Marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God


My text for this post is the following scripture:

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

Between a man and a woman

To start with, let’s make it clear that the words “marry” and “marriage” in this verse referred only to marriage between a man and a woman. This revelation was given in March/May 1831 and there was no concept of same-sex marriage back then, only marriage between the sexes.

Who forbids to marry?

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

Parents – Sometimes parents forbid to marry. If a young man or woman is underage, permission from the parents is needed in order for them to marry (with a valid state marriage license). In the high school I attended, there was a very pretty 16 year old girl in one of my classes who was legally married. She received permission from her parents and loved showing people her wedding ring. All the boys in the class (including myself) were kind of bummed that she was now off-limits. It was a strange situation because we all thought that parents normally would not give permission to one so young. She never had a teen pregnancy or anything. She just fell in love and wanted to get married and her folks said, “Okay.” But that doesn’t always happen.

The State – The State is the major perpetrator of forbidding to marry, with all the marriage laws and prohibitions on the books. For example, the State forbids a man from taking a second wife while his first wife is still alive. It also forbids a woman from doing the same thing. It introduces a monetary price on marriage, so that everyone must pay for the permission to get married. It places age restrictions on marriage, as well as health restrictions. Those who don’t meet the qualifications, can’t get married. In other words, they can’t get a marriage license. Additionally, it has cohabitation laws on many of the books so that anyone who tries to marry without a valid state marriage license and then live together can still be prosecuted and thrown into jail, effectively discouraging anyone who wishes to skirt around the State monopoly on marriage authorization.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – The Church is another major perpetrator of forbidding to marry. Although it has no power to stop anyone from getting married, by preaching a valid state marriage license requirement to its congregation, it supports the State’s restrictions and monopoly on marriage. Also, by excommunicating those who marry more than one living spouse (with or without a valid state marriage license, but most often without a license), it sets up its own restrictions with attendant judgments placed upon those who marry.

These three institutions, then, are not ordained of God when they forbid to marry.

But I must add one more:

A spouse – Every man who forbids his wife from marrying another man and every woman who forbids her husband from marrying another woman is also not ordained of God when they do this.

Everything that is in the world is valid in the eyes of God…for a limited time

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.

And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 132: 7, 13.)

What this means is that God recognizes “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that are made among men “both as well for time and for all eternity,” regardless of who or what entity or entities ordained them, “whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be,” as perfectly valid and binding only until “men are dead,” at which point such “contracts…have an end.” This applies only to contracts, oaths, etc., that are not made by the Lord or by His word.

Marriage is a covenant

Marriage is accompanied by a covenant between a man and a woman (the marriage vows), therefore, it comes under the above conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. There are three types of marriage covenants covered by the conditions of this law.

Marriage covenant #1: “not by me nor by my word,” for time only

Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. (D&C 132: 15.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’till death do they part.” The marriage is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #2: “not by me or by my word,” for time and all eternity

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. (D&C 132: 18.)

Here we have a man and a woman entering a marriage covenant, in which the man covenants to be the woman’s husband and the woman covenants to be the man’s wife. The covenant has a stated duration of “’for time and all eternity.” The covenant is not performed by the Lord nor by His word, therefore it is valid in the eyes of the Lord only until one of them dies.

Marriage covenant #3: “by my word, which is my law,” “in time, and through all eternity”

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. (D&C 132: 19.)

Finally, we have a man and a woman entering the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, being married by the word of the Lord and having it sealed to them by the Holy Spirit of promise. He covenants to be her husband and she covenants to be his wife, for the duration of time and all eternity. This covenant is valid in the eyes of the Lord for as long as they abide in it.

All three marriage covenants are ordained of God

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15; italics added.)

The first two marriage covenant scenarios, which operate under temporal power and authority, are ordained of God until death. The final marriage covenant scenario, which operates under eternal power and authority, is ordained of God through all eternity.

Marriage is ordained of God because it creates permanency

God is all about creating permanency: things that remain.

For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. (D&C 132: 14.)

The only difference between fornication (unlawful sexual relations) and marriage (lawful sexual relations) is the idea of a permanent union. God wants men and women to come together and have sex (become one flesh), and He wants them to remain together, continuing to have sex. The marriage covenant is a covenant or contract to remain together permanently, as husband and wife, either until death or throughout all eternity. It is the fleeting, temporary nature of fornication that makes it wrong.

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.

No mention of a State licensing requirement

In the scriptures, there is no mention of the need to have a valid state marriage license. All that is needed for a marriage to occur is that there be a marriage covenant between a man and a woman. That’s it. The marriage covenant can be written or verbal. It doesn’t matter. It can be ordained “by thrones, or principalities, or powers,” in other words, by the State, but it doesn’t have to be. It can simply be “ordained of men,” even the two people entering the covenant (the man and the woman), or even by “things of name, whatsoever they may be.”

This means that two people who enter into a marriage covenant with each other, without a State marriage license, without a religious or civil ceremony, the man agreeing to be the woman’s husband and the woman agreeing to be the man’s wife, who then begin living together and making love, presenting themselves publicly as husband and wife, are not living in sin. They are not fornicating. They have nothing to repent of for they have satisfied the conditions of the law of the new and everlasting covenant. Their marriage is ordained of God.

No mention of a wedding ceremony

The scriptures do not state that a wedding ceremony is necessary for a marriage to be valid. Typically, wedding ceremonies do occur, according to the customs of the culture the two people are from, but they are not necessary for a marriage to be valid in the eyes of God. Only the covenant is the necessary part.

No mention of witnesses

A third person can be present while the two make their marriage vows (the marriage covenant), but that is not required by the law of the new and everlasting covenant. They can enter their covenant in private, just the two of them and it’s still valid in the eyes of God.

Conflict between God and the Church

This brings up a conflict because a married couple that does not get State permission to be married is seen differently by God and the Church. In the eyes of God, they are married. In the eyes of the (modern) Church, they are not. (It was not always so.  There was a time when the Church recognized marriages as valid even without a marriage license.)  As the Church holds the keys of the priesthood, despite a couple being validly married in the eyes of God, they can be prohibited from receiving baptism, confirmation, priesthood and the temple sealing, all required ordinances for their salvation. The modern Church, then, in not recognizing a marriage as valid in the same way God does, becomes a stumbling block to their eternal progression.

Consent in marriage

Both before and after a man and a woman come together in holy matrimony (and since all marriage is ordained of God, including non-temple marriage, all matrimony is holy), the law of common consent applies. So, for example, if the couple enters marriage with vows of fidelity, meaning that they promise to abstain from loving (making love to) other people, they must keep their vows. It is the law of the Lord that all our vows and covenants and oaths be kept, for it is a sin to break a vow. Thus, a man must receive consent from his wife to marry a second wife and a woman must receive consent from her husband to marry another husband.

If they enter the marriage with no vows of abstinence and they decide they want more spouses and they receive consent from their current spouses, they may freely marry without sinning. If, on the other hand, they enter the marriage with vows of abstinence and they decide afterward that they want more spouses in their family, they can, with consent, release one another from their vows of abstinence and then consent to additional spouses. This also is not sin, for vows can be freely made and released, as long as the person to whom the vow was made is doing the releasing.

Sin in marriage

The sin of adultery occurs when a married woman is with a man who is not her spouse. Scripturally, all women who enter marriage apparently do so under a vow of abstinence (fidelity), whether they are married by the word of the Lord or not. Therefore, if she is with another man that is not her spouse, she commits adultery.

On the man’s part, it is only if he has taken a vow of abstinence (fidelity) and is with another woman who is not his wife that he commits adultery. If, on the other hand, he has not taken a vow of fidelity, (in other words, his wife gives him permission to sleep around), and is with an unmarried woman who is not his wife, he has committed the sin of fornication (sexual sin) but not adultery unless the other woman who is not his spouse is married to another man, in which case he has committed adultery (See D&C 132: 41-44 and The many definitions of adultery for more on these laws.)

(The above two paragraphs may seem confusing, but it all boils down to this: if you sleep with someone who is your spouse, there is no sin. On the other hand, if you sleep with someone who is not your spouse, you commit sin. So, to avoid sin, either don’t sleep with a person who is not your spouse or marry him or her before engaging in sexual intercourse.)

If a husband separates from his wife or a wife separates from her husband, so as to purposefully and permanently live apart from one another, this also is sin. There is only one scriptural justification for marital separation and that is if the one being left behind has committed unrepentant fornication (sexual sin). The purpose of the temporary separation is to help the sinner to repent of his or her sin. Once repentance occurs, the couple should come together again and be reconciled, forgiving one another.

Polygyny is not sin

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. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

If a woman gives consent to her husband to take additional wives, releasing him from any vows of fidelity he may have had, and giving him permission to marry this or that woman, he is justified in taking on the additional wives, for it is marriage with consent and marriage is ordained of God.

When taking on a second wife, the man needs the consent of the first wife. When taking on a third wife, the man needs the consent of the first two wives, and so on and so forth. As long as all give consent, there is no sin.

Polygyny, whether practiced in the new and everlasting covenant (the law of the priesthood), or practiced in a for-time, man-made covenant, is ordained of God as long as consent is given by the wife or wives of the man.

