The Man with Forty Wives


A Mormon once pushed the American humourist, Mark Twain, into an argument on the issue of polygamy. After a long and tedious exposition justifying the practice, the cultist then demanded that Twain cite any biblical passage expressly forbidding polygamy.  “Easy,” Twain replied, “Luke 16:16 – No man can serve two masters!”

For the last two centuries, The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, has portrayed its founder, Joseph Smith, as being a faithful, monogamous husband to his dear wife, Emma.  But now the elders in Salt Lake City (realizing that in this internet age you really can’t keep anything secret) have finally publicly confessed that their founder did not quite live up to his marriage vow of chastity (“Do you swear to keep yourself to this woman and this woman only, so help you God, as long as you both shall live?”).  In fact,  Emma was just the first of their prophet’s eventual thirty-nine trips down the aisle.  And Joe didn’t just share wedding cake with previously single women: two of the ladies who said, “I do” were married at the time and another was just 14 years old.

But the church counters that Joseph Smith never wanted to be the next Solomon as far as having many wives.  They say that Joe and Emmy were a young couple very much in love when Smith was visited by an angel from heaven with a message directly from God – you are to marry again and again and again until you have accumulated a whole house full of Mrs. Smiths.  And they say that Joe, like Peter in Acts 10, put up a real fight with the heavenly messenger, refusing twice to commit adultery.  But when the angel came back the third time with a sword in hand and said – it’s either off to the marriage altar or off with your head – what was their prophet to do?  (Today, let a husband try that same story and it won’t be the angel with the sword but the wife with the gun that he’ll have to be dealing with.)

Now all of the above is because of the Mormon teaching of eternal marriage; where in the resurrection eternal bliss for the man is to have his very own  planet and eternal joy for his woman (or  women) is to be eternally pregnant, populating that same celestial planet.

What bothers me most about the cult’s admission is their scriptural justification for this.  They say he Prophet Joseph Smith was simply obeying the same polygamous command that God had previously given to His other biblical leaders.  But God never commanded polygamy, He strictly forbade it.  (Deut. 17:17 & I Tim. 3:1)

Bible – Kings (…neither shall he multiply wives)
Bible – Pastors (…must be the husband of one wife)

The honest truth is, the majority of biblical leaders were completely monogamous in their marriages.  Only a handful were ever polygamous.  And the five who were – Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David, Solomon – saw their homes turned into complete disasters.  And forget eternal marriage.  Jesus said of that in Matthew 22:30,

Bible – For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven.

The bottom line?  They may view Joseph Smith as a latter-day saint, but he certainly wasn’t an early-day one.