The Great Apostasy happened many years ago, but there is still a large number of people who are affected by it. By looking at the great apostasy we not only learn about the past, but our minds can be brought to understand that actions we must take in the future. The lessons you learn will be up to you. If you look at these events with God as the center of your life you will understand and be able to see ways to improve your life. If you look at this with a closed mind, and you prefer traditions over revelation, then you will learn nothing.
A great many years ago Christ came to the Earth and set in motion events that would build up his church. There were people ordained as Apostles and prophets. They witnessed of Christ and taught his Words. While these people were not perfect, many of them tried very hard to obey the words of Christ. Slowly more people began to see the truth of Christ’s Words. They accepted his teachings and gathered together as the body of Christ(aka the church).
These people shared all that they had. For a time they were able to worship at the temple. In fact they met there regularly. They worshiped together in small intimate groups.
But something happened. Many of the people around them could not understand Christ’s teachings. They thought these people were some strange group. These people rose up and persecuted the followers of Christ. Eventually they even killed the very one who began this movement. These wicked people thought that they had defeated these Christians. They thought that with the leader dead these followers of Christ would disband. Many Apostles were also killed.
After this there began to be divisions among the people. Doctrines became corrupted, and many people tried to gain followers and lead the church. But there was one main group of Christians that really took off. However there was a problem. Revelation began to cease among the leaders. With no more revelation, the teachings of Christ began to be corrupted. Doctrines and ordinances were changed.
They changed the ordinance of Baptism. They also changed the ordinance of the Sacrament. They taught that they no longer had to share everything they had. They stopped worshiping at the temple daily. They changed the Word of God in the Scriptures.
These Christians were persecuted severely by the nations of that time, and even hunted down and killed. But eventually the killing stopped when this Church subjected itself to the government. As the Church corrupted itself more and more, it became more and more accepted by the people and the government. Eventually the leaders of the Church were highly favored of the government leadership.
This Church became rich and began to build huge ornate buildings. They rejected the poor and began charging money to worship. This Church, rather than trying to unify with others, persecuted those who left or belonged to different faiths. There were many who began to look at the things this Church was doing and to compare them to the Holy Scriptures. They saw there were many differences between what Christ taught and what this Church was doing. When they left to try and live as the scriptures taught they were persecuted.
This Church that was founded many years ago, still exists today. These corruptions of doctrine and ordinances are accepted as truth by many good people. And that is the real problem that allowed this great apostasy. There were very few people who actually set out to corrupt the Church. Rather these issues, and fallings away, happened because well-meaning people thought up a simple solution to a problem. Or maybe there was a slightly different way of doing things. There’s no harm in being more efficient is there? With just a small imperceptible change in the angle of a rudder, a ship can end up far off course.
Nobody out and out said that they want to lead these Christians into apostasy. Rather they all said that it was part of the plan. The people could not detect the small changes that occurred and all the time thought they were doing God’s will. There was no official proclamation that the Church had gone into apostasy and the people didn’t recognize that things has gone astray. These were good people who were too blinded by traditions to stop and look and compare where they were, with where they should be.
But fortunately God is in control. And while the path taken by these people was a long and hard one, just like that Ancient Israelites before, there was hope. For before any of this happened God had promised that there would be a restitution of all things. He will fulfill all His promises. And in spite of this great apostasy which fell upon this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there is hope. Christ will triumph and Zion will be established. But if we want to have a part in this, we must awaken to our current state.
This post is about us, the latter day church of Christ, not the ancient church of Christ. My purpose is to illustrate that we have fallen into the same path of error that the ancient church did. So much so that as you read the above description of the church in MODERN times, you thought you were reading a description of the apostasy of the ancient church.
And just as with ancient times our leaders, no matter what sect of Mormonism you belong to, do not get up and announce that we are in apostasy. No. Instead we continue operating under the assumption that the Holy Spirit is guiding our every action. Just as the ancient Christians did, we believe that our practices and policies must be approved by God, because some leader with the title of prophet(or pope) announced it. But you, me, and all of us must wake up. We have to look at the scriptures and history and say, “Wait, what we’re doing right now is not how God revealed it should be done.” Then after we come to a realization of our awful state we must repent, changing our ways, and bring ourselves into compliance with God’s commandments.
Many of you reading this will likely feel upset or even angered. How dare I speak against the Church. How could I write such evil things against the Lord’s one True Church. Surely I must be an apostate anti-mormon. But my brothers and sisters, I didn’t write this to attack Mormonism. I wrote this to support Mormonism. The same Mormonism which has been corrupted by modern Churches. The same Mormonism that was restored by The Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. I didn’t write this to tear you down. I wrote it to tear down your assumptions.
And now I take the words of the great prophet Alma as my own:
22 And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received.
23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.
Please, please, please! It’s time to stop playing Church. It’s time to stop playing dress up. Look around you! People are leaving the Church faster than new ones join. We are corrupting and rejecting our doctrines so that we can look good to the world. We want to be known as the common normal person, not the salt of the earth. We spend our money on MULTI-BILLION dollar shopping malls. We are building temples around the world, while the most important temple of this dispensation sits unbuilt, just an empty field.
Haven’t you ever felt that excitement that anticipation of the day when someone will finally say, Let’s go to Jackson county and build Zion. Well guess what, that call came over 100 years ago and was never rescinded. I finally realized that that call would never come. The leaders of the Church will never stand up and announce that it is time to finally live the law of consecration and build Zion. I realized that we must act NOW if we want to see Zion. If we are waiting to be commanded in all things we will be rejected by God. Come on, let’s live by every Word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. Lets make Zion happen, now!
This chart is to reference the claims I made above. You can truly see that we have followed the same path as the ancient Christian Church. Unless we take action now we will blindly fall into deeper apostasy until we are no different that our Catholic brothers.
Really nice write up and comparison and while I reject the basic premise of divinity in the church… any church… I think the basic failures of the church that you make explicit in your comparison chart are damning in and of themselves.
Well said. If we have eyes to see, the message is very clear. What are we choosing? This isn’t a group decision; it’s an individual choice for each of us.
Nicely done. To most people who attend your site, this will probably not be surprising. To a traditional Mormon, it would be heresy. But I hope (as I believe you also hope) that the saints will take notice. I am one of them and serve among them and truly hope they will awaken and fully come to the Lord of whom I greatly believe. I have two diverging points of view. 1. I consider section 138 (the vision of Joseph F Smith in 1918) both a true revelation and also accepted as such by proper common consent. I’m curious why you think otherwise. 2. Isaiah successfully worked with King Hezekiah. Jeremiah had an on-again-off-again working relationship with the king; Daniel had dealings with King Darius. So I don’t think it is an iron clad rule that prophets can’t or shouldn’t work with political leaders or that we should always expect “If we were doing what we should world leaders would be condemning and persecuting us.” The point I realize you were making is that a prophet can’t compromises the Lord’s message of repentance when working with government officials, which most often is the case (however Daniel didn’t and he found favor with the king). Anyway, nicely done.