Polyandry is not sin

In the new and everlasting covenant, there are two ways in which a woman get can an additional husband. One way is that she is simply sealed to a second (or third, etc.) husband.

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. (D&C 132: 41; italics added.)

The second way is that her husband breaks his marriage vows and commits adultery, whereby she is taken and given (married) to another man. She remains married to the first husband, for the word ‘taken” doesn’t explicitly mean that she has received a divorce.

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: 44; italics added.)

Outside of the new and everlasting covenant, a woman may obtain a second marriage through consent of her current husband or husbands, in the same way as discussed above for polygyny. Like polygyny, polyandry is ordained of God, as long as consent is given by all parties involved.

Objections to polyandry unfounded

LDS men may object to polyandry based upon the following scripture:

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. (D&C 132: 61-62; italics added.)

These verses only state that a man cannot commit adultery with a wife that belongs to him and to no one else. They do not state that a man commits adultery with a wife that belongs to both him and someone else. The gospel is all about joint-ownership, or becoming joint-heirs with Christ of all things that the Father has. There is no gospel law against a wife belonging to two or more husbands, or to a husband belonging to two or more wives. The scriptures do not prohibit such an arrangement. To make this assumption is to wrest them.

Not giving consent to marry is sin

When a man wishes to take an additional wife and his current wife or wives do not give their consent (the keys of this power), they sin because they are forbidding him from marrying, making them not ordained of God. Likewise, when a woman wishes to take an additional husband and her current husband or husbands do not give consent, the husbands become sinners in forbidding her from marrying.

The law of Sarah is applicable to both men and women:

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. (D&C 132: 64-65; italics added.)

The transgression consists in forbidding to marry, which makes the person doing the forbidding “not ordained of God.”

A secondary and third transgression

When consent is not given, because marriage is labeled sin, a second transgression occurs: calling that which is holy, or ordained of God, evil. Satan wants no one to be married. He would rather that everyone sleep around without entering into marriage covenants with each other. When monogamy is labeled holy matrimony but polygyny or polyandry is labeled sin, this works into his hands, for then he can tempt mankind to break their marriage vows and commit sin. Giving consent to marry more than one spouse keeps the law of chastity intact, stopping Satan in his tracks.

The third transgression comes from judging others as sinners, who have done no sin. All marriage between a man and woman, whether singly or in multiple spouse form, is ordained of God, but if the multiple spouse form is looked upon as sin, or if a marriage without a marriage license is looked upon as sin, then the people who engage in these righteous practices will be looked upon as sinners.

Plural marriage engenders charity

In particular, modern LDS need to stop painting plural marriage (the multiple-husband multiple-wife marriage system) as undesirable or evil. Under such a system, children have multiple fathers and multiple mothers (though only one biological mother). Any husband will look upon all children born to his wives as his children, regardless of whether they are his biological seed or not. This engenders charity, because all husbands/fathers will care for all the children, not just their own. In other words, all children will become alike to them:

And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. (Moro. 8: 17.)

Plural marriage retains agency

Agency remains fully intact with plural marriage consent, allowing people to open up their hearts and love those around them in the most intimate manner possible, all the while remaining justified before the Lord. This more fully knits people’s hearts together in unity. Without such consent, love must be limited, even if the desire to love more fully exists, which also limits agency and causes distance between people.

Plural marriage creates Zion

And ye shall hereafter receive church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here and in the New Jerusalem. (D&C 42: 67.)

There are certain covenants given to the Gentile Mormons that are sufficient to establish them in Zion. One is the law of consecration, in which they freely share of their substance. Another is the United Order, in which they bind themselves by covenant to establish Zion. Yet another is the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (plural marriage) in which they freely give of their love and hearts in plural marriages, essentially sharing their spouses with other spouses.

Of the three covenants, though, plural marriage is probably the most powerful, for if one is able to give consent to freely share one’s spouse with other spouses, effectively eliminating all jealousy and envy, sharing everything else would be a snap.

Plural marriage corresponds to nature

As the research revealed in the book Sex at Dawn reveals, by nature mankind’s sexuality is a multiplemale-multiplefemale mating system. God has ordained marriage to exactly correspond to our natural sexual desires and nature, so that we may live out our lives free from guilt and shame, in joy, happiness and pleasure.

Plural marriage causes rapid formation of super-strong tribes

Because marriage bonds go in every direction, everyone becomes related to everyone else, in the most intimate way. The concept of distant relations becomes blurred, as all become intimate members of one’s immediate family through marriage. The group, being linked in this way, becomes and acts as a tribe, but also as an intimate family, everyone seeking the interest of his neighbor, for his neighbor is a close family relation.

Instead of tribes growing slowly as tribal members have children who grow up and marry and have children of themselves, plural marriage has the ability to rapidly infuse a tribe with large groups of people, while retaining the intimate relationship aspects of the immediate family. Child-birth is maximized, so that every woman who wants children can have as many as she desires, thus allowing the tribe to grow as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. (D&C 49: 15.)

When taken at face value, the above scripture is plainly shown to be true. Marriage is a divine institution which has been given to us to maximize our happiness here on Earth, in accordance with the principles of nature, and in preparation for glory to be added in heaven. To remain on God’s side on this issue, men, women, parents, churches, the State and spouses need to follow and encourage others to follow this two-step rule:

1) Don’t forbid anyone from marrying (not even your own spouse) and 2) look upon all marriage between a man and a woman as ordained of God.

Inspiration behind this post

I had read the arguments that Christian polygamists make about not needing a valid state marriage license, but had never actually taken the time to do any research and come to any conclusion about it. It was Justin’s Tribal Relationships post that introduced me to the Sex at Dawn research, which, upon reviewing it, got me thinking about what exactly marriage is and what it is all about. This post is a result of my decision to take a look at the scriptures with the Sex at Dawn research in mind. If you still don’t know where I’m coming from, I encourage you to read the following posts, as this article is influenced by, and builds upon, them: Tribal worship services, Establishing the tribes of Israel: the real reason for plural marriage, The tribal nature of the gospel, The Return of Polygamy, The many definitions of adultery, Deep Waters: How many wives? How many husbands?, and An alternate view of the keys.

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The Priesthood


Background on this post

I wish to thank Jahnihah for his essay on priesthood, which made me realize that I had always just accepted the standard definition of priesthood without actually verifying it with the scriptures.  I was then inspired to search the Standard Works with priesthood as my research topic, which, I’m embarrassed to say, I had never done before.  This post contains the findings of that research.

As a general outline for this topic, I used (loosely) Chapter 13 of the new Melchizedek Priesthood/Relief Society Manual, Gospel Principles.  Click the link to compare versions.

What Is the Priesthood?

The priesthood is a language that only God speaks. It is as eternal as God Himself is.

Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years. (D&C 84: 17)

Priesthood rights “are inseparably connected [to] the powers of heaven” (D&C 121: 36), and thus priesthood is all powerful when spoken.  Priesthood possesses the authority (keys) of God, which is recognized by the entire universe as valid in locking (sealing) and unlocking (loosing) all things.

For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.  (D&C 68: 17)

Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and the earth.

For behold, by the power of his word [priesthood] man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word [priesthood]. Wherefore, if God being able to speak [priesthood] and the world was, and to speak [priesthood] and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?  (Jacob 4: 9)

I am the same which spake [priesthood], and the world was made, and all things came by me.  (D&C 38: 3)

By the power (agency) and authority (keys) of the priesthood, the universe is kept in perfect order.  Through this God-language, God accomplishes His work and glory, which is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words [priesthood].  For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  (Moses 1: 38-39)

Priesthood is a combination of the spoken (audible) word and a gesture (silent) language.  There are three other components to priesthood (to be explained later), which, when present, make it validly “spoken.”

Although the priesthood is a language that only God speaks, He may, and often does, allow worthy sons of His to obtain the right to speak it.  Because the priesthood is a language specific to God alone, when men who hold this right speak it with all 5 components, it is as if God himself is the speaker and the very powers of heaven attend to the pronouncement.

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 1: 38)

And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. (Moses 1: 25)

And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. (Ex. 4: 16)

And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  (Ex. 7: 1)

All priesthood is centered in, comes from, and points to Christ.  Christ is known as the Word (the Priesthood), even the Priesthood made flesh.

For in the beginning was the Word, even the Son, who is made flesh, and sent unto us by the will of the Father, And as many as believe on his name shall receive of his fulness. And of his fullness have all we received, even immortality and eternal life, through his grace.  (JST John 1: 16)

Christ is the physical embodiment of the priesthood, therefore, as Christ saves all things, the priesthood likewise has as its purpose the salvation of all things.  When God confers the rights of the priesthood upon men, it enables them to act in Christ’s name for the salvation of the human family.  Through it, they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and teach the members of God’s kingdom on earth, so that they govern themselves.

Again, Christ is the Priesthood, therefore, to receive the priesthood is synonymous with receiving Christ.

And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;  (D&C 84: 35)

Those who receive the priesthood become like Christ, even priesthood made flesh.

