they continue to nurture and grow the love generated between them.

    To come together and make love and then leave [separate or divorce] is the same as no longer loving. God wants us to continue to manifest our love for one another — thus through marital covenants, we learn to become like Him, an all-loving and continually loving personage.

    So I guess it was my fault for equating the two without stating that I was doing so. It may have in deed lead to the impression that I thought the Greek gamos actually meant “love” [whether agape, eros, or philia I guess could be debated].

    To forbid marriages is the same as requiring someone to abstain from loving [making love to] other people. Consenting to marriage consents to love — and to its expansion.

    So, let me alter what I wrote above by saying that allowing for plural marriages [poly+gamy] would be to allow for people to “love many”…
    …while enforcing single marriages [mono+gamy] would be to have people “love one and only one”.

  36. Derek, I agree that it is in some sense natural, but I do not believe it is spiritual. Put another way, I do not believe it is natural for the spirit, and I would actually borrow from Justin’s argument to make this claim, i.e., love-making symbolizes love eternal. However, to have sexual relations with one woman and then subsequently another would seem to me to abort the love made with the first. Of course, that’s speaking from intuition. Sorry, I just don’t get it, in that I’m just not feeling it, and I think that’s what counts, but I will try to keep an open mind and heart.

    Btw, I’m wondering where this particular idea finds its origin, i.e., everyone bound to everyone. I put a similar question to another individual not associated with this blog and he seemed to think that the Earth, as a celestialized globe, was (or would be) God or that we would be God collectively, and thus, everyone would be intermarried, so to speak, but then again, not really; what he meant was that marriage, or polygamy, was just a precursor to the fulness of the Atonement. I find the idea distasteful, but could it be said that you share his views, and if so, who is the originator of this idea?

  37. Noah:

    However, to have sexual relations with one woman and then subsequently another would seem to me to abort the love made with the first.

    Given the existence of a God that does not justify the forbiddance of marriage — unless someone is willing to make an argument that God has hardwired human beings to be incapable of cleaving unto more than one spouse and loving more than one person with all the heart, I think your above scenario represents something gone wrong within a person — rather than the assumed state for humans.

    Again, the best relationship to make an analogy with is children. Is it fair to say that having one child and then subsequently having another would seem to abort the love you have for the first?

    The current narrative is that God has made humans to only be able to love one person [hence the mono-] with all the heart — and that adding another person thereby takes away from the love/cleaving to the first. This is not true.

    Multiple spousal systems are about expressing love to more than one person. In other words, human beings are capable of loving more than one person [hence the poly-] with all the heart and cleaving only to them.

    In fact, our Father prefers it to be that way because that is the society that exists among the perfected men and women in heaven.

    who is the originator of this idea?

    That’s what I love about ideas that spring from the right-brain-heart — I wouldn’t be able to put my finger on this-or-that originator or head of the idea.

    I first wrote a post about multispousal marriage [Tribal Relationships] based on what I read in the Sex at Dawn book.

    To sum the post up: The basic narrative for the history of ancient humans is that women sought a stable man to stick around to help raise the kids and bring home food – yet wanted to sleep with the sexy rebel because of his genes. While men sought to impregnate as many women as possible while keeping their women monogamous so they wouldn’t have to spend resources to raise someone else’s kids. And thus, we are taught that we are the products of these horribly conflicted ancestors.

    However, this narrative presupposes many things that are really just modern humans projecting the current way we do things back into the past: e.g. that every ancient culture centered around assigning men and women to each other through marriage, having exclusive rights of property given to individuals, associating sex with paternity, and men providing only for their genetic offspring.

    But when hunter/gatherer communities are studied, it is found that they share all duties communally, as a tribe/family. Ideas of, “I’m not raising that other man’s kid,” developed later as a function of the agrarian concept of converting labor into personal property. Marriage may have existed as a social arrangement among many hunter/gatherer communities, but it was one in which sexuality was less well-defined.

    Human society developed in tribes that shared food, childcare, and often – sexual partners. In these small, intimate family groups, the most mature individuals would have had several ongoing sexual relationships at any given time. Here the extended family, which was often the entire community, is where children were raised. We are the descendants of these multimale-multifemale tribal groups and we’ve just constructed a radically different society from our ancestors.

