Okay, I just need to have this all in one place since it comes up a lot among "seekers." The churches history of polygamy is very troubling for many, many members. Here are my thoughts on the hot topic.
I have read many great blog articles on the topic. Now it's my turn.
I believe that polygamy is NOT required for “exaltation.” God the Father did not command it, and never has. This is the conclusion I came to after much study, pondering and prayer. This does not mean I stand in judgment of people who were/are sincere in their belief of it. Since many members feel that this issue may be given to us in the future I think it is crucial to know for ourselves if it is from God.
*Polygamy makes women second class citizens. Not to mention concubines! This is not in keeping with what I believe is the true nature of God.
*D&C 132 is in direct conflict to previous revelation. God commanded us to measure all revelation by what has previously been revealed. It fails this test.
*D&C 132 was introduced to the church in 1852. It was not put into the D&C until 1856.
*Joseph never publicly taught this “doctrine.” He is quoted as saying he felt he taught harder doctrine from the pulpit than in private. I also like to think he would have publicly taught it if it was God’s will. I am most bothered by the lying-have a hard time reconciling that.
*Polygamy was a “hot topic” in the early 1800’s on three different continents-England, Europe and US East Coast. Missionaries tracted in this area of the East Coast and even converted some (1830’s). Brigham is reported to have gone on a mission to this area *by himself* by the RLDS. Check out this article for more on that view.
*The D&C is FULL of warnings from God about adultery, whoring spirits, lust and coveting your neighbor’s wife. I have a hard time buying that He would suddenly find them righteous enough to do what he had to chastise them about! See D&C 63:14,16; 3:4; 19:25; 38:24,25; 101:6
*The second greatest commandment is “love thy neighbor.” How does one do that while taking his wife???
*D&C 42 is the law of the church. It calls for strict monogamy. Vs.22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else. (emphasis mine)
*The Article on Marriage was accepted by the body of the saints by common consent in 1835. This made it binding. It was added to the 1835 edition of the D&C. It was not removed until 1876. It called for strict monogamy. Some say it was politically motivated and not written by JS, but he obviously approved it to be printed in the canon.
It read in part: "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is as liberty to marry again. "
*Jacob 2:27…For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife…28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women…34…For ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done. 35…Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children.Verse 30 the righteous seed argument-I think it is a misinterpretation to say this can be done through polygamy. I believe this is done by removing the people from among the wicked. If you read fully in context this is a legitimate interpretation.
*When JS argued that “anything God commands is right” he did so in a secret letter to the daughter of Sidney Rigdon. He was trying to persuade her that polygamy was a correct principle. -Of course everything God commands is right-that is why I don’t believe polygamy or commanded killings come from God. The Light of Christ will tell us what is right. If it goes against that then it is safe to say it is not of God.
*There is no scriptural precedent for God sending an angel to kill someone for disobedience. For goodness sake, if He did, why not take out Hitler or some other murdering maniac??? I believe the angel with the sword is a Mormon legend.
*There is one source that says Joseph may have been in the process of trying to rid the church of polygamy and repent before his death. It is said that he wanted all guilty of polygamy to be tried and that he had the revelation burned
"After 1 a.m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet's departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C.
SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives." Found HERE
*There were more men than women in Utah according to census records. This debunks the “need” for polygamy based on male to female ratio.
*Fewer children are born to polygamist relationships than monogamist. Just look at BY (or the cenusus records). This debunks the "raising up seed" argument.
*”He who is exalted shall be abased; he who is abased shall be exalted.” This whole practice just seems like it was used to exalt ones self.
*Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I really don’t see how polygamy is either.