For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—  (D&C 86: 9)

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; and I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.  (Abr. 2: 9-11; in other words, whoever receives the Priesthood, becoming priesthood made flesh, becomes the seed of Abraham, who was also priesthood made flesh; see also D&C 84: 34)

As Christ is Savior, through the reception of the priesthood, men also become a savior.

Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.  (D&C 86: 11)

Why Do We Need the Priesthood on the Earth?

We must have priesthood authority (keys) to act in the name of God when performing the sacred ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage.  If a man does not have the priesthood, even though he may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs (see Matthew 7: 21-23; Articles of Faith 1: 5).  These important ordinances must be performed on the earth by men who have obtained the rights of the priesthood.

Men need the priesthood to preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the church in all parts of the world.  When Christ lived on the earth, He chose His apostles and ordained them so that they could lead His church.  He gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to act in His name.  (See Mark 3: 13-15; John 15: 16.)

Another reason the priesthood is needed on the earth is to teach the plan of salvation so that we can understand the will of the Lord.

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. (Alma 13: 1)

Priesthood is also needed to carry out the purposes of God.  For example, it is the purpose of God that every husband and father in Israel receive the priesthood, thus becoming like Christ.  This benefits the husband/father (as he receives exaltation), as well as his wife and children (as they obtain within their very home a type of Christ, pointing the way to Christ.)

And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption. (Alma 13: 2)

It also benefits the world in general, for they, like the wives and children, learn how to be saved.

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord. (Alma 13: 16)

Also, with the husbands/fathers of Israel as priesthood made flesh (Christ types), God can show forth His arm of power, His wonders, in the eyes of all the nations, as priesthood is “inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” (D&C 121: 36).

Why Do Only Men Obtain Priesthood?

Although this question is not explicitly answered in the scriptures, one implicit reason is that the priesthood is meant to point mankind to Christ.  By design, then, one who receives the priesthood not only behaves like Christ, but also looks like Christ. All men, when they grow their hair long and allow their beards to grow full and bushy, bear the image of Christ.  The deep voice and manly physique also contribute to the perception that each man is in the similitude of the Son of God.  This similitude, coupled with the reception of the priesthood, works upon the hearts and minds of men, women and children and turns their attention to Christ.

How Do Men Receive the Priesthood?

Obtaining the rights of the priesthood is not the same as receiving the priesthood.  Let’s talk first about how the rights of the priesthood are obtained.

The Lord has prepared an orderly way for the rights of His priesthood to be conferred upon His sons on the earth.  A worthy male obtains the priesthood “by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof” (Articles of Faith 1: 5).  Usually, it is only a worthy male member of the church who can obtain the priesthood, but sometimes the priesthood is conferred upon worthy male non-members.  Only those who have had the rights of the priesthood conferred upon them can ordain others, and they can do so only when authorized by those who hold the keys (authority) for that ordination.

The first part to receiving the priesthood is obtaining the rights to officiate.

High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member.  An elder has a right to officiate in his stead when the high priest is not present.  The high priest and elder are to administer in spiritual things, agreeable to the covenants and commandments of the church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.  (D&C 107: 10-12)

This happens by the laying on of hands and requires only that the man being ordained is righteous (worthy), meaning that he is justified (guiltless) before the Lord, being right according to the law of God, having received a remission of his sins.

Using the rights of the priesthood requires more than justification (righteousness).

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. (D&C 121: 36)

It also requires purification and sanctification.

Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God (justification), they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish; therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified (sanctification), and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb (purification).  Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost (sanctification), having their garments made white (purification), being pure and spotless before God (purification), could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence (purification); and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure (purification) and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.  (Alma 13: 10-12)

When the rights of the priesthood are exercised by a justified (righteous), purified and sanctified (holy) man, the powers of heaven manifest themselves.  This is according to the promise of God.

For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.  And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. (JST Gen. 14: 30-32)

A man who has obtained the rights of the priesthood through justification may receive the priesthood itself by purifying and sanctifying himself, through the operation of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, because of his exceeding faith, hope and charity.  (See Moroni 7.)  In this manner, the man becomes like Christ (see Moroni 7: 48) and qualifies himself for receiving the priesthood and being “ordained by the Lord God” Himself, “by the calling of His own voice, according to His own will.”

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. (JST Gen. 14: 29)

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.  (Alma 13: 1)

Thus, the last part to receiving the priesthood, the bestowal of priesthood power, is solely performed by the Lord and depends upon whether the priest magnifies his calling through sanctification by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body (priesthood made flesh).

For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.  (D&C 84: 33)

Men who receive the priesthood have it confirmed upon them by the Lord’s own voice out of the heavens.

And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.  (D&C 84: 42)

In this way, the Lord reserves to Himself the final ordination necessary for priesthood reception, just as He alone is the one who baptizes with fire and the Holy Ghost.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.  (3 Ne. 12: 1)

All men, then, are “on the same standing” (Alma 13: 5).  Those who wish to qualify themselves for reception of the priesthood “on account of their exceeding faith and repentance” (Alma 13: 10) will receive it, while those who “would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds” (Alma 13: 4) will not receive it, though they may have the rights of the priesthood conferred upon them.

We have been told that there are many called to the priesthood, who have obtained the rights to the priesthood, but few among them are chosen to receive it.

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

•  •  •

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.  (D&C 121: 34, 40)

Men cannot buy and sell the power and authority of the priesthood.  Nor can they take this authority upon themselves.  In the New Testament we read of a man named Simon who lived when Christ’s apostles presided over (served) the church.  Simon became converted and was baptized into the church.  Because he was a skillful magician, the people believed he had the power of God.  But Simon did not have the priesthood, and he knew it.

Simon knew that the apostles and the other priesthood leaders of the church had received the priesthood, for the powers of heaven were manifest among them.

Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8: 13)

He saw them use their priesthood to do the Lord’s work, and he wanted this power for himself.  He offered to buy the priesthood.  (See Acts 8: 9-19.)  But Peter, the chief apostle, said, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8: 20).

Ecclesiastical Abuse: How the Priesthood Is Misused and What to Do About It

The priesthood is to be used to serve our Heavenly Father’s children here on earth, converting the priest into a servant or minister of all.  Priesthood holders should serve in love and kindness, not rule like Gentile kings.

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  (Mark 10: 42)

Any attempt to convert the minister-servant role of priest into the pomp and prestige of a Gentile ruler by undertaking “to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness” (D&C 121: 37) results in immediate condemnation by the Lord, even if the ecclesiastical abuse is not known or corrected by the church.  Ecclesiastical abuse in any form or degree brings immediate damnation upon the priesthood officer and, even before the abuser is aware, he is left alone without the Spirit and subject to the spirit of the devil, to persecute the saints within his congregation, who have been placed within his care and ministry.  He then becomes a wolf in sheep’s clothing, fighting against God.  (In the view of the abuser, it is the saints who are the wolves and he is doing “God’s work.”)

Those who engage in ecclesiastical abuse will use the high-sounding title of their priesthood office (bishop, stake president, etc.) to engage in power-plays and submission tests to try to force or compel the members of the congregation to submit to their authority and do what they want them to do.  They will gratify their pride and label all those saints who resist such tyranny as apostates and accuse them of the sin of rebellion.  Ecclesiastical abuse takes many forms, but the following are listed in scripture:

1) undertaking to cover our sins

2) undertaking to gratify our pride

3) undertaking to gratify our vain ambition

4) undertaking to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men

The saints of God within any ward or branch of the church, being sanctified (made holy) by the Spirit of God, naturally resist tyranny in all of its forms.  Like captain Moroni, they “seek not for power, but to pull it down” (Alma 60: 36).  They do not follow the precepts of men except when those precepts are given by the Holy Ghost.  This puts them directly at odds with any ecclesiastical abuser who is a priesthood leader that presides over them.  The rank and file (unsanctified) member is accustomed to following the brethren, not the Spirit, and will blindly follow the precepts of men given by an ecclesiastical abuser regardless of whether it is inspired or not.  These rank and file members will put the priesthood tyrant on a pedestal, gratifying his pride and vain ambition, covering his sins, and will, like the tyrant, look upon the saints resisting compulsion as disobedient apostates and trouble-makers.

These conditions are to be expected among the church for as long as it remains unsanctified and under condemnation, for “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion” (D&C 121: 39).

Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.  And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—  (D&C 84: 55-57)

This means that almost all men who hold the rights of the priesthood, including those who hold leadership positions and high offices, are by nature predisposed to act like tyrants.  There are but few (see D&C 121: 40) of the vast ensemble that do not engage in ecclesiastical abuse.  It is these few who pattern their lives after Christ, aspiring to be like Him and setting their hearts upon Him.  The rest (“almost all men”), which are the many, set their hearts “upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men” (D&C 121: 35).  So the church, by and large, is led by ecclesiastical abusers, even tyrants, with the occasional man of Christ appearing among them, yet all these men have obtained the rights of the priesthood.