I can’t even begin to tell you what a masterful piece of research and comparison this is. Thank you, Zomorah, for making this chart available.
I find it interesting that the modern Church puts so much emphasis on building temples, then restricts their use to those who have demonstrated external “worthiness” as the pharisees did. I also appreciate that you point out how misused and underused the temples are today. They stand mostly as ornate buildings we can be proud of and allow others to admire us for.
I hadn’t really given this much thought until you mentioned it: The attitude we have toward those others in the Restoration movement is anything but what Christ would like. Our leaders speak of them dismissively and with an air of annoyance as though we wish they would go away. Yet these same people embrace our scriptures and love our founding prophet, which is much more than the gentile churches do. And what is our reaction? Disgust at their very existence.
Very well done, as always, my friend. I’ll be sharing this one.
Zomarah, I was also wondering about Joseph F. Smith’s vision. Other than that, though, I know of no other “official” revelation. If you would care to explain why you left that revelation out, I would appreciate it.
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I’ll get back to everyone who has asked about Joseph F. Smith’s vision. But since I don’t have a lot of time I’ll just post this link I found. This is very good.
A couple of points. The empty field in Independence, Missouri where Joseph Smith laid cornerstones for a temple is a mere stone’s throw from the Community of Christ’s spiral temple, in fact it is visible in one of the photographs you posted. You also mention the succession crisis, and that mormonism fractured after the murder of Joseph Smith. Your essay talks about ways that the followers of Brigham Young began changing things, leading away from Joseph Smith’s origianl version of the restored church. I found the points you mentioned very interesting, but you skipped the 1890 manifesto abandoning polygamy. Was that a good thing, or a bad thing? Most people (then and now) would say it was done as a politically expedient method for gaining statehood. I know when I discuss this with relatives, they dismiss me, mostly because this was one change they are very happy to accept at this point. They usually say things like, “Oh, didn’t our ancestors have courage to live that principle. Didn’t they have a hard life? I can’t imagine sharing my husband with another wife! I’m glad we are not called to live it today.” It’s just long enough ago, that it isn’t reality, unless one is motivated to go live in Colorado City, take up with the Kingstons, or splinter off into another religious faction using Joseph Smith’s revelations as the basis.
I usually never get that far into that discussion without being cutoff. They cite Woodruff’s 1890 manifesto as the cutoff point for ending polygamy. Still, I wonder how to resolve the weak opening that Woodruff used, “To whom it may concern:” The faithful mormon polygamists assumed he wasn’t speaking to them. The corresponding opening in D&C 132:4 is much more powerful. It states:
“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.”
Orson Pratt said,
“If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet; I would renounce the whole of them, because it is utterly impossible, according to the revelations that are contained in these books, to believe a part of them to be divine—from God—and part of them to be from the devil; that is foolishness in the extreme; it is an absurdity that exists because of the ignorance of some people.”
I wonder the same thing. How both can be correct? D&C 132 remains a valid part of LDS theology. All churches change over time, and mormonism relies on continuing revelation from living prophets to make the difference. Too bad, as you note, most of the modern revelations are more worried about monetary matters. It seems temporal concerns win out over the spiritual.
The LDS church is changing, albeit slowly. But even that glacial rate of change is too fast for some. It is too slow for others. But is it changing for the good, is the direction generally correct? Some will complain if the LDS church moves away from fundamental gospel principles. Others will complain when the institutional church gets even more impersonal, remote, and chilling. Consider one other thing, the Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS, has been faced with similar questions in its recent history. Their response is to accept that Joseph Smith may not have been absolutely infallible. Their rate of change has been rapid and, in my opinion, they have moved back towards being more christ-like environment. Among the best of all possible churches. They preach world peace, inclusivity, equality, and community building. It’s a stark comparison when considering what the Salt Lake church has taugh by contrast. They have taught consumerism (Let’s go shopping at City Creek.) and hate (millions spent to pass California’s proposition 8.)
Isn’t it interesting how temple building correlates to areas with higher potential tithing revenues rather than areas with higher potential temple attendance?
I wonder if that is coincidental or true. Facts are facts (more temples in wealthy countries even though there are more members in some poor areas like South/Central America and Africa), but I wonder what the true reason is. Perhaps if a study could be done comparing active members – you know, those who were baptized knowing what they were doing and who go to church, instead of the reported number of members which could include those who were never converted, don’t bother to consider themselves LDS, etc. Comparing them to the places temples are being/were built.
I would think the true connection would be between temple-worthy members and temples – but then one cannot make the distinction between money as a motivator because one must pay tithing to be temple-worthy. Still, I seriously doubt that money (income for the church) is a factor in temple-building. I don’t think there is greed at the top, so much as there is over-zealousness to acquire riches for the church. That sounds incompatible, but what I’m trying to say is that greed is not a factor in temple-building in my opinion. But the over-zealousness is probably a factor in building malls and acquiring great, luxurious, and/or spacious buildings, and being involved in money-making ventures instead of confining the church TM strictly to the saving of souls and bringing souls to Jesus (not to the corporation, nor the leaders of the corporation).
The leaders are, after all, simply men. Not one of them since Joseph Smith died has equaled him in gazing into heaven, sharing revelation, having true sealing power (the kind that can only be given by the voice of God). If Joseph Smith was not perfect, certainly none of the men who followed him were perfect. The idolization of men today puts many souls into serious jeopardy.
This is still Jesus’ church. He gave a few warnings, in my opinion, when the tornado blew out the glass in the visitor’s center in temple square over a decade ago and did minor damage to the conference center being built. Again with the most recent fires that were NOT caused by anyone (Provo tabernacle, conference center, one of the stores in the mall). Remember, the scripture says, “Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and AS A WHIRLWIND it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;” (D&C 112:24-25) So, it begins as a whirlwind, then perhaps breaks down into metaphor and symbolism.
[disclaimer: opinion only]
It wasn’t Brigham Young’s followers who started changing things, it was Brigham Young himself. He changed the whole religion and started polygamy and many other false doctrines. D&C 132 was his own false revelation he used to excuse his whoredoms. Joseph Smith, Christ, and the scriptures taught a completely different religion. The complete apostasy happened when Joseph Smith died and Brigham Young took over, which it appears was what Joseph Smith feared would happen after his death.
