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The plural wives of Joseph Smith

I’ve thought long and hard about the propriety of this essay. It is a sensitive subject and one that is so easy to misunderstand. It is also a sacred subject that I have seen dragged through the dregs of the ex-Mormon sites, and yet presented well on some Internet resources. Although some may claim otherwise, it is not a secret subject. It is just not taught in your basic church curriculum.

In today’s Internet age, this information is readily available. It was readily available when I was growing up but you just had to know where to look. The best official source for this information is on the Church’s Family Search site. Just enter Joseph Smith and his birth date of 1805 in the state of Vermont, click on search and then click on his ancestral file entry. There are his wives.

The list is not complete and includes a few wives who were sealed to him after his death. A more complete list can be found at the website appropriately titled, The summaries presented of the wives are well done and quick, easy reading. If you want a more detailed treatise, read the book, In Sacred Loneliness, published by Signature Books in 1997.

The doctrine of celestial marriage

There is no way you can understand this unique aspect of the beginnings of the LDS Church without considering this a doctrine of the restoration. That’s an important concept to us and puts everything into perspective. Without this understanding, it is easy to think of Joseph Smith as a libertine and an adulterer. In fact, that is how the anti and ex-Mormons want you to view him.

It has always been the claim of the LDS Church that we are a restored religion. We believe that our doctrines and practices are a restoration of things known, taught, believed and performed by the patriarchs of the Old Testament. One of those beliefs and practices is what we call celestial marriage. It is also referred to as plural marriage by some but as polygamy by most people.

Although the revelation on celestial marriage, also called the new and everlasting covenant was recorded in 1843 as section 132, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831. We believe in the restoration of all things, and the practice of celestial marriage is just one of those things.

It is not viewed as adultery

A close reading of section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is still very much a part of the canon of the LDS Church reveals that the Lord appointed Joseph to restore all things (v 40) and was commanded to go and do the works of Abraham (v 32). The Lord affirmed that Joseph had the sealing power (v 46 & 48) and that the Lord had already given him plural wives (v 52).

Verses 61 and 64 point out that the first wife holds the keys of this power and therefore, she is the one who administers or allows her husband to enter into additional marriages. It is she that gives them to him. However, verse 65 makes it clear that if she doesn’t believe and accept the doctrine when taught, that he is justified to receive any additional wives the Lord gives him.

And that is exactly the situation Joseph was in. Emma didn’t like plural marriage although she did try to make it work on a couple of occasions. She accepted Eliza and Emily Partridge for a short season as well as Maria and Sarah Lawrence. Joseph and Emma were sealed during one of her periods of acceptance. However, it was short-lived and she then threw his other wives out.

Not practiced openly, denied publicly

Joseph taught this doctrine to his counselors in the First Presidency and to the Twelve Apostles. It was difficult for most to accept at first, but just as he did with the additional wives to whom he proposed, he invited his trusted associates to obtain a revelation and witness for themselves that the doctrine was true, ennobling and exalting. Most did and many of them followed his example.

However, the doctrine was not taught openly, and was, in fact, denied when it came up as it did quite often during the later Nauvoo period. Now that is a difficult thing for many of our critics to accept. It is bad enough that Joseph and a few other leaders participated in the practice of plural marriage clandestinely, but to then deny it and to publicly preach against it is just hypocritical.

The problem was that there were some who took license with this practice and then turned it into something that it was not meant to be. They called it “spiritual wifery,” and enticed women into adulterous relationships claiming that Joseph approved and sanctioned it. Joseph was forced to preach against it publicly because John C. Bennett was teaching and practicing it unlawfully.

Our critics are shocked

When people investigate the church and the subject of plural marriage comes up, most are familiar with Brigham Young as being the primary example of the practice among the early Latter-day Saint church. However, many are surprised when they learn that the Prophet Joseph Smith was the originator of the doctrine and the practice. Joseph had at least thirty wives.

I suppose that is shocking to learn because Joseph figures so prominently in the story of the restoration. The missionaries teach of the sacred experiences of Joseph in the First Vision, the visits of the angel Moroni, the appearances of old testament prophets in the Kirtland temple and of Joseph’s vision of the three degrees of glory, including his glorious testimony of the Savior.