Because of the nature and disposition of men to be tyrants and the condition of the unsanctified and condemned (damned) church, the saints of God are to follow the admonition of Alma, which is to “trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments” (Mosiah 23: 14) and the warning of Nephi:

Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.  (2 Ne. 28: 31)

The Lord has left two means of dealing with ecclesiastical abuse: the law of common consent and the church courts.  If there are two or three witnesses to abuse, the procedure described in D&C 42: 78-93 may be used.  If there are no witnesses (or no willing witnesses), or if the church court system becomes entirely corrupt because the priesthood leadership will not allow a court to be convened or otherwise impedes the process (undertaking to cover up the sins of their fellow ecclesiastical abuser), the law of common consent can be used to de-fang tyrants.  If, however, the law of common consent fails due to rubber-stamping by the general membership, saints of God must resort solely to Alma and Nephi’s counsel, leaving the matter in the Lord’s hands.

Priesthood Organization: An Inverted Hierarchy

A hierarchy is defined as “a ruling body of clergy organized into orders or ranks, each subordinate to the one above it.”  It is true that the priesthood is organized into orders and ranks, but instead of rulers, it consists of servants.  The Lord’s “rulers” (Abr. 3: 23) are not rulers in the typical sense.  They are ministers and servants.

He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all. (D&C 50: 26)

In a typical rich household, the servants do not get the chief seats, do not get the first meal, are not the ones put up on a pedestal.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and lay on men’s shoulders, and they are grievous to be borne; but they will not move them with one of their fingers.  And all their works they do to be seen of men. They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi, (which is master.) But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your master, which is Christ; and all ye are brethren.  (JST Matt. 23: 1-5)

The priesthood is designed to be an inverted pyramd, or inverted hierarchy, with the greatest servants, meaning the meekest, most charitable servants, at the very bottom.  These are the least of all the kingdom of God, being servants of all.  Thus, the First Presidency is really the Last Presidency, or Bottom Presidency, being below all other presidencies, nevertheless, all priesthood offices and callings are placed by the Lord below, not above, the body of the church (the saints).

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Eph. 2: 20)

Not By Virtue of the Priesthood

By the Lord’s design, “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood” (D&C 121: 41), therefore, for instance, when any president or counselor of the First Presidency enters a room full of people or speaks before an audience, he is to be treated as a title-less servant, not as royalty.  His words and actions alone are to be taken into consideration, without considering, at all, his priesthood rank.  If his words and/or actions are persuasive, long-suffering, gentle, meek, kind and given with genuine love and in pure knowledge, we are to allow them to influence us or to have power over us, otherwise, we are to ignore them. This does him a great service, as people who are treated like royalty eventually begin acting as royalty.  This principle applies to every priesthood calling in the church: branch president, bishop, quorum president, high priest group leader, stake president, mission president, area authority, seventy, apostle, First Presidency counselor or prophet.  They are all to be treated as if they had no title or office, whatsoever.

The next priesthood body, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, is not below the First Presidency, but above them, in the inverted hierarchy.  Yet, the Twelve are still just servants of the church body and are to be treated as such, just like the First Presidency.  The difference, though, lies in how the Twelve and First Presidency interact with each other, for the First Presidency is to serve the Twelve and not the other way around.

This pattern of the greater serving those who are lesser is to apply to all quorums of the priesthood, for even as “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Mark 10: 45), so are holders of the priesthood not to be ministered unto, but to minister, in their respective jurisdictions.

How Do Men Properly Use the Priesthood?

The word “minister” comes from the Latin minister, which means “servant.”  Our word “servant” comes from the Old French servir, which comes from the Latin servire, which means “to be a slave” or “to be a servant,” which comes from the Latin servus, which means “slave” or “servant.”  The only difference between a slave and a servant is that the servant is engaged in voluntary servitude while the slave is engaged in involuntary servitude.  With this in mind, we can think of a servant as a “voluntary slave.”  To properly use the priesthood, then, one must consider himself a servant, or voluntary slave, of all and act accordingly.  Even when called to preside, the use of the word “president” means, in the vernacular of the Lord, servant (or voluntary slave).

Which ordinance is instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing presidents or servants over different stakes scattered abroad;  (D&C 124: 134)

This is why the Lord uses the word “yoke.”

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  (Matt. 11: 28-30)

We are yoked (as servants) with priesthood.  We are voluntarily enslaved.

Entering the priesthood with the proper mindset requires that one consider himself as nothing (see Mosiah 4: 11), even less than “the dust of the earth” (see Mosiah 2: 25-26).  This prepares a man to “enter the priesthood” and not merely “get the priesthood.”  Often we speak of the priesthood as something you get, receive, hold, as if it were a thing you could stick in your pocket.  It is true that the priesthood is “the gift of God” (see Acts 8: 20), but it is also true that it is an order that is entered into by ordination.  “Entering the priesthood” is meant to be a life-changing event, for it is through the priesthood that men can become like Christ, even priesthood made flesh. In that vein, entering the priesthood is synonymous with entering a life of selfless service, in which you use the rights of the priesthood, and the powers of heaven that are inseparably connected to them, to bless and minister to all the living creatures around you, and even to those who have died, through the work for the dead.

Priesthood Is the Antidote to “Natural Man Syndrome”

When priesthood functions as it was intended to function, as a corps of humble servants who are unable to maintain any power or influence by virtue of their priesthood office and calling, because all look upon them as title-less servants and listen to their counsel and follow their examples only to the degree that their counsel and examples square up with the scriptures, priesthood becomes an antidote to the natural disposition that men have to exercise unrighteous dominion upon others.  Only when priesthood offices and callings are lifted up in the eyes of the LDS people to the point where they give their leaders special treatment, like royalty, and they heed and “follow the brethren,” their leaders, because they have such high and holy callings, in other words, when the LDS people begin to give more weight to what a General Authority says because he is a General Authority, or more weight to what a stake president or bishop or branch president or any other president says, because of their titular callings, at that point the priesthood ceases to be the antidote and becomes, instead, the poison.  When the honors of men are found within the priesthood ranks and men begin to list the high priesthood offices they’ve held as merit badges and honorable ribbons, or as a job resume, it ceases to function as the true priesthood of God and becomes, instead, but a form of godliness, and not the real thing.

At that point, the powers of heaven will have withdrawn from these men and the work of miracles would have ceased.  No more angels, no more open visions, no more prophecies and revelations, no more miraculous power manifested.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”  (JS-H 1: 19)

False Priesthoods: Royal In Nature

The transformation of the minister-servant status of priesthood into royalty status can be seen by examining how the priesthood operated during the time of Christ and how it has morphed over generations into the Catholic priesthood today.  The pope, cardinals and bishops dress, act and are treated as royalty.  Mormon priesthood appears to be following the same evolution.  Although Mormons don’t, yet, kiss their bishop’s rings (like Catholics do), Mormon priesthood leadership has many of the trappings of royalty, including getting the chief seats, partaking of the sacrament first, having people stand when a GA enters a room, etc.

How Keys are Lost (or Taken Away)

Both Mormon and Catholic priests claim a priesthood line of ordination that leads directly to Peter.  In the case of the Catholics, they claim an unbroken line of ordination to mortal Peter, while the Mormons claim an unbroken line of ordination to the angel Peter.  Each asserts that they have the keys (authority) of the priesthood, while the others do not.  The assertion, then, is that the priesthood of the other church is false because they have no keys.  So, by definition, a false priest, even though proper ordination has occurred, is one that asserts to have keys, but in reality has no keys.

A priest’s keys (authority) is immediately lost or taken away when a priest undertakes “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men” (D&C 121: 37) by virtue of the priesthood.  When authority is asserted because of an office of the priesthood, the Lord says, “Amen to…the authority (keys) of that man” (D&C 121: 37).

A man who has obtained the rights and keys of the priesthood, who acts in this manner, loses his keys (or has his keys taken away), becoming a false priest. For example, although the Catholic priests trace their priesthood back to Peter, they are false priests, for they assert their authority by virtue of their priesthood ordination and thus have no keys. They may have had the keys at one time, but due to wholesale, unrepentant, generational corruption, they have since lost them entirely, for you can not pass on what you no longer have.

Mormon priesthood keys can also be just as easily lost.  It matters not that one was ordained by someone with real priesthood authority who correctly conferred the rights and keys of the priesthood.  Regardless of how correct was the ordination, if priesthood is used contrary to the order of heaven, both the keys and powers of priesthood are instantly lost.  With repentence, they can be obtained again, but while a man persists in influencing others by virtue of the priesthood, that man has no valid authority and is a fraud, even a false priest.  When that happens, priesthood, in the hands of a false priest, instead of being a great blessing, becomes a curse to the people and church of God.

False priests “teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance” (2 Ne. 28: 4), which makes them “false teachers.”  It is “because of false (priest) teachers” that “churches have become corrupted” (2 Ne. 28: 12).  It is important, then, to be able to discern a false from a true priest/teacher.  In this area, Jesus gave us some counsel:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.  (3 Ne. 14: 15-20)

This advice equally applies to false priests.  Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that “ye shall know them by their improper priesthood ordination.”  How they are ordained is not the most important thing in detecting ravening wolves.  How they use the priesthood shows them as being true or false priests.

