Celestial Marriage

In 1852 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a belief in the doctrine of plural marriage. It was then voted upon and sustained as one of the cardinal doctrines of the Church and essential to eternal life.

The most able men of the Church began to write and speak on this subject. Some were sent throughout the United States to announce and defend this principle among the Gentiles. The ablest defender of this principle was the Apostle Orson Pratt. His mission was to present this doctrine to the leaders of the United States in Washington D.C. In 1853 he began a series of monthly publications called “The Seer,” a part of which was devoted to “Celestial Marriage” or the doctrine of plural marriage.

This compilation is composed of extracts from “The Seer” on his masterful defense on the subject of plural marriage. It has never been equally in clarity, reason and scriptural presentation.

Here are the excerpts from that series of articles on Celestial Marriage.



All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, See Ye, when He lifteth up an Ensign on the Mountains. –Isaiah xviii, 3

Vol. 1January, 1853No. 1


THE SEER is a title assumed for this Periodical in commemoration of JOSEPH SMITH, the great SEER of the last days, who, as an instrument in the hands of the Lord, laid the foundation of the Kingdom of God, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah to reign with universal dominion over all the Earth.

The pages of the SEER will be mostly occupied with original matter, illucidating the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as revealed in both ancient and modern Revelations. The Prophecies, relating to the grand and remarkable events of the last days, will be carefully examined and unfolded. The doctrine of Celestial Marriage, or Marriage for all eternity, as believed and practised by the Saints in Utah Territory, will be clearly explained. The views of the Saints in regard to the ancient Patriarchal Order of Matrimony, or Plurality of Wives, as developed in a Revelation, given through JOSEPH, the SEER, will be fully published. The Celestial origin and pre-existence of the spirits of men–their first estate or probation in a previous world–the great benefits, derived by descending from Heaven, and entering fleshly tabernacles, and keeping the laws of their second estate, and their final redemption and exaltation, as Gods, in their future state–are subjects which will, more or less, occupy the pages of the SEER.

It is hoped that the President elect, the Hon. Members of Congress, the Heads of the various Departments of the National Government, the high-minded Governors and Legislative Assemblies of the several States and Territories, the Ministers of every Religious denomination, and all the inhabitants of this great Republic, will patronize this Periodical, that through the medium of our own writings they may be more correctly and fully informed in regard to the peculiar doctrines, views, practices, and expectations of the Saints who now flourish in the Mountain Territory, and who will eventually flourish over the whole Earth. And we say to all nations, subscribe for the SEER, and we promise you a True and Faithful description of all the principle features, characterizing this great and last “dispensation of the fulness of times.”

The SEER will be published Monthly, at $1 per annum, in advance.


Washington City, D.C.

DECEMBER 21, 1852


[7]                               Chapter 1




“And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else.  But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law; but if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him, and multiply him, and give unto him an hundred fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.  And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she hath trespassed against me; and I the Lord thy God will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.

And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him, for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold! and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.

Now as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereto.  Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law, and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will [8] justify him.  Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands, for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood;–if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then he is justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that, that belongeth unto him, and to none else:  and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery; for they belong to him; and they are given unto him;–therefore is he justified.  But if one, or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my promise which was given by my Father and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things; then shall she believe, and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.  Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things, whatsoever I the Lord his God will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him, according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor, and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to this law, when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.–And now, as pertaining to this law,–verily, verily I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present.–Behold, I am Alpha and Omega:–Amen.”  (D.&C. 132)

[9]PLURALITY OF WIVES is a doctrine very popular among most of mankind at the present day.  It is practiced by the most powerful nations of Asia and Africa, and by numerous nations, inhabiting the Islands of the sea, and by the Aboriginal nations of the great Western Hemisphere.  The one wife system is confined principally to a few small nations, inhabiting Europe and to those who are of European origin, inhabiting America.  It is estimated by the most able historians of our day that about four-fifths of the population of the globe, believe and practice, according to their respective laws, the doctrine of a Plurality of Wives.  If the popularity of a doctrine is in proportion to the numbers who believe in it, then it follows that the Plurality system is four times more popular among the inhabitants of the earth, than the one wife system.

Those nations who practice the Plurality doctrine consider it as virtuous and as right for one man to have many wives, as to have one only.  Therefore, they have enacted laws, not only giving this right to their citizens, but also protecting them in it, and punishing all those who infringe upon the chastity of the marriage covenant by committing adultery with any one of the wives of his neighbor.  Those nations do not consider it possible for a man to commit adultery with any one of those women to whom he has been legally married according to their laws.  The posterity raised up unto the husband through each of his wives, are all considered to be legitimate, and provisions are made in their laws for those children, the same as if they were the children of one wife.  Adulteries, fornications, and all unvirtuous conduct between the sexes, are severely punished by them.  Indeed, Plurality among them is considered, not only virtuous and right, but a great check or preventative against the adulteries and unlawful connections which are among the greatest evils with which nations are cursed, producing a vast amount of suffering and misery, devastation and death; undermining the very [10] foundations of happiness, and destroying the frame-work of society, and the peace of the domestic circle.

Some of the nations of Europe who believe in the one wife system have actually forbidden a plurality of wives by their laws; and the consequences are that the whole country among them is overrun with the most abominable practices? adulteries and unlawful connections prevail through all their villages, towns, cities, and country places to a most fearful extent.  And among some of these nations these sinks of wickedness, wretchedness, and misery, are licensed by law; while their piety would be wonderfully shocked to authorize by law the Plurality system, as adopted by many neighboring nations.

The Constitution and laws of the United States, being founded upon the principles of freedom, do not interfere with marriage relations, but leave the nation free to believe in and practice the doctrine of a Plurality of wives, or to confine themselves to the one wife system just as they choose.  This is as it should be; it leaves the conscience of man untrammeled, and so long as he injures no person, and does not infringe upon the rights of others, he is free by the Constitution to marry one wife, or many, or none at all, and becomes accountable to God, for the righteousness or unrighteousness of his domestic relations.

The Constitution leaves the several States and Territories to enact such laws as they see proper in regard to Marriages, provided that they do not infringe upon the rights of conscience and the liberties guaranteed in that sacred document.  Therefore, if any State or Territory feels disposed to enact laws, guaranteeing to each of its citizens the right to marry many wives, such laws would be perfectly constitutional; hence, the several States and Territories practice the one wife [11] system out of choice, and not because they are under any obligations so to do by the National Constitution.  Indeed, we doubt very much, whether any State or Territory has the constitutional right to make laws, prohibiting the Plurality doctrine in cases where it is practiced by religious societies, as a matter of conscience or as a doctrine of their religious faith.  The first Article of the Amendments to the Constitution says, expressly, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Now if even Congress, itself, has no power to pass a law “prohibiting the free exercise of Religion,:” much less has any State or Territory power to pass such an act.

The doctrine of a Plurality of Wives was believed and practised by Abraham, the father of the faithful; and we find that while in this practice the angels of God frequently ministered to him, and at one time dined with him; and God manifested Himself to him, and entered into familiar conversation with him.  Neither God nor His angels reproved Abraham for being a Polygamist, but on the contrary, the Almighty greatly blessed him and made promises unto him, concerning both Isaac and Ishmael, clearly showing that Abraham practiced, what is called, Polygamy, under the sanction of the Almighty.  Now if the father of the faithful was thus blessed, certainly it should not be considered irreligious for the faithful who are called his children to walk in the steps of their father Abraham.  “Indeed, if the Lord, Himself, through His holy prophets, should give more wives unto his servants, as He gave them unto the prophet David, it would be a great sin for them to refuse that which He gives.  In such a case, it would become a matter of conscience with them, and a part of their religion, and they would be bound to exercise their faith in this doctrine, and practice it, or be condemned; therefore, Congress would have no power to prohibit the free exercise of this part of their religion; neither would the States or [12] Territories have power, constitutionally, to pass a law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Now a certain religious society, called Shakers, believe it to be wrong for them to marry even one wife; it certainly would be unconstitutional for either the Congress or the States to pass a law, compelling all people to marry at a certain age, because it would infringe upon the rights of conscience among the Shakers, and they would be prohibited the free exercise of their religion.

From the foregoing Revelation, given through Joseph, the Seer, it will be seen that God has actually commanded some of His servants to take more wives, and has pointed out certain duties in regard to the marriage ceremony, showing that they must be married for time and for all eternity, and showing the advantages to be derived in a future state by this eternal union, and showing, still further, that, if they refused to obey this command, after having the law revealed to them, they should be damned.  This revelation, then, makes it a matter of conscience among all the Latter-day Saints; and they embrace it as a part and portion of their religion, and verily believe that they cannot be saved and reject it.  Has Congress power, then, to pass laws, “prohibiting” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the free exercise” of this article of their religion?  Have any of the States or Territories a constitutional right to pass laws “prohibiting the free exercise of the religion” which the church of the Saints conscientiously and sincerely believe to be essential to their salvation?  No:  they have no such right.

The Latter-day Saints have the most implicit confidence in all the revelations, given through Joseph, the prophet; and they would much sooner lay down their lives and suffer martyrdom, than to deny the least revelation that was ever given to him.  In one of the revelations through him, we read that God raised up wise men and inspired them to write the [13] Constitution of our country, that the freedom of the people might be maintained, according to the free agency which He had given to them; that every man might be accountable to God and not to man, so far as religious doctrines and conscience are concerned.  And the more we examine that sacred instrument, framed by the wisdom of our illustrious fathers, the more we are compelled to believe that an invisible power controlled, dictated, and guided them in laying the foundation of liberty and freedom upon this great Western Hemisphere.  To this land the Mahomedan–the Hindoo–the Chinese can emigrate and each bring with him his score of wives and his hundred children, and the glorious Constitution of our country will not interfere with his domestic relations.  Under the broad banner of the Constitution he is protected in all his family associations:  none have a right to tear any of his wives or his children from him.  So likewise, under the broad folds of the Constitution, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah have the right to pass laws, regulating their matrimonial relations, and protecting each of their citizens in the right of marrying, one or many wives, as the case may be.  If Congress should repeal those laws, they could not do so on the ground of their being unconstitutional.  And even, if Congress should repeal them, there still would be no law in Utah, prohibiting the free exercise of that religious right:  neither do the citizens of Utah feel disposed to pass such an unconstitutional act which would infringe upon the most sacred rights of conscience.

Tradition and custom have great influence over nations.  Long established customs, whether right or wrong, become sacred in the estimation of Mankind.  Those nations who have been accustomed from time immemorial to the practice of what is called Polygamy, would consider a law abolishing it, as the very height of injustice and oppression; the very idea of being limited to the one wife system, would be considered not [14] only oppressive and unjust, but absolutely absurd and ridiculous; it would be considered an innovation upon the long established usages, customs, and laws of numerous and powerful nations – an innovation of the most dangerous character, calculated to destroy the most sacred right and privileges of family associations – to upset the very foundations of individual rights, rendered dear and sacred by being handed down to them from the most remote ages of antiquity.

On the other hand, the European nations who have been for centuries restricted by law to the one wife theory, would consider it a shocking innovation upon the customs of their fathers to abolish their restrictive laws, and to give freedom and liberty, according to the plurality system.  It is custom, then, in a great degree, that forms the conscience of nations and individuals in regard to the marriage relationships.  Custom causes four-fifths of the population of the globe to decide that Polygamy, as it is called, is a good, and not an evil practice; custom causes the balance, or the remaining fifth, to decide in opposition to the great majority.

Those individuals who have strength of mind sufficient to divest themselves entirely from the influence of custom, and examine the doctrine of a Plurality of Wives under the light of reason and Revelation, will be forced to the conclusion that it is a doctrine of Divine origin; that it was embraced and practiced under the Divine sanction, by the most righteous men who ever lived on the earth; holy Prophets and Patriarchs who were inspired by the Holy Ghost – who were enwrapt in the visions of the Almighty – who conversed with holy angels – who saw God face to face, and talked with Him as a man talks with his friend – were “Polygamists,” that is, they had many wives – raised up many children by them – and were never reproved, by the Holy Ghost, nor by Angels, nor by the [15] Almighty for believing in and practicing such a doctrine; on the contrary, each one of these “Polygamists” received, by revelation, promises and blessings for himself, for his wives, and for his numerous children, born unto him by his numerous wives.  Moreover, the Lord, Himself, gave revelation to different wives, belonging to the same man, revealing to them the great blessings which should rest upon their posterity; angels also were sent to comfort and bless them; and in no instance do we find them reproved for having joined themselves in marriage to a “Polygamist.”  Indeed, the Lord, Himself, gave laws, not to prohibit “Polygamy,” but showing His will in relation to the children raised up by different women of the same man; and furthermore, the Lord, Himself, actually officiated in giving David all the wives of Saul; this occurred, too, when David already had several wives which he had previously taken:  therefore, as the Lord did actually give into David’s own bosom all the wives of Saul, He must not only have sanctioned “Polygamy,” but established and instituted it upon a sure foundation by giving the wives, Himself, the same as he gave Eve to Adam.  Therefore, those who are completely divested from the influence of National customs, and who judge concerning this matter by the word of God, are compelled to believe, that the Plurality of wives was once sanctioned, for many ages, by the Almighty; and by a still further research of the Divine oracles, they find no intimations that this Divine institution was ever repealed.  It was an institution, not originated under the law of Moses, but it was of a far more ancient date; and instead of being abolished by that law, it was sanctioned and perpetuated:  and when Christ came to fulfill that law, and to do it away by the introduction of a better Covenant, He did not abolish the plurality system:  not being originated under that law, it was not made null and void when that law was done away.  Indeed, there were many things in connection with the law that were not abolished when the law was fulfilled; as for instance, the ten [16] commandments which the people under the gospel covenant were still obliged to obey; and until we can find some law of God abolishing and prohibiting a plurality of wives, we are compelled to believe it a Divine institution; and we are, furthermore, compelled to believe, that if this institution be entered into now, under the same principles which governed the holy Prophets and Patriarchs, that God will approbate it now as much as He did then; and that the persons who do thus practice it conscientiously and sincerely, are just as honorable in the sight of God, as those who have but one wife.  And that which is honorable before God should be honorable before men; and no one should be despised when he acts in all good conscience upon any principle of doctrine; neither should there be laws in any of these States or Territories to compel any individual to act in violation to the dictates of his own conscience:  but every one should be left in all matters of religion to his own choice, and thus become accountable to God, and not to his fellow man.

If the people of this country have generally formed different conclusions from us upon this subject; and if they have embraced religions which are more congenial to their minds than the religion of the Saints, we say to them that they are welcome to their own religious views; the laws should not interfere with the exercise of their religious rights.  If we cannot convince you by reason nor by the word of God, that your religion is wrong, we will not persecute you, but will sustain you in the privileges, guaranteed in the great Charter of American Liberty:  we ask from you the same generosity – protect us in the exercise of our religious rights – convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you [17] may see enveloping their minds.  Come, then, let us reason together, and try to discover the true light upon all subjects, connected with our temporal or eternal happiness; and if we disagree, in our judgments, let us impute it to the weakness and imperfections of our fallen natures, and let us pity each other, and endeavor with patience and meekness to reclaim from error, and save the immortal soul from an endless death.

The first great commandment which God gave unto mankind, as recorded in the scriptures, was, to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”  (Gen. 1:28).  The principal object was to people this creation with myriads of intelligent moral beings, after His own image and likeness, endowed with God-like capacities, and capable of progressing in the grand scale of knowledge and happiness, until they should receive a fullness, and become like God, and be glorified in Him, and He in them, that they might be one in glory, and in power, and in dominion.  Herein is God glorified, because there are millions of beings who eventually become like Himself, with whom He can associate, and who are capable of understanding and appreciating all the fulness of His glorious attributes, and of acting with Him in the most perfect harmony in all the magnificent works of Creation.  Herein are the dominions of the Almighty enlarged, by the accession of new worlds, peopled with beings in His own form and of His own order.  And herein joy, and gladness, and happiness, reign in the bosom of the great Creator, in all their fulness and perfection, because He exercises His infinite goodness in the formation of numberless worlds, peopled with beings upon whom, if obedient, He bestows all the fulness of His own great perfections.

If, then, the multiplication of human beings adds to the dominions of the Almighty, glorifies His name, and gives Him an opportunity of displaying His infinite goodness, it is [18] reasonable to suppose that He would give laws unto mankind, regulating them upon so important a subject – a subject fraught with consequences that are eternal.  Think, for one moment, of the great responsibilities, resting upon the father and mother of an infant child:  they have been instruments, in giving existence to a being, capable of eternal happiness or of eternal misery; they have been entrusted with the protection and instruction of a being in the image and likeness of God who, by proper training, may soar aloft in wisdom, and knowledge, and power, and God-like majesty to the realms of immortality and everlasting light; they have been entrusted with a treasure infinitely more valuable than all the riches and honors of this world – a treasure which, by their mismanagement may be lost–eternally lost–a treasure for which they are accountable in the great judgment of quick and dead.  O, how great will be the glory and happiness of that man and woman who have obeyed that great first commandment to “Multiply,” and have trained up themselves and their children unto life and immortality!  On the other hand, what wretchedness and misery, will be inflicted upon those who have been instruments of unlawful connections, whose illegitimate children will remain as a standing curse, both in time and in eternity, to testify loudly of the unvirtuous associations of their guilty parents!  O, how fearful the responsibilities, resting upon mankind in regard to this momentous subject!

It is because of the infinitely important consequences, involved in the multiplication of the human species, that God has regulated the same by the strictest kind of laws.  He has not permitted an indiscriminate intercourse between the sexes, as among the dumb brutes; but He has ordained Marriage as the only justifiable means through which the sexes can legally “multiply and replenish the earth.”  All connections out of the marriage covenant, are unlawful in the sight of God; and all [19] who are guilty of such crimes will be severely punished for the same.  In ancient times persons committing adulteries, fornications, and virtuous connections, were punished with death, according to the law of God, which reads as follows:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman:  so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife:  so shalt thou put away evil from among you.  But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.”  (Deuteronomy, 22:22, 25)

The great abhorrence which the Lord manifested towards all unvirtuous connections, may be clearly seen from the following:

“If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid.”  And, “if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:  then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house:  so shalt thou put evil away from among you.”  (Deut. 22:13, 14, 20, 21)

It was pleasing to the Lord to have such wicked characters put to death.  Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was [20] greatly blessed of the Lord, for putting to death a man and woman who were guilty of unlawful connections:  we give the history of this event in the words of scripture.

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And when Phinehas, the son Eleazer, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through. * * * So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.  And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.  And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron, the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.  Wherefore, say, behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:  and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.”  (Numbers, 25:6-13)

Why was the Lord so displeased with the sexes that he would punish them with death for unvirtuous conduct?  It was, because He had ordained marriage as the only lawful way of multiplying the human race.  The direful effects which follow unvirtuous associations, can easily be perceived, even though there were no law of God against such evils.  First, illegitimate children are thrown upon the world without any lawful protector to look after their temporal welfare.  Secondly, these children have not the moral advantages, which should be derived from the teachings and examples of lawful parents, and, consequently, are in greater danger of losing their eternal [21] salvations.  And lastly, an indiscriminate intercourse between the sexes would break up all family associations, and destroy the harmony and peace, enjoyed in the domestic circle; fathers would not know their own children, and children could not, with confidence, say who were their fathers:  such an order of things would be deplorable, and would strike a deadly blow at the foundation of all domestic happiness.  Many other dreadful consequences might also be named, as the result of licentiousness, such as jealousies, want of confidence, loathsome diseases transferred to posterity, all of which evils are abhorrent to the feelings of every good man.  It is for this reason, that God has enacted strict laws in regard to all these crimes.  It is for this reason, that He punishes with such heavy penalties those who violate these sacred laws.

Adulterers, and unvirtuous persons were not only to be punished temporally, but also spiritually, after this life.  Hence, the Lord says, “The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:  which is the second death.”  (Rev. 21:8)  Punishment by a temporal death is not sufficient to satisfy the demands of justice:  they must suffer the penalties of the second death also.

The same strictness against all unvirtuous conduct is taught in the Book of Mormon, as may be seen from the following quotations:

“O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord; wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell.”  (2 Nephi 12:2)

[22]The prophet Alma, in speaking to his son on this same subject, says, “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins, save it be the shedding of innocent blood, or denying the Holy Ghost.”  (Alma 19:1)

In another place, the Lord says to the ancient inhabitants of America, as follows:

“I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.  And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.  Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.  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.  For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard 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.  And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me, against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts; for they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people, because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction:  for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.”  (Book of Jacob, 2:6)

When Jesus appeared unto the ancient Nephites, in the northern part of what we call South America, He taught them, concerning adultery in these words:

“Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, that whosoever [23] looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.  Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.”  (Book of Nephi, p. 460, ch. 5:10)

The same doctrine is taught in the revelations and commandments given through Joseph, the Seer, unto this church.  In February, 1831, the Lord spake thus:

“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not, he shall be cast out.  Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery and repenteth not, shall 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.”  (Book of Covenants, sec. 13, par. 7)

“And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.  But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses, and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God.  And if it can be, it is necessary that the bishop is present also.  And thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you.”  (Sec. 13, par. 22)


The saints are prohibited, by revelation, to receive certain [24] persons into the church.  The Lord says:

“Behold, verily I say unto you, that whatever persons among you, having put away their companions for the cause of fornication, or in other words, if they shall testify before you in all lowliness of heart that this is the case, ye shall not cast them out from among you; but if ye shall find that any persons have left their companions for the sake of adultery, and they themselves are the offenders, and their companions are living, they shall be cast out from among you.  And again I say unto you, that ye shall be watchful and careful, with all inquiry, that ye receive none such among you, if they are married; and if they are not married, they shall repent of all their sins, or ye shall not receive them.”  (Sec. 13, par. 20)

And again, the word of the Lord came unto Joseph, the Seer, in August, 1831, saying:

“There were among you adulterers and adulteresses; some of whom have turned away from you, and others remain with you, that hereafter shall be revealed.  Let such beware and repent speedily, lest judgments shall come upon them as a snare, and their folly shall be made manifest, and their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people.  And, verily, I say unto you, as I have said before, he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith, and shall fear:  wherefore, I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.  Verily I say, that they shall not have part in the first resurrection.  And, now, behold, I, the Lord, say unto you, that ye are not justified, because these things are among you; nevertheless, he that endureth in [25] faith, and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth, when the day of transfiguration shall come.”  (Sec. 20, par. 4, 5, 6)

In all these quotations from ancient and modern revelations, every one can see the dreadful consequences, arising from the lease indulgence of these sinful lusts.  Those persons who suffer unvirtuous thoughts to come into their hearts, and cherish them there for one moment will find themselves under condemnation; they have broken the law of God; they have become defiled by their wicked thoughts, and unless they repent, the Spirit will depart from them; for the Holy Ghost dwelleth not in unholy temples, and they will be left in darkness, and their faith will die away, and they will be filled with fear, and finally be cast down to hell.

The Latter-day Saints are under greater obligations than any other people on the whole earth, to keep themselves pure and virtuous before the Lord – to refrain from adulteries, fornications, licentiousness, all unlawful connections, all uncleanness, all fleshly lusts, all unvirtuous and unholy desires, and from all lustful thoughts and carnal affections; for we have been faithfully warned, again and again, by the voice of that great prophet and revelator, Joseph Smith; we have been warned by the voice of inspiration – by the voice of angels – by the voice of the ancient prophets of America, speaking as it were from the dead through the medium of their ancient records – we have been warned by the voice of God, threatening us with destruction, and with the miseries of the second death, if we do not keep ourselves entirely free and pure from all these sinful soul-destroying lusts.  If we reject so great warnings, and sin against so great light, how can we obtain forgiveness, or escape the damnation of hell?  The Lord our God is a holy and just God – faithful and true in all His words, and will in nowise vary from that which He hath said; [26] for judgment goeth before His face, and justice and righteousness is the habitation of His throne!  O ye Saints of the last days, do you realize the fearful–the infinitely important–the eternal responsibilities which rest upon you, to watch over yourselves, your children, and all who are placed under your charge?  Do you realize that your condemnation and punishment will be in proportion to the light and knowledge against which you sin?  If you fully understand and appreciate the warnings which you have received, happy are you, if you give heed and obey the voice of the Lord your God, for great shall be your reward, and eternal shall be your glory.  But if any among you harden their hearts, and yield themselves unto the wicked lusts of their flesh, and suffer themselves to be defiled by cherishing in their minds unvirtuous thoughts and unholy desires, they shall speedily be visited by sore judgments, and their names shall be blotted out from under heaven, and they shall be thrust down to hell, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

From the foregoing quotations and remarks, it will be seen, that the Latter-day Saints have stricter notions of virtue, and consider themselves under greater obligations to refrain, not only from unvirtuous acts, but from unvirtuous thoughts, than any other people under Heaven.  But do the Saints actually demonstrate by their practices, that they believe what the Lord has taught them upon these subjects?  Do they practice virtue, as well as deliver the precepts thereof?  We answer, let the practices of the thirty thousand Saints in Utah, speak; let strangers who have travelled through our flourishing territory, declare; let the records of the courts of justice bear witness; let the injured females, if there be any, whose character and reputation have been destroyed by the vile seducer, publish their wrongs; let illegitimate children, if Utah affords them, come forth as a public monument of our disgrace; if a house of ill fame can be found throughout the [27] length and breadth of our territory, then let the Saints hide their faces in shame, and the sons and daughters of Utah blush before the Heavens; if an adulterer or seducer of female virtue, can be found in all the land, then let the elders be clad in sackcloth, and the Saints put on the garments of mourning, and weep before the Lord, day and night, until the evil be taken from their midst.

But have not some of the Saints in Utah more wives than one?  Yes:  and they take good care of them too; and teach them and their children the great principles of virtue and holiness by example as well as by precept.  But is it not sinful, for a man to have more than one wife living at the same time?  If it is, the Bible has not told us of it.  But is it not contrary to the christian religion?  If it is, the christian religion has not revealed it as an evil.  But do you not really think that it is contrary to the will of God for a man, in these days, to take a plurality of wives?  Yes, unless God shall give them to him by a revelation through a holy prophet.  Is it not contrary to the Constitution and laws of the United States for the citizens of Utah to practice the plurality of wives?  No; neither the Constitution nor the laws of the United States, have said anything on the subject of marriage or domestic relations.  But is it not contrary to the laws of the Territory?  No; the Legislature of that Territory do not feel disposed to debar her citizens of any blessings or privileges, enjoyed under the sanction of the Almighty, by holy prophets and patriarchs of old.

Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is a divine revelation?  We do.  Does that book teach the doctrine of plurality of wives?  It does not.  Does the Lord in that book forbid the plurality doctrine?  He forbade the ancient Nephites to have any more than one wife.  What does the Book of Mormon say on this subject?  It says, as follows, Thus saith [28] the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.  Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.  Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.”  (Book of Jacob, 2:6)  Why were the ancient Nephites restricted to the one wife system?  Because, first, the number of males and females among them, at the time the command was given, was about equal.  Secondly, there was no probability that judgments, wars, or any other calamities which were to befall their nation, would produce a disproportionate number of males and females.  Thirdly, this small remnant of the tribe of Joseph were, at that time, about equally righteous; and one was about as capable of raising up a family in righteousness as another.  And lastly, the Lord, Himself, informs them, in the same connection with the quotation which I have just made, that if He would have them practice differently from what He had previously taught them, it must be by his command.  It reads as follows:  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.”  Thus we see, that a man among the Nephites, by the law of God, had no right to take more than one wife, unless the Lord should command for the purpose of raising up seed unto Himself.  Without such a command, they were strictly limited to the one wife doctrine: “otherwise,” says the Lord, they shall hearken unto these things;” that is, without an express command, they should hearken to the law, limiting them to one wife.  So it is in this church of Latter-day Saints, every man is strictly limited to one wife, unless the Lord, through the President and Prophet of the Church, gives a revelation permitting him to take more.  Without such a revelation it would be sinful, according to the Book of Mormon, which this [29] church are required to obey.  Hence, the Book of Mormon is somewhat more strict than the Bible; for there is nothing in the Bible that limits mankind to one wife, but the Book of Mormon does absolutely forbid a man to have more than one wife, unless God shall command otherwise.

Now in the early rise of this church, the Lord gave no command unto any of His servants authorizing them to take more than one wife, but on the contrary, said unto them that they should give heed to that which was written in the Book of Mormon; therefore, they were under the strictest obligations to confine themselves to one wife, until a commandment came to the contrary, which the Lord did not see proper to give unto any of them, until about thirteen years after the first organization of the church.  The church, therefore, are still restricted, by the severest penalties, to one wife, according to the Book of Mormon, unless in individual cases where the Lord shall, by revelation, direct otherwise.

