Wrested Scriptures


  Basic Approach
  Deut. 33:15
  Isaiah 4:1
  Isaiah 29:4
  Ezekiel 37:19
  John 10:16
  1 Cor. 15:29
  Rev. 20:12
  10 Questions
British Israel
of Christ


Carbon Dating

& Inaccuracies

Polygamy (Plural Marriages)

Preliminary Points

It is a fundamental belief of Mormons that God has worked with the development of the organization of the church through modern revelation. Restoration of Spirit-gift powers is taught in the Book of Mormon: "I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues; Behold, I say unto you he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ." (Mormon 9:7,8, p. 476). 1

A very strong argument against Mormon claims of modern revelations can be advanced on the basis of Mormon "revelations" on polygamy.

The Argument

  1. In 1830 Mormons were damned if they had more than one wife:
    1. "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which things were abominable before me, saith the Lord." (Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:24, p. 111)
    2. "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; . . . Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes." (Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:27,29, p. 111).
    3. See also Jacob 1:15; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2,4,14; Ether 10:5.
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  2. But in 1843 a "revelation" through Joseph Smith resulted in a "new and everlasting covenant" being proclaimed, in which those were damned who did not have more than one wife:
    1. "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 . . . And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those wives that have been given unto my servant Joseph Smith . . . And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery . . . " (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132:4,52,62, pp. 239, 244, 245, 1952 ed.).
    2. " . . . I hold the keys of this power in the last days, for there is never but none on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time unless the Lord directs otherwise." 2 (Joseph Smith's Diary, Oct. 5, 1843).3
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  3. The American Congress passed a series of bills (The Edmunds-Tucker Act, 1887) prohibiting polygamy. The Mormons finally bowed to surrounding hostile non-Mormons and the Federal Government. Wilford Woodruff, the President of the "twelve apostles" and head of the Mormon Church, "prayed and feeling inspired" issued the following manifesto in 1890:

    "Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages . . . I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise." (Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration, p.257).

    Polygamists, after this declaration, were excommunicated so that in 1907 it was stated that the church had respectfully submitted to the law enacted against plural marriages.
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  4. The Mormon claim that God commanded plural marriage through revelations to Joseph Smith can only be maintained if one is prepared to allow that God gave contradictory revelations within the short space of thirteen years. One in the Book of Mormon forbidding polygamy (1830), and the other, through Joseph Smith, commanding it (1843). It seems incredible that a God-inspired "new and everlasting covenant" could then be withdrawn by the same God because of a man-made decision of the Supreme Court.
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  5. Mormons still attempt to justify the polygamous revelations allegedly given to Smith on the basis of several passages in the Bible. The Christadelphian should be aware that polygamy is not an abandoned doctrine of a forgotten age of Mormonism. This point is acknowledged by secular writers. " . . . all Mormon doctrinal innovations were to fall into place around this new teaching on marriage . . . sexual relations and procreation the central role in man's progression to divinity." 4 The following citations from Mormon writings prove this to be the case:


    Mormons speculate about a divine mother in connection with God's fatherhood. The following are the words of a Mormon hymn:

    In the heav'ns are parents single?
    No! The tho't makes reason stare!
    Truth is reason; truth eternal
    Tells me I've a mother there.5

    Jesus Christ

    "Jesus Christ was a polygamist; Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, were his plural wives, and Mary Magdalene was another. Also, the bridal feast of Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine, was on the occasion of one of his own marriages." 6

    "We say it was Jesus Christ who was married [at Cana, to Martha and Mary] whereby He could see His own seed before He was crucified. I shall say here that before the Saviour died He looked upon His own natural children as we look upon ours. When Mary came to the sepulchre she saw two angels and she said unto them 'they have taken away my Lord or husband'." 7


    "In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which were given to him previous to his redemption, while yet in his mortal state." 8

    "When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him." 9

    " . . . Michael [the Archangel], or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all the ancient of days . . . " 10

    The Fall

    "Adam found himself in a position that impelled him to disobey one of the requirements of God. He and his wife had been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. Adam was still immortal; Eve had come under the penalty of mortality; and in such dissimilar conditions the two could not remain together, and, therefore, could not fulfill the Divine requirement, [ i.e., to procreate ]. On the other hand, Adam would be disobeying another command by yielding to his wife's request. He deliberately and wisely decided to stand by the first and greater commandment; and, therefore, with a full comprehension of the nature of his act, he also partook of the fruit that grew on the tree of knowledge." 11

    Ultimate Reward

    " . . . would you, like your heavenly Father, prompted by eternal benevolence and charity, wish to fill countless millions of worlds with your begotten sons and daughters and to bring them all through all the gradations of progressive being, to inherit immortal bodies and eternal mansions in your several dominions? . . . The eternal union of the sexes, in and after the resurrection, is mainly for the purpose of renewing and continuing the work of procreation." 12

    Abraham's Faith

    "Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law . . . " 13

  6. It will be appreciated by those familiar with Biblical teaching that the Mormon claim to "believe in the Bible insofar as it is translated accurately" is worth very little in the context of Mormon distortion of Biblical accounts. Until the authority of Scripture is established and the polygamous interpretations eradicated, little progress can be expected.
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  7. Despite the official change in attitude by the Mormon Church, plural marriage continues to be practiced in Utah. It is estimated that there are several thousand polygamists in Utah today.14 Fundamentalists claim that for every "fundamentalist" Mormon discovered and excommunicated for polygamy there are ten Mormons in good standing who have more than one wife.15 Whalen comments:

