Early Mormons believed polygamy was essential to salvation, but pioneer John Hawley struggled with the doctrine. Would he agree to take on another wife?
Mel: So John says he’s going to get married polygamously. His brother had had three wives, who was down to one by them. I’ll need to tell you the story of Sarah Ann Hadfield in a moment, one of those wives. John pulls a wagon out, crosses little Pinto Creek to the north, and the axle fell off, the rear axle fell off. Robert Hawley, his great-grandson who has now gone to the ages, told me the family lore is that John took that as a sign from God that he was not to take a second wife.
Mel tells what John finally decided about polygamy. Check out our conversation….
In this episode, Steve Shields and I discuss some of the larger and smaller Mormon groups: fundamentalists and Cutlerites. Many of these fundamentalists practice polygamy.
Steve: The FLDS has 8,000 to 10,000. The Apostolic United Brethren and has 8,000 to 10,000, somewhere in that range. Those are the two largest organized groups, organized structural institutions. I’ve heard numbers of 50 or 60,000 fundamentalist Mormons all told. There’s either some smaller, like the Centennial Park–I don’t want to call them a group because the Centennial Park priesthood affiliation, maybe as a way to talk about those. You’ve got Naylor and Nielsen. You’ve got the guy up in British Columbia, Winston Blackmore. He’s actually incorporated as the Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine). That’s their corporate filing in Canada. He’s got 500 or so. Nielson and Naylor and Blackmore have been kind of doing some, they’ve not merged per se, but some cross affiliation because Nielsen and Naylor’s problem with the Jeffs family was very similar with Winston’s. So frankly, in all of the fundamentalist Mormons, there’s very little doctrinal difference, if any at all. It has to do with priesthood authority. Who has the legitimate line?
Steve: That’s right. Most of them are unaffiliated but they do fellowship with each other. You’ve got a large following: Fred Collier, Tom Green and others who believe in what they called the patriarchal order. Every father is a patriarch over his own family and has full authority to ordain his children, the male children.
We’ll also discuss the only other Mormon group that has an endowment ceremony in the temple. They are sometimes referred to as the Cutlerites, named after Alpheus Cutler.
Steve: Alpheus Cutler’s church has always been small, and they do not proselytize. They don’t believe in that. Alpheus Cutler is said to have been given a revelation that in the last days there will only be two and from that small branch, God will redeem Zion. So, they don’t worry too much about that. They’re getting older.
GT: They’re the ones who still have a temple ceremony. Is that right?
Steve: Yes, they do. The upper room work is conducted in their building in Independence. I’ll say on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean every day or every week necessarily. I don’t know any more about it than that. Nobody does except them and I respect that. I’m very curious, of course.
In this last episode with Dr. Bill Smith, we’ll cover the other issues from his book on section 132. We’ll talk about the evolution of doctrine about how spirits are created.
Bill: There’s another issue we didn’t talk about and that’s the protological impact. When I say protological, I mean the theology of the beginnings. Where did everything start, king of thing? Revelation impacts that, not directly. It doesn’t talk about that. But the way people interpreted that or developed the surrounding superstructure of thought around it, that’s a very important issue.
Because Joseph lays out a protology in Nauvoo. He is really talking about the nature of the soul. The soul doesn’t begin anywhere. It’s always been around. This sort of conflicts with the idea that develops out of the revelation that souls are spirit babies that are born in heaven through heavenly sex. This is a really important issue that surrounds the revelation. How do we reconcile these two theological protologies that develop out of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo teaching and then out of the subsequent teaching of the revelation about polygamy and all of this?
Check out our conversation…..
If you missed any of our previous episodes with Bill, please check them out!