So the 1890 manifesto is irrelevant, except that it was good in that it ended, for the most part, at least one form of abuse against women going on in the church, but there were many other abuses that still go on today.
For about 3 years after Joseph’s death, Emma was quite frank about her husband’s plural marriages. She even went as far a calling him an adulterer as well as a practitioner of plural marriage, she said he burned the revelation, now called 132, the night before he left for Carthage. You should read the interview she has with William E McClellan. Once her son became of age and started leading a following of left behind saints she changed her tone to flat denial. Wilson Law wrote a poem called Ol Buckeye. in the Warsaw Signal in 1843 I believe. Look it up, in one of the stanzas he references some of his wives, Snow, Knight and Partridge he even references the parable of the talents which was what Joseph used to with some to explain the doctrine of taking other men’s wives. William Law in his 80’s could only recall the Lawrence sisters, yet he did accuse him in the Nauvoo Expositor of being the author of the doctrine. If Brigham was the mastermind why not Expose him? Just bad research and history if you believe that rubbish.
Could you give more information about Emma Smith’s admittance that Joseph practiced polygamy? I can’t find anything of the sort.
Also, to all those who think Brigham led the church astray after Joseph’s death, consider this:
Joseph prophesied to Stephen Douglas that he would some day aspire to the presidency of the United States and that when he did, if he spoke against the saints the hand of the Almighty would rest heavily upon him.
It is a historical fact that Stephen Douglas did in fact aspire to the presidency. However, it is also historical fact that he lost in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Why? Because in a speech given in Springfield, Illinois he attacked the Saints. He proposed that when he became president he would revoke Utah’s territorial charter and then prosecute the Saints. One year after he lost the race for presidency he died of typhoid fever.
Those who would debate the authenticity of this revelation need look no further than the Deseret News archives. In there you can find the revelation given as a warning to Mr. Douglas for his actions against the Saints. This pronouncement was given a few years before the elections were held.
It’s quite obvious who God considered his Saints at the time. And who was at their head? Brigham, of course. It’s all on record for those who really are seekers of truth.
Very nice organization of the facts between the two dispensations. I might add that there iare more characteristics that appear in both timelines. One of the first things that Peter did after receiving the baptism of fire was to heal a man lame since birth. In both situations, the apostles received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost; Peter and the apostles on the day of Pentecost and Joseph Smith and the leadership of the church at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.
Similarly, Joseph Smith and others early in the restoration pronounced healings on people just as Peter did.
The church today seems to rest on their laurels when it comes to the markers of the true church. Just because revelations, healings and spiritual experiences were had among the people does not mean they are immune from apostasy today.
Thanks for the work you did on this topic.
The church is right where it is supposed to be as foretold by the Prophet Daniel. Chapter 7 Daniel sees a beast wear out the saints of the most high. It thought to change their times and laws. IE it fought them until they changed their doctrines to conform to the will of the US government it’s the gov. that had them throw out the time of Abraham and the Law of plural marriage, Enoch and Consecration, Moses and the literal gathering of Israel etc. Daniel saw power given back to the saints when the Ancient of days came and gave it back to us.
Until then believe that you are of the house of Israel and head the instructions given by Joseph in 1842 when he preached to the relief society out of Ezekiel 14. That it was declared in Ezekiel’s day that salvation rested on the shoulders of the person and was between him/her and God, that in their state of corruption the counsels of the church at their time couldn’t be trusted. A warning that God would purposely lead even prophets astray to catch idolater in a snare. Good post Z 🙂
I love your links of the early patriarchs to the issues pertaining to them. Very insightful – I’ve never seen it illustrated that way. Thank you!
There was never an apostacy…Sorry read the bible and you’ll see that He is and always be with us. It’s laughable to hear Mormons say that there is. Jesus is the Church, the believers are His body and bride, the apostles and the prophets of the Bible are the foundation. The word gives us truth, by believing in Him we are saved. We don’t need a Church made with concrete to tell us we are saved. Please, read the bible.
Here are some more of the early revelations, Including the last revelation to the Chuch through Wilford Woodruff in 1889 just months before the manifesto.
After that there are a few examples of personal revelation to worthy people, such as the vision of the redemption of the Dead to Joseph F. Smith, but there are no more revelations to the whole church because the church as an institution is simply not interested in revelation anymore.
Masterful essay on apostasy, my prayer is that we will each be personally mindful of our own apostacies, and seek the revelation we need to avoid the apostasy around us.
The problem is that many of are only kept from a knowledge of the truth because they know not where to find it. While the “Church TM” is in apostasy, that does not mean that the priesthood, the keys, or the revelations of God are gone, it just means that they are somewhere else. If anyone has a pure and honest desire to find out for themself where these things are they will find them. Seek first the spirit, then study the scriptures dilligently, and then just keep your eyes open and the Lord (himself) will show you where to go. Do not trust in the arm of flesh, not your church leaders, and not even your own intuition, trust God.
I have found a work that God has called me to by revelation. It was to join and gather with a small group of Latter-Day Saints and live all the commandments. We are preparing to go and build the New Jerusalem. This work is already underway, and there are true prophets and apostles here leading and exorting the people to know God. I know this not just because I blindly “follow the prophet” but because I have experienced heavenly manifestations for myself that have led me thus far. If anyone wants to learn about what I have experienced, or might feel that they also desire to literally build Zion, then come and join the cause! “Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (2 Ne. 9:50)
Very nicely written.
Two scriptures that is ominous:
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
17 But I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake.
The scripture in Isaiah needs to be applied to us. We as a church have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, we are cursed. How will the Lord rectify this? By allowing the earth to be burned (the baptism of fire of the earth).
The Book of Mormon scriptures shows that the land itself is cursed because of the hardness of our hearts. Simply put, we need to repent (as a nation as a whole and as a church that Jesus Christ has restored truths, priesthood authority, and scriptures in the latter-days). If we do not, we will bear the consequences.
Sometimes I wonder how many readers of the Book of Mormon are doers of the word and not hearers only. Several times they are admonished to read the words of Isaiah, but how many of them actually have? If they had even attempted to read the words of Isaiah, they would no doubt have stumbled into Chapter 1:
“Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.”
Wouldn’t the head of Israel be representative of the leadership? Notice it says “the whole head is sick”.
“Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”
But it doesn’t look like the whole body is sick, for “a very small remnant” seem to have escaped, as did Lot during the times of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”
Truly a chilling statement.
“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.”
Who would the faithful city have been?
Verse 22-23, 25-26:
“Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. … And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
The princes (leaders) who once judged the people righteously, have become diluted by adding unrighteous men to their ranks that they no longer love righteousness. These new princes (the dross) spend their time seeking rewards (gifts, praise, etc) instead of looking after the affairs of the widows and orphans. They will be removed from their positions of authority (“purged away”) and new judges will replace them. This is how God restores righteousness into his city. He replaces bad judges with good ones. And how can a man be a good judge? Only by the spirit of revelation.