    "Throughout the west, they say, thousands of women known outwardly as widows, divorcees, spinsters, or wives of traveling salesmen or servicemen are actually plural wives. Attorney General Walter Budge of Utah has estimated there are at least 20,000 men, women and children living in plural marriages in his state alone. Newsweek magazine agreed with this estimate in an article on the polygamous Mormons in 1955 . . . It quoted State Attorney General E. R. Callister who said, 'Utah's jails aren't big enough to hold them all.'16 Newsweek also observed that many a Utah Mormon takes quiet pride in his polygamous forebears and is inclined to be lenient toward the Fundamentalists.'" 17

    Short Creek, Arizona, has been a famous Mormon Fundamentalist settlement. In 1953 warrants were presented for the arrest of 36 men and 83 women. Convictions resulted, but only suspended sentences were received since Arizona has no laws against polygamy. It is known that the Fundamentalists protect themselves by planted spies to tip them off about raids by the police departments.

  8. Mormon missionaries distribute a publication, "The Challenge The Book of Mormon Makes to the World". Many of the thirty claims made in this tract are easily answered but some involve historical information. For those wishing to analyze the historical information cited, the following sources are helpful. They are listed in order of thoroughness of content:
    1. O'Dea, Thomas. The Mormons. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1957, p. 288. This book is a sociological analysis (without the anti-Mormon sentiment characteristic of Sectarian publications). The book is similar in style and treatment to Bryan Wilson's, Sects and Society. (Available from public libraries.)
    2. Whalen, William. The Latter-day Saints in the Modern Day World: An Account of Contemporary Mormonism. Notre Dame, Indiana: Un. of Notre Dame Press, 1967, pp. 319. (A paperback.)
    3. Fraser, Gordon. What Does the Book of Mormon Teach? An Examination of the Historical and Scientific Statements of the Book of Mormon. Chicago: The Moody Press, 1964, p.128. (A paperback.)
    4. Robertson, Irving. What the Cults Believe. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1966, pp. 9-30. (Available from public libraries.)
    5. VanBaalen, Jan Karel. The Chaos of the Cults. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962, pp. 188-218. (Available from public libraries.)
    6. Fraser, Gordon. Is Mormonism Christian? Chicago: The Moody Press, 1965, pp. 7-115. (A paperback)

    (It must, of course, be realized, that these writers are not Christadelphians, and references to Biblical teaching must be cautiously and critically evaluated. Men competent in archaeology and anthropology may have no credentials for expounding Biblical teaching.)


  1. When the Kirtland temple was dedicated in 1836, some of the Mormons spoke of "seeing the Lord, others of seeing Moses, while those outside saw a pillar of fire resting on the temple." Thomas O'Dea, The Mormons, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 44. Mormon accounts of visions, revelations, and miracles pervade their historical records. The "miracles" have included the healing of sick horses by the laying on of hands and the arrival of sea gulls which destroyed a devouring horde of crickets. Return
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  2. The doctrine was at first communicated to a few select of the "inner circle" only. It was understood that this "strong meat" was not to be fed to the Gentiles who were to receive only the "first principles". Return
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  3. Quoted in J. K. VanBaalen, The Chaos of Cults, (Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co., 1962), p. 202. Joseph Smith claimed to have received a revelation which commanded his wife, Emma Smith, to submit to a polygamous relationship or be destroyed. "Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto you . . . let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph . . . 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 . . . " (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132:51-54, p. 244 ). Smith is reported to have had 48 wives. See Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, The Mormon Prophet, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946). Return
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  4. Thomas O'Dea, The Mormons, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 60. O'Dea is a sociologist. (Early Mormon history contains sordid charges of seduction and rivalry for wives. See O'Dea, pp. 61, 62, 104, 110). Return
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  5. Eliza R. Snow, a Mormon poetess and plural wife of Joseph Smith. The poem remains a sacred Mormon song and is retained in the Deseret Sunday School Songbook, (No. 181). Return
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  6. Brigham Young (the second president of the Mormon Church), quoted in Eliza Young's, Wife No. 19, Chpt. XXXV. Return
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  7. Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, (Oct. 6, 1853). p. 210. Quoted in Gordon Fraser, Is Mormonism Christian? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 63. Return
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  8. Orson Pratt, The Seer, 1, 3, (March 1853), p. 31. Quoted in Irving Robertson, What the Cults Believe, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p. 14. Return
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  9. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1, 50, (April 9, 1852). Quoted in Irving Robertson, What the Cults Believe, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p. 15. Return
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  10. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 27:11, p. 41. Return
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  11. James E. Talmage (a recognized Mormon theologian), The Articles of Faith, (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, 1901), p. 68. Return
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  12. Parley Pratt (a Mormon missionary), 1830. Quoted in J. K. VanBaalen, The Chaos of Cults, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 205, 206. Return
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  13. Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132:37, p. 243. Return
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  14. Thomas O'Dea, The Mormons, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 248. Return
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  15. William J. Whalen, The Latter-day Saints in the Modern World, (Notre Dame, Indiana: Un. of Notre Dame Press, 1967), pp. 284, 285. Return
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  16. Newsweek, (Nov. 21, 1955), p. 99. Return
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  17. William J. Whalen, The Latter-day Saints in the Modern Day World, (Notre Dame, Indiana: Un. of Notre Dame Press, 1967), p. 285. Return