No man in Utah, who already has a wife, and who may desire to obtain another, has any right to make any propositions of marriage to a lady, until he has consulted the President over the whole church, and through him, obtains a revelation from God, as to whether it would be pleasing in His sight.  If he is forbidden by revelation, that ends the matter:  if, by revelation, the privilege is granted, he still has no right to consult the feelings of the young lady, until he has obtained the approbation of her parents, provided they are living in Utah; if their consent cannot be obtained, this also ends the matter.  But if the parents or guardians freely give their consent, then he may make propositions of marriage to the young lady; if she refuse these propositions, this also ends the matter; but if she accept, a day is generally set apart by the parties for the marriage ceremony to be celebrated.  It is necessary to state, that before any man takes the least step [30] towards getting another wife, it is his duty to consult the feelings of the wife which he already has, and obtain her consent, as recorded in the 24th paragraph of the revelation, published in the first No. of “The Seer.”

When the day set apart for the solemnization of the marriage ceremony has arrived, the bridegroom, and his wife, and also the bride, together with their relatives, and such other guests as may be invited, assemble at the place which they have appointed.  The scribe then proceeds to take the names, ages, native towns, counties, States, and countries of the parties to be married, which he carefully enters on record.  The President, who is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator over the whole church throughout the world, and who alone holds the keys of authority in this solemn ordinance (as recorded in the 2nd and 5th paragraphs of the Revelation on Marriage) – calls upon the bridegroom, and his wife, and the bride to arise, which they do, fronting the President.  The wife stands on the left hand of her husband, while the bride stands on her left.  The President, then, puts this question to the wife:  “Are you willing to give this woman to your husband to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and for all eternity?  If you are, you will manifest it by placing her right hand within the right hand of your husband.”  The right hands of the bridegroom and bride, being thus joined, the wife takes her husband by the left arm, as if in the attitude of walking:  the President, then, proceeds to ask the following question of the man:  “Do you brother (calling him by name), take sister (calling the bride by her name), by the right hand to receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife, and you to be her lawful and wedded husband for time and for all eternity, with a covenant and promise, on your part, that you will fulfill all the laws, rites, and ordinances, pertaining to this holy matrimony, in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and [31] choice?”  The bridegroom answers, “yes”.  The President, then, puts the question to the bride:  “Do you, sister (calling her by name), take brother (calling him by name), by the right hand, and give yourself to him, to be his lawful and wedded wife for time and for all eternity with a covenant and promise, on your part, that you will fulfill all the laws, rites, and ordinances, pertaining to this holy matrimony, in the new and everlasting covenant, doing this in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?”  The bride answers, “yes”.  The President then says, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I pronounce you legally and lawfully husband and wife for time and for all eternity; and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection, with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives; and I seal upon you the blessings of thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and exaltations, together with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and say unto you be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, that you may have joy and rejoicing in your posterity in the day of the Lord Jesus.  All these blessings, together with all other blessings pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, I seal upon your heads, through your faithfulness unto the end, by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.”  The scribe, then, enters on the general record, the date and place of the marriage, together with the names of two or three witnesses who were present.


[32]                              Chapter 2



In the Revelation on Marriage, we are informed that there is never but one man on the earth at the same time who holds the keys to minister the ceremony of marriage for time and for all eternity, and to seal the same on earth with authority, so that it may be acknowledged and sealed in Heaven.  The keys of authority are conferred by revelation, and by the holy anointing, upon the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the church, who is the President over all the saints throughout the world.  In cases where it is inconvenient for him to attend, he has the authority to appoint others to officiate in his stead.  But in all cases of this nature, he must be consulted by the parties, and his sanction be obtained.

When a man who has a wife, teaches her the law of God, as revealed to the ancient patriarchs and as manifested by new revelation, and she refuses to give her consent for him to marry another according to that law, then, it becomes necessary, for her to state before the President the reasons why she withholds her consent; if her reasons are sufficient and justifiable and the husband is found in the fault, or in transgression, then, he is not permitted to take any step in regard to obtaining another.  But if the wife can show no good reason why she refuses to comply with the law which was given unto Sarah of old, then it is lawful for her husband, if [33] permitted by revelation through the prophet, to be married to others without her consent, and he will be justified, and she will be condemned, because she did not give them unto him, as Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, and as Rachel and Leah gave Bilhah and Zilpah to their husband, Jacob.

It is the duty of a man who takes another wife to look after her welfare and happiness, and to provide for her the comforts of life the same as for the first; for the Scripture, in speaking of such a man, says, “If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.”  (Exodus 21:10)

There is no particular rule, as regards the residence of the different branches of a family.  It is very frequently the case that they all reside in the same dwelling, and take hold unitedly and with the greatest cheerfulness, of the different branches of household or domestic business, eating at the same table, and kindly looking after each other’s welfare, while the greatest peace and harmony prevail year after year.  Their children play and associate together with the greatest affection as brothers and sisters; while each mother apparently manifests as much kindness and tender regard for the children of the others, as for her own.  And morning and evening, when the husband calls together his family to worship the Lord and call upon his name, they all bow the knee, and, with the greatest union of feeling, offer their devotions to the Most High.

It is sometimes the case that the husband provides for his wives separate habitations, as Jacob did for his four wives, each of whom had a separate tent (See Genesis 31:33).  Where all the wives are equally faithful, the husband generally endeavors to treat them all without partiality.

[34]Jealousy is an evil with which the saints in Utah are but seldom troubled:  it is an evil that is not countenanced by either male or female; and should any divulge such a passion, they would bring a disgrace and reproach upon themselves which they could not easily wipe away.  And indeed, it is very rare, that there are any causes for jealousy; for the citizens of that Territory think more of their virtue than they do of their lives.  They know, that if they have any connections out of the marriage covenant, they not only forfeit their lives by the law of God, but they forfeit their salvation also.  With such views resting upon the minds of both old and young, the people have the greatest of confidence in each others integrity:  they can entrust their wives and daughters, without any distrust, to the protection and care of their neighbors.  Under the strict and rigid laws of virtue which prevail and are carried into general practice, wives are not in constant fear of the inconstancy of their husbands; parents are not fearful of their children being seduced and their characters being destroyed; neither are they fearful that their children will form contracts of marriage without their consent; for such a thing is not allowed in the whole territory.  Such a state of things actually existing, not in theory alone, but in general practice, removes every cause for jealousy, distrust, and want of confidence, and lays a broad and permanent foundation for peace and union.  If a man ill-treats any one of his wives, he is looked upon as having violated the law of God, and it is difficult for him to recover from the disgrace.

There are more quarrelings, and jealousies, and disunions, and evil speakings, in one week, among two thousand families, taken at random any where in the United States or England, than would be seen throughout all Utah Territory in five years.  And there is more unvirtuous conduct practiced in one day in New York City, or Albany, or Buffalo, or Cincinnati, or St. Louis, than would be practiced in Utah in a [35] thousand generations, unless they greatly degenerated from their present standard of morals.

If the Gentile nations consider Patriarchal Matrimony “a mote” which has got into the Saints’ eyes, let them, before they undertake to pluck it out, extricate the great beams from their own eyes, and then they will learn that what they supposed to be “a mote” is in reality a divine institution, which was practiced by the most holy men that ever lived in ancient times under the sanction and approbation of the Almighty.

Tradition causes individuals and nations to “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.”  They cry out, as though they were frightened out of their senses, because a territory practices legal and lawful matrimony after the pattern set before them in the Scriptures; but they can swallow down comparatively easy, without scarcely uttering a groan, the polluted wretched, most filthy sinks of iniquity, that prevail to an alarming extent in all the large towns, cities, and sea-ports among the Gentile nations.  One such den of pollution, in ancient times, would have brought down the heaviest judgments of the Almighty upon the whole nation of Israel, until they eradicated the evil, root and branch, from their midst.  Yes, even for one case of adultery, almost the whole tribe of Benjamin were destroyed, and that, too, by the command of God (See 19, 20, and 21, chapters of Judges).  But now tens of thousands of public prostitutes may be found in one city such as New York, and ninety thousand in another like London, and yet the United States and England call themselves christian nations, and pretend to worship God with all these abominations under their notice.  Are the nations justified who suffer such great wickedness in their midst?  Verily no.

Can any one suppose that God has changed so that he [36] does not look upon adulterous and unvirtuous practices now with the same degree of abhorrence as he did anciently?  If for one sin of this description, twenty-five thousand Benjaminites, together with their wives and little children were destroyed by the command of God, what must be the fierce wrath and terrible judgments laid up against modern christendom who have suffered these abominations to prevail among them, not in a few isolated cases existing for a moment, but in hundreds of thousands of cases, where public prostitutes swarming forth from their deathly hellish dens, like so many venomous serpents, have corrupted nations and generations for centuries and for ages!

Let this nation put these evils from their midst; let them enact strict laws to protect the virtue of the country; let the heaviest penalties be inflicted upon all public prostitutes, and upon all those who encourage the same, either by precept or example; let the priests and the people, the rulers and the ruled, clothe themselves in sackcloth and weep before the Lord for the sins of the nation, which have reached unto the heavens and cry aloud for vengeance; let them cleanse the land and wipe out of existence these soul-destroying abominations:  then let them teach Utah virtue, and their precepts will be heard and their admonitions received; then will the valiant-hearted sons and daughters of the Mountain Territory believe that there is virtue still left in the land; and then shall the nation find favor in the sight of heaven, and rise up in strength, in power, in glorious majesty, and extend their dominions east, west, north, and south, and shall rule in triumph and everlasting honor unto the ends of the earth.  But until then let them hide their faces in shame and blush in deep silence at the floodgates of iniquity which pour forth their torrents of corruption and death in all parts of the land.

Why do the Saints marry for all eternity as well as for [37] time?  Because both male and female expect to have a resurrection from the dead, and wish to enjoy each other’s society in the capacity of husbands and wives in the eternal worlds.  Do the saints believe that all those who have been husbands and wives in this life will enjoy that relationship after the resurrection?  No; they do not believe that any will enjoy that privilege excepting those who have been married by the word of the Lord, and by his authority for eternity.  When a man and woman enter into matrimonial contracts and covenant to be each other’s companion until death, they have claim upon each other for this life only; when death comes, their marriage contracts and covenants expire; and in the resurrection, however much they may desire to enjoy themselves in all the endearing relationships of husband and wife, they will find that their contracts and covenants which were made for time only, give them no title to each other in eternity.  Therefore, they will not be permitted under any conditions whatever to live together as husband and wife.  But can they not renew their contracts and be married again in that life?  No; for Jesus says, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”  (Matthew 22:30).  Those who have not secured their marriage for eternity in this life, can never have it attended to hereafter; therefore, if they should through faithfulness even be saved, yet they would be no higher than the angels, and would be compelled to live separately and singly, and consequently without posterity, and would become servants to all eternity, for those who are counted worthy to become kings and priests, and who will receive thrones and kingdoms, and an endless increase of posterity, and inherit a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  Such will need myriads of servants as their kingdoms and dominions increase; and the numbers requisite will be found among those who kept not the higher law, but still rendered themselves worthy of an inferior reward.

[38]The first marriage we have on record, is that of our first parents.  After the Lord had formed Eve, He “brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:  she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”  (Gen. 2:22-24).  Here was a marriage in which the Lord in person officiated – a marriage between two immortal beings.  Both Adam and Eve were so organized that death had no dominion over their bodies; they were capable of living forever and ever.  Death was not in the organization; it came into the world by transgression; it was an enemy–a usurper–an evil which man brought upon himself, or as Paul says, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” (Rom. 5:12).  If sin had not entered our world, death never would have been known in this creation; consequently our first parents would have been living this day as fresh, and as fair, and as full of all the vigor and strength of immortality, as in the morn of creation; millions of ages would have produced no effect upon their immortal systems; they would have been as durable as the throne of Jehovah, and as lasting as eternity itself.  Remember, then, that when the Lord gave Eve to Adam, He gave an immortal woman to an immortal man:  He made them one flesh, not for time, not for any definite period of duration, not till death – for that monster was not in the creation, which was then newly formed and pronounced “very good” – but He joined them in one, as one flesh, to be indissolubly united while eternal ages should roll on, or God himself endure.

But man, through disobedience, opened the gates to the enemy; death enters armed with horrible vengeance, and with a ghastly smile seats himself upon the throne of the new world, and clad with frightful majesty proclaims himself “The King of Terrors.”  All things feel his withering touch; all nations and [39] generations are prostrated in the dust; ruin and desolation follow in his train; the whole creation groan beneath the grasp of his tyrant hand.  Under his direful reign our first parents were banished from the presence of their Creator – were disinherited from the garden of Eden – were subjected to labor and toil to procure food from the ground, cursed for man’s sake.  The seeds of death were combined with the very soil; they organized themselves in every vegetable; they were mixed in all species of food derived from the ground; all the animal creation, with man himself, partook thereof; and death thus took a firm hold upon every living being; the immortal bodies of Adam and Eve received the fatal curse–they yielded–they sank–they died–their bodies returned to the dust.

But what was lost by the fall, was restored through Jesus Christ.  Did the original sin bring a curse upon the earth?  The atonement redeems from that curse and restores this creation to its primeval beauty, goodness, and glory.  Did that sin tear asunder body and spirit, destroy the immortal workmanship of the Creator, prostrate it low in the dust?  The redemption which is in Christ will restore “bone to bone,” limb to limb, and joint to joint; while flesh, sinews, and skin, will be restored to their original position; the spirit be restored to its body, and the body be restored to immortality.  Did death tear asunder husband and wife, divorce that which God had joined together as “one flesh,” immortal and eternal in its nature:  The atonement of Christ will repair the breach, will restore the immortal Eve to the immortal Adam, will join them again as one flesh, never more to be separated, and will again let the lawful husband enjoy the society of his lawful wife.

This restoration of Eve to Adam in the resurrection will require no new ceremony of marriage; for they were never legally divorced; the fall was not a divorce, for they lived for centuries in their mortal state as husband and wife; the death [40] of the body was not a divorce, but only a separation for a season; consequently, they were husband and wife in the spiritual state between death and the resurrection; there is nothing connected with the resurrection which is calculated to divorce; on the contrary, the resurrection, instead of being a divorcing or separating power, is a restoring or uniting power:  Therefore, Adam and Eve will not need to be married after the resurrection, for there never will be one moment, from the time of their marriage in the Garden of Eden to the endless ages of eternity, that they will cease to be legally husband and wife.

If the Lord had waited until after the fall before he solemnized the marriage of our first parents, and then had joined them as husband and wife only until death; when the time ran out and death came, the marriage contract would have been no longer binding, and they would have ceased from that moment to be lawfully husband and wife; and as there is no marrying after the resurrection, they would have remained to all eternity in a single state.

If the Lord should fail to restore to Adam his wife after the resurrection, then the redemption through Christ would not be as broad as the fall.  That which was joined as “one flesh” by the Lord Himself was put asunder, but not divorced by the enemy death; if Christ does not restore that which the enemy has taken away, then the redemption is incomplete; then death would have greater power than He who holds the “keys of death,” which would be unscriptural and absurd.  Christ has power over the devil, and the devil has power over death (See Heb. 2:14). And Christ will destroy the works of the devil from the earth, and death and hell will be banished to the lake of fire and brimstone, and our first parents, being delivered from these enemies, will be as immortal as they were on their bridal day.

The union of these two immortal beings in the marriage [41] covenant, was for the purpose of lawfully multiplying their species; for the first great command given to man was to “be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth.”  And it pleased God that man should obey this important command only through the marriage ordinance.  All other associations of the sexes, as we have already proved, were under the severest penalties forbidden.  It must be recollected that when this great command was given, and when they were joined as one flesh for the purpose of obeying it, they were immortal both body and spirit.  They did not obey this command while in their immortal state; they fell from immortality to mortality, after which they began to multiply their fallen species upon the earth.  If they had complied with the command before the fall, it would have been impossible for them to have raised up children of mortal flesh and bones, subject to death.  Mortal children could not spring from immortal parents.

Is it possible for immortal beings to multiply?  If it is not, then why did God give such a command to the immortal male and female?  It may be said that they fulfilled the design embraced in the command after they through transgression became mortal; but did God command them to sin, and fall, and become mortal, in order to raise up mortal posterity that the first command might be obeyed and made honorable?  Would He command them to disobey one law in order to keep another?  If they could not have multiplied while immortal, it was absolutely necessary that they should break one law to obey another.  But, on the other hand, if they have multiplied while immortal, then their posterity would of necessity have been immortal also; otherwise, death would have entered the world without sin, which no one for a moment could believe.  Who then cannot easily see that the very existence of mortal man on this earth depended on the fall?  Who so dull of apprehension that he cannot perceive that if our first parents had not fallen, we, as mortal beings, could have had no [42] existence?  Mortal children of flesh and blood could not have been born.

After our first Parents had become fallen, and consequently mortal, it was impossible for them to obey the command to multiply as immortal beings and raise up immortal children.  It is true, they could offer a substitute of a mortal posterity, subject to death, instead of an immortal one; but would the Lord accept such a substitution, as sufficient to answer the ends of the great command, given to them as immortal beings? Would He consider the command honored and fulfilled, by being presented with a fallen, deathly, corrupt, mortal race, instead of an immortal, heavenly race, blooming in all the freshness of eternal life?  If God will not be satisfied with such a substitution, would it be any thing more than reasonable that He should devise a plan by which our first Parents could be restored to immortality, and to the earth, and again be placed in a condition to multiply their species as immortal beings? Can they ever obey that law, so as to answer the end and design for which it was given, unless they shall, as immortal beings, “Multiply and Replenish the earth” with an immortal posterity?  God will not suffer the fall of man to thwart the great and eternal purpose he had in view in that command.  The redemption through Christ was intended to restore both male and female to immortality, that what they lost by the fall might be regained.  If the fall deprived them of the power of raising up an immortal posterity, the redemption will restore that privilege, or else it will be incomplete.  Adam must, therefore, have restored to him his beloved wife–his immortal Eve; and they must be placed upon the New Earth, redeemed from the effects of their transgression, where they will “Multiply and Replenish” the same with immortal children, as they were commanded to do in the first place, but failed, because of transgression.  Thus will God show to all his creations, that the enemy has not defeated His designs and [43] purposes, but that they will all be fulfilled and accomplished, and that the Devil who sought to overthrow them, has, himself, been defeated and banished from this creation into his own place.

If our first Parents were married for eternal ages, for the purpose of multiplying an immortal offspring, we cannot for one moment suppose that there will ever a period arrive throughout all the future duration, when they will cease to obey this command.  Hence their own sons and their own daughters, aside from their grand-children, will be as numerous as the dust of the earth, or in other words, there will be no end to their increase.  At the average rate of one per year, in a thousand million of years, they would people an earth as large as this with their own sons and daughters:  and if we let our minds stretch still further into the future ages of eternity, we can say, with confidence, that the period will arrive, when their own children, without reckoning their childrens’ descendants, will be sufficiently numerous to people as many worlds as have been discovered by the aid of the most powerful telescopes; and we can say of them, that “Of the increase of their government,” or of their kingdoms, “there will be no end.”

But was the command to multiply limited to our first Parents?  No; it extended to their posterity also.  If the command required immortal Parents to multiply, it surely would require the same things of the children; but it may be said, that through the transgression of the Parents the children are born mortal, and therefore, that they have not the privilege of raising up an immortal posterity.  But it must be recollected, that the same sin which prevents the children, also prevented the first parents from fulfilling that command; and the same redemption which redeems the parents, also redeems the children, and restores them all to immortality.  Therefore, if the children have been married for eternity, as well as for time, [44] by the authority of God, the same as their first Parents were, they will, with them, raise up, after the resurrection, an endless posterity of immortal beings.  In this manner, the children, as well as the parents, are placed in a redeemed condition, wherein they can eternally obey the command to multiply.

But those who do not, in this life, enter into the eternal covenant of marriage, after the pattern set by the first immortal pair, can never obey the first great command.  If any shall say that they obey that in this life, to them we reply, that a fallen, corrupt, mortal posterity, will never be accepted, as sufficient to answer the ends of that great law which was given to man in his immortal state.  Immortal beings only can obey that law acceptably, according to the real design and purpose which the Lord had in view.  They, therefore, who enter not into the everlasting covenant of marriage, can never obey that law; and because they have not placed themselves in a condition to obey it, they will find in the resurrection, that they have no lawful companions, and cannot enjoy the same fulness of glory as their first Parents, and as others who have been joined by the Lord eternally as one flesh.  They, therefore, must be numbered with the angels who do not keep the law; while those who do keep it, will sit upon thrones of judgment and will judge those angels and make them their servants, and they shall serve them throughout endless generations forever and ever, for angels have no power to enlarge themselves by an increase of posterity.  But to those who keep the law through the eternal covenant of marriage, shall honor, and glory, and dominion, and eternal lives, be added to endless ages in worlds without end.  By such shall worlds be peopled with their own sons and daughters; and their eternal kingdoms shall be multiplied as the stars of Heaven which no man can number.  By such shall God be glorified, in the continuation of His works, in the extension of the Universe, in the redemption and glorification of worlds, and in the increase of intelligent, immortal, Godlike [45] beings who inherit all the fulness of His own great perfections.

No uninspired man has authority from God to join together the male and female in the marriage covenant. Marriage is an ordinance of God, and we read that “What God hath joined together let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6).  Where man usurps authority to officiate in the ordinance of God, and joins together the sexes in marriage, such unions are illegal in the sight of God, though they may be legal according to the laws and governments of men.  The power to officiate in the ordinances of God has not been upon the earth since the great apostasy, until the present century.  Something like seventeen centuries have passed away since the authority was lost on the eastern hemisphere to administer in any of the ordinances of God.  During that long period marriages have been celebrated according to the customs of human governments, by uninspired men, holding no authority from God; consequently, all their marriages, like their baptisms, are illegal before the Lord.  Point out to us a husband and wife that God has joined together from the second century of the christian era until the nineteenth, if any can.  Such a phenomenon cannot be found among Christians or Jews, Mahometans or Pagans.  All are without prophets or inspired men – all are without divine authority:  none have had power to seal on earth the marriage covenant that it might be sealed in heaven; none during that long period have heard the voice of the Lord commanding them to officiate in those sacred ordinances.

Marriages, then, among all nations, though legal according to the laws of men, have been illegal according to the laws, authority, and institutions of Heaven.  All the children born during that long period, though legitimate according to the customs and laws of nations, are illegitimate according to the order and authority of Heaven.  Those things [46] which are performed by the authority of men, God will overthrow and destroy, and they will be void and of no effect in the day of the resurrection.  All things ordained of God and performed and sealed by His authority, will remain after the resurrection.  That which is of man, will be of no force or authority after death; that which is of God, will endure forever.  Republics and kingdoms, thrones and empires, principalities and powers, and all things else of human origin, shall be cast down and destroyed and vanish away like “the dream of a night vision” but all things sealed on earth and in Heaven, shall abide forever and have no end.


[47]                              Chapter 3


Having proved the eternity of the marriage covenant, and illustrated the design of this divine ordinance, it may not be improper to carefully examine some of the results which necessarily flow from this sacred institution.  All who admit the eternal union of husband and wife, are obliged to admit as a necessary consequence a plurality of wives; for there are circumstances wherein this could not be easily avoided:  for instance, Mr. A marries Miss B for time and for all eternity:  in process of time, his wife B dies, leaving several children.  The widower Mr. A again marries Miss C.  Question.  How will his wife C obtain a husband for all eternity?  It is evident that she must remain single without a husband in a future state, or else be married to Mr. A for eternity as well as time.  If she choose the latter, then Mr. A would have two wives in the morning of the resurrection.  Again, Mr. A may be unfortunate by having his wife C taken from him by death; if he marry the third time, he would then have three in eternity; and so on.  Also again, Mr. A may die before his wife B; his widow marries a young man C for this life only, as she is already bound to her deceased husband for eternity.  Question, When Mr. A claims his wife in the resurrection, What will Mr. C do for a wife?  Answer, he must either do without one, or else be married to a second one in this life; in the latter case, he would have two living in this life at the same time.  Therefore, if marriage for eternity be a divine institution, as we have abundantly proved it to be, then the plurality of wives is a divine institution also; [48] for the latter necessarily grows out of the circumstances arising in relation to the former.

Another instance may be mentioned; it is often the case that there are many females who never had the offer of marriage from young men in whom they could place confidence to entrust themselves for all eternity.  Question, Must these females remain without husbands in the eternal worlds?  Would it not be far better for each of them to be connected in marriage with a faithful man, like Abraham, though he may already be a married man, than to remain in a single state to all eternity?  Would it not be far greater happiness for her to be the second, or third, or fourth wife, and thus be placed in a condition to raise up an endless posterity, and enjoy with her husband all the glory and honor of his increasing kingdoms, than to remain as an angel or servant, without posterity, for ever and ever?

And again, there are many widows whose husbands die without embracing the gospel; these widows may never have the offer of marriage by single men.  Shall they be left unprovided for in the eternal covenant of marriage?  Would it not be a blessing for them to be placed at the head of a numerous offspring, by whom they would eternally be respected and reverenced in connection with their husbands?  What faithful virtuous woman would not prefer to stand as the sixth or seventh wife of a good and faithful man, rather than to have no husband at all throughout the endless ages of eternity?

When nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and the sword devours from one end of the earth to the other, as the prophets have predicted should be the case in the last days, many millions of fathers and brothers will fall upon the battle field, while mothers, and daughters, and [49] widows will be left to mourn the loss.  What will become of these females?  Answer, the gospel will be preached to many of them, and they will flee out from among the nations, and be gathered with the Saints to Zion.  Under these circumstances, the number of females will far exceed the number of males.  How are the overplus females to obtain husbands for eternity?  We will answer this question in the words of Isaiah, “In that day seven women shall 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.” (Isaiah 4:1).  Thus we see that the reproach of having no husband will be far greater than the reproach of seven women having one husband; indeed the latter will be no reproach at all; it will be the only means of taking away their reproach; being a divine institution, it will be sought after with eagerness, even at the expense of eating their own bread and wearing their own apparel.

The Apostle Paul says, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:11).  If, indeed, it be a true doctrine that in the Lord the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man, then it is of the utmost importance that each should secure a companion in the Lord, that is, be joined together by the authority of God as one flesh, not only for this life, but for that which is to come.  No man can be “in the Lord,” in the full sense of this passage, that is, he cannot enter into all the fulness of his glory “without the woman.”  And no woman can be “in the Lord” or in the enjoyment of a fulness “without the man.”  This divine institution being properly taught and understood, it will be considered a reproach for any man or woman to remain in a single state, and not comply with the ordinance of God by which they can legally in their immortal state “multiply and replenish” the New Earth with an immortal offspring.  In order that this reproach may be taken away “seven women shall take hold of one man.”  They will [50] understand that without a husband, they never can fulfill that great command which was given to immortal beings; they will learn that if they do not place themselves in a condition to obey it, they must suffer the penalties thereof, and arise no higher than the angels whom Paul informs us the Saints will judge.  The calamities of war will be so great in that day that the females will be far more numerous than the males; hence, the Lord says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Isaiah 13:12).  In that day the long established custom of the male’s first making the proposition of marriage to the female, will, in some measure, be reversed.  Instead of a man’s seeking to obtain the consent of seven women to become his wives, they will importune him to grant them that privilege; and for fear that he will object on account of the expense of so large a family, they will promise to “eat their own bread and wear their own apparel,” if they can “only be called by his name to take away their reproach.”  And to show that the Lord sanctions that order of things and bestows great blessings upon the people where it shall be practised, Isaiah, in the following verses, says, “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.  And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.” (Isaiah 4:2, 3).  And in the fifth verse, he informs us that “The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.”  “The branch of the Lord,” which is to be so “beautiful and glorious,” having upon all its dwelling places and assemblies “a cloud by day and a fire by night,” are the very people where seven women are to be united to one man, and to be called by his name to take away their reproach.

It will not only be a reproach for a woman to be without [51] a husband among the people of God, but it will also be an affliction for a married woman to be barren; for the Lord has commanded the male and female to multiply; it will be a cause of sorrow not to fulfill this command:  this was the case in ancient times.  When Leah, one of Jacob’s wives, had borne to him four sons, “she left bearing.”  “And when Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah, her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.”  And after this, she called upon the Lord, “and God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived and bare Jacob the fifth son.  And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” (Genesis 30:9, 17, 18).  Here it will be seen, that God hearkened to Leah and gave her a fifth son, and the reason assigned for this blessing was, “Because she had given her maiden to her husband.”  This was an act which pleased the Lord, and, therefore, he hearkened to her prayer.

But why was the Lord pleased with this order of things?  Because he is no respecter of persons; and Zilpah no doubt, was just as worthy of a husband and posterity, as Leah.  And, although Rachel had given Bilhah to Jacob for a wife, yet it seems for some reason, that Leah delayed following the example of her younger sister, and, therefore, she was barren, but when she became willing to give Zilpah to Jacob, the Lord blessed her for the act, and heard her prayers and gave her another son.  Both Bilhah and Zilpah would probably have failed in getting husbands for eternity, if Rachel and Leah had not given them to Jacob.  There may be many similar circumstances in the last days wherein females would fail of entering into the eternal covenant of marriage were they not given to a man already having a family.

