Marriage Covenant

Compiled by

Ogden Kraut


God has set the type of marriage everywhere throughout the creation. -Every creature seeks its perfection in another.- The very heavens and earth picture it to us. (Martin Luther)

One should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul. (Honore de Balzac)


To Gary and Mary Batchelor
for the typography, correction, and the long
hours of labor in helping to bring this work to



    What are all the charms of earth,

            All its pride, its treasure worth,

      No compassion at our side,

            Thoughts and feelings to divide?

      Friends divide the weight of trouble,

            Make the sweetest pleasures double

      Parted floods more calmly flow,

            Parted flames more brightly glow.

      In the nuptial tie we find

            Love, the loveliest in its kind;

      Two in one unites whole,

            One in body, one in soul:

      Virtuous and delightful feeling– Joy promoting, sorrow healing;

      While the love of joys above,

            Heightens all the joys of love.







Marriage today is looked upon in many different ways.  Through tradition, religion, custom and a variety of philosophies, marriage has taken some of the strangest variations that have ever been the practice of men and women.

Today there are celibate monks and nuns in religious cloisters, an ever increasing number of homosexuals demanding civil rights, the common law live-ins who live together, with no contract at all, until they decide to go to some other partner, and there are the rapists, the kinky whoremongers, and the hermits who won’t even associate with others.  There are, of course, the ever popular Roman law monogamists, and occasionally a Bible-believing polygamist.  All of these people believe they are right in their sexual practices.


This compilation is a study in marriage practices according to the teachings of wise, inspired men and even some admonitions from the prophets.  There must be a proper and true purpose for those who believe in marriage.  Indeed there must be a God-inspired intent that such affections and ties might last forever.


It is our hope that these sayings and sermons will help to clarify the mystery which has clouded the most valuable contract that men and women will ever make.



[7]                               Chapter 1




“The principle of pure affection is the gift of God, and it is for us to learn to control it and exercise proper dominion over it.” (Brigham Young J.D. 6:149)




(This first discussion of the responsibilities of marriage was originally presented in the Millennial Star, 1849, a Church periodical).


Among all the other duties that man is brought under obligation to perform, is that of taking to himself a wife at an age when youth is ripening into manhood–when the warmest sympathies and affections of the heart, uncorrupted by time, naturally reach forward after the very object that nature’s God has created for that very purpose.  By a longer delay, the brilliancy and lustre of the soul’s soft and tender emotions become tarnished, neutralized, or deprived of their charms.  Many argue, we know, that it is better for young people to postpone marriage to a more advanced age, in order to acquire an experience suitable for that union.  But Father Adam and Mother Eve had but a very short experience before they were blest, or married, and commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.  They were married before they sinned and fell, and thrice bliss-[8]ful would be the marriage union of their children if they would honorably marry before the monster sin had thrust his poisonous and too fatal sting to their hearts.


How often is it the case that men prefer a single life to the married life!  Some neglect to marry because they love their money better than they do a woman.  Men possessing this vitiated taste are in the right not to marry, for they are unworthy of a wife.  They are worse than blanks in creation–drones in the hive of nature:  not linked in the great chain of existence, but are broken, disconnected fragments that are passively thrust aside like so many drossy scales from under the smith’s refining hammer.


Others, more criminal, neglect to marry because they wish to come under no restriction–but indulge in sensuality, without the cares and responsibilities of a family.  Such men are incurring a fearful obligation.  They are closing up the avenues of mercy to them–corrupting their own ways before God and man, and inviting the weak and unprotected fair into the very prison of prostitution and shame.  These must account for their sins, and for the sins of those who are victims to their unbridled passions.


Others neglect marriage because they are fearful that they may come to want, or that they may not be able to supply themselves with the necessaries and comforts of life.  This is foolishly distrusting the kind care of a wise and merciful Providence, whose will it is to provide for those who fear his name and honor and respect his ordinances.  In the line of duty there is no real cause of fear, but out of it there is fear, torment, and a snare.


We would therefore say to all men that may feel to place any confidence in our counsel, that it is your duty to marry, if [9] you have not already done so, and thereby get honor to yourselves–become the partner and protector of her whom the Great Ruler of all has made dependent on your more rugged, hardy, and athletic form; bend all your energies towards her support and honorable maintenance; lessen the amount of crime, dry up the fountain of wretchedness, check the tributaries of infamy; and let it be your constant aim to fill the measure and purpose of your creation in all things, and glorify God with your body and your spirit, which are his. (Millennial Star 11:254)




(The following extract is from a work by Elder John Taylor while he was on a mission to France in 1851.)


Man’s body to him, then, is of great importance; and if he only knew, and appreciated his privileges, he might live above the temptation of Satan, the influence of corruption; subdue his lusts, overcome the world, and triumph, and enjoy the blessings of God in time, and in eternity.


The object of man’s taking a body is, that through the redemption of Jesus Christ both soul and body may be exalted in the eternal world, when the earth shall be celestial, and obtain a higher exaltation than he could be capable of doing without a body.  For when man was first made, he was made “a little lower than the angels.”  But through the atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ he is placed in a position to obtain an exaltation higher than angels.  For, says the Apostle, “know ye not that we shall judge angels.”  Jesus descended below all things, that he might be raised above all things.  He took upon him a body that he might die as a man; and “that through death he might destroy him that has power of death, even the devil.”  (Heb. ii. 14.)  Having conquered death, then, [10] in his own dominion, burst the barriers of the tomb, and ascended with his body triumphant to the right hand of God; he has accomplished a purpose which God had decreed from before the foundation of the world, and “opened the kingdom of Heaven unto all believers.”  Hence, man, through his obedience to the gospel, is placed in a position to be an adopted son of God, and have a legitimate right to his Fathers blessings, and to possess the gift of the Holy Ghost.


And the Apostle says, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  (Rom. viii. 2).


Thus as Jesus vanquished death, so may we: as he overcame, so may we; and if faithful, “sit with him upon his throne, as he has overcome and sat down upon the throne of his Father.”  (Rev. iii 21).  And so man will not only be raised from degradation, but also be exalted to a seat among the intelligences that surround the throne of God.  And this is one great object of our coming here and taking bodies.


Another object that we came here for and took bodies, was to propagate our species.  For it is for our benefit to come here, it is also for the benefit of others.


Hence the first commandment given to man was to “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.”  (Gen. i. 28.)  And as man is an eternal being, and all his actions have a relevancy to eternity, it is necessary that he understand his position well, and thus fulfil the measure of his creation:  for as he and his offspring are destined to live eternally, he is not only responsible for his own acts, but, in a great measure, for those of his children; in training their minds, regulating their morals, setting them a correct example, and teaching them correct [11] principles, but more especially in preserving the purity of his own body.  And why?–because if he abuses his body and corrupts himself he not only injures himself but his partner or associates, and entails misery incalculable upon his posterity, who are doomed to inherit the father’s misery, and this not only in time, but in eternity.  Hence the Lord has given laws, regulating marriage and chastity, of the strictest kind, and entailed the severest punishment upon those who in different ages have abused this sacred ordinance.  For example:  the curse of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the terrible judgments pronounced against those who should corrupt and defile their bodies.  Let any one read Deut. xii. 13 to 30.  Again, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”  (1 Cor. iii. 16, 17.)  And why? because man being made a free agent over his own body, that he might exalt himself and his posterity, both in time and eternity, if he abuses that power, he not only affects himself, but unborn bodies and spirits; corrupting the world, and opening the flood-gates of vice, immorality, and estrangement from God.  Hence the children of Israel were told not to intermarry with the surrounding nations, lest their seed should become corrupt, and the people turn to idolatry; which would lead to the introduction of every other evil, as a natural consequence.  But when the order of God is carried out, it places things in a lovely position.  What is more amiable and pleasant than those pure, innocent, endearing affections which God has placed in the hearts of the male and female, who are united in lawful matrimony, with a love and affection, pure as the love of God, because it springs from him, and is his gift; with bodies chaste and virtuous, and an offspring, lovely, healthy, pure, innocent, and uncontaminated; confiding in each other, they live together in the fear of God, enjoying natures gifts uncorrupted and undefiled as the driven snow or the crystal stream.  But how would this enjoyment be enhanced if they understood [12] their destiny, could unravel the designs of God, and contemplate an eternal union in another state of existence, a connexion with this offspring, commenced here, to endure for ever, and all their ties, relationships, and affections strengthened.  A mother feels great delight in beholding her child, and gazing on its lovely infant form; how would her bosom swell with delight at the contemplation of that child being with her for ever.  And if we only understood our position, this was the object for which we came into the world.  And the object of the kingdom of God, on which I have written at length, is to reestablish all these holy principles.  Chastity and purity are things of the greatest importance to the world; hence the prophet says, “Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  And did not he make one? yet had he the residue of the spirit.  And wherefore one? that he might seek a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.”  (Mal. ii. 14, 15).


Here, then, the object of purity is pointed out clearly; and what is it? that God might preserve a godly seed.  Saint Paul says, “What, know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot, is one body? for two, saith he shall be one flesh–flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doth is without the body:  but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body,  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.”  (1 Cor. vi., 16-20).  And in the next chapter, he speaks of the same things, which Malachi does concerning a pure seed.  “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now are they holy,” (vii, 14).


[13]  The legislators of all civilized nations have seen the necessity of sustaining these things, and, consequently, have generally passed very rigid laws for the protection of female virtue, and the support of the marriage contract.  Hence, acts have been passed and enforced disinheriting those who were not born in wedlock.  This has produced a salutary effect. Ministers of the various churches have also used their influence, in a great measure, in support of virtuous principles.  These have had their influence in assisting to stem the torrents of iniquity.  But, as the nations themselves have forsaken God, how can they expect to stop this crying evil?  For the very legislators who pass these laws, are, in many instances, guilty themselves.  And when kings, princes, and rulers, corrupt themselves, how can they expect the people to be pure? for no matter how rigid law may be, corrupt persons will always find means to evade it.  And, indeed, so far have these abominations gone, that it seems to be an admitted fact that these things cannot be controlled; and although there are laws relating to matrimonial alliances, yet there are some nations called Christian, who actually give license for prostitution, and all the degradation and misery associated with it.


Nor are these things connected with the lower ranks of life.  Wantonness and voluptuousness go hand in hand, and revel unchecked in courts, among the kings and nobles of the earth; the statesman, the politician, the merchant, the mechanic, the laborer, have all corrupted themselves.  The world is full of adultery, intrigue, fornication, and abominations.  Let any one go to the masked balls in the principal theatres in Paris, and he will see thousands of people of both sexes, impudently, shamelessly, and unblushingly manifesting their lewd dispositions.  Indeed, debauchery and wantonness bear fearful sway.  Not to speak of the dens of abominations that exist elsewhere.  London abounds with unfortunate beings, led [14] on by example, seduction, and misery, to their fallen degraded condition.


The same thing exists throughout England, France, the United States, and, in fact, all nations.  Hence, millions of youth corrupt themselves, engender the most loathsome diseases, and curse their posterity with their sin; who in their turn rise up and tread in the corrupt steps of their fathers.  Not to say anything of the thousands of lovely beings whom God designed for companions to men in time and in eternity, by whom to raise up a pure offspring; now corrupted, degraded, polluted, and fallen; poor miserable wretches, outcasts of society; insulted, oppressed, despised, and abused; led on from one degree of degradation to another, till death, as a friend, closes their miserable existence, and, yet, without hope.


Thus, man that was made pure in the image of his Maker, that could stand proudly erect, as the representative of God, pure and uncontaminated, is debased, fallen, corrupt, diseased, and sunken below the brute creation; a creature of lusts and passions, and a slave to his unbridled appetite.  I speak plain on this subject, and I do it, because it is a curse to the world, and God will have a reckoning with the nations for these things.


In vain, then, men legislate on these matters; the nations have corrupted themselves, and these things are beyond their control.  Men must be governed by higher and purer motives than merely human enactments.


If the world understood its true position, and the eternal consequences to them and their seed, they would feel differently.  They would feel that they were eternal beings; that they were responsible to God, both for their bodies and spirits, and nothing but a knowledge of man’s fall and true position, bring [15] again the order and economy of God, and place man in his natural position on the earth.  (Millennial Star, vol. xiii, March 15, 1851, pp. 81-85)




(This excerpt is from a series of lectures to young men by a Mr. Burnap in England in 1854.  It is beautifully written and renders an excellent insight into the obligations of young men towards marriage.)


Young Men–The subject of the present lecture is so deeply important, and demands so much wisdom and discretion in its treatment, that I approach it with the greatest diffidence.  I would gladly have passed it over altogether, if I could have done so with any justice to the general topics I have undertaken to treat.  That subject is the relations of the sexes, the duties and the happiness which spring out of them, and the vices, the crimes, and the unutterable misery to which they may give rise.  As the relation between the sexes is the most fundamental and important that we sustain, and the trials and temptations to which it leads assail human nature in its weakest point, so ought it to be most thoroughly comprehended in all its bearings, that the young man, in addition to the promptings and restraints of religious principles, may have in full view the tremendous responsibilities upon which he acts in all his intercourse with the other sex.


God has legislated upon this subject in a manner more minute and emphatic than, perhaps, on any other whatever.  All the statute books of human invention, and even the Bible itself, give but an imperfect sketch of the actual law–the rewards and the punishments which God has annexed to faithfulness or unfaithfulness to the mutual obligations which the sexes owe to each other.  This great law is clearly written in [16] the constitution and condition of man, in his affections, his wants, his moral and religious nature.


Next to the wonders of our individual being, the marvelous organization of the body, and the still more marvelous faculties of the mind, comes the difference of sexes.  On this difference, leading to marriage, the whole fabric of society rests.


The family is the primary element from which all society proceeds.  As the fountain is pure, so will be the streams which issue from it.  Every thing in society points backwards and forwards to marriage as the most sacred of relations, and this very fact, antecedent to all experience upon the subject, would lead us to consider any deviation from the divine institute, the most criminal of acts, and the most widely pernicious in its consequences.

*     *     *     *     *


The union of two hearts is a scene which art decorates with the most splendid and imposing works of her hands–innocent curiosity flocks to it as a marvel and a show–the moral sentiments of mankind sanction it–religion blesses it–Christ himself once hallowed it with his presence, and God adds to it the choicest smiles of his providence.


With those who are thus happily united, life starts afresh under new and happier auspices.  Existence seems more full and rich now it is shared with another with whom sympathy is complete, and in whom confidence is unbounded.  New and more generous motives of action are substituted in the place of that exclusive reference to self, into which a single life is so apt to contract.  Time passes unheeded and unregretted by, as lapse of duration has no reference to the soul, or to its best af-[17]fections.  Prosperity comes and is doubly welcome, because its joyousness is reflected from the sympathy of another.  Adversity comes, and its sharpness is mitigated by the mutual support which faithful hearts are able to impart to each other.  As they advance in life, and take a less vivid interest in its affairs, a new generation comes forward under the most propitious auspices.  Their education is likely to be cared for, their morals watched over, and the example they witness at home trains them up to all that is good.  And then, as the parents decline in years, they reap the reward of their fidelity in the affection, the tenderness, and assiduity of their children.  Decay and death shall seem to them less terrible as their aged steps shall be supported, and their dying eyes closed, by the hands of filial affection.


Such is the career and such are the rewards of honourable love, and that connexion of the sexes which is hallowed by the laws of God and man.  It is no fiction–no picture of the imagination:  it is often witnessed in life.  None who hear me will need to go far among their acquaintances to find an original.  Most beautifully was all this description realized, and more than realized, in the life, lately published to the world, of Walter Scott, the transcendent genius, the most excellent man.  No one can read his life,  and compare it with his wonderful productions, without being impressed with the conviction, that he owed much of that healthful, happy, and buoyant tone of mind, and those cheerful views of life which characterize his enchanting tales, to the benign influence shed over his whole nature by those conjugal affections, so tender and so true, which blessed his matrimonial connexion.


Such are the blessings which, in the order of Providence, attend those who observe the great moral laws which govern the relation of the sexes to each other. (Millennial Star 16:97-99)




(The subject matter of this work by Elder John Jaques is of utmost worth to the nations of the world.  Obedience or disobedience to this principle will mean the salvation or destruction of mankind.  Jaques is an excellent author and has had several works published.)


Chastity is a most lovely and precious gem:  it will adorn the diadem of its possessor, and sparkle on his brow with celestial glory while eternal ages roll. The bare idea of chastity is inexpressibly beautiful and elevating to a virtuous mind.  There is a germ of true nobility and divine majesty in the chaste man or woman, which impart a conscious dignity to the character, and command the homage of respect and high esteem.  The grand and lofty sentiment–death before pollution–which, according to historians, once pervaded the ancient Roman community, has won the admiration of the pure-minded of all succeeding generations.


Signal blessings are conferred upon and promised to the faithful observers of the law of purity, and in an awful manner are its violators denounced and punished.


The Patriarch Joseph resisted temptations to impurity, though tried severely, and because of his faithfulness received a greater blessing than his brethren, or his father’s progenitors.


The Lamanites (North American Indians), who are a remnant of the tribe of Joseph, are the heirs of splendid promises, because of the purity of their social relations.  The Prophet Jacob addresses the Nephites upon this subject in the following manner:–“O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, for ever.  But wo, wo, unto [19] you that are not pure in heart; that are filthy this day before God; for except ye repent, the land is cursed for your sakes; and the Lamanites, which are not filthy like unto you, (nevertheless, they are cursed with a sore cursing,) shall scourge you even unto destruction.  And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent, they shall possess the land of your inheritance, and the Lord God will lead away the righteous out from among you.  Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our fathers, that they have, save it were one wife; and concubines they should have none; and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.  And now this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore, because of this observance, in keeping this commandment, the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people.  Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief, and their hatred towards you, is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great Creator?  O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins, that their skins will be whiter than yours when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God.” (Book of Mormon)


Whoredoms and licentiousness were punishable with death by the Mosaic law.  Exclusion from the congregation of the Lord to the third, and even to the tenth generation, was the curse upon illegitimacy.


In the Doctrine and Covenants the following instructions are given concerning adultery:–“Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery and repenteth not, shall [20] be cast out; but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.” (Section xii., par. 7.)


According to the Apostle John the most part of the inhabitants of all nations upon the earth in the last days will be filled with the spirit of licentiousness, and will be visited with righteous retribution for their fornications and abominations.  (Rev. xvii. and xviii).  And can we not see the fore part of this prophecy fulfilling before our eyes in the present state of society?  Do not licentiousness and debauchery stalk through the land with unblushing front, and revel unchecked from the court to cottage, and from prince to peasant?  Are not the proudest cities in Christendom besieged by prostitutes?  Is not the world full of intrigue and seduction?  Are not heads restlessly plotting, and passions shamelessly pandering, for the gratification of unbridled lusts?


In what light is this gross lewdness considered among modern Christian governments?  Is it considered a crime of such fearful magnitude as to threaten the dismemberment and destruction of society, and, consequently, worthy of condign punishment?  Alas, no!  It is not even considered a transgression of the law; but, on the contrary, houses are actually licensed for the perpetrations of this filthiness!


Hundreds and thousands of human beings are annually ushered into this world destitute of legitimate parentage.  Such beings cannot possibly entertain much natural affection for the late authors of their existence:  it is not to be expected, and we do not see it.  Many of these persons grow up to maturity without any apparent link to unite them to the great family of man.  This sets the hearts of the children against the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers against the children, and the curse [21] of degeneracy is the doom of both.  These things are crying evils, and call loudly for vengeance from on high.

Upon the plea of the artificial state of modern society, there may be many extenuating circumstances adduced in behalf of individuals overtaken in these faults, but it can hardly be denied that the genius of Christendom, as a whole, is compatible with licentiousness, corruption, and abomination.  Truly we can scarcely expect to see things otherwise, while millions of our fellow-creatures are stowed away in confined corners of the earth, and miserably sustained by the fluctuating favours of commerce, instead of spreading upon the face of the earth, replenishing it, and rejoicing in the bounties of a kind Providence and the fruits of their own industry.


Marriage is an ordinance of the Lord, and was instituted to authorize, consecrate, seal, and celebrate the union of the sexes for the procreation of the human species, and for the uniting of society in the bonds of love and affection; thus forming the foundation upon which the social superstructure is reared, and at the same time serving for the key-stone by which it is held together.  It is a most sacred ordinance, and cannot with impunity be trifled with.  Man and woman are joined together by the law of God, in view of their interests blending together and becoming one, never more to be divided.  An infringement of the marriage contract creates a social breach, proportionably weakening the social fabric, and providing a means whereby peace, confidence, and the blessings of Almighty God are sure to leak out.


It should, then, be the highest ambition of the Saints of God to preserve their bodies and spirits pure and spotless from the abominations which are practised amongst the Gentiles; to be chaste in thought, word, and deed; to marry, and regulate their passions by the law of the Lord, and so secure to them-[22]selves the favour of God, the approbation of a clear conscience, and the inestimable blessing of a godly posterity.




(The following is a very inspiring dissertation by Elder John Taylor on the origin and destiny of women, which to this day stands as a masterpiece of insight on this subject.  It is written in the style of a revelation; some even considered it to be such.  It was first published in the newspaper, “The Mormon”, Aug. 29, 1857 at New York City.)


The Latter-day Saints have often been ridiculed on account of their belief in the pre-existence of spirits, and for marrying for time and all eternity, both being Bible doctrines.  We have often been requested to give our views in relation to these principles, but considered the things of the kingdom belonged to the children of the kingdom, therefore not meet to give them to those without.  But being very politely requested by a lady a few days since (a member of the Church) answer the following questions, we could not consistently refuse, vis.:


“Where did I come from?  What am I doing here?  Whither am I going?  And what is my destiny after having obeyed the truth, if faithful to the end?”


For her benefit and all others concerned, we will endeavor to answer the questions in brief, as we understand them.  The reason will be apparent for our belief in the pre-existence of spirits, and in marrying for time and all eternity.


Lady, whence comest thou?  Thine origin?  What art thou doing here?  Whither art thou going, and what is thy destiny?  Declare unto me if thou hast understanding.  Knowest thou not that thou art a spark of Deity, struck from the fire of [23] His eternal blaze, and brought forth in the midst of eternal burning?


Knowest thou not that eternities ago thy spirit, pure and holy, dwelt in thy Heavenly Father’s bosom, and in His presence, and with thy mother, one of the queens of heaven, surrounded by thy brother and sister spirits in the spirit world, among the Gods?  That as thy spirit beheld the scenes transpiring there, and thou grewest in intelligence, thou sawest worlds upon worlds organized and peopled with thy kindred spirits who took upon them tabernacles, died, were resurrected and received their exaltation on the redeemed worlds they once dwelt upon.  Thou, being willing and anxious to imitate them, waiting and desirous to obtain a body, a resurrection and exaltation also, and having obtained permission, madest a covenant with one of thy kindred spirits to be thy guardian angel while in mortality, also with two others, male and female spirits, that thou wouldst come and take a tabernacle through their lineage, and become one of their offspring.  Thou also chosest a kindred spirit whom thou lovedst in the spirit world (and who had permission to come to this planet and take a tabernacle), to be thy head, stay, husband and protector on the earth and to exalt thee in eternal worlds.  All these were arranged, likewise the spirits that should tabernacle through thy lineage.  Thou longedst, thou sighedst and thou prayedst to thy Father in heaven for the time to arrive when thou couldst come to this earth, which had fled and fallen from where it was first organized near the planet Kolob.  Leaving thy father’s and mother’s bosom and all thy kindred spirits thou camest to earth, tookest a tabernacle, and imitatedst the deeds of those who had been exalted before thee.


At length the time arrived, and thou heardest the voice of thy Father saying:  Go daughter to yonder lower world, and take upon thee a tabernacle, and work out thy probation with [24] fear and trembling and rise to exaltation.  But daughter, remember thou goest on this condition, that is, thou art to forget all things thou ever sawest, or knewest to be transacted in the spirit world; thou art not to know or remember anything concerning the same that thou hast beheld transpire here; but thou must go and become one of the most helpless of all beings that I have created, while in thine infancy, subject to sickness, pains, tears, mourning, sorrow and death.  But when truth shall touch the cords of thy heart they will vibrate; then intelligence shall illuminate thy mind, and shed its lustre in thy soul, and thou shalt begin to understand the things thou once knewest, but which had gone from thee; thou shalt then begin to understand and know the object of thy creation.  Daughter, go, and be faithful as thou hast been in thy first estate.


Thy spirit, filled with joy and thanksgiving, rejoiced in thy Father, and rendered praise to His Holy name, and the spirit world resounded in anthems of praise to the Father of spirits.  Thou badest father, mother and all farewell, and along with thy guardian angel, thou came on this terraqueous globe.  The spirits thou hadst chosen to come and tabernacle through their lineage, and your head having left the spirit world some years previous, thou camest a spirit pure and holy.  Thou hast obeyed the truth, and thy guardian angel ministereth unto thee and watcheth over thee.  Thou hast chosen him thou lovedst in the spirit world to be thy companion.


Now crowns, thrones, exaltations and dominions are in reserve for thee in the eternal worlds, and the way is open for thee to return back into the presence of thy Heavenly Father, if thou wilt only abide by and walk in a celestial law, fulfill the designs of thy Creator and hold out to the end that when mortality is laid in the tomb, thou mayest go down to thy grave in peace, arise in glory, and receive thine everlasting reward in the resurrection of the just, along with thy head and husband.


[25]  Thou wilt be permitted to pass by the Gods and angels who guard the gates, and onward, upward to thine exaltation in a celestial world among the Gods.  To be a priestess queen upon thy Heavenly Father’s throne, and a glory to thy husband and offspring, to bear the souls of men, to people other worlds (as thou didst bear their tabernacles in mortality) while eternity goeth and eternity cometh; and if thou wilt receive it, lady, this is eternal life.


And herein is the saying of the Apostle Paul fulfilled, “That the man is not without the woman, neither is the woman without the man in the Lord.  That the man is the head of the woman, and the glory of the man is the woman.”  Hence, thine origin, the object of thine ultimate destiny.  If faithful, lady, the cup is within thy reach; drink then the heavenly draught and live.




(This excerpt is from a book published by the Apostle Orson Pratt while he was on a mission to Washington D.C. in 1853.  It is a very clear exposition of God’s distinction between the wicked and the righteous pertaining to marriage.)


The object of marriage, as has been abundantly proved, is to multiply the human species and instruct them in every principle of righteousness, that they may become like God, and be one with Him, and inherit all the fulness of His glory.  This being the real object of marriage, a question naturally arises–Have the wicked the same right to the blessings of a numerous posterity, under this divine institution, as the righteous?  We answer, that they have not.  And we shall now proceed to show, from the Scriptures, that the Lord has made a great distinction in regard to this thing, between the wicked and the righteous.


[26]  First — We have no example of the wicked ever being married by divine authority.  Where have we an instance of this kind?  We have abundance of instances where the wicked have been married, but were these marriages by divine appointment?  Were they joined together of God?  Were the ministers who officiated directed by revelation to join them together as one flesh?  We have no instance of the kind, in the divine oracles.  It is true, the Scriptures tolerate such a practice, the same as God has tolerated the illegal marriages during the last seventeen centuries, and the same as He tolerated the law of divorce among the Israelites, because of the hardness of their hearts.  He has suffered the wicked to marry, according to human laws and human authority, in order that mankind might not become extinct, the same as He suffered the children of Jacob to sell their younger brother to the Ishmaelites, in order that they might not become extinct by the famine.  There are many things that God permits, because of the hardness of the hearts of mankind, that they will be condemned for in the day of judgment.  Joseph’s brethren were condemned for their acts, but God caused good to result therefrom; this, however, did not clear them from their guilt.  So it is in regard to those who have ventured to marry without divine authority, God will cause good to result from the same in the preservation of the human species upon the earth.  But the nations of the wicked who have thus violated that divine institution, will be cast into hell, and will lose the blessings and privileges of the righteous who have married by divine authority.  Therefore, the fact that God does not join the wicked in marriage, is an evidence that they have not the same privileges as the righteous in this holy matrimonial ordinance.


Secondly — Why does not God approbate the marriages of the wicked equally with the righteous?  Because by their wickedness they not only bring damnation upon themselves, but upon their children also.  The children, seeing the wicked [27] practices of their parents, would be very likely to follow their evil footsteps.  We see this most abundantly exemplified, not only in wicked families, but among wicked nations.  The nations who formerly inhabited the land of Canaan were unworthy of the ordinance of marriage, or of posterity, because their children beheld the wicked examples of their parents, and because worse and worse, until their iniquity was full, when the Lord, in order to put a stop to their unlawful marriages, and the multiplication of evil doers, was compelled to destroy husbands, and wives, and children, to the number of many millions.  Hear what the Lord said to the children of Israel, concerning them–“But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth; but thou shalt utterly destroy them, namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.”–(Deut. xx. 16, 17, 18.)  When Abram first came into that land, the Lord told him that their iniquity was “not yet full.”–(Gen. xv.)  But some four or five centuries after this, through the evil practices of their fathers, the children had become fully ripened in sin, and had filled up the measure of their cup.  And to prevent the earth from being overrun with this evil race, and corrupting Israel with their abominable practices, it was necessary to utterly destroy every soul that breathed.  Instead of the Lord’s considering these nations fit to marry, he did not consider them worthy to live, or their children either, therefore he destroyed them, and gave their land to his people, and promised them, on conditions of righteousness, that He would greatly bless their land, and increase their flocks and herds, and their riches and substance.  Moses said unto them, “The Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy [28] ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.”–(Deut. xxviii. 11.)


Israel, then, because of righteousness, was considered worthy to be blessed with an increase of children, to be multiplied exceedingly, and become as the sands upon the sea shore innumerable; but they were considered worthy of this blessing only on conditions of righteousness, for if they turned away from the Lord, they would be no better qualified to save their children, than other nations.  Should they forsake righteousness, Moses said that they also should be visited with every kind of plague and curse; and among other calamities he says, “Ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude.  And it shall come to pass that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought.”–(Deut. xxviii. 62, 63.)  Here then we see that it is a cause of rejoicing with the Lord to multiply the righteous, and to diminish the wicked.  Multiplication, therefore, was originally only designed for the righteous; but the wicked have presumed to take this blessing to themselves, and have thus been the instruments in bringing hundreds of millions into the world, which God is obliged from time to time to cut off and send to hell, in order that the world may not be brought wholly under their dominion, and the curse devour the whole earth as in the days of Noah.


The angels who kept not their first estate are not permitted to multiply.  Why?  Because of their wickedness.  If granted this privilege, they would teach their offspring the same wicked, malicious principles by which they themselves are governed; they would teach them to fight against God, and against every thing else that was good, and great, and glorious.  This would not only make all their offspring miserable, but it would greatly enlarge the dominions of darkness.  And [29] to prevent all these great calamities and evils, God has wisely ordained to withhold marriage and increase of posterity entirely from them.


God is angry and displeased with wicked men and nations, as well as with the fallen angels, and though He suffers them to marry and to multiply, yet He will bring them to judgment for these things, and will punish them for bringing posterity into the world in all their corruption and wickedness; He will punish them with a double punishment, not only for their own double punishment, not only for their own evil deeds, but because they have taught their children the same.  Their children must suffer as well as they, because their parents ventured to marry in unrighteousness.  They and their children in all their generations are preparing themselves for the society of the fallen angels, and with them they will dwell, and like them they will be placed in a condition where they can no more be permitted to multiply.  Having once married in unminions of wickedness, and entail unhappiness and wretchedness upon immortal souls.  They have forfeited all right to wives or the law of increase, by their abuses of these things here in this life.


When Noah and his sons were building the ark, all the nations of the earth were marrying and giving in marriage, but their marriages were all illegal, and they only multiplied their posterity to be cut off and to perish out of the earth.  God did not sanction their marriages, neither was He pleased with them or their children.  Noah and his sons were the only persons worthy of wives or children, they alone had a divine right to marry, and they alone had any legal claim on the Lord in behalf of their children.  The most of the people in the days of the Patriarchs had turned away from the true God to the worship [30] of idols, consequently the marriages of all such were unauthorized, and their illegitimate children were multiplied upon the earth to curse the earth with the idolatry of their fathers.  David says that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”  Can we then, for one moment, suppose that God is pleased with the multiplication of the wicked?  Does it please God to have the wicked marry, when, in so doing, they only increase the number who must be cast into hell?  Far be it from us to impute such wickedness to God.  That which God requires of the wicked, in the first place, is to repent and become righteous, and then to marry and multiply a righteous posterity upon the earth; and if they will not do this, it would be far more tolerable for them in the day of judgment, if they would remain unmarried, for then they alone would suffer; but to be the instruments of bringing their own children to eternal ruin will greatly add to their torments.  Who can, then, for one moment, believe that the wicked have equal privileges with the righteous, in the divine institution of marriage?  Who can, with the word of God before them, believe that the wicked ought to multiply upon the earth, and raise up candidates for the devil’s kingdom?  No person can believe this, who believes the Bible.


Hear what the Prophet Isaiah says, concerning the children of the wicked; he declares, “The seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.  Prepare slaughter for his children, for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.”–(Isa. xiv. 20, 21.)  Now would it not be far better for them not to marry than to be the means of bringing both temporal and eternal judgments upon their children?  God is certainly not pleased with their increase, or else He would not prepare slaughter for their children, to prevent them from filling the world with cities; if He were pleased with their increase, the more cities they filled, the better.


[31]  The Psalmist, in speaking of both the righteous and the wicked, says that “Such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth, and they that be cursed of Him shall be cut off.”  And again he says, “He (the righteous) is ever merciful, and lendeth, and his seed is blessed.  Depart from evil, and do good, and dwell for evermore.  For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His Saints, they are preserved forever, but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.”–(Ps. xxxvii.)  Thus we can see what the design of the Lord is in regard to the seed of the wicked–they are to utterly perish out of the earth.  Not so with the righteous.  God has promised that they shall not only inherit the earth in this life, but they shall “dwell therein forever.”


In a former part of this treatise, it was shown that adulterers forfeited their lives in ancient times, the reason was because they were not considered worthy of wives or children to perpetuate their names among the righteous; and being unworthy of these blessings, they were unworthy of life; hence they were commanded to be destroyed, that they might not transfer their wicked examples to a rising generation.  And God was so displeased with adulterers, that He prohibited their posterity from the enjoyment of the blessings of His people.  Hence, it is said, “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord, even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”–(Deut. xxiii. 2.)


The Jews, as a nation, were adulterers at the time Christianity was introduced among them.  Jesus calls them an “adulterous generation.”  Consequently they had forfeited all right and title to raise up seed unto Abraham.  They pretended to be Abraham’s seed, but they had forfeited that title by their wickedness and adulteries; therefore, “Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of [32] Abraham.  Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”–(John, viii. 33, 39, 44.)  Being the children of the devil, they had forfeited all right to the divine institution of marriage.  Instead of its being pleasing to God for them to pretend to be Abraham’s children, and to multiply and spread forth their posterity, Jesus said unto them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck.  Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.”–(Luke xxiii. 28-30)  They had forfeited the blessings of wives and children, and even of life itself, because they were an “adulterous generation,” and full of all manner of wickedness.  God would sooner have the very “stones raise up children unto Abraham,” than to have such wicked characters undertake to marry and multiply.


Who then cannot perceive that God makes a very great distinction between the wicked and the righteous in regard to marriage, and the multiplication of the human species?  Those blessings were originally intended for the righteous, and for the righteous only, but the wicked have stepped forward to their own condemnation, and claimed the privileges of the righteous, bringing temporal and eternal judgments upon their generations.  Hence, that which is a blessing to the righteous, will prove a cursing to the wicked.  The ark of God, while it remained among the righteous, brought blessings, and glory, and honour, and great joy; but when it was taken by the Philistines, who had no business with it, it brought cursing, and plague, and desolation, and death, upon their numerous hosts.  So will God punish the wicked for daring to claim a divine institution which was only intended for the righteous.  (Millennial Star 15:378)




(Elder Samuel W. Richards, while on a mission to England, placed this little item in the 1852 Millennial Star, for which he was the Editor.  He aptly interjects the Gospel and Priesthood into the marriage covenant, showing the importance of these constituents to an enduring family tie.)


“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth?  I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”–Jesus


“Turn O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”–Jeremiah, iii. 14.


From the above declarations of our Saviour and the inspired Prophet, we may justly infer that the preaching of the Gospel to the nations of the earth will, to a great extent, be attended with the breaking up of family ties and relations.  But why all this?  It is because those ties and relations have not been formed by the fullest approbation and sanction of heaven; the holy Priesthood has not fixed an eternal seal upon their covenants; they have not been bound on earth by that authority which is recognized of God; hence, they have not been bound in heaven.  The Lord does not send forth messages to destroy and break in pieces His own institutions, when they are legally attended to and honoured among men.


Notwithstanding angels proclaimed, at the birth of our Saviour, the glad tidings of peace on earth, and good will to [34] men, yet it is evident from the result, that the design of his mission was only to bring peace to those who received his message, and they were but few, like unto the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.  The same results which were foretold by our Saviour, follow the preaching of the Gospel by the Latter-day Saints, and are an argument in favour of the fact that they preach the same pure principles that Jesus did.  They who receive these principles, make manifest the superiority of them over all others, in that all earthly ties, endearments, and associations by which they are bound to the world, lose their virtue to a greater or lesser extent, where a connection is formed with that which is ordained of God, and administered by virtue of an eternal Priesthood after the order of God.


In the absence of the Priesthood for centuries past, men have substituted their own laws and regulations, to govern, not only the ordinance of marriage, but almost all other ordinances instituted by God, and revealed to man.  In the absence of any communication with God, the nations of the earth have defined, by human law, the obligations of husband and wife, and also those of parents and children.  The time that these obligations cease is specified by law; children are released from their parents at a certain age, and both husbands and wives upon the death of either, are fully released from their obligations.  And thus, by the enlightened Christian world, the ordinances of God are virtually destroyed, and made earthly, by their duration; and because of it, they become sensual and devilish.  The devil has ever sought to put an end to the works of God, and the wisdom (!) of the world has ordained an end to His most sacred institutions.  How unlike God, who is unchangeable!–whose course is one eternal round–of whom Jesus said, “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.”


[35]  No wonder, then, that the family circle is often found unstable, when the power of God is brought to bear upon it; for by His word He has purposed to shake all things that can be shaken, that that only which is eternal may abide.  No wonder that the Son, who has obeyed the heavenly mandate, no longer lisps with wonted filial affection the endearing name of father, while the father deprecates the conscientiousness of his son in preferring a holier and stronger tie.  No wonder that the daughter and mother in like manner disregard each other; and even that the husband and the wife ofttimes are set at variance by the word of God, which is quick and powerful, to divide asunder those who receive it from those who receive it not.


Wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, its influence in this respect is felt, not only in the family circle and among near relations, but in societies and denominations, and in every kingdom and government. Why is it that the very message of peace, when proclaimed by authority, is found associated with such scenes of strife?  It is because it meets its opposite wherever it goes.  It separates the evil from the good, that the Lord may know His own, and bring them to ZION, though they be but one of a city and two of a family.


The Gospel of peace is preached for those who delight therein, that they may make a covenant of peace with their God, which shall render them secure while He shall dash the nations in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  As light cleaveth unto light, so do those who love peace, cleave to the covenant of peace; and they go out from the midst of wickedness, which bringeth confusion and destruction. Every man should know that he is recognized of God as a legal heir to His glory and power, for this is his privilege according to the designs of God, and if he has a family it is a duty which he owes to them: and then like God he should look upon every symptom of division in his family as an encroachment upon his rights, as the [36] stealthy march of a deadly enemy, which, if not arrested, will sap the very foundation of his glory and dominion.  Its influence should be more dreaded than the viper’s sting, or the infection of the Upas.  It is a messenger of death to his habitation, both temporally and spiritually.


A family who have been nurtured under the influence of inspired parents, and have heeded the teachings of a godly Patriarch, are never set at variance by a Gospel message.  To them it brings peace, and strengthens the ties of their union and brotherhood.  Truth only wars with error; light is only at variance with darkness; and the ministrations of Jesus or his messengers, only stir up strife where Satan has held dominion; and if a person’s foes be of his own household because of the truth, it is because the enemy of truth abides there.


When mankind have access to the school of immediate and divine revelation, they will be able to learn the true designs of God concerning them, and not before.  They will then know assuredly that the family relation was never designed by Him to be broken up and destroyed, but that the order of relationship on earth is in likeness of that which is in heaven, by which the heavenly hosts are bound together in an indissoluble bond of union and brotherhood.  Unless mankind partake of the full-told virtues of the earthly relationship, they cannot be prepared to participate in the joys of the heavenly.


They should, therefore, never look with indifference upon the time when their children grow up and begin to embrace different faiths, or subscribe to different creeds and denominations, opposed to each other in principle, and calculated to establish widely varying characters in those who adopt them for their rule of action.  This is often indulged in by members of the same family, to such an extent that they become not even susceptible of the same enjoyments; that which is loved [37] and admired by the one, appears despicable to another; and a fiendish disregard for each other increases, until the free inter-change of sentiment becomes quite obnoxious to both, for that which constitutes the happiness of one is the misery of the other; the ultimate tendency of which is to render them utterly unable to dwell together in the presence and glory of God; for no dissembling reigns in the midst of His blissful habitation, but all are one, even as the Father and the Son are one.


What a dreadful picture is thus presented among families upon the earth, in contrast with the family of heaven, and the unity of the Godhead.  It is because of such a state of things the Lord has determined a consumption upon all the face of the earth.


So little importance is attached by the Christian world, generally, to the ordinances and institutions of God, that they are esteemed as transitory things, which merely belong to earth, and with it must pass away.  This, however, is very far from the truth, and not until men are made to know that the ordinances of God are necessary to eternal life, and that if ever they are perfected, it must be in the perfect enjoyment of them, will they take that exalted position in society which will restore them to the favour of God.


In order to defend, and preserve sacred, the institutions of heaven, the husband must know that the wife was designed for his eternal help, in an union which both should seek to perfect in love, and by virtue of a covenant which, when broken, would disgrace for ever its breaker.  Then will parents begin to know the worth of their children; by being made responsible for them to God they will learn that without them their glory hath an end, which would induce them peradventure, like the fathers of old, to obtain for them, by the promise of God, a [38] portion of the earth for an everlasting possession, and over which their dominion should be extended.


Then will children learn in that eternal day when they are possessing an inheritance obtained through their fathers, that they are children still, and that through their fathers as Patriarchs, they drink from the stream of endless life.  But now, how different the scene!  How debased the human heart; how changed the ordinances of God; how bought and sold for gain, and made to answer lustful ends; how diverted from their original designs, and how utterly unable, through the present using of them, to answer their ends.  Virtue, the key to endless joys, is sacrificed to vice, and prostituted are her charms.


The husband and the father oft times revels in the midst of unlawful associations, sacrificing the most tender feelings of a devoted companion, when he should be the avenger of her wrongs.  By parents are engendered the seeds of strife, and unnatural desires, which germinate and become prolific in a rising posterity, who thus inherit from their parents an inordinate relish for vice in all its multitudinous forms.  Children, licensed by the example of their parents, indulge in every sensual gratification, until the tender sympathies of their souls become so seared, that they are not susceptible of those endearing emotions with which nature in her loveliness, once lavished so freely upon her creatures.


Surely such scenes as these were detested by the hosts on high when the earth, which was once beautiful and lovely, abiding in the presence of God, was thrust down into the shades of night for a frail covering to hide such crimson deeds from the consuming glory of her Maker.  But thanks be to God, who has decreed to exalt her again to His presence.  Even now messengers from on high minister and tell to man that the day has come, and the hour is nigh at hand, when the veil of her [39] covering shall be rent, and all flesh shall see Him who cometh robed in justice to execute judgment upon all the earth.


The Christian world can read, and most of them believe, that Prophets truly predicted, and Apostles authoritatively declared that God would, in a day which was to come, call with a loud voice upon His people, to come out from the midst of such Babylonish scenes, lest they should receive of the plagues with which He has purposed to put an end to such confusion.  And just so sure as God has a people upon the earth, wherever they may be, this demand will be made upon them, and they have no other promise of salvation from the plagues of the wicked, but to go out from their midst.


