One concern a lot of people have with Plural Marriage is that the scriptures repeatedly teach us to love your spouse and no one else. I would like to present a possible interpretation that these scriptures actually refer to fidelity rather than a single spouse.
Doctrine and Covenants 42:22
22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.
This scripture identifies three types of people. First “thou,” this refers to the person reading or receiving these words. In the context of this verse it is a male, but it could easily refer to a women if the remaining verse genders were changed.
The second type is “wife/her” this is the spouse of the first person. In the context of the verse it is a women, but could easily be a man if the first person is a women.
The third type of person is, “none else.” This none else does not refer to any other person outside of the marriage covenant with a singular second person. Rather it refers to anyone outside of a marriage covenant between a first person and second person.
I know that sounds completely confusing so let me try and explain it better. A marriage covenant excludes the first and second person more “cleaving unto” a third type of person. But it does not exclude “cleaving unto” a person of type two.
So as long as a person is type two in relation to the first person then cleaving is permitted. Ok that’s about as clear as mud.
Lets put this into context:
22 [You the first person] shalt love thy [second type person] with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto [the second type person] and [not a third type person].
The way I understand it is that this verse is not putting a restriction one the number of marriage covenants a person my have with type two people. Rather it is stating that you should be faithful to those people you have marriage covenants with. You should not cleave unto a person that you do not have a marriage covenant with.
The marriage covenant is between one man and one woman. It is not between one man and two women or one woman and two men. Marriage is a one on one covenant. Now of course the Lord is included in these covenants.
What Plural Marriage does is it allows a person to have more than one of these covenants. So if a man is married to five women he is not married to five women. Rather he has five marriages of one man to one woman. The women are not massed together as a group neither are the women married to each other. But each woman is an equal partner with her husband in the marriage covenant.
So even though a man has more than one marriage covenant his is still obeying the commandments to have one wife. Because in each of his marriage covenants he has but one wife.
One way I can relate to this is with electronics. In alternating current you have many different frequencies. I can take a single piece of wire and send an infinite number of frequencies through it. Each frequency operates independently.
For example say I have three frequencies. I can turn one down, and make one bigger and it does not affect the other.
I can send a signal over each frequency and it does not mix with the other. And this is all through a single piece of wire. I don’t have to have more than one wire or increase the size of the wire or anything.
It’s the same with cell phones. Have you ever wondered how all of the cell phones in your city can operate without getting mixed up? It’s because each phone has it’s own frequency with the tower. You only need one tower yet it can carry many individual conversations. Each conversation clear as a bell(usually).
These are some real world examples of how it is possible a single thing can deal with multiple things at the same time each with perfect clarity.
It is the same with marriage covenants, granted humans are not electronics, but one covenant does not exclude another. A single person can have individual covenants with many people, each with fidelity.
An interesting exception I should note is that if a wire or signal has three different frequencies. And if those frequencies are the same or harmonics of each other, then the overall power of each signal is increased and the signal strength is much greater.
Could it be the same with plural marriage. If a man married to one woman have a strong marriage and he marries another women and both covenants are strong and working together, would not the family as a whole be even stronger?
It can also be said that frequencies that are opposite each other can cancel each other out.