FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 1879
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we acknowledge the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court Reynolds vs. United States which holds that men may be married to one woman and one woman only. While acknowledging the ruling, we strongly disagree with the Court as it poses a clear risk to religious freedom in our society which is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. We also affirm that the Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage, even the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, is ideally a union between one man and two or more women, a relationship eternally ordained by God from the foundations of the world.
While corrupt civil governments and popular opinion may seek to alter God’s laws, we are simply not at liberty to change the ideal of the Lord’s eternal and unchanging definition of marriage which has been clearly revealed as between one man and multiple wives. Unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies regarding plural marriage are determined by truths that God has identified as unchangeable, and we are not at liberty to change them.
Traditional plural marriage has also been the clear pattern throughout human history, where civil laws regarding plural marriage have usually been compatible with God’s laws.
That plural marriage is God’s eternal and unchanging ideal standard for marriage has been clearly and routinely taught by our Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. They have further warned that monogamous marriages of one man to one wife are ruinous to governments and societies that condone them.
For example, President Brigham Young clearly taught in 1862: “Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire…. Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord’s servants have always practiced it. ‘And is that religion popular in heaven?’ it is the only popular religion there” (Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862)
Elder George Q. Cannon repeated in 1869 the truths taught by President Young: “Where are the nations that have existed from time immemorial? They are not to be found in Christian monogamic Europe, but in Asia, among the polygamic races — China, Japan, Hindostan and the various races of that vast continent. Those nations, from the most remote times, practiced plural marriage handed down to them by their forefathers. … Rome with her arts, sciences and warlike instincts, was once the mistress of the world; but her glory faded. She was a monogamic nation and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202)
Elder Wilford Woodruff revealed the following truth to us in 1869: “If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians and do as the world does, then all would be right. We just can’t do that, for God has commanded us to build up His kingdom and to bear our testimony to the nations of the earth, and we are going to do it, come life or come death. He has told us to do thus, and we shall obey Him in days to come as we have in days past.” (Journal of Discourses 13:166)
We emphasize Elder Woodruff’s point: changing the Lord’s definition of marriage away from plural marriage would literally result in the end of Mormonism and thus the Kingdom of God on Earth. It is thus of vital importance that we maintain and defend the Lord’s standard of plural marriage as our very religion and salvation is at stake. We can trust that neither Elder Woodruff nor any other of our leaders will ever lead the Church astray by ending plural marriage. Should such an unlikely event occur, however, God will undoubtedly pave the way for the restoration of plural marriage at some point in the future.
The refusal of the Supreme Court to recognize and legitimize God’s ordained pattern of plural marriage does not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.
Finally, we strongly warn that any government, church, or institution that promotes marriages between one man and one woman only will contribute to the disintegration of the family and will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote God’s divinely ordained plan of plural marriage which is designed to maintain and strengthen the family as a fundamental unit of society.
Benjamin, I really love this. The discomfort that applying this statement to past church positions is insightful. Thank you.
This is fascinating. Can you provide a citation?
Yes, thank you.
Because this is satire and not mourning, it seems the post author has entirely missed the real point of what he cites, and fails to discern what in fact did happen.
But that’s ok. If people understood history, they would not be so keen to repeat it.
I have looked but cannot find the source document. Could you be so kind?
Upon closer reading it seems that this is a mock release statement. There are documents sourced to back up the point though.
The source is Benjamin Knoll juli 7, 2015. It's a satirical piece that places the recent responce of the church to the supreme court decision on same sex marriage in the context of the supreme court decision on plural marriage.
This article may be satirical, but it is very well thought through and substantiated…
LOL! This is outstanding!
Very well done–satire often drives home a point that logic seems to miss. I’d expect to see this in the Onion–oh, and that’s a compliment from this side. 🙂
While reading this to myself, the voice in my head sounds exactly like Dallin H. Oaks.
Very good, Ben. I taught you sarcasm well.
Wow! Put something on the internet disguised as a press release from the LDS church and the wolves gather quickly;) What you call satire I call a blatant lie with a couple of out of context quotes.
Asking multiple women to share one man is inherently diminishing their social, economic, and human value. Treating women with basic respect and dignity and recognizing their equality obvious. Along with our treatment of blacks and gay members we seem to constantly be on the wrong side of obvious moral questions.
Can we really claim access to authority and revelation when we can’t get the obvious stuff correct?
This should be taken down. It looks official and is therefore misleading.
Post the quotes the official part that would be fine,
Oh dear, you just don't know what you don't know. Go ahead and read those Journal of Discourse talks in their entirety.