This call has been made in the day in which we live.  God has spoken it from the heavens: angels have ministered upon the earth, and told it unto men; these men have proclaimed it abroad to the people of God; and these reflections have been called forth because of the difficulty which many of the Saints have to encounter in obeying the call, some being altogether prevented by unbelieving relatives, who are often members of the same family.  To all such we would say, let patience have its perfect work, and you shall not lose your reward; for God will, in the wisest possible manner, manifest His will concerning the time of your departure; and many who are now deprived of that which is dearest to their hearts, will soon see the day when such bonds will be broken, and those who now hinder them from going, will gladly hasten with them to enjoy the peace of Zion.


There are parents who tarry year after year, hoping to persuade their children to go with them, earnestly desiring their salvation.  We would remind all such of the fact, that they must first obtain influence and power with God, if they would exert a proper influence over those whom they love.  Jesus did [40] not even hope to accomplish so great a work while he tarried among men, but said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me,” evidently anticipating that when he had left the world, his influence and power would be greater over those whom he loved, than when he was among them.  So it will be with parents who go up to Zion, and keep the commandments and ordinances of God; they will have greater influence and power over those whom they love, to draw them after them.  This is what the ordinances of God are for, and through them alone can we have power to administer salvation to others.  Hence it becomes the duty of all who receive the Gospel, after they have borne their testimony to their friends, to flee to Zion, that they may inherit a saving power, through the ordinances of life, which shall bring redemption to themselves, and those whom God has or may give unto them. If parents prevent their children from keeping the commandments of God, they will be held responsible for those whom they control; and for all the evil which results therefrom, in a day to come they will have to pay the debt due to justice.  The acts of all men to whom the Gospel comes in this world, will decide their destiny for the world to come; which renders it of the utmost importance that husbands and wives, parents and children, each act the part which belongs to them, in their relationship to each other, and to God; that they may know, by the revelations of His spirit, that they have restrained evil, and maintained obedience to God in all things; that it may be said unto them “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.”




(This work by George Q. Cannon is one which has been recognized by many authors as a classic discourse on the subject of marriage. It carries with it a spirit of experience and a background of scriptural knowledge.)


[41]  My brethren and sisters, there are some principles which it seems to me we should comprehend clearly in connection with our position as Latter-day Saints; and one is that which is alluded to in this chapter that I have read in your hearing, namely:


“Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

“For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods:  so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”


This was a command that was given unto Israel with great force and emphasis.  They were commanded from the beginning that they were not to marry with those who did not belong to their family, or did not belong to the Israel of God, or were not the covenant people of God.  And it was not a new law; it was not a law that was given to Moses, and through him to the children of Israel for the first time.  If you will read back to the days of Abraham, you will find that the same sentiment filled the heart of Abraham, the patriarch, concerning his posterity.  When he wanted a wife for his son Isaac, he took his eldest servant of his house and made him swear by the God of Heaven that he would not take a wife unto his son of the daughters of the Canaanites, a race with which he did not want his son to intermarry.  And he sent his servant back to Mesopotamia, to his old country and his kindred, it being where his brother Nahor had lived, to find there for his son Isaac a wife that should be suitable to him.  The servant took this oath, and he went feeling that God had given unto him a mission and that he would be prospered in obtaining a wife for the son of his master.  He prayed unto the God of his master to give him success, and give him a sign by which he might know [42] the girl that the Lord designed for his master’s son.  And according to his faith so it was done.  Rebekah came to the well, and as he had prayed so she did, and she proved to be the very girl that God had designed for Isaac, and the very girl that Abraham in his heart desired that his son should have.  She was Abraham’s grand niece, and his wife Sarah’s grand niece, a double cousin of Isaac’s; her grandmother, Milcoh, being Isaac’s mother’s sister, and her grandfather, Nahor, being Abraham’s father’s brother.  You know it is said in the Bible, that Abraham married his sister.  But though called his sister, she was not his sister, in our sense of the relationship.  She was the daughter of his brother Haran; but at Haran’s death, Terah (Haran and Abraham’s father) brought up Haran’s children as his own.  Two of these children were girls.  One of them married Nahor, a brother of Abraham’s, and the other married Abraham, both of them sisters of Lot.  They were, therefore, nearly related.


So you see that in those early days the same sentiment pervaded the minds of the servants of God, respecting the families with whom they should intermarry.  You will remember also that this same Rebekah afterwards, when fear was begotten in her heart respecting her son Jacob, and the enmity of his brother Esau, said to Isaac in substance: “I do not want Jacob to marry the daughters of this land, I want him to marry the right blood, to marry into the right families.”  Isaac sent Jacob back to his motherÕs people, and commanded him not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; but to marry into his motherÕs family.  He did so; he married his two cousins, Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, his mother’s brother.  And from these families and from that blood sprang the promised seed.  It was the lineage through which the Priesthood ran; it was the lineage that was entitled to the blessings of the father, and on this account they were very particular as to whom they should marry.  Isaac was the promised seed, and his father and [43] mother were exceedingly desirous that he should marry in the right direction, and if you will notice that this is the same sentiment that God inspired His servant Moses to speak unto the children of Israel.  They were commanded to marry among themselves, and not to marry among the outside nations that had not the faith that the children of Israel had.  Because, as it is said here:


“Thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

“For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods.”


And this was the case with Esau.  He was not a man of faith, he was not a man unto whose seed the promises were given as they were to Jacob; because he married the daughters of the land in which they lived, that is the daughters of the Hittites, one of the Canaanite nations, a race not entitled to the blessings and promises which God had given unto those of the family Abraham, and the families connected with him.


And in every instance that is on record in the Bible where the children of Israel disobeyed this command of God, judgment and calamity always followed.  It was so in the case of Samson.  You remember Samson, a mighty man in some respects, a man whom God raised up to redeem His people, but he married strange women.  He married a woman of the Philistines, and the result was that it brought about his destruction.  And we need only refer to the great king who sat upon the throne during the golden days of Israel, a man who was considered the wisest man that ever lived–King Solomon.  His heart, we are told in the Scriptures, was turned aside from the Lord our God, because he took to himself strange wives, women of the nations with whom God had commanded Israel not to marry, and because of this he was led as he grew in years into idolatry.  He built in the groves where the strange [44] nations performed their idolatrous rites, places of worship, and to gratify these wives he went and worshipped with them; and God in His anger, because of this, said that the nation should be rent asunder; and in fulfillment of this word the greater portion of the kingdom was taken from the house of David, and given to another.  Ten tribes rebelled, and there was left to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, only the tribe of Judah for his inheritance, this kindness to the dynasty in leaving to it the tribe of Judah as an inheritance, was not because of favors to Solomon, but because his father had served God all his days with a perfect heart, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.  God raised up enemies to Solomon, and at his death, as I have said, rent the ten tribes from his son Rehoboam, and gave them to Jeroboam.  This was in consequence of the violation of this command of God respecting the intermarriage of His people with strange women.  In every instance on record in the Bible, it will be found that the violation of this law resulted in destruction, not only to those who made these marriages, but to their posterity after them.  The history of the kings of Israel and Judah illustrates this.  The kings who married strange women, women of those nations that God had forbidden Israel to marry, were never prospered; misfortune to themselves and the nation always followed these alliances.  One of the most wicked kings that ever sat upon the throne of Israel married a woman of this description.  Her name was Jezebel.  She was a king’s daughter too, a woman of noble birth, but one of the most wicked women that ever lived.  To gratify her desire she incited her husband to murder, and to almost every other crime that could be committed.  She was an idolatrous woman and she brought numberless miseries and condemnation from the Lord upon not only her husband’s house, but upon the whole house of Israel because of her wickedness.


In looking around and traveling among our people, I have been deeply impressed with the consequences that follow [45] these improper marriages among us.  My attention has been called many, many times to circumstances of this character that have taken place among us.  Not infrequently there is some case that comes up to us for counsel where women have made alliances of this character; and women among us have been more apt to do it than men.  There have been a few instances of men marrying strange women, losing the faith and becoming alienated from the Church of God, but it has not been of such frequent occurrence among us with men as it has been with women.  The alliances which our daughter, our sisters or our female relatives have formed of this character have been attended with the worst results, and it is a matter that should receive attention from us as a people; our minds should be directed to this.  It should be the aim of every father in Israel to have his daughters married to those who are of the right lineage, who have a claim upon the blessings of God, through their descent, added to their own faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God.  I deem it of great importance to us as a people, that we should look to this.  When I hear of girls in our Church marrying those who are not of us, who have not our faith, I have said to myself–and my experience in watching these matches has warranted me the thought–that such a proceeding was sure to be attended with trouble to those who entered upon it.  The offspring of such marriages do not bring satisfaction or happiness to the hearts of their relatives who are faithful to the truth, and in many instances they bring trouble and sorrow to their hearts.  The mother’s head is bowed with sorrow, if she retains her faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because of the acts of her children.  There are some men who have so much Gentile blood in them, that their offspring partake of it, and of the unbelief of the father, and in such cases it is impossible for a mother who has such a husband and children, with all her faith, with all her zeal, with all the pains that she takes, to instill into the minds of her children faith in the God of Israel, and faith in the covenant that [46] He has restored.  They seem to belong to another flock.  It seems as though they have no susceptibility for the truth.  There is no good soil in their hearts to receive the seeds of truth, the Gospel of the Son of God.  It is just like this:–my family, who live on the banks of the Jordan River, have occasionally secured some wild duck eggs, and put them under some tame ducks, and hatched them.  But the wild duck as soon as he grew large enough to fly, generally took his flight and left the home nest.  It was not natural to be tame.  And so it is frequently with marriages.  A girl of our faith may marry a gentile, and he may be a pretty good man as far as his conduct is concerned, he may be a good citizen, a truthful man, but there will be a lack of susceptibility to the truth about his offspring.  There will be a lack of faith there.  Some of the children may have a little faith in the truth, but many of them, probably, will have no faith whatever, and will give the mother uneasiness and trouble and sorrow, and she will have no satisfaction whatever in her children.  I have in my mind today, an instance where a man joined the Church, in the very early days of the Church, one of the oldest families in the Church, but he had not much faith.  He married one of the most faithful women I have ever known in my experience in the Church.  She has raised a large family, and by dint of faith and perseverance, finally succeeded in bringing the family to the valley.  But the husband was always in the background.  It required all her faith, and all her exertions to keep him from breaking out against the Church, and from losing even a nominal membership in it.  She has had a large family of children.  One of her sons, whom she has brought up with all the care possible, teaching him constantly the principles of the Gospel, and endeavoring to foster faith in his heart, is today an avowed enemy of the work of God, of the Church, of which the mother is a faithful member.  Several of the children seem to partake of that unbelief, that inclination to apostatize, which they seem to have inherited from their father.  But it illustrates that when [47] women make alliances of this kind, they are not sure, in the least degree, as to the character of their posterity.  They may have faithful children, but as likely as not, like the wild ducks I spoke of, they will go back to their old element, and to their old associations, and it seems impossible to prevent them from doing so.


I have no doubt all of you have had some experience of a similar character here in your midst.  Have you ever seen a marriage on the part of a faithful member of this Church, either man or woman, with one that is not faithful, that has resulted happily for all concerned?  Can you not call to mind instance after instance where it has been attended with the worst results? where the woman after a while, tired of living in that condition, has been compelled, if she did not wish to lose all hope of salvation here and hereafter, to break the tie and to sever herself from the man with whom she has committed herself as a maiden, and by whom she had raised children–compelled to sever herself from him, if she expected to obtain eternal life in the Kingdom of God.  I know many, many such instances as these, and I think that as a people we should be exceedingly careful about these matters.  I would rather my daughters–speaking about them–I would rather they would be the fiftieth wife to a good, faithful man, who had kept the commandments of God, and unto whom promises had been made–I know that, we all know it Adam, our Father, had a Cain; he was a wicked man; but that does not alter the principle, it does not affect that which I am speaking of.  AdamÕs posterity had blessings sealed upon them that cannot be taken from them.  There was no reason why Cain should not have inherited all the blessings that Abel did, and that afterwards Seth possessed, if he had been disposed to avail himself of them; and it may be that where men have the Priesthood, the power and authority of it, and the blessings that pertain to it, sealed upon their heads–it may be that like it was in the cases [48] of Terah and Abraham, if they belong to the rightful lineage there will some one of that seed arise and be a faithful man, and attain unto all the blessings that God has promised unto such faithful persons.  You remember very well how it was with Terah, the father of Abraham.  He was of the chosen seed, but he was an idolator.  Yet he was heir to the promises, and because of that Abraham, through that heirship, and through descent, or the blessings that came through that descent, was able to go unto God and to plead for and receive the blessings that God had promised through the fathers unto him and unto all who belonged to that chosen seed.  And so it may be with us.  There may be faithful men who will have unfaithful sons, who may not be as faithful as they might; but faithful posterity will come, just as I believe it will be the case with the Prophet Joseph’s seed. * * * *


There are but comparatively few men among the family of mankind, who are capable of leading the daughters of Zion into the Celestial Kingdom of our God–comparatively few–for the Lord says:  “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Out of all the sons of God, there are comparatively few, I say, who are capable through their keeping the commandments of God, of leading the daughters of Zion in the path of exaltation, and leading them into the Celestial Kingdom of our God; and therefore it is of the utmost importance that in these matters we should be exceedingly careful.  We should seek by revelation, if we can obtain it–and it is the privilege of all to obtain revelation, that is all who live as they should do–we should seek by revelation to obtain a knowledge for ourselves, respecting these matters.  Our daughters should be taught to control their feelings and affections, and not let them go out without any regard to these circumstances to which I have alluded.  A woman should be exceedingly careful, a girl should be exceedingly careful, and parents should be exceedingly careful in in-[49]stilling into her mind the principles that must be observed by her and by her husband to obtain exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God.  How often is it the case among us, that women desirous of salvation are compelled to leave their husbands that become drunken, that become apostates, that become careless and indifferent, that do something or other that forfeits their standing in the Church of Christ?  And then what is to become of such women?  According to our faith no woman should be connected with a man who cannot save her in the Celestial Kingdom of God.  What I mean by this is:  if a man apostatizes and breaks covenants and loses his standing in the Church of Christ, he is not in a fit condition to save himself, much less to lead his wife aright.  He cannot lead her in a path of exaltation, because he has turned aside from that path; he has gone into another path.  If she follows him, she will follow him to destruction; she will take the downward road.  She will never find, while following him, and he in that condition, the path of salvation.  Therefore, how careful men should be, that in marrying they should marry into good families, and not marry into apostate families.  Did you ever see any good result from a man taking the daughter of an apostate, that has been brought up an apostate?  I never have.  That woman and her companions, if there are not great exertions made, will lead that man’s heart away after other gods, away from the God of Israel, away from the covenant, away from everything that is holy and true.  She will constantly fight him unless she is an exception to the general rule.  There are instances where girls come out of such families, and are good, faithful women; but speaking of this as a rule it is not a safe proceeding.  How can fathers and mothers of the Saints who marry into families that are not in the Church, or that are apostates–how can they mingle together upon terms of equality?  The grandchildren, having in them the blood of the apostate, and the blood of the faithful man, can they come together on the same platform and be united with each other, part of them [50] being out of the Church and part of them in the Church?  No, they cannot.  There is a distinction there, and there must be a letting down of the bars on the part of those in the Church to associate with others out of the Church, on terms of equality or else there must be a rising up of those who are in the Church, in order that they may be on anything like terms of equality.  There must be some breaking down in some direction.  The apostate must sink his difference and try and feel like the Latter-day Saint, or else the faithful family must yield a little in their feelings in orders to mingle upon anything like terms of friendship or equality with those who are not in the Church.


My brethren and sisters:  I consider that these are very important principles, and should be seriously considered.  There is too much laxity among us in Salt Lake City, and elsewhere, upon this point.  There are young men and young women, one or the other frequently belong to good families, who are married not by the Priesthood, but by some civil authority, in order to accommodate the feelings of the girl, or of the young man, or of the families of one or the other.  Can such marriages result in happiness?  No, they cannot; they cannot result in happiness on the part of a man who claims to be a Latter-day Saint, or on the part of a girl who claims to be a Latter-day Saint.  It cannot be a happy marriage.  The fruits of such union cannot be satisfactory, that is, to the faithful Saint, at least, and it is contrary to the mind and will of God.  Our people are commanded to marry in their own Church.  We are commanded to marry those of our own faith, and not to go outside of our Church for partners.  Instead of being married by Justices of the Peace, or by other civil authorities, God has placed in His Church a Priesthood, and one of the offices and functions of that Priesthood is to marry the sons and daughters of God–to marry them one to another in the new and everlasting covenant, and to seal upon them and their posterity the [51] blessings that pertain to that new and everlasting covenant; and any man who desires to be a happy husband and to have a happy home, and any woman who desires to be a happy wife and a happy mother, and to have joy in their associations, will never permit themselves to be drawn aside to be married by any authority except that which God has instituted, namely, the authority of the Holy Priesthood.  Our daughters should seek, by all the faith that they can exercise before God, to obtain good husbands–husbands who will build them up instead of holding them down; who will strengthen their hands in the work of God, who will make them mothers of a righteous seed and posterity, with whom they can rejoice in the eternal mansions of our Father and our God; and no woman who has the faith of the Gospel within her, will want to bear a child to a man of whom she will be ashamed, and who cannot lead her into the presence of the Lamb.  She will rather exercise faith before the Lord that God will give unto her a husband in whom she can trust, in whom she can have confidence, whose word will be as the word of God to her.  And in the midst of the troubles, afflictions and trials that belong to this mortal existence, she will feel comforted by the knowledge that her husband is indeed a man of God, a man who will be true and faithful to her under all circumstances.  This is a constant cause of strength and comfort to every woman, to know that she has wedded a man whom she can trust, upon whom she can rely, who will never fail her, that is, as far as human nature will permit a man to be free from infallibility.  This is the course we should all take.


But, says one, what shall be done with those who are not of this class?


I do not have a word to say against them.  I do not want to say one word against this class.  Let them marry.  Let the Gentile marry with the Gentile.  That is right.  I have no objec-[52]tion to this.  I do not want to say one word against their men or against their women.  Let them marry among themselves.  But I say to the Latter-day Saints, marry in your own Church.  Let the Latter-day Saints marry faithful men, let them marry faithful women, and let them raise up a posterity which God will bless, and upon whom they can ask the blessing of our Father; and when they pass away, they can leave their blessing to be perpetuated upon them and their posterity as long as the earth itself shall last.  That is what I say to the Latter-day Saints.  At the same time I would not preclude any “non-Mormon,” or “Gentile,” as they are called, from marrying; but let such marry their own class and among their own people.  I say we have no right to allow them to marry our daughters, and we should use every influence against it.  It is not right to allow apostates to marry our daughters, nor for our sons to marry apostates.  This is all wrong, and we should guard against it, and use all the influence in our power to prevent it.  And those who are weak in the faith and want to be married by officers of the law, let them choose those who have the same faith and feelings as they have; but let no faithful daughter or faithful son of faithful parents be influenced to marry such persons, and marry in that kind of a way.  This is what I say to you this morning, and the counsel I would give to all my brethren and sisters.  Let the apostates marry the apostates.  Let the gentiles marry the gentiles.  There are millions of them in the world.  There is no need for them to take our daughters, nor to marry our sons.  The apostates also can find plenty of their own kind.  Let them marry them.  I would not throw a straw in their way, I would do nothing to interfere with them; but let the faithful Latter-day Saints.  Let them seek unto God in the name of Jesus that they may obtain women of virtue, women of probity, women of faith, women of steadfastness, women that will be a glory to the men throughout time and eternity, and who will raise them children in whom they can rejoice; and let the women seek in like manner to obtain men [53] upon whom they can look with respect and love in the midst of every trial, in the midst of every affliction, no matter what the circumstances may be; that their faith may be unmoved in all the trials, difficulties and afflictions that pertain to this mortal life; that they may tread the straight and narrow path as long as mortality lasts, and then enter into the celestial kingdom of our God, when they obtain their resurrected bodies, united as husband and wife, for time and for all eternity.


Now, this is a privilege that God has given unto us His children, and I trust that as His children we will exercise it.  Remember, my brethren and sisters, that as wise a king as Solomon, a man unto whom God appeared and unto whom God spake, was led away by strange women and lost his power, became an idolater, and God scourged him and his posterity for his wickedness in this respect.  I have in my mind today a man among us who in like manner allowed his affections to go after a strange woman, and took her to wife, and when I think about his circumstances, it reminds me in a small degree of the fate of Solomon; the same result is in his case, and it will be in every case.  I do not care how strong the man may be, he may have strength enough to hold the woman, to overpower her influence, but it is a risk that should not be taken; for it a man does he will almost be sure to be overcome, and fall into trouble.


I pray God the Eternal Father, to bless us as a people; to bless you, my brethren and sisters, and to give you strength and wisdom and grace to govern your families and yourselves, so that you will always be found in the path of righteousness, the path that leadeth unto the Lord, which I ask in the name of Jesus.  Amen.  (Journal of Discourses 25:363, and Marrying Out of The Faith, Lundwall pp.13-26)




(This article by William M. Palmer, was sent to the editors of the Contributor, a magazine for young Latter-day Saints. It is filled with wise advice to those considering marriage.)


“And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up.

“Some fell upon stony places where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth.

“And when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

“And some fell among thorns and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

“But others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit.  Some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.”  Matt. 13:4-8


MARRIAGE!  What a solemn word, and how little considered by mankind in general! How many rush into it without a moment’s consideration of the mighty step they are taking.  “Marry in haste and repent at leisure.”


My dear young people of Zion, let me beseech you to listen to one who desires only your good.  I have traveled thirteen years, have lived among many classes of people, been in their domestic circles, seen happy and unhappy families, and have made a constant study of the causes of both, and I am thoroughly convinced that principle should always precede love.  Not that love is unessential, for without it there can be no happiness, but love will follow principle.


[55]  The quoted parable was given by our Savior and applied to the sowing of the Gospel see, but it will apply as well in the planting of the seed of love.


Admiration is the seed of love.  Whenever a man or woman admires one of the opposite sex it is the bursting of the germ in their hearts, and if it is nourished and cultivated it will grow and ripen into love.


To receive the benefit of any law requires obedience to that law, or, as the Lord says:  “There is a law irrevocably decreed in the heavens from before the foundations of the world, upon which all blessings are predicated, and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated.”  (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130:20,21)


True, a person may admire another for any good quality of mind or heart.  This may be called the unsown seed of love.  The wheat kept in the garner does not grow.  Just so with that admiration which is the sure precursor of love.  Once sown in the heart it grows, as wheat sown in the warm, damp earth brings forth fruit according to the depth and richness of the soil.


Following our parable, let us classify match-making under four heads.  First, the seed falling by the wayside; second, that which falls upon stony places; third, that scattered among thorns; and fourth, that sown in good soil.


First.  The seed falling by the wayside fitly represents childish love.  A girl fourteen to sixteen admires a man; her mind being tender and confiding, the seed springs up like the mushroom, and withers quickly.  Someone else comes along who is flashy and her girlish love is gone.  Sometimes it does [56] not last a week, but some, alas, marry under that influence and the fowls of an embittered life devour the seeds ere they take root.


Second.  I believe the most of the marriages in this world, many of them among the Latter-day Saints, come under the head of the seed falling on stony ground.  Anything romantic and exciting takes everything not fortified, by storm.  Here is a young fellow in society who has spent much of his time in learning to dance, to dress well–in short, to cut a swell.  He had always a fund of lady talk–light nonsensicalities which pass for wit.  He is to be found at every pleasure resort, and at home cuts a dash with fast horses.  In short, he is the embodiment, in personal appearance and accomplishments, of the modern hero of fiction, as if he had jumped full dressed from the latest popular novel.  What follows:  Why the unbounded admiration of the fair sex.  “Isn’t he nice!”  “How handsome!”  “What a fine dancer!”  “How witty!”  Ah, young lady!  While you thus unconsciously surrender your heart to him, do you reflect on the richness and depth of the soil in which you plant?  Are you certain that you do not scatter your precious seed by the wayside or on stony ground?  Will these accomplishments, which you so much admire, last and make you happy through life and in eternity?  Will not the fowls of stern life, the trials and vexations thrown in every pathway, pluck up the seed ere it begins to grow?  Or will not the scorching sun beat down upon the shallow, stony soil and burn up the feeble roots?  If you love him only because of his romantic life, it will take romance to feed that love.  After marriage he must continue dancing, going to theatres, and pleasure resorts; and whenever he comes into your presence, he must meet you with jocular and light speeches.  In fact he must be funny all the time or your love withers.  But alas! he cannot keep that romantic life up, and he settles down at last like the punctured windbag he is.  What an unfruitful life!  His precious days of youth have [57] been spent in the school of frivolity.  You awaken to the reality and find yourself bound for life to an ignorant man.  The spear of grass has penetrated the shallow soil and seeks nourishment of a stone, and a burning sun is over head.  If such a wife desires to be informed on the delicate duties of married life, she cannot make a confidant of her husband; the spear of grass soon learns there is no nourishment in a stone.  Mortified, she can only suffer on.  He, on the other hand, ignorant of the laws of nature, and schooled only in the love of pleasure, makes his wife a prey to his lustful desires, breaking her health and destroying her happiness without knowing the cause and caring less of the consequences.  Many times in my travels women have remarked:  “My husband is brutal, and I am beginning to detest him.”  On inquiry I have invariably learned that during his youth he was a swell and a pleasure seeker.  Many times in the missionary field I have been drawn into conversation with men, who, when they were cornered, would say:  “I can’t talk with you, but if I had my wife here she could.”  Is it not strange that men are desirous of getting young ladies better and more pure than themselves?  Thus they are unequally yoked.  Differences arise.  One does not look at things as does the other.  He, perhaps, has but very little, if any, religion, for ignorance never understands correct principles.  The love dies, although it may for years have struggled for life.  A divorce is the end of the nuptial tie, but not the sorrow and remorse.


Third.  Let us now consider the seeds falling among thorns.  A young lady meets a man, handsome, finely dressed, very gentlemanly, perhaps intelligent in worldly things, but with little or no religion.  He has also some bad habits, being, perhaps, addicted to tobacco, drinking and profanity.  He can talk upon history, science and literature, but not on the things of eternity.  Be he ever so bright, he is only a worldly man, even though he bear the name of Latter-day Saint.  The lady flatters herself that she will get him to pray and attend meet-[58]ings.  For her sake he will quit his bad habits and become worthy the name he bears.  Mistaken idea!  His vices and follies are the rank weeds and thorns of the parable.  They will in nine cases out of ten grow stronger, her virtues weaker.  It is a dangerous experiment, and before any young lady makes it, she should plant some good seed in a garden overgrown, and wait till the seeds thus planted shall overcome the weeds.  I am thoroughly convinced that men who drink and profane, sooner or later defile themselves with women.  I have been a close observer for years, and few have had better chances to know such characters and the history of their downward course.  Abuse follows dissipation and then comes divorce or a life of sorrow.  Love is gone, hope lost.  Millions are in these ranks.


Fourth.  It is a pleasure to turn now to the seed falling on good ground.  There are three necessary qualifications in human beings to bring perfect happiness, viz:  the physical, the intellectual, and the moral or religious.  The last two are the most important.  The first is small as compared with either of the others.  I met a blind man not long ago who had just married a fair looking young lady.  I heard an unmarried lady say to her, “Maud, how could you marry him?” to which the latter replied:  “He is intelligent, pure, and a God-fearing man, with no bad habits.  If I had married a man deficient in any of these things, I could not have taken pleasure in being seen in his company.  But as it is I lead my husband with pleasure and pride along his path.  He can trust me and I him.  Our love thus grows stronger with each day, as we learn to know each other better.”  A young lady sees a man who fears God and keeps his commandments;  His countenance beams with intelligence, a spiritual light which grows brighter, for the Holy Ghost, his teacher, leads into all truth (St. John 16:13).  From meeting him at Sabbath gatherings and Mutual Improvement meetings, she learns to respect and admire him as a God-fearing man.  The qualities she has discovered in him appeal to her [59] heart and understanding alike.  She knows they will last.  I contend that under such circumstances she would be perfectly safe in marrying him, for her admiration will as surely result in love as a golden harvest will follow seed planted in good soil.  This love, if it be mutual, cannot but grow stronger and dearer as eternity rolls on.  Marriage does not stop their progress nor check their happiness; it rather cements into that eternal union two souls that have been made one.  He will still seek knowledge.  She admired his intelligence and goodness before marriage; she still admires his constant progress to glory.  He leads her on to exaltation and eternal life.  She can go to him for counsel and to have her doubts removed.  He studies her future as well as his own, and therefore the present gratification of the baser passions is held in check by wisdom, and the wife still lives, and still blooms with health, for she has not been sacrificed at the shrine of momentary pleasure.  Again, the true husband calls his dear ones around the family altar and thanks the Almighty, thus coupling heart to heart in a chain of humility which tends to soften the human and promote the growth of the divine in their natures.  Such marriages are always for eternity and bring forth some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold according to their faithfulness to God and His Gospel.


Now, my young friends, is it not of all things most important that you become intelligent in spiritual as well as in temporal things?  No man is truly intelligent until he finds God, the author of all truth.  Joseph says:  “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.”  (Doctrine & Covenants 131:6)  And if a person gain more knowledge and intelligence in this life than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.  “Whatever principles of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.”  (D & C 130:18,19).  Then how necessary for us to give heed to the Gospel and study while the mind is susceptible of learning, [60] instead of spending the precious time in theatres, pleasure resorts on Sundays, and in reading light literature.  It frequently happens that men of the latter class get wives as pure and noble as they are corrupt and worthless.  In fact that class of men always seek such wives, proving that they despise the life they lead but have not the moral courage to reform.  They would, in reality, be happier were they to marry a wife of their own stamp.


How can they expect a pure woman to love them when they cannot respect the image they see by looking in their own moral mirrors?  Remember oil and water will not mix, neither will intelligence cleave to ignorance, purity to impurity, or religion to infidelity.  The Lord says:  “For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence, wisdom receiveth wisdom, truth embraceth truth, virtue loveth virtue, light cleaveth unto light, mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own.”  (D & C 88:40)


Now, you see, if a woman has these virtues, she has a right to a husband of like virtues, and if she gets any other she cannot cleave to him as she would to one possessing them.  If men of no religion would seek their own class of women–if those who drink and swear would marry female sots (they have no moral right to any others) and leave the good, the pure, the intelligent for men of like virtues–if men would marry within their own church, there would be fewer divorces and more happiness in this world.  “But,” says one, “what is to be done?  There are half a dozen young ladies worthy of virtuous husbands where there is one young man worthy of them.  The government says the one shall not marry the six.  What then?  Shall five live old maids?”  Yes, better be an old maid than the heart-broken wife of a debauche’ or even an ignoramus whom you can not respect.


[61]  Now boys, here is the remedy:  if you want a good wife and a happy life, be just such a man as you would have your wife be a woman.  If you can’t get a recommend to the temple, find a girl that can’t, don’t cheat one who can.


Girls, if you want a good husband, live so that you will be a good wife, then keep your eyes open.  Attend to the duties enjoined upon you by your religion.  Above all, pray to God every day of your life.  Ask him to help you to be worthy of a good help-meet in life and a partner in eternity, for that is the greatest step of your life.  If a man asks to marry you outside the temple, you may know he wants you only for a time and present purposes.  God never instituted a marriage for time.  It can be proven by holy writ that all marriages acknowledged of him are for eternity.  “I know that whatsoever God doeth is shall be forever, nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it.  For God doeth it.”  (Eccles. iii, 14)  Then if you marry for time, remember God has nothing to do with the contract.  Now is the time you are forming your character and laying a foundation for happiness or sorrow.  Remember, “No one can be saved faster than he gets intelligence.”  (–Wm. M. Palmer, “Contributor”, 10:374-378)



[62]                              Chapter 2




“What was the cause of the first, or one of the first, curses that came upon Israel?


I will tell you.  One of the first transgressions of the family called Israel, was their going to other families or other nations to select partners.  This was one of the great mistakes made by the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for they would go and marry with other families, although the Lord had forbidden them to do so, and had given them a very strict and stringent law on the subject.  He commanded them not to marry among the Gentiles, but they did and would do it.


Inasmuch as they would not do what he required of them, then he gave them what I call a portion of the law of carnal commandments.  This law told them what they might and whom they might not marry.  It was referred to by the Savior and his Apostles and it was a grievous yoke to place on the necks of any people; but as the children of this family would run after Babylon, and after the pride and the vanity and evils of the world, and seek to introduce them into Israel, the Lord saw fit to place this burden upon them.”  (Brigham Young, J.D. 16:111)




(These extracts are taken from an extensive study by Rev. Dr. Menson, of Dublin, in the “Jewish Chronicle”.  Franklin D. Richards, Editor of the Millennial Star, published this material in Volumes 13 and 14, in 1851 and 1852.  It is an excellent examination of traditional marriages and customs of Bible times.  Although written by a non-Mormon, it contains enough pertinent information to be a valuable study in the marriage rites of ancient Israel

Women in Bible times have often been referred to as “property”, which in our language sounds like a piece of furniture or a parcel of land.  Even though there were transactions of money, valuables, or labor for marriage, they were only illustrated tokens of value and family dowries.  They would more properly be called “presents”.  Often it proved the earnestness behind the transaction.  Sometimes it appeared that a wife was being bought and sold, but wives were not slaves, nor were they treated as such.  The woman “gave” herself to the husband; and he in turn “took” her to be his wife.  She desired to “belong” to him.  This was not different in the New Testament for Paul said ,”For man is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church *** therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands…” (Eph. 5:23-24)

These ancient marriages were an exchange of vows, not currency, neither were they sales and purchases, but expressions of sacred covenants in marriage.  Although often a mixture of custom and tradition, they were undertaken so as to emphasize the strict rules of morality and ethics shared by a religious community. We may see these things in a different light than those of ancient times; and conversely they would consider our pattern of marriage today a very strange, and perhaps meaningless custom.  They would see a huge, highly decorated wedding cake; strange looking tuxedos, rice and [64] flower-throwing; and the painting and decorating of the newly-wedded couple’s car.  Their invitations were probably for the wedding; not to a party afterwards.)


The superiority which the man gained over the woman by the decree of God, “And he (the man) shall govern thee (the woman),” must have brought, as early as the first family was constituted, all the members of the family under immediate subjection to his will.  For if we consider that “Honour thy father” is a law of nature as well as of revelation, it cannot appear strange to us when we suppose that the sons–or in other words, the male children–learned from their mother and sister to subjugate their will unto their father’s even when grown up.  And thus was the patriarchal life established.  The father of a family became at once the head or monarch of the whole family, and as such he gave orders for their different occupations during the day, decided in cases of contest and dispute, and at last gave his children in matrimony; and if it happened that the object of his (the patriarch’s) choice was at a distant place, he often despatched his most trustworthy servant thither.  Thus we read in the history of the first Jewish patriarch (Genesis xxiv.), “And Abraham was old…And Abraham said unto his senior servant…Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh; and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites…But thou shalt go unto my country, and unto my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”


A similar fact to this we are told in Grant’s “Nestorian Marriages”, p. 197.  He says, “Among the Nestorians no young man thinks of making a marriage for himself.  In case the father is dead, the eldest brother takes the fathers place.  Where the intended bride lives at a distance, the matter was sometimes entrusted to some faithful servant or agent, as was done [65] by Abraham in relation to his son Isaac.  This event was remarkably illustrated by the history of a marriage that took place a short time since among the Nestorians.  Indeed, there was such a coincidence of names and circumstances, that it seemed like acting over again that most interesting part of Sacred Scripture.  The Nestorian patriarch Abraham…who was in place of a father to his younger brother, Isaac, being desirous of procuring a wife for his foster son, sent his most trusty steward to a distant part of the country to obtain one from his own people.  The servant took with him jewels and raiment for the future wife of Isaac, and presents for her near relations.  He was no less prosperous than the servant of his namesake, the ancient patriarch Abraham.  Only let the reader substitute mules for camels (which are not used in this mountainous country), and I may refer to the close of the 24th chapter of Genesis for the sequel.  The damsel was brought to the house of this modern patriarch, and Isaac took her, and she became his wife and he loved her.


We also read (Judges xxiv. 1-10), “And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath, of the daughters of the Philistines.  And he came up and told it to his father…and said…get her for me to a wife, so his father went down unto the woman.” The father of a female however, did not choose a husband for his daughter, but he gave her in marriage, when she was asked of him, and then only when the person who asked his daughter’s hand was satisfactory to his choice.  Thus we read in Gen. xxiv. which is the concluding part of the above mentioned sacred history; “And he said, I am Abraham’s servant…And my Master made me swear, saying, `Thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites…But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son…And now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master tell me; if not tell me’…Then Laban and Bethuel answered, and said…`Behold [66] Rebecca is before thee, take her and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife’.”


Yet neither the son nor the daughter appeared to have been asked by the father who gave them in marriage according to his own will.  Thus we do not find that Abraham consulted Isaac, nor Laban, Rebecca; nor do we find it anywhere else.


The marriages, also, were chosen as near as possible among their immediate kindred; for these marriages were considered the best.  Thus did Abraham send to obtain a wife for his son Isaac amongst his kindred; and thus did Isaac also send his son Jacob to his kindred to obtain a wife for himself, as we read, (Gen. xxviii. 1-2) “And Isaac called Jacob and said to him…Go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel, thy mother’s father, and take thee a wife…from the daughters of Laban, thy mother’s brother.”  Again, (Gen. xxix 18-19) “And Jacob loved Rachel, and he said I will serve thee…for Rachel…And Laban said, It is better that I shall give her thee, than that I should give her to another.”  Also, Abraham himself was married to his sister (Gen xx. 12).  And among the Boudouin Arabs, at the present day, a man has the exclusive right to the hand of his first cousin (See Burckhardt).  The reason that they did prefer marriages between kindred may be because they thought that the ties of blood cemented them closer together.


The authority, however, which the patriarch exercised in giving his children–both male and female–in marriage, was of a different nature, and issued from a different source, according to the different sex.


He disposed of his son in matrimony; for marriage, regarded as a moral institution established by the Lord for the regeneration of the human race, has ever been considered by the Jews as not permitting any other reason for the contracting [67] of it than the one whose stamp it bears, that of regenerating children under a moral institution.  But a marriage entered into for the sake of satisfying any carnal desire, or for the sake of augmenting property by a dowry from the bride, such a marriage has ever been regarded by the Jews as an immoral one, as one that receiveth not the sanction and the blessing of the Almighty God.  Thus the Talmudical sages teach, “He that marries a woman only for the sake of her dowry will at last divorce her.”  Again: “Every affection that dependeth on some sensual worldly cause, if that cause ceaseth, the affection ceaseth…Where do we meet with an affection dependent on a sensual cause?  Such was the love of Amnon to Tamar” (Ethics, also Joseph. cont. Ap. b. ii. sect. 25):  “But then what are our laws about marriage?  That law owns no other connexion of sexes but that which nature has appointed–of a man with his wife–and that this be used only for the procreation of children…It commands us also, when we marry not to have regard to portion, nor to take a woman by violence, nor to persuade her deceitfully and knavishly; but to demand her in marriage of him who has the power to dispose of her, and is fit to give her away by the nearness of his kindred.”

*         *         *         *


And now, in order that the marriage should retain its purity and its morality, that the man might not contract a marriage for himself out of any sensual cause, etc., the patriarch, as the natural guardian and superior of his child, received the authority to dispose of his son in marriage.


For the same reason it was no doubt adjusted that the female should wear a veil, so that the bridegroom may not obtain a glance at the features of his future wife till he is in full possession of her; as was also the case when Rebecca came to our patriarch Isaac:  “And Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she lighted off the camel.  For she had said unto [68] the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?  And the servant had said, It is my master.  Therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.” (Genesis xxiv. 64,65.)  This also may be the reason why Laban was able to practice a deception on our patriarch Jacob, in giving him Leah instead of Rachel as a wife (Gen. xxix. 22); for the bride was no doubt veiled at the time, so that the patriarch could not discern her features.


Yet if it happened that a son wished to choose a wife for himself, he had the power to do so, even when the marriage was contrary to the patriarch’s wishes.  Thus we read, “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite…Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebecca” (Genesis xxvi. 34, 35.)


Females, in the patriarchal period were given in marriage for certain sums; for as the services which the female rendered the patriarch were equivalent to those of a female domestic or a slave, he sustained a loss through her marriage.  The suitor gained her services by contracting that marriage, and for this he was bound to compensate the patriarch for the loss he suffered by acquiescing in the marriage, as she was his property, as already stated in the preceding chapter.  Thence the custom arose of purchasing a wife, or in other words, of paying a stipulated sum to those who had the power to give her in marriage.


The amount the suitor had to pay for his future wife was generally agreed to and ultimately settled between the respective parties in the presence of both the parents’ and the bride’s near relations, when their respective residences were near to each other, and this at the residence of the bride’s father.  But if the parties lived far from each other, either the messenger to whom the matter was confided–as was the case with Eliezer, who espoused Rebecca for Isaac (Gen.xxiv.)–or the suitor him-[69]self–as was the case when Jacob espoused Laban’s daughters for himself (Gen. xxix.)–finally settled the whole affair.


Besides the portion the suitor had to pay for his future wife, he was also bound to give presents to the bride and her near relations.  The presents to the bride were of costly female ornaments and wearing-apparel, and those to her near relations, of other precious things.  The quantity of presents was also agreed upon, as, in the preceding case, the purchase money was.  The matter was conducted in the following manner:–The suitor’s father went, in company with his son, the suitor, to the house of the bride’s father.


The father of the suitor opened the matter for investigation, and communed with the father of the bride, and with the other portion of her near kindred, upon the subject.  This done, the suitor himself came forward, and offered, in a complimentary manner, to give purchase money for the bride, and other presents.  The father of the bride, or her near relations, named the conditions and when agreed to by either party the matter was ultimately settled.  Thus we read in sacred Scripture; “And Dinah the daughter of Leah…went out to see the daughters of the Land.  And when Shechem…the prince of the country, saw her, he took her…and his soul clave unto Dinah…And Shechem spoke unto his father Hamor…saying–get me this damsel to wife…And Hamor, the father of Shechem, went out unto Jacob, to commune with him…And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.  Ask ever so much purchase-money and presents, I will give according as ye shall say unto me.  And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor…and they said unto them…But in this we will consent unto you; if ye will be as we be, that every male among you be circumcised.  Then will we give our daughter [70] unto you…And their words pleased Hamor and Shechem,” etc. (Gen. xxiv. 1-18)


But the custom of making presents to the bride and her near relations is still more fully illustrated in the history, where Eliezer espoused Rebecca for his master’s son Isaac.  There we read, “And the servant (of Abraham) brought forth ornaments of silver, and ornaments of gold, and wearing apparel, and gave them to Rebecca.  He also gave precious things to her brother and mother” (Gen xxiv. 53).  The history of Rebecca’s espousal does not relate any agreement made between Eliezer and her parents as to the purchase money and the presents.  The reason is, because the parents of Rebecca and her relations recognized the visible hand of God in the matter, and so asked none, but accepted only of that which Eliezer freely gave them.  Thus it is that Scripture says, “Then Laban and Bethuel answered…The thing proceedeth from the Lord; we cannot say unto thee bad or good.  Behold, Rebecca is before thee, take her…and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken.” (Gen. xxiv. 50, 51)


Yet if it happened that the suitor was not able to pay in value the price and presents asked by the kindred of the bride, he was obliged to make up the amount at which the bride was rated by his own servitude for a fixed period.  It must be understood that this depended upon the will of the bride’s kindred who possessed the power to dispose of her in marriage.  Thus we read, “and Jacob loved Rachel, and he said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel…And Jacob served for Rachel seven years.” (Gen. xxix 18-20)


An interval, however, was allowed between the betrothment and the marriage, in which time the bride’s relations prepared household furniture for her, and sent it to her future home.  That interval lasted generally ten days; in some cases, [71] however, a shorter or longer time, according to the agreement made between the respective parties.  Thus we read, when Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, had received the consent of Laban and Bethuel for Rebecca to become his master’s son’s wife, and when he begged to be allowed to depart with her, “And her brother and mother said, Let the damsel abide with us for some time, or for ten days.”

*         *         *         *


The interval between the espousal and the nuptials having elapsed, the marriage took place.


