Ep 207: D&C 103 – Section 132 (Polygamy!!!!!!)

May 19, 2018


Polygamy!!! It’s happening!!!! Joseph spends all day in a room with William Clayton and Hyrum Smith penning this revelation. It’s such an important revelation that if you don’t follow it you WILL NOT GET INTO HEAVEN. This is when we find out that men who enter into the principle of plural marriage are the ones who become gods after they die.

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15 Comments on “Ep 207: D&C 103 – Section 132 (Polygamy!!!!!!)”

  1. prestonferguson Says:

    Did anyone else notice the most powerful of all “verilys” ever as identified by the echo of drinks at 54:20?


  2. greenbeanlady Says:

    Having spent my first 40 years trapped in fundamentalism, this was an interesting podcast. Though I appreciated much of the discussion, the idea that living in polygamy is “normal” or “just like another marriage with more moms” is extremely naive. Yes, you witnessed the outward image that fundamentalists want the world to see, but you did not experience the deep and abiding heartache, jealousy and neglect that goes on in the shadows.

    It’s not “just” the FLDS or Warren Jeffs. I own many books that have been written by people who experienced polygamy in different groups, throughout the timeline since the church and polygamy was established. These stories could just as easily have been written about my life and the lives of women I personally know. It is not normal or healthy for anyone involved, but especially the women.

    Someone mentioned how polygamy isn’t easy for men either, and though that is true in some cases, no matter how difficult it is for men there is simply no comparison to what women endure. Most (if not all) polygamous patriarchs have a favorite wife, and they also select out a small group of children who are favored. They create for themselves a more “normal” core family that they interact with on a much more personal basis. The rest are left to fend for themselves to some degree – at least as far as emotional and intimate support is concerned. If you happen to be a woman who is not favored, you have no other options. You are tied eternally to a man who doesn’t truly love you, and isn’t interested in your needs or desires. Even if he wanted to be, it is impossible.

    There are some wives that they “fulfill their duties” to, keeping them pregnant when the time comes, others they may deny even that privilege, having judged them unworthy to bear children because of supposed sins.

    It is physically and emotionally impossible for one man to truly love, care for and nurture an intimate relationship with multiple women, not to mention the myriad children that result. He picks and chooses from each of his harem whichever qualities he desires, fulfilling his needs. If a wife is “disagreeable” or complaining, he simply sets her aside in favor of one who will submit and stroke his ego.

    I have had candid conversations with many women. I have observed and experienced, from the inside, how polygamy affects us as women and how we, on cue, plaster that “Keep Sweet” smile on our face and say we LOVE the principle! An effort to fake it til we make it, with hopes that we will eventually reach a point where we aren’t daily dying inside. We hold on to the promise of eternity, and hope that it will be better. Maybe, just maybe, we will find true happiness there. After all, the earth is a place of testing and trials, what more can we expect here?


  3. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    “For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not the covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

    This contains no ambiguous language, you say? There is no justifying, there is no redefining? Then why DOES the LDS church justify and redefine the phrase “new and everlasting covenant” to mean temple-sealed marriage in general, whether monogamous or polygamous?

    To be fair, you had to say “read polygamy”, and insert that as the definition yourself. The phrase isn’t actually defined here, and verses 4 through 27 apply just as well to a monogamous marriage as a polygamous one. The church would point to D&C 131 as their definition of the phrase, and the William Clayton journal entry from which that section is derived did indeed use monogamous sounding language (i.e. “a man and his wife”.) And of course the Lord’s discussion of polygamous marriage would have to be prefaced by a foundational understanding of sealing marriages in general, right? So just because the rest of D&C 132 is all about polygamy doesn’t mean the first part has to be, right?

    Sure, Brigham Young and John Taylor taught polygamy was a requirement for the highest tier of the Celestial Kingdom, but the church can handwave any part of the Journal of Discourses away as being the prophets speaking merely as men, if they so choose. (Or at least they can never reprint it, and never mention it, and pretend it doesn’t exist, and hope it goes away.) If we’re dealing strictly with what the canonized scripture says, though, “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” need not be polygamous.