If people seriously confuse this with an official church release, that's their own problem for not reading "Monogamy" in the title. And for not having a sense of humor.
If people seriously confuse this with an official church release, that's their own problem for not reading "Monogamy" in the title. And for not having a sense of humor.
I get that the author is trying to be cute and witty, but the quotes referenced are not supporting the conclusion satirically being drawn by the rest of the article. The church leaders quoted in the article were pointing out 3 things:
1. Polygamy was established by God and has been practiced throughout the history of mankind
2. The idea that governments should enforce monogamy by the sword is an infringement upon the religious rights of the governed.
3. Polygamy is just one of many principles practiced by the church, thus in itself is expendable (as is one feather on a bird), HOWEVER, if the church made a habit of changing its doctrines any time they came under criticism or conflicted with popular notions of the day (or satirical internet articles), pretty soon we'd have a naked bird on our hands.
The church has never taught that monogamy is wrong, and the insinuation of this article to the contrary is horribly inaccurate and purposefully deceitful. This article is a great example of why you have to be careful about what you read on the internet.
“Some of the nations of Europe who believe in the one wife system have actually forbidden a plurality of wives by their laws; and the consequences are that the whole country among them is overrun with the most abominable practices: adulteries and unlawful connections through all their villages, towns, cities, and country places to a most fearful extent.”
– Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 12
“This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans…”
– Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 195
“I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business… I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece.”
– Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Deseret News, April 22, 1857
“Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman Empire… Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a hold sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers.”
– Prophet Brigham Young, Deseret News, August 6, 1862
“Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout all Christendom, and which has been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious.”
– Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 128
“It is a fact worthy of note that the shortest-lived nations of which we have record have been monogamic. Rome, with her arts, sciences and warlike instincts, was once the mistress of the world; but her glory faded. She was a mono-gamic nation, and the numerous evils attending that system early laid the foundation for that ruin which eventually overtook her.”
– Apostle George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 202
“We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they envy our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow minded, pinch-backed race of man, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They aught to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices.”
– Prophet George A. Smith, Apostle, Deseret News, April 16, 1856
“… the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to people.”
– Millennial Star, v. 15, p. 227
“[Children of polygamists] besides being equally as bright and brighter intellectually, are much more healthy and strong.”
– Apostle George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 207
“Talk about polygamy! There is no true philosopher on the face of the earth but what will admit that such a system, properly carried out according to the order of heaven, is far superior to monogamy for the raising of healthy, robust children!”
– Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 317
Oops, forgive me for making my reply look like a quotation.
I have been struggling to convince some of my friends that the LDS church no longer practices plural marriage. This article has found it's way onto Facebook and presented to me by these friends with MUCH confusion and banter. Your intentions might have to be silly and witty. It was an interesting read. But whenever writing anything concerning the churches's beliefs, whether serious or not, we have to consider the artistry of our adversary. I won't be an extremist and say this article is damaging to God's plan and church. It does however add to the confusion of those who are trying to understand us. God is not the author of confusion.
-intentions might have BEEN to be…
-concerning the CHURCH'S beliefs…
You said, "The church has never taught that monogamy is wrong, and the insinuation of this article to the contrary is horribly inaccurate and purposefully deceitful."
You might want to look of the quotes cited in this satire. I only verified the Elder George Q. Cannon quote from Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 202 at:
It's completely in context and the part omitted above (denoted with ellipses) is even more condemning of a monogamous society. Given the irony between the Church's current stand on "traditional marriage" and the stand it used to take in the 1800s, I think this piece of satire is beautifully done.
Confusion about what? This article clearly outlines exactly what the LDS church was teaching at that time (And in a quiet sort of way still teaches). You may not like it. You may want to white wash it but it is what the LDS corporation was teaching at the time. And your friends on Facebook have a right to know what the LDS church has taught over the years. They deserve to know that it is a church that changes with the times. They deserve to know that the LDS church was absolutely entrenched in the practice of polygamy as part of the path to salvation. They deserve to know that the church supported slavery and had extremely racist views. Do not hide your light under a bushel but let it shine – let your light shine for all the world and your Facebook friends to see!!!
This is a great piece. It outlines in a nice way exactly what the LDS church was teaching at the time.
Zack Tacorin , I did review the sources previously, but I do appreciate that you linked the Journal of Discourses, which lets people pull it up and review for themselves.