Marriages took place at night.  They were conducted as follows:–When the time fixed for the marriage arrived, the father of the bride prepared a great entertainment, and invited all his fellow citizens to be present at the nuptials of his daughter.  He then led her, veiled (comp. ch. iv.), in procession into the tent of the bridegroom.  This done, the bridegroom went in unto her in procession.  Thus we read, when the patriarch Jacob was married, “And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.  And it came to pass, at night, he took his daughter Leah, and he brought her unto him, and he (Jacob) came to her.”  The bringing of Leah and the coming of Jacob mentioned here, no doubt refers to the custom of the bride’s and bridegroom’s processions.

*         *         *         *

When the bridegroom lived at a distant place from the bride, and the matter was entrusted to a faithful servant–as was the case respecting Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, who was entrusted to espouse Rebecca for Isaac (comp. ch. iii.)–the feast was dispensed with (comp. Gen. xxiv.), and, instead of the bride’s procession, a parting procession took place.  Of such a parting procession mention is made in the Bible, when Jacob secretly departed from Laban, and Laban pursued and overtook him.  Laban then asked Jacob, “Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly…and didst not tell me that I might have sent [72] thee away with mirth and with songs, with tabaret and with harp?” (Gen. xxxi. 27).  Laban no doubt referred to a custom prevailing at that time.  The bridegroom’s procession, however, and possibly also a feast, took place at the bridegroom’s residence.

*         *         *         *

It behoves us, however, here to remark, that the superiority which the man possessed over the woman, amongst the ancestors of the Jewish nation, was by no means equal to that superiority which the other Eastern tribes exercised, and still exercise, over their wedded wives.  Amongst the other Eastern tribes the wife has been, and is still, regarded by her husband as no more than a slave.  Labours devolve on her which, in civilized Europe, only men perform; and she must, besides preparing the meals, toil hard all the day, whilst her husband lies stretched out on the ground, or in his apartment, comfortably enjoying his indolence (comp. Burckhardt’s “Notes on the Bedouins,” vol. i. pp. 350,351).  But no such lot befell the female of the Jewish pahs.  She had to perform no hard labour whilst in her father’s house, and when she married, her station was a still more elevated one.  She was regarded by her husband as his mate, his wife; and as such, she even exercised some authority in the house, though an inferior one to that of her husband.

*         *         *         *

The wives of the Jewish patriarchs had, however, in common with the custom of the wives of other Eastern tribes, separate tents appropriated for their habitations, and they were secluded from their husbands, and particularly from the sight of a stranger.  Thus we read, in sacred Scripture, of Leah’s tent and of Rachel’s tent (Gen. xxxi. 33).  Also, when the three angels of God took the forms of men, and visited the patriarch Abraham in Mamre, “And they [the angels] said unto him [Abraham], Where is Sarah, thy wife?  And he said, Behold, in the tent” (Gen. xviii. 9).


[73]  The occupation of the Jewish wife at that time was, as appears from Holy Writ, to prepare the food for eating.  Thus we read in the above-named history (Gen. xviii. 6), “And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.”  Also, when Rebecca persuaded Jacob to enter his fathers tent with food, in order that he might receive his father’s blessing instead of Esau, whom Isaac intended to bless after eating of the food he should prepare for him, she said, “Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats, and I will prepare them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth.”  (Gen. xxvii. 9).


The elevated condition of the women amongst our Jewish ancestors, as described in the preceding chapter, was, however, not accidental.  The Jews, who have preserved the word of God in its purity through centuries of persecution, have also retained the pure idea of marriage.  The husband, among our predecessors, was aware that the woman was the counterpart of himself, and that he, together with her, exhibited the total of human nature.  He knew that God made woman of a part of man, on purpose to indicate to him that he should cherish her as a part of himself.  He knew that the woman was given to him as a mate by God (comp. chap. i.); he therefore permitted to his wife a superior condition than did the husband of other tribes.  He knew that although God had made him superior to woman, yet it was not the Divine will that man should abuse her who was created in a form so majestic, gentle, and amiable, with feelings so innocent and pure.


The chief object of marriage was to regenerate children under a moral system; in other words, marriage was contracted for the purpose of the procreation of a man’s own self in those which come forth from his loins.  To raise children, however, was not only the chief object in marriage, but it was regarded [74] as the chief mission of man in this world; for to regenerate children was the first Divine command given to the parents of the human race:  “And God created man in his image…male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it” (Gen. i. 28).


Now, therefore, if it happened that a man died childless, it became the duty of the eldest brother of the deceased to accomplish the intention of his brother in marriage, to raise children instead of the deceased brother by his widowed wife; in other words, the brother was bound to raise seed for his deceased brother.  And thus we have another kind of marriage, the marriage of a brother with his deceased brother’s wife, when the deceased died childless.


The marriage of a brother with his deceased brothers wife took place shortly after the bereavement occurred.  Till then she wore mourning, and was under the charge and protection of her father-in-law, as the nearest kin of her deceased husband, and as head of the family; and it was he (her father-in-law) who gave her in marriage to his other son, for without his consent she could not marry him, much less any other man.


Polygamy was at that time allowed, and the Jewish patriarchs married more than one wife, and in some instances as many as four.  Thus, Abraham had two wives, Sarah and Hagar (Gen. xi. 29; xvi. 23); and Jacob had four wives, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah.  Polygamy arose in consequence of the two following reasons:


We have seen in the preceding chapter, that it was the duty of a brother to marry his deceased brother’s wife, when he died childless, in order to raise children for his deceased brother by her.  Now if it happened that the brother was al-[75]ready married to another wife, he was still bound to marry her also; for the duty of marrying his brother’s widow when left without issue knew no distinction whether the brother was married already or not, but the brother next in age to the deceased was always bound to marry his deceased brother’s wife when his brother died childless.


Again, if the brother of the deceased was not married already, he by marrying his deceased brother’s wife did not accomplish the duty which God imposed upon mankind of regenerating the human race and multiplying it (Gen. i. 28), because the children he raised by her were not his, but were his deceased brother’s (Gen. xxxviii. 9); he was therefore bound to marry another wife besides his deceased brother’s widow, in order to raise children for himself by her, and so fulfil the duty which God had imposed on all the human race, by commanding them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen i. 28).


  1. The desire of raising children was strong in the breast of both man and wife, but more so in that of the wife; for the man generally showed more affection to his wife if she bore him children; so that it appears that their whole happiness was concentrated in this.  Thus we read in sacred Scripture, “And Abraham said [to the Lord], Wherefore givest thou me riches, seeing that I go without children” (Gen. xv. 2).  We read, again, of the patriarch Isaac, that he and his wife Rebecca prayed unto the Lord for children:  “And Isaac prayed unto the Lord opposite his wife, for she was barren” (Gen. xxv. 21).  Also, Rachel, the patriarch Jacob’s wife, not having children, said to her husband, “Give me children; but if not I will rather die” (Gen. xxx. 1).  Now if it happened that a wife was barren, she gave her handmaid to her husband as a wife; and the children which the husband raised by the handmaid were counted as the children of the wife.  This mode of raising children was parallel to [76] the raising of children for a deceased brother by his widow.  Thus we read in the Bible, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bare him no children:  and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold, now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing; I pray thee go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her” (Gen. xvi. 1. 2).  Again “And Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children…And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her:  and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her” (Gen. xxx. 1-3).  Again; “When Leah saw that she had left off bearing, she took Zilpah her maid and gave her Jacob to wife.  And Zilpah, Leah’s maid, bare Jacob a son.


And Leah said a troop cometh; and she called his name Gad.  And Zilpah, Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.  And Leah said,`Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher’.” (Gen. xxx.9-13).  There is no doubt whatever that Leah named the children which Zilpah bare to Jacob, and rejoicingly said, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed,” because the children which Zilpah bare to Jacob were regarded as her own.


Now because the children of the handmaid were regarded as those of her mistress, they had also an equal right and an equal portion in the inheritance with the other children.  Thus we read when Sarah had borne Isaac to Abraham, and when Ishmael one day scorned at Isaac, she (Sarah) said to Abraham, “Cast off this bondwoman and her son for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac” (Gen. xxi. 10).  Likewise, we do not find any distinction made between the children of Jacob; and each received the last blessing from his father without difference.  Each of the children of Jacob formed also a separate tribe in Israel, and each tribe was of equal importance; and in aftertimes, when the land of [77] Canaan was divided among the children of Israel, the division of the territory was made with equal justice to each tribe–no tribe had any preference shown to it.


The handmaid, also, having become the wife of her master, became, as his wife, of some authority in the house, though her authority was always inferior to that of her mistress.

*         *         *         *

–Let every man stand in his house as the lord of that realm, and then those whom God has given him will own his power, will love him for his protection, and revere him for his justice and righteousness.  But in all cases he must first of all govern himself, never putting yokes upon others, which he is unwilling to wear himself, and thus laying the foundation in order, he will be qualified to build upon it, and if he continue his course, will, eventually, be the father of a people, who will rise up and call him blessed.  He will be enabled to stand at their head, presenting them spotless to Him, whom he has to give his account to; and thus, peace, joy, and happiness, and heaven crown his labours of love in one of the “many mansions” prepared for the faithful.  Having had a good pattern set before them, and good precepts taught them, his children will grow up and do likewise, and when the Saviour shall come, He will find a people prepared to meet him.


Young men and women should count these costs before they begin to lay the materials together to build the structure of their future happiness and that of their generations, lest they should find the obstacle of confusion and misapplication thwart their purposes, and bring down disgrace upon their heads at the very time they expect glory.


We have endeavoured, in the preceding chapters, to depict all appertaining to marriage from the time of the patri-[78]archs; and it is now for us to lay before our readers the circumstances which dissolved a marriage.


A marriage was dissolved, first, when a husband died and left children.  With the death of the husband the woman was again at liberty to marry another man.


We have no positive record in the Bible of the place of abode where the widow lived after her husband’s death, whether she stayed in her husband’s house or returned to that of her father.  From the history of Tamar, it appears that the widow returned to her father’s house; for we read in sacred Scripture, when Onan died, and Shelah was not yet of age to marry Tamar, his deceased brother’s wife, “And Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, return a widow to thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown.” (Gen. xxxviii. 11); yet this may only have been the case when a man died childless.


The second mode of dissolving a marriage was the divorce.  A divorce was connected with no ceremony; but when the husband sent his wife from his house, she was divorced, and set at liberty.


The authority for effecting a divorce, however, was possessed only by the husband, and not by the wife.  He, as her superior, in accordance with the Divine command, “And he [the man] shall govern thee [the woman]”, had the power of divorcing his wife from him–he could even force a divorce upon her–but she, as the inferior of man, could effect no divorce in any case whatever.


The husband, when divorcing his wife from him, had also the power to divorce her children with her, if he wished to do so.  The divorce of her children was effected by sending them out of the house with their divorced mother, and had the effect [79] of depriving them of the heirship of their father’s property.  Thus we read in sacred Scripture, when Sarah had borne Isaac to Abraham, and when she one day saw Ishmael–the son of Hagar, her bondwoman, whom she gave Abraham to wife, scorn at Isaac, Sarah said to Abraham, “Divorce this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  But the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight, because of his son.  And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad…in all that Sarah hath said unto thee hearken unto her voice…And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar…and her child, and sent her away.” (Gen. 21. 10-14)


The woman was subordinated to the man, because God ordained it to be so.  After the fall of the first human pair, God commanded, “And he [the man] shall govern thee [the woman].”  The daughter was under the command of her father; her services were his, and he alone had the power to dispose of her in marriage, because of the same Divine command.  And now, as God and his Divine will are unchangeable and unalterable, we cannot be surprised to find the principal statutes of the Ante-Mosaic period retained in the revelation.  “The grass dries, the flower withers, but the word of God remains forever.”


As the High God knew that the commands of this holy law would require at each period an addition or a diminution, according to place and to the change of time (which means, that man would like to form it to suit himself), he therefore admonished against those additions or diminutions, and said, “Ye shall not add nor diminish” (Deut. xii. 32).  The Talmud likewise says, (Megillah Parek, 1), “No prophet was allowed to introduce any change of law in Israel; and the forty-eight [80] prophets and seven prophetesses which were in Israel did add nothing to the revealed law.”


It behoves us, however, yet to protract our onward steps for a while, and dwell for a moment more on the custom of procession, which might appear to many of our readers a custom of not much validity.  The reason for the procession is as follows:–We have shown in the preceding chapters, that marriages were contracted by the mutual consent of either parties.  It is the consent, therefore, which, in the Mosaic dispensation, forms the principal feature in marriage; by it alone a marriage was made valid.  The marriage, though considered sacred, emanating from God, and sanctioned by God, yet it is the consent alone which makes the marriage legitimate.  All the forms of marriage could not combine man and woman in husband and wife; no, the father’s consent was to be first obtained if the female was a minor (under twelve years and one day), and if the female was of age her own consent was requisite.  The Roman law on this subject, which, in my opinion, is taken from the Hebrew one.


Marriage, in the Mosaic dispensation, does not raise the wife to the position of equality with her husband; no, she remains under it as in the ante-Mosaic period–by virtue of the Divine command, “And he [the man] shall govern thee”–the subordinate of her husband.  From the time the marriage was celebrated, in the manner described in the preceding chapter, when she became the wedded wife of her husband, as in the ante-Mosaic period, the power her father formerly possessed over her ceased, and she came under the entire charge of her husband.  This may be seen from the law that grants the husband of a married wife the sole power of allowing or disallowing her vows (Numb. xxx. 11), as also from divers other laws, which we shall relate in their proper places.


[81] For the same reason of non-equality, polygamy was allowed to the husband, but not to the wife.  A woman could not at one and the same time belong to two husbands, this being an act of adultery, which the law punishes with death, both in the woman and the man.


Likewise from the same cause of non-equality, the woman enjoys not the position of her husband, she, as his inferior, can claim indulgences, not according to the station of her husband, but according to her own station when entering marriage life.  Thus the law ordains that a female who enters conjugal life without domestics–having no bondwoman to her retinue–must fulfil all the household duties herself; she must grind upon the handmill, wash, bake, cook, nurse the children, make the bed, and work in wool; but if she brings with her a domestic retinue of bondwomen, her occupations are lessened; if she brings to her husband’s house one bondwoman, she is freed from the first three duties; if she brings two bondwomen, she is also freed from the following two duties–preparing the food and nursing the children; and if she brings three bond-women with her, she is freed from all duties, except from working in wool, that she might not lead an idle life, for idleness leads to vice (Talmud treatise Kethuboth, 59; Maimonides, Jad Hachazakah Hilchoth Ishoth, p. 21; Eben Haezer, Sim. 80, s. 6, 20).


In compensation for the duties the wife was obliged to fulfil towards her husband, the husband was bound to maintain his wife (a duty from which the father of a female child was free), to ransom her if she was taken prisoner, and, if she died, to bury her decently.  The poorest man in Israel was obliged to get for the burial of his wife two mourning performers, and two mourning women (Treatise Kethuboth, 46; Eben Haezer, 177; Choshen Hamishpat, Sim. 424).


[82]  The woman, in the Mosaic dispensation, could possess nothing of her own; everything belonging to her was her husband’s, and he could deal with it according to his own free will; he could sell it or do anything he chose to do with it, without obtaining her consent.  Yet, if property had been willed to her exclusively, over this property the husband had no power, and he could not sell it, etc. without obtaining her special consent; the same if she was in her father’s house, her father had likewise no power over it.  But again, as the husband was bound to maintain his wife, while the father was not obliged to maintain his female children, the husband had a right to the enjoyment of the income of such property, but not the father.  And as the husband had a claim to the income of that property, it is understood from itself that the wife likewise could not sell away that property from her husband without his consent (Kethuboth, Eben Haezer Choshen Hamishpat, ibid).  The reciprocal duties of man and wife commence from the time they become the wedded wife and husband, viz., after all the ceremonies of marriage had taken place, but not before, though they were already considered man and wife from the time of the espousal.


Before concluding this chapter, we must, however, remark, that although the law of Moses gives the man a great superiority over his wife, yet the Divine lawgiver, on the other side, expressly informs us, that whatever advantage, real or apparent, God granted to man, the man must not abuse that privilege by oppressing his wife.  The expression made use of in the Bible–“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. ii. 24), clearly shows us that the will of providence is, that the conjugal relation and affection shall be in the highest degree, even far beyond what we give to our parents; they shall be as if they were one person, one soul, and one body.  And if God has given to man more strength and power than to [83] woman, it was given to him in order that he might be the better able to support and protect his beloved wife.  If God has endowed man with more vigorous thoughts than woman, it was His design, that man might be her instructor and guide, but not her taskmaster and lord.  In love, in mutual love, affection, beneficence, forbearance, and forgiveness, it is the will of God that man and wife shall live together.  The employments which the law imposes on woman are not so many abuses inflicted on her, though many of our readers, who consider domestic labour a disgrace for woman, might think so; but they are so many necessities for mutual happiness.  Whilst the man is engaged in the cares of the outward world, the woman is busy at home in the household affairs, and does everything there herself.  O, how happy would society be if we had fewer LADIES and more HOUSEWIVES!  Many a family would be saved from ruin, and many a man’s face that is stamped with sorrow would brighten again.  Yes, the Divine law given through Moses, does not consider woman a degraded being; but as Scripture in another place expresses, “A good wife is a crown, an honour, and cause of wealth and power to her husband” (Prov. xxii. 4).  On this sublime subject the learned Dr. Taylor truly says, “The first blessing God gave to man was society, and that society was a marriage, and that marriage was consecrated by God Himself, and hallowed by a blessing.



[84]                              Chapter 3





(This extract is from a book called The Compendium, which was published in 1886 by Apostle Franklin D. Richards and Elder James A. Little.  It was published in a very small book so that missionaries could carry it for reference material.)




Marriage is ordained of God unto man, that the earth might answer the end of its creation, and “Be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made;” (D & C 49:15-17).


Outside of marriage the salvation of man would be incomplete:  “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord;” (I Cor. II. II).  All the works of God receive the impress of eternity:  “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever:  nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it;”  (Eccl. 3. 14).


When the Creator joined Adam and Eve together, as the progenitors of the human race, we do not learn that he set any limit to the continuance of their marriage relations.  We have [85] no reason to doubt that the gift of Eve, to Adam, was designed to be as eternal as himself.


Man, in his fulness, is a twofold organization, male and female.  Either being incapable of filling the measure of their creation alone, it requires the union of the two to complete man in the image of God, for, in Genesis I. 27, it expressly says that he was created male and female in the image of God.  Therefore, without the proper union of the sexes, man would be less than what God created him.


There is a comprehensive significance in, “The Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone;” (Gen. 2. 18).  It speaks of no particular period of man’s life, and has no limit in its application.  The entire narrative of the union of Adam and Eve, in the second chapter of Genesis, intimates the designed inseparable relationship between man and wife in marriage as ordained of God.


Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;” (Gen. 2. 23).  He evidently well understood this eternal relationship with Eve, when he answered the Lord’s question, “Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” and he replied, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat;”  (Gen. 3. 11, 12).


Here Adam tells the Lord, by way of apology, that in order to keep his commandment, that he and the woman should remain together, he was compelled to partake of the forbidden fruit after her.  This is evidently the view the apostle Paul took of the subject:  “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression;” (I Tim. 2.14).


[86]  This inseparable connection between man and wife, in marriage as ordained of God, is further exemplified by the same apostle in Eph. 5:22-23:  That is, as Christ is eternally the head of the church, so is the husband eternally the head of the wife.  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church…so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh…Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself.”


The principle of inseparable connection is fully expressed in Adam’s answer to the Lord as rendered in the writings of Moses, translated by Joseph, the Seer.  “The woman whom thou gavest me, and commanded that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat;” (Pearl of Great Price, page 8).


We further read, on page 13, “In the day that God created man (in the likeness of God made he him), in the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam.”  Here we are informed that it required the male and female, united, to make one image of God his father.  We also find by referring again to Gen. I. 27, that it required the male and female to make an image of God.


The Lord has ever manifested a great interest in the marriage relations of his chosen people and Priesthood, and has protected the sexual relations by stringent laws and regulations.  The importance of marrying in the same lineage, as themselves, appears to have been well understood by the patriarchs.  For this reason, doubtless, Abraham married a near relation, and sent his servant, Eliezer, to his kindred to obtain a wife for his son, and heir, Isaac (Gen. 20. 12., Chap. 24).


[87]  Isaac also commanded Jacob to go to Padanaram, and take one of his cousins to wife (Gen. 28. 1-6).  Twice the Lord interfered, in a miraculous manner, to prevent the wife of Abraham from being defiled (Gen. 12. 17-20, Chap. 20. 2, 3).  Evidently for the reason that she was the foreordained covenant wife of Abraham, and destined mother of the Lord’s chosen people.  Israel was forbidden to marry with the Canaanites (Deut. 7. 3).


The Lord gave special commandments regarding the marriage of priests and their families.  A priest’s daughter that profaned herself was to be burned with fire (Lev. 21. 9).  The High Priest was required to take a virgin of his own people to wife (verse 14).  The sons of Aaron were commanded not to take a wife that was a whore, or profane, or a woman put away from her husband (verse 7).


“If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die” (Deut. 22. 22.).  If a man lay with a virgin, in the city, that was betrothed to an husband, they were both stoned to death (verses 23, 24).  If a man lay with a virgin not betrothed, and thereby humbled her, he was required to pay her father fifty shekels of silver, and take her to wife, without the possibility of divorcing her (verse 28, 29).


The eighteenth chapter of Leviticus is chiefly occupied with forbidding the unlawful indulgence of the passions.  The Nephite prophet, Alma, told his son that harlotry was “most abominable above all sins, save it be the shedding of innocent blood;” (Alma 39, 5).  Jesus told his Nephite disciples “It is better that ye should deny yourselves these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell;” (3 Nephi 12. 30).


[88]  In D. & C., the passages are numerous in which adultery is forbidden.  The Lord has given much instruction to the Latter-day Saints concerning the intercourse of the sexes.  They are required to keep themselves strictly within their marriage covenants.


From the sacred writings, it would appear that in all dispensations of the Priesthood, the laws regulating this matter have been substantially the same, and have been calculated to strictly guard the issues of life; that all those who would keep them might be “perfect in their generations”.


If, on the one hand, what the Lord does is eternal, because he is an eternal and infinite being, then what man does of himself, he being finite, must be limited to this life.  Therefore, it is necessary that man and wife, to be eternally united, should be married in the way God has appointed, and by a man whom he has authorized to act in his stead.


It would not be consistent with the character of God, as the spiritual and natural father of mankind, to have no law regulating the marriages of his children, that they might be crowned with the blessings of eternal life and increase.


The Lord brought Abraham forth abroad, “And said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them:  and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Gen. 15. 5).  This was a promise of infinite and eternal increase.  If we could count the stars, and grasp infinitude, we might comprehend the result of the promise.


We find that the Lord confirmed blessings to Abraham, and to his seed, by recorded ordinance and covenant.  For this reason it is not probable that a blessing of such magnitude, as the sealing upon man and wife the power of eternal increase, is [89] an exception.  Abraham, in his own record, translated by Joseph the Seer, says, “I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same.”  One of these blessings was, “To be a father of many nations, a prince of peace” (Pearl of Great Price, page 26).


Abraham understood that this right could only be bestowed by ordination, by one of the fathers who had received it from the fathers in regular descent from Adam.  He states that this right was conferred upon him from the fathers, according to his desire.  That this right included the authority to regulate the marriage relations, in the future generations of his children, is evident from the further statement, “I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.”  That is, he sought for that especial authority in the Priesthood, through which he had obtained the power of eternal increase.


The priest’s office was bestowed upon Aaron and his posterity forever, by ordinance and covenant (Exodus 40. 15).  Could this have been the case unless his posterity was made an eternal heritage through the everlasting covenant of marriage?  This power of uniting husband and wife by an everlasting covenant of marriage, and by that ordinance giving them an eternal right over their posterity, descended from Abraham through the fathers until Israel, by transgression, forfeited the blessing.


From the sharpness with which the prophet Nathan reproved David, and the statement that the Lord had given him the wives of his master Saul (2 Sam. 12. 1-12), it is probable that the prophet held this authority.


[90]  The great sin of David, apart from the murder of Uriah, was that he had taken from another man that which the Lord had given him, and stepped outside of his own covenant limits.


Whether the prophet Malachi held the keys of this power or not, he evidently saw in prophetic vision, that it would be taken from the earth, and be restored again, that the broken links of past generations might be welded together.  For the Lord said, through him, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse;” (4. 5, 6).  Or as it is rendered in Pearl of Great Price, page 50, “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children, the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”


Evidently a very important part of these promises was, that the children would open up the way of salvation to the fathers, through the ordinances of the Gospel, and through them the broken links of past generations would be connected.


Centuries of darkness passed away in which we hear nothing of the order of the Holy Priesthood, or of any saving ordinances for the dead, when an obscure man, Joseph Smith, Jun., appeared in the United States of America, and claimed that to him was committed the authority to open up the Dispensation of the fulness of times, in which all the keys and power of the holy Priesthood should be restored to the earth.


He professed to be a fulfiller of prophecy, and numerous facts, which have become a part of history, prove him to be what he professed.  He asserts that in the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, Elias appeared and committed the dispensation of the [91] “Gospel of Abraham,” “Saying, that in us, and our seed, all generations after us should be blest.”  In this we see the needed preparatory work for sealing, upon men the power of eternal lives, through the everlasting covenant of marriage, through which Abraham sought to be a father of many nations.


Then at the same place appeared Elijah, and said, “Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi, testifying that he (Elijah) should be sent before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come, To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse.  Therefore the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands;” (D. & C. 110. 11-16).  Thus we see that the way has been opened for the complete reunion and salvation of all the generations or men, through the keys of the Holy Priesthood which have been bestowed upon Joseph Smith, Jun.  This is the designed glorious culmination of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage–the eternal union of the generations of the righteous in bonds never to be broken.


In D. & C. sec. 128, Joseph, the Seer, gives instructions for restoring the past; in sec. 132, he tells the world how future generations may come forth in unbroken succession, each succeeding intelligence, the heritage of its fathers, worlds without end.




Plural marriage is a very ancient institution.  Although generally ignored by peoples professing modern Christianity, it is still customary among a large portion of the family of man.  Many customs of modern Europe and America are modeled after those of pagan Greece and Rome, instead of after the [92] primitive patriarchs, or after the examples recorded in the history of ancient Israel.


While these ancient nations were monogamists, the limits of intercourse between the sexes, especially on the part of men, were very indefinite.  This phase of society is quite characteristic of the modern nations of Europe and America.  While the Christian sects of today profess some respect for the patriarchs of Israel, they practically condemn their family relations as corrupt and immoral.


If plural marriage be unlawful, then is the whole plan of salvation, through the house of Israel, a failure, and the entire fabric of Christianity without foundation.


God said to Abraham, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  And Abram fell on his face:  and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations;” (Gen. 17. 1-4).


Here we are informed that God talked with Abraham, told him to be perfect, bestowed upon him the blessings of a numerous posterity, and, as a sequence, future power and glory.  If polygamy was contrary to his law, it is remarkable that God should have condescended to talk with and greatly bless a man who had, but a short time before, taken a second wife, while the first was living; a fact of which we are informed in the second and third verses of the previous chapter.  If this was criminal, Sarai, the mother of all Israel, was involved in the transgression, for she gave Hagar to her husband for a wife (Gen. 16. 3).


[93]  The Lord told Joseph, the Seer, that he commanded, “And Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife;” (D. & C. 132. 34).  This is also the testimony of Josephus, the Jewish historian (Ant. B. I. C. 10).


When Hagar was in distress, on account of difficulty with her mistress, the Lord did not treat her as a profane, cast off woman, but sent an angel to counsel and comfort her, by assuring her that her posterity should not be numbered for multitude (Gen. 16. 8-10).


The Lord further promised to bless Ishmael, the fruit of this polygamic marriage, and said, “I will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget and I will make him a great nation” (17. 20).


We find that this great and good man, Abraham, whom the Lord especially favored, had concubines:  for “Unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son;” (25. 6).


Jacob, the grandson and heir to all the blessings of Abraham, was a polygamist.  He served seven years for Rachel the daughter of Laban, but being deceived, and Leah given him instead, he served other seven years for Rachel.  Each of these wives had a handmaid, which they gave to their husband for wives (Gen. 29. 18-35, Chap. 30. 3-12).


Moses was conversant with the Lord, and was the great lawgiver of Israel; in his laws especial provision was made for polygamous children (Deut. 21. 15-17).  In them polygamy is not mentioned as one of the crimes for which penalties were provided.


[94]  Elkanah was a polygamist, yet his son, Samuel, was a great prophet, and judge in Israel.  He was born, and lived under the special favor of God.


David, king of Israel, was the chosen of the Lord (I Sam. 16. 12, 13).  He took Abigail and Ahinoam, “And they were also both of them his wives” (I Sam. 25. 42, 43).  He “Took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem” (2 Sam 5. 13).


We are further informed, that “David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (I Kings 15. 5).  In this passage we have an assurance that David did right in taking all his wives and concubines, except in one instance, for which he was severely chastised.  When Nathan, the prophet, reproved him for this sin, he said to him, in the name of the Lord, “I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom;” (2 Sam. 12. 8).


After having repented and suffered for his sin, Bathsheba was given him for a wife, and she bare Solomon (verse 24).  The Lord appeared to this son of a plural wife in a dream, and bestowed upon him great blessings (I Kings 3).  God gave him “Wisdom and understanding exceeding much” (I Kings 4. 29).  He was not reproved for plural marriage but for marrying strange wives, who led him into idolatry and wickedness (I Kings II).  Many chief men in Israel, to whom the Lord manifested his favor, were polygamists.


The following is sometimes quoted as an argument against plural marriage:  “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh” (Mark 10. 7, 8).  But “Know ye not that he which [95] is joined to a harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” ( I Cor. 6. 16), shows that it has no connection with the subject.


“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (I Tim. 3. 2), and, “let deacons be the husbands of one wife” (verse 12), are supposed by some to limit officers in the church, and by inference all men, to one wife.  But when the passages are taken in connection with the context, which is an enumeration of several qualifications necessary for bishops and deacons, there is but one reasonable construction–that these officers of the church should be married men.


The Latter-day Saints believe that all men should marry (D. & C. 49. 15-17).  The Lord is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity” (Hab. I. 13); and says, that “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation” (Deut. 23. 2).  Yet the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel were the sons of four wives of Jacob (Gen. 35. 22-26).


Joseph, the first son of Rachel, the second wife of Jacob, received especial blessings (Gen. 49. 22-26).  The Lord called to Samuel, the son of a polygamous father (I Sam. 3. 4-14).  Solomon was the son of a polygamist, yet he was a child of promise (I Chron. 22. 9, 10).  Jesus Christ was descended from David through Solomon the son of her who had been the wife of Uriah (Matt. I. 1-17).


The Lord said to Isaiah, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins” (58. 1).  This commission was to be faithfully executed (Ezek. 3. 18).  Polygamy was common in the Jewish nation, yet none of the prophets reproved them for it; but they [96] were sharply reproved for adultery, whoredom, fornications, and other sins (Ver. 5. 7, 8, 23; Ezek. 22., Chap. 23. 36-44).


History evidences that plurality of wives was generally customary among the nations of Asia, yet it is not condemned in any of the epistles of the apostles, nor does John the Revelator mention it in the letters he was commanded to write to the seven churches of Asia.


Paul mentions nearly every crime, in I Cor. 6. 9, 10, but, says nothing about plurality of wives.  Every species of commerce between the sexes, outside of marriage, is often mentioned in the scriptures as crime, but plural marriage is never, except on the part of the woman, who is forbidden to marry another man during the lifetime of her husband (Rom. 7. 3).


Had plurality of wives been sinful in man, the inference is reasonable that it would have been equally condemned.  Although plural marriage was customary in the days of the patriarchs, some assert that it was done away in Christ.  This would seem very inconsistent when he himself was of a polygamous lineage.  He was born and filled his earthly mission among a polygamous people, yet, he never reproved them for their plural marriages.  There is nothing in the inspired writings to infer that he reproved or did away with either polygamy or monogamy.  The following is from the Book of Mormon on this subject:  The Lord, through dreams and visions and the ministry of angels, directed a Jewish prophet by the name of Lehi, to leave Jerusalem, 600 years B. C., with his family and others, for the purpose of colonizing America.


It was then a dark period in the history of Israel as is evident from the Bible history of the times, and from the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon.


[97]  The brilliant reign of Solomon had deeply planted in Israel the sins of idolatry and sexual wickedness.  His reign was the pride of Israel, and its effects were deep and lasting.  It hastened the destruction of the ten tribes, as a people, some one hundred and twenty years before the exodus of Lehi, and at that time was about to culminate in the destruction of Jerusalem and in the Babylonish captivity.


With all his wisdom, Solomon had disobeyed two very important commandments, one especially to the kings of Israel:  “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away;” (Deut. 17. 17).  The other was to all Israel, that they should not marry into the idolatrous nations around them:  “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son;” (Deut. 7. 3., Ezra, Chapters 9. 10).


Through disobedience to these injunctions, his heart had turned away from the Lord, and he had been led into idolatry and wickedness.  At his death he not only left the influence of his personal example, but, also, a numerous family who, from their great wealth and high social position, must have exercised a powerful and lasting influence for evil, which, with other causes, resulted, in less than three hundred years, in the scattering of the ten tribes among the nations of Asia, and the occupation of their country by strangers, and in less than four hundred years, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and in the Babylonish captivity.


The sexual wickedness which had become prevalent in Israel, and the consequent abuse of the marriage relations, was, evidently, the reason why the Lord commanded that the children of Lehi should have but one wife, for he said to the Nephites, through his prophet Jacob, “This people begin to [98] wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures; for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son;” (2. 23).


That is, they excused themselves with the example of these kings for breaking the special command of God to them, that they should have but one wife, and like those eminent persons, ran into excess and wickedness, as their fathers had done before them.


To neutralize the evil effects of the bad example of their fathers was evidently the reason why the Lord commanded the Nephites, “For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;” (verse 27).  Plural marriage would have been whoredom to the Nephites, because the Lord had forbidden it.


That the prophet Jacob foresaw, prophetically, that at some future period this restriction would be taken off is evident from verse 30, “For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”  That is, they were required to limit themselves to one wife, until the Lord should order it otherwise, and by implication, when he instructed them to take more than one wife, it would be justifiable.


In the thirty-first verse the Lord gives a reason for forbidding plural marriage among the Nephites, “For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and hear the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem; yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.”


[99]  These teachings of the prophet Jacob cannot be presumed, even by opposers of plural marriage, to do away with the tenor of the Jewish Scriptures, for we are informed in 2 Nephi 3. 12, that the record of the Jews and of the Nephites, should grow together unto the confounding of false doctrine in the latter-days.


The prophet Jacob could not have intended to condemn a principle on which is based the legitimacy of our Savior, of prophets and patriarchs, and indeed of the whole house of Israel.  The words “multiply,” and “greatly,” in Deut. 17. 17, evidently imply excess and unreasonable indulgence, as in the case of David and Uriah, and in taking strange women, as in the case of Solomon.


The absurdity of the argument that these passages imply that a man should have but one wife, is evident from the previous verse, that the kings of Israel should “not multiply horses to themselves.”  No one would be so unreasonable as to suppose that the Lord designed to limit the kings of Israel to one horse.


The Lord gave Joseph Smith a very important revelation on this subject.  It is contained in Sec. 132, D. & C.  It is entitled a “Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, Including Plurality of Wives.”


It commences by stating that the prophet Joseph Smith, Jun., inquired of the Lord how it was that his servants anciently were justified in having many wives and concubines.  The Lord did not answer his question at once, but tells him, in the third verse, to prepare his heart to receive and obey the instructions he was about to give him.


[100] In the fourth verse the Lord said to him, “I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant.”  We find the general principle involved in that covenant, directly stated in the seventh, thirteenth and fourteenth verses:


“And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these:–All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made, and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power, (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred,) are of no efficacy, virtue or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead…And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God; for whatsoever things remain, are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me, shall be shaken and destroyed.”  We find a direct application of this law to the marriage relations in verses 15 and 19:  “If a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world…And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed [101] unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the keys of this Priesthood; and it shall be said unto them, ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths–then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.”


The above quotations evidence, that only those who comply with the law will continue in the marriage relation after death; consequently only those who comply with the law can expect a continuation of posterity in the world to come, and the consequent glory and power pertaining to that condition. The law of the Lord is very plain on this subject.  Who can question his right to dictate the marriages of his sons and daughters, that they and their generations may be fitted for his presence?


In verse 29, the Lord begins to answer the question in the first verse:  “Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment.”  “God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife” (verse 34).  That is, God commanded Abraham to receive Hagar and commanded his already covenant wife to give her handmaid to him.  “And why did she do it?  Because this was the law.”  The [102] reason why Abraham was not under condemnation, is very forcibly expressed in the latter part of verse 35:  “For I, the Lord, commanded it.”  In verses 36-39, the principle is well elucidated, that, in nothing did the ancients sin except in things which they received not of God.


In verse 40, the Lord says to Joseph, the Seer:  “I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things.”  And from the tenor of the Revelation, “all things” must include plurality of wives and the eternity of the marriage covenant.


This subject may be readily summed up as follows:  If a man has a wife in the world to come, she will be a gift from the Lord, through the covenants he has ordained, and that man is justifiable in receiving all the wives the Lord sees fit to give him, through the authority he has appointed on the earth.


Many elders of the Latter-day Saints have been commanded, as was Abraham, to enter into plural marriage, and disobedience becomes transgression.  Hence it involves a religious principle, and becomes a matter of conscience.  “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else;” (D. & C. 42. 22), is sometimes referred to as an argument against plural marriage.


If it would admit of this construction, it would not be valid as an argument, from the fact, that the revelation of which it forms a part was given previous to that on the plurality and eternity of the marriage relations, and consequently, before the church was prepared to receive such a revelation.  It evidently admits of the construction, that a man may have more than one wife, and yet cleave to none but his wife.  That is, it forbids all sexual commerce outside of the marriage covenant.




A concubine in scripture signifies a wife of the second rank, who was inferior to the matron, or mistress of the house.


The chief wives differed from the concubines in that they were taken into covenant with their husband by solemn stipulation, and with consent and rejoicing of friends.


They brought with them dowries to their husbands.  They had the government of their families under and with their husbands.  The inheritance belonged to the children brought forth by them.


Though the children of the concubines did not inherit their father’s estate, yet the father in his life time provided for them, and made presents to them.


(A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel, pp. 118-137)



[104]                             Chapter 4



or The Doctrines of The Millennium


(This work was printed in Nauvoo in 1842 by Udney Hay Jacob, who wrote:  “The author of this work is not a Mormon, although it is printed by their press.”  It has also been called, “The Little Known Discourse” and some have attempted to connect it in some way or another to Joseph Smith.  The title page of Jacob’s work is as follows:)









Being a Treatise on Religion and Jurisprudence

Or a New System of Religion and Politics



For God, my Country, and my Rights

By Udney Hay Jacob

An Israelite, and a Shepherd of Israel


Nauvoo, Illinois

  1. Smith, Printer



[105] (The transcript of Jacob’s pamphlet which follows is made from one of two known copies.  One copy came into the hands of Mr. Everett D. Graff, 20 Fox Lane, Winnetka, Illinois, which was sold at the Auebach sale in New York in October, 1947 for $200.00.  On the cover-title of that copy is written:  “George Laub his Book Baught Nauvoo illinoise.”  At the bottom is written:  “George Laub’s Property 1842”.  The other copy is in the Church Historian’s office, Salt Lake City, Utah.

After the publication and distribution of this work, Joseph Smith’s denunciation of it was printed saying:


“There was a book printed at my office, a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacob, on marriage, without my knowledge; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish to have my name associated with the authors, in such an unmeaning rigamarole of nonsense, folly, and trash.”

Joseph Smith


Mention of it was also made in the Mormon publication–“The Wasp”.

The Peacemaker was written as early as March 19, 1840, when Jacob sent a letter to the President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, saying that he had written an article which would save the United States and also reelect Van Buren.  He said:


“And I now offer to place this almighty power for the time being at your disposal; merely by a publication of the book alluded to.”  (Illinois State Historical Society Library, Springfield, Illinois)


[106] Udney (sometimes called Sidney) joined the Church a year after publication of the Peacemaker.  His son, Norton Jacob, wrote in his journal on November 1, 1845, the following:

“My father Udney H. Jacob came to my house from Pilot Grove (Ill) and in the evening he said he now fully believed this work, viz Mormonism, to be true.  Indeed he now knew it to be the work of God fortold by the prophets, but when he was baptised two years ago he did not know it to be true.”  (Life of Norton Jacob p-20, Utah Hist. Society)


Udney came west with the Pioneers and was a carpenter by trade.  Little more was ever learned about Udney Jacob.  One of the last mentions of him was made by his son Norton during the great Exodus from Nauvoo.  He mentioned that he was “leaving father Udney, *** in father Heber’s (C. Kimball) camp.”  Nothing more was written by Jacob, nor written about his “Peacemaker” publication.


Udney Hay Jacob was born in 1781 and had nine children, one of whom was Norton, the eldest, born in 1804.  Norton was converted to Mormonism in Laharp, Illinois, and baptized March 15, 1841.  Udney was a religionist and wrote several works which he wanted to have published.  One was his “Peacemaker”, which he brought to Nauvoo to be printed because he said, “It was the most convenient.  But the public will soon find out what he is, by his work.”


Warren and Amanda Smith wrote an account in their biography of a publication called the “Little Known Discourse of Joseph Smith” which was not a discourse, but written in the form of a reference work.  Actually the “Little Known Discourse” is a portion of chapter 18 of Jacob’s Peacemaker.  The beginning of it reads “Nauvoo, Illinois — J. Smith Printer.”  [107] This reference makes the assumption then, that it was Joseph Smith’s work rather than the real author, Udney Jacob.  This has caused much confusion over the real authenticity of that publication.


In a letter written by Jacob to Honorable Brigham Young, dated 5, 1851, he wrote:

“I cannot imagine why you suspected me unless it was that I wrote a pamphlet some years since entitled the Peacemaker–you have certainly a wrong idea of that matter.  I was not then a member of this Church, and that pamphlet was not written for this people; but for the citizens of the United States who professed to believe the Bible.”  (LDS Church Historians Library)


In 1840, Jacob was not familiar with the Mormons enough to understand their doctrines and in his letter to the President of the United States he thought they were a “deluded and dangerous set of fanatics”.  Then later, he “knew” they were right and joined the Church.


It is interesting to note that many of Jacob’s ideas were his own interpretation of Bible marriage, which has not been considered as correct, but many others were later to be taught in the Church.  Jacob was not a member of the Church when he acquired his understanding of that material from the Bible, but it is remarkable that he was so accurate and so positive in his deductions of those doctrines.  They lean more closely to Mormonism than any of the Protestant or Catholic teachings.


After the inclusion of the Peacemaker in this section, there follows a sermon by Brigham Young which dovetails with many of the principles mentioned by Jacob in his Peacemaker.

[108] And apostate from the Church by the name of Paul Harrison was trying to expose Mormonism in Manchester during the 1850’s.  One of the things he was using to discredit the Church was the publication, “The Peacemaker”.  He was assisted by two women who assisted his campaign.


An Elder by the name of Eli Kelsey noted Harrison and his campaign and wrote a letter to Apostle Orson Pratt detailing his observations.  He wrote:

“He is accompanied by two women, one of whom, I suppose, is his wife, while the other holds the station of female friend.  Whilst he is lecturing, one of them stands at the door to receive the pennies, and the other is engaged in hawking pamphlets, purporting to contain copious extracts from a work entitle the PEACEMAKER, which he says was written and published by Joseph Smith, in Nauvoo, sometime in 1842, in proof of which he exhibits an original copy, with Mr. Smith’s name attached as printer.”


Elder Kelsey knew much about the history of the Peacemaker and included the following information of which he was familiar.

