Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Frank Discussion on Polygamy with President Paternoster

I have had several comments and questions on my blog on the subject of polygamy.  I wish to clarify the position of the church in this matter.  Firstly for the purpose of this post I will define polygamy as meaning one man having more than one living wife at the same time.  This is the same definition given on lds.org: http://lds.org/study/topics/polygamy-plural-marriage?lang=eng&query=polygamy
Based on this definition it is important that I as a respected leader be completely up front in acknowledging that there are many in the church practicing polygamy.  This most often occurs when a couple gets a civil divorce and the man then takes another wife to the temple to be sealed.  The first temple sealing (marriage) is still valid in the eyes of the Lord, as is the second.  This man therefore has more than one living wife at the same time.
Often sisters who have been granted a civil divorce ask me if they can get their temple marriage annulled too.  I always reply that we do not break eternal temple sealings for sisters as this would leave them unsealed into the eternal family of God and would be unfair on them.  Sisters seem especially keen on getting this annulment when they wish to remarry.  This we do not do unless they are marrying another worthy priesthood holder to whom they will be sealed in the temple.  If a civil marriage is taking place then we leave the first marriage in full force and effect.  This way any children born to the new couple are sealed to her and the first husband and are under no condemnation since the first marriage remains valid in the eyes of the Savior.  This is one of the many methods we use in the church to encourage sisters to only marry within the hallowed temples of our Lord.

One sister recently threatened to remove her name from the church records in order to no longer be sealed to her first husband.  She said she could not stand the thought of being with that man or being subject to him in the next life.  I was able to show her that her intended actions were prideful and would only hurt her in the long run.
One must keep in mind that the above example of how we still practice polygamy requires a man to be faithful to one woman at a time.  In the past we as a people were free to practice the type of polygamy that allowed a man to have multiple wives with whom he could procreate at the same time.  I will now address this type of polygamy.
From the aforementioned link at lds.org we learn that “At certain times and for His specific purposes, God, through His prophets, has directed the practice of polygamy.  In obedience to direction from God, Latter-day Saints followed this practice for about 50 years during the 1800s but officially ceased the practice of such marriages after the Manifesto was issued by President Woodruff in 1890”. Some say that the Manifesto was given due to governmental pressure, but I can assure you as a stake president that even without such pressure this revelation would have occurred.  Since 1890 no plural marriages have been approved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
President Hinckley clarified this for the entire world when he stated: “I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties.  Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.  An article of our faith is binding upon us. It states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”.  One cannot obey the law and disobey the law at the same time."
This is a very important point made by a prophet of the Lord.  As latter-day saints we have always kept the laws of the land in this and all other regards. We are utterly disgraced at those who knowingly violate this law.      
Often I am asked why Mormons practiced polygamy in the past.  People need to realize that this was the method the Lord instituted to take care of the poor widows in the early days of the church.  Many had lost their husbands due to persecution and were in need of care.  Brigham Young and others stepped up to the plate and fulfilled this need.  Sometimes the women were able to care for themselves but simply wanted a faithful priesthood holder as a husband.  In this an ancient prophecy was fulfilled when Isaiah wrote of our day in chapter 4 verse 1 as follows “And 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.”
I am grateful for the early leaders of the church being so willing to sacrifice themselves for these good sisters in need. 
One single sister recently asked me if there will there be polygamy in heaven.  I responded without hesitation that she need not worry, there certainly will be.  I taught her that more sisters will make it to the celestial kingdom than brothers.  Eternal life is to become as God, creating new worlds and populating them with our own offspring.  This cannot be done in a state of singleness therefore in order that these faithful sisters may progress they will need to be given to a worthy priesthood holder.  You should have seen the look of relief on this sisters face as I explained this to her. 
While I don’t know the process by which this will be done I imagine that as a stake president I will be involved in the assignment of the single sisters within my stake.  I stand prepared to take many of them unto myself, including the sister of whom I just spoke.  This is why even though I exhort them I do not become too worried if husbands become slack in their priesthood duties.  I know that many of their wives will be available to me and others in the kingdom of heaven and that these sisters will in no wise lose their reward.  Those that I do not pick for myself I will assign to my counselors, the bishops and stake high council as directed by the spirit. 
The Lord in his infinite mercy has provided a way for all to come unto Him, be saved and reach their fullest potential in the life to come.  Due to the righteousness of so many of our beloved sisters’ polygamy is a necessary part of the plan of happiness that the Lord has put in place for us.


Sistas in Zion said...

Interesting read.

Anonymous said...

I am very confused. As I was doing geneology I saw that our prophet Joseph Smith lived the law of polygamy. I have even been taught about an angel with a flaming sword demanding he do it. When did the law of polygamy begin?

Brigham Q. Cannon said...


I wonder if you could comment on the Lord's purposes for post-manifesto polygamy as well as polyandry.

As we all know, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and his ways are certainly not our ways, but I have searched, pondered, fasted, and prayed much over these issues in search of further light and knowledge.