Can a woman have more than one husband at the same time?  No:  Such a principle was never sanctioned by scripture.  The object of marriage is to multiply the species, according to [52] the command of God.  A woman with one husband can fulfill this command, with greater facilities, than if she had a plurality; indeed, this would, in all probability frustrate the great design of marriage, and prevent her from raising up a family.  As a plurality of husbands, would not facilitate the increase of posterity, such a principle never was tolerated in scripture.  But a plurality of wives would be the means of greatly increasing a family, and of thus fulfilling the command, not only to a far greater extent on the part of the husband, but also on the part of the females who otherwise might have been under the necessity of remaining single forever.  As instances of the great increase, arising from a plurality of wives, we will mention several of the Judges of Israel; one of whom had thirty sons; another had thirty sons and thirty daughters; another had forty sons (the number of daughters is not mentioned); another mighty man of God, namely Gideon, had seventy-two sons (the number of daughters is not known) (See Judges 8:30, 31; also 9:5; and 10:3,4; and 12:8,9,14).  Among all the people of Israel, the Lord chose Gideon, a man having many wives and children, to redeem His people from bondage.  To this Polygamist he sent his angel, and showed him great signs and wonders, and gave him many revelations how to deliver Israel.

The Psalmist says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:  and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Ps. 127:3, 5).  The reward which God bestows upon his people is children.  The Lord’s heritage is children:  hence the great anxiety of holy men and holy women in ancient times to increase their children.  And hence the Psalmist predicted, concerning the redeemed of the Lord that should be gathered “out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south,” that after they should wander in the wilderness, in a solitary way where they should be [53] permitted to “prepare a city for habitation,” the Lord would greatly bless the poor man “and make him families like a flock.” (See Psalm 107:2-7, 35-43).  Instead of the righteous, in that day, being sorrowful to behold a poor man having “families like a flock,” the Psalmist exclaims, “The righteous shall see it, and rejoice:  and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.  Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.”  Those who are not righteous, and are not wise, and will not observe what the Psalmist says, will no doubt think that a strange thing is happened in the land, when they hear of a poor man’s having “families like a flock.”  The wicked will, no doubt, open their mouths and cry Polygamy!  Polygamy! with a view to frustrate the fulfillment of the prophecies; but they will find before they get through, that they are fighting against God, and against His purposes, and against His divine institutions, and against the fulfillment of the prophets.  They will soon find that “iniquity will stop her mouth,” and that the Lord is, indeed, in the midst of His people, and that “he will rebuke strong nations afar off,” and send forth His laws from Zion to govern all people.  Then shall they know that when the Lord gives a man “families like a flock,” He intends it as a blessing and not as a curse; for “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord,” and happy are they who, through the everlasting covenant of marriage, obtain this great reward.

At a certain time Peter said to Jesus, “Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:28, 29, 30).  To receive “now in this time” an hundred fold [54] of houses and lands – an hundred fold of wives – an hundred fold of children, etc., is certainly a great temporal reward.  A man that leaves one wife for the gospel’s sake, receives a hundred wives in return for his sacrifice:  a man that leaves three or four children for the kingdom of God’s sake, receives three or four hundred children as a reward “now in this time.”  But how does he get his hundred fathers and mothers?  These would naturally come along as he obtained his hundred fold of wives; for the parents of each of the hundred wives, he would lawfully claim as fathers and mothers.  And the brothers and sisters of each of his wives he would naturally claim as his brothers and sisters.  “An hundred fold of houses and lands” would be as necessary as any other part of these promises of our Saviour; for they certainly would be needed to comfortably support an hundred fold of wives and children.  Well did the Psalmist say that “Children are an heritage of the Lord:  and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”  Well did he say that the Lord should make for the poor man, “families like a flock”; an hundred fold of families, dwelling in a hundred houses, certainly would have very much the appearance of “a flock.”

A plurality of wives was not only sanctioned of the Lord among Israel, but in certain cases it seems to have been absolutely necessary.  The scripture says:  “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger:  her husband’s brother shall go in unto her and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her.  And it shall be, that the first born which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.” (Deut. 25:5, 6).  If the brother of the deceased was already married, it did not relieve him from the responsibility of the law; he was required to marry the widow of his brother in order to raise up seed to him “that his name be not put out of Israel.”  Here, then, is a case where a [55] man would be obliged to come out in open rebellion against the law, or else have a plurality of wives living at the same time.  Now take the case of seven brethren; let them all marry.  If six of the brothers died without children, the seventh would be obliged by this law to marry the six widows; hence, he would have seven wives living here in this life or otherwise be a transgressor of the law.  If the surviving brother have no previous wife at the time he marries his brother’s widow (as the first-born must not be considered as his seed, but must take the name of his deceased brother), and if the brother’s widow fail to have children, or, at least, have but one, what will the living brother do for children to bear up his own name in Israel?  Shall he, who married his brother’s widow for the sake of building up the name and house of the dead, be left childless, and have his own name blotted out from under Heaven?  No, verily no; he would be under the necessity of marrying another wife, besides his brother’s widow, in order that his own house and his own name might be perpetuated among the tribes of Israel.

The continuation of the name and posterity of a righteous man was considered a great blessing; hence David exclaims before the Lord, saying:  “The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.” (Psalm 102:28).  To have the chain of posterity broken by death was considered a great calamity, therefore the Lord made strict provisions for such cases.  If the deceased had no brother living, it then fell upon the nearest kinsman to marry his widow.  We have an example of this given in the book of Ruth:  her husband being dead, and having no child, nor any brother to marry his widow, Boaz, his uncle, one of the brothers of his father, took Ruth for his wife, “to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place.” (Ruth 4:10).  Thus Boaz and Ruth became the [56] great grand parents of David.

This order of things did not originate with the law of Moses; it was in existence in the days of the patriarchs long before Moses was born.  Judah had three sons, namely, Er, Onan, and Shelah.  Er, having married Tamar, died, because of his wickedness, without a child.  “And Judah said unto Onan, go in unto thy brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.  And Onan knew that the seed should not be his,” and though he married her, he refused to “give seed to his brother.  And the thing that he did displeased the Lord; wherefore he slew him also.” (Gen. 38:6-10).  Shelah being too young to marry, Judah required Tamar to “remain a widow at her father’s house until Shelah was grown.”  Thus we see that before the law of Moses was given the patriarchs understood and practiced the law which required the brother of the deceased to marry his widow, for the purpose of continuing the name of the dead.  This law as we have seen necessarily includes a plurality of wives.

In a nation as numerous as Israel there would naturally be many thousands of instances throughout all their generations where husbands would die without children; and there also would be many thousands of instances where the living brother or next kinsman, though already married, would be required by the law to marry the widow.  It must be remembered that this order of things was in full force, and all Israel were required to observe it, at the time our Saviour and his apostles went forth preaching among that nation.  Question.  Was there anything connected with the gospel and teachings of Christ or his apostles, intended to abolish the law in relation to the widow of the dead?  When our Saviour and his servants went forth through all the cities of Israel, preaching, baptizing, and introducing into the church all who would receive their testimony, is it at all likely that they [57] condemned those who had married a plurality of wives in obedience to the law?  What would they naturally have said to a man who had married half a dozen widows of his brothers who had died childless?  Would they have condemned him for keeping the law?  Would they have refused him entrance into the Christian Church, because he had been faithful to the law?  Would they have required him to put away the widows of the dead whom the law had compelled him to marry?  If he had not kept the law, would he not have been condemned by the law?  Hear what the penalty of disobedience is, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.  And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deut. 27:26).  A man, then was bound under a heavy curse to marry all the widows of his deceased brothers who died childless.  Must he, therefore, be a cast-away for doing his duty?  Must he be kept without the pale of the Christian Church, unless he put away all his wives but one?  Such an idea is preposterous.  On the other hand, if Jesus and his servants had found a man in all Israel who had refused to obey this law – who would not marry the widows of his dead brothers, they would have reproved him as a transgressor; they would have told him that he was under a curse for neglecting to obey the law; they would have warned him to repent; and it is very doubtful whether they would have received him into the Christian Church, unless he first manifested his repentance by observing the law, and marrying the widows, as required.

And again, we ask, was it not just as necessary for Israel, under the Christian dispensation, to observe this law, and perpetuate the name of the dead, as under the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations?  Why was it necessary that the name of the dead should be held so sacred, until Christ came, and then be entirely neglected and forgotten?  Some may say that when Christ came, “old things were done away and all things became new.”  But who does not know that this had reference only to [58] the law of carnal commandments and ordinances which Christ came to fulfil?  Who does not know that there were many commandments and laws which were connected with the law of ordinances which were continued under the gospel?  The ten commandments were not done away in Christ.  Prayer which was practised under the law, was also necessary under the gospel.  The law against adultery was not abolished by the gospel.  The gospel did not abolish the law against stealing, against killing, against taking the name of the Lord in vain, against false witnesses, against drunkenness, or against any other abominations.  Christ did not do away the law of doing good to one’s neighbor, the law of uprightness and honesty which should characterize their dealings, one with another.  Christ, by introducing the gospel, never intended to abolish the law practised among Israel in helping the poor, the needy, the fatherless, and the widow.  Hence there were hundreds of commands and laws under the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations which Christ did not come to do away.  What was moral, and good, and righteous before Christ came was equally so after he came, unless we can find some evidence the contrary.  If it was a good, moral, and righteous act, before Christ to remember the dead who left no posterity, it was equally so after Christ, unless we can find something in Christ’s doctrine, abolishing the law of marriage in behalf of the dead.  What is there in the gospel that conflicts with the idea of the widows of several brothers that are dead, marrying the only surviving brother, and the first born of each being called after the name of the dead, that his name and lineage might be perpetuated to future generations?  Why should it be thought so very important to continue the names and lineages of the millions of Israel for thousands of years, and then all at once abolish the law established for this purpose?  There were thousands of Israelites, who, if they lived up to their law, must have had a plurality of wives when the gospel was first introduced among them.  And as the Apostles were commanded to [59] preach the gospel to every creature, they must have preached it to these thousands of Polygamists.  How could they become members of the church of Christ?  If plurality of wives was not tolerated in the Christian Church, it is evident that these Jewish Polygamists would have to break up their families and each give a bill of divorcement unto all his wives, but one:  but the gospel forbids the giving of a bill of divorce, only in case of adultery.  The gospel says “what God has joined together let no man put asunder.”  A man, then, who had married several widows of his deceased brothers according to the law (being under a heavy curse if he refused), would have no right to put them asunder or give them a bill of divorce.  What must he do?  According to the views of modern Christendom he could not enter the Christian Church with a plurality of wives, and according to the gospel he would have no right divorce them.  Therefore, he would be without hope; no possible way for him to be saved.  Who so destitute of common sense as to believe, for one moment, such absurdities?  Thousands of the Israelites, then, were compelled, through fear of the curse of disobedience, to marry a plurality of wives, and these thousands of Polygamists were compelled by the gospel not to divorce their wives only for the sin of adultery.  Therefore either the Christian Church must have tolerated Polygamy, or else they must have been under the necessity of unlawfully divorcing that which God had joined together, or else they must have considered that all such, because of their faithfulness to the law in behalf of the dead, had placed themselves beyond the reach of gospel mercy.  Here are three alternatives; which will the Christian choose?  To choose either of the latter two would be not only unscriptural, but sinful in the highest degree.  The first alternative alone remains, namely, to tolerate the plurality system as a divine institution; to admit Jewish Polygamists into the Christian Church, with their wives, through their faith and obedience to the gospel.


[60]                              Chapter 4


That this divine institution was practiced under the Christian dispensation, is still further evident, not only from the foregoing reasons, but from the instructions which Paul gave to Timothy and Titus, concerning Bishops and Deacons.  He says “A bishop, then, must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Tim. 3:2).  “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (Verse 12).  “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God.” (Titus 1:6, 7).  There are two different meanings frequently attached to these passages:  First, It is supposed that Paul intended to prohibit all single or unmarried men from being entrusted with the offices of bishop and deacon; that he required that they should be married, at least, to one wife, as a prerequisite to ordination.  By those who take this view of the subject, it is believed, that a man must, as Paul says, “first be proved” by marrying at least one wife, ruling “well his own house, having his children in subjection (for if a man know not how to rule his own house” says Paul, “how shall he take care of the Church of God?”).  If this view of the subject be correct, then Paul did not intend to limit the bishop or deacon to one wife, but merely intended to show that he must, as a qualification, be married, or must be the husband of one wife, before he could be ordained to either of those offices.  Second, it is [61] supposed by many that these offices were not to be conferred upon those who had more than one wife.  If this view of the subject be correct (and it evidently appears to be the true meaning of the passages), then, it is very certain that there were many in the church who had more than one; for if the private members and all the church were limited to one, Paul’s instruction for the bishops and deacons to be the husbands of one wife would have been altogether unnecessary.  If there were no such practice prevailing in the Christian Church, instead of confining these officers to one wife, he would have required them to receive no person into the church who have more than one.  The very expression, “The bishop must be the husband of one wife” is a strong indication that there were many in the church who were the husbands of more than one; and on this account it was necessary that Timothy and Titus should receive instructions in regard to their selections for ordination.  Any person can see that if there were no such practice allowed in the church, Paul never would have mentioned this particular qualification to be observed in the selections to be made from the members of the church.  If there were no members who had a plurality there would have been no danger of Timothy’s selecting a Polygamist for a bishop; hence the instruction would have been entirely useless.  Suppose a minister in England were to write to his brother minister in London concerning ordinations, and should instruct him to select such persons from his congregation for the office of Deacon as were not slave-holders, or that the deacons must be the owners of one slave only.  Would not such instruction in England be entirely uncalled for?  And would not the individual who wrote such instruction be considered deranged?  Where slaves do not exist such instruction never would be given.  So likewise, if the plurality of wives did not exist in the Christian Church, Paul never would have been so foolish as to have cautioned Timothy in regard to the selections which he made from the members of [62] that church.  This, therefore, is another corroborative testimony that the plurality doctrine was allowed under the Christian dispensation.

But if the private members in the Christian Church were permitted to have more than one wife, why not also the bishops and deacons?  Paul has not given us the reason.  It is quite probable, that the principal reason was that the important duties devolving upon these offices required them to be as free from other cares as possible.  Or as Paul says, in another place, “I would have you without carefulness.  He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:  but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world how he may please his wife.” (1 Cor. 7:32, 33).  Paul knew this to be the general disposition of mankind, and he knew that there were but a very few men to be found who would sacrifice houses and lands, wives and children, and everything else of an earthly nature for the sake of the gospel, therefore, he no doubt wrote his instructions to Timothy to select those among the church members who had but one wife, as they would be much more free from care than those who had several wives and children depending on them for their support.  Neither Paul nor any of the other apostles has ever represented the plurality of wives to be sinful or evil in the sight of God.  We do not find the principle condemned either in the Old or in the New Testament.  When Paul recommended Timothy to select from among the Saints those that had but one wife, he does not give the most distant intimation that those officers were thus limited, because to have more than one would be sinful.  It was only a matter of expediency that they might be free from the cares of a large family.  There were many practices that circumstances required the servants of God to dispense with, not because they were sinful in themselves, but merely to comply with surrounding customs.  For instance, it was not sinful to eat meat offered to [63] idols, and yet for fear that some weak brother should be emboldened to follow the example and eat with conscience to the idol, and thus offend God, it became a matter of wisdom to dispense with the practice; hence, Paul says, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1 Cor. 8:13).  Paul gave instructions in many things, suited to circumstances:  hence, we find him in one epistle, saying, “to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them, if they abide even as I.”  And again, “Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.” (1 Cor. 7:8, 27).  And in another epistle he writes thus:  “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” (1 Tim.5:14).  The cause of these apparently opposite instructions, arose from surrounding circumstances.  The Corinthians had fallen into many evils.  Divisions, contentions, fornications, brother going to law with brother, and various other evils existed among them.  Under these influences, Paul was fearful to have those in that church who were faithful, marry, lest they should get wicked companions that would lead them away to destruction.  Therefore, he gave the instructions above quoted.  But in other churches where such evils did not exist, it was his will that they should marry.  Teachings were varied to different churches as existing conditions required.  Circumstances required Timothy to select from among the Saints those that had but one wife to perform the important duties of Bishop and Deacon.  If the Saints had been less covetous and willing to sacrifice all things as the apostles did at first, there would have been no necessity for this instruction.  Bishops and Deacons might have been taken of those Saints who had many wives, and they would have freely left all the for the gospel’s sake; but for the want of such whole-hearted men, Paul had to suit his instructions accordingly.  Among the various qualifications which Timothy was required to observe in selecting men for Bishops, Paul [64] says, “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach.” (1 Tim. 3:7).  Did Paul give these instructions because he considered it a sin to be reproached by those who were without?  Did he consider it a sin to have an evil report from them who were not in the church?  These were certainly not the views of Paul; for he, himself had been spoken evil of and reproached wherever he went.  Jesus says, “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.  Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy:  for, behold, your reward is great in Heaven; for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”  “Wo unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:22, 23, 26).  “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (Matthew, 10:25).  Peter says, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.” (1 Peter 4:14).  But why was Timothy instructed to select for the office of Bishop such as had “a good report of them which are without, lest he fall into reproach?”  Was it because all others in the church were sinners?  Was it because none who were reproached and spoken evil of for Christ’s sake were qualified for the office of Bishop?  Was it because God condemned all those whom the world condemned?  No:  it was for none of these causes that Paul gave this instruction; it was merely as a matter of expediency:  there were others, no doubt, who were more righteous in the sight of God, and better qualified for the office of Bishop whom the world hated and reproached and spake all manner of evil against.  Yet Paul, for some reason, considered it best to select such as the world spake well of.  His object might have been to allay the spirit of persecution which was then raging among those who were without.  His instructions were suited to surrounding circumstances in regard to this, as in relation to their being the husbands of one [65] wife.  It was no more sinful to be the husband of a plurality of wives, than it was to be reproached and have an evil report from them who were without.  In the first his object was to have the Bishops free from the multiplied cares of a large family, and in the second to allay the hostilities of the enemy, by selecting those who were of good report among them.

We should be pleased to have some of the wise theologians of our day bring forward even one passage from either the Old or New Testament to prove that the plurality of wives is an evil.  Let them produce some passage, if they can, to show that such a practice was sinful either under the Patriarchal, Mosaic, or Christian dispensations.  Let them show that the practice was not continued under the Christian dispensation.  Where and when did our Saviour ever condemn it?  Where and when did any of his Apostles ever condemn it?  Here, then, ye ministers of Christendom, are some grave questions for you to settle.  Would you convert the “Mormons” of Utah Territory from this practice, show them that it is sinful or unscriptural.  No sooner was it sounded abroad through the columns of the Seer that the Saints in Utah believed in and practiced the plurality of wives, than the whole army of editors and ministers throughout Christendom formed themselves in battle array; the thunder of their artillery is heard reverberating from nation to nation, as though they would annihilate the poor citizens of Utah with one tremendous onslaught.  Curses, denunciations, and ridicule, are poured out like a flood upon their heads.  The whole English vocabulary is exhausted to find epithets and reproaches sufficiently expressive of their holy horror.  But in this holy war where is the editor or minister that can brandish the sword of truth against that which he condemns?  Where is the theological Goliath of modern Christendom that can stand before the sling stones of truth as they are hurled by the power of Israel’s God into the midst of the enemy’s camp. [66] Denunciations are not arguments — curses and vile reproaches will not convince the judgment nor enlighten mankind – Editors and ministers will find some wise men yet left on the earth who are not afraid of the Bible nor of Bible truths:  by that sacred volume they will form their judgment, and not upon popular traditions nor the denunciations of the bigoted.  Wise men of Babylon wonder–editors are astonished–ministers are amazed–priestcraft trembles to its very center–and the Devil and his angels are mad to think that after all their united exertions to put a stop to the spread of this “awful delusion” as it is denounced, it still prospers with unparalleled success among every nation to which it has been published.  How is it, inquires the wise statesmen, that such a bare-faced imposition converts its tens of thousands annually among the most civilized nations of the earth?  What is the secret of its prosperity?  We will tell you, Mr. Statesman, there are many tens of thousands of honest upright men who, in despite of priestcraft, will investigate for themselves, and in so doing, they find that “Mormonism,” which is called by editors and ministers a “bare-faced imposition,” has never as yet been proved to be such — they find that the cry of delusion is one thing, and the proof of delusion is another, they reason within themselves, that if “Mormonism” is such a “base imposition,” why has not some giant theologian been able, after a score of years, to prove it to be such?  They find the world flooded with books, pamphlets, periodicals, editors, ministers, mobs, and murderers, all crying, “Beware of Mormonism!”  “Beware of that soul-destroying imposition!”  “Beware of the wicked, beastly, licentious Mormons!!”  “Beware of Mormon Polygamy!!!”  “The Mormons of Utah are Polygamists!!!”  “O awful!”  “O horrible!”  “O abominable!”  “Who could have believed it!”  “Cannot Gen. Pierce do something to put a stop to this dreadful evil!”  “To avert the calamities of civil war the Mormons should be made to obey the laws!”  Such are the arguments, Mr. Statesman, that wise and candid men hear [67] against the so-called delusion.  They again reflect if Mormonism is really such a dreadful delusion, and if a plurality of wives is, indeed, so sinful and unscriptural, why are not some candid arguments – some scriptural evidences forthcoming to convince the judgment and enlighten the mind, and to show the nature of the delusion, and why, and wherein it is a delusion?  Why, say they, are all these denunciations heaped upon the Latter-day Saints without one logical argument, or scriptural evidence to sustain them?

If editors and ministers wish to put a stop to the rolling of the great wheels of “Mormonism,” we advise them to try another plan.  You have found that evil epithets and the cry of imposture, have been tried in vain.  Such empty trash is becoming stale; it is not received as evidence by a thinking public.  They do not greedily swallow it down; they want something more substantial.  Let theologians back up their cry of delusion by good sound reasoning – by evidences from the Word of God.  Let the editors and authors, for once, show themselves men of sense; let them, for once, appeal to the law and testimony, and expose “Mormonism” scripturally; let them, for once, prove to the world that the doctrines of the Latter Day Saints are false; let them show from the Word of God that a plurality of wives is sinful or unscriptural.  If they will, for once, adopt this plan, they will find that it will have more weight in the minds of an intelligent thinking public, than all the ridicule, vile reproaches, and popular denunciations, that the devil can invent.  Try it and see.  If you will prove “Mormonism” to be a delusion; if you will show by the Word of God that a plurality of wives is not sanctioned under the gospel as it was under former dispensations, you will greatly enlighten the minds of the people of Utah.  Think not that the descendants of the pilgrim fathers – the intelligent sons and daughters of the New England States – the citizens of this great Republic, educated under the salutary [68] influence of American institutions, who now dwell in exile in the Mountain Territory, are so lost in the depths of barbarism – so engulfed in the fatal vortex of delusion – so impenetrable to sound arguments and logical reasoning – so blind to the great truths contained in the Word of God, that they are beyond all hopes of recovery.  At least make the exertion once; convince them of their errors of doctrine or errors of practice.  Let missionaries be sent among them; they shall be treated with the highest respect; meeting houses shall be opened to them free of all expense; the people will turn out by tens of thousands to hear their strong reasonings, and if they are able to prove “Mormonism” a delusion, they will convert the great majority of the Territory.  Here, then, is a splendid field for missionary enterprise.  But let us notify you to send men who are not afraid of the Word of God.  Let men be sent who will make no denunciations only such as they are able to prove; for the inhabitants of Utah have too much sense to be thus gulled and duped; they have too much experience to believe all that missionaries and editors say without proof; they have too much honesty and desire for the truth to believe a thing to be true or untrue, because long established customs and popularity sanction it.  The people of Utah hear and then judge; they think for themselves and do not hire ministers and editors to think for them.  Come, then, you missionary societies whose bosoms yearn over the dark and benighted heathen in foreign climes, awake to the awful condition of the poor and outcast Latter-day Saints in your own land; send forth your master spirits–your Calvins–your Luthers–your Wesleys; let the thunder of their eloquence be heard upon the mountain tops; let the valleys of Utah be refreshed by their sublime effusions; let the hills and mountain gorges re-echo the glad tidings, till every ear shall hear, and every heart be penetrated.  A voice is heard from Utah saying, “Come over and help us; teach us of our errors; convince us of our delusions, if we have any; set us in the good old paths of [69] ancient Christianity if we are not already walking therein; take us by the hand and lead us into the light, if you consider us in darkness; prove to us that the Book of Mormon is an imposition that we may be justified in rejecting it; convince us that a plurality of wives is contrary to the gospel; let your light shine upon the mountains and upon the highest places of the earth, that Utah may, peradventure, become enlightened, at least, that she may be able to see some of the beauties of civilized society.”  The inhabitants of that dark and benighted land are so far sunk in the depths of barbarism, that they will not suffer a public prostitute to live in the Territory:  an adulterer or seducer is not considered fit to live in that barbarous land.  These ornaments of civilized and Christian nations, do not yet adorn the cities and town of Utah.  Cursing, swearing, gambling, drunkenness, stealing brother going to law with brother, fighting, quarrelling, and such like specimens of civilized society, have not yet been introduced to polish and refine the manners of that deluded, benighted people.  Missionaries, therefore, will have a great work to perform to reclaim the “Mormons” from all their barbarous and degrading customs, and polish and adorn them with all the beauties of civilization.  But let them not be discouraged; if they can prove that they have greater light than the Saints, they may be assured of success, and that the people en masse will be converted.

But “the people of Utah should be made to obey the laws in order to avert the calamities of civil war.”  We hope that priests and editors will not martial the whole nation against them.  At least, show them some little mercy, by first informing them what laws of God or man they have broken.  Before you blot their names out from under Heaven, give them one chance of repentance and reformation by sending wise men, and judges, and lawyers, to point out to them what law of the United States they have violated, or what law of Utah [70] Territory they have transgressed.  If it be contrary to the laws of the United States for the citizens of Utah to have a plurality of wives, they are certainly ignorant of the existence of such laws.  None of the lawyers or judges who have been sent among them have ever pretended that the United States have passed any laws upon that subject.  And as for the laws of the individual States and other Territories, Utah is not aware that she is amenable to them.  Each State and Territory passes its own laws to regulate its own domestic relations and internal affairs, and is not under the jurisdiction of any other.  If Utah has become a transgressor of any laws to which she is amenable, let the judges of the Supreme Court, appointed for that Territory, take cognizance of the same, and punish her citizens by law.  This will “avert the calamities of civil war” which editors and religious bigots are so fearful of.  We ask the citizens of the Northern States, if their State laws authorize them to regulate the policy of the Southern States in regard to slavery?  Have they the right to say that the Southern States must and shall abolish slavery?  The State laws of the North have nothing to do with the domestic relations of the South.  So it is in regard to Utah; she asks not the interference of any State of this Union to dictate to her what kind of policy she must adopt in her legislative enactments; if she choose to adopt slavery in her midst, the organic law of the Territory gives her the privilege; if she choose to practice a plurality of wives, she has the most unbounded right to do so, until prohibited by law; if she choose to pass laws authorizing her citizens to marry a hundred or seven hundred wives, it would be a violation of no law or Constitution of the General Government.  If enthusiasts and religious bigots are not pleased with the liberties guaranteed in the great Constitution of this country, let them petition Congress for a different kind of government – one that shall combine the ecclesiastical with the civil power – one that shall incorporate the holy inquisition for the punishment of all heretics who dare think or [71] act for themselves – one that shall issue a bloody edict for the extermination of the Latter-day Saints wherever they can be found:  such a government would be much better adapted to their wants:  such a government would enable them to rule over the consciences of men by the sword, the fagot, and the fire:  such a government would enable them to effectually demolish all delusions and heretical opinions by physical arguments, instead of mental.  O, how beautiful! how logical! how powerful in its applications would such an order of things be!  Before such irresistible logic the poor “Mormons” would stand no chance at all:  they would be overpowered, butchered, roasted alive, as an unequivocal testimony of their gross delusions!

But to return again to our subject.  If the plurality of wives once existed in the Christian Church, why has not the practice been kept up unto the present day?  Is it not an evidence that it never existed under the gospel, from the fact that it has not been transferred down to our time?  We reply, that the non-existence of the practice among Christian nations now, is no evidence, at all, against its existence in the early age of Christianity.  There is scarcely one feature of ancient Christianity, that has struggled through the long night of darkness, and reached our day.  Where now are the inspired Apostles such as characterized ancient Christianity?  Where now are the abundance of Christian Prophets such as once flourished in the Christian Church?  Where now are the visions, revelations, prophecies, ministry of angels, the healings, the miracles, and the power of God that distinguished the Christian Church while it was on the earth?  Where has been even the Christian Church itself, for centuries and ages past?  It has been nowhere upon the earth.  If all the great, and glorious, and grand characteristics of Christianity, have ceased – if the Christian Church itself, has not been transferred to our day, how could it be expected that the [72] plurality of wives as practiced in that Church, should survive the general wreck?  If the most important offices, gifts, and blessings of the gospel, perished in the general apostasy, it would be nothing strange if some of the customs of the early Christians should perish also.