“Sometime previous to the year 1842, Mr. Smith established a printing office in the city of Nauvoo, for the purpose of printing the various publications of the church, and executing job work for the convenience of the public.  He placed a foreman over it to take charge of the printing department, and although the business was done in his name, it was frequently the case that he was not inside the office once in a month.  A Mr. Udney H. Jacobs, not a member of the church, who lived a short distance from Nauvoo, came to the office and wished the foreman to print several hundred copies of a work, entitled the Peacemaker, written by himself.  The foreman did so, and of [109] course attached Mr. Smith’s name as printer, who was entirely ignorant of the matter until he saw the work in print, with his name attached.  Feeling indignant that his name should be associated, even in the character of printer, with the author of such a work, he immediately published an article in the Times and Seasons, vol. 4 page 32, dated December 1, 1842, expressive of his feeling, that there might be no misunderstanding of the matter in the mind of any person whatever.  A copy of which I subjoin.


“There was a book printed at my office a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacobs, on marriage; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish my name associated with the author’s in such an unmeaning rigamarole of nonsense, folly and trash.”


Taking it for granted that enough has been written upon this subject, I close by subscribing myself, your brother in the gospel of peace,

Eli B. Kelsey”

(Millennial Star, March 15, 1850, Vol. 12:92-93)


Four months later, on July 29th, 1850, President of the Mission, Orson Pratt, received a letter from Paul Harrison.  He was begging for “application for re-admission” into the church.  Pratt was willing to offer him another chance providing the branch that had excommunicated him would make that reconsideration.  Harrison said that he “would rather sweep Zion’s streets than reign in BabylonÕs palaces.”  (See Mill. Star, 12:230-3)


Although Harrison lamented his past and expressed the sorrow for his sins, he never mentioned the PEACEMAKER.  [110] Indeed very little has ever been mentioned by any of the Elders after the announcement of plural marriage, which would have been an appropriate time to refer to its contents, if not its interesting history.


However, it was brought up many years later in a book called “Confessions of John D. Lee”.  It was Lee and a few others who took the idea that Joseph Smith had something to do with this publication…either directly or indirectly.  They did not assume it from the title page of Joseph Smith as printer, but rather that he had helped instigate it with Jacob.  Lee stated:


“During the winter Joseph, the Prophet, set a man by the name of Sidney Hay Jacobs, to select from the Old Bible such scriptures as pertained to polygamy, or celestial marriage, and to write it in pamphlet form, and to advocate that doctrine.  This he did as a feeler among the people to pave the way for celestial marriage…Joseph saw that it would break up the church should he sanction it, so he denounced the pamphlet through the Wasp (Times & Seasons, See Vol. 4 page 32), a newspaper published at Nauvoo by F. Robinson, as a bundle of nonsense and trash.”

Confessions of John D. Lee

1877 edition, p-146


However, Jacob never even hinted at that in anything he ever wrote about it.

The Jacob pamphlet was published in Nauvoo, just at the time when plural marriage was first being introduced there in secret.  Part of the contents of this pamphlet concerned plural marriage, which was ironically either just at the right time or the wrong time.  Although Joseph Smith was practicing plural [111] marriage, he had to publicly denounce it–little wonder that he had to denounce the doctrine in this pamphlet as well.  Because of the strange manner in which this pamphlet came about, and how some of its extracts have been used, it should be a matter of record in the history of marriage among the Mormons.)


Now, from The Peacemaker………





“Yet once again I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word yet once again signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made; that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”  (Heb. 12:26, 27, Hag. 2:6,7)


I now enter upon an important matter which I would gladly have omitted; did not the restitution of the law of God require that we should clearly understand it.  If we were doomed of necessity to continue involved in sin, it could not be a reproach; whatever else the consequences might be.  But sin is a reproach to any people.  A reproach to our understanding.  Yet we practice it.  This proves that an astonishing frailty, exists in our minds.  But our sin is not the cause of this frailty, for it is manifest that this frailty is the cause of our sin.  Whence then arises this frailty, or imbecility of mind?  I answer, that I have applied myself to seek and search out wisdom; and the reason of things:  and to know the cause of madness and foolishness.  And I find that more bitter than death is the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are bonds (Solomon).  And thus are we involved in Adam’s chains, and all the penalties and pains, of slavery’s growth.  But what should we understand by Adam’s chains?  Answer, [112] Adam was enslaved by the woman, not by the serpent in the first instance, as we are taught by the word; Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.  She gave unto man and he did eat.  Therefore said Paul, I suffer not a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in subjection.  Her law and government over a man, we are thus taught by the Holy Spirit, is an usurpation of power.  But Adam was enslaved by the woman, and so are we.  It is the nature of an unnatural and unlawful bondage to degrade the mind, bred and born and involved therein.  Hence we have lost the original dignity, nobleness, and excellency of the masculine mind; and have, as it respects the sex of our minds become effeminate.  That such is the character of our mind, is evident from the fact that we are constantly deceived by the devil like Eve of old.  It would have been impossible that the Christian nations, with the Bible in their hands, could have remained to this day servants of servants, and slaves to sin, continually deceiving and being deceived, even by the devil, like Eve of old; had they not been possessed of the effeminate mind like Eve.  We are placed by our laws under the law of the woman.  The word of God, saith, for the wife is bound by the law, as long as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will (take notice not to “marry” but to “be married” to whom she will), only in the Lord (I Cor. 7:39).  This text shows what is meant by her being under the law of her husband; that is, she is not at liberty to be married to another, while she has a lawful husband yet living.  And if a man is bound to his wife in the same manner, then is he under her the law of his wife.  Again: Rom. 7. 2.  For a woman that hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband, as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  But in no place in the holy book do we read that a man is bound by the law of his wife, as long as his wife liveth.  Such an idea and law would be, and is subversive of all righteous government; and it [113] disorganizes the whole system of truth.  A man cannot be lawfully placed under the law of his wife, for he is the head.  The seat of the mind by which beings are governed is in the head.  The government of the wife is therefore placed in the husband by law of God; for he is the head.  I suffer not a woman, saith the Lord, to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in subjection.  How then can a man be righteously placed under the law of a woman.  The word of God here expressly declares that such authority is an usurpation of power.  Neither can the woman herself, nor the human family prosper, when the woman takes a station for which she was not created.  For Adam was first formed, then Eve, the man is therefore nearer the fountain than the woman; as Christ is before the man.  Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in all things (Eph. 5:24).  And it is written, let the wife see that she reverence her husband for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.  A man ought not to be brought under the law of a woman in any wise.  But by our law he is in ten thousand instances completely enslaved to an imperious woman whereby confusion and not peace rages in society at its very root.  And the principle that performs this wicked work, is recognized, and admitted by all, and therefore operates upon all, and disorganizes the universal mind of man throughout Christendom; it being begotten and bred in this disorganizing ruin.  The evil consequences resulting from the imperfection of our laws upon this subject, are many and destructive to this whole nation, and as Satan gained the ascendancy over man, by the submission of the man to the woman; so he must be expelled by exalting man, to his original authority and dignity, and by forming our laws exactly according to the divine pattern; or reign forever.  This only can restore order, good family government, and peace.  Multitudes of families are now in confusion, and wretchedly governed.  This is a great evil.


[114] For the private families are nunneries of mind:  and the evils of a bad government here cannot be calculated.  Many sons in their teens are roving about the land like the wild ass’s colt, unbridled: these oft times become associates and partners, with pick-pockets, thieves and robbers.  Many husbands, are induced by the unnatural and intolerable nature of female tyranny and usurpation, to even abandon their families to the mercy of a heartless world.  Such unnatural crimes never did exist under the ancient law of God.  All law or government of a woman over a man, except it be the law of kindness, is an usurpation of power destructive of the order, peace, and well being of society.  These evils are indeed the most ruinous in their results, of any that exist among us, and cannot be remedied by our laws.  But it is obvious that some effectual power should exist to annihilate the possibility of such a prolific ruin, at the very fountain-head of human life.  A recognition and common consent, to the existence of the cause of those untold evils, operating on and in our minds from infancy; is such an unnatural shackle to the dignity and original excellency of the mind of man; that although we may personally some of us be happily married; yet the obnoxious principle bears upon the whole body of manly intellect forever.  This ruinous, disorganizing, debasing principle cannot be eradicated but by the strong arm of the law.  Our ladies have long possessed a power, which the very nature of things, the nature of women, and the law of God utterly forbid; it must and does produce misery, vanity, confusion, and sorrow both to them and us.  You have placed the husband under the law of the wife as long as the wife lives; and at the same time placed the wife under the law of the husband as long as the husband lives! what an absurdity! what an attempt to an impossibility!! what a confusion!  There is no head here, or there is a double headed monster, with two different set of brains that pull different ways!  How many such glaring absurdities are found in the prevailing principles of religion and ethics!  As it is written.  They have [115] spoken frauds swearing falsely in making a covenant (that is the marriage covenant).  Thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field (Hos. 10:4).  Then did the scriptures say, that mystery Babylon was the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth.  These are the sources of our ruin and misery, and the very root of the poison.  From thence springeth up the poison hemlock in society.  This is the seed.


There is a great evil that lies in our law of divorcement.  This law in our country is imperfect in principle.  That it is imperfect is evident from the changes it is frequently undergoing and from the fact, that it is now different in different states.  How can it be that a divine law should be imperfect and changeable?  Does not this prove at once my countrymen, and countrywomen, that you are not married, neither are you divorced according to the law of God?  We must return in this particular to the standard, to the law of God which is a perfect law upon this important subject.  Who I ask has a right to make a law of marriage but God? much less to alter or change it.  The marriage law is admitted by all to be a divine law.  It is therefore spiritual in its nature, as indeed are all the laws of God, who is himself a spirit, and therefore obligatory on the spirit or mind as well as on the body.  Let us now examine the law of Christ upon this matter (Matt. 5:32).  But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:  and whosoever marrieth her that is put away committeth adultery.  Here we learn the only true and lawful cause of divorcement.  It is the fornication of the wife against her husband.  But surely this is not what is commonly called fornication literally, or of the body; for this offence a married woman cannot commit.  Fornication, as it is generally understood, is the lewdness of unmarried persons.  But you will say that in this case you have always understood it to mean the same thing as adultery.  But what propriety is there in thus understanding it, when Christ [116] here teaches that the body of a married woman must first be prostituted, or joined to another, or again married, and the former marriage bed defiled before adultery is committed?  Fornication cannot defile the marriage bed.  The nature of marriage is such, that it cannot be perfected until the bodies are actually joined, hence saith Christ, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.  Paul perfectly illustrates this thing when he saith, shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot?  God forbid.  Hence it is clear that Christ teaches that the body of a married woman must be first prostituted before adultery is committed; and that a man has a right to put away his wife for fornication only, and she is then free.  But if a man should put away his wife for the crime of adultery; would the man who should afterwards marry her, or the woman either, be less guilty of adultery by that marriage, than if the woman had not been before guilty of that crime?  Can one crime clear a person from the same crime afterwards?  Observe, Christ does not call fornication a crime in a married woman; neither is it a crime in a married woman; but a justifiable cause for putting her away.  It does not read–if a man put away his wife except it be for the crime of adultery.  But it reads, if a man put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication; he thereby causeth her to commit adultery by a second marriage.  Now it is evident the cause why a man might put away his wife, could not be the consequence of putting her away without the existence of that cause.  The one is fornication, the other adultery.  The truth is this; the spiritual law of marriage is binding upon both the body and mind of the wife equally.  The prostitution of the body after marriage constitutes adultery; but the alienation of the mind or affections constitutes fornication in a married woman.  The sexual cohabitation of unmarried persons is not adultery but fornication.  Because although their minds may be united in the closest ties of affections and love; yet she is not given in marriage by the [117] marriage covenant.  Therefore it is fornication.  But after the body and mind are both obligated by the marriage covenant; if the mind of the wife which was equally bound with the body to obey, and to be in subjection in all things, by the spiritual nature of that covenant, becomes alienated from her husband, she commits fornication against her husband; because the mind of the wife was bound to yield obedience and submission to her husband in all things as well as the body, by the spiritual nature of that covenant.  In this latter case the mind of the married woman is prostituted; in the former, that is of the unmarried woman, the body was prostituted; in either case it is fornication and, in the case of the married woman, the only proper and legal cause of divorce.  And the wife can commit fornication against her husband in no other possible way.  For if she prostitutes her body after marriage, it is adultery.  There is a spiritual fornication as well as a spiritual adultery.  When a woman apostatizes in spirit from her husband, she then commits fornication against the spiritual law of marriage, and in no other way can a married woman commit fornication.  If she prostitutes her body, it is adultery.  There is also a spiritual adultery as well as adultery of the body, which may be committed by the man.  If a man looks on another man’s wife and lusts after her; he has committed adultery already in his heart.  If he carries his unlawful desires into effect, it is adultery of the body.  Adultery signifies, simply, the act which adulterates, legally, that which defiles the marriage bed, but fornication can be committed without defiling the marriage bed; in fact, it cannot defile the marriage in any case whatever.  They are entirely two different things.  It is impossible to understand this word fornication to mean adultery in this case, because Christ makes the most clear, and positive distinction; and expressly declares that fornication is the only lawful cause for which a man may put away his wife; and that adultery is the consequence of putting her away without the existence of that cause.  You might as well suppose that he meant covetousness, by the [118] word fornication, as to suppose that he meant adultery.  There is not so great a distinction between covetousness and fornication as there is between adultery and fornication.  But a misunderstanding of this important point is the root of this great evil.  Again, adultery by the law of God, was punishable by death.  This would have been a divorce, with a lasting witness.  With our eyes upon the law of God we can by no means admit the common and erroneous understanding of this matter.  Some may have supposed no doubt that Christ, in the case of the woman who was accused before him of adultery, softened, or entirely disannulled this law.  If he entirely disannulled this law, then there is no law against adultery; for he did not enact a substitute; and no gentile legislature, has a right to meddle with the law of Jehovah.  But the above idea is, no doubt, an incorrect understanding of the matter.  We should recollect the office in which Christ acted.  The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).  Christ did not act in the capacity of a legislator, but an illustrator of the law, a teacher, a servant.  It was incompatible with his mission to even act as a judge in legal matters.  Hence he would condemn no sinner.  It was not consistent that he, who came to redeem sinners from the condemning power of the law with his own blood; should condemn them by the law.  The Jews knew this to be his profession; hence they brought the woman before him, thinking to entrap him in this case.  But with what wisdom he frustrated their design, is manifest.  Stone her, said he, I do not teach the violation of the law; but let him who has not violated, cast the first stone.  None but the Son of God, situated as he was, could have escaped from this trap.  You recollect the young man who applied to him to settle the division of the inheritance between him and his brother.  But Christ refused to interfere in the matter at all.  Said he–Who made me a ruler and judge over you?  Had he proceeded to pass sentence upon sinners, it would have forever put out the candle of the Lord in our minds; and we could not [119] have come to the knowledge of the truth, the glorious redemption that is in Christ Jesus by the means which God hath appointed.  Therefore he condemned no man, neither did he condemn the woman, but told her to go in peace, and sin no more.  If he had repealed the law which stood against her; such an act of which she was accused, would henceforth have been no sin.  But God has ordained a proper power to execute wrath upon the transgressor:  upon him that doeth evil.  And this power the true teacher never crippled in the least.  Did he make void the law in any particular?  No verily.  He established the sacred authority of the law, by submitting to it himself in all things in his own name, and in the name of the everlasting God; the unchangeable Jehovah, the author of the law.  But you have made it void by your ignorance and traditions.  We should recollect that the marriage relation is clearly illustrated to us by the relation that exists between Christ and his Church.  When the church ceases to obey Christ, and to love him, they then commit fornication against him, and thus is the term used when speaking of a bride, throughout the scriptures.  When the church rebels against her lawful husband and master Jesus Christ, and will not submit to him in all things; she then commits fornication against him and this is the plain sense of the matter.  So in the case of the wife, when she refuses to submit cheerfully to her husband in all things; (a broad commandment this, but limited by reason and love only,) when she ceases to reverence her husband, to be submissive to him; trusting in her husband and believing in him, then she commits fornication against the law of marriage, and against him; even as the false church has against Christ.  And in no other possible way can she commit this act, and it then becomes the right of her husband, to write her a bill of divorcement according to the strict letter of the law of God given by Moses:  and to put her away unless she repent.  A right understanding of this matter, and a correct law properly executed, would restore this nation to peace and order; and man to his true dignity, au-[120]thority and government of the earthly creation.  It would soon rectify the domestic circle, and establish a proper head over the families of the earth, and be the means of driving Satan; together with the knowledge and restitution of the whole penal law of God, and the glorious and everlasting gospel; yes, of driving Satan from the human mind and, setting a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more until his time.  And by no means can the heart of the fathers be turned to their children, and the heart of the children be turned to their fathers.  The spirit of God and Christ will then return to deliver us from all evil, and to guide the mind of happy and exalted man into all truth.  Length of days, peace and blessings foretold shall be ours.  Man shall then cease committing fornication against his head and husband Jesus Christ.  For the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.  It is the disorganization and disobedience of these eternal laws of order, and of God, that has ruined us.  A schism in the body.  Gentlemen, the ladies laugh at your pretended authority.  They, many of them, hiss at the idea of your being the lords of the creation.  Even in the public prints they have styled you the “would–be lords”, etc.  Nothing is further from the minds of our wives in general, than the idea of submitting to their husbands in all things, and of reverencing their husbands.  They will boldly ridicule the idea of calling them sincerely in their hearts lords and masters.  But God has positively required this of them (see 1 Pet. 3:6), even as Sarah of old, that excellent woman, having now no parallel on earth, and under existing circumstances our wives can never become the daughters of Sarah in the spirit, or enjoy the inheritance with her in a glorious immortality.  Alas! the ruin is unbounded even to them.  But gentlemen Legislators, it now devolves upon you to open the gates of glory and blessedness; both for time and eternity, to a ruined world.  Alter your imperfect, and wicked law of divorcement; make it according to the law of God, and the ladies will laugh at you no more.  They will [121] soon reform, and nothing in this world will they esteem higher than your affections.  They will respect your authority sincerely; and you will command their kindest attention everywhere.  Then will you love your wives indeed, for they will be worthy.  And then will the health of the daughters of my people be recovered.  Then shall come to pass what is spoken by Isaiah, the prophet (4:2-4).  When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.  It might be under our circumstances requisite, to compel the husband who thought of putting away his wife, to go before the magistrate, and there affirm the fact, that he was about to divorce his wife; stating under oath the true cause, or causes; such as willful disobedience to his reasonable commands, disrespectful language; a refusal to submit to him in all reasonable things; and make it the duty of the magistrate to record the oath and testimony thus given.  The magistrate exercising no other judgment or supervision in the case, than that the evidence did prove that the true cause, or causes did exist as described by the law, and that no abuse or battery, had been offered by the husband against the wife; and that persuasion had been used kindly and gently, and space given her to repent, and she repented not.  This would be precisely the law of Christ on the subject, and in essence the very way he hath proceeded with his own rebellious bride.  Then let the husband write her a bill of divorcement, and put her away, and she may then go, and be married to another man; the bill which should also be a matter of record, signifying a freedom from her former husband.  Thus does the law of God declare, and the explanation given by Christ clearly signifies the same thing.  Because he makes this exception, saying, if a man put away his wife save for the cause of fornication, by an after-marriage she commits adultery, and he that marries her committeth adultery.  If the word fornication, here used by Christ, means adultery; and a woman is put [122] away for that crime; it would follow that she is thereby free, and that by an after-marriage she would not commit adultery; neither would the man that married her commit adultery.  But if she is put away innocently, without committing adultery; then an after-marriage is adultery.  Thus it is necessary, according to such a definition of the world fornication, that the woman should commit adultery in the first place; in order to protect her from that crime by an after-marriage.  This is absurd for any rational being to believe.  That Christ did not mean adultery by the word fornication is therefore absolutely decided, beyond the possibility of error, for the following irrefutable reasons, if no other did exist. 1st–Because it is impossible that the crime of adultery committed by a wife, should be the means of exonerating her from the same offence afterwards.  Because the crime of adultery was, by the law of God, punished with death, and with no other penalty; and Christ has declared that he in no case made void the law of God, although the truth which came by Christ is that he has redeemed the spirits of men from the condemning power of the law, with his own blood; as we have before abundantly proven; glory and honor be to his name, yet the natural earthly man is under the law and liable to its penalties in the flesh; and by right ought so to be.  These are great hailstones of truth that cannot be resisted:  beating with destructive violence upon the very foundation of mystery Babylon; and I am persuaded as we advance in the investigation of these things, that the storm will thicken.  But you may inquire if the husband becomes alienated towards his wife, while she remains sincerely attached to him; has he not a right to put her away?  No, by no means.  He shall not drive his affectionate and faithful wife from him, while she remains pure in heart and sincerely attached to him.  This is that putting away which the Lord hates, which he hath forbidden, and in which he has not set the example.  This was the principal reason why the disciples, being bred Jews, thought it was not good to marry.  Moses, for the hardness of their [123] hearts, suffered them to do this, for some fancied uncleanness, or personal dislike on the part of the husband (See Deut. 24:1).  But from the beginning it was not so, and there is a legal reason, which is that a man shall not take advantage of his own wrong.  But more especially the cruelty of the act forbids it.  But if a woman be alienated in her heart, the case is different.  There is then a serious reason why she must be put away.  Children begotten and born of an alienated woman, are born of fornication in the spirit or mind.  This is a great injury to the minds of such children.  It injures their intellectual powers and disposition of mind.  Hence we have often observed that children born of young women in an unmarried state, the production of an illicit love, are often the most bright and active, and possessed of greater natural gifts than many other children.  God, who knows the nature of his own work, has therefore forbidden the propagating our species form an alienated woman.  But in the case of the affectionate girl, saith Paul, there is no sin, let them marry, and so saith the law of God expressly.  But a bastard, that is, a child born of fornication, or of an alienated woman, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation.  Here we are taught that the injury is so great as to disqualify them from becoming saints to the tenth generation!  What do you think of this, my countrymen?  How many bastards have we in these states completely disqualified from entering into the congregation of the Lord, to the tenth generation?  It is evident that minds or souls are propagated by natural generation as well as bodies.  No marvel that wise men are so rare in Christendom.  And that they have read the scriptures for ages, without understanding the plainest facts.  And have consequently constituted so many jarring sects, from the same authority, all in confusion like the builders of Babel.  The woman is the producer, and while she remains pure, truly attached in spirit to her husband, her children are pure, and born in honor, but not otherwise.  An idea from this root is alluded to by Paul, where he saith–The hus-[124]band is sanctified by the believing wife; and the wife is sanctified by the believing husband, or it is fornication.  She must be pleased to live with him, as saith the apostle, else he must put her away.  But there is a sanctifying power in the belief and knowledge of Christ taught in this book; which is indeed the balm of Gilead to the children of suffering humanity, and if it be not received by this nation at this time, wo, wo be to them.  Cannot a man put away his wife for the crime of adultery?  Answer–this crime was punished by the law of God with death, it is therefore absurd to talk of divorce in such a case.  There is no act that can be named under heaven for which a man can lawfully put away his wife, save for the cause of fornication.  But if the husband commit fornication, shall not the wife be entitled to a bill against him?  Impossible.  Did Christ say a woman shall not put away her husband saving for the cause of fornication?  Here is a wrong idea in your head; an idea of a woman divorcing her husband.  How can she do this for any offence?  The man is not under the law of marriage to his wife.  But the wife is bound by the law of her husband as long as her husband liveth.  A divorced man is a creature nowhere recognized in the scriptures, or in the law of God.  Where did you ever read in the law of God, or in the holy book, such a false idea? or the least allusion to the righteousness of such a thing on any account whatever?  How can property put away its owner?  The Bible must become as absurd, and as foolish as the gentiles themselves; and its whole phraseology entirely changed to make it read according to our perverted ideas and laws upon this subject.


The wife is given to her husband, and is bound by the law of her husband, and the husband cannot legally be put under the law of his wife.  Unless you should thereby indeed fulfil literally; as in fact you have done, the saying of the Prophet Isaiah.  Children are the oppressors of my people, and women rule over them.  But if you have understood the true cause of [125] divorcement to be adultery; yet you have not formed your laws upon that principle altogether.  You have been compelled by your experience to deviate from it in several of the states.  What, although a woman is not known to be an adulteress; yet she may be a perfect devil to her husband, train him in the most imperious manner, despise him in her heart, abuse him before his children, drive him like a menial slave where she pleases; and he must tamely submit to the ungodly law of his wife, must hug the serpent to his bosom, and love her as he does his own body!  Impossible, and degrading to the nature of man.  It is altogether unlawful and ruinous to the families of the nation.  The means which your ungodly law puts into the hands of a proud termagant, and alienated woman of torturing her husband, and ruining all his affairs as well as his soul, and his children to the tenth generation, cannot be written on paper.  The evils that this nation now suffers by this erroneous law cannot be enumerated; neither shall we comprehend them until the law of God is restored, and true order and righteous government are established in the land.  Then will we discover the contrast, and not till then.  And the smoke of the torment of those who now bow to the beast, or false government, will ascend up for ever and ever.  That is, it will be discovered by the contrast, and the remembrance thereof remain forever.  Order and government must, and should exist, and God only knows where the power should be placed to effect it.  And he has placed it in the hands of the man.  And how is it possible that it ever should be effected, by placing two powers of equal force, in direct opposition to each other?  This power of the man over the woman does not consist in the right of abuse and corporal punishment, which does violence to the nature of the marriage relation; but in the true law of divorcement established by God himself for the purpose of righteous government and peace.  Neither has any legislature in Christendom the right to alter, amend, or change it in the least; only to appoint the means, and order the execution thereof.  For what God has [126] joined together let not man put asunder.  Bills of divorcement according to our laws of the gentiles are therefore unlawful.  They cannot by their acts separate lawfully what God has joined together; He has forbidden it.  And many are now living in fornication and adultery in the sight of God, for which they, and all those who thus cause the violation of the law of God must give an account to him, who is ready to judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, and in his kingdom.  The ceremony or covenant of marriage should be according to the law of God.  The officiating officer should say to the man:  do you hereby take this woman which you hold by the right hand to be your wedded wife according to the law of God?  He should answer–I do.  Then the officer should say to the woman–Do you hereby agree to become the wedded wife of this man which you hold by the right hand according to the law of God?  She should answer–I do.  Then the officer should say–according to the law of God I pronounce you husband and wife.


The idea of a woman taking a man to be her husband is not found in the word of God.  But the man marries the woman; and the woman is given in marriage.  She is therefore the property of the husband in marriage.  But the husband is not the property of the wife in any sense of the word.  It is not said even in the holy decalogue when Mount Sinai was all on fire; and trembled at the presence of Jehovah, in that solemn exhibition of the power and glory of God; in the holy decalogue, written with the finger of God himself, it is not said; thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s husband, no verily, she has no such property.  But thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, his ox, nor his ass, nor anything thy neighbor possesses.  Here the wife is pronounced the husband’s property, as much so as his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, or his horse.  Although she is a different kind of property, very precious, near and dear to him as his own body.  For she is the glory of a man, and if a [127] virtuous woman, her price is above rubies–a different kind of property, and held by a different tenure according to law, being bound to the husband, and she cannot be sold.  By the law a man had a right to buy and sell menservants and maidservants.  Yet if he took a maidservant to be a concubine; she was under the same law to her master as was his wife; but the master then could not sell her, after she had been thus taken:  but he could let her go out free, and she was then a free woman.  But the man is in no sense of the word the property of his wife.  How can property possess its owner?  How can the owner be put under the law and government of his property?  When God made the woman he gave her to the man; but he never gave the man to the woman.  Therefore the woman has no power to divorce the man.  How can property divorce its owner?  Think of these things, my countrymen, seriously.  For Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness; and the destruction of the transgressors and the sinners shall be together; and they that forsake God shall be consumed (Isa. 1:27).  Thus you see, my countrymen, how the old harlot Rome, the old mother of harlots has committed fornication against Christ, and then has taught our wives to commit fornication against us with impunity, and has thus made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (Rev. 18:3).  This, was in the first place most infamously and wickedly done by the priesthood, by the aid of the old dragon; that is Paganism.  The converts to professed Christianity having been brought up in Paganism, were by that means, that is by the power of their education and the fraud of the priests, deceived, as it is written.  The dragon gave the beast his power, and seat, and great authority (Rev. 13:2).  And they worshipped the dragon who gave power to the beast.  The authors, the Roman priesthood, knew better than this; hence they forbid their own class to marry at all–and under the pretense of sanctity.  O shame!  And their object was to degrade and enslave the world; while they preserved their own dignity and power by not com-[128]ing under the unnatural yoke of the woman.  For they well knew that putting the man under the woman, would degrade his mind and that of his posterity, in many cases wretchedly; and produce imbecility of mind, disorder and confusion therein, like intoxicating wine; and render them finally their passive slaves.  In the meantime, to justify their natural wants, the nunnery was invented, for they chose to degrade and prostitute their bodies rather than their minds.  No doubt the whole scheme of the priests was never carried into full prosecution, which part that failed was the manner of bringing forward successors to perpetuate their noble order.  But, poor souls, they must now bear their degradation forever.  There is no help for them now, as they vainly imagined, by the means of purgatory.  They turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, and their foolish minds became darkened.  But heaven smiles on us, and a glorious day is now opening.  The harvest has come, and in the time of the harvest will the Lord send forth his angels and gather his elect from the four winds; from under the whole heavens; and they shall bear rule over those wicked Priests forever.  In ancient times, under the law of God, the permission of a plurality of wives had a direct tendency to prevent the possibility of fornication in the wife.  For the law of divorcement, and all the law on the subject, sustained the lawful and independent power of the husband over the wife; and his dignity of character was thereby supported.  The interest, the hopes, the prospects of the wife, were all turned in the opposite direction by the law; where indeed her mind always should be.  Her main object was to win and retain the affections of her husband.  And there was no means more successful for this purpose, than to bear him many children, for reasons which will hereafter appear.  Hence wives were so grieved at the idea of barrenness.  The ruinous evil of a woman’s being jealous of her husband, could not then exist under the law, and this evil is almost the only source of fornication in a wife.  This fruitful source of evil was not then in existence.  And the wife [129] was perfectly passive, submissive and non-resisting towards her husband.  The existence of fornication in a married woman, that destructive evil, even to her posterity, was then hardly possible.  It was not therefore defined or even mentioned in the law.  It was improper so to do:  as it would have had a tendency to create an unknown evil.  As the woman was then perfectly governed in righteousness:  Nothing as it respected law on this subject was further necessary, but proper laws to govern the man.  But when Christ came they had, by being under the Babylonians and afterwards the Romans, and by mingling with the Pagan nations; and from various other causes in many respects corrupted the law.  It now becomes necessary to define the proper cause of divorce, to fit the law to the circumstances of the age and to all future generations, not really to change the law at all; but to illustrate its spirit and real nature.  This is all the Saviour did that time.  A knowledge of the proper cause of divorcement would in this new case be sufficient, when duly appreciated, to maintain the proper dignity and authority of the man, and submission of the woman, and consequently the natural excellency of the children.  The first law ever made upon this subject of marriage is contained in these words:  “And unto the woman he said, in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy desire shall be unto thy husband; and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16).  This shows that the desire of wives cannot be maintained towards their husbands; unless they do absolutely reign over them by the strong, and righteous arm of the law.  Because these propositions are both pronounced by God himself in connection; and they must be connected, or neither will exist.  And it is so, in the nature of things.  It is evident that the sovereignty of the husband, over his wife, herein bestowed by God himself; cannot righteously be supported by any other means, than by the law, neither can prosperity attend the human family upon any other principles.  But suppose a married man entice a maid:  shall not the wife be entitled to a bill of divorce against him?  [130] This is not an offence against his wife; neither is it against the maid; but altogether in the maid’s favor.  It is not against the wife, for the man is not under the law of marriage to his wife in any sense whatever; neither can he be put under the law of the woman, without disorganizing the whole system of the law of God, and of righteousness.  If he has addressed the maid without the father’s consent, it is against the father, for which the law of God expressly provides.  And the wife has no concern, or control in this matter.  The wife cannot put away the husband for any cause.  As well might a servant put away his master, or a child his father.  A divorced man is a creature, not known in the whole canon of the scriptures.  Here lies your error:  and the law of Him who made man must rule, and you, my countrymen, must and shall understand it; either in this life to your advantage, or in that which is to come to your everlasting loss.  But if a man commits adultery with another man’s wife; it has a direct tendency to produce the great evil of alienation in the wife; which is murder to her posterity in its nature, and he robs the husband of his most precious rights, violates the interest of his life and family in the most sacred points of man’s existence.  He, therefore, and the adulteress shall be put to death.  God now calls us to peace, and parity and order; for his house is a house of order, and not of confusion.  This is the object of the whole law.  But your laws upon this subject, lay the axe at the root of the tree of peace and order, and good government of the earth.  And the fruits of disorder and cruelty and wickedness that have prevailed this thousand years, even with the gospel in your hands, are a demonstration of this fact.  Now then make the reasonable law of God your guide; instead of your misguided, vain imaginations of what is fitting and best for mankind; and a glorious reward, both in time and eternity will be the blessed consequence.  The families of the earth are the root of all righteous government among men.  And unless order and a perfect and independent head are here established by law, [131] wretchedness and confusion in the very nature of things will and must be the certain consequences.  The honor, the affections, the prosperity of the father and the husband, are powerful checks to his becoming a tyrant.  The fatherly government has, in all ages where it has been supported, been found the most virtuous and just.  Besides, the law can easily and completely control any disposition of a tyrannical nature in the supreme head of a family, without bringing him under the unlawful, and ruinous bondage of a woman.  If he requires anything of his wife which love and reason would not dictate; or if he inflicts blows upon his wife; it is of the nature of assault and battery.  And if he is convicted of such an offence; it is the law of God that he be publicly whipped, not to exceed forty stripes; according to the aggravation of the offence.  And where, I enquire, would such a man go to get a wife, after he was known?  Such men, if any there be among us, ought not to be the fathers of the rising generation, for we now enter the Millennium.  For by the Law of Christ; a man is bound to be kind to his wife, and he is under the law to Christ who is his lawful head; but not under the law to his wife.  The wife has no right to teach, admonish, reprove, rebuke, or to exercise any kind of dictation whatever.  He is her head, and she should be guided by the head.  If the wife wants to know anything, let her ask her husband at home.  She hath therefore the right of petition.  And this is a right that all who are governed should possess.  If she will seek any other guide, depending on something else besides her husband, (except it be the Lord who is head of all,) she must be miserable; she is out of the order which God has established in the creation, and wretchedness is the inevitable fruit.  Therefore the law should confine her completely under her husband’s power for good, but not for evil.  Has the church a right to admonish or dictate Christ?  But the head of the woman is man, and the head of the man is Christ.  I suffer not a woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in subjection.  Here we are in-[132]formed that an attempt, even to teach her husband is an usurpation of power forbidden by the holy spirit.  But the church have the free right of respectful petition, and Christ encourages the use of that right in his bride.  Some men argue that it is in vain to petition the Lord in any case, for say they the plans of the Lord are immutable, and cannot change to accommodate our petitions, without imperfection in him.  But such persons do not consider, that it is one of the grand objects of the Creator in creating rational beings, to bring them acquainted with himself:  and there is in the head of man a design of creating a communion between himself and them.  Therefore the thing petitioned for by us, might as well be foreknown by him as any other thing; and to constitute the blessings of communion and society with God, all those right petitions are included in the original design, without supposing any change in our Lord and Master.  While we may enjoy the comfort and consolation of beholding our petitions granted, and our faith is thus strengthened, and we may enjoy society and communion with God.

But to return…Let it be remembered that the law of God cannot be changed without bringing down ruin, misery and eternal degradation upon the heads of those who change it.  If a woman does commit fornication against her husband, and does not reform, it is his indispensable duty to put her away.  And how is it possible that a reasonable woman could desire to live with a man, when in her heart she is alienated from him?  Surely she would much rather be free, that she might lawfully unite with some man whom she could respect and love.  It is therefore a privilege to a wife in such case, it is a proof positive by her confession that she is alienated in heart from her husband.  And the law then, should compel the husband to give her a bill, whatever the husband’s feelings or affections towards her might be notwithstanding.  Thus it is the woman that can break this covenant, not the man, because the woman is the subject of this law, and not the ruler by the law.  [133] So neither can Christ Jesus himself break the covenant of promise that binds the church to him.  But the church can apostatize as she has done, and whereby she has been put away.  Yet the law however fixes a check upon the light versatility of the mind of the woman by her not being allowed any dowry in such a case; and no control over her children if she have any.  The support and education of the children belong to the father, and (will require) all his substance to perform those duties with.  The law therefore in all respects is calculated to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children; and the hearts of the children to their fathers.  Not only in this instance, but by exalting their authority, influence and dignity of character in the earth.  Even so let it be saith the Lord; “lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”  The father of a family is the image of God, and it is not well pleasing to him that his particular image on earth, should be degraded by law, unlawfully.  The wife in the above case takes nothing but her own property, unless the husband is pleased to give, for the law allows of no schism in the body, or ground of contention, and there is none.  And the divorced wife after being married to another cannot return to her former husband.  The highest signification of the term law, is governing power.  And the perfect penal law of God should be the governing power of all nations.  All nations being thus brought under one and the same system of perfect government would soon have no cause of war; and, with clear illustration of the rational truth of God, they would soon beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and learn war no more.  So mote it be.


We have been treating of the governing power of marriage, and we clearly show that it is placed in the hands of the husband as chief executive; and nowhere else under heaven.  And that he is not a subject of that power.  To suppose that this governing power is placed in the husband and wife equally, is an absurdity.  In the name of common sense, who [134] then would be the subject?  If the governing power of marriage was placed equally in the hands of the husband and the wife, there would be no subject, consequently no possibility of violating the power of the government, for it is the subject only that can violate the law; and therefore there could be no possibility of divorcement.  For I cannot possibly hold a governing power over one that holds a governing power over me in the same case.  If I hold the power, as a father, to govern my son, he cannot at the same time hold the legal power of governing me.  But you may object that you place the governing power of marriage in neither of the parties, but in the Court.  But the law of God never placed this power in the hands of the Pope, nor the Court.  Do you not perceive that this opens a door of unlawful litigation between the husband and the wife; and places the power we speak of equally in the hands of both; separating in open hostility what God has joined together.  And thus your absurd, unrighteous law binds the husband by the law of the wife as long as the wife lives; and at the same time binds the wife by the law of the husband as long as the husband lives.  What folly then to talk of divorce at all.  For a righteous power cannot be constituted to violate another righteous power in any case.  If thus they are wedded together, no power but death can righteously part them.  And in fact you have no settled principle of divorcement:  but Popes and Courts do as they please with the bodies and souls of mankind.  Nothing but death could possibly dissolve such a covenant.  Do you not even blush at your own absurdity?  This is not the nature of the true marriage covenant by any means, for that admits of divorcement, executed by the husband, who holds the power of this law in his hands, to exercise it for the fornication of the wife, and for no other cause whatever.  So saith the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.  “Hence it is written of me.  That kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which has not been told them shall they see; and that which they have not hear shall they consider” (Isa. 52:15).  Is Christ under the [135] law to the Church in any sense of the word?  Impossible.  So neither is the husband under the law of marriage to his wife in any sense of the word.  But is he not bound to love his wife and provide for her by the law of marriage?  Truly he is thus bound, but not by the law of marriage, but by the law of Christ, which also binds him even to love his wife and provide for her by the law of marriage, but by the law of Christ, which also binds him even to love his enemies; consequently to provide for his own, and especially them of his own household.  So also by the law of his Head and Husband he is bound, to give his wife a bill of divorcement when she becomes alienated from him.  God anciently said unto his church, I am married unto thee (Jer. 3:14).  If the law of marriage places the husband under any government whatever, or if he is thereby laid under any obligation whatever; then was God under the law and government of his church; and under the same obligations to her, by being married to her.  The fact is, the man is under the law to Christ, but not under the law of marriage to his wife:  nor in any sense obligated by it.  Moreover the covenant of marriage is, or ought to be, conditioned according to the law of God, which admits of divorcement; but not according to the absurd law of the gentiles, which consistent with itself admits of no divorcement.  According to this latter law the kingdom of marriage has but two subjects, and both of them are equally sovereigns over each other; and consequently in reality there are no subjects at all:  therefore no possibility of violating the sovereign authority; hence there can be no divorcement, and at the same time no possibility of exercising sovereignty, and finally no kingdom or government; but a tyrannical state of anarchy, whereby the families of the earth are filled with confusion, and held together, only by a principle similar to that by which the goats, and wild beasts herd together.  Hence it is termed in scripture the government of the beast.  But according to the law of Christ there is but one supreme governor only; who is bound by Christ to govern according to law; and [136] who has power thereby, if his subjects rebel, to banish them his dominions, and at the same time absolve them from their allegiance.  And then to supply his government with other subjects, that it may be a house of order and peace.  The former is a kind of mongrel imitation of the latter; that amounts to a solemn absurdity and confusion.  It establishes a positive ground of contention unlawfully between the parties; (as among the beasts,) to determine which shall be master.  As two oxen will not work peaceably together in the yoke until this point is settled:  so in the marriage yoke, there is no peace, until this matter is determined; which often remains a continual jar, and confusion through life; begetting coldness and contempt for each other, and sowing the seeds of ruin in the family.  Because the strong arm of the law is the only thing that can peaceably settle this matter.  The earth is also defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance and broken the everlasting covenant (Isa. 24:5).  That is, the ordinance and covenant of marriage, spoken of in the singular number and definite manner:  because there is no other everlasting ordinance that man ever had the power to change.  The everlasting covenant of the gospel–found first in Gen. 3:15–is ordered in all things and sure.  It is the covenant of life beyond the grave.  That found in the next verse is the ordinance that regulates the introduction of man into this life, and provides for his childhood.  This we have changed, on which account sorrow and affliction prevails on the earth.


All the laws of our country, and decisions of courts upon this subject, have a direct tendency to establish the weaker vessel as the lead, and head of the family.  Many men of the best talents that this generation affords, remain bachelors, or are totally ruined; and in their course are the ruin of many females; for the better the intellect, the less willing, is he to be a slave:  and especially under the tyranny of an unnatural yoke of [137] bondage.  But the law of God settles this matter at once, and declares that the head of the woman is the man, and the head of the man is Christ, and fixes the governing power accordingly.  In ninety–nine instances out of an hundred, no doubt, where the woman is naturally of a mild and submissive make, families live in peace.  And where it is otherwise, it is reason, that the law should enforce peace; so that this great and important object should be effected.  If the law of God was established and faithfully executed in this important matter, it is manifest that peace in all the families of the nation would be the inevitable result; and the marriage state would become a paradise.  And this would be the greatest blessing, in its effects and consequences, ever yet conferred upon any people.  And, as we have already shown, the law of Christ, who is the proper head of man, has power effectually to correct any disposition in the present wicked generation of men to act the tyrant.  The practice of courts and legislative bodies in granting bills of divorcement, is an assumption of power and tyranny in its nature, not authorized by the scriptures, the only true authority upon this subject; and in imitation of the Pope of Rome, who formally assumed all power, and from whom this wicked and unlawful assumption of power has manifestly been derived.  And it was first effected, when the beast made war with the saints and overcame them; and power was given him over all nations (Rev. 13:7).  Then did the dreadful divorcement take place, called the apostasy, in consequence of which we have gone astray and run into disorder and confusion, wretchedness, ignorance, misery, bloodshed, wars, and cruelties, which have prevailed even among Christians ever since.  And we have lived in continual fornication and adultery, in every sense of those words.  Hence the prophets and apostles, speaking by the spirit, and when referring prophetically to these days, continually use such language.  No doubt many persons reading the prophets have passed over this kind of language lightly; considering it indelicate in them; and suppos-[138]ing the reason why they used such language so much, was because of the unpolished age in which they lived:  and in fact, have thought it strange that they could not find better figures to express their ideas, supposing it all to be figurative.  But they spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and we now discover, my beloved brethren and sisters, that the eyes of those holy men of old were upon us, upon the Christian nations since the apostasy; and upon the latter days:  and they have foretold in the only language that could foretell our real situation.  Hence old Rome is styled correctly Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots, and the abominations of the earth, and she has made “all nations drink of the wine, of the wrath of her fornication”.  And hence the confused state of our minds, as if inebriated with wine.  And this wine is the poison of the dragon, and the cruel venom of the asp (see Deut. 32:33).  Sin the transgression of the law.  But we transgress the law of God, by law.  This is a national abomination, and from this great evil, by its very nature, a nation must be recovered and born at once (if recovered at all), as the Prophet Isaiah more than two thousand years ago hath foretold (Isa. 66:7-8).  Before she travailed (that is, before Zion travailed), she brought forth:  before her pain came she was delivered of a man child  (even the author of this book).  Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such a thing? shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?  For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children.  Rejoice ye with Jerusalem and be glad with her all ye that love her:  that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.  For behold, I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me:  and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple; even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in:  Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?  For he is like a re-[139]finer’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.  And he shall set as a refiner and purifier of silver.  And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness (Mal. 3:103).  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years.  And I will come near unto you in judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and turn aside the stranger from his right and fear not saith the Lord of Hosts.





