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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Illinois

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy








Athough there was practically no concealment of the practice of
polygamy by the Mormons resident in Utah after their arrival
there, it was not until five years from that date that open
announcement was made by the church of the important
"revelation." This "revelation" constitutes Sec. 132 of the
modern edition of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," and bears
this heading: "Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage
Covenant, including Plurality of Wives. Given through Joseph, the
Seer, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 12, 1843." All
its essential parts are as follows:

"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:

"Behold! and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as
touching this matter:

"Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the
instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who
have this law revealed unto them must obey the same;

"For behold! I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant;
and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one
can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my
glory;

"For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law
which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions
thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the
world:

"And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was
instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that receiveth a
fullness thereof, must and shall abide the law, or he shall be
damned, saith the Lord God.

"And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are
these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows,
performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that
are not made, and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of
promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for
all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and
commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have
appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed
unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and
there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power
and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no
efficacy, virtue, or force, in and after the resurrection from
the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have
an end when men are dead . . . .

"I am the Lord thy God, and I give unto you this commandment,
that no man shall come unto the Father but by me, or by my word,
which is my law, saith the Lord; . . .

"Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry
her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long
as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and
marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are
out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when
they are out of the world;

"Therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry,
nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven,
which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who
are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight
of glory;

"For these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be
enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation,
in their saved condition, to all eternity, and from henceforth
are not Gods, but are angels of God, for ever and ever.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and
make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that
covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not
sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have
anointed, and appointed unto this power--then it is not valid,
neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are
not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they
are out of the world, it cannot be received there, because the
angels and the Gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot
pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory, for my house is a
house of order, saith the Lord God.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my
word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant,
and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him
who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the
keys of this Priesthood; and it shall be said unto them, ye shall
come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the
first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit
thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all
heights and depths--then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book
of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent
blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder
whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all
things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and
through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are
out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the
Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all
things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall
be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.

"Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore
shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they
continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are
subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all
power, and the angels are subject unto them.

"Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye abide my law, ye cannot
attain to this glory; . . .

"And verily, verily I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on
earth, shall be sealed in Heaven; and whatsoever you bind on
earth, in my name, and by my word, with the Lord, it shall be
eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on
earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever
sins you retain on earth, shall be retained in heaven.

"And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless, I will bless, and
whomsoever you curse, I will curse, with the Lord; for I, the
Lord, am thy God . . . .

"Verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto mine handmaid,
Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay
herself, and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer
unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I
did Abraham; and that I might require an offering at your hand,
by covenant and sacrifice.

"And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have
been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure
before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were
pure, shall be destroyed, with the Lord God;

"For I am the Lord, thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I
give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many
things, for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from
henceforth I will strengthen him.

"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 has trespassed against me; and I, the
Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her
heart to rejoice . . . .

"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 is he
justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto
him; for he cannot commit adultery. with that that belongeth unto
him and to no one 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 commandment, and to fulfill
the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of
the world; 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 teacheth 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 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 the 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."

This jumble of doctrinal and family commands bears internal
evidence of the truth of Clayton's account of its offhand
dictation with a view to its immediate submission to the
prophet's wife, who was already in a state of rebellion because
of his infidelities.

The publication of the "revelation" was made at a Church
Conference which opened in Salt Lake City on August 28, 1852, and
was called especially to select elders for missionary work.* At
the beginning of the second day's session Orson Pratt announced
that, unexpectedly, he had been called on to address the
conference on the subject of a plurality of wives. "We shall
endeavor," he said, "to set forth before this enlightened
assembly some of the causes why the Almighty has revealed such a
doctrine, and why it is considered a part and portion of our
religious faith."

*For text of the addresses at this conference, see Deseret News,
extra, September 14, 1852.


He then took up the attitude of the church, as a practiser of
this doctrine, toward the United States government, saying:--

"I believe that they will not, under our present form of
government (I mean the government of the United States), try us
for treason for believing and practising our religious notions
and ideas. I think, if I am not mistaken, that the constitution
gives the privilege to all of the inhabitants of this country, of
the free exercise of their religious notions, and the freedom of
their faith and the practice of it. Then, if it can be proved to
a demonstration that the Latter-Day Saints have actually
embraced, as a part and portion of their religion, the doctrine
of a plurality of wives, it is constitutional. And should there
ever be laws enacted by this government to restrict them from the
free exercise of their religion, such laws must be
unconstitutional"

Thus, at this early date in the history of Utah, was stated the
Mormon doctrine of the constitutional foundation of this belief,
and, in the views then stated, may be discovered the reason for
the bitter opposition which the Mormon church is still making to
a constitutional amendment specifically declaring that polygamy
is a violation of the fundamental law of the United States.

Pratt then spoke at great length on the necessity and
rightfulness of polygamy. Taking up the doctrine of a previous
existence of all souls and a kind of nobility among the spirits,
he said that the most likely place for the noblest spirits to
take their tabernacles was among the Saints, and he continued:--
"Now let us inquire what will become of those individuals who
have this law taught unto them in plainness, if they reject it."
(A voice in the stand "They will be damned.") "I will tell you.
They will be damned, saith the Lord, in the revelation he hath
given. Why? Because, where much is given, much is required. Where
there is great knowledge unfolded for the exaltation, glory and
happiness of the sons and daughters of God, if they close up
their hearts, if they reject the testimony of his word and will,
and do not give heed to the principles he has ordained for their
good, they are worthy of damnation, and the Lord has said they
shall be damned."