    Really, of all the reasons the LDS church ever had for hiding its history, this has to be the biggest one. There are oh so many scrupulously righteous members out there, who feel compelled to follow all the commandments so that God will love them properly, and when they stumble upon Brother Brigham telling them polygamy is necessary for their exaltation, what choice do they have but turn to Mormon fundamentalism? How could the polygamous offshoots not be the biggest thorn in side of the LDS church? (Though I hear the intellectuals, feminists, and gays are making big strides in that direction these days…)


  4. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    Most Mormon missionaries have the pleasure of meeting up with the occasional Evangelical Christian or Jehovah’s Witness who wants to have a “Bible bash” (as the Mormons call it) about Mormon doctrine vs. their doctrine. One of the thornier topics for the Mormons to tackle is celestial marriage, since the Bible purports that Jesus himself had a thing or two to say about the notion, and it’s hard to reconcile it all.

    In Matthew 22:29-30, in response to the Sadducees’ question about which of the seven brothers the woman who married them all in turn will be married to in the resurrection,

    “29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

    30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

    Here in D&C 132, it seems Joseph Smith’s way of circumventing Jesus is to imply that, sure, for those Sadducees who didn’t have the fulness of the priesthood ordinances, (and likewise any latter-day saint who would reject those ordinances), “they” do not marry in the resurrection. No, people like that will be mere angelic servants for those who will get to marry.

    Early 20th century apostle James E. Talmage offered another apologetic take we’ve all heard and regurgitated, “In the resurrection there will be no marrying nor giving in marriage; for all questions of marital status must be settled before that time.”

    And I suppose that argument can work for this Matthew passage, if you take “in the resurrection” to mean “in the resurrected state” and “marry” to mean “enter into marriage” rather than “live in the married state”.

    But neither explanation works well for the similar verses in Luke 20:34-35,

    “34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:

    35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:”

    That passage sounds like it’s commanding everyone to stay unmarried, even in mortal life, in order to make the heavenly cut. No wonder practically everyone, Mormons and Evangelicals alike, seem to ignore that particular version of Jesus’ ramblings about heavenly marriage, and stick with fighting over the other one.


  5. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    [The following comment is rated TV-14:]

    “For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged…”

    Heh, he said, “enlarged”.

    Seriously, though, I don’t remember, has the subject of the “TK Smoothie” come up yet on the podcast? That’s the idea that since only those in the top level of the Celestial Kingdom can have children in the resurrection, there must be something stopping everyone in the lower kingdoms from getting it on, and that possibly implies those men simply don’t have penises anymore, like Ken dolls.

    But since the Book of Mormon states that, in the resurrection, even a hair of the head shall not be lost (and is a penis not more important than a measly hair?), some believe those less worthy Terrestrial and Telestial men will be simply unable to get it up.

    And with so many more faithful women in heaven than men, as the folk doctrine goes, of course at least some of those Celestial alpha males will need to be polygamists, so as to not deprive those women of the blessing of eternally plopping out kids.


    • My Book of Mormon Says:

      All this makes me giggle with the heteronormativity of it all. Lesbianism isn’t even a hint of a whisper of thing in any of this! Yeah, because all women everywhere only ever want a person with a penis… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *gasp gasp* ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!


  6. J. Darnel Says:

    So now I have a question: Did John and Emma ever have a “do-over” in order to be sealed? If not, then by the strict interpretation of this revelation their marriage ended at death. That would mean that John could only have his plural wives with him in the celestial kingdom, and Emma was left out in the cold. Am I wrong?


    • J. Darnel Says:

      Sorry, that should be “Joseph”, not “John”.


    • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

      Yeah, Joseph did eventually get sealed to Emma, on May 28, 1843. Who can say exactly how many plural wives he had already been sealed to at that point, since exact dates aren’t always known, but it was probably 22-25. (I don’t count Fanny or Lucinda as sealed wives, personally, since I don’t think Joseph had worked out the concept of sealing yet when his canoodling with them took place.)

      Getting sealed to Emma seems to have been more of an afterthought than a priority.


  7. Latter Day Skeptic Says:

    My faithful LDS member mother sends this daily email “to let us know she’s still alive” which contains an excerpt from the scriptures and usually a “scripture mastery” verse, article of faith, or the like. Until recently, I had been inactive for 20 years and not sure where I stood on things. Now, I’m out. There are several reasons why I have held on for so long: It’s convenient to have a toe in because it keeps my mom hopeful that I’ll come back to the fold. Some of the doctrine is appealing. Some of the doctrine kind of “makes sense.” My father converted and I hold him in high regard, so apostatizing would seem to impugn his memory. I have dear friends of decades who believe who I don’t want to lose. I have brothers and sisters in this thing.