Our critics have capitalized on this and delight to point it out with fervent zeal and language that makes it obvious that there is no acceptance or desire to understand that this could possibly be something that really was revealed by the Lord as a part of the restoration of all things in the last days. They do not want you to see celestial marriage as anything other than base carnal desire.

Not practiced today

I have written in a previous essay that I hold strongly to the idea of plural marriage still being an eternal doctrine. Latter-day Saints no longer practice it, and have not for over a hundred years. Of course there are those who claim to be Fundamentalist Mormons who live in polygamy, and are mostly in Utah, but they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This topic will continue to be of interest to those who learn about the LDS Church, and will be for a long time to come. It is a curiosity because it is not the social norm in the United States or in most of the Christian world. It has been in the news a lot lately with the FLDS raids in Texas and with the show Big Love on HBO portraying polygamy as a big part of Utah life. It’s not.

The church goes to great lengths to point out that Mormons do not practice polygamy. There are numerous entries on the subject in the Newsroom and even a one page website that gives a great summary of the message that we want to get out to the world. You can find it on my sidebar. The doctrine may still be in our scriptures, but we do not practice it. Those who do are cut off.

Summary and conclusion

As I noted at the beginning, I have been hesitant to write this essay but have had it on my list to do for a long time. I want to have it available on my blog to refer readers to it as it comes up in dialog. I do not like the language our critics use to describe Joseph’s difficulties because he was the first to begin this practice in the last dispensation. Brigham Young had it much easier.

Yes, Joseph Smith had many plural wives. He entered into the law of celestial marriage by way of commandment from God. No, it was not easy for him to obey this commandment. His wife, Emma, who loved him dearly and believed in him as a prophet, nevertheless had a very difficult time accepting this revelation and did not want to share Joseph with the other women in his life.

You can read a lot more about this on various Internet sites listed below, and even the Wikipedia articles about each of his wives are presented fairly accurately. The church is not trying to hide this information and has not for many years. It is a part of our heritage and history. It is a sacred part of our religion that was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith in these, the latter days.


For additional information:

01. Remembering the Wives of Joseph Smith website
02. Origin of Latter-day Saint Polygamy - Wikipedia
03. In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton - Signature Books
04. Review of In Sacred Loneliness from FARMS
05. SHIELDS review of In Sacred Loneliness
06. FAIR - Joseph's marriages to young women
07. FAIR - Joseph Smith and polyandry
08. FAIR - How Emma felt about plural marriage
09. FAIR - Charges against Joseph of lustful motives
10. FAIR - Resources - Joseph Smith and polygamy


Anonymous said…
For some people, this seems to be a high hurdle.

The hardest thing I think, is to understand the underlying ideas behind some of the things that took place. That's precisely because Joseph spoke practically nothing on the subject, so we don't have any notes from his public speeches.

What we have are journal entries of his wives - and some, who were deeply repulsed by the idea then, and they do not necessarily answer the questions that come to mind to a 21st century reader.

They understood some things differently than we do now. That much is obvious. The links you listed lead to sources, where there are enough to start a journey into the world of the Nauvoo-era saints. Sadly, even some things that the most clearheaded people have said about it in the 19th century isn't immediately clear to us, as to their meaning.
It is a high hurdle indeed, and a challenge for many Church members and investigators. But then, this isn't the first time God's people have had difficulty reconciling the private lives of the prophets; ref. Numbers 12:

1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

Numbers 12 is worth a full read on this subject. The unmistakable message of the Lord's response is that the prophet's private life is not open to public criticism; note that the Lord does not even deign to provide a justification for Moses' action.

6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
This comment has been removed by the author.
[Edit: Link fixed]

One other point on your article, I would say that while the law of celestial marriage holds open the possibility of plural marriages, it does not require them. Note that while D&C 132 is typically cited in this discussion, Jacob 2 is also canon, and while Jacob 2 does hold open the possibility of plural marriages, the stated preference from the Lord is for monogamy. Note Jacob 2:

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.

