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Sister Wives

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

I must confess. I'm fascinated by TLC's new show "Sister Wives". No. I do not find the lifestyle at all acceptable. But, we get to take an inside look at a fundamentalist Mormon sect currently practicing polygamy in the state of Utah. It is utterly fascinating. And it is interesting to witness some of the psychological manipulation used by these types of men to further their desire to abandon God's design of one-man and one-woman marriage in order to satisfy their desire to be with more than one woman. The show is a telling example of why God's design is the way that it is.

Another interesting thing to point out is the common Mormon response I'm finding. Many Mormons that are part of the larger sect (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah) want very desperately to distance themselves from the practices of these people. Many are saying that these "aren't true Mormons" or that they don't reflect the true teachings of the church. Of course, one must recognize that the church distanced themselves from the practice of polygamy after being forced to do so by the United States government in the late 19th century. Apparently, the United States was able to convince God to change His mind. We must of course also recognize that there are many contradictory statements among Mormon leaders and Mormon doctrinal works that confuse the issue. Be that as it may, we must of course ask the question:

Does the lifestyle of the people in this show accurately reflect a faithful commitment to the principle of polygamy as taught by Joseph Smith Jr, Brigham Young and other early prophets and apostles in Mormonism?

In other words, who is actually closer and more faithful to the classic teachings of the founding Mormon prophets and apostles-- the modern Utah sect or these fundamentalist Mormons that still practice the principle? I believe that an honest look at a couple of references from early Mormon prophets should satisfy and convince any open-minded investigator:

"We are told that if we would give up polygamy—which we know to be a doctrine revealed from heaven, and it is of God and the world for it—but suppose this Church should give up this holy order of marriage, then would the devil, and all who are in league with him against the cause of God, rejoice that they had prevailed upon the Saints to refuse to obey one of the revelations and commandments of God to them … Will the Latter-day Saints do this? No; they will not to please anybody." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 239)

"The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy... I heard the revelation on polygamy, and I believed it with all my heart … ‘Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?’ If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269)

"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned…" (Brigham Young, Deseret News, November 14, 1855)

"Though I go to prison, God will not change his law of celestial marriage. But the man, the people, the nation that oppose and fight against this doctrine and the Church of God, will be overthrown." (Lorenzo Snow, Historical Record, page 144)

See also Joseph Smith, Jr's revelation in D & C 132

I realize that this is a very touchy subject for my Mormon friends. I can appreciate that. So why would I write about this? Because the Mormon view of salvation/exaltation is based on a Mormon's obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and faithfulness to the teachings of the church. It is only the most faithful Mormons that will be exalted to godhood (a damnable teaching). Exaltation is part of the story of salvation for the faithful Mormon. It is clear that Brigham Young undeniably taught plural marriage as necessary for salvation. Again, Brigham Young taught:

"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned…" (Brigham Young, Deseret News, November 14, 1855)

So the questions surrounding the religious commitments and lifestyle of those cast in this show are important ones. Glib responses and sound-bites don't settle the issues. The determination must be made the same as any question of Christian practice for orthodox Christians--- EXEGESIS. We must dig-into the teachings of the early Mormon leaders and ask the honest question:

Are the fundamentalist Mormon sects closer to the original teachings and intentions of the early Mormon prophets concerning the principle of polygamy than the larger Utah sect?

Jeff Durbin
Apologia Church

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