Take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites

In July 17 of 1831 Joseph Smith gave the first revelation commanding polygyny This revelation is as follows:

Part and substance of a revelation by Joseph Smith Jr., given over the boundary, west of Jackson County, Missouri, on Sunday morning, July 17, 1831, when seven Elders:  viz., Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Ziba Peterson and Joshua Lewis united their hearts in prayer, in a private place, to inquire of the Lord who should preach the first sermon to the remnant of the Lamanites and Nephites and the people of that section, that should assemble that day in the Indian country, to hear the Gospel and the revelations according to the Book of Mormon.

  1 Verily, Verily, saith the Lord, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world, ye cannot discern with your natural eyes, the design and the purpose of your Lord and your God, in bringing you thus far into the wilderness, for a trial of your faith, and to be especial witnesses, to bear testimony of this land, upon which the Zion of God shall be built up in the last days, when it is redeemed.

  2 Verily, inasmuch as ye are united in calling upon my name to know my will concerning who shall preach to the inhabitants that shall assemble this day to learn what doctrine you have to teach them, you have done wisely, for so did the prophets anciently, even Enoch, and Abraham, and others; and therefore, it is my will that my servant Oliver Cowdery should open the meeting with prayer; that my servant W. W. Phelps should preach the discourse; and that my servants Joseph Coe and Ziba Peterson should bear testimony as they shall be moved by the Holy Spirit. This will be pleasing in the sight of your Lord.

  3 Verily, I say unto you, you are laying the foundation of a great work for the salvation of as many as will believe and repent, and obey the ordinances of the Gospel, and continue faithful to the end:  For, as I live, saith the Lord, so shall they live.

     4 Verily, I say upon you, that the wisdom of man, in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my holy priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fulness by reason of the anointing: it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.

  5 Gird up your loins and be prepared for the mighty work of the Lord to prepare the world for my second coming to meet the tribes of Israel, according to the predictions of all the holy prophets since the beginning; For the final desolation decreed upon Babylon:  For, as the everlasting gospel is carried from this land, in love for peace, to gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, for Zion – even so shall rebellion follow after, speedily, with hatred for war until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all the kingdoms and nations, that strive to govern themselves by the laws and precepts, and force and powers of men under the curse of sin, in all the world.

  6 Verily, I say unto you, that the day of vexation and vengeance is nigh at the doors of this nation, when wicked, ungodly and daring men will rise up in wrath and might, and go forth in anger, like as the dust is driven by a terrible wind; and they will be the means of the destruction of the government: and come the death and misery of men’s souls, but the faithful among my people shall be preserved in holy places, during all these tribulations.

  7 Be patient, therefore, possessing your souls in peace and love, and keep the faith that is now delivered upon you for the gathering of scattered Israel, and lo, I am with you, though you cannot see me, till I come:  even so.  Amen.

So did you catch it? Let’s look at verse four again:

4 Verily, I say upon you, that the wisdom of man, in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my holy priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fulness by reason of the anointing: it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.

In this revelation a commandment was given to take wives of the Lamanites and Nephites. This revelation could be considered the restoration biblical practice of polygyny. In the account of this revelation the following was included

“About three years after this was given, I (William W. Phelps) asked brother Joseph(Smith Jr.), privately, how ‘we,’ that were mentioned in the revelation could take wives from the ‘natives’ as we were all married men?  He replied, instantly ‘In the same manner that Abraham took Hagar and Keturah; and Jacob took Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah; by revelation – the saints of the Lord are always directed by revelation.’”

Now remember Plural Marriage wasn’t revealed for years after this revelation. This revelation is referring to the Biblical practice of polygyny.

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7 Responses to Take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites

  1. I appreciate this post very much. I’ve been taking note of your comments and passionate tone in these various online church meetings where it appears the few humble followers of Christ have taken to meeting under the radar of the Great and Abominable. Thank you for contributing to not only the collective awakening but my own personal one. I learned a lot from this post that my heart had desired to understand. One thing I was wondering about though, since this post did cover quite a bit…was the one little detail about late 1800 native american women being already at that point “more virtuous than the gentiles” in The Lord’s “oppinion” aka THE TRUTH.
    I have some theories or observations about that. I would love to hear from you your take on that. It seems that your blog is new I am glad to have been led to it. I have been feeling more and more, lately, that we are to fully utilize all online means to spread the message of the restoration of the restoration, of the literal establishment of Zion, the gospel of repentance and hope as much as we possibly can in these final years before the destruction foretold hits.

    One Love.

  2. Justin says:

    I have found information about this “Indian polygamy” revelation before — but I don’t know the story behind who obtained the maniscript and how it has been varified to have come from Joseph Smith. Do you know?

  3. I’m also interested in the provenance of this piece. What more can you tell us about it? Does it appear in “Unpublished Revelations?” ( can’t currently lay my hands on my volume one).