Some questions to consider:
1) Could this chapter of Isaiah be applied to our day?
2) Does God always fix bad leadership by replacing them? or does he sometimes wait for corrupt leaders to repent?
3) Are the events of the past predictive of future events? Are the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Flood types and shadows of things to come?
Every morning I roll out of bed and before doing a token 50 crunches to ‘stay in shape’ I kneel at my bedside and (still exclusively in Portuguese since my mission) pray to Heavenly Father. I pray mostly in thanks and for protection over my sweet wife and beautiful little girls. I pray to be able to find someone to help that day and that I can work hard all day. Then I lastly (especially so since i am becoming aware of the activities of our church government) I pray that I can find truth wherever it is. And almost always after I pray I go in to my closet to read something about swimming pools (my carreer) or money (my hobby) or the church (my fascination). reading for a few minutes a day is a great habit started during my mission. I read and start getting ready and I stumble across articles like this. I can’t help thinking that when I pray for direction to truth I keep finding more and more information about the LDS church being slightly off-track. A good organization? Yes. Great people and leaders and structure? Yes. True? I don’t know anymore. This is scary territory for a lifelong member/believer/follower…
First of all, congratulations on getting into the habit of praying every morning. That’s something I’m still working on, but I know God blesses my day when I do and I feel the lack of his blessing on days I don’t.
Next I’d like to address your question, “Is the church still true?”
My response got a little lengthy and I figured it would make for a good blog article, so I’ve posted it here:
I agree that at first when you start to see and sense that things are not right in the Church, that it can be scary, but as Heavenly Father gives you greater light through personal revelation and while you study the scriptures and only true & proven published quotes by Joseph Smith, not hearsay, then you will slowly piece the truth back together and feel great joy in finally knowing the real truth. For the truth will set you free from all the falsehoods and false prophets that have deceived almost everyone.
Go back to basics, your belief in Jesus Christ and in the Book of Mormon and in Joseph Smith as a true Prophet. Then start from there and research all that Joseph published himself while he was alive, (like in the Times & Seasons), especially all he said ‘against’ polygamy, publicly & in the original D&C, for that’s a key point. Joseph could not have lied to the Saints his whole life anymore than God could or would. He did not lie and lead the Saints astray as the Church says he did, he taught them the truth about polygamy. Joseph taught the same things that Christ and the ancient Prophets of the BoM taught, that polygamy was a vile adulterous evil, never authorized by God in any instance. When you truly come to believe in the words of Christ and Joseph Smith and ancient BoM Prophets, not what others said they said, then you will start to see and understand the real truth.
God would never expect us to base our testimonies on hearsay about Joseph Smith. He instead commands us to study and believe what the Book of Mormon and original D&C say, which do not teach polygamy but warn against it. (D&C 132 was not in the original D&C that Joseph published and put his stamp of approval on. It actually goes completely against what Joseph always taught his whole life, so it’s impossible D&C 132 could be from him, for he warned to never accept revelation or teachings that are ‘contrary’ to previous true revelation or the BoM.
Many faithful Saints of course refused to follow Brigham Young, because of Joseph Smith’s warnings and teachings against polygamy and those who practiced it. They stayed in the East and did the best they could with the Priesthood that they held and the personal revelation that they received, along with the Holy Scriptures that Joseph had given them. They had lost their Prophet, but they could still easily receive further instruction and revelation directly from God.
Soon I believe we will again see true Prophets come among us, warning people to repent and to live the laws of Christ and according to the BoM and Joseph teachings. Soon even Joseph will return and with Christ, and restore the true Church to the earth and establish Zion.
The BoM prophets foretold of this latter day apostasy of the Church, and how everyone in the Church would be deceived and become corrupt, to support and do evil, except a rare few. That apostasy happened right after Joseph died and a few Saints were not deceived by polygamy or to follow Brigham Young out west, were he and his followers have dwindled in unbelief ever since.
I believe that only those who possess true charity, the unconditional pure love of Christ, especially for their spouse, will recognize the truth and true prophets and true doctrine. Joseph taught that those who possess charity are the only one’s who can’t be deceived. Christ also taught that we will know his true disciples by if they possess charity, Christlike love. Unfortunately, I have never known of anyone in the Church since Joseph or in today’s world who possesses Charity or even believes in Christ and his divine love. Thus, I don’t believe I have ever met or have known of a ‘true disciple of Christ’ in my life.
It is as Joseph warned us in the D&C 76 and 45, today most all good and honorable people and leaders in the Church are being deceived by the craftiness of men like Brigham Young and other early leaders.
“Only if you are unafraid of the truth can you find it.” LDS Filmstrip “Man’s Search For Happiess”
I find your comments very interesting. you seem to have a testimony of much of the gospel, and you also seem to have been inspired by the spirit to understand many of the prophecies of our day, yet you seem to have a hateful attitude toward many of God’s prophets. This is an odd set of attributes. First, for anyone who has faith in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, how can you so vehemently oppose polygamy? Abraham Issac and Jacob were all polygamists, so their God is a God of polygamists. And it is not just them, it is nearly every prophet in the old testament. You seem to believe their words, while rejecting their authority. This is puzzling. Again you have a very contradictory position on Charity as well, First you say it is “unconditional” and then you say that it is “especially for your spouse” Which is it? an unconditional love for all? or a limited love for only one person?
However, that controversy aside I believe that you are right about the apostasy and that true prophets are coming to set the House of God in order. Joseph Smith is not done with this work, and Christ will return as well. Few will recognize the work they set in motion to establish Zion. True prophets do exist and some of them have been voices crying in the wilderness for a while now, but few have the love of the truth to even listen, or look for them.
The other problem is that each of us have our own ideas about how this will look, and what we believe is the right way for God to do his work. Also every person believes some things that are false, it is just human nature to be mistaken sometimes. So, again I agree that only by having charity can we know the truth. Charity humbles us, and makes us teachable. It also breaks down the barriers between people so that they can be edified together. It diminishes the ego, and makes us desire God’s will before our own. Then we can learn to love all people unconditionally, just as all are Loved and all are alike unto God.