Plural marriages (duly authorized) appear to be the exception, not the rule; and this scripture makes it clear that plural marriage can be instituted (and, by implication, revoked) as circumstances demand. Jacob 2 and 3 also beautifully highlight the Lord's sensitivity to the feelings of women and children in family matters, which is why the instructions on marriage were, and are, extremely strict.
In The Doghouse said…
Very good post on a very delicate subject. We are taught that everything points to Jesus Christ. He is in all things and through all things. Polygamy symbolically teaches a very important lesson concerning Christ and the effects of the Atonement. There is always only one husband, that is Christ. There will be many wives, but only one husband.
When you ponder the symbolic teaching of this concept it shows how everyone will have a portion, or a position in His family, through Jesus Christ, because of the Atonement.
dview said…
have you read threewatches blog where he says that Joseph Smith teaching polygamy was a false doctrine that the Lord allowed to be taught because the saints rejected zion with the apostasy at kirtland, if you have read his blog, what are your comments
On a number of points, I disagree with your post.

(1) To say that something is "readily available" as long as you "know where to look" is like saying that the golden plates weren't really hidden, as long as you had a map to where they were buried.

I grew up in the church. In Utah. I graduated from seminary and attended church every week. I graduated from BYU where my dad was a math professor. I went to all the church sites, including the Lion and Beehive houses multiple times.

Still, it wasn't until after I moved to Florida and read Mormon Enigma that I ever heard that Joseph was also a polygamist.

That information simply was not acknowledged.

(2) Discussing the fact that we claim to be a restorative church doesn't explain the distinctions between men and women in polygamous relationships. In other words, it only helps one "understand this unique aspect of the beginnings of the LDS church" in that is says, "Well, they did it before, so we can do it, too."

(3) The idea that the first wife "holds the keys of this power" is ludicrous. We all know that the supposed consent rule means nothing. "Consent or burn in hell" isn't much in the way of choice. And "consent or burn in hell AND your husband will marry more women anyway" means even less.

(4) The current leadership has simply chosen to ignore the issues around polygamy. The standard response is, "It's in the past." Of course that is untrue given the general idea (as you, yourself expressed) that it is "still an eternal doctrine."

(5) Given that Joseph not only married myriad women, but also married MARRIED women, his case is particularly troubling and worthy of explanation.
Tim Malone said…
Hi Alison,

Thanks for visiting my blog and adding to the dialog on this essay. I appreciate what you have shared about your experience in learning about Joseph’s plural wives. You are not alone. Many others have related the same thing to me over the years as the subject has come up in comments on previous essays. They were shocked when they discovered this.

In fact, this is one of the main difficulties expressed by some in the Bloggernacle whom I greatly admire and respect. For people like John Dehlin, the discovery of this and other difficult issues caused a serious crisis of faith. You can read more on his Mormon Stories Podcasts. My latest essay relates a little more about how he dealt with this issue.

Until I started blogging a couple of years ago I thought everyone’s experience growing up in the church was similar to mine in regards to their exposure to the difficult issues. As I have related in other posts here, I recognize that many of these issues are simply not a part of the approved curriculum for Sunday school, Seminary or Institute classes.

I learned about Joseph’s plural wives from books that my mother had in the home library. She encouraged us to read and made readily available books that presented both sides of the issues. In particular, I think I first learned about this subject through reading No Man Knows my History by Fawn Brodie or Nightfall at Nauvoo by Samuel W. Taylor.

I remember distinctly bringing the subject up in Seminary and was clearly told by the teacher that Joseph did not have plural wives. I was confused. I knew otherwise. I had read it in several books. I asked mother about it and she helped me understand that there are many people in the church who do not know the full story of our LDS History.

So I’m going to stick with my assertion that the information was readily available. After all, No Man Knows my History was first published in 1945. In it, the prophet’s niece quotes from several sources that were published in the late 19th century. Admittedly, the published material was not found in most LDS homes back then any more than now.

But I totally agree with your point that the material was not acknowledged. My Seminary experience illustrates that. I learned to keep my mouth shut about sensitive issues. I did not bring them up in Seminary or Sunday school or in the mission field. I and some other missionaries knew about these sensitive items and were told to not share or discuss them.

The fact is that there are elements of our history that we were simply not taught growing up in the church. I do not think it was an attempt to deny or whitewash our history. I can only conjecture that it was felt by the Brethren that it was best to present only the most favorable view of our history without all the warts. I think this may have been a mistake.