I do want to make a couple points in response to your remark. First, Elder Cannon was offering his commentary on the political history of the world and suggesting that polygamous nations have in many instances been more morally virtuous than Christian monogamous nations, such as the Roman Empire, where it was a common practice for men to divorce their wives at the slightest inconvenience and have mistresses, all while touting themselves as being morally upright because of their monogamous tradition (not unlike what we are seeing in America today). He was making an argument against moral pretense and in favor of chastity and fidelity within marriage as defined by God (which allows for polygamous but not homosexual relationships). His underlying point (in my interpretation) was that nations that have turned away from God's principles governing family relationships have crumbled as a result.
The second point is that the Journal of Discourses, while insightful, is not official church canon nor do the remarks of those leaders who contributed represent the position of the church generally. It seems clear that many of the church leaders of that generation had a very high opinion of polygamy, and even preferred it over monogamy. That articulated preference, however, should in no way be misconstrued as an official church condemnation of monogamy. That is the flying leap being taken by the satirist, and with deceptive effect. The Book of Mormon, which predates the Journal of Discourses and which the church reveres as canon scripture (along with the Bible), in more clear terms than the Bible lays out the case for monogamy. Throughout many generations God has permitted polygamy, and in many generations (like ours) He has instructed against its practice. There was precedent for both long before the church was restored in the 1800's. There is no precedent throughout holy scripture, however, for God condoning homosexuality. To the contrary, it has been expressly forbidden… Hence the church's position now and always against the practice. There is no irony or hypocrisy outside of the malignant satire and ridicule carefully crafted to capitalize on the growing unpopularity of God and His laws.
Wes Williams, please read the responses in my post in a preceding thread. The confusion here is that the church has never taught against monogamy, though many prominent members preferred polygamy 100+ years ago. The author is really trying hard to cast the church in a hypocritical light, but the truth is that, while the church did promote polygamy for a period of time, it never denounced the practice of monogamy. The articles referenced include only an indictment against the holier-than-thou Christian nations that ruled with the sword and practiced monogamy in word only, while indulging in anything but fidelity and chastity. There was no denouncement of the practice of monogamy itself, only the nations and systems of government that sought to enforce it.
As far as the church changing with the times, that has been true of all congregations of God's children in any age and every dispensation. The principles remain the same eternally, but the application of those principles, when righteously followed, are always appropriate to the circumstances of the day. Polygamy was not critical to the survival of the church, which is why it was discontinued when the federal government gave Utah an ultimatum. The scriptures are filled with examples of the Lord commanding His children to do, or not to do something in general but then making exceptions when circumstances required. An example would be the injunction against murder, but in many instances the Lord led the hosts of Israel to battle against their enemies. Does this mean that God is inconsistent and therefore nonexistent? Or, could it just mean that His ways are higher than ours?
Thanks for your academic rigor in citing several instances of support of polygamy over monogamy in the church in the 1800’s. I don’t think anyone doubts that the leaders of the church back then preferred polygamy, but I do think their criticism was aimed more at nations that enforced monogamy by law and did that not allow for the practice of polygamy whatsoever. That said, I think some of them did get carried away in their arguments supporting plural marriage. Nonetheless, the church has always held valid and sacred the marriage between one man and one wife regardless of the prevalence of polygamy 100+ years ago. The Book of Mormon, which predates and is far more authoritative than any of the articles you referenced, clearly establishes the sanctity of monogamous marital relationships (see Jacob ch 2-3 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/jacob/2?lang=eng). If anyone in the church did preach against it, I imagine they probably had some repenting to do.
Leah Marie Silverman,
What the articles quoted from church leaders were saying was that it is essential for the success of any nation to allow for the full practice of religion and religious freedom, including the practice of polygamy. Which of course is true. =)
This is very different from the satirical theme of the article, which was to emphasize the fact that the church now denounces the practice of polygamy when once it championed it. As Elder Woodruff noted, polygamy itself was just one of many feathers in the church’s spectrum of practices, which is why it has continued to thrive long after it was discontinued over 100 years ago. What the article doesn’t convey is that the church is also a law-abiding church, which is a much larger feather than the polygamy feather ever was.
The last paragraph did cross a line, though, when it used a play on words to convey the impression that the church ever held that monogamous relationships were offensive to God.
Sorry, I can't get the reply feature to work, so I'm replying in this comment.
You may want to read that passage from Elder Cannon again. He specifically identifies monogamy as the root cause of the problems you mention. Yes, it's his opinion, and from the reading I've done, his opinion was shared by the rest of general leadership. Yes, the Journal of Discourses is not canon, but even the Church uses it because it records many conference talks and sermons from general leaders of the Church in that day. It's analogous to quoting the prophet and the apostles from an Ensign or Liahona article today.