Again, there is another law of God respecting sexual intercourse worthy of our respectful attention (Lev. 19:20).  If a man lie carnally with a bondwoman married or betrothed, it would be adultery and punishable with death to both parties, if she was free.  But yet, because she is not free, but a bondwoman; she only shall be scourged, and the man must make a sin offering, and he is forgiven.  Thus does God in his law not only recognize the right of holding our fellow creatures as property, and in bondage, but frames his laws in all cases agreeably thereto.  And what we would particularly notice in this matter, lowers down the penalty from death, to a trifling sin offering; while the woman, not the man suffers corporal punishment, but certainly not severe.  For although the law does command scourging in some cases as the only proper penalty or corrective, yet in no case more than forty stripes.  How certain is it that God has never made all men equal, neither has he intended to make them equal in this world, nor in that which is to come.  But he will reward every man according to his works.  O ye miserable fanatics of New England, who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.  Teaching an endless [140] torment of some of your fellow men; while you strain at the idea of negro slaves not being made equal with the chosen people of God.  You must be rebuked into obedience to the law of God, or you yourselves be made slaves everlastingly.  Abolitionists like other fanatics, pretend to quote scripture in support of their unlawful doctrine.  In noticing the absurdities of this generation, we have in no instance been struck with more profound astonishment, than when we hear abolitionists quote the following in support of their creed.  Therefore whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, do ye even the same to them also (Math. 7:12).  Thus they reason–if I was a slave, I should wish my master to set me free.  Therefore it is my duty to set my servant free:  for whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.  But the whole text reads thus:  whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.  Hence Christ teaches us that we are to understand this saying agreeable to the Law and the Prophets.  Not in direct opposition thereto, a few examples according to the manner in which abolitionists inculcate this saying of our Lord, will show their absurdity.  If a father desire in his heart, that his children should obey him, and observe his instructions; then he must obey them and observe their instructions, for whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even the same to them also.  Again, if a preceptor desire his pupils to obey his rules and authority; the preceptor must obey the rules and authority of his scholars:  for whatsoever ye would desire others to do unto you, do ye the same to them also.  Again, if a slave or servant would that his master should set him free, his price or value being five hundred dollars, and remain his slave still, for whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you; do ye the same to them also.  Again, if a man desire a woman to commit lewdness with him; then he must commit lewdness with her; for whatsoever ye would desire others to do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is [141] the law and the prophets!  But, thou fool, dost thou not know that Jesus Christ never gave any instructions, contrary to the law of God, and the prophets, and that in this particular instance he hath referred you to the law as an infallible guide to understanding of his precepts, and that no person has any right to desire anything on another, contrary to the law and the order thereby established in society:  for it is written, Thou shalt not covet.  Again, there is another law respecting the crime which we denominate a rape (Deut. 22:23).  In which case the man was compelled to marry the maid, and was forbidden to put her away all his life.  He must provide for her a dowry as a wife, and provide for her forever, and moreover pay a heavy fine to her father.  If a man seduce a maid, and then refuse to marry her, it is the same offence as to put away a wife without lawful cause:  he thereby causeth her to commit adultery, as our Lord declares; therefore he is adjudged guilty of adultery by being the cause of that crime.  And therefore worthy of death, by the perfect law of God; which searcheth the hearts, and tryeth the reins of the children of men.  This law would protect our young ladies from all harm of this kind.  If a man entice a maid without first obtaining the consent of her father to address her; and if the father refuse to give her in marriage, then the man is compelled to pay money according to the dowry of virgins (Ex. 22:16-17).  Thus does the law of God make the father the supreme head of his family.  Yet he has not right to compel his daughter to be married without her consent.  For it is unlawful for the woman to be held even by marriage contrary to her free choice, for the woman must not be enslaved by marriage.  But suppose a man (that has already a wife) entice a maid; how then could he marry her?  If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife (Ex. 22:16).  There is no condition that can justify him in refusing to marry her.  The kindhearted and affectionate maid or wife, shall not be put away or neglected, on pain of death.  There is no positive law of God [142] against a man’s marrying Leah, and Rachel both.  So long as he is a good and faithful husband, he is justified by the law of Christ, his lawful head.  But one objects, that it is written–they twain (not they three), shall be one flesh.  From this he infers that the law of God forbids him to marry more than one wife.  Yet you allow a man to marry another wife if his first wife be dead; which could constitute thee, one flesh, as much so, as if both wives were alive at the same time.  But the fact is, two females cannot become one flesh.  When Jacob married Leah, they twain became one flesh; of this compound Rachel formed no part.  And when Jacob married Rachel, they twain became one flesh; of this compound constituted no part, any more than if she had been dead, when Jacob married Rachel.  It is still no more than twain that become one flesh.  And it is evident that none other could be the result, had Jacob married as many wives as King David; a man after God’s own heart, or even as King Solomon.  And whether the former wives were dead or alive it alters not the result in this respect in the least.  Because this word is literally accomplished in the offspring only.  Thus this objection vanishes into smoke.  The burden of maintaining the wife is a sufficient check.  A man cannot be put lawfully under the law of marriage to the woman; she is his property in marriage.  The word saith that a woman is under the law to her husband as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is no adulteress though she be married to another man.  Here we learn what is particularly meant by a woman’s being under the law to her husband; that is, she has no right to be married to another man, while her husband liveth.  And if a man has no right to marry another woman while his first wife liveth, then is he under the law of his wife, and the law of his wife is the governing power of his wife.  Thus do our laws, as I have before abundantly shown, establish this gross absurdity.  The man is under the governing power of his wife, and the wife is under the governing power of her husband; and both in identically the same premises.  Now, which [143] shall be subservient?  Certainly neither, where both have equal power.  By taking away a man’s lawful right of giving divorcement, when his wife rebels; and by depriving him of the right of marrying more than one wife, you totally annihilate his power of peaceable government over a woman, and deprive the family of its lawful and necessary head.  But the husband is under the law to Christ, who is his lawful head.  And he forbids his putting away his affectionate wife in any case.  When the law of God shall be restored, it will have a direct tendency to turn the desire of the wife towards her husband, as God has ordained.  And fornication will finally cease to take place in a married woman.  Consequently the husband will rarely have a lawful cause to put away his wife.  When the husband appears before the magistrate to put away his wife; let him be cautioned; that if it should afterwards appear by two witnesses, that he accused his wife falsely; that it is death by the law.  God himself has declared that he will be a swift witness against false swearers.  The expense and care of a numerous family, and support of many wives, will be a sufficient check to men in ordinary circumstances, not to go to excess in multiplying wives which they must support, and cannot put away or willfully neglect, on pain of death.  And in fact vile men will not be able to obtain wives so easily.  It is said (1 Tim. 3:2) that a bishop must be a man of one wife.  We must infer from this that other men might have more than one wife.  We must infer from this, that other men might have more than one wife.  This is not a law to govern men in general, or in any case.  It is merely a mark of character; with several other marks of character therein specified.  Such as to be vigilant, sober, given to hospitality, apt to teach, etc.  And it was proper that a bishop or elder who should take the care of the church upon him, that he should not be encumbered with a numerous family, or many wives.  But a man fortunate in the choice of one good wife whose character, such as she must be, is also specified.  It was therefore a circumstantial and characteristic mark.  It [144] had been a law, it could not have been a mark of character; because it must have been enforced by law upon all.  Neither is it now any mark of character being compulsory upon all.  But when the law of God shall be restored, it will then, as formerly, become a mark of character; and not till then can this direction of Paul become applicable to us.  The law must be restored in all things:  for it is written, that the times of the restitution of all things, spoken by the mouth of all God’s holy prophets since the world began, shall come.  That is, all the true principles, both of the law (or civil governing power), and of the gospel, for these are the things which have been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets.  And in the times of the restitution of these things shall Jesus again come (see Acts 3:21).  A bishop or an elder in the church, must however have at least one wife, which is in fact the principle meaning of this passage; or how could he have his children in subjection with all gravity?  See the whole specification as given by the apostle.  But kings, and men in power are forbidden to multiply wives, or greatly to multiply gold and silver (Deut. 17:17).  It would be as reasonable to make a law, and ten thousand times less injurious to mankind; that a man should possess no more than one dollar, one servant, or one cow at one time, as is our law upon this subject.  But we are commanded to be temperate in all things.  To God only are men accountable in this matter, and not to their wives.  But if a man entice a maid that is betrothed, and lie with her, he shall suffer death.  Such is the perfect law of God.  And David, by the holy spirit of truth, declares that the law of God is perfect.  This penalty may appear unreasonably severe to Gentiles, educated as they are.  But when we consider attentively the circumstances in which the man is placed by the law of God, why should he desire to put away the kindhearted wife, or the affectionate maid which he has thought proper to woo to his embrace?  Especially when the law not only permits him to retain them both, but requires it, at the peril of his life; and a disobedient one he can discharge.  [145] As soon would a king wish to drive from his realm his most zealous and faithful subjects; or a man throw away his money because he had too much.  No doubt it was so ordained by infinite wisdom, thus to prevent the possibility of such cruel and unnatural crimes, by annihilating all temptation thereto.  We might here remark, that the abominable crimes of a maiden beguiled and deserted by the man:  and a wife and family abandoned to the mercy of a heartless world; never did occur in the land of Israel.  Neither can they occur where the perfect law of God bears rule.  A law therefore which would annihilate such unnatural and cruel crimes, with the endless catalogue of ruinous evils, that follow in their train; and which at the same time would harm no body; must be acknowledged by reason, to be a holy and righteous and perfect law.  While the laws of the Gentiles to the contrary do produce these outrageous crimes; with the addition of many cruel murders; and are in their very nature not only a complete disorganization of all righteous and peaceable government, but are temptations in many cases to commit the most unnatural, and outrageous cruelties; and they are the fruitful source of an innumerable train of wicked and cruel evils.  A tree is known by its fruit.  For their vine is worse than the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall; their clusters are better (Deut. 32:32).  Our law upon this subject is worse than Sodomy in its effects.  But consider and repent.  What was the fate of Sodom?  If the true law of divorcement was restored, without any other improvement, and the penalty of adultery; they would be great blessings to this nation.  For then a man would have power to maintain peace and order in his family; and women would not be compelled to live with men, whom they did not love, and all cruelty towards wives would cease.  And the propagating our species from an alienated woman would be prevented:  which, in its effects and consequences, is the greatest evil that exists among us.  But yet while a man is bound by law to one wife only, the cause of [146] jealousy in a married woman still exists.  The jealousy of a married woman is a thing not named in the whole volume of the Bible, because it did not exist.  It could not exist under the law of God.  And it is the principal cause of the alienation of wives.  And our young ladies would still remain exposed to the arts of seduction, as they now are–a thing which the Law of God wholly prevented, and such a circumstance is not recorded in the Bible.  These great evils with all their wretched consequences would remain in their full force:  and the filth of the daughters of Zion would not be washed away, and annihilated.  Therefore I esteem all thy precepts, O Lord, concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way (Psa. 119:128).  The law of God does not forbid to marry, like the law of the Gentiles (see 1 Tim. 4:3).  As we have before said, the woman cannot marry.  But the man marries the woman, and she is given in marriage.  The Law which forbids a man to marry any free woman whom he pleases, a particular mark of Antichrist.  Now the spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry (that is, the man, for the woman cannot marry); to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  But the law of God forbids the man to put away his wife without lawful cause or to abandon her, on pain of death.  The word saith of the woman, if her husband be dead she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the Lord.  But our law saith she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, provided the man has not wife already.  It is evident that the apostle knew of no such promise.  In fact he has declared by the holy spirit, that there was no such promise.  He has expressly told us that there was no such exception.  But the only exception that can exist is, that he should be a believer.  The liberty of marriage to persons of every description according to the law of God reads thus:  [147] First, a maid who has not been given in marriage and who hath a father, is not at liberty to be married without the consent of her father:  but with his consent she is at liberty to be married to whom she will.  Second, the maid who has not been given in marriage and has no father living is at liberty to be married to whom she will.  Third, the woman who has been married, and is legally free from her husband, or husbands, by death or otherwise, is free to be married to whom she will.  Fourth, a man is at liberty at all times, to marry any free woman or maid he pleases, certain degrees of consanguinity in all cases excepted.  And a woman is not bound to live with any man, contrary to her own free will and choice, and if she desire it, she must be freed.  The law of God protects completely the rights of women from all oppression so far as they have any rights that can be of use to them, or the world of mankind.  And it protects the rights of men in like manner.  It also defines the rights both of men and women, and grants full protection to all good and virtuous men and women, while it rains down wrath, and destruction upon all who do evil.  Such as do well have nought to fear.  In everything respecting the communion of the sexes, the law of God lays down principles, and annexes penalties where penalties are necessary absolutely perfect; and meets vice in every possible shape wherein it can present itself.  And no other being but he who made man is capable of determining the proper laws to regulate this intercourse.  Thus saith the Lord, I have written unto them the great things of my laws, but they have counted it a strange thing (Hos. 8:12).  Shall this be said of us who profess to be a Christian people, and to hold to the inspiration of the Bible?  Did not the scriptures foresee, and foretell this strange fact, in the very words here quoted?  Is not this prophecy now literally fulfilled in our ears?  What shall we say to those who hold that the penal laws of God given by Moses, were not given to the Gentiles to govern them?  We will say then that the Gentiles are doomed to perpetual damnation as long as the world stands.  For by no [148] other means than the establishment of that law among us, can we be saved from sin.  For man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God shall he live.  If we have even heard, or understood, this perfect law, then it is given to us, by the spirit of the Lord.  For every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, or shadow of turning.  Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord when he divorced them?  They would not walk in his way, neither would they be obedient to his law.  Therefore has he poured upon us the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle:  and it hath set this people on fire round about, yet they know it not, and it burned them, yet they have laid it not to heart (Isa. 24:25).  Surely the Gentiles who have the scriptures, have no other authority over the holy and divine law of marriage, than to execute it precisely in the manner God has ordained, and in no other way.  Yet in the United States we have so changed this law, that it is materially different in different states.  For a people to make a law to enforce the violation of the law of Almighty God, is the most outrageous crime that a nation can be guilty of.  Sodomy itself is a trifle to this.  This you have done, or the law on this subject could not be different in different states.  That we have done this wicked deed in this most important of all laws, which is the very foundation of human society, and of all order and government among men:  that is family governments, which is indeed the very root of social order and righteousness in this life, is manifest, from our various, imperfect, and different laws upon this subject.  No nation can be free and happy while governed by imperfect laws.  This grievous charge I now prefer against this whole nation.  But brethren, I wot that it is through ignorance ye have done it, as did also your fathers.  You have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.  You have put forth your hands like Uzza of old to steady the ark of God’s covenant, and God smote him there and he died by the [149] ark (2 Sam. 6:6-7).  Again it is written, “who is like unto the Lord our God who dwelleth on high; he raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of this people.  He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.  Praise ye the Lord” (Psa. 113:5-9).  If a man curse father or mother let him be put to death.  Really it was the intention of God to maintain the seeds of good government in the families of the earth.  But alas! we have wandered far from it.  Of this identical evil the Jews became guilty, respecting the reverence and obedience children should always observe towards their parents, which is the first command with a promise thereunto annexed.  Of this fault Christ accused them and said that they had made void the law through their tradition.  And indeed so have we, not only in this particular, but in many others.  If a child curse father or mother, let him be put to death.  Because the Jews had made void this law, Christ thought it of sufficient importance to rebuke their error in this case in a special manner.  Did Christ abrogate this law?  No, but he rebuked the Jews severely because they had made it void.  Did Christ find fault with the severity of this law?  No, he approbated it.  Was this a law of God and expressly confirmed by Jesus Christ?  Yes verily.  Have we made this law void?  Yes we have.  Is there any such law now in operation among us?  No.  Have we any just right to the name of a Christian nation, who do by law make void both the law of God and Christ?  We have not.  But by reformation we live, without it we perish quickly, even this whole nation.  Blackstone says that all wise nations, especially in high northern latitudes have forbidden polygamy by law.  The idea here is I suppose, that in cold countries, the constitutions of men are naturally colder; and one wife is sufficient.  If nature in such countries has produced this effect, and has formed the constitution temperate; temperance in this respect would be the natural result without a penal law to command it, and to enslave the man, and to be [150] the fountain of an endless catalogue of crime, as well as mental stupidity.  Again says the same noted author; the New Testament forbids polygamy.  But Blackstone should have known that it was not the business of the New Testament to give law, but to establish the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, and that the law was given by Moses, and that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than that one jot or tittle of the law should in any wise fail.  It is evident that by the corruption of this holy law of marriage an endless catalogue of crime has been created that otherwise could never have existed, and that does exist at this moment in these states.  Husbands forsake their wives, and often brutally abuse them.  Fathers forsake their children; young maidens are seduced and abandoned by the deceiver; wives are poisoned and put to death by their husbands; husbands are murdered by their wives; newborn babies are cruelly murdered to hide the false shame created by the false, and wicked, and tyrannical law against polygamy, besides the innumerable host of evils created by the destruction of the righteous government of the husband and head of the family.  While on the other hand polygamy regulated by the law of God as illustrated in this book could not possibly produce one crime; neither could it injure any human being.  The stupidity of modern Christian nations upon this subject is horribly astonishing.  The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing where it ought not, was the law of the Gentiles, superseding the penal laws of God in the civil government of his people, and which began to be effected about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and was ultimately consummated, confirmed, and established, by placing the man under the law of the woman, by authority in the church of Rome.  This was indeed the abomination of desolation, a power standing by law where it ought not.  Do not appeal to the Turks, as an example of this thing.  The Turks have not the law of God, neither have they the gospel.  It is expected that the Congress of these [151] United States who have the power, will immediately deliver us from the ruin and bondage we are now suffering by restoring the wise and holy law of God to this nation, for which they will then receive a glorious reward both in this world and that which is to come.  But if you, my countrymen, refuse voluntarily to restore the law of God, to your own glory and honor, the Son of Man may compel you to do it, to your everlasting loss, for all power in heaven and earth is committed into his hands.  For when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then shall ye be trodden down by it.  From the time it goeth forth it shall take you:  for morning and evening shall it pass over, by day, and by night:  and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report, or when he shall make you to understand doctrine.  For the marriage bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering is narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.  Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong, even everlasting.  For I have heard from the Lord God of Hosts, a consumption determined, even determined upon the whole earth (Isa. 28:18-22).  And the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness (Isa. 10:22).  Watch, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.  And what I say unto you I say unto all – watch.

The truth on this important matter is now clearly set before you my countrymen, and that by many strong arguments that cannot be gainsaid, and by many incontestable evidences, and you can understand it.  The question is not now to be debated whether these things are so, neither is it a question of much importance who wrote this book!  But the question, the momentous question is, will you now restore the law of God on this important subject, and keep it?  Remember that the law of God is given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  Speak not a word against it at your peril.  O Americans, are you the people who will not have this man Christ Jesus to rule over you?  I hope not.  I should be grieved to see you slain before him.



[152]                             Chapter 5







(The following discourse was given by President Brigham Young in the Tabernacle in Great Salt Lake City, on October 8th, 1861, as reported by George D. Watt.  It was entitled “A Few Words of Doctrine.” –T.T. of Brigham Young #5, Church Archives)


I will give you a few words of doctrine upon which there has been much inquiry, and with regard to which considerable ignorance exists.  Bro. Watt will write it, but it is not my intention to have it published; therefore pay good attention, and store it up in your memories.  Some years ago, I advanced a doctrine with regard to Adam being our father and God, that will be a curse to many of the Elders of Israel because of their folly.  With regard to it they yet grovel in darkness and will.  It is one of the most glorious revealments of the economy of heaven, yet the world hold it [in] derision.  Had I revealed the doctrine of baptism for the dead, instead of Joseph Smith, there are men around me who would have ridiculed the idea until doomsday.  But they are ignorant and stupid like the dumb ass.  Relative to the doctrine I shall now make known, if anyone should wish it otherwise, it will not alter the fact in the least.  It is the principle of sealing.


[153] We are continually sealing women to men; and continually giving divorces.  I now inform every one of my sisters that when they come to get a divorce, paying me ten dollars for it, you may just as well tear off a piece of your shirt tail and lay it by, and call it a divorce, so far as any good that piece of paper will do you.  I express myself in this wise, not because I admire coarse figures of language, but, my object is to use language that will revise the idea I wish to convey upon your memories.


Can a woman be freed from a man to whom she is sealed?  Yes, but a bill of divorcement does not free her.  There is no such law given by the God of heaven to the children of men.  Moses gave a law to the children of Israel as follows.  “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it came to pass that she find no favor in his eyes because he hath found some uncleanliness in her:  then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”  Jesus in the Gospel by Matthew says, “It hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife let him give her a writing of divorcement:  But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, save for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:  and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”  In the gospel by Mark it said, “And Jesus answered and said unto them (the Pharisees) for the hardness of your heart he (Moses) wrote you this precept:  (referring to the law of divorcement) But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh:  What therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”


I am suffered to give bills of divorcement unto you because of your blindness, ignorance, and hardness of heart; [154] otherwise it would be a sin in me.  How can a woman be made free from a man to whom she has been sealed for time and all eternity?  There are two ways.  All the Elders in Israel will not magnify their priesthood that are now in the habit of taking women, not caring how they get them; they get them frequently by stealth.  I will diverge a little here to comment on the way some get their wives.  They will actually commit adultery too, for the sake of getting a woman sealed to them, but they will probably find in the morning of the resurrection that they have not attained their end.  Wives obtained in this way will be given to those who are more worthy.  This I mean to apply to you Elders on my right and left, who forfeit your covenants, and violate the regulations of this Holy Order of matrimony, which is to live godly in Christ Jesus every hour of our lives.


To return to the thread of the subject before us.  If a man magnifies his priesthood, observing faithfully his covenants to the end of his life, all the wives and children sealed to him, all the blessings and honors, promised to him in his ordinations and sealing blessings, are immutably and eternally fixed.  No power can wrench them from his possession.  You may inquire – in case a wife becomes dissatisfied with her husband, her affections lost, she becomes alienated from him, and wishes to be the wife of another, can she not leave him?  I know of no law in heaven or on earth by which she can be made free while her husband remains faithful and magnifies his priesthood before God, and he is not disposed to put her away, she having done nothing worthy of being put away.  If that dissatisfied wife could behold the transcendent beauty of person, the Godlike qualities of the resurrected husband she now despises, her love for him would be unbounded and unalterable.  Instead of despising him she would feel like worshipping him, he is so holy, so pure, so perfect, and so filled with God in his resurrected body.  There will be no dissatisfaction of this kind in the [155] resurrection of the just.  The faithful Elders have then proved themselves worthy of their wives, and are prepared to be crowned Gods, to be filled with all the attributes of the Gods that dwell in eternity.  Could the dissatisfied ones see a vision even of the future glorified state of your husband, love for them would immediately spring up within you, and no circumstance could prevail upon you to forsake them.


The second way in which a wife can be separated from her husband, while he continues to be faithful to his God and his priesthood, I have not revealed except to a few persons in this Church; and a few have received it from Joseph the Prophet–as well as myself.  If a woman can find a man holding the keys of the priesthood with higher power and authority than her husband, and he is disposed to take her, he can do so, otherwise she has got to remain where she is.  To repeat, first, if a man forfeits his covenants with a wife, or wives, becoming unfaithful to his God, and his priesthood, that wife or wives are free from him without a bill of divorcement.  Second, if a woman claims protection at the hands of a man, possessing more power in the priesthood and higher keys, if he is disposed to rescue her and has obtained the consent of her husband to make her his wife, he can do so without a bill of divorcement.  If after she has left her husband, and is sealed to another, she shall again cohabit with him, it is illicit intercourse, and extremely sinful.


In a few words I have laid before you this important item of doctrine:  I have not time to give you an elaborate discourse upon it, that will answer the thousand and one questions that may occur to your minds, and show its workings in social life; to do this would require much time.  I will, however, extend my remarks a little further.  I do not wish any of the Elders to speculate upon what I have now advanced but ponder these words in your hearts in silence.  There may be only a few that [156] can understand this item of doctrine, and retain it in their memories as I have spoken it.  A few remarks on woman.  She is the glory of the man, but she is not at the head in all the creations of God.  Pertaining to his children on this earth, she is not accountable for the sins that are in the world.  God requires obedience for man, he is Lord of creation, and at his hand the sins of the world will be required.  Could the female portions of the human family fully understand this, they would see that they are objects of tender mercy, and greatly blessed.  This no doubt on a casual view appears to my sisters a glorious doctrine for them; and some might be tempted in their ignorance to take unwarrantable liberties, corrupt themselves with sin, and then take shelter under the doctrine that man alone is culpable for the sins they commit.


There are, however, restrictions placed upon woman.  I will quote a passage of scripture to illustrate this.  “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”  When the crime was thus atoned for, then was she free, and prepared to receive in full the blessings she otherwise would have received had she not committed sin.  Women must atone for sins committed by the volition of her own choice, but she will never become an angel to the Devil, and sin so far as to place herself beyond the reach of mercy.  She will suffer all that she has strength to suffer according to the venality of her sins.  The woman is the glory of the man; what is the glory of the woman?  It is her virginity until she gives it into the hands of the man that will be her lord and master to all eternity.  She in many instances trifles with virtue and will be damned for so doing, if it were not for more than five minutes.  When a woman can say truly to her husband who magnifies his priesthood, “I am as pure as you,” she ought to remember that it is the glory of that Lord.  Is it her glory to have illicit intercourse [157] with a gentile and then be sealed to a good Elder and faithful servant of God?  No.  She will be damned for it, and suffer the pangs of hell.  It is her duty to let wickedness alone. Our sisters are very tenacious with regard to a manÕs having more than one wife.  Says the wife, “Husband, I am capable of making your dinner, I can make your bed, I can attend to your physical wants, you do not need another woman in this house.”  Do you not know that that is a curse placed upon woman?  Why so?  That she may not become an angel to the devil.  It is the order of heaven she should suffer in the flesh.  You say you will not suffer in the flesh, that you will not be cursed; that you will have the fullest satisfaction of this life and let the next life take care of itself; “And now, Mr. Husband, if you do not make a heaven for me I will leave you.”  You have a curse upon you that the male portion of the human family have not got; their curse is to toil for a subsistence for themselves and wives and children, to obtain from the ground, by the sweat of their brow, bread and fruit, etc.  “And unto Adam he said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it:  cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field:  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,” etc.  Now notice the curse that is placed upon the woman.  “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow in thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children:  and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”  Yes, your desire shall be for your husband, your soul will long for him, and it is one of the hardest things you can think of to consent that your husband should take another wife.  And when you bring forth it shall be in extreme pain, were it not for this curse, woman would not have suffered pain in child bearing.  She has taken the lead in committing [158] sin, and she will fill her days with sorrow, she shall desire this, and that, and the other, and her disposition, and affections, and her whole being shall be afflicted as much as the man, but his afflictions are of another kind.


Let me say one thing to the young girls, and what I shall tell you I wish you to ponder in your hearts and say nothing about it, for the wicked world has no business with these things, nor half-hearted Mormons; and if there is any here who will not make a good use of what they hear the evil shall be upon themselves.  I wish to say to my young sisters, if you can go into the hands of a man, that will lead you into the kingdom of heaven, and exalt you there to become an Eve, a queen of heaven, the wife of a God — and you can remain with that man in whom your soul delights, and you take to him your virginity, you have obtained a treasure that millions of worlds like this could buy from you, for there is your glory to all eternity.  Trifle with this matter and you will reap sorrow and sore affliction.  When you make your choice of a husband for time and eternity, and you are sure you have got your choice, hang on to him, and not come to me for a bill of divorcement, which amounts to nothing at all; I have told you the only ways that a woman can be freed from a man.  There are other items pertaining to this doctrine you will learn from time to time.  Many have asked for this matter which I have opened to you, you have got it, let it enrich your noble hearts, expand your capacities, that is Godlike, and enable you to live a pure and holy life.  The whole of mankind, according to the words of the prophets anciently, have gone to whoring after strange Gods; they worship they know not what.  Men can commit sin, with their wives, by violating the law by which we are, this law is pure and holy; and every act of our lives should be to promote that and not destroy it.  We should preserve the life that is within us, and permit it to multiply.


[159] If any other course is pursued in the midst of this people, the curse of God will come upon those who do it.  We will now adjourn.  Amen.




(The following letter was written by Belinda Marden Pratt, of Great Salt Lake City, on Jan. 12, 1854, to her sister in New Hampshire.)


Dear Sister–Your letter of Oct. 2, was received on yesterday.  My joy on its reception was more than I can express.  I had waited so long for your answer to our last, that I had almost concluded my friends were offended, and would write to me no more.  Judge, then, of my joy when I read the sentiments of friendship and of sisterly affection expressed in your letter.


We are all well here, and are prosperous and happy in our family circle.  My children, four in number, are healthy and cheerful, and fast expanding their physical and intellectual faculties.  Health, peace, and prosperity have attended us all the day long.


It seems, my dear sister, that we are no nearer together in our religious views than formerly.  Why is this?  Are we not all bound to leave this world, with all we possess therein, and reap the reward of our doings here in a never ending hereafter?  If so, do we not desire to be undeceived, and to know and to do the truth?  Do we not all wish in our very hearts to be sincere with ourselves, and to be honest and frank with each other?


If so, you will bear with me patiently, while I give a few of my reasons for embracing, and holding sacred, that particu-[160]lar point in the doctrine of the Church of the Saints, to which you, my dear sister, together with a large majority of Christendom, so decidedly object.  I mean, a “plurality of wives.”


I have a Bible, which I have been taught, from my infancy, to hold sacred.  In this Bible, I read of a holy man named Abraham, who is represented as the friend of God, a faithful man in all things, a man who kept the commandments of God, and who is called, in the New Testament, the “father of the faithful.”  See James ii. 23.  Rom. iv. 16. Gal. iii. 8, 9, 16, 29.


I find this man had a plurality of wives, some of which were called concubines.  See Book of Genesis; and for his concubines, see xxv. 6.


I also find his grandson Jacob possessed of four wives, twelve sons, and a daughter.  These wives are spoken very highly of, by the sacred writers, as honourable and virtuous women.  “These,” say the Scriptures, “did build the House of Israel.”


Jacob himself was also a man of God, and the Lord blessed him and his house, and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply.  See Genesis xxx. to xxxv., and particularly xxxv. 10, 11.


I find also that the twelve sons of Jacob, by these four wives, became princes, heads of tribes, Patriarchs, whose names are had in everlasting remembrance to all generations.


Now God talked with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob frequently; and His angels also visited and talked with them, and blessed them and their wives and children.  He also reproved the sins of some of the sons of Jacob, for hating and selling their brother, and for adultery.  But in all His communications [161] with them, He never condemned their family organization; but, on the contrary, always approved of it, and blessed them in this respect.  He even told Abraham, that He would make him the father of many nations, and that in him and his seed all the nations and kindreds of the earth should be blessed.  See Genesis xviii. 17-19; also xii. 1-3.  In later years I find the plurality of wives perpetuated, sanctioned, and provided for, in the law of Moses.


David the Psalmist not only had a plurality of wives, but the Lord Himself spoke by the mouth of Nathan the Prophet, and told David, that He (the Lord) had given his master’s wives into his bosom; but because he had committed adultery with the wife of Uriah, and had caused his murder, He would take his wives and give them to a neighbour of his, etc.  See 2 Samuel, xii. 7-11.


Here, then, we have the word of the Lord, not only sanctioning polygamy, but actually giving to king David the wives of his master (Saul), and afterward taking the wives of David from him, and giving them to another man.  Here we have a sample of severe reproof and punishment for adultery and murder; while polygamy is authorized and approved by the word of God.


But to come to the New Testament.  I find Jesus Christ speaks very highly of Abraham and his family:  he says, “Many shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God.”  Luke, xiii. 28, 29.


Again, he said, “If ye were Abraham’s seed, ye would do the works of Abraham.”


[162] Paul the Apostle wrote to the Saints of his day and informed them as follows:  “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ; and if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”


He also sets forth Abraham and Sarah as patterns of faith and good works, and as father and mother of faithful Christians, who should, by faith and good works, aspire to be counted the sons of Abraham, and daughters of Sarah.


Now let us look at some of the works of Sarah, for which she is so highly commended by the Apostles, and by them held up as a pattern for Christian ladies to imitate.  “Now Sarah, Abram’s wife, bare him no children; and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  And Sarah said unto Abram, behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing:  I pray thee go in unto my handmaid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.  And Abram hearkened unto the voice of Sarah.  And Sarah, Abram’s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband, Abram, to be his wife.”  See Genesis, xvi. 1-3.


According to Jesus Christ and the Apostles, then, the only way to be saved is to be adopted into the great family of polygamists, by the Gospel, and then strictly follow their examples.


Again, John the Revelator describes the Holy City of the heavenly Jerusalem, with the names of the twelve sons of Jacob inscribed on the gates.  (Rev. xxi. 12.)


To sum up the whole, then, I find that polygamists were the friends of God; that the family and lineage of a polygamist were selected, in which all nations should be blessed; that a [163] polygamist is named in the New Testament as the father of the faithful Christians of after ages, and cited as a pattern for all generations; that the wife of a polygamist, who encouraged her husband in the practice of the same, and even urged him into it, and officiated in giving him another wife, is named as an honorable and virtuous woman, a pattern for Christian ladies, and the very mother of all holy women in the Christian Church, whose aspiration it should be, to be called her daughters; that Jesus Christ has declared, that the great fathers of the polygamic family stand at the head in the kingdom of God:  in short, that all the saved of after generations should be saved by becoming members of a polygamic family; that all those who do not become members of it are strangers and aliens to the covenant of promise, the commonwealth of Israel, and not heirs according to the promise made to Abraham; that all people from the east, west, north, or south, who enter into the kingdom, enter into the society of polygamists, and under their patriarchal rule and government; indeed no one can even approach the gates of heaven without beholding the names of twelve polygamists (the sons of four different women by one man), engraven in everlasting glory upon the pearly gates.


My dear sister, with the Scriptures before me, I could never find it in my heart to reject the heavenly vision which has restored to man the fulness of the Gospel, or the Latter-day Prophets and Apostles, merely because in this restoration is included the ancient law of matrimony and of family organization and government, preparatory to the restoration of all Israel.  But, leaving all Scripture, history, or precedent out of the question, let us come to nature’s law.  What, then, appears to be the great object of the marriage relations?  I answer – the multiplying of our species, the rearing and training of children.


[164] To accomplish this object, natural law would dictate, that a husband should remain apart from his wife at certain seasons, which, in the very constitution of the female, are untimely.  Or in other words, indulgence should not be merely for pleasure, or wanton desires, but mainly for the purpose of procreation.


The mortality of nature would teach a mother, that, during nature’s process in the formation and growth of embryo man, her heart should be pure, her thought and affections chaste, her mind calm, her passions without excitement; while her body should be invigorated with every exercise conducive to health and vigour; but by no means subjected to anything calculated to disturb, irritate, weary, or exhaust any of its functions.


And while a kind husband should nourish, sustain, and comfort the wife of his bosom, by every kindness and attention consistent with her situation, and with his most tender affection; still he should refrain from all those untimely associations which are forbidden in the great constitutional laws of female nature; which laws we see carried out in almost the entire animal economy, human animals excepted.


Polygamy, then, as practised under the Patriarchal law of God, tends directly to the chastity of women, and to sound health and morals in the constitutions of their offspring.


You can read, in the law of God, in your Bible, the times and circumstances under which a woman should remain apart from her husband, during which times she is considered unclean; and should her husband come to her bed under such circumstances, he would commit a gross sin both against the laws of nature, and the wise provisions of God’s law, as revealed in His word; in short, he would commit an abomination; [165] he would sin both against his own body, against the body of his wife, and against the laws of procreation, in which the health and morals of his offspring are directly concerned.


The polygamic law of God opens to all vigorous, healthy, and virtuous females, a door by which they may become honourable wives of virtuous men, and mothers of faithful, virtuous, healthy, and vigorous children.


And here let me ask you, my dear sister, what female in all New Hampshire would marry a drunkard, a man of hereditary disease, a debauchee, an idler, or a spendthrift; or what woman would become a prostitute; or on the other hand, live and die single; or without forming those inexpressibly dear relationships of wife and mother; if the Abrahamic covenant, or Patriarchal laws of God, were extended over your State, and held sacred and honourable by all?


Dear sister, in your thoughtlessness, you inquire, “Why not a plurality of husbands as well as a plurality of wives?”  To which I reply:  1st, God has never commanded or sanctioned a plurality of husbands; 2nd, “Man is the head of the woman,” and no woman can serve two lords; 3rd, Such an order of things would work death and not life, or, in plain language, it would multiply disease instead of children.  In fact, the experiment of a plurality of husbands, or rather of one woman for many men, is in active operation, and has been for centuries, in all the principal towns and cities of “Christendom!”  It is the genius of “Christian institutions,” falsely so called.  It is the result of “Mystery Babylon, the great whore of all the earth.”  Or in other words, it is the result of making void the holy ordinances of God in relation to matrimony, and introducing the laws of Rome, in which the clergy and nuns are forbidden to marry, and other members only to have one wife.  This law leaves females exposed to a life of single “blessedness,” with-[166]out husband, child, or friend to provide for or comfort them; or to a life of poverty and loneliness, exposed to temptation, to perverted affections, to unlawful means to gratify them, or to the necessity of selling themselves for lucre.  While the man who has abundance of means is tempted to spend it on a mistress in secret, and in a lawless way, the law of God would have given her to him as an honourable wife.  These circumstances give rise to murder, infanticide, suicide, disease, remorse, despair, wretchedness, poverty, untimely death, with all the attendant train of jealousies, heart-rending miseries, want of confidence in families, contaminating disease, etc.; and finally, to the horrible license system, in which governments, called Christian, license their fair daughters, I will not say to play the beast, but to a degradation far beneath them; for every species of the animal creation, except man, refrain from such abominable excesses, and observe in a great measure the laws of nature in procreation.


I again repeat, that nature has constituted the female differently from the male; and for a different purpose.  The strength of the female constitution is designed to flow in a stream of life, to nourish and sustain the embryo, to bring it forth, and to nurse it on her bosom.  When nature is not in operation within her in these particulars, and for these heavenly ends, it has wisely provided relief at regular periods, in order that her system may be kept pure and healthy, without exhausting the fountain of life on the one hand, or drying up its river of life on the other; till mature age, and an approaching change of worlds, render it necessary for her to cease to be fruitful, and give her to rest awhile, and enjoy a tranquil life in the midst of that family circle, endeared to her by so many ties, and which may be supposed, at this period of her life, to be approaching the vigour of manhood, and therefore able to comfort and sustain her.


[167] Not so with man.  He has no such drawback upon his strength.  It is his to move in a wider sphere.  If God shall count him worthy of an hundredfold, in this life, of wives and children, and houses, an lands, and kindreds, he may even aspire to Patriarchal sovereignty, to empire; to be the prince or head of a tribe, or tribes; and like Abraham of old, be able to send forth, for the defence of his country, hundreds and thousands of his own warriors, born in his own house.


A noble man of God, who is full of the Spirit of the Most High, and is counted worthy to converse with Jehovah, or with the Son of God; and to associate with angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect; one who will teach his children, and bring them up in the light of unadulterated and eternal truth; is more worthy of a hundred wives and children, than the ignorant slave of passion, or of vice and folly, is to have one wife and one child.  Indeed the God of Abraham is so much better pleased with one than with the other, that he would even take away the one talent, which is habitually abused, neglected, or put to an improper use, and give it to him who has ten talents.


In the Patriarchal order of family government, the wife is bound to the law of her husband.  She honors, “calls him lord,” even as Sarah obeyed and honored Abraham.  She lives for him, and to increase his glory, his greatness, his kingdom, or family.  Her affections are centered in her God, her husband, and her children.


The children are also under his government, worlds without end.  “While life or thought, or being lasts, or immortality endures,” they are bound to obey him as their father and king.


He also has a head, to whom he is responsible.  He must keep the commandments of God, and observe His laws.  He [168] must not take a wife unless she is given to him by the law and authority of God.  He must not commit adultery, nor take liberties with any women except his own, who are secured to him by the holy ordinances of matrimony.


Hence a nation organized under the law of the Gospel, or in other words, the law of Abraham and the Patriarchs, would have no institutions tending to licentiousness; no adulteries, fornications, etc., would be tolerated.  No houses or institutions would exist for traffic in shame, or in the lifeblood of our fair daughters.  Wealthy men would have no grounds for temptation in any such lawless life.  Neither money nor pleasure could tempt them, nor poverty drive them to any such excess; because the door would be open for every virtuous female to form the honorable and endearing relationships of wife and mother, in some virtuous family, where love, and peace, and plenty, would crown her days, and truth and the practice of virtue qualify her to be transplanted with her family circle in that eternal soil, where they might multiply their children without pain, or sorrow, or death; and go on increasing in numbers, in wealth, in greatness, in glory, might majesty, power, and dominion, in worlds without end.


O my dear sister! could the dark veil of tradition be rent from your mind!  Could you gaze for a moment on the resurrection of the just!  Could you behold Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their wives and children, clad in the bloom, freshness, and beauty of immortal flesh and bones; clothed in robes of fine, white linen, bedecked with precious stones and gold; and surrounded with an offspring of immortals as countless as the stars of the firmament, or as the grains of sand upon the sea shore; over which they reign as kings and queens for ever and ever! you would then know something of the weight of those words of the sacred writer which are recorded in relation [169] to the four wives of Jacob, the mothers of the twelve Patriarchs, namely:  “These did build the house of Israel.”


O that my dear kindred could but realize that they have need to repent of the sins, ignorance, and traditions of those perverted systems which are misnamed “Christianity,” and be baptized–buried in the water, in the likeness of the death and burial of Jesus Christ, and rise to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection; receive his spirit by the laying on of the hands of an Apostle, according to the promise, and forsake the world and the pride thereof.  Thus they would be adopted into the family of Abraham, become his sons and daughters, and see and enjoy for themselves the visions of the spirit of eternal truth, which bear witness of the family order of heaven, and the beauties and glories of eternal kindred ties; for my pen can never describe them.


Dear, dear kindred:  remember, according to the New Testament, and the testimony of an ancient Apostle, if you are ever saved in the kingdom of God, it must be by being adopted into the family of polygamists–the family of the great Patriarch Abraham:  for in his seed, or family, and not out of it, “shall all the nations and kindreds of the earth be blessed.”


You say you believe polygamy is “licentiousness;” that it is “abominable,” “beastly, etc; “the practice only of the most barbarous nations, or of the dark ages, or of some great or good men who were left to commit gross sins.”  Yet you say you are anxious for me to be converted to your faith; and that we may see each other in this life, and be associated in one great family in that life which has no end.


Now in order to comply with your wishes, I must renounce the Old and New Testaments; must count Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their families, as licentious, wicked, [170] beastly, abominable characters; Moses, Nathan, David, and the Prophets, no better.  I must look upon the God of Israel as partaker in all these abominations, by holding them in fellowship; and even as a minister of such iniquity, by giving king Saul’s wives into king David’s bosom; and afterwards by taking David’s wives from him, and giving them to his neighbour.  I must consider Jesus Christ, and Paul, and John, as either living in a dark age, as full of the darkness and ignorance of barbarous climes, or else willfully abominable and wicked, in fellowshipping polygamists, and representing them as fathers of the faithful, and rulers in heaven.  I must doom them all to hell, with adulterers, fornicators, etc., or else, at least, assign to them some nook or corner in heaven, as ignorant persons, who, knowing but little, were beaten with few stripes.  While by analogy, I must learn to consider the Roman Popes, clergy, and nuns, who do not marry at all, as foremost in the ranks of glory; and those Catholics and Protestants who have but one wife, as next in order of salvation, glory, immortality, and eternal life.