The Priesthood and Women

It is through priesthood that men become exalted, for when they receive it, they receive Christ and the Father and all that the Father has.  This is according to the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  The doctrine of exaltation requires the union of man and woman in eternal marriage, but men must also receive the priesthood.  Women, however, obtain their exaltation by their union with their priest-husband.  A priest-husband who has received the priesthood, meaning he has become priesthood made flesh, in similitude of the Son of God, when he “cleaves to his wife,” becomes one flesh with her.  In this way, the wife shares in all of the exalting benefits of the priesthood and enters into her exaltation, just as does the husband.  This is according to the principle of charity.

The prize is the same for both of them: all that the Father has is given to her husband and to her, for she is one flesh with her husband and he is priesthood made flesh. As he has received the priesthood, and she has become one flesh with him, she has also received the priesthood.

This does not mean that she must perform the ordinances of the priesthood.  Each office of the priesthood has duties that vary from another office of the priesthood.  A deacon does not do what an elder does.  In like manner, a woman, wife and mother has duties different than any of the offices of the priesthood.  She is not ordained to these duties like a priest, for her calling begins at her birth.  She is given from the start the natural abilities and gifts needed to bear and nurture the souls of men and has no need for priesthood rights to be conferred upon her to magnify her calling.  She only needs the saving ordinances of the gospel, including the temple rites, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, to magnify her calling.  Nevertheless, the promise of exaltation lies with the priesthood, and for this matter she must enter into eternal marriage with a man who has received the priesthood and become one flesh with him to obtain her exaltation.

The Lord is merciful to all His daughters, as well to all His sons, and will not allow a disobedient husband who refuses to receive the priesthood to stop a wife worthy of exaltation from receiving it.  Nor will He allow a rebellious wife to prohibit her worthy-of-exaltation husband from receiving it.  Each man who justifies, purifies and sanctifies himself before God and obeys His commandments, will enter into his exaltation regardless of what his spouse does.  The same applies to women.

What Priests Really Hold

Although we “confer the priesthood,” in reality we are not conferring priesthood, but are conferring the rights to the priesthood.  The rights to the priesthood are the rights to administer the priesthood, or the rights to officiate in an office of the priesthood, meaning the rights to use the priesthood, or to speak this language of God. (See Abr. 1: 2-3, 27, 31; Abr. 2: 11; D&C 121: 36-37; D&C 107: 10-12.)  This pattern also applies to the ordinance of confirmation, in which it is said, “Receive the Holy Ghost!”  Are we really bestowing the Third Member of the Godhead upon the newly baptized member?  Of course, not.  We are merely giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to have the constant companionship of the Spirit.

The Key-words of the Priesthood

Facsimile #2 of the Book of Abraham has the following explanations of figures #3 and #7:

3. “representing also the grand Key-words of the Holy Priesthood”

7. “revealing through the heaven the grand Key-words of the Priesthood”

The Key-words of the priesthood are not some secret, magic words that, once known and spoken, grant the man speaking them unlimited access to the heavens and the powers thereof.  They are not secret words known only to the living prophet or Twelve apostles, or to other secret initiates.  No, the Key-words of the priesthood is the priesthood itself.

The priesthood is a language that is specific to, and spoken only by, God Himself.  It is the original tongue, the mother and father tongue, the words that brought everything into existence, including other languages (the languages of men).  The priesthood is the key-words that lock or unlock all things, or seal and unloose all things.  These are the words of power (agency), the words of authority (keys).  It is through the Key-words (the Priesthood) that every other word of God has come forth.  For example, the scriptures found in our Standard Works contain the Word of God revealed through the Key-words (Priesthood) of God.

Joseph added “of the Holy Priesthood” and “of the Priesthood” to his explanation of Key-words, because Key-words is a common term and could refer to many things.  So, he added that to indicate or clarify that he was talking of the Priesthood Key-words.  The term Key-words itself is used to indicate that the Priesthood is a language which holds authority (keys) in the universe.  Joseph says that “all to whom the Priesthood was revealed” have “the Key-words of the Holy Priesthood” revealed (see Fig. 3).  So, if you have had the Priesthood revealed to you, then you have also had the Key-words of the Priesthood revealed to you, for they are one and the same.

What Blessings Come When We Use the Priesthood Properly?

Answer: Faith, the presence of God, knowledge of God and exaltation.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.  The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.  (D&C 121: 45-46)

The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. (D&C 107: 30-31)

Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!  (D&C 128: 19)

And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.  (D&C 84: 35-39)

Notice, also, that while the gift of the Holy Ghost gives us the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, receiving the priesthood actually causes the Holy Ghost to be one’s constant companion.  The meaning of this is that we become one (united) with God, meaning that we enter into the Godhead.  This is according to the Lord’s intercessory prayer.  (See John 17.)

Mormon Gentile Priesthood: A Temporary Measure

The priesthood given by God to the Gentile Mormons today is temporary in nature.  The first priesthood given, the Priesthood of Aaron, is a modified form of the original Priesthood of Aaron.  It has been tailored to fit the conditions (see D&C 46: 15) among the Gentile Mormons and will only remain with them until the Levites begin again to perform the Levitical Priesthood rites.

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.  (D&C 13: 1)

The second priesthood given, which is the Melchizedek Priesthood, will remain with the Gentile Mormons only until the restoration of all things, at which point it will be transferred to the tribes of Israel.

Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.  (D&C 86: 10)

So, at some point in the future, the Melchizedek Priesthood will be restored to the tribes of Israel and the Levitical/Aaronic Priesthood will be restored to the Levites and the priesthoods among the Gentiles will be phased out so that Gentiles will no longer be able to obtain priesthood unless they renounce their Gentile status and become numbered with the house (tribes and Levites) of Israel.

Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel. (3 Ne. 30: 2)

Next Priesthood article: An alternate view of the keys

Previous Priesthood article: Let the Aaronic Priesthood Do Home Teaching and Let the Elders Administer the Sacrament

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“David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me”


Recently, I made some comments on another blog concerning the LDS revelation on polygamy (D&C 132) and I thought that I would re-publish them here.  As Jacob 2: 22-35 always seems to come up whenever discussing D&C 132 with people who do not believe that that section is a revelation from God, I felt the need to expound those verses somewhat.  Here is my exposition:

Comment expounding Jacob 2: 22-35

[Note: Check out this comment and this comment below for my updated and current (Nov. 9, 2015) understanding of Jacob 2:23-24.LDS Anarchist.]

Let me attempt a brief explanation of what is going on in Jacob 2, as I understand it. The key to understanding the verses found in 22-35 is the word “whoredoms.” What is being condemned by the Lord is whoredom. And what is a whoredom? A whoredom is any illicit sexual commerce, in other words, whatever the Lord has said, “No,” to, is a whoredom. That is the key. So, with that in mind, let’s take yet another look at these verses:

22 And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you.

23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce], because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

Lehi had received commandments from the Lord modifying the law of Moses and taking away all the plural marriage provisions of it and causing monogamy with no concubinage to be the approved marriage doctrine for the Nephites. Because of this, from Lehi onward plural marriage became a whoredom (illicit sexual commerce.) The Nephite men thought to commence plural marriage anyway, as that was a part of the original law of Moses, and were using the same old prophet (good, righteous and pure, meaning undiluted or unmodified doctrine) – new prophet (modified doctrine, meaning apostate) tactic many people use nowadays. Specifically, they were pointing to David and Solomon and the righteous deeds these polygamous men had done.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

To counteract this, the Lord points to the unrighteous deeds of David and Solomon. He doesn’t point to plural marriage in general, but to the abominations David and Solomon committed in the name of plural marriage, meaning that they “had many wives and concubines” instead of “receiving many wives and concubines” from the Lord. In other words, they illicitly took wives which were forbidden them to take. In the case of David, this was the Uriah affair. In the case of Solomon, he took wives of a forbidden people. Again, to be even plainer in writing, the Lord here is pointing to the whoredoms of David and Solomon.

25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

A righteous branch is a branch that obeys the Lord. The Lord is not referring to polygamy here and equating righteousness with monogamy and unrighteousness with polygamy. Had the Jews of the Old World obeyed the Lord’s commands, they would have been a righteous branch even while practicing polygamy.

When the Lord says He doesn’t want the Nephites to do like them of old, He is not referring to the Old World practice of polygamy, but to the Old World practice of disobedience. So, the Lord is simply saying that this Nephite branch is to hearken to His words (obedience) or THEY WILL BE CURSED. He will not allow them to prosper in disobedience.

27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity [approved sexual commerce] of women. And whoredoms [illicit sexual commerce] are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

These are the commandments given to Lehi, repeated here by Jacob. Whoredoms is not referring to polygamy but to all sexual commerce prohibited by the Lord. In the case of the Nephites, as they had received a law of monogamy (a modification of the law of Moses), polygamy in their case was a whoredom, whereas in the case of the Old World Jews, polygamy was not a whoredom, as it was permitted.