I stand by my earlier observation that this Rational Faiths blog post is accurate. If I'm wrong, please give me clear citations for quotes that are inaccurate or taken out of context.
You mentioned that the Book of Mormon makes a clear case for Monogamy. First of all, that's a red herring because it has nothing to do with the fact that later the LDS Church leaders argued against monogamy. Secondly, Mormon canon is not consistent regarding monogamy vs. polygamy.
"Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord."
(Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:24)
In Doctrine and Covenants section 132, God give context that the revelation is because of Joseph asking about Gods justification of polygamy of his servants, then it says,
" 3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory."
And here's the big contradiction with the Book of Mormon.
"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."
(Doctrine and Covenants 132)
The next verse explains that David only sinned in the case of one wife, the wife who had previously been married to Uriah. So, which way is it? Polygamy was abominable to the Lord, or they did not sin in this in as much as their wives were "given" to them by the Lord?
“At the news of the Reynolds decision, the Mormons reeled in disbelief but, as they had so many times before, also proved defiant. Wilford Woodruff, by then the president of the Quorum of the Twelve, asked a congregation meeting in the great Tabernacle, ‘Now, which shall we obey, God or Congress?’ The crowd cried, ‘We will obey God.’ And so they did. John Taylor, who had succeeded Brigham Young at the head of the church after Young died in 1877, repeatedly declared that polygamy could not be abandoned and that God would encourage and protect those who continued to practice it.” Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People, pg. 144, citations available in the original text.
“Even those who did not practice plural marriage had been told that they must accept it, if only in theory. … For two generations of Mormons, following the close association of the phrases in the revelation Joseph Smith dictated for Emma in July 1843 [D&C 132], the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage” was “celestial marriage,” the work of Abraham, the principle of plural wives, the order of marriage that existed in the Celestial Kingdoms of heaven.” Matthew Bowman, The Mormon People, pg. 160-161.
“Many Saints in Nauvoo resisted plural marriage, but the conviction that it was a command from God and essential to one’s exaltation persuaded the more faithful to comply. As to the perceived necessity of entering into plural marriage in order to gain exaltation, early LDS leader William Clayton testified, ‘From him [i.e. Joseph Smith], I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle no man can ever attain to the fullness of exaltation in Celestial glory.’ Brigham Young declared in 1866, ‘The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.’ Joseph F. Smith, while an apostle, was adamant on this point and stated in 1878, ‘Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or non-essential, to the salvation or exaltation of mankind … I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. … [W]hoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it.’ Thus, it was firmly held and fervently taught through much of the latter-half of the nineteenth century that plural marriage, at least when in force, was essential to exaltation. Marriage to one wife was widely regarded by church leaders as being insufficient to qualify a man for the highest kingdom in the celestial world.
“On November 24, 1889, in the wake of mounting pressure by the U.S. government to discontinue polygamy, President Wilford W. Woodruff assured the Saints that ‘the Lord will never give a revelation to abandon plural marriage.’ A year later, however, with federal pressure intensifying, he issued his Manifesto withdrawing support for new plural marriages and thereby opening the way for Utah statehood.” Charles Harrell, This is My Doctrine, pg. 319, citations available in the original text.
This is only a sampling of the research done by historians over the last few decades. The evidence is clear that, regardless of whether or not God actually requires plural marriage to be exalted to the Celestial Kingdom, Mormons (including church leaders and prophets) of the 19th century understood plural marriage to be not only a requirement for exaltation, but an unchanging requirement for exaltation that would never be revoked. In their view, plural marriage was not merely preferable, it was indispensable.
In hindsight, church leaders and prophets were obviously wrong on that point. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that there are likely other doctrines that current church leaders are teaching as clear, eternal, and unchanging… which may well also turn out to also be wrong.
I appreciate the quotes that were added and acknowledge they were real. And also that is what was taught by many leaders. The problem that I have is that this post is deceptive. The way it appears to be an actual declaration is misleading. I actually posted it to my wall as I recognized all of the things in quotaions. I went to the gym and came home to find the actual declaration and realized it was not real. I removed it from my wall and feel that there could be a more honest way to show that the church has dramaticllay changed its teaching regarding polygamy. As the mother of a Gay child I deeply appreciate what you are trying to do and believe me I get it. I just feel that it is important to be honest and accurate in our portrayl of history.
David Brown – it is so challenging trying to support the web of deceit and nonsense that is mormonism.
David Brown Here are a few teachings about monogamy for you:
"Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout Christendom, and which had been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious."