If we can achieve this kind of Love, perhaps we will be able to overcome our differences and see eye to eye, so that Zion can be brought about. Right now it seems clear that you are not happy with the idea of polygamy, in the bible, the BofM or in the Latter-days, but rather than be accusatory of those prophets who have lived in these large plural families, maybe it will be easier to find the truth if we have charity for them, and instead of seeing what you see as a fault or sin in their lifestyle, perhaps we should seek ways we can cooperate in bringing about Zion. Maybe we could discuss the United Order, and how to live more consecrated lives? You have made it clear that you do not intend to accept polygamy, but are you willing to cooperate with those who do? No one is telling you to enter a plural marriage, so can you be patient with those who have? One of us is currently mistaken about the doctrine of plural marriage, but perhaps as we seek the spirit, and are humbled by the Love of God, we will eventually be able to discard error, and eventually see eye to eye.
I believe that Abraham sinned when he fell for polygamy, but that he later repented of it when God told him to send Hagar away. I do not believe Issac ever lived polygamy, at least no scriptures say he did (I don’t consider D&C 132 true scripture). Jacob also fell for polygamy because of a dishonest father in law and because he was so in love with Rachel. Later he was pressured into more polygamy by weak & understandably jealous wives. But I don’t believe polygamy was ever God’s idea or ever commanded by him. These men all repented of their polygamy before they died if they were really true prophets in the end.
Unconditional true love is very exclusive for one’s spouse. It is a different form of love than what is shared with others. We are to love only 2 people with our whole soul, God & our spouse. Everyone else we can love unconditionally too, but that does not mean we live with them like a spouse. I believe it is impossible to have true love for more than one spouse. God, Christ, Joseph Smith and many ancient Prophets have all taught that it’s impossible to have Charity and live polygamy too, for the 2 things are complete opposite, one being the greatest thing of all and the other being one of the greatest evils of all.
I believe there will be no polygamy in Zion, for that is what God’s true prophets have taught. I also do not believe it is charity to pretend that sin isn’t sin. If we really love someone we will try to help them learn correct principles and become aware of their errors, like polygamy, & repent.
It makes no difference what I feel about polygamy, it only matters what God has taught through his Son and his true prophets and in the scriptures, that polygamy is a whoredom and always was & always will be forever. It is the natural man’s carnal desire & most men on the earth have fallen for it, the desire to have more than one woman or wife.
I believe the true test of life for men is to see if they can be completely faithful (mentally, emotionally & physically) and true in loving & serving ‘one’ woman for their whole life, even if she dies. Very few men can do this. Most men can’t stay faithful to their wife if she dies or if she divorces him, most men soon start to date & remarry when left alone. Thus, true love & charity is very rare with men, but it’s what Christ and his Apostles said was the requirement to be a true disciple of Christ. We will know Christ’s true disciples by if they have such true love for their wife. For I believe that marriage is the greatest test of true love, if we can’t have it for a spouse we can’t have charity for anyone else.
I personally have never met or heard of any man in my lifetime who possesses such true love & charity for his wife, though I believe there are a few out there somewhere.
I can only believe those prophets and scriptures that teach Christ’s doctrines, I don’t believe men like BY who teach contrary things to what Christ and his prophets taught.
Joseph clearly taught & published for us today, that those who fall for polygamy or for those who preach it, will be damned. That is pretty harsh warnings. I don’t understand how anyone can reject such a warning or believe he was just kidding or worse, lying.
We will all stand accountable one day for what we believed to be true and if we believed Christ & Joseph Smith & ancient BoM prophets or if we believed others like BY who taught completely contrary doctrines and religion that what Christ & his prophets taught.
We will also be held accountable for accusing Joseph Smith of the very evils he so strongly preached against his whole life. He will wonder why many didn’t believe his very clear testimony and the scriptures he left us, all of which condemned polygamy in every instance.
A few words in defense of Brigham Young.
If you haven’t already, please study the Stephen Douglas prophecy. It was published in the Deseret News prior to its fulfillment (I looked it up, it’s there). The prophecy was one given by Joseph Smith to then governor Stephen Douglas. It stated that one day Stephen Douglas would run for president and that if he turned his back on the Saints of God he would “feel the weight of the hand of the Almighty upon him.” Stephen Douglas did run for President many years later, after the death of Joseph Smith. It was during these debates that one of the Saints published this revelation to Stephen Douglas as a warning. Giving no head to this warning Mr. Douglas turned on the people of God in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. He told an audience in Illinois his solution to the Utah Question. He would revoke Utah’s charter and prosecute every Mormon there. He lost the election and died of typhoid fever a year later. The fulfillment of this prophecy lends strong credibility to the Saints who followed Brigham west and to Brigham’s claims to authority, for Stephen Douglas attacked no other people or church in his remarks.
Secondly, it is interesting that nine of Joseph’s Quorum of Twelve followed Brigham west. The others seemed to drift aimlessly. Many years back a BYU student by the name of Andrew F. Ehat wrote his thesis on the Succession Crisis. His conclusions are summed up in this Venn diagram:
Click to access venndiagram18442.pdf
As you can see Brigham was a member of every quorum Joseph established, from the Priesthood, to the Church, to the Kingdom of God. Also, every man in like him followed him west. Now you might just think Joseph was bad at picking leaders, but let me remind you, it wasn’t Joseph who picked them.
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.”
…and Abraham was a polygamist?
I believe not all of Joseph’s choices for apostles were inspired, John Bennett for example deceived Joseph into believing that he was righteous, but as soon as Joseph found out about his true character he excommunicated him. Even Prophets can make mistakes in judgement and I believe he also made a mistake with Brigham Young and many other apostles. I don’t believe they were ever chosen ones as referred to in that scripture, or if they were they certainly fell.
I appears from more reliable testimony that Joseph lost confidence in Brigham Young long before his death and meant to excommunicate him had he lived much longer. I believe, and it appears from certain testimonies, that Joseph felt pity for the Church members if Brigham ever became it’s top leader.
And I believe that Abraham fell for polygamy because of a lack of faith in God’s promises, or maybe just from pressure from his wife, but I believe he later repented of polygamy because God told him to, when he told Abraham to send Hagar away. Abraham & Sarah had learned the hard way that polygamy was not right, they should have just had more faith in God’s promises that he would give them a child.
Could you please provide some evidence, any evidence that Joseph ever spoke evil of Brigham Young? I doubt you can. You can continue to try to rewrite history to conform with your own biases, but you’ll convince only those with weak minds or biased hearts with your creeds. Please show some evidence stop wasting our time with your endless blather.
I would suggest reading the online book called “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy” at restorationbookstore,org. They have compiled tons of research and documents there that mention how many talked about how Joseph really felt about Brigham Young. You can read it for free online, it as ll the sources of evidence that I could give you.
Remember, the victor always gets to write the history. Do you really think that BY would have confessed to how Joseph Smith opposed him and didn’t like him? He needed to make it seem like Joseph Smith backed him up all the way and that polygamy was Joseph’s idea or the people would never have followed him.