Now, dear friends, much as I long to see you, and dear as you are to me, I can never come to these terms.  I feel as though the Gospel had introduced me into the right family, into the right lineage, and into good company.  And besides all these considerations, should I ever become so beclouded with unbelief of the Scriptures and heavenly institutions, as to agree with my kindred in New Hampshire, in theory, still my practical circumstances are different, and would, I fear, continue to separate us by a wide and almost impassable gulf.


For instance, I have, (as you see, in all good conscience, founded on the word of God,) formed family and kindred ties, which are inexpressibly dear to me, and which I can never bring my feelings to consent to dissolve.  I have a good and virtuous husband whom I love.  We have four little children [171] which are mutually and inexpressibly dear to us.  And besides this, my husband has seven other living wives, and one who has departed to a better world.  He has in all upwards of twenty-five children.  All these mothers and children are endeared to me by kindred ties, by mutual affection, by acquaintance and association; and the mothers in particular, by mutual and long-continued exercises of toil, patience, long-suffering, and sisterly kindness.  We all have our imperfections in this life; but I know that these are good and worthy women, and that my husband is a good and worthy man:  one who keeps the commandments of Jesus Christ, and presides in his family like an Abraham.  He seeks to provide for them with all diligence; he loves them all, and seeks to comfort them and make them happy.  He teaches them the commandments of Jesus Christ, and gathers them about him in the family circle to call upon his God, both morning and evening.  He and his family have the confidence, esteem, good-will, and fellowship of this entire territory, and of a wide circle of acquaintances in Europe and America.  He is a practical teacher of morals and religion, a promoter of general education, and at present occupies an honourable seat in the Legislative Council of this territory.


Now, as to visiting my kindred in New Hampshire, I would be pleased to do so, were it the will of God.  But first, the laws of that state must be so modified by enlightened legislation, and customs and consciences of its inhabitants, and of my kindred, so altered, that my husband can accompany me with all his wives and children, and be as much respected and honoured in his family organization, and in holy calling, as he is at home; or in the same manner as the Patriarch Jacob would have been respected, had he, with his wives and children, paid a visit to his kindred.  As my husband is yet in his youth, as well as myself, I fondly hope we shall live to see that day.  For already the star of Jacob is in the ascendancy; the house of Israel is about to be restored; while “Mystery [172] Babylon,” with all her institutions, awaits her own overthrow.  Till this is the case in New Hampshire, my kindred will be under the necessity of coming here to see us, or on the other hand we will be mutually compelled to forego the pleasure of each other’s company.


You mention, in your letter, that Paul, the Apostle, recommended that Bishops be the husband of one wife.  Why this was the case, I do not know, unless it was as he says, that while he was among Romans he did as Romans did.  Rome, at that time, governed the world, as it were; and although gross idolaters, they held to the one wife system.  Under these circumstances, no doubt, the Apostle Paul, seeing a great many polygamists in the Church, recommended that they had better choose for this particular temporal office, men of small families, who would not be in disrepute with the government.  This is precisely our course in those countries where Roman institutions still bear sway.  Our Elders there have but one wife, in order to conform to the law of men.


You inquire why Elder W., when at your house, denied that the Church of this age held to the doctrine of plurality.  I answer, that he might have been ignorant of the fact, as our belief on this point was not published till 1852.  And had he known it, he had no right to reveal the same until the full time had arrived.  God kindly withheld this doctrine for a time, because of the ignorance and prejudice of the nations of mystic Babylon, that peradventure he might save some of them.


Now, dear sister, I must close.  I wish all my kindred and old acquaintances to see this letter, or a copy thereof; and that they will consider it as if written to themselves.  I love them dearly, and greatly desire and pray for their salvation, and that we may all meet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God.


[173] Dear sister, do not let your prejudices and traditions keep you from believing the Bible; nor the pride, shame, or love of the world keep you from your seat in the kingdom of heaven, among the royal family of polygamists.  Write often and freely.


With sentiments of the deepest affection and kindred feeling, I remain, dear sister, your affectionate sister,



Mrs. Lydia Kimball, Nashua, N.H.


P.S.–My kind love to your husband, and all inquiring friends.


(Millennial. Star 14:468-477)




(Brigham Young gave this discourse on September 21, 1856, and it is recorded in the Journal of Discourses 4:54-57.)


Now for my proposition; it is more particularly for my sisters, as it is frequently happening that women say they are unhappy.  Men will say, “My wife, though a most excellent woman, has not seen a happy day since I took my second wife.  No, not a happy day for a year,” says one; and another has not seen a happy day for five years.  It is said that women are tied down and abused: that they are misused and have not the liberty they ought to have; that many of them are wading through a perfect flood of tears, because of the conduct of some men, together with their own folly.

I wish my own women to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as others, and I want those who [174] are here to tell their sisters, yes, all the women of this community, and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it.  I am going to give you from this time to the 6th day of October next, for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going to set every woman at liberty and say to them–Now go your way, my women with the rest, go your way.  And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me.  I will go into heaven alone, rather than having scratching and fighting around me.  I will set all at liberty.  “What, first wife too?”  Yes, I will liberate you all.


I know what my women will say; they will say, “You can have as many women as you please, Brigham.”  But I want to go somewhere and do something to get rid of the whiners; I do not want them to receive a part of the truth and spurn the rest out of doors.


I wish my women, and brother Kimball’s and brother Grant’s to leave, and every woman in this Territory, or else say in their hearts that they will embrace the Gospel–the whole of it.  Tell the Gentiles that I will free every woman in this Territory at our next Conference.  “What, the first wife too?”  Yes, there shall not be one held in bondage, all shall be set free.  And then let the father be the head of the family, the master of his own household; and let him treat them as an angel would treat them; and let the wives and the children say amen to what he says, and be subject to his dictates, instead of their dictating the man, instead of their trying to govern him.


No doubt some are thinking, “I wish brother Brigham would say what would become of the children.”  I will tell you what my feelings are; I will let my wives take the children, and [175] I have property enough to support them, and can educate them, and then give them a good fortune, and I can take a fresh start.


I do not desire to keep a particle of my property, except enough to protect me from a state of nudity.  And I would say–wives you are welcome to the children, only do not teach them iniquity; for if you do, I will send an Elder, or come myself, to teach them the Gospel. You teach them life and salvation, or I will send Elders to instruct them.


Let every man thus treat his wives, keeping raiment enough to clothe his body; and say to your wives, “Take all that I have and be set at liberty; but if you stay with me you shall comply with the law of God, and that too without any murmuring and whining.  You must fulfil the law of God in every respect, and round up your shoulders to walk up to the mark without any grunting.”


Now recollect that two weeks from tomorrow I am going to set you at liberty.  But the first wife will say, “It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women;” then I say it is time that you gave him up to other women who will bear children.  If my wife had borne me all the children that she ever would bear, the celestial law would teach me to take young women that would have children.


Do you understand this?  I have told you many times that there are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?–to prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime.  [176] It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can; hence if my women leave, I will go and search up others who will abide the celestial law, and let all I now have go where they please; though I will send the Gospel to them.


This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.


If the men of the world were right, or if they were anywhere near right, there might not be the necessity there now is.  But they are wholly given up to idolatry, and to all manner of wickedness.


Do I think that my children will be damned?  No, I do not, for I am going to fight the devil until I save them all; I have got my sword ready, and it is a two-edged one.  I have not a fear about that, for I would almost be ashamed of my body if it would beget a child that would not abide the law of God, though I may have some unruly children.


I am going to ask you a good many things, and to begin with I will ask, what is your prayer?  Do you not ask, for the righteous to increase, while the unrighteous shall decrease and dwindle away?  Yes, that is the prayer of every person that prays at all.  The Methodists pray for it, the Baptists pray for it, and the Church of England and all the reformers, the Shaking Quakers not excepted.  And if the women belonging to this Church will turn Shaking Quakers, I think their sorrows will soon be at an end.


Sisters, I am not joking, I do not throw out my proposition to banter your feelings, to see whether you will leave your husbands, all or any of you.  But I do know that there is no [177] cessation to the everlasting whining of many of the women in this Territory; I am satisfied that this is the case.  And if the women will turn from the commandments of God and continue to despise the order of heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty may be close to their heels, and that it may be following them all the day long.  And those that enter into it and are faithful, I will promise them that they shall be queens in heaven, and rulers to all eternity.


“But,” says one, “I want to have my paradise now.”  And says another, “I did think I should be in paradise if I was sealed to brother Brigham, and I thought I should be happy when I became his wife, or brother Heber’s.  I loved you so much, that I thought I was going to have a heaven right off, right here on the spot.”


What a curious doctrine it is, that we are preparing to enjoy!  The only heaven for you is that which you make yourselves.  My heaven is here [laying his hand upon his heart].  I carry it with me.  When do I expect it in its perfection?  When I come up in the resurrection; then I shall have it, and not till then.


But now we have got to fight the good fight of faith, sword in hand, as much so as men have when they go to battle; and it is one continual warfare from morning to evening, with sword in hand.  This is my duty, and this is my life.


But the women come and say, “Really brother John, and brother William, I thought you were going to make a heaven for me,” and they get into trouble because a heaven is not made for them by the men, even though agency is upon women as well as upon men.  True there is a curse upon the woman that is not upon the man, namely, that “her whole affections shall be towards her husband,” and what is the next?  “He shall rule over you.”


[178] But how is it now?  Your desire is to your husband, but you strive to rule over him, whereas the man should rule over you.


Some may ask whether that is the case with me; go to my house and live, and then you will learn that I am very kind, but know how to rule.


If I had only wise men to talk to, there would be no necessity for my saying what I am going to say.  Many and many an Elder knows no better than to go home and abuse as good a woman as dwells upon this earth, because of what I have said this afternoon.  Are you, who act in that way, fit to have a family?  No, you are not, and never will be, until you get good common sense.


Then you can go to work and magnify your callings; and you can do the best you know how; and on that ground I will promise you salvation, but upon no other principle.


If I were talking to a people that understood themselves and the doctrine of the holy Gospel, there would be no necessity for saying this, because you would understand.  But many have been (what shall I say? pardon me, brethren,) hen-pecked so much, that they do not know the place of either man or woman; they abuse and rule a good woman with an iron hand.  With them it is as Solomon said–“Bray a fool in a mortar among wheat, with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.”  You may talk to them about their duties, about what is required of them, and still they are fools, and will continue to be.


Prepare yourselves for two weeks from tomorrow; and I will tell you now, that if you will tarry with your husbands, after I have set you free, you must bow down to it, and submit [179] yourselves to the celestial law.  You may go where you please, after two weeks from tomorrow; but, remember, that I will not hear any more of this whining.


In the midst of all my harsh sayings, shall I say chastisements?–I am disposed, in my heart, to bless this people; and I do bless you, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.  (J.D. 4:54-57, Sept. 21, 1856)




By Orson Pratt


(The Apostle Orson Pratt was commissioned to go to Washington D.C. when the Church announced its belief in plural marriage in 1852.  He introduced a publication called “The Seer”, which contained the announcement to the world of the doctrine of plurality of wives among the Latter-Day Saints.  To conclude his series of articles in defense of plural marriage he composed a list of twenty-seven rules for a successful, and happy marriage in this Principle.  We are pleased to print them here in their entirety.)


“Inasmuch as the saints in Utah consider it moral, virtuous, and scriptural, to practice the plurality system, they should seek by every means to eradicate, not only from their own minds, but from the minds of their children, every erroneous, improper prejudice which they have formerly imbibed, by their associations with the nations of modern Christendom.  Parents who have daughters should seek to instil into their minds, that it is just as honorable for them to be united in marriage to a good man who is already a husband, as to one that is single:  they should be taught to reject the society and proposals for marriage of all wicked men, whether single or not.  A father should be impartial to all his children, and culti-[180]vate the same love for them all; while each wife should instil into the minds of her own children the necessity of loving the children of each of the others, as brothers and sisters.  Each wife should not only care for the welfare of her husband and her own children, but should also seek the happiness of each of his other wives and children.  And likewise, the children of each wife should not only respect, honor, and love their own mother, but also the mothers of all their brothers and sisters.  By observing these precepts, peace and tranquility will reign throughout every department of the family, and the spirit of God will flow freely from heart to heart.


Nothing is so much to be desired in families as peace, love, and union:  they are essential to happiness here and hereafter.  And, in order to promote these desirable objects, we would recommend the observance of the following rules.


Rule 1st.–Let that man who intends to become a husband, seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and learn to govern himself, according to the law of God:  for he that cannot govern himself cannot govern others:  let him dedicate his property, his talents, his time, and even his life to the service of God, holding all things at His disposal, to do with the same, according as He shall direct through the counsel that He has ordained.


Rule 2nd.–Let him next seek for wisdom to direct him in the choice of his wives.  Let him seek for those whose qualifications will render him and themselves happy.  Let him look not wholly at the beauty of the countenance, or the splendor of the apparel, or the great fortune, or the artful smiles, or the affected modesty of females; for all these, without the genuine virtues, are like the dew-drops which glitter for a moment in the sun, and dazzle the eye, but soon vanish away.  But let him look for kind and amiable dispositions; for unaffected modesty; [181] for industrious habits; for sterling virtue; for honesty, integrity, and truthfulness; for cleanliness in persons, in apparel, in cooking, and in every kind of domestic labor; for cheerfulness, patience, and stability of character; and above all, for genuine religion to control and govern their every thought and deed.  When he has found those possessing these qualifications let him seek to obtain them lawfully through the counsel of him who holds the keys of the everlasting priesthood, that they may be married to him by the authority of Heaven, and thus be secured to him for time and for all eternity.


Rule 3rd.–When a man has obtained his wives, let him not suppose that they are already perfect in all things; for this cannot be expected in those who are young and inexperienced in the cares and vicissitudes of a married life.  They, as weaker vessels, are given to him as the stronger, to nourish, cherish, and protect; to be their head, their patriarch, and their saviour; to teach, instruct, counsel, and perfect them in all things relating to family government, and the welfare and happiness of themselves and their children.  Therefore, let him realize the weighty responsibility now placed upon him, as the head of a family; and also let him study diligently the disposition of his wives, that he may know how to instruct them in wisdom for their good.


Rule 4th.–Betray not the confidence of your wives.  There are many ideas in an affectionate confiding wife which she would wish to communicate to her husband, and yet she would be very unwilling to have them communicated to others.  Keep each of your wives’ secrets from all the others, and from anyone else, unless in cases where good will result by doing otherwise.


Rule 5th.–Speak not of the faults of your wives to others; for in so doing, you speak against yourself.  If you [182] speak to one of your wives of the imperfections of the others who may be absent, you not only injure them in her estimation, but she will expect that you will speak against her under like circumstances:  this is calculated to weaken their confidence in you, and sow division in the family.  Tell each one of her faults in private in a spirit of kindness and love, and she will most probably respect you for it, and endeavor to do better for the future; and thus the others will not, because of your reproof, take occasion to speak reproachfully of her.  There may be circumstances, when reproof, given in the presence of the others, will produce a salutary influence upon all.  Wisdom is profitable to direct, and should be sought for earnestly by those who have the responsibility of families.


Rule 6th.–Avoid anger and a fretful, peevish disposition in your family.  A hasty spirit, accompanied with harsh words, will most generally beget its own likeness, or, at least, it will eventually sour the feelings of your wives and children, and greatly weaken their affections for you.  You should remember that harsh expressions against one of your wives, used in the hearing of the others, will more deeply wound her feelings, than if she alone heard them.  Reproofs that are timely and otherwise good, may lose their good effect by being administered in a wrong spirit, indeed, they will most probably increase the evils which they were intended to remedy.  Do not find fault with every trifling error that you may see; for this will discourage your family, and they will begin to think that it is impossible to please you; and, after a while, become indifferent as to whether they please you or not.  How unhappy and extremely wretched is that family where nothing pleases–where scolding has become almost as natural as breathing!


Rule 7th.–Use impartiality in your family as far as circumstances will allow; and let your kindness and love abound towards them all.  Use your own judgment, as the head of the [183] family, in regard to your duties in relation to them, and be not swayed from that which is right, by your own feelings, nor by the feelings of others.


Rule 8th.–Suffer not your judgment to be biased against any one of your wives, by the accusations of the others, unless you have good grounds to believe that those accusations are just.  Decide not hastily upon partial evidence, but weigh well all things, that your mind may not become unjustly prejudiced.  When one of your wives complains of the imperfections of the others, and endeavors to set your mind against them, teach her that all have imperfections, and of the necessity of bearing one with another in patience, and of praying one for another.


Rule 9th.–Call your wives and children together frequently, and instruct them in their duties towards God, towards yourself, and towards one another.  Pray with them and for them often; and teach them to pray much, that the Holy Spirit may dwell in their midst, without which it is impossible to maintain that union, love, and oneness which are so necessary to happiness and salvation.


Rule 10th.–Remember, that notwithstanding written rules will be of service in teaching you your duties, as the head of a family, yet without the Holy Ghost to teach and instruct you, it is impossible for you to govern a family in righteousness; therefore, seek after the Holy Ghost and He shall teach you all things, and sanctify you and your family, and make you one, that you may be perfected in Him and He in you, and eventually be exalted on high to dwell with God, where your joy will be full forever.


Rule 11th.–Let no woman unite herself in marriage with any man, unless she has fully resolved to submit herself wholly to his counsel, and to let him govern as the head.  It is far bet-[184]ter for her not to be united with him in the sacred bonds of eternal union, than to rebel against the divine order of family government, instituted for a higher salvation; for if she altogether turn therefrom, she will receive a greater condemnation.


Rule 12th.–Never seek to prejudice the mind of your husband against any of his other wives, for the purpose of exalting yourself in his estimation, lest the evil which you unjustly try to bring upon them, fall with double weight upon your own head.  Strive to rise in favor and influence with your husband by your own merits, and not by magnifying the faults of others.


Rule 13th.–Seek to be a peacemaker in the family with whom you are associated.  If you see the least appearance of division arising, use your utmost efforts to restore union and soothe the feelings of all.  Soft and gentle words, spoken in season, will allay contention and strife; while a hasty spirit and harsh language add fuel to the fire already kindled which will rage with increasing violence.


Rule 14th.–Speak not evil of your husband unto any of the rest of the family for the purpose of prejudicing their minds against him; for if he be informed thereof, it will injure you in his estimation.  Neither speak evil of any members of the family; for this will destroy their confidence in you.  Avoid all hypocrisy; for if you pretend to love your husband and to honor and respect his wives, when present, but speak disrespectfully of them when absent, you will be looked upon as a hypocrite, as a tattler, and as a mischief-making woman, and be shunned as being more dangerous than an open enemy.  And what is still more detestable, is to tattle out of the family, and endeavor to create enemies against those with whom you are connected.  Such persons should not only be considered hypocrites, but traitors, and their conduct should be despised by [185] every lover of righteousness.  Remember also, that there are more ways than one to tattle; it is not always the case that those persons who are the boldest in their accusations that are the most dangerous slanderers; but such as hypocritically pretend that they do not wish to injure their friends, and at the same time very piously insinuate, in dark indirect sayings, something that is calculated to leave a very unfavorable prejudice against them.  Shun such a spirit as you would the very gates of hell.


Rule 15th.–If you see any of your husband’s wives sick or in trouble, use every effort to relieve them, and to administer kindness and consolations, remembering that you, yourself, under the same circumstances, would be thankful for their assistance.  Endeavor to share each others burdens, according to the health, ability, and strength which God has given you.  Do not be afraid that you will do more than your share of the domestic labor, or that you will be more kind to them than they are to you.


Rule 16th.–Let each mother correct her own children, and see that they do not dispute and quarrel with each other, nor with any others; let her not correct the children of the others without liberty so to do, lest it give offence.  The husband should see that each mother maintains a wise and proper discipline over her children, especially in their younger years:  and it is his duty to see that all of his children are obedient to himself and to their respective mothers.  And it is also his duty to see that the children of one wife are not allowed to quarrel and abuse those of the others, neither to be disrespectful or impudent to any branch of his family.


Rule 17th.–It is the duty of parents to instruct their children, according to their capacities, in every principle of the gospel, as revealed in the Book of Mormon and in the revela-[186]tions which God has given, that they may grow up in righteousness, and in the fear of the Lord, and have faith in Him.  Suffer no wickedness to have place among them, but teach them the right way, and see that they walk therein.  And let the husband, and his wives, and all of his children that have come to the years of understanding, often bow before the Lord around the family altar, and pray vocally and unitedly for whatever blessings they stand in need of, remembering that where there are union and peace, there will also be faith, and hope, and the love of God, and every good work, and a multiplicity of blessings, imparting health and comfort to the body, and joy and life to the soul, yet they cannot claim the honor of having restored it in the full sense of Isaiah’s prediction.  This honor was reserved for a people who should be called Zion, where all should eventually be called beautiful, and glorious, and holy.  The pure and virtuous daughters of Zion will consider it a great reproach to remain single and have no posterity:  hence their exceedingly great anxiety for husbands, that their reproach may be taken away.  They will learn that a woman cannot, through her own carelessness or neglect, fail to fulfil the end of her creation, without bringing upon herself everlasting reproach, as well as condemnation for disobeying the Lord’s great and first commandment to multiply.  Oh, how different will be their feelings from those now manifested by females traditioned under papist and protestant superstitions!  Surely there must be some mighty changes and revolutions when all things that the ancient prophets have predicted shall be restored!  Polygamy, as well as monogamy, will then be honored by all the heavenly hosts above, and by all the nations of the righteous upon the earth; and there will not be so much as a dog to move his tongue against any of the institutions of the Bible.


Rule 18th.–Let each mother commence with her children when young, not only to teach and instruct them, but to chasten and bring them into the most perfect subjection; for then [187] is the time that they are the most easily conquered, and their tender minds are the most susceptible of influences and government.  Many mothers, from carelessness, neglect their children and only attempt to govern them at long intervals, when they most generally find their efforts of no lasting benefit; for the children having been accustomed to have their own way, do not easily yield; and if peradventure they do yield, it is only for the time being, until the mother relaxes again into carelessness, when they return again to their accustomed habits:  and thus by habit they become more and more confirmed in disobedience, waxing worse and worse, until the mother becomes discouraged, and relinquishes all discipline, and complains that she cannot make her children mind.  The fault is not so much in the children, as in the carelessness and neglect of the mother when the children were young; it is she that must answer, in a great degree, for the evil habits and disobedience of the children.  She is more directly responsible than the father; for it cannot be expected that the father can always find time, apart from the laborious duties required of him, to correct and manage his little children who are at home with their mothers.  It is frequently the case that the father is called to attend to duties in public life, and may be absent from home much of his time, when the whole duty of family government necessarily rests upon the respective mothers of his children; if they, through carelessness, suffer their children to grow up in disobedience and ruin themselves, they must bear the shame and disgrace thereof.  Some mothers, though not careless, and though they feel the greatest anxiety for the welfare of their children, yet, through a mistaken notion of love for them, forbear to punish them when they need punishment, or if they undertake to conquer them, their tenderness and pity are so great, that they prevail over the judgment, and the children are left unconquered, and become more determined to resist all future efforts of their mothers until, at length, they conclude that their children have a more stubborn disposition than others, [188] and that it is impossible to subject them in obedience.  In this case, as in that of neglect, the fault is the mother’s.  The stubbornness of the children, for the most part, is the effect of the mother’s indulgence, arising from her mistaken idea of love.  By that which she calls love, she ruins her children.


Children between one and two years of age are capable of being made to understand many things; then is the time to begin with them.  How often we see children of that age manifest much anger.  Frequently by crying through anger, they that are otherwise healthy, injure themselves:  it is far better, in such instances, for a mother to correct her child in a gentle manner, though with decision and firmness, until she conquers it, and causes it to cease crying, than to suffer that habit to increase.  When the child by gentle punishment has learned this one lesson from its mother, it is much more easily conquered and brought into subjection in other things, until finally, by a little perseverance on the part of the mother, it learns to be obedient to her voice in all things; and obedience becomes confirmed into a permanent habit.  Such a child trained by a negligent or overindulgent mother, might have become confirmed in habits of stubbornness and disobedience.  It is not so much in the original constitution of children as in their training, that causes such wide differences in their dispositions.  It cannot be denied, that there is a difference in the constitution of children even from their birth; but this difference is mostly owing to the proper or improper conduct of parents, as before stated; therefore, even for this difference, parents are more or less responsible.  If parents, through their own evil conduct entail hereditary dispositions upon their children which are calculated to ruin them, unless properly curtailed and overcome, they should realize, that for that evil they must render an account.  If parents have been guilty in entailing upon their offspring unhappy dispositions, let them repent, by using all diligence to save them from the evil consequences which will nat-[189]urally result by giving way to those dispositions.  The greater the derangement, the greater must be the remedy, and the more skilful and thorough should be its application, until that which is sown in evil is overcome and completely subdued.  In this way parents may save themselves and their children; but otherwise there is condemnation.  Therefore, we repeat again, let mothers begin to discipline their children when young.


Rule 19th.–Do not correct children in anger; an angry parent is not as well prepared to judge of the amount of punishment which should be inflicted upon a child, as one that is more cool and exercised with reflection, reason, and judgment.  Let your children see that you punish them, not to gratify an angry disposition, but to reform them for their good, and it will have a salutary influence; they will not look upon you as a tyrant, swayed to and fro by turbulent and furious passions; but they will regard you as one that seeks their welfare, and that you only chasten them because you love them, and wish them to do well.  Be deliberate and calm in your counsels and reproofs, but at the same time use earnestness and decision.  Let your children know that your words must be respected and obeyed.


Rule 20th.–Never deceive your children by threatenings or promises.  Be careful not to threaten them with a punishment which you have no intention of inflicting; for this will cause them to lose confidence in your word; besides, it will cause them to contract the habit of lying:  when they perceive that their parents do not fulfil their threatening or promises, they will consider that there is no harm in forfeiting their word.  Think not that your precepts, concerning truthfulness, will have much weight upon the minds of your children, when they are contradicted by your examples.  Be careful to fulfil your word in all things in righteousness, and your children will not only learn to be truthful from your example, but they will [190] fear to disobey your word, knowing that you never fail to punish or reward according to your threatenings and promises.  Let your laws, penalties, and rewards be founded upon the principles of justice and mercy, and adapted to the capacities of your children; for this is the way that our heavenly Father governs His children, giving to some a Celestial; to others a Terrestrial; and to others still a Telestial law, with penalties and promises annexed, according to the conditions, circumstances, and capacities of the individuals to be governed.  Seek for wisdom and pattern after the heavenly order of government.


Rule 21st.–Do not be so stern and rigid in your family government as to render yourself an object of fear and dread.  There are parents who only render themselves conspicuous in the attribute of justice, while mercy and love are scarcely known in their families.  Justice should be tempered with mercy, and love should be the great moving principle, interweaving itself in all your family administrations.  When justice alone sits upon the throne, your children approach you with dread, or peradventure hide themselves from your presence, and long for your absence that they may be relieved from their fear; at the sound of your approaching footsteps they flee as from an enemy, and tremble at your voice, and shrink from the gaze of your countenance, as though they expected some terrible punishment to be inflicted upon them.  Be familiar with your children that they may delight themselves in your society, and look upon you as a kind and tender parent whom they delight to obey.  Obedience inspired by love, and obedience inspired by fear, are entirely different in their nature; the former will be permanent and enduring, while the latter only waits to have the object of fear removed, and it vanishes like a dream.  Govern children as parents, and not as tyrants; for they will be parents in their turn, and will be very likely to adopt that form of government in which they have been educated.  If you have been tyrants, they may be influenced to pattern after your ex-[191]ample.  If you are fretful and continually scolding, they will be very apt to be scolds too.  If you are loving, kind, and merciful, these benign influences will be very certain to infuse themselves into their order of family government; and thus good and evil influences frequently extend themselves down for many generations and ages.  How great, then, are the responsibilities of parents to their children!  And how fearful the consequences of bad examples!  Let love, therefore, predominate and control you, and your children will be sure to discover it, and will love you in return.


Rule 22nd.–Let each mother teach her children to honor and love their father, and to respect his teachings and counsels.  How frequently it is the case, when fathers undertake to correct their children, mothers will interfere in the presence of the children:  this has a very evil tendency in many respects:  first, it destroys the oneness of feeling which should exist between husband and wife; secondly, it weakens the confidence of the children in the father, and emboldens them to disobedience; thirdly, it creates strife and discord; and lastly, it is rebelling against the order of family government, established by divine wisdom.  If the mother supposes the father too severe, let her not mention this in the presence of the children, but she can express her feelings to him while alone by themselves, and thus the children will not see any division between them.  For husband and wives to be disagreed, and to contend, and quarrel, is a great evil; and to do these things in the presence of their children, is a still greater evil.  Therefore, if a husband and his wives will quarrel and destroy their own happiness, let them have pity upon their children, and not destroy them by their pernicious examples.


Rule 23rd.–Suffer not children of different mothers to be haughty and abusive to each other; for they are own brothers and sisters the same as the children of the patriarch Jacob; and [192] one has no claim above another, only as his conduct merits it.  Should you discover contentions or differences arising, do not justify your own children and condemn the others in their presence; for this will encourage them in their quarrels:  even if you consider that your children are not so much in the fault as the others, it is far better to teach them of the evils of strife, than to speak against the others.  To speak against them, not only alienates their affections, but has a tendency to offend their mothers, and create unpleasant feelings between you and them.  Always speak well of each of your husband’s wives in the presence of your children; for children generally form their judgment concerning others, by the sayings of their parents:  they are very apt to respect those whom their parents respect; and hate those whom they hate.  If you consider that some of the mothers are too lenient with their children and too negligent in correcting them, do not be offended, but strive, by the wise and prudent management of your own, to set a worthy example before them, that they, by seeing your judicious and wise course, may be led to go and do likewise.  Examples will sometimes reform, when precepts fail.


Rule 24th.–Be industrious in your habits:  this is important as fulfilling the law of God:  it is also important for those who are in low circumstances, that they may acquire food, and raiment, and the necessary comforts of life:  it is also important for the rich as well as the poor, that they may be able more abundantly to supply the wants of the needy, and be in circumstances to help the unfortunate and administer to the sick and afflicted; for in this way, it is possible even for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  A family whose time is occupied in the useful and lawful avocations of life, will find no time to go from house to house, tattling and injuring one another and their neighbors; neither will they be so apt to quarrel among themselves.


[193] Rule 25th.–When your children are from three to five years of age, send them to school, and keep them there year after year until they receive a thorough education in all the rudiments of useful science, and in their manners, and morals.  In this manner, they will avoid many evils, arising from indolence, and form habits that will render them beneficial to society in after life.  Let mothers educate their daughters in all kinds of domestic labor:  teach them to wash and iron, to bake and do all kinds of cooking, to knit and sew, to spin and weave, and to do all other things that will qualify them to be good and efficient housewives.  Let fathers educate their sons in whatever branch, or branches of business, they intend them respectively to follow.  Despise that false delicacy which is exhibited by the sons and daughters of the rich, who consider it a dishonor to labor at the common avocations of life.  Such notions of high-life, should be frowned out of the territory, as too contemptible to be harbored, for one moment, by a civilized community.  Some of these bogus gentlemen and ladies have such grand ideas, concerning gentility, that they would let their poor old father and mother slave themselves to death, to support them in their idleness, or at some useless fanciful employment.  The daughter will sit down in the parlour at her painting or music, arrayed in silks and fineries, and let her mother wash and cook until, through fatigue, she is ready to fall into her grave:  this they call gentility, and the distinctions between the low and the high.  But such daughters are not worthy of husbands, and should not be admitted into any respectable society:  they are contemptible drones, that would be a curse to any husband who should be so unfortunate as to be connected with such nuisances.  Painting, music, and all the fine arts, should be cherished, and cultivated, as accomplishments which serve to adorn and embellish an enlightened civilized people, and render life agreeable and happy; but when these are cultivated, to the exclusion of the more necessary duties and qualifications, it is like adorning swine with costly [194] jewels and pearls to make them appear more respectable: these embellishments, only render such characters a hundred fold more odious and disgustful than they would otherwise appear.


Rule 26th.–Use economy and avoid wastefulness.  How discouraging it would be to a husband who has a large family, depending mostly upon his labor for a support, to see his wives and children carelessly, thoughtlessly, and unnecessarily, waste his hard earnings.  Let not one wife, for fear that she shall not obtain her share of the income, destroy, give away, and otherwise foolishly dispose of what is given to her, thinking that her husband will furnish her with more.  Those who economize and wisely use that which is given to them, should be counted worthy to receive more abundantly than those who pursue a contrary course.  Each wife should feel interested in saving and preserving that with which the Lord has entrusted her, and should rejoice, not only in her prosperity, but in the prosperity of all the others:  her eyes should not be full of greediness to grasp everything herself, but she should feel equally interested in the welfare of the whole family.  By pursuing this course she will be beloved:  by taking a contrary course, she will be considered selfish and little minded.


Rule 27th.–Let husbands, wives, sons, and daughters, continually realize that their relationships do not end with this short life, but will continue in eternity without end.  Every qualification and disposition therefore, which will render them happy here, should be nourished, cherished, enlarged, and perfected, that their union may be indissoluble, and their happiness secured both for this world and for that which is to come.


Let these rules be observed, and all others that are good and righteous, and peace will be the result:  husbands will be patriarchs and saviours; wives will be like fruitful vines, bring-[195]ing forth precious fruits in their seasons:  their sons will be like plants of renown, and their daughters like the polished stones of a palace.  Then the saints shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and become a great people and strong, whose goings forth shall be with strength that is everlasting.  Arise, O Zion; clothe thyself with light!  Shine forth with clearness and brilliancy!  Illuminate the nations and the dark corners of the earth, for their light is gone out–their sun is set–gross darkness covers them!  Let thy light be seen upon the high places of the earth; let it shine in glorious splendour; for then shall the wicked see, and confounded, and lay their hands upon their mouths in shame; then shall kings arise, and come forth to the light, and rejoice in the greatness of thy glory!  Fear not, O Zion, nor let thine hands be slack, for great is the Holy One in the amidst of thee!  A cloud shall be over thee by day for a defense, and at night thy dwellings shall be encircled with glory!  God is thine everlasting light, and shall be a Tower of strength against thine enemies; at the sound of His voice they shall melt away, and terrors shall seize upon them.  In that day thou shalt be beautiful and glorious, and the reproach of the Gentiles shall no more come into thine ears; in that day, shall the sons of them that afflicted thee come bending unto thee and bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and the daughters of them that reproached thee, shall come, saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be joined in the patriarchal order of marriage with the husbands and patriarchs in Zion to take away our reproach:  then shall they highly esteem, far above riches, that which their wicked fathers ridiculed under the name of Polygamy.




(An unpublished conference sermon.  The original document is housed in the L.D.S. Church Archives.)


[196] “An immense congregation were comfortably seated in the open air.  Singing.  Prayer by Elder G.A. Smith.  Elder O. Pratt read the 68th Psalm, which the choir chanted.  It being the recurring time for administering the sacrament, Bishop L.D. Young asked a blessing upon the bread, and Bishop Isaac Hill asked a blessing upon the water.  While the emblems were being passed, President Brigham Young delivered a highly interesting discourse, which held the vast audience as it were spellbound.”  (Deseret News, Oct. 12, 1854, p.2)


“October 8, 1854


General Conference commenced this morning at the tabernacle at 10:00 o’clock.

The Presidency were present–of the twelve apostles O. Hyde, O. Pratt, W. Woodruff, G.A. Smith, E.T. Benson, L. Snow.  As all the business of the Conference is published in the Deseret News of October 12, No. 31, I deem it unnecessary to record it here.  Conference closed Sunday Evening.  October 8, President Young preached to a congregation of several thousand, out of doors and I believe that he preached the greatest sermon that ever was delivered to the Latter Day Saints since they have been a people.  Elder Watt reported.  I also took minutes.”  (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, entry of October 6-8, 1854)


Adam planted the Garden of Eden, and he with his wife Eve partook of the fruit of this earth, until their systems were charged with the nature of earth, and then they could beget bodies for their spiritual children.  If the spirit does not enter into the embryo man that is forming in the womb of the woman, the result will be false conception – a living, intelli-[197]gent being cannot be produced.  Adam and Eve begot the first mortal bodies on this earth, and from that commencement every spirit that was begotten in eternity for this earth will enter bodies thus prepared for them here, until the winding-up scene, and that will not be until the last of these spirits enters an earthly tabernacle.


Then I reckon that the children of Adam and Eve married each other; this is speaking to the point.  I believe in sisters marrying brothers, and brothers having their sisters for wives.  Why?  Because we cannot do otherwise.  There are none others for me to marry but my sisters.


“But do not pretend to say you would marry your father and mother’s daughter.”


If I did not, I would marry another of my sisters that lives over in another Garden, the material of which they are organized is just the same–there is no difference between them and those who live in this garden.  Our spirits are all brothers and sisters, and so are our bodies; and the opposite idea to this has resulted from the ignorant and foolish traditions of the nations of the earth.  They have corrupted themselves with each other, and I want them to understand that they have corrupted their own flesh, blood, and bones; for they are of the same flesh, blood, and bones, as all the family of the earth.


I am approaching the subject of our marriage relations Bro. Hyde lectured upon, but I shall not have time, or strength to say much about this.  But, I reckon that Father Adam and Mother Eve had the children of the human family prepared to come here and take bodies; and when they come to take bodies, they enter into the bodies prepared for them; and that body gets an exaltation with the spirit, when they are prepared to be crowned in Father’s kingdom.


[198] “What, into Adam’s kingdom?”




As to my talking what I want to say at this time I shall not do it.  I am exhausting myself; I have to speak loud, and it hard labor.


I tell you, when you see your father in the heavens, you will see Adam.  When you see your mother that bore your spirit, you will see Mother Eve.  And when you see yourselves there, you have gained your exaltation; you have honored your calling here on the earth; your body has returned to its mother earth, and somebody has broken the chains of death that bound you and has given you a resurrection.


How are you going to get your resurrection?  You will get it by the president of the resurrection pertaining to this generation, and that is Joseph Smith, Jun.  So hear it all ye ends of the earth; if ever you enter into the kingdom of God, it is because Joseph Smith let you go there.  This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond and free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned without Joseph Smith saying so.  The man who was martyred in the Carthage Jail, State of Illinois, holds the keys of life and death to this generation.  He is the present of the resurrection in this dispensation and he will be committed to him.  Then he will call up his apostles.  You know, I told you last conference I was an apostle of Joseph Smith; and if faithful enough, I expect Joseph will resurrect the apostles.  And when they have passed through the change, and received their blessings, I expect he will commit to them the keys of the resurrection and they will go on resurrecting the Saints, every man in his own order.


[199] I want to say a little more about marriage relations so that you may understand what my views are.  When you get your resurrection, you are not yet exalted, but by and by, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, the Saviour of the world, the heir of the family, when he has put down Satan, and destroyed death, then he will say, come let us go home into the presence of the Father.


What will become of the world then?  It will be baptized with fire.  It has been baptized with water, and it will then be cleansed by fire, and become like a sea of glass, and made celestial; and Jesus Christ our Elder Brother, will take the whole earth, with all the saints, and go with them to the father even to Adam; and you will continue to receive more and more intelligence, glory, exaltation, and power.


I want to tell you a thing with regard to parents, wives, brothers and sisters, etc.  The time will come when it will be told where this man and that woman shall be placed.  The real blood of Joseph will be selected out from among the tribes of Israel, and every man and woman will be put in their places and stand in their order where the Lord designs them to be.  When you get back into the presence of God, and the Lord should say, who have you brought with you, your reply would be–my wife and children.  But in reality you have with you only your brothers and sisters.  The father would say, “These are my children.”  When you meet your Father in Heaven, you will know him, and realize that you have lived with him, and rested in his bosom for ages gone past, and he will hail you as his sons and daughters, and embrace you, and you will embrace him, and hallelujah, thank God I have come to the Father again.  I have got back home, will resound through the heavens.  There are ten thousand things connected with these ideas.  You see the human family of every shade of color between black and white.  I could stand here and tell you what I [200] reckon, but it would take an age for me to tell you all there is about it.


We have all come from one father, even Adam, both the black and the white, the grisseled and the gray; the noble and the ignoble; and the time will come when they will all come back again into his presence.  When they have behaved themselves, and proved faithful to their calling and to their God, the curse will be removed from every class and nation of men that desires to work the work of God.  It has been told you that saviours would come upon Mount Zion, and judge the Mount of Esau.  Let me read it for you.  Then shall saviours come upon Mount Zion, and save the Mount of Esau.  What does Gentile signify?  Disobedience.  What does Israel signify?  Obedience.  What is the name of the first man?  Adam, which signifies first man, and Eve signifies first woman.  And when Michael the archangel shall sound his trump and the Ancient of Days shall come, all things that we have once been familiar with will come back again to our memory.


In our marriage relations here we are marrying our brothers and our sisters.  As to a man having more wives than one, this is startling indeed to the tradition of the people.  With regard to it being the law of the Lord for a man to have only one wife, or for a man to have no wife, it is no such thing.  All that rests in the traditions of the people and in the doings of legislative bodies.  That is all there is about wives in the world as to their having many or none.  It is corruption for men to deny the truth, for man to work iniquity, to defile themselves and to betray the innocent.


If there are any of my friends who do not belong to the church here, I want to tell you one thing.  I will take all the sin there is before God and angels in men having one wife, two wives, ten, or fifty wives, that will use them well, upon my own [201] shoulders, if they will acknowledge them, support them, raise children by them, and bring them up as well as they know how.  I say I will take all the sins there is in this, of the whole of the Latter Day Saints, and place them with one sin of you poor devils, who when you were young men courted that poor innocent girl and made her believe you would marry her, then got her in the family way and left her to wide world, you poor curses.  This one sin of yours will weigh down all the sins of the Latter Day Saints together and go down about enough for you to be damned in the bottomless pit, while the elders of Israel will be exalted among the Gods.  There are scores and hundreds and thousands of these poor girls upon the streets of the cities of the United States.


Why Governor, did you ever see any of them?  Yes, lots of them, in that neighborhood, and in the other neighborhood I have found respectable families, where a young mechanic, a lawyer, or a farmer, or some other poor miserable wretch fit for nothing but the fire of hell, would insinuate themselves into the family, court the daughter, win her affections, deceive her, and then forsake her, and then boast of their achievements and rejoice over their success; but weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you, you poor damned wretches.  I want to cut their damned throats, and I will if I catch any of them doing it here.  I should hold myself guilty before God and angels if I did not sweep the earth of such low wretches.  I will not ask the Lord to do a dirty trick I would not do myself.  Let them prowl around my daughters, and I will slay them, yes, as fast as I can come to them.  What more will I do?  When I find a young woman caught in this snare, I will take her to my house, and say, you shall have a home with me and my family.


I only know these iniquities by observation; I was never of such sins.  The wickedest day I ever saw, I would not betray an innocent female, but instead of prostituting them, I would [202] tell them how to do right, and teach them the way of life and salvation, and see them safe in the Kingdom of God if they would obey my counsel.  But you will take a poor helpless, innocent creature, and lead the unsuspecting victim nigh to the altar of marriage, and then ruin the innocent lamb, you poor cursed Gentiles, go and weep and howl.  In New York alone there are over eighteen hundred prostitutes licensed in that city, to corrupt themselves for hell; and I want to tell every man that is going to hell, that it is full of such creatures, so full that their elbows stick out of the windows.


Instead of creating such awful state of society as this presents, we take to ourselves wives, acknowledge them, raise their children, school them, and try to teach them the way of salvation.  Let me tell you what they should do in the city of New York, that holy, that righteous city, and to other cities, where there are thousands of licensed houses of ill-fame, besides thousands of private ones that are not licensed but go under different appellations.  They should set fire to every poor filthy debaucher, and collect the illegitimate children, as they are called, that are running in the streets, and wash them, and school them, and teach them righteousness, and not suffer them to mingle with those that mingle unlawfully together.  Also take the women, and wash them clean, and put them to work at spinning, weaving, and at other useful employment in the country.  As they now exist, they want to die; they have lost their character, and nothing appears in the future for them but a life of wretchedness of the lowest grade.  There are thousands of these poor women who would bless the first person who would kill them.  They do not wish to kill themselves, but live they must and disguise their real feelings.