Your point #1 is well made and I agree with it. I’ll respond to your other points later.
Tim Malone said…
Hi again Alison,

I’ve been pondering your second point about the doctrine of plural marriage being a part of the restoration. I’m not sure if I would characterize the reasons for plural marriage as being one of permission. We teach that it was a commandment. Also, can you elaborate on what you mean by the “distinctions between men and women in plural marriage?”

I’m going to disagree with your take on the third point where you claim that the idea of the first wife “holds the keys of this power” is ludicrous. That phrase is a direct quote from verse 64 of section 132. If we accept this section as being canonized, and we do, then we accept that phrase as being the word of the Lord. She does hold this power.

In other words, if I read that verse correctly, the onus is on the man to teach the doctrine correctly. He has not taught it correctly if his wife does not understand and accept it. But this is a moot discussion because we don’t practice plural marriage in this life unless it is authorized by the living prophet. I don’t think that’s going to happen in my lifetime.

Carol and I have discussed this several times. Let me make this clear that our discussion has been theoretical only and in reference to life after the resurrection. She has made it clear that she does not like the idea of plural marriage and will not allow it. I simply say that’s fine but we’ll have to wait and see how we feel about it after we are resurrected.

I hold the consent rule to be scripture and the will of the Lord. If Carol says it’s not going to happen, then it’s not going to happen. The Lord commands us to be one in our marriages. How could the Lord sanction a man taking another wife in the hereafter without the consent of the first? I can totally understand the way you phrased it.

Was this ideal followed perfectly when plural marriage was practiced by the church? Of course it wasn’t. Joseph and Emma were a perfect example. She hated it and would not consent except on a few very rare occasions. It was extremely difficult for her. I imagine it must have been especially tough because he invoked his privileges from verse 65.

Frankly, I do not understand verses 64 and 65. It is so contradictory to what our prophets have taught for as long as I have been listening to prophets. I am much more inclined to believe what David O. McKay taught, that the first thing the Lord will ask when we get to the other side is how well we did in helping our wife find happiness and fulfillment.

In summary on point three, I hold that phrase to be valid and in full force if we are going to live this law perfectly. Early church leaders did not live it perfectly and I am glad that I am not required to live this law because I doubt that I could either. I would be very concerned that the natural man tendencies in me would cause me to make poor choices.

Thanks for helping me think deeply. More on your last two points in another comment.
Tim Malone said…
Response #3 to Alison on points 4 and 5:

I think I get what you’re saying in point four that we do not talk about plural marriage within the church or to the media. I think the Brethren would rather that we not do so because at this point all is just conjecture since it is not currently practiced. I think they themselves would rather not talk to the media about it but are forced to do so on occasion.

We have no lessons on the subject in our currently approved curriculum. I take that back. The D&C Institute manual has some commentary on section 132 but very little to nothing about some of the key verses. There is a lot of good material on other principles there. The seminary manual is equally oblique and only refers to plural marriage in passing.

I like this next paragraph that was taken directly from the Sunday school instructor’s manual for the Church History lesson on celestial marriage. It is preceded by this warning: “The following information is provided to help you if class members have questions about the practice of plural marriage. It should not be the focus of the lesson.

“The revelation to practice plural marriage in this dispensation: In this dispensation, the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.”

Thus, the Gospel Doctrine teacher is authorized to teach the principle if it comes up, that Joseph Smith had plural wives. We just don’t elaborate on it or go into details like you can find when you research it on your own. I think that’s as it should be. There are just too many people who are not mature in their testimonies who might struggle with this.

I don’t think the leadership of the church is ignoring the issues of plural marriage. They are just not emphasizing them as they are focusing on other, more urgent and important issues, like helping the members of the church come unto Christ and learn to live in the world but not partake of the sins of the world like pornography, divorce and abuse.

And finally, in regards to your last point, I agree with you that explanations are needed as to why Joseph married women who were already married to other men. I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows and can only offer conjecture, which many writers have done. I figure it will all be made clear when we get to the other side and can ask Joseph himself.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments, Alison. The subject of plural marriage and of Joseph’s plural marriages in particular could fill volumes and indeed already have. It is not a subject on which I spend much thought except as it comes up in dialog with those who struggle with shock, dismay and feelings of deception when they first learn about it.