After Brigham Young had made a statement concerning the history
of the "revelation," already referred to, the "revelation" itself
was read.

The Millennial Star (Liverpool) published the proceedings of this
conference in a supplement to its Volume XV, and the text of the
"revelation" in its issue of January 1, 1853, saying editorially
in the next number:--

"None [of the revelations] seem to penetrate so deep, or be so
well calculated to shake to its very center the social structure
which has been reared and vainly nurtured by this professedly
wise and Christian generation; none more conclusively exhibit how
surely an end must come to all the works, institutions,
ordinances and covenants of men; none more portray the eternity
of God's purpose--and, we may say, none have carried so mighty an
influence, or had the power to stamp their divinity upon the mind
by absorbing every feeling of the soul, to the extent of the one
which has appeared in our last."

With the Mormon church in England, however, the publication of
the new doctrine proved a bombshell, as is shown by the fact that
2164 excommunications in the British Isles were reported to the
semi-annual conference of December 31, 1852, and 1776 to the
conference of the following June.

The doctrine of "sealing" has been variously stated. According to
one early definition, the man and the woman who are to be
properly mated are selected in heaven in a pre-existent state;
if, through a mistake in an earthly marriage, A has got the
spouse intended for B, the latter may consider himself a husband
to Mrs. A. Another early explanation which may be cited was thus
stated by Henry Rowe in the Boston Investigator of, February 3,
1845:--

"The spiritual wife doctrine I will explain, as taught me by
Elder W--e, as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Elder
Adams, William Smith, and the rest of the Quorum, etc., etc.
Joseph had a revelation from God that there were a number of
spirits to be born into the world before their exaltation in the
next; that Christ would not come until all these spirits received
or entered their 'tabernacles of clay'; that these spirits were
hovering around the world, and at the door of bad houses,
watching a chance of getting into their tabernacles; that God had
provided an honorable way for them to come forth--that was, by
the Elders in Israel sealing up virtuous women; and as there was
no provision made for woman in the Scriptures, their only chance
of heaven was to be sealed up to some Elder for time and
eternity, and be a star in his crown forever; that those who were
the cause of bringing forth these spirits would receive a reward,
the ratio of which reward should be the greater or less according
to the number they were the means of bringing forth."

Brigham Young's definition of "spiritual wifeism" was thus
expressed: "And I would say, as no man can be perfect without the
woman, so no woman can be perfect without a man to lead her. I
tell you the truth as it is in the bosom of eternity; and I say
to every man upon the face of the earth, if he wishes to be
saved, he cannot be saved without a woman by his side. This is
spiritual wifeism, that is, the doctrine of spiritual wives."*

* Times and Seasons, Vol. VI, p. 955.


The Mormon, under polygamy, was taught that he "married" for
time, but was "sealed" for eternity. The "sealing" was therefore
the more important ceremony, and was performed in the Endowment
House, with the accompaniment of secret oaths and mystic
ceremonies. If a wife disliked her husband, and wished to be
"sealed" to a man of her choice, the Mormon church would marry
her to the latter*--a marriage made actual in every sense--if he
was acceptable as a Mormon; and, if the first husband also wanted
to be "sealed" to her, the church would perform a mock ceremony
to satisfy this husband. "It is impossible," says Hyde, "to state
all the licentiousness, under the name of religion, that these
sealing ordinances have occasioned." **

* One of Stenhouse's informants about the "reformation" of 1856
in Utah writes: "It was hinted, and secretly taught by authority,
that women should form relations with more than one man." On this
Stenhouse says: "The author has no personal knowledge, from the
present leaders of the church, of this teaching; but he has often
heard that something would then be taught which 'would test the
brethren as much as polygamy had tried the sisters."'--"Rocky
Mountain Saints," p. 301.

** "Mormonism," p. 84.


A Mormon preacher never hesitated to go to any lengths in
justifying the doctrine of plural marriages. One illustration of
this may suffice. Orson Hyde, in a discourse in the Salt Lake
Tabernacle in March, 1857, made the following argument to support
a claim that Jesus Christ was a polygamist:--

"It will be borne in mind that, once on a time, there was a
marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that
transaction it will be discovered that no less a person than
Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never
married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary
also, whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and
improper, to say the best of it. I will venture to say that, if
Jesus Christ was now to pass through the most pious countries in
Christendom, with a train of women such as used to follow him,
fondling about him, combing his hair, anointing him with precious
ointments, washing his feet with tears and wiping them with the
hair of their heads, and unmarried, or even married, he would be
mobbed, tarred and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a
rail . . . . Did he multiply, and did he see his seed? Did he
honor his Father's law by complying with it, or did he not?
Others may do as they like, but I will not charge our Saviour
with neglect or transgression in this or any other duty."*

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 259.


The doctrine of "adoption," referred to, taught that the direct
line of the true priesthood was broken with the death of Christ's
apostles, and that the rights of the lineage of Abraham could be
secured only by being "adopted" by a modern apostle, all of whom
were recognized as lineal descendants of Abraham. Recourse was
here had to the Scriptures, and Romans iv. 16 was quoted to
sustain this doctrine. The first "adoptions" took place in the
Nauvoo Temple. Lee was "adopted to" Brigham Young, and Young's
and Lee's children were then "adopted" to their own fathers.

With this necessary explanation of the introduction of polygamy,
we may take up the narrative of events at Nauvoo.





Next: The Suppression Of The Expositor

Previous: The Institution Of Polygamy



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