I suspect this is the quote you’re referring to:
“That the church funds have been misapplied, I have no hesitation in asserting, for of necessity I have been made acquainted with the fact, that several houses have been tilled up with women who have been secretly married to Brigham Young, H. C. Kimble [Heber C. Kimball], and Willard Richards—women with little children in their arms, who had no means of support except from the tithing funds…. I heard my brother Joseph declare before his death, that Brigham Young was a man, whose passions, if unrestrained, were calculated to make him the most licentious man in the world, and should the time ever come, said he, that this man should lead the church, he would certainly lead it to destruction.” (William Smith, A Proclamation, Warsaw Signal, Warsaw, Illinois [October 1845], page 1, column 4; italics added)
You really do need to carefully consider the bias of your witnesses. William Smith was Joseph’s younger brother, who was made member of the Quorum of Twelve. He was excommunicated at least once while Joseph was leading the Church. He took the office of Patriarch of the church following Hyrum’s death and held that position under Brigham Young for several months, before he was stripped of his position and disfellowshiped. Shortly thereafter, obviously in retaliation, he wrote the article in the Warsaw Signal which I quoted above.
He prefaced his “proclamation”:
“I take this course towards my brethren in all meekness of spirit, patience, and forbearance, without aught of malice or revenge, that they may understand the true reason of my silent course of conduct during the last summer, and the cause of my present position.”
But given the context of when the article was written, can we believe that he wrote this “without aught of malice or revenge”? If he wasn’t being truthful in the beginning of his statements, what should lead you to believe he would be truthful later?
That quote is only one of the reasons I believe Joseph didn’t approve of or have confidence in BY in the later years. There are comments from others like Emma & others who testify that Joseph saw through BY and knew he had apostatized. And I believe for one, because Emma proved her righteousness & charity over & over, while BY proved himself evil, over & over, if even by just the things he would say, let alone how he treated women or the vile doctrines he would promote.
Today now that many women have more self-respect & can finally see & identify abusive and controlling men, it is very easy to see how abusive of a man BY was, like most all leaders & men in the Church in Utah were back then. BY gives himself away just by the things he said over the pulpit. If a church leader ever said such things today, that BY used to say, there would probably be very few if any women left in the chapel by the end of his talk. Most women today just don’t fall for the abusiveness, arrogance & control that BY displayed, they see it for what it really is. But back in those days, most LDS women didn’t understand their true equality yet, especially the women who were deceived to follow BY, nor did hardly any men believe in or accept women’s equality yet.
The only reason most LDS women today don’t see through BY (or the other early leaders) is because they don’t take the time to study what he/they actually did & said back then, which would repulse most LDS women if they did find out. The church leaders in Utah were all very arrogant abusive adulterous men.
The reason I mostly believe that Joseph didn’t like BY, is because I can see that Joseph knew right from wrong and I believe he knew BY was practicing polygamy secretly, like other leaders were too. And I know that Joseph knew polygamy was a whoredom so I know that Joseph knew BY had fallen and being very adulterous & abusive towards women. So of course he would fear for the Church if BY ever got hold of the reigns. The Spirit will also confirm these things to anyone who wants to know.
I fear this type of dialogue is unhelpful. Character assassination, especially against prophets, on an LDS forum like this one is really in bad taste. perhaps it would be better if we simply could debate the doctrine, and if there are differences of opinion about those doctrines we should seek the spirit of understanding, rather than the spirit of contention. If we argue and fight about these things we will never be edified together or see eye to eye.
I realize that what I am asking for is difficult. When I see others openly attacking not only prophets, but sacred principles of truth that I hold dearer than life itself, I too get very defensive. This in turn leads to arguments. Once the discussion turns into an argument it makes both sides more defensive and makes it more likely that it will turn into a fight. then we begin to see the types of shameful character assassination, and hateful comments like those above begin to take over the discussion thread.
Instead can we please talk about evidences that we live in times of apostasy, and what we as Latter-Day Saints can do to bring ourselves back into harmony with the scriptures? This argument is a prime example of what is wrong in the Latter-Day Saint movement: we are divided! What can we do to become more united, and more united to the Lord? how can we “become one” for as the Lord said “if ye are not One ye are not mine.” I for one would like to become one with all of you, and one with God so that we can all forsake the apostasies great and small that we are ALL guilty of, and actually build a Zion society. Such a society does not contain the divisive and hateful contentions that this forum does. A Zion people will not denigrate prophets of God, or attack others for holding different beliefs.
We may be able to continue to disagree about succession issues from Joseph Smith, to Brigham Young, Strang, Joseph the 3rd, Cutler, or any other person or theory, and STILL become one in our desire to build Zion. We can disagree about whether Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, or merely a president, and still have respect for his words, and a common desire to live the gospel. As Latter-Day Saints we share so much, from our love for the Book of Mormon, our belief that Christ will truly come, and our conviction that revelation has been given to the earth in the latter days. Lets focus on this, and when we feel tempted to revile some other branch of Mormonism, or get defensive because someone has attacked our institution or leader, exercise restraint, hold your tongue, and reach out in Love instead of contention. Only then do we have any chance of learning to see eye to eye, become one, and actually build Zion.
Ben I’m afraid there is no getting through to AV or her type. You can’t unite with her because she opposes the doctrines of God. Her hatred for polygamy is so great it doesn’t matter whether God himself were to come down in all his glory ans say it is a law of heaven, she would either say he didn’t say it or say that he was lying. You cannot convince such people. Their hearts are already hardened against the truth.
What I really appreciate about AV is that AV believes in pure monogamy. And I can respect that. And I like that view better than I like the view of denying polygamy yet accepting it in the afterlife or allowing for serial monogamy. Either you accept multiple spouses or not. And to allow for serial monogamy yet not allow polygamy just doesn’t settle right with me. So I have great respect for AV’s true monogamist view.
Agreed. If you’re going to believe in eternal monogamy, she’s got the right approach to it. Sure sucks for those who have their spouse die early though. But if respecting the dead means not finding another partner, that’s the price you’ve got to pay.
Her? She? I don’t know why but I thought AV was a man. Stereotypes are often wrong, I wonder why I assumed a gender? Are you assuming a gender or do you actually know?