As I wrote in the essay, this subject will continue to generate interest and curiosity among people as they learn about the church through their own research efforts on the Internet. We can help them by providing factual information and allowing them to draw their own conclusions. Hopefully, they will be sympathetic to what little explanation we can offer.
Giles Family said…
Tim... I know you wrote this post awhile ago, but hopefully you are still able to read comments from here. I have a very srtong testimony of the gospel and have witnessed many trials and miracles in my personal life. My testimony will not waiver, I have experienced too much. But I'm honestly searching for answers on this subject for myself, and some dear people that I love. I want to help, but simply don't know enough to say much. You already commented on how you don't really know why Joseph married women that were already married. I'm sure we will be able to ask him... but in my mind with the Lord's perspective, I'm sure there was a reason. I also wanted to ask why he asked them to not share it with their husbands? Often times didn't share it with Emma. I understand this to be similar to Abraham's experience, and not being able to tell Sarah. I would love any insight that you have on that in-particular. This would have been such a hard law to follow, but it has deepened my love for Joseph and Emma. I see that it would have been very hard to do, but with his knowledge he had no choice. He loved God. He knew his calling. I think the only thing I don't fully understand is how he asked the women not to say anything.
Tim Malone said…
Giles Family:

To better respond to your questions, I re-read chapter 25 of Rough Stone Rolling last night. It is appropriately titled “Stories of Eternity: Spring 1842.” While very forthright and agreeing with published accounts of polygamy by other historians, Brother Bushman makes a good case for why Joseph married some women who were already married. To quote from page 439:

“All told, ten of Joseph’s plural wives were married to other men. All of them went on living with their first husbands after marrying the Prophet. The reasons for choosing married women can only be surmised. Not all were married to non-Mormon men: six of the ten husbands were active Latter-day Saints. In most cases, the husbands knew of the plural marriage and approved. The practice seems inexplicable today. Why would a husband consent?

The only answer seems to be the explanation Joseph gave when he asked a woman for her consent: they and their families would benefit spiritually from a close tie to the Prophet. Joseph told a prospective wife that submitting to plural marriage would ‘ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all your kindred.’ A father who gave his daughter as a plural wife was assured that the marriage ‘shall be crowned upon your heads with honor and immortality and eternal life to all your house both old and young.’ The relationship would bear fruit in the afterlife. There was no certain evidence that Joseph had sexual relations with any of his wives who were married to other men. They married because Joseph ‘s kingdom grew with the size of his family, and those bonded to that family would be exalted with him.”

And on page 440: “Joseph did not marry women to form a warm, human companionship, but to create a network of related wives, children and kinsmen that would endure into the eternities. The revelation on marriage promised Joseph an ‘hundred fold in this world, or fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.’ Like Abraham of old, Joseph yearned for familial plentitude. He did no lust for women so much as he lusted for kin.

Romance only played a slight part. In making proposals, Joseph would sometimes say God had given a woman to him, or they were meant for each other, but there was no romantic talk of adoring love. He did not court his prospective wives by first trying to win their affections. Often he asked a relative – a father or an uncle – to propose the marriage. Sometimes one of his current wives proposed for him. When he made the proposal himself, a friend like Brigham Young was often present. The language was religious and doctrinal, stressing that a new law had been revealed. She was to seek spiritual confirmation. Once consent was given, a formal ceremony was performed before witnesses, with Joseph dictating the words to the person officiating.”

There is much more. I recommend a thorough reading of at least the first ten pages of the chapter. Because Blogger only allows 4,096 charters per comment, I'll respond with more later.
Tim Malone said…
Part two of answer to Giles family:

Now to answer your second and more difficult question – why the secrecy? To that might be added, why the outright public denials? Perhaps a further quote from Rough Stone Rolling might be helpful, this from page 438: “In approaching Joseph Bates Noble in the spring of 1841 about marrying his wife’s sister, Louisa Beaman, Joseph asked Bates, a man he had known since Kirtland, to keep quiet. ‘In revealing this to you I have placed my life in your hands, therefore do not in an evil hour betray me to my enemies.’ Louisa Beaman was twenty-six when she married Joseph Smith. Alone since her mother’s death in September 1840, Beaman had moved in with Joseph and Mary Noble. To disguise the wedding, Joseph asked Noble to perform the ceremony in a grove near Main Street with Louisa in man’s clothing.”