After the Church of Christ became extinct from the earth, the apostates who were left still continued a form under the name of a Christian Church; these changed and altered customs to suit their own imaginations; forbidding their priests to marry, and introducing celibacy, and nunneries, and thousands of other foolish whims and habits that the Christian Church, while it was on the earth, never thought of.  From these unauthorized apostates, sprang all the churches of modern Christendom; all being as destitute of divine authority as the idolatrous Hindus.  And through their traditions, customs, and foolish imaginations, they have almost entirely eradicated every feature and custom of ancient Christianity from the earth.

This great apostasy began to manifest itself in the Christian Church while the apostles were yet living.  Paul, in speaking of the coming of Christ, says, “Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.”  (2 Thess. 5:3).  And again, he says, “for the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (Verse 7).  The apostate churches of latter times were to be “without natural affection,” “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry,” “waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,” “through covetousness, with feigned words, making merchandise of the people,” “turning their ears away from the truth, and turning them unto fables.”  “Forbidding to marry” was one of the [73] grand evils of the apostasy; it was classified with the “doctrines of devils,” it was one of the most effectual doctrines that the devil could invent to uproot the foundations of society; to deprive the people of God of their promised heritage of children; to thwart the purposes of the Almighty in peopling the earth with its full measure of inhabitants; to cut off the glory promised to the faithful through the continuance of their posterity; to reduce mankind to the same woful condition, as the fallen angels themselves, who have no power to increase their dominions by a multiplication of their species.

The devil and his angels, having forfeited, in their first estate, all right to enter a second with bodies of flesh and bones, and having lost the privilege of marrying and propagating their species, feel maliciously wicked and envious against the sons of men who kept their first estate and are now in the enjoyment of the second, marrying and increasing their families or kingdoms.  These arch seducers know full well the blessings which they have lost, and which they see mankind in possession of, namely, the blessings of wives and children.  Could they seduce mankind and forbid them to marry, it would greatly gratify their hellish revenge; for they know that all such would lose their promised glory, being left wifeless and childless like themselves, without any possible means of reigning over an endless increase of posterity.

The devils, knowing the eternal ruin which would necessarily come upon mankind could they be persuaded to abolish marriage, used every art of seduction to accomplish their evil designs.  When they could not succeed in one way they would try another; if they could not persuade all the church to forsake the practice of marriage, they would then try their skill upon the apostate priesthood, endeavoring to enforce them into a life of perpetual celibacy.  The devils soon succeeded in getting laws enacted, forbidding the Priests to [74] marry.  Nunneries were also built in which females were immured for life, and thus prevented from fulfilling the great and first command to multiply their species.  The next great object with the Devil was, to unite this apostate church and priesthood with the civil power; this he soon accomplished:  he now found himself armed with double facilities.  What he could not before fully accomplish with the ecclesiastical tribunals, he could now perform through the enactments of the civil powers.  He had already succeeded in abolishing marriage among Priests and Nuns, and the next step was to forbid the plurality of wives – that divine institution which had, in all previous ages of the world, been so successful among holy Patriarchs, Prophets, and righteous men in greatly multiplying the people of God, and spreading them abroad like the sands of the seashore.  Could he persuade the ecclesiastical and civil powers to unitedly abolish it in church and State, it would greatly satiate his revengeful feelings; for he recollected well how much harm Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Elkanah, David, and numerous other old Polygamists had done to his kingdom.  God had declared himself to be the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and had promised to bless the children of their numerous wives and multiply them like the dust of the earth.  And Christ too, the greatest enemy which the Devil had, was so well pleased with this divine institution that he chose to come into the world through the lineage of a long list of Jewish and Patriarchal Polygamists.  The Devil, therefore, thought to vent his spite at this holy order, and if possible entirely eradicate it from the earth.  Through the influence of Apostate Christendom several nations have actually been persuaded, to assist the Devil in his malicious warfare against this divine system:  they have actually passed laws prohibiting it in their midst.  Thus that order of plurality by which the twelve tribes of Israel were founded, and from which the Messiah, according to the flesh, came; that order which multiplied the chosen seed as the stars [75] of Heaven, and in which all nations should be blessed; that order by which the childless dead could have his name perpetuated to endless generations; that holy divine order has been overturned and abolished by human enactments and by human authority.  Let Apostate Christendom blush at her sacrilegious deeds! let her be ashamed of her narrow-contracted bigoted laws!


[76]                              Chapter 5


But does not Jesus, when referring to the union of Adam and Eve, as one flesh, convey the idea that no man was to have more than one wife?  No:  Jesus was speaking of the Jewish nation, who had been accustomed to give bills of divorcement and put away their wives; He was showing them that Moses suffered such bills to be given, because of the hardness of their hearts; “but from the beginning it was not so.”  He told them that it was unlawful for them to put away their wives except for the cause of fornication.  He “said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh.  What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4, 6).  Jesus here vindicates the sacredness and perpetuity of the marriage covenant.  He shows that the husband and wife are no more twain but one flesh. What are we to understand by two becoming one flesh?  Does it mean that the male and female lose their identity as persons?  By no means.  Such a circumstance never happened in any age of the world.  Does it mean that they become one merely in their thoughts, affections, and minds?  No; it says they twain shall be one flesh:  mark the expression, “one flesh,” not one mind.  But how can this be possible?  Answer; By the sacred covenant of marriage, the woman freely and voluntarily gives herself to the husband; she no longer is her own, neither does [77] she belong to her parents, or to any one else; she has surrendered herself wholly to her husband; she is his helpmate; his wife; his property; his flesh, just as much as the flesh of his own body is his:  hence, Paul says, “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; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” (Eph. 5:28, 29).  Although she still maintains her identity as a distinct personage, yet she belongs to another, and not to herself; she is his flesh and his bones.  He, therefore, that will divorce his own flesh and his own bones, “saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery:  and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32).  Now, a man that will cause his own wife which is, by marriage, his own flesh, to commit adultery, will be considered as an adulterer himself, and will be judged and condemned with adulterers; for in him is the greater sin, because he compelled his own flesh to commit adultery, by putting her away.  And if he should marry, after having put her away, it would be adding sin to sin; for, after having forced his wife to commit adultery, he would not actually commit adultery himself.  Hence, Jesus says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” (Matthew 19:9).  Thus it will be seen, that a man who unlawfully divorces his wife, although he may remain unmarried, commits a sin equal to that of adultery, for he “causeth her to commit adultery,” and if he marry while in this great transgression, he, of course, would marry contrary to the will of God, therefore, God would have nothing to do in joining him to another, consequently his marriage not being of Divine appointment, would be considered illegal, and therefore adulterous, like all other marriages wherein the authority of God is not recognized.

Some may pretend to say that if it be considered adultery [78] to marry another, after having unlawfully divorced a wife, then it would be considered adultery to marry another without a divorce, having two or more wives at the same time.  But these two cases are entirely distinct and different in their nature.  In the first case, a man before he marries another is under great transgression, having unlawfully put away his wife and caused her to commit adultery.  While under this great transgression, God will not suffer him to be made one flesh with another; and if he marry, he marries independent of the authority of Heaven, and therefore commits adultery.  But in the second case, if he marry another when he is not under transgression, through the consent of the first wife, and under the Divine sanction, and by Divine appointment and authority, as the holy Patriarchs and Prophets did, he does not commit adultery.  Neither Jesus nor his apostles, have ever represented a person to be an adulterous man for marrying two wives and living with them, as had been practiced by holy men in all previous ages.  Such a practice was never condemned.  Jesus did not say that Moses suffered a plurality of wives because of the hardness of their hearts, and that it was not so from the beginning.  No.  He said directly the reverse.  It was for putting away wives, and not for taking wives, that Jesus condemned them.  This putting away of wives was not only condemned under the Gospel, but it was considered a great evil hundreds of years before Christ.  Hear the testimony of the Prophet Malachi:  “Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away.” (Mal. 2:15, 16).

As it was considered a very great evil for a husband to put away his wife, so, likewise, it was very sinful for a wife to put away her husband.  Jesus says, “If a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mark 10:12).

*     *     *     *     *

[79]But there is still an additional sense wherein the husband and wife become one.  They become one flesh in their children.  The flesh of both father and mother becomes amalgamated in one in each of their offspring.  Here is a union of the flesh of the father with that of the mother that can never be separated – a union of the flesh of two in one body…- a union that no power but death can dissolve – a union that will be eternal after the resurrection. Hence the husband and wife become one flesh in their children eternally.  The union of husband and wife, therefore, should be as inseparable as their own flesh and bones incorporated in their children; it should be as eternal as the immortal bodies of their children after the resurrection.  No wonder, then, that the Lord “hateth putting away;” it is a violation of the eternal covenant of marriage; it is the overthrowing of the great foundation of eternal kingdoms:  it is the destruction of an endless increase of posterity, and the rejection of the grand Patriarchal and family order of the Heavens; it is the severing asunder of that which God has joined together for eternity – the rending in twain of his own flesh and his own bones which God had united to be one forever; and in fine, it is the rejection of the Woman – “the glory of the Man” – the only means that God has ordained for the peopling of Worlds – the only stepping stone to an endless increase of dominions – the only medium of an endless continuation of immortal lives.  What, therefore, God has joined together as one flesh, let no human authority dare put asunder.

But does not the saying, that “they twain shall be one flesh,” indicate that God did not design more than two to become one flesh?  No:  it conveys no such idea.  Jesus says, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30).  Now this saying did not prevent others from becoming one with the Father and Son; it was just as possible for three, or four, or a hundred, or any other number of his disciples, however great, to become one [80] with Jesus and His Father, as it was for they twain to be one.  Indeed, Jesus prays to the Father to make all his disciples one, even as they were one.  Therefore because a man becomes one flesh with one wife, it does not prevent him from becoming one flesh with a second.  When Jacob became one flesh with Leah, it did not prevent him from marrying Rachel, and Bilhah, and Zilpah, and from becoming one flesh with each of them.  Each of the latter three were as much his as the first.  The flesh of Jacob and Rachel was incorporated as one in the bodies of Joseph and Benjamin, as much as the flesh of Jacob and Leah was in Judah and Simeon.  If it could be said of Jacob and Leah, that “They twain shall be one flesh,” the same saying could be applied, with equal propriety, to Jacob and Rachel – to Jacob and Bilhah – to Jacob and Zilpah; or, if he had been paired with seven hundred wives, as Solomon was, it would have been equally applicable to each pair.

In the writings of the New Testament, we have no particular instances mentioned of the plurality of wives, and from this circumstance, some have supposed that such a practice did not exist; but we reply, that there are several books of the Old Testament, also, wherein no instances of such a practice, are recorded, and yet it is well known that such an order was in existence.  Therefore, because the writers of the New Testament have failed to mention instances, is no evidence whatever against the continuation of that divine institution.  Why should some sixteen or eighteen of the inspired writers of the Old Testament be entirely silent in regard to a practice which existed under their immediate notice?  The silence of the eight writers of the New Testament is no more proof against the existence of the plurality custom under the Christian dispensation, than the silence of double that number of writers, is against its existence under former dispensations.

[81]It is supposed by some, because the term wife, instead of wives, is used in the New Testament, that no Christians had more than one.  But no such inference can be justly drawn on that account.  For who does not know that the greatest majority of the Old Testament writers, have used term wife in the singular number as well as those under the gospel?  There were many people under every dispensation, who had but one wife; and for this cause, instructions were most usually given in terms and language, suited to the general condition of the people, taken as a whole.  When Moses gave laws concerning domestic relations, he most generally used the term wife, instead of wives, knowing that, in the most of cases, the laws regulating one wife, would be equally applicable to a plurality.  Hence, he uses the singular number in his instructions in relation to a divorce:  the same language is used against coveting a neighbor’s wife; and yet these laws were designed to take effect among polygamists, as well as among families practicing the one wife system.  Many other laws were applicable to both systems, and yet Moses uses the singular term instead of the plural.  This same custom continued among the writers after Moses; and it was very seldom that the term wives, in relation to individual families, was used, unless in regard to some circumstance or event which especially required the language to be in the plural.  The New Testament writers, in giving rules and regulations for the government of families, have followed the same custom as those who preceded them, using the singular number, considering that what was applicable to one wife was, in most of cases, applicable to a plurality.  This method of expressing themselves, therefore, is not the least evidence against the existence of this order of things among Christians.  Indeed, we know, that if the Jewish nation kept their law in relation to the childless dead, there must have been thousands of polygamists among them when Christianity was introduced into their midst.

[82]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 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.

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 [83] 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 practices of their parents, would be very likely to follow their 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 became 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. 20:16, 17, 18).  When Abram first came into that land the Lord told him that their iniquity was “not yet full.” (Gen. 15).  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 [84] 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 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 ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.” (Deut. 28:11).

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. 28:62, 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 [85] 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 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 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 unrighteousness and brought eternal ruin and misery upon their seed, the Lord will no longer suffer them to enlarge their dominions of wickedness 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 [86] their marriages were 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 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, 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, [87] 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. 14:20, 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, 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.

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 forevermore.  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. 37).  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 [88] 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. 23:2).

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 Abraham.”  “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:33, 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 the 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 23:28, 29, 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 of 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 [89] 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 honor, 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.


[90]                              Chapter 6


The multiplication of human beings is not the only object of marriage, but connected with this is the righteous government of those beings.  If increase alone were the design, then it could be accomplished through the wicked as well as the righteous; but we have already proved that God is not pleased with the increase of the wicked:  the cause of this displeasure arises from the unrighteous government exercised in their families.  A wicked man is totally unqualified to govern a family according to the law of righteousness; for though he deliver righteous precepts, his wicked examples preach louder in the ears of his family than his precepts.  If precepts have no influence in regulating the conduct of the parents, how can it be expected that they shall regulate the acts of the children?  If parents will not repent of their sins, and call upon the Lord, and be baptized into the Church of Christ, and receive the Holy Ghost, and be diligent in obeying every requirement of Heaven, the children will be very likely to harden their hearts also.  Children are susceptible of influences; those whom they esteem most they will be the most likely to imitate.  And as children generally suppose their parents to be superior to all others, they are very apt to be controlled by their influence, either for good or for bad.  Hence, the wise man says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Parents cannot train children in the proper path, unless they walk therein themselves.  Therefore [91] no individuals or nations are divinely authorized to marry and multiply their species, unless they are qualified to govern them according to the law of God, and to teach them both by example and precept the way that leads to eternal life and happiness.

The salvation or damnation of a family depends, in a very great degree, upon the nature of the government exercised in that family.  If the head of a family be a righteous man, his influence is continually exercised in every department of his house; his wife or wives are continually instructed in every good, and useful, and upright principle; his children are taught in the law of God according to their age, experience, and capacities; his examples are imitated; his whole household love, revere, and obey him:  he leads them unto God and teaches them how to be happy here and hereafter; he obtains promises from the Almighty for them and their generations after them; he blesses them by the spirit of prophecy according to the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost that is in him; and in fine, he is a prophet, patriarch, prince, and saviour to all that God has given him.  Such a man is worthy of a family; he has a divine right to marry, and multiply his offspring; for he thus, in training up a family, glorifies God; he prepares them to associate with a higher order of beings in the Heavens; through his instrumentality they are made partakers of eternal life.  Contrast such an order of family government with the unrighteousness and disorder in the families of the wicked; and, then, tell me, if such a man is not more worthy of a hundred wives and a thousand children than the wicked are to be entrusted with one?  Tell me if such a man would not glorify God more, in the salvation of a large and numerous family than the wicked man who is the instrument of bringing damnation upon his family?  Hear what is said concerning Abraham.  “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and [92] mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.” (Gen. 18:17-19).  The Lord and two angels had just taken dinner with Abraham, and as they started on their journey towards Sodom “Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.”  The Lord concluded to reveal to Abraham a secret concerning the destruction of Sodom.  The reason assigned for revealing this secret to him, was because he would “command his children and his household” and because of this He would bring upon him all that he had promised.  Thus we see that in consequence of the good order and righteous government which this Polygamist exercised in his family, he was counted worthy to have the Lord and his angels to dine with him; to receive a revelation concerning the fate of the neighboring cities; and to learn that the Lord would actually make him a great nation, and that all nations should be blessed in him.  All these great blessings were bestowed as a reward for commanding his children and household according to the law of God.  On the other hand, great and terrible were the judgments which came upon Sodom and the surrounding cities, because they would not command their children in righteousness, not give heed themselves to the law of God.

And even among the people of God there is a distinction, arising from the faithfulness of some and the unfaithfulness of others.  Those who are the most upright are better qualified to govern families than those who are unfaithful.  Though the Lord had made promises to Jacob concerning the posterity of his twelve sons, yet because of their wickedness while in the wilderness He came very near destroying them.  The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:  Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and [93] blot out their name from under Heaven:  and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.” (Deut. 9:13, 14).  Why did the Lord wish to destroy them and make the posterity of Moses into a nation greater than they?  Because Moses was more righteous than they, and consequently was much better qualified to instruct and teach his children than all Israel; and the Lord had a great desire to bless those who were the most faithful with a numerous posterity; while those among his people who transgressed were considered unworthy of standing at the head of a numerous offspring.  Had not Moses plead before the Lord in behalf of Israel, and referred to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, the Lord might have destroyed them, and raised up a mighty nation by Moses in their stead.  But the Lord hearkened unto Moses and “repented of the evil which He thought to do unto his people.” (Ex. 33).

Abram had a numerous household, before Sarah gave Hagar to him for a wife.  We read of three hundred and eighteen trained servants “born in his own house.” (Gen. 14:14).  Now it is altogether likely that Abram was more righteous and faithful than all the church in his house; hence, he was the only among them that we have any account of having more than one wife.  His faithfulness and his qualifications to instruct and govern in righteousness, entitled him to greater privileges.

The Lord blessed Gideon because he was a mighty man of God with upwards of seventy sons, and chose him to deliver Israel.

David, being a man after God’s own heart, took seven wives before he ascended the throne to reign over all Israel.  He being a prophet was well qualified to govern and instruct a family in righteousness.  He had more wives and children [94] committed to him than many of his brethren because he was better qualified to lead them to salvation.  After David had taken seven wives, the Lord thinking that he had not yet a sufficient number, gave into his bosom all of Saul’s wives. (2 Sam 12:8).  What is the secret of the Lord’s being so anxious for David to have so many wives?  Because, he, being a man after God’s own heart, would be more likely save his wives and children, than many others of Israel who were less faithful.

But when David turned from his righteousness and took Uriah’s wife, the Lord now considered him no longer worthy of his wives and He gave them to his neighbor.  He was informed by the Lord through Nathan, the Prophet, that if Saul’s wives and that which He had already given to him “had been too little,” he says, “have given unto thee such and such things” (2 Sam. 12:8), clearly intimating that, He, the Lord, would have given him more, lawfully, if he had been faithful.  But now he had forfeited all that he had got.  Saul, though he had been a prophet, afterwards transgressed and rendered himself unworthy of his kingdom – unworthy of his wives – and unworthy of even life itself.  Wives and children are among the greatest blessings bestowed upon the righteous.  He, therefore, that receives these blessings and continues faithful, will be counted worthy to receive more; but he that is unfaithful will have taken from him even that which he has.  This was the case with Saul and David; their wives were taken from them.  David by taking that which did not belong to him, lost all his own.

God raised up Solomon to sit upon the throne of Israel; and He appeared unto him twice and gave him great wisdom above all others and the Lord was with him, and magnified him exceedingly before all Israel, and hearkened unto his prayer and filled the temple which he built with a cloud of glory, and caused fire to descend from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. [95] This great man was much better calculated to train up children in the way that they should go than any other man living, for God had given him greater wisdom; hence he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11).  But even this wise man, turned away from the Lord, by taking wives from among surrounding nations who were idolaters which thing the Lord had expressly forbidden (see verses 1, 2).  Solomon was not condemned for marrying many wives of his own nation; but having transgressed the strict commandment of God in marrying out of his nation, he was left unto himself and turned away after the idolatrous gods of his wives; and God rent the kingdom in twain in the days of his son, and gave ten tribes to another not of his seed.

Thus it will be seen that even among the people of God there are some who are more worthy than others, consequently God gave such more wives and children than He did to others.  These blessings were dispensed, like all other blessings, according to the righteousness, wisdom, faith, holiness and qualifications of those who professed to be the people of God.  Some receiving more; some less; some none at all; and some having taken from them even those they had received.

Therefore though the males and females had been of equal number in Israel, yet God would confer upon some more than upon others, according to their worthiness.  As it was among Israel, so it is among the people of Utah.  Some are entitled to a greater number of wives than others, because of their righteousness.  Though the census should show an equal number of the sexes in that Territory, that does not prove that all the men are equally qualified to instruct, counsel, govern, and lead wives and children in the paths of righteousness.  A father would not confer upon his children equal blessings, authority, and power, unless they were equally faithful.  A wise king having many sons would confer authority and power upon [96] such only as would use the same for the benefit of the people.  Those who would not be subject to good laws themselves, he would not entrust to govern others.  Our Heavenly Father acts upon the same principle.  He is willing that all should enjoy equal rights and privileges, upon the ground of equal obedience.  We have this illustrated in the parable of the talents:  one having one; another two, and another five.  Those who made a proper use of what was entrusted to them, gained more:  those who made an improper use of their blessings, lost all they had:  their blessings were taken from them and given to others, who had more abundantly.  This explains the mystery why the Lord in ancient times gave more wives to one than what he did to another, when to all appearance the number of males and females were about equal.

And when the most of His people were righteous and worthy to be entrusted with numerous families, and there were not a sufficient number of females to supply them with a plurality of wives, the Lord provided for them, by commanding them to spare the female captives of certain nations taken in war.  Hence when the Israelites made war against Midian they slew all the men, and took the women and children captives.  Moses afterwards commanded them as follows:  “Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women and children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17, 18).

This was made a law among Israel in all their wars against foreign cities and nations.  Moses said concerning the city that would not make peace with Israel, “Thou shalt besiege it:  and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword; but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt [97] thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.  Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.” (Deut. 20:12, 15).  If Israel kept the law which was given them, they must have accumulated hundreds of thousands of female captives for themselves.  But why were they commanded to preserve the females and not the males?  Because the Lord was very anxious that His people should have a plurality of wives, for they were the only people qualified on the face of the whole earth to raise up children in righteousness; therefore the Lord took particular care to make such provisions as would constitute an Israel nation of polygamists.

The male is appointed by the authority of God to be at the head of his family – to be a Patriarch and Saviour unto them.  If the male children of these nations had been spared alive, they would have remembered their fathers, and as they grew up they would have turned away to the idolatry and abominations of their fathers; and if they had married wives among Israel, they would have been instruments not only in ruining themselves, but their families also.  But not so with the females who were spared alive.  They would be connected in marriage with good men, to whom they would be subject, and their children also; and the man, being at the head of the family, would, by his good examples and precepts, save all his wives and children.  Hence we see the wisdom of God in destroying the males and saving the women for his people; that they, by having a great number of wives, might multiply the chosen seed as the stars of Heaven.

The number of the children of Israel compared with the number of families, shows that polygamy must have been practiced to a very great extent while they were in the wilderness.  Moses was commanded to take the number of all [98] the males from twenty years old and upwards that were able to go forth to war (Number 1:2, 3).  The number was found to be six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty (verse 46).  It is very likely that the number of males under twenty years would, when added to the others, increase the same to about one million.  The number of females, it is most likely, was far greater, as the Egyptians upwards of forty years before had commenced destroying the male children.  The whole nation of Israel, therefore, must have been something near two and one-half millions.  Now, how many first born males were there in this numerous host? Answer: only twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three (see Numbers 3:43).  Hence there was among the whole number of males only an average of one out of thirty-nine that was the first born.  How can that be possible?  It could not be possible only upon the principle of a plurality of wives existing in almost every family; for each woman could not have thirty-nine sons; in this case there would be only one out of the number who could be the first born.  The first born has relation only to the man who is the head of the family, and not to the woman.  Though Jacob had four wives and twelve sons, yet Reuben only was called the first born.  It may be said that there were many families whose first born were daughters:  of this there is no doubt.  Admit that the two classes of families were equal, still there would be only forty-four thousand five hundred and forty six families having children in all Israel; taking into consideration those families that had no children, the whole number of families in Israel could not have exceeded fifty thousand.  Now, two and one-half millions of people must have all been included in fifty thousand families, which would be an average of just fifty to a family.  As one wife could not be the mother of forty-eight children, it shows most conclusively that nearly every family in Israel must have practiced polygamy.  As each man’s family consisted, at least, of fifty persons, and if five children be allowed as an average to each wife, then each man’s family [99] must have consisted of about eight wives and forty children.  There is no getting away from these scriptural proofs in favor of polygamy.  No person can explain upon any other principle, how there could be only twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three first born males in a nation whose population, at a very low estimate, must have numbered two and one-half millions.

At the highest estimate, there could not have been over fifty thousand married men in Israel at that time, and yet there must have been something like three or four hundred thousand married women.  The number of married men is approximately estimated from the number of first born males.  And the number of married women is approximately estimated from the whole number of Israel.

At the above estimate the number of males remaining unmarried would amount to about nine hundred and fifty thousand; of this number there would be upwards of five hundred and fifty thousand over twenty years of age, not married; while the number of unmarried females would be about eleven or twelve hundred thousand.

Of those males who were old enough to marry, as an average, only one out of twelve had a family.  There must be some cause for this.  Can any one give a reasonable cause?  Can any one tell why only about one-twelfth part of the men at that time had families?  Have we not reason to believe that only this small proportion of the men were worthy of wives or children?  Why were fifty thousand men blessed with some three or four hundred thousand wives, while upwards of five hundred and fifty thousand had none at all?  We cannot answer this question, only upon the principle that God gives wives and children in great abundance to his faithful servants, and withholds them from the unfaithful, for fear that they will [100] increase an unrighteous posterity upon the earth.  Should God deal with the saints in Utah upon the same principle now, that He did in ancient times, it would be nothing strange if He should give to many of His faithful servants a hundred fold of wives and children; while others, less faithful, would be limited to one, and others still have none at all, like the great majority of Israel in the wilderness.

If any one would say that the manner in which God dispensed His blessings under the Mosaic dispensations, is not applicable under the gospel.  In reply, we ask, Is it any more pleasing in the sight of God for a wicked man to bring up a family in wickedness under the gospel dispensation than it was under former dispensations? Are not the evil consequences the same under every dispensation?  Is there not just as much danger of a wicked man’s bringing ruin and eternal misery upon his family under the gospel as well as under the law?  If, then, God is now just as much displeased with a family reared in wickedness; and if there is the same danger of destroying the immortal souls of the offspring now, as under the Mosaic dispensation, then why should it be thought strange that God should use the same preventatives now that He did anciently, to check the increase of the wicked, and the same facilities to greatly increase the families of the righteous?  Why should it be considered unreasonable that God should give many wives and children to those who would in righteousness command their households, as Abraham did, and withhold these blessings from others who are unworthy?

These testimonies and arguments effectually demolish the great objection to a plurality of wives, founded upon the equality of numbers of males and females in Utah.  It will be seen, that if the males in that territory were five times more numerous than the females, still the foregoing arguments would show the necessity of a plurality of wives; unless it can [101] be proved that all the males in that territory are equally faithful, and consequently equally worthy to be entrusted with these great blessings.  But the question may be asked, Who is to decide upon the worthiness or unworthiness of the people?  We answer, the same Being who always decided all matters of importance among His people.  But is there not great danger of being deceived, unless you believe in a God who gives revelation now as He did in ancient times.  All the nations of the earth have always been deceived when they got so far from God that He would not speak to them; they are then left to follow their own imaginations, which are sure to deceive them.  But when God speaks there is no chance of deception.  His sheep know His voice and will follow Him; hence it is not possible for the elect to be deceived; because they converse with God, and He never deceives any one.  If the people of Utah are the people of God, then there is no possible chance of their being deceived upon any subject of as great importance as that of the plurality of wives; for no man has a right to these blessings unless God shall give them to him through His servant the prophet.  But, on the other hand, if the people of Utah have no prophet, then they are not the people of God, but are deceived like all the rest of Christendom who are without prophets.  In the latter case, we would not be worthy of even one wife, much less a plurality.  A people that have no prophets or inspired men among them, never were worthy of wives or children in any age of the world.  Hence if the people of Utah cannot inquire of God and receive revelations from Him, they are no more entitled to wives and children than Apostate Christendom are.  The righteousness or unrighteousness of having a plurality of wives, or even one wife, all hangs upon the simple question, Whether the people who presume to marry, are, or are not, the people of God?  If they are not, they have no divine right to even one wife; if they are His people He has the undoubted right to show, through His prophet, how many wives, if any, each may have.

