Thoughts on Polygamy…
Many LDS Members that I know are troubled and even disturbed by the law of Polygamy even though we no longer practice it today. The fear from a lack of understanding has them worried about conditions in the Celestial Kingdom.
Isaiah55 “8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
We need not fret over the unknown, He says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”. Remember to keep in mind all of the promises he has made to us concerning our eternal happiness. We will one day see that all commandments are consistent with that happiness, even if we don’t see and understand it yet. I suggest whether we will be required or not to practice polygamy in the afterlife matters not at all. Whatever the case will be, we are guaranteed happiness if we keep our covenants. The fact of doctrine is, we still don’t know for sure. Many have speculated and past general authorities made comments, but that’s where it ends until more is revealed.
The man who remarries and is sealed to more than one wife because his first wife died early in life is one of the great mysteries and we will have to see how it will be handled and played out. One can only assume and speculate on that matter. God is the great judge. I’m personally sure that family bonds and love will be so strong that there will be much acceptance of things otherwise rejected with our mortal finite minds. Joseph Smith taught that, “The love of family is the greatest secret of all.” (Truman G. Madsen, “Joseph Smith and the Family”)
For me the biggest conundrum in the gospel is the woman who loses her eternally sealed husband to death after only several short years of marriage. She goes on and gets remarried but can not be sealed to a second. After a life time together I’m sure that that love is just as real in her second marriage, as in her first, if not more so because of time and experience and growth together. What then must happen to this second couple? What about the children had in each marriage? Our doctrine seems to suggest that the first husband will inherit all the children. Does it seem fair? Not to our mortal minds. Will they lose each other or will this kind of sealing work be done in the millennium? Our current doctrine also seems to suggest that they will not be permitted to stay together. Again, these are unknowns that as of yet have no real apparent answer. What are some things that might yet be revealed? What will be revealed in the millennium? We know there is more to come. I’m sure a prophet could give more insight on this; I just haven’t found any statements to date. I’m sure there must be some. I know things will work out, I just don’t know how. I just don’t know. So I quote again from Joseph Smith, “The love of family is the greatest secret of all.” Is it a type of marriage that requires some understanding and acceptance from both parties on what will happen to them and any children they may have? All these reasons stated are why I call it the greatest conundrum in the gospel. What say ye? I’d love to get some thoughts from women in this situation.
I think it’s hard to fully comprehend all things and reasons why the lord commands us to do things. But his ways are not our ways. I’ve often asked myself if there was no other way Nephi could have got the brass plates without the necessity of killing laban which is contrary to the lord’s commandments. Nevertheless the lord commanded it by the hand of Nephi, and it was a challenge of great faith by Nephi to be able to follow through, despite how faithful he had been that far in their journey. It goes to show that the lord must prove our faith in all things to be counted worthy.
Joseph Smith once said that if there was any other way the lord could have tried Abraham further than that of offering his son, he would have done it. We too must be tried at some point and somehow like Abraham.
Our faith is tried today as we live by commandments given in these latter days by our prophets. We neither see proof, nor most times have things even explained to us. Yet, it must be so as to try our faith.
I don’t think the real question is whether or not Polygamy is a true principle or a celestial principal. I think the real question is whether or not Joseph Smith was speaking as God’s prophet when this commandment was given in this dispensation. The argument some have that no real previous scriptural evidence for polygamy other than Section 132 is very weak. Even in light of Jacob chapter 2 and references to it in the Old Testament it goes to show that it at least existed and was permitted on some level by God. The same could then be said for the Word of Wisdom. (D&C 89). The fact is, we believe in a modern day prophet and revelation.
Having faith to accept this teaching will require the assurance that this commandment came to the early saints through revelation from God to the prophet Joseph Smith. The way to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and to get an answer to the truthfulness of that Book. I know that sounds like a missionary response but it is in fact true none the less.
So it’s really a question of faith in my eyes. I have faith that our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom will give us nothing but joy and eternal happiness even if that means living the law of polygamy. In saying that, I’m impartial to polygamy. It either is or it isn’t. I don’t care either way.
I’m grateful the Lord saw fit to take it away from the earth since 1890. I think if we were asked to live it today in these times the saints would have too hard of a struggle with it. Without a full understanding and acceptance of it, persecution would not have ceased and much missionary work would have been compromised. For that reason and for reasons given in declaration 1 in the D&C, it is easy to see the vision and wisdom of the Lord in these last days.
God’s thoughts and ways and understanding are not ours. To use a quick parable: God is like a man trying to describe to a fish under water what mans world above the water is like. The fish can only grasp so much because he is stuck in the water and is not familiar with many things outside of his watery world. God has the same situation in trying to help us understand his world and his ways.