You are correct that for the most part, Joseph did not share knowledge of most of his other marriages with Emma. He had tried once and was not well rewarded for his efforts. Emma was decidedly jealous and could not tolerate the idea of sharing her husband with other women. That put him in a difficult situation of having to go behind Emma’s back to obey the commandment to practice plural marriage. Unlike Brigham, Heber and John Taylor, whose family kingdoms later in Utah were well known, Joseph could not gather his wives around him, could not be seen with them in public and could only enjoy their company on rare occasions in secrecy and privacy. What a difficult situation that must have been for Joseph. He knew how the public and especially his enemies would react if they were to find out that he had married other women. Surely he was torn by the command to take plural wives in view of the prevailing moral norms of society.

A word of caution in conclusion: You twice noted that Joseph was careful to tell the women he married not to tell their husbands. I think the quote I shared from Brother Bushman address that. In particular, Joseph only married ten other women who were already married and with six of them, the marriages were arranged first with the husband or the husband gave his consent. It is my understanding that this secrecy of not telling the husband only occurred in the four cases where the husband was not a member of the church. Yes, that can be construed as a terrible indictment against Joseph. I would not want to be in his shoes. I simply do not know how he could have done that unless he fully believed that what he was doing was by direct revelation. He is quoted as saying, “that which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another.” I have a very difficult time with that. He later wrote, “Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is.” How easy it is to misconstrue and twist those statements today.

I hope what I have shared is helpful to you and your friend. I do not fully understand plural marriage. I fact, I really know very little about it in spite of having read about and studied it for most of my life. I do not believe I could have lived the principle, especially in today’s world. As noted previously, Carol and I have discussed this several times over the years. I could not enter into plural marriage without her consent. If the practice were returned as a part of our religion, I could not participate without her blessing and full knowledge. I do not know how Joseph did what he did and still considered that he was faithful to Emma. Thank God I am not his judge. I do not have all the facts. None of us do. I am also grateful that plural marriage is no longer a part of our religion, or at least the practice of it. The doctrine is still in our canonized scripture. I am grateful that for Latter-day Saints today entering into celestial marriage is all that is required.
Unknown said…
I was raised in the Mormon Church and know for a fact Mormons hide truth. When the truth is brought up Mormons downplay it. Its like saying, "I used to cheat on my wife but since I don't do it anymore it is OK." To the Mormons downplaying the truth about Joseph Smith-- I ask them this; if Joseph Smith knocked on your door today and asked your 14 or 16 year old daughter to be Joseph Smith's plural wife what would you do? I would tell him to get away from my children. Just be because Joseph Smith had multiple plural wifes 200 years ago does not make it OK. If Joseph Smith was alive today he would be in Prison. Don't downplay the truth just because all the other Mormons say it is OK.
Josiah said…
It is understandable that people struggle with this doctrine. The reason it isn't taught in the missionary discussions or in Sunday School is that this and other such topics aren't essential for the spiritual growth and development of the body of The Church. As it states in D&C 19 21-22:
21 And I command you that you apreach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.

22 For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.

I'm not saying we should ignore these doctrines, but if you introduce certain foods to an infant while their digestive system is still maturing, you risk causing irreversible harm; the same holds true for people in the infancy of their spiritual development. What doctrines can threaten your own spiritual progression? If you find yourself questioning your testimony while researching it, and from inspired resources (which is essential), I would suggest it isn't a doctrine you are ready to examine. I'm convinced that there exists many doctrines that, if revealed, would cause considerable descension in the church today.

A careful analysis of the entire history of the church (ancient and restored) reveals numerous occasions in which The Lord requires actions of his people that seem to contradict his commandments. How might you react if tonight you were commanded by The Lord to sacrifice your son with a knife on bed of kindling? How would your neighbors react if they discovered your intentions? There could never be better counsel than that found in Alma 26:6 and again in 3 Nephi 14:27, that we build our foundation, our testimony on Christ so that when we are confronted with these faith defying doctrines, issues, discussions and individuals, we will not fall.
Josiah said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josiah said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said…
you can't possibly believe that when THE NEW TESTAMENT , refers to the BRIDE of Christ, that it actually means, BRIDES? And you most certainly ignore the fact that this "prophet", took unto himself the wives of other men? Do you really believe that Christ would condone such a marriage. Even David, in his lust for Bathsheba, dared not do such a thing, rather caused Uriah to be killed in battle.

