The Inconsistent of the Mormon's Doctrine of Polygamy
By David R. Kenney
The book of Exodus contains an important event in the life of Moses. In Exodus 4:24-26 we see an example of the importance of keeping a covenant with God and the peril of neglect. Circumcision of a male was the symbol of God's covenant with the descendants of Abraham. All male children were to be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:9-14).
Moses was approached by God to go to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of bondage. God sent Moses' brother Aaron with him since Moses complained he was a poor speaker (Ex. 4:10, 14).
Before Moses left to go to Egypt, his wife Zipporah bore him a son named Eliezer. Zipporah was a Midianite, thus not concerned with the covenant made with Abraham's descendants. Moses did not insist on the child's circumcision and neglected to keep the covenant. As great a man as Moses was, God would have killed him for neglecting to keep the covenant.
This short passage teaches us lessons about the importance of doing what we should, not procrastinating, and choosing a faithful companion who has respect for the law of God.
One of the distinguishing doctrines of Mormonism is polygamy. Polygamy is defined as having more than one husband or wife at one time. Polygamy originated not with God, but with a man named Lamech (Gen. 4:19).
In direct opposition to the teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:4-9, the Mormons embraced polygamy. Not only were they permitted to have multiple wives, they were required to do it to reach the highest heaven. Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, Ill., on July 12, 1843, made the following "revelation" concerning polygamy from the Lord:
So, not only was one permitted to have multiple wives, it was demanded to progress into the highest heaven (Mormons believe there are three heaven- kingdoms and three levels in the highest of three heavens). Not only did Joseph Smith's "revelation" contradict the Bible, but it also contradicted his Book of Mormon (Jacob 1:15; 2:24; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2).
In 1847 the Mormons entered the Great Salt Lake Valley in an effort to escape persecution for their views and practices. Utah was owned by Mexico and would be ceded to the United States in March 1848 in accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, New York, The Christian Literature Company, p. 1579).
The Mormons organized their own government, and on March 10, 1849 they drafted a constitution. This constitution formed what was called the "State of Deseret" with Brigham Young as governor (Marguerite Cameron, This Is the Place, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd. pp. 154-255).
The Mormons dwelt rather independently of federal law until the Organic Act of 1850 created the Territory of Utah. Mormons were free to engage in polygamy as required by Joseph Smith. Mormons petitioned for statehood in 1849 and 1856 but were denied admittance into the Union.
In 1882 the Edmunds Bill was passed by Congress making polygamy illegal. When the Mormons failed to comply with the law, the United States threatened to send the U.S. Cavalry to confiscate all their property and disperse them. Ironically, the leader of the Mormons, Wilford Woodruff, had a relieving "revelation." On Sept. 29, 1890, Woodruff issued a Manifesto which was approved (voted on) by the general conference on Oct. 6, 1890. The Mormons cited Doctrine and Covenants 124:49 as a loophole for getting out of the revelation of Joseph Smith (as well as other false prophecies of Smith in the past) (Marguerite Cameron, This Is the Place, p. 131).
The Mormons were no longer required to keep the everlasting covenant of polygamy. The cavalry left, and the threat of invasion was over. Six years later, Utah became a state.
It is quite amazing how the Mormons overcame their reputation and dark history. Many examples of this sinister history have been documented in numerous places, but the Mormon church has weathered them.
In 1995, Turner Network Television released Riders of the Purple Sage based on Zane Grey's classic western novel which probably is the most famous western of all time. In the book and movie, a young lady named Jane Withersteen is being oppressed by a ruthless bunch of her church. She is being pressured to marry a man named Tull. Fortunately, maybe even providentially, she is rescued by Lassiter, an infamous gunslinger who hates this religious group.
The movie failed to mention the location and religious group, but the book did not. The location was Utah, and the religious group was the Mormons. Tull and his cronies were killers and cattle rustlers. There was no mention in the movie that Tull was already married, hence attempting a polygamous union (Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, New York, Grosset & Dunlap, p. 71).
It is incredible that the most famous western of all time provides such an explicit proclamation of the Mormons' reputation, and the movie conveniently omits these details and events to the point of not mentioning the state of Utah. Perhaps no one could believe this group of people could have a history so sinister since they seem to be such nice people (and many of them are).
Mormons do not desire to talk about these events and the implications of what happened. How could the God of Israel, who removed armies to protect the Israelites when they kept his covenant, allow this to happen? Would God permit the threat of the U.S. Cavalry to change his will (Mal. 3:6)? Did the Mormons lack the faith that God would protect them (Psa. 46)? How can a sincere God-seeking Morman rationalize these events? He can not.
If a Mormon holds to the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, he is faced with an impossible dilemma and a religion plagued with numerous contradictions. The only way a person can have a religion of no contradictions and logical difficulties such as this is to reject Joseph Smith as a prophet and his books, and accept the Bible as the sole authority for faith and practice.
Published August 1996