Most LDS women fear that if we are alive during the Millennium we will have to live a polygamous relationship with our husband and his plethora of wives. Most LDS women fear dying and inheriting the Celestial Kingdom for the same reason, we all believe that polygamy is the “higher” or “celestial” law of marriage. If we are naïve enough to bring these fears up with other LDS women we receive the good ol’ reply of, “just have faith, when the time comes you’ll be able to do it.” Or better yet, “if you could see how polygamy is practiced in the celestial kingdom you’d rejoice to be allowed to practice it.” The idea of practicing polygamy shows how spiritual, righteous and selfless you are and that you are, indeed, worthy of the Celestial Kingdom.
I love my husband. I adore him. He is my best friend. He is my intimate friend. I don’t want to share him with any other woman. I know just how possessive I am of our relationship. Since we were married almost 30 years ago I have lived in constant fear of the LDS church re-instating polygamy. A few years ago I spent a week or more sobbing to the Lord and begging Him not to make me practice polygamy…ever! Neither in this life nor in the next!
In the past I believed the LDS Church narrative in regards to polygamy. That Joseph Smith Jr was asked by God to practice it and that included having sex with the women he was sealed to, even if they were married and even if they were young, very young girls. I read some things about Joseph denying that he was a polygamous and saying, “I have only one wife” and pointing to Emma. Joseph denied polygamy and fought against it until the day he died. I read about Emma stating, to her dying day, that her husband was not a polygamous. But, I also read the famous stories about Emma being angry about the revelation on polygamy and throwing it into the fire. Or the story about Emma pushing Eliza R Snow down the stairs causing her to miscarry Joseph’s child. I was confused. How could all these conflicting stories be true? I finally came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith Jr was a liar at best and a “fallen” prophet at worse.
So, this begs the question, did Joseph Smith, Jr mess up? Was he a "fallen" prophet? Was Joseph a polygamist? The answer is No, in this matter. Joseph had his weaknesses and foibles, just like all men, but womanizing and polyandry were NOT one of them. I've studied this matter extensively and I am convinced that while Joseph did “seal” many women, men and children to himself he did NOT have sex with them. Joseph was an exalted man who had been given the sealing power from God and as such was sealing as many people as he was told to by God to himself in order to preserve a Family of God. But, it was like sealing children to parents. It was not sealing as in marriages. There was no "funny" business on the side. Joseph was true and faithful to Emma and to his marriage vows.
I am now satisfied that Joseph Smith Jr was telling the truth about himself. He was not a polygamous! He had only one wife, Emma! Emma did not need to burn any documents nor push anyone down any stairs; she had a loving, devoted husband who was true and faithful to his marriage vows and to God’s laws. If you are interested in some very well written papers on this topic you can go to the following links:
http://denversnuffer.com/papers/ (at this site click on the link under Audio Files titled “Plural Marriage Lecture” to listen to this talk or under PDF Downloads click on “Plural Marriage”)
I no longer believe that polygamy is practiced in the Celestial Kingdom, or that God expects my husband and I to ever be polygamists in order to have salvation. In fact, I believe that God expects my husband to be true to his marriage vows and only have sexual relations with me. God also desires for me to be chaste for He delights in the chastity of women!
The word Elohim (God's name) means male and female. One male and One female. When God put Adam in the Garden of Eden he gave him ONE wife, Eve. If polygamy were necessary for salvation God would have started out this cycle of creation correctly. God said to Jehovah, "let us go down and create man in our image, male and female created he them". One man and One woman is who the God’s created, therefore One man and One women is in God's image.
The scriptures then teach us that Adam and Eve’s children went two by two into the world. One of the arguments LDS people make for polygamy is the scripture in Jacob 2 where the little caveat is given that polygamy is allowed when commanded by God to raise up seed unto him. If there ever was a time that God needed seed raised up to Him, wouldn’t the very beginning of creation be it? When He needed the empty world repopulated? Yet, Adam’s children practiced monogamy. In fact, the first time one of Adam’s descendants is labeled in the scriptures as evil he is linked to polygamy.
The problem with polygamy in the LDS Church came when Brigham Young, who, along with the other leaders of the Church, did not understand sealings (there is a dream Brigham had which he recorded wherein he saw Joseph, after Joseph had died, and he asked him to explain sealings to him, Joseph refused to do so in the dream and told Brigham to focus instead on gaining the Holy Ghost; in this dream Joseph was bathed in light while Brigham was in darkness). Polygamy was being practiced in other religions at the time in several countries, including America and England. Brigham had spent excessive time as a missionary living among the people back East who practiced polygamy. Brigham most likely began to believe that if you sealed a woman to yourself then you were "married" to her and could thereby have sexual relations. Thus, Brigham began the polygamy that was practiced in the LDS Church.
Since studying, pondering and praying about this matter, extensively, I have come to the conclusion that when the Lord told Joseph Smith Jr that his name would be had for good and evil that one of the sources of spreading evil in regards to Joseph Smith Jr is the LDS Church, the very Church that Joseph founded! I have been so ashamed at the feelings and beliefs I used to hold in regards to Joseph. I have prayed to God and asked for His forgiveness and that of Joseph’s. I continue to be bothered by the false claims that the LDS Church continues to perpetuate.
I had a dream a few months ago that I was visiting with a dear friend. I knew there was an "elephant in the room" regarding my thoughts and feeling towards the LDS Church and what I believe. What I believe today is so drastically different than what I believe even 3 years ago. In this dream I began to try to explain to my friend what I now believe and she began laughing hysterically. I realized that she was mocking me and would not listen so I asked her to leave my home. As she was walking out the front door I said to her, "I refuse to associate with a Church that continues to besmirch the character of Joseph Smith!"
There is enough historical proof that Joseph Smith never practiced the kind of polygamy that was practiced by the LDS Church after his death. Joseph, himself, claimed that he only had one wife and was innocent of the rumors of polygamy. I wish with all my heart that the Church would be honest and clear Joseph's name, that they would believe Joseph meant what he said. Joseph Smith was one of the greatest prophets that has ever lived. The truths he revealed are astounding. I need to take more time to study them and learn from him. Joseph not only gazed into heaven for 5 minutes; he gazed for hours and wanted so badly for us to rise up and understand the workings of God. I am ashamed of how little I know about his teachings.
I began studying Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but have stopped because I’ve learned that the First Presidency at the time of writing and publication altered, edited and changed so much of it that it’s difficult to know what is straight truth from Joseph and what has been altered to fit their agenda at the time. I have found a book, out of print, written by Andrew F Ehat and Lydnon W Cook which is one of the best sources for learning Joseph’s teachings. You can download a free pdf at this site: https://archive.org/details/TheWordsOfJosephSmith
Joseph’s work was to restore lost gospel truth. His work got off track when he was murdered. It is time to rise up and preserve, renew and continue the work that Joseph began. Joseph’s entire message can be summed up by James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him”.