Revelation 19:7-9 - Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Read More...)

Ephesians 5:25-27 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Read More...)

Revelation 21:2 - And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

John 3:29 - He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Revelation 21:9 - And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

2 Corinthians 11:2 - For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

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Facebook Discussion Group for Latter-day Commentary

At the request of my bishop, I have created a new space for those who wish to discuss posts from this blog on a closed Facebook group rather than in the comments below. You can find it at this link: I hesitated a long time before creating this group. I feel strongly such a move should not have been necessary. If you are LDS and are even halfway awake you should be interested in learning more about the mysteries of the kingdom and discussing them. But apparently the "tone" of my posts has upset too many people. Best Vacation I've Ever Enjoyed I just returned from two Denver Snuffer lectures in Las Vegas and St. George, then spent three days at the Salt Lake 2014 Sunstone Symposium. This was absolutely the best vacation I have ever enjoyed. I can't remember the last time I was able to take two weeks off without having to put out some sort of IT fire at work every night from the hotel via Remote Desktop. Some people l

Do This in Remembrance of Me

  On that fateful Passover night in the Meridian of Time before Gethsemane , the Savior instituted the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The Sacrament was a change from the way His disciples were used to observing the Passover. Therefore, the Messiah gave them a commandment to do the things which they had seen him do, that is, break bread and partake of wine “unto the end.” In the Book of Mormon, the Lord gave  another commandment to his disciples, “that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily … if ye know that a man is unworthy … ye shall forbid him.” Thus, in our modern Church Handbook of Instructions, we find the same injunction. You also find there the restriction of the sacrament as a punishment. I would like to investigate the idea of restricting a man from partaking of the sacrament as an appropriate inducement to change his way of thinking. Frankly, I disagree with this idea, and have taken many opportunities to counsel bishops with whom

Cry Mightily Unto the Lord

The Brother of Jared took sixteen small stones to the mountain . We know they were small because he carried them in his hands. They were certainly smaller than an egg. Perhaps he had eight in each hand. When he came down from the mountain he had eighteen stones. The Lord gave him two more to be used by future prophets to read and translate the words the Brother of Jared would write of the Savior. After the Brother of Jared cried unto the Lord in a prayer of great faith and sound reasoning, the Lord touched the stones one by one with his finger. The record does not say the Brother of Jared placed the stones on a rock in front of him as we see depicted in the painting by Arnold Friberg. I like to think he held them in his hand as he cried unto the Lord in mighty prayer saying, “Lord, see these stones…” Assuming he held the stones in his hands, I wonder what that would have felt like as the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched them one by one. The Brother of Jared would have felt the

What to Expect When You’re Excommunicated

If you’re drawn to this blog post by the title, I ask you to look past that to the subtitle. It is “The Believing Mormon’s Guide to the Coming Purge.” Although this will be a review of Rock’s book , I hope it will also provide background and detail on why long-time members of the LDS Church would be willing to lay it all on the line in defending an idea that many find shocking. The idea is this: The LDS Church is in a state of apostasy and has been since before the death of Joseph Smith. The first time I posted about Denver Snuffer , I invited dialog on his teachings. I certainly did receive it – from both sides. One comment in particular stuck with me. I have been pondering it for years, wondering if it represented an accurate summary of Denver’s message. This is the comment: “Snuffer’s position can be summed up as follows: I was personally visited by Christ who made my calling and election sure, told me I was part of the true church within the dead church, that he would soon call oth

Concluding Testimony at my Disciplinary Council

I shared my testimony in our regular monthly testimony meeting this morning. I wanted to make sure the Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency present - he’s also in our ward – heard me say I sustain the general authorities and local authorities of the church. Of course these words were in addition to sharing comments reflecting my love of my Heavenly Father and my Savior. Covering All the Bases Carol asked me afterward if I did that to offset whoever it was that complained about my blog a few months ago. I assured her I was sincere, but yes, I wanted the whole ward to know of my feelings for those who lead this church. I continue to sustain them with my prayers and with my money. Yes, I know my tithing is used to pay their salary. It also helps pay my sister’s salary. Follow the Bishop’s Counsel As far as I know, I’m not under any priesthood leader’s watch list for an impending disciplinary council, but a few of my friends and fellow bloggers have been surprised, so I’m being care

