One-Minute Answers by Stephen R. Gibson

Contents of One-Minute Answers

Does It Forbid Polygamy?

Question: How can Latter-day Saints claim to follow the Book of Mormon when it specifically forbids having more than one wife?

This criticism is a fine example of taking something out of context, or of not reading an entire passage. Let us quote Jacob 2:27-29:

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;

For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.

Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.

Seems obvious doesn't it? The Nephites weren't to have more than one wife. There is only one exception, however, to this rule. To understand it, we need to read one more verse--verse 30:
For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.
The one exception would be if the Lord commands his people to live otherwise--to raise up a righteous seed--as he did in Old Testament times as well as in the early days of the Restored Church. Today we continue to live as we have been commanded by the Lord through His prophets; that is, with one wife for each man.

It is interesting that nowhere in the Bible is there wholesale condemnation of the practice of plural marriage. In fact, many of the great men venerated by Christianity had more than one wife: David, Solomon, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. As we attempt to understand the doctrine of plural marriage, perhaps it would be helpful to remember that the Lord sent his Only Begotten Son through polygamous lines (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Surely that fact alone indicates the Lord's approval of this practice when he commands it.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God who upon occasion gives more than one wife to a righteous man. Obviously, God has different rules and policies for different times. Plural marriage is righteous and acceptable conduct if God commands it through his prophet, but it is an abomination when the Lord has not commanded it.