It was mentioned in relation to AV’s idea of eternal monogamy that being single for the rest of your life is ” the price you’ve got to pay” to be faithful to your spouse if they die or divorce you. I think of this as not just an issue for the widow(er) having to make the sacrifice to remain alone, that would be a reasonable sacrifice for one you love, what makes me upset about the idea of eternal monogamy is what about the other potential spouse? Is it appropriate for me to tell someone who wants to marry me that they must remain single too? What if I am their first Love? does that mean they can never marry because they are eternally monogamously committed to someone who can never love them back because he is eternally monogamously committed to some one else? Can I choose for all my future children that I refuse to be their parent, refuse to bring them into this world because I met their mother second? and when does this monogamy start? is it arranged before birth that there is only “the one” for you? how do you know who it is? if we have any say in who we marry is it my first crush? has every relationship since kindergarten been illegitimate? My first kiss? my first Love? my first fiancee? my first wife? what if you marry against your will? or foolishly marry a truly evil person? is it adultery to escape abuse? Do I have to be bound for eternity to a bad decision? These things have ripple effects and therefore choosing a belief in eternal monogamy is not just a personal sacrifice, it will exact its toll in sterility, hate, abuse, powerlessness, and loneliness from every generation to come. That which tends to death is evil, that which tends to Live is good. In this sense AV’s supposedly “personal” decision to ascribe to eternal monogamy will hurt everyone. If such a practice were widespread it would decimate the race.
To bring this home I will make my own life an example of this principle: I am married, I have only ever had one wife, I have never had sex with any other person, I have never been married to any other person. I am not seeking any other wife. However, my wife to whom I have been faithful my entire life is not the first person I asked to marry me. I suffered a broken engagement. does that mean that the first one was the right one and therefore I should have never married? What would that have done to hurt her? Also i have children, what if they were never born. Is it right for me to refuse a home to the spirits waiting in the spirit world? If I had not married, there would be two life long celibate lonely people and no children. repeat this in the aggregate over society and see if anyone would ever be born again. we would all dies out like the shakers. But it only gets worse: perhaps you would say this is ridiculous, you are not committed until you get married, none of the other crushes, girlfriends or relationships count. Ok lets say that these people and the meaningful, if asexual, relationships we had don’t count. seems dismissive to say someone “doesn’t count” but for the sake of argument lets say they at least don’t violate AV’s idea on monogamy. But here’s the real problem, i’m not my wife’s first husband… She was married for a few months to an abusive homosexual man. She actually had sexual relationships outside marriage before joining the church too. Should she be eternally bound to the first boyfriend, or only the abusive and even shorter duration spouse? Either way she would never have had me, never had children, etc. Is she sinning not to just take the abuse for the rest of her life? Besides, he filed for the divorce not her! does she have to wait for him to stop having sex with other men and abusing other women and someday they will be happily together forever? Such a resolve on her part would do him no good, it would deprive me of my loving wife, and prevent our beautiful children from ever being born. So, AV, in retrospect should she leave out “adulterous” marriage and wait for this guy? Sadly since I already married her as my very first wife does that mean that I am to remain FOREVER single because I am to remain monogamous to someone who is remaining monogamous to someone else? Such absurd results and barrenness, sterility, and death are the ultimate results of taking such ideals as monogamy too far.
I would prefer to Love as Christ Loved, forgive as he forgave, and trust in the promises of the prophets that all things will work together for the good of those who love the Lord.
All I can say to all your questions Ben, is there are solid & clear answers to each one, and Heavenly Father will give you all those answers line upon line, if you really want to know and you are willing to follow his teachings.
As far as the so-called ‘contention or argument’, I didn’t realize there were such things going on, I thought we were just expressing our opinions, beliefs & testimonies, even if we had contrary beliefs. I feel no contention or the desire to argue, I only appreciate the opportunity to explain my beliefs and testimony.
I appreciate Zomarah for his great respect for free speech here on his blog, for such is very rare on most blogs. I also thank you Zomarah for your kind words for my stance, and your patience with my strong and unpopular beliefs.
Unfortunately Ben, I also don’t believe we can ever become one, or united in belief, unless one of us has a serious paradigm shift. Which I don’t see happening on either side. Nor do I believe the Church can or will change, it is too fundamentally off course. It’s like saying the RLDS Church should just repent and then it will be a true Church. For they had just as much, if not far more claim to be the continuation of the original Church, as the LDS did. Yet neither church was the ‘real’ continuation of the Church, for the Church went into apostasy, just like it has done every other time before that it has been restored, except for the City of Enoch. I believe true prophets will come and gather out the righteous from every religion and bring them to Zion. I believe very few in Zion will have been members of the LDS Church.
So I believe it’s best we just agree to disagree. It doesn’t seem to be helpful or desired that I keep responding. I have explained my beliefs and I think it’s best to just leave it at that. Since I don’t believe BY and his successors were real prophets, but were rather ‘false prophets’, wolves in sheep’s clothing, I believe God wants us to warn others about such men. But, as Joseph Smith said, most people become sure ‘false’ prophets are ‘true’ prophets, cause they preach so closely to the same things as true prophets do, yet with a few falsehoods thrown undetected into the mix. So we will both just have to stand accountable for our own beliefs & deceptions.
And, yes, I believe firmly in ‘true everlasting unconditional love’ for one’s 1st ‘spouse’, forever & ever, (as long as both gave their common consent to the marriage, forced marriages are not a true marriage in God’s eyes). Romances before marriage that didn’t end up in marriage are not binding and should not be in our mind anymore. And it is easy for God to make sure every righteous woman has her own righteous husband to herself for eternity. For God knew the beginning and the end before he ever created this earth, and it was easy for him to make sure there would be a male for every righteous female, it’s just that usually the female has to ‘save’ her male if she wants to be married n the next life. Sometimes the male saves the female, for as the Apostle Paul taught the righteous spouse saves the unrighteous spouse, (by the power of their love, which is charity, the greatest of all).
And no, unconditional true love does not mean that spouses have to, or even should, endure abuse, God actually expects us to do all we can to protect ourselves & our children from such. BUT, we can still keep our sacred marriage covenants ‘from a safe distance’ if need be, and not date or remarry, while waiting for our spouse to repent or return to us, for someday they will, either in this life or the next, and then the marriage & family can resume perfectly & happily forever. The errant spouse will make it all up to the righteous spouse throughout eternity.
The main reason why God asks us to have such ‘exclusive one & only true love in marriage’ is because of it’s power, true love can save our spouse & children’s souls (to the Celestial Kingdom) in the eternities, souls that would never have made it without our help. And the focus of our life (just like God’s) should be to bring to pass the eternal life of our spouse & children, no matter how far off the path they may presently be. Joseph Smith was quoted to have talked about this, it’s also in 1 Cor. 7:14. Valiant parents & spouses, who keep their marriage vows with true love, no matter what, will be given the power to save their errant children or spouse, once they repent in Spirit Prison, and take them with them to the Celestial Kingdom, to be with those children or married to that spouse forever, when they otherwise would have had to go to a lower kingdom and lived out eternity alone in eternal regret and pain at losing their one true love & family. And all children will be eventually born to the correct parents they should be, in the Millennium, if those parents are righteous. No children or women will be denied anything, because of the laws of true love & monogamy, it in fact gives them exactly what they want if they are righteous.