A Mormon Reviews The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

Storytelling in a Non-Fiction Book The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan is a wonderful book. I give it five stars. One of the Amazon reviewers said she read the 191 page book in 90 minutes. It took me about three hours. I had to stop often to wipe away the tears. The book was an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster. Thank you, Annie for that superb and captivating storytelling in a non-fiction book. Messages From the Spirit World The book extends three challenges to its readers: First, is it fiction or fact? Annie didn’t have to expend a great deal of effort and energy to persuade me it really happened. I was convinced right away by the down-to-earth, day-to-day events of Annie’s life as she dealt with the loss of her older brother Billy to a tragic accident. I have no doubt Billy came to her to share his transition. Traditional Heaven and Hell Missing Second, you will need to re-examine what you know about the after-life, especially if you have accepted traditional heaven

Cut Off From Among My people

When one is excommunicated from the LDS Church, he is provided instructions by the Bishop or Stake President as to what he can and cannot do. Given that the church just severed the relationship with the individual excommunicated you would think the instructions provided are no longer applicable. It is assumed they are given with the intention of helping the individual make their way back to baptism again within a short period of time, even as little as one year. Instructions Provided When Excommunicated It has been my sad duty over the years to write and deliver the notice to appear, then to write the summary of the disciplinary council for the report sent to Salt Lake, and the instructions given to the individual who has been the subject of church discipline. Frankly, I have found it a difficult process. It requires that I listen intently and take copious notes so as to capture the essence of what transpired, what was considered, what was decided and finally, what instruction was

The True Order of Prayer

I’m not sure if I can write the things I feel in my heart right now. I am simply overwhelmed with emotion. I’ve asked the Lord’s permission to share this and He said yes. It’s a sacred experience to me. I hope the spirit bears witness. I’ll give you a little bit of background first, share what the Lord allows me and conclude tomorrow with what He asked me to write on a different subject. A Forty-Year Search On Sunday, I culminated a forty-year search for understanding of The True Order of Prayer. Yes, I was seventeen when I first learned about this, even before I was endowed. You see, my parents were both incredibly active in Temple service. Mother ’s life work was to do her family history. I have her patriarchal blessing where it’s stated it was her calling and election. She made it sure. My Mother’s Calling and Election Before she died, mother published multiple books of family history, genealogy and research on some 25,000 ancestors. She and my father personally did most of the ordi

A Dialogue About the Devil

I spent way too much time on this dialogue about the devil to not share it publically. I know. It's a terrible subject to contemplate. Why are we discussing these ideas when there are so many other areas of light that would be more worthy of our time and attention? You can skip this if you want. We all have to be selective about where we spend our time and energy. I open it up for public discussion, or more likely, for public correction. See if you can spot and correct any false doctrine here. Hello Brother Malone, I have no scriptural reference for my thoughts I share with you regarding Lucifer but wondered if in your studies and readings you have heard this scenario before. We are taught Lucifer was esteemed as per the Savior in the pre-existence before his apparent fall. Is it possible he did not fall and that like the Savior he chose to accept the calling of being Satan as Jesus accepted the calling of being Savior, that the great council was more about a communal and loving di

Keys of the Kingdom Revisited

Carol and I have had a running conversation since Sunday about the succession crisis at the death of Joseph. To me, it has become the crux of the matter when considering the legitimacy of the LDS Church as the Kingdom of God on the earth. We have both been taught all our lives that Brigham had the Keys of the Kingdom and therefore nothing was lost when Joseph was killed. Before I present anything may I remind everyone that this is the blog of a private member of the LDS Church and in no way represents the official viewpoints or doctrines of the LDS Church. For that, go to where you can read the official narrative of how the succession between Joseph and Brigham took place. I won’t review it here. I assume you are familiar with the story. Second point: if my writing about this bothers you, please don’t read it. I am simply trying to understand our history more perfectly. If the history of our Church is not something that has anything to do with your faith or your willingness t