29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

The emphasis is on keeping the current commandments of the Lord. It is the current prophet’s words that are the most important, not the words of dead prophets. The Lord is not so much concerned with polygamy, as He is concerned with obedience.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

This is self-explanatory, but I’ll explain it anyway. “Raise up seed unto me” refers to plural marriage. “I will command my people” means that plural marriage is illicit sexual commerce (a whoredom) to the Nephites unless the Lord commands its practice. “These things” refers to the new commandments received by Lehi, which modified the law of Moses for the Nephites.

31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

The abominations and wickedness that the Lord speaks of do not apply to the law of Moses-approved practice of plural marriage found among the Old World Jews (and those of other lands), but to their disobedience to His commandments. Again, the Lord is talking of disobedience to His commandments and not specifically of the general practice of polygamy.

32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

33 For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.

Remember, the Lord is still talking about whoredoms (illicit sexual commerce) and other disobedience, not about polygamy in general. Polygamy in the Old World was not whoredom, but in the New World it was.

34 And now behold, my brethren, ye know that these commandments were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.

35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

Okay, that seems self-explanatory to me. They did wrong not because polygamy was intrinsically wrong, but because the Lord made it wrong through Lehi for the Nephite people, until the Lord should make it right again (which He did later on in 4 Nephi.)

End of comment

Here’s another comment I made on the same post, concerning what I had mentioned above about 4 Nephi:

Comment expounding 4 Nephi polygamy

The Nephite branch became righteous when the Lord visited them and they “graduated” from the law of Moses to the law of Christ. Everybody still alive (after the destructions caused by His death) then converted to Christ. Interestingly enough, upon becoming a “righteous branch,” the record states the following:

And now, behold, it came to pass that the people of Nephi did wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast, and became an exceedingly fair and delightsome people.

And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them. (4 Nephi 1: 10-11)

These passages are referring to the doctrine of plural marriage and the promises made to those who enter therein. When the full Nephite record comes forth, it will show this. So, the Nephites were temporarily prohibited from entering into this practice while they lived the law of Moses, for reasons known only to the Lord, while the Jews in the Old World and the 10 Tribes of Israel in the Northern Countries, were allowed by the Lord to have plural marriage under the same law of Moses. In other words, these were three groups of contemporary people living different laws of the Lord. This doesn’t mean that one group’s laws were unjustified before the Lord. The Lord “commands and revokes” as He pleases. It is His privilege and as long as each group of people kept the commandments He gave to that particular group, they were justified.

Also, it should be kept in mind that the plural marriage under the law of Moses was not the plural marriage under the law of Christ. Plural marriage under the law of Christ is a doctrine of exaltation. Plural marriage under the law of Moses was not a doctrine of exaltation, however, it did prepare a people for the doctrine that came under the law of Christ. And that was what the law of Moses was for, to point people to Christ and to prepare them for Him and His doctrines.

So, the Nephites lived the doctrine of plural marriages under the law of Christ, from the visit of Christ to them onward, a period of 300+ years. Most people miss this and I can only believe that this is by the design of the Lord. When the Book of Mormon went forth at first, it was the intention of the Lord that it be the public doctrine, the milk, while the meat was to be revealed privately and over time revealed publicly as the public was ready for it. Had the Book of Mormon been exceedingly plain on this point of plural marriage, from the get-go, upon it being published, everyone would have rejected it, as the world was not ready for the doctrine of plural marriage.

As it is, the wording in the Book of Mormon was sufficiently obscure (on purpose) that people (even Joseph Smith!) mistook the Lord’s words in Jacob 2 as being a condemnation of all plural marriage. Most people completely missed the meaning of “For if I will, saith the Lord, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things,” the meaning being that only the unauthorized practice of plural marriage was condemned. Now, after the doctrine of plural marriage has been publicly taught, the chapter heading expounds the principle plainly, but when first published, the meaning of Jacob 2 was “hidden in plain sight.”

Also, the verses in 4 Nephi were (and still are) obscure to many people and most did not understand that they spoke of authorized plural marriage being practiced among the Nephites according to the more excellent law of Christ.

Besides all of that, Jacob 2 served another purpose: that of getting Joseph to inquire about plural marriage, which ended up revealing some meat, so we see in this that the purposes of the Lord are fulfilled and none of this has anything to do with perversion or whoring spirits, but with how the Lord works among the children of men, meaning according to their conditions.

End of comment

As I mentioned above that even Joseph Smith, at first, did not understand the meaning of Jacob 2, I will next re-publish here another couple of my comments, from that same post, which talk about Joseph’s understanding.

First, some background.  A question had been asked,

Why would Joseph Smith, as the Seer of the Lord who translated the Book of Mormon be asking why God justified David and Solomon in taking multiple wives when in fact it was through his efforts in translating the Book of Mormon that he was able to reveal to the world that David and Solomon WERE NOT JUSTIFIED in having multiple wives[?]

This question was referring to D&C 132: 1.  As an answer, I responded with this:

Comment answering question concerning D&C 132: 1

Joseph approached the Lord concerning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not concerning Moses, David and Solomon. Jacob’s remarks about David and Solomon made him wonder about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so he made inquiry about these three prophets. The Lord, though, in his answer to Joseph, threw in a surprise for Joseph, for he included three more justified servants in his answer, two of which Joseph was thinking (because of Jacob’s words in the Book of Mormon) were not justified. In fact, when the angel appeared to him with the answer to his question, Joseph quoted the Book of Mormon to him. Joseph knew it was a true angel from God, as he had already received the keys to discern true and false angels and had applied the keys. So, the Lord’s response was to not only explain Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s justification, but also to expound a bit on the meaning of the Lord’s words to Jacob, which Joseph, at the time, did not fully comprehend. This is why the first verse reads like this:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, [at this point there is a break of “as also” because the Lord is giving more than Joseph asked for, to teach him that David and Solomon were also justified, except in those things which they did not receive from the Lord, in other words, the Lord’s intention was to more fully explain Jacob’s words in the Book of Mormon] as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—

Had Joseph made inquiry of all six men, it would have read, “as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—”

End of comment

After this, I was asked a question:

“Why would the Lord reveal that David and Solomon were not Justified in the Book of Mormon and then say that they were justified in this revelation?”

My answer was the following:

Comment concerning Joseph’s understanding of Jacob 2

Because the Lord didn’t say that David and Solomon were not justified in the Book of Mormon, he said, “which thing was abominable before me.” He never mentioned justification. He just mentions a “thing” that was abominable before Him.

At first, Joseph (and currently yourself and others) misunderstood Jacob’s words and thought that David and Solomon were unjustified by the practice. He did not understand just what the “thing” the Lord was referring to was and erroneously thought that it referred to all instances of the practice of plural marriage. This is why Joseph quoted Jacob’s words to the angel when he was told of the principle of plural marriage.

And so we have one of Joseph’s wives saying the following:

An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle [plural marriage], he would slay him. Joseph said he talked to him soberly about it, and told him it was an abomination and quoted scripture to him. He said in the Book of Mormon it was an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and they were to adhere to these things except the Lord speak. (Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg.1 – Pg.2)

So, this shows that Joseph was confused over Jacob’s words in the Book of Mormon and inquired of the Lord about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and NOT Moses, David and Solomon, because he already believed David and Solomon were unjustified per the Book of Mormon. This is why the Lord phrased it “as also,” which means “and also,” to indicate to Joseph that not only were the first three justified, but the last three were also.

So, Joseph’s question was doctrinally sound and consistent with what we know of those times. The problem you are having, then, is not with Joseph’s question, but with the Lord’s answer to him. Joseph applied the keys to determine a real angel from a false angel, so a real angel from God appeared to him and delivered this real doctrine in answer to his honest inquiry.

Again:

I [Mary Lightner] asked him [Joseph Smith] if Emma knew about me, and he said, “Emma thinks the world of you.” I was not sealed to him until I had a witness. I had been dreaming for a number of years I was his wife. I thought I was a great sinner. I prayed to God to take it from me for I felt it was a sin; but when Joseph sent for me he told me all of these things. “Well,” said I, “don’t you think it was an angel of the devil that told you these things?” Said he, “No, it was an angel of God. God Almighty showed me the difference between an angel of light and Satan’s angels. The angel came to me three times between the years of 1834 and 1842 and said I was to obey that principle or he would slay me. “But,” said he, “they called me a false and fallen prophet but I am more in favor with my God this day than I ever was in all my life before.” (Mary Lightner 1905 Address, typescript, BYU, Pg.1 – Pg.2)

The answer made him recoil and resist, but he eventually was able to wrap his mind around it and embrace it.

End of comment

My next group of comments were originally split up into multiple comments, but I’m here putting them all together:

Comments concerning polygamy & the law of Moses

I find it interesting how the Lord’s words to Jacob are held up as the final word and the rest of the Lord’s words given in the Bible are discarded. That is what I see on this post and comments. Of course, anyone is free to do this, but this is the same sort of tactic used by apostate Christianity, but in reverse order: they throw out the Book of Mormon in favor of the Bible.

When both the Bible and Book of Mormon are held up, and both are accepted as the word of God, you cannot honestly take the Lord’s words of “which thing was abominable before me” as meaning a wholesale condemnation of the practice of plural marriage. It must mean something other than that. If you force such a meaning, you must throw the Bible out the window, for the Bible contradicts such an interpretation.

