Prophets in Mormonism/Part 27
|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2008|
|The current heading of Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 says it is a “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843,… However, from the time it was first published in the Doctrine and Covenants until 1921, the heading said, “Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, including Plurality of Wives. Given through Joseph, the Seer,… July 12, 1843.” Why the change?|
The current heading of Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 says it is a “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives.” However, from the time it was first published in the Doctrine and Covenants until 1921, the heading said, “Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, including Plurality of Wives. Given through Joseph, the Seer, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 12, 1843.” Both headings tie eternal marriage and polygamy or “plurality of wives” together.
The main difference in the headings is that the earlier one clearly says this revelation was given to Smith on July 12, 1843 while the current one just says it was recorded on that date. This change in the heading was made because LDS historians found that Smith was married to a “plurality of wives” beginning in 1831, yet the only “revelation” commanding LDS men to have a plurality of wives is Doctrine and Covenants 132, given by Smith in 1843. In order to justify Smith’s earlier polygamy, LDS leaders claim Smith knew the content of this revelation in 1831 even though it wasn’t recorded until 1843. If Smith knew the content of this revelation in 1831, why didn’t he reveal it then since he was already a polygamist? What was gained by waiting 12 years before revealing it?
Doctrine and Covenants 132:34-35 and 37-39 says,
- God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did he do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord commanded it…
- Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods. David also received many wives and concubines and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given to him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of this world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
Some content in Doctrine and Covenants 132:34-39 conflicts with the Bible. For example:
- The Bible does not say God commanded Abraham to take a concubine.
- No Old Testament law says that wives should give concubines to their husbands.
- The Bible does not say that God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled by his son Ishmael through his concubine Hagar. Genesis 17:19 says God would establish His covenant with Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac, for an everlasting covenant and with his seed after him. And Genesis 17:21; 21:12; Romans 9:7; Hebrews 11:18 confirm that the promise was fulfilled through Isaac.
- The Bible says in Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23 that “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.” But it does not say that Abraham’s children by his concubines were counted to him for righteousness.
- Nor does the Bible say that Abraham or anyone else was ever exalted and became gods.
- And, why did the Lord speak to Joseph Smith in the King James English of 1611 instead of the English that Smith spoke in America during his life?
Doctrine and Covenants 132: 34-39 also contradicts the Book of Mormon. In Jacob 1:15 it says that the people “began to grow hard in their hearts and indulge themselves, somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son. Jacob 2:24 also says, “Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” Jacob 2:27 also says, “For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.” Jacob 3:5 teaches the same thing.
If David’s wives and concubines were given to him by the Lord and it wasn’t a sin to have them as Doctrine and Covenants 132:39 says, why did the Lord call it a wicked practice and an abomination in Jacob 1:15 and 2:24? If the Lord’s people were not to have more than one wife as Jacob 2:27 says, why does Doctrine and Covenants 132 command LDS men to have more than one? Mormon scripture puts Mormons in a very awkward position. If they have more than one wife they are involved in a wicked practice that is abominable to the Lord. But Doctrine and Covenants 132:4 says if they fail to obey the new and everlasting covenant of having many wives and concubines, they will be damned!
Richard Van Wagoner wrote Mormon Polygamy, A History, published by Signature Books in Salt Lake City in 1986. It is a good overview of Mormon Polygamy for those who want to know more about it. We will continue discussing Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 next time.