[102] But would it be right for the Latter-day Saints to marry a plurality of wives in any of the States, or Territories, or nations, where such practices are prohibited by the laws of man?  We answer no:  it would not be right; for we are commanded to be subject to the powers that be.  So long as we live under their jurisdiction, we are commanded to keep their laws, unless their laws are unrighteous, like those given by Nebuchadnezzer, commanding all people to fall down and worship a golden image which he had caused to be set up; we then should, no doubt, rebel as the three Hebrews did.  But all laws which we could keep without violating our consciences, it is our duty to obey so long as we live under them.  The laws enacted by the different States and Territories against the plurality of wives, we believe to be unconstitutional, growing out of the narrow-contracted bigoted customs of Apostate Christianity, nevertheless it is the duty of the saints so long as they remain under such illiberal laws to strictly comply with them.  But if they wish to enjoy the privileges granted by the word of God, and by the glorious Constitution of our National Republic, let them depart from under the jurisdiction of these illiberal State laws, and go to Utah where religious liberty is tolerated, and where every people and sect have the right to worship as they please, and marry as many wives as they please, and be accountable to God and not to man.

Laws are intended to prevent crime, and the revealed law of God, and the light of conscience are abundantly sufficient to determine what is crime.  A well instructed conscience will not determine any thing to be crime which is not inconsistent with the revealed law.  As plurality of wives is perfectly consistent with the revealed law, it is not a crime; and therefore no human laws should denounce it as such:  but every man should be left perfectly free in regard to this thing, so far as human laws are concerned.

[103] Every enlightened conscience, as well as the word of God, will tell us that lying, stealing, robbing, false swearing, committing adultery, trespassing, murdering, and many other similar acts, are crimes; and therefore the legislative departments should enact wise and judicious laws for their punishment.  But where in the word of God is the plurality of wives denounced as a crime?  Nowhere:  but on the contrary, it was approbated of God.  Shall human wisdom, then, presume to enact laws against that which is nowhere in the divine oracles condemned as a crime?  Must we, under the broad folds of the American Constitution, be compelled to bow down to the narrow contracted notions of Apostate Christianity?  Must we shut up our consciences in a nut shell, and be compelled to submit to the bigoted notions, and whims, and customs of the dark ages of popery, transferred to us through the superstitions of our fathers?  Must we be slaves to custom and render homage to the soul-destroying, sickening influences of modern Christianity?  No:  American freedom was never instituted for such servile purposes; the Constitution of our country was never framed to crush the conscience of man, and put upon him the iron yoke of Romish superstition; our illustrious fathers never fought and bled to bequeath to their children the heritage of freedom mingled with despotism; the proud American eagle was never made to stretch forth its wings and soar aloft to mock the sons of freedom’s soil.  Liberty — unbounded liberty of conscience should characterize the laws of each of the States of this great and extended Union.  Here the Hindu or the Chinese should be permitted to bow down and worship the idolatrous gods of their fathers, unmolested and unharmed, so long as they are guilty of no crimes, and do nothing calculated to injure society.  Under a theocratical form of government an idolater would be punished with death; for idolatry is a great crime in the sight of God.  A theocracy would consider all religions, except one, criminal, and would limit and circumscribe all but one.  But the [104] government of this nation is not a theocracy; it is intended to give religious freedom to all; to carry out these views, the various religions among pagan nations should be tolerated here, and their followers receive the same protection by law as the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, or any other society.  If any religion which does not conflict with the Constitution of the country is to be prohibited, the same rule will prohibit all others.  So long, therefore, as the present form of this Republican Government is our standard, let the religions of all nations be equally protected.  And if any among the nations of Asia or Africa, or of the islands of the sea, consider it right to have a plurality of wives, and wish to emigrate with their numerous families, and become citizens of this great Republic, they ought to have that privilege, without being compelled by the unconstitutional State laws, to break up their families and divorce all their wives but one.  The present illiberal State laws virtually forbid emigration from about four-fifths of the nations of the earth, and yet it is pretended that our country is an asylum for all nations.  But let them try it once, and they will soon find our prisons filled with sincere but unfortunate polygamists:  they will soon find that, with the exception of one, all their wives, however dear to their hearts, will be torn from their embrace.  Is this freedom and liberty!  Is this the kind of asylum held out to the oppressed of all nations!!  Must they relinquish the dearest and most sacred rights ever enjoyed by man, and break asunder the family ties of conjugal affection and love, in order to be made partakers of our hospitality?  Boast not, O proud America, of the liberality of thy institutions, when such illiberal laws as these curse thy soil!  After having been subjected to the loss of his family, well might the honest patriarchal oriental exclaim, “Give me my wives and my children, and let America keep her proffered liberty for others, whose minds are already trammeled under the whims and superstitions of Papist and Protestant religions!  Give me my wives and my children, and I will return [105] to my native country, where the sacred rights of the domestic circle are not invaded and torn asunder by legislative enactments!  Give me my wives and my children, and I am willing to endure the hardships of the Old World, in order to escape from the restrictive, superstitious, oppressive laws of the New!”  These would be the feelings of millions of the inhabitants of the Old World, should they emigrate to our country and have their families broken up, and they imprisoned for polygamy by our unconstitutional State laws.  Why will not American citizens, then, rise up with one accord and repeal those illiberal oppressive laws, and let the liberties bequeathed to us by the choice blood of our illustrious ancestors be enjoyed to their fullest extent?  Why will not America welcome the oppressed, downtrodden sons of the Old World to enjoy the luxuries of our soil, and the great privileges of our sacred Constitution, without tearing from their embrace that which is dearer than life, the moment that they set foot upon our shores?


[106]                             Chapter 7


The object of laws is to prohibit every practice which is calculated to injure individuals or society.  But in what respect are individuals or society injured by the practice of a plurality of wives?  We answer, in no respect whatever. The objector may say that such a practice is calculated in some instances to produce poverty and bring distress upon the family, and, therefore, should be considered criminal, and prohibited by law. We reply, that there are many practices which bring poverty and distress, and yet those practices are perfectly lawful.  For instance, the slave holder may reduce himself to poverty, by accumulating slaves, and by a mismanagement of them.  Would the Southern States consider this a crime?  Would they prohibit by law the purchase of slaves, because, in some instances it reduced the purchaser to poverty and brought distress upon himself and family?  And again; a man may bring poverty and distress upon himself and family by unwisely employing mechanics, clerks, day laborers, etc.  Would any of the States or Territories consider this criminal?  Would they enact laws to prohibit the hiring of mechanics and laborers, because, in some instances, it reduces to poverty?  Another instance; many persons by marrying one wife reduce themselves from a state of wealth to abject poverty, yet no State would, for such a reason, denounce the marriage of one wife as criminal and prohibit it by law.  We might multiply any amount of instances, where poverty and distress are brought upon families by the practice of things which are perfectly [107] justifiable by the law.  Because a plurality of wives may, in some instances, reduce a family to poverty, is no reason, therefore, why it should be prohibited by law, any more than thousands of other practices which may produce the same results.  But in the most of cases, the plurality system would have a contrary tendency:  instead of diminishing the wealth of a family it would increase it.  A large number, bound together by the strong ties of family affection, and taking hold of business in a united capacity, will be able, most frequently, to accomplish more than the same number of individuals acting separately, and governed only by individual interest.  A union of interest and action is admitted by all to be more powerful in its results, than disunion.  A numerous family of children are calculated to accumulate wealth, or to accomplish any other object by their united energy, more than a small family.  Hence, the Psalmist says, “Children are an heritage of the Lord.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Ps. 127).  Instead of a large family being a disadvantage in point of wealth or strength, they are of great advantage.  Therefore, so far as this cause has any bearing, it would be more just for the States to prohibit the one-wife system, than to prohibit the system of plurality.

Sometimes objections are urged against the plurality system, by saying, that it takes away the rights of women, and, therefore, it should be prohibited by law.  But what rights of women does it take away?  If several women voluntarily and from their own choice, and with the consent of their relatives, wish to unite their destinies with one man, what rights have been taken away?  What injuries have been sustained either by themselves or by society in general?  We answer, none at all.  On the other hand, the rights of women are destroyed and taken from them in prohibiting them by law to have the man of their choice:  they are compelled, by legislative enactments, to [108] relinquish all hopes of marrying a man upon whom their affections are placed, and obliged, if they marry at all, to go contrary to every feeling of their nature – to be united with one for whom they have no love.  How many thousands of women there are who would rather remain single all their days, than to accept the offers of many profligate young men for whom they entertain no other feelings but those of disgust.  Could these same women have their rights which naturally belong to them, but which our illiberal State governments have deprived them of, they would unite their destinies with good men, and be infinitely more happy under the plurality system, than they would be to remain in a state of celibacy, or to be united with some wicked profligate.  Give women their rights; let them marry the man of their choice.  Where pure affection exists, there let them consummate that affection by freely uniting themselves in the sacred bonds of matrimony with the man whom they love, and who loves them sufficiently to make them the partners of his bosom for life.  Any thing short of this is illiberal and destroys the rights of women.

It is said that plurality destroys the rights of the first wife, and, therefore, should not be tolerated by law.  This depends upon circumstances.  If a man has been foolish enough to make a contract with a woman previous to their marriage, that he will never marry another while she lives, then it would be taking away her rights to violate that contract without her consent.  Such a man, under such a contract, should not be permitted by the laws of the States to break his agreement, for in so doing, he would take away the rights which he has guaranteed to her.  But if a man marry a woman without binding himself by such a contract, or if he marry her with an understanding that he can marry others when he thinks proper so to do, then there are no rights of the first wife taken away, nor no contracts broken.  The first wife, under these circumstances, enjoys all the rights that she had any [109] reason to expect.  When she gave herself to her husband, it was not by compulsion; she freely and voluntarily consented to be his, with the full understanding that he might marry others, whenever he chose.  A woman, under these circumstances is divested of no rights only what she has voluntarily surrendered.  She prefers rather to be united with such a man, though she may share but a measure of his attention, than to live a life of celibacy or be obliged to marry one whom she loves less.  Therefore the objection against plurality upon this ground is wholly without foundation.

Another objection is urged against plurality by pretending that it corrupts the morals of society, and, therefore, it is argued that it should be considered a crime, and be prohibited by law.  But we ask what morals of society does it corrupt?  Morality is only another name for virtue, goodness, righteousness.  Immorality is its opposite – that is, vicious, evil, unrighteous.  To be moral is to be innocent of crime:  to be immoral is to be guilty of crime.  It can neither be shown from reason nor the word of God that plurality is criminal, and hence it cannot be immoral, and therefore the morals of society are not in the least endangered by its practice.  On the contrary, plurality is a great and powerful antidote against immorality.  How many hundreds of thousands of women there are, who, in consequence of having no opportunities of marriage, yield themselves up to a life of profligacy, and become notoriously immoral and unvirtuous.  If these same females had not been deprived of the rights which all should enjoy under our glorious Constitution, they might have united themselves to some virtuous good men, and been happy as their second or third wives, and thus been saved from the temptations and evils into which they have fallen.  Look at the misery and wretchedness of thousands of females in almost every city in America and Europe – inquire into the causes of their shameful and criminal course of life, and it will be found [110] that in nine cases out of ten, they were driven to that state of degradation for the want of a protector – a husband in whom they could center their affections, and on whom they could rely for a support.  Would it not have been far better for these females to have been honorably connected in marriage, according to the plurality system, than to have plunged themselves into the vortex of irretrievable ruin?  What an immense amount of immorality, and consequent suffering would have been prevented, had the State governments not been influenced by the corrupt traditions of Apostate Christianity in prohibiting plurality and denouncing it as criminal!  But this order of things would not only prevent females from becoming public prostitutes, but would promote virtue among the males.  Because of the vast numbers of unvirtuous females with which the nations are cursed, many young men neglect marriage, and seek to gratify their sexual propensities by unlawful and sinful connections.  If no public female prostitutes existed, or if they rarely could be found, the natural consequences would be, that young men, instead of abandoning themselves to prostitution, would seek to unite themselves in honorable marriage with the partners of their choice.  Plurality, therefore, not only would be a preventative against female prostitution, but would diminish the causes or means of prostitution on the part of the males.  Young men abandon themselves to vice and immorality in proportion to the amount of temptation and evil influences with which they are surrounded.  Diminish the causes and the effects are diminished also:  and if the cause be destroyed, the effect ceases.  Let our State laws permit plurality, and it will seldom be the case that a female will yield to prostitution, preferring lawful marriage to a life of degradation and suffering.  The army of degraded females, receiving little or no accession to their numbers, would soon be diminished and eventually destroyed by their own folly and wickedness, and thus, the causes of temptation having, in a great degree, ceased, young men would [111] walk in a more healthy atmosphere, and not be constantly allured, as they are now, from the paths of virtue.  Plurality would also diminish greatly the temptations which beset the paths of married men, as well as those who are young; they would no longer be under the temptation to keep a mistress secretly, and to break the marriage covenant, and thus sin against their wives and against God.  How many thousands there are who practice this great abomination.  And why do they do it?  Because they are compelled by our bigoted State laws to confine themselves to one wife.  Had they the liberty which four-fifths of the other nations have, and which the Bible and our National Constitution guarantee, they could marry a plurality of wives, and be compelled to support them and their children, instead of having their secret mistresses, and turning them away when they get tired of them.  Which, think you, a woman would prefer?  Would she rather live in adultery with a man, subject, at any moment, to be turned away, penniless and unprotected, or to be lawfully united with him in honorable wedlock?  Would she not infinitely prefer the latter to the former?  If plurality existed, it would be very seldom that women would consent to be mistresses.  Plurality, therefore, instead of injuring the morals of society, would have an effect directly the reverse; it would greatly purify society from the immoralities which now exist.  How long shall the State governments be cursed with such illiberal laws!  When will the people awake to a consciousness of their duties, and repeal those acts which have resulted in so much evil!  When will they learn to be freemen according to the spirit of the Constitution, and no longer fetter themselves with the chains of superstition, handed down from the dark ages of Popery!  Arise, Americans, arise!  Break every yoke that tends to bondage!  Assume the dignified position of American citizens!  Maintain inviolate the choice liberties of your country – the liberties so dearly purchased by your illustrious ancestors!  Let not the galling chains of priestcraft bind the nation’s [112] conscience!  Let not the bigoted traditions and customs of Apostate religions influence your legislative departments!  Let not the judgment and wisdom of your great statesmen be swayed from the important principles of liberty, so dear to every American heart!  Let no laws be enacted, denouncing as crime, that which reason, morality, and the word of God, approve, as a virtue!  Let no laws prohibit you from the enjoyments, arising from domestic relations which are reasonable, moral, virtuous, pure, and good!  If your fathers have been in bondage to Romish superstitions, remember that you are free!  Yes, free from religious intolerance!  Free from all nations under Heaven!  Free to enjoy all blessings, unmolested, which God has ordained for man, unless you, yourselves, prefer laws tending to bondage, rather than liberty!

Another objection to plurality is made by pretending that it is calculated to excite jealousies in families, and, therefore, it is argued to be criminal, and should be prohibited by law.  If several women mutually agree to be the wives of the same man, and he treats them with impartiality, we see no cause existing for jealousy.  Each receives all the attention which she expected to receive, when she entered into the matrimonial contract.  If jealousies should arise, they would be entirely of a different nature from those occasioned by unlawful steps taken by a husband.  If a husband violate the laws of virtue by unlawful connections, the wife loses confidence in him; and when confidence is gone, peace and quietness are gone, and the foundation of happiness is destroyed in the family.  Not, so, when jealousies arise between members of the same family.  Each wife knows that the other wives are as much entitled to the attention of the husband as she, herself; she knows that such attentions are not criminal, therefore, she does not lose confidence in him; though she may consider him partial, in some respects, yet she has the consolation to know that his attentions towards them are strictly virtuous.  Confidence [113] being retained, the elements of happiness are retained.  Jealousies, arising from unvirtuous conduct, are mingled with a consciousness of the guilt of the individual; while those arising from the other cause have no such distressing reflections; the first is cruel as the grave, gnawing, like the worm that never dies, at the very heart-strings of enjoyment and peace, while the latter is only a partial transitory evil which is speedily dissipated by the kindness and attention of the husband.  Plurality, as we have already stated, is a great preventative to unvirtuous connections, and therefore is a remedy against the jealousies arising from such causes.  And as for the other kind of jealousy, if it should be stigmatized by that name, it is of trivial importance; like the jealousies which frequently arise between children, it is soon gone.  This kind of jealousy is not the result of plurality, but a result of partiality or supposed partiality.  If plurality should be prohibited on account of jealousies which may arise, monogamy or the one-wife system should be prohibited on account of the still greater jealousies which may arise for fear the husband may keep his secret mistresses, as many thousands do.  These kind of jealousies work far greater evils in society, than what the other kind can possibly do.  If the great object be to put a stop by law to the evils arising from jealousies, let laws be enacted, requiring man to have a plurality of wives, or else none at all; prohibit the one wife practice, and you will accomplish much more than you do by prohibiting plurality.  But we say let no prohibitory laws be passed in regard to how many wives a man may, or may not have; leave every man free in this respect, and in a very few years, you would see a great reformation in the morals of the country; you would see not one-tenth part of the prostitution that is seen now; you would see females fulfilling the noble purpose of their creation, instead of being abandoned prostitutes, houseless, homeless, and childless, going down to their graves in wretchedness and misery, uncared for and unlamented.

[114] Another objection presented against plurality is, that it is contrary to the customs of American and European nations, and for this cause should be considered criminal, and prohibited by legislative enactments.  In reply to this objection, we say that there are many things which are entirely contrary to the general customs of the people, which are not criminal, and which would be a violation of the Constitution to prohibit.  The Shakers believe in dancing in their religious assemblies on the Sabbath day; this practice is wholly derogatory to the customs of the nation.  Would it be lawful and right to enact laws, prohibiting this practice of the Shakers, on the ground of its being contrary to custom?  Another class of individuals believe in the abominable practice of sprinkling infants, actually practicing this abomination in the name of the Lord.  This is entirely contrary to the customs of the great majority of this nation.  Must this class be prohibited from this practice, because it is contrary to the custom of the nation?  The Shakers, and some other communities, have adopted the ancient practice of having all their property as common stock:  this is also entirely different from the general custom of the nation; must it, for this reason, be prohibited by law?  The Roman Catholics practice many ceremonies and ordinances which the great majority of the nation do not practice.  Must their customs be denounced as criminal and be prohibited by law, because they are different from those of the nation?  Each society in the United States has some practices which agree with the national customs, and some which are peculiar to themselves.  Would it accord with the spirit of the Constitution to compel each society to cease all of their peculiar practices, because they were not national customs?  The Church of the Latter-day Saints practice in many respects according to national customs, and in other respects they have their peculiar customs, like all other societies.  It matters not how much the peculiar customs of a society may differ from the national ones, providing that they [115] are not immoral, or criminal, or calculated to injure society.  The peculiar custom of plurality, practiced by some in Utah, in no way interferes with the rights of any one:  it is in no way immoral; it in no way injures the parties themselves, or any one else; it is in no way unscriptural; it is in no way conflicting with the Constitution; it is in no way violating any of the laws of Utah, or any other laws to which the citizens of that Territory are amenable.  Therefore, there is no reason whatever for calling it a crime, or for passing legislative enactments against it.

It is difficult for us to imagine, why State Governments ever considered it necessary to pass laws confining their citizens to one wife.  We can see no causes or necessity whatever for such laws.  They are laws founded wholly on custom.  Because the European nations, from whom they originated, have been bound down under these illiberal institutions, and have had a yoke placed upon their necks by priestcraft, and by a union of the ecclesiastical with the civil powers, our fathers could not all at once free themselves from these traditionary superstitions.  They must follow the customs of their fathers in some respect, however inconsistent they may be.  How true is the sentiment that a people who have been long in bondage, or under the influence of erroneous traditions, can only free themselves by degrees.  We see this verified in the American nation:  they have broken the yoke of tyranny and oppression, and have planted the germs of liberty upon their soil; they call themselves free, but they are only free in part.  Their legislative departments are still tinctured with priestcraft, or with the illiberal sentiments imbibed by our fathers under the oppressive institutions of the European powers.  This is exemplified by their still following those governments in the prohibition of plurality.  The States can render no reason why they follow this erroneous tradition, only to say, “it was the custom of our fathers.”  Is it not time that [116] legislators and statesmen should begin to inquire into the reason of their laws?  It is not sufficient to satisfy the advancing spirit of the age, to tell us that certain laws are enacted, because they are sanctioned by the customs of the dark and tyrannical ages.  It is not enough to merely say, we denounce an act as criminal, because the European nations denounce it.  If the sons of American freedom are to be prohibited from certain practices which they may consider perfectly innocent, they wish to be informed wherein those practices are criminal:  they do not wish to be brought into bondage blind-folded.  Neither do they wish to elect legislators to palm upon them the impositions of Popery, because they are customary among other nations.  We wish some of our wise statesmen, or some other competent persons, would take up the subject of plurality and show wherein it is immoral, or unscriptural, or criminal.  Upon this subject, the people want arguments, not denunciations; reason, not sophistry; evidence, not popular traditions or customs; they want a clear, lucid demonstration that the practice is evil.  If there are no persons competent to the task, they will signify it, by continuing to follow the old custom of denunciation, or at least, by their silence.

The States should not only permit plurality, but enact wise and judicious laws regulating the same.  The husband should be compelled by law to provide for his different wives and children, the same as if he had but one.  The law should make provisions for each of his wives and children upon his decease, to inherit a share of the property.  The law should consider him bound for life to each of his wives the same as if he had married but one; he should not be considered divorced from either, only through due course of law; and adultery should be the only crime, as our Saviour has said, for which a man should be justified in putting away either of his wives.  If, instead of abolishing plurality, the States would regulate the [117] same under good and wholesome laws, they would make it far better for the female portion of the community; and thus in time would redeem the nation from the terrible evils of prostitution with which they are now cursed.  We have in these arguments set forth what should be tolerated in regard to plurality, so far as the genius of our Government and our legislative enactments are concerned.  But when we consider marriage in relation to the divine government of Heaven, we say, as we have already expressed ourselves, that no man in this nation, nor any other, has a divine right to marry even one wife, much less a plurality, until he becomes righteous enough to bring up his children according to the law of Heaven, and to save himself and his children in the eternal worlds.  There is a broad distinction to be made in relation to this thing, between the divine government and human governments; and they should in no wise be confounded in one.  Church and State are with the American nation entirely distinct.  By the laws of the church the wicked should have no right nor title to the divine institution of marriage; by the laws of the State they should have the right of marrying as many wives as they please; it is a privilege which they have a right to claim, according to the spirit and genius of the Constitution; it is a violation of the principles of liberty, contained in that sacred document, to limit them to one, when two or more are just as honorable as one.  It is true, God has nothing to do with their marriages while in a state of wickedness.  Whether they have one wife or a dozen, it is all illegal so far as God is concerned.  But to be consistent with the form of government which the nation has adopted, there should be no restrictions in regard to the number.

There is an entire distinction in the Territory of Utah, as in all other Territories, between the civil government, and the various forms of church governments.  The civil government of Utah, has not seen proper to abridge the liberties of its [118] citizens in regard to the number of wives that they may have.  Therefore, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Latter-day Saints, and all other denominations, or individuals, whether believers in any creed or unbelievers, who may feel disposed to settle in Utah, have, each and all of them, the liberty of marrying as many wives as they think proper, and the civil government will not interfere with them.  But if the Latter-day Saints, or any other denomination in that Territory, feel it their duty to limit the members of their respective churches to one wife, or to none at all (like the Shakers), under the penalty of the disfellowship of their church, they have the most perfect liberty there, as in all other territories, so to do.  If any member of the Latter-day Saints should not be permitted by his church to marry two wives, he could still, by rebelling against the rules of his church, go and marry two under the civil law; and the Latter-Day Saint Church could do nothing with him, only to expel him from their fellowship.  Any denomination in any State or Territory have the most undoubted rights to prohibit marriage altogether so far as their church is concerned; but they have no right to interfere with the civil laws, regulating marriages.

The denomination called the Latter-day Saints in Utah have no more liberties or privileges granted to them by the civil power than any other denomination who may choose to settle there.  If they constitute the majority of the population they can elect such individuals as they see proper to the legislative departments; this is not oppression, but is precisely according to the practice of all the other Territorial and State governments.  The majority rules – the majority elects:  this is the very essence of our national institutions.  Utah is not an exception:  she is governed, in all respects, by the civil power, and not by the ecclesiastical:  the latter is confined wholly to the churches of the different religious societies who have or may settle in the Territory, while the former regulates all by the [119] civil laws.  The Latter-day Saints in the capacity of a church have no more voice in the government of Utah, than the Methodists or any other religious denomination.  They, as well as all other societies, are obliged to submit to the civil powers.

It is to be hoped that the legislative department in Utah will never be so trammeled by the customs of the other territories as to infringe upon the rights of the domestic relations, limiting and abridging them according to the erroneous superstitions handed down to our day by the nations of Apostate Christendom.  It is further to be hoped, that they will carefully examine the nature of all customs and practices which have been denounced criminal, and wisely and impartially distinguish between what is in reality criminal, and what is in reality criminal, and what is, because of custom, erroneously called so.  Such to be sought for in every State and Territory.

We have, in the foregoing, answered all the objections against plurality, based on the supposition of its being criminal; and have clearly shown that they are without foundation.  We shall next proceed to show that plurality of wives is among the greatest blessings bestowed upon the righteous.  It is evidently a great blessing to be entrusted with power and authority to rule and govern, according to the law of righteousness.  God is the supreme Ruler of the universe.  He rules all beings and things by laws, through which His wisdom and power are made manifest.  He exercises supreme power and authority, because He has supreme wisdom and knowledge.  It is His glory and happiness to govern all things.  If He were deprived of the privilege of governing, He would be deprived of His glory.  So it is with all His offspring:  they are happy and glorious in proportion to the amount of divine authority and power with which they are entrusted, providing that they exercise the same in righteousness.


[120]                             Chapter 8


God generally entrusts his servants first with wives, and then with children, to see what kind of government they will exercise; if they are found faithful over those which are given to them, He generally grants them more, in order that their posterity may become numerous, and that the dominions of their government may be extended.

A man is better qualified to govern his own offspring than the offspring of others; for he will be influenced to govern for their good through the parental ties of affection which fathers naturally entertain for their children.  The family or patriarchal government, therefore, was wisely instituted of God.  He is the Author of parental affection:  He incorporated the principle in the bosom of man for the good of the offspring.  The principle of parental government, notwithstanding the natural affections, needs to be under the direction and control of the law of God, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.  As God is glorified by the accession of numbers into His family, so are His servants glorified by additions to their families.  God, therefore, has wisely ordained the plurality of wives, that the families of His faithful servants may be increased even as His own government and kingdoms are increased.  That which will enlarge the dominions of the Almighty will glorify Him; and the same things that will glorify God will glorify man.  In Isaiah, it is said of Christ, that “of the increase of His government there shall be no end” and that, as [121] the “Prince of Peace,” He should sit “upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” (Isa. 9:7).  As there will be no end to the increase of the numbers who will come under the government and dominion of Christ, so there will be no end to the increase of the governments, and dominions, and kingdoms of His servants; for they will be made like Christ, and be one with Him, even as He and the Father are one.  The prophet Isaiah, when he saw that Christ should be “cut off out of the land of the living,” asks the question, “Who shall declare His generation?”  He then immediately informs us that Christ, himself, should be comforted, in His dying moments, by having a knowledge of his generation unfolded to his vision.  “When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed.” (Isa. 53).  Many have supposed that the seed of Christ or His generation, has reference to those who are born into His kingdom, exclusively.  But we must recollect that the inhabitants destined for this earth are limited in numbers; and that, however numerous they may be, who become, on this earth, His adopted sons, yet there will evidently be an end, or a time when no more of mankind will receive the law of adoption; but the increase of Christ’s government is to be without end, therefore, there must be a continual increase of His “seed” or “generation” throughout eternal ages:  this is what comforted Him in the hour of His greatest sufferings.  Now unless the seed and generation of His servants are also eternally increased, they will not be like Him; their dominions and their governments would come to a dead stand; while His was increasing theirs would be stationary; while He was peopling worlds upon worlds with His generations, and adding kingdoms upon kingdoms, His younger brethren would, according to Gentile notions, sit down upon thrones with only a family of about half a dozen or a dozen, without any possibility of increasing their seed or generations, like their elder Brother.

[122] That generations will continue after this earth passes away, is very evident from many portions of scripture.  Moses says, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a THOUSAND GENERATIONS.” (Deut. 7:9).  At the very least estimate, we cannot call a generation less than 20 years; and even at this low estimate a thousand generations would be twenty thousand years.  Now the temporal existence of the earth and mortal man will not continue over seven or eight thousand years, after which the New Earth will be made, inhabited by immortal beings, on which there will be no more death.  It will be, therefore, some twelve or thirteen thousand years after the earth passes away before there could be “a thousand generations” and yet the prophet Moses informs us that God will keep His covenants with those who keep his commandments even “to a thousand generations.”  The generations from Christ back to Adam were, according the first chapter of Matthew, connected with the Old Testament, only sixty-one in number; while the third of Luke estimates the number to be seventy-five.  If there should be seventy-five generations after Christ, before the end of the earth, it would make only one hundred and fifty generations in all:  this subtracted from a thousand would leave eight hundred and fifty generations for the New Earth among immortal beings.  If the generations among immortal beings are of the same average length as those pertaining to mortality, recorded by Luke, then it will require upwards of forty thousand years before the New Earth could be peopled with eight hundred and fifty generations.  The very fact that the Lord has promised to keep His covenant for a thousand generations shows most clearly that multiplication exists among those who are immortal as well as those who are mortal.  This proves clearly the necessity of being married for eternity as well as time, securing that blessing in this life, that it may be enjoyed in the next.

