The conditions of this law


Clint, in a comment on the Marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God post, quoted D&C 132: 7 and raised the issue that, among other things:

So the problem to me is that we have a doctrine that is very clear in stating that in order to get to God we MUST do certain things, and then makes it almost impossible after the growth of the church for them to be done in a literal way and even at its doctrinal inception as far as I know this principle was not followed.

I attempted to write an exposition on that verse and the issues Clint raised in a comment.  However, it grew to be too long for just a comment and so I have decided to publish my response as a post.  This way, Clint’s comments can be read by a broader audience than those who follow the comments regularly — and also others can weigh in on the subject.

D&C 132:7

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.

The conditions of this law:

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations […] 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.

The default state of all things is to have an end when humans die.  All binding arrangements [including even expectations] are assumed to be in a state where they will come to an end upon mortal death.

To tie this back to LDSA’s original post, he wrote:

When two people come together and make love, the love demonstrated and generated is intended by God to continue on forever.  It is supposed to remain.  The marriage bonds keep people connected (and gathered) so that they continue to nurture and grow the love generated between them.  God is love, so the scriptures say, therefore, He is all-loving and never stops loving.  To come together and make love and then leave (separate from one another) is akin to stop loving (stop becoming one).  God wants us to continue to manifest our love for one another, through the marital covenants.  In this way we learn to become like Him, all-loving and continually loving.

Because God does not want all things to end when humans die, it is possible that the above-delineated binding arrangements may be:

[…] 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 […]

So, to avoid the default state of a binding arrangement ending upon mortal death, it must meet certain conditions:

  • Made by the Holy Spirit of promise
  • Entered into by the Holy Spirit of promise
  • Sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise
  • By one who is anointed
  • For the stated duration of both time and all eternity
  • In a most holy manner — by revelation and commandment through the medium of the one who is anointed [for this anointed one holds the keys to this power].

In addition to those six conditions, there is the paraenthetical phrase,

(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)

which adds a seventh condition:

  • Joseph Smith was the “one who is anointed” mentioned above at the time the revelation was given.  Further, only one person on the earth at a time will act in this position of the “one who is anointed“.

Parenthetical Phrases:

Scribal additions often come by way of parenthetical phrases.  These attempt to clarify or expand on what was written in the original text.  Though there is not necessarily anything nefarious about, for example, adding that:

And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.

to clarify that Ai was still in a state of desolation at the time the scribe was writing that text.

Or in adding:

For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

to explain what, “In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water,” meant to the people there at the time — who would have known what it meant.

However, as I have read all 66 verses D&C 132, that parenthetical phrase strikes me as internally inconsistent with the rest of the section.  For example, the Law of Sarah says:

And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

In this portion of the revelations that make up section 132, the Lord says that it is the wives who hold the keys of this power — the keys that the parenthetical phrase says that only Joseph held at the time the revelation was given.  However, verse 64-65 tells me that if it was anybody — it was Emma who held them at that time.

Further, because of my understanding that God honors the consent of free-agents and that He would not favor either androcracy or gynocracy over the other — I can say that the law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women.

The revelation was spoken to Joseph in regards to his wife — therefore it is addressed in “she then becomes the transgressor” language.  However, what makes any person a transgressor according to the law of Sarah, is forbidding to administer the keys of the power of consent to a marriage covenant [this is according to D&C 49:15 as well].

Keys of Consent [or Power]:

Just as priesthood keys are given as a test to priesthood holders [in judging how they use them] — so to are church keys [keys of consent] intended to prove all church members. The test demonstrates if the person will consent only to righteousness — while always condemning or voting down wickedness.

In a tribal setting, a woman sins when she do not obey her righteous husband[s], meaning she refuses to submit her consent [power] to him — with “righteous” meaning there is an associated qualifier that her husband[s] do not exercise unrighteous dominion — this is because she is not giving honor where honor is due and is removing power from the priesthood.

A man sins when he does not love his wife[ves], meaning he refuses to be motivated by charity towards her — there is no associated qualifier as was the case with women.

Woman with righteous husband:

A woman is married to a man who does not exercise unrighteous dominion with her. This man, acting out of charity, desires and feels called to bring another wife into the marriage.  The woman has two choices:

  • She can grant her consent, making her ordained of God, because her husband is acting righteously and she is not swayed by feelings of inadequacy or jealousy.
  • She can withhold her consent, making her not ordained of God, because she is withholding power [for that is what her consent is] for charity to be manifest.

Woman with unrighteous husband:

A woman is married to a man who treats her with force and control and/or refuses to act out of charity towards her.  This man, acting out of a selfish desire, wants to have a new wife at the expense of the first.  The woman has two choices:

  • She can grant her consent, in which case she would be ordained of God, because she is not forbidding to marry.  However, no one is under any obligation to submit in iniquity — therefore,
  • She can withhold her consent, in which case she would still be ordained of God, because she is using her God-given power of consent [the keys of the church/tribe] to stop unrighteous dominion — she is not consenting to evil.

