Here are some reasons why I believe plural marriage is not a temporary Abrahamic trial but the standard in the celestial Kingdom. I am not advocating that people go practice plural marriage now. Such is apostasy as these matters are under strict direction of priesthood keys. I’m merely showing that when the full celestial holy order is in place, plural marriage is a part of that.
-PROPHETS TEACH & PRACTICE IT
-THE BEST SYSTEM FOR BUILDING ETERNAL KINGDOMS
-DISCONTINUED DUE TO UNFAITHFULNESS
-ETERNAL IN DURATION
-NOT JUST A TRIAL
-A BLESSING FOR MAN
-A BLESSING FOR WOMAN
-MOTHERS IN HEAVEN
PROPHETS TEACH & PRACTICE IT
For starters, for every one statement from the brethren that plural marriage was a short-lived thing of the past you have about 50 from the brethren stating that it is eternal.
All of the major Patriarchs did actually have multiple wives, Joseph Smith taught that and Brigham Young even said Adam had multiple wives. There’s no reason why God couldn’t place more than just two people on this Earth.
Though it isn’t the same as plural marriage, we do have several apostles today who are sealed to more than one woman as their first wives died and they took another. Sealing of deceased wives are not nullified.
Was it hap-hazard free for all with many families being sealed to Joseph as his children brethren etc.? No, Joseph knew more about these laws than we do, we should not think he knew less than we do. Being sealed to a dispensation head, as well as using sealing power to restore the premortal order of families, are eternal principles which we know little of today.
JACOB 2 & BOOK OF MORMON PLURAL MARRIAGE EVIDENCE:
The Book of Mormon talks about one-to-one ratio as the standard in Jacob 2, but who is the audience? The book was not written to people who are living celestial law, it was written to people who are hell bound sinners not ready for the higher law.
The context of the Jacob 2 passage was also group specific: “For there shall not any man AMONG YOU have save it be one wife”
We do however have a book that IS designed for people who are trying to live celestial law and build Zion, in that book (The Doctrine & Covenants), it does say Celestial (code word for plural) marriage is required. Naturally the practice is not currently in effect, but will be when we go to Zion.
Also, a closer look into the Book of Mormon will show those Patriarchs actually DID practice plural marriage, but it’s not brought to center stage as that’s not the purpose of the book.
Ether 7:1-2 (righteous Orihah 31 kids)
Ether 6:20 (righteous brother of Jared 22 kids)
2 Ne. 14:1-2 (7 women to 1 man will “be beautiful and glorious”)
Alma 10:7-11 (Amulek refers to “my women”)
Ether 14:2 (“every man…in the defense of his property and his own life and of his wives and children”)
(For the complete article on Plural Marriage in the Book of Mormon: http://richardsonstudies.com/2021/08/04/evidence-that-plural-marriage-was-practiced-in-the-book-of-mormon/)
Children are headed by woman, woman are headed by man, man are headed by Christ, Christ is headed by God.
(See 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-25, 28; Colossians 3:14, 18-21; See Acts 5:29)
None of us are subordinate in this order we all work together, we all need each other.
For example, who would dare blaspheme and say that Christ isn’t as worthy and divine as Elohim? Not I. Different stations does not indicate different worthiness or merit. All is to be done in wisdom and order.
(For a more elegant and detailed explanation of how the patriarchal order and plural marriage honor and exalt women, see Kim Smith’s essay here: http://richardsonstudies.com/2021/12/03/kimberly-smith-on-the-patriarchal-order-plural-marriage-as-honoring-and-exalting-women/)
THE BEST SYSTEM FOR BUILDING ETERNAL KINGDOMS:
D&C 132:63 indicates that plural marriage is not only for raising seed, but that it is for exaltation, and is practiced by Father in Heaven: “for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.”
The parable of the talents some people think unfair but the reality is that those who are righteous are entrusted with more as God knows they’ll use that resource for building the kingdom.
The biological reality of men versus women in the reproductive system is obvious evidence that man can produce many children while a woman can only produce one at a time so it makes sense that building eternal kingdoms would involve a plural marriage of one man to multiple women. Doctrine and covenants specifically identify as plural marriage as being for the purpose of raising up more seed.
Technically speaking, if there is a more efficient better way to do something, and you chose the inefficient way, you are helping less people than you could, and are thereby choosing a less charitable path. And charity is the essence of Godhood. It is receiving eternal joy as a result of charity.
DISCONTINUED DUE TO UNFAITHFULNESS:
The only reason plural marriage was discontinued was due to government pressure the threat of temples being closed and everyone going to jail. God could have beaten the enemies of the church but the saints were not living worthy of it so they had to step down from this holy practice. Similarly the reason the Saints didn’t get to stay in New Jerusalem Missouri was due to their unworthiness and we will return to both Missouri and the fullness of celestial law including consecration gathering to the promised land and plural marriage.
ETERNAL IN DURATION:
Some say plural marriage is just for this life. But in the Doctrine and Covenants Abraham is identified as being in an exalted enthroned condition with multiple wives.
The Levirate law is clear: though a brother (or brothers if the men each die in turn) of a deceased man raise seed to his kingdom with his surviving wife, the wife belongs to and only to the first man.
NOT JUST A TRIAL:
So why were Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others so hesitant to live this law? Because they weren’t used to it, they knew it would be a hard transition, and they wondered what woman would give consent. These brethren were leaders responsible for bringing a people up to a higher standard than they had ever conceived.
A BLESSING FOR MAN:
Some claim that plural marriage is just a trial. But David was allowed more wives as long as he had permission from God, and this to him was a blessing, not a trial. The only trial for David was to not have what was not given him the ones that were given him there was nothing amiss.
The Lord promised that whoever gives up a wife for the cause of Christ receives 100 fold. For example, if a man chooses to marry a woman who is more humble and God fearing as opposed to a perhaps more young attractive and fun woman who is not God fearing, the man will be blessed exponentially in the very aspects that he sacrificed.
A BLESSING FOR WOMAN:
Question: If man is blessed for faithfulness in having more wives, how is the righteous woman rewarded?
Answer: in having more children. Man cannot have children, this is the privilege of woman.
Children are the blessing to woman, and an infinite number of them are promised to her only if she lives the celestial law of plural marriage.
After the curse is lifted, childbearing will not be a painful inconvenient process (Man’s main job in this life is also cursed, the plowing of the fields being full of noxious weeds. There are curses on labor for men and women which will be lifted. All things in heaven will be blessed, including social relationships which are often difficult now.)
Further, a woman would enjoy having more adult female associates to share burdens conversations and joys with.
MOTHERS IN HEAVEN:
Some refer to the universal mother in heaven as referred to in the family proclamation. But that document is addressed to people on this Earth who’s to say all the people on this Earth don’t have the same mother it actually would make a lot of sense that the people of each Earth have their own mother.
Perhaps the big scale picture is that the man is not quite as involved as the woman when it comes to family. We see even on this Earth the man goes off to work all day while the woman cares for the children. Perhaps God visits each of the earths and wives in turn.
Scripture speaks of this in parable of the man visiting 12 vineyards each in turn. On one level those represent infinite worlds. On another they represent the various families a man creates.
For an article summarizing Levirate law, sealings, adoption bloodlines, multiple fathers & mothers, Mary’s marriage to Father, Brigham raising seed to Joseph, Jesus’ marriages, questions about Joseph’s plurality, etc.: http://richardsonstudies.com/2021/09/27/adoption-sealings-blood-lines-levirate-law-plural-marriage/