We know that in the Bible, many prophets practiced polygamy. However, modern Christians and Jews mostly condemn the practice. What are Joseph’s theological justifications for polygamy? Dr. Brian Hales tells us,
The easiest one is part of the restitution of all things, and if somebody asks you, “Why did Joseph do it?” The easy answer is, he was a prophet-restorer, and the old prophets did it, and he restored it. That’s not entirely nuanced, and some would say it’s even correct. I think it is generally.
The second one is it was a trial. This is the one I couldn’t remember. It presented a special trial. The Lord does do that. It gives different people at different times different kinds of trials.
A third one was to—it was the one I had talked a great deal about. It allowed all men and women to enter into a marriage, even if this is a plural wife, and then the [fourth] one is the one we started with, multiply and replenish the earth.
We’ll also talk about what Brian thinks of Carol Lynn Pearson’s book, The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy.
Of course on earth, polygamy is not fair. It’s unequal. You could say it’s sexist if you want, on earth. But I don’t think that we know anything about eternal marriage, and we certainly don’t know anything about eternal plural marriage. So to assume that that’s a bad thing, that it victimizes women, and to assume that women should fear that is to fear unknown things. God has promised us everlasting joy, a fullness of joy. His plan is a plan of happiness.
Check out our previous episode on Fanny Alger, as well as parts 1, 2, 3. Many of you will find Mark Staker’s interview on Kirtland polygamy enlightening too. Don’t forget to check out a transcript (link below), or the video!