Let the world cleanse themselves before they talk about Utah; and when they get sanctified, and become purer than we are, they may come and give us a few points upon purity.  It is [203] a subject I do not wish to name, but in my remarks I seem to run on to it, and could not well avoid it.


I wish you to understand well the position I have taken, and the nature of the remarks I have made.  Profit by them, both saints and sinners.  You have had things laid before you that do not belong to the world, nor to men and women who calculate to apostatize.  They belong to the wise – to those serving God with all their hearts.  Now let me say to the wicked in heart, you cannot remember a word of this discourse unless you remember it in the Lord.  I might reveal all there is in eternity, and those who have not their hearts on righteousness would know nothing about it, nor be in the least instructed.


I commenced with Father Adam in his resurrected state, noticed our spiritual state, then our temporal or mortal state, and traveled until I got back to Father Adam again.  After considering all this, what have you seen that makes it appear we are not brethren and sisters?  Does it appear that we are not because we are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth?  You think when you run into grandchildren and great grandchildren, etc., that by and by there will be no connection.  They are just as much connected in spirit and body, in flesh, blood, and bone, as your children are that bear off your own body.  This is something pertaining to our marriage relation.  The whole world will think what an awful thing it is.  What an awful thing it would be if the Mormons should just say we believe in marrying brothers and sisters.  Well, we shall be under the necessity of doing it, because we cannot find anybody else to marry.  The whole world are at the same thing, and will be as long as man exists upon the earth.


I feel as though I had said enough.  I have talked long enough for my own good; and we shall bring our conference to a close.



[204]                             Chapter 6





(This extract is from page 513 of the Millennial Star, which was printed in August of 1853 in Liverpool, England.  Samuel W. Richards was the editor and probably published this article.  It was in this same Millennial Star that plural marriage among the Mormons was announced.)


Monogamy, or single marriage, (that is, marriage to one wife at once) is an old Roman practice, adopted by the Roman Church, and thus introduced into Christendom.  Whether the Apostles taught it or not we cannot say, as St. Paul enjoins it only on bishops, thereby, however, inculcating the propriety of it without enforcing it as a rule.  No Roman was allowed to have two wives at once, but was liable to be punished for bigamy.  Marc Antony was the first Roman who had two wives.  Julius Caesar attempted to have a law passed in favour of polygamy, but could not effect it.  It was no doubt owing to this national custom amongst the Romans, that the early Roman ladies were so distinguished for their personal dignity and propriety of conduct.  Woman held a much higher rank amongst the Romans than amongst the Jews.  The early Christians so naturally adopted this habit of Roman respectability, that we are apt to ascribe the monogamy of the western world to [205] Christianity; but this is a mistake.  There is no evidence of it either in Scripture or in history.  Nay, it is a well-known fact, that even concubinage was sanctioned by the early Church.  A man was allowed to keep a concubine without marriage, but not a concubine and a wife together.  (See Bingham’s Antiquities, Book xvi, c. 11.)  To return to the habits of the early or primitive Church would be a retrograde movement; and therefore, even if the Mormons can show that there is nothing against polygamy in the New Testament, it will be of little service to them.  It is the practice of an age of barbarism.”  (Family Herald, July 2.)


The other day, our eyes came across the above paragraph, and we thought that if inserted in the Star, with a word of comment, the whole might prove acceptable to those good Christians who think the principle of polygamy to be an innovation on Christianity.


We have heretofore said, more than once, that polygamy and primitive Christianity were not inimical to each other, that neither the New nor the Old Testament had a line of condemnation for the principle of a plurality of wives, and that the practice of this principle, in righteousness, was not displeasing in the sight of God.  We have given Scripture references upon the matter, but all Christians are not convinced.  Some have a notion that, in primitive times, monogamy was the universal law amongst Christians, and that Christ made void the Old Testament ideas and teaching concerning the propriety of man’s having more than one wife.  Two witnesses are better than one.  The Family Herald comes forward, with profane historical references, to assist in the enlightenment of such unbelieving Christians.  He assures them that many “are apt to ascribe the monogamy of the western world to Christianity; [206] but this is a mistake.  There is no evidence of it either in Scripture or in history.  Nay, it is a well-known fact that even concubinage was sanctioned by the early Church.”  How do the Christians feel to hear this, not what the “Mormons” say, but what the Protestants say?


But this is not the worst feature for the Protestant Christians to look upon.  Mr. Herald here plainly tells them that they have derived their strict monogamic system from the Roman Catholic Church.  Protestant Christians agree to call this Church Antichrist, the great whore who sitteth upon many waters, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and a variety of other not very chaste or beautiful titles.  And the Protestants affirm stoutly that the Roman Catholic Church richly deserves these titles.  Well, let us believe the affirmations of the Protestants concerning their venerable mother, lady Rome.  Let us take for granted all that the numerous and motley daughters of this ancient lady say of her.  Let us believe that the Roman Church is indeed the great whore, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.  What then?  We are led to notice three things.  First–The Romish Church is lewd.  Second–The daughters of the Church of Rome are lewd.  Third–The principal abominations upon the face of the earth are the practices introduced by the Church of Rome, and persevered in by herself and daughters.  Let us briefly consider these charges separately, and see how far they can be substantiated.


First–The Church of Rome is lewd.  The relation of the sexes is a matter of vital importance.  Marriage–the legal union of the sexes, is the legitimate foundation of society.  The laws regulating the union of the sexes are of the first importance, for if the foundation of society be bad, the superstructure must go to ruin.  The Lord ordained marriage for all who were worthy, and the Apostle Paul said marriage was honourable in all.  [207] Incidental to certain exigencies, the same Apostle gave counsel that those who married did well, but those who did not marry did better; and also that it was well for Bishops and Deacons to have one wife each.  The Roman Church, with all the blindness characteristic of those who follow the letter, and miss the spirit, has founded arbitrary laws upon the basis of Paul’s incidental and local counsel.  Her priests are forbidden to marry at all, and no one within the pale of her influence is permitted to marry more than one wife.  Rome has thus strained this counsel of Paul, until she acts in direct opposition to other of his teaching.  Under her influence, providing the sexes were equal in number, and it were the design of the Almighty to bestow the blessings of wives and children equally among the righteous and the wicked who might marry, still a portion of the female sex could not be blessed with a protector, and consequently could not answer the end of their creation, and would be left open to the passions of the unprincipled.  To give these females a shadow of protection, and perhaps to balance the marriageable disproportion of the sexes, Rome has institutions where young women are encouraged to take vows of perpetual celibacy, with the idea that a thorough conquest over, or rather an extermination of, sexual desire is peculiarly pleasing to God.  This is a pitiable delusion, for if the connection of man and woman were offensive to our Maker, He could possibly have prevented all connection and all desire, by making no distinction of sex.  But it seems childish to speak of such doctrine as voluntary perpetual celibacy, were it not that many people are corrupted through it.  The teaching of Christ, and the Apostles, (excepting the incidental advice of Paul,) and the old Prophets, recorded in the Bible, wisely leaves open the subject of marriage, as to whether a man should have one wife or several wives, those inspired teachers knowing that a righteous man would strive to do right any way.  Men, uninspired men, bind each other with chains, but the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus makes men free to do right in all things.


[208] In consequence of these foolish laws and traditions the earth abounds in wickedness.  Licentiousness prevails among all nations.  Adultery is so common as to be scarcely considered a punishable crime.  Hundreds and thousands of women, prevented by law from becoming the wives of good men whom they love, and obeying the impulses God has endowed them with, either throw themselves into the arms of those men they love, (though such men be previously married,) or become the wives of wicked men, brutal men who, by their actions, evince that they have not the shadow of a right to the control of a woman’s affections or person, or of a posterity.  In the first case, infamy is the result; in the second, moral prostitution; in both, a life of misery–all through the traditionary, foolish, unchristian, ungodly restrictions of an apostate Church, respecting the gratification of those desires which the Almighty planted in the bosom of man and woman for a wise and happy development.  Thus, under the colour of chastity of the purest cast, does Rome manifest, to one who judges not by the outward appearance, that the spirit which actuates her is a spirit of gross lewdness.  Notwithstanding her immaculate professions, the bent of her genius is to lewdness.  Profession is not possession.  As modest as a harlot, is synonymous with a vulgar proverb.


Second–The daughters of Church of Rome are lewd.  By the harlots–the daughters of the Church of Rome, may be understood all those societies whose pedigree can be traced up to her, and all those who adopt those of her principles and practices which foster lewdness.  The whole Protestant world, according to their own showing, come under condemnation here, for as Rome enforced the one-wife system upon the Christian world, the Protestants, to prove their lineage to Rome, have followed in her track, and have continued the law of monogamy to this day.  None of the Protestant societies have shown themselves pure and godly enough to condemn [209] that law, though they could find no Scripture to support it.  Luther and Melanchthon allowed polygamy, but they counseled against it, though, strange to say, Luther confessed that he could not see that it came in opposition to Holy Scripture.  And some amongst the divers hosts of Protestants will not even advocate monogamy, but, with their venerable mother, recommend the adoption of perpetual celibacy.  And thus do the whole body of the Protestants, while professing otherwise, proclaim their true lewd character and lineage, and consequently among Protestant nations we find licentiousness prevails to an alarming extent.  And the proudest, and, professedly, most Christian cities take the lead in this demoralizing business.


Third–The principal abominations upon the face of the earth are the practices introduced by the Church of Rome, and persevered in by herself and her harlot daughters.  Had the question of monogamy or polygamy been left open, and allowed to work according to the law of God, the tributaries and streams of lewdness would have been checked and dried up long before this time.  The startling figures on prostitution would not have found their way among the statistical tables of the nations.  But this would not have suited the mother of harlots, nor her daughters–it would have ill-comported with their genius; consequently she, in all her holiness and purity, set to work so to alter or modify the law of God as to leave her a chance to work out her true character; and her daughters, whilst ostensibly condemning her apostasy, have virtually sanctioned it by continuing those practices which principally differ from the laws and ordinances of God.  And so full is the earth, of the consequent abominations, that the Almighty has declared that all mankind have gone astray, and the kings and nobles of the earth especially have corrupted themselves through the multitude of her enchantments, and have committed fornication with her.  And, according to the prediction of [210] His Apostle John, the Lord has commissioned His servants to trumpet forth the command to the pure among all nations–“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”  The pure in heart are commanded, for two reasons, to separate themselves from her–that they partake not of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues.  So full is the earth, of her abominations, that even those who would do right are in danger whilst in her midst–they are liable to imbibe her false and ungodly traditions respecting marriage and celibacy, and consequently to act upon them, and thus render themselves liable to share in the plagues which God has determined to pour out upon her, as a punishment for her abominations.  By going out from her midst, those who love righteousness can renounce her traditions, and be taught more perfectly in the laws of the Lord, so that the earth may not be altogether cursed and desolated in the day of the fierce anger of the Almighty.  It is of no use to disguise the fact that things have come to this pass–men must either takes sides with the mother of harlots, and with her monogamy, and celibacy, and prostitution, or take sides with the Almighty, and with His holy law of polygamy, and sexual purity.  Eventually none can stand neutral–all must take one side or the other.


We will now offer a few further remarks upon our text.  The personal dignity and propriety of conduct which distinguished the early Roman ladies, was, we think, the result of that proud and lofty spirit that pervaded the Roman community ere luxury determined republican vigour and honour, rather than of the monogamic relations of the sexes.  Polygamy, as it may be handled, is a mighty instrument for good or evil.  When apostasy prevailed among the Jews, no doubt the principle was much abused, and consequently woman then was not treated with that consideration and re-[211]spect to which she was entitled.  But we cannot conceive that the heathen Roman nations understood and appreciated the true character of woman, better than those Jews who were favoured with the revelations of the Almighty concerning the purposes of man’s and woman’s existence.  This does not seem reasonable.  If a people who have been the favourites of heaven, and the recipients of revelations from heaven, sin and fall, the degradation of that people becomes proportionate to the height they had advanced in heavenly knowledge and intelligence.  The greatness of a fall is always dependent on the height from which the fall is made.  This is the reason why the Jews are represented, in the Bible, as at one time pursuing the highest virtues, and at another the lowest vices.  While the Jews practised polygamy in complete accordance with the law of God, they must have entertained more just and elevated views of the worth of woman, and the respect and consideration to which she was entitled, than any heathen nation could have done.  But when the Jews gave way to sin, their very superior privileges and knowledge opened the way for, and qualified the apostates to work, far greater wickedness than the heathen could have done.  When the Jews became transgressors before God, the polygamic relations of the sexes, instead of fulfilling the law of God, and honouring human nature, became powerful instruments of licentiousness, ministers of reckless lust, providers for unbridled passions.  Apostates are cursed with the heaviest cursings, because such characters have been favoured with superior knowledge, and their superior knowledge qualifies them for sounding the lowest depths of wickedness.


The Herald says–“To return to the habits of the early or primitive Church would be a retrograde movement; and therefore, even if the Mormons can show that there is nothing against Polygamy in the New Testament, it will be of little service to them.  It is the practice of an age of barbarism.”  This is [212] a wonderful discovery, truly–one that opens wide the floodgates of apostasy to all the world, and palliates the multitudinous perversions of Gospel truth, and the diverse changings of the ordinances and institutions of the Most High God, which perversions and changings have, for seventeen centuries, cursed the nations of the earth, and filled the world with darkness, corruption, and death, and will yet bring down the hot vengeance of the Almighty in the terribly exquisite judgments of the last days.  What says the Prophet?  “To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”  But now we are taught that to go to the law and the testimony is a “retrograde movement!” a relapse into “barbarism!”  Again–“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”  O, no, say our modern teachers, that would be a “retrograde movement,” those are the “practices of an age of barbarism.”  O, no, “We will not walk therein.”  Then what saith the Lord to such?  “Also I set my watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.  But they said, We will not hearken.  Therefore, hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.  Hear O earth:  behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.  To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country?  Your burnt-offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.  Therefore, thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.”


As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are God’s ways above man’s ways.  To the polished, artificial society of the present day, a return to the purity of primitive customs, as [213] far as those customs are inculcated in the law of God, may appear a “retrograde movement,” a return to the “practice of an age of barbarism,” but to the pure in heart the matter presents a contrary appearance.  Most admit that the social fabric is radically rotten, and if so, we must go to the foundation of society, before it can be made radically sound.  To some, such a movement may appear retrograde, and barbaric, but few can deny its wisdom and utility, nay, its necessity.  The inhabitants of Utah have pursued this course, and we humbly imagine that primitive, barbaric, polygamic Utah will compare with enlightened, civilized, monogamic Christendom, and only be found wanting in prostitution, whoredoms, debauchery, and the almost innumerable abominations which constitute the most prominent features of all Christian nations.  In these things, we know from personal observation that Utah is very, very far deficient.  And we are further assured that hundreds and thousands of pure and honest souls will yet bid adieu to the monogamic traditions of Christendom, and make a “retrograde movement” to the polygamic “practice of an age of barbarism,” and exclaim, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.”


According to the Herald’s logic, to preach faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of the hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, would be a “retrograde movement,” a return to the “practice of an age of barbarism.”  To “contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints,” to seek for visions and revelations from God, to pray for the ministrations of angels, to desire the spiritual gifts of the primitive Church, to plant Apostles and Prophets in the Church, to obtain the Urim and Thummim as in days of old, to gain the restoration of our “judges as at the first, and our counselors as at the beginning,” to seek to bring about the “restitution of all things spoken of by all the Holy Prophets since the world began”–all these things would constitute a [214] mass of overwhelming evidence that we were making a deplorably “retrograde movement,” and that many years would not elapse ere would be seen again upon the earth, in full development, many a “practice of an age of barbarism.”  So let it be, we will do our best to bring the matter about, under the direction of the Almighty, for Christians must yet know that they, in many things, are not so far in advance of the heathen as many people may imagine.


It may be asked–Do we wish to banish monogamy and celibacy, and make polygamy universal?  No, we wish to do no such thing.  We only war against many of the existing traditions and laws among the human family, pertaining to these principles, because those traditions are unscriptural, ungodly, and unpolitic, tending to debase the human family, feeding the licentious cravings of the profligate, and exposing many of the fairer portion of the human race to sham and wretchedness.  We believe in the perfect propriety of polygamy, monogamy, and celibacy.  All the principles are proper, true, and righteous.  Under the law of God, monogamy is a blessing, polygamy is a greater blessing, but celibacy is a curse.  It is in the application of these principles that the world goes wrong.  Developed according to this law, they establish and preserve society.  Developed according to the tradition of the world, they corrupt and eventually destroy society.  How then, must these principles be acted upon?  By revelation from the Lord.  Let the purest and most faithful among the sons of men have each as many wives as God will allow them, let other men have each one wife, or none at all, according to their merits or demerits.  This would bring more release and happiness to the world, in ten years, than the practice of all the traditions of Christendom, Mahommeddom, and Heathendom would do in a century of centuries.



[215]                             Chapter 7




(This chapter is comprised of various statements taken from the Journals of Discourses, Teachings of Brigham Young, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, etc.)


“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 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.

“God said, `Thou shalt not kill;’ at another time He said `Thou shalt utterly destroy.’  This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted–by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed.  Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.

“But in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness–and the happiness of all His creatures, He never has–He never will institute [216] an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances.  Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant; the proffered good returns to the giver; the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but unto him that hath not or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had.

“Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be.  He will be inquired of by His children.  He says:  “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;” but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things–who will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy.” (History of the Church, p.135-36)


[217] “Be kind to your children and diligently teach them the right and the good way, and when your daughters have grown up, and wish to marry, let them have their choice in a husband, if they know what their choice is.  But if they should happen only to guess at it, and marry the wrong man, why let them try again; and if they do not get in the right place the second time, let them try again.  That is the way I shall do with my daughters, and it is the way I have already done.” (Teachings of B.Y. p.292)


“It is not the boys that are after Gentile women, but the Mormon girls are after Gentile men.  The Mormon boys never think of looking outside this Church for wives.” (Teachings of BY. p.293)


“If my daughter wished to marry a good man of seventy years of age, and he had seventy wives, I should not think of withholding my consent.” (Teachings of B.Y. p.293)


“I will tell you that some of the most noble spirits are waiting with the Father to this day to come forth through the right channel and the right kind of men and women.” (HCK JD 5:92)


“A great many women are more nice than wise.  If they can get a man with a pretty face, they think it is all there is about it.” (HCK JD 4:277)


“Suppose she has no love, no attachment, can she expect the affection of her husband?  Can a graft grow to a tree unless its nature is congenial to that of the tree in which it is grafted?” (HCK JD 4:277)


[218] “Some women will marry a man one day, and call for a divorce the next.  They are playing with the things of God, and are sealing their own damnation.” (HCK JD 4:277)


“Is there any man living outside of this Church who will have a claim upon his wife on the other side of the veil?  No.  Why?  Because in all their marriages, no matter by what church or denomination they are celebrated, the ceremony distinctly states, `until death do you part.’ (JT JD 24:228)


“But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.” (TPJS p.301)


“Handsome men are not apt to be wise and strong-minded men; but the strength of a strong-minded man will generally create coarse features, like the rough, strong bough of the oak.” (TPJS p-299)


“I do not think there have been many good men on the earth since the days of Adam; but there was one good man and his name was Jesus.” (TPJS p.303)


“It is natural for females to have feelings of charity and benevolence.” (TPJS p.226)


“You need not be teasing your husbands because of their deeds, but let the weight of your innocence, kindness and affection be felt, which is more mighty than a millstone hung about the neck…” (TPJS p.227)


“When a man is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and difficulty, if he can meet a smile instead of an argument or a murmur–if he can meet with mild-[219]ness, it will calm down his soul and soothe his feelings; when the mind is going to despair, it needs a solace of affection and kindness.” (TPJS p.228)


“Don’t envy the finery and fleeting show of sinners, for they are in a miserable situation; but as far as you can, have mercy on them…” (TPJS p.229)


“Who are better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters, whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy and compassion.  No one.” (TPJS p.229)


“There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake.” (TPJS p.309)


“One thing is very true and we believe it, and that is that a woman is the glory of the man; but she was not made to be worshiped by him.  As the Scriptures say, man is not without the woman, neither is woman without the man in the Lord.” (BY JD 8:62)


“You ought to love a woman only so far as she adorns the doctrine you profess.” (BY JD 3:360)


“It is not my general practice to counsel the sisters to disobey their husbands, but my counsel is–obey your husbands; and I am sanguine and most emphatic on that subject.  But I never counseled a woman to follow her husband to the Devil.” (BY JD 1:77)


“Mothers, remember that when your husbands are engaged in the service of the Church, and are all the time occupied in the duties of the Priesthood, so that they have not time [220] to instruct their children, the duty devolves upon you.” (BY JD 2:21)


“Is it not a blessing to you, mothers, to raise up Prophets and Apostles–men filled with the glory of God, to go forth and extend the work of our God? (JD 8:92)


“Fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters are no more to me that are any other persons, unless they embrace this work.” (BY JD 8:199)


“Teach your children from their youth, never to see their hearts immoderately upon an object of this world.” (BY JD 3:357)


“Parents should never drive their children, but lead them along, giving them knowledge as their minds are prepared to receive it.  Chastening may be necessary betimes, but parents should govern their children by faith farther than by the rod, leading them kindly by good example into all truth and holiness.” (BY JD 12:174)


“Children need directing and teaching what is right in a kind, affectionate manner.” (BY JD 8:74)


“It is an old saying that a woman can throw out of the window with a spoon as fast as a man can throw into the door with a shovel; but a good housekeeper will be saving and economical and teach her children to be good housekeepers, and how to take care of everything that is put in their charge.” (BY JD 12:195)


“Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride.  Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him.  Keep my commandments continually, and a [221] crown of righteousness thou shalt receive.  And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.” (D & C 25:14-15)


“Woman’s influence is all powerful; a woman can influence a man to almost anything if she knows how to proceed.  She can lead him to the lowest depths of degradation, or to the grandest heights of noble deeds.  She can cause a man to forsake his principles and those things which he knows to be right and do what he knows to be wrong, and what he would do; under no other circumstances; while on the other hand she can, by her influence and efforts, cause a man to rise step by step from the low places into which he has fallen, till he is capable of the noblest things.” (Celia A. Smith Young Women’s Journal 4:281)


“It is the duty of the man to follow Christ, and it is the duty of the woman to follow the man in Christ, not out of him.  But has not a woman the same volition that the man has?  Can she not follow or disobey the man as he can follow or disobey Christ?  Certainly she can, she is responsible for her acts, and must answer for them.  She is endowed with intelligence and judgment, and will stand upon her own merits as much so as the man.” (J.F. Smith JD 16:247)


“It is written in the first book of Moses, concerning matrimony:  God created a man and a woman, and blessed them.  Now, although this sentence was chiefly spoken of human creatures, yet we may apply it to all the creatures of the world–to the fowls of the air, the fish in the waters, and the beasts of the field, wherein we find a male and a female consorting together, engendering and increasing.  In all things God has placed before our eyes the state of matrimony.  We have its image, also, even in the trees and earth.” (M. Luther Table Talk p.297)


[222] “Maternity is a glorious thing, since all mankind have been conceived, born, and nourished of women.  All human laws should encourage the multiplication of families.” (M. Luther Table Talks p.298)


“The Turks, however, are of the opinion that ’tis no uncommon thing for a virgin to bear a child.  I would by no means introduce this belief into my family.” (M. Luther Table Talks p.299)


“‘Tis a grand thing for a married pair to live in perfect union, but the devil rarely permits this.  When they are apart, they cannot endure the separation, and when they are together, they cannot endure the always seeing one another.  Married people must assiduously pray against these assaults of the devil.” (M. Luther Table Talks p.301)


“There is no power that can separate a virtuous man and woman who have been united by the power of the Holy Priesthood; no power can do it, they must do it themselves if done at all.  These ties that bind us together will endure through time and all eternity.” (G.Q. Cannon JD 26:253)


“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)


“There is no evil in love; but there is much evil resulting from the want of love.  No woman should be united in marriage with a man unless she has some love for him; and if she loves him in a small degree, this is capable of being increased to perfection.” (O. Pratt “Seer” p.154)


“If I were a lady I should be careful whom I married; I should want to be pretty sure that the man tried to live his re-[223]ligion as revealed to us.  Young folks generally marry because they love, sometimes because they are pretty.  It is said that beauty is only skin deep, and I believe it is so, it will shortly fade away.  We should be reasonable on this subject, as well as on others; but when a person is love struck, there is no reason in them.  We should never be struck very bad.  We should love so that we could throw him off at any time if he does not do right.” (J. Taylor JD 19:167)


“Our daughters should seek, by all the faith that they can exercise before God, to obtain good husbands–husbands who will build them up instead of holding them down; who will strengthen their hands in the work of God, who will make them mothers of a righteous seed and posterity with whom they can rejoice in the eternal mansions of our Father and our God…” (G.Q. Cannon JD 25:369)


“It is the character that is in the man’s house, the spirit that is in the man; it is the spirit that is in the woman and in the house that makes the woman and that makes the man.” (BY JD 5:92)


“Those who attain to the blessing of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body.  Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God.  If you can, by faithfulness in this life, obtain the right to come up in the morning of the resurrection, you need entertain no fears that the wife will be dissatisfied with her husband, or the husband with the wife…” (BY JD 10:24)


“Young men, fit you up a little log cabin, if it is not more than ten feet square, and then get you a bird to put in your little cage.  You can then work all day with satisfaction to your-[224]self considering that you have a home to go to, and a loving heart to welcome you.” (BY JD 12:204)


“But the whole subject of the marriage relation is not in my reach, nor in any other man’s reach on this earth. *** In fact, it is the thread which runs from the beginning to the end of the holy Gospel of Salvation–of the Gospel of the Son of God; it is from eternity to eternity.” (BY JD 2:90)


“There is no ecclesiastical law that you know anything about, to free a wife from a man to whom she has been sealed, if he honors his Priesthood.” (BY JD 8:345)


“How is it with you sisters?  Do you distinguish between a man of God and a man of the world?  It is one of the strangest things that happens in my existence, to think that any man or woman can love a being that will not receive the truth of heaven.” (BY JD 8:199)


“This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth.” (BY JD 4:56)


“Let the father be the head of the family, the master of his own household; and let him treat them as an angel would treat them.” (BY JD 4:55)


“Now let me say to the First Presidency, to the Apostles, to all the Bishops in Israel, and to every quorum, and especially to those who are presiding officers, set that example before your wives and your children, before your neighbors and this people, that you can say; “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”  When we do this, all is right, and our consciences are clear.” (BY JD 15:229)


[225] “Let the husband and father learn to bend his will to the will of his God, and then instruct his wives and children in this lesson of self-government by his example as well as by precept…” (BY JD 9:256)


“And then it is not enough for men to be married to wives and be sealed according to the order of God, they must treat them aright when they have them; they must treat them as they would treat angels of God; they must be full of kindness and mercy and long suffering; they must provide for them and make them happy and comfortable, and take care of the families they have by them, and in this way gain the favor of God, and the respect of all honorable men.” (JT JD 24:231)


“It is saddening to note the frequency of divorces in the land, and the growing inclination to look upon children as an encumbrance instead of as a precious heritage from the Lord.  These evils should not gain a foothold among the people of God, and you, my sisters, as members of the Relief Society and as mothers in Israel, should exercise all your influence against them and in favor of pure motherhood and faithfulness to the marriage covenant.”  (Lorenzo Snow JH p.5, July 9, 1901)


“Hence, it has always been considered, among all intelligent and right thinking people in the nations, both in a social and political capacity, that it is in the interests of humanity that the marital relations should be sustained, that virtue and chastity should be preserved, and that in proportion as these principles are disregarded has the elevation or degradation of the race been manifested.”  (Gospel Kingdom p.3-4, John Taylor)



[226]                             Chapter 8







(The following segments were authored by George Q. Cannon, and taken from The Juvenile Instructor, as referenced.)


Marriage should be encouraged.  But parents, and others who have influence with the young, should be careful to have marriages congenial.  No true happiness can result from an ill-assorted marriage.  Above all things, care should be taken to impress upon our young people the necessity of marrying those of their own faith.  The experience of the past forty years, since we have lived in these mountains, has given hundreds of illustrations of the unhappy results which follow the marriage of people of our faith with those who are not of our faith.  If the Mormon girl who married a man not of her faith has remained true to her religion and her early training and convictions, she has not had a happy life, and too frequently misery has been the result.  It is true, there have been a few instances out of the hundreds of cases of this kind where the man has become convinced of the truth of the gospel, and has espoused it; but these instances are so rare as to be very remarkable.  In the great majority of cases, girls who have thus married have gradually lost their faith and become aliens to their former associates and to the religion of the Lord.  The experience of these many years ought to be a lesson that should not be lost [227] sight of.  Therefore, we say that such unions are not happy ones.


The marriage of an ignorant person with an intelligent one is not always attended with happy results.  There should be some similarity of taste, of disposition, of training, and certainly of belief, to make a couple congenial.  A young man, therefore, in seeking for a partner – and the same may be said of young women – should bear in mind that to live happily through life in the wedded condition, they should have partners of congenial tastes and of similar training.


An intelligent, educated girl who marries an ignorant man must either lift him to her level, if she would lead a pleasant life and maintain her self-respect, or she must descend to his level.  It is seldom that a woman can lift her husband in this way; she is more likely either to become discouraged and alienated from him, and separated from him, or descend to his level.  If she does the latter, she cannot escape the feeling that she is lowering herself and descending from the station she might have occupied.  The young man who marries a girl who is not his equal in education or in intelligence is more likely to lift her up to his level, and to inspire her with noble thought, and to develop her higher attributes, than in the other case.  There is less danger from such a marriage than in the case of the woman who marries one inferior to herself.


Too great care cannot be taken in forming associations.  It is an old and a true saying that people are known by the company they keep.  No young man can associate with those who are not pure without being, to some extent, injured by the contact.  A virtuous girl or woman should shun the society of the unvirtuous; for if they become familiar with vice, they lose their horror of it.  Pope has stated it beautifully when he says:


[228] “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,

As, to be hated, needs but to be seen,

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”


Those who associate with people who are unvirtuous are themselves in danger.  They place themselves in a position where they are liable to be overcome.  Familiarity, as the poet says, produces this result.  The young man who keeps the company of the profane soon learns to look upon profanity as a trivial thing; he ceases to be shocked at it, and is very liable to fall into the habit himself.  So if a young man associates with those who drink liquor and become intoxicated, his familiarity with them and with their habits causes any feeling of repulsion that he might have had to wear away, and he ceases to look upon it as a grave offense.  If he continues to associate with them, he is liable to become a drunkard himself.  The same is true of gambling and every other vice.  No one can associate with those who practice vice without exposing himself or herself to its contamination. (The Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 26:315)




The purity of a people can be measured somewhat correctly by the sacredness with which the marriage tie is held in their midst.  Among no people should a higher value be placed on this ordinance than among the Latter-day Saints; for there are no people who view marriage as a permanent condition here and hereafter as we do.  There are no religious people of whom we have any knowledge who believe as the Latter-day Saints do, that the relationships entered into here between the sexes under proper conditions endure beyond this life.  In fact the idea of a family organization existing in the next world is thoroughly “Mormon,” and has come to us through the revelations which the Lord has given to His people in these latter times.  To a Latter-day Saint the knowledge that all those ten-[229]der relations which exist in this life, and which are so productive of happiness here, will exist in the eternal world, constitutes one of the chief anticipations connected with heaven; in fact, no Latter-day Saint can conceive of a heaven where all these ties would be dissolved, and where the sexes would dwell apart and have none of these associates that endear them to each other in this life.


It is a most delightful thing to contemplate that the union of husband and wife has been made possible for eternity by the restoration of ordinances and authority to administer them, and that not only will man and wife dwell together as such throughout eternity, but that their children also will bear the relationship to them of children in the great future.  A belief in such a condition of affairs robs death of many of its chief terrors.  The husband who lays his wife in the tomb knows that the separation is but temporary.  So with the wife who is called to part with her husband, and parents with their children, and children with their parents.  They know that they will be reunited and dwell together as husband and wife, as parents and children, throughout eternity.


The teachings of the Bible and the other revelations of the Lord possess a significance in the light of this doctrine that can be understood.  These divine teachings speak of the time when the faithful shall wear crowns and sit upon thrones; that is, they shall possess kingly and queenly dignity.  A crown would be but an empty bauble it its wearer had no power.  To sit upon a throne without dominion would be unmeaning, and would bring no gratification.  But when the Saints are told that they shall sit upon thrones, and that they shall wear crowns, they are symbols of power, and dominion, and of the rule which they will exercise.  And over whom will they rule?  And what will be the nature of their dominion?  The answer is found in the teaching which the Lord has given concerning the [230] family organization.  A man will stand at the head of his family.  He will preside or reign over his own household.  His children will be obedient to him.  They will constitute his kingdom.  With an ever-growing posterity there will be increasing dominion; and in reigning over them as a ruler, it is quite proper that a crown should be worn.


These being the views and expectations of the Latter-day Saints, they should of all people be the most careful in forming marriage relations.  Parents cannot be too diligent in teaching their children correct ideas upon this subject.  Boys should be taught to be very discreet in the selection of a girl for a wife; and girls should be deeply impressed with the great importance of accepting only as a lover and a husband one in whom she has entire confidence that he will be true and faithful in all the relations of life in this state of existence, and be a suitable companion for her throughout eternity. (Juvenile Instructor.)




There has been displeasure expressed very frequently because the Latter-day Saints have advanced the view that it is unwise for members of the Church to form marriages with those of a different faith.  It has been urged against us by our opponents as a cause of offense, and as though we were doing something that was contrary to the practices of other people.  We have been frequently attacked in entertaining and expressing this view as if we stood alone, but the facts are that there is no denomination of Christians that does not entertain similar views to a greater or less extent.  No faithful Methodist would think it proper for a member of his church to marry a man or a woman who did not believe in that faith.  The same may be said of Presbyterians, of Episcopalians, of Baptists, and of the sects generally.  The Catholics, however, probably ex-[231]press themselves more strongly upon this subject than any other denomination.


In a recent article published in the Catholic Review this subject is taken up.  The mixed marriage, the writer says, is dangerous to the faith of the Catholic party, and almost fatal to the faith of the children.  The article further says, “The virtuous and consistent Catholic is, therefore, bound in conscience to avoid marriage with a Protestant; the priest is bound in conscience to prevent these marriages as far as he can.”  “The fact that they are doing immense harm to our people,” the Review says, “is well known to every priest in the country, and every pastor has a right to warn his people against them, and to take measures to prevent them.”


The whole article is very emphatic upon this question.  Following up the statements which we have quoted, it says:


“There is no necessity for mixed marriages in our country, where Catholics are very numerous.  The Constitution and the American flag do not suffer by the action of the priest in seeking to prevent them.”


“If the ordinary Catholic finds his faith more burdensome than pleasant, no one can restrain him from laying it aside.  The worst feature of the case is that the Catholic party to a mixed marriage remains in the Church, and trains the family of very poor Catholics to scandalize the faithful by pagan morality under a Catholic mask.  Outside of Christianity there is no morality worthy of the name.  The mixed marriage of the present day in America is usually the marriage of the Catholic with a pagan.  Two earnestly religious people of Protestant and Catholic beliefs rarely unite in marriage.  If they do, the domestic [232] discord is intensified.  The non-Catholic party to a mixed marriage, if a man, is usually indifferent to any religion, and his morality is one of convenience.  His children have nothing to learn from him, and his wife finds him a dead weight when he should be her main prop.  All experience has shown that these children fail to persevere in the faith.  Their sympathies seem never to be fully roused to its importance.  They are a weakness and a hindrance, their morality is of low standard, they become minimisers easily and fall away.  We do not think any Catholic has a right to expose his children to the inevitable dangers of a mixed marriage.  It is inconceivable that any Catholic with the ordinary graces of baptism and training can so debase the office of parent.  We have always thought the Catholic party to a mixed marriage mentally and spiritually weak.”


Experience has proved to us in this country that this view of the case as presented in this Catholic paper applies with peculiar force to mixed marriages which have taken place in Utah.  The evils which are described as following the marriages of Protestants and Catholic have been witnessed as following mixed marriages in our community.  Many girls have supposed that the husband’s love for them would be the means of bringing them into the Church; but the experience of our many years’ residence in these valleys has proved the fallacy of that hope.  There have been exceptions, it is true, but they are very rare.  The most frequent result has been that the girls have lost their faith and succumbed to the influence of the husband, and they and their children are aliens to the covenant.


There should be in all marriages common sympathies.  Similarity of tastes and of sympathies, and especially of faith, is very important in wedlock.  Where this is absent marriage is [233] apt to be unhappy and a failure.  For a marriage to be a truly happy one among us, a young man or a young woman in seeking a partner should make it a matter of the first consideration to find one who is strong in the faith which he or she possesses.  This forms the principal foundation for future concord and happiness.  Following this, care should be taken upon the point of good habits, good temper, industry and agreeable tastes.  A man that is not of the right character before marriage ought not to be trusted to reform after marriage.  It is seldom that such changes occur.  The girl deceives herself who trusts to have such a result follow her marriage with a man of this kind.  Her love for him should not blind her to his defects; in fact, if she would take the right course, she would never allow herself to become entangled in such a way as to place her affections upon an unworthy person.  The society of such should be shunned; and if care be taken in this direction, there is but little danger of improper attachments springing up.


Marriage is the most important step in a young woman’s life.  It should be entered upon with the greatest care.  Both sexes should earnestly seek the guidance of heaven in a matter so momentous as the forming of a contract as husband and wife.  It ought not to be formed for a day, or for a few years, but with a view to being continued as long as life shall last, and then throughout eternity.


One of the great sins of the present age is the frequency with which divorces occur.  The proportion which divorces bear to marriages in some of the states and cities is enormous and appalling.  Such a number of divorces is an evidence of a very low state of morals.  It exhibits in startling manner how little sanctity is attached to this sacred relation.  Where divorces prevail to such an extent, marriage almost sinks into adultery.


[234] This holy relationship is dragged down from its high position and degraded almost to the level of lust.  Such evils are exceedingly offensive in the sight of God.  If they should prevail among us, they would without doubt bring down upon us the displeasure of our Heavenly Father.  Divorces should only be sought for when absolutely necessary to effect temporal and eternal salvation.  For all these reasons, therefore, the greatest care should be taken by our young people in forming alliances.  They should be formed judiciously.


The guidance of the Spirit should be sought for.  The will of the Lord concerning the match should be obtained. (The Juvenile Instructor, Nov. 1, 1891)



by Parley P. Pratt


In Philadelphia I had the happiness of once more meeting with president Smith, and of spending several days with him and others, and with the Saints in that city and vicinity.  During these interviews he taught me many great and glorious principles concerning God and the heavenly order of eternity.  It was at this time that I received from him the first idea of eternal family organization, and the eternal union of the sexes in those inexpressibly endearing relationships which none but the highly intellectual, the refined and pure in heart, know how to prize, and which are at the very foundation of everything worthy to be called happiness.  Till then I had learned to esteem kindred affections and sympathies as appertaining solely to this transitory state, as something from which the heart must be entirely weaned, in order to be fitted for its heavenly state.  It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband and wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter.  It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to [235] me for time and all eternity, and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love.  It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore.  It was from him that I learned the true dignity and destiny of a son of God, clothed with an eternal priesthood, as the patriarch and sovereign of his countless offspring.  It was from him that I learned that the highest dignity of womanhood was to stand as a queen and priestess to her husband, and to reign forever and ever as the queen mother of her numerous and still increasing offspring.


I had loved before, but I knew not why.  But now I loved with a pureness–an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this groveling sphere and expand it as the ocean.  I felt that God was my heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion; a kind ministering angel, given to me as a comfort, and a crown of glory forever and ever.  In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also.  Yet, at that time, my dearly beloved brother, Joseph Smith, had barely touched a single key; had merely lifted a corner of the veil and given me a single glance into eternity. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p.329-330)



by Parley P. Pratt


I now wish to say a few words on the subject of matrimony and also on the subject of raising and educating children.


[236] Who that has had one glimpse of the order of the celestial family and of the eternal connections and relationships which should be formed here in order to be enjoyed there; who that has felt one thrill of the energy and power of eternal life and love which flows from the divine spirit of revelation, can ever be contented with the corrupt pleasures of a moment which arise from the unlawful connections and desires?  Or what Saint who has any degree of faith in the power of the resurrection and of eternal life, can be contented to throw himself away by matrimonial connections with sectarians or other worldlings who are so blind that they can never secure an eternal union by the authority of the Holy Priesthood which has power to bind that which shall be bound in heaven?  By such a union, or by corrupt, unlawful and unvirtuous connections and indulgences they not only lose their own celestial crown and throne, but also plunge their children into ruin and darkness, which will probably cause them to neglect so great a salvation for the sake of the love and the praise of the world and the traditions of men.


O my friends–my brethren and sisters, and especially the younger class of our community; I beseech you in the fear and love of God and entreat you in view of eternal glory and exaltation in His kingdom, to deny yourselves all the corrupt and abominable practices and desires of the world and the flesh, and seek to be pure and virtuous in all your ways and thoughts, and not only so, but make no matrimonial connections or engagements till you have asked counsel of the Spirit of God in humble prayer before Him; till you know and understand the principles of eternal life and union sufficiently to act wisely and prudently, and in that way that will eventually secure yourself and your companion and your children in the great family circle of the celestial organization.


[237] I would now say to parents that their own salvation, as well as that of their children, depends to a certain extent on the bringing up of their children, and educating them in the truth, that their traditions and early impressions may be correct.  No parents who continue to neglect this after they themselves have come to the knowledge of the truth, can be saved in the celestial kingdom.  (From “The Prophet,” published in New York City, 1845)



Why Marry in the Temple?

by John A. Widtsoe


Marriage, the most important event between birth and death, is a determining condition of life’s happiness.  Therefore, it should be entered into with the greatest of care.  A companion for life should be one who lives righteously, to whom abundant love may be given, and who can be respected in his or her daily walk and talk.  Likewise, the marriage covenant should be of such a nature as to help create, build, and maintain daily happiness.  As the successive days are, so all of life will be.  Wealth, power, and fame are beggared in comparison with the joy that comes from a happy family life.


The Church offers the privilege of marriage in the temple as the foremost means of establishing and maintaining happiness in the households of its members.  It is a privilege beyond compare, which every prospective bride and groom should seek and use.  The conditions are such that every person may fit himself to receive this privilege, so earnestly coveted by true Latter-day Saints.


Here are nine brief answers to the question:  “Why marry in the Temple?”


[238] 1.  It is the Lord’s desire and will.  The temple is by divine decree the place where marriages should, if possible, be performed.  Marriage is of such crucial importance in life that it should begin with full obedience to God’s law.  Love is the foundation of marriage, but love itself is a product of law and lives by law.  True love is law-abiding, for the highest satisfactions come to a law-abiding life.


Moreover, true love of man for woman always includes love of God from whom all good things issue.  The proof of our love of God is obedience to His law.  Besides, life is so full of problems that the married couple should from the first seek the constant favor of the Lord.  A sense of security and comfort comes to all who are wedded within the temple.  They have obeyed the law.  They have pleased the Lord.  As law-abiding citizens in the kingdom of God, they have special claim upon divine aid, blessings, and protection.  Conformity to the practices of the Church always builds happiness in life.  Marriage should begin right – by obedience to law.


  1. It is in harmony with the sacred nature of the marriage covenant.  Temple marriages are also more in harmony with the nature and importance of the occasion.  They are performed in an attractive sealing room, especially dedicated for the purpose.  The ceremony itself is simple, beautiful, and profound.  Relatively few witnesses are present.  Quiet and order prevail.  There are no external trappings to confuse the mind.  Full attention may be given to the sacred covenants to be made, and the blessings to follow, covering the vast period of eternal existence.  The attention is focused upon the meaning of the marriage ceremony, and not upon distracting outside features which characterize a wedding in an elaborate social setting.  Such concentration of the soul upon the covenants entered into and the blessings promised, becomes a joyful, happy memory incomparably sweeter than that of the [239] usual rush and show of a wedding outside temple walls.  Lovely in its simple beauty and deep import is a temple wedding.  There is ample opportunity after the ceremony in the temple for a reception, simple or elaborate, at which friends may gather to congratulate the couple and to wish them happiness.