[123] We have shown in the foregoing that God remembers His Covenants and promises “to a thousand Generations” which proves beyond all controversy that generations will continue in eternity among immortal beings.  Generations on the New Earth will differ from those on our present earth in several respects.  First, the offspring will be spirits, and not flesh and bones; secondly, these spirits, though male and female, will not marry nor be given in marriage while on the New Earth, and consequently will not multiply; and lastly, neither parents nor children will be subject to death.  Upon this earth, parents are considered the first generation; children, the second; grand-children, the third; great grand-children, the fourth; and so on:  but upon the New Earth, generations cannot be estimated after this manner, for the simple reason that there will be no grand-children nor great grand-children only so far as the tabernacles are concerned, but all will be children.  As the immortal parents represent the first generation, their immortal children will represent the second; but there never can be a third, nor fourth, nor any future number of generations on the New Earth. Before the second generation of the children can have the privilege of raising up an offspring of spirits, called the third generation, they must have a world created for them; receive bodies of flesh and bones upon the same; pass through a second estate similar to the one through which the inhabitants of this earth are now passing; die and be redeemed from the grave, and their world be redeemed and glorified, and made new, the same as ours will be; and then, they will commence multiplying an offspring of spirits:  these will be the third generation, or grand-children of those who are redeemed and inhabit this earth in its glorified state.  There must be a new world created for each successive generation, so that generations among immortal beings will be reckoned according to the genealogy of worlds.  Each successive world will be peopled by beings of the same order of generation.

[124] All the inhabitants, destined for this earth, are, so far as their spirits are concerned, of the same generation; all being the sons and daughters of one Father; but so far as their tabernacles are concerned, they are a succession of generations.  Generations among immortal beings are of a higher order, being the medium of the organization of spiritual substance in which exists capacities that are infinite in their nature.  This higher or more perfect order of generation requires a period of vast duration for the instruction and gradual development of the capacities of the spiritual offspring; hence the children are permitted to reside on the same world with their parents for many millions of years, before another world is provided for their inheritance; and before they are entrusted with the great and most sacred privilege of marriage for the infinitely important purpose of multiplying their species.  Indeed, it would require several thousand million of years, before a father could raise up an offspring sufficiently numerous to people one world as large as this.  And during this vast period of time he could have no grand-children; all being his own sons and daughters; all being reckoned in the same generation; and all remaining with their parents at the old homestead, until, for the want of room, a new world is created and the dominions enlarged, and the children sent abroad to act for themselves, and to prepare to walk in the footsteps of their father, by marrying and multiplying as he has done before them.  A thousand generations, therefore, among immortal beings, would embrace a period of many millions and millions of years.

The fact being established that generations will be continued in eternity, we have no reason to conjecture that they will ever cease.  If immortal beings can multiply at all, it is perfectly reasonable that this same power should continue with them worlds without end.  Some, perhaps, may object against an endless succession of worlds and generations on [125] the supposition that there will not be a sufficient quantity of matter in existence for such a purpose.  This objection would be valid if it could be proved that there was only a finite quantity of materials; for in such a case, the period would eventually come when the whole quantity would be exhausted, and the increase of worlds and of intelligent beings would necessarily cease:  for we cannot, for one moment, admit that the materials themselves could be created.  In a boundless space, there is plenty of room for an infinite quantity of materials.  It matters not how thinly the elements may be scattered, though there should be millions of miles intervening between each particle, yet if there were no bounds to this widely diffused substance, the quantity would be endless; and if endless, there could be an endless succession of worlds organized out of it, without any possibility of exhausting it.  Neither reason nor observation can determine the quantity; for as God did not create the elements, they are necessarily eternal, and therefore exist without a cause.  There is no cause for the quantity that exists.  Indeed, there is no reason why space contains any substance, whatever:  much less is there any reason why space contains a large instead of a small, an infinite instead of a finite quantity.

That there is an infinite quantity of matter in space is certain from the revealed fact that there is to be no end to the increase of the government or kingdoms of Christ:  in order that the increase may be without end, the quantity of materials out of which these kingdoms are formed must be inexhaustible.  No objection, therefore, can be raised against the endless increase of worlds and of living beings for the want of sufficient substance.

The affection which exists in the bosom of parents towards their offspring will be far greater among immortal and celestial beings than what it is here in this world; consequently [126] they will watch over them with the most tender feelings; and ordain laws and rules for their government, adapted to their capacities and wants:  and when they create a new world and send their dear children to receive upon the same bodies of flesh and bones, their affection for them will not, in the least, be diminished; they will still be just as anxious for their welfare and happiness as when they dwelt immediately in their presence. Those among their offspring who are sent to people new worlds, and who obey the law of righteousness, will be more highly favored than the rebellious.  The righteous among them will be entrusted with the watch-care and protection of the children of their celestial or heavenly parents.  This is one great reason, why the Lord has chosen the righteous in this world to raise up seed unto Him through the divine institution of marriage.  It must be evident to every one, that when God sends forth His own children from Heaven to be born into this world, that it must be more pleasing to Him for them to receive tabernacles among the righteous than among the wicked.  This is one reason that He has instituted a plurality of wives among the righteous, that those noble pure spirits who dwell in the presence of God may come forth into the world through the righteous and be taught in the law of righteousness.  When God sends forth these spirits and entrusts them to the care of the righteous, there is a prospect of their returning again to enjoy the fulness of His glory.  But when the spirits from Heaven are born among the wicked, the prospect is, that they will be corrupted by the precepts and wicked examples of their fathers, and thus be unprepared to return to the bosom of their Father in Heaven.  The Father of these spirits, through the love which He has for them, is greatly pleased when He can find a righteous man unto whom he can safely entrust a great number of wives, and make him the father of many children, and by this means save them and bring them to their former home again.

[127] If it were necessary for parents who dwell in the United States to send forth their beloved offspring to some distant nation, there to abide for many years before they were permitted to return, how great would be their anxiety to place them under the protection of their friends instead of their enemies.  Would not parents feel the most intense desire that their children might be placed under the watch-care of their own dear friends who would teach them to love and reverence the advice and counsel of their parents?  Would they not much rather entrust one hundred of their children to the protection of a kind-hearted wise friend than one to an enemy?  All will answer, with one accord, yes.  If then earthly parents would feel so great a solicitude for the welfare of their absent children, how much greater must be the desire of the Father of spirits for the welfare of His own beloved offspring when He sends them from home to a distant world to be entrusted to the care of earthly parents.  What must be His feelings when those earthly parents are His enemies!  When they will by their own evil influences destroy those pure and innocent spirits entrusted to their charge!  No wonder then that the Father of spirits should command His friends to marry a plurality of wives that those precious jewels from Heaven may be educated in the law of righteousness and in due time safely return to the bosom of their heavenly parents.  Instead of condemning His friends because they have a great number of wives and children, He will bless them, and rejoice over them because of their righteousness.

Among all the duties devolving upon mortal man there is none of more importance than that of marrying in righteousness.  The Lord has considered this institution of so much consequence that He has ordained authority that has the power to determine as to the number of wives a righteous man may have.  There is no station in life, however high and responsible, that will exempt the righteous from appealing to [128] this authority.  Joash, the king of Israel, though a good man, yet had no right to take a plurality of wives without the consent of the authority which God had ordained:  hence we read that Jehoiada, the priest “took for him two wives and he begat sons and daughters” (2 Chron. 24:3).  That Joash did right in receiving these two wives is evident from the preceding verse:  “And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (Verse 2).  The whole history of Jehoiada shows that he also was a man of God and was permitted to live one hundred and thirty years; and when he died, “they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel both toward God, and toward his house” (2 Chron. 24:15, 16).  These passages prove that the plurality of wives was given to this good man by the authority of Heaven.  The very first time that Hosea obtained the word of the Lord, it was about getting married.  The passage reads thus:  “The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea.  And the Lord said unto Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms” (Hosea 1:2).  In obedience to the word of God, Hosea “went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim” (verse 3).  And when this woman had borne unto Hosea two sons and a daughter the Lord commanded him to go and take another woman — an adulteress (Hosea 3).  Here, then, is the most positive proof that God commanded a holy prophet to take a plurality of wives.  If the beginning of the word of the Lord to Joseph Smith had required him to do the same things that Hosea did, Who would have believed in the divinity of his mission?

God has the most undoubted right to command His servants in relation to their domestic concerns; and whatever He dictates is right.  There are many things which would be sinful in the sight of God, were they done or practiced without a commandment.  The Lord in the days of Noah had forbidden man to shed the blood of his fellow man; yet the Lord commanded Abraham to offer up his son Isaac, and Abraham [129] was justified in attempting to shed his blood.  Hosea would have been condemned for marrying two wicked women, had not the Lord commanded him to do it.  When a prophet or servant of God does as he is commanded, he is justified, however contrary it may be to former commandments.  If God has the right to command His servants to do directly contrary to what he has formerly commanded, He certainly has the right to dictate them to take a plurality of wives which is in no way violating any former command.

It was sometimes the case in ancient times that the husband loved some of his wives more than others, but the Lord gave a law to regulate the giving of the inheritance to the children in order to prevent all partiality arising from such a cause.  It reads thus:  “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated:  and if the first-born son be hers that was hated:  then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, which is indeed the first-born; but he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the first-born, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath:  for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the first-born is his.” (Deut. 21:15, 16, 17).  In making this provision for the security of the inheritance of the first-born, there is no disapprobation, whatever, expressed against the practice of plurality, but on the contrary, the children of each wife are considered perfectly legitimate, and entitled to the proportionate shares of his property, in the same manner as if they were the children of one wife.

We cannot feel justified in closing this article on the subject of marriage without saying a few words to unmarried females in this church.  You will clearly perceive from the revelation which God has given that you can never obtain a [130] fulness of glory without being married to a righteous man for time and for all eternity.  If you marry a man who receives not the gospel, you lay a foundation for sorrow in this world, besides losing the privilege of enjoying the society of a husband in eternity.  You forfeit your right to an endless increase of immortal lives.  And even the children which you may be favored with in this life will not be entrusted to your charge in eternity; but you will be left in that world without a husband, without a family, without a kingdom — without any means of enlarging yourselves, being subject to the principalities and powers who are counted worthy of families, and kingdoms, and thrones, and the increase of dominions forever.  To them you will be servants and angels — that is, providing that your conduct should be such as to secure this measure of glory.  Can it be possible that any females, after knowing these things, will suffer themselves to keep company with persons out of this church?  It matters not how great the morality of such persons may be, nor how kind they may be to you, they are not numbered with the people of God; they are not in the way of salvation; they cannot save themselves nor their families; and after what God has revealed upon this subject you cannot be justified, for one moment, in keeping their company.  It would be infinitely better for you to suffer poverty and tribulation with the people of God, than to place yourselves under the power of those who will not embrace the great truths of Heaven.  By marrying an unbeliever you place yourselves in open disobedience to the command of God requiring His people to gather together.  Do you expect to be saved in direct violation of the commands of Heaven?  If not, keep yourselves wholly and entirely from the company of unbelievers.  Do you wish the fellowship of the Saints?  If you do, have no fellowship for unbelievers.  For after the great light which our Father in Heaven has given, none of the Saints will have any confidence in your honesty or sincerity, if you will recklessly throw yourselves away and cut off all hopes of your [131] future exaltation.  No female that has a respect for the work of God, or a respect for her future character among His people, will associate or keep company with any but Saints.

Many will inquire, What will be the condition of those who have died before this light was revealed?  We answer that God has made provisions in the laws, ordinances, and plans, instituted before the foundation of the world, to suit the circumstances of every individual.  Those who die without hearing a message sent by authority from Heaven, do not reject it; and God has ordained that in the dispensation of the fulness of times the living shall officiate for the dead.  For this cause God has commanded a temple to be built, that those ordinances necessary for the salvation and redemption of the dead may be revealed and administered in the same.  The word of the Lord which came unto JOSEPH, the SEER, shows the importance of these things; it reads as follows:

“Verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices, by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places, wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, and honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name” (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 124:39).

We understand by this revelation that God’s people are always commanded to build unto His holy name a house, wherein baptisms, and all other necessary ordinances may be legally administered, not only for the living, but also for, and in the name of, and in behalf of the dead.  If the spirits of the dead who are in prison will hearken unto the messages of those holding the priesthood who are sent to their prison [132] houses to open the prison doors and set them free; if they will believe in Jesus Christ and repent of all their sins, and receive the glad tidings of redemption; if they will receive by faith what their friends in the flesh have done for them through the ordinances of God’s holy house, namely:  the baptisms, confirmations, ordinations, washings, anointings, signs, tokens, keys, and sealing powers which are administered by the living, and unto the living, for and in the name of the dead; if they will, with sincerity of faith and humble repentance, believe in and receive all that is done in their behalf as the living receive what Christ has done – they shall be redeemed from their prisons, and their names shall be recorded among the sanctified in the Celestial Kingdom, and the records in Heaven will be according to the records of God’s holy house upon the earth; and that which is done and sealed on the earth for and in their behalf will be acknowledged, recorded, and sealed in the Heavens, and will be valid and legal in the great day of the resurrection of the righteous; but the remainder of the spirits who will not receive the glad tidings and accept of deliverance shall be kept in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day, and their torment shall be as if suffering in flames of fire, where their worm dieth not.

Do you inquire how we are to obtain the genealogies of our fathers, so as to do this work for them which they, when living, had not the opportunity of doing, and which they, as spirits in prison, cannot do?  We answer, that it is the duty of all Saints among all nations to search out, as far as possible, their family records, and their genealogies, and their kindred, both the living and the dead; and when you have been diligent and procured all the information within your reach, and have gone into the holy Temple of the Most High, and done what is required of the living for the dead.  Then God will show you by his Prophets and Seers, and by holy messengers and angels, the genealogies of your fathers, back from generation to [133] generation unto the beginning, or unto the time when the powers, and keys, and ordinances of the priesthood were upon the earth.  When you obtain these genealogies, it will be your duty to receive in the holy temple, all the ordinances and sealing powers which were instituted in the councils of the Sons of God before the world was for the salvation, redemption, exaltation, glory, and honor of the dead who died without a knowledge of these things; for you, without your fathers, cannot be made perfect, neither can the ancient fathers who held the priesthood be made perfect without the children.

The time is near at hand when the fathers who hold the priesthood in Heaven will be united with the children who hold the priesthood upon the earth; but there are many generations intervening who held not the priesthood but died in their ignorance:  the grand chain of patriarchal government, according to the order of generations, will be broken, and the union will not be complete, unless the hearts of the fathers are turned to seek after the redemption of the generations of their children who have laid down in their graves in the days of darkness; and also unless the hearts of the children are turned towards their fathers:  thus through the united exertions of the priesthood in Heaven with the priesthood upon the earth, the intermediate links of the great chain of generation will be restored, and the union of the fathers with the children will be made perfect, and each successive generation will stand in their own order, exercising their patriarchal authority, and swaying the scepter of righteousness, according to the holy order of the priesthood forever and ever.

When these holy and sacred institutions are made known to the spirits in prison by holy messengers holding the priesthood, they will be left to their own agency either to receive or reject these glad tidings, and will be judged according to men in the flesh who have the privilege of hearing [134] the same things.  By the same law they shall be justified, and by the same law they shall be condemned, according to their works:  thus God has ordained the same plan for the salvation of both the living and the dead; for those that die in ignorance as for those who hear it while in the flesh.

Among these sacred and holy things, pertaining to the fulness of the everlasting priesthood, and the eternal exaltation of the male and female, is that of marriage for eternity, which ordinance was instituted for the benefit of the dead as well as the living.  The proper places for the celebration of this holy institution are in Zion and in her stakes and in Jerusalem, to be administered under the direction and by the authority of him whom God ordains to hold the keys of the sealing powers among His people upon the earth.  This ordinance, like baptisms for the dead, and numerous other ordinances, belongs more properly to the house of the Lord, and should be attended to therein as soon as the same can be built.

If a husband has lost his wife by death before he had the opportunity of attending to this holy ordinance and securing her as his lawful wife for eternity, then it is the duty of the second wife, first, to be sealed or married to the husband for and in the name of the deceased wife for all eternity, and secondly, to be married for time and eternity, herself, to the same man.  Thus by this holy ordinance both the dead and the living wife will be his in the eternal worlds.

But if, previously to marriage for eternity, a woman lose her husband by death and marry a second, and if her first husband was a good man, then it is the duty of her second husband to be married to her for all eternity, not for himself, but in the name of her deceased husband, while he, himself, can only be married to her for time; and he is obliged to enter into a covenant to deliver her up with all her children to her [135] deceased husband in the morning of the first resurrection.  In this case, the second husband would have no wife only for time, neither could he retain his children in the eternal worlds, for they, according to the law of Heaven, would be given up to the wife and her first husband.  Therefore, it would be the duty of the second husband to marry a second wife for time and eternity; for by marrying her for time, he could raise up an offspring which would bear up his name not only on the earth, but, with their mother, they would be legally his in the resurrection.  The husband, in this case, must necessarily have two wives living at the same time, or else be deprived of a wife and family in the eternal state.

If a widower marry a widow, and each desires to have his or her former partner in the next world; then it is necessary that there should be three ceremonies of marriage:  first, that which secures the widower to his deceased wife, second, that which secures the widow to her deceased husband, and third, that which constitutes the widower and widow husband and wife for time only.  In this case, as in all others, the children in the resurrection go into the same family with the mother, the reason of this is, because the woman can only have a limited number of children here in this life, while the man, not being limited by the law of God to one wife, can have many children; therefore it is not according to the order of Heaven, that the few children which a woman can have, should be taken from her, providing that she has a husband for eternity.

If the husband and wife both die in this church, before they have secured each other for eternity, then it is the duty of their kindred or friends in the church to attend to the holy ordinance of marriage in their behalf, that what is done for them by the living, according to the ordinance and authority of Heaven, may be recorded in the sacred archives in their behalf in the day when the records or books shall be opened; for then [136] it shall be done for them, according to their works, and the works of their friends who have acted for them, and the works of the priesthood whose acts are recorded on earth and in Heaven.  God will in that day acknowledge the authority which he has ordained, and the works that they have performed in His name, and according to His word.

If husbands and wives die before they have the opportunity of being baptized into this church, then it is necessary, before the ordinance of marriage can be administered in their behalf, that the living should attend to baptisms, and confirmations, and ordinations, and washings, and anointings, and all other institutions ordained of God, for and in the name of the deceased, and last of all the sealing powers of marriage and the blessings connected therewith, that the dead may in all things be justified, and sanctified, and exalted, and glorified, and made kings, and priests, and Gods, through the same laws and ordinances as the living; they being agents in the world of spirits to receive or to reject that which is done for them, the same as the living.

In like manner, our progenitors, back from generation to generation, will have the privilege of redemption, and of exaltation, and of wives and children through the keys of the everlasting priesthood sent down from Heaven, and conferred upon the living for the salvation of the nations on earth, and of the generations of the dead, that all in time and in eternity both in the flesh and out of the flesh that will hear and receive the same, may be gathered in one and be glorified together and made perfect in one:  and thus shall all generations both those in Heaven and those upon the earth, as well as those redeemed from prison, be united and welded together by their appropriate links, under Adam the grand Patriarch of all generations, the Prince of all, and the father of all, under the counsel and direction of the Holy One who is from all eternity, [137] the Father of lights, who is in all, and over all, and through all things, the life and glory of all things, and the power by which all things will be governed, whether they be patriarchs or families, principalities or kingdoms, thrones or dominions; all will bow in humble reverence before Him and give Him glory for ever and ever.

The husband is the head of the family, and it is his duty to govern his wife or wives and children according to the law of righteousness; and it is the duty of his wives to be subject unto him in all things even as the church is subject unto Christ.  This is clearly revealed in the declaration of the Lord to Eve immediately after the fall.  It was said unto her, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16).  This divine institution in the order of family government was intended as an everlasting order to be continued in all generations.  Each wife should seek counsel from her husband, and obey the same with all meekness and patience in all things.  This order of things is only applicable in the families of the righteous; for God has nothing to do with the families of the wicked, only to bring them to judgment for all their wicked deeds.  But the families of the righteous are under the most sacred obligations to give the most earnest heed to all the counsels of the head of the family:  and he is bound by the heaviest responsibilities to counsel with sobriety, meekness, wisdom, and prudence, exercising forbearance, patience, and long-suffering, showing mercy and compassion when it is required, but to be strict and unyielding in the enforcement of all things calculated for the good of the family; he should never suffer himself to be moved to the right hand nor to the left from the principles of righteousness either by the smiles or tears of wives or children.  He should be fixed and immovable as the throne of Heaven in every right and holy principle.  But when he can in righteousness yield to the desires of his family, let him do so, and by kindness and love [138] nourish and cherish them, as the Lord does the church; and in so doing, they will love and honor him as a husband and a father.

The wife should never follow her own judgment in preference to that of her husband; for if her husband desires to do right, but errs in judgment, the Lord will bless her in endeavoring to carry out his counsels; for God has placed him at the head, and though he may err in judgment, yet God will not justify the wife in disregarding his instructions and counsels; for greater is the sin of rebellion, than the errors which arise for the want of judgment; therefore, she would be condemned for suffering her will to arise against his.  Be obedient, and God will cause all things to work for good; and He will correct the errors of the husband in due time by the authorities of the priesthood; and if he govern his family in unrighteousness, and the wife is obedient, the sin will be upon his head, and if he repent not, when he is reproved, he will be disfellowshipped, after which, the woman is not under the same obligations to abide by all his councils, as in the days of his righteousness.  As we have already observed, the law of strict obedience on the part of the wife and children is only applicable in families who are in the church of God, and in full fellowship.  Rebellion in families is as sinful as rebellion against the authorities ordained in the church; and a wife will lose the spirit of God in refusing to obey the counsel of her husband, just the same as members of the church would in rebelling against the counsels imparted to them by the priesthood.

Family government is the first order of government established on the earth.  The different members of a family should seek to be one in all things; for if they are not one, how can it be expected that different families can become one?  If the members of the same family will not be subject to the [139] order, ordained of God for their government, they certainly could not be united with other families under the government of the priesthood with any expectation of preserving peace.  God designs to make all the families of Heaven one with the families of the righteous upon the earth.  In order to accomplish this, the most perfect order of family government must be adopted.  Husbands must govern their wives and children in righteousness, and wives and children must learn to honor and respect the counsels of the head of the family.  And when every family becomes one in all things, they will be prepared to unite themselves together under a more general form of government.


[140]                             Chapter 9


Love should be the predominant ruling principle in all family governments.  There is no danger of the different members of a family loving one another too much.  They should love one another with all their hearts, and be willing, if required, to lay down their lives for each other.  God is love, and He is the great fountain from which the beings of all worlds derive this heavenly attribute; it flows out in infinite streams, imparting joy and happiness to the whole universe, so far as it is received, nourished, and cherished by intelligent beings.  Love, like all other gifts of God, can be cultivated and increased, or it can be neglected and diminished:  it is subject to the control of the other faculties of the mind:  it is not a principle such as is often described in novels, which acts irresistibly, forcing all the other powers of the mind into subjection.  The love which the sexes have for each other is implanted within them by Him who is the God of love.  God controls this attribute of His nature according to wisdom, justice, mercy, and every other attribute which He possesses.  He has prescribed laws for the government of His own attributes; and he never suffers himself to love that which is evil or sinful, but always loves that which is good, and virtuous, and upright:  so likewise ought man to control his love by the attributes of his nature, according to the laws which God has given, and never suffer himself to love anything which is evil, or which God has forbidden.

[141] Man should love all the wives which God may give him with a perfect love:  it is impossible for him to love them too well, providing that his love is regulated and controlled in all things according to the law of righteousness.  But can a man love more than one wife with all his heart?  Yes; he can love each one that God gives him with all his heart; and if he have a hundred, he can love them all with the same intensity that he would love one.  It is true, he could not give the same attention to a hundred that he could to one; this would not arise from the want of love, but it would be from the nature of the circumstances.  If a man have a dozen children, he can love each one of them as much as he loves one; but he cannot pay the same attention to a plurality of children as he could to one; it is not because his love is divided or weakened by the numbers, but it is because of the circumstances.  If God had given man but one wife, it would be his duty to love her with all his heart; and it would not be his privilege to love any other woman as a wife.  But if God confers a plurality of wives upon a man, it would be sinful for him not to love each one with a perfect love, provided that they were all equally worthy of his love.  God loves the children of men according to their works, or according to the good qualities which He perceives in them:  those who do the best he loves the best:  if they do equally well, He loves them equally.  Man should be exercised with the same principle; he should judge in righteousness of the good qualities and desires of his family, and should love those the best who do the best.  And if any of his family err, he should still love them the same as God loves his family, though they may sometimes err and go astray.  God loves his family, not for their errors and sins, but because He sees that there are good qualities existing in them, and tries to save them from their sins; so man should love his wives, not because of their errors and imperfections, but because God has given them to him, and because they, in the main, desire to do right; therefore, he should love them and try to save them from their errors; and he [142] should never love one more than another, unless they merit it.

As the man stands at the head of the family, it is his duty to seek diligently for wisdom, to know how to govern his family according to the will of God.  Circumstances may sometimes be such that he may bestow his attentions for a time more abundantly upon certain portions of his family than upon others; this may arise, not from any partiality or superior love which he has for one above that of another, but his judgment or the surrounding circumstances may dictate this to be the wisest course.  At another time, he may, perhaps, reverse his attentions, and be apparently partial towards those whom he had seemed for a while to neglect.  In all these things, a husband should be guided by his own judgment, enlightened by the Spirit of Truth.  And in these things he should have no rigid fixed laws, unalterable, like those of the Medes and Persians.  So far as the great principles of righteousness are concerned, he should be fixed and immovable; but, in regard to his conduct in his temporal affairs, and in his domestic concerns, he should prescribe no rules that will compel him to act invariably in a certain way:  this should be left for circumstances and the wisdom he has, to dictate and control; and both wives and children should be perfectly satisfied to have the head of the family be in reality the head, and do as seemeth to him good; and, as we have already stated, if the head of the family errs in some respects, it is better to yield to his will than to arise in rebellion against the order of family government which God has established.  If too much partiality be used, and any flagrant violations of the principles of right occur, there are other authorities who can regulate the husband; for this is not the province of the wives and children; it is not for them to dictate to the head, but to pray for and administer to the head, that, peradventure, through their kindness and meekness, and willing obedience, the head may be influenced to do right.  Mutual love should [143] exist between a husband and his wives; for, without this, God’s order of family government cannot be maintained.

But can several wives love one and the same man as their husband?  Yes, if he treat them in a way to merit their confidence and love.  There is no more difficulty in several women loving one husband than there is in several persons loving our Lord and Saviour.  God is the Author of sexual or conjugal love, the same as He is of all other kinds of pure love; and if He unites several women to one man in the sacred bonds of matrimony, it is their duty to cultivate and increase the heavenly principle of pure love to their husband, until they love him with all their hearts, even as they love God; and he should love them in return, even as he loves God.  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 have some love for him; and if she loves him in a small degree, this is capable of being increased to perfection.  Any woman who loves righteousness can and does love a man who works righteousness; and she can, by cultivating this love, be happy in his society, as a friend and as a brother; and if she were united to him in marriage, she could love him as a husband; and if he wee worthy, her love towards him may be increased until the perfect day.  So it is with man.  There is not a righteous good woman in the Church of God but what a righteous man loves as a friend and a sister; and if he were lawfully united to her in marriage, he could love her as a wife; and this love, by cultivation and mutual kindness, would grow stronger and stronger, until they were perfected in love.

