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Dear Gramps,

I read a scripture that has had me questioning if the LDS Church is the truth. Its in D&C 132 v. 54,55. How could Emma Smith be threatened to be destroyed if she didn’t abide my this new law? That does not make sense to me. I am having a hard time understanding the concept of polygamy. Also, it states in the Mormon Doctrine book that polygamy
will be practiced in the millennium.  Why does it seem like polygamy is such an important law, but it is not addressed in church lessons? One of my friends mother is still sealed to her ex-husband even though he cheated on her for 7 years. He is now remarried and is a bishop. Why would Heavenly Father make her stay sealed with her ex-husband
even though that would not make her happy? Isn’t it the plan of happiness? I am having a hard time understanding this.. Please help.


Dear Coleman,

Doctrine and Covenants 132 resulted in an Abrahamic test for Joseph Smith, Emma and the entire Church then as well as today.  This revelation required of Joseph and Emma and all members of the Church to put their trust in the Lord who gave Joseph this revelation.  We find in Abraham 3, that when the Lord placed man on the earth He stated:   “25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”  Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Issac.  He didn’t say he would not do it because the Lord had commanded “Thou shalt not kill”.  He was obedient and proceeded to follow the Lord’s command until he was stopped by an angel of the Lord.  Abraham was commanded by the Lord to take plural wives as was Issac, Jacob,  and others in the Old Testament.  In this they were obedient as was Joseph when he was given the commandment to take plural wives.

Though section 132 was not written until July 1843, it is apparent that Joseph received this commandment prior to that date.  Historian Joseph Bushman asked the question:  “What drove Joseph Smith to a practice that put his life and his word in jeopardy, not to mention his relationship with Emma?”  Joseph would not have entered into this practice if he had not been commanded by the Lord, as was Abraham.  This is the only commandment where Joseph did not commit himself immediately.  With all other commandments and directions from the Lord he was faithful and determined to obey them immediately.

In D&C 109 Joseph requested of the Lord that he, Emma and his family be exalted:  “68 O Lord, remember thy servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., and all his afflictions and persecutions—how he has covenanted with Jehovah, and vowed to thee, O Mighty God of Jacob—and the commandments which thou hast given unto him, and that he hath sincerely striven to do thy will.  69 Have mercy, O Lord, upon his wife and children, that they may be exalted in thy presence, and preserved by thy fostering hand.”  Steven Harper in his book, “Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants” states:  “the historical record shows that Joseph and Emma met its (law of exaltation) terms and conditions precisely.  They made and entered the covenant on May 28, 1843, and received the confirming ordinance section 132 refers to as “most holy” (being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise) on September 28, 1843.”   Hyrum Smith held this authority as stated in D&C 124:  124. (The definitions in parenthesis have been added for understanding)

In D&C 132, the Lord states:  ” 26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.”  The Lord is stating this to everyone who meets these conditions, not just to Emma.  When one receives these ordinances they are expected to keep every commandment and follow every direction received from the Lord.

In “Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants”, Brother Harper tells us:  “Emma was never excommunicated, her ordinances never voided.  She gave her children faith in the Book of Mormon but blamed Brigham Young for plural marriage.”  Emma asked Joseph to give her a blessing as he was leaving for Carthage.  Being unable to give her a blessing he told her to write the desires of her heart and he would seal the blessing.  She wrote:  “to honor and respect my husband as my head, ever to live in his confidence and by acting in unison with him retain the place which God has given me by his side.”  The transcript of this blessing is found in the Church History Library and was quoted in Carol Cornwall Madsen’s book “The Heavens Are Open”.

Though couples enter into the “New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage”, it does not become binding until it has been sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  The President of the Church has the authority to bind on earth and in heaven as well as to loose on earth and in heaven.   If a couple is divorced civilly they can have their sealing canceled.  This is done by applying to the President of the Church.  Normally the cancellation of a woman’s sealing is not given until she is ready to be sealed to another.  We need to keep in mind that only those that are faithful and deserving of the Celestial Kingdom will have their sealing bound and receive their exaltation.  The Lord will take care of all those who are worthy.  They will receive all the blessings promised that they are worthy of and will not be penalized for the actions of their spouse.


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