  1. It tends to insure marital happiness.  Experience has shown that temple marriages are generally the happiest.  There are relatively fewer divorces among couples who have been sealed over the altars of the temple.  This is shown by dependable statistics.  Today’s views of marriage are notably loose, yet no person with a decent outlook on life will enter the marriage state as an experiment.  Divorce does not return the individuals to their former condition.  Scars remain.  Hasty weddings and the easy divorces that follow menace individual and public welfare.  When the integrity of the family, the unit of society, vanishes, and family relationships are held in disrespect, society is headed for disaster.  The deliberation that precedes a temple marriage, the solemnity that accompanies it, and the power that seals and blesses it, form a bulwark against many evils of the day.  The temple marriage hedges about, and keeps inviolate, the happiness that of right belongs to the married state.


  1. It permits the association of husband and wife for time and for all eternity.  The essential difference between temple and all other marriages is of the greatest consequence.  In the temple, and only there, the bridal couple are wedded for time and eternity.  The contract is endless.  Here and hereafter, on earth and beyond, they may travel together in loving companionship.  This precious gift conforms to the Latter-day Saint belief that existence in the life after this may be active, useful, progressive.  Love, content to end with death, is perishable, poor and helpless.  Marriage that lasts [240] only during earth life is a sad one, for the love established between man and woman, as they live together and rear their family, should not die, but live, and grow richer with the eternal years.  True love hopes and prays for an endless continuation of association with the loved one.  To those who are sealed to each other for all existence, love is ever warm, more hopeful, believing, courageous, and fearless.  Such people live the richer, more joyful life.  To them happiness and the making of it have no end.  Dismal, dreary, full of fear, is the outlook upon love that ends with death.  The youth of the Church dare not forego the gift of everlasting marriage.


  1. It provides the eternal possession of children and family relationship.  There is yet an added blessing.  Children born under the temple covenant belong to their parents for all time and eternity.  That is, the family relationships on earth are continued, forever, here and hereafter.  The family, continued from earth into the next world, becomes a unit in everlasting life.  In the long eternities we shall not be lonely wanderers, but side by side with our loved ones who have gone before and those who shall follow, we shall travel the endless journey.  What mother does not value this promise!  What father does not feel his heart warm towards the eternal possession of his family!  What heartbreakings might have been avoided if humanity had been true to the truth, and had surrendered to the sealing power of the Priesthood of God.  Temple marriage becomes a promise of unending joy.


  1. It acts as a restraint against evil.  The powers of darkness are ever active to push mankind into evil paths.  Often, we are tempted to do foolish things.  In the family little things may lead to discord.  To create unhappiness is the aim of the adversary of righteousness.  Here appears one of the foremost blessings of the temple marriage.  Those who have been sealed in the temple have their eyes fixed upon eternity.  [241] They dare not forfeit the promised blessings.  The family is to them an everlasting possession.  They remember the covenants which make possible this eternal association.  The temple marriage, with all that it means, becomes a restraining force in the presence of temptation.  All family acts are more likely to be shaped in anticipation of an undying relationship.  Under the influence of the memory of the temple ceremony, family differences are swallowed up in peace; hate is transmuted into love; fear, into courage; and evil is rebuked and cast out.  Peace is the world’s great need.  From the temples of the Lord, and from everything done within them, issues the spirit of truth which is the foundation of peace.


  1. It furnishes the opportunity for endless progression.  Modern revelation sets forth the high destiny of those who are sealed for everlasting companionship.  They will be given opportunity for a greater use of their powers.  That means progress.  They will attain more readily their place in the presence of the Lord; they will increase more rapidly in every power; they will approach more nearly to the likeness of God; they will more completely realize their divine destiny.  And this progress is not delayed until life after death.  It begins here, today, for those who yield obedience to the law.  Life is tasteless without progress.  Eternal marriage, with all that it means, provides for unending advancement.  “Eternal increase” is the gift to all who enter into the eternal marriage covenant, as made in the temples of the Lord.


  1. It places the family under the protection of the power of the Priesthood.  They who have won a temple marriage have been sealed for time and eternity by the power of the Holy Priesthood.  This is the supreme power committed to man’s keeping.  That power issues from the unseen world.  It gives life and light to the world.  Human life with its cares and worries is transfigured into a radiant experi-[242]ence and adventure when it clings to this divine power and is blessed by it.  To walk under divine authority, to possess it, to be a part of it, is to walk with heads erect, with grateful hearts, before our fellow men and our Father in heaven.  The men and women who have come with this power out of the LordÕs holy house will be hedged about by divine protection and walk more safely among the perplexities of earth.  They will be indeed the ultimate conquerors of earth, for they come with the infinite power of God to solve the problems of earth.  Spiritual power accompanies all who marry in the temple, if they thenceforth keep their sacred covenants.


  1. It provides a God-like destiny for human beings.


“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them – Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.***


“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore they shall be from everlasting to everlasting because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them.  Then shall they be gods, because they have all power and the angels are subject unto them.”  (Evidences and Reconciliations, p.231-236)



by Pres. Joseph F. Smith


[243] A home is not a home in the eye of the gospel, unless there dwell perfect confidence and love between the husband and the wife.  Home is a place of order, love, union, rest, confidence, and absolute trust; where the breath of suspicion of infidelity cannot enter, where the woman and the man each have implicit confidence in each other’s honor and virtue.


What then is an ideal home–model home, such as it should be the ambition of the Latter-day Saints to build, such as a young man starting out in life should wish to erect for himself?  And the answer came to me:  It is one in which all worldly considerations are secondary.  One in which the father is devoted to the family with which God has blessed him, counting them of first importance, and in which they in turn permit him to live in their hearts.  One in which there is confidence, union, love, sacred devotion between father and mother and children and parents.  One in which the mother takes every pleasure in her children, supported by the father–all being moral, pure, God-fearing.  As the tree is judged by its fruit, so also do we judge the home by the children.  In the ideal home true parents rear loving, thoughtful children, loyal to the death, to father and mother and home!  In it there is the religious spirit, for both parents and children have faith in God, and their practices are in conformity with that faith; the members are free from the vices and contaminations of the world, are pure in morals, having upright hearts beyond bribes and temptations, ranging high in the exalted standards of manhood and womanhood.  Peace, order, and contentment reign in the hearts of the inmates–let them be rich or poor, in things material.  There are not vain regrets; no expressions of discontent against father, from the boys and girls, in which they complain:  “If we only had this or that, or were like this family or that, or could do like so and so!” complaints that have caused fathers many uncertain steps, dim eyes, restless nights, and untold anxiety.  In their place is the loving thoughtfulness to mother [244] and father by which the boys and girls work with a will and a determination to carry some of the burden that the parents have staggered under these many years.  There is the kiss for mother, the caress for father, the thought that they have sacrificed their own hopes and ambitions, their strength, even life itself to their children – there is gratitude in payment for all that has been given them!


In the ideal home the soul is not starved, neither are the growth and expansion of the finer sentiments paralyzed for the coarse and sensual pleasures.  The main aim is not to heap up material wealth, which generally draws further and further from the true, the ideal, the spiritual life; but it is rather to create soul-wealth, consciousness of noble achievement, an outflow of love and helpfulness.


It is not costly painting, tapestries, priceless bric-a-brac, various ornaments, costly furniture, fields, herds, houses and lands which constitute the ideal home, nor yet the social enjoyments and ease so tenaciously sought by many; but it is rather beauty of soul, cultivated, loving, faithful, true spirits; hands that help, and hearts that sympathize, love that seeks not its own, thoughts and acts that touch our live to finer issues – these lie at the foundation of the ideal home. (Improvement Era, 8:385-388; Gospel Doctrine, p-301-304)



[245]                             Chapter 9






(This sermon by Apostle Orson Pratt, given in Salt Lake City, October 7, 1869, deserves to be considered a definitive summary of the doctrine of marriage. Recognized as a foremost authority and prolific writer on this subject, he displays great insight in this memorable address.)


It was announced at the close of the forenoon meeting that I would address the congregation this afternoon upon the subject of Celestial Marriage; I do so with the greatest pleasure.


In the first place, let us inquire whether it is lawful and right, according to the Constitution of our country, to examine and practice this Bible doctrine?  Our fathers, who framed the Constitution of our country devised it so as to give freedom of religious worship of the Almighty God; so that all people under our Government should have the inalienable right – a right by virtue of the Constitution – to believe in any Bible principle which the Almighty has revealed in any age of the world to the human family.  I do not think, however, that our forefathers, in framing that instrument, intended to embrace all the religions of the world.  I mean the idolatrous and Pagan religions.  They say nothing about those religions in the Constitution; but they give the express privilege in that instrument to all people [246] dwelling under this Government and under the institutions of our country, to believe in all things which the Almighty has revealed to the human family.  There is no restriction nor limitation so far as Bible religion is concerned, or any principle or form of religion believed to have emanated from the Almighty; yet they would not admit idolatrous nations to come here and practice their religion, because it is not included in the Bible; it is not the religion of the Almighty.  Those people worship idols, the work of their own hands, they have instituted rites and ceremonies pertaining to those idols, in the observance of which they, no doubt, suppose they are worshipping correctly and sincerely, yet some of them are of the most revolting and barbarous character.  Such, for instance, as the offering up of a widow on a funeral pyre, as a burnt sacrifice, in order to follow her husband into the eternal worlds.  That is no part of the religion mentioned in the Constitution of our country, it is no part of the religion of Almighty God.


But confining ourselves within the limits of the Constitution, and coming back to the religion of the Bible, we have the privilege to believe in the Patriarchal, in the Mosaic, or in the Christian order of things; for the God of the patriarchs, and the God of Moses is also the Christians’ God.  It is true that many laws were given under the Patriarchal or Mosaic dispensations, against certain crimes, the penalties for violating which, religious bodies, under our Constitution, have not the right to inflict.  The Government has reserved, in its own hands, the power, so far as affixing the penalties of certain crimes is concerned.


In ancient times there was a law strictly enforcing the observance of the Sabbath day, and the man or woman who violated that law was subjected to the punishment of death.  Ecclesiastical bodies have the right, under our Government and Constitution, to observe the Sabbath day or to disregard it, [247] but they have not the right to inflict corporeal punishment for its non-observance.


The subject proposed to be investigated this afternoon is that of Celestial Marriage, as believed in by the Latter-day Saints, and which they claim is strictly a Bible doctrine and part of the revealed religion of the Almighty.  It is well known by all the Latter-day Saints that we have not derived all our knowledge concerning God, heaven, angels, this life and the life to come entirely from the books of the Bible; yet we believe that all of our religious principles and notions are in accordance with and are sustained by the Bible; consequently, though we believe in new revelation, and believe that God has revealed many things pertaining to our religion, we also believe that He has revealed none that are inconsistent with the worship of Almighty God, a sacred right guaranteed to all religious denominations by the Constitution of our country.


God created man, male and female.  He is the Author of our existence.  He placed us on this creation.  He ordained laws to govern us.  He gave to man, whom He created, a helpmeet — a woman, a wife to be one with him, to be a joy and a comfort to him; and also for another very great and wise purpose — namely, that the human species might be propagated on this creation, that the earth might teem with population according to the decree of God before the foundation of the world, that the intelligent spirits whom He had formed and created, before this world was rolled into existence, might have their probation, might have an existence in fleshly bodies on this planet, and be governed by laws emanating from their great Creator.  In the breast of male and female He established certain qualities and attributed that never will be eradicated — namely, towards each other.  Love comes from God.  The love which man possesses for the opposite sex came from God.  The same God who created the two sexes implanted in the hearts of [248] each love towards the other.  What was the object of placing this passion or affection within the hearts of male and female?  It was in order to carry out, so far as this world was concerned, His great and eternal purposes pertaining to the future.  But He not only did establish this principle in the heart of man and woman, but gave divine laws to regulate them in relation to this passion or affection, that they might be limited and prescribed in the exercise of it towards each other.  He therefore ordained the Marriage Institution.  The marriage that was instituted in the first place was between two immortal beings, hence it was marriage for eternity in the very first case which we have recorded for an example.  Marriage for eternity was the order God instituted on our globe; as early as the Garden of Eden; as early as the day when our first parents were placed in the garden to keep it and till it, they, as two immortal beings, were united in the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant.  This was before man fell, before the forbidden fruit was eaten, and before the penalty of death was pronounced upon the heads of our first parents and all their posterity, hence, when God gave to Adam his wife Eve, He gave her to him as an immortal wife, and there was no end contemplated of the relation they held to each other as husband and wife.


By and by, after this marriage had taken place, they transgressed the law of God, and by reason of that transgression the penalty of death came, not only upon them, but also upon all their posterity.  Death, in its operations, tore asunder, as it were, these two beings who had hitherto been immortal, and if God had not, before the foundation of the world, provided a plan of redemption, they would, perhaps, have been torn asunder for ever; but inasmuch as a plan of redemption had been provided, by which man could be rescued from the effects of the fall, Adam and Eve were restored to that condition of union, in respect to immortality, from which they had been separated for a short season of time by death.  The Atonement [249] reached after them and brought forth their bodies from the dust, and restored them as husband and wife, to all the privileges that were pronounced upon them before the Fall.


That was eternal marriage; that was lawful marriage ordained by God.  That was the divine institution which was revealed and practiced in the early period of our globe.  How has it been since that day?  Mankind have strayed from that order of things, or, at least, they have done so in latter times.  We hear nothing among the religious societies of the world which profess to believe in the Bible about this marriage for eternity.  It is among the things that are obsolete.  Now all marriages are consummated until death only; they do not believe in that great pattern and prototype established in the beginning; hence we never hear of their official characters, whether civil or religious, uniting men and women in the capacity of husband and wife as immortal beings.  No, they marry as mortal beings only, and until death do them part. What is to become of them after death?  What will take place among all those nations who have been marrying for centuries for time only?  Do both men and women receive a resurrection?  Do they come forth with all the various affections, attributes and passions that God gave them in the beginning?  Does the male come forth from the grave with all the attributes of a man?  Does the female come forth from her grave with all the attributes of a woman?  If so, what is their future destiny?  Is there no object or purpose in this new creation, save to give them life, a state of existence? or is there a more important object in view, in the mind of God, in thus creating them anew?  Will that principle of love which exists now, and which has existed from the beginning, exist after the resurrection?  I mean this sexual love.  If that existed before the Fall, and if it has existed since then, will it exist in the eternal worlds after the resurrection?  This is a very important question to be decided.


[250] We read in the revelations of God that there are various classes of beings in the eternal worlds.  There are some who are kings, priests, and Gods, others that are angels; and also among them are the orders denominated celestial, terrestrial, and telestial.  God, however, according to the faith of the Latter-day Saints, has ordained that the highest order and class of beings that should exist in the eternal worlds should exist in the capacity of husbands and wives, and that they alone should have the privilege of propagating their species–intelligent immortal beings.  Now it is wise, no doubt, in the Great Creator to thus limit this great and heavenly principle to those who have arrived or come to the highest state of exaltation, excellency, wisdom, knowledge, power, glory, and faithfulness, to dwell in His presence, that they by this means shall be prepared to bring up their spirit offspring in all pure and holy principles in the eternal worlds, in order that they may be made happy.  Consequently, He does not entrust this privilege of multiplying spirits with the terrestrial or telestial, or the lower order of beings there, nor with angels.  But why not?  Because they have not proved themselves worthy of this great privilege.  We might reason, of the eternal worlds, as some of the enemies of polygamy may reason of this state of existence, and say that there are just as many males as females there, some celestial, some terrestrial, and some telestial; and why not have all these paired off, two by two?  Because God administers His gifts and His blessings to those who are most faithful, giving them more bountifully to the faithful, and taking away from the unfaithful that with which they had been entrusted, and which they had not improved upon.  That is, the order of God in the eternal worlds, and if such an order exists there, it may in a degree exist here.


When the sons and daughters of the Most High God come forth in the morning of the resurrection, this principle of love will exist in their bosoms just as it exists here, only inten-[251]sified according to the increased knowledge and understanding which they possess; hence they will be capacitated to enjoy the relationships of husband and wife, of parents and children, in a hundredfold degree greater than they could in mortality.  We are not capable, while surrounded with the weaknesses of our flesh, to enjoy these eternal principles in the same degree that will then exist.  Shall these principles of conjugal and parental love and affection be thwarted in the eternal worlds?  Shall they be rooted out and overcome?  No, most decidedly not.  According to the religious notions of the world these principles will not exist after the resurrection; but our religion teaches the fallacy of such notions.  It is true that we read in the New Testament that in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven.  These are the words of our Savior when he was addressing himself to a very wicked class of people, the Sadducees, a portion of the Jewish nation, who rejected Jesus, and the counsel of God against their own souls.  They had not attained to the blessings and privileges of their fathers, but had apostatized; and Jesus, in speaking to them, says that in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God.  Now, how are the angels of God after the resurrection?  According to the revelations which God has given, there are different classes of angels.  Some angels are Gods, and still possess the lower office called angels.  Adam is called an Archangel, yet he is a God.  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, no doubt, have the right to officiate in the capacity of angels if they choose, but still they have ascended to their exaltation, to a higher state than that of angels–namely, to thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, to reign over kingdoms and to hold the everlasting Priesthood.  Then there is another order of angels who never have ascended to these powers and dignities, to this greatness and exaltation in the presence of God.  Who are they?  Those who never received the everlasting covenant of marriage for eternity; those who have [252] not continued in nor received that law with all their hearts, or who, perhaps, have fought against it.  They become angels.  They have no power to increase and extend forth to kingdoms.  They have no wives, no husbands, and they are servants to those that sit upon thrones and rule over kingdoms, and are counted worthy of a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  These, no doubt, were the kind of angels Jesus had reference to when speaking to those ungodly classes of beings called Sadducees and Pharisees, one of which denied the doctrine of the resurrection altogether.


There is a difference between the classes of angels called celestial, terrestrial and telestial.  The celestial angels have not attained to all of the power and greatness and exaltation of kings and priests in the presence of God; they are blessed with glory, happiness, peace and joy; but they are not blessed with the privilege of increasing their posterity to all ages of eternity, neither have they thrones and kingdoms, but they are servants to those of the highest order.  The angels of the terrestrial and telestial orders, while possessing a degree of happiness and glory, are lower than those of the celestial order.  We might inquire, have angels not also these affections which belong to the higher class of beings, inasmuch as they are resurrected beings?  Yes, but herein they have lost, through disobedience, the privilege of attaining to the higher glory and exaltation.  They have affections and desires that never can be gratified, and in this respect their glory is not full.


I am talking, today, to Latter-day Saints; I am not reasoning with unbelievers.  If I were, I should appeal more fully to the Old Testament Scriptures to bring in arguments and testimonies to prove the divine authenticity of polygamic marriages.  Perhaps I may touch upon this for a few moments, for the benefit of strangers, should there be any in our midst.  Let me say, then, that God’s people, under ever dispensation since [253] the creation of the world, have, generally, been polygamists.  I say this for the benefit of strangers.  According to the good old book called the Bible, when God saw proper to call out Abraham from all the heathen nations, and made him a great man in the world, He saw proper, also, to make him a polygamist, and approbated him in taking unto himself more wives than one.  Was it wrong in Abraham to do this thing?  If it were, when did God reprove him for so doing?  When did He ever reproach Jacob for doing the same thing?  Who can find the record in the lids of the Bible of God reproving Abraham, as being a sinner, and having committed a crime, taking to himself two living wives?  No such thing is recorded.  He was just as much blessed after doing this thing as before, and more so, for God promised blessings upon the issue of Abraham by his second wife the same as that of the first wife, providing he was equally faithful.  This was a proviso in every case.


When we come down to Jacob, the Lord permitted him to take four wives.  They are so called in Holy Writ.  They are not denominated prostitutes, neither are they called concubines, but they are called wives, legal wives; and to show that God approved of the course of Jacob in taking these wives, He blessed them abundantly, and hearkened to the prayer of the second wife just the same as the first.  Rachel was the second wife of Jacob, and our great mother; for you know that many of the Latter-day Saints by revelation know themselves to be the descendants of Joseph, and he was the son of Rachel, the second wife of Jacob.  God in a peculiar manner blessed the posterity of this second wife.  Instead of condemning the old patriarch, He ordained that Joseph, the first-born of this second wife, should be considered the first-born of all the twelve tribes, and into his hands was given the double birthright, according to the laws of the ancients.  And yet he was the offspring of plurality–of the second wife of Jacob.  Of course, if Reuben, who was indeed the first-born unto Jacob, had con-[254]ducted himself properly, he might have retained the birthright and the greater inheritance; but he lost that through his transgression, and it was given to a polygamic child, who had the privilege of inheriting the blessing to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills–the great continent of North and South America was conferred upon him.  Another proof that God did not disapprove of a man having more wives than one, is to be found in the fact that Rachel, after she had been a long time barren, prayed to the Lord to give her seed.  The Lord hearkened to her cry and granted her prayer; and when she received seed from the Lord by her polygamic husband, she exclaimed, “The Lord hath hearkened unto me and hath answered my prayer.”  Now do you think the Lord would have done this if he had considered polygamy a crime?  Would He have hearkened to the prayer of this woman if Jacob had been living with her in adultery? and he certainly was doing so if the ideas of this generation are correct.


Again, what says the Lord in the days of Moses, under another dispensation?  We have seen that in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He approved of polygamy and blessed His servants who practised it, and also their wives and children.  Now, let us come down to the days of Moses.  We read that, on a certain occasion the sister of Moses, Miriam, and certain others in the great congregation of Israel, got very jealous.  What were they jealous about?  About the Ethiopian woman that Moses had taken to wife, in addition to the daughter of Jethro, whom he had taken before in the land of Midian.  How dare the great law-giver, after having committed, according to the ideas of the present generation, a great crime, show his face on Mount Sinai when it was clothed with the glory of the God of Israel?  But what did the Lord do in the case of Miriam, for finding fault with her brother Moses?  Instead of saying, “You are right, Miriam, he has committed a great crime, and no matter how much you speak against him,” He [255] smote her with a leprosy the very moment she began to complain, and she was considered unclean for a certain number of days.  Here the Lord manifested by the display of a signal judgment, that He disapproved of any one speaking against His servants for taking more wives than one, because it may not happen to suit their notions of things.


I make these remarks and wish to apply them to fault-finders against plural marriage in our day.  Are there any Miriams in our congregation today, any of those who, professing to belong to the Israel of the latter days, sometimes find fault with the man of God standing at their head, because he not only believes in but practices this divine institution of the ancients?  If there be such in our midst, I say, remember Miriam the very next time you begin to talk with your neighboring women, or anybody else against this holy principle.  Remember the awful curse and judgment that fell on the sister of Moses when she did the same thing, and then fear and tremble before God, lest He, in His wrath, may swear that you shall not enjoy the blessing ordained for those who inherit the highest degree of glory.


Let us pass along to another instance under the dispensation of Moses.  The Lord says, on a certain occasion, if a man has married two wives, and he should happen to hate one and love the other, is he to be punished–cast out and stoned to death as an adulterer?  No; instead of the Lord denouncing him as an adulterer because of having two wives, He gave a commandment regulating the matter, so that this principle of hate in the mind of the man towards one of his wives should not control him in the important question of the division of his inheritance among his children, compelling him to give just as much to the son of the hated wife as to the son of the one beloved; and, if the son of the hated woman happened to be the first-born, he should actually inherit the double portion.


[256] Consequently, the Lord approved, not only the two wives, but their posterity also.  Now, if the women had not been considered wives by the Lord, their children would have been bastards, and you know that He has said that bastards shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord, until the tenth generation, hence you see there is a great distinction between those whom the Lord calls legitimate or legal, and those who were bastards – begotten in adultery and whoredom.  The latter, with their posterity, were shut out of the congregation of the Lord until the tenth generation, while the former were exalted to all the privileges of legitimate birthright.


Again, under that same law and dispensation, we find that the law provided for another contingency among the hosts of Israel.  In order that the inheritances of the families of Israel might not run into the hands of strangers, the Lord, in the book of Deuteronomy, gives a command that if a man die, leaving a wife, but no issue, his brother shall marry his widow and take possession of the inheritance; and to prevent this inheritance going out of the family a strict command was given that the widow should marry the brother or nearest living kinsman of her deceased husband.  The law was in full force at the time of the introduction of Christianity–a great many centuries after it was given.  The reasoning of the Sadducees on one occasion when conversing with Jesus proves that the law was then observed.  Said they, “There were seven brethren who took a certain woman, each one taking her in succession after the death of the other,” and they inquired of Jesus which of the seven would have her for a wife in the resurrection.  The Sadducees, no doubt, used this figure to prove, as they thought, the fallacy of the doctrine of the resurrection, but it also proves that this law, given by the Creator while Israel walked acceptably before Him, was acknowledged by their wicked descendants in the days of the Savior.  I merely quote the passage to show that the law was not considered obsolete at that time.  A case like [257] this, when six of the brethren had died, leaving the widow without issue, the seventh, whether married or unmarried, must fulfill this law and take the widow to wife, or lay himself liable to a severe penalty.  What was that penalty?  According to the testimony of the law of Moses he would be cursed, for Moses says, “Cursed be he that doth not all things according as it is written in this book of the law, and let all the people say Amen.”  There can be no doubt that many men in those days were compelled to be polygamists in the fulfillment of this law, for any man who would not take the childless wife of a deceased brother and marry her, would come under the tremendous curse recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, and all the people would be obliged to sanction the curse, because he would not obey the law of God and become a polygamist.  They were not all Congressmen in those days, nor Presidents, nor Presbyterians, nor Methodists, nor Roman Catholics; but they were the people of God, governed by divine law, and were commanded to be polygamists; not merely suffered to be so, but actually commanded to be.


There are some Latter-day Saints who, perhaps, have not searched these things as they ought, hence we occasionally find some who will say that God suffered these things to be.  I will go further, and say that He commanded them, and He pronounced a curse, to which all the people had to say Amen, if they did not fulfil the commandment.


Coming down to the days of the prophets we find that they were polygamists; also to the days of the kings of Israel, whom God appointed Himself, and approbated and blessed.  This was especially the case with one of them, named David, who, the Lord said, was a man after His own heart.  David was called when yet a youth to reign over the whole twelve tribes of Israel; but Saul, the reigning king of Israel, persecuted him, and sought to take away his life.  David fled from city to city [258] throughout all the coasts of Judea in order to get beyond the reach of the relentless persecutions of Saul.  While thus fleeing, the Lord was with him, hearing his prayers, answering his petitions, giving him line upon line, precept upon precept; permitting him to look into the Urim and Thummim and receive revelations, which enabled him to escape from his enemies.


In addition to all these blessings that God bestowed upon him in his youth, before he was exalted to the throne, the Lord gave him eight wives; and after exalting him to the throne, instead of denouncing him for having many wives, and pronouncing him worthy of fourteen or twenty-one years of imprisonment, the Lord was with His servant David, and, thinking he had not wives enough He gave to him all the wives of his master Saul, in addition to the eight he had previously given him.  Was the Lord worthy of being tried in a court of justice and sent to prison for thus increasing the polygamic relations of David?  No, certainly not; it was in accordance with His own righteous laws, and He was with His servant, David the King, and blessed him.  By and by, when David transgressed, not in taking other wives, but in taking the wife of another man, the anger of the Lord was kindled against him and He chastened him and took away all the blessings He had given him.  All the wives David had received from the hand of God were taken from him.  Why?  Because he had committed adultery.  Here then is a great distinction between adultery and plurality of wives.  One brings honor and blessing to those who engage in it, the other degradation and death.


After David had repented with all his heart of his crime with the wife of Uriah, he, notwithstanding the number of wives he had previously taken, took Bathsheba legally, and by that legal marriage Solomon was born; the child born of her unto David, begotten illegally, being a bastard, displeased the [259] Lord and He struck it with death; but with Solomon, a legal issue from the same woman, the Lord was so pleased that He ordained Solomon and set him on the throne of his father David.  This shows the difference between the two classes of posterity, the one begotten illegally, the other in the order of marriage.  If Solomon had been a bastard, as this pious generation would have us suppose, instead of being blessed of the Lord and raised to the throne of his father, he would have been banished from the congregation of Israel and his seed after him for ten generations.  But, notwithstanding that he was so highly blessed and honored of the Lord, there was room for him to transgress and fall, and in the end he did so.  For a long time the Lord blessed Solomon, but eventually he violated that law which the Lord had given forbidding Israel to take wives from the idolatrous nations, and some of these wives succeeded in turning his heart from the Lord; and induced him to worship the heathen gods, and the Lord was angry with him and, as it is recorded in the Book of Mormon, considered the acts of Solomon an abomination in His sight.


Let us now come to the record in the Book of Mormon, when the Lord led forth Lehi and Nephi, and Ishmael and his two sons and five daughters out of the land of Jerusalem to the land of America, the males and females were about equal in number.  There were Nephi, Sam, Laman and Lemuel, the four sons of Lehi, and Zoram, brought out of Jerusalem.  How many daughters of Ishmael were unmarried?  Just five.  Would it have been just under these circumstances to ordain plurality among them?  No.  Why?  Because the males and females were equal in number and they were all under the guidance of the Almighty, hence it would have been unjust, and the Lord gave a revelation–the only one on record I believe–in which a command was ever given to any branch of Israel to be confined to the monogamic system.  In this case the Lord through His servant Levi, gave a command that they should have but one [260] wife.  The Lord had a perfect right to vary His commands in this respect according to circumstances as He did in others, as recorded in the Bible.  There we find that the domestic relations were governed according to the mind and will of God, and were varied according to circumstances, as he thought proper.


By and by, after the death of Lehi, some of his posterity began to disregard the strict law that God had given to their father, and took more wives than one, and the Lord put them in mind, through His servant Jacob, one of the sons of Lehi, of this law, and told them that they were transgressing it, and then referred to David and Solomon, as having committed abomination in His sight.  The Bible also tells us that they sinned in the sight of God; not in taking wives legally, but only in those they took illegally, in doing which they brought wrath and condemnation upon their heads.


But because the Lord dealt thus with the small branch of the House of Israel that came to America, under their peculiar circumstances, there are those at the present day who will appeal to this passage in the Book of Mormon as something universally applicable in regard to man’s domestic relations.  The same God that commanded one branch of the House of Israel in America, to take but one wife when the numbers of the two sexes were about equal, gave a different command to the hosts of Israel in Palestine.  But let us see the qualifying clause given in the Book of Mormon on this subject.  After having reminded the people of the commandment delivered by Lehi in regard to monogamy, the Lord says, “For if I will raise up seed unto me I will command my people, otherwise they shall hearken unto these things;” that is, if I will raise up seed among my people of the House of Israel, according to the law that exists among the tribes of Israel I will give them a commandment on the subject, but if I do not give this commandment they shall [261] hearken to the law which I give unto their father Lehi.  That is the meaning of the passage, and this very passage goes to prove that plurality was a principle God did approve under circumstances when it was authorized by Him.


In the early rise of this Church, February, 1831, God gave a commandment to its members, recorded in the Book of Covenants, wherein He says, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and to none else;” and then He gives a strict law against adultery.  This you have, no doubt, all read; but let me ask whether the Lord had the privilege and the right to vary from this law.  It was given in 1831, when the one-wife system alone prevailed among this people.  I will tell you what the Prophet Joseph said in relation to this matter in 1831, also in 1832, the year in which the law commanding the members of this Church to cleave to one wife only was given.  Joseph was then living in Portage county, in the town of Hiram, at the house of Father John Johnson.  Joseph was very intimate with that family, and they were good people at that time, and enjoyed much of the Spirit of the Lord.  In the forepart of the year 1832, Joseph told individuals, then in the Church, that he had inquired of the Lord concerning the principle of plurality of wives, and he received for answer that the principle of taking more wives than one is a true principle, but the time had not yet come for it to be practised.  That was before the Church was two years old.  The Lord has His own time to do all things pertaining to His purposes in the last dispensation; His own time for restoring all things that have been predicted by the ancient prophets.  If they have predicted that the day would come when seven women would take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach;” and that, in that day the branch of the Lord should be beautiful and glorious and the fruits of the earth should be [262] excellent and comely, the Lord has the right to say when that time shall be.


Now supposing the members of this Church had undertaken to vary from that law given in 1831, to love their one wife with all their hearts and to cleave to none other, they would have come under the curse and condemnation of God’s holy law.  Some twelve years after that time the revelation on Celestial Marriage was revealed.  This is just republished at the Deseret News office, in a pamphlet entitled, “Answers to Questions,” by President George A. Smith, and heretofore has been published in pamphlet form and in the Millennial Star, and sent throughout the length and breadth of our country, being included in our works and published in the works of our enemies.  Then came the Lord’s time for this holy and ennobling principle to be practised again among His people.


We have not time to read the revelation this afternoon; suffice it to say that God revealed the principle through His servant Joseph in 1843.  It was known by many individuals while the Church was yet in Illinois; and though it was not then printed, it was familiar thing through all the streets of Nauvoo, and indeed throughout all Hancock county.  Did I hear about it?  I verily did.  Did my brethren of the Twelve know about it?  They certainly did.  Were there any females who knew about it?  There certainly were, for some received the revelation and entered into the practice of the principle.  Some may say, “Why was it not printed, and made known to the people generally, if it was of such importance?”  I reply by asking another question.  Why did not the revelations in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants come to us in print years before they did?  Why were they shut up in Joseph’s cupboard years and years without being suffered to be printed and sent broadcast throughout the land?  Because the Lord had His own time again to accomplish His purposes, and He suffered [263] the revelations to be printed just when He saw purposes, and He suffered the revelations to be printed just when He saw proper.  He did not suffer the revelation on the great American war to be published until some time after it was given.  So in regard to the revelation on plurality; it was only a short time after Joseph’s death that we published it, having a copy thereof.  But what became of the original?  An apostate destroyed it; you have heard her name.  That same woman, in destroying the original, thought she had destroyed the revelation from the face of the earth.  She was embittered against Joseph, her husband, and at times fought against him with all her heart; and then again she would break down in her feelings, and humble herself before God and call upon His holy name, and would then lead forth ladies and place their hands in the hands of Joseph, and they were married to him according to the law of God.  That same woman has brought up her children to believe that no such thing as plurality of wives existed in the days of Joseph, and has instilled the bitterest principles of apostasy the Church that has come to these mountains according to the predictions of Joseph.


In the year 1844, before his death, a large company was organized to come and search out a location, west of the Rocky Mountains.  We have been fulfilling and carrying out his predictions in coming here and since our arrival.  The course pursued by this woman shows what apostates can do, and how wicked they can become in their hearts.  When they apostatize from the truth they can come out and swear before God and the heavens that such and such things never existed, when they know, as well as they know they exist themselves, that they are swearing falsely.  Why do they do this?  Because they have no fear of God before their eyes; because they have apostatized from the truth; because they have taken it upon themselves to destroy the revelations of the Most High, and to banish them from the face of the earth, and the Spirit of God with-[264]draws from them.  We have come here to these mountains, and have continued to practice the principle of Celestial Marriage from the day the revelation was given until the present time; and we are a polygamic people, and a great people, comparatively speaking, considering the difficult circumstances under which we came to this land.


Let us speak for a few moments upon another point connected with this subject–that is, the reason why God has established polygamy under the present circumstances among this people.  If all the inhabitants of the earth, at the present time, were righteous before God, and both males and females were faithful in keeping His commandments, and the numbers of the sexes of a marriageable age were exactly equal, there would be no necessity for any such institution.  Every righteous man could have his wife and there would be no overplus of females.  But what are the facts in relation to this matter?  Since old Pagan Rome and Greece – worshippers of idols – passed a law confining man to one wife, there has been a great surplus of females who have had no possible chance of getting married.  You may think this a strange statement, but it is a fact that those nations were the founders of what is termed monogamy.  All other nations, with few exceptions, had followed the Scriptural plan of having more wives than one.  These nations, however, were very powerful and when Christianity came to them, especially the Roman nation, it had to bow to their mandates and customs, hence the Christians gradually adopted the monogamic system.  The consequence was that a great many marriageable ladies of those days, and of all generations from that time to the present, have not had the privilege of husbands, as the one-wife system has been established by law among the nations descended from the great Roman empire – namely, the nations of modern Europe and the American States.  This law of monogamy, or the monogamic system, laid the foundation for prostitution and [265] the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans, for as God has implanted, for a wise purpose, certain feelings in the breasts of females as well as males, the gratification of which is necessary to health and happiness, and which can only be accomplished legitimately in the married state, myriads of those who have been deprived of the privilege of entering that state, rather than be deprived of the gratification of those feelings altogether, have, in despair, given way to wickedness and licentiousness; hence the whoredoms and prostitution among the nations of the earth, where the “Mother of Harlots” has her seat.


When the religious Reformers came out, some two or three centuries ago, they neglected to reform the marriage system–a subject demanding their urgent attention.  But leaving these Reformers and their doings, let us come down to our own times and see whether, as has been often said by many, the numbers of the sexes are equal; and let us take as a basis for our investigations of this part of our subject the censuses taken by several of the States in the American Union.


Many will tell us that the number of males and the number of females born are just about equal, and because they are so it is not reasonable to suppose that God ever intended the nations to practice plurality of wives.  Let me say a few words on that, supposing we should admit for the sake of argument, that the sexes are born in equal numbers.  Does that prove that the same equality exists when they come to a marriageable age?  By no means.  There may be about equal numbers born, but what do the statistics of our country show in regard to the deaths?  Do as many females as males die during the first year of their existence?  If you go to the published statistics you will find, almost without exception, that in every State a greater number of males die the first year of their existence [266] than females.  The same holds good from one year to five years, from five years to ten, from ten to fifteen, and from fifteen to twenty.  This shows that the number of females is greatly in excess of the males when they come to a marriageable age.  Let us elucidate still further, in proof of the position here assumed.  Let us take, for instance, the census of the State of Pennsylvania in the year 1860, and we shall find that there were 17,588 more females than males between the ages of twenty and thirty years, which may strictly be termed marriageable age.  Says one, “Probably the great war made that difference.”  No, this was before the war.  Now let us go to the statistics of the State of New York, before the war, and we find according to the official tables of the census taken in 1860, that there were 45,104 more females than males in that one State, between the ages of twenty and thirty years–a marriageable age, recollect!  Now let us go to the State of Massachusetts, and look at the statistics there.  In the year 1865, there were 33,452 more females than males between the age of twenty and thirty.  We might go on from State to State and then to the census taken by the United States, and a vast surplus would be shown of females over males of a marriageable age.  What is to be done with them?  I will tell you what Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York say.  They say, virtually, “We will pass a law so strict, that if these females undertake to marry a man who has another wife, both they and the men they marry shall be subject to a term of imprisonment in the penitentiary.”  Indeed!  Then what are you going to do with these hundreds of thousands of females of a marriageable age?  “We are going to make them either old maids or prostitutes, and we would a little rather have them prostitutes, then we men would have no need to marry.”  That is the conclusion many of these marriageable males, between twenty and thirty years of age, have come to.  They will not marry because the laws of the land have a tendency to make prostitutes, and they can purchase all the animal gratification they desire without [267] being bound to any woman; hence many of them have mistresses, by whom they raise children, and, when they get tired of them, turn both mother and children into the street, with nothing to support them, the law allowing them to do so, because the women are not wives.  Thus the poor creatures are plunged into the depths of misery, wretchedness and degradation, because at all risks they have followed the instincts implanted within them by their Creator, and not having the opportunity to do so legally have done so unlawfully.  There are hundreds and thousands of [unmarried] females in this boasted land of liberty, through the narrow, contracted, bigoted State laws, preventing them from ever getting husbands.  That is what the Lord is fighting against; we, also, are fighting against it, and for the re-establishment of the Bible religion and the celestial or patriarchal order of marriage.


It is no matter according to the Constitution whether we believe in the patriarchal part of the Bible, in the Mosaic or in the Christian part; whether we believe in one-half, two-thirds, or in the whole of it; that is nobodyÕs business.  The Constitution never granted power to Congress to prescribe what part of the Bible any people would believe in or reject; it never intended any such thing.


Much more might be said, but the congregation is large, and a speaker, of course, will weary.  Though my voice is tolerably good, I feel weary in attempting to make a congregation of from eight to ten thousand people hear me.  I have tried to do so.  May God bless you, and may He pour out His Spirit upon the rising generation among us, and upon the missionaries who are about to be sent to the United States and elsewhere, that the great principles, political, religious and domestic, that God has ordained and established, may be made known to all people.


[268] In this land of liberty in religious worship, let us boldly proclaim our rights to believe in and practice any Bible precept, command or doctrine, whether in the Old or New Testament, whether relating to ceremonies, ordinances, domestic relations, or anything else, not incompatible with the rights of others, and the great revelations of Almighty God manifested in ancient and modern times.  Amen.  (J.D. 13:183)



[269]                             Chapter 10




We live in the last days when it is said that all but the elect are to be deceived.  Marriage, in all its various applications, is certainly among those principles which have been changed, substituted or totally abandoned.  Modern aberrations of marriage are different from those of the past.


What has changed the marriage laws in our society?  Have we strayed so far into darkness that we cannot see what is right anymore?  Or, has God changed His laws and principles to accommodate modern society?


This book is a compilation of sermons and writings by some of the most noble men of our generation.  Surely their wisdom and experiences shed great light on what is right and what is wrong.  It is evident from their words that they know what they are talking about, and theirs are not just idle words.


We live in a modern generation – a different generation – a generation that has overturned and adulterated every moral law.  In its marriage relationships, it is a catastrophe.  Men and women are confused, disheartened and discouraged.  The results are broken marriages, broken homes and broken hearts.  However, over a hundred years ago men and women were strong, virtuous and valiant, and their marriages endured every kind of grief and difficulty, yet those [270] marriages were strong and lasting.  They should prove to be good examples for us in our day.


What would our great father Abraham have to say about our marriage systems today?  This man was promised to have a posterity like the sands of the sea, because God approved of his marriage and lifestyle.  We ought to listen to what he has said and also to those who have followed his example.  Instead, in our messed-up society, we tolerate every conceivable form of sexual immorality – while we have made laws against Abraham’s marriage laws!  Even those who are supposed to know those laws and principles seem to be confused.


For instance, Bruce R. McConkie once talked about those who lived polygamy by saying:


“Those who entered this order at the LordÕs command, and who kept the laws and conditions appertaining to it, have gained for themselves eternal exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world!”  (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd Ed. p.578)


From this we surely must consider that it is the highest form of marriage, and we ought to obey its precepts.  However Bruce writes later about all those who obeyed that celestial law after the Manifesto by saying:


“They are living in adultery, have sold their souls to Satan, and whether their acts are based on ignorance or lust or both, they will be damned in eternity.”  (Ibid 1st Ed. p.523)


This leaves us confused.  How can this form of marriage be so holy for thousands of years, up until October 5, 1890, and lead people into “the highest heaven of the celestial [271] world”, and then on the very next day cause them to “sell their souls to Satan”.  Then, to add confusion to confusion he speaks of that principle coming back again by saying,


“Obviously the holy practice (of plural marriage) will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the Millennium.”  (Ibid 2nd Ed. p.578)


The real question is:  Did God really revoke that “high and holy law”?  Did God want men to abandon a law that would lead them into the “highest heaven of the celestial kingdom” so that they could stumble stupidly through all the whoredoms, incests, rapes, celibacy and immorality of our present generation?  No one has ever seen the text of a revelation from the Lord – a “Thus saith the Lord” revelation–that condemned that “holy” practice.  We should offer a thousand-dollar reward to any general authority who can produce such a document.  When exactly did our Heavenly Father proclaim that this exalting principle had suddenly become sinful?!  Presidents and other general authorities boldly continued to take plural wives and sire children by them for at least fourteen years after the 1890 “Manifesto”, so they obviously did not esteem it to be a revelation from God.


While our noble leaders strove valiantly to uphold a divine commandment–even at the risk of persecution and imprisonment,–many others gradually repudiated their noble, polygamous heritage until the very mention of the practice became repugnant to them.  Now, a hundred years later, this modern generation voluntarily blindfolds itself in a pathetic effort to hide from an eternal family pattern–the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage.


God has not changed His irrevocable laws of marriage.  If men and women want to achieve the rewards promised, and [272] abide by principles that will make them happy, they should turn from the marriage systems of Babylon and follow the counsel of his prophets and apostles.

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