But cannot a woman love many men as well as for a man to love many wives?  We answer, that love is under the control of both the sexes; they are agents in the cultivation and exercise of this affection, as in the cultivation and exercise of all the other attributes of their nature.  A man has no right to [144] love any woman as a wife unless God shall give her to him in marriage; he has power, as an agent, to limit his love where God limits it; and if he go beyond those limits he transgresses.  So likewise a woman is limited by the law of God to one husband; and she has no right to suffer her love to go beyond those limits.  Her love is under the control of her agency, and it must be confined where the law of God confines it, otherwise there is transgression.  A man loves many wives because God gives him many; and he is required to love them, or become a transgressor.  If God required a woman to have many husbands, or permitted her to have a plurality, it would then be her duty to cultivate the principle of love towards them all; but this would not be an easy task, unless the woman were made the head of the family; for one cannot serve two masters.  And, as the husband stands as the master of the house, if a woman had two husbands or masters, she would be sure, according to the words of Christ, “to hate the one and love the other,” for no one can love and serve two masters; but two can love one master; yes, a hundred wives can love one master or husband, for he is their head, even as Christ is the great Master and Head of the Church.  As Christ is one, and is the Great Bridegroom, being married unto many, so likewise the man, being one husband, one bridegroom, may be married unto many.  As the bride of Christ consists of a plurality of persons, so the bride of each of his faithful servants may consist of a plurality of individuals.  The bride of Christ, though a plurality of persons, should be one in spirit, in love, and in good works; so likewise the bride of each of his servants, however many persons, should be perfectly one in their love and union of spirit.

What can be more heavenly and God-like than to see a well regulated family, governed in wisdom and righteousness!  It is the commencement of heaven on earth!–it is an organization destined to be eternal!  The first born is [145] represented in Scripture as the beginning of one’s strength; how much greater will be his strength when he has a great number of wives and children!  A foundation is then laid for a patriarchal kingdom, which shall increase in numbers without end, over which he will reign forever.  How great reason has such a man to rejoice!  How thankful ought he to be for the wives which God has given him, through whom he can multiply his seed as the stars of heaven!  What joy and happiness it must give him to love so numerous a family, and to know that he is loved by them in return!

Love is a principle, like knowledge, which can be imparted without diminishing the fountain from which it emanates.  Love, in other words, begets love.  We love that which is congenial to our minds; if we love purity and virtue in ourselves, we will love them in others; and when it is known by others that we love them, because of their virtue and goodness, they will love us for like reasons; thus love, when founded upon true principle, is reciprocal.  Virtue loveth virtue, truth embraceth truth, knowledge cleaveth unto knowledge; every good and heavenly attribute of our own nature we love when we see the same manifested by other beings.  We love these virtues in either men or women.  Sexual love, without the accompanying virtues, is not to be indulged, as it leads to evil.  God has ordained that pure and virtuous love should be incorporated with sexual love; that, by the combination of the two, permanent unions in the marriage covenant may be formed, and the species be multiplied in righteousness.  Pure and virtuous love should always exist between a husband and each of his wives, as well as sexual love:  this will have a tendency to impress more permanently in mind these heavenly principles upon the constitution of the offspring; for the offspring will partake, in a greater or less degree, of the propensities and affections of the parents.  How careful, then, ought the parents to be, lest they impress a disposition and [146] tendency in the offspring that are calculated, if not strongly guarded, to ruin and destroy them as they grow up to act for themselves.  God will hold parents accountable for these things, because they are principles over which they, as agents, have control.  Every good principle which you would have your children inherit, should be predominant and reign in your own bosoms; for, though the spirits are pure and heavenly when they enter the infant tabernacle, yet they are extremely susceptible of influences either for good or bad.  The state of the parents minds at the time of conception, and the state of the mother’s mind during her pregnancy, will be constitutionally impressed upon the offspring, bringing with it consequences which, in a degree, have a bearing upon the future destiny of the child.

Love, with all the other virtues, should predominate in the bosoms of parents, in order that the same virtues may be inherited by the children.  They should be infused into the very constitution of the child when in embryo; they should be instilled into the mind from infancy to manhood, that they may become incorporated as fixed and immovable principles in the mind of man, governing and controlling all the future action of his life.  In such children parents will have joy:  they will be the strength of their patriarchal government; the honor and crown of their old age; their hope and glory in the resurrection; their foundation of an endless increase of kingdoms over whom they will reign forever, and with whom they will be associated as God’s throughout the endless ages of eternity.

Instead of a plurality of wives being a cause of sorrow to females, it is one of the greatest blessings of the last dispensation:  it gives them the great privilege of being united to a righteous man, and of rearing a family according to the order of heaven.  Instead of being compelled to remain single, or marry a wicked man who will ruin her and her offspring, she [147] can enter a family where peace and salvation reign; where righteousness abounds; where the head of the family stands forth as a patriarch, a prince, and a saviour to his whole household; where blessings unspeakable and eternal are sealed upon them and their generations after them; her glory is eternal and her joy is full.  Rejoice, then, ye daughters of Zion, that you live in this glorious era!  Rejoice for yourselves and for your generations, because of the high honors and privileges conferred upon you!  Rejoice that you have entered into blessings which have been withheld for many ages past because of wickedness!  Rejoice and sing for gladness of heart in the glorious prospects which open before you!  Rejoice in the mountains and dales of Utah!  For it is the land of your freedom, where the iron yoke of Romish and Protestant superstitions will be broken from your necks where you will have the privilege of uniting your eternal destiny with the man of your choice; where virtue will reign triumphant, and the vile seducer be unknown; where confidence shall wax stronger and stronger, being cemented by the love of God!  Happy are the daughters of Zion!  They would not exchange their condition with the queens of the earth!  Worldly honors and worldly riches are not worthy to be compared with the blessings that they enjoy!  They love their husbands, and their husbands love them; and this love is far greater than the love which dwells in the hearts of the wicked.  The children of Zion love in proportion to the heavenly knowledge which they have received; for love keeps pace with knowledge, and as the one increases so does the other; and when knowledge is perfected, love will be perfected also.  The wicked are not capable of loving in as great a degree as the righteous, because they are destitute of the knowledge of God, and do not appreciate wives or children as they ought.  They do not fully realize the end and purpose of the Almighty in joining the sexes in holy matrimony; and without a knowledge of these things they cannot love as the righteous; for love is of God, and they who [148] live nearest to the Lord will love most; and they who love most will be the most happy.

If we should inquire what constitutes the misery of the fallen angels, the answer would be, they are destitute of love; they have ceased to love God; they have ceased to have pure love towards another; they have ceased to love that which is good.  Hatred, malice, revenge, and every and evil passion have usurped the place of love; and unhappiness, wretchedness and misery, are the results.  Where there is no love, there will be no desire to promote the welfare of others.  Instead of desiring that others may be happy, each desires to make all others miserable like himself; each seeks to gratify that hellish disposition against the Almighty which arises from his extreme hatred of that which is good.  For the want of love the torment of each is complete.  All the wicked who are entirely overcome by these malicious spirits will have the heavenly principle of love wholly eradicated from their minds, and they will become angels to these infernal fiends, being captivated by them, and compelled to act as they act.  They cannot extricate themselves from their power, nor ward off the fiery darts of their malicious tormentors.  Such will be the condition of all beings who entirely withdraw themselves from the love of God.  As love decreases, wickedness, hatred, and misery increases; and the more wicked individuals or nations become, the less capable are they of loving others and making them happy; and vice versa, the more righteous a people become the more they are qualified for loving others and rendering them happy.  A wicked man can have but little love for his wife; while a righteous man, being filled with the love of God, is sure to manifest this heavenly attribute in every thought and feeling of his heart, and in every word and deed.  Love, joy, and innocence will radiate from his very countenance, and be expressed in every look.  This will beget confidence in the wife of his bosom, and she will love him in return; for love begets [149] love; happiness imparts happiness; and these heaven born emotions will continue to increase more and more, until they are perfected and glorified in all the fulness of eternal love itself.

Could wicked and malicious beings, who have eradicated every feeling of love from their bosoms, be permitted to propagate their species, the offspring would partake of all the evil, wicked, and malicious nature of their parents.  However pure the spirits might be, when permitted to enter such degraded tabernacles, yet, being extremely susceptible to influences, they would speedily partake of all the evil nature which characterized the spirits of the father and mother:  thus they would soon become devils incarnated in flesh and bones.  Such would be the dreadful consequences of offspring, brought into existence by parents destitute of the principles of love, like the fallen angels.  The same consequences, to a certain degree, would result from the multiplication of wicked parents.  In proportion as the pure love of God is irradiated from their hearts, the unholy passions take the place thereof, and the offspring partake of these unlovely principles which are engendered in the nature and constitution of the infant tabernacle, and begin to act upon the pure spirit that takes up its abode therein, forming, modifying, and bending, in a great measure, its inclinations, until, by the time that it grows up to know good from evil, it becomes prepared to plunge headlong into all the vices of its ungodly parents:  thus the parents, for the want of that holy and pure affection which exists in the bosom of the righteous, not only destroy their own happiness, but impress their own degraded and unlovely passions upon the constitution of their offspring.  It is for this reason that God will not permit the fallen angels to multiply:  it is for this reason that God has ordained marriages for the righteous only:  it is for this reason that God will put a final stop to the multiplication of the wicked after this life:  it is for this reason [150] that none but those who have kept that celestial law will be permitted to multiply after the resurrection:  it is for this reason that God has ordained that the righteous shall have a plurality of wives; for they alone are prepared to beget and bring forth offspring whose bodies and spirits, partaking of the nature of the parents, are pure and lovely, and will manifest, as they increase in years, those heaven-born excellencies so necessary to lead them to happiness and eternal life.

The Celestial male and female, after the resurrection, will be perfected in knowledge, and in holiness, and in pure affection and love:  they will know as God knows; be pure as He is pure, and love as He loves:  their knowledge, their purity, and their affections, before their celestial glorification, will increase alike, and keep pace with each other, until they are perfected, when they will enjoy in fulness every attribute and affection which God himself enjoys, and will be like Him in all these things.  Then, and not till then, will they be permitted to propagate that higher order of beings called spirits.  As the character of parents in this life is impressed, in a great measure, upon their children, so likewise the character of the celestial parents will be incorporated in the very being of their spirit offspring.  The unorganized spirit-matter will not only take the form or image of the celestial parents, but every particle thereof will begin to develop the germs of all those eternal attributes which dwell in all their fulness in both father and mother.

If beings who are not perfected should have the privilege of propagating a spirit offspring, they could not impress the organized spirit embryo with the elements of those higher attributes which appertain to the celestial; and, consequently, if the germ of the infant spirit were conceived and fashioned in imperfection, the superstructure or infant spirit itself could never advance to perfection.  The eternal attributes must be [151] properly developed, in order that they may be properly perfected; this is the reason why none but those who attain to the fulness celestial glory, and become God’s, will be entrusted with wives, and with power to propagate sons and daughters; that this, the most important of all things – the organization of immortal spirits, may be brought about through the highest, and most exalted, and most glorious personages in the universe, that they may infuse into the very constitution of their beloved children the germs of all the great, and pure, and sublime attributes which are perfected in all their fulness in themselves.

If none but Gods will be permitted to multiply immortal children, it follows that each God must have one or more wives.  God, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.  Hence, the Father saith concerning him, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”  We are informed in the first chapter of Luke, that Mary was chosen by the Father as a choice virgin, through whom He begat Jesus.  The angel said unto the Virgin Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:  therefore, also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”  After the power of the Highest had overshadowed Mary, and she had by that means conceived, she related the circumstance to her cousin Elizabeth in the following words:  “He that is Mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name.”  It seems from this relation that the Holy Ghost accompanied “the Highest” when He overshadowed the Virgin Mary and begat Jesus; and from this circumstance some have supposed that the body of Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost without the instrumentality of the immediate presence of the Father.  There is no doubt that the Holy Ghost came upon Mary to sanctify her, and make her holy, and prepare her to endure the glorious presence of “the Highest,” that when “He” should [152] “overshadow” her she might conceive, being filled with the Holy Ghost; hence the angel said, as recorded in Matthew, “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost,” that is, the Holy Ghost gave her strength to abide the presence of the Father without being consumed; but it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called “the Only Begotten of the Father,” that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father.  There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of this world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas, both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father – the spirit having been begotten in heaven many ages before the tabernacle was begotten upon the earth.

The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father.  Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father:  we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully.  It would have been unlawful for any man to have interfered with Mary, who was already espoused to Joseph; for such a heinous crime would have subjected both the guilty parties to death, according to the law of Moses.  But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure:  He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct.  It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give her to Joseph her espoused husband. [153] Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed.  Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity.

As God the Father begat the fleshly body of Jesus, so He, before the world began, begat his spirit.  As the body required an earthly Mother, so his spirit required a heavenly Mother.  As God associated in the capacity of a husband with the earthly mother, so likewise He associated in the same capacity with the heavenly one.  Earthly things being in the likeness of heavenly things; and that which is temporal being in the likeness of that which is eternal; or, in other words, the laws of generation upon the earth are after heaven.  But if we have a heavenly Mother as well as a heavenly Father, is it not right that we should worship the Mother of our spirits as well as the Father?  No; for the Father of our spirits is at the head of His household, and His wives and children are required to yield the most perfect obedience to their great Head.  It is lawful for the children to worship the King of Heaven, but not the “Queen of Heaven.”  The children of Israel were severely reproved for making offerings to the “Queen of Heaven.”  Although she is highly exalted and honored as the beloved bride of the great King, yet the children, so far as we are informed, have never been commanded to pray to her or worship her.  Jesus prayed to His Father, and taught His disciples to do likewise; but we are nowhere taught that Jesus prayed to His heavenly Mother:  neither did he pray to the Holy Ghost as his Father.  If He were begotten by the Holy Ghost, then He would have called him His Father; but, instead of doing so, the Holy Ghost himself was subject unto Jesus; and He had power to send him as His minister after he returned to his Father.

[154] Next let us enquire whether there are any intimations in Scripture concerning the wives of Jesus.  We have already, in the 9th No. of this volume, spoken of the endless increase of Christ’s government.  Now, we have no reason to suppose that this increase would continue, unless through the laws of generation, whereby Jesus, like His Father, should become the Father of spirits; and, in order to become the Father of spirits, or, as Isaiah says, “The Everlasting Father,” it is necessary that He should have one or more wives by whom He could multiply His seed, not for any limited period of time, but forever and ever:  thus He truly would be a Father everlastingly, according to the name which was to be given Him.  The Evangelists do not particularly speak of the marriage of Jesus; but this is not to be wondered at, for St. John says:  “There are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:25).  One thing is certain, that there were several holy women that greatly loved Jesus – such as Mary, and Martha her sister, and Mary Magdalene; and Jesus greatly loved them, and associated with them much; and when He arose from the dead, instead of first showing Himself to His chosen witnesses, the Apostles, He appeared first to these women, or at least to one of them – namely, Mary Magdalene.  Now, it would be very natural for a husband in the resurrection to appear first to his own dear wives, and afterwards show himself to his other friends.  If all the acts of Jesus were written we no doubt should learn that these beloved women were his wives.  Indeed, the Psalmist, David, prophesies in particular concerning the Wives of the Sons of God.  We quote from the English version of the Bible, translated about three hundred and fifty years ago:  “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia:  when thou comest out of the ivory palaces, where they have made thee glad, Kings’ daughters were among thine honorable WIVES:  upon thy right hand did stand the QUEEN in a vesture of gold [155] of Ophir.” (Psalm 45:8, 9).  That this passage has express reference to the Son of God and His Wives, will be seen by reading the sixth and seventh verses which are as follows:  “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever:  the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness:  therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”  This Being, whom the Psalmist here calls God, is represented in the next verses as having “honorable Wives.”  If any should still doubt whether this prophecy has reference to the Son of God, they may satisfy themselves by reading Paul’s application of these passages in the eighth and ninth verses of the first chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews:  “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.  Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”  Paul applies the words of the prophet David to the son of God, to the anointed Messiah, who is called God, and whose “throne is forever and ever.”  Let it be remembered, then, that the Son of God is expressly represented as having “honorable Wives.”  King James’ translators were not willing that this passage should to the former English rendering, lest it should give countenance to Polygamy; therefore they altered the translation to honorable women instead of wives; but any person acquainted with the original can see that the first translators have given the true rendering of that passage.  Indeed, the very next sentence most clearly demonstrates this; for the Son of God is represented as having a “QUEEN” standing upon His right hand, clothed “in a vesture of gold.”  This Queen is exhorted in the following endearing language; “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord; and worship thou Him.” (Verses 10, 11).

[156]                             Chapter 10



Among the distinguished Christian Reformers and celebrated Divines of the sixteenth century, may be mentioned the names of Luther, Melancthon, Bucer, and Melanther.  These wonderful men distinguished themselves in their persevering, bold, and fearless opposition to the corrupt powers of Catholicism.  Although not called and ordained of God with the authority of Apostles and Prophets to restore the Church of God to the earth, yet they were Reformers; and with a noble energy and perseverance, exposed, in a degree, the superstitions and wickedness of the Romish Church; they protested against their blasphemous doctrines and pretentions; they revolted from the jurisdiction and tyrannical power of the Romish Priesthood; they weakened its corrupting influence among the nations:  they laid the foundation of more liberal principles; opened the way for the nations to burst the bonds of religious despotism; and planted the seeds of civil and religious liberty, which have continued to grow and spread until millions now bask under the extended branches.  It was for these great and noble purposes that God moved upon the hearts of these men to boldly protest against a power that had become tyrannical and formidable to an alarming degree:  it was to restore, in some small degree, that freedom and independence of mind, so necessary to the improvement and happiness of man; it was to open a door for advancement in [157] the sciences and arts without being trammeled with the bigoted opposition of priestcraft.  Though they were raised up to accomplish these great and desirable purposes, yet they could not restore the Church of God to the earth; for this was not their calling.  They were called to lay the foundation of a reformation which should eventually terminate in the establishment of Governments favorable to liberty of conscience, that when the Church should be restored, men might be free to embrace its principles.  They and their successors who have followed in their steps, were called as fore-runners to prepare the way before the Church when it should once more have place on the earth.

These celebrated Reformers advocated Christianity so far as they understood its principles.  Many Romish superstitions which had been palmed upon the world for Christianity, were abolished: many Christian institutions which had been abolished by the Romish Priesthood, were, in a measure, restored, at last in form; among which may be mentioned Polygamy.  The Romanists had not only forbidden marriage to her priests, but had abolished the Divine institution of Polygamy which was practiced in early ages when pure Christianity was on the earth.

While Polygamy flourished in the Christian Church, the Roman nation were in favor of Monogamy or the one wife system, and established laws, prohibiting a plurality of wives among their citizens.  The Christian Church in that nation were obliged to relinquish the Divine institution of Polygamy, and submit to the Roman laws under heavy penalties.  At length, through priestcraft and tradition the Church was made to believe that the Monogamy, established by the Roman civil law, was actually a part of Christianity.  This delusion, concocted at the headquarters of the so-called Christian Church, gradually extended itself to the surrounding nations, [158] and other branches of the Christian Church adopted it, and relinquished the Polygamic system.  The one wife system did not originate in the Christian Church, but was adopted from the practice of the Roman nation by the Romish Priesthood, and by them palmed upon the nations as originating in Christianity.  “Julius Caesar attempted to have a law passed in favor of Polygamy, but could not effect it.”  The Romans were too much opposed to the practices of Jews and Christians to permit this Divine institution to have free tolerance.  And the Romish Church followed in the footsteps of their nation and were unwilling to have this Christian and Jewish practice continued within their ecclesiastical code.  Many centuries passed away, during which the common people were not permitted to read the manuscript copies of the Bible for themselves, and they were traditioned by their priests to believe that Monogamy was a Christian institution, and that Polygamy was forbidden.  This delusive tradition was riveted more and more firmly upon the minds of the people by the practices and teaching of each succeeding generation of Christendom, until even whole nations in the western world were influenced to make laws prohibiting Polygamy, as something which tradition had taught them was unchristian.

While the world was thus overwhelmed in darkness, following the false traditions and superstitions of the Papists, the great Reformers, Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Dennis Melanther, and numerous other German Divines, introduced a wonderful reformation in many things:  among which they re-established the right of their priests to marry; and again permitted the Divine institution of Polygamy to exist in the Church.

Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, one of the principal Lords and Princes of Germany, wrote to the great Reformer, Martin Luther, and to the principal heads of the reformation, [159] anxiously imploring them to grant unto him the privilege of marrying a second wife, while the first wife, his Princess, was yet living.  Many arguments were urged by Landgrave, showing that the practice was in accordance with the Bible, and not prohibited under the Christian dispensation.  Upon the reception of this information, Luther, who had from the beginning of the reformation favored Polygamy, met in council with the principal Christian Divines to consult upon the propriety of granting the request of Lord Philip; after considering upon the subject, they addressed to him a lengthy letter, granting him his request; at the same time earnestly exhorting him to live a virtuous and upright life.  The letter commences as follows:

“To the most serene Prince and Lord Philip Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Catzenlembogen, of Diets, of Ziegenhain, and Nidda, our gracious Lord, we wish above all things the Grace of God through Christ:

  1. We have been informed by Bucer, and in the instruction which your Highness gave him, have read, the trouble of mind and uneasiness of conscience your Highness is under at this present; and although it seemed to us very difficult so speedily to answer the doubts proposed; nevertheless we should not permit the said Bucer, who was urgent for his return to your Highness to go away without an answer in writing.”

Then follows a lengthy exhortation to the Prince to live a life of virtue as a remedy to promote his health; for say they,

“If your Highness, after marrying a second wife, were not to forsake those licentious disorders, the remedy proposed would be to no purpose.”

In the twenty-first paragraph, they counsel the Landgrave to keep his second marriage a secret from the public at large, and that only a few trusty persons should be present at the celebration.  This counsel is as follows:

[160] “XXI.  But after all, if your Highness is fully resolved to marry a second wife, we judge it ought to be done secretly, as we have said with respect to the dispensation demanded on the same account, that is, that none but the person you shall wed, and a few trusty persons, know of the matter, and they, too, obliged to secrecy under the seal of confession.  Hence no contradiction nor scandal of moment need be apprehended; for it is no extraordinary thing for Princes to keep concubines; and though the vulgar should be scandalized thereat, the more intelligent would doubt of the truth, and prudent persons would approve of this moderate kind of life, preferable to adultery, and other brutal actions.  There is no need of being much concerned for what men will say, provided all goes right with conscience.  So far do we approve it, and in those circumstances only by us specified; for the Gospel hath neither recalled nor forbid what was permitted in the law of Moses with respect to marriage.  Jesus Christ has not changed the external economy, but added justice only, and life-everlasting for reward.  He teaches the true way of obeying God, and endeavors to repair the corruption of nature.

Your Highness hath therefore, in this writing, not only the approbation of us all, in case of necessity, concerning what you desire, but also the reflections we have made thereupon; we beseech you to weigh them, as becoming a virtuous, wise, and Christian Prince.  We also beg of God to direct all for his glory and your Highness’s salvation.”

The letter closes with these words:

“May God preserve your Highness.  We are most ready to serve your Highness.  Given at Wittemberg the Wednesday after the feast of Saint Nicholas, 1539.

Your Highness’s most humble, and most obedient subjects and servants,









This letter is in Melancthon’s own hand-writing, as the following testimony clearly shows:

“I George Nuspicher, Notary Imperial, bear testimony by this present act, written and signed with my own hand, that I have transcribed this present copy from the true original which is in Melancthon’s own hand-writing, and hath been faithfully preserved to this present time, at the request of the most serene Prince of Hesse; and have examined with the greatest exactness every line and every word, and collated them with the same original; and have found them conformable thereunto, not only in the things themselves but also in the signs Manuel, and have delivered the present copy in five leaves of good paper, whereof I bear witness.



Having given extracts from the letter written by this Council of Protestant Christian Divines, permitting and approbating Polygamy in their Church, we will next give the Marriage Contract into which the Landgrave and his second spouse entered, and also the oath of Marriage administered to them by the Reverend Dennis Melanther, preached to his Highness.

“The Marriage Contract of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, with Margaret de Saal.

In the name of God, Amen.

“Be it known to all those, as well in general as in particular, who shall see, hear, or read this public instrument, that in the year 1540, on Wednesday, the fourth day of the month of March, at two o’clock or thereabouts in the afternoon, the thirteenth year of the [162] Indiction, and the twenty-first of the reign of the most puissant and most victorious Emperor Charles VI., our most gracious Lord; the most serene Prince and Lord, Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, Count of Catzenlenbogen, of Dietz, of Ziegenhain, and Nidda, with some of his Highness’s Counsellors, on one side, and the good and virtuous Lady Margaret de Saal with some of her relatives, on the other side, have appeared before me, Notary and witness underwritten, in the city of Rotenburg, in the castle of the same city, with the design and will publicly to unite themselves by marriage; and accordingly my most gracious Lord and Prince Philip the Landgrave hath ordered this to be proposed by the Reverend Denis Melander, preacher to his Highness, much to the sense as follows:  `Whereas the eye of God searches all things, and but little escapes the knowledge of men, his Highness declares that his will is to wed the said Lady Margaret de Saal, although the Princess his wife be still living, and that this action may not be imputed to inconstancy or curiosity:  to avoid scandal and maintain the honor of the said Lady, and the reputation of her kindred, his Highness makes oath here before God, and upon his soul and conscience, that he takes her to wife through no levity, nor curiosity, nor from any contempt of law, or superiors; but that he is obliged to it by such important, such inevitable necessities of body and conscience, that it is impossible for him to save either body or soul, without adding another wife to his first.  All which his Highness hath laid before many learned, devout, prudent, and Christian preachers, and consulted them upon it.  And these great men, after examining the motives represented to them, have advised his Highness to put his soul and conscience at ease by this double marriage.  And the same cause and the same necessity have obliged the most serene Princess Christina, Duchess of Saxony, his Highness’s first lawful wife, out of her great prudence and sincere devotion for which she is so much to be commended, freely to consent and admit of a partner, to the end, that the soul and body of her most dear spouse may run no further risk, and the glory of God may be [163] increased, as the deed written with the Princess’s own hand sufficiently testifies.  And lest occasion of scandal be taken from its not being the custom to have two wives, although this be Christian and lawful in the present case, his Highness will not solemnize these nuptials in the ordinary way, that is, publicly before many people, and with the wonted ceremonies, with the said Margaret de Saal; but both the one and the other will join themselves in wedlock, privately and without notice, in presence only of the witnesses underwritten.’

After Melander had finished his discourse, the said Philip and the said Margaret accepted of each other for husband and wife, and promised mutual fidelity in the name of God.  The said Prince hath required of me, Notary underwritten, to draw him one or more collated copies of this contract, and hath also promised on the word and faith of a Prince, to me a public person, to observe it inviolably, always and without alteration, in presence of the Rev. and most learned masters, Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Denis Melander; and likewise in the presence of the illustrious and valiant Eberhard de Than, counsellor of his electoral Highness of Saxony, Herman de Malsberg, Herman de Hundelshausen, the Lord John Feeg of the Chancery, Rudolph Schenck; and also in the presence of the most honorable and most virtuous Lady Anne, of the family of Miltiz, the widow of the late John de Saal, and mother of the Spouse, all in quality of requisite witnesses for the validity of the present act.

And I, Balthasar Rand, of Fuld, notary public imperial, who was present at the discourse, instruction, marriage, espousals, and union aforesaid, with the said witnesses, and have heard and seen all that passed, having written and subscribed the present contract, being requested so to do; and set to it the usual seal for a testimonial of the truth thereof.


These extracts have been taken from the 1st volume of a work entitled, “History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches,” by James Benign Bosuet.  They have also been [164] extensively published in other works.

These celebrated Protestant Divines and great Christian Reformers of the sixteenth century, have thus most clearly decided that “the Gospel hath neither recalled nor forbid what was permitted in the law of Moses with respect to Marriage.”  And in accordance with these sentiments, they most freely declare to the Landgrave that, “Your Highness hath therefore, in this writing,” “the approbation of us all concerning what you desire.”  And “The Reverend Denis Melander, preacher to his Highness,” administered the oath of marriage and solemnized the nuptial ceremony in the name of God, declaring that “to have two wives” was both “Christian and lawful” while, like Sarah, Leah, and Rachel – Abram and Jacob’s wives, “the most serene Princess Christina, Duchess of Saxony, his Highness’s first lawful wife,” freely consented and admitted “of a partner,” “as the deed written with the Princess’s own hand sufficiently testifies.”

These Reverend preachers did not come to a hasty conclusion that Polygamy was approbated by the Gospel; for Luther, “in a sermon which he delivered at Wittemberg, for the reformation of Marriage,” in speaking of wives, says:

“If they are stubborn, it is fitting their husbands should tell them, if you will not, another will; if the mistress refuse to come, let the maid be called.”

This “sermon was pronounced in 1522,” some eighteen years before they gave a written permission to the Landgrave to become a Christian Polygamist; hence, it will be perceived that their conclusions in regard to the Divine approbation of Polygamy, were formed after many years reflection upon the subject.

[165] Having proved that the heads of the Protestants Reformation in Germany approbated Polygamy in their Church, we will next show that at the same period the supreme head and founder of the Church of England – Henry VIII, was a Polygamist.  This King, having been married for upwards of twenty years to Catherine of Arragon, became deeply in love with Anne Boleyn; and in the year 1532, he was privately married to her, while Catharine still remained his lawful wife.  This second marriage, like that of the German Prince, was celebrated in secret through fear of public scandal; for it should be remembered, that through the delusive influence of the Romish church, the most of the people had been traditioned to believe that Polygamy was unchristian; hence, it became, in their estimation, scandalous; and those who believed to the contrary, and wished to practice this Divine institution, were under the painful necessity of keeping their marriage contracts with their second wives partially secret, only permitting a few trusty friends to witness the same.