Perhaps due to my misdeeds that I have not resolved with proper priesthood authority, these answers have been withheld from me.

I now come to you, to seek answers through the proper priesthood lines. Can you share your wisdom?

Also, if you wouldn't mind meeting with me afterwards to help me in my repentance process, I would be very grateful. I know my burdens can only be lifted by the proper Priesthood keys which you hold.

Carla Schmidt Holloway said...

How many wives do you intend to take in the afterlife?

Poretr said...

President, thanks for this enlightening post. I think the church's policy (which I know you did not write) leaves a lot of room for people to manipulate the system. Annulments are very hard to get I understand, so someone could easily make it difficult for their former spouse to get one just to be mean. President Monson discussed these is priesthood session this weekend, he reviews them all himself.

As for the past, I have to agree that it was a sacrifice for the men to have to have more than one wife. What a pain that would be!

Anonymous said...

Polygamy for the purpose of reproduction for God's offspring undermines how great God is & is a slap in the face to Him!

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunshine said...

You just keep your paws to yourself after you put us to sleep at the next Stake Conference, Nastynoster.

Hypatia said...

Stake President, I am wondering. I have a good friend of mine who is also good friends with my husband. Is it possible for us to enter into a polygamous marriage today? I consider her a sister. Should I request permission from the leaders of the church? I believe God has told me that we should proceed with this... with me as Head Wife of course.

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt S. said...


I am so glad that your inspiration led you to comment on the blog of Bishop Higgins, which led to his asking to be called as bishop again. I know that this inspired decision will bless the lives of many faithful Latter-day Saints.

Hypatia said...

Stake Pres- Thank you for your inspiring advice. I will keep your confidence. :)

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA oh the "live-in nanny!" What an enlightening discussion! I can't wait until the next life so that I can practice polyandry...there's definitely a basis for that in D&C 132! Are you sure that polygamy is going to have to wait till the next life?

Unknown said...

I have found a great product cure for this problem or to learn this Marriage Savior System.  My friend recommended me to visit http://tinyurl.com/urmarriagesaved

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peepstoneonyou said...

Dear President,

It brings me so much comfort knowing that if I am not worthy to follow my wife to the celestial kingdom men such as yourself will be there to take care of my wife. It takes the pressure of me! How blessed I feel - I am really not interested in having more children anyway. A diaper is a diaper spiritual or not.

No wonder all those married women got sealed to J. Smith. These lucky husbands had their freedom made sure in this life!

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

I would like to call attention to one point that you made in reference to the cessation of the practice of polygamy, and the Mormons' obligation to honor the law and governmental authorities. You appear to be uninformed that even during the time when polygamy was allowed by the LDS Church, polygamy itself was illegal--both in Mexico and in the United States. So it is incorrect to state that "As latter-day saints we have always kept the laws of the land in this and all other regards." There never was a time or place where polygamy was NOT illegal. It was every bit as illegal when Joseph Smith practiced it with more than 30 wives, as it is today. Would this, then, be a case of God's law superseding man's? In which case, why was the 1890 manifesto necessary?

Scott said...

(I should probably clarify a sentence from my previous posting--there never was a time in U.S. History, or a place in North America, where polygamy was not illegal.)

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimmydawn said...

Thank you, president, for clearing this up. I admit I've had many fears and doubts about the gospel recently. You have truly helped me see the error of my ways.

The other day, I was reading a passage from the Journal of Discourses that caused me a bit of concern. You see, I handle the finances in our family, but after reading this passage, I wonder if I am qualified. According to Lorenzo Snow: "It is much more difficult for wives to learn than it is for husbands, because women have not the degree of light and knowledge that their husbands have; they have not the power over their passions that their husbands have: therefore, they
have to suffer one for another until they get power over themselves like unto those that have advanced more fully in the knowledge of our God".

Stake Pres. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HUh? said...

Pres you said up top of these comments

"In terms of your sins I can forgive them if you are in my stake, but would first require a complete and full confession with intimate details."

Might I remind you that you dont have any authority at all to forgive sins. Was it you that was in the Garden bleeding at every pore? Was it you hanging on the Cross? Did you atone for anyones sins?

You are nothng - not even a profitable servant - how can you forgive sins?

You can hear the confession (if indeed you are a real stake President) but you can forgive sins.

YOu are either misinformed or a liar....which is it? maybe a misinformed lair perhaps?

Oh and on a history note - never in all states of USA was polygomy ever legal, they started it not in Utah so your lawles state theory is nonsense too

Anonymous said...

All very interesting Brother Paternoster, but what about Jesus' response to a similar question posed to him by the Pharasies? In essence he stated that neither husband is married to the woman in question in the hereafter, but that the parties "are neither married nor given in marriage, but remain separately and singly for the glory of God."

This even seems difficult to square with the concept of eternal marriage - what gives?

Anonymous said...

Actually, contrary to popular belief, Joseph Smith preached against polygamy his whole life & continually warned the Saints to never fall for it or for the rumors & hearsay that he was secretly preaching or practicing it.

