Plural Marriage


“He shall not multiply to himself…” – Deuteronomy 17:16-17

One wife? One horse? One piece of gold? Are we to believe that this is what God limits a king to in one sweeping commandment?

God sets the rules for having a king when the children of Israel said “Let us have a king!”

“When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee” (no stranger or Gentile may be king) – Deuteronomy 17:14-15


“But he shall not multiply horses to himself” – Deuteronomy 17:16


Because horses are a means of transport and where doesn’t the Lord want the children to go? Back to Egypt from where they came.

“…Nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way” -JST Deuteronomy 17:16

God does not want his children to return to the idol worshiping nation represented as Egypt or even Babylon, the two primary nations that opposed and oppressed Israel. God wants them for himself. He wants them to be free.


“Neither shall he multiply wives to himself…” – Deuteronomy 17:17

No polygamy? Even though God called Abraham, a polygamist, “The Father of the Righteous?” and Jacob the polygamist he called Israel with whom God’s covenant rests upon that house and none other?


“…that his heart turn not away” – Deuteronomy 17:17

Solomon’s wives who were strangers to the house of Israel because they worshiped idols and foreign gods lead King Solomon’s heart away after idols. That is what God has a problem with, alienation of affection to God, not polygamy.


“…neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold” – Deuteronomy 17:17


“That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he not turn aside from the commandment…” – Deuteronomy 17:20

It’s not the abundance of gold, wives, and horses that God is against, it is the hearts of men becoming estranged from God that He takes exception to. It is written in the scriptures that God gave King David his masters wives, his house, and all the things that were therein to be his but in nothing did King david sin save in the case of Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. Even then whom did the promise and the Messiah come through…Bathsheba through whom the promise of God was preserved.


The words “to himself” are very much the same as the terms “unto thee” found in the ten commandments, which are self glorifying rather than God glorifying. These are the terms that God uses to set the boundaries for man to walk in.

For example, the commandment “thou shalt not make any graven images unto thee” found in Exodus, when at the same time the children of Israel were commanded to make two golden cherubims to put atop the ark, and Moses made an engraven image of a serpent on a pole for the children of Israel to be healed which God himself commanded and some followed and some didn’t and died.

The sin did not lie in making the graven image, it was in making the image like the golden calf at Mount Sinai for themselves to worship.


We are all reliant upon God for all things which we have received and will yet receive.

If you do something on your own initiative “unto thee” for your own purposes, without the revelation of Heaven, these things are taken to glorify yourself as though you are in charge, not God, or in other words, you took your own prerogative (“I got this!”- This an example of pride in your own strength or self sufficiency.) to take them rather than wait upon the Lord to receive them. This is why King Saul was rejected by God and all that Saul had was given to David whose throne still exists to this day.

This is why our Messiah came through the House of Israel, the House of David, and the House of Judah, through whom the covenant with God was preserved because whatever God requires, whatever pleases God, is right.


A commentary on the practice of polygamy in the Church of Jesus Christ…

Are we supposed to be living the law of Celestial Plural Marriage in order to raise up seed unto God? In the book of Jacob the Lord said that if this were necessary he would command it and if we receive it we must obey it, but what is the reasoning behind it?

I saw it argued yesterday in a post the question as to why would the early church be required to do this when there were nearly 60,000 members or so in the church already. In Sodom and Gomorrah even 10 righteous men was good enough for God to save it. So wouldn’t that multitude of members of the church in Joseph Smith’s time be enough? If we were going only on numbers I suppose that it could be but is that the measure of a successful society? Massive numbers? There were certainly lots of people around in Noah’s day but God saw fit to wipe them out and start over because all flesh was corrupt in Noah’s day save Noah, his wife and his sons.

Let’s look at this question of numbers from the perspective of a land owner, perhaps even someone who owns livestock or bees or whatever a farmer may raise for his family. Which is more profitable, 10 non productive hives full of Africanized bees that swarm and attack people or 2 heavy producing hives full to the brim with docile bees that can be handled with bare hands? I’d take that second option any day over the first. How about livestock like cattle? Would we prefer to have ten wild milk cows that kick and run away in terror at the sight of human beings or two tame, trained, obedient cows to milk morning and night? Again I’d take the latter in a heartbeat and make a big barbecue for the first ones.

Now what does all this have to do with why the early brethren practiced polygamy when there were multitudes of members of the church?

It has to do with the very elect for Jesus said “Many are called, but few are chosen” but chosen to do what? To establish the Kingdom of God here on earth.

How does living plural marriage establish the Kingdom of God here on the earth? Through righteous men and women who are willing to submit to God in all things to obey His word.

