Posted on Leave a comment

Is Polygamy a Ticket to Heaven?

Some Protestants, such as Born-Again Christians, believe that one can be saved in heaven—assured salvation.  Did early Mormons believe in something similar?  Was polygamy a ticket to heaven, not just for the man, but for his wives and children as well?  Dr. Bill Smith will talk about this in our next conversation.

Bill:  The idea is that the elite Mormon men, those with—maybe I should use the word assured salvation, like Joseph Smith, it was a great thing to be a child of somebody like that theoretically.  It was a great thing to be their child because as Joseph says, “On the other side of the veil, I will claim what I seal.”  In other words, anybody he is sealed to is guaranteed to go into heaven with him.  Because he is guaranteed in the revelation in fact that he’ll be going to heaven. So, this is important.  It’s an important story for important people.

That sounds doubly bad I guess in the present day.  It sounds sexist.  It sounds elitist, but in fact that’s the way it worked out.  A lot of people engaged in polygamy, a lot of women engaged in polygamy, not as many men of course, but it was really a story in terms of descendants, a story of elite Mormon men, because they are the ones that had 30 wives, or 15 wives, or 25 wives, or more.  Most of those men had children with most of those wives.

Dr. Smith talks about how the theology of assured salvation has changed over the years.  We will also talk about one of the major justifications of polygamy: raising seed.  If that was so important, why didn’t Joseph have children with wives other than Emma?

Bill:  I can’t really answer that except to say that the record on the ground seems to suggest that at least with some women, other than his wife, he was having sex. But I think it is impossible to argue beyond reminiscent accounts and that sort of thing, whether or not that was really going on.  I think it’s probably a sure thing that it did happen, but with who and how often?  That’s really hard to say.

Check out our conversation, along with our previous conversations about Emma Smith and Oliver Cowdery…..

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Does Polygamy in D&C 132 Conflict with JST Genesis?

We continue are discussion with Dr. Brian Hales.  (Part 1 is here.)  He has written a comprehensive history of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy (Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.)  In this episode, I’ll ask him about Dr. Mark Staker’s claim that Black Pete may have been responsible for introducing polygamy into the Kirtland period.

Joseph knew the Old Testament, he knew Abraham had more than one wife and Jacob, so why would we need to think that it was Black Pete that was introducing this in a very real way, especially when Joseph wasn’t supportive of so much that was going on when he first arrived down there, and the types of spiritual experiences that they were expressing in their church meetings and things like that.  So I’m a little dubious on that, but I just applaud Mark.  I say go forward and let us know.

He also makes an interesting statement about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.

I believe all of these principles came to Joseph line upon line, precept upon precept.  Some of the exciting things that are happening down at BYU, Tom Wayment and others are looking at the Joseph Smith Translation very carefully and discovering that it really shouldn’t be thought of as actual scripture in and of itself, that it was a chance for Joseph to expand upon the text to make the Bible text correspond with the theology that he was receiving through revelation, or through communications that he portrayed to be from God.

I asked Brian about differences in biblical polygamy and Doctrine & Covenants 132.

GT:  Well so I guess my question is as far as 132 and Genesis, does it seem to you that there’s a difference among those two scriptures as far as whether God commanded Hagar to be a plural wife or whether Sarah was totally responsible?

Brian acknowledges the accounts are different, but it doesn’t bother him.

Brian:  So for me to see the JST Genesis and that it doesn’t necessarily say what comes in 1843 doesn’t surprise me because of the line upon line, precept upon precept process.

What do you think about these different accounts about Hagar’s marriage to Abraham?  Does it bother you that these two accounts seem to differ in whether God commanded the marriage, or Sarah suggested it?

Check out our conversation…

Does Polygamy in D&C 132 Conflict with JST Genesis?