His warnings still stand for us today.

While Joseph was living he published most of his teachings & warnings about how vile & evil all forms of polygamy are.

He taught that the scriptures never condone polygamy or plural marriage. And that we should shun anyone who preaches polygamy as a righteous thing.

How anyone can believe 'hearsay' about Joseph rather than his own proven testimony that he gave while he as alive, is beyond me & is just willful refusal to accept the truth.

Anyone who accuses Joseph Smith of polygamy, which he himself called 'vile & evil', will one day stand accountable before God for speaking evil against a true Prophet of God.

There never has been & never will be in all eternity any such thing as righteous polygamy.

It has always been & always will be the adulterous abomination & whoredom that Joseph & ancient Prophets declared & warned it was & is.

Samuel the Lame'innit said...

What planet do you live on Anonymous? Joseph Smith Jr DID practice polygamy! Just look him up on the church's own website, even FamilySearch.org (if you are too lazy to do this, then here is the link: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/AF/individual_record.asp?recid=7762167).

Contrary to what you read in the priesthood manual, most of these marriages took place BEFORE he was shot! It appears that the whole of the LDS church (because they run FamilySearch.org) will, to use your words 'one day stand accountable before God for speaking evil against a true Prophet of God'.

Anonymous said...


Isn't it amazing how 'right' sounds so 'wrong' today & truth is too incredible to believe.

As ancient prophets prophesied would happen today, everyone in the Church has become deceived to support & believe evil, except a rare few.

The foretold latter day apostasy of the Church has happened & it started in Joseph's day, he saw it happening to the people. Only a few still believe in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I would encourage you to study & search much deeper than familysearch.org. The real truth has been kept deeply hidden for a long long time.

It is proven (by Joseph's own publishings during his life) & even acknowledge by historians that Joseph preached against polygamy his whole life.

All the accusations of him living or preaching polygamy are all based on hearsay & 2nd hand insinuations, usually by those who believed in & lived polygamy, thus trying to justify their deeds.

Even Christ taught against polygamy very clearly if you understand what he said. And no prophet that ever walked the earth can remain a true prophet & contradict Christ.

Joseph also said that no angel or Prophet or person can be a true messenger & contradict the scriptures or what Joseph taught during his lifetime & polygamy is completely opposite the scriptures & teachings that Joseph brought forth.

D&C 132 wasn't added until many years later in Utah & went completely contrary to everything in the scriptures that Joseph brought forth & taught. And it was not written in Joseph's handwriting.

Joseph excommunicated anyone found living or preaching polygamy while he was Prophet.

Keep searching, for only those who are courageous enough to seek out the truth will find it.

Samuel the Lame'innit said...

Poor poor Anonymous! You are indeed one of the 'rare few' who still believes the ramblings of a... well, quite talented charlatan (considering people like you still believe him nearly 200 years after he was shot).

If you don't believe Familysearch.org (I'm flabbergasted that you don't), then let's have a look at what FAIR have to say -- a group of unapologetic LDS apologetics. They state: The most conservative estimates indicate that Joseph entered into plural marriages with 29–33 women, 7 of whom were under the age of 18. The youngest was Helen Mar Kimball, daughter of LDS apostle Heber C. Kimball, who was 14. The rest were 16 (two) or 17 (three). One wife (Maria Winchester) about which virtually nothing is known, was either 14 or 15 (again, here is the link http://fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith/Polygamy/Marriages_to_young_women).

The truth about Joe's polygamy cannot be denied! Next you'll be telling me that Brigham Young only had one wife (at a time, cause his first wife died), as is described in the official BY lesson manual. If you believe that Bro Brigham was a true prophet, then God changed his mind about polygamy pretty quickly?!

Gerty G. Huggins said...

While reading your post, Samuel The Lame-whatever, I couldn't help but think of the phrase, "Fools mock, but they shall mourn"! I for one am glad that someone as brave, honest, and forthright as Anonymous (that's an unusual name! Is it Greek?) deigns to share his/her insights on this blog.

She/he, like the Brother of Jared, has faith so strong that the Lord Himself must laud his/her purity daily, and reward him/her openly! I'm sure it could be said of Anonymous that s/he has faith that can move mountains. Even mountains of evidence!

I am grateful for his/her insight, and aghast at how many so-called Latter-Day prophets were so completely corrupted! If "no prophet that ever walked the earth can remain a true prophet and contradict Christ", then all the prophets of this last dispensation must have all been pretenders!?!?

And so I must ask, Anonymous, which of all the churches is the right one? Since the LDS church has clearly fallen into open rebellion against God, with all their slanderous official websites and correlated "information", are you thinking of starting your own?

Anonymous said...

And it came to pass that God did change his mind about the righteousness of one man having many wives:

Book Of Mormon

Jacob 2:23-24
23 But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.

24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

Jacob 1:15
15 And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.

Doctrine and Covenants 132

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—

2 Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.

38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.

39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.