– The Prophet Brigham Young Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, p. 128
"…the one-wife system not only degenerates the human family, both physically and intellectually, but it is entirely incompatible with philosophical notions of immortality; it is a lure to temptation, and has always proved a curse to a people."
– Prophet John Taylor, Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 227
"Monogamy, or restrictions by law to one wife, is no part of the economy of heaven among men. Such a system was commenced by the founders of the Roman empire….Rome became the mistress of the world, and introduced this order of monogamy wherever her sway was acknowledged. Thus this monogamic order of marriage, so esteemed by modern Christians as a holy sacrament and divine institution, is nothing but a system established by a set of robbers…. Why do we believe in and practice polygamy? Because the Lord introduced it to his servants in a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and the Lord's servants have always practiced it. 'And is that religion popular in heaven?' it is the only popular religion there,…"
– The Prophet Brigham Young, The Deseret News, August 6, 1862
"This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans,…"
– Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195
"We breathe the free air, we have the best looking men and handsomest women, and if they (Non-Mormons) envy us our position, well they may, for they are a poor, narrow-minded, pinch-backed race of men, who chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife. They ought to be ashamed of such conduct, and the still fouler channel which flows from their practices; and it is not to be wondered at that they should envy those who so much better understand the social relations."
– Apostle George A Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 291
"I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality [of wives] looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honors his word. Some of you may not believe this, but I not only believe it but I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business. I do not know what we would do if we had only one wife apiece."
– Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses Vol 5, page 22
"Just ask yourselves, historians, when was monogamy introduced on to the face of the earth? When those buccaneers, who settled on the peninsula where Rome now stands, could not steal women enough to have two or three apiece, they passed a law that a man should have but one woman. And this started monogamy and the downfall of the plurality system. In the days of Jesus, Rome, having dominion over Jerusalem, they carried out the doctrine more or less. This was the rise, start and foundation of the doctrine of monogamy; and never till then was there a law passed, that we have any knowledge of, that a man should have but one wife. "
– The Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 12, page 262
understand – this is what your mormon church will look like in 100 years based on how is has responded to the current SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage.
Wes Williams, any system of moral belief can be ridiculed or honored based on your personal viewpoint. It's easy to have an opinion, but it is always a challenge to support your viewpoints beyond simply resorting to labeling and name-calling. Regardless of one's opinion, I appreciate those who are willing to have an actual discussion about the issues.
By the way, all these references are talking about legally enforced monogamy and the criminalization of plural wives (which was the political reality of their day). There are distinct undertones of preference for polygamy, but the main point is that when the government dictates what a family should look like, problems follow. This applies to our generation just as much today as it did then. I think getting the government out of the business of licensing personal relationships is an objective that both conservatives and liberals alike can (or should) support.
Zack, I didn't see this until today, so sorry for the very late reply. I see no contradiction, just an eternal principle applied under different circumstances. Marriage as God has defined it is between man and woman. There have been many instances throughout the history of man when God sanctioned plural marriage, though when men took it to the extreme and it became a lustful endeavor (i.e. David, Bathsheba and Solomon's concubines, etc.) it was abominable. We do not have to know which wives were given to whom by the Lord in specific instances to know that He has condoned polygamy in general during certain many periods throughout history. There has never been any scripture nor official doctrine established, however, that monogamy was in any way a sin.
That is why you will find support for both monogamy and polygamy in holy scripture and in LDS printed documents. The Journal of Discourse was speaking to geopolitical history and the demise of nations that enforced monogamy with the sword. Some of the church leaders (in my opinion) got carried away and touted polygamy as being far superior to monogamy, but I find no indication that monogamy, apart from a nation-state's compulsion of it, was ever identified as sinful or prohibited by the church. You can link additional references to support an argument to the contrary, but the ones already given in this article/ discussion are not sufficient to make that jump.
About the things already referenced, I don't believe in calling up the spirits of the dead to help make an argument, so I'll never know exactly what Mr. Cannon or the others were really trying to say. My best guide is the scriptures and the Holy Spirit, which together testify consistently that God's design for families consists of marriage between man and woman- which has always included (but has not always been limited to) monogamous relationships.
On what basis do you claim this is not contradictory?
In one case it’s all abominalbe to God, and in the other “in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.”
Oh, forgot this one. Can you see the contradiction here?
“In asmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we be lieve, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death”
(1835 version of the D&C; http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/doctrine-and-covenants-1835?p=1&highlight=1835%20doctrine%20and%20covenants#!/paperSummary/doctrine-and-covenants-1835&p=259 ).