The king, after having been privately married to Anne Boleyn, his second wife, through fear of being scandalized as a Polygamist, sought for a divorce from his first wife, Catharine; but the head of the Romish Church would not sanction his proceedings, whereupon, the King forthwith proclaimed himself the supreme head of the church, and invented new Articles of Religion, and enforced the same upon the people under the penalty of martyrdom.  Some, refusing to acknowledge him as head of the church, were shamefully tortured and put to death.  Thus was laid the foundation of the great and popular church of England; its first celebrated head and founder, being a polygamist.

It is evident that the more intelligent and learned portion of England considered Polygamy perfectly consistent with Christianity, or they never would have confirmed by [166] Parliamentary acts, the title of “Supreme Head of the Church” upon their Polygamist King.  It is vain for the church of England to say that Polygamy is not sanctioned by the gospel, so long as they acknowledge that the very founder and head of their church was a Polygamist.

Though Polygamy is a Divine institution, yet both the German and English Reformers were not justified, in the absence of an inspired Priesthood, in officiating the nuptial ceremonies.  Not having the Priesthood, they had no authority to officiate in a divine ordinance.  Though Polygamy was practiced in unrighteousness, under the sanction and approbation of the great Christian Divines of the sixteenth century, yet it proves most conclusively, that those Divines did sincerely believe it to be just as legal and lawful for a Christian to have two wives as to have one only; and they, no doubt acted in all good conscience in accordance with their firm conviction.

Thus Polygamy, after having been abolished for many centuries from the churches of Christendom, was again re-instituted therein by the most celebrated Reformers of the sixteenth century.  But they dare not, through fear of scandal, publicly proclaim this divine institution.  It remained for the Renowned Prophet of the nineteenth century, Joseph Smith, to restore this divine institution in all its original purity to the earth, by the word and commandment of the Most High God.  It remained for the inspired Apostles and Elders of the restored Church of God, to publicly announce to all nations the re-institution of this sacred and Christian ordinance.  They do not fear the scandal of the deluded fanatics of an apostate church:  they do not tremble to announce in the presence of an apostate priesthood, the beauty and holiness of the Divine institution of Marriage, whether including one or more wives:  they are not ashamed to practice and proclaim publicly, that [167] which the Protestant Divines, though convinced of its righteousness and purity, dare only approbate in secret.  But in saying this, we would not boast, neither would we speak disrespectfully of the timidity of those good Christian Reformers; they were not sent to restore the Christian Church to the earth with all its heavenly ordinances and principles; and not being sent and clothed with the power of the everlasting Priesthood, they could not speak as men having authority, and consequently were timid, and afraid of scandal, and approbated Polygamy privately; this care or prudence was no doubt best, under the strong power of tradition and other circumstances with which they were surrounded.

But “the times of the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” are at hand, preparatory to the coming of Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive until the restitution of all things is completed, when he will again be sent to take unto himself his great power and reign over all people.  Among the “all things” which the prophets have predicted should be restored before the Messiah comes is Polygamy.  The holy prophet Isaiah predicted, that in the day that the cloud and fire should be restored to the earth, as should be manifested upon all the assemblies and dwelling places of Zion, every one in that city should be called holy and should be beautiful and glorious, and that seven women would take hold of one man, anxiously imploring him to let them be called by his name to take away their reproach, at the same time, promising that they would be no expense to him, but would agree to eat their own bread and wear their own apparel, if he would only become their husband and let them be called by his name.  Thus we see that the Messiah never would come, unless Polygamy were restored to the Christian Church; for the heavens must receive him until all things are restored which all the holy prophets have predicted.  If any should suppose that [168] this prediction, so far as Polygamy is concerned, was fulfilled by the early protestants, we reply, that it is true that the protestant Divines restored Polygamy, but in their day we have an account of only two women taking hold of one man, by their approbation, whereas Isaiah says expressly, that it is to be SEVEN WOMEN who are to do this:  therefore, though it cannot but be admitted that the Reformers restored Polygamy, 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 LordÕs 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.


[169]                             Chapter 11


Notwithstanding the Queen is numbered among the “honorable Wives” of the Son of God, yet she is called upon to “Worship Him as her Lord”.  If her husband were a mere man, she would not be exhorted to Worship him; this therefore, is another evidence that He was truly, as Paul say, the Son of God.

Inasmuch as the Messiah was to have a “plurality of wives” will they not all be Queens?  Yes:  but there will be an order among them.  One seems to be chosen to stand at his right hand:  Perhaps she may have merited that high station by her righteous acts, or by the position she had previously occupied.  It seems that she was one of the daughters of a king:  for in the same Psalm it says, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within:  her clothing is of wrought gold.  She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle work:  the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto Thee.  With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought:  they shall enter into the King’s palace.” (verses 13-15).  It must be recollected that “king’s daughters were among Thine honorable Wives.”  The kings here spoken of were no doubt those who through obedience to the gospel became kings and priests for ever:  for we cannot suppose that Christ would marry the daughters of the kings of this world who only reign under the pretended name of kings for this short life:  such are [170] not worthy to be called kings.  Some of the daughters of those kings who are to reign on the earth for ever and ever, and who are in reality kings, will be among His “honorable wives,” one being chosen to stand as Queen at His right hand and worship Him, unto whom is made the following promise:  “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make Princes in all the earth.  I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations:  therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.” (verses 16, 17).

We are not informed at what time Jesus was to be married to this king’s daughter or to any of the rest of His wives.  But from what John the Baptist says, He may have been married to some of them previous to that prophet’s martyrdom:  The passage is as follows; “He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom:  but the friend of the Bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice:  this my joy therefore is fulfilled.  He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29, 30).  And again, “Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” (Matthew 9:15).  John represents Jesus as already in the possession of the Bride; while the Saviour confirms what John says, by calling Himself “the Bridegroom,” and the disciples “the children of the Bride chamber,” but who the Bride was neither of them informs us.  Whether Jesus had married any of His wives at that time or not, it is very evident that there will be a marriage of the Son of God at the time of His second coming:  for Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding:  and they would not come.  Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold I have prepared my dinner:  my oxen and [171] fatlings are killed, and all things are ready:  come unto the marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:  and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully and slew them.  But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth:  and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find bid them to the marriage.  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good:  and the wedding was furnished with guests.  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  and he saith unto him, Friend how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless.  Then said the king to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14).  All will admit that the king’s son, here spoken of, is Jesus Christ, and that the last servants who are sent forth have a commission to gather together from the highways and hedges both bad and good:  and that by this gathering, “the wedding was furnished with guests.”  The Bridegroom, the servants, and the guests are all mentioned; but the parable does not inform us who the Bride is.  John the Revelator describes the greatness, the glory, and the magnificence of this marriage celebration.  He says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia:  for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad, and rejoice and give honor to him:  for the Marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:  for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, And he saith unto me, [172] Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:6-9).  That the wife was to be a very good and holy woman, is very clearly indicated by her being clothed with “the righteousness of the saints” compared to fine linen, clean and white.  Her raiment is more fully described in the Psalm already quoted, being composed of fine needle work of wrought gold, while many virgins were to be her attendants.

That the Bride will continue to be the Wife of the Son of God in Eternity as well as time, is most clearly revealed in the twenty-first chapter of the Revelations, where St. John beheld the New Earth, and the angel said unto him, “Come hither, I will shew thee the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife” and he was carried in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and saw a great city called the holy Jerusalem, descending from the heavens upon the New Earth.  This city contained the throne of God and the Lamb, and was inhabited by a great nation of kings who were to “reign for ever and ever,” being Gods, as is evident from the name of God being written on each of their foreheads.  The inscription upon their foreheads was not intended as a mere sham or mockery, but was in reality the name given to each, that all the inhabitants of eternity, when they saw GOD conspicuously inscribed upon all their foreheads, might know most assuredly that each one was a God, as the written title or name expressly declared.  The grandeur and glory of this city are still further described; the city and the streets thereof were of pure gold, clear as glass, while the walls and the gates were of the most precious stones; and the glory of God enlightened the city, so that they had no need of the light of the sun or moon.  This light was so great that all the nations that were saved that dwelt upon all the face of the New Earth, walked in the light of it.  There was no night there, but the whole Earth was clothed in one eternal day.  It was in the midst of this city that the King of kings and Lord of lords sat upon His throne, [173] while upon His “right hand did stand the Queen,” arrayed in the most costly apparel.  In order that John might see the glory of God, the glory of His kingdom, and the glory of His Bride, it was necessary to show him, the Palace, the place of the Throne, and the city in which the Bride resided.  It is expressly said, concerning this Queen, that her name should be remembered in all generations, and that the people should praise her for ever and ever (Psalm 45:17).  As John saw in vision the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife more than a thousand years after her marriage – after she and all the rest of the inhabitants of the earth had been raised from the dead and become immortal – it is quite certain that she was in reality a Wife after the resurrection as well as before, and that she will be the Lamb’s wife forever and ever; and in that capacity she will, as the Psalmist has said, be respected and praised by all the people for ever and ever.

That the marriage will be celebrated at the second coming of the Messiah, is also clearly expressed in the parable of the ten Virgins:  for Jesus said, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten Virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.  Then all those Virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:  but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage:  and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [174] But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Matthew 25:1-13).  This parable, like that of the marriage of the King’s son which we have already quoted, plainly shows that there will be a gathering out from among the nations – a going forth to meet the Bridegroom; but among those who gather, there will be some without a wedding garment – without oil in their lamps.  But the five wise virgins who are ready, will go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage, and the door will be shut.  And here let us ask the following questions:  Are these five wise virgins, to be married unto the Bridegroom, or are they only the invited guests?  And if they are guests who constitutes the Bride?  In the parable of the marriage of the King’s son, it is said, “And the wedding was furnished with guests” the guests being those who received the invitation of the servants and gathered together.  If the five wise virgins constitute the guests, then the Bride must be some wise holy virgin, chosen to be the royal consort or Queen.  On the other hand, if the five wise virgins represent all the saints, both male and female, and if they all constitute the Bride, then where will the guests come from, or who will they be?  Again, if the five virgins are actually virgins or females who are to be married to the Bridegroom, then all the rest of the saints would constitute the guests.  Are not these five wise virgins the “honorable Wives” which the Psalmist represents the Son of God as having taken from among king’s daughters?

From the passage in the forty-fifth Psalm, it will be seen that the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist, as well as the Patriarch Jacob and the prophet David from whom He descended according to the flesh.  Paul says concerning Jesus, “Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” (Heb. 2:16).  Abraham the Polygamist, being a friend of God, [175] the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of wives under the Christian dispensation, as well as under the dispensations in which His Polygamist ancestors lived.

We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity, by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His First Born, and another being upon the earth by whom He begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as His Only Begotten in this world.  We have also proved most clearly that the Son followed the example of his Father, and became the great Bridegroom to whom kings’ daughters and many honorable Wives were to be married.  We have also proved that both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time; and that God the Father has already begotten many thousand millions of sons and daughters and sent them into this world to take tabernacles; and that God the Son has the promise that “of the increase of his government there shall be no end” it being expressly declared that the children of one of His Queens should be made Princes in all the earth. (See Psalm 45:16).

Peter says, “Likewise ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands, ***** even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord:  whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well.” (1 Peter 3:1,6). The females in the first age of Christianity considered it a great honor to become the daughters of Abraham, but now they have become so righteous that they think it a disgrace to be found in the society of a Polygamist; and no doubt they would think their characters ruined for ever, if any one should be so immodest as to call them the daughters of the Polygamist Abraham.  But we will tell them how to avoid this deep disgrace; they can cease to do well; for [176] Peter says that it is only on this condition that they become the daughters of Abraham.  It will be necessary for you to reject Christianity and not obey the gospel; for in so doing you might very much endanger your reputation by becoming the daughters of that noted Polygamist.  To become the daughters of a Polygamist by voluntarily embracing Christianity would be at once sanctioning father Abraham’s deeds.  Only think how awfully shocking it would be, to have your neighbors point the finger of scorn at you, and say, “There goes a daughter of Abraham – she has been adopted into the family of that old Polygamist – she must be a very immodest woman to want to get into his family,” among his wives and concubines – who would have ever thought, that she would have embraced the faith of Abraham, and thus consent to be adopted as one of his daughters, when she very well knew his character!  O what a disgrace!  I wonder if she will not want to go and sit down with her adopted father and with all his wives in the kingdom of God.  I dare say she will; for there is no telling how far Christianity will lead them, when they get so far gone as to be adopted into Abraham’s family.  The doctrine that she has embraced tells her that 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.  O how shameful!  I wonder why the law don’t put a stop to Christianity when it produces such an immoral influence as to cause so many not only to be adopted into these disgraceful families, but to pretend that such characters are going to be in the kingdom of God, and that all their adopted children will go there too.  She not only disgraces herself by coming into such a family, but according to her doctrine she will have to associate with beggars, for her book says, that the angels laid hold of a poor beggar named Lazarus and carried him off to Abraham’s bosom.  Oh what a family!  Polygamists and beggars all together!  And that poor silly woman is one of his daughters, and expects when she dies to [177] be carried to his bosom also.  I wonder if there will not be some great gulf or some other barrier to keep such disgraceful characters from intruding upon the society and corrupting the morals of the good pious people who die in the nineteenth century!  I wonder if the angels will have the impudence to drag us away as soon as we die to the bosom of such a noted Polygamist as Abraham!  If you do not want to suffer such deep disgrace, you must keep out of Abraham’s family by neglecting the Gospel; and when you die, the angels will not trouble you with his society, but there will be a great gulf intervening between you and his family over which there will be no passage.

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 cultivate 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 [178] 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; 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 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 [180] 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 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 [181] 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 better 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 [182] 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 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 [183] 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 revelations 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 [184] 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 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 be-[185]comes 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, 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 [186] 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 naturally 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 [187] 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 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.

[188] 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 example.  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.

[189] 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 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 [190] 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.

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 [191] 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 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, [192] 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, bringing 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 splendor; for then shall the wicked see, and confounded, and [193] 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 midst 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.

We will close this lengthy article on the subject of Celestial Marriage by propounding the following questions for the consideration of such of our readers as may be opposed to the plurality system.

  1. If plurality is offensive in the sight of God, why was Abraham, who practiced it, called the friend of God, and the father of the faithful? Why did the Lord promise that in him, as well as in his seed, all the families of the earth should be blessed?  Why require all the families of the earth, under the Christian dispensation, to be adopted in to the family of a Polygamist in order to be saved?  Why choose a Polygamist to be the father of all saved families?  Why require all Christian families in order to be saved, to walk in the steps and do the works of Abraham?  Why did God proclaim Himself to be “The [194] God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and that this shall “MY NAME AND MY MEMORIAL TO ALL GENERATIONS?” (See Exodus 3:15).  If Polygamy is not to be sanctioned among the generations of Christendom, why did He represent Himself to be the God of Polygamists, and say that all generations should adopt that memorial of Him?  Why choose these Polygamists to be examples for Christians, and say, that many should come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down with them in the kingdom of God?  If so, will it not greatly corrupt the morals of Christians to sit down in the same kingdom with them?  Will not Christians be greatly ashamed to be found sitting in the company of Polygamists?  Will not Christians entirely ruin their characters by being adopted into the family of so noted a Polygamist as Abraham, and be obliged to acknowledge him as father, and be called his children?  The Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8).  What kind of Gospel was preached unto Abraham?  Was it not the same Gospel that was preached after Christ, by which the heathen were to be justified, and by which all the families of the earth might be blessed by becoming the children of Abraham through adoption?  Did it not require the same Gospel to save the Polygamist father in the kingdom of God, as that which saves his adopted children that sit down with him in the same kingdom?  Does the Gospel, since Christ exalt Christians to a more glorious kingdom than the one where Abraham dwells?  If not, is it any better than the Gospel preached to Abraham?  Did not Abraham see the day of Christ and rejoice in it, and look forward to his atoning sacrifice, the same as Christians afterwards looked back to the same atonement?  If the Gospel which was preached to Abraham required the same faith — the same repentance — the same justification — the same sanctified through the Holy Ghost — if it procured for him the same [195] blessings — the same gifts of prophecy and revelations — the same gifts of seeing visions and of conversing with angels — the same miraculous powers and heavenly promises — if it made him worthy of the title of the friend of God, and exalted him to be the father of the faithful, even the father of all saved nations — if, moreover, it saved him in the kingdom of God — in the same kingdom where his Christian children are to sit down with him — then was it not the Gospel of Christianity — the very same Gospel that was preached after Christ?  And if the same Gospel, then who dare deny, that Polygamy was not practiced by the very best of men, under a Christian and Gospel dispensation?  Who dare say that Abraham’s righteousness was not as great as the righteousness of his children?
  2. Did not the Lord greatly bless and prosper Jacob both before and after he became a Polygamist? Did he not continue to give him many revelations and visions, and send hosts of angels to converse with him?  If Polygamy were a crime, would not God have informed him of the fact?  If it were sinful, would he have save him in His kingdom without repentance?  As Jacob did not repent, but continued a polygamist until his death, and as he was saved, he must have been saved in his sins; for God does not forgive sins without repentance; or, otherwise, polygamy is no sin.  Why did the Lord restrain Sarai, Abram’s wife, from bearing (Gen. 16:2)?  Was it not because she for a long time neglected to give Abram another wife that he might become the father of many nations?  After she had given Hagar to her husband, the Lord then condescended to give her a son.  If polygamy were criminal and sinful, why did Rachel give Bilhah to her husband?  Would she have sacrificed her feelings in this way for the sake of committing sin?  Would she have sacrificed, not only the dearest earthly object she had, but also subjected herself to sin and condemnation, and run the risk of sacrificing her eternal salvation, merely for the object of having Bilhah raise up [196] children for her?  What benefit would Bilhah’s children be to her, compared with the love which a wife has for her husband, and especially with the love of justification before God?  Does not this example then of self-sacrifice, show most conclusively that Rachel acted from a higher motive than the ruin of her soul for the sake of her husband’s raising up children by Bilhah?  Does it not prove that a sense of duty alone operated upon her mind and urged her on to make so great a sacrifice?  How did Leah prevail with the Lord to obtain more children?  She had several years before raised unto her husband four sons, but for some reason the Lord had for some length of time restrained her from bearing.  What particular duty did she perform in order to again be blessed with children?  She gave her handmaiden Zilpah to her husband for a wife.  Did this sacrifice produce the desired effect?  Yes it so highly pleased the Lord that He hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth son.  And Leah said “God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” (Gen.30).  Can it be said, in this case, that the love of having additional children, born by another woman would have induced her to yield to so great a sacrifice?  If plurality were sinful, would she have expected that her sins would prevail with the Lord, and that her crimes would cause him to hearken to her prayer and give her additional children?  If giving her maiden to her husband was offensive to God, why did He hearken to her prayer and bless her for so doing?  Do not all these facts prove that God was highly pleased with the plurality system as practiced by those holy men and women.
  3. Where was there ever a more holy man than Moses with whom God spake face to face? Did not Moses know about Christ, and Christianity, and the Gospel?  Jesus says, that Moses wrote of him:  Paul says that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt:  and again, he says, that the Gospel was preached unto them [197] (the children of Israel in the wilderness) as well as unto us, and testifies, that they were baptized in the cloud and in the sea.  If Moses then believed the gospel, and was baptized, and embraced Christianity, and suffered the reproach of Christ, was he not a Christian just as much as those who embraced the gospel after Christ?  Moses therefore, was a Christian polygamist and set the example before all Israel, and when his own brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam the prophetess, spake against one of his wives, the Lord was very angry with them and smote Miriam with the leprosy (Numbers 12).  Did not the Lord by this act show most clearly that He approbated polygamy, and that he held sacred to Moses the wives he had taken?  Did not God himself give laws through Moses to regulate the descent of property in the families of polygamists?  Was not Moses, though a polygamist, saved in the kingdom of God?  Did not Moses and Elias appear in glory to Peter, James, and John in the holy mount at the time of Christ’s transfiguration?  If Moses could be saved by the gospel, and by embracing Christ, then is it not certain that polygamy was approbated just as much under the gospel as under the law?
  4. If polygamy was sinful and criminal, Why did God command the living brother to marry all the widows of his deceased brothers who died without children? Would God command his people under a heavy penalty to commit sin and then punish them for doing it?  It must have been a hard case, if the children of Israel were to be cursed if they did not keep the law, and then again to be cursed if they did keep it!  Yet this must have been the case, if they were to be cursed for being polygamists when the law of God compelled them in certain cases to be such.
  5. In the days of Christ while the law of Moses was yet in full force, there must have been thousands of Israel who were compelled by their law to be polygamists or else suffer [198] the penalty of the curse annexed to that law: In what way could those polygamists embrace Christianity and be received into the Church of Christ?  Was it lawful for polygamists to be baptized into the Christian Church?  If not, would the gospel permit them to divorce all their wives but one?  Would the gospel permit them to put asunder those whom God, by his express command, had joined together?  If the gospel would allow all but one to be divorced, then which wives were to be cast out with their children, and which one was to be retained?  But if the gospel would not permit these Hebrew Polygamists to divorce their wives, except in cases of adultery, what could they do?  Could they be saved without coming into the Christian Church?  And if not, must they be damned without remedy?  Did they by keeping the law, according to God’s command, place themselves in a hopeless condition, where Christianity could not reach them?  If so, they must have been sent to hell if they had failed to keep the law, and Christianity sends them to hell, without offering any remedy, because they have kept the law and thus become polygamists.  But this is too absurd for even savages to believe.  It would be most shocking blasphemy to make God the Author of so wicked a doctrine.  No one can dispute, then, but that these Hebrew polygamists with all their wives had the same privilege of entering the Christian Church as any others.  And as this must have been the case, then who dare say that polygamy was not practiced and approbated by those in the Christian Church in the days of our Saviour and his apostles?  Was there any possible chance of extricating the Hebrew polygamist from his dilemma and saving him in the kingdom of God, short of Christianity?  So certain as any of them were saved, so certain did Christianity tolerate polygamy; for we are certain that it did not tolerate divorces not only for a certain transgression.
  6. If polygamy is to be considered sinful under the gospel dispensation, why did David speak of the honorable [199] wives of the son of God himself and so particularly describe one of His queens. Would Christ sanction a sinful institution by his own practice?–And then command his disciples to follow him?
  7. If polygamists cannot be admitted into the Christian Church, Why did Isaiah prophesy concerning the future glory of Zion under the Christian dispensation, and inform us that “In that day seven women should 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?” If such things are sinful, Why did Isaiah further predict, that “In that day the branch of the Lord should be beautiful and glorious” and that every one who should be left in Zion should be called holy, and that all their dwellings and assemblies should be overshadowed with a cloud and smoke by day, and a pillar of fire by night?  Why are these polygamists who are to have seven women hold of their skirts to be called holy – to be so beautiful and glorious – to have such magnificent displays of the glory of God in their midst?  Why is all this yet to take place under the Christian dispensation, if polygamy is not to be tolerated in the church of Christ and is so offensive in the sight of God?  Do not all these things demonstrate that polygamy is compatible with Christianity, and that it has existed and will exist in the Christian Church in the days of its greatest glory?  Can any Bible reader or Bible believer dispute this?
  8. Can any one tell why David before he committed adultery and was the means of shedding innocent blood was called a man after God’s own heart? Did he not marry seven wives before God exalted him to the throne of Israel?  After David had already taken seven wives, why did God give him all of Saul’s wives in addition?  Did the Lord think that David had not a sufficient number that He himself should give him more?  [200] Who dare say that polygamy is not a divine institution when God commanded it by the mouth of Moses, and then actually gave Saul’s wives into David’s bosom?
  9. If polygamy is not a divine institution, Why did that good man Jehoiada the high priest give two wives to the good king Joash? Was not this done by a righteous man and by the highest authority of the priesthood that God had upon the earth?
  10. If polygamy is not a divine institution why did God command the prophet Hosea to marry two wives?
  11. If among the people of God, polygamy is not more pleasing than monogamy or the one wife system, why did God command Israel to kill all their male captives and to save all the virgins alive for themselves? Why did he command them to do this as a general rule in all their future wars against foreign cities and nations?  Was it not instituted in order to supply Israel with women enough to make a nation of polygamists?  Was it not in this way, that He intended to greatly multiply Israel and make them as the sands upon the sea shore, according to the promises made to their polygamist ancestors?
  12. If the righteous polygamists are not more honorable in the sight of God than the monogamists, why is it that God generally chose the former to be deliverers, judges, rulers, kings, priests, prophets, and patriarchs, in preference to the latter? Why was Gideon who had many wives and no less than seventy-two sons, chosen to deliver Israel?  Why did the King of kings and Lord of lords choose to be born into this world in a family whose ancestors were noted polygamists?  Do not all these things prove, that among the righteous, God preferred the system of polygamy to that of monogamy?

[201] 13.  If polygamy was not permitted in the Christian Church, why did Paul require Timothy to select from among the church members men who were the husbands of one wife for the offices of bishops and deacons?  If there were no polygamists in church, would it have been possible for Timothy to have selected them?  And if not possible, why did Paul give the advice?  Does not this prove most conclusively that polygamy did exist in that church?  Does Paul anywhere represent polygamy to be evil or immoral?  Did not he require such selections to be made in order that these officers might not be encumbered with the cares of a large family?  It might be necessary sometimes under particular circumstances, to select young men that were single for ordination, to be sent on particular missions, where even one wife would be a great encumbrance and for the time being a hindrance to their usefulness.  Because, under such circumstances, instructions were given to select single men; should it therefore be inferred that it was sinful for others to be husbands?  So likewise, considering the arduous duties, required of bishops and deacons, Paul thought best to select for these offices husbands having one wife; should it therefore be inferred that it was sinful for other husbands to have more than one?

  1. Did our Saviour or any of his Apostles ever forbid polygamy or condemn it as sinful? If not why should Christendom now condemn it?  Do they think to be more righteous in this respect, than Jesus Christ the great Author of Christianity?
  2. There are hundreds of thousands of polygamists among the various nations of the earth who have married their wives according to the laws of their respective governments. When Christendom sends forth their missionaries to convert them, in what way can they be admitted into the church?  Must they divorce all their wives but one?  If so, which one shall [202] they retain, and which ones shall they cast away upon the cruel mercies of the world?  A certain wealthy, kind, and benevolent man, in Asia who knows nothing of Christianity, purchases for himself ten virgins and marries them all at the same time, according to the customs and laws of his country.  Each of his wives raises up unto him four children.  After which a missionary from Christendom happens along and preaches to him and his numerous family, Christianity:  he, and his ten wives, and forty children, all believe and wish to be baptized into the Christian Church.  He is told by the missionary that he must divorce all his wives but one, without which he cannot be received.  But neither the missionary nor the man himself know of any rule to decide which one of the ten is to be retained.  They were all married to him at the same time; all have been true to him; and each have borne to him an equal number of children.  But at length, without any rule, the decision is made; nine-tenths of his dear family are put away; not however, without a heart-rending sacrifice of feelings on the part of himself and his beloved family.  He and his own wife are now admitted into the church and considered good Christians.  But two-thirds of his family who are thus torn from his embrace and cast out, begin to doubt very seriously whether Christianity is as good as the religion of their own nation.  They begin to think that a religion that will thus break up families cannot be good; they renounce it at once, and turn to their idolatry.  As for the other third of the sorrowful outcast wives, perhaps they may even yet have a faint lingering hope that Christianity is a true system of religion; but having no husband and protector, they finally meet with an opportunity of marrying idolatrous husbands:  and after a while, having no Christian husbands to guide them, they entirely lose what little faith they had, and embrace again the religion of their husbands and fathers, and the poor children follow the examples of their mothers.  Thus the nine wives and thirty-six children who believed in Christianity and would have [203] entered the church with their husband and father, had they not been put away, are forced into circumstances, calculated to destroy and entirely eradicate from their minds all faith in the Christian religion.  Does Christianity require missionaries to pursue such a course among polygamist nations?  Does it require them to tear asunder family ties; to break up and scatter in some instances nine-tenths of those who are nearer and more precious to each other than life?  Does it require them to pursue a course calculated in its very nature, to make them loathe and detest Christianity, as more cruel in their estimation than the grave?  By what law of Christianity do they teach such to divorce any one of their wives, except for the cause of adultery? O Christendom, where is thy consistency!  It is gone!  It is fled!  An absurdity and every species of wickedness have taken the place thereof!  Thou corruptest the nations with thy whoredoms, and yet thou wouldst fain persuade them that thou art righteous; but the day is at hand when thine iniquities shall be proclaimed upon the housetops, and thou shalt be judged for all thy filthiness and abominations, and shalt be cast down by devouring fire.  Then shall come salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, and the reign of peace, and the day of the righteous, wherein Abraham and his wives together with all his seed that are righteous, shall inherit the earth, and reign for ever and ever.