For example:

Paul said of the law of Moses: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7: 12) And in verse 14 he said, “For we know that the law is spiritual.” So, the law of Moses is holy, just, good and spiritual. Paul’s words, not mine. To say, then, that the law of Moses, which was given by Yahweh, was abomination, or allowed abomination, or even commanded abomination, is contradictory.

We know, from the Bible, that King David married at least 4 women with the approval of the Lord:

David, king of Israel took Abigail and Ahinoam, “and they were also both of them his wives;” (1 Sam. 25: 42-43). Then he “took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem;” (2 Sam. 5: 13). With two wives and concubines (plural) he at this time had at least 4 wives. The Bible later says that “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite;” (1 Kings 15: 5). In this passage we have an assurance that David done right in taking all his wives and concubines, except in one instance, for which he was severely chastised. In the case of Uriah the Hittite, David committed adultery with his wife, and then had Uriah killed in the Battlefield. This was adultery and murder and it was condemned by the Lord, but his prior marriages were, according to the Bible, approved as “right in the eyes of the Lord”.

This is consistent with D&C 132, which basically says the same thing. In order for Jacob 2: 24 to be consistent with the Bible, the abominable thing referred to by the Lord concerning David was the Uriah affair and not the general practice of polygamy.

The law of Moses both permitted polygamy AND COMMANDED IT, in certain instances.

When Moses took a second wife, he was not in violation of the Law given to him by the Lord. That law does not prohibit plural marriage and in fact, recognized the possibility of multiple wives:

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn. (Deuteronomy 21: 15-16)

In fact, the Law of Moses sometimes may have commanded Plural Marriage. When a woman’s husband died, the Lord commanded that a brother of the husband was supposed to take her as his wife. (Deut. 25: 4-10.) If he was already married, then at that point he would have had two wives. The Law as given to Moses does not mind that.

So, in order to hold onto your pet theory that the Lord’s words in Jacob 2 negates D&C 132, you have to throw out the entire Old and New Testaments, too. Now, how badly do you want to keep to such a theory?

Btw, these quotes were taken from polygamy.com. Here is another interesting quote from the same source:

Many of the leading men of the Bible had more than one wife in some form of marriage relationship at the same time. This includes Abraham, Jacob (Israel), Moses, David and others. The Law that Moses gave also made provision for plural marriage and in some cases, it seems that plural marriage was even commanded by the Law of Moses. There is evidence that multiple wives was an acceptable practice all through ancient Israel, including the time of Christ and it was not until the end of the 1st Millennium AD that some Jews officially rejected polygyny. One branch of Jews never agreed to this and still accept the practice of plural wives to this day.

One last thing, the marriage doctrine given in D&C 42 is completely compatible with plural marriage. It is not a doctrine of monogamy, but a doctrine of fidelity. It is, in essence, the law of chastity, stated differently.

End of comment

As the above comment mentioned D&C 42, I might as well talk about that, too.

In addition to holding up Jacob 2 as the standard of monogamy and the reason why D&C 132 must be a false revelation, D&C 42 is also held up as contradictory to section 132.  So, here were my answers to such a proposition.

While speaking of D&C 42: 22 and D&C 132: 54, and comparing the two verses, it was stated in a comment,

The definition of “none else” is “not one beside” or “no other.” So, if the Lord meant “none else” to indicate the exclusion of all others in 132 then that is his precise meaning in 42. If you hold to the belief that 42 allows for multiple spouses then you have to believe that the Lord was not excluding Emma from multiple spouses in 132. In which case the verse becomes nonsense. Either way, according to the verse in 132 living this “law” was required for Emma’s salvation.

I replied:

Comment concerning D&C 42: 22 and D&C 132: 54

The Lord was excluding Emma from multiple spouses in 132. The wording in section 132 is different than in section 42. In D&C 42: 22, it is a command to “cleave unto [thy wife],” whereas in D&C 132: 54 the command is to “cleave unto my servant Joseph.” Had the Lord said to Emma, “cleave unto your husband,” it would have left open multiple husbands, but He didn’t say that. He stated a specific person, not a specific title. (”Wife” being a title, designation or office of a person.) This is why the early saints who practiced plural marriage had no problem with D&C 42: 22, at all. It is compatible and not contradictory.

End of comment

Later, came the rebuttal and question,

You focused on the term “cleave” without addressing the issue of the words “none else.” To me the words “none else” are more important in these two passages. Are you suggesting that in section 42 “none else” means something other than “no other” or “not one beside?”

My reply was the following:

Comment on why D&C 42: 22 is a doctrine of fidelity, not monogamy

I left out “none else” because the phrase, when combined with just “wife” does not indicate monogamy. It only indicates fidelity. Have you ever wondered why the Article on Marriage was even necessary, if D&C 42 put forth a doctrine of monogamy? The Article on Marriage would then be redundant in stating that the saints believed in monogamy, would it not?

If I marry a wife and then she dies, does D&C 42 prohibit me from taking another wife? If section 42 indicates that I am to cleave only to one wife, then I can only be married once and I can only cleave to her and to none else, even if she dies. I am to remain single and widowed forever more, for if I take another wife I would be cleaving unto someone other than my (first) wife.

Of course this is not the meaning of the scripture. It is a doctrine of fidelity, not monogamy, meaning that I am only to cleave to my wife, whether I have one wife or ten wives. Each woman married to me, whether in succession (after their deaths) or with all of them still living (in polygamy), is to have me cleave to her and to no one else who is not my wife.

End of comment

Note: the reason why I am placing these comments all together like this in a single post is because of my intention—should I ever again find myself talking to someone about D&C 132 and they bring up Jacob 2 (or D&C 42) as proof that D&C 132 is a false revelation—to point to this post.  If you agree with the above comments and also, like me, tire of hearing the same worn out Jacob 2/D&C 42 objections, feel free to use them, also.

Previous Chastity article: The Law of Chastity: What It Is and What It Isn’t

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The Law of Chastity: What It Is and What It Isn’t


As part of an article that I have been preparing on the law of chastity, I thought it would be good to first define it.  However, as I began writing that portion of the article (the definition of the law of chastity), the article became quite long and I realized that this was a topic sufficient for its own post.  So, I am splitting the article into two, this being the first part.

There have been two definitions given of the law of chastity in the temple of God.

The temple definition of the law of chastityprior to April, 1990

“The law of chastity…is that the daughters of Eve and the sons of Adam shall have no sexual intercourse except with their husbands or wives to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded.”  (Source: The Telestial World.)

and

“We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain.

“To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.”  (Source: The Terrestrial World.)

The temple definition of the law of chastityApril, 1990 Revision

The 1990 revision speaks of sexual “relations” rather than sexual “intercourse.”

The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded.  (Source: The Terrestrial World, Notes 1 and 2.)

Paraphrased law of chastity with pre- and post-April, 1990 revision comparisons

I will paraphrase the definition given previous to April, 1990, and state it as follows:

The law of chastity is that no woman will have sexual intercourse except with her husband to whom she is legally and lawfully wedded and that no man will have sexual intercourse except with his wife to whom he is legally and lawfully wedded.

And here is a paraphrase of the definition given in the April, 1990 revision:

The law of chastity is that no woman will have sexual relations except with her husband to whom she is legally and lawfully wedded and that no man will have sexual relations except with his wife to whom he is legally and lawfully wedded.

Would the real law of chastity please stand up?

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, the term sexual intercourse has two shades of meaning:

1 : heterosexual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis : COITUS

2 : intercourse (as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis

(Definition taken from this page.)

According to the same dictionary, the term sexual relations has the following, singular definition:

: SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

(Definition taken from this page.)

We see from these definitions that the terms sexual intercourse and sexual relations are synonymous.

More on the second shade of meaning

As stated above, the term sexual intercourse has two shades of meaning.

So that there is no misunderstanding over the second shade of meaning, which is defined as intercourse, here is the definition of the word intercourse:

3 : physical sexual contact between individuals that involves the genitalia of at least one person <anal intercouse> <oral intercourse>; especially : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE 1 <heterosexual intercourse>

(Definition taken from this page.)

And for those who aren’t sure just what is considered human genitalia,

“The Latin term genitalia, sometimes anglicized as genitals and genital area, is used to describe the externally visible sex organs, known as primary genitalia or external genitalia: in males the penis, in females the clitoris and vulva.”

(Taken from the Sex organ entry of Wikipedia.)

Church manuals give the same definition as the temple definition

For example, in the book Gospel Principles, in chapter 39, entitled, The Law of Chastity, under the section called What Is the Law of Chastity?, chastity is stated this way:

“We are to have sexual relations only with our spouse to whom we are legally married. No one, male or female, is to have sexual relations before marriage. After marriage, sexual relations are permitted only with our spouse.”

The Gospel Topics Gospel Library found on lds.org, an official web site of the Church, under the entry Chastity, states the following:

“Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means complete fidelity to husband or wife during marriage.”