    But if had just been for reading Sex at Dawn, I probably wouldn’t have written that post. It was because of how I saw Sex at Dawn working into the posts I’d read by LDSA [How many wives? How many husbands? and Establishing the tribes of Israel: the real reason for plural marriage] that I changed how I viewed marriage altogether.

    Do I, or the Sex at Dawn authors, or LDSA get the title of originator?

    I’ve always believed in the permanent union of the sexes [i.e. I’ve always rejected swining/open relationships] — that is to say I’ve always believed in marriage. I thought that “marriage” meant a nuclear family — mainly because that’s all I had been shown of a marriage family, but no longer.

    I now know that “marriage” means the tribe — meaning a group of adults bound to each other by marriage covenants and the children resulting from those covenants. I still believe marriage to be the union of one man and one woman — I just don’t see the justification in saying people should only be allowed one such union [at least one at a time, which funny enough isn’t monogamy].

  38. Concubinage coming to Mexico — Is the Chantdown tribe interested?

    “Mexico City lawmakers want to help newlyweds avoid the hassle of divorce by giving them an easy exit strategy: temporary marriage licenses.”

    [From here]

  39. Wow. I’m speechless.

  40. hah!

  41. As I’ve been pondering over legalized prostitution as a restoration principle, since I first brought it up (see here, here and here), it seems to me that it, like concubinage, may serve a primarily inter-tribal function, by creating biodiversity (see Sperm Sorting Function) with familiar men (regular clients). It sounds obscene to even say it, but a legal prostitute’s calling could be to remain with her tribe and family, under its protection, and “service” men visiting the tribe. She would be in a safe environment, would be free of any husband, (thus no adultery could be committed), would produce income that would benefit both herself and the tribe, and any children that resulted would pertain to the tribe. As she would have multiple and varying, but also regular (and thus familiar) lovers, any children produced would be genetically upgraded and also the prostitute herself would likely be made more beautiful (see again the Sperm Sorting Function post for info on that). The use of prostitutes in tribes that receive visitors would reduce the temptation of adultery, for there would be women who make themselves available to men, without the stigma attached to modern prostitution. In other words, it would be a respectable occupation.

    (Please keep in mind that this is all speculation, based on the premise that prostitution, at some point in the past, was a revealed principle, given as a law of God, and that at some point in the future, will be revealed again, with all its particulars. I am just attempting to make sense of its function, if indeed this was once legal in the eyes of God.)

    It might also serve a secondary intra-tribal function.

    The sealing power, it seems to me, would have to make allowances for the four statuses of a woman: daughter, prostitute, concubine and wife. In other words, I can see the sealing power employed in a fashion, sealing a prostitute and her client, for time one way (prostitute and client) and for eternity as husband and wife. All sexual intercourse (between a man and a woman) “marries” them together, and so all such relations would need to be sealed that they remain permanent in the afterlife.

    A woman, then, would have her sexual choices increased under such a system, without any stigma and without losing eternal blessings. Depending upon what she desired, she could enter into whichever status she wanted.

    Polyandrous marriages would not take the place of prostitution because not all visitors will want to marry into the tribe, yet visiting the tribe will open the door to temptation, for if the women are beautiful and married, the sin of adultery will be an ever present danger. Legal (ordained) prostitution will de-fang adultery somewhat in this respect.

    Current prostitution uses pimps and brothels, and is associated with drugs, violence, abuse and many other evil things, so ordained prostitution surely would not be an imitation of what is currently found in the world. In other words, if prostitution is the world’s oldest profession because God in the distant past actually ordained it with laws governing it, what we currently see around us is a perverted form of the original pattern. The two cannot be equivalent.

    Again, as yet another disclaimer, I’m not promoting this or condoning modern prostitution, nor saying that what I’ve written here is true or anything. My mind is just pondering upon this idea. It may be entirely incorrect.

  42. Looking over the biblical references to prostitution, it appears that prostitution was prohibited to the house of Israel only. So, Judah’s use of a non-Israelite harlot (Tamar in disguise) did not violate the prohibition. But, when the gospel went to the Gentiles, those Israelite laws now applied to the Gentiles, I suppose, so that prostitution became contrary to God’s law everywhere, among both Jew and Gentile.

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