    As I wrote over at Pure Mormonism, much that has been attributed to the Prophet regarding polygamy was a result of his words being doctored under the direction of Brigham. There are many reasons to doubt that Section 132 came from him, as Brigham just happened to have produced it eight years after Joseph’s death, and it was in the handwriting of William Clayton. Brigham himself admitted that it was a copy.

    The evidence that Joseph’s successors attached his name to polygamy to cover their own iniquities is overwhelming, as I discuss here:


    And my follow up showing how the testimony of his wives was unreliable here:


    BTW, thanks for you comment at Pure Mormonism. This site of yours is chockful of good stuff.

    • Rock, I just finished speed-reading the Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy (online) book. I remain unpersuaded in their conclusions, although the polygamy research was fascinating. I was not aware that so many groups were practicing (or attempting to practice) polygamy around that time. I now wonder, based upon Justin’s post about the Sex at Dawn research, if all these people being inspired to take more spouses wasn’t the Spirit of the Lord working on them, as opposed to the spirit of the devil, as claimed by the authors. Marriage is ordained of God, is it not? Why would Satan inspire a man and a woman to marry? Satan is all about separation and divorce, not having people enter into marriage covenants.

      Also, Joseph making public denials about polygamy isn’t the end all and be all, is it? After all, are there not two definitions of polygamy? The illegal kind and the non-legal kind? (Illegal polygamy would be marrying two spouses through the State: two marriage licenses. Non-legal would be marrying one spouse through the State, which is recognized by the State, and marrying the second spouse without a marriage license: by private covenant.) It doesn’t take a law degree to see that Joseph could have been entirely truthful by referring to one definition of polygamy in his public speaches while practicing or condoning the other definition.

      I remember not too long ago, some neighbors of mine had a relative come and live with them from their home country. He came with his fiance. They lived in the house, planned the wedding, had a wedding celebration, and then shacked up. No, there was no marriage license. This was “the way it was done” in their culture. From that moment on, they referred to each other as husband and wife and their family referred to them as a matrimony.

      Now, the State would say they weren’t married. People in this country would say they weren’t married. Yet, they said they were married and their family both here and from their country considered their union a valid marriage. If the man took a second spouse in this same way, is he practicing polygamy? The State would say no, but he could say both yes and no, depending upon which definition of polygamy he has in mind.

      In like manner, if Joseph and the other leading brethren entered into marriage without marriage licenses, is this really State-defined polygamy?

      Many of the evidences or “proofs” given in the book can be viewed ambiguously. What is the truth? Who knows? It is hard not to look at the 19th century through 21st century eyes, which distorts the picture.

  4. zo-ma-rah says:

    From what I gather this revelation was not recorded at the time it was given. I think the first written version was by W. W. Phelps in 1861. So that would leave a considerable time gap. I think that that alone gives an indication that it may be fake. But then again marriage to the Lamanites is only one small part of this revelation. You’d think if Brigham wanted to build up his claims he would have done something more subtantial.

    Rock, I read both of those posts. I really think that Joseph actually fighting polygamy is a very intriguing idea. I mean the evidence is there. The only option open to those who support Plural Marriage is that he practiced it in secret while publically preaching against it.

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I plan to some day. For now I just have to go with what Heavenly Father has told me, that Plural Marriage is a true principle. Whether that remains universally true or just something I need to grow right now only time will tell. But I like to think that I am teachable enough to follow wherever the Lord leads me(or maybe I’m just being a bit prideful in my own abilities).

  5. Well, I certainly won’t fault anyone for practicing plural marriage if that is what their heart tells them is right for them. That’s why I like the show “Sister Wives”. These people are living according to their conscience, and “ain’t nobody’s business if they do.”

    I guess where I have a problem with polygamy is if, as I have now come to believe, it was introduced by the Cochranite sect and opposed by Joseph Smith, the fact that it had become so institutionalized by the Church that a member was not a true member if he did NOT practice it. I would not be opposed to seeing all members living as best suits them. But turning plural marriage into the the key doctrine for which Mormons were known was going overboard. All of the great loving teachings of Christ were subverted to this one doctrine.

    Best of luck in your search for the truth. Keep at it. I’m enjoying your writing.

  6. zo-ma-rah says:

    Yes. While I may feel different about the origins of Plural Marriage I too, think Brigham went a little(understatement) too far with it. I have not found anything in the revelations that says Plural Marriage is required for exaltation. Celestial Marriage which includes monogamy and Plural Marriages is required according to the revelations. So for many of the church leaders to say it was required seems just a bit overboard.

    I feel that if God has commanded a person to live it then they should. But not everyone receives that command. If Joseph Smith did practice Plural Marriage I think he felt that same way. Which is why he would have publically preached against it and privately endorsed it.

    Well that’s how it makes sense to me anyway.

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