Most of the members of the early church fell into the category of wild stock. They were not submissive and balked at the things Joseph was trying to teach them. They accused him of leaving the flock to the wolves when he was preparing to move them west to the Rocky Mountains. Joseph himself lamented that the moment he would reveal doctrines held in reserve in the Heavens for the blessing of the Saints that “the people” (the masses) would fly apart like glass. It was, he said, like “splitting hemlock knots with a corndodger for a wedge and a pumpkin for a beetle- even the saints are slow to understand” Therefore it was only the inner circle of the church that Joseph revealed the higher doctrines of the Kingdom of God and only after they were tested and proven were they given this privilege such as was the case of Heber C. Kimball who freely offered up his beloved wife Vilate at the behest of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Why were they required to live plural marriage and what benefit would there be to the Prophet Joseph Smith marrying other women aside from Emma?

Consider what it might be like to be the literal offspring of the Prophet Joseph Smith. What would it be like to be the literal offspring of Jesus Christ? Would we possibly be more spiritually inclined as true Israelites to receive the truths of God and live them? Yes we would. Would we be more inclined to build a true Zion which consists of the “pure in heart?” Yes we would. A pure gentile on the other hand does not so easily receive the things of God.

God said: “For, verily I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out. (D&C 64:36)

So what is God trying to do in these essentially arranged marriages? He’s getting out of it a more submissive, gentle, and productive generation (better livestock in layman’s terms). Jesus taught:

“But I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh (my offspring) which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:51-53)

Without being the Lord’s offspring in the flesh your DNA will have no markers of the divine in it and you will not be His children.

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, (marry my children and receive their blood in you through the consummation of the marriage which will alter your DNA by this Priesthood exchange) hath eternal life (you get to keep coming back into multiple mortal probations in this family line) and I (as your father) will raise him up (as my child) in the last day (the millenium as His natural offspring). (John 6:54)


Wilford could receive revelation from God, but could he keep it and are we any better at hearkening to the voice of the Lord?

The folly of man is to suppose that he is wise but when he is proven in the fire of opposition, he often flies apart like glass when struck with a single stone.

“During the month of January 1880 I [Wilford Woodruff] was at Sunset Arizona with Bro. Lot Smith and the brethren with him who were trying to establish a branch of the United Order at that place. At this time, the Government, through its officers, was using every means in its power to enforce the Edmunds-Tucker anti-polygamy law with the intent on the part of the officers to break us up as an organized community.

Being away from President Taylor and my Quorum, I felt deeply distressed in mind concerning our condition as a people…

…ten days reading the revelations of God as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants (namely D&C 132 speaking of celestial plural marriage) and praying fervently unto the Lord to reveal to me His mind and will concerning Zion. On retiring to bed on the night of the 25th of January 1880, I found myself rapt in vision, and the next morning the following revelation was given to me of the Lord which I wrote at the time:


1) Thus saith the Lord unto my servant Wilford Woodruff, I have heard thy prayer and will answer thy petition.

2) I will make known unto thee my will concerning the nation who encumbers the land of promise and also concerning Zion and her inhabitants.

3) I have already revealed my will concerning the nation through the mouth of my servant Joseph, who sealed his testimony with his own blood, which testimony has been in force upon all the world from the hour of his death.

4) What I the Lord have revealed in that testament and decree upon this nation and upon all the nations of the earth, shall be fulfilled, saith the Lord of Hosts.

5) I the Lord have spoken and will be obeyed…

32) And I say again, woe unto that nation or house or people who seek to hinder my people from obeying the Patriarchal Law of Abraham, which leadeth to a Celestial Glory, which has been revealed unto my saints through the mouth of my servant Joseph.

33) For whosoever doeth these things shall be damned, saith the Lord of Hosts, and shall be broken up and wasted away from under heaven by the judgments which I have sent forth, and which shall not return unto me void…

40) As I have decreed, so shall my judgments begin at the house of God…

“First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known be, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house” D&C 112:26

85) For thus saith the Lord all of mine Apostles should be full of the Holy Ghost, of inspiration and revelation and know the mind and will of God and be prepared for that which is to come.

86) Therefore let mine Apostles keep my commandments and obey my laws and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. Fear not for lo, I am with you until I come. I come quickly. Even so Amen. – Wilford Woodruff Journal December 28, 1880 and April 17, 1897


32 “Go ye therefore and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.

34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? BECAUSE THIS WAS THE LAW; and from Hagar sprang many people. This therefore was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.

35 Was Abraham, therefore under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.” – D&C 132:32-35


Some people call this a revelation from God. Is it? Examine it for yourselves and see if it fits the pattern of revelation from God that Joseph demonstrated countless times in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Some say that we do not know the mind of Wilford Woodruff when he wrote the Manifesto. So do we need to know the mind of a man to know the mind of God in this? We do not.

“To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

I, therefore, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hearby declare my intention to submit to those laws, to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff [signed]

President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

“And as pertaining to the New and Everlasting Covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fullness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God” (D&C 132:6)

Wilford Woodruff received the law instituted for the  of the glory of God and was commanded not to hinder it by his own revelation from God.

To believe one thing, and to practice something entirely different is to be a hypocrite.

To compel men against their conscience is to be a tyrant.