Otherwise, if you couldn’t save your spouse & children, there would be no reason enough to faithfully wait for an unrighteous or abandoning spouse to repent, or to even stay with them 5 minutes if they don’t keep their vows as they promised, which most spouses don’t do.
We need to search out and live by Christ pure teachings on divorce & marriage, and not listen to anyone else’s doctrine but Christs. But, I believe that only if we have ‘true love’ for our 1st spouse, will we achieve Exaltation and have the Spirit to interpret the scriptures & Christ’s laws correctly here & now, and have the Spirit be able to teach us the truth of all things. For Joseph Smith taught that only those who possess ‘Charity’ won’t be deceived, and will thus merit the Celestial Kingdom.
When your spouse dies, if you and them are righteous enough they can visit you often, and give you love & support, companionship, and even sit and eat dinner with you as Christ did with his Disciples, his mother & Mary (who I believe is his wife), etc. I have met & known of many people, in & out of the Church, who have had this blessing of having their deceased spouse visit them often. So going it alone & not remarrying after the death of a spouse, as Christ’s disciples taught was best, needn’t be as hard & alone as it may seem
Thank you for your response, but you didn’t answer the one really hard question: Do you think I should abandon my wife and children, throw them out in the cold, stop supporting them, and tell my children that they are bastards because my wife was married to an abusive homosexual for a few months fifteen years ago and it is adultery for us to continue as a family because our family is a sham. She should go back and either be beaten and cheated on, or live celibate and alone a “safe distance” from him (thereby preventing any future children from being born) (She is due for our fourth child in January but that is the end, and that child is a bastard too, conceived in adultery.) because that is what “Christ said” according to a person I met online named AV? If this is not what you are saying, then you are not being consistent with your professed idea of eternal monogamy. And how can you think that God is the author of such confusion?
And why wouldn’t my spouse visit me from the spirit world if I remarried? if there are polygamous loving and close marriages in this world (and there are many) why not a happy fulfilling polygamous marriage where one of the parties is dead? There are several stories of such from Mormon history between polygamous spouses, visiting and communing with their husband, giving Love and support, and also wives visiting and comforting their sister wives. are these accounts somehow lesser in your mind than the similar stories you are referring to among monogamists? These accounts exist among early polygamists, (See the journals and biographies of Eliza R. Snow, Charles Zitting, Thomas Chamberlain and others for examples of continuing spiritual relationships with deceased plural spouses.) AND these accounts also exist among current members whose spouse died, they remarried for eternity in the temple creating a polygamous marriage that is not prohibited by the current church, and then the deceased spouse continues their spiritual relationship with their husband, and in some cases even appear and develop a spiritual relationship with the new “sister” wife. If such accounts in monogamy are part of your proof that monogamy is superior, then how do you explain the presence of such accounts among polygamists?
You may have a stereotype in your mind that polygamous (or serially monogamous which is de-facto polygamy anyway) marriages are not as “good” on some way as your idea of permanent monogamy, but how can you deny that it is the experience of millions that their marriages were “good”? How can you deny the fact that in my own life monogamy has been shown to be bad. Ideals too often impose unforgiving rigid conformity that results in unintended negative consequences. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and no matter how good your intentions are the doctrine you are promoting will result in terrible injustice and abuse if applied universally. I prefer to accept the words of a true prophet, Joseph Smith, who said “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.” Therefore we are commanded to seek God’s will in these things and not impose our ideas about what God should do on him. God’s hand is seen, and even his word is explicit, in promoting many polygamous marriages in the scriptures, (Esther, Ruth, Ezekiel, David, etc. as such those marriages were right. God may have told you to be monogamous, therefore your monogamy is right as well. But if He someday tells you to remarry I hope you will not put your ideals ahead of his word. Do not put a fence around God and tell him what he can and cannot do, he is the one who will remove barriers from you, if you will not put barriers around him.
The reason this topic is so important to me, is that I have personally experienced the evils of taking monogamy too far. I knew my wife for four years before we dated because I stubbornly held to the same beliefs you are currently promoting. The results were four years of loneliness for both of us. It was only because I prayed about this and the spirit put an understanding and a testimony of plural marriage into my heart that I was able to get married at all. I would have been forever single, and I would have thought that an acceptable sacrifice, if God himself had not taught me the truth about what these ideals really lead to. My children, indeed by entire posterity throughout time will owe their existence to the principle of plural marriage, even if I never remarry, because my first marriage was based on the principle of plural marriage to begin with. I held to the belief in eternal monogamy for too many years and have seen first hand the contrast. one path leads to death, the other to life. You may not be able to see it now, but the effects of placing ideals over the direction of the spirit of God is the source of apostasy.
Having come full circle in this debate back to the topic of this post, the problem is at its core being prideful enough to think we are always right, or that the interpretation we give the scriptures is the only right one, that leads to apostasy. Apostasy does not come about because people were lazy about their adherence to orthodoxy, it is because of the pride of strict adherence to the wrong things that apostasy occurs. The church membership is going apostate not because they don’t care about apostasy, but because they hold too strictly to the idea of loyalty to the prophet. Once ideals like loyalty to the church, or monogamy, becomes more important to you than being humble, teachable by the spirit, and following the scriptures, then that is the tool the devil uses to lead you into apostasy. Pretty soon you are fighting against God in God’s name and you don’t even know you are off track. You think you are more righteous when in fact you are an enemy of God. We cannot put a fence around God, even when we think the fence we are putting up seems to be nothing more than obeying our idea of right and wrong as we see it. Sadly a humans we are often simply wrong about these things. As soon as you place your interpretation of the scriptures or your ideals ahead of submitting your will to God’s will you are in apostasy no matter if you think you are following God’s prophet, his commandments or any ideal. This is why Jesus used a child to show who was greatest in the kingdom of heaven. We must be Humble, patient, full of Love, willing to submit to God’s will, or we will in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus warned his apostles that the people would think they were doing God’s work when the put them to death. How can that be? how could anyone think they were doing God’s will, and serving God by persecuting and killing Jesus’ apostles? Simple, those people were standing up for the ideals they thought the scriptures taught, they were trying to show proper loyalty to the ancient church, they were trying to follow the “prophet” Caiaphas who asked for Jesus to be put to death. In short they put their ideals ahead of being teachable by the spirit.
You may accept ‘some’ of Joseph Smith’s words but you do not seem to accept all of them. For Joseph (and also Christ) taught over & over that those who preach or practice polygamy will be damned. I don’t think they could be clearer than that.