Church manuals and leader’s teachings often go beyond the temple definition

To give an example, I refer back to the Gospel Principles book, same chapter, same section, and directly under the definition quoted above.  Two paragraphs follow which state:

We have been taught that the law of chastity encompasses more than sexual intercourse. Elder Spencer W. Kimball warned young people of other sexual sins:

“Among the most common sexual sins our young people commit are necking and petting. Not only do these improper relations often lead to fornication, [unwed] pregnancy, and abortions—all ugly sins—but in and of themselves they are pernicious evils, and it is often difficult for youth to distinguish where one ends and another begins. They awaken lust and stir evil thoughts and sex desires. They are but parts of the whole family of related sins and indiscretions” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 65).

This tendency to go beyond the temple definition and lump together anything and everything that can lead to breaking the law of chastity is fairly common in the church.  These “related sins and indiscretions” are often categorically labeled immorality.

The sexual laws of the Bible

What the Bible says about proper sexual activity is not quite the same as the temple definition of the law of chastity.  It is not my intention to address the biblical sexuality laws here.  It would take too much time and require more than one post.  Others, however, have addressed these issues, so I will refer the reader to one of them, the Controversial Truths section of the Righteous Warriors website, in which can be found biblical sexuality articles.

For the purposes of this post, I will be sticking to the temple definition of the law of chastity and to nothing else.

Where fornication and adultery fit in the law of chastity

For the sins of fornication and adultery, only the first definition of sexual intercourse applies.  In other words, if a married woman has oral sex with some guy she’s not married to, she is breaking the law of chastity, but she isn’t committing the sin of adultery.  If she has a lesbian affair, she is breaking the law of chastity, but she isn’t committing adultery.  The sins of fornication and adultery require vaginal penetration by the penis.  But, don’t take my word on this. Go ask your bishop to see the church handbook for yourself.

Now that we know what the law of chastity is, let’s talk about what it isn’t.

Masturbation does not break the law of chastity

To break the law of chastity, at least two people are required.  Therefore, masturbation, which is sexual self-stimulation, does not break the law of chastity.

Kissing does not break the law of chastity

Kissing, even passionate kissing, as long as the genitalia are not involved, does not break the law of chastity.

Petting does not break the law of chastity

Petting and even heavy petting, like kissing, does not break the law of chastity, as long as the genitalia are not involved.  Also, keep in mind that the breasts are not considered genitalia.

Viewing pornography does not break the law of chastity

For the reasons stated above, looking at pornography does not break the law of chastity.  It is impossible to physically have sexual intercourse with just the eyes.

Committing adultery in one’s heart does not break the law of chastity

Jesus said “that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  (See Matthew 5: 28.)  The Lord also said, “He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath denied the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out.”  (See D&C 42: 23.)

“Looking on a woman to lust after her” means that a man consciously wishes that he could cheat on his wife (if he is already married) and have sexual intercourse (1st shade of meaning of that term, which covers the sin of adultery) with another man’s wife.

Obviously, this is a sin that can rapidly lead to breaking the law of chastity, but in and of itself, this sin does not break the law of chastity.

Immodesty does not break the law of chastity

How you dress can affect how you feel about yourself and how others treat you, but it is outside of the jurisdiction of the law of chastity, therefore, dressing immodestly does not break the law of chastity.

(For a fuller treatment of modesty, see its Wikipedia entry.  For a brief review of modern LDS modesty standards, see the blog post, A Style of Our Own.)

Why knowing the definition of chastity is helpful

People often beat themselves up unnecessarily.  A person is, of course, free to add as many personal rules as they want to the laws of the gospel, including the law of chastity, as did the Pharisees, but when it comes right down to it, chastity is what the Lord, in His holy temple, has defined it as being.  Nothing more, nothing less.

So, the next time you are sitting in a temple recommend interview with your bishop or stake president, and you are asked if you live the law of chastity, you may want to keep these things in mind.  Having the temple definition in your head may make answering the question a whole lot easier.

Next Chastity article: “David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me”

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

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Does legalized, same-sex “marriage” break the law of chastity?


As I was doing research tonight for an article on the law of chastity, I came across something interesting that has to do with same-sex “marriage.”  Having been through the temple, I knew that the law of chastity is defined for us there, so I went to ldsendowment.org to get the exact text of the definition of the law of chastity.  It was then that I noticed the following:

Pre-1990 definition of the law of chastity

We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity. This I will explain. To the sisters, it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse (1) except with your husband to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. To the brethren it is that no one of you will have sexual intercourse except with your wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. (2) [Taken from this page.]

[Footnotes: (1) 1. The 1990 revision speaks of sexual “relations” rather than sexual “intercourse.” (2) 2. The 1990 revision does not have women and men covenant separately to keep the law of chastity. Instead, women and men simultaneously covenant to have no sexual relations except with their “husband or wife” to whom they are legally and lawfully wedded. This revision was no doubt made to streamline the ceremony. However, the new wording has the presumably unintended consequence of bringing same-sex marriages–if legalized–within the pale of the law of chastity.]

1990 definition of the law of chastity

We are instructed to give unto you the law of chastity, which is that each of you shall have no sexual relations except with your husband or wife to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded.  [Taken from this page.]

Now, I have always assumed that the 1990 definition had a way out of permitting same-sex “marriage” in its use of the words “legally and lawfully.”  Essentially, I figured that “legally” meant it was permitted by the State and that “lawfully” meant it was according to the laws of God.  In other words, that a matrimony could not break the law of chastity with one another as long as their marriage was right with the State and also right with God.

However, I am no lawyer.    And I wonder if I am wrong in my assessment of the meaning of “legally” and “lawfully.”  I wonder if the temple definition could be used against the Church by church members, who, given the current marriage situation in certain States of the Union, decide to “marry” another church member of the same sex, legally (and lawfully?)  If the Church tries to take action against these members, saying that they are openly fornicating (breaking the law of chastity), and attempting to get them disfellowshipped or excommunicated, what would happen if these same members brought up the current temple definition of the law of chastity in their defense, stating that as they are married, they are complying with the law of God?  And if the Church disregarded such a defense, could these members take this to the law of the land (the State) and say, “Look at the definition of the law of chastity which we received in the temple and see that we have fully complied with that definition, thus, the Church is in error, not us?”

There is no doubt that the pre-1990 definition excludes same-sex “marriage.”  But does the 1990 definition do the same?  If it doesn’t, meaning, if the wording is not sufficient to exclude it, and if the temple definition can be used as a defense in a lawsuit, the Church may be in for some legal trouble should any members decide to engage in legalized, same-sex “marriage” or, perhaps, if any non-member, same-sex “matrimony” decides to investigate the Church and desires baptism without first divorcing.

Next Chastity article: The Law of Chastity: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Previous Chastity article: The many definitions of adultery

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Scriptural Discussion #16: David and Solomon


DAVID AND SOLOMON

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. (Jacob 2: 24)

David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.  David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.  (D&C 132: 38-39)

Discuss.

Previous Scriptural Discussion: #15 ABORTION

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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?

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To LDS women: beware of kissing


“A man loses his sense of direction after four drinks; a woman loses hers after four kisses.”Henry Louis Mencken

Apparently there is now scientific research that indicates that when a woman engages in kissing with a man, the hormone oxytocin is released in her body. Oxytocin is known as the “love drug” and causes a woman to bond with the man with whom she is kissing. It clouds her rational thought processes and affects her on an emotional level. Oxytocin bonding is very dangerous because regardless of the character of the man she is kissing, once the bonding takes place, she will be emotionally attached. She may find out later he has vices, is violent, is dishonest, is of another religion, or is incompatible in a multitude of ways with the standards she has set for the kind of man she wants, but due to oxytocin bonding, she may find it exceedingly difficult to break the relationship. After this chemical process occurs, and bonding is initiated, friends who see that the man is not right for her may tell her directly and point out the cons of the guy, but she will make excuses because “when I kiss him he makes me feel (fill in the blank).”

Ladies, the only way to keep your head straight so that you think rationally and choose the best man for you is to keep to a “no kissing plan.” Absolutely never kiss a man or boy before you have decided to marry him and are engaged to him. Only after you have made the decision that this is the man for you, should you kiss him, allowing oxytocin bonding to occur.

Just think of how much misery and heartache could be spared by just informing our daughters about the physiological response of their bodies when they kiss a boy, and counseling them to avoid it at all cost, until they are engaged. Virtually every relationship disaster, every immorality tragedy and every relationship disease can be avoided by this simple plan.

All men know the effect kissing has on women, but only until recently have scientists shown the link between kissing and the female hormone oxytocin. So, men, no, it isn’t your great kissing technique that makes a woman melt. When she decides, desires and initiates kissing with you, that hormone is released in her and she’ll melt, regardless of who you are, what you look like or how good or bad you are. Once she has experienced oxytocin bonding with you, she is yours.

This information should scare the daylights out of single and divorced women and parents of girls. Having boyfriends, meaning friends who are boys that you kiss, is dangerous ground to tread. If you don’t want to end up with someone who makes you miserable, but to whom you are oxytocin bonded, don’t ever kiss a man who isn’t your fiance or husband. Period.

For further information, click on the following link:

www.nokissing.com

Next Relationships article: Slim pickings is not the problem with the single adult program: FAT women are

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