What the righteous husband can do:

In the first example [with the righteous husband] — if the woman gives her consent, then he is free to take the second wife into their tribe and thus it grows horizontally.  If the woman withholds her consent, then he is ordained of God only in using persuasion, long-suffering, etc. in dealing with the issue.

Should he go out and marry the second wife anyway — then he would not be ordained of God because he is ignoring the keys of consent that God has placed in charge of him. The servants [priesthood holders, husbands] must hearken to the voice of their masters [church members, wives] in all things.

For all we know — the woman may have a reason for why she requires exclusivity [like Starfoxy in comments #24, 30, 42, and 46 found here], and the righteous husband may be moved with compassion for her and instead choose to submit himself to monogamous vows rather than press the issue of polygamy. This is according to his free-will and choice in dealing with his wife.

What the unrighteous husband can do:

If the woman submits her consent to his selfish desire for a new wife, then the unrighteous husband’s true nature will manifest.  His love will not multiply, but will instead transfer from the woman to the new wife — this causes him to break his marriage covenant with her because he vowed to love her without qualifier and makes him not ordained of God.

However, his true nature may manifest in the other direction.  In seeing what his selfish desires for a “new” wife [instead of a second wife] has done to his first love — he may be moved towards repentance and the woman has done him a favor.

Since she was likewise free to withhold consent [given that the husband is acting with unrighteous dominion], the husband’s true nature could again manifest.  Will he respond to her refusal with anger and control — taking a new wife anyway without her say-so?  Or will he reflect inwardly on why she withheld consent, speak with her about it, and repent of his unrighteous behavior — possibly opening up the woman’s heart to another wife?  This will be according to his free-will and choice.

Men and women are judged by the Lord according to how they use their individual sets of keys and how they treat each other:

Is a person seeking after a second spouse because he or she is “tired” of the first spouse — or because he or she desires to take further covenant obligations, express charity, and expand the tribe?

Is a person withholding consent because he or she is uncomfortable with the idea of another spouse, is selfish/stingy, etc. — or is the person withholding consent because unrighteous dominion is being used?

D&C 132:7, 64 — Combined and Clarified:

So, to re-word the original verses with what I expounded on above taken into consideration — it reads:

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 (1) made and (2) entered into and (3) sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, (4) of him who is anointed [the one holding authorized priesthood keys], (5) both as well for time and for all eternity, and (6) 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,

(7) (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 […]

[…]And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power [which are the keys of consent that authorize the priesthood], and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood [meaning he uses persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, etc.], as pertaining to these things,

then shall she believe and administer unto him [give her consent], or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

So, the conditions of the law are that all binding arrangements must be administered by one who is holding authorized priesthood keys.  And by what power are priesthood keys authorized [rather for the church or the tribe]?  They are authorized by the vote of consent.

Conclusion:

D&C 132 divides Mormons into three groups:

  • those that believe all 66 verses are a revelation from God,
  • those that believe none of them are a revelation from God — or that all of them are a revelation from the devil,
  • those that pick-and-choose to believe only some of them.

By virtue of my own experience and revelations, I operate under the assumption that D&C 132 is true.  It is only once unity over whether the revelation is entirely true, entirely false, or partially true and false [with agreement over what parts are true and what parts are false] — between people can discussions on the section be fruitful.

Only if we approach it as the word of God and desire to discuss what the principles and doctrines proposed therein actually consist of, and would actually look like when implemented in the real world — will discussions have a real benefit.

Most of the issue that was raised against D&C 132 is based on the inclusion of the parenthetical phrase:

(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)

I would conclude that if this portion was given at the same time of the revelation and written down by Joseph, it would, first off, not even be in parenthesis — but in addition to that, it would read:

and I have appointed unto you, my servant Joseph, to hold this power […]

much like is written in verse 45:

For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood […]

Thus, I see that parenthetical phrase as a later addition by the Utah saints in an attempt to put the doctrine of plural marriages under their control [the One True Successors to Joseph].

But besides that, for me — it is the inclusion of polyandry that must be explained away prior to labeling the revelation misogynistic, endorsing only Brigham’s polygyny, etc.

If we are going to discuss things assuming that D&C 132 is a true revelation, then we must read it in light of what we know about God,

[that He does not regard anyone as more or less by virtue of their genitalia, that He honors the agency of His children, that He does not concentrate power in the hands of the few, etc.]

instead of in light of what we know about the Church™ and the way Brigham, et al have interpreted, implemented, or tampered with the revelation.

Only when viewed as a true revelation [all 66 verses], can its spiritual meaning and application be discussed.  If it is the word of God, then there is real benefit assigned to it.

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