    I typically never open these daily emails from my mom. But on March 26, I opened the email and skimmed it. It was an excerpt from Jacob 2 from the Book of Mormon. The last verse quoted, verse 24, caught my eye.

    Jacob 2:24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

    Now, I hadn’t given much thought to any of this stuff about polygamy in a while, but this stirred me to look closer, since it seems the Book of Mormon itself is against polygamy. So I looked up D&C 132, which I probably never really critically read, and was floored. Without any analysis, it just feels so wrong. And with analysis, much of it does not make any sense. I cannot see how anyone can read that and come away feeling confirmation that it is true. And I suspect that >90% of LDS have not read that bit on polygamy critically, but only the cherry picked portions or focused LDS talking points. I also find it telling that polygamy is tied up with the plan of salvation, so if one falls it all falls. These are waters that must be tread very carefully for the church.

    All this led me to read a lot about some of the other problems with the Book of Mormon and church teachings. I have recently discovered the CES letter which seems to put all the major issues in one place. I am still sympathetic to the LDS, because most of this foundation of the church has little to do with how you live and worship. However, as we all know the foolish man built his house upon the sand, and that is what we have in this early history and foundation of the LDS Church.

    Anyway, back to my point. The context for Jacob 2 is that the Nephites were starting to practice whoredoms and polygamy, and the people were apparently using the examples of David and Solomon as justification for this practice. However, Jacob tells them that David and Solomon’s actions where “abominable,” so their actions cannot be used to justify any behavior.

    Jacob 2:
    23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

    24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

    Jacob goes on:

    Jacob 2:
    26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.

    27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

    28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

    So in 27, the Lord God establishes monogomy. But there is a catch:

    Jacob 2:30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    So, if the Lord wants to “raise up seed unto” him, he can command his people in such circumstances to, I guess, allow polygamy, whoredoms, and such. As I recall, I was taught this verse as being a justification for the practice of polygamy in the early church. However, it’s notable that D&C 132 does not provide this justification of “raising up seed” at all for the proclamation pertaining polygamy. It’s also notable that many of the plural wives did not have children with their husband or were already married to believers. There is also some study out there that argues that child birth rates were actually hindered because of this practice in the early church.

    I’m kind of done with Jacob here, but I will mention this one further aspect because it is rather telling.

    Jacob 2:
    31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

    32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.
    . . .
    35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.


    Ok, so turning to the revelation regarding polygamy in D&C 132. As part of the justification, Joe Smith provides the example of Abraham of using wives and concubines in a righteous way. I’d have to go back and look at that part of the Bible again, but his description isn’t quite how I remembered it. Anyway, I just want to focus on the part of the justification of polygamy that directly contradicts Jacob here.

    D&C 132:
    38 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.

    39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto 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 the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

    Here are a few points:
    (1) Verse 38 and the beginning of verse 39 directly contradict Jacob. Jacob says unequivocally that the actions of David and Solomon were abominations. Joe Smith says their actions were righteous (except for the Bathsheba thing).How can both be true?
    (2) Verse 38’s “in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.” So you expect me to believe that God can provide me a concubine and it is not a sin? Accepting that these exemplary concubines are provided while David/Solomon are married, I thought that was the definition of adultery – to have sex outside of your marriage. I’m much more amendable to the explanation that these things were sinful, but typical of the day/age in which they occurred.
    (3) I cannot imagine the sorrow that comes from being one of many wives. “And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.”
    (4) (This is my favorite takeaway). Oh the irony that the context of Jacob is that the Nephites were using the actions of David and Solomon as excuses to commit whoredoms and polygamy. Joe Smith does the same thing. Shaking my head.

    For such an important piece of LDS doctrine, I think this small but explicit contradiction within the “revealed” scriptures is important. If the Book of Mormon is believed to be the Word of God, then D&C 132 cannot be placed side-by-side with it.


    • My Book of Mormon Says:

      One of the biggest things I’ve come away with after having read all these revelations is that the D&C (and the Book of Mormon) are one big mass of contradictions. The only way to read it and not see them is to cherry-pick each and every verse. As a whole… you’re right. It doesn’t make sense.


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